When Lotus launched its then quite radical mid-engined Europa in 1966 it received lavish praise for its superb roadholding and handling, but was criticized for a lack of power from the Renault 16 engine. A tuned Gordini option was mooted but when Lotus developed the racing Europa Type 47 to contest the Group 4 GT category, it was a Cosworth Lotus-Ford twin cam, the Mk 13C, that supplemented the Renault unit. The twin overhead camshaft, 1,594 cc four-cylinder, allied to Tecalemit-Jackson fuel injection and mated to a Hewland FT200 five-speed transaxle, produced 165 bhp at 7,000 rpm. Otherwise, the GTP-bodied Europa’s steel backbone chassis was retained, as was its coil spring/wishbone front suspension, but at the rear the similar setup was replaced by light alloy uprights from the Lotus 59 single seater, reversed lower wishbones and upper and lower trailing arms. So equipped, John Miles took the 47 to a debut victory in the 1966 Brands hatch Boxing Day meeting, followed home by the similarly-mounted Jackie Oliver, against far more powerful machinery such as Chevron-BMWs and Cosworth FVA-powered Ginettas.
Orders for customer Lotus 47s soon grew. Complaints of too flexible a chassis and poor brakes resulted in the strengthened 47A with larger all round disc brakes; this time the prototype 47A won the 2.0-litre class at the 1967 BOAC 500, Miles being co-driven by Oliver. Successes continued throughout 1967/68 – 15 works wins in all – before the 47A was replaced by the evolution 62. In total 44 of the total 55 47s produced are believed to survive.
Originally supplied to the son of Colin Vanderwell, creator of the Vanwall Grand Prix car, this 47A was modified for road use, subsequently it was raced in GT events during the seventies. Between 1982 and 1989 it was rebuilt by Cobra Motorsport, including a 200bhp engine and a repaint in Gold Leaf Team Lotus colors. Some parts, however, are missing: both driveshafts, sundry fuel and oil pipes, radiator hoses, alternator pulley, rear suspension bolts and gear linkage. Otherwise quite superb, and supplied with HSCC papers and some history, this very rare and desirable Lotus historic road/racing car should require little work to turn it into concours condition.