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  •   Lee Sibley reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Porsche 911 Carrera (993)

    A half-cage has gone in and the back seats are out in a bid to make the Porsche more hardcore

    / #Porsche-911-Carrera-993 / #Porsche-911-993 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-993 / #Porsche /

    The toolkit has been out recently, and likewise the 993’s back seats. More on this in a moment, but first you need to hear my justification. When you are surrounded by performance cars day-in, day-out, as I am fortunate enough to be in my job as evo’s staff photographer, you can’t help but feel drawn towards certain models, and also to analyse exactly what it is about them that appeals so much. Over the years there have been a handful of cars that have had me feeling a deep urge to sell my kidneys to own them. The first was the incredible 997-generation Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0, then later the Cayman GT4, Mégane R26.R, 458 Speciale, Golf Clubsport S and Ruf SCR 4.2. As you can see, there’s a theme here of mostly pared-back, driver-focused cars. This is clearly my ‘go to’ spec.

    So, unsurprisingly, I had an urge to make my 993 a little more hardcore and, yes, driver-focused. I figured the perfect way to achieve this would be to install a bolt-in half-cage, as this would increase the car’s body rigidity and also allow me to fit harnesses at some point.

    I chose a cage produced by German company Heigo, specifically its Clubsport model, and over a weekend staff writer Will Beaumont and I, with some extra help from Will’s father, removed the Porsche’s rear seats and assembled and installed the cage. Heigo has cleverly designed its half-cage so that you don’t need to destroy your carpet or weld in fixing plates for it. Instead it picks up on the original strengthened areas, including the front and rear seat belt fixings. Another positive is that we managed to fit it without having to remove the front seats. And although the kit weighs 25kg, after removing the rear seat belts and seat backs, the final extra weight to the car is a relatively minor 21kg.

    As well as the cage, I’ve also installed a front strut brace, similar to the one used in 993 RSR race cars and even the aforementioned Ruf SCR. When researching parts I was surprised to find that you can purchase this brace on its own via Ruf UK. It’s ultra-high quality and easy to install, and the benefits are reduced strut tower flex (as both towers are tied together) along with reduced chassis flex.

    The 993 is starting to become my ultimate fast road package and I can’t wait to get it back out on the road and track this summer to test the new set-up.

    Date acquired April 2016
    Total mileage 80,134
    Mileage this month 100
    Costs this month £853 roll-cage £360 strut brace
    £26 dinner for Will and his dad
    mpg this month 24.3

    ‘The 993 is starting to become my ultimate fast road package and I can’t wait to get on the road’
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  •   Alex Grant reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v (Mk2) From wondering what he’d just bought to its transformation into trackday perfection, Aston Parrott’s Mk2 GTI has been a car he’ll never forget.

    / #VW-Golf-II / #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf / #VW-Typ-1G / #VW-Typ-19E / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-19E / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #VW / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-ABF / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTI-Mk2

    End of term Fast Fleet

    After six brilliant years of ownership, the time had arrived to say goodbye to my Mk2 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v.

    I can still remember the day my dad and I drove to view the car in Somerset. The plan was to purchase it and then for me to drive on to south Wales where I was studying at university. Luckily for us the GTI was as described and the deal was done.

    Driving over the Severn Bridge I went to move the knob that adjusts the side mirror and it fell off in my hand. I instantly started laughing and thought to myself: what have I just spent my student loan on? The GTI was replacing an Audi A3 Sport as my everyday car…

    The simple interior design was new to me, but I instantly fell in love with the Golf’s character and the sound from its 139bhp 1.8-litre 16-valve engine. My girlfriend was waiting in the university halls to see what monstrosity I had just bought, and I was expecting a negative response to the older, no-luxuries GTI, but to my surprise she loved the boxy design just as much as I did.

    Over the next three years the GTI was used nearly every day, in all weathers and for any occasion, from tackling heavy snow to long weekends away with a boot full of camping equipment. It became part of the family and was the perfect car, demonstrating why hot hatches are so popular. Nevertheless, being an older car – and one that I would take to over 180,000 miles – life wasn’t always easy and many parts had to be replaced along the way, including the gearbox. There was also the odd bit of welding. But somehow I could always forgive its troubles because I just worshipped the way it drove.

    After graduating I got my dream job as staff photographer at Drive-My and the GTI was no longer needed as my daily driver. So as the car made its debut in Fast Fleet in mid-2015, I began turning it into my perfect GTI. Without the need for it to be so practical, I slowly transformed it into a more driver-focused Mk2, stripping the interior and adding a carbonfibre bonnet and tailgate, uprated suspension and Recaro SPG bucket seats. My Golf was also the first car I had driven on track for any decent amount of time. I remember one lovely summer’s evening – my birthday, in fact – at Rockingham and thinking it was just perfection. Despite its modest power, the car’s light weight and general set-up ensured it was quick enough not to embarrass itself.

    Driving a Mk1 Golf GTI to the Wolfsburg factory with Drive-My staff writer Antony Ingram really enlightened me as to just how good the Mk2 was. It had better brakes than its predecessor, was faster and had power steering and more headroom. We made the return trip in the then new Mk7 Golf GTI Clubsport Editon 40. This and the further honed Clubsport S are two of my favourite modern hot hatches, so much so that I stole the S’s idea of replacing the rear seats with a boot net for my own car.

    So why have I sold my Mk2? Mainly down to a lack of parking space and because I simply wasn’t driving it as much as I used to – my 993 Carrera being partly to blame for both of these. So I advertised the GTI online one evening, and the very next morning I got a call from avid Drive-My reader Simon Murray, who explained that he had been following my Fast Fleet reports and had to own the car.

    A few more messages and another phone call later and he had secured the car with a deposit, booked a one-way ticket from Scotland and was ready to collect ‘my’ GTI. It all happened very quickly, but I was very happy it was going to a good home.

    I collected Simon from the airport on a Saturday morning and we chatted about our passion for cars. After a drive in the Golf, resulting in a big smile on Simon’s face, the paperwork was signed, a quick photo was taken of the handover, and the car was gone. But it’s left me with so many good memories.

    Aston Parrott

    Date acquired April 2012
    Duration of test 6 years Total test mileage 11,000
    Overall mpg 29.5 Costs £6089 since Drive-MY (July 2015), including carbonfibre bonnet and tailgate, paint, seats, suspension, tyres and MOTs Purchase price £3500
    Value today £8500

    ‘The GTI was used nearly every day, in all weathers and for any occasion’
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    CAR: #Porsche-911-Carrera-993 / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911-993 / #Porsche-993 / #Porsche / #Porsche-911 /

    A weekend behind the wheel gives our 993’s upgrades – and its natural talents – a chance to shine…

    The 911 had been parked up for what felt like years waiting for available funds to replace two leaking valve covers – a common problem with the 993 Carrera. Thankfully I managed to save up enough to get the job carried out by RPM Technik just in time for a recent driving weekend with some colleagues and friends.

    You may remember Jordan Katsianis, custodian of our DS 3 Performance, briefly mentioning this outing in last month’s Fast Fleet. Our plan was simple: bring a car – your own if possible – and head to the best driving roads that south Wales has to offer.

    Gathering in a service station early on a Saturday morning for a quick coffee and a Danish, we had an eclectic turnout, ranging from a Saab 9000 Aero to a Cayman GT4.

    The weather appeared to be against us at first, turning tragic as soon as we crossed the Severn Bridge into Wales, but we decided to tough it out and carry on with our plan, and to our amazement the rain and clouds gradually faded as we got closer to our first location, the skies eventually giving way to bright sunshine.

    After my first half an hour or so on interesting roads I had to concede that the 993 was a little too stiffly sprung, but this was easily fixed by adjusting the Öhlins dampers to softer settings. Fifteen minutes later I was tackling the same corners again, now with more pace and confidence.

    Another adjustable component that showed its worth in Wales was the Rennline pedal set that I have recently added. The standard pedals in the 993 make it hard to properly heel and toe, because the floorhinged accelerator is so low compared with the brake, but these aluminium replacements solve that by allowing you to independently set the height and lateral position of the accelerator. The only issue I had was with the optional extension plates for the accelerator, which are designed to close the gap to the brake pedal even further. There’s an upper and a lower one, but as you can see in the picture, I only have the lower one (the red bit) fitted, because if you’re wearing regular shoes of around size 10 or larger, you can easily end up unintentionally applying pressure to the brake and accelerator simultaneously.

    As more miles passed beneath the 993’s wheels, I began to understand how to use the car’s rear weight bias to my advantage, but at the same time it also became clear that real mastery of this car can’t be achieved in a weekend. But that’s what I love about the 993 – just how involving it is. You feel like an integral part of covering ground quickly in it. No traction control. No stability control. No active suspension. Just intense driving pleasure.

    With the non-stop feedback through the steering wheel and seat, you can eventually get to a stage where your concentration level is so high and your movements – gearchanges, steering, road placement – become so fluent that when you do finally come to a stop you can’t really identify the single great moment of the drive. Give it a moment, though, and you realise that this is because the whole journey was perfect.

    Over the weekend I must have driven more than 400 miles, filled up twice and spent the equivalent of a cheap weekend break abroad, but making the effort to travel to decent roads in a car like the 993 is totally worth it, and I can’t wait to do it again.

    Aston Parrott (@AstonParrott)
    Date acquired April 2016
    Total mileage 80,034
    Mileage this month 481
    Costs this month £605 valve cover replacement £300 pedals
    Mpg this month 24.1

    Above: adjustable pedals make for perfect heel and toe action.

    Below: 993 and friends in Wales.

    ‘I love how involving the 993 is. You feel like an integral part of covering ground quickly in it’
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  •   Aston Parrott reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Car Skoda Octavia Estate vRS 230 / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS-230 / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate / #Skoda-Octavia / #Škoda-Octavia-5E / #Škoda-Octavia / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS-230-5E / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-5E / #VAG / #SKODA / #Škoda / #Skoda

    Overarching VW Group strategy means Skoda models often don’t get the power they could. But there is a remedy.

    While the Octavia’s 227bhp is a commendable amount of shove, it’s some way short of the 280bhp-plus that the hottest Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon models deliver, yet all these cars use essentially the same 2-litre turbo engine. With the vRS 230 sporting an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and adaptive chassis control, just like those more potent Golfs and Leons, I reckon it would cope well if given, say, 25 per cent more go.

    So this month I’ve looked into some of the remap options that are available – the kind you might want to consider if you own a vRS – and it turns out the figures that can be achieved for quite modest amounts of money are eye-widening.

    One of the more affordable offerings is from Superchips, who for £399 will increase the vRS 230’s peak power by 59bhp and torque by 68lb ft, taking the totals to 286bhp and 326lb ft.

    DMS Automotive, meanwhile, takes things a little further. Its remap lifts power to 305bhp and torque from 258lb ft to 332lb ft. The price for this is £690, but it does include an individual mapping session in one of the company’s dyno centres.

    Finally, there’s Revo Technik, a company whose wares this magazine has experienced before in the form of a 371bhp Golf R capable of cracking 60mph in 3.7sec.

    Revo offers upgrade packages that comprise electronic changes alone or include further hardware modifications. Its Stage 1 package for the latest Octavia vRS is purely electronic and results in a scarcely believable 319bhp (as a minimum, apparently). That’s more potency than a Golf GTI Clubsport S. The company’s development Octavia, fitted with a Stage 1 pack, has posted a 0-100mph sprint of 11.2 seconds. The cost? £599, or £7 per extra horsepower.

    Any of these remaps would make the Skoda a very quick car, and as some of these tuners claim, the difference in fuel economy when driving steadily should be negligible if not non-existent – something that our experience of the more powerful factory versions of this engine would confirm.

    Pretty enticing, isn’t it? Sadly, though, my hands are tied, as evo’s Octavia is owned by Skoda, not us. But if any Octavia owners out there have had an aftermarket power hike, do get in touch at – I’d love to hear about your experience.

    Date acquired November #2016
    Total mileage 14,655
    Mileage this month 943
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 30.6
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  •   Aston Parrott reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Aston Parrott updated the cover photo for Škoda Octavia 5E
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  • Aston Parrott unlocked the badge Reviewer
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  •   Aston Parrott reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    FAST FLEET evo’s staff photographer gets a new workhorse in the form of a stealthy Skoda estate.

    NEW ARRIVAL #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS-230 / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate / #Skoda-Octavia / #Škoda-Octavia-5E / #Škoda-Octavia / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS-230-5E / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-5E / #VAG / #SKODA / #Škoda / #Skoda


    We won’t deny it: we do like a good hot-hatch-based estate derivative here at evo. It’s why we have a Focus ST on our long-term fleet (see opposite) and also why we’re now running this – a Skoda Octavia Estate vRS 230, in a particularly fetching shade called Black Magic.

    Of course, the real magic of this breed of car lies in its ability to meld deceptive pace with reliability, comfort, low running costs and a large enough dose of fun to tie it all together. To this end, we’ve opted for the six-speed manual ’box instead of the #DSG , which had a habit of tripping over itself in the diesel vRS we previously ran (and rated highly).

    The numerical element of this car’s name signifies a 10bhp increase over the standard Octavia vRS. So here the 2-litre turbo in-line four makes 227bhp at 4700-6200rpm and 258lb ft at 1500-4600rpm, which is enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds (just half a second behind a Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40) and a top speed of 153mph. Thirst is rated at 44mpg.

    The 230 also gets an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. It’s the same one you’ll find in the Golf GTI Performance Pack, and along with a new (and aurally very pleasing) sports exhaust and the tickled ECU, it accounts for the bulk of the 230’s £1690 premium over the regular vRS.

    The Estate vRS 230 is £27,800 basic, which seems a good deal as the model is generously equipped as standard. It gets 19-inch wheels wrapped with 225-section tyres, bixenon headlights and LED tailights, and gloss-black exterior trim for the full sleeper look. Handsome? Surprisingly so.

    Within the distinctly German cabin you get meaty sports seats, a touchscreen satnav, DAB radio, dualzone climate control, cruise control and even a driver-fatigue sensor for what I’m hoping will be effortless motorway schleps to and from farflung photographic locations.

    The optional extras we’ve gone for include the panoramic sunroof (£1150), Canton sound system (£500), rear-view parking camera (£300) and that lovely paint (£360). The box for Dynamic Chassis Control (£850) has also been ticked because the ability to soften or firm up the suspension and alter the steering weight through several modes is key to this car’s all-round appeal.

    The total cost? £32,120. Sounds like a lot, and it’s a wedge of cash more than our new Ford. It’s going to be interesting finding out which car represents the breed’s best.

    Date acquired November #2016
    Total mileage 1024
    Mileage this month 965
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 34.2

    Cars like this meld deceptive pace with reliability, comfort, low running costs and a dose of fun’
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  • Aston Parrott created a new group

    Škoda Octavia 5E

    Škoda Octavia-5E
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