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Paul's Sunflower 172 -


ClioSport Club Member
  Sunflower Ph1
With the current Covid lock down I’ve finally got some spare time to actually start a thread to cover the ownership of my Ph1 172 Sunflower, albeit rather late on and make some progress on the car too. The car isn't a stranger to the South Central region and has also appeared in many of the Auto Finesse product test reviews on here a few years back.

Starting at the beginning, X38FTP was 1st registered on 18th September 2000, and with reference to the Sunflower Register thread, this is the earliest example of the 31 UK registered Sunflower Yellow 172’s. Yes X39 was also registered on the same day, but hey 38 comes first right, so whilst not a limited edition or numbered vehicle this would in some lights be the first registered Sunflower.

I bought the Clio after a run of larger cars and suffering the fate of falling into the people mover trap of a new family. Well that didn’t last long and the urge for a drivers car grew too strong. Having never looked at or driven a Clio 172 before I kept being drawn to the Ph1 version over the Ph2 and a certain Sunflower kept drawing my attention. A trip to Swindon in December 2010 and a short test drive later I was gripped and knew I was buying this.


So a little more about the history of it,

Being a Ph1 172, this started life in the Dieppe Renault Factory, before being exported into the UK via the Cat UK Services Teesport depot. It clearly didn’t stay here long as on 13th September it had the UK spec alarm fitted and the registered a few days later. Now what is also interesting (and I’d welcome any assistance here) is that in the Warranty Servicing book it has the below 'Company Car' stamp. Is there anyway of tracing which dealership or Renault department had this or has anyone else seen this before?


The 1st owner had ownership for 18mths up to 27/03/2002 at which point it appears to have been a summertime purchase as the 2nd keeper only held onto this for 6months upto 28/09/2002 however covered 10k miles in it.

Cornerhouse Garage in Nuneaton undertook 2 services in 2002, in April & again September. The vehicle however bears number plates from Goscote Services Renault, in Leicester, so I assume they have an early interest in the car however have been unable to retrieve any record of it given the time past.

The 3rd owner, who we will call SW had custody between Sept 02 and May 05 having purchased this from Cornerhouse Garage themselves. SW then took the car South and into the Aylesbury area where NMC Sportif took over servicing.

The Clio then moved onto its 4th owner PW and has its first but very brief introduction to and @wedders. Again only a brief ownership about 10mths, however again NMC Sportif continued servicing duties.

The 5th keeper LT was a longer term owner of the Clio and took ownership of it in March 06 up to December 2010. During this period the car was in the Swindon area and maintained by a small independent garage

If anyone has any association with any of the above companies and able to provide any information about my car then any assistance will be appreciated.

This then brings the ownership history to me and since December 2010 to date I remain the current custodian and do not see this changing for a long time yet. I purchased the car with 63,000 and it settled into daily driver duties upto October 2016 when it was joined by my other current car an Octavia VRS and became a 2nd car.


This then lead to the Clio being taken off the road at the end of 2017 and alas there she remains, Sorned and showing an impressive 112,631 miles, thus 50K in my hands so far. During this time @Mike@Rentech has looked after it along with some home maintance. Hopefully Mike will be back to his servicing duties as & when it returns to the road.

This next image is one that keeps the passion for the car going and I cant wait to get back to the Welsh roads, this was either on or around the Evo triangle following a Snowdon climb.


Plans for the Clio have changed over the last 9 years of ownership as my personal life has had ups and downs which have limited either time or money or often both. Assuming the economy doesn’t suffer to catastrophically from this current pandemic then my plans at present are to continue to undertake a reasonable resto of the Clio and try and bring this back to an OEM or in places OEM+ level.

Over the years of ownership I have really just maintained and kept up on servicing, including Brembo brakes via @George@RTR_Parts, Mike has undertaken lots including the cambelt and later aux belt change as well as new radiator and the usual temp & tdc sensors.

The plan is to undertake a refresh project, starting initially with the suspension and then moving onto brakes, wheels, interior and potentially a respray.

Work will be a slow pace sadly as funds will remain the greatest limiting factor, especially with a family, kids needs come first. However I have been collecting parts and when sufficient in place another stage of the project will commence.

Recently I have made a decent start of the refresh and started work on the rear suspension. Removal of the rear beam allowed me to clean and paint this, along with installation of the PMS rear shim spacers, new Cup rear shocks in addition to Powerflex rear beam bushes and rear shock upper mounts. I already had Eibach Sportline springs in place and these looked in good condition so were reinstalled.




Whilst the beam was out, I also took the opportunity to clean inside the inner arches and apply a protective coat of stone chip. I had intended to fit a set of braided brakes lines too, however these were supplied too long and I am presently awaiting the correct set. Overall the bushes were an ok job and I am pleased with the overall look of the rear of the car now and the spacers have increased the track just enough.




Focus will soon shift to the front suspension, I already have new ball joints, track rods & ends and when back to work looking to order new powerflex wishbone & ARB bushes. What’s the opinion on the power steering rack bushes, OEM or polybush also?

Other new parts in the boot, include a new pair of headlights, rear number plate light and battery terminal cover along with replacement engine bay stickers and rear badges.

Current task that is underway is the interior and il update the thread further in the coming days to cover this work.

well done if you've made it this far, bit of a long post, but 10 years to catch up on. Sadly this will be a slow project but its a special car to me and im looking forward to many more miles in it.

Ash J

ClioSport Club Member
  182 Trophy #368
Awesome Paul.

Great write up on the history. Didn't know it was the first registered Sunflower, cool statistic.

Been waiting for you to do this and put a project thread up; look forward to seeing progress and updates.

Given you are around the corner, give us a shout if you ever need a hand with anything once lockdown is over (y)


ClioSport Club Member
CAT U.K. used to handle to Renault U.K. imports, the business was bought by BCA - few years ago. The Renault U.K. import centre is now at Southampton docks, PDI of company cars is handled by the import centre. As is the fitment of thatcham approved alarms and the fitment of U.K. specification only parts. Still works this way today. Given it’s a company car for 18 months, I would suggest it was a group demonstrator. Most OEM’s (Renault are no different) run their own Press, VIP and demonstrator fleets was well as staff company cars. Was the car used in any press reviews of the clio at the time? If not I suspect it was a company car or demonstrator.


ClioSport Club Member
  Sunflower Ph1
@Ash J
Yeah taken far too long to get thread up. Shame as done so much over the years that's not documented. Expect the folder of history.
Yes quite cool having the 'first' too.
Il take you up on a hand I'm sure. Or least a beer.

@RustyMojo thanks for the info. It is a possibilty that it was on a Renault fleet as the sister car X39 was a press car and features in an early Richard Hammond review. No sign of any features or coverage of mine though.

@Tim. Thanks mate. Yeah been ages. Life's been hectic and continues to be so. But have sort Nandos out

@Stefan. @New2RS cheers appreciated


ClioSport Club Member
@Ash J
Yeah taken far too long to get thread up. Shame as done so much over the years that's not documented. Expect the folder of history.
Yes quite cool having the 'first' too.
Il take you up on a hand I'm sure. Or least a beer.

@RustyMojo thanks for the info. It is a possibilty that it was on a Renault fleet as the sister car X39 was a press car and features in an early Richard Hammond review. No sign of any features or coverage of mine though.

@Tim. Thanks mate. Yeah been ages. Life's been hectic and continues to be so. But have sort Nandos out

@Stefan. @New2RS cheers appreciated

I guess so, obviously it’s a long time ago now so things have changed, but given it was a new model it’s highly likely they had a few on press. I suspect given the age of the car it predates large centralised demonstrator fleets. But I could be wrong, I know Ford has a demo fleet back in 2003/4 when I worked for them. My guess would be it’s an ex-management or employee car (if you work for an OEM quite often you can have a car for your partner as well on the employee scheme)

Coops Mk1

ClioSport Club Member
  Lots of Scrap...
great little write up and looking forward to progress

presume as not mentioned that the old tin worm is not an issue in this particular phase 1? :)


ClioSport Club Member
  Hi comp phase 1
Look forward to your build. Always loved a Sunflower. Good luck with it (y)(y)

I’d be going with the back power flex steering rack bushes as I’ve found no change in vibration etc from fitting them...same with the all the other bushes..I went with the purple for those ones.
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ClioSport Club Member
  Sunflower Ph1
Of the 31 sunflowers registered at least 30 have been identified. Possibly all 31 just question mark over a private plate as to whether the original number has already been counted.

Of those identified only 4 are presently on the road. 15 including mine are sorned.

One is in Northern Ireland and the rest are scrapped so only 20 left.

I've yet to take the skirts off, I do intend to brave it in the future however inspection from inside show them to be in reasonable condition. They've been treated couple times over time with bilt hamber products. Il give it another check when I'm working on the interior.


ClioSport Club Member
  Sunflower Ph1
A productive couple of days on the clio to update.
For way too long I've had a replacement front section of carpet in the garage, this was to replace due to a hole in the drivers footwell.

So time on my hands and out came the interior to allow the new carpet to be laid.

Overall just a fiddly job and hardest being getting to the inner seat runner bolts tucked up behind the exhaust.

Have chance to brave the inner sills too and not bad. In future il take skirts off and have proper look but I'm not filled with total dread quite yet.


I've given it another coating of bilt hamber for now though.
With all interior out gave chance for a really good hoover and clean up



The interior has always been a tail of two halves as I suspect the majority of Spors are. The rear seats being in good condition which considering I ran this as a family car is quite a feat.


Rear also has the original 1 piece floor mat


Then topped for protection with a cheapy tailored set


The front seats are in a slightly more worn state. The passenger isn't bad but the seat base could be better and likewise the drivers is showing its fair sign of age and wear sadly.


My plan here is to send the front pair to a local trimmers along with a spare rear seat I have and also a spare pair of front seats with the aim to use all the available original fabric to make as good a front pair as possible. So this should then restore the front seats.


ClioSport Club Member
  Sunflower Ph1
Following on..

The front passenger also has the original Ph1 mat in place


As can see the originals are somewhat faded. Has anyone had any good results from carpet dye? I'm tempted to try to bring the colour back but don't want to ruin them.

With the new carpet in place the sorry state of the pedals was highlighted. The original Ph1 pedals are NLA and I haven't been convinced by some of the reproductions. The best alternative I felt was a set from the Clio 200 which are very close with just a couple of different rivot placements on the brake and clutch. The throttle however is slightly longer but works OK.


Yes seat runner needs a lick of paint..

So left to sort in the interior includes upgrading the front speakers and more importantly sourcing a new central air vent as one mine is broken. Only grey and black ones appear available. Has anyone fitted either and able to show me how they look rather than the original blueish coloured ones?

The door pulls were also worn so have been sanded and presently in primer, titanium silver seems a good option so il give them a coat of that shortly.


I've also removed the dash top in the hope of giving it a good clean to try and improve upon the sticky feeling. This appears a common issue with Ph1s. Any suggestions how to improve it. So far APC, degreaser, fairy liquid and tar glue remover have had no joy. Any suggestions?


Final cherry on the top when all is done will be the retrimed steering wheel that I acquired from @Ash J following his all to brief Ph1 ownership.


Simply getting to work on it gives me a greater joy for my Sunny and really do look forward to getting it back on the road again.

I'm not going to rush things so if it's off road for another year so be it. It's a long term keeper so I want to do it right but Realistically with a daughter soon to arrive any day now my time and money will both be somewhat diverted for a while I predict.

Any suggestions about the dash and air vent gratefully recieved

Great stuff. I always find that a good, clean interior can really take the age of a car.

Totally forgot the 2-piece rear floor mats, my 172 that i had still had them, thought it was a neat touch.


ClioSport Club Member
  Kangoo 172cup
Looks great, always liked the ph1 in sunflower yellow.

Teesport is about 5 miles away from me, a few of my mates around that time used to move the cars. Flat out straight off the boat, well run in before they hit the showroom. The gaffer used to get the good cars to drive i think he said the occasional v6 came through.


ClioSport Club Member
  lots of clios.
Good to see you getting a start on it Paul! I think most of the sunflowers that are on a sorn are now getting some form of resto :LOL: mine has been off the road around 5 years now, However its currently getting prepped and painted so all going well I'll have that back shortly.
Look forward to the updates (y)