A sense of Déjà vu took hold. The bare bit of field, as I staggered cross-country back from the pub last month, was very familiar. Then I remembered. Until recently there was a Lotus Excel here, sans engine, a very long way from the nearest road and at least two fences from the nearest farm track. Here are some words from when I first found it, in 2012…

We all love a wedge, don’t we ? It’s the polar opposite of the wind-tunnel smoothed, crash reg legislated, amorphous blobs that modern manufacturers now turn out. When some Lithuanian builders dragged a dead Excel out of a demolished barn on an empty farm near me recently, and dumped it in a field, I had to have a look…

You’re probably thinking “I wonder what that’s worth ?” and I was too. I tried to ask the immigrant builder, but he mistook me for someone from the Department of Work and Pensions, and hid. This called for a bit of CSI (Cruddy Sportscar Investigation) work. Firstly, the tax. The DVLA last milked the owner of this car on April’s fool’s Day, back in 2005. The owner went to the post office in Redcar, 200 miles from the Lotus’s resting place. How did it get here? More clues: The ‘EXI’ plate meant either the car was from Norn Iron or the owner wanted a cheapskate private plate. The peeling stickers told me the car is an SE, powered by a slant 4 engine with 180bhp (not bad for a normally aspirated 4 pot designed c.30 years ago), with a revised fascia and switchgear. Peering inside the dials were hanging out of the dash, wires everywhere, Lotus clearly not having done quite enough revising. A solitary bolt and half-consumed packet of Wrigleys rested on the leather centre consol. Green grass grew inside. And moss. I can imagine someone slowly grinding their teeth, poking the electrical spaghetti, and giving up. How hacked off with Hethel must they have been not to have even gone back for their chewy?

If you know the eventual fate of EXI 9533, please let us know. We’d like to think it went to a good home. 

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

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