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Front-Engine Caterham Coupe Model Considered, Partner Needed First

Starting life as a Lotus Seven dealer, Caterham then bought the rights to manufacture the Seven under its own name. Ever since, the British automaker did mostly that, with some 21 and 3-Eleven on the sides. Now, though, Caterham wants something else.
Caterham C120 design concept 21 photos
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“Nonsense,” the diehard enthusiast might say. I, however, am glad that the automaker wants to try something different from the norm for once. But the road from “want” to “do” is not an easy one for a small company as Caterham. However, small steps is what life and business are all about.

Speaking to Autocar, Graham MacDonald regrets that the mid-engine sports car project with Renault-owned Alpine didn’t work out. While the French brand prepares to reveal its new model, all Caterham was left with from this collaboration is a design concept referred to as C120 (pictured).

Caterham’s chief executive officer underlines that the car he now envisions is not mid-engined, but a front-engine vehicle. Oh, and another thing: MacDonald wants a fully-enclosed cabin, not an open-top design.

"We’d love to have a full-bodied sports car, because when we take the Seven to some of the new emerging markets, they don’t recognize it as a car because of the way it looks,” he declared. Frankly speaking, he has a point.

As the Seven is nearing its 60th anniversary, it's high time for a Caterham for the 21st century. For the automaker to push forward, however, it needs a partner with a healthy stream of cash flow. "The best thing for Caterham now is probably a joint venture. Any new product is a big investment for a small business like us. We’re more than happy to sit and talk to anyone.”

In terms of oily bits, the envisioned model would not make use of turbocharged engines such as the 1.5- and 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder units. “While the [Seven] 620 is supercharged, we like naturally aspirated engines,” added MacDonald. If I may make a suggestion, Mazda's excellent 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G seems like an appropriate starting point.

 
 
 
 
 

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