The seductive trap of the Lotus Europa, Part 2


Last week, I described buying a dead 1974 Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special sight-unseen in Chicago four years ago for $5,800 and having it shipped to my home in suburban Boston. It had 20,000 miles on it, but hadn’t run since 1979, and the engine had reportedly seized from sitting. Car-purchase-wise, I’d never done anything remotely this risky before.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/10/31/lotus-europa-part-2


Back when your Lotus was new, I had a Fiat 124 Spider. The same dealer sold and serviced both brands. A guy I worked with had a friend at the dealership that told him about a Lotus they had in the shop that they disassembled and couldn’t get back together. They ended up having to bring in a tech from Lotus to put the engine back together. Convinced me the Fiat was the right car for me. This came after episodes with a MGA and a Jaguar XK140, these made the Fiat look pretty good from a reliability standpoint.


I recently had a Lotus 7 with a twink - full deal rebuild by the PO.
(Big Weber’s, dry sump, maybe 140 hp and all). I’d always wanted one and boy was this cool. It was a totally insane ride and I will never forget it, but I sold it after a year and I think the new owner (who’d always wanted one) is happy.
Pay what it takes to build a good motor and get that car on the road.
I guarantee it will be the most memorable car you’ve ever driven, and I’ll bet you move it on in a relatively short time.
Since the early seventies I’ve wanted a Europa, and I know where one has been sitting for a number of years and is kinda for sale, but I’m not going to do it.
I luckily missed the “lots of trouble usually serious” but I’m not going to push my luck.
Unbelievable, memorable, epic cars - but kinda insane.


Are you still not running 4 years later? I have had 2 Europa S1s, never had a TC. But I do have 2 Elans with the TC engine. Get that motor back from the guy who has had it for 4 years, and take it where I go. I don’t know how you get hold of me, but respond or email me.


Looking forward to the next installment and hopefully some good news.


Great article, very funny. My Lotus is one of the lucky ones, and I agree with the poster above who said spend the money for a great engine and get going. The car is magnificent.


I have a 73 Europa TC Special 5 speed that is fully disassembled and ready for restoration. Been off the road since 1980. I bought it to do but time and reality have slapped me upside the head! It is now for sale to someone who will complete it (I can part it out for more but want it to go together again)
contact rick@timemachinesauto.com for details and pictures