Idea To Action [206 WRX]
Author: Tal England, Photo/Video: BlendLine Magazine
I have had the idea for the past four or five years and have been reluctant to put it out into the universe or tell anyone about it. This is because as soon as you do, your idea is alive and usually when I tell someone about an idea it means its happening! After building the Peugeot 106 Maxi shell, I vowed never to undertake such a large project again but here we are. Never say never!
Heading into the first lockdown in March 2020, and having an inkling things would not be going back to normal any time soon, I thought it would be a good time to pull the trigger. In order to make this build happen I would have to think outside the box in a big way. There are a couple of ways to go about a project like this. Most rally car builds that re-configure the number of driving wheels, change engines and drive trains will make use of expensive jigs and skilled engineers to make precise subframes to allow the foreign parts to fit into the chassis. This is costly as you can imagine and requires a large workspace. So this option was quickly ruled out. To me there was only one possible option to hopefully achieve the result I wanted which is a four wheel drive hatchback that looks unique and is exiting to drive.
Welding two cars together sounds like a pretty rad thing to do and a whole lot of work but it also makes a lot of sense and I will explain later, With a plan in place I just needed to choose the cars. Using the Subaru four wheel drive platform was a no brainer so that is the floor pan, suspension turrets and engine bay taken care of, the second car just had to be a French hatchback and the initial contenders were a Peugeot 207, Peugeot 206 and Phase 3 Renault Clio. The Clio's dimensions were less optimal for the look I wanted to obtain and the 207 was a little bigger than I wanted. The 206 got the vote.
Knowing that I was going to be re-building the engine from the Subaru, I could look for cheaper cars with running issues, I wanted a 2.0 litre engine which is optimal for rally use so my eye balls were focused on GD Impreza WRX 2002 - 2007 models. It had to have a manual transmission and the running gear to be mechanically sound in order to save on start up costs. Most importantly the chassis needed to be in good condition with minimal rot, especially around the suspension mounting points. I found a 2003 Impreza WRX with an engine smoking issue for good money. Perfect.
The Peugeot was less of a concern, all I needed was a three door variant, it to have no sunroof and reasonable bodywork. I found a 2005 1.4 litre sport which would work just fine.
By the time I had acquired both cars, I still had to find a location to carry out the build, This didn't stop me from stripping the Subaru down to a bare shell out on the side of the road in front of the house!
Breaking down the Subaru was a slow and thorough process, from labelling all of the connectors on the wiring loom and taking care not to shear bolts when removing components. The Peugeot did not have the same kind of love and attention however and the angle grinder did the majority of the graft!
In the time between stripping down both the Subaru and Peugeot, I had formed a plan as to how I was going to accommodate the 206 WRX Project. I wanted something convenient and low cost. If I was going to be ploughing hundreds if not thousands of hours into it, this was important. I am still unsure how I managed to come up with the idea or even convinced myself it was good but it happened. I was going to build a rally car in a tent! Well technically a gazebo and more specifically a Gala Tent. I knew it had to be a reasonably dry environment for various parts of the build so I made a raised floor for the tent to bolt onto.
With two bare shells and sort of a workshop, things were falling into place, as you can image there are a few draw backs to using a tent as a fabrication workshop but I will dive into that another time.
You can view the entire BlendLine #206WRX Build Series so far on YouTube below, starting from Episode 1:
Tal England: @talengland
BlendLine Apparel: @blend_line
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