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The original Europa used Lotus founder Colin Chapman's minimalist steel backbone chassis that was first used in the Lotus Elan, while also relying on its fibreglass moulded body for structural strength. The Europa was the first mass-produced mid-engine road car and was based on a prototype built to compete for Henry Ford II's contract to build a Le Mans race car in the early 1960s. (See GT40.)
The Europa was designed and built to be an embodiment of Chapman's oft-stated philosophy of automotive design: "Simplify, then add lightness."
The 4-wheel independent suspension was typical of Chapman's thinking; the rear suspension consisted of two relatively large trailing arms, one lower locating link per side, and the axles were used as upper locating links; very similar to Formula racing car designs of that era. Aside from the doors, bonnet (hood), and trunk (boot), the body was cast as a single unit of fibreglass.
The car's handling prompted automotive writers to describe the Europa as the nearest thing to a Formula car for the road.
In all, Lotus built about 9,300 Europas.
Lotus Elise - Lotus Evora - Lotus 2-Eleven - Lotus 340R - Lotus APX - Lotus Esprit - Lotus Exige - Lotus Hot Wheels
Check out the Lotus Europa wallpapers and Lotus Europa Pictures (pics) collection below: