SOLD for £28,300
“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. For a brief bit of background on the Europa, please have a look at Lot 32, the 1970 S2 we are currently offering (or have just sold depending when you read this!). Having already acquired 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) in 1971 along with a mild restyle, in September of 1972 the Europa Twin Cam gained a five speed ’365’ gearbox, Big Valve cylinder head and the apt title “Special”. The resultant 125bhp was a considerable hike over the 82 of the S2 and promoted the car to another performance league with zero to sixty miles per hour now dispatched in under six seconds and 125mph within touching distance. Not ‘special’ enough for you? With typical Lotus marketing flare, apparently the 1st 100 examples were painted black and pinstriped in gold to match the iconic livery of the JPS Lotus 72 that had wrapped up the Formula One World Championship at Monza that very month courtesy of Emerson Fittipaldi. In a Europa Special JPS anyone could be ‘Emmo’, though it must be said that not all could grow the sideburns to complete the look.
While there has been a lot of conjecture about the Limited Edition JPS cars and a number of vehicles have been described as examples of this rare breed despite having been produced some considerable time after the September 1972 launch, this Europa, we would suggest, has a pretty cast iron claim to being one of the 100. A letter on file from Lotus refers to it as a ‘Europa JPS Special’, its chassis plate is stamped with the colour code “L15” - Lotus’ Black Gloss - and its Chassis Number confirms it was produced in September 1972. Further to this, the Lotus Europa Registry holds records of a number of cars and chassis numbers eighteen before and twenty-two after ‘1860’ are confirmed as JPS cars.
Supplied to dealers Steelesport on 30th October 1972 it is known that the Europa was domiciled in Northern Ireland by the mid-1980s; we have not been able to ascertain where in the country Steelesport were based so it may have been sold in the province when new. In the long-term ownership of a Mr Joey Dempsey for some twenty years, it was eventually sold to Mr Mervin Getty of Coleraine as a running car requiring restoration in 2006. Having had a Spyder Lotus pattern chassis fitted during an earlier partial restoration in 1998/99, the Special was basically just a bit mechanically tired and the original black paint was now buried under four or five further coats. Mr Getty had harboured a long term passion for the Europa model so to be able to acquire such a desirable example was a dream come true and he quickly applied his not inconsiderable engineering skills to stripping and rebuilding the car; two years later the first class restoration was complete. The numerous layers of paint were removed by hand and the bare body found to be in surprisingly good shape with just a small area of localised damage requiring repair. A first class re-paint was then commissioned from an excellent local body shop at a not inconsiderable cost of over £6,000, bearing in mind this was 2007.
Numerous invoices on file from Europa Engineering (Banks Service Station), Paul Matty and others testify to a very full mechanical refurbishment as the suspension was stripped and refinished. New springs and shock absorbers (fully adjustable at the front) were fitted along with new bushes, brakes, bearings and so on. A new windscreen was also sourced as were external side window trims, door handles (inside and out), locks, a rear bumper, drive shaft joints and various trim materials.
Today the quality of this work, carried out it should be remembered over ten years ago, is evident. The body is pin-sharp (for a fiberglass car) without a hint of any crazing at all and the doors fit, open and close perfectly with the new handles feeling well, like new. That evocative livery displays a great ‘depth’ of paint (visually rather than physically) that we were able to appreciate during an impromptu session with a chamois leather after a brief shower – fun fact, the Europa is so low, you can reach the whole roof from one side of the car! Even getting that up close and personal, we were only able to find one tiny blemish on the leading edge of the driver’s door.
Against this level of excellence the Brand Lotus alloy wheels still compare well having been blasted, enamelled and re-cut. They are fitted with a good set of matched tyres no more than lightly worn. As you would expect, the chrome-work is perfect throughout.
Inside you grasp a re-covered (in leather) original steering wheel fronting a totally standard dashboard, as designed with no glove box lid, in fine condition. Never an easy colour to keep looking its best, the Oatmeal trim is unmarked with none of the ingrained grime we have become all too used to and the headlining is in matching condition.
At last, something we can criticise – the removable luggage container that sits in the engine bay is scruffy! Part restored it does require finishing as can be seen in the photo gallery. The engine and box themselves are very clean plus there are some nice engineering touches such as custom made bracketry for the battery – doubtless more functional than that Lotus supplied as well as being aesthetically superior. The Dell’orto carburettors inhale through handsome chrome filters and exhale via a sweet running Lotus ‘twink’ (with correct black finished cam cover and R engine number prefix) and a stainless steel exhaust box. A discrete, switched electric fuel pump has been added enabling the carburettors to be primed before the standard glass topped mechanical pump takes over, neatly dispensing with a lot of churning of the starter motor just to fill the float chambers. An electrical cut off switch is tucked next to the battery for added security and safety. The useful front boot displays very well ordered componentry and a good standard of finish.
Needless to say given the extent of the restoration the Europa drives very well indeed and though MOT tested until December 2017 the owner will re-test the car at the end of the auction to give the buyer 12 months peace of mind.
As previously mentioned the comprehensive history file that accompanies the car contains a raft of invoices covering its restoration, along with a number of old MOT certificates as well as the current one. The Europa was heavily featured in a magazine article in 2010 and a photocopy is held in the file. The current V5C is also present as is the letter from Lotus Cars Ltd. confirming the car’s original build details. Please note the ‘personalised’ number plate will remain on the car – an All Black car for a KIW(i) perhaps? Sorry, it's been a long week!
In our opinion, this Europa is an ultra-rare variant of a classic Lotus, produced just as they wrapped up their fifth World Championship in nine years, it celebrates and pays homage to the Company’s Grand Prix Team. In absolutely superb condition and certainly as nice an example as we have seen, what’s not to like?