3 Apr 2015

Lotus 6 to Dunkervoort

At the historic racing at Sydney Motorsport Park back in November I saw this Lotus 6 in the spectator car park.It is a Lotus 6 with a locally built body and an Austin A40 engine.The Lotus 6 was manufactured by Colin Chapman's fledgling Lotus company between 1954 and 1957.I say manufactured but most of them were sold as kits for home assembly which avoided paying UK purchase tax.
The Lotus 6 was followed by the Lotus 7 in 1957 which was really succesful and which stayed in production until 1972 when Chapman sold the manufacturing rights to Graham Nearn's Caterham Cars.
I met Graham Nearn in 1979 when I went to evaluate the feasibility of importing the Caterham 7 into Australia.I had a drive of one of the cars during that visit.It was a real fun experience.Sadly I concluded that Australian importation was not viable-a wise decision with hindsight.
Caterham continues to manufacture the antecedents of the Seven today with a range of models some of which are really wild cars with very high power to weight ratios see CATERHAM
As well as Caterham many other small and one off producers have and are still making cars of the Lotus 7 genre-so called clubman cars.Some are true to the original simple,basic fun sports car formula whereas others have morphed into mini Godzillas.One of the latter is Donkervoort a Dutch manufacturer of what must be some of the most extreme examples of the genre see DONKERVOORT
David Young spotted the French registered Donkervoort below parked on in Paris this week.It's not a car I would personally choose to drive in Paris but each to his own.
In the early 70s I worked in London with Tim Goss who succesfully raced Lotus Sevens for quite a few years-see photo below- and he took his Lotus 7 to Paris with his girlfriend for a weekend and parked the car on the street and the steering wheel was stolen.As he could not find a replacement on a sunday in Paris -and knowing Tim he had probably spent all his money anyway-this was pre credit cards- he somehow managed to drive it back to London using some arrangement involving a spanner and a socket and was very grateful that the Seven had such highly geared steering.

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