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The dangerous Lotus 7 !


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#1 Mark Beckman

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 10:34

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For your infomation.....

I was just looking at this posted by Arturo in another thread and it reminded me that a good friend of mine's Son decided to build a Lotus 7 replica from scratch and I dont mean a replica replica (Caterham etc), I mean a proper Lotus 7 built from plans.

He happens to be an engineer and works for Queensland Transport (our Goverment body that handles car registration and safety for roadcars) and they ran the chassis design thru their computer and it failed !

Apparently there was too much torsional twist and the design had to be altered by way of adding tubes to reduce this twist before approval would be given.

Isnt it funny how a car that has been around for quite some time, known to be of reasonable substance can get a failure from a Modern Engineer !

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#2 JollyRoger

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 10:53

I also live in Australia have often thought about building a car from scratch in my spare time as a project for a few years.

Is there any more information you can give me about doing this, costs of getting plans etc approved, regs that apply etc. Anything really.

:)

#3 Mark Beckman

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 11:39

Are you up my way ? (Brissy)

I can put you straight on to my Mates Son.

Actually I havent seen him for a year or so, this gives me an excuse to catch up with him.

#4 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 11:56

Caterham 7 a replica?

The Caterham 7 IS the same as a Lotus 7 Series 3. The first Caterham models built were totally indistinguishable from their immediate Lotus predecessors. The only difference was the badge on the nose cone! Obviously over the years Caterham have developed the car significantly but that does not mean their current Sevens are replicas. They are the logical evolution of the original Chapman concept and design.

#5 Mark Beckman

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 12:29

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
Caterham 7 a replica?

The only difference was the badge on the nose cone!


similar:
Related in appearance or nature; alike though not identical.

same:
Being the very one; identical:

:rotfl:

They are the logical evolution of the original Chapman concept and design


You didnt help Chris Rea build his Sharknose by chance ?? :lol:

(just playing with ya mate)

#6 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 13:01

No offence taken - I'm just wary of those who might try to equate the "look alikes" (eg Westfields, Robin Hoods etc) as equally valid "replicas"

In the late 1980s, Caterham applied some CAD to the Seven spaceframe and used the information obtained from this study to amend the structure to give it more rigidity. Having seen the outcome of some fairly serious Seven accidents, I can vouch for the inherent strength of the current spaceframe. Its amazing how many individuals have walked away from quite heavy impacts.

#7 quintin cloud

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 13:28

My Father and I have just finished biulding a Lotus 7 Rep. from plans and the car has a Ford Kent 1600cc and puts out 209 Nm torgue with 97 KW @ 4000 rpm and I feel safe in the car, Yes the car can turn on you because of the location of the engine and power to mass ratio, with car's mass been 600kg. Last week we took the Lotus 7 to a local race track for driver training and car behaves magicily :kiss: The car is best chance one would get to been in a 1960's F1 car. Yes we have added some extra strength in the car so the car would felex as the 7's have a known soft spot in the gearbox and seating area.

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 13:34

JollyRoger, if you're around Sydney, talk to Bob Britton... he builds this sort of thing for a hobby.

As for the Seven and '1960s GP car'... did you know that the last Sports Car to run in the Australian GP was a Seven? At Caversham in 1962... driven by Jeff Dunkerton, it was the last finisher, 14 laps down on the 60 of winner McLaren, but on the same lap as Lex Davison.

#9 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 13:47

A Lotus 7 ran in the 1962 South African GP.

#10 Wolf

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 13:49

Yeah, one bloke over here builds GT40s, but only for export since they aren't street legal over here (I'll ask him why, when I get around to visiting his workshop)... Stupid rules! Well, dunno how much my intended car will be street legal tho, being 25" tall and all...

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 14:06

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
A Lotus 7 ran in the 1962 South African GP.


That would have to be the last front engined entry in a WDC race then?

#12 quintin cloud

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 14:32

Most likely, The Lotus 7 was raced by Brausch Niemann in the Rand GP in which he finished 11th out of 14 finishers, he also entered the Natal GP but did not race in the final heat.

Brausch Niemann and his Lotus 7 did not enter the 1962 South African GP.

here is a photo of Brausch Niemann with John Love at Westmead. (photo Courtesy of Rob Young{ry6} :wave: )

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#13 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 14:34

Yes - that was the race I was thinking of. I assume the Seven is being lapped in the photo.

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 14:40

So the honours return to the Ferguson?

As they are here... But Dunkerton's car had its guards still fitted, it was still a sports car.

#15 quintin cloud

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 14:45

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
Yes - that was the race I was thinking of. I assume the Seven is being lapped in the photo.


My understanding is that the photo was from practice to the Natal GP.

#16 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 15:28

I like the crowd protection barrier.

#17 petefenelon

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 17:16

Originally posted by quintin cloud
Most likely, The Lotus 7 was raced by Brausch Niemann in the Rand GP in which he finished 11th out of 14 finishers, he also entered the Natal GP but did not race in the final heat.

Brausch Niemann and his Lotus 7 did not enter the 1962 South African GP.

here is a photo of Brausch Niemann with John Love at Westmead. (photo Courtesy of Rob Young{ry6} :wave: )

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Been looking for a pic of that car for ages - thanks!

Now, anyone got pics of Mallock U2s in F2 and F3 trim? :)

pete

#18 Gerr

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 17:48

Getting back to the question of Lotus 7 chassis strength. Mark,were the computer tests that the engineer at Queensland Transport conducted on just the tubular frame or the tubular frame with the alloy skins and floor and tunnel installed?

#19 jetsetjim

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 20:29

I've been lucky enough to spend a year building and running Caterham 7 race and road cars.. Nothing comes close to the rush you get from driving one of them on the open road, and that includes bikes, which I've done as well...

They are, quite simply, the most simple, raw, pure vehicles I have ever driven. What sets them apart is that no two are the same.. I've driven cars ranging from a standard 1700cc Ford X-Flow engine, up to a 2-litre Vauxhall Engine that revved to 10,000rpm and produced 280 BHP at the wheels!

During that time, I also got the chance to rebuild an original Lotus 7 with the old 1500cc Cosworth lump in it.. Now that was an eye-opening experience!

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 21:09

So true, so true...

A friend of mine, Graeme Baird, had a nice Ford Falcon XT GT with an ex-drag racing 351 Windsor in it. It flew... in fact on three occasions it tore out its entire drivetrain by twisting the tail shaft in knots on upchanges from third to fourth gear at 100mph.

Bairdy also had a clubman racer. the Krefel, a Lotus 7 style of chassis with a good 1600cc Ford engine putting out about 150bhp.

Despite the raw power of the Falcon, he reckoned the Krefel was just so much more toey to drive. And living in the bush, he occasionally took it for a run up the road to make sure it was right before he loaded it up for race meetings.

That was a great buzz...

#21 Ian McKean

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 00:11

Ron Champion's book on building the Locost is well worth a read. If I ever get a round tuit I would like to build a variant with a Saab Turbo 16 engine and gearbox mounted behind the driver - since I've got one sitting on the garage floor.

#22 Mark Beckman

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 03:18

Originally posted by Gerr
Getting back to the question of Lotus 7 chassis strength. Mark,were the computer tests that the engineer at Queensland Transport conducted on just the tubular frame or the tubular frame with the alloy skins and floor and tunnel installed?


I dont know but Roger only had the frame completed at that stage, so I presume the frame only.

I'll track him down on the weekend if I have time and take some snaps of where he's up to.

#23 Mark Beckman

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 03:19

Originally posted by Ian McKean
with a Saab Turbo 16 engine and gearbox mounted behind the driver - since I've got one sitting on the garage floor.


Ahh the starting point and reasoning for many a great special and/or race car :up:

#24 dbw

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 04:45

actually the skins help tie things together quite a bit....the tranny tunnel is actually a major part of the structure [and on a real seven,it's the rear transmission mount..and a riveted monocoque at that!!no square tube x-member as is often added...] and while the newer cars have aluminum pop rivets the originals had monel rivets for strength..
actually,the caterhams could be considered a "logical continuation" of the seven but let me assure you all out there that a "real" s2 super seven cosworth[say 1965 or so]is rather a different beast...mimimal everything except power...and may i also remind you that the cars were delivered [and driven on] 5.00-13 dunlop bias ply tires on 3-1/2" wide steel rims!!!

the quickest way to find an unmolested frame is to look at the spare tire hoop at the rear...the asformentioned wheel/tire combo should be a slight press fit....if it's loose,[or REALLY loose]the car has been run with [gasp] wider tires&rims and the spare hoop widened accordingly.

and then there's driving with the top up and the doors/side curtains in place...;)

#25 paulhooft

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 06:35

No I do not have a pictures of the Mallock U2,
But I saw him race at Zandvoort F2 in 1967 and /or 68!!
That was really a fun car!!
Great!!
Paul

#26 barrykm

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 18:34

Thanks to Pete & Rob for the Westmead picture of Brausch Nieman - any update on what he's doing these days? I have great memories of him in a Lotus 23 at Roy Hesketh in 1963.

#27 Bernd

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 00:14

On the Elise vs 7 thing we had going a while back. A bloke I met has both a stock Elise a Caterham and has just taken possesion of an Exige with the goal of racing it eventually.
Around Eastern Creek with him driving his Elise time was 0.2 second faster than the 7 which is nothing really I'd agree but the Exige times blew me away 2 Seconds faster!!!

Oh mama I want an Exige 0-100 in 4 seconds, only a McLaren F1 would get near you.

#28 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 03 October 2002 - 07:28

The capability of modern Sevens varies hugely. The 230 bhp Caterham 7 Superlight R500 is currently top of the bunch. Last week's Autocar published the results of their latest 0-100-0 test and the only cars that were capable of beating the R500 were a Gould hill climb car and the 2001 Jaguar F1, The R500 also set a new production car 0-100-0 record of 11.44 seconds. For comparison, the Gould's time was 7.20 and the Jaguar's 5.9. The best road legal car after the Seven was the Pagani C12.S (11.84). For the record, the Elise tested, a 135 Sprint, managed 20.53 seconds.