Demand for new Caterham models outside of Europe has never been stronger.
Cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata are praised for being lightweight and fun, but in reality the roughly 2,300 pound roadster is actually on the cubby side. That is, of course, when you compare it to a true track day monster like the Caterham Seven. This small British marque launched in 1973 selling an upgraded version of Lotus Seven. The design hasn't changed much, and Caterham continues to build one of the best purpose-built track cars. Caterham has become so popular, AutoRAI reports, that the company now has a waiting list in Europe.
Last year, Caterham sold a record number of cars: 667 units. Sure, that number isn't huge, but these are hand-built specialty cars we are talking about. The company is on track to sell over 600 cars again this year, and European buyers now have to go on a waiting list. A spokesperson from Caterham said "At the moment we are aiming for an EU spec car in the third quarter of 2019." Part of the cause for the delays is due to stringent EU emissions regulations. A new testing procedure is set to be introduced, and it will take some time before the small British automaker is able to comply with the new standards.
The Caterham spokesperson explained that "Outside the United Kingdom we only sell the Seven 275 and the Seven 485. These are the bestsellers in the export markets. Ordering the Seven 165 and Seven 355 is no longer possible due to the new EU emission regulations where the WLTP measuring method has replaced the NEDC measuring method. The 165 and 355 will not be available in the short and medium term." The company can still sell a handful of the hardcore 620S, but only as a track car that can not be registered. The 620S is powered by a supercharged 2.0-liter Ford Duratec engine producing 310 horsepower.
We had the chance to drive a Caterham Seven 360, which makes due with "only" 180 hp. That output may be about the same as the recently revealed 2019 Mazda MX-5, but the Caterham weighs around half as much (1,200 lbs). This is enough to rocket the $75,000 car up to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and set some blisteringly fast lap times. Though there is a waiting list for Caterham in Europe, you can still buy them in the U.S. from authorized sellers such as Superformance.