It's not often do I stand back, take a deep breath and think before I act. There are various scars and dents scattered about my person to support this. However, on this occasion I have exhibited the kind of patience associated with chaps who sit atop lonely mountains for decades to learn the sound of a single hand clapping.
Six months ago I posted the above picture of a Lotus Esprit 350 Sport that I had, even then, been thinking about buying for some months. And now, another half year later, I have hauled myself off the fence and bought it. I don't expect it to be to everyone's taste; my wife, for instance, hates it. As does my eldest daughter. And my youngest.
It's chassis No5 of only 47 (or 49, depending on which account you read) Lotus Esprit 350 Sports built which was considered by many, though not all, to be the ultimate version of the long-lived, legendary wedge of Norfolk goodness. To make it, Lotus stiffened the Esprit's chassis and suspension, uprated the brakes, gave it magnesium wheels, a carbon-fibre wing (and this is from back when carbon fibre meant something), blue alcantara seat inserts and blue cam covers. Yes, it's very, very silly but I love it. Every return across the garage forecourt stirs a little trouser tremor and there's still something in my soul that looks up sharply at that raked windscreen and angular haunches and thinks .... 'ooh, SUPERCAR'.
bath time, baby...
There are issues with it. Of course there are, it's an old Lotus - they had issues when they were new. Mostly though, it's just that the thing is filthy. So I've sent it off to a sort of health and beauty spa for cars in London. I'll have a full report on what goes on there later but for now, suffice it to say that when the proprietor saw my Lotus lurking outside his luxury warehouse full of pampered Bugatti, McLarens and Zonda, he clearly found himself in uncharted waters.
Services offered by these chaps include a deep, deep clean, detailing, a conplete cosmetic restoration, repainting, polishing the underside until it is cleaner than a surgeon's table and generally making the thing perfect. They carried out an initial inspection which resulted only in a lot of furrowed brows and a suspicion that once I'd left they might slink back inside their pristine offices to order hazmat suits. I heard the boss say, 'we'll be needing the black gloves for this one, not the blue ones.' We shall see how far they want to go but I have taken the precaution of asking them to make sure that when it comes to bill time, this isn't the first ever example of the car being written off by being washed. I shall bring news and photos when it is finished. And/or I am ruined.