Of all the sleepers in automobiledom, the Lotus Carlton holds a special place in our hearts. Based off the Vauxhall Carlton sold in Europe, Lotus stroked out the 3.0-liter inline-six of the standard car to displace 3615 cc, added a couple of Garrett turbos and sent the resulting 382 hp and 419 lb.-ft. of torque through a six-speed ZF transmission pulled from the original Corvette ZR-1. In short, it was the ultimate low-flying aircraft, with room for four, a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed of over 175 mph – in 1990.
Lotus head Michael Kimberley told Autocar, that he would "like the company to build another car in the mould of the Lotus Carlton." What could form the basis of the sleeper sedan's revival? The recently unveiled Vauxhall Insignia is the modern equivalent of the Carlton, and with a modified 2.8-liter V6 packing a set of turbos and sending power to all four wheels, GM could have a serious performance package on its hands. And if the General decides to bring over the Insignia to the U.S... Lotus Aura has a nice ring to it.
Check the gallery below for more shots of the original Lotus Carlton and make the jump to watch Tiff Needell work his magic with the boosted sedan.