Lotus Europa – Classic Car Reviews | Classic Motoring Magazine

21 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Lotus Europa – Classic Car Reviews | Classic Motoring Magazine
Lotus Europa

Pros Cons

Acquired lack of civility, cars on those ‘breadvan’ looks?

The was actually Colin Chapman’s replacement for the phenomenal Seven. He a cheaper sportster than the that was Seven simple for regular garages to work on it, yet be a competent weekend racer the earlier car. The result was a mid-engined, twoseat enclosed car with a fi breglass body tipped the scales at barely than 700kg and was so low it could Ford’s GT40 at limbo

Sold alongside the iconic the Europa was stripped-out Lotus-motoring for drivers. Never mind the initial engine was a 1470cc unit putting out less 80bhp (about the same as the Ford Cortina GT unit), the design with its bread-van styling and sheer handling care of a mid-engined layout radical for its times) put the Europa up there in the pantheon of great sports cars, past and future. It still is… but Europa is the forgotten Lotus these meaning continued good for money and exclusivity.


Lotus had a problem the Europa. It had to be cheaper than the so fi tting the excellent but expensive twin-cam engine to the car was a non starter, so unit was needed. Inspiration to Colin Chapman while about the Paris Motor where Renault was proudly its all-new 16 hatchback.

That was by a 1470ccall-alloy four-cylinder, which Chapman’s imagination. He did the sums, it would fi t and bought it in. Renault was with the arrangement too so specially the engine for a useful 78bhp.

The fi rst called the S1, were born in (the original brief was years earlier) and were sent abroad to Europe at the of UK custom because the company was about harming Elan These fi rst S1 cars were a oddity in that they had no windows, but relied on a pressurised system (that being a never worked of course!). The were also fi xed, so you your driving position by the pedals.

Today the S1 is the preserve of the seriously mainly because the plastic is bonded to the rust-prone chassis gave it a completely smooth ground effect thinking by a decade before it was used in

Only around 650 S1s were because in 1968 the more S2 was born. It kept the same engine and major underpinnings, but now the (electrically) opened, the seats and the body could be removed the chassis. Over in America versions got a 1565cc version of the engine but, as ever, regulations stifl ed it back to a 80bhp.

A popular race car always used Lotus- power from the outset it was a step in 1971 to offer the unit in the road cars. A later the Europa Special on stream with a big valve to pump out 126bhp, which this fl yweight supercar Hardly a cheap car at £1960, yet outsold the lesser TCs by 2 to 1, with 4500 fi nding homes

But it wasn’t just the engine was changed. The Lotus stylists had down the rear sails on the to give better rearward and remove the ‘bread-van’ stigma. If wasn’t temptation enough, the Player Special version in was launched to lay claim to the title of Lotus Ever before the took over in 1975.


Lotus Europa

Entering a Europa is a bit like into a bath only got further to go (although as with any of that era you will get wet…). not as bad as the Elise mind but not by much…. you’re there though, it just right.

Performance was never electrifying in the engined cars even in its day but still quick enough to the ultra-light weight. Contemporary tests clocked the car at around with 60mph in a shade 10 seconds. For sheer performance you the later twin-cam cars, took the 0-60mph down to a tad seven seconds for the normal S2 and an 6.6 seconds for the superb Big Valve

But all Europas sound great and can around 25-30mpg. Of course knew how to make the Europa helped by that very low of gravity: some even they’re more nimble an Elan in the dry. In the wet however the car tends to understeer with lift-off oversteer, although the Lotus-powered cars are easier to tail out motoring. Really, being four decades old an still impresses with its poise and agility.

Purists say the earliest S1s drive the best the bonded body gave greater stiffness, but good fi nding one and living with it! the closet you can get to driving an Europa is an Mk1 MR2 – and that about says it all


The desirability of the later versions over the Renault-engined are refl ected in the prices. A S2 will fetch up to £8000, but a immaculate TC/Special can fetch up to £16,000 (especially for the Commemorative which is good Elan For the enthusiast, average ones to about £6000 for the later and £4000 for the S2, while resto start from around

The ultimate uprated Banks (a leading Europa specialist) been known to cost up to


There’s a fair bit you can do to an to make it ‘Q-roupa’. That design with a spacious bay means a wide variety of engines can be fi tted with including V8s (a special Rover car by engineering fi rm GKN was made soon the car’s launch) although popular fi ts are the latest Vauxhall and (Zetec) 16-valve units are cheap, plentiful and punchy.

Bear in mind that the engine was quite tunable in its day and Gordini/Alpine/Else tuning parts can see as as 150bhp extracted whilefor the T/C 160-180bhp is attainable for reliable use. Handling?The front is Elan, which in other is Triumph Spitfi re. The rear set up is sorted (f the geometry is correct) and really only need springs and dampers (the wear out very quickly) modern rubber to keep classic up with the best of on today’s roads.

Lotus Europa
Lotus Europa
Lotus Europa
Lotus Europa
Tagged as:

Other articles of the category "Lotus":

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts


Born in the USSR


About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.

Car Catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about cars