LOTUS EUROPA SPECIAL
Year of manufacture 1972
Recorded mileage 83,100
Asking price £24,995
Vendor Sussex Sports Cars, Lewes,
East Sussex; tel: 01273 477778; www.sussexsportscars.co.uk
WHEN IT WAS NEW #1972 #Lotus-Europa
Price £1996 (1971)
Max power 126bhp
Max torque 113lb ft
0-60mph 7 secs
Top speed 123mph
This possibly isn’t an original JPS (the livery remained an option after the first 100 commemorative cars were made), but it wears the paint scheme well. The cabin has been retrimmed in leather the same colour as the original oatmeal vinyl and velour, and the BigValve motor was overhauled by Terry Hoyle at a cost of £4000. The previous owner kept a record of all the detailed fettling he carried out from 2006, too. Prior to that, there are lots of bills from Banks Service Station and from Paul Matty Sports Cars. The Europa was rebuilt at some point on a new galvanised chassis, which is still excellent where you can see it. The paint is fine, with no stars or chips in the gel coat. Chrome is mostly good, bar the ’screen trim fading a bit. The alloys are unscuffed, shod with Goodyear NCTs having plenty of tread, though they date from 2002. There’s an older SP7 on a steel as the spare.
Inside, the hide is taking on wear and colour, and there’s a battery cut off switch on the bulkhead. The dash wood is smart, with no cracks in the veneer, and there’s a digital odometer indicating a replacement speedo. The engine bay is tidy, and there’s even a Big Valve cam cover – and both of the lid stays remain in place. The bill from 1998 includes £600 for a steel (EN19) crank, so the owner was pretty serious. Its coolant is a good level in the custom swirl pot/header tank, with oil mid-brown at ‘Max’.
It takes a few goes to start, having stood, and idles in that typically lumpy Twin Cam way, but, once the misfire clears, it spins sweetly to the 6000rpm orange zone, and no doubt some way beyond. This unit has L1 cams that give power to 7500rpm, so it’s probably putting out at least 130bhp. The chassis is sublime: supple, taut and as responsive as a wired cat – probably due to the amount of care that was lavished on it. The gearchange is unusually slick, plus the brakes have easily enough feel and power to bring the front rubber controllably to the point of squealing. Oil pressure is 55psi warm, water temp a reliable 90ºC. The MoT runs to mid-April.
EXTERIOR No stars or chips; nice paint; windscreen trim has dulled
INTERIOR Leather just taking on character
MECHANICALS All new or fettled not long ago
VALUE 5 stars of 8
For Well kept; drives beautifully
Against Getting in and out
SHOULD I BUYIT?
This is an exceptionally well-sorted Europa at less money but at least as good as a ‘real’ JPS edition. If that’s too grey an area, you could always peel off the pinstripes…