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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Westfield - Birkin - Caterham.

Hey -

My name is Dave and I'm currently an Elise owner and I'm thinking of a Seven to replace my Elise.

Before owning the Elise I owned a 1999 Birkin S3 and while I liked it I got rid of it in favor of the Elise. I'm now thinking of going back in that direction as I really miss the superlight feel of a Seven.

I will be using the car on the street as well as doing a lot of autocross with it.

A new Caterham seems to be out of reach financially so I've been considering either a used Caterham or a new Westfield or Birkin.

With all that info out of the way - I'm looking for feedback on the quality of the current offerings of these companies and what the buying and building experiences have been like. I will be buying a kit and building it myself and look forward to that part.....but.......would be frustrated if too many parts were missing or fit poorly. You get the idea.

Anyone have feedback on the Westfield or Birkin?

I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing about your builds and cars.

Dave
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 03:15 PM
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Had a Westfield (Eleven) and still have a car built by Birkin (not a Seven.) I've toured the factory at Birkin and it's not a backyard garage operation. Modern and large factory and these cars have always been first rate. As you have already owned one, you must know Dick Brink. He can give you the current info on them. Westfield is going to be more expensive, quality is good but maybe not to the standard of Birkin or Caterham, I'd say more typical of a "kit car" product. Still, very nice. Doubt if you'll go wrong no matter which you choose.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:19 PM
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Are you sure you want to build a car? It is generally a lot cheaper to buy a car that has already been built and then spending time to get it to your liking. Used non-Caterhams are quite cheap and can be made to fit various sizes and power outputs as well.

If you are considering a Seven style car the best place to get info is the usa7s forum. There is a Brunton Stalker for sale at just $18k right now: FS: 2009 Brunton Super Stalker less than 1,000 miles - USA7s

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2013, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Are you sure you want to build a car? It is generally a lot cheaper to buy a car that has already been built and then spending time to get it to your liking. Used non-Caterhams are quite cheap and can be made to fit various sizes and power outputs as well.

If you are considering a Seven style car the best place to get info is the usa7s forum. There is a Brunton Stalker for sale at just $18k right now: FS: 2009 Brunton Super Stalker less than 1,000 miles - USA7s
Thanks for the responses -

Yes I'd very much like to build the car. I'm very much a detail guy (anal much?!) and would like things to be a certain way with a car and the idea of starting from the ground up is very appealing to me.

That said I never find used Caterhams at a price i can afford or even one that comes close to a new Birkin/Westfield. It looks like one can build the new Westfield Mega S2000 for low 30's and have 240 hp in a 1250 pound car. That sounds like a lot of fun.

I'm a member on USA7's and saw that Stalker for sale and while the price is very good I don't think I'm want something like that. It would need to run solo is E Mod and no doubt carry a good bit of ballast to get to weight. The Westy and Birkin can both run in D Mod without any ballast right out of the box and yet they aren't way over weight either. Not bad.

Anyone tired the Westfield Mega S2000?


Dave
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2013, 08:08 AM
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If autocross is a requirement you should consider a WCM Ultralite/XR7 which use the Honda motor. I have one and it is a fun car though they are no longer making them so used will be your only option now. Personally if building from scratch I would recommend sticking with the Ford powertrain since the S2K motors are getting harder to find while Ford will sell you a crate Duratech immediately. Plus as the Cosworth versions can now develop more power than the F20 and even revs up to 8500.

IMHO the Caterhams are more $$ but they have fewer issues "out of the box" and will also hold their value much better which makes them a a decent value prop/

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2013, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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If autocross is a requirement you should consider a WCM Ultralite/XR7 which use the Honda motor. I have one and it is a fun car though they are no longer making them so used will be your only option now. Personally if building from scratch I would recommend sticking with the Ford powertrain since the S2K motors are getting harder to find while Ford will sell you a crate Duratech immediately. Plus as the Cosworth versions can now develop more power than the F20 and even revs up to 8500.

IMHO the Caterhams are more $$ but they have fewer issues "out of the box" and will also hold their value much better which makes them a a decent value prop/
I like the WCM car a lot.........but I can't live without full weather gear and a windshield and I spoke with the WCM guy (Brian maybe?) years ago and he really didn't mess with that as I recall.

Plus building the car myself is high on the list so I'll probably still with one of the three listed.

I guess I was hoping to hear more about the Westfield - anyone run one?


dave
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a bit of a late follow up...........I did end up buying a Westfield S2000 kit and built it up this past spring. I've put about 2000 miles on the car so far and taken part in 6 days of autocross in it. I must say it's a hell of a car. The suspension is very easily tunable and the engine makes plenty of power and this makes for a really fun package. I ran the car on the street tires (R1R's) that came with the kit and while they are fun on the street it's no great surprise that they are too tall and squirmy for real competition but the balance and predictability was very good. Next spring it will be put on slicks and everything should come together nicely.

It's a really fun car.

Dave



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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 02:13 AM
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It's a really fun car.
How's the steering input of your Westfield? I've read about sloppy kit bushings and too much play in the wheel, but I hope those comments were from snarky Caterham fans. I'm tempted to add a 7 clone to my garage some day.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 03:31 AM
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That is looking good. Hope you have really stiff exhaust and engine mounts else you will get some body damage around that tight opening the exhaust exits out of.

We have a Westfield that races with us, it is quick and the guy does well. The thing that scares me the most is those integrated rear fenders, if you take a knock on the track it is not as easy as unbolting the old ones and putting new ones on...

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Davemk1 View Post
Here's a bit of a late follow up...........I did end up buying a Westfield S2000 kit and built it up this past spring. I've put about 2000 miles on the car so far and taken part in 6 days of autocross in it. I must say it's a hell of a car. The suspension is very easily tunable and the engine makes plenty of power and this makes for a really fun package. I ran the car on the street tires (R1R's) that came with the kit and while they are fun on the street it's no great surprise that they are too tall and squirmy for real competition but the balance and predictability was very good. Next spring it will be put on slicks and everything should come together nicely.

It's a really fun car.

Dave
Fantastic to hear

The balance and predictability of a Westfield are memorable!! Slower to rotate and easier to catch than an Elise that's for sure

Quote:
Originally Posted by +TSRAGR View Post
How's the steering input of your Westfield? I've read about sloppy kit bushings and too much play in the wheel, but I hope those comments were from snarky Caterham fans. I'm tempted to add a 7 clone to my garage some day.
I had a Westfield before my Elise (OK - ten years before) and the steering was beyond awesome - I suspect you are right about the origin of those comments.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by +TSRAGR View Post
How's the steering input of your Westfield? I've read about sloppy kit bushings and too much play in the wheel, but I hope those comments were from snarky Caterham fans. I'm tempted to add a 7 clone to my garage some day.
I find the steering to be very good - intuitive and direct. There is zero play in the system.

I opted for the short steering arms to quicken the steering and i suppose these could help but even if i was running the long arms there would be no play or indirectness in the system.

dave
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 06:59 AM Thread Starter
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That is looking good. Hope you have really stiff exhaust and engine mounts else you will get some body damage around that tight opening the exhaust exits out of.

We have a Westfield that races with us, it is quick and the guy does well. The thing that scares me the most is those integrated rear fenders, if you take a knock on the track it is not as easy as unbolting the old ones and putting new ones on...
The motor mounts and exhaust supports are very stiff and i can't see any engine movement at all -even under full throttle with the engine cover off. Combine that with the fact that the exhaust hole through the body work has 20 mm of room all round and nothing ever even gets close.

When I ordered my kit I got the optional detachable rear fenders. These allow the fender to unbolt in about 10 minutes to either be repaired or replaced if you really eff it up. I thought these would be a very good idea since i spend so much time dodging cones and sometimes I don't dodge well enough. But you're right.........if they are all of one piece and you whack one it will be a PITA.

dave
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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It's interesting.........my Elise had a 61% weight bias to the rear and the Westfield is 54% but the Westfield is much easier to drive at the limit. I had my Elise set up pretty well I think and the handling was very good and predicable and one could drive it very hard with little real worry of the butt coming around.........that said one could always feel it back there taunting you

I suppose the differences between the two are many but aside from the obvious reduction in rear weight bias there is also the fact that the polar moment and center of mass is much different and without that big lump of weight back there it's much easier to manage the car at the limit.

Both are certainly a lot of fun when set up well - just slightly different types of fun.

dave



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Fantastic to hear

The balance and predictability of a Westfield are memorable!! Slower to rotate and easier to catch than an Elise that's for sure



I had a Westfield before my Elise (OK - ten years before) and the steering was beyond awesome - I suspect you are right about the origin of those comments.
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