*This is a translation done by a machine.
The history of Caterham Seven is not so much about the first Lotus Seven introduced in 1952 as it is about the first commercial model of Lotus, the "Mark 6", launched by Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman in 1957. At a time when the boundary between sports cars and racing cars was still unclear, the true meaning of Seven is that it was designed as a kind of racing car that could run on public roads, so to speak, "a hard sports car" so that people could drive themselves to a circuit and enjoy a race back home. The pure construction, with little more than what is needed to drive, has been enthusiastically supported over the years by driving fanatics who see cars as "something for maneuvering and enjoyment" rather than tools or accessories.
Seven's manufacturing and use rights were inherited by Caterham Cars in 1973, but the basic structure has not changed since then. Chapman's ideas are still firmly in place, such as a semi-monocoque body with an aluminum panel attached to the tubular frame, an engine position close to the front midship, and a lightweight design that minimizes excess material.
The only difference is that the performance is dramatically better than it was then. Caterham has continued to evolve Seven over the years by strengthening the frame, improving the suspension, and increasing the power of the engine. Now, with a vehicle weight of 545 kg and a 310 ps engine, the "Ultra Seven" which can reach a speed of 100 km/h from a stationary state in only 2.8 seconds has been born.
This car was originally created with the concept of a road car in which you can enjoy running on a circuit as it is, so speediness is the right thing to do, and from that aspect, it is definitely a normal evolution. However, in the course of its long history to this day, it is true that it has spawned countless fans who want to fully enjoy the unique "the sensation of changing position lightly" that is unique to Seven, even if the speed is moderate. For these drivers, the overpowering performance that comes from the overflowing power is just a burden. There are a lot of Seven drivers who chose the specification with less power from several engines in the lineup.
The best present of recent years for such calm Seven drivers is the "Seven 160" which was launched in 2014. Suzuki's 658cc inline 3 cylinder turbocharger, manufactured in Japan, is mounted on the most basic body called the "S3" with a tune up to 80ps/7000rpm & 107Nm/3400rpm. Suzuki's 5 speed manual transmission and rear live axle are also skillfully used. The fender is now Narrow, so it can fit in a light car frame, thanks to the fact that the staff of Caterham Japan came up with the idea and made a prototype together with the specialists of Seven in Japan. Its dry weight is 490 kg, which is awfully light, and it doesn't have much power, so it's a set with softer suspension than other Seven's, and you can see how slim the tires are.
So, Seven is not a bad car to drive, unlike what it looks like, but this 160 is a step or two better than the other Seven's, and it's just right for touring enthusiasts. Even so, the addition of flexibility to the light movement that comes at the moment the steering is turned off is almost reminiscent of the driving experience of the Lotus Series 2.
The output of 80ps and 107Nm is not a problem for normal passenger cars, but this is less than half of them. As a sports car, I have no complaints about how it runs, and it feels great while running. It's so fun to operate it. Because the tires are thin, you can play with the rear wheels if you want to, but since the basic performance is in an area where it is easy to put in your hand for a modern sports car, you don't need to be prepared to look down from the cliff to drive.
A special model was released in 2016 to commemorate the 60 year anniversary of the birth of "Original Seven" based on the Seven 160. That is "Seven Sprint". The latest lineup included a clam-shell fender, a simple engine hood without a louver, a cream-colored steel wheel, two small round tail lamps, a red dashboard with a red seat, a Motrita wood steering wheel, a Smith four-bar meter with chrome, and a spare tire mounted on the rear, all of which provided the classical and delicate details of the Seven Series 2 and Series 3 around the 1960s.
Production is limited to 60 units worldwide. It was sold out on the day of the announcement. Here are 1/60 of them.
|Tomoyuki Shimada's Highlights!
This car has a serial number of 29th out of 60, and it is a single owner with a mileage of 6577 km during the interview. The owner said that he mainly ran it to enjoy the winding road, but the engine, transmission and differential gear oil are changed regularly to keep it in perfect condition.
What is different from the original sprint is that the fenders are replaced in a cyclical fashion to the owner's liking. Also, the tire has been changed from 155/65 R 14 to 165/60 R 14, and the genuine aluminum wheels of different sizes have been replaced accordingly. The side mirrors were replaced with SPA formula, and the rearview mirrors were replaced with aluminum ones with no vibration. The rear two lamps are LED. All the normal parts are ready and you can return to full original immediately.
Later installed were an ETC, a drive recorder, and a USB power source, with a detachable mount attached to the dashboard to hold the smartphone to act as a navigation system.
As it is stored in the garage and the mileage is low, the basic condition is good, but two rivets on the right and one on the left are missing to cover the holes after removing the clamshell fender, and there is rust on the lattice inside the nose cone. However, they are all "Things that often happen in Seven" and are easily reversible. Near the ground of the FRP rear fenders on the left and right sides, there is a small bump caused by a vaulting stone, which is Seven's destiny.
Although 1 out of 60 limited to the world is surely a valuable item, Seven is a representative of "a running car". Rather than storing the car in a garage as part of a collection, it is better to enjoy the fun of changing your posture lightly. If you don't mind a small scratch caused by a bouncing stone and go to winding road early on a day off to enjoy its exhilaration, the car will be most active.
Originally written by Tomoyuki Shimada
Photo by Junichi Okumura
Published on September 2019
|Year of Purchase
|Shizuoka / Japan