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Vauxhall

Lotus Carlton, 1993

Image copyright © BMIHT
Make
Vauxhall
Manufacturer
Vauxhall Motors
Location Made
Luton
Accession Number
L2021:137
Collection
Vauxhall Heritage Collection
Type
Car
Status
On loan from a private collection
Engine
6 cyl, 3638 cc, 355 bhp
Fuel
Petrol
Top Speed
176 mph (283 km/h)
Body Style
Saloon
Price When New
£48,000
Materials
metal, glass, textiles
Dimensions
4768mm (l), 1812mm (w), 1435mm (h)
Location
Museum

The Vauxhall Lotus Carlton was based on the Carlton Gsi 24v and launched in autumn 1990. Complete Gsi models were shipped from Ruesselsheim to the Lotus factory in Hethel, Norfolk, where they were stripped and heavily modified to accept the necessary running gear, and model-specific interior and exterior trim.

Lotus Engineering developed the Carlton's MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension - lowering it and stiffening it. With the addition of a Garrett turbocharger and various other tweaks the engine was producing 377bhp which pushed the car to 60mph in just over 5 seconds and on to 176mph.

The result of the collaboration between GM and Lotus was one of the fastest big luxury saloons– it was dubbed the then fastest four-seater saloon car in the world. The balance of performance and on-road behaviour also made the Lotus Carlton popular with the police for use as a (very!) high-speed, albeit expensive, pursuit vehicle.

In its four-year production span, only 950 Lotus Carltons were built and the example on display is No. 820, an ex-press fleet car and one of just 286 UK versions produced.