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Reviews

Boosted Rottweiler

8th April 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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The Mr2 Turbo, a 90s mid engined turbo powered 2 seater. On paper the Toyota MR2 was a winner but as always living among a successful family it often remained in the shadows of its bigger brother the Supra. It may not have had the same global success as its muscle bound bro but it holds its own as a credible sports car.


So with that back story done & out of the way, we think Mr2s rock! A few of us here have owned & loved them & we think the underdog spirit of the 3SGTE engine with its kick back in the seats violent performance is adorable, much like a cute Rottweiler puppy.  This one in particular has been around on the scene for a long time, back for a second wind after a sabbatical its not as it once was. Its swapped its fresh off the boat from Japan white paint for a WW2 US Army issue olive drab wrap by the Ruislip based guys at Prestige wraps.

Its heart is strong & unmolested with its near on standard 280bhp, slightly increased thanks to the usual bolt on modifications as well as uprated boost & all being kept cool by a JDModified fitted chargecooler. Yeah this car has not just laid down dead like many of its 90s brethren in the wake of high performance modern hot hatches, its now back for more on the streets. Owners form a bond with cars like this, it may not be the most powerful car & certainly not the most performance pushing MR2 but the relationship here is far stronger… now we’re not talking screwing your car here kind of relationship, we just mean you learn to love it in its own way & this one has been around since the dawn of time for its owner & its not saying sayonara yet.

Lets recap to the start of this feature shoot, the pre photo prep, think of it as the application of make up if you will. Being renowned for being a hair dressers car I think its alright to give the old 2 some time to beautify itself. Providing this beauty session and achieving the results seen here is largely thanks to a tonne of help from Shining Monkey. It wasn’t long before the car was soaking in a bath of their very own wash & wax monkey serum & ready to be blasted clean. Elbow grease fuelled applications of 360 detailing wax finished off the wrapped bodywork whilst safe in the knowledge that no damage was being done to the matte finish.

The wheels were in a sad state with several years of brake dust caked to them, AMDetails wheel cleaner came to the rescue & got in on the action alongside its Iron Fall Out Remover formula transforming the brake dust covered matte Lenso wheels back to their former glory. Dried down with towels that I would happily keep in the bathroom & it was ready for its photo to be taken.

While snapping it for this feature it was easy to see why Mr2s still have a following, the lines work & we feel its stronger now than its ever been. Like a rebellious punk rock fuelled teen its still punching above its weight as a solid performer & will most definitely not bow down & blend in among the blocky modern cars of today.

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