1 RAN OUT OF TALENT
Chassis accident damage is your main concern when assessing a prospective purchase. Most of it is easily checked, so ensure that the chassis tubes are straight and beware any car that pulls to one side or has uneven tyre wear. Repairs are relatively easy to do on these cars, but should be well-executed and backed up by receipts from a reputable marque specialist.
2 MATERIAL MATTERS
Rust can affect chassis tubes, working its way outwards; those surrounding the suspension points front and rear, plus the lower side tubes are crucial to structural rigidity. The various aluminium panels can dent easily while the glassfibre nose and wings on S2 and later cars are susceptible to accident damage and stone-chips.
3 FORD, BMC, LOTUS, OTHER?
A wide variety of engines were fitted to the four series of Lotus Seven (never mind the Caterhams) and it’s far from unusual to find a Seven with a different engine to the one with which it left the factory (such our S2 Twin-Cam). Originality should be supported by the correct documentation and verified by specialists.
4 KEPT IN SUSPENSE
If there’s an inherent weakness on the Lotus Seven, it’s the rear axle. S1s have a rare Nash Metropolitan live axle, but S2s switched to a Standard 10 axle, which has a habit of leaking and will break if they’re put under too much stress. Replacements include those from the Ford Escort and Morris Marina – these leak too, most commonly as a result of distortion.