The Europa is a quasi El Camino looking sports car from Lotus Cars, and a fantastic example of Colin Chapman’s “simplify, then add lightness” philosophy. A simple steel backbone chassis is covered in a few flimsy pieces of fiberglass and all powered by a small engine mounted amidships. This 1974 Lotus Europa “Big Valve” beauty is for sale by its FANATICAL OWNER (all caps are his, not ours) in Tarzana, CA and is currently bidding on ebay for $13,100 with 4 days to go.
While most Lotii found on the pages of the Daily Turismo tend to be wrecks like this, the Europa are for some reason relatively affordable compared to other European marques of the same era and cheapskates can afford nice ones without too much hassle. Perhaps its because they will rob you blind with repairs or are generally horrible autos…only one way to find out..
The Big Valve name refers to the 126 horsepower 1.6 liter Lotus/Ford engine only added to the Europa series II line in 1972. It was a quick car in the day 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds — not because of prodigious engine power, but because the little coupe only weighed 1631 lbs!
Don’t expect to see adjustable seats or power-anything in a sub 1700 lb Lotus, and the driving position can be described as prison cell barca-lounger comfort. Also, if you are taller than 5’6″ – prepare to experience leg pains on any commutes longer than a furlong.
For some reason the rear of the Europa always looks like a sailing vessel of some kind – especially in the boat-white with gold pinstripes. This mixed the fiberglass construction makes us want to install a few stainless steal cleats and moor it to parking meters where ever we go.
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