Chapman’s Esprit is Hethel-bound with inaugural Certificate of Provenance

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Lotus

Colin Chapman’s 1981 Turbo Esprit is homeward bound following its auction in May, and it’s boasting some new, highly official paperwork.

After buying s/n 0970, Lotus has honored the Esprit as the first recipient of its Certificate of Provenance Programme, which is comprised of a certificate of provenance (naturally), a build specification letter, and a personalized letter signed by Lotus CEO Phil Popham. All three documents come in an appropriately minimalist black envelope inside a box emblazoned “For The Drivers.”

Configured to Chapman’s specifications—including pollen filters—and driven by the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher, the 11,000-mile Esprit is certainly a worthy first recipient. Lotus adds that it will join the company collection following “a sympathetic restoration.”

What about your Esprit—or Elan or Exige or Elise or Evora—you ask? Lotus cars “from any era” are welcome to the provenance party. Entry costs £170, or approximately $223.

Before you get excited about Certifying your own Lotus and cashing in on the added prestige, be warned that we don’t yet know how—or if—these official records will impact Lotus values.

Colin Chapman Lotus Esprit Turbo case
Lotus

Hagerty auction editor Andrew Newton says, “It remains to be seen what this certification will actually mean when it comes to the market. For classic Jags you can get something called a Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT) certificate, and this Lotus certificate seems similar to that. A JDHT certificate certainly helps you sell your car, but it doesn’t necessarily make it worth a lot more.”

That shouldn’t stop you from ordering one, however, either for yourself or for the Lotus lover in your life. “The Lotus archive is a fully catalogued database of information and can provide a wealth of insightful facts on any Lotus car from any era,” Popman says.

In addition to the paperwork, Lotus also includes an aluminum plaque engraved with the owner’s name, a leather Lotus key ring, a carbon-fiber bookmark, a presentation tin containing four badges, and a Lotus ink pen. Pretty classy.

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