This Lotus Seven is the go-kart of your daydreams
The man behind the Lotus brand, Colin Chapman, was an engineer and tinkerer who enjoyed cars. A day job at British Aluminum helped to shape his philosophy for the cars his Lotus brand would create. None exemplify his lightweight ethos better than Seven though, and this polished-aluminum 1958 model, currently for sale on Bring a Trailer, is a great example of just how wild these roadsters are.
With the goal of a street car capable of competing in hill climb and track events, Chapman laid out a steel space frame that would be stiff yet featherweight. A DeDion rear and independent front suspension give the Seven an 88-inch wheelbase. With that basic setup, the Seven went into production in 1957.
With the goal of a svelte overall weight, a high-output engine was not necessarily needed. Chapman elected to utilize the Ford 100E four-cylinder which displaces 1172 cc and is rated at just 36 horsepower in stock form. With upgrades like twin SU carburetors, the engine could reach 45 horsepower. A three-speed manual multiplied the meager torque output and transferred it to the rear axle.
Early examples were known to be finished by polishing the un-stressed aluminum body rather than weighing the car down with an ounce of paint. The finished weight could be low as 725 pounds, which stands out as comically low during a time of 5000-pound Cadillac Eldorados with 365-cubic-inch V-8s.
This 1958 example adds to the polished aluminum look with twin Brooklands-style windscreens, and a bright red interior replete with matching steering wheel. Said to have been a race car before returning to this street specification, the car features a handful of upgrades and spares including an extra set of wheels, the original steering wheel, and an upgraded Aquaplane cylinder head to compliment the twin carbs.
The adult go-kart of daydreams and race tracks alike, this Lotus Seven is a car that could never be built in modern times. If you desire the bare-bones motoring experience or think your Miata needs to go on a diet, this might be the car for you.