We en­joy the Lo­tus Seven and put it fully to the test

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -


As­sum­ing that you can get in and out of a Seven eas­ily enough ( by no means a given) and it doesn’t bother you that the only thing pro­tect­ing you from the slip­stream is a pair of aero­screens, then this is cer­tainly a sports car you could at least at­tempt to drive ev­ery­day. We sus­pect, though, that even the most ar­dent Lo­tus fan would soon find the commute tire­some. Crea­ture com­forts are non-ex­is­tent, with no heater, glove­box, doors or ra­dio fit­ted. Vis­i­bil­ity is great, though you might want to re­move the har­nesses be­fore twist­ing in your seat to re­verse into a park­ing space…


The Lo­tus Seven was de­signed so it could be built at home by en­thu­si­asts, so it should come as no sur­prise that they’re straight­for­ward to ser­vice and main­tain. The bon­net panel lifts off, pro­vid­ing un­par­al­leled ac­cess to the en­gine and its an­cil­lar­ies and the dou­ble-wish­bone front suspension is vis­i­ble in situ. Just be care­ful about where you po­si­tion the jack, oth­er­wise you risk dam­ag­ing the body­work should you need to get un­der­neath. There are plenty of club con­tacts and model spe­cial­ists to pro­vide sup­port should you need it and parts avail­abil­ity is un­likely to be a prob­lem with so many bits bor­rowed from mass-pro­duced main­stays.


If there’s a catch with tak­ing a Seven to a show, it’s that it will prob­a­bly be a bit of an anti-cli­max com­pared to the drive to and from the event. That said, it’s sure to be a hit with vis­i­tors, be­ing so dif­fer­ent from more con­ven­tional Fifties and Six­ties sports cars. Just be pre­pared to cor­rect peo­ple when they con­grat­u­late you on own­ing a Cater­ham or West­field (or worse still, ac­cuse you of plonk­ing a Lo­tus badge on one) and be care­ful any time you ven­ture off main roads – ground clear­ance is pretty neg­li­gi­ble and the oil sump is quite vul­ner­a­ble as a re­sult.


There is some stor­age space be­low the ton­neau cover, but it’s not par­tic­u­larly deep and is where the side-screens and as­so­ci­ated weather equip­ment live. But let’s face it, it will have prob­a­bly stopped rain­ing by the time you get that lot in place any­way, so is there much point in bring­ing them along? Fit­ting a tow bar to fa­cil­i­tate a trailer might seem ridicu­lous, but some own­ers do it, work­ing on the ba­sis that it’s the only way you’re ever go­ing to get a suit­case in a Seven. The al­ter­na­tive is trav­el­ling light and buy­ing clothes when you reach your des­ti­na­tion.


Now we’re talk­ing. The Seven might not have ex­celled in its pre­vi­ous tri­als, but it truly shines in the fifth and fi­nal one. All of the afore­men­tioned com­pro­mises come as a di­rect re­sult of the Seven be­ing one of the most driver-fo­cused sports cars ever pro­duced, there­fore you can ex­pect un­ri­valled com­mu­nica­tive han­dling, limpet-like grip in the cor­ners and all of your senses to be as­saulted at once. It may not be the quick­est car in the world (the ear­li­est S1 Sev­ens had just 37bhp!) but you’ll al­ways be in awe of how quickly you can drive it on twisty back­roads and coun­try lanes no mat­ter what’s pow­er­ing your par­tic­u­lar Seven.

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