Looking for my first Caterham

Hi all,

Just joined, I've been looking around the site and see there's a lot of useful information. Thought I'd share my search for a car, the research, learning and decisions made both as a record of the process for myself and maybe something useful for others.

I've been a long term Lotus Elise owner and just love the marque since first seeing the Type 72 F1 JPS - the most wonderful looking car and as history has shown the most successful F1 car of all time. Well I digress, my cars are here; http://www.type72.com/72/ - I guess this picture is acceptable in these parts . . Whistle

At 53 and with a very supportive wife I want to place a Caterham alongside the Elise, I'm 6'2" and 18 stone so the first thing was to try a car, with most advice provided so far suggesting it'll almost certainly be an SV chassis for me.

Living in Maidstone and with some near perfect timing my search / research started just as Sevens & Classics Ltd were having one of their open days so off I trotted Saturday 29th July and Andy and Callum plus every owner I spoke to were extremely helpful. 

I can get in an S3 chassis (with a lowered floor pan) however it's snug mainly my right shoulder being outside of the lines of the bodywork, that aside the driving position was good, my size 11 feet felt fine on the pedals (with my driving shoes on). An SV chassis gave me more room and is probably the way to go.

However driving is the ultimate test so my friend and I are going to hire two cars from the factory for the weekend an SV and an S3 so we can both put some real miles in each to make a final decision. 

In terms of what car am I in the market for it'll be a K Series, I'm very familiar with it as a power unit being an Elise owner, I have an engine in the garage and lots of spares. Power 120 - 150 bhp ideally and with a lowered floor pan. That's about as far as I've got until I test the two chassis.

Couple of questions still in my mind at this point;

  • If I find the right car and it not get a lowered floor pan, how easy is a retro fit?
  • Can the old style "clam" wings (is that the correct name?) be replaced with cycle wings?
  • Are there certain "must haves" in terms of the spec - 6 speed -v- 5, LSD, suspension etc?
  • Like the Aero screen, how practical is driving with one (mirror placement, wind, crash helmet or not)? 

That's it for me now, would welcome any comments or feedback will update later.

Thanks Jason