Always be prepared. That’s the motto here at Goodwood Road & Racing, or at least it should be, especially when spending time in a Caterham.
Rain is the ever constant threat to happy Caterham mileage when you live in the UK. Even in the middle of Summer Heat-mageddon 2018 we’ve had a reasonable amount of the stuff and it always hits on a day when you've just said to yourself “ah, it probably won’t rain for the next hour or so”.
Therefore using the complicated rubberised origami set that makes up our long-term Caterham 310 S’s roof structure is starting to become second nature to me. But it isn’t quite as simple as learning one structure – because the 310 S has been provided with not just one, but two roofs.
The first is a complex affair; involving a small scaffolding arrangement on the rear and some poppers around the front and back. Fortunately it arrived pre-erected so we’ve never tried to dismantle the scaffolding, if we did then putting the main roof back on might prove to be more than the entire team is capable of (there’s a reason we write about cars, rather than building them).
The second is the one I have spent more time under. It’s a simpler affair, dispensing with the scaffolding (but not dismantling, that can stay stowed in the boot) and relying simply on the front poppers and a few clips at the rear. This top can be attached in less than a couple of minutes and allows for dry motoring at the drop of a hat.
The problem with the easy roof? It doesn’t cover the whole car… It makes itself easier by doing without the lower part of the rear cover – leaving it open to the elements – and lacks the double-flapped arrangement that holds the door in on the full roof. Therefore should you leave it stationary in a downpour with just the quick roof on then you will return to a puddle.
But, if nothing else, we’re resourceful at GRR, so the Caterham is now stocked with a large supply of microfibre cloths, capable of removing even the most stubborn of puddles in a matter of moments. Perfecto.