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Matt's PH1 172 Restoration Project


ClioSport Club Member
Hi all, I've been on Cliosport ever since owning a 172 Cup (project thread here). Sadly the Cup ended up needing a new head and it was going to cost a lot to repair so I sold it on and ever since I really missed Clio ownership.

In July I decided to go on the hunt for another 172, but one that would need a bit of work so I could do a restoration and learn more about the way things worked as I went. I eventually picked up a rather tired looking PH1 which wasn't being used regularly and was in need of some TLC.

Some pics from the advert







The guy I picked it up from was a really genuine bloke and was more than happy for me to take it on an extended test drive. Despite having 80k on the clock and looking pretty neglected the engine pulled really well and the gearshift was tight - surprisingly it felt better that the 60k mile Cup I had. The suspension felt really soft when cornering but I had plans to change that so I agreed a slightly discounted price and drove away.
First pics of it after a quick wash back at home

There aren't that many Ph1's about in stock form and I had decided I wanted to restore this one to near standard with some tasteful alterations to make it drive and look better.


ClioSport Club Member
Once I'd washed the car I took a closer look around it to make a to do list of what needed sorting. There were a number of dents around the car some small some large (noticeably the bonnet, driver's side door and rear quarter panel) and the paintwork had a lot of deep scratches and swirl marks on it - I really like car detailing so all of these were going to be a decent challenge to get stuck into.
The first thing I focused on was sourcing standard parts to replace all of the non-stock items including the twin Magnex Exhaust and Koni springs/shocks. I managed to source a OEM-style cat back system from @midge which left the car looking a little less extreme.
Pics of exhaust from the donor car.



ClioSport Club Member
I'd actually done quite a bit of parts hunting on the forum before I had even sourced the car and on my way to pick up the exhaust I dropped in on @Iain C to pick up a set of four 16" OZ F1 alloys which he had begun to refurb. They're obviously not the Renault option ones but off the shelf OZ versions however I really like the lettering and wheel bolt inserts on these. Iain was a true gent, happy to chat Clios and actually gave me a few other bits and bobs including an OEM stereo.
Wheel before refurb

I took the wheels off to The Wheel Specialist in Farnborough
alloys 2.jpg

alloys 3.jpg

I was a bit concerned about how the lettering would come out but they did a fantastic job on it (the spots are rain drops)

The wheels then sat in my living room for quite some time as I wanted to wait for all the suspension to be fitted first..


ClioSport Club Member
Next up was the suspension. Have researched this a fair bit I went for what seems like a popular option and ordered some standard Renault, top mounts, front/rear shocks, Cooksport springs, H&R front spacers (20mm) and Pure Motorsport rear axle spacers/shims (10mm).
The rusted Koni shocks weren't even fit for resale and were consigned to the bin...

The inset of the wheel in the arch before and after the spacers was astounding. Before:

Spacers fitted..


Dr Jekyll

ClioSport Club Member
Keeping a eye on this project. Gotta love a ph1.

Liking the engravement on the wheels. Not seen that before. Saying that, its only Jonathans and a very few others ive seen 16" on.

If you need any help, info, pics, etc feel free to ask :)


ClioSport Club Member
Once the wheels were refurbed I ordered a set of Michelin PS3s to go on them from blackcircles but I had to wait a little while for a fitting slot so I turned my attention to the interior.
It came with an aftermarket JVC headunit which had no working radio or proper stalk controls so I swapped this out for a standard CD player, Connects2 and Tetrax magnetic iPod holder like I had in my Cup.
No before shots but this was it all fitted:

Also the car suffered from the dreaded steering wheel decay so after having an @snappy replacement for my 172 Cup there was only one place I was going to go this time round.

Work in progress..

Andy offered me the choice of Alcantara which I believe was standard on some of the Phase 1s but I wasn't sure on the durability of this in the long term so I opted for grey leather to match the airbag.
Is there much more joy in Clio ownership that can be had waiting to unwrap one of these?

The finished product

And fitted to the car (sorry for the poor quality phone pic it was getting dark!)..


ClioSport Club Member
Keeping a eye on this project. Gotta love a ph1.

Liking the engravement on the wheels. Not seen that before. Saying that, its only Jonathans and a very few others ive seen 16" on.

If you need any help, info, pics, etc feel free to ask :smile:
Thanks Dr J - I'm sure I will have a few things I need help with as I go along! :smile:


ClioSport Club Member
One of the things I had most difficulty finding was a set of OEM mats as most of them are in poor condition. I eventually sourced a near mint rear mat and realised that Ambassador actually do a set of mats that is a really good match to the originals so in they went. To be fair anything would have been an upgrade on the ones that were in there as they were a different colour to the carpet and too small.



Before fitting the mats I removed the sunvisors taking off the peeling airbag warning stickers (there are still about 6 different stickers around the car stating don't use the airbag with a child's seat in so I'm sure I won't forget), brushed the roof lining to remove any dirt/marks and cleaned and treated the leather on the rear bench using Autoglym Leather cleaner topped with Leather Care balm. The front seats having had a lot more use needed a bit more attention. I started by using a clothing bobble machine to remove the bobbles from the alcantara sections followed by a suede brush to take off the smaller bits.
Driver's seat Before:


I couldn't believe how much the bobble machine picked up - the picture below was about 1/3 of one seat's worth..


ClioSport Club Member
  Ph1 172 & 172 Cup
Looks good so far, I am doing a very similar thing with mine, will keep an eye on the thread, need to start one for myself

chris blue

ClioSport Area Rep
  172 Ph1 2001
Looking loads better... interested in seeing how you deal with the bubbling paintwork issues as I have similar in several areas
And the small scratches and dents.


ClioSport Club Member
The driver's seat in particular had a lot of wear on the bolster, I ordered some of Gliptone's liquid leather scuffmaster dye in Renault blue. When I called there was only one type DK Blue and they weren't able to confirm which models it was for so I took a chance and thankfully it was a perfect colour match.

Magic stuff!


After. To be fair it could use a further coat as it has worn a little since with use but overall a very good product and it has made the seats look like new again.


Wide shot of the interior...


ClioSport Club Member
I'm pretty happy with how the interior has turned out, the grab handles and gearknob had seen better days so I got a rattle can of Renault Platinum Silver, sanded them all down with 800 grit sandpaper working up to 2500 grit, a few light coats of plastic filler primer followed by more sanding, more priming, a few top coats with sanding in between followed by a final coat of clear lacquer and a little Autoglym SRP and they freshened up the doors no end.



Gearknob is still a work in progress as I want the finish to be spot on.


ClioSport Club Member
With the alloys, spacers, suspension and interior starting to take shape I was keen to get stuck into the bodywork and trim. First up the resprayed side trims had to go, replaced with some secondhand trims which I cleaned with IPA and coated in Gtechnic C5.

After (much better!). I was impressed by the gtechniq C5 - I bought it to coat the wheels but it is the same product as C4 trim restorer and it brought the plastic back to a deep black.
trim side.jpg


ClioSport Club Member
Would love a phase 1 but there are a few expensive nails around at present.

Keep it up!


ClioSport Club Member
I removed and cleaned all of the other black trim parts with IPA followed by a coat of C5 left to cure for 24 hours.




Scuttle panel was removed and received the gtechnic treatment, plus I removed and sprayed the wiper arms/cover satin black.



ClioSport Club Member
In the process of doing various bits to the car I was gradually working my way around it detailing each individual panel. In total I spread this over the course of a couple of months taking an average of about 3 hours per panel. After trying a few options and figuring out what suited the paint best the process I followed was:
1. Wash using the two bucket method and Megs NXT wash
2. IPA wipedown
3. Claybar using Megs clay and Sonus BSD
4. Washed
5. Decontaminated using Car Pro Iron x / Tar X
6. Washed
7. Dual Action polished using various combinations of yellow Sonus SFX-1 (swirl/scratch remover) pad and Menzerna power finish (for the larger scratches), Sonus White SFX-2 (polishing) pad and Menz medium cut / final finish and finally a Sonus Orange SFX-3 (finishing) pad with Poorboys Blackhole. I used IPA to clean any residue on the panels between all stages.
10. CarPro Reload Sealant - this was a fantastic product, easy to apply and gave good protection and shine
11. Dodo Juice Supernatural Synthetic Wax - in theory I didn't really need to use this but I found it 'lifted' the paint a little more and the extra protection would do no harm and possibly add more durability
Befores (including some pretty long and visible scratches)

Large scrape on offside arch lip.

Large deep scratch before:

Another one..

Taped up and work in progress:

After a few hits with the DA the bigger scratches had been dealt with and the minor scratches had disappeared. You can just about see the larger scratch but the light doesn't catch it anymore so it's virtually invisible when standing near the car.

Smaller/long scratches completely removed.

Considering the state the bodywork was in before I was really pleased with the results - a number of my neighbours have commented that the car looked like new and I have to say the effort was worth it as it has really transformed the look of the car.


ClioSport Club Member
Next on the list was the lights. Having sorted the lights on my 172 cup I knew what was possible here so I set to work with the wet and dry sanding - 1000 grit working up to 2500 grit followed by the Dual Action polisher and various pad/polish combos.
The lights were is a sorry state to start with

One side down..

Close up..

Around the same time I replaced the Phase 2 rear lights with Phase 1 lights which got a good polish up.

There were quite a few scratches on these so polishing them improved the overall look of the rear end (you can see the new boot net I bought in this pic!)

Having stood back to admire my handywork I still wasn't happy with the front lights as the inside of the lights was a little faded still and I wasn't keen on breaking them open to attack that part. Luckily I found some brand new OEM lights on ebay for decent money so I snapped these up.


ClioSport Club Member
Oh on the subject of lights I replaced this

With this..

And in keeping with the stock look, I replaced the clear side repeaters with OEM orange ones.


ClioSport Club Member
The last thing to sort on the exterior was the vast amount of dents including one in the bonnet. Having taken advice from a local dent man I decided the best option for the bonnet was to source a new one so I acquired one from @James23 . A short trip down the M25 and this


Was to be replaced by this.

Which got treated to a bit of this..

And ended up like this (new front lights also fitted!)..


ClioSport Club Member
What's IPA?
Isopropyl Alcohol - basically used for cleaning (I believe it has a medical applications in sterilizing also) but it is easy to apply and evaporates leaving no trace behind. Very handy thing to have for all sorts of surface prep (pre-sanding, removing wax/polish, pre-application of sealants). You can dilute it with water but I tend to use it neat for maximum effect. I would say IPA and baby wipes are the two things I use most in my car cleaning arsenal.


ClioSport Club Member
With one of the most visible large dents dealt with it was time to correct the rest. I got various quotes and recommendations but ultimately settled on a guy named Gary who has been in the business for 15 years running his own firm GB Dents. He tends to mostly work on fleet vehicles so I had to wait a while but the advantage was he is very meticulous and was very honest about the level of correction he could achieve.
Apart from the bonnet there were two majorly dented areas being by the driver's side handle and the rear quarter panel (the previous owner was a pub landlord and as the car was regularly parked in the pub carpark he came out one night to find someone had kicked a few lumps out of the car). Anyway, here's some before shots which I genuinely thought was going to turn out to be a respray job.



Gary came round to view the car and said he could correct the damage without breaking the paint. I let him take a nasty crease out of my parents' Golf to see what he could acheive :smilingimp: and after I saw the results I had no doubt he would be able to do what he claimed.
Gary doing his work, in this shot he is attacking the dreaded door frame dents.


ClioSport Club Member
With the dents all sorted the car was looking like new, last up was to tackle the front and rear bumper which needed a full respray to get the to the standard I wanted.
The rear bumper was badly peeling.

And it was fair to say the front bumper had seen better days..



ClioSport Club Member
I got a price for both bumpers and the wing mirrors that was pretty reasonable and once the suspension and new alloys were fitted the car was sent off to the spray shop for a couple of weeks whilst I went on holiday to Canada.
When I returned I carried out the last of the detailing work, completed some small jobs like replacing the front window rubbers and sanded down some genuine Renault centre caps to fit the alloys (I had to use a hard set glue/bonding sealant behind them to get them to stay put - they are never coming out).
Some in progress shots

New suspension and new wheels (minus centre caps) and yet to be sent for painting.

Final shots with the bumpers complete and fully detailed.
New rear bumper sprayed. The flaking paint has obviously gone and there were some soft dents on the rear which caused a shadow on the titanium silver for which the body shop heated the plastic to smooth and remove these.

Final shots of the exterior as it is now. I forgot to mention I got the rear badges removed, holes welded and smoothed over. Also fitted new plates which look cleaner.
Completed the paintwork detailing but I went round removing and restoring the black trim after this.


ClioSport Club Member
To finish off the outside I painted the hubs and calipers, coated the alloy wheels in gtechnic C5 and got the wheel bolts yellow zinc plated.

During. I had to use spigot rings on the alloys - would have preferred them in black but you can't see them when the wheels are on!


The sealant/wax is still beading nicely after a couple of weeks facing the elements. I think the orange indicators look nicer than the clear ones but I know they are not to everyone's taste.


ClioSport Club Member
Some final miscellaneous pics to the exterior stuff.
All of the door jambs/shuts and hidden areas were washed, polished and plastics dressed including the boot area.



ClioSport Club Member
In addition to the above I'd also fitted a new fabia front splitter, replaced the driver's side faulty window regulator, applied C5 to the dash area above the clock which had seriously faded and used Brasso Gadget Care for the plastic glass housing the speedo which worked a treat....there's probably more but I can't remember everything I've done!

During the four months or so in which I've owned the car I've developed a good relationship with the local powdercoaters and zinc platers and having sorted out the bodywork, suspension, brakes, wheels and interior the next step was to tackle this in much the same way.
  RenaultSport Clio 182
Awesome work, the finish the gtechnic stuff brings back looks outstanding, going to have to pick some up.


ClioSport Club Member
Awesome work, the finish the gtechnic stuff brings back looks outstanding, going to have to pick some up.
Yeah, it's the best product I've tried and C4/C5 are the same thing so you can do your wheels with it too. It is pricy but considering how long it lasts and how little you use it's probably better value than some other back to black products.
Looks great fella. Good job saving the wheels.
Cheers mate, thanks for parting with them, you were right about not filling in the lettering.
Excellent work so far mate!
Cheers bud, all these comments have given me the drive to get the rest of the work posted up. I have a garage full of shiny bits to go on still!