The Lotus Cars Community banner

What is your experience with Caterham?

  • I own/have owned a Caterham.

    Votes: 23 23.0%
  • I have driven a Caterham.

    Votes: 9 9.0%
  • I have ridden in a Caterham.

    Votes: 9 9.0%
  • I have sat in a Caterham.

    Votes: 9 9.0%
  • I have seen a Caterham on the road/track.

    Votes: 21 21.0%
  • I have seen a Caterham parked.

    Votes: 13 13.0%
  • I have never seen a Caterham in person.

    Votes: 16 16.0%

  • Total voters
    100
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
German Reimport
Joined
·
2,953 Posts
A friend of mine had one and gave me a ride in it.
That was back when I was 20 (so 21 years ago).
That ride back then was what turned me on to Lotus.

Now that I fulfilled my dream of owning a Lotus (Elise) in 2006 the R400 in my next dream car to have.

And yes, usually they just fly by me on track...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,766 Posts
I own two, one is an E Production race car my son and I drive in SCCA, the other is a street/autocross car. I had an Elise briefly but sold it as the Caterham was more fun in autocross or track and the Elise just had too may luxuries I mean A/C, ABS, Power windows, a radio! The cars are relatively trouble free if you build them right and maintain them. Caterham USA are good people!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
I bought a 2003 model with a 2L Zetec last summer (was searching for an Elise when I found this caterham). I also built one with a friend back in 1992.

In most cases, I think a lot of people don't really know what they are getting into when they buy a Caterham (or one of the clones). The car is not for everyone, even when we are talking about serious sports car enthusiasts.

A standard 7 with the typical engines offered is actually not that fast by modern day standard. The suspension is also not that spectacular by modern day standard. There are many good sports cars on the market these days that can out perform a 7 in every single performance parameters you can think of. The only thing these cars can't duplicate is the absolute rawness of the 7. The car is difficult to drive fast at the limit. The standard brakes are actually not that great. Overall, a modern day car like the Elise is a substantially "better" sports car than a 7 in my opinion. No surprise there, the 7 is an OLD design. What it does offer is a driving experience which only a crude machine can offer. Just think about writing a letter on a piece of paper with a manual mechanical typewriter instead of using a computer keyboard. Yes, it's that different. And if you have never used a mechanical typwriter, I suggest you try one. It's actually a lot of fun. :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,453 Posts
I voted "owned" even though it was a Westfield not a Caterham. Built it in 1995 and drove it for ~35,000km over the next four years.

As Joe says they are a dated design (the Elise leaves it for dead in the suspension and roadholding stakes) but they are just laugh-out-loud fun to drive briskly :)
 

·
Forum Founder
Joined
·
29,080 Posts
I have two. A track R409 and a street R300 SV. But then I am the dealer for Caterham in California.

Today we are taking both my SC Exige and the R300 to an autocross to race against each other. Should be fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Mine was a 1990 185bhp crossflow engined car. I found it a more forgiving track car than the Elise. Biggest drawback was cockpit heat in the summer. Best drive? - the Isle of Man TT circuit at 6am on a summer Sunday morning. (The pic was taken at Port Erin, IoM on that trip) Next best? Winning "Best Novice" at the UK Lotus 7 Owners Club annual meet.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,994 Posts
I have a 1993 Dedion Car with a 149HP Jay Ivey crossflow. Bought new in 1993 and built it myself. I have built 4 or 5 of these for friends and with friends over the years.

Nothing like a Caterham.

As my best freind passed last year, I now take care of his 2010 R400 with a Duratec and the big roller bodies. Dont know what that puts out in HP but it is quite a bit. I think about 240 or so. My friend's son now owns the car and he lives overseas but his car is here. I drive his car every once in while to keep it current and used.

I usually have a few for sale on our website, LotusOwners Lotus Owners of New York

185HP crossflow? Well I have built several over the years. Had several built by others including who I consider the best, Jay Ivey at Ivey Engines, Inc. up in Portland OR. Most I have ever seen in a streetable car was one we had built by
Marcovicci - Wenz of Ronkonoma, NY which was dynoed at 166 hp @ 7000 rpm. That motor had 45DCOE (normal Caterham XFlows have 40DCOEs) and was stroked to 1800. Dont see how you could get 185HP out of a crossflow without making it really undrivable on the street. Full race cam, stroked and bored to within an inch of its life. Not to argue with you about it, I just didnt think it was possible.


That car with the Marcovicci - Wenz motor is now on the LOONY website for sale.
 

·
Forum Founder
Joined
·
29,080 Posts
This is a video of our lower powered street Caterham R300 yesterday (Saturday). It hit 2Gs on the turns and set fast time of day in it's rungroup. And we found that with 170hp, it could easily break the tires loose under throttle.

http://youtu.be/ofKCtS0yVhU
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,496 Posts
Was in the market for a Caterham or 7 several years ago, and inquired about a car advertised in the Baltimore area.

If you haven't heard of Dennis Simon, you've seen his artwork somewhere along the line...

Century of Speed | Dennis Simon

It was his car I went to look at and drive. He took me for a test drive on the back roads of northern Baltimore County. That was one of the scariest, most fun rides I've ever had in an automobile.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,977 Posts
Had a 1979 Caterham for a bit. If I had a big barn, I'd still have it. Replaced it with a compromise car (Elise) because I'm a weather wimp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
I'm in the process of building an R400. While I have thoroughly enjoyed the build process, the number of incorrect and missing parts has been shocking. And it wasn't just the intial kit order . . . subsequent parts orders have been wrong. I've even received parts I didn't order - I had to forward them back to Caterham USA as they were supposed to have been for another US customer.

I'd still recommend one, as the product is very, very good . . . but the order fulfillment process reflects a lack of care.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
I've only been in an old Kent powered one. I didn't think it was better than my '65 Cosworth 1500 Seven. It has an old Vanguard built engine in it. I like the free revving nature of the shorter stroke. One of my street Cortinas has a Ivy built 1680 cammed, 40mm Delorttos with 32mm chokes It is a pump gas and iron crank motor, and its set up to move a 2000 lb car. 135 on Jay's dyno. Kent 243 or 244 cam, I can't remember. Alden distributor. Oversized valves, too. 185 is a big big number. I think the 145 advertised by Caterham in the Super-sprint was rated at the brochure, knowing how I got 135.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top