Caterham trio on show at SMMT

18 July 2012 #SMMT News

SMMT has welcomed the latest exhibit to its modern Westminster exhibition space this week: a trio of products from specialist manufacturer, Caterham Cars. The display follows the launch last week of SMMT’s report into the UK’s unique low volume car manufacturing industry, highlighting some of the challenges these companies face and, importantly, the opportunities for growth that can be achieved.

SMMT’s report highlights how specialist car manufacturers like Caterham inspire diversity in the marketplace, provide highly-skilled jobs, positively contribute to net exports and are often at the leading edge of product design and innovation.

Caterham’s mainstay product, the Seven, is based on an original design by Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman that was first seen in 1957. In 1973, Lotus sold the rights to the Seven to Caterham, and the Surrey dealer became a UK sports car manufacturer in its own right.

Since then, the company has continued to refine the original design, through technical development and innovation, and there is now a range of variants on offer. Three of these are on show at SMMT – a Superlight R300 race car, a CSR 200 and an R500.

Superlight R300 race car
Following in the footsteps of more powerful Superlight siblings like the R500, this car adheres to original Seven recipe; high performance through extensive use of lightweight materials. The R300 is the best-selling model in the Superlight range, blending a 515kg weight with a 175bhp 2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec engine.

CSR 200
The CSR is the latest evolution of the Seven design. Both CSR 200 and CSR 260 feature bespoke, high performance engines tuned by engineering partner Cosworth. The model also benefits from fully-independent rear, and inboard F1-style, front suspension plus major chassis enhancements. There are no power brakes or power steering, and considerable aerodynamic improvements were developed by Caterham to increase downforce at higher speeds.

Superlight R500
In Caterham’s view, the Superlight R500 represents the ultimate expression of Colin Chapman’s fundamentals. The car’s name is derived from its power-to-weight ratio of more than 500bhp per tonne, which gives the R500 a 0-60mph time of just 2.88 seconds. Stripped to the bare essentials, all unnecessary comforts are removed to save weight and reduce mass, thereby boosting the car’s performance credentials.

“The UK is home to more specialist car manufacturers than any other country, including some of the world’s most iconic and prestigious brands,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “These marques boast a strong brand heritage, enviable motorsport pedigree and display a world leading use of innovative new technologies.”

To download a copy of the report, Specialist car manufacturing – a uniquely British success story, visit the UK automotive publications section of the website.

Click through the slideshow below to see all the photos from SMMT’s exhibition space.

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