- 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 moderation’CHARGED Z3 M Track-focussed monster. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrick Lauder. From bone stock to supercharged autocross monster, this Z3 M Coupé has spent 14 years becoming the best machine it can be.
Supercharged / #BMW-Z3M-Coupe / #BMW-Z3M-Coupé-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3M-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3-E36/8 / #BMW-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3M / #BMW-Z3M-Coupe-Supercharged / #BMW-Z3-Supercharged / #BMW-Z3M-Coupe-Supercharged-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E36/8 / #BMW
In America they call it the clown shoe; in the UK we call it the bread van but whatever you choose to call it the Z3 Coupé remains an incredibly special and unique machine. #BMW attempted to recapture the magic of its quirky miniature shooting brake with the E86 Z4 Coupé and while it was arguably a better car, it was also a lot more conventional and lost a lot of the appeal of its quirky forebear. Being unconventional may have caused people to fall in and out of love with the Z3 Coupé throughout its life but standing out from the crowd has most definitely worked in favour of the eye-catching machine and that is exactly why Grant Gillum ended up buying this car.
“I wasn’t a BMW guy per se,” Grant begins, “but I knew they made a quality product. As college was ending I began researching nice used cars to purchase after graduation. I wanted a front engine, rear-wheel-drive car that could be modified and used for autocross and track days. It would also be my daily for a while. After considering several cars including Corvettes, Camaros, Porsche 944s and 928s, the Pontiac GTO (not a used car at the time), Datsuns and Nissans of many years and models, I decided on an E36 M3. I liked the styling, the daily sensibilities and the aftermarket availability. They were also uncommon and more exclusive. All that changed the day that I saw a Z3 Coupé in traffic,” he says. “I had seen a million Z3 Roadsters and wasn’t really interested in a convertible. But this was different and I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at. I certainly didn’t recognize it as a Z3. It had a BMW logo so I started researching all their models, eventually finding information on the M Coupé. All the engine of an M3 but lighter, with a factory wide body, staggered wheels and a look that was comparable to some exotics. Sold. I had to have one,” he smiles. “It took nine months of scouring the internet to find the right one.
I bought a 22k mile example, bone stock but for a Dinan CAI and a stage one tune and still under warranty. I bought it sight unseen except photos and had it shipped cross country. I realized right away too that the M Coupé was a limited production run vehicle and so would be a cheap way for a blue collar guy to own something special. I bought the car knowing it would be a lifelong project car. I’ve known plenty of grey haired dudes that sold the hot rod of their youth and regretted it the rest of their lives. Not me. Hopefully,” he adds.
Unlike other owners who buy their cars and start out with no plans for modifying, Grant knew he was going to mod the Z3 and knew exactly which direction he wanted to take it in. “I wanted to race it right away and joined an autocross club soon after buying it,” he says, and his passion for autocross is shared by his wife. “Six years ago she came with me for a day at the track. She rode along on a couple runs and decided to give it a try. Except when pregnant, she’s raced in nearly every autocross event that I have since then. Averaging our times to a 60 second run, she’s about a half second off me. She’s been as close as a tenth second off my time. I’m much more of a fundamental driver, she drives much more by the seat of her pants. As soon as she tightens up her fundamentals, she’ll beat me,” he says. While you can take any car to an autocross event, if you’re serious about this particular form of motorsport, as Grant is, then your car will need to be modified and in a focussed way that will enable you to get the most out of it, which is why virtually everything he’s done to his Z3 has been all about making it a more finely-honed, precision autocross instrument.
It’s also why the supercharger that you can see strapped to the side of the engine came last and everything else came first as the chassis, handling and dynamics were the priorities here.
Wheels and tyres were the first items on what would become quite an extensive shopping list and while aesthetics do obviously play a part, lightness was mostly the deciding factor as far as wheel choice was concerned. “I went online and found the lightest wheels I could for the car,” explains Grant. “I bought a set of OZ Alleggerita HLTs in 8x17” and 8.5”x17”. They were light at less than 17lbs (7.7kg) per corner and dropped considerable unsprung weight over the stock wheels and I converted to wheel studs too.
I ran those wheels for a couple of autocross seasons before switching the rears to the front and widening the fronts to 10” and putting them on the rear. Now they weigh 16.8lbs (7.6kg) and 17.9lbs (8.1kg) front and rear; they are light, strong and handsome,” and what more could anyone ask for from a wheel? “I also run a set of 8x18” and 9x18” ASA AR1 wheels with black centres and 2” and 3” polished lips front and rear on the street,” he adds. The 17s really suit the Z3, as you can see in the photos, especially with the fat sidewalls of the super-sticky BF Goodrich g-Force R1 tyres filling out the arches and those tyres let you know that this M Coupé means business.
With lightweight wheels and track tyres taken care of, the next item on Grant’s to-do list was the suspension, and while he started off small, things quickly escalated. “I started with H&R springs and kept them for a few years until they sagged,” he says, “then I switched to Ground Control coilovers and adjustable spring perches. But not before modding the anti-roll bars with reinforcements, adding differential reinforcements, rear shock mounts, sub frame reinforcements and rear camber and toe adjustments. Then I poly bushed it followed by aluminium control arms.
“Disaster struck at the autocross one day when the diff pulled away from the subfloor and the rear end went squishy,” says Grant. “I thought that one of the rear anti-roll bar end links had given way. That’s how I got a tube frame rear subfloor that is way stiffer than the stock car ever thought of being. I love the coilovers, of course, but the single greatest suspension mod was poly bushing the rear subframe. It really changed the way the car transitioned weight in-corner to being much more predictable,” he says. As is often the case when it comes to modding, when things go wrong, break or fail, rather than just replacing them you upgrade them so, as with his boot floor, when the clutch started to slip Grant fitted an F1 Racing stage two clutch and 14lbs chromoly flywheel as well as a stainless steel clutch line and then added a UUC short shift kit and double shear selector rod plus a Z3 2.3 steering rack. Further drivetrain upgrades include a poly differential bush, UUC aluminium engine and transmission mounts and a rebuilt diff with four clutch zero preload and 80/60 ramping, polished ring and pinion gears and a 3.64 final drive in place of the standard 3.23 item. “Before the supercharger, lowering the final drive was a really dramatic NA mod. It went a long way to help pull me out of slow second gear turns,” explains Grant.
With the suspension and drivetrain taken care the Z3 was a far sharper machine but now the car’s stopping abilities needed to be addressed. “When I started doing a lot of track days it was apparent that the stock brakes were not up to long days of abuse,” he says. “That’s when I did the brake conversion and ducting. What a difference and zero fade. I didn’t go too big on the disc diameter as I was concerned with reducing as much rotational weight as possible, as autocross is more of a low speed competition.” The Z3 now wears Wilwood six-pot Superlite front calipers with 330mm GT-48 floating discs and Wilwood Dynalite four-pot rear calipers with 312mm lightweight discs and Wilwood B pads allround, while the ducting ensures that the brakes receive plenty of cool air to deliver peak performance at all times.
Having carried out all the groundwork to make sure that all aspects of the chassis and drivetrain were at peak performance, Grant could now turn his attention to extracting more power from the engine.
Unlike our Euro-spec Z3 M models, the US cars were fitted with the S52B32 engine, based on the M52, which had to make do with 240hp and 236lb ft of torque so it’s no surprise that Grant wanted to up these numbers. “I started with keeping the engine NA and wanted to let it breathe better,” he says. “I upgraded the cooling system with a rad, water pump thermostat and cover immediately. I kept the CAI and did the M50 intake manifold exchange and I also did the BBTB at the same time. A cat-back exhaust followed and a year later came exhaust manifolds and a mid-pipe. In general I would wait until OE parts needed replacement and would upgrade at that time; that way the financial hit of modifying was lessened by taking the money I would be spending on OE parts and putting that towards upgrades.
I replaced all the water hoses throughout and the oil cooler followed when I started doing more track days, as I live a 40 minute drive from Thunderhill Raceway here in California. While on track there one day the bottom radiator hose slipped off and started spewing out coolant; I realised it had happened within seconds but even though I coasted into the pits the water temp gauge showed hot and that’s how I got the new head and I went to under-driven pulleys then as well.
“After the rest of the car was pretty modified I bought the supercharger kit. I had become a dad and my wife wanted me to do less high speed track driving and just drive autocross, so after close to two dozen track days at Thunderhill my focus changed with regard to driving. I needed just a little more low-end torque to pull me out of slow second gear turns when I didn’t want to shift to first gear at autocross,” and the supercharger kit has certainly given Grant the grunt he was after. It’s an Active Autowerke Stage 1 kit with a Rotrex C38-92 supercharger and is accompanied by numerous supporting mods. “I removed the air con, replaced the alternator, installed the power steering cooler, did the oil pan/pump upgrade and fitted an ATI Super Damper, crank pulley and carried out a CCV delete with the supercharger kit,” he says. “The baseline dyno when I bought the car was 205hp and 203lb ft of torque at the wheels; the NA mods took that up to 230whp and 222lb ft and it now makes 312whp and 262lb ft at the wheels on the same dyno. Active Autowerke claims that this kit makes 360hp on a stock car; I’ve done a lot of other work to the engine, so if they want to claim 360hp I want to claim somewhere in the 380hp range,” says Grant. “That seems excessive, though, and I usually just quote my dyno numbers,” and that’s still plenty to enjoy both on road an track, and a huge increase over stock.
While Grant has focussed mainly on the performance and dynamic elements of the car he has not forgotten about aesthetics, both inside and out. The exterior as been enhanced with Motion Motorsports front splitters and aluminium undertay, a one-off AC Schnitzer rear diffuser centre section, the roof spoiler has been raised by 8mm to enhance the roofline and Grant’s also fitted black kidney grilles, black lower mesh grilles and carbon-look roundels among other things. The interior, meanwhile, has been treated to a Momo Competition steering wheel on a quick release hub, chrome handbrake handle, E46 M3 short shift gearknob, black leather gaiter with tricolour stitching and M Tech pedals and dead pedal. There’s also a H3R black HalGuard fire extinguisher, but this was added as a necessity following a scary incident…
“While testing the car after installing the M50 manifold a fuel hose wasn’t secured completely and popped off and sprayed fuel over the exhaust manifold,” says Grant. “Thank god the car wasn’t warmed up all the way and only billowed white smoke. I pulled over immediately and ran. It continued to smoke for a long, heart-pounding five minutes. I fitted the fire extinguisher after that,” he says.
Grant’s Z3 is a focussed build that’s been taken in a specific direction and the results speak for themselves. While it looks great it’s the changes that you can’t see and that we can’t experience or appreciate that make this car. It’s the vast amount of chassis work, the brakes, the hundreds of seemingly minor secondary mods that are so important for the success of the whole and which all add up to make a such big difference. This Z3 has evolved hugely during the 14 years that Grant has owned it, from autocross machine to track monster and back to autocross beast but this time with the wick turned way, way up, becoming more and more focussed at each stage and it’s not reached its final form just yet…
“In the not-too-distant future this car will retire from competition after nearly 80,000 miles that saw it driving to almost monthly autocross events (10 months a year). I have a pile of class win trophies adding, in my small way, to BMW’s racing heritage. I’ll paint and mount the new bumper and splitters I have waiting. I’ll delete the fog lights and the antenna for a cleaner look. At that time I’d also like a nice set of multipiece step-lipped wheels,” he nods, painting an attractive picture. At that point it’ll become a different animal altogether but whether or not that will be its final stage of evolution will remain to be seen…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged E36/8 Z3 M Coupé / #Active-Autowerke-Stage-1 / #Active-Autowerke / #Rotrex / #VAC / #Dinan /
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #BMW-S52 / #S52 / #S52-Supercharged , #UUC engine mounts, Active Autowerke Stage 1 supercharger kit with #Rotrex-C38-92 supercharger, CAI, 3” MAF, High flow Bosch fuel injectors, supercharger oil cooler, AA stage 1 programming for BBTB and M50 intake with 7k redline, polished supercharger bracket, #ATI-Super-Damper , #VAC-lightweight crank pulley, #Dinan big bore throttle body, M50 intake manifold and fuel rail cover, intake runner heat shields, Dr. Vanos stage 2 kit with cam gears, timing chains and solenoid, Turner shorty ceramic coated exhaust manifolds, ARP header studs, fiberglass manifold and exhaust wrap, SAS Racing dual 2.5” mid-pipes with stock cats, dual 2.75” Supersprint stainless cat-back exhaust, #BMP design exhaust tips, #VAC oil pump upgrade, VAC oil pan baffle, #Behr S54 E46 triple row radiator, 80° thermostat, power steering cooler, Stewart high-flow water pump with steel impeller, polished aluminum thermostat housing, polished aluminum water pump nut, 80/88º fan switch, Spal 16” electric puller fan, clutch fan delete, new overflow tank, BMP brass water bleeder, VAC 5x7” oil cooler with polished Euro oil filter housing, stock head gasket, #ARP head studs, head polished and gasket matched, new valve guides, lashes, locks and retainers, valve job, resurfaced head, hydraulic belt tensioner, CCV delete, new Valeo 115 app alternator, AC delete, radiator baffle.
POWER and torque 312whp and 262lb ft wtq
TRANSMISSION #ZF-Type-C / #ZF five-speed manual gearbox, #F1-Racing 14lbs chromoly flywheel and stage 2 clutch, stainless clutch line, UUC short shifter and double shear selector rod, poly differential bush, UUC aluminium transmission mounts, rebuilt diff with four clutch zero pre-load and 80/60 ramping, 3.64:1 final drive, polished ring and pinion gears
CHASSIS 8.5”x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #OZ-Alleggerita-HLT / #OZ wheels with 255/45 (front and rear) BF Goodrich g-Force R1 tyres, #Ground-Control front coilovers with Koni adjustable shocks, Eibach 500lbs front springs and 600lbs rear springs, Ground Control adjustable rear spring perches, Ground Control front camber and caster plates, #Racing-Dynamics 21mm front and 19 mm rear anti-rolls bars and end links, SAS Racing rear anti-roll bar reinforcements, #SAS-Racing differential reinforcements, SAS Racing rear shock mount reinforcements, Turner Motorsport aluminium and poly rear upper shock mounts, Ireland poly control arm bushes, #Turner front subframe reinforcements, Ireland poly rear trailing arm bushes, Turner rear camber and toe adjustments, 90mm rear and 75mm front lug stud conversion, E30 M3 polished aluminum control arms, Turner front hub extenders, Ground-Control bump stops, SAS Racing tube frame rear sub-floor, Z3 2.3 steering rack, #Wilwood sixpiston Superlite calipers with 330mm GT-48 floating discs with aluminium hats (front), Wilwood four-piston Dynalite calipers with 312mm lightweight discs (rear), Wilwood B pads (front and rear), stainless brake lines, Turner front brake backing plates and duct work, SAS Racing vented rear brake backing plates, new master cylinder and reservoir
EXTERIOR Arctic silver, Motion Motorsports front splitters and aluminium undertay, #AC-Schnitzer one-off rear diffuser centre section, OEM fog light kit, rear roof spoiler adjusted up 8mm and colour-matched, polished wiring harness brackets, door jamb stickers removed, carbon-look roundels, passenger wiper delete, HID headlamps with side markers and corner lamps colour matched, stealth turn signal bulbs, tinted tail lights, colour-matched wiper nozzles and hatch latch, black kidney grilles, black mesh lower grilles, rear wiper delete, clear front corner markers, front plate holder delete, new windscreen and exterior mouldings
INTERIOR Black and grey two-tone leather interior, Momo 350mm Competition steering wheel with hub, 15 mm spacer and adaptor, carbon-look roundel, Snap-off Industries steering wheel quick release hub, chrome handbrake handle, E46 M3 short gear knob, M Tech pedals and dead pedal, front and rear M logo floor mats, E36 M3 window button surrounds, black leather gaiters with tricolour stitching, windscreen and window tints, sun visor stickers removed, glove box facelift, carbon horn pin adapter, H3R black HalGuard fire extinguisher, poly seat bushes, custom rear hatch parcel shelf
Thanks My wife, for her all patience and participation. Jerard Shaha at SAS Racing, my 30-year mechanic and friend. He rebuilt my El Camino in 1987! SAS Racing has done all the work on this car over the years. Their specialty is racecar setup but they perform all mechanical work and fabrication to an expert level as well as engine building and auto transmission rebuilds (email@example.com). Jason Shaha, my childhood best friend and Jerard’s brother. Thanks for planting that competitive seed from your family into me. See you at the next race? The long-standing crew at Trinity Touring Club. Thanks for your loyalty to our sport and dedication to our club. If I didn’t have to drive 90 minutes each way I’d be at all the club meetings (trinitytouringclub.com)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSIDEWAYS SHOW CAR Turbo #BMW-E30-Drift-Car
Sometimes we find a #BMW that’s had so many changes it’s hard to spot them all. Ian Walpole’s E30 drifter is one such car and he did it all in his garage at home… Words: Mike Renaut. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Don’t think of this one as a modified E30. It’s better described as a hand-built race car with a lot of BMW parts. At first glance it looks like a stripped M3 until you realise those arches aren’t quite the same and the back end looks different too… The guys with all the answers are owner Ian Walpole and his mate John Amor who helped him greatly with the build. Between them they’ve built and raced everything from a rally Vauxhall Viva HB to a trials Land Rover. They like a bit of everything, so in 2013 decided it was time for a drift car. “I’ve been into BMWs for a while,” says Ian, “I’ve got an E46 Touring I use for MCC Reliability trials with my dad as navigator – that’s all about stopping in boxes on hills and car control. This E30 was something different again.
“It took us three years to build,” continues Ian, “I don’t know how my wife Sasha put up with it. Just before we went travelling - around 2011 - I’d bought a #1987 #BMW-325i-Sport-M-Tech-1 purely to drive about. It sat on the driveway unused and when we returned I saw rain had got inside and it was all mouldy. After an MOT and some TLC I tried selling but it wasn’t even worth £1000 so I bought an HX40 turbo and a manifold kit for it. The kit was awful, the ports were offset in the wrong place and John and I like to do things properly, so we started to modify parts to fit and the whole build spiralled out of control.”
Caged Laser Engineering laser-cut a plate to fit the turbo and another to fit the cylinder head. “We then cut up the cheap manifold and fabricated new flanges and pipes creating a split pulse manifold with external 60mm wastegate and a screamer pipe exiting from the offside wing,” says Ian. “Then someone offered me £700 for the Sport body kit meaning we had money to play with. We pulled the motor apart and the crank was worn, so in went a 2.8 crank from an M52 and shorter rods, we balanced it all to within 0.1 of a gram and honed the block.” As you can tell, Ian has a well-equipped workshop…
Next the head was reworked by Simon at Orchard Performance for a broad torque band, with oversized valves and porting allowing decent horsepower from a non-aggressive Schrick camshaft. The combustion chambers were modified to improve detonation resistance under boost and optimise combustion, resulting in a fastburning compact chamber that now runs cooler than stock. That alone resulted in an engine with torque enough to get the rear wheels spinning from 2500rpm to the redline. One of the few other areas the guys didn’t do themselves was the baffled sump, “We made one,” says John, “but kept thinking it didn’t quite look right. We reasoned that big companies know what they’re doing when it comes to designing parts, and the idea of oil starvation because we’d made a design mistake was scary, so we bought an off-the-shelf baffle for the sump and welded it in.”
Currently the car runs 6psi of boost, which means 250whp. “On the first dyno run the boost was cranked up to 12psi which produced a puff of steam from the expansion tank and a misfire,” remembers Ian. “I knew the head gasket was the weakest point but I briefly saw 350whp! We’ve now fitted a Cometic multilayer steel gasket which is thicker than the old one, lowering the compression from 9:1 to 8.5:1 and allowing us to safely run extra boost.” That nitrous bottle in the back actually connects to the chargecooler, a £1000 item bought for just £70 on eBay, “We made a spray nozzle on the lathe so 2bar of pressurised nitrous is fired into the cooler, which freezes the inner radiator veins at -136ºC. This provides constant cool air to the engine,” he says. “I didn’t like the idea of injecting nitrous straight into the engine,” explains Ian, “but used this way it’s a great method of keeping the temperature regulated. When the car’s on the dyno being tuned it’s going to have a different temperature to when it’s outside on a track in hot sunshine.
This set up keeps it constant to the dyno temperature conditions.” Waste nitrous exits via a pressure relief valve and homebuilt spray bar over the outside of the charge cooler – again helping it keep an optimum temperature. After all that, the boys kept things simpler with the gearbox; it’s the standard 265 Getrag five-speed unit with uprated pressure plate, although the friction plate has been modified with six sintered paddles and uprated springs by Precision Clutches of Yeovil.
When it came to the body work, there was a clear plan, as Ian explains: “Building this car was all about airflow and weight saving.” The standard bonnet slam panel was getting in the way of that airflow so out came the angle grinder and the front 10” of BMW dropped to the workshop floor to be replaced by a removable lightweight 25mm tube version. “Yeah it’s a bit frightening doing that,” admits John, “but there are two of us so we knew we could fix anything between us.” Keeping the engine cool is a radiator from a 3.0-litre Mitsubishi GTO, but even then the guys couldn’t leave it stock and have handmade an alloy cowling for the 16” fan, “We also cut off the filler neck/cap and ran a bleed hose to an alloy expansion tank.” The fuel cell in the boot was bought from a hill climb car, “It’s an ATL-style bag tank with alloy shroud and the original BMW fuel cap – one of the few original parts that survived the build,” laughs Ian. Fuel travels via a low-pressure pump into a pump feed surge tank to a modified fuel rail and 600cc injectors, then returns to the tank via an adjustable pressure regulator.
The front spoiler and bumper came from eBay; “It was a cheap part that arrived broken in two. We salvaged it and reinforced it with 0.5” alloy tubing and fibreglass, then cut out the indicator and number plate recesses for better air flow before hanging the bumper on quarter-turn Dzus fasteners,” explains John. The new arches were inspired by a modification Ian made to an Alfa Romeo many years ago and are hand-formed from 16- and 18-gauge steel, while each of the side skirts was made from a single sheet of aluminium, likewise the rear bumper.
“The straight bends for the side skirts were much easier than the two days of TIG welding that bumper needed,” admits Ian. As for the final colour, “The guy who painted it – Luke Harvey of Tytherington Body and Paint - suggested adding rainbow flake into the lacquer over the black base.” It looks like a normal black until sunlight hits it, then it sparkles. Almost everything else is colour coded in Ian’s favourite Kawasaki Green.
The boot lid is steel but there’s a carbon fibre one under consideration, “With a drift car you need a certain amount of weight over the back wheels,” says Ian, “we’re still experimenting – it’s more about balance than pure weight reduction.” That’s an M3 boot spoiler but with homemade adaptor plates to fit the non-M3 boot lid. “I fear we might have to fit a huge spoiler for stability in the future though…” says Ian. The weight saving even extends to having the door internals completely gutted and making up new lightweight door latching mechanisms from 15mm billet alloy – drilled, of course, for reduced weight.
The E30 originally had a sunroof but now even the roof panel is fibreglass - saving 18kg and lowering the centre of gravity. “The roof was £67 on eBay but turned out to be in Glasgow,” laughs John, “we went in a van and did about £200 in fuel; I drove up and fell asleep exhausted when we arrived, so they just dropped the roof in on top of me and Ian drove back. It fitted alright once we cut the steel one off but the glue you use to bond it is £50 a tube.”
The front screen is the glass one fitted at the factory but the rest of the windows are Lexan, “I bought the door pieces ready cut but made the others myself with a jigsaw to cut the air scoops into the quarter windows,” explains Ian. There are four scoops in total: two force air over the fuel pumps and swirl pot, the other pair are powered by two 12-volt in-line boat fans blowing air through the gearbox and differential coolers – mounted between the rear lights – with the air exiting through the space where the rear number plate used to be.
The wheels came from Ian’s 2000 750iL; rear hub adaptors were employed to go from four- to five-stud and give an 80mm wider track. The rear suspension comprises HSD Monopro shocks and springs and adjustable trailing arms, all shod with Powerflex Black series bushes. The rear beam lower supports, meanwhile, are now also stronger and longer, which leads us to the front axle. It’s comprised of E36 HSD coilovers with re-drilled strut turrets and top mounts that are adjustable for caster and camber. E36 front hubs run homebuilt hub adaptors and connect to a Z3 steering rack via E46 inner and outer tie rods with four mm rack spacers added for greater lock. The power steering rack is re-engineered by cutting slots internally, allowing free movement of the rack lubricated by a smear of grease and meaning the pipework, pump and reservoir could be removed. That change not only saves weight but also gives better feedback during drifting.
As for the exhaust system, would it surprise you to learn Ian and John hand built that too from 3” stainless steel tubing? “I cut two 90º bends and joined them to form a T-piece, the exhaust exits just ahead of the rear wheels and as well as being designed for free flow it helps push the tyre smoke back. And there’s plenty of it,” laughs Ian, “I’ve got specialised Achilles purple smoke tyres.”
Inside two Sparco seats make up the minimalist interior with a Momo wheel and gauges from AEM. The handmade dashboard is covered in Alcantara while all the other important control switches – fans, gearbox and diff pumps – are in a strip console across the top of the windscreen. “It looks great,” says John, “but when you’re strapped into the car we found that was the only place where Ian could still reach the switches.” Low fuel, nitrous engage and low oil pressure warning lights are also fitted. The handbrake lever is carved from a single piece of billet aluminium, as are the door handles. The roll cage has been extensively modified too; it’s lightweight 45mm chromoly seamless tube and started out as a six-point cage but now has double that - along with dash bars, more crossbars and strengthened mounting plates. Even the stock heater is now housed in a much smaller homemade alloy surround, “There’s not much of this car we haven’t touched,” admits John.
“When I first saw it in paint I didn’t recognise it as my car,” remembers Ian, “it was stunning. We’re both really pleased with how it turned out.” Did working together ever lead to any arguments about parts choices? “I just left all the difficult decisions to Ian,” laughs John, “Yeah and all the difficult jobs too,” jokes Ian. “It was 50% planning and 50% experimenting, some pieces were a bit scary but we bounced ideas off each other.”
Ian and John both insist this is a drift car, and was never intended to be a show car, but then Ian reveals just how many hours John has spent polishing the engine bay for our photos. “I used an entire tube of Autosol,” admits John, “we weren’t aiming to build a show car but, yes, it did get out of hand.” Thanks also go to Ian’s wife Sasha who apparently “cleans all the bits no one normally sees.”
Surely then, and this is a sentiment echoed by almost everyone who has seen the BMW, the car is too nice to risk smacking into an Armco by drifting? “Of course it’s going to get hammered,” agrees Ian, “but it’s designed to be hardy. The body is mainly steel, the fibreglass panels can be changed in a few seconds since they’re all on Dzus fasteners and we can rebuild anything we damage on the track - I just hope Luke can match the paint again!”
THANKS To the staff and visitors at Castle Combe Circuit (castlecombecircuit.co.uk, 01249 782417) for their assistance with this feature.
DATA FILE Turbo Drift #BMW-E30 / #Getrag / #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i / #Holset-HX40 / #Holset / #1987 / #BMW-325i-Turbo-E30 / #BMW-325i-Turbo / #BMW-325i-Drift-Car / #Drift-Car / #BMW-325i-Drift-Car-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #Bosch / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.8-litre single-turbo straight-six M20, aciddipped #M20B25 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 block, modified baffled sump and oil windage tray for better oil return, M52B28 84mm-stroke crankshaft, #M20B20 conrods, M20B25 low-compression pistons with new rings, modified oil pick up and oil filter relocation kit, #ARP big end and main bearing bolts, #ACL-Racing Race Series crankshaft bearings, Saab 9000 turbo 3bar MAP sensor, original cylinder head gas flowed, ported and polished, 1mm-oversized valves with uprated springs, custom torque-focused inlet porting, high gas velocity exhaust ports, custom combustion chambers, improved oil return galleries, uprated rocker arms, 272 #Schrick cam, #Vernier cam pulley, titanium retainers and collets, #Holset-HX40 turbo from a Cummins diesel, bespoke split pulse exhaust manifold, 60mm external wastegate and screamer pipe exiting offside front wing, Mitsubishi GTO radiator with aluminium expansion tank, Ford V6 coil pack and Canems ECU, crank position, intake air temperature, throttle position and manifold absolute pressure sensors, ATL fuel cell, Facet low-pressure fuel lift pump, fuel surge tank, 255lpm #Bosch-044 fuel pump, modified fuel rail, 600cc injectors, adjustable fuel pressure regulator, low-friction AN-6 Teflon hoses, Aeroquip fittings
TRANSMISSION E30 325i #Getrag-265 five-speed manual, uprated pressure plate, friction plate modified with six sintered paddles and uprated springs, rebuilt E30 limited slip differential
CHASSIS 8x18” (front) and 9x18” (rear) #BMW-Style-32 wheels with 215/35 Yokohama Prada Spec 2 (front) and 265/35 Achilles ATR Sport Violet purple smoke tyres (rear), E36 HSD Monopro adjustable coilovers, re-drilled strut turrets and adjustable top mounts, E36 front hubs with homebuilt hub adaptors, Z3 steering rack, E46 inner and outer tie rods with 4mm rack spacers, standard subframe with HSD dampers, uprated Powerflex Black Series bushes, adjustable trailing arms and anti-roll bars, E36 #EBC-Turbo grooved 286mm discs with E36 calipers and EBC Yellowstuff pads (front), EBC Turbo Groove 258mm discs (rear), line lock and hydro handbrake with standard handbrake shoes, mechanism and lever removed
EXTERIOR 901 Black with rainbow glitter lacquer, other details in Kawasaki Green, handmade steel wide-arch front and rear quarters, handmade side skirts, fibreglass roof panel, hand-fabricated removable lightweight 25mm tube slam panel, hand-formed aluminium inner wings, heavily modified reinforced fibreglass front bumper, flushed door locks and filler cap, Lexan windows with air ducts, Titanium exhaust guards, spare tyre well and battery box removed from boot, handmade aluminium boot floor, original number plate recess, boot hinges and bulkhead removed, new handmade ally bulkhead riveted in, Anodised green motorcycle floodlights, front and rear strobes
INTERIOR Fully stripped out, all sound deadening removed, floor cut and tunnels for side exiting exhausts fabricated, six-point half roll-cage modified into 12-point cage with 45mm crossbars, handfabricated aluminium dashboard, modified heater box to fit behind cage, hydro handbrake and homemade mounting, Sparco seats and STR 3” harnesses, new door inners with home-fabricated lightweight harness material door pulls and latch mechanisms, carbon fibre door cardsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #S14-swapped / #BMW-2002 . In the wastelands of postapocalyptic Sweden, one man and his extraordinary 2002 fight for survival amidst the ruins of civilisation… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
Supercharged S14 2002 rat rod
The future. Mankind has destroyed itself. The earth is barren. Pockets of survivors remain, scattered across the globe. They travel the desolate landscapes of a ruined world they once knew in search of food and shelter, driving machines created from the scavenged remains of cars from the past. In the charred remains of postapocalyptic Sweden the silence is broken only by the howl of the wind and the whine of a supercharger. A flash of orange through the trees. The bark of an exhaust drifting across the ravaged landscape. Then, the smoke parts, and something ungodly and terrifying thunders across the lonely tarmac, a man at the wheel with fi re in his eyes, and then it’s gone as quickly as it appeared and all is silent once more. That man is Thomas Nyman. This is his 2002. This is their story.
You will already know if this is your sort of car. You will have looked at the pictures and made a decision about whether or not you want to read this feature. You don’t need us to tell you that it’s not for everyone, but we will anyway, because it’s really not. For some of you, this might be the greatest crime ever committed against BMWs. Even those of you who normally love this sort of anarchic approach to modifying might be struggling a little. But if you get, really get it, you’re about to enjoy a car that’s really unlike anything else out there.
Browsing his automotive history, it’s clear that Thomas is a man who is obsessed with cars, to put it mildly… “I have owned and worked with several cars in my short life (he’s only 28) and right now I have nearly 100 vehicles on my conscience.” 100 cars. What can you even say to that? Unsurprisingly there have been some wild builds in amongst that lot and a huge variety of machinery, from the 1974 Beetle that served as his first car, to his first #BMW , a 1988 E34 530i, and the car he never finished and still regrets selling. “It was an E12 528i from 1978, light green with a #BBS front spoiler and chrome bumpers, ” Thomas reminisces. “I bought an S38B36 M5 engine that I rebuilt and was going to fi t in the car, and my vision was to build a 100% sleeper with perfect patina. But I was young and impulsive so the car was sold before it was done…” In that case it may have worked against him but, in the case of this 2002, his impulsive nature was definitely on his side.
“I knew about this car for a long time, a friend of the owner had told me about it, and one day in spring of 2010 the owner himself came walking past the garage I rented in the city at the time. I asked him if he wanted to sell the car, and he said yes, so we actually walked over to his garage together to take a look at it then and there. It was in terrible shape at the time; it had been standing outside with smashed windows so the weather had caused some very big rust holes in the body and many parts were missing, like the engine, gearbox, rear axle, the whole interior and the windows. The next day I picked the car up and put it in my garage instead,” grins Thomas. On paper this project sounds like a nightmare and the sort of car that no one in their right mind would have dreamed of touching, which does make us wonder about Thomas’ mental state…
The initial plan, he says, was to make the whole body rusty and give it even more of a rat-look than it’s ended up with, but he realised he couldn’t bring himself to do it. “My conscience became too strong,” he says, “and I felt I could not destroy an historic collector’s car that the 2002 Tii really is today, which is way I kept the original paint.”
So if you don’t like how this car looks now, just bear in mind that it could have looked a whole lot worse… “Our first goal was to get the car finished in one month for an event so we welded and fixed all the rust on the undercarriage in three weeks and fixed what we needed to so it was actually road legal. Then, after that, the whole thing escalated,” he says, and he’s not wrong.
With the decision made to continue down the rat route, Thomas got stuck into the mods and set about getting some stiffer springs, cutting them down by about 50% to get the car down on the ground, and combined them with a set of Bilstein Sport shocks. This was followed by the addition of the four wonderfully retro Marchal driving lights mounted on the front bumper and then came the roof rack, filled with what Thomas describes as “curiosities,” which include an S14 air box and valve cover and an old suitcase, naturally. The four-speed gearbox was swapped out for a five-speed Getrag ’box from an early 5 Series and he also changed the exhaust, both mods carried out specifically for a road trip to southern Sweden and Denmark. Then the time came for the serious business of building that engine…
“I think my vision was to do something no one had done before,” muses Thomas. “You’re probably wondering why I chose the S14 out of an E30 M3, and I’m wondering the same thing! I thought that this engine will fit well in the car and would probably get many types of reactions from people and BMW enthusiasts,” and he’s certainly right about that. “Initially I thought that I would just fit the engine and leave it at that, but then I started thinking about it and decided to add a supercharger on top to ensure that I was doing something new and different,” he grins. The supercharger is a rebuilt GMC 471 positive displacement Roots unit from the 1940s but impressive as it looks, there’s a lot more going on with this engine than meets the eye, and it’s the reason why the build took him one and a half years rather than six months (little more than a Swedish winter, he says) as he’d originally anticipated.
There’s a special head gasket and ARP head bolts for the cylinder head, four Siemens 688cc injectors fed by a Nuke fuel rail while the supercharger itself is cooled and lubricated by a water/ethanol system using a Bosch 988cc injector. The blower itself sits on a custom 4mm steel intake manifold and there’s a custom exhaust manifold connected up to a custom 3” stainless steel exhaust with three silencers, though Thomas says that they really don’t do much silencing. Peer into the 2002’s engine bay and you will notice a small problem: there’s no room for a radiator, which is kind of important if you want to have a fully functioning engine.
The solution? Stick all the cooling gubbins in the boot, which is exactly what Thomas has done, building a custom cooling system consisting of an electric water pump, cooling fan and a massive aluminium rad, which sits in a custom housing that seals tightly up against, and is fed cooling air by, the louvred boot lid. The boot is also where you’ll find the aluminium fuel cell with an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump located inside, and assorted fuel supply components. As you can see, it’s a comprehensive engine build, but it almost put Thomas off the car altogether. “After one and a half years of building the engine, I was so tired of this car and the project,” he sighs. “If I had been younger at the time, the car probably would have ended up being sold, just like my E12 project. But then I fired it up and rolled out of the garage for the first time and I was totally in love again! I cannot describe the feelings I had on the first test-drive…” he says with a massive grin.
Along with the aforementioned five-speed gearbox swap, Thomas has strengthened the drivetrain to be able to deal with all the power and torque being put through it by the S14 and supercharger combo, fitting an uprated clutch and homemade cardan shaft. The rear axle is a custom affair, constructed from a concoction of various different BMW components. “The original axle didn’t last long so I decided to build a bullet-proof one,” explains Thomas. “I took the 3.07 diff and joints from an E34 535i and ordered custom shafts made from spring steel and the hubs are also made from special steel. I made the wishbones thicker by adding 2mm of steel to every area and on top of this I also deleted the bushes between the body and the axle.” The brakes, meanwhile, are from a 2002 Turbo, with larger, vented discs up front and bigger 250mm drums at the rear.
As far as styling is concerned, Thomas has definitely stayed true to his original rat rod vision and while he may not have taken things quite as far as he originally planned, aside from the welding and repairs required to get the 2002 road worthy in the first place, the exterior has received no special attention. This makes the fact that the original Inca orange paint, where rust or repairs haven’t obscured it at least, remains as bright and vibrant as ever all the more impressive. If you’ve made it this far without choking on whatever you might be currently eating or drinking then Thomas’ wheels might just push you over the edge…
“I decided to go for BBS RS splits,” he says, gleefully, “because these are very expensive wheels today for those of us who collect and drive ’70s cars. The ones I have are in very bad shape, with loads of scuffs and scrapes all over them, so they’re a perfect match for the car!” As for the interior, it’s also a perfect match for the exterior and, just like the rest of the car, looks like it’s just about survived the apocalypse; the 2002 Turbo seats that he’s fitted are torn, a bank of auxiliary gauges juts up against the centre console, while the massive gear lever was chosen as it resembles an old tool.
So, there you have it. We’re not really sure what to say. We could definitely do with a sit down and a cup of tea after that. One thing we’d like to think is that, despite how Thomas’ 2002 might make you feel, you can at least summon some modicum of admiration or respect for what he’s created because he really has put so much into this car, and proved a lot of people wrong along the way. “The engine is my favourite part of the whole build because no one believed in my project and told me that this engine would never run, but they were wrong!” he exclaims with a smile. “I’m also really pleased that I managed to fit my homemade rear axle without cutting the body. The ‘experts’ told me there was no chance in hell it would work because they had ‘tested’ it without success, but I proved that it could be done.”
If you think that, after pouring so much time and effort into this 2002 over so many years, he’s done with it, you’re really rather wrong as there’s a lot more to come. “I bought the car in 2010 and I’m still not finished; it’s 2017 now, right?” he laughs. “My next plan is to build an air-ride system for it and I also need to build a new exhaust system as well as a new intake with a front-mount intercooler to get the intake temperatures down, then new wiring inside the car, maybe a new ECU. I’m also thinking about a mounting a turbo under the rear bumper…” But Thomas doesn’t finish his sentence. The light is fading and, if there’s one thing we all know, it’s that you don’t want to be caught outside at night after an apocalypse because that’s when the “things” come out of hiding… Thomas fires up the 2002 and, just like that, he’s gone, tail lights fading into the twilight, supercharger howling, S14 roaring, headed for the security of his bunker, safe in the knowledge that he lives to mod another day.
DATA FILE DATA FILE #Supercharged-S14 / #BMW-2002-Rat-Rod / #BMW-2002 / #BMW-2002-S14 / #BMW / rebuilt 1940s #GMC 471 Roots supercharger / #BMW-2002-E10 / #BMW-E10
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 from 1988 E30 M3, rebuilt 1940s / #GMC / #GMC-471 / #Roots-supercharger, custom 4mm steel intake manifold, special head gasket, #ARP cylinder head bolts, #Aeromotive #A1000 fuel pump, aluminium fuel cell, #Nuke fuel rail, 4x #Siemens 688cc injectors, water/ethanol cooling system for supercharger with #Bosch 988cc injector for cooling and lubrication, #Nira-ECU, custom 3.6mm steel exhaust manifold, custom 3” stainless steel exhaust with three silencers, custom cooling system in boot with electric water pump, cooling fan and aluminium radiator. Five-speed #Getrag gearbox, uprated clutch, custom cardan shaft, custom rear axle with E3 2500 and E28 535i components, E34 535i 3.07 diff and joints, custom driveshafts
CHASSIS 15” (front and rear) / #BBS / #BBS-RS three-piece wheels with 195/50 (front and rear) tyres, stiffer springs cut by 50%, #Bilstein dampers, BMW Turbo brakes with vented discs (front) and 250mm drums (rear), thicker rear wishbones, bushes between body and axle removed
EXTERIOR Original Inca orange paint, Marchal driving lights, roof rack, green louvred boot lid, extra rear light
INTERIOR 2002 Turbo seats, auxiliary gauge pod, old toolstyle gear lever, custom short-shift
THANKS To everyone that did not believe in this project, it only made me more determined to complete it and get the car running again, and also thanks to everyone who helped me with the car over the years
“decided to add a supercharger to ensure that I was doing something new and different”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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BEHIND CLOSED DOORS #Audi-SQ5-Stance / #Audi-Q5-Stanced
3.0 BiTDI SQ5 killing it on 22” rims with lashings of carbon and 570lb ft of torque #Carbon-Clad #Audi SQ5. Built away from the social media limelight and unveiled without warning, Ian Kelly’s impossibly stanced SQ5 is a daily driver with details to die for. Words: Alex Grant. Photos: Si Gray.
As a global melting pot of ideas, a live feed of projects and a route to finding obscure parts, you’d struggle to argue that the scene would be a better place without the internet. But for all the good it’s done, there’s one thing that the rise of forums, social media, and updates on every detail has robbed us of: surprises.
That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a good build thread or finally getting to see the end result in the metal when it rolls into its first event. But those show-stopping projects, patiently and quietly put together out of the digital limelight and unveiled without warning, are becoming a real rarity. Which makes them all the more remarkable when they do happen.
When we first met Ian Kelly back at Ultimate Dubs in #2014 we’d got no idea how he’d managed to keep this one quiet. In six months, he’d turned a box-fresh SQ5 into the talk of the show without even hinting at what he was up to: an impossibly low static drop over 22-inch wheels on a car nobody else had modified to this level in the UK. Impressive not only because the work needed to get it there was more than worthy of a project thread but also because it’s his daily drive.
“I’d only told a handful of people that I’d bought the car,” Ian recalls. “The plan was always to keep it under wraps until it was ready for its first show. That was quite a challenge given I used it daily – especially once it was lowered. It was spotted a few times but nobody knew who the owner was.”
Just under three years later and it’s lost none of its impact, the studio lighting picking out every crease of the carbon-accented, Zaino’d bodywork and two-tone Rotiform DUS wheels. But it’s more than just a one-trick car; the result of 15 years of developing ideas, this might just be the ultimate nu-wave build. Ironically, for someone who’s never gone for project threads, that’s something you don’t fully appreciate without understanding the work that’s got into it.
Even Ian admits it almost never happened. Having moved out of an S3, he’d got far enough down the road of planning a Tiguan build that he’d even bought a Golf R bumper to graft onto it. But the performance, economy and rarity of the e big Audi was too good to pass up. “The key thing about the SQ5 for me was the engine,” he explains. “I wanted big power and torque but without having the fuel bills of a petrol car as my daily commute is 100 miles. Plus the fact the car was so fresh. Apart from the odd Q5 in Japan and the US no one was really modifying them.”
Plans had started coming together before this car had numberplates. Ian is good mates with Paul Brown at C6 Carbon, having worked together on his previous cars, and they’re used to bouncing ideas off each other. For the SQ5 the route ahead was pretty obvious: the biggest drop, with the largest wheels that would fit, and enough carbon fibre to make a Formula One car feel inadequate. But getting there without the backup of other Q5 owners’ shared solutions to problems was never going to be simple.
Even the car itself was a leap of faith. “I’d never even driven a Q5, let alone an SQ5,” Ian says. “Some would say that was pretty risky on such an expensive car but I knew I’d love it. It came from Bath Audi, which is a long way from my home in Newcastle, but the drive back home was fantastic. The exhaust note on the 3.0 #V6 #BiTDI in Dynamic mode is like a screaming petrol V8. I was hooked.”
Ian didn’t make things easy, starting out with a static drop and a need for custom parts to get it as low as the picture in his head. Si Sweetland at StillStatic put him onto Alois Hankover at AH Exclusive parts in Germany to build a 150mm H&R Race Kit for the Audi; the first of its kind, it took two attempts to bring the back end low enough, and caused problems he didn’t notice at first. For example, taking several inches out of the ride height gave it excessive negative camber, lunching a set of tyres in a couple of thousand miles (the same also happens with the A4 and A5). “Everything was very much experimental at that point because nobody else was modifying the SQ5 or Q5,” he says. “I imported a set of 034Motorsport front upper control arms in the hope this would resolve the issue… it didn’t. The kit simply isn’t designed to run on cars as low as mine was, so we had to redesign them and C6 machined a new set to work with our specifications.”
Even this didn’t fix all the problems. Filling the arches with 10.5x22-inch Vossen CV-T wheels highlighted a total lack of clearance, with suspension components hitting the frame on bigger bumps. Getting the ride height where he wanted eventually meant ditching the rear anti- roll bar and making some ‘adjustments’ to free up extra space.
“The front and rear chassis modifications mean we can run the biggest drop of any Q5 or SQ5 to date, and it can drive this low static. The trouble was, having got the ride height how I wanted, it was too low to run daily. I was scuffing the fuel tank, so I had to change to air. People thought I was anti-air as I’d resisted it for so long; I wasn’t, I just hadn’t needed it until that point.” The end result of that two-year trial and error is a setup which Ian reckons is pretty much perfect. Paul at C6 Carbon modified a set of airbags to fit the shortened H&R dampers Alois had built for the car, and the kit is controlled via Air Lift 3P management. He drives it as low as it was when it was static but lifts it over tank- scraping obstacles when needed. Not that it’s finished yet. “We’ve got plans for some more front chassis development,” Ian laughs.
“It just depends when we can fit it all in.” There was, at least, plenty of room to be greedy with wheel sizes. It’s still remembered on the Vossens it was wearing when it broke cover, but they spent only a year on the car before Ian moved on to the set he’d wanted from the start. “I had been a fan of Rotiform from day one and had been chatting to Brian for a while about changing to a set of three-piece wheels,” he says. “They were going to be the main change for the car in 2015 and they were fitted just before MIVW. It totally changed the look of the car, adding more class to it. The centres are painted the same dark black bronze as the Vossens.”
As easy as it is to get wrapped up in that hard-earned stance, it’s only part of this car’s talents. Ian and Paul’s collective eye for detail is woven through every part of the SQ5. For example, they deleted the chrome before Audi offered that as an option and replaced the seat belts and all the stitching with yellow matched to the brake calipers – one of the few bits of colour left on the outside. Both bits you can miss at a glance.
Harder to miss, though, is the acres of carbon fibre. Ian had started working with C6 Carbon when he was building his old S3 but the SQ5 took that carbon skinning obsession to an all-new level. We’re even talking boot hinges, the inside of the armrest, even the end caps of the dashboard – parts that are usually out of sight. Everything got treated the same way, with Paul using a larger weave than usual and rotating the roll 45 degrees which means the weave follows the line of the car instead of being diagonal.
Actually, Paul’s had such a big hand in the project that he’s the only other person who gets to drive it. When it made the trip to MIVW last year with its new RS6-style front bumper, it was Paul who’d fitted it while Ian was on holiday in Ibiza. It had also meant a week of frustration when the new bumper’s paint didn’t match, and a last-minute rush before heading for Valkenburg.
But it seems Paul likes a challenge; so when Ian opted for seamless air tanks for the boot install, there were no corners cut with the layer you can actually see. Paul skinned the tank in a single sheet of carbon fibre – a job which would usually take three pieces. As we said, it’s as much about what you don’t notice at first, as what grabs you at a glance.
Ian’s had his hand in where possible, though, as he explains: “The air install was my first attempt at air and hardlines. It didn’t go to plan first time and after a set of PTC cartridges later and numerous lengths of tube, the air install was finally in. Then the management just wouldn’t fire up. Paul eventually found the issue after chatting to Phil James at the Install Company. Somehow the loom was wired incorrectly from the factory. It’s never easy.”
With 313bhp and 480lb ft of torque, and 62mph out of the way in around five seconds, big performance upgrades were never really on the shopping list. Ian’s swapped to an APR intake and custom DTUK map which takes power up to 370bhp and 570lb ft of torque without denting economy for commuting. He then treated the bay to plenty of matte carbon fibre to bring it in line with the rest of the car.
Which means – even with a two-year-old daughter and a wedding to pay for this year – life shouldn’t get in the way of SQ5 ownership any time soon. Just as well, really, as it almost happened the other way around. Ian’s fiancée Karen went into labour while he was at Edition 38, leaving him frantically shuffling of the showfield before sprinting back to Newcastle to get there in time. Having poured so much effort into the Audi, 2017 is all about the final details rather than big changes – the priorities, for now, are elsewhere.
“It’s great taking it all in when it’s parked-up at shows – I love how complete it is yet how simple. There are so many details that most people miss and that is how I wanted it, and how it should have left the factory.” So it’s part of the family now then? “Karen, my fiancée doesn’t mind it although she does say it’s ‘daddy’s silly car’ to our daughter… read into that what you will,” Ian laughs.
Of course, that’s not stopping him planning further ahead. So, what’s next? “I have a plan for a new car. However, I’m not going to say too much… all will be revealed once the car is ready to show, just like the SQ5,” Ian smiles.
We love this new-wave Audi, not just for what Ian has done to it but because it’s right out of the old-skool – built the way projects used to be before the internet made every nut, bolt and late night public. For that, Ian, we salute you. Now close those garage doors and get building!
“Everything was very much experimental because nobody else was modifying the SQ5 or Q5”
“There are so many details that most people miss and that is how I wanted it”
Dub Details #ARP / #Rotiform / #Audi-SQ5 / #Audi-Q5 / #Audi-SQ5-3.0-BiTDi / #Audi-SQ5-Tuned / #Audi / #Audi-Q5-8R / #Audi-SQ5-8R / #Audi-MLB /
ENGINE: 3.0 BiTdi diesel, #C6-Carbon / #APR-intake , #DTUK-Tuning-Box (370bhp, 774Nm), one-off C6 Carbon strut brace, C6 Carbon slam panel and scuttle panel, one-off C6 Carbon R8 washer bottle cap, R8 coolant cap and oil cap
CHASSIS: 10.5x22” forged #Rotiform-DUS , 265/30 Nankang NS2 tyres, #H&R 150mm #RSS-Race coilovers modified to run airbags on C6 Carbon CNC hardware, Air Lift Performance 3P management, C6 Carbon front upper control arms, C6 Carbon chassis development, rear anti-roll bar deleted
EXTERIOR: #Xenonz-UK RSQ5 front bumper conversion, C6 Carbon grill surround, C6 Carbon crash bar, C6 Carbon side blades, C6 Carbon rear diffuser, exterior trim painted black
INTERIOR: Yellow seat belts and stitching, C6 Carbon dash/door trim, sill trims, seat backs and seat sides, RTA Fabrications #Air-Lift-3P controller holder modified to fit into the ashtray, C6 Carbon air install with Speciality Suspension one-piece seamless tanks, C6 Carbon acrylic/carbon illuminated #Air-Lift manifold plate, C6 Carbon fire extinguisher #Air-Lift-Performance-3P
SHOUT: My fiancée Karen and daughter Grace, my family, my friends, Paul at C6 Carbon, Simon at StillStatic, Alois at AH Exclusive Parts, Brian at Rotiform, Steve and Rod at RA Bodyshop, Simon at Syco Graphix, Matt at Only Charged Dubs, Parm at Car Audio Security, John at Bespoke Leathering, Richard for CAD work, RTA Fabrications, Zeeshan at Xenonz UK Ltd, John at Zaino Europe
The perfect daily? We’re struggling to think of many cars on the road today we would rather have for the daily drive!
There’s just something so badass about slammed SUVs isn’t there? Imagine seeing this in your rear view… GET OUT OF MY WAY!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationESTATE OF MIND
/ #Audi-S6-JNL-Racing has created this highly-tuned 650+bhp monster of an avant – surely the finest Ur-S6 in the world… Words Davy Lewis /// Photography Matt Dear
JNL Racing's fierce 5-pot unleashed.
UR-S6 JNL Racing’s 520bhp avant
I first met JP, the main man at #JNL-Racing , at Santa Pod back in 2009. I was working on the now defunct Redline magazine and we’d got together a selection of the UK’s fastest tuned cars to go head-to-head in our Fight Club event. The premise was simple; entrants had to take part in two disciplines – a quarter mile and then a handling course – with the best overall time winning the day. Several Audis took part including Dialynx’s black SWB quattro and TTS Roadsport’s TT RS, but the one that stood out was a humble estate.
This stock-looking #1996 #Audi S6 #Avant C4 / #Audi-A6-Typ-4A seemed a bit out of place among the track prepped competition – which made it all the more impressive when JP proceeded to kick the arse out of it, laying down some impressive times in the process. All of which he did with a smile on face. Here was a man who clearly didn’t take it too seriously. However, when it comes to tuning, he is deadly serious.
Specialising in bespoke, hand-crafted cylinder head work and engine builds, JP has carved out an enviable reputation. Although VAGs feature heavily, he works on anything and has customers all over the world; working with anything from old school E-Types to the latest Japanese, European and US brands.
I bumped into JP just before we launched AudiTuner and said I’d love to feature the S6 when it was ready. It had come on a bit since the first shootout, that’s for sure. JP said he’d love a feature – especially if it made the magazine on sale in December as that’s his 40th birthday. So, here you go, JP – many happy returns!
With so many Ur-S6s pulled apart to scavenge their engines it’s not easy to find a stock car, let alone a 650+bhp weapon that’ll worry most supercars. “There are only 55 cars left on the road in the UK, and 85-90 left in total,” says JP. So what made him choose such an unorthodox Audi as a project?
“I had an Audi 200 running a tuned 10v engine, but it caught fire and I needed something else,” he recalls. “A mate had an S6 and I fancied an estate, so began looking for one. I found this one for sale for £2.5k and jumped on it quick.” From here the engine work came thick and fast as JP focused on creating a fast daily driver. “Being a daily, all the work had to be done over the weekends so that I had the car ready for the Monday school run,” he laughs.
The 20v engine was tuned with a ported head, uprated rods, a 63 hotside 3076 turbo on Wagner manifold, and SFS hoses as boost pipes. It made over 500bhp and offered plenty of fun. But, the constant flow of work on other fast Audis got him thinking.
“I built one of the UK’s most powerful B5 RS4s; I think it still holds the record on MRC Tuning’s dyno with around 780bhp and 1000Nm,” he smiles. “I did a 3.0 litre stroker kit and that car made me stop and say, ‘Why am I building all these fast cars for others and not doing my own?’” The RS4 had certainly made an impression. “You know that feeling as a passenger in a really quick car when the driver accelerates and you feel a bit sick and light headed – it catches you off guard. Well, I had that as the driver in the RS4! I decided that’s what I wanted to achieve in my S6.”
The engine itself is based around a 2.5 diesel block, which effectively created a stoker kit (the original was a 2.2 of course). Clearly a diesel block is designed to run in a diesel configuration, so JP welded up any holes and channels that were not required and added holes for the stuff he did need. Custom Pauter rods and JE pistons from a petrol engine were then added. The whole build needed to be bullet proof, so Mahle motorsport bearings were added plus a main girdle to prevent bowing at high RPMs.
Key to this estate’s sleeper nature is the fact that, to most people, it looks pretty innocent. Aside from the 9x18in Rotiforms, which necessitated the custom wide arches being fabricated by Ish and the crew at Quattro Coachworks, this looks to all intents and purposes like any other mid-90s Audi estate. This is just how JP likes it. “When I drive it through a village, people turn to see where the noise is coming from but don’t even look twice at the car – they’re looking for something that looks like this sounds!” With a 3.5in exhaust and 2.25in screamer pipe, it certainly makes all the right noises, just in a discreet package. But, as we all know, appearances can be deceptive.
Drop the hammer in this sedate looking Audi and it’ll attempt to head-butt the horizon at a startling rate. Having experienced the all out mayhem of 650bhp, JP has temporarily turned it down a few notches to an estimated 520bhp. And the rest of the car has been suitably uprated to ensure it’s provides a stable and safe ride. “It got to 650bhp with a slipping clutch, but there was nowhere you could properly open it up without getting into trouble,” he smiles.
I ask JP what it feels like when you really drive it hard at 650bhp. he pauses for thought, then says, “To be fair, I think my youngest son summed it up best when he was about ten,” he continues, “I launched it hard and he said it felt like his willy had gone into his back!” An unconventional response perhaps, but then that’s JP all over.
You get the feeling that he tells it like it is, with no bullshit. If something proves to work well, then he’s the first to praise it. But equally, if something doesn’t do what it says it will, he’ll be brutally honest. This sort of candour is refreshing in a scene that can attract people who like to make unsubstantiated claims, especially when it comes to power figures. But, JP has earned the tight to question things. He tests everything he does – often to destruction – to ensure that any upgrades not only deliver the goods, but also stay in one piece. As he says, “You need to blow things up to find the limits.
How else are you going to know how to improve on the original design?”
While there’s no doubt that JP was put on this planet to make cars go fast, he has a very specific focus. Everything must be about making the car perform more efficiently, which in turn makes it faster and more reliable. So although huge turbos combined with a remap and supporting upgrades can achieve eye watering power figures, it’s often at the expense of drivability.
“My S6 has a usable powerband from 3,250 to 8,200rpm – I see some of the German tuners with 1200bhp with cars that have nothing until 5,000rpm – that’s no use anywhere except on a drag strip,” he comments. Part of the reason behind the chosen upgrades (you can see the full list of goodies on the last page) was to show what could be achieved, without simply buying everything that’s available. “I saw so many owners on forums going on about how much they’d spent on this and that, and I thought, hang on, you don’t really need half of that.” So JP set about proving it with his S6 build. In the process it became the demo car for the business.
It’s currently running a baseline map that JP did himself, which he says was pretty straightforward using the 2D mapping of the Maxx ECU set up, “It’s easier for a non-IT guy like me!” The plan is to start upping the power again now that the rest of the car is ready to take it. ECU legend, Jonus Racing, is due to fly over to the UK to work on a bunch of cars, so JP’s S6 will be in very good hands. “This is the final throw of the dice – I won’t be re-doing this car again, so it has to be right,” he says.
As a cylinder head and engine building specialist, JP’s philosophy is to make engines as efficient as possible. Rather than simply bolting on a bigger and bigger turbos, he looks at ways to make more power off-boost with a less spiky delivery, while holding peak power for as long as possible to the redline. For those who are used to the kick of a big turbo coming in at 4,000+rpm, JP’s set ups can feel like the car is actually slower, but one look at the speedo will show it’s moving faster than the rev counter. By maximising the efficiency of the engine, including the head flow, there’s less pressure on the turbo, which in turn will be more responsive, with a wider power band – all the key ingredients of a usable, fast car. As JP says, “The proof is always in the performance – it either goes fast or it doesn’t.”
With lots of usable power, the brakes and chassis had to be more than up to the job of keeping this big estate on the road. A set of custom front coilovers were created by JP using shortened Bilstein B8 inserts. Gaz adjustable dampers bring up the rear, together with custom pig-nose springs and an Apikol uprated ARB. 2Bennet adjustable top mounts allow the perfect caster/camber to dialled in for that crisp turn in – not something usually associated with nose heavy 90s Audis. With a full complement of uprated bushes and solid sub frame mounts, this near 20-year old S6 now handles with aplomb. The Wavetrack diffs front and rear certainly help deliver the fun factor – whether launching hard or hitting twisty roads – especially with the re-timed factory Torsen unit that JP built up now giving a more rear-biased delivery over stock.
With plans to drive this thing hard on track, JP has wisely upgraded the brakes. The B7 RS4 calipers have been fully rebuilt together with high-temp seals and meaty 360mm discs. With Yellowstuff pads all round and DOT 5.1 fluid, this set up provides ample stopping power.
Inside, this mid-90s estate has been treated to a selection of upgrades befitting something with serious performance. The front seats are the first items that jump out at you. The carbon fixed back buckets look like they came out of a Porsche Carrera GT – but surely not – those things are about £500k now!? “They’re actually copies,” admits JP, “but they’re very good ones. They came out of a Porsche – I got them shipped over from LA Porsche dismantlers in the US.” The leather wrapped seats were in decent nick, although JP has changed the colour of the seatbelt guides, before having them recovered in leather and black Alcantara. They really look the part, right at home in the S6’s cabin complete with OEM carbon fibre trim. The rears were trimmed to match. One thing you wouldn’t see in a 90s estate is a 10.5in tablet fixed to the dash. This wifi-enabled device allows JP to keep an eye on the vital stats via the Maxx ECU.
Having followed the progress of this car for the last six years or so, it’s great to see it almost finished. Once the final mapping session has been completed by Jonus Racing, JP is hoping for up to 680bhp on V-Power and 700+bhp on E85. This S6 is beautifully engineered, extremely rapid, highly usable and, like JP himself, a little unconventional. We love it!
Top: One of the finest sleepers you’ll find.
SEE IT IN ACTION There are several videos of this savage #Audi-Ur-S6 being driven hard, plus some dyno footage. Head to JNL Racing’s YouTube channel to check them out – www.youtube.com/jnlracinguk
“My S6 has a usable powerband from 3,250 to 8,200rpm...”
Far right: Engine bay is a work of art Below right JNL custom inlet Bottom left Heat management has been taken seriously.
There are very few UrS6s left now, so here are three other S6 variants to consider...
Audi C5 S6 1999-2003
This 4.2 V8-powered S6 arrived in 1999 and went down a storm. The beefy V8 gave 335bhp and made all the right noises. The only downside was that tuning the NA lump was tricky and it liked a drink. Fewer and fewer of these around now and many have fallen into the hands of those that can’t afford to run them, so if you’re after one, be very choosy. Avants are more sought after than saloons.
Audi C6 S6 2006-2011
Launched in 2006 the C6 was packing a NA version of the 5.0 V10 from the RS6. This ten-cylinder monster gave it the sound of a supercar, all wrapped up in a very discreet saloon or estate. Loaded with goodies and that fabulous 429bhp engine, we’ll never see the likes of these large capacity cars again. Not cheap to run and expensive to fix, they are still very desirable. Available in avant and saloon, if you’re after one, make sure it’s been well loved and comes packed with options.
Audi C7 S6 2011-present (2017)
After increasing its capacity with every new model, the latest S6 goes back to its turbo charged roots and back down to a V8. Great news for tuners as the 4.0 V8 twin turbo can easily be cranked up to RS6 levels of grunt. A remap, full exhaust system including downpipes and uprated air filters will see you on the way to 550+bhp with more available depending on how deep your pockets are. Better still, unlike the RS6, you can get the S6 as a saloon, so you could create one of the fastest four-doors around – a true sleeper.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #1996 / #Audi-Ur-S6-Avant / #Audi-Ur-S6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-S6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-S6-Avant / #Audi-S6-C4 / #Audi-A6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-A6-C4 / #Audi-A6 / #Audi-S6 / #Audi /
Engine Re-engineered 2.5 diesel block and crank, #Pauter rods with ARP 625 plus, custom JE coated pistons, mains girdle, #ARP mains and headstuds, #Mahle-Motorsport bearings, baffled sump, #Gates-Racing timing belt, custom timing belt tensioner, secret spec cylinder head, #Jonus-Racing camshafts, lightweight flywheel, twin plate tilton for 800ft/ lb, steel crank timing belt pulley, #Vernier cam pulley, custom carbon timing cover to clear vernier, tubular #Vband manifold, 60mm #Tial wastegate, #HTA3586 m-spec with tial v-band hotside, 3.5in downpipe and straight through to twin 3in tail, 2.25in screamer with custom made side-exit, custom 4in intake filter housing w/integrated recirc pipe, custom 2 piece intake heatshield with bumper and bonnet cold air feeds, red TFSI coilpack conversion with custom coil cover, custom twin plenum intake manifold, overbored throttle body w/ Linden power coupler, billet fuel rail, 1000cc #ASNU-injectors / #ASNU injectors, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, twin #Bosch-044 / #Bosch in tank fuel pumps, custom one of header tank, custom designed breather system, electric fan conversion, lambda heatsink, Thermal velocity magma exhaust wrap, #PTP turbo blanket, 300x600x76 bar and plate cooler 2.25in in and 3in out, grille mount remote oil cooler, 50mm tial recirc valve, #Maxx-ECU running 720 sequential injection with 60-2trigger, multi-boost/fuel application, variable fuel pump speed via CAN-bus 10.5in tablet monitoring 5 x egt, exhaust back pressure, boost pressure, oil pressure and temp, coolant temp, air temp, lambda and various other parameters via Bluetooth
Transmission Custom geared 01E 6-speed, updated 1-2 slip collar, carbon 1-6 synchros, #Wavetrac front diff, retimed factory torsen diff for improved rear bias, custom 3.5in carbon propshaft, Wavetrac rear diff
Brakes B7 RS4 8-pot front calipers rebuilt with high temp seals, 360x32mm front discs, refurbed single pot calipers with custom mount 335x32mm rear discs, Yellowstuff pads
Suspension Homemade front coilovers w/custom length #Bilstein B8 inserts, #Gaz rebound adjustable rear shocks with custom pig nose springs, #2Bennett fully adjustable camber/caster front top mounts, solid front and rear subframe mounts, new oem bushes all round, polyurethane front snubmount and rear diff hanger and mount, 034 track density gearbox mounts, custom delrin/urethane engine mounts, #Apikol uprated rear ARB, custom front A#RB mounts for improved caster
Wheels and Tyres #Rotiform-Nue / #Rotiform 9.5x18in with one-off centre caps, Federal RSR 255/35x18
Exterior Widened arches front and rear, widened bumpers front and rear, debadged trim, colour coded trim, rear wiper delete, custom bonnet air duct, painted custom metallic grey/silver, front and rear cameras linked via wifi to tablet
Interior Porsche Carrera GT style carbon bucket seats retrimmed with logo and Alcantara centres, retrimmed rear Alcantara seat centres and door cards, 20v Ur-quattro custom flat bottom steering wheel with Alcantara centre, custom steering column cover, modified front speaker pods with 4in focal speakers, 17cm Alpine rear speakers, Bluetooth enabled Pioneer headunit, 10.5in tablet
Contacts/thanks JNL Racing www.facebook. com/jnlracing, www.youtube. com/jnlracinguk,
www.instagram.com/jnlracinguk, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Ish and crew at #Quattro Coachworks for not only doing the most amazing work but also helping to realise my vision, and of course all the friends and family that have assisted and put up with my shit for the existence of the two-ton Bugswatter, with special mention to Karl and Sean
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- Post is under moderationWILD 600HP E36 Elite D’s turbo’d 3 Series
This Elite Developments 600hp E36 is the result of years of development and a love for all things turbocharged… Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Steve Hall.
Elite Developments’ turbo E36
THE BOOSTED ELITE
The E36 328i Sport is a car that’s been appreciating in value of late. However, six years ago they didn’t quite have the same worth and so made the perfect project base for Steve Dixon, owner of BMW-specialised tuning shop Elite Developments. Steve’s plans soon escalated from a simple reworking to a complete overhaul, complete with a 600hp turbocharged heart…
“I bought the car off eBay completely unseen. It was down in Bognor Regis,” Steve explains. “At the time it was really difficult to get a 328i Sport as there wasn’t many of them for sale. I contacted the guy and made him an offer based on his description of the condition and the pictures on eBay. I then took a four-hour train journey from Essex to go and get it. It was a completely mint, standard car, as described. I was looking for one to convert into a drift car.
“Initially my plans were just to weld the diff and put some coilovers on it, and that was it. I fitted the coils while my mate welded the diff. It was just going to be a daily drifter but then we went to Gatebil 2012 and saw that nearly every BMW there was running a turbo M5x engine. That got me thinking…
“After speaking to a few of the locals about how they’d done it, I came to the realisation that building a turbo #BMW wasn’t as hard as I first thought. Then came the process of pricing up all the bits I needed.”
The 328’s alloy-block M52 isn’t the perfect base for turbocharging as they tend to allow the head to lift and generally aren’t as strong as iron block variants, so Steve sourced an #M50B25-non-Vanos engine and set about making a hybrid of the two. This meant using the M50 block, head and pistons but with the M52’s crank and rods, creating a 2.8-litre M50 – an ‘M50B28’ as they’re often known. The bottom end was tied together with coated big-end bearings and ARP bolts, with #ARP studs and a Cometic 0.140” multi-layer steel head gasket used up top for a drop in compression and an increase in reliability.
The end result is an engine about as strong as it’s possible to get without going for fullon aftermarket forged rods and pistons – perfect for Steve’s plans for big boost.
“The hardest part was trying to source a right-hand drive turbo manifold as nobody seemed to sell one,” Steve explains. “This is why we started to design what is now the Elite Developments cast RHD turbo manifold. It took three years to create but we are now very happy with the final product.”
The Elite Developments manifold was formulated to fit all M5x engines that use a four-bolt-per-cylinder pattern, fitting around all of the steering and usual headache areas and allowing bottom-mount fitment of any T3-flanged turbo along with an external wastegate. Steve’s particular setup uses a Garrett GT3582R turbo and a Tial 38mm wastegate, pushing boost through a 600x300x80mm intercooler and into the M50 intake manifold.
Air is sucked into the turbo through a K&N filter, while fuelling is taken care of with Siemens 60lb injectors and a Walbro 255lph pump. To keep oil temperatures in check, Steve’s used an S50 oil filter housing converted to run AN lines, which are linked to a Mocal oil cooler. A neat product from Elite Developments allowed the intercooler and oil cooler to be bolted into the E36’s front end without any troubles. To control the whole thing Steve’s used a VEMs standalone ECU with the result being a dyno-proven 495hp and 480lb ft at 0.8bar. Steve has since had it mapped to run at 1.5bar which should be good enough for around 600hp.
All that power is well and good but without being able to transmit it to the ground, it’s useless. Steve retained the strong five-speed ZF gearbox that came with the 328i, with a six-paddle ceramic clutch sandwiched between it and the boosted M50. Out back is a 328i Sport 2.93 LSD, rebuilt for a 40% lockup and braced into position to guard against failure.
The final step of getting power to the ground is, of course, the wheel and tyre setup. The E36 isn’t always the easiest car to get a wide tyre onto but Steve solved that with a set of ABS plastic rivet-on arches from US firm Hard Motorsport. These have allowed the comfortable fitment of 8.5x18” front and 10x18” rear Rota Grids wrapped in grippy 235/40 and 265/35 Yokohama Advan AD08s respectively. Not only do they look great but they enable fast progress when the M50 comes up on boost. The arches offer a rub-free fit, too.
The chassis setup has seen plenty of work to get it all working happily, both when travelling in a straight line and sideways. Before anything was bolted underneath it Steve took care of the usual E36 weak spots using parts raided from the Elite Developments stock room. Subframe mounting and trailing arm pocket reinforcement plates were welded into the shell, with the front crossmember reinforced to stop the engine mounts tearing themselves free.
To get the steering lock that Steve needed for drifting, TND extended lower arms and modified hubs were fitted, along with BC Racing coilovers and an E46 330i brake setup. At the rear Steve used BC Racing again to convert the suspension from a shock and spring setup to a true coilover one, adding adjustable camber arms to get the setup dialled-in. Finally the whole lot has been polybushed and Steve’s added a BMW front lower crossbrace as well as GCFabrications front and rear strut braces to stiffen the shell.
Another element that adds stiffness is the Safety Devices roll-cage, nicely painted in contrasting Porsche GT3 RS green – aside from that the interior doesn’t contain a great deal as weight reduction has been the main aim. The rear firewall has been nicely blocked off with an Elite Developments plate and there’s a supportive Recaro bucket for the driver, complete with four-point harness.
Recent additions to the exterior have included a genuine Rieger carbon-fibre GT splitter and a new Elite Developments product: a huge rear wing. However, sadly, since our shoot Steve has actually broken the car for parts, moving his M50 turbo experience onto a cool new project – a Techno violet E34 525i.
Steve’s E36 goes to show that we can all get carried away – even the simplest intentions can turn into a far bigger project than originally planned, especially with a little inspiration from overseas. It also shows how experiencing a problem can turn up a great solution – Elite Developments’ turbo manifolds have now been selling for almost a year, helping RHD BMW drivers all over the UK solve the somewhat historic issue of steering clearance when running a turbo. From a hardcore E36 drifter Steve’s now looking to add some turbocharged flair to his old-school Five, and we can’t want to see what happens next.
“We saw that nearly every BMW there was running a turbo M5x engine. That got me thinking”
DATA FILE / #BMW-Elite-Developments / #BMW-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-E36-Elite-Developments / #BMW-328i-Sport / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328i-Sport-E36 / / #BMW-328i-Elite-Developments / #Elite-Developments / #BMW-328i-Elite-Developments-E36 / #Rota-Grid / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36
ENGINE ‘ #M50B28 ’ #non-Vanos , #M50B25 block and head, #M52B28 / #M50 / #BMW-M50 crankshaft and con rods, M50B25 pistons, performance coated main bearings, performance coated big-end bearings, ARP rod bolts, #ARP head studs, #Cometic 0.140” MLS head gasket, Elite Developments RHD turbo manifold, #Garrett-GT3582R turbo, #Tial 38mm wastegate, #K&N filter with #GCFabrications heat shield, ram air feed from foglight, AC #Schnitzer exhaust, #Siemens 60lb injectors, #Walbro 255lph fuel pump, #VEMS-ECU , Mocal oil cooler with AN lines, S50 oil filter housing, #Vorschlag nylon competition engine mounts
TRANSMISSION E36 328i five-speed #ZF-manual-gearbox , six-paddle ceramic clutch, Elite Developments bolt-through polyurethane gearbox mounts, #IRP shifter, 328i Sport 2.93:1 LSD fully rebuilt with 40% lockup, diff brace
CHASSIS 18x8.5” (front) and 18x10” (rear) #Rota-Grid-Drifts with 235/40 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Advan Neova AD08 tyres, Elite Developments wheel stud conversion, full #BC-Racing coilover setup with 12kg front and 8kg rear spring rates, TND modified hubs for extra lock, TND extended lower arms, adjustable camber arms, polybushed throughout, Elite Developments front subframe reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear subframe reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear trailing arm reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear topmount reinforcement kit, #BMW-Motorsport front crossbrace, #GC-Fabrications front and rear strut braces, E46 330i front brakes, E36 M3 Evo brake servo and master cylinder
EXTERIOR Rieger carbon fibre GT splitter, Hard Motorsport rivet-on wide arches, Elite Developments rear spoiler, foglight air intake
INTERIOR Safety Devices roll-cage painted in Porsche GT3 RS green, Elite Developments rear firewall block-off plate, Recaro driver’s seat, AEM wideband AFR gauge, Defi boost gauge
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- Post is under moderationKING OF THE MOUNTAINS Turbo, wide-arch E30 Cab
Logically, this E30 should have been scrapped long ago. But when you’re building a big-power toy for motorsport thrills and early-morning mountain runs, logic doesn’t always factor very highly… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Scott Sturdy.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, running through North Carolina and into Virginia represents one of America’s great fusions of nature and technology. Scenic roads were something that American developers did uncannily well in the early half of the 20th century, and this particular one – a ribbon of Tarmac winding through gorgeous vistas of the Appalachian Mountains – is where Matthew Koppi’s love for BMWs was born. He’s the man behind this Olive green E30, and his passion for the marque stretches back decades. “I first fell in love with the BMW brand in my childhood,” he reminisces. “I live in the scenic mountains of Western North Carolina, and I used to see BMWs all over the twisty Blue Ridge Parkway in the ’80s. As a carobsessed kid the BMW was something that seemed like perfection; so graceful and nimble with timeless design.
“I bought my first #BMW in 1999,” he continues, “while stationed in Vicenza, Italy. It was a 1983 323i with Alpina cams and other goodies that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. I bought it because of my childhood infatuation – plus the price was right for a young army private! It was the first car I owned with fully independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes, and also the first that I could drive over 100mph for extended periods of time without worrying about it exploding. I’ve been a devotee ever since!”
All of this rather explains Matthew’s latest career move, setting up North Fork Autoworks in Barnardsville, North Carolina. Having turned wrenches for much of his adult career, this seemed like a logical move, although he’s keen to point out that throughout this E30’s build he was a full-time student, working on a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science.
“All of the work on the car, from fabrication to paint, both in the engine bay and outside, was done by me,” he proudly explains. “The only thing I didn’t do completely on my own was the machine work, but I was there for every step of the process and even ran some of the machines!
Basically, I was either directly responsible for every aspect of the car or I was intimately involved.” And with that forthright mission statement dealt with, we should probably rewind and take a peek at where this all started…
Back in 2010, having returned to school and requiring a sensible-ish runabout Matthew was driving an old Suzuki Sidekick (that’s a Vitara to you and me) and questioning his choices somewhat. It was boring. And life’s too short for boring cars. So the idea of a fixer-upper E30 began to percolate, and you know what happens when the spark of inspiration’s arrived. It’s pretty much a done deal.
This cabriolet appeared as a shabby little ragamuffin on Craigslist, but crucially the price was low. “The ad stated that the car ran when parked, but now wouldn’t start,” Matthew recalls. “It also disclosed that the interior and top were trashed. I arrived to find a car parked in tall grass behind a tiny house way back in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere! The previous owners were very nice and were at their wits’ end with the car. And they were painfully honest about it all. Truly the thing should have been parted out or crushed, but I was in love.
It had bad rear wheel bearings, one front hub bearing was shot, bald tyres, ruined leather interior that had hardened and cracked beyond repair or comfort, the paint on every panel was faded and peeling, the battery tray was rusted through, it had an automatic transmission, wrong front wings, cracked aluminium bumpers, and the top was so far gone that there was water pooled in the floor despite the car being under two tarps. True to the ad, the engine would turn over but wouldn’t start, so the condition of the drivetrain was unknown.” Quite a catch, right? So as you can imagine, Matthew snapped it up and lovingly caressed it homeward, all the time reminiscing about those swooping mountain heroes on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“First and foremost, I wanted to get it running and replace the top,” he explains. “It needed to be good enough to comfortably drive my young daughters around in as I continued to fix it up, and I originally planned to follow my old formula of decent wheels and lowered suspension… but that was before my first autocross event!” That’s right. The goalposts just shifted. First, though, is the matter of a knackered E30 which needs pretty much everything fixed…
Job one was to get the old M20 ticking over sweetly and mated to a manual gearbox, something that Matthew did right away before fiddling with chips and fuelling and so on, and this setup lasted a couple of seasons of autocross. But power corrupts, and he was craving more, so he started pooling resources for an M5x swap… until the idea of a boosted M30 caught his eye, and from then on there was only one way forward.
Now, M30s (that is, straight-six motors as found in the likes of the E28 5 Series, E24 6 Series and so on) have been swapped into E30s many times before, so there was a wealth of information available. What Matthew had to do was figure how to tailor the swap to his own unique requirements. After much consideration and research, he opted for an M30B34 block – for strength – with an M30B35 head and #Getrag 260/6 transmission. That was the base spec. Then the fun could begin.
The block was bored out to take 94mm Wiseco pistons, increasing displacement to 3.6-litres, while the crankshaft was balanced and the head received all sorts of handcrafted custom work. A Rapid Spool Industries exhaust manifold allowed the fitment of that all-important turbo (originally a Holset HX40, now upgraded to a Borg Warner EFR 7670), and naturally the fuelling and management were beefed up to suit. A trick exhaust system soon followed, as did a Volvo intercooler, some more appropriate cams, and upgrades to the valvetrain. Piece by piece, Matthew’s masterpiece was falling into place. On a conservative tune and at just 13.8psi, the M30 was making 450hp – which certainly helped with those corruptive power cravings.
So, the engine box was firmly ticked. Still a lot of other things to sort though, weren’t there? “I tried several different combinations of springs and dampers,” says Matthew.
“Ultimately I used autocross and mountain roads to dial in my suspension; my current configuration consists of Bilstein Sport struts and shocks, H&R J-spec front springs, GE adjustable rear perches and springs, reinforced rear shock mounts, Vorshlag front camber plates, drop hats, and Treehouse Racing control arm bushings. I swapped in an E36 steering rack and, of course, replaced both front hub assemblies. For the rear subframe I installed the AKG 75D 12mm offset frame, diff mount bushings and trailing arm bushings.”
Okay, so the thing works well now. But it needs to look good. What next? Aha, the body! “When I began fixing the bodywork issues, I ended up with five different colours on the car,” he laughs. “I couldn’t afford a traditional paint job due to being a student, and I still had a huge list of maintenance and repairs to tackle, so the idea of painting it myself in flat military green was very appealing. It had an aggressive feel to it, and allowed me to easily change and add body panels as needed. It also made all the trim work that much easier, because subdued black and flat green are perfectly paired!
“The entire attitude of the car followed the suspension setup and colour choice, although modifications such as the Kamotors arch flares were a product of necessity – especially with 8”-wide wheels and 245-section tyres on the rear – that just happened to enhance the overall demeanour of the car.” That Foha three-piece spoiler was certainly a lucky find too, it complements the hammered-together-by- The-A-Team vibe perfectly.
Of course, it’s no good having a car that goes like a train, handles like a sticky panther, and looks like a militaristic warlord if you don’t actually have anywhere to sit.
That rain-saturated tan leather trim had to go. “The interior of the car was in a horrible state of decay and disrepair,” Matthew grimaces. “When I replaced the battery tray, I took the opportunity to swap the dash with a crack-free one; I then followed that with converting the interior to black since I wasn’t a fan of the tan anyway! Through the forums I made contact with Kevin Chinn of Creative Options to discuss an upholstery kit, and after several conversations I decided on microsuede centres on the seats with vinyl bolsters for ease of maintenance. The seams were done with factory-style French stitching in light Olive green.
Before the seats went back in I dyed the carpet black, and so the weekend ended with me having stained and sore fingers but amazing upholstery!” When we ask Matthew what his favourite result of all this homegrown dabbling is, he’s quick to answer: it’s the engine bay. The functional, severe exterior just doesn’t prepare people for the sorted, shaved, shiny bay that hides under the bonnet, and it certainly raises eyebrows at shows. And raising eyebrows is what this car was built to do.
All sorted, then? Job done? Oh, no – Matthew’s far from finished here. “My list of mods isn’t based on winning the lottery, it’s based on money over time,” he says. “I’ve slowly but surely built it to be what you see now, and as time goes on it will only improve. Stay tuned!” We certainly will. But in the meantime, Matthew, you’d better head off along that Parkway. There are childhood dreams there waiting to be fulfilled…
Ultimately I used autocross and mountain roads to dial in my suspension.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E30 Cab / #BMW-M30 / #M30 / #Borg-Warner-EFR / #Borg-Warner / #M30-Turbo / #Megasquirt-MS2 / #Megasquirt / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-E30-Turbo / #BMW-E30-M30 / #H&R
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.4-litre straight-six #M30B34 bored out to 3573cc, #Borg-Warner-EFR-7670 turbo, #Tial 44mm wastegate, 94mm #Wiseco 8.7:1 forged pistons, #ARP head studs, Cometic MLS head gasket, M30B34 high-speed balanced and tuned crankshaft, 9.5 aluminium #Aasco flywheel, M30B35 ported and smoothed head, Cat Cams dual-profile turbo camshaft, IE heavy duty rockers, rocker locks, high performance springs, Rapid Spool Industries exhaust manifold, #Siemens-Deka 60lb/h injectors, Megasquirt MS2 engine management, custom fabricated oil distribution block for turbo feed and gauges, #Qbang engine mounts, Volvo 960 intercooler, Innovate LC-1 wideband controller, heat-wrapped 3.5” downpipe and wastegate piping, 3” straight-through exhaust with Magnaflow resonator and vband couplers, #Getrag-260/6 five-speed manual gearbox, Spec Racing stage 3+ clutch, Z3 short-shift
POWER 450whp @ 5200rpm, 524lb ft of torque @ 4550rpm
CHASSIS 8x16” ET20 (front and rear) XXR 521 wheels with 225/50 (front) and 245/45 (rear) #BF-Goodrich G-Force Sport tyres, #H&R-J-Spec front springs with #Bilstein Sport shocks, 650lb rear GE springs and adjusters, #Vorshlag camber plates, E36 steering rack, Treehouse Racing control arm bushings - powdercoated silver, stainless steel brake lines, ATE Orbital grooved front discs with Pagid pads, #Bremmerman cross-drilled rear discs, wheel stud conversion, #AKG 75D 12mm offset rear subframe and diff bushings, #AKG 75D trailing arm bushings
EXTERIOR Kamotors arch flares, E30 front lip, DIY smoked Hella Ellipsoid lights, all-red taillights, plastic bumper swap, third brake light delete, three-piece Foha spoiler, DIY double brake light upgrade, Shadowline trim, satin finish Olive Drab green paint, Euro grilles, Euro plate filler, late model rear lower valance
INTERIOR M-Tech 1 steering wheel, #VDO oil pressure, oil temperature and Innovate AFR gauges in DIY centre console, E36 rear view mirror, E34 leather handbrake handle, Justrack Econometer boost/vac gauge, Jaywood digital voltmeter, E36 window switches, brushed aluminium cluster rings and Alpina stripe, Creative Options interior upholstery kit, clutch stop, carpet dyed black, recovered windscreen, UUC weighted gear knobStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThis BMW-E30 may appear relatively unassuming, but to the trained eye there are clues that all is not as it seems. No-one, however, will be expecting the self-styled 360i’s firepower…
WILD CARD: BMW E30 WORDS DAN BEVIS / PHOTOGRAPHY CHRIS FROSIN 360 Kickflip 800BHP 5.8-litre E30!
/ #BMW-E30-V8 / #BMW-E30-GM-V8 / #BMW-360i-E30 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-360i / #BMW-E30-800bhp / OK, #BMW didn’t make a 360i. But a chap called Ross did and it has two turbos, 800bhp and 5.8-litre engine!
One of the questions I hear most often is ‘How did you get that in there?’” grins Ross Bradley, standing proudly beside his gleaming Black Cherry E30, exhaust ticking and pinging after another urgent country lane blast. “And that’s exactly the point – you make things fit. They don’t just go in there on their own.” That very much sums up Ross’s outlook on life.
The joy of the project is as much in the build as the driving. ‘Built, not bought’ is a common phrase on the scene these days. Modifiers who’ve solely achieved their goals in the confines of a single garage with just a cup of tea and a crackly radio for company are rightly proud to wear their achievements on their sleeve. That’s not to sideline the opposing ‘bought, not built’ crowd, of course – we can’t all be experts, and there’s a whole flourishing industry set up to serve such purposes. But Ross’s history is very much hands-on, and that has informed this creation. He fancied doing stuff. Then he did it. It really is that simple.
“I’ve always been toying with cars ever since I was little, being brought up with my dad building Yanks and hot rods,” he says. “I remember helping my dad build his Ford Pop when I was about seven years old, always doing what I could. With every car I’ve owned I’ve always had to rebuild something, be it the engine or interior for whatever reason, to make it better or make it my own.” And this is the case with the E30. The reasons for calling it a ‘360i’ will become apparent in due course. Suffice to say it’s very far from being a bone-stock 1980s three-box.
“I always liked the E30,” Ross ponders. “I was going to get one for my first car when I started driving, but was talked out of it due to running and repair costs at the time. This was the late ’90s, so I went the Ford route and ended up having numerous Escort RS Turbos and so on.”
Fast-forward to 2006, however, and we see that starry-eyed yearning of youth starting to come full circle. “I was out working and I saw this car on someone’s drive,” he recalls. “It had been sat there for about four years – it was a 320i, the body was in pretty good shape, although it had moss growing up the side of it, flat tyres, the usual. I offered the owner some money for it and he took it right away… I bought it for £275.”
Game on, then. A childhood dream fulfilled and pretty cheaply too. All Ross had to do now was to make it his own. But he wasn’t going to rush into anything, he’d been waiting long enough to realise his E30 ambition so there was no need to charge in like a bull in the proverbial porcelain emporium. He used the car as a daily driver for a few years, doing bits and pieces here and there as he saw fit. New wheels, an M-Tech 2 kit, swapping the 2.0-litre motor for a 2.5. But then it all started to get a bit hairy. Suddenly that idea of doing it ‘cheaply’ wasn’t going to cut the mustard any more. It was time to commit, and commit hard.
“About four years in I took it off the road and gave it a major overhaul,” he says. “New paint, new interior, suspension, wheels, brakes, the works. And I built the engine into a 2.5 turbo.” Of course, as your eager magpie eye will have probably spotted, that’s not the spec that the car enjoys today. You will no doubt have glanced over to the engine bay shots and spied quite a lot of cylinders in there. So just what the hell happened next?!
“I used it like that for a few more years, until about four years ago when I again took it off the road and swapped out the motor for the Chevy V8,” says Ross, casually, as if that’s a perfectly normal thing to do. “It took me a further two years to build it from there; it was always going to be boosted right from the start - and then I had it on the road until, after a few problems last year with a couple of fires due to burst hoses, oil leaks, and turbos eating bearings, I’d had enough of the niggles. So last winter I took it off the road again and had another major overhaul!”
OK. While you catch your breath and try to take in the sheer majesty of the spec list, let’s distil it down to the base elements: Ross is running a small-block V8 bored out to 5.8-litres (near as dammit to six litres, hence why he calls the car ‘360i’) with a massively juicy fuelling system, a pair of turbos that originally called an Iveco truck home, the sort of brutal internals more commonly found on drag cars, and a peak power figure somewhere around the 800bhp mark. Given the 1,300kg-odd kerb weight, that gives the car a similar power-to-weight figure to a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport – around 590bhp/tonne. All this from a reliable 3 Series built by one man in his garage.
“During the most recent overhaul, I remade the exhaust manifolds and downpipes, and replaced the turbos with a set of Holset HX35s, and then got them ceramic coated,” says Ross. “I also sold my old red leather interior and put a new one together, with Recaro CS front seats and an E30 M3 rear bench, all custom-retrimmed by Lawrence at LG Trimming in north London.”
While this car is all-motor on the face of it, the interior is one of our favourite elements. With the astonishing attention to detail going on under the bonnet it’d be easy to turn this E30 into a stripped-out drag monster, jettisoning anything that’d add unsavoury weight.
So we love that Ross has brightened up his day-to-day commute with such a flawlessly executed and fashion-forward cabin. “With the interior sorted, me and my dad stripped the car down and repainted it in Black Cherry Candy, and after refitting with all new BMW window rubbers and so on it’s now what you see today… all the work apart from the interior was done by me, everything hand-made in my garage. So anything that I needed to make this work, I had to fabricate, as you couldn’t buy it off the shelf – the engine mounts, chopped-out rear end, remade gearbox mounts, you name it.”
What Ross has created here is arguably the ultimate stealth weapon. Those who aren’t in on the secret may find themselves drawn to the car simply because it’s so beautifully presented. But there’s little to suggest anything’s radically altered aside from the subtle clues of the flared arches and front-mount intercooler. Indeed, peering through the window and spying that interior may convince you that it’s a mere show-pony. “That’s very much not the case,” laughs Ross. “I drive it as much as I can.” And with Bugatti-shaming power, wouldn’t you? It’s safe to say this car gets a pretty hard time on a regular basis.
“I just love it,” he smiles, with the satisfaction of a job well done.
“Most of my friends think I’m mental. But you only live once!”
Ross is running a small-block V8 bored out to 5.8-litres.
The car has a similar power-to-weight figure as a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.
Recaro CS front seats and an E30 M3 rear bench, all custom-retrimmed.
You’ve put quite a lot of work into this, then?
“Yeah, the amount of time I’ve put into it… I couldn’t put into numbers, really. It’s years. Years and years of hard labour!”
Not really a budget build either, given the massive spec?
“Ha! No, I’ve always thrown what I’ve got at it. It’s taken everything I have.”
All plain sailing, though?
“No real dramas. Couple of fires, turbos letting go, oil leaks… That’s just customising, isn’t it? There were points when I thought ‘It’ll never get done, never see the road,’ but I got it there. You’ve just got to keep pushing, haven’t you?”
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS: BMW E30 #GM-V8
STYLING Resprayed in Black Cherry Candy; rear arches flared and rewelded; M-Tech 2 BMW Sport body kit; front valance modified for intercooler.
TUNING Early Chevrolet small-block #V8 rebored 0.030in to 5.8-litre; GM forged crank; #ARP main studs; #Eagle H-section forged conrods; #Clevite big end bearings; Probe oversized forged pistons; Melling high-volume oil pump; ported and polished alloy heads; Manley severe-duty stainless steel swirl-polished oversized valves (2.02in inlet, 1.6in exhaust); #Edelbrock valve springs with titanium retainers; Cloyes double roller timing gear and chain; Clevite cam bearings; Comp Cams 256/263-degree blower cam and lifters; Edelbrock magnum chrome moly pushrods; Comp Cams 1.5:1 alloy roller rockers; #Brodix rocker covers, ARP hardware (rocker arm studs, intake manifold bolts, sump bolts, timing cover bolts, engine mount bolts, exhaust header bolts, crank pulley bolts, bellhousing bolts); ARP oil pump driveshaft; custom engine mounts; hand-built custom turbo headers and downpipes; twin Holset HX35 turbos with 12cm² turbines; twin Tial 44mm wastegates; two-stage boost control; handbuilt custom twin 3in turbo-back exhaust with Simons silencer; custom intercooler; Tial 50mm dump valve; Edelbrock Pro-floinlet and matching fuel rails; Pro Comp 90mm throttle body; 770cc injectors; swirl pot with high-flow in-tank lift pump; twin Bosch 044 engine feed pumps; Torques pressure regulator; March serpentine pulley kit; Pro Cool alloy radiator; Megasquirt ECU; Ford Ka coil packs; fully lightened and balanced flywheel and rotating assembly; Toyota Supra Mk3 R154 gearbox with custom Chevy bellhousing adaptor – rebuilt and uprated with Marlin Crawler thrust washer; billet bearing retainer and selector forks; McLeod hydro clutch release bearing; ARP clutch bolts; Spec R Stage 4+ full-face paddle clutch; alloy fluid reservoir; Cube short shifter; custom propshaft; E28 M5 210mm LSD with 3.07 final drive and M3 Evo twinear rear mount; custom rear crossmember; custom driveshafts with UJs; custom gearbox crossmember.
CHASSIS 9x17in #ET25 (front) and 10x17in ET20 (rear) #Hartge polished three-piece wheels; 215/40 (f) and 235/40 (r) #Federal-RSR tyres; custom billet aluminium centre caps; modified front crossmember for engine clearance; reinforced rear beam; E36 M3 front anti-roll bar with custom mounts and rose-jointed droplinks; reinforced rear trailing arms; custom rear strut brace tied into custom rear diff mounting bar; #Gaz-GHA coilovers; #GAZ adjustable front top mounts; stainless steel steering linkage joints and custom linkage; steering rack moved 20mm forwards; alloy power steering reservoir and custom lines; in-car brake servo conversion using Renault Clio servo; VW Sharan brake master cylinder; AP Racing six-pot front callipers and 330mm discs; five-lug conversion using E36 and Z3 hubs; Porsche Brembo six-pot rear callipers; Apec Z3 rear discs.
INTERIOR Full custom retrim in Ruby Red nappa leather and black Alcantara; Recaro CS front seats with custom rails; E30 M3 rear bench in nappa leather with quilted design; doorcards in black Alcantara with quilted nappa leather inserts; dash, centre console, glovebox, handbrake, gear gaiter and roof lining in black Alcantara with matching stitching – by Lawrence at LG Trimming in Enfield, London.
THANKS Thanks to Shaun at V8 Developments for the wiring and mapping; Dad for helping me paint it; and Lawrence at LG Trimming for the retrim.
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- While you lot usually love to hate anything wearing a BMW badge that doesn’t have a BMW engine under the bonnet, in the case of Ross Bradley’s twin-tuWhile you lot usually love to hate anything wearing a BMW badge that doesn’t have a BMW engine under the bonnet, in the case of Ross Bradley’s twin-turbo Chevrolet V8-engined E30, you just loved it as it is your 2016 Performance BMW Car of the Year.
The engineering that’s gone into building this absolute beast of a machine, all of it done by Ross himself, is both mind-blowing and eye-watering in equal measure. The fully built, rebored Chevy small block V8 now sits at 5.82-litres and has been bolstered with a pair of Garrett T04E turbos resulting in a staggering 880hp. Fully polished 17” three-piece Hartges sit under widened rear arches, there’s a fully removable carbon bonnet, while the red Sport interior adds a bold splash of colour. You might not approve of that V8 swap, but this is such an impressive build that it’s impossible to hate. More ...
- Post is under moderationKEEPING IT REAL Turbo M50 E30.
UK two-door is the perfect blend of style and pace. #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30
What was once an unassuming #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-318i has been comprehensively transformed into a turbocharged beast. Words: Aron Norris. Photos: Scott Paterson.
The BMW E30. Some would say it’s flavour of the month. Others would say it’s their favourite ’80s BMW. Perhaps the infidels among us might even say it’s a little bland. Wherever you stand on the E30, you can’t deny that those Claus Luthe penned lines have aged very, very well. Like a fine wine, these Bavarian compacts are becoming hot property amongst collectors.
Whilst concours classics might be some people’s idea of BMW perfection, others, like Steve Foxall, prefer to use a stock car as a template, a blank canvas if you will. Whilst the 1983 318i you see here might look all sweet and innocent at first glance, there’s a secret lurking. If you’re an OE concours purist, look away now…
Now, when Steve bought the E30, it was in pretty good stock condition because the previous owner had it repainted 12 years ago, which meant Steve could get straight onto the fun of making the 318i his own, something a little less, er, 318i. This is a true driveway project car. Let’s be straight here, it doesn’t take much to make an E30 look great. With those handsome ’80s lines it almost seems perverse to suggest messing too much with BMW’s original formula much at all. I mean, the OE Schwarz black really gleams against the chrome bumpers and trims, all as you would expect I suppose.
Visually, the E30 has lost a few stock items and gained some choice add-ons, but nothing terribly drastic. The front numberplate and foglights have been deleted, which neatens things up nicely, making way for a Jimmy Hill front lip and M Tech 1 rear spoiler to add some ’80s indulgence. There are no wide arches here, nothing untoward you might say. Well, until you peer under the bonnet, that is…
You see, from the very beginning, Steve knew the original M10 engine in his 318i formed no part of his future plans. His vision was always to build a turbocharged sixcylinder M50 beast. Never again would this be a well-behaved practical car. Nobody wants that anyway, right? As luck would have it, Steve managed to find a 1993 E36 325i donor at the scrapyard, which meant things were coming together rather nicely. Operation strip down could begin. Goodbye M10, it was nice knowing you. The donor #M50B25TU powerplant was to provide the perfect base.
For the geeks out there, TU stands for ‘technical update’ which means variable valve timing, i.e single Vanos to you and me. In preparation for the turbo, ARP big end bolts, head studs, race mains, big end bearings, valves, springs and rings were thrown into the mix and a 0.120” MLS Cometic head gasket to lower the compression. Stock pistons, crank and block more than do the job, having been honed to reliably deliver an impressive level of tune.
In order to fulfil his turbo dreams, Steve knew he’d need a fully custom manifold, so a twin-scroll setup was built for his Holset HX35 turbo with 12cm housing. With everything in place, the next step was to build an exhaust. No surprises for guessing that, again, Steve went for a custom setup, this time a Hard Knocks Speedshopfabricated 3” downpipe and exhaust with hidden tip. Continuing the custom fabrication theme, an E34 oil pan (with turbo drain) was shortened and widened to keep the little E30 nicely lubricated at all times. While the old 318 lump was out, Steve took the opportunity to completely smooth and weld the bay, with a fresh helping of Schwarz paint to spruce things up. Blood, sweat and tears ensured the new engine would to take centre stage in the bay, and quite rightly, too.
With the engine taking shape nicely, Steve’s attention moved towards the transmission. His dream M50 build was mated to a Getrag 260 gearbox with a lightened and balanced M20 flywheel to improve throttle response. An uprated six-puck composite clutch, Sachs 618 pressure plate and M3 release bearing were acquired to more effectively handle the increase in power, along with a lightened and balanced propshaft. Steve got in touch with Hack Engineering to order a solid prop ring and the good guys over at SS Autowerks were called upon to provide a set of solid transmission mounts for the build.
To keep everything running just so, Vems management was purchased and a completely custom tucked wiring loom was fitted in the freshly smoothed and painted bay. After some testing, tweaking and mapping, Steve’s E30 was almost ready for action.
Next on Steve’s radar was chassis and handling. The steering rack was swapped out for a Z3 item with custom linkage and a 3.64 LSD was rebuilt with Porsche plates (for tighter locking). Braking was sharpened up with uprated pads and discs, teamed with a Porsche 944 brake booster and braided hoses. SS Autowerks was again involved with the build, supplying BC coilovers with custom springs, front and rear. For a fast road setup, fully polybushed, this car both looks savage and handles as it should.
In the wheel department, the E30 needed grippy tyres, so the obvious choice was to kill two birds with one stone and bolt up some girthy Schmidt TH Line three-piece splits with Toyo rubber. These 16” beauties in staggered 8.5” and 9.5” fitment suit the E30 a treat. Polished dishes with silver centres contrast beautifully with black bodywork.
With over 350hp on tap, this little black beauty is lively on the road to say the least. In fact, the truth is you have to be on the ball just to keep it in a straight line. This is pure man and machine stuff. If you overcook it, there’s no computer to save your bacon, as this car will make you pay for any mistake or lapse in concentration.
The interior of Steve’s E30 is pretty minimalist. You won’t find anything more than you need here. With the focus of this car well and truly centred on the driver, you’ve got a Nardi steering wheel, Delrin shifter, Recaro Pole Positions with TRS harnesses and a custom half roll-cage. That’s it. There’s no fuss – just as it should be with this type of car.
The original black leather interior just didn’t cut the mustard on B-road blasts, so Steve was on the lookout for a pair of replacement front seats and the black cloth Recaros were the perfect upgrade whilst keeping things simple. The rear seats were binned to save some weight and the battery was moved to the boot by using an S2000 mount with shut off. The interior changes have kept things period-correct, which is a definite winner and suit the E30 down to a tee.
Steve’s E30 is testament to home-brew engineering and modification. It might look like a regular E30 from the outside but, make no mistake, this is a driver’s car which will quite happily trounce most modern competition in the performance stakes. There’s something very grass roots about this car and we love it.
Stunning polished Schmidt TH Line 16s are the perfect wheel choice for the E30.
M50 has been treated to a whole host of internal mods plus an HX35 turbo with custom manifold and exhaust system. The bay has been beautifully smoothed.
DATA FILE #BMW / #M50-Turbo / #BMW-M50 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-M50 / #M50B25 / #Getrag
ENGINE 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25TU / #M50 , 0.120” #MLS-Cometic headgasket, #ARP big end bolts and head studs, race mains, big end bearings, valves, springs and rings, stock honed pistons, crank and block, custom twin-scroll exhaust manifold, #Holset-HX35 turbo with 12cm housing, #Tial-BOV and wastegate with screamer pipe, custom shortened and widened oil pan based on E34 pan and turbo drain, semi-solid custom engine mounts, A/C delete, PAS delete, switched #Bosch-044 in-line pump with Siemens 660cc injectors, Vems management with custom wiring loom completely tucked, 3” downpipe and exhaust with hidden tip by Hard Knocks Speed Shop, Mishimoto switched 14” fan, intake elbow and aluminium E36 fan with header tank delete
TRANSMISSION #Getrag-260 five-speed manual gearbox, M20 lightened and balanced flywheel, Sachs 618 pressure plate, custom six-puck composite clutch, M3 release bearing, Hack Engineering solid prop ring, custom transmission brace, #SS-Autowerks solid transmission mounts, lightened, balanced propshaft, 3.64 LSD rebuilt with Porsche plates for tighter lock
CHASSIS 8.5x16” (f) and 9.5x16” (r) #Schmidt-TH-Line Lines with #Radinox dishes and 195/40 Toyo TR1 (f) and 205/40 Nankang NS2-R (r) tyres, BC coilovers supplied by SS Autowerks with custom springs, fully polybushed, reinforced subframe, Z3 steering rack with custom linkage, Z3 short shifter linkage, underside running gear completely rebuilt, shot blasted and powercoated in gloss black, 944 brake booster with braided lines all-round, uprated pads and discs with stock calipers
EXTERIOR Engine bay totally welded smooth, battery tray delete, front foglight delete, M Tech 1 rear spoiler, Jimmy Hill front lip, genuine blue tinted mirror glass, custom front numberplate delete
INTERIOR Delrin gear knob, Stack oil pressure and oil temperature gauges, rear seat delete and carpeted, black headlining, Recaro Pole Position seats with Recaro sliders and custom seat mounts, TRS harnesses with reinforced chassis mounts, custom half roll-cage with reinforced chassis mounts, Nardi steering wheel, battery relocated in boot using S2000 mount with shutoff
THANKS Fourseasons, SS Autowerks, RollHard (www.rollhard.co.uk), Hack Engineering, all my mates who helped
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- Steve Foxall’s Turbo M50 E30 Is it any surprise that the first car in our top three happens to be an E30? Certainly not when that car is Steve Foxall’Steve Foxall’s Turbo M50 E30
Is it any surprise that the first car in our top three happens to be an E30? Certainly not when that car is Steve Foxall’s stunning UK machine, as it really is an awesome build and proved very popular with all of you, and with good reason. We saw it in person at a couple of shows and it was a real head-turner, not least of all because of what’s under the bonnet. At its heart is an M50B25, swapped into a wire-tucked bay, with a Holset HX35 turbo strapped to it for plenty of power. There’s also a removable bonnet to show the whole lot off. BC Racing coilovers deliver a sizeable drop over a set of gorgeous, fully polished 16” Schmidt TH Lines, while the interior has been treated to, among other things, a pair of Recaro Pole Position seats and a gorgeous Nardi wood-rimmed steering wheel. The perfect blend of elegant, classic style and serious power, it’s pretty much E30 perfection in a nutshell.