About the Author

Last Updated on December 31 2015

Name: Graham Blackwell MBCS
Location: United Kingdom UK
Profession: Director
Interests: Car preparation, Sprinting and hill-climbing, Road-Rallying, travelling, cinema, music, cycling. • Competitive member of Midland Speed Club, and a Motor Sports Association Speed National 'A' (Open) competition license holder since 1987. • Highly experienced Road Rally driver/navigator, and occasional Stage Rally navigator.

Some of the cars I've owned, sprinted, rallied, modified

I've owned the following cars in the sequence shown below (starting with the first car):

Go to The Gallery for some more great photos.
Mini 1100 Special 20th Anniversary edition
Owned 1986-1989


Mods: 1030cc MiniSprint (MED) A+ engine, bored +90 thou; 11:1 compression ratio; PTFE buttons; Belt driven cam; Kent Megadyne 275; 12G202 head; Rimflow valves; single 1.5" SU with AAA needle; Maniflow exhaust manifold; RC40 rear box; water heated Howley inlet manifold; 10-row Oil cooler; platinum tip plugs; Aldon dizzy; Lumenition; Kenlowe electric fan; Cooper S disk brakes; .75" rear spacers; Spax Gas adjustable shockers; Minispares rear subframe; Yokohama GX501's on 10x6" alloy rims.

75HP at 6000 RPM (55 at the wheels). Top speed 100MPH (frequently too!)

Seriously good fun. Anyone that knocks the Mini, hasn't driven one. I've actually been a back seat passenger in a 1380 that was travelling at 115 MPH. Now that's fast! My Mini required Aldon Octane booster at every fill up, to prevent detonation, and even then the engine had a rather unhealthy appetite for spark plugs.

Ford Fiesta XR2 Mk2 1.6 CVH
Owned 1989-1991


Mods: K&N filter; Spax front and rear springs; alloy sump guard; Hella Rallye 1000 spot lamps; Turbo Technics TCA bushes; Luke 3-point harnesses; Facet solid-state fuel pump.

108HP at 6500 RPM (88 at the wheels). Top speed 115MPH

Another seriously good car. With the right chassis mods, it ran rings round Peugeot 205's. Just let down by the smokey CVH engine. I entered it in the East Midlands Road Rally championships in 1990 and 91, with the best result of an 11th overall, 1st in class, on the Morning Mists Road Rally in 1991 (co-driven by Junior World Rally Championship navigator Tim Sturla).

Ford Fiesta Mk1 1372cc
Owned 1991-1992


Mods: Peco exhaust manifold; custom made extra ride height 200lb front springs; alloy sump guard; rear cage; Cobra bucket seats; map light; K&N.

A complete shed. It was bought for £600, and was thrashed to death. Several East Midlands Road Rallies, including excursions across front gardens, and along ditches, and it was fit for one place only. Extremely good fun while it lasted. Buy a shed and go rallying, you dont know what you're missing

Ford Fiesta XR2 Mk1
Owned since 1992


Note: This is the same car that this web site is based upon

Mods: 1372cc Crossflow; Kent BCF2; Gas flowed head, 37mm inlet, 41mm exhaust, bronze guides; Kent HPHC oil pump; lightened and balanced rods; Weber 34DNCF; Janspeed 1600 exhaust manifold and system; oil cooler; Ford electronic ignition; Spax Gas adjustable rear shocks; Spax lowered springs.

90HP at 6000 RPM (70 at wheels). Top speed 115 MPH. Rebuilt from a bare shell during 1992, the 1300 Mk1 donated a few parts, but the car was still essentially an XR2 with a 1400 engine. Homemade exhaust system, using Peco manifold, and Minispares RC40 single rear silencer. Sounded fantastic!

Citroen BX 1.6 Estate
Owned 1994-1996


Mods: None. With self-leveling suspension, the handling has to be experienced to be believed. It could be absolutely thrown round corners, without even a hint of understeer. I even entered it in a sprint at Curborough, in 1995.

90 BHP, Top speed 110 MPH

Ford Mondeo 1.8 Mistral
Owned 1997-2003


Mods: KKM freeflow air filter. Six years and 60,000 miles of relatively trouble free motoring, the Mk1 Mondeo with it's 1800 DOHC 16V Zetec engine, with fuel injection, and catalytic convertor, proved a cheap and reliable mode of transport.
115 BHP at 6800 RPM (95 at wheels). Top speed 120 MPH.

Audi A6 Quattro 2.8 30V
Owned 2003 - 2012


Mods: 304 Stainless Exhaust system with BMW Mini Cooper S Catalytic Convertors. Returns 33.6 MPG with steady motorway cruising, the Quattro is the most powerful and comfortable road car I've ever had the pleasure of owning. Quite tail happy in the wet, particularly when pushed, and even steps out in the dry if provoked. The V6 30V engine is beautiful, and the Quattro divetrain gives incredible grip off the line. The engine not only features 5 valves per cylinder, but also has variable valve timing, and a variable inlet tract length, all controlled by the ECU and dependant on the engine RPM. This gives it a real surge in power at around 3000 RPM.
193 BHP, Top speed 138 MPH.

2005 Ford Mondeo 2.2 TDCI
Owned 2005-2008


Mods: Diesel Power Tuning module. Returns 51.0 MPG with steady motorway cruising, the Mondeo common rail turbo diesel is very very quick, and a delight to drive.
183 BHP & 460NM. Top speed 140 MPH.

2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Touring RE
2.0 Diesel Boxer
Owned 2008 - Aug 2014


Mods: None
Problems: Nothing the warranty couldnt take care of
150 BHP & 300NM. Top speed 126 MPH.