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    WILD 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.uk
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    SIZE MATTERS

    A period-styled early-’90s E30 is a very desirable thing these days. So what happens if you exaggerate all of the details just a little bit? Ernie Hofstetter is the man to ask… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Anna Taylor.

    / #BMW-E30-M50-swapped / #BMW-E30-Cab / #M50-swapped

    Exaggeration, despite what your teachers at school told you, is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, it can be helpful in getting ahead in life to artfully embellish and subtly big up the finer points of your character and achievements, to massage the salient facts into something more colourful. Doesn’t hurt anybody, does it?

    Ernie Hofstetter is a man who appreciates the nuances of this sort of behaviour. We’re not saying he’s a show off, of course – not by any means. But he’s reached the stage in his life when he’s seen a few automotive scenes come and go, ebb and flow, and he’s been taking notes all the way through. And here, with this E30, we find his meisterwerk; the physical manifestation of his years of careful observation, made real in glorious style. He’s taken the archetypal retro #BMW convertible, made it look sort of like a spec’d-up period example, but cunningly exaggerated the details. Thanks to this carefully thoughtthrough approach, the car’s almost like a cartoon – it looks like it would have done rolling through his hometown of Howell, New Jersey back in 1991, but something’s different… it’s lower, broader, meaner, more aggressive. Those subtle small details have added up to a mighty whole.

    “Back when I was 18, I thought these E30s were the coolest thing,” Ernie remembers. “When the time came around decades later that I wanted a fun car, that model immediately came to mind. Throughout the years my cars have always been modified – one of my favourites was my 2006 Lincoln Mark LT pick-up truck – but this a bit different. I’ve always been interested in BMWs, it’s a quality European driving machine, so it was the clear choice this time.”

    Ernie happily admits that he didn’t have a distinct plan for the car when he first got hold of it, and was willing to let inspiration be his guide. The cabriolet was found for sale in Philadelphia, and was in reasonable condition – not amazing and certainly not up to Ernie’s high standard but, of course, it was never the intention to buy someone else’s project. He wanted to create something unique of his very own: “Let the modding begin,” he mischievously grins.

    The first area that was primed for exaggeration was the big oily bit under the bonnet. While M20 motors have their merits, Ernie wanted to go harder, better, faster, stronger, and the way to achieve this was to swap the thing out for the rather mightier choice of the M50. Specifically, an #M50B25 : the 2.5-litre #straight-six that you’d normally find powering an E36 325i. “The M20 was boring and ugly,” he says, somewhat mercilessly, “and the M50 is much cleaner and sleeker. Any non-essential parts were removed from the engine bay, along with any unnecessary brackets and so on, to make it all look as clean as possible; the battery was relocated to the boot to help with this too. I uprated the cooling system with a Mishimoto radiator and a Spal fan, and the exhaust system consists of ceramic-coated exhaust manifolds with heat wrap, a Borla mid-section and a Vibrant muffler – all custom, of course!

    The car also started off as an automatic, but we couldn’t have that so it’s been swapped to a manual Getrag 260 five-speed transmission, with a Z3 shifter and aluminium shift carrier.”

    A pretty comprehensive transformation, you’ll surely agree, but Ernie was just getting started. Having substantially beefed up the muscularity of the old drop-top, neatly morphing it from cruiser to bruiser, it was time to address the question of altitude.

    Now, Ernie’s seen a thing or two, as we said, so he’s observed the stance scene evolving from grass roots to comparative mainstream. However, while air-ride has been around since World War II, its presence at the forefront of custom car culture is a relatively recent thing; back when our man was a teenager, the way to get your ride hopping was to slam in some hydros. So is that what Ernie’s opted for here? Not quite… you see, that exaggeration factor has come into play again. “I’ve always had the need to go lower,” he explains (note that he uses the word ‘need’ – that’ll no doubt be familiar to a number of you. This isn’t just playing, it’s a lifestyle). “The only thing that could satisfy me with this project was air suspension. So now the car has a full Air Lift system, with 3P management, rolling sleeves up front and Slamit Industries bags in the rear with Bilstein shocks. I custom-painted the airtank in the trunk, which gives a good supply of air at all times!” Well, that’s good to hear.

    The next logical step was to put some thought into the wheels. No good slamming the thing over a set of weedy stock steels, right? So Ernie bolted on some 17” rims from iForged… but then he quickly changed his mind. The period style of the early Nineties was calling, and he found himself drawn toward the timeless charms of the BBS RS, knocking the diameter down an inch but beefing up the girth to amusing degrees: these things are 7.5” wide at the front, 8.5” out back, and the way it sits is so aggressively juicy that it almost makes your eyes water. Imagine an automotive cartoonist in the early 1990s sketching up a BBS-shod E30, slamming it to the ground with improbable lows – that’s the look Ernie’s achieved in real life. Once again, it’s a masterstroke of considered exaggeration. “Whatever happened to the car, I wanted it to be as clean as possible,” he assures us.

    “The small details count to me. So this car was a real labour of love! The bulk of it was actually built by Michael Hockman, who is a legend in the E30 community, and has now become a great friend of mine. But all the fine finishing work was done by me, with great pride, as well as some talented people: Levent from Guten Parts, Andrew from Open Road Tuning, Rich from County Line Auto Body, and of course my fantastic wife Michelle who has the patience of a saint!”

    What’s clear as Ernie talks us through the detail points of the car is that this sits somewhere on the mid-point of the scale between evolution and revolution; some of the changes he’s made are pretty extreme, and yet the whole ethos of the thing is to consider a period build and artistically amp it up for a 21st century audience. Take the treatment of the interior: “I wanted the insides to be as stock as possible, but I still wanted the modern amenities,” he says. “So that meant an AV audio receiver, iPod interface, reversing camera, satellite radio, navigation – all of the things that make it more comfortable.” And that’s exactly what we find in there, all subtly and tastefully integrated into the old-skool vibe. It certainly helps that work like this is his bread-and-butter, being a salesman of stereo and security systems for cars as well as all manner of bolt-on performance gizmos, and this E30 ’vert is a solid manifestation of his skills as well as his aspirations.

    “It took a good six months to get the car to a quality I was happy with,” Ernie explains. “But there’s always fine-tuning going on – they’re never really finished, are they?” Well, no, he’s hit the nail on the head there. We always find new things to fiddle with. And when you’ve been observing the scene for as long as Ernie has, your mind can’t help but be constantly swimming with fresh ideas and new things to try. So this E30 is bound to change in the near future – possibly unrecognisably – but in this cheery little snapshot of the here-and-now, it’s pretty much perfect. An early-Nineties style convertible, with all the details cleverly exaggerated to turn it into a thoroughly modern creation.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30-M50 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i-E30-M50 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-325i-Cabriolet / #BMW-325i-Cabriolet-E30 / #Getrag / #Viair / #BMW-E30-Air-Lift

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25TU / #M50 / #BMW-M50 / #M50B25 from E36 325i, #Mishimoto radiator, Spal 16” fan, battery relocated to boot, #Raceskids skid plate, 318i harness cover, ceramic-coated headers with heat wrap, custom Y-pipe, #Borla mid-pipe and #Vibrant rear box with 2.5” piping, shaved and wire-tucked bay, #Getrag-260 five-speed conversion, custom transmission brace, Z3 shifter, aluminium shift carrier, 3.73 LSD

    CHASSIS 7.5x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) ET14 #BBS-RS / #BBS , 180 slant lip (front) and 247 slant lip (rear), with 195/45 (front) and 215/40 (rear) Yokohama S-Drive tyres, full #Air-Lift suspension system with front rolling sleeves and Slamit Industries rear bags, Autopilot 3P management, dual #Viair-444C compressors

    EXTERIOR Smoked projector headlights with integrated indicators, 6k low- and 3k high-beam HID lights, Euro grilles, rear impact strip fitted to front bumper, smoked tails and corner lights, front and rear valances with Ryan G splitter

    INTERIOR #M-Tech-II suede steering wheel, suede gaiters, chrome gauge rings with Alpina tach strip and painted needles, #ZHP illuminated gear knob, #BMW pedal set including foot rest, Alpine AV receiver with navigation and reversing camera, JL Audio speakers, subwoofer and amplifier

    Gorgeous 16” #BBS RSs boast impressive width and have serious dish going on.

    Air Lift 3P #Air-ride setup lets Ernie go as low as he wants to while custom boot build shows off both air components and upgraded audio elements, which include JL Audio speakers, subwoofer and amp.

    “The small details count to me. So this car was a real labour of love!”
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    BMW’s iconic #BMW-Art-Cars have been setting hearts a-flutter since #1975 but your chances of actually owning one are pretty much zero. There is, however, little stopping you from building your own… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Patrik Karlsson / #BMW-Art-Car /

    Art Attack E9 and E21 resto-modded Art Car replicas

    The BMW Art Car series is something that’s been capturing the imagination of motoring enthusiasts for generations. It all began in 1975, when French racing driver Hervé Poulain commissioned American artist and friend Alexander Calder to paint the 3.0 CSL that he was to drive at Le Mans. Using bold primary colours, Calder transformed the already eye-catching form of the #Group-5 E9 into something that looked like it was rapidly swishing through the scenery even when it was sitting still. It turned out to be one of the last art pieces Calder produced before his death, and in the mid-seventies it was actually a pretty astonishing move to present a car to the world as a work of art; it was, as you might imagine, even more astonishing that the flawless museum piece was then entered in the Le Mans 24hr.

    The Calder Art Car sparked off a chain reaction that resonated through the decades. The following year, Frank Stella painted an E9 CSL; the year after that, Roy Lichtenstein had a go at a Group 5 E21, then it was Andy Warhol’s turn with an M1, with the snowballing project building momentum until it all came to a head with the recently unveiled John Baldessari M6 GTLM, the 18th official #Art-Cars Car .

    Now, there have been quite a lot of other BMWs to be decorated by artists in unusual ways over the years, but these core 18 are the official ones, the bona fide commissioned #Art-Cars . They haven’t all been race cars (David Hockney’s, for example, was an 850CSi and Matazo Kayama’s was an E34 535i), but they have all been devastatingly beautiful and incomparably desirable.

    To BMW’s endless credit, the collection isn’t kept safe and secure in a hermetically sealed and top-secret location – they get toured around the world from Goodwood to Pebble Beach and beyond, and the PR bods even took them on a sort of world tour in 2012 which included a brief but comprehensive exhibition in, er, a multistory car park in Shoreditch (which was very weird, but an utter joy to attend – BMW didn’t publicise it widely, so very few people turned up; those of us that did got to enjoy some rather special alone-time with these magnificent creations).

    But just having a little look-see at the occasional show was never going to be enough for Swedish retro race enthusiast Jonas Nilsson. He had a dream, an all-consuming aspiration, to possess an Art Car of his very own. But obviously BMW would never sell him one, they’re far too valuable, so he was left with just one option: to build his own tribute to these iconic slices of history.

    As you can see here, he got a bit carried away. He hasn’t built one Art Car, but two – and that’s just about pushing the very limits of awesomeness that our brains are able to cope with. So let’s try and piece it together in as logical a way as possible, without our minds dribbling out of our ears at the sheer magnificence of it all…

    “BMWs have been special to me ever since I was a little boy, and our neighbour came driving home in his brand-new E21,” Jonas recalls. “I’ve always thought that they have very nice car models and very good performance.” Yep, no arguments here. And that early infatuation clearly planted a seed, as things have gone a bit nuts in the intervening few decades.

    “The first #BMW I owned was an E36 318iS,” he continues. “It was white, with a subtle body kit – just right for a guy in his twenties.” It wasn’t, we must point out, all about the BMWs for Jonas though, as he’s also pretty keen on Opels. His first car was a Monza GSE, and over the years he’s built some fairly impressive modified examples including a twin-turbo Monza with nitrous and a ’caged, supercharged Kadett GSi on slicks. It’s this passion for brutal performance and race car thrills that ultimately informed what you’re seeing here, allied to that early passion for BMWs. It turned out to be the perfect recipe.

    “It had always been my dream to build an Art Car, so when the opportunity to do it came up, I had to take it,” he says, matter-of-factly. “The Roy Lichtenstein E21 tribute was the first one I built, and when that was finished I felt ready to tackle another one, so I attempted the Frank Stella E9, which was the one I’d really wanted to build all along.” Blimey. He makes this deranged behaviour all sound so normal, doesn’t he? What’s arguably most impressive is that Jonas built up everything you see here himself, as you can’t just nip to Halfords and pick up a Group 5 body kit for an E21. “All the bodywork is made in steel and cannot be bought, so I made it all by myself to a plan I had in my mind,” he explains, like some kind of automotive voodoo shaman.

    “To create these two Art Cars, I actually used four cars,” he goes on. “I took two cars and cut the body from the base, then I took one base and welded it together with the other body, and to make everything fit I had to adjust the length and trim the base car to make everything match up.”

    Looking inside either one should give you a bit of a giveaway as to what resides beneath their respective skins; the E21 is all E36 inside, while the sharknose E9 has an E34 M5 hiding down there. It’s all utterly bonkers, and phenomenally impressive that he’s made it work.

    “I found the E21 at a friend’s place,” says Jonas. “It was in okay condition, but the engine didn’t work.” And what better remedy for a misfiring first-gen 3 Series than to slice the body off, plonk it on to an E36 325i chassis, and bolt on some outrageous retro racer bodywork?

    You’ll spot that the E36’s M50 engine is nestled beneath that colourful bonnet, while the 1990s underpinnings have allowed a little flexibility in upgrading things, which is why you’ll find some serious D2 coilovers in the mix along with 19” wheels. On the whole, though, the spec is relatively mild when you look at just how extreme the E9 ended up becoming.

    “I found the E9 on a car sales website, almost in mint condition,” Jonas grins, plainly unconcerned about chopping the thing up. “Whereas the E21 took about a year to build, this one took more like 18 months as there was a lot more to do.” Part of the reason for this is that he opted to complement the forthright race car looks with some appropriate power in the form of an S38 engine from an E34 M5 (which is the donor car beneath, remember) to which he’s added a Rotrex C38-81 centrifugal supercharger. It’s an astonishingly quick machine, which is just what you would hope for when you look at its angry angles and pointy aero.

    “Every detail and measurement of both cars were made from a model in 1:18 scale, including the wrapping,” Jonas explains, again shrugging off an incredibly complex engineering endeavour as if it’s all in a day’s work, and reducing us to shimmering pools of jealousy in the process. “The Art Car livery is vinyl-wrapped though if money were no object then of course I would have them painted on! And there’s not a part of either car that hasn’t been taken out and perfected before being put back in. I try to do as much as I can by myself, because I love a good challenge!” Well, yes, evidently. The work here really does speak for itself, and while Jonas’ bread-and-butter lies in the mill industry, he hopes one day to transition into building cars like this for a living; a passion that’s currently being fuelled by his new project, a race-inspired, street-legal 635CSi. If all goes well, he could one day be commissioning famous artists to adorn his creations with their colourful daubings… but for now, this pair of Art Car tributes is a fabulous showcase of his skills. BMW may take the official ones out and about, but they don’t tear around in anger like Jonas’ do. As dream two-car garages go, this one really is a work of art.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE BMW #Frank-Stella / #BMW-E9 / #Rotrex / #Rotrex-C38 / #BMW-E9-Frank-Stella / #BMW-E9-Art-Car / #BMW-E9-Art-Car-Replica /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.5-litre straight-six #S38B36 / #BMW-S38 / #S38 , #Rotrex-C38-81 centrifugal supercharger, chargecooler, race aluminium cooler with Evans waterless coolant, Nuke Blackline linear FPR, Nuke fuel rail, #Nuke-Blackline filter, #ECUMaster management, five-speed #Getrag-280 manual gearbox, Tilton racing clutch, modified cardan shaft, 40% locking diff, 2.87:1 final drive, 210 diff housing, forged CrMo driveshafts

    CHASSIS 10x19” (front) and 13x19” (rear) HRE 508 wheels with 265/30 (front) and 345/35 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, E34 D2 coilovers, D2 Racing big brake kit with eight-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front) and six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Custom handmade all-steel Group 5 bodywork, Frank Stella Art Car tribute livery

    INTERIOR E34 M5 dash, Cobra Misano Anniversary seats, custom-trimmed matching rear seats and doorcards


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Roy-Lichtenstein / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-E21-Roy-Lichtenstein / #BMW-E21-Art-Car / #BMW-E21-Art-Car-Replica / #BMW-Art-Car-Replica / #Art-Car-Replica

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25 / #BMW-M50 / #M50 , five-speed #Getrag manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) #Rennsport wheels with 265/30 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo (front) and 325/30 Dunlop Sport Maxx Race (rear) tyres, E36 D2 coilovers, #Powerflex bushes

    EXTERIOR Custom handmade all-steel Group 5 bodywork, #Roy-Lichtenstein-Art-Car tribute livery

    INTERIOR E36 interior blended with original E21
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    / #Gravity-2016 / #Gravity

    With a great location and a fantastic turn-out, the first Gravity show was one of the most impressive inaugural events we’ve seen. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Dear.

    First shows are always a slightly nerve-wracking affair but even juggernauts like Players had to start somewhere and by doing all the right things the chances of your inaugural event being a great success are much improved. It’s safe to say that SlammedUK definitely did all the right things because the group’s first event, Gravity, held in Coventry got a whole load of love from everyone that attended.

    The turn-out was not only impressive in terms of numbers but also variety and while German machinery dominated, the show was open to all and as a result there was a good mix of modded cars in attendance. Gravity offered a combination of indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, which was definitely a good combo, and with great weather it didn’t matter if your car spent the day inside or outside, it was guaranteed to look good either way.

    It goes without saying that the multitude of #BMW s present on the day looked exceedingly good and there was a fantastic mix of Bavarian machinery with something for everyone to enjoy. Steve Foxall’s fabulous #M50 #turbo E30, which you can read about on p40, was there along with Lala Miah’s awesome bagged E24 635CSi on its custom Throwing Star splits. Dan Taylor had brought along his air-ride E46 M3 on custom #BBS RSIIs and sporting ultra-sexy carbon front wings. Edward Johnston’s wild, big winged E36 Touring was also there and it has not lost any of its visual impact since we first saw it. Am Singh was also in attendance with his ex- #PBMW feature car bad boy bagged X5 on Brada splits, and Sumil Pancholi’s beautiful black E39, another ex-PBMW feature car, was also on show parked alongside Shaun Grazette’s E92 on Blitz Technospeed Z1s, the pair showing off matching red headlights. We also loved Kaz Singh’s bagged E39 on Rotiform LHRs and Charlie Evans’ static E28 on Schnitzer Type 1 Racing wheels.

    Judging by the quality of cars on show and the attendance, the SlammedUK team should be incredibly pleased with how the inaugural Gravity show turned out. This is one show you definitely don’t want to miss out on in 2017.

    Steve Foxall’s mighty #BMW-M50 #turbo-powered #BMW-E30 , which you can read about.

    Kaz Singh’s very tidy bagged #BMW-E39 on #Rotiform LHRs.

    Am Singh’s tough-looking bagged and ICE’d #BMW-X5 .

    Edward Johnston’s #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 Touring has lost none of its impact.

    Dan Taylor’s slick #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 .
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    / #Gravity-2016 / #Gravity

    With a great location and a fantastic turn-out, the first Gravity show was one of the most impressive inaugural events we’ve seen. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: #Matt-Dear . #2016

    First shows are always a slightly nerve-wracking affair but even juggernauts like Players had to start somewhere and by doing all the right things the chances of your inaugural event being a great success are much improved. It’s safe to say that #SlammedUK definitely did all the right things because the group’s first event, Gravity, held in Coventry got a whole load of love from everyone that attended.

    The turn-out was not only impressive in terms of numbers but also variety and while German machinery dominated, the show was open to all and as a result there was a good mix of modded cars in attendance. Gravity offered a combination of indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, which was definitely a good combo, and with great weather it didn’t matter if your car spent the day inside or outside, it was guaranteed to look good either way.

    It goes without saying that the multitude of #BMW s present on the day looked exceedingly good and there was a fantastic mix of Bavarian machinery with something for everyone to enjoy. Steve Foxall’s fabulous M50 turbo E30, which you can read about on p40, was there along with Lala Miah’s awesome bagged E24 635CSi on its custom Throwing Star splits. Dan Taylor had brought along his air-ride E46 M3 on custom #BBS RSIIs and sporting ultra-sexy carbon front wings. Edward Johnston’s wild, big winged E36 Touring was also there and it has not lost any of its visual impact since we first saw it. Am Singh was also in attendance with his ex-PBMW feature car bad boy bagged X5 on Brada splits, and Sumil Pancholi’s beautiful black E39, another ex- #PBMW feature car, was also on show parked alongside Shaun Grazette’s E92 on Blitz Technospeed Z1s, the pair showing off matching red headlights. We also loved Kaz Singh’s bagged E39 on Rotiform LHRs and Charlie Evans’ static E28 on Schnitzer Type 1 Racing wheels.

    Judging by the quality of cars on show and the attendance, the SlammedUK team should be incredibly pleased with how the inaugural Gravity show turned out. This is one show you definitely don’t want to miss out on in 2017.

    Steve Foxall’s mighty #BMW-M50 #turbo-powered #BMW-E30 , which you can read about.
    Kaz Singh’s very tidy bagged #BMW-E39 on #Rotiform LHRs.
    Am Singh’s tough-looking bagged and ICE’d #BMW-X5 .
    Edward Johnston’s #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 Touring has lost none of its impact.
    Dan Taylor’s slick #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 .

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    KEEPING IT REAL Turbo M50 E30.

    UK two-door is the perfect blend of style and pace. #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30

    What was once an unassuming #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-318i has been comprehensively transformed into a turbocharged beast. Words: Aron Norris. Photos: Scott Paterson.

    The BMW E30. Some would say it’s flavour of the month. Others would say it’s their favourite ’80s BMW. Perhaps the infidels among us might even say it’s a little bland. Wherever you stand on the E30, you can’t deny that those Claus Luthe penned lines have aged very, very well. Like a fine wine, these Bavarian compacts are becoming hot property amongst collectors.

    Whilst concours classics might be some people’s idea of BMW perfection, others, like Steve Foxall, prefer to use a stock car as a template, a blank canvas if you will. Whilst the 1983 318i you see here might look all sweet and innocent at first glance, there’s a secret lurking. If you’re an OE concours purist, look away now…

    Now, when Steve bought the E30, it was in pretty good stock condition because the previous owner had it repainted 12 years ago, which meant Steve could get straight onto the fun of making the 318i his own, something a little less, er, 318i. This is a true driveway project car. Let’s be straight here, it doesn’t take much to make an E30 look great. With those handsome ’80s lines it almost seems perverse to suggest messing too much with BMW’s original formula much at all. I mean, the OE Schwarz black really gleams against the chrome bumpers and trims, all as you would expect I suppose.

    Visually, the E30 has lost a few stock items and gained some choice add-ons, but nothing terribly drastic. The front numberplate and foglights have been deleted, which neatens things up nicely, making way for a Jimmy Hill front lip and M Tech 1 rear spoiler to add some ’80s indulgence. There are no wide arches here, nothing untoward you might say. Well, until you peer under the bonnet, that is…

    You see, from the very beginning, Steve knew the original M10 engine in his 318i formed no part of his future plans. His vision was always to build a turbocharged sixcylinder M50 beast. Never again would this be a well-behaved practical car. Nobody wants that anyway, right? As luck would have it, Steve managed to find a 1993 E36 325i donor at the scrapyard, which meant things were coming together rather nicely. Operation strip down could begin. Goodbye M10, it was nice knowing you. The donor #M50B25TU powerplant was to provide the perfect base.

    For the geeks out there, TU stands for ‘technical update’ which means variable valve timing, i.e single Vanos to you and me. In preparation for the turbo, ARP big end bolts, head studs, race mains, big end bearings, valves, springs and rings were thrown into the mix and a 0.120” MLS Cometic head gasket to lower the compression. Stock pistons, crank and block more than do the job, having been honed to reliably deliver an impressive level of tune.


    In order to fulfil his turbo dreams, Steve knew he’d need a fully custom manifold, so a twin-scroll setup was built for his Holset HX35 turbo with 12cm housing. With everything in place, the next step was to build an exhaust. No surprises for guessing that, again, Steve went for a custom setup, this time a Hard Knocks Speedshopfabricated 3” downpipe and exhaust with hidden tip. Continuing the custom fabrication theme, an E34 oil pan (with turbo drain) was shortened and widened to keep the little E30 nicely lubricated at all times. While the old 318 lump was out, Steve took the opportunity to completely smooth and weld the bay, with a fresh helping of Schwarz paint to spruce things up. Blood, sweat and tears ensured the new engine would to take centre stage in the bay, and quite rightly, too.

    With the engine taking shape nicely, Steve’s attention moved towards the transmission. His dream M50 build was mated to a Getrag 260 gearbox with a lightened and balanced M20 flywheel to improve throttle response. An uprated six-puck composite clutch, Sachs 618 pressure plate and M3 release bearing were acquired to more effectively handle the increase in power, along with a lightened and balanced propshaft. Steve got in touch with Hack Engineering to order a solid prop ring and the good guys over at SS Autowerks were called upon to provide a set of solid transmission mounts for the build.

    To keep everything running just so, Vems management was purchased and a completely custom tucked wiring loom was fitted in the freshly smoothed and painted bay. After some testing, tweaking and mapping, Steve’s E30 was almost ready for action.

    Next on Steve’s radar was chassis and handling. The steering rack was swapped out for a Z3 item with custom linkage and a 3.64 LSD was rebuilt with Porsche plates (for tighter locking). Braking was sharpened up with uprated pads and discs, teamed with a Porsche 944 brake booster and braided hoses. SS Autowerks was again involved with the build, supplying BC coilovers with custom springs, front and rear. For a fast road setup, fully polybushed, this car both looks savage and handles as it should.

    In the wheel department, the E30 needed grippy tyres, so the obvious choice was to kill two birds with one stone and bolt up some girthy Schmidt TH Line three-piece splits with Toyo rubber. These 16” beauties in staggered 8.5” and 9.5” fitment suit the E30 a treat. Polished dishes with silver centres contrast beautifully with black bodywork.

    With over 350hp on tap, this little black beauty is lively on the road to say the least. In fact, the truth is you have to be on the ball just to keep it in a straight line. This is pure man and machine stuff. If you overcook it, there’s no computer to save your bacon, as this car will make you pay for any mistake or lapse in concentration.

    The interior of Steve’s E30 is pretty minimalist. You won’t find anything more than you need here. With the focus of this car well and truly centred on the driver, you’ve got a Nardi steering wheel, Delrin shifter, Recaro Pole Positions with TRS harnesses and a custom half roll-cage. That’s it. There’s no fuss – just as it should be with this type of car.

    The original black leather interior just didn’t cut the mustard on B-road blasts, so Steve was on the lookout for a pair of replacement front seats and the black cloth Recaros were the perfect upgrade whilst keeping things simple. The rear seats were binned to save some weight and the battery was moved to the boot by using an S2000 mount with shut off. The interior changes have kept things period-correct, which is a definite winner and suit the E30 down to a tee.


    Steve’s E30 is testament to home-brew engineering and modification. It might look like a regular E30 from the outside but, make no mistake, this is a driver’s car which will quite happily trounce most modern competition in the performance stakes. There’s something very grass roots about this car and we love it.


    Stunning polished Schmidt TH Line 16s are the perfect wheel choice for the E30.

    M50 has been treated to a whole host of internal mods plus an HX35 turbo with custom manifold and exhaust system. The bay has been beautifully smoothed.

    DATA FILE #BMW / #M50-Turbo / #BMW-M50 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-M50 / #M50B25 / #Getrag

    ENGINE 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25TU / #M50 , 0.120” #MLS-Cometic headgasket, #ARP big end bolts and head studs, race mains, big end bearings, valves, springs and rings, stock honed pistons, crank and block, custom twin-scroll exhaust manifold, #Holset-HX35 turbo with 12cm housing, #Tial-BOV and wastegate with screamer pipe, custom shortened and widened oil pan based on E34 pan and turbo drain, semi-solid custom engine mounts, A/C delete, PAS delete, switched #Bosch-044 in-line pump with Siemens 660cc injectors, Vems management with custom wiring loom completely tucked, 3” downpipe and exhaust with hidden tip by Hard Knocks Speed Shop, Mishimoto switched 14” fan, intake elbow and aluminium E36 fan with header tank delete

    TRANSMISSION #Getrag-260 five-speed manual gearbox, M20 lightened and balanced flywheel, Sachs 618 pressure plate, custom six-puck composite clutch, M3 release bearing, Hack Engineering solid prop ring, custom transmission brace, #SS-Autowerks solid transmission mounts, lightened, balanced propshaft, 3.64 LSD rebuilt with Porsche plates for tighter lock

    CHASSIS 8.5x16” (f) and 9.5x16” (r) #Schmidt-TH-Line Lines with #Radinox dishes and 195/40 Toyo TR1 (f) and 205/40 Nankang NS2-R (r) tyres, BC coilovers supplied by SS Autowerks with custom springs, fully polybushed, reinforced subframe, Z3 steering rack with custom linkage, Z3 short shifter linkage, underside running gear completely rebuilt, shot blasted and powercoated in gloss black, 944 brake booster with braided lines all-round, uprated pads and discs with stock calipers

    EXTERIOR Engine bay totally welded smooth, battery tray delete, front foglight delete, M Tech 1 rear spoiler, Jimmy Hill front lip, genuine blue tinted mirror glass, custom front numberplate delete

    INTERIOR Delrin gear knob, Stack oil pressure and oil temperature gauges, rear seat delete and carpeted, black headlining, Recaro Pole Position seats with Recaro sliders and custom seat mounts, TRS harnesses with reinforced chassis mounts, custom half roll-cage with reinforced chassis mounts, Nardi steering wheel, battery relocated in boot using S2000 mount with shutoff

    THANKS Fourseasons, SS Autowerks, RollHard (www.rollhard.co.uk), Hack Engineering, all my mates who helped
    • Steve Foxall’s Turbo M50 E30 Is it any surprise that the first car in our top three happens to be an E30? Certainly not when that car is Steve Foxall’Steve Foxall’s Turbo M50 E30
      Is it any surprise that the first car in our top three happens to be an E30? Certainly not when that car is Steve Foxall’s stunning UK machine, as it really is an awesome build and proved very popular with all of you, and with good reason. We saw it in person at a couple of shows and it was a real head-turner, not least of all because of what’s under the bonnet. At its heart is an M50B25, swapped into a wire-tucked bay, with a Holset HX35 turbo strapped to it for plenty of power. There’s also a removable bonnet to show the whole lot off. BC Racing coilovers deliver a sizeable drop over a set of gorgeous, fully polished 16” Schmidt TH Lines, while the interior has been treated to, among other things, a pair of Recaro Pole Position seats and a gorgeous Nardi wood-rimmed steering wheel. The perfect blend of elegant, classic style and serious power, it’s pretty much E30 perfection in a nutshell.
        More ...
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    LIFE ON BOOST
    Turbos make everything better, as demonstrated by this hardcore, stripped-out, 356hp, turbocharged E36 325i. Finished in stunning Atlantis blue and with a turbo strapped to the engine, this E36 325i is a serious piece of kit. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andy Tipping.

    Generally speaking, adding a turbo to something will only make it better. Except if it makes it blow up… But apart from that, from humble turbo diesels to mental turbo drag cars with many thousands of horsepower, turbos make everything better, make people happier and generally make the world a better place. Just look at Brad Wherrett. He started out his motoring life with a Honda Jazz, followed by a modified Polo and a tuned Honda Civic. Then he bought an E36 325i and, understandably, life got better, but then he added a turbo…

    The E36 is 21-year-old vehicle technician Brad’s first BMW, and his profession has endowed him with the skills that make this sort of project somewhat easier than for those of us who can just about tell one end of a spanner from the other. His move from Japanese metal to Bavaria’s finest was seemingly an inevitable one. “The love for BMWs has run through the family for years,” explains Brad. “Since I can remember my dad and brothers have had BMWs – standard ones and modified ones – so I’ve been interested in them from a young age. For my first #BMW I decided to buy an E36 because I always liked the look of my brothers’ ones and I developed a soft spot for them.

    “I found the car on Autotrader, in good condition for its age, but a few dings here and there,” says Brad, “and I quite liked the idea of ‘stancing’ the car on BBS wheels or something similar.” That idea never came to fruition, and we’re glad of it because the end result is something a lot more special. In our humble opinion, we reckon Brad has struck just the right balance between wild and tasteful with his E36. The striking shade of Atlantis blue and the GT spoiler are the most eye-catching elements of the build, even more so than the top of the turbo peeking out of the bonnet cut-out, but it’s actually a pretty subtle car. There’s a lot of matt black elements that tone down that hit of blue and it just looks like a really meaty, purposeful piece of kit, which it most definitely is.

    It wouldn’t seem right talk about anything other than what’s going on under the bonnet of this car first and, usefully, the whole thing lifts off to give an uninterrupted view of what’s happened in the engine bay since Brad took charge of this 325i.
    Six months of work have been poured into the engine you see here, made up of late nights and weekends, but this was not simply a case of strapping a turbo to an M50 and hoping for the best, this engine has been stripped down and fully built to deal with the stresses and strains that forced induction was going to place upon it.

    This recipe for a turbocharged E36 begins with single a Vanos M50B25TU to which you then add M54B30 pistons mated to non-Vanos M50 con rods plus an M52B28 crankshaft. At this point it is a good idea to completely rebuild the engine with new timing chains, guides, tensioners, gaskets and so on because you don’t want to spend all that time building up an awesome engine only to have it break on you. The next step is to add ACL race bearings, ARP head studs, a decompression plate, monster Siemens Deka 630cc injectors and our old friend, the Bosch 044 fuel pump. With all that done, you’re finally ready to add your turbo and Brad opted for a Garrett GT35 twin-scroll snail, sitting on a custom top mount twin scroll exhaust manifold, with a Tial 50mm external wastegate and 50mm blow-off valve, feeding air through custom 3” pipework to a 600x300x76mm FMIC and into the engine via a serious-looking custom intake plenum.

    Brad then handed the car over to JamSport to wire in the ECU Master DET3 engine management and put together a base map. The end result of all that work is 356hp at 10psi of boost, which is a massive 164hp increase over the standard engine’s 192hp, a gain of more than 85%. You can’t be attempting to put that much power down without some suitably beefy transmission upgrades and here Brad has opted for an E36 328i five-speed gearbox with solid mounts, a Clutch.net stage five paddle clutch, braided clutch hoses and a 2.93 limited-slip diff from an E36 328i to help put the power down/do massive burnouts with.

    It’s fair to say that, as good as the stock E36 chassis is, it would struggle to deal with all that extra power, but Brad has not neglected this area of his E36 build. “If I’m honest, I got the TA Technix coilovers cheap and couldn’t say no,” he says. “I do have plans to upgrade them but I’m unsure of what brand to go for yet. I polybushed the car as some bushes were showing signs of wear and I decided to upgrade rather than fit OEM bushes.” This is definitely the way to approach any repairs on a project car and in addition to this, Brad has also added front and rear strut braces. The stock front brakes have been replaced with E46 330mm Brembo discs and pads while the rear brakes have also been replaced with standard-sized Brembo discs and pads.

    “When it came to wheels, I decided on Rota Grid Drifts because I’ve always liked the look they give. I considered something a bit more eye catching but in the end I settled for the Rotas.” The chunky, concave sixspoke design really suits the E36, especially in black against the Atlantis bodywork, and they are wrapped in Yokohama rubber at the rear with Maxxis tyres up front.

    Brad’s approach to the styling was the OEM+ look and it was definitely the right approach as everything he’s done to this car looks good. The M3 body kit gives it the cleaner, more aggressive styling the standard car needs and is further enhanced with the addition of the GT front lip and aforementioned GT rear spoiler. The stock mirrors have been retained but now wear carbon caps and the bootlid has been painted gloss black to match the spoiler. Brad has removed the exterior covers from the headlamps, giving them a more pronounced appearance while at the rear there’s a single, massive, Japanese-style exhaust tip.

    With the overall look and feel of the car, there was only ever really one direction to take with the interior and that was the hardcore, stripped-out route. The rear seats have been given the heave-ho while the fronts have been replaced with a pair of single-piece Corbeau Clubsport buckets with four-point harnesses. Brad has also fitted a deep-dish steering wheel, metal gear knob, an EGT gauge and HKS turbo timer plus the carbon fibre triple gauge panel from a Mitsubishi Evo VIII showing volts, water temp and boost, which looks great mounted below the clock on the centre console. The interior really suits the character of the car and with this much performance on tap, those seats and harnesses are most definitely not for show.

    This E36 is an awesome car. Everything about it looks right, the colour scheme is killer and it’s got a real sense of purpose about it. But the cherry on the top of this delicious slab of Atlantis blue goodness, and Brad’s favourite mod on the car, is the turbo. The fact that so much work has gone into the engine means 356hp is barely scratching the surface of what this setup is capable of and that means there’s scope for more power in the future, a lot more power. Brad is aiming for 550-600whp when the car is fully finished and running spot-on, which is going to be utterly insane and absolutely awesome with it. Whichever way you look at it, one thing’s for certain: everything is better with boost.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-325i-turbo / #BMW-325i-E36 / #M50B25TU / #M50B25 / #M50 / #BMW-M50 / #BMW-325i-turbo-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW / #ECU-Master-DET3 / #M50-turbo / #Garrett-GT35 / #Garrett / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36 / #BMW-E36-Coupe / #BMW-325Ci / #BMW-325Ci-E36 /

    ENGINE 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25TU / , fully rebuilt including new timing chains, guide tensioners, gaskets etc. M54B30 pistons, M50 non-Vanos con rods, M52B28 crankshaft, #ARP head studs, ACL race bearings, decompression plate, #Siemens-Deka-630 630cc injectors, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, custom top mount twin-scroll turbo manifold, GT35 twin-scroll turbo, 50mm Tial external wastegate, 50mm blow-off valve, 3” custom exhaust, 3” intercooler hardpipes, 600x300x76mm intercooler, custom intake plenum, Toyosports oil catch can, solid engine mounts, ECU Master DET3 engine management

    TRANSMISSION E36 328i five-speed manual gearbox with solid mounts, Clutch.net stage five paddle clutch, braided clutch hose, 2.93 328i limited-slip differential

    CHASSIS 9x17” (front and rear) Rota grid drift wheels with 235/40 (front) Maxxis MAZ1 tyres and 245/40 (rear) Yokahoma Advan AD08R tyres, TA Technix coilovers with adjustable top mounts, front and rear strut braces, polybushed all-round, E46 330mm Brembo discs and pads (front), E36 325 brakes (rear) with #Brembo discs and pads

    EXTERIOR Full Atlantis blue respray, M3 body kit, GT front lip, GT rear spoiler with risers, delensed headlamps

    INTERIOR Corbeau Clubsport bucket seats, four-point harnesses, stripped-out rear seats, dished steering wheel, exhaust gas temperature gauge, Mitsubishi Evo VIII carbon fibre gauge panel, HKS turbo timer

    THANKS The Paint Shop in Bruntingthorpe and JamSport in Northampton
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    DAPPER SUPER-SMOOTH E21 HIDES AN M50 BITE RETRO RIDE: #BMW E21

    E21 #BMW-320
    To anyone who’s not a fanatical BMW expert this super-clean E21 may seem a little ‘nearstandard’ for #Drive-My … all we can say is look closer, much closer. You’ll be surprised.

    Dapper Laughs
    This E21 may be one of the coolest looking cars on the UK show scene, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see it’s much more than just a pretty BMW. WORDS: Tom Willcox. PHOTOGRAPHY: Chris Wallbank.


    DRIVER: PRAKASH THANKY
    So, you’ve seen more than a couple of trophies with this one then?
    “Yeah. But for me it’s not about the awards. It’s about how they drive. It’s all very well looking pretty, but I still have to use it.”
    You must surprise a few people with that modern M50 lump though?

    “Definitely. It has more than enough power now, which people certainly don’t expect, But the air ride is also great. It makes it drive so nicely.”

    And we’re guessing it’s far more practical than your usual in-the-weeds-style static drop?
    “As soon as it was installed it felt like a whole new car. And you don’t have to worry about driving down certain roads. So what more can you ask for?”



    You’ve no doubt spotted some killer show cars proudly rocking the Dapper decal on their flanks in recent years. But did you know that getting your hands on such an accessory is a strictly invite-only affair?

    Created a few years ago by Rodolfo Lamaestra, the Dapper Fam was initially nothing but a group of stanced car lovers in the States. But pictures of the group’s awesome rides soon spread like wildfire across social media, leaving the world dying to know more about the Dapper brand and how they could get involved.

    Rodolfo now hand-picks cars from across the globe to represent his extended car family, and Prakash Thanky here is the proud owner of one of the UK’s fi nest offerings to the club. This old-skool E21 BMW has more than a few tricks up its sleeve…

    The finely judged details scattered around this incredible build are enough to tell you this isn’t Prakash’s first BMW. In fact, aside from a couple of embarrassing car decisions made early on, his car history is almost entirely made up of Bavaria’s most famous motors. While these were mainly ’90s, performance-orientated static show-stoppers in their own right, Prakash had a brainwave a few years ago, to create something slightly more retro.

    “The car was bought from eBay for £500,” says Prakash, beginning the story. “The owner had sadly passed away, so the car had been sitting around for over eight years, and was on very low mileage.” This blank canvas was an example of one of the first generation 3 Series BMW produced, and boasted a not-so- monstrous 2.0-litre straight six lump and three-speed auto ’box.

    The neglected steed was taken back to the Letchworth car garage Prakash owns. It was promptly stripped back to the bare shell to address some minimal signs of rust which had started to rear their ugly heads. “I knew exactly the look I wanted to go for before buying the car,” says Prakash. “It was always going to be that smooth combination of Euro/Cali and OEM+ styles, which look great on these cars.”

    The shell was soon treated a full re-spray in the original and deliciously simple Polaris Silver paint scheme.

    With the shiny motor now back in one piece, the next job was to address the elephant in the room – the standard ride height. Going for a static drop had treated Prakash well for most of his other car builds. So initially a home-made set of coilovers was created and ran with various BBS wheel combinations, as Prakash got used to the old-skool two-door.

    “I wasn’t happy with the auto gearbox,” Prakash admits. “My mate Ben told me there was an M50 engine with a manual gearbox for sale, so I bought it and installed it.” This 2.5- litre straight six was pulled from a mid-’90s E34-shaped BMW 525i, so remained in the car’s bloodline whilst promising a whole lot more driving fun shoehorned into Prakash’s little car. With a full engine and transmission swap casually undertaken, the car drove like a dream, according to our proud owner here. But there were still a lot of issues to address.

    “I tried some more BBS wheels on the car, but it was sitting too high and the wheels I’d chosen were too small,” says Prakash. “This is when I opted for air suspension. I’ve never had it on a car before, but after the install I instantly fell in love with the car again.”

    Prakash used this new-found motivation to fuel his current wheel choice – these awesome Carline CM2s with custom-staggered dishes and gold hardware. The heavily polished works of art look nothing short of perfect when Prakash drops the car to its lowest setting. Looking at his wheel history though, be prepared for them to change at a moment’s notice. This is one man who likes doesn’t need much excuse to swap boots.

    So, modern engine swap complete and the nigh-on perfect stance nailed. Where next? Well the inside of this E21 keeps the pulse racing with some inspired, unique features. The uprated E24 6 Series front Recaro seats and the E28 centre handbrake console fi t so well in here you’d have to be a proper BMW nerd to notice they weren’t standard. The OEM+ theme is certainly strong with this one!

    It’s not hard to see why there’s so much love around at the moment for this E21. We can see exactly why it was initiated in the Dapper family, and why it wins trophies at pretty much every show it attends. But there’s clearly more to it for Prakash because under the surface, we find mods like that engine swap which so many show cars would happily do without. The looks are vital to this build but perhaps what’s most important is the complete package. This E21 not only looks better than when it left the factory all these years ago, it also drives like it should here in the 21st Century. As a result, it has to be one of the most complete retro builds on the entire show scene. And that’s not an easy trick to pull off.

    TECH SPEC: #BMW-E21 / #BMW-320-E21 / #BMW-E21-M50 / #BMW

    TUNING ENGINE 2.5-litre BMW- #M50B25 / #BMW-M50 / #M50 straight-six engine conversion from an E34 525i, custom modified sump, custom exhaust manifold, custom 3in #FlowDynamics stainless steel exhaust system, five-speed manual gearbox conversion from an E21 323i, organic sprung sports paddle clutch, BMW Z3 short shift, 323i propshaft.

    CHASSIS 9.5x16in (front) and 10.5x16in (rear), fully re-built polished #Carline-CM2 three-piece wheels with gold hardware, 195/40/16 (front) and 215/40/16 (rear) tyres stretched by Specialist Tyres, custom centre caps, custom #Air-Lift-V2 / #Air-Lift air suspension system with performance shocks, BMW 323i brake callipers with EBC Red Stuff pads and up-rated Goodridge braided brake lines.

    EXTERIOR New rear arches welded in, new inner and outer sills welded in, single headlight conversion from an E21 316, custom front clear indicators and tinted rear indicators, smoothed rear aerial hole, smoothed rear model badge, despoilered and smoothed, original Auto Plas rear window louvres, colour-coded body panels, modified front subframe, custom vinyl stripes and Dapper decals.

    INTERIOR E24 6 Series front Recaro seats, E28 centre handbrake console, Alpina gearknob, #Alpina wooden steering wheel, OEM #Becker-BMW-Bavaria cassette player unit powered by hidden iO Play2 wireless kit, up-rated Hertz speakers.

    THANKS My mum and dad for putting up with me, my brother Jay Thanky and my friend Ben Dewen for helping me on the long weekends and late nights, Owen Spencer for getting me into BMWs and a big shoutout to the UK Dapper family for helping me and supporting me in making the car into what it is today

    THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND

    Many have argued over the last decade or so that the 3 Series is the industry benchmark, the car by which all other saloons will be judged. Now whether you agree with that sentiment or not, there’s no denying the E21 is important, because it was the very first generation, not to mention the precursor to the 1982 E30 model that brought us the legendary M3 badge. Launched in 1975 with a choice of 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 carb-fed 4-pots, the larger 6-cylinder engines didn’t come along for another two years and even then they weren’t exactly powerhouses. Confusingly they also gave the 316 a 1.8-litre engine in 1980, and introduced an economy 74bhp 315 model, with a 1.6-litre engine in 1981. The latter was a not-so-timely response to the 1979 oil crisis.

    Anyway, to differentiate between the 2-litre (and later the 2-litreplus) models, BMW gave the 320 dual headlights. This makes this BMW an even bigger sleeper, because Prakash has chosen to convert the front end to the smoother single headlight spec from a 316. One more reason you’d never expect to see a fettled M50 under the bonnet, especially if you really know your Beemers.

    A custom Air Lift V2 system keeps this car firmly in the weeds!

    The 2.5-litre, 6-pot M20 gives this E21 a lot more poke than BMW intended in the 1980s.

    ”Getting your hands on such an accessory is a strictly invite-only affair”
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    BINARY LOVE

    Building a drift car requires a certain degree of barely contained madness, and this 520hp turbo E30 is exactly the sort of crazy that floats our boat. What was your first car like? Was it anywhere near as hardcore as this E30? Daniel Lavman’s drift-focused build is a lesson to us all… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.

    If there’s one piece of advice from Red Dwarf’s neurotic android Kryten that we need to hold close to our hearts for all of our days, it’s this: ‘If you don’t #GOSUB a program loop, you’ll never get a subroutine’. Or, in more Lister-friendly parlance: ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’. It’s an obvious point but nevertheless one that stands to be remembered. You only live once and there’s no point spending your life thinking about what could have been. Why go off half-cocked? You’ll only regret it on your deathbed. ‘Why did I spend my thirties driving a diesel Vectra and trying to maximise my mpg instead of building a badass drift car?’ you may wonder.

    That, of course, is not going to be a concern for Daniel Lavman. He, as you’ve probably guessed, is the chap who nailed together this particular badass drift car and it doesn’t really need pointing out that he’s pretty happy with it. I mean, wouldn’t you be?

    The most eyebrow-raising element of this project (or, at least, the first eyebrow-raising element, for as you’re soon to discover there are a great many) is that this is Daniel’s first car. I know, let that sink in, give it some thought. I’ll just stew for a moment in the fact that my first car was a rusty 1.0-litre Nova, and we’ll regroup shortly when we’ve reassessed a few basic issues of perspective and lifestyle. Better? Okay, let’s find out what the deal is…

    “Yep, this was my first ever car,” Daniel confirms. Well, that’s cleared that up. “I’ve had a few other cars over the years but no full race builds of this scale.” The implication here is that there’s a certain sentimental attachment to this project, which will probably make a lot of sense to more than a few of you. How many can say that your current car is your first car? Probably not a huge number. But you’ll never forget your first car; it means freedom and enlightenment. It’s also a means to an end, probably bought cheaply and scrapped when it broke. I know my Nova was.

    (Although, to be fair, scrapping it was the kindest thing. The fewer cars in the world with 45hp engines the better.) But Daniel’s fledgling steps into E30 ownership evidently made quite an impression, as he just didn’t want to let the damn thing go.

    “I’ve always liked the E30 as a model,” he says. “I think it’s because of the size, you can build it into anything. It doesn’t get much cooler than a sick E30.” This is a view that we know is shared by a lot of readers given that our voting for the 2015 PBMW Car of the Year ultimately saw three different E30s vying for the title. The retro Eighties three-box is at its zenith right now, still being relatively affordable and representing a strong ‘my dad/neighbour/BTCC hero had one of those’ vibe.


    “I don’t even remember what the car was like when I got hold of it, it was that bad,” Daniel laughs. “But I know that it was in really, really bad shape; the grinder loved it! Just a few weeks after I bought it I’d totally stripped it down and welded in a roll-cage, changed the roof from steel to fibreglass, and swapped the M20B20 engine to an M50B25.” This last move was an act that planted a flag in the ground as a statement of intent, proving that Daniel wasn’t messing around. The M20 offered a sturdy but sober 120-something horsepower whereas its M50 successor knocked things up a notch with such treats as DOHC, coil-on-plug ignition, four valves per cylinder and a whole world of tuning opportunities. And with such mischief in mind the motor was never destined to remain stock; the idea behind slamming in a stronger motor was to sprinkle in a pocketful of stardust and see just how stellar the thing could be. We’re talking about a billet Precision 6262 turbo, a cooling system so clever it’s got a doctorate in engineering (er, possibly), and a Pinky and the Brain-style ECU calling the shots with a frightening demeanour hellbent on world domination. The upshot of Daniel’s relentless rebuilding and refining both inside and outside the engine? A mighty 518hp at 1.3bar of boost, bolstered by 502lb ft of torque. That really is quite a lot of torque, isn’t it?

    But this car hasn’t been built for pulling tree stumps from the ground. Take a look at the pictures, you’ll soon figure out the purpose of this thing: it’s a bona fide, dyedin- the-wool drift machine, taking no prisoners but plenty of names. The selfstyled ‘Dirty E30’ spends so much time going sideways it should have wipers fitted to the doors, and the strong spec list enables this smoky prowess to be done in fine style. Consider, as a starting point, the squareon view of the tail-end. Between the smoked tail-lights, where you’d generally expect to find a numberplate, you’ll see a seductively canted radiator setup with twin fans blowing a farewell salute to whoever happens to be behind – which, realistically, is basically everyone. The bodywork has been unceremoniously sliced away beneath the bumper, while the top half sports a spoiler like a skate ramp and a neatly drilled sheet of plastic to titillate the rear-view mirror. And that’s just one aspect of the aesthetic!

    Take a peep through the side window and you’ll spot a natty gear shifter with two elbows (don’t you wish you had two elbows on each side? The things you could do…), a whacking great hydraulic handbrake, an ohso- contemporary tablet to monitor the EMU ECU readouts, forthright fluid reservoirs, and an overall aura of Mad Max-meets-Ken Block. It’s a little frightening, frankly. “Back at the start, my plan was just to build a nice and fast street car,” Daniel recalls with no small amount of nostalgic amusement, “but that escalated quite fast and I changed my plans! I started to build it into a pure drift car for track use. One thing that I think is common for all car builds is that you always want to step things up, to upgrade the build, even when it seems like it’s finished. So after a few events in 2013 I decided to take the car to the next level, with a total rebuild centring around a new roll-cage from Divina Performance.”

    Daniel was absorbing all manner of treats from the drift scene and the E30 chassis found itself wearing drift-tuned D2 coilovers and a fairly astonishing lock kit, along with some stupefyingly large brakes to rein in the lunacy. After all, let’s not forget we’re talking about 518hp. That’s a lot!


    Remember those eyebrow-raising elements we were talking about? Yeah, we said they were plentiful. Daniel has been keen not just to build a devastatingly competitive skidder but to craft something that rewards onlookers with every glance, each fresh vista offering something new and exciting. There’s the fuel filler in the rear window, the towing-eye on the strut top (something that’s becoming a real darling of the scene these days), the way the vast turbo’s pipework snakes over the angled M50 head, the pins holding the bumpers on, the exhaust exiting through the front wing, the Aeroquip fittings… ah, hell, this list could go on all day. The point is that this E30 is a triumph of both function and form, and that’s by no means an easy thing to achieve. It goes like Thor himself has jammed a lightning bolt up its backside. It slips sideways with the ease and precision of a good ol’ boy line dancer. And it looks so animalistic it makes small children lose sleep. Now, some of you may be looking at this car and thinking ‘I’d have done such-and-such differently’ or ‘those aren’t the wheels I’d have chosen,’ but you have to remember that this is an evolving thing. It’s alive. Daniel is endlessly shaking up the formula, those ones and zeroes of its very binary code being reshuffled on a week-by-week basis.


    “Shortly after this photoshoot, something happened…” he reveals. “It must have been those beers in the workshop that did it, and then the grinder came out – and soon enough the car started morphing into E30 version 3.0! Even more extreme, I started working on removable wide-body wings and bash bars, an E34 M5 rear axle and, of course, more boost. I’m building a new engine for next season, too: a fully forged M50B28 which should have 750hp+. Watch this space!” You can follow his progress on Facebook, at facebook.com/DrtyE30.

    So you see this constant evolution is shaping the 3 Series into something formidable and always surprising and fresh. Daniel’s taken it out to a few Gatebil events to wow the crowds, along with a variety of local meets and drift events, and he feels so totally keyed into the car that he’ll indulge in a lot more drifting through 2016. It’s getting a lot of good reactions, too. And although a build like this polarises people – like a certain sticky breakfast spread, you either love it or hate it – if you’re anything like us, you’ll be in the former camp, your face resembling that particular Emoji that has hearts for eyes. This is binary love. And the drift-specific focus of this E30? It’s a hell of a subroutine.


    Custom widened arches front and rear look the part and help to accommodate nine-inch 16s.

    It must have been those beers in the workshop that did it, and then the grinder came out Daniel Lavman.

    The ‘Dirty E30’ spends so much time going sideways it should have wipers fitted to the doors Daniel Bevis

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE Turbo Drift #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-M50 / #BMW-E30-Turbo /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six M50B25 / M50 / #BMW-M50 (non-VANOS), #EMU #ECUMaster tuned by #PSI-Motor , #Precision-6262 billet turbo / #Precision , custom exhaust manifold and system, rearmounted cooling system, Z3 rear axle with 4.10 diff, #ZF five-speed gearbox, rebuilt M20 flywheel with #Sachs 618 pressure plate and sintered clutch, 518hp and 502lb ft at 1.3bar


    CHASSIS 9x16” (f & r) #OZ-Vega wheels with 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) tyres, D2 Drift Spec coilovers, #T-Parts steering lock kit, #Brembo four-pots with 315mm discs (front) and two-pots with 270mm discs (rear) #OZ

    EXTERIOR Fully shaved and smoothed, rear doors welded up, custom wide arches front and rear, removable bash bar, custom aluminium rear spoiler, fibreglass roof

    INTERIOR #Custom-Divina-Performance TIG-welded cage, #Driftworks Cobra FIA fibreglass seats, #QSP six-point FIA harnesses, custom aluminium details, #Tilton-600 Series pedal assembly, custom shifter mechanism and handbrake, Samsung tablet for EMU ECUMaster readouts

    THANKS All of my friends who have been involved in the build! Also PSI Motor, Idefix Autoworkshop, #Divina-Performance , #TBM-Performance , Thagesson Motorsport, DDESIGN.NU, Flatoutperformance.se, T-Parts, Oljemagasinet.se, Brothers Garage, Spacers.se, and Svensk Turboservice AB

    Interior suitably stripped-out, with multiple gauges and a Samsung tablet displaying essential information.

    Multiple cooling hoses are fed by NACA ducts in the rear quarterlights in order to supply boot-mounted rad with air.

    Engine bay, and pretty much whole front end, dominated by massive 6262 turbo; vast intercooler occupies entire front area so rad (bottom right) now lives in the boot.
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