Winning Amount: £ 1,200.00
User ID: E***s
“OH MY GOODNESS! This has put the fun back into motoring. From the moment I slid into the reclining driving seat of the Lotus Europa I thought ‘This is going to be a riot.’”. ‘Europa to Sicily’, Motor Sport Magazine, July 1969.
3645 miles and fourteen days later, correspondent Dennis Jenkinson was still of the same opinion and bear in mind that was for the Renault engined S2 version. In fact so glowing was Jenks’ praise that Lotus hijacked the complete article and handed out copies as a showroom sales aid. John Frayling’s sleek, low (and we mean GT 40 low) Europa was as slippery as an eel and clung to the road like a limpet. Result? Junior supercar performance from the just eighty-two chevaux provided by its all-aluminium Renault 16 TS sourced engine. Breadvan looks were apparently OK on a hand crafted aluminium bodied Ferrari GTO but not to everyone’s taste when offered in fiberglass by Lotus, though it has to be said that time has been kind to its high rise back end and stepped-on front. Apparently originally conceived as a replacement for that bargain basement sportster the 7 (mmm, good luck with that Lotus, just ask Porsche and Caterham for a few tips when it comes to ousting a legend), personally we could never see the link; the Europa had a roof and even doors for goodness sake plus in a light drizzle it didn’t take on water like a Varsity boat race eight in choppy conditions. It did also look as though it had actually been ‘styled’… Having said that, both did punch well above their (feather) weights and were pitched at the enthusiast prepared to make a few compromises in the pursuit of performance. By the time the S2 arrived in 1968 Lotus had perhaps realised it was not going to elbow the 7 out of the range so the Europa was allowed to creep slightly upmarket, though basically making the side windows openable was unlikely to have caused all that many sleepless nights at Rolls Royce. More significant was bolting rather than bonding the body to the chassis which made replacement a viable option should the driver’s talent desert him mid-corner and the car get pranged. Today it means restoration is actually a viable option as is some sensible upgrading, more of which later.
Come 1971 the Europa was treated to a mild restyle and the superb Lotus Twin Cam engine previously found in the Elan, Cortina and 7 (not to mention 23B sports racer and a few single seaters). The resultant 105bhp was a considerable hike over the S2’s and promoted the car to another performance league with zero to sixty miles per hour now dispatched in around seven seconds and the far side of 115mph easily attainable; as Motor Sport magazine said of the twin cam powered Europa at the time, “More power means more fun”!
We all love a project and they don’t get much more ‘project’ than this, though we do feel there is much to recommend this Europa Twin Cam – not least that it is potentially the cheapest Lotus on the market now and possibly for ever more!
The V5 in the Lotus’ slim history file confirms this is a UK market (P suffix) Europa Twin Cam supplied for home construction and registered on 15th May 1972. It also states the last change of ownership took place sometime before 1976. The chassis plate still attached to the shell in the front services compartment tallies with the V5 and correctly states ‘Type 74’, Lotus speak for a Europa Twin Cam. Clearly repainted some years ago as something of a JPS tribute, we were pleased to find evidence of a screamingly mid-1970s shade of purple lurking beneath this top coat, though better still (in our opinion) the paint code on the chassis plate is L13 which indicates the Europa’s original colour was ‘Pistachio Lime Green’; simply the best colour for a Europa known to man or woman (again, in our opinion though Lamborghini clearly shared this view when it came to the Muira). We can’t be sure but it looks as though there are remnants of this original colour in the engine bay.
Though used as a road car until 1980 (MOT certificates from 1976 to 1980 and a 1978 tax disc are on file) the Europa was very successfully sprinted and hill climbed by Graham Oates. He constantly developed the car and at some stage the running gear was given a Type 47 body-shell, though by then it was too competition oriented for road use and the original car’s identity was not transferred onto the new machine, remaining with the body and various sundries offered here.
OK, we accept that there is an elephant in the room here; there is quite a bit missing! We wouldn’t dream of trying to belittle the task of rebuilding this Europa but one should perhaps bear in mind that when carrying out a restoration, a new chassis is almost obligatory and that many of the other missing components would be replaced as a matter of course. Though restoring the car as a standard Lotus Europa Twin Cam is an attractive proposition, it could also be worth considering going down the ‘resto-mod’ route as popularised by the likes of Europa Engineering’s ‘Banks Europa’ and Spydercars’ conversions, both of which allow a range of modern engines and running gear to be fitted under an original Lotus Europa body. Given that some 200 BHP is readily available virtually straight out of the crate or even scrapyard from the likes of Ford’s Zetec or Vauxhall’s ‘Red Top’ engines, it doesn’t take particularly heavily rose tinted spectacles to see this Europa back on the road with close to double its original power output. You may also have noticed that a certain former Formula One World Champion has recently launched a modern interpretation of the 62, Lotus’ track version of the Europa…
Considering what it is (or perhaps isn’t) we won’t be giving our usual exhaustive analysis of its condition, driving impressions and so on – whoever said “Thank goodness”, see me after class – what you see is what you get. The body-shell has some chips and scratches, micro-blistering and a bit of crazing (though we’ve seen worse). The front wheel arch extensions look to have just been tacked on to the original fiberglass and should hence be easily removed but those at the rear have involved more extensive bodywork modifications. Other items such as front and rear screens, lights, badges, some sound deadening and carpet, washer bottle and so on as shown in the photo gallery are included in the sale as is the now rare ‘boot box’. The trailer is of course not included but the owner may be able help with delivery for a reasonable cost.
If you are wondering what happened to the pure competition machine this Europa evolved into, watch this space…
We agree with Jenks – this is going to be a riot, especially if you enjoy twiddling spanners as much as steering wheels.