306 gti-6

Track n Road rolling road

Track ‘N’ Road are a well respected tuner, offering engine mapping services on their 1200bhp rolling road. Renowned for no-nonsense advice and none of the usual pub-talk figures put out by other rolling roads, their premesis just off the A13 in Rainham, Essex is often frequented by powerful road cars right up to powerful Le Mans prototype track only motors.

I decided to take the 106 along to see how many of it’s horses had been lost over the years! Currently on 125,000 miles, the engine in the 106 still feels strong and healthy to be fair, and it was only a fraction slower on the straights than a 220bhp Mini Cooper S, at the last trackday. Therefore I was intrigued to know what it would make.

Several Rotrex-powered supercharged 306 Gti-6s made good power at 240bhp and upward. A standard GTi-6 made bang on the factory output with a very nice stock power and torque curve.

Then it was the 106’s turn. The little pug decided it didn’t like the rolling road operator and proceeded to shock him as he was trying to find an RPM signal. Turns out the coilpack has a crack in it, hence the shock.
When the car was finally hooked up and strapped down, the run started. Up came the result: 127.3bhp, 7.3bhp up on standard. Now usually I wouldn’t read anything into a 7bhp difference on a rolling road as there are so many variables. But because we had other cars to compare to rather than it being an isolated run, and the good reputation of this rolling road, meant I was very impressed, especially for a motor on 125,000 miles.

BHP graph here

New motor

So I knew it had to be the 106 gti. Nothing else fitted the requirements. It had to handle as well as my 306 gti, be cheap to buy, cheap to run and fun.

Having had a 306 Gti-6 for 5 years, taken right up to 400bhp over the years, I knew anything would be a step down power-wise, even though the 106 can do 0-60 in less than 7 seconds. However, I realised outright power was only some of the fun, most of my driving is on the daily commute which involves a few stretches of twisty road, the ideal place for a nimble hatch like the 106 GTi.

Parts it seems are far cheaper than the 306 with seemingly one exception, half leather interiors. Second hand engines can be had for £200, sometimes even less, bushes, brakes and drivetrain components are all relatively cheap, and plenty of the electrics and trim parts are generic across the range.

I enquired about a car in High Wycombe, which sounded good, the mileage was 122,000, which is average for the year. I was not worried one bit about the mileage as long as it was regularly serviced and had had frequent oil changes. Too much is made of mileages over 100,000 these days. Most modern engines will run and run, it will be the suspension and paint you need to need to inspect for deterioration.

So I went to view, and it looked very honest. Service book all stamped up, 2 previous owners, smooth engine, rad in decent condition, cambelt recently changed. The paintwork was excellent, no rust or laquer peel, just 2 to 3 dents over the whole of the car. A quick testdrive, revealed the gearbox was fine, no pulls in the suspension and the car was rattle and squeak free. The rear beam also looked fine, no camber or squeaks. The interior was a red/gray cloth combination sadly but I knew I could buy a half leather set and swap them easily.

The car was reasonably priced, but I negotiated £95 off the price and put down a deposit.

I went to collect the following weekend in some of the worst snow for years! We couldn’t make it up the hill in the rear wheel drive BMW 1 Series so I had to walk the last stretch!

The deal was done and I gingerly made it down the hill, making sure I didn’t bin it just after buying the car!

The car felt great on the way home, very spritely.

I parked up at home, headed inside and then heard an alarm going off outside! Yep, good old French electrics! Usual cause of this is the ultrasonics playing up and so the first item on the todo list was created!