The previous reports from Ben Nicholls, Jan Hatton and Ben Hanford are in the links below; here is the fourth, from Stephen Charlesworth.
When morning comes, it's clear that I've not lost all enthusiasm for the 7, as my girlfriend notes that I haven't leapt out of bed this quickly since she told me she wanted to try for a baby. Which brings me onto an important detail; she's eight months pregnant, and the three of us are about to go out for a drive in the smallest car on the road. Not a proper hoon (too risky), but a six-tenths, getting-to-know-you kind of trip. Now that the roof is down, the weather is dry and the roads are twisty, I start to enjoy the car. The steering is so direct; it really is like a go-kart. Cornering grip and traction are both immense on the sticky Avons. I start to explain to my passenger how easy it is to heel-and-toe, just as she starts to explain to me how uncomfortable she is. The suspension feels too firm for your average B-road. I'm sure it's great on the smooth surface of a track, but I'd probably leave the 'track suspension pack' box unticked on my order form. Still, it's a lot of fun to drive even at these low levels of commitment, so I head back to base to make a drop-off, then head back out on my own.
I had previously thought that the Caterham image was too 'bearded car geek in a shed' for young 'uns to think the car cool. I was proven wrong over the weekend. Upon returning to the car after stopping off for a coffee, I found it surrounded by teenagers on BMX bikes. I checked my pockets, picturing thieving hands reaching through the gap twixt door and roof to grasp at a forgotten mobile. Such fears were unfounded; "Is it road legal?" asked one young, enquiring mind. I confirmed that it was and pointed to the number plates. "That's got to be the fastest road legal car in the world!" he asserted. They moved away and waited a little further up the road, presumably wanting to see the car in motion, but lost interest and disappeared after watching me spend several minutes taking the roof off, failing to fold it neatly and stuffing it in the 'boot'. They didn't even hang around to see me get grease on my jeans from the steering column, bang my kneecap on the stupidly-placed ignition barrel AGAIN, or smash my knuckles into the dash when putting the car into gear. However, by the time I had retrieved the four-point harness from underneath my backside and was ready to pull away, a little girl had wandered over with her mum. "Is that a car for children?" she asked. Well, sort of. 36-year-old children, to be precise.
Car: Caterham Seven 310R
Run by: Whoever makes Matt coffee. Oh yes, and the comp winners...
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: Is this the first time three people have been in a Caterham?
We need help building 'our' 310R
It's built, now to get it on the road
A splendid start for summer in a Seven
One PHer down, six more to follow...
August sunshine in a Seven? Not quite!
PistonHeads - Practicality Matters
Find out more about Caterham here.
[Lead images: Michael Topham]