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May 2008
Practical Performance Car May 2008
Readers' Cars
Westfield Special
Well, you’ve got to find something to keep yourself entertained while you’re deeply embedded in the restoration of a particularly nasty Sunbeam Tiger V8. In Peter Hayter’s case, buying a Westfield for a spot of sprinting seemed the best way of alleviating any boredom. Trouble was, by the time the Tiger had been converted to right-hand-drive and had a new Edelbrock-tuned 302 V8 fitted, Peter was having so much fun with the Westfield the Tiger had to go.

Bought as a road-going Westfield, complete with nasty, big, modern wheels, it’s been through so many developments and changes there’s nothing left of the original bar the gear lever. Even the chassis and body have been replaced with light-weight versions.

Back in 2005 the first season of sprinting didn’t go half badly, recording a first in class at Goodwood, a third at Lydden and a Fastest Time of the Day at Eelmoor. The secret behind this Westfield’s awesome speed lies in the engine bay. Having developed the car into a lighter machine, the rumour mill started grinding about Peter selling his existing engine in favour of an even more powerful one. That wasn’t necessarily the case but when Peter was approached to sell up, it did seem the right moment to go faster. SBD then set about making the 2-litre Vauxhall XE much more powerful than it ever had a right to be.

In fact, about twice as powerful as its 150bhp roots, with 292bhp. SBD built the engine from scratch using SBD/Omega 88mm slipper pistons, steel rods and a dry sump down below and up top a CNC ported Coscast head with 2mm bigger valves, Kent 300º inlet and 290º exhaust cams and an SBD taper throttle bodies. The Westfield bunch gave the usual “I won’t believe it until I see it” routine,’ says Peter, ‘but after I had the suspension sorted by Aurok I was ready to go out and show them. Then people did believe the dyno results as the car proved to be absolutely unbeatable.’

Next up was the Brighton Speed Trials. An event that Peter calls the ‘maddest thing I’ve ever done in my life’. Despite the car being built for sprint, rather than straightline speed events, Peter still went straight into the top six overall and took the previous year’s class record off a bloke from SBD. Well if you’re going to be beaten at least there’s some comfort in getting beaten by one of your engines. As for everyone else Peter comes up against, there’s not a lot of comfort at all.

Practical Performance Car May 2008
Peter Hayter's web page
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