Car of the Month September 2008

  Submitted by Rob Warren



During Summer 2003 I decided to take my exxy 'BAD' (featured March 2007) off the road to be modified and feature a bumperless conversion. Unfortunately this process took longer than anticipated and six months later my absence from driving an X1/9 started to make life seem pretty grim - I had to have another one whilst BAD was off the road!


A year previously Nick Troth (of P1X 2000) and I had collected a scrap 1300 for spares off a driveway in the West Midlands. We were both astonished to find that the owner also had a beauty of a 1300 in red - SJF404R, along with a mk1 RX7. I remember him saying "Sorry guys I'm keeping this one!".

To my delight during the Winter of 2003 the owner called Nick saying the car was for sale, but hadn't got an MOT or tax. It also featured a major mechanical fault and needed a good overhaul - perfect as the damp winter months meant that painting 'BAD' was out of the question. My offer of £500 was accepted and the car was brought home.

We stripped the engine down to find one of the pistons had split between its rings and hence had a lack of compression. With the help of a generous club member, a block was given for free (thanks Gomer!!) and I also purchased a brand new head off Steve at Alternative Autos. Eventually SJF404R ran sweet as a nut!

As summer 2004 approached us my luck ran out. I hit a diesel patch in the wet, the front wheels went light, the rear span round and I ended up stuck in the back of a hedge with one rear wheel bent out of place. The panels were dented, but not as much as my self-esteem. Being at University, I was now out of money, devastated and had no choice but to sell it as spares.

Nick bought the car off me and repaired the structural damage making the wheel track true again. We quickly finished off BAD and SJF404R was laid up in a barn for safe- keeping.

Four years later, 'BAD' is now undergoing a full body restoration and 1400 turbo conversion. I have since bought the 1300 back off Nick and she is on the road once again. With late nights of rebuilding brakes, welding, refurbishing a set of alloys (3 were buckled from the crash) etc. we eventually made Castle Coombe where she made it on a parade lap performing without a single fault. Yes she is a bit dented here and there but her time will come after BAD is done. See you all up at Northumberland for the National!