RE: Shed of the Week: Proton Persona GTI

RE: Shed of the Week: Proton Persona GTI

Friday 17th November 2017

Shed of the Week: Proton Satria GTI

You want a hot hatch? You want rarity? You want a Lotus link? Enter the Satria GTI



There was a time when smaller car companies could make a decent living by rehashing the cast-offs of bigger ones.

SsangYong chucked an old Mercedes diesel into some of its cars and positively traded on that. Malaysian brand Proton rummaged through Mitsubishi's back lot looking for old Colts and Lancers to recycle into Satrias/Personas.

Wheelarch extensions are cool, right?
Wheelarch extensions are cool, right?
Proton went further with the Satria GTI. Quite a lot further, in fact, to Hethel in Norfolk, where Lotus's engineers worked a little magic on the suspension.

Their tweaking worked. Contemporary press reviews lauded the surprising precision of the front-drive chassis (based on Lancers that went on to become feared weapons on the world rally circuit), but weren't always so complimentary about the twin-cam engine, even though it looked quite Honda VTEC-y from a distance and gave the GTI a genuine seven-second 0-60 time.

The 1.8-litre's power tended to hide in a fairly narrow mid-range band and there were only five cogs in the gearbox, so any attempt to explore the 125mph top end could only be achieved at the expense of some upper-register hearing. On the plus side, the mechanical din would be drowned out by the punishing amount of road noise, and the ridiculously small petrol tank meant you got plenty of respite stops. At least you were comfy in the Recaro seats.

Not its finest element, granted
Not its finest element, granted
Not many were Satria GTIs were sold because Proton lumbered the car with over-optimistic Polo GTI-level pricing that couldn't be sustained by the brand, even with a layer of Lotusness smeared on.

Nevertheless, the Satria GTI was an important car for the motoring press. Why? Because it gave belaboured car mags a chance to get one back on the keyboard cynics who were always accusing Troy Queef and his mates of taking a bung from some manufacturer or other. The Proton GTI allowed the muttering rotters to show that they weren't brand-influenced. A good car would get a good review, irrespective of the badge on its bum. And the GTI was, by and large, a good car.

While we're on this subject of angst among road testers, Shed knows quite a few of these folk, but every time he's tried to interest any of them in a 'get rich quick' scheme involving the sneaky addition of an extra star or blob onto a road test in exchange for, well, not to put too fine a point on it, money, they've always given him a blank look.

Er, yeah, this probably isn't either
Er, yeah, this probably isn't either
Shed gave up trying to enrich these poor threadbare scribblers a long while ago, and to be frank it's probably just as well nobody ever took him up on it because he never got around to exploring the other end of the deal - the manufacturers. Still, if any car PR people are reading this, Shed was thinking a grand a blob? At the very least it beats thinking about the other grand blob in his life, Mrs Shed.

Inside, the excess of grey plastic pretending to be metal is very 90s, and outside the nailed-on-wheelarch look isn't for everyone except maybe owners of Porsche 993 GT2s. Other than that, the external look is sharp enough in a grown-up Saxo kind of way to make you wonder why every other Proton looks so minging. One possible answer is that Lotus had a bit of styling input too.

But the handling? Oh yeah, spot on
But the handling? Oh yeah, spot on
This particular car has just had both rear seatbelt mounting points welded up to get it through the MOT. The only advisory now is on the exhaust system.

The nature of the beast - fastish car, not much brand value - means that there's likely to be more than the odd rattle and squeak in the cabin resulting from uncaringly hard use. The asking price is a bit hopeful. The vendor thinks he's got something cool and rare, but he's only half right. At the end of the day this is still a Proton, with all the associated respect that this does not entail. But there's still some appeal in the idea of a nippy little thing that no self-respecting TWOCcer would touch with a bargepole.

Here's the ad.

RARE PROTON GTI, LOTUS TUNED/SUSPENSION, 12 MONTHS MOT, DRIVES SUPERB, GREAT CONDITION FOR AGE AND MILEAGE, CAMBELT CHANGED AT 74000 MILES, RECARO BUCKET SEATS, CENTRAL LOCKING, ALLOY WHEELS, SPORTS EXHAUST, INDUCTION KIT, TWIN-CAM 16 VALVE ENGINE, PULLS AND ROARS, LITTLE POCKET ROCKET, ANY INSPECTION WELCOME, ONLY 3 FORMER KEEPERS, STACKS OF SERVICE HISTORY AND MOT HISTORY, ALL MAJOR DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED, VISIT OUR INDOOR SHOWROOM FOR A VIEWING AND TEST DRIVE TODAY, FREE 12 MONTHS AA BREAK DOWN COVER INCLUDED IN PRICE. Adjustable Steering Column/Wheel - Rake/Reach,Air Bag Driver,Air-Conditioning,Alarm - Volumetric,Alloy Wheels - 16in,Anti-Lock Brakes,Central Door Locking - Remote,Electric Windows - Front,Head Restraints - Front,Immobiliser,Mirrors External - Electric,Power-Assisted Steering,Seat Height Adjustment - Driver,Seating Capacity - Five Seats,Spare Wheel - Steel

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

monzaxjr

Original Poster:

66 posts

77 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Err, that's a Satria you div. Cracking little motors though.

Edited by monzaxjr on Friday 17th November 00:18

Cold

4,596 posts

21 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
monzaxjr said:
Err, that's a Satria you div. Cracking little motors though.
Yep, Satria. Great little warm hatch. It's the Swift Sport of its day.

aaron_2000

1,753 posts

14 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
I actually quite like those wheels, they remind me of Speedline ST2's.

Ilovejapcrap

1,958 posts

43 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Always liked them in the day.


Uncle John

1,720 posts

122 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
monzaxjr said:
Err, that's a Satria you div. Cracking little motors though.

Edited by monzaxjr on Friday 17th November 00:18
Bit too early in the morning for Shed.

Like these in a left field way.
Advertisement

Ahbefive

10,935 posts

103 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Yep, definitely a Satria.

s m

16,530 posts

134 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Wonder which racetrack/racing school this served its apprenticeship at?

helix402

3,682 posts

113 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Is the air box open?

Ahbefive

10,935 posts

103 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
A friend had one of these at the same time as me having a mk5 fiesta zetec-s. Despite the fiesta apparently being 20bhp down they were exactly the same speed bit I preferred the fiestas handling and build by far.

I still like these but they seemed pretty slow for a 1.8. Would be interesting with an evo engine in.

The Spruce goose

15,381 posts

126 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
I had one great handling cars but too old fashioned inside, it is based on a mitsubishi mirage which was around in 1991 so wasn't really new when released 10 years later as the satria GTi. Handled well but a proper bone shaker and an evo engine without the turbo so easily modified. A great budget weekend car or track.

Hub

3,854 posts

129 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Yes, it's a Satria - Persona was the 4 for saloon version I think.

I do remember these got good reviews, and they had a bit of a rally following so there must have been something in it.

What happened to Proton though? Went back to making awful cheap tat, sales dwindled to nothing and now presumably aren't in the UK market at all? When you look at what Kia have achieved over the same period.

Screechmr2

159 posts

35 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
i thought proton went to the wall, so did kia until hyundai bailed them out. i wanted one of these as a runabout a few years back but could never find one near me

avenger286

307 posts

34 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Horrid things had one and got rid the same month. You have to scream the nuts off them to make any progress at all and they are made out of tin even more so than last weeks shed. Prices have actually gone up as the rally boys are buying them up as lots of the mitsubishi evolved bits bolt straight on.

chazwozza

324 posts

117 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Sell the plate to an f1 champ??

rtz62

1,434 posts

86 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Bolt-on wheelarch extensions à la Porsche 993 GT2?
Check.
Recaro seats à la Escort Turbo?
Check.
So far so good.
Derivative looking body shape, à la Citroen Saxo VTS?
Okay, check.
Typical period Japanes / Korean etc interior?
Erm, yes, check.
Knowing that Lotus of that period added their moniker to such high class automobiles as the Isuzu Piazza, Isuzu Trooper, DeLorean DMC-12....?
I think, finally, that’s the last little piece of the jigsaw that would drop me opening my wallet.
Aside from the fact that despite its looks I’ve always had the thought, however unfounded it may be, that they’re....crap.

TristPerrin

84 posts

109 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
My friends mum had one of these when I was about 13 and I thought it was achingly cool with it's bolt on arches and Lotus badges. I remember seeing more than a few modified one in my Max Power magazines too. A simpler time... biggrin

phil y

234 posts

53 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Proton initially used the name Persona Compact for the Satria in the UK.




loudlashadjuster

3,026 posts

115 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
helix402 said:
Is the air box open?
Looks like someone replaced the panel filter with a cone but left the intake/resonator connected. Bit odd.

Not quite sure why Shed is so down on the engine, the 4G93 is a willing enough lump and was certainly competitive in terms of numbers and refinement.

Knowing how Mitsubishis and their Kit-Kat wrapper steel rust though I'd be vary wary of one of these, unless the Malaysians applied some markedly improved metal-fu to these things.

Blackpuddin

7,935 posts

136 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
phil y said:
Proton initially used the name Persona Compact for the Satria in the UK.
And it's registered as a Proton Compact on the MOT.

s m

16,530 posts

134 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Blackpuddin said:
phil y said:
Proton initially used the name Persona Compact for the Satria in the UK.
And it's registered as a Proton Compact on the MOT.
yes

Yep, when Autocar tested it against the 206GTi in 99 it was called the Proton Compact.

Trouble is, it was quite expensive back then
I imagine the racing schools got a good discount on them as if you went on a Driving experience day around the turn of the millenium there was a good chance you'd do your sighting laps in one of these....hence I think a lot of people will have good memories of them.

They weren't particularly quick, a 106 Gti would leave one quite convicingly over a lap of most tracks.

The bolt-on arches are different though!