Called the Millennium 7, this South African designed and built car based on the classic Lotus 7 is now more readily available here.
Lotus 7 replica kit for R150K
It is yet another take on the legendary Lotus 7 first introduced to the world by Colin Chapman in the 1950s, this version is the result of the Millennium 7 project championed by aeronautical engineer Chris Carstens and Kobus van der Walt of SAA Technical, who have now (wisely, perhaps) taken the decision to more widely market this purpose-built dream.
This Millennium 7 project has been in development for the past six years. The two-seater sports car is built on a Brentwood Park smallholding, just north of Kempton Park where Carstens and van der Walt have convinced seven more people - including Alistair Gibson, a former chief mechanic for Honda F1 - to join their team.
So far about 20 cars have been, or are in the process of being, built. And strong demand for this local project will see the team shortly erect a second factory alongside the novel metal aircraft hangar currently used the house the operation.
The project leaders have also stated that there has been interest from Australian enthusiasts and a car is being sent there for homologation. It is hoped this will lead to exports in other lucrative markets.
Millennium 7 uses a complex space frame covered by aluminium-stressed skin panels to increase its stiffness. The glassfibre bodywork weighs less than 40kg, even though the cockpit is far larger than the original Lotus 7's to accommodate the larger build of South Africans.
Another area in which the Millennium 7 differs from most Lotus 7 replicas is the steeper rake of its windscreen within carbon-fibre A pillars and the enclosed front wheel fenders inspired by aircraft wheel covers.
Independent suspension is allowed at the front and rear via wishbones and shock absorbers with coil springs.
The complete car, fitted with a four-cylinder Toyota engine, weighs around 700kg to promise astounding performance.
The DIY Millennium 7 kit costs about R150 000 and includes the frame, alloy double skin panelling, bodywork, front and rear suspension, fuel tank, brakes, brake tubing, pedal box and master cylinders, steering system and a basic wiring harness.
Owners would need to add an engine, gearbox, differential, drive shafts, radiator, steering wheel, instrumentation, wheels and tyres.
From show car to track car
The show car can apparently be easily changed into a track day demon with the fitting of a bolt-on roll cage and 15-inch lightweight Compomotive wheels (the "regular" car rides on 17-inchers) shod with Dunlop semi-slicks. A special luggage boot lid is fitted to clear one of the roll cage tubes.
“We are looking forward to this becoming another iconic local sports car brand,” said Carstens.
He and his team hope to provide a limited number of ready-to-drive cars built to individual customer's specification in the near future.