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Thread: Caterham vs Stalker. Who wins ?

  1. #1
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    Default Caterham vs Stalker. Who wins ?

    I bought an Alfa Gulia Quadrofoglio this summer and its cool and everything but it doesnt turn me on like the idea of a Seven clone.

    I've kind of narrowed it down to either a Caterham in a 420 or above spec OR a newer Stalker with independent inboard suspension.

    My assumptions;
    The Stalker yes is obviously a more beastly machine but is it TOOOOO much for the street ? ( I used to race formula cars but even the Atlantic or F Mazda were "only" about 200 HP. )
    I'm assuming its much roomier which really isn't a big deal but its nice.
    Frankly the looks of the car are out of proportion in some way. The nose is too narrow for the rest of the body ?
    Doesn't have the pedigree thus respect thus resale value / market of a Caterham.
    Much higher bang for the buck.

    Caterham is quite the opposite of the above which is unusual for a car with the same heritage..
    But lets face it only a mother or a carnut loves the looks of any 7. It aint no Pininfarina Ferrari. But the Cat seems to come together better. Perhaps the overall size and proportion ?
    Less outright 0-60 and top speed performance but more balance ?

    What is important ?
    Last edited by Lightguy; 11-24-2020 at 06:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    Part of the answer depends on where you wish to drive it, street, auto-X and/or track days. If it is only one of these that makes it easier.
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  3. #3
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    The essential difference between a Stalker and Caterham is the build. A Caterham comes as a nice neat kit, all the pieces (eventually) wrapped up and supplied. A mechanical numpty can put one together as a modest challenge and turn out a very nice looking result. The Stalker requires more skills of the builder, more fabrication, more effort generally. Some level of parts sourcing needs to occur. That extra effort turns out a very professional looking seven, equal to the Caterham, but it asked more of the builder to get there.

    Now that could all be moot if you plan to have someone else build the car but if you plan to build it, then this is a major difference between the two.


    Similarly, handling. Both cars can be set up to handle brilliantly but the Caterham will do it out of the box while the Stalker will require the nous of the owner to dial in it. Some people have the patience and aptitude to dial in a car's handling. I love doing it. But others hate it and just want the settings to make it work now.


    Lastly, whats your vision for a Se7en? Is it a light, nimble, 4 pot screamer? Or is it a slightly heavier, torque driven animal? The answer to that comes from the question Coffee Break posted above - what is your intended usage?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croc View Post
    The essential difference between a Stalker and Caterham is the build. A Caterham comes as a nice neat kit, all the pieces (eventually) wrapped up and supplied. A mechanical numpty can put one together as a modest challenge and turn out a very nice looking result. The Stalker requires more skills of the builder, more fabrication, more effort generally. Some level of parts sourcing needs to occur. That extra effort turns out a very professional looking seven, equal to the Caterham, but it asked more of the builder to get there.

    Now that could all be moot if you plan to have someone else build the car but if you plan to build it, then this is a major difference between the two.


    Similarly, handling. Both cars can be set up to handle brilliantly but the Caterham will do it out of the box while the Stalker will require the nous of the owner to dial in it. Some people have the patience and aptitude to dial in a car's handling. I love doing it. But others hate it and just want the settings to make it work now.


    Lastly, whats your vision for a Se7en? Is it a light, nimble, 4 pot screamer? Or is it a slightly heavier, torque driven animal? The answer to that comes from the question Coffee Break posted above - what is your intended usage?
    Pretty much, this!

    As a LS Stalker owner who has driven Caterhams, I’ll add this; if you plan on buying a prebuilt Stalker, do your due diligence and check out the car throughly. The build quality will only be as good as the builder. As for performance, both cars get the job done. Personally, the Caterham is easier to drive fast, but the LS power makes for an exciting drive. The Caterham is the well-disciplined martial arts master who knows just when and to apply the blow and force necessary to overcome his opponent while the Stalker is more blunt force trauma.....scalpel or machete.
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  5. #5
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    The car will be used mostly for street duty but I may do a few track events just for grins.
    The cars I'm looking at would be pre-built although building either would be no problem; I was an aircraft mechanic and sheet metal guy for years.
    I find that buying a pre-built car is also cheaper especially for the Stalker.
    I love the idea of the Stalkers inboard independent suspension.

  6. #6
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    Lightguy, Croc's answer to the build issues of a 420r vs a Stalker XL are spot on. Shane (aka xcarguy) has numerous builds with the original Brunton Stalker classic chassis. I have owned both the classic chassis and the first M-Spec Stalker (LS1) with inboard shocks as well as a magnificently built Stalker XL with an LS3/480. I also owned for a brief period,a Caterham 300r Superlight with 400r specs. The Caterham is of course much truer to the original Chapman 7 design and the steering responsiveness is nothing short of like it is wired directly to your brain. The Classic Stalkers did not have the modern inboard suspension due to the limitations of the chassis dimensions. The Stalker XL I owned had about the same wheelbase dimensions as my C7 Corvette. In other words, a fairly wide stance as opposed to the Caterham. There is a Classic XL Stalker for sale out in California that because of the body dimensions, does not have the same inboard setup as the more rounded XL's and cannot support the length and shock position of the more rounded tail XL's. The advantages of the Stalkers are that they source all USA components and everything is readily available in the USA and there are no hassles with importation. It is also true that the Stalkers have a bit less panache than the Caterham. I have found Bruce Beachman to be an exceptional seller of Caterham's and came very close to buying a 420r kit that he just had landed a month ago. However, I decided to keep my 2019 C7 Corvette because I don't find myself autocrossing during these pandemic times. Some of our venues in Florida are respectful of the virus and some seem to think that it is unnecessary to utilize much precaution and I decided that it was not the best of times to swap spit (aerosolized droplets) with my fellow autox'ers .

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro Bob View Post
    Lightguy, Croc's answer to the build issues of a 420r vs a Stalker XL are spot on. Shane (aka xcarguy) has numerous builds with the original Brunton Stalker classic chassis. I have owned both the classic chassis and the first M-Spec Stalker (LS1) with inboard shocks as well as a magnificently built Stalker XL with an LS3/480. I also owned for a brief period,a Caterham 300r Superlight with 400r specs. The Caterham is of course much truer to the original Chapman 7 design and the steering responsiveness is nothing short of like it is wired directly to your brain. The Classic Stalkers did not have the modern inboard suspension due to the limitations of the chassis dimensions. The Stalker XL I owned had about the same wheelbase dimensions as my C7 Corvette. In other words, a fairly wide stance as opposed to the Caterham. There is a Classic XL Stalker for sale out in California that because of the body dimensions, does not have the same inboard setup as the more rounded XL's and cannot support the length and shock position of the more rounded tail XL's. The advantages of the Stalkers are that they source all USA components and everything is readily available in the USA and there are no hassles with importation. It is also true that the Stalkers have a bit less panache than the Caterham. I have found Bruce Beachman to be an exceptional seller of Caterham's and came very close to buying a 420r kit that he just had landed a month ago. However, I decided to keep my 2019 C7 Corvette because I don't find myself autocrossing during these pandemic times. Some of our venues in Florida are respectful of the virus and some seem to think that it is unnecessary to utilize much precaution and I decided that it was not the best of times to swap spit (aerosolized droplets) with my fellow autox'ers .
    In my above comments, I added some confusion concerning the Classic XL Stalker that is out in California. After talking with Glen Minehart, he advised that the Classic XL's have the same frontal dimensions for the shock placement of the wider rearend XL's but the rear of the car requires that the shocks be placed lower in the rear end to accommodate the less tall design. Glen also said that if someone wanted to put smaller tires than the 17"s that come with the car, that the rotors would have to be downsized and the attach points for the calipers would have to be modified. Glen advised that for all around street, autocross and track performance that the Stalker AXR's are the model that can do all of those tasks exceptionally well. The proof of that is that Jason Minehart, running a Stalker AXR has been placing second pretty consistently in the SCCA National Autox events and is also reportedly running the car on tracks in Texas. Hope that clears up any confusion over the particular car that is for sale in California.

  8. #8
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    Thanks all.

  9. #9
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    While responding to this thread, I also wanted to reach out and say hello to Astro Bob - hope that your C7 is treating you and the wife well, while providing some exciting motoring.

    I have been debating this exact question for a couple years now. I am getting close to pulling the trigger, and whether my target is a Stalker or a Caterham will likely be the product of my final few moments of hesitation. I have owned 3 Sevens over the years (one so radically rebuilt, it qualifies as a fourth). Each was more powerful than it's predecessor. That means, if I rest my sights on a Caterham, it will need to be a 420R, 480R, R400, R500 or 620R. Choosing the right Brunton is easier. I would want an M-Spec chassis with inboard shocks - after that, the LS engines fitted to most Stalkers are natural born killers, so no real debate on that point. I know it sounds loony, but I am actually considering the lightly-used (mostly for promotion) 620R offered by Hillbank USA. The 6-figure price is a knockdown turnoff, but the car is 100% track ready with big brakes, IRS, supercharger and Sadev no-clutch sequential shifter (clutch to start, but no clutch when shifting up through the gears). The car provides 310 hp, with another 20 likely available with a good tune. The price for a good supercharger and a Sadev sequential is about $20,000, so the price is not just about the Caterham name. A Stalker providing equivalent performance can be had on the used market for half that money, but it will be a rev-lacking, big-footprint vehicle weighing 700 additional pounds, and incapable of providing the same steering feel. It will be a Seven, and one of the best (I call them America's Donkervoort) but at the other end of the spectrum. That said, you can do a lot to perfect a car with a spare 50 large.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro Bob View Post
    Lightguy, Croc's answer to the build issues of a 420r vs a Stalker XL are spot on. Shane (aka xcarguy) has numerous builds with the original Brunton Stalker classic chassis. I have owned both the classic chassis and the first M-Spec Stalker (LS1) with inboard shocks as well as a magnificently built Stalker XL with an LS3/480. I also owned for a brief period,a Caterham 300r Superlight with 400r specs. The Caterham is of course much truer to the original Chapman 7 design and the steering responsiveness is nothing short of like it is wired directly to your brain. The Classic Stalkers did not have the modern inboard suspension due to the limitations of the chassis dimensions. The Stalker XL I owned had about the same wheelbase dimensions as my C7 Corvette. In other words, a fairly wide stance as opposed to the Caterham. There is a Classic XL Stalker for sale out in California that because of the body dimensions, does not have the same inboard setup as the more rounded XL's and cannot support the length and shock position of the more rounded tail XL's. The advantages of the Stalkers are that they source all USA components and everything is readily available in the USA and there are no hassles with importation. It is also true that the Stalkers have a bit less panache than the Caterham. I have found Bruce Beachman to be an exceptional seller of Caterham's and came very close to buying a 420r kit that he just had landed a month ago. However, I decided to keep my 2019 C7 Corvette because I don't find myself autocrossing during these pandemic times. Some of our venues in Florida are respectful of the virus and some seem to think that it is unnecessary to utilize much precaution and I decided that it was not the best of times to swap spit (aerosolized droplets) with my fellow autox'ers .
    Last edited by Bruce K; 12-07-2020 at 11:37 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Perhaps you would like to look at the 620R options/price sheet? No way is it "six figures". info@timemachinesauto.comName:  dEfTr89g.jpeg
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