Reader test: Lotus 7-based kit car
Leon Carstens, Johannesburg
I have driven a few sport cars in my life like Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis, but none like this little 50-year-old Lotus-based supercar…
Nicknamed “The Scary Merry”, this ain't any ordinary sports vehicle. This is the real deal! Figures for this little rocket speak volumes - weighing in at 550 kg it makes 480 kW (357 kW on the wheels) of turbo power. It's madness.
Deadly Poison number 7
On my first encounter, I battled to climb in because of the more-than-usual roll cage, and fixed myself into the FIA-approved carbon racing seat with six-point harness. I had driven a few Lotus 7s, but when I pressed the ignition starter I knew this was unlike any other Lotus I had ever experienced.
I depressed the clutch pedal and it felt like I was doing those strongman competitions because my knee nearly popped out! Selected first and it felt like a normal open sports car until the 2 800 r/min mark arrived. Waarrrpppp! Waarrpp!!Waaaaaaarp!!!
And all I can remember was a blur of tears in my eyes. I stopped after the second gear, stunned because I could feel the adrenaline pumping as hard as that turbocharger had pumped two bar boost a few seconds ago. Now I know why it’s called Scary Merry!!!
Three years in the making
Just completed but the roll cage needed more stabilising
The chaps who have built this monster 7 have been building and developing this vehicle for the past three years and it’s been made for track days and drags. Scary Merry did the quarter mile a few weeks ago in a time of 10.7 at 218 km/h and that was only on 270 kW (about half the power).
The body is manufactured out of carbon fibre and aluminum, and the drivetrain components are from Toyota. The Racelogic traction control on the 7 comes from the Apollo Gumbert, which helps with full throttle shifts and monitoring traction on all the drive wheels.
Brakes and suspension come from the likes of AP racing - six-pot calipers and Bilstein racing coil overs.
The quality and workmanship on this 7 is of the highest degree and no expense was spared. This 7 spent days on the scales so that the suspension setup could be finely tuned and the results were astonishing.
They took the Scary Merry around Kyalami a while back in 1:46.8 with semi slick tyres and no traction control fitted at that time.
Small engine + big turbo+ big boost = Scary Merry!
After I put on my helmet (very necessary in this vehicle), we recorded the following info on a Racelogic Vbox:
0 - 100km/h 2.6 seconds
0 - 160km/h 5.8 seconds
0 - 200km/h 8.0 seconds
Quarter mile 10.4 at 227 km/h
0 km/h - 160 km/h - 0 km/h 10.8 seconds
That is performance in the league of Bugatti's Veyron in a shoebox! And the best of all is that this 7 is street legal and the owner loves to prey on supercars and superbikes, which always leaves the contenders speechless. Poison? I would say deadly poison!
Super mad performance and handling
Best quality parts used
Will leave anything behind on the road (and that includes superbikes)
Track day killer
Not very pretty
Must have medical aid and a helmet
Roll cage to bulky
Very small car
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