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Homepage. This page: Original images from the late 1950s of the first generation Lotus Seven 'F' sportscar.

Lotus 7 Series 1.

Lotus 7s were produced in a number of variants following the model's introduction in 1957, based on the previous Lotus 6's basic design principles. Like the 6, the earliest 7s were also powered by the sidevalve Ford engine, in its 100E guise. Whereas the 1172cc unit didn't give the 100E saloon a particularly sparkling performance, when bolted into a lightweight sportscar it endowed the Lotus with a very respectable turn of speed. A phonecall to the Aquaplane tuning company would provide a number of tuning goodies to really make the 7 motor, whether on the road or on track.
All of these photographs features a Lotus Seven registered 8044 WW. The first is a head-on view of the completed car, showing its neat aluminium coachwork and distinctive egg-crate radiator grille. Lucas SFT476 and SLR476 spot- and fog-lamps provided illuminance as standard, while crossply tyres fitted to the steel road wheels kept the car on the black stuff. All of these photos looks to have been professionally taken and printed, the first image being mounted on card with a handwritten note below it simply saying G-RRR!!.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Front-on view of the Lotus 7

The Lotus' empty engine bay.

For the second photo, we rewind back in time slightly. Perhaps the car was still being built at this time, or else the engine had been removed pending an upgrade. Either way, the front end panels have been removed and the empty engine bay is shown. The tubular spaceframe chassis employed on the Lotus 7 is clearly evident, as is the steering rack. The first cars were fitted with a steering box, rather than a rack, but in early 1958 a switch to modified Morris Minor-sourced racks was introduced. Later on in Series One production, LHD Triumph Herald racks would be installed (upside down).
Some lettering can be seen on the bulkhead, namely "B.A. Co." and "DTD 710X", presumably relating to the originator and specification of the aluminium used in the Lotus' construction.
The Lotus engine bay

Aquaplane-tuned Ford sidevalve engine.

Early Series Ones, from 1957 to mid 1960, were fitted with the standard 1172cc Ford engine only. This model was known as the Lotus Seven "F". In 1958 you could also choose the Seven "C", or "Super Seven", which did away with the Ford engine and instead came with the Coventry Climax OHC engine. The following year saw the introduction of the "A" type, so named due to its use of BMC's 948cc A Series engine. All types continued being available until mid 1960 when the Series 2 was launched.
Photograph number 3 shows a nearside view of the engine bay, an Aquaplane-tuned 100E Ford engine now installed. Twin SU carbs, fitted with pancake air filters, are bolted to an aluminium Aquaplane inlet manifold. A tubular exhaust manifold has also been fitted, as has an Aquaplane "Superhead" cylinder head, designed to both raise compression and improve heat dissipation. A period brochure describing some of this company's tuning products can be found on the Aquaplane page, within the tuning companies section of the site.
Lotus car engine
Photo 4 again shows the Aquaplane-tuned engine, but from the offside of the car. The remote gearchange linkage can just be seen at the bottom of shot. Cycle wings have been fitted to this particular Lotus.
Aquaplane tuned Ford engine fitted to the Lotus 7

Lotus Seven, side view.

The final picture in this set shows a side-on view of the completed Lotus, complete with its cycle wings and drilled steel wheels. Despite the car's sporty stance and demeanour, a standard road-car steering wheel is fitted. Unlike later Sevens and Caterhams, which tended to feature more and more fibreglass body parts, the early version's simple lightweight all-alloy body, here in unpainted form, can clearly be appreciated. Note the wing-mounted Lucas sidelights, ex-Austin A30/A35.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Classic Lotus Seven Series 1

Lotus 7 reg. 8044 WW.

But what of 8044 WW now? It doesn't show up on a search of the DVLA site. Did it end its days in a hedge somewhere, was it broken for parts at a later date, or did it simply get scrapped? Perhaps it lies forgotten in a dusty garage somewhere, waiting to be rescued. Whoever took these photos was a keen photographer, the final side-on shot shows the Lotus parked outside a fine country retreat. Was this a road-test car? I've been unable to find any reference to a car with this registration, but maybe someone out there recognises it, or maybe the location of the final shot?
Return to Page 12 in the vintage and classic car gallery, where, amongst other things, you'll find a number of classic Lotus photographs, including a press photo of the later Lotus Seven S4.

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