1.7 rally car build


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New member
Feb 21, 2022
I’ll update as and when I remember, just so you all know I’m not that reliable with regular updates.

So the beginning of this was me finding a cheap (lol) red 1.7 puma that needed a “little work”!

Inner and outer sills, 3 arches, floor pans, new ecu because it wasn’t the right one for the key, and some other bits. Managed to get another ecu with key and halo so the car would start but not run, tracked that down to the throttle body only having one bolt, tried to fit the other 3 but wouldn’t fit so I took the throttle body off to find that the previous owner had tried to fit it upside down, flipped it over and bolted it on properly and hey presto! That’s when I found the leaking water pump and thermostatic switch for the fan not working.

It was around this time that I found the lack of floor pans and inner sills. I was offered another (cheap) red 1.7 so the first one gave up all the salvageable parts and took its final journey.

Soon discovered that the second one wasn’t as crisp as it first seemed, although it wasn’t as crispy as the first one, so I made a start.

Interior out and on to welding, first job was to get bucket seats and harnesses in, to add motivation I booked a 12 car navigational event for my son and I which would be our first event ever. Having fitted the seats and harnesses it was off for mot!

Low brake effort on rear drums lack of metal in lower sills and floor pan ( dejavu! ) those were the major issues, there were other minor issues but nothing too serious although I did find the clutch was slipping so I ordered a new old stock sachs 2 piece.

I was now working nights so I had very little time in the day when I wasn’t sleeping to get work done, a friend of mine helped with welding up one side of the car so I could get the other side done and rebuild the rear brakes.

Eventually got round to taking the gearbox out, only to find I’d been sent a clutch for a ka! So with the retest booked for the next day and race day the day after that I wasn’t going to get another in time. So I had to resort to breaking the glaze on the flywheel and pressure plate with some 80 grit emery cloth and hoped for the best. Box back in, sump guard on and back for mot.

She passed, so off to the races we went.

Having never done this kind of motor sport I thought it best to do a beginners event, meeting at a village hall we were guided through how to plot the navigation through the clues that were given, thankfully my son seemed to be quite good at it, whilst he was doing that I went through Scrutineering withe the car, only a couple of things were less than desirable but easily remedied whilst the scrutineers checked other things, and with that done it was into our start order and ready to go.

We made our first mistake on the first section, wrong turn meant that we were dead last after the first section, we did manage to claw back some time over the next two sections and into the half way mark.

This is when we were given our second set of clues to work out the second half of the route. The boy seemed quite happy to crack on with it which left me as a bit of a spare part so as we had stopped at a petrol station I went and got a coffee for me and a bottle of fizz get him, when I came back he was done and ready to go, we only had a little while to wait before we were off again.

The second half was a bit of a comedy, we arrived at the first check before the marshals, there had been some confusion about who should have been where, we weren’t early but waited around until it was becoming obvious we had been forgotten, on our way to the second check the gearbox decided that 4th was the only gear required! My fault entirely, I thought I’d done the pinch bolt up tight enough, however I found out after that that wasn’t the case, so from that point onwards I had to nurse the gearbox and tease the other gears out of it.

We made it all the way to the end despite thinking we would have to retire if the gearbox got stuck in fourth again (which isn’t fun when your trying to get the nose out of a bush and all you can do is go forward because the box won’t relinquish its grip on its favourite gear!

By the end of the night we were 7th which considering everything I’m quite proud of.

Our second event is booked for the 28th of December, just need to finish the roll cage on the 27th and tighten that pinch bolt, refit the interior, check all the bolts, fluids etc….

Fingers crossed!
Yeah, we did, so much so that we have another 2 events booked and have just done our first targa (although the clutch gave up just before the end of the first section!)
8) sounds like a blast! You'll get through those initial teething issues quickly enough and forget they happened.
Second event sort of done…..

Targa this time on a military base in Norfolk, went through scruteneering this time no problems, got everything prepped, some of the welds for the roll cage were probably still warm from finishing it the day before.

Started 26th out of 60 cars so we got some tracks in the mud and slop sections to follow which was nice! Started with a slalom between cones along the runway before heading into the farmers tracks and forest sections, so hurtling along between trees flat in 3rd gear is definitely a workout for your sphincter! It’s just constant steering correction and trying to keep the front pointed away from the trees, if it goes wrong your guaranteed to hit at least one tree! Made it to the third stop and go when the car filled with that acrid smell of toasty clutch! When to pull away and that was the end of our day!

We did have fun though and up until that point the car was quick, it had more to go but my built in rev limiter held us back, last thing I wanted was for ambition to overtake talent and plant us in the scenery!

I’m currently in the workshop stripping the gearbox out of the car to replace the clutch. While I’m at it there’s a couple of other jobs I want to do so I’ll get some of those done too.

Next race is another 12 car around the 12th of January so I’ll have to pull my finger out!
Couple of pics of things going on, switch panel we made to blank the hole where the radio was and testing the spots.


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The aftermath of the clutch issues and some of the cage fabrication.


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Waiting on some three phase cable so I can wire in the mill and lathe so I can skim the flywheel as she’s a bit blue in places. Gaz gold coil overs should be here in the next week or so, then I’ll start on some engine mods and a full stainless exhaust.
Eventually got my lathe up and running. The flywheel had some very hard spots which I eventually got cleaned up, took 1.2mm off the face and it cleaned right up.

Spent a couple of days building an exhaust system and a better gearbox with a better ratio diff (4:1), found a couple of small teeth attached to the magnet in the box so cleaned everything out and checked the cassettes and replaced one damaged gear, put it all back together , got it back into the car and buttoned the car back up. This was at around 8pm the day before we were due to take it out on another 12 car.

Went to reverse the car out of the workshop and nothing! No reverse gear, checked the others and fifth is also missing, think I know what I’ve done but didn’t have time to sort it out so I went home!

7:30 the next morning after dropping the wife at work I’m back at the workshop, freshly rebuilt box was drained and out by 9, took me the rest of the day to get my spare in, just couldn’t get the bloody thing lined up, eventually had to loose my temper with it and just pick it up and throw it in, actually worked but wouldn’t recommend!

17:00 car is back together again and reversing out of the work shop, met my son at home and off we went.

Managed to finish the navigation but we left 8 mins late, by the half way stage we were 2 mins ahead of where we should be coming into tc4 and we were welcomed by a big white cloud from under the bonnet and the engine making some horrific noises and that was our rally over!
Couple more pics, gaz gold coil overs, came up 65mm too short compared to the standard ones, if your after any let them know they need to be as long as the standard ones or 65mm longer than their normal ones. And the switch panel lit up.

We are currently experiencing technical issues!