Friday 13th February 2004


192bhp and a glorious soundtrack - if only it had stopped raining...

Westfield Sports 2000
Westfield Sports 2000
Westfield Sports 2000
Horses for courses they say and that's very true of the Westfield Duratec. This is certainly not an all rounder! Assaulting all your senses at once, the Westie would be most at home revelling in knee deep torque on track or blasting across the smooth roads of France enjoying the warm air and the sunshine.

Unfortunately for me, I tried it in the pouring rain on a grim day in the West Midlands. That's not to say I didn't have fun though.

The two litre Duratec is just my kind of engine. They've squeezed a very creditable 192bhp from the four pot, 16 valve motor. Torque oozes out of it every time you dab at the floor mounted throttle. Coupled with a sharp clutch making smooth getaways takes a bit of practice as I found out much to the amusement of passers by.

Once in the swing of things though, muscling through the rain proved to be rather fun. Flooring it wasn't going to be a sensible move as even prodding the engine provokes quite a bark so I had to be focused on practising a smooth journey rather than a dramatic one.

With the roof off I was enjoying my own little world. There's nothing subtle about the Westie. Once you're above 20mph the wind batters the windscreen then hurtles around the sides to smack your ears. The engine sings like a rugby player and the transmission accompanies and resounds through the body. Hunched a little to peer through the small screen it all becomes quite involving. With the elements howling around you as you make progress there's a great buzz as you enjoy what is clearly a ludicrous experience.

Stopping however comes as quite a shock. No, it's not blowing a gail. No, the rain isn't that bad. In fact it's quite a peaceful and quiet day...

Back to the engine. As I got more comfortable driving the car, I explored the motor a bit more. The acceleration is pretty brutal when called for and is easy to find - no VTEC for me this week! The gearbox is easy to use and blasting around the B roads in second and third really was rather good fun. Over use of the loud pedal can easily break traction although the one time I did overcook things, the car behaved most compliantly and I didn't go hedgetrimming.

Easing up as I entered the villages revealed the Westie's party piece. It's vocals are splendid. When on song it's reminiscent of a WW1 biplane and on the overrun it pops and bangs like November 5th. I'm sure residents of Kingswinford thought I'd shot someone as I saunted through town that day...

When it comes to stopping, the lightweight car has no problem grabbing its discs and speed to stationary can be achieved in an instant. The steering takes 2.5 turns from lock to lock which is fine on the move but requires a fair bit of grappling at low speeds to manouevre the car around.

Price is the best part of £20K for a fully built car with no extras. It's a tidy sum but £10K less than the 200bhp Caterham R400.

I had huge fun in the Sports 2000... now if only I could have tested it in warm sunshine on smooth French roads... what a dream...