What is it?
This is it the moment we’ll find out if we were right. Right to have been boring on about manufacturers not increasing power and speed, but reducing grip and weight, in order that we have more fun. This is the most significant embodiment yet of the idea. This is the Caterham Seven 160.
We’ve talked about it a lot already, and there are many things in the confirmed spec worth noting. Cubic capacity is just 660cc, in the form of a mildly blown Suzuki (car, not bike) engine. Suzuki installs it into various Kei cars and the like, and in rear-drive form in little delivery trucks (think Bedford Rascal a few generations on) it mates it to a five-speed manual gearbox with a live rear axle.
Caterham has bought the whole unit as a job lot, stopping to increase power from its standard 64bhp to 80bhp, made at 7000rpm, before slotting it into a Seven’s chassis.
In taking the drivetrain whole, the Caterham 160 utilises drum rear brakes too, and some 4.5J x 14in steel wheels that have a different stud pattern to other Sevens: thus making the option of bigger rubber impossible. Tyres are of just 155mm cross section, in 65 per cent profile. A sticky compound? Er, no. They are Avon ZT5s and cost less than £40 a corner.