British sports car gets a modern-day makeover

One of the things I love about Petrolicious is how it can tell the story of a car and its owner the way no other series has ever done it. It’s kind of like Humans of New York, but instead of photographs and written stories of the subjects, it’s done in a more personal manner that really captures the essence of what it means to be a passionate car owner.

The latest episode tells the story of bicycle builder Spencer Canon and his Lotus Esprit. Despite all the perceived misgivings people had for the Esprit, the bicycle builder from Ritte Bicycles knew what he had when he got the car, or at least what was left of it. Canon himself admitted that the car was in terrible shape, but instead of letting it die a slow and painful death, he took it upon himself to make it whole again — even if it involved redesigning elements of the Esprit to give it some modern flair.

So Canon drew from his experience as a designer and went to work, modifying the Esprit in subtle yet effective ways like replacing the power windows with pull straps and changing the body color to the color scheme of his company’s bicycles. The result looks great even though not everybody was on board with the perception that he robbed the Esprit of its authenticity. But, Canon remained undaunted by the backlash, knowing full well that what he was doing was giving the car a modern twist while retaining some of the heritage.

The result is incredible because the Esprit, modifications and all, looks about as fresh as any car from the 80s could be. It may still not be as recognizable as some of the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of that era, but that hardly matters to Canon. All that matters to him is that he rescued this car from despair, gave it some much needed love, and gave it a whole new lease on life.

Lotus Esprit

1974 - 2002 Lotus Esprit
- image 153523
2007 lotus esprit

Read our full review on Lotus Esprit here.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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