Collecting the Car:
This morning my long suffering wife took me down to Caterham Dartford to collect my car following it`s post build check and IVA. To say the location is less than glamorous is an understatement, especially on a Saturday morning where the place looks deserted. I got to meet the chap who had been working on my car, who said it was a good build, which was nice to hear. I suspect they say that to everyone who comes to collect their new-build after it's post build check, but it put a smile on my face none the less.
There was another owner there collecting his R500 after a service, so we had a bit of a chat. It turns out he has had endless problems with the car miss-firing, so is actually looking to get shot of it, which was a real shame. Still, I couldn't have been more excited to get in and drive mine away, even if it did take me a good 10 - 15 minutes to get in and buckled up (they may be quick cars, but you certainly don’t make a quick getaway). The drive back home was rather dull, round the M25 and up the A10, but driving a Caterham is such an event it makes even the most boring drive into a mini-adventure.
Initial impressions of the car are very good. It has strong acceleration up to 80mph, after which it tails off noticeably like all lower powered Caterhams with a windscreen in place. The engine sounds fine, with a nice exhaust roar and some lovely pops and bangs on the overrun, which give it some real character despite the humble origins. The most impressive aspect, as always, is the immediate response from the steering, throttle and brakes, which make you feel absolutely connected to the car. Even the ride is ok and certainly better than my last 7, but I haven't really pushed the handling too far as yet to see if this will cause compromises elsewhere.
Later on in the day I took the car for a proper blat along some of the narrower country roads around home and it came alive......there really is nothing like driving a Caterham on a pleasant evening with the roof down, the engine singing and the smells of the country filling your nose. It has been 5 years since I last owned one, but all the fantastic memories came flooding back in an instant....most fondly the easily controlled oversteer out of each and every roundabout! Goodness only knows how much fun the racing is going to be J