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Thread: Steve Flatley's SRi (2003-2005)

  
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    Steve Flatley's SRi (2003-2005)

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    September 2003:

    With the Nova sold I was on the look out for a new steed. I'd had a sneaky eye on MK4 astras for some time but what really sold me was a trip to the local dealers when I saw a lovely blue SE. I promptly fell in love with the interior and decided that a coupe was the one for me.

    Obviously being a filthy student, an (at the time fairly new) SE was well out of my price range but I set about looking at other coupes and quickly realised that I probably couldn't quite stretch to one. Then I discovered the 1.8 SRi. They were pretty nicely spec'd and still looked pretty good; in fact, I began to prefer the 3-door hatch over the coupe.

    The problem was that there weren't all that many 3 door 1.8 SRis about at the time that fitted into my price bracket so I started looking at 2.0 SRis which, although were slightly more to insure, were a lot cheaper and easier to find.

    Now I'd worked out what I wanted I had to find it! As I've already suggested, things were hard back then: Several weeks on the autotrader website resulted in one black SRi within about 100 miles of me. It was around then that I started wondering if Silver would be so bad afterall (I had previously been put off as Byron had not long had his silver SRi and he doesn't live far from me).

    In an effort to stop my moaning, Dad took one friday off work to drive me around the South Coast in search of the new car. There were 3 black ones on the list and one silver one with an Irmscher kit. The first black one was a dog, the second was sold, and the silver one was the one that I'd get if none of the black ones worked out (I'd looked at it the week before in Luton and it was nice and tidy).

    But one of the black ones did work out.... W285 JNP... at Stevens' of Crawley.
    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    The car had highish mileage (3 years old, 60k) due to being a rep-mobile at the beginning of it's life before having one 'careful' lady owner (I say careful, you should've seen the wheels!). It was well maintained though and was serviced and MOT'd just hours before I picked it up.

    After the longest few days of my life I was back up there picking up my car. It was amzaing, it looked great and after my 1.2 nova it was the fastest thing on the road. It was so advanced! It had air con and everything! What could I possibly need to do to this car to make it any better? Other than changing the wheels of course. They had taken quite a battering in their time, one was kerbed to bits and the lacquer was peeling off two of the others.

    The following weekend (3/10/03) I gave it a damn good clean and began my massive photo collection:







    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    December 2003:

    Having been a member on astra-sport for a few months my plan of keeping the car standard apart from the wheels was beginning to waiver. Whilst online on a cold winter's day I spotted some already-painted Irmscher kits for sale from our friends at PVD (remember them!?) Although the kits were all silver they were so well priced they were too good to miss so I phoned up and ordered them.

    If I'd have known what I know now I probably wouldn't have risked it but as it happens the kit turned up days later. It was around this time that somebody kindly scraped the side of my car whilst it was parked at uni leaving a large white scratch along the driver's side so off to the bodyshop I went.

    It was only a subtle bit of kit but it made a hell of a difference. I took the camera with me to get the car and took these shots just minutes after getting the car back.





    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    January 2004:

    So with the modifications started I decided that it'd just be wrong to leave the car as it was. Maybe a few more bits were in order. Only an Irmscher grille though... oh and those wheels that I'd been promising to get since October.

    I managed to swing an Irmscher grille for Christmas and had that fitted within a few days. Eager to document the next stage of my car's development I forgot to give it a clean first.

    Enter the first photos of my car in dirty mode (and the start of the slippery slope):



    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    February 2004:

    Having been a member for a little while I figured I'd better get along to a meet. Back then the SC region was pretty newly established and the meet was in a B&Q car park over Southampton way. There weren't a huge amount of astras there but it was nice to finally meet people who's user names I'd seen over the last few months.

    Photos below aren't mine, I think Tim (smitht) took them:




    I had included other meet pictures to give viewers an idea of what else was going on at the time but these have been removed as they are inappropriate. Other attendees included Skuzzle in his newly painted blue (then 1.6) Astra complete with strange wheels and, more importantly, Steve Tolley's (LordNikon) old GSi which I later raided some bits from. More on that later.

    Anyway, if anyone wants the pics, drop me a PM, it's funny looking back!
    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    Over the next few months there was a bit of a quiet period which seemed to mainly involve trying to keep the car clean. Which in itself is difficult when you mix rubbish weather with a black car.

    February 2004:





    April 2004:




    Whilst routing around in the garage towards the end of April I discovered some silver heat proof paint and decided that it'd be a good idea to slap some onto the brake calipers to further highlight the disgusting standard of my wheels. I say I did it, I vaguely remember it being SimonP who applied the paint whist I set about doing some serious mincing.

    The best of the 4 wheels pre-caliper painting:


    Wheel off and still it's not a pretty sight:


    Wheels cleaned (not that you can tell) with nice silver calipers lurking behind. It was now more apparent than ever that I needed to get some new wheels.
    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    May 2004:

    So then, summer was almost here and the car was looking quite nice. So much so that people were beginning to stare as they crossed the road in front of me. Although that was probably because I used to keep it so clean (take note of the used to)

    I'd had some concerns about the suspension for a while on both aesthetic and handling grounds but if I was going to change the suspension I wanted to go the whole hog and get shocks ad springs. As luck would have it, LordNikon had just purchased some FK Coilovers for his GSi so his old, low mileage Koni Adjustables and Pi springs were going spare. Naturally I snapped them up along with a genuine Irmscher centre console and handbrake / gear surround.







    The Irmscher items retail for a hell of a lot more than the silver sprayed bits but believe me when I tell you that they're a hell of a lot better. The finish is perfect and there's a slight grain through the paint.

    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    June 2004:

    Time to set my car apart from the crowd. Well, as much as you can when you've decided to go down the 'subtle' styling route.

    SimonP had been on at me for ages to try out some Omega MV6 wheels or Irmscher Sport Stars. Now I'm a big fan of the Sport Stars but I'd never seen the Omega wheels on an astra before so figured it'd be nice to be the first. I was all set to go and order some from the local dealer when I saw a brand new set up for sale on ebay at a much better price. It'd be rude not to.

    Quick before fitting shot:


    One old, one new (well, 3 old, but you know what I mean):


    All fitted:








    This one was my windows wallpaper for quite a while:


    Oh and for all you "Steve, the photoshop years" fans. The photos above were taken on the very same day as this, now famous, shot:


    Unfortunately though, I kerbed two of the wheels that very night. My girlfriend at the time comforted me by saying "it's only a car". We're not together anymore.
    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    July 2004:

    So I'd finally got those new wheels I'd been promising to get for so long and I totally loved them. They were quite easy to keep clean too! One problem with them was that I was getting a bit of front arch rubbing when on full lock so at the beginning of July I decided to twist up the Konis to full hard.

    I also picked up some proper Vauxhall centre caps as the ones that came with the wheels really let the side down. Saying that, the company did send some black and silver griffen stickers to go over the caps but I thought they'd just look funny so figured I'd rather splash out a massive £24 for a set of genuine ones.

    The photo below was actually taken in April '05 but shows the centre caps and wheels fairly nicely:


    Anyway, tightening the suspension and getting some centre caps wasn't the main highlight for July. Oh no. The new interior was!

    As standard the SRi interior isn't really much to complain about and I probably wouldn't have even dreamed of changing it if a certain cheeky white and black number hadn't come up for sale just down the road. I saw it in the classifieds on astra sport and just had to snap it up. TIMMAH was the seller, he's not around these days but it was nice to meet him none the less.. and even nicer to take the interior off him for a bargain price!

    Some before shots:





    And with the interior fitted:









    Quick shot from the outside:
    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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    August 2004:

    After the heavy modifying over the last couple of months I decided that the only thing on the list for the car in August was a good clean and some nice photos. Oh, and those bargain price smoked coupe headlights I picked up on ebay!

    By pure luck Dad and I both had our cars clean one Sunday so we decided to head off to the top of the local multi-storey for a little photo session:







    Nova Merit: 2000-2003 // Irmschered Astra SRi: 2003-2005 // Leon Cupra R: 2005 - 2006 // Linea Rossa Convertible Turbo: 2006-2008 // BMW 840Ci: 2008 - 2012

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