The roof panel on the Esprit can be tilted or removed. Lotus offers an optional heavily tinted glass roof to replace the standard composite one. The glass roof is nice because it lightens up the interior of the car while protecting you from the elements. The tinted glass is dark enough to protect you from getting burned while driving. In order to use the glass roof, older cars must replace the headliner rubber gasket on their cars. This must be done because the glass roof is thinner than the composite one (although it weighs much more) and won't make a good water and wind seal against the older gasket.

The glass roof is, as with most Lotus items, a very expensive option. Currently it retails for over $1,200US! You may be able to find it for less in the used car market or maybe on eBay. If you can afford it, you will enjoy the sensation of openness it provides.

Two types of roof panel are available; glass fiber composite and tinted glass. As the thickness of the composite panel is much greater than the tinted glass version, the height of the body flange onto which is fitted the roof weather-strip, is correspondingly different - i.e. higher for the glass roof. Although two variations of weather-strip are used, with a taller profile for the glass roof, the difference in seal height is not sufficient to allow for interchangeability of the roofs.

Note that due to legislative requirements, on '99 model year cars outside of the USA, the roof handle legs are pinned to prevent the roof being lifted out.

Operating Instructions

To Open: Two catch handles are provided at the rear edge of the roof. To open, carefully pull down each catch handle and swing both handles together forwards and upwards to raise the rear of the roof, finally pushing both handles fully rearwards to their 'over center' position. Avoid unclipping the hinge legs during this operation by maintaining a slight rearward pressure on the handles as they are swung upwards.

CAUTION: Close the roof panel before opening the tailgate, or damage may be caused to the tailgate paintwork. To Close: Keep fingers well clear. Gently pull both catch handles forwards and downwards before pressing rearwards to lock.

To Remove: Swing each catch handle down and forwards until the hinge legs are horizontal, before pulling sharply forwards to unclip the hinge legs from their body pivots.


- It is not possible to unclip the hinge legs with the roof in the fully raised position.

- On non-USA models from '99 model year, the legs are pinned to prevent removal of the roof.

With the legs unclipped, and from outside the car, raise the rear of the roof and pull the panel rearwards to disengage the front edge retaining tongues.

To Stow: If the body aperture has been fettled to allow stowage of the roof panel in the rear luggage compartment, the roof should be placed in the protective bag provided, and fed first into the left hand side of the compartment as shown.