Lotus Europa S1: Barnfind

Addendum for the readers who have just started reading the story of my 1967 Lotus Europa: If you would like to read all of the posts chronologically, this is the post to start from (this is the first blog entry on the restoration). When you are done reading a blogpost, you can easily go to the next post in line by clicking on the link on the bottom right of every page. For this specific post it will read: “Lotus Europa S1: What’s underneath the dust”. 

 

I always wanted a car restoration project. I was always researching what car I wanted to restore. First I wanted a mini, then a Karmann Ghia, after this I wanted an MGB, but then I found something that would be a perfect candidate. A Lotus Europa. After a lot of research I knew why this would be perfect.

Some of the reasons that helped me make my choice:

Not too expensive to buy
Most of the parts are still for sale
Exclusive (less than 10.000 built in total)
No complicated mechanics
Fairly quick
Fibreglass body (no rust)

 

This brings me to the reason of my post. In the beginning of last week I was checking the auction websites to see if there was anything interesting for sale. I almost overlooked the advert, because it had a Bonito (kitcar) as picture, but then I saw that in the title it said Lotus Europa, so I went back and clicked on the advert.

 

I couldn’t believe my eyes! An unrestored Lotus Europa S1! Better yet, it was the second car ever built! I started researching this particular car, checked the Lotus Europa registries and the the Dutch RDW, they keep a record of every car that’s ever been based in the Netherlands. Apparently it all checked out, the car was first registered in 1967, chassis number was 460002. It was taken of the road in 1992 and it used to be yellow. The Registry also revealed that it was the oldest Lotus Europa that’s been accounted for. The second Europa ever built, number two of 296 S1’s ever built. Number 460001, the first car ever built was delivered new in France, but is nowhere to be seen. Maybe it doesn’t exist anymore, or it could be in a French barn somewhere.

 

After a few days of careful thought and deliberations I decided that I  wanted it, if the price was right! I first needed to be sure that I had somewhere to put the car, but that problem was quickly sorted. After a couple of calls to the seller, I made an appointment to take a look at the car. Fortunately Stan was kind enough to be my co-pilot for a 500 km round trip to the north of the Netherlands.

 

We found the car in an old barn together with two Bonito’s and a couple of go-carts. Because the car hadn’t been run for 19 years, it was in a pretty sorry state. The engine had been partly dismantled, the paintwork was terrible and the doors had been butchered by one of the previous owners. But now for the good news! The body looks pretty good, there are some holes to be filled, but it’s fairly straight. Hopefully I’m not going to find too many surprises. The interior was ok, the seat covers are in good shape giving the age of the car. The car is 90% complete, there are a few things that are missing: headlamp rings, side windows, maybe some engine ancillaries. All in all, the car was perfect for what I wanted to do.

So I bought it.

 

The second part of this week wasn’t what I expected. I had planned to pay a transport company to transport the car from the barn in the Netherlands to my garage. However, after some talks with my dad we decided it would be a lot cheaper if we went to get it ourselves. I don’t have tow hook on the back of my car, so a trailer was out of the question. My dad suggested we should strip the tool racks in the back of our moving van and transport it like that. So Saturday we spend a couple of hours removing the tool racks and fitting some tow eyes to the chassis of the van. We borrowed some straps and ramps from a friend. Sunday morning, off we went!

 

It took some time to get it out of the van, but at the end of the day, the car was in my garage! Less than a  week after I spotted it online. I still can’t believe my luck for finding this car.

 

I still have to fit some lights in the garage, and I need to get an electric heater if I want to use it in winter. But I’m also converting one of our basement rooms to a workshop where I can work in wintertime without being cold. But more on that later!

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