Want a cheap, entry-level Caterham that isn’t a 160? There is another way!
When the Caterham Seven 160 arrived – more than five years ago now, incredibly – it really was something new for the brand. An engine far smaller than ever before, turbocharged for the first time, and cheaper than any other Seven, too – the kit available from £15k.
It’s proved popular, too, certainly if the sell-out limited edition Sprint and SuperSprint models are anything to go by. And in a cute, retro-type way, the three-cylinder cars are quite entertaining, parping away merrily while delivering a decent turn of speed.
Trouble is, there is something lost about the Caterham experience in the switch to turbocharging. Response has slackened, the willingness to rev is not quite there and inevitably its throttle adjustability is less precise. So while they’re very good, the three-cylinder Caterhams, anyone with experience of the naturally-aspirated cars might find one or two crucial elements lacking.
So what about this one? It was made just three years ago, but using a 1.4-litre K Series engine. That’s right – in 2016 it was still possible to buy a Caterham with a K Series. Who knew? The Seven was arguably the most successful installation of the K Series, creating models as memorable as the original R300 and R500.
Like the 160, this is a low-powered Seven (it makes 105hp, the turbo car 80), meaning it’s ideal for those in the market for their first Seven; powerful enough to feel exciting without lacking the intimidation factor of the bigger-engined cars. But with this version the character and excitement of those models is retained by using a similar engine – sounds like a win-win.
It gets better, too, because this K Series car is as cheap as Sevens go – it’s £14,995 with fewer than 6,000 miles on it. To get into a Seven 160 you’ll need two grand more, this orange car also with another 20,000 miles. Indeed to get into a Sprint – admittedly a more expensive limited edition – requires more than twice the outlay.
Sure, something like an Elise might offer a similarly immersive experience, but that’ll be a much older car. As an introduction to just what’s so special about a Seven, this one looks bob on – and British summer time is a matter of weeks away, according to the calendar…
SPECIFICATION – CATERHAM SEVEN 1.4
Engine: 1,396cc, four-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected]/Arpm
First registered: 2016
Recorded mileage: 5,963
Price new: £18,689
Yours for: £14,995
See the original advert here.
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