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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings!!! Today I acquired a 1973 Europa Special in need of A LOT of LOVE!!! I had a non-running '99 Miata that I traded to a good friend to get the Europa.

Here is a quick rundown of what I know about it so far:
  • Needs a chassis - front left lower control arm is dragging on the ground due to rust!
  • Needs passenger door - the one it had busted in transit from FL to NC
  • was parked running!!!! like 35 yrs ago...
  • gas tanks are gone
  • transmission does seem to still shift! it is the 5-spd
  • driver's seat slider doesn't work, I can't reach the pedals at the moment!
  • has 1 mismatched wheel
I thought I snapped a pic today, but my phone actually did a 2s video - so i'll include a screenshot of the video! so I'll share some pics tomorrow of the car, trying to detail as much as I can. I do hope that as I make my progress, which I know will be slow going, that I will take pics and update this thread with how the progress is going.

My gf is planning to help me on this project and we have decided we want to the restoration to be like 80% time period correct (mainly exterior and passenger cabin area) and I'm planning to research a few mods/upgrades to the engine - fuel injection, possibly individual throttle bodies, and coil on plug as my "first round" of trying to modernize a little, hopefully improve fuel economy and reliability.

But really before I can get moving on this project, I need to get some space in my garage!

And any resources or "hey contact this person"-like info anyone is willing to share to assist me on this journey would be greatly appreciated!!!

1286314
 

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God bless you. Forewarned: this ain’t like restoring a Miata. If the chassis needs replacement, you’re looking at a total frame off restoration. Hang on to your hat. And wallet.






For starters

And if you really want to modernize the car:


Good luck to you. NOTHING, new, modern, old...handles like a properly sorted Europa. Not an Elise, Exige, Evora.

But you’ve some work to do.
 

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Thanks 4380 for listing these resources. Back when 3841R was here I became familiar them all.

There are a lot of folks who know a lot about these wonderful cars. It’s going to be quite the journey.
 

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I did a complete frame off restoration of my 72 Europa and documented the entire process here:


The guys on the lotusEuropa.org forum are great and there is a lot of specialized information available. There were many times I needed them as resources during my project. Enjoy your new adventure !

1286328


And yes it’s true, nothing handles like a Europa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the links... and as I told the local owners earlier today, I'm both excited and terrified for this project... oldest vehicle I've ever owned and will be first restoration I've ever done... so there will be a lot of learning and reading ahead...
 

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Hang onto your hat and wallet. The man knows what he's talking about! I did a frame off restoration of a Series 4 Elan years ago, including a new chassis from the UK (about $1k back then - much more today). It took many years, but was eventually a nice car when I got done. After several years of ownership, I decided to sell and buy an Elise. The car was on the cover of Hemmings Motor News, which resulted in calls from around the globe asking to buy it. Crazy.

I had the help of many friends and took advice where I could get it. Famous Frank, who is a good friend, lives near me and was a big help, as were others who guided me. Just a little advice - don't do the engine until you're pretty far down the road, as you don't want it to sit for too long in my opinion. I'd say you're in for $30-50k worth of work, depending on how much you can do yourself. I may be way off, as prices for things like painting, plating, etc. have taken off from what I understand.
 

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:eek:
I have at least 2, possible 4 gas tanks that could be restored. I also have a pair of custom tanks that I have made at a technical trade school but they are like 1/4 steel and weight more than the car. I know that two of them (the original tanks) are just pretty rusted on the top. I can crawl up into the attic this week and take a look. I also have a variety of misc. parts in boxes including some brake boosters (abouit 6) that most likely can not be restored, but might be worth the try. Let me know and I can let you have some of the items just for shipping.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@lotus72Eur - appreciate the offer for parts!! i'm definitely interested! I'll PM you this week to discuss further...

and yeah, i don't expect this to be a cheap endeavor - but a lot better than developing a hardcore drug habit!!!

and I did snap a few more pics today and I do see that it is a "Big Valve" Lotus engine with 5-spd
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Well. At least the brake booster has already been removed. That’s an upgrade.

I’ve seen so many Europas in such condition. You have to wonder how they were allowed to get that way.

If you’ve the time, skills, and resources for this, you’ll wind up with an exceptionally special car.

1286399
 
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Do not touch the bodywork until a new chassis is fitted.
There is no such thing as a 'good used' chassis

Buy a gross of plastic sandwich bags labels and a box of sharpies.

I wish I had digital cameras when I did my cars.

That door could be fixed

factory shop and parts manual.
 

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Wow! About as bad as my Elan was when I started on it.

@lotus72Eur - appreciate the offer for parts!! i'm definitely interested! I'll PM you this week to discuss further...

and yeah, i don't expect this to be a cheap endeavor - but a lot better than developing a hardcore drug habit!!!

and I did snap a few more pics today and I do see that it is a "Big Valve" Lotus engine with 5-spd View attachment 1286383 View attachment 1286384 View attachment 1286385 View attachment 1286386 View attachment 1286387
 

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I do a fair amount of Lotus frame off restorations and I have one rule in buying a car for restoration. It must have at least one aspect of the car that is in very good condition. Doesn’t matter which, engine & trans, interior, exterior, chassis and suspension. Any car that requires parts, mechanical rebuild of engine/trans, replacement of chassis/suspension, body/painting and interior all together costs far more to restore.

All that being said, a methodical frame off restoration done in a home garage can be very rewarding and have significant personal pride. And a big dent in your check book.

What ever your budgeting for expense and time involved, double it. And if your lucky you might accomplish it. More than likely the cost will be triple of what you thought and most people give up mid-project because it takes a major commitment In time.
 
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....and yeah, i don't expect this to be a cheap endeavor - but a lot better than developing a hardcore drug habit!!!
....
Bad news: Lotus (especially the older ones) IS a hardcore drug habit, just a different kind of drug 😏.

I rebuilt a 1971 Europa S2 race car from two wreck-totalled cars. Fortunately one had a straight frame but neither had a complete body, had to graft them together. It was not only frame off but every last nut and bolt. Of course the job was made simpler by not having an interior to reupholster (the irony is both interiors were in great shape 😖).

So you could have an option to make it a raw track/fast road car, at least initially to derive some enjoyment before getting bogged down later with concours stuff...unless that's your thing.
1286422

Just a thought...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@Certified Lotus - thanks for all the knowledge and "be prepared for...", I really do appreciate it and I know that I will be turning to the forum and friends to help find my motivation again when the project is annoying me for one reason or another and kicking my ass...

And, honestly, I don't really have a budget in mind at this point, but I'm not wanting to just wastefully throw money at it either. A little more of my car project history. When I first got into cars, I would say when I was about 20, I picked up an '87 Supra Turbo with a little front end damage - previous owner had pulled a little too far into a parking spot and damaged the front bumper cover and innercooler, so first thing I did was replace those then a short time later, the head gasket blew (I know, big surprise right?!?!). At the time, it worked out better to just get a rebuilt long block and my brothers pretty much installed it while I watched and handed them tools, them having more experience with such things at the time than I did. After that, over the next few years of me owning the car I did a various bolt on mods - upgraded turbo, locating and installing a few discontinued electronics, coilovers - really not much on that one and helped a few friends wrench on their cars - mainly an '88 rx7, a '91 eagle talon, and a few other MK3 supras.

A few years later, when I was deploying to Iraq with the USMC I sold the car to a friend (who had the 88 rx7 before) and while deployed I picked up a red '93 Mazda RX-7 w/ automatic. I also bought and had a 5-spd swap waiting for when I got home, which I within a few weeks of being back in the US. Within 6 months, I took the money I set aside for an aftermarket ECU and turbo kit and bought an LT-1 w/ swap kit - and the car went V8 in my garage, this time I was doing most the work and research, my brothers assisting.

A few years later I tapped the front end of the RX-7 against a rock wall and decided it was time for me to take it all apart and fix/replace/re-do various things that had bugged me - cleaning up interior, re-working the swap - so that car got nearly stripped down - and before I could put it back together, I got my 2nd red rx-7 (had a black rx-7 too that I left rotary...) and the swapped the V8 into it, as for the first car, I threw interior and "spare" rotary back into it and sold it to a friend for him to have a project. But the new red car got nearly the full treatment - engine swap, suspension off to replace/upgrade bushings, coilovers, dash recovered to remove faded alcantara, roll bar installed...oh, and I picked up a 2nd LT-1 block, this time a 4-bolt main from a '96 Corvette and stroked it to a 383 for the rx7... and I enjoyed the car for many years before having the AMAZING! and WONDERFUL idea of swapping it back to rotary...

But I wasn't going with a stock 2-rotor, nope, I found a 3-rotor (20B engine) and then took way too long to swap it into the car, removing the turbos, getting higher compression rotors from an 2 older non-turbo rx7 engines and getting those balanced to work together... and once that was "running", a friend let me bring it to his body shop and gave me an intro to sanding... I mean, fiberglass repair and body work.

And along the way I've helped many friends on their projects - but because of my own experiences with my projects, I've not set a budget and only a tentative time frame of "it would be nice to have this done by..." because this being my first resto-mod/project of this level, I know there are many things I don't even know I'll have to do yet.

I've been wanting a long, very involved project for a few years now - something that from the onset I know will take a while - I had considered an SLC or RCR40 project but was trying to sort out getting the initial "buy in" to get a kit to get started... but then I found a bare Elise chassis I picked up and have now, that was going to be my "full car build from the ground up" (and it will be after the Europa)... and then this Europa kinda fell in my lap when a friend got it from his uncle and we were able to work out a trade.

@71type65 - I am look more for resto-mod (even renamed this thread!) - and I'm not one for concours, I respect the hell out of those builders/owners and cars, but I'm not OCD enough for that! I'm wanting to build a car that can be daily driven and if I get a rock chip, it's not a big deal. She won't be perfect and probably never really finished, but the whole process will be enjoyed (hopefully at least 90% of the time anyway!)... she has many more stories and good memory left in her that have yet to be created!
 

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More than likely the cost will be triple of what you thought and most people give up mid-project because it takes a major commitment In time.
When he starts to lose motivation, he'll have my nagging ass to kick him in the rear (and help with funding). I want this car, and he wants to see it through. We've already predicted that this is going to take longer than what we think and more money than we expect. We've not budgeted for it and I don't plan to. We're not rushing anything either, and we plan to take the time to do it right.

We know we're going to have to go back over and over to figure out what's going on. As he said, we're both excited and terrified for what this project will bring.

Thank you so much for the reality check. We're going to need a few of those for sure. For now however, we have the car but not the space. That's step 1.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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....
@71type65 - I am look more for resto-mod (even renamed this thread!) - and I'm not one for concours, I respect the hell out of those builders/owners and cars, but I'm not OCD enough for that! I'm wanting to build a car that can be daily driven and if I get a rock chip, it's not a big deal. She won't be perfect and probably never really finished, but the whole process will be enjoyed (hopefully at least 90% of the time anyway!)... she has many more stories and good memory left in her that have yet to be created!
Resto-mod, great idea and that opens up all sorts of possibilities! Definitely check out Banks Eurpoa for parts, ideas, and inspiration:
 
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I'm going to do something weird for me and point out the bright side: Because you know the chassis is toast, and because the interior does need a total refurb, there's no question that you're doing a body-off and full resto. The interior, believe it or not, doesn't look terrible (yes it needs a redo, but you at least have stuff to work with / use as patterns. The dash, for instance should be great after a little wood refinishing), and everything I've seen of the body (other than that door) looks pretty good too. You also seem to have good glass all over the car and an intact (if inop) drivetrain.

I recommend you think of it as 10,000 little (and some large) projects. As long as you have plenty of storage space for all the (carefully labeled) bits, you should be able to do things nicely and end up with something stonking fun to drive and to be proud of. I'd probably think my way carefully through order of operations, too, and focus spending on stuff that needs to be done sooner, rather than what is most glaring, with the noted exception that if something pops up at a good price that you know you need, go ahead and grab it for later.
 

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When he starts to lose motivation, he'll have my nagging ass to kick him in the rear (and help with funding). I want this car, and he wants to see it through. We've already predicted that this is going to take longer than what we think and more money than we expect. We've not budgeted for it and I don't plan to. We're not rushing anything either, and we plan to take the time to do it right.

We know we're going to have to go back over and over to figure out what's going on. As he said, we're both excited and terrified for what this project will bring.

Thank you so much for the reality check. We're going to need a few of those for sure. For now however, we have the car but not the space. That's step 1.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Dude! I thought my wife was awesome. You take the cake!
 
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