Based on Colin Chapmans original 1957 design for the Lotus 7, Caterham have made various incarnations of their 7 with engines ranging from from the original Lotus Twin Cam through Ford Crossflow, Cosworth BDR, Vauxhal HPC, Vauhall 8 and 16 valves, Rover K- Series and currently Ford Duratec and Sigma engines.
The chassis is a lightweight spaceframe steel construction with stressed aluminium bodypanels. Double wishbone suspension at the front and either Live axle (early cars) or De-Dion or double wishbone at the rear. There are 3 main variants of the chassis, the series 3 produced exclusivley until 2000, the Series 3, SV and the CSR. The SV is a wider version designed for customers who had difficulty fitting comfortably into the rather cramped cockpit of the standard car. The CSR is a high performance variant of the SV with inboard front suspension using pushrods, fully independent double wishbone suspension at the rear and a 25% stiffer chassis.
There was also a Series 4 version which was based on Lotus’ 1970 S4 version of it’s 7 but Caterham quickly switched to a modified Series 3 chassis for all vehicles in 1974.
Current Caterham Range:
Classic: The entry level car, only available in the Series 3 Chassis. No heater, hood or spare wheel, 1.4 K series engine.
Roadsport: Available with both S3 and SV chassis. Essentially a classic with weather gear, heater and engine options; 125bhp, 150bhp, 175bhp.
Superlight: More track biased version includes wide-track front suspension, 6 speed gearbox, carbon dash and front wings, Glass Fibre aeroscreen and seats, racing harnesses and removable steeing wheel. Versions include R300, R400 and R500.
CSR: A factory built only version. The CSR is the ultimate version of the Caterham 7 that includes inboard front suspension, fully independent rear double wishbone suspension and either a 2 litre 200bhp or 2.3 litre 260 bhp Ford Duratec engine capable of 0.60 mph in 3.1 seconds.
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