Friday, February 13, 2015

15k: Best of the Breed: 1972 Lotus Europa Big Valve Special

You'd have to live in a bubble to not notice the way prices have been heading on classic European sports cars, but you'd be shocked to see how inexpensive one of the better handling cars can be.  We're (wait a minute...what site is this...oh yeah...)  I'm talking about the Lotus Europa, a smorgasbord of Colin Chapman philosophy, El Camino styling, and Ford power.  What could possibly go wrong?  Find this 1972 Lotus Europa Special offered for $15,000 in Seattle, WA via craigslist.


The Europa was built from 1966 to 1975 and in those years it did not go through a catastrophic death spiral metamorphosis like Ford's Mustang -- it actually did the opposite and got better with each year.  The Ford-Lotus Twin Cam engine was introduced late into Series 2 production and it only got better with the "Big Valve" version for Type 74 Europa that was introduced in 1972.



The mid mounted Ford-Lotus 1.6 liter inline-4 found in this Europa Special (the first few hundred versions were called the John Player Special and featured JPS style paint schemes to celebrate the 1972 F1 championship win for Lotus) is good for 126 horsepower and will scoot the Europa to 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds.


The interior is very low on amenities (no backup cam, GPS, or cup holders) but you do get a few gauges and a butt-on-the-ground feeling every time you drive it.




14 comments:

  1. Great cars. Handle almost as well as the Elise. Any one wondering if they will fit, I'm 6 ft, 180 lbs with size 10 shoes. Fit with room to spare. For comparison a seven including a Carerham, Birkin etc. is smaller, more expensive, less comfortable and just as likely to leave you stranded. Though I did love my Birkin more than the Europa.

    noticd the other cars so it is housed by a gear head. Due to the brakes needing work cannot test the car. These have some well known issues with rubber bits and bearings. Solutions and knowledgeable people are easy to find. Have it checked out first by someone who knows. Have seen many of these let sit because of bearings and the cost to repair vs. selling price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Fit with room to spare'

      I've only been in one Europa but your experience wasn't mine. Prepared to admit I'm wrong in the general case, but don't buy something like this unless your booty has been in the seat.

      Delete
    2. Forgot to ask whether an LS3 will fit.

      Delete
    3. Forgot to ask whether an LS3 will fit.

      Delete
    4. Forgot to ask whether an LS3 will fit.

      Delete
    5. 'Fit with room to spare'

      I've only been in one Europa but your experience wasn't mine. Prepared to admit I'm wrong in the general case, but don't buy something like this unless your booty has been in the seat.

      Delete
    6. 'Fit with room to spare'

      I've only been in one Europa but your experience wasn't mine. Prepared to admit I'm wrong in the general case, but don't buy something like this unless your booty has been in the seat.

      Delete
    7. Fleetwood T. BroughamFebruary 13, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      While we're comparing stats, I actually tried to sit in one of these at cars and coffee this past weekend. Let's just say that at 6'3" I wasn't even able to get in far enough to see if my size 13's were an issue.

      Delete
    8. I tried to buy a JPS Europa as a nearly new car in '77, but at 6'1" and 175, I could barely fold myself in. I really wanted to test drive it but I couldn't find a comfortable way to even attempt it, let alone live with it on a daily basis. Opted for a much less fun (but more comfortable fitting) '74 TR6.

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    9. Okay now I am laughing my butt off. Your right and I should qualify what I mean by "room to spare". I like to be close to the wheel so I have leverage and am used to folding myself into cars. With the Birkin the passenger had to keep their hands in their laps so that I had room to shift. In the S2 Europa they could move their arm. In the S2 I could drive with my shoes on. My head did not push on the head liner. For me that is roomy.

      Delete
  2. I agree with all of the above by Scot, just make sure that you fit in one of these. I tried an earlier model with the anemic Renault engine but could not fit my 6 ft frame with size 12 shoes and 185 lbs into it! So I passed on it. I do prefer the Ford DOAC engine.

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  3. I love to see cars that have been loved and taken care of by yellow car enthusiast.....

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  4. Yes, the S1 is a tighter fit. This is an S2. Some prefer the Renault engined cars due to the lighter weight.

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  5. Best of the Bread. As in "bread van".

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