Performance Vauxhall - - NEWS -

The VXR can see clearly, the BTCC Cav­a­lier re­ceives open heart surgery.

My ex-works BTCC Su­per Tour­ing Cav­a­lier GSi (chas­sis DCRS016) was miss­ing its orig­i­nal en­gine and gear­box when I fi­nally man­aged to get hold of the car af­ter the best part of a decade pes­ter­ing the pre­vi­ous owner to sell up. The Swin­don-en­gi­neered C 20 X Ea nd six-speed se­quen­tial trans­mis­sion fit­ted in pe­riod are long gone, lib­er­ated from the his­toric Vauxhall when it was lit­tle more than an ob­so­lete race car. I’m told the parts were fit­ted to a now-dead ral­ly­cross ma­chine. Pity.

In place of the race-ready Red Top was a semi-re­built C20LET and an ac­com­pa­ny­ing F23 five-speed man­ual gear­box. In fact, in ad­di­tion to parts kept with the car from its lengthy ca­reer rac­ing in the BTCC and other high-pro­file mo­tors­port com­pe­ti­tions, the tidy Tango ma­chine came with a raft of ex­tras, some of them great, some of them not so great. My plan is to strip the car back to a bare shell, rid it of Ford Elec­tric Orange paint­work, re­store all chas­sis com­po­nen­try and rein­tro­duce works liv­ery, but be­fore any of this work can take place, I needed to re­move the car’s tem­po­rar­ily mounted en­gine and trans­mis­sion.

The en­gine it­self in good con­di­tion, in­so­far as it will make a good base for a com­plete strip­down and re­build with fully forged in­ter­nals, an up­rated val­ve­train, new cams and a stack of top-notch tun­ing equip­ment, in­clud­ing my Peter G tubu­lar ex­haust man­i­fold and the Gar­rett tur­bocharger I com­mis­sioned Turbo Dy­nam­ics to re­build with BorgWarner EFR in­ter­nals (as fea­tured in Per­for­mance Vauxhall when the parts were des­tined for one of my Cav­a­lier Tur­bos).

I’ve ditched the F23 in favour of a six-speed F28. I might not have the orig­i­nal en­gine and gear­box to play with, but at least a fet­tled Red Top mated to a six-speed trans­mis­sion is more or less in the spirit of what was fit­ted to my car when it raced in the BTCC. More­over, us­ing an en­gine based on the same ba­sic block de­sign means there are no changes re­quired to the chas­sis in or­der to ac­cept the force-fed pow­er­plant, which I took great plea­sure in re­mov­ing be­fore load­ing into the back of my trusty SAAB work­horse along­side one of my spare F28s.

Re­mov­ing the Cav­a­lier’s en­gine al­lowed me to take a good look at the mo­tors­port-spec sus­pen­sion equip­ment tucked into each cor­ner.

All of it will be re­moved and re­stored in due course, but to get the ball rolling with project progress in the here and now, I de­liv­ered the en­gine and gear­box to Lon­don-based per­for­mance Vauxhall and su­per­car spe­cial­ist, GCAP Per­for­mance, where the parts will be dis­man­tled and re­assem­bled to cus­tom spec­i­fi­ca­tion with a wealth of new com­po­nen­try, in­clud­ing a Quaife ATB lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial, which ar­rived on my doorstep just as we were about to send this is­sue of the mag to print.

Un­like a con­ven­tional plate-type dif­fer­en­tial, Quaife’s ‘fit and for­get’ de­sign re­lies on gears rather than clutch plates, en­sur­ing smoother op­er­a­tion and the elim­i­na­tion of harsh lock­ing. There are huge ben­e­fits to us­ing a Quaife ATB lim­ited-slip­per (proven time af­ter time in drag rac­ing, ral­ly­ing, cir­cuit and fast-road driv­ing en­vi­ron­ments) when com­pared to a stan­dard open dif­fer­en­tial, all of which we’ll cover in a forth­com­ing is­sue of Per­for­mance

Vauxhall. In fact, so ef­fec­tive are Quaife lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tials at pos­i­tively trans­form­ing the way a car han­dles, the com­pany’s parts are now used by ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers as OEM equip­ment for high out­put fac­tory mod­els.

As you can prob­a­bly imag­ine, I’ve got a huge shop­ping list of parts and a long list of tasks to con­tend with. I guess I’d bet­ter get crack­ing then?! On­wards and up­wards!

And so it be­gins... Ev­ery­one knows orange is the fastest colour, yeah?!

Shocks will be sent to Bil­stein for a re­build Eat your heart out, twin-en­gined Corsa! F28 will be stripped and re­built with new bear­ings and a Quaife diff This’ll make a big dif­fer­ence

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