|To read a little about the history of the Lotus Seven, and how it became the Caterham Seven, please click here|
The Lotus Seven sparked my interest some four or five years before Patrick McGoohan made it famous in the cult TV series, The Prisoner, in 1967. Something about the style, the shape and the inherent simplicity of the car appealed to me, as well as the fact that it could be built as a kit, saving the considerable cost of the purchase tax. Purchase tax was not charged on components, just on completed cars.
Only one thing stood between me and the car of my dreams, and that was the not inconsiderable sum of £536, which was the cost of the kit. I was finishing up at school and beginning university at that time, and such a sum proved to be beyond my ability to raise.
Time passed, priorities came and went. I had more money in my pocket, although other things always seemed to take precedence, the dream never truly died.
Now we live in the south of Spain, where the weather is much more conducive to driving open-topped sports cars than Merry Olde England ever was. The dream resurfaced, there was money in the kitty, and an ever-increasing feeling of "If you don't do it now, you never will", so finally I took the plunge, and decided I would get the Se7en of my dreams.
I still wanted to build the car, but in Spain there is not the culture of kit-car building, and with the ever more complex and demanding "European" rules for homologation, it looked to be all but impossible to register and tax a home-built car. However, I was so far down the road to getting the car of my youthful dreams, I gritted my teeth, opened the cheque-book and had Caterham build the car for me and send it to Spain.
Although it may be seen by some as a cliché, I had to have the car painted in the old Lotus colours of British Racing Green, with a yellow stripe.
I was working on a yacht in Barcelona, and the Spanish agent for Caterham was just a few miles south of Barcelona, so I took delivery of the car in Barcelona.
Much to the annoyance of the security guards at the marina, I was able to drive the car in and out of the marina, passing under the entrance barrier without opening it - childish, but fun!
|I kept the car in Barcelona for a couple of months, and did enough miles to get the first service out of the way. Then I enlisted the help of a friend, Alan, who had built a Se7en in England a few years previously, and we got ready for the thousand kilometer drive home to Andalusia, just before Christmas. It was a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, but we managed to fit in a fair amount of luggage, and a reasonable tool-kit for the journey.|
|It was midwinter, and a bit chilly when we set off. Luckily we were both equipped with the obligatory silly hats, and managed to do most of the trip with the roof off. We found that the heater is remarkably efficient, and we needed the roof for just a couple of hours - once when it was raining quite hard, and once, when we crossing the mountains near Granada and we got up into the clouds, with a temperature right around freezing point! With the roof on and the heater going we were soon snug again!|
|Driving in southern Spain is a strange experience. There is not the car culture here as there is in the UK, and many other countries. I can get used to people waving, pointing, and in some cases laughing at us when we are driving, but I find it hard to get used to so many other drivers hooting at us as they pass in the other direction. There is a lot of interest in the car, and whenever and wherever we stop, there are questions to be answered. Few however will believe that it is a new car, and is not thirty or forty years old!|
|Lana enjoys driving it too, and one of her friends is trying to get her to take the car when I am not looking, so they can go for a "Girl's day out" in Marbella! Look out!|
|So, after waiting for some 40 years, I am finally getting to play with the car of my dreams, and I have to say, I am enjoying it!|
Engine 1.6 litre K Series MG/Rover.
|A short history of the Lotus/Caterham 7|