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After the last update of sparks and big holes, progress on the VTEC Cortina seems understated. As long as you don’t count the huge turbo…

Once I’d gotten the old girl home from suspension guru, Gary Martin’s place, full of enthusiasm and keen to follow his pointers while they were fresh in my mind, I was soon back in the workshop continuing the fabrication. Once again firing up the trusty welder and grinder, I started making mountings up for a new rear firewall and reworking the existing rear interior panels to work around that rather beautiful fabrication in the rear of the car.

This consisted of cutting some of the rear parcelshelf away, to allow quick access to the rear coil-overs (for quick spring changes and repairs), all the while ensuring any gaps between the rear of the car, and in the boot, were sealed so if the worst should happen, the fire would be contained to the boot and away from the occupants.

This bunch of small jobs, as the small ones do, seemed to take an age to complete, with lots of small pieces of carefully cut, folded, pressed and swaged thin gauge steel going in, which then highlighted the unsightly and now defunct old roll cage plates that were heavily welded to the wheel tubs and inner rear quarter panels.

There was nothing else for it — out they came, cut right out, and some very intricate compound curved repair panels were hand made, then carefully butt welded in their place. Once linished back and metal finished, I was super chuffed with how the rear of the car was now beginning to look.

A couple of very cramped hours welding it all up, linishing, metal finishing then finally DA-sanding all the rear inside of the car saw it ready for a good coat of epoxy etch primer to keep the surface rust at bay while I progress on other jobs.

As with all big builds and projects, it’s not only the time spent in the workshop that makes the cars come together, as in my downtime I’ve been heavily researching turbos and the art of forced induction — no surprise here as my last car was 400 bhp — so walking a similar line with a much more planted base car was a no brainer.

vtec cortina

Just got Real

This lead me to contact the guys at Real Street (USA) for further Honda turbo tuning advice after seeing their own S2000 running crazy times on the quarter-mile, while still retaining the important reliability and driveability that I’m chasing.

The guys were great, very helpful and I eventually settled on a Precision 6262 twin-scroll turbo, aiming for as little lag and as progressive a power curve as possible. After a few weeks, a shiny turbo arrived, and keenly offered up. It became obvious that heat and room in the engine bay may be an issue! Never mind, I can’t wait to see it hanging off the  manifold.

I’ll keep pushing on!

vtec cortina

This update on Ben’s VTEC Cortina originally appeared in the September 2020 issue

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