Your Projects: Doubling the Cylinder Count of a Lotus Europa With an LS-Swap

How do you double the horsepower of a car? By doubling the number of cylinders, of course. That seems to be at least some of the motivation behind forum user Sofa King’s LS6-powered Lotus Europa.

The rest of the motivation behind the project came from a desire to get a 1972 Lotus Europa back up and running by only using parts from Craigslist or built by hand.

As a whole, the project required two Europas, a Miata and a GM LS6 engine attached to a Boxster transaxle.

That was back in 2018. Fast forward to today—and a lot of hard work later—and it's an eye-catching build.

In fact, Sofa King was even interviewed at Holley LS Fest about the Europa:


So if you are thinking about putting an LS into a Europa (or really any other mid-engined British classic), Check out Sofa King’s build over on the Builds and Project Cars Forum.

Like what you're reading? We rely on your financial support. For as little as $3, you can support Grassroots Motorsports by becoming a Patron today. 

Become a Patron!

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Your Projects, Europa, Lotus and LS news.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
wspohn
wspohn Dork
10/8/20 10:01 a.m.

A lot of nice fabbing there. My approach would have been different. Just buy a used Chev Cobalt SS with an Ecotec and transaxle and mount them in there. Probably save some weight and could likely match the output (don't have to get fancy on the Ecotec until you pass around 500 bhp).

I guess for some there is nothing that replaces the sound of a V8, though.

Sofa King
Sofa King HalfDork
10/9/20 1:12 p.m.

Colin, thank you for the nice write up! I just wanted to point out that while there are double the cylinders, it is actually 5 times the original horsepower!

cyow5
cyow5 New Reader
10/9/20 1:35 p.m.
wspohn said:

A lot of nice fabbing there. My approach would have been different. Just buy a used Chev Cobalt SS with an Ecotec and transaxle and mount them in there. Probably save some weight and could likely match the output (don't have to get fancy on the Ecotec until you pass around 500 bhp).

I guess for some there is nothing that replaces the sound of a V8, though.

A quick google shows the LS being about 160lbs heavier, subtract whatever for the intercooler, plumbing, etc. But having owned cars with both (Sky Redline and G8 GT), Sofa King made the right move. Getting an LNF in there sideways would probably be impossible without widening the whole car, and then you're not getting close to 500hp without augmented fueling. Given all the complexity and sacrifices for a 100lb gain, it'd have to be purely out of love for the LNF at the end of the day

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/11/20 11:29 a.m.
wspohn said:

A lot of nice fabbing there. My approach would have been different. Just buy a used Chev Cobalt SS with an Ecotec and transaxle and mount them in there. Probably save some weight and could likely match the output (don't have to get fancy on the Ecotec until you pass around 500 bhp).

I guess for some there is nothing that replaces the sound of a V8, though.

Going back to the Europa thread we had a while back, the chassis rails are spaced very narrow, and the center spine design leaves little option for doing much about that.  A transverse drivetrain wouldn't package.  Might not even fit between the wheels, given the size of the car.

 

I was thinking of that thread when looking at the engine bay picture.  "Why's the engine mounted so high up?"  The engine isn't high, the car is LOW.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
10/11/20 12:03 p.m.

eah, that is true. There is often a solution, though. My Jamaican MGA is about an inch and a half higher than a Europa, and the previous owner builder had solved a bonnet/oil filler interference issue with a large hammer!  A revision of the engine mounting arrangements solved all that. 

It may be that an Ecotec is just too tall.  In that case I change my engine nomination to a Mazda K series V6 - lower but broader and they sound as good as any V6 I have heard (they used them in Ford Probes) and power options start at around 200 bhp .

 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/11/20 1:04 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
wspohn said:

A lot of nice fabbing there. My approach would have been different. Just buy a used Chev Cobalt SS with an Ecotec and transaxle and mount them in there. Probably save some weight and could likely match the output (don't have to get fancy on the Ecotec until you pass around 500 bhp).

I guess for some there is nothing that replaces the sound of a V8, though.

Going back to the Europa thread we had a while back, the chassis rails are spaced very narrow, and the center spine design leaves little option for doing much about that.  A transverse drivetrain wouldn't package.  Might not even fit between the wheels, given the size of the car.

 

I was thinking of that thread when looking at the engine bay picture.  "Why's the engine mounted so high up?"  The engine isn't high, the car is LOW.

This is only partly correct.
 

You're right, a transverse engine will not package in the Europa chassis. But neither will an LS.  Sofa King's build involved custom chassis fabrication to accommodate the LS. With similar chassis fabrication, a transverse engine can easily fit in a Europa.

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie HalfDork
10/11/20 1:27 p.m.

So you basically built your own chassis then fitted the Europa body on it. That makes sense. I kept scratching my head trying to figure out how you made the Europa chassis wide enough to fit the V8. 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/11/20 1:37 p.m.

He also stretched the wheelbase and moved the centerline of the rear wheels toward the rear. 

Sofa King
Sofa King HalfDork
10/11/20 5:30 p.m.

What he said!

Our Preferred Partners
NQYNpFSPTt0FFLbpBCjqgatiy3AxzQGEjFQEthMtsFLedibweVXPJqu8zn5VTTON