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High Flying Sevens

by Ian Bruce

On 30th September 2021 members of Kent 7s were invited to a private party to celebrate the completion of Caterham’s biggest ever build challenge:

In partnership with #Halfords Advanced and #AvonTyres, a team of four #CaterhamCars engineers set themselves the daunting challenge of building the new Seven 170 in just 6 hours…

  • inside the British Airways i360…

  • 138m in the air….

  • while it is moving….

  • and open to the public.

It was not only be the first time a car had ever been built in one of Britain’s tallest visitor attractions, but the first time a car had been inside the pod at all.

Standing at 138m, the British Airways i360 is taller than the London Eye, Big Ben and Tower Bridge. It also has stunning, 360-degree views of the southern coast and the English Channel from its glass-viewing platform.

Needless to say, the build was completed on time in 6 hours, and the finished result was on display at the party we were invited to.

The evening began with music and drinks in the visitor centre at the base of the i360 viewing tower on an extremely windy Brighton Seafront.

On display was another 170 in road trim, painted in custom “Frozen Blue”, with several extras such as lowered floors, LED lights, leather dash, diamond stitched leather seats, leather trimmed interior side panels and leather covered rollover bar.

Also in the foyer was the “off-Road” seven driven by James May in The Grand Tour’s Madagascar adventure, and another existing model from the Caterham range.

After some time sampling the free bar, we were ushered into the i360 “pod”, and slowly started our ascent (or “flight” as the British Airways sponsored i360 refers to it).

In the pod was the completed aeroscreened “R” spec 170 in Orange, that had been assembled there during the day and proudly displayed with a full Halfords Advanced toolkit, and the giant digital countdown clock.

Further around the Pod was a 170 in road “S” spec finished in silver/grey, with windscreen and leather seats.

Copious food and drink was constantly being offered and the DJ played party music to add to the atmosphere.

Shortly after “take-off”, Caterham Cars’ Simon Lambert welcomed the special guests and enthused about the attributes of the 170, one of which is it “produces less emissions than a Toyota Yaris hybrid”!

The 170 is the lightest ever production Seven Caterham have ever made, and featuring a sprightly Suzuki 660cc turbocharged engine producing 84bhp but with a 0-100kph of 6.9 seconds, a top speed of 169kph, and on skinny Avon tyres, the 170 is great fun to drive – without reaching licence-losing speeds.

In the UK prices are £22,990 for the 170S kit, £23,990 for the 170R kit, and an additional £2,395 factory build/on-the-road option, making the 170 Caterham’s new entry level model, but still huge fun!

Kent Seven’s would like to thank Graham McDonald and Caterham Cars for their hospitality and look forward to welcoming new 170 owners as members of our active group in the SE of England.

For more information on the 170, and other Caterham models, see their website



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