1983 Lotus Westfield
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. We were told by our local Westfield expert, number 7 out of 123 (could be 130, he wasn't sure) pre litigation 7s. 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 a very strong Datsun B210 3.9 back axle. Also advantages in that the chassis is a copy of the earlier (and far superior) Series 1 Sevens....framing inside the trans tunnel instead of depending on the alloy skin for mounting. 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). Kent high lift camshaft (estimated power is around 120hp), 4 speed all synchromesh Lotus Elan 2000E close ratio transmission, alloy fuel tank, Spax adjustable shocks,. Smooth, powerful, wonderful flexibility, the perfect engine/transmission for this 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). And while 'real' Lotus 7s have been subject to forty, fifty, or more years of rust and corrosion in the chassis, this car is almost 'like new.'
Other things......nicely mounted Panhard rear arm for axle location, dual master cylinder, Aeroquip flex lines, racing style reduction gear 'SuperStarter,' Minilite style alloy knock off wheels...the last owner insists they are genuine magnesium wheels (which is how he advertised it) but I don't have the foggiest idea as to how to confirm, all new upholstery, tonneau, new side curtains, 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. Much as Caterham has done (hence their litigation against Westfield).
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)....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 on my own Seven. 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 touch more 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)
Finally, was legally registered in the US as a Westfield and has complete,current, legal documentation for ownership transfer.Inventory Number: NE-1983-4