In the beginning... it all started when the drift spec Omega was retired from active service following one to many run ins with the armco and so followed the need for a new project. Dougie, adament he wanted an SRi turbo was outranked and so arrived the Coupe turbo in erm... average condition. Finished in a lovely shade of blue with the oh so desireable cream leather, it was totally standard and in need of some love.

More power... Yes obviously we didn't practice what we preach and so instead of worrying about brakes and suspension, it was off to Griffin Autos to have the 240bhp VXR engine and M32 gearbox fitted. Although being fair, a short time later it did get the brakes uprated and some Apex suspension fitted. Priorities and all that!

Roadtest time... a short run round the block wasn't enough for Dougie so instead he disappeared off on a 1600 miles circumnavigation of Scotland taking in such sights as the Forth Road Bridge, John O Groats and his Mum's house. on return to Bath, it became clear the trip had taken it's toll on the Astra, namely the wheels... two of which were destroyed and the remaining two, we're erm... destroyed.

Start the rebuild... Over the past few months the was left in the care of Regal Autosport who fitted the TX Autosport intercooler kit and also remapped the car and it was then it was decided to do something with the bodywork. AVC Customs in Southampton were handed the keys and instructions to make it so, and make it so they did.

Where are my Oakley's? Yes, it's yellow... and not just yellow, it's YELLOW but we like it, honest... we do! Not only did the car come back with it's new Monaro "Devil Yellow" bodywork but also had a Lexmaul front bumper, some.... erm... sideskirts fitted and the rear bumper spats moulded in. No excuse for missing this one on a dreary winter's morning!

To PVS and don't spare the horses... literally hours before PVS at Santa Pod, Julian was dispatched ont he train (which he enjoyed very much) to collect the Coupe, or Bumblebee as it's now been named, and deliver it to PVS complete with a set of borrowd Team Dtynamics Pro-Race 1.2's seeing as it's wheel's hadn't arrived yet. Thankfully it made it there and we'd like to say back agaion, but truth be told it drank all it's water on the A34... near Oxford... in the rain. We swore, lots.

Rebuild it again then... With the car back at HQ, I was sent off in diagnostic Dave mode to find out what was wrong. What was wrong was the engine' movement had been pushing the turbo forwards into the fan cowling which in turn had been pushed into the radiator which in turn holed in and in turn, the water fell out. Annoying. Not only that, the car had been put in for an MOT and erm... failed. Thankfully just on a bulb and a split CV joint, so that too was added to the list.

Red Bull and Jaffa Cakes... couple of weekends back I was dispatched again armed with my Tomy toolkit and some brave pills, the mission: Rebuild Bumblebee. First task was to resign the questionable beige/brown interior to the bin and replace it with a much better black cloth effort donated by that hero of heros, Mr Gareth Day. Thing was, we couldn't settle for crappy standard seats so enter stage left a couple of Recaro's finest seats... Series 2 turbo stylee and just... awesome, hell even the yellow dash and doorcards look the part with them in place.

More Jaffa Cakes... and the radiator pack was out, the new radiator supllied by the good guys at Autovaux was back in and now back on it's original mounts. Which left the task of getting the TX Autosport intercooler to fit back in... clearly a job for me... and a grinder... and a hammer... and some swearing.

Radiator pack refitted, twin slimline fans repositioned and a cut finger...

TX Autosport intercooler dropped 1" lower and moved forwards slightly to clear the aircon rad assembly...

And ready for the Lexmaul bumper to go back on, although no pictures of it being attacked with a Black and Decker grinder in case somebody from the Health and Safety Executive are reading... needless to say we had to loose the inner fog lights and trim the recess back as it was fouling the 90deg silicone bends badly.

And all fitted... not even any splintered fibre-glass in sight. Although I suspect the bumper won't last long once it's introduced to Dougie and Scotland.

No yellow silicone hoses... booooo!

The next task... loads to do before TV Live on the 7th of August. Once the MOT repairs have been done and the new wheels arrive and have been painted (not yellow) then it'll be off back to Regal for a full 3" exhaust and a high flow inlet manifold, VXR injectors and airflow meter and a remap. We figure it must be good for about 300bhp at least, although anything pushing 350bhp would be a bonus... and a disastor in the rain and probably a minor miracle but hey, we live and dream.

Once Regal have finished working their magic, it'll be going back to AVC for a little fettling and perhaps some more bodywork changes (I want a Meccano back spoiler) and then the lovely peopel at Pioneer will be fitting some televisons so we can watch Loose Women whilst on the M5. We also want brakes the size of Saturn's rings and aslo want it lower, but we're also being reminded that this will be used as our "company car" so has to remain practical... yeah, ok then!

So that's it for the "where are we at now" update, more will follow and my spelling may also improve... my excuse is it's late and the batteries in my wireless keyboard are failing. Two excuses I can't use when it comes to the mag, so we'll cut the shit and admit... I kant spel propurly.

Opinions and feedback welcome... we've already had "you chavs" and "should've bought a Mk5" and our mates at Fast Ford helpfully pointed it it would look better on fire, but then they drive Escorts and Fiestas so what do they know. I mean, 600bhp YB lump and 4x4... please...