In 1990 Britain and Germany’s GM divisions launched a new Q car that could blow the contemporary Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4×4 performance model into the weeds. The new vehicle was known as the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton in the UK and Lotus Omega in the rest of Europe.
Lotus project Type 104 was responsible for turning the 3 litre / 183 cui executive saloon, into a barnstormer which included a body kit that fed more air into the engine and two small louvered out lets on the bonnet hood.
The six cylinder motor was comprehensively revised; the swept volume was increased to 3.6 litres / 219 cui and twin Garret T25 turbochargers with a Behr water to air inter cooler were fitted to take the power up to 377 hp at 5200 rpm. Transmission came courtesy of the contemporary Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and the limited slip differential from the Australian Holden Commodore.
The performance figures included rest to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds with 100 mph being reached in 11.1 seconds and a controversial top speed of 176 mph, which made the car the worlds fastest four door saloon. There had been, unheeded, calls for GM to follow the lead of BMW and others to restrict the top speed to 155 mph.
The suspension was also suitably modified for improved stability and handling to match the straight line performance of the car, standard Carlton / Omega Servotronic power assistance for the worm and roller steering was used as space and budgets precluded the development of rack and pinion steering.
You could have your £48,000 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton or Lotus Omega any colour you liked so long as it was imperial green, which as can be seen looks black in any light other than direct sun light. Just 320 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton’s were built and 630 Lotus Omega’s.
Thanks for joining me on this “Imperial Green” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !