Caterham returns to basics

It’s very exciting to learn that Caterham is going back to its roots and will this autumn produce a simple, light and affordable Seven priced at less than £17,000. By my reckoning, that’s more than £5000 cheaper than any other current product.

At a time when the brand is racing in F1 and at Le Mans, as well as building a new and expensive mainstream sports car in its joint venture with Renault, it is reassuring to read it has not forgotten its provenance or, indeed, where its core customers lie. Save the above, Caterham has released no details of any value about the car and has produced an equally useless teaser image, so anything else is pure speculation. But I don’t anticipate a return to the days of Sevens with short cockpits, live rear axles and four-speed gearboxes, not least because it would

cost Caterham more to retro-engineer the car than leave it as it is. My punt is a standard chassis with an untuned 1.6-litre Ford engine, a five-speed gearbox and a De Dion rear end. The savings in both cost and weight will come from paring the specification down to a bare minimum: to get one for less than £17,000 I guess you’ll need to put up without weather equipment or paint and have to build it yourself — just as it was in the good old days.