Caterham is just one of many car manufactures that have built replicas or continuation cars based on the iconic Lotus Seven. That said, Caterham is the only one that has become notorious for its Seven continuation cars and its numerous iterations. Ranging from the lightest and cheapest Caterham Seven 160 to the powerful and expensive Seven 620 R, the Caterham line of Sevens is nothing short of impressive. Caterham cars remain rather scarce in the States, but for 2015, the automaker is growing its lineup in America with the addition of the Seven 480.
We live in the golden age for performance cars. Most old-school enthusiasts will say that the 70’s were the golden years because big, bad muscle cars and a "No replacement for displacement" attitude. I respectfully disagree, because while old school muscle cars are cool, they never really got any power out of those huge engines. Nowadays, car makers can get huge performance numbers out of engines with the same displacement as a container of milk. A perfect example of this is Caterham . A small British car company, who hangs its hat on making small, ultra lightweight performance cars. People might snicker at a purpose built track car that only has 237 horsepower, but when it flies past you on the track, that snicker will quickly fade. While Caterhams are wonderful cars, they’ve been absent in America. Now, however, Caterham here, in the good ole U.S. of A.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Caterham Seven 480.
The 480 looks stellar, there’s no two ways about it. With its purpose-built, open-wheel looks and all of its racing livery, it looks like the part of hardcore track car. It brings, with it visions of old-school British racing. It’s simple and elegant, yet aggressive and exciting. It is, after all, a track car and it absolutely looks the part.
Almost non-existent, is really the best way to describe the Seven 480’s cabin. Being a track car, there isn’t going to be much of an interior to speak of. Not that it’s bad, just spartan. It’s everything you need and nothing you don’t. However that carbon-fiber dash does looks pretty fantastic, combined with its old-school simple gauges. It almost has a WWII fighter plane look to it, making it more cockpit than cabin.
The drivetrain is as simple as the rest of the car. The 480 employs a 2.0-liter, Duratec four-cylinder supplied by Ford that makes 237 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This may not sound like a lot, but with its super-low curb weight of just 525 kg (1,157 pounds), that 237 horsepower really packs a punch. Sixty mph in just 3.4 seconds is nothing to roll your eyes at. The real beauty of this engine is that it revs to 8,500 rpm.
On top of all that goodness from the high-revving, small-displacement engine, you also get the joy of shifting gears yourself with a six speed manual gearbox.
Caterham Seven 480 - Drivetrain Details
|Engine||2.0 liter Ford Duratec|
|Max Power||237 HP @ 8,500 RPM|
|Max Torque||151 LB-FT @ 6,300 RPM|
|Weight||525 kg (1,157 Pounds)|
|0-62 mph||3.4 seconds|
|Top speed||140 mph|
Handling and Brakes
If a rev-happy four-cylinder and a six speed manual aren’t enough for you, stick them in an open-wheeled package that weighs just over 1,150 pounds. Add to that its open-wheel design, you can place the 480 on a dime and hit apexes perfectly. On Eibach springs, adjustable dampers, and four-piston calipers with vented rotors, the 480 is a track weapon.
There is one big drawback to the Caterham 480, and that’s price. It starts at $52,900, which is a lot of money for a car with no windscreen. Especially one that can only really be used on the track. The Caterham is street legal but driving it on the street might be a bit difficult and I’m sure your spine won’t thank you for it, due to the 480’s hard suspension.
Another downside is that it is not imported with a drivetrain installed. So, you not only pay over $52k, but you also have to pay another $12,950 for the engine and gearbox, plus installation. That puts you at a grand total of $65,850 plus another several thousand to have the drivetrain installed. You can save a little money by ordering a basket-case (disassembled) 480, which knocks $2,395 off of the grand total but requires hours of manual labor to put together.
Option Equipment Prices
|Caterham Seven 480 With Wider Body (SV Body) 15% more space||$3,995.00|
|Caterham Seven 480 delivered as an unassembled kit (CKD)||($2,395.00)|
|Painted Aluminum Body (Ballistic Orange, Gravity Black, Exocet Red, Firecracker Yellow, Vintage Green)||$1,950.00|
|Stage 1 Metallic Colors (Viper Blue, Starlight Black, Platinum Silver)||$2,750.00|
|Stage 2 Metallic Colors (Atomic Grass, Fez Red)||$2,950.00|
|Stage 3 Metallic Colors (Plasma Blue, Detanator Yellow, Roulette Green, Krypton Green, Crystalline White)||$3,275.00|
|F1 Racing Team Paint Scheme||$5,395.00|
|Custom Colour PPG Paint 2 Colour Process (add to Stage 3 colors)||$1,250.00|
|Painted Bonnet Stripe & Nose Band||$675.00|
|Painted Nose Band||$425.00|
|Painted "7" Grill||$275.00|
|Double Clear Coat||$1,275.00|
|Carbon Fiber Front Wings (Painting additional)||$875.00|
|Carbon Fiber Wind Deflector (Carbon mirrors supplied but not installed)||$1,275.00|
|Carbon Fiber Rear Wings (Painting additional)||$1,350.00|
|Carbon Fiber Nose Cone (available only on Standard Body)||$1,150.00|
|Painting of Carbon Fiber Components (Each)||$375.00|
Another British company that makes small, ultra-light track cars is Ariel. While a good bit more extreme than Caterham, the ideas are the same. The Atom 3.5R uses a 350-horsepower, 1,998cc, supercharged Honda engine which will rocket the car to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. That’s considerably faster than the Caterham 480, it’s also considerably more expensive as well. The Atom is immensely impressive and extremely high-tech, but it costs around $135,000 and that’s way too much for some to spend on a track-only car.
Gallery Ariel Atom 3.5R
Yet another British car company (the Brits love their small track cars) to make a fun track car is Morgan. Except Morgan has a bit of a different approach. The 3-Wheeler is named as such because, well, it only has three wheels. One driven rear wheel, accompanies by two front ones. This is the right way to do it, if you’ve ever seen a Reliant Robin you know what I’m talking about. The Morgan , however, is not very fast. It’s powered by a 1,976cc, V-Twin engine and makes 82 horsepower. It only weights 1,157 pounds, but the tiny V-Twin still take six seconds to hit 60 mph. However, none of that matters because its charming, WWII fighter-plane looks and one rear wheel make the 3-Wheeler an absolute hoot to drive. You may not be fastest around the track on race day, but you’ll have the biggest smile.
Gallery Morgan Three-Wheeler
The Caterham is an exercise in one thing: fun. It’s about taking your car to the track and thrashing it around for a while with your buddies. Simplicity at its finest. If you can afford it, it’s worth every penny. Not many cars can evoke such happiness and passion as a Caterham . Plus if you’re mechanically inclined, you can order your Caterham in pieces and build it yourself. This way, you can have the closest man-machine relationship possible.
- Super fast at a relative bargain
- Cool looks
- Save money by building it yourself
- Though cheap for a track car, it is still kind of pricey
- Not much for top speed
- Extra money needed to buy the drivetrain
Gallery Caterham Seven 480
British sportscar maker Caterham Cars has revealed two exciting new variants of its iconic Seven for the US market at Monterey Car Week – the Seven 480 and 360.
Increased American interest in the legendary British sportscar has sparked the launch of the two new models, which have been developed especially for the US market and will go on sale immediately.
Since January 2014, the Caterham Cars range has officially been on sale in the USA through its distributor, Superformance (www.superformance.com).
Sevens are shipped to the USA in part-built form and sold as rolling chassis via Superformance’s nationwide dealer network for customers to then complete personally.
The Caterham Seven was first created in England over 40 years ago and is now one of the most recognisable British sportscars. The Seven is famed for its distinctive, classic styling, lightweight structure and legendary performance and handling.
Both the new Seven 480 and Seven 360 models are powered by a two-litre Ford Duratec engine, with the 480 variant benefiting from slightly more power. The Seven 480 reaches 0-62 MPH is just 3.4 seconds with 237BHP and a top speed of 140 MPH.
Meanwhile, the slightly lower-powered Seven 360 reaches 0-62 MPH in an impressive 4.9 seconds with 180 BHP and a top speed of 130 MPH.
Prices start at $44,900 for the Seven 360 and $52,900 for the Seven 480.