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Discussion Starter #1
Ever since seeing the picture of James A's garage and Seven, I can't get the idea of a Seven out of my mind. I am only buying an Elise as a weekend toy anyway, wouldn't a Seven variant be an even better toy, at 1/2 to 3/4 the price ?

At any rate there are many things I don't know.

What exactly is a Seven, and does Lotus still make them ?
Whats a Birkin ? I sat in one last night.
Whats a Caterham or a Caterham SV ?

It seems there are many variations of a Seven that aren't really a Seven and aren't made by Lotus. Is there a good website you can
point to where I can learn ?

Thanks

Steve
 

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first things first

Before considering the Birkin, Westfield, or Caterham (my preference), check you state to see how they require you to register and license kit cars.

Maryland considers these kit cars, and they have pretty rigid requirments to get them through inspection...they are very tough on them.

It's easier to get them registered as a Street Rod, but then you have very limited driving privledges (to from/shows; to/from maintenance appointments; etc.).

Contact your DMV before you get too far down that road.
 

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Re: first things first

kusheen said:
Before considering the Birkin, Westfield, or Caterham (my preference), check you state to see how they require you to register and license kit cars.

Maryland considers these kit cars, and they have pretty rigid requirments to get them through inspection...they are very tough on them.

It's easier to get them registered as a Street Rod, but then you have very limited driving privledges (to from/shows; to/from maintenance appointments; etc.).

Contact your DMV before you get too far down that road.
In California, these are classified as "Specially Contsructed Vehicles" and California allows 500 of these per year to be registered here. Each year 500 SPCNS Certificates of Sequence are made available on a first come, first served basis on January 1st of each year. They have all been issued for 2004 for some time now.

To assist in your research you will need to look into:

SB100:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_100&sess=PREV&house=B&author=johannessen

SB1578:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1578&sess=PREV&house=B&author=johannessen

And, the CA DMV web site explaining the SPCNS Certificate of Sequence is at:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/spcns.htm

Some contacts for Caterham:

In Orange County:

http://www.autocourseinc.com/

US distributor:

http://www.uscaterham.com/
 

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Lotus Seven

You'll find that new Caterhams cost as much or more than an Elise. "Car and Driver" did a recent comparison of a Cobra replica, Honda S2000, Caterham Super Seven, Elise and Mazdasport Miata. They rated the Elise best but the Seven out performed it in several areas. I just sold a 169hp Caterham Super Seven and am on the list for an Elise but have told my dealer to keep me on the list until LSD is available. In the meantime we traded in our 2000 Sports package Miata for a Mazdaspeed Miata. Caterhams, used, are selling relatively cheaply as a number of Seven owners are looking to buy Elises. Several have been listed on E-bay and haven't gotten many bids and didn't meet their reserves. They are even more basic than an Elise and, perhaps, a tad smaller. They've been described as four wheeled motorcycles and they are.
 

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Steve, there is very little difference in the price of my Caterham and the Elise, I have about $42,000 in the car you saw in the picture. Now, I added a lot to the car, LSD, adjustable suspension, 7 pound flywheel, 6 point harnesses, removable steering wheel, and a few extra dollars on paint (well more than a few).
To your point though about a weekend toy, one of my concerns has been that the Elise is just not going to measure up to the Caterham in terms of performance or fun factor, time will tell. The Caterham is the most fun I have had driving a car, whether on the street, autocross or track. It may not be the fastest car in every event but I doubt anyone is having as much fun getting beat. I did drive the demo Elise at Lotus of Atlanta, it has the sport suspension, and I have to say I was underwhelmed in terms of responsiveness and ride quailty. Again I will wait until I have more time in the Elise, but I will do a comparison for everyone.
I terms of a Seven, I would stick with Caterham as it is has the most available for modification and is a well sorted car, there are lots of people out there who know how to set them up.
Ok two links to look at concerning Caterhams first Caterham USA:
www.uscaterham.com this is run by Jon Nelson a real terific guy who can talk to about the car and what is available. Second is the UK Lotus 7 Club a total bunch of Petrol Heads who look at the Elise as over weight and underpowered: www.blatchat.com
If you want more details just PM me.
Jim
 

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First time I ever rode in a Seven (Catherham) was at Blackhawk Farms road course with driver extraordinnaire Andy Barron. I got out of the car not only flaberghasted, but couldn't stop smiling for about three hours. One Lotus vetern looks at me and comments, "NOW you get it don't you!"

We have several Birkin Seven's in our local Lotus club and they are very well done. One guy just dropped in a Ford SVT engine from the Focus! Can you say WOW!

Like James, I'm slightly partial toward Caterham as they are the true successor to the Lotus Seven and they've done a ton of develoment work on the cars. They have one model that has a power to weight ratio of 500BHP per ton!

Mark
 

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Feffman said:
They have one model that has a power to weight ratio of 500BHP per ton!
I think 2 of the guys at the DC club are right around there. They have gotten down the the 1000lb limit for DM, and I think are putting out 225HP-250HP from what I remember them telling me.

I think the one pictured above is a little heavier, but is really nicely done in that it has "real" seats, etc., and he drives it to and from the events with the tires strapped onto the roll cage. :)

I'd love to have one of these, but I think I need a comfy/cushy car in my stable, so the elise will be next on the list.
 

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I positively love the Seven series of cars. I really wanted one. But to me, it's apples and oranges. I don't see the Seven as a street car, though I know people like Jim drive them on the street. A lot of this may be perception, but I would feel less secure on the freeway in a Seven. The Seven is of course pretty spartan. If I was looking for a track only car, then I would consider it, but then I would also consider other alternatives.

For me, the Elise is the compromise of a streetable track car that is USA street legal without hassles, and comes with a warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks all for the opinions and info and links. It's a good start for me.

Regards

Steve
 

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A recent issue of Grassroots Motorsports has an article on a new CMC option - it uses a Miata as a donor car.

If you do a Google search on "Lotus Seven Links" you'll get lots of hits to various manufacturers.
 

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jtanner said:
Lotus no longer makes the Seven. When they quit, they sold all of the molds, etc. to Caterham (http://www.caterham.co.uk).
To add to this:

Caterham was Lotus' official repair and service company for the Seven after Lotus quit manufacturing them. Even before Lotus quit making the Seven, they sent people to Caterham. When Colin Chapman finally decided that he didn't want to be involved with the Seven anymore, Lotus sold the rights to the Seven to Caterham - the design, the name, the jigs, tooling, molds, etc.

Caterham continued to build the exact same car as Lotus did - even using the original suppliers. Over the years Caterham made improvements to the Seven, and you can now purchase a much improved Seven - or one that is true to the original design. But a Caterham Seven is really still considered a "Lotus" Seven by most people. Owners of a Caterham fit right in with the Lotus groups.

The other brands are "copies" of the Seven -some better than others. But Caterhams are considered the "real-thing".
 

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A-men Tim ! That's the way I see it also. Oh and to Randy's point the Seven is really not a day in and day out street car. It is so small and sparten that being surrounded by pick-ups and SUVs is not very confortable. It does have a nice ride though and I have increased my spring rates about 40% over stock.
I am driving my Seven to Brimingham on Thursday though for LOG 24!
 

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I drove my vauxhall caterham with dedion and 13" wheels on the interstate to Road Atlanta once, longest 150 miles one way in my life!! Did a track day and than drove 150 miles home, ouch
Chris
 

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I have a Birkin which I am toying with the idea of selling. As everyone else told you here - they are a blast on the track - but not a reasonable road car.

Ron.
 

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I run a Birkin also. I find it is fine for road use as long as you don't get caught in traffic.
birkin along with cat are the only two se7ens that are allowed to replicate a series 3 lotus 7.
Birkins are cheaper than cats with the same trim levels but do not have the Dedion rear end.

If you have trouble with ingress/egress in an Elise, you won't want to attempt to seat yourself in a se7en that has race shells.
If you think the Elise is small, park a 10 foot long se7en next to it.

If you have a 2 car garage and have compact sized cars, then you can still hide a se7en in the corner under a work bench.
SWMBO will never find it.... really.
If I find resistance to the Elise for track usage with local marque clubs, I'll keep the se7en and forget about the Elise.
m
 

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Just got an email from the folks at Autocourse, the old Caterham dealer here in SoCal. They rent Sevens for track days, and also have some cars for sale:


We will be running with the Shelby Club at The Streets Of Willow the weekend of Sept 25th & 26th. The rental rates will be $550 for the 100 hp cars and $950 for the 200 hp car. This will include two days of driving, tires, fuel, track support, delivery, and a lite lunch. Please contact us as soon as possible. For event information go to website: www.lasaac.org .

Will & Virginia


New 04 Clubsport Kit:
Leather seats
Race Tech steering wheel
wide track suspension
$20,000 (normal retail was $24,745 after freight and duties)


New assembled Superlight:
Leather seats
200 hp Zetec (add $3,000 for Duratec)
$36,000 (normal retail was over $47,000 after freight and duties)

Used 00 Superlight carbon delete (unregistered demonstrator with 5k miles) leather seats 200 hp Zetec $30,000

Used 00 Classic limited edition (unregistered about 1k miles) xflow $20,000

Used 93 DeDion
Xflow
BRG
LSD
heater
full weather
Cloth adjustable seats
$22,000

949-496-5039
949-500-1425 cel
 
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