Concept Corner: Lotus Etna

strangely Citroen-like in side view

Strangely Citroen-like in side view

It never ceases to amaze us. Giugiaro penned some incredibly cool cars. And many of them we STILL have never heard of, even after years of obsessing about all things rare and automotive.

The Etna is one of these rocking horse-dropping examples of a one-off that never made it to production. Apparently it was requested to provide a real V8 supercar platform (that the Esprit ALMOST occupied) but was called the '909' project. It took everyone's breathe away at the 1984 Birmingham car show - but production problems put an end to its hopes for making it to market.

Esprit kinship comes out from the front 3/4

Esprit kinship comes out from the front 3/4

The engine that was commissioned for the concept, a development of the slanted fours in the Eclat and the Elite, was really special, and apparently claimed 335 bhp at a modest 6500rpm. A torque figure of 295lb ft at 5500rpm was mentioned too. That's a peaky power delivery, that...

Perhaps the concept was too close to the Esprit that was a proper success. Whatever killed it, when GM bought Lotus in 1986, the project was killed off forever.

And if you squint, it DOES look rather like a Citroen XM.

The great man's penship...

The great man's penship...