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Frequently heard "7"  Commentary, Phrases
and Notable Stories

Assembled with input from the 7-mailing list

This page represents yet another but rather important aspect of the 7.
It is an unusual vehicle, aside from it being very fast and visceral.

It provokes smiles in kids and invites conversation without introduction.
Breaking with convention, which everyone likes, but few dare to do.

In my opinion it represents the classic  engineer's view of what pure motoring is,
while carrying a bit of attitude along with it.

Remark or Question:

Is that a Kitcar?

No, it came as an 'Unassembled Car'
Is that an MG?

not really...
Is that street legal

Barely, that's why it's so much fun - or, that's a nice sweater, where did you buy it?
4's Frankenstein

my nickname for the car is Franken7, so yes it is. (Mazda E.)
Is it VW based?

..ughh ( really now..)   ughh..  forehead swells....
Where is that made?

it's British, but it does not leak
Can two people fit in there?

just you and me  - or - just me.. depending
Wow, that's really cool

actually it's quite toasty..
... I remember these, 7 America, light and fast

-- reserved for 50+ crowd.
Kay-turram?  Kah-tur-ham?
What motor does it have?
It runs off a Ford electric starter motor (..Hybrid?)
..after catching up at traffic light: small block V8 ?
(expecting four more headers on the other side)

" it's a 4" - no way, really?     or 
"Half of one" or
"Yes, it is! "
Is that a 12 cylinder under there?

yup, but I'm just running 4 right now.
How fast does it go?
 fastest thing in the neighborhood

Is it some kind of dune buggy?
it's actually a chopped Ferrari

What's Cater-rum?
Small village just south of London, near the M25

What's a Lotus?
Automotive Engineering

It's so small....
-- unclear how to respond politely --

..sir, may I see your license please?
And would you mind, me taking some pics?

grmph ..*&^$ !! "...sure"
Only if I just get a warning ....  "maybe"

older women comment: "It's so cute"... (the car ..)

..uhh, thank you ... smile.. (...cute, jeeezzz???)

Is that a Morgan?
No it woodn't be

What year is that
" it's a '99"  leaves their head amiss

What does it use for a chassis?
Metal... No, what car chassis? ......Lotus.....oh?

Too bad it doesn't have a V8
-- I know of someone who's solved that issue --

Nice hot rod!
-- smile --

Is that stainless steel?
sorta... it's actually thin wall Titanium  (-- yeah  :-))

Did you build that yourself?
No, I only take it apart myself, my friends put it back together each time.

28 Is this car a Pipercross?

-- prompted by hood protrusions --

29 Do you work for Car and Driver?

I wish...

Did you base that of a Prowler?

No, the Prowler was actually inspired by the 7

Is that a Bradley GT without the top?

-- ouch --

How many tickets have you got so far?

personally a couple dozen, but I'm not proud of it.

What kind of stereo does it have?

whHooOAAATttt !!!

"Man, you is pimped out"

-- Just cool --

That's BAD!     or  

That's &%#-ing SICK dude!      or
Now that's some bad ass sh*t right there.

-- this is all complimentary --

I bet it's lighter than a Civic, and faster too

 -- well, yes, uhh, now what was I saying again ? --

Oh, you're driving Pepper
-- from people who've just been passed by
either Bart Lami or Graeme Gee

Wow, it's like a go-kart on steroids!

 -- between acceptance and being impressed --

"The top and side curtains were in place, I helped her to get into the Seven, then I got in, the only honorable thing left to do was to marry her."

-- regarding the inevitable intimacy,
resultant  from using the weather gear --





About 2 years ago I was blatting around a favorite road in the area and pulled over onto the shoulder for a moment to check something or other. While there a fellow in a beat-up VW GTi stopped by and asked grinning, "Hey, is that a Caterham?" Mildly stunned I replied that yes, indeed it was, would he like to have a look. So he got out of his car and we pored over the car for a few minutes while chatting. Turns out he's been obsessed with Sevens for years, always wanted to build one, etc. (sounded rather familiar to me!).
Anyhow, I offered to take him for a spin so we left his car parked on the shoulder and I gave him a 10-15 minute demo ride around and about which I think really thrilled him. He kept talking about how jealous his
brother was going to be. I dropped him back at his car and we parted ways. Somehow, we neglected to swap contact info so that was the last I saw of him.

Okay. Fast forward a couple of years to yesterday evening when I went to pick up my new tin top (Audi A3 2.0T). I had been dealing with the Sales Mgr., but he handed me off to a sales associate to wrap up the delivery formalities, etc. This associate and I got to talking about cars and bikes and such and he commented on how he was planning to try to go over to the UK with some friends of his with their bikes to tour around. On the subject of big tours, I figured I'd tell him about USA 2005 (not that I was there or anything) and PNW2007 so I asked, "Do you happen to know what a Caterham or Lotus 7 is?"

He replied, "Oh yeah! I've always love those." I said, "Well I have a Caterham,..." and started to talk about the tours when he said. "This may sound kind of weird, but about 2 years ago, was there a guy in a GTi who you met on Huron River Drive while you were out driving and for a ride?"

"Was that you I asked?" Of course it was. We laughed about that and he said he'd told so many people about that drive that day and how much fun he'd had.

The other funny part of this is that I had remembered meeting him and giving him that ride last week when this thread first started, but didn't write about it for no particular reason. I guess looking back, the story wasn't
quite finished yet!

Anyhow, that little small world experience really summed up for me one of the things I love about this car. Somehow it just writes stories like that.



My wife is not very fond of cars at all, but she doesn't mind being my passenger in the Seven. She even did two half-hour stints as a passenger on a track during a track day.
She has a driver's license, and I encouraged to try driving the Westfield. Finally she agreed. After getting settled in and adjusting the belts, she slipped it into 1st gear and set off. After a few hundred yards, she pulled onto the shoulder and said, "That's enough. I have a problem with the accelerator pedal." Now my Westy is a kit car, and the pedals are quite close together and a bit difficult to get used to. I asked, "Is the pedal too far to the right, or is the space to narrow?"
"No," she replied, "But when I step on it, the car is suddenly someplace else."
Seems do me like a concise description of a Seven.



Several years ago on an evening I was downtown Milwaukee waiting near the entrance of the Hilton for my daughter who was about
to return from a group trip. Not wanting to have her come off the bus without anyone there to meet her, I was 15..20min early.
While sitting in my 7, I heard some heel clicking  coming up behind me. Couldn't help but look in the mirror and noticed an ensemble
of three well dressed women, mid 30's I'd guess. I suppose they were just returning from a reception or party.
Getting close I heard  one of the voices:
"hey... it's Frankenstein..."
Looking around I see a stylish short haired blonde (and two other women) with a dark party dress. Now it would no longer be too forward for me to say something:
"I don't think Frankenstein would be driving THIS!"
"What is THIS then?"
"It's a Caterham, but you'd have to ride in it to appreciate that"
"Ok, give me a ride then" - now mind you, these women were not intoxicated, and her two companions looked distressed at their
friend, convinced the next time they'd see her again will be in pieces on the 6 O'clock news:
{ go-er abducted by Frankenstein in vehicle of unknown make and origin}

"Ok, sure."
"How do I get in there?"
".. you'll have to have both feet in first before you sit down.."
She hands her purse to her friend and takes off her heels and hands those to me. (what am I going to do with these now..). She grasps
the roll bar and the windscreen (I did not say anything, how could I), and gracefully lowered herself into the passenger well.
"here, you may want to put those under your knees somewhere" Handing her the heels back.
Now of course there is the seat belt situation, but at the last moment I decide not to help her with that.  I was happily married at the time,
and I still am (27 years now), but I can see where moments of weakness begin. Pretty sure my thoughts were scrambled at that time.
But I blame it on the brainstem. It does whatever it wants to do and then the cortex comes up with convoluted explanations for it's behaviour.

The engine is still warm, so no need to wait. I start it up and the old Crossflow ( at that time) and DCOE Webers bounce their impressive
sounds off the surrounding buildings. Approving.
I drive just around the block and casually demonstrate acceleration and cornering. More approval. Arrived back at the Hilton entrance, her two companions are glad to see their friend return in one piece, but now there is the classic 'first-ride-in-a-7-smile' on my passenger's face.
She's very happy. She leans over and gives me a big kiss on the cheek.
"You're a Knight".  I sure felt like one.
Now the second woman wants a ride as well, realizing now I'm harmless and recognizing the effect it had on her friend. One more round.
Upon return I noticed the bus sitting in front of the hotel, and I pulled up just in front of it.
My passenger climbs out, rejoining her friends, the earlier passenger still smiling, but now a familiar voice behind me cracks:
"eh dad, having fun?"
..ohh man....
"Oh, hi Nyssa, just giving some people a ride"
"I can see that..."
My daughter slips into the passenger seat (I think she really considered that to be hers for a long time, and it probably is) and just looks at me...
"Ok, just some people wanting a ride, you know, nothing bad..."
"Sure, ..let  me help you" - she now rubs off a thick lipstick pattern from my right cheek.  I think my facial temperature rises again,
but now it's for another reason.
While driving back, we talk...
"so how was Chicago?"
"Ohh, pretty good..... so, what are we going to tell mom?"
"I dunno, what should we tell mom?"
"I dunno either"
"I'll just tell her what happened and have a good laugh, maybe flowers?"
"Ahh, guilty then.."
"ok, no flowers, I'll just tell her"
"good luck dad, you're on your own - devious grin" 
Women, related or unrelated, do group together whenever guys stumble and get stuck, it's not fair, but it's the way it is.

.. I did tell my wife that evening..

Oh, and btw, our 28th is coming up, and I'm thinking to get some flowers and something else perhaps..


A couple of weeks ago when I was attending a large "cruise event" at a local ice cream establishment named Kimball Farms in Westford, MA, an interested attendee came along and was asking various questions about my Se7en . I was sitting in my car and was prepared to leave the event when he asked if I could "feel the road " in my car. Without hesitation I stuck my arm out and touched the ground and asked " like this"? He said that he should have phrased the question differently and we all had a big laugh.

While I sat in my Caterham at a light, someone in an SUV alongside shouted out a question "would you like to put that car in a calendar?". 
To cut a long story short, we stopped and chatted and it turned out that he was shooting a car-based calendar with a group of
swimsuit models from a local gentleman's club.....
As we would say in the UK, 'it would be rude not to'....