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    Johann Venter
    THE BIG PICTURE

    The #Aston-Martin-DB3S didn’t give Jaguar the bloody nose that boss #David-Brown might have hoped for , but at Le Mans in #1956 it got close to causing an upset. Here the works #Aston-Martin of Brits Stirling Moss and Peter Collins chases the Ecurie Ecosse #Jaguar-D-type of Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart watched by marshals, gendarmes and a scattering of spectators. The two cars would finish in the same positions, with the Jaguar’s extra 45bhp – and resultant 156.8mph top speed on the Mulsanne to the Aston’s 142.6mph – giving a significant advantage. However, the guile of Moss and Collins meant that the Aston completed just one lap fewer than the Jag, six more than the Ferrari of Olivier Gendebien and Maurice Trintignant in third.
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    Johann Venter
    Johann Venter is now following Mick Walsh
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    Johann Venter
    Johann Venter joined the group Lotus Esprit Club
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    / #BMW-E39 / #BMW-523i / #BMW-523i-E39 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 / #BMW

    JOEL’S E39 523i

    I know I sound a little like a broken record over these last few Our Cars entries but there’s a reason for it. Fugazi, despite her slightly dishevelled appearance, damaged paint and sad-looking stock wheels tucked up in the arches never, and I mean never, fails to do what I ask of her. A track day on a hot afternoon? Not a bother. Central London stop-start-stop-swear traffic? Not a whisper of complaint. Four hours up the M1 in the wind and rain? She just gets on with it, no questions asked.

    Which is why I thought this month I’d treat her to a freshen up. Not on the outside in terms of new paint or wheels but where it actually matters, with north of 120k on the clock, inside the engine. Now she’s not got a stock 2.5-litre engine; back in 2008 or so I had a 3.0-litre top end conversion, had the head ported and polished and whacked in some bigger injectors too, so she’s had attention before. But that was nine or so years back and well, things could probably do with a clean in there.

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on carbon clean machines which are said to remove the carbon deposits that build up over time and clog up your engine’s vital bits. A lot of machines make a lot of claims, but from my research and from talking to people in the know the best one with proven results to boot was from a firm called, simply, Carbon Clean. I booked my service at a local Authorised Carbon Clean Centre online and a week later I was there watching Fugazi get hooked up.

    Plugging her in took a matter of minutes with no invasive surgery required and the process takes just 30 minutes where water is turned, via electrolysis, into a hydrogen and oxygen mixture that is cooled and filtered before going into the engine. This oxyhydrogen (aka HHO) mix is what breaks down the carbon deposits inside the engine.

    Carbon Clean claim that, by removing the carbon deposits, the engine will perform better, use less fuel, use less oil, run smoother and, overall, be more reliable. Seeing as Fugazi is not getting any younger and has been running a little rough of late I figured giving it a go was well worth the £99 price of the service.

    Boy, was I happy with my £99 spend on the drive home. She definitely felt a little perkier and keener to rev and felt noticeably smoother too. Obviously I can’t report back on long-term reliability improvements just yet but, as the figures state, CO2 emissions are down 14%, hydrocarbons are down by a factor of six and the O2 readings are through the roof, proof positive that there’s more efficient combustion.

    Perhaps this is why I can happily report that MPG has gone up by around 10% over the course of four tanks so far. I’ll call that a win considering the miles I do! I’ll admit I was sceptical but as you can see from the printouts pictured, the numbers representing the #BMW-M52 ’s health don’t lie, she’s definitely running better since having it done. Well worth the price I’d say. Now, if only I could sort out how clean she looked in just 30 minutes…

    CONTACT www.carbon-clean.co.uk

    Joel’s E39 hooked up to Carbon Clean machine. Before and after printouts show a significant improvement.
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    / #BMW / Joel reckons this was the most fun he’s ever had on track. A wide variety of metal was enjoying the track that day / #BMW-E39 / #BMW-523i / #BMW-523i-E39 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 /

    JOEL’S E39 523i

    Well I did it, after near-enough ten years out of the game Fugazi made it to her first track day at Bedford Autodrome! And boy oh boy she was far better than I could have ever have expected! Last month you may remember I had the clutch, flywheel and a few other bits taken care of and despite the sizeable outlay on a car that’s worth virtually nothing, I bit the bullet, and I am delighted I did.

    Now I am not an experienced track day driver, in fact in my entire life I have completed about ten track days in a variety of cars, from my old and highly modified Z3 M Coupé that you may remember (what a car that was), to various 911s, RS Audis and a dodgy old Volvo, but there have been few I have enjoyed as much as the day I completed a week or so ago now. The reason, I think, is threefold. Firstly, the E39 in my opinion has one of the greatest chassis of any car, and I really do mean that. Its long wheel base translates into predictability and, more than that, gives you a chance to actually feel and catch things before it’s too late. As an example in the Z3 M Coupe, for someone of my skill level once the back broke loose at speed there was little chance to gather things up neatly. It wanted to spin and it often did. Secondly Fugazi isn’t too fast! Now I appreciate this magazine is called Performance BMW but performance, to me, doesn’t always have to mean straight-line speed. Thirdly she has a cracking chassis; running on H&R coilovers with Eibach springs she sits low enough that you can barely squeeze your little finger between the arch and tyre. On top of this, my Eibach anti-roll bars front and rear do an excellent job of staving off body roll. In fact, Fugazi ducks and dives far less than the Z3 M Coupé used to before I got busy with her! Alongside the solid bushes, uprated EBC discs and pads and a short shift kit that makes cog swapping a real pleasure, Fugazi does everything you ask of it and more.

    This was my first time at Bedford and I was really impressed with the way the day was run. I had access to the GT Circuit, which is near-enough four miles in length and that circuit features a variety of corners, from sweeping right handers to tight hairpins and ‘come at me’ chicanes, and unlike Silverstone, for example, there’s a lot more to do from a driver’s perspective on each lap, which gave me a lot more enjoyment. I also love the fact that there’s loads of run-off, so room to spin and make mistakes, which for anyone wishing to push their skill set, is essential! There was also a really eclectic mix of cars on the day, from 600hp supercharged E46 M3s and stripped-out E30s to classic Fords and Lotus Exiges. It’s fair to say that in terms of hp per tonne I was most likely the least powerful car there, yet through the corners I kept up with, and gained ground on, virtually everything! Now I do have a set of very sticky and expensive Pirelli rubber and I have no sense of self-preservation when driving, but still, only the Exige and rather gorgeous old Scooby left me for dead, and they were both sporting slicks.

    Now, I’m not getting ahead of myself because on the straights everything went past me, but with every turn I caught the field up, and at Bedford there’s a lot of opportunity so lap after lap I rarely lost places (not that I was racing anyone!). Fugazi was quick to turn in, she felt poised and flat and churned out what must have been 40+ laps without incident, although if truth be told I did get to a point where my brakes stopped braking, but when you’re slowing near-enough two tonnes from 100mph to nothing lap after lap I guess it’s somewhat understandable.

    I suppose my main point is that of all the track days I have ever done, this car is the least powerful yet one of the most, if not the most, enjoyable to drive. Fun is a factor few mention when talking track, but it’s one I think is very important. When tuning your BMW, a solid and well-sorted chassis will prove more enjoyable on track than big power. Saying that, though, once your chassis is sorted where do you turn? You’ll have to wait until next month to find out.
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    Johann Venter
    Johann Venter unlocked the badge Bookworm
    Bookworm
    Someone who loves to read through blog posts.
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    Johann Venter
    Johann Venter joined the group BMW 6-series modern F06, F12 and F13
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