Pride and Provenance

Nov 28, 2020 | Insight, LDC

Autumnal afternoons for many a Lotus owner consist of short but memorable end of season drives before the salt tarnishes the roads or the beginning of a winter job list to help see us through the coming months, but for one lucky member there was something very special about this October afternoon. 

Jason Hart has been an LDC member for some time now and has recently celebrated his 50th birthday. We met up with Jason along the banks of the River Wye, along with his partner Niki, to share in the presentation of his very own bespoke Certificate of Provenance for his cherished 1982 Lotus Esprit Turbo. The CoP was presented, unbeknown to Jason, in a cardboard box much like any normal box apart from one thing, the official Lotus tape which encompassed it. 

The noticeable goosebumps were quickly followed by a sense of urgency to ensure that no dirt or oil was present, having prior removed the engine from his Elan +2 restoration, Patsy. Armed with gloves and excitement Jason opened the plush presentation box and immediately delved into the certificate and build specification letter, put together by Lotus Archivist, Andy Graham. The information immediately revealed some intriguing facts about the build spec of the car and confirmation that his dry sump Esprit is build number 47 of 135, and is number 5 of 15 which was finished in Monaco White. We put some questions to Jason:

Q: Is it easy to find the information needed to order a CoP, if it was for a gift? 

Yes, Niki interjected, it’s all on the Lotus website & available through all Lotus retailers. You just need to be sneaky and get the VIN number from the log book.

Q: Is this one of the best gifts for a Lotus owner?

If you are a Lotus owner then the chances are you don’t swim with the current and as an individual it’s nice to know how individual your car is or might be. The presentation box is striking in its classic green and yellow livery and finished on the back with a Union Jack and Made in Britain. They haven’t tried to add lightness here, it really has a luxurious feel to it.

Q: What do you get inside the box?

Upon opening the box, I was immediately presented with a black awards ceremony type envelope which contained the certificate, build spec letter and a personalised letter signed by Phil Popham. The certificate includes the VIN number, engine number, date signed from production, model variant, body colour, trim level, options, original dealer and country, special mention, issued to date and archivist details. 

There was an additional letter from Andy Graham explaining the VIN number and an expansion of the information on the certificate. The premium paper has a quality feel and weight to it that my previous certificate did not. Beneath the envelope are the goodies; a leather key ring in green Lotus livery, a stylish ballpoint pen, aluminium plaque engraved with my name and the Esprit’s details, magnetic and pin badges and my personal favourite, a carbon fibre bookmark which features the brand’s nine most significant motorsport laurels and is going to be a favourite amongst Chicane readers.

Q: Are you going to use anything or display it on the wall?

At first, I was tempted to keep it all together in the box but that’s like garaging the car and not driving it, it’s all going to be used. The magnetic badges are currently pride of place on the fridge, the certificate will be mounted along with the aluminium engraved plaque. The key ring is already on the Esprit keys and the pen in the car. I can never find one when I want one in the car so this one’s staying put.

Q: What’s the first book that will be graced by the carbon fibre bookmark?

Well it will have to be light reading as it’s carbon fibre! The Jim Clark story.

Q: Have you learnt anything new about the Esprit that you didn’t already know? 

I had some info that came with the car but to find out information on the extras which were on the order sheet has allowed me to fill in some of the missing gaps. Especially the bit about the foot board for the amplifier in the passenger footwell. This meant I could piece together when and who fitted the roof stereo.

Q: Would you consider getting one for each of your Lotus cars?

I’m very tempted to get one for the Elise as it’s a very early 111r. The Elan +2 however, being a 1968 car, Andy tells me that very little info exists due to a fire at some point.

This is really something special to own. It would be the finishing touch if you could option the box like you can the car? Black and gold JPS or Gold Leaf colours perhaps and a wax seal on the envelope.