|Mike Stewart Performance Engineering|
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Mike Stewart is a man with a wealth of knowledge in the "Black Art" of performance tuning.
Over 20years of enthusiastic experience has seen to that !
You'll find him here :
|Mike offers a full range of services, from basic sevicing/repairs through to preparing and tuning any type of race or rally car.
Typical Prices :
Fitting an engine into a MK1 Escort:£250
Routine service on a classic Avenger:£180
Building a 180BHP Pinto engine (including carbs) : Approx:£5000
Overhaul/rebuild set of carbs : Approx:£270
Turn right at Perth and head towards Dundee, take a turning down towards the coast and search for The Grange outside of Errol.
The following text is lifted from an interview with Mike done by Retro Cars Magazine in 2003. Please visit their Website via the link further down on the left of this page.
That's the remote Scottish village rather than the ex-lead singer from Hot Chocolate. And that's where Mike Stewart Performance Engineering are based. Mike would be the first to agree that it's remote customers just passing by and dropping in are an alien concept - and doesn't look anything special from the outside, but once the doors are open it's a veritable Aladdin's cave for retro car enthusiasts, with a leaning towards the competition end of the scale.
On the day we visited he'd rounded up a few of his local customer's cars: a restored Avenger 1500 a Ford Anglia, a Mini and a Vauxhall Firenza.
"That's owned by my uncle. Alec Grail, well known in the hillclimb fraternity." he explains. "It had been sitting around for 15 years and it was so good it was going to be restored to showroom condition. Then his other Firenza yup. he owned 2! got stolen so this turned into his competition car. Pt's been an 18-month project. but we didn't even have to change a panel on it."
Mike stripped the car down to a bare shell and painted it while adding extras such as the Princess brakes and the roll cage and then turned his attention to the engine. "I rebuilt it and it was dyno'd at 194 bhp with a Blydenstein head and cam, and twin 48 Webers, he boasts.
He obviously knows what he's doing with cars 'cos the Firenza won its class on its first hillclimb earlier this year, driven by him and his uncle. What was that like? "It was fantastic to drive," he replies, "despite not having an LSD so it was spinning the wheels in third gear. This diff is a 3:7, which is slightly tall, but we've got a 4:1 to build up and put in for later. That'll make it just right."
Many thanks to :
Retro Cars Magazine
Modified Classics Monthly
Retro Cars Link
Mikes Website by Cree-ations 2004
And getting things right is what's spurred him on since leaving his local VW dealers in 1982 and setting himself up in business. So why is almost 50 percent of business motorsport orientated?
"Because I've always wanted to go fast myself and as I couldn't afford to I had to work these things out for myself so I started tuning and preparing cars which turned from a hobby into a business," he answers. And why classics rather than modern cars? He doesn't want to have to deal with people who put their baseball caps on back to front.
Over the years he's competed in most types of motorsport in a variety of vehicles and has also owned and or worked on most types of retro cars, with only one major mistake, as far as he can remember. "I had a Beetle 1303S and I wish I'd never bought it," he complains. "It fell apart with rust so I fixed it up and quickly sold it on; never again I"
One of his fondest memories is of a Sunbeam Tiger. "I put in a Ford Mustang 302 engine and it was 260 bhp with 275 lb.ft of torque and it went away to do a couple of hillclimbs and then came back for a 15 gearbox, so I had to make a transmission tunnel and propshaft," Mike recalls.
Conversion and modification work such as that are what he likes best, he prefers not to get involved in bare shell rebuilds and certainly appreciates the variety of cars (MGs, BMWs, Morgans, 911s etc.) that he works on to prevent any boredom setting in. Seems there is little chance of that with the wide range of work he provides which includes building, tuning and fitting engines, rebuilding competition gearboxes such as Quaife, Rocket and ZF and fitting no end of motorsport equipment such as roll cages, brakes and suspension. He's also got the added advantage of being located on an old airfield with the runway available for testing and fault finding purposes.
Although the majority of his customers are local, well in Scotland, he also does some mail order work in the form of overhauling carbs, without even getting his hands on the engines they were attached to in the first place.
He's also got good engineering skills which he can call upon should his nationwide network of contacts let him down, this means he can manufacture an extinct item himself: not an uncommon occurrence when dealing with cars which can be 20 to 30 years old.
To sum up, when it comes to retro cars in Scotland Mike describes himself as a medium sized fish in a small pond.
And finally. A quick tour of his 'projects' shed revealed his Viva GT a Mkll Escort rally car and a Mkl Golf, all waiting for the moment when his own cars get priority over customers. With no end to his workload in the foreseeable future, it could be a long wait.
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