Westfield Seight

Westfield owners range in age from 14 to 84 years old and include a Megabusa owning Vicar!
3.jpg (73309 bytes)
Most prospective owners now visit the factory prior to purchasing
4.jpg (74057 bytes)
Chassis are built on site
5.jpg (92085 bytes)
Turbo powered XTR2 being prepared
6.jpg (80198 bytes)
Ready for the road and the track
Westfield now produce over 500 cars a year.
1.jpg (72130 bytes)
The owner of Westfield Chris Smith races this 1961 Coventry Climax powered Lotus 21 throughout the summer.
2.jpg (74468 bytes)

I was looking forward to my trip to Westfield. After receiving the invitation to their factory near Dudley in the Midlands, I dreamt of donning my shades and taking to the hills in one of their fine creations. I would hoon through the twisties enjoying the fine balance of the car, soaking up some rays and delighting in the glorious sound of Britain's best musical export - the Rover V8.

seight-01.jpg (93966 bytes)

Sadly two of Britain's worst attributes - the weather and roadworks - conspired against me arriving in petrolheaven. Rain following a dry spell would certainly spell trouble on the roads and frustratingly it did. Numpties crashing into each other on the M40 delayed me massively. More than an hour late, I finally arrived in Kingswinford, West Midlands to find the place gridlocked. One huge diversion and another half an hour later and I sheepishly presented myself to the nice people at Westfield.

Tea Lady

And what a friendly bunch they were. Any company that still employs a tea lady gets my vote of approval!

After supping a quick brew we headed out to the car park where I was greeted with the exciting sight of a Westfield Seight. That's 200bhp of Rover V8 in a car that weighs little more than a damp teabag. I wouldn't describe a Westfield as beautiful, but they are certainly elegant and purposeful looking. The Rover V8 is an old friend and finding one in a car as lightweight as this was an exciting prospect.

seight-02.jpg (87035 bytes)

Slipping into the narrow cockpit I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of my surroundings. It was my first time up close and personal with a Westie and calling it a kit-car would be a disservice. It is of course a narrow cockpit with the bare minimum of creature comforts, but the seats were beautifully trimmed and extremely comfortable. The seating position was ideal with the small wheel placed perfectly in front. A simple series of switches are laid out across the dash, with only the dash mounted indicators deviating from convention. Fine trim, quality carpet and a tight feel to the whole car almost made it feel luxurious - something I certainly wasn't expecting.

Devastating

A quick turn of the key and the prop-forward of the engine world, the Rover 4.0 V8 fired into action. Gently revving the sweet sounding motor and I could feel the Westie (and me) rock from side to side. Slipping the chunky feeling gearbox into first and rolling the light steering around,  I did a quick five point turn and was out into the gridlock. Trundling across the devastated road surface I could feel the whole chassis taut beneath me and the hard suspension and skinny tyres doing their thing across the undulations. It's a very firm ride but then you'd expect that in a car of this type. Not quite the ride and handling test I had in mind, but there you go.

Unable to escape the gridlock that was the West Midlands that day, I made do with some short sprints through the traffic. This version of the V8 may only have 200bhp but the lovely fat gobs of torque coupled with the light weight (until I got in) make it a devastatingly quick car in terms of acceleration (4.3 seconds to sixty). Cold brakes didn't inspire confidence and my attempts to warm them up with twenty laps of the Esso forecout didn't work out.

Sandwich

A detour around an empty industrial estate did give me the chance to enjoy some quick sprints. It's a glorious car to enjoy the most basic of adrenaline rushes. Massive acceleration, the wind in your hair and sandwiched tightly into the low chassis giving you sensory overload.

seight-03.jpg (100438 bytes)It is of course a hopelessly impractical car too. If you use the side screens then you'll constantly be peering under and over them to see around you and even the rear view mirror obscures the front view. After an hour in the car you'll certainly develope "Westie neck" a useful double jointed afliction of the upper spine that lets you peer forwards and under the mirror every time you pull out of a junction. Baggage space is minimal, so travel light and stay grubby if you plan a trip away.

It's a bit of a mad car to put a V8 in and the smaller capacity, higher revving engines are more suited for track work. For blowing the cobwebs away though, what could be better? Westfield Seight about to be added to my fantasy garage!

Links: [links]Westfield|westfield[/links], Championship Dates, Westfield Owners

 

Comments (5) Join the discussion on the forum

  • s2 giles 01 May 2002

    Another good report although I'd of liked (as i'm sure you would) more about driving experience.

    I used to own a narrow bodied Westfield SE (yes 2 inches narrower than the V8 body) with a crossflow and loved it to bits, hit 60 in sub 6 seconds from a 1700.

    Practicality was an issue and drives over 100 miles became tiresome so it was chopped for a Tiv and I now enjoy longer trips, france etc..

    If youve got the funds for a new Westie V8 then its worth a look, although in my opinion they are too bulbous and over designed now.

  • Roadrunner 02 May 2002

    Those XTR2's look the absolute swingers! If they could fit a carbon roof I'd quite fancy one of those for the road. Imagine the look on passers by!

  • pablo 03 May 2002

    must say i prefer the look of the new Coram LMP though they are similar. GT racing for the masses, hurrah!

  • dudfieldjp 10 Jan 2003

    I built my Seight. The 3.5 vitesse engine was great, it actual produces more power than the factory Westfield S8. Westfield quote 200bhp, its actually 180bhp! I found yoko A021r worked well with fantastic grip, however, a had to buy a new set at 2000miles ;-)

  • Gorbyrev 09 Mar 2012

    Thread resurrection! Given the V8 Disco that is this week's Shed of the Week, surely this thread is due a comeback from all you Seight owners and hopefuls? Just the fact that such a thing exists makes me smile in a way that the even the earnest 4 pot Caterham experiences I have had cannot match!

View all comments in the forums Make a comment