The Lotus 7 is a small, simple, lightweight two-seater open-top sports car, which have been called "a motorcycle on four wheels". It is characterised by very good acceleration but a low top speed, handling is lively and the ride is 'uncompromising'.
The original Lotus Seven was launched in 1957, powered by a 40bhp Ford 1172cc engine. The Lotus Seven Series 2 followed in 1960, and the Series 3 in 1968. In 1970, Lotus radically changed the shape of the car to create the Series 4, which was not widely loved.
In 1973, Lotus decided to try and shed its kit-car image in order to concentrate on its more up-market models. As part of this plan, it sold the rights to the Seven to Caterham Cars. Caterham had been a Seven dealer since the very early days, and at this time they were the sole suppliers. After a brief period producing the Series 4, they reverted back to the Series 3 car, and have been making, and refining, this car since as the Caterham Super 7.
Since the design of the Lotus 7 is so simple there are many replicas and sevenesque cars such as:
- Locost by Ron Champion
- Stalker V6 Clubman by Brunton Automotive
- Several models by Westfield Sportscars Ltd
- Raptor by Tornado Sports Cars
- Several models from Robin Hood Enginering Ltd
- Donkervoort from Netherlands with Audi-Turbo-Engines
- HKT from Germany also with Audi-Turbo-Engines