We finish off our sixth season with the most complicated, time-consuming, over-the-top overhaul to date. A build so big that it required two full episodes devoted to its restoration.
With our change in format this season, moving away from the one week deadline, we knew we’d have more time to devote to the vehicles. Most took anywhere from three to five weeks to finish, but we consistently worked on John Nevins 1972 Lotus Europa for the entire sixth season.
John owned and raced his beloved Europa for years before the motor finally blew up. He held on to it for some time before finally just giving the vehicle away to a friend in the hopes that someone else would be able to restore it to its past glory. Lucky for John that friend was the son of Dave Killackey, former Overhaulin mark from Season 3 (you might remember his beautiful maroon and cream ’56 Nomad). John and Dave work together on the weekends at Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage, where John serves as a volunteer mechanic. He first met the Big Dog team restocking the soda machines when he was the local 7-Up delivery guy.
Dave, Jay and the entire team of Big Dog mechanics all served as insiders on this build. And we needed their help! All told, well over 2,000 man hours went into this overhaul which stretched over 7 months. This was not your typical overhaul; the vehicle was foreign and the body fiberglass with more modifications than we can list. More work went into this Lotus than went into its original build. Chip designed it as though there were no limits; it was not just redesigned, it was reengineered.
The big reveal took place at Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage with an unsuspecting John in attendance (who showed up wearing his Foose Design T-Shirt that day!). Jay was filming a Lotus special for his website and had Lotus owners bring in their vehicles to display. One heavily modified ’72 Europa was brought to the attention of John, then Chip and the team surprised him with the keys.
John, we thank you for the opportunity to transform your car and welcome you to our Overhaulin’ family. And thank you all for watching our return to TV with our sixth season. We’ll be back in October 2013 with our seventh season!
When we received the vehicle the original motor was in pieces on the floor. It only produced 80hp in its day, but got a dramatic increase with a new 1.8L Elise motor pushing it to over 200hp. Of course this required a whole series of changes to the frame as it was way too much power for the existing car. The new engine was mounted in a transverse position, but the chassis was for an in-line engine and gearbox, requiring a custom adapter to link the new Porsche Boxster 5 speed transmission to the new motor. Magnaflow did a custom ground-up build on the exhaust. To top it all off a supercharger was installed to boost the horsepower beyond 300hp.
The fiberglass body had a substantial amount of stress fractures and was too brittle for all the planned upgrades. Certain areas were reinforced with extra layers so we could move ahead with the modifications. The front was pulled back 4” in the nose and bumper. Porsche headlights were used and pulled back into the body about 7”. The wheel openings were reshaped and pulled out. The hood was cut open similar to a GT40. Front fenders and rear quarters were rounded off so that the curvature into the doors would flow better. The door cut line now stretches into the roof with added scoops for air intake on the sides. In the back, the rear bumper was flipped and attached to the lower part of the body with recessed rear tail lights.
John liked the red, white and gold accents found in the Lotus factory race team paint schemes from past eras. Chip used the red and white base colors on the final paint scheme, with 7-Up green as the new accent color. A GT40 inspired center stripe runs the length of the vehicle. All the body modifications allowed for the original 13” wheels to be upgraded to 18” wheels. Chip created one-off three-piece wheels and wrapped them with Pirelli tires.
Interior DesignInspired by the tans and blacks of ‘70s era Ferraris, Chip’s unique design was passed on to Bill Dunn Interior and made a reality. The original seats were restored and made 2” wider. The dashboard was reshaped and a new Porsche 996 gauge cluster installed