- Post is under moderation/ #BMW / #Alpina-B10-3.3-Touring / #Alpina-B10-3.3-Touring-E39 / #Alpina-B10-E39 / #BMW-E39 / #BMW-E39-Alpina / #BMW-E39-Touring / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E39 / BMW / #Alpina / #AC-Schnitzer / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #BMW-E39-Air-Lift
E39 Touring’s arches swallow the #Alpina-Classics with ease. Lows when you want them, sensible ride height when you don’t.
RYAN’S E39 ALPINA B10 3.3 TOURING
I’ve been living a #LIFEONAIR for just about a month now and I’m loving every minute of it. Aside from a very, very angry bunch of Alpina enthusiasts sending me hate mail and calling me out on the Internet, life with the bagged B10 couldn’t be simpler.
I’d forgive you for thinking that by adding extra airlines and another management system the suspension system might become susceptible to leaks and a bit, well ‘modified’. That’s absolutely not the case and it’s actually much more robust than the OE BMW SLS system. Granted, the BMW SLS only runs on the rear of the car and allows self-levelling to the fixed front axle but the pump size is puny and tank capacity equally small. The two #Viair 444c pumps included in the Air Lift Performance kit are never stretched to fill the two, two-gallon tanks and everything runs at about 40% duty. Thanks to the quality of the Air Lift Performance front bags and leader lines there’s been absolutely no leaks from the get-go. This was helped by the thorough instructions included in the kit that would allow even a relative amateur to install the kit with ease.
Since the install I’ve covered some 2000 miles in the car and it’s very much been a fi t and forget affair. I’ve only lifted the factory E39 boot floor to show interested parties the trick setup lurking beneath. Driving the car at a sensible ride height, it’s really difficult to identify a difference in ride quality between the Alpina suspension and the Air Lift Performance setup. It sounds crazy, and I’m sure that statement will leave plenty of Alpina lovers chortling and shaking their heads, but it’s true though. Air Lift Performance 3H is such a sophisticated system that it can out-handle even the most coveted BMW suspension upgrade. Now that this car is on air there is no way I would go back to a static setup.
It’s the flexibility that strikes me the most. It’s already a hugely versatile car; it can carry big loads, has the heart of a true performance car and now it can party with the show crowd while remaining grown up and demure. Likewise, through town it’s possible to drive at a dangerously low height, usually not possible with a pressure-based system. This is because #Air-Lift-Performance-3H continuously monitors pressure and height and adjusts bag pressure to maintain ride height. This means it’s possible to have your wheels mere mm from the arches and not have contact, pretty fun for posing. Parked up at a slammed height the E39 can mix it with the best of them, however park it at ride height and no one is any the wiser. It’s also perfect for visiting the in-laws and avoiding awkward car questions from non-car relatives. For those reasons alone Air Lift Performance 3H is a game-changing suspension system and something I’m certainly pleased I plumped for on this project.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLAGUNA E46 M3 Lush UK air-ride Cab
A schoolboy dream has become reality in the shape of a Laguna Seca E46 M3 Cab, with a few mods for good measure, of course. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Matt Dear.
DREAM WEAVER Air-ride E46 M3
Achieving your dreams, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant they may appear to some people, is an incredible feeling. From dream jobs, to dream weddings and, obviously, dream cars, these items, events and experiences fill us with sheer joy and make our lives better. Whatever your dream may be, achieving it, making it happen is a special moment; for Bally Hanspal this car was that dream and, as you can plainly see, it’s most definitely become a reality.
“BMWs have been a big part of my life,” begins Bally as we ask him to tell his tale, “with my late grandfather, dad and uncle all owning BMWs through my childhood. It always made me want one and, also, with how amazing they are to drive nothing else can come close to them. For me they really are the ultimate driving machines; despite owning other brands of cars I always seem to have a soft spot for BMWs,” he smiles, and that’s something we wager most of us can relate to.
Bally has dabbled with VAG in the past, ticking off the wheels, suspension and audio boxes along the way before moving towards the performance end of the modding spectrum, all of which served as perfect preparation for the inevitable purchase of his dream car. “When the E46 M3 was released, back when I was still in school, I promised myself I’d own a Laguna Seca blue one, one day. Many people laughed, but it was a dream I had to make come true,” he says and that steely determination is what made it happen. Bally kicked BMW ownership off with an E46 320Ci Sport, the biggest engine he could insure at the tender age of 20, but it was just a stepping stone until he could get his hands on the full-fat, M-powered 3 Series of his dreams. “I remember the day when I bought the car so clearly,” he smiles, “a friend of mine phoned me up – it was a warm Saturday afternoon – and he phoned me asking if I had found any cars for sale. I mentioned I had seen this one for sale on Autotrader, not too far from me. He said ‘Let’s go down and take a look’ so we headed over and after just walking around the car and checking it over I knew this was the one for me. The condition of the car was tip-top and it was so well-maintained that I would have been kicking myself if I hadn’t bought it.”
There were, says Bally, no plans to mod the car when he first got it, and he actually thought that was going to leave the car alone but here we are, it’s in a modded BMW mag. It wasn’t long, he says, before he started ordering parts for his M3 and he didn’t mess about. Wheels came first, with a set of CSL 19s chosen and to go with those he picked out a custom set of BC Racing coilovers to deliver the required drop. With the E46 M3’s natural good looks now nicely enhanced, Bally turned his attention to the audio system and fitted an Alpine double-DIN head unit along with a set of MB Quart component speakers front and rear, which made it into the car’s current build state. So too did the amber corner lights, which look great against that bright, bold blue bodywork, and Bally has also fitted a seriously sexy set of K-Sport brakes, with monster eight-pots up front wrapped around 365mm discs and four-pots at the back, and the red calipers really pop against the body and wheels.
All was going well, but Bally wasn’t in a good place with his suspension. “The BC coilovers were pretty awesome I must say, but with the car not being practical with the way I wanted it the next step was air. After speaking to many people and reading many reviews I went for Air Lift’s 3P setup and I also added Powerflex wishbone and anti-roll bar bushes just to tighten-up that awesome drive.” Now Bally can enjoy all the lows he can eat, so to speak, while still being able to actually drive the car and we like the fact that he’s also done a little bit more than just the bags alone, to allow him to really get the best out that awesome chassis that the E46 M3 is blessed with.
With air on board, Bally decided it was time to up his wheel game but with so many good-looking wheels available for the car, this was not an easy task. It was helped slightly by the fact that he’d always had his eye on the wheels he’s ended up, that being a set of Schnitzer Type II Racing three-piece splits, and they are gorgeous, the metallic grey centres really suiting the whole colour scheme on the car. Where people often go big on diameter, Bally has stuck to a sensible 18” but he’s gone wide; the fronts are a reasonably large 9.25” but the rears are a monster 11.25” across and they fill the arches to bursting, and with it aired out the fitment is perfection.
As far as styling is concerned, Bally has had the front bumper smoothed and it’s been enhanced with the addition of a full carbon fibre CSL front splitter, which not only adds a healthy dose of visual drama but also drops the car even further towards the Tarmac. Moving inside, that vibrant interior didn’t start out life this way and the original seats have made way for a striking red ensemble; “I wanted my M3 to stand out from the rest,” he says, “and after looking at many options it had to be the red Nappa leather, giving the car the Super Man look,” he grins and now it all makes sense. But here too there’s more than meets the eye, and where you might, perhaps, expect to see carbon on a car like this you will instead find that all the interior trims have been finished in Alcantara. “The trims are my favourite mod on the car and they were something I had in mind for a while, but it was a big problem getting them done, with so many companies saying they couldn’t do it and that it couldn’t be done. In the end my dad and I, along with my grandmother, did them together,” and the end result is absolutely unique and wonderful with it. Finally, in the boot, you will find the single air tank and Viair compressor that make up the air ride and, a neat touch, is that with the boot lid being de-badged, the air tank now wears the M3 badge instead.
As far as performance mods are concerned, Bally has so far just added a gorgeous GruppeM carbon intake up front and a de-catted Scorpion exhaust system but it sounds like the next big mod on the to-do list is a supercharger and going by his determination and refusal to give up with any part of the build so far, you can be sure that’s going to happen before too long. There’s no rush though, Bally has no plans to let his dream car go anytime soon; “After now owning the car for two years I’d say it’s an on-going going project that will probably never end,” he chuckles. Bally’s built himself an absolutely beautiful M3, one that’s packed with neat, unique touches that really make it stand out and it’s a car he can truly be proud of. Dreams can come true.
GruppeM carbon fibre intake the only performance mod, for now…
Gorgeous 18” AC Schnitzer Type II Racing splits.
“I wanted my M3 to stand out from the rest and after looking at many options it had to be the red Nappa leather, giving the car the Super Man look”
Alpine double-DIN head unit and custom Alcantara trims.
Red Nappa leather looks fantastic against bodywork.
Custom-mounted Air Lift controller.
Air install has been kept simple and the air tank now wears the M3 boot badge.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Cabrio / #BMW-M3-Cabrio-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E46
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #Scorpion exhaust system with de-cat, GruppeM carbon air intake, six-speed manual gearbox, short-shift kit
CHASSIS 9.25x18” (front) and 11.25x18” (rear) #AC-Schnitzer-Type-II-Racing three-piece wheels with 215/35 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3P air suspension, #Powerflex wishbone and anti-roll bar bushes, #K-Sport #BBK with eight-piston calipers and 365mm discs (front) and four-piston calipers and 330mm discs (rear) / #AC-Schnitzer-Type-II / #AC-Schnitzer / #Air-Lift-Performance
EXTERIOR #Laguna-Seca-Blue , smoothed front bumper, amber corner lights, gloss black front and side grilles, carbon fibre full CSL front splitter, CCFL angel eyes
INTERIOR Red Nappa leather seats and door cards, Alcantara-trimmed dash, door grab handles and centre console, #Alpine double-DIN head unit, #MB-Quart components front and rear
THANKS A massive thank-you to my family for the support and help putting it all together, Adam and Dav down at Autobahn for the fitting of many parts, Ryan at Ryandetails for the amazing job on the detailing of the paintworkStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRazzle Dazzle Wild, wide-body, air-ride E36 M3. Beneath the jarring geometric shapes and black-and-white lines, there’s a pretty astonishing M3 hiding in here. And the deeper you dig into its story, the more mystery and intrigue you unearth… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Brian McGee.
The Zebra M3’. That’s a name a lot of people seem to throw at this car. But have you ever seen a zebra with stripes like this? That’d be one funky-looking equid. No, the style you’re seeing here is a retro mind-melter known as ‘dazzle camouflage’. We know what you’re thinking – camouflage is meant to blend you into the background, right? Like the traditional greens and browns of army gear, or the beige tones used for desert combat. But what can possibly be so jagged in black-and-white that you could morph with its style like this? Some sort of explosion in a print factory? No, the idea here is not simply to hide, but to hide in plain sight; to confuse and distort. Dazzle camo first appeared on ships in World War I, its deliberately interruptive patterns intended not to conceal the vessels, but to make it impossible to judge how big they were, how fast they were going, and how far away they were. And that’s why the offbeat camo works so well today on a wide-body Pandem E36 M3, and makes those three questions are easy to answer. How big is it? Very, thanks to those Rocket Bunny extensions. How fast is it going? Again, very – it’s an M3. How far away is it? Sweetheart, it’s totally in your face.
The act of being totally in your face is all in a day’s work for Carl Taylor, of course. He, as some of you will be aware, is the driving force behind the Players shows as well as a marketing superhero for Air Lift, and what he doesn’t know about badass show-stopping rides could be comfortably felt-tipped on the back of a postage stamp. The germ of the idea that led to this car in fact appeared back before Wörthersee 2014, when Carl and Rotiform’s Brian Henderson built a pair of E36 Art Cars with Rocket Bunny kits; a 323i and a 325i. “I loved driving that car, and I decided I needed to build another one once I moved to the States… but this time with more power,” he recalls. “So I bought an M3. I found it locally after I moved to California – it was in pretty good condition, the paint was sunburnt but that didn’t matter as I was planning to wrap it anyway,” he says.
Now, you don’t get to be the figurehead of an industry powerhouse like Players without having a few ideas buzzing around the ol’ brainbox – here’s a man who, after all, can count around fifty cars in his personal history with every single one of them being modified in some way or another – so of course he had a plan for the car. Its fate was written in the stars before he’d even hauled it back to his sun-drenched new home. “I’d broken up the Wörthersee car and saved some parts from that,” he explains. And before the scene knew just what had hit it, Carl was delivering a sucker punch at SEMA 2014 with a fresh, super-wide new build. It wore a minty green Tic-Tac race livery, chosen to emulate the Team Valier E30 M3 that used to race in the DTM, but caricaturised to be broader, fatter, meaner, scarier. The E36’s stock arches were unceremoniously savaged to allow the fitment of a full Sarto Racing kit, with non-M bumpers swapped on to flow more cleanly with the new lines. A set of colossal Rotiform ROCs filled the arches, resplendent in satin gold, and – inevitably, given Carl’s line of work – a top-of-the-range Air Lift setup found its way in. It had a full-on race car look inside; Cobra bucket seats, a rollcage, not a lot else. The effect was pleasingly startling, Carl’s decades-old coupé with its relatively short (but nevertheless superbly well-chosen) spec list more than holding its own against the show’s multi-million dollar builds. What’s key with projects like this, you see, is being relatable as well as aspirational. When you make something as awesome as the Tic-Tac E36, you can shift a lot of wheels, and air-ride kits, and seats, and bodykits, and… well, you know how the game’s played.
The game, naturally, never stops. Not for a second. So it was imperative for Carl to shake up the formula right away; the car would be returning to SEMA the following year, and it had to be rocking some significant changes. You can’t stand up on a Broadway stage and sing the same song twice. The next thing we knew, the broadhipped M3 was wearing a fresh Art Carinspired wrap, emulating that Wörthersee road trip that kicked the whole process off, along with a Rocket Bunny Pandem kit, a jarring set of Rotiform USF wheels (a sort of double-three-spoke affair, very retro JDM) and a raft of detail changes. The scene was set for the car to once again break necks and steal hearts at the world’s largest aftermarket tuning show.
Except that, as is his wont, Carl changed his mind at the eleventh hour. “Six weeks before SEMA 2015, I decided to change it a bit,” he says, dabbling masterfully in understatement. Indeed, you’ve probably spotted the car’s not dolled up like an oldschool Art Car in these photographs; no, we’re back at the dazzle camouflage motif we opened with. And there’s also a V2 Pandem kit thrown into the mix. This isn’t so much hiding in plain sight as just running up to people in the street and smacking them across the chops with an embroidered leather glove. If you want a fight, sure, this angry M3 is definitely spoiling for a rumble. “Being a sales manager for Air Lift Performance, I had to equip the car with the latest 3H system with Performance struts,” Carl reasons, “and we had Because Bags create a custom rollcage install for it too.”
This really is a sight to behold, the way the tanks and hardlines caress the cage like one of those terrifying metal spiders in The Matrix. It’s details like this that steal the SEMA headlines. “I only ever run Rotiform too,” he grins. “The design was left down to Brian Henderson, however I did choose the Corky Pink finish myself to add some colour to the car.” Yep, you certainly can’t argue with the logic of that. Those flashy fourspokes do stand out, don’t they?
“We’d just decided that we really needed to make a change if we were going to return to SEMA with the same car,” Carl shrugs. “We had the race car interior theme reworked with some custom Cobra Suzuka Pro seats, and the wheels came out perfectly, the finish is amazing – I think they’re my favourite part of the car. The rebuild took Vaderwerks around two weeks to finish up, with the kit install and then wrapping it and setting the air up with the new wheels. Everything worked out perfect.”
Now, it’s probably time to address the elephant in the room. SEMA 2015 was a little while ago… so why are we featuring the car now, in 2017? Well, this ‘zebra’ evolution was only one step of many along this everevolving car’s path. Things have happened between then and now. Important things. “The car was sold before we were even back from SEMA,” Carl admits. “Someone heard about the project and made an offer, so it was time for something else. I regret selling this car, to be honest, as after all the work it looked the best ever.”
But he needn’t be sad, as the car’s latest curator isn’t one to rest on his laurels or let the grass grow. Dylan Coleman is the name to watch – you may know him as @hawaiianeze on Instagram – and he’s a man with more than a few plans. Dylan’s set up a pretty astonishing business in Hollywood, you see: he and his father, Lee, are the brains behind StreetFighter LA, and they’ve been working with the fabled Long Tran at LTMW to kick out some pretty mould-breaking builds. “I was looking for another project to start after we parted with our #ProjectHulk Liberty Walk Challenger,” he explains. “I’d come from a BMW background, and the E36 M3 has always been one of my favourite models. While looking around for potential cars, our friends at Rotiform Wheels contacted us and just so happened to know someone who was looking to sell…”
Yes, Sherlock, that person was Carl. So Dylan was cruising around LA in one of the world’s best-known BMW builds. That must have felt pretty good? “Well, yes and no,” he says. “We brought the car back to Los Angeles after SEMA, where I started to use it as a daily driver while we were finishing up some other projects. But although the car was a great build that caught the attention of everyone on the road, I never truly felt the connection like I did with my past projects; with high mileage and a stock engine it was time to look to start rebuilding or swapping the engine…”
But that, friends, is another story for another day. You’ll just have to keep an eye on your favourite BMW modifying magazine for the next chapter. For now, however, let’s leave Dylan basking in the glory of Carl’s achievements, sprinkling on some of his own unique blend of magic, and formulating his plan of attack to take this iconic build to the next level. Hiding in plain sight? Boy, it sure is dazzling.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Wide-body #Air-ride #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E36 / #Rotiform / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body-E36 / #BMW-E36-Wide-Body / #BMW-E36-Art-Car / #BMW-Art-Car / #BMW
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION Stock #S52B32 / #S52 / #BMW-S52 3.2-litre straight six, full #Magnaflow stainless steel exhaust system, #K&N induction. Five-speed manual gearbox, welded diff
CHASSIS 17” #Rotiform-RBQ wheels in Corky Pink with 235/45 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, full #Air-Lift-Performance-3H airride System
EXTERIOR #Rocke-Bunny-Pandem-V2 wide-body kit with #Downstar fixings, custom-designed 3M wrap by JD Wraps installed by #Vaderwerks , #AC-Schnitzer mirrors
INTERIOR #Renown steering wheel, custom Cobr a Suzuka Pro seats, #Wiechers roll cage, custom Because Bags roll cage-mounted #Air-Lift install
THANKS Gino the Master Sepe at Vaderwerks, Brian, Jason and the Rotiform team, Mark and Adam at Cobra Seats, James and Ken at Because Bags, Corey and all my Air Lift Colleagues, Russ and Erik at JD Wraps, Paul Kitch at 3M, Stan at Toyo Tires, 714 Tires, LTMW, Magnaflow, and Renown
“I had to equip the car with the latest 3H system with Performance struts”
“The wheels came out perfectly, the finish is amazing - I think they’re my favourite part of the car”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRYAN’S ALPINA B10 3.3 TOURING / #Alpina-B10-3.3-Touring / #Alpina-B10-3.3-Touring-E39 / #Alpina-B10-E39 / #BMW-E39 / #BMW-E39-Alpina / #BMW-E39-Touring / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E39 / #BMW / #Alpina / #AC-Schnitzer / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #BMW-E39-Air-Lift
It’s no secret that the E39 self-levelling suspension (SLS) is the weak link in the otherwise robust E39 Touring package. A quick Google search unveils tales of woe from across the globe, with many owners cutting their losses and reverting back to conventional coil sprung rear suspension. I thought that even if I bought a car with working SLS it would soon fail, so I found one where the owner had already replaced the rear air bag units. This repair was, of course in vain, and the rear suspension still proved to be problematic for him, an excellent haggling point. My plan was to retain these factory rear air bag units and convert the management system to an aftermarket setup with new high flow compressors, increased capacity air tanks and matching air suspension struts on the front.
An extreme fix you might think, but with the current advancements in air suspension technology it’s actually a worthwhile upgrade over the coveted Alpina suspension that had covered almost 120,000 miles so far. Knowing that Air Lift Performance is right at the cutting edge of air ride management systems with its new 3H, height sensing, self-levelling system I began to dig deeper. I was adamant that I would keep the self-levelling aspect of the suspension but I have to admit, I also wanted to be able to slam the car at the touch of a button.
The area of East London that I live in is peppered with speed bumps and every flavour of traffic calming device possible, so for an every day car that I wanted to be comfortable, look cool and handle well, the Air Lift kit was hard beat. With both a controller and a mobile app with Bluetooth capability, the Air Lift Performance 3H manifold allows for a huge range of mounting options. This was great news for me; I could take full advantage of 3H technology without modifying the interior of the car to mount the handheld controller. I plan to stow the controller in the centre console of the B10 while utilising the 3H app to make on-the-fly adjustments as I like, perfect for switching from drive height to an extended speed-bump-climbing height. I really wanted a quiet and powerful setup that could easily be stowed away below the E39’s boot floor; I didn’t want it to be obvious that the car was on aftermarket air and wanted a fast-filling setup that retained the whole boot load capacity.
After speaking with Air Lift Performance’s technical team I opted for dual #444c compressors, both with isolator kits and two two-gallon tanks. The small tank sizes allowed the best chance to squeeze all of the Air Lift components into the spare wheel well. The twin #Viair-444C compressors allow for a fast tank fill and quiet operation, especially when using an Air Lift Performance compressor isolator kit. Keeping with an understated Bavarian feel, I opted for an all-black finish and everything was delivered in super quick time! With everything removed from the car, I started planning the install. Having a good idea of where everything would go I made a base for the components to mount. Luckily, because of the factory self-levelling rear suspension, the car had ample space to create a tidy spare wheel build. I adapted the original #BMW rear air bags to work with Air Lift Performance’s 3H management system and used the factory sensor locations to mount the Air-Lift-Performance-3H sensors. Admittedly it was a little bit of a suck it and see experiment, with a metric to imperial conversion for the air lines being a very interesting challenge. All of the Air Lift Performance products come with step-by-step instructions to guide you through the install so there is absolutely no guesswork required. By following these guidelines, I was able to prepare the components for a hassle-free install. I say I, what I mean is my good friend Steven Doe did.
He’s already got an Air Lift Performance bagged E21 and his knowledge with air ride installs was invaluable during this process, cheers Doey! During reassembly with the new Air Lift Performance components, we could follow the torque specification chart to ensure a safe and long-lasting install first time around. The same instruction booklet shows the best practice for removal of the OE shock absorbers too, meaning you don’t need a fully equipped workshop in order to install the new system, just basic tools and a general understanding of safe working practices. I can’t wait to show you how this looks aired out, it’s insane!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPrime cut S3 8P Show-stopper revealed. When Matt Vanstone isn’t preparing the Southwest’s finest fillet steaks, he’s working on his stunning S3…. Words Davy Lewis Photography AJ Walker.
The second generation Audi S3 is a cracking little car. Launched in 2007, it packs a potent 2.0 TFSI engine, quattro drive and the kind of neatly understated looks that set it apart as a premium hatch back. Audi sold bucket loads of them and they’ve become one of the most frequently tuned of all the S models. So when Matt Vanstone was after a new car, he had his sights set on an S3. “I’d been into Fords before,” he explains, “but I wanted something I could modify in a Dub style.”
After looking at a couple of cars, he found an immaculate S3 in Sprint blue, which he fell in love with. “It was only down the road from me and although it wasn’t as highly spec’d as the others I’d seen, I didn’t mind as I planned to upgrade it.”
Having thrown £14k at the salesman, Matt proceeded to enjoy his new toy. “I’d spent all my cash, so it was standard for about a year,” he says. But the plan right from the off was to create something show worthy – just as soon as he’d saved up the money. Then disaster struck...
“It was during the floods of 2014; I was driving home and hit standing water.” The S3 aquaplaned into a ditch and the damage was significant. “My heart sank, I thought it was a write-off – but I just got away with it,” recalls Matt.
That said, there was a big bill for replacement parts, including a new front end, wings and other bits, which all told added up to about four-grand – which wiped out the tuning budget. However, there was some good news…
“I came into a little bit of money and while the car was in the bodyshop I decided to do a few bits to it.” This included fitting the latest (at the time) Air Lift Performance kit, some Forge Motorsport goodies and new wheels. With the S3 making good progress, Matt went along to Ultimate Dubs, where he was blown away by the standard of some of the cars. “I met Jules Loose and he invited me to join Dubfiction, which is where I got a lot of help and inspiration for the car.”
At this point, there weren’t any RS-style honeycomb grilles available off-the-shelf, but Matt had his heart set on one. So, he set about making his own. “I ordered a brand new RS6 grille from Audi and my mate cut out the honeycomb section and adapted it to fit the S3’s OEM grille. It involved a lot of work and expense, but looks fantastic, especially with the satin silver surround, which he’d seen on an RS4. Next came new wheels.
“Jules offered me a set of RAD48s, but they weren’t quite “wow” enough for me, so I sent them off to be ceramic-polished. Sounds simple enough, until Matt explains this involved shipping them off to Belgium for the work to be carried out, at a cost of about £500. Now that’s commitment.
With the exterior looking good, Matt turned his attention to the inside.
“I knew I had to really go for it to make the car stand out at shows, so I bought a full S5 interior,” he says. Unfortunately, the seats were in bad shape, with dodgy electrics and bent sub frames. “They needed about £900 spending on them and I felt like giving up,” he admits. But it’s when you’re at your lowest point that your mates really help and Jules, plus girlfriend Terri told him to carry on – setting a deadline of the next Ultimate Dubs show to get the car ready. “That left us just three weeks,” laughs Matt.
“I managed to get hold of some genuine Bentley leather for the seats – I hadn’t even seen the colour, apart from a picture,” he says. When he visited the trimmer to see the progress, there was another heart-in-mouth moment: “I didn’t like the colour,” laughs Matt. But girlfriend, Terri, said it would be okay and told him to let the trimmer get on with it. “She even bought me a flat-bottom steering wheel, which spurred me on.” The trimmer had some work to do though – the stitch pattern alone took over a week to complete. Finally, with the show just hours away, having pulled another allnighter, Matt and his crew made it to the show, even having to stop en route to pick up the parcel shelf.
But you know what – it was all worth it. The S3 was very well received with plenty of nice comments about the interior. With a renewed enthusiasm for the 8P, Matt began planning his next show – Early Edition. Then, disaster struck for a second time: “An inlet cam snapped and I ended up having to get an engine rebuild.” This took another chunk out of the tuning budget, but as Matt says, ‘You can just give up, or accept that life gives you hurdles like this and get on with it.” Wise words indeed.
The engine itself is now in rude health and although not currently running any performance software, the Cobra Sport exhaust has transformed the S3’s character. The 3in turbo-back system, with sports cat, is much freer flowing and delivers a nicely rorty sound, without any annoying drone. There’s also a Forge twintercooler and inlet, which means this S3 is ready to have its potential unleashed with a remap.
At the time of writing, Matt is recovering after a flat-out Christmas rush preparing turkeys for his customers, but in between wielding his cleaver, he’s been planning his next upgrades. “I’m fitting some new wheels, plus some carbon bits and maybe big brakes for next season,” he says. “I also want to get the engine sorted, so I’ll be giving the guys at MRC Tuning a call at some point.” There’s lots more to come from this S3 – look out for it at this year’s shows.
SPECIFICATION #2017-Audi-S3-8P / #Audi-S3-8P / #Audi-S3 / #Audi-A3-8P / #Audi-A3 / #Air-Lift / #RAD48-DR1 / #RAD48 / #Audi-8P / #Audi /
Engine 2.0 #TFSI , #Forge twin take induction kit with carbon fibre air filter covers, Forge chrome recirulating value, #Forge-twintercooler , Forge blue silicone hose kit, Forge chrome charcoal canister cover, Forge chrome oil water and coolant caps, custom made engine cover using old air box and dipped in carbon fibre affect and colour coded pipe work in sprint blue, turbo back sport cat exhaust system by Cobra Sport all in 3in pipework
Transmission 6-speed manual, Forge adjustable quick shifter
Suspension Full #Air-Lift-Performance slam struts with 3/8 airlines and two #Vair comps and 4-gallon skinned tank with #V2-Auto #AutoPilot-V2 management
Wheels #RAD48-DR1s 8.5x19in all round et45 fully ceramic polished by Felgenwerkes/puc polished in Nanking tyres NS2s 215/35x19
Interior 2011 flat bottom steering wheel with carbon fibre air bag cover, Audi S5 front seats with custom diamond stitch in centres and retrimmed in Bentley nappa leather with a blue stitch, carbon fibre control panel and seat backs and grab handle, rear seats, arm rest, hand brake, gear gaiter, parcel shelf, glove box, under steering wheel and door card inserts all trimmed to match
Exterior 2011 rear lights, custom made, front grille using RS6 and standard one moulded together to make one grille then painted gloss black centre and satin silver ends, carbon fibre b pillars, Forge chrome petrol cap
Contacts and thanks Stefan May at Tiki Custom, Kris Butler at Forge Motorsport, Jules and Mario at RAD48 wheels, James batty at Autofinesse, Colin Haden at D Hayden Upholstery, Matt at System Clenz, Indy at Felgenwerkes/Stefan puc polished, Nick Cockman at Cobra Sport exhausts, the Mrs, Terri for putting up with my temper tantrums, the whole Dubfiction crew, Adam Ford for many late nights working on it before shows.
“I knew I had to really go for it to make the car stand out...”
Essentials: air and detailing kit.
Bentley leather was used for the interior.
Flat-bottom wheel with carbon centre.
Nicely detailed bay, with big power to come.
Cobra exhaust looks and sounds ace.
Dubfiction 9 July 2017
If you haven’t heard about Dubfiction, it’s a cracking show with a very welcoming attitude. Based in Derbyshire’s Peak District at one of the UK’s most picturesque locations, it offers plenty of space to park up, a show and shine, trade, music and camping. The new date for 2017 is 9 July, so make sure you get it in your diary and check out Dubfiction on Facebook. Dubfiction 2017 – 10am - 4pm, The Bull I’ th’ thorn Inn, Ashbourne Road, Hurdlow SK17 9QQ.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCLEAN LIVING
Exceedingly smooth and bagged E36. Clean and smooth, this head-turning Touring is brimming with individual touches that really help it stand out from the crowd. Photos: Si Gray. Words: Elizabeth de Latour.
You know what really impresses us when we visit a show? It’s not the wild, no-holds-barred builds that get all the attention and steal all the headlines (though they are undeniably impressive), it’s actually the cars that look great but their owners have taken a much more modest route to making that happen. These builds are all about the subtle, individual touches that really make them stand out and allow their builders to put their own mark on their projects.
Take Andy Guyett’s E36 Touring, for example. There’s no wild body kit, no custom three-piece wheels, nothing outlandish, but it just looks so good and while the applied mods appear to be quite simple at first glance, there’s definitely a lot more here than meets the eye…
“I’ve always been into cars, never football,” begins Andy, “as growing up I was always around cars; my two brothers had all sorts of cool Yank stuff and while I never followed them down that road I have had all sorts of cars over the years. I started off with a white Opel Manta GTE when I was 18 followed by a Fiesta XR2 after which I decided to build something, which took the shape of a 1971 Cali-look Beetle. I ran it as a daily and it wasn’t great as it was very low and just not very well-suited to the task.”
The Beetle was followed by another couple of classic VWs before Andy decided to come over to the Bavarian way of life. “My friend bought an E30,” he explains, “and I loved it. It looked cool so I sold the Beetle I had at the time and bought myself a champagne E30 320i four-door with brown velour seats.” That might not sound like the sexiest of places to start but it ticked Andy’s boxes and started him on the road of BMW ownership which, almost six and a half years ago, led to the purchase of the 323i Touring you see before you.
“My girlfriend had a Clio at the time and after the cambelt snapped twice in two years we decided to get shot of it. The garage where I found this E36 for sale did a straight swap for the Clio and I had a good feeling about the car, it just felt right.” His gut was clearly on the money considering the Touring is still a part of the family, and while it had been purchased bone stock, the fact that Andy had modified every car he’d owned in some way meant that it was not going to remain that way for long. “I always knew what I wanted to do,” says Andy, “but I didn’t know I would go this far with it!”
The styling has been given plenty of attention and this Touring wears a blend of different parts that all combine to give it a seriously meaty look. Step one to its outstanding freshness is a full respray in its original shade of Orient blue and then comes the onslaught of Sport addenda, with genuine front and rear bumpers, side skirts and wide door trims.
The Sport additions make a big difference to the Touring’s looks just on their own, but these have been further enhanced with another layer of styling. Up front, a replica AC Schnitzer deep splitter has been added and this is matched at the rear with a replica #ACS boot spoiler, while a set of genuine ACS mirrors with custom decals complete the Schnitzer triumvirate, and the splitter, diffuser and roof bars have all been painted in Azurite black, which changes from black to blue in the light, adding a subtle individual aspect to proceedings.
The arches have been rolled (you can see why, with the rears receiving a bit of a pull) and there’s been a lot of smoothing going on across the body. The bonnet badge has gone, as has the boot badge and the model inscription. The side repeaters have been removed and smoothed, the petrol filler flap has been smoothed and the rear wiper has been removed altogether, using the first ever Kill All Wipers kit for the E36 Touring. The end result is a car that’s smoother than a wellused bar of soap. The finishing touches are the all-red rear lenses, angel eye headlights and pre-face-lift nosecone. You may have also noticed that Andy is all about those orange highlights, with the custom decals on his mirrors carrying orange script, his stickers printed in orange, the amber front indicator lenses and the flashes of orange paint on his calipers.
That’s something he’s carried through into the interior too. In fact, there have been some big changes in here and the first thing that hits you are the Recaro CS front seats because they look awesome; big sporty seats always make a big statement and act as a centrepiece for car’s interior, which is why it’s so disappointing when high performance models don’t have them, but always exciting when someone’s gone to the effort of fitting a set in their car. Here they sit on custom subframes made by Hard Knocks Speed Shop, while the rear bench has been trimmed to match the half-leather finish of the front seats and fitted with different headrests.
The headlining and A-pillars have been finished in an Alcantara-style material and the doorcard inserts, glovebox lid and trim, centre console, driver’s knee roll and inner mirror covers have all been trimmed in black fauxsuede; it makes for an extremely luxuriousfeeling interior. That’s impressive enough on its own, but that’s not even the half of it; Andy has replaced all of the previously grey interior trim panels with black ones and that includes the entire dash itself, which makes the whole interior look infinitely smarter and he has also replaced the carpet with a black one, none of which is no small job.
The steering wheel has been retrimmed by Royal Steering Wheels, with perforated leather on the sides, Nappa leather on the top and bottom sections, M tricolour stitching and an orange centre marker. A Schmiedmann suede handbrake gaiter has been fitted and Andy has also retro-fitted the 18-button OBC and the start button from a Honda S2000. We’re not done in here yet because the lacklustre standard audio has received a serious upgrade, with an Alpine head unit hooked up to a set of orange-coned Hertz three-way components, powered by no less than two JL Audio amps along with a 12” JL sub in the boot, which is also where you’ll find the simple air install with just the single polished tank on display.
“I had HSD coilovers before the air,” says Andy as we move onto discussing his comprehensive chassis mods, “but it was going to the Players show that helped me make the decision to switch to air. I saw so many cars on air-ride, including Ed Johnston’s E36 Touring back when it was cream, and knew that was what I wanted. I ended up buying a three-month-old kit from one of Riiva Design’s cars, an Air Lift setup with V2 management and I fitted it over a long weekend with my son Tom and a friend of mine.”
The air-ride is just the tip of the iceberg, though, as the front end has been fitted with polybushed lollipops and ARB mounts with E30 front wishbones and an ECS Tuning strut brace under the bonnet. The whole rear end has been fully polybushed, with SPC Performance adjustable rear camber arms and an M3 rear anti-roll bar plus a set of Phoenix Motorsport rear damper reinforcement plates. The brakes haven’t been forgotten about either, with an E46 330Ci front setup plus an M3 servo and master cylinder and Goodridge hoses all-round.
With the wheels, Andy went through five or six sets before he settled on these 18” M Parallels: “I started off with some 17” Alpina reps, then I had BBS RKs, ACS Type 3 reps, all sorts, but I’d always liked the Paras,” he says. “They look like a strong wheel and these ones are in a staggered fitment from the E38 7 Series. I had to have the rear hubs shaved in order to be able to get them to fit under the arches.” M Parallels are the perfect example of a very clean, simple, classic design that works well on everything and looks good on everything, and in this particular staggered 18” form with diamond cut faces and lips they look absolutely stunning on this Touring.
Finally we come to the engine and, while there’s not a lot going on under the bonnet at the moment, with just a DaveF induction kit and 328i manifold-back exhaust, Andy has some big plans for that M52: “I’m really happy with the styling but now I want to make it go faster and I’m currently building an #M52B28 – I’ve actually had the engine for almost two years now,” he laughs. “The head will be gas-flowed, there will be a stainless exhaust manifold, an Alpina527 adapted M50 intake manifold, a Hark Knocks Speed Shop custom exhaust and I’ll get it remapped by Enda Ward at End Tuning.” That lot will add up to one pretty impressive lump that will definitely endow this Touring with some proper performance.
This really is a seriously nice car. It’s got a perfect blend of mods that combine to give it some real presence and plenty of individuality, all while retaining the essence of the E36 Touring. Andy’s built himself a cracking machine and the engine swap he’s got up his sleeve will be the icing on an extremely tasty cake…
DATA FILE #BMW / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-323i-Touring / #BMW-323i-Touring-E36 / #BMW-323i-E36 / #BMW-323iA-Touring-E36 / #BMW-323iA / #BMW-323iA-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E36 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M52B25 / #M52 / #BMW-M52 , #DaveF induction kit, 328i manifold-back exhaust, five-speed auto gearbox #ZF5HP / #ZF
CHASSIS 8x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Style-37M-Parallel wheels with diamond cut faces and lips with 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Kumho Ecsta tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance #Airride with #Air-Lift-V2 management, front strut brace, polybushed front lollipops and #ARB mounts, E30 front wishbones, fully polybushed rear end, #SPC-Performance adjustable rear camber arms, M3 rear anti-roll bar, #Phoenix-Motorsport rear damper reinforcement top plates, E46 330Ci front brakes, M3 servo/master cylinder, Goodridge braided hoses (front and rear), #BMW hardlines (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Full respray in original Orient blue metallic, bonnet badge removed and smoothed, pre-face-lift front nosecone, angel eye headlights with shrouded HID projectors, Sport front bumper, replica #AC-Schintzer deep front splitter, AC Schnitzer door mirrors with custom decals, side repeaters removed and smoothed, Sport side skirts, smoothed petrol flap, Sport wide door trims, Sport rear bumper, replica AC Schnitzer rear spoiler, all-red rear lenses, boot badge removed and smoothed, 323i badge removed, Kill All Wipers rear wiper delete, arches rolled all-round and rears pulled, front splitter, rear diffuser and roof bars painted in #BMW Azurite black, LED number plate lights
INTERIOR #Recaro-CS front seats on custom Hard Knocks Speed Shop subframes, rear bench retrimmed/coloured to match fronts, different rear headrests, all interior panels and carpet changed from grey-to-black, headlining and A-pillars recovered in black faux-Alcantara, doorcard inserts, glovebox lid and trim, centre console, drivers knee roll and inner mirror covers trimmed in black fauxsuede, Royal Steering Wheels retrimmed Sport steering wheel with M stitching and orange centre stripe, Schmiedmann suede handbrake gaiter, Sport inner sill covers custom painted in BMW Azurite black, Honda S2000 start button, retro-fitted 18-button OBC, #Alpine-CDA-9887R head unit, 2x JL Audio amps, Hertz threeway components, JL Audio 12” sub, LED bulbs
INTERIOR Big thanks to my son Tom Guyett, good friends Cliff Judson and Sam Hendrie for their continued help with the car and my fiancé Fiona for her patience with a stream of car parts in the front room and my constant absence! Dips at Custom Cars for his huge efforts with the paint and body mods, Richard at Ruislip Tyres for his sterling efforts getting the wheels ready (twice!) and constant tyre swapping, Ray Boultwood, Neil Chapman and all the members of BMWEnthusiasts forum for the (usually!) kind words during the build and for the camaraderie at meets and Badger Bourton of Hard Knocks Speed Shop for his outstanding fabrication skillsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRichard Fisheer’s Boss S14
THE BOSS hot ride: #Nissan-240SX Speed Star: 560bhp LS1-powered Boss S14 Defining Car Culture. Words Paddy McGrath & Ben Chandler. Photography Mark Riccioni. We caught up with Chicago-based car builder, drifter and self-confessed Air Jordan hoarder, Mr Fish and his positively bananas Boss-kitted S14 drift car.
NISSAN S14 It may look like a Dodge Challenger from the front, but we can promise you it’s all Nissan on the inside.
In words, at least, this is a car that will almost certainly evoke a sigh or two. It has all the right (or wrong, depending on how you choose to look at it) ingredients for a drift car: an LS V8 motor, a Rocket Bunny kit, some SSR mesh wheels and Air Lift Performance suspension. There was a time when this combination would have blown people away, but now it’s almost the expected, and maybe the proven choice for a fun street/track car. But, we’ve long since learned that it’s not how you stand by your car, it’s how you race your car.
This may not be the very first time you’ve seen this S14. This particular car has appeared on the internet and done the round on Instagram, but we do feel that it’s the first time a UK magazine has managed to capture this beautiful piece of automotive art. It’s still evolving too; since Mark captured these photographs, it’s now running a supercharged LS1 making 560hp to the wheels. It’s far from a show pony.
Drifting, as a whole, is about expression. It’s always been this way and some might argue that non-competitive drifting is perhaps the purest form of drifting, as it offers the driver the most amount of freedom with regards to expressing themselves. Risky Devil, established 2007, are maybe the most recognised crew from the United States, mostly because they epitomise this mantra so well. There is a certain look that’s considered appealing in this community: as low as possible, wide wheels with lots of dish and as much smoke pouring off the back of the car as achievable.
This 240SX delivers on all of these things. And more.
The whole package is a visual treat. While I had seen pictures of the car before, I don’t think I appreciated the two-tone paint scheme; the black roof and pillars are maybe the most important part of tying the Boss kit into the S14, itself combining US and JDM style into one car.
While it might not be a fully-fledged competition car, safety has still been addressed in a comprehensive way. Fixedback buckets and Takata Racing harnesses are enclosed by a full FD specification roll cage. The aim might be fun, but that doesn’t mean that the impact will be any softer if the worst happens.
I don’t think it’s anything that we haven’t seen before but when something looks this good, it’s genuinely exciting to have this drift weapon in Fast Car. You might forget about it in an hour or you might not stop thinking about it for weeks – we’re just glad it exists.
Wheels: Get The Look
Speed Star Racing, or SSR to you and me, are one of the Godfathers of Japanese aftermarket wheels. They’re responsible for some of the most famous of all wheels, the SSR Super Mesh – a most beautiful wheel that can often be found on AE86s, Hakosuka GTRs and Nissan S31s. Basically old and Japanese. The wheels on Fish’s fine S14 Boss are Formula Mesh. These have been around for decades and are now certified as absolutely timeless. SSR, for the most part are all 3-piece wheels. As the name suggests, the company has been involved in racing for many years. If you look closely at the logo on the caps of SSR wheels you’ll notice an actual outline of F1 genius Graham Hill, a gentle nod to SSR’s passion for racing.
If you’ve not heard the name Risky Devil before then stop whatever you’re doing and head over to YouTube immediately. Type ‘Risky Devil’ into the search bar and hit return. Seeing a car static in photos is one thing, but actually seeing it living and breathing in video is another. We also came across a clip on YouTube which gives a pretty good insight into the sort of life this car lives. Sure, it might make you flinch when you see it, but I respect that the car is still out there being driven as intended. It’s better than the alternative, right?
AIR LIFT PERFORMANCE
Fish is a long time friend and customer of Air Lift Performance. He worked directly with Corey at Air Lift on this built to create a car that sits (and drifts) super close to terra firma. The S14 Air Lift Performance kit is a bolt on solution, which means that if you have an S14 chassis, you can fi t this kit in a weekend and be airing out at work by Monday! Check out www. airliftperformance.com for further info.
This fine Japanese gentleman is a living breathing legend. Now, legend is a word that is overused, but it is certainly well deserved in this case. Why? Well, Muira-san has pretty much single handedly made bodykits cool again. The mad scientist is responsible for the Rocket Bunny brand and has also penned designs for the likes of Liberty Walk, Old N New, Pandem and more. This USDM and JDM mash-up kit found on Fish’s S14 is one of his finest designs.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS: #Nissan-S14 / #Nissan-Silvia-S14 / #Nissan-Silvia / #Nissan-S14-Boss / #Nissan-S14-LS1-V8 / #Nissan-S14-V8 / #GM / #GM-V8 / #SSR / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #Nissan / #Nissan-240SX / #Nissan-240SX-S14 / #Nissan-240SX-V8 / #Nissan-240SX-LS1 / #Nissan-240SX-Boss / #Rocket-Bunny-V2 / #Nissan-Rocket-Bunny-V2
Styling #Rocket-Bunny-V2 “Boss” wide body aero package, with front lip; bullet wing mirrors; license plates removed front and rear; fully repainted in red and black (only to be repainted again and again, and probably again when Fish runs the wall); genuine, eBay rare Risky Devil sun strip.
Tuning LS-1 motor swap; #K&N intake, #CSF radiator upgrade (now running a supercharger post shoot).
Chassis #SSR-Formula-Mesh 10.5x17 (f), 12.5x17 (f) with Dunlop Direzza ZII 245/40x17 (f) and 265/40x17 (r); Air Lift Performance struts with 3H management.
Interior Fully stripped with FD-spec cage; Takata harnesses; Racetech seats; snap-off steering wheel; fly-off handbrake; repainted in a tasty looking silver hue.
Thanks #Air-Lift Performance – www.airliftperformance.comStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSHOCK SEMA builds are never anything less than utterly spectacular and this LS-swapped E46 M3 with air-ride and a supercharger is no exception. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Brian McGee.
V8 E46 6.0-litre supercharged showstopper. #2017
SYSTEM SHOCK Wide-body, supercharged V8 E46
You know what the trouble with the #BMW scene right now is? Too many awesome cars, that’s what! Not a week goes by when we’re not being inundated with offers of amazing new builds. How can we possibly say no? You can’t have too much of a good thing, really. The only problem for us is that we’ve only got so many pages each month and that means we can only stuff so many cars into each issue, which is why we’re only just now getting round to showing you one of the most spectacular builds from the 2015 SEMA show. However, it’s lost none of its impact in that time…
The name Carl Taylor will be familiar to most people with a toe in the tuning scene because not only is he one of the founding fathers of the Players brand, back home in Huntington Beach he’s Air Lift’s regional sales manager for California and Nevada, so he’s got just a bit of experience when it comes to modded machinery… but not BMWs, funnily enough. “Having being involved in the VW/Audi scene for many years, I felt I needed a change. I bought my first BMW, an E36 325i, in 2014 when we had the two Rocket Bunny Art Cars made to drive to Wörthersee in. Within a year I went from having no BMWs to owning an E36 M3, an E46 M3 and an E92 M3.” It’s clear that Carl is not a man who does things by halves. This E46 M3 was bought with the specific intent of turning it into a SEMA booth car for Air Lift, purchased in Colorado with no engine and no front seats, making it ripe for both a new engine and a little bit of interior work; nothing fancy, you know…
“The only plan we had was that it had to be completed or at least look finished for the SEMA show in Las Vegas, which was five weeks away when we started the project,” Carl continues. There’s nothing like a tight deadline to focus the mind, although it also makes for a challenging build. “On paper it seemed really easy,” says Carl, “but actually carrying out the job and having everything working and finished within the deadline was not. Having to rush the build and being limited with knowledge and advice, maybe we did not go down the correct route with the build. This caused us issues with the car never running correctly in the time I had it,” he says, which is always a shame to hear because a large part of the pleasure gleaned from a project is being able to actually enjoy it, but it certainly takes nothing away from the end result. And as far as the aim of building an attention-grabbing machine for the Air Lift booth goes, it was mission accomplished and then some.
While Carl says that there was no outright plan as such, some things were a given: buying a car in the States with no engine automatically means V8 swap because, if the tales are to believed, LS V8s grow on trees out there. Being an Air Lift car meant that there was only ever going to be one choice of suspension, really. And with Carl having been involved with Rotiform over the years and running the company’s wheels on every single car he’s owned over the past five years also meant wheel choice was not a hard decision to make.
Engine first, and while deciding to fit a V8, deciding which one to fit is a little trickier because there are so many to choose from. Even if you narrow it down to arguably one of the best, the LS family from GM, you’ve still got an overwhelming array of choices as far as displacement and power output goes. With the E46 M3 making 343hp out-of-the-box you want something that’s going to be more powerful than that for starters. And that makes the all-alloy LS2 the perfect choice, as it develops a nice, round 400hp and 400lb ft of torque from its 6.0 litres of displacement. Now that’s great, but it’s not really revolutionary; people are swapping LS V8s into everything from lawn mowers to washing machines (that might not be strictly true) and while a V8 in an E46 M3 is cool, you need a little more, a little extra spice to really get people’s attention. How about a Vortech supercharger? Yeah, that’ll do it. With the blower strapped to that V8, power jumps to around 550hp while torque is pushed up to around 470lb ft. Impressive numbers and a seriously impressive sight when the bonnet’s off.
The engine bay isn’t the first thing you’re going to notice about this car, though. That honour goes to the luminous shade of green it’s been painted in, closely followed by the outrageously wide bodywork. As far as visual spectacle is concerned, this M3’s been turned all the way up to 11. “The car was built and painted by LTMW,” says Carl. “It also installed the Rocket Bunny Pandem kit.” Based on the success of Carl’s previous Rocket Bunny-based adventures it was the obvious choice for beefing-up the E46. The riveted-on front and rear arches add some serious muscle to proceedings, further aided by that hugely aggressive front spoiler, plus a CSL bootlid. We like how it looks although we recognize it won’t be for everyone, certainly, but it works for us and it definitely works on a build like this. Of course, a kit this wild deserves a suitably wild paint job and this E46 M3 doesn’t disappoint, with Carl opting for Lamborghini LP700 pearl green, Verde Ithaca, an absolutely spectacular shade that delivers a knockout blow.
As for the interior, remember the lack of front seats? Well, that problem was solved with the addition of a pair of customfinished Cobra Suzuka Pro single-piece buckets. They’re the perfect choice to go with the rest of this build, oh, and the Renown steering wheel, too.
On the chassis front, we already know that Air Lift and Rotiform were going to play a part in the construction of this E46 M3 but here, too, the boat was well and truly pushed out. This build was just crying out for Air Lift’s latest 3H air-ride kit, with ride height sensors and a fancy controller. And that’s exactly what it’s got, with the boot hosting a single air tank finished in the same shade of Verde Ithaca as the rest of the car. Naturally.
As far as the wheels are concerned, Rotiform offers a dazzling array of designs catering to all tastes but on a build like this vanilla simply wouldn’t do; something more exciting was needed. Enter the Rotiform HUR, a wheel really quite unlike anything else. It’s actually pointless even trying to describe how it looks. The best thing to do is to just look at them because then you can drink in all those delicious details and that incredible Double Dark Tint clear coat over fully polished finish before deciding which side of the fence you want to be on, because there’s no middle ground here. We’re going to say that, much like with the Rocket Bunny wide-body additions, we are on board with the wheels. They really work with this build whereas a more subtle wheel would be overwhelmed with everything else that’s going on. With an almost Lamborghini vibe they are a particularly good match for the paint.
The finishing touch? A set of Brembo front and rear BBKs, in yellow no less, because no show build is complete without a seriously beefy set of brakes and, sometimes, it’s better to clash than to match. The fronts use six-pot calipers wrapped around 380mm discs while at the back sit four-pot calipers accompanied by 345mm discs. They do a seriously impressive job of filling out both front and rear wheels.
“The car will actually have been sold by the time this is published, due to continuing issues with the wiring harness and some of the work that was rushed due to #SEMA deadlines. If money had been no object, I probably would have bought a proper car and not had all the stress and continued issues with this build in the first place,” Carl explains. He says this not with a grimace but with a smile, and that speaks volumes about this car. Most show builds are finished and sold on in the blink of an eye to make way for the next project. The fact that Carl has kept this car for almost a year and actually used it during that time makes us happy. For Carl, it’s time to move onto pastures and projects new and there are bound to be many of those, but we reckon this one won’t be forgotten about anytime soon.
Rocket Bunny Pandem kit won’t be to all tastes but delivers plenty of impact.
Interior has been kitted-out with Cobra Suzuka Pro buckets and Renown steering wheel while air tank in boot has been matched to the wild Lambo green bodywork.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged #LS2 V8 #BMW-E46 M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-V8 / #BMW-M3-LS2-E46 / #BMW-M3-V8-E46 / #BMW-M3-LS2-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-LS2-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-E46-GM-V8 / #Rotiform / #LS2-Supercharged / #LS2-Supercharged-Vortech / #Vortech / #Vortech-supercharger
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 6.0-litre #V8 #GM-LS2 / , #Vortech-supercharger-kit , custom exhaust system, T56-six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 11.5x18” (rear) #Rotiform-HUR wheels with Double Dark Tint clear coat over fully polished finish and 265/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance air-ride with #3H management, #Brembo #Brembo-BBK with six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front) and four-pot calipers with 345mm discs (rear).
EXTERIOR Rocket Bunny Pandem wide-body kit, CSL bootlid, full respray in #Lamborghini-Aventador-LP700-Verde-Ithaca-pearl-green .
INTERIOR Custom Cobra Suzuka Pro buckets, Renown USA steering wheel, colour-coded air tank in boot.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSometimes it only takes a few simple mods to unlock the true potential of a project car. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary
SUITED AND BOOTED Air-ride E60 5 Series
Big saloons often have an air of ‘dad car’ about them; people often assume that when they see someone younger driving a big, luxury, executive saloon it’s not theirs because surely they can’t afford something like that? Shouldn’t they be driving around in an antisocial hatchback instead? But big saloons definitely have plenty of appeal, especially when it comes to modifying, because they’re not the default, popular choice. This means that you can build something individual that stands out from the crowd. It’s why I own an E39 and why Lawrence Warner-Green drives an E60.
The E60 is arguably one of the least modified BMWs, M5 notwithstanding. Over the past couple of years it feels like we’ve only had a handful at most, so when one does pop up it always piques our interest, not least because it enables us to answer that age old question: what sort of person buys an E60 520i SE? Well, in this case, that person is a 23-year-old insurance company team leader, probably not BMW’s target demographic when it designed the E60 but there we go.
Young Lawrence cut his motoring teeth on a Polo, on which he also cut his modifying teeth. “I was very young at the time and was hooked on Need For Speed. Needless to say the modifications were a little, er, full on!” he laughs. Well, we all have start somewhere. The Polo was just a means to an end, however, because he knew that his destiny lay with BMWs. “I’ve been interested in BMWs since I was about 17,” he says.
“I found the world of StanceWorks and Mike Burroughs and, after seeing some of his BMW builds, I became obsessed! BMWs are so special to me because of the instant connection I feel I have with them after watching hundreds of videos, reading tons of build threads and the culture they create within the car world.”
Filled with inspiration and the vigour of youth he promptly purchased a £900 E36 318iS and proceeded to get modding, albeit a little more tastefully than before, with some coilovers, black grilles, wheels – the usual array of upgrades. The E36 was a fine way to start his #BMW journey but after a while Lawrence started to get itchy feet and hunger for a new project, which brings us to his E60…
“I decided on an E60 5 Series as I wanted to do something a little different. I’d never really seen anything done to an E60 so I wanted to give it a go,” he says. “Stock, the E60 looks like a 60-year-old’s mode of transport but I could see they have loads of potential when you look past the not-soappealing stock exterior. That, along with the thought of cruising in the biggest pimp wagon I could think of, motivated me!”
He makes a good point because when starting out with a new project you have to be able to look beyond the bad towards your end goal and the car you’re going to build, not necessarily the car you’ve bought. This wasn’t going to be a balls-out, no-holdsbarred build, though, because it also had to serve as Lawrence’s daily. “I’m not one of these people that spends thousands on modifications,” he explains. “I always drive my cars daily. They aren’t tucked away nicely until show season comes around. A car to me is for driving and I don’t want to be constantly worrying about paint damage, kerbed wheels etc.
“In my mind I had a rough idea of what I wanted the car to look like. Air was a must and I knew I wanted to create something that looked great but was also practical, as I’d be driving it every day. I knew I wanted some nice big wheels that tucked up nicely into the arches but, again, I wasn’t looking to spend thousands on a set of wheels that would most likely become weathered after a while.”
With air being a must-have for his build, Lawrence started looking around for someone who could make it happen for him. After a lengthy search he decided to pay a visit to Studio Incar. “The owner, Carl ‘Shakey’ Shakespeare, talked me through what would be best for my car and what I wanted. After a few discussions I went with an Air Lift setup with an AutoPilot V2 fourway controller. This was matched with a nice subtle boot install still providing me with plenty of boot space. It’s exactly what I wanted and the guys at Studio InCar smashed it out of the park!”
With the emphasis on practicality, the boot build here is one of the neatest and most modest we’ve seen. All the hardware has been tucked away neatly out of sight, while the single tank has been custommounted in the roof of the boot area, leaving the entire floor space free and useable.
With the suspension sorted it was time to work on those dowdy SE looks, which were never going to cut the mustard. “I wasn’t too sure what I wanted for the car as far as styling goes,” says Lawrence. “All I knew was that I wanted something that looked unique and something I could just see myself cruising in. I also loved the idea of something that was low and that looked gangster as hell!”
The E60 now wears E60 M5-style front and rear bumpers – pretty gangster in our book. In addition, all of the nasty chrome has been removed or subdued, with black kidney grilles and black Plasti Dip’d window trims, giving the car a far more serious demeanour.
“Colin Ware and the guys at Kustom Kolors did an amazing job at repairing scratches and stone chips to the bodywork,” beams Lawrence. “And they also sprayed my bumpers. I wouldn’t use anybody else.” Of course, you can’t fit an E60 M5 rear bumper when you’ve only got the standard 520i exhaust in place, and that’s where Lawrence’s favourite mod makes an appearance. “Standard E60s only have an exhaust on one side but I wanted dual exhausts, so I went to the guys at Mike Stokes in Bournemouth and they gave me exactly what I wanted: a custom straightthrough exhaust. The thing sounds like a V8. Shame it doesn’t go like one!”
So that just leaves the wheels. “I knew I wanted something big,” grins Lawrence. “So I decided to go with a set of 20’’ 3SDM 0.08s. If anyone knows E60s, they will be aware that you need some big old wheels to fill those massive arches. I really liked the styling of the wheels and the fact I hadn’t really seen them on many other cars. This was the hardest part for me. I spent months and months deciding on wheels! I would have loved a set of custom Avant Garde splits but they were just way out of my price range. I looked at so many different ones but the 3SDMs really caught my eye.”
The E60’s big bodywork, especially above the rear arches, definitely gives you carte blanche to go as big as you dare with wheels and 20s are the perfect size, really filling those arches when the car is aired-out. The clean, concave design of the 0.08s works well against the modern styling of the E60, too.
Lawrence hasn’t gone mad on the mods but what he has done has transformed a dowdy saloon into a clean, sharp-suited machine that definitely looks like it means business. The wheels, styling and air-ride are a heady combination and three simple elements are all that are needed to absolutely transform this 5 Series and unlock the potential that Lawrence could see in it. While there are many more plans spilling out of his ever-active brain, for now the main plan is to enjoy the car as it is. As far as the future is concerned, though, this E60 has plenty more to give…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E60 / #BMW-520i / #BMW-520i-E60 / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E60 / #BMW-5-Series-Sedan /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.2-litre straight-six #M54B22 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 , custom straight through cat-back quad with no rear boxes, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) #3SDM 0.08 wheels with 235/35 (front) and 255/35 (rear) tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance air suspension with quarter-inch lines and double bellow bags
EXTERIOR #M5-style front bumper, M5-style rear bumper, black kidney grilles, black Plasti Dip’d window trims, RollHard sun-strip
INTERIOR #AutoPilot-V2 controller, custom mounted air tank in the boot
“I loved the idea of something that was low and looked gangster as hell”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.