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Homepage. This page: A Type 46 or 47 Europa seen in a sixties' paddock, but does anyone recognise the circuit or meeting?.

Lotus Europa.

Does this circuit paddock look familiar to anyone? The cars are a little easier to pin down - in the foreground is a mid-engined Lotus Europa, prepared for competition activity and entered in this race as car 95. In the background, parked behind what looks like a mobile workshop, is a rare Honda S800 Coupe road car. Registered HPV 777F, the Honda was first registered in the Ipswich area. Despite being a new-ish car at the time of the photo, the S800 had obviously been in the wars already - note the creased passenger door.
A Lotus Europa sportscar
If anyone can shed any light on the Europa shown above, it'd be appreciated - as would information about who might have been driving it at this race?

Europa S1.

The Lotus Europa S1, or Type 46 as it was known behind the factory gates at Hethel, went on sale in 1966, alongside the popular Elan model. Despite being a sportscar, the idea of a sporting machine powered by a tweaked 1470cc Renault 16 engine might not have initially aroused much interest outside the circle of Lotus cogniscenti. A closer look at the spec though would show that this was a serious motorcar. The engine was mounted longitudinally, behind the seats, and offered 82bhp from it's Regie-sourced motor, just 7bhp or so more than a contemporary Triumph Spitfire. The Europa though was built in fibreglass, a Colin Chapman favourite, and engendered the Lotus with a weight of just 1512lb. This enabled the mid-engined Lotus S1 to crack 110mph, with 60 arriving in a smidge over 10 seconds. These early cars were very much stripped-out cars, more suited perhaps to track work than a comfortable run to the shops. Side windows were fixed, and the dash was a bare aluminium job (both these features would be improved upon with the introduction of the S1A). These first cars also featured a bodyshell bonded to the steel chassis, something that prove to be a headache to 1960s' repair garages, and restorers in later years. At the request of the insurance industry, the bodyshell would become a bolt-on feature from the introduction of the revised S2 Europa (Type 54) of 1968.

Lotus Type 47.

In 1966, Lotus took a much-modified version of their roadgoing Type 46 to the track. Known as the Type 47, this car featured a proper Cosworth-Ford sourced twin-cam engine, producing a healthy 165bhp. It was successful from it's first racing debut, winning at Brands Hatch on Boxing Day 1966. In all some 55 or so Type 47 Europas were built between 1966 and 1970, all designed for competition use from the outset. A roadgoing twin-cam was still a few years away.

S2.

By the late 1960s, purchasers were looking for a few more creature comforts than the initial S1 could provide. So in 1968, Lotus put the S2 Europa on sale, still with the R16 engine in the back. Luxuries such as electric windows and swish new interior were now standard fitment, moving the car away from the back-to-basics road/racer spec that Chapman originally envisaged for this model. By the late 60s, Lotus were weighing up the potential of the Europa for the US market, and modified a number of S2s to meet this market's requirements. This experiment led to the official S2 Federal car, a version with an enlarged four-pot Renault engine, and a slightly raised ride height, in order that the headlamps met with US regulations.

Twin-Cam.

1971 saw the launch of the road-going twin-cam Europa, or Type 74. Producing 115bhp, this new road car offered a useful increase in power over the Type 54, thanks to the 1588cc Lotus-Ford engine. Rear visibility was also improved thanks to another tweak of the rear bodywork and engine cover. The Twin-Cam would evolve into the Europa Special, by now fitted with a 126bhp version of the T-C engine enabling a top end of around 123mph.

More Lotus material at OCC.

Lotus cars appear in a number of places across the site, including this Windows XP screensaver, and a section devoted to Lotus cars in the classifieds area of the site.
Return to Old Motoring Photos Page No. 9.

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