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Ask Goodwin

3 years ago

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Colin Goodwin | Journalist


7 October 2021

Dear Colin, Having read Andrew Frankel’s report on the car I’m very taken with the new Caterham 170 and fancy building one from a kit. I know you built an aeroplane from a kit, but have you ever built a Caterham Seven and is it difficult? Bill Trickle

Dear Bill,

Yes, I’ve built two. The first was when I was at Car magazine in the mid Nineties and was a live-axle car with a 1600cc crossflow. The second was a 160 a few years ago with the same Suzuki engine with which the 170 is fitted. Caterhams are pretty straightforward to build if you’ve got a reasonable knowledge of car mechanics. The instructions are dreadful, not least because unlike with my plane kit, Caterham doesn’t include proper engineering drawings; just poor black and white photographs. Also, working out which fastener to use where is not easy as there are so many different types. My advice is to not rush the build as you will enjoy it more at leisure and end up with a better car. It’d make a great winter project.

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