"Entirely New" Caterham Promised Just In Time For Lotus's Mainstreaming

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

In 1973, Lotus shocked its fans by announcing that its seminal model, the Super Seven, would no longer be sold as a Lotus. Lotus’s largest dealer at the time bought the rights to the Lotus 7 design and began manufacturing the stripped-down roadster as the Caterham 7. Since then, Caterham has built versions of the 7 without interruption, cementing Colin Chapman’s most influential design as a modern enthusiast classic. Now could it all be about to happen again? Autocar reports that

Caterham has revealed plans to launch an all-new model at the Autosport International show next month. The firm is providing few clues as to the identity of the new model, but has said the model will not be another variant of the Seven and will be the first all-new Caterham since the 21 from the 1990s.

What’s most fascinating about this is that Caterham’s “entirely new” car (which, by the standards of the firm probably means the design is less than 30 years old) is coming out just as Lotus is once again moving up the sportscar ladder to roll out ever larger and more mainstream models. With the next Lotus Elise set to gain a considerable amount of weight (reportedly some 400 lbs), the Lotus faithful are doubtless hoping that Caterham snags the rights to Lotus’s mid-engined, latter-day Seven, and builds it for another 30 years. Of course, if that happens I’ll want my cut of the proceeds… not to mention a crazed R500 version. On the other hand, for all we know, Caterham is actually planning on building an SUV or four-door coupe, or some other nonsense.

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  • Chaparral Chaparral on Dec 13, 2010

    They could make history repeat itself! Build the "classic" Elise. Use a tiny little new engine. I think the new turbocharged twin cylinder FIAT would be a riot in that little car and would make them the envy of every other manufacturer for CO2 figures.

  • Wallstreet Wallstreet on Dec 13, 2010

    No kidding! I might want to save up for one of this versus buying a Harley.

  • Morea Morea on Dec 14, 2010

    The Nürburgring in the wet: a true test of a car's inherent balance.

  • Vaujot Vaujot on Dec 14, 2010

    I'd suggest a slower and more crash-worthy vehicle for learning the Nordschleife.

    • StevenJJ StevenJJ on Dec 14, 2010

      It looks like he knows his way round there and is having a hell of a job keeping it going (apart from that little slip). No one else is out there which is telling.