Lotus Seven

Lotus Seven
ManufacturerLotus Cars
Also calledLotus 7
Lotus Super Seven [1]
AssemblyHethel, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Martínez, Argentina
DesignerColin Chapman
Body and chassis
ClassSports car
Body styleroadster
LayoutFMR layout
PredecessorLotus Mark VI
SuccessorCaterham 7

The Lotus Seven is a small, simple, lightweight two-seater open-top sports car produced by the British manufacturer Lotus Cars (initially called Lotus Engineering)[2] between 1957 and 1972.

It was designed by Lotus founder Colin Chapman and has been considered the embodiment of the Lotus philosophy of performance through low weight and simplicity. The original model was highly successful with more than 2,500 cars sold,[3] due to its attraction as a road legal car that could be used for clubman racing.[4]

After Lotus ended production of the Seven, Caterham bought the rights and today Caterham make both kits and fully assembled cars based on the original design.

The Lotus Seven design has spawned a host of imitations on the kit car market, generally called Sevens or sevenesque roadsters.


First generation
Production 1957–1960
Body and chassis
Related Lotus Eleven
Engine 1,172 cc (1.2 L) I4
Second generation
'62 Lotus 7 (Ottawa British Car Show '10).jpg
Production 1961–1967
Engine 1,340 cc (1.3 L) I4
Third generation
Lotus Seven (Ste. Anne De Bellevue Veteran's Hospital '10).jpg
Production 1968–1969
Engine 1,600 cc (1.6 L) I4
Fourth generation
Production 1970–August 1973
Engine 1,600 cc (1.6 L) I4
1,700 cc (103.7 cu in) I4
1970 Lotus Super 7

The Lotus Seven was launched in 1957, after the Lotus Eleven was in limited production. The Seven name was left over from a model that was abandoned by Lotus, which would have been a Riley-engined single-seater that Lotus intended to enter into the Formula Two in 1952 or 1953. However, the car was completed around Chapman's chassis as a sports car by its backers and christened the Clairmonte Special.

Externally similar to Chapman's first series-produced Lotus Mark VI, but with a tubular frame similar to the Lotus Eleven, the Seven was powered by a 40 bhp (30 kW; 41 PS) Ford Side-valve 1,172 cc inline-four engine. It was mainly for road use and lower budget club racing on short tracks (750 motor club).

The Lotus Seven S2 followed in 1960 and was supplemented by the Lotus Super Seven S2 from 1961.[5] The Super Seven initially used the larger Cosworth modified 1,340cc Ford Classic engine and later examples were fitted with 1,498cc or 1,599cc engines.[5] The Seven S3 was released in 1968.[5] In 1970, Lotus radically changed the shape of the car to create the slightly more conventional sized Series 4 (S4), with a squarer fibreglass shell replacing most of the aluminium bodywork. It also offered some luxuries as standard, such as an internal heater matrix.

Between 1970 and 1975, following a representation agreement, Lotus Argentina SA obtained the licence to manufacture the Lotus Seven in Argentina. This production reached approximately 51 units. These vehicles were not replicas, but built under licence and original brand Lotus.[6][7]

Under the Purchase Tax system of the time cars supplied as a kit (known as "completely knocked down" or CKD) did not attract the tax surcharge that would apply if sold in assembled form. Tax rules specified assembly instructions could not be included, but as the rules said nothing about the inclusion of disassembly instructions, they were included instead and all the enthusiast had to do was to follow them in reverse.[citation needed] However, once the UK joined the EEC on 1 January 1973, the VAT system was adopted instead so the tax advantage of the kit-built Lotus Seven came to an end.

In 1973, Lotus decided to shed fully its "British tax system"-inspired kit car image and concentrate on limited series motor racing cars. As part of this plan, it sold the rights to the Seven to its only remaining agents Caterham Cars in England and Steel Brothers Limited in New Zealand.

Caterham ran out of the Lotus Series 4 kits in the early 1970s. When this occurred and in accordance with their agreement with Lotus, Caterham introduced its own brand version of the Series 3. They have been manufacturing the car ever since as the Caterham Seven. Steel Brothers Limited in Christchurch, New Zealand, assembled Lotus Seven Series 4s until March 1979 when the last of the 95 kits provided by Lotus was used up.[8][9] The last Lotus badged Seven, a Series 4, was therefore produced in New Zealand.[10]

Steel Brothers Limited attempted to make a wider, modernised version of the Series 4, the Lotus Super 907, using the twin cam Lotus 907 engine. In the spring of 1978 it was announced that this was to be sold in the United States[11] - but the American importer had no funds and the project came to naught.[12] The single finished Super 907 was moved from the New Zealand to the United States in 2010 to undergo a full restoration.[13]

Other Languages
العربية: لوتس سبعة
čeština: Lotus Seven
Deutsch: Lotus Seven
español: Lotus Seven
فارسی: لوتوس هفت
français: Lotus Seven
italiano: Lotus Seven
Nederlands: Lotus Seven
polski: Lotus Seven
русский: Lotus Seven
svenska: Lotus Seven
Türkçe: Lotus Seven