Going Dutch always meant splitting the bill on a date although if you did that after picking her up in a Proton Wira these days, some might argue there won’t be a second date. Good news people, that’s not the only case anymore.
Going Dutch could now very mean building a Proton Wira with your parent/brother/other half/better half/idiotic petrolhead friend/twin and taking it to the Nurburgring. Yes, that Nurburgring; the Green Hell. The laptimes of which appear to be the sole stake to worthiness of performance that keyboard warriors will grant cars.
Jochem and Ruben Gravemade; brothers, twins and now legends in Malaysia, are the duo behind Dutch DIY Mechanics (DDM). They fixed up a Proton Wira Aeroback 1.5 in the Netherlands and gave it a complete Malaysian taxi livery before hitting the Nurburgring for some of the most distinguished photos you’ll ever see of a Wira.
You can see some of those photos here on the RaceTracker site.
Dubbed “Project Proton,” the tracxi (track + taxi) Wira might not be on par with the fabled BMW M5 E39 Ring Taxi piloted by Sabine Schmitz but in every Malaysians’ heart, it’s up there with the Bimmer.
Why a Wira and with a Malaysian taxi livery of all things you might be wondering? Well, the Gravemade twins have a connection with Malaysia; having lived in Ampang for seven years spread across two periods (1997-2001 and 2009-2011). They speak some decent Bahasa Melayu as well, evident from the videos.
Following their Malaysian stint, they returned home but with a goal of waking up the world to the fact that Malaysia made some cars with great ride and handling.
As you’d imagine, finding a Wira in Europe isn’t exactly impossible but you might a better shot at becoming Jada Pinkett’s next “entanglement.” Nonetheless, Protons were imported in small batches for sale in Germany during the 90s.
They sourced a Wira with a 4G13 1.3-litre mill from a first-owner in Germany but the engine was shot. So, they found another engine but that too was dumpster-bound. Eventually, as one does with project cars, the twins just bought another Wira Aeroback 415 GLSi with a larger 4G15 1.5-litre mill, demoting the initial Wira to an honourable death by way of donor duty.
Mechanical bits were easy to come by as they’re shared with the Mitsubishi equivalents of the era sold in Europe. Once done, they gave it a detailed “teksi” livery wrap complete with the badge on the front doors denoting its origin; “DDM Dutch Mechanics Sdn Bhd” and “Teksi Ampang” as a nod to their Malaysian home. The roof doesn’t have a scoop but instead carries the “Teksi Bermeter” lighted marker.
As has become synonymous with Protons of that era, there’s even a McDonalds VIP drive-through sticker on the front windscreen; graciously donated by a local fan.
The interior looks to be in decent shape and features a pair of Sparco full bucket seats with the rear seats deleted for weight saving. It rides on 15-inch OZ Wheels with Toyo Proxes R1R rubbers, sits on Apex springs with the stock absorbers and stops by way of Black Diamond brake pads up front and EBC brake shoes in the rear. Performance mods include a leaking exhaust and all the horses that’ve since escaped the barn.
They hit the ‘Ring on 5 July 2020 and then tapped it again this month. Lap times were understandably measured in smiles per miles.
Check out their YouTube and Instagram here.