Flashback! The £48,000 Carlton Lotus 0

A normal Vauxhall Carlton that was upgraded by Lotus, the car raised a few eyebrows when released in 1989. The cost was an astonishing £48,000 when brand new! It was the most powerful 4 door car during it’s time.


The acceleration was dramatically made a lot faster, achieving 0-60mph in just 5.1mph. This brought the car on par with plenty of supercars. It could reach 0-100mph in just 11.1 seconds.


Lotus modifications included a huge upgrade to the engine. The litre was increased from 3.0L 24v engine to a capacity of 3.6. Twin Garret T25 turbochargers added extra horsepower, 377 BHP to be exact.


17inch Ronal wheels came with the car. Wider tyres were fitted around the wheels bringing about better grip to the road during acceleration.

Physical appearance

Lotus installed a rear spoiler, adding better performance which made the car look sportier overall. The front and back bumper along with side skirts were also added. The wheel arches were also made larger to accommodate the new wheels. Air intakes were also added to the bonnet for further performance.

Performance on the road

The Carlton Lotus is one of the best performing cars of all time, beating a few supercars at that. The car looked powerful and sporty, with a top speed of 176mph and a peak torque of 419lb ft.  Handling was also great with the tyres gripping the road well at speed. The brakes were also exceptional at the time, something that was essential for such a powerful car. The front brakes were 330mm with the rear brake disc size at 30mm.

Standard equipment

The Vauxhall Carlton came with power steering, air conditioning and electric windows, excellent kit for any car at the time. The car also had central locking.

Imagine what it was like in 1990

It was certainly beyond its years, with it viewed as a classic today. The engine and overall performance of the car was quite outstanding at the time. Its acceleration matches that of supercars. Even if the car was released today, many would snap it up. It would be matching the level of many other great performance cars. The value of the car could reach well over £10,000 today.