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what is it?

So just what is the Seven?

It's a minimalist sports car patterned after the Lotus and Caterham Seven. Some might call it a Locost after the book by Ron Champion, "Build your own sports car for as little as 250". Ron called his creation a Locost and the term has expanded to cover just about any homebuilt car built on a budget. I don't call my car a Locost for a couple of reasons. One, it does a disservice to those who are building their from scratch. Two, it has not been built with quite the same emphasis on budget as many true Locosts. Instead, I just call mine the Seven. I guess it's really just "a" Seven but until I get another, "the" it is.

The car is built around a frame, suspension and body parts purchased from the defunct Champion Motor Cars company. Does this make it a kit car? Not exactly. It wasn't terribly complete. It was a good starting point.

Most of the components come from the Miata MX5 sports car. I know these little beasties well - after all, I wrote a book on them. I also work at a company called Flyin' Miata. The choice of a Miata was pretty easy. I have a full component list if you want all the gory details.

Car and Driver tested my car for the August 2006 issue. Here's what they had to say:
"Tanner's car felt terrific...Simply put, this one had that go-kart feel with predictable responses and quick reflexes. Winterhalter's handiwork amounted to an impressive $2500 sports car, but we'd spend more dough to get something more like Tanner's car. True, Tanner's car cost four times as much, but the end result was four times as appealing."

The instrumented performance numbers were:
0-60, 4.7 seconds
1/4 mile, 13.8 seconds at 97.4 mph
70-0 braking, 141.4 ft and 1.156G
skidpad, 0.98G

I've written a book about the process. There are more details here. I've also detailed the build in fairly high detail on this website. It began in December 2003 and continues to this day. Have a look around. Let me know what you think in the guestbook. If you happen to see a certain orange and silver car on the road or track, be sure to wave!

 Keith Tanner