Like the Shelby Cobra, there are more Lotus 7 replicas in the world than there are the real deal. Cars like today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Triumph-based 7 give much the same visceral experience at a fraction of the cost. We’ll have to decide if that’s still too big a fraction.
While their Pagoda-roofed predecessors have skyrocketed in value, Mercedes’ R107 roadsters of the ‘70s and ‘80s still seem to maintain somewhat more tepid prices.
There was nothing tepid about the attraction of yesterday’s 1984 Mercedes Benz 380SL however, a fact made evident in the car’s outstanding 92-percent Nice Price win. The seller claimed it was tanned, rested, and ready for everything summer might throw at it. In fact, he pulled the ad so perhaps it’s already making some lucky new owner’s summer better right this very minute.
What if however, your summer needs are a little simpler, perhaps more parsimonious? In that case you might prefer something along the lines of this “2013” Locost Super 7 as its inventory of kit makes Mahatma Gandhi look like a hoarder.
Now Lotus Cars was just recently snapped up by the Chinese company, Geely, who bought the English company’s Malaysian parent, Proton.
Lotus has seemingly existed on the brink of failure almost as long as it has been in existence, so one more rescue isn’t all that shocking. The funny thing is, with all the iconic models that the British specialty maker has introduced over the years—Elite, Elan, Esprit, Elise, Etc.—it’s the Seven that will outlive the company should it eventually finally fail.
That’s because there’s just so damn many companies and people still cranking out the cars in one form or another, seemingly left and right. As Tom Sawyer might say, you can’t swing a dead cat but to hit one.
The most familiar makers include Caterham, which bought the rights to the design from Lotus all the way back in 1972, Westfield, Donkervoort, Elfin and Birkin. The majority of Lotus Seven replicas however come from backyards, garages, and unfathomably charitable spouse’s dining room tables in the form of what has become known as the “Locost.”
Most of those cars take their major mechanical systems from junkyard Mazda Miatas which are then bolted into square-section tube frame chassis of the most simplest construction, followed by clothing in just enough bodywork not to get them arrested for lewd behavior (stripper joke).
This one eschews the Miata route for one more Triumph based. According to the ad, the donor car was in fact a Spitfire. Actually it says “Donner” car which is fitting considering it was cannibalized so that this car might live. See? Everybody wins!
The Triumph bits are most evident under the hood where a 1500 four with a single Zenith Stromberg CD-175 makes do. The valve cover ventilation tube is disconnected from the intake, and there’s some copper plumbing pipe bypassing where the heater might connect so it’s all a bit cobbled together and could likely stand some sorting.
You’ll note a Spitfire steering column in the bare bones cabin as well. Speaking of bones, you’ll be bruising yours in here as there’s little padding for any pat of your body other than your butt and back. Fortunately there’s engine turned panels covering every other square inch because who the hell doesn’t love those?
Obviously there are no doors on this Locost, but the builder seems to have also taken the wiper-omit route on the oddly rectangular windscreen. The rest of the bodywork looks to be in fine shape, but that windshield looks funky. There’s no mention of any top or a tonneau, so occupants will just have to let it all hang out.
Mileage? Who knows? The ad claims the car to be a 2013, but actual registration may vary by municipality rules. The car is said to “run good” and be “basically turnkey” but is also comes with the warning that it can be “temperamental.”
You don’t have to be mental to want to own a Lotus 7, either in fact or in replica. They can be amazing cars to drive, the closest thing to a four-wheel motorcycle or riding Mad Max-style on the front of a speeding war wagon you might find. The thing of it is, while spartan and full of compromises, they’re generally pretty pricy.
This one’s not so pricy, and, aside from that windshield and some sorting needs, looks to be in fine shape. The cost? $9,000. What do you think, is that a decent price to assume the Lotus position? Or, is this a Locost that’s not Locost enough for your liking?
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