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 […]
This next car comes as a tip from Carter who writes: Personally it looks like an offspring of a VW Doka meets a Triumph Spitfire, but being a Lotus, I am sure it has a following. Find this 1971 Lotus Europa offered for $6,000 in Maine via craigslist. From the seller: Early Europa unrestored, needs work […]
Let’s get something out in the open. This next car is going to be a money pit. A get caught cheating on your divorce atty spouse level of money shredder. A cocaine addict with an unlimited line of credit at the local Goons R Us loan shark. Like owning a classic boat. A LOT like […]