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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 9 months ago
    JonDriver updated the picture of the group Porsche 968 Club
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 9 months ago
    Something for the weekend?

    Head-to-head, pound-for-pound, the Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Club Sport 930, Porsche 968 Club Sport and Porsche 911 RS 964 step into the ring to scrap for the title of best weekend weapon. Words: Nick Bruce. Photography: Antony Fraser.
    This test isn't about comfort. It’s not concerned with mpg figures or running costs. And it's definitely not interested in practicality.

    This test is about the stuff of dreams. It’s about eyeball-widening, grin-inducing, laugh till you weep fun.
    And nothing else.

    Okay, you've squirreled away a few grand and want something that will provide the pure driving experience you've been craving since you first wobbled out on L-plates. But a weekend car has to be an big event. When you take that car out on track or hammer it round back roads, you want it to feel special and stand out from the crowd. So what's on offer?

    Porsche has a history of making limited-edition, stripped-out racers for the road, starting in earnest with the 1972 911 2.7RS and stretching up to the awesome 996 GT3. But for this test, we decided to keep the prices within our stratosphere and stick with the three most popular track day cars Porsche has to offer.

    With a 911 3.2 Club Sport, 964 RS and a 968 Club Sport in tow, we've headed to Croft circuit to put them through their paces. Exactly how much fun can you have with your clothes on? Time to find out...
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    NEW SIX ON THE STOPS #BMW-2.8L automatic

    We see a lot of bagged cars but it’s rare to see something as majestic as this classic #BMW-E3 on air, and it’s a corker. The E3 was a revolutionary model for #BMW in the 1960s. This Belgian example gives the old-skool formula a 21st century twist.

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.8-litre straight-six #M30B28 , automatic transmission #ZF .
    CHASSIS: 8x17” (front and rear) #BBS RC 008s, AccuAir air-ride suspension setup.
    INTERIOR: Original seats retrimmed in leather, renewed wood trim, original radio.
    EXTERIOR: Full respray in original colour.
    THANKS: SG Motorsport, Kean Suspensions.

    The 1960s were turbulent but exciting times for BMW. The late- Fifties had seen much financial strife, with the gorgeous #BMW-507 roadster proving too expensive to be profitable, the Isetta-based microcars selling badly, and the motorcycle market imploding. BMW’s board of directors even proposed a merger with #Daimler-Benz in #1959 – imagine! – but this was vehemently opposed by dealers and shareholders. What the company needed was a shot in the arm, a new direction. And that came in the form of the Neue Klasse. Debuting at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show, the fresh new BMW 1500 demonstrated a solid set of values that have carried on through the model range ever since; it had disc brakes and all-round independent suspension, offering the latest technological developments in a wellequipped car that, while selling at a premium price, wasn’t absurdly out of the reach of the man on the street.

    Job done then, yes? The 1500 morphed into the slippery 2000C/CS coupés and the iconic ’02 series, and so BMW’s 1950s personality-split between big luxury cars and economical micros was smoothly merged into one logical 1960s whole.

    Ah, but that wasn’t the end, of course. You can’t build an empire on just one idea. BMW had been keeping a keen eye on Mercedes- Benz, eager to ensure that they could compete on all levels with their rivals over in Stuttgart. Benz was dominating the large luxury car sector, and BMW wanted to muscle in with a range that could both compete and offer a sportier edge. And the result? The New Six. The thinking behind this is what carries through to the modern Bee-Em that may well be sitting on your drive right now – luxury, with sporting intent and technological capabilities in spades. The poster boy for the New Six has always been the Batmobile – the superaerodynamic racy variant of the E9 3.0 coupé, the #CSL – but it’s important to remember that this mould-breaking range featured two body shapes: alongside the #E9 Coupé sat the car we’re looking at here, the E3 Saloon. The Neue Klasse’s hardy #M10 four-bangers were comprehensively reworked into the six-pot #M30 range, and the New Six styling featured such details as the twin-headlights-in-grille and the celebrated Hofmeister Kink that have since become BMW staples. At launch, the #E3 was available in either 2500 or 2800 flavour, and it’s the latter that we’re looking at today.

    This particular 2800 is owned by Belgian Kevin Pourtois, who’s taking the current stance scene’s excitement over retro motors to its logical conclusion, bypassing the E21s and E12s of the 1970s and diving right back to the previous generation (okay, his E3 is a #1976 model, but the ethos remains true…). So, was this a conscious decision to shake up the scene a little? “Well, no, actually,” he explains, “this was actually my grandfather’s car. It was sitting there in the garage in perfect condition, just waiting for me! So this is more of a sentimental project…”

    Keeping the concept all in the family, Kevin set about refreshing and contemporising the revolutionary old motor car along with his father. “First, we started with the interior,” he says. “The seats themselves were in good condition, but we wanted to recover them with something a bit more contemporary, so they’ve been retrimmed in quality leather.” You can see from the pictures that this was a good move, the creamy hue neatly complementing the otherwise bone-stock insides. These old E3s have a lovely solidity about them, and details such as the lozenge-like instrument binnacle and slender heater controls speak of a time of uncluttered simplicity. It’s a very classy place to be, and even more so now that it’s slathered in baby-soft cowhide.

    “I have to admit that we didn’t make a lot of progress for some time after that,” Kevin concedes, “but after a while I just decided it was about time I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in.” And so he, along with his father, attacked the project with renewed vigour, starting with the engine. The future plan is to swap the venerable old M30 out completely for something else, but in the meantime they’ve had the 2.8-litre six refreshed by SG Motorsport to ensure that all is running as it should. You’ll notice the ‘i’ badge on the bootlid too, indicating that this car is running fuel injection rather than the launch-spec carburettor setup.

    With motive power taken care of, they turned their hands to paint – or rather, one of Kevin’s friends did. “We wanted to keep the original colour, as that’s what my grandad chose, so I asked a friend of mine to refresh it in the original shade,” he explains. And you’ve got to admit that it looks pretty damn perfect. It’s a mysterious greeny-blueygrey that’s at once subtle and classy, and also pure hot rod. It complements the 2800’s oodles of extra chrome rather neatly too. It’s at this point that the project took rather a radical turn. Now, E3 aficionados will happily fill you in on the details of the car’s factory suspension setup – rather radical in itself, for its time, featuring Boge Nivomat self-levelling trickery at the rear – but that sort of pub-bore geekery won’t win you any trophies. So Kevin decided to take the concept of self-levelling to the next, er, level by having a word with Kean Suspensions. Regular readers will have spotted this name cropping up with increasing regularity of late, as the renowned altitude adjusters’ star rises in the stance sphere. And in Kevin’s eyes, their famed prowess in air-ride systems was exactly what he needed to freshen up the attitude of his grandad’s old Beemer. “I asked them to build me an AccuAir system, because I wanted this to be a fun project,” he grins. And the quality of the install manifests itself in two key ways: firstly, the neatness inside – that uncluttered BMW dash and console look factory-stock, if gently patinated, and it takes a moment to locate the air-ride controls. Go on, have a peek, see if you can spot them…

    Secondly, there’s the way the thing sits. There’s something about these large, slabsided old barges that lend themselves very well to being aired out and kissing Tarmac, isn’t there? Like some kind of vast snake, slithering on its belly. The wheels are neatly tucked, a bold wedge of camber presenting itself at the rear – it’s the perfect way to pull that ’60s style right into 2014.

    Oh yes, and those wheels. It’s always a tricky business bolting newer rims to a classic car, isn’t it? For every tastefully executed #E21 on a set of boxfresh Schmidts, there’s a shonky 2002 on ’90s three-spokes – you’ve just got be very careful with your choices. Fortunately for Kevin, his eye was bang on with this one. The E3 wears BBS RCs: “Because I just really like these wheels, I never considered any others!” he says. And they do work perfectly with the overall aesthetic; while clearly modernising the silhouette, that newness becomes less jarring in conjunction with the panscraping stance created by the air-ride. And hey, they’re hardly new-new, they’re a classic wheel in their own right now. Again, it’s all just about the appropriateness.

    He gives us a coy smile when we ask how much this retro uniqueness has set him back so far: “A lot,” he replies enigmatically, “but when you love something, you don’t count the money! This always had to be something a bit special, being my grandfather’s beloved old car, so I couldn’t do anything that would totally alter its character, and yet I wanted to do something fun that would make it stand out on the scene. I took some inspiration from forums and car shows, and I basically just wanted it to be a bit different, more oldskool.” It was lucky that this family heirloom was waiting in the wings, then – it’s turned out to be the perfect base for a project with such clarity of vision.

    All of those gorgeous classic touches, such as the fuel filler that sits behind the hinged rear number plate, the tall windscreen above the slender nose that makes it look like a Pixar character, the ‘automatic’ script on the bootlid, and the ohso- retro ashtrays in the rear doors, are superbly modernised by the simple concept of sitting it lower to the ground. And sometimes, with the right car, that’s pretty much all you need to stand out – no sense in changing things for the sake of change. Kevin’s E3 takes a near-perfect package and adds the finishing touches to create a showstopper. A success, wouldn’t you say?
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    #1972 #BMW #2002 Turbo orange crush. Here before you is a BMW fusion of looks and performance that is as close to perfection as you’re ever likely to find on God’s green earth. Take an old-school orange 2002, add a wide-arch kit, mix in a turbocharged engine and you’ve got yourself a classic showpiece M3-slayer for all to adore. 2002 Turbo - Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Max Earey.

    Isn’t it funny how sometimes your words can come back to haunt you? Almost 10 years ago I was writing a feature on the very car you see before you. This charming 1972 2002 was in the magazine thanks to its subtle good looks and due to its Floridian owner, Curtis Engel, transplanting an 1989 BMW 325i E30 lump into its bright orange engine bay. Weighing about as much as an empty crisp packet and with 180bhp to play with, I commented that it was about as much fun as you could have with your pants on.

    To finish the feature, remarking on Curtis’s desire to ultimately boost the car, I wrote: “The word ‘deathtrap’ springs to mind when I think of this little car turbocharged, but would I do it if I had the opportunity? Life’s too short not to.”

    Curtis, much to my amusement, obviously thought the same. This is why I found myself some years later strapped into his 2002 once again, fingernails firmly embedded in the dashboard, as he plants his right foot to the floor and awakens the new, improved and markedly more powerful 2.5-litre six-cylinder. With turbocharged kick, of course.

    180bhp doesn’t sound too much on paper these days, but in a little 2002 a while ago it was plenty. Well, that was then and this is now. 270hp at the crank is the current figure for this 1075kg road-legal go-kart, and that forced induction kick has turned this old classic into a confirmed M3 and M5-beater. On the quarter-mile track, Curtis ran a 13.71 against the 13.79 of an E46 M3, and a 13.45 against the 13.61 from an E39 M5. “The crowds laugh at me when I line up to race such cars,” the 23-year-old said, “but boy do they laugh when they see the outcome.”

    Such respect from crowds spectating at the tracks is equalled by those who witness it on the street as Curtis’s daily driver. And this respect is wholly deserved. Bought for $1000 when he was just 15, the car has been a labour of love for the Orlando resident. From cleaning up the bodywork, sorting the suspension, improving braking and then doing a few subtle old-school styling mods, Curtis has focused his attentions and skills on really making this car shift.

    A rebuilt #1989 #E30 #325iS M20 engine found its way into the engine bay, but not before cutting the nose of the car to help it fit, and finding new motor and transmission mounting locations. There were custom brackets and mounts, a VW Scirocco radiator, while a five-speed gearbox from a #1980 #E21 #323i came all the way from Australia. The work list was already substantial, but Curtis needed more.

    “The turbo conversion definitely used up all of the free room still remaining in the engine bay,” Curtis said. “The turbo idea had always been there even before I did the M20 conversion. At the time though, I figured an M20 swap would be more reliable than turbocharging the stock M10 engine, but then with the M20 in, I realised I still needed more power. Always will…”

    Even though it’s a very tight squeeze, it’s great to see a Garrett T04E turbo on full display in the engine bay. It’s shock enough lifting the bonnet to reveal an M20 engine in a 2002, but having the likes of a stonking ’charger in there as well can’t help but raise your testosterone levels.

    The required accoutrements that go with boosting a car have been taken care of suitably, with a Forge Motorsport intercooler, Metric Blue head bolts, custom Xtreme Boost ceramic coated exhaust manifold, JSG Precision wastegate and Blitz blow-off valve. There are bigger injectors from a Ford Lightning, a Walbro 255 fuel pump, SPEC Stage 3+ clutch (good for 540 lb ft) and JB Racing flywheel, while the very tricky electronics are taken care of by a MegaSquirt standalone management system.

    Technical stuff aside, the final dyno readings tell us all we need to know about the lethal-weapon status of Curtis’s now boosted ’02. Running just 8psi boost, the figures are 270hp at the crank and 280lb ft of torque at 6000rpm. As mentioned earlier, this car weighs just over a ton wet, so the power-to-weight ratio is enough to bring a smile to all admirers of Colin Chapman’s principles.

    “Lag is definitely evident,” Curtis explained, “but it’s just to make races fair. Once boost is spooled up, get off the runway, there’s a 747-sounding 2002 coming for you!” So yes, it’s very quick, but is it a complete handful to drive? “Tyre spin is pretty ridiculous,” Curtis replied. “It will spin them to about 80mph if you want it to. Before the car used to rev very fast in idle if I wanted to free-rev it, now it won’t rev too quick because of the huge restrictor on the exhaust. But once you are at 3,000rpm, prepare to shift because 6,500 comes up fast.

    ” It appears this boosted 2002 just takes some getting used to, and it’s a good sign that Curtis can use the Inka orange beauty as a daily driver as well as a humbler of more exotic machinery. During our photoshoot, a friend of Curtis’s was on hand with his supercharged E46 M3 to join in the fun. Incredibly, Curtis’s ’02 as good as matched the ’charged M3 in both a rolling start race and a standing start one. As they flew off into the distance, at the very least, the blown M3 certainly could not pull away. Very impressive.

    It’s never plain sailing with turbo cars of course, and Curtis is no stranger to breaking the odd component. In fact, as Curtis dropped us off after our photoshoot, he dumped the clutch in a farewell display of spinning wheels and tyre smoke. And a distinctive mechanical clunk. Yep, a lot of torque going through the diff resulted in its unfortunate demise. “I’ve done two diffs,” Curtis explained. “One ripped all the teeth off the pinion gear and one broke a spider gear in two clean places. The stuff dreams are made of!”

    This is a fine quality in our Orlando-based modifier. Curtis is all about producing a car that is a perfect plaything and one that he’s not scared about using properly. If something breaks, he’ll replace it with a stronger part to ultimately improve the driver enjoyment of the ’02. It’s no strict show and shine car – the body and interior do have their battle scars – but we’re happy Curtis spends less time with the sponge and car wax bottle and more time fixing problems caused by a heavy right foot. It’s much more rewarding that way.

    Okay, so the body isn’t immaculate up close, but the sheer style and colour of this old classic is too damn sexy not to love. Since we last photographed the car, a front air dam and set of 2002 Turbo flares have been attached to the body, transforming the look to pure racer. These arches are stuffed (helped by a custom Ground Control, Eibach and Bilstein suspension setup) with 8x15” Zender Sport Wheels possessing the perfect size lip for an old-school race style. “Nothing like a 225 tyre on a tiny car like this,” Curtis commented. Too right.

    The interior features the expected racestyle upgrades of bucket seats, harnesses, Momo steering wheel and roll-cage – plus some rather tasty gauges to keep an eye on what that boosted engine is up to. Even with these aftermarket upgrades, the inside retains its early ’70s look and feel, with Inka orange surrounding the classic black and white original dials, and that unique impression that the doors and roof will offer as much impact protection as a Chinese takeaway tinfoil box should anything hit you. But this just adds to that greater connection with the road and increased respect for this car.

    Above all else, Curtis’s ’02 is a thing of stylistic beauty that just happens to have a wonderful, more modern and sensibly boosted six-cylinder engine. The lack of any modern weighty additions such as airbags, impact protection bars, air conditioning, electric seats et al means it can’t help but be a little bat out of hell. The flamboyant Inka orange merely adds to its appeal, so you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who fails to love or respect this adorable M3-beater. Long live the old-school.

    A beautiful-looking car at speed, the Inka orange 2002 boasts 270hp at the wheels.

    It’s a shock to see an M20 engine in a 2002, but having a stonking ’charger too can’t help but raise your testosterone levels.

    It’s a tight squeeze, but a #Garrett TO4E turbo is now strapped to the 2.5-litre engine.

    ENGINE: 1989 M20 2.5-litre six-cylinder with porting and minor polishing work, 1980 E21 323i fivespeed transmission, Metric Blue head bolts, Garrett 57mm T04E turbocharger, .68 A/R inlet, .68 A/R hotside, custom ceramic coated 1.75” tubular Xtreme Boost exhaust manifold, JSG precision wastegate dumped to atmosphere, SPEC Stage 3+ clutch, 8lb JB Racing flywheel, VW Scirocco radiator, Blitz blow off valve, 3” downpipe, Forge Motorsport intercooler, MegaSquirt standalone fuel management, Ford Racing 42lb Ford Lightning injectors, Walbro 255 fuel pump, Autometer oil pressure and boost pressure gauges, PLX wide band oxygen sensor. 3.64 40% lockup LSD

    PERFORMANCE: 270hp at the crank, 280 lb ft of torque at 6,000rpm running 8lbs boost. 1/4-mile time of [email protected] 1075kg wet weight.

    CHASSIS: 8x15” 0 ET #Zender Sport Wheel shod in 205/50 (front) and 225/50 (rear) Kumho tyres. Ground Control coilovers with 450lb springs, #Eibach Pro Kit rear springs, Bilstein shocks all round, Suspension Techniques anti roll bars, urethane bushes all round. E21 320i vented brake discs with Volvo calipers.

    EXTERIOR: Factory 2002 wide-body flares and front air dam, BMW original 1972 Inka orange paint.

    INTERIOR: Dynamic Auto Design race seats, Schroth harness for driver, Momo Prototipo steering wheel, NRG Quick Release steering adapter, all sound deadening removed to reduce weight, rear seat removed and carpeted over, Kirk four-point roll-cage, battery relocated to boot. Autometer oil pressure and boost pressure gauges, PLX wide band oxygen sensor.

    THANKS: Frank at Xtreme Boost for a ridiculously awesome tubular turbo manifold, SPEC Clutches for a gorgeous looking clutch, Matt McGinn for a great diff and always Josh at The Bimmer Place in Orlando for helping me fix what my heavy right foot broke.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who fails to love this adorable car.
    Old-skool interior, with a few sporty upgrades.
    Momo Prototipo steering wheel.
    Old car, new technology: an iPod kit.
    The boost gauge keeps tabs on all that turbo fun.
    MegaSquirt Standalone fuel management ideal for turbo cars.
    Original 2002 Turbo flares give Curtis’s classic the tougher race-look.
    The perfect final touch for any classy BMW.
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  •   Dan Furr reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    This, quite literally, show-stopping UK #E28 boasts an impossibly shiny #M106 under the bonnet, a massive turbo and the small matter of 500hp. In a word: epic. Built with sheer passion and devotion, this stunning 500hp #BMW-E28 is the ultimate evolution of a near decade-long project. Photos: Steve Hall.

    We all love our cars (when they’re working) but it’s rare to come across someone for whom their car really is everything to them. Marsel Theodhori is one such man. His passion for his E28 is unrivalled in anyone I’ve ever met, and it’s this raw, unbridled passion for what was once a humble E28 that has driven him to build one of the finest examples out there. I have a soft spot for the E28 – I owned a #518i Lux for a year some time ago, which I bought for the princely sum of £400. It was so charming, characterful and modern in the way it drove, that it instantly became a member of the family. It didn’t miss a beat over those 12 months and when the time came to sell it, I was genuinely sad to see it go. I think about it often and the way it has lodged itself in my memory and affections means I can definitely relate to the way Marsel feels about his.

    Marsel is an interesting man – passionate, intense, intimidating perhaps, but a really nice guy and one with more than a few stories to tell. And his E28 is even more interesting. His love for the second generation 5 Series began when he was just 14 years old. “Growing up in Albania, my neighbour had a white E28 #Alpina and every time I saw it, I thought it looked fantastic. I loved the looks and my dream was to one day have a car like that.”

    Fast forward to 2005 and by now Marsel was in the UK when he spotted this humble #E28 #525e . He had loved it from afar, with it belonging to his good friend, Nick Rundall. When Nick wanted to move on to a newer model (and knowing that it needed work and that Marsel was in the motor trade), he gifted him the car, beginning a nine-year journey which resulted in the car you see in front of you.

    Marsel has named this car the Black Eagle, a touching patriotic nod to his homeland of Albania (whose red flag bears the image of a black double-headed eagle) and the Order of the Black Eagle, the highest title that could be bestowed upon a citizen of Albania.

    The last time the E28 saw the outside world was in September 2012. Marsel had spent seven years working on the car at this point and had built it up to a very high standard. He had sourced an M106 engine for it, which was fitted to an #E23 #745i – a 3.4-litre turbocharged straight-six that was loosely based on the #M30 , developing 252hp at 6psi (0.4bar) of boost. That’s a good starting point, but Marsel wasn’t content with that so a whole host of work went into the engine to get it uprated to handle a serious increase in power.

    Marsel’s E28 was suitably recognised at that point for the great car it was; it even had a brief moment of fame in print: “It had a feature in Total #BMW in April 2012 and it had been appearing at most of the shows that year. It was putting out 360hp+ and I travelled to a lot of places, enjoying the result of a very long build. I was just making the most of it so I was really driving it hard and the car was responding well. It made an impressive appearance at the Gaydon BMW Festival and the Santa Pod BMW Show that same year where it won Best of Show.”

    Show glory is one thing, but 360hp is another and Marsel is the sort of person who enjoys driving his cars. “I’m an engineer by trade but also a very heavy-footed driver,” he says. “I really love driving sports cars to their limits. Well, that pleasure cost me one day when I blew the #K27 turbo, which was the original item fitted to the M106 by BMW. That turbo was designed originally for 0.4bar and I was pushing close to 1bar for about 3000 miles until it started to smoke off throttle. The car came off the road at the end of September 2012.” That’s when Marsel started to think big. He decided to make the most of the unfortunate situation and realise the true potential of his E28: “I wanted to build a car that would win shows and blow people away. I wanted to build the best E28 that I could,” he says.

    Step one was choosing a new turbo that would give Marsel the power he was hungry for. “The K27 was removed and I started making plans for a new, more sophisticated turbo. Considering the potential of these engines, I had to seriously consider a major upgrade on all fronts. Unfortunately, in this country we have a limited market for such applications and turbochargers. Therefore there was only one place I could look to: the USA. In the States there are hundreds if not thousands of stockists and manufacturers of performance parts and turbochargers.

    “Hunting for the best deals, I came across a #Garrett-GT4202 turbo for half of the UK price and bought it straight away.” The #GT4202 is rated for up to 1000hp, giving Marsel plenty of headroom on the power front. However, it is significantly larger than the K27 so it gave Marsel a bit of a headache when it came to fitting. “I had the turbo hanging from the ceiling at one point,” he explains, “and I was lowering it into the engine bay so I could tie it into place. That meant I could start calculating how it would sit in the engine bay and what sort of manifold I would need to fabricate for it.” The massive turbo fits in the engine bay, just, but there was the small matter of the bonnet getting in the way, so Marsel had a custom item made with a neat cut-out for the turbo to peep through.

    While the whole car is finished to an incredibly high standard, the engine is what this car is all about. When the bonnet pops, the engine bay draws in BMW fans like bees to honey. Every square inch of the bay has been polished to within an inch of its life, every hose is braided, every pipe is blue and the blue-and-red colour scheme has been executed with serious attention to detail – the oil filler cap is blue and even the washer fluid and coolant are red and blue.

    The turbo sits on a beefy modified M106 manifold with a custom stainless steel top mounted flange neck, with a 4” downpipe, which slims to 3.5” to clear the bulkhead before expanding to 5” for minimum restriction and splitting into two 2.5” pipes which run to a custom Frtiz’s Bits back box. The turbo itself is served by a 5.5” core chargecooler with a custom top panel, itself mated to a 55mm twin-core 500x630mm chargecooler rad. You won’t find any highflow induction kits here – the turbo has been fitted with some silver mesh, presumably to stop people and animals from being sucked in, and that’s it. Beyond the bling, there’s serious engineering evident wherever you look: the turbo is braced against the engine and the entire engine is braced against the strut brace. This is because once, under hard braking, the engine tilted forward a fraction and that was enough to push the viscous fan into the thicker rad that Marsel had fitted. To ensure that doesn’t happen again, he took the precaution of bracing the engine to stop any unwanted movement.

    Of course, the dazzlingly shiny exterior is just the tip of an extremely comprehensive iceberg. The data file reads like an engine builder’s wish list and no expense has been spared in building an engine that will deliver a lot of power happily and comfortably, day in, day out.

    The H-pattern con rods and #Mahle forged low compression pistons have been carried over from the previous build, along with the #Glyco race bearings, but the ported and polished NA cylinder head is new, as are the titanium double valve springs, sodium-filled exhaust valves and titanium rockers and rocker shaft lockers. The engine is fed by twin #Bosch 044 fuel pumps, and there’s a fuel cooler, 1000cc Bosch injectors and Marsel has used an #E34 #535i inlet manifold with an original 3” reverse-mounted throttle body. It is the engine you would build if you could.

    As the old saying goes, power is nothing without control, and Marsel has ensured that every supporting component has been suitably upgraded to ensure that the rest of the E28 can handle all the power that’s being developed by the engine. On the transmission front there’s a fully-rebuilt dogleg gearbox with a custom short clutch master cylinder, M535i driveshaft and propshafts, restored 3.07 M5 LSD and upgraded race-spec motorsport diff mount. Peer under the rear of the car and, as well as an immaculate and impossibly polished back box, you will see the diff cooler and diff pump mounted below. On the suspension front you’ll find #GAZ Gold race coilovers all-round with 550lb springs up front and 250lb rears, which have been carried over from the first build, with fully adjustable rose jointed front upper top mounts, fully adjustable rear top upper mounts, front and rear thicker, uprated antiroll bars, with Powerflex bushes all-round, new wheel bearings and all the various suspension components have either been renewed or reconditioned.

    The brake setup that Marsel had first time around worked well enough for him to keep it so he just renewed the components with four-pot front Brembos calipers from an E31 840Ci and 324mm discs and 300mm rear discs mated to E28 #M535i calipers, with Goodridge braided hoses throughout. Marsel hasn’t forgotten about the looks in all of this and has poured his heart into getting the exterior styling exactly to his tastes. The body was stripped and the car was given the full M5 treatment, while new headlights and chrome rear lights have also been fitted. Various components have been polished and rechromed, such as the window surrounds, door handles and the C-pillar inserts, with the resulting brightness contrasting beautifully against the Jet black paint.

    The wheels are an interesting choice. Previously, Marsel was running #BBS RSs before switching to these Fomb 17s, which he’d had refurbed in black for its big reveal in 2014. He had been planning to get the BBSs ready for our shoot, but as they needed to be refurbed and have new barrels, it was no small task. Also, as he pointed out, everyone has BBS RSs – they’re gorgeous, classic and iconic wheels, but they are a bit of a trend right now. Marsel wanted something different for the E28 and that’s when he decided to stick with the Fomb wheels, and give them a fresh look by getting the dishes diamond cut. The end result? Pretty spectacular. With an all-black finish, the dishes were completely lost, but now you can really appreciate just how dishy they are and they tie in perfectly with the polished elements across the whole car.

    The interior hasn’t been touched during the past two years but it was so nice there was no need to do anything. The retrimmed front seats still looks like new, as do the recolonised rears and, despite the colour, the carpets, door carpets and doorcards are completely original, which is particularly impressive as they are insanely clean.

    “I really wanted to impress the UK BMW world by getting out to all the shows this year. I badly wanted this car to shine like a star and drive like a bullet so the final piece of the puzzle was to give the car another remap,” Marsel explains. “The only man that I would ever trust in tuning this car is Sam Borgman at TDI in Lakeside, Essex. Sam and I have spent a considerable amount of time together in perfecting this car. On 3 August the car was on the hub dyno being tuned and ready for the road. Sam had it set within a couple of hours and managed to get a comfortable 500hp which I think is more than enough for driving pleasure. The car is now running like a dream – just like I wanted it to be.” And with that, it was time to unveil his creation to the world.

    “The first major show I took the car to was the Gaydon #BMW Festival. It got a lot of interest from all the visitors throughout the day and I had the chance to meet and chat with some true motoring enthusiasts. I had plenty of tech talks during the day and I really enjoyed it. It was actually the first time I had taken my wife Leonora to a car show and she was also amazed as to how many people really loved the car. That day I won Best of Show and I felt very happy and proud of this achievement.”

    That’s been pretty much the formula for Marsel and his E28 – turn up to a show, wow the crowd and take home silverware. Almost Famous at the Ace Café? Best of Show. Players? First out of the top 20. Santa Pod BMW Show? Best of Show, which, as we mentioned, he’d already won with the car in its previous incarnation back in 2012. Then there was the time he went along to VAGRoots for fun and, despite it being a VW Audi event, he also won the show. But Marsel said he had set out to build a showwinning car, and that’s exactly what he’s got.

    “I believe that I might just have built something extra special. An E28 with a great character and amazing features, fine definition and desirable styling. A powerful, black, mean, luxurious, classic BMW E28 from the ’80s had to be the car for me. Building a car like this has not been easy. I’ve had a real love/hate relationship with the car. Throughout the build it has tested my patience many times but I never gave up and, having spent nearly ten years building it, I have had the opportunity to meet some great guys along the way that have become good friends.”

    Ultimately, it’s all been worth it and the results speak for themselves. It’s an astounding build, technically outstanding and finished to a very high standard. More than anything, it’s fantastic to see someone pouring this much love into an E28 and helping to preserve one of these classics in such spectacular fashion. Furthermore, with no intention of ever selling it, this E28 will always remain part of Marsel’s family.

    ENGINE: 3.4-litre straight-six M106 ( #M30B34MAE also called version M30 engine with turbo and pistons), new H-pattern con rods, Mahle forged low compression pistons, Glyco race bearings, ARP full bottom end bolt kit, lapped fully balanced crankshaft, flywheel, clutch and front vibration damper. #S38 clutch and non-dual mass flywheel, E34 535i modified oil pump (50psi idle) crown cooler spray oil jets located at the main block housings, M5 engine relocated oil cooler, ported and polished NA cylinder head, forged M106 turbo camshaft, titanium double valve springs, sodium filled exhaust valves, new stainless steel valve seats and new re-cut inlet valves, titanium rockers and rocker shaft lockers from PPM, custom head gasket made by PPM, full engine gasket kit, new water pump, customised aftermarket #E36 M3 60mm core radiator, #E39 #M5 viscous clutch and blade, 41mm Samco top and bottom hoses, new expansion tank and level sensor, Omex standalone 710 ECU, Bosch lambda sensor, Vauxhall V6 Vectra coil pack, new custom cut and made to suitable lengths 8mm silicone high performance HT leads, #NGK heat range nine spark plugs, 3bar map sensor, Omex TPS, fully stripped and rebuilt polished alternator and fixings, new Bosch starter motor, twin Bosch 044 gravity fed fuel pumps, fuel cooler, 1000cc Bosch EV14 injectors, Aeromotive A-1000 FPR, AN-8 Aeroquip teflon supply and AN-6 return fuel pipes, modified E34 535i inlet, 3” original reversemounted throttle body, 3” aluminium and Samco pipe work, 5.5” core aftermarket chargecooler, Bosch EVT water pump, 55mm twin core 500x630 chargecooler radiator, AN12 Aeroquip feed and return water pipes and fixings, modified #BMW-M106 turbo manifold, custom stainless steel flange top mounted neck, original M106 stainless #M10 exhaust studs x 12, GT4202 Garrett turbo, HKS 60mm external wastegate, 4” downpipe reduced to 3.5” by the bulkhead, 5” by 300mm flexi joint then split to 2x2.5” pipes all the way to custom turbo Fritz’s Bits back box, 4x M10 rose jointed supportive custom alloy bars.

    TRANSMISSION: Fully rebuilt five-speed dog-leg gearbox, custom short clutch master cylinder and relocated fluid container, M535i driveshafts and propshaft, restored 3.07 M5 LSD, diff cooler and pump AN-10 Aeroquip fixings and braided teflon hoses, upgraded race-spec Motorsport diff mount, all bolts and mountings replaced with stainless spec and chrome plated items.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front and rear) Fomb wheels with 235/45 Bridgestone tyres, GAZ gold race coilover kit with 550lb front springs and 250lb rears, fully adjustable front upper top mounts rose jointed, fully adjustable rear top upper mounts rose jointed, rose jointed rear lower shock pin mounts, all suspension components replaced or reconditioned, all steering linkages renewed, new front Motorsport anti-roll bars 25mm front and 19mm rear, Powerflex bushes all-round, reinforced front lower alloy brace under the bumper, #E31 #840Ci four-pot #Brembo calipers (front) with 324x30mm discs, E28 M353i calipers (rear) with 300x15mm discs, Goodridge braided hoses all-round, E32 master cylinder, all original hard pipes re-powdercoated green.

    EXTERIOR: M5-spec body styling, new wings doors and bootlid, Shadowline bumpers, custom turbo bonnet, Motorsport rear spoiler with carbon fibre top section, green tinted cabin glass with blue front windscreen upper sun visor, Moon roof glass panel with purple fibre wind deflector, new headlights and chrome rear lights, original rear number plate, window trims and door handles polished and rechromed by Ospreys metal finishers in Borehamwood, all window rubber weather strips were replaced.

    INTERIOR: Front seats retrimmed by B-Trim, rears recolonised, new dashboard, original carpet, doorcards and headlining, new gear knob colour-coded in interior leather, new Motorspost odometer, new tachometer, new M Tech 1 steering wheel.

    THANKS: All the people that have contributed to the build and to maintaining this vehicle: Daryl, Paul, John and Ryan at Osprey Metal Finishers, Rob, Miles and Chris at Hartoms Engineering, Alex Austin at Torques UK, Richard and Dave at Fritz’s Bits, Guy Higgs at Omex UK, Neil, Adam and John at BTrim, Sam and Mark at TDI, Simon, Eldwin and Dave at EMP Exhausts, Richard Ryan and Carlos at Manor Body in Enfield, also thank you to my family for their support and to Drive-My.
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  •   Chris Nicholls reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    After almost a decade away from BMWs, Walter Bucco built this gorgeous grey #E46 #M3 and came back with a vengeance. How do you return to the BMW scene after almost a decade lost in the wilderness and still manage to hit the headlines? We try to discover Walter Bucco’s secret with his subtle but stunning #E46-M3 . Text: Words and Photos. Photos: Matt Petrie.

    In North America, Walter Bucco is regarded as one of the originators of the E46 tuning scene, latching on to the new Motorsport model as soon as it arrived in dealerships in #2001 . His early adoption of the M3 in striking Laguna Seca blue, not to mention his thorough reworking of its looks and specification with high-end components from Euro luminaries such as #AC-Schnitzer , #Harmann and #Hartge , endowed him with the double-barrelled ‘OG Pappa Smurf’ nickname that has stuck to this day.

    Remember, this was a time when the internet was still in its infancy and inspirational material was much more difficult to find than via a simple Google image search. Meanwhile, parts from famous Euro brands often had to be ordered the long-winded way, from foreign catalogues and through expensive personal imports. No wonder the pioneers of the scene were so admired. Walter’s partnership with the #BMW-E46-M3 was not only recognised by others but became a defining chapter in his own car-life. Because despite defecting from the Munich marque to the Stuttgart species in 2005, it took the New Jersey resident a good six years to eventually realise that no amount of time, money or factory-approved tinkering from Aufrecht Melcher Grossapach (I didn’t know it meant that either ~ Ed) was able to recreate the enjoyment and involvement offered by his sorely missed Beemer.

    In 2011 Walter made the decision to return to the good old days with another E46. By that point, however, the third-generation M3 had been out of production for four years and the next-generation #E92 Coupé was already halfway through its life cycle. So if our man was to stand any chance of recreating a dream period in his life, the second-hand example he needed to turn up would have to stand up to superfine scrutiny.

    After months of searching, this 2004 model was found. Admittedly, its Silver grey paintwork (code A08) was in relatively poor condition due to an owner that preferred mechanical brush washes rather than being caressed clean with lamb’s wool mittens and a strict two-bucket cleaning regime. Yet in every other respect it had been meticulously maintained and, best of all, featured the sought-after Cinnamon nappa leather upholstery.

    Drawn as he is to BMWs, Walter’s devotion did not extend to a straightforward refresh of the paintwork in the original hue. He wanted to stay in the grey spectrum and knew of a remarkable-looking shade available on the #Ferrari-458-Italia called Grigio Medio. Despite not having a flake of pearl metallic at its disposal, this grey paint is able to change colour like a chameleon as it reacts to different light qualities. Perhaps because of this, its precise ingredients are as closely guarded as the recipe for Coca-Cola; known only by its maker. Nevertheless, with a little muscleflexing by the bodyshop and countless weeks of email wrangling with the Ferrari factory the code was finally released for mixing.

    Before the car could be given its stunning new coat, however, Walter wanted to source a new Europeanspecification OEM front bumper. Why? Though essentially the same design, it does without the awkwardly placed reflectors that interrupt the US model’s ‘feng shui’. Much later, this smooth front end was enhanced with an authentic Hartge carbon fibre front splitter, an item Walter describes as “painstakingly brutal” to source… and no doubt pay for. We assume he is now very careful when parking the car or tackling driveway inclines. This was paired at the opposing end with an AC Schnitzer diffuser, shaved of its ugly exposed bolts and painted to match the rest of the trim.

    With a beautiful framework prepared it was time to decide on the rolling stock, the vital item upon which everything else hangs. And, once again, Walter avoided the easy option. He bought a set of second-hand Racing Dynamics RS2 split-rim wheel centres, got them restored and colour-coded to match the body, and then proceeded to equip them with all-new barrels, lips and hardware to a secret offset. All we know is that the final measurements are 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) and that with some careful fine-tuning of a new KW coilover setup the arch clearance and stance is now absolutely spot-on. If you’d like to know, our definition of this is an arch radius that eclipses halfway into the depth of the tyre sidewall.

    Engine-wise, the #BMW E46 M3 was known for a having a powerplant that offered the highest specific output of any naturally aspirated engine yet produced by BMW. Admittedly, the US-specification model was a little down on power compared to European versions due to a couple of strangulating catalysts but it was still a screamer with raised compression, high-lift cams, Double #VANOS variable valve timing and finger-type rocker arms within a lightweight alloy head.

    Walter has not strayed far from standard with this project, trusting that BMW’s M technicians really do know their stuff. In fact, their expertise has been employed in an additional area through the fitment of freerflowing exhaust manifolds and catalytic converters designed for the limited edition #BMW-E46-M3-CSL , a model that was never available in North America. From this beginning, the exhaust culminates in a meaty-sounding stainless steel Status Gruppe Tuning back box with two pairs of discreet black tailpipes. Compared to the OE item, this muffler is literally half the weight and releases three to five brake horsepower through more efficient evacuation.

    As a specialist publication tasked with publicising performance BMWs we see countless examples of modified E46 M3s yet we can’t remember another car that looks as good as this on such a modest specification sheet. Of course, that does not mean it has been easy to elevate the car to this level, but few people have Walter’s history with the model; a modifying experience that literally goes back to the very beginning of the breed. With this car our man has definitely posted a return to form.


    ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , OEM E46 M3 CSL manifolds and catalytic converters, Status Gruppe Tuning stainless steel back box with optional black tailpipes, OE six-speed Getrag gearbox.

    CHASSIS: 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) Racing Dynamics RS2 split-rim alloys with colour-coded centres, with 235/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Falken FK452 tyres, KW coilovers, OE brakes.

    EXTERIOR: Resprayed in PPG Ferrari Grigio Medio paint, OEM Euro-spec front bumper, Hartge carbon fibre front splitter, modified AC Schnitzer rear diffuser.

    INTERIOR: Standard with optional Cinnamon leather seats.

    THANKS: Calamusa family at Pine Brook Auto Refinishing for all the paintwork, Stefan Djuric for the wheel build, my family and fiancee Holly, all the guys from Euro Techniks.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 5 years ago
    Norwegian 1048bhp #E30 - bad to the bone. The magic 1000bhp figure was broken by this utterly stunningly, jaw-droppingly brilliant E30 from Norway, one of the most powerful road-legal BMWs in the world. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Andrew Brown.

    It’s a long way to go, but over the years Performance #BMW has been making numerous trips to Scandinavia to hunt out what we consider to be some of the finest examples of Bavarian metal on the planet, putting America’s high standards to serious shame with mind-blowing performance figures. Cast your mind back to July 2004. If your memory’s a little hazy, let us refresh it for you. We unveiled what was, at the time, the most powerful road-legal M3-styled E30 325i with an outrageous 875bhp and 932lb ft of torque. Over the next few months, we uncovered two more turbo’d Swedish beauties, a 400bhp #E21 and a 745bhp E30, along with a supercharged 480bhp M3 CSL in November. Not surprisingly, in January 2005 the turbo experts at VS Motor in Norway raised the bar once again with a 1033bhp #E34 M5. The various other cover cars that were to follow from the Nordic lands over the next 24 months confirmed our suspicions; no obstacle is too big for these boys.

    In a bid to push things even further forward, Tarjei Christiansen from Porsgrunn has created the hardest E30 we’ve ever seen with a mighty 1048bhp and 778lb ft of torque running through road tyres and wheels. That’s right, this #1987 former 320i is fit for the streets and it’s not afraid to come out and play. For those who don’t know, Tarjei is the founder of tuning specialist SS Performance, and is already becoming a big name in the street racing community, so it’s understandable that his own car would be a bit special. It all started four years ago when he got into the notorious Gatebil festivals. Having spent his childhood tinkering under the bonnet of BMWs with his dad during the cold and dark winter months, it was almost inevitable he would eventually open up his own workshop. One of the most common complaints we hear from readers is the number of UK specialists that lack passion and enthusiasm, but Tarjei’s got stacks of it to back up his knowledge and expertise. This is a man who quite happily spends 16 hours a day, six days a week working on cars, they are his life.

    His first project was an #Alpina E30 2.7, he sold that before his 18th birthday to buy an #E36 Compact and spent the remaining money sourcing and fitting a 5.6-litre V12 #S70 from the #850Csi #E31 . And as if that wasn’t enough he had an #M3 on the side. As you’ll have heard a thousand times before though, things were never meant to get quite so serious, as the Nordic lad explained: “When I bought the E30, the stock lump had been replaced by the 325i unit but the previous owner had never upgraded the brakes or suspension, so my original plan was to use it for drifting until the engine blew up. Upon closer inspection however, I realised the bodywork was completely straight and in remarkably good order for its age with no rust, so I decided to save it.” Little did he know at that stage, he would create what is now Norway’s most legendary car on the tuning scene.
    Not surprisingly, the first thing on the list was an engine. Tarjei fitted a 2.7 Alpina lump but soon got bored and that’s when he decided to do something mad with it, managing to source a 3.5-litre #S38 lump from the E34 #M5 . After stripping the engine bay he started the laborious task of fitting the new powerplant, which needed to sit 280mm further back and 40mm lower to help create space for the big turbo and aid with weight distribution. Sadly the language barrier meant communication was difficult but we managed to muddle through the interview with the help of Tarjai’s friends, whose grasp of English was better than my Norwegian. Hand gestures and diagrams also played a big part in the translation process!

    Being founder of a reputable tuning specialist, Tarjei is partners with some of the most well-known players in the industry, so he’s got access to a lot of quality parts. A quick glance down at the list of sponsors that adorn the side of his car will tell you that. The starting point was, as ever, the block, which was bored out to 3600cc. He then fitted a set of forged JE lowcompression pistons and slightly longer than standard Carillo con-rods, along with a Motorsport crank to provide better top-end power and higher revving capabilities. Attention was then turned to the cylinder head, which was ported and polished with a set of SSP 292º camshafts bolted in. And here comes the most exciting part, the massive Turbonetics super 60 twin-turbo which was mounted on an SSP aluminium intake manifold, with a PPF external wastegate employed to regulate the massive boost the ’charger is capable of producing. The inlet side of the engine is equally impressive, with a specially-made SSP aluminium part being the main component, fitted with huge 1640cc injectors to supply the necessary fuelling.

    At the end of the process, an SSP stainless steel straightthrough side-exit exhaust with fat 4” tailpipe blasts out the spent gasses.

    Somehow the giant had to be cooled, which is why the E30 has a ViS Racing carbon fibre bonnet with four vents, and a huge custom intercooler and radiator. The complete engine was taken to the VS Motor workshop and bolted to the dyno for running in and mapping. Connected up to the laptop, the boys set about tweaking and adjusting the settings of the Autronic sequential SM2 ECU. The decision was made to cap the boost at 1.7bar and after a slight increase in boost and a small ignition tweak, the magic figure of 1048bhp was realised, making it the fastest street-legal BMW in the world. Not surprisingly, he’s apparently managed to scare a few passengers.

    The problem, when you achieve this sort of power, is making it driveable, so Tarjei got to work stripping off the tired suspension and running gear ready for the new and improved items that he had been busy stockpiling. The drivetrain was the first to benefit with a stronger and more reliable Tremag five-speed gearbox. An E34 M5 rear differential was then fitted to improve traction, along with a custom driveshaft to complete the bullet-proof setup. Not convinced? Take it from us that the car is driven hard, plus it also takes regular abuse at the Nürburgring and Hockenheim circuits. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, it obliterates the 0-60mph sprint in just over 2.5 seconds, screaming at a rate of 110 decibels before the needle even hits 3000rpm.

    Driving in Scandinavia requires some special skills, if we had even a tenth as much snow, police would advise motorists to stay at home, but here residents just cope. Well, they do more than that. In a country where forced induction is a proven way of life, they love nothing more than putting on an incredible show of car control in a wild display of wheelspin, opposite lock, and high-speed sideways driving. The cars are, of course, heavily modified to cope with the extreme nature in which they’re driven, and in this case Tarjei has sourced Wiecher strut braces and anti-roll bars, along with a set of fully adjustable KW Variant 3 coilovers, which allows him to adjust the rebound and compression damping. Everything was then connected with Powerflex poly and ally mountings to eliminate all unwanted movement.

    Of course, every car of this calibre needs some decent anchors, when you can cover the length of a football pitch in a few seconds, the standard setup might have you running out of road, through the Pearly Gates and halfway across God’s breakfast table. Thankfully, a big brake kit consisting of AP Racing four-pot calipers with 335mm (front) and 355mm (rear) grooved discs mounted on alloy bells, with Endless pads, do an adequate enough job.

    Building a full-on track car means ridding the cabin of any unnecessary luxuries, so out came the seats, stereo system, door cards, carpet and sound deadening and in went the Momo buckets and Schroth four-point harnesses. Commonly seen in WRC car interiors, the entire dash was then flocked. This coating of nylon fibres using high voltage, electrostatic equipment, gives it a dense and durable finish along with excellent antiglare qualities. Providing additional rigidity, a Wiechers six-point roll-cage was fitted and the standard wheel was ditched for a snapoff Momo item. The Tilton pedals and hydraulic handbrake, along with the carbon fibre gear knob, Racepak Pack digital data logger and gauges add to the motorsport theme a treat. The dry sump tank, swirl pot for the fuel, oil cooler shroud, fuel pump and filter, Aeroquip hosing and gel battery are now housed in the boot.

    It was then the turn of the exterior to receive the benefits of some credit card abuse. With 9.5”-wide custom Löwenhart Superstar wheels destined for the front and 12” out back, new arches were painstakingly fabricated in metal and extended 120mm and 150mm respectively. Although it’s heavier compared to fibreglass, it’s much stronger and robust, and he’s managed to save weight elsewhere by fitting a carbon fibre bonnet and rear wing, which indecently also helps to generate greater downforce along with the Rieger front splitter. The same German body styling specialists also supplied the more aggressively fashioned front and rear bumpers and side skirts, lending it an even tougher guise, whilst the custom carbon fibre roof scoop, BMW Motorsport mirrors and Audi TT fuel cap finish off the race-car look that Tarjei was going for.

    How this car is not covered in stone chips and dents with body panels hanging off is beyond me, especially when you know it’s driven to utilise all that’s been done under the bonnet. It later emerges that showroom gleam is thanks to a recent respray, a definite improvement over the Dolphin grey and more in keeping with the car’s styling. The M3 GT British Racing green paint now adorns every nook and cranny, and I think you’ll agree when I say it looks like a brute.

    Having lost 3000 man hours and £80,000 to this project, I asked if Tarjei was happy with the outcome, he replied: “It’s the world’s fastest and most extreme E30, of course I like it. I love it. I’ve poured so much of my time and money into it but it’s turned out better than I could have ever imagined, I will never sell it.” When quizzed about his future plans he added: “My next project will be carbon’d wide-body 1 Series with the new M5 V10 engine, and I’m hoping it will be ready for Gatebil’s biggest event of the year in July.” That’s not a lot of time, but considering he built this monster in just ten months, we have every confidence he’ll do it. We just wish UK-based tuners and owners would follow suit and ditch the more traditional methods for something a bit different. If only we weren’t so conservative as a nation and tight with money, the world would be a far better place. Come on guys, let’s go for broke!

    Friend Helge Vik, another BMW nut, helped Tarjei build the car.

    On the track they’re each others’ worst rivals, in the garage they’re best mates Carbon fibre detailing not only looks the part but serves a purpose too.

    An AP Racing brake upgrade helps rein in the 1048 raging horses stuffed under the bonnet.

    The dry sump tank, swirl pot for fuel, oil cooler shroud, fuel pump and filter Aeroquip hosing and gel battery are housed in the boot Interior is minimal yet fully equipped for all of Tarjei’s needs.

    A Racepak digital data logger displays all the important engine information Christiansen: “It’s the world’s fastest and most extreme E30, of course I like it. I love it. I’ve poured so much of my time and money into it, I will never sell it”.

    ENGINE: 3.5-litre E34 M5 engine bored out to 3600cc, forged JE low-compression pistons, Carillo connecting rods, ARP rod and head bolts, 1640cc injectors, Motorsport crank, SSP 292º camshafts, ported and polished head, Autronic sequential SM2 ECU, three double Haltec coils, Aeromotive fuel pump, four-step oil pump, aluminium sump, Turbonetics super 60 twin-turbo, SSP aluminium intake manifold, PPF external wastegate, custom PPF 3” dump valve, custom 800mm high and 600mm wide intercooler and aluminium radiator, SSP TIG-welded stainless steel straight-through side-exit exhaust with 4” tailpipe.

    TRANSMISSION: Tremag 5-speed gearbox, gearbox tunnel raised and widened, Tilton triple-plate clutch, E34 M5 rear differential and custom driveshaft, custom 3” propshaft.

    CHASSIS: 9.5x18” (front) and 12x18” (rear) custom Löwenhart Superstar wheels shod in 225/40 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Yokohama semi-slicks. KW Stage 3 coilovers, Powerflex poly and ally mountings, Wiechers strut brace, front and rear anti-roll bars. AP Racing four-pot calipers with 335mm (front) and 355mm (rear) grooved discs mounted on alloy bells, Endless pads all round.
    EXTERIOR: Custom fabricated metal wide-arch body kit extended 120mm at the front and 150mm out back, VIS Racing carbon fibre bonnet, Rieger front splitter, colour-coded upper eyebrows, Rieger Infinity front and rear bumpers and side skirts, custom fabricated carbon fibre roof scoop, BMW Motorsport carbon-look mirrors, Audi TT fuel cap, APR Racing carbon fibre rear wing, MHW smoked rear lights (moved 2cm out on each side), custom SSP roundels, colour-coded rubbing strips, door handles and kidney grille, resprayed 1995 M3 GT British Racing Green.

    INTERIOR: Fully stripped-out, (seats, stereo system, door cards, carpet and sound deadening removed), plastic panes, flocked dash, Wiechers six-point roll-cage, Momo seats with Schroth four-point harnesses, Momo snap-off steering wheel, Tilton pedals and hydraulic handbrake, custom carbon fibre gear knob, Racepak digital data logger and gauges for boost, oil and water temperature, alloy floor mats, OMP fire extinguisher. Dry sump tank, swirl pot for fuel, oil cooler shroud, fuel pump and filter Aeroquip hosing and gel battery in boot.

    THANKS: Steiner Cristiansen, Knut Grave, Andreas Buoen, Johnny Slaen, Jons Dekk Og Felg, and everyone else who helped build this car.

    Scandinavia has some of the finest examples of Bavarian metal on the planet, putting America’s high standards to serious shame with mind-blowing performance figures.

    Special thanks to Sheighla Bilgrami at Network Languages Limited for helping us out with a translator (01344 870 700/

    Tarjei’s masterpiece! A huge custom SSP intercooler keeps the air to the Turbonetics twin-turbo nice and cool.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 5 years ago

    A Belgian #BMW-E30-Cabriolet #M20 on air with style and flair to spare. It may hail from north-eastern Belgium but this shimmering #E30-325i is pure Hollywood through and through… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Kevin Raekelboom.

    When you picture the gleaming, sun-scorched highways of Hollywood circa 1989-ish, what pops into your head? Stickyhaired execs in pastel-hued suits driving #Porsche-911 Turbos, Lamborghini Countachs and Ferrari Testarossas? Yes, that sort of hedonistic supercar excess does seem to characterise the cash-rich ostentatiousness of the era, but there is one slightly more attainable car that shouts just as loudly: the #E30 #325i cabriolet. If there’s one motor that really encapsulates the white-teeth, go-go nature of late-Eighties California, this is it – it goes hand-in-hand with Ray Bans, massive cell phones, and rolling your suit sleeves up to the elbow.

    To many enthusiasts of today, this is the image of the #BMW-E30 that they wish to tap into. The second-generation 3 Series has been with us since 1982, its production running into the early Nineties, and we’ve seen pretty much any and every interpretation of them possible – race cars with insane aero, #Chevy-V8 swaps, lovingly restored bone-stock chrome-bumper 316 automatics, you name it. For some, the tantalisingly evocative moniker ‘E30’ immediately conjures images of the original #M3 , all rorty four-banger charm and unstoppable race dominance. But to others, it’s all about rounding Sunset and Vine in a drop-top #325i , on your way to Paramount to stick your nose into the filming of Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade. It’s a car for upwardly mobile, perma-tanned young go-getters.

    This is clearly a lifestyle to which young Belgian Tom Vandeweyer aspires. “I wanted an older BMW with a bit of horsepower,” he explains, “and I’m crazy about lowering, so it was always bound to turn out this way.” Aha – here, of course, is where that retro Hollywood aesthetic receives its contemporary twist. This particular 325i, as you may well have spotted, is sitting on the floor, like, right on it. And these are the kind of lows that are most effectively achieved in this day and age by the judicious application of some clever air-filled bladders sprinkled around the suspension system. “It had to be crazy low, and for a while I was running static,” he says, “but it got to the stage where I was just too paranoid about damaging it, and I didn’t want to be in a position where I was too apprehensive to drive the thing, which led to me swapping to air-ride.”

    This conversion was taken care of by the renowned madcap spring professors at Kean Suspensions, a name that seems to be everywhere on the Euro tuning scene these days. Tom remains tight-lipped about the full spec of his setup (as we often find – some owners are eager to show off the details of their suspension spec or the precise offsets of their wheels while others prefer to preserve an air of mystery) but suffice to say it flies the flag for Kean’s trademark mix of quality components, exemplary fit-and-finish, and focus on optimising ride quality first, then aesthetics. “It actually rides better than my daily-driver #E90 ,” says Tom, “and I love the air install in the boot, it’s one of my favourite modifications to the car – it’s so neat, it looks perfect, and I can still use the boot.”

    There’s more to this build than simply dropping it on its butt and bothering a few speed bumps, however. Tom has been playing the long game with this project and it shows in the details. Everywhere you look you find fastidious polishing, millimetre-perfect stitching, an overall feeling of care and love. It’s impressive that the thing gets driven at all, let alone used regularly and hard; he must be tremendously busy with his polishing gear.

    “I’ve had the car for five years now and every winter I aim to change something significant,” he tells us with pride. “The most noticeable change is the suspension but there’s a lot more to the car than how it sits. The focus for the build is quality, I want everything to be the best it can be. At first I was running it on coilovers over Keskin KT4 rims and it was about 3cm from the ground. Like I say, it got to the point where I was scared to drive it! But I’m back in love with it now, Kean has transformed it.”

    You can imagine just what a pleasant place that interior is to pilot the thing from, too. It’s very much in keeping with that oldskool Hollywood vibe but, again, with a more modern twist. The seats, in fact, are #E36 #M3 items, to add a bit of extra support and class, and have been reworked in line with Tom’s views on quality parts. “It’s all trimmed in Porsche leather with contrasting red stitching,” he grins. And you can see why he’s so chuffed with it – even in photos, you can almost feel the silky softness, smell the hide, imagine its smooth grain caressing your posterior… it’s a mark of quality that works perfectly in tandem with the timeless E30 interior. And, yes, ‘timeless’ is the right word; while the switchgear and materials may look dated in comparison to #2014 fare, the overall setup of the Eighties 3 Series is nigh-on perfect and transcends the ages. With the dash centre angled toward the driver, a perfectly positioned gearstick and sensibly sited dials, it’s all just as a quality interior should be.

    One area in which Tom’s playing the 325i’s retro credentials to the fullest is what’s going on under the bonnet. Yes, engine swaps are rife in the tuning scene and it’s not particularly tricky to throw, say, an #M50 from an #E36 in there, but this enthusiast has stayed true to the core principles of the model as BMW intended by hanging on to that original M20 unit. And why not, eh? It’s a damn fine engine, the 12v fuel-injected straight-six offering up a handy 170hp-ish in stock tune. Tom’s bolstered this somewhat with the obligatory K&N induction, as well as adding a custom Inox stainless steel exhaust system, so the old girl is inhaling and exhaling a little more freely. As such, the bark from those chunky twin tails has a pleasingly classic note, just a little bit more rugged and angry than the standard rasp that used to ricochet between so many Californian studios back in the Falcon Crest era.

    Now, it’d be easy for a cynic to dismiss the #BBS RS as a played-out wheel design, but it’s important to consider the appropriateness of the RS for this car in particular. We all know how fiercely competitive people can get when it comes to choosing what rolling stock to squeeze under their arches. For a lot of folk it has to be the newest, freshest design from the trendiest aftermarket manufacturer (‘you’re doing the 2014 show season on a set of Rotiform BLQs? You’re so 2012…’) while for others it’s all about hunting down and restoring the rarest motorsport rims, with BBS turbofans being a particular favourite right now. But when you think about the history of the ubiquitous BBS RS, it all makes sense. Having pioneered cost-effective ways of mass-producing threepiece rims in the late 1970s and early ’80s, the company released the first three-piece splitrim for street applications, the RS, in 1983. Available in 15” or 16” and a whole lot of widths, you got forged aluminium lips and centres that came in a choice of silver or gold. Contemporary motorsport fans went bananas for the latter. With massive global demand, BBS followed the RS with a two-piece version (the RM) and a one-piece (the RA), thus elevating the RS to top-of-the-tree status. (Then they brought out the Super RS, a twopiece 18” version… but we’re in danger of getting needlessly geeky now.) With all this in mind, you can see why Tom made the choice that he did for his 325i. It’s just what those late-Eighties Hollywood wideboys would have chosen for their cabriolets, duking it out with the Alpina and Schnitzer fellas with their frisson of spangly-gold motorsport aggression. Yes, they’re so hot right now, but the RSs suits the E30 cab down to a tee. “I’ve had other wheels on the car but these suit the period the car’s from the best,” says Tom, summing it up rather neatly.

    This #BMW 325i, then, is effectively an old-skool boulevardier that’s been magically transported to 2014 via some sort of celestial low-loader. In the process, the cosmos has seen fit to Photoshop the whole thing a few inches closer to the ground but otherwise it’s just the kind of thing that moneyed executives would have fallen over themselves to climb into in period. Just look at the flawless paint – looks brand-new, doesn’t it? “Yes, it’s been resprayed in the original Diamond black,” Tom confirms. And doesn’t it just highlight how straight and true every panel is? It complements the shimmering perfection of the BBS rims, too, which is just as a #BMW-325i should be. If you can think of a more appropriate car to cruise top-down along Santa Monica Boulevard (er, 25 years ago) we want to hear about it.


    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5- litre straight-six #M20B25 , #K&N induction, Inox stainless steel exhaust, stock manual gearbox.

    CHASSIS: 7.5x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) BBS RS wheels with 205/40 (front and rear) Toyo Proxes tyres, Kean Suspensions air-ride setup, front strut brace, EBC RedStuff brakes.

    EXTERIOR: Diamond Black, M-Tech bumpers, smoked head- and taillights, Shadowline grille, 6000K xenons, carbonfibre badges, yellow fogs, light brows.

    INTERIOR: E36 M3 seats trimmed in Porsche leather with red stitching, VDO gauges, Schmiedmann mats, air-ride show install in boot, Alpine head unit with Axton amp and Shabir components.

    THANKS: All of my friends for their help, Schmiedmann and Kean Suspensions for their good service.
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