Fancy a CSR with an R500 engine? You're living in the right place…
By PH Staff / Monday, 13 June 2022 / Loading comments
Once upon a time, news of Westfield’s sad plight might’ve triggered a few smug grins at Caterham HQ. Not outright celebrations, of course – after all, people’s livelihoods are at stake – but the demise of a close rival in a niche business environment tends to mean more customers. And Westfield had been the cheaper thorn in Caterham’s side for decades. Consequently, it could be forgiven for experiencing something like the triumphalism of a big brother watching a younger sibling taking a game-ending football in the groin.
But not, you suspect, in 2022. We still don’t know the full story behind Westfield’s spiral into administration, but unquestionably Caterham will understand and sympathise with the pressures it must’ve been under. Faced with increasingly stringent safety legislation, emission restrictions, and, in the fullness of time, electrification, there is probably no low volume carmaker in the UK that can claim to see nothing but plain sailing in its near- to long-term future. Significant change requires significant investment, and that can be difficult to come by in the best of times. Which these categorically are not.
Nevertheless, we remain optimistic. Needless to say, PH has collectively cross its fingers for Westfield, and the possibility of someone returning it briskly to health. But, as ever, we’re also encouraged by the specialness inherent in the cars still being produced in the UK. There is no finer soup for the soul than standing next to the factory doors of Ariel or Caterham or Morgan or half a dozen other firms and watching hand-built, world-beating loveliness emerge.
Moreover, let’s not forget the men and women underwriting all the endeavour. British carmakers depend on British buyers, and there is apparently no population on earth that can be counted on to write increasingly large checks for noisy bits of scaffolding than the one which inhabits this small island. And while there are brilliant people to do the buying, the market will find a way to do brilliant.
Case in point: this Caterham CSR R500 Superlight. We’re fairly confident Caterham didn’t think to combine a CSR chassis with the lighter 2.0-litre Duratec motor and dash from the R500 by itself. No, an enterprising individual almost certainly turned up on the proverbial doorstep with a bright idea and what was presumably a blank cheque, and said “how about you build me this?” and they did, and now the world is an infinitesimally nicer place to live as a result.
Whether it’s a total one-off or not (we think it is, but are more than happy to be told that there are a few more swarming around the place like angry bees) it is certainly very rare, and therefore probably deserving of its £49,950 asking price. We’re also not entirely fussed by the question of whether or not the smaller Ford unit is actually a better fit for the CSR than the Cosworth-tuned motor it was originally twinned with. We just love that it exists, that you can buy it right now, and then spend the rest of the summer getting busy with adding to its impressive 19k odometer reading. Power to the people.
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