• Jun 5th 2007 at 5:04PM
  • 10
Click image for gallery

None of us at Autoblog HQ are knocking on the half-century mark yet, but we can only hope that we're saluted in the same way that Caterham decided to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The X330 Concept is exactly that, but it foretells the destiny of future Caterhams. A 2.3-liter, turbocharged Ford Duratec produces the concept's namesake, sending 330 HP and 221 lb.-ft. of torque through a six-speed manual gearbox to the rear wheels. Carbon fiber makes up the majority of the body panels, while a lighter steel frame holds it all together. The resulting thrust makes the lack of windscreen a disturbing proposition.

Although the X330 isn't slated for production, those of you who were in attendance at the Donington Park event this past weekend, celebrating the 7's golden anniversary, were in for a show.

[Source: Caterham]

Supercharged Seven is the most powerful Caterham ever
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Caterham has unveiled the most powerful Seven ever; the X330 – a one-off supercharged model boasting a mind-boggling power-to-weight ratio of 600bhp per tonne.

The stealthy, matt black concept is based around the range-topping CSR Superlight, but the addition of a supercharger to the four-cylinder 2.3 litre Ford Duratec engine increases power massively from 260 to 330bhp – as the name suggests.

That means the X330's equivalent power-to-weight ratio puts it ahead of the Bugatti Veyron (521bhp per tonne) and the McLaren F1 (559bhp).

The near 35% power hike is achieved by a Rotrex C30-94 supercharger, which provides a boost characteristic that rises linearly with engine speed. In other words, although the X330's punch is greater at higher revs and speed, low-speed driveability isn't compromised thanks to an exceptional torque curve with over 221 lb-ft from 5500 to 7500rpm – 20 lb-ft more than the CSR260.

As the X330 is an engineering test bed it is envisaged that some of the concepts will eventually find their way into production. To begin with the X330 will spearhead the British firm's R& D into bioethanol power in the coming months as it seeks to assess the viability of alternative fuel sources in road and race applications and cement a further 50 years of history for the legendary Seven.

In keeping with the Seven ethos of 'adding lightness', the extremity of the X330 doesn't stop at moving parts. Lighter gauge steel is used in the trellis-style chassis and the use of new lightweight wheels together with an abundant use of carbon fibre for the bodywork all adds to the stealth appearance of this perfect 50th birthday present.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Does it come with a racing suit with a little baggie for when you hit the throttle and uncontrollably pee yourself with glee/fear?
      • 8 Years Ago
      a 330 hp caterham is the equlivant of 1000 hp in anything else. this thing is rediculously overpowered. the orginal 7 had something like 10% that much power.

      can you think of any car that has had its hp grow 10 fold?

      also, i am assuming that the duratec v6 is a typo, i believe that it is supposed to be the duratec 2.3 I4.
      • 8 Years Ago
      2.3-litre Duratec? Huh. I bet that goes like a bat out of hell.
        • 8 Years Ago
        how is this a V6 I thought the smallest duratec V6 was 2.5L...isnt this the 2.3L Inline 4 from the Mazda 3?
      • 8 Years Ago
      BTW, there is no mention of a V6 in the AutoCar article. An I-4 bare fits in that engine bay.
      • 8 Years Ago
      and there is only 4 pipes coming out from the side of the body (in the gallery)
      • 8 Years Ago

      The question is not the DURATEC name - but a V6? with 2.3L? and a V6 in a Caterham - wow
      • 8 Years Ago
      These Caterham's are one of my most favourite cars of all time. 330 hp/221 torque in this little thing is insane! Gives a whole new meaning to hold on, shut up and pick the bugs out of your teeth.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey gents: the Duratec reference isn't a typo, it is the same as the Mazda engine (MZ23), but it's made available in Europe as the Duratec. Both are manufactured in Valencia, Spain; Nanjing, China; or Chihuahua, Mexico. Just a different logo on the valve cover.http://www.escortfocus.com/html/2_3_duratec.html
      • 8 Years Ago
      330 hp!?!?!?! Geeeeeeeez. The CSR powered by a 2.3L Ford/Cosworth engine is pumping out 260 hp. That is good for a run to 60 in 3.1 seconds (supposedly...C/D did it in 3.6 seconds). Plus, I am sure if this thing didn't have the drag coefficient of a brick (somewhere around .5-.7), it would be even quicker.