Lotus Seven Series II SB2039

At the end of February 2001 I went down to Australia to visit my friends Keith and Katie. Keith and I went down to Melbourne for the Formula One race and while we were there we rented a couple of fun cars to drive around. One of those was a Lotus Elise, and it was more fun than anything else I had ever driven. Having purchased an Esprit roughly six months previously, I had expected a lot from the Elise, but the car far exceeded my hopes. Upon returning to the US, I set about purchasing one even though they aren't entirely street legal. I didn't want to get a track-only car because I don't have enough free time to enjoy that sort of luxury. The only way to drive one on the street in the US is to egregiously break the law or bastardize the car with strange motors and such. I wasn't into that. Still looking for an Elise I went to the CSRG races at Sears Point towards the end of March and, while there weren't any Elises, I saw a very nicely turned out Seven for sale. It was a race car that seemed as though it could easily be converted back into a street car and remain a true Seven. I made a mental note and kept pursuing an Elise.

By the end of April, after chasing down a number of leads and even speaking with folks at Lotus, USA, I had given up on the Elise fantasy and decided to go for a Seven because of it's similarly stark, raw, purpose-built nature. (Oh and I had no idea when I would see the Esprit again since I had decided to send that in for restoration - still don't have the car.) I remembered the Seven I had seen at Sears Point and made a few calls. It was believed to have been sold. Oh well. CSRG was racing again over Memorial Day weekend at Sears Point, so I headed back up there to see if anything else might be for sale. I saw some very nice Sevens, but none seemed to be for sale. Eventually I was pointed to a car that was for sale. Lo and behold it was the same car I had seen last March. Same price, same deal. I met the owner, Bernie Iriks and watched closely as the car raced that day. And the following day. Bernie didn't win, but was very, very competitive; it was some very cool racing. By Sunday night it was a deal.

The following weekend my friend Bill, who was in town on business, and I rented a truck, drove up to Bernie's and loaded the truck full of the spares that were part of the deal. Bernie drove the car onto the trailer and we hooked it up to the truck. After the paperwork was sorted out and Bernie showed us some old race videos of him and the Seven, we took off. I dropped Bill off in Sunnyvale and headed on down to L.A. with SB2039. The car was going to be at Claudius' place in L.A. so that it could be converted back into a street car. I wanted to make the fewest changes possible, but as it was the car simply wasn't setup to be driven on the street. The conversion work began. The car needed an engine swap, a wiring loom/electrics and some weather gear. Claudius and Jason put in a lot of hours in very little time to try and put the whole thing together. Six weeks later I went down and trailered the whole package back to the Bay Area. After a month or so, there were a few teething problems that I wasn't able to address given my limited time and space, so I put the car on a flatbed and sent it back to Claudius (I also wanted to drive the coast in the car for the return trip, so I didn't mind parting with it for a bit longer if I'd be able to drive it back this time instead of trailering it).

Three more weeks later the trip North began. Now the car was ready for prime time!

Since acquiring the car I've learned a bit about it's history from previous owners and interested Lotus aficionados. Here's what I know:

Built in May or June of 1965
Originally fitted with a 116E Cosworth
Painted green
116 gearbox
Dual Weber 40DCOEs
Oil Cooler
Built as right hand drive
First sold to someone by the name of "Manley"

Eventually sold to R. McEvoy in Marin county, CA. He owned it for roughly ten years and the car wasn't in particularly serivceable condition. At one point in this period it was licensed as 424 SHI.
In 1990 Brad Moore purchased the car and did a bunch of work on it to make it drivable again. Was issued plate 3TMS434 and eventually became 65 SEVEN.
In July, 1997 Bernie purchased the car from Brad and finished the restoration work, eventually setting it up as a highly competitive CSRG race car.
May 2001, back to a street car. Currently running with a tuned early Lotus Twincam. I am only the latest curator and can only hope to take care of it as well as some of the others have.

Many thanks to Bernie Iriks, Brad Moore, Mike Ostrov, Rich Kamp, and Detlef Claudius.

DSK Publications

DSK Cars was a well known East Coast builder of Caterham Sevens as well as suppliers of parts and upgrade kits for all Sevens. The company is no longer in business, but some of their publications are still quite relevant and serve as interesting historical references. After a discussion on the Sevens mailing list, George Ramey sent me Adobe PDF files of a couple of DSK publications. I have posted them here so that others may refer to them.

Ultima modificacion: Once de Noviembre, dos mil uno (desde Sandia Avenue). Una hora menos en las islas Canarias.

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