In 1957, the genius moustache wearer that was Colin Chapman built a lively little two-seater sports car known as the Lotus Seven. The car was designed to be “fit for purpose” – he wanted owners to be able to experience the joy and pride of building their own car and then take it on track. Chapman’s design philosophy focused on cars with light weight and fine handling instead of bulking up on horsepower and spring rates. This was famously summarised as “adding power makes you faster on the straights, subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere”.
Launched in 1957, the Lotus 7 embodied the Lotus philosophy of performance through low weight and simplicity.
Caterham acquired the rights to build and develop the Seven from Chapman in 1973 and to this day, they are still adhering to the original philosophy and turning out variants of the classic that don’t so much shout fun at you, as grab you by the lapels and scream it in your face.
Today the Seven is raced by more than a thousand competitors globally in both Caterham’s official motorsport championships and other independent series’ who choose the Seven for its ability to deliver dramatic racing for all levels of racing driver.
Ahead of the brand’s 50th anniversary next year, Caterham has reintroduced its Heritage range with the launch of two new models, the Super Seven 600 and Super Seven 2000. These latest editions take inspiration from Caterham’s early Super Sevens introduced in the 1970s and popularised through the 1980s; a classic, British, lightweight, two-seater sports car with the perfect blend of style and performance, re-imagined for the 21st century.
While these models may look similar, they offer two very distinctive driving experiences appealing to a wide range of driving enthusiasts. The Super Seven 600 is an accessible, pure and simple driving experience, but at a lower speed. It is a car for those who want to enjoy a leisurely Sunday drive with the wind in their hair but are less focussed on bhp and 0-60 times. That said, with the capability of 0-60mph in 6.9s and a top speed of 105mph, it’s no slug.
Find out more about the Super Seven 600 HERE
Performance fans looking for brutish power and faster speeds, the Super Seven 2000 generates 180bhp and registers 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds. This is a car begging to be driven enthusiastically and may be a more appealing vehicle. Both models are available for self-assembly in the UK market as a component kit for those who crave the enjoyment of assembling their own car.
Find out more about the Caterham Super Seven 2000 HERE
CEO of Caterham Cars, Bob Laishley, said: “With Caterham Cars celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, now feels right to be adding cars to our range that take inspiration from our past. We’ve taken what was great about Sevens of yesteryear, the design, look and feel, and reimagined them for today.”
With a history that is forever entwined, Caterham are the proud custodians of the Seven and the passion and engineering behind today’s incarnations of Chapman’s design. Uniquely British and sometimes quirky in their ways, they see it as their duty to push the boundaries of this little car to its absolute maximum, while retaining the driving purity and racing spirit that defined the original model and made it an icon.
Words: Shelley Campbell