- Post is under moderationHARDCORE S54 E30 Thunder from Down Under
SKIN DEEP #S54-swapped E30. Words and photos: Chris Nicholls. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and Andrew Burke’s home-built, DIY-painted E30 is exactly the reason why.
“Why are you shooting that little thing?” says a passer-by during the shoot. I casually pop the bonnet and see his eyes widen. “Jeez, there’s some work gone into that,” he says, before firing off a few photos on his phone and walking away. This sort of thing happens several more times during the shoot and it’s easy to understand why.
From a distance, this is just another E30 track car. The matt black paint, done as a last resort after troubles with the painter, is hardly the last word in beauty and the stock M Tech II body kit isn’t going to set anyone’s world alight either. No, things only get interesting when you get close. It’s then that you see the custom Forgeline wheels and fat, circle-track StopTechs and imperial-sized AP Racing J-hook discs (chosen because imperial gear is cheaper than metric). Next, you peek inside and notice the #Motec M800 ECU sitting on a custom carbon plate on the floor. And the oil lines for the Peterson dry sump kit running next to it. And the Motec C127 colour dash logger and Tilton pedals. It just doesn’t stop. Finally, you pop that aforementioned bonnet and see the immaculate S54 with carbon cover and CSLreplica intake nestled in-between the strut towers, surrounded by Goodridge Teflon hoses and a Peterson oil pressure primer pump. If ever there was a car to prove that sometimes, the opposite of the idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies, this is it.
The back story of this Australian E30, as you might suspect given the engineering involved, started several years ago (six to be precise) when owner-builder Andrew Burke picked up this 325is to be a street-registered track day build. Having got tired of risking his E92 335i road car on the track, he thought back to a 1989 E30 brochure he got as a kid and decided that would be a better bet. As most builds do, things started off small. Some H&R springs and Bilstein Sport dampers, rebuilt stock brakes and bolton exhaust, a short shifter and new Recaros did the trick for six months, but one track day at the wonderfully nicknamed Haunted Hills circuit (actually Bryant Park) in his home state of Victoria, Andrew noticed puffs of blue smoke on overrun thanks to some keen-eyed photographers. “That was all the excuse I needed to go ‘Oh, this motor could potentially have some kind of small issue in the next three, six, nine, 12 years, I should probably just swap the engine out right now’” he laughs.
Thus began a long and involved process of finding and fitting a new motor. Having decided a resto-mod approach was best, he settled on an S50 and sourced one from the UK, but all was not well. “As all UK motors are, it was covered in corrosion, all the aluminium bits were all pitted from the salt and whatever other calamities occur over there in the middle of winter, so I didn’t do a whole lot with it other than strip it down to a short block and basically sand blast all the things,” Andrew says. Having cleaned it up, he found it still good enough to use, so left it standard internally and got to work fitting it. On went an E34 sump and 12° angled double-shear shift rod to get the now-twisted stock G250 five-speed to work with the AKG DTM shifter, some custom-made exhaust manifolds from Andrew Nicholls at Meridian Motorsport and a VFT E36 DTM-style carbon air box specifically designed to fi t S50s in E30s thanks to a notch cut into the back to clear the brake booster. To ensure that it all ran, Andrew cut and re-connected the stock harness himself and fitted an Alpha N ECU chip.
However, while he may have cleaned it up, it turned out the engine’s not-so-perfect appearance was rather more indicative of its condition than first thought and sure enough, the number five journal went at a Winton Raceway track day in true S50 style. “A $350 tow truck ride home later [Andrew not having a trailer at the time and Winton being two hours from central Melbourne] we were sitting in the garage, the old man and I, saying ‘Well, we’re going to have to fix it, I guess’”. Andrew admits that even at that point, the idea of fitting an S54 came into his head, but he wasn’t quite ready to quit on the idea of an S50-engined E30 yet, especially having done so much work to make it fit.
Thus, he decided that, rather than throw everything away, he would build a proper race-spec S50 and see what happened. Sadly, it’s here that Andrew suffered the all-too-common “bad workshop experience.”
After searching around for a well-regarded builder, he thought he’d found one in a former Team JPS BMW factory race engineer in New South Wales, but while the specs were suitably serious, complete with 11.6:1 Wossner pistons, Pauter I-beam rods, 296° cams, Supertec Inconel valves and the current Peterson dry-sump system (designed to avoid ever spinning a bearing again), it “never made any real power.” “Without going into too much detail, it just fell on its face above 6000rpm,” he says. Worse still, it didn’t even last that long. A mere 500km of track work later and Andrew was sitting on the side of the Winton tarmac with two holes in the block from a rod and rod bolt respectively, oil pouring out everywhere and his car partially in flames thanks to starting a grass fire underneath it. The worst part? A postmortem found the likely cause to be poor assembly.
“As I pulled the bits off the motor so I could get it out of the chassis, I found one of the ARP rod bolts was poking through the block on the exhaust side. I didn’t see it originally as a result, but it was poking through with all of its threads still intact. So it was not like the bolt snapped – it was like it completely unscrewed itself – and I can’t imagine a bolt that’s designed to be torqued to yield, if it was properly fastened, would have come undone. End of story. So that was that, which was a bit unfortunate.”
Unfortunate indeed, and at around AU$30,000 (£17,000) for the engine, expensive. Andrew adds that figure doesn’t even include the cost of ancillaries fitted to deal with the extra power, the current 8x17” Forgelines, the previous SL6R and SL4R Wilwood calipers and discs (since replaced by the StopTechs because Andrew bought another road/track E30 he wanted to put those on), the custom-built AST two-way adjustable coilovers (again, since replaced by custom MCS two-ways) and several other mods besides. However, Andrew wasn’t prepared to throw it all away, so after convincing his wife he “wasn’t silly,” he pulled the trigger on a mint S54 with just 18,000 miles on it out of a wrecked Californian Z4 M.
Being so new and from California, this motor was in stunning shape. There was no dust behind the water pump or alternator pulleys and even the internals, which Andrew inspected when he pulled off the sump to fit the Moroso dry sump pan, were unvarnished.
Given he had no money to put new internals in it, this worked out perfectly. Plus, the S54 made more power stock than his built S50 anyway, so in it went, with only a Karbonius CSL-replica air box – fitted because the StopTechs meant he no longer needed the booster – a Racing Dynamics carbon engine cover, new custom exhaust manifolds (again from Andrew from Meridian, who by then had moved on to start his own venture called Trackart) and a few other mechanical pieces like an Eisenmann exhaust needed to make it work. At the same time, Andrew realised that to actually run the thing (especially given he was keeping Vanos and drive-by-wire), he would need to upgrade his dash from a set of Stack gauges to a Motec logger to ensure the necessary input and output numbers, and after contacting Jason Ingram at Advanced Motorsport Electrics to do the concentrically-wound, DR25 heat-shrunk harness and install it, he got it tuned by Lee at Melbourne Performance Centre and brought it up to Broadford State Motorcycle Centre for a shakedown, which is where we did the shoot.
His impressions of the car now it’s finished (bar a cage)? “I was thrilled with the way that it handled and the way that it stopped even back when it had the second S50… but I was deeply disappointed on some level that it didn’t make as much power as I was expecting. It was certainly fast enough, but it never felt brutal, I guess. Whereas the S54 is still not crazy by any means, it just feels a lot more angry. It feels significantly more powerful.” Given this first shakedown was conducted at only half-throttle, that’s a brilliant portent and suggests that when this E30 is finally unleashed, its unassuming looks, combined with all that power and handling, will mean the opposition won’t see it coming.
“If ever there was a car to prove that sometimes, the opposite of the idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies, this is it”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #S54 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-S54 / #BMW-S54 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30 / #Bosch / #BMW-E30-S54B32
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #Karbonius CSL-replica dry carbon air box, #K&N air filter, #Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, #Aftermarket Industries swirl pot, #MagnaFuel dry break billet fuel filters, #NGK-Platinum plugs, Setrab 19-row oil cooler with -16 fittings, Roush Yates carbon catch can, Peterson R4 dry sump pump, #VAC-Motorsports mount kit, #C&V HTD belt drive with VAC/ATI fluid harmonic balancer, -16 feed and return oil hoses, -12 scavenge, #Peterson scavenge filters, -10 pressure feed to VAC Motorsports oil manifold, custom #Moroso dry sump oil pan, Peterson single-stage remote oil primer circuit, Peterson billet four-gallon dry sump tank with custom #CNC bracketing, dual breathers and 100 micron filter screen, Canton billet five micron oil filter on pressure stage, #C&R-Racing oil filter housing with provision for secondary oil cooler circuit in rear of car, #Wix-Racing 51222R filter, Goodridge XF 910 and Brown and Miller (BRMS) Teflon hoses, VAC-Motorsports lights, accessories and alternator pulleys, ATI damper by VAC Motorsports, AKG-Motorsport Group N engine mounts, #Racing-Dynamics dry carbon engine cover, Trackart custom equal-length exhaust manifolds and custom 2.5” exhaust, Eisenmann E36 M3 rear box, Motec-M800-ECU , #Motec SKN dual CAN knock module, Advanced Motorsport Electrics custom concentricwound wiring harness with Kevlar tracers, Raychem boots, Souriau and Autosport connectors
TRANSMISSION #G250 five-speed manual gearbox, #AP-Racing 7.25” twin-plate clutch and lightened cro-mo flywheel from E36 M3 R, AKG DTM shifter, PPF axles, re-balanced OE driveshaft, OE diff with extra clutch packs, Z3 M housing, custom transmission mounts and subframe reinforcements
CHASSIS 7.5x17” ET20 (front and rear) #Forgeline-SO3 wheels with 235/40 (front and rear) Nitto NT-01 tyres, VAC Motorsports 90mm studs, #Motorsport-Hardware cro-mo nuts, 3mm spacers (front), Motion Control Suspension custom two-way remote reservoir coilovers, #Eibach 60mm springs, AKG Motorsport polyurethane, #Treehouse-Racing and custom #Delrin bushes, custom Trackart T45-based cro-mo front strut brace, custom front arb and mounts, Dave Stillwell rear anti-roll bar with custom mounts and reinforcement, full Aurora rose joints, #StopTech STR43 calipers (front and rear), #AP-Racing J-hook fully-floating discs, custom Motorsport Connections Teflon braided lines, Performance Friction PFC01 pads (front and rear), custom-machined 7057 T6 rotor hats
EXTERIOR OEM Tech II kit, custom bi-xenon headlights based on TRS projectors and 3D printed adaptors, rear lights lightly tinted with Diamond black
INTERIOR #AKG-Motorsport Delrin shift knob, AKG Motorsport DTM shift lever and short-shift kit, Alcantara gear gaiter, #Tilton 600 Series pedals, Tilton -4 fluid tank, #Speedflow lines, Tilton billet brake bias adjuster, Tilton fluid bias and balance bar adjuster, #Motec C127 dash logger, Recaro SP-A Kevlar V8 Supercar special edition seat, VAC Motorsports billet rails, Sabelt Ultralight harnesses, Personal Grinta 330mm wheel, Lifeline Group N boss with custom spacer, custom carbon panel behind wheel for light controls, custom Trackart harness bar, custom aluminium scuff plates
THANKS Andrew at Trackart for the exhaust, brake cooling duct, harness bar and strut bar fabrication work, Marcos at Motorsport Connections for the Speedflow bits and hoses, Jason Ingram at Advanced Motorsport Electrics for the incredible work on the harness and Lee Burley at Melbourne Performance Centre for the dyno tuning
Carbon engine cover and replica CSL carbon air box make this S54 even sexier.
Single Recaro SP-A Kevlar V8 Supercar special edition seat.
“After convincing his wife he “wasn’t silly,” he pulled the trigger on a mint S54 with just 18,000 miles on it out of a wrecked Californian Z4 M”
/ #Motec-M800 ECU mounted on custom carbon plate.
Swirl pot, pump and filters mounted in boot.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThis E36 M3 R is one of the rarest of the rare, but that didn’t stop one owner beefing it up to be a full-on track terror. Words and photos: Chris Nicholls.
FULL-ON BMW-E36 / BMW-M3 R Hardcore Australian special
GYM JUNKIE UNICORN Ultra-rare E36 M3 R from Oz
Just 12 E36 M3 Rs were made available to the public back in the mid ’90s by #BMW Australia. Built, as some of you may know, to be the ultimate non-GTR E36, the cars were basically Group N racers for the road. They came with full Motorsport Group N suspension, a tweaked engine putting out 325hp (more than any E36 M3 other than the GTR), AP Racing four-piston brakes all-round, the full M3 GT bodykit, plus Super Tourer wing and extendable splitter, and almost all creature comforts, such as rear seats, air-conditioning and fog lights, removed. Developed by the legendary Paul Rosche, then M GmbH’s head of motorsport, and team members from the famous Australian Frank Gardner’s outfit, including Ralph Bellamy - former F1 engineer and one of the men responsible for inventing ground effects at Lotus - the M3 R remains to this day arguably the greatest E36 variant you can actually buy, albeit one that required a racing license when purchasing it new and one that is, unsurprisingly, also climbing in value today.
Which makes it all the more bizarre that this M3 R’s previous owner, Alan Palser, decided to tune it so much there’s basically nothing left of the original car bar the little silver build plate on the centre console. To whit, there’s the DTM Fiber Werkz widebody kit, JRZ dampers with Eibach springs, Turner front and SM Motorsport custom rear anti-roll bars, SM Motorsport custom control arms, Alcon monobloc front and AP Racing rear calipers and two-piece slotted discs, AP racing twin-plate clutch, boot-mounted Speed Master fuel cell with Bosch 044 pump and swirl pot and a range of engine mods, including a very sexy CSL-style carbon airbox, which bring the power up to around 370rwhp. In a car running Hankook slicks on its 11x18” Apex EC-7 wheels, and weighing only 1220kg thanks to being completely stripped and caged, that makes this is one rapid racer indeed. But one that isn’t really much of an M3 R anymore.
So why did Alan do it? Well, there were two main reasons. The first is an all-too familiar story. Having fallen in love with BMWs as a lad growing up in the Group A era, Alan decided he had to have one, and eventually managed to fund the purchase of his third-hand M3 R ten years ago when it had just 40,000km on the clock. However, as one does, he started to chat more and more to people in the club scene and eventually got talked into attending a few track days. And that’s when the bug bit, hard.
“At the time I bought it, I would say the plan was to have it as a road car, but having started to talk to some people in car clubs, they said, ‘Oh, you should come down and join the club and have a go on the track on a club day’. Then once I’d done that a couple of times, I thought, ‘Oh yeah, I think I’m going to enjoy this’. So I once I’d done a couple of those, I started orienting the E36 more towards that and less as a car to drive on the road.”
And once Alan started, he found it hard to stop, spiralling down that route we all know of upgrading ever more bits and pieces. “Once I was on that path, it was easier to continue on it, rather than scrap it and go back to a start point again,” he says. Eventually, after entering a couple of tarmac rallies, Alan decided it was time to develop it fully and, having sent it off to BMW whiz Sam Markov at SM Motorsport in Wodonga on the Victoria/New South Wales state border, things just got even more extreme, eventually leading to a wilder state than it is in now (this engine is its second after the previous fully-built and E85-tuned beast blew prior to the sale to its current owner). As for the second reason, that was more to do with the used car market at the time. Although it might seem silly in today’s climate, despite its rarity, engineering pedigree and extremely finely-honed nature out of the box, the M3 R wasn’t actually all that valuable ten years ago. You could pick one up for less than AU$50,000 (around £25,000) and there wasn’t a sense that they would be a future collectible. Hence why Alan says “I didn’t feel like I was totally killing something that was worth a lot of money at the time.” Of course, thinking about it now, he agrees that were he to do it all again, he would have started with a basic 3 Series shell, but such is life.
Eventually, having arrived at a development crossroads, Alan was unsure whether to replace the engine with an S85 V10 or the like, or sell it to fund something like a Z4 GT3. In the end he decided to part with it, which is where current owner and Avis franchise holder (hence the stickers) Les Sears comes into the picture. A Holden man for much of his time in motorsport, one drive of an E46 back when it was new changed his life forever and after that, Les became a devoted BMW fan, building up quite an impressive collection that currently includes a stock E36 M3, three E46 M3s (one road car, one complete racer and another in the build) and an F82 435i daily. Hence why, when he found out this car was up for sale about a year and a half ago, knowing how rare it was and how much effort had gone into it, he pounced on it.
Of course there was still the matter of the blown engine to take care of before he could enjoy it at his local motorkhanas and track days, and given the previous highly-strung motor’s issues, and the fact the chassis set-up was good enough to ensure speed without huge power, Les decided to tone down the new power plant a little in order to keep it reliable. Thus, right now, it runs a completely stock 3.2-litre bottom end, and only the aforementioned carbon airbox with custom trumpets (on stock runners), K&N pod filter, ARP rod bolts, 296º Schrick cams, Vanos delete and Motec M600 ECU as mods. Despite this, thanks to Sam Markov’s nous (Les kept him on as the car’s mechanic, as unlike for Alan, Sam was local), the car puts down 367hp at the wheels, which as we said is still plenty in a circa-1200kg car, and easily enough to keep Les at the top of the time sheets at whatever event he enters. “Everywhere you take it, if it doesn’t win, it’s always second or third. It’s a quick little car. It’s very, very well balanced, and it doesn’t do it with horsepower, it does it with cornering speed,” he says.
Despite its pace and the fact it’s no longer much of an M3 R though, Les has no desire to risk such a rare car (even in its current state) in actual racing, saying “I’m a little reluctant [to race it]. I don’t mind doing the sprints in it, but once you get into a race meeting, I’d hate to damage it. I’ve got an E46 [an ex-Targa Tasmania machine, no less] which can take a bit of a hit and it’s easy to panel beat, but this thing with that body kit on it, it’s quite hard to start rebuilding that. I’ve got a new E46 being built as we speak too, and when that’s finished I’ll put this car up on blocks and leave it there and won’t race it at all”.
Now, given he’s only had the car for less than two years, such a plan might sound impossibly sad, but it’s actually part of a grander scheme to leave it in as good a condition as he can for his son, who also races. Essentially, Les says that he’ll take the M3 R out every so often just to keep it running until his son takes it over, and continue racing in the new E46 once that’s built. “It’s a new shell that we’ve got in another shed with a new cage through it and I’ve bought all the parts for it. I’ve just got to assemble it, basically,” he says. “I’ll do that the same way - it’ll have a 3.2-litre in it, but the bottom end won’t be stressed out and we’ll just get it to breathe.”
Hopefully both cars can see the use they deserve for many years to come, as although Les is now 69, he has no plans to stop racing anytime soon, and that’s the sort of thing we love to hear. If, however, he does eventually decide to give the game away, not only will he have his son to look after the cars, he’ll also still be able to enjoy them in other ways, saying that “I just get a kick of out of being in the shed and having a cup of coffee with the cars… And they’re not as noisy as the wife!”
S50B32 straight-six has been fitted with #VAC Vanos delete kit, among many other mods, and now makes 367whp.
Carbon blanking plates are most definitely at home in the stripped-out interior.
“Everywhere you take it, if it doesn’t win, it’s always second or third. It’s a quick little car”
DATA FILE / #BMW / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-R / #Apex / #BMW-M3-R-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #Motec-M600 / #Motec / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E36
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2 litre straight-six #S50B32 / #BMW-S50 / #S50 , #K&N pod filter, custom carbon airbox with OEM runners and custom trumpets, #Schrick 296º cams (inlet and exhaust), #VAC-Motorsports Vanos delete kit, #ARP rod bolts, #NGK spark plugs, #Bosch-440cc /min injectors, Bosch-044 fuel pump, custom swirl pot, #Speed-master fuel cell, Evosport underdrive pulley, Turner Motorsport solid engine mounts, SM Motorsport stepped headers, custom 2.5” stainless steel exhaust and silencer, #Motec-M600-ECU . Five-speed manual gearbox, #AP-Racing twin-plate 7.25” clutch, stock M3 R flywheel, #OS-Giken-LSD
CHASSIS 11x18” ET25 (front and rear) #Apex-EC-7 wheels in Anthracite with 20mm spacers (front and rear) and 280/650 - 18 Hankook slicks (front and rear), #JRZ-RS dampers with #Eibach springs, #Turner-Motorsport (front) and SM Motorsport (rear) anti-roll bars, SM Motorsport custom front suspension arms to increase track by 100mm, #SM-Motorsport custom rear trailing arms, SM Motorsport custom bearings and rod-ends, Whiteline front strut bar, Alcon monobloc four-pot calipers with 355x32mm two-piece slotted rotors and Ferodo DS1.11 pads (front), AP Racing four-pot calipers with 330x28mm two-piece slotted rotors and Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), AP Racing fluid, SM Motorsport custom braided lines and custom pedal box
EXTERIOR DTM Fiber Werkz wide-body kit (customised by SM Motorsport), custom Topstage Composites front bumper and carbon splitter, #APR-Performance rear wing
INTERIOR Brown Davis roll-cage, short-shift kit, RPM SL S/W Comfort suede steering wheel with quick-release hub, Velo Apex-XL seat, Sparco harnesses, carbon blanking plates for centre console and gauge pod, Racepak displayStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRESURRECTION MAN AUDI 80 Retro-cool on a £3k budget
From scrapper to show car, this #Audi-80 has been transformed by a man with a mission… all for under £3,000. Words Davy Lewis. Photography AJ Walker. AUDI 80 Stunning resto, on a £3k budget.
There’s something about retro Audis that never gets old. Cars we remember from our youth, that have perhaps seen better days, are somehow cooler than their modern equivalents. Fact. How many times have you spotted a 1980s Audi in the street, smiled and thought “I used to love those back in the day?”
There are however a couple of challenges with owning a classic Audi. First up they’re rare beasts. Cars that are over 30 years old tend to be few and far between – many consigned to the big scrapper in the sky (something compounded by the ill-conceived scrappage scheme a few years back). Then there’s the issue with getting hold of parts due to Audi’s bizarre decision not to make parts available for older models. Consequently, classic Audis tend to fall into two camps: the tatty, unloved runarounds or barn finds, and the immaculately restored cars that have set someone back a small fortune. The fact is, to own a classic Audi requires serious dedication and a large dose of mechanical know-how.
Fortunately for James Wade, the owner of this Marrakesh brown Audi 80, he’s no stranger to building stunning cars. “My last car was a highly tuned S3 8L,” he explains. “You actually featured it back in issue 002, although the new owner claimed he’d done the work!” he laughs. So, let’s set the record straight here, the Imola yellow S3 from issue 002, was all the work of James – in fact he owned the car from when he was 23.”I spent over eight years building that and it was an absolute monster by the end,” he smiles. Power was well over 500bhp and it would spin all four wheels in fourth when the boost kicked in.
So how does someone go from a savagely powerful S3, to a more sedate 177bhp Audi 80? “I built it for something to do – that’s sounds terrible doesn’t it,” laughs James. “I’ve done all the work in my garage – as soon as the kids have gone to bed, I leave the missus watching the soaps and go and work on the car in my man cave.” Sounds like a great way to spend time to me. Of course, it also helps that there’s a tuned RS6 C5 saloon parked on the drive, so the 80 can be a more sedate and fun project (well for now anyway; he’s already forged the engine and fitted a GT28, so it’ll soon be running 350+bhp).
So how did he happen upon this rare, early 80s saloon?
“My mate, Ross, had bought it for the engine, which had been tuned; he planned to scrap the rest, until I said I’d have it off him for £300,” recalls James. “It was a proper nail – painted matt brown, with no engine or brakes and the interior was terrible,” he continues, “I showed it to my missus and she said ‘WTF?’” he laughs. A trip to the local scrap yard yielded a 1.8 20v AEB K03 engine, most likely out of a Passat or A4, which was duly cleaned up and dropped into the 80’s engine bay. It required custom mounts and the loom needed adapting to run with the newer coil packs and original fuse box, but it ran.
With no off-the-shelf suspension available, James set about creating his own custom made front coilovers, which were fitted with Aerosport coilover air bags, Chapman rear air struts and two-way paddle valves. It’s a simple set up that James says will need improving when he goes for more power. I have say that when it comes to air-ride, I think it’s always best on retro cars like this, rather than the latest S and RS models. It certainly looks effective with the BBS wheels tucked up in the arches. The wheels themselves came off a BMW and like much of this car, were sourced for a bargain price. The RC041 and 042s were face mounted with new bolts (041 faces on 042 barrels and vice versa) with billet centre nuts. They look absolutely spot on fitted up to this ’81 saloon.
The rest of the exterior has been left as OEM as possible, with the exception of a front splitter and an Audi 80 rear spoiler added. The matt paintwork looked like Steve Wonder had attacked it after a few beers, so the whole lot was prepped before being given several coats of silky BMW Marrakesh brown paint. Again, this subtle hue suits the angular 80s lines of this sweet saloon. Like everything else, this was all done in James’s garage – nice work fella.
Inside, you’ll find a pair of maroon leather front seats from an 80 B3 convertible, with the rears, door cards and parcel shelf trimmed to match. A Mk1 Golf steering wheel completes the period cabin.
So I bet you’re thinking this rare 80s Audi spends its life tucked up in a garage, only seeing the light of day on sunny weekends? Well you’d be wrong. “I give it death every single day I drive it,” laughs James. “It’s only running about 177bhp, but there’s 246lb/ft of torque available – it boosts hard and low, although there’s nothing top end.” But as already mentioned, only the downpipe is left to do on the forged GT28 upgrade and James will have a proper little weapon. With over 350bhp and only 900kg to pull, this Audi saloon should be plenty rapid.
The fact the whole thing has been done for under £3,000 just goes to show it’s not what you do, but how you do it, that counts. James didn’t set out to build an immaculate money-no-object show car; he did this to enjoy it and save another retro Audi from the scrap yard. The fact he uses it a lot makes it all the better – top work, fella!
SPECIFICATION #Audi-80-B2 / #1981 / #Audi-80 / #Audi / #1981-Audi-80-B2 / #AEB / #Audi-AEB / #BBS / #Audi-80-Stunning / #Audi-80-Stunning-B2 / #Audi
Engine 1.8 20v turbo ( #AEB / #Audi-AEB ) conversion, loom cut and modified to accept newer coilpacks and plug into original fuse box, rev counter adaptor, #K03-turbo , front mount intercooler, 2.5in boost pipework, #Bailey recirculation valve, #K&N air filter, custom engine mounts, 3in downpipe to a 2.5in exhaust, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, Golf Mk1 radiator
Power 177bhp and 250lb/ft
Gearbox Audi 80 1.8-litre gearbox, clutch and machined flywheel
Brakes #AP-Racing 4-pot calipers off an MGF, discs machined from 4x95 to 4x100 to fit, braided brakes lines
Suspension Custom made front coilovers fitted with #Aerosport coilover air bags, #Chapman rear air struts, 2-way paddle valves
Wheels #BBS-RC041 and 042 face mounted with new bolts, 041 faces on 042 barrels and vice versa, billet centre nuts
Interior Audi 80 B3 convertible maroon leather front seats, rear seats, parcel shelf, door cards and hand brake and gear gators trimmed to match, boost gauge, Golf Mk1 Wolfsberg steering wheel
Exterior Full re-spray in BMW Marrekesh brown, front splitter, pressed plates, #Audi 80 Sport rear spoiler
Contacts and thanks My Mrs and kids for not moaning too much, Ross Fox and Bryan Marland for advice and Retrospec+ for support
Above: Low ridin’
Above: 1.8T engine has had a
GT28 fitted since the shoot
Above: High speed action shot...
Top: Just look at that angular styling – love it!
Right: Interior now has leather and a Mk1 Golf wheel.
“It was a proper nail, painted matt brown with no engine or interior...”
Set up to cater for enthusiasts who love retro cars, but are not about the all out money no object builds, Retrospec+ is a welcoming bunch of car nuts. Headed up by Bryan Marland and James, you’ll find them at all the main shows. Check them out on Facebook.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #BMW-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3
SAM’S E46 M3
Whist I was at Hack Engineering’s workshop last month I got talking with the team there about changing up my braking system; even though I was happy with my current setup I wanted to switch it up a little. This was spurred on once I’d heard Hack had become an #AP-Racing dealer; I’d always wanted #AP-brakes so I just had to go for some. Following advice from a lot of other M3 track enthusiasts I went for Pagid RS29 pads as this car is always going to be used on track just as much as the road.
With the front kit easily sorted here’s the twist: I went back to OEM brakes on the rear. The AP racing rear brake kit actually runs the factory sized disc so if I didn’t get on with the standard caliper I could always upgrade again. To beef up the factory rear brake setup Hack machined up some brass inserts that replace the rubber bush that goes between the slider and the caliper, so being metal instead of plastic it vastly reduces the unwanted movement.
As I wasn’t sure reverting back to the standard one-piston caliper was going to be enough on track I didn’t fork out on another set of RS29 pads on the rear, so I just settled for some EBC YellowStuff pads instead. I finished off with Goodridge braided lines and some racing fluid. I was all set for some bed-in miles then it was off to Snetterton 300 for my third day there.
Luckily my track day fell during a heat wave so I was able to experience the full force of what these brakes had to offer. It took me a few laps to get used to the change of balance in the car but once I was over that I was able to push on and even made a 2:09 time around the track, smashing my personal best. I know there are more seconds to shave off around Snett but it’s hard to achieve without aero. More seat time there and manning up a bit should make up for that, though!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationULTIMATE MODIFIED BMW
Stunning 800whp turbo M10-powered 2002 is like a gift from the gods…
With an astonishing 800whp from its turbo’d M10, this wild 2002 is about as quick as any sane person would want to travel. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Christos Karagiorgakis.
2002: A PACE ODYSSEY
Think of Greece and you will no doubt think of crisp, white houses sitting before the bluest sea you’ve ever seen, beautiful beaches, and delicious food. Perhaps what you won’t think of is modified BMWs. However, having been to Greece on many previous BMW-based visits, we can tell you that there are some serious machines scattered across the country. And this right here might just be the most serious piece of German modified machinery that Greece has to offer. It belongs to Stavros Panagopoulos, who has owned it for ten years. This was, in fact, his very first #BMW : a humble 1602 that he found for sale near his house. As you can probably tell, it’s changed a bit since then…
Stavros says he entered into ’02 ownership with plans to make the diminutive classic just a little bit faster. And while he’s certainly achieved his end goal, and then some, he didn’t embark on a journey of turbocharged madness from the off; there were at least two slightly more sensible stages prior to what you see here. Things started off normally enough, with the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine enhanced with twin side draft 40 carbs. And that was fine, but not quite enough for Stavros’s liking. So Stage two was a bit more dramatic. The original engine was deemed not quite large enough so it was removed and in its place went a more powerful 2.0, its potency ramped-up considerably with the addition of a 300-degree camshaft, Weber 48 DCOE carbs, MSD Ignition components, and a selection of other sexy engine enhancements. That’s pretty solid and we wager the car (that was now by definition a 2002) must have been a whole load of fun to drive and a massive step up over how it felt originally. And then something happened: Stavros decided that what he really wanted was an 800whp turbo conversion. Because, sometimes, that’s just what you need in your life…
As you might imagine, making that sort of underbonnet magic happen takes more than a little bit of work and the engine spec list reads like a who’s who of the performance tuning scene. It’s thorough and it’s glorious. It’s the modified BMW enthusiast’s equivalent of 50 Shades of Grey…
Step one, you’ve got to get your engine choice down. Stavros opted for the sturdy M10, which served as the basis for BMW’s insane turbocharged M12 motorsport engine as well as the S14, so it’s certainly up to the task of coping with a spot of turbocharging.
But the example nestling under this ’02’s bonnet is very far removed from your common-or-garden M10, as you might have guessed. There’s a lot in the engine bay, so much so that you can barely even see the engine, but if it looks impressive from the outside, there’s plenty to get excited about on the inside, too. 89mm CP forged pistons have been fitted, along with Carrillo forged rods, a custom reprofiled camshaft from Boubis Cams, and #VAC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs. Somewhere within the engine bay (you’ll have to take our word for it because it’s buried deep beneath seemingly endless pipework) sits the very core of all that power: an absolutely gigantic #Garrett-GTX4202R-turbo . This beast of a snail is rated up to 1150hp so Stavros has plenty of headroom, running as he is at around the 900hp mark, should he ever decide that’s not quite enough. This is useful, actually, as his next goal is to hit 1000hp…
When it came to getting everything squeezed into the engine bay, custom is most definitely the word of the day: the turbo feeds a HPS custom intake manifold via a suitably massive front-mounted intercooler and sits on a custom exhaust manifold that connects up to a custom exhaust with an external wastegate that exits through the sill just behind the passenger side front wheel.
The exhaust manifold and the turbo housing itself have both been treated to a Zircotec ceramic coating. Stavros has also had massive Bosch Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors fitted to supply enough fuel to keep the engine happy, along with a custom HPS oil pan. The whole lot is looked after by an Autronic SM4 stand-alone ECU.
Seeing as no one involved in the designing and construction of the ’02 family could ever have imagined that someone in the distant future would attempt to pass somewhere in the region of 900hp through the compact runabout, Stavaros has had to go to town on the transmission and chassis to ensure it didn’t tear itself to pieces. The gearbox is a five-speed manual Getrag unit from the E28 535i mated to a custom twin-plate clutch that can handle the immense amount of power and torque being developed by the engine, with an E34 M5 rear axle tasked with transferring everything to the rear tyres. On the suspension front, this 2002 has been fitted with E36 M3 underpinnings, including subframes and wishbones, with #KW coilovers up front and Bilstein dampers at the back. While it doesn’t take much to stop a car as small and light as a 2002, stopping one that’s travelling at close to the speed of sound does require something a little more substantial, and this example certainly doesn’t mess about. Up front sit AP Racing Galfer four-pot calipers clamping 305mm vented discs. The rear setup is no less substantial, with another set of AP Racing four-pot calipers wrapped around slightly smaller 255mm vented discs.
When it came to the exterior Stavros decided to keep things relatively subtle in as much that a casual observer might not be aware of what’s been changed but, at the same time, it’s clear that this 2002 is far from standard. It’s actually about as aggressive as a 2002 can really get. The biggest difference are those pumped-up arches, complete with sill extensions that fill out the flanks. They give the normally unassuming classic some real road presence. Having the wastegate exiting through the sill certainly doesn’t hurt, and neither does that fat, single-tipped exhaust pipe. Of course, fitting wide arches is one thing, having suitable wheels that are substantial enough to fill them is another matter entirely but Stavros’ choice definitely doesn’t disappoint, though it might raise a few eyebrows. He’s taken the classic cross-spoke look that sits so well with the 2002 and turned it on its head with a set of decidedly modern Work VS-XXs.
The 17” wheels are positively huge on the compact classic but they look fantastic, really filling out those big arches, especially with the car dropped low over the fat rubber. Even parts of the body that may look stock aren’t. For example, the bonnet and boot might appear to be relatively standard, bar the pins and catches, but they are both carbon fibre items, with twin fuel fillers on the rear deck for the bootmounted alloy fuel cell. The one thing the 2002 isn’t is heavy, so adding carbon panels and reducing the already low weight further still means that, with 800whp on tap, this car is absolutely insane – just in case you hadn’t gathered that already!
With a build like this the interior could go a number of ways: hardcore, stripped-out; stock and subtle; or, option three, custom, luxurious but still decidedly sporty – which is exactly what Stavros has gone for. The interior is dominated by those gorgeous Recaro A8 seats and both they, the rear seats, the doorcards, the steering wheel centre section, the gear gaiter and the handbrake have all been covered in the same delicious shade of caramel leather.
Something that’s easier to miss is the custom alloy roll-cage; it’s so well-integrated that, while you can clearly see the rear diagonal support, the sections that penetrate the dashboard (down into the footwell) and the rear parcel shelf are much more discreet.
Up front, the gauge cluster has been replaced with an AIM MXL digital racing dash while the centre console now resembles the flight deck of an aircraft rather than a car. Where the central air vents would have once been there now sits a quartet of custom-mounted GReddy exhaust temperature gauges and below that another custom panel that houses a Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer and fuel gauge and, finally, down in front of the illuminated gear lever, you’ll find a pair of GReddy pressure gauges.
We’ve featured some pretty wild 2002s over the years but this example might just ‘take the cake’. It’s an utterly incredible machine and we’re a little bit in love with it. We love how the custom wide-arches give the little 2002 a broad, square stance. We love the interior, with its blend of modern tech, race components and gorgeous leather. And we really love the engine; we doubt you’ll see a more complicated engine bay, there’s just so much stuffed under the bonnet. And to come away with 800whp from such a small engine and to have it at your disposal in such a small, lightweight car is utterly insane and, well, we love that too.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-2002-Turbo / #Garrett-GTX4202 R / #Garrett / #BMW-2002 / #M10-Turbo / #Getrag / #BMW / #BMW-2002-800bhp /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 / , CP forged pistons, #Carrillo forged rods, #Boubis-Cams custom reprofiled camshaft, #AC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs, Garrett GTX4202R turbo with Zircotec ceramic-coated housing, #Zircotec ceramiccoated custom exhaust manifold, external wastegate, custom exhaust system, #HPS custom intake manifold, #Bosch-Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors, #HPS custom oil pan, #Autronic #Autronic-SM4 stand-alone ECU, Autronic ignition, #Getrag fivespeed manual E28 535i gearbox, custom twin disc clutch kit
CHASSIS 7.5x17” (front and rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 205/40 (front) Yokohama AVS Sport and 245/45 (rear) Dunlop SP Sport MAXX tyres, E36 M3 subframe, wishbones etc, #KW coilover kit (front), #Bilstein dampers (rear), E34 M5 rear axle, #AP-Racing Galfer four-pot calipers with 305mm vented discs (front) and AP Racing four-pot calipers with 255mm vented discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Carbon fibre bonnet, carbon fibre boot, custom wide-arch conversion
INTERIOR Custom alloy roll-cage by Ilias Makropoulos, #Recaro A8 seats, rear seats, doorcards, steering wheel centre section, gear gaiter and handbrake finished in caramel leather, illuminated M gear knob, AIM MXL digital racing dash, custom-mounted #GReddy exhaust temperature gauges, pressure gauges, Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer, alloy fuel cell
Engine looks monstrously complicated, and it is, with a huge amount of custom work at every turn and a gigantic #Garrett-GTX402R turbo buried deep within.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationJPS E30 M3
The story behind this fully restored motor racing icon. A Very Special Player One of Australia’s most famous BMW race cars, the JPS E30 M3, under the spotlight. Banged up, shipped across the Tasman Sea twice and, until two years ago, a bit worse for wear, this JPS stunner is now back to its former glory Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.
BMW race cars have been lucky enough to wear some of the iconic competition liveries over the years. Whether it’s the various Art Cars, the Jägermeister colours, the Warsteiner and Fina liveries or just the M stripes by themselves, Bavaria’s best racers have always looked the business. However, while we in the northern hemisphere have been spoilt for choice with these beauties, we have missed out on one truly iconic racing design that only ever competed on BMWs down under – the JPS livery.
Obviously most famous for its stint on Lotus F1 machines, the JPS colours have been applied to many other cars over the years, but F1 Lotuses aside, only the Australian JPS E21 320i Turbos, 635CSis and E30 M3s, which ran from 1981-’1987, used the livery officially in any four-wheeled racing capacity. And my, doesn’t it look good on this M3? The deep, jet black paint is perfectly offset by the gold pin striping that runs along the car’s flanks, accentuating those blistered arches, while the other sponsors’ logos and of course, the laurel wreath JPS crest itself all add to that golden lustre. Oh, and let’s not forget those sexy matching gold Australian Simmons centre-lock wheels, either.
This particular example is an ex-factory Team JPS BMW car from 1987 – the last year the Frank Gardner-run team that built the machine existed – and was relatively recently restored to nearimmaculate condition (hence the shine) by the current owner Peter Jones and the team at Ecurie Bowden, whose M1 and Schnitzer 635CSi we’ve featured in past months as well. We say nearimmaculate as Peter has deliberately kept some of the patina via a faded and chipped bonnet roundel and cracked right-rear light lens, as well as damage to the driver’s footwell; the result of a nasty shunt at the 1989 Bathurst 1000 when it was racing as part of the John Sax Racing Team from New Zealand. Other than that, though, the car is as straight and clean as you could possibly want, and walking around the car to shoot it, it was impossible not to be blown away by the paint’s lustre (even inside the car) and the sense of mechanical solidity. BMW master mechanic Jason Matthews and paint and panel man Phil Milburn, as well as all the other Ecurie Bowden crew members, should be rightly proud of their work.
Of course, such a high-level restoration doesn’t take place overnight, and from the time Peter purchased the car in 2014 until it was ‘finished’, a full 15 months had passed, and even now, he’s is still tweaking and fettling the car – particularly the rebuilt engine – as it doesn’t quite achieve what he wants on track yet. However, that’s all part of racing, irrespective of the car and its level of restoration, and even in its current state, the project has definitely been worth it. So what prompted Peter to buy this car in the first place? Well, it turns out this isn’t his first Group A M3, having owned a Benson & Hedges racer back in the mid-’90s that he purchased from Frank Gardner himself (Gardner was a long-time family friend), and it was his love for that machine, and the hole in his heart it left when he sold it, that prompted him to seek out a replacement.
“I’ve been involved in motorsport since the ‘80s. The highest level I ever did was the CAMS Gold Star [Australia’s top open-wheeler class]. I raced that in Formula 2, only as a bit of an also-ran, and I’ve also raced Formula Fords and Sports Sedans and Historic cars over the years. From about 1997 to 2012 I basically had a bit of a hiatus due to family and the demands of business and then got back into it in 2012, running around in a Formula Ford. I still enjoyed it and have always missed the E30 M3 that I owned and spoke to [Ecurie Bowden boss] Chris Bowden about it and kept him on the look-out for me.”
And look-out Chris did, but in the end, it actually turned out that another contact, BMW and JPS nut Stewart Garmey (whose E28 M5 we featured in October 2014), knew the right people and gave Peter a nudge in the direction of this car’s previous owner, David Towe.
“Stuart warned me that I’d either love it or hate it, but that it’s a great car,” says Peter. “When I looked at it, I realised it had suffered in its life, but you can’t replace history, and that’s what it has.” Indeed, it has a lot of history, and not just of the type that causes battle scars. Built in 1987, it was one of the first two Group A E30s Team JPS BMW brought over from Europe after phasing out its 635CSis (one of which you’ll also see in a future issue). Initially, both cars actually ran 325i suspension, such was the European demand for parts, but by midway through the season, each car got the legs it deserved. And despite being designed for flowing European circuits and down on power compared to some rivals, the E30’s innate talents, and those of drivers Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst, meant the team quickly got results. This ex-Longhurst car, for example, managed a best of third at round three of the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) even before it got proper M3 suspension, but for some reason it got sold before the end of the year and could prove its worth with proper footwork. If you want to see what the potential was, though, just look at Jim Richards taking his M3 to the ATCC title in the car’s first year.
When this particular machine was offloaded, it got sent to the aforementioned John Sax Racing Team, with Sax and fellow Kiwi Graham Lorimer behind the wheel until midway through the 1990 season. They took it to a best of eighth at the ’87 Castrol 500 at Sandown, as well as a 10th at the Wellington round of the inaugural World Touring Car Championship that year, but sadly, the car’s biggest headlines came when it speared off at Forest Elbow at the ’89 Bathurst 1000, stoving in much of the front-right side. The team did repair the damage (albeit not to a high standard, as we’ll see later) and it soldiered on until Kiwi Racing purchased it midway through the 1990 season. Having not had much luck with the car bar a second in class at the ’91 Nissan Mobil 500 at Pukekohe, Kiwi racing then sold the E30 to Auckland Ferrari specialist Allan Cattle in late ’93, who proved any issues may not have been with the beast itself by promptly winning his class, along with co-driver Brett Taylor, at the Wellington Nissan Mobil 500 and taking second in class at a shorter 300km race at Pukekohe.
Finally, this now well-travelled M3 went to another two Kiwi owners, Trevor Bills and Kevin Underwood, before heading back home to Australia and new owner James Searley in 1999. There it sat in James’ collection for four years until noted Sydney BMW nut David Towe got hold of it and immediately started racing the car again, first at the 2003 Winton Historic meeting, then at numerous classic and historic events around the country. Notably, David converted the car back to its JPS livery (because why wouldn’t you?) and even managed to take away the Murray Carter Cup at the 2009 Phillip Island Classic in it. Indeed, such was the love affair that he only gave it up to switch to a later-built 1987 JPS M3 in 2011.
However, not able to part with it entirely, David held onto the machine until 2014, when current owner Peter Jones came into the picture.
Now, as we hinted at, the car wasn’t perfect when Peter got it. The John Sax team had repaired the Bathurst damage, but removing the right-hand quarter panel showed the chassis rail underneath was still further back than the left, so stretching and rebuilding was needed. And while David had done his best at the time, there were also cracks in the rear arms and the front callipers (among other parts) were way past their use-by date. Knowing personally that Frank Gardner wouldn’t have accepted anything other than perfection were he still alive, Peter thus decided to go for a bare-metal resto to bring it back to its best. And thanks to the talents of the Ecurie Bowden crew, it’s now as gorgeous as you can imagine.
“It’s just magic when you walk around it and underneath it. The job’s been done very well,” says Peter. “All the chassis’s perfect now and when we put it on the scales, we measured where it should be, dropped it down and it just plumbed up beautifully on the corner weights.” And as you’d expect, even with the fettling still needed, it goes pretty well, too.
“It’s a very lovely car to drive – a very fast car… It’s a heavier car by 20kg [than the Evos], but the earlier cars, because they run the 17-inch wheels not the 18s, can drop the nose a little bit lower, so what they lose in some respects they pick up in others. And I think it sits well on the road. The 2.3 motor’s still a powerful little engine, and whilst a good 2.5 should beat a 2.3 every day, you’re not going to be that far behind.”
Once the car’s engine has been brought back to its full Group A peak, it should be even quicker, too. And yes, in case you were wondering, all this testing means that despite the superb condition it’s in now, this JPS beauty will see the race track as often as possible in the future, with Peter planning to enjoy it at every historic meet in Australia he can get to. Of course, he doesn’t relish the idea of getting it banged up again, but says that “once I get one stone chip on it, it won’t hurt so much”.
“Because it’s not the original paint on the car from day one, you’re not disturbing or risking something that hasn’t already been repainted or repaired, unlike the Sierra I’ve got [a Group A RS500] which is the original paint that Rudy Eggenberger used and it’s never had a mark on it. That’s a car you don’t want to put in harm’s way. Whereas, I don’t want to hurt this car either, but if in two years I have to give it a bit of a respray to make it pretty again, we’re not ruining history in doing that.”
In a world of collectors that never use their cars as intended, that’s refreshing to hear. Long may this black beauty continue to run.
TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-Group-A-JPS / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-E30 / #Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-Group-A-JPS-E30 / #BMW-M3-JPS-E30 / #BMW-S14 / #S14 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW /
ENGINE: 2332cc DOHC S14 in-line four, cast iron block, 16-valve alloy head, 12:1 compression ratio, forged crankshaft and con rods, forged alloy pistons, #Bosch electronic fuel injection, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, 40-litre #ATL fuel cell with in-tank swirl-pot, 300hp @ 8400rpm, 199lb ft @ 7000rpm
GEARBOX: #Getrag five-speed manual gearbox, sintered metal clutch, LSD with 75 percent locking ratio
CHASSIS: Unitary steel with welded-in roll-cage, 52mm #JLS-Motorsport air jacks (front), 62mm AP Racing air jacks (rear)
SUSPENSION: McPherson struts with original Group A #Bilstein dampers (overhauled and re-valved by MCA Suspension), MCA custom main springs, #Eibach helper springs, anti-roll bars (front), semi-trailing arms with original Group A Bilstein dampers (overhauled and re-valved by MCA Suspension), MCA custom main springs, Eibach helper springs, anti-roll bars (rear)
BRAKES: AP Racing four-piston callipers with #AP-Racing 330x32mm two-piece slotted rotors and #Ferodo DS3000 pads (front), Lockheed four-piston callipers with AP Racing 300x20mm two-piece slotted rotors and #Ferodo-DS3000 pads (rear)
WHEELS AND TYRES: 8x17-inch (front) and 9x17-inch (rear) #Simmons three-piece centre-lock mesh wheels with 225/625-17 (front) and 240/620-17 (rear) Pirelli or Michelin slicks
INTERIOR: Custom-embroidered #Racetech-RT9009HR seat with orange Racetech HANS-compatible belts
Despite the superb condition it’s in now, this #JPS beauty will see the race track as often as possible in the future.
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- Post is under moderationThe hottest E36 – the brilliant M3 R White Gold.
One of the rarest of all E36 M3s, and some might say the best, came from Australia: the brilliant M3 R. The very best E36 M3 didn’t come from Europe, or America… it came from a land Down Under. Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.
Mention special E36 M3 derivatives and most people’s minds will inevitably go to the M3 GT or Lightweight. After all, these sold in relatively large numbers and, thanks to being designed for BMW’s two largest markets (Europe and the US respectively), got the most media exposure. However, the rarest, most powerful E36 M3 ever made (GTR aside) didn’t come from either of those continents. It came from the relatively tiny market of Australia, where, in #1995 , a highly talented group of people from both within and outside the company came together to build 15 very special M3s. These came to be known as the M3 Rs.
Now, some of our regular readers may already know about the M3 R, especially as we featured another one back in (March 2006), but given the time gap, we thought it was best to look at it again because it is without a doubt one of the best factory M3s ever made.
The M3 R story first dates back to mid-1993, when BMW Australia investigated the possibility of building a near race-spec M3 for the road, the idea being that they could be sold to enthusiasts who tracked their cars on the weekend or even competed in state and national events. The payoff for BMW Australia being a homologation special that it could develop for Australian GT Production car racing.
Having been given the green light, the local BMW team worked closely with the legendary Paul Rosche, then M GmbH’s head of motorsport, and team members from the famous Australian Frank Gardner’s outfit, who ran the Australian M Team at the time, to help design, develop and spec the cars. It’s worth noting before we go any further that one of the Gardner staffers was Ralph Bellamy, whom older readers and F1 nuts may remember as chief engineer at Brabham, McLaren, Lotus (where he, along with Colin Chapman, Peter Wright and Martin Ogilvie invented ground effects), Lola and Fittipaldi, before moving onto BMW M to work on the international Super Tourer programme. So, as you can see, when we said a highly-talented group of people helped make this car, we weren’t lying.
As for the car BMW Australia ended up producing, it really was a road-going racer. The air conditioning and stereo were removed (although, as usual, owners could refit them) and sound deadening, central locking, foglights, rear seats and the on-board tool kit all went, too. Even with the standard twin fire extinguishers (although obviously not the optional bolt-in roll-cage) the end result was a car that weighed nearly 200kg less in its most hardcore form than a stock M3.
Of course, the modifications didn’t end there. The engine gained more aggressive camshafts, shorter intake trumpets and a different cold air intake that drew from where the driver’s side fog light used to be, as well as a Motorsport-designed sump and dual oil pick-ups to avoid the common S50 30B starvation issue. On top of that came a lighter flywheel (matched to either an AP Racing 7.25-inch sintered twin-plate racing clutch or a cerametallic twin-plate for road use) and new management software to yield an overall output of 325hp – more than any non-GTR E36 M ever sold elsewhere. It goes even harder than the weight and power would suggest, too, thanks to a shorter-than-standard 3.25:1 final drive ratio.
Unsurprisingly, the brakes also copped significant upgrades in the form of AP Racing four-piston callipers, two-piece vented rotors, Pagid RS 4-4 pads and front cooling ducts that ran from holes next to the now-deleted foglights. As for the suspension, almost every part was replaced with Group N Motorsport parts, right down to the hubs, which run different length studs (not bolts) front and rear to hold the unique 17-inch staggered BBS wheels. To ensure the looks matched the potential, the team also fitted the M3 GT body kit in its entirety, plus the Super Touring dual-level rear wing and a sliding front splitter. The whole lot was assembled at the BMW Australia Performance Driving Centre under the close supervision of M engineers and Ralph Bellamy himself. Three completed cars went to the local M Team for competition use and the remaining 12 were made available to the general public.
However, in keeping with the whole ‘race car for the road’ thing, only members of the general public armed with a CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motorsport) racing licence could buy one, unless they were willing to undertake the relevant training and tests before delivery.
As you can see, the M3 R is thus a rare and incredibly desirable special edition. One designed to maximise driving pleasure both on road and track, and in the sole colour available (Alpine white III), quite the stunner.
The owner of this particular example (number 14 of 15) is very well aware of just how special it is, too. Ian Burke has been a BMW enthusiast for many years, starting with an E46 323i in 2000, before moving up to an E46 330i three years later. These two impressed him enough that he bought an E92 335i sight unseen before they arrived in the country when the lease on his 330i expired, after which he upgraded to an E92 M3, which he still owns. Burke also has an original M Roadster, has done a factory tour and visited BMW Welt and would have bought an F80 M3, too, until a test-drive convinced him it was “a bit too boy racer-ish” for him. Thus, when he says it provides a special driving experience, you know he’s not wrong: “It’s a treat to drive. I would say on the open road it’s got better shock absorption and handling than my E92 M3. When you go over a bump the shocks absorb everything – they’re quite amazing. It handles extremely well, too. I’ve had it around Sandown Raceway a couple of times, and the performance is not like a modern-day car, although it’s still pretty quick, but the point is that it’s good around there because the braking is so superior to a modern saloon car. You can get the brakes red hot and really stamp on them into a corner and the whole suspension is race-tuned.”
How Burke came to own this car is a lovely piece of father-son serendipity as well. Burke isn’t really a tech guy – he has no social media accounts at all – but his son, Andrew, like most people his age, is on the web a lot. And unsurprisingly spends a large portion of that time looking at cars. Thus, a while after purchasing his M Roadster, Burke got an email from his son telling him about this example, which at the time resided in Sydney, complete with a link to the advert. “I looked at it and thought it looks pretty cool and that it could be a reasonable investment and a nice car to get around in so I went up to Sydney to see it,” he says.
The shop selling it was called Classic Throttle Shop, a renowned establishment which houses a huge number of special cars at any one time. Upon visiting, Burke senior was impressed enough by the car that he bought it on the spot and had it shipped back down to his home in Melbourne.
Not that the car was perfect, of course. The steering wheel leather had a small cut in it, which necessitated refurbishing, and many of the rubber seals were in such bad condition that they had to be replaced. This perishing and the fact the car had only done 17,000km at the time of purchase suggested that the car had previously spent a lot of time in a garage but as it ran fine and all the other components seemed alright Burke wasn’t bothered.
Once freshened-up, Burke made a couple of small changes to suit his personal taste and needs. First was swapping out the intake system for a lovely Gruppe M carbon number, purchased simply because he liked the noise. Second was the clutch. Apparently the original race-spec version was “virtually undriveable in the city”, so he changed it to a UUC model with a solid lightweight flywheel and an E34 M5 sprung disk.
Now, keen-eyed M3 nuts might also spot the car came with some non-standard modifications that Burke didn’t make, namely the Remus exhaust and an unknown brand thick alloy strut bar, as well as the original radio/cassette player and air-con, but all of these are minor changes and should he ever desire, Burke can always swap everything back to stock-spec pretty easily, especially as every component on the car has an official BMW part number.
Rather amusingly, there is one extra part Burke does own that he’d love the put on the car more regularly, but certain family members won’t allow it: a custom numberplate. “I’ve actually got a Victorian licence plate ‘E36 M3R’ but I’m not allowed to put it on because I’d look too much of a tosser,” he says. That said, Burke readily admits that “you’ve got to fly under the radar when you own a car like this”, so he isn’t too fussed – especially as he is allowed to bolt the private ’plate on when he attends the odd #BMW Car Club of Victoria meet.
“The BMW people know what it is without the ’plates,” Burke grins, “and, of course, when you lift the bonnet up, their eyes pop out of their head when they see the originality of the engine. It’s even got all the original stickers.”
Remarkably, given his penchant for regular spirited drives, Burke has only put about 4000km on it in the three year’s he’s owned it, but then he also has his M Roadster and E92 M3 on offer as toys, and his daily driver is a VF Holden ute (“it’s so damn convenient to throw all your rubbish in the back”), so perhaps the low number of kilometres travelled are less surprising in that regard.
As for the future, Burke says he plans to “just sit on it”, especially as S50 engines are so hard to come by these days, and eventually he’ll pass it onto his son. No doubt Burke junior will enjoy driving it as much as his old man.
“It’s a treat to drive. I would say on the open road it’s got better shock absorption and handling than my E92 M3”
TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-R / #BMW-M3-R-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-S50 / #S50 / #S50B30 / #BMW-M3 / #Getrag / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-M3-Coupe / #BMW-M3-Coupe-E36
ENGINE: 2990cc, DOHC S50 30B straight-six, cast iron block, 24-valve alloy head, 10.8:1 compression ratio, 264-degree inlet cam, 265-degree exhaust cam, oil restrictor in head, Motorsport sump, twin oil pick-ups, Motorsport air filter and intake pipe, Motorsport lightened flywheel (currently UUC solid lightened), Remus exhaust, updated engine management software
MAX POWER: 325hp @ 7200rpm
MAX TORQUE: 258lb ft @ 4400rpm
DRIVELINE: #Getrag-420G six-speed manual, #AP-Racing CP2961 7.25-inch twin-plate sintered (road/race) or #AP-Racing-CP4112 cerametallic twin-plate (road). Currently fitted with #UUC Stage 2 Ultimate clutch with E34 M5 sprung disk. Standard clutch master cylinder with travellimiting stop, E34 M5 driveshaft, 3.25:1 final drive ratio
SUSPENSION: Motorsport Group N Bilstein dampers, Motorsport Group N springs, Motorsport Group N upper and lower spring plates, Motorsport Group N struts (f), Motorsport Group N upper and lower wishbones (r), Motorsport Group N adjusting sleeves, Motorsport Group N damping sleeves, Motorsport Group N hubs with studs (f&r), aftermarket strut bar (f)
BRAKES: AP Racing four-piston front callipers with twopiece vented rotors (f&r), Pagid RS 4-4 pads (RS12 optional), front brake cooling ducts
WHEELS AND TYRES: 7.5x17-inch ET37 (f) and 8.5x17- inch ET41 (r) #BBS mesh wheels with 225/45 (f) and 245/40 (r) Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 tyres
INTERIOR: Anthracite M cloth/Amaretta suede trim, aircon delete, radio/cassette delete (both since re-installed), rear seat delete, central locking delete, sound deadening removed, twin fire extinguishers (driver’s side removed for convenience), spare wheel delete, jack and wheel brace delete, toolkit delete, boot floor mats and trim delete, limited edition plaque under handbrake
EXTERIOR: M3 GT body kit, Motorsport sliding front splitter, Motorsport Super Touring dual-level rear wing, foglight delete (driver’s side replaced with air intake vent)
“Their eyes pop out of their head when they see the originality of the engine. It’s even got all the original stickers”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIRISH CHARM
Exceedingly clean and exceptionally well-modified, this supercharged BMW 325Ci E46 on BBS LMs is doing it right. Modifying is one thing, but bringing a car to a better than factory standard is something else; Darren Fennelly’s supercharged E46 proves beauty is more than skin deep. Words: Ben Koflach // Photos: Drive-My.
This Irish E46 started life as a standard silver 323Ci but in less than a year owner Darren Fennelly transformed it into one of the most extensively workedover E46s out there.
This wasn’t a cheque book build either. Oh no, much of the work was done by Darren and his close friends. “The build took nine months and nearly killed me and my friends,” Darren explains. “It’s one of the biggest things I have done in my life, but definitely one of the best and most enjoyable, even with all the late nights and hardships along the way.”
So where do we begin? Well, first things first, it’s clearly no longer silver. The 323’s change to its glorious white hue wasn’t a quick and easy one, either. Darren wanted a really thorough spray over and so the 2.5- litre M52TU, along with its five-cog gearbox, was hauled out of the engine bay, thus giving the painter an easier job when it came to making sure the paint coverage was as complete as possible.
The engine wasn’t simply put to one side, mind you. Darren had been speaking with Simpson Motorsport in England about getting more ponies out of it. “Simpson put me in touch with European Supercharger Systems (ESS) in Norway, from whom I bought the supercharger brand-new,” he says. “A genius friend of mine and myself installed it in around five hours without any real problems.”
It’s an impressive bit of kit that uses a twin-screw compressor rather than the more traditionally used centrifugal configuration. Twin-screw superchargers have been used by American hot rods and drag racers for decades and this method really suits Darren’s E46 as it provides more low down torque; peak boost is delivered from around 2200rpm – perfect for his daily driver.
Using a custom ESS-spec Lysholm 1.6-litre blower and an aluminium-alloy intake manifold, the ESS Stage 1 kit provides some healthy power figures. Larger Bosch injectors, CNC mounting brackets, additional idler pulleys and a heavy-duty drive belt all come as part of the kit, too, and it all works together to provide 7psi of boost along with quick throttle response.
Although the ESS system is designed to fit with the factory air box, Darren has swapped that out for a Powertec cone filter and once the engine was back in the car, also fitted a manifold-back Supersprint exhaust system. “ESS claimed the supercharger would add another 110bhp and after mapping at Simpson Motorsport it put down 276bhp,” Darren reveals. “It is fast, not M3 fast, but not a million miles off either. The acceleration is very clean and it pulls real nice with the supercharger. And there’s a nice little whistle too, just enough so that you know it’s got a little something extra hidden away!”
Before the engine was put back in, mind you, Darren cleaned it right up, and did the same with the gearbox, while also renewing the oil filter, rocker cover gasket, spark plugs, belt tensioner and sub-engine protection unit, as well as the clutch.
Various components, from the washer bottle top to the ECU cover were then painted gloss black, and that’s before we even get to the carbon fibre that’s been added. Darren really has been thorough and the result is a truly stunning-looking engine bay.
Coming back to the body, you’ll probably have spotted that the colour isn’t the only thing that changed. Darren also purchased a #Reiger M3-style front bumper and side skirts, as well as an M Tech rear bumper which he modified to sit level with the Reiger bits – a subtle touch that makes a world of difference. A CSL-style addition to the bootlid looks spot-on, as do the partsmoked LED rear tail-lights and smoked indicators all-round. More carbon fibre additions come in the form of a rear diffuser and kidney grilles, while a similar level of attention to detail has gone in to the exterior as the engine.
Every clip, bracket, mount or fastener has been replaced with items from the dealer, as have many other items of trim, including the under arch liners and also the brake lines. The underside was also extensively cleaned and repainted. “We started off with a simple plan but got carried away!” laughs Darren.
You name it, it’s been either replaced, renewed or repainted. The entire rear subframe was dropped out of the car, for example, enabling it and the area from which it was removed to be lovingly rubbed down and repainted. All the bushes were replaced, including the four subframe bushes, and Turner Motorsport limiters were fitted to the rear trailing arm bush carriers. The springs and shocks were binned in favour of #KW Variant 2 coilovers, offering Darren the adjustability he was after without being a harsh full-on race setup.
With the extra power under the bonnet, you won’t be surprised to hear that the brakes have seen quite a substantial upgrade. Up front, 330mm grooved discs are clamped by AP Racing four-pot calipers, while the standard rear discs have been renewed and are accompanied by M3 calipers, which have had new pads fitted and been painted red to match the APs. Feeding these with the necessary fluid they need to operate is a set of braided hoses. The rolling stock is one of those additions that just seem to make this car, and rightly so. Many E46s sport replica BBS LMs, and in some ways we can understand why – they look good and go well with the E46 shape.
However, any kind of replica wheel just wasn’t going to cut it for Darren’s project, and he managed to source a set of genuine staggered 19” LMs. Darren wanted them to be absolutely perfect, so they were sent to Nu-Luk Wheels in Carrickfergus. Every single nut and bolt was removed, with the dishes, barrels and faces coming apart for attention. The dishes were stripped of the lacquer they’d previously worn by a machine lathe, following which they were polished to an extremely high standard. The centres were then taken right back before being powdercoated gold, lacquered and built back up.
Measuring 8.5” wide up front and a chunky 10” out back, the wheels not only look the business but mean that Darren is able to get a much bigger rubber footprint down for more grip at both ends. To that end, he’s fitted grippy 235/35 front and 265/30 rear Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres, which look absolutely perfect.
Our final stop on our tour of Darren’s E46 is the interior – and what an interior it is. Much like the rest of the project, Darren’s approach is far from shy. The whole lot was essentially gutted, making things a little easier for the retrimmers, who were tasked with covering the lot in sumptuous red Nappa leather – not before Darren had added an OEM black carpet in place of the original grey one, mind you. The parcel shelf was also given a covering of black alcantara, while much of the plastic trim was replaced with black parts from the OEM catalogue, or repainted black. OEM mats and a selection of M goodies almost complete the spec, and it’s worth noting that Darren also renewed every single nut, bolt, washer, clip and bracket in the process. The cherry on the top of the awesome interior is the dash, which has been flocked for a motorsport feel and has benefited from a trio of gauges monitoring the boost, oil pressure and voltage. The factory dials have also been changed to white to match this trio, which is a neat touch.
Truly unrecognisable as an early E46, Darren’s 323Ci is a real stunner. So thorough is his reworking that his Three looks and feels like something that’s just left the factory. Attention to detail like this is not seen often – no stone has been left unturned, and we’d happily go as far as saying it’s one of the best E46s in Ireland – or at least from what we’ve seen. Considering the enormous makeover the car’s had, to do it all in just nine months is amazing and just goes to show that you can do whatever you like with a bit of help from your friends.
DATA FILE #BMW-323Ci-E46 / #BMW-323Ci / #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-323Ci-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-323Ci-Supercharged / #M52/ #BMW-M52 / #M52-Supercharged / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #ESS / #BMW-325Ci / #BMW-325Ci-E46 / #BBS-LM / #BBS /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six #M52TUB25 , #ESS-TS1 supercharger kit including inlet manifold and larger injectors, #Powertec air filter with custom heat shield and air intake hose, #Supersprint manifold-back exhaust system, ECU remap by #Simpson-Motorsport , carbon fibre rocker cover and fuel rail cover, custom ESS decal for rocker cover, chrome oil filler cap, new OEM: fuel filter, oil filter, rocker cover gasket, spark plugs, belt tensioner, sub-engine protection unit. Black painted: front air intake unit, ECU cover, expansion tank cover, battery unit box and more. Standard five-speed manual gearbox, ST1 short shifter, new OEM: clutch, flex disc, gearbox mounts.
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BBS LMs fully rebuilt with powdercoated gold centres and polished dishes, shod in 235/35 and 265/30 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres respectively. #KW-Variant-2 coilovers, new OEM: wishbones, bushes, track rod ends and all nuts, bolts and washers. #Turner-Motorsport RTAB limiter kit fitted, all components cleaned and repainted including underside of shell, new jacking rubbers. #AP-Racing front brake kit using four-pot calipers and 330mm grooved discs, new OEM rear discs and M3 calipers painted red, new brake lines with braided flexi-hoses, new OEM handbrake shoes, Ferodo brake fluid.
EXTERIOR: Full respray in white with a black roof, #Reiger M3-style front bumper and side skirts, Reiger front splitter, CSL-style rear spoiler, customised M Sport rear bumper, carbon fibre kidney grilles, carbon fibre diffuser, carbon fibre badges, smoked front and side indicators, LED rear light units with smoked indicators and reverse lights, new OEM foglights and surrounding M-tech mouldings, new OEM arch liners, new OEM brackets and clips throughout, new factory stickers throughout.
INTERIOR: Full retrim in red Nappa leather, parcel shelf retrimmed in black alcantara, full black OEM carpet, most of remaining trim replaced with new black components or new grey components sprayed black, ST1 footrest and pedals, new OEM door and boot rubbers, M Sport gear knob and handbrake handle, new OEM floor mats, flocked dashboard, custom gauge pod (also flocked) holding Stuart Warner 52mm boost, oil pressure and volt gauges, white Lockwood dials, new OEM speakers all-roundStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGloriously original Schnitzer 635CSi racer
A True Original Squirrelled away down in Australia you’ll find perhaps the most original Schnitzer E24 635CSi race car in existence – it’s an absolute peach!
‘It came second in every major race it entered’ – hardly a claim to fame, especially when it comes to a race car’s value post-retirement. Thankfully it’s not the only deciding factor, as this ex-Schnitzer 635CSi proves. Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.
A TRUE ORIGINAL
As with many things in life, originality is key. Whether it’s the arts, sciences, or even consumer goods, a truly unique idea or product will stand out. It doesn’t even have to be the best in its class. It just has to be one of a kind. The same can be said of racing cars. Tyrell’s six-wheeler was hardly the most successful F1 car of all time, but it’s still revered today because it tried something new. Similarly, this #Group-A 635CSi never won a single race in its life but its remarkable career, despite the lack of wins, and originality (being possibly the most complete Schnitzer Group A E24 in existence) means it truly is a standout car.
Now sitting in the Bowden Collection warehouse in Queensland, Australia, we decided our trip up there earlier this year would be a great opportunity to both shoot and delve into the history of this amazing machine. And thanks to the generous assistance of the Bowden clan, we were able to do just that. Looking into the car’s past, it’s perhaps remarkable such a storied machine could have started its career so badly. Entered into the 1985 European Touring Car Championship as the factory Schnitzer / #BMW #M-Technic car, chassis RA2-55 didn’t even finish its first three 500km endurance races at Monza, Vallelunga and Brno due to mechanical problems. And it only managed sixth and seventh at the Salzburgring and Nürburgring events respectively. And that was despite having drivers like Emanuelle Pirro, Dieter Quester and Johnny Cecotto at the wheel. A huge effort from both the team and drivers Quester, Oestreich and Cecotto did yield a second behind its sister car at the Spa 24-hours that year, but that was as good as it got in its European run.
Thankfully, the late-season pick-up in fortune meant British team manager John Siddle still decided to bring the car Down Under for the Bathurst 1000 later that year. Originally, he wanted the Spa winner, but given it ran the famous ‘parts car’ livery, one that would have cost around AU$10,000 to replace when it returned to Europe, Siddle settled on buying its sister car outright instead and had it painted in ‘Bob Jane T-Marts’ orange. After a complete rebuild by Schnitzer and testing by Quester, it ended up on a boat to Australia.
Remarkably (at least when viewed through the lens of 2016), this was fairly normal for the time. The team’s driver line-up for ‘the great race’ originally consisted of Nelson Piquet (whom Siddle managed) and Nikki Lauda, but a date clash with a Brands Hatch F1 race meant Johnny Cecotto and Roberto Ravaglia had to be flown in instead. To help ensure the best possible result, Siddle also brought in two Schnitzer mechanics and a BMW factory engineer to bolster the local crew.
Qualifying eighth, the bright orange 635 suffered a terrible start due to the kind of engine trouble Siddle had spent so much time and money trying to avoid. Thankfully it cleared by lap three, only to be replaced by a computer wiring fault on lap 17, which left the car down on power for the remainder of the race.
Despite this, after two hours in the car was up to fourth and eventually moved up to third behind the TWR Jaguars. At one stage it even snatched second place before a charging Peter Brock went past in his Commodore. Thankfully for the BMW fans, though, Brock’s timing chain later broke and chassis RA2-55 took its second consecutive number two spot in a major race. Rather frustratingly, a post-race inspection by the team revealed the wiring problem probably cost them a second a lap and therefore the win, but such is Bathurst.
After Australia’s biggest enduro, the Bob Jane car competed in an F1 support race at Adelaide, driven by none other than Gerhard Berger, before a brief retirement until the tail end of the 1986 Australian season. There, thanks to Garry Rogers (who now runs the Volvo V8 Supercars team) destroying his ex-JPS 635CSi at Oran Park, it was pressed back into service to run with Charlie O’Brien as the second driver at the Calder Park South Pacific 300 (where it finished seventh), the Sandown 500 (where it finished 11th) and once again at the Bathurst 1000, where sadly it DNF’d. Finally, the CSi finished off its racing career by being shipped to Japan to compete at the Fuji InterTec 500, piloted by O’Brien and Pirro, where it finished (yet again) in second.
Upon returning to Bob Jane’s ownership, the former racer and tyre magnate changed the vinyl numbers to replicate the 1985 Bathurst livery and left it at that, using it as a promotional vehicle at his various tyre and wheel stores around Australia. Indeed, it seems he thought little more about the car until he showed it at the 2012 Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne. There, a chance encounter with some Red Bull mechanics made him realise what a special piece of history he had on his hands.
According to current custodian Chris Bowden, these Red Bull mechanics were ex-Schnitzer and, after examining it, said to Bob they used to work on the car and they couldn’t believe how original it was. “They told Bob that it was the only one left of the original (Schnitzer) 635CSis,” says Chris.
Having realised quite how valuable it was, Bob decided to find some caretakers who could look after it better than he could, and thanks to being friends with the Bowden family, chatted to them first.
“Bob called us after that event and said, ‘I’ve just found out this car’s a lot more special than what I thought it was, and I think you should have it,” Chris explains. “So we started talking from that point onwards and a deal was struck not that long after.
Obviously it was Bob Jane [a man renowned for his business nous], so we had to pay – we had to pay well – but let’s just say all parties were happy and, to date, I’m yet to have seen another 635 like it. It’s just a time-warp, and its fantastic race history backing it up is really cool, too.”
Chris’s description of the car as a ‘time warp’ is apt. Looking over the car, you can see every little detail from its racing career remains intact. Outside, the completely original paint is chipped and worn, as are the wheel centres, and the aluminium fuel tank still has dirt streaks running down it. The windscreen even has a crack in it from its last race in Japan. Lift up the bonnet and bootlid and you’ll see every mechanical component remains untouched and the rubber seals are long past their use-by-dates. Even the tyres are the original Pirelli P7 slicks it last raced with back in 1986. Inside, the time capsule feel continues. The original Recaro carbon bucket is now completely yellowed by the ageing resin, while the kick marks on the doorcards and aluminium roll-cage, as well as the partly-faded plastics surrounding the switchgear behind the gear knob and shiny leather on the wheel itself, all further reinforce how old and well-used the car was. (On a separate note, the completely stock road-car gear knob, door panels and dashboard are a bit of a throwback, aren’t they? It’d be impossible to think about seeing such items on a modern race car).
The car’s originality and condition makes it all the more amazing that, far from leaving it as a museum piece, Chris has had it out for a test run at Queensland Raceway. Admittedly it was just one test, and the original ’80s tyres and safety gear meant it was hardly flat-out, but after getting his mechanics to ensure it all still worked, he did indeed drive it. And to prove that age never wearies a great car, Chris says it was still a peach and rather friendlier than his other Group A 635CSi – a JPS car we’ll also be featuring. “The JPS car is very much set up for sprint racing – it’s got a huge cam in it,” Chris says. “There’s literally nothing going on below 4000rpm. Getting it out of the pits is an absolute nightmare. And the JPS car (like all Group A 635s) runs a huge amount of caster and the gearbox ratios are extremely tight. It’s a real purpose-built sprint car. Whereas in the Schnitzer the clutch in it is quite friendly, the gear ratios are spread a little bit wider and it’s got power steering. It does run a pretty big cam, but nothing like the JPS car. It generates power from about 3000rpm; you could take the Schnitzer car to the shops.”
Of course, Chris says this doesn’t mean the car isn’t utterly vice-free, as it’s still “a little bit cranky” at low speeds, but for a purpose-built race car, he says it’s a nice drive and very clearly one set up for endurance racing, where outright speed is less important than ensuring the driver isn’t exhausted by lap ten.
Thankfully for race fans, Chris even says he plans to drive the car at future events, too, if only for demonstration runs: “This particular 635, given I’ve never seen another one like it – as original – I don’t think racing is what should be done with the car. I’d love to but I don’t think I’d be doing a favour to mankind by giving it a big rub or blowing up the engine or doing those things that happen when you decide to enter a race with a car. The JPS car, definitely, there’ll be a time in the future when we do race that, but the Bob Jane car, no. It’s a time-capsule – it’s something that should be kept for future generations so that in 30, 50, 100 years from now, when they talk about the early Group A cars, and the ones that ruled the roost and what they were really like, this car should be an example of that.”
Wise words indeed. We look forward to seeing the car on track at future events, where no doubt it will wow people with its originality, history and bewitching M30 song.
Above: The ‘Bob Jane’ 635CSi as it was when campaigned by Schnitzer in European events – this is it finishing second at Spa in 1985.
Looking over the car, you can see every little detail from its racing career remains intact.
TECHNICAL DATA Bob Jane #Schnitzer #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-Schnitzer / #BMW-635CSi-Schnitzer-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-E24 / #BMW-Schnitzer / #Bob-Jane / #Getrag / #BBS / #AP-Racing /
ENGINE: 3475cc SOHC #M30 / #BMW-M30 straight-six, cast iron block, 12-valve alloy head, #Bosch injection, 310hp @ 6900rpm
GEAR BOX: Getrag five-speed gearbox
CHASSIS: Steel monocoque
SUSPENSION: McPherson struts, coil springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll bars (front), semi-trailing arms, coil springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll bars (rear)
BRAKES: AP-Racing four-piston callipers (f) and Lockheed two-piston callipers (r) with 297x26mm two-piece discs
WHEELS AND TYRES: 8x17-inch (f&r) BBS centre lock mesh wheels with 285/630 (f&r) Pirelli P7 racing slicks
For a purpose-built race car, it’s a nice drive and very clearly one set up for endurance racing.
The Bob Jane 635CSi that now resides in the Bowden collection retains a wonderful patina – it’s probably the most original E24 race car anywhere in the world.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation702bhpS2 #MTM-Talladega-R / Words Davy Lewis / Photography AJ Walker
More power than an original Ferrari Enzo - MRC Tuning's original stealth bomber!
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS MRC TUNING S2
This stealthy looking S2 was the catalyst that led to #MRC-Tuning being born, and now it’s been fully refreshed – with a monstrous 712ps (702bhp)
Always remember where you came from – that’s a phrase that you hear a lot in these celebrity obsessed times. From Hollywood stars that started out as waiters, to world champion boxers that used to clean cars for a living – it’s amazing how far you can come in life. But staying true to your roots isn’t easy. The pressures of success can change people – and not always for the better.
Having worked on performance car magazines for over 16 years, I’ve seen this happen many times over. Tuning enthusiasts grow into a commercial entity and become a bit ‘corporate’. They lose touch with the very people they should be appealing to. Which is a shame.
One company that has managed to grow, and stay in touch with the real Audi fans, is MRC Tuning.
Set up in 2005, MRC is the collaboration of S2 enthusiasts, Doug Bennett and Mihnea Cottet. As a regular on the well-respected S2forum.com, Doug reached a point where no one in the UK could modify his S2 to the level he wanted, so he decided to do it himself and get Mihnea over from Europe to tune it.
The 1995 Coupe, which he purchased in 2002, had already been converted to RS2 spec and was running around 330ps. With further work from Doug, it got to a K27 turbo level of tune, and offered a good balance of power and drivability. However, as is often the case with these things, once a business takes off, a tuner’s own car tends to get left behind.
And MRC Tuning has certainly taken off. These guys are now one of the world’s most respected performance Audi specialists, with a huge flow of S and RS models going through their Banbury workshop. Always at the cutting edge of Audi tuning, MRC has created the UK’s first 1000bhp RS6 C6; cracked the 200mph barrier in a B5 widebody and an R8 turbo at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground; and they continue to the lead the way with everything from B5 RS4s, through to the very latest RS6s.
Over the last 11 years, Doug has been fortunate enough to indulge his passion for fast Audis. His S4 widebody, R8 turbo and RS6 C6 have all been featured in #AudiTuner and reinforce the fact that he’s an Audi enthusiast first and foremost. However, one car will always remain extra special.
“It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and will never get rid of,” confirms Doug. “It always gives me a buzz – from the old school lag of nothing – then bang – all the power and torque in a small power band,” he smiles.
Although the S2 was well cared for, it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that befits an MRC staff car. So, when team member, Stuart Fourie, offered to carry out the custom fabrication necessary to take it to the next level, Doug didn’t hesitate. The S2 was officially ‘reborn’ in 2014, but it was only relatively recently that all of the finishing touches have been completed ready for a feature.
To the man in the street, it may look nothing special – just another mid-90s Audi. But those in the know will appreciate the latent violence that simmers just below the surface of this unassuming Coupe.
The current engine spec is a master class in how to achieve reliable, big power and, more importantly, immense torque, from the venerable 2.2-litre ABY lump. At 2bar of boost, this 20v turbo delivers a sledgehammer blow of 712ps and 717Nm – more than a Ferrari Enzo.
However, don’t confuse this with the linear and relentless surge of torque that you get with a modern RS6 running similar power. In the S2, it’s much more aggressive, with the power coming in with a bang. There’s nothing progressive about this thing. It has a very old school feel – an almost Group B savagery – that is guaranteed to shock the unprepared. In fact, at last year’s AudiTuner Expo, Stuart brought the car along to display, and his mate, who was riding shotgun, recalled how he’d almost been sick when the boost kicked in on the journey to Donington. This sort of animal is, of course, not for everyone. But when you spend each and every day tuning and testing some of the most powerful Audis in the world, you need something a bit special to get your own kicks.
The engine itself is a work of art. Dominated by the big external wastegate and GTX3582 turbo, it looks as if it just came out of some special projects division at Renn Sport. Everything, from the black crackle finish on the cam cover and inlet manifold, through to the shiny alloy goodies (even the clips and hoses look immaculate), it’s clear to see a hell of a lot of care has gone into this engine bay.
The prodigious power is transferred via a B5 S4 6-speed gearbox, which is mated to a strong, 6-puck Sachs clutch and solid flywheel. It’s a tried and testing combination, that’s able to handle the immense force created with such a powerful 20v turbo. Talking of which, it doesn’t half sound good.
A stock 5-pot is a very sonorous thing to behold, but this is on an entirely different level. It’s part jet fighter, part Group B rally car – you really need to hear it being driven in anger to appreciate it. It chuffs and snorts in a real old school fashion – there’s no modern Audi noise suppression here – and it’s all the better for it.
The whole car has a very raw feel to it. In this digital world where everything from the weight of the steering, to the firmness of the dampers, the speed of the gear changes to the sensitivity of the throttle can all be controlled by a computer; this is a very analogue beast. You get in, turn on the ignition, put it into gear – and drive the bugger.
Aside from the specialist fabrication work to the exhaust, intercooler, catch can and breathers (all thanks to the talented Stuart), the rest of this S2 is dripping with tuning goodies, but as with all MRC projects, everything is fitted with performance in mind first and foremost. The chassis, in particular, has received lots of attention to ensure the power can be controlled and corners attacked with aplomb. From the #AP-Racing 6-pots nestled behind the gorgeous BBS CH alloys (which look like they were made for the S2), to the H&R coilovers and uprated ARBs, this thing is ready to rock whenever you need it to. Not wishing to spoil the fantastic 90s styling of this curvaceous Coupe, Doug has been careful to add only OEM parts to give it a little lift. The front end has been treated to genuine RS2 door mirrors, plus grille and front bumper, which look both more aggressive and affords better airflow to the hard worked engine. The rear end simply wears a neat alloy MRC badge – there’s not even a clue that this is an S-model Audi.
Inside, you’ll find a set of factory optional RS2 leather seats. They have the creases and patina you’d expect from a car made in 1995, but they’re all the better for it. In fact, the whole of the cabin has that certain feel and even smell of a mid-90s performance Audi. It feels very solid and has real character – something that’s arguably missing on the latest crop of S and RS models. It’s part of the reason that S2s, along with RS2s, B5 S/RS4s and C5 RS6s are still so well loved by enthusiasts.
So there we have it. This is kind of Doug’s life’s work. He’s owned the car since 2002 and it’s the one he’ll never let go. Considering the amount of unbelievably quick and desirable Audis this man has access to, it speaks volumes about what this S2 means to him. From humble beginnings – the car that started it all.
Top: You’d never guess it had over 700bhp. Below: Doug’s other ‘toy’ see the RS2 next issue.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-S2-Coupe / #1995 / #ABY / #Audi-ABY / #Audi-S2 / #Audi / #GTX3582 / #Garrett-GTX3582r / #Garrett-GTX3582 / #Garrett / #Audi-80-B4 / #Audi-Typ-8C / #Audi-S2-B4 / #Audi-8B / #Audi-S2-8B / #Audi-80 / #Audi-S2-Coupe-B4 / #MRC-Tuning / #Bosch / #Audi
Engine 2.2 ABY overbored, uprated rods and REC pistons, ported head with oversized valves and lightweight valvetrain, #Wagner inlet manifold (modified for throttle body to fit at 90deg), 850cc #Siemens injectors, High Octane tubular exhaust manifold, #Garrett-GTX3582R-turbo turbo, HKS wastegate, stock ECU with 4bar map sensor, #Bosch-413 fuel pump, custom intercooler, full custom exhaust, custom catch can and breathers through brace bar, #MRC-Tuning-Stage-3 remap
Power 712ps and 717Nm at 2bar / 627ps and 685Nm at 1.65bar
Transmission Audi S4 B5 gearbox, #Sachs 6-puck clutch with solid flywheel
Front: #AP-Racing 6-pot calipers with Phaeton discs
Rear: VRS Porsche 4-pots and Brembo handbrake calipers
Suspension #H&R coilovers, RS2 front #ARB , Whiteline rear ARB, #Powerflex polybushes
Wheels 19in #BBS-CH with 235/35 Yokohama tyres
Interior Factory optional RS2 #Recaro seats, RS2 steering wheel, boost and EGT gauges, RS4 Alcantara gearknob, RS2 dash and aux gauges
Exterior RS2 front bumper, RS2 wing mirrors, RS2 grille, MRC badge
Contacts and thanks MRC Tuning www.mrctuning.com, Stuart, Chris and Mihnea for helping look after it over the years, S2forum.com, Dhyllan at Automotive Addiction for the wheel refurbishment
Top: RS2 seats were a factory option Above: Gauges in custom vent housing.
Above: Interior is solid and has that special 90s feel to it.
“It’s part jet fighter, part Group B rally car – you really need to hear it driven in anger...”
GTX3582 turbo supplies ample boost. Catch can and breathers are bespoke items. Custom MRC Tuning intercooler.
Left: AP Racing 6-pots and 19in #BBS alloys – perfect Main pic: Not even an S2 badge to give the game away...
“It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and will never get rid of”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.