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Caterham 7

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    8 Reviews
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      06.11.2010 23:43

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      So much fun and far more practical than most people believe

      My first car 42 years ago was a (Lotus) 7, and my current - possibly my last, is also a 7 - a Caterham SV with a 140bhp 1800 Rover K engine. I drive it all the time, to and from work, on holidays, weekends, any weather (including snow and ice in the last few winters) - since I bought it in 2005 I've put 69,000 miles on it!
      In the dry, its cornering limit is ridiculously high, acceleration - 0-60 2 up 5 seconds - will beat almost anything else on the roads and point to point on a twisty road it'll give even a big bike a hard time. In the wet, you just have to remember you're driving a very lightweight powerful car. And the roof, though fiddly, keeps you warm and dry - 5 hours driving in very heavy rain proved that to me. The heater is magnificently powerful as well!
      As to practicality, my wife and I have taken it on holiday for a week or a fortnight every year since we've had it - it is surprising what you can get in it - and with a purpose-built E Bag on top of the boot there is no problem at all. Oh, and fuel consumption in mine averages 40mpg. Comfort - I have a damaged back - and have never felt a single twinge sitting in the Seven even for hours at a time.
      My wife is always encouraging me to take her out in it at weekends so she can have the last word - she calls it the four-wheeled deckchair!

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      06.04.2001 21:49
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      I first travelled in a Lotus 7 32 years ago when a colleague in Guildford took me back to the rail station after work one night. I was hooked from that moment but took all those years to realise my dream. Last year I invested (yes it will be an investment)in a 1800 Caterham Super Seven Sprint tuned to 170 BHP. I bought it pre-owned from a Caterham dealer in Gloucestershire who was very patient with the "old guy" and who let me test drive several vehicles prior to making my decision. I won't bore you with my experiences too much but suffice to say that none of my youthful illusions have been shattered. On my own in the early hours of lst summers mornings - howling along "A" roads at exciting speeds enables you to live fantasies of motor racing of a by gone age. With my wife along side me on Sunday jaunts into the country side (keeoing on low revs and high gears)It is a "grand touring car". Insurance - yes a couple of hundred pounds for limited mileage. Fuel - yes 15 mpg on those morning runs. Fun - as much as you can have apart from obvious exceptions. Go one - you know you want to!

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        03.04.2001 19:25
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        You just cannot beat the grin you get from a Caterham. You may be considering one for purchase right now, and perhaps, deciding between it and say a Lotus Elise or maybe even a Westfield. Go for the Seven, every time. The Elise may be more practical but it gives you the feeling of driving a "proper" car badly built. The Westfield is poorly constructed against the Caterham and depreciates far faster than the Seven and drives like a bacon sandwich in comparison. Now, which one should you buy??? If you have never driven a Caterham, do so. Driving a Seven is a bit like balancing a pen on your finger tip. It's what makes them thrilling to drive but a novice road sport driver could come a cropper going for an R500 first off. Go to the Caterham sales centre if you can. They are very helpful and will give you a test run if you book it in advance. Once you have had the first experience with a Seven you will be in love. No to choose your lover! 1. The 1.6K series. Get this if you are a novice raod sport driver and wnat the thrills with a built in life presever, ie. the 1.6 engine. Dont forget that this is still a very quick car and can be made quicker if you get the engine management upgrade for £1000 turning it inot a 1.6 supersport. 2. The 1.8K series. This is a great car and the supersport is even better. This is best considered for drivers who have some track experience. You do not want to learn about opposite lock on the A316 at rush hour. 3. 1.8VVC. This is superb ( and the one I have) The high rev range means this is everybit as quick and grunty as the 1,8supersport, but much better for longer distance runs too. A lovely "go to France for the weekend a whilst driving like Steve McQueen" motorcar, beauty. 4. R500. This is a mental car coming in many guises and scared me too much to buy it as a road car, probably best suited to the track or spee
        d junkies who have no families to take care of. 5. Blackbird. This is a totally mental Seven and runs on the Honda motorcycle blackbird engine. Sub 4 second 0-60 means this is track only although legal for the road. I will try this out in the summer at a track day and let you know just how crazy it is. Practical points. No luggage companrtment They leak like hell in all but gentle drizzle They are not fond of being driven hard on wet roads They will mean a long stay in hospital if you have a side impact despite recent enhancements to impact protection. Good points They depreciate so well they are practically an investment You will wander around with a warm glow within you forever You can beat a 911, 355 and any Elise of the lights grinning furiously as you do so. If you can afford one buy it. I did and now happier than I have ever been!

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          02.03.2001 15:14
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          If you are worried about building your own 7, don't be. My brother decided to build his own, and found it a doddle. After 40 years, they have it off to a T. The build manual is massive, and is almost as simple as "Fold Tab A into Slot B". You can get all the parts from Caterham, so no rummaging around breakers yards. For the half-dozen difficult bits, you even get a video to show you how. You than have to take it to a dealer for a check over. The one big tip: When you get all the boxes, check them through, then put all the body work back in the boxes until you need them - it's very easy to scratch them with all the spanners flying, which will leave you a few hundred pounds out of pocket, and waiting for new parts before you can get out oon the road You should also take a close look at their recommended finance and insurance. With so many owners at Lloyds of London, they have been able to arrange serious insurance - £200 for a 3,000 mile restricted mileage in the Home Counties sounds pretty impressive for such a fast car

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            28.11.2000 06:18
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            Having loved Westfield’s for years I moved over to the dark side … Caterham. The ethos of Caterham was once explained to me in great detail over a few pints at my local and duly I paid more attention to them now. So much so that every year I religiously go to the stand at the motor shows to pay homage to the cat I will eventually own. This year I was talking to the very helpful people on the stand about insurance and the cost of ownership, I made it very clear that I would not be buying such a car for at least 3 years as I was not old enough to qualify for the insurance. This did not deter the people from trying to get me to buy a car. In fact they would have signed be up for one to be delivered the day I turned 26 and could have the insurance. I made it even more clearer that I cant buy one now as I’m not in a financial position to do so as well. Still they suggested track days and test-drives just to convince me that little bit further that I wanted one. In the end I got through to this one guy on the stand that I would be having one just as soon as I could, I always have wanted one and I think they are great. He accepted this and it seemed that two people passionate about the same car had come to an understanding, at which point he asked, “Are you going to build it yourself? I could save you a couple of grand!” Needless to say the conversation continued.

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              15.08.2000 08:02
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              I thought about buying a Caterham 7 for 5 or-so years before finally putting my hand in my pocket and forking out for a second-hand Classic VX. My first sighting of this odd little car was on TV with Patrick McGoohan behind the wheel in "The Prisoner". This was a car that marked you as unconventional. Marked you as somebody who shunned the comfort of roof, doors, luggage space, radio... everything... everything apart from speed. The car was designed by Colin Chapman more than 40 years ago. The fact that they are still made, raced and enjoyed by thousands of people is testimony to Chapman's brilliance. If you are after an engaging, thrilling driving experience that isn't going to cost you a fortune, you will not find anything to match the Caterham 7. This is a car that causes many red faces on the track as your 40 year-old, 15 grand car overtakes the latest offerings from the likes of Porsche and Ferrari. Don't make the same mistake as me and dither about purchasing a Caterham 7 -- I wasted 5 years when I could have been having fun. Take a ride in one. Most owners would be glad to take a potential owner out for a spin -- then you can find out why most of us are grinning from ear to ear when driving these cars. If you want to drive one yourself, you can hire them from the Caterham showroom for a day or a weekend. I believe that the hire charge is deductable from the purchase price if you later decide to buy one. Second hand bargains can be found for as little as 7000 quid. New cars start at about 12,000 and go up to 33,000 for the new R500. For more information, contact Caterham Cars, speak to an owner or join the Se7ens mailing list at: http://www.se7ens.net

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              11.08.2000 03:12
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              Oh my God!! Where did this car come from? What, with doors made out of 3mm plastic, and a power to weight ratio of 404 bhp to a tonne, this car is to be taken lightly. VERY lightly. With the R500 weighing only 460 KGs, and pushing out an awesome 230 bhp from it's 1.8 litre rover k series lump, this car must be up there in that "great hall of fame" with such cars as the Porsche boxster, Lamborghini Diablo and Lotus Elise. This car would certainly be able to take on the Mitsubishi evo, and the Lamborghini Diablo with ease up to 70 miles an hour, but upwards, the aerodynamics deficiency lets this brute of a car down. Bit of a shame really. This car isn't all that bad inside. It has elements in the windscreen to stop it misting up, it has a two speed heater, it has comfy seats so really, this car could be used for everyday use (if you're man/woman enough to drive it!!) In the wet, you would be mistaken if you thought it wouldn't handle because it does. It hugs the road amazingly considering the torque and weight, so much so that it can be pushed almost as hard as if it were in the dry. There are many sorts of Caterhams you can get, ranging from the ford engine (an older, discontinued range) to the Rover engine (a faster, cleaner, more efficient engine). It can also then be divided into three sorts of Caterhams from then as well - The classic range, The road sport range, and the superlight range (this includes the superlight R500, the fastest one of the lot). The Classic Range ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- The classic range consists of one sort of engine. The 1.6 Vauxhall unit: It pushes out 100 BHP at 5’500 RPM and a healthy 107 lbft of torque. It can tackle 0-60
              MPH in 6.7 sec’s. And 0-100 KPH in 6.9 sec’s making it a pretty quick car, but not so fast as a Roadsport Caterham. If you wanted to go for the classic range, but wanted something quicker, then you could go for the 1.8 litre Supersport tuning package. It pushes the BHP to 120 and torque to 122lbft, but you may as well just go straight for the Roadsport package. This Classic Road Caterham goes for about £10’995.00 on the road, but can be higher or lower depending on mileage, if its new or old etc. The Roadsport Range ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- The roadsport package consists of three types of engines. The 1.6 Rover K series, the 1.8 Rover K series and the 1.8 VVC Rover engine. The 1.6 Rover K series engine has 115 BHP at 6’000 RPM, and 107 lbft of torque, making this quicker than the classic 1.6 Caterham, but slower than the 1.8 Cars. The Roadsport 1.8 version is really the last point at which anything is really practical. It has all the gear really: Heated windscreen, heater and comfy seats, and a small boot to compliment. If I was getting a Caterham that I was going to use every day, I’d get this one, because from this Car upwards they just either get too fast or too impractical (i.e. no windscreen!!) The Roadsport 1.8 VVC is an improvement on the original 1.8 engine. It produces 150 BHP at 7’000 RPM and 128 lbft of torque, making this, again quicker, but also more expensive. This Caterham goes for about £15’650.00 on the road and, again depending on whether it’s new or old, and how many miles it’s done can affect the price. The Superlight Range ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------
              ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The superlight range is for hard-core drivers only!! In this range there is the road, R500 and Blackbird variants. The R500 need’s no introduction, but one thing I will say is that I have heard this go and it is so loud it feels like your ears are bleeding, and also the cost. It goes for about £31’950.00 and is well worth the money. It has no padding on the seats apart from tiny little strips of rubber, and NO creature comforts. The Road version can go from the 133 BHP version, to the 140 BHP 1.8 engine, to the 190 BHP 1.8 VHPD engine, making this very "tailor made" really. It consists of all the necessities, apart from a windscreen and heater, and can go VERY fast. The engine makes you tingle as it rumbles so much, and the car is brill to drive. Now the good bit. The Blackbird. This car really is the bees knees, and has a Honda Blackbird MOTORCYCLE engine in it, meaning more power, less weight (always a good combination.) This really is a prototype, but they have gone on sale for £23’500.00. I hope this review has helped you in your quest to buying, what I feel, is the most fast, brutal, exciting bit of metal you can buy for the money involved. I love mine and will for a long time to come!!

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                05.07.2000 20:29
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                HAving had a 1.4K Series Seven as my first (ish) car I was certainly in at the deep end, considering a Land Rover was my previous mode of transport. Where to begin? This is really a car for the enthusiastic driver who wants to have a laugh getting around. Its looks are the most obvious thing, I thought that it would appeal to the ladies. It did, but small children liked it more, much to the girlfriends amusement. If you really want one you will disregard the somewhat crampt space, the fact your shoes melt after a long journey, and you have NO space for anything larger than a packet of Malboro. Great fun car, I miss mine like hell, if you get one go direct to Caterham and they will look after you and the car. Oh, and try not to admire yourself in the reflection of the headlights too much, its bad news if you don't concentrate!

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