1972 Lotus Europa Special: Revolutionizing Automotive Design 

1972 Lotus Europa Special: Revolutionizing Automotive Design 

Engine Inline 4 Horsepower 126 bhp at 6,500 RPMTorque 108 lb-ft at 5,500 RPMEngine Location Mid Drive Type RWD Transmission 5-speed manual

In 1966, a significant development emerged in the automotive industry with the introduction of the Lotus Europa, a pioneering mid-engine rear-wheel drive layout. This breakthrough was made possible through a collaborative effort between two renowned companies, the French Renault and the British Lotus. Their close cooperation resulted in the creation of the first model, marking a significant milestone in automotive engineering.


The main thing that made the Special version unique was its improved engine. Unlike the standard model, which had a decent engine from Renault, the Special version had an engine developed by the company itself. This significant upgrade resulted in a big increase in performance, providing more horsepower and an exciting driving experience.

The origins

Source: UK Sports Cars

The fascinating story of the creation of the model and its Special edition began in the early 1960s when Lotus founder Colin Chapman sought to design a lightweight, high-performance sports car. Chapman envisioned a vehicle that would showcase the company’s engineering prowess and reflect his philosophy of “simplify, then add lightness.” In 1963, Chapman approached French automaker Renault with a proposal for a collaborative project. Renault was intrigued by the idea and agreed to provide the British automaker with engines and transmissions for the new car. This partnership laid the foundation for the development of the Europa. Over the next few years, British automaker’s engineers worked tirelessly to bring Chapman’s vision to life. The prototype, known as the Type 46, was unveiled in 1966. It featured a mid-engine rear-wheel drive layout, a distinctive fiberglass body, and an advanced steel backbone chassis, which contributed to its exceptional handling characteristics. Initially, the model was powered by a 1.5-liter Renault engine. However, Britons recognized the potential for even greater performance and decided to create a special version. In 1972, the Special version appeared, which featured a company-developed 1.6-liter engine, delivering a significant increase in power and torque compared to the standard model. The Special version also received other notable upgrades, including revised suspension, wider wheels, and improved braking capabilities. These enhancements further enhanced the car’s agility, responsiveness, and overall driving experience. With its sleek design, lightweight construction, and impressive performance, the model gained a reputation as a formidable sports car exemplifying the company’s commitment to innovation and engineering excellence.

The 1972 model year

Source: Hilton & Moss

The 1972 iteration of the Lotus Europa Special stood out for its notable advancements in technology, refined interior, and distinctive exterior elements. The brand introduced a range of impressive features that distinguished the Europa Special from its predecessors and firmly established it as a high-performance sports car. The 1972 model year featured a Lotus-developed 1.6-liter engine situated under the hood. This powertrain boasted a sophisticated design and advanced technology, resulting in heightened power and improved responsiveness, producing an estimated 126 horsepower. To provide an exhilarating driving experience, it was paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Inside the cabin, the Special version boasted an upgraded interior with luxurious accents. The seats were adorned with premium leather upholstery, elevating comfort levels and adding a touch of elegance. The dashboard underwent a redesign, incorporating ergonomic elements and a driver-centric layout. The instrument cluster featured comprehensive gauges, accurately monitoring vital vehicle information. On the outside, the Europa Special showcased distinct styling cues that reflected the brand’s renowned aerodynamic principles. Its sleek lines and low-profile silhouette exuded a sense of elegance and efficiency. The Special variant sported flared wheel arches, lending a more aggressive stance and accommodating wider wheels for enhanced stability and grip. Furthermore, unique badging, including the “Europa Special” emblem, denoted its elevated position within the model lineup.

Did you know?

Source: Bring a Trailer

The price range for the 1972 Special edition can vary based on factors such as condition, mileage, location, and the overall market demand for the vehicle. A well-maintained and restored 1972 Special version price varied within a  range of approximately $18,000 to $40,000 over the last few years.

Contact us if you have this or another classic car to sell.

1972 Lotus Europa Special: Revolutionizing Automotive Design 

Engine Inline 4 Horsepower 126 bhp at 6,500 RPMTorque 108 lb-ft at 5,500 RPMEngine Location Mid Drive Type RWD Transmission 5-speed manual

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