The Seven has also become the most copied of all sports cars by a sizeable margin, replicated even more frequently than even AC and Carroll Shelby’s now-legendary Cobra, or the desirable Ford GT40. Facsimiles of the original Lotus/Caterham Seven has been built in every corner of the world in both self-assembly kit and factory-built form, as far as field as India, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, and many others.
In the UK alone, Chapman’s original was spawned many well-known and successful Seven-inspired sportsters, including those offered by Westfield, Tiger, Robin Hood, MK and GBS, plus countless lesser-known roadsters.
Overseas the Seven has inspired just as many copies as it has on home soil here in the UK. A handful of Sevens were built officially under license with Lotus’s blessing, for example, including the Fiat 1500-based Argentinian Series 2 model in the late 1960s, plus the SEAT 1430-powered Hispano Alleman Mallorca in Spain, with its later S4 body.
However, a few other Seven ‘pretenders’, such as Westfield and Donkervoort in the Netherlands, have fallen foul of Caterham’s legal right to produce the Super Seven, as signed over to Graham Nearn of Caterham by Colin Chapman in 1973, resulting in expensive law suits. Caterham won, and the others had to make notable changes to their ‘Sevens’ to enable them to continue.
For the 21st Century, Chapman’s 60-year-old ‘pure and simple’ Seven formula has grown to inspire a new set the modern, driver-focused open two seaters. These include skeletal offerings like the Aerial Atom, with other modern takes such as the Tripos, Toniq R and Chris Field’s Mirach. Fringe ‘seven-esque’ roadsters and kits such as the best-selling Dutton B-Plus/Phaeton kit car series also owe much to Chapman’s original. Why, even Lotus itself still draws on its Seven heritage, with models such as the 340 R, 2-Eleven and current 3-Eleven. That’s an impressive legacy to have after 60 years…