The Lotus Esprit concept car was first displayed at the Turin Motor Show in 1972, designed by Giugiaro from .
Work began on the car in mid-1971, and was completed before the end of the year, as a full-size mock-up. A second more advanced car, based on the Europa chassis, followed in 1972. It was originally dubbed as special-bodied Europa, as it was built on a lengthened, widened version of the Europa’s steel backbone chassis, with a longer wheelbase. The response from the public at the Turin Motor show was positive, so Colin Chapman decide to put the car into production. The final design for the M70 was completed in the latter half of 1973. Many details of the Europa-based prototype remained in the final Lotus Esprit production car.