The first report from Ben Nicholls is in the links below, so here's the second from Jan Hatton. We've managed to pack quite a few weekends recently so expect the next few updates to follow thick and fast - stay tuned!
Finally, the A40. I was apprehensive, my other experience of Caterhams being a slightly clumsy 270S test drive - which didn't quite do it for me - and then a quick lap of Gatwick in a 310S on the build day. That was better, although I was still not quite on board with the Caterham marketing line of 'if we could only build one it would be the 310'. However, take the passenger out, remind yourself that this isn't a diesel and that there there is life past 4,000rpm, and it flies! And then there was the A40 underpass - what a noise! So should this be the only Caterham? Well actually, even if money was no option, I think that this is still the engine I would have...
On day two I planned to cross from Berkshire, through Hampshire and into West Sussex, and then the rain started. Even in a light drizzle it became clear that this car is quite simply exceptional: the grip, the communication and control through the tiny Momo wheel is just right, and it's not even too heavy at parking speeds.
As the day progressed from drizzle to cats 'n' dogs we conceded that it was time to erect the comedy roof - if you ever want to make other road users happy, fitting a Caterham hood in a thunderstorm will do it! Apparently it is easier when warm, an irony not lost on me while trying to stretch the fabric to reach the poppers in a torrential downpour. Once in the visibility is OK, the wipers are tiny but effective and water drips in but not excessively. In the end it seems that it is possible to even have fun in a Caterham in a storm.
The plan for the final two days with the car was a trip from Berkshire to Bath for a stay in a fancy hotel. Given the introduction of a slightly disbelieving and uncertain passenger, the pace for this journey was going to be very different. Once on the road though it was all remarkably civilised, cosy but comfortable enough and a joy to be in the open air. With the doors on, heater vents open and a warm hat we were fine; in fact, once you get over 50mph most of the rain blows over the top of the screen. Despite a sceptical start we both agreed that with regular stops a tour could be quite painless, even fun. I would probably consider the larger SV for road use with inertia belts and an open/quieter diff though.
Car: Caterham Seven 310R
Run by: Whoever makes Matt the best coffee
On fleet since: April 2017
List price new: £23,495 (As tested £38,930 comprising £2,500 for factory build, £4,495 for R pack, £200 for track suspension pack, £675 for ventilated front brakes with quad piston calipers, £200 for 13-inch Apollo black alloys on Avon ZZS tyres, £1,250 for full weather equipment and side screens, £95 for side screen arm rests, £80 for hood bag, £95 for boot cover in carbon vinyl, £115 for fully carpeted interior, £400 for carbon leather seats, £150 for Momo quick release steering wheel, £300 for heater, £300 for Sequential shift lights, £495 for lowered floors, £900 for high intensity lights with LED daytime running lights, £1,000 for Miami Blue custom colour, £395 for full decal pack, £995 for full paint protection and £895 for on the road package)
Last month at a glance: August weekend with the roof on a Seven? Good old Britain!
Find out more about Caterham here.