Classic Caterham kit car constructed from pile of bits to trackday racer in three months

4 mins read

The classic Caterham was purchased in several pieces by enthusiast John Martin who documented his experience on his YouTube page PurpleMeanie. Packing in 210bhp, the 420 Caterham kit built by John sits at the top of Caterham’s home build options as he went through the design in detail in just 30 minutes.

“Once you pass the IVA then you send off the paperwork to get the car registered.

“The most challenging bit is probably getting the engine and gearbox installed.

“It’s not difficult but requires some planning and preparation. The engine bay on a Caterham is quite tight and so its a bit of a jiggling act to get the engine and gearbox in.”

He added Caterham kit cars were fairly simple to construct with the majority of the key safety features constructed at the factory before you get the kit.

“They are different to other kit cars in that you don’t have the kit and then a donor car – you get the whole kit: chassis, suspension, engine, gearbox, electrics etc… all as part of the kit.

“And what you get is much more like a production car than a home built project.

“When I had my car tested, the tester said ‘well this is a Caterham, we don’t get anything like the number of problems with Caterhams, they’re so well done’.”

As one of the most popular kit cars on the market, there is a thriving community of owners each with their own unique story.

John says many own kit cars for several different reasons with many using the model as a thoroughbred racer in their spare time.

He admits to spending only around one percent of his time on the track but reveals the model can still “keep up with anything” and fill drivers with “confidence”.

He says the Caterham’s iconic image leaves a lasting effect on those who see the model, making it popular among car fans and drivers alike.

He exclusively told “I think this is perhaps more characterised as a ‘vintage car’ phenomena rather than kit-car.“You also get another phenomena that’s probably a vintage car thing – whenever you stop (car parks, service stations etc) you almost always end up in a conversation with someone about the car.”

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