Lotus Super 7: Road car for racing or racing car for the road?

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Pick of the Day is a 1959 Lotus Super Seven that has been owned by the same person for 40 years, driven both on the street and, for 30 years, in racing competition.

“Don’t know of another Super 7 in the world that can compare,” the owner says in the car’s advertisement on ClassicCars.com. “Super fast, comfortable ride, great handling.

“The last time it was raced with the VSCCA, at the thru-the-streets Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, running in the fastest class (Sports/racers and Formula cars), it finished 3rd behind a very fast Elva Mk V, the fastest Lotus 18 Fm Junior, and ahead of every Lotux XI and Lola Mk 1, none of which are street cars.”

Colin Chapman and his Lotus Engineering company produced the Super 7 from 1957-1972, after which Caterham bought the rights to the design and continues to produce them. Chapman’s goal was a lightweight two-seater that could be enjoyed on the road but that also would win on the race track.

The car on offer comes with a 1485cc Coventry Climax FWB engine with new steel billet crankshaft, steel Carrillo connecting rods, forged JE pistons, gas flowed ported and polished head, new steel billet racing camshaft, lightened flywheel, finned alloy sump, high capacity clutch, steel timing gears, twin 40 DCOE Weber carburetors and other enhancements.

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The seller says the engine has been driven less than 3,000 miles since its rebuild, which has it producing around 135 horsepower “with tons of torque. And a rev limiter to keep everything together!”

The engine is “mated to an alloy-cased BMC gearbox with straight cut, close ratio gears.   LSD with 4.2 final drive, steel competition axle shafts.   All components are ‘the best of the best’ and work well for both race and road use,” the seller adds.

Nine-inch finned alloy drum brakes have Kevlar high-performance shoes, dual master cylinders and adjustable balance car while the suspension also is adjustable for camber and ride height. The car comes with two sets of 600-spoke wire wheels, one with radials for road use and the other with 500L15 Dunlop racing tires.

For road use, there are a top and side curtains, tonneau cover, factory heater, stereo, headlights, brake lights, working wipers and horns.

The seller adds that the car has been driven throughout the Northeast and into Canada and has been raced in the Bahamas as well.

The car is for sale for $75,000.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Can you imagine one of these with a bored/stroked/turbo 2.3 based Ford SOHC (Esslinger Engineering!) and a Tremec 6spd box? Those 60- not 600- spoke wheels wouldn’t have a chance. Perhaps some Wheel Vintiques artillery styles in modern size with some Toyo or Nitto rubber. Best of both worlds, and still on the cheap!

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