It’s the sharp gust of arctic air with the ability to freeze your nasal hair that gives it away. That and the kind of unabashed sports car noise – made by schoolboys for decades – echoing off the low walls lining this road. Here we go again: gluttons for punishment. After our sub-zero adventure to the North of England, we’re Lotus ‘Seven’ motoring once more, sans sidescreens, only this time it’s a Westfield, and one with a new powerplant, too.
With the original Ford Zetec engine out of production and increasingly hard to find, Westfield has adopted the Duratec unit for its Sport 2000 model. This is bought in directly from Ford Motorsport, throttle bodies being the only modification; the internals are untouched. Even so, that’s enough for 190bhp at 6500rpm and a claimed 0-60mph sprint of 4.2 seconds.
The Duratec starts with a typical burble and coughs and spits amusingly on a trailing throttle. There’s plenty of meat low down in the rev range to lug such a light car (550kg), and a five-speed shift that’s slightly slower than a Caterham’s rifle-bolt six-speeder emphasises this less frenetic nature. Really gun it and it’s more ‘blare’ than ‘bwaarp’; a single, slightly featureless note that rises to a spluttering crescendo at the 7000rpm cut-out. So, on the one hand it’s flexible, its extra 200cc telling over a similarly tuned K-series by pulling cleanly from 1500rpm. But on the other, you do miss the sheer exuberant rortiness of a K – its eagerness to live off sky-high revs and bite your hand off should your foot so much as brush the pedal. No doubt that’s the sacrifice for leaving the engine internals stock.