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Wednesday 2nd May 2012


PH FLEET: MAZDA RX-8

Dale's Mazda is adopting German citizenship ... once the papers are in order


It's been a month of plans, but not much action. In fact the car's only done a handful of laps on on some closed trackdays lately. And in the distance, looming on the horizon like a paper-laden thunderstorm is the extended TuV and German registration process. When the RX-8 passes this test, it's time for my British numberplates to come off, and my German plates to go on. And my insurance worries on the Nurburgring will hopefully come to an end.

An expensive piece of paper, yesterday
An expensive piece of paper, yesterday
The German TuV test covers all the usual MOT stuff like emissions and general road-worthiness, as well as looking at other things like modifications and standards of fitting. And if the TuV guy ain't happy, I'm not getting my plates. And no plates means no driving the 'ring during public hours. The Rex must pass...

So here's what I've been up to. First off, I now have my Certificate of Conformity via a very helpful Mazda UK admin bloke. Costing 75 quid to me (or nothing to the first registered keeper), this expensive piece of paper is vital to show that my car and its Wankel motor were built to European standards and not Japanese, Egyptian or Martian ones.

Incidentally, getting your CoC is an adventure in itself. Try Googling for it first, like I did, and you will find a dozen companies charging anywhere from €150 to €1,000 for the exact same piece of paper. And all they "do" is phone the same manufacturer helplines I did. Oh, and process your credit card for a ridiculous amount. So just ignore them, and pick up the phone to the manufacturer.

Where are your papers! Er, right here...
Where are your papers! Er, right here...
Typically, only after coughing over this fee directly to Mazda (the same piece of paper is free at Honda, I noticed) did I see the magic 'e-number' for my car is actually reproduced on the new style V5, which finally arrived a whopping five months after actually purchasing the car.

I took the V5 to the testing centre here and, of course, they said they don't need the CoC if the V5 has the magic number on it. Damn and blast. Still, it looks good in my document folder...

So with my UK paperwork in order (V5, bill of sale, proof of ownership and magic European Type Approval number) it was time to get the other stuff sorted. My new (second-hand) Volks Racing alloys don't come with papers, and neither does the de-cat (ha ha, as if it would). So they're coming off for test day. My H&R springs do have papers though, so they can stay on as long as I take the papers with me and then they'll be entered into the new German logbook as a valid modification. On the same note I had an awesome plan to buy this gorgeous Invidia cat-back system as it's got ABE and can be put into the logbook at the same time as the springs. But common sense (and the bank account) stopped me.

Want: fancy exhaust. Need: new headlights.
Want: fancy exhaust. Need: new headlights.
An RX-8 foglight is centrally mounted, and I have two reversing lights. So no modifications are needed at the back of the car. But in the same way that I've been putting it off throughout this article, I've been deliberately putting something else to the back of my mind in real life too: I'm talking about the RX-8's right-hand-drive dipped HID Xenon headlights.

Costing less than £200 a set on UK eBay, the same scheinwerfers (literal translation is 'shine-throwers') cost no less than €850 in German left-hand-drive spec. That's the price of the aforementioned rainbow-tipped exhaust, damnit. But without them the Rex can't pass TuV, and I just can't bring myself to do it. It's cracking on for a month's wages here in the impoverished Eifel.

'Rex' in prep for the German TuV approval
'Rex' in prep for the German TuV approval
No, instead I have hatched a plan. After doing my research and finding a thread about splitting headlights (this involves melting the sealant that joins glass to headlight at a precise temperature) I've discovered that shape of the beam is controlled by a sheet of metal with a pattern cut out. It is now my intention to split the headlights, without melting or cracking them, and flip this metal template exactly 180-degrees. Then I will put the lights back together and pass the TuV. Easy, right? By my estimation I can have three attempts at doing this delicate task before I lose money compared to just buying some 'scheinwerfers'.

Then it will be back to driving, and many more laps of the Nurburgring will ensue. See, I told you it was all plans and no action....


FACT SHEET
Car:
Mazda RX-8
Run by: Dale Lomas
Bought: December 2011
Mileage: Fewer than 300 since last report :(
Purchase price: £2,800
Last month at a glance: Ordering pieces of paper to pass the German MOT


Previous reports:
Dale makes a new RX-8 mate
PH fleet intro: Mazda RX-8

Author: Dale Lomas