By Chris Orchard, Steve Madden
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Additional info for British Forces Motorcycles 1925-45
The fact that the car seems willing to move in and out of this adaptable phase at all opportunities, and yet does so without intimidation, is just a reminder of how special it really is. Blemishes are few, but the electrically powered steering hasn’t retained its predecessor’s daintiness. It’s hardly a limiter of the fun, but after a while – lap after lap, and a weekend in its company beyond – it’s clear that you’re getting an admirable impression of the track rather than a topographical survey.
Most modern rubber – even modestly sized and unsticky – is too good for 80bhp. They make the 160 feel like a great friend who goes home just when you want him to stay out until the pubs close. If you want to get the 160 sliding, then, you need to give it a big ‘send’, which takes space and/or commitment. Then it’ll happily slip foursquare for a bit, like an historic racer, before normal service is quickly resumed. Given that normal service is being one of the most agile and engaging sports cars on the planet, that’s fine by me.
There are adjustable cloth seats, inertia-reel belts and a Moto-Lita steering wheel (our test car’s Momo, like the screen, is an option). And that’s it. At least you get a revcounter. There’s a pay-off in that the kerb weight is a claimed 490kg. 5sec and that it’ll run out of puff at 100mph. But if you’re familiar with Sevens, your immediate thoughts will not be about how fast it is (or isn’t), but how soft it feels. Soft of everything. The clutch is light, the gearshift – although short and positive – lacks the outright precision of Caterham’s other ’boxes and the steering is lighter at manoeuvring speeds.
British Forces Motorcycles 1925-45 by Chris Orchard, Steve Madden