Ciel knew when he contacted the restomod firms that this would be a difficult task. Most restmod firms work with prestigious cars and work with fine leathers, carbon fibre, and the latest tech. Ciel, however, wanted something different, something utilitarian that could be used for more than a prop at a car show. He wanted performance. And he wanted it cheap...
Ciel waited impatiently for the proposals from the restomod firms. Each time his new email notification went off, he jumped and immediately checked if it was a new proposal. In the end, he only got three proposals in this inbox, which was slightly disappointing to him. He was hopeful that despite the small selection, he would still get a very good proposal and would be happy with the outcome of the search.
Ciel was delighted that all three contestants offer something slightly different, both in terms of engineering and looks. He was mentally preparing for a touch choice… He opened his laptop, got pen and paper ready, and went to work.
Alpine A110 Rallye by Sunset Garage
Ciel opened the proposal by Sunset Garage first, because it promised to be the most unique challenger based on the cover photo. In terms of looks, this car was certainly different. The grey colour is not traditional by any means, but it does suit the car. The subtle two-tone also works well. The overall aesthetics are a bit of a mixed bag for Ciel. The extra body work on the rear with a hint at a spoiler, and the rear grille and lights are quite nice and give the car an aggressive, sporty look. Perhaps a bit 80’s sportscar, but it does suit the Alpine’s rear. The giant single exhaust is very prominent, but more on that later… The front of the car is not to Ciel’s liking however. Although it does have semblance to the classic A110 look, unfortunately it looks like a tornado tossed some random fixtures at the bodywork and what stuck, stuck. Random vents are everywhere, and the lights are… well… not even sure what to say about them. Are they just a single LED circle strip glued to the bodywork? It even looks like they are coming off at places. Ciel is really not sure what to make of that… To say something positive too: the mirrors on the fenders are an interesting touch.
On to the engineering then. This is where Ciel’s eyebrows raised, and then raised more, and then raised more with each questionable decision, till his eyebrows merged with his hairline and his forehead was more wrinkled than an 80 year old’s behind. Ciel was making a list on his notepad:
- Large 2L I3 Turbo engine swap. So… we got 0.4 L more, but one cylinder less. This doesn’t make sense.
- All lightweight internals, because otherwise the engine wouldn’t rev. This way it has a good rev range for the turbo. At least lag isn’t too horrible. It is quite loud though, probably explained by that huge exhaust.
- Original 5-speed manual swapped for a 4-speed manual. Buy why?? - he wondered.
- Wheelspin galore on this RWD car…
- Manual locker, which would be much more at home in a true 4WD rock-crawler, not a rallye.
- Giant tires on 12" rims. Yes, the sports compound too… fronts are 175/90R12?! Do they even make such tires in sports compound?
- Swapping to offroad tires induces terminal oversteer, which Ciel finds a terrifying prospect.
- Massively overpowered carbon ceramic brakes with more pistons in the rear than up front… not to mention the number of pistons in the rear equals the number of gears in the manual gearbox. Something doesn’t sound right about this…
- The driver aids that are present seem nice on paper (electric variable steering and ESC), but they seem to have been sourced from some Chinese garbage dump.
- Maintenance seems to be on the expensive side too, perhaps due to the car chewing through its tires?
Ciel cannot help but think that this car, despite its promised speed, is just not a viable option. Not to mention, it is also very unsafe
OOC: You dun goofed son: safety below 35 = instabin. Deserved a good roast. Let your solace be that the Sunset Garage Rallye is actually the fastest of the three submissions, not to mention, the most prestigious, while also being the cheapest to purchase…
Alpine A110 Monte Carlo Edition by Rebirth Restorations
Ciel was a little disquieted by the first submission. He needed a glass of wine to calm down before he dared to open the next proposal. With his nervous sytem back in equilibrium, he set to work on assessing the Rebirth Restorations proposal.
The car’s overall look was a lot more traditional and subdued. The classic Alpine blue is immediately recognizable. The rear lights have been swapped by rounded units. Not traditional, but it certainly fits the car. Ventilation seems to have been enhanced considerably at the rear, but remains stylish and sporty. Ciel is a big fan of the chosen rims for the car, and the tires seem to fit a lot better too on this offering. More on that later. Moving to the front of the car, the stock lights have been swapped for modern LED units, but their original shape has been retained, making this car look a lot more of an update rather than a complete revamp of the original. The inset rally lights in the front bumper are an interesting addition. The livery of this car is simple and elegant, and works very well in Ciel’s eyes. Although Ciel doesn’t like every single detail on the car, overall he gives the car good marks in the aesthetic department.
On the engineering side, Ciel finds himself in more familiar territory. Rebirth Restorations proposes to keep the original engine, but bore it to its maximum allowable size. Although the engine keeps its original pushrod head, it does get updated with a turbo and direct fuel injection. Overall the car pushes 215 BHP, which is a decent figure - even though it is achieved at the cost of massive turbo lag. The car retains its origial 5-speed manual transmission, but is mated to an AWD drivetrain and geared LSD - a much more sensible option here that keeps traction on the road in all conditions. In terms of tires, this proposal makes use of the available different sizes for sports and offroad compounds, and makes good use of the two differen sizes. On both rubbers the car handles quite well and is predictable, which is much appreciated by Ciel. The amount of brake fade does worry Ciel however, and wonders if vented disks would’ve been a good investment in this case. He doesn’t want to lose the car in a corner because he couldn’t slow down! The offroad skid tray is a nice addition and will be useful for the dirt races that he plans to enter, as is the active suspension engineering. Safety and comfort are adequate and both upfront and service costs are middle-of-the-road in this line-up. In terms of speed, the base lap times of the car promise to be the slowest of the bunch, the good and predictable handling will make this a strong competitor of the others in Ciel’s inexperienced hands, even edging out the other viable competitor on a few tracks.
Alpine A110 by MTL Customs & Tuning
After another large glass of wine, Ciel sat down to assess the third proposal. It was another Alpine-blue car, and one that stayed closest to the original, both in terms of looks and engineering. At the back, the car received some minor updates and enhancements to the venting, bumper, and racing tow hook. And of course the large center exhaust. At the front too, most of the original fascia were retained. The light internals are updated and the old glass replaced with clear glass, the Alpine lettering has been restored to original specs, but otherwise changes are minimal. This car too has a subtle but effective livery, much to Ciel’s liking as well. The only downside of the car’s looks are the giant tires, that just don’t fit the car well. Overall, this car too gets good marks for aesthetics.
Ciel then flips the page to look at the engineering. He is happy to see an updated suspension on this car to DW front and rear, which promises a smoother ride all-round. This car retains the original engine in stock format (not bored), but does add a turbo and direct fuel injection for a total of 185 HP. The smallest number of the bunch, but with the almost negligible turbo lag, a lot more of the power is actuall usable lower down. This car upgrades the drivetrain to the most advanced one of the bunch: a 7-speed manual mated to AWD and an electric LSD. This promises swift acceleration while keeping the power down on all surfaces. Ciel does have some concerns over drivetrain quality, but it seems this is only manifest in some power loss withouth sacrificing reliability. Moving on to the brakes Ciel does raise his eyebrow a bit at the vented disk front and drum rear, but according to the forecast this set-up does seem to work without excessive fade, and still provides adequate braking power. This car, too, gets an offroad skidtray, helping out on the dirt tracks. No power steering makes this a very sporty car and promises a very direct feel for the driver to the road… being a young guy, Ciel grew up with powersteering, so it not used to such lack of comfort, he is strong, and the RR car doesn’t promise to be too heavy to steer anyway. It does get a mention with a small concern in Ciel’s notebook. In terms of cost, this car is the cheapest to maintain, but has the highest upfront costs. Speed, on paper, seems to be adequate for this car. While the Sunset Garage car promises to be faster, this proposal surprisingly does edge out the stronger Rebirth Restorations. This is probably due to its superior weight savings (it is only 926 kg!) and aggressive suspension set-up (even has positive camber on front tires - good for the lack of power steering!). The 1.24 G this car pulls in slow corners is impressive, to say the least. Although not the most easy to drive - in fact, it is the hardest to handle of all three cars - its base speed is so good that even in Ciel’s hands it is faster than the Rebirth Restorations proposal on most tracks. And Ciel does anticipate that over time he’ll become a better driver, so this car has a lot of growth potential.
The final verdict…
This was a very hard decision for Ciel. It is unfortunate that the Sunset Garage proposal did not meet the minimum requrements - it was a really fast car. But rules are rules… So it is down to the Rebirth Restorations and MTL Customs and Tuning proposals. Each bring strengths and weaknesses. Ciel gathers his notes and makes a summary:
“The cars are nearly equal in terms of authenticity and looks, although the MTL edges out the RR in the former, and the RR edges out the MTL in the latter. So when it comes to the car show judging, I predict that the two proposals are essentially equal to each other. The MTL has much better sportiness and offroad stats, but the RR has much better drivability stats. While the two don’t quite cancel each out, and the RR offering has less time loss % over all tracks than the MTL, it is still slower. Costs are a wash too: RR has lower upfront costs, but higher maintenance costs. Prestige was nearly identical across all cars, but RR was slightly lower than all others. Where MTL really shines though is reliability: it is 11 points higher than RR’s proposal. In the end, the cars are so close! But in the end I choose:…”
Congratulations to @karhgath! Your car won literally by a hair… the tiebreaker was the better reliability, and the fact that it was a tiny bit faster than the RR proposal.
Second place of course goes to @Prium. But this was really the closest challenge I’ve ever had to make a decision on. Well done to both of you!
@HelloHi… we’ll need to talk
Aaaaand… yeah… perhaps cue another awkward ARM moment?
Thank you all for participating! This was a fun round, and see you all in Chapter 7!
Tomorrow I’ll post the final race time table, stay tuned!