- Post is under moderationPOWER UP Hardcore, supercharged E46 330Ci
What was once a stock 330Ci has now evolved into a supercharged, track-focussed monster. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Viktor Benyi.
’CHARGED BMW E46 330Ci Track-focussed full-on build…
Supercharging a “lesser” model of BMW is something that a lot of people don’t really understand. “Why didn’t you just buy an M3/ M5/M6 in the first place?” they will ask and, in absolute terms, you can see their point. Why spend arguably the same amount of money, or perhaps even more, buying and subsequently supercharging something that isn’t an M car and ending up with around the same sort of power level, when you could have just bought a fully-fledged, finely-honed M machine in the first place? It’s a valid, logical point, but logic has little place in the world of modifying. The thing is that very few people buy a car knowing exactly where they’re going with it, how it’s going to end up and with the specific plan of supercharging it. Sure, some people do, but take a look through this issue, the last issue, pretty much any issue of the mag and you’ll see feature car after feature car owner saying that they really had no intention of going as far as they did with their cars. The other thing is that, generally speaking, something like a supercharger is usually one of the last mods anyone does and that’s because it makes a lot more sense – and here logic can be applied to modding – to sort out the chassis, the brakes, make sure everything else is up to scratch before you start ramping up the power. It’s the right way to do it, really.
Which brings us neatly to Richard Kiraly and his supercharged E46 330Ci. As you can probably tell from the pictures, this is one exceptionally well-sorted 3 Series and, as you won’t be at all surprised to learn, when Richard bought the car there was no plan for anything beyond the most basic of mods, let alone creating a car as full-on as this has ended up becoming. Richard has been a BMW owner for 12 years, though that time period has been divided up between just three cars: his first BMW, an E34 525tds, which was followed by an E39 525d, and now the E46. Thing is, while he may say there was no plan of attack here, both of his previous Bavarian steeds, and a couple of cars before that, have all received some level of mild modding, so we reckon he wouldn’t have been able to leave the E46 alone anyway.
Hailing from Hungary, Richard’s hunt for the right example of what was the most affordable way of fulfilling his childhood dream of owning a frameless window coupé took him all the way to Leipzig in Germany, after six months of searching, and what was then a plain old 330Ci Sport. With car in hand, the mods began and stage one was styling. The E46 Coupé is a fi ne-looking thing, we’re big fans, but go big or go home, right? Go big it was, with Richard giving his 330Ci the M3 look courtesy of the M car’s wings and bumpers before cranking things up to 11 and taking the styling to another level. The front bumper has been seriously beefed-up with the addition of that carbon lip and those full-on corner splitters and even the intakes that funnel cooling air to the brakes are made from carbon. The bonnet? That’s carbon too, a vented GTR item that’s been painted body colour with just the slats of the vents left bare, teasing its carbon construction. M3 mirrors have been added while at the rear there’s a unique diffuser, a set of LED lights and a fibreglass CSL-style boot lid to finish things off nicely. It’s a greatlooking car, all the styling enhancements blending together perfectly and with the M3 body parts on board, the more aggressive aero elements don’t overwhelm the look of the whole car.
The wheels are Japan Racing JR3s, which suit the look and direction of the car perfectly, and while their familiar sixspoke design doesn’t get your attention, the colour certainly does. It’s a bold, bright blue that doesn’t tie-in with anything, anywhere on the car but wow, does it look good. Somehow it just works so well against that sexy, solid grey paintwork and your eyes are immediately drawn to the wheels. They’re the first thing you notice on the car and you realise that, actually, opting for that punch of colour was definitely the right thing to do as it really makes them stand out. You can probably tell that this car hasn’t been built for show, it’s all about go, and peering between the spokes of the JR3s confirms that beyond any reasonable doubt as that’s when you notice the massive brakes. The calipers come from a 135i, says Richard, with six-pots up front clamping M3 CSL discs, and two-pots at the rear while the suspension has also been suitably uprated and these mods came about when he decided to start making track outings a regular occurrence. BC Racing coilovers have been fitted here, and they deliver a solid drop, along with uprated anti-roll bars, Powerflex bushes, Eibach adjustable rear control arms and front and rear strut braces, completing a comprehensive programme of upgrades. The interior changes, too, have come about from the car’s regular appearance at track days and amateur tournaments; up front, a pair of bucket seats have been fitted, along with a set of Schroth three-point harnesses, while the rear seats have been removed altogether, as has the air-con. White-faced dials have been added to give the gauges a sportier look and Richard has also fitted a digital display in place of one of the central air vents to keep an eye on various under-bonnet temperatures.
So, to the engine. The M54B30 is a great motor, plenty of torque, a lovely top end, plus it sounds lush but by modern standards it’s not going to set anyone’s world alight and with him being so committed to track driving, you can see why Richard wanted a little more performance. NA mods are fi ne and could liberate a bit more horsepower but if you want serious gains then you have to bring out the big guns and go straight for forced induction. What Richard’s got strapped to the side of his engine is an ESS TS1 supercharger kit, which uses a twinscrew, positive displacement blower, and that means it delivers a huge hit of low-end torque the moment you hit the accelerator, perfect for punching out of turns on track. It’s an impressive piece of kit and puts out some meaty numbers, 320hp and a very healthy 302lb ft of torque. Here it’s been further bolstered by the addition an #AFE high-flow intake, a set of Schmiedmann high-flow cats and a ProEx exhaust system with racing silencer while an S54 oil cooler helps keep temperatures down on track. The transmission hasn’t been forgotten about, either, and Richard’s fitted a lightweight flywheel and Sachs race clutch plus an LSD to help him put all that power down.
We really like Richard’s E46. It’s been built with purpose after being bought with no specific direction in mind. It’s a focussed and finely-honed machine, but one that’s not so extreme that it can’t be used on the road. It looks good and it’s got the power to match the extreme aero additions; it really is an exceptional performance package. Richard has spent eight years getting the car to where it is today, but he’s not done yet and the next round of mods is imminent. “I want to cover the interior in Alcantara,” he says, “and I’ve currently got a CSL front bumper with twin brake air inlets under construction and I’ve also got an ESS TS2+ supercharger kit ready to go,” he adds, which is really going to take this E46 to the next level.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW #Supercharged / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-330Ci / #Japan-Racing / #ESS-TS1 / #ESS-Tuning / #BMW-330Ci-E46 / #BMW-330Ci-Supercharged / #BMW-330Ci-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #M54B30 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 , #ESS-TS1-supercharger-kit , #AFE air filter, #Schmiedmann sport cats, #ProEx exhaust system with racing silencers and black heat-resistant quad tips, S54 oil cooling system. Five-speed manual gearbox, lightweight flywheel, #Sachs racing clutch, short-shift kit, #LSD
CHASSIS 8.5x18” ET15 (front) and 9.5x18” ET15 (rear) #Japan-Racing-JR3 wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing coilovers, uprated anti-roll bars, #Powerflex bushes, #Eibach adjustable rear control arms, front and rear strut braces, #Brembo six-piston calipers with M3 CSL discs (front), #Brembo two-piston calipers (rear), braided brake lines, competition brake fluid
EXTERIOR E46 M3 wings, front and rear bumpers, carbon front splitter, front bumper race air intake, GTR carbon bonnet, E46 M3 door mirrors, custom rear diffuser, E46 M3 CSL-style boot lid, LED rear lights
INTERIOR White gauges, digital data display in central air vent, bucket seats, three-point Schroth harness, rear seats removed, air-con removed, spare wheel well removed, fire extinguisher
“What Richard’s got strapped to the side of his engine is an #ESS-TS1 supercharger kit, which uses a twin-screw, positive displacement blower”
BC Racing coilovers with adjustable top mounts.
135i brakes have been fitted all-round.
“The wheels are Japan Racing JR3s… and while their familiar six-spoke design doesn’t get your attention, the colour certainly does”
Bucket seats, harnesses and rear seat delete let you know this E46 means business.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBEN’S BMW-E36 / TOURING / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36
After some time using the poor E36 daily it ended up with quite a ‘to-do’ list that I wanted to get ticked off. So, towards the end of the summer the E36 came off the road (thankfully I’ve since got a new daily).
The E36 had developed a bit of a rattle but one that seemed similar to a customer’s car. So, when disassembling his for repair, I was able to clue myself up as to what it was rattling on mine. The customer suspected worn rockers and supplied a set of #Schrick-DLC followers to fit; however I found that it was the rocker shafts that were really worn. They were in a right state. So I ordered a pair of new rocker shafts for mine, along with a full set of #Schrick DLC followers – not a cheap exercise. I’d noticed mild flat-spotting on mine and seeing as I was taking them out, it was a good time to upgrade.
After raiding the shelves at Hack Engineering I was ready to tackle the rest. I had a leaky sump gasket to replace, a new oil cooler to fit, a new CSF radiator to fit, a coolant temperature sensor to relocate, a new brake servo vacuum hose to fit and so on – lots of relatively small jobs that mount up. To ensure easy access to the sump and to make sure it went back on cleanly (to avoid further leaks) I dropped the whole front crossmember, steering rack, wishbones, the lot. A new sump gasket went on and everything was built back up with new Meyle HD wishbones, new Meyle HD steering arms, new Mondeo drop links, and I also changed the front springs to 10kg/mm items and fitted #BC-Racing topmounts that allow for both camber and caster adjustment.
Next on the list was the oil cooler, and while I was at it I removed the whole oil filter housing, gave it a good clean up and refitted it with a new gasket, filter and O-rings. The cooler itself is a Mocal 25-row item, running -10 lines that #Pro-Line-Motorsport knocked up for me.
Once the engine top end work was complete and the oil cooler lines were run, it was time for the stunning CSF radiator. My previous alloy radiator had sagged and was leaking. The #CSF item is a big upgrade. Fitment was spot-on and was completed with a 16” electric fan.
The final addition was a #VAC-Motorsports temperature sensor manifold. Previously the temperature sensor feeding my clocks was tapped into the thermostat housing so this new piece relocated it to be completely hidden underneath the intake. Now it’s time to add fluids and go – more on that next time.
/ #Hack-Engineering www.hackengineering.co.uk
/ Pro-Line Motorsport www.prolinemotorsport.co.ukStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation
No sleep 476HP 135i Wild 1 Series brings it on Most modified 135is we see are in sleeper guise. However, this boisterous example is loud and proud – and rightly so… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Last year saw this magazine nearly overrun with 1 Series feature cars. This was totally fine as far as we were concerned because a lot of you are clearly loving them, otherwise we wouldn’t have been inundated with such a huge variety of fantastic modded examples. The charms of the 1 Series are hard to resist and while some people might find the first generation hatch a little inelegant on the styling front, we reckon #BMW nailed it with the Coupé. And people clearly agree, as that’s mainly what everyone’s been modding. A quick glance at the classifieds shows that this iteration of the 1 Series is holding its value and while some people might think you’re not getting a lot of car for your money compared to what else you could buy, the appeal of a compact, sporty car that’s also practical and can be had with a huge range of engines is easy to see and hard to resist. It’s the perfect antidote to the supersizing epidemic that’s now a staple of the motoring industry. And it’s a car with plenty of potential. Just ask Dom C, because he took a fiery little 135i and turned it into a real beast. It’s most definitely not shy about what it’s capable of; with 476hp on-tap, why would you be? A sleeper this ain’t.
A glance at Dom’s car history shows you that the 135i fits right in with his taste in small, fast cars, which have included a Saxo VTR and VTS, a Toyota Glanza V turbo, a Civic Type R, and an Impreza RB5 – which is a little less small but was “mega”, according to Dom, so that’s fair enough. “I had a 120d,” he continues, “which was good on fuel. This was good for when I was going to business meetings, but I decided I wanted something really fast that would handle well and was exciting. There was nothing of this age with a six-cylinder engine and rear- wheel drive apart from a 135i, so I bought one.”
The car was purchased bone stock and the initial plan was just to fit a JB4 and an exhaust because these alone would amp up the performance in a big way. But after Dom had sampled the sweet taste of what the 135i could offer, there was no way he could go cold turkey. And he had a pusher.
“The car’s been sponsored by Hard Knocks Speed Shop,” Dom explains. “It saw that I was passionate about modding and we had a great relationship, so it offered to sponsor me. Badger there has done all the work.” With his sights set on some serious numbers, things were going to have to change…
That JB4 is now a Cobb, supplied by BW Chiptune with a custom remap by Litchfield. The exhaust is now a custom straight- through system from Hard Knocks Speed Shop, with no cats or silencing. There’s even a valve for increased loudness. There’s a video of it in action on our Instagram page (@pbmwmag) and, having heard it in person, we can confirm it’s very, very loud.
The path to 476hp is lined with a lot more than just a Cobb and a custom exhaust, though. Dom has been busy under the bonnet, with the resulting list of engine mods making for some impressive reading. The stuff you can see includes a set of BMS dual cone intakes and an HKS SSQV blow-off valve. And there’s much more going on
beneath the surface that you can’t see. The stars of the show are, without doubt, the Turbo Dynamics Stage 2 hybrid turbos that really help to push the power up. But they don’t have to go it alone; up front sits a beefy Pro Alloy intercooler, there’s a Fuel It Stage 3 uprated fuel pump, a VRSF metal charge pipe with meth bungs, VRSF cat-less downpipes, plus a BMS meth injection kit to help keep intake air temperatures down.
The end result of all that underbonnet wizardry is a very impressive dyno-proven 476hp and over 400lb ft of torque. That’s an awful lot of power to enjoy in a compact car such as this. And that dyno run took place on a really hot day with intake temperatures well over 80ºC and the ECU pulling the timing, so there’s potentially even more on tap than the figures suggest.
Of course, simply ramping up the power and hoping for the best is not the way to do things and most certainly not the way Dom was planning to do things. So those engine mods are joined by a supporting cast of chassis and drivetrain mods. The standard clutch would have been completely out of its depth with these sort of power figures so it’s been replaced with a much sturdier Spec Stage 3+ affair mated to a single mass flywheel. On the chassis front, BC Racing coilovers have been called to action, along with M3 lower control arms, and a strut brace. And that’s not all because Dom then took the car to FW Motorsport, run by Tom Walkinshaw’s son Fergus, who spent a day-and-a-half setting up the suspension after corner weighting the car. Dom is also planning to add some custom adjustable drop links.
The brakes haven’t been forgotten about either. With the 135i coming equipped with some pretty serious six-pot front calipers from the factory there was no need for a BBK, but grooved discs have been added and are clamped by Pagid RS29 race pads. Goodrich braided hoses and race brake fluid concludes the brake upgrades.
Somehow we’ve managed to make it this far without once mentioning the way this car looks – which isn’t easy because this is a 1 Series that stands out, and then some. A lot of this is to do with the Avery Denison Gloss Blue wrap. “The car was originally Monaco blue,” explains Dom, a colour that you can see lurking in the engine bay. “It had no presence and made the car not look as fast as it actually was. My neighbour had a GTR wrapped in this blue and I absolutely loved it, so I decided to get the 135i done in the same shade, and the bonnet and mirrors done in gloss black.”
With the 135i looking rather more rapid, Dom set about adding the aero addenda. This started off with the relatively subtle carbon front splitter, followed by the carbon bootlip spoiler, and then the bulging Seibon carbon bonnet with aero catches. But Dom refuses to take responsibility for that rear wing. “It’s all Hard Knocks’ fault,” he laughs. “They suggested I got a wing. I agreed and went online to buy it whilst in the pub… although I don’t actually remember buying it!” Oh dear. Still, while the APR rear wing would look out of place on many a car, the overall look of this 135i means it works here. It ties in nicely with the whole black and blue theme, as do the wheels, which are Apex Aero-7 18s, with the car’s arches having been rolled to help accommodate them. The wheels have been wrapped in super-sticky Advan AD08R semi-slick rubber for maximum grip.
As for that Gran Turismo sun strip: “I think it looks badass,” explains Dom, “and it makes a huge difference to the feel of the car when driving.” The interior has, for now, been left largely standard, bar the removal of the rear seats, but Dom was planning on fitting some bucket seats and a roll-cage, that is before he decided to sell the car…
We should be used to it by now, feature cars owners getting in touch not long after a shoot informing us that they are selling their BMW. That’s the way it is with projects, but it was still a little surprising to hear it from Dom considering just how much he’d put into the 135i. It turns out he’s gone and bought himself a Nissan GTR and, to be fair, the signs were there all along as we recall he mentioned it on the day of the shoot. We can’t really blame him either; the GTR is a hell of a car and probably one of the few things that could get his heart pumping the same way as his ferocious 135i. Could we, he asked, mention that it was going to be up for sale? Of course. But then, a month later, we received another email. The 135i was staying, a stablemate for the GTR, and Dom had, in his own words, “gone full circle”. In fact, he now plans to take the 135i to the next level: a roll-cage, bucket seats and steering wheel will transform the interior, while a race diffuser, a side exit exhaust, and a body kit will transform the exterior. “It’s come too far to go back…!” were Dom’s parting words on the email. We can’t wait to see him go all the way.
Custom-mounted meth injection kit helps keep inlet temps down and power up.
DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW / #BMW-135i-Tuned / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #Turbo-Dynamics / #Apex / #BMW-135i-Tuned-E82 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #Cobb-V3-Accessport custom mapped by #Litchfield-Motors , #BMS dual cone air intakes, #HKS-SSQV blow-off valve, #Turbo-Dynamics-Stage-2 hybrid turbos, #Pro-Alloy front mount intercooler, Fuel It Stage 3 upgraded fuel pump, custom- mounted BMS meth injection kit, #VRSF metal charge pipe with meth bungs, VRSF cat-less downpipes, Hard Knocks Speed Shop custom Y-pipe , custom straight- through two into one 3” de-catted centre section, custom quad exit exhaust system with electronic valves. Six-speed manual gearbox, #BMWP short-shift, Spec Stage 3+ clutch and single mass flywheel
POWER & TORQUE 476hp and 400lb ft+
CHASSIS 8x18” ET45 (front) and 9x18” ET50 (rear) #Apex-Aero-7 satin black forged wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Advan AD08R tyres, #BC-Racing coilovers, M3 lower control arms, strut brace, car corner weighted, Pagid RS29 race brake pads, grooved discs, #Goodrich braided hoses, race brake fluid
EXTERIOR Wrapped in Avery Denison gloss blue with gloss black roof and gloss black door mirrors, tinted windows, rolled arches, gloss black kidney grilles, carbon front splitter, #Seibon carbon #Powerdome bonnet with AeroCatches, carbon rear spoiler, #APR carbon wing, custom carbon diffuser, #BMW Darkline rear lights
INTERIOR Factory grey M Sport leather, Cobb V3 Accessport controller, rear seats removed
THANKS Chris Bourton (Badger) at Hard Knocks Speed Shop, Fergus Walkinshaw at FW Motorsport, #Litchfield motors for mapping, #SSDD-Motorsport , and Amber performanceStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationWILD 600HP E36 Elite D’s turbo’d 3 Series
This Elite Developments 600hp E36 is the result of years of development and a love for all things turbocharged… Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Steve Hall.
Elite Developments’ turbo E36
THE BOOSTED ELITE
The E36 328i Sport is a car that’s been appreciating in value of late. However, six years ago they didn’t quite have the same worth and so made the perfect project base for Steve Dixon, owner of BMW-specialised tuning shop Elite Developments. Steve’s plans soon escalated from a simple reworking to a complete overhaul, complete with a 600hp turbocharged heart…
“I bought the car off eBay completely unseen. It was down in Bognor Regis,” Steve explains. “At the time it was really difficult to get a 328i Sport as there wasn’t many of them for sale. I contacted the guy and made him an offer based on his description of the condition and the pictures on eBay. I then took a four-hour train journey from Essex to go and get it. It was a completely mint, standard car, as described. I was looking for one to convert into a drift car.
“Initially my plans were just to weld the diff and put some coilovers on it, and that was it. I fitted the coils while my mate welded the diff. It was just going to be a daily drifter but then we went to Gatebil 2012 and saw that nearly every BMW there was running a turbo M5x engine. That got me thinking…
“After speaking to a few of the locals about how they’d done it, I came to the realisation that building a turbo #BMW wasn’t as hard as I first thought. Then came the process of pricing up all the bits I needed.”
The 328’s alloy-block M52 isn’t the perfect base for turbocharging as they tend to allow the head to lift and generally aren’t as strong as iron block variants, so Steve sourced an #M50B25-non-Vanos engine and set about making a hybrid of the two. This meant using the M50 block, head and pistons but with the M52’s crank and rods, creating a 2.8-litre M50 – an ‘M50B28’ as they’re often known. The bottom end was tied together with coated big-end bearings and ARP bolts, with #ARP studs and a Cometic 0.140” multi-layer steel head gasket used up top for a drop in compression and an increase in reliability.
The end result is an engine about as strong as it’s possible to get without going for fullon aftermarket forged rods and pistons – perfect for Steve’s plans for big boost.
“The hardest part was trying to source a right-hand drive turbo manifold as nobody seemed to sell one,” Steve explains. “This is why we started to design what is now the Elite Developments cast RHD turbo manifold. It took three years to create but we are now very happy with the final product.”
The Elite Developments manifold was formulated to fit all M5x engines that use a four-bolt-per-cylinder pattern, fitting around all of the steering and usual headache areas and allowing bottom-mount fitment of any T3-flanged turbo along with an external wastegate. Steve’s particular setup uses a Garrett GT3582R turbo and a Tial 38mm wastegate, pushing boost through a 600x300x80mm intercooler and into the M50 intake manifold.
Air is sucked into the turbo through a K&N filter, while fuelling is taken care of with Siemens 60lb injectors and a Walbro 255lph pump. To keep oil temperatures in check, Steve’s used an S50 oil filter housing converted to run AN lines, which are linked to a Mocal oil cooler. A neat product from Elite Developments allowed the intercooler and oil cooler to be bolted into the E36’s front end without any troubles. To control the whole thing Steve’s used a VEMs standalone ECU with the result being a dyno-proven 495hp and 480lb ft at 0.8bar. Steve has since had it mapped to run at 1.5bar which should be good enough for around 600hp.
All that power is well and good but without being able to transmit it to the ground, it’s useless. Steve retained the strong five-speed ZF gearbox that came with the 328i, with a six-paddle ceramic clutch sandwiched between it and the boosted M50. Out back is a 328i Sport 2.93 LSD, rebuilt for a 40% lockup and braced into position to guard against failure.
The final step of getting power to the ground is, of course, the wheel and tyre setup. The E36 isn’t always the easiest car to get a wide tyre onto but Steve solved that with a set of ABS plastic rivet-on arches from US firm Hard Motorsport. These have allowed the comfortable fitment of 8.5x18” front and 10x18” rear Rota Grids wrapped in grippy 235/40 and 265/35 Yokohama Advan AD08s respectively. Not only do they look great but they enable fast progress when the M50 comes up on boost. The arches offer a rub-free fit, too.
The chassis setup has seen plenty of work to get it all working happily, both when travelling in a straight line and sideways. Before anything was bolted underneath it Steve took care of the usual E36 weak spots using parts raided from the Elite Developments stock room. Subframe mounting and trailing arm pocket reinforcement plates were welded into the shell, with the front crossmember reinforced to stop the engine mounts tearing themselves free.
To get the steering lock that Steve needed for drifting, TND extended lower arms and modified hubs were fitted, along with BC Racing coilovers and an E46 330i brake setup. At the rear Steve used BC Racing again to convert the suspension from a shock and spring setup to a true coilover one, adding adjustable camber arms to get the setup dialled-in. Finally the whole lot has been polybushed and Steve’s added a BMW front lower crossbrace as well as GCFabrications front and rear strut braces to stiffen the shell.
Another element that adds stiffness is the Safety Devices roll-cage, nicely painted in contrasting Porsche GT3 RS green – aside from that the interior doesn’t contain a great deal as weight reduction has been the main aim. The rear firewall has been nicely blocked off with an Elite Developments plate and there’s a supportive Recaro bucket for the driver, complete with four-point harness.
Recent additions to the exterior have included a genuine Rieger carbon-fibre GT splitter and a new Elite Developments product: a huge rear wing. However, sadly, since our shoot Steve has actually broken the car for parts, moving his M50 turbo experience onto a cool new project – a Techno violet E34 525i.
Steve’s E36 goes to show that we can all get carried away – even the simplest intentions can turn into a far bigger project than originally planned, especially with a little inspiration from overseas. It also shows how experiencing a problem can turn up a great solution – Elite Developments’ turbo manifolds have now been selling for almost a year, helping RHD BMW drivers all over the UK solve the somewhat historic issue of steering clearance when running a turbo. From a hardcore E36 drifter Steve’s now looking to add some turbocharged flair to his old-school Five, and we can’t want to see what happens next.
“We saw that nearly every BMW there was running a turbo M5x engine. That got me thinking”
DATA FILE / #BMW-Elite-Developments / #BMW-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-E36-Elite-Developments / #BMW-328i-Sport / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328i-Sport-E36 / / #BMW-328i-Elite-Developments / #Elite-Developments / #BMW-328i-Elite-Developments-E36 / #Rota-Grid / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36
ENGINE ‘ #M50B28 ’ #non-Vanos , #M50B25 block and head, #M52B28 / #M50 / #BMW-M50 crankshaft and con rods, M50B25 pistons, performance coated main bearings, performance coated big-end bearings, ARP rod bolts, #ARP head studs, #Cometic 0.140” MLS head gasket, Elite Developments RHD turbo manifold, #Garrett-GT3582R turbo, #Tial 38mm wastegate, #K&N filter with #GCFabrications heat shield, ram air feed from foglight, AC #Schnitzer exhaust, #Siemens 60lb injectors, #Walbro 255lph fuel pump, #VEMS-ECU , Mocal oil cooler with AN lines, S50 oil filter housing, #Vorschlag nylon competition engine mounts
TRANSMISSION E36 328i five-speed #ZF-manual-gearbox , six-paddle ceramic clutch, Elite Developments bolt-through polyurethane gearbox mounts, #IRP shifter, 328i Sport 2.93:1 LSD fully rebuilt with 40% lockup, diff brace
CHASSIS 18x8.5” (front) and 18x10” (rear) #Rota-Grid-Drifts with 235/40 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Advan Neova AD08 tyres, Elite Developments wheel stud conversion, full #BC-Racing coilover setup with 12kg front and 8kg rear spring rates, TND modified hubs for extra lock, TND extended lower arms, adjustable camber arms, polybushed throughout, Elite Developments front subframe reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear subframe reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear trailing arm reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear topmount reinforcement kit, #BMW-Motorsport front crossbrace, #GC-Fabrications front and rear strut braces, E46 330i front brakes, E36 M3 Evo brake servo and master cylinder
EXTERIOR Rieger carbon fibre GT splitter, Hard Motorsport rivet-on wide arches, Elite Developments rear spoiler, foglight air intake
INTERIOR Safety Devices roll-cage painted in Porsche GT3 RS green, Elite Developments rear firewall block-off plate, Recaro driver’s seat, AEM wideband AFR gauge, Defi boost gauge
CONTACT www.elite-d.co.ukStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #Chris-Pellowe / #BMW-E38 / #BMW-735i / #BMW-735i-E38 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E38 / #M62 / #BMW-M62 / #M62B35
You really can’t go wrong with a nice E38 and Chris’ example is most definitely that. When he bought the car it was a tatty Aspen silver example with tired paintwork, an interior seemingly trimmed in dog hair and loose bits of trim flapping about the place. But no more. The outside has been wrapped by Chris himself under a gazebo in what he describes as “a sort of matt purple chameleon colour” which we think looks great. It’s been given a serious drop on some #BC-Racing coilovers and fitted with some 18” #Japan-Racing JR10s, which really suit the car. The whisper quiet exhaust has been replaced with some straight pipes to allow Chris to really enjoy that #V8 soundtrack. Finally, the outdated 4:3 ratio sat nav and DSP have been thrown out, upgraded speakers and a standalone amp have been fitted, and the dash now sports a seventh gen Kindle with a flashed Android ROM, which has endowed this 7 Series with a mobile hotspot for Google Services and Spotify on the go.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE REVENANT SLICK E34 540i Stunning classic Five
Back once again with another of his greatest hits, this stellar 540i is the latest hot Beemer from… ah, but that’d be telling, wouldn’t it? Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary
Gorgeous E34 540i
“The strangest part about being famous is that you don’t get to give first impressions any more. Everyone already has an impression of you before you meet them.”
Kristen Stewart said that, and she knows a thing or two about being recognised on the street. When you become well known in any given field, it’s impossible to stop your personified reputation from strutting ahead of you, thereafter colouring all of your future achievements with the rainbow-like splendour (or, conversely, bilious taint) of all that you’ve done before. It’s subjective, of course, but when you see Tom Cruise appear in a new movie, do you take him at face value or does your brain start wondering idly about scientology? Yeah, precedent is a dangerous thing. So we’re not going to tell you who owns this car. We’ll let you judge it for what it is.
So, since we have no weight of precedent to bother us, the first thing that lures us in is that cheeky registration number. ‘U AS5’? Well, thanks a lot. But yes, perhaps it’s an appropriate snap judgement of the average bystander’s character, because a lot of people who tangentially know what they’re talking about will see a tidy E34 like this and immediately say: “Shame, it’s not an M5.” And that’s a mistake. Because the 540i is a phenomenal machine, and in certain arguable respects superior to (or at least more desirable to some than) the celebrated M super-saloon. Particularly when it has a rare-as- hen’s-teeth six-speed manual gearbox, as this one does. And, of course, while the 540i yields 50hp-ish to the M5, it does come packing a rumbling V8 rather than a straightsix.
If a bent-eight torque-fest is what keeps you up all night, this is the E34 for you. It’s certainly the E34 of choice for our mystery protagonist. Indeed, it’s not the first one he’s owned; the last one became an engine donor for his E30 V8 project, with the rest of the car being broken up for parts and scattered to the winds – and this is clearly a state of affairs that’s rankled with him ever since. A combination of factors ranging from the implacable pang of yearning for a lost car to the spiralling values and increasing scarcity of one of Europe’s great V8, manual-’boxed cruisers meant that his keenness to find another one was pretty strong. Indeed, he was fairly dogged and single-minded in his pursuit – having set his sights on a bona fide 540i/6, there was little that could get in his way. Even such trifles as geography and language couldn’t put up any sort of barrier.
After scouring the UK market to no avail, stumbling through boneyards of knackered 5 Series with little excitement to offer, our shadowy hero cast his sights and his nets further afield, and eventually turned up a likely-looking candidate in Poland. Okay, so he doesn’t speak Polish, but that wasn’t a problem: he merely deputised somebody who could speak the language to fly out there, check it out, arrange the purchase and drive it back to the UK. Like you do.
Sounding improbable? Well, that’s just the fairytale world that this master of secrecy inhabits. After all, the 540i now finds itself sharing driveway space with, among others, a Lamborghini Diablo, a Ferrari Testarossa, and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Why should this scenario be more unusual than any other day in his whimsical life?
Now, if you or I were to attempt such a manoeuvre, we’d inevitably end up with some sort of colossal heap parked on the drive, having paid top dollar for a cut-and-shut 518i with a last-minute paint job. But no, that sort of thing doesn’t happen to this guy. What he landed was actually a catch, its Polish owner having clearly expended a decent wedge on its upkeep, sitting it on a set of 18” RH splits and retrimming the whole interior in black leather – including the fancy front seats which, if you’re a particular sort of BMW nerd, you may recognise as the Recaros from the Winkelhock Edition M5, of which just 51 were built. Pretty neat selling point, that.
It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, though. The universe isn’t that kind. While the aesthetics were tip-top and the spec was just-so, the chassis was a baggy. Bushes had been allowed to wither, suspension components were showing their age, it all needed a refresh. So that’s exactly what our man did. And no half-measures either – the suspension was handed into the loving embrace of BC Racing, who decked the 540i out in its sublimely fetching ‘Extra Low’ BR Series coilovers, imbuing the OEM+ aesthetic with a certain rakish aggression.
It’s the sort of car you’d expect to see ferrying miscreants about in 1990s car chase movies, all slab-sided imposition and lowslung menace. And then, of course, it was time to address the area that many consider to be the most important… the wheels. The genius of what lies beneath this E34’s arches is in their relative stealth. To the uninitiated, they’re just a set of standard BMW wheels. To those with a little knowledge, the owner appears to have swapped on a set of M5 Throwing Stars. But when you learn the truth, you’ll appreciate just how deep the mystery spirals…
It all started with a chap in the US by the name of Rimal Chand. Around about the time our E34 owner was sizing up his wheel options, Rimal was sharing a few pictures online of some custom split-rims he’d made using M-System Throwing Stars and 8 Series Turbines, and this was something that really caught his eye. With barely a pause, he’d made contact with Rimal and requested a set of his very own one-off Throwing Star faces to be fabricated and shipped to SS Autowerks in the UK, to be built up and fitted to the 540i. The finished result is a set of 18” wheels – 9.5” wide at the front, 11” out back – which few would suspect as being anything particularly special. But to those in the know, they’re the product of some sort of celestial master of the craft. In effect, the wheels imbue the build with the ultimate in OEM+ chic; to 95% of people this is simply a clean old 5 Series. To those who know what they’re looking at, however, this car is something very alluring indeed. The numerous other subtle upgrades – the smoked lights, the Heckblende (y’know, that reflective thingy across the boot), the rumbling exhaust system – somehow merely accentuate the subtlety of it all. This really is a cerebral and considered project.
Oh, and the name behind it? Okay, some of you will have guessed. This car belongs to noted retro BMW egghead Nick Sahota – he of the ‘PUR35T’ bagged orange E30 M3, among many others. But if we’d told you that at the start, none of the fastidious attention to detail or excellence-at-all-costs motif would have come as a surprise. As Robert De Niro once said: “The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you.” But Nick doesn’t need your preconceptions to form any sort of back-slapping judgement – much like every other car in his collection, this 540i speaks entirely for itself.
“To those who know what they’re looking at, this car is very alluring indeed”
“This really is a cerebral and considered project”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E34 / #BMW-540i / #BMW-540i-E34 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-V8 / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #M60B40 / #M60 / #BMW-M60 , custom #Hard-Knocks-Speed-Shop stainless steel exhaust system, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) #M5-M-System-II-Style-21 ‘ #Throwing-Star ’ alloys converted to split-rims with 225/35 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing ‘Extra Low’ #BC-Racing-BR Series coilovers
EXTERIOR E34 Heckblende, smoked Hella headlights and tail-lights
INTERIOR #Winkelhock-Edition-M5-Recaro seats, full black leather retrim including dash, black headliningStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE MPRESSIONIST 470hp 1M-kitted 135i / HARDCORE 135i 470hp, #1M-kitted beast
With 1M looks backed-up with a lot more than 1M power, what was once an unassuming 135i is now a package of pure muscle. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Matt Richardson
Fitting the 3.0-litre, twin-turbo, straight-six N54 engine into the 1 Series Coupé is one of the best things BMW has ever done. The engine amazed when it first appeared in the E9x 335i thanks to its combination of huge torque spread, impressive top-end, and stirring soundtrack (despite the presence of two turbos to muffle the exhaust note). And then BMW decided to stuff it under the bonnet of the smaller, lighter 1 Series Coupé creating something of a performance hero. But the story doesn’t end there because a couple of years later BMW came out with the 1M, with the E9x M3 running gear crammed under those swollen arches, more power and more attitude, this time creating a performance icon. These days you can pick a 135i up for about £10,000 whereas you’d need about £40,000 to get your hands on a limited edition 1M. Of course, the 1M is a very different prospect when compared with a plain Jane 135i but certainly as far as performance goes there’s hardly anything in it. And once you’ve whacked a remap on the 135i it’ll be the quicker car, if that’s what you’re interested in. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from buying yourself a 135i and building it up into something that’s even better than a 1M…
Meet Sachin Patel, a man who’s done just that. And while he’s got a fair bit of cash invested in his long-term love of a 135i, he’s built this beast of a 1 Series for less than stock 1M would cost to buy. It’s packing some serious firepower, enough to refuse to be intimidated by all but the most heavyweight high performance machinery. And, of course, pouring money as well as your heart and soul into your BMW is just part of everyday life when you’re a lifelong fan of Bavaria’s finest.
“Actually, I was never a BMW fan,” says Sachin. Oh well, scratch that then. “I lived in West London and saw so many so I wasn’t really interested in them at all. That all changed, though, when I drove a 120d. I was really impressed by it. I was looking for a small, powerful car that was also economical and when I read Jeremy Clarkson’s review of the 135i I was sold and went and bought one.”
Sachin always knew he was going to modify his 135i and the first item on his list was more power, because when it’s so easy to extract it would be rude not to. In order to ramp up the power the 135i was treated to a remap, along with an induction kit and a pair of uprated diverter valves. This was enough to nudge power up to the very high 300s and plenty to be getting on with. Sachin also decided to give his chassis a bit of a tweak with the addition of some thicker Eibach anti-roll bars to improve its cornering abilities. And that was enough to satisfy his needs for mods for a while.
“After I’d had the car for about four or five years I decided to sell it and move onto something else,” says Sachin. “A prospective buyer came over one day to have a look at it and said that he was going to put a 1M kit on whatever car he bought. It sounded like such a good idea that I removed the car from sale and started looking at getting the 1M kit done myself. I called MStyle, said I wanted a 1M kit, and everything snowballed from there.”
The transformation was no gentle transition, though. “The styling went from standard to this in one go!” Sachin exclaims. That’s one hell of a transformation. The kit is a Prior Design M wide-body kit, consisting of front and rear bumpers, side skirts, wider front wings and wider rear quarter panels. It’s comprehensive and means that this 135i looks every inch the 1M that inspired its makeover. Now, the kit on its own is awesome and Sachin could have left things there and been extremely happy with the results, but he didn’t. At the same time as the kit was being added a whole host of other styling additions were thrown into the mix to take the car to the next level. Up front there’s an MStyle carbon fibre vented power dome bonnet, a full-length carbon front splitter, and #BMW M Performance gloss black kidney grilles. Then you’ve got the 1M door mirrors, a carbon boot spoiler and carbon fibre rear diffuser from #MStyle , plus LCI Darkline rear lights. These elements are all pretty subtle compared to the impact of the body kit but they definitely add the perfect finishing touches.
Originally, Sachin’s 135i had been white but with its transformation to a wide-body monster it needed a fresh new look. “I’d decided I wanted a matt colour and was debating between black and grey,” he says. You can see which choice won in the end, with the car now finished in stunning Frozen grey. It’s a gorgeous colour that accentuates all of the car’s lines and gives it an otherworldly look. In addition to the Frozen grey bodywork the roof has been painted gloss black, which offers a nice contrast. With the new body kit there was no way that the M Sport wheels that the car had come with would cut the mustard any longer, nor were they beefy enough to fill those fat arches, so the hunt was on for a new set of rims that would be up to the job. Those wheels are Forgestar F14s, forged 14-spoke affairs which are, usefully, available to order in some serious widths and with astonishingly deep concave designs. Indeed, the 9x19” fronts are labelled Deep Concave while the 11x19” rears are what Forgestar calls Super Deep Concave, and that’s no exaggeration, the spokes disappearing deep within the wheel before they hit the centre. With a kit as wild and wide as this you really need to make sure your wheel choice won’t be overwhelmed by those massive arches and that it is capable of delivering its own brand of wow. Well the Forgestars definitely deliver on that front.
With Sachin’s styling plans accomplished, he decided to look at getting a bit more power out of the N54 as, while the 135i was quick, there was still a lot of untapped potential. And who better than MStyle to help tap it? As such, the engine has been fitted with a Mosselman MSL 500 turbo kit, Mosselman twin oil cooler kit and oil cooler separator. There’s also an induction kit, uprated intercooler, uprated low pressure fuel pump, cat-less downpipes, a de-cat centre section with a custom quad exhaust system, and the whole lot is topped off with a Mosselman Stage 3 remap. The end result?
A dyno-proven 470hp with a thumping 480lb ft of torque, huge gains that deliver equally huge performance and really push what was once a humble 135i to the next level.
Up until this point Sachin was still riding on nothing more than the stock suspension with the only handling aids being those Eibach anti-roll bars, so that needed to change. MStyle recommended coilovers so he whipped his wallet out and opted for a set of BC Racing height and damping adjustable items with matching front camber adjustable pillow ball top mounts. “It rides and handles brilliantly now,” says Sachin, “and there’s so much grip it’s actually scary!” He’s has kept the standard callipers because they’re pretty massive, with six-pots up front, but they’ve been given a lick of orange paint which really makes them stand out against the black wheels and grey bodywork.
Inside you’ll find red leather, which looks equally good against the exterior, with carbon trim and a BMW M Performance gear knob, Alcantara gaiter, and matching Alcantara handbrake gaiter. Since the shoot Sachin has added an M Performance Alcantara steering wheel with shift lights and a digital display. He is now thinking about fitting a pair of M4 front seats, which would look awesome.
As we finish up our shoot, Sachin asks if I’d like to take the 135i it out for a spin. I grab the key off him with such ferocity he’s lucky he’s still got a hand left. The first impressions behind the wheel are defined by the stubby gear knob, UUC short-shift kit, and UUC Stage 2 multi-puck ceramic clutch.
It all feels a bit sharp and snatchy for someone who’s just jumped in the car for the first time, so I’m gentle with the clutch and gear change and it’s clear that you’d very quickly get used to the combination and drive it as smoothly as any other car. What a short-shift kit does do, though, is make you want to drive fast and rip through the gears – so that’s exactly what I do. The performance is awesome! It’s the torque that really gets you. There’s so much of it spread over such a wide rev range that it’s always there when you put your foot down. When you do the 135i just explodes forward. It’s incredible and makes this car ridiculously rapid. It takes no effort to find yourself travelling far more quickly than you ever had any intention of doing. The mid-range is so astonishing that you find yourself shortshifting, which drops you right back into the torque plateau, but when the opportunity arises I keep the throttle pinned to get a taste of the top end and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s no let up in acceleration and the power just keeps on coming. When you tap into that heady top end the car feels ferocious and furious and it’s addictive.
The ride is firm but compliant and the chassis feels taught and precise, the 135i cornering hard, fast and flat, while the brakes feel strong with plenty of feel through the pedal providing massive stopping power. Oh, and it sounds good, too. Really good. That fully-decatted exhaust really lets that straight-six sing. It’s a great noise, the icing on a very fast cake indeed.
“I’m very happy with the car,” grins Sachin as I hand back the keys, though perhaps that’s why he’s smiling. “It gets lots of attention. I’m actually surprised just how much. It’s got the look I’ve always wanted and it’s the car I’ve always wanted.”
What Sachin’s done is taken a good car and made it great, which is the ultimate modifying goal. And when the end result is as impressive as this, that’s something you can be truly proud of.
Interior features carbon trim, a shortshift kit and red leather, which looks great against the grey exterior; orange brake calipers add a flash of colour.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 / #Mosselman-MSL500 / #Mosselman / #UUC-Motorwerks / #N54-Mosselman / #BMW-135i-Mosselman / #BMW-135i-Mosselman-E82 / #Mosselman-Stage-3 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 /
ENGINE 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 , #Mosselman-MSL500-N54-turbo-kit , twin oil cooler kit and oil cooler separator, induction kit, uprated intercooler, uprated low pressure fuel pump, cat-less downpipes, de-cat centre section, #Mosselman-Stage-3 remap
TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual gearbox, #UUC-Motorwerks-Stage-2 multi-puck ceramic clutch, UUC Motorwerks double-shear Evo short-shift kit
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) #Deep-Concave and 11x19” (rear) #Super-Deep-Concave-Forgestar-F14 forged wheels in gloss black with 245/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact 5P tyres, #BC-Racing height and damping adjustable coilover kit, #BC-Racing front camber adjustable pillow ball top mounts, #Eibach anti-roll bars, brake calipers painted in custom orange with M decals, #Quaife-LSD
EXTERIOR Prior Design M wide-body kit consisting of front and rear bumpers, side skirts, wider front wings and wider rear quarter panels, painted MStyle carbon vented power dome bonnet, MStyle full length carbon fibre front splitter and carbon fibre rear diffuser, BMW M Performance gloss black kidney grilles, OE 1M air ducts and arch liners, OE 1M door mirrors, MStyle custom quad exhaust, SuperSprint quad tailpipes, MStyle carbon boot spoiler, full respray in Frozen grey, roof painted gloss black, Darkline E82 LCI rear lights
INTERIOR #BMW M Performance gear knob and Alcantara gaiter, #BMW-M-Performance Alcantara gaiter for handbrake
“It rides and handles brilliantly now… there’s so much grip it’s scary”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBASKING SHARK
The E24 6 Series is a masterpiece of classic design and one that with a just a few mods becomes something special. This classic CSi isn’t the sort of shark that’ll rip your leg off without hesitation or warning – it’s a mellow, low-and-slow cruiser. Although with 200hp-odd from the factory, you’d still do well to keep an eye on it… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Henry Phull.
“BMWs are in my blood,” says Henry Phull, as he nonchalantly rumbles to a halt before the photographer’s lens in his shimmering retro sharknose. This, of course, sets alarm bells ringing – you know what happens when you mix sharks with the suggestion of blood, you’ve seen Jaws. We step back cautiously and allow him to elaborate: “My dad had numerous Beemers when I was growing up, the most notable being an E24 M635CSi in red – that was his favourite car, and I’ve wanted a sharknose of my own ever since.”
It’s a story oft-told, the my-dad-had-one-of- those aspiration, and it’s played beautifully into Henry’s hands as he strategised the long game. Starting out his driving career in an Audi runabout before graduating to an E34 525i, the stepping stones were inexorably leading him toward an old-skool 6 Series… although when it happened, it came out of left-field, as it turned out that the lure of the E34 5 Series distracted him somewhat. “I just fell in love with the noise and the leather of the 525i,” he grins, “and after that I had a V8 530i, with both cars receiving Throwing Stars, coilovers and M5 interiors. I was then on the hunt for a 540i – and I test drove a few which turned out to be lemons – when a 635CSi turned up at the right price, in the right place at the right time…”
This move of celestial serendipity was enough to jolt Henry’s childhood dreams back on track. Receiving a message from a friend saying that a mate of theirs in the motor trade had just taken in an E24 in partexchange was enough to prick Henry’s ears up. He called the seller in question, who turned out to be vague on the details and sent over some low-quality photos of the car. Not a lot to go on, there – but it had one key hook: “It was white!” says Henry, triumphantly. “A white 635CSi is an uncommon sight, so I was interested.”
From there on in the whole thing was inevitable, really. The cherry on the cake was that the vendor was planning to put it into his bodyshop to freshen up the front wings and sort out any rust the car may have, and this – combined with the low, low price (undisclosed here, but undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime deal) – was enough to twist Henry’s arm. Although to be fair, it was already pretty much twisted. The chance to own the car of his childhood dreams? Yeah, you’d have been right in there too.
“I told him I would go up and view the car as soon as it was out of the paint shop,” he recalls. “A week later I made my way to Basingstoke to take a closer look. On first inspection the car was dirty and tatty, like it was in the photos I’d seen previously, but the paint was decent and they’d done a good job on the wings. It needed a few niggly things sorting; the floor was wet, the windows didn’t work properly, the indicators didn’t work, the engine had a couple of oil leaks and sounded tappy… but I decided that the car was being sold to me so cheap, it was worth the risk, and I could break it for more than I paid for it if the car turned out to be bad.” With no prior experience of owning M30-engined cars, this was something of a step into the unknown for Henry, but it represented more of the good sort of fear that you get from, say, rollercoasters than the bad fear you associate with axe murderers and PPI cold calls. And so a deal was struck.
Such was the thrall in which the E24 held Henry that he kept it completely bone-stock for a year before any thoughts of modifying crossed his bows. But inevitably the dark thoughts crept in, as they’re always prone to do, and he found himself bolting on a set of Throwing Stars (hey, stick with what you know…) and chopping a few coils off the springs. Appearances at a few shows yielded universal praise, although at this stage he was focusing more on maintenance than modification. But with the car mechanically tip-top and aesthetically up-to-scratch, it was time to do things properly.
“I’d always fancied split-rims, and this was the car that finally pushed me to do it,” he says. “I’d always gone with OEM+ wheels before, but I found myself scanning the internet, looking for the right splits.” He’d already decided that they had to be 17s or 18s, and initially favoured a mesh design that would evoke the CSi’s original metric wheels. But then a set of OZ Futuras popped up on Stanceworks and changed all of that.
“They were up for sale in Germany, and it was a bit of a scary purchase as they were used and I would never know the true condition of them until they arrived,” he recalls with a grimace. “I wasn’t even after this sort of wheel design but this set had gold centres; gold on a white car was what I wanted. It’s just so period-correct. A quick photoshop later and it was clear that they would look amazing!”
The specs were aggressive and Henry found that the judicious use of spacers would push them right into the arch lips in fine style. The next inevitable quandary, of course, was how to lower the thing…
This was a weighty decision indeed, with Henry having recently devoted himself full time to Slam Sanctuary, the site he founded to showcase badass low-down rides. He had to walk the walk, right? But at the same time there was a tight budget to consider – going it alone employment-wise is a financial tightrope. This was the initial impetus that swayed him away from air-ride and toward rolling static, although we all know that this is more than a cost-based decision; air vs coilies is a lifestyle thing. They both have their merits, but it’s down to how you use your car and what sort of character you want to give it.
A long chat with SS Autowerks resulted in a set of well-priced BC Racing coilovers winging their way to him, in drool-worthy Extra Low flavour with custom spring rates. To complement this new attitude to altitude, SSA also threw some engine raisers to get the M30 20mm further from the Tarmac which, brilliantly, raise the base of the sump above the subframe, so the car doesn’t even need a sump guard. Who says static rides are all oily heartache and tow trucks?
The vagaries and mechanical complexities of the E24 (shall we just call it quality engineering?) meant that the fitment of coilovers wasn’t a walk in the park, so Henry entrusted the job to the irrepressible Paul of Coltech Classics, who set about ripping out the MacPherson strut setup and welding the Extra Low units to the hubs.
“Paul said the BCs were a dream to work with,” Henry enthuses. “We couldn’t believe how low they allowed the car to run while maintaining drivability, I’d recommend them to anyone with an E24.”
The nature of Henry’s sloped driveway meant that the centre exhaust box was catching with these new-found lows, which gave him the excuse to rip the thing off and replace it with straight-through pipes – a nifty little fringe benefit – while some trimming of the rear arches was the final job Paul needed to carry out in order to make the thing day-to-day streetable.
And that, in a nutshell, was the realisation of Henry’s boyhood dream. You’ll note that the car’s exterior remains resolutely unmodified – “Why alter the body of an already beautiful car?” he reasons – and much the same is true of the factory interior, save from the addition of an MTech I steering wheel. This is textbook ‘stop, drop and roll’ stuff, and it’s all the better for it.
“The first show I took it to with the new look was the Players Classic, and the attention it received was just on another level,” he grins. “And then the BMW Festival at Gaydon… people were constantly asking me if it was bagged, which just goes to show what the right sort of coilovers can achieve.” Such is the menace of the bona fide shark; you don’t need to be flash – you just have to bare your teeth.
DATA FILE #BMW-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E24 / #BMW / #OZ
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.4-litre straight-six #M30B35 / #BMW-M30 / #M30 , engine raisers, centre exhaust silencer removed, four-speed auto / #ZF4HP / #ZF
CHASSIS 8.5x17” ET13 (front) and 10x17” ET19 (rear) #OZ-Futura wheels with 25mm (front) and 30mm (rear) spacers and 205/45 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing Extra Low Type RA coilovers with custom spring rates
INTERIOR Stock with full factory leather, M Tech 1 steering wheel
THANKS Paul at Coltech Classics for going the extra mile to lower the car, Nick and Alex at SS Autowerks for supplying BC coilovers and engine raisers, Tom Etheridge for servicing and helping to maintain the car in his spare time, Paul at MVT Poole for general maintenance and always sorting me out at the last minute whenever there’s an issue, Simon and Nathan at The Wheel Specialist Bournemouth for assisting with fitment and tyres. Last but not least, my parents for letting me park the car in their garage!
“The attention it received was on another level!”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMIGHTY FIVE Seriously styled F10 520d
FIVE STAR Big, bold and very, very blue – MStyle’s F10 520d show car is all about making a big impact. With a dazzling paint job and a heap of stunning styling mods, this F10 is guaranteed to get noticed. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Following on from the E60, the F10 5 Series has proved to be a pretty massive hit as well as being, well, just plain massive, really. When we first drove the car at its launch we remember thinking it felt more 7 Series than 5 Series and BMW itself admitted that the 5 Series had gone up a size mainly for the US market, where size definitely still matters.
Among its contemporaries it no longer seems like such a road leviathan but the F10 remains a superb machine, brilliantly executed and a comfortable, elegant and refined motor car. Of course, not everyone wants that and while we’ve not been inundated with modified 5 Series submissions from the worldwide BMW scene, every now and again an example of a non-standard F10 pops up that makes up for the lack of activity and proves impossible to ignore. Case in point: MStyle’s ridiculously blue F10 520d show car.
Colour plays such a big part in a car’s appeal. You could have the sexiest machine in the world but if it’s finished in some weird colour it’ll be robbed of any impact and visual appeal. Likewise, bold colours on big cars can be a risky move as it can prove to be a bit too much. Well, MStyle has chosen a pretty outrageous shade of blue for a pretty massive car and it works, it really does.
Okay, not everyone’s going to want their F10 looking as bright as this, but if you want to make an impact this is how you do it. The colour is, amazingly, a BMW factory hue and has the wonderful title of Long Beach blue.
The name certainly conjures up images of beautiful skies and azure waters, and on a rainy day in Romford? Well it serves as a retina-searing flash of colour that brightens up everything around it and delivers a dose of automotive vitamin D that makes you feel good. As there’s a blue and black combo colour scheme going on across the car, the roof has been painted black which is a good touch as it helps to break up that big block of blue and ties everything together.
Beyond the paintwork there’s a lot going on here in terms of styling, with MStyle ramping up the road presence and giving this F10 all the visual clout of a haymaker.
Step one in taking this 5 Series from refined to rowdy was the addition of MStyle’s own M-look body kit; a comprehensive package that includes front and rear bumpers, side skirts and front wings. With those massive front air intakes, wing vents and sculpted rear bumper, this 520d looks every inch the M machine and the quality, fit and finish of the body kit is absolutely spot-on. In fact, only the mirrors and lack of massive brakes give the game away as far as this car’s identity goes. The M body kit alone makes a big difference to the looks, but that wasn’t ever really going to be enough for an outfit like MStyle, so then came the carbon, lashings and lashings of carbon, which contrasts perfectly against the blue and takes this F10 to the next level.
The biggest carbon addition on the car is without doubt the bonnet, which you might not notice due to the fact that it’s been painted but the fully functional vents have been left bare and they look fantastic for it.
Sitting below the front bumper is a full-width carbon splitter while a set of MStyle black kidney grilles have been fitted and the headlights have been tinted using Lamin-X film. Heading down the side of the car you’ll spot the black side repeaters, carbon side skirt extensions and carbon mirror covers, while at the back there’s both a carbon roof spoiler and carbon boot spoiler, a gorgeous carbon rear diffuser and the only thing that could possibly fill the exhaust cut-outs on either side is the MStyle quad exhaust, with its fat round tips poking out menacingly. The finishing touch is a set of genuine BMW White line rear lights that have also been given the tinted treatment via some Lamin-X film. With all those carbon parts attached to that big blue body the car looks awesome, super-aggressive and with a tonne of road presence; it’s about as far removed from a virgin 520d SE as you could possibly imagine.
Styling sorted, a suitably muscular set of wheels was needed to fill those big arches and here MStyle was spoilt for choice as it carries an overwhelming number of wheels from countless top-end companies and for this car, the BC Forged catalogue was called upon. The chosen wheel for the F10 was the HCS-02, a two-piece forged affair with a wide-set, twin-five-spoke design. When it came to choosing the finish, MStyle opted for satin black centres with polished lips and barrels. The wheels are 21s, measuring 9.5” wide up front and a beefy 11” at the rear. They suit the car perfectly, with the centres echoing the black elements around the car and the polished lips and barrels adding a flash of colour that prevents the wheels and tyres turning into big, black shapeless circles, while the concave design adds an extra element. Killer wheels alone are no good if your car is riding like a 4x4 so a bit of lowering was required and while a set of springs would have done the job, if something is worth doing it’s worth doing right so BC Racing was called upon to provide a set of coilovers. Naturally, these are height adjustable but also offer damping adjustment to allow you to fine-tune the ride and handling characteristics. Arguably getting the car sitting just right is at least as important and MStyle’s got that spot-on here, with that big F10 body sitting mere millimetres above the tyres.
Now, you might think that’s job done as far as this F10 is concerned, but MStyle doesn’t do things by halves, so the interior has been treated to a full black Nappa leather retrim complete with custom blue stitching, with a honeycomb pattern on the seats and doorcards. It really helps to give the interior that extra touch of luxury and exclusivity, without going overboard, plus it ties in perfectly with the exterior colour combo.
The final element is the addition of a Mosselman Turbo Systems tuning module, which can be seen under the bonnet. The 520d is a surprisingly sprightly machine, the 2.0-litre diesel mill under the bonnet being blessed with a huge amount of torque that ensures even the smallest of the diesel Fives never feels sluggish, but with diesel engines responding so keenly to a little fettling, it would have been silly not to. The module simply plugs in and takes the 520d from 184 to 214hp while torque rises from 280 to 332lb ft – enough to get the big F10 off the line smartly and accelerating briskly; it’s not going to set your world alight, but it’s most definitely a welcome boost in performance.
With a car like the F10 you might be tempted to go for the subtle approach in terms of styling, but sometimes going big pays off. In one fell swoop, MStyle has transformed this F10, taking it from its humble business executive beginnings and giving it a full-on Hollywood makeover, via Romford. It’s a proper head-turning machine, and every aspect of the car’s styling has been addressed and improved upon, resulting in a car you could happily use daily, cruise in comfort on the motorway whilst enjoying very pleasant fuel economy, before parking up at a show and enjoying being the centre of attention. What more can you ask for from a car?
Contact MStyle www.mstyle.co.uk 020 8598 9115
Interior has been finished in black Nappa leather with custom blue stitching and honeycomb pattern.
Carbon fibre galore on this F10, including roof and boot spoilers plus diffuser and that vented bonnet.
MStyle has chosen a pretty outrageous shade of blue for a pretty massive car and it works.
Mosselman tuning module sits in engine bay and takes power from 184hp to 214hp with 332lb ft of torque.
DATA FILE MStyle #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW-5-Series-F10 / #BMW / #Mosselman / #N47-Mosselman /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder N47D20 / N47 / BMW-N47 , #Mosselman-Turbo-Systems-Tuning-Module , eight-speed automatic gearbox / #ZF / #ZF8HP /
CHASSIS 9.5x21” (front) and 11x21” (rear) #BC-Forged-HCS-02 two-piece wheels with satin black centres, polished barrels and lips with 255/30 (front) and 295/25 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing height and damping adjustable coilovers
EXTERIOR Full #MStyle #M-look body kit consisting of front and rear bumpers, side skirts and front wing, repainted in BMW Long Beach blue with gloss black roof, #Lamin-X tinted headlights, MStyle carbon vented bonnet, carbon front splitter, gloss black twin slat kidney grilles, gloss black side repeaters, carbon mirror covers, carbon side skirt extensions, carbon boot spoiler, carbon roof spoiler, carbon quad rear diffuser, quad exhaust, BMW Whiteline rear lights tinted using Lamin-X film, tinted windows
INTERIOR Full Nappa leather interior retrim with custom blue stitchingStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSLAMMED WAGON
Awesome ultra-low E39 LOW LIFE / A slammed static E39 Touring that gets everything right.
The E39 Touring has always been an extremely handsome machine and a few choice mods can get it looking even better. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Marcus Lundell.
I remember reading the E39 Touring brochure back in #1997 (my aunt was thinking of getting one) and I recall thinking the E39 looked rather elegant and upmarket, shot as it was in that expensive brochure style. It remains a very smart-looking estate today, having aged well and retained a sense of grace and luxury. It is the sort of car you can imagine a well-to-do family driving down to their holiday home on the coast in. That is until someone like Henrik Karlsson gets his hands on it…
Henrik is not married to someone called Arabella, does not have children with names like Tabitha and Quentin, and doesn’t holiday on the Devon coast – mainly because he lives in Sweden. And he’s clearly blessed with a discerning eye for design (a national trait perhaps?) as with just a few carefully considered selection of choice modifications, Henrik’s twisted the E39 Touring’s restrained elegance into something far sleeker.
As he’s from Sweden, it is no surprise to learn that Henrik tried out some Volvos but when he got behind the wheel of what was to become his first BMW, a 523i (that he still owns), he fell in love and that was that. He made the 523i his and although it was fine, he had a hankering for a Sport Touring. With no previous record of modifying beyond audio upgrades, his plans for a potential estate were to simply leave it alone and use it as a daily. “That didn’t work out…” smiles Henrik sheepishly.
A Touring was duly sourced from Blocket.se, Sweden’s largest used car site, and Henrik swiftly launched all plans for stock motoring out of the window and left them to rot in a ditch somewhere. As you can see, this E39 is far removed from stock.
However, the list of mods isn’t an overflowing cascade of barely-restrained expenditure. Instead it’s a concise collection of clever alterations. This project is all about making a big impact with just a few modifications – something that’s far harder to achieve than it perhaps sounds, as it requires an innate understanding of the aesthetics of (car) design.
So, first things first, this Touring is static. Considering how far up into the arches those awesome Hamann splits are tucked and the fact that there’s maybe 20mm between the bottom of that front lip and the Tarmac, that’s seriously impressive. We can’t help but think that even errant acorns might be enough to halt the Touring’s progress, wedging themselves between bumper and road. This level of low takes dedication to the cause, and Henrik’s clearly got that in spades. The job of dropping this E39 Touring on its arse falls to a set of BC Racing coilovers, or rather a pair, as they only do the work up front. At the back, Henrik’s wagon is rocking SLS, BMW’s self-levelling suspension setup, which is great at keeping the rear end flat when it’s full of shopping or kitchen appliances but somewhat restrictive when it comes to getting your Touring as low as possible. Getting the SLS to play ball can be achieved through the use of some special lowering links however Henrik took a slightly different route, as he explains: “There’s a sensor on each side of the wheel.
This sensor has a little arm which controls the height of the SLS, so if you’re loading the car with stuff it will raise automatically to keep the right height level. I noticed that, so I took the arm off the sensor so I could control the height and made the cables to the sensor longer and brought it inside the car.”
Handily, Henrik has shot a little video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBTI1oWSUw0) showing how it works and it really is as simple as it sounds, with the factory suspension now obeying his every command and essentially behaving like an air-ride system. It’s very clever stuff and cost him nothing, making it the best sort of mod. With the rear suspension successfully fiddled with, the Touring’s back end could now be brought in line with the front, which Henrik has wound down to within an inch of its life, and the end result is awesome.
Whatever your viewing angle, this Touring looks spectacular. Outrageous lows achieved, it was only right that the car was paired with a suitably eye-catching set of wheels, and Henrik’s picked a classic rim that couldn’t look more at home on the Touring if it tried. “I was thinking about OZ Futuras,” he tells us, “but the Hamann PG1 was a little rarer, and when I saw these wheels I couldn’t resist buying them. I built the wheels to the measurements that I wanted as well, so they got pretty wide. I pulled the rear arches about 17mm on each side to make the wheels fit and about 10mm at the front.” The Hamanns measure 18” across with the fronts being 10.25” wide with an outrageous offset of -10, while the rears are 11.25” with an offset of +3. It’s no wonder, then, that the arches needed to be rolled and pulled so aggressively to get them to fit, but the effort was well worth it. It goes without saying that the wheels themselves look absolutely awesome; the dish is absolutely insane and the mirror lips and dark centres are a dream combo.
A Sport trim Touring slammed on its arse with a set of killer wheels would be enough on its own for many of us. But Henrik isn’t like many of us; he’s the cool, calculating Swede with an eye for combining clean lines with big impact, remember? And, true to form, Henrik figured that there was a room for a bit more improvement on the styling front, just a little something to give his E39 a bit more impact. “I wanted some OEM styling,” he explains, “so I bought the Hamann front lip and black grille. I don’t like chrome so I had to change that and I also changed the door strips to black with the M badges.” Getting rid of the chrome was definitely the way forward and the Hamann lip adds an extra element of sheer meanness to the front end, dropping it even closer to the ground and giving it that square-jawed, hard-man look.
The original interior, complete with its rather rare armrest-mounted car phone option, is exactly what Henrik wanted, finished as it is in black leather with the standard Sport seats. The only changes Henrik made here involved replacing the wood trim with aluminium, dyeing the steering wheel back to black as the leather had started to wear and adding a set of M Sport pedals.
While the engine has been left alone, Henrik does say that a money-no-object mod would have been swapping in an S62 from the E39 M5 but a more realistic item on his to-do list (and next on the cards) is going for air-ride, in the form of Air Lift’s latest 3P system, along with a set of new wheels, which Henrik says are top secret.
Considering how jaw-droppingly good this Touring looks with the small selection of choice mods that it’s been treated to, with a set of even more amazing wheels and air, the only way is up. Or rather, down.
18” Hamann PG1s look awesome on the E39 and measure a monster 10.25” wide up front with an offset of ET-10; no wonder those arches have been seriously massaged!
DATA FILE #BMW-E39 / #BMW-530i-Touring / #BMW-530i-Touring-E39 / #BMW-530i-E39 / #BMW-530i / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #M54B30 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 / , five-speed automatic gearbox
CHASSIS 10.25x18” ET-10 (front) and 11.25x18” ET+3 (rear) #Hamann-PG1 wheels with 235/35 (front) and 255/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing coilovers (front), modified SLS (rear), rolled and pulled arches 10mm (front) and 17mm (rear)
EXTERIOR Hamann front lip, black kidney grille, black door trims with M badges, #M-Tech roof spoiler
INTERIOR Aluminium interior trim strips, M Tech pedalsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.