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Mileage roll call. Did you buy the right version of the car?


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The "Smithology" article just posted had the following quote

 

Quote
Why would you buy one of these things and not use it?

Who knows? But if I had to guess? I’d say the people who don’t drive their cars … bought the wrong car.

Not the wrong vehicle. The wrong version of a vehicle. Sevens can be hugely versatile, but they’re not for the faint of heart. 

 

Which leads to the question: What year is your 7 and how many miles are on it? (Feel free to give an excuse if you feel it's too low and you will be judged)

 

 

 

2001 - 3200 miles. Car was practically unused for the first 17 years of its life - about 1200 miles was put on it. Once registration was all sorted out I put the ~2000 miles on it, pending downtime with weather in NE and mechanical issues. 

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Caterham, 2016 build, titled and on the road in 2018. Two owners prior to me and had 2788 miles on the gauge when we brought it on 7/15/2020. Currently has 3952 miles. 
 

Due to the new rules at the DMV post COVID-19 the first title/registration opportunity was 9/23/2020. That didn’t go as planned as signatures by the previous owner in pencil ( Nevada DMV has a machine to check) are a no go. We had done 523 miles at this point. 
 

Second appointment on 12/22/2020 went as planned with significant help from Shirley at the DMV who just demolished the road blocks the millennial management meddlers kept throwing at us. We had done 1164 miles prior to this point and the car was tucked up for winter. 
 

Finally got my plates 2/2/2021. 

 

 

 

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Impossible to guess the mileage of the old Birkin.  Built between 1986 and 1989.  Engine change 1990, when imported by original owner from South Africa.  I got it in December 2013, and finally titled and registered in Sept. 2014, after a miraculous recovery from the dreaded Lost Title Syndrome.  I probably put only 1500 miles a year, since there are no convenient and worthy roads nearby.

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Short answer: 49k miles since the car was built in late ’95. 

 

Longer answer: purchased from original owner in ’01 with 5k miles, added an additional 10k before tearing apart the car in 2004/05 and replacing virtually everything but the frame. Added another 33k before pulling the engine apart in 2019/20 and have added another 1k miles since it was reassembled.  About 13-14k of the total miles were covered on tours.

 

Between winter weather, other toys, and a lack of commuting time (even pre-COVID, I worked from home at least 2 days/week), I'm happy with any annual total over 1k miles.

 

With respect to the second question posed in the thread title, no, I didn't purchased the right version.  But I have since turned it into the right version :)

 

-John

 

 

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I addressed this in my original comments regarding the EXCELLENT "Smithology" article mentioned above.

 

My car was built in 2007, picked up on 30 October 2007.  It currently has 18,000 miles on the odometer.  I am very proud of each and every mile, but my excuses (included in my post earlier) are the heat of the car vs the heat in Florida's summer;  my employment, often overseas, until November 2014; my degenerated hip, surgical correction, and subsequent recovery, for approximately one whole year; the wife and I owned--until recently--SEVEN cars, including 5 convertible sportscars, one of them being the Se7en.

NO I do not think I purchased the wrong car/model.  I got EXCELLENT pre-purchase advice from Ben Wofford and Nathan Downs both formerly of Rocky Mountain Sports Cars Inc.

 

Thanks to the OP Vovchandr for allowing us the opportunity to capture these data.

 

Taber

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Built the car in 1985. Drove it a lot and took some long trips. Kids came along, then kids in college and the Elise. Sold it in 2013. While it was away for seven years, less than 1000 miles were added. Because it is once again the right car, it’s back home with 23009 miles. Whatever miles are added this year will help motivate me to complete the updates.

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Bought new from the Dealer in 2003. I haven’t look recently, but it’s pushing 20k now. I’ve done some track days and some long hauls over the years. I have a bad lower back so that slows the driving back a little bit. Not the fastest, but it’s always been reliable. Installed a picture just for fun. 

6218EB40-0A4B-4A94-8471-059DD5B2DB21.jpeg

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I am pretty sure my Caterham holds the record for most miles in just over a day: 2,094 miles, during a 25 hour period at Thunderhill Raceway in 2009. It came in 3rd to 2 Porsche Cup cars, beat everyone else, in the annual "25 Hours at Thunderhill" race. Since it's a race car, no odometer, so mileage is unknown.

 

I may have put that many on it during my 5 years of ownership, all but 500 were track days. I drove illegally one weekend on rural Ohio back roads to break in the newly rebuilt engine, adding 500 miles, notable for not getting arrested. Even after being tailed by a cop for 10', the longest 10' ever in my Caterham....(No plates, no title, no registration, no insurance, all very serious offenses in Ohio. Hey, at least I wasn't drunk!).

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I love Sam and have met him IRL, but IMO just because I don't put a ton of miles on my Seven doesn't mean I didn't buy the right car. Or even the right Seven. Both of the Sevens (a Caterham and now a 1961 Series 2) that I've owned are much more like motorcycles than they are cars. In the sense that I am exposed to the elements so much more — which is a good thing and a bad thing. Bad in the sense that driving the cars can beat you up more than any mainstream car. I often exit my car windburned, sunburned, and smelling like gasoline/oil...grinning ear to ear, of course, but nonetheless less a little worse for wear. And yes, I've done BIG drives in both cars...driving the Cat down to Shenandoah NP and back from NJ and the Lotus from Denver to LA over the course of 3 days.

To get back to the question, I've got 3334 miles on the odo.  I've had the car on the road (bought into it as an "in rebuild" project) since 2013.

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I've had my CSR for over 8 years and it has about 12k miles, plus however many when the odometer cuts out. This is exactly the right amount of miles because its much more about the quality of the 7 experience than the frequency.

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Posted (edited)

All great replies. 

 

The average ballpark from the owners in the replies is coming in somewhere between 1000 to 2000 miles a year which is very reasonable for all the things said in posts above and thats similar to what most sport bikes average due to similar limitations and characteristics. 

Edited by Vovchandr
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I completed my Birkin in the spring of 2015. I am up to about 5400mi. now, right around that 1000 mi/yr. I'm planning on getting out for a blat through the Malibu hills this Sunday morning but will probably lay off for a couple of weeks after that as I am getting immersed in painting a couple of helmets. The problem I have is that nobody in my family has the remotest interest in my "gearhead" interests. I am bemusedly tolerated by all of them, wife included. 

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Finally made time to read Sam's piece. Loved it.

Here's what I was trying to get at in my post above: "You get out of the thing after a good, hard stomp down a back road and feel physically drained, at one with the essence of travel." I have to be in the mood to drive the Seven (and also to deal with the after effects). That's really why I don't drive it as much as I should.

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I'm in the thousand mile range each year, which is just about right for Maine. When I bought my 93 used off this list, Chris T had another with more horsepower, but I'm glad I bought the one I did- I get pangs for more, but it's just about right. I'd wanted one from when I was 15 or so and tried to convince my father that a kit was a good idea, and finally bought in my mid 60's- worth the wait.

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In the past 9 years I have averaged 638 miles/year. Most of the blats have been from point A to point A. It's a 1995 chassis that was assembled in 1998 and as best I can tell I am the 4th owner. I got it with 5364 miles on the ODO which could be equal to how many miles it has been transported between previous owners.

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I'm pretty confident I bought the right model for me, but since I've been taking it apart for inspection and renewal I haven't put but a few hundred miles on it in the year I've had it.

 

But it was clearly the right car for the first 2 owners.  Originally purchased in 1965, the first owner and his wife and first child used the Seven extensively, not just in the UK but across northern Europe.  I have a couple pictures of them traveling and camping in the UK, and a great story from her about the 3 of them (child <2) traveling from Norway to Germany and then heading towards Greece in the snow before all catching cold and diverting back across France and to the UK.  They then took the Seven with them when moving back to Australia, where she told me she would put the 2 boys in the passenger seat and the bassinet in the back for the baby.  With 3, they sold the car in the late 60s - and the next owner loved and drove it until 2001.  Combined, they put about 49k miles on the little Seven, and by the odometer it has had less than 1k since (seemingly confirmed by the engine and gearbox internals now that I'm in them).

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16 minutes ago, SENC said:

...and a great story from her about the 3 of them (child <2) traveling from Norway to Germany and then heading towards Greece in the snow before all catching cold and diverting back across France and to the UK....she told me she would put the 2 boys in the passenger seat and the bassinet in the back for the baby. 

Great story!  Can you imagine how quickly mom and dad would be in jail and the kids would be in foster care if they tried that today?   Ah, progress...

 

-John

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I built my Birkin from the basic kit in 2000/2001.  It fulfilled a life long ambition to build a car from scratch, introduced me to some really wonderful people, and driving it still puts a silly grin on my face.  Right at 26,000 miles today including 4,000 on the USA2005 tour.  It shares shop space and driving time now with my '86 MR2 and '65 Caddy.  My heirs will be selling it after I am gone.....

3 in the shop.jpg

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I'm the second owner of my 1998 Seven.  It was the personal Seven of one of the founders of Rocky Mountain Sports Car, and then became the "dealer demo" car for RMSCI.

 

I purchased it in January of 2005, and it had 7,850 miles on it.  It now has 41,835, so I've put on 33,985 miles in 16 years. So, right around the average of 2,000 miles a year.

 

But, sadly it's been barely driven at all the last 3 years, and driven less in general over the last 6-7 since the purchase of my Mallock.

 

I poked around in some old paperwork, and found a state inspection from 3/25/08.  The mileage was 21,913, so in my first 3 years of ownership I drove 14,000 miles.  Back then I was driving to my track events.  The nearest track was Putnam Park (where I first met KitKat in his original Blue Caterham), which is a little over 200 miles from St. Louis.  So each track event there added 400 miles.  Other tracks were in Chicago, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma, so it wasn't hard to put on the mileage.

 

So, bottom line, I think I purchased the right Seven for me. :)

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