History - Legend - Stories - For Sale

MKVI - MK7 S1 | SB1000 - 1499 | SB1500 - 1999 | SB2000 - 2499 | SB2500 - 2999 | SB3000 +
important: chassis numbers are as reported by owners -- their appearance here does not guarantee authenticity.

1958 Lotus 7
MK7 #409

A very early Lotus Seven Comes to Light
In December of 2011, SimpleSevens was contacted by a fellow who had posession of an early Lotus Seven (or the parts of one anyway!) He offered scant information other than photos of the car itself, and intriguingly, the chassis plate marked 'MK7 409'. SimpleSevens' first step in situations such as this is always to contact the Lotus Seven Register in England, to see of the car has any documented history. In this case, there was nothing other than the factory record indicating 'Hart' as original purchaser. Research by the Register revealed a race history for the Hart-owned Seven, however brief.

According to Factory Records via Lotus Seven Register
Lotus Seven Mk.7/409
Engine Type: 100E (Ford)
Customer: Hart
Ex-Works Date: 11th. January 1958.

Race History
Owner/Driver: Brian Hart
1958 17 May -- Silverstone -- Event 4
1958 29 June -- Brands Hatch -- Events 4 & 6
1958 12 July -- Silverstone -- Event ee
1958 03 August -- Snetterton -- Event 5 & 5a

There is no evidence of how long Hart may have held onto the Seven after the 1958 season. For the 1959 season, Brian Hart purchased and raced a Terrier. The Terrier was designed by Len Terry. Hart was the 'works' driver, winning the Clubmans Chapman Trophy in 1959. In the 1960's Hart showed well as a driver in F2. In '69 he serviced Ford's race engines which led to a commission to develop the BDA, the "heart" of Ford's Rallye program throughout the 1970's. By the 1980's F1 cars were running Hart turbo engines with funding by Toleman. In the 1990's Hart developed his own V10 engine and supplied Jordan GP. Tom Walkinshaw racing bought out Hart in 1999, who by then 63 years old, retired to the south of France.

February, 2012
Based on this information gleaned from the Lotus Seven Register, the owner of MK7 409 determined to put the car up for sale. SimpleSevens traveled to Ohio to document more precisely what was there with the idea that it would be listed for sale here on SimpleSevens. Upon being given access to the shop where the car was stored, the first thing we noticed was what a completely rusted and oxidized collection of components this actually was. Not only the Seven itself, but scattered through the pile of bits were the major components of a Coventry Climax motor...

All of the components sat uncleaned, untouched and with a haze of rust and oxidation on anything near the car. The car itself had whole pieces of frame tube simply and completely rusted away, and was filled with the refuse of having sat unprotected outdoors for a long, long time. It was truly a sad, sad sight. At that point, the owner/seller told us: "Oh, yes, it sat submerged in salt water in Florida for a while before I got it. I can't set it near anything with it off-gassing salt vapor -- evrything within two feet of it gets a fine coat of rust on it!" He had apparently never even bothered rinsing it off. He then went on to say that he never liked Lotus Sevens, that they were ugly, and that he had no use for them -- that he had only taken this as it was included with a Sprite race car that had suffered the same fate (although didn't look nearly as bad).

MK7 409 was truly a seriously time consuming and expensive project for anyone that might be interested, and now that he knew it was Brian Hart's race car (even if only for a season) the seller decided that he would listen to offers for a while "sort of like an email auction" he said, before determining how much he would sell it for. So take a look at the photos and details below and think about what kind of project it would be to restore, and what you would think the value of such a unique bit of Lotus Seven history would be worth in such dubious condition...

An overview of Documents examined at time of above photographs:
February 1974 title to John McWilliams, indicates no previous title or reg number
May 1982 receipt for sale to Bill Cope ($5,000)
June 1 1982 DSK Customer fact sheet with complete specs (at point of damage repair inspection)
June 18 1982 3 page letter from DSK(?) detailing upgrades, repairs
June 18 1982 letter to HLR requesting information
June 30 1982 last owner log entry "adjusted Carburettors, put collar on steering column to stop vibration & rattle @ dashboard"
September 1982 DSK quote for "tube front clip replacement" reference to June inspection (above)

Photos circa 1982:

June 2012:
SimpleSevens subsequently received another email from the seller... "after looking around at what's out there I want $XXXX for it." Based on that news, a buyer turned up... one who is determined to preserve, extensively research, and finally restore the car, most likely to its original Brian Hart specification. And the best part is, he intends to share the entire experience here on SimpleSevens -- and chances are very good he'll need your help!


For the August 2012 Update, click here

History - Legend - Stories - For Sale

MKVI - MK7 S1 | SB1000 - 1499 | SB1500 - 1999 | SB2000 - 2499 | SB2500 - 2999 | SB3000 +
important: chassis numbers are as reported by owners -- their appearance here does not guarantee authenticity.