Caterham help.. - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Caterham help..

i want to buy another toy to go along with my lotus. i have always liked and wanted the ariel atom but after joining the atom club forum, i met someone who owned one in MN and they said the couldn't get it registered because it doesn't have a Vehicle Safety Sticker. i don"t want to spend a lot of money on a car that i will only be able to use on the track or auto crossing. i want a car that i can drive legally on the streets too. So i have been looking around and really am interested in the Caterham R500 superlight. i have been looking on this site at some details.
Caterham Cars
So i was wondering if any of you can help with a few questions..
-I know it varies state to state on what is legal, but does anyone know if i can get this car registered and driving legally in Minnesota?
-They say the car comes without the transmission and motor, so if i get it, are there any places that i can get the motor put in? (i can put in myself if not, but i'd feel better if someone else did. i have only done R+R's on tranny's but not engines.)

If someone could help answer, that would be great.

Also, are any other MN caterham owners that could help with my questions?
I really would like this car as it does have lotus history.

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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 04:56 PM
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Not much I dont know about Caterhams. I do not know about the reg rules in MN.

I have one for sale right now on the LOONY website. I know of another one that was up for sale about 3 months ago.

I can also direct you in the purchase of one of the new Birkins with IRS. It is one hell of a Seven and I can get you into one with 250-275 HP at far less than a Caterham.

Give me email if you want to talk more. it is tvacc at my website below.

I can send you my phone number or send me yours and we can talk. I have helped many guys and girls buy Sevens...several on this list including Mopho.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 05:01 PM
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I really would like this car as it does have lotus history.

Both cars have Lotus History. They are the only two companies that have the right to produce a car that looks like the original 7.

Lotus sold the rights to the Seven to Caterham in 1973...but only the Series 4 car. In an error they did not sell the rights to the Series 3 car until it came into question some time in the 80's.

In the early 80's Birkin bought the rights I think...now I think....after Colin passed, from the Chapman family.

While the Caterham has been the better and more developed car over the years, (in my opinion) the Birkin made a HUGE jump this year with the introduction of the IRS car. It is really something....and like half the price of a Caterham. I am working with Dick down in Texas. He is the Birkin Dist.

If I had not bought back my Caterham in August....I would have bought a Birkin.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.

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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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i would like to learn more about the Birkin, is there a site or somewhere i can get more info? i would like the caterham, but at half the price i will have to take a look.
i know i have seen other sevens and caterhams in MN before but don't know how to see if the car can be street legal.
Would it be easier to register a seven or caterham then it would for an atom?

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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 05:14 PM
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If you really want a new Caterham, let me point you to Dave Lebrun at Lebrun Motors near Syracuse NY. He is a Caterham dealer and I think you will get a good deal from him. He has one coming in right now.

You might have better luck in registering his old car that is for sale on the LOONY site. A lot of states take cars that have titles from other states.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 05:28 PM
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No relationship etc., but Dick Brink is a good guy and believes in his product. If you don't want to go with a Caterham, Dick & the Birkin (and Westfield through Flyin' Miata - another solid choice) are the only other 7-clones I'd feel comfortable with.
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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 05:43 PM
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Dave Lebrun is a great guy. If I had stayed in upstate NY I'd probably have bought a Caterham from him by now. I saw his car that's for sale about 2 years ago when looking at an older Caterham he was selling (I think it was a cross flow). If you want more info on Sevens I'd recommend USA7s.com I'm pretty sure there are at least a couple guys from MN.
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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 05:52 PM
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The Birkin website is Texas Motor Works - Arlington, Texas - Home

If you talk to Dick. tell him you are working with me. Tony.

Great car and at 250HP Duratec...WOW!!!!

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 05:55 PM
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Oh...I should say the Dave and I are close friends...I think he is my closest friend right now. Our wifes say that if we lived closer...we would be dangerous together. I wished we lived closer than the 2 hours it takes to get between each others house. It would be non stop cars all day long.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 07:23 PM
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The Birkin website is Texas Motor Works - Arlington, Texas - Home

If you talk to Dick. tell him you are working with me. Tony.

Great car and at 250HP Duratec...WOW!!!!
I forgot to tell you about the wide track system on the car. Makes a heck of handling vehicle. I am really impressed on this car.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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post #11 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for all your help. i am pretty sure i will get a seven but have to wait till august for the right timing. im gonna try and find local caterham or seven owners to ask about the MN regulations, cause i want to drive it on the street. im pretty sure it wont be a problem so now i just have to hurry wait.

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post #12 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 10:09 AM
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I forgot to tell you about the wide track system on the car. Makes a heck of handling vehicle. I am really impressed on this car.
Quick question, just out of curiosity - When I drove a Birkin back in the day (about 10 years ago) it was fine for the road, but on the whole didn't feel quite as sorted as a Caterham on track (just felt a little lighter and not as sturdy). What's your opinion on the "feel" of the newest wide track Birkins vs cat. Superlight R?
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post #13 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 10:15 AM
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Quick question, just out of curiosity - When I drove a Birkin back in the day (about 10 years ago) it was fine for the road, but on the whole didn't feel quite as sorted as a Caterham on track (just felt a little lighter and not as sturdy). What's your opinion on the "feel" of the newest wide track Birkins vs cat. Superlight R?


It is fantastic. The wide track and the IRS make all the difference.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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post #14 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 10:37 AM
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"Birkin" sounds like some sort of sex toy

I would be interested in how much of a difference the IRS actually makes. Caterham has a IRS version of the car (CSR), yet many say it is not as good (fun) as the deDion (albeit it is the bigger chassis) and Caterham chose the deDion chassis for their fastest model (R500).
I can't say that my car needs or would be any better if it had an IRS set up


That Birkin website you posted doesn't really have a lot of information about the cars.

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Last edited by mopho; 02-19-2009 at 10:44 AM.
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post #15 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 10:46 AM
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I plan on flying down to Texas in April to drive a few in "anger" so to speak.

I will let you all know what I find out.

As you know, I am really a Caterham guy and love my 93.

But Caterham has really gone well above what any average guy could pay for a toy. You know that once you get above the 40K range, you start to lose a lot of potential customers.

The Birkin is a very viable alternative.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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post #16 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 01:30 PM
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Tony what does a Birkin weigh, and how does it handle compared to
an Elise? My Brother is thinking about getting one.
Thanks

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post #17 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
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Tony what does a Birkin weigh, and how does it handle compared to
an Elise? My Brother is thinking about getting one.
Thanks
It depends on what you want, and what powertrain option the car has.
could be anywhere from 950Lb for bike power to 1280Lb for Zetec power with Birkin supplied options.

Live axled narrow track car?
Imo.
On smooth roads with a decent alignment/tyres, it can match an Elise, no problem.
When the road gets bumpy, it will lose out.
It the wet with decent tyres it'll be about the same.
In standing pools of water.....heheh, scary.
Typically, once you get used to the lively rear end(it's restless on bumps and you're practically sitting on the rear axle), you'll have more confidence more of the time, than in the Elise.
If the car is set up well....It will seem to rotate right where your hips are; You think Wow! The Grip....You'll feel like a Driving god.

m
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post #18 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 05:37 AM
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It depends on what you want, and what powertrain option the car has.
could be anywhere from 950Lb for bike power to 1280Lb for Zetec power with Birkin supplied options.

Live axled narrow track car?
Imo.
On smooth roads with a decent alignment/tyres, it can match an Elise, no problem.
When the road gets bumpy, it will lose out.
It the wet with decent tyres it'll be about the same.
In standing pools of water.....heheh, scary.
Typically, once you get used to the lively rear end(it's restless on bumps and you're practically sitting on the rear axle), you'll have more confidence more of the time, than in the Elise.
If the car is set up well....It will seem to rotate right where your hips are; You think Wow! The Grip....You'll feel like a Driving god.

m
The Birkin weighs between 1200 and 1300 with a Duratec.

And with the new IRS rear suspension, and the wide track the Birkin should hold up pretty well against the Elise anywhere. Saying that...the Elise is like making love to a very gentle sweet woman. Driving the Birkin is like making love to a very active demanding woman. You will get to same place in the end....but one will be a little more work getting there and your hair will be messed up more.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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post #19 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 06:08 AM
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Caterham Help

You might read the article at: Cleveland Area Lotus Limited

I drove the author's Caterham for a couple of hours on twisty roads last year while he drove my elise.

The steering feels much heavier in the Caterham. The Caterham owner said the Elise was like driving a Cadillac compared to the Caterham. I agree.

There is no doubt the Caterham handles and drives very well.

My main problem was comfort, even though the Caterham has nicely padded upholstery. The Elise is very easy for me to get in/out of. The Caterham is difficult getting the legs in while lowering into the seat. There is no room to stretch out the legs/feet to relax. I'm about 5'11. I wanted to place my feet under the pedals, but was not comfortable doing so. I was concerned about being able to quickly use them. I had to hold them above the pedals to ensure I could clutch/brake when needed. It was not a particularly warm day. My legs felt like they were being cooked from the heat radiating from the engine/drive shaft console leading to the rear wheels.

My advice is to drive one prior to buying.
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post #20 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 06:23 AM
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I think, looking at the previous post, my analogy still holds......

Sometimes it is the drive and not the destination. I have extensivly driven both the Caterham and Elise. If you drove Mikes car....I sold that car to him....and it is what a Caterham is all about.

It is a very small car and you have to wear it. It is very much like a formula car for the street and all that you say is true. My brother gets claustrophic in the Caterham. I love it.

A Seven assualts the senses with wind...sound...heat....sort of like that woman again....that woman that we want to take home to mother when mother is not home......

Can you live with a woman like that? Some can and some cannot.

Tony Vaccaro
2005 Elise Ardent Red, www.lotusowners.com LOONY (Lotus Owners of New York) and the Church of the HolyLotus, Drive Fast Take Chances, 93 Caterham 7, 71 Elan, 70 Elan GTS, 1991 M100, 1999 Sport 190 Elise, 1974 Europa TC, 1973 Europa JPS #15 TwinCam.
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