Classics for sale: Lotus Europa John Player Special

Just 100 original John Player Special Lotus Europas were built. Even fewer made their way to America. This example is in need of some TLC, but with a bit of restoration it could be a prized possession.

During the 1960s and 70s Lotus were a force to be reckoned with in Formula One, racking up multiple world championships under Colin Chapman’s tutelage. To celebrate Lotus’ success in the 1972 F1 season, 100 Lotus Europa road cars were painted in the team’s iconic John Player Special livery. Car number 31 has just come up for sale.

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The advert openly admits that the Europa needs some work, but this is a rare opportunity to get your hands on a classic Lotus with some historical relevance. Those John Player colours are world-famous – even in a country with a mixed history with Formula 1 – with the Lotus currently residing in California, USA.

It’s a 43,000-mile car that’s had a new starter motor, battery and fuel pump fitted. According to the ad, the 4-cylinder ‘big valve’ twin-cam engine remains strong and the lightweight fibreglass bodywork is in good condition. Items in need of some TLC range from simple things like carpets to trickier jobs such as the fuel tank and curiously loud alternator bearings.

Beyond all of this, there is one unfortunate downside above all alse. Its paint hasn't stood the test of time quite as well as other parts of the car and, given the fibreglass bodyshell sported by the Europa, a respray will be expensive and time consuming. But if you're a Lotus fan that truly cherishes its Formula 1 history, it'll surely be worth your while.

Lotus Europa production spanned from 1966 to 1975 and consisted of two generations. The original Series 1 cars were endowed with a 1.5-litre engine from Renault with 82bhp. That might not sound a lot, but it went a long way in a mid-engined car that weighed just 610kg. 296 Series 1 cars were built before the Series 2 took over. They were mechanically identical, although the S2 Brought with it added refinements such as electric windows and adjustable seats.

A number of Series 2 cars were exported to America, but required some modifications before they were legal in the US. Alterations to headlights and bodywork were made, but the biggest change was a slightly larger 1.6-litre engine.

It needs some work, but with the bid currently sat at $10,100 – albeit short of its reserve, it might be worthy of your time.

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