- Post is under moderationCLEAN LIVING
Exceedingly smooth and bagged E36. Clean and smooth, this head-turning Touring is brimming with individual touches that really help it stand out from the crowd. Photos: Si Gray. Words: Elizabeth de Latour.
You know what really impresses us when we visit a show? It’s not the wild, no-holds-barred builds that get all the attention and steal all the headlines (though they are undeniably impressive), it’s actually the cars that look great but their owners have taken a much more modest route to making that happen. These builds are all about the subtle, individual touches that really make them stand out and allow their builders to put their own mark on their projects.
Take Andy Guyett’s E36 Touring, for example. There’s no wild body kit, no custom three-piece wheels, nothing outlandish, but it just looks so good and while the applied mods appear to be quite simple at first glance, there’s definitely a lot more here than meets the eye…
“I’ve always been into cars, never football,” begins Andy, “as growing up I was always around cars; my two brothers had all sorts of cool Yank stuff and while I never followed them down that road I have had all sorts of cars over the years. I started off with a white Opel Manta GTE when I was 18 followed by a Fiesta XR2 after which I decided to build something, which took the shape of a 1971 Cali-look Beetle. I ran it as a daily and it wasn’t great as it was very low and just not very well-suited to the task.”
The Beetle was followed by another couple of classic VWs before Andy decided to come over to the Bavarian way of life. “My friend bought an E30,” he explains, “and I loved it. It looked cool so I sold the Beetle I had at the time and bought myself a champagne E30 320i four-door with brown velour seats.” That might not sound like the sexiest of places to start but it ticked Andy’s boxes and started him on the road of BMW ownership which, almost six and a half years ago, led to the purchase of the 323i Touring you see before you.
“My girlfriend had a Clio at the time and after the cambelt snapped twice in two years we decided to get shot of it. The garage where I found this E36 for sale did a straight swap for the Clio and I had a good feeling about the car, it just felt right.” His gut was clearly on the money considering the Touring is still a part of the family, and while it had been purchased bone stock, the fact that Andy had modified every car he’d owned in some way meant that it was not going to remain that way for long. “I always knew what I wanted to do,” says Andy, “but I didn’t know I would go this far with it!”
The styling has been given plenty of attention and this Touring wears a blend of different parts that all combine to give it a seriously meaty look. Step one to its outstanding freshness is a full respray in its original shade of Orient blue and then comes the onslaught of Sport addenda, with genuine front and rear bumpers, side skirts and wide door trims.
The Sport additions make a big difference to the Touring’s looks just on their own, but these have been further enhanced with another layer of styling. Up front, a replica AC Schnitzer deep splitter has been added and this is matched at the rear with a replica #ACS boot spoiler, while a set of genuine ACS mirrors with custom decals complete the Schnitzer triumvirate, and the splitter, diffuser and roof bars have all been painted in Azurite black, which changes from black to blue in the light, adding a subtle individual aspect to proceedings.
The arches have been rolled (you can see why, with the rears receiving a bit of a pull) and there’s been a lot of smoothing going on across the body. The bonnet badge has gone, as has the boot badge and the model inscription. The side repeaters have been removed and smoothed, the petrol filler flap has been smoothed and the rear wiper has been removed altogether, using the first ever Kill All Wipers kit for the E36 Touring. The end result is a car that’s smoother than a wellused bar of soap. The finishing touches are the all-red rear lenses, angel eye headlights and pre-face-lift nosecone. You may have also noticed that Andy is all about those orange highlights, with the custom decals on his mirrors carrying orange script, his stickers printed in orange, the amber front indicator lenses and the flashes of orange paint on his calipers.
That’s something he’s carried through into the interior too. In fact, there have been some big changes in here and the first thing that hits you are the Recaro CS front seats because they look awesome; big sporty seats always make a big statement and act as a centrepiece for car’s interior, which is why it’s so disappointing when high performance models don’t have them, but always exciting when someone’s gone to the effort of fitting a set in their car. Here they sit on custom subframes made by Hard Knocks Speed Shop, while the rear bench has been trimmed to match the half-leather finish of the front seats and fitted with different headrests.
The headlining and A-pillars have been finished in an Alcantara-style material and the doorcard inserts, glovebox lid and trim, centre console, driver’s knee roll and inner mirror covers have all been trimmed in black fauxsuede; it makes for an extremely luxuriousfeeling interior. That’s impressive enough on its own, but that’s not even the half of it; Andy has replaced all of the previously grey interior trim panels with black ones and that includes the entire dash itself, which makes the whole interior look infinitely smarter and he has also replaced the carpet with a black one, none of which is no small job.
The steering wheel has been retrimmed by Royal Steering Wheels, with perforated leather on the sides, Nappa leather on the top and bottom sections, M tricolour stitching and an orange centre marker. A Schmiedmann suede handbrake gaiter has been fitted and Andy has also retro-fitted the 18-button OBC and the start button from a Honda S2000. We’re not done in here yet because the lacklustre standard audio has received a serious upgrade, with an Alpine head unit hooked up to a set of orange-coned Hertz three-way components, powered by no less than two JL Audio amps along with a 12” JL sub in the boot, which is also where you’ll find the simple air install with just the single polished tank on display.
“I had HSD coilovers before the air,” says Andy as we move onto discussing his comprehensive chassis mods, “but it was going to the Players show that helped me make the decision to switch to air. I saw so many cars on air-ride, including Ed Johnston’s E36 Touring back when it was cream, and knew that was what I wanted. I ended up buying a three-month-old kit from one of Riiva Design’s cars, an Air Lift setup with V2 management and I fitted it over a long weekend with my son Tom and a friend of mine.”
The air-ride is just the tip of the iceberg, though, as the front end has been fitted with polybushed lollipops and ARB mounts with E30 front wishbones and an ECS Tuning strut brace under the bonnet. The whole rear end has been fully polybushed, with SPC Performance adjustable rear camber arms and an M3 rear anti-roll bar plus a set of Phoenix Motorsport rear damper reinforcement plates. The brakes haven’t been forgotten about either, with an E46 330Ci front setup plus an M3 servo and master cylinder and Goodridge hoses all-round.
With the wheels, Andy went through five or six sets before he settled on these 18” M Parallels: “I started off with some 17” Alpina reps, then I had BBS RKs, ACS Type 3 reps, all sorts, but I’d always liked the Paras,” he says. “They look like a strong wheel and these ones are in a staggered fitment from the E38 7 Series. I had to have the rear hubs shaved in order to be able to get them to fit under the arches.” M Parallels are the perfect example of a very clean, simple, classic design that works well on everything and looks good on everything, and in this particular staggered 18” form with diamond cut faces and lips they look absolutely stunning on this Touring.
Finally we come to the engine and, while there’s not a lot going on under the bonnet at the moment, with just a DaveF induction kit and 328i manifold-back exhaust, Andy has some big plans for that M52: “I’m really happy with the styling but now I want to make it go faster and I’m currently building an #M52B28 – I’ve actually had the engine for almost two years now,” he laughs. “The head will be gas-flowed, there will be a stainless exhaust manifold, an Alpina527 adapted M50 intake manifold, a Hark Knocks Speed Shop custom exhaust and I’ll get it remapped by Enda Ward at End Tuning.” That lot will add up to one pretty impressive lump that will definitely endow this Touring with some proper performance.
This really is a seriously nice car. It’s got a perfect blend of mods that combine to give it some real presence and plenty of individuality, all while retaining the essence of the E36 Touring. Andy’s built himself a cracking machine and the engine swap he’s got up his sleeve will be the icing on an extremely tasty cake…
DATA FILE #BMW / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-323i-Touring / #BMW-323i-Touring-E36 / #BMW-323i-E36 / #BMW-323iA-Touring-E36 / #BMW-323iA / #BMW-323iA-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E36 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M52B25 / #M52 / #BMW-M52 , #DaveF induction kit, 328i manifold-back exhaust, five-speed auto gearbox #ZF5HP / #ZF
CHASSIS 8x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Style-37M-Parallel wheels with diamond cut faces and lips with 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Kumho Ecsta tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance #Airride with #Air-Lift-V2 management, front strut brace, polybushed front lollipops and #ARB mounts, E30 front wishbones, fully polybushed rear end, #SPC-Performance adjustable rear camber arms, M3 rear anti-roll bar, #Phoenix-Motorsport rear damper reinforcement top plates, E46 330Ci front brakes, M3 servo/master cylinder, Goodridge braided hoses (front and rear), #BMW hardlines (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Full respray in original Orient blue metallic, bonnet badge removed and smoothed, pre-face-lift front nosecone, angel eye headlights with shrouded HID projectors, Sport front bumper, replica #AC-Schintzer deep front splitter, AC Schnitzer door mirrors with custom decals, side repeaters removed and smoothed, Sport side skirts, smoothed petrol flap, Sport wide door trims, Sport rear bumper, replica AC Schnitzer rear spoiler, all-red rear lenses, boot badge removed and smoothed, 323i badge removed, Kill All Wipers rear wiper delete, arches rolled all-round and rears pulled, front splitter, rear diffuser and roof bars painted in #BMW Azurite black, LED number plate lights
INTERIOR #Recaro-CS front seats on custom Hard Knocks Speed Shop subframes, rear bench retrimmed/coloured to match fronts, different rear headrests, all interior panels and carpet changed from grey-to-black, headlining and A-pillars recovered in black faux-Alcantara, doorcard inserts, glovebox lid and trim, centre console, drivers knee roll and inner mirror covers trimmed in black fauxsuede, Royal Steering Wheels retrimmed Sport steering wheel with M stitching and orange centre stripe, Schmiedmann suede handbrake gaiter, Sport inner sill covers custom painted in BMW Azurite black, Honda S2000 start button, retro-fitted 18-button OBC, #Alpine-CDA-9887R head unit, 2x JL Audio amps, Hertz threeway components, JL Audio 12” sub, LED bulbs
INTERIOR Big thanks to my son Tom Guyett, good friends Cliff Judson and Sam Hendrie for their continued help with the car and my fiancé Fiona for her patience with a stream of car parts in the front room and my constant absence! Dips at Custom Cars for his huge efforts with the paint and body mods, Richard at Ruislip Tyres for his sterling efforts getting the wheels ready (twice!) and constant tyre swapping, Ray Boultwood, Neil Chapman and all the members of BMWEnthusiasts forum for the (usually!) kind words during the build and for the camaraderie at meets and Badger Bourton of Hard Knocks Speed Shop for his outstanding fabrication skillsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRELUCTANT HERO Stripped-out, hardcore Rocket Bunny E36
This Rocket Bunny E36 has it all – the looks, the poise, the power, the high-end motorsport parts. Must be the product of a full-on E36 obsessive, right? Er, no, not really… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photots: Sebas Mol.
“I didn’t really like E36s much until recently,” says Selo Bilgic, in perhaps the most unexpected and unsettling opener we’ve heard in a while. Think about it – how do you go from not liking a certain car to building one of the coolest examples out there? It defies logic. Ah, but then much of Selo’s thought processes seem to follow this serpentine path. “I only got into BMWs in 2014,” he shrugs. “My first car was a Mk3 Golf GTI, and before this car I’ve always driven VWs and Audis.” For the sake of scene-setting, you’ll have to bear with us for a moment as we sidle over to the corner of the office occupied by sister-title Performance VW magazine to see what’s what.
“Yup,” drawls PVW man David Kennedy, adjusting his snapback with a flourish, “this guy had a Mk4 R32 on Porsche centre-locks, a Mk5 R32 with R8 carbon-ceramics and more Porsche centre-locks, an S4-ified A4 Avant, a Mk3 VR6, and a bagged ’78 Passat.” Well, that’s cleared that up. Selo’s a guy who likes a lot of VAG. So what changed his mind?
“My parents bought a brand-new E39 back in 2003, and I loved that car,” Selo admits, the mask falling as the Bavarian truth begins to escape from its Wolfsburg shackles. “The lines of it were so simple and clean, I guess that was ultimately my inspiration to start a BMW project one day.” Aha. The pieces of the jigsaw begin to shuffle themselves into place. But an E39 is not an E36. There must have been some other persuading factor?
“Not really,” he smirks, enigmatically. “Like I say, I never liked the E36, but somehow over the years they started to win me over, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to build a custom one.” We can all be glad that this fractured decisionmaking process, however faltering, was allowed to run its course, as Selo’s experience in modding Dubs has certainly stood him in good stead this time around. It also helps that he works for H&R Suspension, and finds himself surrounded by and working on hot lowered cars all the time; his various Golf projects all ran custom H&R setups, and this E36 follows the pattern. But we’ll get to that later…
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no great and protracted story about scouring the globe for the perfect 3 Series. “I had the idea, and a couple of weeks later I bought the car,” Selo says, with admirable nonchalance. “My friend Dima wanted to build an E36 stance project, but he lost motivation and sold me the car.”
Okay, so perhaps we’re framing this all a little unfairly. Selo is not an indifferent sort of guy; in fact, as his history of modifying clearly demonstrates, he goes all-in with everything he does. The results here speak for themselves – this isn’t a case of simply bolting on some off-the-shelf parts and rolling up to a few low-rent show ’n’shines; no, this is a detailed and fastidious effort that’s resulted in a sort of caricature of a 1990s Touring Car. It’s magnificent to behold.
“The plan came about by chance in early 2015 while I was sharing a hookah with my friend Göksu,” he explains. “It was a picture of a Rocket Bunny E36 that got me thinking; owned by Brian Henderson from Rotiform, I’d first seen that car at Wörthersee in 2013 and I decided that I wanted to build a race car with that body kit.”
So that’s exactly what happened. With the donor acquired from Dima, Selo set about tearing the thing down to first principles like some kind of furious Tasmanian Devil, bits of trim flying all over the workshop as he single-mindedly reduced the E36 to a bare shell. And from that point, it was time to perfect the base – after all, there’s no point starting a race car project with a frilly shell.
Every iota of imperfect metal was hunted down and either straightened or strengthened – or, if need be, cut out entirely and replaced. So with a freshly renewed starting point, it could all be sprayed in a shimmering, dazzling coat of purest white. The Rocket Bunny kit for the E36 comprises a number of pieces, with the most obvious being the vastly protruding arches. The fact that Selo’s slathered his car in racer livery actually reduces their imposing impact at first glance, as you expect a Touring Car to have bullish width, but it’s in viewing the car in profile that you realise just how much surface area these arch extensions cover.
They’re not the only part of the body kit, of course; bridging them fore and aft are a pair of broad side skirts, while there’s also a front splitter and ducktail spoiler. The latter, however, isn’t present here, as you’ve probably noticed. “I decided to go with an M3 GT wing instead,” Selo reasons. “I just love the elevated look of the Class 2 spoiler.” Fair enough. You’ll notice as well that the bumpers have been replaced with M3 items, as their aggression sits more neatly with the comically fat Rocket Bunny addenda.
This theme, understandably for a trackoriented project, blows through to the interior with gusto. “A Rocket Bunny E36 can’t be comfortable,” he says, matter-of-factly. “It must have the spirit of a race car, which is why it’s got the Cobra race seats, plumbed-in extinguisher and the full Pleie Sport roll-cage.” And ‘the spirit of a race car’ very much informed the choice of wheels too: “At first I wanted to fit a set of BBS E88 Motorsport wheels – in fact, I have a set of staggered 18s,” says Selo. “But I just love the OZ Challenge HLTs, they’re so light and the car really looks like a badass racer with the these.” What he’s modestly neglecting to mention here is that the rims in question were actually sourced from a Porsche GT2 race car, which is a pretty cool boast.
“Under the body kit, everything is adapted for the big wheels,” he grins. Yeah, we’re not surprised. Just look at the rears, they’ve got 295-section tyres! And we love the massive BMW M Performance six-pots peeping out from behind the fronts. Very cheeky.
A car with such racy focus must have a fairly fiery motor under the bonnet, then? “Yeah, kinda,” he smiles. “It’s a 2.5-litre with the M50 intake upgrade, which has been remapped, plus I’ve lightened the flywheel. But I’ve got big plans for this very soon, as that motor was only for shakedown in the 2016 season. For 2017, the car’s going to have a turbocharged M50 with around 800hp.” Crikey. This guy really doesn’t mess about, does he?
One area that we have to talk about, for obvious reasons, is the suspension. You don’t work at H&R without picking up a few tricks for your own projects, after all. “The car’s running custom H&R race suspension,” he says, entirely out of pride and clearly not just toeing the company line. “It’s got adjustable aluminium shocks at the front with 50mm-diameter springs; same at the rear but with coilover shocks.” And the infinite adjustability is exactly what you need in a race car project. “My daily driver is an F30 BMW with H&R Deep suspension, which is amazing for how I use that car, but this track setup up really takes it up a level. This is my fun car.”
You can see what’s happened here, can’t you? Selo’s been indoctrinated. This isn’t just an E36 to get out of his system before he dives back into VWs; he’s having so much fun with it that he’s paired it with an F30, just to ensure a creamy 3 Series hit every single day. And after eight months of serious effort on the Rocket Bunny racer, the results are shouting for themselves. “Its first show was the Essen Motor Show,” he casually throws out there, like it’s the most normal thing in the world. “I hope they liked it…”
We can assume that they probably did. And the rumblings from this corner of Westfalia, and the promise of a new livery for 2017 – along with that colossal power hike and, yes, perhaps those BBS E88s – suggest that this car will be winning over new fans for some time to come. It’s not bad for someone who didn’t really like E36s, is it?
DATA FILE Rocket-Bunny / #BMW-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-E36-Rocket-Bunny / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M52B25 / #BMW-M52 / #M52 / , M50 intake, remapped, lightened flywheel, five-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 11x18” (front) and 12x18” (rear) #OZ / #OZ-Challenge-HLT wheels from Porsche 911 GT2 with 265/35 (f) and 295/30 (r) tyres, #BMW-M-Performance six-pot calipers (front), E36 M3 brakes (rear), #H&R custom race suspension with 50mm-diameter springs with adjustable aluminium shocks (front), adjustable coilovers with 50mm-diameter springs (rear)
EXTERIOR Restored shell, bare-shell respray, Rocket Bunny kit, M3 bumpers, M3 GT rear spoiler
INTERIOR Stripped, Pleie Sport roll-cage, plumbed-in extinguisher system, Cobra Imola race seats, OMP deep-dish steering wheel, carbon fibre doorcardsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation
An awesome E46 323i four-door packing a #BBK , carbon goodies and #Schnitzer styling galore. At a loss how to modify your four-door E46? Let Alan Lam and #AC-Schnitzer show you how. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Matt Barnes.
There are some BMWs that effortlessly ooze class. These are the cars that when cruising past, you stare longingly at, not because they’re intrusively loud or garishly decorated, but because they’ve been beautifully and thoughtfully modified. Money’s been thrown in all the right places, and the owner has insisted on the best to make his ride become even more of a rewarding driving machine and easier on the eye.
With BMW’s current 3 Series, most choose the Coupé variant as the base for modifying work. And who can blame them? The two-door is indeed a design marvel in terms of beauty and desirability, so it’s an ideal starting block. Those with the saloon version are presented with more of a modifying challenge. It’s by no means an ugly car, but a little more thought has to go into how to bring the best out of the practical four-door. Looking at Alan Lam’s ’00 323i, we think he’s pretty much cracked it.
The native New Yorker is by all accounts one of the most enthusiastic BMW modifiers we’ve ever met – you’d be lucky to find anyone more knowledgeable and helpful about what it takes to make these cars a pleasure to look at and drive. So it’s no surprise to discover the sheer amount of work put into turning his Orient blue 323i into the feature car we have here today.
Alan’s love affair with the marque goes back to his high school days, where the E36 M3 was his dream car. “It was only after BMW released the pictures of the new E46 I knew I had to get one, though,” he told us. “My first BMW was therefore delivered in December ’99, and it was used as my daily driver to school and work, so modifications were kept at a minimum and nothing major was planned.”
And how many times have we heard that? It seems Alan started customising the little things, beginning with OEM clear lights all round, and realised there was no way of stopping. The bug had bitten. Before long a Supersprint exhaust and ECIS cold air intake found their way onto the car, and the results were addictive.
“The E46 was too quiet,” Alan said, “especially driving a manual. You want to hear the engine to let you know when to shift. The exhaust and cold air intake made a dramatic difference in the car’s performance and fun factor, and I found myself blipping the throttle downshifting just to hear the lovely sound the engine now made. I even had the front and rear resonators removed to make it even louder and deeper, and it now sounds just like a stock E36 M3.”
As you can tell from the photos, however, these mods were just the beginning. Alan discovered Dtmpower.net, Bimmervibe.com and E46fanatics.com on the Internet, and these forums opened up a whole new world of potential tuning ideas. “I found myself browsing on it all day and night learning more about what I could do to the car,” the 26-year-old IS administrator said. Inevitably he met up with like-minded enthusiasts, and knew he wanted more from his car. A lot more.
Having an overall gameplan is an absolute necessity if you’re modifying to attain a certain look. It’s best to gain inspiration from others, see what there is on the market you think works best, and add your own personal touches. Alan can’t be faulted for his choice of AC Schnitzer styling; a brand, he tells us, he chose due to its racing heritage and reputation as the most widely respected BMW tuner in the world. We’re not about to disagree.
“I wanted my car to be a Schnitzer car,” he said. “First thing was ordering a full Schnitzer body kit along with a set of 18” rims. I didn’t like the rear spoilers offered by Schnitzer so I decided to go with a Racing Dynamics one instead.” Also at this time, Eibach springs and BogeSachs BMW sport shocks tightened everything up, while a modern styling touch in the shape of xenon front lights courtesy of bekkers.com found their way on. With Hamann eyebrows and shadow grilles added as well, Alan had reached the end of the second stage of modifying. Once again he was satisfied with the car’s look, so you’d have thought he’d have stopped here. No way.
Styling is one thing, but finding more power really is best for putting a smile on your face. “There were virtually no turbo kits available,” said Alan, “nor any reliable supercharger kits making any decent power at the time. Instead, Rogue Engineering had connections with an excellent BMW technician who was able to do some motor work for me. I got hold of Schrick cams, Jim Conforti Shark Injector software and ended up swapping my ECIS intake in favour of a beautiful Gruppe M carbon fibre unit.” Good choice.
Soon after, Alan was collecting a first place trophy in the Mild category at Bimmerfest East, and was recruited by TWCompetition. Things were looking up, and so were the planned mods to his 323i. These final mods are basically the look the car sports in the photos, and the sheer amount and quality of work is commendable. Nineteen-inch HRE wheels were custom made by Peter Lee at wheelexperts.com, while the suspension was swapped for H&R coilovers set at maximum drop for the rear and about 90% at the front. That’s seriously low. Riding that close to the tarmac has obvious drawbacks, so, in Alan’s own words, “to help scan the crappy New York roads rolling on big 19s, I swapped the standard halogen foglights for 5300K xenons.”
Nestled behind those beautiful custom wheels are some serious anchors, 320mm up front courtesy of Brembo, with a Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm hybrid setup at the rear. Alan assures us at the time this was done, no other E46 had both front and rear big brakes. Ever the groundbreaker, with the front bumper sporting an Schnitzer add-on becoming more common, Alan changed his for an OEM E46 M3 bumper. With this being almost 2” wider than the 323i item on each side, Ultimate Collision had a hell of a task making it fit, but have certainly excelled themselves with the finish. The addition of a new Schnitzer carbon fibre splitter completes the very tasty new look. Soon after, Schnitzer was called upon again to provide an M3 racing spoiler, a truly unique look for a saloon car.
Then there’s the final hurrah. If you put a carbon fibre bonnet on the wrong car it’s an expensive mistake, but on Alan’s modified E46 323i it’s a revelation. It blends in nicely with the Orient paint, and completes what is a stunning four-door.
Standing back to admire it, the final look is a thing of beauty. The custom front bumper, the large but tasteful rear wing, the huge brakes primed for action behind the flawless, polished alloys. It may be a four door, but how many coupés look this desirable? Alan tells us he knows of no other saloon in the US with this look, but we’re hoping many will take inspiration from him to create something even half as nice as his stunning 323i.
GruppeM carbon fibre air intake – every #BMW should have one!
DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-323i / #BMW-323i-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #M52TUB25 / #BMW-M52 / #M52B25 / #M52 / #BMW
ENGINE: 2.5-litre six-cylinder with #Schrick performance 248° cams, #Rogue-Engineering underdrive pulleys, #Gruppe-M carbon fibre air intake, #Jim-Conforti engine software, #Supersprint 76mm cat-back exhaust with both resonators removed, Imola red valve covers
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” #HRE-448R three-piece forged alloys shod in Toyo T1-S 235/35 tyres. H&R fully adjustable coilover suspension system, #H&R Trak Plus 5mm spacers, #Racing-Dynamics anti-roll bars, #Turner-Motorsports rear shock mounts, silver M3 front strut brace. #Brembo 320mm big brake kit (front), #Rogue-Engineering /Porsche 329mm big brake kit (rear), #Hawk-HPS racing pads, #Goodridge stainless steel brake lines, #ATE Super Blue brake fluid. Rogue Engineering short-shifter, weighted selector rod and tranny mounts. Redline synthetic fluids
EXTERIOR: Euro-spec OEM M3 bumper custom fitted onto a saloon chassis, #AC-Schnitzer carbon fibre M3 front spoiler, aluminium stabiliser struts, rear apron, roof spoiler, sport mirrors, racing wing and badges, Fiber Images carbon fibre bonnet. Hamann shadow grilles, Hamann eyebrows, #M-Tech side skirts, Nova 4 professional strobe kit, custom fitted facelift ’02 BMW rear lights, Euro-spec clear side repeaters, xenon 5200K foglight kit, xenon 5200K ellipsoid headlights.
INTERIOR: M3 leather sport seats custom fitted into saloon, two-tone leather treatment, Sparco Clubman threepoint safety harnesses, AC Schnitzer full pedal set and floor mats. Aluminium interior trim and gear shift, NR Auto aluminium gauges, Isotta chrome gear shift surround
ICE: Alpine 7965 CD head unit, CHA 1214 12-disc changer, SPR 176A 6.5” components, SPR 172A 6.5” coaxial. Rockford Fosgate 400 four-channel amp, 360 two-channel amp, 1.0 Farad capacitor. Allumapro BP10 subwoofer enclosure
THANKS: TWCompetition, Peter at wheelexperts.com, Samir at Rennsport.com, Tom Chang at Bimmerfesteast.com, Ooro and Drea at Bimmervibe.com, Jimmy at Pfactor.com, Mark and Ben at Rogueengineering.com, Barry at Race Technologies, Dtmpower.net, E46fanatics.com, Cave Crew, Michael Cajayon, Rich Pinto at Rtechnic, my girlfriend Mabel, friends and family
Above: Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm big brake kit for the rears! Up front are Brembo 320mm. Left: Plenty of lovely carbon fibre.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE LOST CITY
A pair of nicely-modded UK E36 Tourings finished in rare Atlantis blue.
Atlantis blue is a rare colour, so to find two E36 Tourings in the hue and both on the UK’s scene is pretty special – especially when they’ve been modified too. Words: Ben Koflach /// Photos: Gary Hawkins
If we had to name a car that’s gained a lot of popularity on the modified scene lately it would have to be the E36 Touring. Sure, the Coupé is undoubtedly the king of the modified E36 generation, but the Touring has been finding a stronger following than ever before. The estates, for whatever reason, often seem to be better looked after, and with plenty of engine options available there’s a car out there for everyone. The reason they’ve been getting stronger on the scene, though, is perhaps partly due to these two. The Atlantis blue pair are both quite different despite their shared hue – we found out more about them and their owners, Oliver Ross and Dips Amin.
Ollie’s #BMW-328i-SE / #BMW-328i-SE-E36
Of the two Tourings you see before you here, Ollie’s could perhaps be described as the longtermer. He’s had it for almost six years now, and in that time he’s completely transformed it into the ultimate all-rounder.
Being a family man and needing to use the car every day, it had to do everything well, and he’s certainly achieved that.
When purchased, the rare Atlantis blue Touring already had some goodies fitted, namely an M Tech front bumper and rubstrips, black kidney grilles and 18” MV2 wheels from an E46. From the factory it had white indicators all-round and a full leather interior with Individual piping, so as you can imagine it looked pretty good to start with!
As you may have guessed, Ollie had some different plans for it. In the long-term, he knew he had a couple of rust issues to tidy up, but in the meantime he set about changing the rolling stock and improving the 2.8’s soundtrack. Unfortunately Ollie’s first wheel change didn’t exactly go to plan – he managed to source some Schnitzer reps going cheap. Being one of his favourite wheel designs he snapped them up; unfortunately part of the cheapness was due to the fact that he was buying blind. See where this is going?
Yep, you guessed it – the offset of the wheels was far too low, meaning that they were a completely unviable solution. “I was absolutely gutted!” said Ollie. “Dips PM’d me on the DRIVE-MY forum, saying that he could roll my arches – but I didn’t want that. Dips bought the wheels from me at the price I paid – this was my first dealing with Custom Cars. Most of my work is now done by them, the standard is so high that I will happily travel two hours to get work done there.”
With the wheels gone to a good home, Ollie just got on with what he could – he had a second-hand custom exhaust sitting around, which he simply had to fit. It actually had upswept #DTM-style tailpipes and posed a few fitting problems; nothing Ollie and a good mate of his couldn’t tackle, however. A couple of the mounting bolts needed tweaking to allow fitment, while the style of the exhaust was also changed. Using an angle grinder the upswept parts of the exhaust were cut off, with the remaining pipes left in a staggered tip formation and finished off with a touch of filing. “I don’t know what brand it is,” Ollie said, “but it’s damn loud!”
Though understandably happy with the exhaust, Ollie still had that wheel disaster in his mind. It was all about to change, though, as he ordered a set of 8.5x18” #BBS-GT -RS replicas for the Tourer. They look mighty good, as you can see, but there was a series of touches planned for the 2011 season…
Ollie had been lucky enough to pick up a pair of M3 mirrors, a Raid steering wheel and a few other cool touches, though the main addition was Hottuning coilovers; none of the new parts, however, cost Ollie too much thanks to his various contacts and a keen eye for a deal. Indeed, the same can be said for almost every part of the build.
A Storm gear knob was sourced soon after, meaning the Touring was treated to quite some makeover. Pressed steel plates were added, too, followed by one of our favourite details on this Touring, colour-coded BBS centre badges, which were sourced through a fellow DRIVE-MY forum member.
Many of you will have no doubt seen the Touring at shows throughout 2011 but it was in preparation for this year that Ollie really stepped things up a notch…
As well as a set of M3 side skirts and a rear bumper, Ollie sourced a spoiler, M3 front bumper mesh and intake trumpets. Booked into Custom Cars so that Dips could work his magic, it was also the perfect opportunity for the various small bubbles of rust and other imperfections to be eliminated. The front roundel was removed and smoothed at the same time. Inside, a JVC DVD headunit was added, as well as screens linking to it in the headrests, perfect for keeping the kids happy.
To keep Ollie happy too, more power was needed to keep his right foot entertained, no matter which pedal it was pushing down on. For the right-hand pedal, the popular M50 manifold conversion was carried out, along with the fitment of a big bore throttle body, while finishing off the under-bonnet appearance is a US M3 engine cover and colour-coded strut brace end plates.
A recent dyno run over at BW Chiptune suggests that it’s making a very healthy 222.8bhp. And the upgrade for the middle pedal? That’s an E46 330i front brake setup, consisting of 325mm ATE discs (up from 286mm) and beefier calipers than the standard E36 affair.
Ollie’s final touch, and one that really makes his E36 stand out, is the gold centres on the wheels. Inspired by Robbie Langelier’s BMW E30 3-Series, he had Dips lay down those perfect golden coats, making them really stand out and contrast with the Atlantis blue to great effect.
Subtly smoked front indicators complete the exterior, while Ollie played a clever trick for the final interior touch. He managed to strike up a deal with a mate of his who happens to be a handy seamstress. Being a cookery teacher by day, he’s pretty good with a stove to say the least, so he baked her a cake in exchange for her redoing the stitching on his gaiters in an Atlantis blue- matching thread – a very neat touch.
The last addition in the story so far is M3 door sill trims, which are genuine parts he managed to get second-hand from an M3 saloon. “They’re £90 each from the dealers – there was no way I was paying that!” he laughed. They make a perfect addition, especially considering Ollie’s future plans.
“I’ve wanted to put an M3 engine in for some time,” he said. “It’s become a case of not if but when. Even my kids Megan and Dylan always ask about when I’ll do the M3 conversion – they adore the Touring.”
Being able to keep the whole family happy is no mean feat, but the fact it’s been managed with this E36, and on a budget, proves that nothing is impossible.
In comparison to Ollie’s lengthy build, the time scale of Dips’ Touring is minuscule – it was turned around in just a week! That makes it no less effective mind you. As a serial parts hoarder and a man with all the skills and owner of Custom Cars, this was simply an exercise in turning a standard Tourer into something very effective indeed.
“I’d spent the show season working on customer’s cars at my company Custom Cars and so hadn’t actually built anything for myself,” Dips told us. “When this Atlantis Touring came up it was just too good to say no – at the time Ollie’s was the only other one on the scene, so once I’d checked he didn’t mind and promised to do it differently, I went to collect it. My good friend Richard Ansari came with me to collect it from Somerset. It only cost £1000 and started as a basic 323i manual – you can’t be fussy if you want a rare colour like Atlantis.”
With the Players show just around the corner, Dips had his work cut out, and so got straight into turning the Touring into a show-worthy stunner. “The boys down at HTS Motorsport really helped me out – I was so busy with customer cars and rims still that I just didn’t have the space. They were absolutely fundamental in bringing it all together,” Dips revealed.
The helping hands at HTS kindly fitted the interior you see before you. Dips sourced it on eBay and Sunny at HTS had it fitted after two days of work – to say it looks better than the black cloth previously fitted would be a real understatement. A Storm gear knob, custom gaiters and an M-Tech steering wheel are the only additions other than that extended cream and champagne cow-hide – you’ll probably have noted that even the headliner was swapped.
“To be honest most of the car was pretty plain sailing,” Dips explained. “It’s actually quite a simple car compared to some of the other projects I’ve had, but everyone seems to love it.” Part of what made it simple was the fact that all of the bodywork, and indeed the wheels, were already in Dips’ collection. But more on that later – there were quite a few steps to be taken before it was ready to be put back together. JOM coilovers were fitted, and the arches were treated to a roll so that they’d be more homely for the planned footwear. The exhaust was also swapped for a full T304 stainless item, including the manifold, which was purchased very cheaply from eBay. “It needed a bit of fabrication work from Sunny to get it fitted perfectly, but it looks and sounds really good,” Dips added. 6000k HIDs, angel eyes and Brembo brake components completed the first part of the makeover – from then on it was time to raid Dips’ hoard and get busy with the paint gun.
Ultra-rare parts are one of Dip’s speciality, which was fortunate as, after all, he’d promised to go down a different look to Ollie’s Touring and that meant he couldn’t use M3 parts. The route he’s chosen is to use an AC Schnitzer kit, consisting of front and rear bumpers as well as mirrors. He’s after the side skirts to complete the set, but in all honesty it looks good without them.
Of course, the new parts needed painting to match the Atlantis blue finish, which Dips carried out as well as smoothing the front and rear roundels. “The base car was really good, so we only needed to paint the bits we added, the bonnet, bootlid and lower quarters,” Dips explained. “Kos then spent two days detailing it. We were up until 2am the night before Players to get it ready!”
The final step was the wheels; classic RH Toplines in 8.5x17” and 10x17” are pretty hard to come by, and with some fairly substantial tyre stretch they’ve been made to fit rather nicely indeed. In fact, the fronts have even been spaced out 15mm to match the boundary-pushing rear fitment.
“I can’t keep spending money on this Touring – it owes me £5.5k so far, which isn’t too much, but I really need to get on with my other 17 projects!” Dips laughed. Don’t think this is the end of his plans for E36 Tourings, mind you – he’s also got a Sierra red 328i which will be getting some pretty spectacular treatment in the coming months.
This one may have had a quick turnaround, but it’s fair to say it looks spectacular – whist keeping it distinctively different look to Ollie’s – Dips certainly kept his promise.
By themselves these Tourings look stunning, but together they’re even better.
Custom stitching and Champagne leather – a nice combination!
DATA FILE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-E36-Touring / #BMW-325i-E36 / #BMW-325i-Touring-E36 / #BMW-325i-Touring / #BMW-325i / #BBS
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six #M52B25 , custom painted covers, full T307 stainless steel exhaust including headers. Standard transmission with short-shift kit
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) RH Toplines shod in 205/40 and 235/35 Falken tyres respectively, 15mm front spacer. JOM coilovers. #Brembo discs and pads all-round
EXTERIOR: #AC-Schnitzer front bumper, AC Schnitzer rear bumper, AC Schnitzer electric mirrors, front numberplate blank, smoked front and side indicators, smoked foglights, all-red rear lights, bonnet and bootlid debadged, M3 rubstrips (colour-coded), 6000k HIDs and angel eyes
INTERIOR: Extended cream/champagne leather interior, black leather gaiters with custom blue stitching, dog guard, Storm gear knob, #M-Tech steering wheel
THANKS: Custom Cars, HTS Motorsport, Jason at BW Chiptune, Kos for the detail work before every show and shoot, all the forum boys and girls for the support and all the boys for their running around
Ollie’s aim to keep the whole family happy has been met thanks to his series of mods.
DATA FILE #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328i-Touring-E36 / #BMW-328i-Touring / #BMW-328i /
ENGINE: 2.8-litre straight-six #M52B28 / #M52 / #BMW-M52 , #M50 manifold conversion, big-bore throttle body, debaffled airbox, US M3 engine cover, stainless steel cat-back exhaust with customized tips. Five-speed manual gearbox, short-shifter
CHASSIS: 8.5x18” #BBS-GT-RS replica wheels with polished lips and gold centres, gold valve caps and custom centre caps, 225/40 Falken 452s. Hottuning coilovers. E46 330i front brake conversion with #ATE discs and Pagid pads, OEM rear brakes
EXTERIOR: M3 front bumper, M3 mesh with colourcoded air trumpets, M3 splitter, M3 rear bumper, rear diffuser adapted to fit exhaust, M3 side skirts, M3 electric mirrors, M3 bumpstrips, debadged bonnet, gloss black kidney grilles, smoked front indicators
INTERIOR: Standard black leather with Individual Atlantis blue piping, Raid steering wheel, Storm Motorwerks gear knob, custom stitching on gaiters, M3 sill covers
THANKS: Dips and Kos and Damien at Tyreweb in Ashford, Eleanor from work and all the guys on the #Drive-My and e36coupe forums but ultimately to Lucy (wife) and Megan and Dylan (kids) for their time and patienceStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPRODUCTION BMW… GONE WILD
RAW Motorsport have gone to town on this two-door, swapping in an #BMW #M52 and adding a turbo for good measure. Take a proven E30 race car, forget about the rule book and see what comes out – if you’re lucky it’ll be something like this: #RAW-Motorsport ’s 432hp E30 turbo. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Steve Hall and Louis Ruff @ Definitive.
Over the years I’ve gotten to know a number of personalities and companies within the modified BMW world. Some come and go, and that can certainly be said for the companies behind many feature cars. However, there’s one that’s a little different – Robin Welsh and his firm RAW Motorsport have been in these pages countless times thanks to the supreme quality work and incredible cars that roll out of the firm’s Southampton workshops, and the flow of incredible cars that Robin builds for customers seems constantly ongoing. For the first time, however, what you see before you is Robin’s personal car, which he built from the ground up. As you might expect, he’s gone all out – this one sets a new level in track E30s and won’t be beaten for years to come.
RAW Motorsport has specialised for a number of years in the building and running of cars for the UK’s budget-friendly BMW racing series, namely the Production BMW Championship and Compact Cup. Robin has not only been mechanically involved with much of the field of both series but has also raced extensively in both, with countless wins and podiums to his name. If you want to get noticed, building and driving winning cars is certainly the way to do it.
This experience has also led to #BMW-E30-RAW-Motorsport building a number of road and track cars including feature cars, S50s, V8 E30s, serious track E36s… you name it, Robin’s done it, with his skills ranging from roll-cage fabrication to engine builds. Over the years he’s always had something interesting in his personal fleet, more often in bits while customer work keeps him busy but 2014 was to be different; it was time to build something for himself, something more extreme than ever before, and something that would really show what he can do.
It all began with the E30 you see before you. Robin built it a few years back to Production BMW specification, meaning it received a 2.0-litre M20, #Gaz coilovers and a stack of safety gear. He’s always taken race car building seriously – no corners are ever cut with RAW-built cars as they’re thoroughly reworked into seriously competitive and reliable race cars at the limits of the regulations. Therefore this one received the obligatory weld-in roll-cage, extinguisher, seat and other safety gear. The fuel and brake lines were re-run inside the car, it was painted throughout, and neat features like the carbon fibre doorcards to keep things light were added. These things are done properly down at RAW and the workmanship speaks for itself with the race results and finish of the cars.
Retiring it as a race car probably wasn’t the easiest decision for Robin to make but then when you have an idea like he had brewing, it’s worthwhile. I personally feel a bit responsible for the initiation of the plan; I bought an S54 for my E36 Touring which Robin kindly offered to fit for me. The price? He’d eyed up the M52 that was at the time residing underneath my bonnet, and took that as payment.
Little did I know but he had some big things in mind for the engine and set to work on it as soon as my Touring was out of his way. The M52 had around 146k miles on it but, as has been proven with these engines, they just go on and on. All that was needed was a touch of strengthening and maintenance. Robin explains his methodology: “First I took the head off the M52 so that I could check the compression ratio,” he explained. “BMW quotes the #M52B25 at a 10.5:1 compression ratio – I didn’t trust that so we cc’d the head and pistons, then measured the head gasket – sure enough it was 9.98:1!”
With this discovery, it was decided that a 0.3mm thicker Cometic head gasket would be used to lower the compression ratio to around 9.48:1 to retain the correct ‘squish’ while making things just that bit more boost friendly. Dropping it further would have meant the potential for more boost but as Robin pointed out, he values power delivery over outright peak figures: “I could have lowered the compression ratio more with an even thicker head gasket but with standard pistons the squish would have gone all wrong. That makes it really hard to put proper ignition advance into it. I wanted to keep it low boost, high ignition to make it more lively and driveable. I wasn’t after mega power figures that mean nothing in real life.”
Next, the head was bolted back down using ARP studs and the sump was also swapped for a baffled front-bowl E34 M50 item to allow the lump to fit around the E30’s crossmember and steering rack. This sump was also modified with an oil return feed, ready to be plumbed into the turbo. In the meantime, the engine bay had its battery tray cut out and the steering column linkage was swapped for a slimmer version than standard – all in aid of clearance for the turbo manifold and downpipe.
The engine was then reassembled and swapped into the E30. The modifications already on the engine when I left it included an M50 inlet manifold, EvoSport power pulleys and a pretty trick UUC Stage 2 lightweight flywheel with an E34 M5 clutch, meaning that, along with the drop in compression, the M52 was ripe for some boost. Robin added a modified S50 oil filter housing to allow the fitment of a cooler then bolted the lump into the E30 using Vibratechnics engine mounts and wired the whole lot into an Emerald K6 standalone ECU, which would give the required mapping flexibility later on.
The next step was to get everything fitted in place ready for the car to be trailered up to Zurawski Motorsport, who Robin commissioned to fabricate the turbo manifold and other pipework. This included purchasing and fitting a Mishimoto alloy E36 M3 radiator and one of the firm’s universal intercoolers. The quality and finish of these products really is fantastic and they’re really great value for money, too, so they were a no-brainer for Robin. The front panel had to be quite extensively modified to allow neat fitment of everything without any garish looking exposed coolers which, as you can see, Robin has pulled off perfectly.
Another item Robin needed to have secured before the car went away was an exhaust system to mate the downpipe to. Having worked closely with Ergen Motorsport before, he opted for one of its E30 systems which features twin 60mm pipes throughout; this meant plenty of flow for the turbo. Oh yes, that turbo – Robin’s initial specification, as seen here, used a Turbone RS35, which is basically a Holset HX35 with uprated internals. More on that later…
The final addition to be sent to Zurawski Motorsport with the car was a bunch of goodies from Aussie turbo component supplier Turbosmart. It has been supplying all kinds of turbo accessories to top level motorsport for years now and Robin wanted nothing less on his project. He ordered up a pair of Hypergate45 wastegates (he needed two as the turbo and manifold were to be twin-scroll) with V-band fittings, a Race Port dump valve, a boost controller to be wired into the Emerald and a fuel pressure regulator to go with the fuelling system later in the build.
With everything in hand, Robin could trailer the E30 up to Zurawski Motorsport in Gloucester. Thomas Zurawski is a phenomenally talented engineer and fabricator – what he doesn’t know about manifold design and fabrication isn’t worth knowing. “I love my car and never before had I let someone else work on it, but I 100% trust Thomas’s work,” Robin smiled. According to Thomas: “I think BMW engines are undervalued for turbo applications, especially the E30 and E36s.
The engines are stronger than people think, too. For instance, I believe the M50/52 engine is stronger than the Nissan RB25 and definitely has better quality internals and engineering. The fact they were designed as a normally aspirated engine actually makes them really good for performance turbo applications as the cams overlap and make them breathe much more than turbo-ready engines. This is good because it means the turbo will spool quicker but there are a few dangerous mistakes that lots of people make when building turbo BMW engines, such as adding cheap exhaust manifolds or using small turbos, often fitted with the excuse of ‘I just want a little bit more and don’t want to kill the engine.’ This is a huge mistake as a turbo that is too small will be restrictive and generate lots of deadly backpressure on the exhaust side. This is then made even worse with a log manifold because as the engine struggles to get the air out the internal temperatures rise and the inevitable happens. Another problem is the intake plenum, which is responsible for even distribution of the charge air. Standard M50 plenums aren’t really designed for high performance forced induction and so starve cylinders one and six of air in relation to three and four, making a massive difference in combustion across the engine, making it inefficient. Only when we build a proper turbo system that allows the engine to breathe freely and evenly can the full potential be seen. Without the struggles of excessive backpressure and unequal combustion we can actually tune the engine to its full potential and keep it reliable.
“On Robin’s car we had to build a special exhaust manifold as he asked for the best specification possible and even if at the first glance there wasn’t enough room for a high flowing independent runner manifold, I knew Robin wouldn’t be happy unless it was perfect. I’ve spent many hours designing those runners around the steering column, suspension turret, chassis leg and the engine itself, and in the end we came up with nice equal length runners in a twin-scroll, twin wastegate exhaust manifold. Being a track car, noise was potentially an issue and so not only did the downpipe have to fit around everything else but it had to have ports for two removable wastegate dump pipes. It was tricky but I enjoyed building it. It’s a true one-off system.”
It was after this work, and the subsequent work by Robin to get everything together and mapped (making 357hp at 0.8bar with mild ignition settings, limited by clutch slip), that the car made its debut at Castle Combe, in August 2014, for the summer RAW Motorsport and Ergen Motorsport track day. So much excitement was surrounding the car and after the last minute addition of a HiSpec big brake kit for the front (fitted the day before) and a few last minute checks track-side, it was ready for its debut.
Unfortunately after only a couple of hot laps, it became very apparent that something had gone drastically wrong. Robin’s choice of turbo, that Turbone RS35, had gone kaput in pretty spectacular style. The materials used in its construction, unbeknown to Robin, just weren’t up to the temperatures experienced during hard track use, and so the exhaust wheel quite simply shredded apart, along with the turbo’s bearings. As well as this, despite a number of heat shielding precautions, the plastic cam cover melted, causing hot oil to spray all over the turbo. With the turbo damage at this time unknown, Robin sourced a metal cover from an early M52 from a local breaker’s yard and fitted it there and then – however, it was unfortunately all in vain.
“Out of the whole build the only bit I was unsure on was the cheap turbo!” laughed Robin. “Lots of people said it would be fine and I’m sure for road or drift use it would last but it turns out with the extended flatout use it gets on track it just gave up.”
With damage thankfully localised to purely within the turbo, Robin was able to throw it away and start his search for a new item. He started his search at CR Turbos, based just a few miles from Bournemouth. Together they specified a #Garrett-GTX30/71R , and within a week Robin was back at the dyno to see how it would perform “The difference was clear straight away – the Garrett was making boost much earlier and was more responsive. I left the map the same as the power figures were much the same,” he said.
Since then Robin’s also swapped out the ZF five-speed for an E46 M3 Getrag sixspeed gearbox, which he converted from SMG to manual. The advantage of this is that an SMG box won’t have crunched gears, which can cause notchiness on the M3 box especially, and this was bolted up with a Helix Autosport clutch – the previous item just wasn’t up to the torque of the turbo’d M52. An LWS Design carbon fibre bonnet and bootlid made their way onto the car, too, shedding a number of kilos, while the front suspension received SLR arms to really sharpen it up and improve geometry. Robin visited the Nürburgring, Spa and a couple of domestic track days in the E30 over the summer with its reliability proving faultless since the initial turbo hiccup. However, Robin wasn’t quite finished yet and so the #BMW-E30 made its way back to Zurawski Motorsport for one final addition.
Thomas took up the story again: “Robin was always aware of the standard intake’s limits. We’d originally planned to build one of my standard high flow design ones for it but I had a Nissan Skyline in my workshop with one of my special equal flow plenums on it; I knew what would happen if I left the engine bay exposed and, sure enough, Robin saw it and his only words were ‘I want that!’ They are really special plenums that cause a bit of controversy on forums. They’re equal flow but not the typical WRC design as I added a couple of my own features that result in quicker turbo spool and better throttle response. The new plenum required new intercooler pipes, but I have to say that it was an easy job after the exhaust manifold!”
Zurawski now offers twin scroll exhaust manifolds for M50/M52 and S50/S54 engines off-the-shelf and can also produce the equal length intakes to order, too. On Robin’s car the power rose from just under 360hp to over 400hp with some map tweaking, but that’s not the whole story. With the engine now combusting far more evenly across the cylinders, Robin was happy to push the boost levels up to 1.2bar, resulting in a frankly ridiculous 432hp and 450lb ft. “The inlet manifold is working wonders,” he reported. The car was actually on the dyno as I wrote my notes for this feature and was responding brilliantly to mapping tweaks – the sign of a well-developed and healthy engine. The M52 has become a precision instrument rather than purely a base for boosting.
When it came to building his own car, Robin has undoubtedly excelled himself. However, after all the hard work building cars for everyone else, he did deserve to spoil himself with this project. This E30 shows just what RAW Motorsport is capable of; it’s simply extraordinary. Could this be the most complete track E30 that we’ve ever featured? Find one better, I dare you.
With RAW Motorsport constantly moving forwards and expanding, Robin’s unfortunately considering selling the car or just the running gear as a plug and play swap, so if owning an extensively developed and extremely well-built M52 turbo with or without the surroundings of an E30 race car, sounds like your cup of tea then all you need to is find Robin’s contact details over at: www.rawmotorsport.co.uk
“The difference was clear straight away – the Garrett was making boost much earlier and was more responsive”
DATA FILE BMW E30 M52B25 Garrett TURBO
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six M52B25, Cometic multi-layer steel head gasket for 9.5:1 compression ratio, ARP head studs, ARP main studs, ARP con-rod bolts, ACL main bearings, ACL big end bearings, standard pistons with renewed rings, standard con rods, standard M52 head with three angle valve seats, #Garrett GTX30/71R turbo, Zurawski Motorsport tubular equal length twin-scroll twin external wastegate exhaust manifold, Zurawski Motorsport 3” downpipe, Zurawski Motorsport wastegate piping, custom boost piping, twin Turbosmart Hypergate 45 wastegates, Pipercross air filter, Mishimoto intercooler, Zurawski Motorsport custom intake plenum, Ergen Motorsport 2.5” twin pipe exhaust system with single silencer, Turbosmart boost controller, #Samco coolant hoses, E36 M3 oil filter housing, Mocal 25 row oil cooler with braided lines, baffled E34 525i sump with turbo oil return line, -10 braided line oil breather system, #Siemens 660cc injectors, #Bosch-044 044 fuel pump, two-litre swirl pot, Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, custom fuel rail, braided fuel lines, Emerald K6 ECU, RAW Motorsport wiring loom housed in E30 M3 engine bay plastics, Innovate wideband lambda controller, Evosport underdrive pulleys, aluminium thermostat cover, uprated water pump, lower temperature thermostat, Mishimoto E36 M3 alloy radiator, Vibratechnics engine mounts, UUC Stage 2 lightweight flywheel, custom Helix Autosport clutch, relocated clutch fluid reservoir. E46 M3 SMG gearbox converted to manual, Z3 short-shifter, 3.07 final drive medium case differential with 75% lock 2-way LSD.
CHASSIS: 8x15” (front and rear) ET0 Rota Grid V wheels with 195/50 Toyo R888 tyres or 200/580 slicks, wheel stud conversion. Avo monotube front coilovers, Avo twin-tube rear coilovers, Gaz adjustable top mounts with upgraded pillowball bearings, SLR front end kit including tubular rose-jointed wishbones and 25mm roll centre/bumpsteer correction, adjustable rose-jointed front wishbone bushes, Powerflex polybushed rear axle, Eibach anti-roll bars, strengthened front subframe, solid steering linkage, E46 ‘purple label’ steering rack, steering rack spacers, braided power steering lines, Mocal seven-row power steering fluid cooler. HiSpec 310mm front big brake kit with six-pot calipers, Pagid RS29 front brake pads, Mintex 1155 E30 Challenge rear pads, RAW Motorsport ducting plates, braided lines throughout, brake lines re-routed inside car, Renault Clio brake servo and master cylinder.
EXTERIOR: Vented front panel, lightened bumpers, tinted headlights, LWS Design carbon fibre bonnet, LWS Design carbon fibre bootlid.
INTERIOR: Fully stripped, welded-in Production BMW specification T45 multi-point roll-cage with gusseting, Corbeau Evolution winged race seats, TRS Hans-friendly six-point harnesses, OMP steering wheel, carbon fibre doorcards, full extinguisher system, flocked dashboard, Innovate auxiliary gauges (oil temperature, oil pressure, AFR, EGT and boost).
THANKS: John Marshall at Turbosmart UK, Sarah Albright at Mishimoto, HiSpec brakes, Emerald, a massive man hug to Thomas Zurawski for making the manifold bits, Clive and Tom at RAW Motorsport and Tom’s dad Roger.
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