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caraddict

Original Poster:

975 posts

32 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
Hi

I love driving. smile

My love for compact, simple and fun cars is growing. I do dream about supercars, but cannot ignore the appeal of a Caterham. Read review of the 7 Supersport in evo magazine a while ago and opened my eyes for the entry models, and the model 7 as a whole.
Living in a tax heavy country (Norway), the Supersport comes in at about 60.000 £, which I consider too much for that kind of car. But looking at the used market, I can get a '04-'05 for under half that, about 25.000 £ - 27.000 £, which is a lot more acceptable and doable.

Were the Rover engines reliable? The cars I'm looking at have done under 30.000 km's, and, according to description, most of them are very well kept and equipped (for cold days + rollbars, windscreen etc.).

Were there any upgrades on the 1.6 120 hp Roadsport from 2000 - present day? Or are the cars basically the same in terms of handling, brakes etc.?

Will I have much fun? I have a '92 CRX 1.6 16V with 130 hp, weighing 940 kg. I think it's a brilliant car because you are able to exploit the performance without getting in too much trouble, so I like to think 120 hp in a car that weighs about half of my CRX and with RWD will much more fun!


Thanks a lot for you time.

Ps. WTH do you guys do when it suddenly starts raining? smile Thinking about water ruining the interior, first and foremost.

Edited by caraddict on Thursday 4th October 17:38

HustleRussell

6,804 posts

48 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
Hi,
The 1.6 Rover engine produces up to 130bhp in standard form with a catalytic converter. It is a superb engine, so well suited to the car- lightweight, revvy and it makes a fantastically dramatic noise!
A lot of racing cars were upgraded to 'supersport' spec- upgraded camshafts, solid lifters and a revised inlet plenum, however this modification only produced an extra 10-15bhp and introduced a couple of potential drivability and reliability problems.
So, back to the standard engine- they are known to blow head gaskets, being a wet liner engine with a ladder construction they are somewhat sensitive to internal corrosion and overheating. However, due to the use of the engine in a lot of cars (Caterhams, MGs and Rovers), there are specialists more than capable of repairing the engine to a better-than-new standard with revised gaskets and locating dowells.
As for the fun- well it's massive. Incomparable to any tintop in my experience. The 125bhp engine will be more than enough to keep you engaged on the road but the aforementioned engine specialists can do all sorts to make it quicker if you like!
Happy searching!

P.S. when it rains- well it depends. When i first got my car, I would erect the hood. The hood is effective! but slow to erect. It also requires you to have a windscreen and doors, which are strictly optional...
Nowadays if it rains I wear a helmet so at least my head doesn't get wet! Right arm gets soaked mind...

Edited by HustleRussell on Thursday 4th October 17:51

V7SLR

309 posts

74 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all

downsman

545 posts

44 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
120bhp is plenty to have fun, and being so light and rear drive it never gets boring. I have the 1.6 Sigma engine, and although it isn't going to out accelerate most modern performance cars and it won't go faster than 110mph (on track), it still accelerates fast enough to overtake easily and there's enough torque to make the handling intersting.

If it starts raining, and you can keep going at 45mph or more the rain just goes over the top with the screen and side screens in place smile

If it's really heavy, then erecting the hood is worth it and it is pretty water tight. I drove 400 miles in very heavy rain and just had a little water in the footwells.

It is best to just have rubber mats on the floor, and the plastic seats are good for rain as they don't soak the water up.

caraddict

Original Poster:

975 posts

32 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
HustleRussell said:
Hi,
The 1.6 Rover engine produces up to 130bhp in standard form with a catalytic converter. It is a superb engine, so well suited to the car- lightweight, revvy and it makes a fantastically dramatic noise!
A lot of racing cars were upgraded to 'supersport' spec- upgraded camshafts, solid lifters and a revised inlet plenum, however this modification only produced an extra 10-15bhp and introduced a couple of potential drivability and reliability problems.
So, back to the standard engine- they are known to blow head gaskets, being a wet liner engine with a ladder construction they are somewhat sensitive to internal corrosion and overheating. However, due to the use of the engine in a lot of cars (Caterhams, MGs and Rovers), there are specialists more than capable of repairing the engine to a better-than-new standard with revised gaskets and locating dowells.
As for the fun- well it's massive. Incomparable to any tintop in my experience. The 125bhp engine will be more than enough to keep you engaged on the road but the aforementioned engine specialists can do all sorts to make it quicker if you like!
Happy searching!

P.S. when it rains- well it depends. When i first got my car, I would erect the hood. The hood is effective! but slow to erect. It also requires you to have a windscreen and doors, which are strictly optional...
Nowadays if it rains I wear a helmet so at least my head doesn't get wet! Right arm gets soaked mind...

Edited by HustleRussell on Thursday 4th October 17:51
Thanks for the reply!
Cool, good to hear. Maybe the first thing to do is to locate these upgrade parts (re. reliability) and a good local mechanic who's able to do the job.

V7SLR said:
Click on their forum and see how much activity it is wink Less than 70 posts in total...

downsman said:
120bhp is plenty to have fun, and being so light and rear drive it never gets boring. I have the 1.6 Sigma engine, and although it isn't going to out accelerate most modern performance cars and it won't go faster than 110mph (on track), it still accelerates fast enough to overtake easily and there's enough torque to make the handling intersting.

If it starts raining, and you can keep going at 45mph or more the rain just goes over the top with the screen and side screens in place smile

If it's really heavy, then erecting the hood is worth it and it is pretty water tight. I drove 400 miles in very heavy rain and just had a little water in the footwells.

It is best to just have rubber mats on the floor, and the plastic seats are good for rain as they don't soak the water up.
Haha, imagine being pulled over and explaining that to the officer... "If I do xx mph I won't get wet!" Love it.

Good to hear about the torque, most high rpm engines I've driven (mostly Japanese) really suffer from what I like to call torque starvation...


Any particular 7's I should be looking for, with advantages over other models? I won't be buying the car before around April next year, just to be clear - hardly good enough weather for the CRX these days...
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V7SLR

309 posts

74 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
caraddict said:
V7SLR said:
Click on their forum and see how much activity it is wink Less than 70 posts in total...
Do you want to drive it or talk about it? If you contact the guys at caterhamclub.no they will be very knowledgable about Norway specific problems for Caterhams - they're also generally members of the L7C which is an excellent resourse and based on your OP would be well worth joining.

framerateuk

1,552 posts

72 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
caraddict said:
Good to hear about the torque, most high rpm engines I've driven (mostly Japanese) really suffer from what I like to call torque starvation...
Because the cars are so light, the smallest amount of torque will carry them along happily.

I've got a 1.6 Sigma and once you're doing 30mph, you could jump into 6th and still have enough torque to pull you forward.... though it's much more fun to stay in 2nd wink

HustleRussell

6,804 posts

48 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
Regarding desirable upgrades:
A lot of these particular cars are ex-academy racing cars, so they'll be basic- no heaters, composite seats, bare interiors etc. They represent a bargain though if you just want a car you can use and you aren't overly fussed with having a top-spec car in show condition. There are plenty of non-race cars out there too though!
Most 1.6 rover engined cars were fitted with the Type 9 gearbox which uses standard sierra ratios with an overdrive 5th. Whilst this is a fine gearbox to use (lovely in fact), it is even better with the ratios, particularly 1st gear, optimised to suit such a light car. The 6-speed was an expensive optional extra but is absolutely sublime- top gear is 1:1 ratio so those 6 speeds are closely packed and well suited to the car.
Differentials- It'll be a sierra unit and that standard one is an open diff. Limited Slip Diffs are out there if you want them!
Big brakes kits were available- the standard brakes are certainly powerful enough, but the 4-pot calipers give you a lower effort pedal with a little more travel and some people prefer this.
Widetrack suspension- It looks lovely and doesn't really come with any particular 'downsides', however, it doesn't make a great deal of difference to handling/performance. In fact, on the track and in the wet, the narrow track car is usually faster.
Wheels/tyres- I like 185/70r13 for road use. With 125bhp you certainly don't need 205 rears, I find they upset the balance.

Toaster

607 posts

81 months

[news] 
Friday 5th October 2012 quote quote all
HustleRussell said:
Hi,
The 1.6 Rover engine produces up to 130bhp in standard form with a catalytic converter. It is a superb engine, so well suited to the car- lightweight, revvy and it makes a fantastically dramatic noise!
A lot of racing cars were upgraded to 'supersport' spec- upgraded camshafts, solid lifters and a revised inlet plenum, however this modification only produced an extra 10-15bhp and introduced a couple of potential drivability and reliability problems.
So, back to the standard engine- they are known to blow head gaskets, being a wet liner engine with a ladder construction they are somewhat sensitive to internal corrosion and overheating. However, due to the use of the engine in a lot of cars (Caterhams, MGs and Rovers), there are specialists more than capable of repairing the engine to a better-than-new standard with revised gaskets and locating dowells.
As for the fun- well it's massive. Incomparable to any tintop in my experience. The 125bhp engine will be more than enough to keep you engaged on the road but the aforementioned engine specialists can do all sorts to make it quicker if you like!
Happy searching!

P.S. when it rains- well it depends. When i first got my car, I would erect the hood. The hood is effective! but slow to erect. It also requires you to have a windscreen and doors, which are strictly optional...
Nowadays if it rains I wear a helmet so at least my head doesn't get wet! Right arm gets soaked mind...

Edited by HustleRussell on Thursday 4th October 17:51
I think there are a lot of myths about the K series its reliability and head gaskets, the supersport upgrade was a sensible way to go for a few more HP there were some converted to Supersport R (mine was one of them) which included the roller barrels it is the roller barrels that need care and attention also the head gasket was upgraded.

Having traveled through hot Europe summers with the engine in all three states of tune I did not have any over heating issues neither did my counterparts.

MG's and Rover cars (land rover in particular) seemed to have a lot of head gasket issues but only few Caterhams by comparison.

I have a K series R400 no overheating or headgasket issues in that either but then again why would it, it has an updated head gasket. Unlike the duratecs its the passenger who tends to get the full heat from the transmission and exhaust. (its the occupants who overheat in the summer months)

All the above is with 15 years of ownership of K series engined 7's (two of them)


caraddict

Original Poster:

975 posts

32 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
Thanks for the replies smile
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