How to have a lot of fun with only 80 horsepower, the Caterham way.
Originally programmed in the mid-1960s during the times when Lotus was making the Seven, the Sprint version ultimately failed to reach production. Thankfully, Caterham is now willing to make up for lost time by introducing the retro-flavored Seven Sprint as a factory-built special edition set to be offered only in 60 units.
Power is provided by the same Suzuki engine with 80 horsepower found in the company’s entry-level Seven 160 model. While the latter kicks off in U.K. at £15,995, the Seven Sprint is going to set you back a cool £27,995. So, what are you getting for the extra £12,000? A multitude of “nostalgia-soaked features,” according to Caterham. For example, buyers get to pick from one of the six colors that were original British manufacturer hues available back in 1966 and 1967: Cream, Mellow Yellow, Regency Red, Camberwick Green, British Racing Green, and Misty Blue.
Much like the Series 2 Lotus 7, the Sprint benefits from a powder-coated finish and has received a special rollover bar and suspension in the same vein as Colin Chapman’s legendary creation. To further harken back to the Seven’s early days, Caterham has given the special edition flared front wings, individual taillights, and a polished exhaust silencer. In addition, the cream-painted wheels feature polished hubcaps, while the body will be adorned with retro Caterham branding and Sprint logo.
The interior cabin has also been subjected to a few changes to pay tribute to its ancestor, including a wooden-rimmed steering wheel matched with a wood effect for the dashboard. The classic oOOo instrument layout is also present to further link the Seven Sprint with the Series 2 Lotus 7, while the hand-stitched Muirhead Scottish seat upholstery finished in scarlet red acts as another reminder of the era.
Performances are identical to the Seven 160 upon which it’s based, so 0-60 mph (0-96 kph) will take 6.9 seconds and top speed is going to stand at exactly 100 mph (161 kph). The turbocharged, three-cylinder 660-cc delivers a peak torque of 79 pound-feet (107 Newton-meters) at 3,400 rpm through a five-speed manual gearbox in a car that weighs only 1,080 pounds (490 kilograms) in Seven 160 specification.
Caterham is already taking orders for the Seven Sprint and will have it on display during the Goodwood Revival starting today until Sunday.
Gallery: Caterham Seven Sprint
CATERHAM SPRINTS BACK TO THE SWINGING ‘60s
Caterham Cars has built a variant of its iconic Seven that was seemingly planned in the mid-1960s but never launched – the Caterham Seven Sprint.
As though dug up in a time capsule, the retro detailing of the Caterham Seven Sprint will delight Seven purists and provides the perfect scene-setter to the brand’s ‘60 Years of the Seven’ anniversary, which will be celebrated next year.
The Sprint, priced from £27,995, will finally be available to order from September 9, when the car will be launched at the Goodwood Revival, a fittingly retro setting for a car with one wheel firmly planted in the ‘60s.
Powered by the same 80hp, three-cylinder Suzuki engine installed in Caterham’s entry-level Seven 160 model, the Sprint features a host of nostalgia-soaked features, including a choice of six paint colours that were original British manufacturer colours available in 1966/67.
Caterham Cars CEO, Graham Macdonald, said: “We have always prided ourselves on continually developing the Seven during the 44 years we have been custodian of the model.”
“But we never wished to dismiss our heritage either and I know there are plenty of Seven purists and aficionados out there who will really appreciate the level of detail we’ve gone to with the Sprint to resurrect the spirit of those early cars.”
“It’s a car that has been built today, with all the benefits that modern engineering brings with it, but the essence of the swinging ‘60s and is the perfect precursor to our 60th-anniversary celebration in 2017.”
The launch of the Sprint heralds the start of Caterham’s ‘60 years of the Seven’ celebrations, which will culminate with a spectacular Caterham festival at Donington Park next summer. To reflect the anniversary further, only 60 Sprints will be destined for the UK and European markets.
The Sprint chassis is powder-coated grey, making it period-accurate for a Series 2 Lotus 7, while the suspension and rollover bar are also reminiscent of Colin Chapman’s original.
With flared front wings, polished exhaust silencer and uniquely retro-styled, individual rear lights, the Sprint harks back to the early days of the Seven and the choice of paint colours completes the exterior effect.
Wheels will be painted cream and finished with polished hubcaps, while the main bodywork, emblazoned with retro Caterham branding and Sprint logo, is available in original British colours, named by Caterham to reflect their heritage – Cream, Mellow Yellow, Regency Red, Camberwick Green, British Racing Green and Misty Blue.
Inside the cockpit, the sepia-toned impression continues, with a wooden-rimmed sports steering wheel and dashboard in wood effect, complete with a classic oOOo instrument layout. The tacho even features red and yellow sectors, in true ‘60s style.
Meanwhile, the interior panels and Muirhead Scottish seat upholstery is hand-stitched in the period style and finished in striking scarlet red.
The interior and luggage space are fully carpeted, as befits a ‘60s connoisseur and there are very few concessions to modern life, the main one being the three-pot Suzuki engine, which generates performance good enough to be considered beyond mundane but perfectly capable of a more leisurely application.
The Caterham Seven Sprint will be available as a factory-built car only.