My first Lotus was a Europa - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Milton FL
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Garage
My first Lotus was a Europa

A guy a year ahead of me in high school had a Europa in Kendallville IN, he wasn't a friend but I knew who he was, a friend of mine was good friends with him, I always thought they were neat. Years later in the mid 90s I saw one in a sale paper for $1200, it had been stripped poorly with paint remover, had a header and a Weber carb. The seller was an older guy that had been a designer for Chrysler, he had a lot of concept drawings of cars, probably worth some bucks now. My boss, and fellow Air Guard officer went in with me to buy it, that way I kept it in his local garage and worked on it at lunch hour, it was early, has spring clips in the plexiglass windows, they were removable, seems like a S 1.5?. I got it running, and drove around the neighborhood, it was like a real fast go cart. It sold for $2400, one of those on my list of "I wish I had kept that" Hindsight on certain cars is 20-20.
Now I have a 1991 Elan, been putting it back together, time flies in the man cave when you're wrenching.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 12:09 AM
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I've never driven a Europa but you've reminded of the following story about one:
I was getting into my Elise at the local shop the other day and this elegant lady asks how long I've owned my Lotus as she is getting into her car next to me...

She then mentions her husband had a Europa when they first met and took her out to a fancy hotel in it... she described wearing a long dress with buttons all the way down the front... which all popped as she got out of the car at the front of one of the top hotels in town!!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 01:57 PM
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This is the response you didn't want… :-)
My first (and only) Lotus was a Europa, but I refused to let it go. I took it off the road in 1977 after a decade (oops! forgot to tell you it's a Series 1, the second or third delivered on the West Coast) and began an arduous and frequently interrupted restoration.
It's seen three wives and a lot of storage but is finally secure in a attached garage again and I finally have time to devote to it. Yes, by now it needs a lot of TLC and parts but along the way I spent about 18 years as a mechanic and fabricator, so I feel pretty good about the project and my ability to finish it and 'drive it like I stole it' before passing it on to my sons. There are some things a guy just does't sell.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 02:13 PM
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My first Lotus was also an Europa.

Didn't buy it from Hayes at Wirewheel, but he hooked me up with the seller, LONG before there was a Wirewheel.

I went to HS in Maryland with Hayes, later we wound up at the same college. In college Hayes gave me my first rides in Lotus...he had both an Europa and a 7. Shortly after graduating college, while he still lived in Maryland, Hayes connected me with a guy in Delmar, Delaware who was selling an S2 Europa.

Owned, loved, enjoyed, and now gone:
1969 Europa S2 Blue
1970 Europa S2 White
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1984 Turbo Esprit Calypso Red
2005 Elise Starlight Black
2005 Elise Saffron Yellow
2005 Elise Ardent Red
2006 Exige Graphite Grey
2007 Exige Canyon Red

Other:
1970 MGB GT
1970 Datsun 510
1984 Honda CRX Si
1984 Pontiac Fiero
2004 Chrysler Crossfire
2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 05:08 PM
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1st Lotus

Like others, my first Lotus was a Europa. I fairly regularly dropped by the local dealer, down the street from my work in St. Louis. Every time, I ogled Europas. One day, in early 1980, I again stopped in, and the owner told me, "sorry - this one had not been cleaned up yet". Intrigued, I had to look - it was a 1972 Europa Twincam, in Frigidaire white. It had steel wheels and hubcaps. Over the next couple of days, we agreed on a price, which included 4 Lotus Alloy wheels, new tires and a ring job. (The prep work took about a month, during which time the dealer loaned me a Jensen Healey GT.)

I kept the Europa for over 21 years, and over 100,000 miles. That car was my introduction to the world of British sports cars, and to many friends in the Lotus world. After I sold the Europa in early 2001, my wife and I went to the Lotus driving class in Norfolk, where we both drove Elises, and fell in love with them. Once Arnie Johnson got the Elise imported to the US, we knew we wanted one. We bought a new Elise in 2007. I intend to keep this Lotus.

We recently added a Caterham 7 to our garage, which I will keep until I can't get in & out of it anymore. I'm hoping that will be a while!

A strange coincidence - I bought the Seven from the Lotus dealer outside of Detroit in August of 2015. It just so happens that that dealer has been providing parts to the current owner of my old Europa. I was contacted by that owner, who is shipping the car to Denmark, where he hopes to clean it up, and use it there regularly.

Below, that's the interim owner and me, the day he bought my Europa. The lower picture shows our Seven and Elise.

--Bob Collum
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