Tag Archive | "Caterham"

Caterham Driving Thrills On A Budget


Amazingly, the Caterham Seven has been with us for forty years and is as popular, if not even more popular, than it has ever been. The trouble is that with success comes added costs as a variety of models added more power, more sophistication – because the original was anything but – and, inevitably, more money. The Seven has become inordinately expensive for what it was conceived to be.

The car started life in 1957 as the Lotus 7, designed by the late, legendary Colin Chapman whose never-bettered motor sport mantra was “First, add lightness”. The car, ‘a racing car for the road’, was a stripped down bundle of automotive joy; all the better in its simplicity. The car in the photo is a second-generation version from the 1960’s. Production passed to Caterham in 1973 and they have tried to stick to their principles ever since but economic demands meant that they needed to cater for a mixed breed of enthusiast, hence the variety of models.

Caterham have decided that it is time for that back to basics philosophy and will soon release a new entry level version, probably this Autumn. It is understood that the price will be below £17,000 which makes it, sight unseen, a bargain straight out of the box. In their 1970’s advertising Caterham used the expression ‘accessible fun’ and this seems to be the raison d’etre for this new vehicle.

No details of the engine or drive train have been released to date. What is known is that it will be compact, efficient and EU6-compliant. This is forward thinking. EU6 are the future regulations due to arrive on the statute book in September 2014. The whole is being developed in-house.

The original Lotus 7 had a Ford engine and a good relationship has endured with the global car maker. It is strongly suggested that the engine of choice will be the Ford three cylinder, one litre EcoBoost motor, adapted for the essential rear wheel drive. A figure of 125bhp is being bandied around which doesn’t sound much but, in a car that weighs about the same as a sparrow, should produce a classic RWD drive.

All this points the car up as an uncomplicated, easy to run, cheap to maintain funster with old school characteristics. This opens it up to a whole new breed of customer. With cars becoming increasingly heavy and complex this blast from the past will come as a breath of fresh air: and in a Caterham Seven you’ll get plenty of that!

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The Return Of A Legend – Possibly


As we head inexorably toward the dubious delights of a Christmas identical to every other Christmas in every way, it is nice to think back to balmy June when we here at Motor Blogger brought you news of something completely different – the Renault DeZir. This was a superb concept car shown at  the Paris Motor Show that harked back to the days of the iconic Renault Alpine A110 – arguably the most beautiful sports car ever. That’s it in the picture, leading the concept.

Thanks to the links between Caterham and Renault in Formula One, we might, just might, see a couple of new sports cars that hark back to that glorious past. Legendary designer Mike Gascoyne has joined the Caterham team and moves are afoot for the two companies to collaborate equally on this project.

The cars are likely to be built at Renault’s facility in Dieppe utilising the other company’s expertise. Anyone who has ever driven a two-seater built by Caterham will know what to expect. A spokesman has revealed details of the creation of a (modern) sports car with the DNA of the original Alpine A110.

The new company – officially called ‘Societe des Automobiles Alpine Caterham’ will first produce a sports car built on an alloy chassis, the design of which will hopefully hark back to those golden days. Apparently Caterham will design the soft top and Renault the coupé .

No news yet as to where the engine will sit – either at the back or amidships but ‘rear-drive’ is spoken of in hushed tones. Power will no doubt come from engines out of the Renaultsport stable, possibly a 1.6 litre turbo at some advanced state of tune. As you might expect, the companies remain tight-lipped about details, thus maintaining the mystery whilst issuing teasing morsels of information.

Fans of the Caterham Seven need have no fear. This isn’t a replacement for the stripped down road-racer. The all important price-point has been a subject of conjecture but the word is that, in these financial hard times, the car will be very competitive priced.

Isn’t it great that in a world of Euro-boxes there are still manufacturers who are willing to take a punt on something different. If the new car is priced at under forty thousand pounds, drives like a Seven and looks even a bit like the Alpine then the companies will sell every one they can make, recession notwithstanding. 2015/6 is spoken of – do an inventory of surplus body parts and start saving now.

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