Graham Nearn, Founder of Caterham Cars, Is Dead

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Graham Nearn, Founder of Caterham Cars, Is Dead

Post by Steve Simmons »

Looks like we lost another one. :(

(Found on another site. Original article here)
Graham Nearn, Founder of Caterham Cars, Is Dead
By Richard S. Chang

In the grand scope of automotive history, Graham Nearn’s accomplishment may seem very small. The focus of his ambitions was the Lotus Seven, a niche sports car that he first sold as a Lotus dealer in 1959. The dealership was based in Caterham, England, and called Caterham Cars.

“I fell in love with the car then,” Mr. Nearn said in 1993. “I was a young man then. It was a two-seater open car that would do anything you could want a two-seater open car to do. You could go away in it for the weekend or you could race it.”

Mr. Nearn later bought the rights to the car, and Caterham Cars continued building the car, which developed a cult following among sports car enthusiasts. Mr. Nearn, now known as the man who saved the Seven, passed away last Saturday at the age of 76. The death was confirmed on the Caterham Web site.

The Lotus Seven was introduced in the late 1950s. It was a bare bones car — small, compact and extremely lightweight — that completely embodied the design philosophy of its creator, Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars. Its popularity soared when the British spy series “The Prisoner” cast the Seven as the lead car for the main character, known only as Number Six.

In 1972, Lotus ended production of the Seven as the company struggled to stay afloat. The following year, Mr. Nearn bought the rights to the car’s design, which has not changed much since. “Its basically 1950s aircraft technology,” Mr. Nearn recently told the Independent. “We’ll improve the suspension and put wider wheels on them but it’s essentially the same concept.”

Today, the company is owned by a management team that bought out the Nearn family in 2005. The company builds 600 cars a year and has expanded the lineup to several models. Though they all look roughly the same, the level of performance varies. The fastest is the Caterham Seven Superlight R500, which the company says can sprint from zero to 60 miles an hour in 2.88 seconds.

“I have the greatest respect for what Graham achieved with Caterham Cars and fully accept that it was his personal touch that made the brand what it is today,” said Ansar Ali, Caterham’s current managing director. “I know that, despite our involvement today, Graham will always be considered the heart and soul of Caterham Cars.”

At the Tokyo Motor Show last week, Caterham revealed plans to build a range of electric and hybrid cars. The models would be first tested on the racetrack before hitting production, predicted to be in 2012.
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Re: Graham Nearn, Founder of Caterham Cars, Is Dead

Post by Jimmy »

Another bummer.
And what's with the "electric and hybrid" nonsense?
Should I cut the roof off a Prius and make it a "sportscar" now?
In baseball, running into someone is apparently a "collision".
But doing the same thing in a car somehow makes it an "accident".
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Re: Graham Nearn, Founder of Caterham Cars, Is Dead

Post by malcolmr18zoy »

What are you talking about Jimmy? The only single thing a Prius has going for it is it's roof. Although, perhaps in an accident, no roof would allow the occupants to be thrown clear before being electrcuted by the 600 volt electrical system. Then I guess the Prius has absolutely nothing going for it.
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Re: Sad News

Post by VWNate1 »

But ,

The Lotus 7 lives on thanx to his efforts .

It may have been ' 1950's airplane technology ' but a good design like say the MGB MKI will never go stale .

Screw hybrids & electric Foo-Foo cars ~ the giants can do that .
-Nate
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