Designed by Colin Chapman and launched by Lotus cars at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1957, the Lotus 7 was the
successor to the highly popular Lotus 6, which ceased production in 1955. The original Series 1 Seven was produced
with a Ford sidevalve engine and a 3 speed gearbox. Later models were produced with the Coventry Climax 1097cc
engine or the BMC 948cc engine from the Austin A35, with a 4 speed BMC gearbox.
In 1960, the Series 2 was introduced which had a lighter spaceframe and a revised fiberglass nosecone, which remains
outwardly unchanged to this day. In 1968, the Series 3 Seven was launched. The chassis frame was considerably stiffer
and the standard engine was the 1600cc Ford 2265E crossflow. This is the type of engine that is in my Seven. In the early
1970's, sales of Sevens declined to near zero, almost resulting in the demise of the car.
In May 1973, Graham Nearn's Caterham Cars took over all the remaining Seven parts, jigs, moulds and - most importantly -
the manufacturing rights from Lotus. The Caterham Seven has therefore continued outwardly unchanged since then, though
considerable improvements have been made over the years to the engines, transmissions and internal details of the car.
Though many have tried to emulate, and some have even tried to copy the Seven, none have managed to improve on this 43
year old design.
I had seen Sevens on the road and on the television many times before, but the thing that got me hooked was a review by the TV
presenter Jeremy Clarkson on the "Top Gear" motoring program in Britain. He basically compared the Seven agianst other, more
expensive sports cars and it trounced them! The Caterham Seven's high performance for relatively little cost, plus it's unsurpassed
good looks are what kept me going until I could actually afford one of these dream cars.
It wasn't until I moved from Britain to California that I was able to scrape together enough cash to actually buy my
very own 7. Financially, it was a bit touch-and-go, but I thought "You only live once, and where better to appreciate an open
topped sports car than California ?". I soon found the Rocky Mountain Sports Cars web site
( www.rmsci.com ) and started making enquiries.
The people there were really friendly and helpful and bent over backwards to make my dream come true. The diary is an account of
what happened once the car arrived in the country, but there were actually a lot of negotiations and discussions in the months
leading up the car's arrival.
I took delivery of the car on Saturday, 15th January 2000. Most of the construction was finished by the end of February
2000. I would say that in total, I spent about 120 hours building the car, but only about 80-90 of those hours were spent working
on it. The rest of the time was spent sat on the floor reading the Assembly "Guide" over and over with bits of the car in front of
me trying to reconcile the scant instructions with what I had before me. I am currently in the process of trying to register the
car. I say "tryng" because the registration beaurocracy is not really geared up for "unusual" cars. I have put about 800 miles
on the clock at the time of writing (end of April) and have loved every one of them!