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New SF Bay non-owner member - still without a seven

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  • New SF Bay non-owner member - still without a seven

    Hi all,

    My name is Ulfar, and I live on the peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    A few weeks ago I drove alongside a Caterham Seven for a few blocks, on my way to work. Driving alongside it, my spiffed-up Mini Cooper S felt underpowered, awkward, and bulky, like I was driving a minivan. Since then I've been reading up on it, watching videos, etc., and getting more and more envious of all you owners!

    So, I've gotten a serious bug to get a Seven in the next year, or so, to drive as my summer commuter, as a fun car for rides up on Skyline, and perhaps some track day fun, etc.

    However, I won't be getting a Seven this summer... I have to wait for a year, most likely, before I can get that reward. However, in the meantime, I figured I'd join these forums and lurk for a while. In particular, I hope to be able to make some of this summer's upcoming events, to talk to current owners, see how my 6-foot frame fits the car, etc.

    FWIW, I'm mostly interested in eventually purchasing a well-maintained Seven from an existing owner, although there are not many Seven on the market. I'd probably not spring for a new build, or want to construct one myself from kit (although my brother is a mechanical engineer with lots of build/engine experience, so I may be able to persuade him to visit for a couple of weeks).

    Finally, as a random question, I just noticed that later this year Ford is introducing a new three-cylinder 1.0L EcoBoost engine that seems like it might fit the Seven---at least wrt weight and possible performance. Would it make sense to use such an engine in a Seven, when constructing the kit? How would one check for feasibility?

    Cheers,
    Ulfar

  • #2
    Welcome to the group.

    What color was the Seven you saw? They may be a member.

    You can put a wide range of engines in the car but the limits for most of us are what components already exist to make it a bolt in installation. Bell housing and exhaust headers being the major parts.

    These engines are well supported in the USA, you can easily source parts to bolt them in:

    Ford Duratec 2.0 and 2.3L
    Ford Zetec
    Ford Crossflow.

    The Duratec is the newest, lightest and there are lots of power upgrades for them.

    For the EcoBoost you'll need to find out what the bolt pattern is. It may bolt up to the existing bell housing but the 1.0L will be a problem as the displacement will limit your power. Upgradeitis is a serious problem amongst Seven owners and you will soon want more than you have. It doesn't really matter how much you have, you always want 50 hp more. Maybe the RST or Hartley V8 guys are happy.

    /
    Last edited by Doug Liedblad; May 22, 2012, 06:43 PM.

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    • #3
      Welcome Ulfar, There are *lots* of great roads in the bay area where you can enjoy your seven. We are also fortunate enough to live near some of the best tracks in the country. There are quite a few sevens in the bay area and they occasionally come up for sale - and will usually be posted here.

      While I know folks who are quite fast with a 100 hp seven, Doug is correct, everyone wants more power. The great thing about the cars is that they are easy to work on and easy to upgrade.

      Where did you see the car? (It was probably not me...mine is currently being upgraded!)

      Tom
      Tom "ELV15" Jones
      http://PIErats.com

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      • #4
        Hi Ulfar,
        You may want to lurk on usa7s.net too. It has a bit more members, and variety of 7 type cars.

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        • #5
          Welcome. I'm probably not too far away, depending on where you are on the peninsula. Send me a PM if you like.
          | | Sean

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          • #6
            Thank for the warm welcome all!

            Elv15: I saw the car on Rengstorff and Charleston in Mtn Vw. It then entered a garage under 1600 Amphitheatre, but I didn't follow to chat with the owner (which I regret now).

            Doug: The car I saw was an indeterminate dark color (perhaps racing green with storage dust & pollen on top).

            Mondo: Yeah, I'll register on usa7s.net as well.

            All: Thanks for the reminder about upgrade-itis... I guess I also have the disease (my supercharged Mini is souped-up to approx 190 hp), so probably a small engine is not a good idea. So, probably I should think about one of the Duratecs... I wanted to ask since it seemed strangely attractive to build a fast, snappy card with a 1.0L green engine: supposedly, the new Ford three cylinder is ~200 lbs dry weight, and apparently has very good low-end torque and may be upgradable to 177 hp. However, it's not even available yet, so the question was very silly.

            Best,
            Ulfar

            Comment


            • #7
              Ulfar.

              I don't know the car, perhaps one of the Bay area members does.

              Adding lightness is one of the keys to being quick. Some of the Sevens have Hayabusa engines and transmissions getting the total weight under 1000 lbs. Maybe closer to 900. I don't know much more about them other than they tend to have high RPM power.

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              • #8
                A couple of thoughts fof you: If you are considering buying a new Caterham, plan ahead. There is a minimum six month wait from order to delivery. Also, it is quite possible the 7 you saw was not a Caterham, but another brand knockoff. Owners of each are adamant that theirs is the best, but only the Caterham owners are right.
                Still in the massive grin stage. Damn bugs

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lucky Dawg View Post
                  A couple of thoughts fof you: If you are considering buying a new Caterham, plan ahead. There is a minimum six month wait from order to delivery. Also, it is quite possible the 7 you saw was not a Caterham, but another brand knockoff. Owners of each are adamant that theirs is the best, but only the Caterham owners are right.
                  +1
                  Chris
                  ------------
                  A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    One other data point. There have been some improvements over the years to the design. Nothing earth shattering...but improvements. And since most used Caterhams in good shape retain a lot of their value, you would have to determine if for you, the savings is worth it. Having said that, I am biased because I would rather sell you a new car. But I think it is an accurate statement.
                    http://www.zenoscarsusa.com Official importer of the Zenos E10
                    http://www.theadrenalinegallery.com Your USA dealer for Levante Cars, Origin Cars, Minotaur Racing, Sadev Gearboxes, RST V8 Engines, and more... How fast do you want to go?

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                    • #11
                      "A couple of thoughts fof you: If you are considering buying a new Caterham, plan ahead. There is a minimum six month wait from order to delivery. Also, it is quite possible the 7 you saw was not a Caterham, but another brand knockoff. Owners of each are adamant that theirs is the best, but only the Lotus Seven owners are right."

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                      • #12
                        This is a "Caterham Club" after all...
                        Lucky for you, Ulfar, the world of 7 is pretty open to various likes (or should I say perversions). Don't rush, and decide what you really want to do with the car. There's definately one out there for you. And you really need to ride/drive in a couple. Also consider customer/peer support. That's what this group really has going for it (Caterham/Birkin).
                        Happy hunting!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sevenhead View Post
                          owners of each are adamant that theirs is the best, but only the lotus seven owners are right."
                          +1

                          lol
                          EscondidoRon

                          '62 Lotus Seven
                          '84 Turbo Esprit (x2)
                          '14 Evora
                          '77 Esprit S1 (RIP) :(

                          "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom." -Michel De Montaigne 1588

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                          • #14
                            This club is non-denominational in terms of what "brand" of 7 you drive. ALL are welcome!!! The operating theory is that 7 owners are listening to the same automotive music from the lunatic fringe.

                            The name Caterham is in the title beCause the website founder, Magnus, owns one AND it was figured thAT THE NAME "cATERHAM" WOULD GET THE MOST INTERNET HITS AND, THEReFORE, VISITS; MAKING IT EASIER TO FIND FOR PROSPECTIVE OWNERS, ENTHUSIASTS, GROUPIES, papparazzi, LURKERS and assorted swine.

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