Thursday 29 October 2015

What To Do Next? Over to you

Firstly I'd like to apologise for not posting anything sooner after my end of the road post...  I've been in-undated with well wishers (which has been very nice to hear, so thank you to all those people who have contacted me) and others wanting an update, so now I have a little free time I can write up what's happened since I saw oil on my garage floor for a fourth time and freaked out!

Quite a lot has happened since that date, so I've bulleted as much as possible below:-
  • I sent a ranting email over the Graham MacDonald (CEO) of Caterham cars asking for my money back.
  • Graham responded, was sorry for the way I felt, said he wanted to get all the facts from CC Midlands and would call me the next day.
  • Graham called the next day, he apologised the for problems I've encountered and I agreed to having a further discussion with a view to Caterham Cars (CC) getting the car back in Dartford and giving it a thorough inspection.
  • Simon Lambert contacted me to arrange a convenient time to meet up and talk things through, I said I was going away for a break and would contact him on my return.
  • Got back a week ago (21st October 2015) and sent Simon Lambert a text to arrange our meeting.
  • Nicely chilled from my holiday I met up with Simon Lambert at the North Star pub in Welwyn on Friday night (23rd October 2015) - perhaps a bit too chilled, but...
  • We had a good long discussion about the situation and he came up with some options for me...
So the options are:-

  1. CC will collect the car, take it back to Dartford, give it a thorough inspection, get the gearbox out and either replace it or send it off for a full re-work
  2. Get CC to remove the h-pattern box, and pay the extra for the Sadev sequential (it's not just a gearbox change, there's about an A4 sheet of parts that are needed, clutch, fly-wheel, new prop tons of different washers etc etc)
  3. Consider my options for upgrading to a 620R which would mean trading in my car and basically buying a new car (which I wouldn't have built)
  4. Chuck the towel in and get a refund.

So over to you... I'm pretty sure I know what I want to do, but I'm a firm believer it's always good to ask for others' opinions, so what do you think?

Please select one of the four options below and hit the vote button, or if you have any alternate ideas I should be considering please use the comment form below.

What Shall I do?

Stick with it and get the gearbox re-worked
Upgrade to a Sadev Sequential
Upgrade to a 620R
Chuck in the towel and ask for a refund
Free Poll creator


  1. Personally I think you would miss the car so I would keep a seven, It is tempting to go for the 620R but can you really use all that power? I think it makes more sense to go for a sequential box. But the choice is yours... Good Luck I look forward to hearing what you choose to do. Cheers James

    1. Thanks James - I think in answer to your question, yes on a track day (where I seem to get the most satisfaction out of the car it is possible to use all that power..) I already have my own thoughts about what to do, but look forward to seeing how the poll results come out... All the best.

    2. If you really like/enjoy the car and the only real issue is the gearbox, I'd go for the gearbox re-work.

  2. Throw in the towel and buy a 911again.

    1. Ha ha :o)
      I was considering another tick-box in the poll (but decided not to add it as it would've won hands down...) "Sell everything, and a kidney and get a McLaren 570s?"

  3. Good grief... the poll says upgrade to 620R is the least popular choice.
    Oh well....

    I think if you're going to have the most stupid car in the world then you have to get the stupidest. 620R gotta be !

    1. Ha - yeah too true, will see how the poll comes out! Thanks for voting :o)

  4. Having watched some of your track day videos, you love driving a Seven :)
    I voted to repair the 6 speed, as I think the R500 with six speed box must be the most rewarding Seven on track and you did build it. I wouldn't want to swap the Seven I built even for a better spec. Good luck with what you decide.
    Duncan (DJ. on Blatchat)

    1. Cheers Duncan - I do really enjoy driving it, it's just the hassle that goes along with the car is what has been irritating me... If the gearbox issue can be resolved, then the car (should) be relatively hassle free! Best wishes.

  5. Got an R500D myself and not surprisingly it has its niggles as well and they have to some extent tested my patience and have also thought about swapping for 620R but i'm just not sure whether it is a step in the right direction.

    Having followed and thoroughly enjoyed your blog (and used some of your tips thanks) I really felt your pain and frustration with the backwards and forwards to Caterham to try and fix your car so I voted that you should go for a full refund.

    I do accept some of the quirks that comes with such a car and the thing is the R500 with a manual 6speed is just a fabulous package, it is an iconic car and even though they really do get under your skin i'm not sure you will be accepting of some of the quirks.

    On reflection I hope you can be and stick with a 7, furthermore I think based on previous info regarding Caterham's somewhat hit and miss service I think for you they have been pretty decent so well done to them and well done to you for keeping them in check!

    So perhaps I was a bit rash in saying take the money and run, perhaps if they couldn't fix it this time then I would be pushing for the refund.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.


  6. Personally, given the amount of track days you have done, I can't believe you are reacting this way over some leaky oil seals. If you use and abuse by driving on track a lot, you should expect the extra maintenance too.

    You can't buy a new Defender from Land Rover, take it to the Darian Gap and expect them to fix everything that breaks under warranty. In same way, if you use a Caterham on track a lot, you have to expect extra maintenance and overhaul that the extra stresses of the type of use will bring.

    1. So you would expect to replace a gearbox seal after every track day or two?

      How long have you worked at Caterham?

  7. Hi Daniel, Firstly I am very sorry to hear about your woes with your Caterham R500. I recently suffered a problem with Caterham Cars and tried to contact their owner; Tony Fernandez. Caterham cars have been suffering significant issues, all of its own making, and it is unfortunately becoming painfully obvious that they are heading out of business. Just look at their online parts site. Basic items are out of stock, in fact most of their parts seem to be out of stock. I tried contacting Tony Fernandez at Caterham Cars, Queens Park Rangers, Air Asia, Air Asia X, the Tune Group, and even through Finbarr O’Connell; the administrator of the Caterham F1 Team. He has never had the basic decency to reply to any of my correspondence. He is fed up with playing with this toy and thus is quite happy to see it die, just like the F1 Team where 350 lost their jobs not to mention what happened to its suppliers. Graham McDonald, Tony Fernandez, and Kamarudin Meranum should hang their heads in total shame. I suspect that within months we will be adding another 118 employees to the list. You need to get your refund and run like hell. Don’t become a victim of the Caterham Cars saga. It will be no good if you get your R500 fixed only to find that you can’t get any parts for it when it next breaks down, because they have gone bust. Even their Auditor published; “uncertainty concerning the company being a going concern”. Take the money and run! I wish you all the best for the future, you come across as a rare breed of decent, honest and genuine guy; something that is rare in Britain today. Good luck.

  8. Hey Daniel - feel free to ping me on blatchat (RowanTheKiwi). I commissioned a Supercharged 7 (before the 620R was even a rumour).. happy to give some opinions on "living with a supercharger". In short - it's ridiculously awesome, but there's a lot more going on under the hood.

    1. Cheers Rowan - drop me an email using the contact form on the site (top right) below my picture... Be good to hear about it!


Thanks for your comments, I'll check out what you've written and add it provided it's useful informative and not spam.