Author Topic: The Extraction of 54/1517  (Read 281 times)

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Offline skippopotamus

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The Extraction of 54/1517
« on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 10:24:02 AM »
I have always wanted to build a Lotus Europa so I wanted to learn a little bit about them and see if I could take one on.  I joined the Europa Yahoo Group and was lurking on there reading people's discussions about their restorations.  Somebody posted about a Europa he had bought from a widow with some other cars and which the tow truck driver couldn't get so it was available cheap.  One thing you should know about tow truck drivers is they can move cars so I was very surprised to hear that this little car couldn't be picked up.  I asked for some pictures and the car was rough but it was in a little paved area and looked like it'd be pretty easy to winch up on a trailer I have that I use to haul around race cars.  Plus and most importantly the car looked very complete with all the glass, chrome, and trim in place.  It was painted like a John Player Special and looked like someone had loved it at one time.  It was interesting and I wondered how it came to be where it was; covered with lichen under a tree in Southern Oregon.  I gave it a little thought but decided to pass and concentrate on finishing my Rx3.

Offline skippopotamus

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #1 on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 10:27:39 AM »
Shortly after I decided to pass on the car because it was not the year I wanted the owner called me.  Her name was Audrey and her husband, Carl, had died.  We had a conversation about the car where I found it had been being used as a race car and it had been parked because it was replaced by a Formula Ford when Carl had moved up.  Audrey sounded pretty meek so I asked if there was any way she could send me a picture of the car's engine and interior.  I decided that if the car had any performance parts on it I would buy it.  She sent the pictures and I saw that it had a Weber DCOE so I was hooked.  I called Audrey and struck a deal.  She agreed to hold the car for two weeks if I sent her a check.

Audrey sent me her address and I looked up her house on Google Earth to check how hard it would be to get the car.  She had a long, curvy driveway but there was a big paved area next to her house where I figured I could turn the truck and trailer around so as not to get stuck.  Backing up with the trailer is tough and I try to avoid it if I can.  I called Audrey and she said, "Oh, yes.  You can turn around there.  The Lotus is there under a tree so you need to get over there any way."

Offline skippopotamus

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #2 on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 10:30:12 AM »
I have to include this picture of Carl and the Lotus because it is so awesome.

Offline skippopotamus

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #3 on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 10:36:25 AM »
It was a Saturday morning when I set out.  I rolled out of bed at 4am, hopped in the truck, and was gone before 4:30.  The trip was a breeze and I got up through Ashland and into Central Point, OR without any issues what so ever.  I listened to Neuromancer which I have as an audiobook.  Great book by William Gibson.  I figured I'd get the Lotus and be back in town for a late lunch with my friend Kilian who lives in Ashland.  I had in my mind to have to have the car up on the trailer and tied down in 45 minutes.  I like to make deals with myself about how long I think tasks will take me.  I don't know why.  I'm weird.

I rolled through town and headed out into the unincorporated area of Central Point.  Northern California and Oregon are so pretty.  The whole place looks like a park.  I cruised up the long, curvy, and also steep driveway truck trailer and all.  I was met at the top by an area which was clear on Google Earth but now had another trailer and three dead Jaguar cars.  I was not happy with Audrey but I thought about my mom after my dad died.  She was very overwhelmed by all his crap (cars, tractors, real estate, etc) and also by her sorrow.  I smiled at Audrey through my clinched teeth and ate lunch with her and set about getting the Jags to start.  I called Kilian who is a good friend and who I think was waiting for me to ask for help.

Offline skippopotamus

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #4 on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 10:39:14 AM »
I got the cars started (they all just had dead batteries) and Audrey and I moved them.  By that time Kilian showed up in a much, much shorter truck.  We unhooked my truck and using his short bed truck we had enough room to get in front of the Lotus and pull it up.  It took three hours and forty five minutes!  Maybe Carl didn't want his Lotus to leave it's resting place under the tree.  I hope he's happy because I have it now and I work on it diligently.  So in this picture of me in front of the Europa I have been working in the sun for three hours and forty five minutes and I've been up since 4am.  I'm whipped... but I got the car.

Offline BDA

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #5 on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 11:04:18 AM »
That was a long, hard day's work but I'm confident you'll bring her back and improve on her former glory! I'm anxious to follow your progress!

Offline dakazman

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #6 on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 03:35:37 PM »
 Really nice story. Looks like you got that expensive , sought after ash try lol  . It also looks like an  821-30 engine , lots of support an info here . I will be watching your progress .
Dakazman

Offline andy harwood

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #7 on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 05:24:53 PM »
Great write up! One thing I've learned in my relative short time with my Europa. No matter the task, when you're dealing with a Lotus - it takes way longer than expected!!
They are fun cars...

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #8 on: Saturday,August 26, 2017, 10:48:34 PM »
What a great tale, that's going to make a great memory when you're old & grey !

And a good car to buy as well, something with a bit of history and Carl looked as if he was a pretty handy driver as well.  Looking forward to the updates on the restoration.

Brian

Offline Certified Lotus

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #9 on: Sunday,August 27, 2017, 01:02:03 AM »
I like stories about the acquisition of Lotus cars and the places they are left with distant plans of repairing or restoring. I'm always amazed that the plan never gets executed. These cars (and many others) sit for years and years with a dim promise that one day the work will begin.

So bravo to you on pursuing your own dream and rescuing the Europa. The whole process of stripping it down, rebuilding it and then driving back on the road is extremely fulfilling.

Good luck and keep the faith. The guys on this forum have sage advice, great insights and are very enthusiastic about getting you on the road.

Keep us updated on your progress as well as the trials and tribulations.

Offline yellow16TS

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Re: The Extraction of 54/1517
« Reply #10 on: Tuesday,August 29, 2017, 06:41:39 AM »
Great story. Thanks for sharing . Ill be keeping an eye on the progress here as my S2 needs a fair amount of restoring done as well