Dream Street Restoration (DSR) has a bit of a reputation when it comes to Proton models, as the local outfit has a knack for restoring and improving icons like the Satria GTi and Satria R3, both of which we have featured on paultan.org previously.

The company also has other project cars in its stable, including a Putra 1.8 as well as a Wira 1.8 DOHC EXi (commonly referred to as the C99 Limited Edition). The latter is the personal car of Suriya Sankaran, who is the person responsible for founding DSR, which he now operates with his son Dharveen Suriya.

Initially conceived by Proton as a homologation special to comply with FIA regulations, the Wira with the “tiang gol” rear spoiler was truly a rally car for the road. By adding additional safety kit like a rollcage, the C99 Limited Edition could be entered into FIA-sanctioned rally events, which Suriya did in the late 90s.

However, when the racing was done, the rollcage came off and Suriya used the car as his daily runabout, taking his family places or to get him to work. On that mention, his career path was steeped in motorsports, as he was part of the Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) before taking up a role in the Proton R3 division from 2008 to 2012.

However, it was while he was working at Shell Malaysia where Suriya had one of the most special experiences of his life. In 2003, he was in charge of managing the movement of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro racing team during the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, and his Wira caught the eye of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher (five-time world champion at the time).

You’ve probably read news articles about Schumacher driving our national car in the past, but Suriya gives us a deeper insight into what happened on that day in a new video posted on DSR’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

On that special day, Schumacher had just concluded a Marlboro press conference (cigarette advertising was allowed back in the day) at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Sepang, and was scheduled to attend another at the Cyberview Lodge in Cyberjaya.

The original plan was to have an MPV ferry the Regenmeister and staff from the racing team to the venue, but Schumacher requested to drive the Wira instead. This obviously caught Suriya by surprise and he agreed, because how often can one say their personal car was driven by one of the most successful F1 drivers of all time, right?

In the video, Suriya details Schumi’s drive from Sepang to Cyberjaya, which includes funny tidbits and of course, the 236 km/h that the car managed to achieve along the way. If you have to watch one video today, this is it.

It has been years since that fateful day, but the Wira still remains in Suriya’s possession, although it no longer wears the Shell Helix livery and has been resprayed white. The rollcage remains outside the vehicle, although it can be refitted at any time, and the sump guard from its rally days remains in place. More importantly, Schumacher’s signature from a signed photo gifted to Suriya was recreated and airbrushed on the bonnet to serve as a reminder that the car was driven by a living legend. An amazing tale, for sure.