Gran Design – DeLorean DMC-12, Lancia Beta Montecarlo, Maserati Khamsin and Lotus Esprit S2 2017 / 2018

This quartet pushed their own angular ideologies for a post-organic automotive  design future. Former Jaguar, Lotus and TVR designer Oliver Winterbottom gives his acute opinion as he evaluates them line by razor-edged line. Words Richard Heseltine Photography Charlie Magee.

Grand Designs Why Seventies sharpness is the must-have look of 2017. Wedge styling legend Oliver Winterbottom rates the DeLorean DMC-12, Lotus Esprit S2, Lancia Montecarlo and Maserati Khamsin.

The Seventies was a decade of wild and ever more geometric show cars. Grand Designs, wedge-style.

+ Exclusive interview with wedge styling legend Oliver Winterbottom.

DeLorean DMC-12, Lancia Montecarlo, Maserati Khamsin and Lotus Esprit hailed from an era when the Italian stylists all seemed to have misplaced their French curves.


DeLorean DMC-12, Lancia Montecarlo, Maserati Khamsin and Lotus Esprit


‘A quartet from the era of wedge-shaped exotica with only token nods to Highway Code adherence’

Sentiment is rarely the best lens through which to view anything but, if your formative years were the Seventies, angles meant everything. It was a decade of wild and ever more geometric show cars resplendent in highlighter pen hues; of wedgeshaped exotica with only token nods to Highway Code adherence; of aspirational production cars styled by men whose names were hard to pronounce and even harder to spell. And while the whim of fashion may have rendered them prematurely passé, outlines having taken a turn for the amorphous in the Eighties, it’s a different story in the here and now.

These days, a sense of romantic fascination surrounds the cars gathered here. You might wonder what links together a DeLorean DMC-12, a Lotus Esprit S2, a Lancia Montecarlo and a Maserati Khamsin, but there is commonality. What unites them is that they wowed the public in period because they had style. As such, they remain in our collective consciousness as copperbottomed, blue-chip classics.

[trailer_box style=”24″ image=”images/mews2015/drive2015/Lotus-Esprit-S2-1.jpg” title=”Classic Lotus Design” url=”” target=”blank”][counter count_end=”124″ prefix=” Top Speed ” suffix=” MPH” count_color=”#ffffff” text_color=”#ffffff”]Lotus Esprit S2[/counter][/trailer_box]

And who better to pass comment – and judgement – on these cars than Oliver Winterbottom? The ex-Jaguar, Lotus and TVR man pushed the ‘folded paper’ envelope for all it was worth in the Seventies and had the inside track on one of the cars featured herein. Never one for calling a spade a hand-held gardening implement, his thoughts on our quartet are genuinely enlightening. We would expect nothing less.

By all accounts, Colin Chapman had one foot in the times and the other in a world of his own. As we all know by rote, Lotus’s talismanic leader was a visionary; a rule-breaker and a risk-taker with scant regard for convention. He was forever straddling the line between the possible and the permissible. You could also label him an opportunist; someone who rarely missed a trick. The story behind how and why the Lotus Esprit came into being is a case in point.

Few cars have ever enjoyed such longevity as this much-loved junior supercar. Entering production in Series 1 form in 1976 with the own-brand 2.0-litre 907 four-banger, the last car rolled off the production line in 2004 – by which time it had morphed into a twin- turbocharged V8 bruiser. What tends to be forgotten, however, is that the Esprit had Italian roots.

The 1972 Turin Motor Show witnessed the arrival of a low-slung, mid-engined sports car, complete with speech marks. The  Silver Lotus was an ItalDesign concept car, and one that had relatively little input from Norfolk, save for the provision of a Lotus Europa Twin Cam chassis, which was stretched by 11cm and given wider front and rear tracks. This one-off show queen borrowed several cues from the Turin firm’s earlier Maserati Boomerang, a concept car that was as extravagantly out-there as only the Latin styling houses could muster at the dawn of the Seventies. Nevertheless, in this instance Giorgetto Giugiaro created an outline that was more real world than flight of fantasy.

This one-off prototype impressed just about everyone  –  not least Chapman, who soon struck a deal with ‘Il Maestro’ whereby The Silver Lotus would form the basis for a fully-fledged production model. A replacement for the Europa had been on the cards for several years, but this time it would be a more aspirational model; a rival for the Continental elite in terms of looks, performance and image. What’s more, Lotus pulled it off.

That said, by the time the production-ready Esprit (codenamed Kiwi) was ushered in at the October 1975 Paris Motor Show, some of the earlier show car’s purity had been lost along the way. It was still a looker – and how – but, as is so often the case, the concept- car-to-showroom transition had its casualties. For starters, the low-pressure injection moulding construction technique resulted in a prominent waistline where the two body halves were joined together. The steep rake of the windscreen was also reduced by 3º because it otherwise wouldn’t comply with US roll-over legislation. The fully opening rear end was also dropped. Nevertheless, Lotus’s bold new baby still looked strikingly modern.

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The angular obsession is just as strong inside – as is the colour scheme that could only have come from the era that the Esprit defines so well.

The original Esprit subsequently gained a displacement hike to 2.2 litres and several stablemates, not least the Turbo edition from  1981-on with its Giugiaro-penned bodykit that served to heighten the wedge look. The Peter Stevens restyle for 1987 breathed new life into the Esprit, while Julian Thompson successfully gave it a nip and tuck for the 1993 revamp. The insertion of the Lotus-made, twin-turbo V8 three years later ensured that the Esprit went out on a high.

But  nothing  can  top  the  original.  This  was  the  plucky  British challenger   that   became   inextricably   linked   with   James   Bond following its appearance in The  Spy  Who  Loved  Me. It was once a wall-poster staple, which is why it resonates still. What’s more, it has aged remarkably well. The Esprit S2 pictured here, resplendent in metallic gold, was the 1978 Birmingham Motor Show car. Photos really don’t lend it a sense of scale. By modern standards, the Lotus appears  positively  tiny,  but  the  cab-forward  outline  is  beautifully proportioned.  There  is  little  in  the  way  of  tinsel,  and  the  use  of proprietary parts such as the Morris Marina door-handles and Rover SD1 taillights do not detract.

In 2008 Giugiaro recalled, ‘I remember the friction between Chapman and  I  when  he wanted  to  put  the ItalDesign  name  on the car and I suggested Giugiaro Design. He told me that “the designer is the person who puts together the package and does the engineering. That’s me. You’re just the stylist”.’ Regardless of who did what, this meeting of two great minds resulted in a car hasn’t lost the power to captivate.

Thanks to: Esprit owner Nigel Scott and Club Lotus (

Oliver Winterbottom on the Esprit

‘I was involved in the car’s creation so of course I’m biased, but I still think it’s bloody brilliant. The problem with critiquing cars from decades ago is that it’s easy to pinpoint areas and think “they could have done that better”. As an insider present at the time, I can hand-on-heart say that the Esprit couldn’t have been any better given the constraints. Big advances in glass technology have been made over the past four decades – sure, you wouldn’t have flat glass nowadays, but we did the best with the money and time we had. It still looks amazing. ‘Being a low-volume product, you often read sneery comments about bought-in components such as the doorhandles and taillights, but to me they look like they belong there. I wouldn’t say that we got the Esprit 100 per cent right, but I reckon 99.99 per cent is pretty close to the mark…’


Engine 1973cc 16-valve dohc four-cylinder in-line/mid-mounted, twin Dell’Orto carburettors

Power and torque 160bhp @ 6200rpm; 140lb ft @ 4900rpm

Transmission Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive

Steering Rack and pinion


Front: independent by unequal-length wishbones, coil-springs, telescopic dampers.

Rear: independent by diagonal trailing arms and lateral link with fixed-length driveshaft, coil springs, telescopic dampers

Brakes Discs all round, inboard at rear

Weight 2248lb (1022kg)

Performance Top speed: 124mph; 0-60mph: 6.8sec

Fuel consumption 26mpg

Cost new £12,000

Values now £10,000-£24,000


‘The Khamsin’s dart-like profile is pure sharp-edged kinetic sculpture – there is no mistaking it for a rival’

Maserati is a marque with as many mis-steps as milestones in its back catalogue. The past 40 years in particular have witnessed the release of several cars unbefitting of the name; the sort of fodder that only served to dent its credibility. If you categorically had to pinpoint the last truly great Tridentbearer, the Maserati Khamsin has to be up there as a candidate. Rarely has there been a more beautiful Gran Turismo, its outline penned by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini at his creative peak. The car’s dart-like profile looks as striking now as it did following its big reveal in concept form (minus Maserati badges) at the 1972 Turin Motor Show. It suggests aggression and power but also exhilaration. It’s pure, sharp-edged, kinetic sculpture.

Replacing the fabulous Ghibli was always going to be a tough gig, but in many ways Maserati didn’t try to. From the outset, the Khamsin was meant to be a more subtle and refined car. After all, Maserati already had a high-performance stud in its stable in the form of the mid-engined Bora. Unlike the Ghibli, the Khamsin had allround independent suspension and an altogether more sumptuous cabin, even if it was a bit of a stretch to label it a 2+2. Nevertheless, while it may have been softer in character, the bloodline remained unsullied. It retained the same large-displacement, low-stressed 4930cc V8, each cylinder block being topped by a pair of chaindriven camshafts, with four gurgling Weber carburettors nestling in the vee. While the claimed top speed of 171mph was a bit optimistic, it certainly looked as though it would live up to the billing.

[trailer_box style=”24″ image=”images/mews2015/drive2015/Maserati-Khamsin-1.jpg” title=”Classsic Maserati Design” url=”” target=”blank”][counter count_end=”171″ prefix=” Top Speed ” suffix=” MPH” count_color=”#ffffff” text_color=”#ffffff”]Maserati Khamsin[/counter][/trailer_box]

This being a Maserati made during Citroën’s custodianship, some of the factory-claimed 316bhp was lost to the hydraulic circuit that powered the speed-sensitive steering, brakes, clutch, pop-up headlights and even the seat adjusters, but it was still a powerful car with torque to match (a thumping 354lb ft at 4000rpm). Unfortunately, the timing of the car’s launch as a production model at the 1973 Paris Salon was inauspicious. It coincided with a fuel crisis, and demand for thirsty GT cars had fallen off a cliff by the time manufacture commenced a year later.

It also didn’t help that Citroën chose to axe its Italian subsidiary in 1975, with Alejandro de Tomaso acquiring the marque from the receivers with government assistance. He would go on to chase volume thereafter but the Khamsin survived the chop until 1983, by which time 421 had been made. What’s more, it still looked striking rather than dated, unlike some of its contemporaries. There had been relatively few styling updates during its lifetime too, the most obvious being the additional slats that were inserted into the nose for cooling purposes on post-1976 cars.

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Quad-cam V8 a legacy from the old Ghibli; futuristic hydraulic assist for steering, brakes, clutch, lights and seats from Citroën era.


Nevertheless, it is only relatively recently that the Khamsin has emerged from the shadows of its more famous stablemates. It is a much-misunderstood machine and an unusual car to drive thanks in part to the Citroën influences, yet is hugely enjoyable once you are familiar with its foibles. However, more than anything, the visuals remain the big draw. Gandini may have been a genius, but he wasn’t above cut ’n’ pasting previous designs for a new paymaster. That wasn’t the case here, though – even if the glazed tail and location of the fuel filler cap in the right C-pillar louvre had been trialled before on the Lamborghini Espada. There really was no mistaking the Khamsin for any other car in its class.

What’s more, it isn’t pretty in the conventional sense. It has quirks. The asymmetrical bonnet vents are a case in point. They’re in place to provide a visual break; to stop the Khamsin from appearing to be all bonnet. US-spec Khamsins had impact bumpers and repositioned rear light clusters that rather blighted the picture, but there really isn’t a line wrong on European-market cars. What’s more, since its release it’s hard to think of a car styled by Gandini that has looked better. Bertone as a design house never topped it, that’s for sure. It may not be widely upheld as a landmark Maserati, but’s that only because it takes some people longer to cotton on than others.

Thanks to: Khamsin owner Jeremy Wilson; Andy Heywood of McGrath Maserati (

Oliver Winterbottom on the Khamsin

‘I could look at this all day. There’s something about the Italians and their ability to get a line absolutely right, as seen here. You know this couldn’t have been done by the Germans, the Japanese or the British. Gandini did some wonderful work and I think this is perhaps the best car he ever did. Look at the balance of it. You don’t get the sense that he got stuck in a corner and didn’t know what to do. The line and proportions are exquisite.

‘The glass rear serves to make the tail look high, which is what you want with a dart-like profile, and adds a lot of interest and drama. It’s a bit like the gullwing doors on the DeLorean: it’s something for people to talk about. I love the asymmetrical bonnet vents too. Gandini even managed to make a heater intake look interesting. It’s a truly fabulous car. The only thing wrong here is that I don’t own one.’


Engine 4930cc front-mounted dohc/bank V8, four twin-choke Weber DCNF/4 carburettors

Power and torque 316bhp @ 5500rpm; 354lb ft @ 4000rpm

Transmission Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive

Steering Rack and pinion


Front: independent by double wishbones, coaxial springs/dampers, antirollbar.

Rear: independent by double wishbones, coaxial springs/dampers, anti-roll bar Brakes Hydraulically operated and assistedventilated discs

Weight 3373lb (1530kg)

Performance Top speed:171mph; 0-60mph: 7.0sec

Fuel consumption 16mpg

Cost new £13,995

Values now £42,500-£90,000


‘At a time when most sports cars were warmed-over Sixties models, the Lancia was anything but’

Whether success eluded the Lancia Beta Montecarlo – or it eluded success – remains a moot point. But you couldn’t really label it a failure, not least because it was one of the best-looking mainstream production cars of its era. It’s just that while all the ingredients were in place for the car to be a hit, it resolutely refused to be one. This attractive machine took an age to come to market and went on to endure a tortured production life and a quiet death. It was a crushing shame as there is so much to love here; the ‘Monte’   is a much better car than preconceptions might have you believe.

A degree of ambiguity surrounds the car’s genesis. It was purportedly first mooted in the late Sixties as a Fiat product. Over time the X1/8 morphed into the larger V6-engined X1/20, which in turn was canned because of the fuel crisis. A product of Pininfarina in its pomp, the car’s outline has retrospectively been attributed to Paolo Martin of Ferrari Modulo, Fiat 130 Coupé and Rolls-Royce Camargue fame. According to whose version of history you believe, the design was signed off in 1971 but it wasn’t until 1974 that the fruits of Pininfarina’s labours were seen in public. Even then, it was in the form of the Abarth SE 030, a one-off machine that featured a 130- based V6 mounted amidships. That, and a bizarre snorkel scoop.

[trailer_box style=”24″ image=”images/mews2015/drive2015/Lancia-Montecarlo-1.jpg” title=”Classsic Lancia Design” url=”” target=”blank”][counter count_end=”121″ prefix=” Top Speed ” suffix=” MPH” count_color=”#ffffff” text_color=”#ffffff”]Lancia Montecarlo[/counter][/trailer_box]

By the time the definitive Montecarlo (it always was one word in Lancia-speak) broke cover at the following year’s Geneva Motor Show, it bore Lancia badges and a 2.0-litre Lampredi twin-cam four-pot behind the two seats. While not exactly wedge-shaped, the Montecarlo appeared chunky and finely chiselled with a bluff front end, a steeply raked windscreen and oh-so-Seventies rear buttresses, which later featured glazed panels after complaints that they created blind spots. In addition to the Coupé, a Spider version was also offered with a retractable fabric roof (the lift-out glassfibre panel on this example is an aftermarket part made by The Monte Hospital). It was practical by mid-engined sports car standards, with reasonable luggage space and easy access to service items.

The Montecarlo was praised for its looks, crisp handling and ease of use. Remember, it was launched at a time when most sports cars were warmed-over Sixties models, and the Lancia was anything but. But a few problemettes blunted its chances. The US version – named Scorpion, as Chevrolet had first dibs on the Monte Carlo moniker – was lumbered with a 1756cc version of the enduring twin-cam that made only 81bhp. As such, it had trouble getting out of its own way and only 1801 were sold before it was withdrawn in 1977.

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Twin-cam four-cylinder lacked the power to match the Monte’s looks; spacious interior serves up instruments in an oh-so-Seventies pod.

Closer to home, road testers complained about the car’s brakes. Only the front end had servo-assistance, and lock-ups in wet weather were not uncommon. There were also mumblings that it wasn’t as fast as it should be, although 0-60mph in around nine seconds was reasonable for the day. the car was also perhaps not quite as economical as its makers claimed. In 1978 production was suspended because additional space was needed in the Pininfarina factory for the manufacture of the Gamma Coupé – although this doesn’t really ring true.

The Montecarlo didn’t reappear until the 1980 Geneva Motor Show, by which time the Beta part of the name had been dropped. With a revised, servo-less braking system, a redesigned grille, larger wheels and grippy Pirelli rubber, the new strain was in many ways the car the Monte always should have been. Nevertheless, fewer than 2000 second-generation cars were made before the axe fell a year later, although Montecarlos remained on sale for a further two years.

Several decades later, the Montecarlo is a different proposition entirely. It’s such a handsome design despite its odd proportions, with its long front overhang and stubby hind quarters. Details such as the side-hinged engine cover add further intrigue. It looks chic; exotic even, which might explain why prices have suddenly spiked. It may have confused parentage, but the Montecarlo is in so many ways – and on so many levels – a proper Lancia, with all that entails.

Thanks to: Montecarlo owner Martin Dowling and the Lancia Motor Club (

Oliver Winterbottom on the Montecarlo

‘I always loved the Lancia Gamma Coupé. Pininfarina did great work in the Seventies, but I have to confess that the Montecarlo rather passed me by. I think it’s an interesting design in as much as you can’t really tell it’s mid-engined – it isn’t wedge-shaped and the bonnet line is quite high, possibly dictated by headlightheight regulations. The buttresses are neatly integrated.

‘I’m not sure about the grille, though. I have a problem with corporate grilles anyway, as most hark back to the Twenties when cars were square-edged and perpendicular. It seems laughable to me that manufacturers stick with them so religiously – the Monte’s looks like an afterthought. ‘Though it’s a competent design and there’s nothing wrong with the way it looks, it doesn’t move me. I understand why people might like it but it doesn’t get me going, I’m afraid.’


Engine 1995cc dohc four-cylinder in-line/mid-mounted

Power and torque 118bhp @ 6000rpm; 122lb ft @ 3500rpm

Transmission Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive

Steering Rack and pinion


Front: independent by MacPherson struts, coil-springs, anti-roll bar.

Rear: independent by MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar.

Brakes Discs all round (servo on front of first series cars)

Weight 2293b (1040kg)

Performance Top speed: 121mph; 0-60mph: 8.8sec

Fuel consumption 30mpg

Cost new £9000

Values now £3600-£11,000


’The DeLorean exists in a netherworld between actual and apocryphal – but it’s the antithesis of boring’

Depending on whose opinion you canvas, John DeLorean was either a huckster or a genius. His achievements at General Motors prior to going it alone are legendary. He was a genuine car guy and famously acted as midwife to the Pontiac GTO that ushered in the muscle-car movement.

As such, his name carried a cachet that was, in many ways, rooted in a myth of his own and others’ creation – becoming a motor mogul was just a logical step. The car that bore his name similarly exists in a netherworld between the actual and the apocryphal. It’s to be expected, given that this upstart operation made only the one model prior to flaming out in the most public way imaginable. Given the infamy that trailed its instigator in later years, and the DeLorean DMC-12’s emergence as a pop-culture icon following its starring role in the Back to the Future franchise, it’s easy to overlook its worth as an actual car.

The thing is, it had – and has – an awful lot going for it.

[trailer_box style=”24″ image=”images/mews2015/drive2015/DeLorean-2.jpg” title=”Classsic DeLorean Design” url=”” target=”blank”][counter count_end=”130″ prefix=” Top Speed ” suffix=” MPH” count_color=”#ffffff” text_color=”#ffffff”]DeLorean DMC-12[/counter][/trailer_box]

The circumstances under which DeLorean set up on his own have been recounted ad infinitum, but the first prototype to bear his name appeared in October 1976. It was fashioned by fellow Pontiac alumnus, William T Collins.

Initially, what in time became known as the DMC-12 was to feature a mid-mounted Wankel rotary engine. Thereafter, the Ford Cologne V6 was mooted before DeLorean finally settled on the PRV Douvrin unit. What’s more, the chassis for this brave new world was to be made from a new and unproven manufacturing process called ERM (Elastic Reservoir Moulding). DeLorean just happened to own the patent, but this was found to be unsuitable for volume manufacture.

Moving the narrative forward, the car ultimately ended up being re-engineered by Lotus, bodied in stainless steel, and styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The British government sunk £100m into the scheme, establishing a manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland at the height of The Troubles, with manufacture starting in January 1981.

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Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 originally conceived as a V8; speedometers on US-spec cars maxes out at 85mph. Sorry Doc…

By December of the following year, it was all over after around 8500 cars had been made. John DeLorean had been arrested on drugs charges only a few months earlier, but was (much) later acquitted. It transpired that a great deal of taxpayers’ money had disappeared into a wormhole, with Lotus accountant Fred Bushel being the only person ever to serve time over the scandal.

But what of the car? It’s easy to forget the hoopla surrounding the DMC-12 long before it entered production. There was pent-up demand in its intended marketplace, North America. Here was a car with a novel construction method, striking looks and gullwing doors.

There was even a waiting list, with many willing to pay over the odds to land one. However, its launch was followed almost immediately by a slump in the American economy. Demand ebbed – which, allied to a raft of problems closer to home, ensured that the adventure was over long before the DMC-12 got into its stride.

Even now, the DMC-12 hasn’t lost the power to enthral. The outline by Giorgetto Giugiaro is neatly proportioned, the gullwing doors serving to add a sense of the theatrical. Giugiaro, who freely admits that he did his best to talk his paymaster into going with a more conventional set-up, has acknowledged that the doors lend it an air of the exotic (he called John DeLorean ‘Mr Hollywood’). What’s more, the end result looked remarkably like his original renderings. Could you describe the car as being of the origami school? Not really. There are curves here, they’re just of the subtle variety.

You could argue that the car’s signature unpainted finish was its biggest curse. It may be rust-resistant, but the stainless steel shows up every blemish – fingerprints in particular, as people cannot resist touching. It also ensured that every DMC-12 looked much the same as any other. But there is a sense of occasion here that you just don’t get with most period rivals. Sure, much of this is due to the car’s big-screen connotations, however you could argue the same is true of another car in our quartet. The DMC-12 is the antithesis of boring, which makes it a winner in our book.

Thanks to: DMC-12 owner Chris Williams and Chris Parnham of the DeLorean Owners’ Club (

Oliver Winterbottom on the DMC-12

‘I was at Lotus when the DeLorean project was running. I’m a great admirer of Giorgetto Giugiaro, and I thought he created a goodlooking car. The shape is nicely balanced and handsome. The gullwing doors are the car’s signature feature, and I know engineers hate them – they add drama, but also complexity. I don’t mind them. In fact they work well here, but I remember there being questions at the time about how would people would get out if the car rolled over. My issue with gullwings is more to do with garage space, because they swing out and up. ‘As for the stainless-steel body, I always thought it was gimmicky. No it won’t rust, but neither do glassfibre cars. It isn’t really stainless, either, as it shows up every scratch and thumbprint. I remember seeing a few painted glassfibre DMC-12 test mules while I was at Lotus – they looked better.’


Engine 2649cc six-cylinder/longitudinal mid/rear-mounted with Bosch fuel-injection

Power and torque 156bhp @ 5700rpm; 173lb ft @ 3000 rpm

Transmission Five-speed manual/three-speed auto, rear-wheel drive

Steering Rack and pinion


Front: independent by double unequal-length wishbones, coil-springs, anti-roll bar.

Rear: independent by diagonal radius arms with upper and lower links, coil springs

Brakes Discs all-round

Weight 2843lb (1290kg)

Performance Top speed: 130mph; 0-60mph: 8.8sec (claimed)

Fuel consumption 30mpg

Cost new $28,000 (£18,000 Wooler-Hodec RHD conversion)

Values now £16,250 -£32,500



Each car gathered here has its own singular appeal. They represent a world you either fully buy into or not at all, but there are no winners or losers. That may sound like a cop-out, but each of our quartet stacks up in the style wars.

The Khamsin is unarguably the name-above-the- title star, here; the automotive pin-up, but that’s to be expected given the marque, who styled it and when. It was – and remains – a masterpiece of form married to function. And it hasn’t lost its power to impress, that’s for sure.

The Lotus is profoundly different in style and ethos, and we forget the impact the car made in period. Of its contempories, only the De Tomaso Pantera enjoyed such longevity. The difference here is that the Esprit was continuously reinvented for a new audience. However, none of the subsequent variants hit the mark quite so squarely as the original.

Gran Design

Maserati Khamsin


The Montecarlo is a car whose praises have not been sung quite highly enough. In period, it wasn’t unusual to hear it dubbed a ‘mini- Ferrari’, usually by owners. That’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s hard to think of a prettier mainstream Lancia made since. It’s worth the price of admission on looks alone. And then there’s the DeLorean.

No other car here possesses such a cult-like legacy. That’s not down to its style, but its character – it has that in spades regardless of its movie roles. Plus it has gullwing doors which, for certain members of this parish, are an acquired taste that never subsides… 

Gran Design

2017 Grand Design

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