The Europa came out of what may have been the most revolutionary band of performance engineers in all of automotive history. The Seven and Elan were utter road-going performance design inspirations, unequaled in their performance to this day. The Elan is perhaps the all-time road-car handling benchmark. Ask Gordon Murray, and many others. And the Europa is a even better performance platform with a much higher performance envelope than either of those two other great cars.
I’ve been around them for a long time now, and my race car is a full race prepared Type 65 Europa. “Getting” a Lotus is different from “getting” an ordinary road car. “Getting” a Lotus is to be in the world of Reynards, Brabhams, Ralts, Swifts, Van Diemens, Crossles, Chevrons, Royales, etc., etc. It’s to be thinking like Chapman, Murray, Broadley, and the ilk. They share more think and application with full-on world-class racing car practice than production road car practice. It’s more like a Formula Ford or Sports 2000 than an E30 BMW. As someone mentioned in on of the discussion threads around this article series, one of these Loti requires you to be race car engineer, and a clever one, more than a production car mechanic.
The cars are simple. SUPER simple (though very sophisticated). Sorted - and that’s VERY easy to do - they are reliable and not fragile, and blisteringly fast and unmatched driving experiences.
My experience with Loti went thusly - had a Jensen-Healey with a Lotus 907 engine, connected with an ex-Lotus F1 mechanic for servicing it, blown away with his Europa JPS, finally bought an Elan, started taking it apart and said “what a piece of crap”, as I learned more I became in awe of the engineering effectiveness and cleverness, then the driving experience just locked in the utter brilliance. At the same time, I went through racing school and began my track driving history. Formula Fords, many other various cars, mostly autocross and road circuit driving. I do advanced road driving skills and track/performance driving instruction today.
Perhaps the most important thing about owning a car like the Europa to avoid it becoming a nightmare is to avoid short cuts. It doesn’t have to be terribly expensive, but quick, cheap half-measures will always result in having to do the job again, and that will result in more time, more cost, and more frustration. Do it right, do it once. The Seven, Elan, and Europa are rich with world-class competitive development history. Everything has been sorted through, whether you want to make reliable daily driver to a top-class track car, and there’s a wonderful network of people who are welcoming of people who appreciate the superior engineering heritage and wish to enjoy it. They are generous with their expertise and time.
Ha! And you mention the TVR 2500M? Have one, and a 280i. Yes, can’t get into much trouble with a TVR