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Going to buy a road going 7...Help please

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  • Going to buy a road going 7...Help please

    Hi to all, I stumbled across your website and thought I would say Hi and ask a question. (Yes I have read the 4 year old PDF (spcns) on this, looking for an update)

    The question is, am I going to have a hard time with the CA reg for my new 7. Since I will be buying new and having another person put it together for me (computer guy...not car mechanic), I need to make sure all of this will work for me. I would hate to invest in one of these great cars and find out I cannot drive it on the road. Are the new fuel injected Ford SVT engines, with the catalytic converters in the exhaust, street legal?


    Scott Spiess
    Buying one for my 40th B-Day

  • #2
    Hi Scott,

    Congratulations on your decision to a get a Se7en!

    It sounds like you plan to get a Caterham with the SVT engine. This can be registered in California, but AFAIK, you will have to get one of the 500 SB100 exemptions that are offered each year. I think it is very difficult/impossible to get it to pass safety and smog inspections as a "normal" car (without the SB100 exemption).

    This year the 500 exemptions were gone the first day they were offered so the process is becoming very competitive. Plan to be at DMV before they open the first day of 2006, or better yet, plan ahead and make a DMV appointment as early as possible for that morning.

    The rest of the process is well documented in the pdf you mentioned, but the key is getting the exemption. The car doesn't have to be completely built to get the exemption, but it does have to be finished sometime that year, or I believe the exemption expires.

    Hope this helps, and I'm sure more members will chime in soon!


    • #3
      Hi Scott,

      Welcome to the club! What Stan said is right on target, except that the SPCNS number does not expire.

      It is tough to get a number...if I was doing it I'd be camping out at the DMV the night before.

      What part of CA are you in? Tell us more about your car... :D

      Tom "ELV15" Jones


      • #4
        Hi all...well I am around Sacramento, Ca and I do thank all that have let me know what I need to do. I love the car and its basic nature. I plan to drive it on the street as a motorcycle replacement. I hung up my leathers about a year ago and I am craving some speed.

        The Reg-ing the car is going to be a problem. I do not have good luck with DMV. I am one of the law abiding citizens that just has bad luck with DMV. It took me 3 weeks to get my Merc S420 registered and it was just a simple purchase. Without a guarantee I cannot move forward.....any ideas on this would be greatly appreciated. I got an interesting offer from one of the board members and I will be exploring it. If I can buy one that is already reg-ed...its rock on time :)

        Scott Spiess


        • #5
          Scott: Buying a car with an existing registration (VALID) is a painleess way to go. A very nice car (about 1500 mlies) changed hands in May from contacts made on this site. Another last month. There are others for sale around CA.

          A 7 with an SB 100 reg is not likely to have high mileage because SB 100 only came into effect in 2002. I think those are the best registrations; unless you are after an original Lotus 7.

          If you are buying a CA reg car be sure to keep checking with the guys on this site: Collectively we know most of the cars in CA and can likely provide good advice/guidance.

          As a bike guy you might also enjoy attending our track days with the Shelby Club (, next on Sep. 24 & 25 @ Willow Springs. One gent who attended the April event to check us out ended up buying one of the cars that was there. You would be well advised to join us in order to see a lot of 7s at one time/place and get rides in a bunch on track (bring your helmet). This may help to narrow your focus on exactly what sort of 7 is best for you. A jaunt to the Streets of Willow is likely to put you over the top on getting a 7!!! A 7 is Not TOO FAST for a bike guy (There are few Ducati lads among our number).

          Another thought is that you should monitor this site to see if there is a NoCal blat scheduled some time soon. You could probably accompany that trip to see some 7s in anger on the road.

          Hope to see you in a 7 one day soon. 8)


          • #6
            "Since I will be buying new and having another person put it together for me (computer guy...not car mechanic)"

            That sounds like a much bigger problem than SB100.

            Let the howls of indignation begin.


            • #7
              Yep I am a computer guy who can read a manual (RTFM), I just don't have the time and the space to build the car. I just plan on paying a few extra bucks to someone who has the time and the skills to get the thing done right. I only did suspension work on my race bikes and I never had an engine blow up. I think there is a lesion there….don’t fix something that is not broke. I think I will just keep smiling and let the jabs begin :) I have not given up on the 7 and I have 10 months to get the thing done. Several of you (thank you) have introduced yourselves to me and let me know that there are several 7 out there in different form.

              Thanks again for all the good info. I will be checking out the site on a weekly basis.

              Scott Spiess


              • #8

                Here you have the chance to combine your computer skills with your automotive interest.

                We (me and a colleague) are just about to ship off a digital dashboard display for Saleen's S7s. Our product, M1, reads a bunch of sensors and the stock ECU in order to augument, distribute and display the data in a useful way to the end user. (In the Saleen case on the entertainment system's video screen.)

                We are also doing this for Ford Group N rally cars in Sweden.

                As soon as my life calms down a bit, I'll replace all gauges and lights on the Caterham dash board with the same system, sporting a single high end 7" TFT screen where the tacho and speedo sits right now. I have all the components (including a blank dash), but lack the time. After that, telemetry is next on the list.

                I came into this as a computer guy (systems architect within mobile communication) and managed to learn enough mechanics to get my car together while exploring the crossover field between IT and the automotive industry. This experience led to me and my colleague founding the company that is now shipping its first product.

                The Caterham is the perfect platform to apply computers and electronics on since it has an open architecture lending itself very well to experiments and extentions.

                /Mangus F. (in Sweden again)
                Last edited by magnusfeuer; March 3, 2013, 01:50 PM.