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If it’s your aboriginal Seven, are you abiding you appetite to buy the fastest one on the forecourt? Because you’ll be afraid how quick and agreeable one with beneath ability is.”

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So says Roger McClure of Caterham specialist PT Sports Cars. He’s endemic two – a Supersport and his accepted car, a CSR – and has been amorous about Sevens anytime since, as a lad of six, he saw a archetypal of one at the dentist’s. That this didn’t put him off for activity is attestation to the little roadster’s addictive qualities. 

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So addictive, in fact, that Autocar has assorted Caterham Seven reviews for you to asperse yourself in. And to anticipate that, assorted ability outputs and automated refinements aside, they are, at heart, the aforementioned car Colin Chapman awash to Graham Nearn as continued ago as 1973. 

However, that actuality so, don’t anticipate that affairs a Caterham Seven is your authorization to a apple of roadside breakdowns. In fact, it’s adamantine to anticipate of a added able-bodied car or one whose active costs can be so reasonable. On that point, you’ll be afraid how abounding afar you can get from a set of anchor pads and discs. 

If you’re new to the Seven, you may acquisition abyssal the abounding archetypal types a bagatelle difficult. So instead, apply on the accustomed Roadsport range, a comfort-oriented agency (it has a windscreen, a boiler and abounding acclimate protection) beyond a advance of attainable amount points. 

It was launched in 1996 and powered aboriginal by Rover’s failing K-series abettor in 1.4-, 1.6- and 1.8-litre capacities. Rover’s collapse in 2005 affected a about-face to Ford’s Sigma engines. Also launched in 1996 was the Superlight ambit of stripped-down Sevens complete with acquainted K-series engines, after to be replaced by Ford Duratec units.

There are two anatomy sizes to be acquainted of: the original, narrow-bodied Series 3 (S3) and the best and added SV. The actuality that abounding owners accept to fit a disposable council caster tells you what a clasp the Seven’s berth can be. That SV ability accomplish all the difference. 

Another ‘my aboriginal Seven’ to accumulate an eye out for is the 160, launched in 2013 and army on the S3 anatomy only. It’s powered by a diminutive 660c three-cylinder turbocharged Suzuki engine. However, what the 160 lacks in performance, it added than makes up for in administration and council thrills. It’s a abundant addition to Seven motoring, with prices for a 2014-reg car with 10,000 afar starting at about £17,995 at a capital dealer. Give it a brace of years, apprentice the ropes and afresh barter up to a Ford-powered Seven. 

Sevens are either branch or ‘home’ built. Either way, they will accept been through the alone abettor approval (IVA) assay in adjustment to be registered, which should assure you. 

With the Seven division over for addition year, now could be a acceptable time to accomplish a abettor an action they can’t refuse. So continued as you apperceive what you’re buying, you won’t affliction it. 

How to get one in your garage:

An expert’s appearance – ROGER MC CLURE, PT SPORTS CARS: “Because a Caterham is so light, it’s accessible on consumables. For example, I did 6000 afar in my CSR aftermost year, including six clue days, and the tyres and anchor pads are still fine. Whether it’s powered by a Ford Duratec or Crossflow, a Vauxhall or a Rover K-series engine, best garages can fix them and genitalia are available. It’s the anatomy and abeyance you charge a specialist for. Carbon or GRP wings and aluminium ancillary banknote beggarly blight is a affair alone area aluminium and animate meet. The animate anatomy is thickly powder-coated from new but analysis the welds for blight or cracks.”

Buyer beware… 

ENGINE: Although it’s rare, analysis for arch gasket abortion on K-series engines. Also scrutinise the affection of the coolant and, behindhand of the engine, the action of the coolant pipes. On all engines, analysis the oil burden and that application has been agitated out every 12,000 miles. Listen for topengine noise, acquired by oil starvation on clue canicule or by oil cream dispersing and blocking the oil augment pipe. 

TRANSMISSION: Listen for gearbox, clamp and, if it has one, cogwheel noises. The Ford T9 five-speed ’box is boxy and Caterham’s six-speed assemblage absolutely apparel the K-series engine. Analysis the action of the clamp cable. 

TYRES, BRAKES AND SUSPENSION: Expect anchor pads and discs to accept lots of activity remaining. Analysis for asperous tyre abrasion acquired by incorrect caster alignment or beat suspension. Inspect the action of the advanced wishbones. 

CHASSIS: Watch for active bane area the animate anatomy balustrade and aluminium panels meet. Analysis the tubular animate anatomy for blight and cracks in the welds. The Seven suffers astute alluvium adventurous on its lower sections and, in winter, alley alkali plays calamity with any bald aluminium. Inspect the base for speedhump damage.

INTERIOR: Analysis the action of the seats area absent-minded owners may accept trampled on them to get in, and the windscreen rail, which some use as a handhold. 

Also account knowing: 

Interested in a Caterham? You can appoint one from a banker and see how you get on. Autocar’s bounded agent, Caterham Gatwick, quoted £199 for one day with a 270. Charge added time? For £399, the close would let us apart in it from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon. 

How abundant to spend:

£11,000-£14,995: Aboriginal 1990s 1600 Crossflows with about 30k miles, ascent to £14,995 for aboriginal noughties K-series Roadsports. 

£15,000-£19,995: Includes a 2008-reg Roadsport 125 with about 15k afar for £16,995 and a main-dealer 2004 Roadsport 140 SV with 50k miles, a best of 14- and 16-reg Roadsport 160s from £18k to £19,995, and a 16-reg Roadsport chase car with 4k miles, afresh for £19,995. 

£20,000-£23,995: Selection of main-dealer 2007 to 2015 Roadsport 125s, 125 SVs and 150s. 

£24,000-£29,995: Best of 2009 to 2017 Roadsports and Supersports with low mileages.

One we found:

CATERHAM ROADSPORT 120, 2000/W, 30K MILES, £14,995: Actuality awash by a Caterham banker but with alone a three-month warranty, this looks like a acceptable toe-in-the-water purchase. It has a 1.8-litre K-series, covering seats, absolutely carpeted interior, heater, acrimonious windscreen and a quick-release Momo council wheel.

Gallery: SEMA 2018: the world’s better adapted car appearance [Motoring Research]

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