Although it might not look it, the car you see here is brand-spanking new. It’s the Caterham Super Seven 1600, a newly released retro-inspired version of the iconic sports car.
Unlike the limited-run, classically-styled Sprint and Super Sprint 60th anniversary specials, though, the Super Seven is a permanent addition to the range. And it’s also a lot faster: the previous two retro-fests were powered by 660cc inline-threes, but this - as the name implies - has a 1.6-litre engine.
OK, so a 1.6 inline-four may not sound like much, particularly as it’s naturally-aspirated, but the Ford Sigma unit’s modest output of 135bhp is plenty in a car that weighs just 565kg. 0-60mph is sorted in five seconds dead, and the top speed is 122mph. There’s even DCOE throttle body injection, intended to look like classic Webber carbs and capable of producing what Caterham refers to as a “distinctive growl”.
You’ll need to rev it out to extract the full power figure, given that it arrives at 6800rpm. When it’s time to change gear, you can call upon a five-speed manual gearbox with a deliciously short throw. As is the Caterham tradition, there’s no traction control, nor ABS.
For the full throwback experience, the Super gets flared front wings, a spare wheel carrier at the back, and the choice of seven “heritage” paints. The Minilite-style 14-inch wheels are available in a two-tone silver/gold finish and shod in Avon ZT7s.
The retro feel is continued inside (can you can call a Caterham’s cabin ‘inside’?), with “classically tailored” leather seats and a leather-trimmed dash. The wood-trimmed steering wheel is a nice touch, too.
It’s available in two guises - in the ‘S3’ standard body or the more capacious ‘SV’ widebody. Prices start at £33,495, and it can be supplied ready built or as a kit - the latter option being particularly tempting considering current circumstances.