Caterham Supersport on the Antrim Coast

16 Replies

We’ve some of the most breath taking winding coastal roads in the world here in Northern Ireland, and I mean right up there with the likes of the Pacific Coast Highway 1 in California.  The meandering asphalt of the A2 that runs the perimeter of North Antrim, separating hills and towns from the wild churn of the Irish Sea is a sight to behold on a crisp fresh winter’s morning, especially from the cockpit of a Caterham Supersport, its 1.6L Ford Sigma motor reverberating off the rocks.

This isn’t just a Sunday morning drive.  It’s life affirming level stuff.  The Seven is the perfect companion to a great B-road, or so think’s Chris Wilson from Sevens Car Hire who will rent you out this very example for your own trip.

You can take out this immaculate 2011 car for as short as a half day, for a weekend or much longer.  If I was visiting Northern Ireland and had 98 RON pumping through my veins, a Fiesta from Europcar just won’t cut the mustard.  Chris is on to something here.

The striking red with white stripe coachwork and roaring stainless exhaust certainly turned a few heads.   In fact when I pulled in at Waterfoot harbour for a few photos, I was centre of attention.  One chap informed me that the very customer for a rip around the Antrim Coast road was Peter Ustinov, who would as a way to relax fly into Belfast, spend a night in the Europa and then pin a hire car around the coastline.  Post in the comments if there’s a shred of truth in that one!

Inside, and the cabin is snug having to lower yourself akin to lowering yourself into a bath, of course if that bath was a leather trimmed leather Tillet seat.  Once in, surprisingly comfortable even with the four point harnesses keeping you snug.  I was advised to wear my race boots; this was a good shout as the pedal box is Citroën Saxo snug.  Look out through the (optioned) windscreen and that’s a long front end.  You sit shy of the back axle and visibility out of a tight T-junction can be a leap of faith.

Fire up the Ford unit and its gruff but purposeful, and for the lack of anything remotely resembling insulation was actually quite civilised.  Unassisted steering, no brake booster and of course no ABS, and it really just is you and car.  Certainly no Apple Carplay, but there is allegedly a two stage heater.  I opted for several layers of clothing, hat and gloves for this winter excursion.

 

On the road, and from very low speeds you are hit with high bandwidth information.  You feel every rut and camber in the road; the steering rack is quick but the actual amount of lock you can apply is limited, so you are on your toes from the off.  Thankfully in the ten minutes of dual carriageway from collection to joining the A2 coast road in Larne, you quickly become acclimatised to not only the lively and talkative Caterham chassis, but also the five speed gearbox which I quickly learned enjoys positive shifts to get the best ouf of it.

The coast road and Caterham are in perfect synchrony.   As it hugs the North Antrim cliffs and coves there’s enough straight to exploit the Caterham’s performance.  The 140bhp power figure sounds meagre on paper, but with just over 500kg plus driver to move, and with tightly spaced gear ratios progress is always entertaining without putting the licence at risk.

I must have driven this road hundreds of times, but on this day in this car, its quite a different experience.  But don’t just take my word for it, this is a must do for any petrolhead.

Car as Tested

2011 Caterham Supersport
Ford 1.6L Sigma
Power: 145bhp
Weight: 540kg
5 Speed Manual with LSD

For more information and to hire: se7enscarhire.com

Share.

About Author

Andy is the founding member of RMS, and when he's not following motoring events around the UK and Ireland he can be found on the track (sideways, having competed in top level drifting for a decade), or of course he'll be on the forum.

RMS Forum Comments

Dave.. replied at 22:44, Tue 07 Dec, 2021
Very good article. I always wanted one but my bad back and size 14 feet put an end to that idea.
Big Pimp replied at 23:11, Tue 07 Dec, 2021
that was very good, and their pricing is a lot more reasonable than I would have thought
southsky sunrise replied at 13:54, Wed 08 Dec, 2021
Reminds me of the time we all went to bushmills & I’d the M3 Evo 343559
FM155 replied at 15:51, Wed 08 Dec, 2021
Love a Caterham but practical they ain't. In the late 80's I used to be involved in sorting out unfinished Caterham projects that people had bought and couldn't finish or couldn't get through inspections. My first attempt at getting out of one involved me realising I couldn't get my legs out so I ended up pouring myself out sideways and onto all fours before standing up to roars of laughter from the audience. Got the knack of it after a while getting in and out of them but it's not easy to make it graceful, it was easier getting in and out of a single seater race car. I'd still love a blast in one though so might be giving yer man a call.
Chris W replied at 23:13, Wed 08 Dec, 2021
| that was very good, and their pricing is a lot more reasonable than I would have thought
Cheers, we’ve tried to find a price point that covers our costs but also works for our customers. Considering the price at the moment of even a small rental car we’re definitely better value ? The smiles per miles is 100% worth it! | Love a Caterham but practical they ain't. In the late 80's I used to be involved in sorting out unfinished Caterham projects that people had bought and couldn't finish or couldn't get through inspections. My first attempt at getting out of one involved me realising I couldn't get my legs out so I ended up pouring myself out sideways and onto all fours before standing up to roars of laughter from the audience. Got the knack of it after a while getting in and out of them but it's not easy to make it graceful, it was easier getting in and out of a single seater race car. I'd still love a blast in one though so might be giving yer man a call.
Definitely give us a shout and we’ll get you hooked up. There’s certainly a knack for getting in and out but the steering wheel off helps a little. Sure once you’re in you won’t want to get out anyway ??
ilovequo replied at 10:35, Thu 09 Dec, 2021
All the best with this... Just need to get the wife tranquilized and kids handed off for a weekend!
gixermark replied at 11:30, Thu 09 Dec, 2021
great idea.. and reasonable prices... they are the sort of car that makes a lot of sense to either hire before you buy... or for some folk - just hire one once or twice a year rather than own... must check out the dates for the hill climbs and make an enquiry :p
Ben P replied at 11:38, Thu 09 Dec, 2021
Track day use allowed @Chris W ? Would love to get back out for a drive round Kirkistown again in one!
gav525 replied at 11:51, Thu 09 Dec, 2021
Great idea this, would love to try one out come spring time. Never driven one before and always been curious.
mike150 replied at 13:54, Thu 09 Dec, 2021
Has me thinking of buying an R400 or R500 aging FFS...........no idea what I'd do with it! I sold the 620 as I couldn't go away for a long weekend in Ireland with it so the Lotus arrived.........still prefer a Caterham to drive but they're almost as stupid a car as an Atom ?