It’s long been a given that the brilliant Colin Chapman only built road cars so they’d sell and thus finance his true passion, racing. Some of his civilian products were better than others. One of them was unique, at least in Lotus terms, as Chapman directed the development of the Europa, a mid-engine coupe that reflected ongoing evolution of the sporting car, embodied by the likes of the Ferrari 250LM, Lamborghini Miura and the Ford GT.
For all its audacity, the Europa has never really gotten its due from the enthusiast press, until now. Veloce Publishing Ltd. of Britain ha just released this hardcover history of the bite-size Lotus exotic from the Sixties. Lotus Europa: Colin Chapman’s mid-engine masterpiece takes up 160 heavily illustrated pages to tell the tale of the Europa and its roots in the Type 47 race car and Type 62 design study. The author, Matthew Vale, includes interviews with Lotus engineers Mike Kimberley and Oliver Winterbottom, describes the Europa’s evolution from Renault to Lotus twin-cam power, and includes full specifications for each model. The Europa has been long overdue for this sort of star turn. Veloce books are stocked by good bookstores and specialist shops; the title’s ISBN number is 978-1-787112-84-1. You can also order online, where the U.S. price is $60 including shipping. Any collection of Lotus books will require this one to make it complete.