In 1971 Chief Engineer Mike Kimberley oversaw the development of the upgraded Lotus Europa Twin Cam Type 74. featuring a 105 hp Twin Cam motor coupled with a stronger Renault 4 speed gearbox.
The upgraded Europa featured a 105 hp Twin Cam motor coupled with a stronger Renault 4 speed gearbox.
After the first 1580 Europa Twin Cams has been built the Europa model was again upgraded with a 126 hp ‘big valve variant of the twin cam motor.
The first 200 ‘Big Valve’ Europa’s were planned as a limited ‘Europa Special’ edition of 200 featuring the black and gold “John Player Special”, tobacco brand, paint work of the works Lotus Racing cars which won the 1972 World Constructors Championship and World Drivers Championship with Emerson Fittipaldi at the wheel.
The 200 ‘Europa Special’ limited edition vehicles, all featuring a 5 speed gearbox, launched in September 1972 are distinguishable by a numbered badge on the dash panel.
Such was the popularity of the Europa Special that the model was continued after the initial planned batch of 200 had been built sans numbered dashboard badges and in a variety of colours including black and gold until 1975.
I was unable to discern if the 1972 Europa Special seen here is one of the first 200 numbered cars, or one of post limited edition models, when I saw it at last years Goodwood Festival of Speed. Note how the rear bodywork has been tidied up to give better rear visibility when compared to the Type 54 Europa I looked at last week.
A Europa with the big valve motor was tested in period carrying a passenger from rest to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds and with a maximum speed of 122 mph. In all 3130 big valve Europa Specials were built from September 1972 to 1975.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘Big Valve Special’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho’ on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing last weeks Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival. Don’t forget to come back now !
12 05 09 Lotus Type 74 disambiguation, it has come to light that at least one internet source lists two Lotus Type 74’s one the Europa Twin Cam / Europa Special and the other an open wheel Formula 2 car, former Lotus employee Rob, Kayemod on The Nostalgia Forum, has kindly informed me that the Formula 2 cars were only ever referred to at the Lotus factory as “Texaco Stars” in deference to their sponsor and that the Type 74 designation seems to have been applied to the racing car retrospectively.