Words by: DUNCAN QUINN
Photos by: NICOLAS RAMIREZ
My ears are still ringing.
I think I am just about getting my hearing back.
Years of abusing my ears have always left me wondering when they will eventually give up the ghost and just go on strike.
I had assumed this would be caused by standing next to speakers that produce more decibels than Concorde taking off, or running too much with AC/DC cranked to 11 on the Spinal Tap scale.
But apparently I was wrong.
The harbinger of doom for my poor lugs seems to in fact be a car.
The Caterham Super 7 to be precise. Or Lotus 7 to those who have a little salt and pepper going on. Well. A lot probably.
I use the term car loosely of course.
Which would be why blatting it through Manhattan on the way to some more scenic and car friendly twisties seemed to inspire huge amounts of delight in all around it.
People accused it of being a go-kart. And a kit. And I guess they were all correct. In their own way.
What it really is is a racing machine. A motorcycle with four wheels. A point and shoot.
A machine that is the pinnacle of visceral car driving experiences.
How could it not be when the steering wheel doesn’t just give you feedback, it gives you instruction on the imminent terrain like a drill sergeant on parade screaming at the top of his lungs an inch away from your ear holes. You’d feel a huge jolt in the force if you ran over an ant. And a huge jolt in your dental work if you ran over a New York pothole.
And then there is the power delivery. Hells Bells. Even in the version I was testing which was a fairly tame 140bhp it was like all of God’s fury was available at your right foot. You’d have to have a marginal death wish to strap yourself into the 400hp version. That or a terrible fetish for burning rubber, huge clouds of smoke, and the systematic incineration of clutch, tyres and pretty much any supercar on the road on the right day.
This is a car for a man with big hairy arms and even bigger balls who gives no quarter when it comes to extracting a pure driving experience.
And in that task it is up there in a rarefied atmosphere of those that drop panties, raise eyebrows and require a spare pair of pants to be on hand at all times. Terrifying in at totally addictive endorphin releasing way.
So if you’re considering taming the beast I’d suggest you get your earplugs out, your inner Prisoner on, and get ready for a ripsnorter of a drive…
Caterham Super 7: Undiluted… So drink it in neat *****
New York’s Twisties: Full of hidden gems…*****
Earplugs: Not to be forgotten…