Curbside Classic Capsule: 1971 Lotus Europa S.2 – Give Us Our Daily Bread(van)


I’ve had a Lotus Europa since 1969 — the handy Matchbox pocket size.  To be honest they were not the kind of cars you saw much in the wild in East London where I grew up and I didn’t really take much notice of the more exotic fare when I went to Classic Car shows in the 1980s/’90s. Fifty years on, shows or classic race events are the kinds of places you’d expect to see them. Not in North Wales on the way to Sainsbury’s.

Until last Tuesday. It was rather damp and drizzly so I didn’t have my camera with me (no, I don’t have one of those phone things) and it was a route I walk each week, food shopping. But today, something yellow caught my eye.


I stopped dead in my tracks! Looked again. What a little beauty. Certainly brightened the day! But the weather didn’t improve; in fact worsened so the camera and I stayed in the dry. The forecast for the next day was better though.

I went out before breakfast, fully expecting it to be gone. It was still there. On the drive it was a bit boxed in, but I got most of the back. Then walked along to get the front. Yay! That was better.

Looking at the pictures, there’s a few things that don’t add up. The ‘J’ reg. gives a 1970/’71 date, but by then it should have the raised front indicators (looks so much better without them though, I think). It does have the later door handles, but the door windows are acrylic, not glass wind-down. Neither the wheels nor the chin spolier are original. I do wonder if this might have had some adaptations for track racing.

Why was I going to Sainsbury’s? To buy bread, of course.

And this week I got to meet the owner who very kindly invited me to take a look around his new toy.

A couple of things were cleared up. First it’s a 1971 s.2, restored and lightly modified, hence the chin spoiler and the plastic door windows. He wants to change the latter back to the glass, electric powered type. It is, of course, very low, 42 inches so getting in, the seats are a long way down.

Apparently the ride is quite harsh, though the seat did feel comfortable and supportive. There was plenty of room for me, but as I’m 5′ 3″ and around 120 lbs that doesn’t make it roomy. If you look out through the back window you can see the sky, but not much else.

The rear is very distinctive, the chrome bumper providing decoration rather than protection. Being fibreglass the lid over the engine is quite light. Opening it reveals the Renault 16 engine and the rear luggage area.

That black plastic luggage tray lifts out easily allowing access to the transmission (also from the R16), rear susension and exhaust.

Yes, that’s the pebbles on the drive. Unlike many modern cars you can easily see the ground. Pretty much everything has space round it, room for spanners, etc. There’s a second small suitcase sized luggage area under the front lid, but mostly that’s for access to the front suspension, radiator, heater/blower and battery.

This little yellow missile certainly brightened my week. I hope you enjoyed having a look round it too.


More: Roger Carr’s comprehensive history on the Europa