Automotive journalists described the Lotus Europa as the "nearest thing to a Formula car for the road." That may sound like a bold statement but there's definitely truth behind it. After all, the Europa is the brainchild of Anthony Chapman, a race enthusiast and founder of Lotus. "Simplify, then add lightness"that was Chapman's design philosophy. And that philosophy was perfectly embodied by the Lotus Europa, a lightweight automobile, much like all other Lotus cars. Its design is what gave the Europa the superb handling and performance that was raved about by automotive journalists.
The Series 1 Lotus Europa was released in Europe in 1967. It was equipped with a modified Renault 16 1470cc inline-four engine that was paired with a four-speed transmission. The said engine was located in the middle of the car since the Series 1 Europa had a mid-engine layout, which was quite unique during that time. The Series 2 Europa followed two years after. It still had the same engine as the Series 1 did but the Series 2 introduced new Lotus Europa parts such as electric windows and fully adjustable seats. On top of those, the Series 2 also had a more polished interior. The Series 2 Europa was exported to the U.S. from 1969-1970. The U.S. received a slightly altered version of the car (to meet U.S. D.O.T. standards), which saw changes in the engine, the chassis, and the suspension.
The Lotus Europa was originally intended to replace the Lotus 7 performance car. However, Lotus realized that the Europa wouldn't be competitive enough if it used the Series 1's and Series 2's Renault engine. This led Lotus to rework on the standard Europa and come up with a version that's better suited for the race track. The high-performance version of the Europa was called the Type 47. The Type 47 was even thinner compared to the standard Europa and was fitted with a Lotus twin cam engine. The reworked Lotus also had a modified transmission and rear suspension.