Almost Finished: 1971 Lotus Europa 2

The Lotus Europa was an English-built mid-engine GT sports car. Several variants were produced between 1966-75, including this Series 2 edition from 1971. This version was completely restored three years ago but the reassembly process wasn’t quite completed. The seller hasn’t gotten around to finishing it either, so it’s time for someone else to finally get it done. Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, this unresolved project is available here on craigslist for $11,500. This tip is brought to us by Anthony M.!

With a reputation in Europe for building both sports and race cars, Lotus took note of a developing trend in the mid-1960s. Grand Prix racers were moving to the mid-ship placement of engines, so Lotus developed the Europa as an enclosed,  2-seat mid-engine sports coupe. While the auto was built over 10 model years, the number produced in total was small – just 9,200 units. Of those, the updated Series 2 was a little more than one-third at 3,600 units.

The Series 2 was modified to be “federalized” for the U.S. market, and we assume the seller’s car is one of them. In addition to converting it to left-hand drive, this also meant adjusting the European cars to U.S. safety and emissions standards, which were tighter than elsewhere in the world. The car got its power from a 1,565 cc Renault motor that was rated at 80 hp. We assume that’s the setup in the seller’s car, complete with 4-speed manual transmission.

A prior owner financed a restoration that didn’t quite get finished. The body and paint look great, and we’re told the interior is new, but that’s where the unfinished work lies. The dash and other interior parts need to be put back together. From what we’re told, those might be the only things keeping this car from getting back out on the road. He/she has too many other projects, so new eyes and hands are needed to come full circle.


  1. SMS

    My only thought is I wish I had the garage space!

    Like 5
  2. Cam W.

    I briefly owned one of these back in 1984. It was part of a real estate deal. It was burgundy, looked great,ran nicely, and I am told it handled like a slot-car. It was delivered to my home, but I never drove it. I did not fit! I was about 6 ft 2, and 225 lbs. I could not get behind the wheel. I had it towed to a Lotus specialist who quickly sold it. I think I got about $6,000 for it.

    Like 4
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    These are low cars,so most drivers in those big SUVs/pickups
    probably won’t see you.It needs one of those tall ATV flags on a-
    pole.At least it’s Yellow,which couldn’t hurt.
    Another car I’d love to own,but that means I’d have to give up
    1-3 cars.By the time I sold them,this would be already gone.

  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Never got my rebuild done either. Another car came up I wanted more so it went to a good home while I rescued another orphan. Agree the yellow is a good color as ours was going to be yellow as a race car for the same reason yellow is good for this street car. Visibility. Nobody misses seeing a bright yellow car.

  5. Howie Mueler

    I had a 69 many years ago, this looks good, better photos would help.

    Like 1
  6. Rw

    Born in 64, going up at dragstrips, Dad a mechanic, been into ever kind of car culture, even to today I have never seen one of these that run,I know where 3 are now, Louisville KY area.

    • SMS

      Had one of these and also a Birkin, which is a continuation of a lotus seven. In my mind there is a reason so few of these are running. Both my lotus were light and somewhat firm riding. That meant lots of vibrations and shocks transferred to thin parts.

      I treated mine similar to a motorcycle. Regularly check for loose nuts and bolts, wires, and parts. After a run wash it and check it out. You end up tightening and replacing bits before they go bad. If you wait for something to break, fall off, or come loose on a drive you don’t trust the car and let it set.

  7. ChingaTrailer

    Sorry to be critical but some errors are so egregious there is no excuse. Calling thus car a G.T. is one of them .

    • Howie Mueler

      It only says GT here, not in the ad.

      Like 2
      • ChingaTrailer

        That was my point, a G.T. is a Grand Touring, aka Gran Turismo and describes a high speed luxury tourer, typically used for touring the Continent. Something a Lotus Europa is most unsuitable for. In the true sense, GT implies the Jensen Interceptor, a c 2+2 Ferrari, Porsche 928 etc.

  8. Joe Riley

    I have owned an identical europa since 1973, great car. I bet the color is same as mine, butterscotch, they photo yellower than they are. This is a $20,000 car with not much work.

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