Lotus Seven Parts Sources
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The Lotus Seven Register www.lotus7register.co.uk, has an excellent resource page providing a list of companies and suppliers of parts suitable for use on the Lotus Seven (all models). The following is not intended to replace that information, but merely to provide some insight into these and other companies not listed, and the service they have provided to this writer. I have no connection to any of these businesses other than as a satisfied customer.
Companies (Not listed in any particular order or preference).
Redline Components (U.K.) www.redlinecomponents.co.uk
Mick Lincoln, who runs the parts department, will move the earth to obtain the correct parts for your Lotus or early Caterham 7. Unfortunately Redline does not have a parts list or catalogue available. To order parts, I have used old Lotus and Caterham part numbers, but this has led to some ordering errors. When contacting Redline, a complete description, plus drawing or photograph(s) if available, will speed up the process and avoid costly mistakes. If you require one, Redline now sell an original looking old style Series 2/3 radiator. It costs approximately UKP140.00 (2006 price). Whoever assembles these has my seal of approval. They are very carefully packed with fiberboard to protect the radiator matrix and quality of construction is excellent. The delivery of parts manufactured by Arch Motors seems to have slowed down somewhat. I am not privy to the level of co-operation between Arch, Caterham and Redline now that Caterham is under new ownership, has outsourced chassis production with another company, and gone metric with their chassis. Arch and Redline maintain an excellent relationship, but presumably Arch has moved on to new projects since Caterhams' decision to find an alternate chassis manufacturer.
Caterham (U.K.) www.caterham.co.uk
Caterham Cars has discontinued the supply of most parts for Lotus or early Caterham 7s according to their parts manager. I am not certain of the actual cut-off year for Caterham models, but Redline have filled the void and will advise Caterham owners just what they can supply. There is a recall notice regarding certain De-Dion tubes manufactured in August/September 2005 and leaking fuel tanks (see Lotus Seven Club website for more details).
Arch Motors (U.K.) www.archmotor.co.uk
I have always found Arch Motors to be extremely helpful, plus willing and able to produce one-offs as necessary. I have never had a problem with any of the chassis, paneling or suspension parts that Arch has supplied. It has always been requested and recommended that any and all inquiries for work to be performed by Arch go through either Redline or possibly Caterham, (depending on model). Under the old Caterham management (Messrs. Nearn and Wakefield), I was always permitted to contact Arch to see if the work could be performed, then billing took place between myself and Caterham for the part(s) supplied. I always try to follow protocol by contacting Redline first regarding parts that I require. Recently, I was advised by Redline that certain chassis parts were no longer available from Arch. Knowing that I had ordered similar parts before, I contacted Arch directly, and they had the parts in stock and were only too willing to supply them to me via Redline. This is not meant to be a dig at Redline, but without a parts list or catalogue, it must be difficult for them to identify individual parts if the purchaser does not happen to know the correct technical name for the item being sought.
Axminster Specialist Panels (U.K.) www.andywiltshire.com
Andy Wiltshire manufactures fuel, oil and various other aluminum (aluminium) tanks and accessories for many different U.K. sports cars, but predominantly Lotus - including the Seven Series 1, 2 and 3. I have received (July 2012) a Lotus Series 3 tank from Andy for my Seven with the fuel sender mounted in the top of the tank (my sender was mailed to Andy for correct placement). The fabrication, welding, fit and finish of this tank is exceptional. The collar for the sender is machined from thick aluminum, and along with the supplied cork gaskets (1 for a spare), should provide a fitting that is completely leak-free. The fuel filler neck is similarly manufactured from heavy gauge alloy and can be supplied with a vintage looking screw cap (for Series 2), or for fitting with the 90 degree rubber hose for a remote filler in the rear body panel (Series 3). Andy is a highly skilled craftsman, and was able to work from rough drawings that I had produced and mailed to him. These included accurate measurements taken from my chassis, along with a thick cardboard template of the side profile of the tank which I had double-checked would fit my chassis with necessary clearances. My good fortune considering my crude drawings, but more Andy's skill and knowledge of the Lotus 7, the tank fits perfectly. When completed, the tank was very carefully padded and wrapped, and arrived in Canada via a U.K. shipper and international courier. Before I initially contacted Andy, I had inquired and received a 'thumbs up' from the Historic Lotus Club. I was advised that Axminster Specialist Panels was held in high regard by members who had used Andy's services.
Stafford Vehicle Components (U.K.) www.s-v-c.co.uk
I have always received excellent service and response from this company. Their web site lists many items that are fitted on the Lotus 7 and other similar sports cars. The old Lucas 'flick' switches have been readily available for quite some time, plus vintage gauges, wiring components and Lucas lights. I stand to be corrected on this, but the Lotus Seven Register web site shows the yellow painted rear wing of a re-built Series 3 Seven and describes the lights that are fitted as "combined rear/stop lights are Thorpe PT 675" and "rear orange flashers are Lucas L539" On my Series 3 and in photographs of Series 3 Sevens on the Simple Sevens web site, all the rear amber signal lights are Lucas L691. The amber light identified as Lucas L539 looks to be a L691 unit. As far as I have observed in various books, magazines etc., the L539 was mostly used on the Series 2 Seven. If you check the S.V.C. or Holden web site you will see the differences between these two lights. It will save time and money ensuring that you are ordering the correct lights for your particular model. The Series IV also used L691 turn signals on the front of the car on many models (I won't say all, as Lotus probably used whatever was available at the time). S.V.C also had a few new, old stock, +50 to -50 amps Lucas ammeters in stock. These gauges are probably over 25 years old. Excellent web site with a very handy rate of exchange calculator included.
Holden Vintage and Classic Ltd (U.K.) www.holden.co.uk
Again, excellent service, and Holden may have more of a selection of Smiths instruments and fuel senders, Lucas lamps, gauges, wiring, battery cables (as per original Series 3), and switches for a Seven than anybody else. I still find S.V.C. prices slightly lower than Holden on some identical items. However, if Holden doesn't have it, it's probably not available. Holden sells Lucas tail lights that could be used as replacements for the Thorpe PT675 tail lights or Wingards if you can no longer find these units. (Thorpe and Wingard were private companies who produced aftermarket lights for boat and travel trailers, etc.). I have not yet seen Thorpe units advertised for sale on e-bay, but if the prices are anything like the Wingards (as fitted to the 1965 and earlier Lotus 7, Series 2), prices may be in the $100 - 200 U.S. price range. A brake/tail light originally fitted to a Morris Minor has a similar appearance to a Wingard light. Excellent web site plus printed catalogue also available (catalogue excellent reading).
Caterham U.S.A. www.uscaterham.com and Rocky Mountain Sportscars
I contacted this company which is located in Colorado. Their web site has an extensive list of parts for all Sevens, but the site may require up-dating. I inquired about parts for a Lotus 7 Series 3, which were listed on the site, but was advised that they have not been available for a very long time.
Sevens and Elans, U.S.A. www.sevenselans.com
Took over as U.S. distributor for Caterham Cars when Caterham U.K. discontinued their association with DSK Cars. This was after DSK decided to build their own version of the Seven. Chris at Sevens and Elans has always been most helpful to me. He provides assistance and advice whenever he can. He just may have the Lotus or Caterham part you are looking for in his treasure chest.
Prince Race Car Engineering. U.S.A. I only have a phone number from the web: (815) 625-8116
I seem to recall that Pat Prince took over some of the Lotus 7 road/racing components originally engineered and manufactured by DSK Cars. I do not know if Prince has any parts in stock or whether they still produce parts for the 7. There is a phone number on one of the sites, but I do not know if it is current. I did receive a catalogue from this company many years ago, but cannot now locate it in my files.
Lee Chapman Racing U.S.A. www.leechapmanracing.com
I recently found this company on the web. They sell a few parts for the 7 that are getting rare or even unavailable from the U.K. They sell hard to find racing parts for the racing Lotus sports cars. Their response to my parts inquiry was fast and friendly.
Dave Bean Engineering U.S.A. www.davebean.com
Probably the best known source for anything Lotus including the 7. Mr. Bean's catalogues are a must-have, detailing everything Lotus past and present (some pages almost like a workshop manual). The staff is very helpful and knowledgeable, and they answer questions promptly and efficiently.
Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies. U.S.A.
Extensive range of Ford 4 cylinder engine parts for most engine sizes and states of tune. They carry many hard to find Ford parts. They sell forged pistons from Jay Ivey Engineering for the Kent Crossflow engine, as well as all the newer production crankshafts, aluminum cylinder heads and associated parts manufactured by Formula Ford International in the U.K. A very good resource and prices are very fair.
Burton Engineering U.K. www.burtonpower.com
Burton, located in Ilford, Essex, U.K. has to have the largest supply of Ford parts for road, rallying and racing (lots of expensive steel parts). They carry most parts for the twin cam, pre-crossflow, and crossflow, as well as parts for all the newer Ford engine variations. Machine shop facilities available. Very extensive and informative catalogue. Very helpful staff. Depending on exchange rates, prices good to excellent. Their engines have been featured in numerous British car magazines.
Vulcan Engineering U.K. www.vulcanengines.com
Another British company with extensive Ford experience. Cars and Car Conversions (a now defunct British car magazine) used Vulcan engines in their racing Caterham 7 project.
Paul Matty Sports Cars U.K. www.paulmattysportscars.co.uk
A source for Lotus Elan, Europa and a few applicable Seven parts. Online catalogue with part numbers and price list. Very helpful staff always willing to pass on their wealth of knowledge on these cars.
Jay Ivey Engineering U.S.A. www.iveyengines.com phone: (503) 255-1123
Various articles on the web provide rave reviews of this gentleman's work on road and race engines. I have purchased parts from Ivey Engineering, and this company is extremely helpful, provides fast delivery and has excellent pricing. Mr. Ivey has sourced forged pistons for use on the Kent Crossflow engine that comply with current Formula Ford regulations. Pegasus also sells his parts on their web site.
Caerbont Gauges, (Wales, U.K.) www.caigauge.com
Caerbont have taken over production of the old Smiths Instruments operation. They manufacture new instruments (gauges) with the same look as items from the 1960s and 70s. In the Cobra range is a Lucas ammeter +50 to -50 amps. They also manufacture a Smiths ammeter +30 to -30 amps. They will custom manufacture a gauge to your design and have a web site where you can design your own gauges. The Lucas ammeters would be suitable for the Series IV and the Lotus Twin Cam SS. The Twin Cam had Smiths gauges with black bezels and Caerbont produce a custom heavy duty line with black bezels. Please also see their associate company "Greengauges"
Motolita (U.K.) www.moto-lita.com
This old established company will custom manufacture a steering wheel similar or the same as wheels fitted to the likes of the Lotus 15, 19, 23, 30 and 40 with either black or red leather trim. This company sells wheels to Dave Bean Engineering, Lee Chapman etc. The Dave Bean wheels are either wood rim 12" or red leather at a slightly larger diameter (due to the leather and padding). The red leather goes with the red interiors of most Series 2 cars. I have not looked into this, but they would probably be able to reproduce the original
'Springall" (sometimes spelled "Springhall") wheels used on the Seven, Elan and Europa. This was a slightly dished 14" wheel used by Lotus for their road cars. It would be interesting to find out from past and present owners, what the ideal size wheel should be for a Seven. One owner, who has now sold his car, advised that he required a 12" wheel due to having what he described as "tree trunk legs". The only negative he reported was that it was harder to 'slow park' his Seven.
Holbay Racing Engines - now operating as Coltec Racing (see Holbay Engineering and the Lotus Conection)
Holbay produced many racing engines for Lotus, and built the CR120 fast road engine for the Lotus 7S. The CR120 specification became an optional extra on Series 3 and IV cars (a Holbay tuned twin cam also became an optional extra for the Series IV and was fitted as standard to the 13 Series 3 SS models). The 7S engine was built using the Ford Kent Crossflow 1600 c.c. pre-uprated head, block, and associated parts except for Ford pistons, camshaft and possibly tappets. The head was polished and ported, and the moving parts balanced. The CR120 was fitted with twin 40 DCOE Weber carburetors, and Holbay manufactured an aluminum valve cover for the engine with the lettering "Lotus- Holbay". The pre-uprated engine in production at that time had a small combustion chamber machined in the head, with slightly smaller and shorter recessed valves than those fitted to the later uprated engine (which had a completely flat head). Various magazine road tests of the 1969 to early '70s period documented the compression ratio of this engine as being 10:1 and 10.5:1.
Back in those days, Hepolite manufactured a forged 'Powermax' piston for the pre-uprated crossflow followed by versions for the up-rated engines. The original Powermax piston (with the chamber in the piston bowl) in standard bore form, was 10.5:1 compression ratio with no valve cut-outs. Due to the fairly high lift on the R120 camshaft, Holbay machined valve clearance cut-outs (and recommended this procedure in the camshaft literature) in order to avoid contact between the piston crown and valves . It is vital to ensure this minimum clearance is present in order to avoid costly damage to these parts. This is mentioned for anyone choosing to build an R120 specification engine perhaps by using a Formula Ford engine. There are a few FF engines around (pre-uprated or uprated) that would respond well to further tuning by fitting twin Webers and an R120 camshaft along with extra porting modifications. It would also be preferable to fit forged pistons of a slightly higher compression ratio than standard Ford, which would then allow for extra machining for valve clearance.
The Holbay range of camshafts was still available from Coltec when I contacted them last (2008).
Piston Options for the 1600 Crossflow Engine.
Hepolite, subsequently AE Hepolite and Federal-Mogul corporation, listed (2009) three types of cast pistons for the Crossflow (two for the 1600 engine and one for the 1300), all at standard Ford production compression ratios. These are still stronger than the original cast Ford factory product.
Ivey forged pistons (manufactured by CP) may be the best choice if you opt for Formula Ford c.r.s (9.3:1) plus they are not too pricey. Mr. Ivey advised (May 2011) that CP will manufacture forged pistons to any specifiction and compression ratio to special order.
Accralite/Omega Pistons U.K. (now amalgamated into one company), and various North American manufacturers will also make pistons to your specifications - for a price. The 'standard' range of Accralite pistons offers strong, light, high compression forged pistons (11.7:1 up to 12:1), mostly suited for racing engines. The price when ordered factory direct is approximately ₤115.00 (May 2011) per piston - including rings and pin.
Opinions from the 'experts' vary, but most advise that compression ratios should not be over about 10:1 for road use, (assuming carburetor(s) and the highest octane pump fuel available) to avoid possible piston damage. In my area of Canada the gasoline octane ratings are not very high, and 10:1 - or lower, compression ratios seem to be the norm.
Note: When installing a 711M uprated engine into a Seven (assuming the previous engine was not this particular type), it may be necessary to replace the left side engine mounting bracket with one designed for the 711M block. This is due to the up-rated block being approx. 1/4" wider that the earlier pre-crossflow and pre-1970 crossflow 2737E/681E engines. An alternative would be to modify the existing bracket to fit.
As Lotus 7 owners, whenever we deal with other companies not listed above, and/or maybe find a good source for a specific part, perhaps this section could be updated. If you have a positive or negative experience with a company, listed above or not, it wouldn't hurt to let us know. However, I sincerely hope that it doesn't get as bad as some of the name-calling on e-bay or Lotus blog sites!
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