What is a Dax Rush?

A Dax Rush is a traditionally-styled high-performance roadgoing sportscar. It is a somewhat loose replica of a Lotus Seven, as built in the late fifties and early sixties, although considerably 'beefed up' in both engineering and appearance from the original.

For pictures of some Dax Rushes, see the Dax Rush Owners Club owners register and also follow the links in the links page.

What makes a Rush different to the other Lotus 7 inspired sportscars?

The Dax Rush is visually more squared-off and wider than most se7ens. It has been described as "A Lotus on steroids". Rushes have a larger and squarer nose aperture than most se7ens, tyre-hugging front cycle wings and huge rear arches. There is just a touch of hotrod about it, although the effect is slight. Builders can opt for a more custom look with rectangular headlamps, an asymmetric rollbar and wild colours, or a more traditional look with round headlamps, symmetric rollbar and a classic colour scheme.

Most Rushes are built with high-power engines. The chassis is built to take insane levels of power and torque from highly tuned turbos and V8s. Just witness the company demonstrators; most have 300bhp plus under the bonnet! You can build a Rush with a 1600cc Pinto, but not many builders take this route.

Each Dax Rush is different. Unlike many recent Caterhams and Westfields, which are almost indistinguishable from each other, every Rush is a statement of the builder’s individuality. There are so many options for engine, body, wheels, seats, trim, dash, instruments and lights that all Rushes have a unique appearance of their own.

Who are Dax and who are DJ Sportscars International Ltd.?

They are one and the same. Dax is the name of the product range and the owning company is DJ Sportscars International Ltd. (called DJ here). It's a similar situation to 'Ford' and 'The Ford Motor Company Inc.' (or whatever the parent is called). DJ normally capitalise Dax thus - DAX. This FAQ uses the form Dax though, as it makes it look less like an acronym.

How many Dax Rushes exist?

According to DJ about 550 Rushes, complete or kits, had been sold up till May 2002. It's probably over 600 by now. This numbers includes those sold via distributors elsewhere in Europe.

What's the chassis like?

All Rush chassis are a fully-triangulated steel spaceframe. The chassis tubes are a mixture of round and square mild steel tubing with welded joints. Integral rollover bars can be made from stainless steel or you can choose the racing-specs rollover bars which are made of CDS (cold-drawn seamless tubing) steel.

Chassis come in standard and long-cockpit options. See also interior space. You need to try it though, to see if you fit comfortably.

The chassis is stiffened with aluminium shear panels, which are permanently bonded and riveted on.

Recent chassis developments include the new round-tube chassis, a lightweight structure suitable for motorbike engines.

What's the bodywork made from?

The bodywork is in unstressed Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP; also inaccurately known as fibreglass) and optional aluminium panels for the sides and bonnet. If you don't want to paint your Rush, all the GRP panels can come with a self-coloured gel-coat finish which needs no additional work.

For the taller driver, special lowered floorpans in GRP are an option. These place the bum two or three inches lower than the standard flat floorpan. Handy for those who otherwise have to look over the windscreen! It is, however, possible to scrape these panels on the ground!

Traditional ‘clamshell’ wings are not available. You could probably use other makes however.

What engine choices are there?

There are many options here. The commonest are:

  • Ford OHC ("Pinto") 1.6 / 2.0L (carburetted or injection)
  • Ford Cosworth Turbo 2L (turbo, injected or naturally-aspirated)
  • Rover V8 3.5 to 5.2L (carburetted or injection)
  • But several others can be fitted, including:
  • Triumph straight six
  • Ford V6 2.8 / 2.9L
  • Ford DOHC 2.0L
  • Ford Zetec 2.0L
  • Ford Cosworth (normally-aspirated)
  • Alfa twin-cam
  • Chevrolet small-block V8 (!)
  • Honda Fireblade motorbike engine
  • Suzuki Hayabusa 'bike engine

Dax can make engine & gearbox mounts to fit almost any donor parts, but they will need the parts while they build the chassis. Exhaust systems are available off the shelf for the Pinto, Cosworth, Rover V8 and Zetec.

New engine developments are in the pipeline, including motorbike engines ... watch this space!

Do I have to buy DJ's exhaust systems?

In a word; no. DJ's exhaust systems are very good looking, although they are prone to rattling and blowing out their wadding. However, many people save some money by either going to one or other other manufacturer, or buying all the bits themselves and welding something together.

The links page as some links to exhaust manufacturers.

What transmission choices are there?

Usually from the same source as the engine. Ford T5 gearboxes are popular on Cosworth and V8 applications because of their ability to take high levels of torque. This can be mated to the V8 using a bellhousing from an automatic model, plus a custom adapter plate.

The propshaft is a custom-made job. DJ can supply these for common gearboxes. There are many other suppliers who advertise in the car magazines though.

The live-axle Rush uses a Ford Cortina axle.

The IRS differential and driveshafts are from a Ford Sierra or Ford Granada, but only the rear disc brake models. If you choose an XR4x4 donor, you will get the advantage of a viscous limited slip differential (LSD) as standard. However, for V8s this differential is rather too short. Ford did make taller diffs but they are typically not LSDs. You can, however, have the crown wheel and pinion from a taller diff mated to the gubbins inside an LSD to get the best of all possible worlds. It's not cheap though. There are details of some suppliers for this sort of thing over on the links page.

The Dax Rush Quadra is a four-wheel-drive variant which uses the entire transmission from a Ford Sierra XR4x4. The transfer box, front propshaft and front differential are used, with slight modification.

What suspension choices are there?

Suspension choices are increasing all the time.

The base model used to use a Cortina donor and thus has the Cortina live axle located by trailing arms and a Panhard rod at the back and Cortina uprights held in Dax wishbones at the front. This option is quite long in the tooth now and has been displaced by Sierra-donored variants. These are obvious from the wider front track. In this case the front uprights are from the Sierra and use the standard solid or vented discs. You can, though fit much larger brakes should you wish.

The Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) Rush uses Ford Sierra or Granada hubs, front and back. At the back, the Ford hubs and bearing carriers are bolted to a Dax-supplied upright which is carried on Dax wishbones. At the front, Cortina uprights were the order of the day, but Sierra uprights can now be used, leading to another single-donor build. The de Dion Rush uses hubs from a Sierra, bolted directly to DJ's own de Dion tube which is located with trailing arms and an A-frame.

The Rush Quadra uses the same rear suspension as the IRS, but modified wishbones at the front to take the Ford 4x4 uprights with their driveshafts.

The wishbone-based suspension, both front and back, can be standard or be based around DJ's camber-compensation system. This is optimised to control the wheel camber and has been the subject of some spectacular claims for its efficacy on the track!

What size wheels & tyres will I need?

In keeping with the chunky look of the Rush, big and wide is the standard size here! 15" or 16" wheels are recommended, with 205 section tyres at the front and 225 or 245 section at the rear. The wider rear tyres have wider rear arches to match. DJ’s standard wheels are straight from the Image Wheels catalogue. DJ do also sell a cheaper one-piece wheel which needs spacers on the rear of the car.

There are other wheels available (such as from Compomotive and Revolution) but it is important to get wheel with the correct offset. The precise sizes are in the DJ build manual.

The word from Gary Sanders (DJ engineer) is that 245s have no real performance advantage over 225s. However, Peter Walker (DJ designer) appears to disagree! The difference is mainly visual, in the increased rear width of the car.

Quadras use 225 section tyres all round.

If you use Ford Granada running gear, you get 5-stud wheel fixings. Sierras come with 4-stud. It is possible to convert the hubs from 4 to 5 studs by mixing and matching the parts. Gary at DJ can tell you what to do to achieve this.

What other donor parts will I need?

There's a complete description of the required donor parts, as supplied by DJ, over in the toolbox section of this website.

How much interior space is there?

Despite what Dax claim in some adverts, the Dax isn't wider inside than other types of 'se7en'. A V8 model, with its wide transmission tunnel, has about the same width across the seat as a wide-body Westfield and with a little less width in the footwell.

Footwell width can be quite cramped for those drivers and passengers with large feet. Small shoes may be the order of the day so that only one pedal is pressed at once!

What trim choices are there?

There's huge variation in this area. Some Rushes are left with a bare aluminium and GRP finish inside. Some are fully carpeted and trimmed with leather, wood or carbon fibre. The choice is yours.

DJ’s carpet set fits quite well but you could make up your own easily.

Rush dashboards are different to most sevens in that they have a central console. This is a good place to mount instruments and switches, as the area above the steering wheels is very small and suitable only for warning lights. DJ sell dashboards in either bare GRP or trimmed in vinyl or leather. A simple padded dash is easy to achieve at home. There is a new sculpted dash panel but it restricts the size of the speedometer and tachometer to 80mm, instead of the former 100mm.

3-point inertia reel or 4-point (or 5, 6) harness seat belts can be fitted. The latter is easier as it doesn’t involve cutting into the backrest panel behind the seats to give clearance for the reels.

What's the performance going to be like?

Usually plenty of this! Rushes are very capable performers on the road and on the track. If you're not driven any sort of se7en before then this will likely be a revelation to you, especially cornering which is a complete different experience to any road car, with the possible exception of a Lotus Elise.

Thanks to the usually high power available, acceleration is huge. With a power-to-weight ratio at least double that of ‘ordinary’ cars, hot hatches are easy prey. With larger engines, medium size sportsbikes become worthy targets to measure against.

Cornering and handling are amongst the best. DJ’s Camber Compensation System (CCS) is supposed to add a little extra grip, right at the limit. Rushes are normally heavier than their counterparts from Caterham, for example. This means that ultimate nimbleness against this benchmark car is slightly compromised but, even at its maximum weight of 700Kg, a Rush is hardly a heavyweight. Its greater power usually more than makes up for this.

Maybe due to its greater weight, the Rush has a much smoother ride than many sevens.

Until recently, a Cosworth turbo Dax Rush Quadra held the 0-100-0mph speed record of 12.02 seconds.

How practical is the car?

Surprisingly practical for this type of car. The boot box is quite large and will hold a couple of squashy bags for a weekend away. The ‘luxury’ carpet set has neat triangular pockets in the footwells that can hold a few odds and ends. Large map books will fit under the squab seats.

Full weather gear (front tonneau, rear tonneau, sidescreens and hood) is available in vinyl, duck or mohair material. However, with the hood up getting in and out can not be described as easy.

Like any se7en, driving in heavy traffic or in bad weather isn’t very pleasant. Choose your day and your route and enjoy some proper driving!