The Clio track-car fraternity may not like it, but this ’bagged, wide-arch 280bhp Megane-powered RS200 is getting attention for all the right reasons…
Shooting a Fast Car feature in a busy city centre is always guaranteed to draw a crowd, especially when you’re blocking the road, but today it seems that every nut-job within a five-mile radius of Stokes Croft, Bristol is heading our way. “I used to work for McLaren, you know,” says a dude with no teeth and a can of cider… His mate asks if he can “book our taxi”. He’s not joking.
This place may lack some the gloss of the more gentrified areas of Bristol, but there’s a nice vibe and the urban artwork covering the walls looks bang on. The local spray-can crew have certainly been busy – even a dumped fridge freezer has been tagged.
Talking of dumped… the car we’re here to shoot is rocking some epic lows. But unlike many cars today, there’s more to it than a set of posh rims and air ride.
This Oak green Renault Clio is a proper old-school custom build. It’s loaded with one-off touches and owner Kieran Williams-Carr makes no apologies for it. “Being an RS200, some of the Clio forum guys think I’ve ruined it, but I didn’t build the car for them,” he laughs.
Dropped on the deck, with some tasty BBS splits tucked up tight in the arches, it looks almost as wide as it is long. Given the amount of attention it’s getting, you’d think it had just landed from Mars, rather than the slightly less exotic, Taunton.
“I’ve had the car for three years. Originally it was white with a few mods and I took it to lots of shows and meets,” says Kieran. But then he decided to really go for it.
“I’d always wanted to do wide arches so I spoke to Custom Paintworks in Stoke.” Over a nice brew and some Hobnobs, a plan was formed that would transform the Clio from mild to wild. “We decided to fit custom arches that would allow some wide wheels to be fitted and the rest of the exterior would be smoothed,” explains Kieran. The work took the best part of a year, as it wasn’t simply a case of buying a kit and fitting it to the car. Everything had to be carefully measured cut and then trial-fitted to see how it would look. It’s a job that took real skill and patience to get right. It was also fitted in for mates’ rates around other jobs.
The hardest decision was what colour to paint it. “I wanted something no one else had done on a Clio and eventually settled on this custom Oak green, says Kieran.” It’s an Audi colour, but with extra ingredients to help it really pop in the sun. Fresh from a detailing session it looks absolutely immaculate and shinier than a really shiny thing.
With a set of copious arches available it would’ve been rude not to fill them with some wide hoops and the 11.5x17in BBS splits look insane at the rear. The 9.5in fronts aren’t shy either, with cream centres and black chrome hardware. With the air ride dropped, the rims sit perfectly on the arches.
Although the Clio RS200 came with a lively 197bhp engine, it was naturally aspirated, so was never going to make a lot more power. One of the easiest ways to get more grunt is to drop in a turbocharged Megane engine.
The 2.0-litre F4RT unit (yep, it kinda says fart!) packs a healthy punch in stock trim, but Kieran has livened it up with some choice mods. There’s a custom 3in turbo-back exhaust system, which frees up a restriction and also makes a decent sound when you tickle it. A beefy front-mount intercooler keeps the inlet temps in check and there’s a RamAir/K-Tec induction kit that makes a great “braaaap” sound when you rev it. It’s all finished off with a K-Tec map, which increases the fun to the tune of 280bhp. Sweet. It also delivers a whole lot more torque, so there’s no longer any need to rev the tits off it to get anywhere fast.
Pop the bonnet and you’ll find cream engine covers, which liven up the little bay. “People have asked me why I fitted a tuned Megane engine to a car like this on air bags,” says Kieran, “but there’s nothing to say you have to have a slow show car, is there,” he adds. Fair point. “I’ve had haters on the Clio forums because it’s a Sport, but it’s my car, so I’ve done it my way.” Good man. After all, isn’t that what car culture is all about – pushing the boundaries and doing things your own way?
If we thought the outside was getting lots of attention, as soon as we open the tailgate to shoot the inside, even more locals appear. Most of them mistake the air ride tanks for nitrous, but they all seem mighty impressed and rightly so. The boot build is a top job and shows off the air ride essentials to a tee; it’s all colour co ordinated and even the rear cage is painted cream to match.
The front has been fully worked over and features an iPad with a custom dash housing, again done in cream. A tasty Royal steering wheel and Sparco seats add to the pleasant ambiance.
Cars on air ride need a low angle to make them look their best, so sometimes you need to lie on your front to get the best shot. Always prepared to go the extra mile for a Fast Car feature, I grab the shot and must confess to feeling quite pleased with myself. I then realise that I’m lying in piss. Note to self: don’t lie on the floor outside a drum and bass club again.
Kieran’s tuned Renault Clio is one of those cars that looks good from every angle and it’s clear that a huge amount of time, effort and money has gone into creating this truly one-off ride. The track slags may hate, but we 100 per cent rate. Job’s a good’un.
TECH SPEC: RENAULT CLIO RS200
Full body resprayed in a one-off custom Oak green, custom wide arches built to fit around the wheels and smoothed into the body, smoothed front bumper, smoothed boot lid and door strips, wind deflectors, rear wiper delete.
BBS RS 3-piece split rims painted in a custom pearl cream, 17×9.5in and 17×11.5in black chrome spilt rim bolts, custom V2 air suspension.
Roll cage painted in a custom pearl cream, boot build to go with the air set up with a 4 and 5 gallon tank painted in a custom pearl cream, Sparco R33 seats, black 4-point Luke harnesses, custom boost/AFR gauge holder in the dash, iPad built into dash, pearl cream grip Royal steering wheel with a custom cruise control plate, custom door cards trimmed in black leather with 2 speakers fitted per door.
Renault Megane 225 2.0-litre F4RT engine conversion, custom 3in turbo back exhaust, 60mm intercooler, RamAir/K-Tec induction kit, K-Tec remap, 280bhp, pearl cream engine cover.
Custom Paintworks, Stoke on Trent for the bodywork, Rockbottom Automotive for the boot build, Wheel Power for the wheels, custom paint by Tequila Fever, thanks to my sponsors Auto Finesse.
Words & Photos Davy Lewis