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    MITSUBISHI MUSCLE 700BHP VARIS-KITTED EVO X


    Eric McWilliams swapped his mustang muscle car for a slice of Japanese speed in the form of this 700bhp Varis-kitted Mitsubishi Evo X, and he’s never looked back…

    Words: Dan Sherwood and Eric Mcwilliams. Pics: Viktor Benyi

    American muscle fan swaps his Mustang for an Evo X and never looks back!

    Looks can be deceptive. When you first clap eyes on Eric McWilliams’ evil-looking Mitsubishi Evo X, resplendent in its aggressive Varis wide arches, high-level carbon GT wing and the malevolent satin black deepdish ISS Forged split rims, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Eric was a dyed in the wool import fan, brought up on a strict diet of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel. But the fact is Eric only got into the Japanese scene in 2009; before that his automotive fantasies were much closer to home.

    Now a resident of the glitzy town of Las Vegas, where he works as an engineer at one of the top casinos on the famous strip, Eric originally hails from a small town in the state of Iowa in America’s mid-west. A state known for its agriculture, Eric was more likely to swoon over a John Deere tractor than a tricked out Mitsubishi as he was growing up, and in fact his dream ride for the majority of his life was the good ol’ boys’ favourite: a V8 Mustang. Eric went on to eventually own the Pony car of his dreams and had big plans to give the mighty muscle car a steroid injection to turn it into a full-on drag machine. However, before he could complete his quarter mile queen, he cashed in his chips on his life in sleepy Iowa, to make a new one in America’s City of Sin.

    ‘Las Vegas opened my eyes to a whole new genre of cars,’ recalls Eric with a smile. ‘Before I moved there I was all about US muscle cars, but seeing tuned Japanese metal screaming around the sunscorched streets really sparked my passion for something a little more exotic from the Far East.’

    And it was when things started to ramp up on his Mustang project that Eric got his first real taste of Japanese machinery, when he decided to take the ’Stang off the road and get a new ride for daily driver duties. The car in question was a 2008 Evo X.

    ‘Coming from the Mustang, the Evo was a revelation!’ Eric enthuses. ‘Even in standard spec it was so fast and cornered like nothing I’d ever felt before. It didn’t have that deep V8 rumble, but it was just on another level in just about every other area, and the more I learnt about them and what was possible, the more I was eager to start the tuning process.’

    As the weeks and months passed, Eric’s love for his slice of Far Eastern fun was beginning to take over his life and the Mustang was steadily gathering dust as his passion for it diminished. Eventually, he decided it was time to move on and sold the shunned muscle car, leaving him free and unburdened to focus all his attention, and money, on the Mitsubishi.

    ‘At the time there was a whole host of companies producing parts for the Evo X and it was exciting planning the Evo’s evolution from mild to wild,’ Eric says with a grin. ‘In the end, rather than simply settling on one route to take the build, I decided to take on everything and make the ultimate, street driven, trackready, show ride capable of completing a 10 second quarter mile!’ Not too much to ask for then! Phew!

    First up on Eric’s wish list was to sort the performance. As an avid fan of the legendary AMS brand, it was an easy decision to outfit the four-cylinder turbo motor with a host of the firm’s bolt-on bits.

    Matched with bigger injectors and fuel pump, a drop-in turbo upgrade and a high-flow manifold, the car became more juiced for the track while still keeping its smooth daily drivability with a quick turbo spool and low-end torque. The final result was 467bhp at the wheels and a flat torque curve peaking at 350lb ft.

    With the engine power suitably increased, Eric attended Motion Auto Show in Long Beach, with high hopes of some recognition from his fellow tuning fans for his hard work, unfortunately, and to his shock, the car didn't even get noticed!

    ‘After the disappointment of the show I knew I’d have to improve the Evo’s appearance if I was to get the attention that I craved,’ says Eric. ‘Luckily, it was around this time that Varis Japan had released a widebody kit for the Evo X, which was the perfect way to get the visual edge I needed.’

    To source the stunning body addenda, Eric got straight on the blower to Ben Schaffer and the boys at Bulletproof Automotive in Los Angeles, California. As fate would have it, Bulletproof said they already had one of the rare kits winging its way from Japan to the US.

    Result! As the third ever kit to grace US soil and the first to feature on a car on the West Coast, Eric was sure the new look would go down a storm, and when fitted and drenched in the bright Carolina Blue with blue pearl paint (which was actually a hue based on the colour of Eric’s favourite BMX bike that he had as a kid) he tested the kit’s attention grabbing merits at the 2012 SEMA Show in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas.

    ‘The kit extends each corner of the car by 35mm and I filled this extra girth with a set of wide satin black Enkei wheels with 265-section tyres,’ Eric recalls. ‘The car looked so much better and people where raving about it at the show. I knew straight away that I’d made the right choice.’

    His build now had the looks to turn heads, but he had already got used to the power provided by the AMS bolt-ons, meaning the next stage of engine development was required.

    ‘After doing some research I decided to go down the route of a rebuilt engine, uprated turbo and drivetrain. In the end I went for a full 2.2-litre stroker build with 90mm CP pistons, Manley I-beam Turbo Tuff rods, ACL race bearings, ARP main studs and Golden Eagle sleeves,’ Eric says. ‘The build itself was carried out by Trevor at TrevTec Motorsports in Las Vegas and also incorporated extensive head work with Ferrea +1mm oversized valves, FIC 2150cc injectors, GSC S2 cams and Supertech dual valve springs and retainers.’

    The turbo side of the equation was met by an AMS 900X turbo kit controlled by a Grimspeed three-port electronic boost controller. This was then complemented by an AMS front-mount intercooler and hard-piping, plus an AMS 3in cat-back exhaust system.

    ‘As anyone that has undergone a similar build could tell you, the process will test your patience and passion for the car and mine was no different,’ laughs Eric. ‘The motor build alone took over a year due to several complications, but it did give me more time to spend on other areas of the car, such as removing any and all unnecessary weight.’

    Eric removed everything he could from the Evo’s innards, including scraping off the sticky tar-like sound deadening under the carpets. The car is now definitely a case of function over form when you pull open the driver’s door, with only a single Recaro Pro Hans racer seat with Takata four-point harnesses plus the top half of the dash and door cards left for comfort.

    When the potent new motor was finally finished and installed, Eric wisely sought to increase the car’s safety with a custom rollcage.

    ‘The car was sent to Merrill Performance in Colorado who handled the custom fabrication of a six-point weld-in ’cage built to the class-specific Time Attack regulations,’ Eric explains. ‘It’s a pretty comprehensive piece of kit with X-brace door bars and pillar tubes that plunge through the Alcantara trimmed dash top and mount to the front footwells. Hopefully I’ll never have the need to test it out!’ With the engine work, and then the interior tweaks, taking up so much time where the car was off the road, Eric decided that it would be rude not to give the exterior a refresh to match the new interior and engine.


    ‘I liked the Carolina blue paint, but felt it needed more of a race look, so tasked Paul at Grafik Impact with designing a custom Time Attack livery for the car,’ Eric recalls.

    Sticking with the blue and black theme, graphic guru Paul came up with the cool black strake design that whips up the car and incorporates a huge Varis logo – just in case you were wondering which kit was on the car.

    ‘I debuted the car’s new look at Import Face Off and took home the award for ‘Best Evo’,’ smiles Eric proudly. ‘It was a fantastic result, but the one thing that stood out to me was my old wheels. I really wanted a three-piece wheel so I could ditch the spacers I was running and get more dish.’

    To remedy his lack of girth on the rim front, Eric contacted Brent at ISS Forged to have a set of custom wheels made. Once they were completed and shipped, Eric was only too keen to install them, unfortunately the stress of the spacers on the stock wheel studs had took its toll…

    ‘I was driving to a local meet on my new rims when a stud snapped off on the front passenger side and destroyed the face of the wheel. I had to send the wheel out to have a new face cut for it,’ he says with a roll of his eyes. However, with a car build such as Eric’s, there’s no such thing as downtime, so while he waited for the damaged rim to be repaired, it seemed like an opportunity to finish up some other areas of the car.

    ‘I sent the car off to Mad Kustomz to have Ahmad and James install an AMS carbonfibre roof, colour match the door jams, rollcage and a new Stoptech big brake kit that I had acquired for the car,’ he smiles. ‘They finished everything up just in time for the replacement rim.’

    Now that the car was finally all back together – a full nine months after having the motor installed – Eric decided to see what his new engine could really do and committed to a full mapping session to take things closer to the limit.

    Well known in the US for their tuning skills with Japanese cars, especially Evo Xs – English Racing built the world’s fastest and quickest Evo X – Lucas and Aaron from English Racing came down to Las Vegas to tune several Evos at the Dynojet research facility and Eric’s was one of the lucky rides on the list. The final numbers it put down on a conservative road/race tune was 640bhp and 476lb ft at the wheels @28psi. Impressive numbers, but what’s more impressive is how much more there is left in reserve.


    ‘Yeah, Lucas and Aaron said that there's plenty more in her, but after such a long time without the car I’m just looking forward to spending time behind the wheel and driving it as much as I can,’ Aaron explains. ‘Chasing numbers is all good, but it’s more than fast enough for me – for now at least – and I don’t want to risk more time with the car off the road to fix things if we push it much further.’


    So for now, Eric is happy with his Evo, and even if the urge to push on gets too strong and he gives in to his speed and power cravings, it’s good to know that his desires are only a dyno mapping session away, meaning he may be down a Mustang, but his malevolent Mitsubishi has got more than enough muscle to compensate!

    TECHICAL SPECIFIFCATIONS #Mitsubishi-Evo-X / #Mitsubishi-Evo / #Mitsubishi / #Mitsubishi-Lancer-Evo-X / #Mitsubishi-Lancer-X / #Mitsubishi-Lancer /

    ENGINE: 2.2-litre, 4-cyl, 16v, #4B11 engine built by #TrevTec , #AMS-900X turbo kit, AMS front-mount intercooler and hardpiping, #AMS 3in cat-back exhaust, AMS fuel rail and fuel pressure regulator, AMS motor mounts, ACL race bearings, #ARP main studs, CP 90mm pistons, #Cosworth 90mm head gasket, Ferrea oversized valves, FIC 2150cc injectors, Golden Eagle sleeves, Grimspeed 3-port electronic boost controller, GSC S2 cams, Manley I-beam rods, Mishimoto radiator cap, gauge and hoses, #Mishimoto 10in slim fan, #Password JDM dress-up bolts and carbon-fibre ignition cover, #Supertech dual valve springs/retainers, TiAL QR blow-off valve, Merrill performance catch can, Walbro 450lph fuel pump

    TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual gearbox with Exedy triple-plate clutch, Jacks Transmissions ultimate final drive

    SUSPENSION: #KW 2-way adjustable Clubsport coilovers, Agency Power rear lower control arms and anti-roll bar drop links, Cusco front and rear strut braces, Cobb front anti-roll bar, Whiteline rear anti-roll bar

    BRAKES: Stoptech big brake kits front and rear

    WHEELS & TYRES: 11.5x18in ISS Forged FM-10R Spec B 3-piece wheels with 295/35/18 BF Goodrich Rival tyres

    EXTERIOR: Varis carbon-fibre wide-body kit, front splitter and dual hyper canards, AMS carbon-fibre roof, Aeromotion R2 static wing, Ralliart tail lights, Seibon carbonfibre bonnet and boot lid, Carolina blue pearl paint, custom Time Attack livery

    INTERIOR: Agency Power short shifter, AMS shift knob, AMS small battery kit, custom black suede dash, arm rest and shift boot with blue stitching, custom carbon-fibre gauge cluster, Glowshift boost gauge, Innovate Motorsports LC-1 DB gauge, NRG black suede steering wheel, Recaro Pro Hans racer seat, Takata 4-point harnesses, Works Bell hub, 6-point weld-in rollcage

    THANKS: Team Hybrid, Founder/President James Lin, LV Chapter Director Archie Concon, Scott Dean, Jesse Ramirez, Hybrid Hunnyz, BFGoodrich, Mishimoto, Meguiar’s, K&N, NRG, Sony, Seibon, Exedy, Bulletproof Automotive, Grafik Impact, Trevor from Trevtec, Pete Makowski and also my mom, dad, brother, family and friends for all their support!

    ‘A CUSTOM WELD-IN ROLLCAGE WAS INSTALLED TO MEET TIME ATTACK REGS’

    OH CAROLINA!

    The Carolina blue paint that covers the EVO is inspired by Eric’s favourite BMX bike that he had as a kid. the searing blue hue accentuates the lines of the awesome varis widebody kit, which is actually made of lightweight carbon-fibre. Combined with a varis vsdc carbon front splitter and varis carbon dual hyper canards the front end looks proper aggro! But that’s not all of the exotic black weave, as Eric’s Evo also has an AMS carbon roof and seibon vented carbon bonnet and boot lid! For a similar hardcore Japanese tuner-look for your Evo, check out www.indigo-gt.com. Based in tredegar, south wales. Indigo GT is a licenced varis dealer and has form for supplying these awesome aero kits to some of the hottest cars in the UK.
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    CRAZY V8 ESPRIT / LOTUS ESPRIT / PUNK AND DISORDERLY

    If you want to annoy the purists, what better way than a #V8 #Lotus-Esprit-S3 running on air ride and Jap wheels. A lot of people don’t like this Lotus. It’s got the wrong engine, the wrong suspension, the wrong attitude. But this Lotus doesn’t really care what you think, it’s got its own stuff going on… Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Chris Frosin.


    It’s a matter of pride here at Retro Cars that we seek out cars which don’t follow the welltrodden path; the mavericks, the outlaws, the oddballs – the cars with a bona fi de punk ethos that thumb a nose to authority and cock a snook at the naysayers. There are plenty of people within the traditional classic car scene who’ll tell you that there is a correct way of doing things, and to deviate from the norm is to invoke their ire. But screw them.

    Where’s the creativity in building a car that dozens of people have built before? Where’s the sense of achievement? The lifestyle we celebrate is one of brash weirdness, and they certainly don’t get a lot more brash or weird than Rob Howard’s Series 3 #Lotus-Esprit . We’re talking gruff supercar power, scene-friendly altitude, down-with-the-kids rims fresh from Japan… this is the polar opposite to a pipe-and- slippers concours resto. This is a punk collage, a scrapbook of ideas pasted together from all corners of the modifying world, and we couldn’t be more in love with it.

    Now, we know what some of you will be thinking – ‘Oh, it’s another old Lotus on air-ride’. Sure, there are a few of these on the scene these days, and we’ve featured a couple of ’em ourselves; Dean Meeson’s Esprit and Luke Gilbert’s Elite. But if a surfeit of bagged Lotuses is the biggest problem you encounter today, then you should probably take a few minutes out to consider how damned lucky you are. Besides, this is very far from ‘just another old Lotus on air-ride’ – this is nothing short of a work of art.

    “I’ve always been into cars, even when I was a kid,” says Rob. “I started working on cars when I was about fourteen years old, always wanting to change them, to fi t bigger engines and bigger wheels. I guess it’s in my blood? Anyway, the Esprit was my childhood dream car – James Bond driving into the sea had me hooked! Someone in my town had one when I was growing up, and I knew I just had to have one… one day.”

    While Bond’s Lotus may have been modified to cope with the salty rigours of sub-aqua mischief, Rob’s would eventually end up taking an altogether different turn – but, of course, he had to find one first. And that sort of thing doesn’t always go as well as you might think.

    “This is actually my second Esprit,” he explains. “The first one I had was a yellow Series 1, which had a Rover V8 already fitted. But it was crap – horrible to drive, and the 130bhp P6 engine was really underpowered. They do say ‘Never meet you heroes’, and I was just so disappointed with it.”



    As you’ve probably deduced, however, Rob is not the sort of man who gives up easily. Having harvested the V8 conversion parts and squirrelled them away, he waved goodbye to the disheartening yellow cheese-wedge and went on the hunt for the car he’d really wanted all along: a white Series 3. “These have a much better chassis,” he explains, “and an improved rear suspension setup. Much better for sticking a V8 in there!” And, naturally , there’s that spectre of 007 lurking in the broad rear aspect, ready to indulge in racy espionage at the drop of a Martini glass…


    “I found the car for sale on a Lotus forum, totally stock and needing a little work,” Rob recalls. “The exhaust manifold was cracked, and the interior was horrible; very faded and turning green! It ran crap but was perfect for my needs – and it was white! I had no use for the four-pot engine anyway, I already had an engine lined up to transplant into it. V8 power was, of course, at the top of the list for the project. I just love the sound. There’s no stereo in here, it doesn’t need one! And another high priority was the wheels; I hate stock wheels, very boring. This car needed to have something unusual. The Esprit is a tricky one to change wheels on though, and it can look horrible if you choose the wrong type or size. I got lucky, I think my wheels look killer – maybe I’m biased? But lots of people that see it also agree the wheels look great! Anyway, after the V8 and the wheels it was all about making it better and faster, and a tad lower…”

    Heh. ‘A tad’. Rob really does run a masterful line in understatement. Being an avid fan of American hot rod shows of the Fast ‘N’ Loud ilk, air-ride was increasingly permeating its way into Rob’s subconscious as a viable option. Having experimented on various previous projects with lowering springs, coilovers and what-have-you, he knew what he wanted and, more importantly, what he didn’t want. There would be no crashy ride or smashed sumps here, this was going to be a suspension setup done right and done well. “I thought air-ride would be the best of both worlds,” he shrugs. “Any height I like, and any spring rate? What’s not to like? OK, it’s not quite as simple as that, and the ride is still fairly harsh, but it’s way lower than I could have got it by other means.” The most cunning part is that Rob’s combination of coilovers and Universal Air bags is managed by AccuAir’s E-Level system, which keeps the car at whatever height you determine regardless of external influence – so, say, if you tell it to run at a particular height, then stuff the boot and passenger seat with bags of cement, it’ll still run at that height you’d told it to. Isn’t it great living in the future?


    The ride-height’s taken care of then, so let’s talk about that engine. It’s a Rover V8, like in his maligned old yellow Lotus, but in this instance it’s a pukka TVR unit. What’s more, it’s been stretched yet further into the realms of motorsport excess; the already-formidable 4.3-litre TVR Griffith engine has been reworked by V8 developments into a rumbling 4.5-litre monster. “I found a hillclimb car for sale that had this engine fitted, and I knew it’d be perfect for my Esprit,” Rob grins mischievously. If you cast an eye over the spec box, you’ll see why he’s grinning. The motor really is a monster, with a torque-rich spec designed for propelling light things up tall things at alarming speed. Just the job!


    “Fitting the V8 was actually quite straightforward, using the gearbox adaptor I had kept from the Series 1,” he says. “I had to make new mounts and carry out a lot of cutting to the rear body to make room for the big-bore 3in twin exhaust, and things kept changing throughout the build as parts got altered and made better; more often things wouldn’t work out how I planned, so had to be reworked or changed completely. The exhaust was re-done three times before I got it how I wanted! The air-ride was a nightmare to fit too - getting it to go a lot lower than Lotus ever intended meant that, with a car that’s well over thirty years old, a lot of the suspension parts were a pain to remove due to neglect and rust. Jobs take a long time to do as it’s all done on my driveway; the car has spent most of its time on axle stands and in bits since I’ve owned it due to always changing things and waiting for parts. And I still have plans to improve the car, it’ll always be evolving and getting better. Working on cars is like childbirth - you forget the pain until you get the spanners out…”


    Thank goodness Rob’s enthusiasm lies in modifying old cars rather than delivering babies, we’re a bit concerned about where he’s planning to stick his torque wrench. But thankfully his skills are entirely well suited to Esprit rebirth, as the results you see here demonstrate; sure, he says it’s unfinished, but that’s true of pretty much every feature car owner we speak to. We particularly love his choice of wheels, too – that James Bond influence of international mystique has led him to source a set of three-piece Super Star split-rims straight from Japan, the rears arriving 9in wide apiece and being rebuilt to a meaty 11.5in girth using Image 5in lips. That’s the sort of forthrightness that gives the car proper supercar presence, something that the old-school wedge always deserved.

    “I like to get out in it as much as I can – when it’s working, that is,” Rob laughs. “It’s a Lotus, so something generally needs fixing, but it’s fun to take it to work and there’s always a buzz around it wherever it goes. My colleagues are always saying ‘I saw someone taking pictures of your car again’! And yeah, I know it’s annoyed a few Lotus purists, but who cares about them? It’s my car.”

    …and that’s exactly the right attitude. This badass Esprit doesn’t care what you think, it just does what it wants. It doesn’t always work, but that doesn’t matter either. The Low-tus exists on its own terms, and that’s enough.

    Monster 11.5in wide rear wheels transmit the 4.5 litre V8’s torque to the tarmac.

    “Working on cars is like childbirth - you forget the pain until you get the spanners out…”
    “The Esprit was my childhood dream car – James Bond driving into the sea had me hooked!”

    James Bond eat your heart out, you can keep your submersible Esprit, we’d rather have this!


    Thumping great V8 soundtrack means that Rob has no need for a stereo install.


    SPECIFICATION #Lotus-Esprit-V8 / #Lotus-Esprit-V8-TVR / #Lotus-Esprit-TVR / #Lotus-Esprit / #Rover-V8 / #Lotus / #AccuAir /

    ENGINE: 4.5-litre #TVR (Rover) #V8 , fully balanced, forged 93.5mm bore #Cosworth pistons and #HRC1037 rods, cross-drilled and balanced #HRC1400 Iceberg crank (80mm stroke), high-volume oil pump, Stage 3 big valve heads, stainless steel 42.8mm inlet and 36.8mm exhaust-valves, fully ported and gas flowed, uprated valve springs ( #VSSV8 ), Piper steel vernier timing chain set, #Piper-BP270 camshaft, Rhoades anti pump lifters, John Eales billet rocker posts and head stud kit, #Edelbrock-Performance inlet manifold - fully ported and gas-flowed to match heads, Edelbrock Performance 1404 (500cfm) 4-barrel #Weber carburettor, #K&N turbo plenum with large K&N cone filter, #Mallory Performance billet distributor with electronic ignition, #Mallory Pro 8mm plug leads and high output coil, TVR big bore exhaust manifolds reversed, twin 3in bore custom stainless steel exhaust system, Rover SD1 sump, Esprit Developments engine conversion kit, custom mounts and turbo rubbers, Sierra Cosworth 60mm core alloy radiator, twin electric 12in rear-mounted fans, Davies Craig EWP 80 pump and controller, extra cooling booster pump fitted at rear, Mocal remote oil filter and oil cooler rad, alloy header tank and swirl pot. 289bhp @ 5500rpm; 300lb/ft @ 4500rpm

    TRANSMISSION: Esprit/Citroën SM 5-speed transaxle, alloy bellhousing adaptor and custom input shaft, lightened race steel flywheel, uprated clutch

    SUSPENSION: #Gaz-Gold-Racing / #GAZ adjustable front alloy coilovers, #Protech rear alloy coilovers, Universal-Air Aero Sport airbags, #AccuAir-E-Level management, #Air-Zenith-OB2 compressor, #Dakota-Digital quad air pressure and tank gauge kit, twin seamless alloy 3-gallon air tanks, front top and bottom suspension arms modified, uprated polybushes, hubs modified to 5x112 PCD and 66.6 centre bore, Canley Classics forged front uprights (trunnion free)

    BRAKES: Front: Audi 100/200 314x30mm cross-drilled vented discs, custom fitted to rear of hubs, Porsche 996 Brembo 4-pot alloy calipers on custom billet mounts.

    Rear: Mondeo 280x12mm cross-drilled and slotted discs custom fitted to rear shafts, Esprit rear calipers, carriers modified for larger discs, stainless braided hoses

    WHEELS & TYRES: 8x17in +25 (front) and 11.5x17in +20 (rear) Super Star 3-piece split-rims with 205/45 Yokohama Parada Spec 2 (front) and 315/35 BFGoodrich Comp T/A (rear)

    EXTERIOR: Side scoop ‘ears’ widened and modified into quad intakes, rear hatch locked ajar with flush-locking bonnet pins, modified front air intake and revised radiator location, rear bumper drilled to improve airflow output, rear engine bay floor removed, extra spaceframe chassis brace fitted with alloy heatshielding

    INTERIOR: Stock ‘teddy bear’ cloth refreshed with black dye, #Nardi Personal 350mm steering wheel, MX-5 suede gearstick gaitor, leather #Lotus gearknob, Stack wideband lambda gauge, #Dakota-Digital air pressure gauge, SJ Sportscars black carpet set, Accuair Switchspeed controller

    THANKS: “ #Gerald-Moors for all the machining work - A4 Engineering, Unit 7 Manor Park, 35 Willis Way, Poole, BH15 3SZ, Tel:¬01202 676047”
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    DOUBLE UP / #BMW / #Kumho-BMW-Championship / #Kumho / #BMW-Championship / #2016


    Racing requires a suitably serious machine, or two, such as this S54-powered 1 Series pair. Built from the ground-up for the Kumho-BMW-Championship , these two ferocious 1 Series are a force to be reckoned with. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.


    Racing is something that you’re likely to be into if you’re into cars. We’re not saying this means you follow F1 religiously, for example, or watch every single motorsport race going but if you like cars and you like going fast then whether it’s drag racing, NASCAR or hillclimbs there’s bound to be a form of motorsport that gets your juices flowing and one that you’d love to have a go at. The glamour and excitement of motor racing has a lure that’s hard to resist and many of us can no doubt picture ourselves taking the chequered flag in some exotic location and then partying on a yacht afterwards.


    Even if that’s not part of the equation, the chance to get behind the wheel of a fullyprepped racer and go wheel-to-wheel out on track is something we’d all love to do.


    Easier said than done, mind. Even competing in an affordable race series still isn’t all that affordable and, ultimately, if you want to get somewhere you either need mega skills, lots of money or, ideally, both. Like James Cannon, then, who’s part of the management at Severn Valley Motorsport. He not only had the funds available to build this incredible pair of 1 Series racers but he’s also got the skills to put them to devastating use out on the track.


    “I’ve been racing since I was eight,” says the affable James nonchalantly. “I started out in mini stocks and was UK champ aged nine. I then moved onto rallycross, then drifting, and then the Kumho BMW Championship aged 19, racing in Class D where I won multiple races.”


    He’s also got a thing for BMWs and has had a few in his time: an E46 M3 Cab at 18, an X5, a 730d, an E39 M5, an E60 M5, an E63 M6, an E92 M3 last year, and now a 335iX. Having worked his way up to Class A in the Kumho BMW Championship James decided to build himself something suitable but he didn’t want to take the well-worn path walked by the other teams, as he explains: “The top class is full of E36 and E46 M3s but the Championship wanted something a bit more glam and I wanted to build something a bit different for the Severn Valley Motorsport race team. I liked the look of the eBay BTCC 1 Series and so that’s what I decided to create.”


    He purchased a pair of 118ds for £4000 each and stripped them down to their bare shells, opting for four-doors as they were cheaper to buy and it’s easier to get spares for them in the event of a crash; obviously, being race cars, James had guidelines to build to, so he knew exactly what he was going to do the cars having discussed the requirements for Class A with the Kumho Championship organisers. “Butler Motorsport built the engines and fitted them along with the subframes. Harry Hockly Motorsport supplied the full BTCC-spec cages and Doseley Motors did all the bodywork including fitting the body kits, which are based on the BTCC ones and made in Germany. The rear wings came from last year’s eBay BTCC cars.”


    Built to regs they may be but that doesn’t mean that they don’t look utterly spectacular with those massively wide arches, the vast rear wing and twin exhausts poking out through the sides of the rear bumper, plus there’s the faithfully recreated eBay livery and both cars are also sponsored by the Cannon Run 3000.


    If they look spectacular on the outside, under the bonnet is simply mesmerising. Both cars run the S54B32 from the M3 CSL, which is a great place to start, with the engines built to regs. This means fullyforged Cosworth pistons, rods, motorsport cranks and head gaskets but, interestingly, standard cams as they make more power. Of course, what really catches your eye are the gigantic carbon air boxes with their massive intake ducting that dominates the engine bays. “I had the carbon air boxes made for them and we had to relocate the rad to allow them to fit,” explains James. The whole lot is watched over by a Motec ECU and Motec also took care of the loom, steering wheel and digital dash.


    With the highly-tuned S54 under their bonnets both cars make 380hp. There’s potential for more but there’s also a good reason to not use it. “When we were testing the engines they made 422hp on the dyno,” says James, “but if we went for more power we would have to carry more weight to balance that out and currently the cars weigh 1280kg. Running 380hp gives us a happy medium of power-to-weight for optimum handling. There are two other cars running the same engines, so down the straights there’s nothing in it.”


    The chassis has been thoroughly reworked, as you would expect. The cars both run motorsport subframes and fully adjustable Proflex suspension, while power is transferred to the wheels via (surprisingly) a 525i five-speed manual gearbox (which James says is best suited for the track), through a custom prop to an LSD and custom driveshafts. Meanwhile, behind the classic white Speedline wheels (or Team Team Dynamics, depending on the weather) sit massive AP Racing brakes which are perfectly suited to slowing these fast and furious racers time and time again.


    Inside the cars are as stripped-out as you’d expect but that’s not to say they’ve not been finished with plenty of love and attention to detail. In each car there’s a mandatory multi-point BTCC-spec cage by Harry Hockly Motorsport, one solitary, super-supportive Cobra racing bucket seat with multi-point harnesses and a Tilton pedalbox. There’s also a carbon switch panel, the aforementioned digi dash, and a grippy suede steering wheel. In the back you’ll find a custom swirl pot setup and fuel pump. As a finishing touch, the whole interior has been painted.


    We ask James whether it would just have been easier (and cheaper) to buy a pair of pre-built race cars? “It was definitely more expensive to build them,” he replies. “The other cars on the grid cost about £55,000 bought but each one of ours cost about £80,000. But I know the cars inside out now.” And why did James build two cars? “Well, it’s good to have a spare, just in case,” he says, “and while I mostly race on my own sometimes my dad joins in as well so this way we can race together.”


    Of course, building the cars is only part of the whole. Once built you need to take them racing. In the Kumho Championship that costs £2500 for one race meeting, which is quite a lot of money but worth it and it’s still a lot cheaper than BTCC racing costs, where a weekend of racing will set you back about £10,000. “Most of the races are televised,” says James, “and the Class A cars run about half-a-second off the BTCC pace. It’s a good chance of getting spotted. I’m only 24 years old among a lot of much older drivers and the BTCC is definitely my ultimate goal; that’s where I’d like to be.”


    Well James has definitely got the skills to make it happen. “My first time out in the car was at Donnington. It was my debut in that car in that class and I came second,” he says without a hint of arrogance. “I can’t fault the cars at all, they’re so good. At Donnington they weren’t even set up yet, not even lowered, and I came second having never driven on slicks. I was three seconds slower than a guy who’d been racing for 20 years and knows all the circuits. Obviously I’m aiming for first.”

    With a strong debut, the only way is up for James and the Severn Valley Motorsport race team and with plans to strip both cars and build them again from the ground up, making them even better and even more formidable on track, James Cannon and his 1 Series twins are definitely worth keeping an eye on.

    Team Dynamics wheels are swapped with Speedlines depending on the weather.

    Stripped-out interior features full roll-cage, digi-dash and single Cobra seat while boot space is occupied by the fuel system and everything has been painted.

    Bodywork is based on the BTCC kits and produced in Germany while massive carbon rear wings were taken from last year’s 1 Series BTCC cars.

    Engine bays are dominated by the ex-CSL S54 engines, with vast carbon air boxes on both.


    DATA FILE #BMW-SVM-1-Series-Racers / #BMW-E87 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-E87-SVM / #SVM

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 from M3 CSL, fullyforged Cosworth pistons, rods and motorsport crank, #Cosworth head gasket, standard cams, carbon air box, remapped by #Telford Motorsport , #Motec ECU, 380hp (detuned from 420hp). 525i five-speed manual gearbox, custom propshaft, custom driveshafts, limited-slip differential. / #Telford-Motorsport

    CHASSIS #Speedline / #Team-Dynamics wheels , #Proflex suspension, motorsport subframes, #AP-Racing brakes, 1280kg.

    EXTERIOR #BTCC-style wide arch kit, fibre glass bonnet, lightweight doors and boot, Plexiglas windows and front screen, rear central rain light, custom side exit exhausts, carbon #BTCC rear wing, eBay race graphics.

    INTERIOR #Harry-Hockly-Motorsport multi-point BTCC roll-cage, Cobra bucket seat and race harness, carbon switch panel, Motec wiring loom and digital dash, suede steering wheel, #Tilton pedalbox, custom swirl pots and fuel pump, fully painted inside.
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    M6 GT3 officially revealed at Frankfurt #2015 / #BMW-M6-GT3-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #BMW / #BMW-M6-GT3

    BMW chose to finally reveal its BMW-M6-GT3 challenger for the 2016 season at the Frankfurt motor show and it has to be said that now it’s been unveiled in all its glory the M6 GT3 looks utterly stunning.

    It’ll take over from the Z4 GT3 at the end of this season and will be available to purchase from #BMW-Motorsport by the end of 2015 for the princely sum of €379,000… plus VAT.

    BMW Motorsport has channelled its vast well of experience amassed since 2010 with the M6 GT3’s successful predecessor into the development of the new car and it boasts a raft of improvements, particularly in the areas of drivability and economy. One example is the use of a series-produced engine – the M6’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 – which develops more horsepower and torque than the outgoing naturally-aspirated V8 in the Z4.

    At 4944mm long the GT3 is approximately 50mm longer than its production counterpart but at 2046mm wide it’s a huge 15cm wider than the road car and has a 50mm longer wheelbase, too. The race car has been on a dramatic weight loss programme and where the standard M6 Coupé weighs in at a chubby 1980kg, the GT3 tips the scales at just 1300kg in part thanks to the entire bodywork of the car being fashioned from carbon fibre. It’s full of sexy exterior detailing too, such as the carbon rear diffuser and front splitter and neatly sculpted panels around the front fog light housings.

    Depending on the series in which it’s entered the V8 develops up to 585hp and according to BMW Motorsport just about the only change from the production engine is the addition of dry sump lubrication and the use of Cosworth engine management with BMW Motorsport software. It’s mated to a six-speed Ricardo sequential transaxle unit and an adjustable differential. Naturally enough there’s race ABS braking and adjustable traction control too. Suspension is by double wishbones front and rear and there are four-way adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers all-round.

    The aerodynamic properties of the chassis have been optimised in BMW’s wind tunnel. The engineers worked meticulously to fine-tune the M6 Coupé, which formed the basis for the new car and was already pretty well suited to outings on the racetrack. Priority was given to ensuring maximum driver safety. To offer the drivers of the M6 GT3 as much protection as possible against the effects of an accident, BMW Motorsport itself developed and produced the FIA-approved safety cell in accordance with the very latest safety standards. The engineers also placed great importance on efficiency and ease of maintenance, as well as reliability, which is particularly crucial at the 24-hour classics.


    “The M6 Coupé production model provided us with the perfect basis for developing our new GT racing car,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “The heart of the M6 GT3, its engine, has been transferred from the production car with only minor modifications. Furthermore, the car sets new benchmarks when it comes to safety – with a completely re-designed front, a large distance to the safety cage, and the driver’s seat oriented well towards the centre of the car. With the M6 GT3, our customer racing teams can look forward to thoroughbred motor racing technology. The M6 GT3 incorporates many findings from works racing projects, while at the same time being cost-oriented towards customer racing. It is BMW’s most economic GT racing car ever: with significantly lower running costs than its predecessor as well as longer lifecycles for cost-intensive parts – and all that while at the same time increasing performance. And let’s not forget the design: with its athletic lines, the M6 GT3 is a real eye-catcher. I am confident that we are excellently positioned for the future with this top model in our customer racing range.”

    The M6 GT3 has undergone an extensive test programme on a variety of circuits over the course of 2015. This has allowed the experienced BMW works drivers to amass many valuable kilometres at the wheel of the racecar, and to carry out important work on the baseline set-up of the new GT and endurance racing challenger. This new poster car for customer racing is now undergoing a final round of fine-tuning prior to its race debut in the coming year.

    The M6 GT3 looks awesome and there’s some lovely detailing too, such as the carbon fibre adjustable pedal box.

    TECHNICAL DATA BMW M6 GT3

    ENGINE: #BMW-P63 / #P63 V8 4395cc production engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology; output of to 585hp (depending on classification); dry sump lubrication specifically developed by #BMW-Motorsport ; production turbochargers; air to air intercoolers; #Cosworth Engine management with bespoke software specially developed by BMW Motorsport.

    GEARBOX: #Ricardo transaxle assembly; adjustable differential preload; alternator, air-conditioning compressor, clutch on gearbox; #Zytek actuator; hydraulic, four-disc sintered clutch.

    BRAKES: #AP-Racing brake system – six-piston, fixed callipers at front, four-piston, fixed callipers at rear; #Bosch-Motorsport-ABS system, adjustable.

    WHEELS & TYRES: #BBS rims, 13x18-inches front and rear; 310/710 x 18-inch tyres.

    CHASSIS: Exterior completely made of carbon fibre; aerodynamically optimised to comply with regulations for GT3 cars to be introduced in 2016 (splitter, diffuser, rear wing); closed undercarriage; easily accessible connections for lifting equipment, engine oil, and checking the oil; easily accessible brake liquid reservoirs and data export connections; LED headlights; air jack system; rapid fuelling system (mountable on right or left of car); carbon-fibre crash structure at front and CFRP crash element at rear for maximum safety.

    SUSPENSION: Double wishbone axle at front and rear (adjustable height, camber, track, and roll centre); Öhlins shock absorbers (four-way adjustable); anti-roll bar on front and rear axle, adjustable from exterior; traction control, adjustable.

    INTERIOR: Colour display with optional logger function; ECU; power box; Illuminated control panel; adjustable pedal box; rigidly attached #BMW safety seat (ventilated, with adjustable height and length), oriented towards centre of car; removable, multi-functional steering wheel with pedal shift and status LEDs; welded safety cage in line with latest FIA standards; adjustable steering column; electrically adjustable wing mirrors; motorsport wiring harness; fire extinguishing system.

    PRICE: €379,000 plus VAT
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    EXTRA RARE CITROEN BX 297bhp, supercharged GTi

    This immaculate BX was saved from the scrappy and now makes a very healthy 297bhp... Words Midge. Photos: Matt Woods.

    “There are so few of these cars left now, it’s even more impressive”

    It could be argued that the #Citroen-BX-GTi-16V is one of the most underrated hot hatches of all time. It’s certainly one of the rarest. That’s not to say they didn’t make a few, between 1987 and 1993 they rolled-out around 3000 of ‘em, but the fact is nowadays there’s probably only about 30 left and, by anyone’s standards, that’s a pretty rapid demise. On the face of it this motor had all the performance credentials. Along with its ‘in-house’ brother, the Peugeot 405 Mi16, it was the first French car to be fitted with a 16V lump. It was slightly faster than the Pug too with a 0-60 time of 7.2-seconds and a top speed in excess of 140mph… and don’t forget that was way back in 1987. The special edition bits and pieces on the body, especially when it came to the 1990 Phase II model, were sweetly distinctive and the all-round disc brakes that had been fitted to the whole BX range since 1982 didn’t go unnoticed either. Some say it was ahead of its time. I’m pretty sure they’re right.

    So, what happened to them all? You would think that enthusiasts would be all over these right? Well, the trouble is they’re unbelievably complex and, being from #Citroen , when they went wrong it was generally something a tad more expensive than a thermostat. Fitted with Citroen’s hydropneumatic suspension system (albeit one of the coolest inventions ever) it wasn’t exactly a car that was easy to fix and that’s probably why over the years many have donated their Mi16 innards to keep a 405 or the odd converted 205 ticking along. It just goes to show that sometimes being totally different to the competition doesn’t always help with longevity. And that’s a massive shame.

    Of course the other reason may have a little to do with the styling. Like many of the older Citroens the BX has always been something of an acquired taste. Some, like myself, think the shape is extremely cool, in a retro kinda way. Others say these look like the bastard child of Robocop and your nan’s Zanussi washing machine. Either way there’s no denying they all have a face that only a mother could love.

    Ian Nixon, the creator of this particular supercharged beast agrees with me on that. He fully admits he’s never been a fan of Citroens but equally he couldn’t step away from the serious performance the BX GTi 16 offers. “I hated them until I realised the potential. I tried to blow one of these off in my Audi 80 when I was a kid and before I looked round it was gone. I couldn’t believe it.” Years later Ian had a Xantia run-around and was impressed by the handling the hydropneumatic system serves up so, with that in mind, an old school BX build was always on the cards – the only trouble was finding one.

    Locating a base car that’s rarer than a load of hen’s teeth nestling in a pile of rocking horse shite is one of those neighon impossible tasks. I guess Ian was lucky coming across a car collector that wasn’t exactly impressed with his. Then again ‘lucky’ is a relative term and a blown head gasket on the drive home kicked off an epic re-build quicker than he may have imagined.

    Still, like many of us, Ian isn’t the type of fella to pull off a head, chuck on another gasket and leave it at that. Being an engineer and a bloke who looks after all sorts of highend exotica, race cars and performance motors he asked himself the eternal question “why just repair when you can improve?” And I suppose the rest is history.

    If you read through the engine spec you’ll see it’s extensive to say the least. Even though Ian specifically states that on a car like this “everything’s a mission” he’s managed to squeeze 297bhp from the 1.9-litre lump with the help of everything from a fully re-worked head, forged internals and a custom Rotrex supercharger install. There’s even a 6-speed box conversion! What’s more, the real talent lies in how it’s all been put in – if you ignore the fact it’s not covered in oil like many an old Citroen out there, it almost looks factory. That’s not an easy task to pull off.

    The rest of the car is just as immaculate because it’s taken nearly as much work as under the bonnet. Then again, you don’t go throwing 8-grand’s worth of lump in a 400-quid motor with over 20 owners on the logbook without wanting to sort out a few bits along the way. Ian contracted the bodywork out to a local restoration shop and I’d like to say the rest was easy, but unfortunately it wasn’t. With the car stripped and not a whole load of work completed in 6-months he actually had to go and get it back before they destroyed the whole thing.

    Handily they managed to lose most of the special 16V parts too meaning Ian had to find another whole BX 16V, just to get the bits needed to compete the job. It was another seriously lucky find, even if the circumstances were a little infuriating. The second time around Ian enlisted the help of paint supremo Steve Bell, and after a serious amount of welding (yes, it’s a proper Citroen) and fettling it left the booth pretty much as you see it today. With the stunning Dolmen Grey respray and a few exterior touches it’s clear that he’s chosen to keep the styling true to the original. Even the 17-inch BBS wheels are somewhat reminiscent of the standard 14-inch Speedlines fitted at the factory. A subtle but undeniably nice touch.

    In all, it’s not been the simplest of jobs but you have to commend Ian for his never-failing persistence. Without bringing that quality to the table this could have so easily been yet another BX 16V relegated to the scrappy. Instead he’s not only built himself one of the sweetest retro motors in the UK but, perhaps most importantly, he’s kept another super-rare French legend on the streets.

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #1991 #Citroen-BX-GTi-16V-Phase-II / #Citroen-BX / #Citroen-BX-GTi

    Engine: 1.9 #XU9J4DFW engine ( Mi16 ), stage 5, high flow head, big valve #Siamese ported cylinder head, #Kent-PT81 inlet cam/ PT82 exhaust, #Kent VS34 double valve springs and titanium retainers, Kent vernier pulleys, #Richard-Longman 4-1 manifold, #Cosworth-57X exhaust manifold fixing kit D6C block with #DFW pistons (comp 9:5:1), PEC performance H section light weight conrods with #ARP bolts, #Peugeot-Motorsport GPA 1:1 oil pump, Constella Sump baffle, Mocal oil breather system, #Accusump 4 quarts oil accumulator system, #Rotrex SP30/74 centrifugal supercharger, Pace charge cooler from RS turbo, Range Rover P38 intercooler, #Samco intake and discharge pipe work, #Baker BM coolant hoses, #Baker-BM engine hung mounts and solid stabiliser mount, Standard #Bosch-Motronic 4.1 ECU live mapped by Wayne Scofield of Chipwizards, #Astra-VXR injectors, #Sytec high flow fuel filter, Sierra #Cosworth GPA fuel pump, #FSE fuel pressure regulator.

    Transmission: Peugeot 306 GTI-6 BE-6 gearbox, #Quaife-ATB differential, Royal Purple oil.

    Chassis: 17-inch #BBS-RX alloys, 205/45 R17 tyres.

    Interior: Standard 16v Le-Mans cloth trim, #VDO boost gauge, Quaife nylon gear knob.

    Exterior: Extended bumpers to accommodate intercooler, additional air intake on NSF wing, fog lights removed and turned into brake ducts, steel bonnet, Mk3 Golf gas bonnet struts, resprayed respray in original Citroen Dolmen Grey.

    Thanks Steve Bell for the paintwork, Peter Greenwood for the fibreglassing expertise, Wayne Schofield for the mapping and advice and Jackie for spanner passing, making tea and towing around the country on trailer.
    “I hated them until I realized the potential...”
    Period interior is also in decent nick. #BBS 17s look almost OEM.
    The fat pipe gives you a clue...
    Mi16 unit makes 297bhp.
    “There are so few of these cars left now, it’s even more impressive”
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    BITS OF AN ANIMAL COSWORTHS AT COSWORTH A MEET LIKE NO OTHER - COVER STORY

    Is it an #Audi , is it a #Ford , is it a Cossy? Read on. / #Ford-Escort-Cosworth-MkV / #Ford-Escort-MkV / #Ford-Escort

    This is a 900bhp #Ford-Escort-Cosworth . Except it’s not, because it’s powered by a five cylinder Audi engine connected to a Skyline gearbox with a rear subframe from a Nissan S14. Oh yeah, it also has electronically adjustable four-wheel drive…

    CHRIS POLLITT /// PATRIK CARLSSON

    This Escort Cosworth, if you can call it that, is what marketing people would call ‘a game changer’. Now, this is a phrase that tends to get casually tossed about when someone does something just a teeny weeny bit different and people, who want you to think that that something is actually a lot more exciting than it really is, will call it ‘a game changer’ in the hope that it will grab your attention and make you all giddy. Well, this is more than just a bit different; this is a car that completely and utterly redefines what is possible with the Escort Cosworth and even if it has done so by removing almost all of the #Cosworth DNA, which we know is going to upset quite a few purists reading this, the finished article is so spectacular, so face-meltingly well engineered that anyone who dismisses it for being ‘not a proper Cossie’ needs to go and sit in the corner and have a quite word with themselves. This is proper alright, and it’s all down to the skill, determination and downright bloody-mindedness of its genius owner, Joakim Stigenburg.


    Part of the reason we’re getting so hot under the collar about this car. of course, is because the Escort Cosworth is such an iconic machine, most people are reluctant to mess around with it too much. And this is perfectly understandable, it is an appreciating classic after all. Yes, there have been plenty of stunning big power projects over the years, all based around the equally as iconic Cosworth YBT and yes, we’ve even featured one or two examples that have been the subject of an engine swap as well – but nothing like this. In a world where your typical modified EscCos has a stage four conversion, some coilovers, a set of AP Racing 6-pots and some Compomotive MOs, you have to admit that a five-cylinder Audi 20v turbo engine conversion that’s putting out 900hp at the hubs combined with a Nissan drivetrain and an electronically adjustable four-wheel drive system is something of an eye-opener to say the least – especially so when you consider that our man Joakim did the vast majority of the work himself, at home, and in an unheated garage. And that’s actually quite a big deal, because for starters Joakim is a carpenter by trade, not an engineer or mechanic, so he’s had to learn all the skills you might imagine are essential for a build like this from scratch. Secondly, he’s from Sweden, so on the nights when he started work on the car at 8 o’clock at night and would finish at two or three in the morning, having to do so in a freezing cold workshop really does highlight the determination and passion he has had for this project. How long did it take him to finish it? Ten long years. And it all started when he took delivery of a completely standard 1994 model year Escort Cossie.


    “I started off with a 330bhp stage three kit, but after only a couple of months I wanted more power, so I modified it to stage four and around 450bhp,” remembers Joakim. “At this point, I decided that I should really have a roll cage for safety reasons, so I stripped the interior out and started work on building myself one. I guess this was the point where things started to get out of hand!”

    “THIS IS MORE THAN JUST A BIT DIFFERENT; THIS IS A CAR THAT COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY REDEFINES WHAT IS POSSIBLE WITH THE ESCORT COSWORTH”

    We suspect that from the very start, Joakim had his sights set on more than just a stage four conversion – he’s Scandinavian after all, and when it comes to building big project cars, events like Gatebil are proof that these guys don’t tend to do things by halves. It was the Norwegians that made the quantum leap in Cosworth tuning at the start of the noughties, and we have to assume that these kind of extreme machines served as an inspiration for Joakim as well. In short, he had to have more power and as such, he set about building a fully forged Cosworth YB in order to achieve it and to extract as much potential as he could from the freshly caged shell.


    And when we say ‘more power’ we do mean just that, because rather than the 500-600bhp that most people would deem to be about the limit for anything approaching vaguely useable for a fast road car, Joakim had his heart set on double that – and as such, he decided that the standard Ford transmission just wasn’t going to be up to the task of processing that amount of grunt. So, an alternative was required, and as luck would have it, one was about to present itself in the form of a Skyline GT-R33 gearbox, complete with a Pftizner Performance ‘dog engagement’ gear set.

    According to Joakim, a similar set-up had been proven on a Skyline with around 2,000bhp so he was pretty confident it was going to be man enough to deal with the power he had planned for the Escort. All he had to do now, was find some way of getting it to fit. The answer to that was to spend many, many hours fabricating and welding in his garage, and whilst he did in the end manage to successfully get the Skyline ‘box in place, by the time he did so, he’d somehow managed to completely change his mind on what engine was going to be attached to it!

    “WE SUSPECT THAT FROM THE VERY START, JOAKIM HAD HIS SIGHTS SET ON MORE THAN JUST A STAGE FOUR CONVERSION HE’S SCANDINAVIAN AFTER ALL”

    The forged YB was built and dyno’d, but the consensus was that it was just going to take too much hard work in order to push it close to the 1000bhp mark and that, once there, it would just be too fragile. So, it was put to one side and the hunt for a replacement began. And for those that are thinking it’s a crime to discard a Cossie YB in such a careless manner, don’t fret – Joakim ended up de-tuning it to a mere 590bhp and 457lb/ft and slotted it into his Sapphire Cosworth instead.

    As it happens the Saph was to take centre stage for quite some time, because after finding a new engine for the Escort, which turned out to be a turbocharged Volvo five-cylinder unit tuned to around 700bhp, this engine ultimately proved to be more trouble that it was worth, and Joakim became so frustrated with it all that he put the Escort to one side in order to spend some time with the Sierra.

    “WITH JUST OVER 900HP ON TAP THE 2.5 LITRE AUDI BASED 5 CYLINDER ENGINE THAT NOW RESIDES IN THE FRONT OF THE ESCORT IS AN ABSOLUTE MONSTER”

    That was until about two years ago, when the half finished Escort was dragged to the front of the workshop so that Joakim could finally finish what he’d started. Job number one was to find yet another engine, and whilst the six-cylinder turbocharged unit from a Skyline could have been an obvious contender in so much as it would have matched up to the gearbox and would have easily provided the power required, Joakim had other ideas. Again, we suspect that the final choice of engine was inspired largely by the no-holds barred creations that crop up at events like Gatebil, but whether that’s the case or not, with just over 900hp on tap the 2.5-litre Audi based 5-cylinder engine that now resides in the front of the Escort is an absolute monster.


    Built up around a super strong diesel spec 2.5-litre, five-cylinder Audi block, the top half of the engine incorporates an old school Audi 7a five-cylinder 20v head. Again, Joakim has done the vast majority of the engine build himself, which has included not just mating the head and the block, but fitting JE pistons and H-section rods, a VAG coil pack conversion, custom Cat cams, a custom dry sump and CPS inlet and exhaust manifold – not to mention the small matter of bolting on a Precision 6466 billet roller bearing turbo and then getting the whole package up and running with MaxxECU engine management. On top of that, he’s had to chop around the front of the Escort in order to get the engine to fit and match it up to that bulletproof Skyline gearbox as well.

    The time and effort that has gone into the engine build is one thing, but the amount of custom fabrication and engineering involved throughout the whole car is another thing altogether. For instance, Joakim had to design and build a custom suspension set-up at the front of the car, using a combination of custom driveshafts and Nissan hubs to get power to the front wheels. If that wasn’t complicated enough, the rear of the Escort has basically been converted to a semi-tubular chassis, with a Nissan S14 sub-frame in place that in turn accommodates a hybrid Ford/Nissan suspension set-up. And then there’s the Rallycross style rear mounted radiator, the dry sump tank and fuel cell boot install, the custom home-built cage, the custom centre console that houses all the switch gear…the list goes on and on.

    “THE REAR OF THE ESCORT HAS BASICALLY BEEN CONVERTED TO A SEMI-TUBULAR CHASSIS”

    One of the Escort’s biggest party tricks, however, is not the top of the range hardware or bespoke fabrication, but the electronic wizardy that’s been employed to make the whole thing work in the first place. The heart of this is a MaxxECU engine management system, and whilst it does the normal things that ECUs do with regards to engine duties, it also supplies huge amounts of data to the large electronic screen situated behind the steering wheel and even allows Joakim to switch from super grippy four-wheel drive, to ultra skiddy rear-wheel drive at the flick of a switch.
    Considering the Escort has been built to contest both drift and regular motorsport events, it’s a brilliantly clever modification and one that we’ve never seen before on a Performance Ford feature car.

    But then, we’ve never seen a car like this before in PF full stop. Yes, we’re aware that it’s lacking its original Cosworth components and for some, this will always be a step too far, but we reckon that in this instance it doesn’t really matter. Think of this Escort as a source of inspiration, proof of what can be achieved with just a cold garage, lots of late nights and a sheer bloody-mindedness to see a dream project car through to completion. So grab yourself a second hand welder and get to it…

    TECH SPEC Ford-Escort / #Ford-Escort-Cosworth / Fifth generation / #Ford-Escort-MkV
    ENGINE: Audi 2.5-litre diesel block, JE pistons and #H-section rods, CrMo flywheel, ported Audi 20v turbo 7a head, #VAG coil pack conversion, Cat cams, bronze guides, #Supertech valves, #CrMo retainers, dual valve springs, Precision 6466 billet roller bearing turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, Tial dump valve, custom dry sump, CP-S stainless exhaust manifold, CP-S inlet manifold, #Accufab throttle, #MaxxECU engine management, rear mounted radiator, dry sump tank and fuel cell, 904hp at the hubs, 752lb/ft

    TRANSMISSION: Electronically adjustable 4WD system allowing for full rear wheel drive or 50/50 four wheel drive, R33 Skyline ‘box with Pftizner Performance ‘dog engagement’ gear set and modified transfer box, Nissan S14 rear cradle with adjustable trailing arms, custom prop and driveshafts, Skyline differentials, custom trailing arms, knife edge anti-roll bar.

    BRAKES: #Alcon 6–pots with 356mm discs (front), Skyline GT-R 2-pot #Brembo s with 320mm discs at rear

    Suspension: custom front suspension with #GAZ-Gold adjustable dampers, Nissan S14 rear sub-frame with Cosworth spec #GAZ Gold adjustable dampers at rear.

    CHASSIS: #1994 Escort Cosworth, semi-tubular chassis at rear with #Nissan-S14 subframe, poly windows Interior: full weld-in custom roll cage, custom centre console, custom pedal box, Sparco Lico seats, Sparco plumbed in fire system, hydraulic handbrake.

    EXTERIOR: Audi Ibis white Wheels: Nissan hubs, 8.5x18-inch #Toora alloys, #Maxxis Ma-Z1 tyres.
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    SIERRA COSWORTH 30th / #Ford-Sierra / #Ford / #1985 /

    We head to Santa Pod along with a dozen #Ford-Sierra-Cosworth owners to celebrate 30 years of this legendary fast Ford… Words: Jamie King & Dan Furr images: Dan Sherwood.

    The Sierra RS Cosworth is a Blue Oval legend. Its name alone is enough to send shivers down the spines of lesser machines, and that huge rear wing is an icon that has become synonymous with speed! The original ‘Cossie’ epitomises what fast Fords are all about, combining power and style with practicality and usability. And most of all they’re fun – serious amounts of fun!


    Seldom does a car achieve such an iconic status and have such a dedicated following of enthusiasts. So we couldn’t simply let the Sierra Cosworth’s 30th anniversary come and go without celebrating the occasion. That’s why we got together with a group of likeminded Cossie fans who joined us at Santa Pod for the three-door’s 30th birthday photoshoot. Typically, the unpredictable British weather played along as we all knew it would, and even with the photoshoot taking place in late summer the dark rain clouds soon gathered overhead. Thankfully though, apart from one downpour at lunchtime (which provided the perfect time to grab a bite to eat) we remained dry for the best part of the day, and the sun even popped out from behind the clouds on the odd occasion too!


    But despite the ominous-looking weather, we were pleased to see a great turnout of Cossies as we rolled through the gates at 9am. The familiar roar of a YB could be heard for the next 30 minutes or so as more and more Sierras arrived to join the party. All told a total of 12 cars made it to the photoshoot – which is no mean feat considering it was mid-week and the weather looked so iffy.

    But such is the love for this iconic fast Ford, these owners weren’t going to let silly things like work and a little bit of water get in the way of celebrating their favourite Blue Oval’s birthday, and they flocked from all over the country just to be a part of our little homage to the mighty Cosworth.

    The line up included a diverse selection of cars (although, strangely, no black ones!), ranging from low-mileage standard examples, to fast-road weekend warriors, right through to out-and out track toys!

    So sit back and soak up some of the three-door awesomeness over the next few pages, and join us in wishing the Sierra RS Cosworth many happy returns as it celebrates 30 years of being a true fast Ford legend!

    NAME: JOHN STEWART (Moonstone D29 UTV)
    FROM: Buckinghamshire
    OWNED: 14 years
    John Stewart’s mega-power Moonstone monster was a completely standard RS when he first laid eyes on it back in 2001. “I wanted a factory-spec Cossie that I could use as the platform for an extensive resto-mod project. Buying an unfettled RS meant that I could put my own stamp on the car without somebody else being able to lay claim to the work for themselves!” he says. An initial plan to hit Stage 3 power levels quickly unfolded, although John credits his Sierra’s current specification to a catastrophic head gasket failure. “The car was heavily modified by the time that it blew its top,” he tells us. “Unsurprisingly, I was faced with an expensive engine rebuild, at which point I reasoned that I might as well chase big power,” he grins.


    Sure enough, this cool Cossie is now chucking out a mighty 571.4bhp thanks to a fully-forged engine that makes use of Arrow rods and Cosworth pistons, a WRC eight-injector conversion, a braced GT35 turbocharger, a Hart inlet manifold and an Airtec intercooler. Better still, the Ford’s factory gearbox has made way for a Reyland-modifi ed Tremec transmission that sends power to the rear wheels via a Jaguar 10.5-inch diff mated to a Supreme Car Services six-degree beam! Brembo four-pots with 330mm discs are just about visible when taking a peek through the busy spokes of the car’s Compomotive CXN split rims, while Ford Racing gauges and a Pectel boost controller keep John in tune with his super Sierra’s in-action operating conditions while he’s sat behind the wheel. SPEC: Fully rebuilt engine, 571.4bhp, 200 block, Cosworth forged pistons, Arrow connecting rods, WRC oil squirters, ITG air filter, Hart inlet manifold, WRC eightinjector configuration, GT35 turbocharger, turbo brace, Tial external wastegate, Airtec intercooler and turbo cooler, Mongoose stainless steel exhaust system, modifi ed Tremec gearbox, Triton clutch, Jaguar 10.5- inch rear diff, SCS six-degree rear beam, GAZ Gold coilovers, front strut brace, Brembo four-piston front calipers with 330mm discs, Sapphire RS Cosworth 4x4 rear calipers with 330mm discs, Compomotive CXN spit rims, Renault Laguna splitter, Ford Racing gauges, SCS engine monitor, custom pillar pod, twelve-stage Pectel boost controller.

    NAME: JIM BLEASE (White D900 AJF)
    FROM: Berkshire
    OWNED: 3 years
    To describe Jim Blease’s special-edition Sierra as a ‘scrapyard spec’ example of an RS #Cosworth might sound like something of a put down, but his is a car that really has been dragged out of a metal merchant’s parts pile! “The son of the scrap dealer bought the car as a project before abandoning it in the corner of his Dad’s yard!” gasps Jim. “All of the Ford’s surviving vital organs had been thrown into its rear end. Unfortunately, the car’s sunroof was less than watertight, resulting in a shell full of green slime and stagnant water. To make matters worse, it was littered with rodent poo, and the all-important engine and gearbox were missing,” he sighs.


    Undeterred, Jim bought the compromised Cossie and proceeded to use it as the host for the guts of his accident-damaged Sapphire Cosworth track toy. “Essentially, I re-shelled the Saph,” he continues. “I had to replace the Sierra’s roof skin due to excessive corrosion caused by the leaky sunroof, but I had a healthy surplus of old rally car components that I could delve into when building my scrapyard survivor!” he says.


    That fruitful parts pile yielded Gaz coilovers, a 909 rear axle, a GT28 turbocharger and a Level 8 ECU, while Supreme Car Services supplied an engine to the tune of 380bhp and 400lb/ft of torque. AP Racing stoppers and RS500 exterior trim also contribute towards the resurrection of this salvage Sierra.

    And because the shell wasn’t a low-mileage minter to begin with, Jim has been able to chop the bodywork about without incurring the wrath of fellow RS owners – and the result is 9-inch wide Compomotive CXNs sitting perfectly in the arches to give one of the best three-door stances we’ve ever seen!


    SPEC: Harvey Gibbs built engine, 380bhp, 200 block, forged internals, GT28 turbocharger, custom stainless steel exhaust system, Level 8 ECU, Gaz (front) and Spax (rear) coilovers, 909 rear axle, bespoke sixdegree rear beam, adjustable traction control arms, tubular anti-roll bar, AP Racing fourpiston front calipers with 330mm discs, Sapphire RS Cosworth 4x4 rear calipers with 300mm discs, Compomotive CXN split rims, cut wheel arches to accommodate nine-inch wide wheels, new non-sunroof roof skin, RS500 lower rear spoiler and splitter, RS500 front bumper.


    NAME: FRANK WILDE (White D454 EEF)
    FROM: Staffordshire
    OWNED: 13 years

    Representing the ‘as close to a standard RS as I could find’ brigade, Frank Wilde is in possession of a remarkably tidy Sierra Cosworth. “My Blue Oval has covered just 43,000 miles from new,” he beams as he shows off the odometer. “I’m the car’s fourth owner, and despite being its only keeper during the past thirteen years, I have no intention of parting with it any time soon,” he confirms. Frank was determined to bag himself a standard RS, and he spent three years hopping in and out of those that he saw advertised for sale before settling on the white wonder that he calls his own today. Even so, he doesn’t mind admitting that he drove his pride and joy to Motorsport Developments in Blackpool for some mild tweaking shortly after getting hold of the car’s keys. “MSD’s Stage 1 tuning package should have been applied to Cossies at their original point of sale!” he laughs.

    A chipped ECU, reset boost levels and a thorough going over by MSD’s team of tuning professionals has tweaked the car just enough to get the best of out of Ford’s factory power package. Frank is thrilled with the way that his RS performs, and he stresses that he will not be adding any further tuning parts to this stunning Sierra. After all, when you’re convinced that you’re in charge of fourwheeled perfection, why start messing with it?! SPEC Original unmodified engine, 270bhp, Stage 1 MSD chip and map, stainless steel exhaust system, factory paintwork.

    NAME: STEVE NEWBERY

    (Moonstone D749 COS)
    FROM: Essex
    OWNED: 5 years

    QUICK SPEC: Former ‘Gold Cup’ concours-winning show car, 389bhp, new 200 block, hybrid T34 turbocharger, grey injectors, ported and polished cylinder head, RS500 intercooler, alloy radiator, polished engine bay dressup parts, Scorpion exhaust system, six-paddle clutch, AP Racing six-piston front brakes with 355mm discs, 300mm Sapphire RS Cosworth rear brakes, Koni adjustable dampers, front strut brace, Compomotive MO6 wheels, RS500 splitter, custom twintone leather retrim.


    NAME: DAN WILLIAMSON (White D31 XCD)
    FROM: Lincolnshire
    OWNED: 6 months
    QUICK SPEC: Fast Ford magazine project car, Stage 3, over 330bhp, T34 turbocharger, RS500 intercooler, Norris Motorsport map, green injectors, oil catch tank, Samco silicone hoses, alloy reservoirs, Mongoose exhaust system, Gaz dampers, front strut brace, Compomotive MO5 wheels, RS500 splitter.

    NAME: TREVOR STOKES (Moonstone ADZ 1687)
    FROM: Nottinghamshire
    OWNED: 3 weeks!
    QUICK SPEC: Fully rebuilt engine, Stage 1, 300bhp, stainless steel exhaust system, Koni adjustable dampers, factory brakes, factory wheels.
    NAME: IAN RODGERS (Moonstone D700 CAC)
    FROM: Derbyshire
    OWNED: 3 years
    QUICK SPEC: Fully rebuilt engine, Stage 1, 270bhp, refurbished cylinder head, all new gaskets, standard turbocharger, stainless steel exhaust system, renewed factory-spec suspension, factory brakes, factory wheels, re-lacquered paintwork.

    NAME: RIK EDWARDS (White D550 LFC)
    FROM: Lincolnshire
    OWNED: 2 years
    QUICK SPEC: Fully rebuilt (twice!) engine, Stage 1, 270bhp, standard turbocharger, Magnex stainless steel exhaust system, factory suspension and brakes, factory interior, factory wheels.

    NAME: COLIN NEWBERY (White D797 PGO)

    FROM: Essex
    OWNED: 11 years
    QUICK SPEC: Bare shell resto-mod project, 309bhp, rebuilt engine and gearbox, T3 turbocharger, polished engine bay dress-up parts, Roose Motorsport silicone hoses, stainless steel exhaust system, Hi-Spec Motorsport four-piston front brakes with 335mm discs, Spax dampers and springs, front strut brace, polybushed throughout, Compomotive MO5 wheels, RS500 splitter.

    NAME: PHIL RAY (Moonstone D2 0YB)
    FROM: Birmingham
    OWNED: 2 years
    QUICK SPEC: Former demonstration vehicle for a tuning firm, 330bhp, T34 turbocharger, MSD map, green injectors, drilled airbox with K&N panel fi lter, Roose Motorsport silicone hoses, stainless steel exhaust system, Koni adjustable dampers, polybushed throughout, factory braking system with OE-spec discs and pads, Lenso BSX wheels, RS500 splitter, Alpine head unit.

    NAME: KRIS BEECH (Moonstone D300 WGW)
    FROM: Derbyshire
    OWNED: 12 years
    QUICK SPEC: Track toy, 440bhp, Norris Motorsport-built engine, low compression pistons, T4 turbocharger, ported big-valve cylinder head, cone air filter, Pro Alloy radiator, Mongoose exhaust system, Leda coilovers, adjustable traction control arms, front strut brace, polybushed throughout, 325mm (front) and 300mm (rear) brake disc conversion, Compomotive five-spokes, RS500 splitter, roll cage, Sparco bucket seats.

    NAME: RICHARD BARNES SNR (Moonstone D33 XFL)
    FROM: Lincolnshire
    OWNED: 15 years
    QUICK SPEC: Harvey Gibbs engine, Stage 3, 330bhp, Group A head gasket kit, ported and polished cylinder head, hybrid T3 turbocharger, 3-bar MAP sensor, RS500 alloy intercooler and radiator, alloy reservoirs, SFS Performance silicone hoses, stainless steel exhaust system, Bilstein dampers, front strut brace, factory calipers, drilled brake discs with uprated pads, Compomotive CXN wheels, custom pillar pod.

    thanks to…

    We have to say a big thanks to the 12 owners who gave up their day to stand around for hours on a damp drag strip while we took all the photos we needed to complete the feature. In particular thanks to John Stewart, Jim Blease, and Frank Wilde for hanging around until the end of the day so we could get all the images we needed. We also have to say a huge thanks to the RSOC’s Paul Linfoot for all his help with getting the 12 cars together and arranging the feature.

    And finally, thanks to Santa Pod for letting us use the drag strip as a perfect location for the photoshoot. For more info on Santa Pod events and attractions visit www.santapod.co.uk
    • FORD SIERRA RS COSWORTH RS-badged Fords are seemingly a licence to print money at the moment, with the most interesting models rising at a pace that wFORD SIERRA RS COSWORTH RS-badged Fords are seemingly a licence to print money at the moment, with the most interesting models rising at a pace that would keep top-end Ferraris honest at the moment. Predictably, there’s more growth for the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth three-door models – although standard cars will be easier to sell than modified up ones. The Ford Capri 3.0-litre models are steady appreciators at the moment, with more growth ahead, and the Honda NSX – hardtop with a manual gearbox, please, is a top tip for substantial future growth.  More ...
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    UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES

    Ian Nixon chose a complex model from #Citroen that’s more accustomed to being an engine donor, than a modder’s favourite, the BX GTi. After a string of high performance project cars to set the benchmark he was blown away by it in standard form, but today this hallowed Mi-16 engine is capable of producing nearly 300bhp! Words: Adam Tait and images: Matt Woods.

    I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw one of these. This was the first thought when I was asked to write this story, and I imagine it’s what you are thinking right now. With just 30 odd examples left on UK roads, it’s no wonder that #Citroen-BX 16 Valve sightings are few and far between.

    Initial sales were promising but interest soon dwindled given Citroen’s innovative but arguably marmite styling and complexity of the hydraulic system. Demand then ensued for its 16-valve engine in the 205 as this unit was only shared with the Peugeot 405 Mi-16 in the UK. Both models were consequently pillaged and this further compounded their decline in numbers.

    Ian Nixon’s story isn’t one of BX tunnel vision - he’s owned and built plenty of cars to set a benchmark. From humble beginnings he bought a 205 XS that seized on the way home and from that moment Ian developed a hatred of French cars. He then went through various Audis, Subaru Imprezas, Sierra Cosworths to name but a few.

    Ian said ‘I got fed up with the fuel bills when my work took me down south from Middlesborough. I had to drive the Cosworth all the way down the A1 to London off boost, just so I could get there, so something more affordable to run was needed.

    ‘I remember years ago in my Audi 80 Sport I raced a Citroen BX 16 valve late one night and it took off like the Millenium Falcon and disappeared.’ It was this fond memory combined with the cynicism of others that lured him back to an otherwise blemished experience with French cars.

    It took about eight months to find the example you see here, a 1991 BX 16 valve Phase II. ‘I bought it from an airline pilot and it was in generally good condition. It did have around sixteen owners though – maybe they were scared of the hydraulic system?

    ‘I paid £1300 for it at the time, and it blew the head gasket on the way home.’ Gallic karma for Ian’s previous hating or plain old bad luck, something had to be done. ‘I sat on it for a few weeks while I decided what to do, but I couldn’t get over how good it was for an old Citroen, they handle superbly and the brakes are phenomenal.’

    For most people the decision would revolve around whether to replace the head gasket, but this period got the cogs turning and research went into a Rotrex supercharger conversion – a modification he had carried out before. A decision was made to extensively rework the Mi-16 engine so Ian removed it and the naked bay was freshened up with Citroen Dolmen Grey.

    An Mi-16 education then began: ‘Each exhaust port on the earlier 1.9-litre XU9J4 is separate so there’s eight exhaust ports, which I think is a legacy from the Group B Peugeot T16 rally car. ‘The later XU10J4 16v engine has a steel block so it’s heavier and 2.0-litre capacity but the head is somewhat different as the exhaust ports are Siamese which perform a lot better according to flow bench figures, so this design was copied in order to get the best out of the supercharger.’ Ian couldn’t source the camshafts off the shelf so Kent Cams was enlisted to profile them from blanks. While the head work itself was carried out to stage five specification by Hiflow Heads in Scotland.

    The Rotrex supercharger kit was delivered and methodically installed following many a night fabricating pipework. ‘Every car I have fitted a Rotrex to has been transformed’, Ian explained. ‘Rotrex claim a 50 per cent power increase but if you really get the camshaft combination and mapping correct, and the air charge temp as low as it can possibly go it can get closer to 100 per cent.

    ‘It’s a bit of a lottery but if you can hit that magic formula and get the exhaust/inlet lengths right, most engines really respond. The power delivery is also very linear so there is no lag to contend with. Turbochargers simply belong on diesels in my experience.’

    For reliability the Rotrex unit shouldn’t exceed 120,000 rpm as they can froth their oil, which pulls air in, so it’s important to work this out relative to the engine speed. Ian also claims they are a lot easier to work with compared to the likes of the Eaton supercharger and a well looked after and correctly installed unit should be as durable as a turbocharger. Beyond the outlay to purchase and install the Rotrex kit (around £2000), the oil they use is very thin and costs around £75 per litre.

    ‘One of the cylinder head bolts needs a spacer as it’s possible to punch straight through the block and into the water pump housing. Another issue from the factory was having no baffles in the sump, so on long left hand bends they lose oil pressure to almost laughable levels, which has written a lot of engines off.’

    The 205 GTi (1.9-litre) had a trap door fitted in the sump to prevent this problem but on the BX it was open so Ian had to devise a method of baffling it in the form of an Accusump oil accumulator system. It was also noted that during the 205’s time in Group A rallying, the oil pump actually span less than the engine so this was also duly changed. ‘It was as if the Mi-16 was actually engineered to go wrong, but when properly sorted they are a phenomenal engine’. The general consensus when modifying an Mi-16 engine to this level, or most other ECUcontrolled units, is that aftermarket engine management must be fitted in order to extract the best from the engine.

    Chipwizards is a name you maybe familiar with. Wayne Schofield who heads up the company is often mentioned on forums for his remapping knowledge so Ian contacted him about a replacement for the BX’s factory Bosch Motronic ECU.

    Ian asked ‘What 3D standalone ECU am I best going for here, Omex 600 or maybe Emerald K1?’ Wayne’s response: ‘Just use the standard Bosch Motronic.’ This came as a surprise because adapting the factory ECU at this state of tune is unheard of in most circles. ‘Wayne really is a very clever lad, he advised me to go to Vauxhall to buy an Astra VXR fuel rail which comes with the correct 630cc injectors you need for 300bhp [all for £117]. I drove to his premises at the time, which was an old sound-proofed shed in Rochdale with a rolling road installed.’

    On the first visit the new engine was losing compression so Ian got that resolved and during the second visit the intercooler let go. A spare one was sourced at 4pm and Wayne continued mapping until 9.45pm. The result? 297bhp at 7200prm on a 70mm pulley. For the sake of usability, and arguably drivability, Ian upsized the pulley to 95mm for daily use which translates to 249bhp. ‘Wayne absolutely made that car, and everything he said was cock on. It’s all from experience you can just tell.’

    With the engine finished Ian was keen to make the rest of the bodywork more presentable so the BX was delivered to a bodyshop in Middlesbrough. However, it didn’t get beyond the stripping stage, so Ian liberated the car after several months of frustration, albeit minus lots of mislaid parts. ‘I was so disheartened and really close to pulling the engine out and scrapping the car as there was just so much mess, poor workmanship and missing parts.’

    Ian’s regular bodyshop rectified the bodywork but beyond what he had sourced miscellaneous bits of trim were still missing. The most problematic was a piece of trim for the rear bumper that just couldn’t be tracked down. Thoughts of having it made in China were surpassed when a whole car was spotted in the classifieds. This was bought just for the trim, while the rest of the shell remains complete as a future parts donor.

    Tracking down a steel bonnet was also labour intensive but one materialised in Leicester for £10. ‘I was reluctant to have it delivered because of damage so I took my long-wheel-base van and ended up driving all the way from Middlesbrough to get it.’ When Ian arrived the seller also had a mountain of unused OEM BX 16v parts so the van was filled for the return journey.

    To accommodate the Range Rover P38 intercooler the bumper had to be modified and the easy route would have been cutting the factory item to create space. However, Ian went to the trouble of extending the bumper, but this was disproportionate to the back end so the rear bumper was given the same treatment.

    While the aftermarket BBS RX wheels and bonnet pins hint that this BX may have something hiding up its sleeve, the overall aesthetics are very close to factory. ‘I painted the wheels in this colour as that’s how the standard 14-inch Speedlines were from new. I always try and make my work look like it left the factory and I believe form always follows function so if you stick to that the car will look good and work properly.’

    Ian’s hankering for the BX 16 Valve and perseverance to overcome what most people are afraid of has led to what you see here. Incredibly underrated and with 160bhp in standard form, they also handle fantastically. We think it acts as a timely reminder to what you might be missing out on, and what can be achieved. Before the engine hoist emerges please ask yourself if there is an alternative transplant for your 205. Please?

    “The power delivery is also very linear so there’s no lag to contend with. Turbochargers simply belong on diesels in my experience.”



    SPECIFICATION #Citroen-BX-GTi

    Engine: 1.9 #XU9J4 DFW engine ( #Mi16 ), Stage 5 Hiflow Heads big valve Siamese ported cylinder head, Kent PT81 inlet cam/PT82 exhaust, Kent VS34 double valve springs and titanium retainers, Kent vernier pulleys, Richard Longman 4-1 manifold, #Cosworth 57X exhaust manifold fixing kit, D6C block with DFW pistons (comp 9:5:1), PEC performance H section lightweight conrods with ARP bolts, Peugeot Motorsport GPA 1:1 oil pump, Contella Sump baffle, Mocal oil breather system, Accusump 4 quarts oil Accumulator system, Rotrex SP30/74 centrifugal supercharger, Pace charge cooler from RS turbo, Range Rover P38 intercooler, SamcoSport intake and discharge pipework, Baker BM coolant hoses, Baker BM engine hung mounts and canella solid stabiliser mount, standard Bosch Motronic 4.1 ECU live mapped by Wayne Scofield of Chipwizards, Astra VXR injectors, Sytec high flow fuel filter, Sierra Cosworth GPA fuel pump, FSE fuel pressure regulator, power output at 7200rpm on 70mm pulley is 297bhp, power output at 7200rpm on 95mm pulley is 249bhp (used for daily reliability).

    Transmission: Peugeot 306 GTI-6 BE-6 Gearbox, Quaife ATB differential, Royal Purple oil.

    Suspension: Standard Citroen Hydropneumatic.

    Brakes: Standard.

    Wheels/Tyres: 17-inch BBS RX wheels styled similar to original 14” speedlines, 205/45 R17 tyres, Full respray in original Citroen Dolmen Grey.

    Exterior: Extended bumpers to accommodate intercooler, additional air intake on NSF wing, fog lights removed and turned into brake ducts, steel bonnet, MkIII Golf gas bonnet struts Interior: Standard 16v Le-Mans cloth trim, VDO boost gauge, Quaife Nylon gear knob.
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    The legend #Derek-Bell
    Last year saw me celebrate a bit of history on the quiet. In March #1964 I competed in my first ever race and, against expectations, I won it aboard my #Lotus Seven. That maiden outing at #Goodwood was the jumping-off point for a career that would encompass #Formula-1 inside a decade, but I am best remembered as a sports-car driver.

    As I have mentioned in this column before, I had no great desire to race them; they were a means to an end once my single-seater career faltered. The opportunities to race a competitive GP car simply weren’t there so sports cars were the best alternative. The thing is, I grew to love the category - and one race in particular.

    This year marks the 40th anniversary of my first win at Le Mans. To be honest, it makes me wince a little just thinking of how many years have passed by since #Jacky-Ickx and I stood on the top step of the podium. But what a win! The #Cosworth -engined #Gulf we raced that year was successful against the odds, as the #DFV most definitely was not an endurance engine. It was designed to run for a few hours in the back of an #F1 car and not around the clock.

    What’s more, Gulf nearly didn’t compete that year. The backstory is that, after the #Porsche-917 adventure was over, the Gulf team became an also-ran as #Matra and #Ferrari went head-to-head. When our team principal John Wyer went to see Keith Duckworth at Cosworth with a view to using the DFV in endurance racing, he asked him: ‘What would you do?’ Keith replied: ‘I wouldn’t, lad.’

    In the #1974 race, there were no works Ferraris but our cars were still outpaced by the wailing Matras. I raced that year alongside the much-missed Mike Hailwood. In about the second or third hour, I handed over the reins and told him: ‘For heaven’s sake, Mike, take it easy. There is the most awful noise coming from the gearbox.’ He looked me straight in the eye, smiled and said: ‘Oh well, let’s get it over with quickly so we can all get back for a few glasses of wine!’ Motor sport was a lot more relaxed back then, especially with ‘The Bike’ around. We finished fourth.

    A year later, the team’s programme was trimmed to the bone. Much of this was down to Gulf’s Grady Davis - who was thick as thieves with John - retiring from the board. Not only that, there was a US senate enquiry into American oil companies, with Gulf chief among them. It was something to do with off-the- books financial incentives for certain South American countries to import their oil and theirs alone.

    ‘THIS YEAR MARKS THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF MY FIRST WIN AT LE MANS. THAT MAKES ME WINCE - BUT WHAT A WIN!’

    I was driving elsewhere for #Willi-Kauhsen in the mighty #Alfa-Tipo-33 s and for a time it looked as though Gulf would be sitting out the entire season. It was only late in the day that a two-car Le Mans bid was announced. I was delighted that Jacky asked if he could be my team-mate, with Vern Schuppan and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud sharing the sister car.

    Following the Fuel Crisis, the organisers took the initiative in trying to promote an economy-conscious formula. As such, we were obliged to run a minimum of 20 laps between fuel stops in addition to restricting the size of the tanks. That meant that our cars had to return more than 7mpg just to qualify. Our GR8 wasn’t a bad car, but there was no way we could run the DFV at the usual 9500rpm: it wouldn’t stay together and we would be way off on fuel efficiency. It also had a frequency problem at about 8200rpm.

    There were all sorts of issues during the race, too, not least the most awful vibration and accompanying graunching noise each time you went around a right-hand corner - and there are a lot of right-handers at #Le-Mans .

    With three hours left to run, we had a long stop to change a cracked exhaust manifold, which wasn’t the work of a moment. When I got back in the car, the prior vibration was now a loud thump-thump. With the second-place Ligier of Louis Lafosse and Guy Chasseuil gaining on us, it was a fraught time to put it mildly. Fortunately, the car held together and Jacky and I won by a lap. We discovered subsequently that the graunching noise was due to rear suspension pick-up point fractures. When the car moved, the rear end began to flex and steer...

    I wouldn’t say that it was a lucky win. We worked bloody hard to be that lucky, but good fortune was on our side, that’s for sure. I still get goosebumps thinking about it all these years later.

    DEREK BELL

    Derek took up racing in 1964 in a #Lotus-7 , won two World Sportscar Championship titles in 1985 and 1986, the 24 Hours of Daytona three times in 1986, 1987 and 1989, and Le Mans five times in 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1987. He was speaking with Richard Heseltine.
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