The Caterham ‘C120’ coupe, the cancelled sibling of the upcoming Alpine ‘A120’, has been unveiled by the design consultancy involved in its development.
The Caterham coupe, codenamed C120 – although it wears F1-based ‘CT02’ plates in these images – was unveiled late last week by Drive Design, the British firm that helped to shape it.
In a blog post on the Drive Design’s site, Mark Przeslawski, the company lead designer, admits that the trying to make the C120 recognisably a Caterham was difficult task thanks to underlying mid-engine layout — quite a departure from the brand’s iconic Seven roadster.
Without the benefit of the long bonnet, the design team tried to allude to Caterham Seven through design cues, including the shape of the front mesh grille and the pronounced shoulder lines over the wheel arches.
The Caterham C120 shown here and the Alpine Vision concept, which was unveiled in February 2016, are clearly very closely related. Up front, the two cars have a similar design and share their primary headlight units.
Around the side and rear, the two vehicles diverge, with each featuring their own side window treatments and rear windscreen designs. The stillborn Caterham also features a flatter rear deck with a more formal, upright design.
According to Przeslawski, the car seen here “is only a point in time and is not the finished article”. The desinger claims satisfaction with the fact that although financial reality dictated “sharing the complete running platform and common parts such as lamps, the result is two concepts that side by side have a totally different attitude, stance and feeling”.
Renault’s Alpine sports car brand will be relaunched soon with a new mid-engine coupe, which many expect will be badged as the A120.
Originally, the revived Alpine brand was being developed by Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, a 50:50 joint venture between Renault and specialist British sports car maker Caterham.
In 2014, after reportedly falling out over design and engineering issues, Renault bought out Caterham’s stake in the joint venture.
The new Alpine coupe will be revealed before year’s end, and could go on sale in Australia as early as 2017.