By Dave Lindemann – I didn’t plan on this happening but sometimes circumstances bring opportunities that can’t be ignored. The car has a bit of a sad history. It was owned by a gentleman in CA who, with the help of a Lotus friend, replaced the water pump. In most cars changing the water pump is no big deal — in a Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special it is an engine out proposition…and removing the engine is just the beginning!
They completed the task in early April 2012 and decided to go out for a test drive. Well, the drive was a bit too “spirited” and the owner lost control on a curve and ended up in the ditch. The car ended up looking like the featured photo above.
The result was his insurance company “totaled” the car and it ended up on the Cranky Ape website. This brings us to the Minnesota connection. A fellow LOON (Lotus Owners Oftha North) purchased the car. His brother, also a Lotus owner and fellow LOON, expressed interest in it and began working on the car. The body was removed and he began a valiant attempt at repairing the damaged fiberglass. The brothers even went as far as purchasing a replacement front clip. Tragically, our fellow LOON who was working on the car passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.
The car became available for sale and I was fortunate to be in a position to purchase it. It is interesting because when one purchases a car from a friend they do a little bit more on the day you are scheduled to pick it up!
Yes, they lay out and organize all of the parts and pieces and have them ready for loading onto a trailer – it doesn’t get any better than that – thank you Mike!
Fellow LOONs helped with the loading, hauling and unloading, a special thanks to Dave Cammack for helping out with is beautiful new Ford truck and aluminum trailer. I don’t know if there will ever be a way for me to repay, in some way, all of the LOON members who have helped me with their time, equipment and expertise.
So now what? I already have a 1973 Europe Twin Cam Special that needs to be re-assembled, two Twin Cam Body sections that need to be made into one, and an Esprit that will blow everyone’s mind when it is finished………someday…….
Given that this is a “new” project I felt I had to give it some attention. The first order of business was the chassis. There isn’t much to a Lotus Europa chassis. It is light weight as intended and designed by Colin Chapman – I can pick it up fairly easily by myself! The problem is this one is bent, and not just a little bit:
This the front “T” of the chassis, obviously no longer perpendicular to the backbone of the chassis.
I didn’t like the idea of trying to straighten a chassis fabricated of sheet metal so I put out a request on one of the Europa mailing lists. I soon received a response from a person in Denver who had a used but good, straight chassis from a 1973 Twin Cam Special that is now back in my shop. Read about THAT experience in the November issue!