It was on July 31, 1957 that Colin Chapman decided to start manufacturing the little Mark VII which quickly became known under the magical name of Seven. But by the early days of 1958, only 8 chassis had left the tiny workshop at 7 Tottenham Lane in London. There were on this first series two possible options of engine / transmission adapted to the very light tubular chassis of the brilliant Chapman which embodied there, a 7th variation of its motto “light is right”. Either the very expensive 1098cc Climax FWA engine associated with a 4 gearbox from Austin A30 or a side valve Ford of 1172 cc from Ford 100E, associated with the 3 speed gearbox of the same car. And it is the latter option that was most often chosen by kit car enthusiasts.
Chassis 0422 shown here is the 23rd of the 1 series. It was sold as a kit like most others with a Ford engine and gearbox to Jeff Miller on February 20, 1958. Other owners identified by the Lotus 7 Club were successively RA Downham (1984) then KRDear (1990). In 1993 David Ham salvaged the derelict and dilapidated car and began its restoration by rebuilding a new chassis from the old one and with the help of Lotus engineer Ken Rogers. Most of the body parts, delivered according to the factory documents as “all aluminum body unpaint” are original.
A very important feature of this chassis is its Burman screw and roller type steering box, of which it seems that the chassis 0422 is the only one to still have, all the others having been quickly converted into racks, an option then adopted by Lotus cars for the following models.
The 0422 chassis has undergone a long and meticulous restoration at Automobilia. All components of the chassis, drivetrain and rear axle (original Nash Metropolitan in 4.89: 1) were carefully overhauled or restored, while the aluminum body was redone. The car was fitted with a new Climax 1500 FWB engine with Weber carburetor and an A40 type 4 gearbox, in an optional configuration originally. The old 100E engine is also preserved. Disc brakes were fitted at the front, while the original drums were left at the rear.
A restoration file of more than 300 photos accompanies the car, as well as various documents and certificates from Lotus Cars and the British Lotus Seven Club. The car was presented on the Club stand at the Lotus Festival in Donington in 1997. French registration card.