2017 will mark 60 years since the Lotus Seven was released, but Caterham have started the celebrations early with a new limited edition model. The latest Caterham, the Seven Sprint has been styled to look like a Seven from the mid-60s, and only 60 will be built by the factory – and every single one was sold in the seven days following its unveiling at the Goodwood Revival.
Given Caterham typically sells around 500 cars a year, that makes the Sprint particularly lucrative for the company, selling more than 10 per cent of its annual output in the space of a week. Its success means we'd not be surprised to see further specials on the horizon.
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Those 60 buyers get a car far removed from the striped, track-ready focus of most of Caterham's modern output. The elongated, flared front arches of Lotus and Caterhams of old are back, and it sports a set of cream painted steel wheels and hubcaps.
The Sprint can be finished in a selection colours that were popular British manufacturer colours in 1966 and 67. Caterham has also given them with appropriate names; if you’re one of the 60 buyers you can choose from either Mellow Yellow, Regency Red, Camberwick Green, British Racing Green, Misty Blue and, the not so imaginative, Cream.
The Sprint’s chassis has been powder-coated the same grey as a Series 2 Lotus 7, rather than black like modern Caterhams, as have the roll bar and front suspension wishbones. The large graphics typical of the latest Caterham range have been replaced with retro looking badges too.
Inside the old style continues with a wood rimmed steering wheel, wood-effect dashboard and classic instrument layout. The interior and luggage compartment are fully carpeted and the seats and interior panels are trimmed in red vinyl.
The Sprint certainly looks just like a 60s Lotus Seven but underneath it’s as modern as Caterhams get. It’s based on Caterham’s 160 and has the same 79bhp, three-cylinder, turbocharged engine.
The new car was launched at the Goodwood Revival, an appropriate event as both the car and the event set out to celebrate a golden era of motoring.
Next year will see the Seven’s 60th anniversary festivities go into full swing and the Caterham Festival at Donnington next summer will host a spectacular celebration.