- Post is under moderationM3-STYLED F31 335d
Touring gets M makeover. Some may think that the inherent boxiness of estate cars is fundamentally unsporty, but #PITSTOP Performance has other ideas, as this #BMW-M3-styled 335d Touring proves… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.
TOURING DE FORCE F31 335d with #M3-conversion
Estate cars, it’s fair to say, come with a certain amount of baggage. And not just the junk in the trunk, but the whole history of their being, the fundamental point of their existence: take a sensible family car, realise there isn’t enough space in there, and graft on a few extra square feet of glass and steel at the rear. Then you’re well served for carting refuse to the dump, cramming in luggage for family holidays, feeling smug in the Ikea car park while those around you try to squeeze wardrobes into hatchbacks, and everything else that goes with station wagon ownership. You buy them because you need to, not because you want to.
At least that used to be true. Then the 1990s happened, and things started to get silly: Audi began hiding Porsches inside its Avants, Volvo dropped massive Touring Car motors into its turbobricks, and before we knew what was happening the idea of having an estate car was edging away from ‘do I have to?’ and toward ‘I really want to’.
It’s for this reason that the base car for the project you see before you isn’t as embarrassing as it might once have been. Sure, when you note down the layout on a stark and unforgiving set of bullet points, it should be the sort of thing that’d satisfy your grandad rather than your boy-racer cousin: a boxy wagon with a diesel engine and an automatic gearbox. Hardly the stuff of schoolyard dreams is it?
Oh, but it is. For this is an #F31-generation 335d – a car that came from the factory boasting 313hp from a 3.0-litre common-rail diesel straight-six with a pair of turbos strapped menacingly to the side. It’s got piezo-electric injectors and aluminium construction and variable turbo geometry… this is quite a long way removed from the rattly oil-burners of yore.
The only real hurdle here, then, is its boxiness. It’s an estate car, and there’s no escaping the utilitarian vibe of that. But as any of the best tuners will tell you, hurdles are really just upstart opportunities, and Blend Maroof, owner of Sweden’s PITSTOP Performance as well as of this F31, is eager to springboard off that bland reputation and transmute it into something awesome.
The first thing you’ll probably have spotted is that this 3 Series Touring has received a full M3 body conversion. This is a fiery move, as the fabled M badge has a tempestuous relationship with estate cars. The idea of an M3 Touring is one that consistently gets BMW fans whipped up into an excitable lather, the internet bristles with pages upon pages of forum posts and blog entries along the lines of ‘it’s the best car that BMW never built’. It does, after all, seem unfair that the wagons were left off the product planning chart, particularly given the proven global enthusiasm for hot estates; the RS4 and RS6 have paid for more than a few posh dinners in the steakhouse next to the Audi factory. And the E60- generation M5 was offered as a capacious load-lugger – V10 up front, Labrador in the back – so why not the M3? Well, it’s all down to maths, probably. Or physics. But that hasn’t stopped the aftermarket bolting together what #BMW never dared…
“My first car was a 316ti, and from that point on I was firmly in the BMW groove,” laughs Blend. “That car was RWD, red, and a BMW, which was all I wanted at the time.
Since then I’ve owned and modified an E61 535d, an E60 535d, an E60 M5, an E39 M5, an E91 M3, and many others.” It helps that his hobby is also his job, of course, as that provides a handy excuse to constantly be tweaking, refining, and generally getting up to a whole mess of Bavarian mischief.
It’s worth pointing out at this point that this isn’t actually Blend’s first crack at building an M3-alike Touring; regular readers may remember his E91 335i Touring that appeared in these pages some time back, sporting genuine E92 bodywork and a menacing attitude (the eagle-eyed will have spotted his mention of the technically non- existent E91 M3 in the preceding paragraph!). “I sold that car to an amateur, who destroyed it,” he sighs, “so I told myself I needed to build another one. We have to have at least one M3 Touring in Sweden! So I started searching for a good base, and decided on this well-optioned F31 335d xDrive.”
The car was sourced from a German dealer in mint condition, but naturally this didn’t make Blend pause as he was single- minded in his mission; indeed, he went one step further than having a plan in mind – he already had most of the parts for the project before he even took delivery of the car.
“The rear bumper’s probably my favourite modification on the car, as I’m the first one in the world to do that,” he grins. “I also swapped the front carrier, the bonnet, wings, lights, front bumper, mirrors, side skirts, rear panel and rear doors, and then it was all painted in original Sapphire black.” A pretty comprehensive conversion – and you’ll note that he’s cheekily left the M3 badge on the grille too; something we wouldn’t normally condone on a non-M car, but given the effort that’s gone into crafting this machine we reckon he’s earned it.
“The car’s static, running KW coilovers,” Blend explains, “because of the quality of the brand, and the fact that I’ve used them before. Also at the time there weren’t many manufacturers that had coilovers for the 335d xDrive! The wheels came at this point too, and I knew I wanted something deep concave with nice wide rears – I found the ‘right’ wheels a few weeks before the project was finished, they’re Japan Racing JR21s.”
The rears measure a whopping 11x19”, which certainly makes the most of Blend’s newfound hip girth (not his, the car’s), and their smoky finish really works with the overall aggression of the build.
The engine was the next item on the list, and while it may have already been packing a serious horsepower figure backed up by the trademark stump-troubling torque of the modern diesel, Blend had a few ideas to spice things up further. So now you’ll find it running a PITSTOP remap along with the company’s own custom 3” downpipe and exhaust system, along with #K&N induction and a big intercooler. Any of you who are still questioning the impressiveness of a diesel estate car as an M3 tribute will hopefully be gratified to learn that Blend’s creation will now run from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds. And that, fittingly, would match an Audi RS6. “The engine work all took about a week,” he explains, with the nonchalant air of someone who truly knows his stuff. “It runs real good, I haven’t had any problems!”
From start to finish, the transformation took around three months, which is really quite hair-raising. Blend’s proud to say that he planned and executed all of the work himself too, with the exception of the installation of the rear panel, which was done by the paint shop while it was spraying it. And it’s impressive to note that when we ask him what more he might have done to the car if money were no object, his response is a humble “Nothing, I’ve done everything I wanted.” Although, when we press him further, he does admit that he’ll be sprucing up the interior to matching M3 spec in the coming year.
This, then, is the product of a man unafraid to build the cars that BMW didn’t; a singularity of vision that dismisses the notion of the estate car’s perceived lack of coolness with nary a second thought. And before we have time to catch breath, he’ll be starting down the path to creating an M2 hatchback. The fella clearly has an axe to grind with BMW’s product planners, and he just cannot be stopped.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F31 / #BMW-335d-Touring / #BMW-335d-Touring-F31 / #BMW-335d / #BMW-335d-F31 / #BMW / #Wagner / #Akrapovič / #Akrapovic / #BMW-M3-styled / #BMW-335d-Touring-M3-Styled / / #BMW-335d-Touring-M3-Styled-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-F31 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo diesel #N57D30T1 / #N57 / #BMW-N57 / #N57D30 / , 3” downpipe, #DPF and #EGR delete, 3” #PITSTOP custom exhaust system with #Akrapovič tails, #Wagner-Evo intercooler, K&N induction, PITSTOP custom remap, eight-speed #ZF-BMW-Sport-automatic transmission ( #ZF8HP / #ZF )
CHASSIS 9.5x19” ET22 (front) and 11x19” ET25 (rear) #Japan-Racing-JR21 wheels with 255/35 (f) and 295/30 (r) tyres, #KW-V2 coilovers, MSport brakes
EXTERIOR Sapphire black, full M3 body conversion including custom rear bumper
THANKS Thanks to my wonderful wife, PITSTOP and Schmiedmann – without them the project wouldn’t have been possible, Streetwheels for the fast job on the wheels, and to all of you out there who stood by my side from the start and helped me with everything
“The rear bumper’s my favourite modification, as I’m the first one in the world to do it”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation912hp from four cylinders? Turbo S14-powered E30 will blow your mind.
912hp turbocharged #S14 E30
We’re not sure what’s scarier: building a 912hp turbocharged S14 E30 or driving it. Neither experience is for the fainthearted… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: RonV Photography.
Let’s talk about specific output. Whatever horsepower figure you may lay bragging rights to, generally speaking it doesn’t matter how you got there, all that matters is what you’ve actually got. We all love power and having lots of it is great. But, what impresses everybody is making a lot of power from a little engine. Big V8s with big turbos are awesome, we’re big fans, but to get a small engine to produce some big numbers takes an inordinately large amount of effort and it’s something that elicits the universal respectful head nod because you have to be pretty flipping hardcore to go down this route. Surely only some sort of madman would attempt to extract 900hp from a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder S14? Surely?
Well, in this case only a Maatman would attempt to do that. Tim Maatman, that is. Tim Maatman is hardcore. One glance at his purple monster of an E30 should tell you that. The car you see before you started out life as a shell, with no interior and no engine. It did have the Sport body kit already attached but that was it. Tim bought it off a friend and it was crying out for a greater purpose in life. That purpose was to serve as the host for a turbocharged engine, which itself had started out life in Tim’s E30 Touring and had been built up to 430hp. However this wasn’t enough to slake his thirst for power and so the past two years have been dedicated to the evolution of that original turbo engine concept into the beast of a powerplant you see before you here.
Okay, Tim probably had a life around all that engine building but the idea of him locked away like a mad scientist working on his doomsday machine is the one we’d like to stick to.
This mental image is given weight when Tim tells us that he’s done most of the work on the car himself. As you can imagine, a project like this requires a huge amount of work and most of that has been poured into the engine. It really is an incredible thing to look at, that engine, so industrial, mechanical and more than a little bit intimidating. It’s like the rest of the car has been built around it as some sort of containment system trying to rein in all that raw energy.
The road to turbocharged S14 glory begin with Tim swapping his Touring’s original M40 to a slightly more potent M42 and the addition of a turbo running a KMS MP25 management system and, later, H profile con rods and turbo pistons. So far, so good. At least it was for a few weeks until the head cracked. “I spoke to John at KMS and he offered me an alternative: to supplement the parts ordered and my M42 engine for an S14 engine they had ready for a turbo,” Tim relates. “It was such an attractive offer that I couldn’t say no! The S14 was just fitted with CP turbo pistons while the other parts of the S14 were OEM, even the head gasket and head bolts. I picked up that engine and connected the MP25 management and an exhaust system made with a Precision 6262 turbo and it made 430hp at 0.8bar of boost.”
Tim was happy, as any of us would have been, and ran the car in that configuration for a couple of years, taking it to his local drag strip numerous times with his personal best being an extremely impressive 11.7sec quarter-mile. But Tim had developed a taste for power and he wanted more…
“I came into contact with Pure Performance Factory in Sweden and started to collect all the turbo information on the company’s forum. I then began buying all the beautiful parts I needed for a major renovation because I wanted at least 700hp,” Tim explains with a grin.
The first incarnation of the new engine was ready in 2014 and Tim headed over to DP Engineering to see how much power he was making. “Over 680hp the V-belts were flying off and started breaking and we managed to hit 745hp before anything broke,” Tim continues. “I then fitted a larger turbo, a Precision 6466 dual ball bearing Gen 2, and we hit the dyno again; we started out on the old wastegate spring, which had held 0.8bar at 500hp but with the bigger turbo the boost creep caused this to shoot up to 1.3bar and on the first full run it made 700hp. This was not according to plan and less power than before so I changed the wastegate spring and this time we hit 850hp. Pieter at DP Engineering asked me how far I really wanted to go so I told him that 900hp is a nice number, so he started increasing the boost. At 1.9bar the engine made 880hp and at 2.0bar it hit 912hp and 685lb ft of torque so we stopped there; we then did numerous runs for fine tuning and the day ended with a big smile.” We’d be equally happy if we’d just come away with 912hp from a turbocharged S14. And, if you want to talk about specific output, that works out at 397hp/litre, which is eye-watering stuff. Absolutely awesome.
The final spec list for this S14 is nothing short of astonishing but you’d expect nothing less from an engine making this sort of power, especially one this small. The engine runs the stock S14 crankshaft, although it’s been polished and balanced, along with H-profile con rods, CP pistons and an oil pump modified as per DTM specs. Larger intake and exhaust valves have been fitted as well as PPF valve springs and a custom PPF cam, adjustable camshaft pulleys and an S50B32 chain tensioner.
We’ve mentioned the monster Precision turbo above and it sits on a custom manifold, sucking in air via a massive 130mm BMC cone filter and it runs a Precision 46mm wastegate, 50mm PPF blow-off valve and a custom 3.5-inch exhaust with a single Simons silencer while the exhaust itself exits under the offside sill.
A massive 600x300x100mm front-mount intercooler helps to keep the intake air temperature down and it all feeds into the engine via a custom aluminium intake. As you’d expect from a car like this, the boot is filled with the E85-based fuel system, with a 45-litre Jaz fuel cell, twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps, and a number of Nuke Performance components including a Y splitter, fuel filter, fuel rail with four massive 2200cc Bosch motorsport injectors, FPR and vacuum station.
Building your 900hp engine is one thing but keeping control of all that power is another matter altogether. And with so much effort having been expended under the bonnet you’d be shocked if Tim had scrimped elsewhere. Don’t worry, he didn’t…
Step one was to sort the transmission because there’s a hell of a lot of power and torque trying to get to the rear wheels and you need something strong enough to cope with all of that, especially when drag racing, as Tim planned to. The gearbox in this E30 is an E60 530d six-speeder mated to a lightweight PPF 6kg chromoly flywheel, a Sachs motorsport clutch rated to 811lb ft of torque, and a custom propshaft by DriveteQ. An E28 M535i 210mm diff has been fitted, modified by Hardeman Motorsport with 30º/45º ramp angles and 75% locking, along with custom driveshafts and uprated CV joints. On the suspension front, KW V2 coilovers have been fitted up front along with GAZ camber plates from Hardeman Motorsport. At the rear you’ll find AVO drag coilovers with compression and rebound adjustment and rear camber and toe adjustment for maximum grip, Ireland Engineering anti-roll bars all-round, Powerflex rear subframe bushes, and Tim’s also carried out a five-stud conversion allround. The benefits of this are two-fold: it means he can run those extremely sexy AC Schnitzer Type II Racing wheels; more importantly, it also means he can run his 334mm Tarox discs with Porsche Brembo four-pot calipers up front on custom brackets with Ferodo DS2500 pads. The rears haven’t been forgotten about, sporting E30 Touring calipers (as they have a slightly larger piston), Tarox discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads with Goodridge hoses fitted all-round. Now often when a car is built for outright performance, aesthetics take a bit of a backseat. However, when you’re starting with an E30 you’re starting with a car that can’t help but look good, especially when it’s wearing the Sport kit like Tim’s is. Painting it Daytona violet certainly hasn’t done any harm either. The front spoiler has been drilled for lightness, there’s a lightweight Einzel Motorsport bonnet, and a Hartge rear spoiler as well.
The interior is most definitely all business and we like the fact there’s nothing glamorous here: it’s all about making this E30 light, safe, and giving Tim somewhere to sit while he pilots it down the drag strip. There are no carpets or doorcards but neither are there are fancy metal chequer plate floor sections or lightweight door panels; there’s just bare metal and wires. The dash has been flocked and there’s a plethora of Stack gauges mounted where the central air vents would be to enable Tim to keep an eye on boost pressure, fuel pressure, oil pressure, the oil temp and EGT. There’s also an OMP steering wheel, a pair of single-piece Toora buckets with QSP fourpoint harnesses, plus a full, TIG-welded chromoly steel roll-cage.
With 912hp and weighing just 1130kg, thanks to Tim’s extensive weight reduction programme, this E30 has 807hp per ton, more than any road-going Koenigsegg, Porsche, Lamborghini or Ferrari. This means that when Tim gets the chance to take it down the strip it’s going to be absolutely insane. Until he gets there he’s been enjoying it on the street: “It’s nice on the highway, the acceleration is delicious!” Of course, if you think 912hp is enough, you’re wrong because Tim is already thinking of more power, as he tells us: “There is still more to come with this setup. Four digits would be nice, though there are other things that I would like to do first, like install a carbon diffuser, the cage needs a little work, and I may even also go for methanol injection. My goal was always to build a nine-second car and I will achieve that. The question is ‘when’? If the engine survives this season then maybe in winter 2016/2017 I’ll try for 1000hp and then this project will be closed.”
For a minute Tim looks deep in thought. “Given that I know I can build up an S54 to 1500hp I wonder if it would fit in the engine bay with a turbo on it?” he questions. We get the feeling he’d be up for finding out. For now, though, he’s got 900hp of turbocharged E30 to enjoy on the street, in sprint events and on the drag strip. And while building it may have been daunting, we wager that driving it is going to be an awful lot of fun.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW / Turbo / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-Turbo / #S14B23 / #S14-Turbo / #BMW-S14 / / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #Precision / #CP-Carrillo / #Bosch-XR4CS / #VAC-Motorsport / #AC-Schnitzer-Type-II-Racing / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 /
ENGINE 2.3-litre four-cylinder S14B23 from E30 M3, polished and balanced S14B23 crankshaft with 84mm stroke, #ARP-2000 main studs, ARP block girdle, H-profile con rods with ARP 2000 bolts, CP Carrillo 94.5mm pistons, 9.0:1 compression ratio, HD piston pins, #Athena cut-ring head gasket, M52B28 piston oil squirters, modified DTM-style oil pump, 39mm Supertech Teflon-coated intake valves, 33mm #Supertech Inconel exhaust valves, S50B32 valve buckets, uprated PPF valve springs, custom PPF 283/283 11mm/11mm camshaft, adjustable camshaft pulleys, BMW S50B32 chain tensioner, engine blueprinted, 7.0-litre sump with VAC Motorsport oil pan baffle, custom T321 steel turbo exhaust manifold, aluminium intake, #Precision-6466-DBB-Gen-2-V-Band .82 AR turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, PPF 50mm blow-off valve, 130mm BMC Twin Cone filter, 600x300x100mm tube and fin intercooler, three-inch intercooler piping, Samco connectors, 3.5-inch exhaust with single Simons silencer and exhaust tip exiting from sill, #Mocal oil cooler, Griffin aluminium radiator, Goodridge hoses and connectors, Jaz 45-litre fuel cell, 2x Bosch 044 fuel pumps, Nuke Performance Y-splitter, fuel filter, fuel rail, FPR and Vacuum Station, 4x Bosch motorsport 2200cc fuel injectors, #Goodridge PTFE AN08 feed, Goodridge PTFE AN06 return, Flex Fuel sensor (not connected), E85 fuel used, VEMS ECU, 2x EGT, Lambda, fast air temperature sensor, turbo back pressure logged, custom cam sensor, MAC four port boost control valve, Bosch XR4CS spark plugs, VAG coils, Moroso spark plug wires
POWER AND TORQUE 912hp (2bar) @ 7500rpm. 685lb ft of torque (2bar) @ 6600rpm
TRANSMISSION E60 530d six-speed gearbox, PPF 6kg chromoly flywheel, Sachs 811lb ft motorsport clutch, DriveteQ custom propshaft, #Hardeman-Motorsport E28 M535i 201mm diff with 30º/45º ramp angles and 75% locking, custom driveshafts, uprated CV joints
CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front) and 9.5x17” (rear) AC Schnitzer Type II Racing wheels with 215/40 (front) Toyo or Zestino semi-slick tyres and 255/45 (rear) Dunlop SP9000 or Zestino semi-slick tyres or Hoosier D06 9.0/26/15.0” drag racing slicks, #KW-V2 coilovers with adjustable rebound (front), #GAZ camber plates, uniballs and M3 supporting arms, AVO drag coilovers with compression/rebound adjustment (rear), rear camber/toe adjustment Ireland Engineering anti-roll bars, #PowerFlex rear subframe polybushes, five-stud hub conversion, Porsche Brembo four-pot calipers with custom brackets and #Ferodo DS2500 pads and Tarox 335x32mm discs (front), E30 Touring calipers with Tarox discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), Goodridge brake hoses (f&r)
EXTERIOR Daytona violet, M Tech II body kit, #Hartge boot spoiler, lightened front bumper, Einzel Motorsport fibreglass bonnet
INTERIOR Full chromoly TIG-welded roll-cage, flocked dashboard, Stack boost pressure, fuel pressure, oil pressure, oil temperature, exhaust gas temperature gauges, OMP steering wheel, Toora bucket seats, Samsonas H-pattern shifter, QSP three-inch four-point harnesses, VEMS app on tablet/phone
THANKS Thanks to my friend Robin Kal for helping with building my engine, Pieter Oonincx from DP-Engineering for mapping the car, Gerben Vlogman and Robin Langeslag for all the custom machined parts, my wife Chantal for all her help with money and all the times I was away from home!
“It’s nice on the highway the acceleration is delicious!”
“At 2.0bar the engine hit 912hp and 685lb ft of torque so we stopped there”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPURE PLEASURE SEEKER Dakar yellow E46 M3
Bright enough to sear your retinas, bold enough to turn heads and with plenty of bite to back up its bark, this Dakar E46 M3 is a slice of sheer East Coast #BMW joy. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Denis Podmarkov.
Working for the largest Corvette dealer on the East Coast, as Nick Dimitrov does, you’d naturally expect to find him cruising the New Jersey coast in something very American. But that’s not the case because, as you can plainly see from the picture above, his ride of choice is a bicycle. Although sometimes he drives a BMW too…
This Individual Dakar M3 is Nick’s third M3 and with that his third BMW, which came after a torrid affair with some VWs, as he explains: “Before BMWs I was in the VAG scene for a while; at the age of 17 I owned a modified Mk4 VR6 Jetta and I also owned a 16-valve Mk2 GLi at one point. I also had a modified Mk4 R32 and an Audi B5 S4 (never again!) before I discovered the E36 M3. I’ve been interested in BMWs ever since I was young. Since day one my favourite BMW has been the E30 M3, which will hopefully be my next build,” he grins.
Nick’s first foray into BMW ownership was a supercharged E36 M3 finished in Ferrari red before he moved on to a Carbon black E46 M3 and by that point he was clearly hooked as here we are with another E46 M3. “I mean, why not buy one of the few Dakar Individual E46 M3s in the States?” he laughs, when we ask about his motives for purchasing this car. “There were no questions asked; the cash was pulled and the trip was made.”
The advantage of going from one car to a different example of the same car is that you know where you are, you feel at home. You’ve popped your shoes off, put the kettle on and settled down on the sofa to watch Corrie before you’ve even put the key in the ignition. Or whatever the American equivalent of that would be… playing punch face with your bros, drinking brewskis and eating Pop Tarts while watching someone do a touchdown? Maybe. The point is that Nick knew exactly what he wanted to do to his new M3 from the moment he bought it and, as the car was in decent shape but nowhere near how Nick wanted it, the build began…
In the monochromatic automotive world we live in, a Dakar yellow M3 is as shocking as being slapped in the face while someone steals your wallet but, being an M3, it instantly has the credentials to back up that posturing and with an S54 under the bonnet it would be rude not have a little bit of a tweak. Because power is nothing without reliability, the often troublesome Vanos unit has been rebuilt with titanium bolts to ensure it stays in one piece and the bottom end has been beefed up with the addition of some ceramic coated bearings.
A drop-in K&N air filter is joined by an Evolve no-restrictions tune and a super sexy and ultra light Dixis titanium exhaust has been fitted, along with a Euro mid-section. You really can’t go wrong with a titanium exhaust, it’s about as exotic as you can get and, having watched some videos of the Dixis system in action, it sounds awesome as well. What more could you want?
Engine finely honed and performing at its best, Nick turned his attention to the chassis because, sharp as it is from the factory, there’s always a little room for improvement. “The car has been fitted with a set of KW V2 coilovers,” says Nick, “as well as Eibach anti-roll bars, Turner anti-roll bar links and every bush you can think of has been uprated with items from Bimmerworld and Turner Motorsports. I chose all of these upgrades because to me this is the perfect street and track setup for an E46 M3.”
Nick has also reinforced the rear subframe because you have to when you own an E46 M3, and has added a BMW M Performance carbon strut brace and UUC engine and transmission mounts. It’s a killer lineup of chassis mods that help to take this M3 to true handling nirvana and ensure it’s impossible to drive without having a big smile on your face. Sticking with the serious stuff and the serious issue of stopping, Nick’s fitted a set of E46 M3 CSL calipers with two-piece cross-drilled Brembo discs up front and plain Brembo discs at the back with Cool Carbon brake pads and colourcoded calipers all-round, naturally.
That’s all very impressive, but it’s clear that this car isn’t just about the serious stuff, it’s about having fun and looking good doing it. Bearing that in mind, it would be no good if Nick had cut corners when it came to the wheels, but there’s no fear of that because he’s pushed the boat so far out it’s sailed way over the horizon. Now, we don’t know about you, but where wheels are concerned there are three little letters that make us go weak at the knees: H, R and E. They’re about as high-end as you can hope to get, a real aspirational wheel manufacturer and Nick’s slapped a set of ridiculously sexy three-piece 545s on his E46, 9x18” ET20 with 3” lips up front and massive 11x18” ET20 rears boasting 4.5” lips. The combo of gloss black lips and metallic bronze centres with gloss black bolts is to die for.
Playing with the styling on an E46 M3 is always a tricky affair, mainly because BMW did such a good job on the car in the first place and it’s definitely a machine that you couldn’t ever accuse of being short on visual muscle. Nick hasn’t messed around here too much, just giving the styling a slight tweak to personalise it, with a Status Gruppe carbon fibre front lip making the car look even lower and meaner, while at the rear he’s removed the standard E46 M4 lip spoiler. It’s an interesting move as most owners tend to add more spoiler to their M3s, but we have to admit that smooth end result works surprisingly well.
The interior is equally subtle but it’s obvious from the off that Nick’s been busy in here. There’s a Coby Alcantara steering wheel, with an AC Schnitzer silver carbon lower trim section and yellow centre stripe, Coby Alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters, ACS silver carbon door trims, a custommounted Alpine head unit with factorymatched amber illumination and a set of half-leather seats, which are a strange sight in an M3 for us in the UK used to seeing leather on everything. The silver carbon additions lift the interior while the Alcantara adds a touch of ‘race car’ to proceedings and the end result is an interior that really makes you feel like you want to give this M3 everything it’s got once you’re behind the steering wheel.
From start to finish it’s taken a mere six months for Nick to get his M3 exactly how he wanted it, to create the perfect car he had in his mind when he first collected his Dakar dream machine. While there are a few money-no-object mods he wouldn’t mind adding, like an Evolve CSL air box, Euro headers and a four-point roll-cage, the car is otherwise finished, finely honed and ready to be enjoyed, which is what Nick plans on doing. When it comes to trying to improve on something that’s so good to start with, that pudding could end up over-egged, but the perfect selection of mods here means this M3 is as tasty as they come.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-E46 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six S54B32, rebuilt Vanos unit with titanium bolts, ceramic-coated bearings, #K&N air filter, #Evolve tune, #Dixis titanium exhaust, Euro mid-section, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x18” ET20 (f) and 11x18” ET20 (r) HRE 545 threepiece wheels with metallic bronze centres, gloss piano black bolts and lips with 225/40 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Federal Evo tyres, #KW-V2 coilovers, BMW M Performance carbon fibre strut brace, reinforced rear subframe, UUC engine and transmission mounts, CSL callipers with two-piece cross-drilled Brembo discs (front), Brembo discs (rear), Cool Carbon brake pads (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Dakar yellow, Status Gruppe carbon front lip, deleted boot lip spoiler
INTERIOR Coby Alcantara steering wheel with yellow centre stripe, Coby Alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters, AC Schnitzer silver carbon trim, manual half-leather seats, Pioneer head unit
THANKS My cousin Ivo for finding the car, my two best friends, Mike Maslanich and Dan Diani along with DianiMotorsports for helping me make this build happen from start to finish, and of course my family for always supporting me with what I do, and thank you guys at PBMW for making a dream come true.
“Why not buy one of the few Dakar Individual E46 M3s in the States?”
“To me this is the perfect street and track setup for an E46 M3”
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- Post is under moderationHILLCLIMB #Citroen-AX / #Citroen
Hillclimbing is massive business over in Germany, and as a result it spawns nutty cars, including this mad looking AX which revs to 9800rpm!
‘KING OF THE HILL’
What do you do if you’re done getting your adrenaline fix from racing bikes? Build a storming Berg Cup AX, that’s what! Words: Jamie. Arkle Photos: Axel Weichert.
Hill climbing is a serious business in Germany, bigger in near enough every quantifiable way than it is over here. Of course the very top tier of the country’s myriad of hill climb championships is the infamous KW Berg Cup, where be-winged monsters, DTM-refugees and the odd ex-F1 car take turns to shoot up faintly ridiculous mountain passes. It all makes Prescott Hill and Gurston Down seem a mite tame, something that only becomes clearer when you delve into the various sub-classes and take a closer look at some of the cars. Opel Kadetts, VW Golfs and BMW 3-Series are all incredibly popular, but there are also some left field choices, such as Corsa As (Novas in Vauxhall-speak), Toyota Starlets, and the Citroen AX you see here.
In a field largely dominated by rear wheel drive classics and ballistic single seaters, this little Citroen stands out a mile, and for all the right reasons. It’s been built by Manfred Schulte, a successful motorcycle racer with a penchant for speed and extreme builds. The AX holds a special place in Manfred’s affections as it was the car he began his association with hill climbing in, though the actual car he started out with was somewhat more prosaic in spec than the one you see here. “It was just a little AX Sport, so it had a 1.3 8v engine with a race cam, some induction and exhaust modifications and a lot of weight saving,” Manfred recalls.
There’s no doubt that this little car provided the ideal means for Manfred to cut his teeth in the world of ‘mountain racing,’ but there was no disguising its limitations, nor the fact that it was pretty much a clubman spec car. Manfred was keen to progress in the sport, but he was also aware that this would be costly and that he may as well utilise the experience he’d acquired by competing in the AX – which leads us neatly to this little Gallic monster. This car came into Manfred’s ownership midway through 2010, and it took just hours for him to begin disassembling and prepping it for a life of punishing hill climbs.
“It was a clean, low mileage shell, so perfect for the kind of thing I had in mind. There wasn’t any rust to speak of, so I was clear to jump in and start stitch welding the shell, strengthening and bracing the engine bay and the suspension points,” recalls Manfred.
He also took the wise (not to mention necessary) step of fitting a whopper of a roll cage, a welded in one that triangulates with both the front and rear strut tops, runs along the dash and criss-crosses the entire shell. Obviously a cage like this is primarily there for safety purposes (some of those German road courses climb to considerable heights, with sheer drops to match), but it also provides strength to the tinny AX bodyshell, something badly needed once the fibreglass doors, bonnet and boot are factored in.
This period of the build also saw Manfred address one of the major shortcomings of his previous AX, width.
“The old car was fairly stock looking. OK so we flared the arches a little to fit slightly wider wheels, but it still wasn’t that much, and it restricted the size of tyres we could run,” Manfred explains. There was no way that the new AX was going to want for mechanical grip, something that explains the massively flared arches front and rear. This car is almost comically wide, with more than a touch of Metro 6R4 about its silhouette (which is no bad thing in our book). Those arches have been painstakingly constructed from carbon fibre, with the fronts working perfectly with that ultra-aggressive, demonstrably effective front splitter. The rear end is dominated by that bi-plane rear wing, and again it’s hard not to make comparisons to Group B machines. “We tried to make the aero package as efficient as possible, but of course it’s a challenge when you’re working to a tight budget and don’t have a wind tunnel,” Manfred says.
Perhaps the most ambitious aspect of the AX’s aero kit is the flat floor and rear diffuser. This has been achieved through careful use of carbon fibre and Kevlar, and though it’s still a long way from the kind of thing seen in early 80s F1 cars, this DIY ground effect does provide a noticeable increase in the amount of grip available.
Propulsion comes in the form of a TU engine, but not the kind you’ll find in your average PSA product. This TU5JP4 1.6 16v was ‘liberated’ from a full-fat C2 Super 1600 rally car, meaning a fully forged bottom end, carefully worked over head, and a screaming rev limit of 9800RPM! The engine breathes through a set of 48mm KMS individual throttle bodies, while at the opposite side you’ll find a custom free-flowing manifold and a 70mm straight through stainless steel exhaust. Power is 243bhp, though there’s potentially more to come should a winter of development and fettling provide the results they are expected to.
“The jump in power and responsiveness over the old 8v engine is just night and day. It’s a lot more modern and allows us to compete against the other cars in the class, like the Corsa, the Golfs, Polos and Sciroccos.”
That manic 1600 engine is mated to an equally trick transmission, with spec highlights including a Drexler six-speed sequential gearbox and LSD, heavy duty, tarmac-spec driveshafts, and Xsara hubs. When coupled with the KW V2 coilovers, rose-joints and reinforced suspension mounting points, it perhaps shouldn’t be that surprising that this little Citroen is more than capable of handling all that NA shove.
Massive brakes aren’t actually as important to hill climbing as you might think (let’s face it, you’re not going to excel in the sport if you’re stamping on the brakes while going uphill), with many of the fastest cars actually running tiny motorbike brakes on the rear axle in an effort to save weight. Of course this AX weighs pretty much nothing at all, but a desire to keep it as usable as possible means than Manfred runs relatively large 310mm discs with ATE four-pot calipers, plus competition spec fluid, pads and braided discs. Suffice it to say that this is one hatch that really can ‘stop on a dime.’
“It’s not as powerful as some of the other cars out there, but because it’s so light I can brake very, very late, sometimes not at all. That’s how I make up time,” chuckles Manfred.
Those stoppers are housed inside seriously cool BBS split rims, 10x15in at the front and a massive 10.5x15in at the back. (hence the need for those equally beefy arches) Tyres vary depending on the conditions, but most of the time Manfred runs super sticky Avon track slicks front and rear.
The inside is dominated by that mammoth roll cage, and there’s no way you’d mistake this for anything other than a specialised, full-fat competition machine. It’s certainly a far cry from Manfred’s first AX! Creature comforts are thin on the ground, though you will find a Konig carbon fibre bucket seat, a floor mounted pedal box, a ten gallon fuel cell with twin pumps, a brake bias valve, and a sophisticated AIM data logging system with a built in camera (there’s no point putting in banzai times if you can’t see the results for yourself at a later date!).
The AX first turned its wheels in anger at the start of the 2012 season and proved itself to be immediately competitive and reliable, thanks in no small part to the sheer number of brand new components that’ve been used throughout. Manfred has been more than able to hold his own against some cars that, on paper at least, look to have the beating of the AX, and in fact he emerged as the overall winner of his group. There’s still more performance to come though, with that super 1600 TU engine currently running at a fairly moderate spec and a few revisions to the aero package in development, so we expect a lot more lunacy in the near future!
Super 1600 race engine was liberated from a C2 and is currently at 245bhp, with more to come over the winter!
In a bid to increase grip Manfred fitted massive arches to accomodate huge slicks, and an extensive aero package was painstakingly crafted.
Specification #Citroen-AX / #Citroen-AX-Super-1600
ENGINE: 1600cc #TU5JP4 16v Super 1600 engine with 48mm #KMS individual throttle bodies on short manifold, fully forged internals, lightened and balanced crank, H-beam con rods, lightweight valves with double valve springs, custom profile camshafts, free-flowing head wrapped manifold, 70mm stainless straight through exhaust with side exit, standalone management, alloy header tank, alloy fan, Aerogrip braided lines.
TRANSMISSION: Drexler six-speed sequential gearbox and LSD, motorsport spec #Drexler driveshafts, Xsara hubs.
SUSPENSION: #KW-V2 coilovers, adjustable top mounts, rose jointed front end, strengthened suspension mounting points.
BRAKES: ATE four-pot calipers with 310mm fully floating discs all round, braided lines, competition pads and fluid.
WHEELS: Front: 10x15in three-piece #BBS split rims, Avon racing slicks Rear: 10.5x15in three-piece BBS split rims, Avon racing slicks.
EXTERIOR: Stitch welded and braced Citroen AX body shell with carbon fibre doors, arches, skirts, splitter, spoiler, tailgate, bonnet and diff user, carbon-kevlar under-body panel.
INTERIOR: Multi-point #FIA compliant roll cage, Konig carbon fibre bucket seat, AIM data system with onboard camera, OMP wheel on a snap off boss, ATL 10l fuel safety cell with twin pumps, fire suppression system, floor mounted pedal box, Plexiglas windows, remote engine shut offs.
“We tried to make the aero package as efficient as possible, but of course it’s a challenge when you’re working to a tight budget”
Hillclimbing is massive in Germany, so much so that it spawns monsters like this AX!
Interior is pure focused race car.
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