What do you do with yourself after building a V10-powered E30? You do it all over again, this time with a slightly more exotic subject. This Lotus Exige gets stretched and widened in order to fit the M5-sourced 10-cylinder power-plant, culminating in a very sleek and capable supercar-fighter that gets put through it’s paces at the track.
I have this list of attainable vintage sports cars that I like to think I’ll be able to buy as mid-life crisis project, and the Lotus Europa is firmly planted on that list. Every time I see an article or post about these cars, I can’t help but read every word and obsess over every picture. But the owner of this particular Lotus, Serge, is no where near middle age. In fact he’s still a dental student, yet he’s attacking this restoration from the ground up all on his own. His Europa is a special one, being the oldest chassis in existence (Chassis number 2 – #460002) that he’s slowly restoring back to as-new condition. Serge not only documents the whole process on his blog, but also starts a YouTube channel with periodic videos of the work he does. These videos are some of the most informative that I’ve ever seen, he really goes into full detail about what he’s doing, how he’s doing it, and why he’s doing it.
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Colin Chapman, James Bond, Formula 1, Pretty Woman. These are some of things that you might associate with the word “Lotus”. But what about air ride, engine swaps, wide wheels and interior re-trims? I’ve mentioned before how much I love seeing once pampered classics being torn down and fettled with as they become more affordable, and these three examples truly embody the guiltless “modify everything regardless of the badge” train of thought. You might not agree with some of the styles of modification, but I’m not here to convince you one way or another, I just like seeing people modify cars, especially cars that are rarely messed with.
All three builds reside together on the Retro Rides forums, and whilst enjoying their threads individually, I thought they’d make a great combined post to showcase how these vintage British sports cars are being re-imagined by the DIY crowd. I’ve added some captions to the images to make it easier to follow, I hope you enjoy.
Want to read more “A tale of …” posts featuring multiple cars? Click here.
Earlier this year I made two consecutive posts about the automotive exploits of one Retro Rides member by the name of Bruce (aka Mystery Machine), a person who truly understands the appeal of a good build thread. Bruce not only built a very cool MX5 along with a number of other awesome rides, but he also spearheads and bankrolls a communal garage space known as Area52. You should already know what type of guy he is (a die-hard car nut), so it’s no surprise to learn his hands have been less than idle since the last time he graced these pages. I thought I’d do a little ‘catch up’ piece on his latest projects (a Land Rover and a Lotus, can’t get more variance than that!), since I’m enjoying reading them so much myself, it’s only fair to share it with all of you…
I read a post the owner of this car made on Jalopnik, then did some digging around to locate the build thread.
Wikipedia defines a Locost as “a home-built clone of the Lotus Seven. The car features a space frame chassis usually welded together from mild steel 1 × 1 in (25 × 25 mm) square tubing. Front suspension is usually double wishbone with coil overs. The rear is traditionally live axle, but has many variants including independent rear suspension or De Dion tube. Body panels are usually fiberglass nose and wings and aluminium side panels. Each car is highly individualized according to the resources, needs and desires of each respective builder.”
This particular Locost build is based more on the style an Arial Atom, but the similarities end at appearances, because it will be powered by a rear mounted Hayabusa engine. The owner has been corresponding via email with the builder of the car, a talented man they call Pook. Firstly they swapped sketches and ideas, and now they discuss changes and updates as the custom creation is being fabricated. Amazingly enough, the two have never met in real life.
Justin Fox, the founder of JDM Style Tuning, a forum that I frequent daily, has teamed up with his partner, Christina, to create a new forum for Australian Volkswagen Golf owners (which I also now frequent daily!). VWGolf.net.au is only in its infancy yet it boasts over 200 members and a quartet of forum sponsors. Justin submitted a build to me that I wouldn’t expect to see on a Golf forum, this delectable carbon fibre Lotus.