Added Lightness – 1973 Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special

Some cars are lightweights. Then there’s this 1973 Lotus Europa Twin Cam special, which weighs a ludicrously small 1,600lbs. This weight, of course, is no fluke but instead the result of the dogged determination of Lotus founder and engineering genius Colin Chapman who believed weight was the single greatest enemy of performance. Champan figured out new and interesting way to reduce weight in his race cars through innovative materials and, most creatively, having components perform multiple tasks. Frame rails doubled as coolant passages. Half shafts became suspension arms. Fiberglass bodies strengthened minimalist steel frames. The result being cars like this Europa. With its uniquely styled but lightweight fiberglass body, fully independent suspension and twin cam engine, this car handles, accelerates and stops with nearly the same performance as a purpose-built, single seat race car. So good were they, in fact, automotive writers of the period routinely called them the closest one can get to driving a race car on the street. This car is particularly special because of what appears to be fine condition and the inclusion of the rare and desirable engine. Photos show the interior and exterior to be in fine condition without, as is common with Lotuses, checking in either the wooden dashboard or the fiberglass bodywork. The seller indicates that Twin Cam Specialists recently rebuilt the engine and that most other mechanicals were completely refurbished as well. As time passes we see more and more people who are unaware of the Lotus brand and Colin Chapman’s significant contributions to the automotive world. What better way to teach them the importance of “added lightness” than with a shockingly quick yellow Twin Cam? Find the Europa for sale here on eBay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a Buy-It-Now price of $22,500.


  1. Peter Hoffman says:

    I remember when they first came out and all the Lotus weaknesses soon reared their ugly heads. Mostly overheating issues and general poor quality control. The bodies were fiberglass and sometimes the door gaps would be wider on one side than the other. Older ones developed hairline cracks everywhere. Apparently they were a blast to drive due to their handling.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I sat in one as a 15 year school boy in 1975 and was amazed at how low they were, doubt i could get down there now!

  3. Lotus Lover says:

    I owned a ’73 Europa Special like this from 1974-1979. It was mechanically problematic, but when it was going, and set up right, was a blast to drive. Needless to say, I don’t think I could fit in it today!

  4. wacodriver says:

    I had a yellow ’73 with black interior #3390R that is now in Michigan I believe. I drove it very hard for many thousands of miles. Only problems I had was the starter (throughbolts loosened up and the endplate shifted causing it to drag very badly. A little loctite and 15 minutes and it never caused any more problems.). It had the 4spd and after owning a 5 speed model I liked it better. I now have a 74 with the 5spd that is awaiting restoration. It is a complete car with 18000 original miles. Unfortunately it was hit in the right front and the body repaired rather poorly on the underneath side but should clean up nicely. They are the most fun to drive of any street car I have ever had. The only thing better were the McLaren M8C I traded the yellow one for – Wish I still had that car!!!

  5. Sue Ann Diamond says:

    How much should we ask for our LOTUS EUROPA 1973. White, interior in perfect condition, needs some body work, and an eval. of motor.

  6. I owned a ’73 twin cam 5 speed and it truely was THE most fun car I have ever owned. It had headers and was rated at 160 horse- at 1600 lbs. that 10 to 1 hp to weight ratio. I had 3 tickets in the first year and didn’t regret any of them because of the pure joy of that car. I drove from las Vegas, New Mexico to Tucamcary, N.M.- 110 mile in 55 minutes. No ticket on that one. Since then I’ve owned 78 308 gts Ferrari, Maserati Ghibli, Lamborghini Uracco, 928 Porche (who is a close second), a Merak, 70 fastback Mustang w/351 cleveland and factory hurst 5 speed, and other I can’t remember. I worked as a tech for Newport Imports Ferrari, and before that I managed 2 different ‘grey market’ conversion facilities in Dallas, Tx. with access to 512 Boxers and Countashes.
    To drive the car smoothly was something you have to experience…shifting a car that light with that horsepower requires a certain focus. Riders would leave their finger prints in the passenger armrest, corners onto freeways marked at 40 mph that you could do easily at 70 or more.
    Yes I broke suspension mounts on railroad tracks and other piddly things but these cars are worth restoring and keeping for an afternoon drive… anywhere!

  7. Russ Musta says:

    I have 73 TC Special 3270R… I bought it new in 1974 and 41 years later it still runs great and I echo all the above comments! Mechanically, a work in progress!! Mine will not be for sale!!!

Leave a Comment