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Newbie Seven S3 Question

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Greetings 7 experts, I have just purchased a 1969 Lotus Seven S3 and have a “newbie” question; Happily, the car has previously been fully restored by experts and comes with extensive documentation but it does not come with an owner’s manual or workshop manual. I have searched for these online but so far have not found either originals, copies or pdfs. Can someone recommend where I might find these?

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They are pretty rare but I see them come up on Ebay from time to time.  


They are rare enough that the Lotus 7 Club in the UK does not have one available on its website.  


Here is what I know of around the place - not solely S3 model.


Series 4 Manual

Lotus7-S4-Service-Manual-Searchable.pdf (barnblinker.com)



Lotus 7A Manual - copy of original available for purchase

SimpleSevens: Lotus Seven America Assembly Instructions



This website shows a listing of what was published - if you contact them they may have a link to purchasing one.

Lotus Seven manuals - Lotus Drivers Guide



Otherwise monitor the specialist bookstores for when they come on sale or contact them and make a request.  I use these two frequently when researching car restorations or maintenance.  Nothing shown listed currently but contacting them by phone is the best way.  The owners are excellent and I have been dealing with them for 30+ years.

Chaters Motoring Books, Classic Car Books & Motorsport Booksellers Online UK


Automoto Bookshop



If someone on USa7s surfaces with a copy, then I would pay for it to be scanned and have USA7s save a copy for download to assist as a resource for other owners.  


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Very exciting!  Please post up some pictures and tell us about your car!


Caterham produced a manual that included S2 through S4.  This is the pinkish looking manual you'll see pop up on Ebay periodically.  I have a copy, and am happy to grab a photo if you're looking for anything in particular.  Also keep your eyes open for a Lotus Elan manual - they are more common and typically not too expensive, and some of the information is really useful for the Seven (gearbox, clutch, engine block - and if yours is a twin cam then the whole engine). 


@Croc - it is bound so can't run it through a scanner, but one rainy evening when I'm stuck inside or watching a ballgame, I'll do the cell phone camera scanner thing.  I agree, it would be worth having it available as a reference for all.

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Did I understand correctly that Lotus could not print a manual early on for legal reasons? I heard somewhere that British Law would not allow cars to be sold for assembly by owner if a build manual was available.  That may explain why 7A ( as in export to America), with the AH Sprite motor, had a manual.I also heard that Lotus had a teardown manual at one point and you just had to go from the end backwards to have instructions for assembly. If anyone can find a copy and have prints made, that would be of great interest. I have a spiral bound Cortina manual from Ford that covers the 1500 and 1500 GT in fine detail. Of course it does not cover the 40 DCOE as used on the super 7. Happy to share copies of a few pages if any interest.

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Thanks to all for your suggestions.

Croc,  I have contacted Chaters and Ronald and will be happy to share a pdf if my search is successful. Your link for the S4 manual is very helpful though I do recognize that there are major differences between the S3 and S4 cars.

SENC, here is a link to information and photos of the car;


I am also fortunate to have a 1972 Elan Sprint with it’s original owner’s manual but that didn’t help me for example find the push to start button. I have been a source of lots of laughs for my wife and friends as I get to know the car. Watching me wriggle my 5’10” 220 lb frame into the car was quite comical as was my search for the start button. I expect lots more fun will be had.

Christopher, There is an image on the lotusdriversguide.com of an S3 manual so I think something does exist. My car was a Canada delivery car and my understanding is that all of those were factory built cars rather than kits.

Thanks again for everyone’s help,


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Thats a pretty special Lotus 7.  Very well preserved.  Most are like "Grandpa's axe" with very little original left.  Thank you for sharing the link to read that.  

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Great looking car, and seeing in the write-up that Mick at xtraspecialsevens did the restoration work I think you can be assured it was quality work.  I'll try to expedite getting a copy of the manual - or at least the short S3-specific section - photo-scanned.  I know how eager I was to have similar information at hand when I acquired my S2.  If you don't already have them, Tony Weale's Lotus Seven is a must-have, and Ortenburger's Legend of the Lotus Seven highly useful.


@Christopher smith - I know there was a manual as early as Cheshunt (so published 1965 or earlier), as I've seen it - and would love to find one just to have with my Cheshunt car.  I think the issue was they couldn't publish build instructions - but the owner's manual does have an entire section called "overhaul and rebuild".

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Stay tuned... I had a long and boring Zoom today and tool yhe opportunity to scan while listening in, so should have it available sooner than later. 

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hey guys--- this is great. I particularly like the bolt info and tightening sequence for the dual 40DCOE and exhaust flange. Pretty close to what I figured out after trial and (many) error attempts without a manual a few years ago.

many thanks!

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