Caterham delves into past with delightfully retro Seven Sprint
Caterham's design philosophy isn't exactly overwhelmingly modern to begin with, so it's not a huge surprise to learn that the company has looked back in time to find inspiration for its latest offering. The new Seven Sprint uses the same underpinnings as the entry-level Seven 160, but all the details are firmly rooted in the 1960s.
The release of the Sprint is part of the company's "60 years of the Seven" celebrations, which will culminate with a bash at Donington Park next year. The Seven began as the Lotus 7 in 1957, and Caterham started building it under license from Lotus until 1973.
The main aim of the Seven Sprint is to take the modern(ish) Seven silhouette and punt it back to the swinging sixties. Sure, the silhouette is still largely the same as before, but the powder-coated chassis and rollover bar are almost identical to the ones you'd find on a period Series 2 Lotus 7.
Beyond the chassis, most of the changes to the Seven 160 are superficial styling touches. Gone are the one-piece brake lights and in their place are classic split units, working with the polished exhaust silencer, hubcaps and flared wheelarches to put forward a more classic appearance. Six colors are available, all of which featured on the 1960 palette.
If the exterior isn't enough to get the nostalgia flowing freely, the interior surely will. The bland buckets and chubby steering wheel are replaced with a set of gorgeous red leather seats and a wood-rimmed wheel. This might be derivative of the most basic interior Caterham offers, but it looks properly special in classic guise.
Under the hood, the Sprint's miniature power output is yet another throwback. Power comes from a three-cylinder Suzuki engine, pumping out just 80 hp (60 kW) and 107 Nm of torque. It's hooked up to the skinny rear tires through a five speed manual gearbox.
Pricing for the Sprint kicks off at £27,995 (US$37,310), which makes it £10,000 ($13,328) more expensive than the mechanically identical Seven 160. Only 60 examples will be built, and they'll all be sold to European and UK customers.
Caterham will launch the Seven Sprint at the Goodwood Revival this weekend.