Lotus Seven Classic Cars for Sale

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Lotus Seven

The Lotus Seven is one of the most iconic of British sports cars. It was designed by Colin Chapman and sold to satisfy the need for an affordable road-legal sports car which could also successfully compete in motorsport.

The Origins of the Lotus Seven

In the austere years after the Second World War, few people in Britain could afford to buy sports cars, let alone race them but there was a growing grassroots movement of "build-it-yourself" racers such as Chapman who based his first car on an Austin 7 chassis. More cars followed including the Lotus Six, sold in kit form, which had many racing successes. The Lotus Seven followed in 1957 and was Lotus Cars' first mainstream model. Although fully built cars were available, most were sold in kit form which, at the time, had tax advantages and kept the prices low. Colin Chapman is perhaps best remembered for his philosophy of producing lightweight cars with the argument that "More power makes a car faster on the straights but reducing the weight makes it faster everywhere else". The Lotus Seven exemplified this thinking and was Spartan in the extreme. The original model was usually fitted with a Ford 100E side-valve engine derived from the Ford Popular/Anglia models of the day and, although producing less than 50 b.h.p. had excellent performance due to the lightweight space-frame body.

Further Lotus Seven Models

1962 saw the arrival of the S2 model which is perhaps the most easily recognisable version with its sweeping "clam-shell" wings. The addition of the Lotus Super Seven S2 in 1961 gave the option of more powerful engines and disc brakes. Sevens were fitted with various engines including the BMC A Series, Coventry Climax, Ford Classic/Cortina GT/Cosworth. The S3 car usually used the crossflow Ford Cortina engine but a few had the Lotus twin-cam as used in the Elan. The 1970 S4 version was completely new with a chunky glassfibre body and softer suspension.

The Lotus Seven was a true enthusiasts' car but reliability was not its strongest point. Many owners report it as being the greatest car ever ... when running and it has even been suggested that the name LOTUS stands for "Lots of trouble - usually serious!" Lotus abandoned the Seven in 1973, selling the rights to Caterham Cars who continue to build it. The opening titles of The Prisoner showing Patrick McGoohan driving KAR 120C simply serve to demonstrate that when a design is right it is timeless. There will never be another car quite like the Lotus Seven but this does not stop people trying and the Seven has spawned a whole kit car industry producing their own versions of this diminutive classic.