Caterham bids farewell to the Superlight R500

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Plants/Manufacturing, UK

The last Caterham R500

There are many things you could say about the Caterham Seven. It’s ugly as a demon from hell, first of all, and it’s based on a design so old it makes the Porsche 911 and Jeep Wrangler look like new technology. But it’s also fast. Damn fast.

When Caterham introduced the Superlight R500 over six years ago, it emerged was the most extreme version of Colin Chapman’s original design to date. It packs a 2.0-liter Ford Duratec four tuned up to 263 horsepower in a package weighing just 1,116 pounds. That 520 hp/ton power-to-weight ratio, channeled through either a six-speed manual or sequential gearbox and aided by launch control, is enough to send the R500 to 60 in a scant 2.88 seconds. It set a Top Gear lap time faster than a Bugatti Veyron and won the show’s Car of the Year award.

But now it’s time for the Superlight R500 to roar off into the sunset as Caterham is retiring the model, the final 174th example having been completed yesterday for delivery to Peru. In its place, Caterham introduced the supercharged 620 R last year with 47 more horses than the R500 to be the new fastest Seven on the road. Little wonder that Caterham has phased out the R500, then, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be missed for all its bonkers, naturally aspirated antics.

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Caterham bids farewell to the Superlight R500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Jul 2014 09:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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