Marques of Distinction - Westfield

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Building replicas of legendary sports cars and innovative track blasters has become a thriving business for British-based Westfield Cars.

From Unique Cars #306, Dec 2009/Jan 2010

However, creating a kit-car empire was not even a remote consideration in 1982 when British engineer Chris Smith set out to produce a replica of the classic Lotus XI sports/racer.

Within a year, though, fellow enthusiasts were queuing for their own examples of Smith’s quasi-Lotus and Westfield was founded. In the space of 25 years, more than 10,000 Westfield cars have been made and the brand has been responsible for significant advances in kit vehicle production.

Four years after being established, Westfield had sold more than 250 XI kits and switched focus to its own version of the rudimentary Lotus Seven.

The Westfield SE, with its simple structure and fibreglass panels, would accept a range of readily available engine/transmission units and was easy for home-based constructors to build. It also minimised repair costs for those who become too exuberant when trying out their new ‘toy’.

Independent rear suspension became available in the late-’80s, as did a variety of included and optional items aimed at enhanced occupant protection.

Early SEs had closely followed the style of the original Lotus, thereby upsetting Caterham Cars, which had bought the rights to its production. After protracted legal action, Westfield was allowed to continue, albeit with a modified design that would quickly spiral beyond the bounds of good sense.

Westfield -logoIn 1992, the SEight was launched with a 3.9 (later 4.6) litre Rover V8 replacing the SE’s 1.6-litre engine. In road-going form, this 550kg rocket reached 100km/h in 4.5 seconds, while modified cars with upwards of 300kW became the pacesetters in ‘track day’ contests.

Taking its appeal to amateur motor racers a step further, Westfield combine high-revving motorcycle engines with spaceframe construction and aluminium panels.

With 127kW from its 1.3-litre Suzuki engine and total weight of just 440kg, the ballistic Megabusa would match the performance of any European supercar.

The same engine also powered the purpose-built XTR2 sports/racing car, which appeared in 2001. More recently, an XTR4 version with a 1.8-litre turbocharged Volkswagen engine delivering 200kW has become available. Despite their Le Mans style bodywork and no windscreen, XTRs can be road registered in the U.K.

Westfield was sold in 2006 and expansion under the new ownership has been rapid. During 2007 it forged an association with British-based GTM Sports Cars and will soon begin production of a Cobra-inspired Saperas V8.


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