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I've been seeing a number of restored Europas on Bring A Trailer recently. I own an Elise, and love it. Can anyone compare the Elise experience to the Europa experience?
 

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We’ve had both. Plenty folks here have.

An Europa weighs 75% of an Elise. By comparison an Elise is big ‘ol pig :)

Europa was my dream car back in college. Took me 35 years to have one in our garage.

An Elise is rock solid mechanically by comparison. So many things to love about the Europa for me. I love the lines of the car, especially that rear deck which most people just don’t like or even laugh at.

The Europa is sooo fragile. Keeping one going is a consuming project, an act of love. And in a crash your body serves as a collapsible safety structure for the chassis. Working under the dash (fascia panel) is an experience. Plan to keep something under the motor/trans to catch the fluids. The half shafts are suspension components and try to separate from the trans with steady success. Working on this is a sub hobby unto itself.

But the car is light as a feather. More responsive than an Elige, which is by far the most responsive car with doors most folks here have ever touched. The ergonomics perfect.

When we let her go it was with right of first refusal, had her back in the garage in a bit over a year. Love that car. One of the best things that ever happened in my life.

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One will get you there; the other likely won't. (I did love my Elan, but spent a few years making it sort of reliable.)
 

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I’ve got both cars. Just finished a 3 year restoration of my 72 Europa (custom built as a fast road car). As well described by XHILR8N its a delicate car that handles and goes like no other car on the planet (for its size). There is no comparison. The Europa needs regular mechanical attention as it’s a race car that is street legal. The Elise is much more a regular get in to drive sports car. There is no comparison between the two cars. (My Europa is for sale, downsizing my extensive Lotus collection.)
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Have had 3 of them. Good platform for anyone who wants to learn how to be a mechanic.
Great cars, loved every one of them. The doors gave me nightmares and lots of scrapes
and bruises. The funniest thing was watching fat people getting in & out.
 

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Having owned 4 Europas (2 S2's, 2 Twin Cam Specials) and 5 Eliges, I echo the sentiments of the others who've owned both.

Owning an older Lotus is more like owning a boat: figure during driving season spending a weekend a month going over it. And when planning a longish drive (like an hour) you'll want to go through a pre-flight procedure to make sure everything is buttoned down.

Driving an Europa on a multilane highway can be an exercise in terror. You think you're low in an Elise? In the Europa, you're at eye-level with a Miata's door handle. Add the profound blind spots, and...

And be aware of the different iterations. S1s have the body bonded to the chassis (making restoration/chassis repair a major headache), has fixed windows. Runs the Renault engine.

S2 does also, and both have the sail panels behind the cockpit that means virtually no rear 3/4 vision.

The Twin Cams are more refined, have more power, but the engines themselves are not without some issues. The sail panels are cut down so you get better, albeit still lousy, rear vision.

The TCs started out with 4 speeds, but later you could get them with 5 speeds. You think the Elise shifter is less than ideal? The 5 speed in the Twin Cam, right from the factory, is an exercise in frustration.

It actually takes time to learn exactly where to place the shifter for each gear. It's like moving a hammer around in a bowl of rocks. And this is AFTER you/ve rebushed the complex linkage, and adjusted where possible.

The Europa draws a lot more attention than the Elige, simply because it's so unusual looking. People either like it or hate it, most don't know what to make of it.

Owning my first Europa (S2) while living in the agricultural eastern shore of Maryland, several folks asked me if it was a little El Camino.

The S1/S2s have often been called a breadvan.
 

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4380r, I had forgotten to mention how much fun to shift these Europa can be. Every time in the car, it was as though I had never driven a manual before. Really reminded me of high school and planning to avoid some hills if possible less being trapped at a light on the steep.

At LOG 34 ours was in the concours. They actually asked me to just move the car across the parking lot to prove we could do it. Imagine the pressure of Bob Dance studying me do that. But not a shudder!
 

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I bought the 1971 S2 Europa that was listed last May on BaT. I have an Elise and Evora as well. I always thought of the Elise as a raw ride with sharp steering but the Europa is more of both. The Europa feels faster even though I know it is not; maybe thats the way the engine is tuned or the lower ride height/center of gravity.

I have already had to chase a leak on the Europa, which should be no surprise to the other Europa owners. The engine bay is enormous and the car is mechanically simple but it does require going back to carburetors and distributors which had heavily faded from my memory since I sold my last car equipped with these back in the early 90's.

The Europa community provides strong support, more through yahoo groups (now groups.io) than the Europa forum website however. My advice is buy the best you can since they are either time consuming or costly to restore (versus the money you would get for selling a restored Europa). Prices for good ones are creeping up but they aren't seeing the price appreciation of other classic sports cars of the era.
 

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My 72 TC Europa shifts like a new car AND its for sale:

 

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I was looking for an Europa when I bought my Elise. I wanted something reliable .. so a Banks Europa or one with a swap would of been required along with A/C. Problems were that the cost ends up more than Elise, parts harder to get, the tiny tires means driving in rain would be horrid, no air bags & not nearly as safe, plus less luggage room. Still want a Banks Europa though lol... but seeing how I can only afford 1 car and daily drive it I will stick with Elise.

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The Europa is the most fun you can have on four wheels, with an original Elan a close second. Best drive ever in a car? Nine hour drive to LOG in Vermont in the rain, hands down! Would I want my daughter to drive one? Maybe once, but not for long. The Elise is a real car with survivability in an accident, the Europa not so much.
 

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The Europa is the most fun you can have on four wheels, with an original Elan a close second. Best drive ever in a car? Nine hour drive to LOG in Vermont in the rain, hands down! Would I want my daughter to drive one? Maybe once, but not for long. The Elise is a real car with survivability in an accident, the Europa not so much.
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We’ve had both. Plenty folks here have.
 

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JON: My ( YOUR ) Elise next to My (Zetec) Europa. As far as a comparison, I've owned 2 Europas and the Elise......right out of the box, the Europa handles better than the Elise (flat handing, with NO body roll at all)...with the exception of YOUR Elise (2292)......nothing I've ever driven compares to THAT particular suspension....when I sold that it was DIALED in and perfect.
 

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