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TG's guide to concepts: the Caterham AeroSeven
A wishful attempt to make something other than the Seven
Last week, the Caterham Seven celebrated its 60th birthday. What a birthday. What a machine. The infamous Seven is more popular than ever, with 600 new machines already purchased for this year. But everyone knows that. Everyone knows what a joy the Seven is. Everyone gets a bit jealous when they see one cruising around the country lanes on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend.
To be honest, it’s the only model that ever really did anything for Caterham. The only other real entry to the Caterham back catalogue was the Caterham 21 from the nineties, which tried to combine the thrill of the Seven with slightly more door panels. But only 49 were sold in the five years of production, so…
Caterham really shook things up, though, when the AeroSeven concept was released. After rumours of a Renault-Caterham crossover, which we got an exclusive look into, the AeroSeven came as almost an urban legend. The spec list included actual real driving additions, such as traction control, launch control, ABS and digital displays to show speed, temperatures, fluid levels et cetera. No windscreen, though. It was due to get a 237bhp 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine and six-speed ‘box, and lots of shiny British green paint.
It was based on the same CSR platform with full aerodynamic downforce and independent suspension, with Race mode as a default setting – Road requires actual effort to select it from the steering wheel. Unfortunately, Caterham ran out of money and the whole collaboration and concept creation was scrapped in early 2014.
We concluded our original concept teaser with: “New cars, new thinking, big plans. Caterham, it turns out, is just as much a born survivor as the cars it produces. Fingers crossed.” Obviously we don’t know what we’re talking about. Our 11:11 wishes didn’t work, the AeroSeven disappeared from memory, and we’re still gutted the promise of Caterham’s future never quite made it past the start line.