By Pete Ludford
I thought that it was time to write about our unique Cinque, first seen by some at the national weekend in June 1997. This is a unique coupe or modern day Topolino, rebuilt or “recycled” from an almost new 1994 SX, which had spent its last moments trying to be an inverted flying machine.
As a semi retired vehicle design engineer, I was looking for a Sporting to run as a fun car, but spotted this poorly thing in a breakers yard and decided to give it a home. What follows may offend some “anoraks” who revel in classic rust, but it has resulted in an almost new, “one off” reliable vehicle.
The Cinque was almost flat to the waistline but apart from dodgy n/s strut alignment, appeared to have a straight underframe with all mechanicals virtually intact, except for the gearbox engine mountings.
THE START OF THE LONG ROAD
The battered roof structure was pushed roughly into place (no glass!) and when the fuel cut off was reset away we went. She seemed to drive straight, even hands off! All on a field of course.
To cut a long story short, the ‘A’ pillars, windscreen and cantrails were all replaced with new panels and the back of the two seat cab closed off with the top of the original tailgate, all the original quarter panels being cut away.
At this stage a pick-up design was envisaged but this changed to a closed rear trunk, The new structure is all welded steel, more recycling being the cab lower bulkhead made from the old door outer panels, the upper cabside from the door inner panels and the trunk lid lower made from the old tailgate lower, including remounted latch retaining the central locking. The trunk lid was made from GRP on a tubular frame.
The cab was reinforced by welding in a roll bar with its lower ends bolted to the rear seat belt mountings on the wheelarch. New front wings, bonnet and doors were fitted and rear wing outer panels made from GRP.
After much deliberation (and preparation) the body was painted in Fiat Giallo Orient (Tango Orange) over Rover Storm Grey.
The car is a mechanically standard 900cc SX, except for Bosch Super 4 plugs (thanks Simon), a sporting antiroll bar and 60mm wider track by spacers and longer bolts from Demon Tweeks. A Sparco strut brace also helps to stiffen the repaired front structure (belt and braces!!!). No suspension lowering but the car has a good stance with the track increase and X19 alloys with 165/70 tyres which makes 5th gear almost an overdrive.
Sporting seats, steering wheel and console are fitted plus wooden gear knob and extra speaker system in the rear quarter. The doors have been completely retrimmed and finally the dreaded standard indicator and lighting stalks have been extended and reshaped for a better feel, and the electric window switches repositioned.
The front end has been improved cosmetically by fitting two driving lights in the lower grill area, plus a matching second air intake.
The car drives well, with no tyre fouls. It feels taught and rattle free and is reasonably quiet. Mod cons include standard central locking, electric windows and sunroof.
All in all a successful project, now in its second year, which attracts much attention and is absolutely unique, and a car which you leave with a smile on your face!!