2003 Caterham (Lotus) Seven Super Sprint


Everyone needs to own a Seven at some point. I say own and not just drive because the cars are a special kind of perversion—equal parts fun and abuse—and a single drive never gives you the full picture. You have to live with one, grow to love its hidden quirks (in addition to the obvious ones), and get down-and-dirty familiar. The four-wheeled-motorcycle cliché is appropriate, but there’s more to it than that. Bugs go in your teeth, road grit gets flung in your lap, you’ve got near-perfect steering and simple controls, and because there’s a passenger seat, you get to share the madness with someone else. The engine makes all the right noises. The chassis wraps around you like a good pair of pants. You get immersed in a swirling cloud of landscape and burnt fuel and all the reasons people like fast cars in the first place.

Having a Seven in your garage gives you a window into what made Colin Chapman the genius that he was. (No Seven clone ever fully ticks the Caterham/Lotus chassis-balance and sensation boxes, though some come close.) But you also figure out whether or not you’re the type of person who would’ve been a fighter pilot over the Argonne in World War I. All it needs is a machine gun mounted on the nose, shooting through the nonexistent propeller…

If all of that speaks to you perhaps you should consider the Seven on offer here. First: full disclosure. It isn’t my car, it is my Dad’s. Half Irish and half English he is understandably drawn to two things- one you serve, baked, with a steak and the other comes in many incarnations, all of which are incredibly romantic and guaranteed to leak oil. Up until last year a Seven was one of the latter that he had never owned but always lusted after. So when my friend Sam Smith, who also happens to be Executive Editor at R&T (which also makes him my boss? Yikes) told me he was selling his Caterham to buy something else he didn’t need it didn’t take long for me to tell Dad, and for him to buy Smith’s Caterham.

The car is a 2003 Series 3, in Cat parlance, with the long cockpit and DeDion rear suspension, which were both optional.  Basically just means it’s the ever-evolving version of the Lotus Series 3 Seven that Caterham built forever. It is also the most modern version built with a proper Kent/Crossflow 1700cc engine which was discontinued in 2004.

Here’s a link to Sam’s recap of his year with the car: http://www.roadandtrack.com/boot/my-year-of-2003-caterham-seven-super-sprint

Now, after spending the summer with the Caterham, my Dad has simply decided it is too much car for him in some areas (performance) and not enough car for him in others (weather protection, room for lumber and stuff) and has decided to sell it. More specifically decided to have me sell it, as you can see. When Sam purchased the car he spent a winter taking it completely apart and dialing it in completely both mechanically and cosmetically because, well, he’s nuts. The car was nice before (with under 2,000 miles on it) but now it is fantastic in all respects. Current mileage is just over 2,500 from new and is titled as a 1965 Lotus. The car needs nothing and comes with a impressively large assortment of service and some replacement parts, as well as full top and weather equipment. What it does not come with is a stick to knock the stupid grin off the driver’s face, but, isn’t that the point?


Price: $ 30000
Year: 2003
Mileage: 2,600 mi
Condition: Like new
Exterior Color: BRG/ Polished Aluminum
Interior Color: Black
Transmission: 5 Speed T9
Engine: 1700cc Kent Crossflow Super Sprint with dual Weber DCOE carbs
Drivetrain: RWD

Price: $ 30,000