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Déjà-blue - The tale of R27 #375



So I feel I should commence this thread with a bit of an introduction. Having only amounted a feeble post count thus far I would guess that most of you are totally oblivious to who I am. Forgive me if that sounds like I am some ego-spoilt celebrity, that certainly isn't the case, I just think it is interesting to know a persons back story. So how exactly have I come to be driving about in a bright blue French hatchback, rather than one of the other tens of thousands of vehicles available?

As is the case with, I would assume, every single one of you reading this now, I like cars. Simple as that. Where exactly it stemmed from I am not totally sure, but for as long as I can remember I have been infatuated with anything sporting 4 wheels and an internal combustion engine. Obviously this escalated hugely when I got that little pink card from the DVLA, almost exactly a decade ago.

The first car I put my name to was a silver Phase1 Peugeot 306 XT. I really wanted a 205 GTi but the bank manager said no on every conceivable level, so this would have to suffice. I put a flashy-lighted Kenwood CD player in the front, some ludicrously powerful 6x9’s in the back, and drove it about at sixteen times the speed limit assuming I was just a few weeks away from signing a deal with McLaren. Of course this ended up being written off. Sadly (but not really) I have no photos of this car, though I’m sure you can use your imagination.

Although I had only been able to legally drive for a few months, I felt physically unable to operate without something on the drive. Therefore my next car choice was dictated by local availability rather than specific desire – it was a Mk1 Fiat Punto 75 SX. This hung around for a couple of years, during which I treated it to a pair of GT Turbo bumpers, some Team Dynamics, a set of springs and dampers, an antisocial bean can exhaust and an even more antisocial audio install. It was surprisingly fun to drive, and pretty reliable during my ownership. But still a bit pants.

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This made way for what I would class as my first “proper” car, a Schwartz Blue MK2 VW Golf Gti 16v. I purchased this from a close friend who had already partially modified it, bolting on some coileys, Ronal Turbo’s and an exhaust. I then added some buckets, harnesses and some fancy number plates, among other things. A short while later it spectacularly failed the MOT, leaving my friend red-faced in embarrassment, and me a similar shade in anger. I sucked it up though, and threw copious amounts of money and sweat at it to sort the abundance of issues, eventually scoring a fresh 12 months ticket. Then I blew it up at Castle Combe. My Mum’s partner helped me tear the broken lump out, replacing it with a 2.0l 9A out of a similarly aged Passat. All was well for a while, until I blew it up again, chucked my toys out the pram, and broke it for parts. Sounds like a reasonably unsuccessful ownership really, but when it did work, damn was it fun!

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Whilst dismantling the Golf I found myself bussing about in a Mk1 Clio. Unfortunately not a hot one as you may be hoping, but a 1.4 RT in chain-smokers-lung brown. I have little to say about this car, other than it worked. Mostly.

Once my bank balance was looking a touch healthier, thanks to the component parts of the little VDub being distributed around the country, it was time to start shopping for a new toy. This arrived in the form of a MK1 Eunos Roadster, a 1.6 S-Special to be precise, and here it is next to the sorry remains of its predecessor.

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This stayed in my ownership for quite a while, and it all got a bit out of hand. You can read all about it here: MX5Nutz Build Thread but to summarise… turbo power, 250 ponies, big arches, even bigger aero, three magazine features, one Speedhunters feature, and a whole load of awesome. This car taught me a hell of a lot, and was the key through many doors which have helped develop my life into its current state. I am very proud of what I managed to achieve, given that it was built predominately by myself, in a garage, on a pretty limited budget. There are many, many photos of it flying around the interwebs, but here are a couple of very late ones to get you going.

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As you can see it all got very silly, which spawned the decision to get a slightly more sensible daily driver part way through the build. A 6K (that is the chassis code, not how much I paid for it!) VW Polo TDI Estate. I went all the way to Bradford to pick it up, a 7 hour round trip, but to be honest it was more than worth it. It was a phenomenal car that didn’t put a foot wrong in the 13 months that I had it. I didn’t do a great deal to it in terms of modification, mainly swapping on a set of Porsche D90’s and winding the already present coilovers down a few threads.

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It was an ideal daily barge, and I should probably never have sold it. However, during a period of having the Mazda off the road for some serious tweaking, I got bored and wanted something a bit more driver-oriented again. And so arrived my second 306, this one rather more special than the first; a 1999 Cherry Red Rallye. For those less educated on the subject the Rallye was basically a slightly de-spec’d (aka lighter) GTi-6, think keep-fit windows, no air-con, minimal sound deadening, and so forth, but with the same 2.0l 16v 167bhp four-banger up front. This was another superb car, far thirstier than the Polo but comparatively reliable, save for a burnt out coil causing a break down on the first journey home… but we’ll gloss over that. What it lacked in MPG’s it made up for in smiles per mile. To this day it is regarded by many as one of the best chassis’ ever slung underneath a hot-hatchback, and I cannot disagree.

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Back to the MX5 though, as much as I loved that car, and so deeply connected were we that it would undoubtedly be like hacking off a limb, the time had come to put it up for sale. I had taken it almost as far as I wished, far further than I had ever envisioned at the start, and as the saying goes; good things always have to come to an end. Mostly though I wanted to experience different things, expand my automotive CV, and, having made the Mazda so wannabe racecar that it was unusable 95% of the time, I craved something somewhat more practical. I became irritated at the fact I had spent all this money, hard earned over several years, to have it sat in the garage for days and weeks on end, whilst I minced around in something that, as much as I just praised it, was ultimately an old, rattly and relatively uncomfortable hatchback that cost me £900.

So the plan was to move the Mazda on first, use the money from that to buy myself a nice daily, then sell the Peugeot and use the money from that to buy another project car. This wasn’t exactly how it panned out though! The MX5 did eventually sell, not especially rapidly as you’d probably expect (the market for such a vehicle could be described as niche at best), which left me with an empty garage and a fist full of notes. I was still not 100% sure what I wanted as a new daily, although there was a fairly concise shortlist which I’ll expand on in a bit, but as far as projects go I had literally no clue what I would end up with. It had to be cheap and interesting, but beyond that it was an anything-goes kind of situation. Slowly with nothing to play with, and the power tools lying dormant in their roller-bearing drawers, my fingers started itching. It soon became uncontrollable, I was so bored! Quite unexpectedly, particularly to myself, I found myself on the ever-treacherous Ebay, with very little research and next to no logical reasoning, entering into a bidding war on this:

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Don’t worry I don’t expect you to know what it is, in fact not even I did when I first set eyes on it! What it transpired to be was a 1964 Hillman Husky, a late Series III model on an Audax chassis, also found under the identically fronted Minx, both of which marginally predated the more popular rear-engine’d Imp. Anyway for some reason it tugged strongly enough at the heart strings for me to become all misty eyed and senseless, paying what was probably way over the odds for a pretty ropey example, with zero history, that hadn’t seen the road in over a decade. Anyway, that’s the beginning of another build thread altogether! We are here to talk about my next purchase…

Back to that shortlist then, I wanted something well spec’d and comfortable enough to cruise up and down the dual carriage way to work and back seeing as I was now working 14miles away from home. I wanted something practical that could seat four if needed, with a decent load space, to allow for trips out with friends and family. Yet above all it had to be fun, and ideally competent enough to be used on track now and again, seeing as I no longer had anything to scratch that itch in, and the Husky wasn’t likely to be usable for a while! Originally I had every intention of buying a Mk2 Seat Leon FR TDi, having test driven one a while ago I thought it was a lovely car, lots of toys, fantastically built, economical and oodles of torque on tap. However the engine, like most modern diesels, just lacked character and I imagine it would have been way out of its depth on a track. So that idea went out the window. I toyed with a few other eclectic options, Mk1 Leon Cupra R’s, EK9 Civic Type R’s, 350z’s, Z4’s, E39 530/535 M-Sport’s… but I kept coming back to the same one, a Megane R26. It ticked all the boxes and then some. Oh and I did go through a phase of looking at R26R’s, but quickly decided that was a ridiculous idea!

So I was more or less decided then, at least until I found myself at MCR in Bristol looking at a couple of examples they had in stock. Neither of these were particularly captivating to be honest, with some poor bodywork and a few mechanical issues between them, but I did spot something else at the back of the show room… A stunning little Clio 200, fully loaded and covered in the infamous Liquid Yellow paint. My heart had a little flutter. Having spent the last few minutes poking in and around the Megane’s private parts I slipped my bum through the door of the Clio and into the high bolstered Recaro. It just felt… special. Right then and there I was sold, I now wanted a Clio! In fact I very nearly bought that exact car, having originally decided it was more than I wanted to spend, I later persuaded myself to stop being a tight arse and booked myself in for a test drive the following weekend, with every intention of leaving a deposit. Unfortunately it sold to somebody else before this happened. Boo hiss.

I spent the next couple of weeks trying to find something similar but without a great deal of luck. I did go and look at a fantastic Storm Grey 200, again a fully loaded example, but it was a little overpriced and they were having issues getting the V5 back after a reg transfer and wouldn’t let me test drive it. This ultimately cost them a sale. I also looked at another Liquid Yellow one at a Renault main dealer, but this pretty much had every common fault going!

I gave up looking for a bit and instead amused myself by ripping the Husky apart and playing “spot the solid metal”. I started looking again in June, as I had sorted a few niggles on the 306 which was now pretty much ready to go. I had re-evaluated my budget and was now aiming for an R27 F1 Team. These seemed to be going for a fair bit less than an equivalent 200, with more exclusivity, and without the stupid hippo face which I was never fully sold on. This would also have the added benefit of leaving a bit of cash left over to spend on upgrades and frilly bits, which was inevitably going to happen anyway.

I looked at a Nimbus one in Coventry, which was well priced and decent enough, but I was sceptical about the service history, which may as well have been written on the back of a fag packet. I reasoned that if I was spending that much on a car, I would like the peace of mind that it had been looked after properly, so I gave it a miss. There were two others that looked promising, both in the London area, albeit completely opposite ends. So one Saturday in early July I enlisted a friend to keep me company and headed east to look at both of them in the same day. The first, a black one at a small dealer near Harlow, was most disappointing. The bodywork was very tired, and the service history again was unsubstantial. Feeling a little disheartened we left and set off towards the next one, all the way around the M25 in Reigate. This one was far, far better. Good enough, in fact, for me to leave a deposit on, and await the return of the V5 to complete the sale. Goddamn fancy pancy personal plates!

Thankfully this only took a week, which coincidentally meant I picked it up just in time to take on a three day jaunt to Wales, which you can read all about here: Wales Thread. It was awesome. The roads, the scenery, the car, all of it awesome. So go read it.

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Since then there have been quite a few exciting looking packages arrive at my place of work, which were swiftly unwrapped and mated to the car… but more on that later. This post has gone on long enough, besides I have to give you guys a reason to revisit my thread soon!

Until then thank you very much for reading, I hope you found it a worthwhile waste of a few minutes.

Rob
 
What an introduction! Quite the car collection too. Lovely motor in a lovely colour. (A perhaps belated) welcome to the forum :)
 

Paul.M

ClioSport Club Member
Clio looks lovely, welcome to the mad house :)

I have seen your '5 floating around different websites too, there are plenty of mk1 mx5 owners on here, myself included :)
 

Paul.M

ClioSport Club Member
Thanks for reading and commenting guys!

What MX5 do you have @Paul.M? I am still in contact with many of the 5 fraternity, I made a lot of very good friends through MX5Nutz!

I have a classic red mk1 1.6 eunos that I am currently working on as a side project.
120k, imported in 2004, one owner between then and me in april and pretty much rust free other than some slight surface rust...
http://www.cliosport.net/threads/cheap-summer-project-mk1-mx5-content.748553/

I need to update it though, done a couple more bits and pieces since.
 
Right where were we? I had bought myself a lovely little R27 and driven the nuts off of it around the Welsh Valleys for 3 days. All in all a great success. Unfortunately I then had to go back to work, which always puts a downer on proceedings.


For the next few weeks I drove it alongside my Rallye, up and down the A419 to work and back (a 30mile round trip) and was amazed at just how similar they were. Obviously the Clio was a far more comfortable place to be thanks to the awesome seats and the climate control, exactly the reason I bought it, but in handling and performance terms there was very little to choose between them. A huge testament to the 306 when you consider it was 8 years the Renault’s senior, and wore nearly three times the mileage. Eventually I decided I needed to pull my finger out and let the Peugeot find a new home, a car that good deserved to be driven, and I found myself grabbing the keys to its younger brother 9 times out of 10 when leaving the house. I advertised it on Pistonheads and it was viewed, paid for and collected within two days. Can’t ask any more than that! I did find a brief moment to snap one final photo of it alongside the Clio and my girlfriends (frankly awful) Corsa. I’d love to say it will be missed, but to be honest all the desirable qualities of it are mirrored, or improved upon, by its replacement, so I would be lying! Still, it was great fun whilst it lasted.


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So it was time to get stuck into the Clio, and the first thing on the list was to get rid of the horrific blue interior lights. Not only were they not at all to my taste, but their light output was simply dismal. Therefore out they came (all 9 of them!) to be replaced by bright white LED alternatives. Much better. I celebrated by dropping into my mates unit for a bit of a cleaning session, as they all prepped their cars for the annual Retro Rides show. It looked a bit out of place mixing it with this gang of ancient tin, but that just succeeded in motivating me further to crack on with the Husky project.


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Next on the list was the steering wheel. The previous owner had fitted a suede 300mm Oreca number, atop an awful China-spec snap off boss. The wheel itself was acceptable on track and tight B-Road’s, giving some excellent feedback and response, but everywhere else, especially motorways and dualys, it made the car far too fidgety and snappy. The aforementioned boss was even worse, it had way too much play, knocking and banging around the show like an inebriated uncle at a wedding. They both had to disappear.


Fortunately the stock wheel was included when I bought the car, but it was badly melted, so I decided to dig it out and send it off to Royal Steering Wheels for a refurb. After much deliberation and to-ing and fro-ing with owner Jack, I settled on black Alcantara sides with Nappa leather top and bottom, held together with silver stitching and a red TDC band. He turned it around inside 2 weeks, including return postage, which I thought was very impressive. The quality of the workmanship was also excellent and the Alcantara was ridiculously nice. I did have a couple of very minor niggles with it but I can be an infuriating perfectionist at times.


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I whipped the Oreca off, followed by the boss kit, to fit the freshly trimmed replacement... Except it quickly transpired that when it was originally removed it was done so using a machete and hammer. The clock spring was destroyed. My bargainous wheel swap had swiftly got a whole lot more expensive. In any case I could at least trial fit it, sans airbag and cruise control, to see if I liked it. Which I didn’t! Well that’s not really fair, the wheel itself was most agreeable, a lot comfier to operate than its predecessor, and caressing the Alcantara around the thumb drips was simply glorious. But it was just a little too far away and a little too large. I went for a short blast taking in some local twisty bits and, there was no getting around the fact, the car felt much, much worse. Balls. So back off it came and into the classifieds. I needed to find a happy middle ground, so I went on the hunt for another aftermarket option. I shall continue this saga a bit later!


Not too long after the postman delivered the wheel into work, another rather larger parcel turned up. It contained many shiny bits of stainless steel. Now originally I had my heart set on an unresonated K-Tec exhaust system to give the Clio a bit more bark, but after taking advice from some more knowledgeable friend’s, and deciding I quite liked cruising in (relative) peace and quiet when desired, I opted to look elsewhere. After a lot of research and YouTube video viewing I ordered up a resonated Scorpion system from Cazan Racing, with a matched de-cat pipe and their new design of slash-cut tailpipes.


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Initial out of the box appraisal was very good indeed, the quality looked to be superb, with neat welds and perfect mandrel bends, and it all slotted together easily. I was even more impressed when fitting it to the car, it went on with zero issues and needed very minimal adjustment to sit correctly in the tunnel and poke out in the right places. It has now been fitted for a couple of months and I am extremely happy with it, the sound is nigh on perfect, not so raspy it sounds like a deranged pack of wasps (aka a Honda), but still very aggressive and purposeful when you bury the loud pedal. But at idle and cruise it is actually quite subtle and not overly boomy like a lot of aftermarket systems, exactly as I had desired. Oh and it produces some wonderful pops and bangs on the overrun now and again, presumably mainly thanks to the de-cat. Everyone likes pops and bangs.


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In preparation for the first of many track days, the next modification to arrive was a pair of Sparco harnesses from Demon Tweeks. I went for 2”, 3-point ones with additional buckles on the rear straps meaning they can be stowed away when not in use and allow easy access to the rear seats. #Becausepracticalracecar. I attached the rear anchor to the centre seatbelt points by the Isofix bar and the lap straps to the stock mounting points on the seat bases and sill panels using some hideously expensive brackets from Scroth. I could easily have made these myself but I decided to buy them simply so I could legitimately blame somebody else if they failed!


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I also chatted up Angel Fernandez at Cazan again, this time for a fresh pair of NS2-R’s for the front castors as the old ones were rapidly turning themselves into slicks rather than semi’s. I must stress at this point how good Cazan have been for me of late. I have made a fair few separate purchases from them in the last few months and they have always been very communicative, very prompt with delivery and very competitive on price, even throwing in some additional discount now and again! I cannot recommend them enough and will certainly be using them again and again.


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I really rate these tyres, the Clio came with them fitted all round which was my first experience of them. They are decent enough under normal driving and not too disastrous in the wet either (just stay away from the big puddles!) but get a bit of heat in them on dry tarmac and they are properly sticky, genuine cheek hurters! At around half the price of 888’s it really would be rude not too. Saying that though, I am half contemplating getting a second set of wheels with some Rainsports or similar on for the winter months, I imagine the Kangers could get somewhat interesting as the temperatures slip into single figures, but we shall see. The main downside to them, especially on the front heavy and non-LSD’d Clio, is they do seem to disappear rather rapidly on track! This was taken just 3 days after fitting, after 150 miles or so of track abuse. Painful!


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The majority of those miles were done at Hullavington in mid-September, at an airfield day organised by Motorsport-Events.com. I had done one of their days at Keevil earlier in the year in the MX5 and really enjoyed it. That was my first airfield day and I loved the relaxed atmosphere, the minimal queuing, but mainly the fact there was, aside from the odd cone or a load of grass, absolutely nothing to hit. They are perfect for really exploring the limits of a car without worrying about totalling it in a load of Armco, and therefore it would be an ideal introduction into some serious Clio peddling.


I convoyed across from Swindon with a couple of friends in their MX5’s and a few others in Westfield’s and a Megane 225. It was a stonking day, the weather was perfect without a hint of moisture once the early morning mist had lifted, and the car was sensational. I quickly got to grips with how to drive it and was amazed at how much easier it was to go quickly in, and just how many liberties you could take, in comparison to my Mazda. Lose concentration in that thing for a second and you’d be facing backwards in a cloud of tyre smoke, possibly dead. Sure the Clio is a fair bit slower but that helps it to be even more fun. I liken it to piloting a Mario Kart; just bury your right foot and hang on for dear life! The pedal in the middle is almost redundant, although when you do feel the need to call it into action the brakes are seriously impressive. Even with some cheapo Pagid discs and pads fitted they did a grand job of scrubbing off huge speeds in the blink of an eye. By the end of the day I had little trouble mixing it with the big boys in their kit cars, especially through the more technical sections, and all with a huge grin on my face. In fact I had such a good time I am booked to do it all again next month!


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The next day played host to Forge Action Day at Castle Combe, where I joined a BMW M5, an R35 GTR, a 991 Porsche Turbo S, a MK2 Focus RS and an E46 BMW 330D… on a Vauxhall stand. Obviously. Don’t worry there were a couple of Astra’s and Corsa’s invited along too, and a VXR-8 among other griffin badged specials. As I was there I felt it rude not to have a couple of session around the famous circuit. It’s a bit quick for the scant 194 horses under the Renault’s bonnet, and it really highlighted the difference in straight line grunt between that and the Mazda. That had no trouble devouring the lengthy straight bits when I had it out at the same event last year. Nevertheless it wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon and finish off what little was left of my front brake pads. A couple of hot laps in the passenger seat of my friends aforementioned Focus, putting 420bhp through the front wheels, was a particular highlight! No proper photos from Combe I’m afraid, I think I had gotten used to being tagged in so many when I took the Mazda anywhere that I failed to remember to take any myself! It appears that a standard-ish Clio, lairy stickers or not, is far more camera shy though. Note to self – take more photos. I did manage to snap this one after coming off track at the end of my second session… yikes. So it seems I need to buy shares in front tyres, front brake pads, and super unleaded if I continue this behaviour!


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After all this excitement I again had to begrudgingly return to work. Roll on retirement, only another few decades to go! At least working on a nondescript industrial estate makes the Clio stand out even more…


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Seeing as I had cooked my brakes at Combe (including possibly warping the discs) I felt inclined to upgrade. It wasn’t as though the brakes weren’t good enough, in fact they were more than adequate at both tracks, I just wanted them to be even better! Firstly, if I had to replace them anyway it made sense to upgrade now and get a good amount of use out of them - I have been known to spend serious money on cars just to sell them soon after. Secondly, braking was one thing I was never happy with on my last build, I kind of neglected it over everything else, and although I was running a half-decent setup they just weren’t up to the same standard as the rest of the car. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again!


So Cazan were called into action again, providing me with a pair of their incredible 330mm two piece discs, a set of Ferrodo DS2500 pads and a quartet of Goodridge braided hoses. Eurocarparts supplied a couple of bottles of ATE superblue fluid, Renault a fresh set of bleed nipples, and “Mr. Pink” completed the party with a set of uprated retaining pins. And here is the proof:


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I managed to blag a 2-post ramp to get all these goodies fitted which made things a lot quicker and easier. In fact everything went very smoothly. It’s quite nice working on a new(ish) car where all the bolts aren’t seized and covered in 5mm of rust!


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Out with the old…


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And in with the new…


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We flushed the system with the new ATE fluid which was easy enough, barely any air was let in whilst changing the lines which was a relief, and left the pedal lovely and firm. I was expecting them to be a bit “fluffy” for the first few miles, as with every other set of new pads I have ever fitted, but much to my surprise they felt fine straight off the button. I ran them gently for the first 200 odd miles (slightly longer than usual as it was mainly dual carriage ways) and then ran them through a savage heat cycle to bed them in properly. They are now outrageous. Whenever I’ve been driving another car and get back in the Clio, I find it hard not to head-butt the windscreen the first time I hit the anchors. I just can’t wait to put them through their paces on track now.


Eagle eye’d of you may have noticed in the last picture above, the K-Tec 19mm spacers which came with the car. These give it a much wider and more purposeful stance which I don’t think I could reverse now, I believe they look a little under-wheeled as standard. The 225 section tyres also add to the aggressive quality. However I soon discovered the difficulties of lining everything up when refitting the wheels. Bolts are a pain in the poo-shoot at the best of times, but add in another set of holes which find it absolutely hilarious to fractionally rotate at the last moment, and you are soon throwing torque wrenches around the garage with rage. Therefore I decided a stud conversion kit would be a great idea, again you may have spotted these in the last image, although this was a saga in itself.


I popped an email across to K-Tec enquiring about their kits and what would be best to use. They replied promptly advising that I should use the 100mm length studs as they are perfect for use with their 19mm spacers, and I duly ordered them up. I fitted them at the same time as the brakes but was shocked at just how long they were, on refitting the wheels they protruded a good 30mm from the ends of the nuts! Not only did this look a bit rubbish, they were in a prime position for ripping open some poor buggers calf (most likely mine), and my deep 19mm socket only just reached the nuts to torque them up. Not ideal in any way shape or form.


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I sent another email to K-Tec expressing my feelings, along with a couple of photos, but this time had no reply. After a few days I got bored of waiting and instead got on the blower. The guy who answered seemed nice enough and said he needed to discuss it with his manager who wasn’t available, but would ring me back asap. This didn’t happen. I had to call them back at the end of the day and spoke to the same chap, who again seemed relatively amiable, but refused to do anything for me as I had fitted the studs and also stated they had never had any complaints before, which I find very surprising. I wasn’t a happy bunny so persisted a little and he agreed he would pass on some additional discount on my next purchase. I gave in at this point as I could tell I was banging my head against a brick wall. I did ask if they could supply me with one additional stud (as I had cross-threaded one slightly) which he said he could, and would charge it to the same card as before. A bit petty given what he had just said about discount but it would only be about £1.50 so whatever… oh except they also charged me £4 for postage! For one wheel stud! Unbelievable.


Needless to say my first experience with this company may well be my last, unfortunate for them as my next purchases were liable to be a rather more expensive than a £90 set of fasteners.


In any case I wasn’t about to leave the studs as they were, so had to get a bit a bit innovative and engineer them down myself. A lathe would have been ideal for this, and luckily I do have access to one if needed, but as they were fitted already this was not an option. Therefore out came the die grinder and the Dremel! I took 30mm off the rear studs and 25mm off of the fronts (which sit slightly further in due to threading into the hub and not the disc), sanded a further 5mm off the threads to create the all-important bullet tips, and splashed on a bit of etch primer and satin black to stop them corroding. This was not a quick job, in fact it took fapping ages, but was well worth it.


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Right, that ends one little chapter of irritation, lets revisit another. Remember the tale of the steering wheel? Well I was currently using the old Oreca one, but with a fixed spacer I had borrowed from a friend (the snap-off was doing my head in). The position was okay – just marginally too far away, but I still disliked the size and design of the wheel itself. I decided I wanted something around the 330mm flavour, a nice compromise between this one and the OEM job. I looked at a couple from OMP and Sparco but didn’t think they would match the rest of the interior very well, and then thought about getting another Nardi Deep Corn which is what I had in the Mazda. Eventually though I was influenced by a friend’s crazy BTCC inspired MK5 Golf, and got myself one of these:


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A limited run Personal Neo Grinta Kingston Edition, 330mm in diameter, leather trimmed, with Rasta-spec tri-colour stitching. Lovely stuff. I teamed this with a 40mm black anodised spacer from Netherlands-based company FullCarTuning, as I could find nothing in this size in the UK at all! I am happy to say this setup is absolutely bang on now, close enough to be comfortable even when harnessed in, with the stalks still in easy reach, and small enough for that “go-kart” feeling yet large enough for lazy straight line cruising. Smug face initiated. All I need to do now is get the cruise control switches retro-fitted, but to do that I need to obtain a non-butchered clock spring, which is proving a little illusive.


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We are nearing the end of this chapter now, for those of you still awake. The only other exciting bit of news to report is a visit to Glastonbury based Renault-Nut Dan at SJM Automotive, to have the map tweaked and hopefully get rid of the horrendous flat-spot present since fitting the Scorpion. Unfortunately he couldn’t eradicate it totally (although in fairness he did say this would probably be the case before-hand) but it is a damn sight better than before. It is now much smoother in everyday driving and is far less susceptible to kangarooing at cold as well. It pulls really well up to the redline, although in all honesty the midrange and top end isn’t noticeably different to pre-map. I was also slightly disappointed that it didn’t improve the fuel economy at all – I am still averaging a meagre 23mpg!


Since then nothing of any great note has happened to the car. I have just been driving and enjoying it, and I’ve even washed and polished it a couple of times, which is far from my favourite past-time! I did manage to semi-debadge the tailgate, binning the “RenaultSport” and hideous aftermarket “R27” from each corner, before cleaning it up with a toffee-wheel and some polish. This made the arse end look at lot cleaner and slick, a vast improvement.


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Then last weekend me and a friend went out for a little blast around the Cotswolds, and I decided to dust the Canon off and bring it along for the ride, papping these along the way:


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A couple of days later we went for another spontaneous play in it, this time under the cover of moonlight, stopping at a desolate industrial estate which was perfect for a few more photo’s:


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And that, as the saying goes, is that. We are now up to date, and I’m sure you’re all exceptionally relieved!


Tune in in an unspecified-but-probably-quite-lengthy amount of time for the next instalment of project Déjà-Blue. I’m off for a well-earned mug of PG.


All the best,


Rob
 
  CLIO 1.5 DCI I-MUSIC
Lovely motor!! Only thing is I hate the aftermarket steering wheel. But each to their own! Enjoy the motor, it's a credit to you!
 
Love this thread! ..Awesome write ups, awesome cars and awesome photo's - Win, win win!

:smile:

That's just what I like to hear! Great to have you on board.

Excellent write up mate.

I am still enjoying the luxury of your old steering wheel!

Good to hear mate, they did an awesome job on the trim and it was a real shame I didn't get on with it!

Lovely motor!! Only thing is I hate the aftermarket steering wheel. But each to their own! Enjoy the motor, it's a credit to you!

I did fancy returning to the OEM wheel when I first got the car, but obviously that wasn't meant to be. I think I have made a pretty good decision on my aftermarket choice though, Nardi/Personal wheels are always very tasteful and super quality. None of this garish Halfords tat! Anyway I'm glad you like the car otherwise!
 
  172, Eunos Rs Turbo
It will be interesting to see whats done with this after seeing the slow progress of your 5 (I'm another turbo'd Mk1 owner and Mx5nutz user)

Do you plan to be so extreme with this as you were with the 5?
 

CrippsCorner

ClioSport Club Member
  Astra VXR
Wow fantastic car and pictures! Didn't read it all but enjoyed looking at what you've done... mint.
 
It will be interesting to see whats done with this after seeing the slow progress of your 5 (I'm another turbo'd Mk1 owner and Mx5nutz user)

Do you plan to be so extreme with this as you were with the 5?

Not at all, this is primarily my workhorse that just so happens to be ticking the track day and lazy Sunday lane hunting boxes at the moment too. Most of the stupid stuff (à la MX5) will be happening to the Husky... If it ever gets that far!

Wow fantastic car and pictures! Didn't read it all but enjoyed looking at what you've done... mint.

Thanks a lot, and I'll let you off for not reading it word for word, I do have a tendency to ramble on! You can always finish it later on when the only other thing happening is X-Factor.
 
Utterly poor service from Ktec, but then again I'm sadly not surprised (they have a really bad rep on here, for similarly poor service and s**t maps) - sadly their bad rep doesn't extend too far beyond here, so lots of people still use them.

Awesome writeups, and very nice car selection so far :]
 
I thought it was about time I resurrected this thread, although I haven’t got a great deal to report to be honest, so maybe (just maybe) this will be a fairly concise one!

First off, you may remember my tale of woe regarding the airbag clock spring, which had previously been butchered by a would-be Edward Scissorhands, leaving a permanent warning lamp on the dash and inoperative cruise control. Well, when I was first searching for a new one I had set up a saved search on the good old Bay of E’s with the part number of the bit that I required, and then immediately forgotten about it. A good few weeks later I was reminded when an email dropped into my inbox saying one had just been listed. Moreover it was an absolute steal at approximately half the price of the ones I had seen previously. The big bad “Buy It Now” button was clicked without delay, and two days later it arrived on my desk.

Fitting it was pretty straight forward fortunately, although looking at this mess half way through was just a touch scary!

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Once it was all thrown back together, and I nervously re-connected the battery and hit the start button, not only did nothing explode in my face, but I was greeted by a lovely warning free set of dials!

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However, a short couple of days later, those same dials did deliver me a somewhat depressing message – my relatively low mileage R27 had now ticked its way into the big five-o’s. Is it just me or does this number somehow seem a far scarier prospect than the mid-to-late 40’s? Still, it has certainly covered a lot less tarmac than every one of my previously owned cars, so I really shouldn’t grumble!

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Anyway, the fitment of the new clock spring assembly finally allowed me to connect up the cruise control switches which I had retained from the OEM wheel, but first I needed to fabricate a bracket. And here it is; from initial prototype, through dodgy aluminium test piece, to finished and painted article on the bottom right. It fits like a glove! I can now smash down the motorway at 70mph whilst getting all Michael Flatley on the dashboard, or at least I probably could after a few years of intensive yoga training.

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Now for a slightly more exciting occurrence, another trip to Hullavington Airfield for a Motorsport-Events organised hoon. I was pretty confident leading up to the day, having pretty much nailed the lines and braking points on my last visit. But back in September it was bone dry, unfortunately a quarter of a year later it was not. At all. In fact a jet ski would have been a far more appropriate mode of transport than a car, let alone a car sporting well-scrubbed semi-slick’s on all 4 corners!

It could not have been a more different experience to last time, yet because of that it was just as much fun. The tyres really struggled for grip, especially under braking where my ABS was really earning its keep. Yet sliding through the corners feathering the throttle, on and beyond the limits of adhesion, was simply glorious, and somehow only ended in a (rather spectacular) pirouette once! It is the first properly wet track day I have ever done, but would urge everyone to try and do something similar. It has given me far more knowledge of how a car behaves at its limits than I would get in a lifetime on the road, and consequently a whole heap more confidence in what to do should I ever suddenly find myself at said limits somewhat unexpectedly!

There was a photographer on hand to capture the action, although annoyingly the shots he did get aren’t particularly enthralling.

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Even so I had to show my appreciation for the fact he donned a cagoule and braved the conditions at all, and handed over some of my hard earned coin for a full res of this one, which I then tweaked to my tastes:

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Also, true to a previous promise, I nabbed a friend’s GoPro for the day and managed to get two short videos of my antics before the battery decided it no longer wanted to play. Not entirely sure they are very exciting for the casual viewer, as in neither of them do I crash, nor make particularly rapid progress! It will, at the very least, give people some idea what a Scorpion resonated system sounds like in attack mode. Enjoy:



So what have been up to since then? Well not a great deal really. I chucked my bike in the back for a quick trip to the trails (a recent purchase having been out of the saddle for far too long), and was pleased to discover it fitted snuggly with just one wheel removed. How very practical. Colour coded tarp is a nothing but a pleasant coincidence by the way.

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I swapped the now very dead NS2-R’s from the front (yes I have seen off two pairs in a little under 6 months… it is a problem) with something a little more suited to the current weather conditions, Uniroyal Rainsport 3’s.

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I first must apologise for the state of the above. A. this was just after fitting, B. DS2500’s are extremely dusty, and C. alloy refurb’s are on the to-do list! Those are my excuses and I’m sticking to them. First impressions of the tyres are reasonable; they are noticeably softer in the sidewall than the Kangers, which allows a little more body roll and annoyingly a much less responsive turn-in. On the flip side they are a damn site better at clearing standing water! I am already regretting the fact I cheaped out and only got them on the fronts though, having recently found myself navigating a moist corner with quite a substantial amount of opposite lock!

Oh and I also cleaned it (check out the lesser spotted Husky in the garage – I forgot I owned that as well):

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Decorated the Recaro’s for Christmas:

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Got it very dirty:

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And then cleaned it… again:

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And fancy that, it was pretty concise too! Me and a few friends may be having a festive jaunt over the border to Brecon at some point soon, so I will try and bring you some decent images back, seeing as the ones in this post are almost entirely via my mobile phone. Hopefully they will be of the car looking lovely on a squiggly bit of road against some delightful frosty scenery, and not upside down at the bottom of a valley, but I make no promises.

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading.

Rob
 
  R35 GT-R, 172 Cup
Wow what a fantastic write up mate. Great pics as well and the car looks sweeeeet.

Thanks for sharing fella
 

imprezaworks

ClioSport Club Member
  Mk5 Golf GTI :)
Subscribed. Excellent write ups mate. If there was someone to ask to do a guide on something it would be you.
 
Simply awesome! love the write up, love thread's like this, i've just spend the past half hour reading it, just as well i had a cuppa with me :tongueout:
 
Thanks guys, really appreciate the comments!

Hows the Huskey coming along?

Err... yeah... about that. I've barely touched it in the last couple of months. I have been severely lacking in motivation since discovering quite how rusty it was, which is very. Right on the verge of hitting it lightly with a hammer and sweeping it into the bin.

However I have vowed to kick myself up the arse and get cracking with it in the new year. I am determined to save it from the scrap man!
 
  Swift Sport
Fantastic thread!

I remember seeing your MX-5 at the Forge Action Day last year :) (bit of a MX-5 nut too as you may have guessed!).
I've also had a magazine featured 197, and totally loved it!
I'm currently driving a Megane funnily enough, not had it long enough to 'review' it yet though!
 
  Swift Sport
I've opted for the 225 Trophy on the basis that it's as close as I can get to an R26 whilst only having to spend half as much. No diff of course, but I can't say I've needed it yet... Despite my frantic drive through Wales the other day...
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I've opted for the 225 Trophy on the basis that it's as close as I can get to an R26 whilst only having to spend half as much. No diff of course, but I can't say I've needed it yet... Despite my frantic drive through Wales the other day...
16063954965_3f938caf51_c.jpg

That looks lovely! I have to disagree on the diff though, the Clio would REALLY benefit from one in my opinion, especially on track. It spins the inside wheel far too easily, which is very annoying for someone used to an LSD equipped rear driver. But at 1600odd royal bangers for a Quaife it's something I'm willing to do without for now!
 
  Swift Sport
I've yet to track the Meg, but if I do feel it needs a diff I'll probably get one retrofitted... Which will still work out cheaper than buying an R26!
I never found the 197 needed a diff when used to track mine... Maybe it's a difference in driving styles!
 
  Peugeot 308
Fantastic write up! Everyone loves a good writeup like this! :up:
MX5 looked terrificly evil! Many more plans for the Clio?

Long term plans for the Huskey? :smile:
 


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