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    ULTIMATE MODIFIED BMW

    Stunning 800whp turbo M10-powered 2002 is like a gift from the gods…

    GREECE LIGHTNING

    With an astonishing 800whp from its turbo’d M10, this wild 2002 is about as quick as any sane person would want to travel. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Christos Karagiorgakis.

    2002: A PACE ODYSSEY

    Think of Greece and you will no doubt think of crisp, white houses sitting before the bluest sea you’ve ever seen, beautiful beaches, and delicious food. Perhaps what you won’t think of is modified BMWs. However, having been to Greece on many previous BMW-based visits, we can tell you that there are some serious machines scattered across the country. And this right here might just be the most serious piece of German modified machinery that Greece has to offer. It belongs to Stavros Panagopoulos, who has owned it for ten years. This was, in fact, his very first #BMW : a humble 1602 that he found for sale near his house. As you can probably tell, it’s changed a bit since then…

    Stavros says he entered into ’02 ownership with plans to make the diminutive classic just a little bit faster. And while he’s certainly achieved his end goal, and then some, he didn’t embark on a journey of turbocharged madness from the off; there were at least two slightly more sensible stages prior to what you see here. Things started off normally enough, with the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine enhanced with twin side draft 40 carbs. And that was fine, but not quite enough for Stavros’s liking. So Stage two was a bit more dramatic. The original engine was deemed not quite large enough so it was removed and in its place went a more powerful 2.0, its potency ramped-up considerably with the addition of a 300-degree camshaft, Weber 48 DCOE carbs, MSD Ignition components, and a selection of other sexy engine enhancements. That’s pretty solid and we wager the car (that was now by definition a 2002) must have been a whole load of fun to drive and a massive step up over how it felt originally. And then something happened: Stavros decided that what he really wanted was an 800whp turbo conversion. Because, sometimes, that’s just what you need in your life…

    As you might imagine, making that sort of underbonnet magic happen takes more than a little bit of work and the engine spec list reads like a who’s who of the performance tuning scene. It’s thorough and it’s glorious. It’s the modified BMW enthusiast’s equivalent of 50 Shades of Grey…

    Step one, you’ve got to get your engine choice down. Stavros opted for the sturdy M10, which served as the basis for BMW’s insane turbocharged M12 motorsport engine as well as the S14, so it’s certainly up to the task of coping with a spot of turbocharging.


    But the example nestling under this ’02’s bonnet is very far removed from your common-or-garden M10, as you might have guessed. There’s a lot in the engine bay, so much so that you can barely even see the engine, but if it looks impressive from the outside, there’s plenty to get excited about on the inside, too. 89mm CP forged pistons have been fitted, along with Carrillo forged rods, a custom reprofiled camshaft from Boubis Cams, and #VAC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs. Somewhere within the engine bay (you’ll have to take our word for it because it’s buried deep beneath seemingly endless pipework) sits the very core of all that power: an absolutely gigantic #Garrett-GTX4202R-turbo . This beast of a snail is rated up to 1150hp so Stavros has plenty of headroom, running as he is at around the 900hp mark, should he ever decide that’s not quite enough. This is useful, actually, as his next goal is to hit 1000hp…

    When it came to getting everything squeezed into the engine bay, custom is most definitely the word of the day: the turbo feeds a HPS custom intake manifold via a suitably massive front-mounted intercooler and sits on a custom exhaust manifold that connects up to a custom exhaust with an external wastegate that exits through the sill just behind the passenger side front wheel.

    The exhaust manifold and the turbo housing itself have both been treated to a Zircotec ceramic coating. Stavros has also had massive Bosch Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors fitted to supply enough fuel to keep the engine happy, along with a custom HPS oil pan. The whole lot is looked after by an Autronic SM4 stand-alone ECU.

    Seeing as no one involved in the designing and construction of the ’02 family could ever have imagined that someone in the distant future would attempt to pass somewhere in the region of 900hp through the compact runabout, Stavaros has had to go to town on the transmission and chassis to ensure it didn’t tear itself to pieces. The gearbox is a five-speed manual Getrag unit from the E28 535i mated to a custom twin-plate clutch that can handle the immense amount of power and torque being developed by the engine, with an E34 M5 rear axle tasked with transferring everything to the rear tyres. On the suspension front, this 2002 has been fitted with E36 M3 underpinnings, including subframes and wishbones, with #KW coilovers up front and Bilstein dampers at the back. While it doesn’t take much to stop a car as small and light as a 2002, stopping one that’s travelling at close to the speed of sound does require something a little more substantial, and this example certainly doesn’t mess about. Up front sit AP Racing Galfer four-pot calipers clamping 305mm vented discs. The rear setup is no less substantial, with another set of AP Racing four-pot calipers wrapped around slightly smaller 255mm vented discs.


    When it came to the exterior Stavros decided to keep things relatively subtle in as much that a casual observer might not be aware of what’s been changed but, at the same time, it’s clear that this 2002 is far from standard. It’s actually about as aggressive as a 2002 can really get. The biggest difference are those pumped-up arches, complete with sill extensions that fill out the flanks. They give the normally unassuming classic some real road presence. Having the wastegate exiting through the sill certainly doesn’t hurt, and neither does that fat, single-tipped exhaust pipe. Of course, fitting wide arches is one thing, having suitable wheels that are substantial enough to fill them is another matter entirely but Stavros’ choice definitely doesn’t disappoint, though it might raise a few eyebrows. He’s taken the classic cross-spoke look that sits so well with the 2002 and turned it on its head with a set of decidedly modern Work VS-XXs.

    The 17” wheels are positively huge on the compact classic but they look fantastic, really filling out those big arches, especially with the car dropped low over the fat rubber. Even parts of the body that may look stock aren’t. For example, the bonnet and boot might appear to be relatively standard, bar the pins and catches, but they are both carbon fibre items, with twin fuel fillers on the rear deck for the bootmounted alloy fuel cell. The one thing the 2002 isn’t is heavy, so adding carbon panels and reducing the already low weight further still means that, with 800whp on tap, this car is absolutely insane – just in case you hadn’t gathered that already!

    With a build like this the interior could go a number of ways: hardcore, stripped-out; stock and subtle; or, option three, custom, luxurious but still decidedly sporty – which is exactly what Stavros has gone for. The interior is dominated by those gorgeous Recaro A8 seats and both they, the rear seats, the doorcards, the steering wheel centre section, the gear gaiter and the handbrake have all been covered in the same delicious shade of caramel leather.

    Something that’s easier to miss is the custom alloy roll-cage; it’s so well-integrated that, while you can clearly see the rear diagonal support, the sections that penetrate the dashboard (down into the footwell) and the rear parcel shelf are much more discreet.

    Up front, the gauge cluster has been replaced with an AIM MXL digital racing dash while the centre console now resembles the flight deck of an aircraft rather than a car. Where the central air vents would have once been there now sits a quartet of custom-mounted GReddy exhaust temperature gauges and below that another custom panel that houses a Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer and fuel gauge and, finally, down in front of the illuminated gear lever, you’ll find a pair of GReddy pressure gauges.

    We’ve featured some pretty wild 2002s over the years but this example might just ‘take the cake’. It’s an utterly incredible machine and we’re a little bit in love with it. We love how the custom wide-arches give the little 2002 a broad, square stance. We love the interior, with its blend of modern tech, race components and gorgeous leather. And we really love the engine; we doubt you’ll see a more complicated engine bay, there’s just so much stuffed under the bonnet. And to come away with 800whp from such a small engine and to have it at your disposal in such a small, lightweight car is utterly insane and, well, we love that too.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-2002-Turbo / #Garrett-GTX4202 R / #Garrett / #BMW-2002 / #M10-Turbo / #Getrag / #BMW / #BMW-2002-800bhp /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 / , CP forged pistons, #Carrillo forged rods, #Boubis-Cams custom reprofiled camshaft, #AC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs, Garrett GTX4202R turbo with Zircotec ceramic-coated housing, #Zircotec ceramiccoated custom exhaust manifold, external wastegate, custom exhaust system, #HPS custom intake manifold, #Bosch-Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors, #HPS custom oil pan, #Autronic #Autronic-SM4 stand-alone ECU, Autronic ignition, #Getrag fivespeed manual E28 535i gearbox, custom twin disc clutch kit

    POWER 800whp

    CHASSIS 7.5x17” (front and rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 205/40 (front) Yokohama AVS Sport and 245/45 (rear) Dunlop SP Sport MAXX tyres, E36 M3 subframe, wishbones etc, #KW coilover kit (front), #Bilstein dampers (rear), E34 M5 rear axle, #AP-Racing Galfer four-pot calipers with 305mm vented discs (front) and AP Racing four-pot calipers with 255mm vented discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Carbon fibre bonnet, carbon fibre boot, custom wide-arch conversion

    INTERIOR Custom alloy roll-cage by Ilias Makropoulos, #Recaro A8 seats, rear seats, doorcards, steering wheel centre section, gear gaiter and handbrake finished in caramel leather, illuminated M gear knob, AIM MXL digital racing dash, custom-mounted #GReddy exhaust temperature gauges, pressure gauges, Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer, alloy fuel cell

    Engine looks monstrously complicated, and it is, with a huge amount of custom work at every turn and a gigantic #Garrett-GTX402R turbo buried deep within.
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    LITTLE MONSTER TURBO’D E21 320i

    With a turbo strapped to its 2.0-litre M10, this E21 makes a healthy 190hp and looks great with it. This little E21 looks fairly unassuming, but that bonnet scoop suggests something a bit tasty underneath. Oh yes, we’ve got a turbo! Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Max Earey.

    What is it with BMW and not turbocharging its petrol models? The company basically pioneered turbos on production cars with the beautiful 2002 Turbo in 1974, but what since? Well, there was the rather strange 1980s E23 7 Series with 3.2-litre or 3.5-litre KKK turbo’d engine available (badged 745i for some reason), and er, that’s it. So, is it any wonder we’re seeing more and more private tuners and modifiers producing the forced induction vehicles BMW didn’t?


    From our many visits to Scandinavia it has become apparent that the older BMW engines are the easier ones to strap a turbo to. Less electronic nonsense to fuss around with it seems, and these old blocks appear to be practically bulletproof. Seeing E30s with turbocharged M20 or transplanted S38 M5 engines is not uncommon in these Nordic lands, but it is still a rarity to see an E21 with its original M10 or M60 engine boosted.

    For that we have had to travel a little further afield than Sweden or Norway, to a dusty mountain road high above Los Angeles. Here I meet a young modding enthusiast named Attila Acs and his 1978 320i. “I never really saw too many E21s that had been turbocharged,” the Californian said, “and I thought it would be different. And also because I want a fast car.”

    Okay, so this little E21 isn’t pumping out the sort of crazy horsepower figures we’ve witnessed in Sweden of late, but Attila’s car is a genuine everyday driver. Besides, an estimated 190bhp and 200lb ft of torque at the flywheel is certainly a healthy performance leap over the standard E21 320i. “It’s very hard to pull those kind of performance numbers from such an old car,” Attila continued. “Especially from one with mechanical (K-Jet), and not electronic fuel injection.”

    With the help of his father, a mechanic, Attila has stayed pretty true to BMW’s original spec for the 320i. The 2.0-litre fourcylinder M10 engine remains – it just now has a Garrett T3 turbocharger in place that was never offered from the factory. And we all like a bit of forced induction.

    You could consider this turbo evolution as a natural progression for Attila’s E21. It was owned from new by a family friend in Hungary, they had it shipped to the US, and then Attila’s parents bought it from them in 1994. On turning 16 Attila was given the car, and he openly admits it wasn’t really his thing at first. “I had contemplated selling it,” he said, “but before long I fell in love with her and started to make small modifications.”


    As with most young men, the draw of owning a fast car was irresistible for Attila. Respect to the guy though – instead of selling out and buying a tacky Japanese car for a bit of extra straight-line speed, he stayed true to his much-loved E21 and started talking with his dad about a turbo conversion. A basically brand new T3 turbo had been sitting around at his dad’s garage for some time, and it was just too tempting not to.

    “The car was shut down for about nine months,” Attila explained. “Me and my dad would work on the car after work until late, and even come in on Saturdays sometimes. The whole process was not easy by any means, and even after the likes of the turbo and intercooler had been fitted, we found the motor was not getting enough fuel and the timing was way off.”

    Once a few problems had been ironed out, and by impressively retaining the almost antique K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection, the now boosted E21 was a whole new weapon. “We had it running like a bat out of hell,” Attila said. After having a thrill ride along the twisty mountain blacktop I was pretty convinced there was enough power on tap in this little E21 to keep most people honest. It is at that magical point of being a lot of fun without being dangerous. On these roads, it’s a long way down if you lose it.

    As well as the T3 turbo (running 14-15psi) and Starion intercooler, a turbo cam, HKS blow-off valve, bigger fuel injectors and high flow fuel pump have all necessarily been added. A custom intake and exhaust have had to be fabricated, while the whole package is that bit sportier with a transplanted five-speed gearbox from another E21, a custom short-shift and 228mm sports clutch.

    There’s no sense having all this engine and drivetrain work without considering the chassis as well, and it’s good to report Attila’s E21 had no problems sticking like a limpet through the corners. Eibach Pro Kit springs lower the car suitably, while Bilstein shocks, front strut brace and rear anti-roll bars tighten it all up. Lovely stuff.

    It’s pointless trying to stuff mighty wheels under the arches of such a car, and it’s great to see Attila has stayed true to an original #BMW style by fitting 7x15” BBS RA rims. The body sits low enough so the car doesn’t look under-wheeled, while a 15” size ensures there will be no arch rubbing or a loss in handling characteristics.

    The standard E21 body is a very attractive shape already, but as Attila has proved, a few upgrades here and there truly make the difference. Notice the BBS front spoiler, Zender skirts, Zender rear apron and nice custom boot spoiler, all working well with the European front and rear bumpers. Some clear lights and headlight eyebrows to work with the gleaming bodywork truly finish things off nicely.

    So you may think Attila’s E21 is just a well-looked- after, tastefully modified classic at first glance. Then you notice the bonnet scoop. This is an original Subaru WRX item cut down and moulded to fit into the 320i’s bonnet, allowing cool air to reach the turbo, and let its hot air escape. Not a bad plan, as the temperature coming out of this vent after a quick play would easily melt anything remotely close to that T3 turbo.

    So there are certainly enough performance hints to suggest this fine example of BMW’s first 3 Series is a handy little toy. Strapped into the Corbeau CR1 race seat with threepoint harness, staring at Autometer gauges and operating the push-button start, the driver knows this is something special too. The car is a true gem from head to toe, but it’s the fact it is turbocharged that deserves the most respect. Attila stayed faithful to the car he was given, and when the teenage lust for pure performance came knocking, he did what he could with what he had. The rewards he’s reaping from such a quick, tight and beautiful car are rightfully justified.

    A twisty mountain road thrill ride convinces you this E21 has power and traction in bucketloads.

    DATA FILE #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #Garrett / #BMW-320i-E21 / #BMW-320i / #BBS / #BMW-320i-Turbo-E21 / #BMW-320i-Turbo /

    ENGINE: 2.0-litre fuel injected four-cylinder #BMW-M10 / #M10 / #M10-Turbo engine with #Garrett-T3 turbocharger running 14-15psi, turbo cam, Starion front-mounted intercooler, #HKS SSQV blow-off valve, custom intake, custom exhaust, bigger fuel injectors, high flow fuel pump, 1.8-litre intake manifold on a 2.0-litre block. E21 five-speed transmission conversion, custom shortshift, 228mm sports clutch setup. Standard CIS engine management system upgraded, #MSD #Boost-Timing-Master

    PERFORMANCE: 190bhp and 200lb ft torque at the flywheel

    CHASSIS: 7x15” #BBS-RA wheels shod in 205/55 Kumho 711 tyres. #Eibach Pro Kit springs, #Bilstein shocks, front strut brace, rear anti-roll bar, vented front brakes

    EXTERIOR: BBS front spoiler, #Zender side skirts, Zender rear apron, custom boot spoiler, European bumpers, European indicators, custom headlight eyebrows, H4 headlights, custom bonnet scoop modified from Subaru WRX item

    INTERIOR: Corbeau CR1 race seats, Corbeau three-point harnesses, Autometer shift light, Autometer gauges, push-button starter

    THANKS: My dad – without him this car would not be at the stage it is. Also my family and Katie for their support, Lee at BMWPlanet.com and the E21 Legion!

    An estimated 190bhp and 200lb ft of torque at the flywheel with the turbocharger is certainly a healthy performance leap over the standard E21 320i.

    Above: Original E21 M10 engine remains, but benefits from Garrett T3 turbocharger. Result is 190bhp and 200lb ft torque in this little monster.
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