Seven America on the Rolling Road at Lotus Engineering at Ann Arbor, Michigan

Five: Are We There Yet?


I woke up several times that night, but when I woke at 5:48, I decided it was time to get in gear. By the time I was out of the shower, my son was up and ready to go. A beautifully clear and dry morning greeted us on the hour long drive to Lotus Engineering where we met Tim Holland who opened a big overhead door into a welcoming, warm facility. We had arranged to meet here and bring the car indoors before the breakfast in a further attempt to warm things up. I'd like to thank Tim once again here for the extra effort he made to meet me early!

at Lotus Engineering
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

After breakfast (thanks again!) we headed on back to the shop. A tour of the facility and explanation of some of the work they do there came before the rolling road demo. We heard about the variety and number of engine dynos and test cells on the premises. We learned that they have measured the output of engines as low as a .2 hp 'weed whip' motor (so certainly they would be able to get a dependable reading on a 30-something hp Seven!) We learned how engines are tested by running for hours, days, weeks on end with vital information recorded along the way, loads can be varied to simulate actual conditions, etc, etc. They also do electronic engine management development work - something quite foreign to the Lotus Seven!

Eventually I was instructed to bring the car to the rolling road area. We lined the car up with its rear wheels on small exposed patches of the 48 inch diameter rollers which were set beneath the floor, then set about strapping the front wheels down to sliding brackets which clamped into tracks set into the floor.

I had been concerned with the lack of cooling when the Seven is standing still with the engine running under load, but was more than reassured by the fan that was rolled into place in front of the car, its speed controlled by the speed of the driven rollers. Of course a vent tube was attached to the exhaust pipe so we wouldn't be inundated (or surprised by the amount of oil the little motor might or might not be burning!) Time then to fire it up once again. Clever, that remote solenoid starter... without getting into the car yet, I set the choke from the engine bay and prepared to open the throttles. Happily, the motor fired easily and settled to a good idle.

'road speed' controlled cooling fan


back to:

simplesevens home

Cars 1000 - 1500