Easter Eco Run- Two Hours of fun for less than a fiver; the story of the fast but frugal Seven one year on

Written by Geoff Varrall, Caterham and Lotus Seven Club

As we said in the write up of our first Eco event last year, we don’t choose a Seven because they don’t use much petrol but it is still smugly satisfying to know how efficient these small machines can be.

Mind you, there we were gathered round £3.4 million of Aston Martin Valkyrie shimmering in the spotlights of the spectacular HWM showroom on a sunny Easter Saturday.

Ollie, head of Seven Sales at HWM reeled off the statistics of the car, designed by Adrian Newey, guru of the F1 design world. Eased into motion by a I.8 kWh battery pack integrated into the gear box and powered by a naturally aspirated 6.5 litre V12, this 1001 horsepower car gets tantalisingly close to a 1 to 1 power to wait ratio (it weighs 1355 kg). Half way through the production run of 85 Spiders and 150 Coupes, Aston were blamed for a peak in the global share price of Titanium though most of the reduction in weight is due to the use of carbon fibre and thin light-weight paint.

This is an astonishingly large car (4.5 metres long and 2 metres wide and 1.07 metres high) with an astonishingly small amount of space for two passengers although as Ollie pointed out, the front to back ducting produces 1100kg of down force when being driven from 137mph. By comparison a Low Flying 170 is 1.09 metres high, 3.1 metres long and 1.47 metres wide and the downforce is probably up-force.

Top Gear described the Valkyrie as ‘a marker in the sand for all that might follow,’ ironically appropriate as most of the cars are heading to the Middle East and few will be seen in your local Waitrose car park.

The V12 engine produces 156 horsepower per litre with extra help from the hybrid power train. Not bad, but then a 160 Super Sprint rocks in at 143 horsepower per litre so all that voodoo stuff with a turbo takes the humblest of engines (three cylinders not 12) into mini super-car though not hyper-car territory.

Before arriving at the showroom, 14 Sevens had their tanks topped with Tiger Juice at the local Esso Garage. Flanked by a Porsche GT3 and an 800 Horsepower Two Ton Supercharged Mustang owned respectively by Seven owners and club members Feroz Hoda and Amir Jahannia, we headed off to the Surrey Hills then back to HWM via the Esso Garage again.
Elementary maths was applied (some of us had taken different routes) and the results were as follows; Nick Boulter’s self-built 170, 69MPG (Middlesex is still in the Imperial Past); 160 Super Sprint, 51 MPG; the 1600 4 Pots all in the 33-36 MPG range including the 420R; Peter Milner's 17 year old 2.3 litre 250 horsepower Freestyle Number 5 of 8, 24 MPG; the twenty year old GT3 24 mpg and the Mustang 14 MPG though given the horsepower on tap and the driver on the day (Mr Hoda), that is a creditable result.

The Valkyrie is just one of many great cars in the HWM show room with Sevens now side by side with a DB5 continuation model, a DB2, dozens of new Astons and a truly lovely HWM, one of the race winning cars built in the Walton workshop in the early 1950’s piloted to success by Stirling Moss. You may have seen this car racing at Goodwood. Ollie will also be racing this year having finished building his Academy car a couple of weeks ago in a far corner of the HWM workshop in Lyon Road in Hersham.

The morning finished with an auction. HWM donated a copy of the lavishly printed two volume history of HWM and a test drive in the 420 Cup, Club Member John Rae donated a free pass to his Aladdin’s cave of 3D printed parts you never knew you needed for your Seven and Feroz and Amir donated a morning out in their wonderful cars all of which raised £250 for the club charity PCR.

Then it was back home to bail out our cars (Surrey puddles are surprisingly deep) and a dramatic afternoon watching the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
This was a day out in our Sevens to remember.

Special thanks to Grace and Ollie (and Vickie in the coffee van) and the team at HWM for being such good hosts and for buying each car an Easter Egg.