- 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
“decided to add a supercharger to ensure that I was doing something new and different”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSWEDISH METAL
This BMW-loving father and son duo have built themselves two very different 2002s: one S14-powered, one turbocharged, both rather brilliant. Two 2002s, two very different approaches. A father and son team have put together this formidable pairing of modified BMWs, both brimming with citrusy goodness… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
Nominative determinism is an interesting idea. It’s a very real thing, positing that certain people’s futures tend to be mapped out by the name that they’re born with. For instance, the poet William Wordsworth, the racing driver Scott Speed, the meteorologist Amy Freeze, the urologist Dr Dick Chopp (who specialises in vasectomies and really does exist) and the tennis player Anna Smashnova – it can’t be a coincidence that these people have pursued careers that fit their names.
It follows, logically, that while people’s future paths can be shaped by name, there may exist for creatures and objects a sort of ‘colouration determinism’, where destiny can be informed and coerced by hue and saturation. Peacocks, for example, strut about like they own the place because they’ve evolved feathers that allow them to do so, and they revel in it. Little blue showoffs. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle. What does all this have to do with the pair of old-skool 2002s we’re looking at here? Ah, all will become clear. But it concerns, of course, their respective shades of orange…
To begin at the beginning, what we have here are a pair of home-built ’02s that offer far more horsepower than the factory ever envisaged – for we are in Sweden, and that’s just what they do here (the winters are long, there’s not a lot else to do) – built up by a father-and-son team. EWO 172 is a 1969 2002 Ti belonging to Mats Örnberg, and follows a classic approach to the pursuit of power: OEM+ tuning and a solid retro vibe. GEF 588 is the pride and joy of his son, Pontus, and takes a rather more boisterous approach, being a previously humble ’02 with the naughty spirit of the fabled 2002 Turbo woven into its DNA. So let’s start with the older generation first, shall we?
Mats’ 2002 wears Lamborghini Mica orange paint, a shade that suits the sharpened angles of a Murciélago down to the ground. In this instance, returning to our notion of colouration determinism, it speaks of style, chic, passion and flair – the attributes of a carefree Italian outlook, la dolce vita made solid. And as such, Mats has treated the engineering of the car with the reverence it deserves. “We found the body in a barn back in 1996,” he recalls. “When I first built the car up it was running an M10 engine; having fixed up the rust and fitted the steel arch extensions, it was on the road by 1998 in its first guise. The motor was lightly tuned and I ran it that way for a number of years, during the summers that is, with the modifications and upgrades happening over the winters.”
This is a stock tuner phrase in Sweden – it must be terrifying being an elk or a beaver in the springtime over there, when the snow melts and all the nutters emerge blinking from their garages, ready to deploy the extra horsepower they found over Christmas. “I bored it out to 2.2-litres, fitted spikier cams, fettled the suspension, experimented with bike carbs… and then around 2005 or 2006 I fitted the M3 engine.” He says this as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Maybe, for him, it is.
The E30’s S14 four-pot is a formidable thing; its architecture spawned from the M10, so it’s an entirely appropriate evolution for Mats’s build, and it’s the one four-cylinder engine that, generally speaking, the hardened BMW six-pot fan will make a concession for. It has the weight of history and motorsport prowess hanging from it. “Everything from the 2002 suited the swap,” he grins. “The motor mounts, oil pan, oil pump, the gearbox… the M3 manifold had to be modified a little, and a new exhaust system had to be built, but on the whole it fitted very happily.” Makes it sound easy, doesn’t he?
So in essence he found himself with a classically-tuned 2002 with 199hp at the wheels, something that would have raised a few Bavarian eyebrows in period. The fact that he’s rocking a set of motorsport-chic #BBS-RS wheels and debumpered the thing like a race car merely adds to the feel of 1970s track shenanigans. He’s got buckets, harnesses and a cage in the stripped interior, too, because that’s how a car like this is supposed to roll. Mats has been developing it for years, and this is its ultimate evolution. (Well, ‘ultimate’ in the sense of ‘latest’, at least. We very much doubt he’s finished with it yet.) “All of the renovations and modifications were carried out by me, save for the paint and a few minor jobs like aluminium welding,” he explains, which makes perfect sense really. You can’t be nipping to the local garage every five minutes if your workshop door’s wedged shut by a snowdrift.
So if Mats’ car is informed by the suavity of Lamborghini orange, what’s the citrus situation with Pontus’? Well, his 2002 is slathered in a shade of Harley Davidson orange, which really should act as a statement of intent. This is a colour that forgoes any sentiment of subtlety in favour of brash, forthright shoutiness. It beats its chest with fury like a wronged, bearded leviathan in a Southern biker bar. It doesn’t ask, it just takes.
“This all started in 2012, when Pontus was just 16,” says Mats, immediately shaming most of the dads of our readership into rethinking their ‘birthday present ideas’ list. “He asked me if I could give him some help in working on a 2002 with a turbocharged engine. I told him to talk to my brother-in-law about it, as he had a 2002 that he’d built and registered with a turbo – and it turned out that he’d tired of it and started to strip and sell the parts, so Pontus bought the whole thing and that became the project! We worked on restoring it together, with a new turbo and engine management system, as well as replacing the gearbox and differential, which are from an E28 528i. We also had to scratch-build a whole new fuelling system, and build up the new coilovers, and set up the new front brakes which are from a Porsche Boxster, and…” Well, the list goes on and on. This is very much not a case of tidying up someone else’s project; what Mats and Pontus have achieved here is to take the lessons learned from the former’s protracted dabblings in 2002 fettling and reimagine it for a Generation Y outlook. Forced induction, multi-marque part-sourcing, great big rims with broad rubber, these are all the touchpoints gleaned from a childhood spent poring over Gatebil coverage, and GEF 588 is the natural coalescence of influences old and new. “We had some heat issues with the downpipe in the beginning,” Mats continues.
“The spark plug wires melted, so we had to make a new manifold that would position the turbo a bit further away from the engine. But in general, that’s really the only problem we faced.” Again, he’s making it sound simple. What’s residing beneath that Harleyjaffa bonnet is really anything but: a 2.0-litre motor stroked out to 2.2, with robust pistons and rods, and a Borg Warner S200 boosting happily and filling the system with cheerfulness. The block itself has been partially concrete-filled, an old drag racing trick that adds strength to the cylinder walls and deadens internal vibration. (The necessary compromise is to half-fill it because, unless you’re running a full-race dragster or fuelling it with methanol, you want to keep some of the water jackets free or else you won’t have any cooling.) It is, in short, pretty hardcore. 424hp of hardcore, in fact, with that E28 LSD having all sorts of spiky power to cope with.
Pontus has really gone to town on the aesthetics, too, eschewing his old man’s penchant for retro flair by ensuring that any potential challenger is in no doubt that they’re about to get kicked in the teeth. The 17” Borbet rims give the profile a brilliant Hot Wheels look, all pumped-up proportions and caricaturistic stance, while those Mk1 Golf arches that just about rein them in are an unusual alternative to the more obvious Turbo bolt-ons that most 2002 tuners plump for. The fibreglass front and rear bumpers are an interesting and polarising choice, too; while most people would either run debumpered, as Mats does, or stick a Turbo air dam on the front, Pontus has gone for a set of square-jawed chins that, working with the chunky sideskirts, do a lot to visually lower the car. It’s bound to be a look that puts some people off, but that’s just what we love about it. Who wants to follow the herd, eh?
Certainly not the Örnbergs. “We’re at a point in time where the older generation are talking about their memories of these cars when they were new, and the younger generation think it’s cool that they owned them,” says Mats, with the logic of a seasoned campfire storyteller. “My first car was a BMW and I’ve had one or two 2002s in my time… clearly it’s rubbed off from father to son!”
They’re having a lot of fun with their creations, too. Mats uses his car in autocross competitions, while Pontus can be found drifting his turbo looper when he’s not joining Örnberg Senior for a spot of autocrossing. The respective personalities of their shades of orange have naturally bled into two very different 2002s, but they’re both on a level pegging when it comes to desirability: whether you’re into high-revving screamers or hard-boosting growlers, there’s something lurking for you in the Swedish woods. And if you don’t see them coming, you’ll certainly hear them.
DATA FILE #BMW-2002-M10 #BMW-2002
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.2-litre four-cylinder #M10B20 #M10 , #Nera ECU, JE pistons, #Pauter rods, S14 crank, 84mm stroke, main bearing support, partially concretefilled engine block, ported and polished cylinder head, 46mm intake and 39mm exhaust valves, billet rocker arms, electric water pump, home-made exhaust manifold, #Borg-Warner #Borg-Warner-S200-turbo , 3.5” downpipe, 3” exhaust with one full-flow silencer, separate wastegate and pressure relief valve, multiple butterfly throttles from S14, 680cc injectors, Bosch motorsport coil, #Getrag 260 gearbox from E28 528i, Sachs 618 pressure plate, E28 528i diff with 75% LSD, 4:10 ratio. 424whp, 410lb ft @ 1.8bar.
CHASSIS: 7.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #Borbet A wheels with 205/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres, #Sachs front coilovers with 450lb springs, complete (narrowed) E28 535i rear axle with coilovers, Porsche Boxster four-pot front Brembo callipers with 302x25mm discs.
EXTERIOR: Harley Davidson orange, Mk1 Golf steel arch extensions, fibreglass bumpers and sideskirts.
INTERIOR: Soundproofing, carpets and rear seats removed, six-point roll-cage, #Motor-Drive seats, four-point harnesses, rev counter, oil pressure and temp, water temp and boost gauges.
Örnberg junior, meanwhile, has gone for a rather more extreme machine, and it packs a serious turbocharged punch.
DATA FILE #BMW-2002-S14
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 #S14 , reground camshafts, airflow meter removed along with intake manifold chamber, #Hestec ECU, #Bosch motorsport coil, 2.5” exhaust with two full-flow silencers, five-speed dog-leg box, M3 clutch, E21 diff with 75% LSD, 4:10 ratio, 199whp 192lb ft.
CHASSIS: 7x15” (front) and 8x15” (rear) BBS RS wheels with 205/50 (front) and 225/45 (rear) Toyo R888s, Bilstein front coilovers with 600lb springs, tube control arms with spherical plain bearings, blade-style anti-roll bars, #Bilstein rear dampers with 350lb springs in original position, reinforced control arms, urethane bushes, #Brembo four-pot front calipers with 295x28mm discs and Performance Friction pads, Audi A4 rear calipers with 256x10mm discs and Audi pads, adjustable brake balance.
EXTERIOR: Resprayed in Lamborghini Mica orange, steel arch extensions, debumpered.
INTERIOR: Soundproofing and rear seats removed, Sparco Corsa seats, four-point harnesses, six-point aluminium roll-cage, oil temp and pressure gauges.
Örnberg senior has opted for a more subtle build, though it’s a serious machine under the skin.
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