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From Mar. '06, CC frames made by Caged

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  • From Mar. '06, CC frames made by Caged

    Arch Motor will no longer be supplying their hand-made frames for the Caterham 7. As of March 2006, all new Caterham frames will be built by the new robots at Caged. Will this be a good thing or a bad thing for one who desires to purchase a Caterham after March 2006? Only time will tell.

    Links (alphabetical order):
    Arch Motor -
    Blatchat thread -
    Caged -
    Caterham - (under "Press Releases")
    - Sean

  • #2
    I think it is good.

    The current frames are brazed together steel tubes, not the most high tech solution out there.

    Hopefully we'll see lighter/stronger chrome molybdenum tubes welded together coming out of cages. This should shave off a few pounds from the frame.

    I think a better precision would not be a bad thing either. Always when I mount things that spans the width of the car (engine, rear suspension A-arm, etc), there is always a bit of tension in the bolts. In my book this is due to poor manufacturing precision. Laser cut tubes and robot assembly should be better than old school jigs here.

    I think.

    /Magnus F.


    • #3
      Okay. It just took me five minutes of staring at the page before I understood that I had to login first in order to be shown the Post Reply button. I'll get the hang of this new-fangled forum thingie yet. :)

      On the subject at hand, I suppose it will bring technical advancements in manufacturing efficiency/precision, but it marks the end of an era for the Seven. If I'm not mistaken, Arch has manufactured the frames all the back to the Lotus days.

      Also, based on what I've seen on BC, Arch seems to have been a valuable resource for many owners looking for frame repairs/modification by people intimately familiar with the chassis.

      Certainly, Caged will have the knowledge of the frames they build, but all the fabrication is done by robotics, they may not be as able to provide the same repair/modification skill on the new frames as Arch has on theirs.

      BTW, I believe the Caterham frames are actually bronze welded which is a little bit different that brazing as I understand; I think it falls somewhere in between brazing and arc welding. As far as I'm aware it is actually one of the preferred methods for spaceframe fabrication as it results in far less heat affected zone that arc welding, so I wouldn't dismiss it completely.

      So, strictly from a technology standpoint, probably an improvement, but I'm not afraid to admit it leaves me a bit wistful.

      Last edited by xflow7; October 26, 2005, 08:00 PM.


      • #4
        Xflow7, I agree with you. The method that arch uses supposedly results in less distortion and also in less metal fatigue/tempering. This move will result in more sevens, but they will loose some of the "hand built" mystique and also loose the lineage/heritage that having Arch as a supplier brings along. (arch was the chassis subcontractor for Lotus).

        Arch does offer lots of options for their customers and if you so desire, will be happy to bring your original series 3 chassis up to date with all of the "extras" that caterham currently offers...
        Tom "ELV15" Jones


        • #5
          Missing in the discussion here is the fact that the press release mentions "metric based development", which can only mean obsolescence for earlier frames somewhen in the future. Which could be problematic for those of us +/- 11,000 owners of Arch built cars. Should Arch fail to stay in bidness that is.

          I noted also that the rumor on BC is that all cars goint forward w/ a Caged-built frame will have IRS.

          Imo, the automated factory will aid mostly in producing more product faster, at somewhat higher levels of consistency. I really doubt that this alone will translate into a faster (better handling) car, chassis design changes notwithstanding of course.
          A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


          • #6
            My car, being a Birkin, is TIG welded like a many sports/race cars with tube chassis. I have yet to hear about such frames being especially prone to fatigue and I know it is not not heavier than a Caterham with similar stuffing. Maybe Arch just continued a process they understand well and that was preferred when welding technology wasn't that good? After all it is something nice for a sales person to talk about.

            But if it is only the new model and without Arch it does indeed sound like the classic Seven is dead at Caterham...

            Oh well, good outlook for collector's value? Gert