When R does not come before S

Text and Photos by Khong Shaohao
9 Oct 2007

A little over a decade ago, in the middle of a winding, swooping and remote, English country road, the sky was evil and dark. There was a strange but subtle smell in the air and it was wet. It was wet because nature was throwing a bit of a tantrum. Crying from the sky and howling in the winds.

Then there was the cyclist, whistling through, on a mad mission to get home as quickly as possible. Frantically pedalling and hurtling around bends, carrying anything between 30-40km/h with a bit of a slide or three. Getting it wrong and this cyclist could end up in a deep ditch, or in a river, only to be excavated years later as a fossil.

Or worse still, misjudge a tightening blind bend and get run over by a tractor. Dangerous? I was having the fun of my life.

Half a decade later, halfway round the world, halfway through a driving lesson, I came to the conclusion that there’s simply no correlation at all between a vehicle’s power output and it’s fun factor.

On that note...

I have a feeling that Cycle & Carriage agrees with me and they’ve come up with a Variant R for the Cerato. On the face of it, it looks like just another Cerato with a bodykit, a pair of eyelids and some upsized rims. Unlike the efforts of some other makes, this Cerato hasn’t just put on a Nike T-shirt to pose.

It has a little bit more depth than that.

Under the bonnet, you will find a bright red engine cover that could almost glow in the dark, a shiny bent pipe with a green hairnet looking thing attached to one end of it. Hang on, that’s a HKS sponge filter. The airbox has been replaced with a new intake which has evicted the battery to another spot due to revised inlet path. A smaller, more compact battery is used and part of the original battery box is now what looks like a heatshield. Very clever. There’s also a flexible pipe that feeds cold air, from the back of the front bumper, to the hairnet.

Peering further in, past the white strut brace, you will find a set of prettily heat-wrapped, exhaust manifolds remodelled with lengthier primaries. Wrapping the exhaust manifold retains the heat within itself and this serves two main functions.

The first, which is obvious, will reduce the ambient underhood temperature. The second will free up a bit more power because of the thermal retention within the pipes, which will consequently expel the exhaust gasses at a higher velocity.

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