Caterham 7. The ideal blow-out car

Caterham 7

It is a hip ADHD person and you put it on with a shoehorn. Rara, what's that? That is of course the Caterham 7, the one and only successor to the Lotus 7.

Caterham and Lotus

Colin Chapman, the legendary founder of Lotus Cars, presented the Lotus Seven in 1957. It got its name from a model previously rejected by Lotus that would be used for the 2 races formula. Although the Lotus "7" was allowed to ride on the street, it was really designed for the circuit. Based on the Lotus “6”, also produced by Colin Chapman, the “7” was powered by an 1172 cc-Ford side valve that provided 40 hp power. This cheap reliable engine was specifically suitable for the then popular low-budget races.

Other possible options were a BMC A-series or a Coventry Climax engine. The particularly light chassis made of square hollow steel tubes was finished with aluminum panels for the body. The panels were kept as straight and flat as possible to keep costs as low as possible and for the same reason the car had simple plastic doors that attached directly to the windshield brackets.

Everything as light as possible

The nose and mudguards were also originally made of aluminum, but these were replaced in the later S2 and S3 models with fiberglass parts. The newcomer was a lightweight, minimalist sports car with the body line of a Grand Prix car and was especially affordable. Certainly also because it was for sale in kit form. The little drift frog was a reasonable success. So much pure driving fun for so little money? That was unprecedented! And it still is. A lot of Sevens fought each other and the much more impressive competition on the circuits. That there, in the heat of the battle, sometimes went wrong, that may be known. Always check an 7 or a less pure-bred clone thereof for old damage.

A smart plan

Because of the then applicable English tax system, it was worthwhile to buy the car as a kit. That saved a huge amount in tax. However, the tax law stated that no assembly instructions should be supplied with the purchase as a kitcar. Chapman interpreted the tax rules in his own way: if the car was purchased as a kitcar, no assembly instructions were supplied. However, the customer received a dismantling manual that he could apply 'backwards'.

To be continued. Like Caterham

After the success of his Series 1, Chapman built Series 2, 3 and 4. In '74, when the Lotus founder wanted to end production of the Seven, Graham Nearn, owner of Caterham Cars in Surrey, England, bought one of the largest Lotus Seven dealer in the 60s, the production rights and continued to build Series 4. The Caterham 7 is therefore the sole legal heir to the Lotus 7. No matter how many free interpretations / replicas have been built in England. Well-known names in the field of 'about exactly the same as a real' are Westfield and Robin Hood, Dutton, Dax, Haynes, Aphax, Sylva and Locust. There are more than 150 suppliers of '7' replicars. In that corner much use is made of Ford Sierra parts. The quality of the replicas of the lesser known kitcar builders / kitcars is not always fantastic. The versions with fairly recent, hyper-potent motorcycle blocks are of a completely different order.

The Caterhams, however, were classic, pure sports cars and Caterham clearly sold more of them than Lotus did. And Caterhams are now, depending on their year of construction, sought after, real classics.

It just requires a special kind of courage to participate in daily traffic with such an 7. The occupants mainly look at the other road users at bumper height. But if the road is calm and winding ... PARTY!


Caterham 7






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