The GM engineers never designed the Lotus Carlton for smashing through a plate glass window store front. The driver smashed it through anyway.

In just a matter of minutes thousands of hard earned quid disappeared as quickly as the performance sedan would haul it.

Nothing this side of a South LA shootout is more dramatic than a good old smash ‘n grab. The job is as simple as it sounds - take whatever vehicle is handy, smash the pedal and leave fate to bulletproof Detroit iron. And, hopefully, not have to count on taking that descriptor literally.

As you’d imagine the preferred vehicle of choice sports the appropriately blunt, non-surgical front of Ford or Chevy’s finest quarter-ton. Trucks have strong V8s that will do the task, no questions asked; their all-steel (or military grade aluminum, as Ford politely reminds you now) bodies will take the punishment of ramming straight into the broadside of a liquor store. And most importantly, they can be found damn near anywhere.

But in the middle of a cd February in 1993, an elite group of brazen, unapologetic thieves made way with an equally elite, brazen and absolutely unapologetic sedan.

Everything about the Lotus Carlton belies it’s true nature - even down to its very name. In America, “Carlton” evokes ancient dance routines no one alive is actually familiar with and classic Will Smith television. In Britain, the Mother Country, the name Carlton is as every bit as revered as Chevelle, Charger, Mustang, Grand National. Like those aforementioned icons, the Carlton has humble origins in economic family sedans whose speed intentions are dead Last on the priorities list. The Opel Omega - now there’s a name Americans can get behind. The Final Word in speed. Except in Germany where, like Carlton in the land of the free, it has all the panache of Taurus or Lumina. Panache the Omega lives up to as the type of inspirational bait suitable only for well-familied bank executives who have long given up dreams of making partner. In the US it was sold as the Cadillac Catera with all the warm reception of Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. But hey, at the end of the day it’s still a rear wheel drive sedan, and as the local Cars and Coffee and the guy with the old ex-cop Panther with too much testosterone and RWD shows, you can do a lot with little.


And Lotus put in a lot with the Carlton. Starting with a stout 3.6 with forged piston heads and rods, by itself a powerful mill. Add twin Garrett turbos. Garrett - the same power output experts who crank out 1,000 horsepower jet engines for the United States Air Force and turned the Buick GNX into the previous holder of world’s fastest production car. Dump in the Corvette ZR-1's transmission and the rear end of the Holden Commodore - the stuff of Mad Max dreams - and you’ve got the formula for the world’s most potent getaway car. A getaway car capable of achieving the holy grail of getaways - outrunning a police helicopter.

* Yes this is another lame exercise for this writing group hence at Kroger’s I joined and...ehhh don’t think it’s gonna work out. Maybe I’ll just form my own damn group maybe with local Oppos?

** And yes I’m ripping off S65's post because it was the very first thing I saw when I logged onto Oppo.