Monday, 24 March 2014

And then it was gone

Having completed the car (as much as was possible given the shortages) yesterday, the car now needs the Post Build Check (PBC), Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) and registration.  My agreement with Caterham was that I must send the car back for the PBC, as this was the third R500 Duratec home build, out of the 175 made to date.   I have a track day booked in France for early May, and I worked back the timings to make sure I (or should I say Caterham) had enough time to get the car PBC'd, IVA'd and registered in time... I'd booked the collection of the car a couple of weeks ago, so completing yesterday was my deadline.

Ian from Caterham arrived around 11am with his empty van, ready to take away my creation!  He lowered the ramps, my dad and I pushed the car out of the garage, onto the road and then it was loaded.
Ian preparing the car for loading into the Caterham van.
Ian preparing the car for loading into the Caterham van.
The car on the ramps going into the van.
The car on the ramps going into the van.
Another angle of the car going into the van.
Another angle of the car going into the van.
Once loaded, Ian strapped the rear wheels up, lowered the rear roller and as I had some left over parts we loaded these through the side of the van.
R500 in collection van ready for taking away!!!
R500 in collection van ready for taking away!!!
Ian driving off with my car onboard.
Ian driving off with my car onboard.
So next stage is the PBC - and I've got a lot of points I need to raise with them.  This is certainly not through my lack of ability, quite the opposite, these sort of things are all about the detail and for me to be completely happy everything has to be 100% perfect.  Some may say I'm being picky / fussy / whatever, but when you've spent a decent wedge of cash on a car like this you want it to be right.

Some of the things that are on PBC list for Caterham to do include:

  • Fit fuel pump (out of stock since early Jan) and hoses etc
  • Boot floor and chassis member to be replaced as they have mistakenly drilled the holes through to accommodate the diff struts that aren't required.
  • The passenger side lowered floor needs more silicone applying as you can see through to the road from inside the car.
  • Fuse cover and 12v power needs fitting (they are out of stock of these)
  • Complete radiator and heater plumbing (coolant bottle was out of stock so I couldn't complete)
  • Replace at least one wheel as it is scratched
  • Supply hub caps for wheels (out of stock)
  • Supply and fit 620R seats (out of stock) - these have been a big thorn in my side, what with them being delivered with the car (with a different customers name and order number on the packaging), and then to be told I'd received 'pre production prototypes' which they needed back immediately, and in actual fact were collected within 6 hours of my kit being delivered.  I wonder how quickly they would've picked them up if they were for a 'real customer'
  • Replace mis coloured 620R harnesses (currently out of stock)
  • The paint is incredibly soft, as though it hasn't had a lacquer / clear coat applied and this will be checked by the paint shop
I could go on and on here, but as you can see the general theme is components out of stock.  It's not like they make one or two of these cars a month and I really can't see the benefit in running their supply chain in such a (not) just in time method.  Surely they'd get better prices if they ordered more parts in bulk, and would have the added benefit of keeping customers like me supplied with parts and happy.  I'd certainly be writing in a different manner had everything been in stock, finished the car and started it in my garage before it got collected... Anyway... on the garage point, this is what's left of my Caterham R500 build project - absolutely nothing apart from memories, pictures and this blog!
Caterham R500 finished and collected - garage now empty.
Caterham R500 finished and collected - garage now empty.
Right now onto the PBC document - wish me luck, this could be a long one....  I will report back with PBC remedial works, what they (Caterham) will do and what they seem will be fit to charge me for... I don't know why, but I have a feeling this won't be as straight forward as I hope.

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