This Caterham Seven Is Made Of Bits Of Helicopter

It’s been built using parts from a decommissioned RAF Puma helicopter
Caterham RAF 360 with Puma helicopter - front
Caterham RAF 360 with Puma helicopter - front

The 578kg Caterham Seven 360 is so light, you could conceivably be worried about it taking off on a particularly blustery day. The 3.6-tonne Aérospatiale Puma is not light, but it is designed to take off – because it’s a helicopter.

It’s specifically a medium-sized transport and utility helicopter that’s been in service with the Royal Air Force since the late 1960s. With many of them now coming to the end of their working lives, one has donated a host of its parts to create a one-off Caterham that’s set to be auctioned off for charity.

Caterham RAF 360 - rear
Caterham RAF 360 - rear

The car in question is based on the Caterham Seven 360. Arguably the sweet spot of the seven range, it uses a throaty 2.0-litre naturally aspirated Ford four-cylinder with 180bhp, has a five-speed manual, and will hit 62mph in 4.8 seconds and a max speed of 130mph.

They’re not normally made from decommissioned military aircraft, though. This particular Seven’s aluminium panels have been taken from the tail boom and doors of Puma XW232, which entered service in 1972 and was retired in 2022.

Caterham RAF 360 - interior
Caterham RAF 360 - interior

Meanwhile, the quilted leather on the car’s door cards, transmission tunnel and seat padding was originally used as sound deadening on the inside of the Puma and still retains the chopper’s evacuation instructions stitched into it.

The aircraft’s switchgear and navigational clock have also been repurposed for use on the Caterham’s dash, and there’s apparently a helicopter-style three-stage ignition sequence – although we suspect the reality of firing up a Puma is a lot more complicated. Finally, what was the Puma’s ammunition box now sits under the Caterham’s bonnet, cradling its battery.

Caterham RAF 360 with Puma helicopter - side
Caterham RAF 360 with Puma helicopter - side

The car, nicknamed RAF 360, is going up for auction with Collecting Cars on 15 August, where it’s expected to raise over £100,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund and Mission Motorsport, a charity that gets former military personnel involved in racing.

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