Ken DaSilva-Hill's 2013 Caterham Seven
Around fifty years ago while still at school, I helped a school friend and his elder brother build a Lotus Seven from a kit of parts. It took around three or four weekends to get the car onto the road and it was a delight. Although too young to drive myself, I had a few trips in it and can remember the need to have either bicycle clips or rubber bands around one's trouser ankles, to stop the trousers blowing up like balloons, caused by the air coming in through the foot wells. I never forgot that car, but was already a sports car fan before that at the age of seven, having read 'The Red Car’, a story about a young boy and a wrecked MG, by Don Stanford.
Well, life goes on, as they say, but I never forgot either the Lotus or the MG.
I went through life with a number of boring tin tops, but always had a sneaking regard for quick small open top cars, a TA being my first choice in old MG's or a Caterham as a modern equivalent. Last year the Caterham won, as finding a reliable all year long usable TA seemed to be impossible.
I have now had the Seven for a year, and find any excuse to use it. I have no idea what it is like to drive with the roof up as I have never ever fitted it, but open top it is an absolute dream, even though I am rapidly going deaf in one ear due to the exhaust note. My wife also loves to drive it and always causes a stir whenever she parks somewhere. Nobody seems to understand why a lady of a certain age would want to drive such a beast.
The car is now a permanent fixture in our lives, and I thank Colin Chapman for his great original design, Graham Nearn for developing that design into today's splendid Caterham, and Don Stanford, and his book character 'Frenchy', for teaching me how to drive it properly at the early age of seven!
Not to mention Grace and Rupert, who convinced me to go ahead and buy one, over the boxing day dinner table, a year ago.
A red car, what can anyone want more?