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Wanted: A very specific Caterham!

MN Munky

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Hi there. 

I’m a new member here and also a displaced Englishman, banished to the US for the crimes of marrying a lovely American girl. *cool*

About a million years ago I owned a pre-litigation ‘W’ car that looked very much like a Lotus 7 but wasn’t. I used it as my daily driver for two years before moving on to something a little more practical.

I’m now trying to relive that ‘youth’ and import a Caterham to the US as a sunny day driver.

Because of the import thing, I have to have a car that is at least 25 years old (so 1994 or earlier) with the original engine so that I can import it easily. It can’t be a Q plate either, but that seems very rare on Caterhams. 

It must have a windscreen and either come with or should accept weather gear.

I would prefer the following but negotiable - nothings ever perfect (except my lady wife, so I’m told):

Cycle wings (the swoopy wings on my last car made the front end go light at speed), heater, 5 speed, and preferably a K series 1.4 (1.6 don’t seem to be available on models of this age).

I would consider a x-flow as my last one didn’t seem to have the troubles some seem to mention here (but was a 1.6) and also a 4 speed but my preference would be a K series.

GP seem to have the perfect car in BRG with Lotus stripe for £12k, but someone beat me to it and have a deposit on it. They have a second car with a 105bhp K series, but that is also on deposit.

Sevens and Classics have a couple of X flows that fit the bill, but one is a 1700 and reading these hallowed pages seems to indicate that this might not be the most reliable of engines. They also have a 1600 which I hope to fly over and see, this weekend.

Does anyone have any leads or a car they are looking to sell that fits this description?

Thanks so much!




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As the owner of a Seven with 1700 Crossflow engine since 1998, I can assure you it is a very reliable unit. I have 126,000+ miles on the clock.

Very little has made it become unwontedly stationary. Clutch cable (several times), jammed throttle pedal and cable (less often), a couple of prangs (sadly).

If the authorities will accept a modified (i.e. +90thou) Crossflow, I would not turn away. It is a really tough and reliable engine.

I accept that a K is your preference. 

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Thank you for your input. I was a little put off by a thread I read about Caterhams own 1700 due to using 1300cc pistons. 

Probably sacralidge but I’m not looking to use the car as something that gets thrashed every day but occasionally... Is your car an original Caterham 1700? 126,000 on the clock is pretty amazing!

Thank you for the UK sports cars suggestion. I’ll keep an eye out on their website too now!

Wrightpayne, thanks for the advice. My old X flow engined car was great fun and would happily have one again. I think the fuel injection is a slight swing point of the two, but only just. Thinking about it, I’m more likely to be able to get parts for a x flow in the US (thanks to the racing the engine has been put through over the years) compared to a 1.4 K series.

 Thanks again for the thoughts both! :)

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Unfortunately it is pretty low. 

I have to factor in shipping (£2500) and tax leaving me in the lower end of the market. 

£12 - £13.5k is about it. Still much less than buying a US Caterham kit, but I’m swapping out my 911 project car for this, so the home accountant is making sure I don’t blow the food budget for the next couple of years. :D

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There are quite a few ‘Q’ plates of around 25 years old, in fact my chum who recently bought a 25 year old Crossflow had to wait a long time for a non ‘Q’ of his preferred specification to crop up.

Cycle wings... again, cars of that age may well be clammed. My ‘96 was, though the dealer did an excellent job of converting to cycle wings and adapting the lamp stays to cycle wing style. They (7s and Classics) also resprayed it and you cannot see where the 5 fixing holes for the clams were. 

I was lucky to get a 1700 Crossflow that had been worked on by Roger King to 150bhp, with bills from previous owner. I am delighted by it, and have noticed Roger King engines are often mentioned in ads.

Good luck in your search!



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Nothing as nice as a 996 I’m afraid. 

I have a couple of old 911s. One early 70s project that is going to make space for the 7 (I hope), the other an 80s 3.2 Carrera unrestored and peachy which is my pride and joy. 


Thanks for the comment. It seems like Roger King engined x flows are pretty special. They certainly seem to command more money than stock. I’ll have to keep my eye out for those as well. 

There is an 89 Roger King engined car on eBay right now but it’s just a little out of my price range. I should probably contact the seller to see if there is any OBO in his price...

I guess it can’t hurt to ask!

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Owned two 1700 crossflows - great cars!

I am very interested in what’s involved with importing to the States as it’s on my radar to maybe do that at some stage in future? 


Whcih state do you live in and are they all different rules re importing (I’d probably be looking at SC).  What’s required re getting the car legal and registered and what’s the tax cost please?


All the best with your search!

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My car started life as a 1600 Scholarship racecar and was bored out immediately afterwards. It reached about 55,000 before I choose to have a rebuild and it had a second at about 110,00 miles. I'm lucky enough to have an AX block.

So the work wasn't by Caterham )or whoever was preparing their engines in 1996). However, I think most 1700s are customer modifications.

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Hi Finmac

Different States have different requirements for when you have the car registered. 

California for instance requires a smog check on cars built after ‘75. Other states have either similar or in some cases no requirements. 

I currently live in Minnesota. In MN, there is no annual check, no exhaust check or even something that checks that your brakes work and your car isn’t rotted in half! I couldn’t believe it when I first moved here!

I haven’t gone through all of the process yet with a finished car, but have imported kits of various types. These can be brought in but in my state, the engine and chassis can not be from the same place and also the chassis must not have been previously registered. Docs from the supply company help etc. 

For a Caterham, I’m thinking it’s going to be under similar scrutiny as the Land Rover Defenders have been. So, no new chassis allowed (defenders with replacement galvanized chassis are not permitted any more) and the car has to be 25 or more years old, with original engine (as stated on documents) include the number plates from the place of origin (so make sure you keep the UK number plates on the car) and by its very nature, a Q plate states there are questions about the cars age, so that is a big no-no. Defenders are lucky here as they don’t state the engine number of the documents, just the engine type, allowing some latitude.

People were bringing 15 year old Nissan Skylines into the US by taking the engine and trans out, shipping them to the US and reassembling them with one cars engine in another cars body. The importers got lazy and started putting the original engine back in and then the Feds started sending letters to the owners informing that they would be coming to collect their illegally imported cars.

One of the more public cases, related to some Defenders that were ‘back dated’ which was obvious to the inspectors. Those cars were crushed! All imports are subject to random inspection when they arrive at port. 


If you share a shipping container with someone, then expect to pay $3000 for the shipping and then some more for taxes. Both Federal taxes (around 1.5% of value I think) and then local taxes to the state you live in. Those are variable and depend on what you classify the car as. In my state, you can call a car historic and pay around $120 and never have to buy a license plate again. You are restricted from driving the car anywhere other than car meets and personal cruises. Driving it to work every day is not allowed. 

Normal use in MN, all cars get taxed on their value when they change owners, even used cars. Then you also have to pay a yearly license or ‘Tabs’ fee. Some states don’t have this (such as the Boston area), where they just tax you more on your house!

probably more info than you wanted... there is more though, but hopefully that should give you some idea. 

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Thanks GJT. 

I read on here (before I joined) that the Caterham built 1700s were a little over stressed. Seems like you have gone about it the right way and made one from a trusty 1600. A great way to go!

Hopefully I do do something similar in the not too distant future *thumb_up*

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Hi Kester

I live in MA.  I looked into importing a 7, but got put off by all of the hurdles that you have to jump.

Have you looked into buying a 7 that is already in the country?  Your best source of information is usa7s.net and Mike J., who posts as Croc on here.

Your options would be much wider if you were happy taking a "sevenesque" car rather than specifically a Caterham.  There are plenty of Birkins, Westies and the like up for sale.

Theoretically, if my understanding is correct, you should be able to take a car that has been titled in another state and get it titled in MN more easily than going through the import process yourself.

I know of people who have titled both older cars (25yr +) as well as modern Caterham's in different States.  There are different approaches that you can take.  If you go down the classic / reproduction route then I think you are limited to 3k miles and cannot use it as a daily driver.  Not sure if that limitation exists if you are using a more modern 7.

Do you use the Brit's pub in Minneapolis?  I always pop in there when I am in town.  Every time to date it has been the middle of winter so I didn't get to experience the bowling green.

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This thread was brought to my attention by a friend.  Not owning a 7 these days I only really look at ChitChat - you may get a better response for this particular topic posting over there as the likes of Mike, Tom and other USA 7 owners maybe don't venture out to the marketplace part of the site too often.

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Thanks so much Blokko

Yes, I could be found in Brits Pub from time to time - especially when the rugby is on! *drink*

The bowling green on the roof is a fun place to gather in Summer but agree with you that it’s pretty much out of bounds in winter!

I've had a bit of a look for sevens in the US but not been very lucky so far. You are right about the risk of limited mileage. Hopefully I can work with or around that. This weekend, I’m going to head to Sevens and Classics to see their blue car and I’m also hoping to see the eBay car this week (I’m working in Cardiff for the week). 

If you end up in Minneapolis again this winter drop me a line. It’s always fun catching up with fellow petrol / gas heads!

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I haven't had reason to go out to Minneapolis for some time, but if that changes I'll be sue to give you a shout.  Likewise, if you are ever visiting Boston, let me know.

One of my friends spent a fair bit of time earlier this year in the Brit Pub with the Aston Villa Supporters Club, who were following a presason tour in the area.

This is a great resource for finding 7's for sale in the US.  Mike scours a number of sites and updates this thread on a regular basis.

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  • 2 weeks later...

593848B0-EE3E-4547-84C6-C4C2FFB22075.thumb.jpeg.91fd8c4d1d13a0d30de2e8a44bcd2d24.jpeg FE378535-AC3D-4A49-8CA5-ACF299147245.thumb.jpeg.6e3c5ebdd4eca537b6c4c263bb1cc146.jpeg 60422D14-7DA2-4BA3-9763-28759228C36C.thumb.jpeg.5c0ca7aa247e22fd9d07c5a8eb7c850d.jpeg Well, looks like I can close this thread :)

After much soul searching and thought, I’ve put a deposit down on a 94 crossflow Caterham from Severns and Classics. Not the fastest car I looked at, but has a few of the luxury options I was hoping for... okay, so I went with the car that had a heater - I’m getting old!

Thanks to all for their comments, thoughts and insights. 



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