Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Autocrazee

Looking at my car today, it is in a real sorry state. Maybe something to do with the fact that it is parked between a brand new Toyota Altis and a Kia Spectra. Even without the scratches and the bump, it looks pretty ordinary. After all, it’s a limited specs car. So that means standard audio systems, unpainted bumpers, no reverse sensors, no fog lights, 13” tyres and no sports rims.

I just remembered a great show I watched on the Discovery Channel while I was in Phuket. It was about a group of talented guys who converted an old car (I think it was a Ford Mustang) into a real mean racing machine, using parts bought over Ebay. They took the old thing apart and redesigned it from scratch. However, the engine was a brand new one donated by Ford. But they even took that apart and rebuilt it in to a super charged mean machine. I don’t even know whether the final product was even street legal.

I was truly inspired and was thinking of doing something like that (but not so drastic) with my wife’s (now mine) old Wira. I know quite a bit about the overall Auto industry in Malaysia but when it comes to the technical parts, about the engine, turbo charging, electronics, etc. I am afraid I am a bit left behind. So I looked, researched and asked around. How could I modify my car to look and perform better. In the end I decided that I don’t want to modify my engine and only should work on improving the look. Here is a list:

Side Skirts The side skirts on the new Kia Spectra are really something. It changed the overall look of the car completely. I could slap on some mean looking skirts in one of the many accessories shops around here. The most popular look being the Satria Gti look.

However, I was concerned with the safety aspect as one of my friend told me that most of them would break into pieces in the event of an accident. After all most of them are made from thin fibreglass. So I thought the best would be to go to the original manufacturer after all Proton had recently come out with the limited edition Wira, which had nice side skirts (I hated the shiny big rear wings though).

Unfortunately, Proton Edar does not install these accessories on normal Wira cars. I asked if I could buy it and install it somewhere else. The person there refused politely "It comes with the car and we don’t sell extra parts". I persisted and insisted that there must be SOME extra parts available. What if any of these special edition cars are involved in an accident? Don’t tell me that Proton is going to fit them with the old fashioned Wira parts. The guy ended the topic with "we order the parts when that happens". I thought I better not push him further as they were still servicing my car and you know what happens to the food ordered by people who are rude to waiters in restaurants….. So would have to go to the friendly neighbourhood car workshop, where everything “Can!”.

The Front Grill I would like to replace the old dull looking front grill with a more attractive one with the new logo. I don’t have anything against the old logo and it is of course an Islamic symbol but I think that my car should reflect the change. For aesthetic reasons. I think I can get an original Arena front grill, which should do.

Wheels and Rims Now I have to get some cool sport rims (JRD or BSA). I don’t like shiny ones and white don’t look cool. I would prefer a matt finish. However, I am not too ambitious and am only looking for 15” ones. I would then have to change my Wheels from the standard factory installed 13” Sime Tyres to something else.

Others A friend suggested that I should put in a big exhaust. However, as I am not going to make any modifications on the engine, so no! I once took a lift in my friend's car, which he had modified and it had a HUGE exhaust. We couldn’t converse at all in the car. We had to shout and in the end I had a splitting headache and was partially deaf when we reached our destination about 50 Kms away. Anyway, I don’t want to attract unwanted attention from the good guys in blue (and white).

No-nos Stickers, shiny fake chrome fittings for doors handles, etc. and flashing blue lights.

Overall, the cost is calculated to come around RM2000, which is not much actually. Come to think of it, if I want to modify the car, it would not make sense if I only concentrate on making it look good, which is so pretentious. Why not improve the performance? I would then need to change the engine, exhaust, the brakes, etc., etc. Then in the end, I think what they say about us humans is true “wants are unlimited”. According to my wife, “just buy a sporty car when you can afford one. Forget about this Wira”. However, looking at my Wira, it really looks sad between those two cars. Maybe I will just go and get it washed.

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