From Wiley Wednesday, I alluded to a past event in my life. Upon request from TommyKar-
“Oh, this has got to be an awesome story...
“I got to drive a Lotus Esprit because I knew what a Lagonda was.””
here is the story, and photos of a Lotus...
It began in a small suburb town in the late mid 80s. I was working in a Pharmacy/Sandwich Counter/ VHS Video Store (because it was before streaming, and DVDs). If you read reminiscing tales of video store workers, its true- you did get to know your customers and interests. Add in the ones who come in for prescriptions and the sandwich counter, and you strike up more than acquaintances.
So, I had one customer that was an every joe, worked for a small family owned company and was in good with the owner. Every other weekend or so, the owner would fly his plane and take the family somewhere. ‘Joe’ would get to drive the owners car over the weekend, usually handling any maintenance and getting it cleaned up. Nice break from the old pickup truck.
Anyway, one Saturday morning while I am working the video counter in the front of the store, Joe pulls up in a black Aston Martin Lagonda, series 2. As a teenager car enthusiast, I recognized this obscure wildebeest. When Joe walked in, I immediately pounced and said, “Awesome car!” Joe answered, “Bet you cant guess what it is”. Preening, I smugly and proudly proclaimed “Aston Martin Lagonda.” Joe was pretty impressed and we talked for a while about cars (since the store was slow), and he mentioned the handful of cars his boss had- including a Lotus Esprit. Lotus had to that point been one of the two cars I loved above all else- the other being a Cobra. It wasnt because of Bond, but Bond didnt hurt either. I mentioned as such.
Fast forward about a month later. Another Saturday morning, and Joe pulls up in red 3rd generation Esprit (The 4th had just come out and was oh so droolworthy). Joe comes in and sees the big grin on my face. We go back out to look at it, and sit in it... Oh the joy. Then he asks if I want to take it for a ride. I am dumbfounded, but oh yeah I do. Does the pope wear a funny hat? Is he sure?? He says he mentioned my knowledge of the Lagonda and my love of the Lotus. So, he had said go show him the Lotus and let him drive it if he trusts me. I go in and tell my boss I am taking a break, not asking. I think I would have quit for a no.
I was so astounded. I took it on a large loop around the store, probably not more than 5-10 minutes, I was so scared something would happen. But still, as a teenager- nothing more exciting. By today’s standards, those 215 hp are nothing but back then, that was some serious power and the handling was incredible. It was always considered an almost supercar- because it had a 4 cyl. instead of an 8, but that 4 did as much as a lot of 8s in the day.
And because of that, it still holds a special place in my heart. Around the same time, one of the local dealerships brought in a new 4th gen Pearl White Lotus, the Peter Stevens redesign that rounded the edges, that was glorious to behold.
If I could stick an 8 in the 4th generation, that would be the optimum configuration. Julian Thomson’s 5th gen added a little too much to the spoilers and side skirts. Steven’s version was cleaner.
The pics above and below are of the 5th gen, and considering the V8, a late 90s version. Both are AutoArt, thus why they are near identical excepting the scale.