Woodsport - Engine Conversion Specialists

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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.
Paul and Ollie gave us a hearty greeting and I was shown to the car to see the engine and other work that had been done to it.
Now I've been in a fairly priveliged position in the past, to more or less have carte blache with a bank account to go as wild as I wanted, and as many of you have previously seen, the effect was pretty good, but.... I can honestly say, regardless of cost, I have never seen such a complete and stunning piece of work, as the job that Paul, Anth and Ollie have done to my car. The level of workmanship that has gone into this coversion is beyond belief. When Paul lifted the engine cover for the first time, it truly took my breath away.

We talked for a few minutes, and Paul went over what I should be doing over the next day or so in terms of what to look for, and how to treat the newly installed engine. Finally, I could hold it in no longer. "I have to hear it Paul. Do you mind if I start it up...?"

With a turn of the key, the motor fired up. The tailpipes burbling merrily. Paul reached into the bay after the engine had warmed a little and twisted the throttle linkage...

...Oh my god.

I've heard some amazing engine sounds in my time, that have come from some stunning machinery, but I think I'd be hard pushed to think of one that sounds anywhere near as good as this. I simply can't have asked for anything better.

Here's what you get for your money gentlemen...



...I think you'll agree, it's worth every penny.

And so the time came for us to wish the lads fairwell, and embark on the long drive home. The journey back to our village of Edwardsville in South Wales is more or less 350 miles, give or take a yard or two, and believe it or not, I was looking forward to every single mile.

We pulled out of the yard and headed for the petrol station to fill up. I checked my wallet, and found that I only had £40 on me, so I thought i'd put £30 worth in and see how it went. The other tenner went on snacks for the journey.

The gauge read a couple of marks past half way, and going on what I'd read, and been told about the V6's economy, my wife and I were expecting to pull in to another service station around a hundred miles or so down the road. Not so... we were still on a quarter of a tank after 170 miles!!! Believe it or not, we did the whole journey using just under 3/4 of a tank of fuel! I've still got over quarter of a tank to use for work! I'm utterly stunned. We worked it out to have returned somwhere around 35 mpg for the whole trip! My wife's 1.4 Clio would have used more fuel!

The other obvious plus point of this conversion, is the different level of performance the V6 gives to the MR2, and what a huge difference the motor makes to the driving experience. To say it transforms the car would be understatement of the millenium. Where previously, the power had to be wound on during the way into a roundabout to spool the turbo, the six can be feathered on the way in, and it's responsiveness and huge torque curve spits the car out the other side with a fabulous wag of the car's tail, as the rear tyres light up under the strain. It makes every corner a delight. ...and as for gears... who needs them! Overtaking is a complete breeze. Just plant your foot, let the sound of that wonderful V6 overture wash over you, and sail past as many cars as you like, all in the blink of an eye.

In all my years of MR2 ownership, I have never enjoyed a driving my car so much.
Huge thanks go to Paul, Anth and Ollie for all your hard work. You've made an old man, very young.

EarL.

Just a little feedback for y'all.

I've been driving the car now for best part of a fortnight, and can honestly say, the thoughts of tubbies are now long gone. This is definately how Toyota should have built the car in the first place!

The instant power, the sound (and it would seem the economy too) are all hugely different to that of the turbo. Different, but in a good way.

I used to enjoy a quick blast in my old car, but I just simply don't want to get out of this one! It's totally addictive. A couple of mates have been completely converted by having been a passenger in it too. Paul, expect a couple more enquiries very soon.

I pulled into a petrol station the other day behind my friends TVR (he needed fuel, not me), and a couple of guys in a stunning Silver MkI Golf GTI came over for a better look. The driver of the Golf commented that my MR2 actually sounded better than the Trevor! When I showed them the engine, they were gobsmacked! At first they thought the small chrome V6 badges I have on the car now were fake, but not after I'd popped the lid.

Suffice to say, I'm hugely happy with how the car has turned out. And have the utmost respect for the guys at Woodsport for turning out such a wonderful creation
 

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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