Designing Gauges for Caterham Cars

In 2017, the Caterham Seven celebrated it's 60th birthday.  Originally launched by Colin Chapman as the Series 1 Lotus Seven, the low-cost, lightweight sports and racing car was a huge success.  For the first time, racing car enthusiasts could own and drive a competitive car.

Caterham Cars is a celebrated British motoring success story.  Lotus Cars sold the Seven in kit form and factory-built from 1957 until 1972, when Caterham bought the rights.  The wheels of the motoring industry turned full circle when, on 27th April 2011, Team Lotus announced that they had purchased Caterham.

In 1974, under the name of Seven Cars Ltd, Caterham built 20 production cars and one prototype.  In 2016, Caterham announced record sales figures with over 600 Caterham Sevens sold.  This was the highest number of cars built in 12 months since 1996 with 45% exported.

Why the Caterham Seven is so Special?

In the beginning, Colin Chapman had a simple aim; to build a low-cost lightweight racing car that would be quick and competitive.  They used aluminium sheet attached to a tubular steel chassis to minimise the body weight.  All Sevens have rear-wheel drive with a roaring engine in front of the driver.  The dashboard is simple and functional, ideal for driving enthusiasts who want to experience and enjoy the drive rather than relax and listen to Radio 2.  It is a racing car for everyone.

The Other Caterhams

In addition to the Seven, Caterham Cars introduced two other cars.  The Caterham 21 two-seater Roadster Sports Car was launched at the 194 British Motor Show to celebrate 21 years of Caterham Cars and was built until 1999.  In 2011, at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, UK, Caterham launched the SP/300R track car.  In an Autocar review, Matt Prior described the SP/300R as being a "superb rewarding and addictive track car".  Also, in 2016, Caterham teamed up with the world-famous department Harrods and released a special-edition Seven.

The Dashboard

All the SMITHS gauges in the dashboard of the Caterham Seven have been designed and manufactured by CAI at their facility in South Wales ensuring that the sports car retains it's truly 'British' identity.  SMITHS instruments were already being used by Lotus and other classic sports and racing cars. The layout of a Caterham Seven dashboard does vary, but commonly features a Speedometer, Tachometer, as well as Oil, Temperature and Fuel Gauges.  Typical layouts of some models include:

Caterham Seven Sprint

There are four gauges mounted directly behind the steering wheel.  The gauges are the Speedometer, Tachometer, Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature and Fuel.

Caterham Seven 270S

Five gauges are stretched across the dashboard, with two gauges for the Oil Temperature and Pressure centrally mounted, the Fuel gauge positioned to the left and the Speedometer and Tachometer directly behind the steering wheel.

For further information on the instrumentation designed and supplied for Caterham sports cars or for details on SMITHS gauges for any classic car, please contact us on:

Via our website

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +44 1639 732200

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Tags: Caterham CarsLotusRacing Car

Categories: Case Histories

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