Test Drive : Lotus 7 Replica

Our drive to church on Sunday morning is about 40 minutes. As a family we have used that time to read various books to each other. It gives reading practice to the children and keeps them from pestering each other. Our latest book is from the original Tom Swift series from the early 1900’s. During each novel, young Tom invents or improves something like a motorcycle, electric car, or flying machine. The stories are quite dated but are exciting and make you think that maybe you could build something yourself. That’s a good thing.


This Sunday, after our afternoon church service, I got to drive a Lotus 7 replica that is being built by the son of one of our church members. As you can see in the pictures below, it is not quite completed. The owner is slowly working on it and hopes to add fenders for the wheels eventually as well as a hood to cover the engine. This one has a turbo-charged Mazda Miata engine with a 5-speed manual transmission. It certainly makes me walk over for a look every time I see it. Notice how low it sits to the ground?

“You know it’s a Lotus when your knuckles touch the ground.”
–Jon Engdahl

The owner offered me a ride and we drove up Rt. 322 about a mile. He gave it the gas and made it move pretty quickly. Of course, being that low to the ground, everything seems fast. Then he surprised me by asking if I wanted to drive it. “Sure,” I said. We switched places in somebody’s driveway and I backed it out and back onto 322. It took me a while to get used to the bottom hinged pedals. But after over-revving the engine a couple times, I managed to get it into the various gears. The biggest surprise was pressing the brake pedal — no power brakes! We made it back safely but from the picture someone took, it looks like he didn’t like my driving. (Actually, he didn’t complain. It’s just a bit awkward to get out of the car.)


I’m of the opinion that it would take a lot of patience to build a car from the ground up. But on the positive side, you would know the vehicle inside and out and probably appreciate it more. The owner of this car has been working on it for several years and drives it daily when the weather permits. That reminds me of the scientist inventor in the old Tom Swift books we’ve been reading. Funny thing is that the owner’s father has the entire first series of those books.


I don’t think so.

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