"In most other cars the driver would have died." That is the startling revelation from the Manager of the Lotus Service Centre Neil Turner, after he and his team completely rebuilt an Esprit Sport 300 which was severely damaged when it was in a collision with a Vauxhall Calibra six months ago.
The entire vehicle from the windscreen forward was destroyed by the impact including the chassis, front suspension and radiator, leaving the car completely unrecognisable. Neil said if the driver, Sharon Kandiah, hadn't been driving an Esprit she probably would have been killed.
"Sharon suffered from a broken wrist and bruising which, considering the force of the impact, was very lucky indeed. The Esprit is inherently strong and I would stake my life on an Esprit over most cars."
Sharon and her husband Krishna made the decision to rebuild the car because the loved it so much. "Our Esprit is very special to us. We both get a real thrill out of driving it and love the fact it is such a rare model," said Krishna.
Neil and his team took on the job. All they had to work with from the existing Esprit was the engine transmission, rear lights, tailgate and two doors. The rest had to be completely rebuilt in the overhaul, including a brand new interior and body shell.
The mechanical part of the rebuild was a long process because the Sport 300 was a limited edition. "The car has unique wheel arches and chassis which both had to be carefully built from scratch because the parts weren't readily available", said Neil.
Once the mechanics of the car had been installed, it was time to tackle a new colour scheme for both inside and out. The Esprit had been Camel Yellow but the owners opted for a more racy Scandal Green exterior with a pearl finish.
The job of refurbishing the interior of the Sport 300 was left to the three strong re-trim team at the Lotus Service Centre. One of the most complex jobs they had ever worked on, the interior of the car was refurbished in a blue/black Alcantara combination.
"The texture of the trim we used is called Alcantara which is similar to a mock suede. The finished combination of lime green and a blue/black interior, while is may sound a bit bizarre, is actually quite stunning," said Neil.
Both Sharon and Krishna were delighted with the final result. "We are pleased to have our Esprit back looking like it's brand new and has never been in an accident," said Krishna. In the event of an accident that resulted in injuries, they may have needed the help of personal injury lawyer.
The expertise of the Service Centre team in completely rebuilding the Sport 300 can not be underestimated. Taking a partially smashed, limited edition Sport 300 and transforming it into a motoring and visual masterpiece, shows the true skill and professionalism of the team.