The one piece of advice I can offer is, test drive it first. I bought mine without a test drive. I had to drive it nearly 300 miles home. It was one of the worst handling cars I have ever driven!
I assumed because it had rafts of service history including a suspension alignment,it would be fine. Suspension set up is critical with these cars, that said it is a problem that can solved. My car had bump steer that made it almost un-drivable at anything over about 45mph on a bumpy road. It cost me quite a bit of time and money to rectify all the suspension issues with the the car. The difference between a well set up car and one that has just been bolted together is night and day. That said if you buy one new from caterham it should be ok.
Also I would go for more of a track based car, I didn't intended to do tracks days until I did one and was hooked. It can cost a lot of money to make a road based car into a track based car. A track based car is just as good on the road.
Alan does say in his #1 message that it will be used exclusively for road use. So why would he want a track based car. Most road going 7’s will be OK on a track day. It’s only when you get really keen that modifications are needed. I suggest staying with a road going spec. Going for an R300/400 or Superlight would be the way to go.
Thanks for the info p.mole1
My inclination is to stay more road use focussed. I'm hoping my days racing a Mini7 back in the day have gotton rid of a desire for track days. But..
Anyway, I'm interested in your comments regard set up, which I get. I guess even a short test drive won't identify some set up issues and perhaps I should factor in a proper post purchase set up session?? Or am I going entirely in the wrong direction (excuse the pun).?
Hi Alan, I don't know if I was particularly unlucky with my car. Mine was an older vehicle but with a very low mileage. Having never driven a 7 before, I really didn't know what to expect. I don't think you should experience any real problems with a new Caterham, that said I doubt the suspension is set up is done with any real accuracy.
If possible I would try and get a car with the adjustable spring seats this allows some adjustment. If you take the car for a test drive find a bumpy road and if darts all over the road you'll notice it! it's bump steer and it really spoils the car. In my case it was really hard to eliminate due to the steering rack needing to be lowered! If you are purchasing from Caterham, get them so throw in a set up as part of the deal.
One of the reasons I mentioned a more track focused car is it costs a fortune to add all of the bits you need. In my case I did £2000 pounds of damage when I put the conrod through the block due to not having an Apollo tank for the oil. I think the more modern Sigma and Durratec cars are much better in this respect, but it's nice to have the right bits if you ever decide to do a track day. When I say track focused, I am talking about a track day roll bar, adjustable spring seats, 13 inch wheels. You can still have a windscreen and heater.I ran without an LSD for a few years and I never found it an issue even on track days. If you go for the "R" version these come with all the relevant bits, but often have a hood, windscreen and heater,Just a thought.
If you go via the second route, have a look on Piston heads there are loads of cars to choose from, I'm sure it's buyers market. Lots of the cars have been up for sale for a very long time and I think the prices are very optimistic, try putting in offers. Take someone with you who knows the cars well and I don't think you can go wrong. There are lots of cars out there so take your time. I don't think I will be able help as I'm in Whitley Bay and there aren't many Caterham dealers or sellers up here! in fact in the 5 years I've had mine I've never seen another one on road up here yet.
#65 A buyer's market? There are 140 cars on PH, most of them dealer stock; eg Oakmere have 15 of those. To put it into perspective, there are 5 times as many Astons and 7 times as many Ferraris. No harm in making a bid though but a decent car will cost far more than one would think. They always do!
As for darting all over the road, which isn't unheard of to say the least, there are more reasons than bumpsteer for that. I understood that bumpsteer had been largely eradicated on more recent cars but stand to be corrected. IME, camber and castor can have a similar effect. But you're certainly right in advising to car set up properly.
Alan. Now you have had the chance to study all the details in "The Magnificent 7", have you come to any decision on a suitable model ?
We are now not to far away from lock down ending. Then you can start really searching. Problem is, so will lots of others !
I am sure you have visited the main 7 specialist web sites. Have you been in telephone contact with them to give a idea of the specifications you are looking for. I think that would be a good idea, so if they are getting a 7 in that meets your spec, they will call you. Good luck with your search.
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