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Where to buy a new Caterham

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  • Where to buy a new Caterham

    Hello,

    I am considering the purchase of a Caterham and it seems
    that most people import them directly from the UK.
    Is it me, or do people avoid Caterham USA and their dealers?

    I understand the whole "kit" thing in regards to the import laws and
    building or installing the engine gearbox is not a problem.

    An leads in the UK would be helpful.

    Thanks
    Ken A.
    Cerritos California.

  • #2
    These are kind of loaded questions...

    I can only say that I've had no contact w/ the current west coast dealers, either the (phantom?) Malibu dealer listed on the Caterham USA web site nor the Nor Cal dealer, even when a number of us showed up at Infineon (literally yards from their shops) last summer. So I'll have to leave that one to someone who knows them. They certainly can't be accused of being in active contact w/ local owners imo.

    Likewise, I've never had any dealings w/ Colorado, and from what I've seen over the years they don't go too far out of their way to promote business out here either. Caterham USA doesn't update their web site very often. They do answer the phone, or so I'm told. Don't construe this as complaint or indictment - my statements are based solely on my observations over the last number of years.

    My experience w/ our former dealer worked out all right at the end of the day. He's no longer around.

    Kit thing is not an issue - in fact I found it to be one of the best parts of ownership. The hardest part is actually getting the (right to license) number from the DMV. This *must* be done on the 1st business day of the new year in order to have any chance.

    Basically we're kind of on our own when you get right down to it, and that isn't bad. They are really simple basic machines and personally I think that taking care of my own is just fine. I built it, I can fix it, or better, upgrade it:D. Note that I've alway found Caterham in the UK to be very responsive when contacted for any reason, from parts on.

    Caterham UK might refer you to US Caterham, maybe.

    A NorCal guy sourced a car from a 3rd party dealer in the UK. I'm sure he'll be along sometime to describe his experience, which I will charitably call lengthy.

    There are a couple of old-guard dealers on the east coast - notably Sevens & Elans in Ma. One owner near me purchased a car through them and it is a very nice example. Perhaps he'll come along to pass on how his dealings w/ them went.

    Owning a Caterham is bar none the best sports car experience I've ever had (and I've had more than a few). They are just Frickin Awesome. I'll never go back to any of the 'too fast for the street, too slow for the track' mushy heavy plowing status symbol sports cars. Well, except for an Aston Martin Vantage, but that would only be used for grand touring...

    Our fearless leader described it best when he stated that he's "Totally Caterham Damaged". Too true, happily.:D
    Last edited by moosetestbestanden; November 24, 2007, 05:08 PM.
    Chris
    ------------
    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

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    • #3
      I just bought a used Caterham this year, but can say that in regards to buying parts, Caterham USA has been very helpful and knowledgable about getting the right parts for my car.

      Justin

      Comment


      • #4
        Ken

        Most of the people I know have bought them from a US dealer. Many from the guy who is no longer around but a few from Rocky Mountain.

        I looked into buying from the UK but Caterham won't knowingly sell a car for shipment to the US. You can go thru a third party but by the time you work out the logistics there isn't much savings.

        At least half the fun is putting it together yourself. If you aren't interested in this route, look for one already registered in California with the SB100 sticker.

        Caterham USA has been very helpful with anything I've needed. If they don't have it in stock an email to the UK gets most parts in about one week.

        Doug

        Comment


        • #5
          I've spoken and bought from both cat USA and RMSCI for parts and both have been helpful.

          Selling caterhams is not really a fulltime possibility here in the USA so most places that sell them deal with a bunch sweet peices of equipment or have something else to do, usually motorsports related.

          The USA7s site has a bunch more expriences with dealers from all over the USA. many people have bought from dealers in texas. I know a lot of owners in Virginia where GT Classics is.

          My car originated from MidAtlantic Caterham as I am the 3rd owner. i spoke (called) with the Aldermans at their machine shop. They were certainly helpful. I have ordered parts from Chris at Sevens&Elans, and I have heard first and secondhand horror stories about these 2 dealer. So who knows what actually occurs on what day.

          look what Sean went thru for his new 7...

          good luck with all your research and hopefully u will find something to spend many years enjoying.
          2002 SV zetec/sierra; yellow over green

          Comment


          • #6
            Ken,

            In my opinion, if the US dealer sells what you want to buy, I see no reason why you should buy from anyone else.

            Sean
            - Sean

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            • #7
              I have daelt with RMSCI many times and always find them to be useful. There is a gent there that formerly worked for Caterham UK that is extremely knowledgeable.

              Comment


              • #8
                I just bought my kit from the dealer www.midatlanticcaterham.com in Delaware. The owner, George Alderman, has been nothing but very professional and helpful. His roots and connections with Caterham go back decades.

                Throughout the process, the folks at Caterham USA in Colorado have also been friendly and insightful with many tips. I do not hesitate to call on either them or the dealer as I complete the kit next year.

                Good luck on your journey. I would highly recommend going through a US dealer. Given the low volume of these cars sold each year, they couldn't be doing it for any other reason than their love for these cars.

                Call me if you have any questions or concerns (443) 536-2007.

                Harold
                Eldersburg, MD
                Last edited by EliseStrapped; November 25, 2007, 03:07 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hirev View Post
                  Hello,

                  I am considering the purchase of a Caterham and it seems
                  that most people import them directly from the UK.
                  Is it me, or do people avoid Caterham USA and their dealers?

                  I understand the whole "kit" thing in regards to the import laws and
                  building or installing the engine gearbox is not a problem.

                  An leads in the UK would be helpful.

                  Thanks
                  Ken A.
                  Cerritos California.
                  I bought my car from Rich Kamp, the owner of Golden Gate Sevens, the Caterham dealer located at Infineon Raceway. I highly recommend dealing with him. And, since you're in California, you should at least call him before doing anything else. Rich has helped a number of customers through the California registration process, he may even have a new serial number with an SB100 number already assigned, and he sometimes has used cars available that are already registered. Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss details.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My car came out of Caterham USA - it was a 2002 press car. I found it in Colorado and had RMSCI do the pre-purchase inspection and setup. Nathan at RMSCI is very knowledgeable and always willing to help. The PPI sheet and race car setup sheet were the most detailed I have ever seen. Everything was done to the highest quality. Rocky Mountain and GT Classics race Caterhams so they can be good sources if you are inclined toward the track.

                    Now having lived with the car awhile I started working with Cody at Caterham USA. I get the sense that none of the dealers stock many parts in the US, so replacements and upgrades can take quite awhile - shipping individual parts from the UK can get very expensive, so Caterham USA usually places orders that are shipped collectively by boat in a large container.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Ken, I talked to you at the ford show at knotts berry farm last april, hows the cortina coming along, I just got mine back from the stripper last week and will need some serious body work in the rear!, anyway, I've got a 2003 caterham sv that I bought from Chris at sevens and elans last year and was very happy with the deal, he as been a dealer for more than 25 years. Would love to come by and check out the cortina, be happy to drive the 7 so you could see it. regard, Steve

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the feedback.
                        I will see how Uncle Sam treats me then make a decision.
                        Unfortunately, I would then have to wait until Jan 09 to get it registered.
                        I have always been a big Lotus fan and since we have so many Duratec
                        parts, it makes sense for me to build a Caterham. At least that's the way
                        I can justify it.

                        Thanks again.

                        Ken

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ken - Give me a call on Monday (or other) if you would like to hear the details and consequences of my purchase process. Actually, I'll call you, because I need to discuss some things with you anyway.

                          Incidentally, I believe I am one of the few on here who actually ordered through the U.K. I think most here purchased through a U.S.-based source.
                          - Sean

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I know this is a kinda old thread, but I'll have to chime in here. I've talked with both the NorCal and the Arizona dealers. They're both great people... very helpful, very knowledgable about the cars... and love the cars.

                            Golden Gate Sevens is where I test drove my first Cat last summer. I spent almost an entire day up there and went for a great test run. In the end, however, I simply couldn't afford a new seven. Not for a lack of trying. Both the dealer in Nor Cal and Arizona tried very hard to make something work for me, but I simply couldn't drop the near $70K needed for the car I wanted. So... I went the used route.

                            As for getting parts. This is my first dealing with Caterham USA trying to get a new radiator and some hoses. I've been waiting now for about two weeks for the parts, but I expected them to take a while. I probably have a little more to wait, and in the future I may just cut out the middle man and go to Caterham UK (mostly because I have a Vauxhall engine Cat which basically means that's where all my parts are coming from anyway, save fiber glass replacements and a few things here and there).

                            So... yeah... no problems at all with the US dealers. Honestly, they're great from what I've seen...

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