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Thread: New 2020 420R SV kit factory complete and ready to ship!

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    3

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    Although it's not the exact spec I was thinking (S3/Leather seats/13" wheels/Riviera Blue). I'm strongly considering going in on this, but am looking for advice on a few things:

    1. I'm only 5'8" and have a somewhat shorter torso. Will the combination of my heigh, SV chassis, lowered floors, and composite seats pose an issue? Feels like I'm already making a bit of a concession going with the SV, so I'd hate for the visibility to be bad on top of that.

    2. Comfort of the tillet seats. Though I plan on doing some HPDE here and there, it's mostly going to be a tourer. The leather seats seem much more comfortable, and look better than the cloth + fiberglass IMO. Would some padding like this https://caterhamparts.co.uk/race-sea...iner-pair.html suffice to make the seat bearable?

    Thanks for your input. I'm really happy to see activity from in the Seattle area owners. Excited to be part of the group!

    EDIT: Bruce just reached out offering to let me check out a few cars he's got in the shop!
    Last edited by yogi; 09-27-2020 at 02:16 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    298

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    Yogi,

    In my exploration of buying this car, I had the same question about the seats because I have shrunk to 5'7". In talking with Bruce Beachman, he said that the seats are on sliders and that all I would have to have done was mock up the seat with it in the full forward position to determine if I needed to drill a few holes for the rails a bit forward from where the holes have already been drilled. So, no problems whatsoever with seating position. I too asked about leather seats as opposed to the composite seats and Bruce mentioned that one of his customers who had spec'd a car with leather seats had traded them out for the composite seats and would likely like to sell his leather seats.

    I had a 300r Superlight with the composite seats and in terms of them being useful for HPDE's and other spirited activities, composite seats are much more preferable because the excess padding of leather seats disconnects you from the car. I have had several Brunton Stalkers, 3 with aluminum seats and minimal padding and 1 with more padded seats and for any kind of really spirited driving, the composite seats are the way to go. You can always add a bit of padding or some cushions when just driving around on leisurely drives. I used to be known as "flat butt Bob" which suggests that I have not had a significant amount of padding on my backside. I found my Kirkey race seats with minimal padding to be quite comfortable. Unfortunately, I did not own the Caterham long enough to really understand how long I would be comfortable but I did appreciate being "one with the car". The first picture is of my former Caterham with 208hp and the second is a partial shot of the Brunton Stalker XL with 495hp with Kirkey seats and thin padding. Hope that helps.

    If you are in the Seattle area, you are going to be sooooooooooo fortunate because at this time, essentially Bruce and one other company in the country down in California are the leading selling experts on Caterhams. You would also be able to get high-performance driving training from Bruce as well as be close enough to have any questions concerning the build answered first hand.

    Much good luck in your decision process. I only wish that my wife and lifestyle would have supported enjoying the car beyond the build. If it did, this car would not be up for sale <grin>. Bob Schilling
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    Last edited by Astro Bob; 09-27-2020 at 06:04 PM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Seattle-ish
    Posts
    1,566

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    Seat comfort is a personal thing. When you visit Bruce's shop, spend a fair amount of time sitting in the car to determine if they work for you. My car has Mog seats which are carbon fiber shells similar to Tillets, and although they look painful, they are very comfortable for my back. Over the years I've covered more that 12,000 miles on tours, with the longest day a little over 630 miles, and would never consider swapping them out for a more conventional seat. YMMV.

    -John
    '95 Westfield SEiW w/2.0L Duratec
    '68 Lotus Elan FHC
    '91 Miata w/Flyin Miata suspension & brakes
    '95 Porsche 993 C2
    '86 Porsche 944 turbo (neglected project car)
    Throttle Steer

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    241

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    Yogi had a good collection of seats to check out today:
    310S SV with leather seats
    620R S3 with carbon Tillets
    G7 SV race car with the FIA Tillet "Big boy" XL seat
    CSR race car ("Catzilla") with standard FIA Tillets

    Cheers,
    -Bruce
    Beachman Racing
    Authorized Caterham Cars dealer

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    3,819

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    AstroBob.

    I'd add Rocky Mountain Caterham to the mix of top Caterham dealers in the U.S.A. Per their website they have sold 8 new Caterhams thus far in 2020 with more on the way. Given that something like 19 Caterhams, total, were sold in the U.S in '19 (per the ongoing R&T article abt their Caterham build), no dealer can make much of a volume claim.

    Rather, it seems that Caterham expertise, parts inventory, repair and upgrade services are what separates Beachman and RMC from the rest. I have had significant experience with both and their attention to detail and excellent customer service have allowed Caterham to a visible brand in the USA.

    And, I'd add Tom Carlin's Birkin USA into the top 3 se7en resources in the States.
    Kitcat:AKA, Sir Spinsalot
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car
    '19 Honda Type R, sold
    '19 Miata Clubsport

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    298

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    Kitcat, That is great information for myself and others to know about. I am not sure how many Caterhams Kampena Motors is selling in the Sonoma, CA region but as you and others know, they too have extensive experience with Caterhams and racing. Like you mentioned, I have also heard great things about Tom Carlin's operation and I suspect that he works hard to insure the reliability of the Birkins he is selling and like Bruce, tries to keep an inventory of spares so that his customers can get certain parts in a timely manner based on the hearsay I have paid attention to.
    Last edited by Astro Bob; 09-28-2020 at 09:05 AM.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    3

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    Thank you Bob, Croc, John, and Kitcat! Quick thoughts on each, in the order I tried them:

    620R S3 with carbon Tillets: this was the first seven I've ever sat in. Fitting like a glove is exactly the right analogy (5'8"/170lbs). The carbon tillets were super comfortable. Definitely understand what a small toe box is now!

    310S SV with leather seats: felt…sloppy? Granted this is quite the contrast after the previous S3/carbon, but I was surprised at how little they hold you in place. By comparison my S2000's seats feel much more secure.

    G7 SV race car with the FIA Tillet "Big boy" XL seat: basically went for a swim in a race car.


    CSR race car ("Catzilla") with standard FIA Tillets: solid. Gave me the best comparison to the kit in question as it's the same configuration (including lowered floors). Visibility was okay, but I'd definitely prefer to be higher up. Easy enough to remedy later.

    Thanks again to Bruce for allowing me to test fit all these combinations. Prior to yesterday I was driving myself a bit crazy trying to choose from all the options available in Caterham's configurator. After having sat in a few I'm realizing most of that stuff doesn't really matter — it's going to be fun no matter what I end up with. Which, by the way, is this kit

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Seattle-ish
    Posts
    1,566

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    Congratulations! Good see the car is staying local. I'm looking forward to reading your upcoming build thread (yes, that's a hint )

    -John
    '95 Westfield SEiW w/2.0L Duratec
    '68 Lotus Elan FHC
    '91 Miata w/Flyin Miata suspension & brakes
    '95 Porsche 993 C2
    '86 Porsche 944 turbo (neglected project car)
    Throttle Steer

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    5,316

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    Well done Yogi! Smarter than the average bear! You have bought a great package. As John generously threw you under the bus for a build thread, can I please just add that we like lots of photos. Looking forward to see you have fun doing the build!

    I had a great chuckle at your seat description. What is snug for me, you are having a swim in.
    Mike
    2021 Caterham CSR "CatKong"
    2010 Caterham CSR with Cosworth 2.3 Duratec
    2018 Caterham 420R with 2L Duratec 210hp at Donington UK
    1972 Lamborghini Espada GT
    1975 BMW CSL Group 4 (restoration finished - track set up time)
    1977 Holden Torana "A9X" (awaiting restoration)
    1985 Holden Commodore SS Group A (suspension restoration)
    1985 Holden Commodore Group A (suspension set up)
    1982 Ferrari 400i (radiator replacement)
    1965 Ford Mustang Fastback "Holman Moody"
    1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC (dyno time)
    1990 Range Rover 2 door Classic


  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    241

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    Craters/shippers have been notified - this one's coming up to Seattle. Many thanks to everyone who expressed interest and support.

    And I dare say, Seattle is starting to become a decent locus of Seven ownership. This year, we've got new representation in Seattle x 2, Woodinville, Redmond x 2, and Kirkland.

    Vroom, vroom!
    -Bruce
    Beachman Racing
    Authorized Caterham Cars dealer

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