Re: wide body and skinny
The 1.6litre 16v is about 5bhp more powerful than the 1.7litre 8v. The 8v engine however has more torque.
I would personally keep the 1.7 8v. It is a chain driven engine and is much more robust than the 16v belt driven things.
Both engines have variator systems, but the 8v system again is more robust than the 16v system.
When you say "do up" the engine, what do you have in mind ??? Are you gonna tune it right up, or just service it and get it running as good as possible. One of the 155 owners (Sub555) has a 1.8litre 8v engine pushing around 170 - 180bhp I believe. I think he's gonna stick it in his track car project. This engine has had the works. Lightened, gas-flowed, cams blah blah....this equates to ££££££'s if you can't do the work yourself.