Thursday, February 27, 2014

10k: Sum of the Parts: 1962 Lotus Seven Replica

If you could build a car to the exact specifications of your brake fluid-soaked dreams, what would it be? Besides those of us afflicted with Volvo 1800ES-itis, most would pick something topless and lightweight, with a free-revving and highly responsive powerplant in a package a little different than the average Mustang. Find this 1962 (titled) CMC/Brunton/AE86 Corolla Lotus Seven replica for $11,000 in Philadelphia, PA.   Words and tip from DT commenter & contributor  slowcarSLOW-MPGlol. 

If you're curious about this car's origins, open up a few Google tabs and block off your afternoon. Here's a summary: It's a Toyota AE86-based kit car mashup with extraneous parts coming from big-name suppliers like Megasquirt, Autometer, and Kirkey in a beguiling Dodge Viper blue. Ignore the "purist" snobs; brand-name potpourri makes this the ultimate homage to a car marquee made famous by employing parts from multiple sources to reduce costs and add lightness.

The JDM-only 20-valve 4AGE 1.6L is a fantastic choice in this application: Velocity stacks. 162 horsepower. 8,500 RPM. 10.5:1 compression ratio. And VVT, Toyota's VTEC. This screamer is rare and sought-after in the States, so don't let the word out that you have one if you ever want to park it outside and turn your back on it, ever. The lightweight Diamond Racing wheels aren't shown but probably look like this.

The seller is listing it presumably because he hasn't found any good roads in northeast Philly on which to exploit this street-legal racer. Its individual throttle bodies have probably spent more time sucking air on the New Jersey Turnpike than any car with a roll bar has a right to (by the way, if someone from Philadelphia says "rides nicely on bumps," take their word for it. They have seen hell). Priced at half the going rate of a used Caterham, this could very well be the car of your daily driver dreams. 

See a better car with no doors? Email us at

slowcarSLOW-MPGlol knows how many licks it takes to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop, and he's not telling. As someone with a B+ blood type, he considers himself an optimist. Unless it has structural rust.


  1. Great car for track days, or Solo I or II. Probably goes like a scalded cat (oops, is that politically incorrect these days?). I doubt you could get more speed per dollar.

    Personally, I would have painted the rear body section the same as the rest of the car, but that is easily remedied.

  2. Perry here. This is probably a 1300 lb car. That gives you the power-to-weight ratio of about 8 lbs per HP. That's pretty damn good. Mine's about 5.2 lbs / HP but it's a $25,000 car. So this one is a comparative bargain. Some notes: The owner has used a low-slung windscreen. Good call, form both looks & areodynamics. The regular flat "Dune buggy" screen is hideous & is a giant air-brake like that thing on the back of a Veyron. Good riddance. I don't run a screen at all.
    Those front fenders create lift at speed & add unsprung weight. Remove them. You may eat some gravel but if you're a pussy the car's not for you anyhow. Since it's registered as a '62 you don't need fenders if you live in Calif. 1971 & prior + under 1500 lbs is fender-exempt. Smog exempt too, of course.

    Those stock-type headlights suck. They block your field of view &, also, are bad areo. I mention areodynamics a lot because these cars have a HORRIBLE C.D.---like a grabage truck. Do what you can to fix that. Use tiny Harley Chopper custom lights.
    Plenty of people use terms like "racecar for the street" when describing ordinary performance cars. A drive in a Seven is a heck of a lot closer to that than some Mustang with a chip & a cold-air kit.

    I can put my hand flat on the pavement while seated in the car. I feel the engine heat out of the bonnet's louvres. Running over a road-reflector feels like an ordinary car hitting a typewriter.

  3. My brother and father in law built a WCM Ultralite (Lotus clone) with a Honda S2000 motor, was a pretty sweet little car enough though I was always worried the wheels would fall off since my brother in law built it.

  4. I'm 6'8"... Any chance I'd fit? haha, i probably know the answer, but at least head room isn't the issue!


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.