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South Bay 7's?

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  • South Bay 7's?

    Hi guys,

    While new here, I've already shared a couple emails with Magnus and Brad who were most helpful! I don't have a Caterham, but I can see myself getting one in the not so distant future...

    I saw a yellow Catherham last Thu or Fri in San Jose, I think going north on San Thomas Exwy if I recall correctly. It was beautiful, and reminded me of this fantastic car, and after some internet searches, I found this forum...

    I am aware of the event at Infineon later in October, but I would love to see a Caterham before that. That's a long wait! :)

    Is there anyone in the SJ area open to meeting me somewhere to show me their 7?

    As I shared with Magnus and Brad, I want to spend the next year or two getting to know these cars, and the various options available. I want to make sure that I order the one best-suited to my needs, including the multitude of options. Heck, I might even get an engine (Duratec, who knows...) and work on that as a winter project... Hard to say as this is my first year being married, and time for projects is not what it once was, but I gladly accept that trade-off...

    San Jose 7's, please let me know if I can see your ride! Thanks a bunch.

  • #2
    So you want a Seven?

    Hey Tony,
    Welcome to the world of a great car. I did basically what you are wanting to do; check out a lot of cars and figure out what exactly I wanted. It arrived last month as a Caterham kit (Superlight R) but I am just looking at it sit in my garage (have another important project that comes first). I'm looking to get it registered in January. If you want to come take a look that would be fine. I don't live in San Jose, but San Anselmo 15 miles north of the GG Bridge. Be gone from this Sunday until the first of the month but anytime other than that would be fine. I highly recomment trying to make the Sevens Festival. If you have a helmet bring it with you as there will be rides on the track available at racing speeds. The local Caterham dealer, Golden Gate Sevens, is right there at Sears Pt. Rich has several cars and would be glad to have you come up for a look. Call him in advance to be sure he is there and, if there is an event (most weekends) call for sure to see how to get to see him without having to pay to enter the event. Buy some books on Sevens. I got four or five and read them cover to cover. Frequent this and other forums. It you end up wanting a Caterham be sure to plan its order in time so you will have the car well before the first of the year so you can get your SB100 sequence number to register the car. You don't want the car arriving in late February and, then, having to wait until the next January to register it. Be glad to talk to you anytime or come up for a visit. I know there are several Caterhams in your area and you will probably be hearing from some of them.
    Steve Stephens


    • #3
      TonyB: The Lotus 7 Club of Great Britain ( has the best 7 internet forum on the planet. There are around 3500 members and many of them are active on the forum. They own a myriad of differently equipped cars (mostly Caterhams) and just about whatever you can contemplate doing to a 7 a bunch of them have already done and will debate the best method before your eyes on their forum. Ya want launch control, two bike engines with a common crank to make a lightweight 2 liter 320 HP V8, a hillclimb setup, a single motorcycle engine, aerodynamic mods, adjustable suspension; well, you have but to ask and the info will spew forth. The forum was really useful to me when I ordered my car and had little idea what to do. It's a great resource that you should check out and sign up for in order to get the best car you can! 8)


      • #4
        Blatchat is dead right now.... having technical probs :(

        There is another budding forum here

        It may (or may not) be the Blatchat successor, because Blatchat will allow post only from paying club members soon. At least that is what they are saying for a few months....



        • #5
          Gert, Well now, that's a new 7 site, to me. It appears to be a lot of BC UK regulars posting on a new thread. Do you know if it has been around very long? Can't have too many... 8)

          TonyB: This will be another excellent spot to ask experienced 7ers about how to spec your car and how best to build it. 8)


          • #6
            Wow, for a fourm with so few folks, I'm surprised to come home to several replies already. Thank you! Steve, I will gladly take you up on that offer. I actually read several of your threads that one evening that gave me much insight into the whole process, and all that's involved...

            The next few weekends are tied-up preparing for our (wife and I) US wedding party on 10/10. So, I might not be able to make it up your way until after then. I will give you a ring - much appreicated!

            I'm looking forward to seeing the chassis, and all of the various components as much as I want to see a finished 7. Did the chassis or tubular frame change over the past few years? It would seem that with the move to larger displacement engine options, the need for more rigidity wouuld be in order. I ask out of curiousty, and also because if I see a 7 for sale, but with a powerplant that I might want to change, I'd like to know if the frame could handle the extra torque...

            Roll a 7, I had no idea guys were using such power plants! From my brief readings here I thought it was just the benchmark Crossflow, then the newer Ztech and lighter Duratec. I will check-out that website now! One more to add to my Caterham favorites folder :wink:

            Gert, thank you as well. I'm going to be a spoonge, and this all helps!

            Well, I've got pass a test for work tomorrow morning, so I need to get studying. Thanks again for the hospitality!


            • #7
              Hi Brad,

              I think the Seventorque Forum has been around for 3 or 4 months now. My guess it was mostly initiated by people ticked off by the officially announced new posting policy on Blatchat. Let's see if the gurus on Blatchat are moving over.

              May be a moot point, since I read that Blatchat lost all their data due to a hard drive crash that may be non-recoverable. That would mean all the collected knowledge is gone :cry: Oh well, who will care in 20 years from now....


              P.S.: Welcome Tony! Make sure to come to Infineon in October. I'll be there.


              • #8

                Do come up to see my car after the end of the month. I think Caterham frames have been pretty much the same for many years now and should be able to take almost all the power you can fit into it.

                What engine(s) have you been considering? I chose "just" a Zetec but the SVT version that gives 185-90 HP which is just about all one can use on the street. It will probably remain totally stock and I will have a lot of reliable fun with it and not always have to be tinkering and fixing this and that. But some people like that sort of thing. Take your time to study, look, and get some rides and you will slowly come to understand what will best suit you.



                • #9
                  The whole concept of weight to hp is what makes these guys so impressive. It's not a 500hp Viper, and doesn't need to be. So, I too don't feel the need for a monster engine, especially at the expense of added weight, not to mention to the disruption of the F/R weight balance...

                  I would prefer one of the larger displacement Ford engines so she'll have a more fat bottom-end. I have a 1.6 liter now in my MINI, and the torque is just ok, even with the roots supercharger. Granted that it's heavier of course at 2,350 lbs, and that's after a fair amount of lightening!

                  Are there other popular 4-banger options other than the two Fords? How about GM's Ecotec? That little guy has been impressive, at least so I've read... From my browsing here, the Duratec seems to have some negative criticism... that it's not as it's name implies - durable. Searches on the internet have revealed otherwise, so I will need to do my homework indeed!

                  I love to tinker, but not because of need, but want, if that makes any sense. So, I want something realiable and proven for my powerplant, and something that is tunable because I will want play with it, as well as other areas of the car...

                  With my MINI now, I've relocated the battery box making room for a straight shot exhaust system that I fabricated by using SuperSprint and Borla components. I removed the rear seats and fabricated a carpeted aluminum deck in it's place. One of the MINI tuners provides me with parts to evaluate as I live in a canyon where I can test things and with my data-logger, I can capture intake air temps, manifold pressure, timing, coolant temp and several other criteria that help in ascertaining performance and safety concerns. SO, if I'm willing to rip into a new car, Lord knows I would be all over the Cat :lol:

                  I'm almost done with my MINI. My goal was to get her to a 10:1 weight to hp ratio, I'm in the low 11's now. With a couple more power-enchancing mods I'll be around 250bhp, and I think that's where I'll call it quits. For a FWD ride, I really wouldn't want to go with much more... sort of becomes pointless and even with a LSD, I'm starting to hear that it's hard to get that power down to the ground. There will be an aftermkt turbo to work with the stock supercharger which should be available soon. This twincharged set-up will get up to 300hp, or more apparently. Ah, then the tranny becomes an issue as well. I know where to draw the line as I can see the point of diminishing returns...

                  That brings-up a question. What are the power ratings for the Caterham 5 and 6-speed boxes, torque being the biggest concern? These larger displacement options are going to be more punishing...

                  I know that this in not a MINI forum, but I do love my MINI. It's my first new car, so that's probably part of it. Please forgive me. I guess nothing ever compelled me to drop my money until I knew she was coming to market. I guess living in a canyon has a lot to do with it also. She just loves the twisties :) . I'll be installing some Leda coilovers on Monday, so I'm quite excited about that. My plan is to have her as my Fall/Winter ride, and the 7 for the Spring/Summer jaunts. With only a couple posts under my belt, I don't feel that I can use THE word yet (blat) :wink: .

                  So, what power goal would I want for my 7? Since 10:1 worked for my MINI, I'd like to half that for the Caterham - being that it's about half the weight. Seems realistic... At 1,100 lbs (an SLR) with a 220bhp, that would be 5 flat. It seems that 220 to 240bhp is quite doable for the Zetec and Duratec engines without even approacing their limits, which I like...

                  This has been a long lunch break! Thanks for listening, and for your input and welcomes. A good weekend to everyone.


                  • #10
                    bay area sevens

                    Hi Tony,

                    I suspect the seven you saw was Slartybartfast (check the member list). He has a Yellow crossflow powered seven and lives in Los Gatos.

                    Rod is another member in Sunnyvale. He has a green zetec powered seven.

                    I have an ali/yellow seven and live in San Jose. I'll be happy to meet up with you. Send me a PM or email.

                    There is also Rich Kamp at Golden Gate Sevens at Infinion Raceway who is not too far away.


                    Tom "ELV15" Jones


                    • #11

                      If you are going serious on power, I would recommend a Caterham 6 speeder with a 3:38 ZF LSD. I just upgraded my Ford Type 9 box (standard five speeder) and 3:92 non LSD to this configuration together with a race clutch and lightened flywheel.

                      The Caterham box is a close ratio joy to drive. The final drive's 1:1 ratio can be compensated, with a high torque engine, by using a 3:38 diff. (My engine is supercharged). Downside: Almost $4000.

                      The Ford box can take up to 230-250 HP (yes I know that it is torque that you should go by, but this is the number I got from Caterham USA), but has absolutely horrendous ratios. It also hates high revs.

                      You can, however, purchase a Ford box (like my old one for example, hint hint, nudge nudge, $600), and jog over to Quaife and buy one of their upgrade kits for it. They sell everything from upgraded gearkits ($1500) to complete 6 speed sequential shift monsters ($8000). All are plug and play with Caterhams.

                      When it comes to powerplants people are starting to use the Duratec, which is a better platform, while old-schoolers (like me) prefer to play with Zetecs and their bigger support base when it comes to parts and knowledge.

                      If you are into superchargers, I would grab an SVT engine and install a jackson racing kit on it together with an upgraded ECU allowing for additional boost (by retarding the ignition).

                      And this kind of sums up what I love about the Caterham: its configurability and modification friendliness. The car is open for anything when it comes to ECUs, powerplants, drivetrains, seats etc.

                      Engine out? 1.5 hours, and I will beat that this time with a new procedure with the exhaust system.
                      New ECU? No problem. Wiring harnesses and maps are readily available.
                      Mazda RX7 rotary engine, or a Honda S2000? Bring them on.

                      It is all at your fingertip, and it is a never ending story of eyeing out the next set of upgrades.

                      And these upgrades, mind you, are NOT bling bling for the masses. They all enhance performance in a very real way.

                      My next steps (after I get the Caterham box and race clutch in) are new wheels and a set of SPAX adjustable dampers with springs, and replacing the dash board with a computer screen of my own design. I have a blank dash in the garage waiting for this.

                      (Oh BTW, Brad, a new set of Kumho V710 ECSTA slicks (apart from two groves) will be on my car for the Streets. Let's swap wheels when we are there and feel the difference).

                      To summarise: When it comes to handling, acceleration, tweakability and driver prescence, nothing beats a Caterham. They may be expensive, impractical, uncomfortable and noisy, but it is worth it.

                      /Magnus F.


                      • #12
                        Tom, thanks for chiming-in! I will indeed PM you after I wrap-up some of this wedding party mumbo-jumbo... Hey, what do you mean by "ali" as is ali/yellow? I'm guessing alulminum...

                        Magnus, the whine of a SC is nice to hear! Not having seen a 7 in-person, I would bet that there is room upfront for a FMIC to cool the charged air. I'd be curious to know if you are using an intercooler though...

                        I see now that the options are many! The Duratec still has the majority of the attention, at the moment at least. Are they not the same as the Mazda offering? As a side benefit, it would be nice to use metric tools on both of my autos...

                        With an NA engine I can get the kind of power I would seek without having to go with forced induction. That could be a fun project down the road if I so choose. So I would want an engine that has a proven SC aftermkt option, and a tranny that can handle the added power.

                        You say that you would recommend a Caterham 6 Speedster. Looking at the Caterham USA website I see:

                        Super Seven Classic Live-Axle
                        Super Seven Club Sport
                        Super Seven De Dion
                        Super Seven Roadster SV
                        Superlight R

                        What is a Caterham 6 Speedster? If you have a photo to share, please do....


                        • #13

                          The Caterham 6 speeder is just the gearbox manufactured by Caterham specifically for the Seven.

                          /Magnus F.


                          • #14
                            I feel like a bone-head! I actually read that somewhere, but I guess it got lost in the masses of info... Thanks for follow-up.


                            • #15
                              BTW, Blatchat is running again. Looks like they could recover everything!