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1974 Lotus Europa Special

Exceptionally Clean Europa Special Twin Cam

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Price $43,500
VIN 3928R
Exterior Color Black
Interior Color Magnolia
Mileage 1624 Miles
Engine 1600cc inline-4
Transmission 5-speed manual
Status Inventory
Stock FJ2176

Comments

1974 Lotus Europa Special Twin Cam
s/n 74/3928R
Black with Magnolia Interior

The Lotus Europa was revealed to the public in 1966 as the latest in a string of automotive innovations from a relatively young but highly successful company. Lotus, steeped in racing victories, had become a leader in material technology, lightweight construction, and mid engine platform designs. The Europa combined all of these important attributes, emerging as one of the very first mid-engine rear-wheel drive cars available to the public. For reference, Lamborghini’s legendary Miura debuted in 1966 as well. Colin Chapman spearheaded the Europa with edicts for weight reduction, performance capability, and economical construction. The primary goal of this approach was to deliver an inexpensive performance machine that could be produced in larger numbers without costly tooling. To accomplish these goals, the backbone chassis eschewed costly steel stampings, instead using folded and welded steel. The body was molded in fiberglass, bonded, then bolted to the chassis, allowing for rigid construction and lighter weight. Lotus enthusiasts responded to the exciting and novel Europa, purchasing 9,300 examples through nine years of production, making it one of the most successful cars Lotus ever offered and creating the model for many of Lotus’ subsequent successful models.

In 1971, Lotus introduced the Type 74 Europa TC (“twin-cam”). The new Type 74 came with a 1600 cc twin-cam engine capable of producing just over 100 horsepower. Mated to a four-speed manual gearbox, the performance of the twin-cam Europa was quite impressive thanks to its curb weight of approximately 1600 pounds. The body was also enlarged slightly to provide extra interior room for passenger and driver. In 1974 the Europa TC was updated with a 5-speed transmission and larger displacement engine known as the “Big Valve”. Rated at 126hp, the big valve TC achieved 0-60 times of 6.6 seconds, and ¼ mile runs of 14.9 seconds, very impressive performance stats during this period.

This particular car is believed to be an exceptionally low mileage example. Currently showing just 1624 miles, this car is reported to have been in California for most of its life, eventually finding an expert vintage car enthusiast who purchased the car primarily due to the low miles and amazing original condition. The new owner had the car repainted by experts at Junior’s House of Color in California solely to improve the exterior condition, which had begun to show evidence of age. A California collector purchased the car from this owner in 2005. At that time, the car showed 1,284 miles. The current and previous owners have performed mechanical and cosmetic improvements as needed, tending to the car with attention to originality whenever possible. In 2008 the car was professionally serviced at Kampena Motors, Sonoma, CA replacing the brakes, motor and transmission mounts, installing new front and rear shocks, u-joint, hub carrier, transmission seal, bearings, and a new slave cylinder, totaling $6,700.00. The engine and engine compartment was fully detailed at that time to a high standard. New tires were installed in 2010. Recently, British car expert Jim Groom has serviced the car installing a new mechanical fuel pump and gaskets, and tending to the carburetors as needed.

Today the car presents in exceptionally nice condition with very nice glossy black paint, accented by correct factory gold stripes. The quality of the bodywork and paint far exceed the original standards of the Lotus factory. Fit and finish are impressive with excellent door, hood, and deck lid gaps. Doors shut with integrity and fit that one seldom finds on fiberglass bodies. The exterior trim, silver accent rocker panels, chrome, emblems and script are all in excellent condition. The bumpers and other bright trim have the lightest hazing and a few minor scratches, but is otherwise very nice. The glass is in very nice condition including the windshield, which shows no evidence of road chips or damage. Lighting and lenses are also in very nice condition, including the Lucas headlamps. The wheels are beautifully finished and in excellent condition.

The interior of the car is exceptional, creating a harmonious look and feel that matches the car’s excellent exterior presentation. The seats appear to have been properly upgraded to a finer quality material, beautifully stitched in the correct pattern, improving the overall visual impact of the interior. The dash and door panels are in excellent condition with the exception of one a crack across the wood dashboard veneer. Door panels and center console are also in very nice condition, while the carpeting showing only light evidence of use in the footwells. The instruments are beautifully finished and appear original with excellent dial faces, clear lenses, and bright needles. Once seated in this Lotus, beautiful knobs, delightful trim, and various switches surround you with a distinct racing cockpit feel. The nicely preserved aluminum spoke steering wheel finishes off the interior with commanding presence reminding the driver of Lotus’ many racing victories.

Under the hood, the originality of the car is revealed with a clean and dry engine compartment sporting largely original and tidy finishes without being overdone. The look and feel of the engine compartment visually supports the 1624 miles on the odometer. The front and rear storage areas appear essentially as new, seemingly never used. Here again, these areas show uncommonly tight fit, cleanly maintained, but not fussily restored – further supporting the low miles. Underneath the car there is no evidence of compromise to the structure. The chassis and suspension also support the indicated mileage. Components are clean, factory finished, and properly sorted – here again, not restored, but properly cared for and respectfully preserved.

The car starts easily and idles smoothly once warm. Recent service has resulted in very nice throttle response allowing the car to accelerate exceedingly well, exhibiting a tight and cohesive feel. The 5-speed gearbox shifts smoothly in all gears and the clutch takes up authoritatively, with a racy, purposeful feel that is still streetable. The engine and driveline perform as intended by Lotus, offering snappy acceleration, nimble cornering, and responsive braking. The chassis is tight and lively, encouraging the owner to take the car for a spirited drive on a twisty road. In all, this Europa TC is as close to a new car in both condition and operation as possible. As so few Europas are preserved or correctly restored, this car contains arguably the best of both worlds, resulting in a wonderfully preserved car, selectively improved and thoughtfully maintained in a way that belies nearly half a century of age.

The car comes with a second set of original keys, an original owner’s manual and service manual, an original sales brochure, various workshop manuals, a file of records for recent work performed, extra headers, a starter, original exhaust gas recirculation equipment, and a large box of spare parts.

For the collector seeking one of the finest Europas in existence, this car is an ideal candidate. With excellent mechanicals and cosmetic preparation, this 5-speed Lotus Europa TC is a wonderful example ready for pleasurable driving or showing.

 


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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