Caterham as a road car

Caterham as a road car

Author
Discussion

clarki

Original Poster:

1,139 posts

183 months

Sunday 31st January
quotequote all
Have posted in this section before because keep umming and ahhing about getting a Caterham.

Have driven many a lap in an R300...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duiiMMQc_mk&t=...

...but never driven one on the road.

Big question really is - would I get use out of it?

Live by the coast in Scotland so it can be lovely one minute, horrible the next. Current fun car is an MX5 RF which is great but nothing drives like a Caterham.

Hit the big 5-0 in a couple of years and beginning to wonder if it's now or never.

Any opinions, suggestions, advice greatly appreciated.

DCL

1,141 posts

143 months

Sunday 31st January
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Funnily enough, it's Scotland for me too and I bought one for my 50th to help with the midlife crisis. I used it on the road for 3 year and did most of the classic Scottish roads tours until the racing bug took over and it's been a dedicated track car ever since. But Having done that, I am hankering after returning it to a road car once again. If you enjoy going out purely for a drive, then a Caterham will be very good, but if you want more day to day practicality, then what you've got is probably better. The Scottish weather never really bothered me, in fact some of the wettest days were the most fun.

Glug69

65 posts

86 months

Sunday 31st January
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I went the other way, having sold my Caterham (after over 10 years of great fun, and many European road trips) and bought an mx5 RF, I can say the Caterham was definitely more fun than the mx5 for about 10% of the time, but the Mazda is much more practical 100% of the time.
There is nothing wrong with having the Caterham as a road car, and it can be great fun when the weather is just right, but you do have to be well prepared for all conditions in my opinion.

G0ldfysh

3,266 posts

221 months

Sunday 31st January
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Would something like an Elise feel between the two for you?
Rawer than the MX5 but not as everyday compromised as the Caterham?

baconsarney

10,606 posts

125 months

Sunday 31st January
quotequote all
Do it do it do it smile

My first car was a 7 and I worked for Caterham briefly when they were in, er, Caterham smile I was just a yoof then but have many fond memories of those times. I struggle at times with my Chimaera as I have degenerative disc disease plus I’m now in my late sixties... do it while you still have health and age on your side... if it doesn’t work out I doubt you’d lose any money so no excuse there (no man maths needed) smile

Pics please If (when) you get one!

Good luck thumbup


Tupwood

36 posts

32 months

Sunday 31st January
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Yes, road use is a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy your Caterham. I am envious of your Scottish location and the roads you have on your doorstep. Have a look at some of my local drives here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLyMVPqGXnNasgXYV...

Get one and get out there… biglaugh

MBBlat

778 posts

113 months

Sunday 31st January
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My Caterham's coming up to its 10th birthday, in that time its been on track precisely 3 times. It was driven too and from the track each time (one was in Northern France).
During that time its done Hampshire to Cumbria, Hampshire to north Wales, so quite a bit of road driving and a few long trips. So I have no problem using it as a road car, particularly if you've got access to good driving roads.

BertBert

14,875 posts

175 months

Sunday 31st January
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I drove from Epsom to catalunya to do a track day in mine. Epic! Was a few years ago though!

TarquinMX5

618 posts

44 months

Sunday 31st January
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Yes, I only ever used mine on the road but as a toy. When I sold it I was surprised when the buyer said that he didn't have a garage and it would be an everyday car; I don't think I'd do that but as far as I'm aware he still has it years later, so it's down to individuals.

Turn7

19,826 posts

185 months

Sunday 31st January
quotequote all
JFDI......


braddo

7,495 posts

152 months

Monday 1st February
quotequote all
clarki said:
Have posted in this section before because keep umming and ahhing about getting a Caterham.

Have driven many a lap in an R300...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duiiMMQc_mk&t=...

...but never driven one on the road.

Big question really is - would I get use out of it?

Live by the coast in Scotland so it can be lovely one minute, horrible the next. Current fun car is an MX5 RF which is great but nothing drives like a Caterham.

Hit the big 5-0 in a couple of years and beginning to wonder if it's now or never.

Any opinions, suggestions, advice greatly appreciated.
Rather than a track day next time, it sounds like you should hire one up in northen Scotland when (eventually!) you're able to. They're great fun on the road and I like having a road biased one with a softer setup for the way it floats over rough roads compared to the crashiness of modern, stiff cars on big wheels.

Windscreen, side screens, a half-hood from soft-bits-for-sevens (very quick to put up and down apparently), road tyres for wet/greasy roads... Add in quiet Scottish roads and you're on:
cloud9

biggrin









Equus

10,792 posts

65 months

Monday 1st February
quotequote all
I ran a Caterham (as successor to a Westfield) as my only car, all year round, including commuting to work in the city centre of Leeds.

...But I was less than half your age at the time. I wouldn't do it now (I'm now slightly older than you), 'cos I'm not that daft or masochistic any more.

The suggestion of an Elise is a good one: even setting aside the practicality, it's a much better road car than the Caterham, too, due to much more compliant, fully independent suspension. It also has better steering feel. Only downside is the gearchange, which is pretty average even when you fit a short-shift kit, but that apart it will be just as quick (or quicker) point-to-point in on typical A- and B-roads, and you'd get much more use out of it.

LaurasOtherHalf

19,627 posts

160 months

Monday 1st February
quotequote all
Funnily enough in my moments of wanting a caterham it’s more as a road car than as a track car. I know it’s be good fun on track but I don’t really feel too safe in them when fully committed.

As a road car driving at 6 or 7/10s I think I’d enjoy one much more.

clarki

Original Poster:

1,139 posts

183 months

Tuesday 2nd February
quotequote all
Thanks for the replies folks, really appreciated.

The Elise doesn't really float my boat tbh. My brother had one and it just wasn't my cup of tea.

The misses has suggested hiring one for a weekend, obviously when we can again, to see how it goes on the road. So that's probably going to be a good starting point.

The roads around where I live are mainly A and B roads, some of the B roads you can have more or less to yourself which is nice. You do have to adapt your driving style though, sometimes you can be a long way from any help if something goes wrong!!

Glug69

65 posts

86 months

Tuesday 2nd February
quotequote all
One thing I forgot to say in my previous post, the RF handles bad, uneven roads much better than the Caterham ever did, if the roads are smooth and flat though, the Caterham is better.

baconsarney

10,606 posts

125 months

Tuesday 2nd February
quotequote all
Clarki are you east west or north coast? Just curious.... (I’ve spent time on all three)

BertBert

14,875 posts

175 months

Tuesday 2nd February
quotequote all
Glug69 said:
One thing I forgot to say in my previous post, the RF handles bad, uneven roads much better than the Caterham ever did, if the roads are smooth and flat though, the Caterham is better.
Also I had different experiences with different Caterhams. I had chronic bump-steer in one that made bumpy roads completely hellish. Once dialled out, it made a huge difference.

Originally I went from a mk1 mx5 to a caterham as daily driver. I remember my first drive in a caterham which was a test drive that I drove to and back from in my mx5. It felt like a boat on the way back! Also whenever I thought of going lotus I drove my caterham to B&C for the test drive. Never bought the lotus!
Bert

Glug69

65 posts

86 months

Tuesday 2nd February
quotequote all
BertBert said:
Also I had different experiences with different Caterhams. I had chronic bump-steer in one that made bumpy roads completely hellish. Once dialled out, it made a huge difference.

Originally I went from a mk1 mx5 to a caterham as daily driver. I remember my first drive in a caterham which was a test drive that I drove to and back from in my mx5. It felt like a boat on the way back! Also whenever I thought of going lotus I drove my caterham to B&C for the test drive. Never bought the lotus!
Bert
Yes I know that some Caterham's are a real handful if not set up properly, fortunately mine was very well set up and handled uneven roads ok, I still find the MX5 is much more confidence inspiring on really uneven roads, the MX5 does feel bigger than the Caterham, but I had an SV so it wasn't a big difference to me.

mikewilliams79

1,645 posts

5 months

Tuesday 2nd February
quotequote all
clarki said:
Thanks for the replies folks, really appreciated.

The Elise doesn't really float my boat tbh. My brother had one and it just wasn't my cup of tea.

The misses has suggested hiring one for a weekend, obviously when we can again, to see how it goes on the road. So that's probably going to be a good starting point.

The roads around where I live are mainly A and B roads, some of the B roads you can have more or less to yourself which is nice. You do have to adapt your driving style though, sometimes you can be a long way from any help if something goes wrong!!
I have to say, ive owned a couple and there is nothing as enjoyable for me on a nice road even IN TRAFFIC. Very few cars can achieve this. The fun at legal speeds is so much greater = fun more of the time. It is quite tiring and h-core for hours of driving but then again so is a motrobike and it doesn't stop them, you just have to be suitably prepared.

W11PEL

666 posts

127 months

Tuesday 2nd February
quotequote all
baconsarney said:
Do it do it do it smile

My first car was a 7 and I worked for Caterham briefly when they were in, er, Caterham smile I was just a yoof then but have many fond memories of those times. I struggle at times with my Chimaera as I have degenerative disc disease plus I’m now in my late sixties... do it while you still have health and age on your side... if it doesn’t work out I doubt you’d lose any money so no excuse there (no man maths needed) smile

Pics please If (when) you get one!

Good luck thumbup
Couldn't agree more.

Time to do it is now! We are not here forever.

Per the MX5 as mentioned earlier, anything after a Caterham feels like a barge. I had a Giulia 2000GTV recently and sold it. It just didn't deliver like a Seven. They are unique. Such great drivers cars...