Building the Esprit
The process of building an Esprit was truly a work
of art. Unlike other modern factories where cars are manufactured mostly
through the aid of automation and robotics; the Esprit was built completely
by hand. This ensured that each vehicle built was truly unique and perfect
when it left the factory.
The Esprit production line was established back in 1976. Until the end of production in 2004, nothing changed much since those days a quarter of a century ago. Currently there were only 21 people on the line. Each car took about 584 man-hours to assemble. With multiple people working on the car, total assembly was accomplished in about one week. One car rolled out of the assembly line every business day. Upon completion, each vehicle was driven on the test track. After the test drive, the car was put on a lift and thoroughly inspected and adjusted. Afterwards, the car was test driven a second time to verify everything was perfect.
The book Supercars - Lotus Esprit Turbo by John Simister, has a whole chapter and lots of pictures documenting the process of building the car.
Although the current Esprit model production is over, production of other models such as the Elise, and Exige carries on. If you are interested, Lotus also offers free weekly guided tours of their assembly line. Contact the factory at Hethel for an appointment.