Cars - History - Legend - Stories - For Sale

A "Super" Seven Ride

When I started this website, Jeremy Fergusson was one of the Seven owners who sent me just a snippet about his Lotus Seven: 'I've owned her since 1969. The car was ex-works December 1965 and first registered in 1966. Original Series II set up except for Series III seats, rear wings, 13x5.5" wheels.'

On the evening of Valentine's day, 2002, my son and I began a journey to the Philadelphia area to pick up an old piece of "heirloom" furniture from my uncle. The day before departing, I contacted Jeremy to ask where Wayne was in relation to Ambler, our precise destination. Turns out it wasn't but a half hour away, so I suggested to my uncle that we go by for a visit! Arriving at Jeremy's house, we were warmly welcomed and given the tour of his garage, including the attic where Jeremy showed me some interesting spare parts. After the tour, we got down to the business of going for a ride. My son was the first to "go around the block" with Jeremy. As my uncle and I stood in the street in the lovely neighborhood of Jeremy's home, we could hear the revs rising and falling as he made a quick tour of the area. As they rounded the corner on Jeremy's block, I knew that my turn was next. Now, you have to know that until this point I hadn't had the opportunity to experience a Seven of displacement greater than the 948cc of my own. I had certainly read about the neck straining acceleration of the larger engined Super Sevens, and even wondered if I would actually enjoy a ride in car capable of such brutal acceleration.

Smartly making our escape from the the tree-lined neighborhood Jeremy calls his, he certainly seemed to make his best effort to show me what a 1600cc Seven could do! On a particular short uphill stretch, traveling perhaps a little more swiftly than the posted speed limit, Jeremy casually waved a hand at the police car coming towards us in the other lane... I asked him if he was friendly with the local constabulary. "Yes, they mostly know me and know that I'm a pretty responsible driver" was the response. I imagine he'd been noticed in these parts before! Over the next crest, pulling high revs in second and dropping into third, I was sure we would soon be leaving the ground. As I rode I kept reminding myself that this was Jeremy's neighborhood and that he knew the blind curves, driveways, and crests, and that we were riding in a car he's owned and driven for over thirty years. As I became familiar with the rhythm of the road and his shift points, I settled in and began to really enjoy the ride. No sooner had I reached this point, when Jeremy cut quickly into a slight turn-out next to a pond where several families had stopped to watch the ducks and geese on this beautifully sunny, 59 degree February afternoon. Pulling up to a stop, Jeremy says "Okay, your turn!" To be perfectly honest, I had no idea he was going to offer me a drive, but I barely hesitated before slipping behind the wheel of a Seven with nearly four times the power of mine, and with the steering wheel on the opposite side as well! Needless to say, I was a little tentative, and the clutch was quite a bit heavier than my own... It took me a couple tries to move off without stalling or throwing gravel at the car behind me! What really caught me out was the non-linear clutch return spring force. My own BMC clutch has only about a half inch of travel from disengaged to fully engaged, but this clutch, just at the point that it began to grip, seemed to double its return force, requiring a good poke at the accelerator pedal at the precise moment to alleviate a stall. It only took me two or three tries to figure it out though!

Underway, I worked at getting the feel of an engine with rather more torque than I had previously driven, and I must say it wasn't too tough! I thought I was doing pretty well piloting Jeremey's machine through the hills and curves I'd never driven when he pointed out that I really should let the revs up another 500 or 1000 rpm to get the feel of the motor! On some straighter stretches, where I could see a clear road, I did let the Seven wind up. It was certainly an experience. You are no doubt aware of the legendary road-holding of the Seven, and this one was certainly no exception. If you are not familiar with the hilly, twisty country roads in eastern Pennsylvania, let me simply explain that someone designed them with the Lotus Seven in mind. Cresting curves, off camber bends -- anything the road came up with, I was never even slightly disappointed by the grip offered by this little machine. As far as the landscape goes, the main disconcerting bit is the abundance of 200-year old stone walls lining the sides of every other turn and bend... something to think about if you're pushing a less sure-footed car than a Lotus! But in the Seven, these walls simply blend into the blur of the landscape without a second thought. Jeremy's car is set up with rather wider wheels and tires than my America, which runs on its original width 3.5 inch rims and suitably narrow Dunlop rubber. His car feels as though there is a vacuum holding it to the road - where the narrower shod Seven America would tend to "skitter" a bit, Jeremy's car would track perfectly calmly through a tight bend at great speed.

We eventually made our way back home, where my uncle and son had been waiting patiently, although they did point out that we were gone for almost an hour. I suppose that while one "flies" in a Seven, the time flies just as fast! Thanks Jeremy, for giving me my first drive in a Super Seven. It was, well, Super!

Cars - History - Legend - Stories - For Sale