Well since an early age I have been interested in cars and motor vehicles as the picture shows, I must be about 3 or 4 years old when that was taken.
I always remember the story my parents tell me when they took me to an airshow, they lost me and were franticlly looking around for me. They ended up finding me on the car park walking around looking at all the cars and didn't take a single interest in the airshow!!!
I guess I had the bug from day one and the only thing I wanted to do was drive a car, I always wanted to sit in the front so I could watch my dad and how to do it, I remember having a stuck on steering wheel that fixed to the side window and I could pretend I was driving myself, a bit like The Simpsons intro where Maggie is taking off Marge.
I wanted my 17th birthday to come around so much and when it finally did my very first lesson was booked for that day.
Unfortunately having a birthday in November has its downfalls, mainly the weather and Christmas holidays, so while I was gaining experiences of driving in the rain, snow it also meant I couldn't have a lesson over the Christmas and New Year period, so my eagerness of passing my test took a little longer.
After 18 lessons my test arrived, one final lesson to go over everything and it was up to me. On the 17th March 1996 it was my day and will always remember the date I got the Licence to Drive.
I got home and my first car was already waiting for me, having purchased it a month before my birthday, it is a good incentive to pass when you have something waiting ready for you.
I had already changed the stereo twice in that time and purchased the obligatory Fido 7Up stickers for the side windows and Kenwood stickers. Speakers were fitted on the parcel shelf and it was ready to go.
1988 MG Metro
My first car, well was a black 1988 MG Metro 1.3 and having been my first car was amazing even though it probably wasn't. As it was an Austin it did have some rust on the bottom of the door on the inside and on the frame of the rear window, but I didn't car it was my pride and joy.
Having 3 people in the back and the front passenger did hinder performance and also was very low to the ground. I remember us being at McDonalds the once and I went to place the empty drinks cup under the car, it didn't fit (oops) so it did save on lowering having a full car.
It already had an aftermarket steering wheel so it was already modified really, I could only manage to change the stereo, which was changed twice before I could even drive it legally. My dad gave me a stereo first which went in but then I purchased my own so it was changed, some speakers were added to the rear parcel shelf and I was happy. I did have plans to remove the wheel trimmed steelies and get some alloys and perhaps the kit from the Turbo version of the car.
She was driving a Toyota and me an MG so you can guess mine came off worse and back to the busses I went until it was returned. The plus points were that they fixed the rust for me as a favour in wth the repair but it was never the same after that and it was only time before it was replaced.
Unfortunately I was not into photography then or did I even have a camera so I don't having any photos of the car but have found a likeness on the internet. I just have great memories of my first car. I always remember the registration too, F218 XOP and having checked the registration the vehicle still comes up with details of the car, sadly it is not taxed, MOT'd or insured so who knows where it is today.
1993 Rover 214Si
After a year of the MG it was time to change it to something newer.
At the time the car of choice for young drivers and the car scene was the Vauxhall Nova SRi and having looked at a few it was tempting to get one. When I was younger I always wanted a Mk2 Ford Fiesta XR2 but these were replaced with the MK3 by this time and I was not keen on them as much as the MK2.
I wanted something a bit different and something that was not as common, so I looked at the Rover 214Si in 3 door form. We found a clean and low mileage example at a garage and I thought it had potential. After an eventful test drive, having breaking down because of the battery I went for it.
This was the start of the modifying bug for me I think as it was this car that I started getting more parts changed.
The sound system was the first and I wanted to go a step further so I gave a "so called" professional car audio company money to install a system for me. It was a learning curve for me and I had so much hassle with them, with backwards and forwards to different places, the system not performing correctly, bad earths etc.. I learnt the process of how to install really and after that experience I now install my own. However if that had not of happened then I probably would of never known, so it maybe was a blessing in disguise.
Next on the list was to replace the wheel trimmed covered rims in favour of some 15" alloy wheels, I remember they were Smith's Revolutions and were a 5 spoke design but twin spoked. They really suited the car and of course after alloys the suspension had to be changed. A set of lowering springs were fitted and it did make it look a bit better, however I still wanted the front lower so the springs were chopped to get the ride height what I wanted it to.
A DTM style pipe back box was also fitted to make it look a bit sportier than the droopy standard exhaust and plans were to fit some of the Turbo coupe kit to it. I obtained a spare boot panel from a 220 coupe so I could fill in the key hole in order to get a smoother look and mine was grey plastic so was painted.
After a couple of years with it however I wanted something with a bit more poke and it was time to get to the performance as well as looks, so the car was part exchanged for the next car.
I still remember the registration too, it was K776 AOH and again still comes up on a search, but no Tax or MOT and is not insured so who knows where it is....
Sadly I did have photos taken of the car but it was my dads SLR camera and unfortunately the film went funny in the camera so no photos to look back on but had some great times in my Rover.
1995 Renault Clio 16v
So the time came to change and something with a bit more poke, I had always loved the Renault 5 GT Turbo growing up and as it was it's replacement I had my heart set on one.
Unfortunately things didn't go smoothly and we purchased one from a garage who's parents had the place where I purchased the Rover from. I part ex'd the Rover and that was that.
However after some conversations with the owner, he sold it with 96k on the clock, however when I purchased it the car had 40 odd thousand on it.
I know they say look at the tell tale signs but their weren't any, pedals were all fine, service history tallied up and it drove with that mileage on.
We went back to the garage and the deal was cancelled, I had my car back and that was the end of it.
A couple of weeks later while I was searching for another, it went back up for sale, after a phone call they were still seling it with the clocked mileage, so I reported them to trading standards.
I then ended up with the car you see here, I loved it and I started to change things, wheels were first after seeing the Williams Clio colour scheme I went for some Team Dynamic Monza's in gold and also replaced the blue trim with gold. The stereo was changed and of course fitted myself, this time around I wanted to neaten the install so I started to make a box out of MDF and carpet it to make it look better and cover the wiring.
My next car I planned was to get myself a Scooby, I just loved the sound and look of them and to carry on the colour scheme with the blue and gold. Unfortunately this didn't happen as I had an accident in the Clio and lost my NCB's I had gained, it also proved the time had come to the end of the Clio, as the repair was not done very well at all, I had loads of issues that it just got too much, so I part exchanged it at the next cars garage.
1998 Citroen Saxo VTR
Due to the incident with the Clio I had to get something with a sportly look but low insurance group. the VTS would of been a nice choice but I had to settle for the slower brother, the VTR.
This is the car that kind of got me in to the car club scene and forums, also having my own website for the car and the furtherest I have took a car in terms of modifying the outside.
As it was only a 1.6 I never really took it to any engine modificatons as it did not seem worth it, so I concentrated on the outside.
After much planning I decided to go for it and had the rear boot smoothed, rear bumper with added Seat Leon splitter, most were adding it to the front so I decided I wanted to add it to the rear instead. I looked for a vent that was different rather than the usual Scooby vent or RS vents, I settled on a Rover Turbo bonnet vent, this was added to the existing bonnet and the rest was colour coded.
The wheels had been chosed from day one, but getting 17's on such a small car was no small task, I took it to a Saxo specialist who went about modifying it to make them fit, I also added some Bilsten shocks and springs to stop too much suspension travel in aiding the wheels not to catch.
It didnt' work really and more than 2 people in the car it was too much, the ride was so hard that I did go over a few harsh bumps the fuel safety device thought it was in an accident and shut off the fuel.
That said I was pleased with how it looked and attention it got at shows with the Saxo Sports Club, I didn't use the car everyday at the time so it was fine.
Then a new car was on the horizon and just going for a test drive to nosey had me hooked on getting one, so as the garage were not keen on part exchange on such a modified car, it was advertised privately and a new owner was found....
2002 Honda Civic Type R
Of course a new Hot Hatch was on the horrizon and that was the new Civic Type R, all the press were raving about it, impressive BHP from a normally aspirated engine I just had to go and have a nosey, what a big mistake that turned out to be.
After the drive I had to have that car, I even went to another dearlership just to get another drive, I was addicted to that VTEC from that day. However the garage didn't entertain me, which was a big mistake for them as the first garage got my order for the car.
I remember the wait for it seemed like eternity, I had sold the Saxo in the meantime so was without a car, my dad ended up buying a cheap runaround while I was waiting so I was using that.
The time had come to collect it and I was like a kid at Christnas, I could not wait to pick up my first brand new car and in particular the Type R.
It was a great first drive, due to the fact there were not many about at the time it was awesome, although they had advised me to keep it below 4,000 for the first few miles it was torture.
I then found the Civic Type R owners forum a short while after when more and more started appearing, I went to the Trax show the year of picking it up and I think 3 cars were there in total, so they got attention from the start and the location of the gear stick always got questioned.
Then the inevitable came and I started to look at changing the appearance and performance this time around, however with a car so new it was hard to find parts for yet. The only thing available induction kit wise was a Quickshift filter, which basically was an open cone filer made from stainless steel and heatsheild kit. The sound it made was amazing and even though the VTEC changeover was loud, this amplifited it even more. I remember on the test drive after I fitted it, I scarred a couple who were walking on the pavement as I went passed and the VTEC kicked in, it made VTECc'ing it all the time second nature. It was great in the winter or once you were moving but in the hotter weather it did suffer heatsoak, making it sluggish from the off so I had to change it for something more suitable and enclosed. So I purchased a Skunk 2 system designed for the Amercian market, which had to be modified to fit. I also set about wheels and went for the Arospeeds with black spokes and polished rim.
This was then added to a bit later with a Mugen style front grill and lip to compliment it, the following Trax show at Silverstone (pictured above) saw a totally different car attend, and I also went to have a blast on the circuit itself.
Silerstone circuit is amazing and is such a nice circuit with plenty of room if you do make a mistake, you also get to know your car alot more and how far you can push it, in a safe and controlled environment.
I had such an amazing time with the Civc, attending more shows and meets than ever, I had got totally into the car scene and had met new friends it made it all complete.
We had attended a Rolling Road day I had organised at Thor racing and the folks at Severn Valley motorsport bought there Supercharged Civic down, it was crazy power and my mate was hooked, it also got me into thinking of getting it done as well. The need for speed had been well and truly awakened with the ownership of this car, so instead of supercharging it bought my attention to get something that was already quick and something that you would never feel speed like it, I am talking of course about getting my bike licence and switching to two wheels!!!
I added more bits and pieces by way of tinted rear windows, newer rear lights, under bonnet dress up kits, strut braces it was time to go sensible (or so I thought at the time) and it was part exchanged for my next car.
I thought while still having my bike I would be happy getting a diesel and leave the speed for the 2 wheels, however it was my biggest regret!
1999 Honda CBR 600F
So having the need for speed, I decided not to find it in the car but on 2 wheels, I went to get my bike licence and had already known what bike I wanted, sticking to Honda's it was the CBR 600f, it was more comfortable riding position as a sports bike and lower insruance made it a perfect choice, after a friend had already gone and brought an R1 for his first bike, I was going to be a little more sensible and stuck to the 600.
I passed my test and then went straight away to pick this up from a family friend, it had a couple of damaged panels from a low speed off, but the rest was perfect, low miles and otherwise looked after, I then set to work.
My modifying bug had followed me from the car, so double bubble screen, ART race can, heal plates, some other engraved parts were added just for that personal touch and a good old fashioned clean.
I passed my test and then went straight away to pick this up from a family friend, it had a couple of damaged panels from a low speed off, but the rest was perfect, low miles and otherwise looked after, I then set to work.
My modifying bug had followed me from the car, so double bubble screen, ART race can, heal plates, some other engraved parts were added just for that personal touch and a good old fashioned clean.
The sense of speed you get from a bike is like nothing else, you are just sitting on an engine and whees in that sense and you are being taken along for the ride.
The second time I had ever been on a bike, doing 70mph felt like 170 but as with everything, you soon get used to it and it becomes normally so eventually you do start doing 170 but it feels like 70 haha.
However having being a fair weather rider as in not going out in the rain, it does limit you to how much you actually go out riding and it started getting used less and less, it the end it became more of a garage ornament in my folks garage than it did with me riding it.
After 3 years of ownership I decided to sell it and stick to my car, which I was spending more money and time driving, I am talking about the only car I regret selling, my 2nd Type R....
2004 Renault Megane Dynamique
My second brand new car, I had been spoilt on buying the Civic new and knowing that you are the first owner I decided to get another and more sensible diesel.
I liked the look of the car even though it was not to some people's taste, I got them to fit a spoiler to the rear boot hatch and it had the larger 17" wheels, keyless entry, in dash 6 disc changer, air con it was the car I thought I wanted.
Upon the day I picked the car up to be honest I had doubts and regrets but I carried on with the change, however it was short lived and I was a bit dispressed if I am honest I had got stuck with the car I didn't really want, I wanted the Civic back.
The Civic had been put on the forecourt at a local used car place that had connections to Renault and it had been cleaned up really nicely, and my dad had a Clio at the time although he did like the Megane too.
The deal was not to our liking, especially as we knew what they had given me for it, so a trip was made to the Honda dealership I purchased the last Civic from and well, a new Civic Type R was ordered and on it's way....
2004 Honda Civic Type R
I couldn't wait to get back behind the wheel of another Type R, the car had been facelifted since the original one came out and a new colour added, which the garage had managed to find for me.
Six weeks after ordering I finally picked the new one up again and it was like being back in the fold, and all the things I missed had come back.
However this time I was prepared, and wanted to get back into the car where I left off with the other so parts were purchased and bought before the car was even in my ownership. After 1,000 miles the car was taken to ABP motorsport to have my Race header was fitted along with a custom Top Gear exhaust I had purchased.
It was too loud with this combination so it was swapped for a Spoon B Pipe and a Magnex back box, which quietned it down a bit. Also I had already swapped over the original airbox for the AEM kit and then came the running of thiings, the ECU was changed for the Hondata Kpro with downloadable maps it was a trial and error to find one that worked.
After a trip to Santa Pod to try them out, I found the map I wanted to keep and modify to make the most of it by having it tuned to my car, a trip to System R (now known as TDi North) and that was that.
Then the suspension became the focus as it needed to be lowered, so a set of Tein lowering springs were fitted, again another trip to System R and all set up with camber bolts and ajustable rear arms all going together nicely.
I changed the AEM for the Gruppe M induction kit after it getting raved reviews and you certainly felt a difference, the sound was amazing too.
A magazine feature entailed on a owners Group Thrash with varying amounts of tuning, and the issue of J Tuner magazine showcased what these cars could do, top speed, 1/4 mile and 0-60 times all recorded via GPS on Bruntingthorpe's proving ground, it was a great day out and I always remember the day.
However the ride was harsh on the 18's and I opted to change the wheels, however a set of 17" KEI Velocity's came along in gunmetal grey at a price I could not refuse came up, so these were purchased, and another swap vice versa with another forum member I had a set of standard wheels and he took the 18's from me.
Wheels were changed and it suited the car much better, so the new KEI's were fitted and I then set about getting the handling of the car.
Rear strut braces were fitted, the thicker JDM anti roll bar and Carbing tie bar were fitted and the front J's racing strut brace and torque damper, it handled just how I wanted it too.
I then came across a rare Spoon Street silence back box as I wanted to match the already fitted Spoon B pipe, so I swapped it over in favour of the Magnex as I wanted to start doing a few more track days with the car and this quietened the car very well.
Sounds were also changed in favour of Diamond Audio speakers up front with a custom back box for the sub and JL audio amps providing the power.
It was not fitted very long (thats why I don't have any photos) before someone damaged it while my car was parked at work, so the whole bumper was removed and I fitted my original one back on as it looked a mess, while I got it sorted.
After all the shows, trips to Santa pod and the meets it had been a great time, but growing up and other things becoming in my life iI knew it had to come to an end sooner or later, so I started selling things off to change the car.
I then turned my attention to the rest, I had always liked the front of the prefacelitt Mugen front after having it on my red one, so wanted that again. I didn't like the Mugen front for the facelift, so a pre-facelift bumper was obtained and sprayed and Mugen style splitted fitted. I still wanted to keep the facelift grill so fitted it to the bumper, it looked okay from a distance but the slight change in shapes made gaps on the edges.
I did have plans to modify the bumper to make it fit but a Mugen facelift grill became available in my colour already, so I bought that and fitted that instead.
It got down to the only thing left on the car was the suspension modifications but I had a change of heart and couldn't part with it, so kept it for a little while longer.
I decided to get an exhaust as I missed the sound of the exhaust and purchased a HKS Hi Power exhaust, which satisfied the sound stakes.
I also managed to obtain some of the Recaro's that were fitted to the run out of the Type R in those known as the
Premier Edition, which offer more support and leg extenders give support to your legs on longer journeys too.
I also did a half track day at Brands Hatch, which although is a short track is a great track, and the dip makes your stomach go.
After a year or so the feeling of I should be looking to growing up a little and saving for a house came to mind amongst other things, I decided it was time and on the 21st
April 2008 the car went to its new owner after only been for sale for a few days on Autotrader.
It was a sad day and having remembering the date it went proves I regret the day it went, but life must go on!!!
The photo to the side was the day it left, I gave it a full detail and polish over a 2 week period to give it a good send off, although it made it even harder to let go but I always wish it was still my car...
For more photos of my Civic please visit the gallery here
2004 Renault Megane Dynamique
So after regretting getting the car it was back in my ownership, as my dad had took it off me when I got the second Civic and he got rid of his Clio.
As he was retiring he didn't need a second car and offering me a good deal I took it off him when the Civic became for sale.
I knew I wouldn't have it for long again if I didn't change what was wrong with it in the first place, so a set of Eibach springs were fitted and some alloys purchased to make it look a bit better
and handle better.
My dad's way of cleaning wasn't mine and it had not been waxed or polished at all, so a full detail was carried out and machine polished it back to when I first got it.
I also changed the stereo system over from the Civic with the change of head unit in favour of a DVD pop out screen and different speakers up front.
It made the ownershp more bearable and a remap was
carried out, it just made it go with a bit more ooompth, making it around 150bhp.
I tided the boot install with some MDF and carpet to cover the wiring but using the kit from the Civic.
The sound was awesome from the JL audio equipment matched with the Audiobahn components up front and in the back speakers.
But after a year, I moved out into my own place I was getting itchy feet again, needing something a bit more grown up like and wanting something more up market, I decided to go to my next purchase...
2009 BMW 116d Sport
The bosses at work all had BMW's and I wanted a piece of the action, so with a good relationship with a dealership in Birmingham I went with the manager to get my own.
They had a few cars in stock they were looking to do a deal with and so the rest is history as they say, I do wish I could of gone for the MSport but it was not there to do a deal on, so I settled for the 116d Sport, it had the same seats, a couple of added touches with the black piano trim insde and the chrome edging on the outside trim it looked the part.
As with most manufacturers the engine is the same in all models but detuned, so my plan was to get it released with a re-map later on down the line.
The car handled well and having always been used to Front Wheel Drive it was great fun, the suspension was firm enough to handle well and the steering was responsive. However it did need a bit more oompth to make the most of it. So I looked into a remap, however they had changed the ECU on this version and as such it could not be remapped through the ODB port like previous cars, so I was stuck with
The stereo was decent for a standard set up, complete with speakers in the floor for a bit more basey feel so the kit I had in the previous car was sold and I left this car alone.
After 2 years I was getting itchy feet and new shapes of the 1 series were making the car worth less and less, so I decided it was time to move on.
2011 Citroen DS3
This car seem to fit the bill, it was a hot hatch kind of styling but a diesel engine of 90bhp it was easy to run with little road tax, cheap insurance and very economical.
I added the styling bits from its bigger brother with the chome side trims and rear light chrome surrounds, it added a bit more style.
However going down in size of car was the main downside of the car, you were on top of the pedals and the handling was okay but no the
It did however get me back into the club/forum and get me going back on the Civic forums I had been a part of for so long.
I attended a rolling road day at my old garage I used to get most bits done on my Civic, TDi North and also went to a track day my friend I had met through the Civic ownership was attending.
It was that I think that got me longing again for another Type R and I had to get back. After 7 months of ownership I decided to part ways, I managed to get a garage to take it off me without buying a car as due to the newness of the car they could sell it on.
So that was that, and I was on the lookout for my 3rd Type R...
2004 Suzuki SV650S
So while I slowed down on the car side of things, I got the longing for another bike.
I always liked the SV650 after sitting on one at the Motorcycle show I went to before I even owned the first bike.
I wanted to get the later shape as I could for my budget and picked up this SK3 in silver with all the fairings on within budget.
It was already fitted with an ART race can but this was loud so I put the original exhaust back on for the MOT and sold the old can, I then purchased an exhaust from MTS oval with carbon trim.
I then got a single seat cover to go on the rear and remove the seat grip at the rear.
A tail tidy was already fitted, but was damaged so I replaced it with a R&G tail tidy and also the crash bungs on the side to protect the side fairings from being damaged.
Other than that, a good clean throughout the bike and I was pleased with the ride.
2008 Honda Civic Type R
The desire to get another Type R was back in my blood and I couldn't rest until I got one.
The DS3 had already been sold so I set about finding one I wanted, having to use the bike while I was car-less.
I wanted the old shape again originally but wanted a late spec "premiere edition" in Cosmic grey again with the seats already in what I had purchased for mine, and low mileage.
However these cars were demanding a premium and the later shape cars started appearing in my search, so I focused on perhaps getting one of the new shapes instead.
I didn't really like them when they first came out and the rear was never my cup of tea, however the interior was a nice place to be and had the toys that an every day car would have, so I thought maybe this time around it was the right car.
After a bit of seaching I found one on eBay within budget and fully spec'd including factory Sat Nav, GP body kit and the upgraded 19" alloys.
It did have 4 owners but the service history was all up to date so I made the trip to Peterborough and came back the owner of the car.
Just as we came off the motorway from picking it up it had started snowing so the drive back up was not how I wanted to test it.
It didn't take long before I started looking at changing it. The wheels although were not curbed had started pitting due to the diamond cut finish, so the wheels were off and I got them powder coated in black.
Next on the list was the suspension, I changed the springs to Tein S Tech springs I had on my EP3 and fast road set up, I also purchased some braces including an Ultra Racing Anti Roll bar that fits between the rear springs...
It felt really tight cornering and it was really planted in the corners, but still felt a heavy car compared to my EP3 back in the day, the cruise control and Sat Nav with voice function was very pleasing...
I also added the Ipod control and a reversing camera to the standard Sat Nav system, which proves very handy with lack of rear view on the car, it also doesn't help once I fitted the C-pillar strut brace either....
Heko wind deflectors were also added as well....
The interior I left alone apart from the braces on the floor at the rear as well, I replaced the gaitor with a leather one and that was pretty much that.
The interior of this model was so the best feature, the seats are very comfy and really supportive, the cruise control is also handy on long journeys, and something I still miss today...
The only thing then I changed was the exhaust system, I went for a Miltek to give a better note and hopefully a little
more extra horses. I also added a few extra black accents with the fog light covers and also a vinyl strip on the rear lights. Also a bit of carbon wrapping inside just to break up the plastic was added, also I started to change a few parts under the bonnet, mainly cosmetic, but a white rocker cover with red bolts and also some carbon dipped parts...
Then not so long after I got the parts, I mate the decision to change. I started to do longer distances so it was starting to cost too much in fuel, hence the next car....
2010 Audi TT TDi S Line
So enter the diesel in the form of this, the Audi TT 2.0 TDI S Line, this is the 170 bhp version and it certainly packed a punch, I found in 3rd gear, the car just took off like no other I had driven before.
The car certainly went very well, and certainly didn't feel like a diesel, or did it sound like one either, and with the Quattro the grip was phenomenal.
I didn't really have to change much on the car as it looked like it should, the later shape came
with the more agressive from bumper that was only on the TTRS originally and also the LED lights below the headlights. The pop up spoiler at the rear automatically comes up over 80 mph or can be put up by the press of a button.
I did purchase an induction kit for it from eBay, also a Dension connector kit to plug my iPod into the standard stereo, I also looked at changing the alloy wheels as well, but sadly I changed jobs and travelling 4 miles to work was not good for the DPF filter, so it was on to the next car after only 12 months :-/
2014 Seat Leon SC FR
I first looked at a Leon when I changed the first Civic (perhaps I should of got one then) but since that a new brand new shape had been released, and also a 3 door version of the car really appealed.
I went to have a nosey at Seat in Star City, Birmingham and was shown this one, it was a demonstrator so had a few extra nice
options already on it, panoramic sunroof, technology pack, Seat sound system, LED lighting pack and also the upgraded 18" alloys.
After test driving I could not believe it was only a 1.4, it was the 150 bhp model so was fairly pokey and an extremely pleasant drive, so the deal was done...
The car was excellent, extremely cheap to run, road tax was only £20 and did excellent MPG
but I found it a little boring to drive if I am being honest, it didn't really give a thrill when driving it compared to the TT.
I got some wind deflectors and also got the pedal covers from the Golf to make it more sportier inside, as it looked a bit plain...
I was paying a fair amount out a month for it as well, so after 12 months I decided to come out of it and just purchase a cheap, fun car I could just run for a couple of years..
2005 Mini Cooper S
So the mini was an itch that I needed to scratch, I had always loved these things and the whine of the supercharger is just so addictive. I was paying way too much out for the Leon so decided to get rid of that and just buy one of these. Set myself a budget of £3k and went on my search....
I then came across this, a 05 in the blue I
wanted, spec wasn’t important but nothing too high miles and also the 3 magic letters, LSD.
I got got it home and cleaned it, although it was a clean car for the age, usual chips but nothing too bad.
Then it was time to start putting my stamp on things, as I was not planning on leaving it standard for long...
The first jobs were the easy things, so my personalised plate went on, changed the normal bulbs for LED versions, Mini puddle lights and no. plate bulbs etc...
The next step was to get rid of the chrome that is all over such a small car, so plastidip was used on what I could, so the rear petrol cap, S grills on the side of the wings and also used it on the front grill.
The MOT was due on the car so got it booked in, unfortunately one of the rear boxes was leaking gases so it was a great excuse
to replace the system with a full sports stainless steel cat back from Miltek. This is was spurred me on a little and look at some more performance modifications.
I then spruced up the interior a little with a JCW carbon gear knob and handbrake handle combo, a lot nicer to touch than the large knob that was there before. I also did the cheap and cheerful air box mod, which replaces the panel filter for a K&N cone filter that mounts in the existing box.
Next up came the wheels, I had purchased some cheap off eBay not long after I got the car, but they were cheap as needed refurbishing. So I went to the usual City Powder Coaters and had them done gloss black, also ordered so S centre badges to match as well.
Before I had chance to get the wheels on though, I had booked in with Lohen, a Mini specialist based not too far away, the aim was to fit a smaller pulley for the supercharger and replace plugs as part of the package as well. I went for the 17% Alta pulley with Iridium spark plugs and new belt...
The wheels also went on amongst some other blackout bits to cover the chrome, belt line trim was covered in vinyl stripping, handles in plastic black covers, and the wing mirror caps were replaced with some I ordered and painted Matt black myself.
Also I noticed when I picked up the car, one side of the heater controls was off, but then it came back on so was a bit temperamental, so it’s one of those annoying things, so I tackled replacing the bulbs in that too, which involved taking the centre dash apart, just to get at them. While that was out I decided to have ago at wrapping the side pillars in carbon wrap, to match up with the gearknob and handbrake. Also I had ago on the steering wheel silver trims as well, and the small switch for the electric door mirrors, as it was in that area too and it turned out well.
Now that the looks are getting there it was time to focus on the performance and as it was starting to get a little warmer, I looked at cooling the supercharger better, afterall with the reduced pulley, it would generate more heat. So I contacted Oranje and ordered an Airtec top mount intercooler.
The quality was excellent and fitted well once all the brackets and bolts were secured, it was a little fiddly with the new blue pipes, but definitely worthwhile.
Compared to the size of the original intercooler, it’s much bigger surface but makes the most of the space, and diverts air into the cooler as well, so all these factors will help with cooling.
The next stage of modifications was suspension, so I ended up organising a Group Buy with MeisterR on a set of there coilovers, although issues with build and locations etc... meant they were delayed but eventually they did arrive. So I went to Grinspeed in Leyland to have the suspension fitted and fully set up. Stevie is a perfectionist so I knew it would be done right, even the rear interior came out to make sure it was all fitted correctly, as they have adjustment for the stiffness, it has to be plumbed in to the rear so you can adjust the rear.
So the car was looking and running great, it was such a hoot to drive, it handled great and also went so well with the LSD and the performance modifications I had carried out.
I started using it to travel further for work, and the fuel was horrendous on the car, not to mention the clutch, in traffic it was starting to take an effect on my left leg, and started to have aches and pains when not driving as well.
I decided to take the decision and sell the car, I knew I would be able to sell the wheels, so these were removed and sold separately, then I advertised for sale as it was. No real interest in the car so I started to put it back to standard, all that was left was the coilovers. I took the opportunity to part exchange the car for something more suitable for the miles I was now travelling and my itch had now been scratched.
It did manage 194bhp on the dyno at a rolling road day at Tegiwa, video below
2016 Renault Clio 1.5 dci Dynamique S Auto
I decided to buy a Clio as I had been borrowing my dads Clio quite a few times as the thing was so economical, cheap road tax (£0 tax) and they don’t look half bad either.
I went for the EDC gearbox as after the Mini, I didn’t want the pain of changing gear in traffic, as this was going to be my daily, it was the perfect choice, after all I had the Civic for my manual fix.
As with all the cars, I always like to add something to the vehicle myself and again, a little too much chrome on the car.
So I ordered some Carbon effect badge covers that fit over the existing chrome badges on the car, and just tone it down a little. Also some wind deflectors were added for motorway driving.
Also added some sill covers that I also got for my Dad for his Clio, as it just breaks up the sill and protects it when getting in and out, also put the plate on as well.(this is costing me a fortune to transfer).
I also thought that the wheels sat far too much into the arches, so I ordered some Direnza 10mm spacers to just put them a little further out, to fill the arches that little bit more.
This was all the extent that the changes I made went, it was returning 50+ mpg and was a cheap car to run and drive, the only thing that was missing was a little more sense of space. The mini is quite a wide small car, but the Clio felt narrow and light when it was on the motorway so this got me looking at an alternative after a year had passed.
It did visit Cadwell Park, however this was the nearest it actually got to the circuit itself, I merely went to spectate and take photos.
It is a great economical car, I had like 60 odd MPG on the journey from the Midlands to Cadwell Park but being on the motorway it felt a light car, and in windy conditions it did feel quite small.
I loved the look of the car, and it was the first 5 door car I had ever owned, but a deal was too good to pass up and I moved on to the big brother.
2016 Renault Megane 1.5 dci Signature Auto
I looked at the Megane when I went for the Clio as they had just been released, and was impressed with the cabin interior, it was such a nice place to be, with the large touchscreen in the centre of the dash, and the quality was excellent compared to Renaults of old, so when it came time to change, I came across this one in the top spec, 1.5 dci the same as the Clio but as 110bhp instead of 90bhp and the same EDC gearbox as well, but much more comfort and that little bit of space I was after in the next car
Obviously the number plate went on again (another £80 spent) to personalise the car a little, and I also purchased some Alloy Pedal covers for the Auto box at a good price (Renault wanted £120) to make it look a bit more asthetically pleasing inside the cabin.
There was not much else that could be done other than that really, I did look to remove some of the chrome, the front badge cover off the Clio was the same size for the front, but the rear was slightly different as it has the rear view camera built into it.
The specification of the Signature is great, full leather, cruise control, auto lights, wipers, auto windows all around, large screen to control multimedia, sat nav and heating controls, sound system although not Bose was really good and it is a great crusing machine. Also different modes including sport so the throttle response was better, gear changes quicker and the option to flick it across to a semi auto, although it didn't have the paddle shifters.
I was happy and intended on keeping the car for a while as it suited my needs, that was until I got the track car, and needed something for towing, unfortunately with a towing weight of 1500kg it was not going to be near what I needed it to be, so that led me on a search for a replacement, and the change was made again only a year later....
2017 Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDi GT
So here comes my current vehicle and the one I chose to tow with, I had been looking at the VW Golf GTD as with a 1600 towing weight it seemed to be the best of both, great performance and handle really well, I set about looking for a mk7.5 ideally as I wanted the newer infotainment system and the Virtua dash but they were a little more money than I wanted to pay. Also upon further investigation with the trailer and poss weight of the
track car being on the border of towing weight of the Golf, I looked at other models in the VW range, and that is where the Passat took an interest.
I found that the Virtua dash and newer stereo like that found in the Golf could be found in the 2017 model of the Passat so started focussing on the GT and R Line models.
I then came across this one, a 2017 '67' plate 2.0 TDI GT model with 7,500 miles and very well looked after, again I wanted to go
for an automatic, as I had been so used to one now, so this has the excellent DSG box and also has the paddles on the steering wheel, something that the Megane was missing. It has full Sat Nav and Virtua display, so the Sat Nav can be viewed on the main display, heated seats, full climate control, adaptive cruise control, really comfy seats with electric lumber control, full park assist and panoramic opening sunroof.
It is a pleasure to drive, and flick it to Sport mode and the manual option of the paddles and shifter really come into play, not to
mention the engine response and the accelerator. It is the 150ps version but it does go well for being that, I also have looked into a tuning box for the car (due to warranty I want to stay away from remapping) and they take the power to around 200ps, so plenty to keep it entertaining.
I have only changed the pedal covers and footrest on the car at the moment, not really much to do but I do have to have a tow bar, which is not cheap on this vehicle, due to the wiring to keep the car happy.
I would like to change the steering wheel to the design of that in the Golf and is also found in the R Line model, as it looks more sportier and just suits the car a little better, but prices are high at the moment, as I would need the paddle shifter version and would also need to have the airbag to match.
I have altered a couple of bits with Carista device, which allows you to change settings on the vehicle, like puddle lights staying on, beeping when the alarm is armed etc... but I am sure I will find something soon to change so I can get my fix
2003 Honda Civic Type R 30th Anniversary Edition
So after getting rid of the last Type R, I knew it was not long before I got another one. This time around however, I went with the choice I should of made when I went for the newer one, and went back to the EP3, the one that had got me hooked on Honda's.
This time around though, I decided it to be a 2nd weekend car, so I could keep it mint and clean not using it everyday, so the hunt
was on to find a suitable car. I scoured the sites and found an Anniversary Edition all the way down south, high mileage but seem to be looked after, photos exchanged and conversations, and I agreed a price. Unfortunately I had to work so had planned on heading down on the Bank holiday. Unfortunately in the meantime it sold, so that was the end of that. It did however get me stuck on the idea of the Anniversary edition, with the limited run of 100 in each colour, all red Recaro's, red carpet, Momo wheel and privacy
and it paid off with a little photoshoot for Auto Express, after they were looking for a standard EP3 to be used.
I then got the rocker cover refurbished and under the bonnet cleaned up a little, changed the stereo and speaker system to get a better sound. I also dropped on a OEM Honda carbon effect dash, so this was fitted too.
All was going well, I also got the Progress rear ARB and bar second hand, I sprayed it all in black chip so it didn't look out of place under the car as well as a service.
I decided to take it out on Track at the first show of the year, Japfest at Silverstone. I checked the car over, oil had been changed recently and checked levels and all seemed fine.
However while on track I suffered loss of power, as I came off the track it went totally wrong, the bottom end knock came into affect :(
To say I was gutted, would be an understatement so got it back and left it in the garage for a few months, while I decided what to do.
Looking around for a replacement engine just didn't feel right, you didn't know what you were getting, low mileage ones were a few quid, and what proof was there is was as it was.
I was also not keen to remove the original engine, so I made the decision to have a rebuilt, as this way I knew it was good and also it would be the original engine. A mechanic recommended a local place and it was sent off to them, however it took longer than first thought, with waiting for parts it was too late to attend many shows this year (2016)
But after new crank, piston, rod, rehoned, new seals, new oil pump, new chain and a few other things, it is running sweet and like new, infact you cannot hear it.
Getting it back, put new life into it for me as after it went I did lose a bit of interest, an MOT ensued and resulted in a new battery and also advisories on the suspension side. So my next task was to tighten up the handling. A set of Meister R's were fitted together with new track rods, polybushes and set up, together with oil and filter chnage after the build, also to make some noise I decided to fit an
M2 silenced mid pipe and back box. It didn't end at this then, so a Tegiwa carbon air box has also been fitted, I have also put solid bushes in on the gear selector and short shifter kit, replaced the stereo and speakers yet again, but also removed the amplifier.
I cannot get the modding bug out of me, but is all things that can be swapped if I really want too, to keep that originality.
So what next..... well I plan on a visit to Europe in it next year, so will be preparing for that, with a brake upgrade and a couple of other things.
So it’s about time I updated this as it’s been a while and a few things have moved on with the car, not to mention the awesome trips in 2017.
From the last update I had just had the suspension sorted and the exhaust, so it spurred me a little to change a couple of other bits, like I mentioned I had purchased the Tegiwa Induction kit, which I fitted (shown left) as it just adds an excellent induction noise (I have one for the track Car as well). Also fitted in the pic is the earthing kit, ‘R’ anodised red battery tie bar, refurbished Rocker cover and flush fit spark plug cover.
The next on the list were in the brake department, as the trip involved mountain passes I decided to go for an upgrade, in the form of a Brembo kit made up of calipers from a Renault Clio RS, discs from a Nissan 350z and has got to be the best looking brackets to locate the calipers correctly.
I currectly have Ferrodo DS2500 pads in at the moment but I do have PBS pads for the front and rear to replace them.
So far they have been awesome and well up to the job, even saved me a couple of times, this was one of the reasons I went for a similar kit for the track Car.
I then wanted something for the looks department and always liked the look of the Mugen spoiler, but had seen this version on eBay made by Delta Styling, with an extra lip on the blade of the spoiler itself, which just adds something different to the overall look of the car.
I went for the gloss black rather than the carbon one, as it would go with what I had planned on the rear.
Fitment was spot on and the colour match was okay as well especially the age of the car against new paint on a fibreglass spoiler.
I also purchased the best mod you can do the car (in my opinion) and got a OEM Honda LSD from an Integra DC5, as it’s a fit and forget and as this is not having any serious power modifications, it would be plenty capable.
Luckily I managed to get into HondaHQ before my trip around Europe to get it fitted so I could use the benefit of it and make the most of those roads with the brakes and now the LSD.
It was fitted together with new bearings, fresh gearbox oil and also an OEM Exedy clutch while the gearbox was apart, so it will last a few miles now before needing to be done again.
Then it was time to hit the roads of Europe and mountain passes of Switzerland and Italy.
The trip was amazing, 10 days and around 2,500 miles was a great test to the car, it performed brilliantly and averaged around 34mpg which was not bad.
The only issues I had really was how low the car was, it did catch the front liners at the front on some of the steep passes, so I may raise the height up slightly. I also damaged the mid pipe to the exhaust, as it catches everywhere including on the train heading over
After the trip I had the bug, we didn’t have much time at the Nurburgring due to the distance we were from it, I was also hesitant of going around after what happened on track last time, so upon getting back to the UK, I ordered a Clockwise Motion baffled sumo and HondaHQ fitted it along with an oil change, then I headed back over with a few mates for a few days around the ring, and this time I got to go on it. Wow what an experience, nervous as well as excited, I had a good guide to show me the ropes, so helped a great deal. The problem is once you go on, you want to go again, and again...
So when I got back from the ring, I felt that the steering wheel was lacking a little comfort, it’s an original Momo wheel so I would like to get it restored to original condition at some point, so purchased a shabby 2nd wheel complete with airbag, and sent it off to Royal Steering Wheels to have a custom retrim, which consisted of leather top and bottom, red centre wheel mark and suede side trims. It’s amazing just changing a wheel how it changes driving the car, it’s also slightly chunkier, so feels great.
At this point I was just enjoying driving the car again, a couple of shows ensued with Japfest and Fast Car Festival at Donington, Mimms Summer meet at Rockingham and the final show of the year, Japanese Auto Extravaganza (JAE) where I attended with the Type R Owners forum as I have for a couple of years now, this time with my car (photo shown left).
It was a great year for the car, I had covered more miles in it this year than I had done in all the time I’ve owned it, and put me back in love with it.
HomeSo November comes around and the Black Friday Sale, kept me on the look out for something I had been wanting to get for a while, and it happened. As the car was off the road over the winter, it stayed in the garage until the new show season.
Honda Mimms at Santa Pod was approaching so my new addition was fitted, a new Tegiwa vented Carbon bonnet, I also changed the induction kit slightly as it was vibrating badly, so a blanking kit was added. The rest of the car was as before including the damaged mid pipe, it was temporarily repaired but only a short term solution.
I had plans to head over to the Nurburgring again last year, but the purchase of the other Civic did change my plans and I decided to concentrate a little on that, so it has been neglected slightly, and the car has hardly been used, I need to get the MOT done and also an Oil & filter change, but do need to sort out a replacement exhaust, as I think it will fail with exhaust gases leaking from the B Pipe where it joins the CAT, due to it being damaged. I bought initially a Tegiwa 70mm exhaust for it in the Christmas sale, however this is now being used on the track car, so I may have to purchase another so I can swap them over before the MOT.
I did have plans to change the looks of the vehicle with a shed full of parts including Air Walker style front lip and a spare front bumper, also a Fibrworx rear lip and currently 2 rear bumpers. I also have a Carbon Mugen style facelift grill and a few other bits and pieces to still fit, but my time is limited to do everything, especially still working on the other Civic also, but I do plan on getting things done, and try and use it a little more this year.
Photos of the trip around Europe can be viewed Here
Photos of the Nurburgring trip can be viewed Here
Progress of the build and photos of the trackday Civic can be found Here