Caterham will build a new front-engined, rear-wheel-drive, fully enclosed sports car to sell alongside its Seven model — if it can find a suitable brand as a project partner, the company’s boss has revealed.
The car is likely to be based around the abandoned but highly regarded C120 concept created with Renault-owned Alpine in 2014. Caterham’s boss, Graham MacDonald, indicated that there was a great sense of regret that this project never came to fruition and he said the company would have no hesitation in picking up the plans again in the right circumstances.
The British firm is looking to enter a more mainstream area of the car market with a new model — something it tried in the 1990s with the Caterham 21. MacDonald suggested such a car would have a more conventional shape than the Seven to broaden its appeal.
However, the core desire of the company is to maintain the much-praised Seven, so any fully enclosed model is likely to be an addition to the line-up, rather than a direct replacement for the Seven.
Caterham would use an engine from another manufacturer for its sports car, as it does for its current models which have Ford engines. However, MacDonald ruled out using Ford’s Ecoboost engines for such a project, saying Caterham wanted to use a naturally aspirated powerplant.
“The Seven is 60 years old next year,” he said. “While we love and cherish that, we have to think about the future. It’s important to get the right engine and product for our customers. It has to have Caterham DNA.
“We are talking to Ford and a number of other manufacturers. While the 620 is supercharged, we like naturally aspirated engines.”