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Great to see you here @BlokkoDid you add yourself to the maps? You may also want to check out Caterham and 7 Owners in the USA and Canada on Facebook!

 

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Just brought home a 92 Caterham Super Sprint, originally built in England, RHD, came to the US via Cincinnati a few years ago. When I was 17, I had a brief acquaintanceship with a Morgan owner. My dad was in the hard wood lumber business, so he thought the combo of English style and wooden frame was the ultimate. My acquaintance referenced the Seven as an ultimate sports car and I’ve held that opinion ever since. 30 years ago my wife gave me a model Seven for my birthday. When a car looking almost exactly like the model came available, she encouraged me to get the real thing and I could not resist. The car was only 30 minutes from home so that was another sign it was meant for me.

 

During and immediately after college, I had a variety of cars. My midlife crisis at 22 caused me to trade my newly re-painted 69 MGB for a VW bug which I traded for a Datsun 260Z with triple Webers, which I traded for a Europa, which I traded for a plane ticket because I couldn’t get the Europa running well enough to drive it 1200 miles to graduate school, all in the space of one summer. After marriage, a few years, and a few more sports cars, I gave them up to focus on family. Now after a lot of years, I have the time to indulge.

 

Although I worked extensively on my MGB I’m not sure how much I will be working on the Caterham. First thing, I have to see if the adjustable pedals are adjusted for maximum driver height. Second, the battery seems weak, so it or the alternator will likely need replacing soon. If I knew of a good mechanic close by I would have it done, but maybe I’ll do it myself. Do I really have to remove the rear carb to get the battery out? Also have to figure out how to mount a front license plate or if I am willing to risk going without it.

 

Fit is something of an issue as I am 6’3”. None of my current shoes work, so I’m driving barefoot until my driving shoes come in. My knees just barely/sort of clear the steering wheel, but that‘s ok, because I don’t really need to turn the wheel more than a quarter turn. Fortunately, I’m narrow so the width of the seat is no problem with me.

 

The car seems to be near original. Odometer says 7,200 miles. Paint and interior are excellent, but not perfect, to an amateur eye. When I see a blemish, I shrug and say “not bad for 30 year old car”. Love the sound. Love that when I dangle my arm out the window, my fingers hit the ground. Love looking up to motorcycle riders. Not so keen on looking up into the wheel well of pickup trucks. Love the community and the opportunity to read about other’s experiences.

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A Quick simple solution to your knee issue is to pull out the lower sear cushion and use a thin inch or so if very firm foam.  That should help temporarily. Then you can make your own cushion to the height you need with some foam beads, some two part epoxy, and one of those vacuum space saver bags.  Then cover it and you are set.  Not factory like your nice looking seats but comfortable and you’ll be able to get your head and helmet under the roll bar if you ever put it on track.   Congratulations and Enjoy Tom.  

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@TexasDreamer  Welcome to USA7s!   Thats a great story and it sounds like an even greater wife if she encouraged you to buy your Caterham.  Love the classic color look of your new(to you) Caterham.  I remember it coming up on Bringatrailer. 

 

There are a few owners in Houston, our brand new forum map is only just being populated now so not everyone is listed there yet but add yourself and others will find you.   Forum member Cranky is just north of Houston in the Woodlands.

 

To answer some of your questions:

- Some owners can sometimes drop the battery through the chassis underneath instead of taking the throttle body off.

- The alternators in these cars do not provide much juice unless you are actually moving a decent clip so it can appear they are weak.  Maybe put the battery on a trickle charger overnight and see if that reconditions it enough.  

 

Enjoy your driving!  

 

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Welcome, Tex.  I'm in Dallas, close to Love Field if you get up this way.  Love the color, much like my Birkin, but I don't have the snazzy yellow snout.  I would like to see how your exhaust is routed, as I may want to do something like that.  My car is Loud right under my ear.  Enjoy.

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Hey everyone,

 

My name's Dan and I am originally from Chelmsford in the UK.  After spending 35 years in the UK living and working in various parts of the county, I met a lovely Canadian girl who is now my wife and made the move to Ottawa where I have been living for the last 10 years.

 

I first got into 7s back in 2004 when I was in France watching the Le mans 24h.  The campsite we were staying at was well known for holding a car show and BBQ the night before the race, so I got to see a bunch of awesome cars from the various 7s car clubs that had driven en-mass from the UK.  Very cool!

 

Anyway, fast forward and here I am about to start my own build.  I have just bought my donor car and about to order my Westfield Sport Miata kit from Manik!

 

Really looking forward to getting to know some of you folks during the course my build!

 

Dan

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Last time I contacted Tom at Manik it was about 12 weeks.

 

I'm hoping to place to order next week, but I'm having difficulty reaching Tom.  He's usually very quick to respond, but I've sent a bunch of emails recently and not heard back from him in over a week.

 

 

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Tom has always been quick to respond.  I know there have been recent storms in TX where he lives, so that could be part of the delay.

 

-John

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TexasDreamer: Beautiful Caterham. I switched to CF Tillet seats and it opened up a lot of room. The fiberglass seats accomplish the same thing for less $. The problem is they spoil the aesthetics of the high end interior of your unique Caterham. I never had any luck dropping the battery out thru the bottom in my '97Super Sprint. Worth a try tho.

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Solved 2/3 of the fit issue (maybe only a half depending on how you count) by adjusting the accelerator and brake pedals. Now my right leg has plenty of room. Clutch cable was not adjustable up top by the pedal. I'm assuming the the adjustment for it is inside the rubber boot down by the clutch. Will deal with it later when I have the car up in the air and time to figure it out. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Everyone, 

 

I am new here and I am thinking of getting a project Lotus Seven S4. 

 

I have recently came across a 1970 Lotus Seven S4 project car... I have always wanted a Seven. This one has all the parts except the windshield/windshield surround and seats. I've done my research and I can actually get a windshield and the owner has the side pieces so I'm sure I can have someone fabricate a windshield surround for me and the seats of course. 

It really comes down to price, the amount of work and value of the car now and in the future. It is a real Lotus Seven, not a caterham. Only real issue is I have no room and will need to store a Lotus or two somewhere else. It could be an easy fix since the seven has no doors, hoods or really an interior. He has everything for the car and the car is a roller right now, with the engine and transmission in the car. The engine is not a TC, it is a Holbay, which is still good. Dynoed at 110HP.  I would love to have it and think it would be a very fun and unique car. 

Any of you guys know anything about Lotus Seven S4s? Drove one, owned one? Should I go for it?! 

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Europa Pic.JPG

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Beautiful Europa and Elan.  Snipping out relevant parts of the above;

 

Quote

I have recently came across a 1970 Lotus Seven S4 project car... It is a real Lotus Seven, not a caterham...Any of you guys know anything about Lotus Seven S4s? Drove one, owned one? Should I go for it?! 

 

To reduce production costs compared to the S3, the S4 used a simplified chassis with sections of folded steel and welded steel side panels to regain some rigidity.  As I recall, the fiberglass body is also stressed to help in that area.  That type of chassis construction is not as elegant as a real Caterham, real Birkin, real Westfield, real Brunton, etc, but it reportedly still works well.  The folded steel sections are similar to the Elan construction, so as with that car, it's important to check the relevant areas for rust.  It sounds like an interesting project, and with few exceptions, any se7en is a huge amount of fun.  Ignoring the state of that particular car, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone here who would talk you out of buying a se7en.  We're what you call...enablers. :classic_biggrin:

 

-John

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45 minutes ago, JohnCh said:

Beautiful Europa and Elan.  Snipping out relevant parts of the above;

 

 

To reduce production costs compared to the S3, the S4 used a simplified chassis with sections of folded steel and welded steel side panels to regain some rigidity.  As I recall, the fiberglass body is also stressed to help in that area.  That type of chassis construction is not as elegant as a real Caterham, real Birkin, real Westfield, real Brunton, etc, but it reportedly still works well.  The folded steel sections are similar to the Elan construction, so as with that car, it's important to check the relevant areas for rust.  It sounds like an interesting project, and with few exceptions, any se7en is a huge amount of fun.  Ignoring the state of that particular car, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone here who would talk you out of buying a se7en.  We're what you call...enablers. :classic_biggrin:

 

-John

Thanks for the warm welcome John. The car has a refurbished chassis, suspension, steering, all new bushings, brakes and original lotus wheels. It just needs fiberglass work, paint and assembly, of course normal parts such as: clutch cylinder and brake cylinder, brake lines, bolts/nuts, etc. 
 

I am really considering it, I just wanted to know a little more about the seven S4 and wanted to know anyone who knew some good information about them. I have researched a lot about them and I know that only about 600 were ever made so that’s really cool!  Thank you for your knowledge and input. 

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Welcome to the forum @TheKid9

 

Not sure you should ever ask me an opinion on whether to buy given how many cars I have.  I always just say yes!  :classic_rolleyes:

 

While I never owned an S4, I have driven one.  Comparing it to my ex-Lotus 7 S2, it was a lot stiffer in the chassis, similar to the later Caterham deDion chassis-ied cars I have owned over the years.  The S2 was like a wet noodle - not much holding it together. The S4 was a bigger cockpit than the S2 so better for touring.  Fiberglass body reduced the buffetting somewhat compared with the traditional se7en shape.   Same accomplished handling as any se7en.  Styling is an acquired taste for some.  Personally I preferred the styling in a dark color as it really suited the sharp creases and folds.  The Holbay engine you referred to is a Ford Crossflow, likely 1600cc.  Well suited to the car with a nice exhaust bark noise when on throttle.  

 

Values of these have varied from $15K to $25K+ in fully functioning state.  If you want to do this for profit then there is not a lot of margin to work with.  Personally it would only make financial sense if you are a car enthusiast and do it for the enjoyment.  The package is worth saving - it can be brought back quite readily.  Negotiate hard as it has been around for sale for a while - it appears on Craigslist every so often.  

 

For getting some well done research on the S4, the reading list has books by Chris Rees and Dennis Ortenburger.  These will be your best for some history around how it came about and why it was phased out.   

Reading List for Lotus Seven and Lotus Seven Inspired Vehicles - Looking for a Se7en? - USA7s

 

Simple Sevens has a register of Lotus 7s.  If you know the chassis number, then you can see if it is registered on the list.

SimpleSevens: Genuine Lotus Sevens and Related Information

 

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Croc said:

Welcome to the forum.

 

Not sure you should ever ask me an opinion on whether to buy given how many cars I have.  I always just say yes!  :classic_rolleyes:

 

While I never owned an S4, I have driven one.  Comparing it to my ex-Lotus 7 S2, it was a lot stiffer in the chassis, similar to the later Caterham deDion chassis-ied cars I have owned over the years.  The S2 was like a wet noodle - not much holding it together. The S4 was a bigger cockpit than the S2 so better for touring.  Fiberglass body reduced the buffetting somewhat compared with the traditional se7en shape.   Same accomplished handling as any se7en.  Styling is an acquired taste for some.  Personally I preferred the styling in a dark color as it really suited the sharp creases and folds.  The Holbay engine you referred to is a Ford Crossflow, likely 1600cc.  Well suited to the car with a nice exhaust bark noise when on throttle.  

 

Values of these have varied from $15K to $25K+ in fully functioning state.  If you want to do this for profit then there is not a lot of margin to work with.  Personally it would only make financial sense if you are a car enthusiast and do it for the enjoyment.  The package is worth saving - it can be brought back quite readily.  Negotiate hard as it has been around for sale for a while - it appears on Craigslist every so often.  

 

 

 

 

Hey Croc,

 

Thank you for the input and yes, the car has been for sale for a few years but no one has snatched it up. I wouldn't be doing it for a profit, sheer enjoyment and for my collection. Of course, I'd keep it for years to come once finished, so maybe the value would increase over time. I am 6'5" and the seller is 6'2" and says he fits nicely without seats, no way I can fit in a early Seven, it has to either be this or a new Caterham.

 

The original color was red, so I would paint it red and bring it back to originality. I did read that they are a little stronger/stiffer than the S2's & S3 Sevens. I would do all the work myself and only have a paint shop paint the car for me. It seems feasible to finish the car with my budget, especially since he has all the parts except windshield and seats which can be fabricated or I just put race seats in it and be done. It would be a fun project and finished car for years to come. I just need to know some people who know the car more than I do, if I decide to purchase. All in all, I do believe it would be a great deal, if I could get the right price. I am a Lotus Enthusiast and I think it would be a great part of my growing collection. 

 

Thanks again,

Edited by TheKid9
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For windshield, maybe adapting a Brooklands screen set up?   If you are trying to find original windscreens, look in New Zealand - they sold a lot of the Steel Brothers version of the S4 or the UK as you would expect.  I bet an original windscreen is out there somewhere with a bit of searching.  Spares seem to be easier to find there than in USA.  

 

I can validate that tall folks will fit an S4.  A member on here 6'2" fitted with seats installed with an S4 he used to own.  Figure removing seats gives you more leg room again for your need. 

 

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27 minutes ago, panamericano said:

To echo the rest, YES, go for it.  

I have a suggestion for storing one of your other cars.  I could move the wife's car out of the garage...

:driving:

 

I do like your style....I really do...  :classic_laugh:

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6 hours ago, Croc said:

 

For windshield, maybe adapting a Brooklands screen set up?   If you are trying to find original windscreens, look in New Zealand - they sold a lot of the Steel Brothers version of the S4 or the UK as you would expect.  I bet an original windscreen is out there somewhere with a bit of searching.  Spares seem to be easier to find there than in USA. 

 

Hey Croc,

 

I have tried to get in contact with this owner/seller as I do see a windshield in the pictures and other parts but had no luck.

 

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1971-lotus-seven/

 

Bringatrailer told me it is not their “policy” to give out information. Emailed wirewheel too with no response even though I know Hayes, might need to call him. 

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