RE: Caterham CSR 260: Spotted

RE: Caterham CSR 260: Spotted

Thursday 11th October

Caterham CSR 260: Spotted

Fancy the last Cosworth-powered Seven ever made? Yep, us too



Curious car, the CSR. It was launched in 2005, and was billed as the first genuinely 'new' Seven in 48 years. Caterham had a proper swing at it, too. Bigger, stiffer, plusher, faster, better was the general idea, and, to all intents and purposes, the range-topper fulfilled its ambitious brief.

A significant period of development rendered a car larger than the Series 3 (it was based on the SV), one specifically re-engineered for enhanced torsional rigidity and with lift-mitigating aerodynamics. The Seven's cheerfully rudimentary suspension was replaced, too, double wishbones now featuring all-round, with pushrods linking coilover spring and damper units.

It was as trick as a magician's card deck, and Caterham reputedly worked its way through 36 possible settings for the front shocks to ensure it was perfect. Along with 89 for the rears. The result, according to Chris H while he still called Autocar home, was 'the best damping on UK roads of any sports car I have ever driven.'


High praise indeed. Its ability to levitate over British B roads was rounded out with a different breed of engine. Rather than pushing a K-Series motor further into the realms of improbability, Caterham had Cosworth breath on a much leggier 2.3-litre Ford Duratec unit until it produced 264hp at 7,200rpm. And 200lb ft of torque at 6,200rpm.

The latter figure, combined with the slightly less stressed character of the larger engine, made the CSR seriously fast, but also a mite less frenetic (if only for the fewer gear changes it demanded compared to its stablemates). Married to the suspension's unflappable level of control, that helped make it a ground coverer par excellence.

And because it was roomier and (optionally) ritzier than the stock models with an uprated dashboard, it was comfier, too. As a result, it seemed well placed to appeal to a customer that might not have previously considered a Seven among the three or four British-built two-seat prospects. Harris himself thought it was an "extraordinary vehicle, and one that will have a profound effect on the company."


Ten years later though, today's Spotted signalled the end of production without much fanfare. The fact that it hadn't propelled the firm into an entirely new orbit was lamentable - although understandable enough in hindsight. For a start, while the concept was impressively well conceived, it indubitably remained a Seven, and therefore retained many of the car's infamous limitations.

No impediment whatsoever to the established fanbase, but a marked disadvantage when compared to impermeable options like the Lotus Exige - newly launched in Series 2 format in 2004. Then there was the cost: fully £34,500 if you built it yourself; £37,000 if you got Caterham to do it for you. Enough for even the most ardent enthusiast to pause and consider whether or not one of the less sophisticated Sevens might not do the trick.

Of course, the combination of Cosworth mechanicals with Caterham running gear was easily persuasive enough for some, and even if it failed to properly crack the sports car-buying mainstream, a ten-year life cycle is obviously testament to the CSR's enduring appeal among aficionados. Certainly the last of its kind fits that billing, especially with just 2,635 miles on the clock. The asking price of history? £45,995. Oof.


SPECIFICATION - CATERHAM CSR 260

Engine: 2,261cc four-cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 264@7,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 200@6,200rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
Year registered: 2005
Recorded miles: 2,635
Price new: £37,000
Price now: £45,995

See the full ad here.

Author
Discussion

PaulD86

Original Poster:

630 posts

60 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
A friend had one of these and I spent a few hours driving it. Never have I been in another car that rode so differently to how I had expected it to. One of the most complaint suspension setups I have experienced. Looks like it will be rough as hell, is actually Mercedes S Class smooth. It shifted too. I had wheel spin at just over 30 in 4th when I gave the throttle a good prod. And the noise it made - side exit exhaust beside your ears and an engine than pops and bangs plenty on the overrun certainly didn't make it a peaceful drive. Great fun though!

JerryF

66 posts

108 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
Year registered is 2015 not 2005 as stipulated above.

Turbobanana

1,115 posts

135 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
Love, but it's a bit monochrome isn't it? I'd want some colour in there somewhere.

yonex

12,350 posts

102 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
I never understood why Caterham didn’t stick with this and went back to the S3?

sideways man

533 posts

71 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
That’s going in my lottery win garage without a doubt.
Advertisement

Daveyraveygravey

1,352 posts

118 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
Anyone who doesn't burn with desire to own one of these just should not be on Pistonheads.

rtz62

1,507 posts

89 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
JerryF said:
Year registered is 2015 not 2005 as stipulated above.
To be a pedant about your pedantry re the year of registration, I don't think you mean stipulate (Oxford English Dictionary; "Demand or specify (a requirement), typically as part of an agreement.")
May I suggest 'suggested' or 'stated'..?

Joking aside, perhaps this is a Caterham aimed more at the likes of me;
early 50's, likes a bit of comfort (in Caterham terms), and not a 'driving god', more a guy who can pedal a car well at perhaps at 8/10ths of its abilities.
I'd never considered a Caterham before, just too impractical for me but this just may have changed my mind.
Anyhoo, off to tip the sofa upside down and see what £££ has collected down there over the years....

lee_erm

698 posts

127 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
I wish Ford had used that particular engine in that state of tune in a hot hatch.

Simon Owen

149 posts

68 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
After 16 years of 7 ownership ( S3 not CSR & sold purely to have something we could use 'more of the time' ) everything else seems a backward step in terms of pure driver enjoyment on the road. Following a tin top down the road in a 7 is quite shocking, the effortless nature of the way a well set up 7 goes, stops & changes direction is awesome !!

One day there will be another one in the garage :-)

ash73

14,956 posts

155 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
That's crying out for some gold decals, just a hint of JPS.


Turbobanana

1,115 posts

135 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
ash73 said:
That's crying out for some gold decals, just a hint of JPS.

Yup, works for me.

R400TVR

214 posts

96 months

Thursday 11th October
quotequote all
Surely the best Caterham ever made. Pity they never offered it with the engine from the Levante!

sidesauce

789 posts

152 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
Daveyraveygravey said:
Anyone who doesn't burn with desire to own one of these just should not be on Pistonheads.
Why? I don't like Caterhams, never have, never will - they're just not my 'thing'. I respect them for what they are, absolutely, but I will never desire to own any car of this type (BAC Mono, Caterham, Ariel Atom, KTM X-Bow etc etc) whatsoever.

smilo996

1,428 posts

104 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
What a little gem. Never seen one in black and really like it.
That interior too, so luxurious😃
Might be a bit too Bavarian after a while but hey.
Seems like a very well sorted car too. But 45k?

Plate spinner

12,807 posts

134 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
yonex said:
I never understood why Caterham didn’t stick with this and went back to the S3?
My guess is the customer base decided they wanted the S3.

Having owned a Caterham and met plenty of others in the club, I can see why. The average owner is not mega-minted, they are simply a driving enthusiast with enough spare coin for a fun / impractical toy and some spanners they sometimes like to use.
So whilst making it plush and even faster makes sense on paper and for press reviews, most can get 99% of the thrill with a much more basic, cheaper model. Also more fun to tinker / mod yourself when it's cheaper and basic.

I had an S3 165bhp k-series roadsport and really didn't need anything faster - for most punters using their car on road and occasional track days, this is plenty. I don't mind admitting I ran out of talent / bravery before the car ran out of power.

And to make it more habitable? Well, I never saw the point - it was a silly car for having fun on silly journeys and road trips.

If I wanted something more refined and more expensive, I think I would have been heading off to Lotus to see what they would sell me. In actual fact, I've now got an old Porsche Boxster for pretty much those reasons.

Anyway, all IMHO. Good luck to Caterham though, fantastic cars and a truly unique experience!

Simon Owen

149 posts

68 months

Friday 12th October
quotequote all
One of the joys of a S3 Caterham on the road is its size, combined with ballistic performance and stopping power you just have so many options on a typical B road compared to a normal car.

The CSR is fab and it is of course all relative but it does feel a lot bigger punting down a B road.