1. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    A few of the regulars had mentioned that I should post a thread of my building my Caterham 7, so what better time than when its cold and crappy outside.

    The Caterham 7 has been building cars since 1974 after the purchase of the rights to the Lotus 7. The Lotus 7 was produced from 1957-1973 in various series' (1-4) as a kit in order to dodge the heavy sales taxes levied by the government. Lotus founder Colin Chapman found that there was a loophole in the taxes if you built the car yourself. The cost was almost half of a fully built car. You could get them either way, but most were in kit form. In 1973 the laws were changed closing the tax loophole and it was a way for Lotus to bow out of the "kit car" business as he wanted to move upscale with production of the Esprit due any time. The founder of Caterham Cars, who were the number one seller of the Lotus 7, approached Colin Chapman and he struck a deal to purchase the rights to keep on building them and Caterham Cars was born. They've been building them ever since.

    I ordered the kit from a local friend and dealer in Buffalo NY back in November of 2017 expecting delivery in June or July of 2018.... Well, that never happened. A few things delayed the delivery. The factory is in England and being part of the EU, they were being forced to re-certify the engines for all the cars that were being delivered to the EU countries causing a huge delay. Along with that, they decided to move the paint shop "In house" also causing a delay while they set up a new paint shop in the factory.
    I finally got the car in on Feb. 9th 2019. 95 hours later it was finally ready for the road!

    All of the space frame chassis and aluminum body work is completed at the factory. The date on the pics are in euro dating method, day/month/year.
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    Delivery 2/9/2019
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    Couple of hours and a few beers later here it is in the shop.
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    Almost all of the wiring harness and dash were installed at the factory
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    I opted for the uprated AP Racing 4 pot calipers, vented rotors and HP master cylinder.
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  2. live4theking

    live4theking Old Man with a Hat

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    Now that's a model car I could get into making. Looks great.
     
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  3. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    The build manual was like the same thing you would get in a model kit. Bunch of pictures with diagrams and not much instruction. LOL, it wasn't too bad once you got used to it.
    First up getting it spun around and up on the lift. Having a lift was a God send. I don't know how the guys do it in England with garage the size of one of Doc's storage units!
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    Building the front end was up first.
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    Front Brakes and Rotors, piping to the Calipers, coil over Bilstein shocks...
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    All done on the suspension for now.
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    The engine and trans came in the giant wooden crate that it's sitting on. My buddy Keith came over to give me a hand putting the engine and trans in.
    Its a European Ford Sigma 1.6 liter engine with Caterham engine mapping and they must have done something else to the heads as it puts out 140 HP. Most 1.6 Ford's that they put in the Fiesta etc. only make 115 HP over here. Now before you think WTF... 140 HP whoop de doo. Keep in mind this car tips the scales at 1200 lbs. That equates to 280 HP per ton. O-60 time.... 5.0 seconds. Not too shabby.
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  4. marko

    marko Active Member FCBO Gold Member

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    pretty awesome !
    ive got a buddy here who is building a 7 as well, his is 2" wider, 2" higher and 4" longer so it can use a ford zetec.
    (it was properly engineered).
    its in final stages now, has to get painted and interior finished out.
    if you like, i will get some pics when im over there next week.
    hes also got a triumph gt6 with a 3.5 v8....... close your eyes and u think u are in a 70s trans am heheh
     
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  5. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    Before putting the engine in I diverted from the build guide and put on just about every heater and radiator hose I could think of that seemed like it would be a pain in the butt later.
    That worked out for once! The engine is sooooo tight in the compartment I can't imagine doing afterwards!
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    In she goes! What a job that was. The book doesn't explain it and frankly I never noticed when looking at any other 7's but the engine is canted ala the leaning tower of power about 10- degrees longitudinally! We fought for hours trying to line up the motor mounts only realizing it by bolting the engine mounts to the frame end first instead of the engine end. Finally you could see how it needed to list to the passenger side!
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    Unfortunately while I was under the car trying to see what was going on. A screw in the same pocket that my phone was in, smashed the lens, perfect shot! Sorry about the quality of the pics....
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    Radiator and the rest of the hoses are in. IMAG1098.jpg
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    On to the exhaust system. The beautiful chromed exhaust comes in four separate pieces that had to fed throught the body one at a time from the back to the front. They all go into a collector on the cat.
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  6. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    That would be great! Post them up here when you get them I'd love to see them!

    He must have what they call the SV chassis. It is about 2" wider. I didn't know it was longer but that could be. That thing is going to go like hell!
    Lots of guys put the Zetec in and the 2.0 Duratec also. The highest output is the 2.0 Duratec with the supercharger. 620 HP/ ton. 0-60 in 2.6 sec..... That's waaaaaay to much for me!!! LOL
     
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  7. Newport 66

    Newport 66 Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    What a great project!! Thanks for sharing your build with us and providing so much detail and great pictures!!
     
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  8. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    Thanks for all the likes and compliments you guys!:thumbsup:

    The transmission is a 5spd Mazda, like the ones they put in the MX5 Miata, tried and true. A six speed was available but I'm not going to track the car so I really didn't need anymore ratios. The rear is from a BMW but I didn't get the limited slip rear. I've got enough tied up in this, maybe if I went with a bigger engine but its fine the way it is.

    The rear suspension is a DeDion design.
    Here is a pretty cool explanation....De Dion Suspension | Automotive Terminology Explained

    Its a little above my feeble mind to explain exactly how it works but it was used on tons of Formula 1 cars in the sixties. I think the idea was to keep the tires flat on the ground in hard cornering. I also opted for the rear sway bar.


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    Rear Hubs are bolted to the Dedion tube that runs across to the other side.
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    Here's the rear Bilstein coil overs going in...
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    The rear sway bar was also installed There is quite a bit of adjustment on it depending your driving.

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    After that I was ready to put the rear rotors and brakes. Extra higher performance pads came with the upgraded brake option.
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    Keep in mind that there is no power brakes, no traction control or power steering!
    After hours of bleeding and what seemed like gallons of brake fluid I finally got the brakes bled.
    Wheels on and ready to hit the ground.
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    I took the top off and mounted the roll bar.
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    When I let it on the ground is the first time i really got the feeling of how low this thing rides. And how light. I could literally roll it back and forth with 2 fingers:rofl:
     
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  9. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    Thanks! Actually I'm having a blast going through it again. The car is in hibernation right now and its putting a smile on my face doing this. Firing me up and looking forward to spring!
    Ground Hog Day tomorrow! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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  10. live4theking

    live4theking Old Man with a Hat

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    I noticed that there is one thing missing from this project.

    Before I get to the missing item I see that you made Keith do all of the heavy lifting... :poke: What are friends for right.

    Oh, back to the item that is missing... I didn't see a spec of rust anywhere... What is it like to have a project with no rust? :poke:
     
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  11. Turboomni

    Turboomni Old Man with a Hat

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    Cool car thanks for posting! Must be a hoot to drive.:thumbsup:
     
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  12. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    Of course!

    No rust and no 20 year old grease! In fact no grease what so ever!

    Thanks and it is!
     
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  13. LocuMob

    LocuMob Fluid Technician with a hat FCBO Gold Member

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    I learned about these cars from Top Gear, and that you don't need the top dog model to have fun with them. It was fun to watch them build one, then race it in a narrow timeframe. I'd be smiling thinking about whipping around in one of these too!
     
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  14. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    But just think of what it could do with a 5.7 Hemi.

    Dave
     
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  15. LocuMob

    LocuMob Fluid Technician with a hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Plow into the corners with tons of understeer. But that straightline run would be fun.
     
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  16. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Agreed too much nose weight to ever be roadworthy with a Hemi. Wonder if they offer any other engines. 2.4 turbo could be interesting.

    Dave
     
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  17. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    Not needed.... crack open a beer and watch this video...
     
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  18. 75LandYacht

    75LandYacht Yank Tank FCBO Gold Member

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    That’s awesome Kenny.. like to come see it some day.. :rolleyes:
     
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  19. twostick

    twostick Senior Member

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    That episode was hilarious. They had to build it and drive it to the track in a day or maybe less. Captain Slow was in charge of the build I think.

    Kevin
     
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  20. 78Brougham

    78Brougham Deplorable FCBO Gold Member

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    Thanks John! And anytime!
    I'll post up more pics later today.
     
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