Journal: Caterham’s Newest Car Is A Blast From The Past

Caterham’s Newest Car Is A Blast From The Past

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
September 12, 2016
10 comments

Photography Courtesy of Caterham Cars

It’s a great day when Caterham announces a new model, but to be honest, I’d been a bit dismayed after a string of hypercar-baiting Sevens—when was its quick, cheap, and efficient Seven 160 going to get an upgrade? You’re looking at it: the 1-of-60 Seven Sprint, designed to give drivers the most 1960s-like driving experience from a brand-new car.

From the outside, it looks like smarter minds than mine decided to pay homage to the car’s history as the Colin Chapman-designed Lotus 7, even though Caterham has never really been about looking back in time in its stewardship of the basic design.

This limited edition Sprint looks retro: Caterham took the color palette from the ’60s, there are polished hubcaps, a wood-rimmed steering wheel, updated dashboard panel, carpeted interior and luggage space—with the car’s performance also stuck in the time period. The company calls it “…good enough to be considered beyond mundane but perfectly capable of a more leisurely application”. In the real world, you’ll be hanging with Subaru BRZs and Mazda MX-5 Miatas—zero-to-60 mph is in less than 7 seconds, thanks to its tiny 80 bhp turbocharged 3-cylinder engine that usually sees duty in Suzuki kei cars.

Still, with modern construction techniques, enough torque from the turbocharged engine, and styling details unique to this car, I suspect it’ll drive like a brand-new car with pace for a brisk drive—all the while looking to others like you’d just paid five figures to faithfully restore an original.

What do you think of the Caterham Seven Sprint?

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Daniel Koenig
Daniel Koenig

I absolutely love it!

Victor Smith
Victor Smith

Please bring the 160 to the US

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson

I like everything about it.
If it were available here in the USA it would meet my needs as a replacement for motorcycles .
It would need to be priced competitively with higher end bikes .

Ken Clark
Ken Clark

Love it, spot on! But, I do think I’d want more power under the hood. Nothing crazy but 120-140 BHP would be sufficient to keep it interesting. Oh, and yes, I’d swap out the gearshift knob for something matching the wheel. Beautiful automobile.

Mike Orme
Mike Orme

£28k

Hilaire Pace O'Shea
Hilaire Pace O'Shea

It does look the part except for that gear stick! far too modern. A wooden knob over a rubber gaitor would have suited far better.

HitTheApex
HitTheApex

I second the gear shifter knob thought. Also, it would be neat if after the initial run of 60, Caterham would offer something likee this as a trim package on the other models, for those who want retro looks and modern performance. I believe a “base” Caterham Seven in such trim would be modern yet tasteful.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson

Fantastic in every way. I bet the mpgs are incredible and I bet it’s reliable. Suzuki has made some excellent engines in the past. How about upgrading to a modified GS1100 engine – hang on!

HitTheApex
HitTheApex

Your comment suddenly reminded me of a K-series Honda engine swap somone did in a [modified] Honda Beat, which is to say “delightfully psychotic.”

Rick Mahaffey

How about a Hyabusa 1300 engine?