Caterham will soon release a new, entry-level version of the iconic Seven that goes back to the philosophy that inspired its creation, nearly 60 years ago.
Colin Chapman's seventh car design for Lotus Engineering, released in 1957, was small, simple, affordable and above all else, true to Chapman's oft-quoted mantra: 'First, add lightness'.
Production of the little two-seater passed to Caterham Cars in 1973, and over the years the Seven has steadily gained weight as it has been fitted with ever more powerful engines - up to 370kW in some limited-edition models.
It has also become inordinately expensive for what is still no more than a kit car with attitude.
So this year, to celebrate 40 years of Caterham Sevens, its latest variation on the theme will once again 'add lightness', taking the brand back to its simple design roots and delivering what Caterham used to advertise in the 1970s as 'accessible fun.
How accessible? Under £17 000 (R262 000), says the maker.
No details of the engine or drivetrain have been released, other than that it will be 'super-compact, flexible and EU6-compliant', and that it is being developed in-house by the Caterham Technology & Innovation engineering division.
Given that the Seven was originally built around a Ford lump, and the brand has enjoyed a close relationship with Ford ever since, our money is on the 2012 Engine of the Year, the three-cylinder, one-litre ECO-boost engine, adapted to rear-wheel drive.
The as-yet unnamed car will be launched in the third quarter of 2013, with first deliveries expected before the end of the year.
‘AN EXCITING DRIVE’
Caterham boss Graham Macdonald said: “Colin Chapman designed the original Seven to be entirely 'fit-for-purpose' - a racing car for the road with the driving experience at its heart.
“With that in mind, the new entry-level Seven will be uncomplicated, easy to run and, most important of all, an intuitive and exciting drive.”
And with Caterham's lightness fairy waving her magic wand over every component in the running gear, he added, the car also stood a good chance of being the most fuel-efficient Seven yet.