No announcement yet.

experience w/ Autocourse, Inc.?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • experience w/ Autocourse, Inc.?

    I want to get a seven (eventually), and it seems the Duratec motor is preferred (at least by the Brits on blatchat). The only place here that even mentions Duratec motors is Autocourse, Inc., but all the "official" web pages for Sevens don't mention them. Also, Autocourse doesn't list their address on their web page. This makes me wonder: are they a reputable business? Have any of you dealt with them? Then again, there are many pages that mention Autocourse as a Caterham-approved dealer, but looking closer, none of those pages have been updated in the last 18 months. I'm a little bit wary of a business that I can't find current background information on, even if there does appear to be some history associated with them.

    Also, does anybody here have experience with the Duratec? I understand there may be complications for this application, beyond the opposite intake/exhaust issue. But it sure would be nice to have the lighter, more powerful Duratec over the Zetec, provided it was cost-effective and not too much of a headache.
    - Sean

  • #2

    William is no longer an authorized dealer for Caterham. He may still have a few kits left, and it is up to you if you want to do business with him or not.

    There is no official dealer to replace him yet. The closest one would be California Sevens up in Malibu.

    The Duratec is the new hotness when it comes to powering a Seven, and there are a few of them out there.

    It is, however, still a bit unproven and more expensive than a Zetec. In the next couple of years, though, the Duratec will probably take over as the default engine.

    If you are not afraid of tinkering with your setup and play around with parts and installations before you get it right, a Duratec may be something for you. If not, I would go Zetec SVT.

    /Magnus F.


    • #3
      Thanks, Magnus. One thing though: The Caterham page points to the Caterham USA page, which lists in its "Dealer" section two CA dealers: California Sevens, as you pointed out, and located at Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway. Being that I live in Northern CA, the latter would be more convenient for me. I think they're new as a Caterham dealer, but I've talked to them, and they seem knowledgeable. And, they are linked by the Caterham USA site, which, in my mind at least, gives them some credibility. Unless you guys know something I don't...
      - Sean


      • #4
        I'm another "want to get a Caterham" guy and accidentally happened to find Golden Gate Sevens after a going to a Sears Point race and can say that it seems to be a great shop run by some very enthusiastic (and knowledgeable) guys. They have had one or two Sevens under construction in the shop when I've been there. A (rare in the US) R500 even resides there. Where are you in N. Calif? I'm in San Anselmo. Maybe we'll meet some day on a blat. Try not to miss this years "Sevens Festival" this year.


        • #5
          I want to get a seven (eventually)
          Based on my experience you ought to start now. That way you'll be able to have one eventually...

          Nothing good happens fast, does it?[/quote]
          A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


          • #6
            I'm in San Jose. I've been tempted to go to GG7s and have a look, but I'm plenty jazzed-up now, and I'm afraid I'd only drool that much more over the prospect of getting one.

            I'd love to start now, but I don't have ~50K in my already-taped-back-together piggy bank at the moment. Even if I could convince a bank to loan me the balance required, they would then stipulate full-coverage insurance, which I'm guessing would be significant.

            For now, I'll just keep my nose to the grindstone and watch the bank account grow while I participate in inexpensive activities, like asking questions and learning from you guys.
            - Sean


            • #7
              Sorry folks, I don't know anything about the Golden Gate Sevens other than that they are an authorized dealer.

              /Magnus F.


              • #8
                Getting a Seven

                Depends on what you look for but if you shop there a very nice Sevens (new and used) between 20 and 30 grand. In (still) tough economic times people have to part from their toys with sometimes little mileage.

                If you got to have that new R500, well.....But don't forget that a Seven delivers a pretty hot performance well under 200 hp. I opted for a milder but affordable Seven NOW instead of a dream machine when I retire (see here). But actually, for me it is already a dream machine. Although I did not build it it gives me ample opportunity for tinkering, modifying, rebuilding, upgrading etc.



                • #9

                  I bought my Caterham from Golden Gate Sevens. I didn't know Rich Kamp, the owner, before I bought the car, but I must say that the buying process and ownership since delivery (last summer) have been a complete pleasure for me. Rich has been working on Lotuses (including Sevens) and Caterhams for many years in the Bay Area and he knows the cars inside and out. Another nice thing is that he seems to enjoy helping you to explore and select the various options available from Caterham, an important service since many are not listed in printed literature and require contact with the UK. The other thing is that you really can't beat having the dealer located right at the race track. I wouldn't hesitate to buy from him again.

                  Rich H.


                  • #10
                    Sean, I recently bought a seven from Autocourse. In my experience, Will has been a straight shooter. Although he is no longer the SoCal caterham dealer, he is building duratecs and I believe he is looking to grow that business. Seems like the situation between caterham and its US dealers is a real cluster and needs to be sorted out. If you want a reference call me on 310 497 0618.


                    • #11
                      Since I live in the SF Bay area, I will probably go through GG7s at Infineon Raceway. I was curious about Autocourse because their web page mentions the Duratec, and GG7's web page does not. GG7's web page hardly mentions engines at all, giving me the impression you have to go elsewhere for an engine, anyway. I had been trying to decide between the Crossflow and the Zetec, and then along comes the Duratec. Though I have limited knowledge about any of these engines, or their adaptability to Sevens (other than what I've gleaned from the web), here's how I see it now...

                      Crossflow pros:
                      - light weight (fundamentally what this car is all about)
                      - multiple configurations available
                      - low cost
                      - simple installation
                      Crossflow cons:
                      - less-than-stellar reliability, comparitively
                      - less power, torque
                      - ongoing maintenance costs

                      Zetec pros:
                      - more horsepower, torque
                      - greater reliability
                      - proven history
                      - simple installation
                      Zetec cons:
                      - heavier!
                      - initial cost greater (offset by reliability)
                      - soon to be discontinued (?)

                      Duratec pros:
                      - lighter than Zetec (though I don't know by how much)
                      - great power and torque, right out of the box
                      - highly probable to prove to be reliable
                      Duratec cons:
                      - little history
                      - installation unknown... simple? problematic?
                      - initial cost greater

                      For me, I've all but eliminated the Crossflow as an option. The Zetec seems like what I want: good power, reliably, without the need for a rebuild every 20K - 40K miles (mine will be mostly a road car, at least in the beginning). The only snag is, I perceive the Duratec to have all the positive qualities of the Zetec, and more, but with less weight. Is this true? I wish I knew the weight difference, the installation obstacles particular to the Duratec, and the all-important one, the cost of the Duratec. Anybody?
                      - Sean


                      • #12
                        Some observations -

                        The duratec's improved torque would be an advantage for road driving. My zetec produces 200 hp but max power comes on high in the rev range. There just aren't many places that I can wind it out to 6,500 rpm - it's too fast, and the sonic boom upsets the local battery hens. Ideally, I would trade some top end hp for more bottom end torque. But in my view, once you have 150+ hp you have more power than you need. Even shifting below the power band in my zetec I can blow most cars off the road. Off course, once you hit the track everything is different.

                        The zetec exhaust exits the engine bay on the driver's side of the car; the duratec exits on the passenger side. This is a significant advantage for the duratec, because you don't have to step over the exhaust to get in and out and should be quieter for the driver. A passenger side exhaust, with side (as opposed to rear) exit, would be a good setup.


                        • #13

                          Golden Gate Sevens does supply engines. You should talk to them directly about the possibilities. I've driven their Zetec 200 hp and SVT versions (and my car has a K). The SVT has more low-end torque because of the specially-designed Ford SVT Focus induction system.

                          Also, though it might seem eccentric at first, you might be able to order a car in RHD so that the Zetec/SVT exhaust is on the opposite side from the driver. My K is that way. This actually gives you better weight distribution anyway for CW tracks like Sears Point.

                          Rich H.


                          • #14
                            Duratec Caterham in San Jose

                            The duratec is the future.


                            I have a 2003 Caterham Clubsport with a Duratec that I purchased from Autocourse. I recently got it on the road and should be completely legal by the end of Febuary. I'm in San Jose and would be happy to talk/visit about with anyone interested in going this route. Send me a PM or email.

                            I also have a bunch of build pics and info on my site:

                            (look under "seven cam" on the left menu)


                            Tom :D
                            Tom "ELV15" Jones


                            • #15
                              Contact me off list, and I will share my Autocouse experence.

                              [email protected]
                              Sunnyvale CA.
                              Rod Swanson