1:18 Lotus Esprit V8

1:18 scale diecast Lotus Esprit V8 by Autoart

Brand: AutoArt
Material: Diecast Metal Model
Type: Fully opening
Model: Lotus Esprit V8
Limited Edition: No
Release RRP: £99.00

Straight out of the box..

Growing up as a young boy, I had the posters of the Ferrari 512, Countach and Porsche 911, which cemented what I thought a true sports car should look like, Sleek, low and fast! Later on in my late teens, I played a game ‘Lotus Esprit Challenge’ on the Commodore Amiga and my love for the Lotus began. Forward to mid 2000 when Autoart models were ~£90 they released the Esprit V8 I got one in Red and it was one of my favourite models, but sold it on when I stopped collecting models late 2012.

So, this is my re-addition to the collection, at the time this yellow Esprit came up locally for a decent price so I bought it! This version of the AutoArt Esprit is from the Millennium range, these early ones came in a clamshell polystyrene box with an outer cardboard printed sleeve.

In detail the exterior.

The outside of the model captures the real cars aesthetics perfectly, AutoArt have treated it to a nice domed Lotus badge, a very fine aerial sits atop the roof. You can’t beat the finish on these early AutoArt models and this has carried through on the newer composite diecast models (see my Honda NSX review), this one is no exception.

At the front the Esprit sports pop up headlamps which are amongst some of the best I’ve seen on a model with excellent lamp detailing in terms of both lenses and surrounding detail. The deep bumper with integral indicators and side lights, the lower fog lights moulded in the the lower intakes, sets the whole front up for that aggressive look. Finished off with a low splitter and some dynamic side canard type styling.

The front section opens up to reveal the cooling fans, coolant bottle and other engine related components such as the brake servo. The opening has a single strut that holds the bonnet up very well without needing additional support, the underside of the bonnet is detailed in matt black.

The Lotus Esprit V8 in my opinion looks good from every angle, that said the side profile is just spot on. With its sweeping lines and large rear spoiler, not too large but enough to rake the rear up nicely. The wing mirrors aren’t small and can look a little bulky, but this was the way it was back in the 90’s!

The doors open as expected and the door handle detail is very good, the rear quarter window has the Esprit V8 decal in the window which is nice feature. Both wheel arches have extensions on them which extend into the deep vented side skirts, each end the esprit has smaller wheels at the front and larger ones at the back, both in terms of width and height. Sporting a flat 6 spoke alloy rim with recessed wheel nut holes and Lotus center caps, these wheels turn on the front (left & right) and rotate freely. Good brake calliper and rotor details a norm for the brand.

Moving on to the back of the Esprit V8, the engine cover has two big vents and opens to reveal a small amount of the engine, the curved one piece spoiler stays with the bodywork whilst the rear engine cover is open, the rear of the car also has a smaller moulded lip spoiler to aid downforce and aerodynamics.

The rear section that house the light clusters has very basic lights, but again for the era the were just right. The rest of the matt black section houses the licence plates and the V8 badge and another nice domed Lotus badge. Under the bumper is the dual exit exhaust pipes.

In detail the interior space.

With 4 opening parts to explore, its an expectation that AutoArt always meets, I’ll skip the front section as I’ve already done that one. Both doors open wide to reveal the carpeted interior and dash, the seats are very dark grey with yellow piping to match the exterior paintwork and they have both have material seatbelts. The dashboard instruments are made to look wood effect and does the job well for such a small detailed area, the handbrake is in the door opening which is the first time I’ve seen that in a model!

The engine compartment only shows the rocker cover area of the engine, as in the real car, looks like AutoArt skimped on the engine detail.. but the rest of the engine and drivetrain is visible from the under side of the model – however I had no safe way of photographing this so you’ll have to take my word for this! The rest of the compartment is carpeted with a small luggage area.


A must have for me for the reasons at the beginning of this write up, but the Lotus Esprit V8 from AutoArt is a stunning model , even by todays standards in 2023 its still up there.

Over the last few years there has defiantly been a resurgence in collectors seeking these types of diecast metal models from AutoArt.. This can come at a price and I don’t just mean money, depending on your standards you may struggle to get a mint model, even those unopened models that collectors bought as an investment are in some cases showing cases of paintwork bubbling and ‘Zinc pest’ – more on that soon and plastic fatigue causing plastic parts to become brittle and break.

So beware of these things and make sure your at peace that like you, your models will age.


  • Great Stance
  • Pop up headlights
  • Excellent small details
  • Nicely painted
  • Choice of colours – Red, Yellow or Black


  • Higher price tag due to age
  • Hard to Find
  • Watch out for issues like zinc pest..

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