The Lotus Carlton caused outrage when first launched. Tabloid journalists frothed at the mouth, the UK government discussed the car in parliament, and even a mainstream car magazine kicked up a fuss.
The perceived irresponsibility of the car wasn’t just down to Carlton’s then-ridiculous (and still impressive today) 377bhp output nor its 177mph top speed - it was because all this capability was packaged in a family-friendly Vauxhall saloon. We can only imagine the further furore that might have been caused had Lotus made an estate version. The sports car brand never did, of course, but one man decided to rectify this.
What you’re looking at here is, we think, the world’s only Lotus Carlton estate (although we have seen images of a Lotus body-kitted version of the continental European market Opel Omega). It was built using a 2.0-litre Carlton Diamond wagon, with one rotten Lotus that had been left sitting for years donating its engine and running gear, and another accident-damaged example providing the body kit. Even the seats and steering wheel are the real deal.
Considering the asking price of £45,000, the images are - it must be said - ropey, but thankfully a YouTube channel called Once Driven Forever Smitten uploaded a very detailed look at the car (below) a few days ago. This also gives us a chance to hear the car’s custom stainless steel exhaust.
Both of the 3.6-litre straight-six’s turbochargers were replaced not so long ago, while the brake discs and pads are pretty new too. The Carlton had a respray five years ago, but “could do with a refresh,” the advert notes.
Included in the sale is a collection of spares including a charge cooler and an inlet manifold. The original Lotus Carlton ‘Tech 1’ diagnostic tool will also be given to the next owner.