Lotus founder Colin Chapman said, “Simplify, then add lightness.” The Lotus Europa epitomized that sentiment, weighing no more than 1,570 lbs. across the entire production run. Models ranged from affordable sports coupes to highly-tuned competition models, but every trim level featured the basic principles of Chapman’s vision: light, cheap, and superior handling. This 1970 S2 model has just emerged from 20 years of garage captivity and is now available here on eBay with bidding at $1,225 and no reserve .
To keep costs down, Lotus took the backbone chassis from the Elan, flipped it around, and installed a modified Renault 16 inline-four mated to a four-speed gearbox. Using the Renault motor required some innovative engineering, but Chapman realized that rotating the engine 90 degrees and reversing the final drive would give him the solution he needed for his mid-engine sports car. Even with only 80 horsepower, the car’s light weight made it possible to go from 0-60 in under 10 seconds. This was further helped by the Europa’s slippery shell, which recorded an impressive 0.29 drag coefficient.
Although the S2 listed here isn’t as stiff or as raw as the S1, it did make headway in creature comforts. Adjustable seats, electric windows and a wooden fascia for the dashboard were standard. Other changes were driven by the insurance industry and Deptartment of Transportation, such as bolting the body to the chassis rather than bonding it, and raising the height of the front fenders to position the headlights at the required level. This 1970 model is the US-market specific Type 65 with additional emission controls.
Though the seller is tight-lipped on the details, the Europa is said to be in good condition with only 34,200 original miles. It’s unknown if the car will run, but the engine compartment appears clean despite its hibernation. The bumper chrome is clearly in rough shape, but the body looks straight enough. It appears some surface rust has made its way into the trunk compartment behind the engine, so we would want to do a up-close inspection of the steel frame underneath. Reproduction chassis are available, but the switch might not be worth the effort.
The view behind that classic three-spoke steering wheel is pure 70s, and we’d gladly twist our way into the low-slung cockpit to check it out. Although it is going to need some work and a color-matched engine lid, the car’s overall completeness could make this no-reserve auction worth bidding on. Would the lack of information in the listing keep you from taking a chance on this Lotus Seven replacement?