Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Caterham Cars

From Graces Guide
October 1994.

Caterham Cars is a manufacturer of specialist lightweight sports cars based in Caterham, Surrey.

Caterham Cars had been a major Lotus dealer during the 60s, and its founder, Graham Nearn, purchased the rights to continue manufacture of the Seven design from Colin Chapman in 1973, after Lotus announced their intention to discontinue the model. Caterham initially restarted manufacture of the Lotus Seven Series 4, however when this proved unpopular production switched to a Series 3 model in 1974.

As with their Lotus Seven precursors, Caterhams are constructed of aluminium sheet attached to a tubular steel chassis. All Sevens are front engined with rear wheel drive and two seats. Their extremely high performance is achieved through light weight (less than 500 kg on some versions) rather than particularly powerful engines.

Chapman and Lotus helped to pioneer the British kit car industry. The Lotus Seven was offered in kit form to allow buyers to avoid new car tax in the UK. Subsequently Caterham continued offering cars in 'complete knock down' kit form as the tradition of hand building your own Seven was well established amongst enthusiasts. Today, all Caterham Sevens are still offered in kit form in the UK except the CSR model.

The company is now based in Dartford.

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