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    Track beckons for new Continental GT / #2018 / #Bentley-Continental-GT / #2018-Bentley-Continental-GT / #Bentley / #Bentley-Continental-GT3

    Sub-1300kg, 550bhp, #V8-powered racer revealed hot on the heels of new Bentley road car
    Bentley is taking the Continental GT to the track in #2018

    It took Bentley a decade to get its original Continental GT out of the paddock and onto the track, but a GT3 racing version of the new Conti GT will line up on the grid at Monza in 2018 within a couple of months of the first road cars being delivered. And it has a lot to live up to. The original Continental GT3 race car racked up 528 races, 120 podiums and 45 wins during its short, four-year life. And with GT3 racing becoming evermore competitive, the new Bentley contender can’t afford the smallest confidence lift on its way into the first corner.

    To create their second-generation GT3 racer, Bentley’s motorsport engineers and Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport – the race team charged with running the cars – started out with the new Conti GT road car. Job one was to shed over 850kg to give a sub-1300kg race-ready weight.

    Ditching the hand-finished interior accounted for most of that mass, but the use of carbonfibre for the non-structural body panels and other body parts (front splitter, rear wing, arch extensions) also contributed to shedding the pounds, as did the loss of the front driveshafts – the racer is rear-wheel drive. Hours in the wind tunnel have dictated its aggressive aero package, which hangs from the road car’s new Porsche Panamera-derived aluminium structure.

    Rather than the road car’s W12 , the racer will feature a development of the 4-litre twin-turbo V8 that served the team so well over the last four seasons. Updates for 2018 include a redesigned dry sump and new inlet and exhaust systems. Bentley claims its unrestricted output is ‘in excess of 550bhp’.

    Drive is delivered via a six-speed sequential gearbox, a carbon propshaft and a limited-slip differential. The suspension is all-new and so, too, are the six- and four-piston (front/rear) #Alcon brake calipers and iron discs.

    For 2018 a pair of Continental GT3s will race in the #Blancpain-GT-Series-Endurance-Cup as well as the four-round Intercontinental GT Challenge. With the driver line-up yet to be confirmed, evo is prepared to throw its Arai into the mix. It’s the least we can do while we wait for the GT3-inspired Continental Supersports road car to arrive.
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    DOUBLE DIP #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46

    Ferocious 545hp supercharged and 715hp turbocharged carbon-clad E46 M3s tamed by one owner. Decisions are hard, especially when it comes to choosing between a supercharged E46 M3 and a turbocharged E46 M3, so why not just have both…? Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andrew Thompson.

    545hp supercharged and 715hp turbo E46 M3s

    Decisions are never easy to make, especially when you’re faced with two equally appealing options. Chinese or Indian, for example, or cookies and brownies, or pizza and, well actually there’s no alternative option to pizza because pizza just always wins. Sometimes, you don’t even have to decide, like with cronuts, or a turducken, just have everything, because more of everything is always better. For example, why choose between a supercharged E46 M3 and a turbocharged E46 M3, when you could have both? That is exactly what Jaime Taylor did and we’d like to think that decision made his life immeasurably better in every way.

    This man is a serial car buyer and modifier with a car history varied enough to make your head spin, including a midengined, RWD Peugeot 205 GTi and a Sierra Cosworth, a scattering of BMs and some serious big-power builds, such as a 511hp Skyline R34 GTR, a 670hp Skyline R32 GTR and a 513hp Audi RS4. Jaime is no stranger to going fast and is clearly hopelessly addicted and devoted to the modifying lifestyle, which makes him our kind of guy, and we guess answers the question: “What sort of person owns a pair of cars like this?”

    What’s really interesting here is that this is really a tale of two parallel builds, which were happening alongside each other at virtually the same time. Spooky. We’ve got Jaime, who wanted to build a turbo E46 M3 but ended up going down the supercharged route, and Andy Bennett, who bought the turbocharged car and proceeded to put a huge amount of effort into getting it running as it should, then ended up selling it to Jaime, who’d actually wanted to buy it all along but was beaten to the punch by Andy all those years previously. It’s a twisting tale deserving of its own movie adaptation, so grab some popcorn, get comfy and we’ll begin.

    When Jaime bought his M3 in 2014, it already had a long list of tasty bits on it, including carbon front wings and carbon bonnet, a roll-cage, BBK, CSL air box and Recaro RS seats but even better than that it had been fitted with a new engine from BMW and had covered less than 20,000 miles on it. “The new engine was a blank canvas to work on,” smiles Jaime. “At the time I didn’t know any UK company who could turbocharge the S54 but did know a company in the States. We were talking about shipping the car over there to get the job done, but it would have been gone for six months for all the new fabrication work to be done because they hadn’t done a right hand drive vehicle before,” he explains. “In the end, with a new car on the drive, we decided to go down the supercharged route so then the car could stay local,” and that’s a pretty sensible decision as the job could be done much more quickly and he’d have more time to actually enjoy the car.

    The supercharger kit comes from VF Engineering, with Jaime opting for VF570 flavour, the company’s most powerful E46 M3 supercharger offering. At its core is a Vortech V3-Si supercharger, capable of running at 26psi and rated for 775hp, so producing the 570hp and 380lb ft that VF Engineering claims for this kit is a walk in the park. The kit also boasts a cast manifold with a slide-in air/water intercooler cartridge and is a serious setup, able to deliver a huge hike in power. Initially, though, that wasn’t the case, as once Jaime had got the car back from being mapped and stuck it on a dyno he found it was only making 499hp.

    “On each of the five back-to-back dyno runs we did the power was going down about 20hp every time because of heat soak,” he explains. “The engine was pulling the timing and it couldn’t make the power. To fi x this we got Gary Adlington, who runs Eastwood Garage in Falmouth, to fit an AEM direct port methanol kit from the States. Gary is a genius,” enthuses Jaime, “he put a Cosworth engine in a boat and some other crazy stuff – incredible character and he also worked on Andy’s engine.” Yes, in a further coincidence, both Jaime and Adam used Gary’s services for their respective projects; it’s like fate brought everything together. With the meth injection kit on board it was time to head back to the dyno and this time the numbers didn’t disappoint. “On the first run it made 513hp, 530hp on the second and we finished with 545hp,” grins Jaime and that grin is fully justified as that’s a serious power figure. Of course, running monster power means you need plenty of supporting mods and this S54 has been treated to a Mishimoto electric fan coupled to a larger Mishimoto rad, a 55ºC thermostat, the secondary air pump has been removed along with the air con and it’s all finished off with set of sport cats and a Milltek rear exhaust section.

    Handily, the previous owner had done a lot of the groundwork on the chassis meaning the M3 was already in a good position to be supercharged, but Jaime has been upgrading things along the way over the past two-and-a-half years to make sure the car was the best it could be. The chassis has been enhanced with a set of KW V3 coilovers and is joined by Turner Motorsport top mounts and adjustable Turner anti-roll bars both front and rear. In addition to this there are adjustable rear camber arms, poly bushes fitted throughout and there’s also a 4.10 ratio rear diff. The brakes are seriously beefy and more than up to the task of slowing this powerhouse of an M3; up front there’s an Alcon BBK comprising 365mm discs, utilising Reyland brake bells, clamped by red six-piston calipers and braided hoses and Pagid RS-29 pads have been fitted allround while 710 racing brake fluid tops off the brake upgrades. When it came to choosing wheels, Jaime wanted something light and good-looking that would suit his track-orientated build. “Apex wheels were the weapon of choice,” he says, “they’re lightweight, concave and when I was searching for M3 track cars online everyone was running them so they were clearly the wheels to go for.” He’s gone for the Arc- 8, which looks great on the E46, and he’s running a square setup with 10x18s all-round wrapped in sticky Federal 595RS-R tyres.

    No doubt a big part of the appeal of this M3 when Jaime was shopping was the fact that it looked so flipping fantastic, with the carbon bonnet, wings and boot lid really giving it a full-on track look and over the time he’s had the car he’s built on that, giving it an even more extreme appearance. “It was actually booked in to have all the carbon painted,” admits Jaime, “but I ended up going against it and kept the carbon on show for an aggressive track look,” and we’re glad he did. The car also wears a carbon front splitter and canards, plus Jaime has carried out a front foglight delete, and added a carbon rear diffuser, all of which combine to really make this M3 stand out and it’s got a lot of presence.


    The interior had already been stripped out and caged-up when Jaime bought the car, but here too there was room for improvement and it all started with the seats. “On the first track day I took the car to I realised the seats were too high as we kept hitting our heads on the roof,” he explains. So out came the Recaro RS seats and in went in a pair of Corbeau Club Sport buckets, and Jaime was now far more comfortable and able to actually enjoy driving his M3. Other interior changes include the aforementioned roll-cage, a Safety Devices bolt-in item, an alcantarawrapped wheel from Royal Steering Wheels, full carbon door cards with red door pulls, an AEM hand controller for the methanol injection, a lightweight battery, fire extinguishers and a carbon blanking plate that covers the hole where the sat nav screen once sat. We love the fact that while it is stripped out and most definitely hardcore, it’s been finished to an incredibly high standard with some very high quality materials, and it all combines to make it even more special.

    While Jaime was busy getting stuck into his supercharged E46 M3 project, Andy was well underway with getting his turbo E46 M3 up to scratch. Back in late 2013, having just sold a supercharged Range Rover Sport, Andy was flush with cash and looking to buy a second home to rent out. At least that was the sensible, grown-up plan, but one brief eBay session later it had all gone to pot as he’d spotted a turbo E46 M3, this very car, up for sale and, deciding that he couldn’t not buy it, he snapped it up with a sneaky bid in the final few seconds of the auction, unknowingly swiping it away from Jaime.

    Not only did the car have a claimed 650hp, but it had also been on the cover of the March 2008 of PBMW, and came with a vented carbon bonnet, carbon bootlid, BBK and ticked just about every box that there was to be ticked. Quickly, however, it transpired that the car was not in rude health, making only 465hp on the dyno, not the figure Andy had been led to believe, as well as suffering from numerous issues to do with the turbo conversion. It was not a happy car. It was decided that a new intake manifold and stand alone ECU were needed, so Andy took the M3 off the road and put it into storage while he saved money for the work it needed. It was at this time that he learned about the infamous E46 subframe failure issue and, after inspecting the state of his M3, he discovered that, lo and behold, the subframe was not in a good way...

    While we can’t imagine his mood was particularly good at this point, Andy had a turbocharged M3 and he was determined to make it the best turbocharged M3 he could; where Jaime started his project with a clean slate, Andy had the perfect opportunity to not just fix what was wrong with his M3, but improve everything as he went along, and he’s definitely done that and then some.

    Before he could even think about getting the engine running at full capacity, that rear end needed sorting out so the old boot floor was cut out, a new one was welded-in and Redish Motorsport reinforcement plates were installed, along with a box section welded across the boot floor to eliminate any flex. At the same time, the whole back end was poly bushed and the propshaft rubber donut was replaced by an uprated Revshift polyurethane set up. The poly bushing extends throughout the chassis now and the suspension has been thoroughly upgraded throughout to ensure it’s up to the task of coping with a turbocharged S54 above. Naturally the car sits on coilovers but they’re not the usual suspects, this M3 having been fitted with Tein items complete with electronic damping adjustment, and these are joined by adjustable front camber plates and Eibach anti-roll bars front and rear and there’s also a Strong Strut front brace with a Schnitzer item mounted at the back. A Brembo GT BBK takes care of stopping duties, with six-pot calipers and monster 380mm discs up front and 345mm discs at the rear, the red calipers contrasting perfectly against the black spokes of the 19” CSL replicas, themselves fitted with Toyo R888 tyres for maximum grip and traction. When it came to the engine Andy admits that, without the help and knowledge of Gary Adlington, he probably would have given up on the car a long time ago, which would have been a shame as he would not have had the chance to experience the fury of a fully operational turbo M3. The main components required to get the S54 performing as it should were an AEM Infinity 8 ECU, Horsepower Freaks intake manifold and boost pipe, a pair of HKS SSQV4 blow-off valves and an AEM water/meth injection kit. The intercooler was also sent off to have the end tanks cut off and new ones made from thicker aluminium welded on. The final engine spec makes for some eye-widening reading as some serious work has gone into making this S54 as powerful as it is. The turbo kit itself comes from Savspeed Racing and uses a Turbonetics T70 turbo and the engine has been bolstered with a set of Wiseco low compression pistons, Pauter con rods, VAC Motorsports head bolts and a steel-lined head gasket while twin fuel pumps feed 750cc injectors via an Aeromotive fuel filter. The result of all that is pretty spectacular, with four different power maps to choose from: the mildest map offers a sensible 500hp, which we imagine is handy for popping to the shops for a pint of milk, while the wildest map delivers 715hp, which you’d probably use for getting a pint of milk and some toilet paper. Perhaps a cheeky Snickers as well. A Clutch Masters twin-plate paddle clutch has been added to cope with all that newfound power and there’s also a short-shift kit rounding things off.

    As with the supercharged car, this turbo M3 is a riot of carbon fibre on the outside, which looks fantastic against the Steel grey bodywork. It wears a Vorsteiner carbon bonnet and carbon front bumper, carbon front wings, a CSL carbon bootlid, carbon rear bumper, carbon side mouldings, carbon roof spoiler, carbon Schnitzer mirrors, even a carbon fuel filler flap. There are more carbon panels on the car now than there are regular body panels, it’s really something, and makes the car utterly spectacular. The interior is has also been treated to a whole heap of carbon goodies, including dash trim, door pulls, steering wheel trim, steering column and gearknob, gear surround and handbrake lever. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes. In the early stages of the project, Andy picked up some rather sexy Cobra Daytona seats, which were already trimmed in black Mercedes leather and black Mitsubishi Evo X alcantara and finished with gold stitching, and they look great in the car, really filling out the interior and making it a rather more special place to sit. They’re mated to threepoint harnesses, which are mounted where the rear seats used to be, and naturally there’s also a host of gauges, we’d have been disappointed if there hadn’t been what with this being a turbocharged car and all. They include an Innovate AFR gauge, a trio of HKS gauges to monitor boost, exhaust temperature and pressure and there’s also a HKS turbo timer ensuring that the turbo stays healthy.


    So, man builds supercharged E46 M3 and buys turbocharged M3, drives off into the sunset, lives happily ever after etc, right?

    Well, not quite… “It’s a good job Andy pipped me to the post on the turbo car,” admits Jaime, “as he spent a lot of money on this M3, so I really reaped the benefits of all his hard work. It was a pleasure to scratch that turbo M3 itch that I’ve had for years, watching all those turbo M3 videos on YouTube, and it is fricking awesome,” he grins, but after buying the car from Andy last July just one month passed before Jaime had put it up for sale himself. “I needed to try it out for a while to see if I was happy to make this my new track car, and after testing it back to back with my supercharged one I decided it wasn’t for me. I have a bond with my supercharged one and prefer everything else about it, as does my other half, Terrie, and I have to live with her so she has a big say in what I do,” he laughs. Unsurprisingly the turbo M3 sold very quickly but surprisingly Jaime has now put his supercharged M3 up for sale as well, and as we put the last of these words to paper it looks like it may have found a new home… “I’ll be very sad to see it go,” he says, “and so will Terrie as we’ve both done a lot of track days in it and she’s learned a lot from driving it and really enjoys it,” but that’s just how it goes with modified cars, we suppose, it’s very rare for them to have any sort of permanence and selling the cars we’ve poured so much of everything into is a just part of the life we lead. They do say that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, though, and while we’re not sure if Jaime is planning to go as far as this with the E92 M3 he’s thinking of buying next, he can at least say that he’s been the owner of both a turbocharged and a supercharged M3, and there’s not many people that can.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Turbocharged E46 / #BMW-M3 / #Turbonetics / #BMW-M3-Turbocharged / #BMW-M3-Turbocharged-E46 / #BMW-M3-Turbo / #BMW-M3-Turbo-E46 / #HKS / #BMW-M3-Tuned / #BMW-M3-Tuned-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54-Turbocharged / #S54-Turbo , #Savspeed-Racing turbo conversion with #Turbonetics-T70 turbo, #Wiseco low compression pistons, #Pauter con rods, #VAC-Motorsports head bolts, steel-lined head gasket, 750cc injectors, twin fuel pumps, #Aeromotive fuel filter, #AEM Infinity 8 standalone ECU with E46 plug and play harness, AEM water/methanol injection kit with 1000cc and 500cc injectors, #HPF intake manifold and intake piping, custom front mount intercooler, 2x #HKS-SSQV4 blow-off valves, HPF five-way traction control system, custom exhaust system. Six-speed manual gearbox, Clutch Masters twin-plate paddle clutch, short shift kit

    POWER 715hp

    CHASSIS 19” #CSL-replica-wheels in gloss black with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes R888 tyres, Tein-coilovers with electronic damping adjustment, adjustable front camber plates, Strong Strut front brace, AC-Schnitzer rear brace, Eibach anti-roll bars (front and rear), fully poly bushed, Brembo GT BBK with six-piston calipers and 380x32mm discs (front) and four-piston calipers with 345x28mm discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Steel grey, #Vorsteiner carbon bonnet and front bumper, carbon fibre front wings, side mouldings, AC Schnitzer carbon fibre door mirrors, CSL carbon fibre boot, carbon fibre rear bumper, roof spoiler

    INTERIOR Cobra Daytona seats re-trimmed in black leather and alcantara with gold stitching, three-point harnesses, rear seat delete, black alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters with gold stitching, Innovate AFR gauge, HKS boost, exhaust temperature and pressure gauges, HKS turbo timer

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E46 / #S54-Supercharged / #VF-Engineering / #Apex

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #VF-Engineering-VF570 supercharger kit, AEM water/methanol injection kit, #Mishimoto electric fan, Mishimoto bigger radiator, 55ºC thermostat, secondary air pump removed, airconditioning removed, sport cats, Milltek rear exhaust. Six-speed manual gearbox, 4.10 rear differential

    POWER AND TORQUE 545hp, 383lb ft

    CHASSIS 10x18” (front and rear) #Apex-ARC-8 wheels with 265/35 (front and rear) Federal 595RS-R tyres, stud conversion kit, 12mm rear spacers, #KW-V3 coilovers with Club spec springs, Turner Motorsport top mounts, #Turner-Motorsport adjustable anti-roll bars (front and rear), adjustable rear camber arms, fully poly bushed, #Alcon BBK with six-piston calipers and 365mm discs with #Reyland bells (front), standard calipers (rear), Pagid RS-29 pads (front and rear), braided brake lines (front and rear), 710 racing brake fluid

    EXTERIOR Carbon fibre canards, splitter, front wings, boot, bonnet, rear diffuser, carbon wrap on roof, fog lights removed

    INTERIOR Stripped-out, full bolt-in Safety Devices roll-cage, alcantara steering wheel by Royal Steering Wheels, solid steering wheel coupler, full carbon door cards with red pull tabs, RTD short shifter, AEM hand controller for water/methanol injection, Corbeau Club Sport seats, Willans harnesses, water/methanol tank in boot, Odyssey PC950 lightweight battery, fire extinguishers, stereo removed
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    If you’re looking for the ultimate everyday machine that’s also capable of embarrassing junior supercars then you should check out Birds’ wonderful 435d. Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Gus Gregory.

    / #BMW-435d-xDrive-F32 / #BMW-435d-F32 / #BMW-435d-xDrive / #BMW-435d / #BMW-F32 / #BMW / #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-F32 / #BMW-4-Series-Coupe / #BMW-4-Series-Coupe-F32 / #2017 / #Birds-B4 / #Birds-B4-F32 / #Birds-F32 / #BMW-435d-xDrive-Birds-B4 / #BMW-435d-xDrive-Birds-B4-F32 / #BMW-435d-Birds-B4-F32 / #BMW-F32-Birds

    Birds’ stunning #BMW-435d-xDrive . Everyday Weapon Birds’ 435d can be either a mild-mannered pussycat or a ripsnorting road warrior.

    Depending on which order you’ve read the features in this month’s issue you might have spotted a recurring theme, that of traction. The M235i we drove suffered from a lack of it to a certain extent and the two big power M6’s pace was really hampered by an inability to transmit their prodigious thrust to the greasy Tarmac. Put simply, none of these three cars would have seen which way #Birds ’ innocuous-looking 435d went had we driven them back-to-back on typically slick UK winter roads. Not only is this car devastatingly quick, it also has the ability to be so no matter what the conditions.

    I must admit that I’m not normally a huge fan of the ‘Luxury’ trim level that BMW’s foisted on us for the past few years, and it would seem that I’m not alone – the new G30 Five won’t be available as a Luxury model in the UK and neither will the face-lifted 4 Series Coupé that you can read about in our News pages. The bottom line is that hardly anyone was buying the Luxury trim models. Maybe I’m a marketing man’s dream, but I’m a succour for the chunky M Sport styling and now I’m in a position that I’ll be looking to buy my own wheels again I’m drawn to the M Sport kitted used examples like a moth to a candle despite knowing that the equivalent SE will be cheaper to buy and will ride better too! Having said all this I’m also secretly drawn to this Birds car – yes, I know it’s a Luxury, but look at it, it’s just so innocuous – no one would expect it to be a candidate for the ultimate everyday weapon, and in the right conditions a supercar humbler.

    We’ve always been impressed with machinery that’s been fully-fettled by Birds as MD Kevin Bird doesn’t do things by halves. While he could simply fit a range of off the shelf tuning products he’d be the first to admit that would be selling his customers short. Sure, there are some parts that can be simply fitted to make an improvement, but to do things properly Kevin always buys a demonstrator to which he can experiment with until he’s happy with the outcome and can then pass on that knowledge to his customers in a series of suitable upgrades safe in the knowledge that the car will be right straight from the word go.

    The F3x generation of 3 and 4 Series have been with us for a while now so Kevin’s had quite a while to perfect his upgrades for the car, and without a doubt he’s spent the most amount of time on the car’s suspension as he feels that BMW has lost the plot to a certain degree with its most recent F-prefix cars. He’s not a fan of the adaptive dampers as they never seem to offer the right reactions when extracting the performance from the car – they may be fine for providing a comfortable ride when you’re in cruise mode, but so can a passive set up if it’s properly designed and set up.

    After having looked at just about everything the aftermarket had to offer Kevin embarked on the process of having a suspension set up designed to his specifications. While Kevin knows how he wants his cars to perform he’s happy to admit that he doesn’t have the knowledge required to draw out a damper curve for a suspension specialist to work with so he’s enrolled the help of chassis engineers to assist him in the quest for the perfect set up. We’ve had a chance to sample this work on a couple of cars and have always come away impressed, and it was no different on this 435d. Springs and dampers have been attended to and the result is a machine that resists understeer far more effectively than before and one which engenders a real feeling of confidence in what the car’s response is going to be to any given input.

    We’ll look at this a little more in a minute but for the time being let’s have a quick look at what else has been installed on Birds’ B4-35d demonstrator. It’s perhaps a sign of the times that diesels are able to develop pretty high power outputs to go with their prodigious torque capabilities and perhaps because of this BMW to a certain extent holds back the outputs of its twin-turbo diesel motors. Straight out of the box the 435d develops 313hp and 465lb ft of torque but after its been treated to the Birds engine management software upgrade we’re looking at an altogether healthier 380hp and a monstrous 575lb ft of torque. Kevin has looked at the various tuning boxes on the market and has concluded that he prefers to have the software reprogrammed as it gives you more control on what changes are being made. Additionally some tuning boxes only really deliver once you’ve applied at least 70 percent throttle, and with these turbo diesel lumps offering so much low down the rev range it’s nice to be able to access the additional performance on part throttle.

    From the power and torque figures you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to glean that this is going to be one very rapid 4 Series so Birds has taken the sensible step of offering a brake upgrade on the car too. Birds recommends a 19-inch wheel on the 4 Series and this allows the fitment of its #Alcon 365x32mm discs, gripped by six-piston callipers. This set up features grooved discs, low weight alloy hubs and lightweight callipers and Birds reckon they allow excellent retardation from cold all the way up to the highest temperatures they can generate. On the subject of wheels and tyres it’s worth noting that the first thing Birds would recommend is ditching the runflats if your car is so equipped as the benefits of any suspension work will be negated if these are retained.

    The kit we’ve so far discussed – springs and dampers, a set of 19-inch non-run flats, the performance upgrade and the Alcon brakes – are packaged together by Birds as what it terms its complete conversion for the 435d and while it might look a lot at a smidgen over £8000 (including all parts, labour and VAT) it offers to transform the performance of your 3 Series or 4 Series. Quality components don’t come cheap and it’s also worth remembering Birds offers a 24-month warranty on complete conversions so obviously has complete confidence in the products it offers. For those wishing to add additional items – such as anti-roll bars or a Quaife limited slip differential – these can again be bundled together as part of a package or added individually as the customer wishes. One of the joys in visiting Birds is that the company accepts that each of its customers may have slightly differing requirements and is happy to tailor its products and advice accordingly.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating though so we set forth from Birds HQ to cruise up the M40 to our photoshoot location where some challenging roads await. Obviously we’re expecting it to perform well when the going gets tough, but in order for the Birds car to fulfil its duality of purpose it first needs to be able to demonstrate that it’s a usable everyday machine in cut and thrust traffic. Initial impressions are favourable with the eight-speed auto quietly and unobtrusively doing its thing in the background while tickling the throttle every now and then is accompanied by a meaningful shove in the back, even on part throttle loads. Having just stepped out of a car sitting on much smaller wheels and with no pretensions to being a sporting machine the ride does, at first, seem to be a little on the hard side but as the miles pass under the 435d’s wheels we become accustomed to the slightly firmer than standard set up and end up not being able to fault the car’s behaviour on the motorway. It rides the crests and troughs very well, always seeming to be able to complete its movement before hitting the next bump or road imperfection whereas sometimes in a normal BMW you’re left with the feeling that the underpinnings are still trying to deal with one road imperfection when it hits the next which can have an unsettling effect.

    Pulling off the motorway and onto some more demanding roads and the 435d demonstrates what a devastatingly quick cross-country machine this can be.

    There’s power and torque seemingly everywhere in the rev range and you can have the choice of using delicate and measured inputs to ride the wave of torque or being a bit more brutal in which case the eight-speed auto drops cogs with alacrity and flies you up the road, slurring one ratio into the next as only that #ZF ‘box can do. And it’s at this point that you realise you haven’t dialled in Sport mode and once you do there seems to be a whole new level of performance to dip into.

    At which point one is invariably really travelling so it’s reassuring that those Alcon brakes can wash off speed without breaking into a sweat – the pedal feels is very reassuring and even on the slippery sections of road we encounter it resists the temptation to trigger the ABS very well. Invariably though once one has knocked a chunk of speed off the dial when tackling the corner that one wanted to slow for it becomes apparent that you’ve actually washed off too much speed and that the 435d could corner much quicker. In fast sweepers the chassis inspires real confidence, gripping hard and resisting understeer very effectively while it’s a similar story amongst the tighter stuff, too. The front end clings on for dear life and the only thing you really have to do is to remember to get onto the throttle earlier than you would in an equivalent rear-wheel drive BMW so you can bring the front axle’s drive capabilities into play, and when you do you can feel the front end pulling you through just as the rear tyres start to scrabble for grip. It’s deeply satisfying and we can’t really imagine that there are all that many machines that would show this 435d a clean set of exhaust pipes, especially on these tight roads where a bigger machine would struggle somewhat.

    Once we’ve finished playing and got a set of pictures in the bag it’s time to head home and sample the car’s cruising abilities once again. Snapper Gus gets behind the wheel and once we emerge back at Birds HQ he’s got a big smile on his face and concludes “That’s quite a weapon isn’t it.” Quite so. Swapping back into my everyday car I couldn’t help but feel how sloppy and stodgy it felt, it had felt fine in the morning!

    This 435d is currently up for sale at Birds so if you fancy a stunning everyday supercar slayer that will pass quietly under the radar we’d very much urge you to get in touch. We can’t imagine it’ll hang around for long…

    CONTACT: #BMW-F30-Birds / Tel: 01753 657444 / Web: www.birdsauto.com

    There’s power and torque seemingly everywhere in the rev range

    Birds-B4 component prices

    ENGINE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE 380HP: £2106
    B4 XDRIVE ANTI-ROLL BAR KIT: £914
    QUAIFE BMW LSD CONVERSION: £1605
    B4 SPORT SUSPENSION: From £1723
    EXCHANGE QUAIFE BMW FINAL DRIVE: £1710
    SPORT SUSPENSION SPRINGS: £679
    ALCON AE BRAKE KIT FRONT, 365X32: £2862
    ALCON AE BRAKE KIT REAR, 343X28: £2377
    OZ WHEEL & TYRES SET: POA
    Please note: All prices quoted within this panel refer to components fitted individually not as part of a B4 Dynamic Package. Prices include parts and labour but not VAT.

    / #Birds-B4-Package prices
    B4-3.5d 380HP COMPLETE CONVERSION: £6803
    Engine management software, Alcon 365mm front brakes, B4 Sport suspension, 19-inch non-run flat tyres
    B4 DYNAMICS PACKAGE 1 £2312
    B4 anti-roll bar kit, Quaife LSD
    B4 DYNAMICS PACKAGE 2: £3096
    B4 anti-roll bar kit, Sport suspension springs, #Quaife LSD
    B4 DYNAMICS PACKAGE 3: £4039
    B4 anti-roll bar kit, B4 Sport suspension, #Quaife-LSD
    Please note: All prices quoted with this panel include parts and labour but not VAT.
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    NUMBER CRUNCHING 1040whp turbo E36 M3

    We see a lot of modified cars here at PBMW but a 1000hp E36 M3 is something that never fails to impress… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andreas Wibstad.

    They say that you shouldn’t chase numbers when building a car. You should build a car that will drive well and suit your needs rather than delivering big peak power but becoming undriveable in the process. Of course, if you happen to be building a car where big power is your need, then why not aim high and punch through the 1000hp barrier? It’s the sensible thing to do.

    If we told you that Ole Ivar Seem, the owner of this E36, comes from Norway you probably wouldn’t be surprised because it would seem that Scandinavians have a predisposition for building stupidly powerful cars. And, unlike those of us having to find time during evenings and weekends to work on our cars due to our 9-5s taking up the vast majority of our time, Ole works on offshore oil platforms, which means he works hard but then has plenty of time to play hard when he’s back on dry land. And play hard he does.

    Funnily enough Ole says that while he’d always liked BMWs he didn’t become properly interested in them until about 2003, when Vidar Strand from V.S Motor hit 1000hp with his E34 M5. That got his attention and got him thinking about the possibilities of what could be achieved with a BMW. And judging by one of his previous projects – a 426hp Sierra Cosworth, which was featured in our ex-sister title Performance Ford back in 2003 – it was clear that unless big power could be achieved Ole wasn’t interested. Of course, his first #BMW project was never going to make anywhere near that power output, being as it was an ’1986 E30 320i, but then again Ole only bought it for a bit of winter fun and threw a few mods at it. However, it started the sequence of events that mean we’re now standing here today with his 1000hp E36 M3.

    With the Cosworth sold and a lump sum burning a hole in his pocket, Ole cast his car-catching net to see what he could snag. That’s when he came across this M3. “I found the car on a BMW forum here in Norway,” he explains. “It was a virtually completed street build with lots of good parts but that looked completely stock on the outside. Initially the plan was really to run with the parts that were on it but a thought crossed my mind about building a car for Gatebil Extreme [Gatebil’s own time attack and racing series]. After driving the car for a bit back in summer 2008, I got problems with water in the oil, leaking between the pyramid rings and water channels. So the real story of the car and engine you see today started when I picked up the phone to Vidar at V.S Motor.

    “The motor building began with solving the problem of water in the oil. Vidar had a separate patent which, in principle, removes the head gasket and uses rings in a special metal. Vidar also fitted new custom cams from V.S Motor, new custom V.S Motor pistons, uprated Pauter con rods built to V.S Motor’s specifications, stainless steel valves, tighter valve springs and he did a general update of the whole engine. He then put it on the dyno bench at V.S to get it mapped properly. With it running perfectly we went for a power run and it made 772hp and 723lb ft of torque at 1.3bar, but tremendous back pressure on the exhaust side prevented any more power. The problem was an exhaust manifold that was not quite optimal and a Turbonetics turbo that was completely the wrong setup. I drove the rest of the summer and next spring running this setup but I was bothered by the fact that it did not deliver optimally when I knew I could get much more from the engine.

    “After a few more conversations with Vidar we agreed that he should build a new manifold and a new turbo, then test it. The engine was ready in April 2011. This tested Vidar’s patience to the limit as it’s really cramped around the engine for building a manifold. You really need a lot of space. I think someone would have to pay him a lot of money to do this again!” laughs Ole. “On test day the engine really stood up to our demands, and on E85 fuel it delivered 1039hp and 817lb ft of torque at 2.1bar. You can say we were delighted with it.” And who wouldn’t be with over 1000hp on tap? But Ole and Vidar weren’t finished with the engine just yet. “In summer of last year we found out that we were going to start with new fuel as E85 was phased out from petrol stations in Norway, so we chose to use the Ignite E98 race ethanol fuel that Vidar sells.

    We counted on a power increase so in July 2015, before going to the E30 meet in Rudskogen. I went with Vidar to Jonus Racing to run the car on the dyno. After roughly four to five hours of fine-tuning, the numbers that it put down really made our eyes pop! We got 1040whp and 855lb ft wheel torque which, when converted to power at the crank, becomes 1196hp and 959lb ft at 2.2bar. It goes without saying that were extremely pleased with this outcome,” smiles Ole.

    We would be too. That’s an absolutely monstrous amount of power, especially considering he’s still running the 3.0-litre S50. That works out at 399hp per litre; that’s like the E39 M5, with its 4.9-litre V8, making all of its power from a 1.0-litre engine, which is a bit mental when you break it down like that. As far as engine spec is concerned, we simply haven’t got the space to go through all of it here, just take a look at the spec list and you’ll see it’s exactly as long as you would expect it to be on a powerful engine like this. Highlights include the Precision billet 7675 turbo – such a key part of this incredible build, adjustable cam pulleys, a Tial 60mm wastegate, 4.5” downpipe, 3.5” Edgeperformance exhaust, ARP bolts, a 26-row oil cooler, custom header tank, Griffin radiator, custom 6” thick intercooler, 580lph Aeromotive lift pump, twin A1000 fuel pumps, and a set of six absolutely ridiculous 1699cc flow matched fuel injectors. All of which is really just scratching the surface. It’s as heavy-duty a build as you can imagine.

    You can’t just make a 1000hp engine, stuff it into an E36 M3 and hope for the best because things would go south in a big way almost immediately. You need to put in just as much work on the transmission and chassis fronts to make sure everything works in perfect harmony. There’s no messing about when it comes to the gearbox on this car, with Ole fitting a Sellholm MPG sequential ’box made specifically for this car and combined with a Tilton 7.25” threeplate, 26 spline rally clutch and Alcon hydraulic release bearing. A 3” chromoly propshaft rated to 1500hp delivers all that turbocharged power to a modified 210 diff from a 3.2 M3 sitting on reinforced mounts, and a pair of 38mm driveshafts.

    As for the suspension, well, we’ll let Ole explain: “Everything under the car is solid mounted or uses aluminium uni ball components. I run custom road coilovers from Sellholm Tuning made specifically for the weight of the car and supporting chassis mods. These include: Sellholm Tuning front and rear fully adjustable blade anti-roll bars; custom front suspension turrets and custom adjustable top mounts; Turner Motorsport aluminium bushes and rear lower control arms; and PeeBee Motorsport adjustable rear upper control arms.

    “When it came to choosing the parts, Vidar knew exactly what was required, having been involved in so many builds, not to mention his racing experience. I trust him 100% and he is the man to talk to when one is stuck with ideas or problems, although these phone calls can be expensive. That’s how I ended up with the sequential gearbox!” With over 1000hp on tap, you need some seriously big brakes to haul the E36 down from the sort of speed it can achieve, and Ole hasn’t cut any corners here. Up front, eight piston K-Sport calipers have been fitted, clamping 355mm discs, while at the rear sit six-pot calipers with 330mm discs and EBC’s BlueStuff track day pads have been fitted all-round. Wheel choice was guided by necessity rather than aesthetics, as you’d expect on a build like this. “The choice of rims came after lots of searching on forums and chatting with acquaintances in the racing world. To make most of the rubber on the ground, without extending the arches or anything like that, the wheels had to be lightweight, withstand a lot punishment and with widths matching the chassis. I chose the Apex EC-7 as there were really no other wheels that matched the car. They fitted well with the look that I had in mind for the car.”

    The tough, lightweight wheels measure 9x18” up front and 9.5x18” at the rear and are mounted on the car via a set of NMS Racing 75mm studs.

    Just by glancing at the outside of this E36 you’d really be hard pressed to tell what’s going on beneath the surface as Ole has kept everything looking extremely stock. “My goal has always been to retain the original lines that I like so much,” he says. “Generally original but sassy, a look with a little more muscle. There’s a fully removable carbon bonnet, a carbon sunroof blank and the only change to the body itself is that the rear wheel arches have been rolled.”

    Of course, the interior is another matter entirely and there was only ever going to be one direction to take it in. “The choice was easy,” says Ole. “It should be for racing! It had to be as light as possible and, ideally, with parts that no one else in Norway or Europe had tried before. Plenty of time went into building the roll-cage, which was done by a colleague and myself with Vidar providing all the technical information. It is made from about 80 metres of chromoly 4130 tubes and has been built down towards the chassis to really get it rigid, to the suspension turrets, to the diff and many other reinforcements against the chassis, which you can’t see in the pictures. In reality it is a tubular frame inside the car.”

    Beyond that there’s a QSP steering wheel mounted on a Sparco Group N quick-release steering boss, Cobra Suzuka seats with six-point harnesses and a Racepak UDX data logger dash with auxiliary Autometer gauges. To keep things as light as possible, the car has been fitted with ACM carbon fibre doorcards and even a carbon firewall, carbon dash and carbon centre console while the boot is home to fuel system, with a 60-litre Aeromotive aluminium fuel cell and aluminium swirl pot.

    After a hell of a lot of planning and almost seven years of work, it’s unsurprising that the end result was so damn spectacular.

    What is surprising, though, is that Ole sold the car not long ago but, he says, it’s gone to a man who really knows what he’s doing so it’s in good hands and will be used as intended by its new owner.

    So, what’s next for Ole? Time to give up the modifying game and relax with pipe and slippers watching gardening programmes? In a word, no. “I already have plans going around in my brain but one thing is for sure, it gets wilder!” he exclaims. “This car will probably take a few years to finish. And I have a problem: I’m never satisfied until I have spent a lot of time on everything from planning to execution, so those who wait will see. The rest is a huge secret,” he adds with a grin. We’re instantly as excited as he is. Judging by his track record, it’s going to be something special.

    Interior is slathered in sexy carbon panels.

    Apex EC-7 wheels were chosen as they’re light and tough; massive eight-pot K-Sport calipers sit up front with six-pots at the rear.

    That’s what you need for 1000hp. S50B30 has been fully built and features massive Precision 7675 turbo.

    “My goal has always been to retain the original lines I like so much”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #S50B30 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 / #V.S-Motor / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #Precision / #Precision-7675-turbo / #Autronic / #Sellholm / #Aeromotive / #BMW-M3-V.S-Motor / #BMW-M3-V.S-Motor-E36 / #Pauter-Motorsport /

    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30, #Autronic-SM4 , MSD coil packs, #Autronic boost solenoid, V.S Motor custom exhaust manifold, #Precision-billet-7675-turbo , Edgeperformance Vanos block-off kit, adjustable cam pulleys, Tial 60mm wastegate, V.S Motor 4.5” downpipe, Edgeperformance 3.5” stainless steel exhaust, #Tial 50mm BOV, #ARP bolts throughout, Pauter Motorsport H-rods, V.S Motor spec valve springs, V.S Motor spec custom cams, JE custom pistons built to V.S Motor spec, original intake manifold modified for forced induction, Samco intake hose, head and block modified to remove head gasket, special head gasket replacement rings designed by V.S Motor, Turner Motorsport oil cooler hoses, Earl’s 26-row oil cooler, #GS-Performance oil distribution block, #Griffin aluminium radiator, AN-20 fittings, custom header tank, custom three-litre oil catch tank with AN-16 fittings, 2x12” Flex-a-Lite fans, V.S Motor design Precision bespoke 6” thick intercooler, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, 19-row Ethanol cooler with 10” fan, Edgeperformance fuel rail, 6x flow matched 1699cc E85 injectors, VEMS wide band lambda sensor and EGT

    POWER AND TORQUE 1040whp and 855lb ft wheel torque at 2.2bar

    TRANSMISSION #Sellholm-MPG sequential gearbox, #Tilton 7.25” three-plate 26-spline rally clutch, #Alcon hydraulic release bearing, 1500hp 3” chromoly custom propshaft, M3 3.2 210 diff modified by V.S Motor, 38mm drive shafts, reinforced diff mounts and suspension attached to roll-cage, Omega gearbox/diff oil

    CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Apex-EC-7 wheels with 255/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) #Nankang Sportnex NS-2R tyres mounted on 75mm #NMS-Racing studs, custom Sellholm asphalt coilovers, #Sellholm adjustable suspension turrets, custom top mounts, Sellholm fully adjustable blade anti-roll bars (front and rear), Turner Motorsport aluminium trailing arm bushes, aluminium front control arm bushes, #PeeBee-Motorsport adjustable upper rear control arms, #Turner-Motorsport adjustable lower rear control arms, aluminium diff bushes, K-Sport eight-piston calipers with 355x32mm discs (front), #K-Sport six-piston calipers with 330x32mm discs (rear), #EBC BlueStuff pads (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR Removable ACM carbon race bonnet, carbon sunroof blank, rear arches rolled

    INTERIOR Full chromoly 4130 roll-cage connected to suspension turrets, diff and throughout the chassis, QSP steering wheel with #Sparco Group N quick-release steering wheel boss, OBP pedalbox, Sellholm hydraulic handbrake, Cobra Suzuka seats with six-point 3” harnesses, Racepak UDX dash data logger, Autometer Sport-Comp gauges for oil pressure, oil temperature, boost pressure, fuel level and water temperature, OMP 4.24-litre central fire extinguisher, ACM carbon doorcards, carbon fibre firewall, complete carbon dash and carbon DTM centre console, Fibervac carbon panels, 580lph Aeromotive SS series lift pump, 2x Aeromotive A1000 fuel pumps, Aeromotive fuel filter/holder, Aeromotive 60-litre aluminium fuel cell, aluminium swirl pot, Earl’s fittings and hoses

    THANKS An extremely big thanks to Vidar Strand at V.S Motor, without him this car would not have been possible, he has always been cheerful and helpful no matter what time I’ve called. Thanks also to Robin, Kay Ove, Stig P, Kurt Magnar, Kjell Inge, Jørgen, Terje, and Thomas at Edgeperformance
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    BITS OF AN ANIMAL COSWORTHS AT COSWORTH A MEET LIKE NO OTHER - COVER STORY

    Is it an #Audi , is it a #Ford , is it a Cossy? Read on. / #Ford-Escort-Cosworth-MkV / #Ford-Escort-MkV / #Ford-Escort

    This is a 900bhp #Ford-Escort-Cosworth . Except it’s not, because it’s powered by a five cylinder Audi engine connected to a Skyline gearbox with a rear subframe from a Nissan S14. Oh yeah, it also has electronically adjustable four-wheel drive…

    CHRIS POLLITT /// PATRIK CARLSSON

    This Escort Cosworth, if you can call it that, is what marketing people would call ‘a game changer’. Now, this is a phrase that tends to get casually tossed about when someone does something just a teeny weeny bit different and people, who want you to think that that something is actually a lot more exciting than it really is, will call it ‘a game changer’ in the hope that it will grab your attention and make you all giddy. Well, this is more than just a bit different; this is a car that completely and utterly redefines what is possible with the Escort Cosworth and even if it has done so by removing almost all of the #Cosworth DNA, which we know is going to upset quite a few purists reading this, the finished article is so spectacular, so face-meltingly well engineered that anyone who dismisses it for being ‘not a proper Cossie’ needs to go and sit in the corner and have a quite word with themselves. This is proper alright, and it’s all down to the skill, determination and downright bloody-mindedness of its genius owner, Joakim Stigenburg.


    Part of the reason we’re getting so hot under the collar about this car. of course, is because the Escort Cosworth is such an iconic machine, most people are reluctant to mess around with it too much. And this is perfectly understandable, it is an appreciating classic after all. Yes, there have been plenty of stunning big power projects over the years, all based around the equally as iconic Cosworth YBT and yes, we’ve even featured one or two examples that have been the subject of an engine swap as well – but nothing like this. In a world where your typical modified EscCos has a stage four conversion, some coilovers, a set of AP Racing 6-pots and some Compomotive MOs, you have to admit that a five-cylinder Audi 20v turbo engine conversion that’s putting out 900hp at the hubs combined with a Nissan drivetrain and an electronically adjustable four-wheel drive system is something of an eye-opener to say the least – especially so when you consider that our man Joakim did the vast majority of the work himself, at home, and in an unheated garage. And that’s actually quite a big deal, because for starters Joakim is a carpenter by trade, not an engineer or mechanic, so he’s had to learn all the skills you might imagine are essential for a build like this from scratch. Secondly, he’s from Sweden, so on the nights when he started work on the car at 8 o’clock at night and would finish at two or three in the morning, having to do so in a freezing cold workshop really does highlight the determination and passion he has had for this project. How long did it take him to finish it? Ten long years. And it all started when he took delivery of a completely standard 1994 model year Escort Cossie.


    “I started off with a 330bhp stage three kit, but after only a couple of months I wanted more power, so I modified it to stage four and around 450bhp,” remembers Joakim. “At this point, I decided that I should really have a roll cage for safety reasons, so I stripped the interior out and started work on building myself one. I guess this was the point where things started to get out of hand!”

    “THIS IS MORE THAN JUST A BIT DIFFERENT; THIS IS A CAR THAT COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY REDEFINES WHAT IS POSSIBLE WITH THE ESCORT COSWORTH”

    We suspect that from the very start, Joakim had his sights set on more than just a stage four conversion – he’s Scandinavian after all, and when it comes to building big project cars, events like Gatebil are proof that these guys don’t tend to do things by halves. It was the Norwegians that made the quantum leap in Cosworth tuning at the start of the noughties, and we have to assume that these kind of extreme machines served as an inspiration for Joakim as well. In short, he had to have more power and as such, he set about building a fully forged Cosworth YB in order to achieve it and to extract as much potential as he could from the freshly caged shell.


    And when we say ‘more power’ we do mean just that, because rather than the 500-600bhp that most people would deem to be about the limit for anything approaching vaguely useable for a fast road car, Joakim had his heart set on double that – and as such, he decided that the standard Ford transmission just wasn’t going to be up to the task of processing that amount of grunt. So, an alternative was required, and as luck would have it, one was about to present itself in the form of a Skyline GT-R33 gearbox, complete with a Pftizner Performance ‘dog engagement’ gear set.

    According to Joakim, a similar set-up had been proven on a Skyline with around 2,000bhp so he was pretty confident it was going to be man enough to deal with the power he had planned for the Escort. All he had to do now, was find some way of getting it to fit. The answer to that was to spend many, many hours fabricating and welding in his garage, and whilst he did in the end manage to successfully get the Skyline ‘box in place, by the time he did so, he’d somehow managed to completely change his mind on what engine was going to be attached to it!

    “WE SUSPECT THAT FROM THE VERY START, JOAKIM HAD HIS SIGHTS SET ON MORE THAN JUST A STAGE FOUR CONVERSION HE’S SCANDINAVIAN AFTER ALL”

    The forged YB was built and dyno’d, but the consensus was that it was just going to take too much hard work in order to push it close to the 1000bhp mark and that, once there, it would just be too fragile. So, it was put to one side and the hunt for a replacement began. And for those that are thinking it’s a crime to discard a Cossie YB in such a careless manner, don’t fret – Joakim ended up de-tuning it to a mere 590bhp and 457lb/ft and slotted it into his Sapphire Cosworth instead.

    As it happens the Saph was to take centre stage for quite some time, because after finding a new engine for the Escort, which turned out to be a turbocharged Volvo five-cylinder unit tuned to around 700bhp, this engine ultimately proved to be more trouble that it was worth, and Joakim became so frustrated with it all that he put the Escort to one side in order to spend some time with the Sierra.

    “WITH JUST OVER 900HP ON TAP THE 2.5 LITRE AUDI BASED 5 CYLINDER ENGINE THAT NOW RESIDES IN THE FRONT OF THE ESCORT IS AN ABSOLUTE MONSTER”

    That was until about two years ago, when the half finished Escort was dragged to the front of the workshop so that Joakim could finally finish what he’d started. Job number one was to find yet another engine, and whilst the six-cylinder turbocharged unit from a Skyline could have been an obvious contender in so much as it would have matched up to the gearbox and would have easily provided the power required, Joakim had other ideas. Again, we suspect that the final choice of engine was inspired largely by the no-holds barred creations that crop up at events like Gatebil, but whether that’s the case or not, with just over 900hp on tap the 2.5-litre Audi based 5-cylinder engine that now resides in the front of the Escort is an absolute monster.


    Built up around a super strong diesel spec 2.5-litre, five-cylinder Audi block, the top half of the engine incorporates an old school Audi 7a five-cylinder 20v head. Again, Joakim has done the vast majority of the engine build himself, which has included not just mating the head and the block, but fitting JE pistons and H-section rods, a VAG coil pack conversion, custom Cat cams, a custom dry sump and CPS inlet and exhaust manifold – not to mention the small matter of bolting on a Precision 6466 billet roller bearing turbo and then getting the whole package up and running with MaxxECU engine management. On top of that, he’s had to chop around the front of the Escort in order to get the engine to fit and match it up to that bulletproof Skyline gearbox as well.

    The time and effort that has gone into the engine build is one thing, but the amount of custom fabrication and engineering involved throughout the whole car is another thing altogether. For instance, Joakim had to design and build a custom suspension set-up at the front of the car, using a combination of custom driveshafts and Nissan hubs to get power to the front wheels. If that wasn’t complicated enough, the rear of the Escort has basically been converted to a semi-tubular chassis, with a Nissan S14 sub-frame in place that in turn accommodates a hybrid Ford/Nissan suspension set-up. And then there’s the Rallycross style rear mounted radiator, the dry sump tank and fuel cell boot install, the custom home-built cage, the custom centre console that houses all the switch gear…the list goes on and on.

    “THE REAR OF THE ESCORT HAS BASICALLY BEEN CONVERTED TO A SEMI-TUBULAR CHASSIS”

    One of the Escort’s biggest party tricks, however, is not the top of the range hardware or bespoke fabrication, but the electronic wizardy that’s been employed to make the whole thing work in the first place. The heart of this is a MaxxECU engine management system, and whilst it does the normal things that ECUs do with regards to engine duties, it also supplies huge amounts of data to the large electronic screen situated behind the steering wheel and even allows Joakim to switch from super grippy four-wheel drive, to ultra skiddy rear-wheel drive at the flick of a switch.
    Considering the Escort has been built to contest both drift and regular motorsport events, it’s a brilliantly clever modification and one that we’ve never seen before on a Performance Ford feature car.

    But then, we’ve never seen a car like this before in PF full stop. Yes, we’re aware that it’s lacking its original Cosworth components and for some, this will always be a step too far, but we reckon that in this instance it doesn’t really matter. Think of this Escort as a source of inspiration, proof of what can be achieved with just a cold garage, lots of late nights and a sheer bloody-mindedness to see a dream project car through to completion. So grab yourself a second hand welder and get to it…

    TECH SPEC Ford-Escort / #Ford-Escort-Cosworth / Fifth generation / #Ford-Escort-MkV
    ENGINE: Audi 2.5-litre diesel block, JE pistons and #H-section rods, CrMo flywheel, ported Audi 20v turbo 7a head, #VAG coil pack conversion, Cat cams, bronze guides, #Supertech valves, #CrMo retainers, dual valve springs, Precision 6466 billet roller bearing turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, Tial dump valve, custom dry sump, CP-S stainless exhaust manifold, CP-S inlet manifold, #Accufab throttle, #MaxxECU engine management, rear mounted radiator, dry sump tank and fuel cell, 904hp at the hubs, 752lb/ft

    TRANSMISSION: Electronically adjustable 4WD system allowing for full rear wheel drive or 50/50 four wheel drive, R33 Skyline ‘box with Pftizner Performance ‘dog engagement’ gear set and modified transfer box, Nissan S14 rear cradle with adjustable trailing arms, custom prop and driveshafts, Skyline differentials, custom trailing arms, knife edge anti-roll bar.

    BRAKES: #Alcon 6–pots with 356mm discs (front), Skyline GT-R 2-pot #Brembo s with 320mm discs at rear

    Suspension: custom front suspension with #GAZ-Gold adjustable dampers, Nissan S14 rear sub-frame with Cosworth spec #GAZ Gold adjustable dampers at rear.

    CHASSIS: #1994 Escort Cosworth, semi-tubular chassis at rear with #Nissan-S14 subframe, poly windows Interior: full weld-in custom roll cage, custom centre console, custom pedal box, Sparco Lico seats, Sparco plumbed in fire system, hydraulic handbrake.

    EXTERIOR: Audi Ibis white Wheels: Nissan hubs, 8.5x18-inch #Toora alloys, #Maxxis Ma-Z1 tyres.
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