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Somewhat of a return - mothballed project

Ian N

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Figured I'd make a post, it's been nearly 14 years since i renewed my membership but life got in the way and I've been working to further my career as an mechanical engineer having since returned to university, earnt my degree and been working in high end automotive and motorsport including working at Le Mans in 2012 for Dunlop, at Aston Martin, Caterham, and been involved in a few projects including the Caterham SP300 and was a key member of the team that did produced the battery systems on the NIO EP9. 

Also become a bit of a Ring tripper, and currently managed a 9.42 BTG in the daily driver (BMW 330i Touring) though now the bug's bitten hard, I need to build something faster... 

For those who knew me back when i was a member, i had the Orient blue 1800 hatch back (RIP) and had a few coupes in storage, one was scrapped as it was beyond saving with rust in the inner and outer sills, non existant chassis rails, footwells, and boot floor... but that saved a few other cars with the parts.

Another coupe went to Danny up in Yorkshire and has since been saved and restored. Danny, i found the spare 5 spoke in gold by the way , so free to collect if you want to drop by!.

The coupe that i've got currently stored up, though will be moved to new storage in the near future untill I've been able to resolve the housing situation. I've still been aquiring parts including a RX8 6 speed box and a Z20LER engine carefully extracted from a Astra SRi, so the loom and ECU are completely intact.
Plans are to use what i've learnt and the contacts i have  from the years i've been working in engineering to work the coupe into a track day car but keep it road legal, I've seen a fair few mantas built up this way, so hopefully can learn from the work they've done to figure out the best way (within my wallets limitations!) of getting the car rebuilt.

Of note, I can't start yet on the project as i need to get a house first, but I'll be asking questions and will be on the hunt for some parts. :)




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The engine was a chance from a SRI astra that MANTAMAN had previously but it had damage and along with some electrical gremlins. The car was dismantled and scrapped, but not before I'd traded another engine for this one. They're good engines from what i've read, and can make easily 300bhp or so with little more than management, a decent intercooler (the stock one is pathetically small and plastic!) and a drainpipe exhaust. I do recall seeing a Manta with the same engine and was making 278bhp at the wheels though an 1800 gearbox.

I picked the RX8 gearbox for 2 reasons - one , they're cheap (£200 for a good one) , 6 speed so better ratios and they're not much longer than the stock manta box. It wouldn't take much to design a custom mount and with some careful cutting of the tunnel to move the gear shifter hole back by 100mm or so to fit and still retain the centre trim. Plus there is kits to adapt them to Vauxhall engines and other brands. Given RX8's are going pop cause the Renisis rotary has a tendency to self destruct and the RX8 comes in a portly 1450kg? or so kerbweight, then it's a good choice for a good RWD box being plentiful, can take a good amount of power and cheap. 


As for the interior.. Honestly I've never seen another car with it, and to put it bluntly, I'd rather take it all out and replace with a nice black one, I'll be sure to make sure it came out intact as it's hard to find parts. Though I'd only want the front half as the car's going to have a full weld in cage.

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