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Discussion Starter #1
New to the forum and to Lotus but not to British cars.

I will be looking for a Europa in the spring and would like some feedback on engines.

What are the positives and negatives of the Renualt VS Ford Lotus engines??

It will be a daily driver about a 12 mile drive of twisty roads with no traffic to work during the summer. I like the idea of the 5 speed but will not be driving too much on the highway.

any info is appreciated
 

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The Twin Cam Ford-based engine is far superior. When properly tuned the TC is reliable, tractable, gets excellent mileage, & has 126 HP. The only downside to a TC is that a water pump change mandates an engine removal. I have performed this several times by myself with a lift, but it's easier w/ another pair of hands.

The TC engined cars (1972 onwards) are also better built, slightly more comfortable, etc.

I do not consider this to be a close call at all. Hope this helps!
 

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The Twin Cam Ford-based engine is far superior. When properly tuned the TC is reliable, tractable, gets excellent mileage, & has 126 HP. The only downside to a TC is that a water pump change mandates an engine removal. I have performed this several times by myself with a lift, but it's easier w/ another pair of hands.

The TC engined cars (1972 onwards) are also better built, slightly more comfortable, etc.

I do not consider this to be a close call at all. Hope this helps!
I've owned two of each (my last TC attached), and largely agree with your assessment.

BUT, the TC is a more complex motor, and with complexity comes, well complexity. In my experience they needed more attention. Putting a Pertronix on my last twin cam Europa was transformative.

I believe Bean made a 'cassette' water pump which, once you got it in, made future repairs much, much simpler.

The five speed...well it's always nice to have 5 speeds. But climb into one and start driving, and you'll do two things: wonder if you can even drive a manual transmission and wonder if there is something wrong with it. Read reviews of when the 5 speeds came out. In brand new cars the reviewers were decrying the shifter. To call it imprecise would be an understatement. You literally have to learn the car. In both of my TC's, once I got used to them, I was able to be quite precise and quick in my shifting, but it took time. You don't guide it into gear, you have to deliberately place the shifter exactly where it needs to go.

And it's made worse if you drive one in which the several bushings in the cumbersome shifter links and rods have been allowed to wear. Even when the entire assembly is in good fettle with all new bits, and adjusted as best as can be, they are a bear to get used to.

One other thing, on the five speeds, the plastic gear in the transmission that drives the speedometer cable are prone to self destructing, and they are made of unobtainium. If you find someone with one to sell, he will likely know how rare it is and will ask many $$$ for it. When mine went, I had a GPS Speedo built for a couple hundred bucks that looked almost identical to the Smiths original. Since then, I've heard of a GPS unit that drives the actual speedo cable, meaning if your OEM speedo is working, you can still use it. I'd go that route now.

The TC's are obviously quicker, and do have more room if you're on the tall side.

If you're just bombing down some twistie backroads, a well maintained and sorted Renault powered S2 will give you a lot of grins. The S1's main drawback is that the body is literally fiberglassed onto the frame, so if you ever need to do any body off work, you literally have to cut it off the frame.

As for the later cars being better built. Well. Yes. But we're talking vintage Lotus. It's like saying a low tar cigarette is healthy for you.
 

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Europa

Have to agree on most of the comments. The TC is a little faster and, yes, the water pump is a pain to replace as the engine must be pulled. Although I did replace one once without pulling the engine but it was a bitch. I had to laugh about the shifting. People comment how bad the shifter works in the Elise, but they have never driven an Europa. Even with the bushing and universal in great shape the shifter sucks. Like rowing the shifter in a bucket of marbles. Takes a lot of getting use to. My biggest drawback being in the south is the lack of AC. The Europa gets really hot with the sloping windshield letting the sun in and the side windows don't open a hell of a lot. Sitting in traffic is a bear. Not a city car for me. But out on the road it is fun to through around the curves. The Elise is a much better car but it is also 40 years newer.


Make sure you can get in comfortable before buying. I had a couple of people looking to buy an Europa but after getting into my TC they changed their mind.
 

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The early shifter is more precise, for about a week.

Way back when I was looking for my first Lotus I helped a guy fix the shifter on a S2. It is clever as hell, look up a blow up of it.

The Tc shifter is simpler but heavier and when you are going from 1-2 gate to 3-4 gate you are trying to lift the weight of 3 feet of steel bar with your wrist.

As a side note there are 4 distinct Europas

46[S1]
54[S2]
65[Fed S2]
74[TC]

and they all look slightly different

The fenders get higher and higher as time goes on

Personally, while I no longer desire a Europa, a type 54 would be my choice. Maybe with a slightly warmed Gordini motor.

Everyone talked about the original Elise as some reimagining of the Seven, when it is blatantly a modern Europa, and the original Exige would have been what I would have done to my Europa......
 

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Personally I would buy a twin cam with Weber’s. And the best condition you can afford. If you wait long enough you can buy my 72 Europa I’m in the midst of doing a frame off restoration on. It will be a new car when I’m done. Big $$$ but it will be done right.

Here is my build post: Restoration of 2358R
 

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The Renault engine is a good engine in the gordini format (Hemi head) if you find one. Easy to get 160 hp from it, a lot of parts, less costly than the lotus TC. Good for Weber 45, intake not casted to the head. Some TC have casted intake to the head, some not. I think I prefer the gordini Renault over the TC.

The suspension of the car is set to be as low as the S1, the car was lifted to meet the bumper regulation by stretching the shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
almost ready

I am close to having the cash for the Europa and hoping to find one in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.I assume for that price it will need some work (maybe a lot of work?)but thats OK. I like the TC version the best but the would not rule out the Renault engine either. I think I am in the ball park from I have seen on line for sale.
Thanks for all of the feedback
 

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In the $10 to $15K range you will get a Twin Cam that needs a lot of work. There are currently half a dozen Europas for sale on Craigslist and eBay in that price range. Be very careful what you buy as you can easily double the purchase price with necessary work to be done.

If your not afraid to build a Europa that is apart, check out the LOONY website. http://lotusowners.com/ForSale/RMEuropa/index.htm
 

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It is a website with a lot of europa information. Long time ago, I put on that website the frame construction drawing. Typically, the joint on the front of the frame accross the main tube and the front section have tendency to be fragile. Very easy to fix when the body is off the frame.
 

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The early shifter is more precise, for about a week.







Personally, while I no longer desire a Europa, a type 54 would be my choice. Maybe with a slightly warmed Gordini motor.


Yes! This was my thought as I was reading thru this thread; I owned at Type 54, with a Gordini engine, pair of Weber 40's, and a shifter made with rod ends, and it was a blast to drive. Engine had head work, was a 1565cc, (if I remember correctly), and dyno'ed at 135HP. It was a cool car, but again, not remotely in a class with the Elise I now have. Nobody has mentioned the Europa door hing design, and how much fun it is to fiddle with!
 

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The early shifter is more precise, for about a week.

Mine was a 54 also, 1647cc, twin 45 dell'orto, MSD fire, Banks headers, was too cool to drive. But still, the elise have more potential, cost more, and less weirdo! The europa was closer to a formula car than the Elise for sure.





Personally, while I no longer desire a Europa, a type 54 would be my choice. Maybe with a slightly warmed Gordini motor.


Yes! This was my thought as I was reading thru this thread; I owned at Type 54, with a Gordini engine, pair of Weber 40's, and a shifter made with rod ends, and it was a blast to drive. Engine had head work, was a 1565cc, (if I remember correctly), and dyno'ed at 135HP. It was a cool car, but again, not remotely in a class with the Elise I now have. Nobody has mentioned the Europa door hing design, and how much fun it is to fiddle with!
 

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One of our Houston Europa owners has converted his to a Toyotus. He installed a 1.6L Toyota twin cam motor with AC and ECU. Good power with modern comfort and reliability on the cheap. Fresh Twin cam is ready to go back in the car when and if he sells it.

Yes I know its heresy and blasphemy to the purists, but it works well.
 

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The Elise and Europa are two completely different beasts but in some ways, I feel more confident and connected to the road while in the Europa. The light steering and beautiful balance (I have the Banks AVO coilovers) eat up low speed corners. It gets more hairy at high speeds...

You say you plan on daily driving the Europa? How reliable do you expect it to be? This is an old British car with Lucas wiring, points, and halfshafts that are the upper link in the rear suspension. I've never driven a Twink but the Renault in my S2 is pretty basic and simple to work on. The valves are easy to adjust, water pump is right there on the back, and it's lighter. I fought spark plug issues until replacing the points with a Pertronix module. If you have any issues with the Solex carb, upgrade to a Weber DGV.

One issue on any model Europa is the LH rear wheel hub nut loosening and wallowing out the splines on the hub. The splines get assembled with Loctite retaining compound to take up slop. RD Enterprises sell hardened steel spacers and lock washer which help this issue. You'll get enough opportunity to release that Loctite and check the splines when you're replacing the rear wheel bearings and u-joints every 10k miles or so due to the additional loading on the halfshafts.
 

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Just DON'T do this......Too much work, and you'll never get your money back !!!
 

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Just DON'T do this......Too much work, and you'll never get your money back !!!
Damn the $$; your car is so cool! The Zetec always reminds me of a BDA, and your car has to scoot, with the power plant! I always loose $$ on project builds, but can't seem to stop, just too much fun dreaming up, and solving problems. Super cool car!!!
 
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