BRI­TISH CAR DAY

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents -

This 1969 Lo­tus Eu­ropa has been owned for about 25 years by its cur­rent owner, al­beit spend­ing a lot of those years in stor­age while he worked in the UK and came back with a part­ner and baby. But now that their son is a bit older, he can fi­nally get back into it.

Orig­i­nally, the car came to the owner’s at­ten­tion through a friend, who got it from a rel­a­tive. That per­son soon re­al­ized that it was more than he could take on, so he sold it to an­other friend who started tak­ing it apart and did a great job of la­belling ev­ery­thing care­fully. How­ever, the friend also re­al­ized it was just a bit too much for him.

So, at that point, the car’s cur­rent owner bought it and com­pleted the dis­man­tling. It took two hours’ work on each door to re­move them! And that was just the start of what would be­come the biggest car project he’s done so far. Over time, it be­came clear that he was look­ing at a bit of a bas­ket case that oth­ers would not have even touched.

Start­ing with the chas­sis and me­chan­i­cals, as that is his forte, the owner found the chas­sis was badly bent and re­quired some very care­ful sheet-metal work to be done on it. How­ever, be­ing a back­bone chas­sis of sim­ple folded pieces welded to­gether, this was rel­a­tively easy.

As he worked through the run­ning gear, it be­came clear that the en­tire rear cor­ner units would need to be re­placed, as there was ex­ces­sive wear and dam­age to al­most ev­ery­thing. Dur­ing a cou­ple of trips to the UK many years ago, he started spend­ing large amounts of money on re­place­ment parts, and later had plenty of con­tact with Richard at Banks Eu­ropa / Eu­ropa En­gi­neer­ing, who knows ev­ery­thing about Europas.

The orig­i­nal en­gine was a 1470cc Re­nault with four-speed transaxle and the de­ci­sion was made early on to up­grade to the Re­nault TX 1647cc cross-flow en­gine, which is the ba­sis for the Gor­dini en­gine. Also, the five-speed transaxle is be­ing used. The owner was lucky to ob­tain a brand new pair of Del­lorto 40 car­bu­ret­tors, an in­let man­i­fold, and a set of hand­made head­ers from Banks, as well as ad­justable coil overs and the fancy rear link­age sys­tem that takes lat­eral load off the transaxle.

The body was a mess. No less than 14 coats of paint had to be scraped off by hand, but it wasn’t un­til the full ex­tent of the body­work was re­vealed that the owner re­al­ized that he was re­ally eat­ing an ele­phant. There was only one thing to do — go one bite at a time. Work pro­gressed over a cou­ple of years, on and off, un­til it was in primer and look­ing not too bad. The owner has done all the work him­self and has prob­a­bly worked on 95 per cent of the body in some way or other.

There is se­ri­ous progress be­ing made now, with the body and rolling chas­sis re­united and bolted to­gether. Con­sid­er­ing what he has achieved al­ready, the rest will be ‘easy’!

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