1 of 1580: 1973 Lotus Europa TC (Twin Cam)

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The Lotus Europa was an English-built, GT-style, mid-engine sports car produced from 1966 to 1975. It found some limited success in the U.S. until it became too difficult to meet changing U.S. safety standards. This variant from 1975 is the TC or Twin-Cam variant of which just 1,580 were exported to the States. Though described as a project because It’s not currently running, the little car is in beautiful cosmetic condition in Napa County, California. This Lotus, along with some spare parts, is available here on craigslist for $24,900 OBO. Another Barn Finder “numskal” tip!

Versions of the Lotus Europa that made it to the U.S. were referred to as having been “federalized” because this country had the greatest number of emissions and safety requirements at the time. The latter was specifically difficult in terms of crash protection due to its low-to-the-ground stance, which ultimately did it in. The Type 74 Twin Cam version came along in 1971 (1972 in the U.S.) and used a 1557-cc Lotus-Ford Twin Cam engine that produced 113 hp with dual carburetors. These cars had an updated body which helped improve the view rearward for the driver. Of the nearly 5,000 TCs produced, only about a third are known to have been exported to America.

As the story goes, this Lotus is being offered by its third owner in excellent original condition. However, it’s not currently running, and we suspect that’s because it spent considerable time in storage at about 68,500 miles. The automobile has resided in Northern California its entire life once entering this country, The engine is said to turn freely, so perhaps only work on the fuel delivery system is needed. Spare parts include an extra engine block and heads, a custom-made radiator, and extra wheels.

We’re told the body, yellow paint, and interior are all original and in great shape (the pinstripes may have been added later). Apparently, the doors are subject to getting a case of the “sags” and the seller has a hinge kit to go with the deal. For a project car, this may be one of the nicest you’ll find, and you’d likely turn heads wherever you went with it – after you get it back on the road.

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    25K a bit high for a non running car. These cars are fun but you do have to give full attention to driving the car and those driving around you. One of our 2 was slated to be a race car with a fully enclosed roll cage. After looking at it I thought it might be a good idea to put one in the street car.

    Like 11
  2. bill tebbutt

    Bobhess, I do not disagree re the price being a little spendy for a non runner. However, the presence of a “couple” of spare heads would numb the pain a little (if they were complete and serviceable).

    The hinge kit is easy to deal with on these. If everything “seems” ok, I can’t understand why the owner wouldn’t haul it to the nearest specialist and convert it to a proper runner prior to the sale. So, I worry a little about what it might really need


    Like 19
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      Totally agree Bill. These cars are easy to fix if broken, and like other cars we see here on BF really should have the work done before advertising. not after.

      Like 13
  3. Howie

    I had a 1969 years ago, this sure looks nice and clean, but the price is way too high for not running, posted 7 days ago, with lots of more time the price should come way down.

    Like 9
    • Rw

      Not currently running imagine that…

      Like 3
  4. Tony

    It could blown head gasket who’s know. Engine out for the job.

    Like 1
  5. KurtMember

    Looks like a LOT of fun!

    Like 1
  6. Cobra Steve

    Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious

    Like 11
    • bill tebbutt

      Yeah, am guessing you never had one……..

      Like 9
  7. Russ Ashley

    It looks to be in good condition other than what is mentioned, and comes with a good stash of parts. I used to see these around Atlanta and I thought they were some of the ugliest cars ever made. Obviously everyone didn’t feel that way, and this may be someone’s dream car, so GLWTS.

    Like 2
    • Michael Garner

      Russ, I am going to agree with you on one of the ugliest cars ever made. It just looks….ugly. I guess it is someone else’s cup-o-tea, but not this old guy. Cheers.

      Like 1
    • Paul

      But on or the best handling cars eve made, when R&T did there road test the 246 Dino was the only car that out handled the Europa and it was just by a little

      Like 1
  8. Edward

    If it were cheap and easy, why not get the car running? Until then, it’s a “parts car.”

    Like 2
  9. Gary

    I cannot unsee a shrunk El Camino when I see these.

    Like 2
  10. 814series

    Always liked these cars. I’m curious if I would fit. I’m 6’5″ tall.

    Like 3
  11. Carguy2

    Looks like a great project. I checked BAT and another non-running project sold for $21k so price is not far off. See link below:


    Like 1
    • Howie

      Yes that looks way better, and a 74 with the factory wheels, and almost a year ago.

      Like 1
      • Paul

        Just a note, the specials which came with the factory alloys had the same alloy wheel on the spare so I wonder what happened to them and why it seems to have only alloy wheel and as steel wheel in the back bin

        Like 0
  12. Canadian Friend

    The engine is said to turn freely…

    I wonder why the car can not be driven as is…

    maybe the transmission is busted?

    Like 1
  13. TRUTH

    The price is ridiculous. Somewhere there’s a fool about to be parted from their money.

    There’s a 72 Vette for 19k on this site right now that’s a much better use of your $$$.

    Like 3
    • RobertV

      Never has the term “apples and oranges” been more appropriate!

      Like 2
  14. Lonny

    Why might you purchase a spare engine to offer with the purchase of this vehicle? Also spare head? Between the lines, I read -it overheated, warped the original head, head gasket let coolant escape, may have damaged the block, hence a replacement block included. Possible water pump malfunctioned. Assume it will be an engineout rebuild looking for gasket sets & possibly some milling work to level the block deck & skim the head. Thoughts! LDF

    Like 5
  15. Andy

    Something ain’t kosher…

    Like 0
  16. regg

    I’ve had a few of these and a non runner is a pig in a poke.
    There’s a good Lotus guy in Rhonert Park, not far away…

    Like 1
  17. Paul

    I had a 73 Europa Spl 5spd (JPS) there was almost nothing on the road that could out handle it.

    Like 1
  18. Frank Barrett

    Well, the ad did say, “price negotiable.” This is a case where you need to go look at the car, run a compression test, learn more about it. Have a briefcase in your car with $15,000 in cash in it. If you like the car, lay out the long green, and the owner would probably go for it. If not, no harm, no foul.

    Like 3
  19. Bill Gleason

    No. I am 5’10” and it was a snug fit. Owned a 1970 Europa for 25 years. Learned a lot repairing it!

    Like 0

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