When Colin Chapman designed the Lotus Seven in the 1950s he could hardly have guessed that it would outlive him by several decades, and indeed still be in production (though now badged as a Caterham) sixty years later.

The Seven was intended to be a dual-purpose car suitable both for road use, if the driver and passenger were hardy enough, and for competition. On more than one occasion it was excluded from motorsport championships because nothing else could keep up. This usually led to marketing campaigns based on the slogan Too Fast To Race.

There is now no mechanical connection between the Series I Lotus and a modern Caterham, but it’s obvious from the briefest glance that they are at either end of the same history. Here we take a look at one of the most successful and iconic cars the British motor industry has ever produced.

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