LOTUS SEVEN REGISTER
the web site for the
~ The Lotus Seven
Luxury Cars – The ‘S’ and The ‘Twin-Cam SS’
form, the Ford crossflow engine supplied with the Series Three Lotus Seven
produced a mere 84bhp. This was no great shakes compared with the 120bhp rated
1500cc Cosworth pre-crossflow unit that was available as an option with the
previous Seven model. Lotus were already using Suffolk specialists, Holbay, in
an exclusive deal, for the engines in their Formula Ford models, and it was
this company that modified the 1600cc Ford engine fitted in the Seven to
produce 120bhp at 6,200rpm. Dubbed the ‘CFR’ it was specially balanced unit
having, a gas-flowed cylinder head, a pair of Weber 40DCOE2 sidedraught
carburettors, R120 high lift camshaft, special pistons and a 10.0:1
The Lotus Seven 'S'
THE LOTUS SEVEN
Seven’ car was made for the Racing Car Show of January 1970. Chassis # SB2402
had a fully painted livery of Rolls Royce Regal Red metallic and boasted
luxury trim previously unknown in a Seven, consisting of better padded and
contoured seating, interior trim panels and weather equipment all in an ivory
colour, as well as a brushed aluminium finish to the dashboard. Also included
were seat belts, heater and GKN manufactured Dunlop cast alloy wheels shod
with Dunlop SP41 tyres as standard and even, for the first time, a push-button
radio (Pye Major) hung to the right of the steering column with a speaker
mounted in the boot. It was planned to produce a number of cars with this
specification, but at £1600 on the road there were no takers and in the event
only one was made.
The Lotus Seven 'S' -
The Lotus Seven 'S' - interior - note Radio.
show, the car was registered for the road TNG7G and tested by several
magazines including Car, Hot Car, Autocar, Motor, Car & Car Conversions and
Motorsport. According to these tests, several gear ratios were employed. Car
magazine’s figures for the vehicle were: Top speed 108mph, O to 60mph 7.4
seconds and a thirsty fuel consumption of 18.4mpg.
The Lotus Seven 'S' -
TNG7G, the Lotus
Seven ‘S’ remained with the factory for 18 months before being sold on. Over
the intervening years it has had at least 8 owners before arriving with it’s
current owner in Hampshire in 1985. Currently undergoing a ground-up
restoration, it will soon be seen on the road in it’s original glorious state.
LOTUS BOWS TO
obvious development of the Seven was to install Lotuses own twin-cam engine
from their Elan and Cortina models; the factories official line was that this
was not possible, as the unit would not physically fit in the Seven’s engine
bay. Strangely despite this official line, the factory records clearly show
that some years earlier, in March 1965, a Cosworth twin-cam engine was
supplied by the factory in a Seven bound for Australian Lotus dealer and
racer, Leo Geoghegan. As ever with the Seven, modifications and improvements
went on both within and outside the confines of the factory and by the middle
of 1969 already the ‘impossible’ had been accomplished. Despite this, Lotus
stuck to their guns and it was only when Graham Nearn of Caterham Cars Sales
arrived at Hethel in a customers twin-cam powered Seven that the factory
finally conceded that it could be done.
Brand Lotus wheel
THE 1969 EARLS
COURT MOTOR SHOW:
With the Motor
Show just weeks away, Lotus Components set about producing a twin-cam powered
Seven for their stand. Whilst by using their own in-house produced engines,
there were cost savings, there were also some badly needed structural chassis
modifications as well. The Series Two had originally been designed around
engines producing less than 50bhp. Now with nearly treble this power, some
racing owners using sticky tyres were experiencing broken chassis tubes etc.
If Lotus were to offer a more powerful model to the public, these issues had
to be addressed or there would be future problems. To increase chassis
strength, triangulation was added both around the bottom of the engine bay and
to the chassis sides. In addition steel side panels were welded directly to
the frame which was to become a feature of the future Series Four model.
Lotus Seven Twin-Cam 'SS' at the Earls Court Motor Show.
THE LOTUS SEVEN
There was no
time to get the car running for the show, infact work carried on right through
the night before just to get it ready as a static display. With its ivory
white paintjob and special GKN Brand Lotus cast alloy wheels, it really did
‘cut a dash’ on the stand. Called the ‘SS’ (standing for Super Seven) but also
hinting at the romance of the pre-war Jaguar SS cars, the car’s powerhouse was
a special Holbay tuned version of the Lotus twin-cam engine rated at 126bhp at
During the show
Graham Nearn took enough deposits against the kit form price tag of £1,225 for
another dozen cars to be made. The chassis frames for the production versions
did not have the steel side panels, but just the added triangulated members.
These frames were given the reference SS80 and were coated in black as opposed
to the traditional grey.
Lotus Seven Twin-Cam 'SS' -
of the twin-cam SS include: Body colour to customer’s choice, GKN manufactured
13” x 5½J Dunlop or sometimes Brand Lotus cast alloy wheels shod with Dunlop
SP41 tyres, Lower mounted front indicators, Semi flush rear lamp clusters,
Improved contour padded seating in grey PVC, Interior trim panels and weather
equipment in matching grey colour, Additional trim to scuttle top, Brushed
aluminium finish and engraving to the dashboard, Seat belts, Twin-cam engine
with Lotus Holbay cam cover labelling, 3.77:1 limited differential ratio,
Heater, Maserati twin tone air horns,
According to the
Lotus records there were just 13 Twin-cam SS cars made by the factory. With
the chassis # prefix ‘SC’ and suffixes ‘TC1 to 13’ they were not given
consecutive numbering, but they all left Lotus by the end of January 1970.
Just one was left hand drive, but there were clearance problems between the
steering column and the dynamo so a Holbay Clubmans crossflow engine had to be
fitted instead of the twin-cam unit. Of the 13, one went to Iran, three to the
USA, one to Germany, one to Scotland and one to Spain; the remainder being
sold to customers in England.
Lotus Seven Twin-Cam 'SS' - engine installation.
WHERE ARE THEY
Of these rare
and highly desirable cars, three are known to be in the UK in nicely restored
condition, one is reportedly in Germany, four are in the US or Japan and one
is presumably still in Iran where it was originally sold to; leaving just four
whose whereabouts is unknown. In addition to the left hand drive car, one
other has since had a crossflow engine fitted.
Lotus Seven by
Jeremy Coulter (1986/1995)
Preparation/Restoration/Maintenance by Tony Weale (1991)
Pictures by kind permission of Ferret
Seven made by Lotus between 1957 and 1973