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Race-Ready 1973 Lotus Europa Is the Perfect Poster Car, Only Real

The Lotus Europa is one of those many meteoric appearances on the world’s auto stage that manage to forever remain the dream car for some people. We’re not talking about the Elise-based Europa version of the modern-day, but the original one made by the Brits between 1966 and 1975.
1973 Lotus Europa 21 photos
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The mid-engine GT was envisioned as a volume Lotus car and, by its own standards, the company achieved this goal, producing just under 10,000 such cars in the nine years of production. And as with any other Lotus car ever, this one too perfectly balanced road appeal with raw racing potential.

Take the one we have here. The car started life as a regular Europa, sporting a Lotus engine, a Renault transmission, and John Player Special overalls, and was initially purchased for road use. It didn’t take long for the initial owner to want to race it, and in 1976 this car had its first encounter with the hot asphalt in Daytona.

But once its racing days began, stock hardware was out the door, as the car had to comply with the IMSA GTU class rules. That means the engine and tranny had to go, leaving the spot open for a 1.6-liter powerplant with Cosworth block built by Pick's Racing Engines, and a new Hewland 5-speed transmission.

The car got all race-ready inside as well, being fitted with fiberglass seat shells, Crow racing harnesses, Moto-Lita quick-release steering wheel, Stewart Warner gauges, and a FireSense fire suppression system.

The Europa was raced for a while, its most notable result being a 39th position overall at the 1978 Daytona 24 Hours race. At an undetermined point in its life it exited the scene and sat hidden until 2016, when it was re-discovered.

The car entered a restoration process at the hands of a Los Angeles specialist by the name Graham Collins, a process that ended in 2019. Since then, it was driven for just 100 miles, and it is now listed for sale during the Mecum auction in Monterey next week.

Packing the race-ready hardware, the Europa is expected to fetch up to $100,000 during the event.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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