March 15, 2003

Caterham Surrey - First Visit

Despite living less than a mile away, I hadn't visited the Caterham showroom before. I didn't want to travel up to Caterham Midlands unnecessarily though, so there was nothing to lose by seeing what information the Surrey showroom had.

They threw me a bit at the start by handing me a very different application form from the 2003 one. The price had gone up a ?1000 to ?15,950 but a lot of items that were optional last year are now included. You can see it here.

In previous years the earliest you could get an Academy car was the September of the year before the season you were competing in. Apparently, you can now get them whenever you want - which means I could have a car delivered early in June if I placed an order now. Good in one way, as it means more practice, but it now means that I'll have to find the money earlier.

Still a lot of research about options to do......

Posted by charles at 5:17 PM

March 17, 2003

Options (but not enough...)

Posted a message to the Lotus 7 Club Board, otherwise known as blatchat, asking about options and for some advice (see the thread here.)

Some replies and info are already starting to come in which is great - I wish I'd discovered this board even earlier.

I need to find out about renting a garage near me. Although we're lucky enough to have a double garage, we've also got two cars and there's no parking spaces that I can use on a semi-permanent basis.

I think I will have to go up to Caterham Midlands and get some more info. I've got the day off on Friday, so that could be the opporuntity.

Posted by charles at 8:13 AM

Finding a garage

Emailed the council and got a response within 2 minutes. Unfortunately they haven't got any garages available at the moment but they are going to let me know when they have. It's around ?10 a week - so not cheap!

Posted by charles at 9:40 AM

Caterham Midlands on Friday

Decided to go to Caterham Midlands on Friday to get some more info and a chance to drive an (Academy like) car. Just need to put together a list of questions now!

Posted by charles at 8:16 PM

March 18, 2003

Caterham brochure

Some brochures arrived from Caterham today - don't remember ordering them but perhaps it was from the details I left at Surrey on Saturday. Anyway, something else to look at!

Posted by charles at 8:47 PM

March 19, 2003

Questions for Caterham Midlands

Do you really want to read my boring list of pointless, mostly obvious questions?

If you do (and if anyone is reading this stuff, which is debatable) then comments are welcome!

When can I take delivery?
Is there no 'tall cage' option this year?
Can I have the wheels in black?
Can I have the nose painted in, for example, black. What other colours apart from green and yellow are there and how much do they cost?
What's the cost of the SVA test, servicing, delivery and insurance? (thanks Greg!)
What about side protection bars and how much do they cost?
What other options are there that aren't on the list?
Can I see the tonneau cover?
What sort of helmet will I need? (important because I've got a track day coming up at Spa and need to get a helmet for that - might as well get one I can use for the Academy)
Can I have my post build check done at Surrey if I buy it from here?
Why should I buy it from here?

Posted by charles at 9:22 AM

March 21, 2003

Off to Caterham Midlands

Off to Caterham Midlands today. Went to get my driving licence out last night and couldn't find it - searched for it everywhere but with no success. Looks like the test drive could be a no-go.

'Phoned the DVLA who, for the princely sum of ?17, can put one in the post tomorrow. Not bad, but it won't help with the test drive situation.

Posted by charles at 7:48 AM

March 22, 2003

Bought one - get ready for 2004!

Well, my trip to Caterham Midlands was really useful. So much so that I put my deposit down there and then and the car should be delivered mid to late June. I've only got a couple of weeks to finalise the options now!!

I spent around two hours chatting with Nick Potter at Caterham Midlands. He showed me round the vast number of ex-Academy, pre-Academy and current Academy cars that they have and pointing out the differences between the different year specs and the possible options.

Answers to a few of the questions I had first:

  • All the 2004 cars are going to have the roll cage - but there is no 'tall cage' option anymore. The floor has been lowered though, so everyone should be able to fit now.
  • I'm getting the nose in black. This wasn't at any extra cost.
  • I decided against getting the wheels in black and so didn't even ask if it was possible.
  • The SVA cost is ?150. Delivery was ?100 for me because I live pretty close to the factory. There's probably about ?200 in oil, fluids etc. etc.
  • Side protection bars are optional, and around ?70.
  • I can have the post build check done at Surrey.

So, my current spec is:

  • Standard 2004 Academy car
  • Unpainted (against the advice of most people - we shall see!)
  • Black nose/wings
  • Black pack
  • Plumbed in fire extinguisher
  • One seat

However, I still want to think about the following options:

  • Passenger 4 point harness (it comes with a simple belt anyway)
  • Removable steering wheel
  • Paint!
  • Side protection bars
  • Starter Button

Roll on June!

Posted by charles at 5:16 PM

March 25, 2003

AP-22 Performance Meter

Found someone on blatchat selling a Race Technology AP-22 Performance Meter for a good price. This amazing little box does all sorts of performance measurements including 0-60 (in fact, between any two speeds you wish), 1/4 mile, lateral G etc. etc. using accelerometers. I have been after one for a while but haven't wanted to pay the ?180 odd asking price. Should come in useful for my Boxster, and also when the Caterham arrives.

Posted by charles at 8:09 AM

March 28, 2003

No delivery date yet

Still waiting anxiously for my factory confirmation. I really can't wait until the car arrives already, and it's at least two months away!

My 2003 Circuit Guide arrived yesterday after I subscribed to Circuit Driver Magazine. Looks like it will come in very useful....

Posted by charles at 9:32 AM