August 1, 2003

Delivery Date!

I followed some advice from one of the 2003 competitors and mailed the factory to see if they could give me a date. They responded in half an hour with a delivery date of week ending 12/9/2003! If this is really a delivery date, then its a couple of weeks earlier than I expected.

Posted by charles at 8:13 PM

August 3, 2003

Assembly guide online

Someone on Blatchat has noticed that the assembly guide is available online in PDF from the Caterham site.

Finally finished buying tools (except for the fluids). Just need the car now!

Posted by charles at 8:17 PM

August 8, 2003

New URL/site/host

I've migrated the site to a new URL and host - which gets it off my PC at home! Let me know any problems/broken links you find.

The backend has changed from being filesystem based to mySQL which should help performance somewhat as and when the site grows.

Posted by charles at 3:32 PM

Academy 2004 full!

All 56 places for the 2004 Academy have now sold out with nine months still to go! This is the fastest that the series has ever sold out and it seems to be getting more and more popular every year.

There is a full story over at, or see the official press release at the Caterham site.

Posted by charles at 4:06 PM

August 12, 2003

Offical delivery notification

Well, the official pack prior to delivery finally dropped through my letter box today. There's a load of stuff in it, including a letter confirming that delivery will take place some time during the week ending 12th September, plus a pro-forma detailing every part making up the car and forms for SVA and first registration. It will take a little time to get through at which point I'll try and get some of the info up on the site.

Posted by charles at 7:33 PM

August 14, 2003

How we got here...

So finally the delivery of my car is within sight. I kept asking questions like 'when do I get my second deposit letter' of everyone else so I thought I'd summarise the process for me.

Back in March (the 22nd) was when I actually placed my order with Caterham Midlands. Here's my completed order form so you can see my options. Notice the request for black nose cone and wings which isn't standard and a delivery date requested for June! Little did I know that this would be slightly wide of the mark....

Just over a week later I got my order confirmation from the factory, but unfortunately they were now quoting delivery late July, so I chased Caterham Midlands on the date. I then got a letter from Caterham saying the deliveries wouldn't start until September as they wanted to produce all the 2004 Academy cars in one go. Caterham Midlands confirmed the new date a couple of days later. This meant an extremely long wait through June and July with delivery seeming a very long way away.

On 16th June (as it turns out, just under 3 months before delivery) I got the request for the second deposit. I also requested a copy of the build manual in advance which Caterham Midlands kindly sent to me. It let me find out what I was going to be letting myself in for!

I tried to get a firmer delivery date during July but was unable to tie it down any more than 'the middle of September'. Following some advice from a 2003 competitor I emailed the factory at the beginning of August and they came back with a delivery date of the week ending 12th September.

Then I got the final documentation through on August 12th, including a request for full payment and a pro forma invoice with the (very) detailed breakdown of the spec. I need to ring the factory approximately two weeks prior to delivery to arrange the actual date.

Posted by charles at 1:54 PM

August 17, 2003

Final payment cheque

I've written the final payment cheque and it's all ready to go. Just got to arrange the actual delivery date now which I'll try and do at the end of the week. I'm on holiday for a week between now and delivery and it shouldn't be that long after I get back that I'll take delivery.

Posted by charles at 6:14 PM

August 20, 2003

Delivery date

I rang the factory today to try and firm up a delivery date. I was expecting they might tell me to ring back in a week or so given that according to the dates given to me by Caterham in their last letter, delivery could be over three weeks away.

The exact opposite happened. Caterham have just finished the first Academy chassis and they can deliver next Wednesday!!!!

Now I've got to sort out insurance pretty quickly.....

Posted by charles at 1:03 PM

Lotus 7 Club of Great Britain - new logo?

There's been some debate on Blatchat about whether the Lotus 7 Club of Great Britian should change it's logo - and perhaps even name. After many requests for change/staying the same, Marcus Bell has come up with a new design proposal.

Marcus Bell Logo.jpeg

Post what you think of it on Blatchat!

Posted by charles at 6:03 PM

August 21, 2003

New logo V2

Marcus has refined his logo. As before post what you think of it on Blatchat.

Marcus Bell Logo V2.jpeg

Posted by charles at 2:13 PM

Another logo

Peardrop has added his suggested logo to the options.

Peardrops Logo.gif

In case there's a later version, you can check at the original page here.

Posted by charles at 6:58 PM

August 26, 2003

Arrives tomorrow!

Well, barring any last minute disasters, my kit should arrrive tomorrow!!

Posted by charles at 8:28 AM


In typical 'leave it until the last minute' style, I got my insurance sorted today with Eggar Lawson. It seems that are only really three companies that offer build cover (EL, Footman James and MSM). MSM wouldn't quote because I wrote off an Elise in August 2000 and Footman James got really confused by the fact that my car would be used for racing, even though I was only asking for road cover. I gave up with them in the end.

EL quoted me ?150 for build cover and then ?397 for 3000 miles. You just pay the difference between the build cover cost and the full cost once you've finished. They gave me 3 years introductory no claims discount but would have given me 4 years if I hadn't had the accident in the Elise. I've got full no claims (protected) on my other car but you can only use it once of course.

Posted by charles at 9:52 PM

August 27, 2003

Day 1 - Arrival and preparation

I finished off tidying up the garage in the morning ready for the car to arrive.

Then at around 12:30 the Caterham van pulled up.

After around half an hour unloading (the chassis is heavy!) we'd got it all in. A few handy build tips later I was left to put everything away. I moved most of the bodywork bits into our games room.

At this point I decided that I needed to move the chassis so that there is some vague hope of getting my girlfriend's car in the garage at some point. That will have to wait a few hours as there is no way I can move it on my own, although I can get the front off the axle stands. I've taped up the front suspension which is always the first task, but they don't normally tell you that masking tape refuses to stick to bare aluminium! There's also a shot of the lowered floor (from the front of the car) which is a feature of all 2004 Academy cars.

I started to do an inventory of the parts, but it is really difficult to do without taking absolutely everything out the boxes. I have at least checked the suspension and steering which are the first jobs and I appear to be missing one of the suspension fastner kits and the forward radius arms which is a bit strange. Perhaps they are in another box somewhere....

I am definitely missing a windscreen stantion screw, some SVA rubber covers, gearlever and ECU as they are on the 'to come' list - so I'd better not build it too quickly then.

I'm also missing the assembly guide. I don't know if this is because I requested one from Caterham Midlands in advance.

1 hour build time so far.

Posted by charles at 5:03 PM

Day 1 - Build starts

Got round to starting the build with, of course, the front suspension. Nothing too taxing to begin with although I keep forgetting to put copper slip on absolutely everything. The first small problem came with the lower wishbone which has as a 7/32" hex bolt and needs torquing up, but I don't have any imperial hex sockets (as people have mentioned before, the entire chassis is basically imperial). I got the LHS lower/upper wishbone and damper on and moved on to the upright which said 'remove the nyloc nut and washer from the stub axle and discard'. Now this should be straight forward if you know what a stub axle is ;-). The nut that you need to remove is the one on the right hand side of this picture, on the threaded section. The wingstays attach here.

Called it a night without removing the nut so there is still a little way to go before finishing the LHS. The RHS should be much easier now I know what I'm doing (sort of).

1 hour build time, 2 hours total.

Posted by charles at 9:22 PM

August 28, 2003

Day 2 - No progress

Got an email from Caterham early this morning saying that I shouldn't have the radius arms, rear suspension polyethene and fixing pack because I don't have the Watt's Link suspension. It was what I suspected but it's good to have it confirmed. They also apologised for not having an assembly guide and will put it in the post today. Some friendly people on blatchat have confirmed that I am going to undo the correct nut on the upright.

No time for actual building today.

Posted by charles at 11:59 AM