- Post is under moderationManual XJ-S not hanging around
If you find a good manual 3.6, pounce on it now before another visionary does
‘This was a very bespoke Jag – and it’ll be the next to become collectible’
/ #Jaguar-XJ-S-Cabriolet / #Jaguar-XJ-S-Cabriolet-T-Top / #Jaguar-XJ-S-T-Top / #Jaguar-XJ-S-Manual / #Jaguar-XJS / #Jaguar-XJ-S / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-XJ-SC-T-Top / #Jaguar-XJ-SC / #Getrag-265 / #Jaguar-AJ6 / #Jaguar-XJ-SC-3.6-Manual / #1987-Jaguar-XJ-SC-3.6-Manual / #1987-Jaguar-XJ-SC-3.6 / #1987 / #Jaguar-XJ-SC-3.6
VALUE 2010 £7500
VALUE NOW £10K
CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips
With values of the Jaguar XJ-S now brightening, it’s worth looking at the rarer variants. You’re too late for a bargain ’1975/’1976 manual V12 – only 352 were built and they’re now £40k and rising - but good examples of the ’1985 to ’1987 T-top 3.6 Jaguar XJ S Cabriolet five-speeders are still only in £10k territory. Never sold in America and a slow seller in the UK they’re a rare sight with only around 700 manuals ever produced. I owned an ’1984 for a while and loved the front-end balance and poise from the lighter six-pot AJ6 engine. The #Getrag -265 five-speed is a really sweet unit and you can row the car along like an E-type. Urgent, lithe and quick these manual six-cylinder versions of the XJ-S feel livelier than the V12s and are much underrated.
A private seller in Hampshire has a Tudor White ’1985 manual XJ-SC with 63,000 miles and ‘excellent service history’ for £11,500 while Julian Brown Ltd in Grantham has one of the last 3.6s built, an ’1987 manual cabriolet in light blue with 82,000 miles, three owners and £7k of recent bills for £11,450.
Prices are warming up though with really nice XJ-SCs selling well. In March H&H sold an ’1985 ex-Browns Lane TWR development car with 57,000 miles and history for £14,000 and Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth is offering a mint 23,000-mile ’1984 Burberry special edition – one of just two made – for £45,000. Understand that the targa XJ-S was a prototype convertible before Jaguar got its act together engineering a full drop-top for the American market, and you’ll understand that this is a rare piece of Jaguar history. Bizarrely, the £20,756 XJ-SC was built on the same production line as a coupé shell – the roof and rear buttresses were then removed and cant rails and a centre bar installed by Park Sheet Metal in Coventry, while Aston Martin’s Tickford division fitted the fabric roof and removable panels. This was a very bespoke Jag that was effectively hand-built and only available to special order. If I had to predict the next XJ-S to become collectable I’d say it’s the manual XJ-SC 3.6. But don’t hang about. The private seller in Lincolnshire currently advertising a Sage Green ’1984 manual cabriolet with 91,000 miles and a ‘good history’ for just £5250 won’t have it for long.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationADS ON TEST #1987-BMW-M635CSi-E24
COST NEW £32,195
Big mileage but with prices for these on the up, Nathan finds out if this one’s worth the risk.
/ #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW-M6 / #M88 / #BMW-M88 /
his year’s big #BMW M635 CSi E24 auction result (£100k) has seen many E24 Sixers hit the scene, all of varying quality. The consistent theme is that you’re looking at north of £50k for a low-mileage example.
This isn’t one of those, but it is up for a smidge under £30,000. It could be one of the last remaining chances to get into one for this money that isn’t already home to livestock in a barn somewhere.
The good news is that this example is a genuine get-in-and-drive car and it holds up to scrutiny. The Salmon Silver Metallic paintwork is largely good, with only a light smattering of stonechips to the front of the car, and a mark on one wheelarch. There is bubbling around the front bumper, and the window chrome has marks and smudges. However, the alloy wheels are absolutely perfect and they wear period-correct Michelin TRX tyres. At around £350 a corner you’ll be glad there’s plenty of tread left.
Inside there’s creasing and marks to the oh-so-comfortable leather chairs, and the headlining has a few minor marks. The driver’s seat bolster is showing a fair amount of wear, but this is discolouration rather than rips or missing thread. The only real sign of major wear is the wellthumbed steering wheel; we like the patina though.
The engine bay is largely clean with no signs of corrosion. All the fluids were up to the maximum marks and none wanted to burrow their way back to Munich. The paperwork file is enormous, and points to diligent, loving care. The book’s stamped up to 185,776 miles at a mixture of BMW main dealers and specialists, with receipts for work done. Recent examples of that fettling include a 2016 service at a cost of £1009, which involved a little welding. Further back, a 2015 going-over cost £4147 including new paint.
Behind the wheel the M635 CSi is a fabulous GT cruiser; a flick of the wrist down the evenly-spaced if slightly long five-speed manual gearbox and a hefty prod of the accelerator elicits a zinging snarl from the M88/1 powerplant. There’s plenty of torque and a deeply addictive howl as you reach the upper echelons of the BMW M1 E26 supercar-derived unit. It handles well too, with plenty of feel and immersive responses to your inputs. This car drove very well, without any drivetrain, steering, brake or suspension faults.
CHOOSE YOUR M635 CSi E24
The M635CSi was launched in 1983 with a modified M88/1 engine, which had first seen life in the M1 E26 supercar. It also received a ZF five-speed gearbox. The M cars have the larger front air dam, rear spoiler, BBS alloys and colour-matched side mirrors.
BMW chose to limit all its cars to 155mph in the late 1980s, but the M635CSi sneaked out before. Its 158mph velocity still makes it the second-fastest BMW after the M1 E26.
Production ended in 1989, with 5859 sold – of which just 524 were right-hand drive.
BMW M635CSi E24
On sale at 4Star Classics 4starclassics.com
TECHNICAL DATA FILE SPECIFICATIONS 1987 BMW M635CSi E24
Engine 3454cc, 6-cyl, DOHC #BMW-M88/1 / #BMW-M88 / #BMW / #M88
Transmission RWD, 5-speed manual
Power 282bhp @ 6500rpm / DIN
Torque 251lb-ft @ 4500rpm / DIN
Top speed 158mph
INSURANCE QUOTE Policy £200, with £250 excess. Legal cover and agreed value included. Quote based on a 39-year-old self-employed male, no points on his licence, living in Peterborough. Car is garaged, 3000 miles per year and with comprehensive cover. Call 0800 085 5000 for your quote.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSIDEWAYS SHOW CAR Turbo #BMW-E30-Drift-Car
Sometimes we find a #BMW that’s had so many changes it’s hard to spot them all. Ian Walpole’s E30 drifter is one such car and he did it all in his garage at home… Words: Mike Renaut. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Don’t think of this one as a modified E30. It’s better described as a hand-built race car with a lot of BMW parts. At first glance it looks like a stripped M3 until you realise those arches aren’t quite the same and the back end looks different too… The guys with all the answers are owner Ian Walpole and his mate John Amor who helped him greatly with the build. Between them they’ve built and raced everything from a rally Vauxhall Viva HB to a trials Land Rover. They like a bit of everything, so in 2013 decided it was time for a drift car. “I’ve been into BMWs for a while,” says Ian, “I’ve got an E46 Touring I use for MCC Reliability trials with my dad as navigator – that’s all about stopping in boxes on hills and car control. This E30 was something different again.
“It took us three years to build,” continues Ian, “I don’t know how my wife Sasha put up with it. Just before we went travelling - around 2011 - I’d bought a #1987 #BMW-325i-Sport-M-Tech-1 purely to drive about. It sat on the driveway unused and when we returned I saw rain had got inside and it was all mouldy. After an MOT and some TLC I tried selling but it wasn’t even worth £1000 so I bought an HX40 turbo and a manifold kit for it. The kit was awful, the ports were offset in the wrong place and John and I like to do things properly, so we started to modify parts to fit and the whole build spiralled out of control.”
Caged Laser Engineering laser-cut a plate to fit the turbo and another to fit the cylinder head. “We then cut up the cheap manifold and fabricated new flanges and pipes creating a split pulse manifold with external 60mm wastegate and a screamer pipe exiting from the offside wing,” says Ian. “Then someone offered me £700 for the Sport body kit meaning we had money to play with. We pulled the motor apart and the crank was worn, so in went a 2.8 crank from an M52 and shorter rods, we balanced it all to within 0.1 of a gram and honed the block.” As you can tell, Ian has a well-equipped workshop…
Next the head was reworked by Simon at Orchard Performance for a broad torque band, with oversized valves and porting allowing decent horsepower from a non-aggressive Schrick camshaft. The combustion chambers were modified to improve detonation resistance under boost and optimise combustion, resulting in a fastburning compact chamber that now runs cooler than stock. That alone resulted in an engine with torque enough to get the rear wheels spinning from 2500rpm to the redline. One of the few other areas the guys didn’t do themselves was the baffled sump, “We made one,” says John, “but kept thinking it didn’t quite look right. We reasoned that big companies know what they’re doing when it comes to designing parts, and the idea of oil starvation because we’d made a design mistake was scary, so we bought an off-the-shelf baffle for the sump and welded it in.”
Currently the car runs 6psi of boost, which means 250whp. “On the first dyno run the boost was cranked up to 12psi which produced a puff of steam from the expansion tank and a misfire,” remembers Ian. “I knew the head gasket was the weakest point but I briefly saw 350whp! We’ve now fitted a Cometic multilayer steel gasket which is thicker than the old one, lowering the compression from 9:1 to 8.5:1 and allowing us to safely run extra boost.” That nitrous bottle in the back actually connects to the chargecooler, a £1000 item bought for just £70 on eBay, “We made a spray nozzle on the lathe so 2bar of pressurised nitrous is fired into the cooler, which freezes the inner radiator veins at -136ºC. This provides constant cool air to the engine,” he says. “I didn’t like the idea of injecting nitrous straight into the engine,” explains Ian, “but used this way it’s a great method of keeping the temperature regulated. When the car’s on the dyno being tuned it’s going to have a different temperature to when it’s outside on a track in hot sunshine.
This set up keeps it constant to the dyno temperature conditions.” Waste nitrous exits via a pressure relief valve and homebuilt spray bar over the outside of the charge cooler – again helping it keep an optimum temperature. After all that, the boys kept things simpler with the gearbox; it’s the standard 265 Getrag five-speed unit with uprated pressure plate, although the friction plate has been modified with six sintered paddles and uprated springs by Precision Clutches of Yeovil.
When it came to the body work, there was a clear plan, as Ian explains: “Building this car was all about airflow and weight saving.” The standard bonnet slam panel was getting in the way of that airflow so out came the angle grinder and the front 10” of BMW dropped to the workshop floor to be replaced by a removable lightweight 25mm tube version. “Yeah it’s a bit frightening doing that,” admits John, “but there are two of us so we knew we could fix anything between us.” Keeping the engine cool is a radiator from a 3.0-litre Mitsubishi GTO, but even then the guys couldn’t leave it stock and have handmade an alloy cowling for the 16” fan, “We also cut off the filler neck/cap and ran a bleed hose to an alloy expansion tank.” The fuel cell in the boot was bought from a hill climb car, “It’s an ATL-style bag tank with alloy shroud and the original BMW fuel cap – one of the few original parts that survived the build,” laughs Ian. Fuel travels via a low-pressure pump into a pump feed surge tank to a modified fuel rail and 600cc injectors, then returns to the tank via an adjustable pressure regulator.
The front spoiler and bumper came from eBay; “It was a cheap part that arrived broken in two. We salvaged it and reinforced it with 0.5” alloy tubing and fibreglass, then cut out the indicator and number plate recesses for better air flow before hanging the bumper on quarter-turn Dzus fasteners,” explains John. The new arches were inspired by a modification Ian made to an Alfa Romeo many years ago and are hand-formed from 16- and 18-gauge steel, while each of the side skirts was made from a single sheet of aluminium, likewise the rear bumper.
“The straight bends for the side skirts were much easier than the two days of TIG welding that bumper needed,” admits Ian. As for the final colour, “The guy who painted it – Luke Harvey of Tytherington Body and Paint - suggested adding rainbow flake into the lacquer over the black base.” It looks like a normal black until sunlight hits it, then it sparkles. Almost everything else is colour coded in Ian’s favourite Kawasaki Green.
The boot lid is steel but there’s a carbon fibre one under consideration, “With a drift car you need a certain amount of weight over the back wheels,” says Ian, “we’re still experimenting – it’s more about balance than pure weight reduction.” That’s an M3 boot spoiler but with homemade adaptor plates to fit the non-M3 boot lid. “I fear we might have to fit a huge spoiler for stability in the future though…” says Ian. The weight saving even extends to having the door internals completely gutted and making up new lightweight door latching mechanisms from 15mm billet alloy – drilled, of course, for reduced weight.
The E30 originally had a sunroof but now even the roof panel is fibreglass - saving 18kg and lowering the centre of gravity. “The roof was £67 on eBay but turned out to be in Glasgow,” laughs John, “we went in a van and did about £200 in fuel; I drove up and fell asleep exhausted when we arrived, so they just dropped the roof in on top of me and Ian drove back. It fitted alright once we cut the steel one off but the glue you use to bond it is £50 a tube.”
The front screen is the glass one fitted at the factory but the rest of the windows are Lexan, “I bought the door pieces ready cut but made the others myself with a jigsaw to cut the air scoops into the quarter windows,” explains Ian. There are four scoops in total: two force air over the fuel pumps and swirl pot, the other pair are powered by two 12-volt in-line boat fans blowing air through the gearbox and differential coolers – mounted between the rear lights – with the air exiting through the space where the rear number plate used to be.
The wheels came from Ian’s 2000 750iL; rear hub adaptors were employed to go from four- to five-stud and give an 80mm wider track. The rear suspension comprises HSD Monopro shocks and springs and adjustable trailing arms, all shod with Powerflex Black series bushes. The rear beam lower supports, meanwhile, are now also stronger and longer, which leads us to the front axle. It’s comprised of E36 HSD coilovers with re-drilled strut turrets and top mounts that are adjustable for caster and camber. E36 front hubs run homebuilt hub adaptors and connect to a Z3 steering rack via E46 inner and outer tie rods with four mm rack spacers added for greater lock. The power steering rack is re-engineered by cutting slots internally, allowing free movement of the rack lubricated by a smear of grease and meaning the pipework, pump and reservoir could be removed. That change not only saves weight but also gives better feedback during drifting.
As for the exhaust system, would it surprise you to learn Ian and John hand built that too from 3” stainless steel tubing? “I cut two 90º bends and joined them to form a T-piece, the exhaust exits just ahead of the rear wheels and as well as being designed for free flow it helps push the tyre smoke back. And there’s plenty of it,” laughs Ian, “I’ve got specialised Achilles purple smoke tyres.”
Inside two Sparco seats make up the minimalist interior with a Momo wheel and gauges from AEM. The handmade dashboard is covered in Alcantara while all the other important control switches – fans, gearbox and diff pumps – are in a strip console across the top of the windscreen. “It looks great,” says John, “but when you’re strapped into the car we found that was the only place where Ian could still reach the switches.” Low fuel, nitrous engage and low oil pressure warning lights are also fitted. The handbrake lever is carved from a single piece of billet aluminium, as are the door handles. The roll cage has been extensively modified too; it’s lightweight 45mm chromoly seamless tube and started out as a six-point cage but now has double that - along with dash bars, more crossbars and strengthened mounting plates. Even the stock heater is now housed in a much smaller homemade alloy surround, “There’s not much of this car we haven’t touched,” admits John.
“When I first saw it in paint I didn’t recognise it as my car,” remembers Ian, “it was stunning. We’re both really pleased with how it turned out.” Did working together ever lead to any arguments about parts choices? “I just left all the difficult decisions to Ian,” laughs John, “Yeah and all the difficult jobs too,” jokes Ian. “It was 50% planning and 50% experimenting, some pieces were a bit scary but we bounced ideas off each other.”
Ian and John both insist this is a drift car, and was never intended to be a show car, but then Ian reveals just how many hours John has spent polishing the engine bay for our photos. “I used an entire tube of Autosol,” admits John, “we weren’t aiming to build a show car but, yes, it did get out of hand.” Thanks also go to Ian’s wife Sasha who apparently “cleans all the bits no one normally sees.”
Surely then, and this is a sentiment echoed by almost everyone who has seen the BMW, the car is too nice to risk smacking into an Armco by drifting? “Of course it’s going to get hammered,” agrees Ian, “but it’s designed to be hardy. The body is mainly steel, the fibreglass panels can be changed in a few seconds since they’re all on Dzus fasteners and we can rebuild anything we damage on the track - I just hope Luke can match the paint again!”
THANKS To the staff and visitors at Castle Combe Circuit (castlecombecircuit.co.uk, 01249 782417) for their assistance with this feature.
DATA FILE Turbo Drift #BMW-E30 / #Getrag / #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i / #Holset-HX40 / #Holset / #1987 / #BMW-325i-Turbo-E30 / #BMW-325i-Turbo / #BMW-325i-Drift-Car / #Drift-Car / #BMW-325i-Drift-Car-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #Bosch / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.8-litre single-turbo straight-six M20, aciddipped #M20B25 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 block, modified baffled sump and oil windage tray for better oil return, M52B28 84mm-stroke crankshaft, #M20B20 conrods, M20B25 low-compression pistons with new rings, modified oil pick up and oil filter relocation kit, #ARP big end and main bearing bolts, #ACL-Racing Race Series crankshaft bearings, Saab 9000 turbo 3bar MAP sensor, original cylinder head gas flowed, ported and polished, 1mm-oversized valves with uprated springs, custom torque-focused inlet porting, high gas velocity exhaust ports, custom combustion chambers, improved oil return galleries, uprated rocker arms, 272 #Schrick cam, #Vernier cam pulley, titanium retainers and collets, #Holset-HX40 turbo from a Cummins diesel, bespoke split pulse exhaust manifold, 60mm external wastegate and screamer pipe exiting offside front wing, Mitsubishi GTO radiator with aluminium expansion tank, Ford V6 coil pack and Canems ECU, crank position, intake air temperature, throttle position and manifold absolute pressure sensors, ATL fuel cell, Facet low-pressure fuel lift pump, fuel surge tank, 255lpm #Bosch-044 fuel pump, modified fuel rail, 600cc injectors, adjustable fuel pressure regulator, low-friction AN-6 Teflon hoses, Aeroquip fittings
TRANSMISSION E30 325i #Getrag-265 five-speed manual, uprated pressure plate, friction plate modified with six sintered paddles and uprated springs, rebuilt E30 limited slip differential
CHASSIS 8x18” (front) and 9x18” (rear) #BMW-Style-32 wheels with 215/35 Yokohama Prada Spec 2 (front) and 265/35 Achilles ATR Sport Violet purple smoke tyres (rear), E36 HSD Monopro adjustable coilovers, re-drilled strut turrets and adjustable top mounts, E36 front hubs with homebuilt hub adaptors, Z3 steering rack, E46 inner and outer tie rods with 4mm rack spacers, standard subframe with HSD dampers, uprated Powerflex Black Series bushes, adjustable trailing arms and anti-roll bars, E36 #EBC-Turbo grooved 286mm discs with E36 calipers and EBC Yellowstuff pads (front), EBC Turbo Groove 258mm discs (rear), line lock and hydro handbrake with standard handbrake shoes, mechanism and lever removed
EXTERIOR 901 Black with rainbow glitter lacquer, other details in Kawasaki Green, handmade steel wide-arch front and rear quarters, handmade side skirts, fibreglass roof panel, hand-fabricated removable lightweight 25mm tube slam panel, hand-formed aluminium inner wings, heavily modified reinforced fibreglass front bumper, flushed door locks and filler cap, Lexan windows with air ducts, Titanium exhaust guards, spare tyre well and battery box removed from boot, handmade aluminium boot floor, original number plate recess, boot hinges and bulkhead removed, new handmade ally bulkhead riveted in, Anodised green motorcycle floodlights, front and rear strobes
INTERIOR Fully stripped out, all sound deadening removed, floor cut and tunnels for side exiting exhausts fabricated, six-point half roll-cage modified into 12-point cage with 45mm crossbars, handfabricated aluminium dashboard, modified heater box to fit behind cage, hydro handbrake and homemade mounting, Sparco seats and STR 3” harnesses, new door inners with home-fabricated lightweight harness material door pulls and latch mechanisms, carbon fibre door cardsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCool cruise. The ultimate version of the R107 roadster, the 5.5-litre 560SL launched in #1986 , was never sold in European markets, and most went to the US. Rich Truesdell tried a lovely example in California Images Rich Truesdell.
Classic roadster 560SL
“One of just 5,351 produced for the 1989 calendar year, the 560SL was in exceptional condition, nicely broken in with just 87,000 miles”
The R107 #Mercedes-Benz roadster enjoyed the longest production run of any passenger car in the history of the marque, from 1971 to 1989, assuming of course we discount the utility G-Wagen. With the frantic pace of change in today’s automotive world, it is impossible to imagine a single car, from a major manufacturer, being produced fundamentally unchanged, for 18 years. But to put things into perspective, the handsome R107 was built from the height of the Cold War to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a remarkable story.
And the R107, along with its longer companion, the C107 coupe, was produced in more than a dozen different variants to satisfy markets around the world, in six- and eight-cylinder versions. And of course it should come as no surprise that the United States was one, if not the most important overseas market for this, the most sporting model in the Mercedes- Benz line up.
In the late 1960s, when the car was conceived as a replacement for the W113 Pagoda, the influence of the all important US market affected its design. At the time it was thought that impending roll over regulations would legislate the traditional convertible out of the marketplace. This was not lost on the product planners at Stuttgart, even as far back as 1968 when the replacement for the much loved W113 SL was first deliberated over.
The discussion centred on if what would become the R107 should have a targa style top, or a cloth top and removable hardtop. In the end, the decision was made to go the traditional route, the US market be damned. This is attributed to the staunch support of Hans Scherenberg, then the Head of Development who said at the time, “The SL gave me great pleasure, but also caused me great trouble. This was no easy decision for us.”
At the same time, the board discussed offering a companion four-seat coupe, a decision that would be initially postponed. One group within Mercedes-Benz management supported building a sporting coupe based on the upcoming W116 S-Class platform, but this was ruled out because such a model would take several years to design and develop. According to the official Mercedes- Benz history it was Karl Wilfert, then the head of body design in Sindelfingen, who developed on his own, a coupe proposal based on the R107. At first it was rejected by the board of management but the determined Wilfert managed to push through his idea of a sporty coupe.
Ultimately the R107 based tin top was introduced as the C107 SLC and built from 1972 until 1981 – just half the SL’s lifespan and, with 62,888 examples manufactured, a mere quarter of the roadster’s production.
Beyond the consideration of the US market, safety was a major goal of the R107 programme. While it can be said that the R107 would combine the mechanical components of the mid sized W114 with the larger engines offered from the W116, the R107 programme offered safety innovations of its own especially with regard to further development of front and rear crumple zones.
The backbone of the R107 series featured an independent frame floor unit with a closed transmission tunnel and box shaped cross and longitudinal members, which used sheet metal of different thicknesses, further improving performance should the car become involved in an accident.
The fuel tank was moved to a position above the rear axle, to minimise the possibility of it being ruptured in a rear end collision. The R107 was not simply a shortened and reinforced saloon floor assembly, as in the W113, but was in essence a unique platform. Once the decision was made to go the soft top route, the determination was made to reinforce the A-pillar surrounding the windscreen, to a degree not previously attained. In the end the A-pillar was designed with 50 per cent more strength than before to provide occupants with some protection in a roll over accident.
The interior also benefited from many passive safety innovations, a hallmark of the cars developed under the direction of the legendary engineer, Béla Barényi. The father of modern passive safety, Barényi saw to it that the interior of the R107 bristled with innovation. The previous hard dashboard made way for an innovative sheet steel design that was designed to yield on impact. In addition to generous padding for the instrument panel the knee area was also foam padded.
The polyurethane foam padded, four-spoke steering wheel absorbed crash energy more efficiently than previously. With a fresh look that owed little to previous interiors, the R107’s cockpit was Mercedes’ first modern passenger compartment and served as a precursor to those that would follow, especially for the upcoming S-Class. At the time of its launch in 1971, the R107 was an immediate hit worldwide.
But back then few people would have predicted that its production run would last almost two decades. Over that time, the US would see five presidents occupy the White House: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and finally – for a short time – the first President Bush.
In the US the first R107 launched was the 350SL but this was a little confusing, as under the hood was found a 4.5-litre V8, the smaller engined version deemed insufficient for the US market. This was due in part to the 1970 US Clean Air Act that strangled all engines in the effort to reduce tailpipe emissions.
What also distinguished the US SLs from their European counterparts were their round headlights, as a result of the US mandates in place at the time the R107 was introduced. This didn’t stop many US owners from installing Euro style single headlights to give their SLs a distinctive look over the years, and even though the headlight laws changed in 1975, SLs destined for North America sported round head lights to the end of production in 1989.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the R107 SL defined the marque in the US, establishing Mercedes-Benz as the car that was engineered like no other in the world, its benchmark advertising tag line of the era. In its day the R107 was the choice of many A-list celebrities, especially in Hollywood and became a pop culture icon, appearing in dozens of movies. The 560SL appeared in autumn 1985 for the 1986 model year, for sale in the US, Japan and Australia, coinciding with a minor facelift for the R107. Its 5.5-litre V8 came with a standard fit catalyst (three years before this became mandatory in Europe), hence power was 227bhp compared to the 238 and later 296bhp that the non cat, European spec version of this engine gave in the S-Class saloon and coupe. Its derestricted potential is one reason many R107 fans in Europe feel cheated that it was never sold there.
That it spanned the transition of cars like the almost delicate W113 Pagoda to the tank like R129 that followed is a testimony to the inherent excellence of the original design, conceived at the end of the 1960s. But as the R107 departed the scene in 1989, in the US, Mercedes- Benz faced new challengers, first from BMW, then from Lexus. But it’s impossible to imagine either marque, no matter how successful, producing a car that could match its longevity.
California resident Michael Mendonca already owned an R107 450SL when he bought his 560SL
To track down a late example of the 560SL, one of 49,347 built over a four-year production run, Classic Mercedes looked west, all the way to sunny southern California to find this car, a final year 1989 model owned by financial planner Michael Mendonca. But this 560SL is neither his first nor his only Mercedes-Benz SL.
“I waited until relatively late in life to own my first classic car,” says Michael who at one time worked in the marketing department of the famed Ford Mustang tuner, Saleen. “It was a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SL, which I still own. I enjoy the 560SL quite a bit, but still use both these cars as second and third vehicles. I liked the car ever since having seen the movie American Gigolo with Richard Gere back in high school.”
One of just 5,351 produced for the 1989 calendar year, the 560SL was in exceptional condition, nicely broken in with just 87,000 miles, and talking with Michael about how he acquired the car illustrates how easy it is to find such a good example in the US. “I actually wasn’t looking for another SL since I owned the 450, but the 560 was in such great shape and the price was right that I could not pass up the deal. I enjoy also that the cars are considered classics and I can get classic car insurance on the cars, which keeps my overhead down.”
“I attend the Cars and Coffee show in Irvine, California on a regular basis and saw the car for sale,” relates Michael. (Cars and Coffee is the legendary yet informal car show held every Saturday morning at the former headquarters of Ford’s Premier Auto Group that once included Aston Martin Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln and Volvo). “A friend of mine wanted the car but could not come up with the cash so I grabbed the car from who turned out to be a really nice guy. The owner happened to live in the same city I reside in, which made the purchase quite easy.”
“I’ve owned the 560 about a year and a half now and usually take it out for a drive once or twice a week,” says Michael in a follow up interview when we photographed the car several weeks later. “I especially enjoy the car in the spring and summer.”
Michael Mendonca drives his SL for pleasure, on classic insurance.
“The United States was one, if not the most important overseas markets for this, the most sporting model in the Mercedes-Benz line up”
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #Mercedes-Benz-560SL-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-560SL / #Mercedes-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-M117 / #Mercedes-Benz-560SL-USA / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes /
Engine #M117 5,547cc #V8
Power 227bhp @ 4,750rpm
Torque 275b f t @ 3,250rpm
Transmission 4-speed automatic, RWD
Top speed 139mph
Years produced #1986 / #1987 / #1988 / #1989
Number built 49,347
All figures from Mercedes-Benz
Above. SL’s cabin is a neat fit, but is beautifully finished and with lovely tan leather.
ABOVE LEFT. The warm, sunny climate in southern California suits the R107 perfectly.
Twin headlamps and rubber edged bumpers mark out the North American R107s.
Chromed wheels more more popular in the US than in European markets.
Above. SL’s dash is a masterpiece; outside temp gauge is in place of the middle vent.
ABOVE right. US emissions tuned V8 had 227bhp, way down on European spec 5.5-litre.
ABOVE far right. This 560SL was a great find, barely run in having covered just 89,330 miles.
The boot, or should that be trunk, looks quite small but you can pack a lot into it.
ABOVE LEFT. Original Becker Grand Prix radio/cassette is still in place and looks fantastic.
ABOVE right. In reality the R107’s rear seat is a very luxurious fold down parcel shelf.
“In the US, the first R107 launched was the 350SL but this was confusing, as under the hood was found a 4.5-litre V8”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGorgeous fully-restored E30 M3 racer / ASAHI #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #Anthony-Reid / #Asahi-Kiko / #Asahi-Kiko-Racing / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-M3-Asahi-Kiko-Racing / #BMW-M3-Asahi-Kiko-Racing-E30 / #BMW-M3-Japanese-Touring-Car-E30 / #Chassis-M31/60 / #BMW-Chassis #M31/60
Every car travels a unique path, but this ex-Anthony Reid #JTCC-championship contender has had more adventures than most. Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.
This Sporting Life
The story behind a beautifully restored ex-Anthony Reid E30 #BMW-M3-Japanese-Touring-Car .
Jaguar founder, Sir William Lyons, famously said: “The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something that is alive”, and he had a point. There are the obvious operating and character-related similarities, but also the fact that each car ever made always has its own life story. Like their human owners, some cars have mundane lives while others have exciting or tragic ones, but every single one is important, hence our continued documentation of them. This particular car has led possibly one of the most colourful lives, travelling from the UK to Japan, then on to Malaysia, Switzerland, back to the UK and now Australia, where it’s been through six owners in the same number of years! No wonder we wanted to feature it.
Chassis M31/60 started life in #1987 , when it was purchased by the infamous Middlebridge Racing team. For those who are not be aware, Middlebridge Group was, despite its name, actually a Japaneseowned engineering company that got involved in various automotive adventures, most notably the short-lived resurrection of the Reliant Scimitar and the purchase of the Brabham F1 team from jailed Swiss financier Joachim Luhti. Perhaps predictably, neither of these forays ended well, with the Scimitar project only delivering 77 cars of the 300-a-year it was supposed to make and the F1 team lasting three seasons before the money (loaned from another company – Landhurst Leasing) ran out. In amongst all this trouble though, Middlebridge also purchased two Group-A E30s, one of which has seemingly vanished and the other being the car you see before you.
According to current maintenance custodian, Chris Bowden (of Ecurie Bowden, who also look after the other Australian-based racing BMWs we’ve been featuring recently), chassis M31/60 did spend some time in Europe after its purchase, but only really sat as a spare car at Spa before eventually being shipped to Japan to compete in the JTCC. There it schlepped around the back of the field in various teams before being picked up by Tomei Sport in 1993 – the last year of Group A in Japan. Thanks to the Japanese penchant for constantly upgrading their cars rather than buying new ones, it had at least been given Evo 2.5-spec components in 1990, but it was only during Tomei’s ownership that it really showed its true potential, and much of that was down to the car’s most famous driver – Anthony Reid.
Obviously Reid needs no introduction, and thanks to the combination of his and co-driver Atsushi Kawamoto’s skills, and Tomei Sport’s Valvoline and Asahi Kiko funding, the car went from backmarker to championship contender in the space of one year, winning at TI Circuit Aida (now Central Circuit) and taking second at Autopolis, Tokachi and the season finale Intertec 500 at Fuji. Third places at Mine, Tsukuba and Sendai backed things up, and while they were always going to struggle against rival Auto Tech E30’s four straight wins at the start of the season, only Reid and Kawamoto’s poor finishes at Sugo and Suzuka really dashed their chances.
Unfortunately, after its glorious JTCC run ended, this E30’s life took a turn for the worse. Purchased and raced by a Malaysian businessman who wanted to drive it in a series there, it went from podium regular to backmarker again and was driven so slowly in the half a season it competed that Valvoline’s Malaysian distributor asked the company’s stickers and colours be removed. In replacement, Chris says the owner then painted it a “very dark blue, almost purple colour… with a Super Tourer-esque chequered flag motif running up the centre and onto the roof” akin to the Works Fina machines, but seemingly all that effort was for nought as the car was quickly sold to a Swiss expat living in nearby Singapore who wanted to take it home with him and for use as a hillclimb racer. Chris says this wasn’t a short-term fling either, lasting eight or nine years before the gentleman sold it to the renowned #BMW expert, Alex Elliot, back here in the UK. He in turn got on to good friend Adrian Brady, who has an impressive BMW collection in Australia and persuaded him in either 2009 or 2010 (Chris is uncertain on the exact date) to add another by purchasing the E30 and shipping it Down Under.
It’s here chassis M31/60’s life story takes an even more tumultuous turn. Despite already having gone through several different owners in four countries, it was about to get five more in just one. Adrian, having decided to purchase another Group A E30, decided he didn’t need two and sold this one to well-known Sydney-based classic car racer Terry Lawlor (who went on to run a Group A R32 GT-R and now campaigns a Sierra RS500) via Ecurie Bowden.
Thankfully, at this stage the old girl was given a much-needed overhaul by the Bowden crew as she was tired after all that Malaysian circuit racing and Swiss hillclimbing, but as Chris Bowden explains it wasn’t as bad as he first thought, at least mechanically: “After 1993, it was just an old race car. It just got run and run. However, someone loved it at some stage, because all the componentry in it (bar the gearbox) – the engine, driveshaft and so on – was in surprisingly good condition. Maybe that’s just a pat on the back to BMW engineering, but they were all good, which was a bit of a trip because of how tired it looked externally. It just needed a basic mechanical refresh and we sourced a new Motorsport Getrag and boom – she’s out there firing around like a jet.”
Obviously, as Chris alluded to, the exterior needed rather more work and here Ecurie Bowden was helped by how well documented the car’s final Japanese race, the Intertec 500, was, as they could access enough imagery and so on to finally bring the car back to its most famous livery – the Valvoline stripes and Asahi Kiko logo that currently adorns the car. It’s a stunning design, and one that, combined with the gold centre-lock BBS wheels and Evo-spec wider fenders and more aggressive aero, really helps the car stand out among the many other Group A E30s that tour the Australian classic racing circuit.
Indeed, looking over the car during the shoot, we couldn’t help but be impressed with the incredibly high standard of the restoration overall. From the shine on the drool-worthy carbon air box to the ultraclean interior and exterior paint, there’s not a single area of the car that hasn’t been touched and it shows. Obviously, it helps when your brother owns and runs a car care company (Bowden’s Own), but the products used only add extra shine to what is already a very clean build.
Keen-eyed observers will have noticed there is one aspect of the car that’s not entirely to #JTCC spec though, and that’s the lack of the factory dry-break fuelling system – something evidenced by the blanks covering the holes in the back where the system would have sat. No one is entirely sure when and where it disappeared, but the best guess is either in Malaysia or in Europe, as it was missing when the car arrived in Australia. This is obviously a great shame, as it represents a part of the car’s endurance racing history, but while it would be possible to replace it with like-for-like parts, the reality is the car’s current racing schedule means it only does sprints (Australia doesn’t have classic endurance events), and the ATL system currently fitted is lighter and therefore bettersuited for such duty anyway. Really eagle-eyed readers will also have noted the lack of any evidence of an aerial – not even covered-over holes in the roof – which is very strange for a car that did endurance races, but Chris thinks this might be because the Japanese used a different type of wireless communication setup back in the day.
Despite these little things, Chris says the restoration process was very rewarding, as it was the first Group A E30 Evo they’d restored, and planted the seed for a future acquisition that we’ll also be featuring in an upcoming issue. However, while he no doubt enjoyed the fruits of the makeover, Terry, as we know, eventually moved on and sold the M3 to another gentleman, who shall remain nameless as apparently he wasn’t the best custodian for the machine, running the wrong gearbox in it for some reason. He then sold it to classic car enthusiast, Larry McFarlane, who then passed it on to Peter Jones in 2015. Peter, you might recall, also owns the #BMW-M3-JPS-E30 #BMW-E30-JPS we ran in the September issue, and used this car as his racer while the JPS was being restored.
Just to add another twist, Peter recently swapped the car for an RS500 with friend and fellow Queenslander, Duncan McKellar, but has fond memories of the machine from when he raced it at circuits like Morgan Park and Phillip Island, where we did this shoot: “The Asahi car, whilst it’s an early chassis, because of the Japanese Touring Car Championship trend, they upgraded all the specs of their cars regularly, rather than buy a new car. So in 1990 it was converted to the 2.5 Evo spec and they raced it in Japan until 1993, but the ‘92-spec is how we’re running this. Thus, it has all of those upgrades in terms of suspension arms, aero and of course the bigger engine and all the things that go with it. As a result, it’s a very lovely car to drive – a very fast car. I was certainly quite fast in it and very confident.”
Now chassis M31/60 is in Duncan’s hands and hopefully it’s found its ‘forever home’. He’s certainly a fast and accomplished racer, and more than capable of extracting the best from the exquisitely balanced chassis. The fact it should have undergone another tear-down and rebuild by the time you read this (in preparation for the Sydney Muscle Car Masters) should mean it’s even faster than it is already, too. In a life already filled with enough travel and ups and downs to make most people giddy, it’s a fitting position for the car to be in right now. Properly cared for, free to run and able to make the most of its considerable abilities – you couldn’t ask for more.
Right: Fuel-filling system was changed from factory spec at some point. Below: Stunning gold #BBS rims.
This E30 may have gone through many changes during its life but its powerplant has been well looked after over the years; it might be an ’1987 car but was upgraded to 2.5-litre Evo spec when it raced in Japan.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRM Sotheby’s Duemila Ruote sale, 25-27 November / #BMW
If you’re feeling adventurous towards the end of November may we suggest you hi-tail it across to Milan for RM Sotheby’s ‘Duemila Ruote’ (literal meaning: 2000 wheels) auction, the largest event of its kind ever hosted in Europe. On the weekend of 25 November, well over 430 cars will descend on Milan, Italy, to be offered entirely without reserve, alongside over 150 motorcycles, 60 boats, and hundreds of road bicycles and items of automobilia.
The venue for this auction is the Fiera Milano exhibition centre, during the Milano AutoClassica, easily accessible from around the world with three international airports and situated within the heart of Italy’s most exciting travel destinations.
As we went to press there were around ten BMWs listed and it’s worth remembering that everything on offer is being sold without reserve… so there could be some bargains to be had. Information on the specific vehicles was a little sparse but we think we can forgive RM Sotheby’s that at this stage, as compiling a catalogue for such a huge sale is quite some undertaking. Here are some of the lots we thought looked interesting…
/ #1987 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30 ESTIMATE €10,000-€12,000
/ #1983 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi-ETCC-Group-A / #BMW-635CSi-ETCC-Group-A-E24 ESTIMATE €5000-€10,000
/ #1986 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / ESTIMATE €10,000-€15,000
/ #1990 / #BMW-Z1 / ESTIMATE €30,000-€35,000
/ #1998 / #BMW-Z3-M-Coupé ESTIMATE €20,000-€30,000
/ #1987 E30 / #BMW-M3-Evo-E30 ESTIMATE €15,000-€20,000Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #Classic-Car-Auctions , 3 December / Under the Hammer / CLASSIC AUCTIONS
/ This month we have a look at some of the offerings from the auction companies that are coming up under the hammer in the next month or so /
/ #1987 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / ESTIMATE £17,000 - £20,000
It would seem that M635CSis are one of those #BMW classics that are hard to value – there are many up for sale at specialists for very strong money and the fact that very few of them seem to be selling might indicate that they’re being a little over optimistic. This one certainly presents well and with 126,000 miles on the clock it can be used without affecting its value. Whether the timing chain has been replaced isn’t mentioned and we think this will have a bearing on whether it meets its estimate or not.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationArt Cars The eighth machine in the series: Ken Done’s Group A E30 M3. / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-Art-Car / #BMW-M3-Ken-Done / #BMW-M3-E30-Ken-Done / #1989 /
For its eighth Art Car BMW again looked to Australia, but this time the artist was best known for his design work and brightly coloured images of Australian landmarks / BMW ArtCars / Ken Done E30 M3
The second Australian Art Car can almost be seen as an opposite to the first Australian Art Car. It was created by an artist who was the youngest ever student to be admitted to East Sydney Tech, an art school in Sydney, who later moved on to become a famous artist who created the logo for the Sydney Olympics, among other things…
At the early age of 14, #Ken-Done , who was born in Sydney in 1940, began studying art at the National Art School. In the late ‘70s, after 20 years as a commercial artist in Sydney, New York and London, he began painting full-time. Done held his first exhibition in Sydney in 1980, soon becoming one of the most significant painters on the Australian continent. In 1988 he was commissioned with the design of Australia’s and the United Nations’ pavilions at the EXPO in Brisbane, Queensland. His paintings feature vivid colours and brush strokes portraying the typical face of Australia.
As opposed to Michael Jagamara Nelson, who painted the seventh Art Car we looked at last month, Ken Done was very much of the moment, a product of modern Australia whereas Nelson’s art could trace its roots back to the very beginning of Australian culture, long before it was discovered by the rest of the world.
Dr Andreas Braun, curator of the BMW Museum in Munich, is in no doubt as to the importance of Done’s M3: “In my opinion it belongs to the highlights of this collection as it took a new direction at the end of the ’80s. The Art Car series is meant to reflect the whole world and Done paints the happiness of his homeland – countryside, sunshine and beaches. His paintings are so colourful, carnal and cheerful that you get the impression that it was the beach fashion of the coming season.”
From the very beginning, Done knew exactly how the car should be designed. On the one hand he wanted the paintwork to express some of the fascination he held for this high-performance car. At the same time, however, it also had to be typically Australian, reflecting the vitality of his homeland. Done decided in favour of the exotic colours of parrots and parrot fish which, in his view, had two characteristics in common with the M3: beauty and speed. “In that particular area I wanted it to be something about speed. Even when parrots are standing still they look as if they’re about to do something very fast… and that’s the great thing about a BMW, it looks like it’s about to go very fast.”
The canvas for Done’s art work was the same as Nelson’s, a #1987 #Group-A E30 M3, and given the artist’s fascination with speed it’s perhaps a shame that it never got to race in his livery. There’s no doubt that Done was delighted to have been asked to paint the car though: “In the time in which we live I like to use art to make beautiful things and I just thought this was the most fantastic honour imaginable… it was such a great thing to do.”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation
/ #1987 / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-M635CSi / #BMW-M635CSi-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-M6 / #BMW-M6-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #M88 / #BMW-M88 / Charterhouse, July sale
While the E24 M6 has been increasing in value over the years it’s perhaps not appreciated quite as fast as its mechanically identical E28 M5 brethren. However, cars with a decent provenance will sell well and this Alpine white machine looked to be a good example of the breed. Mileage might have been on the high side at 124,500 but the car had had just one registered keeper and had recently been recommissioned including the fitment of four new TRX tyres – not a cheap exercise! It sold just shy of its £20k estimate but looked to have been priced about right.
SOLD FOR: £19,800Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.