Caterham’s Ends Production of its Iconic Superlight R500
Until 2013, when the Seven 620 R was introduced, the Superlight R500 was Caterham’s most powerful and track-focused sports car ever produced. As of 07/08/2014, the R500 became a thing of the past as the British automaker built the last example of this extreme sports car. Chassis number 174 puts an end to a six-year production run in which the Superlight R500 helped cement Caterham’s reputation as a world-renowned sports car manufacturer.
Powered by a Ford-sourced, 2.0-liter Duratec engine rated at 263 horsepower and tipping the scale at a little over 1,100 pounds, the Superlight R500 hits 60 mph from a standing start in only 2.88 seconds. That’s quicker than many supercars out there and a benchmark very few vehicles can improve upon. Built with track performance in mind, the R500 managed to lap the Top Gear test track in 1:17.9 minutes, nearly half a second faster than the Bugatti Veyron. With so many credentials to its name, the Superlight R500 will definitely be missed.
Click past the jump to read more about the Caterham Superlight R500.
Why It Matters
The good news is that the Superlight R500 is being replaced by an equally impressive machine - the 620 R.
Unlike most sports car manufacturers, Caterham focuses on lightness before anything else, and the Superlight R500 represents the modern embodiment of Colin Chapman’s "simplify, then add lightness" ethos. Its no-nonsense construction, track-purposed nature and affordable pricing (compared to similar sports cars) propelled the R500 at the top of its niche. What’s more, with nearly 50 percent of production shipped overseas, the 1,100-pound Seven went on to become a huge success on export markets such as Japan and mainland Europe.
The good news is that the Superlight R500 is being replaced by an equally impressive machine, the 620 R. Motivated by a supercharged, 2.0-liter, Duratec mill, the latter packs a 310-horsepower punch and completes the 0-to-60 mph sprint in less than 2.8 seconds. While the 620 R is definitely a worthy successor to the R500, we can’t help but wonder what kind of performance the next range-topping Seven will be able to deliver.
Production of the Caterham Superlight 500R commenced in April 2008 at the company’s plant in Dartford, Great Britain. The assembly line delivered the 174th and final R500 on July 7th, 2014. Most Superlight R500 models were sold in the U.K., Japan, Italy, Germany and France, and to celebrity customers like English singer Chris Rea.