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Back to: EXPO - 60 YEARS SEVEN
EXPO "LOTUS SEVEN and the INDEPENDENT BRANDS"
"60th anniversary of the LOTUS 7"
in AUTOWORLD from 7 october to 5 november 2017 - org. 7 & Roadster Club Belgium
- Introduction to the EXPO and Sevens displayed at the EXPO in AutoWorld
(see lower on this page)
Introduction to the Expo "Lotus Seven and the
Independent Brands" - "60th anniversary of the
Lotus Seven" in AutoWorld Brussels.
Is it really already 60 years that this iconic "four wheeled motorbike" has been introduced by Colin Chapman? It is hard to believe. Even today, it still is a fantastic toy for big boys. It didn't take any wrinkle over these 60 years. It just improved.
Okay, let's enjoy our visit and have a look at the "displayed cars" list: let's see… Lotus SIV, Caterham SIII, Caterham CSR, Caterham 165 (mmhmmm, that is a nice pallet of Lotus cars and of its successor, the Caterham), Westfield PreLit (what the heck?), Donkervoort (what is this car doing here?), Tiger (my God, what is this?)…
What the heck is going on here? What are these cars doing here? It is the Lotus Seven that is 60, no?
Is this a profanation of the Holy Grail? Do we have to call for an Exorcist?
Not really, no.
This Expo is effectively the commemoration of the Lotus Seven's 60th birthday. The Lotus Seven and the Caterham Seven are indeed the only cars that can officially be named a "Seven".
The Lotus and the Caterham are "the original, made of Aluminium". (except the 60's style Lotus SIV that has a GRP body)
These toys use a brazed space frame chassis with a minimalistic aluminium skin wrapped around it. Only a light engine, a wheel at each corner and a steering wheel are added. The amount of all this bits together gives you a fantastic toy, ready to race.
This philosophy remained the same from 1957 till now in 2017.
The only major difference is the power of the engines that increased a lot in these 60 years.
Why are these "replicas", these imitations also displayed at the Expo?
The name Seven (7) is a registered TM, owned by Caterham Cars Ltd and Caterham Car Sales & Coachworks Ltd. Even the shape of a Seven is now a registered TM.
Caterham has sued a lot of Seven "copiers" before court: for example Westfield, Tiger, RM, Birkin, ..
Despite these law suits, the term Seven has become a common term to indicate a "sevenesque" car.
Just do the test. Type "Lotus Seven" or "Caterham" on a car sales website. You will get a huge lot of results in return. And no, it will not only be Lotus Sevens or Caterham Sevens, but as well lots of replicas.
For the laic it is very difficult to determine what car is really a Lotus or a Caterham, and which one is a replica. When these amateurs see a Seven lookalike somewhere, they say "Oh, a Lotus Seven!".
As long as these replicas are advertised as "imitation or "evocation" it is OK. But some of these "fakes" are advertised as real Lotus or Caterham. And that is "not done".
Exhibiting replicas together with the original Lotus and Caterham Seven could help the visitor to see that one Seven is not the same as another one. That in fact you have the "original" and that you have several imitations or replicas. Maybe after having a closer look, now they will be able to point out which one is the real Seven.
To discover the differences between the replicas and the original, let's start with the Westfield PreLit.
This black car is a Seven lookalike built by Westfield before the legal action from Caterham in 1987. The appearance of this Westfield is clearly a recreation of the distinctive shape of the Seven car. Even the size is approximatively the same.
Besides their similar shape, the cars are completely different. The Westfield uses a different spaceframe, a more elaborated front suspension (twin triangles), a square tunnel top and a GRP body tub. A little quantity of the PreLit models had a full aluminium body as well.
After the Court action, the Westfield have become very much more recognisable. See the Westfield Weasel with Seight chassis to notice it.
Joop Donkervoort was the Holland importer of Caterham. From 1976 on, the Dutch Government adopted new rules and it became impossible to register Caterham cars in the Netherlands. Donkervoort first continued his business selling much modified Caterhams, so they could get homologated. Then he decided to ask the Dutch Technical University of Eindhoven to build a new spaceframe from scratch, based on the dimensions of his modified cars. His first D8 was launched in 1981.
The French Martin is said to be a copy of the Donkervoort, but with its own GRP bodykit and suspension.
The MK has a somewhat different spaceframe, in that way, that it is completely built of square and bended tubes.
It is very light and quite larger than the original Caterham.
The Dax is a more evolved version of the Seven. It is wider and more aggressive. You could even buy a Dax as 4x4 or with a V8 engine.
The Haynes is one of the Seven manufacturers that appeared after the launch of the book "Build your own Sportscar for as little of 250£". Actually after the 2nd version of the book, with an independent rear suspension.
The Avon was first launched as Phoenix Avon. Very little were built. Then Tiger Sportscars bought the rights of it, and launched it as Tiger Avon to replace its obsolete CatE1 and SuperCat Seven versions. The Avon is quite wide and has a one piece GRP bodytub. It has full independent wheel suspension.
The MNR is a more recent Seven replica manufacturer and uses inboard front suspension.
The Sylva Striker is very recognisable as personal version of a Seven. It is completely different in shape.
The replicas are often a first step from the enthusiasts into the Seven World. More than often, after a couple of years, their replica is being replaced by an original.
If you compare the several Caterham Sevens on display, you will notice that they still approximatively have the same size. Their evolution has been in details, year after year. They are very recognisable as Caterham.
Now that you are in AutoWorld museum, it could be interesting to have a look at the other cars in the museum. Take for example the Austin Seven. This is the first car that Colin Chapman modified into a trial car, some years before launching the Seven.
You can as well see a Vertigo, a modern evolution of the Donkervoort, built by the Belgian importer of Donkervoort, Tony Gillet.
In case you should plan to buy a Seven, we suggest you should first become a member of a Club. As stated, there are a huge number of Lookalikes. Some are good, some are better and some are to be avoided. Club members will be able to guide you and give you good advice.
I hope you enjoyed your visit.
Comments are always welcome at email@example.com
On display at the AUTOWORLD EXPO
Lotus Seven & the Independent Brands
60th Anniversary of the Seven
"The Original" - The Lotus & Caterham 7
LOTUS Seven SII - Green with yellow nose cone
Rare Lotus SII, one of the 6 factory race Seven specially built to compete in the scca race series in the USA in 1965. After a victory in the first race, these cars were banned from the track: too fast to race!!
LOTUS Seven SIV - Black
Lotus Twin Cam 1840 cc
196 hp / tonne
Rare Lotus SIV, previously owned by a Lotus factory mechanic
Prepared Twin Cam engine
In October 1957, Antony Bruce Colin Chapman launched the Lotus 7 at the Earls Court Motor Show.
This Lotus 7 SI was a real track car. It had a space frame chassis, covered with simple aluminium plating, aluminium nose cone and wings. The engine was a 948cc BMC A engine or a Ford 1172cc. It was sold as CKD (complete knocked down) kit to avoid the 25 to 40% British purchase taxes. Everything was included and it took around 12 hours to assemble (approx. 240 sold)
In 1960, it evolutes into Lotus 7 SII. The car now has a simplified chassis to make it cheaper. Nose cone and wings became in polyester. The engines were mostly Ford engines (cheaper than the Coventry Climax engines) from 1000 to 1600cc.
In 1966, Colin Chapman wanted to stop the Seven production. Graham Nearn, from Caterham Cars (Seven specialist), convinced Colin Chapman not to discontinue the Seven and became sole distributor.
In 1967 the Lotus 7 SII registered KAR120C was Patrick McGoohan’s car in the cult series The Prisoner.
The Lotus 7 SIII was the next step in 1968. The rear wings became wider and flatter, and it was powered by Ford 1300 or 1600cc engines or by a Lotus Twin Cam 1600. The production stopped in 1971.
In 1970, the all polyester square bodied Lotus 7 SIV was launched. It had partly a steel sheet front and a tubular rear frame. It was more comfortable than all previous versions. Even a hardtop was available. It was meant for a younger public (Dune Buggy period)
In 1973 Colin Chapman stopped production and sold the rights to Caterham Cars.
CATERHAM SPRINT - BGR with yellow nose cone
Ford Kent Crossflow 1600cc - 5 speed gearbox
203 hp / tonne
First series De Dion rear suspension with drum brakes, limited slip differential, leather seats, ..
CATERHAM COSWORTH - Green
Ford Cosworth 2000cc – 5 speed gearbox
407 hp / tonne
This car was modified to 5 link rear Ford Escort live axle, ltd slip diff, a Ford Cosworth turbo engine modified to atmospheric version with twin Webers was installed, leather seats,
CATERHAM Super Seven K series - Blue
Rover K series 1600 cc – 5 speed gearbox
82 kW / 110 hp
196 hp / tonne
De Dion rear axle with disk brakes – heater system – heated windscreen
CATERHAM Seven K series – Kawasaki Green
Rover K series 1800 cc – 5 speed gearbox
112 kW / 150 hp
268 hp / tonne
CATERHAM CSR 200 – British Racing Green + Yellow stripe
Ford Duratec Cosworth 2261cc – 5 speed gearbox
147 kw / 200 hp
348 hp / tonne
100% original car with following options:
Carbon dash, ltd slip diff, lowered floor, removable Momo steering wheel, Track Day rollover bar, ..
CATERHAM 165S – Heritage Blue
Suzuki 660 cc 3 cylinder turbo engine
61 kw / 82 hp
167 hp / tonne
This is one of the latest models of Caterham. "Back to the roots". A small engine in a very light car doesn't need big tires or big brakes and it gives lots of fun. 0 to 100 in 6,5 seconds, a top speed of 165 hm/h. This car has leather seats, heating, full weather equipment, quick release MotoLita steering wheel and lowered floor.
The "ORIGINAL" made in Aluminium
In 1959 they were a Lotus Centre. They specialised in the Seven and formed Caterham Cars.
In 1966 they convinced Colin Chapman not to discontinue the Seven and they became the sole distributor.
In 1973 they bought the rights of the Seven + the jigs & tools for the Lotus SIV + a lot of unfinished cars.
These were sold as turnkey cars, but could no more be badged as Lotus – sourcing parts became difficult, and in 1974 the SIV production ended.
In 1974 they decided to build the SIII with updated components.
In 1985 they introduced the de Dion rear suspension.
In 1988: HPC with Ford Cosworth 1700 engine.
1989: Prisoner series
1990: HPC Vauxhall 175HP
1992: JPE (Jonathan Palmer Evolution) 250HP
Since then, the Caterham is in constant evolution… latest models are the CSR range, the 165 range, etc…
"The Independent Brands" -
Lotus & Caterham 7 replica's
DAX Rush – Black & Carbon
Ford Pinto 2000cc & 5 speed gearbox
237 hp / tonne
This is an early Dax Rush model featuring the original round headlights. It has a live axle, a leather interior and an AC Cobra style 4-in-1 open exhaust. The engine has a flowed cylinder head, a Kent fast road cam, a race alternator, an oversized aluminium radiator and Accuspark programmable electronic ignition. The suspension is fully adjustable. The standard weight of 605 kg has been reduced with carbon rear wings and led lights. The bottom is closed and to improve airflow and optimize ground effect there is a carbon diffuser. This provides an extremely fast, steady and predictable ride.
This Dax was originally sold as a kit in the UK, and then imported in Belgium in 2014 by the actual owner. The chassis is from 1996. The engine came from a 1987 Ford Sierra donor car. This typical "fast road" seven is used for road trips and occasional track days.
1991 – Dax Rush - Originally DJ Sportscars International Ltd built an UK version of the German Rush Mohr Seven – Dax had to redesign the chassis & body, due to legal problems with rival UK Seven manufacturers (the Rush chassis was too much look-alike to the Westfield chassis) – quite large space frame chassis, so it can fit larger drivers – body is partly aluminium and GRP - live axle, de Dion or IRS rear suspension – several Ford or V8 engines as well as motorcycle engines – they introduced the camber compensation and anti roll suspension system at the front.
There was a 4x4 version, the Quadra.
In total about 1400 Rush models should have been built.
The company has now been sold to M.A.N. Motorsport who introduced a new chassis powered with a BMW M3 engine and components.
DONKERVOORT S8A – Dark Blue
Ford Pinto 1993 cc & 5 speed gearbox
173 hp / tonne
Car is 100% original and has the independent rear suspension. I has already done some 130.000 km
Joop Donkervoort was selling Caterhams in Holland till 1976.
1978 – he introduced the type D, self designed longer, wider, stronger & safer than the original Seven, to meet Dutch regulations. Sold as kit & as turnkey car
1981 – Super 8S – new chassis designed by Dutch Technical University – roomier, stronger - … various Ford engines, and the typical radiator duct appeared in the nose cone – 400 D & 8S types were built in total
1985 – S8A – full automobile manufacturing status = end of the kits – only turnkey cars – used new lamination and gluing techniques – survived 2 crash tests – fully IRS rear suspension – Ford 2 litres & turbo engines (S8AT 170HP)
1988 – D10 = further evolution of the S8A… more aerodynamic
since then the Donkervoort still evolves and actually uses Audi turbo engines
HAYNES Roadster – Alu / Black (Locost)
Ford Zetec & 5 speed gearbox
237 hp / tonne
This is a self-built Locust built by the Haynes Roadster book.
The major parts of the car were home-made (Alu body, fuel tank, etc)
GRP nose cone & wings are some rare parts that were purchased.
Most of the car parts are Ford Sierra based.
Locost with IRS – from 2010 on
Ron Champion’s book to build the Locost was followed up in 2010 with the book “Build your own Sports Car on a budget”, written by Chris Gibbs. This new version has similar dimensions to the original Locost, but has independent rear suspension. It is designed using CAD software.
Donor cars are Ford Sierra, BMW E36, Mazda MX-5 or Motorcyle engines.
MARTIN GMO – Red
Ford Zetec 1800 & 5 speed gearbox
226 hp / tonne
This car was built in Belgium from 1987 to 1989. Originally, it was powered by a 1600 cc ford Capri engine with twin Webers and a 4 speed gearbox. In 1995 the engine was swapped for a Ford Zetec 1800 cc engine and mated to a 5 speed gearbox. This drastically improved the performances and made it a lot more economic. The car still has it's original paint.
1986-1996 – Martin GMO – Martin Automobiles built a French version of the Seven, originally copied from a Donkervoort chassis – had to undergo a crash test (with flying colours) to get French homologation -
Series 1 – Triumph front suspension – Pinto engine – live axle
Series 2 – wider wings – modified chassis – Sierra front suspension
Series 3 – higher bonnet – Zetec engine – very little built
Approx 500 cars built in total
MK Blade - Yellow
Honda Fireblade SC33 - 900cc
295 hp / tonne
This MK Blade has been built for Track Use mainly. It has a Honda Fireblade 900 engine and uses it's 6 speed sequential gearbox. It has a Ford Sierra ltd slip diff. Thanks to the very low weight of this Seven replica, it just uses regular brake calipers and brake pads. Equipment is limited to the very minimum. With an amateur behind the wheel, it does Track times just below 2 minutes in Zolder and around 1:05 in Croix en Ternois (F)
2000 – MK Indy (IRS suspension) - Locost based Seven – space frame chassis – GRP body – automobile and motorcycle engines - also supplies pieces for the Locost builder – in kit or as turnkey
MNR VortX IB – Red, White & Blue
Honda K20A (from Civic Type R) mated to a Mazda MX5 6-speed gearbox
366 hp / tonne
This is the only MNR worldwide equipped with the Honda K20A engine and MX5 6 speed gearbox. The car has inboard front suspension.
This Seven Replica is actually for sale. If interested, please contact +32 476 602 217
MNR Vortx RT and MNR Vortx RT Super (from 2003 on)
MNR Sportscars Ltd. is a relatively newer player in the Kit Car market.
MNR limited - Marc Nordon Racing Company - is formed in 2000 by the British Touring Car Championship driver Marc Nordon and his dad Chris Nordon.
MNR didn't want to be the next builder of 'just another' 7 replica. So Marc Nordon developed his own highly advanced space frame chassis made of round tubes. This extremely light and rigid chassis isn’t comparable to any of the old 7-inspired chassis.
In 2003 the MNR Vortx RT was conceived, a Seven replica using Ford Sierra parts. MNR has now 4 versions of his VortX.
MNR builds street legal racecars, the chassis of the exhibited MNR VortX RT is equipped as standard with inboard shock absorbers on the front. They are connected to the lower wishbones by pushrods and rockers. The newest models have this advanced suspension not only in the front, but it’s also applied on the rear wheels.
The VortX RT Plus has the same advanced suspension as the VortX RT, but the poly buses are replaced by adjustable bearing rod ends. Therefore the tracking, camber, caster and driving height are fully adjustable and as in the F1, the race driver can experiment endlessly with the adjustment of his race car set up.Finally, the MNR VortX RT Super is made from high-quality CDS tubes. This makes the MNR VortX the ultimate race and road car in its class!
SYLVA STRIKER – Alu & Yellow
Ford Kent Crossflow 1700 cc
230 hp / tonne
This specific car was originally specifically built for track use. Sylva Strikers are known as being very well performing Track Day and Race cars.
1985 – Sylva Striker - an original Seven model – more race orientated – very light space frame – GRP bodywork – Ford engines and even Mazda rotary engines – approx 400 kits were produced - the Sylva Autokits Company started in 1982 with the Sylva Star (race car with enveloping body) and the Sylva Leader in 1984 (twin rail ladderchassis) – the Striker scored 750 Motor Club Championships in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1999! – the jigs and tools of the Striker were sold to Raw Engineering in 2002
TIGER AVON – Black
Ford Zetec 2000 cc
291 hp / tonne
This car uses a Ford Zetec engine with Webcon throttle bodies
1990 - Originally, Tiger Sports Cars imported the South African RM Seven into the UK – but due to copyright problems with Westfield (chassis) and Caterham (styling), they decided to build their own models.
The 6 imported RM's (less engine) went to Caterham Cars – they decided to build their own Seven
1991: Tiger Super Six - VW Golf front lower wishbones, hubs, - disconinued
1997: Tiger Cat E1 - single donor Ford Sierra – discontinued by Tiger: rights sold to Southways Automotive (Southway Sports Cars) in 2010
2000: Tiger SuperCat – larger version of the Cat E1 – discontinued by Tiger: rights sold to Southways Automotive in 2010
2003: Tiger B6 (Bike engines)
2001: Tiger Avon (as reply to the Locost Sevens – Tigerracing bought the jigs and design from Phoenix Automotive)
Other models: Tiger R6, Tiger R10, Tiger RS6, Tiger Z100, Tiger Aviator, Tiger HS6, Tiger ERA 30, Tiger HSS
WESTFIELD PréLit – Matt Black
Ford Kent Crossflow 1600 cc
260 hp / tonne
This Westfield PréLit with polyester body has been adapted for Track Day use. It has a race roll bar and ltd slip diff.
WESTFIELD WEASEL – One off "Factory built" Turbodiesel - Red
Ford 1800 Turbo Diesel (Ford Sierra)
110 hp (@ 3900 rpm)
183 hp / tonne
This Factory Prototype was built by the Westfield factory and engineer Richard Wilsher from Sword Automotive Systems Ltd in 1991. Richard Wilsher believed that a good diesel engine would be great in a light car. He first installed a diesel engine in the old Westfield SE of a friend of him. He was along the way with the project for a month or 2, cutting, modifying, welding, adapting, etc. Chris Smith (Westfield) heard about it. He found it an interesting project and offered Richard a brand new Westfield Seight chassis. The Sierra engine has been highly modified: a large intercooler (Sierra Cosworth), a Garret T3 turbo instead of the T2 version, an improved exhaust, a modified Lucas CAV fuel pump, modified combustion chambers and flowed head, increased boost from 12 to 20 psi, etc. The engine was mated to a 5 speed gearbox from a Ford P100 pick up. The power has raised from 75 to about 110 – 120 hp. The car has been raced some times by Chris Smith. Testing the car at Millbrook, in February 1992, Autocar Magazine achieved some remarkable performance figures: 0 to 100 km/h in 6,6 seconds, 0 to 145km/h in 15,2 seconds, 400 m standing start in 15,2 seconds and a top speed of 173 km/h.
During the test, the consumption was around 4,05 l/100km.
The factory being very busy with the introduction of the ZEi production and Richard Wilsher being busy with projects keeping his business running, no time was available for further development. The car remained in a corner of the Westfield factory till it was sold to Mr Barnes in 1993. He kept it till 2000. He became the owner, but the installed engine remained property of Sword Engineering. Some further developments were done now and then. Till now, the Weasel has only done 15.000 miles.
1983 – Westfield's first model was a Seven Replica with Lotus S1 looks. (100 were made)
1986 – Seven SE (Lotus S3 look) – some were all aluminium bodied Sevens, other with GRP body (450 cars were built before the legal problems with Caterham – this is called the pré lit model)
they redesigned the car and came up with the Westfield SE and SEi (IRS) - All future models were built in GRP and with modified looks.
1991 – Westfield Seight – V8 power
they have a large selection of cars, automobile powered or motorcycle powered.
Their latest model has the Mazda MX5 as donor car.
sold in kit form or as turnkey car