Rip Caliban Thunder Infinity then
And Rip the Duchess
My intention was to exclude cars that’d be collectible and thus, IRL, never cheap enough to run in a shitbox rally. My suggestion isn’t perfect but it would keep the field relatively honest!
You asked for a clunker? Well here’s a clunker for you!
A '92 Matteo Miglia Espresso Allegro, but actually the Performante edition, a more popular, but less common trim with the special forged 1.6L turbo engine and the LSD. Hardly the peak of comfortable urban commuting, but a rather chuckable and taut ride in the true tradition of 90s MM. With a base value of barely 8.5k, it fairly redefined cheap fun, and as such, they were frequently wrung thoroughly, which was exactly the intention.
In this case, put it in the hands of some motor idiots and give it the
full lean Strop treatment (where the AFR doesn’t change but the turbo sure as hell does), and you have…
Team Flaming Fart Cannon reprise: Dr Strop’s Wild Ride
… it’s about as comfortable as taking a Fakir mat for a ride in a centrifuge. But it corners like it’s on rails and with the output of over 200bhp, and the weight being stripped from 900kg to 780kg, it goes like no car on the budget in the 90s ever had any business doing. This is what Kai wished his shitbox Toyota was capable of doing. Naturally in the name of “team bonding”, notorious Gryphon Gear boost nuts, Kai Kristensen, Sam Neil and Stroppy McHorseguy (in hotly debated order of driving skill), have booked out some of their time in-lieu during a lull in racing seasons, and decided to spend it doing… more racing. Except more casual. And possibly pre-gamed with excessive amounts of cheese. You have been warned.
One small question for the rules. As far as I udnerstood them, you could only remove a muffler compared to your base model. So what’s with the higher power output for some submissions?
My submission is just a less than 16k car in 1983 then simply with interior stripped.
This is actually a question I was hoping to ask. I just heard from somebody else that they’d had a car approved that had the tuning changed but no other components changed.
Frankly it may or may not be in the spirit of competition but it would be very easy to change the tuning of certain things within reason… what would be more concerning is if people threw lore faithfulness out the window and changed their original trim so that the race trim complied with the rules, should the actual restrictions mean that all you could do with the engine was take off a muffler. Which was what I actually did previously, since I made the race tuned engine first. But this does need clarification.
…er, that’s not an Erin, it’s an early 90s Saminda C5.
Sort of. It’s the Erin Lomaron, one of the cars produced during the Erin-Saminda Partnership years. Most of the engineering was done by Erin, but the car was sold under both brands around the world.
Well it doesn’t really look like an 80s Erin.
Yeah, Erin wanted to go for a more “world car” look as opposed to their design language of the time.
Well whatever the inspiration was, it clearly wasn’t that interesting was it.
No. This really is one plain old looking car.
Is it also plain when it comes to performance?
You bet! Some of the more expensive trims came with inline 6s, but the one we’re entering into this competion is the base-spec EL trim, which came with a 1.8l inline 4 producing 113 hp.
That’s not very luxurious. And that advert says it’s supposed to be ‘luxurious’.
Erin, being British, decided that when it came to selling premium cars in non-Western markets in the late 80s, they could get away with a lot of crap. This is no exception. And what “luxuries” there were have been stripped out in the name of performance.
Has anything else been done ‘in the name of performance’?
Er, not really. This really is as stock as it gets.
Sounds about right for a clunker challenge then.
What we have here is a 1991 Erin Lomaron EL 1.8, finished in Polished Leather Black. This one was built at the Saminda plant in Ayutthaya, Thailand before being sent over to Australia and later imported to New Zealand. 148k miles on the clock, a decent service history and pretty much rust-free. It’s lived a good life, though that plucky little i4 engine is showing its age, and the interior could really do with a full re-upholstering.
There’s a pretty extensive back story about this car and the time period it came from, so I’m going to list that here rather than shoving it all into one post because nobody is going to be that interested in all those details apart from me.
Prelude: Erin’s late-70s financial crisis
Erin-Saminda Partnership: Part 1
Erin Saminda Partnership: Part 2 (including more details about the Lomaron)
One of the off-trails of the end of the partnership: Enactor and the Series 1 Estate Roamer
But who is going to be driving this damn thing?
Team ‘Southend Or Bust’
The three Brits who survived the Roulette Runner, Kinda Grand Tour and the Go-West Deathtrap Tour are back in yet another Erin. I’m starting to think there’s a pattern occuring here with what cars they always drive but I can’t work out what it is…
Last time we saw them, they’d just graduated university and had one last summer to make the most of before finally giving in and living in the real world. We’re about 3/4 of a year on from that now…
James Hurley - 22 year old actually named after the Twin Peaks character by his mother, and not even for a joke. Still your stereotypical CarThrottle fan, only now he’s working as a Market Data Analyst for a business investment firm in London. Has almost saved up enough for his dream BMW 3 series, has a thing for Emma Stone and is the best amateur cook there is.
Seb Anitolo - 21 year old Spanish guy with a Geography degree that, like most people who take Geography, he has no idea what to do with. He’s been back at home in Guadalajara for a while whilst trying to find a job in Madrid, but it hasn’t been easy so far. Has been known to attract both women and men with his thick black hair, which he keeps perfectly maintained via a kit-bags worth of products.
Martin Deenham - 22 year old with a not-so-secret love of indie rock, and the only one with proper mechanical experience. Like many post-grad students, he’s currently working as an accountant, because his degree is worth shit all else. Still very, very particular about everything, but he’s managed to end up in a relationship, which James isn’t salty about at all.
Do they have any idea what they’re doing? No! Are they using this as an excuse to get away from dealing with real life and responsibilities? Yes!
Perfectly generic looking! I applaud your beige!
Well, I asked if I could change the octane percentage from the standard vehicle, and the response was that it doesn’t really matter since I couldn’t change anything about the engine except to remove the muffler. That seemed to imply no sports tuning but just using the standard engine.
yeah I went back and asked, was a simple misunderstanding.
…I’m going to go and tweak a couple of things now
If you are making other requirements for next round what’s about setting the limit of power to 80hp per liter or 75hp per liter?
One thing that I regret now is actually the “two trim” rule, it has been lots of work for me to double check all the trims and for absolutely no good reason at all, since as you say, one could change the standard trim as well to comply with them. I will definitely not run that rule again, at least not in this form.
I was originally gonna go all out, but I think I’m gonna slow down my car a bit so it’s mildly realistic, as much as that pains me to do.
Guess who’s back…
Team Cunning Stunts
Winners of the Roulette Runner, Team Cunning Stunts are back. With the Lucky Lady damaged beyond repair during the Go West Deathtrap Tour, the team needed a new ride. That ride would come in the form of a 2000 Nohda SuperBop!.
A 34 year old stuntwoman from California. Moved to Somerset years ago for a more quiet life. She travels often to the US for her job as a stuntwoman and married Lawrence in 2010. She came back for the Deathtrap tour, although the car died before they could finish it. Now with the “Lucky Lady 2” she intends to be at least in the top 10.
Also a stuntman, Lawrence is 35 years old and is from Liverpool. Met Stephie in the UK after she moved to Somerset in 2010 and have been married ever since. He also returned from the Deathtrap Tour, although the car finally gave out on him. He decided to give it a viking burial by torching the car, before selling what remained to the scrapyard.
Lawrence’s brother in law and Stephie’s younger brother. Aged 25, Alex came up with the team name, and is the team mechanic since he’s the only one smart enough to work on cars. After graduating from uni, he’s returned to help the team.
A 2000 Nohda SuperBop! Quite a rare car since it was only really made in the UK and Japan. The car featured a 1.8L i4 Turbo from a Nohda Assent which produced 185 hp.
Edit: Oh and one more thing. Here’s the Teams Theme song…
Also, I’ve been double checking the trims on the cars I have approved and I have asked many people to change their engines back to an almost standard trim. I haven’t given the permission to anyone to tune the engine any further from stock than stated in the rules, if they have a much greater power output it means that I haven’t checked them yet. And anyone that is not within the rules and who aren’t willing to change their cars to comply with them is going to be disqualified for the competition. I know that the rule set was a bit confusing this time and I promise to make it more clear from the start next time I run a competition.
Hey is it possible to maybe extend the deadline over the weekend? It would be supernice…
Unfortunately I am not very keen about that, I did choose the date for the deadline because I had four days off in the end of this week, and this is going to take some time for me I’m afraid. Monday I’m back at work and I would prefer to be finished at least halfway with this by then…
Team Getaway Plan
S - A mysterious no nonsense getaway driver you may have remembered from CSR70. Says nothing, but his driving speaks louder than any words ever could.
Jackson - The team mechanic, also from a less than legitimate background. Not as skilled of a driver, but knows his way around an engine. Started out as a drug dealer, ended up building heist cars for:
R - She’s a loud mouthed angry girl, who refuses to take no for an answer. She’s in this mainly because it’s cheap, legal and in a place they won’t be recognised so she can make sure S hasn’t lost his talent for an upcoming job. She doesn’t have a license, but has a small bit of experience boosting cars, Although none were successful.
A dark alleyway in an unknown location
R: How long did S say he’d be with the thing he’s sourced?
Jackson: He didn’t say. As usual.
R: Right. As usual.
In the distance, a loud engine roars. Jackson grins, expecting a muscle car to slide around the corner. Instead, a small boxy white hatchback squeals into view, hopping the kerb as it bounces into view. There’s a loud scraping as it does.
Jackson: Is… Is that what I think it is…
R: I’m not psychic.
Jackson: See, when you think of him, you expect a sports coupe, or some big and fast wagon right?
R: You’re the car guy…
The car slides in front of them, stopping only a few inches from them. S gets out, then pulls out an earbud as he looks for their opinions.
Jackson: This is a Keika Hop right?
S nods in response.
Jackson: These were like 60hp 3 cylinders right?
S smiles slyly.
S: Not all of them
Jackson and R exchange confused looks.
Jackson: So what is this?
S: Limited run sport edition. Fiberglass body, 1.8L V6. They were crap. Never sold well.
R: So why have you got one in front of us.
S: It was cheap. And fast.
Jackson takes a look under the bonnet, revealing a tiny, high tech V6.
S: 135hp. Entire car weighs 725KG.
Jackson: I can work with this. Give me a night.
The Next Day
A lowered, race ready Keika Hop sits outside a garage. S is there early as a tired and dirty Jackson emerges from the garage, holding a coffee.
Jackson: Hey. Where’s R?
S: Learning to drive manual.
Jackson: Right. Anyway, I guess you want to know what I’ve done?
Jackson: Right, well we were on a bit of a budget. Interior is gutted, I took the wheels off my own car and put them on here, cut holes in the arches to make them fit. Engine wise there’s a new intake, and you can see I decided to dump the pipes out the fenders. That just looks badass right?
S looks unamused.
Jackson: Anyway… Rally lights for night visability and because rally lights are also badass. Suspension is much better. Still very soft though, so it won’t break your spine on track. Everything else is stock, which isn’t ideal…
S: Time to fine tune.
And with that he gets in and drives off, before Jackson can even respond.
The start of the race is coming closer and closer, the team is doing the last preparation work on the Pandora before it’s time to floor the accelerator.
JENNY: Have you been looking through the pits now?
JENNY: Did you see something?
JENNY: Stop beliving you are funny because you are not! What did you see?
Jenny slaps Mats
JENNY: So compared to the…Cars. How will the Pandora cope with the competition? What will we be up against?
MATS: Well, it seems like there is a few types of solutions here. We have some real beaters that I don’t fear very much, like an early 80s Minerva in an even uglier colour than the Pandora, not that you win any race with paint, but the question is if you win it with a Minerva either? A PMI Usurper, rumours said that they were made to convert gasoline into hot air but I don’t know about that… An Erin Lomaron, I can think of worse ways to end the life of such a blasphemy than smashing it to pieces in a 24 h run… And, give me a break… An AAAAAAAAAAA V200 GTX or what they were called? The last time I saw one running I was still on my tricycle!
JENNY: Don’t forget the one that they blew to pieces in the movie “Pictures of Willy”.
MATS: I rather drive in rush hour traffic with a damn… Calvinator… than I watch “Pictures of Willy” one more time!
JENNY: It’s a great movie!
JENNY: So that was the beaters then?
MATS: There was a Suzume Haneda too.
LARRY: HAHAHA, the last battle? I remember ALL the arguing in the 80s among the dorks if the Haneda or the Pandora was the best!
MATS: The answer is the Flaire 3000 Turbo!
Jenny gives thumbs up in the background
LARRY: So anything else?
MATS: A few vintage cars that it will be a bit sad to see smashed up, a late 50s Oldman and a 60-something Sakura that seems to be some old japanese police car? Weird… And a LSV Buccaneer DIY Sport, you know, they tried to revive the model in the 2000s or something? Don’t remember. Looks old, ain’t old…at least not older than our Lifestyler…I think. But it’s a threat to the Pandora, they were quicker than they look…the other cars…more doubtful.
a moment of silence
Then there is a couple of sporty coupes… A TSR Kansai of the third generation, I almost knew they were going to end up here, it’s almost like the gen 1 Pandora of the new millennium, I saw only one person in the team, and he looked young and unexperienced, I would not fear him I think… A 90s Revero IRO-1, another car I knew was going to end up here, probably more of a threat. Then there was a whole BUNCH of hot hatches, you know the kind that was everywhere in the 90s. It was the type of cars that made the Pandora suffer on the market and they may probably make it suffer on the track too. Bogliq, Matteo, Nohda, Keika, more than I can count to…
JENNY: A Keika Hop? That’s no hot hatch! They were slower than a stoned snail!
MATS: Seems like you don’t know there was a rare lightweight V6 version!
LARRY: That must be a hallucination, they fell to pieces 30 years ago.
MATS: The destiny of every car here is to fall into pieces anyway. Then some real sports cars I would fear even more, a Caliban that looked beat up but they are probably just trying to fool us. I would watch out there.
LARRY: I think the only thing we have to trust is the light weight, good handling and relatively low fuel consumption in the Pandora then. Not like you can push anyone off the track with this tinfoil box.
MATS: Well, I guess it will make for a great article in “Trafikjournalen”. “Our own team finished last thanks to our unskilled writer behind the wheel”.
JENNY: Well, you are their James May after all…
MATS: There is lots of duct tape on the Brigadeer bed, do you want some under your nose? Anyway, I really can’t think of a good strategy here, so let’s see if we even stand a chance.
LARRY: Well, you’re the first driver so we can always blame you if it goes wrong, you gave us a bad start that was too hard to compensate for later.
MATS: Yeah right, now we don’t have the time to talk anymore, the start is getting closer.
(This is by no means what I think about the cars, rather it’s what the team does believe, I know that they are wrong in some cases, so I hope nobody is upset because their car was classed as junk above)
Amy slid into the seat of their shit-bucket-brown Minerva, then fired up the engine, determined to get at least one practice lap in while they still could. The inline four shrieked to life in a wail of belt-squeal, valves clicking and ticking as the engine shuddered and puttered along.
“Good luck on the test lap, Amy, and remember about the gear stick.” Luke said, waving her out of the pits. The engine popped and backfired as Amy hustled the Minerva down the pit lane, and out onto the race track, where the true fury of the Minerva Bullet was unleashed.
First and second gear were no trouble at all, and the vapor trail behind the car seemed to clear up momentarily, before Amy grabbed third down a long straightaway. Despite knowing that visibility from the pit lane was poor, Amy felt as if all eyes were watching for the Minerva’s third-to-fourth gear change. In went the clutch, she pulled back on the stick, and for a fleeting moment, Amy held her breath.
Then all hell broke loose. The instant Amy released the clutch, the engine stalled, the rear wheels lifted off the ground three inches, and the front tires shrieked as the car spun around, sliding across the track before Amy kicked the clutch back in.
“Yeah, that was reverse. Pull back on the shift ball, do not rest your hand on the stick.” Luke said.
“Fucking embarrassing is what it was. I’ve raced in NASCAR, in hypercars, hell, even on sport-bikes. I’ve never done that before in my life.” Amy said.
“Well, most cars won’t let you do that. This one, it’s got a dodgy gear stick.” Luke replied. “You’ll get the hang of it. If you’re feeling a bit gun-shy on that gear change, I’m sure the valve float won’t kill the engine if you just bang on the 5100 RPM limiter down the whole straight.”
“I get it, Luke. Do we really need reverse, though?” Amy asked.
“You’re staring at a wall and asking if you need to back up to drive out of there. Yes, you need reverse. Please, just learn to drive it?”
Amy restarted the Minerva’s engine, then tried to hustle the 80’s turd up to speed again. She completed the rest of the practice lap without any further incidents, but was clearly upset when she got out of the car. She kicked the rear door and knocked one of the plastic trim plates off of it in the process, then said, “I don’t care what you have to do, Luke, make it harder to push that stick down.”
“Might have a spring in the tool box I could put in there. Won’t make it much harder to push down, but… Maybe just barely enough. Good news and bad news, though.” Luke said.
“Good news first.” Amy said.
“Well, the good news is that we know the car works, and so does the whole world. The bad news, you timed your practice lap almost perfectly for the camera crews to follow the Minerva. So the whole world saw you spin out a front-wheel-drive Minerva.”
“Oh, great.” Amy said.
“I’ll admit, the camera angle was perfect.” Jake said, with an evil grin, sitting at the table with his laptop. “I’ll be right back, once I’m done… talking with the other teams.” Jake got up, only for Luke to grab his shirt and pull him back to the table. “Oh, what gives!? Let go of my shirt.”
“You’re not going to go embarrass your mother by replaying the clip of her spinning the car out for all of the other teams. Not unless you want me relaying your inevitable spin over social media so everyone gets to see Mr. I-Can’t-Drive-Stick wiping out in a front-wheel-drive early-80’s shitbox.” Luke said.
“You wouldn’t.” Jake said, though he wasn’t confident in his statement.
“I would. And before you claim I don’t have the range, I have a broadcast-capable antenna. I also have a satellite uplink. Everyone in the world could know in 20 seconds flat.” Luke replied. Jake sighed, then set his laptop on the table again.
“Fine, you win. Mom, just make sure when I spin out, you keep him from embarrassing me.”
Amy gave a wicked grin in return, then said, “Maybe. Depends on how much you’re willing to pay to keep this quiet.” She cracked open an energy drink and took a drink.
Luke went over to the Minerva, then duct-taped the plastic cladding onto the rear door again. “And please, don’t kick the car. It’s a classic.” He said. Amy spat her drink across the table and burst out laughing, then said, “Damn you, Luke, that went up my nose!”