Update: Not A Lotus, A Dutton!

UPDATE 9/17/21 from Jamie Palmer:  This car has been listed again, this time here on craigslist in Baltimore, Maryland for an asking price of $3,500 and spotted by our frequent finder Chuck F.  At one point in time I actually considered applying to be a Dutton distributor, so if you happen to purchase this kit I have a large info packet to send you for free, just let me know!

By Jeff Lavery — original post here

If there’s ever been a car that could transform you into a fan of track days and autocross events overnight, I don’t know of a better option than a Lotus Super Seven or Caterham kit. These cars were the epitome of Colin Chapman’s design philosophy, and even with a modest powerplant under the hood, could run laps around far more powerful competitors. This example located in Maryland is of the Dutton variety, which is believed to have been one of the largest manufacturers of kits cars in the world at one point. The car is listed here on eBay as a major project, with an opening bid of $1K and no action yet.

The seller refers to it as a Super 7, of which there are some other isolated references to online, but I suspect the proper name is a Dutton P1, as that’s the model most commonly referred to as a Lotus 7 look-a-like. The Lotus clone was one of the company’s earliest production kits, and utilized Sprite/Midget running gear, typically. Of course, many of these kits also relied on offerings from Ford’s European product line, which tend to extract even more speed out of the lightweight tube frame. This example is being sold with no drivetrain included.

In fact, you’re not getting much of anything with this carcass. The seller notes there is no top, no interior, and that the front windscreen is cracked. It is a right-hand drive model and the seller mentions in another listing for the car on the Classic Vehicle List website that it has had a “hard life” and that it comes with a title from Florida, where it was likely imported  many years ago. Th comment about a hard existence didn’t make its way into the eBay listing, but it should be pretty obvious from the photos it hasn’t been cherished.

The listing asks for a $1,000 opening bid, but even them, the reserve won’t be met. These are certainly rare cars at this juncture, with the only other model featured on Barn Finds appearing in 2014.

The market for genuine Lotus 7s and replicas has always been fairly hot, as they make for outstanding track cars with giant-killing performance on a reasonable budget. A slightly obscure kit like this is certainly less desirable, but it will still be heaps of fun at local autocross events when restored.


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Not enough car left here to pay more than $400 for, if that.

  2. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    What? Seller says “Have 4 new 15×7 mini lites , new gauges , steering parts , rear adjustable arms , 8″ 4 lug rear , and more all at extra money . Buy all for a better deal.” I doubt he could get anything close to his asking even including all those parts.

    Like 3
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      My questions is: How much “extra” for all the stuff?
      I can see doing the wheels on a side deal, but the gauges?
      This seller is going to have to toss in a couple of the items he is holding back, if he wants this level of money.

      I will say, this must have been frighteningly fast, if the BOP/Rover V8 was anywhere near being well sorted and tuned.

      Like 3
  3. Derek

    Dutton Phaeton; the most common motor was a 1.6 crossflow.

    Like 2
  4. Neil

    This one is still uk registered, although untaxed since 2005. On the site I visited, it’s recorded as 7500cc for the engine !

    Like 1
  5. John Walsh

    I just sold a perfect running Dutton Phaeton, which this is, two months ago. It had the Ford Kent engine, 5 speed box and was a great drive. There is no chance of his asking price for this one. Mine sold for a decent £3,000 GDP and that was a good price.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      John Walsh,
      Dutton Phaetons seem to be a lot pricier here in the States, Finished ones often sell for $15,000 and up. One of the things that need to be taken in consideration betwee UK and US priving is that the cost of shipping has quadrupled in the last year for the use of a container. And I would never suggest sending a car like a Dutton over without it being in a container, as the dockhands on either coast have ZERO responsibility for any damages to the vehicle.

      Like 2
  6. Gerard Frederick

    The seller appears to be a comedian. Maybe he should apply for a job as a stand-up comic in a Las Vegas lounge.

    Like 1
  7. Bill McCoskey

    If someone is seriously interested, I am capable of checking this car over to whatever inspection level you need. And I’m only about 15 minutes from Pasedena, MD.

    Like 1
  8. Crawdad

    In the early 70’s I drove 4 hours to the Knoxville, TN dealer to look at the new Dutton. The MIG welds still had ” arrows” of mig wire sticking off of them. And the fiberglass cowl was so warped in the middle it was about 1/2 in below the rear edge of the mating area of the hood. I overheard the salesman explaining that that was for ” ventilation” , which I suppose it may have done , a little. Obviously built in a rush for cheap, even a green 19 year old knew to pass on these. Anyone buying this one should expect to need to correct these things, as well as do the restoration work. ,

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