I have this month been pondering more often than usual the seemingly nebulous relationship between fast and fun. I have often commented on the problems inherent with most fast cars, namely that to package and harness all the power required to make them go fast requires cars that end up being both large and heavy and which are, ergo, less fun. In my more iconoclastic moments, I may even have been given to observe that fast and fun may be mutually exclusive, if not perhaps quite diametrically opposed, aims.
But then a Caterham 620S came to stay for a few days, quite clearly to expose such thinking for the utter rot some have claimed it to be. For those who don’t know, the 620S is a Seven that went over to the dark side, found it a bit too namby-pamby and just kept going. With a supercharged 2-litre engine producing 310bhp, it has a power-to-weight ratio of convincingly more than 500bhp per tonne, which is Bugatti Veyron territory.
Yet instead of occupying more road than a Sherman tank, the 620S casts the same shadow as any other Caterham, including mine. My Seven is a rather more modestly specified 1700 Super Sprint, 25 years old, and with a lump of old Ford iron under the nose producing a plucky 135bhp. It’s a bit lighter than the 620S but not much, and certainly not enough to elevate its power-to-weight ratio to even half that of its brand new stablemate.