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    CLEAN LIVING

    Exceedingly smooth and bagged E36. Clean and smooth, this head-turning Touring is brimming with individual touches that really help it stand out from the crowd. Photos: Si Gray. Words: Elizabeth de Latour.

    You know what really impresses us when we visit a show? It’s not the wild, no-holds-barred builds that get all the attention and steal all the headlines (though they are undeniably impressive), it’s actually the cars that look great but their owners have taken a much more modest route to making that happen. These builds are all about the subtle, individual touches that really make them stand out and allow their builders to put their own mark on their projects.

    Take Andy Guyett’s E36 Touring, for example. There’s no wild body kit, no custom three-piece wheels, nothing outlandish, but it just looks so good and while the applied mods appear to be quite simple at first glance, there’s definitely a lot more here than meets the eye…

    “I’ve always been into cars, never football,” begins Andy, “as growing up I was always around cars; my two brothers had all sorts of cool Yank stuff and while I never followed them down that road I have had all sorts of cars over the years. I started off with a white Opel Manta GTE when I was 18 followed by a Fiesta XR2 after which I decided to build something, which took the shape of a 1971 Cali-look Beetle. I ran it as a daily and it wasn’t great as it was very low and just not very well-suited to the task.”

    The Beetle was followed by another couple of classic VWs before Andy decided to come over to the Bavarian way of life. “My friend bought an E30,” he explains, “and I loved it. It looked cool so I sold the Beetle I had at the time and bought myself a champagne E30 320i four-door with brown velour seats.” That might not sound like the sexiest of places to start but it ticked Andy’s boxes and started him on the road of BMW ownership which, almost six and a half years ago, led to the purchase of the 323i Touring you see before you.

    “My girlfriend had a Clio at the time and after the cambelt snapped twice in two years we decided to get shot of it. The garage where I found this E36 for sale did a straight swap for the Clio and I had a good feeling about the car, it just felt right.” His gut was clearly on the money considering the Touring is still a part of the family, and while it had been purchased bone stock, the fact that Andy had modified every car he’d owned in some way meant that it was not going to remain that way for long. “I always knew what I wanted to do,” says Andy, “but I didn’t know I would go this far with it!”

    The styling has been given plenty of attention and this Touring wears a blend of different parts that all combine to give it a seriously meaty look. Step one to its outstanding freshness is a full respray in its original shade of Orient blue and then comes the onslaught of Sport addenda, with genuine front and rear bumpers, side skirts and wide door trims.

    The Sport additions make a big difference to the Touring’s looks just on their own, but these have been further enhanced with another layer of styling. Up front, a replica AC Schnitzer deep splitter has been added and this is matched at the rear with a replica #ACS boot spoiler, while a set of genuine ACS mirrors with custom decals complete the Schnitzer triumvirate, and the splitter, diffuser and roof bars have all been painted in Azurite black, which changes from black to blue in the light, adding a subtle individual aspect to proceedings.


    The arches have been rolled (you can see why, with the rears receiving a bit of a pull) and there’s been a lot of smoothing going on across the body. The bonnet badge has gone, as has the boot badge and the model inscription. The side repeaters have been removed and smoothed, the petrol filler flap has been smoothed and the rear wiper has been removed altogether, using the first ever Kill All Wipers kit for the E36 Touring. The end result is a car that’s smoother than a wellused bar of soap. The finishing touches are the all-red rear lenses, angel eye headlights and pre-face-lift nosecone. You may have also noticed that Andy is all about those orange highlights, with the custom decals on his mirrors carrying orange script, his stickers printed in orange, the amber front indicator lenses and the flashes of orange paint on his calipers.

    That’s something he’s carried through into the interior too. In fact, there have been some big changes in here and the first thing that hits you are the Recaro CS front seats because they look awesome; big sporty seats always make a big statement and act as a centrepiece for car’s interior, which is why it’s so disappointing when high performance models don’t have them, but always exciting when someone’s gone to the effort of fitting a set in their car. Here they sit on custom subframes made by Hard Knocks Speed Shop, while the rear bench has been trimmed to match the half-leather finish of the front seats and fitted with different headrests.

    The headlining and A-pillars have been finished in an Alcantara-style material and the doorcard inserts, glovebox lid and trim, centre console, driver’s knee roll and inner mirror covers have all been trimmed in black fauxsuede; it makes for an extremely luxuriousfeeling interior. That’s impressive enough on its own, but that’s not even the half of it; Andy has replaced all of the previously grey interior trim panels with black ones and that includes the entire dash itself, which makes the whole interior look infinitely smarter and he has also replaced the carpet with a black one, none of which is no small job.

    The steering wheel has been retrimmed by Royal Steering Wheels, with perforated leather on the sides, Nappa leather on the top and bottom sections, M tricolour stitching and an orange centre marker. A Schmiedmann suede handbrake gaiter has been fitted and Andy has also retro-fitted the 18-button OBC and the start button from a Honda S2000. We’re not done in here yet because the lacklustre standard audio has received a serious upgrade, with an Alpine head unit hooked up to a set of orange-coned Hertz three-way components, powered by no less than two JL Audio amps along with a 12” JL sub in the boot, which is also where you’ll find the simple air install with just the single polished tank on display.

    “I had HSD coilovers before the air,” says Andy as we move onto discussing his comprehensive chassis mods, “but it was going to the Players show that helped me make the decision to switch to air. I saw so many cars on air-ride, including Ed Johnston’s E36 Touring back when it was cream, and knew that was what I wanted. I ended up buying a three-month-old kit from one of Riiva Design’s cars, an Air Lift setup with V2 management and I fitted it over a long weekend with my son Tom and a friend of mine.”

    The air-ride is just the tip of the iceberg, though, as the front end has been fitted with polybushed lollipops and ARB mounts with E30 front wishbones and an ECS Tuning strut brace under the bonnet. The whole rear end has been fully polybushed, with SPC Performance adjustable rear camber arms and an M3 rear anti-roll bar plus a set of Phoenix Motorsport rear damper reinforcement plates. The brakes haven’t been forgotten about either, with an E46 330Ci front setup plus an M3 servo and master cylinder and Goodridge hoses all-round.

    With the wheels, Andy went through five or six sets before he settled on these 18” M Parallels: “I started off with some 17” Alpina reps, then I had BBS RKs, ACS Type 3 reps, all sorts, but I’d always liked the Paras,” he says. “They look like a strong wheel and these ones are in a staggered fitment from the E38 7 Series. I had to have the rear hubs shaved in order to be able to get them to fit under the arches.” M Parallels are the perfect example of a very clean, simple, classic design that works well on everything and looks good on everything, and in this particular staggered 18” form with diamond cut faces and lips they look absolutely stunning on this Touring.

    Finally we come to the engine and, while there’s not a lot going on under the bonnet at the moment, with just a DaveF induction kit and 328i manifold-back exhaust, Andy has some big plans for that M52: “I’m really happy with the styling but now I want to make it go faster and I’m currently building an #M52B28 – I’ve actually had the engine for almost two years now,” he laughs. “The head will be gas-flowed, there will be a stainless exhaust manifold, an Alpina527 adapted M50 intake manifold, a Hark Knocks Speed Shop custom exhaust and I’ll get it remapped by Enda Ward at End Tuning.” That lot will add up to one pretty impressive lump that will definitely endow this Touring with some proper performance.

    This really is a seriously nice car. It’s got a perfect blend of mods that combine to give it some real presence and plenty of individuality, all while retaining the essence of the E36 Touring. Andy’s built himself a cracking machine and the engine swap he’s got up his sleeve will be the icing on an extremely tasty cake…

    DATA FILE #BMW / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-323i-Touring / #BMW-323i-Touring-E36 / #BMW-323i-E36 / #BMW-323iA-Touring-E36 / #BMW-323iA / #BMW-323iA-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E36 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M52B25 / #M52 / #BMW-M52 , #DaveF induction kit, 328i manifold-back exhaust, five-speed auto gearbox #ZF5HP / #ZF

    CHASSIS 8x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Style-37M-Parallel wheels with diamond cut faces and lips with 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Kumho Ecsta tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance #Airride with #Air-Lift-V2 management, front strut brace, polybushed front lollipops and #ARB mounts, E30 front wishbones, fully polybushed rear end, #SPC-Performance adjustable rear camber arms, M3 rear anti-roll bar, #Phoenix-Motorsport rear damper reinforcement top plates, E46 330Ci front brakes, M3 servo/master cylinder, Goodridge braided hoses (front and rear), #BMW hardlines (front and rear)


    EXTERIOR Full respray in original Orient blue metallic, bonnet badge removed and smoothed, pre-face-lift front nosecone, angel eye headlights with shrouded HID projectors, Sport front bumper, replica #AC-Schintzer deep front splitter, AC Schnitzer door mirrors with custom decals, side repeaters removed and smoothed, Sport side skirts, smoothed petrol flap, Sport wide door trims, Sport rear bumper, replica AC Schnitzer rear spoiler, all-red rear lenses, boot badge removed and smoothed, 323i badge removed, Kill All Wipers rear wiper delete, arches rolled all-round and rears pulled, front splitter, rear diffuser and roof bars painted in #BMW Azurite black, LED number plate lights

    INTERIOR #Recaro-CS front seats on custom Hard Knocks Speed Shop subframes, rear bench retrimmed/coloured to match fronts, different rear headrests, all interior panels and carpet changed from grey-to-black, headlining and A-pillars recovered in black faux-Alcantara, doorcard inserts, glovebox lid and trim, centre console, drivers knee roll and inner mirror covers trimmed in black fauxsuede, Royal Steering Wheels retrimmed Sport steering wheel with M stitching and orange centre stripe, Schmiedmann suede handbrake gaiter, Sport inner sill covers custom painted in BMW Azurite black, Honda S2000 start button, retro-fitted 18-button OBC, #Alpine-CDA-9887R head unit, 2x JL Audio amps, Hertz threeway components, JL Audio 12” sub, LED bulbs

    INTERIOR Big thanks to my son Tom Guyett, good friends Cliff Judson and Sam Hendrie for their continued help with the car and my fiancé Fiona for her patience with a stream of car parts in the front room and my constant absence! Dips at Custom Cars for his huge efforts with the paint and body mods, Richard at Ruislip Tyres for his sterling efforts getting the wheels ready (twice!) and constant tyre swapping, Ray Boultwood, Neil Chapman and all the members of BMWEnthusiasts forum for the (usually!) kind words during the build and for the camaraderie at meets and Badger Bourton of Hard Knocks Speed Shop for his outstanding fabrication skills
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    702bhpS2 #MTM-Talladega-R / Words Davy Lewis / Photography AJ Walker

    More power than an original Ferrari Enzo - MRC Tuning's original stealth bomber!


    HUMBLE BEGINNINGS MRC TUNING S2

    This stealthy looking S2 was the catalyst that led to #MRC-Tuning being born, and now it’s been fully refreshed – with a monstrous 712ps (702bhp)


    Always remember where you came from – that’s a phrase that you hear a lot in these celebrity obsessed times. From Hollywood stars that started out as waiters, to world champion boxers that used to clean cars for a living – it’s amazing how far you can come in life. But staying true to your roots isn’t easy. The pressures of success can change people – and not always for the better.

    Having worked on performance car magazines for over 16 years, I’ve seen this happen many times over. Tuning enthusiasts grow into a commercial entity and become a bit ‘corporate’. They lose touch with the very people they should be appealing to. Which is a shame.

    One company that has managed to grow, and stay in touch with the real Audi fans, is MRC Tuning.

    Set up in 2005, MRC is the collaboration of S2 enthusiasts, Doug Bennett and Mihnea Cottet. As a regular on the well-respected S2forum.com, Doug reached a point where no one in the UK could modify his S2 to the level he wanted, so he decided to do it himself and get Mihnea over from Europe to tune it.

    The 1995 Coupe, which he purchased in 2002, had already been converted to RS2 spec and was running around 330ps. With further work from Doug, it got to a K27 turbo level of tune, and offered a good balance of power and drivability. However, as is often the case with these things, once a business takes off, a tuner’s own car tends to get left behind.


    And MRC Tuning has certainly taken off. These guys are now one of the world’s most respected performance Audi specialists, with a huge flow of S and RS models going through their Banbury workshop. Always at the cutting edge of Audi tuning, MRC has created the UK’s first 1000bhp RS6 C6; cracked the 200mph barrier in a B5 widebody and an R8 turbo at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground; and they continue to the lead the way with everything from B5 RS4s, through to the very latest RS6s.


    Over the last 11 years, Doug has been fortunate enough to indulge his passion for fast Audis. His S4 widebody, R8 turbo and RS6 C6 have all been featured in #AudiTuner and reinforce the fact that he’s an Audi enthusiast first and foremost. However, one car will always remain extra special.


    “It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and will never get rid of,” confirms Doug. “It always gives me a buzz – from the old school lag of nothing – then bang – all the power and torque in a small power band,” he smiles.

    Although the S2 was well cared for, it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that befits an MRC staff car. So, when team member, Stuart Fourie, offered to carry out the custom fabrication necessary to take it to the next level, Doug didn’t hesitate. The S2 was officially ‘reborn’ in 2014, but it was only relatively recently that all of the finishing touches have been completed ready for a feature.


    To the man in the street, it may look nothing special – just another mid-90s Audi. But those in the know will appreciate the latent violence that simmers just below the surface of this unassuming Coupe.



    The current engine spec is a master class in how to achieve reliable, big power and, more importantly, immense torque, from the venerable 2.2-litre ABY lump. At 2bar of boost, this 20v turbo delivers a sledgehammer blow of 712ps and 717Nm – more than a Ferrari Enzo.

    However, don’t confuse this with the linear and relentless surge of torque that you get with a modern RS6 running similar power. In the S2, it’s much more aggressive, with the power coming in with a bang. There’s nothing progressive about this thing. It has a very old school feel – an almost Group B savagery – that is guaranteed to shock the unprepared. In fact, at last year’s AudiTuner Expo, Stuart brought the car along to display, and his mate, who was riding shotgun, recalled how he’d almost been sick when the boost kicked in on the journey to Donington. This sort of animal is, of course, not for everyone. But when you spend each and every day tuning and testing some of the most powerful Audis in the world, you need something a bit special to get your own kicks.


    The engine itself is a work of art. Dominated by the big external wastegate and GTX3582 turbo, it looks as if it just came out of some special projects division at Renn Sport. Everything, from the black crackle finish on the cam cover and inlet manifold, through to the shiny alloy goodies (even the clips and hoses look immaculate), it’s clear to see a hell of a lot of care has gone into this engine bay.

    The prodigious power is transferred via a B5 S4 6-speed gearbox, which is mated to a strong, 6-puck Sachs clutch and solid flywheel. It’s a tried and testing combination, that’s able to handle the immense force created with such a powerful 20v turbo. Talking of which, it doesn’t half sound good.

    A stock 5-pot is a very sonorous thing to behold, but this is on an entirely different level. It’s part jet fighter, part Group B rally car – you really need to hear it being driven in anger to appreciate it. It chuffs and snorts in a real old school fashion – there’s no modern Audi noise suppression here – and it’s all the better for it.

    The whole car has a very raw feel to it. In this digital world where everything from the weight of the steering, to the firmness of the dampers, the speed of the gear changes to the sensitivity of the throttle can all be controlled by a computer; this is a very analogue beast. You get in, turn on the ignition, put it into gear – and drive the bugger.

    Aside from the specialist fabrication work to the exhaust, intercooler, catch can and breathers (all thanks to the talented Stuart), the rest of this S2 is dripping with tuning goodies, but as with all MRC projects, everything is fitted with performance in mind first and foremost. The chassis, in particular, has received lots of attention to ensure the power can be controlled and corners attacked with aplomb. From the #AP-Racing 6-pots nestled behind the gorgeous BBS CH alloys (which look like they were made for the S2), to the H&R coilovers and uprated ARBs, this thing is ready to rock whenever you need it to. Not wishing to spoil the fantastic 90s styling of this curvaceous Coupe, Doug has been careful to add only OEM parts to give it a little lift. The front end has been treated to genuine RS2 door mirrors, plus grille and front bumper, which look both more aggressive and affords better airflow to the hard worked engine. The rear end simply wears a neat alloy MRC badge – there’s not even a clue that this is an S-model Audi.

    Inside, you’ll find a set of factory optional RS2 leather seats. They have the creases and patina you’d expect from a car made in 1995, but they’re all the better for it. In fact, the whole of the cabin has that certain feel and even smell of a mid-90s performance Audi. It feels very solid and has real character – something that’s arguably missing on the latest crop of S and RS models. It’s part of the reason that S2s, along with RS2s, B5 S/RS4s and C5 RS6s are still so well loved by enthusiasts.

    So there we have it. This is kind of Doug’s life’s work. He’s owned the car since 2002 and it’s the one he’ll never let go. Considering the amount of unbelievably quick and desirable Audis this man has access to, it speaks volumes about what this S2 means to him. From humble beginnings – the car that started it all.

    Top: You’d never guess it had over 700bhp. Below: Doug’s other ‘toy’ see the RS2 next issue.

    SPECIFICATION #Audi-S2-Coupe / #1995 / #ABY / #Audi-ABY / #Audi-S2 / #Audi / #GTX3582 / #Garrett-GTX3582r / #Garrett-GTX3582 / #Garrett / #Audi-80-B4 / #Audi-Typ-8C / #Audi-S2-B4 / #Audi-8B / #Audi-S2-8B / #Audi-80 / #Audi-S2-Coupe-B4 / #MRC-Tuning / #Bosch / #Audi


    Engine 2.2 ABY overbored, uprated rods and REC pistons, ported head with oversized valves and lightweight valvetrain, #Wagner inlet manifold (modified for throttle body to fit at 90deg), 850cc #Siemens injectors, High Octane tubular exhaust manifold, #Garrett-GTX3582R-turbo turbo, HKS wastegate, stock ECU with 4bar map sensor, #Bosch-413 fuel pump, custom intercooler, full custom exhaust, custom catch can and breathers through brace bar, #MRC-Tuning-Stage-3 remap

    Power 712ps and 717Nm at 2bar / 627ps and 685Nm at 1.65bar
    Transmission Audi S4 B5 gearbox, #Sachs 6-puck clutch with solid flywheel

    Brakes
    Front: #AP-Racing 6-pot calipers with Phaeton discs
    Rear: VRS Porsche 4-pots and Brembo handbrake calipers
    Suspension #H&R coilovers, RS2 front #ARB , Whiteline rear ARB, #Powerflex polybushes

    Wheels 19in #BBS-CH with 235/35 Yokohama tyres

    Interior Factory optional RS2 #Recaro seats, RS2 steering wheel, boost and EGT gauges, RS4 Alcantara gearknob, RS2 dash and aux gauges

    Exterior RS2 front bumper, RS2 wing mirrors, RS2 grille, MRC badge

    Contacts and thanks MRC Tuning www.mrctuning.com, Stuart, Chris and Mihnea for helping look after it over the years, S2forum.com, Dhyllan at Automotive Addiction for the wheel refurbishment

    Top: RS2 seats were a factory option Above: Gauges in custom vent housing.

    Above: Interior is solid and has that special 90s feel to it.

    “It’s part jet fighter, part Group B rally car – you really need to hear it driven in anger...”

    GTX3582 turbo supplies ample boost. Catch can and breathers are bespoke items. Custom MRC Tuning intercooler.

    Left: AP Racing 6-pots and 19in #BBS alloys – perfect Main pic: Not even an S2 badge to give the game away...
    “It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and will never get rid of”
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    / #Peugeot-205GTi / #Peugeot-205 / #Peugeot / #1984 /

    Gee McDaid’s exceptionally clean 205 may look like a clean standard car, but delve a little deeper and it starts to get rather special.

    GEE WHIZZ!

    It may look like a show car, but Gee McDaid built this perfect Peugeot 205 for blasting around the B-Roads… Words & Photos: Steve McCann.


    When Peugeot launched the 205 GTi back in 1984 they led with a James Bond style advert, having the hot hatch parachuted into a snowy mountain range, shot down by a jet and chased by another huge plane while it slid furiously along ice and sideways down the slippery slopes avoiding explosions. Sure, it may have seemed more appropriate with an Aston Martin but regardless the message was clear, this was a driver’s car built for driving hard on the edge, a small car with a big personality. Fortunately, that’s how Gee McDaid saw it too. He fell in love with the 205 back in the day and that feeling has never left him. “I remember having a 205 pencil case at school so I guess it started then,” Gee laughs, “But my first experience of the real thing was a test drive years ago. The guy selling the car really pushed it to the limit and the 205 came alive, I knew immediately I had to have it!” From then on, he’s pretty much always had one. Until that point Gee had owned a lot of Fords, starting with a few Fiestas, then onto Escorts and an Orion. His love of cars in general was down to his older brother who used to pay Gee to clean his cars. At first he didn’t see the point, just the colour of the money, but soon discovered cleaning cars gives you an appreciation of them too. “It must have struck a chord as ironically, I now have my own detailing business,” Gee smirks, “As a kid I was getting paid to clean cars and now I still am.”



    You can already see where this is going, a true driving enthusiast who is equally obsessive over car cleanliness. Is it possible to strike a balance and have a super mint motor that gets driven hard? Well, judge for yourselves….

    “I really didn’t plan to go anywhere near this far with the 205.” Gee explains, “I just wanted to build something fun for the road that handled well, but it just evolved this way as I couldn’t help myself.” What Gee means is that his perfectionist nature and cleaning obsession wouldn’t allow him to cut any corners or settle for anything less than the best when it came to this 205 project and to be fair, that’s not really a bad thing!


    The initial idea was to find a solid base car, fit a bigger engine, clean it up a bit and off we go. So, in 2012 Gee sourced a 1992 1.6GTi that had been parked up for a couple of years but was otherwise ok. He was even able to drive it home so was off to a good start. The initial proper inspection verified it was the right car, but Gee wanted to do some light repairs to the floor and get it undersealed. He felt the easiest way to do this was remove the engine (it was getting replaced anyway) and stick the 205 on a spit. Gee didn’t have a spit of his own but he does have some welding skills so made one! “The trouble is, once you get a car on a spit, that’s it, you have to go the whole way,” Gee explains. So, the 205 was indeed stripped to a bare shell with the floor repaired, chassis legs stitch welded and strengthened before the whole underside was treated to four blue base coats and six coats of lacquer! Once this was done and bits were being bolted back into place Gee’s OCD kicked in big style. He just couldn’t face putting anything back on the car that wasn’t renewed, repainted or powder-coated. Even tiny bolts and fixings, they all had to be replaced with new items. While all this was going on, progress was made in other areas.


    A Peugeot 309 GTi was picked up for parts and Gee got a Christmas present from his wife Lynsey that all guys would appreciate – a Citroen Xsara! Thankfully, this wasn’t a driving alternative; it was donor car number two. As it turned out, both these vehicles would prove to be very resourceful for the project. The 309 was relieved of its complete rear axle which was of course stripped, with parts painted and powder-coated before being rebuilt and fitted to the 205. As well as giving a wider track, this provided the back end with a brake disc conversion. Wishbones and the anti roll bar were also taken from the 309 and along with various new parts such as polybushes, uprated mounts and the fantastic GAZ coilovers and dampers, the suspension set-up was a winner!



    When it came to the powerplant, Gee was tempted to use the donor car 309 engine which turned out to be a 2.0 8V in the process of having a turbo conversion. However, he decided it against it. “I wanted the car to be as useable and reliable as possible,” Gee tells us, “so for that reason, the tried and tested 2.0 16v was a better option.” This is where the Xsara VTS comes in. It’s more common to see this kind of conversion done with a 405 Mi16 engine but Gee reckons that most of those around require a rebuild whereas the Xsara 2.0 16v (same as the 306 GTi-6 unit) may be heavier but it’s newer, has slightly more power and has better parts availability. As you would expect, there was no chance this lump was going anywhere near the 205 until the engine bay was prepped and painted. Also, the new engine had to be cleaned, painted and have the head ported and polished before fitment.


    All the essentials were done at this stage too like the timing belt, fitting a new head gasket and replacing various seals and hoses. The Xsara gearbox was retained but reconditioned first and to cap it off a new Valeo clutch was added to the mix. It was all looking good but there were a few obstacles to clear before the transplant was hailed a success. The donor Xsara ECU and loom had been scrapped so another was found from a GTi-6 but took days to sort and solder. Finally, these engines have clearance issues that many solve by cutting holes in the bulkhead or modifying mounts but Gee decided to get creative. He cut and re-welded part of the exhaust manifold and it did the job perfectly, leaving a real factory finish under the bonnet.


    With potent power, improved braking and a handling set-up to satisfy the side of Gee that demanded a quick, planted, fun car, it was time to address the cosmetic aspect. Overall he was looking for a subtle look, something close to how Peugeot intended, hiding the real animal underneath and that’s exactly how it turned out. Inside the cabin, the existing grey door cards remain but the Goodwood leather interior from the 309 slotted straight in with a bit of a squeeze. The seats are slightly wider but look right at home here. On the outside the bodywork received a fresh coat of Miami Blue paint and remains completely standard other than the mouldings. “I hate that plastic trim,” Gee explains “I have to clean that kind of stuff on a daily basis and it ain’t fun so I smoothed and painted mine in a metallic grey instead.” It was an inspired move as it looks fantastic against the blue and matches the refurbed 15in Speedlines painted in the same graphite colour. Small finishing touches that really make a difference are the replacement of all the glass, mirrors, headlights, spotlights, indicators and badges with new items. “I tried not to replace all these things,” laughs Gee “there was nothing wrong with lots of the original parts but it just had to be done.”

    The end result looks stunning, but does it tick all the show and go boxes for Gee? “You can never be 100% happy and finished with a car, there’s always something that can be done.” Gee tells us, “But I absolutely love it and although I do like to keep the 205 clean, that side of me never gets in the way of using it as I always intended.” It’s true, this is a man who works extremely hard at his business (Pristine Machine is always fully booked for months in advance) so when he gets a day off and the weather is nice, Gee really makes the best of it and heads up into the beautiful back roads of Scotland, even as far as the Highlands to enjoy the car, the scenery and the escape. “It just drives as I had hoped, it’s got plenty of power with fantastic handling and has been faultless for the thousands of miles I’ve covered.” We think that pretty much answers the question then, it seems it is possible to have the best of both worlds.

    Leather seats are straight out of a Goodwood edition 309GTi. For many Miami Blue is the ultimate 205 GTi colour, we’d be inclined to agree.

    Lee McDaid

    A massive inspiration for Gee during this project was his son Lee who sadly passed away in 2010 at the heartbreaking young age of 11. The build helped occupy Gee through extremely difficult times. He had a few 205s before this one and Lee just loved his passenger runs. December 2015 would have been Lee’s 17th birthday and the 205 would have been his present. RIP Lee.


    Specification

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.0 16v Xsara VTS engine conversion, ported and polished head, Group N engine mounts, re-angled and heat wrapped equal length manifold, cylindrical air filter, BBM silicone coolant pipes with alloy thermostat adapter, #Taco modified dual speedo drive with 405 cable, 306 GTi-6 loom and ECU, Xsara battery box, Sound of Silence custom stainless steel exhaust system, Xsara VTS BE3 box, new #Valeo clutch kit, Group N mounts, competition adjustable linkages.


    SUSPENSION: Rebuilt and lowered 309 GTi rear beam, Xsara VTS ARB, Group A rear beam mounts, #GAZ-GHA adjustable rear dampers, seam welded subframe, 309 GTi #ARB with polybushes, 309 GTi wishbones with polybushes, #GAZ GHA adjustable coilovers with 250 lbs springs, Group N top mounts, Xsara VTS power steering rack and pump.

    WHEELS: 6x15in #Speedlines acid dipped, shot blasted, polished lip and painted metallic grey. Toyo R888 soft compound cut slicks.

    BRAKES: Fully rebuilt 288mm front brakes, #Mintex 1144 pads, Stainless steel braided flexi pipes, 309 GTi rear disc conversion, 309 GTi servo and master cylinder, all brake and fuel pipe and clips replaced.

    EXTERIOR: Bodywork repainted in original Miami blue including door shuts and floor pans, trims and mouldings smoothed and painted metallic grey, red alloy trim repaired and painted original colour, Clio rear wiper, new lights, new indicators, new spotlights, new aerial and new badges, paintwork wet sanded to remove orange peel and fully detailed, bare metal floor, stitch welded front legs, fully seam sealed, undersealed, underside painted and lacquered in original colour, seam welded and painted engine bay.

    INTERIOR: 309 GTi Goodwood full grey leather, all new bronze tinted glass inc mirrors.

    THANKS: My awesome wife Lynsey for putting up with all the hours I spent and for the donor car. Kev and John at KMbodyworx, Patrick at Max Marine, Robert and the boys at Autotec, Jamie T, Mark Wilson, Joe Blow and Aldo. Pristine Machine Vehicle Detailing (Port Glasgow).

    Xsara 2.0 16V engine is the same as the one fitted to the Pug 306 GTi-6, so it’s kind a keeping it in the family.
    Gee’s near-obsessive attention to detail means that the underside is as clean as the topside. Now that’s dedication!

    When did you last see a 205GTi on the roads, let alone one as clean as this?

    “I just wanted to build something fun for the road that handled well, but it just evolved this way as I couldn’t help myself.”
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