Had Colin Chapman been alive today he would undoubtedly find it hard to believe that a car closely based on the Lotus Seven he designed over half a century ago was still in current production. However, when Chapman decided that in order to secure the future of his company it was necessary to move the Lotus brand upmarket and concentrate on more sophisticated sports cars, this was regarded as a logical move. From a strictly financial point of view, abandoning the less-profitable kit car sector must have seemed a sensible and straightforward decision and nobody back then could possibly have predicted how things would turn out.
When Graham Nearn of Caterham Cars bought the manufacturing rights to the Lotus Seven in 1973 he was confident that Chapman's design could be successfully developed into a long term business. To begin with, Caterham built Sevens that were virtually identical to the Lotus, but changes were gradually required as engines and various components had to be sourced from different suppliers.
With the changes came improvements and Caterham constantly upgraded the Seven's specification over the years. During one period alterations were introduced so frequently that Caterham was accused of offering a new model almost every month! The rise in popularity of public track day events which the Caterham Seven was obviously ideal for provided another boost to the business.
In common with several other small UK car companies in recent times, Caterham has also gone through a number of ownership changes which has had an effect on the type of models produced. The evolution of the Caterham Seven arguably reached its peak with the introduction of the 'R' Series. From its humble beginnings as a self-assembly kit, the Seven has been transformed into an ultra-modern supercar, with performance that equals far more expensive and exotic machinery. This book covers the story of an exciting new generation of Caterham Seven models over a decade which saw the cars achieve speeds and levels of sophistication that Colin Chapman could surely never have dreamed of.
Featured are road and comparison tests, new model introductions & performance data. Included is a buying guide advising on acquiring a good pre-owned Seven. Models covered: Superlight, R300, R400, R500, R600, Roadsport, Super Seven, Classic, Blackbird, Fireblade, CSR 260, RST V8, Levante & CDX.