He may work for Porsche and drive a modified Corsa B with strong German influence and euro smooth styling but Ross McElwee knows exactly what he’s doing…
The idea of working for Porsche sounds like a dream job, and in many ways it is for 21-year-old Ross McElwee who spends most of his days there detailing some of the finest cars in the world. It does have a negative side though, as once the doors close, staff can’t drive home in the latest Cayman or GT3, but instead they get back to the reality of their own cars. For Ross, this means a 1999 1.0 Corsa B and on paper, you’d think that would be a
However, after finishing a shift, you won’t see Ross glancing back to the dealership in envy, instead he’s grinning at his own cool creation – a plush Corsa with a real touch of German class and quality, something that stands out, even in this
It’s been a long, hard road to get the Corsa to this stage though, including two occasions where, financially, it would have been better to scrap it completely. But, Ross stood firm and modified his way through the obstacles, mainly down to the fact it was his first car and we all know how those emotions tug at the heart.
He bought the stock 1.0 Envoy at the age of 17, with the intention of it being a cheap runaround for a year until he could afford a Corsa C upgrade. But, unable to resist some tweaking, it was immediately treated to lowering springs, colour-coded bumpers, a set of grey 5-spoke Vauxhall rims and a Calibra interior. That took care of the first year or so, but instead of switching to a Corsa C, Ross decided to take his B to another level.
So, off it went to KM Bodywork for subtle smoothing and a full respray, or so Ross thought! “I got a call to say they had discovered a bent chassis leg and advised me to scrap the car!” He explains, “But I just couldn’t do it. Instead I paid to have the jig work done and the plan was back on track.” This plan included fitting a GSi rear spoiler, badgeless grille, smoked Depo headlights, and rear German, LED lights – as well as removing the tailgate handle and wiper. Then it was a case of smoothing the front bumper, tailgate, petrol flap and some other bits before giving it all a fresh coat of Arden blue paint and contrasting grey colour coding.
This combination kept Ross smiling until 2012 when he fitted some Porsche 928 rims, coilovers, and a previously modified cream interior from a GSi. After enjoying it for the summer, he was planning a trip to TRAX, but on the eve of the show, an enthusiastic Saxo decided to bury itself in the Corsa’s rear end. Once again, Ross was faced with the prospect of scrapping the car, but showed some balls to keep going and this time really made it special.
As well as the repairs, the car needed another respray, so this time Ross had a Tigra scuttle panel fitted so he could smooth the bonnet washer jets. The back end was restored to its former glory and Steinmetz side skirts were fitted. Air-ride was added to the mix too, along with polished D90 wheels which made a big impact.
Ross didn’t hold back in the cabin either, having a stock interior completely re-trimmed in a stunning heritage tan as well as flocking the plastics. You may notice the speedo dials are missing? They ended up in the glovebox, but can be viewed on the headunit instead! A real trick touch by Soundwerks, who also treated the Corsa to a full audio system.
The engine bay didn’t escape attention either, but as this car is more show than go, the task here was to remove the 1.0 lump, paint the bay and some engine parts before putting it all back together.
Corsas seem to be taking a real bashing these days, but Ross has shown that if done right, they can hold their own – especially with this level of subtle styling and plush parts. This Corsa has even earned respect amongst the hard to please Dub scene – a job well done.
TECH SPEC VAUXHALL CORSA B
Full respray in Arden Blue, colour coded and smoothed Corsa Sport front and rear bumpers, Sport mirrors, Steinmetz sideskirts painted Motto Guzzi grey, smoothed bonnet, colour coded door handles, passenger door handle smoothed, Tigra scuttle panel (with washer jets relocated), LED German rear lights, smoked side repeaters, smoked Depo headlights, roof, bumper tops and arch trims painted in Motto Guzzi grey, colour coded GSi spoiler,
semi-smoothed boot, badgeless grille, Corsa VXR aerial, smoothed petrol cap.
Fully customised Rayvern Hydraulics air suspension kit, Porsche D90 6j wheels with 165/40×16 tyres (f)Porsche D90 8j wheels with 165/45×16 tyres (r).
Smoothed dashboard (speedo removed) seats and door cards trimmed in heritage tan leather, all interior plastics flocked in black, custom-trimmed Magic Tree, Momo 280 steering wheel with Porsche centre, custom suede-trimmed roof lining, custom air-ride pod gauges and switches located in original console.
Alpine D106 7in motorised dash monitor, Hertz 5.25in co-axials, Hertz 10in subwoofer, Hertz 4-channel amp, custom boot build trimmed in black carpet, amplifier back lit with blue lighting, iPod integration, air compressor in boot floor, car dials relocated to glovebox and on show on screen via camera.
Words and photography Steve McCann