July sees the first Lotus Seven, powered by the Ford 100E side-valve engine and underpinned by the Lotus MkVI, roll off the production line at Tottenham Lane in Hornsey, London. Two months later, the Seven took part in its first competitive event – The Brighton Speed Trials.
Series 2 arrives with a glassfibre (instead of alloy) nose-cone, plus flared front wings. Coventry Climax engine dropped in favour of a 1098cc A-series, in addition to Ford 105E, 109E, 116E and Cortina 1300cc engines.
Revised Series 3 is launched, featuring larger disc/drum brakes, an Escort Mexico axle and Cortina 1600cc power. The TwinCam (known as the Seven Twin-Cam SS) arrives the following year, though only 13 are built.
In an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, the Seven is transformed via Alan Barrett styling and a new chassis into the beach buggy-esque Series 4. It’s softer and more civilised than earlier Sevens and is offered with a choice of 1600cc or 1700cc engines, but isn’t a great sales success.
Caterham Cars buys the rights to the Lotus Seven and continues to build the S4 for a further year (a total of 38 cars are eventually built) before reverting to the S3’s TwinCam SS chassis. Production of the Seven continues to this day, with prices starting from £16,995 (uk.caterhamcars.com).