Caterham And RAF – Tribute To Puma HC2 Helicopter

Picture of By Rob Harvey
By Rob Harvey

Marketing Manager - Bridge Classic Cars

Caterham and the Royal Air Force (RAF) have unveiled a special one-off car built using exterior and interior components from a Puma HC2 helicopter, paying tribute to the aircraft.

The unique Caterham Seven 360R has been built to raise funds for injured servicemen and women. It will make its debut at this weekend’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

Set to be auctioned through Collecting Cars, this collaboration between the RAF, Caterham, Mission Motorsport, and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund aims to raise over £100,000.

The project supports the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) division, providing participants with external opportunities to enhance their skills.

The Puma HC2, operated by Joint Aviation Command (JAC) at RAF Benson, entered service in 1972 and has served globally. Recently retired, the teams at Benson and Caterham decided to honour the Puma and its servicemen and women with this unique creation.

Based on the Seven 360R, the car’s exterior retains the finish from the aircraft, with additional panels painted in matching ‘NATO Green’. The chassis mirrors the aircraft’s understructure, finished in ‘Desert Sand’.

The car features aluminium skin from the aircraft’s tail boom and doors as exterior panels, and the internal rear bulkhead retains the door jettison handle.

The interior incorporates details from the Puma, including quilted soundproofing from the aircraft lining the door panels, tunnel top, and padding for the carbon fibre seats. The helicopter’s evacuation instructions are stitched into the lining.

A distinctive satin black dashboard, matching the Puma’s military-grade switchgear, replaces the regular dash switches. The 360R also includes a helicopter-style three-stage ignition sequence and the aircraft’s navigation clock as the dash centrepiece.

Under the bonnet, the car’s battery is housed in an ammunition box.

The car’s assembly was a joint effort between Caterham and serving personnel from RAF Benson, with the names of all contributors featured on the bonnet.

Puma HC2 medium support helicopters perform a variety of combat roles, including the tactical movement of troops and weapons, as well as casualty extraction on the frontline. They are also used for humanitarian and disaster relief operations.


Corporal McCreadie said: “It has been an honour to be a part of the Caterham project. As an Aircraft Technician (mechanical), I volunteered my time to remove the decommissioned materials from the Puma for the Caterham RAF Seven 360. To see the transformation of the materials has been fascinating.

“Through the course of the project I had the opportunity to refine my skills and learn some new engineering techniques. I am proud to have been a part of the team that made this car and to promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics within the RAF.”

Bob Laishley, CEO of Caterham, said: “When the RAF approached us about this project we jumped at the chance to be involved. Firstly, because it was an interesting build process for us as it’s the first time in our history that a Seven has been made from recycled helicopter parts.

“It was a true team effort as well, with engineers from the RAF supporting us throughout the build. But, more importantly, it’s great to know that any proceeds from the auction will go to incredibly important causes.”

Squadron Leader Morley said: “Royal Air Force Benson Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) team will be attending multiple events throughout the summer, promoting STEM in both the military and industry. Along with support from RAF Engineering & Cyber Recruitment the team have an amazing opportunity to host and present this one-off Caterham car made with former RAF Puma components.

“The car has been assembled by RAF personnel with the help of Caterham and highlights the amazing skills of the engineering teams that both maintain the RAF Puma’s and that work in industry. It’s our opportunity to celebrate the history of the RAF Puma Force while showcasing the opportunities that are available within the RAF and wider STEM community.”

Bidding for the car opens 15 August and ends 12 September through Collecting Cars.

The car is scheduled to be displayed at several events throughout the Summer. For more information, visit caterhamcars.com.

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