Clinical Performance – where ‘retro’ and ‘modern’ find a happy place

Just take a look at the amazing ‘Prototype 9’, in a photograph sent to our motoring man, Iain Robertson, by Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan; while admitting that it is a car that will never materialise at The Farm, other rarities are almost certain to do so.

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There is a good reason, at the moment, for Infiniti’s retrospective and incredibly ingenious concept car never to be seen anywhere near Chesterfield. For a start, it is a one-off, not intended to reach series production. Secondly, it is powered by a new type of 145bhp electric motor, which might be produced in the future but is unconfirmed at present. Finally, while not wishing to spill the beans, electric propulsion does not form part of the Clinical Performance remit as yet…although, with Electric Vehicles gaining in popularity, the company has opened the book on how they will fit in, which suggests a case of ‘watch this space’.

Naturally, ‘retro’ remains central to business at The Farm. How could it not? Although the traditional turbo-tuning market has altered significantly in recent years, if anything, its demands are more focussed than ever. While the days of popping-on a turbo-timer, swapping an exhaust system, or fitting a larger intercooler to a Subaru Impreza have reduced, the growing interest in collectibles is gathering steam, while ‘power at any price’ has moved increasingly towards racing circuit, or rally stage-biased activities.

SCR, the business that has been centred on Research & Development projects at The Farm, continues to develop fresh and intelligent tuning practices that maintain the attention of ardent fast car fans. However, the product palette has been altering considerably over the past decade, notably onto other makes and models, other than just Subaru, which has been the lifeblood at the farm since the late-1980s, a factor that led to the creation of Clinical Performance.

While ‘Prototype 9’ will never materialise at The Farm, because, although Infiniti does build its Q30 model at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, owners of the mainstream hatchback may well wend their ways to a better style of vehicle maintenance in the Derbyshire Dales in due course. Not all customers want prodigious power outputs in their motorcars of choice, as most of them are actually content to receive better personal service and more dependable tuning than many of the franchise outlets can provide, an aspect that has helped more than any to forge a fresh direction for the firm. Satisfied Subaru and high-end performance customers have often asked if their ‘other’ cars could be maintained at The Farm, which has led to ever more ‘ordinary’ (although some can be extra-ordinary) models being given the Clinical Performance treatment.

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As a result, while The Farm remains a safe haven to ardent Subaru fans, the service ramps and workshops are often full of Toyotas, Mitsubishis, Hondas, Lotuses, Ferraris and even Fords. Although many of them are out of their new car warranties, the moderns do mix it with a merry blend of classics and enthusiasts’ machines, purely because of the high quality, speedy and cost-effective work carried out at The Farm. It is worth noting that job satisfaction for the staff has grown accordingly, an aspect that arises from the variation of service requirements on a constantly changing range of makes and models.

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Seldom a quiet zone at The Farm, the body and paint shops play an increasingly popular role for the restoration scene. Part-completed and total renovation projects have bolstered the business that was once centred predominantly on accident damage repairs. It helps that its reputation for painstakingly high quality of finishes is known far and wide, as some of its recent tasks have included respraying (and light repairs) on a Jaguar hearse, rebuilding an original Mini Cooper S, putting the finishing touches on an early Opel Manta, as well as fitting wide body kits to Subaru Imprezas. Once again, the mix of retro and modern is more than evident.

Yet, it is the continual demand for access to the dynamometer, or rolling road, at The Farm that draws a constant flow of customers, so much so that the company has been forced to look very carefully at the number of ‘open days’ it became renowned for hosting. While the paying customer will always take precedence, Clinical Performance has to test, refine and define its own developments in the ‘bolt-on’ scene, from turbocharger and supercharger installations, to developing new ECUs and resolving fuelling and mapping issues.

To be a ‘happy place’, The Farm needs to be a busy place and ensuring that it operates smoothly and efficiently places intense pressure on all of its departments but it is manageable and the highest quality standards are being applied to every task, from the smallest to the most complex. After all, building a positive reputation that strengthens the business for a future of very mixed fortunes is key to its forward plan and, whether dealing with reimagined retro, classic, modern, or future propulsion, Clinical Performance is more aware than many players in the automotive sector.

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