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Caterham Celebrates 60th Anniversary Of The Lotus Seven By Hooning Iconic Models

The Seven wasn’t the first car to be identified as a Lotus. That would be the Mark I of 1948. But when all is said and done, the Seven is the raucous little rascal that embodies Colin Chapman’s minimalist mantra.
60th Anniversary - The Magnificent Seven 13 photos
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“Simplify, then add lightness,” is a quote that, with all due respect, reflects exactly what the Seven is about. Introduced in 1957 to great acclaim in the clubman racing circles, the original model spawned just over 2,500 copies.

The first series-produced Seven made do with a 41 PS (40 bhp) 1.2L four-cylinder Ford engine, but that was sufficient for a vehicle that tips the scales in the region of 1,100 pounds (i.e. 500 kilograms) or thereabout. By comparison, the lightest of all current-day Seven models is the 160, which prides itself on 80 horsepower from a Suzuki-developed 660cc three-pot turbocharged engine and a curb weight of 1,080 pounds (490 kilograms).

Because Lotus wasn’t happy about its kit car-maker image, Chapman decided to sell the rights for the Seven in the early 1970s. That’s how the peeps at Caterham got the permission to keep the Seven alive ’n’ kicking.

Sales never took off to mind-boggling levels, but you know what? The Seven is a specialized machine for the most daring of drivers. That’s one of the reasons the legend is still with us, sixty years after the first example of the breed rolled off Lotus’ assembly line. And good golly, Caterham decided to remind us gearheads why the lightweight sports car is such a wowzer.

The Crawley-based automaker put together a video that features seven of the most legendary or extreme Sevens there have ever been. And boy, it is an enjoyable watch, especially with the volume cranked all the way up to 11.

Two of them are expressly worthy of mention. The first is a one-of-13 Seven Twin Cam models, whereas the second superstar is a replica of the car that starred in the opening sequence of the 1960s hit TV show “The Prisoner.”

“Over the 60 years of the Seven, we’ve never lost Colin Chapman’s engineering essence - a lightweight, high-powered machine that is fit-for-purpose,” commented head honcho Graham Macdonald. “Every Seven provides a raw, pure, fun driving experience like no other vehicle.”

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