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some Qs re safety equipment

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  • some Qs re safety equipment

    I was over at the UK (and USA) site and all they had re safety equipment was:

    "All cars are fitted with aluminium honeycomb side impact protection, roll over protection and EU approved passive restraint seatbelts which help the car maintain its excellent safety record."

    Q1: Do current Cat 7s come w/hazard flashers?

    Q2: Do current Cat 7s come w/center-mounted 3rd brake lights?

    Q3: Do current Cat 7s come w/LED brake lights?

    Q4: Do current Cat 7s, have collapsible steering columns? See:

    Q5: Has anyone tried to adapt a motorcycle headlight modulator to a 7? See:
    If so, is that legal in USA, esp CA?

    I assume some of these can be added during the build.


  • #2
    Maybe - I personally don't know of any.

    You can do lots of things during the build. The CA. brake & light check is pretty casual, or at least mine was. I had a walleyed headlamp & the test station guy didn't really care :-)
    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


    • #3
      3rd brake light: I made my own a while ago because at that time the aftermarket ones were pretty ugly but nowadays there are low profile lights on the market that are reasonably bright.

      LED brake lights: I don't know...I replaced my rear light bulbs with LED drop-in parts but not sure if that was really an improvement.

      My Birkin has double articulated steering column that folds but I was under the impression Caterhams have a sliding joint or something that can break? May be wrong, though....

      Headlights: I guess anything that carries SAE/DOT approval for cars (not bikes) is legal but since nobody will probably check that, who cares. My car was delivered with the typical big 7" headlamps but ECE (not DOT) approval which have a better beam pattern. Actually, right now I am in Germany and picked up Hella Double Elliptic 90mm halogen modules (in the US only sold to OEMs). Anyway, if you want to get something different than standard issue you are on your own.

      There has been some wild discussion in the past but I believe there is real doubt that the honeycomb in this application is any more than snake-oil (or toilet tissue for that matter). If safety is your thing, buy a full cage (or a Volvo). In any case, do not buy the 4-point harness, that is really UN-safe.



      • #4
        I think 5in Motorcycle headlights look better with our size cars.
        There's these 7in with built-in LED turn signals (have on my 67 truck)that would be cool for you Cat guys.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Mondo; September 16, 2009, 12:52 PM.


        • #5
          The Caterham has a sliding joint that should save you from impailment up to a point.

          I have started to look around for a cage to protect me against rollover and side impacts. Slow process, though.

          To summarize the safety debate:
          "Is the Caterham safe?"
          "Oh yes. It is as safe as having sex with a chainsaw."

          /Magnus F.


          • #6
            Back in 1989 Westfield crash tested their car in The Netherlands. I’ve seen the report (written in Dutch) and it appears the video below is from the 50kph test which is a touch over 30mph. They also did a 25kph test, but it appears that they didn’t’ run the high speed cameras for that one, just sensors. Clearly they needed to work on the battery tie down, but the car did amazingly well. Of course I still don’t want to test that aspect of my car ;)

            Crash Video

            Westfield SEiW
            2.0L Duratec
            Throttle Steer


            • #7
              Thanks for the replies. I'm kind of disappointed they haven't implemented some basic safety measures, ones that really wouldn't add much weight. But I guess that's where making it your own comes in.

              I wasn't sure re the LED brake lights because when you go to:
     and pick the 2nd to the left thumbnail pics, the brake lights look different than standard, but that is probably just clear lenses.

              LED brake lights light up about 0.2 sec faster than filaments, which have to heat up first before giving off light. Turns out, IIRC, that 0.2 sec translates into the car behind you stopping something like 14 ft sooner than otherwise at 65 mpg. That could mean the difference between that SUV behind you not even touching your rear vs plowing thru you. This is esp important given the distance from the rear of a Seven to the gas tank and your rear!

              Given the lack of proper "crumple zones," crash avoidance is esp important. Modulated headlights might help avoid front-enders the way LEDs and 3rd brake lights help avoid rear-enders. Again, the weight of the electronics involved is negligible.

              I don't understand the lack of a collapsable steering column. Those have been around since the late 1960s (I don't remember when the fed. required major manufacturers to use them, but I know it was before the mid-1970s), and yet no one says they've detrimentally affected the steering of Audis, BMWs, Ferraris, or Porsches. I can't imagine they add more than a few pounds compared to their non-collapsable kin. They, too, are important given the small size of a Seven.

              I've just been in or seen too many accidents not to factor in safety. IMO, people's driving (due to mixing cellphones and SUVs?), seem to have really gotten worse. Perhaps Caterham might come across this thread and get some ideas . . .
              Last edited by CA7Dreamin'; September 27, 2009, 09:12 AM.


              • #8
                These will never be like a Volvo.... think more motorcycle. The very nature of size, lightness & peformance prevent common safety items like crumble zones.

                A good 5/6 point harness should alay your fears of the steering column. That, along with a racing rollbar cage set up is about the best you can do.

                I agree a good 3rd braking light and a loud horn are best for avoiding a lot of not being seen.

                Just drive like you would a motorcycle and take no one for granted.


                • #9
                  For the heck of it, I decided to google "Caterham crash test" and found the below at:

                  Crash Tested
                  As part of Caterham Cars continuing commitment to meet European type approval standards, the chassis successfully completed an extensive crash test programme that complies with Low Volume Approval. Compliance means that Caterham Cars is one of the very few low volume manufacturers that can register product in EU markets, in particular France, Germany and Italy.

                  This crash test represents a huge achievement for a car manufacturer of its size and highlights the technical integrity of the chassis. Passing these crash test requirements will guarantee that Caterham remains ahead of the competition and any forthcoming regulations in future years.

                  Has anyone come across an online video of the above crash test or written results?



                  • #10
                    For the heck of it, I decided to do a search of "Caterham 'Low Volume Approval'" and found:

                    Scrolling down to 14 Protective Steering and clicking on the "SVA Caterham Cars" link, pulled up a .pdf containing the below.

                    Just a fyi.

                    I'd still love to see a video of the crash test.

                    SVA Information reference 14/1
                    IM 14 - SVA CATERHAM CARS - ISSUED 23/09/98

                    Please ensure this note is seen by all SVA Examiners.

                    A recent test on a Caterham 7 resulted in a fail due to the lack of evidence that the steering wheel/column gave equivalent protection to
                    the driver to that of an approved component.

                    The steering wheel was padded over the "Boss" but did not incorporate a collapsible feature in the wheel or upper column.

                    Caterham Cars have a "Low Volume" approval for their Seven and Super Seven models where use is made of either Moto-lita, Mountney or
                    Momo steering wheels that do not incorporate a collapsible feature. In respect of these vehicles only, due to the existence of the approval this
                    situation will be considered acceptable.

                    In any other case, where a non approved steering wheel is fitted, it should be considered highly unlikely that the wheel/ column would
                    provide equivalent protection to that of an approved component unless the wheel or upper column incorporate a collapsible feature.


                    • #11
                      Perhaps you should buy a Lotus Elise....

                      The funny thing is my wife goes " What is that car a Morgan ? " and I said "No that's a Caterham but there is a Morgan driving it " -delise


                      • #12
                        Given the long nose and the engine's position, a frontal impact should be your least concern. A rear impact squishing the fuel tank or side impact with another car jumping into your lap is more likely. Good roll bars/cages and harnesses may mitigate that risk. The nimble nature may also allow you to evade some situations that a normal car can not (obviously dependent on your driving style).

                        A Seven is just not very safe in the sense of traditional cars. But I suppose it is really safe compared to a motorbike.



                        • #13
                          ... or having sex with chainsaws.