In looking through some of the older blog posts i find that some of my favorites have little or even nothing to do with cycling and this post from May of 2010 is certainly that way.
When I first wrote this piece I owned a 1999 Birkin S3 which is a very faithful modern interpretation of the classic Lotus Seven. The Lotus Seven is as small and light as a car can really be I suppose and the designer, Colin Chapman, really thought of it as a 4 wheeled motorcycle……..and at 1250 pounds I think he was right.
I owned and raced the car for a number of years and it rewrote the laws of physics with how hard it would pull, corner and slow and i really do miss that feeling at times. Nothing compares to it on a perfect day on a very curvy road.
The downsides of owning a Seven are many and certainly getting in and out of it can be a royal pain in the ass. it can not be done quickly by anyone. Way back when there was a British TV show called “The Prisoner” and the hero in the show drove a Seven. They would show him running to the car so he jump speed off and they would show him running toward the car, then switch cameras to the bad guy driving away, and then back again to the hero being in the Seven and speeding after the bad guy. They just never showed him using a shoehorn to get his butt in the seat. It’s not like a regular car where you open the door, plunk you butt in the seat, swing your feet into the car and drive away. Far from it.
This fact was driven home in a big way when I took my Seven out one spring only to get a good ways from home and have the battery die. Push starting a car is no big deal most of the time even on your own. But when it takes so long to get into the car and to get your feet WAY down into the super narrow footwell pushing starting your own car can be a challenge.
The post explains how to best push start your own Seven should you ever need to.
I still miss that silly car.
Start your Seven
Thursday, May 13th, 2010
As anyone who stops by here often will know the only thing that I like as much as bikes are Lotus cars and I’m lucky enough to own one. Before I got my current Louts Elise I owned a Lotus Seven clone made by Birkin in South Africa. It was a fantastic little car that warped the fabric of space-time and broke the laws of physics.
I had many adventures in the car as you might imagine driving something like this in Montana – home of the Ford Super Duty F350. I thought you might get a kick out of reading something I wrote a few years ago and posted on my SCCA club’s forum. Without further fanfare – Start your Seven.
Start your Seven.
So let’s say you have a Seven type car and it’s in storage for the winter. You of course want to take it out a few times to get everything loosened up when the weather is good. Folks will look at you like you are from Mars but how’s that different from any other time.
So you go to your storage room and try to start the car. Battery almost dead and it won’t start. No problem you are a smart lad and you brought jumper cables along. It starts right up and all is right with the world. So it’s now time to drive. Where do you go? How bout the Honda dealer to see with they have a Fit on the lot?
So you drive across town to the Honda dealer and pull in and instinctively turn the car off. You wonder right after shutting it off if that was a good move or not. Ahh….it’ll be fine.
You then walk around and look at the shiny cars (the Civic coupe looks very nice for $17K).
OK…….. so now it’s time to head back to the storage locker. Get yourself in the Lil’ car and drive it home right? No problem. But you turn the key and it turns over 1/2 turn and that’s it. Hmmmm. Try again and the same thing. It’s at this point that I developed the “how to” push start your own Seven by yourself -
1) push the car back and forth a bunch of times to get it lined up as best possible so that when you are pushing the car it won’t run into a row of new Hondas.
2) remove door and steering wheel so you can get in the car quickly.
3) double check aim of car as you are about push it down a gentle slope with rows of new cars on each side sans steering wheel.
4) turn on ignition.
5) put car in neutral.
6) think about your order of events very carefully so that when you are running along side your own car without a steering wheel that you can jump in and get it all done in the right order. This is a very important step.
7) with #6 more or less clear in your mind push the car like a mad man down between the row of cars and jump in and accidentally hit your foot hard on the brake pedal making the car come to an instant halt while throwing your unbelted body into the dash. These things should have a steering wheel to hold on to!
8 Turn off ignition to save what little battery is left and push the car back up the grade.
9) repeat…….. push car down grade jump in, push in clutch, put in gear, let out clutch and blip throttle and nothing. You forgot to turn ignition back on.
10) push the car back up the grade. It’s not a problem that it’s cold out anymore as you are now plenty warm. Rejoice in the warmth.
11) TURN ON THE IGNITION! Push the car down the slope being careful to not run over your own foot (it’s pretty close). Jump into the car, push in the clutch, place in gear, let out the clutch and blip the throttle until it catches and push the clutch back in so it doesn’t stall. Too late, it stalled.
12) Turn off ignition, push the car back up the grade and rejoice in the warmth.
13) Turn on ignition, push like a mad man, clutch, gear, clutch, blip, clutch and it’s running. Rejoice in the running.
14) Now with the car running you can relax. Put on your belt and drive it back to the storage locker.
15) Pull out of the Honda lot noticing that it’s very windy and cold. Note that you left the door in the Honda lot and return for it.
16) Pull car up to the door and DO NOT TURN CAR OFF. Reach out of running car and pick up door and install.
17) Drive back in comfort and remove battery when you get back so you can buy a new one.
There that was simple wasn’t it? How to push start your own Seven. I hope you learned a lesson here.