When I was starting to see my now wife, then girlfriend, her mother had a 2002 Skoda Fabia SDI Saloon. Although it was a very slow old beast, (I think 50bhp) it had a handsome ruggedness to it that I always liked despite its Classic trim level and saloon body shape.
So after the fuel disaster that was the Focus ST I needed something that was a little easier to run, at the time the wife (then fiance) had a 2004 SEAT Ibiza Cupra TDi that was remapped to 200bhp, and was a hoot to drive. She persuaded me to go and look at a Fabia vRS within my budget in Portadown.
We took a run up and had a chat with the guy who clearly doted over the car, even though it was a little rough around the edges. A couple of dents, and the normal lacquer peel on the spoiler, but otherwise, a very good example.
I took the car for a test drive and was surprised at the handling of the car and how nimble it was, it felt tight, crisp and eager to go.
I instantly fell for it. I said I’d never own a diesel, I had no need of a diesel, diesel smells but this little car was really putting a smile on my face.
Deal done, and wifey drove the car home as she had insurance to cover where mine had not been processed. A tradition that we have done for each of my cars since!
I never drive my new car home If I can help it, the ones that I had other people drive for one reason or another have always been the ones I enjoyed most.
As advertised the car was remapped to around 170BHP and 300lb/f and was fully polybushed from front to rear, with the exception of the front wishbones, which explained the crisp handling.
The cars first port of call was a good clean.
Look at that shiny reek hole, it didn’t stay like that for long!
I replaced both badges as they were faded to silver, and looked terrible. New ones tidied them up alot.
Rear side repeater bulbs were changed from orange to silver to clean up the rear clusters and look less of a fried egg.
I wrapped the grill matte black, from the standard chrome.
I thought it looked alot cleaner, a mod I would later undo and much preferred the chrome.
The same day, the dog ( see above…) descided to shit in it.
I took a run to Portaferry to pickup a SEAT Sport strut brace for a steal, it had been wrapped in a checquered flag vinyl which was… OK i suppose.
Queue winter time and I sourced a set of 16″ Steel wheels so that I could refurbish the standard wheels as they were looking a bit scabby.
While these were on I installed a set of 312mm S3 front brakes, a substantial upgrade over the 288mm standard brakes. This made a huge difference to the car and the way that it drove and braked. Much more compliant and a much less skittish under heavy braking.
They were quite a snug fit with the 16″ steel wheels.
I descided to steer away from the popular persuit of “bright white” or OEM Xenon style headlights and plumped for some Yellow Nokya bulbs, which turned out to be superb in the snowy or foggy weather, but a bit meh at everything else… and sidelights to match.
I also fitted some interior LEDs at this stage as well.
I wrapped the B pillars, that lasted all of a week before I took it back off again.
Two leaking shocks, one in front, one up back prompted the early upgrade of a set of JOM Blueline Coilovers. Cheap and cheerful?
While these looked the part, and seemed to be well enough made, the spring rate was terrible and made me feel sea sick on the motorway for the few thousand miles I had them installed. They were eventually replaced with an AP Spring and shock kit, which transformed the car in both comfot and handling. It really was the best of both worlds!
While the coilovers were on I finished the refurb of my wheels with the faces in Rover Steel grey with black barrels. Wrapped up in some Federal 595SS Tyres.
When I was putting these on I put some 10mm spacers up front, and 15mm spacers at the rear to get the fittment a little more flush.
I also wrapped the headlights in a medium smoke Lamin-x.
A few months went by, and I removed the Headlight wrap and the coilovers in favour of the APs mentioned above.
I fitted a Parrot 9100i to the car along with a better Alpine headunit.
As the final mods to the car, I removed the LaminX and the wrap from the grill, this made it look much cleaner IMO.
The car stayed this way till it was sold.