Woodsport - Engine Conversion Specialists

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About Woodsport

Woodsport was founded back in 2001, it's birth came from my personal love and ownership of MR2's - and being a time served mechanic - naturally I learned everything about it. Slowly, I found myself working on friends and other peoples club cars.

From there, it grew into a full time job. In the early days we specialised in Mk1 MR2 restoration, engine changes and day to day servicing. We have always tried to push the boundaries in terms of cheap, available upgrades for MR2 owners. Indeed, we invented the Celica brake upgrades for Mk1's that are now commonplace, we also discovered the Corolla wheel arch modification, the Ford Escort sill repair method, and various other MR2 money saving free upgrades, including a manual choke conversion kit to rid Mk1 owners of horrible waxstat issues.

In 2002 Woodsport became the first mr2 garage in europe to install a 3S-GTE into a Mk1 MR2, shortly after that we became the first to do the same with the V6 engine, in fact we brought the V6 engine conversion to the UK and overcame all of the niggles and problems associated with that conversion. A full year of research was carried out before the first build, and today every V6 powered MR2 and 3S-GTE powered Mk1 in the UK is based and built on the knowledge and research carried out all those years ago. We have always published this information for the DIY homebuilder to complete these builds themselves, that is the Woodsport ethos. MR2 enthusiasts first and foremost, even if it helps the competition!

In 2004 we started offering the Mk1 3S-GTE conversion to the public and have since built many examples, and in 2005 we started offering the same service for Mk2 v6 customers, with the 3VZ-FE. Since then, we have built over 90 cars in NA, supercharged and turbocharged form, indeed the TRD supercharged variants are only possible using the Woodsport idle speed controller adaptor body, designed by us. We have also undertaken Mk2 NA to turbo transplants inside one day, and we pride ourselves in being able to carry out Mk1 timing belt changes in 40 minutes while the customer waits..... Toyota quote 2.5hours!

We pride ourselves in being the first in the UK to accomplish many "first time" conversions, the recent V8 Mk1 Mr2 and Turbocharged 5vz-fe Mk2 Mr2 being prime examples. Every year we do more new conversions than any other Toyota garage in the UK, this includes a 2zz-ge powered Mk1 Mr2 and one or two other surprises coming later this year! So if you have an engine/car combo that you like the sound of just get in touch and we can discuss the options and possibilities.

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Paul Woods - founder of Woodsport

I have been involved with the motor trade since leaving school, and served my time with one of the country's foremost Toyota mechanics. After that, I moved into the breakdown/recovery industry, working as a Green Flag breakdown mechanic for 5 years. During which, I attained a 90% roadside Fault Diagnosis and Repair Rate (the National Average is around 85%). I have also served my time as a fully qualified LPG installer, and have converted dozens of vehicles to run on autogas. I am also a self taught spray painter and bodywork repairer, with a very high standard of workmanship.

In 1997 I bought my first MR2, learned everything about it, and gradually started working on other club members cars. Two years later I was working  restoring MR2's and modifying them to get the very best from them. Shortly after that I carried out the first 3S-GTE engine swap into a Mk1 MR2 in Europe, and a year after that i built the first 3VZ-FE (V6) powered Mk1 MR2, also the first in Europe. Since then I founded Woodsport as an MR2 specialist garage that could cater for everything an MR2 owner could want in terms of both engine choice and paint/bodywork. I consider myself as the most experienced and skilled MR2 mechanic in the UK and I pride myself on a very high level of workmanship produced.

 

If you want to contact us, then please feel free to drop by the workshop. 

Alternatively, you can ring Paul on 0191 3770962 during work hours.

Finally, email is: paul@woodsport.org

 

Getting to Woodsport really couldn't be much simpler - we are just off one of the main roads in the country, we are located 1 mile from junction 61 on the A1M.

Our full address is:

Woodsport,
Unit N10C,
Tursdale Business Park,
Tursdale,
County Durham,
DH6 5PG

Tel: 0191 3770962  9am-5pm Mon-Fri

Email : paul@woodsport.org

Map

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 Williams review....

 

On the train up to Durham I, in reality, I had some idea what to expect. As a previous customer of Woodsport for a 3vz-fe conversion, a 2gr-fe conversion would be similar, right? But how wrong could I have been!  

The results of Pauls work an hour later when at Woodsport were simply stunning! The car was pristine, the engine and the engine bay were immaculate and it was hard to believe it was the same car I had dropped off a few weeks earlier.   

Turn the key in the ignition of a 3.5 litre MR2 and from the moment it fires up there are only two things that are guaranteed. The first is you know just from the sound, that it is going to be a powerful car. The second is that, every time you drive it, you will have a smile on your face! The only thing putting a downer on that moment was knowing I had a 270 mile trip back to London when I couldn’t explore the full potential of growling V6 behind my ear.

Having filled her up with premium gasoline (defiantly recommended!) I joined the A1 ready to settle into the running in stage.  At a cruising speed of 65mph she ate up the miles effortlessly, refined and relatively quiet, a general nice place to be. 

Then you go for an overtake.  MY GOD! Drop to 4th gear and bury  that right hand pedal and the noise! The torque! The acceleration!…. One word…  Beautiful! In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, ‘you turn the big thing in the middle to make it turn, you push the middle pedal to slow it down and you push the right hand pedal to make more noise! And what a noise!   

… Well that was a few months ago now and I’m pleased to say she still puts a smile on my face every time I drive her. If anything, an even bigger one as she’s now fully run in and I can now unleash her full potential. Where better to do this than at Brands Hatch. To see the look on the face of a 944 driver in his dedicated track car as he gets lapped by a 20 year old Toyota. To be able to out drag XXR’s and M3’s. This engine is a brute! And I absolutely  love it!     

Last but not least to sum up Paul…

I truly believe there are three types of people in the world:

  1. The type that when a challenge is thrown at them just walk away.

  2. The type that will take on a challenge and fail hopelessly on so many occasions they just end up giving up, but hay they had a go… (this is me!)

  3. And then there’s Paul. A person who seems to conquer any challenge thrown at him and just for good measure, makes it a little better.

Paul, you’re a legend. Big thanks for all your hard work and I will no doubt be seeing you shortly for a supercharger as I have officially now managed to ‘Tame the Beast’! 

All the best, and keep up the good work!

William

 

Mikes testimonial 

Little history first..
I've had my MR2 (Rev 2, Mk2, 3vz-fe track day car) for about 5 years now and have used "other well known companies" to get work carried out. I turned to Woodsport as I wasnt 100% satisfied with previous work carried out and through these forums Paul (and company) appeared to be honest and very knowledgable plus priced at a fair price.

I've been dealing with Woodsport / Paul over the course of the past 2 years as we've tried to find a 2gr-fe in the uk at a sensible price (highest quote was £8000.00 + VAT if anyone is interested..) Didnt have much success at finding one at a sensible price and so the plan to 2gr-fe it was abandoned and I comissioned Woodsport to complete the following works for my track car.

Install LSD
Y-pipe mod
Port n Polish of the 3vz-fe
Lightened Fidanza flywheel.
RPS Clutch (its a track day car - old one was knackered)

In ALL of my dealings with Woodsport over the past 2 years I can honestly say I have had nothing but good advice and quick replies to my emails / phone calls. It wasnt unusual for me to email Paul and have a reply back the same day.
I sent my car up to Paul about a month ago via a car transportation company and then drove the 604 mile round trip with a friend yesterday to collect her.
I can honestly say that the work has been carried out to an exceptional standard. Woodsport going so far as rectify a few things which also needed doing, but at no additonal cost. Outstanding service!
Its pretty obvious that Woodsport are very busy and yet I didnt feel as though it was a case of "hi,.. here is your car.. thanks bye!".
Paul took the time to give us a tour, we got a ride in the Rav6 (hilariously good fun :D) and saw/heard the Mk1 V8. Video doesnt do the Mk1 justice.. it has to be heard to be appreciated.

We got to look at other cars Woodsport were working on and the attention to detail was superb.
I guess it should come as no surprise that Woodsport get a full 10/10 from me.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH Woodsport / Paul!! Very rare for me to find a company that I can unreservedly recommend.

 

Marks 2zz-ge Mk1 Mr2 testimonial

 Just thought I’d write a long overdue update to his project.


So how does it drive?…I decided early on that I wanted the closest ratios available in the gearbox (apart from 6th) with the torsen LSD and I’m very pleased I went for this setup. The traction on take off is great with both wheels digging into the tarmac. When the engine hits 6200rpm the second cam kicks in and the car just lets rip singing around to the 8500rpm cut out. Due to the close ratio box there is a momentary pause after the change to second gear then it hits 6200rpm cam change-over point and it takes off again. 3rd to 4th, 4th to 5th and 5th to 6th are all really close so from 2nd gear on the car never drops out of the high lift cam if all the revs are used. It is very addictive and amazingly fun. There is nothing better than taking it for a blast along known country roads on a quiet Sunday morning, with the engine on the high lift cam the noise is like a group A normally aspirated rally car 
The engine makes more power and torque at all points in the rev range than the standard 4AGE but it still retains and even enhances the high revving nature that makes the Mk1 MR2 so much fun in the first place. As Paul put it it’s like a Mk1 plus. Since this is my everyday car I also wanted it to cruise well on the motorway, be quiet and return decent mpg. I’m pleased to say due to the standard MK2 backbox, standard Mk1 intake and 6th gear it does indeed cruise more quietly than the standard Mk1 and returns about 40mpg at a steady 70 - 80mph. Handling wise due to the LSD this has improved immensely and in the wet I’m now able to hang the rear out around roundabouts and hold it there on the power in a lovely drift. The 2ZZ engine is very light being all alloy and is lighter than the original iron block 4AGE, this has cancelled out the weight of the extra (6th) gear and has maintained the great balance of the standard Mk1 MR2. Paul fitted a full set of poly bushes for me so next week I’ll have the car fully aligned to the TRD settings which should hopefully sharpen the initial turn in a little. Other than that I may experiment with drilling out the poly engine mounts slightly since at the moment there is a little too much vibration at tick-over due to the ridged nature of the mounts.
Overall though as you’ve probably guessed I’m delighted with this conversion… hats off to Paul at Woodsport for not only creating it but also the backup he’s given me since.
 

Owens Testimonial 

 

Last week-end I collected my car from Woodsport.  Like everybody says, Paul does a great job.  I think anyone would find it very difficult to find a better company to take on similar work with the same passion and knowledge.  I would have no hesitation in recommending

The reason why I chose Woodsport is that I came across a website where someone had a MR2 converted to a V6 and tracked it down to Woodsport who had done the conversion.  I had a few chats with Paul on the phone and found him very helpful and knowledgeable and he didn’t give me the impression that he was just doing the job to make money.    About a year ago, I was at a motorbike event in Darlington so I arranged with Paul to go and talk to him at his workshop so that I could confirm for myself that my gut reaction was correct that he was a professional and it wasn’t a Mickey Mouse outfit.  I first met Anth who made me welcome, was very helpful and showed me some of the projects they were doing at the time.  Paul arrived a little later and I spoke to him about the conversion that I would like to be done to my car and I could tell that he had lot of knowledge ( I used to go to a friend’s garage who specialized in Gilberns and helped him on some jobs) and was also very passionate about his work and plans for future projects. 

I arranged with Paul to have the Camry V6 fitted and spoke to him about extras such as supercharge. He said that he would try and find a low mileage car for me and as time went by he told me that there was a good deal on the 2GRs in USA so I let Paul sort it all out.  I gave him a free hand to do what he wanted to do on my conversion but when he came across a problem he would always discuss it with me first before going ahead with the work.  I felt that he went out of his way to keep me informed of the progress of work on the car and he did lots of finishing touches which I think I would have been very unlikely to get elsewhere.  I appreciate this as I know that sometimes people do not realise the time involved to obtain perfection and that is what you get at Woodsport.

Now to the car - Paul checked everything with me and explained all the work that he had done.  The first thing I did was stall the engine as I was not used to the competition clutch.  The car runs sweet and smooth and it feels like an automatic as there is no need to change gears because there is so much power and torque.  It is also very economical.  I did over 280 miles and I still had at least a quarter of a tank of petrol remaining in the car.  I was well impressed.  I am still getting used to the power of the brute - it goes like a scalded cat.

 

Owen

 

Dirans 2gr-fe powered Mk1 Mr2 Testimonial 

 

Glorious day on 21st of May 2010 and I find myself with a day’s holiday to get the train to Durham and then coast back down to the smoke. 

I arrived within 10 min of quoted time and spotted Paul’s E36. After escaping the station we got to chatting about work at WS and the amount of comments the project had been getting (!). This was not my aim and the car is not quite show-worthy despite the high standard of WS (it needs a bit of welding and paint on the original panels that I hadn’t budgeted for in the conversion) but it’s always nice to know there are like-minded people on the scene.

Arriving at WS, the car sat gleaming in the yard and I had already failed to suppress my grinning enthusiasm, much to the amusement of Phil and Anth! Pleased to meet you both gents 

I chatted with everyone and took ”the tour” – a captioned peek around many, many tasty MR2 in various states of undress / surgery, including a couple of 2GR powered examples besides my own (Owen’s Mk2 scarlet 355 and Phil’s Vader-esque MK2), as well as Moustachio’s v. Tidy MK1 1MZ, Rexer’s soon to be 2ZZ’d Mk1 and a certain, lesser known 4.2 litre, 32 valve Mk1..... A veritable sweet shop for any petrol head!

After a quick squirt around the yard in my car (I managed not to stall but was very pedestrian so Paul kindly demonstrated the G-forces available – suffice it to say I left a crease in the seat!), I handed over the obligatory pack of hob-nobs, we said our goodbyes and I set about dismantling 260+ miles of motorway. Of course, the M1 meant a disproportionate number of 50mph average speed check zones (yawn!). Bit of a waste, but one has to get home eventually!

The driving bit:

The first 50 miles or so were spent taking things easy and undertaking the customary vigilance on temperatures and pressures etc.. I’d filled up with 97RON which the car seemed to approve of. My immediate observation was that the car felt familiar yet completely different. The throttle seemed to have zero slack and combined with the less tolerant (but still manageable clutch) and uber short 1st gear meant decisive but restrained action was need to pull away smoothly at relatively sane pace. If you try to slip it, it will chatter – better to either feed it in swift and smooth with little or no throttle, or use semi-race technique of blip the throttle and let it in all-of-a-piece. This is fun but unsubtle because the revs flare angrily if you’re clumsy. It is hugely satisfying when you get it right though and I think a couple more weeks (I only drive on weekends). 

Tip: Setting off in 2nd or even 3rd is possible and much less likely to result in skippy-type antics. The rest of the time, you just launch like a jet being catapulted from an aircraft carrier (only with a better sound track).

The car is so ridiculously over-endowed with torque that third (to get going) and fifth (once rolling) are all that’s necessary if you like. 

Better still, the noise is intoxication personified and despite our effort brazenly loud  Three-fifths air-cooled 911, two-fifths Alfa V6, with a racer-ish blare as the revs get up. It remains relatively subdued on light openings but nice and exuberant with a tickle, rising to something truly intimidating (yet still melodic) when you explore the full travel. Exactly what such performance deserves in other words!

The brakes are strong and easy to modulate although I’m taking it easy on them to bed in the discs and pads. I’m still perfecting my rev matching (something that was very easy on the standard car) due to the slightly long travel on the brake pedal – perhaps a M/C upgrade will help firm it up? – and the throttle which is set quite high and is very sensitive (a good thing, if making inconspicuous progress tricky at very low speeds!). I might try relocating the throttle pedal to help as well – I do like a bit of heel and toe. 

The Drive By Wire itself is easy to get used to (had it before) although occasionally you get the sense that the engine is “adulterating” small inputs (perhaps for emissions purposes on the factory ECU) as no matter how smooth you are going on and coming off the throttle in normal driving, it will occasionally give you more than you were expecting or cut the fuelling more abruptly. I’m sure this can be cured as time goes on or calibrated with a bit of judicious tweaking but if not I’ll learn quickly to be even smoother with my inputs!

The SW20T gearbox is short and positive in a way the factory AW11 5 speeder could only dream of (in my opinion at least). Although it’s occasionally notchy it’s nicely weighted and satisfying to use – more so than the SW20 N/A’s I’ve driven. The Final drive is clearly shorter than ideal for the engine characteristics (it could happily pull a 3.6 ratehr than 4.2) but is entirely usable – a lower rev count at a cruise would be nice but you wouldn’t need a higher top end.

There’s no doubting the engine dominates the car. It’s not overbearing but you can definitely feel the proximity of a large (for the car!) lump and hear the valves / fuel pump clicking and zizzing away. Personally, I find it generally no less refined than the standard car, although for some it would not make for a sensible city or long distance car.

The pay off is a level of performance that is borderline scary. I’ve not fully explored this fully (understandably!) but even brief instances of more than 20% throttle get MiFu lunging at the horizon like it has afterburners instead of exhaust tips. Hard acceleration is violent, as Paul described, even before you get to half throttle and it feels no less nimble or wieldy so far despite weight gain and a bigger set of boots – just more planted. It also generates nice forces in the corners, allowing you to carry huge amounts of speed (as if it was necessary given the straight line fireworks).

The sense of a small car being hurled up the road by a quad cam V6 complete with ASBO-spec pipes is one of the most surreal and gratifying motoring experiences I’ve yet had - and I’ve been lucky enough to drive some fairly interesting cars. 

It is part fierce concentration, part fear, part exhilaration. After about 3-5 seconds of acceleration, you brake (backing off gives good engine braking effect but you’ll be going too fast anyway) you just pause, hanging on the inertia reel and marvelling at the noise, the ability of the car to outsprint your internal organs and blur your peripheral vision. Then you give an evil cackle.

It is an addictive trip having that sort of performance at your disposal. Almost as addictive is making people’s eyes pop out on stalks when a tiny, girly blue Toymotah makes a noise bigger than a TVR as it rockets up the road with a twitch of throttle - 5th is sufficient; 4th is showing off; 3rd is plain offensive as far as other road users are concerned. A declaration of violent intent, if you will. 

I hope to try a few vids this weekend to give you guys another taste, although no warranties as to quality or irresponsible antics!

This car is made of pure and unadulterated insanium and I love it.

There are some compromises and some work still to do, including improving the ventilation to the rad to avoid some of the heat soak issues I’ve been suffering during town driving (it has been hot weather lately – I plan on moving the license plate and getting a vented frunk lid asap); the fact I need to address the odd bit of bodywork (25 year old car = rust spots) and work out how to insulate the trunk from the rear bank (the access panel gets v. warm!) and make the frunk luggage friendly now there’s no spare…. but so far this car is everything I’d hoped for and much, much more 

 

What a fantastic motor!! Could have had better weather though - it was dark,raining, so it was gently does it for 20-30 miles, nervously watching all the gauges. Then opened it up a bit more - the power is instant and comes in bucketfulls,even in 5th. Didn't try it in lower gears after watching the Woodsport video!! The sound from in the car with this Berk exhaust is exceptional - blown away.I was dubious hearing it on the videos but they just don't do it justice. If you are looking for an engine upgrade and were ever in doubt....and you can afford it - this is the engine to go for. Last, but far from least - my thanks to the guys from Woodsport. Brilliant job again, very professional conversion with loads of advice chucked in.They really enjoy the work they are doing with these cars - enjoy the hobnobs!! P.S. Looking for a tunnel and will post a video anyway when we have a dry day!!

Pete

 
Hi all, I picked up my car a couple of weeks ago, and have been too busy driving it, to post anything! Everyone was right, the 320 mile drive back home, was great, the engine was far quieter than the original, and I dont think i needed to change gear much over the whole journey. The car managed the whole trip on one tank of petrol, but with Pauls advice I was taking it easy, and making stops to make sure all was well. I had the fifth gear conversion as well, which is highly recommended, as at 70 miles an hour, the engine is doing a leisurely 2500 RPM.
I cannot praise Paul and Anth enough, the attention to detail is astounding. I cannot recommend them enough, for their conversions, and it is the best money I have ever spent. I have always liked fast cars, but this is in a different league, the torque is incredible. I dont think I have enjoyed driving any of my previous cars so much. The sound of the exhaust is very quiet, until you put your foot down, then it howls, with that distinct v6 note. I hope to bring it to some shows, as I dont need much excuse to drive it. I have great admiration for all of you who carry out this conversion themselves, as it does not look easy. The last time I carried out my own conversion was 20 odd years ago, and that was a Ford Cortina 1500GT engine into a Ford Anglia 105E . Someone told me it was a straight swop, but one was crossflow and one was pre-crossflow, and that was just one problem. I am glad that I put my MR2 into the hands of experts, as it would have been well beyond my abilities. Hopefully I can join the "oldest boy racers in town" club now!?
 
Hi all, I got my car back from Woodsport today so I thought I would do as everyone else has and post up my thoughts on what I think the v6 is like. I seriously attempted to write this earlier but I so wanted to get back in the car I gave up half way through! So here goes. From Woodsport to my house is around 170 miles, mostly the A1 and then M1, m60, bla bla bla until the M53 so normally a bit of a ball acher of a drive. Not so today though!
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My wife and I caught the 12.45 flight from Cardiff to Newcastle yesterday to pick the car up from Woodport. A very uneventful flight, and trainride to Durham. We then got a taxi to the business park where the Woodsport premesis is located where my car sat, waiting to go.
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I recently ordered some spare parts from the local Toyota dealership in Northampton. I told the chap who served me about the conversion you had done & how pleased I am with it. 

On my return to collect the parts, a few days later, I was served by the same chap. It seems that he had told the service manager about the conversion & he was sceptical about it.

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Before the swap, the 2.0 3S-GE was way too tame and underpowered for the look and feel of the car. (Okay I am a biker and most cars feel that way for me, but I know my "fast" for cars too)

After the swap I was VERY impressed with what I now had. With the standard backbox I have two imensly different expriences to behold when driving my 2. 
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...I thought the Sierra 4x4 3ltr V6 12v pulled very well, grunt & grip but doesn?t like to rev too much, just drive it on the torque, plant it, get the power down very early & safely out off a corner, a grown-up car. I?ve driven a few 24v 3ltrs and have been generally disappointed with their low speed pickup, having to rev them hard to get any performance, which to me seemed pointless having a large capacity engine, but Paul I think you have provided utopia, a 24v 3ltr which pulls like a train ala 12v but revs like a very good 2ltr 16v.

Read more...
 



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Woodsport Messenger

Testimonials

Dirans 2gr-fe powered Mk1 Mr2 Testimonial 

 

Glorious day on 21st of May 2010 and I find myself with a day’s holiday to get the train to Durham and then coast back down to the smoke. 

I arrived within 10 min of quoted time and spotted Paul’s E36. After escaping the station we got to chatting about work at WS and the amount of comments the project had been getting (!). This was not my aim and the car is not quite show-worthy despite the high standard of WS (it needs a bit of welding and paint on the original panels that I hadn’t budgeted for in the conversion) but it’s always nice to know there are like-minded people on the scene.

Arriving at WS, the car sat gleaming in the yard and I had already failed to suppress my grinning enthusiasm, much to the amusement of Phil and Anth! Pleased to meet you both gents 

I chatted with everyone and took ”the tour” – a captioned peek around many, many tasty MR2 in various states of undress / surgery, including a couple of 2GR powered examples besides my own (Owen’s Mk2 scarlet 355 and Phil’s Vader-esque MK2), as well as Moustachio’s v. Tidy MK1 1MZ, Rexer’s soon to be 2ZZ’d Mk1 and a certain, lesser known 4.2 litre, 32 valve Mk1..... A veritable sweet shop for any petrol head!

After a quick squirt around the yard in my car (I managed not to stall but was very pedestrian so Paul kindly demonstrated the G-forces available – suffice it to say I left a crease in the seat!), I handed over the obligatory pack of hob-nobs, we said our goodbyes and I set about dismantling 260+ miles of motorway. Of course, the M1 meant a disproportionate number of 50mph average speed check zones (yawn!). Bit of a waste, but one has to get home eventually!

The driving bit:

The first 50 miles or so were spent taking things easy and undertaking the customary vigilance on temperatures and pressures etc.. I’d filled up with 97RON which the car seemed to approve of. My immediate observation was that the car felt familiar yet completely different. The throttle seemed to have zero slack and combined with the less tolerant (but still manageable clutch) and uber short 1st gear meant decisive but restrained action was need to pull away smoothly at relatively sane pace. If you try to slip it, it will chatter – better to either feed it in swift and smooth with little or no throttle, or use semi-race technique of blip the throttle and let it in all-of-a-piece. This is fun but unsubtle because the revs flare angrily if you’re clumsy. It is hugely satisfying when you get it right though and I think a couple more weeks (I only drive on weekends). 

Tip: Setting off in 2nd or even 3rd is possible and much less likely to result in skippy-type antics. The rest of the time, you just launch like a jet being catapulted from an aircraft carrier (only with a better sound track).

The car is so ridiculously over-endowed with torque that third (to get going) and fifth (once rolling) are all that’s necessary if you like. 

Better still, the noise is intoxication personified and despite our effort brazenly loud  Three-fifths air-cooled 911, two-fifths Alfa V6, with a racer-ish blare as the revs get up. It remains relatively subdued on light openings but nice and exuberant with a tickle, rising to something truly intimidating (yet still melodic) when you explore the full travel. Exactly what such performance deserves in other words!

The brakes are strong and easy to modulate although I’m taking it easy on them to bed in the discs and pads. I’m still perfecting my rev matching (something that was very easy on the standard car) due to the slightly long travel on the brake pedal – perhaps a M/C upgrade will help firm it up? – and the throttle which is set quite high and is very sensitive (a good thing, if making inconspicuous progress tricky at very low speeds!). I might try relocating the throttle pedal to help as well – I do like a bit of heel and toe. 

The Drive By Wire itself is easy to get used to (had it before) although occasionally you get the sense that the engine is “adulterating” small inputs (perhaps for emissions purposes on the factory ECU) as no matter how smooth you are going on and coming off the throttle in normal driving, it will occasionally give you more than you were expecting or cut the fuelling more abruptly. I’m sure this can be cured as time goes on or calibrated with a bit of judicious tweaking but if not I’ll learn quickly to be even smoother with my inputs!

The SW20T gearbox is short and positive in a way the factory AW11 5 speeder could only dream of (in my opinion at least). Although it’s occasionally notchy it’s nicely weighted and satisfying to use – more so than the SW20 N/A’s I’ve driven. The Final drive is clearly shorter than ideal for the engine characteristics (it could happily pull a 3.6 ratehr than 4.2) but is entirely usable – a lower rev count at a cruise would be nice but you wouldn’t need a higher top end.

There’s no doubting the engine dominates the car. It’s not overbearing but you can definitely feel the proximity of a large (for the car!) lump and hear the valves / fuel pump clicking and zizzing away. Personally, I find it generally no less refined than the standard car, although for some it would not make for a sensible city or long distance car.

The pay off is a level of performance that is borderline scary. I’ve not fully explored this fully (understandably!) but even brief instances of more than 20% throttle get MiFu lunging at the horizon like it has afterburners instead of exhaust tips. Hard acceleration is violent, as Paul described, even before you get to half throttle and it feels no less nimble or wieldy so far despite weight gain and a bigger set of boots – just more planted. It also generates nice forces in the corners, allowing you to carry huge amounts of speed (as if it was necessary given the straight line fireworks).

The sense of a small car being hurled up the road by a quad cam V6 complete with ASBO-spec pipes is one of the most surreal and gratifying motoring experiences I’ve yet had - and I’ve been lucky enough to drive some fairly interesting cars. 

It is part fierce concentration, part fear, part exhilaration. After about 3-5 seconds of acceleration, you brake (backing off gives good engine braking effect but you’ll be going too fast anyway) you just pause, hanging on the inertia reel and marvelling at the noise, the ability of the car to outsprint your internal organs and blur your peripheral vision. Then you give an evil cackle.

It is an addictive trip having that sort of performance at your disposal. Almost as addictive is making people’s eyes pop out on stalks when a tiny, girly blue Toymotah makes a noise bigger than a TVR as it rockets up the road with a twitch of throttle - 5th is sufficient; 4th is showing off; 3rd is plain offensive as far as other road users are concerned. A declaration of violent intent, if you will. 

I hope to try a few vids this weekend to give you guys another taste, although no warranties as to quality or irresponsible antics!

This car is made of pure and unadulterated insanium and I love it.

There are some compromises and some work still to do, including improving the ventilation to the rad to avoid some of the heat soak issues I’ve been suffering during town driving (it has been hot weather lately – I plan on moving the license plate and getting a vented frunk lid asap); the fact I need to address the odd bit of bodywork (25 year old car = rust spots) and work out how to insulate the trunk from the rear bank (the access panel gets v. warm!) and make the frunk luggage friendly now there’s no spare…. but so far this car is everything I’d hoped for and much, much more