Some Assembly Required: 1969 Lotus Europa S2


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We’ve had some tired-looking Lotus Europas on Barn Finds lately; this time there’s the chance to finish a project the way you want to finish it. Frequent finder Jim S. uncovered this car, which is up for sale here on eBay and located in North York, Ontario, Canada. Some assembly required, right? Well, there’s a little more to it.


You are correct if you noted that all you see in these first pictures is a body shell. According to the seller, it has not been in any accidents and was originally a white car. It was stripped for restoration purposes.


There’s a reason they called it “the breadvan.” Later Europas had lowered sail panels to at least attempt to minimize the appearance of a small truck. It didn’t work.


The dash doesn’t look too bad, and apart from the speakers in the doors looks relatively original. But I’ll bet you’re wondering about the rest of the car!


Well, here’s the frame. It’s “like new” after being bead blasted and coated with epoxy primer. There’s not really much there, is it?


And here’s part of what you attach to it. There are obviously more components than you need for a single car here, so the seller’s claim of extra parts is undoubtedly true. How many extra parts, we don’t know.


One of the things listed is “original factory interior — never touched.” Someone had to touch it to rip the seats like that! Ok, I know what they meant, that it is the original material and hasn’t been monkeyed with. The seller almost makes light of the situation by saying it “comes with all necessary parts for easy assembly.” I don’t think there will be anything easy about it, and since both engines that are included need rebuilding, I doubt that it comes with all the parts you need, either. But–it is a Lotus, and it is pretty much a blank slate at this point. Interested?


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  1. Kevin Harper

    You would have to be either brave, stupid or knowledgeable to take this on, or perhaps all three. I think the decimal point in the price is in the wrong place.

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  2. Bill

    The Renault engine is a far cry from the Lotus twin cam that made this car really desirable. A lot of work where, at the end of the day, you’re looking at a $15,000 car.

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    • Michael RogersMember

      Jeez! yes, it does need lots of work –that the new owner can do their self!!If you’re too stupid/lazy to re-assemble this this simple kit car–stick with your toyotas.
      Lotus used to offer their simple cars in kit form to avoid taxes, every part is easily available and it requires little more than a $29.95 tool kit to do it!
      I already have a TC Special.

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  3. Roger Owen

    Yes, a lot to do here – an offer at around half the buy it now price would probably be in order. No pictures of the engine or drive chain.

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  4. Van

    I’d love a discussion on better engine options.
    The engine must weight less,
    Be small enough not to require mods,
    More power, around 250ish hp,
    Run on pump gas only.
    Maybe saturn sky engine?

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    • Steven C

      If not a Lotus 907, I would go with a Ford zetec/duratec dohc 4, seems totally Lotus appropriate. I’m not sure, but I think 250hp would be really pushing it for this chassis.

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      • Tim

        The 907 is too large for the space. Even if the length could be resolved, the slant-4’s run of timing belt from the exhaust cam to the crank would interfere with the chassis. The Zetec and Toyota 4AGE both fit in the chassis, but the Duratec’s timing chest is too wide and requires notching the chassis.

        Another option is the Isuzu engine Lotus used in the Elan M100. It also fits, is available in naturally aspirated and turbo forms, and can be had with ‘Lotus’ cam covers. The Elan’s turbo version was easily chippable to 205 hp.

        The power would probably necessitate using the Renault NG3 5-spd, which then forces some rear suspension mods. Been there, done that.

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    • grenade

      a Toyota MR2 5spd trans mated to a 2005& up 2GRFE V6 Camry engine. That would make it scary fast.

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    • Michael RogersMember

      As I recall–Lotus made a few with 289’s–
      Hi HO SiLVER!~!l ( or whatever)

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      • Roger Owen

        Seen to remember a GKN version, Rover (Buick) V8 if my memory serves me. Black coachwork with a certain cigarette manufacturers logo, and white leather interior. This thread is nearly a year old!

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  5. Tim

    This one looks like a collection of parts from several cars, S1 & S2, rather than one car that has been taken apart for restoration. S1 front turn signals and exterior door handles, but Type 54 S2 interior and tail light assemblies. The engine number listed in the auction description agrees with factory records. 54/0864 was invoiced from the factory on Sept 6, 1968. There are probably enough parts there to build a complete Europa, but I’m not totally convinced it would be an all original, matching numbers collector car.

    Van, take a look at the Hartley H1 V8. It’s compact, 200 lbs, more than 250 hp, and expensive. It’s the engine used in the Ariel Atom V8. A Lotus-buddy was considering putting one into a Europa Twin Cam resto-mod, but in the end couldn’t swallow the price.

    The Ford Zetec and Toyota 4AGE are both popular transplants into Europas. The JDM 4AGE 5-valve is good for 165 hp in stock trim… a little short of your 250 hp target. 250 hp would require a re-think on the transaxle and rear suspension as well, but the Zetec & 4AGE are compatible with the rest of the Europa drivetrain.

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    • Van

      Man that Hartley engine is bad to the bone.
      We saw the Stig run a lotus 7 on the edge of control. With that engine you might want to mount chain saws to the side, so when you slide off the road every other turn you can say you ment to do that.

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    • Michael RogersMember

      Heavy in back is OK, Lotus did a 289 and a BOP 3.5 would screw right in!!

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  6. Mark

    How about the F20 engine used in the Honda S2000?

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    • Tim

      It’s a large and heavy engine. It would upset the balance of a very light car, like the Europa.

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      • Michael RogersMember

        Yeah– just like the 427 Can ams– “just couldn’t pull more than 1 ++ G’s in a corner

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  7. John

    I always had dreams of putting a V6 from a Capri in mine. But that backbone chassis is welded sheet metal and too much torque would corkscrew it in pretty short order.

    I traded mine for a 73 twin-cam S model. I never looked back. The two cars were similar in name only.

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    • John Miller

      Back in ’74 I had a 1969 Lotus Europa S2 (Sky Blue) I restored with a Capri V6 swap. Perfect engine for the job … fast and sweet! Sold it to some guy in New York, no idea where it is now? ~ JohnM / Charlotte NC

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  8. Mr. Bond

    I wish I could store my parts in my living room!

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  9. Russ

    Nice candidate for a DP Cars frame kit.

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  10. grant

    Hmmm. It appears the seller has portions of the car stored in his living room. Either that or he has strange tastes in garage floors. This might be something you could buy for a song, if he’s married. I can’t imagine any wife being ok with car parts strewn all over.

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    • Michael RogersMember

      There ARE some women that DO dig greasy things like these, I’ve known some, now find dogs more accepting! My X took her sprite head in to the kitchen sink to clean it up doing what was to her the way to do it, got it nice and clean! Another friends wife rewired his Europa, they’d go at 0200 and blast through the country roads for hundreds of miles to breakfast in some far away city– in my ex Lotus 7!

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  11. Chris A.

    Anyone taking this on better hire Tim or clone him. This is not going to be easy and you’ll still come out so underwater you’d better have scuba training. But if you really like the early Europa, there is nothing like them. If it can’t be restored correct to year and serial number, it doesn’t make sense to rebuild that Renault engine if you can source a Ford or Toyota engine at not much more cost and have a better car. I’m not so sure about that frame either. That needs to be checked over very carefully and some of the upgrades like gussets and reinforcements in high stress areas might be indicated.

    Like 0

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