- Post is under moderationCHRIS VARGAS #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i-Coupe-E30 / #BMW-325i-Coupe / #BMW-325i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BBS
Chris picked up his E30 almost four years ago but it looked nothing like it does now; it didn’t run, the interior and paint were in an awful state, and it had numerous leaks, but none of that put Chris off and he got stuck into his new project. “I got the car running which turned out to be the main relay, and she hit the road since that day! I slowly restored this vehicle in my parents’ garage at home, with a little help here and there from my dad. I did everything on this car myself beside the paint job. I did all the maintenance needed to make it reliable on the road and fixed the leaks,” explains Chris, but it’s not just been about maintenance for the car he has named Chapulina and there are plenty of mods on board. The E30’s been dropped on a set of BC coilovers over #BBS-Style-5 splits, and there’s the aforementioned respray along with Euro grilles and OEM ellipsoid headlights, while under the bonnet you’ll find a Conforti chip and a set of long tube exhaust manifolds with an X-pipe and catless exhaust for more power and lots more noise. Inside, meanwhile, you’ll find Recaros and an upgraded stereo system and the end result is one seriously sexy E30.
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- Post is under moderationThe Shoebox saga continues
CAR: #1950-Ford-Club-Coupe / #1950 / #Ford-Club-Coupe / #Ford-Club
OWNER: Delwyn Mallett
A refresher since my last 1950 ‘ #Shoebox ’ #Ford-Shoebox update, which I’m startled to realise was some two years ago.
As related in my previous report, the task at hand has never been a restoration as such but merely to get the beast road-legal and reliable. With that as the brief, the ’Box was delivered to Hampshire specialist Roy Pitter, of Rods and Restorations, where the first task – on safety grounds and at Roy’s insistence – was a total rewire using a modern, off-the-shelf ‘street rod’ loom.
The car arrived in this country on a set of totally inappropriate cheapo #BBS replica wheels, which have now been jettisoned in favour of a set of ‘steelies’, wider-rimmed than original and custom-built with sufficient offset (inset?) to allow fatter tyres to fit without fouling the low-cut rear ’arches. Playing with the wheels inevitably led to renewing the brake system, with a new master cylinder and slave cylinders. All available off-the- American-shelf at a refreshingly low price in comparison to buying similar parts for a European classic. The frankly awful accelerator pedal, little more than a piece of stamped tin on a rubber ‘hinge’, has also been replaced with a new and much more substantial device.
With much time spent viewing the car from ground level and lower, it was decided that the sills ought to be replaced and a set of panels were ordered from the States and grafted in. A small area of rust in the passenger’s footwell was also cut out and replaced, and I raised quite a few blisters on my hand after deciding to scrape off the concrete-like sound-deadening on the cabin floor. The car might now be noisier inside – I’ve yet to find out – but it will certainly be many pounds lighter, and, after all, it’s a ’Rod so noisy is good.
I tempted fate in my last report by saying that the engine was running sweetly. With the 2015 Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races targeted as a deadline and rapidly approaching, a leaky carb (one of the two fitted on the Fenton manifold) was dispatched to a specialist and rebuilt virtually overnight as a rush job. Phew, almost there! But then I fell at the last fence…
A misfire and a lack of compression on one cylinder, which consultation with the Flathead boys predicted was almost certainly caused by failed piston rings, caused me also to suffer a compression failure and I abandoned the mission. It’s now Pendine 2016 or bust. More very soon.
Right New metal where it was needed, then off to Pendine with the engine ‘running sweetly’. Only it was not to be…Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ BMW / PIERS’ #BMW-E30 / #BMW-328i-Touring / #BMW-328i-Touring-E30 / #BMW-328i-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E30
In my first Our Cars article I did say that the E46 was going be the one car to do it all. Well late last year the stars aligned and the stable grew by two. My midlife crisis. Another BMW estate and a Peugeot 106 GTi. One could say an odd couple, especially for a 45-year-old father of three!
The 106 is possibly as much fun as you can have in a front-wheel-drive car on a twisty road. As it was built for sprints and hill climbs one would hope so! Twink, as it has been dubbed, shares garage space with “Lucy,” a car I can write about in this mag.
An E30 estate is a lovely thing… What lies beneath the square ’90s lines is what makes this deceptive car special. Lucy was built over eight years by a man who remained absolutely focussed on building a car which has hidden depths, a sleeper, or the description I prefer, a Q-car. At first glance, while may think “tidy E30 estate” it is when you look closer that you begin to notice irregularities. Bucket seats, a pair of Pole Positions, a Personal steering wheel in suede surrounded by buttons, buttons which control… oh… the digi dash and data logger? The Samsonas shifter standing proud on the transmission tunnel, signalling intent.
WMS four-pots in grey hide behind the black #BBS standard wheels and the work continues with all of the bits you can’t see. Pop the bonnet and the bay is clean, not VAG builder clean, but tidy, and home to an M52 with additional cooling for water and oil to allow hard work and abuse. The underside of the car is a sight to behold: stripped, cleaned, resealed and comprehensively upgraded. Reinforcing, castor, camber, control from harder bushings and mounts. Lucy was been built to deceive but ultimately for speed.
I am lucky to own a car which has been modified to such a high level. I now take over the baton and there are always things to do. The number plate was my first mod and is part of the reason for “the fridge” as she was known in the past being dubbed “Lucy”. She has one and is a bit of a drug!
The next mod was refinishing the two sets of wheels the car came with. One black for the road and British Racing Green for the 888s and the track! Again, Trestan did the job and I couldn’t be happier! I did also look for a set of flash wheels and went for Fifteen52’s Formula TRs in 8x16” all-round. Being a complete newbie in regards to buying wheels I came unstuck; these wheels fi t a standard E30 perfectly and IMO look great but a small issue that wasn’t factored in when buying them was the four-pot calipers! It is a lesson I will only have to learn once and Fifteen52 UK’s Rich has been great about sorting things out for me and my error. I can’t praise their customer service enough!
Things for the immediate future are repairing the Bedouin tent of a roof lining and new pads; another 100hp would make Lucy pretty much perfect but that is a different issue altogether… Does anyone have a cheap #S54 ?
Personal steering wheel and Samsonas shifter
Black BBSs for road, green for track and #Fifteen52 s because why not?
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- Post is under moderationFORCED INDUCTION FRENZY!
BOOST MODE #Stunning 610 whp turbocharged E36 M3 turns up the heat. Cars are meant to be driven and it was that realisation that took this E36 M3 from mild to wild.
JUNKIE BOOST Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Patrick Lauder
Dean Yarza never intended for his E36 M3 to turn out this way. He’d always wanted one, that much he did know, and finally owning one was the fulfilment of a high school dream, even though it followed a modified E46 M3 ZCP. You might have thought that his former car would have been the keeper, the big one, because it was an E46 M3 after all, but life’s not always that straightforward. That Dean has been dreaming about owning an E36 M3 since his high school days is no surprise; this is a man who, briefly, owned a hand-me-down E21 323i as his first car and who admits to having been interested in BMWs since first being able to drive.
The Carbon black 2005 E46 M3 that he purchased in 2006 was where his BMW journey began proper, Dean having experimented with numerous vehicles prior to that. “I’ve basically modified everything I’ve owned since high school, giving in to the typical sickness the everyday car nut suffers from and I do not discriminate when it comes to the hobby,” he grins. This explains why his car ownership history includes an Acura Integra on nitrous, a couple of Saleen Mustangs and a Saleen Cobra, all of which ended up running over 500whp courtesy of aftermarket superchargers, a Ford F150 truck and even a couple of Yamaha R6 bikes. It’s a varied, colourful automotive past in which Dean has sampled all manner of modified machinery and that most certainly did not stop when the M3 entered his life. “I modified it with all the NA boltons including long tube exhaust manifolds, performance pulleys, air filter, 4.10 gearing and a performance tune. The exterior was also fitted with the full line of Vorsteiner VSL pieces – front bumper, rear deck lid and diffuser. 19” BBS LM rims and a Brembo GT brake kit were also installed,” completing what sounds like a thoroughly sexy and sorted M3. So why the switch from 46 to 36?
“After parting with my E46 M3, I yearned for another M and, more importantly, something to give me purpose, spending hours on forums researching and purchasing parts. At the time, it was the perfect platform to satisfy the need to handle, perform, and modify while being fairly painless to attain,” explains Dean though, in truth, the E36 did almost put the brakes on his modding addiction but, as we all know, you just can’t fight it…
“As many E36 owners know, it’s a bit tough to find them in a non-abused state in today’s market,” he says, and he’s not wrong. “After failing to find one to my liking for a few months, I put out a wanted add online and, amazingly, received a response for what was almost exactly what I was looking for. Prior to my search, I’d curbed my expectations, accepting the fact that these cars are close to 20 years old and I wasn’t going to find a gem. My initial want was just for a clean-titled, decent paint/interior M3 knowing that 90-110k miles would be the norm. What appeared in response to my add was a single-owner, excellent condition M3 with only around 33,000 miles, completely stock, still with the break-in instructions applied to the windscreen, as well as the original window sticker still in the glove compartment. It was far too pristine but in no way would be passed up.” That sounds like a once in a lifetime find to us and it would have been very silly of Dean to turn down the opportunity to own such an immaculate car, but it was the car’s virgin state and lack of miles that presented Dean with a bit of a quandary. “Prior to finding one with such low mileage, my plans were night and day from what the car is now,” he says.
“I initially only wanted something I could drive every day and everywhere, occasionally having weekend duty for spirited driving in the hills. To do this, I planned nothing more than a capable coilover set and a nice wheel and tyre combo. In a way, I just wanted a cool car I could really beat on and not care too much about,” but obviously that couldn’t happen now and a different approach to the whole ownership and modding outlook had to be taken. In fact, as we mentioned earlier, Dean wasn’t even sure whether modifying was the right thing to do. “As I did not plan to find such a low mileage/collector type of car, it was a tough decision to modify,” he says, before adding “ but eventually the bug got the better of me,” and so things began to happen.
Suspension and wheels came first, as per his original plans; “Knowing that I did not participate in high performance driving/autocross events, I was looking for something simple in terms of handling and comfort,” Dean explains. “The Bilstein PSS9 kit fits this bill as it is a basic coilover setup which is not too aggressive while offering, in my opinion, one of the most comfortable rides for a coilover while still improving handling capability. Along with this, I’ve also chosen a set of Dinan front and rear strut braces and a BMW X-brace, which is found as standard on the M3 LTW.” Handling benefits aside, the adjustable ride height of the PSS9s means that Dean has been able to dial-in his perfect stance and the drop he’s gone for is serious; those front arches are a hair’s breadth above the rubber while at the rear he’s got the tyres tucked just past the edges of the lips and the result is spectacular.
As far as his wheel choice is concerned, for many BBS fans it’s the holy grail for both modern and classic BMWs alike and a wheel he has a lot of love for. “It was only fitting that for a classic M3 I’d want to stick with classic wheels. My favourite wheels for the BMW have always been BBS LMs, I feel you can put these on any car and drastically improve the look, especially European applications. I owned a set on my E46 M3 and had nothing but positive experiences with them in regards to looks, performance and strength. You get what you pay for with wheels and in my eyes, they are half of the car. I did consider other wheels but this was very short-lived, I was set on LMs for my build. It turned out to be very difficult to find a set, though, as 18s were much harder to come by than the typical 19” and above. Luck still was not on my side which forced me to become a little more creative and experiment with a set taken from a Honda S2000. This presented a bit of a challenge as the offset and PCD were different but after some research I found a local wheel customisation shop which was able to adjust bolt pattern as well as offset to get them to fit correctly.”
It’s safe to say it was worth the effort as the LMs look so good on the E36, as they do on just about any BM, and here they’re finished off with a BBS stud conversion kit and those iconic red centre caps.
That’s all well and good, but the real reason we’re here is for what’s under the bonnet and it took a bit of a personal revelation for Dean to make the huge leap from mild NA mods to off-the-scale, full-on forced induction fury. “I found deals on the basic bolt-ons such as a Dinan CAI and Dinan exhaust and the car stayed in this state for quite sometime as I did not want to overly modify it, risking an adverse affect to the car’s value considering its mileage.
Eventually, realising that cars are meant to be driven and I would not be satisfied until I had it the way I wanted, I decided to open the floodgates and enjoy it while I have it,” he says and this is definitely the right philosophy. “After the basic bolt-ons, the turbo research began brewing and opened up a whole new world. For one whole year, I began researching and stockpiling the turbo components needed for my build, beginning with the actual turbo, a Garrett GT35R and SPA T3 manifold, fuel components, Cut-Ring head gasket, and Zeitronix data logging gauges and equipment, the essentials I needed to get started. After a year acquiring these components – and then some – it was all installed in one shop sitting, taking a few months to complete.
“The car was taken to David Tran at 4B Auto in Santa Clara, CA; David is known to have built some of the fastest turbo E36s around with upwards of 1000hp, so I knew I was in good hands with this build,” says Dean. “The motor was disassembled, having to remove the head for resurfacing, while upgrading the head studs with an ARP2000 10mm stud kit. From there, the stock head gasket was also upgraded to an 87mm Cut- Ring head gasket. When the head returned from resurfacing, the SPA T3 turbo manifold was mounted while the Vanos was also rebuilt and the head was finally ready to install. Once the engine was reassembled, various changes were made including upgraded fuel components such as a Rally Road high-flow billet fuel rail, 115lb high impedance injectors, and an Aeromotive adjustable fuel pressure regulator. The intake manifold was also swapped for an M50 model for better flow. Impressive to say, the engine was able to fire up at first attempt with no hiccups. David’s engine work was one of the smoother processes throughout.”
High praise indeed and there’s nothing better than a true turn-key conversion that just works, especially after such a huge amount of work. A quick glance at the engine spec is all you need to know that this is a serious performance project but all that research and time spent on it was absolutely worth it.
It enabled Dean to pick the best components and the ones best suited to helping him achieve his end goal, and all that work has yielded some astonishing numbers. Peak power now stands at 610whp, which is around 700hp at the crank however you like to do your calculations, and is backed up by 571lb ft of wheel torque, both serious numbers and definitely plenty to be getting on with.
Obviously, as well as the suspension upgrades that were carried out before Dean let loose, the chassis and transmission have received further modifications to be able to cope with that huge increase in output over stock. First of all, there’s a big brake kit in the shape of Brembo’s GT kit and before we even get onto the specs those red calipers are just killer and work perfectly alongside the red detailing on the LMs and against the white bodywork.
They do, of course, deliver on the braking front too, but then you’d expect nothing less with four-pot calipers and 355mm discs stationed up front and only a fractionally smaller pairing located at the rear. As far as the transmission is concerned, Dean has bolstered the ZF five-speed manual gearbox with a selection of UUC components, including a twin-disc flywheel/clutch combo, steel clutch line, and short shifter, all of which combine to allow it to far better cope with all that power and torque.
What we really love about Dean’s E36 M3, and we love everything about it, is the fact that, really, there’s no way for you to know just how much power is lurking beneath that pristine white bodywork. Obviously it’s not a stock car, but he’s kept all of the styling within the spectrum of normality and as a result there’s little to suggest that this might be nothing more than a lightly breathed-on older M3. “My intention for the exterior was something not too aggressive; basically maintain the stock look and body panels yet add some touches to give a slightly more aggressive look,” and we’d say it’s mission accomplished. Euro lights have been sourced from ECS Tuning and fitted all-round, along with a set of ZKW HID projector headlights; a Max Velocity RS front lip sits beneath the front bumper for a hint of extra aggression, while at the rear there’s a Mateo Motorsports diffuser and a sexy UUC adjustable carbon spoiler. The interior has been kept largely standard, bar the addition of numerous gauges and a few minor tweaks that enhance what was already there. The Vader front seats, finished in Mulberry-colour leather, have been left alone and Dean has added some M3-logo’d mats, a customwrapped Euro three-spoke steering wheel and MT Shift Boots alcantara gear lever and handbrake gaiters to complete the look.
Four years of ownership are what it’s taken to bring the E36 to this level and while it has clearly been worth the effort, there has been a lot of it involved in getting the car to where it is. As Dean himself says “I currently have no plans for a next car, other than possibly a modern 5 Series daily driver. At this point, I may have exhausted all energy to even think about starting yet another project,” and that’s something we can all relate to it, that feeling of near-exhaustion when you’ve “finished” a project, or at least got it to the next stage of its evolution. Of course, this M3 has not finished evolving, not in the slightest. “A contingency plan is actually already in place,” says Dean.
“Simultaneously with the turbo install, I have also been working on a fully-built spare motor capable of 1000hp, which was also completed about the time the turbo install was competed. Also on hand is a full drivetrain upgrade, which includes a Euro six-speed 420 Getrag transmission, DSS six-bolt 1000hp driveshaft, upgraded rear axles, and a large case 210mm limited slip differential from a 1990 BMW 750iL.
The only future decision to be made now is which turbo and manifold configuration to fit. With the upgraded turbo and motor, the car should be able to generate and handle even more power with ease. If any mishaps were to occur, these components are ready, that is if impatience does not get to me first and I proactively go ahead with the swap.”
That’s a very sensible approach to take with a completely unhinged project, and we whole-heartedly approve. Dean’s E36 is pure performance: there’s no frivolity here, it’s full-on, focussed and furious with it, and we love it.
“After the basic bolt-ons, the turbo research began brewing and opened up a whole new world. For one whole year, I began researching and stockpiling the turbo components needed for my build”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW / Turbo #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3-Turbo / #BMW-M3-Turbo-E36 / #Garrett / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E36 / BMW
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #S52 / #BMW-S52 , Cut-Ring 87mm head gasket (stock compression), #ARP2000 head studs, #Garrett-GT3528R dual ball-bearing turbo, #SPA-T3-turbo manifold, 610x305x76mm front-mount intercooler, #Tial 50mm blow-off valve, Tial 44mm MVR wastegate, M50 intake manifold, #Mishimoto coolant overflow, Mishimoto performance aluminium radiator, #Steward high-performance water pump, RK Tunes E85 turbo tune and MAF, 115lb high impedance injectors, Rally Road high-flow billet fuel rail, Aeromotive adjustable fuel pressure regulator, Vibrant intake filter, custom fabricated 3” stainless steel down pipe and exhaust system, #Vibrant turbo muffler, #Radium-Engineering oil catch can, #Radium-Engineering 12 micron fuel filter, Racetronix Fuel Pump wiring harness, Walbro 485lph fuel pump
POWER AND TORQUE 610whp, 571 lb ft wtq
TRANSMISSION Five-speed #ZF manual gearbox, UUC twin-disc flywheel/clutch kit, #UUC steel clutch line, Rally Road clutch pivot pin, #UUC-EVO3 short shifter with double shear selector rod, #Vorshlag polyurethane transmission mounts
CHASSIS 8.5x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #BBS-LM wheels with 235/40 (front) Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2 and 255/35 (rear) Toyo Proxes R888 tyres, BBS red centre caps, #BBS stud kit, #Bilstein-PSS9 coilovers, Vorshlag polyurethane engine mounts, #Dinan front and rear strut braces, #BMW OEM X-brace, #Brembo GT BBK with 355x32mm two-piece discs and four-piston calipers (front) and 328x28mm two-piece discs and two-piston calipers (rear), #Hawk HPS brake pads (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Alpine white, ZKW HID projector headlights, ECS tuning European front clear corners, side markers and rear lights, Max Velocity RS front lip, Mateo Motorsports rear diffuser, UUC three-way adjustable carbon fibre spoiler
INTERIOR Custom wrapped European three-spoke steering wheel, MT shift boots Alcantara gear lever and handbrake gaiters, Rally Road steering column dual gauge pod, LeatherZ centre gauge pod, Turbosmart Eboost2 boost controller/gauge, #Zeitronix ZR-2 wideband AFR, ECA-2 ethanol content analyser, ZR-2 boost and ZR-2 fuel pressure gauges
Hard-pipe-mounted Tial blow-off vlave.
Turbo is hidden away, only the air filter is visible in the engine bay.
Interior home to various gauges plus Alcantara gear and hand brake gaiters.
Gorgeous 18” BBS LMs and #Brembo-BBK .
Up front, HID projector headlights with angel eyes.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEvolution Not Revolution Gorgeous US E30 M3. There’s a purity to the E30 M3 that’s ensured a strong and devoted following over the years. But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to tweak and refine them… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jordan Unternaher.
High-end resto-modding is big business these days. We see it in all corners of the automotive world – Eagle will sell you a Jaguar E-Type, if your pockets are sufficiently deep, with better-than-new bodywork, classic looks, and thoroughly modern power, suspension and brakes. Singer will do the same for a Porsche 911, Icon offer a new-old Ford Bronco, it’s everywhere. Jensen Interceptors, Peugeot 205 GTIs, you name it.
The E30 we see here, however, is a slightly different interpretation of the timeworn resto-mod ethos. It hasn’t been stripped down to its component nuts and bolts in a hermetically sealed lab then rebuilt as a sort of retro-modern pastiche of its former self.
No, its owner, James Dallas of Ohio, has instead chosen to optimise and contemporise his iconic three-box 3 Series by following two distinct paths: firstly, to cherry pick the finest parts from the evolutionary E30 timeline, and secondly to bring all of that glorious power and tactility screaming into the 21st century. This, then, is an M3 re-imagined – a fulfilment of a cerebral vision, spirited into reality via the medium of methodical and careful planning. Like a chef who’s ever so precise about the measurements of their ingredients, this is proper less-is-more stuff.
An interesting approach, really, given how more-is-more the E30 M3 was in spirit in the first place. What’s key to remember is that time has mellowed the lines of this box-arched whippet; it’s no longer a hooligan bruiser, but a bona fide collectors’ item honed for B-road blasts and spirited forays into licence-losing velocity.
“I’ve been into BMWs forever, really,” says James. “I owe it all to my uncle Dennis for properly getting the obsession going - they are such amazing vehicles, and the drivability of the E30 is unprecedented; a true driver’s car. The first BMW I bought was actually a 1998 M3 sedan,” he continues. “It offers the best bang for your buck, hands down! Simple as that.” This practical everyday-superhero still sits on the Dallas driveway, but it’s the older upstart that’s drawing all the attention today. James had dabbled in modifying the newer car with uprated suspension, Dinan parts and basic bolt-ons, but the acquisition of this poster-boy of homologation allowed the scales to fall from his eyes as he began to view BMW ownership in a fresh light. Well, not so much ownership, not any more – call it curatorship.
“It’s the true benchmark of the M3 family,” he enthuses, “the way it connects you to the road and really makes you drive the thing is something you just can’t experience in newer cars. It’s also the one car that I’ve genuinely always wanted to own - the body lines are something we’ll never see the like of again.” He’s right; it is impressive how the reworked E30 transformed the svelte everyday saloon into something pumped-up and muscular. It’s worth remembering just how many body panels were junked from the standard car by BMW M to create this near-mythical beast.
“This M3 originally came from the East Coast – New Jersey, I think,” says James. “I actually purchased it from California – I’d say the condition was fair-to-good at that time. And yes, I definitely had a plan in mind for the car right from the start; I knew the exact wheels I wanted, the overall style…
I’ve always enjoyed the look and excitement of the old DTM cars, so that was definitely a major influence and a huge inspiration.” First things first, though – these have always been function-over-form cars, it’s just a happy coincidence that they happen to look frickin’ awesome, so James’s first job was to ensure that the oily bits were all just so. That iconic S14 engine (employing just four cylinders, chosen because it was small and light, but more than happy to make mincemeat of contemporary six-pots) was lovingly torn to bits and fully refreshed: all-new OEM parts - the thermostat, belts, plug wires, and then came the addition of cams, head studs, and a Turner chip to imbue a fresh sense of urgency. Any S14 is a good S14, but one that’s operating as-new and then a little bit more is very much a thing to aspire to. Stay in school, kids – these things can be yours… “I didn’t really run into any problems, but it was a long and tedious process to say the least,” he recalls with a grimace. “There was a lot of sourcing BMW factory parts. A lot!”
One area that will definitely stick in the craw of the purists is the suspension, as many will argue that there’s not a damn thing wrong with the stock setup. But in the spirit of resto-modding, James was keen to make sure that the handling matched the power in a thoroughly modern sense, and that’s the reason why you’ll find a set of high-end Ground Control coilovers nestling perkily beneath those lantern-jawed arches. “I felt it was the best overall choice for response and handling for the car,” he shrugs. And it’s his motor, so what he says goes.
The styling is what’s really interesting here, as it eagerly feeds that whole overarching less-is-more ethos with a keen sense of the historic timeline of the E30 M3’s evolution. You see, the timeline in a nutshell (heavily edited, as we don’t have space to chew over the full history here) is that the model arrived in early 1986 in Europe – America had to wait another year – and it immediately embarked upon a programme of constant reinvention. The M3 Evolution arrived in 1987, rocking a revised cylinder head, and then 1988’s Evolution II knocked things up a notch with all sorts of engine upgrades – compression ratio, intake, management, all sorts. It also had thinner glass, a deeper front airdam, an additional rear lip spoiler and lighter bumpers.
Befuddlingly, the Evo II is generally referred to as the M3 Evolution as BMW didn’t recognize the original M3 ‘Evo’ as sufficiently different to merit a different name.
Confused? Try the subsequent Evolution III then, which was actually the Sport Evolution – this #1989 model had further extensive engine upgrades along with adjustable front and rear spoilers, lower suspension and wider wings…
But let’s not get bogged down in history, or nitpicking, we don’t need to discuss the minutiae of the Tour de Corse, Europameister, Cecotto or Ravaglia editions here. Suffice it to say that James had read up on his history and carefully chosen the best bits from each of these evolutionary steps to turn his E30 into what he deemed to be perfect: the Evolution II front lip, the adjustable Sport Evo rear spoiler, the Evo air box, the Evo II steering wheel – subtle differences, probably only noticeable to true E30 nerds, but vital stuff nonetheless. It’s this dedication to geekery that really makes the build pop.
“It was always going to have BBS RS wheels,” says James. “Truly, I feel they are the best period-correct wheel for this vehicle, and I think they look fantastic. It fits perfectly with the old-school DTM look I was going for. I didn’t want to change anything with the interior though, as the M3 has the Cardinal carpets, which are pretty rare, so I left it factory. Just freshened it up, cleaned and re-bolstered the front seats.”
A few further modifications were carefully stirred into the mix over the course of the eighteen-month resto-mod exercise, in the form of a short-shifter and a tighter Z3 steering rack, and James’s favourite upgrade of them all is the diff: “I swapped in a 4.27 LSD, and I love it,” he smiles. “It gives you that immediate response as you come out of a turn or as soon as you hit the gas.”
And that’s the point of an E30 M3, isn’t it? Immediate response, granular feedback, the synthesis of man and machine working harmoniously as one. Sure, this example might have concours judges turning up their stuffy noses, but they’re not the ones driving it. James’s modern reinterpretation of this iconic and dreamlike car is pretty much spot-on – less-is-more, and at the same time utterly outrageous.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BBS / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 , #Eisenmann exhaust system with DTM tips, #Evolution air box, #Turner chip, #Schrick cams. Five-speed manual gearbox, 4.27 LSD
CHASSIS 8x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) #BBS-RS wheels with 255/40 (front and rear) BF Goodrich tyres, Ground Control coilovers, Ground Control camber plates, cross-drilled discs, Z3 steering rack
EXTERIOR Salmon silver paint, Evo II front lip, Sport Evo rear spoiler
INTERIOR Original Cardinal Red interior, Evo II steering wheel
THANKS First and foremost, my uncle Dennis. Also, Cam Peugh, Ian Simon, Robert Santen, Chris Balich, and Brian from Mworks for helping refinish the RSsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDARWIN AWARDS
Bernd Stich’s Jetta could roll its way to the top of the podium at any show-and-shine you care to mention. But this is no cynically thrown-together show pony – this is the culmination of over twenty years of evolution… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Igor Vucinic.
Evolution has a lot to answer for. Lots of your body parts serve no useful function – body hair is pointless for modern human living, for example. And wisdom teeth do little other than to misalign jaws, while the auricular muscles around your ears are unnecessary as we don’t swivel our ears to hear sound like some creatures do, and your coccyx has no purpose because you don’t have a tail. Your appendix is rubbish too – when people largely ate plants it might have had some role in digestion, but nowadays the only thing it can do is get inflamed and explode, which doesn’t help at all.
Nevertheless, evolution is super-clever. Just look at the quirky national characteristics of speech patterns – the Spanish are loud and boisterous, the Italians lyrical, the French romantic, and acoustic adaptation theory suggests that such traits develop so that the sounds we make work best with our natural surroundings: harsh consonants get lost or distorted in rainforests, but have room to breathe among European hills and valleys. Open syllables like ‘aloha’ work better in tropical climes. And so it goes. It’s not just humans, this is true of birds and cats and all sorts.
In modern Germany, evolution is evidently working overtime. This beige Jetta proves it. In the time that Bernd Stich has owned his trusty coupe it’s passed through more radical evolutionary changes than a millennium of walking sea creatures, each phase markedly different to that that preceded it. It’s as if Bernd and his VW are syncing DNA code to determine the ultimate fate of this well-beloved car. Well, either that or he just really likes it and happens to change his mind a lot. “I can tell you the exact date I bought the car – 22nd November 1996,” he tells us. “And how it looks now - this is what I call my Level 5 modifying…”
The love affair, which has clearly endured, began early; Bernd was desperate to get his hands on the Polar silver car in time for his 18th birthday, and it’s been through a multitude of looks and setups since then, with each year bringing fresh enthusiasms. The whole merry-go-round was spun into action when he swapped out the original 1.3-litre motor for a rather more robust 16v, and it was the act of gradually but irreversibly becoming a regular show-goer that cemented his keenness for modifying in general and the #VW scene in particular. At the time people weren’t really modding Jettas, it was all about the Golf, so that immediately gave Bernd the edge, and with the ‘valver’ in place he opted to augment it with a set of G60 front brakes and GTI 16v rears – and it was at this point that the aesthetic evolution went into overdrive. Before it knew what had hit it, the ’89 Jetta was wearing big bumpers and slathered all over in pearlescent orange Volvo paint, the smoothed bonnet and boot lid complemented by an absence of arch trims between those fat bumpers. And then the interior was trimmed in cream leather, some Porsche 944 wheels appeared, there was talk of air-ride… the car made it into these very pages, in fact, such was the radical nature of it all.
Bernd wasn’t done yet, though because not long after the 2.8-litre VR6 motor appeared. It’s just a natural function of the survival-of-the-fittest ethos, is it not? Bigger is often better.
Forget ‘less is more’, increasing your piston count by 50% is where it’s at. So in 2003, Bernd got hold of an Mk3 Golf VR6 and basically tore it to pieces, harvesting everything he might need to pump up his Jetta’s creds. The engine is naturally the first thing you’d spot from this major round of surgery, artfully tarted-up as it is by oodles of chrome work and a smoothed bay for it to snuggle down in, but the eagle-eyed will also have spotted the Mk3’s dash, which has been fettled and honed to fit perfectly inside the cabin. Some oh-so-early-’00s König seats found their way in, too, along with a polished Wiechers roll cage and a beefy audio install. Oh yes, the exterior wasn’t a lurid orange any more either – it was something far more OEM-subtle from somewhere within the silver/blue/grey Venn diagram. Air-ride was taken care of by a simple #BSS single-pump system with a five-gallon tank and much of the wiring hidden away.
“Lots of the ancillaries were chrome-plated before refitting,” Bernd explains. “The slam panel, driveshafts, wishbones, gearbox end casing, front sub frame, brake servo…” It starts to turn into a very long list. Even the Typhoon induction kit is shiny enough to hold a mirror up to the fact that you don’t own a Jetta this cool. It was once all of this work was done that Bernd decided to strip the thing down to a bare shell again and paint it all in VW Passat Grey Pearl. That was back in 2006. And if we fast-forward to 2013, we find it all being stripped down once more. That’s the crux of natural selection, it favours adaptability.
There are two key elements that immediately grab the eye as a result of this latest, fastidiously executed evolution. The first is the colour: now swathed in Nevada beige, the Jetta flies deliciously under the radar to all but those in the know, having the air of an OAP-spec budget runabout that’s secretly pumped full of steroids. The second is what Bernd’s been up to underneath the car. This is the kind of detail that’d only become apparent to you if you were on your hands and knees, greeting the car in the manner in which a dog might romance another (unless, obviously, you’re looking at photos of it in a magazine – which, mercifully, you are), but the level of work that’s gone into it is really quite phenomenal. The entire underside has been stripped, perfected, and polished to an improbable shine, a festival of beige that culminates in a mouth-watering fuel tank (there’s a phrase you don’t hear very often) that’s wrapped in sumptuous leather and held in place with polished straps – a gift from buddy Ralf K, who used to own the very tank fitted to his Golf.
This is very much the pinnacle of the modifiers’ art. None of this stuff needs to be done. The fact that it has been done, and done so well, demonstrates Bernd’s commitment to doing things properly. Those shows he used to go to in the nineties clearly left quite an impression.
Beyond the paint, much has been done to ‘retro up’ the look: those big bumpers are long gone, replaced by the period skinny items that work so well to amp up the element of stealth, and the nerds among you may have spotted the 1986-spec doors, chosen for their old-school quarter-light windows. And the interior is now a fabulous showcase of what might have happened back in the late-1980s if a tuner like Radford or Tickford had offered a coach-built version of the Jetta – it all oozes with custom vintage flair, and yet the materials are distinctly premium and high-end. Porsche 924 seats wear bespoke faux-leather and corduroy, the rear seats trimmed to match and with a colour-keyed carpet to suit, and the pillars are trimmed in a tasteful brown to dovetail with the dash. There’s no stereo any more as today Bernd simply prefers the aggressive bark of that VR6 through its shiny Supersport system.
“It was my first car,” he grins. “All the others are just dailies… it started off all original and cost me DM7500 back in ’96. And now – plans for the future? No, I have none for this car. The baby is coming in May, the next Jetta driver, that’s my future.” Sure, he says that, but it’s not really his decision to make is it? This Jetta has held Bernd in its thrall for over two decades, its very physical construct controlled by the whims of nature and evolution, and we can’t see this pattern breaking any time soon. For now, this car exists as a perfect showcase of age-old passion and flawless craftsmanship. What happens next is in the hands of anagenesis and biodiversity.
Dub Details #Air-ride / #1989 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #VW-Jetta / #Volkswagen-Jetta-II / #Volkswagen-Jetta-VR6-II / #Volkswagen-Jetta-VR6 / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Air-Ride / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Air-Ride-II / #VW /
ENGINE: Chromed and detailed 2.8-litre VR6 ( #AAA ), with #SuperSport stainless steel exhaust system, Typhoon induction, Mk3 Golf VR6 manual gearbox – lacquered gloss black
CHASSIS: 7.5x17” BMW #BBS split-rims with 195/35 Nankang tyres. #GAS ( #German-Air-ride-Systems ) air-ride setup, Mk2 VW-Golf G60 front brakes with 280mm discs, Mk2 Golf GTI rear axle with disc brakes, braided lines
EXTERIOR: 1989 shell painted Nevada beige, 1986-spec doors, small bumpers, shaved bay, detailed underside, leather-trimmed fuel tank with polished straps
INTERIOR: Mk3 Golf dash, Porsche 924 front seats – custom-trimmed in faux-leather and corduroy with rears to match, Raid wooden steering wheel, Beetle shifter, beige and brown #Vorwerk carpet, chrome air tank in boot
SHOUT: My best friends Björn, Timo, Maik, plus Ernst-Equipment (tuning parts), Febi (aftermarket parts) and Carlack-Schwung (painter)
The whole merry-go-round was spun into action when he swapped out the original 1.3-litre motor for a rather more robust 16v.
Polished #VR6 lump lives in engine bay so clean you could, well, lick it!
Single air tank fixed to back of rear bench means boot is left clear.
Since we last saw the car Bernd has gone balls-out with the underside. Note the leather-clad fuel tank.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTOP BANANA 1.8T-powered euro-look mk3
/ #VW-Golf-III / #VW-Golf-Mk3 / #VW-Golf-Mk-III / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-III / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-1.8T-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-1.8T-III / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-1.8T-Mk-III / #VW-Golf-1.8T / #VW-Golf-1.8T-Mk3 / #VW / #Volkswagen-Golf-Bi-Turbo / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-Bi-Turbo-Mk3
Big-turbo Mk3 runs US-spec bumpers, air-ride, full cage and stripped interior. Words: Daniel Bevis Pics: Patrick Hille For Mitch van Werven, the act of building his dream car has been a life-altering journey of friendship and inspiration. And not just life-altering – this unmissably yellow GTI has some mind-altering properties too…
If we’re to believe the late- 1960s Donovan song Mellow Yellow, it’s possible to get high on bananadine. This is, of course, nonsense – you can no more experience a psychotropic buzz with a banana than you can brush your teeth with it or use it to hammer an IKEA wardrobe together.
A hoax recipe for bananadine was published in the Berkeley Barb, an underground counterculture newsletter in California, in 1967; it detailed how it was possible to extract a psychoactive substance from banana skins, which you could then smoke to achieve LSDlike effects. This gained some credence when William Powell, who thought it was true, reproduced it in The Anarchist Cookbook in 1970. In fact, the original feature in the Barb was a satirical piece questioning the ethics of criminalising psychoactive drugs; smoking banana skins may create a placebo high at best, but there’s no scientific reason why you could actually get stoned on bananas. You can’t.
That said, there must be some manner of mind-altering substance swirling around the city of Lochem that’s enabled the coming-to-life of this trippy little Golf. Lochem’s in the Netherlands, and we’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions there; suffice to say that this is one Mk3 Golf that dabbles in the more colourful fringes of our everyday perceptions of reality.
Still, we’d never suggest that this car’s owner, Mitch van Werven, was under the influence of anything beyond strong coffee and a pocketful of dreams throughout the Golf’s reinvention; indeed, the evidence seems to suggest that he’s singularly focused on automotive mischief rather than anything chemical. “Why spend so much time, money and energy on a car?” he grins. “Because we can, and we enjoy it very much. Some people go to the club, we go to the garage and build our dream cars.”
Stirring sentiments indeed, and the inclusive ‘we’ here refers to a disparate but close cast of characters who feature strongly in Mitch’s own everyday interpretation of garage life; Bernd, Joran, Stevie, Roberto, Thomas, Mike, Martijn, these are the personalities who’ve helped our protagonist mould and shape his vision from questionable base to yellow dream machine. “I bought this car when I was sixteen, back in 2009,” Mitch explains. “Back then I was working at a garage and this Golf arrived in part-exchange – a #1996 GTI 16v. I saw it, and immediately called my dad to say ‘I want this car!’ It had been really well used – 266,000 kms on the clock and plenty of rust, but I think the Mk3 is the best model of Golf. The original Dusty Mauve paint was bad, too, but it was an all-original, three-door GTI 16v, so I just had to have it.”
As tales of first cars go, it’s not a bad one – so often it’s the case that the best first car in people’s minds is ‘any car – literally any car’, but Mitch is clearly a man of principle and ambition. “The car owns me, not the other way around,” he laughs. “It’s taken years to get it to this point, and it’s not finished – project cars never are, are they? And having started the transformation back in 2010, it’s come a long way.” He’s not kidding. You’d certainly never look at the car and think ‘high-mileage rust bucket’ these days. What about that colour, then? Swapping purple for yellow is a proper Art Attack move. “Yeah, I’m not telling you what the paint code is,” Mitch smirks. “I wanted to have a colour that you don't see very often. Most cars nowadays seem to be blue, grey or black, so I chose a bright shade. Also, I just like yellow…”
Naturally there was quite a lot of work involved in shuffling the various skeletons in the Golf’s closet before it was ready for paint. The first job on commencing the project was to totally strip the car down to see what was what, then stalk through the thing with lethal force, like some kind of enraged sniper, mercilessly eradicating corrosion and letting in new metal to cover the tracks. While this was going on, Mitch and his crew also removed everything superfluous from the car, following an over-arching ideal of exploiting power-to-weight ratios once the thing was completed. The Mk3 Golf is by no means a lard arse, but there are always savings to be made. A gram here, a gram there, it makes a difference. And we’re not just talking about the bananadine here.
“I made the choice of which engine I wanted, and once I’d settled on the 20vT I went out looking for one,” Mitch recalls. “With some happiness I found another Mk3 that had already been 20VT-swapped, so I bought that as a donor, stripping it completely and selling everything I didn’t need.” The finished product in that shiny bay wears a Garrett GT28 turbo along with some fairly racy manifolds and a #Kdata #kdFi ECU to keep everything humming. And with the shell prepped and the engine spec’d, that sunglass-baiting paint shade entered the fray. “After the car came back from the paint shop, the fun could really start,” he says. “First we built the engine in the car and made it all work, then took it back out again to clean everything – and let me tell you that was a lot of work! The cleaning alone took over three-hundred hours.” And when he says ‘cleaning’, we’re not talking about a duster and a can of Pledge here – take a look at the fastidiously shaved, smoothed and slippery engine bay.
You could challenge a passerby to wedge a toothpick in there and they’d be confounded for hours. You could drop a handful of toothpicks over the motor and every single one of them would make it down to the garage floor.
“Together with my best friend Bernd, we put the car back together,” Mitch continues. “We drove across the whole country for parts; this was almost the best part of build, being with my bro, having fun and getting new stuff for the Golf. After we had collected everything we needed, we started really putting the car together and piece-by-piece it blossomed. Every step brought us closer to the final result, and after years of hard work we could finally do some shows. Last year was the best year for us – the car got a ‘Best in Show’, the offer of a PVW feature and a place on display at the Essen Motor Show. This was the point when we said to each other, ‘Yay, we did it’!”
From the genesis of the idea right to the very end, Mitch’s buddies were deeply ingrained in the process, and it’s this communal all-in-it-togetherness that made the build so memorable. Not that there is an ‘end’ of course, not really – he’s already talking about air-ride, new seats, another yellow repaint, and some serious engine mods too.
“I can’t honestly say I had a clear idea in my head of how this would turn out, back when I was sixteen,” he admits. “Sure, I had a lot of ideas, but I never thought I’d achieve this unique look.” Indeed, the project today sports a variety of disparate styling cues from across the scene; our American cousins lent some inspiration in the form of their bumpers and wings, while the Jetta nose is a nod to the old-school stables that are mirrored in the choice of BBS RS rims.
The fact that it sits this low on coilovers rather than ’bags assures credibility and bravado points, and the interior really is something else: that Wiechers ’cage in particular is a shimmering manifestation of the scaffolders’ art, brutally complex and frighteningly purposeful.
“I was influenced a lot by other Mk3s on the internet, but also just by mine and Bernd’s keenness to try out our own ideas,” says Mitch. “I guess I’d describe it as OEM+ with a race-car influence, but it’s its own thing, really. And the reactions it gets now are crazy; I like to take it out for a drive with my girlfriend over some nice roads, and the feeling of doing that in your dream car is cool, but then when you arrive at a show and people are coming over and saying they love the car – it’s the best feeling. I can honestly say that building this Golf was the best time of my life.” And we can tell by the sparkle in his eye that this isn’t just the bananas talking – this guy’s tripping off his little box on Wolfsburg dreams, and that kind of thing is thoroughly addictive.
With bright yellow paint, side markers and shiny BBS, Mitch's Mk3 has more than a hint of the US scene.
Left: Look closer at the weave and you realise this is indeed the real deal. Below: With 742bhp on tap no wonder Andreas is happy!
HKS Turbo Timer times the turbo and ensures all turbo related things are kept in time. Like the speaking clock.
Hardcore Wiechers Sport roll cage is not messing about is it?
Dub Details / #Garrett / #BBS-RS / #BBS /
ENGINE: #Rebuilt-1.8T 20v with #Garrett-GT28 turbo, rear-mounted exhaust manifold with 3” downpipe, H-profile conrods, kdFi V3 ECU, #Ross-Machine-Racing intake manifold, battery relocated to rear, six-speed manual
CHASSIS: 17” #BBS-RS-320 (front) and 17” #BBS-RS-350 (rear) with 185/35 Nankang NS-2 tyres. #Weitec-Hicon-TX-Plus coilovers and Audi S3 312mm front brakes
EXTERIOR: Secret yellow paintwork, US bumpers and wings, Jetta front conversion, ‘cleaned’ boot, smoked tails, shaved bay
INTERIOR: Stripped and painted, custom Wiechers Sport roll cage, Cobra Monaco Pro seats, Schroth harnesses, #HKS turbo timer
SHOUT: Bernd Nijdam, Joran Meijerink, Stevie van der Vaart, Roberto Polo, Thomas Kevelham, Mike Temminck, Martijn Maat – thanks to these guys, without them the car would never be completed
“I guess I’d describe it as OEM+ with a race-car influence, but it’s its own thing, really. And the reactions it gets now are crazy"
“Most people assume it’s a 3M wrap so it’s always good fun to invite them to take a closer look…”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #S14-swapped / #BMW-2002 . In the wastelands of postapocalyptic Sweden, one man and his extraordinary 2002 fight for survival amidst the ruins of civilisation… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
Supercharged S14 2002 rat rod
The future. Mankind has destroyed itself. The earth is barren. Pockets of survivors remain, scattered across the globe. They travel the desolate landscapes of a ruined world they once knew in search of food and shelter, driving machines created from the scavenged remains of cars from the past. In the charred remains of postapocalyptic Sweden the silence is broken only by the howl of the wind and the whine of a supercharger. A flash of orange through the trees. The bark of an exhaust drifting across the ravaged landscape. Then, the smoke parts, and something ungodly and terrifying thunders across the lonely tarmac, a man at the wheel with fi re in his eyes, and then it’s gone as quickly as it appeared and all is silent once more. That man is Thomas Nyman. This is his 2002. This is their story.
You will already know if this is your sort of car. You will have looked at the pictures and made a decision about whether or not you want to read this feature. You don’t need us to tell you that it’s not for everyone, but we will anyway, because it’s really not. For some of you, this might be the greatest crime ever committed against BMWs. Even those of you who normally love this sort of anarchic approach to modifying might be struggling a little. But if you get, really get it, you’re about to enjoy a car that’s really unlike anything else out there.
Browsing his automotive history, it’s clear that Thomas is a man who is obsessed with cars, to put it mildly… “I have owned and worked with several cars in my short life (he’s only 28) and right now I have nearly 100 vehicles on my conscience.” 100 cars. What can you even say to that? Unsurprisingly there have been some wild builds in amongst that lot and a huge variety of machinery, from the 1974 Beetle that served as his first car, to his first #BMW , a 1988 E34 530i, and the car he never finished and still regrets selling. “It was an E12 528i from 1978, light green with a #BBS front spoiler and chrome bumpers, ” Thomas reminisces. “I bought an S38B36 M5 engine that I rebuilt and was going to fi t in the car, and my vision was to build a 100% sleeper with perfect patina. But I was young and impulsive so the car was sold before it was done…” In that case it may have worked against him but, in the case of this 2002, his impulsive nature was definitely on his side.
“I knew about this car for a long time, a friend of the owner had told me about it, and one day in spring of 2010 the owner himself came walking past the garage I rented in the city at the time. I asked him if he wanted to sell the car, and he said yes, so we actually walked over to his garage together to take a look at it then and there. It was in terrible shape at the time; it had been standing outside with smashed windows so the weather had caused some very big rust holes in the body and many parts were missing, like the engine, gearbox, rear axle, the whole interior and the windows. The next day I picked the car up and put it in my garage instead,” grins Thomas. On paper this project sounds like a nightmare and the sort of car that no one in their right mind would have dreamed of touching, which does make us wonder about Thomas’ mental state…
The initial plan, he says, was to make the whole body rusty and give it even more of a rat-look than it’s ended up with, but he realised he couldn’t bring himself to do it. “My conscience became too strong,” he says, “and I felt I could not destroy an historic collector’s car that the 2002 Tii really is today, which is way I kept the original paint.”
So if you don’t like how this car looks now, just bear in mind that it could have looked a whole lot worse… “Our first goal was to get the car finished in one month for an event so we welded and fixed all the rust on the undercarriage in three weeks and fixed what we needed to so it was actually road legal. Then, after that, the whole thing escalated,” he says, and he’s not wrong.
With the decision made to continue down the rat route, Thomas got stuck into the mods and set about getting some stiffer springs, cutting them down by about 50% to get the car down on the ground, and combined them with a set of Bilstein Sport shocks. This was followed by the addition of the four wonderfully retro Marchal driving lights mounted on the front bumper and then came the roof rack, filled with what Thomas describes as “curiosities,” which include an S14 air box and valve cover and an old suitcase, naturally. The four-speed gearbox was swapped out for a five-speed Getrag ’box from an early 5 Series and he also changed the exhaust, both mods carried out specifically for a road trip to southern Sweden and Denmark. Then the time came for the serious business of building that engine…
“I think my vision was to do something no one had done before,” muses Thomas. “You’re probably wondering why I chose the S14 out of an E30 M3, and I’m wondering the same thing! I thought that this engine will fit well in the car and would probably get many types of reactions from people and BMW enthusiasts,” and he’s certainly right about that. “Initially I thought that I would just fit the engine and leave it at that, but then I started thinking about it and decided to add a supercharger on top to ensure that I was doing something new and different,” he grins. The supercharger is a rebuilt GMC 471 positive displacement Roots unit from the 1940s but impressive as it looks, there’s a lot more going on with this engine than meets the eye, and it’s the reason why the build took him one and a half years rather than six months (little more than a Swedish winter, he says) as he’d originally anticipated.
There’s a special head gasket and ARP head bolts for the cylinder head, four Siemens 688cc injectors fed by a Nuke fuel rail while the supercharger itself is cooled and lubricated by a water/ethanol system using a Bosch 988cc injector. The blower itself sits on a custom 4mm steel intake manifold and there’s a custom exhaust manifold connected up to a custom 3” stainless steel exhaust with three silencers, though Thomas says that they really don’t do much silencing. Peer into the 2002’s engine bay and you will notice a small problem: there’s no room for a radiator, which is kind of important if you want to have a fully functioning engine.
The solution? Stick all the cooling gubbins in the boot, which is exactly what Thomas has done, building a custom cooling system consisting of an electric water pump, cooling fan and a massive aluminium rad, which sits in a custom housing that seals tightly up against, and is fed cooling air by, the louvred boot lid. The boot is also where you’ll find the aluminium fuel cell with an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump located inside, and assorted fuel supply components. As you can see, it’s a comprehensive engine build, but it almost put Thomas off the car altogether. “After one and a half years of building the engine, I was so tired of this car and the project,” he sighs. “If I had been younger at the time, the car probably would have ended up being sold, just like my E12 project. But then I fired it up and rolled out of the garage for the first time and I was totally in love again! I cannot describe the feelings I had on the first test-drive…” he says with a massive grin.
Along with the aforementioned five-speed gearbox swap, Thomas has strengthened the drivetrain to be able to deal with all the power and torque being put through it by the S14 and supercharger combo, fitting an uprated clutch and homemade cardan shaft. The rear axle is a custom affair, constructed from a concoction of various different BMW components. “The original axle didn’t last long so I decided to build a bullet-proof one,” explains Thomas. “I took the 3.07 diff and joints from an E34 535i and ordered custom shafts made from spring steel and the hubs are also made from special steel. I made the wishbones thicker by adding 2mm of steel to every area and on top of this I also deleted the bushes between the body and the axle.” The brakes, meanwhile, are from a 2002 Turbo, with larger, vented discs up front and bigger 250mm drums at the rear.
As far as styling is concerned, Thomas has definitely stayed true to his original rat rod vision and while he may not have taken things quite as far as he originally planned, aside from the welding and repairs required to get the 2002 road worthy in the first place, the exterior has received no special attention. This makes the fact that the original Inca orange paint, where rust or repairs haven’t obscured it at least, remains as bright and vibrant as ever all the more impressive. If you’ve made it this far without choking on whatever you might be currently eating or drinking then Thomas’ wheels might just push you over the edge…
“I decided to go for BBS RS splits,” he says, gleefully, “because these are very expensive wheels today for those of us who collect and drive ’70s cars. The ones I have are in very bad shape, with loads of scuffs and scrapes all over them, so they’re a perfect match for the car!” As for the interior, it’s also a perfect match for the exterior and, just like the rest of the car, looks like it’s just about survived the apocalypse; the 2002 Turbo seats that he’s fitted are torn, a bank of auxiliary gauges juts up against the centre console, while the massive gear lever was chosen as it resembles an old tool.
So, there you have it. We’re not really sure what to say. We could definitely do with a sit down and a cup of tea after that. One thing we’d like to think is that, despite how Thomas’ 2002 might make you feel, you can at least summon some modicum of admiration or respect for what he’s created because he really has put so much into this car, and proved a lot of people wrong along the way. “The engine is my favourite part of the whole build because no one believed in my project and told me that this engine would never run, but they were wrong!” he exclaims with a smile. “I’m also really pleased that I managed to fit my homemade rear axle without cutting the body. The ‘experts’ told me there was no chance in hell it would work because they had ‘tested’ it without success, but I proved that it could be done.”
If you think that, after pouring so much time and effort into this 2002 over so many years, he’s done with it, you’re really rather wrong as there’s a lot more to come. “I bought the car in 2010 and I’m still not finished; it’s 2017 now, right?” he laughs. “My next plan is to build an air-ride system for it and I also need to build a new exhaust system as well as a new intake with a front-mount intercooler to get the intake temperatures down, then new wiring inside the car, maybe a new ECU. I’m also thinking about a mounting a turbo under the rear bumper…” But Thomas doesn’t finish his sentence. The light is fading and, if there’s one thing we all know, it’s that you don’t want to be caught outside at night after an apocalypse because that’s when the “things” come out of hiding… Thomas fires up the 2002 and, just like that, he’s gone, tail lights fading into the twilight, supercharger howling, S14 roaring, headed for the security of his bunker, safe in the knowledge that he lives to mod another day.
DATA FILE DATA FILE #Supercharged-S14 / #BMW-2002-Rat-Rod / #BMW-2002 / #BMW-2002-S14 / #BMW / rebuilt 1940s #GMC 471 Roots supercharger / #BMW-2002-E10 / #BMW-E10
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 from 1988 E30 M3, rebuilt 1940s / #GMC / #GMC-471 / #Roots-supercharger, custom 4mm steel intake manifold, special head gasket, #ARP cylinder head bolts, #Aeromotive #A1000 fuel pump, aluminium fuel cell, #Nuke fuel rail, 4x #Siemens 688cc injectors, water/ethanol cooling system for supercharger with #Bosch 988cc injector for cooling and lubrication, #Nira-ECU, custom 3.6mm steel exhaust manifold, custom 3” stainless steel exhaust with three silencers, custom cooling system in boot with electric water pump, cooling fan and aluminium radiator. Five-speed #Getrag gearbox, uprated clutch, custom cardan shaft, custom rear axle with E3 2500 and E28 535i components, E34 535i 3.07 diff and joints, custom driveshafts
CHASSIS 15” (front and rear) / #BBS / #BBS-RS three-piece wheels with 195/50 (front and rear) tyres, stiffer springs cut by 50%, #Bilstein dampers, BMW Turbo brakes with vented discs (front) and 250mm drums (rear), thicker rear wishbones, bushes between body and axle removed
EXTERIOR Original Inca orange paint, Marchal driving lights, roof rack, green louvred boot lid, extra rear light
INTERIOR 2002 Turbo seats, auxiliary gauge pod, old toolstyle gear lever, custom short-shift
THANKS To everyone that did not believe in this project, it only made me more determined to complete it and get the car running again, and also thanks to everyone who helped me with the car over the years
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- Post is under moderationUltimate Daily. We test VAGtech's RS3. With an explosive, tuned five-pot and everyday practicality, this Sepang blue RS3 is a true all-rounder… Words & Photography Davy Lewis. RS3 VAGtech’s potent daily driver.
One thing I’ve found from working in the UK car scene is that you tend to bump into the same faces over the years. It’s quite a small world really, so it’s to be expected, but I still love it when I meet an old contact from years back.
I first met VAGtech’s, Jon Watts, back in 2005, when I worked on Redline magazine. He’d built a turbocharged Golf R32, which he let me drive for a road-test feature. It made around 400bhp and coming from a 150bhp Golf GTI, it blew me away. Unsurprisingly Jon became known as the go-to man for R32s, but when the first generation of RS3 was launched, he got into Audi’s premium Sportback – in a big way.
With his own demo car making big power, and being used to constantly test and develop performance parts, it was a regular at events and track days. This extremely well-prepared RS3 was eventually sold to a customer, leaving Jon with a quandary: what to replace it with?
Well, that was an easy one – a brand new RS3 8V.
The Sepang blue Audi is Jon’s daily, but also a test bed for performance parts. Over a coffee, I asked him his thoughts on the tuning scene today.
“I think it’s come a long way. The thing is, cars are so good from the factory, that you don’t need to go too far – a few well chosen upgrades and you can create something that’s plenty fast enough for the roads,” he says.
The RS3 is a prime example of this. The potent 2.5 TFSI unit not only sounds fantastic, with that characteristic offnote warble, but it also makes strong power. Matched with the superb s-tronic transmission and quattro drive, it’s one of the best, all-round, practical, performance cars you’ll find. No wonder they’ve sold so well since launch in 2015.
Jon’s own car has been treated to the kind of upgrades that his customers ask for, so it represents a real-world example of what can be achieved. I’ve been fortunate to drive several RS3s now and I have to say, they’re great fun. Jon’s car is no exception.
Let’s kick off with the looks. There seem to be a lot of Nardo grey, white and black RS3s on the road, which is fine, as they’re all great colours. But I have to say it’s refreshing to see something else, and Sepang blue is a cracking hue. When the sun catches it, this thing really pings.
The subtly aggressive styling of the #Sportback means it doesn’t scream ‘look at me’ like say a Mercedes A45 AMG, but it packs enough firepower to show the majority of cars a clean pair of heels. I spent some time trying to figure out why this particular RS3 looks so pleasing to the eye and then figured it out – it’s the wheels. The genuine #BBS CH-Rs look absolutely, bang on the money, tucked up in the arches courtesy of Bilstein B16 coilovers. It sits just right – not too high, not too low and the offset is spot on, too.
Performance wise, even in stock fettle, the 2.5 TFSI unit brings plenty of grunt to the party. But with so much potential held in reserve, they can easily be persuaded to give more. As a #Revo dealer, Jon is beta testing Revo’s latest Stage 2 software. It’s still at the development stage, so no official figures are available, but it’s likely to be around the 420bhp mark.
The RS3 already had the required hardware fitted – namely a larger front mount intercooler and full turbo back exhaust system – these were supplied by Forge Motorsport and Milltek Sport, respectively. With the restrictive primary cats removed and replaced with a much freer flowing Milltek Sport downpipe with sports cat, the RS3’s potential can be unleashed. Getting at it is another matter.
To access the cats, you must first drop the sub frame. I actually watched the #VAGtech technicians do this before photographing the car. Fortunately, being a new car, everything came off easily and it was a pretty straightforward procedure. Again, Jon wanted to trial it on his own car before a customer asked for it, so he knew exactly what would be involved. You can see a full fitting guide next issue.
The hardware and software upgrades have given the RS3 a harder edge. It now pulls more strongly, right across the rev range and delivers an explosive punch when you really mash the throttle. But this isn’t at the expense of drivability or comfort. The #Revo Stage 2 development setup allows you to exploit the potential of that 5-cylinder, but it retains its manners. Around town it’s docile and just like a stock car. It’s only when you ask it for more that its character changes. Be in no doubt, this RS3 is very quick. Launch control is ridiculous and guaranteed to make passengers feel a bit funny. So full fat hooligan mode is just the flick of your ankle away. Yet, this car is so refined and well put together that you can pootle about in it all day with no fuss or dramas.
The only issue, as far as Jon is concerned, is that his daily commute isn’t quite long enough – a sure sign that you’re driving something a bit special.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE / SPECIFICATION #Audi-RS3-8V #2016 / #Audi-RS3 / #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-A3 / #Audi / #Audi-RS3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-RS3-Typ-8V / #Audi-RS3-VAGtech / #Audi-RS3-VAGtech-8V / #Bilstein / #Audi-RS3-Revo / #Audi-RS3-Revo-8V
Engine 2.5 TFSI 5-cylinder, #Forge front mount intercooler, #Milltek non-res exhaust system from turbo back, #Revo-Stage-2 developement software
Power Around 420bhp (currently running beta testing software)
Transmission 7-speed s-tronic
Brakes RS3 Stock
Suspension #Bilstein-B16 coilovers
Wheels 20in #BBS-CH-R wheels with 245/30 Yokohama tyres
Interior Stock RS3
Exterior Stock RS3 in Sepang blue
Contacts and thanks #VAGtech www.vagtech.co.uk
Top: Performance is very brisk! Above: Sports seats. Left: Half-Alcantara wheel is very nice. Right: Milltek cerakote tips. Below: 5-pot is one of the best engines around.
“It delivers an explosive punch...”
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- Post is under moderationYou know when you enter something on Google and it completes the end of your query with what it thinks you want to ask? If you put ‘why is my Corrado always such a…’ it will complete the sentence with ‘pain in the arse’. Okay, it doesn’t, but it should because Corrado builds are never plain sailing! Which makes Steven’s ‘Rado here all the more impressive as it’s an absolute stunning example of the breed. As is always the case when building a Corrado, the ups and downs of the build could fill a novel but the results speak for themselves; behold a bay housing an OEM-looking supercharged R32 motor, a motorsport-inspired interior with #Recaro Pole Positions and a half-cage colour-coded to the gold-centred magnesium 17” #BBS-E26 / #BBS wheels, and flawless bodywork with just the right amount of mods. We haven’t had a Corrado on the Car of the Year podium in quite some time, and it shows that you guy still dig the classic coupé as much as we do!
/ #VW-Corrado-VR6 / #VW-Corrado / #Volkswagen-Corrado / #Volkswagen-Corrado-VR6 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VW-Corrado-R32 / #Volkswagen-Corrado-R32 / #Volkswagen-Corrado-R32-S/C
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