Vauxhall Lotus Carlton | High Mile Club

The previous owner of this Carlton spent £70k restoring it – so £90k almost sounds like a bargain…

By Matt Bird / Monday, September 6, 2021 / Loading comments

Some might suggest there’s not a great deal left to say about the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton. We know about the 90s’ notoriety, the legendary status amongst enthusiasts, the incredible rarity – and the values attached to survivors thanks to all three. So what, you might think, here’s another expensive Lotus Carlton reminding me 2011 really was the time to buy one at £15k – who cares?

Well, Vauxhall Lotus Carlton #785 – one of the latest cars, here on an L-plate – isn’t the average LC. It has miles on it, for starters, 139,000 of them, hence its inclusion here. Which may not seem like a lot for a 27-year-old car explicitly designed for high miles and high speeds, but it’s been far more common of late to see extremely low mileage cars come up for sale at extremely high prices; add up the asking price for a 5k-mile one and this 34,000-mile example and you’ll get £235,000.

On the face of it then, paying not a lot less – £89,995 – for a Lotus Carlton with so many more miles may not seem worth it. Only this might be the best Lotus Carlton in the world, even with an odo reading almost matching the other three now for sale put together. Not only has the previous owner spent almost 5,000 words describing the car in the advert, but they’ve also spent nearly £70,000 restoring it in their ownership. Vauxhall Carlton it may be, but high performance classics take some looking after – as you’ll see…

There can’t be many people on the planet who won’t learn something from such a comprehensive account of the car. It covers everything, from water pump to petrol tank, and typically how an entirely new one has been sourced from some far-flung part of the world or brought back to better than factory standard by a battalion of specialists. It’s inevitable to pick out highlights – the cylinder head was skimmed by 0.0065 inches, the stickers on the radiator cowling have been lacquered so they won’t pick off in future, the exhaust brackets are new and OE – but it’s really worth making a brew and reading the whole thing.

If every you needed evidence of the love and dedication (and money, to be frank) people will lavish on their cars, here is the proof. It really is an extraordinary level of TLC, and heartening to see, which the pictures show off nicely – a Lotus Carlton has never looked this good in the history of Lotus Carltons. It’s easy enough to polish up a car to look presentable for sale, far tougher to have the underside and engine bay looking like this. It really is spectacular.

In fact, the only shame seems to be that nobody thus far has been able to enjoy the fruits of all this labour. In 2015 it passed an MOT on 137,722 miles, then not again until November last year – presumably with the work all completed – with 138,963 recorded. Now it’s for sale on 139,000. However carefully you would inevitably drive, it would seem a disservice to all the hard work that’s gone in here for the Lotus Carlton not to be on the road again. After all, with £70k spent, it’s probably going to feel better than it has since 1994 – and as you might have heard, it’s quite the thing to drive…


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