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New member, long time Lotus owner

Europa TCS

Freshman Member
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I currently own my second 1974 Lotus Europa (4158R) that is almost back on the road, after many years. I have owned it since 2000. In nice weather I sometimes drove it to work, but it was hit in the parking lot. I had the body work done. As long as it was laid up, I had the interior improved by Mike, at Richmond Upholstery. But when I went to use it, on almost the first drive, the water pump went. Maybe from sitting too long???
I pulled the engine and transmission and purchased a new front cover with cassette water pump. I admit to being intimidated by the prospect of putting everything back together, and procrastinated. (It is so much easier to disassemble, isn't it.) I also have the excuse of three surgeries, in three separate years, as an "excuse".
I finally decided, with my wife's help/urging, to have someone local put it back together. So everything was moved to his barn. Unfortunately, he encountered a number of roadblocks. One was that I could not manually turn to engine over. So off that went for a rebuild. Then some other projects prevented him from continuing. So, I found someone else to put it back together, moved everything, again, and it is almost finished. I just got the master cylinder back from a rebuild at White Post yesterday. So, when warmer weather and drier roads come to our area, it will be ready.
Since I said it was my second Europa (4339R), here is the rest of my Lotus background. In 1974, while in the US Navy, I found that I was going to finish my tour of duty in Rota, Spain. I bought a 1974 Europa through a British dealer, for delivery/pick up at the factory. A friend flew with me on free military flights, and we drove it back to Rota. A few months later, I was discharged from the Navy, and spent several months driving around Europe, with my tent and sleeping bag. In those days there were campgrounds near every city, I doubt that is the case today. I eventually shipped the car home, and returned to the US. I had put 10K wonderful miles on it in Europe.
I reluctantly, but wisely, sold that car when we moved to Vermont with 2 kids under age two. I sold it to a friend, with the agreement that he would contact me if he ever wanted to sell it. Obviously, that did not happen. A number of years later, I decided to "reward" myself for having survived surgery and radiation therapy for prostate cancer at age 52, by getting another Europa. So now we are back to where I started my tale.
I must admit that I wonder how comfortable I will be, at age 74, in the Europa, and am reminded of this quote from Car&Driver from 1968 that I recently saw on a Europa group website:
“Had Harry Houdini been locked in a Lotus Europa instead of a trunk when they lowered him
beneath the ice of the Detroit River, he’d still be down there.”
I also have feeling that a more comfortable, but still sporty, convertible would be a good idea. That way my long suffering wife could enjoy it with me, since the Europa holds no appeal for her.
Thanks for reading, John
 

Basil

Administrator
Staff member
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Happy to have you aboard, John! I have always loved the Europa - one of the coolest little cars ever! By the way, I am familiar with Europa JPS (John Player Special) but what does TCS stand for?
 

Europa TCS

Freshman Member
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The Europa models were:
S1 Renault powered
S2 Renault powered
Twin Cam Lotus/Ford Twin Cam engine
Special Lotus/Ford Twin Cam Big Valve engine (often referred to as Twin Cam Special)

JPS John Player Special, a limited production Europa Twin Cam, in Black, with gold striping. These were the first Specials, after this, all Twin Cams received the gold striping, regardless of color, and were called Specials.

So, TCS is often used as an abbreviation for the Specials.
 

Basil

Administrator
Staff member
Boss
Online
Thanks for that info. The only reason I knew about the JPS is that about 15 years ago I almost bought one from - get this - the former drummer of a 1960's bubble gum pop groups called the 1910 Fruit Gum Company! (at least that's what he claimed - but then why would anyone make up such a story LOL)
 
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Europa TCS

Freshman Member
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I do remember the name of that group, though not their music (fortunately).
By the way, my first Europa was Black/Gold, but with a tan (Oatmeal in "Lotus speak") interior. All the numbered JPS's had a black interior.
 

Basil

Administrator
Staff member
Boss
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They had such mega-blockbuster hits as: "Simon Says", "1-2-3 Red Light", "Goody Goody Gum Drops," and "Indian Giver". While we can't say much for their music, at least we know one of the members had good taste in cars, right? ;)
 

JPSmit

Moderator
Staff member
Silver
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I have only once ridden in a Lotus - I literally had to roll out the door. I forget the hopped up engine the guy had - Gordini maybe? What I do recall is that he had had it lowered - even lower! I really don't understand why.

Welcome - glad you are here!
 

PC

Obi Wan
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.... I also have feeling that a more comfortable, but still sporty, convertible would be a good idea. ....
Tough call.

Europas are totally cool and I'd never, ever suggest giving one up for something as mundane as comfort.

But I'd have to say, there's a really good reason convertibles exist and I'd hate be without one. (Of course, I live in a place where I can drive one in January.)

I say keep the Europa. And buy an MX-5. You own more than one pair of pants don't you?
 

Europa TCS

Freshman Member
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I was at the shop today, and the Europa is almost ready to take home. I'll need to wait for dry roads, however. When I see it, seriously doubt I will want to get something in place of it, but my 74 y.o. body may tell me otherwise. We'll see.
 

DrEntropy

Great Pumpkin
Gold
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Welcome to the forum, John. We've too few Lotus guys here so DON'T let go of the TCS, just get an MGB for "comparable" comfort!
The water-pump issue with the T/C engines is notorious, seems most of the originals would last about 40K miles before they needed replacing. Done MANY pump R&R's back-when. It got to the point where I was able to do it on the Europas without removing the power unit. Cut the job time to 4~6 hours (with practice). Not sure I'd tackle one today, tho: 70th orbit, arthritic and lost that fourth finger-joint the guys called "Lotus Fingers" a while ago. ;)

And I believe it was Peter Egan who wrote: "You don't get into a Lotus so much as you put it on. Like a pair of panty-hose."

Glad to have another Lotus guy join the forum!
 

Roger

Luke Skywalker
Bronze
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Welcome John. I'm one of the Lotus owners, with a 67 Elan, 72 Europa TC, and a 2005 Elise.
I'm 79 years old and get in and out of all 3, though the Elan is the easiest!

By the way, the Federal TC also had the big valve engine, though not the UK or Euro market cars. However, it was the lower-compression Stromberg-carbed version.
 

AngliaGT

Yoda
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Welcome to the forum! I love Lotus cars,
& once had an S1 Elan.
 

Mike Stobbe

Freshman Member
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Hello, John. I am also a new member, and I have a '73 Europa TC. I have to say, regarding your concern about whether you'll be comfortable in your car when you finally get it back: I've found that (if you're of average size) the Europa is one of the most comfortable cars around. The seating position is hard to beat, provided that you can still get in and out. If you're still limber, you won't have any problem. I'm 73 and manage fine. Of course, I have only average size shoes. Mike.
 
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