Rare Car Network

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						Locost Rx7 6
Locost RX7

Home-built Lotus Seven replica

By Dean Larson

The Lotus Seven, and the diverse assortment of Locost 7 replica cars, have a deserved reputation for bare bones fun driving. While Lotus stopped banging Sevens out in the U.K. back in 1973, Caterham and over 150 other companies have since filled the worldwide demand for Sevens, making them a mainstay of the component car and low-volume auto industry. It’s probably safe to say that most Sevens are component cars built at home, but companies like Caterham, Great British Sports Cars and Birkin would be glad to arrange a roller or turn key for you as well. One other way to get your hands on the wheel of a Seven is to scour you local Craigslist and scrap yards, gathering the mechanical components to build a “Locost Seven.” Pair a Miata or S2000 driveline with some Lotus-esque bodywork, and you’ve got the Spirit of a Seven on a shoestring budget. That seems to be the guiding principle behind this build found on Nashville Craigslist, but the donor is a bit less conventional.

At first glance, I disregarded the little Seven wannabe, but after a deeper look, its really grown on me. It has a simple charm and looks like the type of thing that would be built in some hanger using aircraft rivets and old fuselage tin. What we do know about the little Seven’s beginnings is that it was constructed top to bottom by the seller’s father using a Mazda RX7 donor. From the engine shots and some other details, we can see that a series two RX7 and its humble 12A rotary engine were used for the build. The carbureted 1.2-liter 12A is a two-rotor design that was good for about 100 horsepower in the RX7, miniscule by today’s standards, but certainly sufficient for a car that weighs around 1,200 pounds (about half the weight of the RX7).

The seller doesn’t mention whether the body was formed from aluminum or steel, but we’d assume thin gauge steel was used. Nonetheless, the bodywork has a nice simplicity to it and the paint and finish work is tasteful in my opinion. Under the skin, the Seven is based on a square tube frame and RX7 running gear.

For all the quirkiness and subtle charm this little Seven has, its desirability is based on a budget. It’s difficult to value this one-off, but a better “Locost Seven” sold here earlier this year for $9,000 or less, making this car a bit overpriced. But I want to reiterate, I do like this little Seven. In fact, I can't find much I dislike about it, provided you keep in mind the build constraints. Its oversized go kart persona just makes me want to drive fast. I want to ring that little Wankle out and drop into the Corkscrew at Mazda Laguna Seca going way too fast, but you'd have to make this little devil pass tech inspection first.

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