Ultimate ’90s Q

1991 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton

This 1991 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton shows just 4,500 miles on the clock. Photo by Silverstone Auctions

Ultimate ’90s Q-ship: Low-mile Lotus Carlton heads to auction A supercar in sedan clothing, this Carlton has been stored for years

July 3, 2017

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While collectors on this side of the Atlantic were busy not driving the Buick GNXs, but instead storing them in hopes of cashing in for a retirement fund, collectors back in Europe were busy driving a super sedan that could keep up with the supercars of the day. We re talking about the Lotus Carlton, which at its root was also a GM vehicle — a very special, souped-up GM vehicle turned into nothing short of a supercar fighter by Lotus.

In about a month, collectors — who perhaps had a poster of this car on their bedroom walls 25 years ago — will get an opportunity to bid on a Carlton that might not have been shrink-wrapped but was driven very sparingly and now shows a claimed 4,500 miles on the clock.

But first, a little history and a lot of specs: The Lotus Carlton was based on the Vauxhall Carlton — the U.K. version of the Opel Omega — but equipped with a Lotus-tuned turbocharged and intercooled 3.6-liter engine straight-six engine featuring plenty of tricks from Lotus deep engineering expertise, including a 24-valve cylinder head from the Lotus GSi, Lotus-built connecting rods and a new forged steel crankshaft. A six-speed transmission borrowed from the Corvette ZR-1 was the only transmission that could cope with the ridiculous amounts of torque — this concoction produced an eye-watering 377 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque.

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