Ugly Duckling: 1971 Lotus Europa S2

1971 Lotus Europa

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The Europa really is the ugly duckling of the Lotus family, but even if it isn’t the prettiest of the bunch, it still offered all the great handling one would expect from a Colin Chapman creation. If you can get over the looks and in the case of this particular example, all the needed repairs, the Europa can be a great choice for anyone wanting a classic they can race on the weekend. This 1971 Europa S2 was owned by a Former Lotus mechanic, but after their sudden passing, the car went into storage. It has recently been pulled from the barn and has been listed here on craigslist in Livonia, New York with a $5,500 asking price. Special thanks goes to Al H for the tip!

In Al’s submission, he posed an interesting question. Given the car’s location in New York, he wondered if this Europa has seen any race duty at Watkins Glen. The seller didn’t provide any of the car’s history, so it’s completely possible that it did, but we have no way of proving it. Given the distance between Livonia and Watkins Glen, I’m not seeing much if any connection, but it would certainly be worth doing some research to see if it was ever raced. The previous owner was a Lotus mechanic, so I’m sure they knew how to tune one of these for top performance. Sadly the seller only provided one photo so much about this car will have to be assumed. They claim it was mid restoration when it went into storage, but that the motor was rebuilt and currently runs. It’s going to need a lot of work to get it back on the road, but could be a worthwhile endeavor. So would you like to help this ugly duckling become a beautiful swan… eh less ugly duck?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Stuart

    Get the mechanicals right and spray some camo on there. Let it be what it is…its never going to be a shiny black John Player Special…

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  2. Joe

    As the owner of a 71 europa since 1974, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like mine much better than a LOT of stuff you have had on here.

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    • Sean Tennis

      Someone hand the man a cigar, Europa’s are beautiful and handle fantastic!!!

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  3. Robert J.

    A Europa would be in my barn right now if I wasn’t 6’6″ tall. They look like a lot of fun. You get to enjoy mid engine fun on a budget. I imagine that the time of cheap Europas is quickly passing, just like cheap 912’s in the 90’s.

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  4. Stuart

    Umm…were we going for handle ‘fantastically’?

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  5. jim s

    if interested you would need to do a PI then make an offer. 1 photo will not sell this car. but i do hope someone does save it. it would be fun to autocross. nice find

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  6. jimmy

    you wish you would’ve got a bunch of old Mercedes 190sl’s when you couldn’t even give one away

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  7. johnforsman

    I think the 2+2 Elan and the Eclat were much worse looking. As an aside, I got a ride in an Europa on Mullholland Drive once, it was enervating. I owned a GT350 then, and it was much more noisy, aggravated, and unhappy on rough surfaces. Faster on straight smooth surfaces, but not as fast around corners. There is a guy in Italy who will put a Buick/Rover V8 or a Maserati 2.5 Biturbo in one.

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  8. tom999p

    I’ve been looking for a 70’s Elite for years now, they’re not expensive, but next to impossible to find in the U.S…. Eclats are pretty hard to find too…

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  9. julian

    This looks much better than the last one and would make a great track day car in the UK with any engine let a lone a big bike engine!
    It must have been sold by now. If my garages weren’t full of Flaminia bits, I’d grab it cheap, cheap cheeep.

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    • wheel wonk

      Would you have a late 2.5/2.8 Flaminia water pump?

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  10. Rancho Bella

    Darn near anything Ron Hickman designed is above average in any book.

    tom999p………I’ve passed two Elites and one Elcat (70’s) in the last year…… are not looking in the right places………………there is a reason I passed………….

    johnforsman…..Elan +2 unattractive?……….hmmm……….we must be viewing two different designs. I’m thinking you must have meant Elite.

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  11. sunsync

    I’m 6’2″, the seating position in my ’69 Europa S2 was perfect, although there was not much room to fidget.

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