- Post is under moderationPUTTING THE BOOT IN #Volkswagen-Jetta-Mk4-1.9TDI / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.9TDI / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.9TDI-Mk4 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora / #VAG / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora-TDI / #VW / #Volkswagen-Bora-IV / #Volkswagen-Bora-1.9TDI / #OZ
We don’t tend to get too excited over modified Boras these days because we very rarely get the chance, but Anthony Warrior’s example literally stopped us in our tracks. Just look at it! Words: Elliott Roberts. Photos: Si Gray.
It’s funny, but looking back over the years, we’ve only ever featured a small number of Boras on these hallowed pages – the majority of which have been created across the pond. I’d go so far as to say you could probably count the amount of full-fat, UK-built Boras on one hand. The booted version of the Golf just never really took off here in the UK, largely because people didn’t deem it as sporty as the hatchback or as practical as the estate. Understandably we’re more than a little bit excited to bring you coverage of what Anthony Warrior’s vision of a sporty Bora should look like. It’s more than simply a breath of fresh air… it’s awe-inspiring!
Despite being very fond of cars from an early age, the engineer from Darlington didn’t pass his driving test until he was 21! “I was certainly a late starter, that’s for sure. I remember as a kid that my dad was always a Ford man, but for me it was hearing my friend’s Mk3 Golf VR6 for the first time. That triggered my passion and love for all things VW almost instantly,” he confessed. Despite initially being into the idea of getting a Golf, due to owning quite a large dog Anthony’s other half, Claire, insisted that it had to be a five-door: “I’m not keen on five-door Golfs to be honest,” said the 35-year-old, “so I started looking at Boras and ended up buying this one.”
The car might have only had one previous owner and been low mileage with just 50k miles on the clock, but it was totally bone stock and that just wouldn’t do. “Okay, I can honestly say that all I ever really planned originally was a set of wheels and perhaps a remap. Now, some 12-years, five sets of wheels, three sets of coilovers, air ride and £1000s spent on bodywork and interior, I can safely say I didn’t intend to go this far.”
Anthony’s modified journey didn’t begin all that positively though, with a set of 18” Audi A8 replica wheels shod in equally awful balloon tyres being his first step on the ladder. It was actually PVW’s very own Dave Kennedy, or rather his Bora project, that helped Anthony see the light: “I have to say that I’ll always remember watching the progress of Dave’s black car… And those huge wheels he attempted to fit to it.” Needless to say after the rep’s came a set of BBS RCs, followed by a couple of sets of BMW wheels before Anthony finally wound up with his current set-up: “The wheels were something that took ages to get right, especially as they’re 20s, which nobody had really done at the time or certainly hadn’t pulled off,” he said. Anthony claims it was a bit of a gamble buying the genuine Ferrari wheels as it was a big financial outlay, but when they came up for grabs he accepted the challenge. Talk about trial and error, too: “I knew I’d need to run adaptors and the fronts were pretty straight forward being a pair of 25mm items. Out back the adaptors were quite large at 38mm, but that wasn’t a problem until I offered the wheels up before ordering tyres. For some reason one of the wheels poked out a bit more than the other, so I had to take the adaptors to work and have 2mm machined off one of them.” It’s quite a common problem on the Mk4 platform where the axle never sits perfectly in the arch. You don’t actually notice when running standard ride height as there’s lots of clearance in the wheel arches. It’s only when you’re go low and are dealing with millimeter clearance that it becomes apparent.
Talking of air-ride, after running numerous sets of coilovers over the years Anthony finally decided to bite the bullet and opt for air: “I decided I was sick of bouncing the 130-mile round trip to and from work, so invested in and Air Lift Slam set-up.” Obviously the install has progressed over time, from the original set-up he fitted in his in-law’s freezing garage, to the carbon-clad, hard-lined work of art you see today. “The air tank is still the original item, but now wears a carbon-fibre skin with copper strands running through it, which Paul from C6 Carbon said was a must-have to tie-in with my copper hard lines.” Since the initial air install, Anthony has also fitted poly bushes throughout and also added IDf drop plates to allow the amount of camber needed to run 11s out back.
It’s obvious that Anthony, who is an engineer by trade, is pretty proud of what he’s achieved with the car, especially as he’s carried out virtually all of the work – other than the paint and carbon – himself! Believe it or not the all-metal, wide-body makeover was carried out around six years ago (before the air ride and Ferrari wheels, in fact) when Anthony was still on coils and looking to fit some wide 6-series BMW wheels. “The bodywork had to be one of the most time-consuming parts of the whole project but then it was done twice. I wanted the arch lines to be as close to factory as possible, to keep it subtle.” As if widening the car by around 4” front and rear wasn’t going to be pretty damn obvious. The thing is, despite the added girth and crazy-wide wheels filling each corner, Anthony almost pulled off the whole subtle thing. For some reason though, he wasn’t really happy: “I seemed to fall out of love with the car for a while at this stage and it just got used and abused really.” It was only after talking to his friend, Dentman that Anthony got the bug again: “He suggested I should take the car to Autospray in Darlington, which I did. We discussed my plans and I quickly decided they were the right guys!”
Apparently the car was only booked in to have the wide-body conversion reworked, which should have taken a week, but that soon changed to include smoothing the doors and rear bumper, repainting the front bumper and bonnet, then doing the B-pillars and rear door quarterlight bars gloss black, plus adding new window rubbers, clips and screws: “Four weeks later it was ready for show season. That was four years ago, and since then it’s been back ever year to have little bits added or improving,” he said. The car has got continuously smoother as time has gone on. However, we love how the gloss black external parts break up the Satin silver colourcoding so it’s not too over powering.
On the engine front Anthony hasn’t gone too overboard, but he did admit to getting a little fed up being left behind by his mates whenever they went out in their cars together: “I needed to do something, so I took the car to Revo for a remap, but that turned out to more than a simple flash. We actually had to remove the ECU and install a new chip. What a difference it made out on the open road, though.” After a quick rolling road session it showed 152bhp and 270lb/ft of torque: “I was pleased but figured we could do a little better, so went for a full Milltek system from the turbo back, with de-cat pipe, too." With the addition of an ITG panel filter and Allard EGR delete, the final outcome was 165bhp and 297lb/ft and Anthony was finally happy! Having driven the car for best part of a year with the tiny stock brakes hidden behind those monster 20” hoops, Anthony was ready to up his game again, especially now he had a bit of extra power, too: “Even though I’d fitted a 312mm TT set-up up front they still looked small and the standard rears we just embarrassing, so a set of fourpiston Ferrari Brembos were sourced to replace the fronts. Then all I had to find a set of suitably large discs and make them fit,” he smiled.
After quite some time spent searching, Anthony eventually found a set of 400mm Alcon discs originally intended for a Jaguar XKR: “First these needed redrilling to fit my 5x100 hubs, then the bell housing needed machining down so the wheels would clear them.” And this was before he’d fathomed out how to make the calipers fit: “I started with cardboard templates and using wooden blocks to get the measurements for the adapters right. Then I bought two pretty large bits of steel, which were drilled and milled for around ten hours apiece. I went a bit over the top getting them as smooth and shiny as possible,” he said. Anthony claimed by the time it came to the back he’d run out of ideas, not to mentioned money: “I figured I’d got a perfectly good 312mm set-up going spare now, so why not just convert that to fit the back?” How hard could it be? “Well, after a bit of drilling, cutting, grinding and lots of swearing they went on.”
Although hard pushed to choose his favourite single modification, Anthony admits that he is particularly fond of the way the interior came together as a whole: “I just love the Recaros up from and am so pleased Paul made me do the Mk3 Rocco rear bench conversion, too. I love all the carbon work Paul’s done inside as well, then there’s the TT dash which tops it all off for me.” That said, the dash swap was probably the hardest part Anthony had to tackle himself: “I thought, how hard can it be?” Turns out, pretty damn hard! “I needed modified clocks because my car’s a diesel and they never made a Mk1 TT diesel, then the steering column had to be lowered and brought backwards,” he continued, “and because I did the full centre-console, the gear linkage had to be modified so I could select all gears. This, along with all the wiring and installation of the electric heater box – as my car didn’t have climate control – made it more than a challenge.” It was worth it in the end, especially with the diamond-stitched leather top, tying it all in nicely with the rest of the trim.
We asked Anthony what he’d change about the car if anything and he had this answer: “I wouldn’t really change a thing other than just doing it the right way the first time around, rather than rushing in and regretting it after.” As for the future, he’s going to look at cleaning the bay up, tucking some wiring and adding some more carbon: “Of course more carbon, lots and lots of it!”
ENGINE: 1.9-litre PD 115 TDI with custom chip (producing165hp and 297lb/ft), 3” down pipe and de-cat, #Milltek non-resonated system with twin-exit back box. Allard EGR delete pipe, #ITG panel filter, Touran engine cover painted crackle black, #Forge short shift kit
CHASSIS: 8.5x20” and 11x20” Ferrari 599 HGTE three-piece forged wheels by OZ with polished lips and faces mounted on G23 adapters (25mm front, 38mm and 36mm rear) with 215/30 and 245/30 Nankang tyres respectively. #Air-Lift-Slam-Series front struts, #Air-Lift tapered rear bags, #Air-Lift-V2 management, #Viair-444cc compressor and five-gallon tank, #Powerflex poly bushed all round, IDF rear correction plates. Ferrari four-pot front callipers with custom machined brackets and 400mm Jaguar XKR Alcon discs re-drilled to 5x100 with machined-down bell housings, Audi TT 312mm front brake set up adapted to fit the rear with callipers painted yellow to match fronts
EXTERIOR: Full respray in the original Volkswagen Satin silver, arches extended 40mm each side in metal, smoothed factory bumpers blended in the extended arches (front and rear), smoothed rub strips, side repeaters and roof aerial deleted, genuine Golf Anniversary front valance modified to fit and painted gloss black, genuine Golf Anniversary side skirts, Bora 4Motion rear valance (painted gloss black), genuine OEM xenon headlights with twin, centre running lights and turn signal relocation, all-red rear lights with gloss black housings, Lupo stubby mirrors (electric and heated) with clear glass and gloss black basis, new window rubbers all round, gloss black B-pillar and rear door window bar, gloss black grille, bumper grilles and scuttle tray, genuine Jetta GLI grille (carbon skinned), aero wiper arms and blades, gloss black rear towing eye cover
INTERIOR: Full Mk1 Audi TT dashboard and centre console conversion with diamond stitched leather top and custom instrument cluster, modified steering column and shortened gear linkage relocated OB2 port, Climate Control retro-fitted with heater box change, Recaro Sportster CSs in black leather with gloss black inserts, Mk3 Scirocco rear seats retro-fitted and trimmed to match fronts, six-speed Beetle Turbo gear knob, Momo 280mm wheel, carbon-skinned door card tops (with deleted door pins), steering column cowl and TT knee bars (all carbon skinned in Audi small weave by C6carbon). Black perforated leather roof lining and A, B and C pillars, Golf Anniversary black grab handles, interior light, seatbelt tops, sun visors, alarm sensors and rear view mirror, Passat mirror adjuster, leather door cards all round with custom audio builds in front doors. Brushed-aluminium door grabs, custom bootbuild with floating floor (lit by LEDs), five-gallon tank skinned in small-weave carbon with copper strands running in the weave, copper hard line installation, twin AVS polished water traps, polished compressor fittings and polished bulkhead fittings
AUDIO: JL Audio MBT-RX Bluetooth receiver, #Precision-Power-Par245 five-band EQ mounted where head-unit would have been, JL Audio XD 1000/5v2 amp with copper/carbon-skinned cover to match air tank, JL Audio TW3 12” sub in non-ported custom enclosure, 8 x 6” Jehnert woofer speakers 2 x 4” Jehnert mids, 2 x 2” Jehnert tweeters, Jehnert crossovers and lots of Dynamat throughout
SHOUT: My wife, Claire for putting up with ‘that car’, Paul at Deluxe Detailing for looking after and preparing the car, Mike and Vicks at Kleen Freaks for all their support, Paul at C6 Carbon for all the carbon goodies, Pete, Adie and the crew at Autospray Darlington, Justin at Car Spa Darlington, D&W Wheel restorers for the powder coating, Rob at JL Audio UK, plus Lee, Woody, Roger, Ricky and lastly my buddies Dentman, Shaun, Begley, Wardizzle, Cuzy and Nathen
It’s obvious that Anthony is pretty proud of what he’s achieved with the car, especially as he’s carried out virtually all of the work himself.
I just love the Recaros up from and am so pleased Paul made me do the Mk3 Rocco rear bench conversion, too.
Recaro CSs are pretty special up from but Scirocco rear bench is a genius addition.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 moderationIN THE LAP OF LUXURY GERMAN
Ultra-plush, ultra-rare, ultra-cool E23 L7 on air. Achingly cool and visually awesome, this bagged E23 L7 really is a thing of beauty. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Faiz Rahman.
LAYING LOW Air-ride E23 L7
Old cars are cool. Just take a look at the number of E30s, E28s and E34s that are cropping up on the BM scene all around the globe. These are all cars that look great as standard, and just a few simple mods are all that’s required to get the head-nodding seal of approval wherever you may go. However there is life beyond the well-worn paths of the E30 and E28 and there are numerous treasures nestling in BMW’s back catalogue that serve as excellent candidates for some thoroughly modern modifications, and you’re looking at one of them right now.
Regular readers may recognise the name Darren Hattingh because back in the June 2015 issue we featured his supercharged E38 740iL, and what a fine machine it was. Now the man with the 7 Series penchant is back with his latest creation, and it’s a modern twist on a classic that is most definitely not a regular on the scene. “Ever since seeing pictures of my dad after he brought home his E23 I’ve wanted one for myself,” says Darren. “He’s had every body shape Seven up to the E66, but the E23 and E38 have always made me double-take! The thing that really draws my attention to the E23 is the shark nose, I love the way it encapsulates the grilles, and the staggered headlights have such a presence about them.”
He’s certainly not wrong. The E23 is a fantastic-looking car with a distinctive design that really sets it apart from its contemporaries and really makes it stand out on the road. E23s aren’t exactly easy to come by, though, but fortunately for Darren he just so happens to have a friend who is as keen on Sevens as he is. “My buddy Stephen owned the car previously, and he and I traded cars: my E32 750iL for his E23 L7.
The condition of the car was very well used, which was perfect for me. It made changing almost every aspect of an already rare car easier and the day I saw Stephen pull up in the car, I instantly had a completed concept in mind of how I wanted it to look,” he says.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, just what on earth is the L7? In E23 speak it means luxury, which is what we assume the L stands for. That includes a leather dashboard and leather in place of the wood trim on the doorcards, a powered glass sunroof, electric everything and BMW’s first ever driver’s airbag, which results in a massive steering wheel. Seriously, it’s massive. So, the American-market exclusive L7 is basically an ultra-luxurious and extremely rare version of an already rare and luxurious car. It’s an E23 but more.
So, with his hands on an E23 Darren was ready to start modifying according to his plan, and that plan involved air. “Currently the L7 has a fully custom built Air Lift air ride suspension setup, with Air Lift V2 management.” Keeping classic static is cool, but bagging them is even better and judging by the result of this pairing we can safely say that air and E23 go together like toast and jam. That long, sharkey 7 Series shape looks so good slammed into the ground, and it really does go outrageously low.
But mad lows alone aren’t enough, you’ve got to get the right wheels to go with your drop and here Darren has absolutely nailed it. “The wheels are Impul Silhouettes,” he explains. “I chose these wheels because of the period correctness of the style, the fact that they are functional, and of course their rarity. I honestly didn’t consider any other wheels because I knew I had to have these to complete the concept I had in mind.”
Trying to pair the right wheels to a car like the E23 is a lot like trying to match the right wine to a particularly complex dish – in isolation both could be brilliant but bring them together and it could all go wrong. The fact that Darren didn’t even consider a classic cross-spoke is laudable and we wager that the Silhouette is not a wheel many people with a BM of this vintage would have floating around at the forefront of their brains as a go-to wheel choice. But we’re so very glad that it was the only choice for Darren. On paper, a full-face, arguably motorsport-themed wheel would seem like an odd choice for a classic luxury cruiser and, having had a gander on Google, it’s not an instant win on every car it’s applied to but here, against all odds, it looks absolutely killer.
On the chassis front, beyond that custom air-ride setup, Darren has also completely rebuilt the steering system, adding E24 and E28 polybushes and there’s also a Bavarian Auto front strut brace.
As far as styling goes, this E23 is definitely a looker but at first glance you might not be able to put your finger on exactly what it is that’s making you feel so right about looking for so long, but once you start picking apart the details you realise that Darren has put in a huge amount of work… but work that only true aficionados will be able to appreciate: “I wanted to keep the styling of the car very subtle, almost to the point where you can’t really tell what has been changed.” Well, mission accomplished as far as we’re concerned!
“My buddy Stephen converted the nose and rear bumper to Euro spec while he briefly owned the car. I added the E38 front bumper, which was problematic as I had to design and weld up a frame that mounted the E38 bumper reinforcement to the factory E23 bumper shocks. I also fitted rear Euro quarter trim, ’1979 E23 chrome mirrors and Formuling Wind Splitters,” which might possible be the best name for anything we’ve ever heard. In case you’re wondering, those are the CSL Batmobile-style fins that sit on the front wings either side of the bonnet.
The high beams have been given the classic French look and are now actually foglamps, with Darren converting the dipped beam housings to a bi-xenon setup and there are new old stock front grilles keeping things period and fresh. The changes are subtle, almost to the point of being invisible just as Darren planned, but together they really do make a big difference in terms of how the E23 looks, giving it a smoother, more dynamic appearance that you’re definitely unlikely to see anywhere else, anytime soon.
If you find all that a bit too subtle for your liking, don’t worry, because the interior is where things get wild. Being an L7, everything is covered in leather and the distant mooing of the ghosts of the cows that gave their lives for the greater good of upholstering this E23 can be heard drifting through the interior on a still summer’s evening. But more eyebrow elevating than even the concept of ghost cows is the fact that Darren has redone the entire interior himself. “The factory interior was dark grey carpet, light grey and dark grey leather,” he explains, which is clearly isn’t that anymore.
“I wanted to keep the interior as factorylooking as possible because I love the factory styling of the L7, but I also wanted to bring it into modernity with the new leather and colour change while keeping the original stitch patterns and style. I did a complete interior tear down and makeover with new leather everywhere, including the seats, centre console, dashboard, pillars and headliner.”
The colour, Darren tells us, is not red but Burnt Sienna Spice, a sort of orangey-brown hue that just happens to look very red in pictures but is awesome nevertheless. However, simply retrimming his entire interior wasn’t enough for a man like Darren and he’s gone all-out in here. The rear seats are now heated and there’s a rather sexy Italvolanti Formal steering wheel along with new old stock factory switches and custommade chrome door lock pulls: “I added 2000 E38 7 Series Sport Contour heated front seats, an E38 factory homelink, E38 PDC, completely keyless ignition with push button start/stop, and iPhone app control for remote start.”
To drown out those ghost cows, the speakers have been upgraded to Harman Kardon items and there’s a Kenwood head unit supplying the soundtrack to E23 life. “All switches are housed in a custom panel that I made along with the V2 controller for the air-ride. The sound system has all-new wiring to each of the Harmon Kardon speakers as well as the head unit. I have done absolutely everything inside the interior myself by hand – leather, electrical and sound etc. The biggest issue I had was learning to sew leather seats and console parts and understanding BMW’s technique, all while not wasting the limited amount of leather I had to do everything”, he laughs.
The ample boot houses the twin compressors and single matt black air tank, complete with chrome L7 emblem, mounted on snazzy custom wood flooring. The work that’s gone into creating this interior is really exceptional and the end result is utterly spectacular, the sort of interior you dream of doing. It’s what the cows would have wanted…
The M30 nestling under the bonnet is a great engine that really suits the nature of the L7 and Darren is in full agreement there. “I really enjoy the M30’s subtle grunt and its great sewing machine noise while idling,” he says with a smile. While there are no plans to swap or change anything under the bonnet, he has carried out some work on the big six to ensure it’s operating at its very best. “The engine has simply been rebuilt and the internals have been set to factory specifications,” he explains. “I added a Dinan chip, M62TU injectors and an aftermarket fuel pressure regulator and ignition parts. After I converted to the M62TU injectors the car started to run rich, so I had to add an uprated MSD coil and build my own MSD spark plug wires so I could run more spark through the thicker wires to the late style Bosch Platinum 4 spark plugs.”
Three years of work have resulted in Darren creating a marvellous machine and it has not only been a journey of discovery but a learning experience too and, if you can come out of a build having created a stunning car and are now able to trim an entire interior, well, that’s a job well done as far as we’re concerned.
So complete is Darren’s L7, in fact, that the only thing left on his ‘to do’ list is a complete respray in Moonstone metallic, which is silver with a dash of pale frosty blue, that he says will happen eventually. But whilst this project may be all but complete it certainly won’t be his last. This is no surprise; what is a surprise is that his next build won’t be a 7 Series, with Darren fully committed to adding an E3 saloon, aka Bavaria, to his collection. Though really it’s a 7 Series in everything but name, being as it is the E23’s predecessor. While he hunts for one, though, Darren can enjoy the fruit of his labours and when that fruit is an L7, there’s a whole lot of enjoyment to be doing…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Air-ride #BMW-E23 / #BMW-L7 / #BMW-L7-E23 / #BMW / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E23 / #M30 / #BMW-M30 / #Pro-Tuning-Lab / #BMW-7-Series-L7 / #1979 / #BMW-E23-Air-ride
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.4-litre straight-six #M30B34 , fully rebuilt with all new parts and gaskets, rebuilt cooling system, #Pro-Tuning-Lab fuel pressure regulator, #MSD ignition coils, MSD 9mm wires, M62TU injectors, #Dinan Chip, brand-new factory full two-piece exhaust system and Silverline tips, four-speed automatic gearbox
CHASSIS 8x17” (front) and 9x17” (rear) Impul Silhouette wheels with 205/40 (front) and 215/40 (rear) Falken tyres, custom built #Air-Lift air-ride suspension, #Air-Lift-V2 management system, #Powerflex polyurethane bushes, factory BMW steering parts, Bavarian-Automotive strut brace
EXTERIOR E38 front bumper, Euro front shark nose, Euro rear bumper, Euro rear quarter trim, new old stock Formuling Wind Splitters, Hella yellow French foglights in factory high beam location, bi-xenon high/low beams in main beam housings, xenon bulbs in the foglight housings, early E23 factory chrome mirrors
INTERIOR Complete interior tear down and makeover in Burnt Sienna Spice leather on centre console, dashboard, A/B/C pillars, rear parcel shelf, front seats, rear seats, headlining, sunroof panel, doorcards, door arm rest pulls, glovebox, driver lower dash, new old stock Italvolanti Formal steering wheel, E38 Contour front seats, heated rear seat kit, Harman Kardon speakers, Kenwood head unit, new old stock factory switches and custom-made chrome door lock pulls, E38 factory front under seat fuse panel placed in boot for air-ride system, custom wood flooring in boot, twin compressors, single air tank, E38 boot cargo net and rubber grips, re-wrapped leather bootlid liner to match the interior
THANKS Firstly a big thank you to Stephen Sayer for bringing the L7 into my life, as well as connecting me with the air-ride system, Italvolanti (through Rennstall), and the Impul Silhouettes, Timothy Polljonker at Bavarian Retro Classics for the hookup on difficult to find Euro trim pieces, Jason McAllister for, once again, bringing his amazing skills to the paint and bright work, Mark and Carlson for helping me grab and store the E38 front seats, my wife, Alyssa, for dealing with my late nights cutting out leather for the interior, and my mother in law Janet for helping me learn to sew complicated patterns
“I really enjoy the M30’s subtle grunt and its great sewing machine noise while idling”
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- Post is under moderationMk1 Caddy R32 Exclusive: the UKʼs hottest Caddy revealed!
/ #VW-Golf-I / #VW-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Rabbit / #Volkswagen-Rabbit-I / #VW / #VW-Golf / #VAG / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32 / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy / #VW-Caddy / #Volkswagen-Caddy-I / #Volkswagen-Caddy-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-R32 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-R32-Mk1
WALK THE WALK
With a day job that involves getting other people’s paintwork spot-on it is no surprise that north east Dub nut Paul Walker’s own project is beyond flawless. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Si Gray.
I’ve got to say, it was DRIVE-MY that got me in to modified Veedubs in the first place,” 37-year-old Paul Walker explains. “I’ve always been in to cars and then one day I randomly picked up DRIVE-MY and, well, it all escalated from there really.”
We would like to take this opportunity right now to apologise for inflicting him with his Veedub addiction, something that has no doubt taken huge amounts of money from his bank account as he chases the high that is modified #VW ownership. Maybe copies of DRIVE-MY should have warnings printed on them like they do with cigarette packets these days. ‘Buying this magazine can be damaging to your bank balance!’. Or ‘modified VW ownership harms you and others around you’. That kind of thing.
“I had an Evo 7 that was just emptying my pockets and I decided enough was enough, it was time for a change in direction,” Paul continues. We’re not going to question how a Mk1 Caddy show car, especially one as good as this, could possibly be any cheaper than a Mitsubishi Evo 7… all we can be sure of is we’re very glad that Paul decided to make the switch because if he hadn’t we wouldn’t be looking at one of the finest Mk1 Caddys the UK has ever turned out.
The Caddy you see here wasn’t Paul’s first foray in to modded German metal ownership. Before the little truck he’d built himself a bagged and beautifully trimmed New Beetle which, although a very nice car indeed, must have been a bit of a shock to the system after a hardcore Evo!
“I’ve always been a fan of Mk1 Golfs, though, I mean, who isn’t eh? But good ones come up for sale so rarely that I started looking at Caddys instead,” Paul explains. “I made myself a promise, though; that I would keep it simple – just air and a nice set of wheels. It all went south when I started paying more attention to what some of the Euro Mk1 boys were turning up in…”
It’s probably worth mentioning that Paul earns his nine-to-five money as a dent man, or to give it the proper title, a paintless dent removal technician. This means that he is something of a perfectionist when it comes to cars and in particular, when it comes to the finer details. “I bought the car in 2014,” he remembers.
“I found it on the Edition38 classifieds but there was only one problem, it was in Portsmouth and I live so far north I’m almost in Scotland. This made checking it out in person difficult,” he continues. “Luckily the Kleen Freaks guys are like family and Adam Gough and Natalie Poulton, who live down that way, offered to go check it out for me, which was really nice of them.” With Adam and Natalie giving the truck the once over and confirming it was a good ’un, Paul bought it over the phone. “The guys got it right, it was in really good condition, which is pretty rare for a Caddy these days. I was always going to repaint it anyway so I was more concerned with it being structurally sound, which it was.”
The Caddy didn’t go home to Darlington straight away though; it went straight from the south coast to JH Pro Paint in Sheffield to have the Air Lift Performance air-ride, V2 management, and the custom four-link rear end fitted. “It was so low on its coilvers that I had to bag it immediately otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten onto my driveway, so it was a kind of a necessity as much as it was for looks,” he explains. Regular readers of the mag will need no introduction to the name JH Pro Paint. The Sheffield-based outfit is getting quite a name for itself in the modified VW scene for turning out more than a few awesome show-winning cars, not least owner Jon Hinchcliffe’s amazing everevolving Mk1 R32. “I’ve always been a big fan of Jon’s Mk1, so it’s fair to say his car was the inspiration for mine,” Paul grins. “It wasn’t until later on that Jon would become such an evil influence in my life!”
Two months later Paul had the Caddy resprayed at a local bodyshop, Autospray Darlington. “It was already white but I wanted it to stand out more so I had it painted in a muchbrighter, cleaner white,” he explains. “Thankfully as the Caddy was in such good condition it didn’t need too much repair work doing before it was painted.”
Next up was to sort out a pair of seats. “As I’m tall I wanted a pair of seats that would give me the most legroom, which the Vabrics would,” Paul continues. “Then it was a joint decision between me and the Mrs to do them in Harris Tweed, along with the doorcards, too, which I really think works nicely.”
Then Paul set about rebuilding a set of 15” #BBS-RS s, 8” in width and face-mounted before bolting them on the car ready for Ultimate Dubs 2015, where it went down very well. “For the rest of 2015 it pretty much stayed the same, other than a few bits of carbon fibre trim being fitted here and there. Stuff like the mirrors, A-pillar trims, window cranks, and the handbrake cover were all changed,” he recalls. “And then in June it went back to its second home at JH Pro Paint where, well, things got out of hand, I’ll admit.”
The Caddy came with a nicely-built 2.0-litre 16v in it which, while being a nice, dependable lump, didn’t quite tick the boxes for our man Paul here. We’re sure Jon’s show stealing Mk1 R32 had nothing to do with what was to come… “I’ll freely admit that Jon’s Mk1 was one of my main inspirations,” Paul smiles.
“After all, how could you not be inspired by that thing? But on a more personal note, I wanted a more-modern, less-revvy engine than the 16v. Plus, you just can’t beat that R32 soundtrack, can you?”
Over the next few months Paul and Jon spent so much time on the phone to each other that their respective partners though they might be playing away! But the lads had important build details to discuss and hard-to-find parts to track down. While Paul set about finding a suitable donor car, Jon set about pulling the old motor and getting to work on the bay. 74 welded up holes later, not to mention all the custom jobs that are required to squeeze the big six-shooter in to a tiny Mk1 bay, the whole thing was bare metalled ready for the next stage. That doesn’t really do justice to how much work was involved in getting the bay ready for paint, as anyone who has smoothed an engine bay will know. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or how good you are at your craft, it’s a difficult, time-consuming and at times downright frustrating job. “It took Jon the best part of a month’s solid work to do the bay as it’s so time-consuming removing all the sealer and making sure every single millimetre is flawless,” Paul tells us. “Thankfully as the Caddy was in such good condition in the first place there wasn’t any major extra work to be done other than a few rust areas and the typical battery tray issues.”
While Jon was hard at work Paul found a suitable car and engine, shipped off a few odd bits to be colour-coded and got in touch with Andy Outhwaite from ACR to have a custom loom made up for the car and set about lengthening parts of the wiring to ensure it would slot easily into the smooth bay.
There’s no doubting Jon and the JH Pro Paint team know how to put out a top-level paint job and Paul’s bay is absolutely flawless from top to bottom, no matter how close you get or what angle you look at it from.
To break up the white, the sidestrips, arch spats, A-pillar trims and mirrors were all carefully reproduced in carbon fibre. We’re big fans of the carbon fibre strips in the bed, too, and the Volkswagen text has been reproduced on the rear wall of the cab, mirroring the text on the tailgate.
“I think the hardest part about the whole build, or at least the most frustrating anyway, was having to take the engine in and out about ten times to test fit everything and get it all right,” Paul reveals. “My wings are welded and smoothed to the front panel, so getting it all offevery time was a right pain, especially as we had to be so careful.”
Once the engine was in properly and the fuelling issues were ironed out, hearing that classic R32 off-beat burble was more than enough to make Paul forget all about any frustrations he had endured. “Oh, hearing it fireup properly the first time was definitely the best part of the build; you just can’t beat that noise, can you?” he says with a beaming smile. “I’ve had a few people say it’s too heavy an engine for a Mk1 but since when has a Caddy been meant to handle like a race car? They were built to carry sheep and stuff around! Some have also said that the Caddy is pointless as I can’t put stuff in the bed anymore but that’s usually the kind of thing people who don’t quite ‘get it’ would say…”
With people who do ‘get it’ the Caddy has gone down very well indeed. It debuted at Ultimate Dubs back in March (we got this shoot in the bag the day before), and since then Paul has taken it to Elsecar, Early Edition and Letstance over in Belfast, where it’s gone down an absolute treat.
It’s no surprise that Paul’s Caddy has had crowds around it at every event it’s been to so far. It is one of the best Caddys the UK has ever turned out, it’s just such a complete car. The amazingly clean engine bay is the star of the show but you don’t need to look too far to realise that no corners have been cut. It really is an incredibly complete car, not just for a Mk1 Caddy but for a Mk1 in general, and that’s no easy task these days with the level of Mk1s being as high as it is.
And yet perfectionist Paul isn’t finished yet. “Since the shoot I’ve put some Fifteen52 two-piece F40 Tarmacs on it so I can run bigger brakes, and I’m planning to transform it in to what I’m calling ‘the race Caddy’ over next winter too,” he chuckles. “Watch this space…”
Consider it watched Paul, consider it watched!
Dub Details / #VR6 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-VR6-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-VR6 / #BBS / #Air-Lift
ENGINE: Mk4 #R32 engine, VR6 #VW-Racing induction kit, #Time-Attack map, full carbon-skinned VR6 gearbox with #Wavetrac limited-slip diff, custom manifold and exhaust system, custom engine mounts and driveshafts, custom radiator, #Forge-Motorsport coolant pipes, full wire tuck and smooth bay, hidden battery under bed with positive and negative terminals behind driver’s seat.
CHASSIS: 8x15” #BBS-RS043 wheels totally rebuilt and face-mounted, #Air-Lift-V2 management with #Air-Lift Lift rear bags and #GAZ front struts, tank and compressors hidden under the bed, four-link rear axle with drop plates, G60 280mm front brakes with braided hoses.
EXTERIOR: Resprayed in bright white, carbon fibre sidestrips, arch spats, A-pillar trims, door mirrors, strips in the bed and strips on the front bumper, custom front and rear bumpers, Volkswagen script on the rear of the cab.
INTERIOR: Vabric half-back seats trimmed in ‘houndstooth’ Harris Tweed and grey Alcantara, Harris Tweed and Alcantara doorcards, flocked dash, Alcantara headlining and A-pillar trim, carbon handbrake, cover and window winders.
SHOUT: Jon Hinchcliffe at JH Pro Paint, Justin, Pete and Aidy at Autospray Darlington for my paint and detailing, Mike and Vick at Kleen Freaks for their backing, Alex Begley at Fifteen52, my good mates Anthony Warrior and Warwick French, and, most importantly, my wife for putting up with me while I did it!
If ever there was a face that summed up being obsessive about a car being absolutely spot-on, this is it. Paul takes the job of keeping his Caddy spotless very seriously, and who can blame him when the results look this good?!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBAGGED E92 Slick Coupé on custom splits
PERPETUAL MOTION / Wrapped in flat grey, bagged and sitting on a custom set of three-piece Style 32s, this E92 is one good-looking machine.
Joe Addison isn’t the type of guy to sit around and wait for life to happen. He’s ripping through this project at breakneck speed, it’s hard to keep up… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Simon Ward.
The laws of thermodynamics are always stifling our fun. Just look at mankind’s age-old desire to build a perpetual motion machine (that is, a device that can work indefinitely without an energy source) – fiddly little details like friction and energy transfer make the whole thing physically impossible.
Still, without realising it, mankind has got pretty close, allowing a fella by the name of Joe Addison to evolve as a sort of selfperpetuating entity. Sure, he requires fuel, but that fuel is simply his own enthusiasm for modifying cars, and that appears to be a pretty inexhaustible resource.
When you start to dig through his historical diaries to see where it all started, Joe’s story mirrors that of many of us in the modding scene. “I’ve been into cars since I can first remember,” he says, “mainly because of my dad, and growing up playing with Hot Wheels, playing Need for Speed on the PlayStation and watching Fast and Furious… I knew cars were going to be a big part of my life.” Sound familiar? Sure, we’re talking to a kindred spirit here. The petrolhead dad, the toys, the video games, the movies – he’ll be telling us that he had a rubbish hatchback as a first car next.
“My first car was a 1.2-litre Fiat Punto.” Yep, there it is. “I had that for about a month before the engine blew up! Then I bought a Ford Fiesta Zetec S which was fun for a bit. I loved it at the time but then I managed to save up enough money for a BMW – the car I’d wanted for as long ago as I can remember.”
This lifelong yearning for Bavarian propellers is all thanks to the aforementioned father, who amazed and captivated the young Joe by virtue of a shiny new 320d Compact, which the fledgling car fan fell instantly and irretrievably in love with. “I can always remember the orange lights on the dash at night, and thinking to myself ‘I’ll have one of these one day’.
He used to let me drive it all the time, too, while I was learning, so this made me want one even more,” Joe reminisces. It’s safe to say that the Beemer bug had got him good.
So, with a keenness for a BMW and a world of choices out there, what did he opt for? Well, being relatively young it had to be something reasonably insurable, meaning that the budget seesaw could tip towards a newer car rather than a faster car, and he ended up with an E92 320i M Sport. Pretty solid choice, we reckon. And to go from a Punto to a Fiesta to an E92 is a mighty bold leap – see what we mean about this selfperpetuating energy the guy has? It’s passion and hard work that got him to this point. And this was merely the start of the fun…
“I’d modified my previous cars, just never as much as this one,” Joe explains. “With the Punto it was mainly the audio that I upgraded, as well as buying some white TSW Venoms for £50 off eBay, which I thought were cool at the time, but looking back they were actually awful!” Ah, c’mon – we reckon the Venom is in retro territory now; they might just have come full circle and become kitschy-cool again. And they look a lot like X5 Style 63s. But we digress. Joe had identified a decent-condition E92 on Auto Trader, shelled out five figures to get his name on the V5, thrown on some Jay Z and taken the thing for a Big Pimpin’ cruise. Where next?
“Oh, I’d had this all planned for years,” he grins, the sly young fox. “My dad always used to buy new wheels and exhausts and stuff for his BMW, and I knew when I owned one I’d be the same. I knew in my head how I wanted it to look, so it was just a case of speaking to my other car enthusiast friends and making it all work and become a reality, which it did, and it all worked without any problems.” Gratifying to hear, and much of this success is attributable to the busy hands and fevered imagination of Jack and Jim at Projekthäus, the Cleckheaton-based modifying powerhouse where the E92 found itself becoming rather better acquainted with the Tarmac. You see, part of Joe’s vision was to get the thing sitting cartoonishly low, and the versatility of air-ride was his means to achieve this. Rocking Air Lift’s revered Performance Series hardware with V2 management, the precision and fastidiousness of the install means that Joe’s rear wheels, complete with gently stretched rubber, pull off that neat trick of sitting with the sidewall inside the arch and the shiny lip outside when the car’s aired out – how’s that for mastery of the craft?
Those wheels are really rather special, in fact. They may have tripped a little buzz of recognition in your brain, which is now prodding at your frontal lobes, insisting that you recognise them but can’t quite place where from. The answer, in fact, is that you do recognise the design… just not quite in this form. We’ll let Joe explain: “I’d considered lots and lots of wheels, from Rotiforms to Works, but after searching high and low on social media, Google Images and BMW forums, I noticed that most people were just buying the same type of wheel.
So I thought I had to switch things up bit and change the game! That’s when I got in touch with Rafał from CR Custom Wheels in Poland; we spoke for many weeks, planning on building something really special which also stayed OEM. Rafał explained to me that his company can take any wheel you want and make it into a two- or three-piece splitrim.
When I heard that I instantly visualised a Style 32 split with a big lip. So I ordered a set of 18” three-piece Style 32s – the only set ever made in that size in the world. I waited nine weeks for them to arrive, and one of Rafał‘s drivers drove all the way from Poland to Projekthäus just to hand deliver them for me.”
An impressive tale, and testament to Joe’s commitment to doing things differently. The finished product measures 9.5”-wide apiece on the front axle, with an extra inch each out back; the lips are 2.5” and 3.5” respectively, and the offsets are crazy low just to get the rollers perfectly located. “The first test fit was nervewracking as I’d kind of guessed sizes, specs and offsets,” he admits. “We stuck the first rear wheel on, put the Air Lift on manual mode and slowly lowered it down millimetre by millimetre. It sat absolutely perfectly, just the way I wanted it: with slight poke, the arch sitting on the lip.” Serendipitous stuff indeed.
There was further mischief to be made down at Projekthäus, owing to the fact that Joe’s a vehicle wrapper by trade running his company, Paint Killers in Ossett West Yorkshire, out of that building, too. It was inevitable that his cherished project would end up vinyl-wrapped in some form or another, if only to give him the excuse to stroke every inch of the E92’s sylphlike body, which is why you now see the thing artfully swathed in smooth grey vinyl. The shopping list on the doors serves as a throwback to his childhood enthusiasm for the Fast and Furious franchise because, hey, you’ve got to remember where you came from.
“I just love the rims and the air,” Joe enthuses. “The right set of wheels and the right combination of lows can just make a car. I’d first taken it to Fuelled Society in 2014, back when it was on BBS LMs and wrapped in matt blue, but the first show with this look was more recently, with it taking centre stage.” And now that the look is complete, and time has marched on and chilled-out the insurance man a bit, Joe can start looking at upping the performance levels, right? “Yeah, I haven’t done a lot in that area yet,” he agrees. “It’s just had a K&N , a twin-pipe exhaust and a remap. But I’m weighing up the possibility of a 335i engine swap…” Blimey. Now that would be something. And we already know what happens when Joe Addison gets an idea into his head – it’s not a case of ‘if’, but ‘when’.
“The car’s already changed a lot since this shoot,” he chuckles enigmatically. “I’ve got some very big plans for next season. I’m not going to tell you what, you’ll just have to keep an eye out.” Indeed we will. Something tells us that this little ball of energy is just going to keep getting faster and faster.
DATA FILE Air-ride #BMW-E92 / #BMW-320i / #BMW-320i-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-320i-Air-ride-E92 / #BMW-320i-Air-ride / #BMW-320i-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-320i-Coupe /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder #N43B20 / #N43 / #BMW-N43 , remap, #K&N cone filter, twin-pipe exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (f) and 10.5x18” (r) #BMW-Style-32 custom three-piece split-rims with 2.5” lips (front) and 3.5” lips (rear) and 205/40 (front) and 235/40 (rear) Nankang tyres, #Air-Lift #BMW-320i-Air-ride with #Air-Lift-V2 management
EXTERIOR Avery grey wrap, 1M front bumper conversion
INTERIOR BMW E90 touchscreen system, #Novak-&-Boden air install
THANKS Thanks to Jim and Jack at Projekthäus for doing the majority of work on the car, Rafał at CR Custom Wheels, my family and girlfriend for putting up with me when I don’t shut up about the car or when I’m out working long hours on it, Simmy for the photoshoot, and all the Killers crew
Custom 18” three-piece Style 32 wheels look incredible and the fitment is perfect.
The right set of wheels and the right combination of lows can make a car.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLOW AND BEHOLD
We’re in a purple daze after seeing this gorgeous bagged E30.
This ground-hugging bagged E30 has been a true labour of love. Words: John Tallodi / Photos: Denis Podmarkov
E30s have always been popular in these pages and their retro lines have become even more desirable as time passes, with some amazing builds making the most of that effortless ’80s style. They are a great canvas for any aspiring modder and whether slammed, cut, turbo’d, track-prepared or ICE’d, you can expect to find at least one E30 nestling among these pages each month. And this month is no exception…
Zach Dunn is not your usual 21-year-old, having been involved with BMWs from an early age. His first taste of the Blue and White Roundel was with a manual E36 325i. “My first BMW was a birthday present from my parents. I had tons of fun driving it and I couldn’t have asked for a better gift and something to start out with,” he says. Since then he has owned half a dozen BMWs, working his way through most of the back catalogue of 3 Series models, with two E30 325s (including this one), an E36 M3, an E46 328Ci, as well as a pair of classic 02s.
Having grown-up learning everything he could from his dad (who owns a bodyshop), none of his cars escaped without receiving some sort of modification. “They generally all get modified in the same way: I do some type of suspension setup to make them a little bit lower and I always like to change the wheels to something that is more unique. I also tend to do a few exterior upgrades, like the paint, bumpers, lips, lights and other little details.” In fact, lowering BMWs has become something of a passion for Zach. He got into it when the trend caught on in his area and all his friends started lowering their cars – although all his creations all bear his own distinct style.
Having been exposed to such a variety of machinery, Zach decided that his next project had to be an E30. He felt that the older cars had more character and that the E30 had limitless modding potential as well. Having seen so many E30s done, he just had to have a go at making one that was just right for his tastes. Cue his latest project: a choice-looking E30 two-door. With its 17” AC Schnitzer wheels and air suspension it hunkers low over its arches and looks just the right kind of menacing without resorting to massive spoilers or wide-body kits. It is a far cry from the state it was in when Zach first laid eyes on it. Sitting forlornly at a local shop that specialises in older BMWs, it was a non-runner and in a relatively sorry state, generally needing a bit of TLC in every department. “I wasn’t really worried about the shape it was in,” explains Zach, “because I knew I was going to totally transform it. The shop got it running and I picked it up a few months later.”
Zach likes to have everything pre-planned well before the actual purchase, as he tells us: “Before I even bought the car I had everything that I wanted to do with it figured out. From the wheels, to the colour, to the suspension, I knew how I wanted the car to be, inside and out. I could see it all in my head, which really helped me throughout the whole process.”
Having had lots of experience with lowering cars in the past using coilover setups, Zach knew that he needed to go down the air route if he wanted to go lower and still maintain the driveability of the car. After some research he settled on an Air Lift setup from Bag Riders. Up front he’s running off-the-shelf E30 struts and adjustable camber plates, while at the rear there’s a set of Air House 2 bags. In the boot there’s a simple wood-mounted install with a fivegallon tank and a single Viair compressor.
Thanks to his knowledgeable family and friends, Zach was not alone when it came to getting his E30 to the spec he wanted. “Everything was done at my dad’s shop, Dunn’s Auto Body and Repair. My friend Jason Hower did most of the air install with the help of my uncle Jason Longenecker. I did the air tank while they got the bags, management and lines figured out.” The pristine-looking exterior was also helped along by Zach’s brother Ryan, his friend Jared, and his dad – who helped spray the car and sort out the body panels.
Many hands make light work and the car took a total of about one month to get to a level Zach was happy with. The bodywork took about two weeks with a respray completed over a weekend. Smaller items, such as the trim and interior dyeing, took a couple of weekends and the air install was done in three days. Extra help and motivation came from Zach’s wife as well as good friend Denis Podmarkov.
Looking at the finished product, the paint colour could have been plucked right out of BMW’s own catalogue but it is actually a Volvo colour and it suits the car’s looks down to the ground. “My favourite modification on the car was probably the paint. It was something that my dad and I could do together and it turned out exactly how I was hoping,” Zach grins. “The colour was something I hadn’t really seen before on an E30 and I was constantly asked what the paint code is, no matter where I went.”
When it came to choosing a set of wheels, it took Zach a while to come to a decision. “I had a set of 16” CCW LM20s built for the car and I left those on for about a year,” he says. But the AC Schnitzer Type 1s are his all-time favourite wheels so when he finally managed to find a set of 17” Racing splits, his wife bought them for him and they look awesome on the E30. The wheels sit on 4x100 to 5x120 adapters and measure 7” wide up front and 10” at the rear, wrapped in 195/40 and 215/40 rubber front and rear respectively. With the car aired-out the edges of the polished lips sit absolutely flush with the arches. Other changes to the exterior include a Volvo front lip, US ellipsoid headlights, blacked-out trim and a shaved antenna. They’re all subtle mods that add up to a head-turning result.
The interior retains its standard trim save for an M Tech 1 steering wheel, and a redyeing of the seats in a different colour to match the paintwork better. “I didn’t get to do too much with the interior. It was tan when I bought it but I didn’t like the idea of tan and purple together so I kept all the original seats but dyed them, the carpet, and the headliner black,” Zach tells us.
As it stands, visually the car looks perfect, appealing in equal parts to both traditionalists and more extreme modders alike. However, with the eye-catching paintwork and wheels, you may be surprised to find that under the bonnet all is still as BMW intended. Zach’s primary focus was getting the car aesthetically right and as the original M20 lump and running gear were all in good nick he decided to leave them as is. There is definitely a retro charm in a wellmaintained straight-six M20 coupled to a five-speed manual ’box.
Having planned and executed everything out in such detail, this build must have been a true labour of love. However, needing funds for new projects meant the car had to go. Having put so much of his own style into it Zach would love to buy the car back someday, though. “It taught me so much, and it will always be ‘the one that got away’,” he muses. In fact, he’s even mentally planned additional mods he’d do if he did ever get it back: “It would be nice to put an S54 engine in there. I’d also go with a full M cloth interior, upgraded seats, Smiley headlights, M Tech 2 steering wheel, MHW tail-lights, side skirts, and Euro trim/grille and bumpers.” Clearly the man has style and an appreciation for the finer points of classic Beemer modding. Here’s hoping this automotive relationship was meant to be and the low riding E30 will find its way back into Zach’s life further down the road.
In the meantime, with a BMW shaped hole to fill in his driveway, what is Zach thinking of working on next? “I’m hoping to have an E30 M3 someday. The shape and design, the performance, the history behind them, pretty much everything about them makes me want to have one. And I have every single detail in my head about what I would do with it!” Judging from his past record there is no doubt that whatever changes he undertakes, they will surely make for a show-stopping car.
Three-piece 17” AC Schnitzer Type 1 Racing wheels look awesome and suit the E30 perfectly.
DATA FILE Air-ride #BMW-E30 / #BMW-325i / #BMW-325i-E30 / #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1-Racing / #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1 / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-325i-Air-ride / #BMW-325i-Air-ride-E30 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M20B25 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 , stock five-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 8x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) AC Schnitzer Type I Racing wheels with 4x100 to 5x120 adapters,195/40 (front) and 215/40 (rear) tyres, #Air-Lift-V2 Management, #Air-Lift E30 front struts, adjustable camber plates, Air House 2 rear bags
EXTERIOR Volvo purple respray, Volvo front lip, US ellipsoid headlights, blacked-out trim, shaved antenna
INTERIOR Black dyed interior, M Tech 1 steering wheel, 1/4” airlines, five-gallon air tank, single Viair compressor
THANKS Gabrielle Dunn, ‘Spike’ Dunn, Lorrie Dunn, Ryan Dunn, Jason Longenecker, Jason Hower, Jared ‘Shorty’ Hower, Denis Podmarkov, Dunn’s Auto Body and P #BMWStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationStancing with the Stars MERCEDES 190 ON AIR
They’re a great staple of any Retro Cars diet, and when they look as good as this it’s pretty obvious why that is. James Brown fell for the ‘Baby Benz’ at a tender age. And you know what they say about your first love… Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Chris Frosin.
Massively over-engineered’. That’s a phrase you can always rely on. When the chips are down, you’re nervously eyeing your temperature gauge, or you can hear a suspicious clonking noise that you just can’t put your finger on, that handy and reassuring motif will always be there to make everything all right. Not that any of those issues should surface in a Mercedes-Benz-190E , of course.
This is, in fact, a phrase employed by Mercedes-Benz themselves to describe the model when it emerged blinking into the motorscape way back in late 1982. This car represented the dawn of a new era for #Mercedes , the so-called ‘Baby Benz’ being the marque’s first foray into the compact-executive sector. They poured over £600m into the model’s R&D, patenting a natty new five-link rear and throwing in all sorts of über-modern accoutrements: seatbelt pretensioners, airbags, #ABS … with BMW dominating the sector with the ubiquitous 3 Series, M-B had to go in hard. They needed to over-engineer the thing, it was the only way to muscle in.
This sort of developmental extravagance has, unsurprisingly, given the car quite a strong following. You tend to find pretty fervent brand evangelists in the retro car world – Mini fans who’ll drive nothing but Minis, Mk1 Golf owners who won’t shut up about Wolfsburg – but it’s interesting to note that Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts are more effusive than most. Once that three-pointed star is emblazoned upon the subconscious, it’s there for keeps.
Take James Brown, for example. Hailing from the Essex town of Tiptree (a place variously famous for jams and jellies, and the ‘Tiptree Sneeze’ – look it up), he combines his hometown’s trademark mix of saccharine fruitiness and loud noises with a lifelong love of Mercs. His first car was a 190E, he’s had a few of ’em since, and now he’s built this. He’s pretty much incurable. Sure, there have been a few deviations from the path, but true love always shines through.
“My first car was a red 190E, back when I was sixteen,” he grins. “I lowered it, and put a spoiler on it, and a set of seventeens… but then I couldn’t afford to insure it!
So I had to sell it and get a Honda Civic.” Thereafter followed a protracted series of modifying experimentations, the Civic receiving the same treatment that the 190E had, before James reverted to geographical type and got into Fords. But when his hot XR2i ended up unceremoniously planted up an elderly gent’s backside (not literally, but almost), our protagonist found himself in a #Mercedes-Benz once more. Well, it was always inevitable really, wasn’t it? Written in the stars.
“My second 190E was special,” he reminisces, a sparkle of whimsy in his twinkling eyes. “I got it from my good friend John, and to this day I still blame this guy for getting my Mercedes love to flow! He sold me one in the same colour as the current one – it was on some cool seventeens, and on the floor, and I loved that car so much. But then the need for more power came back in my life.” And he was off again, like an easily distracted whippet, finding himself in a heavily modded 106 GTI (a car that dove so deep down the rabbit hole it ended up being featured in Max Power), before reverting back to the Fatherland: an Audi A3 followed, belittling passers-by with its nineteen’s, then a BMW E46 Compact on, ahem, 20in chrome spinners. Hey, if you always make good decisions then you’ve got nothing to learn from, right?
But it was no use. This multi-marque dabbling was just a distraction from James’s true Mercedes calling. He did the right thing. He bought himself another 190E. It ended up on the cover of Retro Cars in July 2011. And lo, his work was good.
…but then he started working on an Audi TT project, which was a very involved build, and… wait. No. Stop. This is all but a fleeting distraction from the wholesome pursuit of 190Es. Come back into the light, James. It’s warm in here. You’re safe. Come.
Oh, and he did. And how. “It was my first love,” he explains, matter-of-factly. “I’ve always been a Mercedes guy, I always will be. I can’t shake it.” And so the endless procession of a long, long line of projects has culminated in this, a straight-as-an-arrow 2.6.
“After looking at several cars with Jag of Jags Bodyshop, we just kept finding bodged-up, expensive cars that claimed to be immaculate,” sighs James. This is an unfortunate quirk of the 190E, as theoretically they should be borderline bulletproof; when the nuclear winter comes, it’ll just be cockroaches, Twinkies and well-maintained 190Es left on the face of the Earth. Unfortunately, these once-expensive premium-compacts have fallen into the realm of sub-minicab cheapness, so they become disposable. There’s a lot of crap out there, cars that haven’t been looked after. “We ended up settling on an honest car at a reasonable price that needed a bit of paint and tidying,” he says pragmatically. “I was always planning on getting Jag to paint it anyway, so that wasn’t an issue, and a bit of servicing and loving was all it really needed.”
Of course, this was never going to be a concours resto. You’ve read the guy’s car history, you know what he’s like. The car you see here was pretty much the vision he had in mind at the time, although it wasn’t always a clear path from vision to reality. As you can no doubt hear Samuel L. Jackson booming in his best scary Pulp Fiction voice, “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men”. But whatever – challenges are character-building, aren’t they?
So, without further ado, Jag set about painting James’s new ride. “Jag’s always painted my cars, and I’m always able to trust him to get my ideas perfect – although I do totally blame him for my OCD-esque cleaning habit,” he says. The car’s been repainted in its original shade, but as you can see that’s really all it needs – an overblown or ostentatious colour would have ruined the simplicity of the thing. You see, there are a lot of people that decry the ‘stop, drop and roll’ approach to modifying – the idea that a reduction in altitude and some well-chosen wheels are all that’s required to allow the car’s aesthetic to speak for itself – but James’s 190E is the ultimate proof that the formula works. And this is due, in large part, to his rather wonderful choice of wheels.
“Brian at Rotiform was great,” he smiles. “I showed him a picture of the original Mercedes 8-hole wheels and said ‘I want the biggest dishes we can get away with’! The finished product has really become the talking point of the car.” You can see why; the genius of the design is that it pays respectful homage to the car’s original factory alloys, but they are in fact all-new wheels custombuilt by Rotiform to offer something that no other 190E has. This makes James the king of the double-take – his ride-height and the cleanliness of the thing draw you in, then as you turn away your brain says ‘Hang on a minute, what’s up with those rims?’… and the answer is that they’re a head-spinning, bespoke set of two-piece wheels with hidden hardware and the valve caps cunningly slipped around the back. It really is a bunch of effort and expense for something that a lot of people wouldn’t even notice. Such is the modern wheels arms race.
When it came to the suspension, James had Merc’s original Baby Benz ethos firmly in mind. There would be no half-measures here, it had to be ‘massively over-engineered’ or nothing at all. “I wanted the best,” he explains. “When it came to air-ride, I always said I wanted this car to be 100% – no leaks, no issues, no nothing. So it went to Luke at Plush Automotive, as I knew he’d get the job done. Not many people had used these BMW AirLift struts at that time, and it’s fair to say it was a little more involved than just bolting the things on!” The system is governed by AirLift’s world-class V2 management, and to help things along Jag had already tickled the arches out a little, by 10mm at the front and 15mm out back, in order to ensure the perfect clearance and fitment.
Plush’s work wasn’t done there either – check out the sublime boot build housing the Viair treats and hardlines along with a full-house Vibe Black Air audio setup in the shelf. The crispness of the install looks almost factory, provided that you can set aside the fact that James has stuffed a load of choice modern hardware into the Merc’s nooks and crannies.
A bona fi de, über-polished showpiece, then? A pampered trailer queen? No, not a bit of it. James barely needed encouraging to pull a cheeky burnout for our shoot, and if there’s one thing he really loves, it’s driving around in his meisterwerk and showing it to the world as what it is: a massively over-engineered cruiser. “I use it mainly for summer evenings and weekends, and I did some of the shows last year,” he says, “but I love just going for random drives in it. Hopefully this year I’ll be taking it all over Europe – possibly not even for shows, but just for the sake of enjoying road trips with other Merc enthusiasts.” And that really is the crux of the build. At its very essence, it’s a driver’s machine; James has simply enhanced every element that he felt required enhancement, to make the best even better. Because even if something’s overengineered, there’s nothing to stop you taking it further.
SPECIFICATION / #Rotiform-MBZ / #Rotiform / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-190E / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.6 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.6-W201
ENGINE: #M103.940 2.6-litre straight-six / #M103 / #Mercedes-Benz-M103
TRANSMISSION: #Mercedes-Benz-722-400 automatic gearbox
SUSPENSION: BMW E36 #AirLift front struts, custom rear mounts and universal airbags, #Viair-444C compressors, #AirLift-V2-management / #Air-Lift-V2
BRAKES: Stock 190E
WHEELS & TYRES: 8x17in (front) and 9.5x17in (rear) #Rotiform MBZ 2-piece with 195/40 (f) and 215/40 (r) tyres
INTERIOR: Momo Prototipo steering wheel, flushed #AirLift V2 controller, Vibe Black Air audio system inc. front and rear components running twin amps plus 2x 12in subwoofers
EXTERIOR: Full respray in original colour, arches extended 10mm (front) and 15mm (rear)
THANKS: “Jag - Jags Bodyshop 07976 830145, Luke - Plush Automotive, Carl Taylor, Brian - Rotiform Wheels, Tommy Teapot - Meguiars UK, Mark- Vibe Audio, Luke, Viv, Jaylos & John Russell. And Becky for putting up with me constantly cleaning it.”
Damn that sits well on the custom-made 17in Rotiforms!
This 190E epitomises the ‘stop, drop and roll’ approach to modifying.
Bulbous Mercedes airbag steering wheel has been eschewed in favour of this natty little Momo number.
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- Post is under moderationMK1 TT
1.8T with 353bhp
WIDE BOY With big arches and 10.5x18in alloys, this 352hp TT has some serious road presence…
The original TT still ranks as one of the most significant Audis ever made. When this curvaceous, bold design was unveiled back in the late 90s, it made a huge impact. Here was a production car that looked very much like the original concept, and it was available to buy. Not only did it look fantastic, its performance credentials were strong, too.
The venerable 1.8 20v turbo found in the S3 8L saw some upgrades, which took it to 225PS (221bhp). This gave the cool coupe lively performance, matched to a slick 6-speed manual box. With quattro drive, it hooked up the power and was quick off the mark, as well as surefooted when the going got slippery.
With heated leather seats, a very cool looking dash and xenon lights it was a very nice thing to own. Back in 1999, a new TT would have set you back almost £30k. Today, you can pick one up for under £2,000, making them a bit of a bargain.
Laszlo, the owner of the TT pictured saw the potential with a TT immediately.
Having owned a big old Mercedes, he wanted something, small and sporty that was also fun to drive. A TT made sense – it was the right money and offered lots of tuning potential. “I wanted to switch from the yacht like feel of the Benz, to a stiffer, lighter sports coupe,” he says.
Things began slowly with a simple air filter upgrade and ECU remap. But having seen lots of big power Audis around, it wasn’t long before the silver TT was sent to respected local tuning firm, Turbotuning.
Here, the 1.8T was stripped down and rebuilt with fully forged internals including Mahle pistons and race spec bearings. The plan was to make the car as reliable as possible, so boost was held back to a relatively modest 1.5bar. Even so, with a Garrett GT2871 turbo, plus supporting upgrades, the TT made a very handy 352hp and 531Nm. Although we hear about plenty of 400+bhp models with large turbos, I have to say around the 350bhp mark seems to offer a great balance of performance and drivability for the road. I’ve been out in lots of TTs with this sort of power and they’re great fun. Plus, there’s less stress on the relatively small capacity 1.8-litre engine – something to take into account unless you liken spending time getting things fixed all the time.
But there’s more to this TT than a decent bit of poke under the bonnet.
Up front, Laszlo has fitted a set of six-pots from a Porsche 996. These big brakes required adapting to fit, but do an admirable job of stopping the little TT. With four pots at the rear and Ferodo DS pads, this thing scrubs off speed with aplomb.
One area that any TT will benefit from upgrades is the chassis. In stock trim they’re quite soft feeling and set up for a neutral handling – as you’d expect. But with some tweaks, you can transform them. With a full complement of Powerflex bushes, the chassis and steering components now feel reassuringly tight, which translates into a much more positive feel to the steering and general handling. Bushes may not be the sexiest of upgrades, but they really do make a huge difference – especially on an older car, where the stock items are likely to be worn. With uprated anti-roll bars, the chassis is well set for hard use.
One thing you can’t miss is the rather wide wheels. The 18in Japan Racing alloys are a huge 10.5 wide, which is why a set of, what the Americans like to call “overfenders” have been fitted. Some will love them others not so much, but you can’t deny they give this little TT serious road presence.
A V6 TT front bumper has also been fitted together with the rear bumper insert, which looks much fresher. There’s also a V6 rear wing.
Inside, Laszlo has really gone to town. The bucket seats have been trimmed in leather with yellow stitching with cheeky R8 logos. The R8 theme continues with the steering wheel and gearknob, complete with open gate.
So there we have it. A Mk1 TT with an aggressive, OEM+ look, that’s also packing a nice punch thanks to the engine tuning – with the potential for a lot more should he wish to increase the boost and maybe fit a larger turbo.
Top: Rear seats have been removed Below: 1.8T is forged and runs a GT2871.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-TT-225 / #Audi-TT-8N / #Audi-TT / #Audi / #Audi-TT-Quattro / #Audi-TT-Quattro-8N / #Audi / #Quattro / #Garrett / #Garrett-GT2871 /
Engine 1.8 20v turbo, Turbotuning shop rebuilt with #Eagle rods, #Mahle pistons, stronger bearings, low compression with rebuilt head, #Rothe turbo manifold, GT2871 Garrett turbocharger, 76mm exhaust system, custom exhaust with 90mm tips, custom intake, #Ramair filter, #HG-Motorsport intercooler 12-row #Motec oil cooler, F#orge BOV and boost controller, 630cc injectors, Walbro fuel pump
Transmission 6-speed manual, stronger clutch with Kevlar disc, #Torsen rear diff
Power 352hp and 531Nm at 1.5bar
Brakes Porsche 996 fronts with 6-piston calipers, 4 piston rears, Ferodo DS pads and braided lines
Suspension Custom rear control arms (GL), #Powerflex bushings all around, GL front strut bearing without damping, custom ARBs, #Eibach spacers, wheel bearings converted to studs, #Sachs dampers, custom air-ride setup with Viair compressor and #Airlift-Autopilot - #Air-Lift-V2 (tuned by #Fakukac )
Wheels 10.5x18in #Japan-Racing-JR-11 wheels with 255/35 tyres
Exterior V6 TT front bumper and rear insert, SEAT Cupra front lip, V6 TT rear wing, #EPMAN Racing bumper mount, Porsche green mirror housings, custom arch flares made up from Nissan SX kit
Interior Bimarco bucket seats with Porsche-style leather upholstery and stitching, custom rear seat delete and crossbar, R8 steering wheel and gear knob, custom open gate, Osir gauge holder, Defi Stepmaster gauges, Porsche green details
Left: Porsche 6-pots Below: R8 open gate gear lever.
Right: R8 themed interior Below: R8 wheel and gearknob.
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- Post is under moderationDAPPER SUPER-SMOOTH E21 HIDES AN M50 BITE RETRO RIDE: #BMW E21
To anyone who’s not a fanatical BMW expert this super-clean E21 may seem a little ‘nearstandard’ for #Drive-My … all we can say is look closer, much closer. You’ll be surprised.
This E21 may be one of the coolest looking cars on the UK show scene, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see it’s much more than just a pretty BMW. WORDS: Tom Willcox. PHOTOGRAPHY: Chris Wallbank.
DRIVER: PRAKASH THANKY
So, you’ve seen more than a couple of trophies with this one then?
“Yeah. But for me it’s not about the awards. It’s about how they drive. It’s all very well looking pretty, but I still have to use it.”
You must surprise a few people with that modern M50 lump though?
“Definitely. It has more than enough power now, which people certainly don’t expect, But the air ride is also great. It makes it drive so nicely.”
And we’re guessing it’s far more practical than your usual in-the-weeds-style static drop?
“As soon as it was installed it felt like a whole new car. And you don’t have to worry about driving down certain roads. So what more can you ask for?”
You’ve no doubt spotted some killer show cars proudly rocking the Dapper decal on their flanks in recent years. But did you know that getting your hands on such an accessory is a strictly invite-only affair?
Created a few years ago by Rodolfo Lamaestra, the Dapper Fam was initially nothing but a group of stanced car lovers in the States. But pictures of the group’s awesome rides soon spread like wildfire across social media, leaving the world dying to know more about the Dapper brand and how they could get involved.
Rodolfo now hand-picks cars from across the globe to represent his extended car family, and Prakash Thanky here is the proud owner of one of the UK’s fi nest offerings to the club. This old-skool E21 BMW has more than a few tricks up its sleeve…
The finely judged details scattered around this incredible build are enough to tell you this isn’t Prakash’s first BMW. In fact, aside from a couple of embarrassing car decisions made early on, his car history is almost entirely made up of Bavaria’s most famous motors. While these were mainly ’90s, performance-orientated static show-stoppers in their own right, Prakash had a brainwave a few years ago, to create something slightly more retro.
“The car was bought from eBay for £500,” says Prakash, beginning the story. “The owner had sadly passed away, so the car had been sitting around for over eight years, and was on very low mileage.” This blank canvas was an example of one of the first generation 3 Series BMW produced, and boasted a not-so- monstrous 2.0-litre straight six lump and three-speed auto ’box.
The neglected steed was taken back to the Letchworth car garage Prakash owns. It was promptly stripped back to the bare shell to address some minimal signs of rust which had started to rear their ugly heads. “I knew exactly the look I wanted to go for before buying the car,” says Prakash. “It was always going to be that smooth combination of Euro/Cali and OEM+ styles, which look great on these cars.”
The shell was soon treated a full re-spray in the original and deliciously simple Polaris Silver paint scheme.
With the shiny motor now back in one piece, the next job was to address the elephant in the room – the standard ride height. Going for a static drop had treated Prakash well for most of his other car builds. So initially a home-made set of coilovers was created and ran with various BBS wheel combinations, as Prakash got used to the old-skool two-door.
“I wasn’t happy with the auto gearbox,” Prakash admits. “My mate Ben told me there was an M50 engine with a manual gearbox for sale, so I bought it and installed it.” This 2.5- litre straight six was pulled from a mid-’90s E34-shaped BMW 525i, so remained in the car’s bloodline whilst promising a whole lot more driving fun shoehorned into Prakash’s little car. With a full engine and transmission swap casually undertaken, the car drove like a dream, according to our proud owner here. But there were still a lot of issues to address.
“I tried some more BBS wheels on the car, but it was sitting too high and the wheels I’d chosen were too small,” says Prakash. “This is when I opted for air suspension. I’ve never had it on a car before, but after the install I instantly fell in love with the car again.”
Prakash used this new-found motivation to fuel his current wheel choice – these awesome Carline CM2s with custom-staggered dishes and gold hardware. The heavily polished works of art look nothing short of perfect when Prakash drops the car to its lowest setting. Looking at his wheel history though, be prepared for them to change at a moment’s notice. This is one man who likes doesn’t need much excuse to swap boots.
So, modern engine swap complete and the nigh-on perfect stance nailed. Where next? Well the inside of this E21 keeps the pulse racing with some inspired, unique features. The uprated E24 6 Series front Recaro seats and the E28 centre handbrake console fi t so well in here you’d have to be a proper BMW nerd to notice they weren’t standard. The OEM+ theme is certainly strong with this one!
It’s not hard to see why there’s so much love around at the moment for this E21. We can see exactly why it was initiated in the Dapper family, and why it wins trophies at pretty much every show it attends. But there’s clearly more to it for Prakash because under the surface, we find mods like that engine swap which so many show cars would happily do without. The looks are vital to this build but perhaps what’s most important is the complete package. This E21 not only looks better than when it left the factory all these years ago, it also drives like it should here in the 21st Century. As a result, it has to be one of the most complete retro builds on the entire show scene. And that’s not an easy trick to pull off.
TECH SPEC: #BMW-E21 / #BMW-320-E21 / #BMW-E21-M50 / #BMW
TUNING ENGINE 2.5-litre BMW- #M50B25 / #BMW-M50 / #M50 straight-six engine conversion from an E34 525i, custom modified sump, custom exhaust manifold, custom 3in #FlowDynamics stainless steel exhaust system, five-speed manual gearbox conversion from an E21 323i, organic sprung sports paddle clutch, BMW Z3 short shift, 323i propshaft.
CHASSIS 9.5x16in (front) and 10.5x16in (rear), fully re-built polished #Carline-CM2 three-piece wheels with gold hardware, 195/40/16 (front) and 215/40/16 (rear) tyres stretched by Specialist Tyres, custom centre caps, custom #Air-Lift-V2 / #Air-Lift air suspension system with performance shocks, BMW 323i brake callipers with EBC Red Stuff pads and up-rated Goodridge braided brake lines.
EXTERIOR New rear arches welded in, new inner and outer sills welded in, single headlight conversion from an E21 316, custom front clear indicators and tinted rear indicators, smoothed rear aerial hole, smoothed rear model badge, despoilered and smoothed, original Auto Plas rear window louvres, colour-coded body panels, modified front subframe, custom vinyl stripes and Dapper decals.
INTERIOR E24 6 Series front Recaro seats, E28 centre handbrake console, Alpina gearknob, #Alpina wooden steering wheel, OEM #Becker-BMW-Bavaria cassette player unit powered by hidden iO Play2 wireless kit, up-rated Hertz speakers.
THANKS My mum and dad for putting up with me, my brother Jay Thanky and my friend Ben Dewen for helping me on the long weekends and late nights, Owen Spencer for getting me into BMWs and a big shoutout to the UK Dapper family for helping me and supporting me in making the car into what it is today
THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND
Many have argued over the last decade or so that the 3 Series is the industry benchmark, the car by which all other saloons will be judged. Now whether you agree with that sentiment or not, there’s no denying the E21 is important, because it was the very first generation, not to mention the precursor to the 1982 E30 model that brought us the legendary M3 badge. Launched in 1975 with a choice of 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 carb-fed 4-pots, the larger 6-cylinder engines didn’t come along for another two years and even then they weren’t exactly powerhouses. Confusingly they also gave the 316 a 1.8-litre engine in 1980, and introduced an economy 74bhp 315 model, with a 1.6-litre engine in 1981. The latter was a not-so-timely response to the 1979 oil crisis.
Anyway, to differentiate between the 2-litre (and later the 2-litreplus) models, BMW gave the 320 dual headlights. This makes this BMW an even bigger sleeper, because Prakash has chosen to convert the front end to the smoother single headlight spec from a 316. One more reason you’d never expect to see a fettled M50 under the bonnet, especially if you really know your Beemers.
A custom Air Lift V2 system keeps this car firmly in the weeds!
The 2.5-litre, 6-pot M20 gives this E21 a lot more poke than BMW intended in the 1980s.
”Getting your hands on such an accessory is a strictly invite-only affair”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPURPLE HEARTS
Built to commemorate its owner’s late father, this Daytona E36 Cab is a poignant purple project. Kevin Love’s dear departed father used to rock a boisterous purple muscle car. So what better way to celebrate his memory than with a fresh new build in the same vein? Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Kevin Love.
From 1969 to 1973, American muscle car enthusiasts were treated to a stimulating palette of glistening new colours in the Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth model ranges. These new HIP shades (standing for High Impact Paint) came to aggressively assault the retinas of passers-by with a lurid and shocking take on the generally considered conventions of the car hue genre.
And the best thing about all of this corporate playfulness was the names that were chosen for these paints: Top Banana, Go Mango, Sub-Lime, Panther Pink, Citron-Yella, and of course Plum Crazy. These were extrovert cars, they deserved extrovert colours.
“My father had a 1968 Dodge Charger in Plum Crazy,” recalls Kevin Love, as he casts a fond eye over his own purple toy. “It was his Purple Haze, and when he passed away I wanted to create my own personal tribute to him, my own Purple Haze.” And that’s just what you see here – a #1995 E36 M3 in Daytona Violet. Sure, its origins lie on the other side of the Atlantic to his father’s old car, but the ethos of the project is the same: a beautiful, aggressive, eye-catching machine with far more horsepower than necessary and race track DNA clearly on display.
“Following the success of my M3 convertible, I was ready to hit the ground running with another unique build,” Kevin continues. “That was my first BMW project and it was ten years in the making, culminating in a feature in DRIVE-MY in August 2014.” He’d set the bar high then, having already appeared in these hallowed pages. So, how might one ensure that lightning strikes twice? Presumably by getting things off on the right foot and starting with a solid, decent project base, yes?
“Er, no!” he laughs. “When I bought this car it was in rough shape. I had two choices at that point – either I make it a track rat and just gut it, or turn it into another beauty queen. I did a little research and found the M-Cross interior, and that was the moment I knew which direction I wanted to go with the build. I am an OEM fanatic and I strive to find the rare parts to make the car that little bit more noteworthy.” He’s not kidding – seasoned DRIVE-MY readers may recall how Kevin transformed his convertible 318i auto into an M3-powered show-stopper with an Anthrazit Rain interior and all manner of rare original-equipment bits. If it’s obscure and Bavarian, Kevin will find it.
“I’d created the Colorado BMW Groupë on Facebook, and a fellow member had listed this car for sale,” he recalls. “I liked the car but I wasn’t in the position to pull the trigger at that time. A few months later it was listed once again; the more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. The colour is what truly sold me – we arranged to meet up, and when I saw the colour in person I was convinced. And I didn’t waste any time in tearing into the thing either… pretty much as soon as I got it home I went through the car on all the maintenance, refreshing all the suspension components, and I detailed it inside and out. Then I started replacing weather-stripping and seals; I knew exactly what I needed to do right away to make this car have a great starting point to build from.”
The thing with talking to Kevin about his #BMW love affair is that it’s like flicking the switch on a Duracell bunny, you just set him going and he’s off for hours, absorbed in his own passion. It’s endearing – this is a guy who just can’t restrain himself from spending countless hours online, on the phone, in lock-ups and breaker’s yards, and on social media hunting down rare parts, garnering and giving advice, just living the BMW dream. It swims in his blood. Passion that his beloved Charger-toting father, Rodney, would surely be hugely proud of.
“I wanted to challenge myself, I never wanted to look back and be known from my previous build and fall short,” Kevin asserts. “Most of all, this car is my own build and not built for others’ approval. I consider myself an OEM fanatic, but I also appreciate the stance movement, and at the end of the day this is just my perfect M3.
“The first big modification was the Air Lift V2 suspension,” he continues. “I wanted reliability, and not to have to plan my route around town in advance.” Wise sentiment indeed, and something we hear time and time again from owners who’ve made the switch to air-ride – there will always be people hating on the format, but it really can be an all-things-to-all-men solution.
Kevin’s next big decision, having got those arches markedly closer to the ground, was to figure out what to fill them with. “I got in contact with a vendor in Germany selling Carline CM6 wheels – easily my favourite wheel style that I always dreamed of owning,” he enthuses. “With that life goal ticked off, and the wheels’ hardware swapped for 24-carat gold items for good measure, I then fitted my very rare and obscure Dove Alcantara M-Cross interior. In fact, throughout the build I sourced every Motorsport item I could, ending with the strut brace.”
It’s been, as we’ve come to expect from Kevin, an exhaustive exercise in partshunting, touching on such desirable treats as the red Motorsport seat belts, the door handles and, most noticeably from outside, that outrageous GT2 Class II boot spoiler. “I wanted to keep the car as clean and classy as I could make it,” he assures us. “I wanted everything to be as OEM as possible. That Class II spoiler is my favourite and most noticeable exterior modification, and I’ve added lots of little touches to make it my own – for example the headlight retrofit and M-colour pinstriping. I don’t want them to be immediately obvious, more that they’ll be picked up on by people who know what they’re looking for. This is how I feel BMW should have released the M3 from factory!”
Of course, a healthy outlook toward increased thrust is key to a build such as this, not least because we’re talking about an M3, but also in the interest of authentically continuing the Love family line of Purple Haze tuning. Under the bonnet you’ll find the #S50B30 US, based on the M50 with that engine’s less complex head design and twostage Vanos, and lower compression than its European counterpart plus a normal throttle body rather than ITBs, making 240hp.
However, improvements can be made to get the engine feeling a little healthier. The brawny six now enjoys an M50 manifold with an AFE intake, and Kevin’s a sucker for a Rogue Engineering exhaust – possibly, we speculate, because the back box looks a bit suggestive when viewed from behind – so you’ll find one of those under there too. It’s all been electronically tickled by RK-Tunes, with the package finished off neatly by a 3.38 LSD at the rear. Show and go in one brightly coloured and slightly frightening package – much like a ’68 Charger, really. A little more technologically advanced, perhaps, but certainly on the same page.
It’s easy to be blasé about a car such as this, and maybe assume that it’s a chequebook build, particularly coming hot on the heels of another equally detailed project, but it’s important to bear in mind the sheer effort that Kevin’s put into this. His BMW obsession is an all-consuming force in his life; the engine work, for example, was all carried at by Kevin in his garage, along with his buddy Brandon, and he wears the results as a deserved badge of honour. And his focus on the aesthetics is well on par with his mechanical nous.
His description of the interior work is modest, but implies so many hours of work: “The interior was in real bad shape to begin with – typical 20-year-old wear and tear. Dove seats just never look clean, and it had the usual saggy headliner and wilting doorcards. I stripped the whole interior down in order to swap over to Grau Alcantara M-Cross cloth. I also added in the Euro three-spoke wheel wrapped in new Alcantara, along with the shift and e-brake boots matched with M-stitching. It’s finished off nicely with Motorsport door seals, seat belts and OEM carbon-fibre trim pieces.” That he makes it sound like all in a day’s work tells you more about his modesty than anything else.
“I have found parts for this car from all over the world,” he continues. “Luckily the interior was purchased from a seller in California, so shipping wasn’t as dramatic. The wheels came from Germany as well as a lot of the Motorsport items; I started with a clear idea of what I wanted to do with the build, and the only thing that really slowed me down was sourcing all the parts I wanted on the car. I made lots of contacts though, and was fortunate enough to have smooth transactions. And there are so many things I love about my car now – the body lines just work so well together, and I focused a lot on the interior as that’s where I spend most of the time. It has a calming, yet sporty feel. The reliability of the air-ride really makes a big difference too; I can go for my stance for daily driving, then turn the car into a weekend track warrior, beefing up the suspension with a push of a button!”
Kevin has much to be proud of here. The fruits of his labours shout loudly about a man who knows whereof he speaks. There’s an inherent conflict of approach in that, on the one hand, he’s eager for it to have all of the correct parts and look just-so, and on the other hand that he doesn’t do shows and would rather just be out driving the thing… but it’s safe to say that he’s balancing the whims of the two demons effectively. While he describes his kinship with the car as being ‘a love-hate relationship’, he’s fooling no-one. This car is all about love. It’s baked right into it, a Love family tradition. And you can be sure that Kevin’s old man would be proud to see his Purple Haze legacy living on in such fine, muscular style.
Carline CM6 wheels look stunning; DJ Auto headlights with projector retrofit are one of the many smart, subtle additions on this car.
“I can go for my stance for daily driving, then turn the car into a weekend track warrior, beefing up the suspension with a push of a button!”
US-spec S50 has been treated to an M50 manifold and tuned by RK Tunes.
DATA FILE #BMW E36 M3 / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 / US tuned by #RKTunes , #Rogue-Engineering DMS exhaust, UUC poly engine mounts, #Mishimoto radiator with electric fan, M50 manifold, #AFE 2 intake, #ZF fivespeed gearbox, #UUC poly transmission mounts, #Autosolutions Ultra Short Shift Kit, 3.38 LSD
CHASSIS 9x17” ET14 (front) and 10x17” ET20 (rear) polished Carline-CM6 wheels with gold hardware with 205/45 (front) and 215/45 (rear) tyres, #Neo-Chrome lugnuts, #Air-Lift-V2 / #Air-Lift digital air-ride, #BMW-Motorsport strut brace, ECS-Geomet cross-drilled and grooved discs, PBR-Axxis-Ultimate brake pads
EXTERIOR Daytona Violet, M Power-coloured pinstriping, #DJ-Auto headlights with FX-R 3.0 projector retrofit, Lux bumper grille, foglight covers, BMW Motorsport door handles, shaved filler cap lid, GT2 (Class II) spoiler with risers, LTW spoiler tray, carbon fibre side skirt splitters, modified GT rear splitters
INTERIOR Alcantara Grau M-Cross seats and panels, OEM carbon fibre centre console and glovebox trim, Motorsport International door sills, #BMW-Motorsport red seatbelts, Alcantara-wrapped Euro three-spoke steering wheel with Tri stitching, Alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters with Tri stitching, Alcantara armrest, E39 autodimming rear view mirror, #ZHP gear knob, #BSW speakers with subwoofer
THANKS Big thanks to my beautiful wife Cori, for supporting me through my builds, and my great buddies Brandon and James for helping me with all the maintenance and retrofits. I call this build my Purple Haze – a tribute to my dad and his Plum Crazy purple 1968 Charger.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.