I’ve experienced some fairly cold weather over the years and to be honest, I thought I was pretty capable when it came to braving the elements. But during our trip to Christchurch to cover the NZPC magazine South Island Champs, I was proven very wrong. Yep, it was cold down there — f****n cold!
On the Saturday night, over a couple of cordials, local meteorological expert Big Dave from Indy Cars assured the NZPC crew there was no threat of bad weather. Literally one minute later, as Giant Jaffa-sized lumps of hail belted down from above, it was fair to, as usual, say he had no idea what he was on about!
For the next three days, the temperature didn’t get above five degrees. Us hardened Auckland lads were forced to not only don all the hoodies and jackets we’d bought down, we even had to head out and buy gloves! sad I know!
So you can imagine our bewilderment when we met up with Gavin Bath, the owner of this Nissan, wearing a T-shirt and cap! (Oh yeah, he did have pants on too, but you get what I mean.) Hell, they definitely make them tough down those parts, and not just the locals — the cars too. Just look at Gavin’s immaculate S13.
Mind you, this slide-spec stunner wasn’t always the pristine machine you’re peering at now. Before Gavin got his hands on it the Silvia had been subjected to a fairly hard life. Starting out as the weakling of the pack — a 1.8-litre NA automatic — saw the dark blue beast lagging right from the outset. And as it aged things didn’t get any better, as somewhere along the way the tired CA18DE shat its pants once and for all.
The rest of the engine and associated bits and pieces didn’t require the same level of ingenuity, because the twin cam mill is in relatively standard spec. Internally, the block and head hardware is of the stock variety, but on the outside a few tasty touches have been added. For starters a K&N filter feeds stacks of chilly southern atmosphere through Gecko intake piping before it gets tumbled through the standard T28 turbo.
Lurking inconspicuously behind the front bumper is a R32 GTR intercooler, which subjects the charge to a brisk frisk before it meets up with the boom juice for a good time.
Speaking of that explosive stuff, it makes its way to the 480cc injectors in fine form thanks to a Walbro 255-litre-perhour in-tank fuel pump and a Nismo fuel pressure regulator.
At this stage the standard ignition system and ECU still kick everything into life, but once the combustion commotion has taken place, the leftovers are delivered cleanly and quickly to the world: first through the XS Power stainless exhaust manifold, which flows into a three-inch Gecko Racing exhaust and stainless bullet muffler. It’s a cool sounding exhaust too, but you know what’s even cooler? The engine — thanks to a S14 radiator with electric fan.
The under-bonnet appearance is nothing to sneeze at; in fact, it’s bloody immaculate! Of course the re-spray in 2K white lifts the visual appeal, but so does the de-looming, polished plenum, Gecko Racing catch tank, lasercut stainless cover and polished everything else.
On a recent dyno run this tidy machine cranked out a respectable 191kW at the wheels on one bar of boost. Not too shabby at all, and it gets it all to the road very well thanks to the R32 Skyline GTS-t limited slip diff.
There’s a few other changes in the driveline area too, such as a modified re-balanced prop-shaft, a modified gearbox cross member and the fitment of GTS-t Skyline drive shafts and fivestud rear hubs. The front hubs also received the treatment — being swapped for S14 Silvia Ks hubs and spindles. This meant Gavin could now fit the wheels he wanted — none other than 16×8-inch R32 GTR forged alloys wrapped in Toyo Proxes rubber.
You know what else it meant? Skyline brakes all round — R32 GTS-t rotors and four-pot callipers on the front and R32 GTS-t rotors and two-pot callipers on the rear. Gavin also saw to it that custom handbrake cables were part of the mix.
Suspension-wise, the S13 Silvia gets its nice ride stance and fantastic handling characteristics from BC Sports adjustable coil-overs on all corners.
These quality components are height, preload, camber and dampening adjustable, which allows Gavin plenty of flexibility to set the car up for every application, be it everyday street use or full-on track/drift action. And he didn’t stop by merely fitting the coil-overs either. No Sir, because the Silvia now makes use of Whiteline radius rod bushes, Whiteline 'Pineapple’ sub-frame bushes and Gecko Racing adjustable top arms, tie-rod drop joints and rack end spacers (for more lock).
While most would have shunned this already unloved machine, Gavin looked beyond the ropey exterior and rooted motor as he could see a bit of life still lurking in the old girl. It would take a decent amount of work before he’d be seen out in public with her though. Nevertheless, he parted with 1000 notes and took her home.
From the outset of the build project Gavin had a clear plan. He wanted a tidy streetcar, with no body kit for something different, and plenty of power to boot. The poked 1.8-litre pussbucket was never going to help him out in that department so something with a little more spunk was welcomed to the family! a two-litre turbo SR20DET fresh from a S15 Silvia.
The engine is arguably the best move Gavin could have made in terms of bang for buck. And given the ease of conversion, all the ticks were lining up in the positive column. There was one problem though — the engine and matching six-speed gearbox didn’t come with a diff. The S15 has its speedo drive in the diff, so Gavin had to make a custom one, but how did he do it? He used a proximity sensor off a Volvo truck that picks up from the bolt heads on the prop shaft flange! simple really!
Just like the suspension, the exterior of this Nissan was very well sorted. From the outset Gavin knew he wanted it to be immaculate, but a big-arse body kit was never on his wish list. He wanted all the panels to be as straight as an arrow and perfectly coated in super white, super slick paint. For this, Nathan from Straighten Up Panel & Paint got the call up, and after an amazing four days, he had the car straight and coated in 040 Toyota white with gloss black on the roof. The car’s look is super clean and just goes to prove you don’t need a body kit to have a fine looking ride.
Inside, Gavin hasn’t gone too mad, as he’s a fan of the S13’s interior just the way it is. The only additions or changes you’ll really find are an aftermarket steering wheel, Nismo gear knob, an HKS EVC3 boost controller and Cusco spin-turn drift handbrake knob. Of course, there are some tunes in there too, in the form of a Sony Xplod 50Wx4 headunit and Fusion six-inch component speakers.
This car almost offers an important lesson in life: never disregard the unfortunate or ugly ones, because you never know, you might see them later and they’ll be something you’d give your left nut to have!
1989 Nissan Silvia S13
ENGINE: S15 SR20DET, standard internals, K&N pod filter, Gecko intake piping, T28 turbo, XSPOWER stainless exhaust manifold, Siamese dump pipe, R32 GT-R intercooler, 2.5-inch polished aluminium cooler piping, Samco joiners, GReddy Type RS BOV, Walbro 255lph in tank fuel pump, Nismo adjustable FPR, ASP fuel pressure gauge, factory 480cc injectors, 3-inch Gecko Racing exhaust, 3-inch stainless bullet rear muffler, S14 radiator with electric fan, HKS EVC3 boost controller, engine bay re-sprayed in white 2K, de-loomed
DRIVELINE: S15 Silvia Spec R six speed gearbox, copper/ceramic driven clutch plate, R32 GTS-t LSD, modified/rebalanced prop shaft, modified gearbox cross member, R32 Skyline GTS-t drive shafts/rear hubs (5- stud), S14 Silvia Ks 5-stud front hubs and spindles
SUSPENSION/BRAKES: BC Sports adjustable height/preload/camber/dampening coil-overs, Whiteline radius rod bushes, Whiteline 'Pineapple’ sub frame bushes, Gecko Racing rose-jointed adjustable top arms/toe arms/traction arms, Gecko Racing tie-rod drop joints, Gecko Racing rack end spacers (for more lock) Front: R32 Skyline GTS-t rotors and alloy 4-pot callipers, custom brake lines. Rear: R32 Skyline GTS-t rotors and 2-pot alloy callipers, custom handbrake cables
WHEELS AND TYRES: R32 GT-R 16×8-inch forged alloy wheels (road) R32 Skyline GTS-t 16-inch (track) Toyo Proxes — 225/50R16 on front, 245/45R16 on rear
EXTERIOR: GT-R-style Nismo front grille, all panels straightened, re-sprayed in Toyota 040 white, gloss black roof, flared rear guards.
INTERIOR: Aftermarket steering wheel, Nismo gear knob, Cusco spin-turn drift knob
ICE: Sony Xplod 50Wx4 head unit, Fusion 6-inch components
PERFORMANCE: 191 rear wheel kW @ 1.0 bar 0-400: 13.2 @ 107mph
OCCUPATION: Design Engineer
PREVIOUSLY OWNED CARS: MKII 1100 Escort, MKII 1600 Sport Escort, Nissan Pulsar GTi DREAM CAR> F1 car, with the job to go with it! (Hey, it says 'dream’)
WHY THE SILVIA?: “I’ve always loved Nissans. This one is lighter than the R32 with better balance. I love the look of the S13 too — it’s got a modern interior for the age.”
BUILD TIME: 9 months
LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: 9 months
GAVIN THANKS: Mum & Dad, Ritchie, Ben, Craig, Bryan, Mike and Nic, Moose, Trev, Dr Prong, Henry, Gene and Steve @ Firestone, Nathan @ Straighten Up Panel & Paint, Aaron (Azztech Enhancements), Craig (South Island Bearing Distributors, Nicol (Quik Performance), Goff (Hi-Tech Sheetmetals), NZEFI, special thanks to Ben – Team Gecko
The first day brought the expected but nevertheless unusual mix of ice and gravel in a combination that made the stages very tricky and unforgiving. The surfaces were incredibly demanding of crews as the traditionally hard-packed and snow-covered roads of this specialist snow event were covered with only patchy ice, revealing the gravel beneath.
The recent warmer weather meant that the snow banks were not as firm and when leaning on them crews risked bursting through into the woodland beyond, and a premature end to their rally. Without the buffer of the hard-packed banks usually experienced here, the narrow speed tests left no room for error and drivers did not use them as normal to help guide their cars through the fast bends.
“Today was not what you might expect from a route that is normally covered in deep snow. It’s a tough challenge for crews to adapt to and we have already seen some of the front-runners fall” said Team Principal David Richards. “Petter is in a solid position, and Chris will continue to fight for Manufacturers’ points but tomorrow will be a very different day and will present a whole new set of challenges. I am also very pleased to see Mads Ostberg in one of our private cars running so strongly in sixth place.”
Solberg started the rally strongly, winning his opening 1.9 kilometre head-to-head battle against local hero PG Andersson around the Karlstad trotting track on Thursday night. Overnight leaders of the rally, he and Mills delivered a consistent performance to avoid problems and mistakes on their way to finishing fifth overall in conditions that demanded absolute focus and precision. Pushing hard to achieve the second fastest stage time on the second running of the Karlstad spectator test, the duo finished the day pleased but wanting more tomorrow.
“I’ve been driving to my pace all day today, going as fast as we can in these conditions” said Petter Solberg. “They’re very strange as the first few stages this morning were good and icy but this afternoon was full gravel with lots of water in the ruts. If you go one hour north there’s 1.5 metres of snow, but in the stages there’s not that much. I think tomorrow will be warmer as well so we will see how the conditions in the stages are. Grip is very very tricky so it was very tough today. We’re going flat out, so we will see what happens tomorrow and Sunday.”
Atkinson started Friday’s first stage matching Solberg’s stage time, however on the morning’s second stage he slid wide on a narrow section of road and ran into a snow bank exiting a corner. As the banks are softer than normal, instead of guiding the car back onto the stage, it gave way and beached the Impreza. Undamaged, it nevertheless took the pair 15 minutes to free themselves of the soft snow and rejoin the stage.
“The conditions were very hard today” said Chris Atkinson. “The slide into the bank was quite a surprise for me. I wasn’t feeling entirely comfortable with the car in the conditions, which were a mixture of snow and gravel and so made the level of grip tricky. We would normally have made some changes at the midday service, but here we are only allowed to change tyres and refuel (in a remote service) so there’s not much you can do. The roads are so narrow here, and we can’t use the snow banks as they’re too soft. They’re very fast, so if you step a little off-line there’s just no room to sort it out before you’re off. Our focus now is on gaining manufacturer points by the end of Sunday. We’ll make some changes tonight and start again tomorrow.”
The FlatOut series has enjoyed global success on multiple formats, selling over 2 million copies and winning numerous awards in the process, with FlatOut 2 being named Xbox 'Best Racing Game of 2006’. FlatOut Ultimate Carnage for Xbox 360 was released to critical acclaim in June 2007 and now award-winning Finnish studio and creators of FlatOut, Bugbear Entertainment, are currently developing FlatOut Ultimate Carnage for PC.
While simulation racers have traditionally found their home on PCs, FlatOut Ultimate Carnage blurs the line between arcade and simulation, offering PC gamers a “Deathproof” experience with carnage gameplay modes and enhanced graphics to rival the Xbox 360 version. Multiplayer online provides wheel-to-wheel action as opponents try to fishtail other cars and get across the finish line in a 'no holds barred’ extreme driving smash fest.
Ian Higgins, CEO of Empire Interactive commented, “We are very excited about bringing FlatOut Ultimate Carnage to PC gamers. Research suggests that arcade racers are becoming ever more popular on the PC, with the Xbox 360 controller providing the perfect way to enjoy the genre. Ultimate Carnage is an entirely new prospect for PC and we’re excited to be bringing FlatOut’s unique gameplay experience to PC gamers everywhere.”
Clive Kabatznik, CEO of Silverstar Holdings added, “The FlatOut series has been a global success story for Empire and we are delighted that Ultimate Carnage will now be made available to PC gamers. With over 2 million sales globally the FlatOut franchise is an important part of the Empire portfolio and we are sure that the FlatOut Ultimate Carnage for PC will only add to the ongoing success and bring new fans to the title.”
Jussi Laakkonen, Business Development Director of Bugbear Entertainment noted, “We’ve witnessed fanatical anticipation and demand for FlatOut Ultimate Carnage to be released on PC ever since we announced the Xbox 360 release. It gives us great pleasure to be finally providing what FlatOut fans have long been clamouring for!”
FlatOut Ultimate Carnage for PC launches globally in June 2008. The next instalment in the franchise, FlatOut Head On for the Sony PSP, is due for release on 14th March 2008.
New to its tuning range, Momo – the Italian auto accessory maker – has introduced the Nero collection; a new line-up of steering wheel, gearshift knob, pedal set and harness pad set, inspired by the Italian definition of the collection’s name!’black’.
Already well renowned for its range of steering wheels, Momo’s 350mm Nero model is finished in leather and features black suede grip inserts, satin silver detail rings, a moulded black satin centre pad and a sculpted base section.
Suitable for standard and lift reverse shifts, the 'ball-style’ Nero gearshift knob blends black leather and satin finishes, and features the famous Momo logo, embossed on the top and emblazoned in the traditional yellow on the side.
The black Nero manual pedal set is made from aluminium and features brushed grip detailing and the yellow Momo logo, whilst the collection is completed with a black and gold harness pad set.
One of three new collections for 2008, the Nero range is currently available on order from the UK priced at £163 RRP for the steering wheel, £46 RRP for the gearshift knob, £38 RRP for the pedal set and £22 RRP for the harness pads. Your local NZ stockist may be able to order them in. Visit www.momo-uk.com for more information.
Lets face it, jigsaw puzzles are a bastard. Sure they may be fun at first, but after a while all they do is mess with your head. But just imagine what a brain teaser this would be: taking a few pieces from a whole bunch of different jigsaws and trying and piece them together.
Aucklander Saul Patterson must be a hell of a lot more patient than most, as mixing and matching different bits and pieces is exactly what he’s done to produce the orange wagon you see before you. Sure, most of the bits are from various Mitsi’s, but that doesn’t make the task Saul undertook any less impressive.
If you know your performance cars, you’d be forgiven for assuming the car is a ’95 or ’96 Mitsi Libero GT. But, I’m afraid you’d be wrong. Take a closer look behind the rear wheels and you will find drum brakes that the Libero GT never came with. Take an even closer look, and you will also find there is no rear diff, just a solid axle. So! what is the car then?
It is — or was — the bottom of the Mitsi station wagon heap. A Libero E. E for economy and, as such, comes stock with a lifeless 1.5 carburetted auto motor and box. The kind of thing that’s good for ferrying the kids to kindy and back; at the very least, you could be sure no one would ever suffer whiplash from the not-so-startling acceleration.
So why did Saul buy such a lifeless car? Well, exactly that, throwing the kid seat in the back and ferrying junior round. Strangely enough though, it wasn’t long before driving the vehicle became too much of a bore, so Saul decided the car needed a bit more oomph. And being a Mitsi, he didn’t need to look far for options. As the GT-spec Libero came with the GSR derived 4G93 1.8 turbo mill, the plan was to install one of those, But Saul soon learnt about the rod throwing tendencies of those motors so decided to go the whole hog and fit a two-litre 4G63 engine instead.
At the time, the best option he could find was an older motor from a VR-4. Sure, VR4 internals are known to be stronger than Evo’s, but the engine was a bit tired, so Saul decided a bit of a DIY re-build was called for.
The stock pistons were replaced with stronger Evo 0 items, while the head was ported and polished at the same time.
With the head in bits, it made sense to drop in re-ground cams and also a large Evo exhaust valves to get the mill breathing as well as possible. At this stage the standard TD05 turbo was sent off to Turbo 777 where the compressor wheel was swapped for a larger T04B item and the exhaust wheel back-cut for higher flow abilities. The original 4G15 engine being pulled from the engine bay was all the excuse Saul needed to get the bay coated in custom orange paint.
With the new engine attached to an Evo subframe and dropped in the freshly painted bay, Saul manufactured a custom air box to house the K&N pod filter.
As the engine was purchased as a long block,all accessories such as the Evo coil pack, 560cc injectors and custom leads had to be sourced to make the thing run. However, Saul wasn’t prepared for the challenge the fuel system raised. To run the EFI motor from the carby fuel tank required a VR-4 in-tank pump, a custom surge tank, custom lines and an aftermarket fuel pressure regulator be installed. As well as this a 120psi external fuel pump was added to ensure the engine was never run dry. To control this jigsaw madness is now up to an Evo II ECU with a custom chip to compensate for the larger turbo and fuel system.
Obviously the stock one-inch exhaust is long gone, and in its place sits a full 2.5-inch mandrel bent item with Coby resonator and stainless muffler.
With the engine sitting pretty, the bay was de-loomed as much as possible and custom touches, such as the polished catch can and stainless bolts, were added.
Remember how the car was auto? Well that was all about to change too. A Lancer GTi cog swapper is now in place and caries an Evo LSD and carbon Kevlar paddle clutch to ensure as little slippage as possible.
Instead of messing around with broken axles and CVs Saul chose to run with V6 Magna items. These are designed to take more abuse than the stock GTi ones would even look at. Along with these came Evo front hubs and uprights to make sure everything was in the right place. Now surrounding the stock uprights are compressed springs, while down the rear, compressed Libero GT springs take care of ride height. Attached to the Evo hubs are obviously Evo callipers, which clamp on Evo discs to haul the vehicle up.
There is one down side to the Evo front hubs however; they have a 4×114 stud pattern where the stock rear drums are 4×100. That means the wheels on the vehicle must be multi-stud. Luckily, Saul had a set of 205/40R17-coated 17-inch Advanti flares lying around that fitted perfectly.
With the exception of the wheels and ride height, the exterior of the vehicle was still looking sad, especially since the stock front bumper couldn’t fit over the custom intercooler. To fix this Saul fitted an Evo III front bumper — problem was, it didn’t line up with the stock guards, so they too were replaced with Evo items. To finish the look off, Evo III side skirts and end caps were fitted, as was a Libero GT rear wing. To ensure the bonnet could close over the taller motor, a genuine Evo bonnet also found its way onto the vehicle before Saul took to it with the spray gun.
As with the engine bay, the colour is custom flame orange Saul mixed and sprayed himself in the garage at home.
The wagon’s interior is not as extreme as the engine bay or exterior, but once again uses parts borrowed from various other Mitsi’s, such as the GSR front seats. The wind up windows are also long gone with electrics from another Lancer now in their place, something that you would be hard pressed to pick unless you really knew your Mitsi’s. Besides that, there is a simple audio install consisting of an Alpine headunit and Sony speakers. But when the engine sounds so good, who really needs a stereo? So what does it go like? Well, lets just say there is now no excuse for dropping the kids off at kindy late.
Once traction is gained, the car will destroy its 4WD counterparts hands down. The only thing is, just like finding the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, traction is near impossible to find.
1992 Mitsubishi Libero E
ENGINE: VR4 4G63T, Evo 0 pistons, VR4 rods, ported and polished head, stage 1 cams, EVO exhaust valves, Pod filter, custom air box, three-inch intake, Hybrid TD05 T04B turbo, back cut exhaust wheel, VR4 fuel pump, stainless surge tank, 120psi external fuel pump, 560cc injectors, adjustable FPR, Evo coil pack, custom leads, 2.5-inch mandrel bent exhaust, Coby resonator, stainless muffler, Evo II ECU with Blitz chip, Racepro boost controller, de-loomed, polished catch can, stainless bolts
DRIVELINE: Lancer GTi gearbox, Evo LSD, Carbon/Kevlar paddle clutch, 1350lb pressure plate, V6 magna axles,
SUSPENSION/BRAKES: Evo front shocks, compressed springs, compressed Libero GT rear springs, Urethane sway bar mounts, Evo I sway bar, Evo front sub-frame, Evo rotors, Evo callipers, stock rear drums
WHEELS AND TYRES: 17-inch Advanti Flares with 205/40R17 rubber
EXTERIOR: Evo III front bumper, Evo III front guards, Evo bonnet, Evo III side skirts and end caps, removed door locks, Libero GT spoiler, Veilside style mirrors, Flame orange paint, 35% tints, X-Racing headlight eyebrows
INTERIOR: GSR Recaro seats, Momo wheel, polished gear knob, Monster tacho, hidden shift light
ICE: Alpine CD player, Sony Xplod speakers,
PERFORMANCE: Never tested
PREVIOUSLY OWNED CARS: S1 turbo RX-7, turbo Cosmo, 68 Chev Impala, Mitsi Cyborg, V8 HQ ute
DREAM CAR: Mitsi Cedia with Evo VIII running gear
WHY THE WAGON? I like Evo’s but wanted a wagon
BUILD TIME: 8 months
LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: 11 months.
SAUL THANKS: My friends, Pete for his metal work, Matt for his time and my wife for putting up with my mindless car dribble day in and day out.
The Subaru World Rally Team heads to the long and winding forest routes of Rally Sweden ready to tackle the challenge of all-out sideways action as crews wrestle their machines across sheet ice. The only specialist snow rally of the year, it is one of the fastest and most competitive as WRC crews battle to prove their mettle on the only wholly ice-covered speed tests they will encounter all year.
Travelling to the city of Karlstad for the event that has honed the skills of so many past greats, it is clear to see how the conditions develop the flamboyant mastery of Scandinavians behind the wheel. Aboard his Subaru Impreza WRC2007, Petter Solberg is no exception. The Norwegian grew up driving cars on the tundra of his homeland and won here in 2005, finishing on the podium twice since joining the team.
There is a finite skill demonstrated on few other events of flicking the car into the long and twisting corners and 'leaning’ against the snow banks, literally using them to guide the car through the icy corners. Rally Sweden is the first competitive outing for Pirelli’s Sottozero ice tyre. The skinny rubber is dotted with metal studs designed to bite through the ice into the harder-packed surface below, producing fantastic grip on the most treacherous of conditions.
This year the event is based in Karlstad, and opens with a spectator-friendly speed test on Thursday night around the city’s 1.9 kilometre horse trotting track. Conditions in Sweden traditionally have made for one of the most extreme events of the season, but this year teams and organisers alike are watching the weather with trepidation. While snow is predicted over the weekend, there is currently a lack of snow on the stages. With average temperatures just above freezing, it is somewhat uncharacteristic of a rally that can see conditions plummet to minus 20 degrees Celsius.
In addition to the roads being incredibly treacherous, they are also very fast and flowing. In fact, the wintry routes are amongst the fastest of the entire season. Demanding maximum confidence from crews in their vehicles, the event is a stern test of man and machine and huge gains can be made by those fully commitment and driving on the edge.
The route this year comprises five new stages, one of which has been resurrected from 2000. Drivers who learn these new routes fastest and perfect their tricky pace notes to avoid mistakes will gain a significant advantage. With three remote services in Sunne and Hagfors, crews will tackle 20 stages and just over 340 competitive kilometres before reaching the finish.
The Subaru World Rally Team have entered two Impreza WRC2007s for Rally Sweden. Petter Solberg / Phil Mills will drive car number five and Chris Atkinson / Stephane Prevot will be in car number six. Petter has only missed one Rally Sweden since his WRC debut in 1998 whilst this will only be Chris’ fourth attempt, and his first alongside Stephane.
David Richards, Subaru World Rally Team Principal: “Despite being held on roads covered with snow and sheet ice, Sweden is one of the fastest events of the year and most certainly favours those drivers with experience of these conditions. Petter was brought up on these roads but for Chris it must be an extraordinary contrast from the Australian outback and yet I expect him to do extremely well and have every confidence that both our drivers will be well in the points again this weekend.”
Paul Howarth, Subaru World Rally Team operations director: “We’ve seen the situation before that certain stages have had little snow until just before the start of the event, but what it needs is a real cold snap to give the routes a hard base of ice, else the stages will just get torn up. It’s generally an easy rally on the cars, but it’s physically demanding for the drivers as they need an aggressive approach on this type of surface. It’s very very fast and everyone will be fighting to take an early advantage. The snow banks are important as drivers use them through every corner and they also cover huge ditches at the sides of the road. Without the banks to guide the cars away from the ditches, costly mistakes will be easier to make.”
Petter Solberg: “It’s the first snow rally this year and I’m looking forward to it. We need to drive very differently here, so it’s about who can adapt. There’s always a lot of fans there and it’s great to have their support. We’ve won here before but it’s so so tricky you never know what can happen. We’ll go there and drive our own rally, push as hard as we can, and see what happens. We can’t do any more than that, and I hope we can have another good finish. It’s about being fast but not making any mistakes.”
Chris Atkinson: “We’re approaching Sweden much the same way as we did Monte Carlo — we go there aiming for top five, top six results and try to be as consistent as possible. Rally Sweden is a specialist snow event and the driving style you need there is obviously totally different. Coming off tarmac we’ll have to adapt quickly to the snow and get up to speed as quickly as possible. In Monte you had to be neat and smooth, but Sweden is probably one of the most aggressive rallies of the year.”
Between the rallies
There is only a week between Rallye Monte Carlo and Rally Sweden, so the drivers have been using the time to relax a little, train and prepare for the snow. Petter and Chris live in Monaco so there was no need to travel home after the rally. Both drivers spent time with friends and family, and Chris celebrated on Sunday night with sportsman friends who watched the final day’s action from a yacht in Monaco’s famous harbour.
The Impreza WRC2007s returned from Monte Carlo on Monday and the pressure was immediately on for the crew to rebuild and re-prepare them in time for initial shakedown runs on Wednesday 30 January.
But before you get the computer game, you have to play the waiting game…
Rockstar Games has announced the release date for Grand Theft Auto IV, the new title in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Developed by Rockstar North, Grand Theft Auto IV will be simultaneously available for Xbox 360 and PS3 and will be in stores worldwide on April 29, 2008.
“We are so excited to be releasing Grand Theft Auto IV,” said Sam Houser, Founder and Executive Producer of Rockstar Games. “We’ve pushed ourselves very hard to make something incredible and hope the game sets a new benchmark for interactive entertainment.”
It’s March 2004 and the National Motor Show at Mystery Creek is set to kick off in a matter of hours. Hamilton couple Pat and Ann plan to have their new pride and joy on display — a 1996 Series 7 RX-7 — but the way it’s looking just hours from the start, it could be touch and go whether the Mazda will make it to Mystery Creek at all.
Was it engine trouble on the way out there? Did they lose their way on those rural Waikato roads, or did Pat suddenly realise in his early morning daze that he’d forgotten to put his pants on and decided to turn back?
Well, as it happens it was none of the above. The reason for all the rushing was that Pat and Ann had only bought the Mazda two weeks before and, being the adventurous types, had carried out ALL their modifications before the show.
A brave undertaking indeed, but had they pulled it off?
Yes they had, but considering the paint was probably still curing on the way to the show, only just!
It’s not all that often you run into people who have had their car modified to such a decent level in such a short space of time. In fact, from what I’ve seen in my travels around the nation’s garages and workshops, the build time norm tends to be years, not weeks! But don’t for a minute think that Pat and Ann’s RX-7 is some half-arse rush job, because despite the rapid time frame, that’s definitely not the case. What we’re dealing with here is a car with quality gear professionally fitted.
Obviously, with only two weeks up their sleeves, getting the Mazda into the desired condition, Pat and Ann didn’t have days on end to sit around dreaming about what they’d do. They had a game plan worked out, which, if they stuck to, would see everything sorted in time for the National Motor Show.
The task was to enhance just about every possible area of the car from the engine and suspension to the exterior aesthetics.
Starting under the lid, the pair had no outlandish plans like a single turbo conversion, but the 13B existing twin turbo did receive a decent dose of love. To aid airflow to the turbos, twin APEXi air filters were added along with custom intake piping and anti-heat shields. Both turbos remain in standard trim, but to help keep them spooling away, Pat and Ann whacked a HKS super sequential blow-off valve into the mix. Speaking of HKS, that was the brand of choice for the 13B’s new iridium variety plugs. But decent plugs like these aren’t much chop without a quality set of leads, so that’s exactly why Pat and Ann chose to bin the factory-issue items in favour of 8mm heavy-duty Splitfire beauties. At the same time, a Splitfire earthing kit was welcomed to the under-bonnet neighbourhood.
In the drive train, the RX7 makes use of a five-speed alloy gearbox, modified to feature a Mazdaspeed quick shift setup. At the same time, Pat and Ann decided to turf the factory clutch and replace it with an ORC single plate ceramic clutch plate and heavy-duty pressure plate.
Parn at Hamilton’s Hyper Development was the guy sourcing and fitting the bulk of the goods and by that stage, he hadn’t made much of dent on his 'to do’ list.
The intercooler and exhaust were the next components due for a once over, and again nothing but top-notch gear was going to do.
RE Amemiya would have to be one of the top-tier brands when it comes to rotary-related products, so one of their aluminium intercoolers was chosen to do the business for Pat and Ann’s machine. OK, so it may > not be a hefty 'take up the whole front bumper’ number, but sitting in the standard mounting position, the cooler looks damn good and performs its duties very well indeed. Not surprisingly RE Amemiya intercooler piping was also used.
Turning their attention to the underside of the car, the factory exhaust system was evicted with a rather luscious Veilside Evolution system taking its place. The cat-back system isn’t the type that has noise-weary neighbours sharpening knives — it’s more of a subtle burble. Like any increased diameter exhaust should, this has effectively improved flow characteristics and bumped up the power output.
Also playing a part in the power department (and a lot of other areas for that matter) is the APEXi Power FC engine management system Pat and Ann chose for the car.
Thanks to this precise system and its exceptional tuning capabilities, the RX-7 produced 187kW at the wheels @ 13psi at Auckland’s Torque Performance.
Somewhere, nearer the top of this story, I told you this was an enhancement process that would cover basically every area of the car.
So now you now know why it purrs, but here’s why it looks so damn fine. Perhaps the parts most difficult to take your eyes off are the big sexy rims. Pat and Ann knew the look they were after for the exterior of the car and after a trip to Top Town Tyres in Hamilton they knew the 19×8-inch DTM X-Factors would be an essential part of it. Wrapped in 235/35ZR19 Toyo Proxes T1 rubber, the DTM rims totally enhance the already alluring appearance of the Series 7. Behind the big rims, the brakes remain standard bar Endless pads, but considering they’re four pots, whose complaining?
The theme of using quality gear continued and is pretty obvious once you check out Pat and Ann’s choice of suspension. Yes Sir, it’s HKS to the party once again with Hiper-D adjustable struts and progressive rate springs on all corners. This setup not only sits the RX7 way close to the weeds, it also brings about some pretty impressive handling ability.
Awesome rims and a staunchly low stance ! so how else can you improve the look of a Series 7?
Pat and Ann knew and it’s along the lines of a cool bodykit, subtle panel clean up and a slick lick of paint.
A C-West N1 bodykit was the choice for the car, with a Fast wing attached to the back to finish things off. Up front, a Top Secret-style carbon fibre bonnet took pride of place, while other panels badges and keyholes were deleted. Another nice touch is the use of Series 8 indicator lights in the front. Go on — check them out!
To top off the exterior, the couple decided to give the whole package a freshen-up with a quick re-spray — nothing too major, just a nice coat of Arctic White.
By the time this happened, the Motor Show was due to start!
Ann said they drove the car to Mystery Creek with the paint still wet. But hey, it was finished and it looked great, so that’s all that mattered!
The RX-7’s interior doesn’t let the side down either, thanks to a smattering of tasty goods. Momo makes an appearance, taking care of the steering wheel and gear gaiter, while a Type R number got the call up for gear knob duties. Gauge-wise, Pat and Ann chose to keep their eyes on the dial with the help of a GReddy boost gauge and an APEXi rev counter/shiftlight. There’s an Ultra automatic turbo timer in there too, and adding a touch of tidiness behind the rear seats, the boot floor was re-trimmed in black vinyl.
While the sound of a 13B twin turbo on song may be music to many enthusiasts’ ears, Pat and Ann have ensured they’ve got alternative tunes when required. Starting up front, a Panasonic CD-MP3 headunit was added along with Alpine Type R front components. In the back a NOS bottle eight-inch bass tube and Fusion FP-402 two-channel amp do their thing. All up this system is good for a none-too-shabby 125.7 decibels. They may have only made it with minutes on their side, but Pat and Ann managed to transform their RX-7 from stocker to decked-out stunner in just two weeks. Imagine what they could have done if they had a whole month to play with.
1996 Mazda RX7 Series 7
Engine: Mazda 1300cc 13B – REW twin-rotor twin-turbo Apexi power FC engine ,amagement, Apexi twin air filters with custom piping anf anti-heat shield, Apexi high pressure radiator cap, HKS super sequential blow-off valve, HKS iridium spark plugs, 8mm Spitlfire heavy duty leads, Spiltfire earthing kit, RE Amemiya aluminium intercooler piping, Veilside Evolution exhaust (cat back)
Drivetrain: Mazda 5-speed alloy gear box, modified Mazdaspeed quick shift, ORC single plate, standard Mazda 4-pot discs brakes with endless brake pads
Suspension: HKS Hiper-D adjustible suspension, HKS progressive rate springs standard front and rear strut bar (JMD Spec)
Wheels/Tyres: 19×8-inch DTM X factor, 235/35ZR19 Toyo Proxes T1 tyres
Exterior: C West N1 bodykit consisting of front bumper, rear bumper, side skirts, Fast brand (JDM) rear wing, Top Secret-style carbon fibre
Name: Ann and Pat
Age: 21 and 24
Occupation: Ann – Radiographer (X-ray Technician), Pat – Car salesman
Previously Owned Cars: Mazda Famillias, Series 1 and 6 RX7s, Honda Prelude, Infiniti Q45
Dream Car: Pat: “Aston Martin Vanquish”. Ann: “Already got it!”
Why did you buy this car: “Always been into Mazdas, especially the RX7″
Build Time: “Two weeks – no kidding!”
Length of Ownership: Just under 1 year