Clamshell front fenders

Clamshell front fenders

Lotus Seven America style

Why are they called clamshells? That's obvious, but why are they called America fenders?

When the Lotus Seven came to the world of SCCA Production Racing, back in The Day, they had the "cycle" front fenders that the performance people love, and have loved ever since. However, not everybody else loved them. Yes, the Seven qualified as a production car -- Lotus had made more than enough of them, and they were street legal -- but it was a bit too obvious that it was really just a Formula 2 car with an extra seat and a cheapo body. To fit the rules, it got some removable doors (hey, the class required doors, they didn't have to be permanent), and to be designated a sports car rather than a formula car by SCCA, the open wheels had to go. Enter the Lotus Seven America.

That's Sharon Wescott with our "Prisoners of Petroleum" car at Escape From Berkeley, having arrived in Berkeley from Curtis Unlimited, where we got the fenders, which are quite necessary for Oregon winters. These are the wider than the originals, which is better suited for modern tires than the standard size, and better regardless of weather than cycle fenders for the street, because the wheels don't throw crap (rocks, mud, rain, etc) into the cockpit, like they do with cycle fenders.

After Bert passed, Fay Curtis closed her business and rented us the molds for these fenders. They're around forty years old and not as nice as our other molds, but they'll do. I doubt I'll ever own another cycle fendered Locost, despite the aerodynamic disadvantages of America/Clamshell fenders (frankly, aerodynamics has never been the Seven's forté), and you lose the fun of watching your front wheels go up and down, but they sure improve comfort for driver and passenger.

This is what the standard clamshells look like, on a real live Lotus Seven S2, no less. The Curtises started making them for vintage racers, since Lotus wasn't doing it any more.

They won't make your Locost legal for vintage racing, but it's quite the classic look.

This photo is from the 2022 Pacific Grove Little Car Show. The owner has the hood off to show off the engine, and the hood is in the cockpit so spectators can't put their kids in it.

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