Manage episode 356495774 series 3340893
This episode is all about the Lotus Carlton and Lotus Omega.
Lotus has only ever made one 4-door sedan, and this episode of the Carmudgeon show dovetails with Jason Cammisa's "Revelations" episode on the Lotus Carlton.
A dream car of both hosts, the Carlt-Omega was based on the Opel Omega A, badged Vauxhall Carlton in the U.K.'s right-hand-drive market.
It held the title of the fastest sedan in the world for a decade, achieving more than 177 mph, right as the German automakers agreed to limit their cars to 250 km/h (155 mph.) Wouldn't have mattered — the Lotus' twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter straight-six made 377 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque, which, channeled to the rear wheels through the 6-speed manual transmission from the C4 Corvette ZR-1, was enough to leave both the E34 BMW M5 and the W124 Mercedes 500E (E300) for dead.
The backstory of the Lotus Type 104's development is a complex and fascinating one, pushed through by Bob Eaton, the boss of GM Europe. Opel, GM's German subsidiary, and the creator and builder of the Omega, seemingly didn't want to help Lotus at all, even though Lotus also belonged to General Motors at the time.
Lotus was barely deterred by Opel's roadblocks, and made a magnificent, well-rounded sport sedan that was praised universally — until the UK Parliament vilified the car for being too fast. Or at least, too fast for its price (it was half the price of other cars capable of the same speeds, like the Ferrari Testarossa.)
In the end, the government's concerns proved at least partially founded, when "40 RA," a stolen Carlton, was used to commit a string of ram-raid robberies and crimes across the UK — but was too fast for the police to catch.
All this discussion and more on the Carmudgeon Show, part of the Hagerty Podcast Network.
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