No road-going car in the history of the automobile sums up the Colin Chapman philosophy of “adding lightness” better than the Lotus 7, which lives on to this day in the form of the Caterham Roadsport and Superlight series. The cars weigh next to nothing, since luxury amenities are limited to things like seats, a steering wheel and a windshield. They’re considered to be among the best track-day toys you can buy, but they’re less than pleasant to drive on the roads to and from the track. Worse, they’re ugly as sin, since aesthetics were never considered in the vehicle’s design. Headlights and turn signals are tacked-on afterthoughts, as are the front fenders. The nose of the car is a giant grille, which gives the Caterham the appearance of a shell-shocked amphibian. Sure it’s fast, but it’s as sexy as John Madden in a dress.
If you’re a fan of Caterham, but can’t bring yourself to buy one of their Lotus 7 based cars, there’s good news on the horizon. Motor Authority is reporting that Caterham will reveal an all new track car, not based on the Lotus 7, at the upcoming Autosport International Show in the UK. Details are sorely lacking (until next month, at least), but Catherham is saying the car will be powered by a “next generation” Caterham engine, and that it will be a “logical expansion to the company’s racing and track day portfolio”.
I can’t wait to see what it is, and whether or not it’ll be imported into the United States. I’m guilty of falling into the “too ugly to buy” camp when it comes to the current Caterham models (and their stratospheric price doesn’t help, either), but I’d certainly keep an open mind if the company launched an alternative track car. Keep it simple, keep it affordable, but make it about 50% less ugly.