Caterham Seven Superlight Twenty celebrates 1996 original

Latest special edition matches the power-to-weight ratio of the Seven 270

Twenty years ago, the original Caterham Seven Superlight completely changed perception of the lightweight sports car.

Always entertaining, balanced and fast on road and track, the Superlight offered supercar-slaying performance through a combination of ultra light weight – from GRP seats, and the removal of the windscreen, carpets and spare wheel – and tuning to the model’s Rover K-Series engine.

Ahead of the Goodwood Revival, Caterham has launched an homage to the original with the Superlight Twenty. With reference to both the anniversary of the original and the number Caterham will produce, the Superlight isn’t quite as extreme now as it seemed back then, but it’s still fast.

A 135bhp, 122lb ft version of the 1.6-litre Ford Sigma engine sits under the nose panel, putting its power through a six-speed close-ratio gearbox. The result is a 0-60mph time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 122mph – aerodynamics has never been the Seven’s forte.

There’s also a lightweight flywheel to help the engine spin up, a limited-slip differential to curtail unwanted wheelspin at the rear, and a ‘Sport’ suspension pack to lessen your chances of spinning out on the circuit.

Alongside those features is a carbonfibre dashboard – previously the reserve of Caterham’s current range-topper, the 620R – and carbon sports seats. Each car features a numbered dash plaque, unique gauges and a Superlight Twenty motif on the gearknob and key.

In all, the latest Superlight tips the scales at 498kg, for a power-to-weight ratio of 271bhp per ton. That effectively matches the existing Caterham Seven 270, illustrating the car’s position in the Caterham range.

Caterham calls it one of the ‘most visceral’ cars it has produced yet, despite its relative lack of performance next to the more powerful models in the Caterham range. The company says it has attempted to recreate the magic of the original in the latest car, which ‘epitomises Colin Chapman’s fundamental principles of performance through light weight’.

Lightweight it may be, but the price tag reflects its rarity – each of the 20 examples made will cost £29,995 factory-built (£26,995 if you want to build it yourself), to the £22,995 Caterham charges for a Seven 270. The car will be launched at this weekend’s Goodwood Revival.

Recommended

Lotus Type 131 production confirmed for this year
Type 131 render
Lotus

Lotus Type 131 production confirmed for this year

All-new sports car to rival the iconic Porsche 911 and set the blueprint for Lotus's future models
25 Jan 2021
Next-generation Nissan Z revealed in patent images
Nissan Z Proto patent front
Nissan 370Z

Next-generation Nissan Z revealed in patent images

We’ve already seen it in concept-form, but these patent renders offer a first look at the model in production spec
15 Jan 2021
New Alpine A110 goes electric
Alpine ranges
Alpine A110

New Alpine A110 goes electric

French sports car to be replaced by battery electric sports car co-developed by Lotus.  
14 Jan 2021
Audi TT review
Audi TT Coupe review
Audi TT coupe

Audi TT review

The Audi TT is still sharp to look at and comes with a lovely interior, but still doesn't hit the right notes on a twisting road
13 Jan 2021

Most Popular

Lotus Type 131 production confirmed for this year
Type 131 render
Lotus

Lotus Type 131 production confirmed for this year

All-new sports car to rival the iconic Porsche 911 and set the blueprint for Lotus's future models
25 Jan 2021
Naturally aspirated engines – best of the breed from 4-pots to V12s
Naturally aspirated engines - group
Supercars

Naturally aspirated engines – best of the breed from 4-pots to V12s

The naturally aspirated engine is capable of stirring emotions a turbocharged motor can only dream of. We celebrate the best of the breed.
22 Jan 2021
Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS: history, specs and buying guide
Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS buying guide
Ferrari

Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS: history, specs and buying guide

With a little help from a certain private eye, the 308 GTB/GTS would become Ferrari’s best-selling model. Here’s our essential guide
25 Jan 2021