Colin Chapman’s very first Seven back in 1957 drew its power from a Ford sidevalve engine, and whilst the 21st Century version of the British two-seater may be going back to its roots in name, that is certainly not the case in terms of performance.
The 1.6-litre British-built Sigma unit will be tuned for Caterham by established powertrain supplier, Power Torque Engineering, and will be the worthy successor to the K-series engine that has served Caterham so well for the past fifteen years.
The decision to move across to the lightweight and reliable Ford Sigma, combined with a new precision laser-cut and robot-welded chassis, signals a continued commitment by Caterham to evolve the legendary Seven using the very latest in technology and engineering quality.
UK customers will benefit from three power outputs – a 160bhp, 140bhp and a new entry-level unit (bhp to be confirmed in due course). Importantly, Caterham has also invested in the development of an 115bhp EU IV compliant unit for the expanding overseas markets.
The three power choices available to the home market will compliment the existing Cosworth tuned 2.3-litre unit (260bhp and a bespoke EU IV 200bhp) in the CSR, and the eagerly anticipated 2.0-litre 210bhp plant that is set to power the new Superlight R400 this summer.
"The infrastructure and support afforded to a globally recognised engine like the Ford Sigma allows us to plan for the future and maintain our proud tradition of protecting and developing the Seven for years to come," says Ansar Ali, Caterham’s Managing Director.
"The engine itself has already proved to be a huge success by reinvigorating the single-seater feeder race series, Formula Ford," added Ali.
Replacing the K-Series engine with something equally light and compact was not an easy task. "The Ford Sigma was selected on technical merit after an exhaustive study of over 80 engines from 19 different manufacturers. It was far and away the most suitable and worthy choice," explains Caterham’s Technical Director, Jez Coates
The arrival of a new EU IV compliant entry level unit will underpin the healthy level of sales in overseas markets which, in over forty countries worldwide, now account for over 50 percent of all production. The 1.6-litre EU IV Ford Sigma, assembled at Ford’s Bridgend engine plant in South Wales, will join the similarly compliant 200bhp 2.3-litre Cosworth that currently powers the CSR model.
Production of the entry-level engine will commence in the last quarter of 2006, with deliveries of the EU IV 115bhp powered unit expected at the end of January 2007.