Lotus 7 (1957 – 1973) Review

Lotus 7 (1957 – 1973) At A Glance


+Lightweight fun, uncorrupted steering and brilliant handling, the original and still the best

-Build quality is down to how good the owner is

The Lotus 7 is legend is its own lifetime. It was an evolution of the 6 that gained wishbone front suspension and hydraulic brakes. It was transport in its most basic form, initially sold with Ford’s sidevalve, but later the 948cc BMC A-series and four-speed ‘box; from 1961 there was also the option of the 997cc Anglia Kent engines. Short of space for those of large frame or large feet.

The Series 3 came with their Ford engines in all sizes from 1300-1600cc. This is the car that was revived officially by Caterham and unofficially by everyone else, but the 350 or so originals command a decent premium for all that heritage. Still largely sold as kits originally, which means fit and finish has always been variable.

The final Lotus 7, the Series 4 was an evolution too far. In some ways it’s a better car, with decent legroom at last, improved front and rear suspension and all-glassfibre bodywork over a new steel chassis. Its higher kerbweight slightly blunted the performance and handling that made the 7 such an outstandingly fun car. It offers a way in to Seven ownership, but you can see why Caterham went back to the S3 when they took over manufacture.