In this episode of The Driver’s Seat, Henry Catchpole drives the new Caterham Super Seven 600. It’s like a resto-mod that normal people can afford. Ok, it doesn’t have a quilted engine bay, but so much of what is appealing about cars like the Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer or the Alfaholics GTA-R or the Eagle E-type is present and correct in this little British sports car. That idea of connection, emotion, and back-to-basics old-school motoring values is present and correct and it costs less than £30,000.

With just 84bhp and 86 lb-ft of torque (yes, really) from its tiny 660cc, three-cylinder engine, it might sound like it would be slow and sleep-inducing. But it also weighs just 460kg or 1014 lbs and has delightfully short gearing, so it actually feels surprisingly swift. Being closer to the road than the line painted down the middle means that every mph is exaggerated too.

The diminutive size of the Caterham also allows you to explore roads that would be off-limits to supercars. Whether it is dashing along between the reeds in some marshland or climbing tiny back lanes to spectacular vantage points, the Seven feels like it is up for an adventure. Admittedly there has to be a touch of the adventurous about the driver too, particularly if it’s the middle of winter in the UK and the temperature is below freezing.

Henry also gets into some of the history of the Seven, with an amusing story about Colin Chapman’s original Lotus Seven. The Norfolk firm finally stopped building the mk4 in 1973, since then it has been down to Caterham to keep the flame alive. And fifty years on, the formula feels somehow more relevant than ever, particularly in this very traditional, low-powered version which is fabulously fun and easy to enjoy at any speed.

Its skinny tyres might be at the other end of the scale from supercars like Porsche’s GT3 or Ferrari’s 296 GTB, but in many ways, this little car is just as enjoyable. You only have to look at Henry’s cold but happy face in the film to see that. We hope you enjoy the episode; please let others know if you do.

In collaboration with Mobil 1.

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    Love the video.
    Reminds me of why I love driving my 1954 MG TF. Back to basics can be more fun. True vintage feel. No radio, no air conditioning, no power steering.
    Wonderful video… Bravo!

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