I own a 04 plate 1.4L have no problem with the electronics the only one would be the boot loom which is a 5 minute fix.
The head gaskets are fine if you drive properly and not try and rang the car around but i would go for a 1.8 for tracks and there is not much power in the 1.4 to do much with, you can get the 1.8 cars very cheap and for parts you have rimmerbros and scrapyards (word of advice scrapyards are starting to just weigh them in now than remove parts from what i've been told by 3 yards by me)
John would be great to help you since his does track days.
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I’m tempting fate here I know but I run a 2005 ZR160 (in Australia). Amazing how many people are convinced ALL K-Series motors will blow the head gasket. Admittedly mine could have been renewed before I bought it (at around 100,000kM) but don’t think so. Getting close to 130,000 kM (80,000m) now. A couple of years back the waterpump started leaking, used one of those “leak sealer” compounds just so I could drive it gently to the garage, mechanic was a bit horrified what I’d done!
Garage fitted new pump, flushed cooling system & refilled & I’m still going. The Summers are pretty hot here but also live at altitude (3,000ft) so Winters hover around the zero mark. Driving style is fairly gentle most of the time but I do give it the odd “blast” to keep the cobwebs clear (big spiders here too!). The other thing I always do is to add upper-cyl lubricant/injector cleaner at every fuel fill (I use ‘Moreys’ which is a N.Z product).
About the only other mod. I made was to buy one of the “camshaft saver” kits (HT bolts) & fit that to the cam pulleys - I’ve no idea how prevalent failure of these is but the kit’s not expensive or difficult to fit for the peace of mind it gives.
Anyway I’ll stop rambling on now.
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2005 MGZR 160; 1953 Bristol 401 (under restoration); 1953 Citroen 15CV (under restoration - Slough built so its 1/2 Brit
); 1969 Peugeot 404; 1989 Peugeot 505 Station Wagon; 1989 Mercedes 300E (under restoration); 2004 Smart Roadster
[I]that's one for each day of the week - I really should stop ....:-/; whoops I didn't, well its not really a car - 1951 Ferguson TEA20