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Ultimate Developments
Speedscene January/March 1996
 
Roger Twyman chronicles the background to Steve Broughton's superb 1995 season with the SB Developments Westfield
 
In only their first season of sprinting and hillclimbing, Steve Broughton and highly developed SBD Westfield not only won their class within the Cars and Car Conversions/BARC/HSA Speed Championship, but also the Southern Area division of the series outright.

1995 saw the culmination of a great deal of work by SBD, the Chessington, Surrey based Vauxhall engine tuning specialists. In an earlier competition foray, brains of the outfit Steve Broughton had successfully rallied a very special Chevette. But when SBD began to take off in 1993 this tall unassuming competitor decided to divert his talents towards developing the business.

Once a racer, always a racer and it wasn't long before the competitive urge returned. But to which branch of the sport should he devote his comeback? After much soul searching, exhaustive investigation and hugely expensive research (the coin came down heads), he opted for hillclimbing and sprinting.

The big question then was - with what? Recollections of struggling with the Chevette to keep a Westfield in sight at Goodwood prompted the decision to opt for one of Chris Smith's Kingswinford built machines. The second question revolved around a suitable power plant. The criteria were fairly straightforward. Sheer power at the top end wasn't necessary, nor indeed advisable. Steve was new to the sport - he'd never yet done a hillclimb - and the budget was distinctly limited.

It was decided to build a strong engine with a wide power band and good bottom end torque, which would not drop as the revs increased. So now it was a question of which class to compete in. Fully trimmed, road legal and complete with MOT, M948JPK's devastating early form in the Modified Production class caused eyebrows to be raised to such an extent that it was decided to go the whole hog, develop it still further and base the season's campaign around the Sports Libre category.

First Steve was 'sent to school' to find out what he should be doing, then the boys in the shop got to work on the car. They left the driver's seat and the steering wheel alone, as they were thought to be more or less essential, but everything else was jettisoned and the whole car rebuilt to the highest specification, with an all-up weight of 550 kilos.

And so it was that the SB Developments Westfield came into being. The engine was built, as ever, with meticulous care using an SB kit, with cams designed and engine management mapped by Steve himself. The head was breathed on a little, solid tappets fitted and the whole assembly built around a very heavy steel bottom end. The result produced 251bhp and 182lbft of torque at 5200rpm - still there at the peak revs of 9200.

As with all of Steve's engines it ran like a pussycat, purring on tickover form cold and delivering silky smooth power all the way up the range. The result was awesome, trouble free and smooth to drive. Set up at the start of the season, the engine has not been touched since. Nor has the diff or the gearbox - in fact due to a somewhat makeshift gearshift linkage occasioned by the relocation of the engine/gearbox package within the narrower-bodied version of the Westfield. Steve has done most meetings without the luxury of being able to change down from third to second.

The Westfield's suspension, tyres and wheels have been developed during the season, culminating in Steve's outright win at Pestalozzi which not only beat Geoff Kershaw and BTCC ace Paul Radisich in the former's 400bhp twin turbo Sierra, but also lopped 2.5sec off the course record for good measure. And all this from just 251bhp.

Of course the boys in the workshop maintain it's the engine that gives Steve the edge. Steve himself seems to think it's the driver. For my own part, having driven the car I would say that any halfway decent driver would be a force to be reckoned with in this machine.

SB Developments have taken a great deal of time and trouble to put together Vauxhall engine packages that work first time and do what they say they will. Their most popular kit is known as the '208 Taper Throttle Kit' (named after the configuration of the special SBD throttle bodies; when ordering use part number TP208). Costing a mere £1268, the reason for the popularity is clear. This kit bolts on to any 2 litre 16 valve Vauxhall and delivers a genuine 208bhp with standard cams. In fact to fit it, you don't even have to touch the rocker cover.

But the most impressive part of the SBD kit system is their continuity. Just about nothing you buy from them is wasted - when you upgrade, you simply utilise what you already have. If, for instance, you want to fit a 2 litre 16v to your racer and want a bit more out of it, you buy the 208 kit and bolt it on. Do your season, save up, and next year you buy a bit more and upgrade again.

Broadly speaking the available range is from 170 to 290+bhp, all normally aspirated. From roadgoing to full race, from £450 to £20,000 for an ultimately developed unit - up to 300bhp with special block, crank and rods, etc. All extremely smooth, no sudden crashing power surges often experienced with other modified engines. It's a very comprehensive range, and although SBD normally fit their own kits they are also prepared to set up a home assembly job, thus giving their customers the benefit of their continual upgrading policy.

And once you have purchased equipment from SBD you are never alone. They are only too willing to help, advise and talk you through your problems on a special 'helpline', ok it doesn't come for free, but it's a damn sight cheaper than shipping a vehicle down to Chessington for the benefit of their expertise.

Rumour has it that SBD are currently working on the 1.6 litre 16v Vauxhall engine. This should prove extremely popular with the racing fraternity, especially at club level. I understand that development has been particularly successful and that already, high outputs are available with very little modification at all. Watch this space!

 
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