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.

David Porter's Lotus Seven 34TPF: The 7/20
While the latest rumour is that this car is currently in a museum in California, the definite ownership and location are unknown, and its identity is in question. This is the first article of a batch that will be presented based on the research, text and photographic resources of Dennis Ortenburger as he prepared his book "Legend of the Lotus Seven"

David Porter emailed SimpleSevens a while back:
Wendy Hamblin and I raced an i.r.s. Seven in 1962 and 1963. I've heard the car is currently in an exhibition hall in Japan but I have no idea where. Can anyone enlighten me?

photo left above: 34TPF Prior to rebuild into the 7/20 courtesy David Porter collection
Center two photos: 34TPF at speed prior to shunt and rebuild courtesy Lotus Archive via Legend of the Lotus Seven collection
right photo: Keith Hamblin prepares for the Firle Hillclimb courtesy Duncan Stewart collection

Mr. Porter went on to relate the following history:
The original series 1 Lotus Seven was inverted by me at Paddock Bend. It was rebuilt and converted to i.r.s. by the late Hugh Haskell, at the time a Lotus development engineer at Cheshunt. Colin Chapman provided the Lotus 20 suspension parts and the car became known as the Lotus 7/20. The original car had a B.M.C. engine but this was replaced with a Ford 105E Cosworth Formula Junior unit.

The 7/20 had cast light alloy hub carriers from the Lotus Formula Junior type 20 where the lower parallel locating arm met the hub carrier very close to the ground and a Lotus 11 alloy diffcase with inboard disc brakes using Girling AR calipers.

The 13 inch diameter magnesium "wobbly" wheels were also from the single seater Lotus (front 4.5 inch wide Lotus 20 type; rear 5.5 inch wide Lotus 22 prototype).

photos left to right:
Hugh Haskell, April 1962 at Cheshunt with recently completed 7/20
Colin Chapman and others around the 7/20 at Silverstone 1962 or 63, prior to the 6 hour relay in which he drove the car
Colin Chapman at speed in the 7/20
photos courtesy Duncan Stewart collection

In 1962 and 1963 the car scored victories at Aintree, Mallory Park, Goodwood, Snetterton, Brands Hatch, Ouston, Castle Combe, Oulton Park, and a 3rd at Elvington where the abrasive surface wore out a new set of racing tyres in 10 laps. It also finished 5th in the Leinster Trophy race where thanks to the hump-back bridges it finished the race with the differential supported only by the drive shafts and propellar shaft.

4 photos above:
The 7/20 at speed in 1962/63
photos courtesy David Porter collection

3 photos above:
The 7/20 at speed in 1962/63
photos courtesy Lotus Archive via Legend of the Lotus Seven collection

two left photos: Natalie Goodwin behind the wheel of the 7/20 in 1964 and 65
courtesy Ferret Fotographics, researched by Kelvin Lee
right photo: One of four 'replicas' of the 7/20 using Series 2 Seven nose and rear wings
At least one of the four was left hand drive! courtesy Duncan Stewart Collection

Dennis Ortenburger, in his book Legend of the Lotus Seven, indicates the last known owner of the 7/20 was Dr. Stu Baumgard of Encino, California who purchased it in 1977 and did a full restoration job on the car. See photos of the 'restoration' below. More recent communications with Mr. Ortenburger suggest it may have been more of a re-creation than a restoration.

In late 2007, SimpleSevens obtained a large box of research materials that Dennis Ortenburger used in writing Legend of the Lotus Seven which included reference to the Stu Baumgard car, along with several rolls of 35mm negative and contact prints documenting the purported restoration of the 7/20. SimpleSevens has since had the opportunity to discuss the car presented in the book with Mr. Ortenburger himself. The exchange appears below. All photos below by Dennis Ortenburger, copyright 2007, John Donohoe, SimpleSevens collection.

SimpleSevens: Did you ever get in contact with Stu Baumgard per Hugh Haskell's request regarding the (then) current location of his old Seven? That is, do you know where the car is now?

Ortenburger: I knew Dr. Baumgard when he purchased the IRS Seven. The photos in "Legend" of the chassis are of his car undergoing resto. He used to trounce me in vintage events, incidentally, with me in my Elite. He'd come alongside and give me a thumbs up before pulling away! What a rocket. His car was sold to a fellow in Japan.

I met Hugh Haskell (and family during a vacation to California many years ago). He wasn't convinced Baumgard's car was his and after the fact neither was I. There were too many clones built at the time to be sure. If it wasn't the Haskell Seven it was certainly very close.

SimpleSevens: I didn't realize Dr Baumgard car's identity was in question. Did he (do you) have any photos of the car prior to its restoration? Or any idea from whom Dr Baumguard bought it? Was there any documentation with it? Don't know if you've looked at my web site lately, but David Porter emailed me asking me to post a wanted message asking for information on the whereabouts of the car.

I also noted, among the materials, Chris Draper's letter in which he explains that one of the past owners of Progress Chassis had been making 'new' Seven frames based on the original drawings... I know there are plenty of S1 Sevens in vintage racing that seem to have appeared from nowhere...

Ortenburger: No, I didn't see Dr. Baumgard's car before it was restored. From memory there were some details I noticed that didn't sit well with me but Baumgard said it was real so I went with it. Never saw any documentation but several years after he quit racing the car he told me the car went to Japan.

The trouble with Sevens and Elevens and any tube chassis Lotus is that there have been replica builders since the beginning of time. You know about Curtis Unlimited, well they built replica tube chassis of any Lotus you like. They duplicated braze, where it was original, weld where it was, etc. With a chassis plate the results were virtually undetectable as fakes.

SimpleSevens: A little further research casts greater doubt on the identity of the Baumgard IRS car:

Included in your research materials is a fact sheet on the Baumgard "7/20" which indicates chassis number 499. According to my notes on S1 production, #499 had left Lotus mid-1959 while 34TPF left Lotus mid-1960.

And according to the Hamblins and to David Porter (who shared the car, and with whom I have recently been in touch), #499 had a different registration number altogether. 34TPF started life with a 948cc BMC motor. Furthermore, the 34TPF IRS work was done by Hugh Haskell on his own time -- not by the Works as suggested in the book).

According to second owner, Natalie Goodwin, she sold 34TPF to a Lotus dealer in 1969 after which is came to the U.S. Current rumor also has it that the car may be in a museum somewhere in California!

So it would appear your hunch as to the questionable provenance of the Baumgard car was well founded. With all that said, you wouldn't be aware, by chance of any similar spec car in a museum in California, would you?

Ortenburger: No, the only car museums in California open to the public are the Peterson in LA, Blackhawk in The SF Bay area, the Nethercutt collection in So. Cal and, I think that's it. Never been to any of them so have no idea what may be exhibited therein.

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.