The Lotus Seven was one of the most iconic British cars of all time, and it led to many automobiles being inspired by its design. One of them is the Caterham Seven, created by Caterham Cars. The company bought the rights to the design. As a super-lightweight sports car, the Caterham Seven continued its predecessor’s legacy. The Caterham is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and we’re taking a look into the history of the vehicle.
A legacy machine
In 1973, Lotus had decided to move away from its kit car image and focus on up-market sports vehicles. The company sold the rights of the Lotus Seven to Caterham Cars. The Series 4 was being produced at the time, but Caterham ran out of Series 4 kits in 1974. To address this problem, they introduced their own version of the Lotus Series 3. This model became the Caterham Seven.
The chassis of the Caterham Seven was based exclusively on the Series 3. Made from stressed aluminium body panels, the chassis was light and flexible. This remained the case until 2000, when the SV chassis came out. The SV was introduced to address the issue of drivers not being able to fit comfortably into the Series 3 cockpit.
Early versions of the Caterham Seven used a Lotus Twin Cam engine. In 1983, 1600 cc and 1700 cc Cosworth BDR engines were added. By 1990, the two litre Vauxhall HPC was in use.
The Lotus Seven had a rich racing history and Caterham Cars wanted to preserve it. The Caterham Seven enjoyed a lot of success, especially in the Nelson Ledges 24-hour race. A four-man Caterham team beat Honda and Mazda in a modified Vauxhall HPC.
In 1986, Caterham Super 7 Racing was established and it expanded into club and competitive racing across the globe. This format grew in 1995 with the creation of the Caterham Academy. The Caterham Seven was so successful that it was banned in the 1970s for being too fast. This led to Caterham boss, Graham Neam, producing a shirt printed with the words ‘Caterham Seven, the car that’s Too Fast to Race.’
Today, there’s a wide range of chassis types for the Caterham Seven. The advantage of a kit car is that you can mix and match parts to get the vehicle you want.
Looking to insure your Classic car? A Caterham Seven perhaps? Get a quote with Carole Nash today.