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petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
8/15/12 7:24 p.m.

I guess it's time I started a thread for my "twins", even though I've yet to turn a wrench on them in the 4-months I've had them.

I'll start by admitting what you all are already thinking - yes, I really am a glutton for punishment. You see, my logic and reasoning went something like this(and eventually right out the window) when I saw the craigslist ad that fateful day this spring listing not one, but two Europas for sale locally: "Hmm, I've always though Europas were ugly cars...but I do really like Sevens(I'd built a locost chassis, but sold it off several years ago). You know, a Europa is sort of like a more practical Seven... And when will I ever see another one - let alone two - for sale locally???"

And, well... you guys know the rest of the story, because you've all been there too!

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Woody
Woody MegaDork
8/15/12 7:38 p.m.

There's a special place in my heart for crusty Europas.

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
8/15/12 7:54 p.m.

OK, here's the basic story behind these piles of wonderful British engineering.

The owner purchased the yellow '72 sometime in the late-70's and drove it regularly until the front of the frame rusted out around '83. He parked it in his garage, and started it regularly for a number of years afterward.

At some point around '89, he found the black '73 with a seized engine and picked it up to donate it's frame to the yellow '72. He began disassembling the '72, but could never get the body released from the frame. He also disassembled the engine from the '73, got it freed up, and got the piston/rings/etc. to put it back together...and never went any further.

Later on, he bought a spare frame from an autocrosser in Michigan. It's completely rust free, and has been stitch-welded.

The Goal:

Long-term, I'd like to build the yellow '72 into a nice updated/retro-mod street-driven autocrosser. Not with the intent of being competitive in any particular class, but rather a fun toy. I'd like to make the black '73 into a dedicated, stripped-down autocross car, although I'm not sure if I want to go XP or straight into DM.

The Good:

The engine in the yellow '72 should run.

I know at least one of the frames is good and rust-free.

I have two seats that appear to have good upholstery.

The chrome on both cars, while not show-quality perfect, is certainly usable.

I have a bound copy of the Lotus service manual.

There will be a pile of parts for sale once I'm done.

The Bad:

As stated previously, the frame in the yellow '72 is rusted through. Undetermined as to whether it's repairable yet, but the plan is to replace it.

Speaking of frames, I discovered in the FSM there are 3-different frame styles for the various transmissions. I have two 4-speeds, however the frame in the black '72, and the good frame, both appear to be 5-speed frames. I'm still trying to research whether they will work without welding in the rear hoop from the bad frame.

Both windshields are cracked. Replacements are about $500 each. Lexan will be fine for the racecar, but I don't want to run it on the street car.

I have no idea if the engine from the black '73 is complete. I have boxes of parts that I haven't even begun to dig into. Even if it isn't, there is still some value in the head/cams/long-block as they sit.

And here's some more pictures.

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Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

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petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
8/15/12 8:09 p.m.

The Plan:

OK, so maybe it's more of a vague wandering outline of what I'm thinking of.

My garage isn't heated, but I have plenty of indoor heated space at our shop. Unfortunately it doesn't have a garage door. I can't really do anything too messy here, like bodywork, but anything else is fair-game.

So my thought is to get a pile of mini-projects I can work on over the winter: Remove the bumpers & chrome for cleaning and polish. Bring over the good frame to prep and coat with POR-15. Overhaul the transmission that's already been removed, etc.

Looking out a bit further, I don't really want to keep the stock engine. a.) While I'm sure 100hp is entertaining in a 1500lb car(it was fun in a 1900lb GTI!), I really want something more. Getting power from the Lotus twink is $$$, so I'm thinking Zetec swap. It's not exactly bolt-in, but several have been documented online, I can get a junkyard engine for $75, and with about $1500 in aftermarket parts, I'll have a reliable 170+hp. I could do it cheaper - and I might - but let me dream for a bit... What I'm unsure of is whether I want to do the swap to both cars, or just one? I could possibly get the twink running for a couple hundred - but then again, a running twink is probably worth ~$1500 its self!

Obviously, the racecar will have more $$ spent on the suspension than the street car. I really think I want to try the plasti-dip paint job on it though, so that will be some savings. And since it's getting a lexan windshield, that's a few more hundred saved. But race tires aren't cheap.... lol

So, as you can see, I'm still undecided on which car to start with! But I figure in the mean time I can work on little projects, all the while getting a better feel for what I have that's usable, valuable, or just plain junk.

Ugh, decisions decisions. I suppose that's half the fun though, right?

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
8/15/12 8:13 p.m.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

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Woody
Woody MegaDork
8/15/12 8:23 p.m.

Please tell me you're keeping the yellow car yellow...

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
8/15/12 8:52 p.m.

Yes, that is totally the plan. I think I'll even replace the 70's funky pinstripe after its repainted. 8)

dculberson
dculberson Dork
8/16/12 7:39 a.m.

Totally awesome! Two thumbs up from over here.. one for each crusty britmobile.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve UltimaDork
8/16/12 7:45 a.m.

You have some very heavy-duty ductwork in your garage...

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UberDork
8/16/12 7:55 a.m.

As far as the racer... Why not try the dream I have been dreaming..

Ford 302 + Audi Getrag (beauty because JY parts are cheeeaaap)

Call it a GT40 wannabe, but it could be absurd fun!

I think you would hit "I dont really want more power" before you wallet would hit "I can't afford more power" with the 302 rather easily.

RossD
RossD UltraDork
8/16/12 8:18 a.m.

I love these cars!

I have a Zetec I should sell...

and some Fiero seats

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
8/16/12 11:57 a.m.

In reply to Apexcarver:

I think I'd hit "not enough length or width to fit it" along with "enough weight and power to twist the frame" before anything else.

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
8/16/12 11:58 a.m.

In reply to RossD:

Details on the Zetec???

RossD
RossD UltraDork
8/16/12 12:07 p.m.

PM sent.

Spitsix
Spitsix Reader
8/19/12 1:36 p.m.

Are you looking for something special? Not mine, no connection

This car completed 402 laps in 1978 during the IMSA GT Series Daytona Rolex 24 hour race. The drivers were Emil Rodriguez and Hiram Cruz.

Race car in restoration Jacksonville

Woody
Woody MegaDork
8/19/12 2:01 p.m.
Spitsix wrote: Are you looking for something special? Not mine, no connection This car completed 402 laps in 1978 during the IMSA GT Series Daytona Rolex 24 hour race. The drivers were Emil Rodriguez and Hiram Cruz. Race car in restoration Jacksonville

Tom Hnatiw: “Do you need a car like this?

No.

Do you want a car like this?

Oh yeah”.

nocones
nocones Dork
8/19/12 2:08 p.m.

Pete I know RossD he good people. I can pick up the motor next time I'm in appleton. To be an enabled.

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
8/19/12 4:27 p.m.

Awesome Daniel, keep me posted on your schedule and I'll keep in contact with Ross!

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
9/5/12 8:58 p.m.

Well, I've been doing research into rebuilding the stock Twin Cam. There is a certain charm about it, and all the Europa people keep saying its less than a Zetec swap.

$5000

Now, that includes new valves, guides, seats, Special-spec cams, shaving and port-matching for the head. Rebuilding the carbs, overbored cylinders & matching pistons, balanced & blueprinted bottom end, and full dyno tuning. It's bolt-inland race.

Granted, I can probably find a local shop to do the machine work - though there are horror stories online about using non-Lotus shops - then do final assembly myself. Maybe even drop the cost in half???

In the end, it would net me 130-140hp. But it would also allow me to remain in Street-Prepared vs going up to one of Mod or Prepared classes. I'll be outclassed either way.

A Zetec swap will get me around 180hp, I would probably end up in X-Prepared, but I could meet minimum weight(with ballast). Could I complete it for $2500 or less? I'd hope so.

Decisions, decisions...

Oh, and I haven't ruled out other swaps either(4AGE, Miata, rotary,etc.) or even something crazy like swapping an entire FWD drivetrain.

RossD
RossD UltraDork
9/6/12 7:13 a.m.

$5000 is less than doing a Zetec swap???? You're talking to lotus guys, not GRM guys. People here build whole cars for less than $2012!

I bet they are factoring in an Emerald ECU or something that cost $2000 just to buy. Buy some motorcycle's individual throttle bodies and megasquirt for fuel and spark. I bet you could get the whole thing done for under a $1k. One third of that price is probably the bits and peices that nobody likes to add up. Thats with buying an engine, albeit a stock one.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
9/6/12 7:36 a.m.

In reply to petegossett:

I totally don't get why you need a Lotus specialist to rebuild the motor. There's nothing that special in it.

How good of a worker are you? I met a good freind of mine at a local community college where we were both taking a restoration class, rebuilding our engines- mine- an Alfa, his a Lotus (from an Elan)- both ran fine when the class was done.

Unless there's a special trick to change guides or something like that- it's just an engine. take it apart, and figure out what it really needs- unless parts are just coated with rust, most can be cleaned.

The only real risk is if the head is cracked. That's a lot.

head-block interface- if that's clean and not damaged- just a swipe against the surfacer will be better than grinding it down.

If you are planning on doing your own ZTEC swap, then I would say you are competent enough to do most of the Lotus engine rebuild, and contract out the details you can't fix.

IMHO.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg UltimaDork
9/6/12 7:47 a.m.

A mild Elan is always a top 3 finisher at Ft Wayne Region Autocrosses. That Europa is entirely capable of similar results

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
9/6/12 11:41 a.m.

In reply to aussiesmg:

What class is it in?

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
9/6/12 11:58 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver:

I could rebuild it cheaper, but since I'd need to tear into it anyway it makes sense to do what needs done to meet the allowed mods. And parts aren't cheap: $600 waterpump(yes, there are cheaper ones, but they fail sooner and require engine removal to replace), pistons are about as much. Aluminum flywheel is $500. If I take it to a local machine shop, it's only ~$200 in labor, but I'll have 2-grand in parts!

I don't understand why these would be so much more difficult to do machine work to than any aluminum-head DOHC engine either? But they sure make a fuss about it on the Lotus sites.

I figure I could build a Zetec the way I want it, using all new parts except the engine, for $2500. That includes a new pair of Weber Carbs, and a few pieces that need shipped from England.

And yes, I could keep the stock injection, but I'd need to rework it to allow it to fit. I can't use the stock waterpump or alternator either, due to Clarence on the front of the engine; which is also why the SVT engine can't be used.

Honestly though, I want to make this car "nice", and the look/sound of a pair of webers would be hard to beat. The other option is an ITB injection setup, which can be done, but then there's the fuel pressure issue, and replumbing the stock tanks, etc. It certainly can/has been done, but it's not really documented. OTOH the correct Weber jet size for the Zetec is documented, as well as the plumbing and wiring.

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
9/8/12 8:42 p.m.

So I score a good deal on a used windshield on eBay, which was cool since new ones are about $500 shipped. It was located in Cleveland, which is a 7-hour trip each way, but my wife had been wanting a getaway, so I decided to pick it up & we could visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame while we were in town.

The seller had a track day today, so we planned to meet this evening, which worked better for our schedule to. Unfortunately, he'd been out of town for work and hadn't removed it from the car yet. We started working to pull it out, when I heard that familiar sound from his side of the car. Yup, it cracked.

Super nice guy though. Refunded my money on the spot and offered to sell me a new one on his next order for his cost.

At least it was a nice day for a drive & we got to enjoy the city. Though I'm beginning to think chicken-wire should be an acceptable windshield material.

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