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THE HUNT FOR RED SEVEN

Where is it now?

Osborne, Walton and fellow builder Mike Blackack in the early 1970s a kit of parts from Lotus arrived in a suburban West London garden, where three long-haired scruffs put this Series 4 Lotus 7 together from those parts. Two of those scruffs, Jeremy Walton and Peter Osborne, now work on this website and have been wondering lately what happened to the car that we assembled.

Osborne (in engine bay) and Walton work on the carThis was one of the first of the plastic-bodied 'bathtub' Series 4 Seven and the car was supplied by Lotus to feature in a series of articles written by Jeremy Walton for Motoring News about building and living with this new type of Seven. I think we were supposed to keep the car for 12 months; but for some reason Lotus took it back fairly soon after we'd finished the assembly.

First port of the call was to the DVLA website where a search on the registration number revealed that the car was still out there somewhere, albeit seemingly on SORN for the last few years, and apparently now green not red. Interesting.

So, without much hope of success, I wrote to the DVLA explaining the history, enclosing a copy of the heading photo above, and asking if they could possibly put me in touch with the current owner. As expected the result was a polite, but firm, rejection.

So what now? Taking a new tack I emailed Sam Pearce, the Membership Secretary of the Lotus 7 Club who said they had no record of the car on their member database; but he would forward my email to the club's Lotus Seven Historian, John Watson.

John provided further information on the car, including the following:

  • CHASSIS #: S4/2672/GT (apparently the 13th S4)
  • COLOUR(S): Red
  • ENGINE TYPE: (Ford) 1600 Crossflow
  • GEARBOX: Ford
  • DEALER: Motoring News
  • EXTRAS: UK Kit Spec., Windscreen Washers, Standard Tyres, Fuel Tank and Wheels.
  • EX-WORKS DATE: 30th April 1970.

He also had an address of a later owner in Louth, Lincolnshire (not a million miles from Lotus' Hethel base); but warned that it was very old and he could not verify it. Notwithstanding, I wrote to that owner. However after a few weeks my letter was returned marked 'No such address'.

So, we appear to have reached a dead-end in our hunt for Red Seven – unless anyone out there knows better! If you have seen, or heard of, XNG 177H please let us know.

Watch this space.

Peter Osborne

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