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A Strong Cup Of Tea: 1970 Lotus Europa V8

1970 Lotus Europa

When thinking of a classic Lotus, we all want and imagine that Lotus having the DOHC Lotus engine that is all too familiar. But not every lotus had that wonderful twin cam engine. Some Europas came with a Renault engine. This car likely had the small French power plant. Although now this Europa has something much more interesting going for it. It looks to have been someone’s “race car” or “toy” for a lack of better terms. After surgery this lotus now has an aluminum heart from a Buick. There are some other apparent modifications to the Lotus as well, including the ever so wide fender arches. The seller has not listed a price, but has instead mentioned he is looking to trade this Lotus for a 1968-1972 Corvette. Money always “talks” so if you don’t have a Corvette to trade, see if you can meet his number. Find it here on craigslist out of Denver, Colorado.

Lotus Europa V8

How many of you are scratching your head trying to think of what aluminum block Buick V8 is in this Lotus? The Displacement is 305 cubic inches. I will give a hint. The original displacement of this engine was 215 cubic inches. In 1965 this engine came to be known as the Rover V8. The Buick 215 is the grandfather to the Rover version. In 1965 General Motors sold the tooling to Rover to build their own V8 engines. The engine in this Europa likely has a Buick 300 crankshaft, along with some other heavy duty work to achieve the 305 cubic inch displacement. It looks to fit nicely into the bay of the Europa with an interesting intake setup for the carburetor. There also appears to be some ducting work over the manifolds, to allow the heat to rise and escape the engine compartment. The exhaust looks well planned and executed. There are two collectors for each set of 4 cylinders. The header style is laid out in a 180 degree fashion much like what you would expect to see on something like a GT40. Lotus S2 Federal cars would originally have produced a 0-60 mph time of 9.6 second with only 80 horsepower to boot. 0-60 mph times must be impressive with this V8, to say the least.

lous v8 3

Standard Europa lines are interesting and quirky. Opinions of the Europa seem to come in two groups. The first group of people like them, the second group, well, not so much. The Europa isn’t a shooting brake, but is often considered a bread van. This Europa boasts some wide racing fender arches as well as what appear to be some Keizer wheels. The overall looks of this Europa are aggressive to say the least. The wide fenders, the large center exit exhaust, and the aluminum wheels give hints to what it is all about. The owner has explained that it needs some TLC but is still a runner/driver. The only thing on the body that looks off is the lower front valence. As far as missing parts go, the seller has mentioned that the small rear window is missing from the car. The more you examine the car, the more apparent it is that this Europa was likely raced or auto-crossed. The intricate detail of the car really shows a well thought and executed racer. The Porsche gear box, the 180 degree headers, Corvette stoppers, and the Keizer wheels show a level of detail that could have easily been over looked on a street car.

Lotus Europa

Racing, auto-crossing, or simply test driving this Europa would have to be an absolute thrill. The craigslist ad may be a little skimpy on information, but upon closely examining this Europa it is easy to see it was once someone’s expensive project. If you had the assets to get this Lotus, what would you do with it? Would you make it an occasional auto-crosser? Maybe a time trial racer or a dedicated auto-crosser? There is always room for a fun street machine as well. Tell us what you would do with this cool Lotus.


  1. CoventryCat

    Love the Home Depot grille on the back.

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  2. Dudley Tyson

    Purchased a Lotus Yellow S2 in July, 1969. It had the Renault 82 HP engine and would go 110 – on any exit ramp off I-95. I would love to have had a twin cam but wouldn’t have gotten any more looks than it did. This thing reminds me of the Hulk. “Don’t get mad, don’t get mad…”

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  3. Blindmarc

    It would be my “King of the mountain” car, on the sandia crest road outside Albuquerque…..

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  4. Al8apex

    I remember seeing this at the SCCA Auto-X Nationals in Kansas. Mid- late 80’s I think

    Like 1
  5. Van

    Love this thing.
    I would paint it to look like the street
    You know stealth
    How do you drive this thing slow.
    But officer do you need the handcuffs.

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  6. wynkin

    LOTUS = Lot’s Of Trouble Usually Serious.

    These were called bread vans.

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    • Tim

      Lotus = Lotus Of Testosterone, Usually Sensational

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  7. The Ghost of Colin Chapman

    Oh. My. God.

    What a travesty. How can the light little frame of a Europa handle the torque of that monster motor? Is the bodged quality of the front spoiler indicative of the quality of the rest of the ‘work’ done on this? I bet it rides and steers like a pig on a porcupine.

    I’m spinning in my grave.

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    • Van

      I dis agree, Colin is laughing his ass off.
      “I say old been, might I borrow your motor to ruffle the knickers on Downing St. And maybe we can pop round to Marinelo.”
      “I’ll blow the sunglasses of that silly Italian.”

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  8. Lugnut

    Unless they did a lot of SERIOUS stiffening and buttressing of that skimpy frame I wouldnt even sit in it.

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  9. Bob Hess

    This isn’t the SOLO Runoffs car. That one had a Ford BDA twin cam in it and was such a precision build that this one looks like a rat rod. Wirewheel in Florida had the car for sale a few years back . Would have bought it but for $27,000 I couldn’t use it on the race track and we already had a SOLO 2 car. Bought a couple of S2s after that and wish to this day I’d bought that one. I agree it would take a ton of frame work to build this strong enough for a V8.

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    • Alan (Michigan)

      Well, not exactly. The time-frame for the carbon-bodied (19 pounds!) DM car was Forbes Field and Heartland Park in Topeka, KS, circa 2002 through ’09? 6 championships I think, by J. Ames. Last time I saw it, the one you are thinking of was in the Detroit area, and had lost it’s luster.
      Certainly this is not that car, but I do seem to recall something similar running EM a decade or more earlier? I’d have to look up the years, but I’m thinking that this car may have been running in Salina, or early years at Forbes.
      Most successful BOP aluminum 8 in EM was I think hiding in a Fiero body, piloted by Tamandli and McKamey.

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      • 67coopers

        It’s awful rare I see people online who know the McKamey and Tamandli clan. I grew up watching them race (alone with my parents of course) in the 80’s-90’s. I recall McKamey putting another class on the Fiero until it was time to run. It screwed up all the competition’s minds.

        McKamey built some of the most amazing cars in autocross. I was there when he put the M80 (corvair powered open wheel car) into the tree at the Empire Hill Climb. I also watched him build the Corvette, the Mustang II, the Cuda and a Datsun 280Z/Ferrari 250 kit. Phenomenal builder. Very quiet, but a tremendous driver.

        Email me: marklooman at comcast.net

        P.S. My dad’s Lotus Europa Special sits in hiding in southern Michigan. Prom 1989 would never have been the same without it.

        Like 1
  10. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Now THIS is a car I’d love to drill up Pikes Peak

    Like 0

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