Mike Messenger

A brief history of the Guild of Motor Endurance Veteran Stylus Q386 VWP by Mike Messenger

In total Stylus Q386 VWP has competed in over 10,000 rally miles, finished every event entered and collected 2 gold and a silver medal.


The spec and the set up of the car was designed from the outset with the purpose of doing endurance rallies of the type run by the Guild of Motor Endurance.

Probably the 1st production De-Dion Stylus to hit the road.

Engine - Ford Zetec engine, 1800cc with higher lift cams, lightened and balanced flywheel, Twin Weber DCOE40, Weber Alpha Ignition, Raceline sump, water rail and alternator. Expansion bottle fitted for the cooling system, not standard with a water rail but this gives lower maintenance on rallies lasting many days.

Transmission - Sierra type 9 gearbox, Granada Limited Slip Diff. The limited slip diff along with De-Dion axle was chosen to give better traction out of the hairpin bends typical on Alpine roads.

Brakes - The hubs front and rear are Sierra 4x4 so discs all round with the Sierra calipers, EBC vented and grooved at the front, grooved at the rear. EBC Greenstuff Kevlar pads all round. The high spec on the brakes was chosen because we have found driving as fast as you can down a 15km mountain pass tests the brakes even harder than track driving !

Exhaust – Sill mounted to improve ground clearance for rallying.

Suspension – De-Dion rear. On AVO shocks with the ride height set higher than normal as some roads are not asphalt and softer sprung again due to the road

Roll Bar – Extra 3” higher than standard to allow for the wearing of crash helmets in the car.

Wheels and Tyres – Standard alloys with 185/60 x14 Yokohama A509.

Seats – Caterham with Willans 4 point harnesses.

Instrumentation – ETB, speedo, rev counter, oil pressure, oil temp, water temp, voltmeter, fuel, clock. The clock helps when doing those stages right through the night when you can’t read your watch. Additionally a Brantz International 2 Pro rallymeter for the timing. This displays a running total distance, an intermediate distance to an accuracy of 10 metres and the average speed for the stage. We also have a map reading light and a compass with night illumination.

The Build

I started the build of the car on the 2nd January 1999. Shortly afterwards I was joined by Malcolm Carruthers and between us we worked a vast number of hours in evenings and the weekends until we successfully passed the SVA test on the 17th September 1999. It was a mammoth task in such a short time but there was no rest because 3 days later we packed up and headed to Belgium for the start of the Liege-Targa 1999.

Liege-Targa 1999, crewed by Mike Messenger & Malcolm Carruthers

Starting in Liege, Belgium the route took us down through France and Italy then over to the Island of Sicily. A partial suspension collapse on the 1st day left a very jittery car which on rain soaked roads ended up in a ditch. Fortunately no serious damage and we went on to complete the rally and pick up a Silver medal. Finishing 20th out of 57 starters. The Stylus was in it’s element on the twisty Targa-Florio road race circuit. To give you an idea of what was ‘endured’ there was 17 retirements from the field. On one stage the Stylus ran for 22 hours during which period the longest the engine was turned off for was 20 minutes. Despite having only been road legal for 2 weeks the Stylus had now been driven over 5000 miles ! Our only other problem was an exhaust bracket that worked loose which was easily fixed.

Liege Trial 2000, crewed by Mike Messenger & Malcolm Carruthers

This was a 20 hour continuous rally round Wales covering mainly single track lanes. The Stylus had some new suspension and spring rates for this rally and the difference in the handling was noticeable and gave far more confidence. A finish order was not published but we met all the time controls within our window, no penalties and no problems with the Stylus.

Liege-Corse 2001, crewed by Ulla and Duncan McNiven

While Myself and Malcolm took his Eurocco on the event Q386 VWP was crewed by Ulla and Duncan McNiven a crew with considerable rally experience and success behind them. The rally again started in Belgium and went down through France to Marseille followed by ferry to the island of Corsica. Ulla and Duncan took the Stylus to 2nd place in the 1800cc class, 5th overall out of 50 starters and gold medal. A great achievement. For the record myself and Malcolm got a silver in the Eurocco.

Targa-Liege 2002, crewed by Mike Messenger & Malcolm Carruthers

This rally was only a short one !! 2000km of competition over 5 days from Liege in Belgium to Florence in Italy. Having completed a soggy and sometimes snow covered route with only 2 time penalties we achieved a gold medal finish. After the 1st day we were in 5th place overall, our final position is thought to be in the top ten out of 50 starters. A starter motor failure on the 3rd day meant the Stylus was kept running all day even when filling with fuel. Unfortunately our Team Va Va Voom team mates, Ulla and Duncan, this time driving Peter Powell’s Stylus demonstrator suffered an ECU failure on the 3rd day and were forced to retire.


Copyright ©2003 Jerry Designs

Last revised: Januar 03, 2004.