Thursday, March 26, 2009

Could this be the worst?

Remember the Lotus Europa? Just might be the worst automobile ever built. It's sole redeeming feature is that for its time it was gorgeous.

Note the size of the lad climbing in, and remember that this was not a race car. Your eyeballs did just line up with the bumper of the Caddy in front of you. A pick up could pull over you and never know it.

The late Jimmy Clark used to race for Lotus which got me thinking about this beast. Lotus's hallmark was to make a car as light as they could, then make it lighter, on the supposition it would go faster.

So imagine some of this cars features. It sat two, which was important, because it's always good to have someone to help you push. Only a fool would leave home in one expecting to arrive at his destination and back. The body was fiberglass. Not only light, but offered stunning crash protection. The engine was French.

Making the car lighter removed most of the supports, so the side impact support became the drivers and/or passenger's hip bone. Your chest, head and feet would protect the rear mounted engine in a front end crash. Your back would protect the engines forward momentum in a rear crash.

It was physically impossible to get a girl into one, in spite of what the ads showed.

Occasionally, I'll see one at an old car show, and smile. A buddy of mine received one for his 16th birthday. Sold it 6 months later. This I promise is my last car thing for a while.



Martha said...

Toad --

I love your car things!

I had forgotten all about this one -- but yes, it brought back memories!

ADG said...

The car "thing" is fun Toad. I'm still waiting to he haunted by another Pinto. The Porsche 914 and the Lotus seem to fight for bottom of the rung in my mind.The guy who sold my dad the MG Midget that I had bought the Lotus after he sold us the MG..not sure how long he kept it.

Turling said...

I must say the Beetle behind the Lotus is an example of the best car I ever owned. I got it when I was 16, my father bought it a year before I was born and drove it for 17 years before handing it off to me. The best part was, if the engine went, I only needed to pilfer an engine from a Craftsman lawnmower to be back on the road, again.

Toad said...

I remember swapping out the engine of a Bug on a busy street corner at rush hour. Took under an hour as I recall.

Gladys said...

Oh I love the car things.

I had a really good friend who had a Lotus. He was racing down the highway when parts of it started falling off.

So what is next in your bad car hall of fame? The Delorean?

Toad said...

I've got a soft spot for Deloreans. I'm mostly intrigued by the mass suicide of British car makers in the 1970's.

I've always liked the mutts that no one else did. Alfa over Fiat, Triumph over MG, I've never really cared for American or the rich guy cars. Give me a Morris Minor any day. This from a guy whose first car was a 1958 Pug.

Kathy said...

Pug? Peugeut?

Kathy said...

My spelling stinks. Peugeot?

David said...

In high school (early 80s) Tony Soucek's parents drove matching Deloreans and I thought that was just the coolest thing.

I still have a soft-spot the 74 Karmann Ghia I got for my 17th birthday. I'll have another one (convertible next time) before I die.

Toad said...


David said...

I saw one of these near my house last week. The front half of the car is beautiful, can't say the same about the rear.

I've had the pleasure of owning all decent cars, so I can't say much about the worst. My first car, a 1987 bmw 535is, was a pain to work on but I still loved it.