- Post is under moderationUNDER DOGGING / Words: Louise Woodhams / Photos: Sam Dobbins / #VAG
From cruising the back roads of Miami to the very top of the show circuit Larry Harrison has been on one heck of a journey with his S5.
When Larry Harrison – otherwise known as ‘The Underdog’ on Instagram (the_undrdg) – was testing out the show scene, he used to get told to park at the back or on the grass when he arrived at car shows. He felt like he wasn’t being counted, so as soon as he started to get deeper into modifying his Audi S5, he decided to make a proper impact; this is his underdog story…
Larry’s love of cars began long before he shook up the US VAG community: “Having grown up watching my father work on his prized 1981 Corvette I have always had a special place in my heart for cars. Then when he purchased a 1987 Porsche 944 I realised there was something about German engineering that I connected with. From watching my dad drive the Porsche at the age of 13, I taught myself how to drive a manual transmission car. Without any instruction, I was able to drive it around the corner and park without stalling or any issues. That was a proud moment in my life,” reminisces Larry.
In addition to the 944, Larry fondly recalls the 928 from the film Risky Business as being one of his favourite cars growing up, together with the 930 Slantnose that Ice-T owned and was on the front of a promotional poster for his 1987 album Rhyme Pays. Whilst he’s never owned a Porsche, the Stuttgart brand is now part of the Volkswagen Group family, so it’s rather apt that the impression left from the 944 was so strong it stayed with him for a lifetime. Aged 37, he was finally in a financial position to buy what he wanted and found his way back to a brand that’s now part of the same family that captured his heart so many years ago, after girlfriend Ana suggested they buy an Audi.
His criteria for a base car was simple – a twodoor with a naturally aspirated V8 and red interior. It was obvious – it had to be a B8 S5. After searching online, Larry decided to visit Texas Direct Auto’s main store in his hometown of Houston, Texas. “They didn’t have what I wanted at that time, but as I was about to travel to California on business, I got a call to say that a black 2009 Audi S5 with red interior had come in and that if I was unable to look at it I should put a deposit down. Thinking he was being a pushy salesman I declined. The car was sold the next day… lesson learnt,” laughs Larry.
Fortunately, three weeks later, they got in another model, the only difference was that it was Dakota grey but that really didn’t matter to Larry as he had always intended on changing it. This time he was in Florida for business, but having learnt from his previous mistake, he decided to buy it there and then. “The first time I saw the car and test drove it was the day I took it home. Fortunately I had no regrets! It was in incredible condition, three years old and with just 17,000 miles on the clock. The first thing I did was show it to my son Dylan. I normally don’t make a move without his blessing, but this time I did not have the opportunity,” recalls Larry.
In fact, it was after the father and son team saw a 2015 Audi RS7 in Nardo grey at a car show in Houston that they decided this would be the colour change required to kick start the build. The car was taken to Auto Magician Paint and Body shop in Webster, Texas. Owner Miguel had never done a paint job, instead specialising in collision repair, but he was up for the challenge and Larry trusted him. Four weeks later, the car was ready and absolutely flawless: “You could see the nervousness in Miguel’s eyes when I came to pick the car up and when I told him how much I loved it; he breathed a huge sigh of relief and smiled.”
The car was then immediately taken to a good friend of Larry’s, Mike Nguyen, owner of CVT Designs, to get some suspension work done. “Mike told me there is nothing like an Audi slammed to the ground on airbags so needless to say that’s what happened!” Larry laughs. Mike designed a custom system and completed the installation within just three weeks including a bespoke boot build. “I wanted the trunk setup to be clean, but also to have all the hardware on show – like a nice Rolex you can see the mechanicals and how it works,” he says. “That’s why the copper hardlines are on show. Copper tubing is also a tribute to the hot rod scene that’s so popular where I’m from.”
By this point the body kit had arrived from Autohaus 24 in California. Rieger Tuning offered the only styling that matched his vision for the car in the form of an RS5 conversion body kit, including front bumper and rear bumper extensions, vented side skits and carbon front splitter. The eagle-eyed among you will spot that the car is actually sporting a JMS front lip splitter; this is because his original plan was to preserve the S5 look without going completely RS5, but immediately after the photoshoot it was swapped out for the Rieger part, together with an LED light bar in the lower front grille.
Back to the story, the car was left in Miguel’s hands once again, and was ready to collect three days later: “When I first saw the new body aired out and laying on the ground, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The bagged suspension makes the stance on the Audi look amazing and beautifully tucks all four wheels in. This time I was the one smiling, and somewhat thankful that the combination worked so perfectly,” he confesses. Now it was time to upgrade the rolling stock: “I had a set of rims that didn’t stand up to tough use on our roads,” Larry explains, “so I went to Rollo’s Solutions in Houston that I frequent for wheels and tyres and my guy, Luis, recommended Vossen. Apparently they could handle the punishment of the potholes that plague Austin’s streets.
“I think as a car grows, it becomes more and more of what I perceive perfection to be. For example, I started with the Vossen CV3 before swapping them out for the VFS-1 and finally settling on the VPS 304 – the world’s first fully polished examples with a diamond cut face nonetheless. The wheels are absolutely stunning in every way. They dance with the sunlight while I drive and at car shows they play with the fluorescent lighting. Having visited the Vossen factory, I met the people that built my wheels, and that really means something special to me.” Since he likes small side wall tyres with a nice tread pattern, he opted for Toyo T-1 Sports, which at 255/30 find themselves moderately stretched around the 10.5x20” rims. As well as offering a comfortable and quiet ride, they work in perfect harmony with the car’s AWD system.
Last, but by all means not least was the audio. Being a retail regional manager for Sony, Larry was in the fortunate position of being able to network with companies that otherwise might not have been on his radar. Larry took the car to see Dia and Muhammed at Houston Car Stereo where they tasked their master installer Victor to do something very special indeed. First the boot was trimmed in black and grey leather with black suede accents and LED accent lighting throughout. JL Audio speakers were then mounted in the bootlid to complement the Sony Vaio touch-screen PC, whilst the centre armrest was used to house the two JL Audio subwoofers. Finally, Mike from CVT dropped by to complete the copper hardline integration.
It’s taken Larry just one year to go from stock to spectacle, so how he is perceived at car shows now? “The first show I attended was Import Face-Off in Texas. People loved it; they took so many photos of my Audi and asked me questions about the build. The colour and the wheels were the main topics of discussion. I took home two awards too; First Place and Best Euro. The response has been amazing online, too. Before the build I had about 350 followers, and less than seven months into it that number grew to 7000!
It’s not unusual to have people take pictures or videos of the car when it’s on the road. It’s awkward, but I really appreciate the attention and love the car receives,” proudly answers Larry. Like a true underdog, Larry was a participant on the scene who was never expected to win. Things have changed now, and the stakes are a little higher but he’s played the game well with so many of the aspects of the car that are yet to be improved upon. “I’ve got my eyes on Wekfest Florida car show in December, which has a great car scene, so I’ll be continuing to build what I perceive as a faultless car. I’m considering a colour change, a new set of Vossen wheels, a big brake kit, a few performance mods perhaps…” Larry hints. Watch this space…
Dub Details #Audi-S5 / #Audi-A5 / #Audi /
ENGINE: 4.2-litre V8 with #K&N intake filter, custom intake box with Plexi top and LED lighting, hydro-dipped intake hose and radiator cover (carbon fibre), #Magnaflow exhaust system.
CHASSIS: 10.5x20” #Vossen VPS 304 forged wheels fully polished with a diamond cut face shod in 255/30 Toyo T-1 Sport Tyres; Viair air suspension.
EXTERIOR: Full respray in Audi Nardo grey, RS5 conversion Rieger Tuning body kit including front bumper and rear bumper extension (for dual exhaust exit), vented side skirts and carbon front splitter, RS5 black honeycomb grille conversion, Hüper Optik ceramic window tint, smoked taillights, custom light bar in lower front grille.
ICE: #JL-Audio twin subwoofers integrated into rear arm rest, JL Audio speakers and Sony Vaio touchscreen PC mounted in bootlid, custom boot build trimmed in black and grey leather with black suede accents and LED accent lighting throughout with twin Viair air compressors and copper hardlines.
SHOUT: Jav and Mike at Vossen Wheels, Mike at CVT Designs Houston, Luis at Rollo’s Solutions Houston, Miguel at The Auto Magician in Webster Texas, Victor, Dia and Muhammed at Houston Car Stereo, Nate at Nate D’s Customs and Andy at Autohaus 24.
Boot install might not be subtle but when it comes to impressing show ’n’ shine judges it’s got all the tricks. “It’s not unusual to have people take pictures or videos of the car when it’s on the road. I really appreciate the attention and love it receives” Shooting anything in Miami is always going to result in awesome looking photos isn’t it? We’re not jealous… “like a nice Rolex you can see the mechanicals and how it works”
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- Post is under moderationTHE GREY
Building an #BMW E46 M3 that stands out from the crowd is no mean feat, and this UK example is one of the best around. Fully fettled, fast and ferocious, this predatory M3 is hungry like the wolf… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Steve Hall.
The E46 M3 is an awesome car. It’s supremely affordable, fast, a joy to drive, practical and can even be considered economical. It is arguably one of the greatest performance bargains of our time. Unfortunately, as is often the case, when a car is good and affordable it becomes popular and when a car is popular it becomes rather difficult to make it stand out from the crowd. People will often end up doing the same sorts of mods, not because they are sheep but because those are the best mods to do. Creating something different can be quite difficult, something that affects all popular 3 Series models in particular, but James Barrett has faced that challenge head-on and emerged victorious.
Those in the UK modified BMW scene may well recognise that name because for quite some time James was the go-to guy at M Style for customers looking to spice up their BMs. You may well recognise the car, too, because it is a show regular and has enjoyed more than its fair share of internet fame and with good reason: it’s a stunner! As you may expect from someone who has been at the heart of the modified BMW scene for so long, James has a car history filled with BMWs, and it’s a surprisingly varied mix of BM machinery at that. There’s been an E65, an E60, an E46 and an E36 before James purchased this E46 M3 just over two years ago. It was a car he’d always wanted and so the mods began in earnest.
As is often the case, the modifying avalanche was triggered by one simple act: fitting some carbon grilles. “It all went from there,” chuckles James. “I had intended to leave the car in its original Titan silver after doing the carbon grilles but one of the wings was slightly off in colour; I wanted to get it taken care of but didn’t want to end up chasing it round the car to try and get it to match perfectly so I decided to do a full colour change. I wanted something that hadn’t been done before, but that was subtle at the same time.” The colour James settled on was Lamborghini Grigio Telesto, a spectacular solid grey, making his the first E46 M3 to sport this look. Considering how unexciting grey is as a colour, it actually makes a big impact because it’s so unusual and definitely makes the car stand out.
Before the respray James had managed to catch his splitter on a kerb, damaging the bumper in the process. This seemed like a good excuse to fit a CSL front bumper, always a good idea, and he also smoothed the intake hole for a cleaner look.
The interior of this particular M3 has also gone through something of a transformation. It was originally black, before James swapped in a red leather interior. However, when he decided to fit a purple roll-cage he went back to black as the red and purple simply wouldn’t work together. Purple might seem like an unlikely colour choice for the roll-cage but it was all part of James’ plan. “I wanted a colour that would complement the grey,” he explains. “The grey looks lighter when the sun hits it and so does the Merlin purple. I think that they work really well together. I had initially considered candy red for the cage and wheels but then I figured that it would have taken away from the stealthy look of the car.” Merlin purple is (whisper it) an Audi colour but it’s a darn good-looking one and quite a subtle hue, adding a flash of colour in the black and grey interior.
Speaking of wheels, the E46 M3 is a car with which it is hard to go wrong when it comes to choosing wheels. Get the right combination and everything from dish to concave can look absolutely killer. The only hard part is making an original choice – so many aftermarket wheels have been done to death already by the modifying masses. Fortunately James has nailed it with his current choice. “I had #CSL wheels originally,” he says, “but silver wheels on a grey car looked odd. Plus, everyone has CSL wheels on M3s. I wanted something different and when I saw the gunmetal #Quantum44-S1 s I knew they were perfect.”
Quantum44 has produced some extremely good looking wheels but it isn’t a brand that you’re likely to see on every show car around, making this concave ten-spoke wheel a distinctive design. The dark colour coordinates with the overall look of the car, and the interior theme is echoed in the callipers which are finished in Merlin purple. 10mm spacers up front and 20mm items at the rear get the fitment spot-on and the 19s fill the arches perfectly thanks to the aggressive drop that James has dialled-in on his D2 Racing coilovers.
Elsewhere you may have spotted the CSL bootlid, with its smoothed badge and lock. It was fitted when the car was still silver, along with the smoked indicators, matt black roof, CSL diffuser and ACS roof spoiler. These have since been joined by a whole host of subtle but effective exterior tweaks including a full-width carbon splitter, tinted front lights with smoked inner bowls and Umnitza angel eyes, all-red LED rears and plenty of carbon touches, like the wing vents and carbon washer jet panel.
Being an M3 you’d be disappointed if there wasn’t a little bit of performance boost, so you’ll be pleased to hear that James has fitted a K&N induction kit with carbon intake, a Mosselman remap and a set of 100-cell sport cats while the SMG has been treated to a CSL software update for faster shifts.
At this point the car was looking pretty awesome all-round but James still wasn’t finished and he now turned his attention to the interior to really finish it off. The dash and doors have been flocked, the latter offering a fantastic contrast against the gloss grey of the body-coloured door panels, and the standard seats have been unceremoniously removed and replaced with a pair of extremely sexy Cobra Monaco seats complete with Sparco three-point harnesses.
The dash trims and gear lever surround have been finished in matching Lambo grey and James has also fitted a Storm Motorwerks titanium gear knob and ring plus a set of extended Rogue Engineering paddles. The rear seats have been ditched and back there you will now find a pair of 12” #JL-Audio subs along with a JL amp.
In just over two years James has done a lot of work and all his effort shines through as the end result is stunning. The attention to detail here is really impressive and he’s paid attention to every element of the car: the aesthetics (both inside and out); the handling; and the performance. No part of the car has gone untouched and every modification has been planned and executed with purpose and planning.
“I’m very happy with how the car has turned out,” grins James, “it’s exactly how I pictured it would be. I spent ages going through the various options I had at every stage, trying to visualise how it would all tie together as I really wanted to get it right.” Well, he has succeeded there then, although possible plans for the future include a BBK, Quantum’s new curved-spoke S5D wheels and, if funds allow, a supercharger. Whatever the future holds, one thing is for certain: this grey M3 won’t be dull!
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 / #S54B32-TUNED / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E46 /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , carbon engine cover, #K&N induction kit with carbon intake, 100-cell sport cats, #Mosselman remap, #Sprint-Booster , Eurostyle exhaust tips. Six-speed SMG gearbox, CSL software update.
CHASSIS 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) #Quantum44 S1 matt gunmetal wheels with 225/35 (front) and 255/30 (rear) Falken tyres, 15mm (front) and 20mm (rear) TPI spacers, #D2-Racing coilovers, #Turner-Motorsport subframe reinforcement kit, full Powerflex bush kit, Rogue Engineering top mounts.
EXTERIOR Full respray in Lamborghini Grigio Telesto, CSL front bumper with smoothed intake hole, full width carbon splitter, Lamin-x subtle tint front lights with smoked inner bowl, Umnitza Angel eyes, 8000K xenon upgrade, smoothed bonnet, CSL bootlid with smoothed badge and lock, carbon CSL diffuser, carbon wing vents, carbon kidney grilles, matt black roof, red/smoked LED rear lights, light smoke window tints, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, carbon washer jet panel, Audi Merlin purple calipers.
INTERIOR Body coloured CSL doorcard inserts, body coloured dash trims and gear surround, flocked dash, flocked door cards, Weichers Type B half-cage painted Audi Merlin purple, Storm Motorwerks titanium #SMG ring and gear knob, #AC-Schnitzer pedals and footrest, Rogue Engineering extended paddles, Cobra Monaco seats, Sparco three-point harnesses, rear seat delete, 2x JL audio 12” subs, JL audio amp.
THANKS Paul and the boys at MStyle for the majority of the work, Abe at Low Expectations clothing, Ad at Strictly Static, Ollie at Absolute Detailing, Ray at Absoflockinlutely, and most of all my better half Dee Barwick for putting up with my paintwork OCD and patience with me when things didn’t quite go to plan!
Gunmetal Quantum44 19s are the perfect match for the paint; purple and carbon details add the finishing touches.
Rear seats have been ditched and the space is now occupied by two 12” subs and a Merlin purple roll-cage.
Cobra Monaco seats up front with flocked dash and #Storm-Motorwerks goodies.
I decided to do a full colour change. that hadn’t been done before I wanted something.
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- Post is under moderationReaching The Zenith
With 600hp from its supercharged S54 , this RHD converted #BMW-E30 M3 is at the top of its game. An S54-swapped, supercharged, 600hp E30 M3 is about as good as it gets… Words: Elizabeth de Latour / Photos: Steve Hall
You know this is going to be good. You’ve seen the front cover, you’ve read the taster, you’ve probably not been able to restrain yourself and may have already been drooling over the pictures, so you know that you’re about to read about something special. Certainly it’s going to upset some people because there’s a lot going on here, including the RHD conversion and the S54 swap carried out on a genuine E30 M3, so in the eyes of many purists that’s it ruined, basically. But we’re open-minded here at PBMW towers and if you’re reading this mag then we’d like to think that you’re cut from the same cloth and can appreciate cars that might offend those of a more delicate disposition. And this is a car that most definitely deserves some appreciation.
BMWs have always been a big part of Sam Le Fevre’s life. The 31-year-old construction company director first fell for the Bavarian marque when his oldest brother picked him up from school in an E30 325i. “For me, it’s the four decades of motorsport heritage and the connection between driver and machine that makes BMW so special. You just don’t get that with other affordable marques,” explains Sam. And the E30 M3 is arguably the ultimate definition and concentration of that BMW essence.
He began his BMW journey with an E46 M3 Convertible and while his car history is mixed, with a couple of fast Fords in there for good measure, his passion for BMWs, and particularly for the E30 M3, has clearly bubbled to the top. “I’ve always loved the E30 M3; it is a true homologation model with a chassis that draws you in and gives you confidence,” he says. And with the means available, a purchase seemed inevitable, though it was not without some drama, as he explains: “I found the car on PistonHeads advertised at a trader for £16,000. I arranged to see it and travelled down to Sussex. I looked the M3 over and told the trader the car had been in an accident and that he needed to revise his price. I said the car needed to go on a jig as I noticed the passenger wheel was sitting back 15mm towards the skirt. He refused and said that it was just an alignment issue. I left my details and told him to contact me if he didn’t have any luck. A month passed and I got a call asking me if I wanted to come down and view the car again. I said there would be no point if he was still asking for the same sort of money. I went and viewed the car for the second time and told them I wouldn’t be coming back if we couldn’t do a deal on this occasion. We haggled and eventually agreed a sale for £11,000.”
Even with the potential chassis problem that was something of a bargain, especially considering the selection of #Alpina additions the car was sporting and the small matter of the freshly rebuilt engine, totalling a cool £6000 in bills.
Now all that was needed was some inspiration and, luckily, Sam’s favourite BMW magazine happened to provide just what he was after: “I was reading #Drive-My when I came across Del Sanchez’s masterpiece: the E30 M3 with a S54 powerplant. To me this was perfection – BMW’s best chassis combined with its best six-cylinder engine! So I thought I would have some of that in my flavour. As soon as I picked the car up I drove it straight to the transplant centre, aka Munich Motors in Wokingham, to see the man himself, Clive Sanchez. He checked the car over, said it needed some jig or bulkhead work and he booked it in for two months later. I got impatient after a fortnight and phoned Sue, his wife, and said I was dropping the car down because I was doing my driveway (a poor excuse, I know). He started doing the teardown ready for the S54 transplant and that’s where we ran into problems as the shell needed major surgery!”
The engine came first, though, and while Sam knew he was fitting an S54, he wanted to add a little extra spice: “The plan was to build something with forced induction, either a turbo or supercharger. I spent a Saturday at Munich Motors with Clive looking around the engine bays of the two S54 transplanted E30s that they had down there. After careful consideration, measuring and thinking about the driveability of the car, I decided that the supercharger route was the only sensible option. The engine came from Quarry Motors and while there was a problem with the Vanos system the guys at Quarry sorted it out with little fuss and we then added an ESS VT2-550 supercharger.” On its own the 550 kit makes an impressive 550hp according to ESS along with 340lb ft of torque. But, of course, there’s a lot more to a build like this than simply slapping a supercharger onto a stock engine. Sam’s powerplant has been beefedup with a few supporting mods to assist with its longevity and add some additional power because, you know, 550hp isn’t nearly enough in an E30…
On the sensible and practical front, the engine has been fitted with an M50 sump for space reasons and the Vanos was rebuilt with Z4 M bolts. The big end bearings have been uprated and fitted with stronger ARP bolts, there are custom crank and supercharger pulleys, a Storm Developments Garrett chargecooler, a custom E36 M3 Docking Engineering radiator, Denso iridium spark plugs, Bosch coil packs, Bosch Motorsport grey injectors, a Bosch 044 fuel pump and a Fuel Labs fuel filter. The secondary air pump and rear lambda sensors have been deleted and the engine has been treated to an Alpha N conversion and a Setrab oil cooler.
“Once the engine had been put in the bay, that’s when we hit the serious problem,” Sam continues. “We realised that the chassis legs and bulkhead had been repaired very poorly. I was in utter despair thinking I was going to have to scrap the car but I decided that the car was not going to beat me. I couldn’t find a decent E30 M3 shell anywhere so I figured that, as #BMW had built every other M3 in RHD, I’d make my own RHD E30 M3. I managed to source a clean 316 shell that had covered only 50k miles and had blown a head gasket with a plan to re-shell the car completely and take all the quarter panels etc. off. But after dropping the shell off to Eddie at Crash Repairs in Edmonton he said just bring in the front end from the 316 shell and he would take care of it. To say that I was a little apprehensive was an understatement. I went up to Big Bavarian Beauties on a Saturday morning with my petrol disc cutter and set about cutting the front half of the car and roof skin off, and putting it in the back of my van, ready for the journey back down to London. I dropped the front end down to Eddie and he said that he’d need the car for four weeks and that the shell needed two new inner and outer seals and a few other parts. I got all the bits and dropped everything off with him on a Friday.
When I got a call on Monday asking me to come over I was expecting the worst, but I was amazed to see the car complete and sitting on jig pins. Eddie had basically drilled out all the spot welds from the A-pillars, bulkhead and floorpans and grafted the 316 front end straight on back in the factory spot welds in a weekend. I was gobsmacked. We picked the shell up and drove straight up to SPL for a full acid dip and e-coat session.”
With the chassis drama dealt with, Sam and the guys could get on with the task of getting everything running right, but that wasn’t an easy process either, as he explains: “Once Clive had the car running we started coming across numerous problems. The biggest one was that the car was down on power dramatically compared to what it should have been making. Clive suggested I visit Storm Developments in Aldermaston so I drove over there where owner Andy and I instantly clicked.”
Andy used his engineering superpowers to diagnose the problem and had Sam removing the front bumper to access the chargecooler, which Andy duly whipped off and bypassed before telling him to take the car for a spin up the road. “Well that’s exactly what happened,” laughs Sam. “I pulled out of the workshop, stabbed the throttle and the rear wheels lit up! The car had rocketed from 260hp to 325hp in an instant but it was still down on what we were expecting.”
So Andy’s next plan of action was to fit a Garrett chargecooler. This helped take power up to 410hp but now the exhaust wasn’t pulling its weight. “Andy suggested getting the exhaust modified,” says Sam, “so I contacted Hayward & Scott and dropped the car off with them along with a drawing Andy had produced so they knew what sort of system was required. It now sounds amazing.”
Exhaust sorted, Sam headed back up to Storm Developments where Andy changed the plugs and coils before strapping it onto the dyno. “We were very disappointed when it only made 450hp,” says Sam, “so Andy measured the boost and it was way down on the 7psi it should have been producing. He worked out the sizes for the pulleys we needed to get the boost we were aiming for and I went off to get them made up. I popped back to Storm a few weeks later.
Andy took the pulleys off me as soon as I got out the car and fitted them on the spot before he told me to put the car on the ramp.” This was the moment of truth and the numbers didn’t disappoint: the M3 putting down a seriously impressive 580hp and with a few tweaks to the map the final run produced 604hp. That’s more like it! So, Sam now had a RHD E30 M3 running one hell of an engine setup. But that alone does not make for a complete package. It was time to address the suspension, and Sam was very particular about his upgrades in this department. “I took a ride in some cars with H&R and KW coilovers and found them all to be uninspiring with both manufactures unable to do custom damper designs,” he explains. “I was recommended a company called AST by Demlotcrew who raved about the products so I contacted them and spoke to Curtis Woodman who told me to bring the car up for him to have a look at and see what we could come up with. After driving over to Cheltenham and discussing the options we nailed down a damper design for the rear, which is basically an inverted wasted shaft DTM replica with custom valve and spring rates.
The car has also had the front subframe reinforced, aluminium control arms, Eibach anti-roll bars, Treehouse Racing front control arm bushes, dual diff mount and BMW Motorsport bushes as well as countless other additions and tweaks.” The brakes also needed attention and for some serious stopping power Sam turned to AP Racing, fitting the car with a set of sixpot front calipers with 330mm discs and four-pot rear calipers with 315mm discs, which are more than enough to slow the E30’s lightweight frame down from silly speeds. The drivetrain has also been beefedup, with the S54 mated to a ZF five-speed gearbox from an E36 M3 3.0 that’s been fitted with a TTV lightened flywheel and Sachs Hybrid HD clutch. A CAtuned modified chromoly driveshaft (this E30 M3 has a bit of an appetite for driveshafts) and a Demlotcrew 3.15:1 Motorsport diff with a Z3 M modified diff cover were also fitted.
While the performance modifications are absolutely full-on and barely contained, the styling is the complete opposite and Sam has kept things very subtle, allowing the E30 M3’s iconic good looks to shine through with only the slightest smattering of visual tweaks. We’ve got to go for the wheels first.
They are genuine BBS LMs – one of the Holy Grails of the wheel world – and are pretty rare to boot. There’s quite a story behind Sam’s acquisition of them. “I’ve always loved BBS splits rims,” says Sam, “and couldn’t have the usual BBS RS type of wheel as they wouldn’t fit over the AP Racing BBK, so the hunt started for a set of staggered LMs. Well let me tell you, you have more chance of your numbers coming up than you do of finding a set. After being let down by a couple of sellers, I was contacted through one of the forums by a guy called Angel from Toledo in Spain. He had the wheels I wanted but wasn’t willing to post them; no problem, I said, I could come and collect them myself but that ended up being rather sooner than I anticipated as I received a call after work one Friday from Angel saying that I needed to collect them before the next weekend or he had another buyer lined up.
So my brother and I rushed home, picked up the family 335i and told my wife that I was going to Spain for the weekend, leaving her to cope alone with our four-month-old baby boy. We’d also been burgled just two days previously, so she was not impressed! We booked the tickets anyway, chucked a case of Red Bull in the car and set off on a mini endurance race from London to Toledo and back again!” Now that is dedication and shows just how far some people are willing to go for the right set of wheels, but the impromptu road trip was absolutely worth it as these wheels look insanely good on the car, especially after their recent refurb and darker centres.
For the outside, Sam looked to BMW’s other M3 offerings for inspiration, opting for an Evo 2 chin spoiler with carbon splitter and an Evo 3-style spoiler with a carbon gurney flap. A set of smoked Hella front lenses and indicators were added and Sam tinted the rear indicators for the finishing touch. Inside, the car already had a set of very rare Recaro LS seats in mint condition but covered in the very dated check pattern that Sam was not a fan of. Having seen an E30 Europameister and fallen for that interior, Sam took his interior over to Adam at B Trim. The seats have been trimmed in black Nappa leather with silver stitching, with B Trim also making a non-sunroof black headlining in BMW fabric and recovering all the pillar trims in black vinyl. You’ll also find an M Tech 2 steering wheel and an E36 M3 3.0 gear knob.
It’s taken Sam three years to get to this stage with the car and we wager that back when he was struggling to decide whether or not to even keep it he couldn’t have imagined it ending up like this. For a lot of people, their projects seem more like a sprint rather than a marathon, with owners desperate to meet show deadlines for the big reveal. This build, however, has definitely been the latter. And while it’s been far from plain sailing for Sam, the journey has been well worth every hardship as the end result delivers the sort of pleasure and enjoyment nothing else can. “The look on a Ferrari F430 owner’s face after being wasted by my scrap yard survivor was priceless! I was laughing like a child!” Sam says. For some, this car might go too far but for us, going that bit further is what it’s all about.
“I pulled out of the workshop, stabbed the throttle and the rear wheels lit up!”
“I’ve always loved the E30 M3; it is a true homologation model with a chassis that draws you in and gives you confidence”
DATA FILE 2015 #BMW-E30-S54B32 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #M50 sump, Vanos rebuilt with Z4M bolts, uprated big end bearings with ARP bolts, custom #Vortech-V3Si supercharger kit, ESS inlet plenum, custom crank and supercharger pulleys, Storm Developments Garrett chargecooler, Docking Engineering custom E36 M3 radiator, Denso Iridium Racing IXU01 spark plugs, Bosch coil packs, Bosch Motorsport grey injectors, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, Fuel Labs fuel filter, secondary air pump deleted, rear lambda sensors deleted, #Alpha-N-ECU conversion, #Setrab oil cooler, Hayward and Scott stainless steel custom exhaust with 3” piping and crosspipe.
TRANSMISSION: E36 M3 3.0 #ZF Type C five-speed gearbox, #TTV lightened flywheel, #Sachs Hybrid HD clutch, modified Rogue Engineering short shifter, #CAtuned chromoly driveshafts, #Demlotcrew 3.15 Ratio Motorsport diff, Z3 M modified diff cover.
CHASSIS: Summer wheels: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #BBS LM wheels with 235/40 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Michelin PS2 tyres. Winter wheels: 8.5x17” (front and rear) BBS CH wheels with 235/40 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Michelin PS2 tyres. AST 5100 and 5200 custom coilovers, Sparco front strut brace, Ultra Racing rear strut brace, Eibach anti-roll bars (front and rear), E46 Clubsport steering rack, #Siemens #VDO hydro-electric power steering pump, reinforced front subframe, rear beam modified with camber and toe correction, aluminium front control arms, Treehouse Racing front control arm bushes, E46 M3 guibo, #BMW-Motorsport Group N rear beam bushes, #AKG rear trailing arm bushes, AP Racing six-pot calipers with 330x28mm discs and PFC Z-rated pads (front), #AP-Racing four-pot calipers with 315x25mm discs and #Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), Stainless steel brake lines.
EXTERIOR: Shell acid dipped and e-coated, full bare metal rebuild and RHD conversion consisting of RHD front end, new inner and outer sills, non-sunroof roof skin, rear light panel, front slam panel, Sport Evo front wings, BMP carbon/Kevlar bonnet & front bumper, Evo II brake ducts, Evo II front chin spoiler, Sport Evo carbon fibre front splitter, Sport Evo rear spoiler with carbon fibre adjustable gurney flap, full respray in Alpine white, smoked Hella headlights, smoked front indicators, smoked side repeaters, red tinted rear lights, US rear numberplate filler, pop-out rear window conversion.
INTERIOR: Full retrim in black Nappa leather with silver stitching on Recaro LS front seats, rear bench, centre console, handbrake and gearstick gaiter, #M-Tech II 370mm steering wheel, Z4 M sport button, black carpet and mats, map reading light, rear blind, custom dials, BMW premium rear shelf speaker shells, under seat front fire extinguisher.
AUDIO: #Alpine CD-177BT CD head unit, Focal poly glass 5.25” components front and rear, #JL-Audio 12W3V3-2 12” 500W RMS 2ohm subwoofer, #Alpine-PDXV9 4x100W plus mono 500W digital power amplifier.
THANKS: Munich Motors, Jay at NV Workshop, Storm Developments, Sol at E30 Parts, Big Bavarian Beauties, Crash Repairs Edmonton, Surface Processing Limited, Lee at Quarry Motors, Fab Recycling, Hans at ESS Tuning, Alan at Docking Engineering, Jody at Atec, Andy at Streamline Motors, Dips at Custom Cars, Adam at B-Trim, ESP Blasting & Powder Coating, Nigel at Moseley Motorsports, the parts department at Stephen James BMW Enfield, Park Lane BMW Battersea, Kirby at C3BMW, Vac Motorsports, David at BG Developments, Curtis at AST Suspension, Ian at Hayward & Scott, Igor at CAtuned, Nick at Alarms N Sounds Chingford, Paul at Glasstec, Xworks, Pete at PMW, Andrew at Demlotcrew, Andrew Johnson, Kos, my wife Aleyna and my son Leo.
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- Post is under moderationBACK TO THE NEW SKOOL DAN PULLEN #Volkswagen / #VW
This Mk2 has so much Bentley leather they’ve had to cease production of the Continental GT.
Recently the bods at Jaguar decided to hand-build six, brand-new, lightweight E-Types, with original (albeit unused) 1963 chassis numbers, then sell them to special customers at £1.2 million a pop. Jassi’s Mk2 Golf reminds me of those.
You see, there’s a lot to be said for nostalgia. For one it captures the heart. They reckon there’s no school like the old skool and there’s plenty of truth in that. After all, if that wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t see so many new Fiat 500s and MINIs tooling around every city in Europe. The same goes for genuine classic cars, which have become infinitely more popular, not to mention sought after by all the cool kids over the past few years.
What’s really interesting though, is that wonderful situation when old skool meets new skool head on. Nowadays the most successful creations prove that retro motoring in the 21st century doesn’t have to mean regular breaking down in some rusty old shitbox. Plenty of today’s classics are restored in a way that embraces new technology and techniques. Out-dated parts are often uprated, performance and drivability along with safety can be advanced, in fact it’s the essence of all modifying – to evolve.
Jassi’s car is the epitome of this notion. It’s about harking back to the old aesthetic with a sneaky bit of updating along the way. This one though is less of a restoration project and more of a new build that’s been completed with the utmost respect for the original. Sure it’s practically a whole re-manufactured motor, but the modifications are there simply to enhance the ideas of the past, not totally change them. It’s an exercise in showing what could have been done if the Mk2 Golf had rolled out of the factory last week – or what would have happened if the 1980s VW bods had access to new-age materials and went a bit loopy on the ‘luxury options’ budget. It shows no compromise, and that’s a rare thing.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if Bill Gates were to put together a more-door Mk2 Golf, this is exactly how he’d do it – with absolutely no expense spared. It’s blindingly obvious that this fusion of old-skool style and new techniques and materials didn’t come cheap. Many of the mods, particularly the carbon items are total one-offs, for a start. But it’s also a story about friendship. Jassi certainly didn’t have the big-budget technicians of modern-day car manufacturers when he rescued this “pretty straight” Golf 1.6L shell. Instead he turned to his friends, veteran retro #VAG modifier Parm Bhambra and a few other enthusiasts who would get the job done to the hand-built, concours standard that he was after.
Despite the super plush and extravagant outcome, it was by no means a build that was done in a Maclaren-style sterile workshop either. Just take the crazy 300bhp #VR6 engine. That was tuned and fitted by Jassi’s mate Hardip, on his drive, in just under two days. Credit where credit’s due, Parm has been instrumental to the car’s success throughout the whole build, a kind of project manager for Jassi. You may remember Parm had his own project, a rather fetching TT-engined Mk2 Golf Rallye, in Fast Car a few months ago, so it’s clear he’s no stranger to updating the odd retro ride. Even so the job was far from easy, when you’re doing anything at this level, it takes more than a little attention to detail. And on this one the details are immense.
Apart from the engine, which is pretty bloody special in its own right, the most obvious use of modern technology was the use of materials like carbon fibre. Many of these immaculately autoclaved pieces were sourced or made as one-offs by Parm’s industry contacts. The fitting and blending of the wide arches was also expertly completed by a few of his mates in a local body shop.
There’s plenty of small but delightfully anal details here, stuff like the fact they’ve taken the time to retrim both the amps that are on show – along with just about everything else inside the car, even the small bits and pieces such as window winders and door handles.
Just like the carbon fibre, the sandy Alcantara is also a space-age composite material, a point that hasn’t gone unnoticed here at FC. The leather used to trim those electric Recaros on the other hand isn’t quite as cutting-edge because it comes from cows (no shit – Jules). That said, they’re not just any cows, they’re special Bentley cows – opulent to say the least!
The use of modern technology doesn’t stop with the materials or application. The parts Jassi has chosen are right up there with anything you’ll find on The Gadget Show. The stance comes courtesy of the latest Air Lift V2 kit. While the sounds are provided by some of the most up-to-date gear from JL Audio and Audison. Suffice to say it’s all super-premium stuff.
Even the wheels are super-rare, super-modern and custom made – in a thoroughly retro kind of way. Machined from solid forged billets by Budnik in California, they’re the sort of all-American hot-rod rims you’d normally see on a Gas Monkey creation – a fusion of old and new in their self.
I guess my point is this car is something of a missing link between past design and future technology. It’s inspired by both periods when so many out there simply look to one and call their creations either old skool or new skool.
A great 19th century philosopher once wrote that “the future influences the present just as much as the past”. If he’d lived long enough to see Jassi’s Mk2 Golf, he’d know he wasn’t wrong.
What do you find most inspiring, the future or the past?
“For me both are the same. What could be the future is just as inspiring as what happened in the past, especially with cars.”
Did you know that Friedrich Nietzsche said something quite similar in the 19th century?
“Come on, you just Googled quotes about the future, trying to look clever didn’t you?” Er, yeah, okay. You got me.
So shiny and new (but also old)
All leathered up (like Jules at the weekend)
The perfect fusion of old skool and new skool.
TECH SPEC: #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen
STYLING: Wide arches; Porsche door handles; single wiper conversion; carbon mirrors, roof, small bumpers, door trim, rear trim and tail light trim.
CHASSIS: Fully-chromed 8x16-inch Budnik wheels with custom offsets (ET 35 at front and 15 at rear) and Porsche centre caps; Toyo Proxes T1 195/40R16 G60; 280mm disc brakes; #Air-Lift Performance V2 kit with dual compressors and polished tank; chassis notch; #Powerflex bushes.
INTERIOR: Porsche steering wheel; #Recaro Edition One electric seats trimmed in Bentley Tan leather; dashboard, roof lining and various other interior panels trimmed in sandy Alcantara; custom rear view mirror, door handle inserts and window winders.
TUNING: 2.8 supercharged VR6 engine by #Z-Engineering ; 6-speed #Quaife race gearbox; Mk3 #Golf-VR6 sports exhaust race manifold; VW Corrado aluminium racing radiator; oil cooler; relocated battery.
AUDIO: #JL-Audio W6 10-inch subwoofer; V2 500/1 amplifier and (2x) JL Audio V1 300/1 amplifiers; #Alpine single- DIN headunit; #Audison two-way 6.5-inch components in custom housings; and 5.25-inch coaxials (rear).
THANKS Parm Bhambra; Hardip for the engine conversion.
What a thoroughly handsome monster Going back to the old skool.
“It’s like 1980s VW bods have gone loopy on the ‘luxury options’ budget”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.