- Post is under moderationBuying & Tuning Guide #BMW-540i-E39
You can’t go wrong with a V8 and there’s no better way of getting your hands on one than with the mighty fine E39. If you want a BMW with a V8 under the bonnet, they don’t come much better than the mighty #E39 540i.
If you’ve never owned a V8, you’re missing out. We know that BMWs are all about the straight-six, but Munich has put together some fine V8-powered machines too, and the good news is that they’re now cheap as chips.
The 540i was launched in May #1996 and was powered by an evolution of the M60 V8 with a capacity increase to 4398cc. Power remained as per the 4.0-litre #M60 unit at 286hp #M60B40 but torque had swelled to 310lb ft and was available lower down the rev range at 3900rpm. With the standard six-speed manual gearbox the 540i was fast – 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph – and given the performance on offer the combined economy of 23mpg wasn’t too shabby. An optional five-speed auto gearbox was also available and for the first time in a 5 Series this offered Steptronic manual control and the vast majority of 540is were spec’d in this manner.
In 1998 there were a couple of changes for the #BMW-540i , the first being the adoption of the more sophisticated DSC in place of the ASC system fitted from launch. The second upgrade was to the engine when the M62 V8 received #Vanos variable valve timing. While it didn’t change the output of the 4.4-litre V8, torque was up to 325lb ft and peaked 300rpm lower bringing greater flexibility.
In 1999 the 540i Sport was launched which followed the now familiar path of an M aero kit with a cutaway in the rear apron for a single pipe exhaust, 17-inch M light alloy wheels, M Sport suspension, clear indicator lenses and de-chromed window trims. Inside there was anthracite headlining, Sports seats, an M multi-function steering wheel, matt aluminium trim and M sill kick plates.
The last significant change was the E39’s face-lift in 2001. The kidney grille was given a wider chrome surround and chrome slats for the 540i while the ‘angel eye’ headlights were introduced along with the Celis rear lamps with their LED strips, which replaced the traditional tail-light bulbs. Chrome rubbing strips were also painted body colour while inside there was the widescreen sat nav monitor (assuming either the £2195 sat nav or £3395 Comms pack was specified). Production ceased in 2003 when a 540i cost £40,110 and a Sport was £40,450.
£1600. That’s all you need to get a 4.4-litre V8 E39. You’ll probably want to spend a bit more, but if you’re feeling brave it would hard to resist one of the tidy-looking 130k mile SEs that we found at this price. The next big jump in cost takes you up to £2200, where we found a face-lift Sport with xenons and it was a real peach with just 100k miles on the clock. We also found a 60k mile SE and even though the Calypso red and beige leather colour combo won’t be everyone’s cup of tea it looked clean. We also found one manual car; a 1998 example with 158k miles for £2650. Prices then jump to £3500 with a couple of 130k mile face-lift Sports sitting about this price point. The most expensive we found was a 2002 SE with widescreen nav and just 52,000 miles for £7850. We’d say a budget of around £3000 will be enough to find a nice, clean face-lift Sport, though if you’ve got big project plans on your mind, £1600 would be enough to secure some V8 action.
Fuel is going to be the big one here. We’re sure there will be owners out there who claim to get amazing economy from their 540s, and they might well be, but being realistic you can probably expect to average around 20mpg overall. On a long run, mid- to high-20s will be achievable while town work will see you getting mid-teens and while the 70-litre tank offers a decent range, you’ll be looking at around £100 per fill-up so it quickly adds up.
Eight cylinders mean eight spark plugs, two cylinder heads means two lots of head bits and it can all start adding up. Tax-wise, a pre-March 2001 540i will cost £225 a year to tax while post-March 2001 cars cost £280. In terms of servicing, expect to pay around £150 for an oil service, £260 for an Inspection I and £350 for an Inspection II at a specialist, though prices will obviously vary depending on the specialist you choose and your location.
What to look for
There are many common E39 foibles, such as missing pixels on the dash and digital heater readouts, but these can be repaired and shouldn’t require new units, although you’ll have to send your dash pod away for repair. Heater control buttons have a habit of breaking and can either be purchased singly on the internet or as a set from the dealer. The fan can also pack up or not respond to the controls which is caused by a faulty heater resistor (aka hedgehog) and if the heater fan’s really noisy it could be on the way out. Check that the air-con blows cold, and if it doesn’t it could be down to a holed condenser or a compressor that’s given up the ghost. Electrical glitches such as radio problems, an electrically adjustable steering column that moves on its own and temperamental airbag warning lights can be down to a faulty ignition switch, although airbag lights on their own will be down to either a faulty occupancy sensor or a break in the wiring. Check the rear carpets are dry as there are plastic membranes within the doors that can perish and let water in. Also check the door seals as they’re susceptible to wear and those on the front doors can get damaged from seat belt buckles that haven’t retracted fast enough before a door’s shut.
While E39s were well put-together there are a couple of areas that need checking on the body over and above the normal checks you should be making for crash damage and poor body repairs. Rust is starting to become an issue and the most likely places to find it are inside the fuel filler flap, on the bootlid (both around the lock and the seam that joins the two parts of the bootlid together) and also around the rear wheel arches. Headlights that are fogged or misted up can look unsightly and let a car down. This is usually caused because one of the seals on the lamp unit is letting in moisture. Many owners have cured this by removing the cluster, drying it out and resealing it, but if the outer covers are peppered in stone chips you might be better off buying new lights, although if your car has the optional Xenons this would be prohibitively expensive. Also check that the headlamp washers work properly – failure can often be down to a faulty pump or the piping which tends to work itself loose behind the front wheel arch liners. Also check the electrically folding mirrors work, as if they don’t you could be looking at a new motor or mirror module, and if the car has PDC check it works properly.
The good news is that the majority of M62 V8s didn’t suffer from Nikasil problems as the ‘Technical Update’ that took place in March 1997 replaced the Nikasil lining with Alusil, so this should only be a concern to you if you’re looking at one of the very earliest E39 540is. Radiators (or more specifically the small plastic pipe at the top of the radiator) can fail so check for any signs of cracking. Expansion tanks can leak or explode, water pumps can also leak, thermostats can leak, coolant pipes at the back of the block can leak. Running faults can be down to leaking rocker cover gaskets that allow oil to sit in the spark plug recesses, or could be down to a faulty camshaft position sensor, or dodgy lambda probes, or possibly, in the worst-case scenario, blocked cats. However, the latter is not what you’d call common, but the possibility cannot be ignored as you’ll be looking well into four figures to replace them with genuine BMW items. Other possible problems to look out for under the bonnet are leaking PAS hoses, the seal on the PAS reservoir cap, an underachieving alternator and sticky hydraulic lifters leading to a bit of a tappetty noise from the top end. Make sure the oil’s been changed frequently and that the correct viscosity oil has been used.
Chassis & Drivetrain
ABS problems are common and while this can be as simple as a faulty wheel sensor it’s more likely to be a broken ABS control unit. Various control units were fitted to the 540i and the most costly will be about £900 from BMW. However most control units can be sourced from Bosch at a third of the price, so shop around. Uneven rear tyre wear can be a result of worn ball joints and bushes and E39s are susceptible to the geometry coming out of factory spec. A notorious E39 problem is a front end ‘shimmy’ at 50-60mph and there can be a variety of causes, from wheels being out of balance to the front shocks being worn out. Front thrust arm bushes are susceptible to wear and should be your first port of call after a wheel balance check. The bigger the wheels the more pronounced the shimmy is likely to be. Diffs are strong, but check the diff seals aren’t leaking to excess – some staining is inevitable, but if the diff looks wet it’ll need a reseal.
ENGINE: 4.4-litre V8 #M62 #M62B44
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual, optional five-speed #Steptronic #ZF5HP #ZF
PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds (6.4 seconds auto), top speed 155mph
PRICE: £42,900 (1996), from £1600 (now)
A power output of 286hp from 4.4-litres and eight cylinders isn’t much but there’s some room for improvement on the engine front, though don’t expect huge gains. A remap costing £300-500 depending on where you go should get power up over 300hp and bolster torque a little – you’re not going to notice much of a difference but there will be more urge and, if you’re lucky, improvement on the mpg front. There’s no point fitting an induction kit as they give no real gains in terms of power or throttle response – save your money and buy an aftermarket panel filter instead, removing the internal baffles that are located in the air box. It’s a nice, cheap (about £45), simple mod that will give a deep V8 sound.
Another mod to consider is replacing the intake manifold with one from the earlier M60 V8, which is less restrictive. It’s a straightforward job, assuming you’re savvy with a spanner, and will give you some real gains. It does change the character of the car somewhat, with the general consensus being that the torque drops off at the lower end of the rev range, making the car feel a little less responsive, however once you get over 3000rpm, there’s noticeably more power on tap and the engine revs a lot more freely. We’ve not come across anyone with anything negative to say about the swap, so it’s definitely worth looking at.
Now, let’s be honest, the main reason you buy something with a V8 in it is because you want that V8 soundtrack in your life, and the 540i isn’t going to deliver that out-of-the-box as it’s pretty quiet. Your cheapest options are to first remove the Y resonator pipe and pit a straight pipe in its place and then, if you want, also remove the rear silencer. Getting rid of the Y pipe will give you a nice sound that’s louder than stock but results in no drone and is perfect for a daily driver. Removing the first silencer gives a further increase in volume and makes the car sound extremely aggressive, with a high rev rasp to it which might not suit all tastes; you’ll also get more interior noise with this further mod, so that’s something to take into consideration. The other option is to leave the Y pipe in place, but instead take out the rear silencer, which results in a nice, deep sound, without the high rpm rasp so that’s an alternative.
Other exhaust options are plentiful if you want a whole system, or just a rear silencer – obviously the likes of Eisenmann and Supersprint will be worth a look, the former being a favourite, though we’d shy away from the Race sound level if your 540i is a daily. A good custom system would be worth looking at too – fitting just a back box and leaving the resonator in will give you plenty of volume and getting rid of the big and massively heavy (circa 25kg) rear silencer won’t break the bank either; around £250 or so.
Cams are also available, but costing £1000 and only offering around 15hp plus less torque means they’re not a popular mod and you can put the money to better use elsewhere.
If you really want to make your 540i fly, this is where it’s at. There are a number of supercharger kits available for the M62 V8, but they’re all similar in terms of cost and what they offer and they all use a centrifugal supercharger. The ESS kits, available from CA Automotive for 1996-7 and 1998 model year cars deliver 7psi and 407hp and 422lb ft of torque and cost £4842.31 and £5130.41 respectively. You need to add 18 hours’ worth of installation time on to that and the claimed figures are 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds for the manual and 5.1 secs for the auto. The 1999-2003 Stage 1 kit delivers 6psi which gives you 400hp and 413lb ft of torque with a 0-60 time of 5.1 secs for the manual and 5.4 secs for the auto and costs £5310.48. The Stage 2 kit gives you 8psi and that means 422hp and 437lb ft – enough for a 0-60 time of 4.7 secs for the manual and 5.0 secs for the auto, and comes in at £5824.95. In the UK, Regal Motorsport sells the VF Engineering kit – this has a fitting time of about eight hours and runs at 6psi, delivering 415hp and 400lb ft of torque and costs £4605.44, making it good value for money. Oh, and if you’re interested, the Bentley Arnage Green Label used a twin-turbo version of the M62, with 350hp and 421lb ft of torque. Just saying…
If you’re running significant power or are planning to do plenty of fast road driving in your 540i, it would be worth going for a disc, pad and hose upgrade and it’s worth doing the whole lot at once really. A set of good fast road pads will set you back from between £80 if you go for something from the likes of Axxis or Hawk, to about £200 for some Pagid RS-4s, which get plenty of love. You don’t want to go too extreme on the pad compound front, so avoid ones designed with a lot of track use in mind, as they’ll take longer to warm up and you’ll often get squeal.
Braided hoses will help to ensure that all your braking pressure is applied to the pads, rather than being sapped away by hoses bulging. You’ll also get a firmer pedal and more response from your brakes, so it’s winwin all-round, especially as you’ll only be looking at around £75 for a set from Goodridge – which knows a thing or two about braided hoses. Don’t forget brake fluid either – DOT 5.1 is high performance stuff with an extremely high boiling point that will stop your brakes from wilting that little bit longer.
As far as discs are concerned, the world is your oyster – drilled, grooved or a combination of the two are all available and all offer a decent upgrade of stock items. Both grooves and drilled or cast holes will improve cooling as well as helping to disperse the gases that build up between the disc and pad during hard braking. Expect to pay around £200-£350 for a pair of uprated discs and companies such as Tarox, EBC, Brembo or StopTech are all worth a look.
For the ultimate in stopping power, a big brake kit will certainly deliver. Prices vary depending on where you go – opt for a K-Sport kit and you’ll be able to get a six- or even eight-pot kit for around £1000, which is excellent value for money. An AP Racing kit will be about £2500 and StopTech will be similarly priced.
A set of progressive springs will tighten up handling and lower the car, and budget around £150 per pair with anything from the likes of Eibach, H&R or Wietec all being a good choice and offering similar results for the money, giving you around a 30mm drop which is a good place to start.
If the car feels baggy, and even at 80k miles the original dampers will be past their best, it’s time to address that part of the setup. There are an awful lot of dampers to choose from giving you plenty of choices whether you want to run them with stock springs, or shorter springs, and varying levels of firmness. Generally speaking, if you mate a decent set of performance dampers to a decent set of performance springs, you’ll end up with a pretty good setup and by mixing and matching, you can choose a pairing that works best for you. Damper-wise, go for a monotube from a company like Bilstein and expect to pay around £100-200 per shock.
A good off-the-shelf spring and damper kit is an excellent way to give your suspension an overhaul without breaking the bank. At the budget end of the scale, you can pick up a Spax kit with adjustable dampers for around £420; Koni’s STR.T kit is about £520 while the adjustable Sport kit is around £760; alternatively there’s the Bilstein B12 Pro-Kit, which costs around £830. Coilovers offer a wide range of adjustment, though this varies from kit to kit, and aren’t actually that much more than a decent suspension kit. Spax kits are about £750, Weitec GT kits are £810, KW’s range runs from about £1000 to £1500 depending on how much adjustability you’re after, H&R’s kits are about £1000 while Bilstein’s B14 kit is £1020 and its adjustable B16 kit is £1800, so there’s something to suit most budgets. Be sensible and genuinely think about what you want from the suspension and the car – there’s no point in going for a top-end, all-singing, all-dancing kit if you don’t need all that adjustability. If you don’t want to mess around with springs and dampers and don’t want to alter the way the car rides, a set of uprated anti-roll bars will really tighten up the handling without upsetting the ride. The E39 M5 front and rear anti-roll bars will fit and make a big difference – they’re a popular modification and everyone who’s fitted them loves them. If you buy a Sport, you already have thicker anti-roll bars (25mm front and 15mm rear) than the SE models but the M5 bars are thicker still (27mm front and 16.5mm rear) which makes a big difference to the handling, especially if you’re upgrading an SE. The bars cost £145 for the front and £138 for the rear. Alternatively, Eibach sells an anti-roll bar kit with even thicker bars; 28mm at the front and 18mm at the rear, which costs £360.
The largest wheels fitted as standard to the #BMW-E39 were 18s – 8x18” front and 9x18” style 37 M parallels on the Sport models and the 8x18” and 9.5x18” style 65 wheels on the M5, and the E39 has a PCD of 5x120 with a centre bore of 74.1mm. In terms of aesthetics, the 18s look good and fill the arches nicely, especially if you drop the car a touch. In terms of the ride and handling balance, we’d stick to 18s as that’s what BMW saw fit to mount on the M5, and that’s good enough for us.
If you want to go big, it’s quite hard to work out exactly how big you can go, as there are a lot of owners running an awful lot of different widths, sizes and offsets. 19s fit fine, with 8.5x19 fronts wrapped in 245/35 19 tyres and 10x19 ET22 rears with 275/30 19 tyres are a popular choice that seems to work well, with virtually zero rubbing in day-to-day driving. If you want to go bigger still, some people have fitted 20s though whether or not they look good on the E39 is debatable and getting the right tyre and wheel size is a fine art; 8.5x20 front and 9.5x20 rears have been suggested, with 235/35 and 275/30 front and rear tyres respectively, though you would do well to do as much research as possible before fitting 20s.
The E39 5 Series great and in 540i form, it’s the cheapest way to get a V8- powered #BMW . In SE form and on little wheels it may not have visual drama and the lack of rack and pinion steering means it’s not as fine a driver’s car as the smaller-engined models but it’s good value for money, is quick and offers plenty of scope for modding. If you’re set on getting more power, you’ll need a fair bit of wedge but if you want proper V8 noise combined with sharp handling and stopping power, you’ll be able to create your perfect 540i without breaking the bank.
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- Post is under moderationLap of Luxury. #BMW-750i-E38
We take a fond look back at the great V12-engined #E38 #BMW-750i . Back in the day the #E38-750i was right at the cutting edge of technology but how well has it lasted the test of time? Mark Williams finds a superb shortwheelbase (SWB) example to find out. Photography: Mark Williams/Lullingstone Cars.
Back in the days when I was obsessed with Mercedes, a word I would often hear was ‘youngtimers’. A youngtimer car would always be at least one generation removed from the contemporary models, probably already been through one or two owners and had lost that new car, latest thing appeal. And yet it would be parked very carefully, with the wheels devoid of careless curbing and equipped with expensive (i.e correct) tyres. The paintwork would have a lustrous shine and the little details like window and ‘screen surrounds demonstrated the owner’s care and attention. Fast forward a few years and we’re talking about cars which were too old to be considered as daily propositions, yet too young to be classics, whilst at the same time having successfully managed to avoid the crusher’s claws or those awful government-funded scrappage schemes.
It was (and indeed, still is) a byword for growing old gracefully. These are well-cared for cars in the homes of owners with the necessary open minds to maintain them to the appropriate degree, whilst not being overly concerned at the otherwise depressing decline in their value, nor with following fashion. This is the natural selection process which, in BMW land, eventually distilled the #E30 #M3 , #E34 #M5 and #E39 M5 production runs down into a concentrated group of survivors, whereupon economics will not be denied and these victors then start to creep up in value. It’s happened already with the M3, those in the know tell me it’s now starting with the #E39-M5 although bizarrely (a last example with a six-pot, hand-built and an analogue driving experience) it’s yet to really kick off with the E34. It will though, I’m sure of that. As the years pass, one starts to realise these cars stand as footnotes in history, and reverence inevitably follows.
However, even though BMW’s rich and dominant history over the last 30 or so years is littered with machinery capable of creating youngtimer status, I’ve never really seen or heard the phrase associated with their products. And this is strange because for every model Mercedes has offered up in that timeline, BMW has an equally compelling riposte, something quietly confident and beautifully engineered like an E34 #535i Sport or more brutish and blunt like an BMW E31 850 CSi. Laid back luxury more your thing? Then at some point in the past you’ve either owned or fancied having a W140 Series S-Class Mercedes. Slabsided, two-tonne-plus leviathans with so much room you loll around, have a get-out-of-my-way road presence and an armageddon-surviveable build quality (decomposing wiring loom aside). And if you believe in doing things properly, you’ve probably hankered after the V12, given once they pass a certain age they’re worth less than a cauliflower. Wait a moment though, during the same period #BMW produced something equally tasty and V12 powered, right? Understated, quite often eclipsed behind the mega-Merc’s footprint and horsepower figures (it’s always been my belief that the German horsepower race started with these two), but piloted by a driver who seemed to be just that tad cooler, more engaged with the process and ultimately, having a better time. The E38 Seven Series is a youngtimer candidate and no mistake.
BMW stuck to evolution and not revolution in its unveiling of the E38 generation 7 Series in #1994 (from a design perspective anyway, electronically it contained more computing power than it took to put man on the moon and represented a massive leap forward, but we’ll come to that later). A little too conservative for some, elegant, understated and quietly stylish to others, the shape has aged with a timeless grace which (in my opinion) the #E65 / #E66 generation which succeeded it will struggle to emulate. Vindication perhaps of BMW’s decision at the time to not mess with the formula which proved so successful with the #E32 ? Think of today’s #F01 / #F02 and consider this; as a design statement, is it an evolution of the #E38 or E65 ? To this day the E38 is a design which endures, even portraying a certain roguish appeal and informing BMW’s current design language amongst its saloon output. Ideally proportioned on 18s, but still appealing to the eye on comfort-orientated 16-inch wheels, it just works.
Inside it’s much the same story. I’ve owned three of these, and in each I would invariably adopt a laidback, quietly contented driving position, sunk low into the comfort or sports-contoured seats, admiring the layout and architecture of the dashboard and interior design. The sweep of the burr walnut on the passenger side, the ‘come sit here’ look to the front seats, all snuggly bolstered and with their upper portion angled just so to support one’s upper back.
Then your eyes fall to the palm-shaped gear lever before a glance in the rear reveals chairs which seem to envelope their occupants, complete with headrests apparently melted over the tops of the seat backs. I don’t honestly think BMW has produced such a intrinsically correct interior since the E38, although the E39 is a possible exception, sharing as it does so much of the same flavour (not to mention the electronics, but we’ll come back to that). The E65/66 was too cold, and the F01/02, whilst clearly a product of the same line of thinking, seems to have lost the welcoming ambience somewhere along the line.
Or is all this just a bad case of rose tinted spectacles? After all, the examples I had weren’t exactly paragons of reliability and they’re long gone now. How have these things actually aged? A chat with old friend Ian Lockwood at Lullingstone Cars (www.lullingstonecars.co.uk – erstwhile Ultimate7 and before that Oakriver Cars) offered up the opportunity to find out. Where he once would deal in E38s almost weekly, today Ian tends to deal in more contemporary BMWs (X5s and the like) as the old Sevens are proving hard to source in the required condition which makes them worthwhile retail candidates. But they do crop up occasionally, and the arrival of W52 GYW (now sold), an excellent condition 2000 model year SWB #750i for £6k afforded me the opportunity to wind back the years and dial back into the appeal.
It’s dry and clear, but damn cold on the agreed date and as I arrive at Ian’s premises not far from Swanley, I draw up alongside the freshly polished and prepped Seven. I’m again under time constraints so after a quick hello, I climb aboard the idling 750i and head off down the drive. Already I’m spotting the narrow diameter to the steering wheel rim and smiling quietly as the layered-in-leather interior creaks and groans to itself. It seems wide, too. The lanes down here are pretty narrow, and today they’re occupied by a thousand cyclists too, so these factors combined with my relative unfamiliarity makes those few moments a bit fraught.
We’re soon on to faster and flowing roads though, and the 5.4 litre #M73 #V12 starts to make its presence felt, both aurally and physically. Muscular low down, but tending to sound a bit strained higher up, it seldom needs to be revved beyond 4k and between idle and this useable ceiling it offers up a quietly enveloping soundtrack and respectable if not earthshattering acceleration. It’s natural gait is seven tenths, working seamlessly with the five-speed auto to ensure you cover the ground with minimal fuss. A mournful moan from up front signals a big hearted assault on the horizon and whilst a moderately welldriven Golf GTI will soon disappear into the future, you simply cannot beat a torque-rich V12 pouring its power into the transmission and feeling that elasticity contained before it shoves you up the road. Provided you can stomach the fuel bills of course, more of which in a moment.
When the corners arrive, and as they often do around here, the brakes slow the car with that notable effort-to-effect multiplication ratio which will be familiar to anybody who has driven an older Bentley. One presses down on the pedal to what is thought a suitable degree, and the car responds by standing on its nose as a dinner plate-sized servo takes your input and ramps it up to what is actually needed to slow this thing from speed. It’s no surprise that these days there is talk of harvesting the heat caused by braking.
Tip the nose into the corner and in this age of active dampers the amount of lean on display will be a tad disconcerting at first. It’s not untidy, but you’re aware of the suspension working to keep the whole caboodle aiming towards the apex one way or another. And it lets you hear it working, too. Although that’s forgiveable given the 88k miles this example had covered at the time of the test.
Back in period, the E38 always seemed a more incisive drive than the #W140 Series Mercs, and that still holds true today. The latter isn’t a bad steer per se, but its sheer mass discourages this kind of driving, as capable as it is. A motor this big occupies a lot of road when travelling sideways. In the BMW though, one is aware of the slightly reduced mass and it’s this, coupled to the lower and more intimate driving position and allied to BMW’s own particular take on chassis dynamics which swings the balance in the BMW’s favour if you have even the remotest interest in vehicle dynamics.
A left click of the auto lever engages sports mode, which is mostly ill-advised as it kicks the ‘box down a gear or two. This in turn sends the revs soaring and the V12’s exertions can now by fully heard – not always a good thing. Best to use kickdown in order to get up ahead of steam then lift in order to prompt the ‘box into changing up. It’s a little like asking your grandmother to do a sports day; you can ultimately ask the question, but the answer isn’t necessarily what you expect to hear. Plus plenty of fluids are required to maintain this kind of behaviour. In the M73’s case, it will already be happily dispensing a gallon of unleaded every 20 miles or so at best, maybe a tiny percentage more on a run, but a damn sight worse around town, so it’s perhaps best to not encourage it. Still, as I think I’ve said before, V12 owners don’t lie awake at night sweating over the price of a barrel of crude and besides, it’s relatively cheap these days… We recorded 18mpg on test and given the country roads and total absence of open country, I was quite pleased with that.
In terms of equipment, accepting the fact that radar-guided this and that, night vision, blind-spot monitoring, reversing cameras and head-up displays etc are very much a modern phenomenom, you don’t really want for much inside an E38. Later models benefit from a wide-screen nav display, but even so the combination of leather and inlaid walnut, allied to electric everything, blinds in the rear, softtouch headlining, double-glazing and heated seats do make you feel good about life. Then you notice that this example has a powered bootlid (which I’ve never seen on an E38), plus powered rear seats (rare on the short wheel base models) and you start to think ‘crikey that’s a lot to go wrong’ or ‘nice touch’ depending upon your disposition.
Even though modern BMWs don’t seem as well made as the older ones were (or at least, comparatively speaking, as well built as today’s used examples did in period) they are at least new and ergo, less likely to go wrong. Alas that is not something we can say about the E38 and if you are looking for one, best pay attention. Here comes the sobering bit…
If you intend on owning the car for any significant period, odds are you will need to change the radiator, which always tend to split at the top hose. Modern replacements are better made, but still not immune. The V8s suffer from the usual array of oil leaks but the 12s are actually pretty solid, so long as you keep the servicing up to date. The intake cyclones can split (due to rubbish plastic which dries out with age) causing a hunting idle but otherwise, and partly due to the chain-driven valve gear, these old engines are pretty sturdy.
Alas the rest of the E38 isn’t ageing as well and the three I had suffered from the following at some point (although none of them where afflicted with all)… The charcoal filter for the fuel tank gets clogged up and requires replacement, as soon as possible really because it will only accelerate the wear of the metal fuel tank (if still fitted, although by this point most of them should have been replaced with the later plastic item). They fail to vent properly as the filter loses its ability to breathe, the whole tank gets sucked in, metal fatigue results and hairline cracks start to appear in the centre of the tank. And be careful how you put the new tank in; always make sure you fit new seals to the sender pump fitted to one side (which is responsible for picking up fuel and sending it over to the other side of the tank as you fill up, as on the 750s there is one main tank split into two sections either side of the diff) otherwise you will have fuel spilling out over the top of the tank when you fill it up. With hot exhausts close by, this clearly isn’t good.
If you’re still not dissuaded then you’ll also have the prospect of ruinously expensive wiper mechanisms to deal with if they ever do pack up (they were rumoured to be £2k from BMW years ago, but of course much cheaper options now exist and there’s always eBay), door handles which come off in your hand as metal fatigue sets in here, too, plus rust in the usual BMW E3x hot spots such as bootlids and fuel filler areas. And we can’t talk about E38 reliability without mention of the infamous wheel wobble (which, bizarrely, the test car didn’t suffer from at all). This sets the steering wheel off ever so slightly at around 45mph but then goes a short while later. You can pull your hair out worrying about this, and I’d almost recommend just living with it once you’ve changed the pads, discs and bushes and been advised that the suspension is pretty solid.
Oh, and the electrics too of course. Which aren’t actually that bad in all honesty, except for the maddening rear light clusters, whose bulbs respond to electrical impulses across the whole board in which they’re located, as opposed to individual wiring, but whom seldom sit in their apertures with anything remotely approaching a good connection. Eventually, ‘check brake light’ will appear in the instrument cluster (assuming you’ve paid the inevitable £150 or so to one of the firms who are now – mercifully – able to repair the straps within the cluster which fail and take all the pixels with them) and you’ll duly go and buy a new bulb. Fitting that results in a good connection for a day or so, then the message reappears and the reality begins to set in…
Other electrical gremlins are the sat-nav monitor, which can suffer from failed pixels leading to vertical green lines and a particular favourite, the two batteries on 750 E38s. Many head-scratching evenings were spent at various BMW specialists with my E38s, using hidden menus in the dashboard (check it on Google) to locate the voltage reading and ascertain whether the batteries were kaput or there was a drain somewhere…
If all this sounds like I’ve got a downer on the E38 then that’s not the case. They’re fantastic machines to drive and own but ultimately, caveat emptor reigns. One needs to go into E38 ownership with eyes and wallet open. Buy a good one like W52 seemed to be and you’ll hopefully only experience a few of the above. But buy without due diligence and you’ll pay for it dearly.
Back at Ian’s base I marvel at the underbonnet packaging and mourn the loss of good engine bay visuals. Today’s plastic-clad powerplants really can’t compete with the M73’s installation; all intake plenums and trunking. It’s a marvellous sight. And I simply love the turbine startup on these things, plus the fact that the whole car gently rocks on its springs as it fires up.
It’s worn the years well the E38, and this particular example even more so. The product of several careful and loving owners, who both understand what the car is and how it should be maintained, it’s a survivor and a real youngtimer. Hopefully it will continue to enjoy careful maintenance consummate to its mileage and condition now it’s being enjoyed by its new owner. You can see more of this Seven at my QuentlyBentin YouTube channel and Lullingstone Cars will have more for sale at some point if you see the appeal. I wouldn’t blame you for taking one on, despite their flaws.
Today’s plastic-clad powerplants really can’t compete with the M73’s installation.
You simply cannot beat a torque-rich V12 pouring its power into the transmission.
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- Post is under moderationDROP TOP
Tallis Godfrey’s bagged Estoril #BMW E36 M3 on Speedline Alessios shows just how good this timeless M Cab can look. Haters get your hate on, there’s an #BMW-E36 M3 on air about and it’s one damn fine machine. Photos: Si Gray.
Considering how many bagged BMWs are being sent my way on a monthly basis, I’m amazed at how much hate air-ride still gets and especially the fact that haters still bang on about bags not handling. I wonder how many of those staunchly standing by that viewpoint have ever actually driven a bagged car? Ultimately, we all like different things, but we also all like the same thing: BMWs, so why can’t we all just get along? I haven’t got time for hate or haters, apart from hating on the haters, but that’s something we can all agree on.
Seemingly single-handedly contributing to the downfall of society is Tallis Godfrey, a man who has dared to put air-ride on an #BMW-E36-M3 – time to get the pitchforks out. But hold on, don’t light those torches just yet because this is one stunning #E36 #M3 .
“I’ve always been into cars,” Tallis tells me, “but I was never into BMs. That all changed when my friend, who had a Techno violet M3 at the time, gave me a lift home from a club one night and that’s when I knew I had to have one. After that sprayed a Mk4 Escort Convertible in Estoril because that’s the E36 that I wanted, so I knew the M3 I wanted had to be blue, a Cab and it had to have an M3 plate. I knew nothing of #SMG though, and only bought this one because of the interior,” he explains. “It’s a V reg and it was made on the last day of #E36-M3 production, 23 July 1999, and it was one of five built that day, the second-to-last car sold in the UK and there’s a chance it was the last RHD car made but I can’t be certain.
“It was completely stock when I bought it and I didn’t know that I was going to modify it,” he says but that changed very quickly. The first mods included a set of #Eibach springs, 19” LMs and some stereo upgrades: “The old days of the Escort came back!” laughs Tallis. “When it comes to modifying I like to do my own thing, I like to do things my way with a twist and I like to do what I can myself. Other mods have been and gone over the years and listening to criticism has made the car change and evolve over the eight years that I’ve owned it. I fitted coilovers, Style 5s and ambers and then that look took off and the car slotted in. I got bored of the Santa Pod show so I went down to Players and saw the OEM+, fitment and stance look that the VAG guys were doing and decided to do the same sort of thing with my car.
“The wheels are genuine Speedline Alessio 18” three-piece splits – these are actually off the #Aston-Martin-DB7 and while they’re the same ones that were fitted to the #Porsche-993 , this fitment is much easier to make it work on the E36. I found them on eBay and they were a bargain; I got excited when I saw them because I knew I could make them fit and I knew they would be very exclusive. The PCD is different, but close enough that I could get the wheels on with a set of wobble bolts.” The Speedlines look absolutely awesome on the #M3 – they’re gorgeous wheels whichever way you look at them – classic, iconic, rare, and the size and fitment here is absolutely on point. The clean design suits the E36 shape perfectly and the polished lips are killer.
Beneath the surface there’s a lot of work that you wouldn’t necessarily notice, and it’s what really sets this car apart. Under the bonnet, there’s a Gruppe M induction kit, very nice, but to cover up the bracket left behind by the standard air box, Tallis retrofitted cruise control. “It was hard to do with the SMG,” he explains, “it hadn’t been done before and I had to do a lot of research but I made it work. It was the same story with the paddle conversion.”
The #SMG-I doesn’t come with paddles, so you have to shift via the lever, but Tallis didn’t want that. To look at, you wouldn’t know the paddles weren’t OE, but they are actually AMG items and what you can’t see is how much work was required to make them fit, including having to cut a bit out of the steering wheel to mount them.
Then there’s the matter of the interior itself. It’s nothing if not striking and certainly makes a change from boring black. Tallis picked up the Extended leather components for just £10.50 from German eBay, which is obscene really, and you’ll notice the Vader seats, except they are not full Vaders. The car had Individual Sport seats and the bodies are different, so he had to modify the headrests in order to get them to fit the seats, but it was definitely worth it.
So, now we come to the, thorny for some, issue of suspension. “I had Eibach coilovers on the car,” says Tallis, “and they were good but running at the height I liked I couldn’t get it into my garage and I used to clip catseyes. It was low but it didn’t tuck low and as well as not sitting quite how I wanted it wasn’t practical and I could only get out of Aldershot, where I live, one way as the other routes all had speed humps. I had a Stance Solutions kit on but I’m getting old and the 600lb springs on the Eibach kit were just too hard. So I sold the coilovers, the Stance Solutions kit, the Style 5s and had some money so decided to go for air-ride. I fitted everything myself; it’s not hard – if you can fit audio components and coilovers, then it’s easy,” he says. Tallis is running an Air Lift set up with an exceedingly tidy boot install – so tidy that you wouldn’t know it was there, in fact. The whole thing has been tucked away in the spare wheel well, with a single compressor and small tank, while his #AutoPilot-V2 digital controller lives happily in his central storage bin by the armrest. Is he happy with the switch from static to bags? Just a bit. “I’m very pleased with the setup, it’s better than the coilovers. It’s much more useable, the ride is more comfortable, I can take my family in the car and it doesn’t rub, it’s practical, user-friendly and there’s more adjustability – the Eibachs were only height adjustable but here I’ve also got damping adjustment. And the handling is better as well – overall I’m really pleased.”
There’s no two ways about it, Tallis has built himself a stunning E36 M3 and it seems that most people out there concur. “It gets attention,” he says, “it gets awards, it gets recognition and it gets liked online. The problem is what can I do next? For me, the thrill is in the build and I don’t know what else I could do; I could do an engine swap or fit a supercharger maybe, I was planning to fit a BBK but spent all my money on the airride so I can’t do that now. I might end up selling it,” he says, though he doesn’t look convinced. Fast forward to now and I receive a text message from Tallis that reads: ‘You wait until you see the new look [winking smiley]’ – I had a feeling this M3 wasn’t going anywhere soon and that comes as no surprise. The car seems like an extension of him; a lot of love and work have gone into it and you’re not going to find another E36 M3 quite like this one…
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straightsix #S50B32 , genuine Gruppe M air induction kit, retro fitted OEM cruise control system, custom modified exhaust hangers and clamps and x-brace to get car lower.
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed SMG I, custom #Mercedes #AMG paddle conversion via #E39 modified multi-function slip ring.
CHASSIS: 8x18” (front) and 9x18” (rear) Speedline Alessio three-piece wheels with 215/35 (front and rear) Nankang 18 NS2 tyres, Air Lift Performance struts front and rear, AutoPilot V2 management, upgraded 3/8” airlines, hidden 2.5g brushed aluminium tank fitted into spare wheel well, Viair 380c compressor, front camber plates, rear camber arms, Powerflex polybushes throughout including anti-roll bars, custom polished front strut brace with blue leather inserts to match interior.
EXTERIOR: Short VW Sharan aerial, various new OEM badges, plastics and trims replaced where possible, heavily rolled rear arches keeping the OEM lines, custom rear full amber lights, new front Bosch headlight lenses, front headlights internally de-lensed and shrouded, plasma white 5500K HIDs, aero wipers, factory hard top.
INTERIOR: 11 speaker Harman Kardon factory option upgrade, Alpine flip-out screen, Alpine freeview digibox, Alpine sat nav system, Alpine DVD player fitted in glovebox, genuine OEM Individual factory-fitted leather interior, retro-fitted OEM extended dash leather option, coloured to match existing blue leather, modified Vader headrests to fit OEM Individual Sport seats, piano black centre console, aluminium glovebox trim to match gear-stick details, retrimmed and padded steering wheel, #BMW-Z3 M coloured thumb tabs on steering wheel, OEM fire extinguisher.
THANKS: Nicola and the kids (Emily, Jessica and Oliver), mum and dad, Paul for the late-night detailing work before the shoot, John at www.cleanandshiny. co. uk for all the Zaino over the years, Dips at Custom Cars for help with all the wheels, Leigh at LB Autos for all the mechanical work and servicing, Ben Lee for the paintwork, all the guys on the forums for their help and support and anyone else I’ve met over the years.
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- Post is under moderationBLACK EAGLE
This, quite literally, show-stopping UK #E28 boasts an impossibly shiny #M106 under the bonnet, a massive turbo and the small matter of 500hp. In a word: epic. Built with sheer passion and devotion, this stunning 500hp #BMW-E28 is the ultimate evolution of a near decade-long project. Photos: Steve Hall.
We all love our cars (when they’re working) but it’s rare to come across someone for whom their car really is everything to them. Marsel Theodhori is one such man. His passion for his E28 is unrivalled in anyone I’ve ever met, and it’s this raw, unbridled passion for what was once a humble E28 that has driven him to build one of the finest examples out there. I have a soft spot for the E28 – I owned a #518i Lux for a year some time ago, which I bought for the princely sum of £400. It was so charming, characterful and modern in the way it drove, that it instantly became a member of the family. It didn’t miss a beat over those 12 months and when the time came to sell it, I was genuinely sad to see it go. I think about it often and the way it has lodged itself in my memory and affections means I can definitely relate to the way Marsel feels about his.
Marsel is an interesting man – passionate, intense, intimidating perhaps, but a really nice guy and one with more than a few stories to tell. And his E28 is even more interesting. His love for the second generation 5 Series began when he was just 14 years old. “Growing up in Albania, my neighbour had a white E28 #Alpina and every time I saw it, I thought it looked fantastic. I loved the looks and my dream was to one day have a car like that.”
Fast forward to 2005 and by now Marsel was in the UK when he spotted this humble #E28 #525e . He had loved it from afar, with it belonging to his good friend, Nick Rundall. When Nick wanted to move on to a newer model (and knowing that it needed work and that Marsel was in the motor trade), he gifted him the car, beginning a nine-year journey which resulted in the car you see in front of you.
Marsel has named this car the Black Eagle, a touching patriotic nod to his homeland of Albania (whose red flag bears the image of a black double-headed eagle) and the Order of the Black Eagle, the highest title that could be bestowed upon a citizen of Albania.
The last time the E28 saw the outside world was in September 2012. Marsel had spent seven years working on the car at this point and had built it up to a very high standard. He had sourced an M106 engine for it, which was fitted to an #E23 #745i – a 3.4-litre turbocharged straight-six that was loosely based on the #M30 , developing 252hp at 6psi (0.4bar) of boost. That’s a good starting point, but Marsel wasn’t content with that so a whole host of work went into the engine to get it uprated to handle a serious increase in power.
Marsel’s E28 was suitably recognised at that point for the great car it was; it even had a brief moment of fame in print: “It had a feature in Total #BMW in April 2012 and it had been appearing at most of the shows that year. It was putting out 360hp+ and I travelled to a lot of places, enjoying the result of a very long build. I was just making the most of it so I was really driving it hard and the car was responding well. It made an impressive appearance at the Gaydon BMW Festival and the Santa Pod BMW Show that same year where it won Best of Show.”
Show glory is one thing, but 360hp is another and Marsel is the sort of person who enjoys driving his cars. “I’m an engineer by trade but also a very heavy-footed driver,” he says. “I really love driving sports cars to their limits. Well, that pleasure cost me one day when I blew the #K27 turbo, which was the original item fitted to the M106 by BMW. That turbo was designed originally for 0.4bar and I was pushing close to 1bar for about 3000 miles until it started to smoke off throttle. The car came off the road at the end of September 2012.” That’s when Marsel started to think big. He decided to make the most of the unfortunate situation and realise the true potential of his E28: “I wanted to build a car that would win shows and blow people away. I wanted to build the best E28 that I could,” he says.
Step one was choosing a new turbo that would give Marsel the power he was hungry for. “The K27 was removed and I started making plans for a new, more sophisticated turbo. Considering the potential of these engines, I had to seriously consider a major upgrade on all fronts. Unfortunately, in this country we have a limited market for such applications and turbochargers. Therefore there was only one place I could look to: the USA. In the States there are hundreds if not thousands of stockists and manufacturers of performance parts and turbochargers.
“Hunting for the best deals, I came across a #Garrett-GT4202 turbo for half of the UK price and bought it straight away.” The #GT4202 is rated for up to 1000hp, giving Marsel plenty of headroom on the power front. However, it is significantly larger than the K27 so it gave Marsel a bit of a headache when it came to fitting. “I had the turbo hanging from the ceiling at one point,” he explains, “and I was lowering it into the engine bay so I could tie it into place. That meant I could start calculating how it would sit in the engine bay and what sort of manifold I would need to fabricate for it.” The massive turbo fits in the engine bay, just, but there was the small matter of the bonnet getting in the way, so Marsel had a custom item made with a neat cut-out for the turbo to peep through.
While the whole car is finished to an incredibly high standard, the engine is what this car is all about. When the bonnet pops, the engine bay draws in BMW fans like bees to honey. Every square inch of the bay has been polished to within an inch of its life, every hose is braided, every pipe is blue and the blue-and-red colour scheme has been executed with serious attention to detail – the oil filler cap is blue and even the washer fluid and coolant are red and blue.
The turbo sits on a beefy modified M106 manifold with a custom stainless steel top mounted flange neck, with a 4” downpipe, which slims to 3.5” to clear the bulkhead before expanding to 5” for minimum restriction and splitting into two 2.5” pipes which run to a custom Frtiz’s Bits back box. The turbo itself is served by a 5.5” core chargecooler with a custom top panel, itself mated to a 55mm twin-core 500x630mm chargecooler rad. You won’t find any highflow induction kits here – the turbo has been fitted with some silver mesh, presumably to stop people and animals from being sucked in, and that’s it. Beyond the bling, there’s serious engineering evident wherever you look: the turbo is braced against the engine and the entire engine is braced against the strut brace. This is because once, under hard braking, the engine tilted forward a fraction and that was enough to push the viscous fan into the thicker rad that Marsel had fitted. To ensure that doesn’t happen again, he took the precaution of bracing the engine to stop any unwanted movement.
Of course, the dazzlingly shiny exterior is just the tip of an extremely comprehensive iceberg. The data file reads like an engine builder’s wish list and no expense has been spared in building an engine that will deliver a lot of power happily and comfortably, day in, day out.
The H-pattern con rods and #Mahle forged low compression pistons have been carried over from the previous build, along with the #Glyco race bearings, but the ported and polished NA cylinder head is new, as are the titanium double valve springs, sodium-filled exhaust valves and titanium rockers and rocker shaft lockers. The engine is fed by twin #Bosch 044 fuel pumps, and there’s a fuel cooler, 1000cc Bosch injectors and Marsel has used an #E34 #535i inlet manifold with an original 3” reverse-mounted throttle body. It is the engine you would build if you could.
As the old saying goes, power is nothing without control, and Marsel has ensured that every supporting component has been suitably upgraded to ensure that the rest of the E28 can handle all the power that’s being developed by the engine. On the transmission front there’s a fully-rebuilt dogleg gearbox with a custom short clutch master cylinder, M535i driveshaft and propshafts, restored 3.07 M5 LSD and upgraded race-spec motorsport diff mount. Peer under the rear of the car and, as well as an immaculate and impossibly polished back box, you will see the diff cooler and diff pump mounted below. On the suspension front you’ll find #GAZ Gold race coilovers all-round with 550lb springs up front and 250lb rears, which have been carried over from the first build, with fully adjustable rose jointed front upper top mounts, fully adjustable rear top upper mounts, front and rear thicker, uprated antiroll bars, with Powerflex bushes all-round, new wheel bearings and all the various suspension components have either been renewed or reconditioned.
The brake setup that Marsel had first time around worked well enough for him to keep it so he just renewed the components with four-pot front Brembos calipers from an E31 840Ci and 324mm discs and 300mm rear discs mated to E28 #M535i calipers, with Goodridge braided hoses throughout. Marsel hasn’t forgotten about the looks in all of this and has poured his heart into getting the exterior styling exactly to his tastes. The body was stripped and the car was given the full M5 treatment, while new headlights and chrome rear lights have also been fitted. Various components have been polished and rechromed, such as the window surrounds, door handles and the C-pillar inserts, with the resulting brightness contrasting beautifully against the Jet black paint.
The wheels are an interesting choice. Previously, Marsel was running #BBS RSs before switching to these Fomb 17s, which he’d had refurbed in black for its big reveal in 2014. He had been planning to get the BBSs ready for our shoot, but as they needed to be refurbed and have new barrels, it was no small task. Also, as he pointed out, everyone has BBS RSs – they’re gorgeous, classic and iconic wheels, but they are a bit of a trend right now. Marsel wanted something different for the E28 and that’s when he decided to stick with the Fomb wheels, and give them a fresh look by getting the dishes diamond cut. The end result? Pretty spectacular. With an all-black finish, the dishes were completely lost, but now you can really appreciate just how dishy they are and they tie in perfectly with the polished elements across the whole car.
The interior hasn’t been touched during the past two years but it was so nice there was no need to do anything. The retrimmed front seats still looks like new, as do the recolonised rears and, despite the colour, the carpets, door carpets and doorcards are completely original, which is particularly impressive as they are insanely clean.
“I really wanted to impress the UK BMW world by getting out to all the shows this year. I badly wanted this car to shine like a star and drive like a bullet so the final piece of the puzzle was to give the car another remap,” Marsel explains. “The only man that I would ever trust in tuning this car is Sam Borgman at TDI in Lakeside, Essex. Sam and I have spent a considerable amount of time together in perfecting this car. On 3 August the car was on the hub dyno being tuned and ready for the road. Sam had it set within a couple of hours and managed to get a comfortable 500hp which I think is more than enough for driving pleasure. The car is now running like a dream – just like I wanted it to be.” And with that, it was time to unveil his creation to the world.
“The first major show I took the car to was the Gaydon #BMW Festival. It got a lot of interest from all the visitors throughout the day and I had the chance to meet and chat with some true motoring enthusiasts. I had plenty of tech talks during the day and I really enjoyed it. It was actually the first time I had taken my wife Leonora to a car show and she was also amazed as to how many people really loved the car. That day I won Best of Show and I felt very happy and proud of this achievement.”
That’s been pretty much the formula for Marsel and his E28 – turn up to a show, wow the crowd and take home silverware. Almost Famous at the Ace Café? Best of Show. Players? First out of the top 20. Santa Pod BMW Show? Best of Show, which, as we mentioned, he’d already won with the car in its previous incarnation back in 2012. Then there was the time he went along to VAGRoots for fun and, despite it being a VW Audi event, he also won the show. But Marsel said he had set out to build a showwinning car, and that’s exactly what he’s got.
“I believe that I might just have built something extra special. An E28 with a great character and amazing features, fine definition and desirable styling. A powerful, black, mean, luxurious, classic BMW E28 from the ’80s had to be the car for me. Building a car like this has not been easy. I’ve had a real love/hate relationship with the car. Throughout the build it has tested my patience many times but I never gave up and, having spent nearly ten years building it, I have had the opportunity to meet some great guys along the way that have become good friends.”
Ultimately, it’s all been worth it and the results speak for themselves. It’s an astounding build, technically outstanding and finished to a very high standard. More than anything, it’s fantastic to see someone pouring this much love into an E28 and helping to preserve one of these classics in such spectacular fashion. Furthermore, with no intention of ever selling it, this E28 will always remain part of Marsel’s family.
ENGINE: 3.4-litre straight-six M106 ( #M30B34MAE also called version M30 engine with turbo and pistons), new H-pattern con rods, Mahle forged low compression pistons, Glyco race bearings, ARP full bottom end bolt kit, lapped fully balanced crankshaft, flywheel, clutch and front vibration damper. #S38 clutch and non-dual mass flywheel, E34 535i modified oil pump (50psi idle) crown cooler spray oil jets located at the main block housings, M5 engine relocated oil cooler, ported and polished NA cylinder head, forged M106 turbo camshaft, titanium double valve springs, sodium filled exhaust valves, new stainless steel valve seats and new re-cut inlet valves, titanium rockers and rocker shaft lockers from PPM, custom head gasket made by PPM, full engine gasket kit, new water pump, customised aftermarket #E36 M3 60mm core radiator, #E39 #M5 viscous clutch and blade, 41mm Samco top and bottom hoses, new expansion tank and level sensor, Omex standalone 710 ECU, Bosch lambda sensor, Vauxhall V6 Vectra coil pack, new custom cut and made to suitable lengths 8mm silicone high performance HT leads, #NGK heat range nine spark plugs, 3bar map sensor, Omex TPS, fully stripped and rebuilt polished alternator and fixings, new Bosch starter motor, twin Bosch 044 gravity fed fuel pumps, fuel cooler, 1000cc Bosch EV14 injectors, Aeromotive A-1000 FPR, AN-8 Aeroquip teflon supply and AN-6 return fuel pipes, modified E34 535i inlet, 3” original reversemounted throttle body, 3” aluminium and Samco pipe work, 5.5” core aftermarket chargecooler, Bosch EVT water pump, 55mm twin core 500x630 chargecooler radiator, AN12 Aeroquip feed and return water pipes and fixings, modified #BMW-M106 turbo manifold, custom stainless steel flange top mounted neck, original M106 stainless #M10 exhaust studs x 12, GT4202 Garrett turbo, HKS 60mm external wastegate, 4” downpipe reduced to 3.5” by the bulkhead, 5” by 300mm flexi joint then split to 2x2.5” pipes all the way to custom turbo Fritz’s Bits back box, 4x M10 rose jointed supportive custom alloy bars.
TRANSMISSION: Fully rebuilt five-speed dog-leg gearbox, custom short clutch master cylinder and relocated fluid container, M535i driveshafts and propshaft, restored 3.07 M5 LSD, diff cooler and pump AN-10 Aeroquip fixings and braided teflon hoses, upgraded race-spec Motorsport diff mount, all bolts and mountings replaced with stainless spec and chrome plated items.
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front and rear) Fomb wheels with 235/45 Bridgestone tyres, GAZ gold race coilover kit with 550lb front springs and 250lb rears, fully adjustable front upper top mounts rose jointed, fully adjustable rear top upper mounts rose jointed, rose jointed rear lower shock pin mounts, all suspension components replaced or reconditioned, all steering linkages renewed, new front Motorsport anti-roll bars 25mm front and 19mm rear, Powerflex bushes all-round, reinforced front lower alloy brace under the bumper, #E31 #840Ci four-pot #Brembo calipers (front) with 324x30mm discs, E28 M353i calipers (rear) with 300x15mm discs, Goodridge braided hoses all-round, E32 master cylinder, all original hard pipes re-powdercoated green.
EXTERIOR: M5-spec body styling, new wings doors and bootlid, Shadowline bumpers, custom turbo bonnet, Motorsport rear spoiler with carbon fibre top section, green tinted cabin glass with blue front windscreen upper sun visor, Moon roof glass panel with purple fibre wind deflector, new headlights and chrome rear lights, original rear number plate, window trims and door handles polished and rechromed by Ospreys metal finishers in Borehamwood, all window rubber weather strips were replaced.
INTERIOR: Front seats retrimmed by B-Trim, rears recolonised, new dashboard, original carpet, doorcards and headlining, new gear knob colour-coded in interior leather, new Motorspost odometer, new tachometer, new M Tech 1 steering wheel.
THANKS: All the people that have contributed to the build and to maintaining this vehicle: Daryl, Paul, John and Ryan at Osprey Metal Finishers, Rob, Miles and Chris at Hartoms Engineering, Alex Austin at Torques UK, Richard and Dave at Fritz’s Bits, Guy Higgs at Omex UK, Neil, Adam and John at BTrim, Sam and Mark at TDI, Simon, Eldwin and Dave at EMP Exhausts, Richard Ryan and Carlos at Manor Body in Enfield, also thank you to my family for their support and to Drive-My.
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- Post is under moderationLIMITLESS
Many of us dream of building a seriously big-power #BMW , but few people make that into a reality. This 1004whp E21 sleeper is a very real dream build. With 1004whp, this incredible turbocharged #E21 goes above and beyond the concept of fast… Words: Seb de Latour. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
You might, having just read that little intro, be wondering how much power is too much power. If you’re thinking that, this feature probably isn’t for you. In fact, maybe you should just put down #Drive-My and pick up a copy of Crochet Monthly or something along those lines. The correct answer to the above question is, of course, that there is no such thing as too much power. Okay, if we’re being absolutely sensible then, yes, 1004whp might be a little tricky to deploy in the middle of a downpour or, more likely in owner Joni Simila’s home country of Sweden, in the middle of a crisp, white winter but then you can either jump in something more suitable or travel in a far more sideways fashion. More power means you can go faster and going fast is most definitely a good thing. And when you reach, and manage to break through, the 1000hp barrier, well, there are few bigger feathers for your cap. 1000hp is a magical, almost fantasy realm of power, a number so large and incomprehensible to mere mortals that attempting to understand what 1000hp could possibly be like will see your brain melting and dripping out through your ears. True fact.
For Joni, 1000whp, and just a fraction more, is something he’s most definitely managed to wrap his brain around and something he’d wanted from the off when he started this build. His interest in cars began when he was young, watching and helping his dad fix them. When he was a bit older he bought a motocross bike which he worked on. At school he took a course in car mechanics. During this time he also watched his brother play around with various modified cars. The seeds were sown and as Joni grew so did his passion for all things automotive.
His first car was a 1.6 1988 #Honda-Civic hatchback and that’s fine, because we’ve all got to start somewhere, but having sampled the particular pleasures offered by rearwheel drive in his brother’s E28 M535i, a BMW purchase was inevitable. It began with an #E30 #323i Exclusive with a #325i engine but the first big project was an E28 M535i sleeper which featured a turbo and made 715whp and 634lb ft of torque at 2bar of boost. He sold it in 2012, inspired to go bigger and better, as he explains: “When I sold my E28, I only sold it because I wanted to build a 1000whp sleeper car and it’s hard to get that sort of power from the E28’s M30 engine. After the E28 sold I bought an E36 M3 to build up. I bought it in the middle of summer and took it to some meets. However, all the other cars I saw at meets were also E36s in different styles. As a result I decided that it wasn’t a special enough car, like the E28 was, so I traded it in for an E21 with one of the owners of Pure Performance Factory (PPF).”
Joni may have known that he wanted a big project but it all got going a lot sooner than expected as, approximately one-hour into E21 ownership, the diff broke. “I towed the car home, rolled it into the garage, lifted it up and started planning,” says Joni, matter-of-factly.
With a target of 1000whp the engine had to be rebuilt to be able to generate (and deal with) that sort of power level, and that’s after you’ve chosen an engine for the task in hand. Joni opted for the S50B32 before taking the whole thing to pieces. “I dismantled and reassembled the engine with the help of my cousins and a friend did the headwork and lined up the camshafts,” he explains. The intake and exhaust channels were ported and then the cylinder head was fitted with chromoloy retainers, PPF valve springs, a copper ring head gasket, ARP bolts and all-new gaskets throughout. The block was sent off to an engine specialist and treated to CP pistons with heavy-duty pins, PPF forged H-beam rods with ARP bolts, a support girdle with ARP bolts, new bearings, a new oil pump, new water pump and gaskets before everything was balanced and checked for bearing play.
With the foundations set, Joni was now able to put together the turbo setup. As his day job is being a welder and iron worker he was able to do all of the pipework manufacture and welding himself. For the turbo, he turned to Precision Turbo and opted for a monster PT7675, which carries a horsepower rating of 1160 and features a 76mm compressor wheel and 75mm turbine wheel, along with a 46mm wastegate. This giant snail needed a home, so a suitably beefy manifold was constructed along with a custom intake and then a custom 3.5” turboback exhaust was fabricated, which then splits into two 3” pipes running to the rear bumper with a silencer on each. A PPF intercooler and 76mm blow-off valve were selected along with an Allstar aluminium radiator and Spall fan plus a 19-row oil cooler. With such a massive turbo chucking so much air into the engine, the S50 has developed a voracious appetite for fuel and needs some pretty heavy-duty hardware to ensure it gets enough of what it needs. The engine runs 1600cc Racetronix injectors, two Aeromotive A1000 fuel pumps, a custom-built 60-litre fuel cell with a 2.5-litre catch tank, VAG COM ignition coils and the whole thing is looked after by MaxxECU engine management.
The end result is 1004whp, somewhere in the region of 1200hp at the flywheel, with 780lb ft of torque, which is enough to be getting on with. That’s going to put a serious strain on the drivetrain so every component along the way has been uprated. There’s a Sachs 765 pressure plate mated to a fourpuck sintered clutch disc and an M30 flywheel; the five-speed gearbox is from an #E39 #530d and there are 128mm chromoly CV-joints with super durable driveshafts. On the suspension front there are Bilstein dampers all-round with custom-built coilovers up front along with Strongflex bushes and an #E28 #M535i rear end with camber and toe adjustment. The brakes have been upgraded but perhaps not as much as you’d expect and rather than a massive off-the-shelf BBK Joni has opted for a set of four-piston E32 750i calipers mated to E36 M3 discs and GreenStuff pads, while at the rear there’s a set of E34 540i calipers and discs, also with GreenStuff pads.
Aesthetically speaking, this is one extremely sexy E21 and you couldn’t really ask for more of a sleeper. “The plan for the exterior was pretty clear,” explains Joni on his route with the styling and colour choice.
“My cousin, who is a car painter, decided the colour, otherwise he would not paint the car! I wanted the car to have a clean, original look so the BBS front spoiler, single headlights, clear turn signal lights, slightly tinted rear lights and BMW Motorsport handles was enough.” The car was painted in a lovely Fiat metallic grey called Grigio Vinci that really suits the E21 and looks great when the light hits it and picks out the flake; plus it adds to the subtle look of the whole project. On the wheel front, Joni wanted 10x17s at the rear with a wide lip and found these staggered Keskin KT1s for sale online at a good price. Fake splits they may be but they’re good-looking wheels, having taken their inspiration from OZ Futuras, though Joni plans to get rid of these and move to a set of real split-rims at some stage.
Inside, things have been kept pretty simple. The seats are the stock items and the only real changes are the RRS steering wheel and the modified instrument cluster, with Hartge speedo and additional VDO gauges, while the dash has also been given a good flocking. A custom leather retrim is planned for the winter, says Joni.
This is an incredibly comprehensive build, more than a year’s worth of work culminating in an unfeasibly powerful E21 that many a BMW fan would aspire to. However, in retrospect there are a number of things Joni would have done differently if he could and things that he plans to change. “If money was no object I would replace the stock camshafts with some meaner ones, fit a Vanos unit and replace the stock valves with some oversized race valves,” he says. “But my plans for next season, as well as getting new wheels and a custom leather interior, are to fit some stronger driveshafts and I will probably find many other things to change along the way. Winter time here in Sweden is long.”
A lot has gone into building this #BMW-E21 but Joni’s now got exactly what he wanted and he’s over the moon with the car. 1000hp takes dedication and a whole lot of hard work but one look at this E21 will tell you that it’s worth it, and then some.
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S50B32 , ported intake and exhaust channels, chromoly retainers, PPF valve springs, copper ring head gasket, ARP bolts, all-new gaskets, CP pistons with heavy duty pins, PPF forged H-beam rods with ARP bolts, support girdle with ARP bolts, new bearings, new oil pump, new water pump, new gaskets, everything balanced and checked for bearing play, Precision Turbo PT7675 a/r 0.96 turbocharger, Precision Turbo 46mm wastegate, custom turbo manifold, custom 3.5” downpipe and 3.5” exhaust with x2 3” rear pipes with single silencer one each side, PPF 600x300x76mm intercooler, PPF 75mm blow-off valve, custom intake, Allstar aluminium radiator, 19-row oil cooler, Spal radiator fan, MaxxECU engine management, VAG COP ignition coils, 1600cc Racetronix injectors, two Aeromotive A1000 fuel pumps, Aeromotive 13109 regulator, custom 60-litre fuel cell with built-in 2.5-litre catch tank, An8 fuel feed and An6 fuel return.
TRANSMISSION: E39 530d Getrag five-speed manual gearbox, Sachs 765 pressure plate, four-puck sintered clutch disc, BMW M30 flywheel, 128mm chromoly CV joints with super durable driveshafts.
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #Keskin KT1 wheels with 205/40 (front) and 225/45 (rear) tyres, E28 M535i rear end, modified to fit with camber and toe adjustment, Strongflex bushes front and rear, custom front coilovers, Bilstein dampers front and rear, #BMW-E32 #750i four-piston calipers with #E36 #M3 discs and GreenStuff pads (front), #BMW-E34 #540i calipers and discs with GreenStuff pads (rear).
EXTERIOR: Full respray in Fiat Grigio Vinci metallic grey, BBS front spoiler, single headlights, clear indicators, slightly tinted rear lights, BMW Motorsport door handles.
INTERIOR: Standard seats, flocked dashboard and centre console, RRS suede-rimmed steering wheel, BMW M gear knob, modified gauge panel with BMW E30 Hartge speedo and VDO oil pressure and oil temp gauges.
THANKS: Pure Performance Factory, Keijo, Toni, Mika, Henka, Jim, Robban, Promille, Lars, PPG, Weldor AB, Lackspecialisten Köping, Kolsva Vattenskärning and all of you who have helped in one way or another.
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- Post is under moderationCar #BMW-E24 #M635CSi
The MINI departs for pastures new, the #M6 gets a new set of alloys and the #135i has come in for a dose of heavy tuning.
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 48
TOTAL MILEAGE: 161,454
MPG THIS MONTH: 21.9
TOTAL COST: £415 (wheels and tyres)
Having put a few miles under the M6’s wheels since I got it I had come to the conclusion that the metric rims and #Michelin-TRX rubber were going to have to go. On the one hand they do look absolutely perfect on the car and I’ve yet to see a Six on alternative rims that looks so quintessentially ‘right’ as a TRX-shod machine. The flip side of the coin is that the tyres are ferociously expensive, hard to come by and offer about as much grip in the wet as worn-out trainers on sheet ice. While this can be quite entertaining at times it does limit one’s progress and if you happen to forget what car you’re driving as you negotiate a roundabout it can be a little unnerving having to apply a liberal dose of opposite lock to keep things on the straight and narrow.
Thus the search for a set of nonmetric rims was on the cards. The original wheels are about 16.3 inches in diameter so as far as I’m concerned the best wheels to fit are a set of 16s as to my mind this wasn’t a car that was designed with bigger rims in mind. 17s might fill the arches better but I’m more concerned with ride quality and handling balance than the ultimate in aesthetics. And perhaps most crucially so many E24s now run on the 17-inch cross-spoke threepiece Style 5 wheels, as fitted to the #E31 8 Series and the #E39 Five, that I wanted to do something a little different while still aiming for a vestige of originality in the looks department. I toyed with the idea of Alpinas but in the end decided these look better on a pre-Highline Six than the later cars. #E28 M5 16-inch cross-spokes would be perfect but are as rare as unicorns and as expensive, too. I spent ages on the bigcoupe.com wheels and tyres forum looking at what other folk had done but every time I clicked my browser window shut I felt I hadn’t got any closer to alloy nirvana for F570.
And then I had my epiphany in Munich Legends’ car park. Sitting there was an #E24 #BMW-M635CSi sitting on a set of 16-inch cross-spoke alloys that I was pretty sure were from an E38 7 Series and also one of the optional wheels fitted to the #E39 Five. Some research confirmed that the wheel had been available on both cars – 8x16- inch on the #E38 and 7x16-inch on the E39. Whichever one I went for I would need to fit lower profile rubber in order to keep the speedo reading correctly and while the E38 rims have the correct centre bore their offset is ever so slightly wrong for a 6 Series. After some digging it transpired that some owners who had fitted these reported that the tyres could foul the front suspension leg. E39 rims bring their own problems in that the centre bore is the incorrect size, although this can be easily solved with a set of spigot rings.
Now I’d decided what I wanted it was a case of trawling the classifieds and keeping a close eye on eBay. Being a bit of a skinflint I missed out on a couple of sets but eventually a third set popped up on my daily eBay search. What made this set particularly attractive was that they already had tyres of the correct size fitted as the seller had used them on an #E34 #535i Sport when he’d ditched the metrics. They were originally from an E38 and the seller confirmed that while they were pretty close to the front suspension leg when fitted to the E34 there wasn’t any fouling. It seems that depending on the brand of tyres fitted the shoulders of some makes bulge out further than others and it’s the tyre rather than the rim that can foul the leg. I felt I’d done my due diligence and determined not to miss out I put in a fairly high bid and waited somewhat impatiently for the auction to end. I was pleasantly surprised a week later to discover that I was the winner for the sum of £415 which wasn’t too bad, especially given the Falken Ziex 225/50 rubber fitted had only done 200 miles or so and were effectively brand-new.
I sallied forth to Gloucestershire to pick them up and while not unmarked they did seem to be in very decent condition and the tyres were, indeed, almost brand-new. Once I’d got them home I needed to pop them into the Six so I could pop over to BM Sport (bmsport. com or 020 8304 9797) to have them fitted. This was easier said than done as I could only squeeze two of the wheels into the boot and had to pop the other two on the back seat with old coats protecting the leather.
I could have fitted the wheels myself with the aid of a trolley jack but I wanted to have a detailed look at how close they were going to be to the front suspension leg. And when the car was up on the ramp it would also give me a chance to have a look at the ghastly exhaust that’s currently fitted as I wasn’t sure on exactly how much of the original system remained. As ever the chaps at BM Sport were fast and efficient and it seemed like only a matter of minutes before the metrics were off and the new Style 5s were on the car. They are quite tight by the front suspension leg but don’t actually foul and I’m really rather pleased with the way they look. On the road they’re a bit of a revelation being a lot quieter and significantly grippier than the TRXs. Obviously the Falkens don’t offer the ultimate grip of Pilot Sports or Conti SportContacts but by my reckoning you don’t want anything too grippy on an old chassis like the #BMW E24 as it wasn’t designed with this sort of grip in mind. And a bit of slip is entertaining, no?
Just not too much. Overall I’m really very pleased with the new wheels and tyres, although Mrs H is less delighted about storing the TRXs which will be kept for the purposes of originality. Studying the exhaust when up on the ramp was less pleasing, though. I’m effectively going to need to find an original manifold back system as the new centre and rear sections just don’t look or sound quite right. I’ve yet to feel brave enough to find out exactly how much a new original system will cost – I know it’s going to be eye-watering – so I’m currently looking out for a decent used system, or perhaps thinking of having a bespoke system made up for the car. Decisions, decisions…
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- Post is under moderationElizabeth’s #BMW-E39 #540i #M62B44
I hope you’re not bored of reading about me being excited about my air-ride just yet because last month I spent so long being excited about the install I didn’t actually leave myself space to talk about what the air-ride was actually like. If you are bored, um, sorry…
I guess the first thing I want to talk about is the ride and handling. If you hate bags, then you’ll be of the opinion that they don’t handle. If you love bags then your views will be the opposite of that. And if you’re somewhere in the middle, perhaps interested but keeping an open mind and not leaning either way, you’ll be willing to listen to arguments from both sides. My personal position prior to getting air-ride was decidedly openminded – I have to be, it’s part and parcel of the job really, and there are few, if any, mods that I actually hate. I was drawn in by the practicality of air-ride plus that you can dump your car. That’s pretty damn cool in my book. Going into this, I can tell you that the suspension on my #E39 was well and truly knackered; 119k miles took their toll on the standard, original suspension and the car felt like a bit of a mess. Considering the E39 is widely considered to have the best ride/ handling balance of just about any #BMW ever produced, things were clearly not right.
Post-air-ride installation, I can tell you that the car feels approximately 1,000,000% better than it did previously because it’s got brand spankingnew suspension on it. As for how the Air Lift kit feels specifically, honestly it feels just like any other stiffer, aftermarket, performance-orientated suspension setup I’ve ever tried. I’ve owned and driven BMWs on everything from springs to topend coilovers and from behind the wheel there’s really nothing to suggest that you’re running on air. The Air Lift kit offers 30 clicks of damping adjustment, so there’s plenty of scope for finetuning but to be honest I’ve not bothered to play with it as of yet. Adjustment itself is very easy but I’m not sure where to start in terms of looking to strike the right balance. In all honesty it feels absolutely fine in its default middle setting, relatively firm, but still comfortable while offering good body control. The 540i is no sports car, partly because of that vague recirculating ball steering setup and partly because of my very slidey Comfort seats, but when you push on the Air Lift setup seems more than happy, keeping the E39’s not inconsiderable weight in check; the car feels good and there’s very little roll. If you didn’t know it was on air and you went for a ride in it, you really wouldn’t realise.
The #AutoPilot V2 controller is extremely cool and, as I mentioned last month, I love where Studio Incar mounted it for me – it makes it easy to use while also keeping it neatly tucked away. You definitely want to read the manual if you want to make the most of the system, even after it’s all been set up and calibrated, because there are loads of setting and options that you can go through and tweak in order to get the most from your air-ride. I love the eight presets that you can save and currently have zero pressure for airing out, max pressure for climbing over obstacles and a variety of different ride heights for various circumstances.
I will say that one thing people tend not to talk about is how fiddly air-ride can be; for example, this system is pressure-based, so while it will compensate for additional weight by maintaining your preset pressures, that doesn’t equate to the same ride height once you have people on board, so extra passengers mean different pressures. There’s also the fact that ambient temperature affects ride height, so my presets result in a different ride height depending on what the weather is doing, so I’ve got a number of different presets for the same ride height that I can switch between depending on the forecast. Air-ride is not a fit and forgot suspension solution – you need to be involved with it to get the most from it.
Ultimately that doesn’t bother me, though, because I wanted air-ride and I love everything that it does. I love the feeling of the car rising on start. I love airing it out when I park-up and seeing people’s confused expressions. I love how it looks when it’s dropped. I love the fact that speed bumps and rough roads aren’t a problem and I love the fact that it feels just like a good aftermarket suspension setup. Plus there’s also the fact that it’s just really cool to have. For the E39, I didn’t want anything else; if I ever end up building another car like this, it’s going to be airride all the way.
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- Post is under moderationWAGONS ROLL
This trio of tastefully modified E46 Tourings demonstrates that a limited budget and daily duties doesn’t need to mean dull. Tourings are cool, no doubt about that, and some choice mods can make all the difference as this tasty trio demonstrates. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Steve Hall.
KOS LOIZOU E46 BMW 330i M Sport
We begin this tale of Tourings with Kos and his 330i, mainly because he’s the one who got in touch asking if we’d be interested in featuring three Tourings, and who wouldn’t?
“I’ve been into BMs since I was 18,” Kos tells me, “and for the last 15 years I’ve owned nothing but. I’ve had E30s, E36s, an E34 for a month and an E39, which was replaced by this. The #E39 was a cracking car which I owned for two and a half years and there was no reason to sell it, but I fancied a change and wanted a Touring. I had three in a row previously and they are very practical dailies – I have German Shepherds and do detailing on the side, so the space is useful. “I started looking at E39 Tourings, but I couldn’t find the right one, so switched to E46s. I wanted an oddball, not something in silver or blue and spotted this Individual Techno violet one on eBay. It had 149k miles, was a two-owner car with full history and was exactly what I wanted – a manual M Sport with leather. When I went to have a look at it, I saw it was nice so I did the deal and drove it home.” That was 18 months ago and in that time the Touring has gone from being bone stock to tastefully modified, as have all three of these cars.
“Everything gets blessed,” laughs Kos, “by which I mean every car I’ve owned has been modified. I knew I was going to have to do the suspension, the wheels needed a refurb and it needed some tyres. I started looking around for wheels – ACS and Hartge in particular – but people were asking too much and then I came across these Racing Dynamics 18s, brand-new and boxed for £500. I drove to Luton that day to collect them! On the suspension front I’ve got an H&R Sport Cup kit, and new top mounts and ARB links. I’ve carried out an OE xenon retrofit as I couldn’t be doing with candles.
“I’ve also fitted a genuine #Alpina B3 exhaust and manifold and had the car remapped to 244hp. You can really feel the difference – it breathes better at high rpm and into three-figure speeds it pulls harder. I’d originally just wanted an exhaust, nothing too loud, but when I saw this exhaust and manifold for £350, I snapped it up. I’ve also got a Racing Dynamics carbon fibre engine cover – I pestered someone who had one to sell it to me until he did,” he chuckles. “I’ve fitted Mintex pads and discs and rebushed the whole car six months ago; the fast road suspension setup I’ve got is good but the car is crying out for a Quaife diff now, and that’s next on the list, though I’ve also got some brackets for BMW’s six-pot callipers, so I’d love to get a set of those on at some stage.
“I can’t lose sight of the fact that this is a daily,” he continues, “but I’m really pleased with how capable it is – all three us of have been to the ’Ring together with our Tourings.” So any thoughts of moving on?
Kos pauses to ponder. “I like the #E91 Tourings, the same as Alan and Daryl, but I know where I am with this car and nothing really goes wrong. Better the devil you know, as they say. I’ve also got my #E24 6 Series, Compact and an #E30 M3, so I’ve got other cars that need attention and am happy with the E46 for the time being.”
DARYL INGRAM 330d M SPORT
“I remember seeing an ACS S3 Touring in #BMW drive-MY clubs and used that as the inspiration for my Touring”
“I’ve always been into BMWs,” begins Daryl, “and I’ve been driving E30s for over 20 years. My brother had an #E21 #323i years ago and my first was an E30 #318i Lux Touring and plenty more followed, including an E30 M3 which I’ve owned for 14 years now. I was looking around for a new daily and a Touring seemed like a good choice, so I got some money together and bought this ’51 plate #E46 seven years ago. I had always liked the E46, especially the 330d as an M Sport, so it made sense as a daily driver.
“I bought it completely bog standard but I’ve modified every car I’ve ever owned and I enjoy making them my own. Within a week I’d changed the wheels and had coilovers on order,” he says with a grin. “I had two sets of 19” BBS reps on the car previously, LMs and LMRs, but I decided to look for something else – I had three-piece ACS Type II Racing wheels on my E30 M3 and got into #ACS so I started looking for a set for the Touring and managed to source these 18” Type IIIs virtually brand-new.” The Type III is a greatlooking wheel, arguably one of Schnitzer’s best and the company clearly felt the same way as its Type VIII has more than a hint of this classic wheel about it. The Type III seems to work well on just about any car, and with those slender spokes extending right out to the edges of the wheel, it always looks bigger than it is.
“I remember seeing an ACS S3 Touring in #BMW drive-MY groups and used that as the inspiration for my Touring. I’ve fitted an ACS strut brace and exhaust pipe trim and on the performance front I’ve had the car remapped, fitted a Sprint Booster, had a primary de-cat carried out, the swirl flaps have been removed and I’ve also got an EGR bypass. With all that it’s got about 240hp and it feels pretty rapid. I’ve also upgraded the audio, nothing over the top, just a few improvements so I can enjoy my music a bit more.” Around 240hp is plenty to be getting on with and it never fails to impress that you can pick up a 330d like this for not a lot of money, get a decent turn of speed from it and still be able to enjoy surprisingly good fuel economy.
“On the suspension front my first choice when I bought the car was a FK Konigsport coilover kit. It was good but over the years the rear suspension started to sag and the FKs started to leak, so I got some H&R Cup springs and a set of Bilstein B8 dampers. I’ve kept the FKs up front for now as they’re okay but I’ve been really impressed with the new setup, it’s better for the money.
“I looked at an E91 335d a few years ago but it was too expensive while the 330d wasn’t different enough to make me want to change. I could go for a 335d now, but to be honest, I’m more than happy with this so why go changing? It’s gone from 89k miles to 205k miles and I’ve really looked after it, it wants for nothing. It’s not worth selling, but to me it’s worth £20,000…” and that’s something we can all relate to.
ALAN BLACKWOOD #330d M SPORT
“I’m happy with the car, there’s nothing else I want to do to it so I will just enjoy it”
“I’ve been into BMWs since the ’90s,” Alan tells me. “I started out with a an E30 #325i Sport with a few mods, then I got into Hartge and ended up doing a H26, then a 2.7 conversion, and then I found out about Kevin Bird importing the H36 E30. I traded in the E30 and bought one, which I’ve still got today and it’s very rare. I bought the 330d as a replacement for a Punto five years ago as a daily and I wasn’t even thinking of doing any mods on it but obviously that didn’t last. The first thing I did was a remap, which got me around 220hp, but it’s only been in the last year or two that I’ve really started modifying the car.”
Much like the other two Tourings that make up this trio, Alan hasn’t gone mad with the mods, but he has ended up with a very nice #E46 indeed. “After the remap, I started looking around for a suspension kit. I bought an H&R Cup kit but the car was even lower than Kos’, so I ended up changing the springs so the car would sit higher as I live in London and have to deal with speed bumps! I also fitted a Quaife diff, though for me it’s more for safety – it would struggle to put the power down before but now I can accelerate with confidence knowing it’s got more traction. I’ve got a Hartge Accelerator Booster, which is like a Sprint Booster – I fitted it after the remap and I’m happy with it, the combination of the two definitely makes the car feel a lot more responsive.
“The wheels are 18” Hartge Classics which I had on my H36; I swapped them over for the originals and decided to put the Hartges on the E46 and I think they look really good on the car.” We’re inclined to agree – Hartge’s multi-spoke design is, well, a classic and the two-piece wheels look absolutely spot-on on the E46, especially with a nice drop. Despite the higher springs, Alan’s car isn’t exactly what you’d call high and sits perfectly. As far as nicely modified dailies go, this Touring is a winner in our eyes and while Alan’s not gone overboard, he’s done just enough to make a difference.
So, after five years of E46 ownership, is he getting itchy feet? “I’ve got no plans to sell the car right now,” he says with a nod. “I’d like an E91 335d when the time and price are right,” echoing the sentiments of Daryl and Kos, “but I will see how it goes. For now, I’m happy with the car, there’s nothing else I want to do to it so I will just enjoy it.” Sounds like a good plan to me.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.9-litre straight-six #M57TUD30 , remap to 220hp, five-speed automatic gearbox.
CHASSIS: 8.5x18” (front and rear) Hartge Classic wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Pirelli P Zero tyres, H&R Cup Kit, Quaife ATB LSD.
EXTERIOR: Standard Topaz blue.
INTERIOR: Standard interior with grey leather.
THANKS: Kevin Bird Garages, Tony Payne’s Bodyshop, Jason at BW Chiptune, C-Unit for detailing.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.9-litre straightsix #M57D30 , Pipercross air filter, EGR bypass, swirl flap conversion, primary de-cat, Emaps remap to 240hp, Sprint Booster, five-speed automatic gearbox.
CHASSIS: 8.5x18” (front and rear) AC Schnitzer Type III wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) tyres, FK front coilovers, H&R Cup springs and Bilstein B6 dampers rear, ACS strut brace.
EXTERIOR: ACS mirrors, exhaust trim.
INTERIOR: ACS gear selector, retrimmed steering wheel with ACS badges, upgraded front and rear speakers, Focal 10” sub box, upgraded BM54 unit, upgraded amps, digital TV module upgrade.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre straightsix #M54B30 , full Alpina B3 exhaust and manifold, remap, Racing Dynamics carbon engine cover, 244hp and 233lb ft, five-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS: 8x18” (front and rear) Racing Dynamics RD2 wheels with 225/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 tyres, H&R Sport Cup Kit, full rebushed, fast road geometry setup.
EXTERIOR: Factory Individual in Techno violet, Factory Hi Gloss Shadowline trim, xenon retrofit, smoked side repeaters, LED side lights, foglights and numberplate lights, gloss black kidney grilles with Techno violet insert.
INTERIOR: Individual Yellow Exclusive leather, Individual Poplar Natural Wood trim, Alpine speaker upgrade and iPod connection.
THANKS: Dips at The Custom Cars, David at GSB motors Park Royal, Jason at BW Chiptune, C-Unit.
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- Post is under moderationTHE 39 STEPS #M62
Think wild drift car and you probably don’t think #BMW-E39 5 Series, which makes this extreme #540i all the more awesome. Collin Glans is raising a big ‘whatever’ to the haters with this radical #E39 , proving that a vision for an extreme project shouldn’t be hampered by what the odd keyboard-warrior might think… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Faiz Rahman.
All car projects, to paraphrase a cliché, are born equal – but some are more equal than others. And if you want to build a brutal equaliser, you could do a lot worse than getting your hands on a 540i, throwing on a sarcastically large spoiler and a broad rubber contact patch, and taking it on track to scare a few people. If ever there was a physical manifestation of the relentlessly enduring #becauseracecar hashtag, it’s this red behemoth that’s snarling at you right here.
Now, we love it when people do something a bit different, that really gets us excited. There are so many modded Beemers on the scene that it’s essential for a car to have a hook in order for us to doubletake and chase after it for more details (these are the cars that fill our pages every month, of course), and it’s genuinely refreshing to see an E39 receive this kind of treatment. Okay, there are more than a few modified E39s out there that are pushing the envelope – see our very own editor’s ongoing project, for example – but how often do you see one with this sort of JDMinspired street racer vibe? It’s brutish, it’s a little bit scary, and it’s brilliantly jarring. To many of you, the sensible-trousers silhouette of the late-Nineties four-door speaks of wellto- do bankers and lawyers, dads dropping their kids off at the school gates, people going about the business of infusing their lives with a touch of class and luxury while ultimately just using the E39 as a thing, an appliance. They bought a BMW because of its reputation; job done, tick, next. So seeing one that looks like it’s muscled its way out of a smoky back street tuning shop is so unexpectedly awesome it makes you want to laugh out loud. And that’s a very good thing. We make no bones about it, we’re fully in love with this car.
“My passion for modifying started with my Hot Wheels obsession when I was a kid,” remembers owner Collin Glans, which explains a lot. “That progressed into models, then R/C cars, and I used to dream out builds when I started reading car mags from cover-to-cover when I was about 12. And the real-world modifying bug bit me hard when I got my #1994 #Honda #Civic in #1999 . It got even worse in the early ’00s when I discovered the internet and PayPal!” he laughs. And he’s not kidding. That first build got more and more extreme, seeing ten different sets of wheels, three engine swaps and a turbo among much else. This is a solid footing upon which to build a legacy of quality modded motors, no? And there have been more than a few customs on Collin’s driveway since, mainly from the land of the rising sun: a couple of Integras, another Civic, a brace of SC400s, an Impreza, a Silvia… but of course, there’s a little Bavarian meat rolled up in the oriental spice, with an #E36 preceding this rather ostentatious E39. “I’m a self-proclaimed car butterfly,” he admits, although we didn’t really need telling.
“The path to this E39 actually began with my old S13 Silvia,” he continues. “I always wanted to drift, ever since I started watching old touge videos on VHS from Japan. I went to a local drift event, rode along with a friend, and I was immediately hooked! I picked up an SR20 S13 about a month later, did some things to it, and started getting some seat time; after a few events, though, I wanted something more balanced… and at the same time I was missing my old E36 325is. Also, I had always wanted an E39 since I saw BMWFilms’ M5 back in the day, and when I had seen YouTube videos of a guy drifting an #M5 around in the Philippines, I wanted one bad.” And so that was his fate sealed – an E39 it had to be. And having done a little research and discovered that the V8-toting 540i offered almost 300hp and came with a six-speed manual ’box, the acquisition of such a craft was written in the stars. The perfect drift-missile, the latest in a long line of fast motors, and the fulfilment of a long-held yearning.
“I came across an 18-month-old ‘for sale’ thread, and bumped it up on the off-chance that it might still be a goer,” he recalls. “The car was up for $4500; and came with a blown-up Vortech supercharger. It had been sitting in the guy’s dad’s front yard for a year and a half because he’d moved to Australia. After Skyping with him, I got the car for $4k and towed it home; as soon as I got it back I started cleaning the interior and sent the blower off to be rebuilt – and knowing that E39s were prone to chain guide failures I replaced them, along with almost every gasket on the motor. It took me about two weeks in the driveway, at night, after work every day to finish it and get it back together. And driving it around the first time with the supercharger on it was amazing, and I fell totally in love with it!”
This point in proceedings, as you’d expect, saw Collin falling irretrievably down the rabbit hole. With a rumbling V8, a howling ’charger, a tight stick-shift and a bucket-load of potential, it was only a matter of time before he started to get carried away. And indeed he did; in no time at all the E39 found itself shod with a set of chic and drift-tastic Enkei rims, with some high-spec BC coilovers taking care of suspension duties. And for good measure, he welded up the diff. If you’re not familiar with the process, this basically involves cracking open the pig’s head and welding the spider gears together so that both rear wheels are always turning at the same speed – not ideal for things like parallel parking, but great for easily breaking traction and getting sideways on demand!
“Once I’d got to this stage of the build, I learned that the local drift series I was building the car for had been permanently cancelled,” Collin remembers glumly. “I was crushed, but I persevered because I knew there were some events around five hours or so away that I could run in. I get bored with cars very easily, so I decided that going crazy with the mods would make me keep the car, and I always love the look of a street-driven track car…”
With a change of tack in mind, he decided to sell the Vortech supercharger setup to a chap in Paris for $3000, as he felt it wasn’t really necessary for drifting; the reliability and solidity of the stock V8 seemed ample for his needs at the time, and the three grand was a useful cash injection for furthering the works. “I wanted a colour change, but the paint was still nice so I vinyl-wrapped the car myself,” says Collin. “I had seen arch flares on a number of cars and I liked the style, so I sourced a set for the E39. Cutting the arches on it was gut-wrenching, and I got a lot of hate from purists for it, but I wasn’t building it for them!”
To complement this new aesthetic direction, a fresh front lip was acquired for the M5-rep bumper, matched by a set of vortex generators at the rear. Oh, and just to irritate those aggravated purists a little further, he decided to go all-in with a colossal, towering rear spoiler from Big Country La. Because why the hell not? “The car breaks necks everywhere I go!” he laughs. “Some people love it, but the haters really hate it. I get a lot of comments online saying that I’m just throwing parts at the car, but I’ve always had an overall vision of how it would end up – the complete look of a project is very important to me. I just hope the car inspires a few people to think outside the box and not get hung up on what other people might think.”
Collin’s approach is admirable, and he cites many, many areas of the automotive sphere as influences – drift, VIP, stance, hot rods, custom vans, donks, lowriders, exotics… he’s something of a magpie, choosing parts on their appropriateness for his intentions rather than whether people will consider them to be ‘right’. “I’m not bothered about using fake or replica parts if they’re good ones, and it doesn’t matter if something’s big-ticket aftermarket, OEM or, y’know, designed for a Taurus, there’s potential everywhere,” he asserts, and we couldn’t agree more.
Out of the box the 4.4-litre M62 V8 is a pretty potent powerplant and while it’s not an engine that’s ripe for tuning, it is possible to extract a bit more power. Collin has treated his to methanol injection, a GIAC remap and a custom Magnaflow system to liberate some extra power and in the process has also made his 540i sound absolutely epic. The M62 may use a flat plane crank, thus missing out on that American muscle offbeat idle, but it can still be made to sound spectacular.
“I felt that my previous builds had been subtle and sometimes, to a degree, unfinished,” Collin concludes. “I wanted to go wild with the E39. This was the first build I was truly satisfied with the outcome of, so I entered it in a few car shows and finally won my first ever trophy at Springfest #2014 . I daily drove the car for about six months and enjoyed every minute of it!” All of this, and a competitive, big-power drift machine to boot? That kind of thinking is so far out-of-the-box, he can’t even remember what the box looks like.
“I just hope the car inspires a few people to think outside the box and not get hung up on what other people might think”
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.4-litre V8 #M62B44 , methanol injection, GIAC remap, Magnaflow resonators and x-pipe, straightthrough exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox, UUC lightened flywheel, UUC performance clutch, M5 gear knob.
CHASSIS: 9.5x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) Enkei Algernon Intelesse wheels with custom stepped lips, BC coilovers (18k front and rear), steering stop mod for increased lock angle, welded diff.
EXTERIOR: Cold weather package (headlight washers, heated mirrors, heated washer jets), M5 rep front bumper, Strausse rep front lip, Varis rep vortex generators, Big Country Labs FD Legal rear spoiler, VIS Racing carbon-fibre bonnet, arch extensions, full 3M vinyl wrap, smoked lights all-round.
INTERIOR: Recaro seats, carbonwrapped trim, LED interior lighting, Sparco steering wheel.
THANKS: I have to give a lot of credit to my wife Charisse for putting up with the long hours of me working on it, and to my crew ChicosChopShop for helping me with a lot of the mods.
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- Post is under moderationGO BIG…
Liberty Walk BMWs may be a common sight elsewhere in the world but in the UK you’re only going to find one – this spectacular, unashamedly in-your-face #E92-M3 . The UK’s first, and only, Liberty Walk-kitted #E92 M3 is as subtle as a smack in the mouth but rather more pleasant.
Over in the US of A, Liberty Walk is most definitely the flavour of the week, month and even year, judging by how many LB-kitted cars, E92 M3s in particular, we have seen and featured.
Japanese it may be but Liberty Walk’s philosophy fits in with the American philosophy of bigger being better. Indeed, it’s a big country with lots of room for big cars and big roads to accommodate them. In the UK and Europe, not so much. With our ancient roads, that still seem better suited to horse and carts than motorcars, outlandishly wide and wild cars don’t seem to have a place over here which is precisely why a Liberty Walk car in the UK is most definitely a big deal.
This car needs no introduction – it’s been around for a while now but only appeared in this, its final incarnation, at the very end of 2014. For those that don’t know, this car belong to Carl Shakespeare, known to everyone, everywhere, ever as Shakey, owner of Studio Incar –which specialises in audio, airride and plenty more besides. For Shakey, this car started out as a company demo but I think it’s fair to say that over the past year or so of ownership it’s become a bit more than that.
“I’ve always been into cars,” says Shakey. “Ever since I was a kid. More than that, though, I was always into stereo equipment; when I found out that you could get high-end audio equipment for cars, that’s when it all kicked off for me. When you’re in your car, you can play the stereo as loud as you like without upsetting anyone and that was a revelation.”
Car-wise, Shakey has always had VWs, right up until #2010 , and since then he’s just had M3s. So why did he make the switch? “The M3 is just a better car,” he says. “VW doesn’t, or at least didn’t, make cars like the M division cars. A VW is for the family, an M3 is for you – it’s driver-focused, it’s a weapon and it suits me and the way I like to drive. I actually had a Mitsubishi Evo before I bought my first M3. I borrowed an M3 from a friend for a week and I loved it. It was awesome and I knew I had to have one.
“I knew this M3 and I wanted to buy it because it was a great base for building a serious demo car. I’ve modified every car I’ve had, and each one has been very personal in terms of what I’ve done to it. I’ve always gone for a fast road, OE-ish looking build but this one is very different. It’s very shouty and I knew it was going to be different from the start because I wanted to build it as a demo car and it’s been more of a business venture really but I’ve still done it in a way that I like and that appeals to me and I’ve definitely put my personality into it.
When I bought the car it already had the Liberty Walk kit and the wheels, 19” three-piece Rotiform TMBs, though back then it was yellow. I knew it was going to change, although I didn’t really have a definite plan for it. All I knew was that I wanted to take it to Ultimate Dubs at the start of #2014 .
“The first thing we did was to change the colour. Picking the new colour was difficult but the car is lively as anything with that kit on it, so it didn’t need a wild colour. In the end I decided on white, partly because I think M3s look brilliant in white. You don’t see many in white and it’s simple so you can highlight other things on the car.
“In the first week we had the car it was stripped-out, the kit was removed, a few things were corrected and we wrapped it white while the front bumper was done in black to match the Mini Cooper S demo car we were also building at the time. We also started working on the stereo. The car had to be superb. It had to look and sound great. I wasn’t interested in building an SPL car; it wasn’t about output, shaking the ground or being silly and outlandish. We built a system around Rainbow components, fully digital, integrated into the BMW system with wi-fi, hi-def streaming, all controlled via an iPad. It took three weeks to fabricate. Nine metres of Alcantara was needed to trim everything. The wheels were sent to The Wheel Specialist in Fareham. They were satin black when I bought the car and we had them refinished in a gloss NATO grey. I love that colour and got the mirror caps and livery done in the same shade. I approached Syco Graphix for all the decals and had them within a week, which was an awesome turnaround. The run up to Ultimate Dubs (UD) was incredibly busy as we were also building Nick Sahota’s #E30 M3 and our Mini demo car at the same time, and there were plenty of 4am finishes, but it was all worth it. The car got an amazing reception at UD with people commenting on how good it sounded, and I really enjoyed driving it as well.
“After UD, we started doing some more work. We’re a Forge Motorsport agent so I decided to get a front and rear Forge BBK on the car. It’s not a setup you see often on M3s so I thought it would be a good modification to add. The brakes are absolutely phenomenal, really out of this world in terms of how powerful they are and a huge upgrade over the standard setup. I also sent the wheels off again and had them finished in red this time around, along with the mirror caps, and then I took it over to Austria for Wörthersee.
“That was definitely an eventful trip. Going over, I got through a set of rear tyres. I’d had the alignment done before leaving but I must have hit something coming off the ferry and that shifted the rear camber arm eccentric bolt and within 500 miles the rear was down to the canvas, so I swapped the rears left to right and that was the other tyre ruined. Luckily we found a place called Bensche Automotive and it really saved the day, supplying me with a set of GT3 RS rear tyres they had. On the first night in Austria we parked up at the hotel and the owner came out and asked us to turn the stereo on. We ended up playing music all night with people dancing in the car park. Unfortunately because the car was so low the Austrian police were all over it and after I racked up ⇔1000 in fines over two days. I parked it up at the hotel and it didn’t move until the end of the trip. The drive home was amazing. In fact, it was the best motoring experience I’ve ever had. It was me and my mate Mark doing 140-150mph on the autobahn. The sun was setting, we had Razorlight on the stereo, it was perfect. I’ll never forget that drive. “After that I took the car to Players Classic and after that I didn’t take it to any shows for a while, just used it as a daily. For Players I decided to get it rewrapped. I went to Monster Wraps and we decided to go for 3M Satin grey with a fully custom digital print incorporating the Liberty Walk and Studio Incar liveries. The guys did an incredible job. The car looked really good but it wasn’t done.
“After the show I had the wheels redone in black along with the mirror caps and with the new wrap it looked awesome. For Ultimate Stance, the last show of the year, I wanted to go out in style so I bought a set of #2013 LCI rear lights along with a Competition steering wheel and Syco Graphix redid the stickers in a really short space of time. I put together a big stand at the show and had our friends and good clients on there with Josh’s #335i , Sam’s #E24 , Nick with his two E30s and Max with his #M4 . It was a really good show and a great end to both the year and my time with the car.”
2014 was certainly a hectic year for Shakey and the M3 but such is the life of a demo car. Considering how spectacular it was to start with, it’s impressive to see just how it evolved throughout the year and how awesome it looked when 2014 came to a close. Demo car it may have been, but we know for a fact that Shakey enjoyed every minute with it.
Sadly, the #M3 has now gone, the plan from day one being to have the car for one season and then move on, but in 12 short months Shakey did more with his M3 than most. Work has already started on a new Studio Incar demo car. It’s not a BMW but don’t worry, Shakey’s not left the blue and white roundel behind and is currently running a stripped-out #E36 #328i as a daily and has just bought himself an #E39 #M5 to keep it company. Good man.
DATA FILE BMW E92 M3
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 , Vabric wireless atmospheric exhaust valve, six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS: 10x19” (front) and 12.5x19” (rear) custom finished Rotiform TMB three-piece forged wheels with negative offset. StillStatic H&R Ultra Low race kit, Forge Motorsport #BBK with six-piston calipers (front), four piston calipers (rear) and 380mm discs.
EXTERIOR: Full Liberty Walk wide-body kit, custom bootlid with narrow recess, LCI rear lights, Monster Wraps 3M digital printed bespoke wrap, colour-coded mirrors to wheels, Studio Incar and Liberty Walk livery from Syco Graphics.
INTERIOR: Competition steering wheel, Studio Incar custom door builds, Studio incar full custom build, Studio incar custom centre console panel, Rainbow car audio system (fully digital).
THANKS: My good friend Nick Singh Sahota for helping make the whole project a reality, Steve, Paul, Lottie and myself at Studio Incar for their constantly outstanding work on the car, Clean Getaway car wash in Southampton for keeping it up to scratch, The Wheel Specialist in Fareham for its continued excellent standards and constant colour changing of the wheels and mirrors and putting up with me, Syco Graphics being the best (as usual), Paul from C6 Carbon for repairing the splitter when Nick smashed it to pieces, you guys, #BMW for continued support of us and in the community, Monster Wraps for sorting out the car doing an outstanding job, Forge Motorsport and the incredible brakes, Four Masters and Rainbow for the support with the system, Si Gray for the shoot, Mark Harbour and Richard Wint for helping me track it on the side of the autobahn… cheers Nick.
Exterior is wild and so is the audio install. This M3 boasts a fully digital system built around Rainbow components, integrated into the BMW system with wi-fi, hi-def streaming and it’s all controlled via an iPad.
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