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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    / #Hack-Engineering
    / Pro-Line Motorsport
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    Thomas Koflach’s #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 /

    This project came about through a fair amount of luck on my part. An E46 M3 had been on the radar for a few months – the lure of the straightsix was well and truly calling and having been out in my brother Ben’s #S54 Touring on numerous track days I knew just how good the engines were. The difficult part was, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I wanted or what would fit the available budget.

    It was therefore fortuitous when Ben mentioned that a friend’s E46 had just thrown a rod in spectacular style, punching no less than three enormous holes in the block. The rolling shell was semi-broken for parts before being moved on as a whole. Aside from both front wings missing, the only real omissions were the engine, differential, wheels and exhaust system.

    So that’s where this project starts really: a rolling E46 M3 in need of a new engine. Having successfully purchased the shell, attention turned to finding a donor engine. From the outset I’d decided that I wouldn’t simply bolt in a replacement; whatever went in there would have to be a little special. A donor engine was quickly sourced, albeit one with a cracked piston, and a full strip down commenced. Further damage was found upon stripping the engine down, with scoring to the cylinder walls and a number of big end shells showing alarming levels of wear. The big end below the cracked piston was the worst, with a bit of damage showing on the crank. Problems already, but none that can’t be overcome!

    With the engine fully stripped-down anything that was remotely suspect was binned, whilst anything that looked usable received a thorough inspection. Whilst the oil pump was apart the engine received its first upgrade: a #VAC-Motorsport upgrade kit supplied by #Hack-Engineering . With a redesigned shaft, sprocket and fastening mechanism, the upgrade kit safeguards the oil pump from the two main failure mechanisms: the shaft shearing or the nut loosening off in operation. With a lot of time and effort going into the engine, oil pump failure certainly wouldn’t go down well and would almost certainly damage the engine beyond repair. The money spent here safeguarding the rest of the engine is money well spent in my book!

    Over the next few months the engine will be built back up, with careful component selection and detailed analysis taking place to ensure everything runs perfectly. Having spent most of my career working as a design engineer for a race engine manufacturer I’m hoping to share a little bit of engineering insight as I work through the project, including designing my own set of custom cams.

    / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-M3-Coupe / #BMW-M3-Coupe-E46
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    / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / BEN’S E36 #S54 TOURING / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-S54 / #BMW-M3-Touring / #BMW-M3-Touring-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 /

    It’s been a little while since I managed to put something together for this section, and unfortunately that’s simply because I haven’t done an awful lot with the car! It’s currently serving duties as my daily driver and work van during a workshop relocation.

    That said, the summer evenings have come in handy for ticking some items off the list – mainly more track preparation and weight reduction. I had previously kept the front half of the car in ‘comfy’ format – the Sparco seats and Momo steering wheel were essentially the only changes, but the time had come to remove the carpet, dash underside trims, headlining and to strip down the wiring loom.

    The head unit, speakers and associated wiring were also removed, along with the glovebox and the Hack Engineering store cupboards were raided for a Hard Motorsport battery kill switch panel which was duly fitted and wired in, completing the first stage of interior work. The next addition came courtesy of a fantastic firm local to me, Pro-Line Motorsport. The brainchild of Mitch Plowman, Pro-Line was set up to offer everything from braided brake clutch lines to full motorsport vehicle-outfitting, covering everything from oil lines and coolers to bespoke fuel systems.

    The mission was simple – I was after one of Pro-Line’s E36 ABS delete kits but I wanted to run it inside the car rather than underneath, minimising potential damage and easing maintenance. I offered to lend a hand and so turned up at Mitch’s unit near Redhill in Surrey bright and early one morning to get cracking. When the fluid was drained I removed the original solid brake lines and ABS unit while Mitch measured up the new lines. The fronts were plumbed directly from the master cylinder, while the line to the rear meets a bulkhead connector on the passenger side of the engine bay.

    Moving inside, we ran a line down under the dash to the new Tilton bias valve that Mitch supplied, and into the back. Here it split down to another pair of bulkhead connectors and down to the calipers.

    To say Mitch is OCD about his work would be an understatement – as the photos will show, everything is precisely measured, incredibly neat and completely symmetrical. All fittings are swaged and, also, all of Mitch’s lines have a lifetime warranty. The system was bled through with Motul RBF600, checked over and I was ready for a test drive.

    The difference all of it has made is absolutely astounding. I didn’t find brake feel a problem before, but the improvement is night and day, and I’m enjoying not having the ABS cut in at inappropriate moments – finally I can use the WP Pro brake setup to full affect. If you want the same for your car, all you need to do is give Mitch a ring – the under-car kits are also available through Hack Engineering.

    THANKS & CONTACT #Pro-Line-Motorsport 0208 4064237 / www. prolinemotorsport. co. uk / #Hack-Engineering / www. hackengineering. co. uk /
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    The E36 M3 GT Imola Individual is a rare beast and modified examples, like this slick machine, are rarer still. The E36 is fast becoming the appreciating #BMW classic of the moment, and you’ll struggle to find one finer than Mikey Townsend’s M3 GT Imola Individual. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Scott Paterson.

    Things at the upper end of the E36 market have seen a sea of change in the last few years. After some time spent as perhaps the least desirable models of the 3 Series range, they’re now on the up in terms of resale values – for a good one at least. And the most desirable of all the models? The ultra-rare M3 Evolution Imola Individual.

    With just 50 examples produced for the UK (and only a further 200 for the entirety of mainland Europe), the M3 GT II, often labelled the GT2, was a final hurrah for the E36. It built on the legend that had been forged with the M3 GT. However, rather than being based on the 3.0-litre M3 and being coloured British Racing green, the GT II used the 3.2-litre six-speed M3 Evo as a base and came in stunning Imola red.

    M3 GT Class II front corner splitters and a rear wing to match, an interior combination of Imola red Nappa leather and anthracite Alcantara and plenty of the usual options boxes ticked as standard made the GT II special. Mikey Townsend was lucky enough to pick this one up at the beginning of last year and proceeded to put his own stamp on the ultra-rare M3.

    Mikey’s far from a stranger to BMWs. As an ex-paratrooper stationed in Germany for a number of years he was lucky enough to have an E30 M3 as his first one, bought for just DM6500 – less than £3000. “If only I knew what I had back then!” laughed the 32-year-old. “I’d have put it away in storage instead of driving it like a loon everywhere.” Sure enough, by the age of 18 Mikey was an ex-E30 M3 owner, having written it off, but he was hooked on BMWs from then on. An E46 M3 followed later, with an E36 M3 Coupé and a Convertible spliced with countless non-M Three and Five series models – you name it, Mikey’s probably had one. However, his latest purchase is the most special of them all.

    “My brother has an M3 GT II, number 16, which he got in 2007, and I’ve wanted one ever since he got it,” Mikey told us. “It was inevitable that I would end up with one, it was just a matter of when. Then this one popped up and was only half-an-hour from me, so I had to take a look.”

    What Mikey had before him was M3 GT Imola Individual, number 48 of 50. It was an immaculate, carefully restored piece of Bavarian history which had been given a select range of modifications to boot including KW V3 coilovers and a number of small touches. Along with those it came with all of the original parts so that it could be restored to its rare original guise if required.

    “I’ve been choosy as to what I do with it,” Mikey explained. “That’s why I’ve only really gone for Schnitzer styling and the best replacement parts available. Everything I’ve done is totally reversible as I’ve got all of the original parts in the garage. Everyone says: ‘you can’t modify it, it’s too rare!’ Well, tell me it doesn’t look good!”

    When he bought the car it was sitting on three-piece Hartge wheels. These were not purchased as part of the deal and so the first thing Mikey did was get the standard wheels refurbished to a better-than-new condition before bolting them up to the car and rolling it home. Once the wheels were on and shod in brand-new Michelins, Mikey got the car home and didn’t hang about with his plans to get it looking the way he wanted.

    “The body had already been recently resprayed and fully rust treated and Waxoyl’d underneath, so everything I got for it had to be mint. This meant new or completely refurbished parts throughout,” Mikey explained. His private plate was purchased and transferred onto the M3, while a Storm Motorwerks weighted gear knob was fitted alongside the previous owner’s addition of Amaretta Anthracite Alcantara gaiters.

    Another upgrade for the interior was a selection of genuine BMW Motorsport International door sill trims and a matching carbon fibre glovebox trim. The badge on the back of the rear wing was also swapped for one that Mikey had made by Taylor Made Decals, denoting the car’s 48/50 production number.

    Mikey’s next trip out in the car was to go and get a special little something for under the bonnet, as he explains: “I took her for a blast over to Luton to see Bilal and Imran at Evolve. I had been speaking to Bilal for a while about an Eventuri intake for the E36 but he said that there hadn’t been enough interest in them to warrant producing them.

    However, he said to bring the car down for them to have a look at anyway. No sooner had I got there and spoken to Bilal was the car in the workshop, with the old air box being stripped off and measurements being taken for a custom kit. Dyno runs were done before and after, both with standard mapping. It was hitting 306/307hp as standard but with the Eventuri it was hitting at least 315hp on each run with much stronger and consistent torque gains!

    Gaining an extra 10hp from the kit was really surprising and the sound it makes is awesome, especially on wide open throttle.”

    A neat touch is that Eventuris all feature a serial number, and Mikey managed to bag number 48 to match his car. It a little plaque on the carbon heat sheild and is just one example of the painstaking detail he goes to in his pursuit of perfection.

    Mikey’s next addition to the car was, again, to the engine bay in the form of a genuine AC Schnitzer carbon fibre strut brace. However, the carbon’s clear coat had aged badly and gone slightly yellow in places. Of course, that wasn’t good enough for Mikey’s GT II and so it was sent off to be carefully re-lacquered, with the engine cover being colour-coded at the same time – a neat touch.

    With the M3 looking and feeling better than ever, all that was left was for Mikey to put a couple more of his own touches on the exterior. This started with a set of anthracite M3 Contour wheels – mint, of course – and some AC Schnitzer Cup 2 wing mirrors.

    However, the biggest change was yet to come, as Mickey explains: “I stumbled across the current wheels by chance really. I was looking for something else but got chatting to this guy with an Estoril blue E36 M3 Evo. He sent me a few photos of it and said that he had these rims on it but wanted to go back to the originals. These wheels are my favourite. I’ve always loved them and have always said that if I could have any wheels on the E36 it would be them. He was after cash quick so I got them for £1000 with new tyres, too,” Mikey told us. “It was a case of being in the right place at the right time – literally three weeks before Gaydon BMW Festival last year, so it was all good!”

    With the AC Schnitzer theme that Mikey already had running throughout his GT, those final touches were the perfect additions. However, the only worry he now had was that it was all becoming a little too ACS-themed and might detract from just how special the GT is; not the worst problem to have, you might be think, but it was easily solved by simply swapping back to the original M3 mirrors, which has worked a treat.

    The final addition was an AC Schnitzer exhaust – another rare part, which makes the S50 a little more vocal and brings a welcome lift to the rear end. It was bolted up with Hack Engineering billet exhaust hangers, too. No stone has been left unturned with this M3.

    “Because of the size a few people were saying that the wheels would never fit – but that’s the beauty of having the KW V3s: I could get it stanced perfectly! With a few goes it was spot-on, with no rubbing,” concluded Mikey. With a thorough polish up and some fresh AC Schnitzer graphics for them, the wheels were the perfect addition to set the car off.

    Undoubtedly Mikey has more plans for the GT but you can rest assured that each and every addition will be as carefully considered as all of those so far. E36s are on the up, and with something as rare and as special as his GT Imola Individual it would be too easy to damage it with the wrong modifications. Premium parts, great taste and a respect for the rarity have culminated in one very special M3.

    DATA FILE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-GT-Imola-Individual / #BMW-M3-GT-Imola-Individual-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3-GT / #BMW-M3-GT-E36 / #BMW / #AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1 / #BMW-Motorsport / #BMW-M /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S50B32 / #BMW-S50 / #S50 / , #Eventuri carbon fibre intake with build number matched to chassis number, #ARP con-rod bolts, colour-coded engine cover, AC Schnitzer exhaust, #Hack-Engineering billet exhaust mounts. Standard six-speed manual gearbox, #Rogue-Engineering gearbox mounts, braided clutch line, standard 3.23 final drive LSD

    CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1-Racing three-piece wheels with 215/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) Hankook V12 tyres, #KW-V3 coilovers, #AC-Schnitzer carbon fibre strut brace. Standard brakes with drilled and grooved discs front and rear, braided brake lines

    EXTERIOR Full respray in original Individual Imola red, Class II front spoiler removed, factory Class II rear spoiler, BMW Motorsport Individual side moulding badges, custom build number plaque

    INTERIOR Individual upholstery (including Imola red door inserts and seat centre sections, Amaretta Anthracite seat bolsters), Amaretta Anthracite-trimmed steering wheel with Imola stitching by Royal Steering wheels, extended Imola leather by Bespoke Leather, Storm Motorwerks gear knob, Storm Motorwerks cigarette lighter blank, AC Schnitzer alloy pedal set, AC Schnitzer door pins, BMW Motorsport International carbon fibre glovebox trim, BMW-Motorsport International door sill trims, Harman Kardon speakers

    THANKS Bilal and Imran at Eventuri, Jim at Vines, Steven at Taylor Made Decals, Ben at Hack Engineering, friends and family
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    BEN AT HACK ENGINEERING’S #BMW-E30 / #BMW-316i / #VAC-Motorsports / #BMW-316i-E30 / #BMW

    Of late progress has been relatively speedy and I can announce that the rear suspension is now looking much more complete, although is yet to be bolted back underneath the car.

    A little more fabrication work is needed with the plan for this car being very much centred around track work. We wanted to give the rear end the adjustability needed to properly set it up. E30 rear suspension naturally cambers as you lower it but often more than is desired. The fix for this are weld-on plates which, when used in conjunction with matching bolts and eccentric washers, give you the ability to move the effective mounting points of the trailing arms to give both toe and camber adjustability when fitted correctly. We got ours from VAC-Motorsports some time ago.

    Once the plates are welded on (which needs to be done neatly), the slots in them need to be die ground out of the original trailing arm mounting holes below. A lick of paint, and you’re ready to get the trailing arms mounted up. Of course, this wasn’t going to be done with the tired original rubber bushings. The trailing arms were stripped down and the old bushes were burned out ready for the replacements: Condor Speed Shop’s popular and brilliant UHMW versions. #UHMW is a hard plastic, which is hard enough to give very consistent geometry and minimal deflection. It also takes a great deal of the harshness out. The precision fit of these bushes meant that they were an easy job to install and the trailing arms are now ready to go back onto the car. The rear wheel bearings are the only stone that will (for now) be left unturned. They feel like new and so we’ll wait and sort them, along with other rear end upgrades planned, further down the road.

    The only bushes left to fit are the main beam bushes, for which we have a pair of VAC Motorsport solid aluminium products.

    Deflection in the beam is a common problem with E30s and is far from desirable, as it can cause all sorts of issues. Therefore solid bushes are a must for this type of project and an added bonus is that the rear beam also then acts as a chassis brace. Once those are in, the beam and trailing arms can be hoisted into position and we can begin to build the brakes back up with all new components, and the diff can be hoisted into place, too. Things are coming along nicely.

    THANKS & CONTACT / #Hack-Engineering 01444 617365 / #Condor-Speed-Shop / VAC Motorsports 001 215 462 4666
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