We don't only feature fully modified vehicles in NZ Performance Car magazine — the mildly modified daily drivers get a look in too! It doesn't matter what it is, if you're passionate about it, modify it, and thrash it during the weekend, we'll showcase it. 

  • Name: Lauren Stewart
  • Location: Auckland
  • Occupation: Claims technician
  • Make/model: 1984 Daihatsu Charade (G11)
  • Engine: Daihatsu CB60, 993cc three-cylinder, ported head, upgraded cam, EP82 GT Starlet intercooler, HKS pod filter, Bosch 044 fuel pump, modified secondaries on carburettor, Malpassi fuel pressure regulator, upgraded distributor to electronic unit, Bosch spark plugs and leads, 2.5-inch exhaust system, Adrenalin R muffler, aluminum Honda radiator, oil catch can, upgraded fuel relay system
  • Drivetrain: factory five-speed
  • Interior: stripped, six-point MSNZ-approved roll cage, RJS five-point harnesses, fixed-back bucket seats, custom door cards, custom switch panel for fuel plus horn and fan, tachometer (three-cylinder capable), Prosport boost gauge, Auto Gauge oil temperature and oil pressure gauges, relocated battery, Momo gearknob, Momo steering wheel
  • Exterior: bare-metal respray, Perspex rear window and quarter windows, tinted rear lights and indicators, windscreen tint strip
  • Suspension/brakes: STD adjustable coilovers
  • Wheels/tyres: 13x6-inch Cheviot wheels, 6.0/21.0R13 Avon ACB10 semi-slicks

NZ Performance Car: Hey Lauren, we haven’t seen one of these Charades around for a long time. Where did you track one down?

Lauren Stewart: I stumbled across it on Trade Me. I had never seen one before, so had to go and have a look, and decided it needed some love.

What state was it in when you purchased it?

It was in a bit of a sorry state. It had been sitting under someone’s deck for a couple of years and was absolutely filthy. The engine didn’t run, and I had only seen one side of the car when I bought it, so we didn’t really know what we were going to be dealing with.

Did you have a clear goal in mind of where you wanted to get the build to, and for what purpose?

I originally bought it as an autocross/track car. I spend a fair amount of time at the track with my brother, and wasn’t enjoying the passenger seat. It was meant to be a quick and cheap little project, but quickly spiralled out of control from there, and we ended up taking it back to a bare shell and starting again. The next goal is to get it road legal so I can get it out and about without the trailer.

We hear it had its first outing at the track recently. How did it feel out there?

That was the first time I had ever driven it. That day was more to see what else we needed to do. The fuel set-up wasn’t sufficient under boost, and the master brake cylinder was leaking, so I didn’t have enough fuel or brakes. Apart from those slight issues it felt great — the cage makes it really sturdy, and it handles well with the coilovers through the corners. Now that we have the issues sorted I’m really looking forward to seeing what it can do at the track. 

What are your next plans for the Charade, or is it just the final touches now?

There are a few final little bits and pieces I want to do, but apart from that I’ll be getting some seat time finally. The next big job will be an engine transplant to something more powerful, but for now I just want to enjoy the car.

Thanks for your time Lauren, we’ll see you and your dog, Hemi, down at the next track day!

This article was originally published in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 224. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below:

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.