Please enlarge the image above and look at the car closely. It's actually rather outdated for that period as particularly progressive. Looks like a regular Austin Seven, produced from 1922 to 1939. But it is one of the first cars of Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman. Why do I mention all the first names? Because they are immortalized in the brand logo (Fig. 2) of the Lotus company with the first letters.
But how Colin Chapman, who studied in London Engineering Sciences, comes to such an Austin Seven derivative? We are simply 1947 in England's economically difficult postwar period and Chapman earns some money in second-hand car trade while studying.
The Seven is one of these vehicles and apparently unsaleable in original condition or he has inspired the owner's interest with remodelling. Anyway, it shows already Lotus typical modifications, e.g. the front axle which is at the Seven rigid and supported by transverse leaf spring. Chapman divides it in the middle and makes of it an independent suspension though not yet with somewhat camber constant wheel suspension.
The Seven is actually a quite simple construction. Its engine seems unsuitable for tuning as a four-cylinder with only two bearing crankshaft and vertical valves the cylinders combined for two. Nevertheless, there are upgrade kits (e.g. special carburetors) for the car and Chapman succeeds the car to elicit more than the normal 80 km/h speed.
From the later so famous aerodynamics at Lotus, here is certainly not much to see, too closely the budget. It is enough to strengthen the construction of the car with aluminum cladding plywood. This also applies to the as little warp resistant held frame, the will be more durable with a construction of welded tubes.
A few modifications to the brakes and off they go to the trial races, where one plowed with the passenger on the rear axle the upwards going area. Of course, sometimes here is needed adjustment in the height instead of lowering. Overall, the fun is affordable, the vehicles reach even on its own axle the place of the race action.
That's a big difference to the prewar period where only very expensive cars compete against each other. Sometimes even large car manufacturers only manage this with assistance of the government. There are also private racers with then, however, a considerable fortune in the background. Only very few can live only from racing.
Private cars are generally extraordinarily expensive and are often driven and maintained by the chauffeur. There is even a certain threshold to this class of the rich. Many a young man has taken only once. Some remote village did not have a car for days or even weeks.
It is the dubious merit of the war to have broken this exclusive right. Vehicles must be moved during the war, by whomever. Thus the distance to the car will be lower, the desire getting bigger to own one, or even to drive only. Colin Chapman and his soon established company will greatly benefit of this request ... 03/12