This article is from the Lotus Cars FAQ, by email@example.com (Alan F. Perry) with numerous contributions by others.
From Michael Sands (firstname.lastname@example.org):
The Seven really is a toy and should never be considered for regular
transportation. This is true for a number of reasons.
The open nature of the car is very appealing. You feel one with
the road and the wind. That is true for the first fifteen
minutes. After that the quaint way the wind distorts your face,
the rocks pile up in your lap, and the vibration grinds your
teeth wears on you and you look for a reason to stop. This car
cannot be beat if you want performance and road feel. This car
is purpose built and is a street legal race car!
The car is extremely small. My 1986 Caterham weighs 1250
pounds, with me sitting in it. The only way to achieve such a
light weight is to leave many components off the car and to make
the ones you put on it very light. The car has no doors, for
example. The seats are mere cushions resting on the floor and
leaning against the back.
The frame is very light and minimal. This is a key area to
inspect. Look especially at the point where the trailing arms
mount to the frame for the rear axle.
The front suspension is also suspect. I urge you convert the
anti-sway bar to an independent bar, and not have it act as the
front upper A arm member. The bar has a tendency to break right
at the pillow block, leaving you with no steering.
Also look at the rear axle for cracks. You must have the live
axle reinforced with th e large metal plate, going from one
wheel to the other. The latest Caterhams have the de Dion rear
axle from the Sierra and do not have problems in this area,
however they do not handle as well apparently.
The Kent engine is extremely reliable, a real work horse, still
in use today as an auxiliary power plant. There are large
numbers of components available because it is basically the same
as used in Formula Ford racing.