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Lotus Seven S4.Which is better looking? the young blonde lady seen climbing into a Lotus 7, or the Lotus itself?
This was the 4th incarnation of the lightweight 2 seater from Colin Chapman, a model that can trace its lineage back to the Ford sidevalve-powered Lotus 6 of the 1950s. The S4 was quite a radical departure from earlier 7s (photos of the first cars can be found on the Lotus 7 Series 1 page), as the aluminium coachwork was replaced with the fibreglass offering shown here.
The Series 4 was trying to give Lotus a more up-to-date looking design, given that until then the 7 had retained pretty much the same shape since the early days, but looking at it now, my first impression is of a kit-car inspired by the original 7, rather than a 'proper' Lotus.
Has the passage of time been kind to the S4? At one time it was looked at as a poor relation to the more traditional looking 7s, but has this changed now that several decades have passed? I'd be interested to add in here any comments that Lotus 7 owners can share about their favourite road-rocket.
One of the best alternatives to someone wanting the experience of a Lotus 7 in more recent years was (and still is) to buy a Caterham 7, which interestingly chose to replicate the look of the earlier cars and overlooked the styling of later Series 4s. In 1973 Caterham took over production of the Series 4 from Lotus, and then went on to produce their interpretation of the S3.
The photo shown below is an original press image issued by Lotus Cars, showing the young gal climbing aboard the low-slung road car, with a cool dude sat in the driving seat, wearing shades and sporting a suitably jazzy shirt. The car has a Feb 1971 tax disc in the window, and is registered WPW 577H.
The S4 was produced from 1970 to 1973, with the original asking price for a basic S4 being 945 GBP. A number of options were available, and some are shown here. These included a full tonneau cover, roll over bar, extra flashers fitted to the edges of the front wings, and smart alloy wheels. Some useful info on all Lotus 7s can be found on the Lotus 7 Register website. A screensaver featuring a number of classic Lotus cars can be seen here.
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