The modern day Lotus Elise is (was…I believe Lotus stopped selling it in the US market a few years ago) a great combination of British handling/looks and Japanese powerplant. It took a while for Lotus to realize that putting French engines into their sports cars was not an upgrade over British iron. Regardless, the builder of this next car decided to put a late model fuel injected twin-cam Toyota engine into the engine bay in an Europa (a Europa…?) and made something very special. Find this 1972 Lotus Europa twin-cam offered for $20,000 in Ft Collins, CO via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
You know that I’ve never been a big fan of barn finds, mostly because animals don’t belong in barns, they belong on my dinner plate — no, that’s not right. The reason I don’t like barn finds is because they represent the worst hoarders attitude in sellers and the worst rosy eye glasses attitudes in buyers. I detest it when people pay top dollar for the honor of putting beaucoup bucks into some old hulk when they could have purchased a running/driving version for less than the net sum of their investment, and don’t get me started on people trying to pass off high mile daily driven cars as barn finds with a bad advertisement and a handful of dirt. The only reason you should consider an old neglected car that has been abandoned by the seller to rot in a shed is because it is offered for free or next-to-nothing. So if you find a Lotus Europa that is offered for half the going rate of a good one…it might be worth the car wash to see if it cleans up. Find this 1972 Lotus Europa offered for $9000 in Knightsen, CA via craigslist
As European 2-door classics like Porsche 911, BMW 3.0CS and Mercedes SL have inflated into trust fund money required status, there is a little car that continues to be affordable, despite its mid-engine layout, and sub 10k production figures. It is called the Lotus Europa and Colin Chapman designed the suspension, and Ron Hickman designed the exterior. Hickman is better known for his invention of the “Workmate” — the foldable bench/vise/sawhorse design that was manufactured by Black & Decker after Hickman sold it at trade shows for a few years. Anyway, Hickman left Lotus to pursue his Workmate side hustle in 1968, but not before he penned the gorgeous lines of the Europa…but now that I look at it…I can’t help but think that rear end is just an early version of his form-follows-function industrial design work. Find this 1971 Lotus Europa S2 offered for $18,500 in Old Saybrook, CT via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
I was talking to someone the other day about the basket case Lotus Europa we featured the other day and from a front 3/4 view he mentioned that he didn’t understand the styling — was it a El Camino style pickup? This was a person who has likely never seen a Europa before in the flesh and what he didn’t understand is just how small the Europa is. You don’t need a large American pickup to contrast with the Europa but with a total height of 42 inches and a weight of 1500 lbs the Europa is dwarfed by just about any car on the market this side of a Smart Car. Even the miniature BMW i3 is 1/2 inch longer, 5 inches wider and almost 2 feet shorter. Now that you understand the scale, you can see that the rear end isn’t high like a truck as much as the front end is low like a skateboard…does that clear it up? Today we’ve got a nicer example of the Europa bidding for a reasonable amount of moneys. Find this 1974 Lotus Europa offered for $12,600 reserve-not-met with 1 day to go, located in Scott Depot, WV via eBay.
This next car comes as a tip from Johnny Bouncewell who writes: Would be a wonderfully funky car when complete but I value my spare time, spare money, and can’t afford the divorce that this would inevitably bring. Maybe one of the other DT’ers has a bit more flexibility to bring this svelte beauty back to its proper state? Find this 1970 Lotus Europa offered for $3000 in Las Cruces, NM via craigslist.
I don’t like posting cars that are on the expensive end of the typical DT price range ($1-$20,000) but occasionally a car comes through that could be offed for $50k…if not today, then in a few years. If this next car was a similar condition Porsche 911, Austin-Healey 3000, or Fastback Mustang it would certainly […]
This next car comes from Erik202 who writes: I know this one is slightly above the DT budget but maybe there are some readers who’ve been saving that Christmas money from grandma up for the last i dunno, 30-40 years and can to afford stretch a little for something cool. Find this 1970 Lotus Europa S2 […]
The Lotus Europa has always been a favorite car over around these here parts — we DT writers love its lightweight composite chassis, mid engine high revving powerplant and cheap entry price. Time has driven the nicer examples to higher prices, but you can still get nice cheap Europa for the price of a 911 […]
A wise man once told me: A cheap exotic might just be the most expensive car you ever buy. It may have been the cheap wine, the altitude, or the way his beard moved when he said it…but those words have stuck with me, and are particularly poignant in the context of this next feature. […]
The Europa was a sporty two seater built by Colin Chapman’s Lotus Cars in Norfolk, UK. Only 9300 of these high-butted gems were built between 1966-1975 and in today’s world of overpriced junk (see Porsche 912 prices…ahem) the Europa is still surprisingly affordable as long as you avoid over priced examples for sale on various […]