Waiting for the start of the 1994 Mayflower Park Hotel Vintage Car Rally.
This car is a remarkably original Series 2 Super Seven. It is the "America" model and came with a 1500cc Ford OHV engine. Lotus added a manifold for a DCOE 40 Weber and a set of tube headers to the stock Ford.
I have upgraded the engine to Cosworth specifications for a Super Seven. I added the twin DCOE 40's and as close to a Cosworth cam as I could find. I cc'd the combustion chambers, put in some oversized valves and dialed in a compression ratio of about 10:1. Since the car only weighs about 900 pounds, performance is now brisk, to say the least.
I bought the car, sight unseen, from a dealer in the Bay area and, I must say, the car was exactly as he represented it to be. Quite a relief.
This is my first experience with one of Mr. Chapman's products and it has certainly been an eye opener. It is a "quirky" little car which exhibits bump and torque steer. The rear end is from a Standard 10 sedan and was designed to: (a) deal with about 40 horsepower and (b) be located by leaf springs. Chapman would have none of that and used coil springs, radius rods and an A-frame arrangement welded to the bottom of the diff housing. As a result, the rear end housing will bend and distort assuming, of course, that you don't snap a halfshaft with three times the design horsepower. The Lotus solution, sort of, to the rear end distorting was to weld reinforcing plate the length of the rear end. Now you only have to worry about the halfshafts. Standard 10s aren't really common now( never were, for that matter) so, good luck in finding some spares. The ride is rock hard, the brakes feel dead and the clutch takes both legs to operate. I can't get into the thing with the top up and am a "press fit" on a good day. Once I am in, I find that there is no room to move my feet off the pedals or move my legs more than an inch or so. Leg and foot cramps set in after about an hour's drive.
However, all of that aside, I give it a four star rating. It is absolute fun to drive. Fierce acceleration, very good braking, outstanding cornering ability and precise response to driver inputs. Imagine, you can "heel and toe" without modifying pedal placement. The difference between a "sports" car and a "road usable race car" is monumental. Chapman certainly never cared about durability so continual tinkering is required. But he understood about keeping weight down and keeping things simple. Get one if you can.
The first picture above was taken when we were waiting to start the 1994 Mayflower Park Vintage Rallye. I drove the car for about 10 hours straight that day and had to be helped out. We finished 8th overall so I guess it was worth it. The guy sitting on it is my son Morgan, a great navigator.
The second picture in the series was taken on the 1995 Mayflower. We finished about 20th. Well...., we had a flat tire on one of the stages and space aliens kidnapped us and...........