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  •   ilia.ermakov reacted to this post about 2 years ago

    Ian Nixon chose a complex model from #Citroen that’s more accustomed to being an engine donor, than a modder’s favourite, the BX GTi. After a string of high performance project cars to set the benchmark he was blown away by it in standard form, but today this hallowed Mi-16 engine is capable of producing nearly 300bhp! Words: Adam Tait and images: Matt Woods.

    I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw one of these. This was the first thought when I was asked to write this story, and I imagine it’s what you are thinking right now. With just 30 odd examples left on UK roads, it’s no wonder that #Citroen-BX 16 Valve sightings are few and far between.

    Initial sales were promising but interest soon dwindled given Citroen’s innovative but arguably marmite styling and complexity of the hydraulic system. Demand then ensued for its 16-valve engine in the 205 as this unit was only shared with the Peugeot 405 Mi-16 in the UK. Both models were consequently pillaged and this further compounded their decline in numbers.

    Ian Nixon’s story isn’t one of BX tunnel vision - he’s owned and built plenty of cars to set a benchmark. From humble beginnings he bought a 205 XS that seized on the way home and from that moment Ian developed a hatred of French cars. He then went through various Audis, Subaru Imprezas, Sierra Cosworths to name but a few.

    Ian said ‘I got fed up with the fuel bills when my work took me down south from Middlesborough. I had to drive the Cosworth all the way down the A1 to London off boost, just so I could get there, so something more affordable to run was needed.

    ‘I remember years ago in my Audi 80 Sport I raced a Citroen BX 16 valve late one night and it took off like the Millenium Falcon and disappeared.’ It was this fond memory combined with the cynicism of others that lured him back to an otherwise blemished experience with French cars.

    It took about eight months to find the example you see here, a 1991 BX 16 valve Phase II. ‘I bought it from an airline pilot and it was in generally good condition. It did have around sixteen owners though – maybe they were scared of the hydraulic system?

    ‘I paid £1300 for it at the time, and it blew the head gasket on the way home.’ Gallic karma for Ian’s previous hating or plain old bad luck, something had to be done. ‘I sat on it for a few weeks while I decided what to do, but I couldn’t get over how good it was for an old Citroen, they handle superbly and the brakes are phenomenal.’

    For most people the decision would revolve around whether to replace the head gasket, but this period got the cogs turning and research went into a Rotrex supercharger conversion – a modification he had carried out before. A decision was made to extensively rework the Mi-16 engine so Ian removed it and the naked bay was freshened up with Citroen Dolmen Grey.

    An Mi-16 education then began: ‘Each exhaust port on the earlier 1.9-litre XU9J4 is separate so there’s eight exhaust ports, which I think is a legacy from the Group B Peugeot T16 rally car. ‘The later XU10J4 16v engine has a steel block so it’s heavier and 2.0-litre capacity but the head is somewhat different as the exhaust ports are Siamese which perform a lot better according to flow bench figures, so this design was copied in order to get the best out of the supercharger.’ Ian couldn’t source the camshafts off the shelf so Kent Cams was enlisted to profile them from blanks. While the head work itself was carried out to stage five specification by Hiflow Heads in Scotland.

    The Rotrex supercharger kit was delivered and methodically installed following many a night fabricating pipework. ‘Every car I have fitted a Rotrex to has been transformed’, Ian explained. ‘Rotrex claim a 50 per cent power increase but if you really get the camshaft combination and mapping correct, and the air charge temp as low as it can possibly go it can get closer to 100 per cent.

    ‘It’s a bit of a lottery but if you can hit that magic formula and get the exhaust/inlet lengths right, most engines really respond. The power delivery is also very linear so there is no lag to contend with. Turbochargers simply belong on diesels in my experience.’

    For reliability the Rotrex unit shouldn’t exceed 120,000 rpm as they can froth their oil, which pulls air in, so it’s important to work this out relative to the engine speed. Ian also claims they are a lot easier to work with compared to the likes of the Eaton supercharger and a well looked after and correctly installed unit should be as durable as a turbocharger. Beyond the outlay to purchase and install the Rotrex kit (around £2000), the oil they use is very thin and costs around £75 per litre.

    ‘One of the cylinder head bolts needs a spacer as it’s possible to punch straight through the block and into the water pump housing. Another issue from the factory was having no baffles in the sump, so on long left hand bends they lose oil pressure to almost laughable levels, which has written a lot of engines off.’

    The 205 GTi (1.9-litre) had a trap door fitted in the sump to prevent this problem but on the BX it was open so Ian had to devise a method of baffling it in the form of an Accusump oil accumulator system. It was also noted that during the 205’s time in Group A rallying, the oil pump actually span less than the engine so this was also duly changed. ‘It was as if the Mi-16 was actually engineered to go wrong, but when properly sorted they are a phenomenal engine’. The general consensus when modifying an Mi-16 engine to this level, or most other ECUcontrolled units, is that aftermarket engine management must be fitted in order to extract the best from the engine.

    Chipwizards is a name you maybe familiar with. Wayne Schofield who heads up the company is often mentioned on forums for his remapping knowledge so Ian contacted him about a replacement for the BX’s factory Bosch Motronic ECU.

    Ian asked ‘What 3D standalone ECU am I best going for here, Omex 600 or maybe Emerald K1?’ Wayne’s response: ‘Just use the standard Bosch Motronic.’ This came as a surprise because adapting the factory ECU at this state of tune is unheard of in most circles. ‘Wayne really is a very clever lad, he advised me to go to Vauxhall to buy an Astra VXR fuel rail which comes with the correct 630cc injectors you need for 300bhp [all for £117]. I drove to his premises at the time, which was an old sound-proofed shed in Rochdale with a rolling road installed.’

    On the first visit the new engine was losing compression so Ian got that resolved and during the second visit the intercooler let go. A spare one was sourced at 4pm and Wayne continued mapping until 9.45pm. The result? 297bhp at 7200prm on a 70mm pulley. For the sake of usability, and arguably drivability, Ian upsized the pulley to 95mm for daily use which translates to 249bhp. ‘Wayne absolutely made that car, and everything he said was cock on. It’s all from experience you can just tell.’

    With the engine finished Ian was keen to make the rest of the bodywork more presentable so the BX was delivered to a bodyshop in Middlesbrough. However, it didn’t get beyond the stripping stage, so Ian liberated the car after several months of frustration, albeit minus lots of mislaid parts. ‘I was so disheartened and really close to pulling the engine out and scrapping the car as there was just so much mess, poor workmanship and missing parts.’

    Ian’s regular bodyshop rectified the bodywork but beyond what he had sourced miscellaneous bits of trim were still missing. The most problematic was a piece of trim for the rear bumper that just couldn’t be tracked down. Thoughts of having it made in China were surpassed when a whole car was spotted in the classifieds. This was bought just for the trim, while the rest of the shell remains complete as a future parts donor.

    Tracking down a steel bonnet was also labour intensive but one materialised in Leicester for £10. ‘I was reluctant to have it delivered because of damage so I took my long-wheel-base van and ended up driving all the way from Middlesbrough to get it.’ When Ian arrived the seller also had a mountain of unused OEM BX 16v parts so the van was filled for the return journey.

    To accommodate the Range Rover P38 intercooler the bumper had to be modified and the easy route would have been cutting the factory item to create space. However, Ian went to the trouble of extending the bumper, but this was disproportionate to the back end so the rear bumper was given the same treatment.

    While the aftermarket BBS RX wheels and bonnet pins hint that this BX may have something hiding up its sleeve, the overall aesthetics are very close to factory. ‘I painted the wheels in this colour as that’s how the standard 14-inch Speedlines were from new. I always try and make my work look like it left the factory and I believe form always follows function so if you stick to that the car will look good and work properly.’

    Ian’s hankering for the BX 16 Valve and perseverance to overcome what most people are afraid of has led to what you see here. Incredibly underrated and with 160bhp in standard form, they also handle fantastically. We think it acts as a timely reminder to what you might be missing out on, and what can be achieved. Before the engine hoist emerges please ask yourself if there is an alternative transplant for your 205. Please?

    “The power delivery is also very linear so there’s no lag to contend with. Turbochargers simply belong on diesels in my experience.”


    Engine: 1.9 #XU9J4 DFW engine ( #Mi16 ), Stage 5 Hiflow Heads big valve Siamese ported cylinder head, Kent PT81 inlet cam/PT82 exhaust, Kent VS34 double valve springs and titanium retainers, Kent vernier pulleys, Richard Longman 4-1 manifold, #Cosworth 57X exhaust manifold fixing kit, D6C block with DFW pistons (comp 9:5:1), PEC performance H section lightweight conrods with ARP bolts, Peugeot Motorsport GPA 1:1 oil pump, Contella Sump baffle, Mocal oil breather system, Accusump 4 quarts oil Accumulator system, Rotrex SP30/74 centrifugal supercharger, Pace charge cooler from RS turbo, Range Rover P38 intercooler, SamcoSport intake and discharge pipework, Baker BM coolant hoses, Baker BM engine hung mounts and canella solid stabiliser mount, standard Bosch Motronic 4.1 ECU live mapped by Wayne Scofield of Chipwizards, Astra VXR injectors, Sytec high flow fuel filter, Sierra Cosworth GPA fuel pump, FSE fuel pressure regulator, power output at 7200rpm on 70mm pulley is 297bhp, power output at 7200rpm on 95mm pulley is 249bhp (used for daily reliability).

    Transmission: Peugeot 306 GTI-6 BE-6 Gearbox, Quaife ATB differential, Royal Purple oil.

    Suspension: Standard Citroen Hydropneumatic.

    Brakes: Standard.

    Wheels/Tyres: 17-inch BBS RX wheels styled similar to original 14” speedlines, 205/45 R17 tyres, Full respray in original Citroen Dolmen Grey.

    Exterior: Extended bumpers to accommodate intercooler, additional air intake on NSF wing, fog lights removed and turned into brake ducts, steel bonnet, MkIII Golf gas bonnet struts Interior: Standard 16v Le-Mans cloth trim, VDO boost gauge, Quaife Nylon gear knob.
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 3 years ago

    Ken Rorrison’s #Lancia #Fulvia represents the fulfilment of a lifelong ambition, and is proof that dreams can come true… Dream HF owner’s tale. Ken Rorrison’s Lancia Fulvia represents the fulfilment of a lifelong ambition, and is proof that dreams can come true… Words: Daniel Bevis and images: Gary Hawkins.

    Lancia has always been one of those polarising brands, provoking sweaty palms and twinkly eyes from some enthusiasts, and a creeping sense of doom from others. It all depends on your perspective, really; if you’re the sort of person who grew up watching the spaceshiplike Stratos bouncing through gravelly forests, put your cross next to the Delta S4 in the Group B era, and then marvelled at the real-world ballistics of the Delta Integrale as the Italian Cosworth-beater of choice, you probably think of the marque rather fondly. If, conversely, you bought one of the illfated Lancia Betas in the 1980s and had it bought back from you by the company – who then crushed it - when they realised they’d been selling cars with rusty subframes, your perspective may be somewhat different. But on the whole, let’s assume that you, like us, are a dyed-in-the-wool petrolhead who treats the Lancia name with the reverence it deserves. You know that hackneyed old expression about how you’re not a true car enthusiast until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo? Well, Lancia can be a few notches further up the scale of desirability for the discerning retro connoisseur.

    Ken Rorrison is one such connoisseur. The doting owner of this gleaming Series 2 Fulvia, his passion for the brand is no fleeting fancy, but stretches back across the generations to a time when these lithe, pert little Piedmontese sweethearts could be seen newly shimmering on Lancia’s forecourts. ‘I’ve been interested in motorsport since being taken to my first race meeting in #1969 at Ingliston, Edinburgh,’ Ken reminisces. ‘One of these early sporting excursions was to watch the Scottish Rally in Culbin forest in #1970 or 1971. For whatever reason, the competing #Lancia-Fulvia HFs fired my imagination…’ And this youthful hankering worked its way into his subconscious, a timed mine planted by Lancia to sit dormant for a few decades before being detonated remotely by the cackling Italians. ‘Thirty years later, a colleague mentioned that his brother was selling his Fulvia, so I thought I’d go and take a look. I was delighted to discover that it was an HF! I took it for a quick spin and it seemed to work, but I had no real idea of what I should be looking out for, took no advice, and bought it there and then.’ Well, yes, we can relate to that. It’s ever so easy to evangelise about rationality and logic in the car-buying process, but it’s not always possible to stop the heart ruling the head. Especially if you’ve had an on-and-off yearning for the model in question for thirty-odd years. It’s sometimes hard not to find yourself throwing your cash into the seller’s face, screaming ‘take it, take my money!’ and snatching the keys. All things considered, Ken demonstrated admirable restraint in actually taking the thing for a test-drive first…

    OK, so it wasn’t actually the biggest risk in the world. ‘It had been tested the previous year in Classic & Sports Car in a shootout against a Lotus Elan,’ Ken reveals. ‘It won the shootout, although that was written by a hugely biased Martin Buckley! So having bought it in fairly good shape, I drove it as it was for a couple of years, leaving it parked on the street outside my flat in central London. But 1970s Lancias and outside environments have never coexisted peacefully, so in 2004 I decided to have the bodywork properly restored.’ For reasons of time and ability, he chose to outsource this physical overhaul rather than tackling the project himself out on the street. Tasked with the beautification were Dave Scheldt and Terry Petit in Harrow, who have a proven history of Lancia-based smithery; indeed, Scheldt raced and rallied Fulvias in the 1970s, so he certainly knows his way around them. ‘It was stripped, and taken back to bare metal,’ says Ken. ‘Or, perhaps more accurately, barely metal! It resembled a set of lace curtains. All the evidence suggested that it had been the result of a late-‘eighties lash-up when classic car prices peaked and dealers could shift anything…’ Not the ideal scenario in which to find oneself, then, but it is important to know what you’re up against. And thankfully Ken’s a man of foresight and vision, and had been cunningly stockpiling new panels over the years in a scheme of impressive prescience. In his arsenal were an alloy bonnet, boot and doors, which neatly replaced the original steel panels and helped to save a bit of weight too. Serendipity in action. Once everything was shipshape and arrow straight, the next hurdle in the decision making marathon was which colour to finish it all in. ‘I didn’t want to go with the car’s original Saratoga White, or the clichéd 1980s Rosso Corsa that it was wearing when I bought it, because I wanted something a little different – something that would allow the car’s class and quality to speak for itself. In the end I settled on Lancia Blue, which nicely complements the Fulvia’s shape.’

    Of course, with this level of fastidiousness and attention to detail, you won’t be surprised to learn that the passion of this build is more than merely skin deep. Ken’s history with cars has always been one of tweaking and experimentation – back in his youth, he ported the head of his Sunbeam Stiletto with a power drill on the kitchen table – so yes, there are one or two racy treats hidden away beneath that pristine bonnet. The first thing to catch your eye is the trademark yellow HF valve cover, but if you flick your gaze to the driver’s side of the bay you’ll see a pair of Weber 45 DCOEs with their ram-pipes peeping skyward, bolted to the narrow-angle V4 on a Group 4 inlet manifold. Secreted within are a set of high compression pistons and Piper rally cams, with the whole lot ticking along under the watchful eye of a Lumenition electronic ignition setup. ‘Another trick was to rework the oil breather to the catch tank,’ Ken intimates, ‘as the standard Fulvia system breathes through the air filter!’ And speaking of breathing, the exhalation of spent gases is aided by a Group 4 exhaust manifold, which helps to give the revvy little motor a healthy, rasping bark. The standard Lancia five-speed ’box remains, but it’s mated to a Fiat Uno Turbo clutch, which adds a certain lightness and tactility to proceedings. Handling-wise, the guts of the car belie its standard road-car appearance. ‘Prior to the restoration I took the car to the bi-annual Lancia Motor Club trackdays at Goodwood and Castle Combe, which were my first tentative forays onto a race circuit,’ says Ken. ‘Following restoration I decided to augment the trackdays with some low-key competition, entering the ACSMC Sprint Championship.’ With this focus in mind, the Fulvia finds itself suspended by adjustable Konis, rebuilt leaf springs, and with a 19mm front anti-roll bar (somewhat thicker than the standard unit). The factory-fit Girling disc brakes do a solid job of hauling up the diminutive lightweight, but their effectiveness is bolstered by braided lines for improved pedal feel and EBC Green Stuff pads for a little extra bite.

    ‘No classic class existed when I first entered the Sprint Championship,’ Ken recalls, ‘so my ‘competition’ was 205 GTIs, Honda S2000s and a full-race Vauxhall Astra… with the inevitable results. Although I did pride myself on never coming last in three years! The bug had bitten, so having rejected the idea of converting the Fulvia into a full race car – it’s just too nice - I purchased a fully prepared Fulvia to compete in the HSCC ’70s Roadsports Championship, which I did for three years, winning the class in 2010. I currently compete in the same championship in an Alfa Romeo 2000GTV. But while these other cars come and go, the little blue Fulvia is definitely for keeps.’

    And it’s not all work, work, work. This gleaming Turinese poppet may be something of a terrier on the track, but that’s not to say that it’s compromised as a road car. Perching yourself in the driver’s seat transports you to a world of retro Italian craftsmanship; the standard HF seats have had their original vinyl replaced by sumptuous black leather, and your hands find themselves keenly gripping a sturdy wood-rimmed Momo steering wheel. (‘Completely out of period,’ Ken admits, ‘but it was on the car when I bought it, and it is a lovely wheel.’) A fi re extinguisher has been fitted because, well you know what they say about old Italian electrics – there’s no smoke without fi re. And keeping things honest in the rear is a half-cage. ‘I fitted that before competing in the Manx Classic in 2006,’ says Ken. ‘Driving on closed public roads in close proximity to stone walls brought on thoughts of mortality…’

    What we find, then, is the realisation of a dream. The yearning for a Fulvia harked across the decades, but having owned his dream car, his unicorn, for some time it became obvious that ‘a Fulvia’ wasn’t enough. What his heart ached for was ‘the Fulvia’, and it is the fulfilment of that desire that we see here today. It’s an ongoing process, and has been throughout his ownership – ‘the car’s been slowly upgraded and improved over time, as funds allowed,’ says Ken. ‘Tidying up the engine bay will be the next tranche of work’ – but this all ties in neatly to the overall ethos of the car. It’s a labour of love; a beautiful silhouette, affectionately brought back to better-than-new shape, and re-engineered to be both entertaining on the road and competitive on the track. So you can forget all of this tommyrot about fragility and inadequacy – this plucky little Fulvia is proof that Lancia truly could nail together a dream machine.

    SPECIFICATION #Lancia-Fulvia

    Engine: 1584cc V4, twin #Weber 45 DCOE carbs on Group 4 inlet manifold, high compression pistons, Piper rally cams, Lumenition electronic ignition, reworked oil breather to catch tank (standard car breathes through the air filter), Group 4 stainless steel exhaust manifold.

    Transmission: Standard Lancia 5-speed gearbox, Fiat Uno Turbo clutch.

    Suspension: Koni adjustable shocks, rebuilt leaf springs, 19mm front antiroll bar.

    Brakes: Standard discs all round, braided steel hoses, EBC Green Stuff pads.

    Wheels: Cromodora 6J alloys, Yokohama A309 60-profi le tyres. Interior: Re-upholstered standard HF seats in black leather, Willans harness, fire extinguisher, #MOMO wood rimmed steering wheel, half rollcage.

    Exterior: Alloy boot, bonnet & doors; bumpers removed.

    “But 1970s Lancias and outside environments have never coexisted peacefully, so in 2004 I decided to have the bodywork properly restored.”
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Eight grand. A lot of money, right ? Just think what you could spend it on, assuming you had it going spare. What’s that? It’s still possible to pick up a house, flat or cottage for that kind of money? Not where I live, baby. Besides, if that’s the way you think we’re not speaking the same language. I said ‘spare’.

    How about a whole fleet of 2CVs? Silly person, you can’t drive more than one at once. A modest little yacht, maybe? Schmuck. You really want everyone to know you’ve got maritime tendencies? A fragile Italian car with the vroomiest engine and the most tasteless interior in the whole world? Count me out, moonbeam.

    You know what I’d buy if I had eight grand to play with? I’d buy me one of the sharpest cars in the world. It would be immaculately designed, tastefully finished, beautifully engineered. It would be ridiculously comfortable, it would be fast, smooth and would handle impeccably. Above all, it would be civilised. It would probably be a #BMW-3.0CSi-E9 .

    You heard. A three-litre petrol-injected coupe, fresh off the Bayerische Motoren Werke shelves. It’d be long and blue, preferably a nice metallic turquoise. I’ve got it all figured out. Just the right proportions of glass to steel and enough ‘options’ in the straight package to leave me happy, just playing with the electric windows all day long. Forget the lightweight CSL, with or without the ‘Special’ (stripes and wings) pack. What do you think I am, flash?

    Mind you, I’m luckier than most. Most people can only daydream. Just occasionally, though, some of us get the chance to put it into reality. And I’ve just had a #BMW-3.0CSi for ten days. Yeah, surprise.

    Stroll nonchalantly out to the carpark, a new set of keys clasped in the cleanest hands this side of ‘The Lancet.’ Paranoia begins with a 3.0CSi. Why, people are actually staring at me. Is it that obvious?

    Open the door. Big door, lip till now I’d been asking myself if it really looks like eight grand. Open up that driver’s door and it even smells like eight grand. Sit in, but gingerly. Adjust the seat, bouncing a little in the process. Feels a little hard after countless cheaper makes, but it inspires the feeling that I could drive a million miles (for one of your smiles?) and climb out feeling as relaxed as when I started.

    And relaxed is the only way to describe it. It starts easily, the automatic choke sensing itself into operation. The clutch is light enough to require effortless operation, heavy enough to let you know it’s there. Into gear — slightly notchy, but nothing to worry about — and the clutch comes in as smoothly as an encyclopaedia salesman’s patter. A squeeze on the accelerator, the merest touch on the power-assisted steering and I’m moving. Can it really be that easy? You mean some people actually drive like this all the time?

    Ridiculous. It feels as if I’ve been driving it all my life. Snick, snick, difficult to stay cool about a car that feels this good. I must remove the smug look, I’ll be spotted as a masquerading upstart easy as pie. Snick, snick, I don’t even need to overtake people properly. They are actually moving out of the way. Ridiculouser and ridiculouser. There’s got to be a good reason for flooring the throttle — hell, who needs one. And guess what ? It's got to be one of the smoothest engines I’ve ever whizzed round the rev band. Easy, solid power, all the way round. Next time out I’m going to need a neck brace.

    Journey’s end before I’ve even realised I’ve started. This is getting serious. I thought motoring was supposed to be fun. This is a whole new ball game. No sweat, just complete relaxation. I figure I’m as comfortable as I’m ever likely to be, in a car as close to perfect as I’d ever want it to be.

    The interior’s just fine. Cloth upholstered seats, nice drop of quality carpet. Not a great deal of legroom in the back, but sit an ordinary mortal in the hot seat and by the law of averages he’d have to move it forward a good six inches.
    You’ll never find a fascia like this on, say, a Japanese car. It’s not overdone, there’s nothing flashy about it, it's just all there and in the right place. Steering column's adjustable for length, and the trimming can’t be faulted — even all that wood's real. The four big instruments — speedometer, rev counter, clock and I multipurpose gauge — tell me all I want to know. Quickly, easily, and without distracting me. I have all the controls I need at my fingertips, and incidental switches are never far away.

    The electric window rocker switches, for instance, are set on either side of the gearstick. Two each side, one each for back and front windows. Slow the windows may be, but strong enough to crack a walnut; should you feel the need.

    They seem to sum the whole thing up, really. They didn't have to be that good — a perhaps cheaper installation would have been perfectly adequate. But BMW have left nothing to chance, and everything is just that bit beefier than it need be, just to make sure.

    (One good reason for the strength is that in a true pillarles coupe such as this, sealing and wind noise could be something of a problem. They aren’t. But I do wish there wasn’t a duplicate pair of switches for the rear seat passengers to play with. Sod it, they’ve got seatbelts already.)

    I’m simply not interested in finding fault. I could criticize the speaker grille for flimsiness, but then you don’t normally let Dron loose in a car, hellbent on seeing which bits come off. Besides, the VHF radio more than compensates. Slightly less forgivable, though, are the steering wheel vibration and location of ashtrays. The ashtrays, set in the doors, are almost impossible to manage without double joints, certainly without taking your eyes of the road. And invariably the ash is blown off long before it drops in. Ah well, suppose I could always give up smoking.

    And back on the road. The complete smoothness. In every respect, of the thing is quite staggering. Driven the apparent gaps between the gears — at certain speeds! I’m aware of a feeling that I’m too fast for the gear I’m in, yet too slow for the next one up. It disappears quickly, the flexibility and torque of the injected straight straight six taking care of any doubts on my part. An automatic box is the real answer, although the change in carburation means losing a few brake horsepower.

    And at speed the thing’s equally disquieting. The amazing power-assisted steering is second to none I’ve encountered, with a light but positive feel right the way from a traffic crawl to the 130-odd top speed, wet or dry. I’ll repeat that: wet or dry.

    The #M30 2985cc 222bhp SAE (200bhp DIN) engine ( #M30B30 ) pulls smoothly right up to 6400rpm, and a top speed of 136mph. Accelerating up to the limit, speeds through the gears are truly astonishing. First gear will see 38mph, second’s good for 65 (0-60mph in 7 ½ secs), and third runs out at 102mph. So much for the once-magic ton. All this, and the fuel consumption between 20 and 25mpg. Or even better, driven carefully.

    And you know the real turn on? That tremendous feeling of absolute confidence. Of knowing that those great big discs all round will haul it to a stop with no apparent effort. With the redesigned suspension (‘for ride comfort’) and stronger torsion bars front and rear, the handling’s as neutral as you’ll find anywhere, the minimal understeer turned into power oversteer at a touch of the throttle.

    It’s all too easy to break the law in a car like this. Safety at speed is one thing, but when there’s virtually no sensation of speed it really does make a nonsense of a 30mph limit.

    I could carry on eulogising for hours, but I keep coming back to that price tag. Assuming that a #BMW 2002 is worth close on three grand (and it is, every penny), is there really five thousand’s difference ? Mixed feelings here on the staff. Some say yes, others an emphatic no. All depends on your social standing, aspiration and means. And since none of us figures anywhere in those terms of reference, we’d all have difficulty justifying a £7,870 cheque for the sheer pleasure the car gives.

    The specifications are interesting, but largely academic here. Anyone buying the car doesn’t need to know the grubby bits, and anyone merely daydreaming has got the pix to drool over. If you really want to know, check them out with your local dealer. We’ve a few more photographs we’d like to use, on the assumption that they tell a whole lot more about the car than a few thousand more hysterical words.

    One thing’s for sure, though. I now have a whole new set of standards to measure other, less outstanding cars against. Things will never be the same again.
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  •   Malcolm McKay reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Twin Turbo. A thousand prancing horses by #John-Matras and photography by author. Forget the hoary cliché about the writers spine being pressed into the seat back. My backside was scooting upward, sliding on the leather, vectored toward the roof by the seemingly bottomless acceleration of the twin-turbo Ferrari Testarossa as it ventured well into triple-digit speeds.

    This may not be the fastest street-legal piece of automotive hardware in the world, but it’s in a very' exclusive club.

    Not that the standard #Ferrari-Testarossa was a slouch. Its five liters produce some 380 bhp, good enough for a sub-14-sec quarter mile and a top speed of about 180. But the standard #Testarossa is naturally aspirated, and this one has not one but two turbochargers. The boost isn’t some namby-pamby 10 or even 15 psi, but rather 23 psi, and horsepower, by the claim of the cars maker, is around a thousand. That’s 1,000. A one with three zeros. And there's more available, says maker Joe Pirrone, if you want to go with more boost.

    Pirrone, owner of #Berlinetta-Motorcars , a restoration shop and #Ferrari modification specialist in Huntington Station. New York, constructed the car for fellow Long Island resident and car enthusiast (absolutely) Ralph Fasano of Lattingtown. And though the 1000 bhp engine is surely the showcase of what was originally a 1986 Swiss-market car, it has been transformed into an awe-inspiring street vehicle and a track car that knows few peers.

    To anyone with even a casual acquaintance with Ferraris, this is no ordinary Modena model. The bodywork has been replaced with an almost complete Koenig body kit, including the front bumper/spoiler, headlamps (replacing the standard pop-up units), front and rear fenders and side valance, as well as the scoop added to the C-pillar and the rear deck extension. About the only thing left off was the big rear wing, which was simply too much, and a lower rear valance panel, which simply wasn’t needed. And the controversial standard side strakes were omitted. While the wide-body panels are anything but pure Ferrari, Joe contends that even Ferrari purists give the car’s appearance a thumbs-up.

    The wider fenders are for more than looks. While the Testarossa originally came with Michelin TRX 240/45VR-415 rubber front and 280/45VR-415 rear, the conversion weighs in with Dunlop SP Sport radials, size 245/40ZR17 front and 335/35ZR17 rear, enough to fill the fiberglass and still have enough surface area left over to apply for statehood. The wheels, by #HRE , are three-piece modular, 9.0 in. wide up front and 13.0 in. at the rear. Because the early Testarossas came with splined knockoff-style wheels, Berlinetta machined the backs of the wheels to fit the original splined hubs.

    To keep all that rubber in line, the rubber suspension bushings have been replaced with spherical Heim joints, which also makes the suspension fully adjustable. Pirrone installed stiffer springs, and double adjustable (jounce and rebound) remote-reservoir Fox racing shocks are used all around, with double shocks per side at the rear. Front and rear anti-roll bars arc adjustable, the bias changeable from the cockpit.

    In anticipation of its use, #Doug-Pirrone installed the huge discs from the Ferrari 512 BBLM, ducting air from openings in the front spoiler to the center of the discs. The cooling air is directed into the ventilated disc itself, exiting through the vanes at the perimeter of the disc. For additional effectiveness, water can be sprayed into the duct inlet, the point being not for water spray to touch the disc-which could cause damage-but for the vaporization to cool the incoming air. (Remember heat of vaporization from chemistry class?) The system is controlled by a master switch on the dash and when on uses the brake light switch to activate the system. Brake bias is adjustable from under the hood.

    Inside the cockpit, a roll hoop behind the seats is braced to the rear, and five- point Simpson racing belts are installed, but other signs that this is a special Testarossa are limited. The stock instrument panel and dash are retained, and you still have to be a limbo artist to get in, but only the turbocharger boost and fuel pressure gauges, an LED readout for rich/lean fuel mixture, and the nozzle and safety- capped button for the on board fire extinguisher system hint at other than standard equipment.

    There's a small crackle-painted black box behind the passenger seat, however, that orchestrates the violence of the V12 just the other side of the firewall: twelve pistons, four cams, 48 valves and two turbos’ worth of activity that, when provoked, leaves little doubt that this Testarossa is special in the absolute sense of the word.

    Berlinetta rebuilt the 4942cc V12 utilizing lightweight Carillo connecting rods and oversized wrist pins. The pistons, like those used on the Toyota GTP cars, are from JE and have larger than standard rings to guard against breakage from possible detonation. Instead of the standard aluminium cylinder liners, custom fabricated steel liners are used with stainless steel O-rings for head gasket sealing. To really make sure the heads stay on. cylinder head studs of AerMet 100, a special steel alloy used for, among other things. Naval aircraft tailhooks, were used. Spray oiling, via nozzles tapped into oil galleries, cool piston bottoms. A carbon-kevlar clutch was installed, and the transaxle was fortified with a stronger fifth gear set and strengthened input and intermediate shafts.

    Ail this was just preparation for the two Garrett turbochargers, sized for peak power between 5000 and 8500 rpm, mounted under the heat shields over the tail of the transaxle. The turbos are fed intake air from the NACA scoops on the TWIN TURBO rear fenders; the intercoolers, pressed against the grille work between the tail- lights, get their cool air from the side scoops, air that in a standard Testarossa cools the rear brakes. Brake cooling air now comes from the C-pillar scoops. The side scoops are shared between the engine radiators and the intercoolers.

    From the intercoolers, fabricated tubing-a crisscross section delightfully glistening in silver crackle-leads to a fabricated airbox. The original Bosch K- Jetronic CIS fuel injection was replaced by a Haltech electronic injection system, the intake manifold machined for the new injectors and set up to take the throttle position sensor. The injection is controlled by that black box in the cockpit, which contains a programmable computer that also controls the twin-coil ignition.

    Two heated oxygen sensors are installed in the exhaust system, one feeding the computer terminal, the other used for the LED monitor on the dash. The computer-connected sensor will eventually be used to emission-tune the engine on the fly, although it is now used in “open loop” mode only so that it doesn't affect the programmed mixture. A laptop computer plugs into the onboard unit to monitor operation or alter the program. We’ve come a long way from tuning by car and the colour inside the tailpipe.

    Twin storm-sewer-size tailpipes service the off end of the turbos. Initially twin resonators were positioned after the turbochargers but had the unfortunate effect of making the Ferrari whisper-quiet. Off they came. It now sounds like a Ferrari V12. The turbine blades puree the exhaust note into a street manageable level but hardly emasculates the tenor wail of twelve cylinders in concert. The Twin Turbo Testarossa remains as manageable around town and on the freeway as the family minivan-at least any minivan with a gated five-speed floor shifter-and the most difficult chore is negotiating the Ferrari’s proboscis in and out of driveways. We all should have such problems.

    A Testarossa attracts attention. Road gangs pause from leaning on their shovels to watch it pass, and the exhaust note causes heads to rise from less important duties. And anything is less important. Inside is no different. The twelve cylinder burbles, warbles, moans and howls. Goosebumps! Then layer in the pop-off valves and their mighty expirations at every shift at speed. It lives.

    Dust off the clichés, round up the superlatives, put a spit shine on your astonishment. Mashing the throttle puts the rest of the world in freeze frame: Other cars can move laterally, but you control the advance and rewind button with the gas and brake pedals. The brakes are instant slo-mo. There’s more power here than holding the remote for the VCR.

    But does it really make one thousand horsepower? It hasn’t been dyno’ed, but Pirrone figures it this way; If it makes 380 bhp naturally aspirated-effectively at a pound or two vacuum-then at one bar, or 15 psi, it should make twice that, the engine as a pump processing twice the air and fuel. Add another half bar, for a total of 23 psi or so, and add another 190 bhp, for a total of 960 bhp. Figuring that the engine is built to handle 30 psi boost, 1000 hp is not out of reason. At least if you accept the premise.

    But does doubling the pressure then double the flow which then doubles horsepower? I don’t know and I can’t tell you. My seat of the pants dynamometer, remember, was lifted off the seat.

    Nothing is ever done alone. Doug Pirrone credits the following Berlinetta Motorcars personnel: Lee Stayton, design and fabrication engineering, mechanical assembly.

    Nino Volpe, all in-house machining. Ruben Rodriguez, sheetmetal design and fabrication, welding, fiberglass.

    Guy Dalton (Zul Broaching), specialty machining, engine and materials consultant.
    Berlinetta Motorcars Ltd.
    138 Railroad St.
    Huntington Station, NY 11746 (516) 423-1010

    TECH DATA 1995 #Ferrari-Testarossa-Berlinetta-Motorcars
    Vehicle type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-passenger, 2-door coupe.
    Price as tested: $275,000 (estimated 1995 new).
    Engine type: twin-turbocharged end intercooled DOHC 48-valve flat 12 #Colombo aluminium block and heads, #Haltech engine-control system with port fuel injection.
    Displacement 302 cu in. 4943cc
    Power (C/D estimate) 960-1000 bhp @ 6500 rpm
    Torque (C/D estimate) 800 Ib ft @ 4200 rpm
    Transmission 5-speed manual
    Wheelbase 100.4 in
    Length 176.6 in
    Curb weight 3781 lb
    Zero to 60 mph 3.0 sec
    Zero to 100 mph 7.3 sec
    Zero to 130 mph 11.1 sec
    Street start. 6 to 60 mph 4.1 sec
    Standing ¼ -mile 10.3 sec @ 135mph
    Top speed (C/D estimate) 250mph
    Braking, 70-0 mph 184 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad 0.88 g
    C/D observed fuel economy 11MPG
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  •   Craft Zetner reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    IN DETAIL CITROEN ID 19 FA FAMILY COMFORT 1967 Family, I love you

    Broadcast from May 1960, the range of derivatives breaks, family, commercial and ambulances ID has quickly been embraced, despite a relatively high sales prices. The reasons for this success? Almost identical performance to that of the sedan, an even better road holding (yes, that's possible!), An exceptional volume and unparalleled comfort. The model that we present is one of the last family ID 19. This is a pivotal version equipped with LHM, AV dual caliper brakes, but not the new facade in front lenticular lenses or engine 103 hp that will make him also change its name.

    Text Lamarque and Gaëtan peter fuchs - Photo Gaëtan Lamarque


    Tomorrow, I propose a new vehicle Citroën "announces a Pierre Franchiset excitedly to his wife. He returned the automobile Salon of 1957, where he discovered the Simca Marly, a station wagon derived from Versailles and largely inspired by what was done in the United States. Its modularity, its fixed roof gallery, tailgate in two parts, its accessories worthy of a saloon and exterior finishes have attracted so much that he decided to apply the recipe to the new DS. Result?

    Not one, but four versions made on the same basis: wagon, family, business and ambulance. And two types of finish, comfort or luxury, the essential difference being made on the upholstery, gray plastic for the first, or Helanca jersey for the second.

    Franchiset managed a pretty amazing feat by taking the entire front part of the saloon, without modification to the foot middle.

    The rear doors are equipped with windows a little higher and flat panels, armrests to the front doors were removed (they are however available as an option), the AR wings have been completely redesigned. They are even indented to be able to replace a wheel because they are fixed, the roof is sheet metal and it supports a gallery that can accept a load of 80 kg and the front part is wrapped with a plastic supposed to eliminate howling audible when driving at high speed ... The most original part of which is the RA. A split tailgate, the major character trait of station wagon. Its widely upper element impinges on the roof and is held open by a spring strut. The flap extends in the extension of flat floor and unveils a second license plate to satisfy finicky constabulary. The wide glass ceramic pano is Plexiglas, and there is no question of AR bumper but only two rubber pads under the wing lights arranged vertically.

    This is the ID 19 which provides technical package, with some changes: the spars of reinforcements, front and rear suspension arms bound, a hardened suspension, notably with RA spheres whose pressure is higher (37 kg / cm2 against 26 for the sedan) ... It took at least that to support the payload fixed at 500 kg but whose experience has proved it can be very much higher. For it is clear to everyone that these are the breaks and modularity that will form the bulk of sales (four breaks for family, ultimately).

    It is they who set the rules. The family that interests us, as her sisters aired from May 1960, and the bench gets AV three places in the break but a shortened rear bench, fixed and positioned further back. Between them, three folding jump seats, as on family Traction which it is based. It is an eight places ... The break too, but its folding seats are installed in the trunk. They do not face the road and are staggered.

    The model that we present is one of the latest vintage 1967 (No. 3535800, stopping in the sequence No. 3,535,816). He had to be produced bleach in early July 1967 (circulation 28), before the plant closes for the holidays, like 16 others who followed. And before are integrated bodywork modifications which have subsequently radically changed the look of DS (on lenticular lens headlights). He received all the developments in the career family: Double brake system (September 1961), with 84 hp engine coupled to the damper box with four synchronized gears appeared in September 1962 on the sedan (March 1963), AV seats separate optional (July 1963), new AV fairing (June 1965), rear window glass (in November 1965), LHM hydraulic brakes and dual front calipers (September 1966), larger section tailgate stand ( October 1966), oil pressure indicator coupled to the charge light (May 1967).

    It is finished and offers the Comfort front seats separated options (90 F Catalogue 1967), center armrest AV (50 F) and seat belts to the AV (120 F). Painted white Carrara AC 144 ME, garnishes are carnelian red jersey and beige imitation and gray carpets. A similar finish to that of break that illustrates the 1967 catalog and for which Delpire conducted a photo shoot with a couple and their five children in the forest. Sequence that deserved tribute shaped wink...

    Philippe and his family Pauchet Citroën ID 19, 1967 "a childhood memory"

    It is in building photos of her appeared in the Traction 7A 218 Philippe presented his another gem, this beautiful 19 Family circulating July 28, 1967, one of the latest vintage, production ending 16 numbers later! He has since August 1989. Since that day when the accident led to the collection Pollet, rue de Douai, Lille. "When I saw it, memories of my childhood are raised as a flood of emotions contained far. In the 60s, we went with the family on an almost identical model to visit my aunt in Saint-Nicolas-on Aa. Just got home, I took out the pictures and I told my wife Murielle. Buying a car is always two that it must be done. Anecdote in passing when I reviewed the pictures of the time, I noted the shape of the front turn signals and I admit I was surprised because they are oblong, as on US models.

    There must be an explanation, but I do not know. In short, I've dealt and I restarted. However, I had to replace the engine because it broke during a trip with my in-laws. This is where I discovered that it was not good. There was a "20" instead of 19 DY, that I hastened to correct. Since RAS. Only maintenance and yet we drive a lot with this Family. Its comfort is comparable to the best-equipped modern cars, performance remains excellent in the modern traffic and has an exceptional place! She, of course, aged and it will soon consider a thorough restoration, but for now, I want maximum..."


    Riveted plate indicating the type, serial number and gross weight.

    Screwed aluminum plate bearing the body number, in this case the 8.164e. This round pellet indicating hue appeared only from April 1964 all DS and ID models.

    To change the rear wheel, no need to remove the rear wing ... One of the advantages of the hydraulic suspension is that it maintains the plate of the car and the underbody height (46 cm "normal" position), regardless of the load.

    The green color of hydraulic components immediately indicates that we are dealing with the LHM (Hydraulic Fluid Mineral).

    The spheres suspension appeal to larger diameter cylinders and are tared much harder (37 kg / cm2 against 26).

    The battery has migrated to the right of the engine compartment at the time of this important change in September 1966.

    Even the high-pressure pump is entitled to its green color.

    TECHNICAL PASSPORT #1967 #Citroen-ID-19-Familiale-Confort / #Citroen-ID19 / #Citroen-ID / #Citroen-DS / #Citroen

    Engine 4 cylinders in line, overhead valves controlled by lateral camshaft driven by chain, lifters, rods and rocker arms. Cast iron block, alloy cylinder head, crankshaft five levels without damper
    Displacement: 1.985 cm3
    Bore x stroke: 86 x 85.5 mm
    Max Power: 84 hp SAE at 5250rpm
    Max torque 14.6 kg/m at 3500rpm SAE
    Compression ratio: 8: 1
    Power: an inverted #Weber carburetor body double 28x36 DDEE A2
    Ignition: 40-50 Ah 12V battery, coil and distributor
    Cooling: Liquid with radiator, water pump, nylon fan and thermostat.
    Transmission Drive-before - FWD
    Clutch: dry
    Transmission: 4-speed synchronized + MAR, lever driving
    Gear ratios: 1st: 0.3076 - 2nd: 0.5454 - 3rd: 0.8518 - 4th: 1.27727 - MAR: 0.317
    Bevel: 8 x 35, helical size.
    Self-supporting monocoque structure with safety rails and reinforced hull, flat floor
    Suspensions Front / Rear: four-wheel independent each provided with a hydropneumatic suspension assembly with integrated damper, anti-roll bars front / rear, correcting plate AV / AR
    Brakes: disc inboard front / rear drum, hydraulic, double circuit and distribution according to the load
    Handbrake: mechanical acting on the AV drives through an independent caliper
    Steering: hydraulically assisted rack
    Turning circle: 5.50 m
    Rims: 15 "five tocs fixing
    Tires: #Michelin-XAS 180 x 380
    Dimensions (L x W x H): 4,990 x 1,790 x 1,530 m
    Wheelbase: 3,125 m
    Routes front / rear: 1,500 / 1,300 m
    Curb Weight: 1345 kg
    Total weight: 2000 kg.
    Top speed: 155 km / h (manufacturer data model 1967)
    Consumption: 9.5 liters.
    September 1, 1966 - Aug. 31, 1967: Family 817
    Type ID 19 FA
    1967 Price: 15.200 F for family Luxury, 15,580 F for the Comfort family.

    The dimension of breaks, family and business took off in recent years. Do not expect to find a model more in good condition (which is already not easy) to less than 12 to 13,000 euros. Even more, it has never been restored and maintains all its original parts.

    In AV, finishing Comfort allowed to opt for two separate seats, replacing the seat three. All accompanied by an accessory: the center armrest.

    The option seatbelts worth the time more expensive than separate seats.

    As noted in the positioning of the gear lever, the family is entitled only to a manual gearbox.

    In this view, we understand why the AR Door sheet metal element does not need to be changed: only the window was resized. A nice way to make big savings.

    The ideal DS Club Hauts-de-France is only six years of existence but it unites around him more than 120 members of the Nord / Pas-de-Calais but also 21 French departments. The reasons for this success? A friendly and relaxed mind frankly, solidarity and mutual assistance as well as a permanent motto seriously applied: "All for one, one for all! "We were able to test throughout the development of this subject. They are grateful. Ideal Club DS Hauts-de-France, The Gap Valleys, 62490 Izelles- Equerchin. T.

    The outstanding feature of the family, are the three folding seats that extend and can accommodate three passengers. Once folded, they give off a huge space for two occupants of the bench AR. The design of the dashboard has been redesigned from the 1962 vintage.

    The bench AR was so remote that the wheel arches have forced engineers to reduce width and imagine "arms" that mask the side. It is hinged or fixed, the customer's choice.

    If the passenger door has an armrest, this is not the case of the driver.

    Unlike the sedan whose flag is made of resin, it is made of sheet with small stampings for stiffening it. He receives a fixed gallery whose upper front blade is wrapped. A device that was supposed to limit the whistling effect when the car is moving.

    This vintage appears on the new section of larger stand and can take two positions.

    We call this "Summer 1967". In the original picture, the children sit on two folding seats at the rear of the wagon or on the floor. On the family, the extra spaces are located in the middle of the car. We preferred the lower tailgate flap. A huge thank you to Perfect Model Management in Lille (Laetitia, Emilie, Emy and Melanie), the designer Nathalie Franquelin, the hairdresser, makeup artist Gaëlle Mennesson, adults mannequins Catherine and Nicolas Duchesne Lozina and children Clara Fauconnier, Juliette Edward Leo Godart, Noa Noa and Masclet Laniesse-Machin. Also thank you to Olivier Maes Aviation for shooting at the site of the airfield at Lille Marcq-en-Baroeul and Christophe Duval spun on funds.

    The articulation of the upper tailgate is masked by a stunning bezel designed by Flaminio Bertoni. Hint: the lid has a double license plate can roll down panel.
    Because of the flap, he could be arranged bumper RA. But two large rubber bumpers act.

    Pierre Franchiset has been remarkably successful stern with its panoramic window. It is amusing to recall that the prototypes had a glass model, approval of plexiglass having asked for time. This material will be eventually used as from May 1960 to November 1965.

    On the road, the family reached without much problem the 155 km/h. Superb performance, despite a shorter bridge than the sedan and a significant overweight (20% more)!
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    DARK SHARK #1998 #BMW-Zeemax-ZM8 #BMW-850CSi-E31

    The #BMW-850CSi-Zeemax-ZM8 by #Ian-Kuah . Long, low and wide, it glides past like the biggest, baddest shark you have ever seen. But this predatory beast is no denizen of the deep. It is the Zeemax ZM8, Barry Herman's latest creation and arguably his best effort yet.

    As BMW 8-Series E31 conversions go, the ZM8 succeeds where others have failed. By comparison, the Koenig KS8 is the most spectacular looking of the bunch but may be too far over the top for most tastes. At the other end of the scale, the offerings of the mainstream BMW tuners look just like 8-Series with body styling addenda hung on. Which, when all is said and done, is exactly what they are.

    In the past, Barry has been noted as a master of plastic surgery, using composites and sometimes GRP for his styling add-ons. For this car however, he abandoned the scalpel in favour of the time-honoured method of coachbuilding. This time, the wide wheelarches on the ZM8 are handcrafted from sheet steel!

    “I wanted to do something special for BMW's most special car,” Barry explained “It was a question of making the modifications as homogenous as possible and I felt that using the same maternal as the original car was the only way."

    This prototype is based on a #1993 #BMW-850CSi #E31 , and is actually the second car to receive the #BMW-E31-ZM8 treatment. Barry began work on the car back in May, but when a customer rang up and wanted his 8-Series #BMW-E31 done, it naturally took priority and became the first car. Because of this and other pressing work, the demonstrator took five months to finish. That sounds like a long time in anyone’s book, but in fact the sporadic development process also involved the design of both narrow and wide body versions. The narrow body car is quite subtle by comparison so you don't need a PhD in rocket science to see why the latter has aroused the most interest.

    The car is 100mm (or about 2.5 inches) wider per side, giving the ZM8 the demeanour of a slickly attired night club bouncer. The muscles are there all right, but they have been expertly tailored away by Armani.

    Pilling out these huge arches is no mean task for the purveyors of wide rubber. 245/40ZR-18 and 295/35ZR-I8 Pirelli P-Zeroson 9.5 and 1 1 x 18-inch Mk Motorsport alloys do the job nicely ”I tried 335/30ZR-18s on the rear wheels,” Barry explained. "But they proved too wide and looked like dough-nuts!" The suspension is lowered and upgraded courtesy of Elbach springs and Bilstein dampers.

    “A customer's car would take four weeks to do from start to finish, and that includes two weeks to make, fit, prepare and paint the new steel wings,"' Barry explained. “It is a totally labour intensive operation that involves fitting the new front and rear aprons and side skirts on to define the outline. Then the original arches arc cut along the body crease line, the metal bent outwards slightly, and sheets of new galvanised material shaped and welded in.”

    You may ask the question about rust protection as the welding process damages the sacrificial zinc coating on the galvanised steel. We go to great lengths to avoid any corrosion problems," said Barry. “We rub down and zinc coat the affected areas straight away, prime and paint them and then apply a wax underseal.

    The new front spoiler that gives the ZM8 its aggressive new face is made from Kevlar reinforced composites. "I designed it to have the largest possible opening to emphasise its aggressive look and let as much air as possible reach the radiator.' Barry explained. “The ducts on each side of the main intake are for the brakes and these are designed to receive trunking to feed cooling air to the brakes. We just did not have time to fit them to this car.”

    The lower part of the rear valence is designed to create a venturi effect to help downforce at speed and smooth air separation from the rear of the car. It also has cut-outs for the four pipe Remus twin silencer exhaust. "We also do our own stainless steel system which has four round pipes." said Barr)', “this makes a lovely sound and will probably outlast the car!"

    A trademark Zeemax rear window spoiler is fitted, but this one is rather more low key than usual. Also subtle is the neat bootlid trailing edge spoiler. “When I looked at the shape of the car very closely. I realised that any form of large rear spoiler would be horrible, said Barry. “If something is to be added at the rear, it really has to flow with the body. So I drew a gentle line that flicked upwards on my sketch. and then we moulded a prototype from filler. This worked a treat and the result is what you sec on this car." The spoiler is glued on to the bootlid and is additionally secured by two bolts that fit the holes left by the original factory spoiler. The end caps arc glued to the rear wings.

    Resplendent in its metallic green paintwork, the ZM8 also benefits from one of Barry's famous total retrims. “We were initially thinking of respraying the car in British Racing Green and having a tan interior, but luckily that idea was tossed out. bar too predictable. Instead, we stuck with the #BMW colour and I ret rimmed the interior in red leather and picked up the exterior colour on the carpets and set them off with red piping.”

    The BMW 8-Series has always been one of the most attractive and dynamic shapes on the road. Unfortunately, it cost too much as a new car to ever capture a traction of the market its long-lamented relative, the 6-Series, had established. The upside however, is that the resulting soft residuals make it an attractive pre-owned buy for those who want a sensational looking car for reasonable money.

    It also means that nobody is too fussy about modifying a car which has a long way to go before it can attain classic status. ’The 8-Series may be relatively rare, but if you love its looks and want a car that will really turn heads, then the Zeemax conversion is a prime destination on the road to individuality.

    The #Zeemax The Old Thatch Caston Road Griston Thetford
    Norfolk 1P256QD 01953 883 844 01953 883 491 fax
    U.S. Importer: Stephens Motorsport 1801b Empire Industrial Ct. Santa Rosa, 95403 (707)569-1309 (415) 332-7343 fax
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    All together - #1990 #Honda-NSX against #Porsche-911-Carrera-2-964 and #Lotus-Esprit-SE-Turbo , #Ferrari 348tb . Honda’s first supercar versus Europe’s best. #Porsche-911-Carrera-2 #Porsche-911-Carrera #Porsche-911-964 #Porsche-964 #Ferrari-348tb #Lotus-Esprit-SE

    If you can beat them, join them. Fresh from whipping Ferrari. #Porsche and #Lotus on the track - which the ad-men keep telling us is the 'ultimate' challenge - Honda now wants to join them on the road. And why not? Despite the magic names, engineering finesse, and all those years of tradition and hype, there is no sensible reason why Honda replete both with cash and talent - can't try to tackle the supercar sacred cows.

    Much of testing done on Durham moors, where both #Ferrari and Lotus were hard work at speed.

    It has gone about building a supercar in a different way from Ferrari or Porsche or Lotus, as you'd expect. You can bet that the new #Honda NSX. Honda's and Japan’s first supercar, cost many times more to develop than Ferrari's equally new 348. And you can bet it will earn its maker less money (if any at all), for profit is not the point of the NSX. It’s all about image; all about cashing in on the success of Honda’s formula one programme, and making the world view the Civics and Concertos and Accords in a new, more respectful light.

    How can the Honda NSX be as profitable as a #Ferrari-348 , when it costs about £15,000 less to buy in Britain (£52,000 versus £67,499), and yet is built of more costly materials (an aluminium alloy monocoque and body, plus absolutely gorgeous forged alloy suspension components) and has more high-tech mechanicals?

    The Ferrari and Honda are the new cars here, but who would dare dismiss the two old-timers? The #Porsche-911 may well be the oldest sports car in the world but, for most of its 26 years, it has been, in my view, the best. And jus; a year ago it received the most comprehensive revamp in its history. Many new body panels, a brand-new engine (but still a flat-six, still air-cooled), yet all the old-time charm. It’s still not bad value, either, at £45,821 (even if, as with all Porsches, it’s much cheaper in most other markets).

    The #Lotus-Esprit made its debut back in 1976, was Improved by a turbo engine in 1981, and competed hard with the Ferraris and Porsches for a while. Then its act floundered in the mid to late '80s, shackled by insufficient development funds. But, just over a year ago, the financially revitalised company (bought by General Motors) announced the SE variant, the best Esprit of all. And one of the fastest supercars ever: offering Lamborghini Countach-busting performance, now for £44,900.

    Deserted Durham Moorland Road, bright sunny day. Ferrari 348tb underneath you. What better, more invigorating way to travel? The quad-cam 3.4-iitre 32-valve V8 engine, good for 300bhp, and just a few inches behind you. serenades with its magic; the little yellow Prancing Horse shield on the steering wheel boss does a jig on the bumps and undulations, animate like the rest of the car; and all around you is the most gracefully simple cabin you'll ever sit in.

    It is not like driving a normal car; that is the charm of a Ferrari. Always has been. There is a delicacy, an intimacy, about the car. You can feel the cogs mesh when you change gear. You can sense the pads biting the big discs when you push the middle pedal. The right pedal is even more responsive: a millimetre of throttle movement means a discernible difference in speed, a quantifiable change in that wonderful engine note, which always rides with you - always reminding you (even when you may want peace and quiet, such as on a long run) that you are driving something quite different from a Ford or a Vauxhall (or a Honda).

    The keen throttle response is crucial to the car’s character. Apart from the 911, the Ferrari is the only car here that can really be steered on the throttle (aided by its short wheelbase, which helps a car's propensity to change direction quickly). Turn into a corner, using the steering, and the throttle control car, fine-tune the attitude of the car. If the nose is running a little wide (unlikely, for the Ferrari has the best turn-in of the group), you can adjust it by backing off. Want the nose to run a little wider? Simple, squeeze on more power, and observe the whole handling composure change. The throttle of a Ferrari does so much more than merely make it go fast.

    And then when it s over, when you’ve driven the Ferrari hard and fast, when you have enjoyed a moment of driving pleasure rare in today's sanitised world, you can get out and just look at the car. It’s a piece of sculpture, a thing of beauty. Try as the others do, no-one can make a supercar as beautiful as the Italians. The 348 is one of the loveliest Ferraris.

    After driving the Ferrari, you won't believe that anything could be better. No other car, surely, can give that close conjunction between driver and car; or the intimate relationship between the car and the road. None of the others is a Ferrari. Who else but the Italians could make so expressive a machine?

    Well, none of the others can: let's make that clear right away. Which is not to say, they can't win this comparison: there is more to a supercar's repertoire than the richness of the driving experience, important though that is.

    The Lotus is not tied down to the road as tightly, and its turbo four-cylinder engine - which actually produces more straight-line urge than any other car here - is smooth and refined. But it has no music, no magic, and th8 throttle response of a turbo car is never good.

    Porsche’s 911 is the only German sports car on sale now with real spirit, real élan, partly because it's old, and was conceived before the Germans got carried away by science. But, characterful old car though it is, it doesn't serenade you with the same richness as the Ferrari.

    What chance do the Japanese have of matching the vivacity of a Ferrari? They have certainly shown no signs of being able to breathe life into machinery before. Besides, how can Honda, maker of blue-rinse saloons, suddenly hope to produce a red-blooded sports car?

    The Japanese can't pull their old trick - of measuring all the rivals, copying in some cases, refining in most of the others - this time. You can't measure a Ferrari's virtues, let alone copy them - any more than you can analyse Mozart's music or Shakespeare's plays and. thereby, hope to duplicate them. Some things cannot be measured: neither the Japanese nor the Germans have learnt this.

    Okay, so the Honda isn't as much fun to drive as the Ferrari, cither. So be it. But when you put your brightest engineers onto a project (and there are no brighter bunch than Honda's), employ your finest workmen to build the car in a brand-new factory, and come straight out and say, hang the cost, we are going to build the best supercar in the world, and we don't give a monkey's whether it makes money for us or not because it's jolly good for our image, you've got to take them seriously. The NSX may not interact with you as richly as the Ferrari. But that doesn't mean it's not as good.

    On that wonderful Durham road, drive the new Honda NSX. Power comes from a 3.0-litre, quad-cam 274bhp VS, enriched by variable valve timing and variable valve lift thus, on paper, offering terrific low-end tractability and lively big-rev performance - it's red-lined at 8000rpm.

    Feels like a normal car at first. No intimidation. You don’t have to climb over a massively wide sill (which helps duct air to the mid-mounted twin water radiators of the 348) nor do you have to climb down into the seat, having vaulted a high sill, as you do in the claustrophobic cabin of the Esprit.

    It just feels like a normal car. A CRX almost, except you're sitting lower, and the windscreen is deeper, and the tail higher. You don't have to steel yourself, prepare yourself, for a new and vastly different experience. You just get in (entry and exit is easy), sit straight-ahead (none of the askew nonsense that the other three demand, thanks to the absence of front wheel-arch intrusion), adjust the steering wheel to suit (it's the only one with reach and rake adjustment) and go.

    And go fast! Faster, on any winding moorland road, than the other three. Easter to drive fast, what's more. The softer and more yielding nature of the suspension (double wishbones all round, although unlike the Ferrari's prosaic steel set-up. the Honda's are by elegantly forged aluminium alloy arms) means the car has nothing like the Ferrari's nervousness on sinuous British moors - about the only public roads where, in this country, cars like this can be pushed hard

    Whereas the Ferrari feels fidgety, a little headstrong, the Honda just absorbs the bumps and crests and dips as it charges insouciantly on its way. Unless you take real risks, or unless you have the skill of a Senna, the Honda is the quicker A-to-B public road tool. And that surprised us all.

    Yes, it floats a little more on the crests and, yes, its wheels don't enjoy quite the same close relationship with the tarmac that the Ferrari's huge and beautiful 17-inch alloys enjoy. And the steering - the least sharp of all these cars, and the one that weights up most at speed - doesn't chatter to you the whole time, talking to you, blabbering away.

    Mind you, like most hyperactive things, the Ferrari's steering can get tiresome. On long trips you may curse the 348's wrist-jarring character, and the slight high-speed nervousness, preferring a quieter, gentler companion.

    But it's fast, this Honda. Seriously fast. In real terms, quicker than the Ferrari, both on the public road and, as we discovered before venturing to Durham, quicker on the racing circuit as well. On the track, at Castle Combe, the NSX was the quickest of the bunch (best lap, 1 min 14.4, compared with 1min 15.3 for the 348). What's more, it was the easiest car to drive on the bumpy Wiltshire track. You could lap all day at the NSX's best time, no fuss, no worry, no danger of spinning off and bending expensive aluminium alloy bodywork on crude steel barriers.

    Not so the Ferrari. It is much harder work, at the Combe, just as it is on a winding moorland road. It's firmer sprung, more of a racer, much more throttle-responsive, a car that wants to duck and weave. It has to be manhandled, quite physically, to make it go fast (heavy steering, heavy clutch, heavy slow-shifting gearchange, heavy brakes). It taxes and tests you. Drive the Ferrari fast-very fast - and you’ll sweat. The Honda is easy. Impressively, antiseptically easy.

    The NSX will understeer at the limit, in a safe, controllable way that will frighten no buyer (whether they be serious racers, or poseurs who want nothing other than a pretty set of wheels). Stray near to the 348’s (very high) limits and you can just start to feel the rear - so well anchored down at medium-high speeds – getting pendulous. Push a little harder and you'll be doing a blood-curdling, no-holds- barred, oversteer slice which will look wonderful (if you don’t lose control) and feel wonderful (if you don't lose control). And while all this excitement is going on, the Honda will be going just as fast, in its unexciting understeering way.

    On a less bumpy circuit than Castle Combe, the Ferrari would almost certainly have matched the Honda’s lap time. The asperity of the Castle Combe surface upset the nervous disposition of the Italian car: its steering kicked our wrists, and it seemed to be darting around, nervously and uncomfortably, even on straights. Its very firm suspension - the Ferrari has noticeably less body roll than its rivals, and the biggest tyres - does it no favours at a circuit like the Combe. You can tell the car has been set up for Ferrari's glass-smooth test circuit.

    The Porsche got nearest to matching the Honda's lap time at the Combe (best lap. 1min 14.9), and got nearest to matching the Ferrari's entertainment value on the Durham moors. What an extraordinary sports car the 911 is! Despite its age, and its unprepossessing mechanical layout (it is the only car of the group without a mid-mounted engine; instead its motor sits out the back, out there in no man's land, where no self-respecting modern engineer would ever consider siting the engine of a modern car), the 911 competes hard and fast against a brand-new Ferrari, and the mightiest effort yet from Japan’s boldest car maker.

    Its great virtue soon becomes apparent, when you take up station behind the wheel. It's small. How refreshing to find a supercar maker that realises you can have speed and presence without length and girth. But how depressing that Porsche knew this 30 years ago, but seems to have forgotten it now (judging by the Sumo-sized girth of its more recent offerings, such as the ungainly 928).

    The 911 is actually slightly longer than the 348 (the shortest but yet widest car here), but almost 10 inches narrower. It is six inches narrower than the NSX. Less body width means you've got more road space to play with; it’s a big difference. On a narrow B road, this Porsche has no peer. Even on the wider Durham moorland roads, its manoeuvrability, its lissomness, is entertainingly impressive.

    As with both the 348 and the NSX, the 911 has a pearl of an engine. Capable of pulling from about 800rpm in fifth gear (the Honda can dig even deeper into its rev range), and yet perfectly composed when the rev limiter silences it just before 7000rpm (it feels as though it could rev much, much higher, were it allowed), the 3.6-litre flat six is the feeblest engine in the comparison (250bhp), but doesn’t feel it.

    The 911 964 is marginally Quicker than the 348, in the standing start figures (0 60mph in 5.3sec, Ferrari 5.6; 0-100mph in 12.8sec, Ferrari 13.0). It’s faster than the Honda, too which, despite its speed on the track and on the road, is the tardiest off the mark (0-60 in 5.7sec, and 0-100 in 13.1). Next to the 348, the 911's engine feels the most throttle-responsive. There is absolutely no slack m that throttle pedal and. when you're tanking on, the car's cornering attitude can be beautifully manipulated by the accelerator pedal.

    Next to the Ferrari’s, the Porsche’s steering is the most communicative, the one that delivers the richest messages to the driver. What's more, it's better damped than the 348's, doing without the kickback and frenzy. With just over two turns lock to lock, it’s the highest-geared set-up too. Don’t let the power assistance, standards ware on the Carrera 2, put you off: although a useful adjunct at parking speeds, it deadens none of the high-speed sensations.

    No car is better made, either, although the Ferrari - beautifully solid and superbly finished - comes closest. The Honda is not Quite as good, and, during our week-long test, was the only car to give trouble: it ran on five cylinders for a bit, and its traction-control system (one of the many technical novelties of this most technically intriguing car) started to misbehave, before correcting itself.

    The 911 has the best brakes. Apart from the Ferrari, they have the most feel, and they stood up to fast laps of Castle Combe with greater decorum than any rival (the Honda's are closest for fade-free behaviour).

    Next to the NSX, the 911 was also the easiest car to punt on the racing track, and on those sinuous Durham moors. It is a forgiving car, unless conditions are damp (when all that weight over the tail can betray it). It has the best ride quality, marginally edging out the Honda (the Ferrari is easily the firmest; the Lotus is supple yet noisy when wheelsdrop in and out of holes). The steering; the throttle response: the excellent grip; the terrific visibility (top marks hero, although the NSX and the 348 are not far behind): the wieldiness. They all add up to make the Porsche a fast and easy high-speed drive, as well as an exhilarating one.

    But the Porsche has one serious shortcoming, compared with the Ferrari and Honda. Pressing on, it feels less stable. It rolls more, it (eels more on tippy toe. its front wheels have less of a grip on the road. And, at very high speed, the Porsche gets light at the nose. It gave one of our testers a helluva scare on the high-speed bowl at Millbrook, where we did the performance testing. It's a corollary of that rear engine, of course.

    The Lotus has its engine in the right place, but it doesn't have the right engine. A good turbo (and by turbo standards, it is geed) just cannot hack it with three of the best normally aspirated engines ever made. True, it revs briskly and smoothly to 7300rpm red-line. And it packs a mighty wallop - all from 2.2 litres and only four cylinders (it's good for 264bhp). But it matters little whence it came; what matters is how it gees.

    Drive hard on a public road, and the engine drifts on and off boost, denying you the Instant acceleration always available in the other three. There is far less engine braking, too, another corollary of turbo engines - and that means you cannot delicately balance the car's handling by using the accelerator pedal. To boot, the gearchange is easily the worst of the four (our test car. not the finest Esprit SE we have tested, had a really vague shift) and the engine got boo my on the motorway.

    More surprising is how far behind the others is the Esprit's chassis. On Castle Combe, the car understeered badly when pressing on: the main reason its lap time was the worst (best: 1min 15.6sec). On the Durham moors, the front end never felt securely tied down, the steering feeling peculiarly lifeless. The brakes felt dead, although they worked well enough. It just didn't compete, this Lotus, in any area other than straight-line urge (0-60mph in 4.7 sec, 0-100mph in 11.9 - the best of the bunch). Given all the nice things we’ve said about the SE, this car was a major disappointment. It finishes a poor fourth in this comparison.

    Less disappointing was the Esprit’s interior, if only because we already knew this was pretty awful. The Lotus gets plenty of leather - although it's not of the same quality as the Ferrari's Connolly hides - and seats which look inviting, once you can get into them (access is horribly limited, owing to the insufficient sweep of the door, and to the high sills you have to hurdle). But what really spoils the show is the appalling quality switchgear, no better than you'd get on an average kit car.

    The door handles come from an Austin 1800, the column stalks have a second-rate feel and action, and the VDO instruments are too small, and badly sited. The walnut facia also looks rather tacked on: token arborealism, a crude attempt to give the cabin more class. Inside, the Esprit shows its age.

    So does the Porsche. The 911’s cabin is easily its weakest suit - an important consideration, after all that's where you'll be spending most of your time in this car's company. The seats look cheap and lack both lateral and thigh support, the dashboard is a mess (you have to grope for some of the fiddly switches, scattered willy-nilly all over the cabin), the steering wheel doesn't look anything special (although it feels nice enough, and is well sized), there is no left foot rest (a major omission on a performance car), and some of the trim standard is dire (most prominently that awful Elastoplast that is the roof lining). Given so much of this car was changed during its metamorphosis into a Carrera 2 last year, why did not the Stuttgart engineers do anything about the car’s most glaring weakness? At least the switches and the whole cabin have a chunkiness and a solidity rare today.

    The Honda also has a disappointing cabin. It’s dashboard has a nice sculpture, and the seats are easily the most comfortable and supportive of this group. The cockpit is roomier than the Ferrari's (although it lacks the 343's rear parcel shelf) and the Lotus’s. And the pedals are perfectly placed, good for heel ’n’ toeing, well spaced, and supplemented by a wide left foot brace.

    But the whole thing just looks so ordinary. You don’t get those lovely hides of the Ferrari, which feel and smell so good. The leather you do get is the second-rate stuff, which may as well be top-quality vinyl. The dash is swathed in cheap-feeling plastic (don’t be fooled by the genuine stitching), and the carpets are nothing special. The roof lining is cheap plastic, so disappointing on a car of this worth.

    There’s nothing wrong with the big, boldly displayed instruments - never mind that they look as though they're from lesser Hondas: many Ferrari switches are from Fiats - but there's plenty wrong with the satellite control pods, either side of the wheel. It's a variation on the Citroen CX theme and, like any copy of a wonderful original, is nowhere near as good. The arrangement looks messy, and is not easy to use. The hard plastic switches have a poor tactility, as well. You just don’t feel as though you're somewhere special, when you’re ensconced in the NSX. It’s a shame, because you are: this Honda is a wonderful car.

    If I've sounded less than effusive about it so far, that is entirely intentional. It is not an effusive sort of car: instead, it s a massively competent one, a car whose strengths can be rationally explained. They are many.

    On most public roads, and on the race track, it is the quickest. It is the most comfortable car all round (best seats, and a surprisingly supple ride). It is the most restful on a motorway. It is the easiest and least demanding to drive fast, an utterly unintimidating mid-engined supercar that really could be used for shopping at Sainsbury's, were its boot bigger. It has the most benign high-speed handling, and is almost impossible to unsettle in sharp lift-off manoeuvres performed mid-corner. It is the most technically intriguing, and has the juiciest mechanical detailing. Those forged aluminium alloy wishbones are mechanical artistry. And it proved the most economical on test (23.0 mpg; Porsche 21.6; Ferrari 20.2; Lotus 19.7).

    There is no avoiding it: the #NSX is a breakthrough, a supercar that furrows new ground. How can a car with so many compelling virtues be anything other than the best? It can't be. And it is. It’s better than the Ferrari, and by some margin.

    And better than the 911, by an even bigger one. Honda has done a formula one, in the supercar field.

    Yet, I just don’t want one; it's not special enough. It doesn't look that good, to my eye: rather like a poor pastiche of a Ferrari. Honda's boldness seemed to have run out, when it came to the styling. But, much more important driving the NSX just isn't enough of an event. By exorcising that lovely sensitivity and nervousness endemic in a mid-engined car. Honda has partly negated the point of buying a mid-engined car. It just doesn't interact with you richly enough; it doesn't bewitch you, intoxicate you, win you over, warts and all.

    The 348 and the 911 do. They are special cars, and driving them is a special experience. You will savour every occasion you punt these cars hard on a deserted road, even if you may not be going as fast as the NSX driver. You may have to exert more effort, but so what? That’s what sporting cars are supposed to be about. You have to drive the 348 and the Porsche 911 964, instead merely of letting a wonderful car do the work for you.

    Of the pair, the Ferrari wins - if you can afford the extra 20-odd thousand pounds, and can wait five years to take delivery. There is nothing like it. It communicates so richly, involves you so completely. And. when you have finished driving it - cocooned in that exquisite cockpit - you can get out and feast your eyes on one of the loveliest cars ever designed.

    Honda and Porsche (left) easiest cars to drive quickly on moor roads. They're most supple.

    Porsche more on tippy-toe at speed than rivals, but is still prodigiously fast on winding road. Lotus understeers doggedly, steering mushy at speed.

    Lotus gels masses of leather in cabin, but controls look cheap, and visibility is bad. Flat front screen gets bad dash reflections.

    Nice steering wheel (although It's non-adjustable), but instruments too small, scattered about facia almost at random. But car feels special.

    Ventilation controls are typical of poor quality switchgear.

    Poor fit of sunroof. Esprits now better built, but not as good as rivals.

    Ferrari is flattest handling, fools most like racer, but gets nervous at the limit. Honda is inveterate understeerer, lacks throttle sensitivity of 348.

    Steering wheel looks nothing special but it fools good, and the steering itself is sharp and communicative. Crummy switchgear.

    Porsche cabin is unsatisfactory. Seals look cheap, and arc uncomfortable on long runs. Only car in group with roar chairs.

    Radio has removable front which deactivates unit. Very easy to carry.

    Rear chairs have fold-forward squabs, to increase carrying versatility.

    Porsche rolls more than rivals, understeers most of time, except when it’s wet. Lotus feels good at medium-high speed, less so when going hard.

    Porsche's engine biggest (3.6 litres) but least powerful (250bhp).

    Lotus has only 2.2-litres, yet delivers 264bhp, thanks to intercooled turbo.

    0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 30-80
    Ferrari 2.1 3.0 4.3 5.6 6.9 9.0 10.9 13.0 6.9
    Honda 2.1 3.0 4.3 5.7 7.1 8.5 10.9 13.1 6.1
    Lotus 1.8 2.5 3.6 4.7 6.3 8.0 9.8 11.9 6.2
    Porsche 2.0 3.1 4.1 5.3 6.9 8.6 10.5 12.8 6.0

    IN FOURTH GEAR (sec)
    20-40 30-50 40-60 50-70 60-80 70-90 80-100
    Ferrari 5.8 5.2 5.1 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.7
    Honda 5.7 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.6 6.0
    Lotus 8.8 5.9 4.3 4.1 3.9 4.0 4.4
    Porsche 5.7 53 5.3 5.3 5.2 5.4 5.5

    TOP SPEED (mph)
    Ferrari 169
    Honda 164
    Lotus 159
    Porsche 161

    Ferrari 1:15.3
    Honda 1:14 4
    Lotus 1:15.6
    Porsche 1:14.9
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  •   Chris Rees reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Real life detective’s 25-year stretch in the workshop. Police, Spanners, Action - #Audi ! DCI Paul Moor bought his 1985 #Audi-Quattro when it was almost new, but it took PC to bring it back from the ashes.

    A Detective Chief Inspector, with a red Audi Quattro? Where have we seen that before? Our intrepid restorer DCI Paul Moor is a million miles away from the fly-by-night Gene Hunt character in the TV series Ashes to Ashes, but the car similarities are uncanny. ‘You can imagine the ribbing I get from my colleagues as I park my shiny red Quattro in the ‘DCI’ parking spot at work,’ he laughs. Paul bought his Quattro back in 1989 when he was a young copper. Gene Hunt hadn’t yet been invented, and his Audi was barely four years old. ‘I was keen on aeroplanes until I bought a Ford Cortina,’ says Paul. ‘Then it was just, cars, cars, cars.’ Police officer or not, Paul was just like any teenager of the time, ragging around his knackered old Ford. ‘I thrashed it and blew the engine,’ Paul laughs. ‘I didn’t have any money, so I bought a manual and rebuilt it myself – I had no choice.’ This started an obsession with learning how things work, and more crucially, how to fix them when they didn’t. ‘I had a raft of Fords, but one day I saw an Audi 100 on the way to see my girlfriend,’ he says. When Paul realised he could afford it, the Audi mould was set. After the 100 followed a 200, then a GT, then a Coupe GT, then a #Audi-200-Quattro , but the car Paul really wanted was a Turbo Quattro. ‘My mates and I followed the Lombard RAC rally each year, camping in the forests. Seeing Quattros thundering through Kielder was life-changing.’

    Cars came and went, with Paul buying problem vehicles, fixing them and selling them on. By 1989, he’d saved enough to buy the best broken Quattro he could. ‘This car was for sale in a small Derbyshire village. It had always been garaged and had done just 40,000 miles. I bought it for £15,000 – it was only four years old.’ The owner had spent a fortune on the car trying, and failing, to find a misfire that manifested itself over 4000rpm. ‘That was the problem with the Quattro, they were so advanced no-one knew what to do with them. Not even the main dealers.’

    Paul delved into the Quattro, eventually finding the problem. ‘One of the wires had come off the air mass sensor, and someone had fitted the two wires on the throttle housing switch the wrong way around,’ says Paul. ‘When you hit the throttle the car thought it was at idle, and vice-versa.’ It was underfuelling too. ‘The dealer had replaced the fuel pump at a vast cost, but I discovered a kinked fuel line was the cause – an easy fix.’ With the problems sorted, Paul’s Audi was flying again.

    ‘My colleagues named it The Beast, so I bought a number plate with 666 in it!’ The Audi came into its own when Paul did his advanced response driving course. ‘We were using a Rover Sterling and a BMW 5-Series. The instructor was telling us how quick these cars were and how well they handled,’ says Paul. ‘Then my mate piped up from the back of the class: “They’re not as good as Paul’s car.” I took one of the instructors out in it at lunchtime, and he agreed!’ It wasn’t all plain sailing though.

    ‘One day a Fiesta van beat me at the lights and I thought: “This isn’t right.” It turned out that part of the exhaust manifold had sheared and stopped the turbo from spinning.’ Paul took it to a main dealer who charged him £100 to tell him that the turbo wasn’t spinning. ‘I’d already told them that! It was at this juncture that I started doing all of the servicing and repairs myself.’ But in 1993, a problem arose that Paul just couldn’t resolve.

    ‘The brakes would get spongy to the point of failure. Bleeding sorted it for it a week or so, but it would come back.’ After a frustrating few months and after replacing the brake lines, seals, flexi pipes and finally the master cylinder, Paul conceded defeat, parked the Audi in the garage ‘for a couple of months,’ and bought a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Subsequent house moves saw it shunted from garage to garage until 2000. ‘The Internet was just taking off and ‘One day a Fiesta van beat me at the lights and I thought: “This isn’t right.” It turned out that part of the exhaust manifold had sheared and stopped the turbo from spinning.’ Paul took it to a main dealer who charged him £100 to tell him that the turbo wasn’t spinning. ‘I’d already told them that! It was at this juncture that I started doing all of the servicing and repairs myself.’ But in 1993, a problem arose that Paul just couldn’t resolve.

    ‘The brakes would get spongy to the point of failure. Bleeding sorted it for it a week or so, but it would come back.’ After a frustrating few months and after replacing the brake lines, seals, flexi pipes and finally the master cylinder, Paul conceded defeat, parked the Audi in the garage ‘for a couple of months,’ and bought a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Subsequent house moves saw it shunted from garage to garage until 2000. ‘The Internet was just taking off and there was more information readily available.’

    Paul traced the problem to a corroded the brake compensator valve. It was letting air in but wasn’t rusty enough to let fluid out. Buoyed by this, Paul replaced the corroded oil lines and got the car running again, but a further house move saw the car return to the garage. Years passed until the project was reignited again.

    By now the 2008 BBC TV drama Ashes to Ashes had raised the profile of the Quattro. Then Paul got wind of our Quattro project in PC. ‘I read Gervais’ Sagas with interest, as you were suffering the same running problems that I did with mine back in the day, so I wrote in to help out.’ Paul decided that it was time to get his car back on the road, so began to strip it down. ‘It started off with the engine. The manifold studs were corroded, so I removed them. Then before I knew it, I was looking at a bare block.’ Fortunately, Paul had been collecting parts over the years. At the time he was working as a Police Interceptor and would see a crash damaged Audi 200 Quattro on his way to work. He enquired after the car, and got a call from a guy named Swampy, who owned the wreck.

    ‘I knew the 200 had a lot of compatible parts. Swampy was lovely and was fi ne with me breaking it for spares where it was,’ says Paul. ‘We kept in touch and he’d let me jet wash parts there when I was restoring my car.’ The 200 had a much better head than the one on Paul’s Quattro, so he swapped the bits over. ‘I Frankensteined my original cam into the 200 head and lapped the valves in on a bench in the garden.’

    New core plugs, piston rings, bearings, Paul replaced the lot. The fuel injection system was taken down into component form and everything was painstakingly cleaned, repaired then zinc plated. ‘When I’d finished the engine looked beautiful but the car didn’t, so I got the idea to make it as good as the Audi press car used in all of the brochures that I’d collected over the years.’ This was no mean feat, as the press car, also red, had only 15 miles on the clock when the promotional photos were shot. Three years of hard work followed. Paul stripped the car, dropped the subframes, and painstakingly rebuilt every component, replacing all of the fastenings with stainless steel, powder coating and polyurethane bushing the suspension and rebuilding the cloth seats. Then Paul decided to fit a leather interior he’d pulled out of a crashed Quattro in a scrap yard years before, so had to do it all over again. ‘I read about this stuff called hydrophane oil in PC, which revived the cracked old leather a treat. I then mist sprayed it in my garden using a compressor and a special leather dye to change the colour from brown to black.’

    The best thing about the leather interior was it hadn’t been messed around with – the door cards and parcel shelf hadn’t been cut. Paul decided to have the car painted in two-pack, for that super glossy look. ‘I’d known the guys in the bodyshop for years and they’re really classic friendly. They let me strip the car back to bare metal myself using a DA sander.’ As the car had been garaged and off the road for so many years, the body was remarkably rust free, requiring only a smattering of welding.

    With the shell painted and returned, Paul began the task of plumbing it all back together. ‘Everything is vacuum driven, the warm up system, the diff locks; there are so many vacuum pipes! And there are loads of sensors. I had to go through it all.’ The Quattro is perhaps the last modern classic to be individually wired, rather than employing a multiplex system. Paul spent weeks with a multimeter and large colour diagrams printed out from the late Phil Paynes’ excellent Quattro website. The dashboard voice synthesiser module was a particular challenge.

    On Thursday June 12, 2014 Paul’s Quattro passed its first MoT since 1997 – just two days before its shake down run to the Le Mans 24-Hour race. ‘I’ve been going to Le Mans for 25 years, and it was great to get there in the Quattro again. I painted the wheels the morning we left – they dried on the way there!’ And is the car as good as Paul remembers it being when he bought it 26 years ago? ‘Even today they’re quick cars, and the technology in them is genuinely useful – you can switch the ABS off if you’re driving in snow, for example, as ABS actually hinders braking distance and control in those conditions. It’s clever yet considered stuff, not like modern cars!’

    What’s it like to drive? by Neil Campbell.

    Ok, I’m nervous. This is a powerful car, owned by a DCI, and I’ve recently been busted for speeding. I remember driving the PC Quattro but Paul’s is beyond comparison. It’s brawny, it’s extremely fast and the five-cylinder howl is without compararison. Unlike our old Quattro, it all works properly. Even the entertaining yet slighty creepy, talking dash.

    Paul is an advanced Police Pursuit driver, so when he offers to take me for a run in it I’m naturally excited. Oh. My. Goodness. Paul heels and toes between changes, keeping the revs up and the turbo on boost exactly the same as I hadn’t as we catapult towards the neighbouring county. I thought it was amazing when I was driving, but this is something else. Believe the hype; the Quattro is ‘out of this world’ good, especially when it’s in the hands of a professional driver.

    ‘It passed its MoT just two days before a run to Le Mans’
    Paul isn’t afraid to get out and use his Quattro.
    Well we wouldn’t mess with him, would you?
    The Eighties were all about the Turbo.
    Car phone, tape, police radio: Eighties.

    Interior. The steering wheel is from a later Quattro – Paul prefers its sporty nature, though he has retained the original. Likewise the seats – the original cloth interior is stored in his loft.


    ‘Before you begin, invest in an oxy-acetalene kit. Heat is the only way to unseize solid fixings and you’ll never regret it. Drilling out snapped high tensile steel bolt is a chore…’

    ‘I wanted to make it as good as the Audi press car used in the brochures’

    Paul’s Quattro is perfect, but it doesn’t stop him driving it: two days after completion he was at Le Mans.
    Paul helped out with the PC project Quattro back in 2010-11.


    ‘I had technical diagrams for my car. It was helpful as I knew the exact spec of each bolt I’d need, so I ordered them all in advance, saving money and time.’

    Buying tips

    Paul tells us what to look out for ‘Quattros get thrashed and like to rust, but they go in the same places – check sills in particular. It’s more essential that a project is complete, as many trim parts are almost impossible to find.’

    ‘My colleagues named it The Beast, so I bought a number plate with 666 in it!’

    The #1985 #Audi-Quattro-Turbo / #Audi-Quattro-WR
    ENGINE 2144cc/5-cyl/OHC
    POWER [email protected]
    TORQUE 210Ib/[email protected]
    GEARBOX 5-speed manual
    TOP SPEED 137mph
    0-60MPH 7.1sec
    FUEL ECONOMY: 27mpg
    WEIGHT 2838lb (1290kg)
    PRICE NEW £22,616 (June 1985)
    AGREED VALUE: £20,000

    Paul’s classic CV

    Owned 1984-1972 Ford Escort ‘Mexico’ One of the many fast Fords I owned as a youth. It had a 1600cc crossflow and was a bit of a dog really. I only had it for six months, but I sold it at a profit and bought a Sierra Ghia 2-litre instead.

    Owned 1987-1988 1985 Audi 2.2 GT Coupe I was trading cars and got through them quickly, making a profit on each and saving up to buy my Quattro. This was a cracking car though; as was the 200 Quattro that I replaced it with.

    Owned 2001-2002 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL V126. This was outrageous and had electric everything. I used to pull up outside nightclubs in it, and everyone thought my police mates and me were gangsters. We always got the best table!
    Here’s how Paul did it

    1 September 2011 Engine work The restoration quickly escalated when Paul got stuck into the engine. He completely rebuilt it, using a head from an Audi 200. Soon the rest of the car looked shabby by comparison, so he continued…

    2 Nov 2012 Differential It quickly became a full restoration. Every nut and bolt has been taken off and replaced with stainless steel equivalents.

    3 August 2013 Leather care Using advice from PC, Paul fed the leather interior he’d rescued from a scrapyard many years before. The front seats were from a left-hand drive car, and the frames required reworking and welding.

    4 August 2013 Preptastic The body prep was Paul’s work as he knew the paint shop owners. Fortunately, it had been off the road and in a garage for so long that the bodyshell had only suffered a small amount of rust.

    5 September 2013 Rebuild time The painted shell – but the end was far from in sight. There were still many hundreds of hours of wiring and electrical systems for Paul to rebuild and test - the voice synthesizer was a task. Well, it was something for Paul to look forward to.

    6 May 2014 Seat rebuild Paul had to completely rebuild the front seats. He carefully removed the leather covers and refitted them when he’d finished.

    The restorer

    Paul Moor is a Detective Chief Inspector in the Essex police. When he blew up his Cortina’s engine as a youngster, he bought a manual and rebuilt it himself – leading to a lifetime’s worth of spannering. He was a runner up in the Duckhams’ Mechanic of the Year 1991. Before becoming a DCI he ran the Essex Police Interceptor Squad, and was a regular on the Channel 5 TV programme, Police Interceptors.

    Rust repairs and dints were visible – the mechanical problems weren’t.
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  •   Lachie Jones reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Read how this awesome Bimmer went from stock to shock in less than two weeks!

    HOT RIDE: #BMW-135i 3.0 TWIN TURBO


    The sign of true talent is when something is made to look easy through great skill. Take Lionel Messi for example. The way he effortlessly glides past opponents gives the impression football is simple. Then there’s F1. Surely it’s all about how good the cars are, so anyone can do it, right? Well, give it a go and see how far you get.

    This logic can also be applied to modifying cars. It’s easy to look at a finished project, spot the main mods and think, “Yeah, I could do that”. But most likely, you don’t realise what has gone on behind the scenes with the problems solved, custom parts, the trial and error process, the calculations to ensure things fi t and the taste to ensure it all blends together to make an awesome show car.

    Dealing with Mark Stewart can leave you with this false impression, as he makes it all look and sound so straightforward. On many occasions he’s transformed a car from stock to show-ready in almost no time at all. A few years ago we featured his S2000 that he turned around in four days! This BMW 1 Series took a lot longer. A whole 12 days. So it must be easy then, right? Er… not quite! Mark was looking for an RS6 towards the end of last year, when he spotted this rare manual 135i in grey. After a test drive he snapped it up, but only intended keeping the car for a short time. It came with coilovers, but once a set of Schmidt rims were fitted the Beemer was looking well enough that Mark decided to keep it a bit longer and take it a lot further!

    A plan was hatched and it was one that required lots of part sourcing, custom work and decision-making. Once the bits arrived, Mark had the bulk of work to do with less than two weeks until the big reveal. Everything had been worked around the chosen Cosmis XT-206R wheels... that were completely the wrong fi t. Mark had them re-drilled to 5x120. But the offset was an even bigger obstacle, or should we say ‘wider’. To cope with the extra girth, M Sport wings and an M Sport front bumper were fitted, while rear arches were pulled and rear bumper and side skirts modified. Only then could the body be hunkered down on AirREX struts and bags to provide the all-important lows.

    During this time, Mark finally decided on a new colour. Overall, his idea was to make the 135 look like it was a special edition from BMW, so he picked M4 Marina blue and it really works, especially with all the extra carbon bits added.

    This OEM+ theme is continued inside the cabin with just a few touches needed to lift the quality, such as #Recaro CS seats, the yellow show cage and a custom pillar mount for extra gauges. The boot build is fairly subtle too, but classy and high-end, like the rest of the car. Even though the 135i comes packing an awesome 3.0 twin turbo lump, Mark didn’t rest. To help breathing, out came all four cats and an AC Schnitzer exhaust was added, along with Injen induction kits. Finally, an Auto-Tune remap made sure it was all put to good use.

    So, there you have it, a show stopping slammed #BMW done and dusted in less than two weeks. Easy? Far from it! The truth is this project called upon all of Mark’s skill, vision and work ethic. The fact he was able to do it all in such a short space of time is testament to his expert planning – and those 12 days included working day and through the night! But, it was all worth it in the end as the car was ready for the big reveal on the Paintworx stand at Dubshed where it went down a storm. Top Mark indeed!

    TECH SPEC: #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-E82

    STYLING: Full respray in #BMW-M4-Marina-blue ; 1M front wings, 1M front bumper; carbon boot spoiler; custom side skirt blades; carbon mirrors; carbon V8 M3 style bonnet; carbon aerial; carbon kidney grilles; carbon bumper intakes; carbon rear diffuser; carbon 1M indicators; custom canards; rear arches pulled and flared; factory privacy glass; factory Xenon lights.

    TUNING: #N54B30 / #N54 3.0 twin turbo engine; 386bhp; 400lbft torque; 6-speed manual; #Injen induction kits; all cats removed; #AC-Schnitzer exhaust, map by #Auto-Tune .

    CHASSIS: #AirREX air-ride with #Air-Lift-V2 management and 2x #Viair-380 compressors; #Cosmis XT206R wheels custom drilled to 5x120; size 18x9.5 et10 front and rear; #BMW-Performance 6-pot brakes; #Mintex Fast Road pads.

    INTERIOR: Black #Recaro-CS seats; full colour coded dashdodger roll-cage painted Maserati yellow; custom pillar mount for gauges; boost gauge; air fuel gauge; custom mount for air controller; colour coded dash trims; rear seats removed; custom boot install.

    THANKS The Paintworx team!; PPG/Nexa Autocolor for paint, Stephen at SC Cages; Autotrend.


    Two cars featured in two months – what have you got for our next issue?

    “Well, you may have to wait a bit longer for the next one. Although the BMW is now sold and I do have another project on the go!”

    Any clue on what it will be?

    “Yes, it’s an RS4 that already came to me in a nice unusual colour, but I’ll be putting my own stamp on it of course.”

    How’s the new business going?

    “It’s still early days but going well. The website is still being set-up but keep a look out for Autotrend, supplying and fitting AirREX air-ride as well as many other tuning parts.”

    Cosmis XT-206R wheels are available from

    “He only intended keeping the car for a short time…”


    There are loads of carbon goodies added, such as the bonnet, rear diffuser and mirrors. But look out for the more subtle touches too, such as the 1M indicators, boot lid spoiler and kidney grilles, which all combine to make a difference. Even the compressor tank is coated in genuine carbon fibre. Nice!
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