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Reviews

ATTACKING THE TIMES

22nd March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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We have this theory that being an owner of a performance car garage is a lot like being a kid in a sweet shop. One man whose definitely living that dream is Andrew Baird, owner of Automek in Glasgow & he’s certainly not a fan of the standard metal that rolls off production lines.


He’s owned a huge variety of machines, worked onthousands more and to him each one has needed modifying. The hunt for more power & better handling has always been the mission in his own cars as well as those of his customers. With a strong love for Hondas he’s built some incredible power houses over the years including his own Civic Eg with a supercharged K20. However none until now have scratched the performance car itch…



Clearly what you can see here is not a Honda. His love for the Lotus brand eventually bit him hard and he knew he had to get hold of one. Next up was choices, Elise or Exige? After tonnes of research Andrew was ready to go ahead with the purchase of an S1 Exige, then an article was released stating they were a solid investment for the future… ‘ignore the banks and buy s1 Exiges’… well, that killed the cheapness, and overnight they rocketed up in value, ruining the plans.


Not wanting to be defeated he set about building the craziest Lotus he could using the cheapest basic chassis he could find. A base car was sourced locally, and with no real care to hearing it running or anything else the usual car buyer kicks tyres over, he paid for it and started to head home in his new Elise S2… yep thats right, this was an Elise.


His first review of that drive home would have you believe that he’d made completely the wrong choice, it was overall absolutely terrible to drive and a garish canary yellow convertible to top it off, not exactly the manly Exige he had envisaged. First off the weak K series power plant had to go and with the car breaking down the day after purchase, well, its fate was sealed. The love for Hondas was still strong, Andrew still wanted that Honda reliability and performance.

Finding the partsto do this conversion was not a issue as the Honda engine from his earlier Eg civic build was needing a new home. However that didn’t last long as a customer had their eye on that engine leaving the Lotus once again without a motor. This problem didn’t last long as Laskey Racing in the US supplied Andrew with a fully forged K24 bottom end for this build and the goal now was not just to create something fast, it had to ultimately terrify. Engine was sorted, but the looks well.. that needed work too. The transformation into an S2 Exige took place. A difficult but necessary conversion to allow a comfortable fit of the new Supercharged K24 that was being put into it, oh and the Exige just looks better.

The Lotus pedigree really showed through as Andrew continued the build to completion, very little was wrong or needed improvement when it came to suspension and chassis work, it was coming together perfectly. To complete the hard as nails look the car needed to sit low on some new wheels, it needed to be different. TTS near Silverstone helped with the custom hubs giving it the perfect ride height with no negative attributes to the cars handling. As for wheels well the Lotus 4 studs limited choice so that had to change. A set of existing Vauxhall wheel bearings were adapted in house to fit the new hubs and suddenly Jap fitment was possible. TE37s were the wheel of choice but crazy staggered offsets were required.

This alteration to a 5 stud changed everything meaning no off the shelf brake arrangement was possible. A whole new setup was needed and assembled from scratch & paired up with help of a custom pedal box to suit by Pilbeam Racing. Its taken two & a half years to get the project to what your seeing here and an insane build like this  needed a reason to exist, it couldn’t just be for the road where it would be dangerous trying to reach its full potential, neither was it intended as a track day car. This project ultimately was to create a no limits Time Attack build.

So far its been used in anger several time including two wet rounds of Time Attack, however its not in the Lotus category, nope the supercharger bumped it up out of there, so initially it started off in the club class,pairing this 400bhp Lotus alongside 500bhp+ Rx7s and Nobles but one more thing needed changing that would give Andrew an even greater challenge… Momentum Motorsport in Ireland helped get a Sequential box together, which is fantastic, but it has moved the Lotus up to Club Pro alongside a great deal of experienced cars and drivers. It was never going to be easy.

Andrew is the first to admit that the car is a lot more capable than the driver at present but he knew that throughout the build process, he’s fully aware that its going to take a lot longer to learn to drive than it did to build it. A challenge is good, it keeps things fresh and interesting, it pushes you to improve and this car is doing exactly that for Andrew and the team at Automek, we are looking forward to seeing how it evolves next!

This car was too good not to feature a full spec list, so here we go….

Chassis:

  • S2 k series Elise
  • Exige s2 body work
  • Tts custom hubs
  • 5×114.3 bearings
  • Fully re bushed suspension
  • Braced subframe and arms
  • Safety devises cage
  • Nitron ntr coilovers
  • Eliseparts 1″ adjustable front roll bar
  • Eliseparts quick rack

Brakes:

  • Ap racing pro5000+ callipers front and rear
  • 330mm custom front discs
  • 308mm custom rear discs
  • Ap hydraulic bias control
  • Pilbeam custom pedal box with Ap cylinders inc independent reservoirs
  • Full hose technics braided lines throughout
  • Pagid rs14 pads
  • Pagid rs29 pads

Engine and transmission:

  • Laskey racing k24 sleeved block
  • K20a ported head
  • Cp Pistons
  • Manley Rods
  • Earls oil pump
  • Fd2 cams
  • Ported rrc inlet with Toda tb
  • Hybrid tensioner+toda chain
  • Act pro light flywheel
  • Act clutch
  • Quaife qke8j sequential gearbox
  • Custom billet shifter assembly
  • Tts custom billet engine mounts
  • Custom built wiring loom (entire car)
  • Dta s80pro management
  • Dta XDash
  • Defi’s
  • Custom drive shafts
  • Rotrex c38-81 supercharger
  • Pro alloy charge cooler system
  • Tial bov
  • Gruppe m ep3 air box (heavily modified)
  • Duetchworks 1000cc injectors
  • Custom fuel system
  • Pro alloy 60ltr endurance tank
  • Bosche 044 pump
  • Spoon baffled sump
  • Mocal oil cooler system
  • Pro alloy triple pass radiator
  • Full sfs hose set from front to rear

Bodywork/ styling:

  • (carbon parts)
  • Reverie front full floor splitter
  • Reverie roof scoop
  • Reverie exige side pods
  • Reverie rear diffuser
  • Apr side sills
  • Apr wing mirrors
  • Apr rear gtc200 wing
  • Apr front canards
  • Volk te37’s (two sets)
  • Set of braids (wets)
  • Carbon cup 260 engine cover
  • Full respray in frost white
  • Interior (not that there is much):
  • Mog carbon fibre seats
  • Schroth 6 point harness’s
  • Flocked dash
  • Lifeline zero360 novec plumbed fire extinguisher system
  • Momo model 88 wheel with snap off   Kit

Event

VLOG 1 | Goodwood FOS

21st March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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This is a look behind the curtain, a peak behind the scenes, an insight in to what happens at an event to bring you coverage. Lets head back to the 2016 season & kick this series off.


For me Goodwood Festival of Speed was one of those bucket list events. To go there is fantastic, to be asked to work there & provide coverage of the event was simply incredible! A highlight of my career as a photographer. Was it one of the hardest events I’ve ever had the pleasure to work at? Oh yeh! Was it worth it? Totally!

This post isn’t just to churn up old content though, I’ve wanted to put it together to hopefully share with you all something new. I said to myself at the start of last year that I wanted to begin keeping a diary of my work travels, something that would become a memory for me to keep. Why? Well I go around taking pictures of so many amazing people in so many awesome locations, which is fantastic, but I have no actual memories of being at those places other than my work…

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It all started off with selfies… yep its a slippery slope people. A few shots here and there with friends, then coming home from events & projects & printing them on polaroids & displaying them around the flat. Great, memories were becoming physical things & I was loving it. However this wasn’t enough for me, capturing moments with people was fantastic & a big part of what I needed but it didn’t capture the emotion at the time, the overall atmosphere & the sounds.


I spoke with a few people & got inspired. I then took a brave ‘DontBeSelfConcious’ pill & the vlogs were born. What better place to kick them off than at Goodwood Festival of Speed! I thought to myself, if there is one place where I shouldn’t ever run out of content then that has got to be it.
Obviously it was a first time try, I was shy, nervous as hell & despite planning out ideas in my head I was not even sure what I wanted to capture as soon as I hit that record button on the camera. I did it though, I filmed a lot & created something & kicked off my series of vlogs which can be checked out in their entirety on the Status Error Youtube channel that I run alongside Gianni.

This was a great start for me, ticked what I was after entirely. It became something I can keep & have as a memory. It all developed from there & even went on to become fun to continue these vlogs as the year went on. There is still masses of room for improvement but I enjoy doing it and that really is all that matters when it comes down to it.


Hopefully you all enjoy the insight as I will be sharing them all on here as I go & include several of my photos from the various events to better show you what it was like. I want to share with you not only the work I created but my experience and what it was like for me to be there.

Thank you all for reading my thoughts & watching 🙂

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Reviews

PACKING A PUNCH

18th March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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The 1/4 mile. A challenge taken on by so many, all aiming for that sub ten & below time. Its a challenge of pure physics, having the power is only part of the problem, you then have to put it down onto the track, not to mention your reaction time which can make or break your ‘perfect’ launch towards that end of runway gantry.

Here’s one car that that was built to get below that 10 second mark! Perry Stephenson is the owner of this Monstrous looking MGB, & I have to say he is a true gent, gave myself & Dave Cox all the time we needed to capture this classic on steroids & was more than happy to talk us through the hard work thats got it where it is now. Talking of hard work, this is a huge project! One that’s been ongoing for a while, and this monster of a car has been cruel as well as kind, having munched several past engines.

However its back on top form and at the time of these photos it was running a 4.8 litre v8 (bored out Rover 3.9 V8) coupled to a supercharger from a Sherman tank! Perry believes its running around 400bhp with 600 ft/lbs of torque, & going by the noise it makes, I’d say he’s spot on & if anything being modest about the power of this fantastic build.

The dragster scene is often overlooked in the automotive world. In a cloud of tyre smoke filled by the ever popular drift culture which has in recent years cast a shroud effect on all other genres of motorsport, its important to remember the other disciplines out there & the hard work that goes in to creating cars like this.

Reviews

ITS A VIP THING

16th March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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Japan & the JDM craze is nothing new, its an influence on the lives of so many with their mindset and ways of life. Their car culture especially plays a huge part with so many automotive fans from around the globe. From every documentary we’ve seen on the subject they are totally trendsetters without even knowing it, what we deem to be cool is often just because it was the only way to do it to them and therefore it simply worked.

So it would seem that little thought is put into what others think… refreshing that 😉

In the western world this kind of attitude can bring on hate. The desire to be different is shot down and conforming to the masses is the standard by which you are judged. With all that being said, we wanted to bring you all a little slice of the Japanese mindset from way up North in Aberdeen. A Lexus GS300 Sport that would not look out of place cruising the streets of Tokyo. At its heart is a JDM 2JZGE, for people who don’t live their lives knowing engine codes, thats a straight 6 3.0 litre engine pushing out around 240bhp and bundles of useable torque, easily moving this VIP wagon through the streets.

Its owner, Fraser, has a solid spec list of modifications, not the all of which are the usual ones you’d expect, its an awesome mix of mostly driveway mods that work, again saluting that JDM culture of doing it yourself & doing whatever you want.

A fully fettled exhaust and intake allow it to be heard long before its seen. But its the presence in person that demands your attention. Its most striking party piece would have to be the D2 Air Suspension system, dropping it to a floor scraping height thanks to 2 air zenith OBD2 compressors hugging the Works Rezax 2’s perfectly and worthy of its street sweeper gang sticker.

To suit all these lows the outside is as purposefully unique as possible with a Vertex front bumper flowing nicely into matching side skirts and a half cut OEM rear bumper allowing a Top Secret style rear diffuser to poke through finishing it all off perfectly. Spoiler wise its got a choice, the Toms roof spoiler is a permanent addition but bonnet spoilers, well, they come and go. As of this shoot it had a 326 Power spoiler, however we’ve seen since that its gone full BGW, an awesome addition to the overall look.

The interior has two red Recaro seats perfectly suiting the driven styling of this build. Adorned with stickers of varying degrees of awesomeness collected from travels to J town, once inside you’d think you were there. In fact check you can check this out for yourself in all its glory thanks to the work of Alex McArthur who has produced this ace video on the car, we feel summing it up perfectly.

This build isn’t a ‘trying too hard’ JDM replica, this is built completely to their same standard. If it fits it works, if it doesn’t fit well you just make it fit, you don’t listen to what the masses say, you don’t adhere to their set rules & accepted mods, this right here is the perfect example of the Japanese car culture.

Reviews

Auf Wiedersehen Hoshiko

14th March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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Clean, spotless, stunning, & all other words of this ilk are what comes to mind when describing Russell’s 1998 JDM import Subaru Legacy GTB. A Subaru Legacy is a pretty rare car these days on the UK roads & therefore this ‘stanced’ take on the Japanese estate behemoth stands out even more. Named ‘HOSHIKO’, ‘HOSH’ has been a pride & joy of Russell’s since 2008 & it shows. The idea behind the build has never been to stand out in the crowd, but he has managed to do that simply thanks to the attention to detail & subtlety of this project.

Now I don’t want to put a downer on this write up early on, but Russell was going to break it down for parts. The story hasn’t ended as sad as that, but as it is the car has now made the trip to Germany to be with its new owner. Highly unlikely we’ll see the likes of this at UK shows in the future. As Russell said to me “Seeing it leave the country and knowing I won’t see it at the local super market car park was the only way I could part ways with it.” I think any car enthusiast whose put time & effort into a unique build will understand that frame of mind.

So the car has gone, but Russell still kept hold of those stunning one off custom ‘WORKS’ alloys, the most impressive feature in my mind of this build. The wheels themselves really make the car standout. They are WORK Emotion XD9 with custom flip cadbury purple with diamond cut lips. Sizes are 18 x 10 et38 fitted with stretched Falken 452’s 215-40-18 (by our friends at Ruislip Tyres no doubt).

Custom STi 4Pot brake upgrade & zinc dipped multi grooved Performance disc’s & pads sit behind the stunning ‘WORKS’ wheels running -4 degrees of negative camber. All this is framed perfectly by the lowered stance provided by the BC Racing “BR”  “Extreme Low” 30 point adjustable damping height & camber top mount coilovers.

This car is no slouch in the corners and thanks to amazing support over the years from Whiteline it has an extremely solid feel to it, a very impressive car in the twisty’s despite its size.

The interior has also seen a lot of custom work in Russell’s ownership. A deep dish alcantara steering wheel mated to a works bell boss and Richbrook white ally gear-nob provide the control needed. Cloth interior was also soon removed & retrimmed with an old school pleated leather in the front and two custom cobra mini buckets and framework fitted to the rear.

The work he has put into the cars overall appearance is outstanding over the years, subtle modifications which bring it all together & give you the result shown. From colour coding bumpers, rolling & flaring the arches and even the cleaning up of the headlamps and the addition of HIDs all come together for the end result.

Its not all aesthetic as the 2ltr 280bhp boxer engine has been allowed to breath thanks to the Apexi Power Intake & lets everyone know its coming thanks to the stainless steel Kakimoto rear box & decat section. To sum it up, the license plate surround says it best & is a worthy nod to the USA based car movement, this Legacy is ‘Simply Clean’.