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Consolidating Project 2002

It has been a month of consolidation on Project 2002, with a lot of work going on behind the scenes. The body is still a long way from getting anywhere near a spraybooth, but progress is being made and most of the old paint is off and one good left-front fender is being created from two. Cornrights’ star panelbeater, simply known to everyone as Belo, is in charge of the process, and completely confident that the end result will be perfect.

“There’s some precision work involved in matching up two halves to make one perfect panel, but it is work that I enjoy and don’t get to do much of in this age where parts are replaced rather than repaired,” grins the veteran metalworker. “But the end result is what makes this kind of labour worthwhile.” In the meantime, the brake refurbishment is progressing and Norbrake is well on track to receive the car from Cornrights, hopefully by the end of November. Norbrake has had to overhaul the hydraulics completely, rebuilding the boosters and master cylinders from scratch. Everything has been resized and resleeved and fitted with new seals springs and pressure relief valves at 5 Top Road, Anderbolt, Boksburg. 

With the steering column out, we’ve also used the opportunity to get the locks sorted, and have taken the column, plus the exterior door handles and boot lock to a competent locksmith who will sort the whole business out and give it all back with a single key…

The engine and gearbox are at Evolution 2, and when they refer to these second-hand engines as "cut-outs", they’re not joking: any pipe, wiring or hose connecting engine to body have simply been cut through with an angle grinder, so items such as fuel lines and radiator hoses will need to be replaced in their entirety.

The M44 engine isn’t renowned as a performance unit and was rated at 103 kW and 180 Nm when installed in a 318iS – fairly modest numbers even in the mid-1990s and amusing by modern standards. We don’t want to open it up, and hoping that a suitable aftermarket engine management system and exhaust (the latter a Techniflow system courtesy of RGMotorsport), plus a significantly lighter flywheel - which we will need to have custom-made as our engine originally had an auto box bolted to the back of it - it’ll respond better and have more top end oomph. With a kerb weight of around 950 kilos and hopefully around 110 kW at the flywheel of the 1.9-litre multivalve, it’ll have a decent power to weight ratio – probably more than enough for an 18-year-old.