Since 2018, Caterham Cars has relied on Spies Hecker to give the new Caterham 7s the stunning look and finish they deserve.
Despite the technological enhancements of the Caterham cars, there was one issue that persisted – the quality of the paintwork. For years the hand-built cars were being sent to several local bodyshops to be painted, but there were inconsistences in the quality of the finish and even issues with colour and colour matching. As soon as they started to get complaints from customers, Graham Macdonald, CEO of Caterham Cars knew they had to do something about it.
He said: “We have been working closely with Spies Hecker for about a year since we made the decision to undertake the painting of the cars ourselves. Thanks to the excellent on-going on-site training our painters receive, the quality of the paint work and finish is exceptional, and we haven’t had a single customer complaint.”
The decision to go with Spies Hecker was made following a visit to the Axalta Refinish Academy in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, arranged by coatings distributor, Movac Group. A Caterham 7 was taken to the Axalta Refinish Academy and a team from Caterham Cars watched whole the refinish process using Spies Hecker products.
Caterham Cars installed a state-of-the-art mobile preparation booth and a spray booth outside its Dartford premises. Each car is built from start to finish by the same person. The aluminium chassis are hand prepped in the factory, then wheeled into the preparation booth on trolleys, where they are sanded and prepared using Spies Hecker Priomat3 Wash Primer 4075, Permasolid HS Performance Surfacer 5320 and Permasolid HS Vario Primer Surfacer 5340. When ready for painting, they are moved into the spray booth and finished with Permahyd Hi-TEC Basecoat 480 and Permasolid HS Race Clear Coat 8700. They are then ready to go back to the factory for its final assembly.
Spies Hecker has worked closely with Caterham Cars to develop a series of signature Caterham colours that are saved in the brand’s Phoenix digital colour database. This makes it easy for other bodyshops to identify the exact colour formulas for repairs.
“Around 50 per cent of the cars we build go abroad, so it was hugely important to us that refinishers around the world would be able to colour match effortlessly, keeping the cars looking as good as new,” added Macdonald.
Jodie Henly, Marketing Specialist for Axalta in the UK & Ireland said: “Spies Hecker has a long-standing relationship with motorsports and understands the complex needs of specialist car manufacturers, and with Caterham Cars we are combining both areas of our expertise. It has been very exciting to help Caterham Cars set up its paint shop and find the solutions for their specific work processes. And the results speak for themselves. The cars look fantastic and the quality of paint and finish is excellent. We look forward to accompanying Caterham Cars on this exciting journey into the future.”