El Wifeo's Mirage Rally car (aka Mirage Rally Car, Take2).

SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
edited June 2019 in Non-Volvo
The story of this car actually starts back here: https://ozvolvo.org/discussion/4149/the-mirage-rally-car/p1
Bubbling away in the background was the idea of building a really good Mirage - Mivec 2.4, Motec, MCA shocks etc etc.

I bought a really tidy white car that was missing some panels, and another ratty car for the replacement panels (in the correct colour!). I also bought a DIY weld-in cage from Bond Roll Bars and a few other bits.

And then I remembered that I don't have enough spare time and sold it all to a mate.

Said mate fitted the cage, did the 1.8 conversion and a bunch of other work.
Then he got sick - proper, shitty, life-changing sick. :( He advertised it at a silly high price, then a more sensible price, and then at a price that was only marginally more than he'd paid me when he bought it.
El Wifeo saw that ad and rang me with the instruction to buy it back...

So we owned it for a second time.
Thinking about it, my mate's labour would be something like $0.50/hour...

On the down side, he'd absolutely raped it cosmetically. Both the good white bumper bars apparently had been "broken", the lovely white bonnet had been hit with rattle can black that was already flaking off, and a bunch of other stuff that left me shaking my head.






I'm not a shiny-things person, but this made me super twitchy.
Some stuff was just about different priorities, but some of it was just... dumb. I began to speculate about him working on the car full of grog, and am still not certain that this isn't correct.

First step was to paint the silver MR front bumper white:

Then add some 'graphics' to hide the ugliest parts. The front guards had been lipped with a house brick, which is why the stickers go over the wheel arches.


/\ The black loop below the tailgate is the release for the boot latch. AND it has the springs?!
\/ So I ditched the latch and just used the springs.


Then the twitching got too bad, and I bought a $300 Lancer coupe for the front panels. Took the parts I wanted, and got $180 for the wreck as scrap, so that worked out OK.

And re-did the graphics. Running out of vinyl, so a different design to the original...

New Monza winged seats are cheap, and appear to be good quality. The fabric is clearly not up to the standards of a Velo or Sparco, but the rest of them is good. These are a copy of the Sparco ProADV - the genuine Sparco seats are $900~1000 each, the Monzas are ~$750/pair.



I mounted the nav's seat as low and as far back as possible, which meant that the harness bar was too high.
Today I cut and mitered a new harness bar. Obviously still has to be welded in.


The black line is the new harness bar - took me a while, but this was when I know I got it right.

Token bling... Chinabay aluminium bolts. Really only save a token amount of weight, but you know...

Front brakes are CH Lancer, rears are S40. The CH front brakes have the exact same rotor as an Evo3, and appear to use the same pad - but are single piston instead of twin piston of the Evo.


Wheels are early Magna. I assume they're strong because they are bloody heavy...

Also spent some time with the paint pen on the worst of the avoidable paint chips and gouges.

Annnnnnnd here's the real news... I bought a rear bumper from Pick A Part when I was in Melbourne a few weeks back. Finally got around to fitting it today.
The twitching has finally stopped!
The tidy little car I sold, is a tidy little car again!


No photos, but I have also revalved and rebuilt the MCA shocks. I had thought/hoped that I could use S40 rear springs on the MCAs (they are very close to the correct rate), but they're just a bit too big on the coil diameter. I'll order the proper springs tomorrow.



  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    The next things to do are:
    Weld and paint the navigator's harness bar;
    Fit the Monit trip meter that El Wifeo has bought;
    Cut the urethane sheet for the mudflaps;
    Get an exhaust built.
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    There has been some progress on this.


    I bought the RallySafe fitting kit and booked it in for a new exhaust next Wednesday. Basically making myself do some work on it so I can drive it onto the trailer on Tuesday.

    The crazy sump guard had to come off. It weighs a ton - bizarre mix of chromoly tune for the frame and 5mm steel plate for the guard itself. No question that the frame and mounts are the weak points!

    So I re-aquatinted myself with the angle grinder...

    The frame weighs 4.5kg, the actual guard .... is .... 23kg!

    Replacing the steel with aluminium should drop the 23kg to about 8kg...

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited January 2020


    Also sikaflexed the gutter molds on. The few clips that weren’t broken from removal, were mostly broken trying to re-install.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited January 2020

    Has exhaust. $754 worth, which seemed like a lot to me: 2” pipe, one muffler, flex join and some flanges.

    Meh, at least it’s done.

    Also had the harness bar welded in. This is a big step forward because now I can refit the nav’s seat and harness, and fit the Rallysafe wiring and rollcage padding.

    Still waiting for the Monit (trip meter) plug and probe. Close to ringing and hassling.

    The list of Things To Do is now mercifully short. I was actually quite surprised at how few things are left to do.

    Edit: And some of those things have been crossed off the list already...

  • TzantushkaTrent @Tzantushka E. suburbs - Melbourne

    Impressive work!

    So what's the total inventory of rally cars?

    • dead?
    • alive?
  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited February 2020

    Four in total.

    The original BMW is good to go.

    The Mirage is nearly finished.

    The 940 project has just started.

    Red Gemini is somewhere between the 940 and the Mirage.

    Yellow Gemini is rooted and is parts only (and therefore not counted).


    Got a bit done before the heat pushed me inside (at 9:40am...).

    I have previously wondered when I would be able to drill a hole in an otherwise pristine roof without flinching. Seems like today was the day...

    /\ This is the RallySafe antenna. It is a pretty cool system for tracking rally cars, particularly useful when people crash.

    The wiring for RallySafe is always a PITA to make neat. I am getting better at it, but still not totally happy with how tidy it is.

    The wires can’t be between the rollcage and the body, in case they get cut in a crash.

    You can also see the rollcage padding has been fitted, and sort-of see that the intercom has also been fitted (the black wires going outward on the hoop are for the intercom).

    When the car was on the trailer yesterday, I realised that the driver’s seat was tilted outward.

    The solution was easy: a strip of 10mm aluminium that has been hanging around my shed for about ten years now was fitted under the outboard mount.

    This also lifts the seat slightly as well as moving the driver’s head toward the centre of the car. Enough that I reckon my helmet is going to be too close to the rollcage... But it is better for El Wifeo, so...

    Something I had forgotten about, was how far inboard the seats are. The photo shows about 100mm gap between the rollcage and the seat, which provides a useful extra safety margin if the car goes sideways into something solid. There is also about 50mm between the door and the intrusion bars, which also helps.

    You can also just see that the intrusion bars curve slightly outward. The theory is that it makes them stronger in a big sideways impact because trying to bend them inwards requires the whole lot to extend, against the natural tendency to shorten.

    I can see positives and negatives to this, and don’t honestly know if the theory works in practice but it does give you more room in the car.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    An update...

    The fuel pump doesn’t work. Haven’t worked out if this is due to the immobiliser being upset or simply because the fuel pump has died.

    It has two siblings now.

    A mate gave me a high kilometre manual one a while back. Unregistered, damage to the bonnet, driver’s door and driver’s side front guard. I replaced the door and guard a few months back, and have been scratching my head about what to do with it.

    Then after I killed the motor in the kids’ paddock/khanacross Yaris, I went and knocked on the door of a house that had a silver, automatic Mirage sitting in the driveway with no plates and a tow rope hanging off it.

    Old mate assured me that it runs perfectly and it had just run out of fuel... I rocked up the next day with a jerry can and a battery but it wouldn’t go. No fuel pump action.

    Mice had eaten the wiring, so the previously agreed $400 was negotiated down to $200 and I took it home.

    Turned out that the fuel pump was dead from sitting around, so $120 later it was back to life.

    It was running beautifully, but has since developed a mid-throttle misfire that I haven’t yet diagnosed.

    I had been planning on converting it to 4x114.3 stud pattern, considering all of the wheels we have for x40s and the other Mirage, but a sudden influx of 15” 4x100 wheels means that I now have four sets to share between the Lanos and the kids’ car.

    This lead me to ponder the possibility of fitting (much larger) S40 front brakes to the kid Mirage. Without any planning or test fitting, I decided to start by converting an old S40 rotor to 4x100.

    Really happy with how little work this took, and how well it worked.

    First step was to work mark the 100mm PCD. I did this by scribing a line 15.5mm outside of the 69mm centre bore.

    I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to index the holes accurately.

    Simple solution was to scribe another line 16mm from the original stud holes to intersect with the PCD scribe mark.

    It seemed too simple, but worked perfectly. When I checked the distance between adjacent points, they were all exactly the same.

    The 71.07mm measurement was particularly reassuring - it is exactly what Pythagorus tells me should be the distance between the two equal sides of a right-angle isosceles triangle with a hypotenuse of 100mm.


    The only fly in the ointment is that the drill grabbed in one hole and elongated the top surface. This is irrelevant to how it works, but annoying. The hole on the left of the photo.

    Will test fit when I get home. Don’t be surprised if I come back saying something like “ah, that was never going to work!”, but whatever... 😀

  • my first thought is what is the old and new centerbore?

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited December 2020

    Did you miss the bit where I said I was guessing? 😁

    Edit: Google says 64mm vs 69mm.

  • Didn't miss it... just thought I might be able to put some fear into an old man via the interwebs 😁

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    It worked!

    Rotor sits in the centre of the caliper slide’s throat.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    And yeah, this is where mine is up to...

    2.4 Mivec conversion is Go.

    Yes, another race car. It will be built for the Summer Series, Super TT and also legal for Improved Production. Hoping to get it below a 60-second lap time around Pheasant Wood, but I won’t be happy unless it is faster than a low 61.

    The parts pile is:

    4G69 motor and box (ex-CH Lancer);

    Ancient and terrible Microtech Digi 2 Pro 🤪 with two Series 4 RX7 leading coil packs & CAS.

    Suzuki GSXR1000 quad throttle bodies.

    CH Lancer front brakes & uprights.

    Evo 10(?) front Bilsteins and springs.

    S40 rear brakes.

    Left-over QFM A1RM pads.

    Evo 6 rear Bilsteins.

    The old RP01copy wheels that were on the S40 race car.

    Monza winged race seat.

    3” harness I have sitting around.

    The main question mark is the flywheel. I need to find a solution that is neither the stock dual mass POS nor a $770 new aluminium one.

    Rollcage will be a Bond bolt-in.

    I also need to spend money on an exhaust. There’s good extractors available.

    Hoping to have it on the track for about $5k, but will be happy to spend more on a decent ECU, LSD and maybe a brake upgrade.

    Dash and dash/engine bay wiring is all out now. If I get home in time tomorrow, then I will get the 1.5 motor & box out.

    The BMW is around 80kW ATW (factory rated at 103kW at the flywheel) and ~1000kg, with the mods done.

    The 4G69 is rated at 120kW with more torque, should be around 900kg and has more freedoms - maybe another 15kW from the mods. An honest 100kW at the wheels should be easy.

    How this translates to lap times is another thing, of course!

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited December 2020

    The trial disc is pretty worn, so did these two much better rotors on Monday:

    My car...

    Ultra simple dash. Red light is oil pressure warning.

    There’s literally five wires to it.

    There will also be an alternator light and a fuel gauge, along with the switch gear, but it will be down on the left hand side of the driver’s seat in a yet-to-be-fabricated panel.

    The idea is to get everything as out of the way as possible, and to keep the wiring as short & protected as possible.

    Pretty sure that I will use the battery isolator as the ignition switch. I can’t think of a time when a dedicated ignition switch would be of any use.

    The 1.5 litre motor & box is ready to come out, I just need to refill my poor old engine hoist with oil before I can lift it out of the Mirage’s engine bay.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    Also raised the gear lever.

    The cut spacers at the bottom of the photo are the crush tubes for the rubber. Shortening them means that the rubber is squashed down harder, taking some of the vagueness out of the shift.

    Just realised that I managed to take the last photo on a terrible angle, so you can’t really see the whole shifter assembly raised.

  • Looks like a clear case of self levitating to me. You should get that looked at haha

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited December 2020

    And another fuel pump replacement today - on the rally car this time.

    Also fixed the kids’ car’s misfire: blocked injector on #1. Took about ten minutes to fix, including removing a good injector from my car.

    Planning a track day at Marulan on Tuesday with the rally car and the black Fiesta.

    Shackdown for the rally car ahead of its planned debut at the Rallysprint in early March, and a proof of concept for the silver Fiesta.

    Race car control arms.

    New CH Lancer ball joints to suit the CH uprights.

    Loop is a tie down point for when it’s on the trailer.

    New bushes and silly green paint.

    Just with I remembered where I put the ball joint dust boots...

    Also made a fill panel for the stereo and ashtray. I free-handed this and it shows, but it looks ok from the side that you can see.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    Track day/shakedown tomorrow.

    Rally cars always look a bit silly on low profile tar tyres.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    It’s plenty loud enough already.


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