Bare-bones sports car maker Caterham should get a significant shot in the arm with the first appearance of the new Caterham F1 team at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this year.
The company has four models on sale in Australia, with drive away prices ranging from just over $60,000 to almost $100,000.
The range includes the base 1.6-litre Roadsport SV 120 producing 85kW/155Nm, the Roadsport SV 175, Superlight SV R300 and CSR 175, all with a 2.0-litre 127kW/177Nm engine.
The outputs may sound underwhelming but, with the light weight, acceleration is formidable: the 540kg Superlight SV R300, with 242kW per tonne, reaches 100km/h from zero in just 4.5 seconds. Even the slowest in the Caterham fleet, the 1.6-litre Roadsport SV 12, completes the sprint in six seconds.
Although all Caterhams are about as basic as you could imagine, all are not equal: The Roadsport and Superlight models use a De Dion rear suspension, while the CSR 175 has a fully independent wishbone rear suspension. The range of options to suit the car to a variety of racetrack applications is extensive, from a rollover bar to suspension options, to uprated race brakes, close-ratio gearboxes and limited-slip differentials, to adjustable rear anti-roll bars and numerous carbon fibre add-ons.
Creature comforts are virtually nonexistent, although it is possible to order your Caterham with a lower floor to give a bit more space, a spare wheel, leather seat trim, carpet, side screens with armrests, four-point harness, push-button start and - among other things - a heater.
Caterham may not always be available in Australia though. So far the brand’s continued existence hangs in the balance as it waits for the final word on how it is placed, as a low-volume manufacturer, in terms of mandatory electronic stability control legislation.
Caterham drive away prices, ex Zagame Automotive in Melbourne:
- Caterham Roadsport SV 120 $62,614
- Caterham Roadsport SV 175 $80,156
- Caterham Superlight SV R300 $96,911
- Caterham CSR 175 $92,681