Lotus excitement VW reliability
Full history during my ownership in Europa Story below.
3 of A4 Yellow Lever arch files of No 1 admin, No 2 Technical, No 3 Suppliers.
1 of Lotus Europa Workshop Manual. 1 of OMEX manual and 1 of electrical wiring.
I yellow box containing 3 USBs memory sticks of Admin, Photos, and OMEX.
I am a fully qualified Electrical/Mechanical project manager for over forty-five years, now retired, having worked on building new car factories and aircraft factories all around the world. My hobby was motor racing for forty years predominately in single-seaters with several championships under my belt. I always built or rebuilt my own race cars and engines and also did my own setups.
The Europa Story.
My 1970 Lotus Europa S2 has been with me since 26th October 1991,
I bought it on a whim to restore at some point. It had had an engine fire that had demolished most of the rear end. The engine was not original, possibly incorrectly fitted and the cause of the fire. I moved house three times, each time taking it in bits with me.
Finally, I got around to working on the Europa many years later after I retired and moved to Cornwall in 2015. Work commenced in earnest late in 2016. After nearly three years of work, it was completed. The first time it was driven was to the MOT station on the 14th December 2018. It passed the first time with no advisories.
As stated above, the engine was not original and in a sorry state due to the fire.
So I decided to go a different route. During my racing career, I successfully used a VW Golf Mk111 (1986 ABF) GTi 2000cc 16v twin-cam engine on 45 Weber’s giving 185bhp installed in a Formula 3 Reynard 923. Having retired from racing I still had a spare GTi engine and loads of VW engine parts and I knew the engine inside out. So, I fully rebuilt a VW Golf GTi ABF 2000cc 16v engine on 45 Weber’s, wet-sump with a branch manifold and silencers fitted including rebore, new pistons, new valve guides, etc. Power 175bhp.
Transmission is an Audi A4/Passat 5 speed, north/south transaxle which bolts straight onto the Golf Block using Audi A4 flywheel and clutch.
The only modification to the engine is the fitting of an input shaft needle bearing into the end of the crankshaft.
In early 2000 I had a stroke of luck. On an inspection visit to a fabricator making equipment for my company, I spotted a new bare metal Europa S2 chassis leaning against the wall.
On inquiry, during quite times the fabricator in the past had made chassis for Lotus, this one had been rejected for a small dimensional error. The error was correctable so a deal was done for scrap value. After correcting the error about twenty hours of work, I had it galvanised, and then work stopped on the Europa until late 2016.
The rear suspension has been modified and is mounted on a subframe mounted to the chassis, the correct way to do it. Not mounted off the gearbox as Mr. Chapman did which puts suspension loads through the gearbox and engine mounts! Engine gearbox assembly is mounted to the chassis via separate all-new heavy-duty engine mounts.
Uprated with dual circuit brakes and dual circuit brake servo, complete with cockpit adjustable brake balance bar. Larger Triumph GT6 front discs reduced from 12mm thick to 10mm thick by Black Diamond drilled and fitted with Girling AR alloy calipers with Ferodo fast road/rally pads. Rear brakes converted from drum to disc using Peugeot 206 GTi rear calipers with Mazda MX5 Black Diamond drilled rear discs.
The brake and clutch peddle assembly is mounted in the cockpit complete with the relative master cylinders located under the driver’s heels. Thus, protected from outside corrosion.
Stainless braided brake lines are installed internally throughout the vehicle.
The umbrella handbrake under the dash was replaced with a more conventional pull-up handle next to the driver’s seat.
All front suspension blasted tested and powder coated.
New front bottom trunnions and bushes
New rear suspension converted to twin link.
New rear galvanized and powder coated trailing links.
New Avo adjustable dampers (Front Setting 3 Rear setting 1, as recommended by Banks Europa).Newes uprated suspension bushes all around.
Rear drive shafts converted to CV joints. (VW Passat/Golf)
All bearings bolts and bushes were replaced.
New Front Springs 250lbs x 10” x 1.9”ID (As recommended by Banks Europa)
New Rear Springs 120lbs x 12” x 1.9”ID (As recommended by Banks Europa)
Wheels and Tyres
New 14” x 5 ½” Minilite wheels (5 Off)
New Goodyear Duragrip tyres, Size 165/60 R14
I used a lower-profile tyre on a larger rim for two reasons.
1. To enable me to fit larger discs and brakes.
2. To enable me to keep the overall diameter of the tyre near to original for aesthetics
purposes. The tyre is only 3mm larger in diameter than the original 13” set up.
The rear half was comprehensively damaged by the fire and very little recoverable.
The front half had been replaced at some time due to a previous accident.
I manage to source a second-hand rear half which I successfully bonded to the front.
All major cracks, breaks were ground out and repaired
Because of the mismatch in colours and layers of paints and primers, I decided to try another route to clean the body.
I went for grit blasting, not the easiest thing to achieve on a fibre glass body.
The body was sandblasted, yes I mean sandblasted, a lot of research went into this and I found a supplier in Cornwall able to do it. However, the company grit blasting the body had a stroke of luck when they accidentally dropped a floodlight inside the body whilst blasting.
So more floodlights were put in the body and the booth lights switched off.
The grit blaster said it was so easy to control the time spent on any area as visibility of the area covered was excellent and reduced the possibility of damage to the body.
This gave an excellent key for the next process which was to cover the whole body with a layer of fibre glass tissue.
I researched the use of a special marine-based epoxy resin to lay the tissue.
Epoxy is stronger and more flexible than polyester the theory being to reduce the possibility of cracks reappearing in the paintwork due to vibration etc.
The second coat of epoxy resin only was then put onto the body.
I spent all of the summer of 2016 in the garden putting the layer of tissue over the body, doors, bonnet, and engine cover.Paint refinishers used a spray-on filler and primer with not too much rubbing down. The finished result is excellent.
A new loom was purchased with additions of a hazard facility, rear fog light, electric windscreen pump. Switch and wiring for front spotlights installed but no spotlights fitted.
Ignition management is carried out using an Omex Ecu.
The current map used is from the dynamometer set up in March 2021.
New fuel level, Water Temp, Oil Temp, Oil Pressure, Voltmeter, and Clock Gauges fitted.
New Electronic speedometer and electronic Rev Counter fitted. New switches fitted.
New Front headlights housings and lenses fitted. New Front indicators fitted
New front side indicator repeaters fitted. New Rear light assemblies (£247 each!).
New Electric washer bottle, pipework, and nozzle fitted. New wiper motor gearbox fitted.
New Dash in light oak (By Classical-Dash). Self-designed centre consul (Part light oak by Classical-Dash). Re-trimmed seats in black leather. Re-trimmed door cards. New Polished stainless steel interior door handles. New roof lining professionally fitted.
New Carpets professionally fitted. New leather-bound steering wheel (Original still available with rare black horn push). New static seat belts complete with new stainless steel mounting points.
First time to be driven after restoration was to the MOT station on the 14th December 2018.
It passed the first time with no advisories. Quality of build
The quality is A1 confirmed by every professional body that has seen the vehicle.
I would not say it is Concours as it does not have the original engine and gearbox.
Yes the performance is increased also I hope the reliability by using the VW engine and gearbox. Work to complete
None – Just Drive it!
Model Europa S2
Date of Registration 15-06-1970
Restoration date December 2018
Taxation Class Historic Vehicle
Cylinder Capacity 1994cc
Chassis New, Galvanised and painted.
Engine VW Golf Mk111 (1986 ABF) GTi 2000cc 16v twin cam engine on 45 Webers
with Standard camshafts, Cylinder headless 0.20”
Exhaust Four branch 1 ¾” primaries into 2 ¼” secondary and two silencers
from Ashley Competition Exhausts.
Alternator Upgraded with lightweight alloy pulleys and multi-vee belt drive.
Water Pump Upgraded with lightweight alloy pulleys and tooth belt drive.
Water Pipes Water pipes in the chassis are stainless steel.
Water pipes in the engine bay and cockpit are high-grade alloy
All fitted with stainless steel clips.
New Silicon hoses fitted throughout.
Engine BHP 175 (Dyno March 2021)
Clutch VW Passat/Audi A4 lightened flywheel with upgraded clutch rated at 250bhp
With new thrust race and hydraulically operated.
Gearbox VW Passat/Audi A4 5 speed
Gear change Upgraded with Rose Joints and hook universal joints
Brakes New dual circuit servo with disc all round.
Triumph GT6 front discs reduced from 12mm thick to 10mm thick with
Girling AR alloy calipers.
Peugeot 206 GTi rear calipers with Mazda MX5 rear discs.
Brake Cylinders OBP cylinder Front 0.7” Rear 0.75” mounted internally under driver’s heels.
Brake & Clutch Peddles OBP alloy peddles fully cockpit adjustable brake balance.
Dampers AVO fully adjustable
Base Setting Front 3, Rear 1.
Springs Front 250lbs x 10” x 1.9”ID
Rear 120lbs x 12” x 1.9”ID
Steering Upgraded with new nylon bushes a new universal joint
Body Base Polyester fibre glass mat coated with epoxy resin and tissue
Windows Electrically operated
Heater Upgraded with alloy core with consul adjustable air control and temperature
Colour Lotus Yellow
Paint Bare shell respray engine bay, front boot, sills, and wheel arches stone
chipped prior to primer and final colour.
Paint treated to G-Tech ceramic coating with five-year protection and
MOT Expiry 12th December 2021 (First MOT after restoration 14-12-2018)
Mileage to date 651 (13-10-21)
*PLEASE NOTE* The Vendor would be pleased to talk to any serious prospective buyer interested in this car”. Ring Owen on 01202 745466 and give YOUR telephone number to him and he will pass it on to the vendor. As a separate transaction, the vendor has the original engine, gear box and a large number of spares. If the purchaser is interested he is willing to sell it. I believe it has been fully re-conditioned. This car would make a superb track day car.
The vendor of this superb Lotus Europa would like to negotiate with the buyer of his car, if he wants, to purchase the original engine and gearbox, plus he has new disc brakes, rebuilt caliper’s etc etc etc
There is no obligation to the buyer of this beautiful car to purchase these items. If the buyer wishes to purchase these parts it is a sole transaction between him and the vendor and SWVA will not be involved in this.