The Lotus Seven was perhaps the world’s best-loved kit car. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Seven is an homage to that original. Let’s see if its price makes it honorable in its own right.
Man, I have to say, you readers seem to be feeling pretty tight with the cash this week. Everything I’ve thrown at you so far has been batted down in a No Dice loss. That includes yesterday’s aesthetically compromised 2003 Honda Civic Si hatch.
The seller deserves a shout-out for honestly detailing all of the car’s flaws and witchiepoo warts in the ad. But for many who contributed in the comments, those injuries, accompanied by the car’s $8,800 asking price, were seen as an insult. As a result, it fell in a decisive 88 percent No Dice loss. That makes this, so far, a whole week of losers.
Let’s see if a little Lotus blossom can reverse the tide and bring home a win. We’re ending this week with a replica of a Lotus Seven component car, a model that has had notable success in the many forms of its afterlife — better fortunes than the company that birthed it did with the original version over the years. Seriously, I bet that if you tallied up all the Caterhams, Westfields and dozens of other kit, component and turn-key carmakers popping out Seven homages since Lotus killed off the model in 1973, the total would outnumber Lotus’s output over the same period. Of course, that’s every parent’s dream — that their kids reach greater heights than they did.
The Seven reached perhaps the greatest height of any car in that it is now not only a staple of boutique carmakers but has become a cherished dream project of DIY builder as well. Those efforts have been so popular that the “Locost Seven” name has found its way into the lexicon of the automotive world.
Today’s car is claimed to be a Lotus Super Seven replica, and almost all of the proportions and pieces look right for such a car. It does sport tire-hugging cycle fenders in the front rather than the flowing wings you may have been expecting. Either would be accurate, as would the somewhat cobbled together appearance. The Seven was always about minimalism and making-do with what you have. What the builder of this Seven apparently had, was a 1974 Triumph Spitfire. According to the ad, that’s what served as the donor car, offering up the 1300cc engine, four-speed gearbox and from the looks of it, the steering column and entire front suspension as well.
The seller doesn’t mention whether the rear is sprung via the Spitfire’s swing axles or if there’s something a little more buttoned-down doing that job. What we are told is that the little Triumph four is seemingly good for 60 horsepower at the back wheels, and that it suffers from a misfire when under load. The seller blames that on the car’s having spent a couple of years in storage. The cause could be anything from a tired fuel pump to the ignition points floating at high rpm. It might make for a fun project to suss out the problem and come up with the fix.
The engine sits under a polished aluminum hood and behind the now-iconic Seven nose cone, which has been painted a traditional yellow. That’s accented with swaths of British Racing Green on the fenders and more bare metal everywhere else. Period-correct tulip-style alloy wheels and real leather straps on the bonnet complete the picture.
The seller says that the car is too small for anyone over six feet tall, and honestly, it really looks more like something you’d strap on your foot to go skating than something you sit in and drive. If you do fit, you’ll be faced by a wooden dashboard fitted with a full set of gauges and quite remarkably, a locking glove box. Porsche floor mats make for a posh touch. Also, as is obvious from the pictures, this is a right-hand drive car.
The seller recommends the car for autocross, but notes it is registered for the road and even holds a clear title. It’s being sold in California, and its age makes it emissions-exempt in that state. It comes with a claimed 3,300 miles on the odometer and a price tag of $4,750.
What’s your take on this replica and that very authentic asking price? Does that make this a Seven you might roll? Or, is that too much for something this small and sort of rough?
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