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1967 Lotus Type 46 S1 Europa Renault Race Car Exclusive SOLD

Lotus Type Reference A-H Production   Historic Production Racer Listings Lotus Listings
Serial Number: 460504
Logbook: none
Condition: Project
Price: $11900 USD
Location: near Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
 
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Description

This is perhaps the only works-supported Lotus Europa-Renault in North America, even more unusual as it was campaigned not by Lotus Racing but by Team Renault. It has a documented race history including running a 4th at the 1971 SCCA National at Watkins Glen. Read below to learn more about the fascinating history of this car. It is a complete project, taken off the road about ten years ago and accompanied by an absolute boatload of spares (detailed below) including 2 complete engines and one disassembled engine with piles of rebuild parts, two spare gearboxes, spare wheels, spares for virtually every part on the car, and even more incredibly, virtually all the parts required to return the car to stock street trim. The car is not heavily modified from stock, the SCCA's rules for production racers allowing far less modification in the early 70s. The car has with it a pretty comprehensive inventory of most of the period tuning parts availble including parts from Hermes and Else. It is also accompanied by a wealth of technical documentation from Lotus and Renault and extensive documentation of it's period appearence. Technical details of the car are discussed in the specifications below. Despite it's complete appearance, the car is a project. The engine has not been run in ten years and should be disassembled to record at least the special cam grind. There is some chassis damage in the right front passengers footwell, the result of racing stresses. The car has no accident damage. A chassis off restoration is in order, with some additional strengthening of the original chassis as recommended by the well-known English Europa tuners, Banks Service Station.

History

In about 1970 Renault had a solid sales footing in the US and was actively promoting an agressive performance image, primarily through rallying. The compeition director was Ocee Rich (a Seminole Indian) and he was interested in advancing Renault's performance image into road racing. He later was responsible for creating the SCCA Sports Renault (now Spec Racer) class. Walter Koopman, a well-known racer and collector of French road racing cars, approached Ocee about the possibilty of preparing one of the new Lotus Renault Europas for SCCA competition. Ocee readily agreed, a support agreement was reached, with special engines an gearboxes being supplied by Team Renault, and Walt set about locating a suitable car and preparing it. A yellow, low mileage used Lotus S1 Europa was purchased from a Lotus dealer in South New Jersey. Serial number 504, it is a late Federal series 1, sometimes called a series 1-1/2 or Series 1 Mk1, and although it has the wood dash panels of the federal cars, some of the cockpit placarding and guages still have the French writing of the early series 1 cars. The yellow paint still lies beneath the two different race liveries the car currently wears.

With the budget from Team Renault, Walt made up a shopping lst of just about every Renault and Europa aftermarket tuning part availble and most of this collection is still with the car. Special assistance was provided from Renault with engine preparation and a special cam grind was done by Lunati along with competition rods and pistons from Gordini. Not a lot was permitted in the way of suspension or brake modification by the SCCA but the rear lower links were modified to permit camber adjustment. A roll cage was required and a very heavy duty rollover bar and side intrusion member were installed, along with rear-facing braces which further stiffened the chassis. The rollover bat itself was cleverly located outside and to the rear of the small cockpit, preventing major hacking of the interior and making it far easier to return the car to stock condition if so desired. If competition use is planned, modern systems are availble from English firms like Alleybars. The car was repainted in USA national racing colors, white with a blue center stripe, and some additional trim in orange. Prominent "Team Renault" logos with the Renault Diamond were painted on the rear "wings". The livery was dictated by Team Renault. Walt was also required to obtain an FIA license and list Team Renault as entrant, in order for Renault to be able to trumpet any track success. Several photos of the car in its original livery appear in the photo section.

The car's first outing was at an SCCA National at Watkins Glen. At this time the SCCA seemed determined to handicap Lotus cars, the history of the classification of the Lotus Seven being a perfect example. They did not intend making things easy on the Europa either and decided to classify it in D production, essentially a 3 litre class for things like Big Healeys and Alfas. The Europa acquitted itself well, however. To quote from "The Renault Guide", 1st Quarter 1972, Vol. 1, No. 1, a promotional publication by Renault USA, in "Team Renault News";

"Another Renault-powered machine, the Lotus-Europa driven by Walter Koopman, which entered the fray late in the season, demonstrated that it will be a contender by closing quickly from last in a field of 44 at Watkins Glen to Fourth before a broken Lotus part forced its retirement."

Walt indicated that for this first race they were running wide gumballs which over-stressed the chassis and broke a suspension part. They later had far better luck with harder compound narrower tires. (Ah, if it weren't for broken Lotus parts. ed.) The car never quite lived up to expectations, primarily due to the classification in D production and the fact that it was forced to run the original downdraught carburator and non-crossflow head of the production car. It was however allowed to use the slightly greater displacement engine from the Series 2 Europa. Many of the tuning parts which Walt acquired weren't able to be run until later in it's autocross career. Walt remembers that his best result was a third at a Summit Point event, and the car was run a full season of Nationals and Regionals in 71/72. Outings also included Nelson, Bridgehampton, and Bryar. The car has tech stickers from the Glen and Summit Point in 1971 and some other tech sticker which only shows the insepector's name. The car does not have it's SCCA logbook as the prior owner insisted on keeping it as a momento.

Walt sold the car on in the mid seventies into the inevitable autocross career which seems to await so many retired race cars. At this time it acquired its current paint scheme. The car was the proverbial barn find for the current owner, based on a tip from a local Lotus club member. The current owner is only the second since Walt. The car was acquired in about 1993 and has since been in climate-controlled storage, awating restoration.

Technically, the Type 46 or Renault Europa, shares many components with it's racing sibling, the type 47 racer produced by Lotus Components, the customer race car division of Lotus Cars. These earlier series one cars have the same lightweight body shell of the type 47 and the front suspension geometry is very similar with the exception of bigger brakes on the 47. From the firewall back the type 47 had a spaceframe replacing the sheet metal "V" of the type 46 and of course it carried a racing twincam and FT-200 transmission. Both cars featured the bodywork being directly bonded to the chassis for additional strength. The type 46 was a Chapman design and was concieved based on the lightweight Renault powerplant. It has a weight distrbution far more optimal than the twincam cars and weighs over 100 lbs less. Chapman at first resisted both the idea of the type 47 and later the twincam street Europas but finally gave in to customer demands for the "new" Lotus twincam engine. The Series 1 Renault Europas remain the purest and to many minds prettiest of all of the Europa variants and when properly tuned give away nothing to the twincam cars.

Recent Competition History

auto-cross and road use up to about 1990

Performance Data

Engine

Fuel System

Oil/Water System

Electrical System

Transmission

Rear End

Body

Chassis

Interior

Spares


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