Works style rally car preperation for the clubman budget

The Bodywork

      As you may have seen from the opening pic's on the first pages this car was not exactly "bling, blinged" with bodykits and spoilers when we first purchased it, in fact the only bodywork present, forward of the windscreen was a rather second hand looking bonnet! And while this certainly helped the car get noticed on its first test drive before work commenced we have decided to go for a more covered finish look. The first thoughts after a pair front wings and fronts scuttle panel were located were to try and track down a second hand M-tec kit which came on some of the sportier factory models. However a few weeks spent watching auctions on E-Bay and a few phone calls to various breakers soon showed that these kits change hands for large sums of money, and we felt the budget could be better spent elsewhere on the car. So down but not out, we headed to the scrap yard in a creative mood to see what could be moddified and this is what we came up with.

      First up we needed a front bumper and we wanted something deep to keep the car looking low at the front end, so this Mk 2 VW Golf GTI big bumper was chosen.


      It took a while to scribe and cut the lines of the bumper so that it was a neat fit and followed the curve of the wheel arch, but in the end it fitted on quite neat. Next up was side skirts and we came across a set of skirts off a 5 series BM, so a quick cut and shut to remove a few inches saw them fitted at a perfect length.

  Next up was a rear bumper and probably the strangest of all doner cars for this one, the bumper in the pic came off a Volvo 440!  Well, Volvo's are known for there safety and what beter rear end to have on a car thats being built to go sideways more often than straight. The bumper itself took quite a bit of work to match up to the BM's rear end and we found out on first offering that a 440 is a few inches wider than our BM. So out with the jigsaw and a few inches came out of the middle. After rejoining the 2 halfs and filling the joint, the bumper was starting to look the part. A few hours more graft triming and fitting a bottom lip had it fitting perfect.


        The last thing that was needed was a boot spoiler and this came off a Renault 19 beleive it or not, it only required a small bit of filler to get it to sit at the right angle.


     The next step was to do away with the bonnet and boot hinges and locking mechanisms. The thinking behind this is that it is much more favorable to be able to remove totally the boot lid and bonnet to work inside rather than having to hinge them up and work around them during a short rally type sevice interval. The locking devices for both are advised to be removed by the rule book and for good reason, in the event of a heavy impact front or rear the boot or bonnet locks tend to jam shut due to the warped and dislodged panels around them, making access to underneath very difficult without some tools which you almost certainly won't be carrying in car at the time. With all these hinges and locks removed you will however need some way to secure them and below is the most common solution.


     The first pic above shows one of the four "bonnet pins" fitted to the car, 2 at the front of the bonnet and 2 on the rear of the boot lid, they allow for a quick and relatively fail safe opening each time. The bonnet has 2 nice sliding catches for the rear fitted as standard which we will be keeping. The boot on the other hand will require something to keep it secure along the rear windscreen edge as we have removed the hinges and as you can see in the second pic above we have fabricated a pair of "dog ears" which the lid slides in under when fitted.

    Our car originally came fitted with rubber door mouldings along both sides of the car and we have decided to remove these as when they are painted the same colour as the rest of the car we have found the slightest touch off anything causes the paint to flake and scratch off them again due to the rubber being much more flexible than the paint. So to fill the gaps left along both sides of the car we sourced some strips of aluminium as seen below.


           With the rest of the body work completed including my least favorite part of each shell preperation the sanding down of the whole car, it was time to errect the spray boot and think about colour schemes.

                                     Please click on the link below to follow the progress.