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    That a car built by the owners of S6 Wraps would be wrapped is no surprise but there are plenty of choice mods on this E92 that make it stand out from the crowd. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Adam Walker.

    ALL WRAPPED UP Wrapped and bagged E92 335i


    The E92 3 Series has one of the most appealing shapes going. It’s lovely and smooth, sleek, streamlined and perfectly proportioned. It still looks as good today as it did when it was launched back in 2006 but that’s not to say that it can’t be enhanced with a few tasty styling additions. The E92 has such a vast range of aftermarket support that it’s crying out to be modified, especially if it happens to be a 335i with that eminently tuneable turbo straight-six.

    That’s certainly what Dan Roache and Paige Walton, owners of S6 Wraps in Pickford, thought when buying their E92 335i but, then again, that’s no surprise considering it was always destined to be modified and built up into a show car. The pair have both owned and modified BMWs for the past four years, with a 120d and E91 320d having undergone dramatic transformations at their hands before the 335i came along. “We decided to sell both Paige’s E91 and my Audi TT to buy a joint car to turn into a show car and we knew it was going to be this 335i,” says Dan. “Paige’s uncle owned it from new, and since I had a ride in it on the first day he got it I knew I wanted to buy it from him when he was finished with it. He called me one day and gave me the first refusal so we couldn’t say no.” With the intention always being to modify the 335i, Dan and Paige had actually started buying parts before they had even bought the car, and work began almost immediately.


    As we’re sure you well know, the turbocharged straight-six in the 35i models is so keen to make more power that you’d be silly not to turn the wick up a touch, and the later single turbo N55B30 as fitted here is no less receptive to a bit of underbonnet tinkering than its twin-turbo predecessor. “The second week of owning the car we took it over to our friend Badger at Hard Knocks Speed Shop for a full custom 3” stainless exhaust system with a cat-less downpipe and the rest straight-through with just a back box and 4” tips,” says Dan. These would help the engine breathe and bring some extra ponies to the party but there was still more to come. “We got chatting with Burger Tuning who sent us the JB4 and BMS intake direct from the States, and our friends at Forge helped us out to get the FMIC changed for a bigger one and the car is now running approximately 400hp,” which a nice increase over the stock output of 306hp for not much effort.

    Belonging to a wrap company meant that the E92 was destined to be wrapped and aesthetics were always going to be an important aspect of the build for a company whose primary focus is how cars look. “We have always been into the clean and simple styling with nice subtle mods like carbon fibre,” says Dan, “so we knew straight away what direction we were going with the car.” That’s the sort of approach to styling that works really well with the E92’s natural clean lines. The pair’s taste for carbon fibre means that a few of the exterior elements have been touched by the exotic weave, with carbon grilles, carbon mirrors and a carbon boot spoiler plus the most impressive addition of all: the custom-fitted genuine E92 M3 carbon roof. In keeping with Dan and Paige’s appreciation of clean styling, the front bumper has been smoothed and then there’s the wrap. The colour is limited edition Avery Dennison Metallic Meteorite and it is insane; at first glance it looks like just another shade of grey but then the light hits it and you realise that it’s covered in a dazzling glitter flake, which really adds an extra dimension to the colour and definitely makes this E92 stand out.

    Such a dazzling colour deserves some suitably dazzling wheels and here Dan and Paige went for a set of fully polished 19” Rotiform TMBs for the car: “We wanted the car to be a head-turner so as soon as we saw the fully polished TMBs we couldn’t say no to them,” says Dan. “At the time Rotiform was the only way we wanted to go wheel-wise and the TMB design really suits the shape of the car.” They do look fantastic on the E92 but wheels are nothing without a drop and that’s where the Air Lift 3P kit comes in. “We would only use Air Lift on the E9x platform as it’s the safest and most reliable system you can buy,” says Dan, “and we also fitted new uprated rear arms.”

    Considering how spectacular the outside is you’d be forgiven for thinking that the interior would have a hard time topping that but, if anything, the interior is even more impressive. For starters, it’s finished in stunning Dakota red leather, which make such a nice change from boring old black and works perfectly with the grey exterior. The most impressive aspect of the interior is the addition of a pair of M4 front seats, which look fantastic, are incredibly comfortable and supportive and so much more special than even the E9x M3’s seats. The plan had actually originally been to fit a pair of Audi RS4 seats but Dan and Paige didn’t like the fact that it wouldn’t have been in-keeping with the OE look, so decided to stay within the BMW family and it was definitely the right decision. There’s also a BMW M Performance flatbottomed steering wheel, complete with matching Dakota red centre stripe, while the controller for the suspension has been neatly mounted in front of the centre armrest.


    You may have also noticed the custom doorcards, which house four speakers each plus a tweeter by the door mirrors. These form part of the serious audio install; one of Dan’s favourite modifications on the entire car. But you need to look in the boot to find the real meat of the audio upgrades. The twin air tanks have been mounted in the sides of the boot while the twin Viair compressors and Air Lift manifold sit in a recess in the boot floor. Then there’s the Audison bit One digital audio processor and mono block amp powering a pair of Gladen 10” subs mounted behind the rear seats, and a four-channel amp for the two sets of Rainbow 6.5 components and Harman Kardon speakers in the front doors. It’s clearly a serious audiophile setup that has not only been beautifully installed but we wager sounds pretty incredible too.

    A lot of work and thought has gone into this E92 but, amazingly, it only took two months to build from start to finish, with everything bar the custom exhaust having been done in-house at S6 Wraps. As far as future plans are concerned, there aren’t any, because the 335i is currently up for sale, but such is the life of a project car, especially when it’s a company demo build. But that does make it easier to move on and start the next project, which we anticipate is going to be something equally eye-catching.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW-335i-E92 / #N55B30 / #BMW-N55 / #N55B30 / #N55 / #Rotiform / #Air-Lift-Performance / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 , custom 3” turbo back de-cat exhaust system, #Forge-FMIC , #BMS intake, JB4 , six-speed auto gearbox

    CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) fully polished #Rotiform-TMB wheels with 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) Falken tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3P air suspension, EBC RedStuff pads all-round

    EXTERIOR Full wrap in Avery Dennison Metallic Meteorite, smoothed front bumper, custom fit genuine E92 M3 carbon fibre roof, carbon fibre door mirrors, kidney grilles, #BMW-M-Performance spoiler

    INTERIOR M4 front seats retrimmed in Dakota red leather, custom doorcards with speaker pods housing two sets of 6.5 Rainbow components and Harman Kardon speakers, #BMW M Performance flatbottomed steering wheel, custommounted 3P controller, custom mounted Audison bit One controller, boot build for air-ride and audio including Audison bit One digital audio processor, Audison mono block amp, Audison four-channel amp, Gladen 10” subs mounted behind rear seats, twin air tanks, twin Viair compressors

    THANKS #S6-Wraps , Badger at Hard Knocks Speed Shop , #Burger-Tuning , #Forge-Motorsport

    “We knew straight away what direction we were going with the car”
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    VW mk6 GOLF R / Is this tastefully upgraded Golf R the ultimate all-rounder?

    HIGH STANDARD / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk6 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-VI / #VW-Golf / #VW-Golf-Mk6 / #VW-Golf-VI / #VW / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-TFSI / #Volkswagen-Golf-2.0TFSI / #Volkswagen-Golf-2.0TFSI-Mk6 / #Volkswagen-Golf-2.0TFSI-VI /

    After cutting his tuning teeth on #JDM metal Stan Kowalski thought he would try a Dub or two. We think he made a wise decision… Words: Sean Matthews. Photos: Neil Sterry.

    It’s fair to say that not all journeys that start from A necessarily find their way to B. Even with the best intentions, the route we take in life (whether it’s career, serious life decisions or, in Stan Kowalski’s case, his favoured car scene obsession) can naturally digress and before we know it we’re travelling in the opposite direction. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a negative thing, as Stan’s stunning Mk6 clearly demonstrates…

    You see, the New York native started out favouring brands from the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, having owned a few Mitsubishis. “When I was younger I was a JDM guy,” he admits.

    “When I got my license I got my first second-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse. After that I thought I’d try a Subaru out. I actually crashed the Subaru 18 days after having it. I then got myself back into another Eclipse straight after, then onto an Evo. It wasn’t long before I blew up the stock motor.

    I rebuilt it and then decided to take it on the track. However, I ended up blowing up the rebuilt motor due to a fuel injector failure. I really liked to race cars but after all I was getting older, and thought better about getting into trouble getting caught doing street racing. So I figured I’d try the show scene instead…”

    A factor that gave Stan the direction to change the scene he was involved in was actually his mum. “She had always told me that she saw me driving a GTI,” he explains. “With that I decided to go on the hunt for a Mk4 R32.

    I sold the Evo with the blown motor, which I ended up getting good money for.” Looking through all the standard avenues, such as Craigslist and cars.com, yielded no clear or promising results for the right Golf so the next step was to hit the ‘wanted’ section on Vortex and post up details of his dream R32. A reply from Massachusetts arrived, with the seller needing his car gone fast. Stan went to see the car in question and fell in love with it instantly.

    This may have been assisted by the fact it had a Stage 2 Vortech V9 supercharger! With 333 all-wheel- horsepower and 320lb ft of torque the R32 had more than enough go to see off many cars and keep its new power-obsessed owner happy.

    Whilst owning the R32 Stan and some friends started the #VW club ‘VolksNation’, whom you may have seen on Instagram and which has a healthy following across the world. “Me and my friend Joel started the group. We have a whole bunch of different members, some in New York, some in Pennsylvania, and some in New Jersey. We are about 65 strong but we are continuing to grow.” To say he fell into the dub scene hard is clearly an understatement!


    However, another reroute was about to occur and it wasn’t long before Stan was already feeling the pull from another über Golf. “I was going to all these shows in the R32 and all it had was the supercharger, wheels and suspension. Everyone else was going crazy with all they do to their cars and I wanted some of the action… but this time I wanted to seriously modify a Golf R. So, even though it was hard to give the R32 up, I put it up for sale for sheets and giggles at $23,000. It was a steep price but I could afford to as I didn’t need to sell it. And what do you know? Someone came and gave me $23,000 for it!”

    So by June 2013, with his back pocket full of cash, Stan ventured to his local VW dealer and put a down payment on a Tornado red Mk6 R. Whilst waiting for his ride to turn up, other money was being ploughed into parts waiting to grace the Golf ready to take it to the next level. “I bought a downpipe, a cat-back exhaust, a high pressure fuel pump and an intake – basically everything United Motorsports (UM) suggested I need to get the car to Stage 2+. I haven’t had it on the rolling road yet but I have seen in many places that 330whp and 400lb ft is normal.”

    Stan trusted United Motorsports’s guidance already as he had found the guys there to be a great help when he owned his ’charged R32 previously, as it had not been running right when he first bought it. “As I had a lot of trust with Jeff when he worked on the R32, I only wanted him to work on the R,” Stan explains.

    Stan’s next plan of action was to work on the chassis of the R, and it was his chance to fulfil a long held ambition to ride on air. Through more recommendations Open Road Tuning in Nashville came up trumps and was contacted to provide Stan’s car with Air-Lift Performance struts and the ubiquitous V2 auto-pilot management. “I went to them for the hook-up because they gave it to me at a pretty good price. Originally, the boot build and the installation I did myself but then a friend of mine from our VolksNation club opened a shop in Astoria, Queens and suggested we do the trunk setup differently, so I took it to him.” The boot received a subtle tweak, the tank being painted in the same shade of red as the R and some vinyl work was added in for good measure.

    An Autopower Industries roll-cage, cordially powdercoated body colour, was then bolted-in, and this completes the rear. The forged Watercooled Industries three-piece MT10 wheels add the finishing touches to the look of the car, giving it a real concept sports car-style that wouldn’t look out of place at an international autoshow.

    And the best part of the build for Stan? “Ah man, I just love the whole car. I take it to shows and everyone else seems to love it just as much as I do. People come up to me and take pictures of the R and ask how I got so much done in such a short time. It helps to have a garage full of parts whilst you wait for your car to be delivered! I used to go to shows and never win but in the past year I’ve taken first place at Volkswagen Show New Jersey and first place at Waterfest. I went to H2O International and ended up getting nominated for ‘Top Dawg’ which was a great feeling. But when I saw what I was up against, I was like ‘damn…’ as they all had shaved bays and crazy swaps. But it was a real honour to be in the ‘Top Dawg’ competition.”

    Most recently Stan was representing Volksnation at Dub Expo in Atlantic City, winning ‘best in category’ and the coveted ‘best of show’. Stan and his fiancée Nicole are planning to get married this summer, so the changes that are still to come will have to be done on a slightly tighter budget. These will include hydrodipping the wheel centres and bumper plastics, shaving the badges and side markers to give it a subtle makeover.

    It seems that Stan’s journey from JDM fan to serious Dub player has found its true course, with no end to this route in sight. We have a feeling we will be watching him as he continues to weave his way through the VW tuning scene for a long time to come.

    “People come up to me and take pictures of the R and ask how I got so much done in such a short time”

    Dub Details
    ENGINE: 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI #VW-K04 , #CTS-Turbo intake, #Forge-Motorsport intercooler, coolant hoses, and diverter valve, #Integrated-Engineering valve cover, R8 coil packs, #NGK spark plugs, #BSH engine mounts, #Magnaflow cat-back exhaust, #APR downpipes, #Performance-Haldex controller, #Southbend Stage 3 endurance clutch, #Tyrolsport solid shifter bracket bushing, #ECS-Tuning cross-drilled/slotted discs with Hawk pads, Tyrolsport brake caliper stiffening kit, #Tyrolsport Master Bracket

    CHASSIS: 9.5x18” #ET41 10x18” #ET38 WCI MT10 wheels, 205/40/18 and 215/40/18 Nitto Neo Gen tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance Series fronts and Double Bellow Bags rear, #AutoPilot-V2 air management, #H&R anti-roll bars, #Tyrolsport-Deadset subframe collar kit, Tyrolsport Deadset rear subframe kit

    EXTERIOR: ECS Tuning carbon fibre front lip and rear diffuser, CS Tuning carbon fibre side skirts, black vinyl wrapped roof, rear wiper delete, carbon fibre side view mirror caps

    INTERIOR: Cipher Auto racing seats, Takata racing harnesses, Autopower four-point bolt-in cage, rear seat delete, carbon fibre interior trim work, Forge shift knob, custom suede trunk setup, Rennline door straps, LED lights

    SHOUT: Mike and the guys at Tyrolsport, Chris and the guys at #C&M-Performance , Brett and the guys at The Custom Shop, My fiancée Nicole, My Volksnation team
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    Mk1 Caddy R32 Exclusive: the UKʼs hottest Caddy revealed!

    / #VW-Golf-I / #VW-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Rabbit / #Volkswagen-Rabbit-I / #VW / #VW-Golf / #VAG / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32 / #Volkswagen-Golf-R32-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy / #VW-Caddy / #Volkswagen-Caddy-I / #Volkswagen-Caddy-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-R32 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-R32-Mk1

    WALK THE WALK

    With a day job that involves getting other people’s paintwork spot-on it is no surprise that north east Dub nut Paul Walker’s own project is beyond flawless. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Si Gray.

    I’ve got to say, it was DRIVE-MY that got me in to modified Veedubs in the first place,” 37-year-old Paul Walker explains. “I’ve always been in to cars and then one day I randomly picked up DRIVE-MY and, well, it all escalated from there really.”

    We would like to take this opportunity right now to apologise for inflicting him with his Veedub addiction, something that has no doubt taken huge amounts of money from his bank account as he chases the high that is modified #VW ownership. Maybe copies of DRIVE-MY should have warnings printed on them like they do with cigarette packets these days. ‘Buying this magazine can be damaging to your bank balance!’. Or ‘modified VW ownership harms you and others around you’. That kind of thing.

    “I had an Evo 7 that was just emptying my pockets and I decided enough was enough, it was time for a change in direction,” Paul continues. We’re not going to question how a Mk1 Caddy show car, especially one as good as this, could possibly be any cheaper than a Mitsubishi Evo 7… all we can be sure of is we’re very glad that Paul decided to make the switch because if he hadn’t we wouldn’t be looking at one of the finest Mk1 Caddys the UK has ever turned out.

    The Caddy you see here wasn’t Paul’s first foray in to modded German metal ownership. Before the little truck he’d built himself a bagged and beautifully trimmed New Beetle which, although a very nice car indeed, must have been a bit of a shock to the system after a hardcore Evo!

    “I’ve always been a fan of Mk1 Golfs, though, I mean, who isn’t eh? But good ones come up for sale so rarely that I started looking at Caddys instead,” Paul explains. “I made myself a promise, though; that I would keep it simple – just air and a nice set of wheels. It all went south when I started paying more attention to what some of the Euro Mk1 boys were turning up in…”

    It’s probably worth mentioning that Paul earns his nine-to-five money as a dent man, or to give it the proper title, a paintless dent removal technician. This means that he is something of a perfectionist when it comes to cars and in particular, when it comes to the finer details. “I bought the car in 2014,” he remembers.

    “I found it on the Edition38 classifieds but there was only one problem, it was in Portsmouth and I live so far north I’m almost in Scotland. This made checking it out in person difficult,” he continues. “Luckily the Kleen Freaks guys are like family and Adam Gough and Natalie Poulton, who live down that way, offered to go check it out for me, which was really nice of them.” With Adam and Natalie giving the truck the once over and confirming it was a good ’un, Paul bought it over the phone. “The guys got it right, it was in really good condition, which is pretty rare for a Caddy these days. I was always going to repaint it anyway so I was more concerned with it being structurally sound, which it was.”

    The Caddy didn’t go home to Darlington straight away though; it went straight from the south coast to JH Pro Paint in Sheffield to have the Air Lift Performance air-ride, V2 management, and the custom four-link rear end fitted. “It was so low on its coilvers that I had to bag it immediately otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten onto my driveway, so it was a kind of a necessity as much as it was for looks,” he explains. Regular readers of the mag will need no introduction to the name JH Pro Paint. The Sheffield-based outfit is getting quite a name for itself in the modified VW scene for turning out more than a few awesome show-winning cars, not least owner Jon Hinchcliffe’s amazing everevolving Mk1 R32. “I’ve always been a big fan of Jon’s Mk1, so it’s fair to say his car was the inspiration for mine,” Paul grins. “It wasn’t until later on that Jon would become such an evil influence in my life!”

    Two months later Paul had the Caddy resprayed at a local bodyshop, Autospray Darlington. “It was already white but I wanted it to stand out more so I had it painted in a muchbrighter, cleaner white,” he explains. “Thankfully as the Caddy was in such good condition it didn’t need too much repair work doing before it was painted.”

    Next up was to sort out a pair of seats. “As I’m tall I wanted a pair of seats that would give me the most legroom, which the Vabrics would,” Paul continues. “Then it was a joint decision between me and the Mrs to do them in Harris Tweed, along with the doorcards, too, which I really think works nicely.”


    Then Paul set about rebuilding a set of 15” #BBS-RS s, 8” in width and face-mounted before bolting them on the car ready for Ultimate Dubs 2015, where it went down very well. “For the rest of 2015 it pretty much stayed the same, other than a few bits of carbon fibre trim being fitted here and there. Stuff like the mirrors, A-pillar trims, window cranks, and the handbrake cover were all changed,” he recalls. “And then in June it went back to its second home at JH Pro Paint where, well, things got out of hand, I’ll admit.”

    The Caddy came with a nicely-built 2.0-litre 16v in it which, while being a nice, dependable lump, didn’t quite tick the boxes for our man Paul here. We’re sure Jon’s show stealing Mk1 R32 had nothing to do with what was to come… “I’ll freely admit that Jon’s Mk1 was one of my main inspirations,” Paul smiles.

    “After all, how could you not be inspired by that thing? But on a more personal note, I wanted a more-modern, less-revvy engine than the 16v. Plus, you just can’t beat that R32 soundtrack, can you?”

    Over the next few months Paul and Jon spent so much time on the phone to each other that their respective partners though they might be playing away! But the lads had important build details to discuss and hard-to-find parts to track down. While Paul set about finding a suitable donor car, Jon set about pulling the old motor and getting to work on the bay. 74 welded up holes later, not to mention all the custom jobs that are required to squeeze the big six-shooter in to a tiny Mk1 bay, the whole thing was bare metalled ready for the next stage. That doesn’t really do justice to how much work was involved in getting the bay ready for paint, as anyone who has smoothed an engine bay will know. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or how good you are at your craft, it’s a difficult, time-consuming and at times downright frustrating job. “It took Jon the best part of a month’s solid work to do the bay as it’s so time-consuming removing all the sealer and making sure every single millimetre is flawless,” Paul tells us. “Thankfully as the Caddy was in such good condition in the first place there wasn’t any major extra work to be done other than a few rust areas and the typical battery tray issues.”


    While Jon was hard at work Paul found a suitable car and engine, shipped off a few odd bits to be colour-coded and got in touch with Andy Outhwaite from ACR to have a custom loom made up for the car and set about lengthening parts of the wiring to ensure it would slot easily into the smooth bay.

    There’s no doubting Jon and the JH Pro Paint team know how to put out a top-level paint job and Paul’s bay is absolutely flawless from top to bottom, no matter how close you get or what angle you look at it from.

    To break up the white, the sidestrips, arch spats, A-pillar trims and mirrors were all carefully reproduced in carbon fibre. We’re big fans of the carbon fibre strips in the bed, too, and the Volkswagen text has been reproduced on the rear wall of the cab, mirroring the text on the tailgate.

    “I think the hardest part about the whole build, or at least the most frustrating anyway, was having to take the engine in and out about ten times to test fit everything and get it all right,” Paul reveals. “My wings are welded and smoothed to the front panel, so getting it all offevery time was a right pain, especially as we had to be so careful.”

    Once the engine was in properly and the fuelling issues were ironed out, hearing that classic R32 off-beat burble was more than enough to make Paul forget all about any frustrations he had endured. “Oh, hearing it fireup properly the first time was definitely the best part of the build; you just can’t beat that noise, can you?” he says with a beaming smile. “I’ve had a few people say it’s too heavy an engine for a Mk1 but since when has a Caddy been meant to handle like a race car? They were built to carry sheep and stuff around! Some have also said that the Caddy is pointless as I can’t put stuff in the bed anymore but that’s usually the kind of thing people who don’t quite ‘get it’ would say…”

    With people who do ‘get it’ the Caddy has gone down very well indeed. It debuted at Ultimate Dubs back in March (we got this shoot in the bag the day before), and since then Paul has taken it to Elsecar, Early Edition and Letstance over in Belfast, where it’s gone down an absolute treat.

    It’s no surprise that Paul’s Caddy has had crowds around it at every event it’s been to so far. It is one of the best Caddys the UK has ever turned out, it’s just such a complete car. The amazingly clean engine bay is the star of the show but you don’t need to look too far to realise that no corners have been cut. It really is an incredibly complete car, not just for a Mk1 Caddy but for a Mk1 in general, and that’s no easy task these days with the level of Mk1s being as high as it is.

    And yet perfectionist Paul isn’t finished yet. “Since the shoot I’ve put some Fifteen52 two-piece F40 Tarmacs on it so I can run bigger brakes, and I’m planning to transform it in to what I’m calling ‘the race Caddy’ over next winter too,” he chuckles. “Watch this space…”

    Consider it watched Paul, consider it watched!

    Dub Details / #VR6 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-VR6-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-VR6 / #BBS / #Air-Lift

    ENGINE: Mk4 #R32 engine, VR6 #VW-Racing induction kit, #Time-Attack map, full carbon-skinned VR6 gearbox with #Wavetrac limited-slip diff, custom manifold and exhaust system, custom engine mounts and driveshafts, custom radiator, #Forge-Motorsport coolant pipes, full wire tuck and smooth bay, hidden battery under bed with positive and negative terminals behind driver’s seat.

    CHASSIS: 8x15” #BBS-RS043 wheels totally rebuilt and face-mounted, #Air-Lift-V2 management with #Air-Lift Lift rear bags and #GAZ front struts, tank and compressors hidden under the bed, four-link rear axle with drop plates, G60 280mm front brakes with braided hoses.

    EXTERIOR: Resprayed in bright white, carbon fibre sidestrips, arch spats, A-pillar trims, door mirrors, strips in the bed and strips on the front bumper, custom front and rear bumpers, Volkswagen script on the rear of the cab.

    INTERIOR: Vabric half-back seats trimmed in ‘houndstooth’ Harris Tweed and grey Alcantara, Harris Tweed and Alcantara doorcards, flocked dash, Alcantara headlining and A-pillar trim, carbon handbrake, cover and window winders.


    SHOUT: Jon Hinchcliffe at JH Pro Paint, Justin, Pete and Aidy at Autospray Darlington for my paint and detailing, Mike and Vick at Kleen Freaks for their backing, Alex Begley at Fifteen52, my good mates Anthony Warrior and Warwick French, and, most importantly, my wife for putting up with me while I did it!

    If ever there was a face that summed up being obsessive about a car being absolutely spot-on, this is it. Paul takes the job of keeping his Caddy spotless very seriously, and who can blame him when the results look this good?!
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    REVO A3 Savage, Stage 4 2.0 TFSI / REVO A3 TRACK CAR

    HEAVY HITTER
    Revo Technik prove that a regular A3 2.0 TFSI can be taken to Stage 4, to create a reliable and seriously fun track car. Words Davy Lewis. Photography AJ Walker.

    Those of you who have been with us from the start, may recall we introduced Revo’s stock looking A3 in our Projects section back in issue 001. The silver, three-door 2.0 TFSI quattro was pretty unremarkable, and looked a bit lost amongst some big-power RS models. But, I had a sneaking suspicion that this humble A3 was going to become something rather special...

    the #Revo-Technik always run a fleet of the latest Audis, which are central to their development work (it just so happens they’re also great fun – perks of the job I guess!). But with access to a 550bhp S7, 400bhp S3 saloon, a 470bhp S5, and an SQ5, plus plenty of other cool cars, what on earth made them buy a #2005 A3?

    “Whilst all our cars are developed to perform, our demo fleet has always consisted of the latest and greatest Audis. There’s a high value in them and we’ve always been precious about who drives them,” says MD, Mark Yates. “We wanted to build a car all our staff could have a go in; something not so elitist that a wider audience could relate to but, more importantly, something that could showcase the potential of Revo products on what could be classed as an underdog platform.”

    It would give them something on which to demonstrate their range of tuning products, and prove that a regular Audi, like an A3 2.0 TFSI, could be tuned to Stage 4 to create a reliable and fun car. An 8P A3 made sense on many levels. For starters they’re a lot cheaper than an S3 – you can pick one up from around £4k as opposed to £10k+ for a decent, early S3. Okay, it makes do with 197bhp compared with the S3’s 261bhp, but with plans to rebuild the engine with a big turbo anyway, that wasn’t an issue. It’s a quattro, so there’s no problem with traction. And there are plenty around. “We always planned to strip it back to a bare shell so we could fit a multi-point roll cage,” says Revo’s Kev Hall, “So luxuries like electric leather seats, Bose audio and the other S3 goodies would’ve been wasted on this car.”


    The build itself has taken the best part of a year. That’s mainly because the guys have been so busy taking the company forward – there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to work on the A3, too. But, over the last couple of months, it’s really started to come together. It is however very different to how it began.

    The 2005 2.0 TFSI quattro was picked up for around £4,500. It had a decent spec, with leather seats etc, which were soon removed. The engine came out and the stripped out car was sent off to have a full FIA-approved roll cage fitted. The only interior bits left were the main part of the dash and some of the centre console. Everything else had been removed, including the surprisingly heavy sound deadening. The beauty of working in the vibrant #UK #VAG tuning scene was that Revo had no shortage of top line partners to turn to for upgrades.


    While the rolling shell was being worked on, the guys got busy with the engine build. Having initially planned to create a blog to show people how to take a stock car like this all the way to Stage 4 or 5, they realised the turbo on the 100k-miler was in poor shape. So they jumped straight to a Stage 3 K04 setup and then on to Stage 4 with the GTX3071.

    The engine was rebuilt using forged internals to prepare for its life of hard track use. This would also allow some big boost to be applied without the rods and pistons trying to make a bid for freedom from the block. You can see the detailed spec on the final page of the feature, but the focus has been on creating decent power while maintaining reliability. Keeping the charge temps down was a vital part of this, so the large Revo front mount intercooler plays a pivotal role in things. It reduces inlet temps by up to 35 percent.

    For the large GTX3071 to do its job effectively, the exhaust needed upgrading. Scorpion came to the rescue with a 3in turboback system. With the all important downpipe now far less restrictive, the 2.0 TFSI could breath more effectively. The system currently runs two boxes to keep the noise as low as possible to avoid failing any circuit noise tests. A down-turned tailpipe also helps to filter the sound more effectively.

    Peak power figures are great and it’s the thing people always get hung up about, but a big peak power figure is largely useless if it’s only accessible in the outer reaches of the powerband. So Revo have developed their Stage 4 software to offer bundles of usable torque throughout the rev range. Being fully in control of everything the engine is capable of doing, lets them get the most out of the car. It may be a track machine, but as it’s road legal and the setup is so flexible, you could still pop to the shops in it – if you really wanted to. As most Revo customers want tuning solutions for their road cars, it had to be this way.

    Our man, Adam Walker, road shotgun for some fast laps around Bedford Autodrome and called me straight afterwards to say it’s one of the quickest cars he’s been out in. Considering he spends his time shooting RS6s and the like, often with over 700bhp, this is impressive. Of course part of the reason this thing feels so rapid is the no compromise way it does its job. You can hammer it into a turn, braking incredibly late – then turn in and get back on the power to exit in rapid fashion. The grip is immense and you can really feel the g-forces at work as the A3 does its thing. It’s here that you’re glad of the Cobra seats and harnesses, which prevent passengers from eating the dashboard and allow the driver to stay firmly supported through some rapid changes of direction.


    Inside, all creature comforts have been removed. But then this was always intended to be an out-and-out track car. As you’d expect, with no sound deadening or trim to insulate you from the vibration and noise, plus those polycarbonate windows, it is quite lively inside – especially when you provoke that 480whp lump! With the glass removed, along with all of the interior trim, I’d estimate that well over 150kg has been saved, although bear in mind a fair amount has also been added with the installation of the multipoint roll cage.

    The main part of the dash has been left in tact, although it has been cut to allow the cage to be properly fitted (no dash dodger efforts here!) The centre console now featured a custom panel which houses a smattering of gauges from Demon Tweeks. These include essential engine health monitors such as EGT, air fuel ratio and oil temp.


    A competent chassis is a basic prerequisite for any track car. You can have all the power in the world, but if you can’t use it effectively because the brakes, suspension and tyres aren’t up to the job, then it’s pointless.

    The Bilstein Clubsport coilovers provide a multitude of adjustability for both bump and rebound (as well as height of course) to get the perfect set up for track. For a car with less weight and the possibility of running slicks at some stage, the Clubsports allow all of these variables to be taken into consideration. With adjustable top mounts, the camber can also be fine tuned to get the front end dialled in. Some negative camber is key to this A3’s keen turn in which also offers staggering levels of grip. This is due in part to the Wavetrack differential which helps to maintain traction, even in the tight turns. Eibach provided uprated anti-roll bars front and rear, which really do come into their own on track. This thing has practically no pitch or body roll, thanks to this highly effective set up. The next chassis upgrade was a set of Powerflex Black Series poly bushes. On a ten year old car, the stock bushes are bound to be past their best, leading to play in suspension and steering components. The Black Series kit has been developed for track and firms everything up. This gives a very tight and direct feel to the handling.


    When it came to the outside, Revo wanted a more aggressive look – but it had to be functional. The RS3-style front bumper certainly does the trick, and together with the honeycomb grille also helps airflow to the engine. With Revo’s own light weight 8x19in RV019 wheels fitted, the front arches would have needed some work, plus the RS3-style front bumper was designed to fit wide arches, so a set of fatter arches were also added. The car is essentially finished now. All that’s left to do is find some time and decent weather to go and lay down some performance times.


    Of course, you don’t have to go to the extent that Revo has with their stunning creation. You could use some of the upgrades to create a highly competent and fun road car that can also be used for the odd track thrash. And with A3 2.0 TFSIs starting at around £3k, building an S3-beater needn’t brake the bank either. Just go and see team Revo...


    SPECIFICATION #Audi-A3-2.0TFSI-Quattro / #2005 / #Audi-A3 / #Audi / #Audi-A3 / #Garrett / #Audi-A3-8P / #Quattro / #Audi-A3-2.0TFSI-Quattro-8P / #REVO-A3-Savage / #Revo /


    Engine 2.0 TFSI, #Garrett-GTX3071R , #Revo built engine using #Carrillo rods and pistons, #Scorpion turbo-back exhaust with down turned tailpipe, Revo Intake kit, Revo runner flap delete kit, #HPFP and upgraded RS4 injectors, TT RS low pressure fuel pump, TT RS fuel pump ECU, Revo catch can kit, Revo boost tap kit, Revo throttle pipe, Revo engine mounts, #Forge-Motorsport silicone hose kit, Revo FMIC, #NGK Spark plugs BKR8EIX, AEM water/meth injection.

    Power 480-485bhp (at the wheels) and 550-580Nm

    Suspension #Bilstein Clubsport coilovers, #Eibach ARBs front and rear, Powerflex Black Series bushes, Wavetrack LSD, uprated clutch and flywheel.

    Brakes Revo/Alcon big brake kit Wheels and Tyres Revo RV019 alloys in gloss black with Dunlop Sportmaxx.

    Interior Fully stripped out, including sound deadening, with only top of dash remaining, Custom Cages FIA/MSA-spec welded-in roll cage, bespoke Cobra Suzuka Pro GT seats, bespoke Cobra harness and pad kit, flocked door cards with red door pulls, gauges (boost/EGT/OT/AFR) in custom flocked panel, fire extinguisher kit, Sparco steering wheel, battery, DV+ supplied by #Demon-Tweeks , AEM water meth kit.

    Exterior RS3 style front bumper and grille, RS3 style rear bumper with gloss black rear diffuser, Plastics4Performance polycarbonate side and rear windows, custom gloss red wrap with Revo graphics, black Audi rings, Revo badge, rear wiper delete, gloss black rear spoiler.

    Thanks Revo’s master tech/racecar engineer Kev Brown for building the beast. Our partners/suppliers: Bilstein, Cobra, Demontweeks, Dunlop, Eibach, Forge, Meguiars, Powerflex, Scorpion, Wavetrack and special thanks to Revo MD Mark Yates for instigating the project and driving it with his enthusiasm and wealth of motorsport knowledge.

    Top Revo’s Paul Farenden was test pilot for the shoot.

    Top: Only the dash remains inside Above right: Cobra seats and harnesses with Revo branding Facing page: The 2.0 TFSI is running Stage 4 and over 480bhp at the wheels.

    Facing page top Revo RV019 wheels and big brakes Left: Fully committed on track at Bedford Above: Final checks before the track session Above right: The FIA multi-point roll cage.

    Top: The Revo A3 is a monster on track.


    BEDFORD AUTODROME

    Huge thanks to Bedford Autodrome, Motorsport Vision and also MSV Trackdays for allowing us to shoot the A3 at one of their events. If you haven’t been, Bedford is a fantastic venue with a huge amount of run off, allowing you to really push your car to the limit. MSV Trackdays run events at many circuits, which is a great way to spend a day. Head to www.msvt.co.uk.
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    FINE AND CANDY / #VW-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-Mk5 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VAG / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf

    Craig Levens has always liked colourful cars, but his latest Candy creation is probably the most talked-about to date. Words: Tony Saggu. Photos: John Colley.

    “It’s the colour,” explained Craig Levens while carefully massaging the microfibre over his candy-coated creation. “People love the colour, I get asked over and over what colour it is.” The 30- something Cumbrian custom car connoisseur is used to fielding colour queries; this one-off GTI is not his first attempt at a hot hue on a mad motor: “I had a bright orange Subaru STI before this,” he told us. “I was deep into the Scooby scene back then and the car had every modification available on it, as well as a lot of custom stuff.” Craig was obviously munching on the Scooby snacks pretty hard; the 450bhp flat-four 4x4 cost a rumoured £100,000 in parts and labour. Strong money indeed, but Craig did get a lot of Subi silverware and legend status among Fast Car types, bagging ‘Best in Britain’ in 2009 didn’t hurt either.

    While what he’s trying to express may have changed, Craig’s got the hang of using colour to make a statement, but fast and loud have given way to cool and classy. “The car has undergone a couple of makeovers to get it to where it is now, but playing with colour has really changed its character all through the project,” he said. Craig admits the GTI was nice enough straight out-of-the-box, aside from a little rims-andsprings action he was content to leave it factory fresh. “My friend had one,” recalled Craig. “It was awesome to drive, from the first minute I drove one I knew I had to own one.”


    Anyone who’s been on the hunt for a Mk5 will know the perils involved; there’s no shortage of cars, but small cars that go fast get trashed and/or pranged with inevitable predictability. A good few weeks of intense searching eventually unearthed what looked like ‘the one’. “I found it on Pistonheads, a black ’54-plate Mk5 GTI, reasonably priced, low mileage and in great condition,” Craig recalled. “I had to move fast; I saw the ad at eight in the morning and drove three hours that day to pick it up.” The mildly modded fifth generation Golf was perfect for what Craig had in mind: Eibach springs, #BBS CH reps and a gentle tinkering with the ECU was the sum of the aftermarket antics. “I was planning to add some stereo upgrades and just a few bits and bobs really, that was it,” he told us.


    Given his history with the STI and the fact that the car was delivered straight to Plush Automotive in Leicester on the day of purchase, no one was fooled. “The car was bagged within the first month,” he laughed. “Luke at Plush pulled out all the stops to get it done. Plush is always busy and you have to book months in advance. I wasn’t expecting to have the car even touched for ages!” Craig had barely got his name on the logbook in November 2009, and by the time fat man was sliding down the chimney that year plans were already underway to have the car at Ultimate Dubs early in 2010.


    Show car status was going to call for more than merely bags and BBS. So, with a makeover needed and time at a premium, a plan was hatched to go all-out on the interior. “I wanted to do something completely different that would really make the car stand out,” Craig explained.


    A headliner to carpet bright aqua retrim contrasting against the factory black paint certainly did the job! “I added a lot of accents before the show like a Lambo Gallardo steering wheel and some Euro touches to the exterior; the whole package looked good.”


    After Ultimate Dubs, Craig finally got to take the car out of Plush and back home to Cumbria… briefly. “Unfortunately that’s been the story ever since I’ve owned the car,” lamented Craig, “with family commitments, I’m unable to attend all the shows or take the car to places to have it worked on as I live about a four-hour drive away from most of the shows and shops.

    Just recently for example I decided to lend my good friend, and owner of The Install Company, Phil the car so he could take it to as many shows as he wanted, which would enable him to showcase his insane skills and promote his new business. We do meet up at shows from time to time so I can have a look at my own car, which is quite a surreal feeling!” Craig admits the months that followed saw him slowly edge towards the slippery slope of another total makeover for the car. “Things started to get a little out of hand in 2011,” he laughed. “I’d promised myself I wouldn’t get as involved in another project as time-consuming or expensive as the Subaru, but, well, you know…”

    Towards the end of 2011, Craig turned his attention to the engine; a light upgrade was to be the order of the day, he’d already done the whole fire-breathing monster motor thing with the Subi, so mild tuning would do just fine on the Mk5. Aside from the obvious cosmetic work on and around the mill, a lot of it courtesy of Forge, the 2.0-litre turbo has received a Revo Stage 2+ and HPFP (High Pressure Fuel Pump) upgrade.

    Craig reckons the PDT Tuning massaged motor now makes a little over 265 ponies with a healthy 290lb ft of torque. “I originally felt that I should have gone with the Edition 30 Golf, with the KO4 turbo as standard, but Dave at PDT unlocked so much power and drivability from the GTI engine, it’s now a total blast to drive.”


    The following year saw the car largely undercover. Major mods were afoot and 12 months out of the limelight would barely get the work done. “Over the last few years Ultimate Dubs has kinda become the show that we work to as a deadline,” he told us. “Pretty much all the major mods have been unveiled there.”

    Early 2013 would be crunch time and showgoers were in for a big surprise. If there is an exterior finish that can blend stunning, while subtle and crazy, with classic, it’s the scrupulous solvent-based automotive nectar that is Candy paint, and Craig had acquired gallons of the stuff: “I wanted something different,” he explained. “I always loved House of Kolor paints and felt that this car needed something to make it stand out from the crowd. I wanted a classy colour that would never age.

    “I looked at doing a colour that would go with my aqua interior at first but I found nothing that blew me away. Eventually I decided to sell the interior and the possibilities were endless after that. I always liked Candy red but this is quite a popular colour and a little boring if I’m honest, so I looked for different shades of the red, from dark through to light. That’s when I came across the Brandywine; as soon as I saw it I was hooked. Because the original colour of the car was black it made sense to go with the black base coat to give the finished job a rich deep look; the desired finish we wanted was a beautiful Hennessy bottle red.”


    Candy is notoriously tricky stuff to work with, even seasoned painters fear it. The trouble is that true Candy isn’t really paint at all, it’s a translucent tint; a thin almost see-through coating that is as unforgiving to work with as the average traffic warden. The stuff has to be applied with robotic precision, anything but a perfect, even coat and you’ve left the door open to blotches, dark spots and stripes in the finish.

    “It took about nine months to paint the car,” Craig said. “Tim at True Paintworks in Leicester did all the work. It took three months just to get the paint. Then it wasn’t just the paint; Tim was faced with doing all the other bodywork mods as well.” Craig told us he was more than a little eager to see what the custom Candy would look like on the car, but didn’t put the paintshop on the clock: “I told him I didn’t have a deadline for the job, just to take as long as it took to get it perfect. He took his time and did a fantastic job. He had the odd issue here and there but nothing he couldn’t sort out. His skill is extraordinary, I mean just look at the car… it looks like it’s covered in Cognac.”


    Tying the entire Candy brandy bad boy exterior makeover together are a set of seldomseen RSV Forged three-piece split-rim wheels. “I chose them simply because I wanted something completely different, and I have yet to see another set of these in the UK,” explained Craig. “I went with the finish as it matches the Satin grey detail on the exterior of the car, tying it in perfectly. AirLift Performance struts with camber adjust, AccuAir management and Bilstein rear shocks assist with altitude adjustment: “The chassis is notched and lots of custom work was carried out by The Install Company to make the whole setup work,” explained Craig, “including a full stainless steel hardline install. Mine is one of only two cars in the UK to have been done the same way.”

    Craig’s lowriding Hennessy hot hatch is more than just pretty paint job, though. Aside from a myriad of understated mods blended into the bodywork under the Brandywine, the creative custom work continues into the cabin. “Initially I threw a stockish black interior in the car after the aqua trim was sold, although that was a stop-gap measure,” recalled Craig. “I wanted a retrim that would work with the candy colour to form an overall character for the car. The old aqua black contrast was bold and didn’t take too many prisoners. The new interior blends better as it complements the exterior and brings out the class.”


    McLaren MP4-12C front seats are the centrepiece of the interior: “They were owned by a friend who I pestered until he gave in and sold them to me,” Craig explained. “I knew they would be a great addition to the Mk5 interior and make it more unique.” Steve at Edge Automotive in Rugby stitched up the black and Merlot masterpiece swathed in yards of finest Alcantara, and carbon detailing is peppered throughout as the Mk6 and 7 Series VW extras. “We ordered a US Spec driver’s doorcard to replicate the UK doorcard on passenger side,” revealed Craig. “It’s a small detail, but that’s what the project is all about; I wanted to concentrate on attention to detail everywhere.” The Hennessy air freshener certainly didn’t go unnoticed…

    Dub Details

    ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo, S3 Intercooler, #Forge-Motorsport Twintercooler with black silicone hoses, Forge Motorsport polished oil cap, water cap, washer cap, polished atmospheric DV Valve, ITG intake painted satin grey, Autotech Uprated fuel pump internals, R8 coil packs, Stage 2+ Revo mapping, Eurojet Turbo back exhaust, Fuse box cover painted Satin grey, battery cover painted Satin grey, Forge Motorsport front-to-back shortshift, Forge Motorsport side-by-side short-shift.

    CHASSIS: RSV: S|1 series 19” RSF1 three-piece forge wheels, centres painted matte gunmetal, lips and barrel painted gloss gunmetal, hidden hardware, 215/35/19 and 225/35/19 Nankang NS2 tyres, M14-M12 stud conversion kit, D12 gunmetal wheel nuts, #AirLift front/rear performance struts, Bilstein rear shocks, Whiteline anti-lift kit, Powerflex wishbone mounts, #Powerflex control arm bushes, H&R 24mm front anti-roll bar, H&R 28mm rear anti-roll bar, BSH rear drop links, #AccuAir ‘E’ Level, 2x380cc #Viair compressors, 2x three Gallonpolished seamless air tanks, chassis ‘notched’, strut towers cut to allow camber adjustment on the font, Forge Motorsport front: 356mm, six-pot BBK, Forge Motorsport rear: 330mm, four-pot #BBK (includes separate handbrake caliper), calipers and disc bells painted in HOK Brandy wine with Charcoal ‘Forge’ decals.


    EXTERIOR: Full respray in House of Kolor Brandywine Candy, OEM Mk5 R32 Xenon headlights (split and painted Satin grey with Brandywine Mk7 GTI-style stripe), USA spec front bumper, smoked USA side-markers, Votex lip smoothed into front bumper, smoothed underside of bonnet frame, Mk6 Golf R mirrors grafted into Mk5 baseplates, Mk1 Audi TT filler cap grafted in, Edition 30 rear bumper smoothed together and edges faded away, front wings widened 10mm, rear arches pulled 5mm, R32 rear lights. Mk6 rear boot handle; centre of handle; centre of Votex lip; centre of rear bumper; smoothed GTI front grill; open fog grills; wiper arms; rear scuttle panel; and smoothed front slam panel all in Satin grey.


    INTERIOR: Wine/charcoal Alcantara trim (every panel), wine/charcoal Alcantara mats, carbon fibre and charcoal Alcantara Mk7 GTI MFSW, carbon fibre dash strips, door strips, fire extinguisher, centre console inserts, McLaren MP4-12C front seats trimmed with original stitch pattern, Mk6 GTI roof liner and visors, Mk6 GTD rear seats trimmed to match the McLaren stitch pattern, Alcantara MK6 GTI gear knob, US-spec driver’s doorcard to replicate UK doorcard on passenger side, chrome tipped switches throughout, Cherry red hazard warning switch, Custom #AccuAir controller in centre console, Hennessy air freshener, #Dynavin N6 OEM-style head unit, Audison Voce Amp x 2, Audison Voce Component speakers, JL rear speakers, Audison 10” Voce subwoofer, #Audison Bit 10D processor, Bit 10D controller custommounted in roof, custom stainless steel, floating polish tank, hardline install, white LED lighting throughout interior/boot install.

    SHOUT: Chloe for putting up with me, Phil at The Install Company: this car wouldn’t have been finished without him. Russ Whitefield and Mark Gurney for all their help, Steve at Edge Automotive for the epic trim. Dale at Meguiar’s UK for looking after the paintwork and keeping it fresh, Paul at C6 Carbon, Tim at True Paintworks, Kris at Forge Motorsport for all my Forge Parts and RSV Forged for my wheels.

    The staggered 19” RSV: SI1 series RSF1 forge wheels may be a bit of a mouthful, but the fit, finish and uniqueness is what steals the show for us!

    It’s hard to believe Craig’s previous ride was a bright orange Subaru Impreza. Something’s obviously changed in his mindset, not entirely sure what, but we’re extremely pleased for him and us!
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    CROSSING THE LINE

    One of the most spectacular builds we’ve seen in a long time, this #BMW-M135i is quite unlike anything else. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary

    When Bruce Gowans said he had plans for his M135, he wasn’t lying. A year ago, this car was candy red with a modest boot build and Watercooled Industry wheels and now, well, it’s pretty much unrecognisable. There’s modifying your car and then there’s forging ahead with an absolute vision that’s uncompromised and single-minded in its intent. This car is what happens when someone makes that vision a reality.

    There is no typical modified BMW owner, and Bruce certainly fits into that non-box of atypicality. He is of the ‘older’ generation, shall we say, and resides in a tiny village in the heart of the Bedfordshire countryside, a million miles away from the frenetic and eclectic world that is the modified BMW scene. But this mechanical engineer has a heart that pumps pure petrol and has spent his entire life flitting from modified car to modified car, with an underlying appreciation for BMW but never the opportunity to indulge that interest in Bavarian metal until he acquired this M135i. “I’ve been interested in BMWs ever since I was a lad and grew up into a petrolhead! I’ve been a fan since the first E30 M3 and seeing an E9 coupé on neighbour’s drive when I walked to school and thinking how cool it looked. I bought the M135i, my first BMW, for its ‘performance for the price’ factor and because the drivetrain, the engine and the transmission are such a great combination in this vehicle. I bought it brand-new in 2013 and was going to keep it stock…”

    “Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task”

    Digital audio explained:

    “The system in this car was spec’d to accommodate Bruce’s passion for high resolution audio. It’s cutting edge in the fact it can play any file format he wants and samples up to 196khz with bit depths of up to 24-bit. When you consider a CD (still reference in so many studios) samples at 44.1khz at 16-bit, that’s a huge amount more information. Of course, all of the car’s OEM equipment and functionality is retained and played through the new system alongside solid state hard drives, wireless streaming and various other inputs.”
    Carl Shakespeare, Director, Studio Incar

    Clearly that didn’t happen. It seems like the car was stock for all of five minutes before Bruce had started tinkering and while the mods started off sensibly and in a restrained manner, once the momentum began to build there was clearly no stopping Bruce (or the M135i). “The first mod was to get a new exhaust developed and fitted by Scorpion Exhausts. Then Luke and the guys at Plush supplied and fitted the air-ride, sourcing components from AirREX and an eLevel system from Accuair. This was closely followed by a carbon-fibre front splitter from SSDD,” he says. “Spring 2014 brought a change in colour, with a candy red colour wrap from Avery called True Blood.


    New MD1 wheels from Watercooled Industries were added, closely followed by a Juice Box 4 (JB4) piggyback ECU from Burger Motorsports and a decat downpipe which were fitted at #Performance-Developments in Sunderland. The car went to #Forge-Motorsport in #Gloucester to have one of its high-performance intercoolers fitted, along with one of its dump valves.” With all those mods on board, it made 400hp and 450lb ft of torque on the dyno and considering how blisteringly quick the standard M135i is, that’s going to be more than enough power to keep Bruce happy. “After having the traction control kick in once too often, I took the decision to fit a limited-slip diff to the car. Options were thin on the ground for this platform but Birds in Iver, Buckinghamshire developed a Quaife ATB for it, which has made a massive difference to the way the car drives.”


    And that is where the story would end for most people. A dramatic wrap, some exceedingly nice wheels, air-ride and some performance mods. A fine selection of upgrades. Job done. But that’s not where this story ends, as you can clearly see. “At the end of 2014 I planned to make some big changes to the car and started speaking to Carl Shakespeare at Studio Incar about my plans,” he explains. “We discussed my ideas for a rear-seat delete and a high-end audio installation and things just got out of hand. I had already decided to try and get a BTCC body kit. I contacted West Surrey Racing and negotiated with the guys there to buy a genuine race car kit from their 2014/15 BMW 1 Series race car. However, fitting it proved more difficult than you might think! The BTCC cars have front and rear subframes and crash structures that are specified by TOCA and these also provide mounting points for the front and rear body panels. These didn’t match up with the mounting and fixing points that BMW specify! It required the rear wings to be cut and tubbed – scary stuff! Luckily, Stylehaus in Northampton has some serious skills and brought the whole thing together.


    “Shakey project managed the whole build with input from me, like my suggestion for the triple tank setup. Once the car was back from the bodyshop, and with a little bit of extra fettling by Fibreglass Phil in Kent (the manufacturer of the BTCC kit), the audio and air install could begin in earnest.” With a bit of direction from Bruce, Shakey was free to run riot inside the M135i. The end result is an interior that feels like it’s very much been built around the air and audio and one look inside leaves you in no doubt that this car’s main purpose is to astound. The rear seats have been removed completely, replaced by the awesome triple floating tank setup that looks like a spaceship, illuminated from above and hovering over the massive 15” Hertz Mille sub which forms part of the incredibly high-end digital audio install, while the rear load space is home to the three Audison amps, on display in a beautifully designed enclosure. There’s acres of Alcantara in here, which reaches up to cover the roof lining as well, while some extremely sexy custom door pods are home to Hertz Mille speakers. Finally, a custom panel in the centre console (also trimmed in Alcantara) houses the controllers for the audio system and the air suspension. It’s one of the most spectacular, special and perfectly-executed builds we’ve ever seen and it’s nothing short of a work of art.


    With such a spectacular build going on, the right wheels were going to be absolutely essential and Bruce was keen to move away from the usual suspects, like BBS and Rotiform, and try something different. “I had been in touch with Brada wheels in the States for a year or so, originally to try and get some wheels for my GT3,” he says. “I spoke to Zane and we agreed a design and spec for the wheels that were destined to go on the BMW. However, because the car was away having the body kit fitted, Shakey and I could only make an educated guess as to what the exact widths and offsets of the wheels would be, with us only knowing what the overall width of the BTCC car is and working back from those dimensions…” It can be hard enough to work out your exact wheel specs when you’ve got your car in front of you so this was most definitely a risky strategy but it worked and the resulting wheels are the perfect fit for the M135i. Bruce opted for Brada’s BR1 crossspokes with gloss black centres, matt black lips and stainless steel bolts in 9.5x19” at the front and 10.5x19” at the rear, the fitment perfect for tucking the wheels under the massive arches when the car is aired out.


    In terms of styling, the kit alone wasn’t enough for Bruce and he decided to take things to the next level. “The wrap design wasn’t established until quite late in the build. I have always been a fan of the BMW Art Car projects but picking a design to base the wrap for the M135i was tricky. Several of the Art Cars are ‘challenging’, to say the least,” he laughs, “but this Frank Stella design from 1976 was selected – it appealed to my inner engineer! Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task, since the original consisted of lots of parallel horizontal and vertical lines; the hardest thing to do with vinyl wrap… Carl contacted JD Wraps in Essex and a deal was struck. When I collected the car a week later I was amazed. The guys had done an awesome job.” The combination of kit and wrap is one that is both single-handedly responsible for the utterly insane amount of attention this car garners but is also the most polarising aspect of the whole project. Some people love the wrap but hate the kit. Some people hate the kit but love the wrap. Some people hate them both. And some people like everything that this car has got going on! However you feel, it’s a talking point and gets the car noticed. Bruce loves it, however, which ultimately is the most important thing.


    Amazingly, all this work took just six months, really not long at all considering just how much has gone into the build and how complete the transformation has been. Bruce chose the Players Classic show for the car’s unveiling. It got as much attention as you’d expect and the sort of reactions you’d expect. “It seems to be very much a ‘Marmite’ car!” Bruce tells us. More importantly, though, he can now sit back and actually enjoy the car. Beyond the looks and the next-level interior, he’s got a fast, powerful car that’s great to drive, with an incredible sound system. It’s a package that just begs to be taken out on the road and enjoyed and, in fact, that’s now his only plan for the future.

    DATA FILE #2015 #BMW-M135i-F21 / #BMW-M135i / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #Brada-BR1

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 / #N55 , JB4 piggyback ECU from #Burger-Motorsport , #Scorpion full exhaust including a decat downpipe, #Forge / #Forge-FMIC / , #Forge-DV , stock #ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox #ZF8HP , #Quaife ATB LSD from #Birds

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #Brada BR1 three-piece wheels with gloss black lips, matt black faces and stainless hardware, with 235/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) #Goodyear Eagle Asymmetric 2 tyres, #AirREX air-ride and Accuair eLevel management

    EXTERIOR #BMW-M-Performance carbon fibre wing mirror shells, #BMW M Performance black front grilles, #BTCC body kit from WSR, Art Car wrap by #JD-Wraps

    INTERIOR Interior by #Studio-Incar , full digital audio install comprising Audison AV Quattro amp x2, Audison AV Uno amp, Audison bit Ten D processor, #Audison bit Play HD source, #Hertz-Mille three-way front end, Hertz Mille 15” sub, rear seat delete, custom air installation, Alcantara roof lining, integrated audio and suspension controllers built in to the centre console

    THANKS Studio Incar and Shakey in particular for handling this project and for keeping my spirits up when I needed it, Zane and Jacob at Brada, Myles and Chris at Brada UK, Fibreglass Phil, Scorpion Exhausts, Forge Motorsport, the guys at Stylehaus, Luke Massy, Phil James, Kat and the team at JD Wraps, Voodoo Elie for getting me out of a tricky situation, and last but not least, Ed Hamilton at JK Engineering for being a great friend, being just as daft as me and as big a petrolhead as me!
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    ALL WHITE ON THE NIGHT - HOT RIDE: SEAT LEON MK2 WORDS MIDGE PHOTOGRAPHY DAN PULLEN

    THERE’S A PRICE TO BE PAID FOR FAME. BUT IT DOES HAVE ITS PERKS…

    Packed with #Forge-Motorsport and #VIBE goodies this sexy SEAT has go as well as show.


    If you’re into tuning your #VAG motors, you’ll most likely recognise this world-famous SEAT as the ‘Forge Motorsport demo car’. Well, let’s get this out of the way right from the start. It’s not.

    You see, even though we’ve all seen this spectacular white-on-white Leon popping up in various advertising campaigns, appearing all over the web and on show at more than a couple of events. It is, and always has been, the personal car of our mate Kris Butler.

    Of course, as we can plainly observe, this storming Spaniard is packing more than its fair share of Forge gear. In fact, there’s just about everything they’ve ever manufactured for the Mk2 LEON and few extra one-offs, like flashy hoses and a custom catch can setup nestled under that bonnet. But all that’s easily explained by the fact that Kris works at Forge Motorsport HQ in Gloucester.

    Kris is actually one of the team that develops these kind of products, so he may have benefited from a bit of a staff discount. But it certainly wasn’t one of the five-fingered variety like I got when I worked at Lidl (free bratwurst and 9p baked beans eh? – Jules). I guess that’s always the problem with doing a job you love, especially one surrounded by top-end kit and the expertise to evolve even more - it’s impossible not to get involved. I mean, if you’re a plumber I’d imagine your bathroom is a thing of abject beauty. If you happen to sell Ferraris for a living I’m betting there’s something pretty tasty on your drive right now. And if you work in KFC, you probably can’t remember the last time you cooked at home. It starts with a nice little discount and before you know it you’re having the gas cut off because you’ve dropped all your wages on trinkets before they’ve even got to the bank. We’ve all been there.

    Perhaps that also explains why Kris’ SEAT is such a devastating work of art, when the initial plan was just to plonk on a nice set of wheels and drop the ride height. It’s a modifying story we’ve heard a million times before. Kris never meant to go this far, but things just escalated. We’re glad they did. Presumably so are the Forge marketing bods.

    Of course, at the very beginning, two years ago, the first mods came from necessity. As Kris no doubt told his missus, the air-ride was an ‘absolute must’ for getting on the drive. And the new wheels, well that’s just always ‘a must’ isn’t it? But was he content with his super-slammed ride on slick 3SDMs? Yeah, for about five minutes. It’s just after that when things went nuts.

    There’s no denying that the finished article is extraordinary and striking. What amazes me though is that despite all the fame and bona fi de show-car status, it’s not just his daily driver, but 95-percent of the mods have been buttoned-up by Kris himself.

    He’s clearly from the school of having a crack at everything first before writing a cheque, and that makes it all the more impressive. I have to say too, he’s done a formidable job fitting the air, trimming the interior and building that awesome boot install. In fact, it’s only the bodywork and anything that’s been machine-stitched that have been paid for with real money. More cash to spend at work I suppose.

    There’s none of the usual tale-tale signs that this car is DIY built. The execution is first-rate and there’s even a few swish, high-end details that are as likely to be found elsewhere as a fart is in a jacuzzi. Just check out the super-rare Anniversary Edition Cobra Misanos? It’s not often you see aftermarket seats with heaters in ’em, either.

    In all its Alcantara glory the interior finish is sensational and, from the pictures, it’s pretty obvious that Kris is also a fan of the odd slice of in-car entertainment. Now, I’m not sure if there’s been a spot of part-time moonlighting at VIBE Audio, but there seems to be plenty of their very best products crammed in there. The contrast between the inside and outside is also profound. The plush interior gives a warm fuzzy feeling of luxury, while the styling is all intensity and aggression. The imposing BTCC kit along with the stance not only hint at all the added power under the bonnet, they spell it out. Plainly.

    The colour is all-business too. The brightness and intensity of the candy white paint gives an almost surgical, sterile and super-clean edge to the whole project. Naturally, you don’t build anything with such whiter than white credentials without having a particular fondness for detailing and Kris can buff with the best of ’em – you could safely perform open-heart surgery on the bonnet. Maybe all the notoriety has given Kris a more acute interest in the car’s appearance than normal. I’ve seen this sweet SEAT on a number of occasions and every time it’s been nothing short of immaculate – that’s pretty special for any daily driver, not least when it’s a family car.

    Kris’ fondness for the purest and hardest to- maintain of colours has recently extended to his wheels too. After deciding his black 3SDMs didn’t show up too well in photos he found these Bentley monsters for sale on Instagram already painted white. Celebrity status and Bentley products seem go hand in hand, just ask David Beckham or Lady Gaga. And for a car that soaks up just as much of the limelight there can be nothing better than the highest-of high class rollers.

    Above all though, what makes this car special is that, unlike so many, it’s famous for a good reason. There’s none of that Keeping Up With The Kardashians or Big Brother bollocks here. This one should be immortalised not as a big money company demo car but on its own merit. And in that case long may its fame continue!

    It’s not a company car. It deserves attention on its own merit.

    TECH SPEC: #Seat-Leon-Mk2 / #Seat-Leon

    TUNING: Forge Motorsport carbon intake, FMIC, custom silicone hoses, alloy oil and water caps, carbon canister cover, alloy washer bottle, BOV actuator and boost adaptor; colour-coded cam cover; charge pipe; battery cover and fuse box cover; Powerflex engine mount, custom catch can setup; stainless steel exhaust with oval tailpipe; Revo Stage 1 remap.

    CHASSIS: 9x19-inch Bentley Continental GT alloys in white; 225/35x19 Nankang tyres; Air Lift V2 Slam Series air ride suspension; 2x Viair 380 compressors; Powerflex suspension bush kit; Forge Motorsport 6-pot (356mm front) and 4-pot (330mm rear) big brake kit; chassis notch.

    STYLING: Full BTCC body kit; Triple R front splitter; gloss black vents, bonnet trim, grille and door pillars; delocked; rear wiper delete; custom Xenon black headlights; tinted side repeaters; Heko wind deflectors.

    INTERIOR: Cobra Misano Anniversary custom diamond stitch heated seats; rear seats trimmed by Cobra to match; Alcantara trimmed headlining, A/B/C pillars, kick plastics, arm rest, shift gaiter and seat sides; Diamond stitched Alcantara doorcards and parcel shelf; Forge shifter; #Seat Sport handbrake cover, white dash and centre console parts; Leon Mk3 flat bottom FR steering wheel; Defi-style boost gauge; upgraded MFD speedo; black and white mats.

    AUDIO: #Kenwood DNX520VBT satnav headunit; VIBE BlackAir limited edition component speakers front and rear; 2x VIBE Black Air 12-inch subwoofers and 4 channel amplifier; VIBE Space mono amplifier; VIBE circuit breakers and wiring; VIBE Anti-VIBE sound deadening in doors and boot area; custom boot build trimmed in Alcantara.

    THANKS: Mark at VIBE Audio; Mark and Adam from Cobra Seats; Peter at Forge Motorsport; James and Simon at Auto Finesse.

    KRIS BUTLER
    So what’s it like driving a car that’s so acclaimed?
    “I don’t think it’s quite that famous mate – it’s not KITT from Knight Rider is it? People do think that Forge built it though.”


    Does that chafe your arse a bit?
    “Nah, not really – I guess I know what I’ve put into it. You can’t always get all the recognition, right?”

    Can I have your autograph anyway though?
    “If you want. Where would you like it?”

    On this bill for lunch.

    “Now that’s what I call famous – do you FC boys ever pay for anything?” Not if we can help it mate.

    Kris did almost all the work himself. Swisher. Swish. Kris did almost all the work himself.
    • Awesome Seat Leon! Would love to drive that car, but i've got a question. Did you manage to get the steering wheel buttons to work?
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