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Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/24/21 1:31 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

DAmn, I didn't realize how old that article was.  2006.  I feel even older than I did!  I recall reading your old build log real time as you worked on the car.  I could have sworn it was 10 years ago at most, not nearly 16.

I notice you showed a build price back then of $10,253, and I"ll bet your costs were more accurate than the others, which according to a handy dandy inflation calculator would be about $14K today.  Honesty that makes $30K for a turn key seem even more of a bargain to me.

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
9/24/21 2:12 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

When you start looking at the true 'cost' to DIY build something 1-off for the first time from largely used parts, especially for anybody who has other reasons in their life to value their own time at all, it's not so much that the end result is cheaper as it is that the cost is amortized out in ways that that makes it far less obvious. If the primary intent is simply having a fun and and interesting fair weather toy to enjoy the elemental driving experience, rather than having an interesting but time consuming project, I'd certainly give a $30k Keiterham strong consideration against other similarly priced production cars.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/24/21 3:32 p.m.

Well, I wrote a book about the car. I don't remember the numbers but I'm pretty sure the book paid for the car :) I also made use of what I learned several times over, but that's because my job makes it relatively easy for those skills to transfer. At the time I built it, I referred to it as "20% of a Caterham" as that was my expected build cost. Given that Caterhams at the time started at $40k or so, I wasn't too far off. The car's in good hands now and I have visitation rights.

I don't know where the $30k price is coming from. The cheapest Seven on the Caterham site is £25,385.00 as a turn-key. That's basically $35k, and turn-key kits get a little funky with US regulations. Plus you'd have to actually, you know, get it here and deal with any import costs. I'm not sure you can buy a turn-key from Caterham directly in the US, I think it has to be built for you by a dealer.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/24/21 3:46 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Not trying to argue with anyone.  The $30K came from this R&T article that quotes the price of the Kie-7 as £22,990, which is about $31,400 at today's exchange rates, so I heavily rounded down to $30K.  A better comparison than a home built Locost may be a Westfield.  What's the going rate to completed a Westfield Miata SVD build?  I'm sure last time I did the online Westfield calculator it came out over $15,000 for the stuff from Westfield without considering a donor, wheels, tires, refurbishing etc. etc.

I'm really not trying to be an ass, it's just I honestly love the concept of this car and think, at it's UK price, it sounds like a bargain compared to doing it 'right' yourself.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/24/21 4:02 p.m.

"Base price" in Caterham-speak means "in a box". The 170 has the same starting price and it's £2,395 for the build. We're getting further from $30k :) No question it's the bargain of the range but I think the bottom end is a little higher than a target of $30k.

The Westfield SDV was a bit of an oddball. Westfield didn't really take it seriously - when they supplied the first car to magazines to test, they didn't even swap out the brake pads from the 50 quid donor. It wasn't exactly a bolt-together, you had to move some pivot points if you actually wanted the clutch to disengage. I don't think Westfield ever believed us about that. It's still listed on their site if you go looking for it, but I'll bet they'll try to upsell you to something else. I just wiped out the live database tables with the configurator data a couple of hours ago, but IIRC the kit was $15k a decade ago in the US. It was considerably less in the UK because it's even more expensive to ship a box with a kit inside than an actual car.  

I agree that a theoretical $30k turnkey Caterham would be a bargain by comparison, I'm just not sure it actually exists. The math is different in the UK because of the low cost of MX5 donors and the relative lack of transport costs makes the Westfield more competitive price-wise.

To me, the real bargain of the Caterham range is the Academy car. £29,995 for a fully caged car. Plus you get your race license and training and a full season of motorsport with trackside support. I've seen them race and it's a complete riot.

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