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Tom's 182 and 197



  Clio F1 197 Cup
Hi everyone!

So this is the start of my 'thread'. I won't call it a build thread for now as I won't actually be building much (I don't think so anyway), but rather just a collection of my two RenaultSports. My very first post was a review for Steve @RSportsCars, so I shall lift some of that across as a means of a good introduction:

I had always liked the RenaultSports, my first car was a Mk2 1.4 Clio and my third car (and current car at the time of purchasing the 197) a Mk3 1.4 Clio (with a Micra in-between- don't ask!). I had always looked at 172/182s along with the 197/200s. I would often browse the classifieds on PistonHeads and see what was available. I had been browsing 1*2/197/200s waiting until I was old enough to get an insurance quote the wasn't half ridiculous. I always had in my mind that my 'dream' Clio was a Full Fat 200, with the Recaros and probably not the Cup Spoiler/LY (I didn't want to draw tooooo much attention to myself).

Cue September last year, completely not in the market for a new car having bought a 1996 Mazda MX5 9 months or so previously and I stumbled across this car that I could not believe. A 2007 Nimbus Silver 197 F1 Edition with 1 previous owner and 6,000 miles. I sent the link to my Dad as I always did when I stumbled across great cars and thought that would be the end of it. I am still not quite sure how we ended up there, but the next thing I knew my Dad had told me it was a great find and at least worth investigating and called the advertising dealer 'R Sport Cars'. We turned up and met Steve to find the Clio sitting outside, gleaming away in the sun. It was at this point I knew I was buying that car. We met Steve, had a little chat, got showed through the car and then Steve offered to take me out for a drive. All seemed well, I mean, the car had only done 6,000 miles!! We returned from the drive, a deal was done and Steve delivered the car the following weekend.

As soon as the car arrived, I cleaned it, put on a coat of wax and tucked it away in the garage (don't worry, the bike you can see is very, very securely attached to the wall):

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Then I got it connected up to a Smart Trickle Charger and put a Classic Additions cover on top:

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Happy Days.

This was in September 2015. The car has only ever been used during the summer, on dry days, averaging around 800 miles per 'year' (summer) by the gentlemen who bought the car from new. As such, I was not going to even consider driving it through the winter and was lucky enough to have a few other cars to use instead. The car didn't come out until April 2016- thats right, it sat in my garage for nearly 8 months and I still hadn't been for a drive! I used to run the engine up to operating temperate once a month and let it idle for a while, just to make sure everything stayed fresh and the smart trickle charger keep the battery in good health.

More to follow!
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
The Spec is fairly typical. F1 Edition in Nimbus Silver with Recaros, but interestingly, the original owner opted to have the spoiler from the Renault Clio Sport/GT (1.6?) fitted from the factory- it also hasn't got the door stickers on it? I am not sure if they were an option and not selected, or if they have been removed at a later date (I can't see them on the original invoice), but I have seen quite a few with the door stickers; if someone could shed some light on this that would be much appreciated. Modification wise, she's completely standard apart from a panel air filter. Oh, and the previous owner had some upgraded speakers fitted by Renault too.

So, 1st of April 2016 rolled around and I taxed the 197. It was still a bit wet out so I waited for a nice day and booked in for an MOT. MOT all clear, and I could finally go for a drive! Living on the boarders of E. London and Essex, there are some decent roads within reach. I begun just heading out for drives, sometimes for a couple of hours, just enjoying the car. I did this throughout April and early May and put 500 odd miles onto her. Had a few trips out to various places in the sunshine:

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Then came the big one. I was booked in to go and complete the North coast 500 route around Scotland on the penultimate week of May. I was due to go in my MX5, but it sprung an oil leak literally the day we were due to being leaving. Cut a long story short- I would not have the Mazda ready in time so it would have to be the Clio instead.

This did worry me slightly: a car that has never been rained on... going to... Scotland!! Let alone all the miles I would put on the clock! Anyway, I put worries aside to just enjoy the trip. And what a trip it was! One of the highlights of my life so far. I went with my friend who has a E90 325i (he had no chance of keeping up with me):

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We cruised up to Edinburgh (managed 32mpg on the way up! Was pretty impressed with that!) and then joined the A82 (epic road) up to Inverness. Then essentially hugged the coast all the way around, anti-clockwise, back to Inverness. We wild camped along the way and as you can imagine the roads were sublime. Not just the actual infrastructure and setting, but rather the lack of other traffic on the road. Absolutely incredible experience. We did just over 1800 miles in total, over 5 days, spending 2.5 days on the 'North Coast 500' bit. It shall now be a yearly occurrence for me.

The Clio was incredible. We completely fell in love. I love everything about the car. The Recaros seats make it for me. Every time I got into the driver's seat it felt like a real occasion: something very special.

And believe it or not, 5 days, not a single drop of rain. Not even a slight drizzle. So the car still hasn't been rained on! Absolute result! I got her home, gave the exterior a thorough clean, got all the wheels off and cleaned them and inside the wheel arches, cleaned all the beautiful Brembo callipers, got the car in the air and cleaned all the underside and once I was happy she was completely dirt free, reapplication of wax and back into the garage she went. Showing just over 9,200 miles I had covered a lot more ground than I had intended and I knew that driving around my local roads would feel completely lacklustre to the Scotland Trip. So I put her away.
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So, fast forward a few months and the 197 has been sleeping whilst I am using the MX5 as my daily. The MX5 had a LOT of rust work taken care of at a significant cost so I decided that I did not want to run it through the winter either. Suddenly I am in the situation where I have two cars, neither of which I want to use in the winter. So, time to put on the sensible hat. There is a perfectly reasonable solution here I am sure...

Enter:

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Yes, the answer is definitely buy a third car...

As I mentioned, I had always liked the 1*2s, particularly the 182s with the dual exit exhaust. I thought this would be a good time to tick it off the list and still have a RenaultSport to cruise around in! Picked up a lightly modified example from a Lotus and Porsche Specialist, the owner had been commuting in it for a few years after buying it off one of their customers. Just under 70k miles, panel filter, RS192 exhaust, Eibach lowering springs and the Brembo discs/Ferrodo pads combination. Steering wheel is gone and the dampers are all original so will need to be replaced but so far, Ive done over 2,000 miles and I am rather fond. It feels very different to the 197. Engine feels a little torque-y-er from low revs and it definitely feels like it has more 'grunt' but the biggest difference I noticed is how 'over-engined' it feels. Where as I felt like the 197's Chassis could handle more power, I almost feel like the 182 has a touch too much power perhaps. I shall be interested to see how it feels with new dampers fitted.

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Current school of thought it to run the 182 until March/April when I can get the Mazda back out. At that point I shall probably pass the Clio on to someone else. Then the jury is out on what to do next.

I feel somewhat guilty of using the 197 and putting so many miles on such a lovely car- I want to do Scotland again and some form of Alpine/Euro trip in the summer too so I could easily put 4,000 miles on it I reckon. One side of me says just use the car as intended and fully enjoy it the other side says I should pass it on to someone to keep as a third car and make it a real timewarp. I guess many are of the opinion that a car is to be driven not stored in a museum of sorts.

I really like the RS Megane 250s, shape is perfect IMO and would provide me with that little bit more performance that I am now after. Sadly, they are too new/have too much depreciation at present for my liking which puts them to the side line for now. The other obvious choice that would keep me in the RS Camp, is the R26 Megane. I am not 100% on the shape, but from what I have read the drive seems be very very good. Particularly once remapped to give them that bit more poke. As silly as it sounds, one of the biggest draws to the Megane 250 was the Recaro seats! The Trendlines just don't look as 'racecar' to me. A hybrid choice would be to build a 197 with a Megane engine swap, although sadly I do not have the pockets for that. There is a Blue 197 Turbo knocking around on eBay after it was posted on here, but it seems a little overpriced to me.

The final option is to move out of a Renault and into something else, but I have considered a lot of the alternatives and I just can't find something that ticks all the right boxes for me and will feel as 'special' as my 197. Decisions, decisions...

Updates to follow on the 182...
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
Thanks for all the support guys, glad you are enjoying it so far!

There have been some updates on the 182... Write up to follow very shortly...
 
  Clio 182
Really well written, I particularly love the bit about Scotland - I took my MK1 MX5 up and found it too compromised for the roads up there, the car was on coilovers and ITBs so was amazing at full chat BUT continually grounding it out became a real chore. IMO definitely a sign from the gods to take the 197 and the right choice too regardless.
I'll be taking the 182 up to Scotland in the new year sometime to enjoy the roads and some wild camping - it's been a while since I've slept under the stars with no light pollution....

Keep the updates detailed, they're awesome!
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
Really well written, I particularly love the bit about Scotland - I took my MK1 MX5 up and found it too compromised for the roads up there, the car was on coilovers and ITBs so was amazing at full chat BUT continually grounding it out became a real chore. IMO definitely a sign from the gods to take the 197 and the right choice too regardless.
I'll be taking the 182 up to Scotland in the new year sometime to enjoy the roads and some wild camping - it's been a while since I've slept under the stars with no light pollution....

Keep the updates detailed, they're awesome!
My MX5 is actually on coilovers too, I'm running MeisterRs and SuperPro bushes all round- I found the pre-set ride height a little too low for me liking, for a while I kept catching the bottom over speed bumps (the hump like ones) even at a crawling pace. Took it up a little and that has seemed to help. Good for you running ITBs though, that's awesome. Must sound immense!
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
Small update:

As it was still on its original dampers I thought it was best these were replaced to tighten everything up. Decided I was going to stick with the Renault Formula so ordered in a full set of Renault Dampers. The rears were no trouble and went in after only an hour or so:

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The fronts were a bugger, I couldn't get the top mount nut to under- mainly down to not having a big/strong enough allen key. I was booked in at the Garage I bought the car from for a couple of repairs under warranty so I decided that whilst it was down there I would get them to fit the fronts and save me the hassle. I don't usually like paying someone for a job I can do myself but I really was struggling!!

It went it because there was a leak of Power Steering fluid, this seemed to spill a fair bit and then stop. When we took the under tray off it had sprayed everywhere so it was all cleaned off with brake cleaner so we could investigate. It appeared to be the pipe that links the reservoir to the pump, at the joint from a metal pipe to a rubber/nylon wrapped pipe. Tested the system under pressure and no more leaking. Will have to be monitored. They were also replacing the Xenon bulb for me, as it had gone and I didn't fancy taking the bumper off myself! New bulb in and it still didn't work so I left it with them and a new ballast on the way from Renault- all covered by the warranty which is nice! Will be going down to collect it early next week so I shall report back how it feels with new suspension all round. Whilst down there I couldn't help admire some of the lovely cars- the 182 is in very very good company:

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Next on the list is to sort out the horrible steering wheel and then probably make a start on the paintwork...
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So as I am still awaiting to receive my 182 back I thought I would do a little Scotland edit, I cannot tell you how much I loved this trip and how much I bonded with the 197! As I said, the weather was incredible, you would think I was in the South of France during the peak of Summer in some of the photos!! Anyway, here we go, Scotland: The Place of Dreams:

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  Clio F1 197 Cup
So little update time. Got the car back from the dealer with the Xenons replaced, nice little annoyance solved:

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They also changed both the front dampers for me as I couldn't get anywhere with the top mount nuts. Now the car was on new dampers all round I was curious to see how it felt... and low and behold, it did feel completely different. Front end appears to have more grip and composure and the car feels a lot more responsive when changing direction. I still think I prefer the way my 197 handles in comparison, but the 182 is certainly a lot sharper now. Oh- and whilst we are on the topic of suspension, flicking through the history folder I noted a mistake I made earlier on. The car is not on Eibach springs, but rather Cooksport.

Next job was to make a start on the paintwork. I usually don't like machining during the winter due to the invariability of the weather but having lots of time off work, reasonably rain free weather and underground parking for storage in between stages I thought I may as well crack on. So this is what we looked like post wash:

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I haven't got the best source of light so I hope you can make out the marring, swirls and scratches. This was followed up with a Clay, subsequent wash and then thorough dry. The materials for the machining where going to be the following two pads:

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Chemical Guys Quantum Hex Logic Foam Pads- Yellow heavy cut and White Finishing Pad. These would be used in conjunction with Chemical Guys V36 Cutting Polish (alongside the Yellow Pad) and V38 Optical Finish Polish (with the White Pad). The machine in question was my trusty DAS 6 Pro Plus DA. After a two stage polish the above area ended up like this:

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Not too shabby. Certainly by no means perfect and I probably could have done with the V34 Compound in places but that shall do for now. So far I am just over half way through the car and shall finish it off with some JetSeal and then some Wax on top. That should see me through the next few months on Winter.

When the rest of the car is complete I shall upload some decent photos when there is good light out. The one half of the car that is complete actually looks really good. I love the way the BG Paint pops and sparkles in the sun.

The 182 was only supposed to be a Winter runabout, especially as it is a third car but now the paint is looking good the two wheels are are slightly curbed and the stone chipped front end is starting to really annoy me!!!
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So repost time with a sight edit:

Decided to get up at silly o'clock on Christmas Eve in the hope that everyone else would be in bed asleep! Left the house in the dark and caught the sunrise as I was carving through the Essex Countryside. The only other car I saw was a rather tasty looking GT86 with a lovely big wing on the back. Roads were lovely:

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  Mini GP2
Stunning R27, remember seeing that car for sale and thought it would be my perfect 197. Previously owned a Nimbus 197 Cup for 2.5 years and I'll own another one day, as they get under your skin. Nice to see your 182 receiving plenty of tlc.
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
Stunning R27, remember seeing that car for sale and thought it would be my perfect 197. Previously owned a Nimbus 197 Cup for 2.5 years and I'll own another one day, as they get under your skin. Nice to see your 182 receiving plenty of tlc.
Thanks mate, it is a lovey car. Constant battle in my head of drive it or preserve it, ha! Keep telling myself I might buy another 197 to drive and the R27 to be my garage queen and keep perfect 🙈
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So, got delayed a little with the weather but finally got the paintwork finished for now. The V36 polish has working well at removing almost all swirls and marring but there are some deeper scratches that have remained and in some places it probably could have done with a compound- probably V34. But for now, it'll do- I may revisit it later on in the year perhaps towards the end of the Summer.

Once the car was finished, I set about applying Chemical Guys JetSeal to protect the paintwork through the yucky winter and make maintenance washing significantly easier. I really like this stuff and seems hardwearing too. Easily get 6 months out of it. I prefer to apply it by machine on a slow speed, I used the Chemical Guys Black pad for this.

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Once I had finished, I like to wax the car- really makes the colour come through and adds that extra layer of protection. I have been trailing a PoorBoys wax recently and really like it, only 14 quid a tub and comes off really easily. I like to save the more expensive waxes for the summer/special occasions. I don't feel so bad using the PoorBoys on a monthly basis!

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I always wax by hand, and for this I use a foam applicator pad cut down to size so it sits in the tub nicely:

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So during the waxing process, left side taken off, right side about to be buffed:

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And after the whole car was done:

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Looking pretty good, even if I do say so myself! Should keep the salt off for a while! I want to spend some time on the trim at the front of the way and get some darkness back in that, and there's a few other specific areas I want to work on but more on that in the coming weeks.

Reflection off the roof was pretty epic:

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A slightly closer shot:

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Just look at that clarity! Same photo now, but cropped and rotated:

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Not too shabby. Gave the Exhaust Tips a going over with some wire wool and V36 polish, came up quite nice:

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And by the time I had finished the 182 made the Abarth look dirty by comparison, so gave that a wash as well and tucked it away next to the trusty old Mazda:

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  Clio F1 197 Cup
Next job was to tidy up the back end, I wasn't really that keen on the badges:

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So I used the usual methods to take them off:

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Actually came off pretty easily- cleaned off all the dirt and was left this this:

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Took the C L I O off the other side too:

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Pulled the plugs out, cleaned the dirt off and took the boot trim off. Covered the holes over with tape for now. Next job will to get this filled and painted and then I have a new style RS Badge to go on in its place.

I gave the Renault Sport side a machine and whilst it removed all the glue residue, when under a halogen lamp I could see the shadowing of the text- I presume where the Sun's UV Rays has 'faded' the paint around the badge, but the paint under the badge remained protected. I couldn't see it in normal light but it was bothering me, so I gave the whole area a light wet sand with 2000 grit:

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And I then followed up with a 3000 grit, 5000 grit and another machine. Came up pretty well and I could now longer see the shadowing under the halogen lamp:

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  Clio F1 197 Cup
Next jobs on the list are to take a look at some of the heavier stone chips, not just on the bumper and bonnet but on the wings, mirrors and door pillars. Give the headlights a good polish to restore the clear shine. Potentially get the wheels sorted. MOT in a couple of weeks. Alignment done once the new dampers have had a few more miles to settle. Get the steering wheel repaired. Thoroughly clean the Engine Bay. Hmmmmm, that should keep me busy for a while.
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So my photos have been pretty crap recently, partly because the weather has rubbish and partly because since starting a new job I haven't had as much time as I would like and as such have been working through the jobs quickly not spending too long documenting everything.

Anyway, the badge continued... I covered the outside of the holes left behind the C L I O badge with some electrical tape and then removed the interior boot trim. I filled the holes from the inside and whilst it was still curing applied some light pressure on the outside to leave a very sight dent in the filler to leave some room for paint. Worked out a lot better than I was expecting actually:

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I then got three coats of touch up colour coat on it and finished it off with a clear coat. One it was all dry, new RS badge went on. Actually turned out really well and has really smartened the back of the car up in my opinion. Faff of a job, but I didn't want to leave the holes unfilled.

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Next up was to restore the lights. They wren't overly bad, but certainly on their way to looking scruffy. The photos don't really capture it well but the near side was actually getting quite bad. Anyway, started off like this:

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Masked the area off to protect the surrounding paintwork:

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Then made a start with 1500 grit. Worked this up to a 2000 once everything was nice and smooth:

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Then moved up to a 3000 and finished with a V34 compound by machine followed by a V38. Put two coats of JetSeal on followed by two coats of wax so I'll see how it processes and if this keeps it protected from the UV. Again, not a great photo, but they do look great now:

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It MoT time and Sod's Law, the week before EML light comes on, cut a long story short, pre-cat Lambda sensor had gone, managed to get a Bosche replacement from ECPs for £62, got it fitted yesterday morning and cleared the fault. Went for a drive and no light on so far, MoT booked for next weekend so we shall see...

From what I gather I need to get an upgraded Dog Mount fitted and my Snappy steering wheel also arrived this week- and looks bloody fantastic- so lots to keep me busy. I also hear the R26s calling me......
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
Definitely due an update, and with lots to tell! Was hoping to get something up this weekend but have been too busy out driving!! I'll get it updated tomorrow evening :up:
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So, long overdue an update. Sadly, not many photos to share with you at this point but a fair lot has happened.

Were we first left off, the EML had gone, a new lambda sensor was fitted and all was looking well for the MoT. Roll on MoT day, absolutely no issues whatsoever... EXCEPT... the tester couldn't get it through an emissions test, showing nothing though the lambda sensor. Without me telling him, he asked if I bought the sensor from ECP and then advised that he would never buy electrical parts from them. Cut a long story short, I got sent away with a fail and a very sad look on my face. I jumped on Renault Parts Direct and stalled the 120 odd quid for a genuine Renault sensor, got that fitted (although literally took me 2 minutes having now known what to do) and headed back for my free retest. Sailed through this time no trouble at all. ECP sensor returned for a full refund. There was a slight blow from the exhaust at the rear joint of the cat so I shall have to get a new bracket and some exhaust tape to get that fixed too.

Post MoT we have had many happy miles together, its probably just in my head but the engine seems sweeter than ever after the new sensor going in and this weekend I got up at silly o'clock on both Saturday and Sunday just to get out onto the quiet roads. Every time I hear the R26 calling I seem to have one of those absolute beauties of a drive in the 182 giving me so many reasons to keep it. Sometimes I really do love just how agile it is.

Snappy steering wheel arrived and looks fantastic (as said previously) but this time backed up with evidence, really can't praise his work enough:

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And I also took another photo of the 182 whilst out on a drive... as if I haven't got enough of these already...:

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In terms of what's next- getting that awesome steering wheel fitted is on top of my priorities, as is making sure the paintwork gets a clean every weekend during this horrible weather, got to get all that yucky salt off. I recently had a little post about steering feel, and I think there is some room for improvement on my car- definitely some tie ends at least. I also made the lovely discovery that my car has Goodridge braided brake lines!! I have no paperwork for them at all but suddenly realised that if I wipe all the crap off the brake lines they are bright yellow and branded up Goodridge! Leads me nicely into my nice plan- which is a brake refresh. Pads/discs are 30k/5 years and are probably suboptimal at present, but currently just deciding if I am going to go on track or not and therefore whether to go for the DS2500s or OEM Brembo pads...

Looking ahead a few months, I have my cambelt due and need to figure out if I need to do the water pump or dephaser whilst I am there, after only 73k miles, I would like to think not, but my research seems to throw up differing opinions so let me know if you would or not!

That's all for now chaps.
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
Really like your selection of cars especially the 182
Thanks mate.

Not really much in terms of an update- the 182 has been SORN'd for March as I have been working and driving my MX5 with the nice weather coming a little early this year- I wasn't expecting it to come out until into April. I've decided to go OEM on the brakes for now and to get the water pump and dephaser all done at the same time. Current thinking is to drive the MX5 for March and April, during this time get the new brakes, steering wheel, and tie rod ends done. Then in May get the 182 back out on the road, get an alignment done, cambelt service and then try and head up to Scotland!
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
Long time since an update- not much has changed, 182 has been off the road and I have been racking up the hood down miles in the MX5 :)

182 is due to come back on the road this weekend and then get all the work done. I drove the 197 for the first time in 9 months a couple weeks ago- had a glorious run through Essex before going into a friends barn for the next few weeks whilst the garage is taken up by the builders that are in currently. Was a wonderful drive and I am looking forward to getting it back home so I can put some miles on it this summer. I shall keep you all posted once something interesting happens, but for now- don't worry- I have been starting the 182 up every week and washing it every weekend still to keep it nice and shiny!
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
UPDATE TIME!!

So been having major building work at the house which has been a major PITA, no access to the garage for 13 weeks so far and limited access to the drive too. We sold my Mum's Abarth after two years or ownership, was a great little car but was just sitting around most of the week and Fiat/Abarth wanted 400 odd quid for a glorified oil change for second year service which gave me the right hump. She has now transferred insurance onto my 182 and is using that as and when she needs a car.

I've been using my MX5 whilst the weather is nice and have only had the one drive in the 197 this year. The garage shall finally be finished in around 2 weeks so looking forward to getting the 197 back so I can get out for a few drives, I also want to get it serviced as well. Anyway, on to the 182:

I had been washing it regularly whilst it was off the road but we had a particularly dirty rain a couple weeks back followed by lots of pollen in the air and resulting in a very dirty car:
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Hopefully you can make out the dustiness of it. Well the wax is doing its job it seems because it came up pretty nice:

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As it has been sitting for a new months I gave the battery a recondition using the smart trickle charger, seems to have worked a treat as the car starts instantly every time. Then to start on the mechanicals.

When the Miltek exhaust was fitted they only used a single bolt O-style clamp and there was a very slight blow from the join with the back of the Cat. I sealed this join with some exhaust tape and fitted a Genuine Renault C-style clamp with two bolts, took car of the leak perfectly:
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Then I got the car in the air and took all four wheels off ready to start on the brakes, however I couldn't resist a quick clean up whilst they were off as they were literally black, came up pretty well:
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Still could do with a clay and machine but shall do for now.

And then onto the brakes. I decided to go OEM all the way round, so went with Brembo HC discs and OEM Brembo pads all round. The change was actually fairly start forward and didn't give me too much trouble. Although I had to fight the urge to paint all the callipers! Looks quite nice with the fresh discs and Yellow Goodridge braided lines in the background!

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New pads and discs all round and then Blue racing fluid too, mainly because it looks cool! Actually a very noticeable difference in the brakes once they had been broken in, and look much smarter than the old rusty discs. Big shout out to @George@RTR_Parts for all his help!

The back tyres had 7mm left on the them, but the fronts were down to 3mm, so decided to put the back wheels on the front axle and get new Pilot Sport 3s for the back axle, I don't like running tyres that low and had a fair amount of driving to do very soon... Once the new tyres were on got a four wheel alignment too.

Following this did an oil and oil filter change too, decided to go with Motul Sport 5W-40 Ester Synthetic Car Engine Oil from @oilman.

So a fair amount of work, and the reason for this, I was going to Scotland! Went last week, left on the Sunday afternoon and returned home very late the following Friday. Managed just over 1,900 miles in that time. Separate post on that trip to follow up shortly...
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So Scotland. Went up to do my annual North Coast 500, although I did a slight variation of the traditional route and I actually do it the 'wrong' way round, heading up the East coast first and then down the West coast. I used some family in Liverpool as a starting base, and Monday morning drove Liverpool to Inverness, 400 miles, but once you hit the A82 it gets a little more fun. Sadly, the weather was horrific and torrential rain meant very poor visibility (key for overtaking the streams of caravans and lorries you get on this road) and lots of standing water, so I was having to take things a lot more steady. This weather continued the next day, when I went from Inverness to Durness. Via the customary John O'Groats picture, weather was still pretty pants but didn't make the roads any less fun. I was due to camp again at Durness on the North coast, but had some troubles the night before with a leaking groundsheet and the gale force winds reduced my confidence in the tent staying upright! As such, I ended up in a bunkhouse that was actually very nice and for 20 quid, can't really go wrong. Day 3 was Durness to Isle of Skye, this was the variation to the route, I have never been to Skye before and wanted to get it out. What I can say is its very rugged and beautiful, but a little too touristy/too many cars on the road compared to the rest of the route and the major highway is a nightmare for making any progress. I was stuck behind streams of traffic going 25/30mph most of the time. And then final day, I cut a little short, and did Skye to Liverpool, which was a fair old trek, back down the A82 in the rain again sadly.

All in all, London to London, did 1,927 miles, averaging 37mpg on the motorway miles and 31mpg on all other roads. Not bad considering my 197 dropped into the teens last year!

A brief assortment of obligatory photos below:

Outside Inverness Castle before setting off- last year they had barriers preventing cars getting onto the grounds, this year the barriers had disappeared...

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On the shores of Loch Lomond on my way North on the A82
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I mean, you can't go all that way and not get a photo! Please appreciate that fact that I got absolutely soaked taking this!
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Somewhere on the North West coast on a little docking marina
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See above
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I'm surprised my facial hair didn't blow off with the window open, cool guy glasses for added effect
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Slightly out of sequence this one, East coast, in between Inverness and John O'G, saw seals that this point last year, sadly they were all hiding this time
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Parking up in Durness, found a RC F with a North Coast 500 sticker on it, quite a nice car actually...
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Finally a little bit of sunshine
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Some of the beaches are really stunning, water is still bloody freezing however
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This is much more like it
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There are a lot of single track lanes in Scotland, they're aren't as bad as you would think
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To those that have not ventured that far North, I really do recommend it, I plan on going at least once a year for the rest of my life! Although, don't tell too many people how good it is please, part of the appeal is how quiet it is. It's also worth taking some octane booster with you as a lot of the fuel stops way ooop nordt only have 95 RON fuel.

It was interesting doing this trip in the 182, having done the route last year in the 197. No doubt, the weather certainly played a role on this trip and I noticed a big big difference on the days that were dry/clear. It has, however, reaffirmed my personal preference in the 197- the chassis just feels more capable to me and I felt a little weary of the 182 at times where I was completely confident in the 197 previously. 182 is still a fantastic car but the 197 is the one for me.

On that note, in terms of future plans I am really unsure of what I am going to do. The belts are due on the 182 very imminently, like few weeks imminently, and I am not sure if I want to keep it or not. I have been tempted by a couple of 197/200s but it seems silly having two of those. I also hear the R26 Megane calling and they seem to be very highly rated on here. The servicing does seem a step up on those however, and it seems silly to get rid of a car I have spent the last 10 months perfecting and bringing up to my standard. Left field choice would be a Mazda 6 MPS, I rather like the idea of these despite the bland looks. That or a Mk1 TT.

So what will happen? I'm still not sure, I certainly wouldn't take the Mazda up to Scotland next year and I won't be taking the 197 up again anytime soon. So whether it is the 182 or something else, only time can tell.
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So after much deliberation, I have decided to list my 182 for sale- testing the waters as I was unsure how to price it with the cambelt being due. Going to see how it progresses, if I can get a price I am happy with, I'll let it go- if not, I shall have to get the cambelt done and commit to keeping it for another year!
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So update time!

The 182 has now sold, interestingly enough a gentleman came over from France to purchase the car and it is now with its new owner:
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In terms of other updates, the building work at the house all finally came to an end and I was able to collect the 197. I've only done about 100 miles in it so far, but it is nice to get a chance to drive it again:
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Gave it the obligatory post drive wash, and a couple of the panels, mainly the bonnet and boot, needed a very light clay. Didn't have time to wax it on that day, so that shall have to follow shortly. Such a stark difference to driving the 182- I had forgotten just how much I loved the 197 but was beginning to remember the complete lack of torque in the lower rev ranges!! The 182 certainly has the upper hand here- I would love to experience a Meg-engined 197/200 for the comparison.

In terms of future plans, I know there was mention of an R26, Mazda 6 MPS or even a TT- there has been a slight change of plan as last week I received a visa to go and work in Canada and I have now secured a job out there too so will be heading of in a couple of weeks. I'll be prepping both the 197 and MX5 to go into hibernation and thankfully still have Dad at home to start them up monthly and keep everything lubricated- I haven't even had a chance to drive the 197 properly yet!

As too whether I'll be buying a car in Canada remains to be seen, I'm walking distance to work, so it would just be needed for trips out to nearby towns for shopping etc., and then exploring everything around me. It would be great to have a car over there for roadtrips but will be a faff sorting out the license, insurance etc., and then also having a car that I wouldn't be able to maintain myself makes the whole proposition a lot more expensive. They also don't have my go-to reliable/cheap car- Nissan Micra- out there, so not even sure what I would buy; plus I'd probably need something 4/AWD. So watch this space, I'll keep this thread updated with any updates I think you'll all find interesting...
 

massivewangers

ClioSport Club Member
  Several
Love this thread, so much thought put into it. Where did you buy the 182 by the way?

Also, where are you moving to in Canada? The temptation is strong for me to move out there, as have spent a fair bit of time over there in the last year or so.
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
Love this thread, so much thought put into it. Where did you buy the 182 by the way?

Also, where are you moving to in Canada? The temptation is strong for me to move out there, as have spent a fair bit of time over there in the last year or so.
Thanks mate. Got the 182 from a company called Analogue Automotive (http://www.analogueautomotive.co.uk) down by Petersfield way. Quite an impressive outfit selling and maintaining Lotus, Porsche and Zenos. Whilst I was down there he had 4 Mk1 Elise in for varying levels of restoration over the winter- from more basic wishbone, bushes, suspension upgrade to full nut and bolt jobbies. He also has a selection of rather interfering old Porsches...

In terms of Canada, I'm moving to Blue Mountain Resort, about 2 hours north of Toronto. I've got a 2 year IEC Visa and have swapped my London based job working in Marketing for Front Desk at a hotel and hopefully lots of fun and a little bit of skiing on the side too. It's a fairly small resort in the grand scheme of things, especially compared to the west coast resorts in the Rockies and surrounding areas but I think it's a better fit for me. All kind of happened at once as I got my Visa last Tuesday, secured an interview on Thursday and got the job on Saturday!
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So got a couple of updates to share, some pre-Canada and from a couple of weeks ago and some from the last week and a half or so I guess.

Prior to my leaving, I took the 197 down to Engine Dynamics for a service, was very impressed with the set-up and shall be using them in the future. I managed to put about 200 miles on the 197 before heading off- so not much mileage at all this year! Gave it is pre-storage clean and protect before tucking her away in the garage for many months to come... I know its basically the same photos over and over again, but can you really have too many photos of your car?

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I also gave the ol' MX5 a thorough clean too, although took it out for one last blast and managed to catch a pretty cool Essex sunset:

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Anyway, once all clean, The MX5 was parked over on the drive, out of the way with a weatherproof cover fitted- I wish I had garage space to put it inside too, but sadly I don't and I didn't want to pay for storage whilst I was away so this shall have to suffice for the time being.

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And then onto some Canada related pictures. The resort seems pretty cool, its funny seeing everything with no snow as it is so clearly a ski resort! A mixture of photos from down in the village, the view from one of the cable cars, and some views from the top too:

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And in terms of Canada related car news, I have bought a car! Well, put a deposit down and will go back to collect next week. I umm'd and urr'd over many different cars, mainly do I want AWD or FWD and after a couple posts on here, a few on PH and talking to the locals decided AWD would be nice if I can find the right car, but if not, winter tyres shall be more than capable on something FWD. I searched far and wide, not actually that far though because I still had to get to any potential car to view it, and couldn't really find anything that jumped out at me. And then in a stroke of luck, latter part of this week just gone I found a car I liked, went to go and view it today and a deal was done!

In order to get to view this car, I decided to rent something for the weekend. As I am 24, anything particularly exciting was greyed out on the local Enterprise website so I went for a good old 'Compact' class. I get down to the centre this morning, really nice chap greets me, starts asking about my accent and then the next thing I know is giving me the keys to this absolute beast:

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I mean, when in Rome and alll... I was a little nervous by its size initially, but then I realised that in comparison to the roads over here it isn't THAT big, but it was pretty much the biggest non-commercial vehicle on the roads today. In case you can't quite see the badge on the front wing, it says HEMI 5.7L V8. Just under 400bhp, RWD standard, switchable 4WD with lock as well as 4WD Low Ratio, 8-speed tiptronic with what felt like a dual clutch, and in case you couldn't tell, its absolutely MASSIVE! I'm over 6 feet tall and have to climb my way into it.

I thought I was going to hate the driving experience, being so high up and roll-y etc., but its actually a dream to drive. Super comfy, bucket loads of torque, epic soundtrack, and will hustle along at quite a pace if you want it too. I spent most of the day cruising ~55mph, and it was sitting just over 1,000RPM in 8th gear! Which is reassuring, because I have to return it with a full tank...

I even took it up some of the dirt tracks atop the mountain:

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I've got it for tomorrow too, so shall find somewhere else to go driving around! More on the new purchase soon...
 
  Clio F1 197 Cup
So, the new purchase...

Its a SAAB!! A 1997 900S 2.3L, 5 speed manual, 5 door hatch. And, even if I do say so myself it is pretty gangster. See below photos to justify previous comment:

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It was bought off its 2nd owner by a retired RAF engineer who has been living in Canada for the last 17 years. He has owned the car for the last 4 months and has been working on it to keep himself busy. He was selling the car to fund some further restoration work to his beautiful Saab 900 Turbo and apparently this was his 14th Saab! Something of a fan then! It has just over 65,000 miles on the clock and it actually in really decent nick. Engine runs well and feels strong, its a 2.3L unit but only about 150bhp or so and its fairly heavy so not the most rapid off the line but has plenty of punch for overtaking in third. The steering is comically slow and I keep catching myself out with how much lock I need to put in to make turns and the such like. The ride is quite floaty with plenty of lean in the corners but sadly there aren't many of these around me it seems anyway. Feels a little under braked to me but may just be under servo'd and me still getting used to it. In terms of spec, its quite cool actually, has epic front heated seats (I think these will come in handy!), sunroof, AC, electric windows all round, cruise control and a block heater which is supposed to keep the oil warm during the very cold nights by plugging it into a domestic supply. I've done about 300 miles in it so far, and so far, so good. Slightly different driving experience to the cars I have had recently but hopefully will be a good reliable motor for me.

I picked it up just above empty and a full tank only cost £23! Not going to argue with that, will be curious to see what the fuel economy after I have done a little more mileage. In terms of recent work, it has had a fair amount done: fresh oil and oil filter, air filter, pollen filter, spark plugs, fuel filter, brake fluid, discs all round, coolant, all the seats out and the carpet cleaned, seats have been treated with a leather restorer, and then a couple of other little things like bulbs here and there, wiper blades, aerial and two boot struts. It comes on a set of Winter Tyres with plenty of tread left.

So all that is left is to start driving it really! Got quite a few road trips planned so what this space...
 


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