1962 Lotus Seven #SB1290
We have a new corporate car at KMPR.
It will allow us to take a single client to an immediate bad hair day, all-the-while gathering bugs in their teeth and get a proper blood letting from all the flying rocks.
But seriously, we completely lucked out on this find thanks to our friend Geoff Wise, who has one of the most pristine Lotus Sevens in North America. Wise sent a Craigslist link to this genuine 1962 Lotus Seven (#SB1290) that has an amazing story.
This particular machine left the Lotus factory on July 28, 1961 and was sold to a Mr. J. Bedford, a gynecologist who lived less than a mile from Buckingham Palace. The Lotus was delivered green in color, though no engine type was chronicled on its build sheet. It most likely had a Ford 105E motor, a mighty little 997cc contraption that was a forerunner to the Pre-Crossflow and Crossflow inline-four engines that was to serve as Ford's basis for years to come.
Sometime during 1963 or 1964, #SB1290 was listed for sale by Ian Raby Racing Ltd. and his Empire Motors firm in Brighton, England and sold to Willis Welden of Pennsylvania. If you ever get a chance, do some proper research on Raby. He once co-drove LeMans with Jack Brabham, was a top small Formula driver in the 1950s, and was a well respected Formula 2 driver until his death at Zandvoort in 1967.
Upon arrival, it was noted as still being painted green with cycle-type front fenders, which were immediately changed out.
From 1964-1968, Willis Welden raced the Seven in SCCA regionals, nationals and Autosprints in the Northeast. He also ran and finished the Marlboro 6 Hr. event with the car, which was thought by many to be too tough for the fragile Lotus.
From 1969 through 2008 the car was a top hill climber with third owner Jim Sieling and autocross racer in the northeast, taking many top honors at various competitions.
Since 2008, it has been a street machine for two subsequent owners. We'll mainly use it on the street, but we know of a few events that it would be an absolute delight for.