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With its camo wrap, DTM-inspired styling and 360hp, this E61 535d Touring is one hell of a way to get the dogs to the park. With silly styling and equally silly power, this bonkers DTM-inspired Finnish 535d Touring is about as far removed from a sensible family estate as you can imagine. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Jape Tiitinen.
Tourings are cool, of that there can be no doubt, but they’re ultimately pretty sensible beasts, especially in diesel form. Wouldn’t it be great if someone built an absolutely mental wagon with off-the- wall styling and something naughty under the bonnet? Well, someone has and his name is Tommi Väyrynen.
In his early 30s, Tommi is of the age where many people would likely be considering a Touring because they’ve got at least one child either on the way or already present. In fact, his motives for purchasing a capacious estate were dog-based but the principle is the same. What he’s ended up with, however, is one hell of a dog-to-park-delivery system, and the end result is all the more astonishing because he never actually intended to modify it. However, with a long list of extensively modified cars behind him, that thought was about as futile as attempting to keep a Labrador out of a muddy puddle. Not. Going. To. Happen.
Hailing from Scandinavia, it is perhaps not surprising to learn that Tommi cut his motoring teeth on a Volvo 340 DL with a mighty Renault 1.4 under the bonnet and while it was fine summer transportation it was not so great in the winter, though likely not for the reasons you’re probably thinking of: “That is a problem of living here in north, the carburettor always froze and jammed!” he exclaims. The modifying began with this sturdy brown Volvo and continued with a Merc 190E and an extremely rare Merc E50 Lorinser before he saw the light and decided to see what Bavarian metal had to offer.
The need for dog transportation guided his hand towards an E61 and a desire to sample the twin-turbo M57 cemented his engine choice with the 535d. This particular example came very well-spec’d, with the aptly-named Comfort seats and HUD to scratch the surface. Those first summer months were great, Tommi and his E61 enjoying the Finnish countryside together with the dogs, but come the harsh winter the E61 decided it had had enough of being reliable. “The starter stopped working, the auxiliary heating did not work, the glow plugs did not work, the battery was bad, the trunk wiring was also dead. I had to do a lot of repairing…” he says, in what might be the understatement of the year. But where a lesser man might have faltered, Tommi persevered, fixed everything and that’s when the modifying that he had no intention of doing began.
As modifying was never on the cards, there was no plan and things just sort of happened, like the engine mods: “When I bought the car it had an engine tuning chip and because of that the exhaust manifold broke and that is where all it started,” grins Tommi. “We needed to change the manifold so at same time, when turbos were on the table, I made the wastegates as big as they could be. At the same time we also lost the cats and after that we go rid of the DPF as well.” Well, if you’re halfway to gutting your exhaust system you might as well go all the way!
“The car then went for tuning, with my friend making the software for it, and after that we installed the biggest intercooler we could behind the front bumper.” That has now been painted red because, really, no part of this car wants to be discreet. “It now makes 380hp and 627lb ft of torque and it sounds like a truck. I love it!” he grins. The benefits of all that power and torque are obvious: it means you can get to the park extra quickly for more doggy playtime, and you can also do massive smokey burnouts, which is always fun.
However, all of this plays second fiddle to the way the thing looks. There are no two ways about it, it’s absolutely mental and, love it or hate it, it’ll make you look. Tommi took inspiration for the car’s styling from Jon Olsson’s wide-body, 1000hp Audi RS6 which, at its wildest, was even more flat-out bonkers than Tommi’s concoction. This E61 is a faithful recreation on a marginally more sensible scale: “When I saw a picture of Jon’s car I knew straight away what I wanted to do. Me and my friend drew the shapes for the graphics and another friend cut the strips at his workshop. We wrapped the car and installed M5 grilles in the front arches. We made those DTM spoilers from plastic in my own garage and then wrapped then in carbon film; we had no problems with any of the bodywork but the best thing to have when you’re modifying a car is good friends as they can help you.”
The graphics are definitely the first thing on this 535d that gets your attention, and they’re certainly not shy, but neither are the outlandish aerodynamic addenda. They are headed up by that big front lip that extends out past the bumper and is held up by two bright red supports. This is then joined by a pair of dangerous-looking canards on either side of the bumper. The side blades that extend out from the sills have winglets at their front and rear edges while at the rear there’s a diffuser with some seriously aggressive vertical slats. The whole lot is then topped off with a roof box. In stark contrast to the exterior mayhem, the interior has been kept stock, but then again there’s nothing to complain about when it comes to black leather wrapped around Comfort seats and the aluminium cube interior trim.
While in the past Tommi has been more than happy to slam his cars into the ground, with the Touring he wanted to keep things marginally more sensible. “I’m getting old!” he laughs. “My Lorinser Merc had just 6cm (just over 2”) of ground clearance but this has 12cm (just under 5”) and not only is it so much more comfortable but you can also drive faster,” and that’s probably the best reason for not absolutely dropping your car that we could possibly think of. “The suspension is actually only the M Sport suspension but with new shocks,” he continues. This isn’t much but it’s enough as this car is hardly riding like it’s on stilts, with what little arch gap there is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, especially with those 20s bolted to the car. The dubs in question are TSW Mirabeaus, measuring 9” wide up front and 10.5” at the rear, and they really look fantastic on the car. “I have had wheels with big lips before but now I wanted something different so the concave design was my choice,” says Tommi. He chose wisely as they are the perfect size and the ideal style, with the twin five-spoke design really working a treat on the Touring.
It’s a mad concoction, this, though the car that inspired it was completely unhinged so it’s all relative, really, and what’s actually the most likely thing to raise your eyebrows to the edge of your hairline is just how positive a reaction Tommi’s Touring has received upon its unveiling. “I took it to a few shows and with the #DTM look I won the ‘Best Euro Car’ award from the first show. People really like this car, I think. On the Finnish Bimmer enthusiast forum, BTCF.fi, my build thread has been read 16,000 times and no one had anything bad to say. I was quite surprised,” he chuckles, “but happy.”
He’s really happy with the car too, though there is one thing he’d like to add… “More power!” he grins, and that makes perfect sense because if you’re building a mad car you might as well make sure it’s completely off its rocker…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E61 / #BMW-535d-DTM / #BMW-535d-E61 / #BMW-535d / #BMW-535d-DTM-E61 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E61 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E61 / #BMW-535d-Touring / / #BMW-535d-Touring-E61 / #M57D30TU / #M57D30 / #M57 / #BMW-M57 / #TSW
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel #M57D30TU , bigger wastegates, de-cat, #DPF delete, bigger intercooler, remap, six-speed automatic gearbox / #ZF6HP / 380hp, 627lb ft
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) #TSW-Mirabeau concave wheels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Aeolus tyres, M Sport suspension
EXTERIOR Camo wrap, carbon front grilles, custom DTM spoilers, M5 arch grilles with M535d badges, rolled arches, roof box
INTERIOR Standard Comfort seats, standard aluminium M Sport trim, auxiliary audio jack
THANKS Backwoods Customs (bwcustoms.com)
“It now makes 380hp and 627lb ft of torque and it sounds like a truck!”
“The best thing to have when you’re modifying a car is good friends”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.