Colin Chapman built some of the most incredible driving and racing machines ever, but his motto of “Simplify and lighten” didn’t always produce good looking cars. The Europa could be one of the more unusual looking cars to come out of Lotus. This 1970 Lotus Europa was recently found in a barn in California, it can now be found here on eBay.
Due to the mid mount placement of the Europa’s engine, the rear quarter panels had to be tall, giving it a “Bread Van” appearance. While this design might not look the best, it actually resulted in impressive aerodynamics. This design could have end up being the design for Ford’s GT40 Le Mans car, but Chapman was determined that the car be called a Lotus. Henry Ford II didn’t like that idea, so he went with Lola instead and Chapman put this into prduction.
To keep the Europa light, Lotus installed a modified Renault 1.6l straight four in the back of the car. With emissions equipment installed, the engine only puts out 80 hp, but then again, the car only weights around 1,400 pounds. The seller hasn’t been able to start this engine, but says it turns freely and that the previous owner claims it was running three years ago.
The interior looks to be complete, but is in need of some attention. All the major components should be salvageable, but it appears there are some wiring issues. British cars from this era aren’t known for having great electrical systems anyway, so this could be a huge deterrent for some buyers. A courageous DIYer should be able to tackle the job with a wiring diagram and some luck.
Some cars look better in person than in photos and the Europa is one of those cars. It’s still not a beautiful car, but if you’re more concerned with handling than looks, this could be the one for you. Clean examples can typically be picked up around $10,000, so this one might be overpriced. What do you think this nimble Bread Van is worth in its current condition?