A new Lotus 7 replica built in South Africa should hit the market soon as both a completed car, and a kit. Details and photos inside.


An updated replica of the classic Lotus 7 has hit the South African market, and may become available for export to Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom.  Inspired by Lotus founder Colin Chapman's original design, twenty units of the Millennium 7 have already been completed, or are in assembly.

The car is the brainchild of aeronautical engineer Chris Carstens, who created the car to fulfill a friend's request for an uncommon sports car.  The friend, Kobus van der Walt, has worked with Carstens on the project for the last six years.  The duo have been advised by former Honda F1 chief mechanic Alastair Gibson.

Although the standard offering will be a 2.0-liter Ford Duratec engine with Ford Type 9 gearbox, Millennium 7 designers claim that a variety of engines fit without hassle.  They claim that Ford and Toyota machines are the most common choices, but they have even kitted the car out with a turbocharged version of the 1.3-liter Renesis rotary engine seen on the Mazda RX-8.  They also say that, although the car uses the BMW E30 3-Series rear differential and drive shafts, that many different gearboxes can be used.

With a four-cylinder Toyota engine, the vehicle's weight is estimated at 700kg (1543lbs).  Weight is kept low thanks to the space frame, aluminum skin panels, and fiberglass body.  Despite the low weight, the engineers were able to design a car with a bigger cockpit than the Lotus 7.

Disc brakes also come from the BMW 3er, but four-piston calipers may also be available.  Also available is the unique windscreen, which is installed at a 55-degree rake.

The vehicle itself will be more readily available as a DIY kit, than a complete car.  This kit would include "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," according to a press release.

Without the differential, drive shafts, engine, gearbox, instruments, radiator, steering wheel, tires, or wheels, the Millennium 7 will cost 150,000 Rand, or about €13,500.


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