In 1957, if you’d told Colin Chapman his then-new Lotus Seven would still be in production more than six decades later, albeit under a different name, we doubt he’d have believed you. Chapman may have passed away in 1982 (listen to The Intercooler podcast #167 for the story of his life and career), but his simple sports car lives on.
Caterham Cars bought the rights to the Lotus Seven in 1973 and has evolved the concept ever since. Indeed, for most of its existence, Caterham has been a one-model car company, although the Seven has expanded into a whole range of vehicles, from the retro-themed 170S to the track-focused 420 Cup (see reviews below).
Caterham has attempted to stretch its portfolio in the past, notably with the 21 sports car in 1994 – a bold effort that ultimately fell victim to the more sophisticated Lotus Elise. Looking ahead, however, the pretty, fully electric Project V concept should secure its future in a world dominated by EVs.
While not blind to its faults, we’re huge fans of the Caterham Seven – particularly Ti co-founder Andrew Frankel, who has owned and raced several of them. Whatever comes next for Caterham, let’s hope it doesn’t stray far from Chapman’s vision of light weight and driving fun.