Number 95: 1973 Lotus Europa Special

1973 Lotus Europa

When it comes to affordable and fun sport cars, the Lotus Europa is absolutely packed with value. We’ve seen quite a few of these in barn find and project form, but there is always one issue with taking one of these cars on and that’s the expense of restoration. They just aren’t worth enough in the end to justify a high quality restoration. Of course, if you aren’t worried about resale value or you’re wanting to build a track day warrior, this ’73 looks like a great candidate! It’s a Special, so it has the twin cam engine, and it is solid enough to be worth saving. Find it here on eBay in Flanders, New Jersey.

1973 Lotus Europa Engine

With bidding already over $5k, perhaps values are going up for these fun Brits? Or maybe someone simply wants it for the engine and transmission?

1973 Lotus Europa Interior

The body looks pretty clean, although it needs paint. I’d love to know the story behind the stickers that use to be on the driver’s door! It appears someone raced it for a while.

Lotus Europa #95

This car isn’t going to be cheap to restore, as parts can be tricky to find. It might be complete enough to be worth restoring though and it definitely has track car potential. I’d want to have a close look at that engine before bidding, but you’ll have to act fast on this one if you want it! So would you restore it, race it, or part it out?


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  1. boxdin

    One of the cams drives the alternator?

    • Racer417

      Yes. No room to mount it forward like an Elan

  2. Dave Wright

    This is a twin cam…….better engine, more head room, better car overall. They have always commanded higher prices.

  3. angliagt

    The ASP on the door = SCCA A Street Prepared,
    Solo II (aka autocross).
    This one looks pretty rough – wonder what the frame looks like?

  4. Rovinman

    If you want to build a good one, see the ‘Overhaulin’ S6 E 11+12, 2 edition special.

    Now THERE’S a car rebuild

    • sparecr

      I thought that show was more on how to make a Lotus into a Porsche, rather than restoring a Lotus.

  5. Paul R

    The brake/clutch pedal lay out is terrible. If you wear larger than a size 7 shoe, you have to drive barefoot. The windows don’t open so its a HOT cockpit with a blower up front providing some ventilation. I drove a few that had bubble Plexiglas door windows with vents in them.
    At least its a Lotus twin cam instead of the Coventry Climax forklift engine many had for power.
    Hot and slow, sorry I don’t like them. They reminded me of a poor home built car.

    • jimbosidecar

      I don’t recall these ever having the Coventry Climax motor. I believe prior to the Lotus twin cam they were Renault powered?

      • RayT Member

        You’re right. Renault engines in the first Europas, then the Lotus twincam when the body was redesigned. As far as I recall, those were the only engines offered.

      • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

        Jimbo, you are right. they never had a Climax .

        I don’t know what Paul is thinking, If there was a Climax motor, this car would be already be here in Alabama. Prices on those motors are outrageous, and I have an early Series 1 Seven; that could use one.

      • Paul R

        Thank you,
        I stand corrected.! Renault powered indeed.

    • Racer417

      Not correct. Renault power on the early ones, never Coventry Claimax. These all had power windows except the Series ones. Maybe you’re thinking of an early Elite? Excellent ventilation systems on the later ones, also.
      I owned two of these, and drove one from Chicago to Kansas and back. With a 5-speed got 37 mpg on the interstate.
      Pedals are tight. My size 10s were OK though.

      Like 1
    • John

      The Windows do roll down. In fact the are power operated. The switches are the two toggles on the slanted portion of the console just ahead of the shift lever. As far as air flow is concerned, I drive mine from LA to Wash DC in late August. It was hot, but not unbearably so. It actually had very good airflow. And I wear 10.5 shoes. I never had a problem. The car had lots of issues, but driver comfort was not one of them. It was one of the most comfortable cars I’ve owned.

  6. derek

    This is an S2 that has had a twincam fitted. Seller gives chassis number 7108XXXXXX

    • Racer417

      Not an S2. The S2 had higher rear quarter panel “sails”, and a rear grille. The Type 74 on the VIN plate means it’s a twincam.

  7. Bob Hess

    S2s had the large rear flares. Cut back flares came with the twin cam cars. New frames are readily available for these cars as are most of the suspension pieces. Had two of the S2s recently… wish I had one of them back.

  8. Russell

    Love the Twin Cams. Way under valued and just a hoot to drive. Better buy it now!

  9. Bob Hess

    Paul… S1 started off with no roll down windows. All the S2s have roll down door glass. Can’t imagine that Chapman didn’t figure out pretty quick that no open windows was going to fly.

    • Dave Wright

      Off course Chapman was a chassis builder. Anything byond that was boring to him. That is why I am amused at the “Lotus” engines used in the Jensen Healeys and other cars. In the Chapman era, he never built an engine or much of a highway car. Like Enzo…..he was a race car guy but used drivetrains from other people.

      • Racer417

        The Jensen Healey engine was developed and built by Lotus.

      • Wigs1098

        The engines used in the Jensen Healey, Elite, Eclat and Esprit were Lotus engines and not bought in.

  10. Grr

    I’ve always liked these, but the one fiberglass-bodied car I drove rattled like heck. I’m guessing the S1, being a monocoque, doesn’t do that?

  11. Van

    I don’t think the Chip Foose car was finished.
    That car looked fantastic, are there any videos of the car finished?

  12. Dave Wright

    I always thought the John Player Special twin cam cars were great. They were some of the last of the Europas……that black and gold was wonderful.

    Like 1
  13. French Car Problem

    Grr, I drive an S1 and I wouldn’t describe it as squeaky or rattly. Not quiet though. Every sound is transmitted straight to your brain. If you drive over a single blade of tall grass, you can hear it. The steering is connected to your thoughts, too. Don’t let your thoughts wander or the car will too! Early Europas especially are great bang for the buck in terms of enjoyment.

  14. david

    Lotus Europas are more fun to drive than just about any other sports car on the planet.

  15. sparecr

    I owned one of these and at the same time had a Caterham Series 3 with the same Big Valve Twin Cam, dare I say while the Seven was more popular and attracted attention, the Europa actually may have been more fun to drive.So low and wide, the thing could corner. Some days not sure which car I miss more.

  16. Greg S

    I have heard that this car was also available in kit form. Anyone knowledgable about this?

  17. Chris A.

    Greg S. At the time these were being built, England had a VAT for complete cars. For many years, you could order a “knocked down” complete car kit Lotus in the home market. RHD only, I don’t think they were ever an export item for the US. There is a very active Lotus Europa Owners Club that has a great technical section on parts and repairs. This one looks it will need a great deal of work just to make it a driver. Actually looks like it has been wet in the engine bay and cockpit. I actually prefer the bread van high side version. One of these rebuilt with a Honda S2000 engine would be interesting. The very first S1’s had the backbone chassis bonded directly to the fiberglass body shell. Later versions were redesigned so the backbone could be bolted to the body shell (and could be repaired). My 10 1/2 loafers were tight, but still able to drive without a problem. I remember it had a very nice ride, fairly soft, but well controlled. Nice car, I should have bought it.

    • Dave Wright

      I think when people talk about lotus kit cars……..they are thinking about the early 7’s that could be purchased as a bare chassis.

      • Sparecr

        Actually most early Lotus were available in “kit” form. The 6, Seven, the Elite, Elan, and Europa all could be had in component form, if you were in the UK. The tax laws changed around 72-73 over there and VAT was applied to everything so the Lotus kit died off at about the same time. Very few of the cars reached our shores as kits. Biggest problem esp with the full bodied cars was no assembly instructions could included. Lotus got around this by publishing an article in Lotus and Sports Car Owner showing how to disassemble a Seven, however they never published disassembly instructions for the Elite, Elan or Europa.

  18. Greg S

    Thanks so much for the information Chris. You have answered my question and supplied additional information on the Europa that I did not know. Very interesting time period for English cars. I have owned several English cars over the years. The early ones had their challenges, but when the stars lined up what great cars! Thanks again!

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