Finally got around to taking pictures of my Lotus siting in my mom’s garage.
It’s been in there for several years... It started when my dad saw a red Europa at a local trading post and I think it piqued his interest that he always had. I think after building the Nova for my mom he wanted to build something for himself. Unfortunately, after sitting in a field for God knows how long the red Europa was (and still is) far beyond saving. But clearly it sparked something because a few months later this 1971 Lotus Europa S2 Federal was on a trailer in the cul-de-sac beside my parent’s house. Awesome. Unloading it and the assorted spare parts proved to be an adventure as the tires hadn’t seen a road since Carter was in office. Thanks to a half assed hoist on one of the spare engines I nearly lost a foot (apparently that bracket was NOT designed to hold the weight of the Renault engine). Fortunately due to my astonishing reflexes (read: sheer luck) I was able to move enough that the block scuffed the very tip of my shoe. Anyways I was excited about this car because who doesn’t love tiny deathtraps? Progress was slow as my dad was never the most responsible/driven/organized individual and I was busy with college (read: being irresponsible myself).
Only a few months after acquiring the project he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. At first this was a great motivator for him, but soon the treatments and especially the tumor extraction/radiation sapped all of his energy and then some. There would be good days where pieces were disassembled and parts traded/ordered, but it was largely placed on the back burner. I wish I could say that this was where I stepped up and made this project happen, but clearly that is not the case. My time was now taken up by my new girlfriend (now wife) and assorted dead end jobs. Sometimes I feel guilty for neglecting the Lotus and letting it become 3000gt parts storage*, but then I recognize that time was better spent starting my family. Still, this is an important car to me and I’d like to build it.
*After it became clear that he likely wasn’t seeing the end of the Lotus, he helped a friend who was in need of cash and way overpaid on a 1993 3000gt SL in order to fix it and flip it. The parts you see are a replacement interior. He later confessed to my wife that part of his rational for buying it was to atone for wrecking a certain other white Japanese GT car. I love my dad.
Personally, I never really liked the odd proportions of the Europa but I can overlook the cosmetics and see the super lightweight chassis’ potential. This car is a blank check written by Colin Chapman himself. Everything needs to be done. Every nut, bolt and bracket needs to be cleaned/repaired/replaced. This is a huge job and way past my expertise. I might as well make it interesting.
Originally these were powered by a hopped up Renault I4 (as they were easily adapted for MR use). I... want a bit crazier. I want a rotary powered Lotus. It fits so perfectly with the ethos of Lotus that I’m shocked that a rotary wasn’t used by them. High performance, light weight, unreliable. Lotus and rotary engines to a T. Adapting a 12A or 13B to the Renault transaxle will likely be the biggest hurdle in this dream. It’s only a big, likely expensive, hurdle, not an impossible one. The dream is still alive. Yes, it’d be simpler and so much easier to just put in one of the 3 Renault motors I have like God intended, but the dream of hearing that Lotus going brapbrapbrap on idle just does things to me. I need to see this through, or at least as far down this road I can stomach.
I would also upgrade the brakes to 4 wheel disc brakes. It’s not entirely necessary considering the car’s lack of mass, but since the entire system needs to be overhauled, I don’t see a reason not to.
I’m a bit torn on color. Part of me wants to go with the ubiquitous Lotus 49 paint scheme, Green with yellow grill and stripe, and yet other parts want some mixture of British/American/Japanese racing colors. It’ll likely be a BRG base as that is probably my favorite car color.
This will be a long drawn out process as my budget and time to work on this is still way too limited.