Graham Nearn, Founder of Caterham Cars, Dies

Via the New York Times: (Hat tip: Johnny Sac)

In the grand scope of automotive history, Graham Nearn’s accomplishment may seem very small. The focus of his ambitions was the Lotus Seven, a niche sports car that he first sold as a Lotus dealer in 1959. The dealership was based in Caterham, England, and called Caterham Cars.

“I fell in love with the car then,” Mr. Nearn said in 1993. “I was a young man then. It was a two-seater open car that would do anything you could want a two-seater open car to do. You could go away in it for the weekend or you could race it.”

Mr. Nearn later bought the rights to the car, and Caterham Cars continued building the car, which developed a cult following among sports car enthusiasts. Mr. Nearn, now known as the man who saved the Seven, passed away last Saturday at the age of 76. The death was confirmed on the Caterham Web site.

The Lotus Seven was introduced in the late 1950s. It was a bare bones car — small, compact and extremely lightweight — that completely embodied the design philosophy of its creator, Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars. Its popularity soared when the British spy series “The Prisoner” cast the Seven as the lead car for the main character, known only as Number Six.

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