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    E30 325i TOURING SWEET LIKE CHOCOLATE

    This gorgeous brown E30 Touring is good enough to eat. Fed up of seeing the same old shit? Aside from a ground-scrapingly low stance, unique wheels and paint job, Custom Cars’ latest demo vehicle proves that with a few special touches and not much money you can produce a feature car. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Simon Dodd.

    In my opinion, the reason why the VW scene is at the forefront of the modifying game and continually moving on to the next level, is ultimately down to two factors. Firstly, they’re not afraid to put their hands in their pockets, and when 19” Phaeton wheels and a twin-turbo W12 Bentley engine pushes the ceiling, they’re not reluctant to think outside the box either. Unfortunately, it’ll be a while until we fully hit it, but owner of this quite sublime E30 Touring, Dipesh Amin, is desperate to give the UK scene a new injection of life. No doubt most of you will already know the name, an influential member of the PBMW forum and the man behind styling specialist Custom Cars. His first creation, a turbo’d E30 M3 with 3.5 conversion, was featured in March 2005, and has since spurred a number of one-off force induced E30 Tourings, and more recently, Patrick Samuels’ E34 M5-engined E30 M3 Cabriolet.


    Built for £7000, this 325i is proof that you don’t need to remortgage your house to create a car worthy of being splashed on these very pages. Ultimately, the key ingredients to this ride are hard slammed suspension, unique wheels and an individual colour scheme, oh, and a few special styling touches to give it the edge. It’s clean as heck. Too clean perhaps, as Dips mentioned to me that on more than one occasion he has had to actually point out what he’s done to admiring onlookers, but there’s no denying that OEM+ along with a bit of imagination gets attention, even if you’re not sure what has been done.


    Unfortunately, and it’s a view that Dips very clearly shares with us, a lot of BMW owners suffer from blinkered vision. Rather than setting trends and being original, they prefer to stick with what’s safe, which frankly, is just boring. While the overall standard of Bavarian metal in the UK has been raised over the past few years, we’re still going to shows and finding row upon row of very similarly styled and tuned cars.

    Surely modifying is about pushing boundaries and making an individual statement, so okay you may borrow a few ideas here and there, but there really are no set rules or regulations, especially if you want to make a statement with your creation. And this car certainly does that!

    When you’re the owner of an independent workshop, customers’ cars take priority over your own, meaning this ’88 Touring sat unloved and untouched for three years, bought back when he first had the idea of building a retro car. Fortunately, the engine had been rebuilt by the previous owner, so all that remained was for Dips to freshen up the mechanicals; new wishbones, bushes, drop links and rod ends, among other things, were sourced and fitted. Being an automatic, internal engine upgrades or forced induction were never part of the agenda. Instead a Quikshift air filter was employed, which uses extremely fine stainless steel wire mesh to maximise air flow, along with a Powerflow exhaust system, and bringing that magical 150bhp to the party is a Dynotune nitrous oxide direct port kit. In some respects, it is considered the most complicated to install due to the required plumbing, but Dips tells me the benefits far outweigh the complexities. Not only are direct port systems nicer to look at, but because the injector nozzles are screwed into each runner of the intake manifold, you can jet per cylinder and control how much fuel and nitrous go into each for optimum power delivery (in this case up 1300bhp).

    Sadly the car wasn’t ready for the Ultimate #BMW show at Santa Pod, but they’re hoping to test it at the Flame and Thunder event later this month.

    Now it may look as though this car is on air-ride, but Dips’ Touring has been lowered the traditional way – on coilovers. The prototype three-way adjustable setup (height, damper and rebound) with remote reservoirs has been supplied by Automac and has enabled Dips to drop the front by a highly respectable 100mm and 80mm at the rear. Aiding the slam job is the original set of 16” BBS RM wheels, but to make them stand out they were sent to Germany for bigger dishes, once 6.5” in width they now measure 8” up front and 9” out back. And if that wasn’t enough, the rims were then steam cleaned, sprayed black and the face fully polished. Custom shallower centre caps were made and fitted and each bolt plated in 24-carat gold, although Dips got the shock of his life when he realised it would set him back £3 a bolt and with 32 on each corner, that amounts to quite a bit! The rims look superb however, especially against the sumptuous, rich and silky smooth brown bodywork, and the tyres are so low profile, they look like they have been painted on!

    While the motoring consumers’ preference for silver and black continues to grow, Dips decided to throw a spanner in the works with his custom Renault brown hue flecked with gold pigments. Once staple of the earth-tone ’70s, brown is now the colour synonymous with 21st century high-end luxury cars and, it seems, fitting for the beautifully proportioned E30 – now the epitome of retro cool. “If you’re going to spend 2k on a paint job, why not go for something completely different? We experimented for weeks with different shades from various manufacturers but it was worth it, this colour works so well with the rims and interior,” explained Dips.

    It’s not just the colour that aids this car visually, it’s the subtle approach Dips has taken with his careful choice of adding and deleting certain parts. One of the original reasons for buying this Touring was because of the electric glass sunroof, a rare factory option that modifiers in the States apparently pay up to £500 for, and the first we’ve ever come across. The M-Tech 2 kit already fitted was unfortunately in a bad way, so it was stripped down before being resprayed, at which time the handles and mirrors were colour-coded, the kidney grille de-chromed and smoked MHW rear lights and Hella fronts employed. This car is a real test for people who claim to know their E30s; the rear wiper, side repeaters and locks for example have been deleted, so has the notch in the petrol cap, and the bonnet and bootlid flushed. The front and rear arches have both been flared and the diffuser is custom-made from plumbers’ copper piping, a real testament to the handiwork of Dips. In a bid to continually evolve, he was even thinking of going for a bronze window tint, but with the factory tinge being slightly green it wouldn’t have worked. Being an E30 owner myself, it really made me think just what is possible with the right vision and mindset, the detailing is in abundance.


    Similarly, the interior left me feeling very ashamed of my own efforts. The roof lining was sagging, so it was retrimmed in black Alcantara along with the A, B and C pillars.

    The carpet was dyed the same colour, and to provide a contrast, the glove box, centre console, under dash tray, outer trim of the door cards, centre section of the steering wheel and even the nitrous activation switch were colonised and colour matched to the beige leather sports seats. These are perhaps the more noticeable changes, but did you spot the rear headrests that were fitted along with the 15lb nitrous bottle and unique rectangular shaped Vibe 6x9s in the boot, both sprayed to match the exterior?

    No, what about the auto shift, which Dips swapped for an E46 item and retrimmed the inner section of in brown Alcantara to match the steering wheel? Not exactly retro but a definite improvement over the old Tshape knob. In keeping with the two-tone theme, the face of the instrument cluster was smoked with additional LEDs fitted to help the dials stand out, and a black CD tuner was sourced, in this case the Sony CDX-CA900. And if you think all of that’s anal, you’ve got another thing coming.

    “No one ever modifies their rear view mirror so I thought why not use it to house the auxiliary gauges. Impractical as hell, but cool,” Dips explained. You’re telling us! Having paid £50 for an M-Tech 2 sports mirror in order to utilise the wire within the stalk for the map reading light, people thought he was mad when they heard he was going to cut it up, and then reduce the gauges to almost a quarter of their size in order to get them to fit!

    For Dips this car combines two of his most favourite aspects in a car – it looks good but you can also cane the shit out of it – it’s no cotton wool show car, that’s for sure! Having bought it for next to nothing, he’s turned what he literally describes as a shed into what is in our view, one of the best E30 Tourings to date. Perhaps more impressive is the strict budget he adhered to, and the fact it was built in his garage with the help of few friends in just three weeks, proof that almost anyone can create a car of the same level. Okay, so he’s been working with cars for the past 20 years, and he learnt mechanics working in main dealerships, but the bodywork side of things was self-taught. “E30s are limited as to what you can do with them but you have to work with what you’ve got. If you have the right ideas and the vision to see what the car will look like finished you can’t go wrong,” he explained to us. Our point exactly, and if you needed any further evidence, just look at what he’s done for customers to date. In Dips’ endless quest to keep modifying, pushing the scene forward and open up people’s eyes to just what’s possible, we’re glad to tell you there’s still a lot more to come from the Custom Cars stable.

    Direct-port nitrous oxide kit not for the faint-hearted. We’d sure like to see what it brings to the party at Santa Pod.

    Special thanks to RAC Auto Windscreens that kindly agreed to let us use its Feltham fitting centre for the shoot.

    Low enough for you? We love strict regime of colour-coding and deleting Dips has adhered to.

    “No one ever modifies their rear view mirror so I thought why not use it to house the auxiliary gauges. Impractical as hell, but cool.” You’re telling us!

    DATA FILE / #1988 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-325i-Touring-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-325i-Touring / #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i / #DynoTune / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E30 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six #M20 / #BMW-M20 / #M20B25 rebuilt with #M20-DynoTune direct-port nitrous oxide system jetted to 150bhp including braided fuel lines and nitrous lines, #Quikshift air filter and #Powerflow stainless steel straight-through exhaust system with twin 3” rolled pipes, four-speed EH auto switchable Sport gearbox

    CHASSIS: 8x15” (front) and 9x15” (rear) #BBS-RM / #BBS custom wheels with 24-carat gold plated bolts and custom centre caps shod in 195/45 Toyo tyres and 215/40 Dunlop tyres respectively, 15mm spacer on the rear, Automac prototype three-way adjustable coilovers (lowered 100mm up front and 80mm out back) with new wishbones, bushes, drop links and rod ends, #Brembo brake discs and #Pagid pads all round

    EXTERIOR: #M-Tech 2 body kit, custom rear diffuser, flared front and rear arches, flushed bonnet, tailgate and petrol cap, side repeaters and locks deleted, colour-coded door handles and mirrors, kidney grille de-chromed, MHW smoked rear lights and Hella fronts, full respray in custom Renault brown with gold flake

    INTERIOR: Sports beige leather seats with M logo, colour matched and colonised glove box, centre console, under dash tray, outer trim of door cards and centre section of the steering wheel, A, B and C pillars and roof lining retrimmed in black Alcantara, rear headrests fitted, E46 auto shifter with inner section retrimmed in brown Alcantara to match steering wheel, M-Tech aluminium pedals, smoked instrument cluster face with additional LEDs, smoked auxiliary gauges (oil and water temperature, and oil pressure) custom fitted to an M-Tech 2 rear view mirror, carpet dyed black, beige mats and load cover, colour-coded 15lb nitrous bottle in boot

    ICE: Sony CDX-CA900 CD tuner, Vibe SEK50 5.25” components and QB69 rectangular shaped 6x9 speakers

    THANKS: Custom Cars (07957 432167, 07956 605065) & all the boys that helped out, Automac GB Ltd (020 8440 8700)

    Have you ever seen anything like it? Auxiliary gauges fitted to the rear view mirror, just one of many custom touches.

    “We experimented for weeks with different shades from various manufacturers but it was worth it, this colour works so well with the rims and interior”
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    NIGHTCRAWLER UK 1600 Classic beauty on BBSs

    With a few simple mods this classic and extremely clean 1600 has been given a fresh new look.

    A classic is not a project to be undertaken lightly but with a bit of love, care and attention the results can be spectacular, as this 1600 demonstrates. Words: Elizabeth de La tour. Photos: Matt Richardson.

    Owning an older car takes dedication. Anything from the mid-’80s is okay, a little fragile now, perhaps, mainly due to age and/or mileage but could most definitely be daily driven with little or no problems to hamper ownership and enjoyment. I’m speaking from personal experience with a 1987 E28 518i. And with a bit of work and upkeep an ’80s car will most definitely bring you many years of motoring pleasure. Then there are the cars from the ’70s, or even earlier, that require a bit more dedication to look after properly. More things are likely to go wrong. There’s going to be more rust to worry about and owning a car of that vintage is not a decision to be made lightly as ownership will require commitment. Fortunately, Laurence Turner is very committed and both he and his carloving dad have the skills and hands-on approach that makes owning a car like this 1600 that much less painful.

    “I’ve always been into cars,” Laurence begins. “It’s dad’s fault! I’ve owned and modified a lot of cars over the years. I had a Corsa B that I wrote off, a Mk2 Golf that I did up and sold, then a Polo GTI but that was too ‘boy racer’. Then I had another Mk2 for four years which I turned into a show car on air. I decided that the next car I was going to build was something like a 2002; my dad had bought a VW split-screen camper and we started going to more retro shows, which were more fun and chilled. I wanted something that would crossover between the modified shows I was used to going to and the retro shows, so two days later I put the Mk2 up for sale and started looking for a car to buy.

    “This 1600 popped up and looked really tidy. It had just been imported from Ireland and was over in Leamington Spa. It was only running on three cylinders and needed some work but it was the best example I’d seen so I bought it. Going from a new car to one that’s 45 years old was a big change and I knew nothing about BMs before this! “The car was completely stock and the springs were pretty shot so my original plan was to change the springs and wheels. A lot of the US forums were very helpful and I bought the parts I needed from Jaymic, along with its restoration guide.

    I’d already bought a Haynes guide for the car but the Jaymic book is fantastic and was my bible for the project. The biggest problem was actually getting hold of parts. It was a real nightmare. I mainly found what I needed in the US and Germany but even then it took a long time to find bits. It took me six months to get a steering wheel boss, for example.”

    Of course, it was worth the wait when it came to all the parts for this 1600 and it took Laurence and his dad less than a year to get the car to where it is now, working on it every weekend and building it on the drive. Laurence’s friend, Luke from Decked Metals (hence the stickers), also helped with the project. The plan of changing the suspension and the wheels was accomplished but, as you can probably tell from looking at the photos, Laurence took his 1600 that little bit further…


    The wheels, 8x15” BBS RMs, were purchased from Racing Team Hofmann in Germany and the classic cross-spokes have been fully chrome powdercoated making them ridiculously shiny, which harmonises perfectly with the chrome brightwork that can be found around the car.

    While the original plan had been to change the springs for a fresh set, the opportunity to give the suspension a bit of an overhaul was too great to resist, and the 1600 now sits on a set of custom Gaz coilovers, with extended threaded bodies at the front. This means Laurence has been able to really drop the little 1600 on its belly and it looks awesome for it, those 15s sitting perfectly up in the arches.

    At the back there’s a window louvre and, you won’t be surprised to learn, these are rarer than rare. “I got lucky. It was listed on a forum as a plastic window vent.” explains Laurence with a wide grin. “The seller did not know what he was in possession of!” The window louvre adds the finishing touch and is the perfect period addition to a car that, stance aside, looks very original with those exceedingly cool foglights mounted on the front bumper and that vintage AA badge attached to the extremely shiny front grille.

    The interior is pretty standard, which we reckon is a good thing. Those mustardcoloured doorcards and the classic threedial dash design make it a wonderfully retro place to spend some time. There are a pair of Lux Tii seats and Laurence fitted a Grip Royal steering wheel – with the deep-dish design and light wood trim being the perfect choice to complement the overall interior ambience.


    You’d have to have a heart of stone to look at this 1600 and not fall in love with it. The BBS RMs are the perfect size and style for the car, the way it sits is spot-on. The fact that Laurence hasn’t messed around with the styling, bar the addition of the period-correct louvre, means you get to enjoy those classic lines uninterrupted.

    “I’ve taken it to as many shows as I possibly can,” says Laurence, “including one in Germany. I’m pleased to say the car was fine on the drive over. I really loved the experience and the car received a lot of attention.” But the ownership experience hasn’t been all smiles and sunshine, unfortunately, and it’s actually other owners that have soured the experience, sadly. “The 02 community isn’t about stanced cars and the US really hates the sort of car that I’ve built, so it’s been hard finding people who can help me,” explains Laurence. “I prefer a more chilled scene and, really, I’m not about the scene, I just want to hang out with my car friends, play with cars and have fun.” We think that is a great philosophy to have. It’s such a shame that purist elitists are ruining the classic BMW ownership experience for the younger crowd who want to do things their way; why can’t we all just get along?

    Ultimately, Laurence is looking to sell the 1600 but, thankfully, not because of some small-minded idiots; it’s purely due to a change in circumstances. And with a Polo as a daily and a history of modified VWs behind him, it’s no surprise to learn that he’s looking at a Jetta for his next project.

    Still, at least he explored the world of modified Bavarian machinery and his very first foray is one that neither he nor anyone else will forget in a hurry.

    DATA FILE #BMW-1600 / #BMW / BBS / #BMW-Typ-114 / #BBS / #BBS-RM

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 1.6-litre four-cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 / #M10B16 , four-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 7x15” (front) and 8x15” (rear) #BBS-RM002 wheels with Brilliant Silver powdercoated baskets, chrome coated bolts and genuine BBS centre caps with 165/50 (front) and 185/45 (rear) tyres, #GAZ-Gold custom coilovers, #GAZ billet adjustable camber top mounts

    EXTERIOR Zender-type fibreglass splitter, genuine Autoplas rear window louvre

    INTERIOR Lux Tii seats, Grip Royal ‘Woodie’ steering wheel

    THANKS Special thanks to dad, Luke and Alex for their help with the build, all the Decked Metals crew, Auto Finesse for its amazing products, Jaymic for all its knowledge and help, Mark Ikeda for building these amazing wheels, Heidi for letting me fill the house with car parts
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    ON THE LEVEL #VW-Caddy-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Caddy / #Volkswagen-Rabbit-Pickup / #Volkswagen-Rabbit / #Volkswagen / #VW /

    In an age of quick fix builds it’s nice to meet someone who’s been getting stuck in on the same car for years and years like Carl Levy has with his hot rod-inspired Mk1 Caddy. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Nick Williams.

    “I got in to VWs when I started my apprenticeship at a VW dealership,” Carl Levy started off. “It was inevitable after that wasn’t it? I was always in to my cars, I’ve got my dad to thank for that. He’s a real hands-on kind of guy, but it was when I started working at the dealership that my interest really focused you could say.”

    You might think spending your nine to five turning wrenches on VW’s latest wares could put you off having anything to do with them at home, but for Carl it only fired him up more. “Four of the guys there had old modified VWs, a pair of Mk1s and a pair of Mk2s, so those lads hold a lot of the responsibility for this car,” he smiled. Carl eventually joined the fraternity with a tidy Mk2 Driver, his second car and the first to wear the VW emblem.

    Under the guidance of his old-school loving colleagues, the Driver ended up running a 1.9-litre 8v engine on twin 45 Dellortos and then, when its sills gave up the ghost, that engine found its way in to another Mk2 that continued to serve him well.

    “One of the guys from the dealership’s brothers owned a Mk1 Caddy pick-up and he brought it in one day and took me out for a drive one lunch break,” Carl remembered fondly. “I couldn’t even drive at the time and it was certainly no show car, but I pretty much decided right then that one day I would own one.”

    Fast forward a while and Carl had sold the Golf and started looking for a Caddy, which, as anyone who has tried to buy a Mk1 Caddy before will agree, isn’t the easiest of things to do. With most of them being work vehicles from the day they rolled off the Wolfsburg production line you won’t find one that’s had an easy life that’s for sure. And of course, it’s a Mk1, so rot, rust and just general wear and tear is usually a bigger issue than is ideal. The third thing any potential Caddy buyer has to deal with is that, for some unknown reason, a load of them get modified by people who, how shall we put it? They like to do things their own way…

    “I found it on eBay and it was relatively local down in Portsmouth so I decided to pop down to check it out,” Carl remembered. “The most important thing was I wanted a solid chassis, the rest of it wasn’t as much of a concern,” he added. “This one was solid but with the fiberglass Audi RS-style front bumper it had, the limo tints and some seriously dodgy wheels to name just a few of the tasteful things it had, it wasn’t much of a looker! It also broke down between me buying it and collecting it, so it actually came in to my life on the back of a flatbed,” he laughed.


    “I had no real vision for the Caddy when I got it though, I just wanted a cool truck, I’m as surprised as anyone it came this far to be honest,” said Carl. One thing Carl was sure of though was that it would be a rolling project. “I didn’t want to shut it away in a workshop and build it over seven or eight years, never rolling it out until it was finished. There are so many builds that go that route and probably half of them will never see the light of day or the road again,” he reasoned. “Plus my budget wouldn’t have allowed it even if I’d have wanted to!”

    After getting the Caddy running and roadworthy again, Carl set about making it his own. And surprisingly, now that it’s all done and dusted, he managed to stick to his plan of it being a rolling build too! We say surprising because we’ve lost count of the amount of people who say they’re going to do keep a build on the road while they work on it… and then five years later the SORN notices are piling up.

    First on Carl’s hit list was the bodywork. The truck had been painted black already but it wasn’t a good job by any stretch. Add the holes left from the dodgy front bumper and it was obvious Carl was going to have to start from scratch. With budget in mind, he split the job in to two halves.

    After doing as much prep work as he could himself, the truck was sent off to Elite Panel Craft in Wilton to get the front end sorted out, the holes plated up and a nice fresh coat of Diamond black laid down. On the second visit the GTI arch spats were smoothed and colour-coded, the seams between the rear quarters and the tail-lights were worked over and the bare alley bed was painted in bed liner. With a set of 13” Revolution fourspoke wheels, a nod to Carl’s love of all things old-school, he was happy to take in a few shows that year with the Caddy as it sat.

    “In 2012 the interior got a full overhaul, it was time to rip everything out and start again,” he explained. “I had already decided on a black and yellow colour scheme, so all I had to settle on was what seats to go for.” In the end our man settled for a pair of Cobra Classics in black with yellow piping. Retro Retrims, a company who’s name says it all, sorted Carl out with a pair of custom-made doorcards to match the Cobras and while they had the material out, put together a pair of matching B-pillar trims and a complete headlining too. “The roof lining was probably the most challenging part of the interior,” Carl remembered. “All the glass had to come out as the roof lining has to wrap under the seals and be bonded. The roof lining also comes through oversized so had to be trimmed as we went. As the roof lining just sleeves over three metal rods, like an old Beetle or something, the tricky part is getting it even and taught without any sagging.”

    When Carl bought the Caddy the engine was like the rest of the car; functional but something of a mess of mis-matched parts. A 2.0-litre 16v was matched to KJET mechanical fuel injection from a KR and a 2.0-litre Passat fuel pump but no lift pump from the tank to the fuel pump housing. This concoction of parts meant that it ran, but under any sort of load it’d misfire due to the lack of fuel getting in to the engine. After trying to sort things out with the fuel system from a 9a 16v and still failing to get it running right, Carl gave up and decided if he wanted to progress, he needed to take a step back towards his beloved carbs. A pair of twin-45s were picked up on eBay and a friend sold on the manifold he had to get them fitted up. Finally, the Caddy’s engine was behaving itself, well, sort of…


    “It was pretty tired in general, cylinder three had low compression and the rings were shot,” he remembered. “I did what I could to keep it going for a while as I knew that if I was going to redo the engine it would mean pulling everything out and doing the bay at the same time which is no small job, so there were a lot of shows when the bonnet remained firmly shut,” he smiled.

    Eventually though Carl realised that the bay was the last thing on his to-do list that needed ticking off so he couldn’t put it off any longer. At this point there wasn’t much left to do on the rest of the truck and the bay was severely letting the side down. As with everything else, though, Carl had it all planned out before he picked up a single spanner. “With most Mk1 bays, the first thing people do is cut out the scuttle and smooth the whole bay, finishing it in the highest gloss possible with a lot of polished and bling parts. I wanted the total opposite of that,” he explained. “I wanted a stealthy and aggressive look with just a few bright bits to really make it pop, kind of a hot rod thing.”


    So rather than lose the scuttle, Carl decided to incorporate it in to the overall look of the bay by fabricating a covering piece for it. Inside the space went the Caddy’s ECU, ignition setup, TCI pack, coil pack, horn and alarm and much of the loom too. “Doing the bay was a complete step into the unknown for me, and a lot of it pushed me out of my comfort zone,” he admitted. “Yes, I’m a mechanic, so people would think it should be easy but unless you work for a very specialist company, you just don’t do this kind of thing day-to- day. I work for a small VAG specialist so the bulk of our work is standard service and maintenance,” he added. “You just don’t get normal customers wanting engine conversions, smooth bays and wire tucks!”


    Once the scuttle area was all sorted, the battery tray was cut out and the battery itself relocated behind the passenger seat, the coolant reservoir was junked in favour of a top fill radiator and the washer bottle was also unscrewed and relocated. “I then lost the bulkhead brake linkage and servo by modifying the steering column and pedal box to run a G60 master cylinder off it on the advice of a friend,” Carl explained. “Then my friend Joe came over and helped me weld all the holes up,” he added before laughing, “and he only set fire to it once too.”


    Carl stuck to his budget guns when it came to painting the bay and opted for a few cans of Montana graffiti paint. Being paint designed for outdoor use, it proved plenty tough and looks just fine and you would struggle to tell it wasn’t a pro job to our eyes.

    “Sorting the wiring out was a nightmare. It was such a mess, me and my other half Becky spent hours and hours labelling everything up, tracing what went where and then extending what needed to be rerouted,” Carl added. “Just to make it harder for us I wanted every wire to be black too, which probably wasn’t the smartest idea in hindsight!”


    Finally though, and with their relationship still intact, Carl was ready to put some power back in the Caddy’s bay. The original engine was too far gone so a second was picked up. This, too, was way past its best and uneconomical to repair so the hunt for a third motor was on. Eventually a very low mileage ABF lump was sourced from a friend that had left it sitting unused for close to a decade but with just 15k miles on it. “I took the ABF off him and stripped and rebuilt it, replacing the rings, shells and the oil pump etc even though it probably didn’t need it,” Carl explained. “Then I sent the head off to be skimmed, ported and flowed before getting it back and going over every little bit with 3M matt black texture paint, gold and a few bits in brown to make it pop, painting bits in our spare room and baking them dry in the kitchen!”

    Carl’s favourite part of the bay is something that is, well, almost impossible to even spot unless you know it’s there. Deciding that the topmount linkage for the Dellortos was a messy solution, our man set about creating a one-off setup to allow him to run an under-mount linkage instead. Doing this involved creating a one-off reverse mount for the alternator, changing the belt and a whole lot of head-scratching and custom fab work.

    “I’ve never seen this done before and people may not notice things like this first time they look, some people may never notice it at all, but when people do notice, it makes it all the more satisfying and worthwhile,” he reasoned.

    “Someone once said to me one of the greatest parts of modifying a car is injecting a bit of your personality into it,” he continued. “I completely agree with that and as one of my other greatest passions is American football and I’ve supported the Jaguars since I was a kid and they became a franchise, I feel the little helmet I made in to a catch can is another of my favourite touches.”


    Now as we bring Carl’s story to a close, we’ve got to level with you. There is so much to Carl’s build we haven’t covered here, the wheels, the custom bike, the wooden trims on the bumpers, the list goes on. And as much as we hate to leave a story half-finished, we quite honestly can’t fit it all in! You see, when we sent Carl a few questions on his truck we said, like we do to everyone, ‘put as much information in to your answers as possible, it makes for a better feature’. Now, we do this because all too often we’ll get answers back on a feature and we’ve got quite literally one-line responses to work with. Which as you can imagine, makes our lives pretty difficult! Carl though, well Carl went the other way, supplying nearly 7000 words on his truck – possibly under duress, we can’t be sure – typed up by his partner Becky!

    “To be honest, a silly goal I set myself a few years back was to get a feature in PVW,” Carl smiled. “I thought it was pretty unrealistic at the time and didn’t see it ever happening, so it’s like a dream that it did and it’s probably my proudest moment with the whole build,” he added. “It’s like reaching the top of the mountain, and as a small fish in a very big pond and means a lot to me.” Carl, it’s been our pleasure!

    Custom wooden inset on the front bumper is a nice touch and ties in nicely with the BBS’ centres.

    Interior is a lovely place to be thanks to new Cobra Classic buckets and colour-coded Retro Retrims doorcards.


    Carl’s other half Becky pulling off the ‘this photoshoot is bloody freezing’ look well…

    “I wanted a stealthy and aggressive look with just a few bright bits to really make it pop”

    Dub Details

    ENGINE: 2.0-litre 16v #ABF , head ported, flowed, skimmed and diamond cut, twin-45 #Dellorto carburetors, custom stainless exhaust manifold going in to custom Torque Technic stainless exhaust system, Mk2 GTI 8v gearbox with 4+E fifth gear, Bugpack rear mount, #Midnight-Garage Stage 1 mount kit.

    CHASSIS: 7.5” and 8x15” #BBS-RM wheels in 4x100 fitment, clay brown centres, polished dishes with gold bolts and centre caps, 280mm #G60 brake setup with Goodrich braided hoses, front coilovers, rear axle flipped with 1.5” lowering blocks and custom adjustable bump stops, rear camber shims.

    EXTERIOR: Full respray in VW Diamond black, chrome front bumper, mirrors, wiper arms, grille trim and body side trims, tinted cross-hair headlights, crystal indicators, wing repeaters and rear lights, sliding opening rear screen, smoothed and colour-coded MK1 GTI arch mouldings, custom hand-built aluminium bed bike carrier, rear tailgate Pro Net, Flushed rear panel and fold away number plate.

    INTERIOR: Retro Retrims black vinyl roof lining, B-pillar trims and doorcards with yellow stitching, deleted rear-view mirror and sun visors, Cobra Classic bucket seats in black with yellow piping, Momo Jaguar wooden steering wheel, Porsche #VDO voltage and oil pressure gauges.

    THANKS: Firstly and most importantly my girlfriend Becky Hill. She has been there supporting me every step of the way, she has spent countless hours of her time off helping out and even down to helping me type this write up, Kleenfreaks and everyone involved for all the support, my bosses Martin Thomas and Mike Fealy at M&M Autos for all the support and use of the workshop, Nick Williams for wanting to do this shoot, Joe Mallet for his welding skills, the Bpc_retro gang and the ‘Causing a Scene’ crew, Andrew Monteith for his stainless fabrication skills, Nick Collins and Lewis Simmons for coming and getting their hands dirty and a massive thank you to all the awesome people we have met along the way – you know who you are!
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