Now that we are in the midst of Winter and cold temperatures, my mind turns to a hot summer day last August where I barged uninvited to a meeting of Caterham Lotus Super 7's . I believe Caterham does not officially own the rights to the name Lotus so they call their limited production sports car a Super 7 but it is loosely based upon the same chassis.
Our local newspaper has a weekly car section where they publish locations of show & shines and other car meets throughout our area during the summer and I felt like having a peek and get a chance to meet up with David O Saville Peck who is an authorized builder of the Caterham Super 7 at his facilities on Vancouver Island. I believe he is the only builder authorized to build the Super 7 outside of the UK. Chassis's are shipped to his location from the UK where he takes over and hand assembles each car from start to finish. I have visited his "factory" while a car was under construction and I can tell you that every piece used has more than one purpose in an effort to minimize weight.
It was a chance for some owners to get together for a few hours to socialize and go for a drive
There were around 10 cars there and each one had a different configuration. Some were LHD and some RHD. It seemed that each one had a different powerplant, no two were alike.
That's David O Saville Peck in the striped shirt, on the left. He is a proven racer and slalomer with many victories under his belt.
This is David O Saville Peck's personal driver. You may wonder why I always refer to him as David O Saville Peck, instead of just "David". I remember one time a few years ago when I was at his workshop near Duncan, BC (Geoff, this is very close to Cowichan Bay) we were talking about this and that and I called him David. He was quick to correct me by saying "David O Saville Peck" so that is what it has been ever since.
Today I was the outsider. I do not own a Lotus so it was hard to strike up conversations as the other owners were all discussing different aspects of their cars and what upgrades they had done. I made sure to talk to David O Saville Peck and the homeowner who was hosting this gathering to ask permission to snap a few photos. It seemed that every car was unique in its running gear and options. When ordering a car there is a base configuration which starts out at around $50K and other performance options can raise the price significantly. Each vehicle is custom produced to the owner's specification and wallet thickness. If I were to purchase of Caterham I would definitely go for the 'Busa powered one, but they are rare.
but what luck . . . I didn't realize it at the time when I noticed this stunning beauty
but this was one of the rare 'Busa ones, and just happened to be produced at David O Saville Peck's facility in Duncan as evidenced by the unique grill. It wasn't long before the hood was removed and I was attracted to it like a magnet
Here's a closer view of the Hayabusa Engine
Having a motorcyle engine and transmission means the shift lever is sequential shift just like your left foot shift lever. The stick shift (cockpit photo above) lever is spring loaded. To shift up you click back, and click again to up a gear. To gear down you click forward all the way back down to Neutral then one more click back to first. On a 6 speed motorcycle transmission you would shift 1 down then 5 up. No different with this manual shifter on the transmission hump. You have no "H" pattern, just clicking back or forward and the clutch pedal is sort of the same as using your left handlebar clutch lever. I am sure you would get used to this in no time.
Now the problem with motorcycles is there is no reverse gear. David O Saville Peck designed a reversing transmission which connects after the tranmission to reverse the direction of driveshaft rotation
That is the gold coloured unit with the chain drive. Since this reverses the rotation after the transmission you actually have 6 speeds forward, and also 6 speeds in reverse. In front of the shifter there is another lever which has two positions, forward or reverse. So when you actually want to go into reverse to back up your Caterham Super 7, you click down to first gear, and move the 2nd lever to reverse position. Depending upon how fast you wish to go in reverse you can shift up all the way up to 6th gear. It may not surprise you to know that David O Saville Peck holds the record for driving his Caterham Super 7 One hundred miles per hour in reverse (on a closed runway, of course).
Here's another view of the 'Busa engine
This particular car has had some modification but I am not sure what was done to it, only that I heard the owner say that it had around 200 HP and it weighed only 1,200 lbs. As each Super 7 is custom made you could order it with RHD for the NZ roads. Perfect for those rapidly ageing Striple Riders