What does upgrading a Seven do to its' value?

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paul jacobs
paul jacobs's picture
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What does upgrading a Seven do to its' value?

Most of us here are great tinkerers and upgraders.  I have often wondered whether upgrading one model to another is cost effective or whether it is best to sell the lower model and buy the one that is needed?

Purely in cost terms, not in the fun and satisfaction upgrading can give.  What are owners experiences, does one take a hit on value or have you found you can get all or most of your expenditure back?

Mrb00ns's picture
Last seen: 5 hours 39 min ago
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From a purely economic perspective it must always be cheaper to get something which is already a higher spec rather than buying and upgrading. 

Economics was never my strong point...

Last seen: 12 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

I am sure I reduced the value of my superlight when I converted into a busa, even with the £££ involved.

I think it is especially true of versions such as Superlights SLRs R500s etc that they are possibly better from a value perspective staying un modified

sforshaw's picture
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I bought my highly modified SLR for less than the equivalent "original" car would probably have cost! During my ownership I've now returned it to much closer to 'Caterham' specification but with a few o/e enhancements.

Just my opinion:

- Caterham o/e mods tend to aid value / sellability;

- Unusual or extreme modifications can actually devalue a car and make it more difficult to sell.

- Value means different things to different people, it's your car do what you want to it!


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Harry Flatters
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Car restoring and modifying is a strange game, vi-sa-vi resale values.

Classic car restorers the world over will tell you that with rare exception, they never make back their full restoration costs when they come to sell. And much the same can be said about modifying cars.

As Stu points out, OEM mods will, for the most part reinforce, if not improve residuals. Custom modifications are another matter altogether, and there comes a very definite point, beyond which, you will never recover your investment. That said, these kinds of mods are more often labours of love and done for the enjoyment of the current owner rather than any drive to increase value.

My Seven was a case in point. In all, I probably spent close on 200% of the original, not insignificant, purchase price on engine (power increase), suspension, bodywork (carbon fibre!) and all manor of tech (digital gauges, launch/traction control etc) and when I sold it for circa 50% more than the original purchase price, I was more than satisfied. The 'loss' was rightly costed to enjoyment of the project and (in my opinion) the enhanced driving experience over the 15 years of ownership.

Last seen: 1 week 16 hours ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

I think there is another factor, the model.   In my opinion, modification on a special addition like the SuperSprints will reduce value the car.    OEM modifications to a generic model like the 420R may or may not add value, for example adding weather protection will add value, adding a full cage will limit buyers and therefore possibly reduce value.   Non OEM modifications also limit potential buyers, so I would generally consider them as reducing the value,  but as always there are exceptions.

All that said, my golden rule is don't upgrade a car you intend to sell, unless the upgrade expands the potential market, like adding weather protection.

Last seen: 5 hours 33 min ago
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#6. Chris, so as far as fitting RBTB's would it be preferable to have CC supply and fit their unit?


simon_h's picture
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#7. Having them fit the rollers won’t matter as much unless you plan to trade it with them. Having the oem spec parts fitted is more useful against aftermarket parts fitted for resale 

Wrightpayne's picture
Last seen: 7 hours 5 min ago
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My '98 seven has gradually evolved towards superlight spec. In hindsight it would have been far cheaper to pay the £2k premium for the original 'Diet Poke' superlight.

how much does golf club membership cost? How much do tintops depreciate? All man maths factors when fettling a seven!!

Scotland North AR
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Another consideration is that if you already have had a car for a while and might have refurbished a diff, a gearbox, suspension etc. you have a known set of potential problems which you have eliminated. Then deciding on buying an upgraded spec car or upgrading your own car becomes a less easy decision. You might get the right spec but also inherit some of the problems you have already cured on the first car.

Post 2 "From a purely economic perspective it must always be cheaper to get something which is already a higher spec rather than buying and upgrading."

I found this with my car, the choice between engine upgrade or new (second hand) car + unknown problems to be rectified tipped the balance to engine upgrade.

I'll guess I'll only find out when I come to sell whether the scales went in the right direction.

Meanwhile, will continue to enjoy the engine upgrade once we get a bit more consistent weather......Caterham not the best in 60 mph cross winds!

Nigel Simpson,

07484 173733

Scotland North AR

Blackmamba's picture
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Interesting to hear that people think certain models are better left in original spec. Which Caterham models would you think this would apply to? Just the older / classic ones or specific models?