View Full Version : ADVICE URGENTLY NEEDED.... Lotus vs Caterham 7!!!

10-27-2004, 03:36 PM
Dear Sir(s)

Perhaps ' urgently' is overstating it a bit but it involves my fiance. She's American and despite her nationality is very into British Cars and loves speed. She's coming to visit me soon and in a desire to impress her I'm going to hire a car for a 4 day weekend. A friend of mine has offered to loan me his Lotus Elise ( an early model I believe, so I fear its the smallest engine) for free, I just have to pay for insurance. So that's option A. Option B is hiring a 1993 Caterham 7 sport for 350 pounds for four days. I'm a car enthusiast ( current is the V6 3ltr Alfa GTV.) While I have NEVER driven a Lotus I have a Caterham and I don't think I've ever had a more in depth feel for a car. Seeing those wheels turn as you turn the wheel, the cornering etc...

Here are my considerations:

i) We'll be doing a lot of driving; from London to Haye on Wye ( taking A and B routes of course) and back. The Lotus is more comfortable than the Caterham

ii) Its winter and while both are convertable I think the Lotus fairs better than the Caterham in our British Winter.

iii) Ultimatly... what's the most fun? That's the b-all-and-end-all. This isn't a long term proposition its for a short burst of true driving experience ( she'll also take the wheel. Mind you, last time she did, and we were on an a road with a lorry approaching fast, I told her to pull to the side... quickly and she did. Alas to the right hand side of the road but still...)

Option C is to hire a TVR Tuscan for the weekend. Would that be the best of both worlds?

As I mentioned I have no experience in these cars so any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks, in advance


10-27-2004, 06:35 PM
My heart says Caterham, but my head says Elise.....more modern, a little more practical. (It is, as you say, winter and the roads are likely to be damp.....the Caterham might get a little skittish). You could always rent something bigger, still British, still fast, and travel in a little more comfort whilst still having a blast. E-Type perhaps?

10-28-2004, 05:28 AM
Thanks. The other alternative was TVR Tuscan. Dad had an E type. Aren't they quite tricky to drive?

Geo Hahn
10-28-2004, 01:34 PM
Brave man. Personally I think a 4-day road trip to that area is going to impress her whatever you drive. My vote is the Elise unless you're very sure of fine weather. My impression is that a 7 with the hood up is a very tight fit and none to easy to get in and out of.

Bruce Bowker
11-01-2004, 10:45 AM
My impression is that a 7 with the hood up is a very tight fit and none to easy to get in and out of.

[/ QUOTE ]

Only had the top up once and you are correect. Not easy in or out. But cozy inside and it was dry in a pelting rain.


11-01-2004, 10:56 AM
I'd go for either the Elise or the Tuscan. You'll have a great time in any of these cars on the back roads to Hay.

Side trips to Brecon and/or Abergavenny might be interesting too.

11-03-2004, 11:18 PM
I would opt for the Elise, unless you are both super skinny and short. Weather has a lot to do with it. I had to make a choice between a Caterham SV (for larger people) or the Elise for our weekend house. I drove the Caterham, and it was even more pure than the Elise, More direct, faster and sounded better. The only thing that hold me back is driving in colder weather (fall and early spring). So, I chose the Elise after all.

11-03-2004, 11:20 PM
Oh, I forgot, the smaller engine in the Elise is no problem. The Series one is 400lb lighter than the 111R.