offers 0

1982 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus LHD


  • Very rare vehicle
  • Believed to be a genuine Lotus shell
  • 2.2-litre twin-cam with 5-speed manual
  • Modified for rallying
  • Period correct black and silver finish

The Appeal

After winning the manufacturer’s title in the 1981 WRC, the Sunbeam Lotus has gone on to be something of a homologation legend. Featuring a 2.2-litre development of Lotus’ famous 2-litre twin-cam, weighing under a tonne and, unusually for a hatchback of the period, driving the rear wheels, the car turned out to be something of a sensation.

However, only about 2,330 were built, with the production run split roughly 50/50 between cars for the UK and Europe. As it proved to be such a fine basis for a race car, many have fallen by the wayside in the intervening years – and many more have been re-shelled with “non-Lotus” bodies.

As such, we’re very pleased to be able to present this left-hand drive example, which has clearly been modified for road rally or track use, but still bears a genuine Lotus twin-cam engine and appears from the VIN to have its original Lotus shell. So whether you’re looking for a classic race car for hill climbs and track days, or a solid basis for a restoration to factory specification, this handsome Sunbeam Lotus could be just what you need.

The History and Paperwork

  • Registered in 1982 in the Netherlands
  • The VIN indicates this is a 1980MY car that retains an original Lotus shell
  • Dutch registration papers
  • Three sets of keys
  • Current owner since October 2006
  • 75,049Km on the clock (five-figure odometer)

The Interior

  • Delta-Racing bucket seats fitted in the front
  • Red Sabelt racing harnesses
  • Prepared for racing with toggles and a large isolation switch

While the original rear bench remains in place, complete with its grey fabric upholstery, the front seats have been replaced with a brace of fixed-back racing buckets. Meanwhile, the original instrument binnacle remains in place, and looks to be in good order, with no faults reported by the vendor.

The centre console and passenger side of the dashboard have been heavily modified to accommodate a number of toggles, the isolation switch and the fuse board. Overall the trimming has been done to quite a poor standard, but should be relatively simple to refinish. We noted a few pieces of cabin trim seem to be missing, such as the handbrake cover.

The door cards and rear side panels are finished with grey vinyl, which looks to be in reasonably good order. Black carpet runs through the cabin and shows reasonably well, although we saw some areas of heavier wear and some minor damage. Overhead, however, the headlining appears to be taut and secure, with no damage or significant staining we could discern. A glass sunroof has been fitted at some point, allowing for extra cabin ventilation.

In the boot there is a full-size spare wheel and a jack, this is also where the battery has been mounted for quick access.

The Exterior

  • Classic black and silver paintwork
  • Hood scoop and quick release bonnet pins
  • Aftermarket glass sunroof
  • Group 4 arches with wide wheels 

Now finished in classic black paintwork with the wide side-stripe in silver, the Sunbeam Lotus is a chunky and well-proportioned machine – clearly intended for hurling into tight hairpins with an accompanying tug of the handbrake.

The paintwork looks to have been finished quite well, with no major marks or damage we could see. We note the engine bay is white, which either means the car was originally white or that the bay has been sprayed in separately.

Overall the bodywork and external trim looks good for a race car, with no notable corrosion, damage or dings to report.  Similarly, taking a moment to look underneath, it all appears to be clean and straight, with no obvious issues. 

It is currently riding on a set of wide 15-inch wheels, finished in white. They wear a set of Pirelli Cinturato tyres, 215/45 to the front and 285/40 to the rear.

The Mechanics

  • 2,172cc Lotus twin-cam engine, modified for race use
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Five-speed manual transmission

That iconic twin-cam needs no introduction – revvy and powerful, it delivered 150bhp from the factory and is known to respond very well to modification. The vendor tells us that the engine has been dry-sumped, a pair of 48mm carburettors have been fitted, the flywheel has been lightened and a number of other modifications carried out. We’re told the result is a power output in the region of 230bhp, which would be enough to make this sub-tonne hatchback really fly.

We can see that a custom front strut brace has been installed, and the vendor tells us that the rear end has also been upgraded and strengthened to cope with the rigours of racing. They also tell us that it had a new distributor, water pump and brakes fitted, and has not been used since. 

The vendor assures us that the car starts, runs and drives well, with no leaks, smoke or untoward noises and vibrations. They also report good braking performance.


Who doesn’t love a Sunbeam Lotus? A well-balanced racer that punches well above its weight, it’s long been a darling of the classic motorsport scene. Now increasingly rare, if you’ve been on the lookout for a new racer or project, make sure you take the opportunity to seriously consider this handsome homologation hero.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

A non-refundable buyer’s deposit is payable on this item, refer to FAQs and T&Cs for the applicable percentage.
All bidding, buying and offers are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

I have read, understood and agree to the Car & Classic Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy
Vehicle specification
  • Year 1982
  • Make Sunbeam-Talbot
  • Model Lotus
  • Colour Black & Silver
  • Odometer 75,049 Kilometres
  • Engine size 2172
Listing Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Borculo
  • Location International
  • Country Netherlands

The Gallery

The safest way to buy a classic car online

Car & Classic's secure payment system protects buyers and sellers. At the end of the auction, the winning bidder transfers payment into a third-party escrow account. Once the transfer of the vehicle is complete, both parties confirm they are happy with the sale and the money is released to the seller.
Safe, secure payment process

Make an offer

This seller is open to offers. Enter the amount you’d like to pay and if your offer is accepted, a member of the team will be in touch.

Under offer

This seller has accepted an offer.

Click the star to watch the listing and keep an eye on it in the favourites section of your account, or search for something similar.