The Vauxhall Lotus Carlton: 4 reasons why it needs more love

Perhaps the most underrated car of all time

1y ago

As you may know if you follow me, I absolutely love the Lotus Carlton and it is one of my "top priority" dream cars. Since I love it so much and it is a really underrated car, i'll be giving 5 reasons why it needs more attention in the car community.

1. It's a super saloon that can keep of with a lot of cars made today

Well quite obviously, it's a sports sedan. Not an ordinary sports sedan though, with it's specs (listed below) that are very impressive for a saloon even today.

0-60 mph: 5.2 sec

0-100 mph: 11.5 sec

Top Speed: 177 mph

1/4 mile: 13.2 sec

It's 0-60 is a bit slower than a Jaguar XE S, a sports saloon of today, but makes up for that by having a 177 mph compared to the XE's 155 mph top speed. Keep in mind this is all from a car with a twin turbo 3.6 litre inline-six engine making 377 horsepower, and it's from 1989. The performance then brings me onto my next point.

The Lotus Carlton's engine

The Lotus Carlton's engine

2. It's faster than most supercars of the same time period, the 80s.

And it's a 4 door car! It is almost as fast as a Ferrari Testarossa, for example. But it cost less than the Testarossa back in 89'. Pretty impressive for a saloon if you ask me. it also beat the Porsche 911 Turbo, Ferrari 348, BMW M5 E34, and Mercedes 500E.

A photo of a Testarossa. As if you don't know what the car in the picture is.

A photo of a Testarossa. As if you don't know what the car in the picture is.

3. The brand that tuned the Carlton, Lotus

Lotus, as you can obviously tell from it's name, has worked on the Lotus Carlton. Lotus has taken the engine from the regular Carlton and tuned parts They tuned it by increasing the engine's size from 2.9L to 3.6L and then stuffing two turbos into it. This, in turn, was paired with a 6 speed manual transmission taken from the Corvette ZR1 of the Lotus Carlton's time. Since the Carlton became so quick after tuning, they also needed to change the suspension and it's chassis a bit.

4. It's legendary status back when it first came out, and now

Back in 1990, streets were filled with dull saloons and other cars that were uninteresting. The most interesting of the bunch of cars on the road were the Mercedes 500E and the BMW M5 E34. That was when the Lotus Carlton stepping into the scene. Vauxhall was producing the regular Carlton, a somewhat interesting executive saloon, and felt they should make a performance version of the at the same time very dull 201 horsepower saloon. Vauxhall at this point of history was not really great at making performance cars, so they handed the Carlton to Lotus and the result was, boom, the Lotus Carlton. A lot of people, especially car enthusiasts of the time, had their attention caught by the Lotus Carlton. It did cost a pretty penny at £48k (£104k today), so many stole Lotus Carltons from owners. There were several thefts, but the most well-known event occurred on November 26, 1993 in the West Midlands. A Lotus Carlton was stolen from a home on this date and several robberies as a result of the stolen car. £20k (£40k today) of products from businesses were stolen, all by the same stolen Lotus Carlton. This Lotus Carlton had the license plate "40 RA". A police officer even commented on just how fast it is, stating, " We simply haven't been able to get near the thing and it looks unlikely that we ever will". Well officer, that's because you're driving a Rover Metro that only had a top speed of 90 mph. Knowing that the police couldn't get near them, the thieves even robbed a shop just outside of a police station. There are even claims that the Lotus Carlton outran the police helicopter following them by going on the M6 freeway. The thieves managed to get away. Because of this, it caught the media's attention and people started a campaign, stating it was "Unsafe and unreasonable why anyone would need that fast of a car" and trying to stop the sale of the Lotus Carlton. This campaign was not successful. Below is a video of a Lotus Carlton outrunning Swedish police. Oh and Britain, I hope your police cars are better now.

Play video

Well, so that was the Lotus Carlton and why it needs more people talking about it. Damn i'd love to have one as an everyday car.

Thanks for reading my article!

As always comment anything I could do to improve my articles, and have a great


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Comments (11)

  • I love it - as I said.

    Brilliant article Dash!

      1 year ago
  • Wow! This car definitely needs more love. This has made me think twice about how great this car is

      1 year ago
    • Definitely. It leaves a Rover Metro in the dust, lol. But seriously, this car has blistering performance for a saloon from 89, and still does!

        1 year ago
    • Maybe the rozzers can change their metro to another meteo that has a 6 at the beginning, R at the middle, and 4 at the end, maybe they can catch up (probably still not tho)

        1 year ago
  • Good old days...Opel/Vauxhall hired Lotus and put togheter a car which was able to challenge and sometimes bully more 'aristocratic' brands,good old days...

      1 year ago
  • Thanks for taking my advice and making a Carlton article! Well done

      1 year ago
  • Always liked it

      1 year ago