Tuesday 26th February 2013


CATERHAM LEAVES TOWN

Caterham says goodbye to Caterham before expected return to Caterham in due course ... er ...


For the first time in 40 years, Caterham will no longer have a presence in the home town that bears its name.

The Caterham team bids farewell
The Caterham team bids farewell
The sad development comes as a result of the land on which the company’s showroom currently stands being sold to a builder of retirement flats. The Government’s Planning Inspectorate has already granted planning permission for a retirement home to be built on the site, forcing Caterham to move out, and ending the company’s long-standing relationship with the town.

The showroom stands – for now – on the site of the company’s first-ever factory, which was set up there by the Nearn family in 1973. While production has since moved to a newer facility in Dartford, the original site was retained as a showroom, to handle sales for the south-east of England. This latest news means the company will no longer be a part of the town that’s always been its spiritual home.  

Caterham's Caterham showroom now gone
Caterham's Caterham showroom now gone
“It’s a very sad and emotional day for everybody involved with Caterham Cars,” said Graham Macdonald, Caterham’s chief exec. “The town of Caterham will forever be linked with our brand, and I hope residents will still feel that sense of pride when they watch our F1 team on TV or catch a glimpse of a Seven on the road. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the town of Caterham and its residents for their support over the years.”

If all of this has you feeling rather too nostalgic, you could do a lot worse than to assuage your sorrow by blowing a chunk of cash on a Caterham from the PH Classifieds. How’s about a 1700 Supersprint dating from 1996? OK, so it’s on a Q-plate, but it looks cracking shod with Wellers, and has only done 18,000 miles. The 1700 Crossflow is a hardy old lump, and should sound cracking, too. Or if something a little newer floats your boat, how’s about a Vauxhall-engined 2001 model? The 1.6-litre 8V might not sound like much, but it’ll have more than enough oomph and plenty of torque to be an absolute hoot. Of course, if you’re feeling flush, this stunning CSR200 is worth a look. It’ll set you back almost as much as a brand new Supersports R, but you do get a six-speed gearbox and a fantastically grunty Cosworth-tweaked 2.3-litre Duratec with 200hp.

CSR200 ain't cheap, but looks superb
CSR200 ain't cheap, but looks superb
As for Caterham itself, all is not lost – the company’s production facility in Dartford will remain unaffected by the news, while the showroom will soon be moving to a temporary site fifteen miles away in Three Bridges, near Crawley while Caterham searches for a more permanent new home. What’s more, there are still the fruits of the Alpine tie-up to look forward to in the coming months and years. So as sad a day as this is for the company, we’re still encouraged that, on the whole, Caterham looks to be going from strength to strength.

Author: Alex Robbins
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