Project Elantra: We Paint our Wagon

If you read our last Project Elantra update we introduced you to our Elantra wagon. We’ve done a lot of mechanical and electrical repairs to it so she runs pretty much okay right now. However the car looked every inch of its 295-thousand km mileage. What this worn hag needed was a makeover.

The wagon a couple of months after we got it. We sort of prepped it for paint but only got around to it several months later. A lot of stuff had to be done and changed just to get it running. The pesos have added up unexpectedly, but lucky we had a good number of the parts already lying around.


Before the paint job, we wrenched and gussied it up for an autocross race in Bulacan. Rota Slipstreams were fitted to it for the event. A bum inner CV joint and an overheating engine left us stranded on the way back. The front skirt made it difficult for the AAP towing people to load it onto their flatbed. It’s hard to see, but we also fitted inlets for brake cooling piping on the stock fog lamp location, a feature we retained even after the paint job. 

We start with the body repair. The side sill rot was extensive on both sides of the car. New metal was welded in to rectify the problem. A lot of body filler was used to align the panel. By the way, that Kuhol Garage logo was spray painted onto the rear door.


Paint work almost done. It took about a fortnight for the washover to complete. The color is a cream white, a different shade to the Noble White that the car originally came with. We wanted a little special something with the color and had our painters surprise us with the shade.


The car came with barely functional fog lights that emitted a rainbow color of useless illumination. We found this set of fog lights from one of the surplus shops in Evangelista. They barely fit the bumper, sticking out like glass pustules. An OEM Elantra fog light switch turns them on. They do great work filling out the corners of the driver’s line of sight at night. Pity the stock head lamps are rubbish, their chrome interiors worn from age. We need new headlights stat.


The finished car. A very sedate estate, we think.


The front end is lowered with coilovers that came from our Project Elantra racecar. Stock shocks and springs still suspend the rears. We’ll look for rear coilovers later. How’s the ride with the mismatched axle pairs? Slightly disconcerting, especially on highway speeds. But, safe and understeery. We may increase the ride height slightly. The front bumper drags the ground sometimes and you can see it misaligned already.


The wheels are OEM from a Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia, with specs 15×6, bolt pattern 4×114.3 and +46 offset. They fit flush with the hub. They clear the Elantra’s standard captive rotor setup. How the front rotors are on these cars makes fitting aftermarket wheels a challenge usually. Tires are an old set of Federal SS595 sized 195/50 R15. The center caps are genuine Hyundai items that just so happened to fit. We feel these shoes make the car look stock, just the look we want for it.


We installed Auto Clover door visors on the wagon. We had to have these sourced from Korea. Gives it that daily driver vibe, right? The roof rails are standard for the wagon model.


We installed the Cobra Daytona seat on the wagon. Its side bolsters give excellent lateral support. We can sit on this for long drives with no fuss or discomfort.


What makes a wagon such an appealing purchase is its excellent cargo carrying capacity as compared to a sedan. We have both body styles of Elantra so we can appreciate the practicality of that rear hatch. The gas struts were blown when we got the car. We ordered new struts from the US. Now we don’t have to prop the hatch with our noggin when loading stuff at the rear. The hatch is opened normally either via key or the trunk release below the driver’s seat. It does not have a lever or a button opening the hatch, unlike our Carens daily driver. This peeved us so much we installed an alarm system with a remote trunk release. Opened with a central lock linear actuator via a bicycle brake cable, the hatch opens with a press of the remote fob of the alarm. Quite nifty.


In Korea, the Elantra wagon is called the Avante Touring. We actually have the original KDM badging for the car but instead went to a more modern, shiny emblem package. The “Avante” and “1.6 DOHC” emblems are original Hyundai parts. The “Touring” emblem is from a Honda Odyssey. Don’t get mad, JDM-holics, the latter badge is actually from the US.


There are a few more bits and bobs left to do for our Sportswagon and we should be able to fully address them within the coming year. In the meantime, she drives well. The car functions alright as a comfortable roundabout on coding days.

We have to get back to working on the race car. You’ll get to read about it in the next Project Elantra installment. Stay tuned for that, and thanks for keeping up with the Project Elantra series.