Well it’s about time for an update. The victim has been purchased.
After searching on and off for a couple of years, not particularly rigorously it must be said, I started looking seriously at the end of the summer (2022) for a “host” car to be the basis for my EV conversion.
I’m calling this car the “host” car at the moment. It didn’t seem right to call it a donor, as it’s donating most of itself… perhaps donee then?? Perhaps with the donor paradigm then it could be thought of as the patient. But “host” seems to be about right… that may change if someone comes up with a better, or more widely accepted term. Obviously, some people will call the car – The Victim!
What to buy
In my deliberations about what to buy, I’d come to the conclusion that I needed:
- An SV (series five, wide body) for the extra space inside the chassis – for the EV stuff but especially batteries
- I didn’t want to be butchering someone’s pride and joy – so I wanted something that was perhaps a barn find, ex-race car or similar
- Uprated brakes and suspension would be useful for the possible extra weight
- Engine and gearbox were optional, and so their spec weren’t important either – if they weren’t there or not in “good nick” then that wasn’t a problem. Though both working would give me more flexibility later perhaps.
So after coming back from our summer holidays I started to look properly for a project car.
And in the end it didn’t take too long. Within a week or two of “putting some feelers out” I got a bite from a CL7C leadership team member, Andrew Edney, about some cars advertised on Piston-heads. A couple of calls later and I was heading down the M4 to PT Sports Cars.
And the car I eventually bought was tucked away in their racking system.
PT Sports Cars had acquired three ex-drift cars from Want-2-Race and were selling them with the intention that they could be put onto the road.
I went up to PT at the end of August and had a chat with Iain Paine to see what was what.
By the time I’d got to PT, they only had one of the three cars left, and so I didn’t have much choice in terms of the condition of the car to chose from – each of the three had had a different journey and so had a different state of dilapidation. The cars had all been used for drifting since they had been sold by Caterham in 2013 and so definitely came into the category of “not butchering someone’s pride and joy”.
The car they had left was not in a great state and was well and truly unloved. They were offering to get it “ready for MOT” by adding a catalytic converter, fixing the electrics and generally giving it a tidy up. But that wasn’t so interesting to me. I hadn’t decided if the car was going to be put on the road first as an ICE or whether to wait for the full EV before registering it, so wasn’t desperate for them to get it fixed.
It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for though and so we agreed a price (given that they didn’t need to do any work on it) and I stumped up for the car and arranged for it to be delivered.
The car’s specification is as follows:
- 2012 Roadsport SV
- 1.6 Sigma Engine
- SV (series five) wide body
- Uprated brakes and master cylinder
- Limited Slip Diff
Now, this car had never been registered for the road, and as far as I knew at this time, it didn’t have an IVA test performed and so would need a full Individual Vehicle Approval test and all the paperwork associated with it. That was going to mean more time and money, but in the scheme of things neither was going to be a huge problem considering the scale of the rest of the project.
The question then became, in what order should I get all this done? I think I had two options:
- Do a full EV conversion and the get the IVA and V5 sorted on a completed car
- Get the car road legal with the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) still fitted and then do the conversion afterwards – hopefully without needing a further IVA test
So, we’ll come to the “getting it on the road” bit in a later post, but for the moment the plan was to get the car into the garage and see what sort of state it was in. I knew it ran but a lot of the electrics seems to not be playing ball.
It also had no ignition switch and could be put into “ignition position 2” using the battery cutoff switch and then firing the starter with the regular starter button to get the car started. Crude, but very effective if you have a drift car that you don’t want to deal with the hassle of losing keys all the time. It also seemed to still have the mobiliser connected, but bypassed, by the looks of it.
And this is the mess under the dash…
There were some other oddities too.
The fire suppression system had been yanked out. Various switches, brackets, cables and hoses were left in place but the suppression system was definitely not there.
The odometer is reading 1005 miles. That’s very unlikely to be the true value and will definitely cause some problems getting it road registered I’m sure. I don’t know at the moment if that means the speedo doesn’t work, but I presume so. So that will need fixing.
There’s also a weird digital clock thing wired in under the dash. This is currently showing 905 hours and I presume it’s some sort of service interval indication. Seeing as the speedo isn’t working, I guess this is some way of determining how many “hours” the oil etc has been running for. I can imagine these things weren’t well loved. And so nobody was particularly keeping count of how grotty the oil was getting with no odo. So a simple hourly reading allowed the service techs to determine wether they needed to do anything.
I’ve seen cars described by how far away you have to be before it looks ok. Some are measured in inches and some in feet. This one’s a 20 footer. It sort of looks ok at 20 feet. At 3 feet, it’s a shocker. It’s clearly run over too many slalom cones in its life and there’s something very weird going on with the paintwork.
Looks aren’t everything
The car has a base white wrap applied all over – and then decals applied on top. The documentation I’ve recently acquired shows that it was supplied from Caterham as a white body. But it’s clearly been wrapped since. There’s also some signs that all’s not well under the wrap.
If you look on the driver’s side body panels there’s a ridge running along the length of the body under the plastic wrapping. My assumption at the moment is that the harness buckles have been thrown off so many times that the original paint has been worn away for a few inches below the sills and so a wrap has been applied to “tidy up” the car. I’m in no rush to take the wrap off, probably won’t even think about that until the full conversion has been completed, so it’ll stay with the current white wrap for a while. I will take some of the decals off at some point, but there’s no rush to do that either.
Some good news though is that the car starts easily and the battery (though flat when it arrived) does seem to hold some charge.
So, with the car in the garage it was time to figure out what to do next.