Caterham Seven 310R | Macchiato

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After a decade and a half, we all knew that Ford Sigma-powered Caterhams weren’t long for this world. The supply had to run out as Ford was no longer building the old 1.6. Even with previous acquaintance, however, it didn’t work news of their disappearance more palatable; for many people, the Sigma-powered models – the 270, 310 and Super 1600 – were as much Caterham as they would ever need. A replacement will be provided (because such popular models can’t go away forever) but the next engine, whatever it is, has some big boots to fill.

That was probably said of the Sigma when it replaced the K Series, because people are like that. In the end, the Ford 1.6 did all that was required and probably a little more, keeping the Seven light, eager to turn and delivering just enough power to make it fun.

More experienced Caterham fans than us will know all the Sigma models produced since 2006; it seems the factory knew it was doing well and took full advantage of it. Perhaps the best, however, didn’t come until ten years after using it for the first time. When the Caterham Seven 310 was launched in 2016, every imaginable cliché was used to describe it: the sweet spot, the Goldilocks Seven, the best of both worlds and so on. We’ve probably used a few, actually. But by fitting sportier cams, a new air filter, and tinkering with the ECU, Caterham created a brilliant Seven in the 310 – powerful enough to feel suitably fast, while still maintaining the lovely balance of 1.6-liter cars. When PH came to long-term speculation, there was only one choice …

That five 310s currently sit on PH testifies to popularity, as there will be many more with satisfied owners, nested now for the winter. Which might be the best time to buy, especially in a good spec like this one. At 2019 Seven 310 in Audi Nardo Gray, it has all the options you seek: the track-focused R package, which offers a limited-slip differential, firmer suspension and a larger master cylinder, a lighter flywheel, shift lights, carbon dashboard , wiring, removable steering wheel, carbon front fenders and small wheels.

Anyone who has wasted a happy hour on the Caterham configurator will know that there are many difficult decisions to make and many that can go wrong – even without the paint and stripes that may seem mandatory, this looks great. As a result, this isn’t the most convenient way to access the best Sigma-designed Seven. Offered to Williams Caterham with the long list of options and just 1,000 miles, this 310R retails for £ 38,995. Which isn’t actually the most expensive 310 around, but higher mileage cars are available for around £ 30k.

Even taking glacial depreciation into account, paying more than £ 30k versus £ 40k for a 1.6-liter Caterham feels a little nicer. However, being a fine example of one of the best modern Caterhams, the Nardo Gray Seven will surely find a home soon enough. And we will look forward to news of the Sigma replacement; the Seven range looks a bit bare without it.

SPECIFICATIONS | CATERHAM SEVEN 310R

Motor: 1.598cc, four cylinders
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 154 at 7,000 rpm
Torque (lb ft): 124 at 5,600 rpm
MPG: N / A
CO2: N / A
Registration year: 2019
Recorded mileage: 1,000
New price: from £ 32,385 (factory built)
Your for: £ 38,995

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