This here is the Lotus Europa Special - a variant of the first mid-engined road car produced by Lotus, following Colin Chapman’s principles of light weight and minimalism.
Lotus was a pioneer in fielding race cars with the engine mounted behind the driver, with good success in Formula One and at Indy. The René Bonnet Djet was the first mid-engined road car, but the Europa followed not long afterwards.
Series 1 Europas (1966-1968) had bonded (not welded) construction, one-piece (removable) windows, and a tuned version of the engine in the Renault 16 paired with a 4-speed Renault transmission. The Series 2 update introduced more comforts and switched to welded construction.
The later Europa Twin Cam introduced in 1971 featured the Lotus-Ford Twin Cam engine first used in the Elan and Cortina. The Europa Special included a version of the engine with larger valves, Dell’Orto carburettors, and an optional 5-speed transmission, and this is the model that this Tomica Dandy depicts.
Exterior detail is nice, with cast-in LOTUS license plates, raised LOTUS badging on the engine cover, chrome bumpers, vents, and marker lights. The main nitpick I have with the casting is the inclusion of the upper door frames as part of the main casting, which, incorrectly, do not move with the doors when opened.
Seat detail inside is quite nice, and a black dashboard with some switchgear detail and a 3-spoke steering wheel are present. The metal doors also have some door card detail cast inside.
The engine bay is alright, with a reasonably-molded engine, though done as a piece of chrome-plastic, and the rest of the engine bay is the same piece as the interior, and therefore a bright red.
Underbody detail is decent, with some suspension details, the backbone chassis, and the transaxle cast in the dark grey metal base. Like most (all?) Tomica Dandy casts, it is held together with ordinary screws, facilitating easy disassembly.
And as anyone who has handled one could tell you, these really have a good tactile feel when you handle them, and roll incredibly smoothly.
Tomica released several variants of this casting in the 1:43 Dandy lineup. F02 depicted a stock version, F09 added a deck lid spoiler with racing liveries, and F12 featured the JPS livery. As well, the Gulliver model car shop in Japan commissioned a couple special models in vintage racing colours.
I paid a bit more than I wanted to for this Tomica Dandy on eBay from the U.K. considering that the flap on one end of the box looks like it was coarsely torn off, but everything else is complete.
Thanks for viewing!