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Introduction

I grew up with a poster of John Surtees on my bedroom wall and hearing family anecdotes of my father's amateur racing days. Rather than being a pure racing fan (although I have always been captivated by F1) I was more fascinated with the machinery of motorsport. The legend of Colin Chapman and the innovation that he used to create competitive advantage captured my imagination. For me, motorsport was more about the engineering than the driver, and in particular the battle between two philosophies: lighter, lower power but aerodynamically efficient versus heavier, highly powered cars. I learned much of that battle retrospectively but the engineering contest still seemed to dominate the headlines just as much as the names of the famous drivers in the 70's and 80's. Personally (and perhaps controversially) I find F1 today poorer for the restrictive technical specifications and allowing race outcomes to be more often dictated by tyre strategy and safety car interventions.

John Surtees driving for Team Lotus

A couple of years ago, I heard someone talking about a car rebuild project - something they were doing in their spare time, but which produced inspirational results. I don't possess the knowledge, skills or tools to take a rusting chassis and to reinstate it to it's former glory - but the thought of building a kit car took me back to those early memories of the Lotus Super 7 and Colin Chapman.


To give some perspective to this project, I'm an engineer by training (sparky, not spanner) and have spent a lot of time building things (wood, not metal). I've never taken a car apart (let alone put one together) but optimistically hope that I've got a small amount of engineering-based common sense that might be helpful.


A quick bit of research and I discovered the current Caterham 7 universe - not only the car being available in a kit, but the whole community, blats, build blogs, upgrades and weekend tinkering.


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