The Origin of Westfield

Bare Westfield Eleven Chassis

The following story was published in a 1994 newsletter from The British Automobile Club of South West Virginia. The author is Mark Hancock.

The following is a true, if somewhat abbreviated, account of the origin of the now very successful Westfield sports car. The idea for Westfield came about in an almost fairytale-like way. At this point, however, I must digress a little and outline the background of my co-conspirator, Chris Smith.

Chris, a long time friend and business associate from the West Midlands of England was, and still is, a voracious Vintage Racing maniac. He was very successful with numerous European and British Racing Championships to his credit. He was also a pretty decent Vintage Motor Trader. Chris has owned and raced everything from D-type Jaguars to numerous Lotus formula and sports racing cars. It was with this strong love and understanding of Historic Lotus' that the Westfield tale hangs.

In march of 1982 I was on one of my many buying trips to England searching for vintage and classic cars for fun and profit, mostly profit. If memory serves me correctly I had already purchased an Elva Courier, Turner Roadster, Mini Cooper S, Cortina Crayford Drophead, formula Ford, and a Standard Pennant Saloon. I was looking for one more vehicle for myself, an MG-TC.

Chris informed me that he knew of a pretty decent TC that belonged to a friend of his in Manchester. Having made my way from London to Chris' home, Westfield House, (AHA!) in Stourbridge I noticed the mangled space-frame of a Lotus 11 lying in the side garden. I paid little attention to the remains of this Lotus at the time and we jumped into the Cooper S and took off for Manchester. While driving through the English countryside I made a curious observation. Having always wanted a Lotus 11 modified for the street, I asked Chris if it would be feasible to restore the space frame in his garden. My idea would be to rebody this classic and power it with a BMC engine and drive line.

Chris laughed and said that it would be easier to build a Lotus 11 replica from scratch. Alright, I said, let's form a company to build these replicas in England, and I will sell them in America.

We continued on with the trip which culminated with my purchasing a nice 1948 TC. Arrangements were made to have the MG delivered to Chris' house. Later that week I went back to Stourbridge to gather all the vehicles I had purchased to send them on to Southampton for shipment to the US.

The subject of the Lotus 11 replica came up again and we decided to really give it a go. I had not been back home very long when I received photos of the prototype, by now called a Westfield 11. It was decided to name the vehicle after Chris Smith's old house, and as there was a Westfield Bend, at Brands Hatch it somehow seemed appropriate. By the way, thinking of a decent name for an automobile is easier said than done!

It was amazing to me how quickly Chris was able to engineer and produce this very high quality prototype. An initial run of the new Westfield 11 was produced and met with praise in the British Motoring Press. Westfield even received a very favorable road test and writeup in the June 1983 issue of Road and Track magazine. It was a real ego-booster to be a young whipper-snapper and see myself written about in a national motoring magazine.

It eventually dawned on me that as beautiful as the Lotus 11 look-alike was, the lack of a full windscreen with obviously no provision for wipers, lack of weather equipment, ect. might pose a problem for some American buyers.

This was how the Westfield 7, as you may by now have guessed, a faithful replica of the Series 1 Lotus 7, came about ...but that is another car and another story.


Return to the Westfield Eleven Page...