Cater­ham Seven

Here’s a sweet-run­ning Seven with an ap­peal­ing spec that’s im­me­di­ately ready for sum­mer ac­tion, says Rob Sco­rah

Classic Cars (UK) - - News -

Cater­hams come in a wide va­ri­ety of flavours, but a pop­u­lar spec would read, ‘1.6-litre en­gine with around 120-135bhp, de Dion rear axle, Momo steer­ing wheel, leather seats, four-point har­nesses, five-speed gear­box and the beefier Msa-ap­proved roll bar’. All of which this car has, plus a heated wind­screen. Fur­ther, it has had only four own­ers and its just-over 26,000 miles are doc­u­mented in a good his­tory file.

Walk­ing around the car you’ll no­tice that the rear spats are a lit­tle gravel-chipped, while the nose is very clean. It was re­placed af­ter be­ing knocked in a car park and re­mains very shiny. Al­most ev­ery­thing else looks pretty good too. The front cy­cle wings re­tain their lus­tre, though there is some slight cor­ro­sion/ox­i­da­tion in their re­tain­ing bolts and wash­ers.

Look­ing through the ‘7’ grille, the low-down ra­di­a­tor looks un­dam­aged by in­com­ing stones. Else­where there are small scuffs to the paint – one on the bon­net re­cess on the pas­sen­ger side and one near the ton­neau stud be­low the wind­screen on the driver’s side. There is also a small, protrud­ing dent where some­thing prob­a­bly shifted in the rear tub and hit the rear panel. All these are small and no detri­ment to the over­all im­pres­sion of the car.

Tak­ing the en­gine cover off (springs and hooks are in good shape) the en­gine bay is clean and tidy. No DIY kit-car fixes here. The his­tory bears this out with proper and well-known Lotus names on in­voices and reg­u­lar pre-emp­tive ser­vic­ing through­out the car’s life. It had a full belt ser­vice in Au­gust 2016, around the 22,000-mile mark, and new fil­ters and flu­ids in Oc­to­ber 2017.

Look­ing through the en­gine bay and around the frame, there are no signs of cor­ro­sion and the chas­sis ap­pears solid. The ex­posed sus­pen­sion parts are in good or­der – the slight­est weath­er­ing but no real pit­ting or sur­face cor­ro­sion. The wheels are 16in ‘Pris­oner’ style, all very clean and wear­ing new Avon tyres.

The cock­pit has only the gen­tlest patina to the seats. The min­i­mal in­stru­men­ta­tion and switch­ing all works as it should.

The Cater­ham fires im­me­di­ately and set­tles to a smoke-free idle. The stubby gear­stick slots into first with­out hes­i­ta­tion and the mo­torised bread­bin is away. Ev­ery­thing feels taut and re­spon­sive, with im­me­di­ate and pre­cise steer­ing and pedal re­sponses. The car takes a re­laxed at­ti­tude at lower revs, but for proper Cater­ham shove you need to spin be­yond 4000rpm when ev­ery­thing gets rather lively.

Keep the revs up and the car re­mains alert, poised, quick and rat­tle-free. The en­gine makes all the right noises while the tem­per­a­ture gauges say the me­chan­i­cals are be­hav­ing nicely.

The price is up with the nice ones as the dealer in­tends giv­ing this Seven a light cos­metic re­fresh – cy­cle guard bolts, stone chips, etc. How­ever, he may be open to a deal on the car as-is.

As-ba­sic-as-it-gets body is in fine fet­tle with a shiny new nose

Not a lot inside, but it all works as it should

Lively 1588cc four­pot had a full belt ser­vice in 2016

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