There have been a number of engineers that have worked for Lotus throughout the years and now it seems that some of those ex-employees have joined forces to start a private company at the Hethel Engineering Center. Their plan is to create a new model - name undecided - based on an Elise chassis and powered by a Renaultsport engine/transmission. The most interesting fact is that this new model will be launched under the Caterham name next year.
The new Elise look-alike will featuring unique bodywork and, according to numerous sources, will allow Group Lotus to move forward with its larger, upscale Elise project, while the current model will be turned over to Tony Fernandes and the boys at Caterham.
It is also believed that this will only be the first joint effort between the two companies and that Fernandes will eventually take control of Lotus and run Caterham and Group Lotus as complimentary companies.
A month after announcing that they were debuting an all-new model at the Autosport International Show, the day has finally come. And true to their word, Caterham didn’t disappoint.
Hoping to build momentum on the recent sales success of the Lotus Seven-derived Roadsport and Superlight, Caterham officially unveiled their latest baby, the SP/300.R.
As a point of clarification, the new SP/300.R will not be replacing the company’s existing models. Instead, Caterham is hoping that the SP/300.R will join the existing range to complement each other and give customers a wider range of models to choose from.
The SP/300.R is the latest in a long line of Caterhams, one that remains true to the lightweight, minimalist DNA of the legendary Seven. Caterham built the SP/300.R in collaboration with Lola Cars and together, the two companies have created a wondrous piece of machinery that should catapult Caterham into the consciousness of younger generations that were too young to enjoy their racers back in their heyday.
UPDATE 06/18/2012: Caterham’s SP/300.R just gave a very important lesson to some of the most amazing supercars out there. The sports car delivered the fastest lap during the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, the annual show held in the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle. Some of the world’s most expensive and fastest supercars, including models from Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and its direct competitor, the Ariel Atom V8 500 attended the event in hopes of overtaking the record, but Caterham was the clear winner.
With Caterham Drive Experience instructor, Scott Mansell behind the wheel, the SP/300.R lapped the 1.2 mile course in am impressive 61.89 seconds. The previous record was help by Lamborghini who established a time of 62.68 seconds back in 2010.
Caterham has announced the launch of a new standalone engineering business, Caterham Technology and Innovation Limited (CTI). The new company will develop a completely new line of accessible and affordable sportscars inspired by the lightweight, minimalist philosophy of the Seven. The new models will use technologies and materials from the Group’s Team Lotus Formula One and Caterham Team AirAsia GP2 motorsport operations. Also, CTI will work at advanced projects from both automotive and aerospace sectors.
"The new shareholders are committed to investing in an exciting range of global products over the next 10 years," says Mark Edwards, CTI’s Chief Executive. "Tony Fernandes has been very clear from the start that Caterham needed a sustainable research and development business model in order to meet the plans the management have for the road car business. By establishing unique operating principles for CTI, we have managed to attract a world-class team of niche vehicle engineers eager to build on the ethos of Caterham and the DNA of the Seven."
After a failed partnership with Group Lotus, entrepreneur and Team Lotus boss, Tony Fernandes, has recently expanded his automotive profile with the acquisition of British sports car maker, Caterham Cars. The official confirmation was given at a special event at Duxford’s Imperial War Museum. Both companies have a strong link to Colin Chapman’s philosophy of ’less is more’ and Fernandes’ opportunistic interest in road cars places Caterham’s unique Seven on a pedestal. Proof of that is in the new special edition Team Lotus Special Edition Seven created to start this partnership off on the right foot.
The only distinguishing features for the Team Lotus Seven will be its Team Lotus-inspired livery paint job with matching interior. The most important addition will be a plaque carrying the signatures of Team Lotus F1 drivers, Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. Owners will also receive a Seven history book signed by chief designer, Mike Gascoyne.
Caterham managing director, Ansar Ali, said: "Caterham Cars is starting an exciting and hugely important chapter, so it’s entirely fitting that we celebrate our opportunity to take Colin Chapman’s ‘less is more’ philosophy global, with this special car. Owners of the Special Edition Sevens will have not only a fabulous British sportscar, but a genuine piece of automotive history in their garage."
The new Team Lotus Seven will be limited to only 25 units, each priced at £13,650 or about $22,500 at the current exchange rates. The package can also be applied to any model in the line-up, up to the top of the range Superlight R500.
The Lotus-based Caterham Seven has been around for quite awhile with the first sports car model setting its wheels to the road back in 1973. A lot has changed since then and Caterham is now up for the challenge of producing a speedier model derived directly from the race car that competes in the highly-successful Caterham Supersport championship. The new model is appropriately called the Supersport and can be purchased for £19,995 (including tax) in self-build form (about $32,600 at the current exchange rates).
Caterham Cars engineering director, Mark Edwards, said: "The SP/300.R was our first brand new model for 15 years. But the Supersport is all about our roots. The Seven was born out of motorsport and this new model illustrates the values – accessibility, affordability and unadulterated fun – that have made Caterham the iconic brand it is today and which will ensure the Seven’s continuing global success. We’ve built faster and more powerful accelerating cars before, but the Supersport’s character, value and low running costs have generated a machine that will excite sportscar fans, including those on a budget."
Hit the jump to read more about the Caterham Seven Supersport.
German tuning firm, Irmscher, is coming to the Geneva Motor Show with a peculiar concept car that it’s tagging as the ‘I SELECTRA’. Now if you’re wondering if the concept looks remarkably similar to a Caterham 7, it’s because it actually is one. Or was one, depending on how you see it.
See, before putting their touches on the concept, the German tuner went out and stripped down a Caterham 7 and then fitted it with its own electric powertrain. We don’t really know whether to be flattered or disappointed on Irmscher’s decision to completely undress a car as iconic as a 7, but that’s an issue for another time.
What we do have is a car that does have the power to make the Caterham 7 proud, especially since it achieves those numbers by using an electric motor, which is always a good thing given the growing paradigm shift towards eco-friendly vehicles.
Details on the Irmscher i SELECTRA after the jump.
We haven’t seen anything new from Caterham recently as the British manufacturer seems to he content with just producing continuation models of their iconic Lotus Seven models.
All that, however, was bound to change and now Caterham has announced that it has plans of unveiling a completely new model at the start of 2011. Details are still sketchy at this point, but Caterham has made it known that their new model is going to signal “the beginning of a new dawn for the Company, but one that remains true to the lightweight, minimalist DNA of the legendary Seven."
According to Caterham, this new model is going to be powered by a new in-house engine - the next-generation Caterham Motorsport engine - and is going to be built alongside the Seven. There’s no telling what kind of car this is going to be because Caterham is keeping their cards close to their chests. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too long before we see the cat make its debut at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England on January 13, 2011. That’s about a month away so the wait really isn’t that long.
Nonetheless, we’ve already circled the date on our calendars.
Note: The photo above is of the RST-V8 Levante and not of the new concept that Caterham is working on.
Considering Ben Collins has retired/been fired from his role as the Stig on Top Gear UK, it was only appropriate that the Caterham Superlight R500 would see its eventual end as well. Known for making its rounds at the hands of the Stig on Top Gear and as Top Gear’s 2008 Car of the Year, the R500 will be making its last public appearance at the Marks & Spencers store at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, UK between December 6th and 12th.
Caterham Cars’ marketing manager, James Drake said: “The white and orange R500 has already claimed its place in motoring history. It’s worked hard since the new R500 was launched in 2008 and we feel it’s now time to let it have a rest. It will still be available as a static display car, but its hard driving days are over."
Like a retired police officer volunteering as a DARE representative, the Caterham Superlight R500 will now fill its days with promotional work, including promoting the launch of the remote control versions of the real vehicle. Priced at £19.50, these remote controlled R500s will come in the Stig’s color scheme of white with orange stripes, as well as a red version with a white stripe. Do we smell a perfect Christmas present?
History will tell us that Seven sports cars would not be where it is today if not for the late Graham Nearn, the man who rescued the brand and later founded Caterham Cars.
To honor the man behind the founding of Caterham, 236 Caterham Seven owners gathered at the Stow Maries Aerodrome in Essex, England for the Graham Nearn Memorial Blat.
The event was organized by the Lotus Seven Club, the official club for Lotus and Caterham Seven owners, and was done to commemorate the life of Graham Nearn and his role in extending the “"life, and improving the recipe of one of Britain’s most famous motor vehicles.”
To celebrate the occasion, all 236 Lotus and Caterham Seven owners assembled themselves to form a giant “7” logo as a sign of respect to the late founder and undying devotion to the Caterham brand.
We gotta say, the entire event – and that giant “7” logo – was a cool way to pay tribute to a man that not only saved a dying brand, but reinvented it to become the Caterham brand that it is today.
The vehicles from Caterham Cars can all be traced back to the very first model created by Colin Chapman, the original 1957 Series 1 Lotus Seven. Such an iconic car, as a finished vehicle or as a result of a kit, is behind every quirky model that has arisen from Caterham in their little over 50 years of existence. And, as a tribute to the history behind Caterham, the automaker has brought forth a special edition Roadsport 125 Monaco that takes the original’s lightweight philosophy and its bespoke, retro styling to a modern level.
The Roadsport 125 Monaco will be distinguished by brushed aluminum bodywork that will also feature a black nose and wheel guards. A little more color is added with the red and white Monegasque flag that will run the length of the car. On the interior the car will get a hand-tailored black leather interior that is highlighted with red touches to bring out a casino-type feel. Specifically, these color choices were made to represent the roulette wheels found in Casino Square, but if you are not a gambler then you can always opt for the all black trim option. Other options for the vehicle include a wide SV chassis and a lowered floor.
Under the hood there is a 1.6-liter Ford engine mated to a 5-speed gearbox. The car sprints from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds and can hit a top speed of 112mph.
This special edition will be priced at £20,995, but the first 20 cars will be available for just £19,995.