The Lotus Seven Series IV
The Clubman Car
The De-Dion car from the 1971 Motor Show – This is a photograph, courtesy of John Robinson, of the proposed Seven Series 4 Clubman on the Lotus stand at the 1971 London Racing Car Show. It was intended to follow on from the 7X, but a change of plans at Lotus (the closure of Lotus Components) put a halt to completion of this car or the production of copies. It was never developed further as the sales of the Series 4 did not take off as expected, and Caterham Cars bought the rights from Lotus to build the Series 3 under license. It was stripped down after the show and returned to the Series 4 production line to re-appear as a standard Series 4 road car. It would be interesting to discover who purchased this car.
A colour photograph from a German rally magazine (name of magazine and photographer’s identity unknown for credit) of the Lotus Seven Series 4 Clubman in the early stages of construction at the factory. This actual chassis ended up on the Lotus stand at the London Racing Car Show in January 1971 (see photo above). It shows the separation of the rear fibreglass body from the tub assembly, plus aluminum sheets added in the engine bay. The full article regarding the Lotus factory (which included this photograph) was kindly sent to me by Hajo Steffen of Germany, who is a noted expert on the Lotus Seven Series 4.
This photograph shows the actual bodywork intended for the Lotus Seven Series 4 Clubman on display at the 1971 London Racing Car Show, placed to one side of the stripped down chassis of the show car. Hajo Steffen advised that the fibreglass body work has been modified especially for this car from the standard Series 4 body as there are noted differences to the wheel arches, and with obvious modification to the bonnet. Also noticeable in the photograph is a Holbay Lotus Twin Cam engine mounted on a stand with accompanying Holbay advertising indicating the obvious Lotus/Holbay connection. The right front wheel of the Clubman chassis is just visible on the right-hand side of the photograph. I had previously inquired with Lotus Seven historians in the U.K., but no one could advise on the body work for the show car as it was never shown in photographs of the chassis. This photograph is from the extensive Lotus Seven scrapbook collection of Steve Castle of the U.K., who kindly sent this photo to me unsolicited after viewing the Anglo Canadian site. It was clipped from Cars and Car Conversions magazine – a now defunct publication unfortunately.
According to sources on the web, the London International F1 and Racing Car Show was held every two years, on odd numbered years. The Lotus Seven Series 4 Clubman car would have been on display from the 6th to 16th. January 1971 at Olympia National Hall, London, England.
This photograph – also from Cars and Car Conversions magazine, courtesy of Steve Castle – shows the De-Dion rear suspension of the Lotus Seven Series 4 Clubman car. Searching through my Lotus library book collection, I believe that it appears to be very similar to the De-Dion unit as fitted to the Le Mans version of the Lotus Eleven. If anyone can advise if this is correct or not, it would be appreciated. I do know that Lotus offered spare parts, for older Lotus road and racing cars, for sale to the public piled up inside tea chests (dates unknown), as a friend of mine was fortunate to purchase a ‘box of bits’ from the Lotus factory. Visible inside the chest were the parts on the top of course (in his case a Lotus dry sump tank, and Formula Ford rear uprights), but when he got it home he found unexpected ‘goodies’ lower down inside the tea chest.
After the Anglo Canadian Corner was up and running – thanks to John Donohoe and the Simple Sevens site, I received very welcome e-mails regarding the Lotus 7 Series 4 Clubman Car from three separate sources. The first two are described in the photos attached to the picture of the bare chassis at the 1971 Racing Car Show and also under construction at the Lotus factory circa 1970. The third was from Tony Shirtcliffe who owns the actual Series 4 Clubman, and is in the process of restoring this car to its former glory.
Tony purchased the Clubman car identified as CL1 in 1973/4 from a gentleman in Derbyshire called Joe Olsen, who had just won the Northern Clubmans Champagne Championship. Tony purchased the Lotus less engine and gearbox. He put in a Ford Crossflow engine and gearbox and used the car for hill climbs for a couple of years, then his motor sport interests took another route and the Lotus was ‘mothballed’. He then purchased another house with a bigger garage and stripped the Series 4 Clubman car down to a bare frame, carefully storing all the body and suspension parts in boxes. He hung the frame on his garage wall where it has been for the past 25 years. As his business is restoring classic and vintage cars, he decided to do something with the Lotus and commenced a ground-up restoration. Tony viewed the Anglo Canadian site via Simple Sevens, and read John Robinson’s description of the car. Tony then contacted me and provided further information by way of photographs.
Above photos left to right:
- as found condition Lotus factory lower wishbones in two parts.
- as found condition long trailing arms and De-Dion panhard rod – all fitted with adjustable rose joints.
- as found condition front anti-roll bar and spring/damper assemblies.
- rusty chassis hanging on Tony’s wall. It appears that some of the chassis tubes have been removed.
Above photos left to right:
- as found condition De-Dion tube and drive shafts.
- sand blasted calipers and hubs.
- discs and hubs plus the special front uprights.
- sand blasted upper and lower front wishbones and previously mentioned parts.