Welcome to my website, which rather sadly I've dedicated
to my Caterham
seven. I bought my Seven new back in 1996, with the hard
earned savings from my engineering apprenticeship. The spec
was quite basic, 1.6x/flow, live axle, etc., but it was
a start and perfect for a 19 year old to learn rear wheel
drive handling in. And I'm Still learning.
For the first couple of years, whilst funds were still tight,
the car was left pretty much standard but it was probably
used the most during this time. I was single, living at
home and with plenty of spare time. Now that I'm married
I don't know where the time goes, probably learning to write
this web site I guess! The upgrades started gradually, as
I could afford the smaller things and progressed as I could
afford to tailor the car to what I wanted. I would say that
it is pretty much there now, although I do have some plans
for an engine upgrade, but that is more just to give me
something to tinker with in the garage than a necessity
- it has a good balance as it stands.
In the beginning there as Colin Chapman, and in 1957
he did design the Seven. And, it was good. Thirty
nine years later I bought mine and together with my
dad built it in the space of 8 days. Here you can
see what my original specification was, a couple of
reasons behind it (mostly financial), some other things
I'd have liked and a gallery of the build.
Sevens make great touring cars. Don't ask me why though
as they have about as much luggage space as a typical
glove box, a hood that is impossible to fit if it
is wet and slippery, or cold and won't stretch - and
the two are normally combined - and a fuel tank range
that will just get you to the petrol station in the
next town. There is, however, something about it that
makes it all worthwhile. Of course, enjoying more
than just your local roads is great, but it is more
the fact that people treat you differently - probably
whilst thinking "poor people, they must be suffering
from a mental condition". Nevertheless, it is
quite normal to be offered garages at hotels, asked
for rides and treated like a hero for making it so
far. It's as much about the journey as is about where
you are going.
The inevitable will happen when you buy a Seven. You'll
see other Sevens and you'll see other things you like.
'Ooo, that would look good on my car' or 'well, it
needs replacing, so I might as well buy something
As stated, this will happen, and resistance is useless.
Seven owners buy their cars because a) they offer
performance that very little else on the road can
match and b) because they are rebellious and do not
want to conform by having a modern namby-pamby pseudo-sports
car. They like the fact that they are different from
everyone else they see on the road - this is to be
celebrated. Normal road users look at us and think
we are mad/stupid/or both* but we look at them and
think the same. It is therefore follows that when
you get a collection of seven owners together they
can't help but maintain this attitude. They need to
be different even from other sevens. And so, the personalising
of your seven begins and may you have an understanding
(* delete as required)
To prove the above is true, I ripped out a perfectly
functioning 1600cc x/flow and lowered in its place
a 2000cc Zetec. Well, ok it wasn't to prove the above
rule, I just wanted more power, lots more power, and
this was the way to go whilst retaining an unstressed
engine which would give me future potential. I also
wanted to be sure I could stop as well as I went,
so a big brake kit was also fitted.
And, to survive the new engine, I fitted a Ford axle, with
an LSD of course. A slight miscalculation also resulted
in a full conversion to cycle wings rather than the planned
staggered migration, but the results speak for themselves.
A couple of smaller personalising touches finish off the
2002 winter garage project.
I've added some waffle pages, a vein attempt at a diary
of what I've been up to 7-wise. This doesn't get updated
as things happen, more when I can grab a couple of hours
and remember what it was that I did!
A few spreadsheets that come in handy.
|First is the corner
weighting calculation chart. If you have a level
garage, eight sets of bathroom scales, some bridging
wood and time on your hands then this can help
you flat floor your seven. You'll need adjustable
platform dampers as well, of course, and someone
to read the scales while you sip a cup o tea from
the drivers seat is also a bonus. Punch in the
numbers and then argue over which way to adjust
them. Hours of fun.
|Next up is simple collection of
torque settings from my build manual. A handy
addition to the front of any folder that saves
searching for the right section. Also great for
reference so that you can help out others on-line
and look like you really are sad enough to know
all the figures in your head.
|There is also a simple calculator
for checked the revs of the engine, propshaft
and finally the speed, if you know the basic ratios
of your car and the circumference of your driven
|Finally there is the dreaded cost
sheet for the Zetec. I had a more complete version
of this with every part listed, but I can't find
it at the moment, if it turns up I'll swap them
Just the usual here, my most visited sites, and a
few suppliers sites that prove useful from time to