Britain's Greatest Car Manufacturer - Caterham
Next in our series, determining the greatest car manufacturer in Britain is Caterham who produce kit-cars with power-to-weight ratios that rival a Veyron and provide an experience almost unparallel.
Inspiration Behind Caterham
In 1957, Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars, built the iconic two-seater sports car called the Lotus Seven. The design of this car was guided by the philosophy of 'Simplify then add lightness'.
Chance Encounter by Graham Nearn
Graham Nearn, who would later go on to create Caterham, became captivated by this car and the concept behind it. He had acquired the rights to the Seven from Colin Chapman in 1973 - the same year Lotus discontinued their Seven Series. Caterham sought to maintain this philosophy and start building lightweight sports cars with the original design.
The Legend Continues
The Caterham Seven Series has been in production ever since 1973 and has spawned six variants which weigh just over 500kg and range from 80 - 310bhp. These variants suit a variety of driving styles and also experience.
"it is still terrifyingly fast. In fact, its power-to-weight ratio is comparable to that of a McLaren 570GT. - Dan Prosser, Autocar
Caterham's world-beating Seven Series has seen them boast accolades such as their 620R model having a power-to-weight ratio which can beat a Bugatti Veyron. This encapsulates everything about Caterham as their constant strive for lightweight performance has seen them compete with the heavyweights of the performance world.
"It’s almost as quick as the racing car, but it’s fairly easy to drive and it isn’t on a knife-edge". - Stuart Foulds, the BookaTrack Caterham workshop manager
Caterham in Motorsport
Caterham's interests have extended into Motorsport with a brief stint in Formula 1 from 2012-14. The global appeal of F1 raised the profile of the manufacturer who has now teamed up with Supercharger to distribute their cars in the USA.
Caterham also had a stint in GP2 from 2010-2014 and also the GP2 Asia Series from 2011-2014.
Caterham's Racing Philosophy
Caterham launched their own driver academy in 1995 which is aimed at novice race car drivers with no experience. The academy has helped over 1,000 drivers and has sold out every year since its inception.
The Future of Caterham
Caterham is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year and their contribution to British motoring has seen them create a global brand adored by car enthusiasts and feature in many countdowns of best cars which further illustrate their reputation as being a manufacturer who is respected by their industry. However, is it enough to be regarded as the best of all time or are there others?
Next in our series is Ginetta.