Caterham Seven For Australia
1st June, 2007
For the first time, Caterham Cars Limited in the UK is entering the Australian market in its own right as an ADR approved manufacturer.
The car on which the first Australian model is based, the iconic Lotus 7 (Seven) was launched in 1957. It was the model that started Lotus as a volume manufacturer.
After a long and successful 16-year production run, which sustained Lotus during its earlier years, the Seven manufacturing rights were in 1973 sold to the biggest selling dealer, Caterham Cars, based in the London suburb of Caterham.
Caterham Cars has been evolving, improving and refining the original Seven concept ever since.
What’s in a name?
The founder of Caterham Cars Limited, Graham Nearn did not really know what to call the Seven when he first acquired the manufacturing rights. After some consideration and not being able to find a suitable brand name to replace the Lotus name, the Caterham name naturally stuck and so became part of the Seven legacy.
Pronounced “Kaye-ter-um”, for some reason best known to Londoners, the Caterham brand is now celebrating 34-years of continuous Seven production, making 50-years in all for the Seven since its original release.
Only the timeless Morgan 4/4 can claim a longer model production run, in Morgan’s case, an amazing 71-years since the design first saw the light of day in 1937.
Developing a new class:
The Seven's evolution means that Caterham cars are the only “clubman” type of car with a direct and authentic link to the iconic Lotus 7.
As the original WWII Jeep invented the generic term “jeep” 4WD concept and Sanitarium produced “Weet-Bix”, so too did the Seven invent the “clubman” genre.
Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s famous “less (weight) is more (performance)” philosophy is nowhere better illustrated than by the continued success of the Caterham Seven and its many imitators.
Unique Australian Version:
The Australian SVR 200 model is based on the European Type Approved SVR models sold in left hand drive form in Europe. As such it is not listed as a model on the UK Caterham price list.
Additionally, Australian Caterhams are now factory built to comply with Australian Design Rules. No kits will be offered for wanting to build their own Seven.
The first model to be offered is the Caterham Seven SVR 200, the “SV” in the name indicating the use of the longer and wider chassis and the “R” standing for Roadsport, the UK road going version of the Seven on which the Australian model is based. The “200” in the name is a reminder of the power output, expressed in brake horsepower.
The SVR 200 is powered by a hand built 2.3 litre, 147 kW (200 bhp) dry sump, 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve Cosworth-Ford Duratec engine. The engines are built in the famous Cosworth Limited racing workshops, located in Northampton, England to the highest technical standards.
With its magnificent pedigree and light (575 kg) weight, the Caterham Seven SVR 200 will outperform just about any other road car on offer in Australia, as its factory claimed zero to 100 km/h acceleration time of 3.9 seconds attests.
Other technical highlights include an in-house designed Caterham 6-speed manual gearbox, a limited slip differential, a De Dion rear suspension system and adjustable Eibach coil over Bilstein damper suspension platforms all round.
The SV chassis:
Compared to the traditional Seven, the SV chassis gives increased interior and luggage space due to the greater 110 mm width and the 80 mm extension in length.
This makes the cockpit suitable for people over 6’ 2” in height, who may find the original chassis too cramped.
The SV space frame chassis also benefits from the additional stability offered by the wide-track suspension and increased range from a larger 41 litres fuel tank (vs. 36 litres), with only a 25 kg weight penalty over the older chassis.
Since 2006, all Caterham chassis are laser cut and welded by robots, resulting in an additional 12% increase in torsional stiffness.
Due to the specialist nature of the product, all future Caterhams for Australia will be factory built specifically to customer order.
There is an extensive list of options available that can tailor the specification of the car to cater for its intended use.
Standard specifications for the SVR 200 in Australia include a tonneau cover, the “black pack” for headlights, rear guard protectors and windscreen and the very attractive carbon fibre dash.
In line with traditional Caterham “minimalist” practice, cars come with a choice of colours for the nosecone and guards, but with an unpainted aluminium body. However, a fully painted body, in standard or metallic colours is available at extra cost.
Likewise leather trim for the seats is available as an option, instead of the standard cloth seats.
Another concession to comfort is the standard fitment of a heater, but the additional weight of an air-conditioning system is not considered to be in the true spirit of the “wind in the hair” Caterham experience.
Standard fitment of an electrically heated windscreen does however ensure clear visibility under adverse driving conditions.
Bespoke 10 spoke Caterham lightweight 15” Anthracite alloy wheels; shod with special Avon CR500 tyres complete the package.
With its high quality, high performance components, the Caterham Seven SVR 200 is price positioned against other high performance cars, not against traditional “clubman” cars.
The recommended retail price of the Caterham Seven SVR 200 is $107,700.
Whilst it is a car to be enjoyed on the road in a truly involving style, it is also a car ideally suited to track days and competition events such as hill climbs, sealed surface rallies and motor racing. Indeed, it is a racing car that can be driven on the road.
Or to quote Andy Noble from Caterham Cars, “Caterham provides motoring as it should be, not as it has become”.
Non-ADR compliant racing Caterham cars can also be factory built and supplied for track use only with components such as a full roll-over cage, racing harness, plumbed-in fire extinguisher system, carbon fibre racing seats and motorsport requirement ignition cut-out switches.
The ultra high performance CSR 260 model is available in this guise, offering a zero to 100-km/h acceleration time of an amazing 3.1 seconds. It is seriously fast!
Caterham Cars Limited has appointed the highly regarded Morgan Cars Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Caterham Cars Australia as its authorised Australian and New Zealand representative.
In turn, Caterham Cars Australia trades in association with the Zagame Automotive Group Pty Ltd in Melbourne. Hence all cars for Australia will be sold through the respected Zagame Automotive Group.
All rights reserved.