BY JAMES CAMPBELL
The Lotus Europa name is used on two distinct mid-engined GT coupé cars built by Lotus Cars between 1966 and 1975. The Director of Lotus Engineering Ron Hickman decided to pitch for the Ford GT40 racing car project but lost out. The Lotus Europa was built consequently.
From the front the Europa is a beauty. Alas, when you check out her rear that is where the excitement dies down somewhat. From behind she looks like a prototype. That low, windowless rectangular box at the back looks like it’s been designed as a hearse for squirrels. As you bend over the boot it looks not dissimilar to a Jacuzzi cover.
It’s easy to see why only just north of nine thousand were sold.
Lotus Founder Colin Chapman’s great motto was “Simplify, then add lightness” and you can see in the Europa’s interior what he meant. It’s a simple set-up with minimalist characteristics – dials lined above the steering wheel and then out across the middle of the dash. Enough space in the glove compartment for a pair of Ray Bans or a flat cap.
The Europa is stiff as a drive but exhilarating. It’s understandable how automotive writers back in the sixties tended to describe the Europa as the nearest thing to a Formula car for the road.
You can tell when a car is imperfect but loved. Lots of “special” versions get offered by automotive customising businesses during its lifetime. And such is the case with the Europa with its Twin Cam, Special and 47 versions standing out as the best of an imperfect bunch.
Would I remortgage the house for one?
Then again, at £25,000 for a clean 1960’s version I might not need to. The Lotus Europa is a good choice for collectors. Perhaps less of a desirable for the common man who wants something more all-round pulchritudinous and consisting of less Triumph Herald parts.