Why are 7 type kit cars so popular?

Why are 7 type kit cars so popular?

Author
Discussion

broadspeed1

Original Poster:

92 posts

38 months

Thursday 28th March
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Why are Lotus 7 style cars so popular I don't get the appeal.
Styling wise I'd give them a 0 since they're just a box. It looks off having a classic car with modern wheels and tyres too.
Has nobody come up with anything more aerodynamic? Engines are cheap why wouldn't you build something with more then 4 cylinders.
Why haven't people moved on to mid engined formula style cars, is that not the natural evolution?

Voldemort

6,283 posts

280 months

Thursday 28th March
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Because they are a fking hoot to drive!

Bone Rat

365 posts

165 months

Thursday 28th March
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There are many kit cars of all shapes and sizes, Cobralikes with V8s, 3 wheelers, single seaters. if a 7 isn't your thing then there's lots of options. Personally, I like the older styling which stands out from the current aerodynamic blobs and welcome the modern tyres and management systems, I've served my time with dwell meters and timing lights, much prefer modern tyres as well...

Caddyshack

11,051 posts

208 months

Thursday 28th March
quotequote all
broadspeed1 said:
Why are Lotus 7 style cars so popular I don't get the appeal.
Styling wise I'd give them a 0 since they're just a box. It looks off having a classic car with modern wheels and tyres too.
Has nobody come up with anything more aerodynamic? Engines are cheap why wouldn't you build something with more then 4 cylinders.
Why haven't people moved on to mid engined formula style cars, is that not the natural evolution?
They called that the Lotus Elise and it sold very well.

The 7 was cheap to build with a simple 4 cylinder engine, it didn’t need more as it didn’t weigh much.

I had one, it was good in some ways and very compromised at other things…aero and weather protection being poor. Sitting out over the rear wheels, low grip and low weight made it great fun with 220 hp.

If you don’t like modern wheels and tyres then you can put retro ones on but if you don’t like it or get it then it isn’t for you I expect.

popegregory

1,454 posts

136 months

Thursday 28th March
quotequote all
Because the point of these cars in order to achieve maximum bang for buck motoring exhilaration is to have as little as possible there beyond a seat, an engine, and four wheels.

cerb4.5lee

31,178 posts

182 months

Thursday 28th March
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Lightness, fun and simplicity is the attraction of them. They are a pure drivers car in comparison to a lot of other stuff I reckon. But they aren't for everyone I agree.

broadspeed1

Original Poster:

92 posts

38 months

Thursday 28th March
quotequote all
popegregory said:
Because the point of these cars in order to achieve maximum bang for buck motoring exhilaration is to have as little as possible there beyond a seat, an engine, and four wheels.
But what if you took that same philosophy and gave it an aerodynamic body with downforce would that not just enhance it?

Caddyshack

11,051 posts

208 months

Thursday 28th March
quotequote all
broadspeed1 said:
popegregory said:
Because the point of these cars in order to achieve maximum bang for buck motoring exhilaration is to have as little as possible there beyond a seat, an engine, and four wheels.
But what if you took that same philosophy and gave it an aerodynamic body with downforce would that not just enhance it?
Not on the road. Often fun comes from low grip…we are just odd humans and go for bigger, faster etc…most fun is often had in a low power car without loads of grip.

Have you driven a 7?

Grumbly

295 posts

150 months

Thursday 28th March
quotequote all
broadspeed1 said:
popegregory said:
Because the point of these cars in order to achieve maximum bang for buck motoring exhilaration is to have as little as possible there beyond a seat, an engine, and four wheels.
But what if you took that same philosophy and gave it an aerodynamic body with downforce would that not just enhance it?
Like the Lotus 11?

Equus

16,980 posts

103 months

Thursday 28th March
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Grumbly said:
broadspeed1 said:
popegregory said:
Because the point of these cars in order to achieve maximum bang for buck motoring exhilaration is to have as little as possible there beyond a seat, an engine, and four wheels.
But what if you took that same philosophy and gave it an aerodynamic body with downforce would that not just enhance it?
Like the Lotus 11?
Or the Sylva Phoenix:



Neither has downforce, but otherwise broadspeed has a point: they are just as light, handle identically, but are significantly quicker in the upper speed range because of lower drag. And are arguably better looking.

The 'Seven' type cars originally gained popularity back in the 1950's because they were cheap, since in those days GRP was in its infancy and something like the Lotus Eleven's bodyshell was very expensive to do in aluminium. It's not generally recognised that the Eleven came before the Seven... the reason that the Seven was famously designed over the course of a weekend is that it's just a Series II Eleven chassis with simplified bodywork.

These days, you can make a streamlined bodyshell out of GRP for pretty much the same cost as an 'open-wheeled' Seven-style bodyshell, so there's really no logical justification for the Seven any more - it's just a style thing.


broadspeed1 said:
Has nobody come up with anything more aerodynamic?
So the answer is that they have. In fact they came up with it before they came up with the Seven

broadspeed1 said:
Engines are cheap why wouldn't you build something with more then 4 cylinders.
Likewise, they have.

There have been plenty of Locaterfields (and streamlined Sylva/Fisher Fury-type cars) with multi-cylinder engines, though they're not generally favoured because the extra weight blunts the handling.

broadspeed1 said:
Why haven't people moved on to mid engined formula style cars, is that not the natural evolution?
Once again, they have.

Lotus' (indirect) replacement for the Eleven was the 23, which was basically a Lotus 22 Formula Junior chassis widened out to two seats, and you can still buy kits of that if you like.

Personally, I own one of these:





Edited by Equus on Thursday 28th March 23:40

C-Beams glitter

14 posts

39 months

Friday 29th March
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I think 'don't knock it till you've tried it' applies.

An acquaintance was proudly showing me his Caterham many years ago and I recall saying "why not get a bike?" I just didn't get the appeal either.

Then I built a Westfield for the missus and I was a convert. I was also building a Cobra copy at the time. Roll on 34 years and guess which car we still have? Yep, the Westfield. In that time, other cars have come & gone that would better fit the OP criteria. A Stratos replica (V6, doors, roof, creature comforts), a Marcos Mantula Spyder (doors, soft top, V8, luggage space) and most recently another 'what's the point of that thing' open 2 seat very vaguely 7-esque mid-engine car that in all likelihood will be gone soon as it never gets used.


There are many cars out there that 'make more sense', but it kind of depends on what you want.

Ultimately, not a single one of these absurd cars makes any 'sense'. Nobody *needs* a performance car of any kind. They are toys - we all like different toys. But, you can't deny how popular the 7-esque formula is, even if you don't personally get it or care for it.

Paul Drawmer

4,897 posts

269 months

Monday 1st April
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The reason the 7 type cars work so well at what they do best is lack of weight.

There are others; but it's just that if you want to build something really light, then bodywork and 'styling' just aren't as important.

Until you've had some fun in a proper 500Kg car, your driving experience isn't complete.

Belle427

9,159 posts

235 months

Monday 1st April
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A good friend of mine has a Westfield with a Rover V8 in it.
The noise is incredible but the overall driving experience isnt for me, i just dont get on with all the wind buffeting.
Driving with the side windows on to lower this spoils the experience and makes the driving position cramped arms wise.
I can see the appeal though to some but i do think a lighter 4 cylinder engine with narrow wheels suits these cars much better.

Turn7

23,770 posts

223 months

Monday 1st April
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I'll just leave this here...


cerb4.5lee

31,178 posts

182 months

Monday 1st April
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I've always really liked the 21.

GTRene

16,937 posts

226 months

Monday 1st April
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yep, agree the 21 looks great, specially the 21 GTO version.

but about the 7 Type, you can make something like these of them, lovely me thinks :-)
















anonymous-user

56 months

Monday 1st April
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broadspeed1 said:
Why are Lotus 7 style cars so popular I don't get the appeal.
Driving dynamics, plain and simple. When the genius Colin Chapman set out to design a car that's as much fun as possible on the road at legal speeds and easy to build as a kit, he pretty much nailed it perfectly. I used to have a Porsche 987 Boxster. It looked good (particularly in speed yellow lick) and the flat six engine charisma was marvellous. But it was a world away from a seven on a small country lane.

dhutch

14,407 posts

199 months

Tuesday 2nd April
quotequote all
Equus said:
Grumbly said:
broadspeed1 said:
popegregory said:
Because the point of these cars in order to achieve maximum bang for buck motoring exhilaration is to have as little as possible there beyond a seat, an engine, and four wheels.
But what if you took that same philosophy and gave it an aerodynamic body with downforce would that not just enhance it?
Like the Lotus 11?
Or the Sylva Phoenix:



Neither has downforce, but otherwise broadspeed has a point: they are just as light, handle identically, but are significantly quicker in the upper speed range because of lower drag. And are arguably better looking.
Yes, I am surprised that the Phoenix/Fury/Stylus are not more popular. I certainly think they are very good looking cars done well and very much considered one when looking, but ended up with a Westfield SE as the right car came along for the right price. I have owned it 16 years now from the age of 21 and it still puts a huge smile on my face.

CanAm

9,381 posts

274 months

Tuesday 2nd April
quotequote all
Johnny5hoods said:
Driving dynamics, plain and simple. When the genius Colin Chapman set out to design a car that's as much fun as possible on the road at legal speeds and easy to build as a kit, he pretty much nailed it perfectly. I used to have a Porsche 987 Boxster. It looked good (particularly in speed yellow lick) and the flat six engine charisma was marvellous. But it was a world away from a seven on a small country lane.
True, but of course when Colin Chapman designed the Lotus 7 there was no NSL

CanAm

9,381 posts

274 months

Tuesday 2nd April
quotequote all
To answer the OP, they are noisy, expensive, harsh riding, impractical, cramped, a PITA in the rain, and you have to wear the right clothes and shoes before going for a drive. Probably the worst car I've ever owned.

Then you take it out for a drive and all is forgiven. cloud9