Caterhams and their copies are wonderful things. Elsewhere in the motoring media it’s been said that you either get them or you don’t, and if you do, there’s nothing that can compare.
The problem, at least from one perspective, is that Caterhams are ridiculously expensive on the used market. So expensive that you’d be forgiven for thinking you might as well buy something just as fast but more rounded on a PCP for much lower monthly payments. A Caterham gives you bonkers residual values, but even so, the prices are off-putting.
That’s why we’ve looked sideways at this, the only Locust Seven kit car for sale in the country at the moment. A 2007 car on a Q-plate, it’s built with a Ford Crossflow engine with twin Weber carburettors, and for just over half what a 1995 Caterham Super Sprint will ask of you. Next to £11,000-£12,000 for the genuine article, £6500 looks like a bargain for something that is undoubtedly quite similar.
It’s recently had new wheels and tyres, and the suspension has been set up “for a near-50/50 weight distribution.” Worthy of a facepalm, we think. Obviously no one has told the seller it doesn’t work like that.
Mileage is anyone’s guess, which is obviously a negative. The seller doesn’t seem to know (or want to say) how much distance the 1.6-litre engine and chassis have each done, but they call it a ‘foster’ engine. They might mean ‘donor.’ Nor do we know how much power this one puts out; the 1.6 ranged from ‘not a lot’ to ‘plenty,’ at least in the Locust Seven’s lightweight frame.
The seller does at least say that they’ve spent a lot of time tidying it up, inside the engine bay, and they’ve raised the steering column for more comfort. The suspension has been powder-coated (well or badly, we don’t know), but it still needs a couple of jobs doing: the steering column cover needs to be replaced; as does the speedometer cable.
But still, for such a lot of fun in a Caterham-that-isn’t, it’s about as much fun per pound as you’re ever likely to find. Weekend country road blasts would never be the same again. Worth a punt, maybe? Or would you prefer to stick to paying more for a pure-blood Caterham?