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Proton Waja Merdeka Millennium Endurance Edition by DSR – R3 fanatic’s project dedicated to Daryl Lam

Proton Waja Merdeka Millennium Endurance Edition by DSR – R3 fanatic’s project dedicated to Daryl Lam

In 2005, Proton R3 Amprex Motorsports secured victory at the 12-hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance (MME) race, with the trio of Japanese Genji Hashimoto, Australian Tony Riccirdello and Malaysian Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel winning overall as well as in Class O (Open) with a Lotus Exige 300RR.

The following year, Proton launched two special edition models to commemorate the success of R3 in track, namely the Waja MME and Gen2 MME, each limited to just 200 units. Offered only with a five-speed manual transmission, these cars received unique styling touches and R3 parts that made them stand out.

However, the introduction of these cars (particularly the Waja MME) left one Malaysian, Amin Yahaya., a little bittersweet because he had just bought took delivery of a Waja 1.6 CamPro just two months earlier. As a diehard Proton and R3 fan, the Penang local and teacher would have loved to get his hands on a Waja MME, but seeing as he couldn’t, Amin decided instead to make his Waja into an MME Edition.

With a close relationship with the R3 team, specifically Daryl Lam, Amin made the effort to obtain the original R3 parts that were fitted to the Waja MME. Little by little, he built his collection of parts by purchasing directly from the R3 office in Shah Alam with Daryl’s help.

Sadly, before Amin could realise his dream of fully turning his Waja into a MME Edition car, Daryl Lam passed away in 2019. Before his passing, Daryl was the manager of the Proton R3 racing team that competed in the Sepang 1000KM (S1K) endurance race.

Hope for the project surfaced when news of Dream Street Restoration (DSR) and its work on restoring a Proton Satria GTi appeared on in 2020. The father and son operation has been featured on our site quite several times, with various projects based the Satria GTi, Putra and Wira.

With such a portfolio, Amin knew DSR was the right place to complete his Waja MME project. It’s also fitting that the founder of DSR, Suriya Sankaran, was not only also a former member of the Proton R3 team that worked on the Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing, but also a close friend to Daryl Lam.

Work on Amin’s Waja started last year, with the project being entirely dedicated to honour Daryl Lam. Unlike other DSR projects, the engine in Amin’s Waja was not overhauled or blueprinted. Despite the odometer ticking over 350,000 km, the four-cylinder mill was still in good condition.

Suriya pointed out that when the CamPro’s rocker cover was removed to have its gasket changed, the internal components still looked as good as new, with the only other part being replaced being the engine’s timing belt.

Our sister site spent some time with the car and did not report any excess vibrations or rattling sounds. The secret? The engine was lovingly cared for and was frequently serviced, with internals of between 2,000 and 3,000 km!

Various R3 components from Amin’s collection also made their way under the bonnet, including an aluminium strut bar, cam valley cover, aluminium engine oil cap and cap for the brake reservoir, also made out of aluminium.

The CamPro engine also uses an extractor from Powerzone, which is paired with an R3 exhaust with oval-shaped muffler tips that have R3 inscribed on them. When the Waja MME was launched years ago, R3 claimed the exhaust system resulted in a power gain of 8 hp.

The interior of the Waja MME did not differ that significantly from a normal Waja, with the only notable change being an R3 aluminium shift knob. For Amin’s car, DSR overhauled the interior and gave it a more unique appearance with sporty touches.

Firstly, the interior components were removed, including the over-15-year-old dashboard that was restored to look like new. The pillar trim, headline and sunshades were also wrapped in black fabric. Meanwhile, the original Waja seats are retained but reupholstered and the headrests have the ‘MME Edition’ logo on them.

The stock steering wheel is replaced with a Momo Tuner unit that is accompanied by an original R3 boss kit, while the pedals and shift knob (for the four-speed automatic gearbox) are also R3 parts. Elsewhere, there are red seatbelts, DSR-branded floor mats and an updated instrument cluster with larger digits and relevant logos.

The Waja MME was only offered in Deep Burgundy, a dark reddish brown colour that looks like black, but Amin’s Waja has been repainted in a dark purple that looks almost black. If you can recall, a real Waja MME’s fenders have a laurel wreath sticker with the number ‘15’ and a star, which is a nod to the #15 Exige 300RR that the racing team used.

A month after the Waja MME was launched, the team took won the 2006 edition of the MME with the same car, which used #12 instead – the driver were Tengku Djan Ley, Malaysian Faidzil Alang dan Australian Damien French.

As such, DSR decided to change the laurel wreath to have the number ‘12’ on them and added a second star to recognise the back-to-back victories. Unlike the Waja MME, the laurel wreaths aren’t stickers but are airbrushed onto the body, as are the DSR and MME Edition logos on the boot lid as well as the holographic MME graphics on the sides.

According to Suriya, when the car arrived, it was still in a good condition and already had some of the R3 accessories on it like the bodykit and wheels. Even so, the restoration and conversion process entailed a completely new set of accessories and wheels fresh out of the box.

The R3 ‘Zerokit’ includes a bumper that featured a grille in the shape of a wau, a lip spoiler and air channels for the front wheels, along with side skirts a rear bumper lip and boot lid spoiler. The 16-inch R3 wheels by JRD are the same as those on the Waja MME, with cross-drilled brake rotors behind them.

The ride height is also lowered by around 25 mm thanks to R3 springs. Finishing touches include Dark Titanium housings for the HID xenon headlamps – identical to those on Waja MME – and Amin’s converted Waja also gets an R3 logo on the front grille.

Amin’s project car is an example of how an in-house tuning division within a carmaker can generate strong customer loyalty. Thankfully, Proton appears committed to continue the R3 legacy, as last year, it said that the brand will offering more than the merchandise and premium motor oils, with plans to offer modification services to customers as well as produce factory-tuned performance variants of existing Proton production models down the line.

The post Proton Waja Merdeka Millennium Endurance Edition by DSR – R3 fanatic’s project dedicated to Daryl Lam appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

* This article was originally published here
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