1980 Lotus Westfield Super 7
Okay, okay, I concede the point, it isn't a REAL Lotus but, rather, one of the first and best 'clones.'
A rare, very desirable 'pre litigation' Westfield Super 7. A fairly close copy of the real one BUT with certain distinct advantages.
First of all....the car. Tubular space frame chassis, very similar to the original Lotus Super 7 S2 or S3. However, FAR better (in my estimation) for the US market, utilizes BMC (aka 'Spridget') front disc brakes and back axle. Otherwise, nose and fenders are very close to exact duplicates of the Lotus parts, same with basic layout. And,like my own 7, with front cycle fenders.
Ford 1600cc crossflow engine, twin Webers (exactly as used by Lotus for their Series 3 and most early Caterhams). 4 speed all synchromesh transmission. Smooth, powerful, wonderful flexibility, the perfect engine for the application.
Virtues: unlike Lotus, this car has true upper and lower front A arm control arms AND the top arms are adjustable for camber (unlike Lotus). The BMC back axle is a very strong unit (as I know with 210hp going through my Mallock race car's BMC back axle). AND, ratios are available from 5.13 through 3.77 depending if you wish to use this car for hillclimbs or long straights such as at the 24 hours of Le Mans!
Other things......nicely mounted Panhard rear arm for axle location, dual master cylinder, Aeroquip flexlines, racing style reduction gear 'SuperStarter,' Minilite style alloy knock off wheels (at $400 each), all new upholstery, never used top and side curtains, tonneau, spare wheel mount, working heater, seat belts, wind wings, air horns, electric radiator cooling fan, even a muffler cover to avoid burning finger tips and ankles when exiting the car.
Chris Smith, founder of Westfield, was a well known historic race driver in the 1970s, in a very fast XPEG powered Lotus Mk 6. Used to visit his shop in England, many years ago, and wound up buying his first replica of a Lotus XI LeMans. Neat car, remember hitting over 125 mph on the M1 (at night), and how have this lovely early 7 replica. BUT REMEMBER, unlike most replicas (thinking about a fiberglass replica of an MG TD with a VW engine ticking in the back), you really have to know 7s to see the differences. Many of which are improvements over the basic Lotus design.
Have owned my own 1959 Lotus Super 7 Series 1 for 43 years. Fortunately, as built, with a BMC back axle (Series 2s used an archaic Standard 10 unit that was a left over from 1950s sedans....Chapman 'got a deal' on them.....and Series 3s used the better Escort back axle but am unaware of a variety of ratios, UNLIKE the BMC back axle)....many years ago, cut off the ends of the Lotus supplied top ball joint/control arm and installed Lotus 18 top ball joints to allow camber adjustment. All of which this Westfield has.
Basics..........not a lot of money, easy to service and maintain, polished alloy body is in excellent condition as is the square tube chassis, freshly painted fenders and nose, very roadable, and if one wants to get into the Walter Mitty frame of mind, easy to pretend one is Graham Hill (who used to race Series 1s for the factory), Moss, Stewart, or most anyone else.of racing fame.
Much as I have done for 43 very pleasant years with my own Super 7.
(and now..drove it home, and around for a weekend.....feels exactly like a proper Lotus Super 7 Series III, but the steering feels lighter and precise, ride softer aided by adjustable Spax shocks, the Ford engine really pulls as it approaches the redline, runs cool in a 90 degree day, just perfect)
One last note: while the English Ford transmissions, back axles, and engines are all excellent hence used by Lotus and then Caterham, other than the engine, the bulk of the rest of the parts are simply not widely available in the USA. I mean, where would you get an Escort axle part? Fortunately the engines were widely available in the USA, same with the gearboxes. Hence, this car has the perfect combination of components.
Sprite uprights, brakes, Sprite back axle, all of these are a snap to service or replace, And while most every Westfield I have seen has a BMC engine/trans, whoever built this car wisely used the super Ford drive train...larger displacement, five main bearings, eight port head for twin Webers, and the slick all snchro Ford transmission. Even making it easy to adapt a Ford T9 five speed should one wish
Having owned Lotus 7s since my first back in 1975, and owning my own 7 for forty three years, I think as a combination of performance, comfort, reliability, ease of service and parts acquisition, and looks (a note: with knock off hubs, one can have the 'vintage look' shared my own car using 14" or 15" wire wheels OR, as in this car's case, Minilite replace knock off wheels)........its the best all around 7 I have ever owned. And, if one chooses to pry my fingers off this little beauty, can be your's.Inventory Number: NE-1980-34