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Which Options are Right for Me?!?

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  • Which Options are Right for Me?!?

    As some of you know I have begun the process of preparing to order a Seven to assemble myself at home. Here is my criteria. Can you help me select the model and options?!?

    1. Cheap. I want the cheapest kit possible, with the thinking that I can upgrade and add to it over time.
    2. Road-worthy. As much as I fantisize, I am not a racer. The car must be road legal and capable of the occasional commute to work.
    3. Reliability. What model or options are most likely to give the longest run between repairs?
    4. Resale. If I decide to sell the car, what options are "must haves"? Some things can be added later, but which features are most buyers going to want?!?

    Thanks,
    Harold

    I added "Cheap" to the list on 6/2/2007 based on some of the comments. The cheaper the kit, the sooner I can get it and the more likely my wife will not divorce me. But, I don't want to get the kit and sacrifice the other criteria.
    Last edited by EliseStrapped; June 2, 2007, 04:04 PM.

  • #2
    Harold

    Almost every Seven becomes highly individualized, when we get a group of 15 cars together, no car two cars are quite the same.

    The items I did not get when I first ordered my car but have added later are:

    1. Long first gear, the cars are much too light for the stock T9 first gear. Either a BGH Gearbox or SPC semihelical are fine. Get a top cover that allows you to check / add / change fluid from the top. You can modify the stock cover or Quaife (I believe) makes an alloy cover. BGH may also make a mod that allows you to drain from the bottom. You don't do this often but when you do the side filler is a pain.

    2. Limited slip diff. I have a Quaife which is fine but for serious racing I would get a ZF as the Quaife needs both wheels on the ground to work. I have a 3.92 gear ratio but will switch to 3.62 eventully. I believe most cars now come standard with the 3.62.

    3. I have a Zetec engine as the Duratecs were not yet available when I got my car. Either one is fine but the Duratec will probably be more sellable in the future.

    4. FIA roll bar. Even if you don't take the car on the track the upgraded roll bar is a good idea.

    5. 5 or 6 point seatbelt setup. You can add this yourself later.

    6. Throttle bodies, my stock engine used a stock air intake putting the intake near the heater location. This results in the intake air temp being ~30آ؛ F above ambient. With throttle bodies you can set it up for outside air intake easier. This is worth 10-15HP maybe more.

    All of these options have worked fine for me with ~17K on the car.

    I'll add more if I think of it.

    Doug
    Last edited by Doug Liedblad; June 1, 2007, 06:31 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by EliseStrapped
      As some of you know I have begun the process of preparing to order a Seven. Here is my criteria. Can you help me select the model and options?!?

      1. Road-worthy. As much as I fantisize, I am not a racer. The car must be road legal and capable of the occasional commute to work.
      2. Reliability. What model or options are most likely to give the longest run between repairs?
      3. Resale. If I decide to sell the car, what options are "must haves"? Some things can be added later, but which features are most buyers going to want?!?

      Thanks,
      Harold
      1. find out what size car fits u best. s3 or SV. if its the s3, then u need the roadsport or superlight, the big chassis is the SV(mine) or CSR(newest)
      u will want some sort of doors and hood. whether its the weather package or 1/2 sized variants. u will need windshield, do u go chrome/silver/Al or blackpack/CF?
      should u have the spare wheel carrier? LSD? harnesses? tonneau?

      2. the zetec and duratec are available in the US easily. a Xflow or vauxhaul would limit ur sources and resources. sierra tranny or the newer Caterham 6 speed?
      3. the cars hold their value to an excellent extent. but since its ur usage that matters, why consider this.

      http://rmsci.com/csr.html
      best place for a checkoff sheet. I am definitely of the philosophy of spending more at the beginning to give urself the best foundation to start with. the CSR has so many little bits changed that my SV can never be updraded to that.
      i just pricec out something sans duratec+tranny, $53k+. it ain't cheap, but i know i wouldn't be suffering from upgraditis so much ;)
      2002 SV zetec/sierra; yellow over green

      Comment


      • #4
        Without going into specifics...if you are looking for a (more or less) standard version you may want to buy a new car. If you want a lot of extra bits and pieces, more power etc. you may be better off looking for a suitable used one. These extras tend to lose a lot of their value as soon as they are installed.

        Gert

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        • #5
          Thanks for the suggestions.

          Just to clarify, my current plan is to buy a new kit and assemble it at home. I would like to spend this year researching the cars and intend to order in the winter.

          Comment


          • #6
            To be eligible for a SPCNS number from the DMV on their first business day of any given year, you will be required to have receipts for the major components: chassis, engine, and gearbox. Caterham normally have a lead time of at least a couple of months, but around winter time they are building cars for the upcoming racing season, so lead times get longer in the winter. My chassis was ordered in August 2006, and it was delivered to the paint shop in December - four months later.

            You can still do it the way you have it planned. You only need the receipts (and some other paperwork) when you go to DMV; you don't have to have a car at all. Of course, nobody will give you a receipt unless you have paid in full.
            - Sean

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            • #7
              7. Adustable shock mounts

              8. Dedion rear axle - according to most of the dealers I've spoken to they sell very few live axle cars anymore. I assumed this would be your choice in my earlier post. Unless you are looking at the CSR which I believe is IRS.

              9. Wide track front suspension.

              I have the SPC semihelical transmission, this has a 2.39 first gear which is good for about 55 to 60 mph depending on redline and tire diameter. It is a bit louder than stock and 5th gear is .87 vs .82 for the stock T9. With 14" tires that means 4000 rpm when I am going with the flow of traffic. This makes it a bit buzzy for me. The BGH gearbox only changes 1st gear.

              Doug
              Last edited by Doug Liedblad; June 2, 2007, 10:54 AM.

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              • #8
                So I gather that many/most things can be added later. I added "Cheap" to the list of criteria because it will allow me to get the car sooner without being divorced. :D

                Is anyone opposed to just the basic Classic kit? Are there any options that are must-haves to begin with.

                For instance, I know I want a windshield with wiper. Is there any reason to buy that from Caterham on day one?

                Thanks!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by EliseStrapped
                  Thanks for the suggestions.

                  Just to clarify, my current plan is to buy a new kit and assemble it at home. I would like to spend this year researching the cars and intend to order in the winter.
                  yeah, that is the fun part.....nevertheless one big advantage of a used Se7en is (besides the immediate satisfaction of driving and without risk to get a number on the 2nd of January) that you can hold on to it for a year or two and develop a much better sense of what kind of Seven you really need. For instance I never considered track driving when I bought my Se7en and changed my mind in short time with serious side effects. After that trial time you:

                  - can sell the car with minimal loss (provided you got a decent deal to begin with) and build your Dream Seven with much better feel for it.
                  - you may find that Sevens are not your thing and just sell (actually happens quite often).
                  - you may keep the car the way it is because it is perfect for you (very rare)
                  - you may get on the slippery slope of upgradeitis (most likely)

                  Gert

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Found this thread to be super helpful.

                    http://www.californiacaterhamclub.co...hread.php?t=70

                    Thanks again, all!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I bought a basic DeDion version car to build myself with the idea that I would upgrade as I found the things I wanted to change.

                      Gert is correct that a fair number of people buy the cars and never drive them more than 1500 miles before selling. If they keep them, they can't help upgrading.

                      I've heard of Seven owners that sold their cars to buy an Elise, they've come back to the Seven in a short time.

                      I believe EliseStrapped is on the East Coast and not subject to SB100. Have you looked into the registration requirements for specially constructed cars in your state? In California it's easy, if you can get one of the 500 numbers issued every year. Right now they are gone on the first business day of the year.

                      Have you downloaded the assembly guide?

                      http://www.californiacaterhamclub.com/resources/

                      Doug
                      Last edited by Doug Liedblad; June 3, 2007, 06:48 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Doug Liedblad
                        I believe EliseStrapped is on the East Coast and not subject to SB100.
                        Correct, in Maryland. I think registration is possible, but not sure how "easy."

                        Originally posted by Doug Liedblad
                        Have you downloaded the assembly guide?
                        Funny you should mention that. Originally I wanted to buy a second-hand car. Over the Memorial Day weekend I printed and read the assembly manual from this site. It completely changed my plan!

                        I have always wanted a car to tinker with. I think assembling a kit from scratch would give so much more meaning to the car.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey Harold, if you change your mind and end up buying a used Seven, keep in mind that anything registered as 25 years or older is considered historic and exempt from any inspection whatsoever - no emissions inspection, no safety inspection.

                          It makes modding your car down the road much easier.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Lost My Virginity Today

                            Visited with a very friendly Caterham owner today who offered what was my first ride in a Caterham 7. Some of you may know him as he hosts an annual Lotus gathering in Maryland. (His is Prisoner No. 22.)

                            It was awesome! In many ways exactly what I expected. Reminded me of skydiving. Redefines road noise. Viseral sensory experience. Not unlike when you ride a horse and experience a gallop for the first time.

                            Now I'm done for. It's all I can do to wait until the fall to make the deposit. I'm a gonner! It because crystal clear there is simply no way I can talk my wife into liking this car. It is outrageous. I just need to have one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oh, oh....sounds like a serious infection.... ;)

                              Originally posted by EliseStrapped
                              there is simply no way I can talk my wife into liking this car. It is outrageous.
                              Don't write that off too soon. My wife actually likes the car. She is not into track stuff or maniac road driving but she is always up for a short trip on the weekend or even a longer tour.

                              Gert

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