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Photo: Jussi Koskinen

The Lotus Carlton was born during the days where General Motors owned Lotus, before Proton bought them. It was based on the 1986 Vauxhall Carlton/Opel Omega Mark 2 3.0GSi, a family saloon sold in the US as a Vauxhall and in Europe as an Opel. The Carlton earned the European Car Of The Year award in it’s year of launching.

Lotus basically took the Carlton, added a rear boot spoiler, air intakes on the bonnet, Lotus badges, and souped up the engine. It turned the 3.0 inline-6 into a monster twin turbocharged 3.6 litre inline-6 making 377 hp at 5,200 rpm. The car came in only one colour; Imperial Green – a colour which looked like black except under very bright lights.

General Motors originally had a sales target of 1,100 units, but only managed 950 (320 Vauxhalls and 630 Opels). This was due to the early 1990s recession, not many could afford a £48,000 car.

Look after the jump to watch Tiff Needell review the Lotus Carlton.


Video: Top Gear Lotus Carlton Review