The Caterham 7 is a must do car for petrol heads; an icon of British motoring and privateer motorsport. Nothing comes close to the lightweight precision of Colin Chapman’s legacy; the noise, pinpoint steering and instant response. They are quick cars that sit low to the tarmac, exposed to the elements, returning feedback and rewards missing from almost all other cars. Everyone who’s anyone in the motoring community heaps praise on these tiny chariots which continue to outperform supercars in their higher output guises. From behind the wheel they possess a schizophrenic personality of road going race car and something from an Agatha Christie novel.
This 2007 example started life as a factory built Academy car before being retired for road use in 2009, its engine rebuilt after its last track outing ready for retirement as a road car.
Presented in yellow with black metalwork and racing stripes, it looks very much the modern Caterham. 13” alloys wearing all weather Caterham spec Avon all weather tyres nicely fill the rear arches and give this car the classic Caterham ‘Roadsport’ stance.
While in good condition, it is no garage queen and has some imperfections. Overall it presents well and has a nice patina. As with all of these cars it has covered nominal mileage.
Inside the cockpit, a pair of Caterham issue ‘Tillett’ bucket seats help reduce kerb weight further, and the race car feel is completed with a quick release MOMO steering wheel. Comforts are non-existent on these cars, however this one does make one nod to the modern world with the inclusion of a USB port – handy for charging a smart phone while receiving navigation and camera alerts. It has the factory lowered floor pans, essential for drivers over 5’ 8”, with the passenger seat raised in height to work perfectly for those below that height.
A full weather hood and side screen ‘doors’ come with the car, as does a more useful SoftBits ‘half hood’ which very much suits the visuals of the car and apparently provides adequate protection from unexpected rain. I wouldn’t know as I’ve never been out in it while raining! A tonneau cover which can be split as a half or full cover is also included.
The side exit exhaust has an optional ‘decat’ pipe that takes minutes to swap over. This modification no doubt increases BHP, and certainly adds extra decibels. It is currently not fitted and the catalytic converter sits in its place. The car still has the track spec fire extinguisher fitted that sits inside the rear luggage compartment and is activated via a dash mounted pull switch (currently disconnected to avoid setting it off by mistake).
The service history is present, the last one in September 2019 also included a new cam seal, and gearbox oil seal totalling £713.76. The gearbox mounted speed sensor is new and the speedometer recently serviced by Speedy Cables. A new Banner battery has just been fitted. A brand new Caterham harness has been added to the passenger seat as the old one didn’t match. There are some desirable options and modifications, including Caterham Wide Track front suspension (£1,000), adjustable Caterham Roadsport Race Dampers, Roadsport Race springs, and a Caterham Race Ratio Steering Rack.
As with nearly all Academy cars, they are owner serviced during their early life and see servicing prior to each track outing so they perform at their best. Receipts from Caterham for parts support this, with some work done by suppliers, and some photographs. Later life through the second and third owners is detailed in the service book as follows; 6/5/15 @ 11,850 miles24/6/15 @ 12,744 miles7/3/16 @ 13,071 miles18/8/18 @ 13,340 miles02/09/19 @ 13669 miles (cambelt service)11/11/19 @ 13698 miles.
Registration ‘AN07 SVN’ stays with the vehicle.
The paintwork has some marks, notably some missing paint that exposes the aluminum side panel on the driver side, a small imperfection on the rear wheel arch of the same side and a small scratch on the engine cover. For me these add to the car’s character, someone else may want it to be perfect – which it could be with very little effort. All of these can be seen clearly in the photographs taken yesterday (Sunday 12 July 2020). Mileage shown is around 13,000 however let’s assume it is closer to 14,000 or 15,000 as it had a speedometer fault sometime ago (previous owner kept a note of miles), and as luck would have it another fault has developed in this area and the needle not currently showing speed. The speedometer itself has been sent to Speedy Cables who have returned it with a clean bill of health, and the sensor replaced by me this weekend but without joy. I will endeavour to fix this pre-sale or will listen to offers that allow for the repair. The car has a good service history for an ex Academy car, a stamped book and a pile of receipts relating to various things throughout its life.
A perfect weekend sports car, easy to DIY and extremely cheap to run given their lightweight philosophy and reliable, fugal Rover K-Series engine. It’s well known Caterham’s of a certain age are immune from depreciation.
During my time with this car I can almost count the number of outings on one hand; a day trip to Ramsgate on the Kent coast, one to Hampshire and some runs around the Big City when it is quiet at the weekends. It is a lot of fun driving an iconic British built car around London! Obviously this Caterham would make a perfect occasional track day companion but it is also surprisingly capable of a trip to the supermarket, a feat I have accomplished during the pandemic, even managing to fit a 24 toilet roll pack inside. It is more than ready for adventures on A and B roads as we come out of lockdown. Or for the truly brave, hungry for those ‘life’s too short’ experiences, it could be perfect for a man-and-machine trip across the Alps.
Priced fairly at £13,500