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    BEN’S BMW-E36 / TOURING / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36

    After some time using the poor E36 daily it ended up with quite a ‘to-do’ list that I wanted to get ticked off. So, towards the end of the summer the E36 came off the road (thankfully I’ve since got a new daily).

    The E36 had developed a bit of a rattle but one that seemed similar to a customer’s car. So, when disassembling his for repair, I was able to clue myself up as to what it was rattling on mine. The customer suspected worn rockers and supplied a set of #Schrick-DLC followers to fit; however I found that it was the rocker shafts that were really worn. They were in a right state. So I ordered a pair of new rocker shafts for mine, along with a full set of #Schrick DLC followers – not a cheap exercise. I’d noticed mild flat-spotting on mine and seeing as I was taking them out, it was a good time to upgrade.

    After raiding the shelves at Hack Engineering I was ready to tackle the rest. I had a leaky sump gasket to replace, a new oil cooler to fit, a new CSF radiator to fit, a coolant temperature sensor to relocate, a new brake servo vacuum hose to fit and so on – lots of relatively small jobs that mount up. To ensure easy access to the sump and to make sure it went back on cleanly (to avoid further leaks) I dropped the whole front crossmember, steering rack, wishbones, the lot. A new sump gasket went on and everything was built back up with new Meyle HD wishbones, new Meyle HD steering arms, new Mondeo drop links, and I also changed the front springs to 10kg/mm items and fitted #BC-Racing topmounts that allow for both camber and caster adjustment.

    Next on the list was the oil cooler, and while I was at it I removed the whole oil filter housing, gave it a good clean up and refitted it with a new gasket, filter and O-rings. The cooler itself is a Mocal 25-row item, running -10 lines that #Pro-Line-Motorsport knocked up for me.

    Once the engine top end work was complete and the oil cooler lines were run, it was time for the stunning CSF radiator. My previous alloy radiator had sagged and was leaking. The #CSF item is a big upgrade. Fitment was spot-on and was completed with a 16” electric fan.

    The final addition was a #VAC-Motorsports temperature sensor manifold. Previously the temperature sensor feeding my clocks was tapped into the thermostat housing so this new piece relocated it to be completely hidden underneath the intake. Now it’s time to add fluids and go – more on that next time.

    / #Hack-Engineering
    / Pro-Line Motorsport
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    Richard Fisheer’s Boss S14

    THE BOSS hot ride: #Nissan-240SX Speed Star: 560bhp LS1-powered Boss S14 Defining Car Culture. Words Paddy McGrath & Ben Chandler. Photography Mark Riccioni. We caught up with Chicago-based car builder, drifter and self-confessed Air Jordan hoarder, Mr Fish and his positively bananas Boss-kitted S14 drift car.

    NISSAN S14 It may look like a Dodge Challenger from the front, but we can promise you it’s all Nissan on the inside.

    In words, at least, this is a car that will almost certainly evoke a sigh or two. It has all the right (or wrong, depending on how you choose to look at it) ingredients for a drift car: an LS V8 motor, a Rocket Bunny kit, some SSR mesh wheels and Air Lift Performance suspension. There was a time when this combination would have blown people away, but now it’s almost the expected, and maybe the proven choice for a fun street/track car. But, we’ve long since learned that it’s not how you stand by your car, it’s how you race your car.

    This may not be the very first time you’ve seen this S14. This particular car has appeared on the internet and done the round on Instagram, but we do feel that it’s the first time a UK magazine has managed to capture this beautiful piece of automotive art. It’s still evolving too; since Mark captured these photographs, it’s now running a supercharged LS1 making 560hp to the wheels. It’s far from a show pony.

    Drifting, as a whole, is about expression. It’s always been this way and some might argue that non-competitive drifting is perhaps the purest form of drifting, as it offers the driver the most amount of freedom with regards to expressing themselves. Risky Devil, established 2007, are maybe the most recognised crew from the United States, mostly because they epitomise this mantra so well. There is a certain look that’s considered appealing in this community: as low as possible, wide wheels with lots of dish and as much smoke pouring off the back of the car as achievable.

    This 240SX delivers on all of these things. And more.

    The whole package is a visual treat. While I had seen pictures of the car before, I don’t think I appreciated the two-tone paint scheme; the black roof and pillars are maybe the most important part of tying the Boss kit into the S14, itself combining US and JDM style into one car.

    While it might not be a fully-fledged competition car, safety has still been addressed in a comprehensive way. Fixedback buckets and Takata Racing harnesses are enclosed by a full FD specification roll cage. The aim might be fun, but that doesn’t mean that the impact will be any softer if the worst happens.

    I don’t think it’s anything that we haven’t seen before but when something looks this good, it’s genuinely exciting to have this drift weapon in Fast Car. You might forget about it in an hour or you might not stop thinking about it for weeks – we’re just glad it exists.

    Wheels: Get The Look

    Speed Star Racing, or SSR to you and me, are one of the Godfathers of Japanese aftermarket wheels. They’re responsible for some of the most famous of all wheels, the SSR Super Mesh – a most beautiful wheel that can often be found on AE86s, Hakosuka GTRs and Nissan S31s. Basically old and Japanese. The wheels on Fish’s fine S14 Boss are Formula Mesh. These have been around for decades and are now certified as absolutely timeless. SSR, for the most part are all 3-piece wheels. As the name suggests, the company has been involved in racing for many years. If you look closely at the logo on the caps of SSR wheels you’ll notice an actual outline of F1 genius Graham Hill, a gentle nod to SSR’s passion for racing.

    Risky Devil

    If you’ve not heard the name Risky Devil before then stop whatever you’re doing and head over to YouTube immediately. Type ‘Risky Devil’ into the search bar and hit return. Seeing a car static in photos is one thing, but actually seeing it living and breathing in video is another. We also came across a clip on YouTube which gives a pretty good insight into the sort of life this car lives. Sure, it might make you flinch when you see it, but I respect that the car is still out there being driven as intended. It’s better than the alternative, right?


    Fish is a long time friend and customer of Air Lift Performance. He worked directly with Corey at Air Lift on this built to create a car that sits (and drifts) super close to terra firma. The S14 Air Lift Performance kit is a bolt on solution, which means that if you have an S14 chassis, you can fi t this kit in a weekend and be airing out at work by Monday! Check out www. for further info.


    This fine Japanese gentleman is a living breathing legend. Now, legend is a word that is overused, but it is certainly well deserved in this case. Why? Well, Muira-san has pretty much single handedly made bodykits cool again. The mad scientist is responsible for the Rocket Bunny brand and has also penned designs for the likes of Liberty Walk, Old N New, Pandem and more. This USDM and JDM mash-up kit found on Fish’s S14 is one of his finest designs.

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS: #Nissan-S14 / #Nissan-Silvia-S14 / #Nissan-Silvia / #Nissan-S14-Boss / #Nissan-S14-LS1-V8 / #Nissan-S14-V8 / #GM / #GM-V8 / #SSR / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #Nissan / #Nissan-240SX / #Nissan-240SX-S14 / #Nissan-240SX-V8 / #Nissan-240SX-LS1 / #Nissan-240SX-Boss / #Rocket-Bunny-V2 / #Nissan-Rocket-Bunny-V2

    Styling #Rocket-Bunny-V2 “Boss” wide body aero package, with front lip; bullet wing mirrors; license plates removed front and rear; fully repainted in red and black (only to be repainted again and again, and probably again when Fish runs the wall); genuine, eBay rare Risky Devil sun strip.

    Tuning LS-1 motor swap; #K&N intake, #CSF radiator upgrade (now running a supercharger post shoot).

    Chassis #SSR-Formula-Mesh 10.5x17 (f), 12.5x17 (f) with Dunlop Direzza ZII 245/40x17 (f) and 265/40x17 (r); Air Lift Performance struts with 3H management.

    Interior Fully stripped with FD-spec cage; Takata harnesses; Racetech seats; snap-off steering wheel; fly-off handbrake; repainted in a tasty looking silver hue.

    Thanks #Air-Lift Performance –
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    With a supercharger slapped onto its meaty straight-six, this E46 M3 is the ultimate fast road tool. When the checklist for your project build features ‘must be a daily driver, and must be fun on canyon roads’, the E46 M3 is a pretty sound choice. Throw in a supercharger and the job’s a good ’un… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Richard Le /// #BMW

    There’s a lot to be said for being understated. Still waters run deep, as the old saying goes, and it’s as true in the modifying sphere as anywhere else that what you see isn’t necessarily what you get – it sometimes takes a keen eye or an investigative demeanour to reveal the full story. Picture yourself in a dark, smoky dive bar in a hick town on a windy Friday night – the characters who’ll immediately catch your attention are the drunk office girls caterwauling around the jukebox or the frat boys slamming back thimbles of moonshine, but it’s the guy sitting alone at the bar that you need to watch out for. The one in the cowboy hat, coolly sipping neat bourbon and eyeballing everybody in the place to get the measure of every last soul – his appearance isn’t remarkable, and yet there’s something foreboding about his presence that makes him unmissable.

    That shadowy, sinister figure is essentially the embodiment of Sonic Motorsports’ M3, resplendent as it is in subtle menace and simmering aggression. Sure, it’s not the most outrageous or heavily modified E46 to appear in these pages, but it doesn’t need to be, does it? You can tell just from a single glance that it’s the sort of car that cashes its own cheques, that doesn’t care what you think. Without even seeing it in motion, you just know that it’d be a devastating mover…

    To a degree that can be true of any E46 M3. The act of taking a relatively soberlooking #BMW-3-Series and shoving in a feisty sixpot producing a power figure that begins with a three was a masterstroke of mischief by BMW and, as the M3 badge’s heritage dictates, these cars aren’t just about power. They’re about poise, handling, finesse, chuckability, precision… there’s a reason that they’re seen as the benchmark of sporting coupes. But, as is a well-trodden path in Performance BMW circles, such things can always be improved. You know this. That’s why you’re reading this magazine. The improver in this particular instance is Sonic Motorsports, based in San Jose, California. This outfit, if you’re a resident of The Golden State (or even if you’re not, to be frank) is one that you need to shuffle on to your list of ‘People Who Matter’, as there’s a palpable whiff of tenacity with a soupçon of fury in the air down on Charcot Avenue.

    “I work as the shop foreman and owner at Sonic MS, so I get to work on a variety of different cars,” says Barrett Howard, the fella with the M3’s keys on his desk. “This one was actually a customer’s car – he had made the decision to move on to the E9x platform, and he offered to sell it to me. I knew that the car had been well taken care of, and the E46 is a phenomenal platform to build on, so I took him up on it. It’s arguably the best handling car in its weight class and it comes with a decent amount of power as well – but of course, that was only a starting point for us!”

    Encouraging sentiment indeed, and very much in line with Sonic’s mission statement: ‘practice makes perfect’, they attest, only making upgrades to customers’ cars that fit within their levels of expertise and experience – not to say the guys are afraid to push the boundaries, more that they’re insistent on any car that goes out the door being tip-top and ready to rock. Sonic believes in doing it right first time, which surely makes for smiles all-round. Okay, this M3 had become Barrett’s own car, so would there be a chance that he and the team would put a little more effort in than they would with a paying client’s motor? No, not a bit of it – because when you’re operating at 100%, it’s not possible to push any harder. And that, again, is a good thing for all.

    So, how does one improve upon the already formidable power that the iconic S54 straight-six is serving up? Well, for Sonic it made sense to go down the route of forced induction. “We build a lot of fast cars here, so it was only natural we went down this road,” Barrett explains. “A supercharger was a good start since it doesn’t have the lag associated with a turbo. The #Dinan supercharger setup is pretty comprehensive, but also has the benefit of being a bolt-on package, so the work was fairly simple and straightforward.” The gains for such an upgrade weigh in at around 150hp, which is very significant – think of it as a percentage of the motor’s stock power, it’s actually pretty eye-watering. Even more impressive, then, that the stock internals can take it without bursting. They do make these Motorsport machines strong, don’t they?

    Barrett chose to augment this Vortech-flavoured upgrade with some sensible additions, including a Dinan throttle body, CSF radiator and oil cooler, which all coalesces neatly with the SMG transmission to make for a natty little sleeper. Well, okay, not a sleeper, you can’t really call it that, but it does belie its subtle looks with a raging hellstorm of horsepower.

    “I wanted it to be as subtle as it could be, that was the vision all along,” Barrett confirms. “But I also wanted to take a little of the magic of the CSL, to get it as close to that look as possible.” This, it hardly needs saying, is no small undertaking, particularly if your keenness for authenticity extends to grafting in the famed carbon fibre roofskin that the CSL enjoyed. That’s not a five-minute job.

    It’s easy to be blasé about the acquisition of CSL parts here in the UK, but this is in fact a rather more involved task for our Transatlantic cousins – just 1400 Coupé Sport Leichtbau models were built for the 2004 model year, so they’re pretty obscure to start with; however, the bulk of CSL allocation went to Europe, and they just weren’t offered by North American BMW dealers. So if you want to find the parts that were unique to the CSL – such as the carbon fibre roof, the ducktail bootlid, the fibreboard boot floor, or what-have-you, you need to have sufficient fingers in the appropriate pies. But Barrett is a man in the know and, with a crafty tap of the nose, he informs us that he can find such things if required. “The roof and the ducktail are the most obvious nods to the CSL,” he says, “but with a lot of the modifications, it’s a case of subtle things that only the true enthusiast would spot.” There you go then, a challenge for your BMW-spotting credentials – pore over the photos and see what nerdy details you can find…

    Sonic Motorsports, as one might hope, is not the sort of outfit that’ll just throw a load of horsepower into a stock chassis to see what’ll happen – you’ve probably got the idea now, but it’s a belt-and-braces sort of affair. And besides, the guys doing the work are enthusiasts like you, and we all love cherry picking upgrades from the performance catalogue, don’t we?

    “The car was built for the purpose of being able to be daily driven, as well as driven hard on the nice canyon roads we have around here,” he says, “and the Öhlins Road and Track coilovers we’ve fitted do a great job of making it comfortable on local roads as well as keeping it planted around the curves.” There’s a meaty brake setup working hand-in-hand with this too, in the form of a Brembo GT big brake kit up front with BMW Competition items at the rear; all more than up to the task of hauling up a supercharged M3 when the going gets twisty.

    As impressive as the build is, we’ve touched on a lot of modifications that represent an established formula here, all of which neatly ties into the aforementioned ‘practice makes perfect’ ethos. The supercharger upgrade, the CSL aesthetics, the taut combo of Öhlins and Brembo, it’s all very logical. So what Sonic needed was a hook, something to work with the subtle look of the car while at the same time offering something unusual and offbeat – and it’s for this reason that you’ll find a set of RAYS wheels under the arches. #RAYS is a Japanese brand, which immediately jars with the Bavarian DNA, whose history lies in motorsport, and Volk Racing is a subbrand that offers super-light forged sports wheels such as the G25 you see here.

    They’re not just a cool design, they are also very much fit for purpose on a performance car such as this, as well as offering something that you perhaps wouldn’t expect to find on an E46.

    Job done then, yes? Time for Barrett and his colleagues to clap their hands together, congratulate one another on a job well jobbed, and move onto the next one? No, not quite: “Oh, I’ve got more in store,” he smirks. “It’ll be needing a manual gearbox conversion at some point. And I’m planning a turbo kit for it right now…”

    Exciting times. And whatever happens, you can be sure that this M3 will remain resolutely under the radar as it scythes through the canyons, appearing to passers-by as little more than a deep blue flash and a sinister rumble before it’s merely a memory, a whisper on the breeze. You don’t always have to shout to be heard. Sometimes subtlety makes the strongest statement of all.

    “I wanted it to be as subtle as it could be, but I also wanted to take a little of the magic of the CSL to get it as close to that look as possible”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE Supercharged E46 M3 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #Dinan-Stage-3-Supercharger , #Dinan throttle body, #CSF radiator, CSF oil cooler, six-speed #SMG-II gearbox.

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (f) & 10.5x19” (r) #RAYS-G25 wheels with 245/35 (front) & 275/30 (rear) Yokohama AD08 tyres, Öhlins Road & Track coilovers, Hotchkis anti-roll bars (f & r), subframe reinforcements, #Powerflex bushes, #Brembo GT front #BBK , #BMW-Competition rear brakes.

    EXTERIOR #CSL carbon fibre roofskin, bootlid and diffuser.

    INTERIOR Full custom #JBL audio install.

    THANKS My crew at Sonic MS and all the vendors that sponsored this build.
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