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BYOE: 1969 Lotus Europa Project

It is one thing for a machine shop to loose a screw, but the seller of this 1969 Lotus Europa claims that they misplaced the whole engine. We would have made them look a little harder before selling, but it does give someone the opportunity to pick up an Europa project cheap. It is in Thousand Oaks, California and bidding starts at $1 here on eBay. Just remember to bring your own engine.

This is the cleanest looking interior we have ever seen in a project Europa. If the seller’s claims that the car was in the shop for upgrades are true, then there is no reason there should be any problems here. Not that there is much to these interiors, but it sure would make the project easier. Being an S2, this car benefits from adjustable seats and power windows. Plus the odometer claims that this Lotus has only covered 59k miles.

The exterior and underside support the seller’s claims too. We couldn’t find any major issues in the photos., other than the blue highlights. The blue stripe on hood isn’t too bad, but we would want to take the rest of the car back to white. These cars are already unsightly enough without the seventies panel van paint job.

Luckily, the misplaced engine was likely an anemic Renault I4. The twin cam didn’t come along until ’74, so even with the S2 improvements this Lotus wasn’t the fastest lightweight. The next owner will have their pick of power-plants, so would you go original or opt for something with a little more power?


  1. Andrew Demco

    needs a 351 Cleavland in it……….

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    • paul

      I suspect a V8 would make this car drop to it’s knees or further.

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  2. Skip Middleton

    I’m thinking an Ecoboost 2L would just about fit, not upset the balance too much, and at 250+ hp in stock form,make this sub 2000 lb car a screamer…

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  3. Justin

    I love it

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  4. Robert J

    I would totally rock the 70’s paint job…seriously would get you chicks these days! ;}

    Ah OK, sol I have an MGB with a 331 stroker (302 bored balanced blueprinted ) as well as a Jensen Healey with a Ford 2800cc V6 in it (FUN!) . Your engine conversion here will be the at core of your masterpiece – you decide!

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    • paul

      it may get you some chicks but you couldn’t fit too many in this car!

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  5. scot c

    ~ oohhhh, now i get it.
    they did’t just misplace the whole engine, they misplaced the machine shop, too.

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  6. Mike Efty

    Engine swap?…Think Lotus 47! ;)

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  7. Ted Leithart

    As I recall, there was a Rover/Buick 215 that was squeezed into one of these by the factory

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  8. Michael

    First of all the original engine is a 1.6. And it is far from anemic with a few little upgrades. In fact, the typical upgrade back in the day (cam, piston, header, Weber DCOE) hops it up to Twin Cam power. Without all the hassle that the Logus engine brings with it and at HALF the weight!!!! In case of a 1420 lbs car, that is 10 percent total weight! A Twin Cam weighs 1750lbs (my own measurements on thr same race scales)
    An Ecotec is a direct drop in ONLY in a Twin Cam car as it has the same bolt pattern. The Renault bell housing is different.

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  9. paul

    Is this the same yard that had the red one a few weeks ago, it sure looks like it, complete with the boat in the backround, this time uncovered. So this one looks alot better then the last one except for the dreadful paint job.

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  10. Michael Stewart

    I would put a maserati 2.5l twin turbo in.

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  11. Rancho Bella

    The twin cam came along in ’72, along with the cut down sails.
    Ted is correct.

    One must be very careful as to what power plant you “think” will work. Without removing the body and doing a lot of magic to the frame, you’ll end up with a pretzel.
    Now if I could only afford a Hewland for my TC……………

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    • Rancho Bella

      According to the records, the color is supposed to be British Racing Green. Build date 6/2/69.

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      • paul

        & they changed it from that color, why.

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      • Rancho Bella

        So far I have found the Europa records to be fairly spot on. If it was green there will be evidence somewhere. If not? then someone messed up. I was going off of the I.D tag posted in the ad,

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  12. Richard

    Ford Racing is currently selling a new, updated, improved, and stronger Lotus Ford 4-cyl block out of their 2012 catalog (2013 should be out soon since SEMA just ended the other day). If you know where to find parts you could build your own monster Lotus I-4 to your own specs and make this Europa a serious screamer.

    I had no idea GM Ecotec motors and Lotus Ford bolt patterns matched up…..that’s got to be one of the weirdest coincidences of all time. Wonder how that happened…..but if true, I’d go with either the ION Red Line supercharged 2.0L with the Stage 3 upgrade setup or the Cobalt SS turbo version of the same engine. That much power in a car that tiny and light should be unreal!

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    • Michael

      I meant Ecoboost, not Ecotec… Ford never changed the bolt pattern from the Kent over Pinto to the EcoBOOST :-)
      And yes, you could buy a new block and build the ultimate screamer. But that will cost a fortune!!! I’d rather go with a turboed Duratec.
      And leave the paint job!

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  13. Patrick Calhoun

    Turbo’d rotary…..

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  14. Loits

    I’ve driven one of these recently in Germany, fitted with a Ford RS Cosworth lump, chipped to 320 bhp. It was fantastic

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  15. Gregory Sorensen

    What a barn find, a real dream machine.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Ex-canadian late model 998 blue mini cooper owner.
    Stolen and wrecked in Hollywood by teens on a joy ride I was explained.
    It sold at a 10 day tow yard for towing fee and the 10 day storage lot fees.
    I believe it was a collector, said I failed to follow up after being notified by off duty officers., By the time I rellocated it the title was changed and the car was gone. Told to leave the tow yard and dont teturn or investagate or file a claim by the towing yard thugs. I followed there requests looking out for my life and family. Hollywood and LA has the powers to be, so my loss, my rant, walk away and stay alive. I sugguest the same to anyone as they had the looks of a family to not mess with. Even there name of the yard sounded like a family run LA bussiness with a history of the you mess with us, you will see more than trouble.

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