Posts tagged ‘bangkok’

Lenspeed went on a regular stroll to shrug off the pandemic blues, and was pleasantly surprised to chance upon quite a special vehicle in electric blue hue.

This is not an Evo 6 from the factory – it is a Lancer, stripped down to bare bones and transformed to a road machine with a single-minded focus of having fun legally on Bangkok roads. Treat this as a CKD Lancer, assembled in Thailand to give it the Evo 6 treatment. Come to think of it, it does not matter if it is a CKD or CBU. It probably would have undergone a couple of overhauls at least given its age.. 20+ years and counting.

*Import taxes are more than 300% in Thailand, putting it on par on the ridiculous scale as taxes in Singapore.

We might be wondering – how can a Lancer be transformed to an Evo? What about the engine and drivetrain? How can this be legal? Are there workshops skilled enough to pull off such a project? It hit us for a moment, until the owner popped open the boot to reveal a clean 4G63 motor with no signs of it having been through 180,000km of harshness. It is only then when I realised that this is serious stuff – no LTA-related obstruction (!!) and we now had to reframe our mindset. Components that could actually be left untouched were not spared – cosmetic upgrades like rear seats were replaced, and crucial bits like the entire drivetrain underwent an overhaul. This is Thailand and, to say the least, pretty much anything is possible. They do have very skilled labour to perform these swaps with surgical precision. We are still very far from investigating the inner workings of workshop culture here but we’ll be sure to keep you updated once we dig deeper.

We were fortunate to bring it for a 20-minute spin. Jumping into the driver’s seat brought back great memories especially in the form of the 5-speed manual and analog instrument cluster. Scratches and smudges adorn the clusters, but it really didn’t matter much so long as they functioned – you would be focusing on its driving ability right from the get-go.

We were expecting some hesitation when shifting through the gears, but they were neat and precise despite its age – short gearing from 1 to 3 keeps you very occupied from standstill to 30km/h. The engine is silky smooth – probably due to a tune that prioritises linear revs over old school turbo lag. A part of me wanted to relive the moment where you had to anticipate the boost once the TD05 turbo (we have to verify the exact spec) kicks in – but honestly it is not that practical given the road and traffic condition in Bangkok. But if the owner decides to have a go in it in Northern Thailand (imagine 50km of B-roads in 15-degree fog), possibilities are endless and I bet there are not too many cars that can put a smile on Lenspeed’s face as much as a stick shift and a well tuned motor (linear yet punchy throughout the rev range).

*Special mention goes to the suspension that is well judged at high speeds, but understandably jiggly at low speeds. Not stock FD2R harsh, but 70% there!

The owner might be exploring swapping all-weather rubbers for full slicks, undergoing a couple more cosmetic repairs and perhaps a tune to understand more of its current potential. But in typical Lenspeed fashion, we will do our part and encourage him to focus more on drivability than chase numerical figures.

Stay tuned as we document more of its progress. After all, the owner is my neighbour!

*Thank you for the ride and driving opportunity, neighbour!

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By The Lenspeed Team

  1. Facelift models are called “Minor Change”

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They might be direct translations of the Thai-equivalent, but they sound pretty darn cool and exactly what most cars stand for. Not Life Cycle Impulse or “Special Editions” – just an honest reflection of what minor changes had been done.

 

  1. Wake up early and park for free

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Perhaps we’re too used to Singapore’s revenue-driven code of conduct, but yes, if you live in the North of Bangkok, there’s a way to park your car at this massive carpark and take the BTS down South to town. BTS Mo Chit might be more commonly known as the nearest station to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, but for the locals, it’s the place to park your cars and continue their commute via train. And this brings us on to the next point…

 

  1. Parking at major shopping malls are free too!

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Yes, you heard right. Mega malls like Siam Paragon and Central World allow cars to stream in and out of their basements for free, at least for the first 2/3 hours. Would you rather pay for parking, or get caught for an hour making your way out of Basement 3?

 

  1. New cars have to slap on red vehicle registration plates

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Cars with red plates are cars that are less than a month old (and of course, you can leave it on for as long as you like, so long as the police doesn’t come chasing after you). They can’t drive at night too, which I reckon is a way to prevent cars from leaving other states without tidying up the final paperwork on the first month of purchase.

 

  1. Tollways can be more expensive in Bangkok than Singapore

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ERPs are expensive, but if you hop on tollways such as the one that links Don Mueang Airport to the North of Bangkok, you have to pay a hefty 100Baht (SGD$4). That does not guarantee a smooth journey back home, too.

 

Next up for Lenspeed – tackling the Bangkok streets behind the wheel on prime time, perhaps?

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