When you get the chance to buy the best-preserved example of the best-regarded kit car for the price of a Nissan Versa, it’s easy to get over-zealous and buy impulsively. Westfield is regarded as one of the best purveyors of Colin Chapman’s original ideals tied together in a more durable package. And the XI, with its 1,100-pound curb weight and sumptuous, aluminum open-cockpit design, is among the most desirable creations to bear the green and yellow badge. But without a drivetrain or even pictures of a drivetrain, plus a low buyer feedback rating, you may want to count to ten or call your accountability partner before putting down money. Find this 1982 Westfield XI in Yonkers, NY for $12,000 reserve-not-met with $13k buy-it-now here on eBay .
About 260 Lotus Elevens were built between 1956 and 1959, with Westfield XI production scattered intermittently from 1982 until present times. The formula never changes: miniscule size (even by Lotus standards) with an equally compact British four-banger and just a suggestion of driver comfort. Forget about driving underneath semi trucks – you could drive underneath a Camry in this thing (but please don’t). While original models utilized the 1,100cc Coventry Climax mill, Westfields used the tried and tested MG 1,275cc engine, in a euphemistic nod of quality over character that applies to the car as a whole.
This particular model is one of the earliest to come from Westfield founder Chris Smith. It was purchased and partially assembled in 1982, but never fully completed. The seller makes a “honey-do” list needed to get this thing on the road:
Put in new engine/trans – provided
Install fuel cell
Install radiator – provided
Install windshield – provided
Door locks – barrel locks really
Call your insurance agent
Of course there is more
Turn key and your [sic] the man
You’ll also need working lights, driving goggles, and a moustache. Maybe an umbrella too.
Which brings us to its daily drivability. Full elemental exposure is a concern for the hides and gizmos in any modern luxury car, not a bare-bones racing toy. If its harsh ride is a problem, you’re probably the guy who complains about lack of WiFi connectivity at an Amish farm. As for track use, buy a Caterham instead. For a car with 1/3 the curb weight of a 2015 Mustang, these Westfields are still quite slow. Car & Driver clocked a 2007-built one at 9.3 seconds to 60 mph, with the 74-horsepower MG engine. But remember this: This Westfield went for sale about the time Lotus announced an optional automatic transmission in the Exige. Maybe you should impulsively buy this anyway, just to offset the bad automotive juju.
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PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.