06-04-2017 – Laurie Southern
Autotronix Dyno Day

Disclaimer; This story is MX5 heavy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There’s something about last minute plans that make them the most memorable. Whether it’s the sudden rush to get somewhere as quick as possible, or the excitement of having something fun fill up your day. Myself and Tomm had already decided the night before that we weren’t going to be at the Autotronix Dyno Day. As with most events though we had the itch to go and before I knew it we were on our way to Sheffield.

We’re fortunate enough living in Manchester that there’s only two routes over to our neighbouring city, and both of them are an incredibly fun drive. This time however we decided to ditch the Touge-like Snake Pass and go for the less traveled Woodhead pass, which can often be just as engaging and picturesque. Not on a damp Saturday however.

After a quick detour to the wrong Autotronix due to a navigation mishap, we turned up at the right place and it was instantly clear that we had arrived at a Combustion Punks organised event. There was Jap metal up and down the whole street, both sides of the road were filled with modified MX5s and their JDM cousins. If there’s one thing the Punks do well, it’s attendance. A sense of belonging goes a long way and keeps friends together for a very long time.

The turnout was brilliant, old faces and new. Lots of cars I’d seen before, and some that were completely new to me and their owners. It may be clear to you by now that a lot of the friends of Grip’n’Slide drive MX5s. We just can’t seem to get away from the addictive little Roadsters.

It wasn’t an all Mazda affair however. Plenty of interesting machines had come out to enjoy what was by now a rather warm and sunny day. It’s rare you see a 300ZX in the flesh here in the UK, let alone such a clean example. If the owner’s last project is anything to go by, this one is surely going to be impressive this year.

Before I’d even managed to get a look at the happenings on the Dyno, there was a few cars I simply had to check out. I’ve been following Steve Chick’s build for a while now and I’m glad I’ve finally been able to have a good look around it. The relatively understated styling cues on the exterior of the car hide a huge labour of love underneath the bonnet. The intercooler peeping through the custom MK2 bumper swap may suggest what’s going on…

The car  has been supercharged, and better yet Steve has built it up himself. It put out a very healthy figure on the rolling road, so keep an eye out for a full feature of this car in the coming months!

I always enjoy catching up with this build. It’s a test bed for some very exciting things to come, and I love that not a single fuck is given. There’s no hiding this one away over winter that’s for sure.

It’s heartwarming to see such a great turnout to days like this. This is really what it’s all about. None of the huge events teams, just a bunch of guys and gals getting together to talk, drive and break cars. Of course the lure of the dyno helps, everybody wants to know what sort of power they’re making and what they can do to improve on that going forwards. It’s healthy competition. Sometimes it’s just what you need to gain the motivation to carry on with a project.

There was a different car on the Dyno every 20 minutes, with the surrounding rabble moving in and out of the building accordingly. Of course with so many MX5s the competition is even tighter. There’s no better match for your car than one of the same variety. It’s at this point that I should mention the amazing coordination between Clive at Autotronix and the Combustion Punks guys. It’s not easy to house around 20 cars and their occupants for the day at a Dyno that’s positioned on your every day residential street.

It certainly made for some interesting manoeuvring.

There’s that MK2 again. Look at those damn arches.

I’ve never seen a full Dyno in action before. All that power (of an MX5 – yeah I know) being put down just metres away from you is something quite special. It’s also a little nerve wracking seeing a car hunker down for a power run without actually going anywhere.

It wasn’t just Jap stuff that had turned up, however. This ol’ Mini popped up for a quick run and ended up putting out a peppy 78BHP @ 87 lb/ft of torque. Not bad at all.

Of course it wouldn’t be a car day without a big dirty diesel turning up to mark it’s territory. It’s always been a guilty pleasure of mine watching a stupidly powerful diesel kick out a cloud of black smoke. With 203BHP @ 380 lb/ft I guess it’s true what they say; no smoke, no poke.

As the day was getting on of course it was time for some to leave but we were left with just one thing that we set out to achieve for the day. Something rather special to us. The Blue Devil had to have a run on the Dyno.

Tomm’s turbo Eunos hails from this side of the Moors, and was originally mapped on this very dyno. The car is as home-built as they come, and has been the perfect opportunity for Tomm to learn about forced induction. It also helps that he knows a bit about mapping too.

I won’t indulge the figures as I feel this is a subject Tomm would like to tell you about himself. The car is going into a short hibernation for some exciting developments soon, and I can’t wait to see it back on the road again. Watch this space.