- Post is under moderationSteve Wright #BMW-E82 / #BMW-1M / #BMW-1M-E82 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-Coupe / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #BMW-1-Series-Coupe-E82 / #DMS
Having enjoyed a 135i for a little while, Steve says he recently upgraded to his dream 1M, adding he’s hoping prices stay strong. We don’t think he’s got anything to worry about. He’s over the moon with his machine and while he’s not been too heavy-handed with the modifications he has added some carbon fibre bits and a #DMS-remap , which has taken power up to 425hp, plenty to be getting on with, and he’s considering a mid-pipe modification to add a bit more exhaust volume to proceedings. A recent Euro tour around the Alps allowed him to really stretch the 1M’s legs and it sounds like he had a blast which cemented his love for his dream machine.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBOLDER BENZ: A 450 SL BECOMES A 140-MPH SUPERCAR
True To Its Roots
With double the power of a stock Mercedes-Benz 380SL R107, and restyled using factory pieces, the R 107-based #DMS 4.7 is a glimpse into the ’80s that could have been. Words And Photography By Jeff Koch / Illustrations Courtesy #Neil-DeAtley
Original concept illustrations showing the front, rear and side of the proposed DMS 4.7. The stunning finished product strays little from the illustrations, down to the color and wheel style.
Neil DeAtley had issues with the Mercedes-Benz-380SL-R107. Considering Mercedes’ great motorsport history, much of it achieved with cars called SL — the race-winning and technologically advanced 300 SL gullwing, the W198 roadster models, the delightfully chuckable W113 series — the 380SL R107 of the early 1980s stood firmly at odds with that history. With just 155 emissions- strangled horses under the hood, and pushing two tons at the curb, the SL managed to be neither Sport nor Leicht (Light) as its name suggested.
Neil himself was working on making some of his own history with the machine dubbed by wags as the panzerwagen. Racing historians among our readers may recall that DeAtley Motorsports won the 1983 SCCA Trans-Am championship in a pair of Camaros driven by David Hobbs and a young Willy T. Ribbs. What fewer will recall is that, for two arduous seasons before championship glory showered laurels and champagne and sweetmeats upon him, Neil ran a single-car Trans-Am effort using the R107 Mercedes SL as his steed, the number 45 on its doors and the late Loren St. Lawrence as his driver. It was an entirely independent effort, with no factory backing for what was then a not terribly high-visibility series.
The ’1981 and ’1982 seasons were rough going for DeAtley Motorsports, and there wasn’t much glory in it. The team’s best start was second at Road America, though they only completed eight laps. Its best finish in 1981 was at Trois Rivieres, starting 15th and finishing in 8th, taking home a cool $1,000 in prize money. The ’1982 season was stronger, perhaps thanks in part to an influx of sponsorship cash (see sidebar), finishing half of the eight races under its own power: as high as 7th at Sears Point and a career-best 6th at Road America. If nothing else, the DeAtley Motorsports crew back at the Salem, Oregon, works had learned what it took to make an R107 perform at or near the front of a pack of much newer cars that were, in the main, lighter and better suited for on-track derring-do.
But there was another issue at play. Neil owned Columbia Motors of Kennewick, Washington, in the early 1980s, one of the Pacific Northwest’s larger Mercedes dealers. He had a vested interest in moving metal; anything that prevented him from doing that was a concern. The 380 SL’s sitting in his showroom did not reflect even a whiff of his race team’s efforts. While hot five-liter versions of the SL stayed home in Europe (and occasionally strayed stateside, thanks to gray-market importation loopholes), the light-duty 380 SL became the unofficial cars of Ladies Who Lunch in America’s swankier metropolitan power centers.
Also, by the mid-’80s, the R 107’s early ’70s style looked positively fossilized. Today, we can natter on about the SL’s style, throwing terms like classic and enduring, but they’re just euphemisms. The R 107’s shape had not significantly changed, beyond bumpers, since its early ’70s introduction; aerodynamic efficiency was an ’80s buzzword, and the SL was designed in an era when such things were not taken into consideration. Many wondered why Mercedes was taking so damned long to update its hearty perennial, the SL. Neil DeAtley was one of those people.
Unlike the contemplative many who stroked their chins and pooh-poohed the reality before them, Neil did something about it. That something is the machine you see here: the DMS 4.7. A fully functional prototype for a low-production SL meant to be sold through his dealership and beyond, the DMS 4.7 was a clean update, using Stuttgart parts; it made you wonder why Mercedes couldn’t execute its own facelift with such aplomb.
Neil started with a 1975 450SL off his dealership lot. The blunt face of the R 107 was smoothed back to something far more in keeping with the style of early ’80s Mercedes. Out went the four round sealed-beam lamps and bumper jutting out nearly a foot in front of the body; in came a more aero-friendly vision, utilizing a contemporary Mercedes SEC grille and headlamp/turn signal units. The hood and front fenders were based on Mercedes originals, but had extensions that were seamlessly hand-formed in steel. New fiberglass front and rear bumper covers were carried down the side of the car visually with new rocker panels. Trim was largely either blackened or painted body color (grille and wheels aside), in keeping with the then-fashionable ’80s monochrome vibe. Slather it in hooker-lipstick red, and you can’t help but look.
With looks like that, there had better be the guts to back it up, and luckily there were. The four-and-a-half liter iron-block V-8 was bored out to 4.7 liters, and was given the usual array of hot rodding tricks: a port-and-polish job on the factory aluminum cylinder heads, forged Arias pistons that (in combination with the worked heads) bumped compression to 10.5:1, a set of high-lift cams, and tubular headers. These items alone were said to nearly double the power of a stock 380SL — 297 horsepower. Away went the mandatory automatic transmission, and in came a slick-shifting Getrag five-speed. Noted racing photographer Pete Lyons saw 138 MPH behind the wheel, and (in his Car and Driver story) claimed there was more left when he had to back out of it. Put up against a contemporary 380 SL, with its terminal velocity of 115 MPH, the promise of 140 sounded pretty good.
The suspension was sharpened up as well. Bilstein gas shocks and adjustable anti-roll bars front and rear joined with higher-rate coils (420 pounders in front, 320 pounders in back) to help lower the ride height three-quarters of an inch and to prevent acceleration squat, brake dive and rolling in the turns. The rear suspension arms were altered at their pickup points, so that camber change would be minimized. Brakes were fourwheel Lockheed discs: 13 inches in front, 11 inches in the rear, although production models would have used standard calipers and more aggressive brake pads. Sixteen-inch V-rated Goodyear Eagle tires (sized 225/245) were fitted to Centra wheels, seven inches in front and eight inches wide in back.
The cockpit was also massaged to contemporary standards: power Recaro buckets, leather-trimmed to match the rest of the interior; new door panels featuring accents made of Zebrano wood; Wilton wool carpeting; the finest Alpine stereo system the mid-’80s had available; a leather boot for the five-speed’s closethrow shifter. What price exclusivity?
Well, about $75,000 in 1985 dollars, which sounds slightly less mad when a new 380 SL was in the $43,000 range and the engine work alone ran to $15,000. Alas, as is often the case with such flights of fancy, the DMS 4.7 didn’t sell. Two were made, and Neil himself retains this example in his extensive personal collection of Mercedes models (roughly two dozen postwar three-pointed stars light up his garage).
It’s clearly Mercedes, clearly ’80s, and has more than a whiff of AMG about it, even though the famed tuning house had nothing to do with its creation. It still wasn’t light, pushing 3,800 pounds at the curb, but there was no doubt that the Sport part of the SL’s moniker had returned to the equation. A legacy of the DeAtley Motorsports contribution to the Trans-Am wars? Absolutely, although we suspect that the race car was more famous, and got more visibility, than the DMS 4.7. Today, with three decades of hindsight at our disposal, the DMS 4.7 looks like the missing link between the R107 and the 1990 R129 — a high-performance ’80s Mercedes SL that never was. It makes us wonder what might have been.
Weekends were made for… Trans-Am racing?
With its privateer 450SL R107 effort, DeAtley Motorsports ushered in an innovation that didn’t get a lot of credit at the time: bringing big-name sponsorship to a Trans-Am car.
Recall that the factory Trans-Am teams of the ’60s didn’t sticker their cars up like a NASCAR racer, rather using only contingency sponsors and manufacturer graphics. This clean-flanked approach remained through the Trans-Am series’ privateer ’70s. In 1981, DeAtley Motorsports entered SCCA Trans- Am in its privateer Mercedes-Benz 450SL. The late Loren St. Lawrence drove that car for the entirety of the 1981 and ’82 seasons.
But something changed toward the end of 1981: For the last three races of the 1981 season, the formerly white SL was now black, and sported foot-high lettering for Michelob beer across each door, and the hood. The livery remained in 1982.
Now, who can say which came first, but according to St. Lawrence’s obituary (he died in 2014), he was hired as the director of motorsports marketing and sponsorship for Anheuser-Busch in 1982. It cannot be a coincidence that a Michelob beer sponsorship appeared on the side of the DeAtley SL starting in late 1981, and running clear through to the end of the 1982 season. Can it?
There’s no mistaking the cabin for a Mercedes, although it looks a bit more welcoming to the serious driver, thanks to the leather-covered power Recaro chairs and the manual shifter poking up through the console. Real Zebrano wood inlays added an extra touch of class.
The engine looks stock enough, but the usual hot-rod tricks—an overbore, hotter cams, porting and polishing the heads— brought the DMS to within spitting distance of 300 hp.
TECHNICAL DATA / #1975 #Mercedes-Benz-450SL-DMS-4.7-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-450SL-DMS-4.7 / #Mercedes-Benz-450SL-R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-R107 / #Mercedes / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-R107 R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-R107 /
Engine SOHC #V8 , iron block and aluminum cylinder heads
Displacement 4,679 cc (286- cu.in.)
Horsepower 297 @ 5,500 RPM
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Induction #Bosch-K-Jetronic fuel injection
Gearbox #Getrag five-speed manual
0 to 60MPH N/A
Top speed 138+MPH*
Overall length 178.4 inches
Overall width 70.5 inches
Overall height 50.5 inches
Wheelbase 96.9 inches
Curb weight 3,800 lb.
*Source: Car and Driver, February 1985Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMEAN STREETS
Less is often more and this subtly-modified E92 M3 proves that point, with some mean styling touches and 480hp.
Liquid Performance has a classic approach to modifying: big power, subtly contained in a factory-fresh suit. This E92 M3 proves the formula – you can go in hard without getting extreme… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Henry Phull.
There’s a classic Hollywood anecdote about Robert De Niro, concerning a bee and an argument. It goes like this: after Martin Scorsese had finished working on Mean Streets in 1973, he took the film to Cannes. A whole entourage came along, and one evening they were dining at Le Moulin de Mougins, a restaurant way up in the hills above the town. De Niro was there along with his girlfriend of the time; he had a reputation for picking feisty, aggressive girlfriends – girls he could argue with. During dinner the table was buzzed by a colossal bee, which bothered the group so much that they called over a waiter, who took it down with a flick of his tea-towel. It landed in De Niro’s girlfriend’s water glass.
She kicked up a fuss, he yelled at her, he told her to take a hike, and she did. It was a ten mile walk back to Cannes; De Niro insisted that everyone leisurely finish their meals before they made their way back, and they picked her up in a cab on the way – bedraggled, infuriated, but also grateful. He bought her a bottle of perfume the following morning, and order was restored.
Now, the De Niro of the mid-1970s was very different to the De Niro of today. Back then you’d expect to see the angry young man cruising around in a yellow NYC cab with blood and, er, other fluids on the back seat. But not today (yeah, we’re blurring the lines between fiction and reality, it’s called breaking the fourth wall, just go with it). Today, De Niro is an altogether more suave character – edgy, sure, but also classic.
Refined. Whereas in his youth he was so socially awkward he used to refuse to talk at auditions and fell asleep on the sofa at parties, today he’s more at home in his own skin. No yellow cabs for him now. In 2016, Bobby is more of an E92 M3 kinda guy.
Specifically, we reckon, the sort of E92 M3 you’d find peeping through the garage doors at Liquid Performance in Southampton. Not quite the postcode you’d expect to find him in, granted, but let’s persevere. We’ll let one of the company’s bosses, Ross Ponsford-Jones, explain the rationale: “We’ve gone for a functional OEMupgrade look,” he says, matter-of-factly. “The vehicle was modified to try and retain comfort and luxury as well as performance – such as having the M Performance bucket seats, for example – but also having a unique look to make it stand out as different from the average E92 M3.” Which wraps the idea neatly into a little nutshell, really – boisterous, yet measured; mainstream, but offbeat. A De Niro M3 for the post- Hollywood Netflix generation.
What did the guys at Liquid do, then, to achieve this impressive feat? Well, they concentrated on the basics. By focusing on the details, they’ve achieved something that you might almost be able to call stealthy, were it not for the inherent outrageousness of the E92 in stock form. They’ve pinched ideas here and there from the BMW upgrades catalogue, while also keeping an eye on the more obscure iterations of the model as it butted heads with contemporary sports cars and junior supercars – not least the fabled M3 GTS.
If you’re going to do this sort of thing, you really do need to do it properly, which is why Ross’s team sought the best possible donor available. Makes sense really, doesn’t it? It’s what De Niro would demand. He’s a forthright sort of guy. The car they landed upon was resplendent in Frozen silver paint; indeed, the little heard-of Frozen silver Edition was a car designed for M3 enthusiasts who liked to tick option boxes but were worried they might get carried away (um, possibly), being in effect a version that cost £4000 more than the stock M3 but provided £9000-worth of extras. Aside from the unique paint colour, there were all kinds of other goodies to enjoy.
“The spec includes the Competition Pack,” Ross explains, “which brings lowered suspension and three-stage Electronic Damper Control along with revised DSC+ settings. There’s also adaptive headlights, Comfort Access, electric folding mirrors, sliding armrest, and PDC front and rear.”
Obviously some of these features are more exciting than others, but even a hairychested sports car like this is never going to be driven at ten-tenths 100% of the time. Sometimes you need to have somewhere to rest your elbow. Sometimes you do approach the locked car with your hands full. Spec matters.
However, this isn’t What Car, we’re not here to discuss OEM spec lists. Liquid used this generous state of trim as a base upon which to lavish some extra unique accoutrements: “We’ve programmed in a few custom codes,” grins Ross knowledgably.
“The mirrors fold automatically when the car’s locked, the auto wiper return position’s reset, the DVD operates in motion, the ignition gong’s removed…” Again, not the sort of mods that would set a teenager’s heart a-flutter when viewed in isolation, but it’s all part of the bigger picture.
But let’s stop being sensible for a moment. People who buy M3s don’t do so solely for the gadgetry potential, they do it for the mischief. The luxury element is merely a happy bonus. So what does one do with a fire-snorting V8 that’s already packing the thick end of 420hp and is, in a convoluted sense, basically the F1-derived S85 V10 with a couple of cylinders lopped off (kinda)? If you’re Liquid Performance, you do what you’ve already been doing with the rest of the car: hack into the scrolling Matrix ones-and-zeroes, throw in some new code, and modify the thing from within its very core. Or, more specifically, you get DMS Automotive to do it for you.
“We went for a custom Stage 2 remap,” says Ross. “It’s now putting out 480hp, making it one of the fastest ever naturally aspirated E92s DMS has tuned.” Aha! We knew this wasn’t just going to be a case of retrofitting gizmos from the options list. Phrases like ‘fastest ever’ are very much at the heartland of what we stand for.
Furthermore, since we’re talking ‘fastest ever’, there are few tweaks and tricks in evidence here from the aforementioned M3 GTS, that bonkers £100k+ E92 that was basically a race car with number plates. Here we see the staggered 19” Competition alloys that you’d otherwise find on the mythical orange screwball, but behind the scenes there’s also lurking the DCT gearbox software from the GTS, offering more aggression – something in-keeping with the ramped-up horsepower levels. And if you’re working on your ‘go’, you need to give some thought to your ‘woah’, which is why we see a sneaky set of yellow Brembo calipers sidling in from stage left, sleeves rolled up and ready to dive headfirst into a spiralling whirlpool of thrust retardation.
Naturally, like a fired up De Niro in a crisply-tailored dinner suit, the focus must constantly swing back and forth between the precipice of full-blown aggression and the creamy mellowness of suaveté, and Ross feels that the M3’s seats are a strong marker of this. “We enabled the heating elements inside the M Performance seats, which represented a huge amount of complexity,” he says, casually dusting off the difficulties like specks from a cuff. “Even the local BMW franchised dealers couldn’t figure out how to do it…” An infinitesimal smile curls at the corner of his lips as he says this. He knows the capabilities of his team, he’s rightly proud of their achievements. Ditto the approach to the aesthetics, with which Liquid deviated from the official BMW parts to instead augment the Frozen silver with a sprinkling of goodies from the European Autosource catalogue; grilles, vents, mirror caps, just enough to ensure a level of neatness that never strays into the realm of the gaudy.
With all of this thoroughness and attention to detail coursing through the build, Liquid Performance’s take on the E92 platform very much represents the sort of car that could feasibly have sat within BMW’s own brochure, somewhere between the stock model and the GTS. It’s a naturally aspirated heavy-hitter that’s optioned up to the hilt, and if Robert De Niro were ever to find himself ambling through Southampton with his peepers peeled and chequebook to hand, you can imagine that his switch would be well and truly flicked. But he’s probably a PBMW subscriber anyway, isn’t he? Hey, Bobby – can you see yourself in this?
Imagine those vast chasms of horsepower resonating with a sharp bark through that titanium Akrapovic exhaust. It certainly beats arguing about bees in restaurants…
Matt black and carbon exterior elements add a sense of menace.
It’s now putting out 480hp, making it one of the fastest ever NA E92s #DMS has tuned.
The vehicle was modified to retain luxury as well as performance.
Carbon galore inside, along with those #BMW-M-Performance seats, which have had their heating elements enabled.
DATA FILE #BMW / #Liquid-Performance / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Liquid-Performance / #BMW-M3-Liquid-Performance-E92 / #M-DCT / #BMW-GTS-DCT / #BMW-M3-M-DCT-E92 / #BMW-M3-M-DCT
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #DMS-Automotive custom Stage 2 remap, Pipercross race filter, #Akrapovic full titanium exhaust system with carbon tips, seven-speed M DCT gearbox, BMW GTS DCT gearbox software. 480hp
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BMW-Competition-GTS wheels with 245/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Continental SportContact 5 tyres, #Brembo-GT-BBK with 6-pot yellow calipers, #BMW-Competition pack (including lower suspension and EDC)
EXTERIOR European Autosource matte black side grilles, front grilles and bonnet vents, BMW M Performance carbon fibre mirror caps and carbon fibre boot lip spoiler, H3 Lux angel eyes, Xenon headlights, privacy glass
INTERIOR Heated #BMW-M-Performance seats and carbon fibre interior trim including centre console, custom Alcantara steering wheel with M stitching and black leather rally marker, custom Alcantara handbrake gaiter, BMW Competition sill platesStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.