Welcome to Merlin Automotive Service social media outlet. I’m Ken Merlin. As you may have known, me and my dad opened MAS in 1988 as the only independent garage in the area and we’ve spent the last 30 years building the reputation as the best around. We do everything here. Brakes, exhaust, suspension, tyres, engine, gearbox, bodywork. You name it, we do it. We currently have 8 specially trained mechanics ready for any sort of fix or improvement you may seek. We’ll work with you no matter what sort of car you have.
You may send in some questions regarding our service. Or maybe your car has some problem and you want some quick troubleshooting before visiting that’s okay as well.
I’ve heard a lot of people are afraid of visiting since they see a lot of expensive, sporty model at our garage a lot. But that doesn’t mean we charged exorbitant amount of money. And the work we do here we can guaranteed is top notch. We aren’t one of those shop which don’t allow customer to inspect the work themselves either, you may walk around our shop if you wish to, just remember not to touch some of the cool cars we get in before asking! In fact, if you think you want something done in a specific way, just tell our mechanic and we’ll decide whether or not it’s a viable option for you.
And to showcase that, I think our first post should be about something really basic!
Today one of our long time customer, Mr. Hu, made a visit with his 2012 Mitsushita Polly GLE. An extremely basic, 6 years old car. This little Japanese Hatchback made in Thailand was the cheapest car you could buy new in 2012 and it clearly shows. It’s very much a basic little runabout with metropolis as it’s main habitat.
It has 1.2-litre 3-cylinder engine, with 75 horsepower standard. It’s very economical and cheap. It uses about 4.3l/100km if you’re careful.
Mr. Hu normally visit us for works done on his modified 1998 Tishillyman Sagata Turbo, which has been tuned for about 650hp and still daily driven! But recently Mr. Hu got the little Polly back from his mother who’ve quit driving. But instead of selling it on, he decided that this will become his new runabout and relegating the uneconomical Tishilly into a full hobby car. (Which he planned soon to have improvements done too!)
I think we should take the Polly on our local test track to see what it’s like to drive, right?
Mitsushita Polly 4G - 1.2 GLE.car (26.4 KB)
Mr. Hu nicknamed the car “Roly Polly”, which incidentally was the origin of the name Polly. (Fun fact: Mitsushita did name the Polly after the Roly Poly toy).
Roly Polly really is like it’s namesake. The cheap, manual GLE model doesn’t have anti-sway bar as standard and as a result rolling around a lot in hard cornering. At high speed, the Roly Polly doesn’t really have stability as such and you won’t likely want to drive it any faster than 120km/h. This is a part of it that Mr. Hu wants changing.
The 1.2-litre 3-Cylinder engine is willing enough. With 75hp on tap it won’t be winning any Grand Prix soon. 0-100km/h is dealt with in a bit over 12 seconds and on Slingshot we only managed 150km/h. But any faster we think we’d have binned it anyway! The tyres on it are cheap, low rolling resistance standard tyres which squeal like a pig. The car looks a bit like a pig too.
So, Mr. Hu specified that this car is going to be a daily drive car. But that doesn’t mean he cannot have fun (or safe) fast driving it in too. So we need to remedied a few things on the Roly Polly. A cheap and cheerful upgrades then. That’s apt for the car.
So we started to look for the way to upgrade it. Surprisingly, even though it’s a basic motoring, there’s a lot of off shelf aftermarket improvement parts for the Mitsushita Polly 4G (as people call it). As it is, Mr. Hu specified we don’t go overboard just yet as he don’t think he’ll be driving it all that fast. It doesn’t need to be full track spec.
The main thing that needs improvement on the standard Polly GLE is the sway bars. It doesn’t have one. A harebrained decision in my opinion as it makes the car drives like it’s name. Roly Polly. Not very nice. So we’ve ordered some thick, sports anti-roll bar from Ultra Racing. It’s stiffer than standard Polly GLX sway bars. And since it’s 6 years of age, a few of rubber suspension parts need replacing too. We of course refresh that while we’re at it. With only 2 of those fixes, the Roly Polly has been made considerably less wobbly. But it’s still not very stiff so it rides in town really nicely too.
The tyres on it are 6 years old factory tyres! The car has covered only 27,000km since new because it was an old lady’s car. Mr. Hu saw a set of ET73 alloy wheels in bronze colour and was enamoured by it. “Gotta have it” was his exact word. We paired it with some excellent sporty 195/55R15 tyres that’s going to be way overkill for this car. But Mr. Hu likes his safety item to be the best available.
Nice, isn’t it? Just a set of wheels and the car is much more than basic runabout!
After the ride and handling has been sorted, Mr. Hu also specified that he wants some extra noise. Not too loud of course, he’s not the sort to annoy other people around him. So after a few deliberating Mr. Hu went for Magma full stainless exhaust system specifically for Polly with 1.2-litre engine. Also way overkill for this stock motor but Mr. Hu said maybe he’ll improve the power soon if he feels like it. We can do exactly as he wished. Mr. Hu also ordered the NK Cold Air Intake system that gives a really nice noise even though it’s a basic 1.2.
Little improvements that made the whole car a lot better! We decided to give the Roly Polly another try on our test track.
Mitsushita Polly 4G - 1.2 GLE Modified.car (26.1 KB)
The car handles a lot better than before. Less roll from aftermarket anti roll bars and nice, precise handling. But there’s still a lot of roll since the dampers and springs are exactly the same. Mr. Hu said he’s thinking about going to lowered springs, or maybe a set of quality coilovers in the future. The tyres are of really nice quality and is very grippy. You’d be surprised at how good a set of tyres can improve even the most basic of cars. The turn in is much nicer, the grip is much better.
As it is right now Mr. Hu is very satisfied with the improvements in handling department.
But we reckon the main reason Mr. Hu is so happy is because the noise it makes it addicting! It sounds very good even though it’s a small displacement 3-cylinder engine. In my own opinion I don’t think the power gain from the exhaust and intake are noticeable. But the sound certainly is! Makes the whole car feels a lot faster than it is!
Cheap and cheerful, this Mitsushita Polly is going to have a lot more modifications done to it in the future. Mr. Hu is going to putter along in it for a bit first before deciding what else need to be done. The base of it is very basic indeed, and that’s why little tweaks can make the car so much better.
And here we go! This is a short first post as it’s just basic upgrading of a few things. We’ll show you some more works in the future. Keep tuning in!
(Sorry if I done something wrong, I’m still new to this platform!)
Merlin Automotive Service. Your Car, Improved.