Monogram 1/24 Lotus Esprit Turbo

KIT #: 2789
PRICE: $14.00 'Used'
DECALS: one option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1990 initial release


The Lotus Esprit is a sports car that was built by Lotus Cars at their Hethel factory in the United Kingdom between 1976 and 2004. It was among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro's polygonal "folded paper" designs. It was produced in two major body styles with this kit being the last of the initial variants.

The Series 3 (or S3) and Turbo Esprit debuted in April 1981. The two models shared a common chassis, and bodywork was based on a common set of moulds.The S3 received the 2.2 L Type 912 engine. The Turbo Esprit had a wet sump engine with the same power and torque output as its dry sump predecessor. Interior trim was revised which, when combined with changes to the body moulds, resulted in more headroom and an enlarged foot-well.The Turbo Esprit retained the aerodynamic body kit of the Essex cars and featured prominent 'turbo esprit' decals on the nose and sides. The S3 gained the new larger bumpers but kept the simpler sill line and glazed rear hatch of the S2.2 body. Both cars came with 381 mm (15 in) BBS alloy wheels.

Minor changes were made to bodywork and front suspensions for the 1985 model year.

The final incarnations of the Giugiaro-styled Esprit were announced in April 1986. Higher compression ratios for the engines was indicated by the 'HC' moniker. Power output of the naturally aspirated engine rose to 172 PS (127 kW; 170 hp) and 160 lb⋅ft (217 N⋅m) for the Esprit HC, and to 218 PS (160 kW; 215 hp) and 298 N⋅m (220 lb⋅ft) for the Turbo Esprit HC, with more torque available at lower engine speeds.


The date on the side of the box is 1990, which was the date of the initial release. It has been released two other times, but not at all in the last 20 years. One thing I noticed right away is that this kit does not have the wheels of the initial variation which are like those of the Chaparral sports racer, but those of the newer releases. Not that it matters to most, but there it is.

This is a fairly complex kit as it is not a curbside and 29 of the 57 construction steps deal with the engine and the chassis. The double overhead cam, turbocharged four cylinder is neat little kit in and of itself and it, along with all the suspension bits fit into Lotus' signature chassis as you can see from the included image from the side of the box.

Once you get the engine/chassis combination done, it is then time for the body. Monogram provides separate glass sections and these can all be fitted from the outside. You also get a clear panel for the sun roof if you wish to use that.

All of the interior parts fit onto the floor pan and it really is only lacking in seat belts to be most complete. This pan will eventually be attached to the body and then that will be lowered onto the chassis section in the final steps. There is an engine cover which completely hides all the upper engine work you have put into it, but like the rear deck piece, this doesn't need to be glued in place so that you can show off all the work you have put into the model.

Instructions are superb with color information provided as needed. Though this car is shown as white with a black interior, there are other colors that you can use and a quick search of the Internet shows a lot of options in that regard. The decal sheet provides placard and plates and that is about it.



If you are a modeler of exotic sports cars, then you should consider adding this one to your collection. It will not be a fast build, but it will make into a very nice model.


April 2019

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