- Post is under moderationPASSION WAGON #BMW-M3
Griot’s Motors unleashes its V8-powered, two-door, #BMW-M3-bodied E30 #BMW-M3-Touring . Two-door, M3-bodied, #V8-powered E30 Touring.
Astonishing in its vision, astounding in its execution, just plain awesome by its very existence, the Griot’s Motors two-door, #V8-swapped , #M3-bodied E30 #BMW-M3-Touring-E30 is quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Kevin Uy.
What’s amazing about the modified BMW scene is that, just when you think you’ve seen it all, someone comes along and produces something the likes of which you’ve never seen before. It’s no mean feat, and you’re looking at one such creation right now. It is a two-door, #M3-bodied-E30-Touring powered by a 4.0-litre M60 V8. This creation is the brainchild of the Griot’s (pronounced Gree-oh’s) Motors team, itself the skunkworks division of Griot’s Garage – a car care manufacturing company based over in Tacoma, Washington, USA. If you’ve never heard of Tacoma, look up Galloping Gertie, an infamous bridge that collapsed in 1940 due to strong winds. And if you’ve never heard the term skunkworks before, it’s basically a name given to an experimental department of a company.
Griot’s Motors was started by Richard and Phillip Griot. “The garage buys, sells, restores and modifies a wide variety of classic cars,” says Nick Griot. “Our main restoration shop is actually part of the Griot’s Garage headquarters.” Skunkworks it may be but Griot’s Motors is an impressive operation in itself, with around 70 cars currently held in the company’s collection, which is constantly changing as cars are completed, sold on and new ones purchased. BMWs naturally make up a portion of this collection, with a number of modern and classic examples along with a couple of motorbikes. “BMWs have always been of interest to us as they represent a perfect blend of design and function which carries through to the people who buy them,” explains Nick.
“BMW owners are passionate about racing, preserving, modifying and maintaining their cars – which is pretty much us in a nutshell. Griot’s Garage is also the exclusive Car Care Provider for the BMW Car Club of America so we are actively invested in the BMW community and do a lot with the club every year.”
That’s all well and good but it doesn’t explain how this insane E30 Touring came about. “At Griot’s Motors we basically focus on modernising cars without losing any of their vintage attributes,” explains Nick. “And we are constantly looking for unique, hard-to- find cars. This was a car we wanted to own just because we finally could. E30 Tourings were never imported to the States and, generally, a car must be over 25-yearsold to be able to be imported and registered. We found this car for sale in Florida and it had made its way there from Germany via Japan. It was in good original condition, and very complete, so we bought it thinking it would remain relatively stock and would be enjoyed as it was. However, once we got the car and saw the wear and tear and significant paint degradation we knew it was in need of restoration, which is where we went a little mad and cooked up a crazy vision for the car – one that had never been done before.”
The blame for everything that you see here can really be placed on Richard’s shoulders, as Nick explains: “After sitting in the car he stated that visibility was not up to his standards and he wondered aloud about the potential of longer doors from an E30 Coupé to improve visibility. That started the discussion of the two-door conversion, which led us all the way to M3 body work, an engine swap, and custom fabrication.”
The bodywork didn’t come first, though, that honour goes to the engine, but it’s too big a deal for us not to get excited about it. The sheer amount of extensive custom fab work that’s gone into making the dream a reality is mind-boggling. With the seed sown, the Griot’s Motors team started exploring the idea of the two-door conversion and, after taking some measurements from their pair of E30 M3s, they realised that the M3 bodywork would work very well. With what might seem like an insane idea now looking eminently achievable the car was delivered to J-Rod & Custom who began the Herculean task of turning four doors into two and making it all look like a factory job.
The B-pillar had to be moved back nine inches in order to be able to accept the longer doors. A completely custom frame had to be built into the space vacated by the rear doors. And new inner wheel wells were created to accommodate the wider M3 rear arches (the quarter panels having been sourced from Germany). The rear light housings had to be modified to fit the standard light clusters, new window trim was also created and the glass from the rear saloon doors was used between the B- and C-pillar. The front arches fitted straight on and all the remaining body parts are OE #BMW items with bumpers and side skirts acquired from local BMW enthusiasts. The finishing touch involved six coats of PPG Deltron Griot’s Red. The end result is nothing short of spectacular. Nick says the goal was to create a car that looked like a factory product, and that’s been achieved and then some. The bodywork is perfect, the paint finish flawless, and the combination of Touring body, two-door configuration, and M3 arches is breathtaking. No doubt there are plenty of Touring enthusiasts out there choking with rage right now but you’d have to be a fool to look at this E30 and think it doesn’t look anything less than perfect.
As we briefly touched upon earlier, the engine was actually the first step in the build process and, when it came to the V8 swap, the Griot’s team worked to the same exacting, obsessive standards to ensure that, bonnet up, the engine bay would leave onlookers as floored as the rest of the car. Before all this madness began there was a 2.5-litre M20 under the bonnet but that simply wouldn’t do for a car of this calibre, which is why an engine swap was a necessity. The engine in question is from a #1995 E34 540i, purchased in its entirety to provide the E30 Touring with not only that lusty 4.0-litre #V8 but also a six-speed manual gearbox and engine wiring harness, making for an easy engine exchange, with the V8 sitting on custom mounts along with a fabricated transmission saddle and tunnel reinforcement to support it. But the engine swap itself isn’t the only impressive part, it’s the work that’s gone on around it, the attention to detail, that impresses the most. Prior to the insertion of the V8, the engine bay was shaved and smoothed to remove any and all holes and brackets. “The plan,” says Nick, “was to have an extremely simple engine bay that showed off the most beautiful aspects of the engine without the clutter of wiring and engine accessories.”
The brake booster, he says, was removed and has been replaced with a full pedal assembly inside the car and then reservoirs were fabricated in-house for coolant, brake/clutch, and power steering fluids.
These were then machined with threads that corresponded with the factory reservoir caps, giving the custom parts a factory appearance. As a result of this painstaking attention to detail the engine bay is nothing short of a work of art. It’s clean enough to eat your dinner off and it ensures that all eyes are immediately drawn to that V8, itself embellished with red painted rocker covers and a classic BMW roundel on the engine cover. A custom cold air feed, utilising a large velocity stack located in the passenger side high beam hole and an in-line filter, supplies the big V8 with all the air it can ingest. Elsewhere the Griot’s team has fitted V8 X5 exhaust manifolds with a custom T304 stainless steel exhaust system, while a custom driveshaft and 2.93 LSD-equipped rear end have also been fitted.
Killer one-off styling and a sweet engine swap are all well and good but it’s only a job half done where a major project like this is concerned. Now came the turn of the chassis to be comprehensively overhauled. Step one involved removing the front and rear subframes and completely refreshing them, with both being reinforced in key areas before being powdercoated satin black. The E30 received polybushes throughout and camber adjustment was added to the rear trailing arms. “The front strut assemblies were sent to Ground Control and the guys there worked their magic, shortening and reinforcing the strut housings so we could get the car as low as we wanted,” explains Nick. “They also provided us with the Koni shocks, front camber plates, spring perches, and new springs that would accommodate the increase in weight from the V8.”
With the Ground Control coilover setup endowing the E30 with pretty much the perfect ride height, all that was needed now was the perfect set of wheels to adequately fill those swollen arches. You’ve no doubt been staring at the pictures for a while now so you’ve probably identified what the Griot’s Motors team decided to fit: HREs. Is it wrong to get excited about HREs? Like, really, really excited? They just look so good here. Choosing a flat-faced wheel rather than the default dished design is a bit of a ‘woah’ moment but, despite being a thoroughly modern wheel, the classic crossspoke design brings to mind the BBSs that the E30 M3 originally wore so well. And that’s exactly why these 501Ms were selected for this build. They allowed the Griot’s team to keep that factory look while giving them the modern size and width options they wanted for an aggressive stance. And while deciding on the final colour took some time, the brushed gold that was chosen is not only gorgeous but a perfect match for that bright red body.
Right now, you’re probably reeling because, let’s be honest, there’s a hell of a lot to take in here, but Griot’s isn’t finished with you just yet because now we come to the interior. And, well, it’s a bit special. Up front, the M3 theme has been carried over from the outside with reproduction tricolour M Tech cloth applied to the doorcards and front seats, a retrimmed M Tech I steering wheel with tricolour stitching, and an M gear knob.
In the back, however, well that’s where everything goes crazy. The rear passenger and luggage area has been transformed into a mobile product display and valeting station: this is a car that can wash itself.
Well, not literally, but you know what we mean. The rear seats have been replaced with a custom aluminium water tank and hose while the entire boot has been fitted with a custom enclosure that allows the entire range of Griot’s Garage detailing products and polishers to be displayed. The whole affair has been beautifully finished and looks magnificent. It’s a very different boot build to the ones we’re used to seeing but no less impressive.
The Griot’s Motors E30 Touring is the vehicular embodiment of what Griot’s Garage and its skunkworks outfit stand for. It’s an incredible creation, one that’s come about from the vision and imagination of a small group of guys and one that could only have been created by people with nothing less than absolute passion for cars and for modifying them – because what kind of person decides to build a two-door Touring?
So much care and attention has been poured into not just making sure that the end result looks absolutely perfect, which it does, but also making sure that everything has been built to the highest possible standard and finished to absolute perfection. The goal was to make a car that looked like it could have rolled out of BMW’s own factory, and this car is that and so much more. And beyond showcasing what Griot’s Motors is capable of creating, the on-board valeting station showcases what Griot’s Garage is all about. This really might be the cleanest car we’ve ever shot. Best of all, this Touring isn’t about to be tucked away or sold, it’s going to be hitting the 2017 shows across the USA. And after that it’s going into rotation for regular driving whenever anyone wants to because, after all, that’s what it was built for. And that makes us very happy indeed.
“We went a little mad and cooked up a crazy vision for the car – one that had never been done before”
DATA FILE #Griotʼs-Motors two-door #BMW-E30 / #BMW-V8 / #BMW-Touring / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E30 / #BMW / #Griot's-Garage / #BMW-E30-Griotʼs-Motors / #BMW-Touring-2-door / #BMW-E30-M60 / #BMW-E30-V8 / #Getrag / #HRE /
FILE ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #BMW-E30-M60B40 / #M60B40 / #BMW-M60 / #M60 , custom engine mounts, rocker covers painted red, engine bay shaved and smoothed, custom coolant and power steering reservoirs, tucked wiring harness, custom cold air feed from full beam headlight hole, X5 exhaust manifolds, custom #T304 stainless steel dual 2.5” exhaust, #Getrag six-speed manual gearbox, fabricated transmission saddle, tunnel reinforcement, custom propshaft, 2.93 LSD rear end
CHASSIS 8x17” (front) and 9x17” (rear) #HRE-501M wheels in brushed gold with 215/40 (front) and 235/40 (rear) Falken Azenis RT615K tyres, reinforced subframes, fully polybushed, rear trailing arm camber adjustment, shortened and reinforced front strut housings, fully-adjustable #Ground-Control coilovers with adjustable #Koni struts, camber plates
EXTERIOR Full OEM steel E30 M3 body panels including front and rear quarter panels, E30 coupé doors, side skirts, M3 bumpers (front and rear), full respray in #PPG-Deltron Griot’s Red
INTERIOR Seats and door panels retrimmed in reproduction M Tech cloth, retrimmed M Tech I steering wheel, six-speed M gear lever, new OE carpet, rear seats removed, custom aluminium water tank and hose, water jet-cut product display area in boot
THANKS Thank you to our sponsors, HRE Wheels, Brembo Brakes and Ground Control Systems. Thank you to J-Rod & Custom, McFarland Upholstery, Kassel Performance, Falken Tire and the hard work of Forrest Davis and Tim Willard of Griot’s Motors – without them, this project would have never been completed
“The plan was to have an engine bay that showed off the most beautiful aspects of the engine”
Shaved and smoothed bay ensures that all eyes are on that V8 when the bonnet’s up.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE REVENANT SLICK E34 540i Stunning classic Five
Back once again with another of his greatest hits, this stellar 540i is the latest hot Beemer from… ah, but that’d be telling, wouldn’t it? Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary
Gorgeous E34 540i
“The strangest part about being famous is that you don’t get to give first impressions any more. Everyone already has an impression of you before you meet them.”
Kristen Stewart said that, and she knows a thing or two about being recognised on the street. When you become well known in any given field, it’s impossible to stop your personified reputation from strutting ahead of you, thereafter colouring all of your future achievements with the rainbow-like splendour (or, conversely, bilious taint) of all that you’ve done before. It’s subjective, of course, but when you see Tom Cruise appear in a new movie, do you take him at face value or does your brain start wondering idly about scientology? Yeah, precedent is a dangerous thing. So we’re not going to tell you who owns this car. We’ll let you judge it for what it is.
So, since we have no weight of precedent to bother us, the first thing that lures us in is that cheeky registration number. ‘U AS5’? Well, thanks a lot. But yes, perhaps it’s an appropriate snap judgement of the average bystander’s character, because a lot of people who tangentially know what they’re talking about will see a tidy E34 like this and immediately say: “Shame, it’s not an M5.” And that’s a mistake. Because the 540i is a phenomenal machine, and in certain arguable respects superior to (or at least more desirable to some than) the celebrated M super-saloon. Particularly when it has a rare-as- hen’s-teeth six-speed manual gearbox, as this one does. And, of course, while the 540i yields 50hp-ish to the M5, it does come packing a rumbling V8 rather than a straightsix.
If a bent-eight torque-fest is what keeps you up all night, this is the E34 for you. It’s certainly the E34 of choice for our mystery protagonist. Indeed, it’s not the first one he’s owned; the last one became an engine donor for his E30 V8 project, with the rest of the car being broken up for parts and scattered to the winds – and this is clearly a state of affairs that’s rankled with him ever since. A combination of factors ranging from the implacable pang of yearning for a lost car to the spiralling values and increasing scarcity of one of Europe’s great V8, manual-’boxed cruisers meant that his keenness to find another one was pretty strong. Indeed, he was fairly dogged and single-minded in his pursuit – having set his sights on a bona fide 540i/6, there was little that could get in his way. Even such trifles as geography and language couldn’t put up any sort of barrier.
After scouring the UK market to no avail, stumbling through boneyards of knackered 5 Series with little excitement to offer, our shadowy hero cast his sights and his nets further afield, and eventually turned up a likely-looking candidate in Poland. Okay, so he doesn’t speak Polish, but that wasn’t a problem: he merely deputised somebody who could speak the language to fly out there, check it out, arrange the purchase and drive it back to the UK. Like you do.
Sounding improbable? Well, that’s just the fairytale world that this master of secrecy inhabits. After all, the 540i now finds itself sharing driveway space with, among others, a Lamborghini Diablo, a Ferrari Testarossa, and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Why should this scenario be more unusual than any other day in his whimsical life?
Now, if you or I were to attempt such a manoeuvre, we’d inevitably end up with some sort of colossal heap parked on the drive, having paid top dollar for a cut-and-shut 518i with a last-minute paint job. But no, that sort of thing doesn’t happen to this guy. What he landed was actually a catch, its Polish owner having clearly expended a decent wedge on its upkeep, sitting it on a set of 18” RH splits and retrimming the whole interior in black leather – including the fancy front seats which, if you’re a particular sort of BMW nerd, you may recognise as the Recaros from the Winkelhock Edition M5, of which just 51 were built. Pretty neat selling point, that.
It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, though. The universe isn’t that kind. While the aesthetics were tip-top and the spec was just-so, the chassis was a baggy. Bushes had been allowed to wither, suspension components were showing their age, it all needed a refresh. So that’s exactly what our man did. And no half-measures either – the suspension was handed into the loving embrace of BC Racing, who decked the 540i out in its sublimely fetching ‘Extra Low’ BR Series coilovers, imbuing the OEM+ aesthetic with a certain rakish aggression.
It’s the sort of car you’d expect to see ferrying miscreants about in 1990s car chase movies, all slab-sided imposition and lowslung menace. And then, of course, it was time to address the area that many consider to be the most important… the wheels. The genius of what lies beneath this E34’s arches is in their relative stealth. To the uninitiated, they’re just a set of standard BMW wheels. To those with a little knowledge, the owner appears to have swapped on a set of M5 Throwing Stars. But when you learn the truth, you’ll appreciate just how deep the mystery spirals…
It all started with a chap in the US by the name of Rimal Chand. Around about the time our E34 owner was sizing up his wheel options, Rimal was sharing a few pictures online of some custom split-rims he’d made using M-System Throwing Stars and 8 Series Turbines, and this was something that really caught his eye. With barely a pause, he’d made contact with Rimal and requested a set of his very own one-off Throwing Star faces to be fabricated and shipped to SS Autowerks in the UK, to be built up and fitted to the 540i. The finished result is a set of 18” wheels – 9.5” wide at the front, 11” out back – which few would suspect as being anything particularly special. But to those in the know, they’re the product of some sort of celestial master of the craft. In effect, the wheels imbue the build with the ultimate in OEM+ chic; to 95% of people this is simply a clean old 5 Series. To those who know what they’re looking at, however, this car is something very alluring indeed. The numerous other subtle upgrades – the smoked lights, the Heckblende (y’know, that reflective thingy across the boot), the rumbling exhaust system – somehow merely accentuate the subtlety of it all. This really is a cerebral and considered project.
Oh, and the name behind it? Okay, some of you will have guessed. This car belongs to noted retro BMW egghead Nick Sahota – he of the ‘PUR35T’ bagged orange E30 M3, among many others. But if we’d told you that at the start, none of the fastidious attention to detail or excellence-at-all-costs motif would have come as a surprise. As Robert De Niro once said: “The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you.” But Nick doesn’t need your preconceptions to form any sort of back-slapping judgement – much like every other car in his collection, this 540i speaks entirely for itself.
“To those who know what they’re looking at, this car is very alluring indeed”
“This really is a cerebral and considered project”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E34 / #BMW-540i / #BMW-540i-E34 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-V8 / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #M60B40 / #M60 / #BMW-M60 , custom #Hard-Knocks-Speed-Shop stainless steel exhaust system, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) #M5-M-System-II-Style-21 ‘ #Throwing-Star ’ alloys converted to split-rims with 225/35 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing ‘Extra Low’ #BC-Racing-BR Series coilovers
EXTERIOR E34 Heckblende, smoked Hella headlights and tail-lights
INTERIOR #Winkelhock-Edition-M5-Recaro seats, full black leather retrim including dash, black headliningStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFULLY CUSTOM 1502 V8-powered, metal wide-body beast.
Looking like a fantastical toy car brought to life, and quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, this incredible, completely custom ‘4002’ will leave you lost for words. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andrew Thompson.
Seriously wide and seriously wild, this fully custom 1502 is one of the most sensational machines we’ve ever seen.
We come across some wild builds around the world on our never-ending quest to sample everything the global modified BMW scene has to offer but we never expected to find a build like this nestling in a quiet corner of our island home. What started out life in 1976 as a 1502 now bears little resemblance to the car it was 40 years ago, having been completely transformed, with the hot rod spirit forming the very essence of the project. Owner David Holt is the sort of car enthusiast we hope to be when we’re north of 60. His passion for cars hasn’t been dulled by the relentless grind of existence and pressure to conform, to slip through life unnoticed without rocking the boat. Dave hasn’t just rocked the boat, he’s tipped it over, set the hull on fire and is riding a dolphin into the sunset. There is no boat left to worry about rocking.
If you’re slowly backing away from the magazine, trying not make any sudden movements because you’re worried we’ve lost it, that’s just the sort of effect this car has. I mean, just look at it. It’s hard to know where to even begin talking about a car like this, let alone where to begin when building it. But then again, Dave has been building award-winning custom cars for both himself and his customers for over 40 years, which include a chopped Humber Sceptre (ask your dad), a chopped and panelled Ford Mk2 Consul Estate (ask your dad) and a chopped and coupé’d Austin A40 Devon (you guessed it, ask your dad), so what seems like a project of mind-blowing proportions is pretty much second nature to him. Dave is a panel beater and sprayer by trade, now retired, giving him the skills necessary to produce such complex custom creations. He owned his own body repair shop with his son, Alec, who was responsible for getting his dad into Bavarian motors. “My son has always been into cars and loves BMWs. He persuaded me to buy my first one, a Z3 2.8, which got me hooked,” says Dave. “He bought the 1502 on eBay for £400 and said he wanted to do a custom job, so the first thing we did was give it a roof chop of 2.5”. Alec has a good eye and a lot of the design ideas are his, some of which I wouldn’t have thought of doing. He wanted to use an M3 straight-six engine but soon discovered the prices were far too high. Being old-school, I suggested a V8 and we agreed that it was the way to go. There was no definite plan but it had to be loud, powerful and proud, and only BMW parts could be fitted.”
Sadly, after a promising start, things had to be put on hold. “Work, life and the recession then got in the way and the project stalled,” explains Dave. “Alec went off to see the world and I closed the business down. He is now living in Australia and working as a chef.”
But that’s not where the story ends and retirement most definitely has its perks. “I found I had a lot of time on my hands and so continued the build from home in my garage,” Dave adds. And the end result of his hard graft is what you see here.
So much work has gone into the body that it would seem criminal to start anywhere else. You only need a quick glance at what Dave has christened the ‘4002’ (because of that 4.0- litre M60 V8 under the bonnet) to realise that it bears little resemblance to the car it started out life as. It’s those crazy wide arches that give this ’02 a pumped-up stance and road presence that’s absolutely outrageous. And all the bodywork, all of it metal, has been custom-made by Dave.
“As well as being chopped, the roof has also been moved forwards to retain the original windscreen rake so the rear window has tilted forwards and is still the standard size, which gives the car more of a coupé appearance,” he explains. “The front and rear wings were cut off up to the waistline and new panels were hand-made in 20-gauge steel. The floor, inner sills and chassis have been rebuilt and strengthened and new outer sills have been fitted 2” lower, while the doors have been reskinned with 2” deeper panels to make the car look lower without sacrificing too much ground clearance.” Indeed it’s when the 4002 is viewed in profile that you can appreciate the result of all that work. The steep rake of the rear screen, the narrow glasshouse and the high-waisted flanks really do make the car look a lot lower than it is.
“The firewall is still intact, although there are a few more holes in it to allow for the plumbing and wiring, while the entire front end was cut off to allow for engine fitment and remade using new steel and the original grille. The front bumper is a modified Z3 M part and is the only non-steel panel on the entire car; we don’t use the ‘F’ word round here; fibreglass, that is,” laughs Dave. We think the Z3 bumper works well. Its pointy nature suits the ’02’s shape and with the amount of work that’s gone into transforming the rest of the body, its obviously modern lines don’t look at all out of place. “Two sheets of 18 gauge steel were punched with 198(!) 3” louvres and welded into the slightly stretched bonnet and the heater grilles were filled. The bootlid is the only unmodified panel on the whole car but it does have the spoiler from an E34 530i,” Dave continues.
If the front end is wild but familiar, the rear end is completely off the charts and the very definition of what you’d expect to see on a custom car or hot rod. Following this beast down the road you’d have no clue what on earth was in front of you. “The rear panel has been extended and rolled right under so the exhaust boxes (I can’t really call them silencers) are now inboard where the fuel tank used to live,” Dave grins. “E36 Cabriolet rear lights and a Frenched numberplate smooth the rear end off.”
Frenching, in case you were wondering, is the technical term for what most of us call smoothing. The paint is Lechler two-pack Inca orange and it packs a hell of a punch. The M tricolour stripes on the sides might look out of place on a non-M machine but Dave is on hand to explain: “The graphics, which are not stickers but painted on, are my take on the Motorsport design but in this case the ‘M’ is for mental!” he laughs. And we laugh nervously with him… Clearly this is a car that sends everyone who spends any time around it a little bit crazy. And the craziest thing of all? Not only did Dave fabricate all the bodywork himself he also sprayed the car himself, over the space of six weeks, in his little garage. Respect.
In comparison to the bodywork the mechanical side of this project would likely seem a little tame but thankfully there’s 4.0-litre V8 under the bonnet, extracted from a 1993 E34 540i. Naturally Dave did all the work himself. “It sits on a pair of E36 328 polyurethane engine mounts and it’s got an induction kit and free-flow stainless steel exhaust system which I fabricated whilst lying under the car on a cold concrete floor as I don’t have a ramp,” he explains. “It’s not the prettiest but it sounds like thunder. The engine itself is stock but the ECU has been chipped and it develops about 330hp. It is mated to five-speed manual ZF gearbox from an E34 530 via a dual mass flywheel with a 285mm diameter clutch plate. I would like to have used a one-piece steel flywheel but the cost was too much. All brackets and mounting plates are hand-fabricated from 4mm steel plate; the radiator, power steering pump and ancillaries are E34 parts and the steering rack is from an E36. The propshaft is made up of an E36 rear half and the front 20” section is from an E34. This and the machining of the front suspension mounts were the only jobs I didn’t do myself. It also has the entire loom from the E34, so there are lots of extra wires and redundant relays but I was advised to keep it all intact to have any hope of getting it running.”
The 1502’s engine bay is not a particularly spacious place and the 4.0-litre V8 pretty much takes up all of it. There’s really no room left at all and you can appreciate just how much work was required to squeeze that massive engine into such a tiny bay. That the result is so neat comes as no surprise and belies the amount of effort required to make it all fit and work perfectly. If that much time has been dedicated to the parts you can see, you can imagine that the bits you can’t were no less complicated and no less involved. “The undercarriage was fitted using the old method of plumb line drop checks and cross checks measuring onto the floor and fabricating adaptor plates to fit the strengthened chassis,” explains Dave. “And the wheelbase is the same but the track is now 8” wider.”
This makes for some serious girth, especially on a car as slim as the ’02. “The running gear is from a 1997 E36 323i with 275mm and 245mm vented disc brakes while the twin servos (the only original mechanical parts still fitted) are now in the boot and are fed by an electric vacuum pump. I’ve also got an adjustable bias pedalbox by Compbrake and a line lock for showing off,” he grins. And that’s something this car does very well indeed as the smoky burnout shots demonstrate. “The rear suspension is made up of E36 springs and dampers on adjustable perches but I will be fitting coilovers soon,” Dave continues. “The fronts are adjustable coilovers with pillow ball top mounts. Alec chose the Borbet A wheels which are 8.5x17” up front and 10x17” at the rear and I clad them in 215/40 and 255/40 budget tyres because they smoke easily and they’re more fun!”
The inside isn’t quite as wild as the rest of the car although it’s clear that it’s far from standard. Even though Dave says it’s not finished yet it looks special all the same and to get it to this stage has already taken a lot of work. The doorcards, dash and steering wheel are all original ’02 parts, with the gauge cluster housing E34 instruments while the seats, both front and rear, and centre console are from a Mazda RX-8. This is most definitely a left field choice but they certainly look good, with chunky bolsters for plenty of lateral support and, taken out of their Mazda context, they actually have a bit of a hot rod look about them, so they’re a fitting choice for this outrageous ’02 given Dave’s modifying background. Open up the boot and you’re presented with an immaculately installed and extremely intricate fuel setup comprising a polished alloy fuel tank and swirl pot by Alloy Fabrications and Sytec fuel pumps and filters, while the battery and aforementioned brake servos sit beneath a lift-out panel in the floor.
Considering it’s nothing but business back here, it really is a thing of beauty. Those of you who take a more down the line approach to modified BMWs may not approve of Dave’s outlandish creation, but whatever view you take of what he’s done to this 1502, you can’t help but admire the sheer amount of time and work that’s been poured into it. It’s in incredible thing, quite unlike anything we’ve ever come across. The fact that the whole thing has been built from the ground up by Dave makes it all the more amazing. His sheer skill and absolute passion is evident in every single element of the build. Even if it is a car that doesn’t appeal to everyone, Dave didn’t build it for anyone else apart from himself. And we reckon he’s enjoying himself far too much to care anyway.
“I chose budget tyres because they smoke easily”
DATA FILE Custom #V8 / #BMW-1502 / #M60B40 / #BMW-M60 / #M60 / #BMW-1502-M60 / #BMW-1502-V8 / #BMW / #BMW-Typ-114 / #BMW-1502-Typ-114 / #BMW-4002 / #BMW-4002-Typ-114 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 M60B40 from E34 540i, chipped, induction kit, custom stainless steel exhaust system with in-board rear boxes in place of original fuel tank, custom steel bracketry and mounting plates, E36 328i polyurethane mounts, E34 radiator, power steering pump and ancillaries, E36 steering rack, custom E34/E36 propshaft, E34 530i #ZF five-speed manual gearbox, dual mass flywheel, 285mm clutch plate. 330hp (est)
CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #Borbet-A alloys with custom anthracite rainbow pearl centres and polished lips with 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Nexen N6000 tyres, adjustable coilovers with pillow ball top mounts (front) and E36 springs and dampers on adjustable perches (rear), E36 323i running gear with 275mm (front) and 245mm (rear) vented discs, Compbrake adjustable bias pedalbox, line lock kit, 8” wider track
EXTERIOR Roof chopped 2.5” and moved forwards, rear window angled forwards, custom steel front and rear arches, strengthened floor, inner sills and chassis rebuilt and strengthened, 2” lower outer sills, custom steel front end, modified Z3 M front bumper, widened bonnet with custom louvred sections, E34 530i rear spoiler, rear panel extended and rolled under car, E36 Cab rear lights, Frenched numberplate, Lechler two-pack Inca orange paint with custom painted M tricolour strip design
INTERIOR Mazda RX-8 seats and centre console, E34 gauges in original dash pod, boot-mounted Alloy Fabrications fuel tank and swirl pot, Sytec fuel pumps and fuel filters, original twin brake servos with electric vacuum pump
“We don’t use the ‘F’ word round here; fibreglass, that is”
“I chose budget tyres because they smoke easily”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSPACE RAIDER V8 TOURING
Wide arched #BMW-E30 flexes its muscles. The combination of E30 Touring and V8 is hard to beat. Forget keeping it original, this #V8-powered E30 Touring is all about doing what looks good and feels right. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.
While the thought of straying from the Bavarian region when it comes to tuning BMWs gets some enthusiasts ranting about desecrating engine bays with American and Japanese engines, or destroying the sanctity of M cars with air-ride and big ICE installs, we really couldn’t give two hoots. We think that building a car that looks good and makes you happy is far more important than building one that keeps other people happy.
That’s Paul Harding’s philosophy too because, when someone builds an E30 running Porsche wheels and a Ferrari steering wheel, you know they’re not going to care what anyone else says on the matter.
Paul’s previous big build, a supercharged beast of an E39 M5, popped up in these pages last year and he’s a man who has been afflicted with the chronic modifying disease – he just can’t leave cars alone. It’s funny to think that when the E30 was launched and BMW designed the practical Touring for family sorts, they could never have imagined that it would become something of a darling of the modified #BMW community. Fourdoors, two-doors, soft-tops… they’re all well and good but, for some reason, when it comes to the E30 it’s arguably the Touring that has the most appeal.
It’s a great-looking car for starters, with something so very right about the long boxy shape and it requires very little work to get it looking absolutely spectacular, a hugely beneficial E30 trait. Of course, whether or not you consider the application of Porsche wheels to result in spectacular looks is another matter entirely, but you can probably guess which way we’re leaning on the matter…
Paul bought this car because of the V8. His friend, Phil Nobes, had an M60-powered E30 and, having sampled the combination of big, brawny bent eight and small, lightweight 3 Series, Paul fell in love and wanted some of that in his life as well. “I found this car on eBay for sale up in Dundee,” says Paul. “The swap was already completed, though it was unfinished – there was no rad, for example, and it wasn’t ready to be driven. It was a really nice car, though, with full leather, an LSD and BBS RMs, plus someone else had already done the work to get the engine in the car and running, so I bought it and trailered it down from Scotland.
“I had a vision that the E30 was going to replace the E36 M3 drift car I had at the time and was planning to do a supercharged S62 swap. I bought the blue E39 M5 that ended up being featured in PBMW as I was going to use the engine from that for the swap. I stripped the E30 completely but then changed my mind – the shell was so solid that I had to put it back together and ended up supercharging the M5 instead, which I’ve since sold. I thought about supercharging the E30, but actually I’m going to supercharge another E39 M5 instead. I bought a Chromie E30 in the meantime as well, but ended up selling that as this Touring was just too good. That’s when I decided not to turn it into a drift car and make it into a road car instead as there are so few really clean V8 E30s about. It’s actually harder to build a full interior road car as it takes some thought and planning, rather than just pulling everything out.”
The engine bay needed a bit of work when Paul first got his hands on the car: “I knew I didn’t want a full shaved and tucked bay, but I wanted to tidy it up and make it look good.
I made the effort with the attention to detail as I wanted the engine to look like it belonged in there; the brake servo, for example, is now in the glovebox, and I fitted a 530i air box as I didn’t just want a generic induction kit.” The result is an exceedingly neat and tidy but functional, working engine bay rather than something that looks like it was built more for display purposes than acting as the business end of a car. Further helping to complete it, along with a fullyfunctioning rad, is the stainless tubular exhaust manifold which leads to a custom exhaust system that makes a wonderful noise, which is a requirement from anything with a V8 under the bonnet.
The interior has been significantly changed from its original configuration. Gone are the leather seats, with a cloth bench at the back and a pair of Vabric buckets up front, which happens to be Paul’s seat company, which he runs alongside his garage, Super Duper Garage. Yes, really. It’s an awesome place that Paul has put a lot of thought and flair into. It carries with it the same passion that flows through all the cars he owns and the projects he’s got on the go, and there are quite a few of those.
Alongside the seats there’s a digital water temp gauge by the driver’s right knee, a Z3 short-shift and then there’s the small matter of that well-worn, Ferrari-badged Momo steering wheel. It is attached to an E36 steering rack and has something of a story behind it: “I actually bought the steering wheel when I was 19 as I liked how it looked but had no idea it was actually the exact same Momo that was fitted to the Ferrari 348 from the factory. I have fitted it to countless cars that I’ve owned so naturally I had to have it in the E30. I also wanted to wind people up…” he chuckles. So, while it may have not worn a Ferrari badge originally, it’s entirely entitled to do so and is guaranteed to put a few noses out of joint with it. Finally, the load space is home to something that purists will most definitely approve of: a genuine, rare, BMW E30 boot liner, which is a nice period touch in a car with so much else going on.
As far as looks are concerned, the car’s been dropped to within an inch of its life and you’re definitely not going to miss those custom bolt-on arch extensions. Paul had originally made them for Phil’s E30 but he couldn’t resist making them for his Touring as well. We don’t blame him, they look awesome. The body-coloured finish mean they aren’t overly aggressive, but definitely give the slimline E30 a bit more of a purposeful stance, as well as creating more room for those wheels: “I’ve had quite a few sets of wheels on the car – 16” RSs, Rondells, 17” Dares and then these Eta Beta Turbo Twists, which weren’t meant to go on this car at all. I bought them for an ’84 Porsche I had but I hadn’t fitted them when I was thinking about wheels for this. I wasn’t sure what to go for so considered putting these on – people said they wouldn’t fit, so that made me determined to get them on. They’re a 5x130 PCD, measuring in at 9x18” and 9.5x18”. They took a little work but I got them on, despite what everyone told me.”
Now, technically, they’re not Porsche wheels, but they’re very Porsche-looking and that’s even before you add the Porsche crest centre caps. They’re good looking wheels too and they suit the E30 perfectly. 18s are a big wheel for the car to pull off, but the stepped lips and 17” matt anthracite centres make the wheels look a bit smaller, meaning they don’t dominate the car at all.
While they may not have been destined for the E30, with that drop giving it an awesome stance, they add something extra that catches your eye on an otherwise very stealthy build.
“I tinker with the car every now and again when I get the time, which isn’t often,” says Paul sullenly, with Super Duper Garage taking up the bulk of his time, and other projects also wanting attention. “I am really sad that I’ve not had a chance to drive it much; I’ve done just five miles in it in three years, which is bad. Those five miles were fun though and it’s a really practical car, but I’ve fallen in love with E39 M5s – I like to drive hard and I prefer their longer wheelbase as they are less snappy. In fact, I’ve got one waiting to be supercharged when I get a chance. I’m going to sell the Touring, and I always sell my cars completely done up, with all the bits and pieces fixed for someone else that I was meant to do for myself.”
That’s something that really strikes a chord. We get our cars to their absolute best and then end up selling them rather than being able to enjoy them, with someone else getting to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Such is life. The Touring has, in fact, been sold since we completed this feature and whoever’s bought it has landed themselves an awesome machine that’s fully sorted. As for Paul, he doesn’t have time to be sad about selling the E30 as he’s got his hands full with numerous other project cars, all vying for his attention and in varying states of progress. The important thing is that he got to build and own an awesome and rather unique E30 Touring.
decided to make it into a road car as there are so few really clean V8 E30s about.
Single-piece Vabric buckets inside along with that Ferrari Momo steering wheel and a water temp gauge.
DATA FILE #V8 #BMW-E30-Touring / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-M60B40 / #BMW-E30-M60 / #BMW-E30-V8 / #BMW-E30-V8-M60B40
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #M60B40 / #M60 / #BMW-M60 from E34 540i, hand-made and wrapped tubular exhaust manifolds and exhaust system with switchable #Vabric cut-out valve, E36 M3 auto radiator, #Mocal remote oil filter, electric fan with switch-in rad and override button in the car, E36 steering rack, battery relocated to boot and hidden, brake servo hidden inside the car behind the glovebox, relocated header tank, 530i air box, five-speed manual, 3.64 LSD
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Eta-Beta-Turbo-Twist three-piece wheels with polished lips and matt anthracite centres, with 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) tyres, #Koni inserts (front), #GAZ adjustable dampers (rear), extensive polybushing, 325i rear beam and front brakes.
EXTERIOR Custom-made bolt-on arch extensions
INTERIOR Vabric side mount bucket seat on adjustable rails with grey Alcantara centres, grey Alcantara headlining, Z3 short shift, hidden temp gauge, ’80s boot linerStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGERMAN MUSCLE 300HP #V8 #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-V8-E30 / #BMW-E30-V8 / #BMW-E30-M60 / #BMW-E30-M60B40 /
Classic chromie packs a punch. Whack a V8 in an E30 chromie and fun is guaranteed. Big V8s in small cars are the muscle car tradition, and this right here is the BMW way of doing it. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Sunny Ryait.
So, imagine this: you’ve already had two #Drive-My feature cars, one DRIVE-MY cover and you’ve just won DRIVE-MY Car of the Year. What are going to do next? If you said you’re going to Disney World, you’re clearly an American Football fan but if you’re Nick Sahota, the answer is: build another car! It’s not really a surprise considering he’s a serial modifier and a huge BMW fan.
Nick’s no stranger to E30s or combining them with V8s, his Calypso two-door appearing in our May ’14 issue before it had a slight incident and he went on to build his unstoppable orange entity, so another E30 project was inevitable really. “I wanted to build something a bit different from the norm,” explains Nick when we ask him about the E30, “a completely standardlooking chromie sleeper. Then it just developed from there and I added rare and desirable parts. For example, the louvres, which as far as I’m aware are the only E30 specific ones currently run in the UK. I bought the car in almost perfect original condition. It had only had one owner and just 36k miles on the clock. It was a South African import that had spent most of its life in storage. I bought it in December of 2013.
It was in near original condition and completely immaculate. When the purists realised that I had got such an original car for this project they hit the roof, but I have absolutely no interest in an M10-engined 318i. I never even drove it before the conversion. I took my friend Sukhi Kang with me to see the car and he drove it back to his. He stripped it and sold off all the running gear and interior on his drive for me, so the shell cost me nothing in the end.”
Nick then dropped it off to Shaz at Just E30z. “I have spent way, way too much on the build but now it’s exactly what I want. It’s one of my favourite cars that I’ve ever owned or driven,” he tells us. Considering how many BMs Nick has had (and still has), that’s really saying something.
“Just E30z did the majority of the conversion work and it took it a couple of months to finish the engine conversion,” Nick continued. “Liquid Metal / Hard Knocks speed shop did the custom manifold and exhaust work. Duda-Garage did everything else. There are always little niggles with these kind of modifications but between Just E30z and Duda Garage they have all now been ironed out and it’s perfect.”
A V8 under the bonnet is all well and good but until you’ve sourced yourself some killer wheels for your E30, you ain’t nobody, kid. When it came to wheels, Nick’s first choice was an unsurprising one. “I wanted BBS RSs,” he says, everyone’s favourite wheels, “so I bought a set of 4x100s and had them built to the correct fitment. But while I was waiting for them to be completed, I went to see my friend Sandeep Gill one evening and he told me about a set of wheels that another friend, Parm Bhamra, was currently selling. So we went over and I ended up buying two more sets of wheels for it, one set of which are the Schmidt TH Lines that are currently on the car. I just fell in love with them and the ease of maintaining the Radinox dishes. The RSs may make an appearance at some point, though.”
The multi-piece Schmidts look absolutely killer and suit the E30 perfectly, with that retro-look styling and those polished faces, which offer a nice, striking contrast to the subtlety of the rest of the car. RSs are great but it’s nice to see someone rocking something a bit different from the norm on their E30 and as part of the whole package these Schmidts are the perfect choice, especially when Nick’s brought that body down tight over the wheels with a set of GAZ Gold coilovers.
Styling-wise, it’s very much a case of less is more with this build and Nick has favoured a few choice additions that make a statement without going over the top or spoiling the look of the car. “The styling is pretty much as the factory built it, bar the wheels and a bit of colour-coding,” Nick says. “The louvres and heckblende add a retro feel to it in my opinion as they are period-correct additions.” Up front there’s what Nick describes as a ‘Jimmy Hill chin lip’, balanced by a Tech 1 spoiler at the rear and the colour-coding he’s talking about has seen the mirrors and sills matched to the body. But arguably the parts making the biggest difference to the whole look of the car are the extremely rare rear window louvres and the heckblende – that red rear trim panel. The two combined are so incredibly ’80s that they just transform the car, giving it such a unique look that really sets it apart from other E30s. The interior is no less rare, even though it’s not the interior that will be staying in the car. We’ll let Nick explain: “Well the interior I have for it includes a very rare set of electric Recaros and a M3 rear bench, currently being retrimmed in saddle brown. But for the time being it is running Sukhi’s spare, extremely rare, genuine Recaro LS Highback M3 interior.” The current seats are ridiculously sexy and the wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel and Nardi gear knob add the classic finishing touches.
Amazingly we’ve come this far in the feature and not really talked about the big deal here: the engine swap. V8s and the E30 are pretty much a perfect combination and that big lump seems entirely happy nestled in the 3 Series engine bay. This is the 4.0-litre M60 from an E32 740i fitted with custom exhaust manifolds and a full custom system with a remote electric cutout valve – I’ve heard this in action in both videos and real life and it sounds ferocious. There’s a fivespeed manual gearbox from an E34 530i, with an LSD at the back to help Nick put the power down and a WMS four-pot brake kit helps him stop. He needs it because a) we know for a fact that he’s a ‘keen’ driver and b) having experienced the combination of E30 and V8, we can tell you that it is a most potent one, the M60 giving the lightweight E30 a serious turn of speed. Drive one and you’ll instantly understand why so many people do these swaps and why Nick’s had so many weaponised E30s.
“I love everything about this car,” he grins, “the engine, the torque, the sound… My girlfriend hates it, although she hates all my cars other than my daily X5! My friends who know what it is love it. The rest that haven’t got a clue can’t understand why I have these old cars.”
Being a serial modifier, Nick already has another project under construction (“but that’s top secret…”) but this E30 is going nowhere and will join his ever-growing collection of cars. He’s not finished with the mods either. He’s got that fancy new interior to go in yet and you never know what rare parts he’ll unearth on his travels. “I might even put it on air…” he lets slip. Whatever he does, 2015 is going to be an exciting year for Nick’s E30 and the purists are not going to be happy. Oh well.
ENGINE: 4.0-litre V8 #M60B40 / #M60 / #BMW-M60 from an E32 740i, custom exhaust manifold, custom exhaust with a remote electric cutout, five-speed manual gearbox from an E34 530i, LSD.
CHASSIS: 8x16” (front) and 9x16” (rear) multipiece #Schmidt TH Lines, #GAZ-Gold coilovers, WMS four-pot brake kit.
EXTERIOR: ‘Jimmy Hill’ front lip, colour-coded door mirrors and sills, Tech 1 rear spoiler, rear window louvres, heckblende.
INTERIOR: E30 M3 #Recaro LS Highbacks and rear bench, #Nardi wooden steering wheel and gear knob, genuine rear blind, genuine armrest, black sport carpet.
THANKS: Sukhi Kang, Shaz (Just E30z 07903 717333), Mariusz (Duda Garage 07922 443509), Liquid Metal / Hard Knocks speed shop (018692 408119), Dave at Signco, Steve and the guys at Clean Getaway (www.cgacw.co.uk), my family and friends.
I wanted to build something from the norm a bit different.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFAMILY JEWELS / #2015
As first cars go, a V8-powered #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30 rep that you built with your dad is a pretty good start to your motoring life. Believe it or not, this is Daniel Larsson’s first car, purchased when he was just 13. Today, having picked ‘M3’, ‘V8’ and ‘brown’ out the buzzword bag, he and his father have created something brilliantly unique… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Patrik Karlsson
The idea of building a car in tribute or homage to another is a tricky and potentially troubling one. Look at the Ford GT40, for example, or the AC Cobra – these are iconic, revered and widely beloved motors with instantly recognisable silhouettes, race provenance in spades, and hordes of borderline-obsessive fans who would genuinely consider chopping in their own blood relatives in part exchange for a true example of the breed. They’re ethereal and, for most, unobtainable things – and, as such, countless replicas exist. Some of them are precise re-creations, built by craftsmen who’ve remained faithful to the original specs, are insistent on only using the materials and tolerances that would have been employed in period, and want to own something as close to the original as possible. Others, conversely, are thrown together for a few grand, on a Cortina chassis with a tired Pinto shoving the wonky fibreglass panels down the road. It’s a mixed bag, to say the least. That’s not to devalue the kit car genre of course, merely to highlight certain differences in perspective.
The point of all of this is that we’re not looking at a genuine E30 M3 here. This will be cheery news to the purists among you… although we’re guessing there aren’t many, as the modified M3s we’ve featured before (of which we’ve lost count, it’s a competitive game) have always been so well received. But anyway, this particular E30 rolled out of the factory as a humble 318i, and it’s taken its owner Daniel Larsson, along with his father Anders, a lot of effort, research, and tenacity to get it to this finished state. You see, turning a cooking E30 into an M3 replica isn’t simply a case of bolting on a new set of arches; while the trademark motorsport-bred box arches are very much a defining feature of the body, it’s a fairly welldocumented fact that the M3 didn’t share a lot of panels with the lesser models – while the basic shell was shared, the M3 had a dozen different panels designed to optimise airflow and help it cut through the air like a buttered lark, with pretty much just the bonnet and roof being carried over. The Larssons, then, took a holistic approach to getting the job done right.
But let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? “My dad bought this car as a 318i when I was 13 years old,” says Daniel, taking it back to the old school with aplomb (yes, if you follow that thought process to its logical conclusion, you’ll arrive at the fact that this is his first car. And there’s not a lot of folk who can boast as cool a first car as this…). “The idea was always that we’d build my first car together, and the initial plan was to make a sort of M3 replica in fibreglass.”
However, we all know how easily these plans can spiral out of control, and it wasn’t long before the eager Swedish duo were sizing up a set of genuine steel M3 wings – after all, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly. And the obsession with authenticity snowballed from there. “My dad’s a perfectionist, and it’s easier to get everything to line up properly if you’re starting with the genuine wings,” Daniel reasons. With the perfect fit achieved, the blistered haunches were soon augmented by topnotch fibreglass M3 bumpers at either end, along with the side-skirts to suit. The tail end received a lot of work too, as the genuine M3s had a re-angled rear window, again for aerodynamic purposes. You’ll note that the angle is correct on this car, the shiny brown C-pillars here neatly flow into the boot just as they’re supposed to – and that’s a genuine M3 spoiler too, sitting atop a perfect fibreglass interpretation of the classic raised M3 bootlid.
In a roundabout sort of way, it was always going to be a logical move for this build to get elbows-deep in the shell and start replacing things left, right and centre. “The car looked to be in pretty good shape when we first got it, although the more we tore it down the more rust we found in the classic E30 places,” Daniel recalls. Reason enough for an M3 tribute then, right? “When he started looking for a car for me, my dad’s initial plan was to find a solid car with a sunroof (which pretty much all M3s had, and that helped the project idea along!), a leather interior and a small engine so I could afford to insure it when I reached 18.” But once again we find a fairly significant deviation from the plan: you’ve almost certainly noticed that there’s a V8 in there, and that’s neither a small engine nor an M3 engine. That’s an idea that came way out of left-field. “In my childhood it was The Fast And The Furious that inspired me and made me want to build something cool, so I just wanted big spoilers for the car at first – I was 15! – and from there we customised an aftermarket body kit; it wasn’t until later that, older and wiser, we got a little more tasteful with it and went for the OEM M3 style. And then we started thinking about the engine…”
Just for a minute, let’s play a little game of six-degrees-of-separation. How do we get from the GT40 and the Cobra we were thinking about back there in the opening paragraph to the Larssons’ E30? Well, those two blue-chip classics were powered by highly-tuned Ford V8s, of course. So was another contemporary dream car, the De Tomaso Mangusta (whose name, incidentally, meaning ‘Mongoose’, was so chosen because mongooses eat cobras – another link to our opener there). De Tomaso went on to make a model called the Guarà in the 1990s, which was powered by a BMW M60B40 V8. And that’s the engine that we find sitting in this E30. There you go, we did it in just three steps.
“I wanted a V8 because I love the sound,” Daniel grins. “And the advantage of a bigcapacity engine is that you get a lot of unstressed power from it in stock form, so it won’t be breaking down all the time.” It also helps, naturally, that the process of fitting an M60 into an E30 is a pretty well-trodden path; not common by any means, but certainly something that’s been done before, so there’s plenty of advice to be sought online, and all sorts of shared wisdom on which are the optimal parts to make the whole thing work happily. It’s worth noting too that the M60 was designed with lightness in mind; it’s not the case that Daniel and Anders have slung a boat anchor in the nose of the 3 Series and cocked up the weight balance, because this particular V8 features an aluminium block and cylinder heads, as well as a plastic intake manifold – so the guys were free to revel in all of that extra horsepower without having to compromise on weight or wonky dynamics. They’ve gone all-out to make a feature of the engine too – the bay has been shaved, smoothed and wire-tucked to make the mighty bent-eight even more prominent, while the motor itself enjoys gold accents to complement the oh-so-retro brown. Oh, and what a magnificent shade it is!
BMW’s own Marrakesh brown is the sort of colour you can imagine Oompa-Loompas swimming in, all gloopy and cocoa-rich. It’s a shade you’d usually find on an X1 or possibly X6, although certain brave enthusiasts have bought into the old-school appeal of the hue and slathered it across E9x 3 Series, 1Ms and all sorts. There really should be more brown cars in the world, and Daniel’s M3 rep rocks the look far better than the phrase ‘brown E30’ might suggest. It also serves to really irritate the stuffy pipe-smokers of the concours world: jamming ‘E30 M3’, ‘V8’ and ‘brown’ into the same title is enough to see a few monocles clattering to the floor, but it really does make for a compelling combo. See, it pays to think outside of the proverbial box.
“People tend to like it, I think,” says Daniel, somewhat guardedly. “If you’re out driving and someone gives you a thumbs-up, or you see them rotating their head through 360 degrees like an owl as you drive past, that’s probably a good sign.” But, of course, winning respect was never the point of this build: it was about Daniel and his father building a car together, and the finished product is far greater than that Fast and Furious-obsessed teenager could have ever envisaged. “The car gets a lot of compliments, and it has won some trophies at big shows as well as local meets, but we built it to be driven really. I drive it as much as I can – seeing friends, taking it on holiday, even using it on track.” And it’s the latter that must surely be the most jarring for any onlookers – a brown M3 is strange enough, but one this clean being used in anger, with the bellow of a V8? Well, you’re only young once, right? No point building a car just to stand in the background polishing the thing, there’s a world of race heritage to live up to. Why not raise a few eyebrows and take a few scalps?
As tributes go, this E30 represents a modern, offbeat take on the M3 with a number of retro cues stirred in for good measure: the quest for authenticity has resulted in a bona fide homologation-model look, while the saccharine brown harks back to the 1970s and beyond. Conversely, the chassis is bang up to date, and that engine? You can’t argue with 280-odd horses and a rumble that shakes the Tarmac. It has taken countless hours in the garage to get the car this way, but Daniel and Anders cherish every late night, every blackened thumb, every moment of the father-and-son bonding experience. Some families do puzzles together. Some go sailing. Some play football. The Larssons? Well, they sketch out their dreams, then use power tools to turn them into real, tangible things. And if E30s like this are the result of such ambition, that’s something to be seriously encouraged.
Outside and engine bay get all the attention, but the interior’s not been forgotten about, with E36 M3 Vader seats and custom black headlining.
“The car gets a lot of compliments and has won trophies at big shows but we built it to be driven”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30-V8 /// #BMW-E30-V8-M60B40 /// #BMW-E30-M60
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #M60B40 / #M60 , gold detailing, smoothed bay, five-speed manual #ZF gearbox
CHASSIS 7.5x17” (front) and 8.5x17” (rear) #Lenso BSX wheels with Hankook Ventus V12 tyres, #K-Sport Street coilovers, #Brembo four-pots (front) with 305x28mm discs, E30 325i brakes (rear)
EXTERIOR Resprayed in #BMW Marrakesh brown, genuine M3 wings, fibreglass front and rear bumpers, side skirts, C-pillars and bootlid, genuine #BMW-M3 boot spoiler, angel eyes
INTERIOR E36 M3 Vader seats, M Tech II steering wheel, custom audio, custom black headlining
THANKS Special thanks to my dad, Anders Larsson, who did this project with me, he’s the best! Also thanks to Speeding.nu and Bakaxeldelar.se
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- Post is under moderationExecutive Express
The V8 engines marked a new side to the #BMW-E34 so we tracked down a #BMW-540i to see how it fares. When the V8 models were introduced to the E34 range late in their lifespan they added a whole other dimension to the existing platform in more ways than one… Words: Simon Holmes. Photography: Dave Smith.
By the early 1990s the E34 5 Series had firmly established itself as the dominant executive saloon car in its class. Even though it had been around since 1988, the big BMW was still the car to beat and regular newcomers from the likes of Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes were still pitted against it for magazine road tests on a regular basis. It seldom lost, too, no matter what model was being tested or what it was up against as the high build quality, capable chassis and keen pricing structure compared to competitors always won high praise.
However, by 1992 the E34 was over halfway through its life span and with the E39 replacement due in 1995 BMW needed to give the Five a fresh injection of life to keep it at the top and that came in the form of its new V8 engines. Named the M60, both a 3.0-litre and 4.0-litre version were announced for the 5 Series, even though they had initially been designed with the E32 7 Series in mind. They were the first V8 engines BMW had offered in a road car for 27 years and development had begun in the mid-1980s. The engine’s design and construction were big steps forwards, even for BMW, and being an all-new package it shared virtually nothing with any other existing engine made by the brand. Even the 3.0-litre and 4.0- litre versions themselves were very different to each other and a varied bore and stroke meant neither the crankshafts or blocks were interchangeable.
The M60 also utilised a complex quad-cam, 32- valve arrangement that was driven by a series of chains and hydraulic tappets. The latest Bosch management controlled the vital fuel and spark through clever multi-point injection and there were eight individual coils, one for each cylinder, too. The V8’s sophisticated, modern arrangement that had been carefully developed using a revolutionary computer-aided design processes to ensure that despite the size and complex structure of the engine, weight was kept to a minimum. The aluminium block weighed just 25kg and both of the cylinder heads weighed 60kg altogether. The cam covers were made from lightweight magnesium, the powder-metal con rods were nearly 20 per cent lighter than forged equivalents and the inlet manifold, together with the intake system, were made of plastic. The end result was an engine that weighed 203kg in total – an impressive feat for a quad-cam, 32-valve, 4.0-litre V8 engine. But despite all of the clever technology there was little to tell from opening the bonnet as #BMW had by now taken to using plastic covers to make the engine look more simplistic and modern.
To make way for the new 530i and 540i designations, the existing straight-six powered 535i was retired from the range and although the 3.0-litre was potent enough it was the 4.0-litre that really created waves for BMW. Power output was an impressive 286hp, just 29hp short of the 3.6-litre M5 but with 23lb ft more torque thanks to the 4.0-litre’s equally eyebrow-raising 289lb ft. That propelled the 540i to a limited top speed of 155mph, whilst the 62mph sprint from rest came in 7.0 seconds using the standard issue five-speed automatic gearbox it came with. As the E34 neared the end of its life in 1994 additional options were added, included a Touring model and a six-speed manual gearbox, shared with the M5.
The V8 engine gave the 5 Series a new lease of life in more ways than one. Road tests of the time fell head over heels for the new V8 engine, hailing it as one of the most refined and exciting engines the world had seen. It was an effortless performer and different to the straight-six units that had previously occupied the E34 engine bay, delivering a big wave of smooth power with plenty of punch. The only dampener was the infamous Nikasil liner issue that was to follow, although most cars affected were fixed under warranty at the time.
The launch of the 540i also helped to remarket the E34 as more luxurious than ever and leather interior, electric windows all-round, cruise control and metallic paint were all standard by 1994 whilst stiffer M-Tech suspension was a no-cost option and all for £35,650. A 4.0-litre Jaguar Sovereign cost nearly £6000 more at the time, which made the 540i seem good value.
Since the E34 ended its production run it retreated into retirement while leaving its replacements to fight on in the executive market. It’s a great granddad now, with BMW having since released three more generations of the model. Sadly, plenty of 540i models have since found their way into scrap yards as the demand and price of big-engined V8 saloon cars has dropped over the years. That makes it hard to find a nice, clean example these days and scanning the internet will reveal less than a handful for sale in the country. Classic car sales specialist Four Star Classics has a fine example in stock though, so we went along to have a drive and see how it fares today.
Having driven other E34s before, but never a V8 version, and having read the old reviews I was interested to see for myself how the big Five would feel in comparison. Although of course, the ‘big’ Five no longer feels as big as it once did. These are no longer the giants they were perceived to be at one time and in the real world a current 5 Series looks and feels a whole lot bigger.
This fine example from 1995 in understated Cosmos black with the later, plain-Jane five-spoke wheels is about as tight as you can find one of these cars now. It has covered just 71,000 miles in its 19-year lifespan which equates to an easy-going 3700 odd miles a year.
The interior particularly reflects this, it looks virtually like new inside and it feels it. The optional electric seats are still as lively as ever and once in position I flick the key and the V8 calmly coaxes into life in a notably un-dramatic way. There’s no deep rumble or hardly even a mild burble, just a quiet hum with a marginally deeper tone than usual for an E34. Moving the automatic gearbox into ‘Drive’, I move off with similar levels of low noise and make my way out on to the B-roads of Surrey. Straight away the steering feels heavy and mechanical, but only because I’m used to modern BMWs and there’s a similarly loaded feel to the brake pedal. It’s a lot harder to press than I had expected and at first seems to do little. Again, I put this down to the over-servo’d feeling of modern BMWs. Once the initial surprise is over and I become used to them both, the steering and brake pedal develop a suitably reassuring feel.
On the road, it soon becomes apparent what the road testers at the time meant about the engine. It’s super smooth, more so than any other E34 I’ve driven. In fact, it’s smoother than any other BMW I’ve driven from this era. Admittedly though, its level of performance is a little hard to work out at first as due to the lack of noise, silky power delivery and automatic gearbox, the car feels almost lethargic. It pulls away from junctions with plenty of willing but once travelling it’s a little harder to gauge what it’s got left in reserve. It soon becomes clear that’s a misguided conception and there is plenty of power on tap if you need it although there’s never any real commotion about it.
It’s certainly fast when it gets going and once you plant the throttle a little further into the floor so the kick-down engages, it really does shift. The gearbox itself is a little clunky and lacks the same refinement the engine possesses but the V8 makes good use of it still and it’s easy to fall into a relaxed rhythm with the car. Gentle motoring soon becomes a subdued pleasure and aside from the odd creak inside the cabin itself there’s virtually no road noise, wind noise or engine noise. It very much comes across as a luxurious vehicle and that’s exactly how it was marketed.
The handling also conveys this image, though that’s not exactly a positive attribute on these roads and it appears this car has been selected without the stiffened M-Tech suspension. It glides along very comfortably but picking up some pace coming into some sweeping corners and turning in a little sharper suddenly makes the car feel quite wallowy. It almost lulls you into a false sense of sure-footed security, as although the ride through the big, large profile tyres is a little soft, it feels confident… until you come to the sharper corners. Then body roll suddenly reveals itself and you realise the suspension is mainly set up for comfort, perhaps the stiffer M-Tech suspension would help considerably here, but then that’s not quite the point of this car in some ways.
Despite this, I find the car relaxing and easier to drive than other E34s and I suspect it’s easier to live with on a day-to-day basis more than virtually any other #E34 . It makes for a brilliant cruiser so the auto box suits it and although it’s a cliché, the engine really is as super silky smooth as you could imagine. Of course, with this much power available and with a six-speed manual together with the M-Tech suspension and lower profile tyres I imagine the car would transform into an M5 chaser, but for now, I like it just the way it is.
All-in-all I was very impressed with the 540i. It genuinely holds its own today for pure driving comfort that has now developed a touch of ‘90s charm and that’s a real testament to the car. The fact that it’s able to impress some 20 years after its release highlights the reasoning why it received such glowing reviews at the time. The big V8 engine really did give the E34 a new lease of life and in doing so gave it a new, luxurious dimension for owners to enjoy. I certainly did…
Above: Interior is in wonderful condition and is fitted with arm rests and electric adjustment. Everything works just as it should.
Contact: 4 Star Classics - Tel: 01483 274347 - Web: www.4starclassics.com
The #1995 #BMW-540i-E34
ENGINE: #M60 , 32-valve, quad-cam V8 #M60B40
MAX POWER: 286hp
MAX TORQUE: 289lb ft
0-62MPH: 7.0 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph
PRICE WHEN NEW: £35,650
Although it’s a cliché, the engine really is as silky smooth as you’d imagine.
It’s certainly fast and once you plant the throttle into the floor it really shifts.
Being a late model the alloys are the five-spoke versions and are fitted with large tyres to give a soft, comfortable ride.
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- Post is under moderationLIVING LARGE BMW
You don’t see many modified Sevens about but this supercharged E38 #BMW-740iL-E38 more than makes up for that. Done right, E38s can look the absolute business. Like this one, for example. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Faiz Rahman.
The E38 is my favourite generation of 7 Series, arguably the nicest of all Sevens, and a car that I would love to own at some stage. I’ve not managed to buy one yet because owning a big car is a big commitment, a bit like owning a big dog: you need a lot of room; it’s probably going to cost you quite a lot of money; and it’s likely to be something that takes over your life, though at least you don’t have to worry about a 7 Series chewing up your loafers or pooping in the living room. Ratty, tiredlooking E38s definitely show their age but come across a clean, well looked after example and they still look every bit as imposing as they did when they were new; they look money, like you’ve arrived, and they are immensely appealing. Just ask Darren Hattingh, he’s got four of them…
By day, Darren is a prosthetic technician and that sounds like exactly the sort of job that would allow someone to own three E38s and an extremely rare E23 L7. His passion for Sevens began with his dad. “He always had Sevens, starting with the E32 all the way to the F01,” says Darren. “I must admit, though, the face-lifted E38 to me is quite possibly the most beautiful 7 Series that’s been produced! When you look at the lines of the E38 you see just how much thought and direction went into the design of the car. It’s really a work of art!” We’re inclined to agree. While Darren’s line-up is impressive, this #2000 #BMW-740iL is undoubtedly the crowning glory and goes to show that an E38 #BMW-740i doesn’t need much work to look good, and when modified it can well and truly knock your socks off.
From the moment Darren picked up this E38 – a clean, used example that needed just a little work – he knew that he wanted to supercharge it. That’s worthy of praise because while there are a number of supercharged 540s around, blown V8 E38s are pretty thin on the ground. The goal was to stay under the 500hp mark; venturing beyond that would require serious work to keep the engine safe. Fortunately VF Engineering offers a centrifugal supercharger kit that both fits and ticks all the boxes. Usefully, this M62 enjoyed a full rebuild at 75k miles, so it was in fine fettle for a spot of supercharging and Darren also fitted the freer-flowing intake manifold from the #M60 . The supercharger kit itself uses a Vortech V3 Si-Trim compressor and delivers an impressive 415hp and 400lb ft of torque out-of-the-box, though with a couple of supporting mods this Stage 3 kit has dyno’d at a very healthy 462hp and 430lb ft of torque, plenty of power to give the big Seven a seriously impressive turn of speed.
Incidentally, Darren fitted the supercharger himself, along with all the other engine modifications, in his garage at home: “All of the engine modifications I’ve done myself. As far as hours spent, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’m always under the hood of my cars, so it’s just become one long blur of wrench turning. The supercharger kit itself took eight hours to install and test. There were a few issues with the engine tune being installed onto the car’s ECU but the guys at VF came through for me and got everything sorted! That was really the only issue I had with any of the engine upgrades.”
We have to say that Darren’s engine bay is also very clean; someone once likened the #M62 V8 to looking like a nuclear device and spying that strange, inorganic shape under the bonnet we’re inclined to agree, and we like the flash of body-colour that lifts the usually bland and black engine cover.
So we’ve dealt with the bits you can’t see but the bits you can see are equally as exciting. This 7 Series really makes a big visual statement and while Darren has kept things very clean, it’s got presence and flair by the bucket load. The E38 is a big car and that means it can carry off some big wheels.
They don’t come much bigger or more dramatic than the MK Motorsport 20s fitted here. It’s fair to say that these are probably a little bit of a ‘Marmite’ wheel and you’d really need to see them on a car before you can say whether it works or not, but we reckon Darren has nailed it here. The simple six-spoke design suits the E38’s clean design and the size and length of the car in long wheelbase form means they don’t look oversized at all. Then there’s the dish on those 10.5” rears, which measures over 4”, meaning these wheels are guaranteed to slacken jaws wherever Darren pulls up. Even on a big car like the E38, you can’t just make 20s happen, you’ve got to get the stance right because the only thing worse than a car with some serious arch gap is a car with serious arch gap and big wheels. It’s not the done thing.
Luckily, there’s no such problem here and Darren has got his E38 at a usable level of low, with the wheels sitting perfectly in the arches, further helped by a set of spacers, while not going so low that he can’t actually drive anywhere. “The dampers are from Bilstein and the springs are from H&R,” says Darren, the combo delivering a decent drop without the need for coilovers. There’s a lot more to the suspension upgrades than just springs and dampers, though. “The front upper and lower control arm bushes have been replaced with Powerflex polyurethane items, and the rear control arm bushes have been replaced with Strong-Flex polyurethane ones. I chose these parts and brands because I wanted the best possible handling performance without sacrificing the ride comfort. Lastly the 3.15 Sport differential really helps to get the power down from a standing start,” Darren explains. He’s also carried out a few brake upgrades to help him haul the 740 down from the sort of speeds that the supercharger lets him get up to, with a beefy 750iL caliper upgrade and StopTech discs and pads all-round.
While Darren hasn’t messed around with the E38’s clean lines, he has added his own personal touch to proceedings to give the car a more individual appearance and, while you might not realise it at first glance, a lot of work has gone into the styling. “To me the factory front end was missing something; it ended too early, in my opinion,” he says. “So I decided to make my own front bumper for the car, after which I suppose the styling and aggressive stance of the car started to take shape.” The front bumper is a combination of E38 and E39 M5 bumpers, grafted seamlessly together to make a new item that really does give the car’s front end a shot of aggression, and there’s a stretched Hamann front splitter added for good measure. Darren also added a pair of E39 M5 mirrors along with a set of E46 bi-xenon projector headlights with CCFL angel eyes. For the interior he took the same OE hands-on approach, spending time sourcing and adding items like the rear tray tables, rear writing pad and rear communication armrest.
“Everything I’ve done to the car in here was a factory option through BMW,” he explains, “though some of what I’ve added you can’t see. I’ve replaced all of the factory speakers with BSW’s Stage 1 upgrade kit and a JL 12” W0 subwoofer with a JL 1000/1 amplifier, as well as DICE Audio and Bluetooth integration kit. I took the dashboard and wrapped it in leather myself, along with the headliner, the A-, B-, and C-pillars, the shift knob, the steering wheel trim, and I made a colourmatched shift gaiter.”
It’s fair to say that Darren has built an absolutely awesome 7 Series that retains the standard car’s good looks but adds a little something that really makes it stand out; and it seems that people like what he’s done. “The first show I attended with this car was the 2011 BMWCCA Concours D’elegance,” he says. “It was well received by all who attended. I was contacted shortly after and the organisers asked if they could use my car as the poster and feature car for the 2013 Concours D’elegance, where it won the People’s Choice award.” While we all build cars for ourselves, it’s nice when they get a bit of love from other people, too.
As far as Darren is concerned, the #BMW-E38 is pretty much finished: “I will have the factory leather replaced with brand-new leather but other than that she’s perfect just the way she is.” Which means he can crack on with his other 7 Series! “Right now, I’m building my 1986 E23 L7. So far it’s had a complete front end ‘shark nose’ retrofit, 1979 chrome mirrors, custom-made coilovers, a complete engine teardown and rebuild, complete interior makeover with front E38 Contour seats and new burnt sienna brown and blue leather, a staggered set of Impul silhouette wheels along with many other upgrades. I’m also planning to fit a full Air-Lift air-ride suspension kit and give it a respray in the future.” Going by this build, we can’t wait.
20” MK Motorsport wheels make a big statement and the obscene dish on those rears measures over 4”
Opulent interior boasts a huge number of rare options retrofitted by the owner, plus a few individual touches.
Supercharged V8 pushes out 462hp, giving this #E38 a serious turn of speed.
DATA FILE #BMW-740i-VF-Engineering #M62
ENGINE: 4.4-litre V8 #M62B44 , complete engine rebuild at 75,000 miles, M60B40 intake manifold, VF Engineering Stage 3 supercharger kit, handmade full cat-back exhaust, E36 M3 shock tower covers.
TRANSMISSION: Steptronic retrofit, #Dinan Stage 4/5 #Steptronic transmission ECU reflash, 3.15 sport differential.
CHASSIS: 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) MK Motorsport MK1 wheels with 245/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) BF Goodrich KDW-1 tyres, K-Mac camber/caster plates, Limited Productions handmade strut brace, Limited Productions 15mm front spacers and 10mm rear spacers, 750iL caliper upgrade, StopTech discs and pads all-round, PowerFlex front upper and lower polyurethane bushes, Strong-Flex rear lower polyurethane bushings.
EXTERIOR: Handmade E39 M5 front bumper, stretched E39 M5 Hamann front splitter, custom folding E39 M5 mirrors, European rear numberplate surround, E46 bixenon projectors, CCFL angel eyes, LED front/side/rear indicators, clear front indicator housings, red/clear rear lights, BMW 5000K D2S low beams, E39 M5 foglights retrofitted with factory E46 headlight ballasts with factory E38 4200K D2S bulbs.
INTERIOR: E39 M5 extra thick steering wheel, leather wrapped ‘Individual’ steering wheel trim, AMG black edition paddle shifters, BSW Stage 1 audio upgrade, DICE MediaBridge and DSP integration, JL 12” W0 subwoofer with JL 1000/1 amp, 16:9 widescreen retrofit, MK4 navigation computer with firmware update, chrome cluster rings, custom-made A-pillar gauge pod, custom boost gauge with custom ring from the UK, factory headliner redone in matching Champagne leather along with the A/B/Cpillars, 750iL dashboard recovered in matching blue leather, rear climate control retrofitted, 750iL rear reclining seats retrofitted, 750iL rear heated seats retrofitted, 750iL rear wood C-pillar lights upgrade, 750iL button controlled rear headrests, 750iL lower B-pillars colour matched in leather, 750iL rear footwell lights retrofitted, 750iL Chromeline gear selector knob recovered in Champagne leather, 750iL rear tray tables retrofitted and colour matched, 750iL OEM writing table, 750iL front wood map light, 750iL front footwell lights retrofitted, front and rear seat button carriers wrapped in matching leather, E66 headrests rewrapped in matched leather, 750iL wood roof handles (leather wrapped and hand baseball stitched), rear OEM communication arm rest, 750iL leather door panels added and retrimmed in two-tone champagne and blue (completed after photoshoot), all wood has been wrapped in piano black vinyl.
THANKS: I’d like to thank my wife for putting up with me during the many late nights in the garage, Jason McAllister for bringing the paint back to her factory new glory, VF Engineering for staying up late with me while we tuned the car and, of course, my #BMW-E38 family for all the help and support in finding all of the rare parts and enjoying the car with me! I know I’m forgetting to name some names, but to those a big thank you.
Custom, hand-made M5 front bumper with Hamann splitter adds some real aggression to the front end.
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- Post is under moderationBuying & Tuning Guide #BMW-540i-E39
You can’t go wrong with a V8 and there’s no better way of getting your hands on one than with the mighty fine E39. If you want a BMW with a V8 under the bonnet, they don’t come much better than the mighty #E39 540i.
If you’ve never owned a V8, you’re missing out. We know that BMWs are all about the straight-six, but Munich has put together some fine V8-powered machines too, and the good news is that they’re now cheap as chips.
The 540i was launched in May #1996 and was powered by an evolution of the M60 V8 with a capacity increase to 4398cc. Power remained as per the 4.0-litre #M60 unit at 286hp #M60B40 but torque had swelled to 310lb ft and was available lower down the rev range at 3900rpm. With the standard six-speed manual gearbox the 540i was fast – 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph – and given the performance on offer the combined economy of 23mpg wasn’t too shabby. An optional five-speed auto gearbox was also available and for the first time in a 5 Series this offered Steptronic manual control and the vast majority of 540is were spec’d in this manner.
In 1998 there were a couple of changes for the #BMW-540i , the first being the adoption of the more sophisticated DSC in place of the ASC system fitted from launch. The second upgrade was to the engine when the M62 V8 received #Vanos variable valve timing. While it didn’t change the output of the 4.4-litre V8, torque was up to 325lb ft and peaked 300rpm lower bringing greater flexibility.
In 1999 the 540i Sport was launched which followed the now familiar path of an M aero kit with a cutaway in the rear apron for a single pipe exhaust, 17-inch M light alloy wheels, M Sport suspension, clear indicator lenses and de-chromed window trims. Inside there was anthracite headlining, Sports seats, an M multi-function steering wheel, matt aluminium trim and M sill kick plates.
The last significant change was the E39’s face-lift in 2001. The kidney grille was given a wider chrome surround and chrome slats for the 540i while the ‘angel eye’ headlights were introduced along with the Celis rear lamps with their LED strips, which replaced the traditional tail-light bulbs. Chrome rubbing strips were also painted body colour while inside there was the widescreen sat nav monitor (assuming either the £2195 sat nav or £3395 Comms pack was specified). Production ceased in 2003 when a 540i cost £40,110 and a Sport was £40,450.
£1600. That’s all you need to get a 4.4-litre V8 E39. You’ll probably want to spend a bit more, but if you’re feeling brave it would hard to resist one of the tidy-looking 130k mile SEs that we found at this price. The next big jump in cost takes you up to £2200, where we found a face-lift Sport with xenons and it was a real peach with just 100k miles on the clock. We also found a 60k mile SE and even though the Calypso red and beige leather colour combo won’t be everyone’s cup of tea it looked clean. We also found one manual car; a 1998 example with 158k miles for £2650. Prices then jump to £3500 with a couple of 130k mile face-lift Sports sitting about this price point. The most expensive we found was a 2002 SE with widescreen nav and just 52,000 miles for £7850. We’d say a budget of around £3000 will be enough to find a nice, clean face-lift Sport, though if you’ve got big project plans on your mind, £1600 would be enough to secure some V8 action.
Fuel is going to be the big one here. We’re sure there will be owners out there who claim to get amazing economy from their 540s, and they might well be, but being realistic you can probably expect to average around 20mpg overall. On a long run, mid- to high-20s will be achievable while town work will see you getting mid-teens and while the 70-litre tank offers a decent range, you’ll be looking at around £100 per fill-up so it quickly adds up.
Eight cylinders mean eight spark plugs, two cylinder heads means two lots of head bits and it can all start adding up. Tax-wise, a pre-March 2001 540i will cost £225 a year to tax while post-March 2001 cars cost £280. In terms of servicing, expect to pay around £150 for an oil service, £260 for an Inspection I and £350 for an Inspection II at a specialist, though prices will obviously vary depending on the specialist you choose and your location.
What to look for
There are many common E39 foibles, such as missing pixels on the dash and digital heater readouts, but these can be repaired and shouldn’t require new units, although you’ll have to send your dash pod away for repair. Heater control buttons have a habit of breaking and can either be purchased singly on the internet or as a set from the dealer. The fan can also pack up or not respond to the controls which is caused by a faulty heater resistor (aka hedgehog) and if the heater fan’s really noisy it could be on the way out. Check that the air-con blows cold, and if it doesn’t it could be down to a holed condenser or a compressor that’s given up the ghost. Electrical glitches such as radio problems, an electrically adjustable steering column that moves on its own and temperamental airbag warning lights can be down to a faulty ignition switch, although airbag lights on their own will be down to either a faulty occupancy sensor or a break in the wiring. Check the rear carpets are dry as there are plastic membranes within the doors that can perish and let water in. Also check the door seals as they’re susceptible to wear and those on the front doors can get damaged from seat belt buckles that haven’t retracted fast enough before a door’s shut.
While E39s were well put-together there are a couple of areas that need checking on the body over and above the normal checks you should be making for crash damage and poor body repairs. Rust is starting to become an issue and the most likely places to find it are inside the fuel filler flap, on the bootlid (both around the lock and the seam that joins the two parts of the bootlid together) and also around the rear wheel arches. Headlights that are fogged or misted up can look unsightly and let a car down. This is usually caused because one of the seals on the lamp unit is letting in moisture. Many owners have cured this by removing the cluster, drying it out and resealing it, but if the outer covers are peppered in stone chips you might be better off buying new lights, although if your car has the optional Xenons this would be prohibitively expensive. Also check that the headlamp washers work properly – failure can often be down to a faulty pump or the piping which tends to work itself loose behind the front wheel arch liners. Also check the electrically folding mirrors work, as if they don’t you could be looking at a new motor or mirror module, and if the car has PDC check it works properly.
The good news is that the majority of M62 V8s didn’t suffer from Nikasil problems as the ‘Technical Update’ that took place in March 1997 replaced the Nikasil lining with Alusil, so this should only be a concern to you if you’re looking at one of the very earliest E39 540is. Radiators (or more specifically the small plastic pipe at the top of the radiator) can fail so check for any signs of cracking. Expansion tanks can leak or explode, water pumps can also leak, thermostats can leak, coolant pipes at the back of the block can leak. Running faults can be down to leaking rocker cover gaskets that allow oil to sit in the spark plug recesses, or could be down to a faulty camshaft position sensor, or dodgy lambda probes, or possibly, in the worst-case scenario, blocked cats. However, the latter is not what you’d call common, but the possibility cannot be ignored as you’ll be looking well into four figures to replace them with genuine BMW items. Other possible problems to look out for under the bonnet are leaking PAS hoses, the seal on the PAS reservoir cap, an underachieving alternator and sticky hydraulic lifters leading to a bit of a tappetty noise from the top end. Make sure the oil’s been changed frequently and that the correct viscosity oil has been used.
Chassis & Drivetrain
ABS problems are common and while this can be as simple as a faulty wheel sensor it’s more likely to be a broken ABS control unit. Various control units were fitted to the 540i and the most costly will be about £900 from BMW. However most control units can be sourced from Bosch at a third of the price, so shop around. Uneven rear tyre wear can be a result of worn ball joints and bushes and E39s are susceptible to the geometry coming out of factory spec. A notorious E39 problem is a front end ‘shimmy’ at 50-60mph and there can be a variety of causes, from wheels being out of balance to the front shocks being worn out. Front thrust arm bushes are susceptible to wear and should be your first port of call after a wheel balance check. The bigger the wheels the more pronounced the shimmy is likely to be. Diffs are strong, but check the diff seals aren’t leaking to excess – some staining is inevitable, but if the diff looks wet it’ll need a reseal.
ENGINE: 4.4-litre V8 #M62 #M62B44
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual, optional five-speed #Steptronic #ZF5HP #ZF
PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds (6.4 seconds auto), top speed 155mph
PRICE: £42,900 (1996), from £1600 (now)
A power output of 286hp from 4.4-litres and eight cylinders isn’t much but there’s some room for improvement on the engine front, though don’t expect huge gains. A remap costing £300-500 depending on where you go should get power up over 300hp and bolster torque a little – you’re not going to notice much of a difference but there will be more urge and, if you’re lucky, improvement on the mpg front. There’s no point fitting an induction kit as they give no real gains in terms of power or throttle response – save your money and buy an aftermarket panel filter instead, removing the internal baffles that are located in the air box. It’s a nice, cheap (about £45), simple mod that will give a deep V8 sound.
Another mod to consider is replacing the intake manifold with one from the earlier M60 V8, which is less restrictive. It’s a straightforward job, assuming you’re savvy with a spanner, and will give you some real gains. It does change the character of the car somewhat, with the general consensus being that the torque drops off at the lower end of the rev range, making the car feel a little less responsive, however once you get over 3000rpm, there’s noticeably more power on tap and the engine revs a lot more freely. We’ve not come across anyone with anything negative to say about the swap, so it’s definitely worth looking at.
Now, let’s be honest, the main reason you buy something with a V8 in it is because you want that V8 soundtrack in your life, and the 540i isn’t going to deliver that out-of-the-box as it’s pretty quiet. Your cheapest options are to first remove the Y resonator pipe and pit a straight pipe in its place and then, if you want, also remove the rear silencer. Getting rid of the Y pipe will give you a nice sound that’s louder than stock but results in no drone and is perfect for a daily driver. Removing the first silencer gives a further increase in volume and makes the car sound extremely aggressive, with a high rev rasp to it which might not suit all tastes; you’ll also get more interior noise with this further mod, so that’s something to take into consideration. The other option is to leave the Y pipe in place, but instead take out the rear silencer, which results in a nice, deep sound, without the high rpm rasp so that’s an alternative.
Other exhaust options are plentiful if you want a whole system, or just a rear silencer – obviously the likes of Eisenmann and Supersprint will be worth a look, the former being a favourite, though we’d shy away from the Race sound level if your 540i is a daily. A good custom system would be worth looking at too – fitting just a back box and leaving the resonator in will give you plenty of volume and getting rid of the big and massively heavy (circa 25kg) rear silencer won’t break the bank either; around £250 or so.
Cams are also available, but costing £1000 and only offering around 15hp plus less torque means they’re not a popular mod and you can put the money to better use elsewhere.
If you really want to make your 540i fly, this is where it’s at. There are a number of supercharger kits available for the M62 V8, but they’re all similar in terms of cost and what they offer and they all use a centrifugal supercharger. The ESS kits, available from CA Automotive for 1996-7 and 1998 model year cars deliver 7psi and 407hp and 422lb ft of torque and cost £4842.31 and £5130.41 respectively. You need to add 18 hours’ worth of installation time on to that and the claimed figures are 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds for the manual and 5.1 secs for the auto. The 1999-2003 Stage 1 kit delivers 6psi which gives you 400hp and 413lb ft of torque with a 0-60 time of 5.1 secs for the manual and 5.4 secs for the auto and costs £5310.48. The Stage 2 kit gives you 8psi and that means 422hp and 437lb ft – enough for a 0-60 time of 4.7 secs for the manual and 5.0 secs for the auto, and comes in at £5824.95. In the UK, Regal Motorsport sells the VF Engineering kit – this has a fitting time of about eight hours and runs at 6psi, delivering 415hp and 400lb ft of torque and costs £4605.44, making it good value for money. Oh, and if you’re interested, the Bentley Arnage Green Label used a twin-turbo version of the M62, with 350hp and 421lb ft of torque. Just saying…
If you’re running significant power or are planning to do plenty of fast road driving in your 540i, it would be worth going for a disc, pad and hose upgrade and it’s worth doing the whole lot at once really. A set of good fast road pads will set you back from between £80 if you go for something from the likes of Axxis or Hawk, to about £200 for some Pagid RS-4s, which get plenty of love. You don’t want to go too extreme on the pad compound front, so avoid ones designed with a lot of track use in mind, as they’ll take longer to warm up and you’ll often get squeal.
Braided hoses will help to ensure that all your braking pressure is applied to the pads, rather than being sapped away by hoses bulging. You’ll also get a firmer pedal and more response from your brakes, so it’s winwin all-round, especially as you’ll only be looking at around £75 for a set from Goodridge – which knows a thing or two about braided hoses. Don’t forget brake fluid either – DOT 5.1 is high performance stuff with an extremely high boiling point that will stop your brakes from wilting that little bit longer.
As far as discs are concerned, the world is your oyster – drilled, grooved or a combination of the two are all available and all offer a decent upgrade of stock items. Both grooves and drilled or cast holes will improve cooling as well as helping to disperse the gases that build up between the disc and pad during hard braking. Expect to pay around £200-£350 for a pair of uprated discs and companies such as Tarox, EBC, Brembo or StopTech are all worth a look.
For the ultimate in stopping power, a big brake kit will certainly deliver. Prices vary depending on where you go – opt for a K-Sport kit and you’ll be able to get a six- or even eight-pot kit for around £1000, which is excellent value for money. An AP Racing kit will be about £2500 and StopTech will be similarly priced.
A set of progressive springs will tighten up handling and lower the car, and budget around £150 per pair with anything from the likes of Eibach, H&R or Wietec all being a good choice and offering similar results for the money, giving you around a 30mm drop which is a good place to start.
If the car feels baggy, and even at 80k miles the original dampers will be past their best, it’s time to address that part of the setup. There are an awful lot of dampers to choose from giving you plenty of choices whether you want to run them with stock springs, or shorter springs, and varying levels of firmness. Generally speaking, if you mate a decent set of performance dampers to a decent set of performance springs, you’ll end up with a pretty good setup and by mixing and matching, you can choose a pairing that works best for you. Damper-wise, go for a monotube from a company like Bilstein and expect to pay around £100-200 per shock.
A good off-the-shelf spring and damper kit is an excellent way to give your suspension an overhaul without breaking the bank. At the budget end of the scale, you can pick up a Spax kit with adjustable dampers for around £420; Koni’s STR.T kit is about £520 while the adjustable Sport kit is around £760; alternatively there’s the Bilstein B12 Pro-Kit, which costs around £830. Coilovers offer a wide range of adjustment, though this varies from kit to kit, and aren’t actually that much more than a decent suspension kit. Spax kits are about £750, Weitec GT kits are £810, KW’s range runs from about £1000 to £1500 depending on how much adjustability you’re after, H&R’s kits are about £1000 while Bilstein’s B14 kit is £1020 and its adjustable B16 kit is £1800, so there’s something to suit most budgets. Be sensible and genuinely think about what you want from the suspension and the car – there’s no point in going for a top-end, all-singing, all-dancing kit if you don’t need all that adjustability. If you don’t want to mess around with springs and dampers and don’t want to alter the way the car rides, a set of uprated anti-roll bars will really tighten up the handling without upsetting the ride. The E39 M5 front and rear anti-roll bars will fit and make a big difference – they’re a popular modification and everyone who’s fitted them loves them. If you buy a Sport, you already have thicker anti-roll bars (25mm front and 15mm rear) than the SE models but the M5 bars are thicker still (27mm front and 16.5mm rear) which makes a big difference to the handling, especially if you’re upgrading an SE. The bars cost £145 for the front and £138 for the rear. Alternatively, Eibach sells an anti-roll bar kit with even thicker bars; 28mm at the front and 18mm at the rear, which costs £360.
The largest wheels fitted as standard to the #BMW-E39 were 18s – 8x18” front and 9x18” style 37 M parallels on the Sport models and the 8x18” and 9.5x18” style 65 wheels on the M5, and the E39 has a PCD of 5x120 with a centre bore of 74.1mm. In terms of aesthetics, the 18s look good and fill the arches nicely, especially if you drop the car a touch. In terms of the ride and handling balance, we’d stick to 18s as that’s what BMW saw fit to mount on the M5, and that’s good enough for us.
If you want to go big, it’s quite hard to work out exactly how big you can go, as there are a lot of owners running an awful lot of different widths, sizes and offsets. 19s fit fine, with 8.5x19 fronts wrapped in 245/35 19 tyres and 10x19 ET22 rears with 275/30 19 tyres are a popular choice that seems to work well, with virtually zero rubbing in day-to-day driving. If you want to go bigger still, some people have fitted 20s though whether or not they look good on the E39 is debatable and getting the right tyre and wheel size is a fine art; 8.5x20 front and 9.5x20 rears have been suggested, with 235/35 and 275/30 front and rear tyres respectively, though you would do well to do as much research as possible before fitting 20s.
The E39 5 Series great and in 540i form, it’s the cheapest way to get a V8- powered #BMW . In SE form and on little wheels it may not have visual drama and the lack of rack and pinion steering means it’s not as fine a driver’s car as the smaller-engined models but it’s good value for money, is quick and offers plenty of scope for modding. If you’re set on getting more power, you’ll need a fair bit of wedge but if you want proper V8 noise combined with sharp handling and stopping power, you’ll be able to create your perfect 540i without breaking the bank.
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- Post is under moderationDRIFT KING
Drift machines tend to be quite extreme, and this 6.2-litres V8, wide-body orange #BMW-E30 is no exception.
Anyone who’s owned an E30 knows they were built to go sideways but with a 6.2-litre V8 up front and comprehensive chassis tuning, Andy Hateley’s E30 drift special introduces us to angles we scarcely believed possible. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Matt Petrie.
Let’s start with a little history lesson. Back in #1962 an American chap called Carroll Shelby had the bright idea of planting a high performance lightweight Ford V8 engine in the attractive British-made #AC-Ace roadster. The little Ace’s stock sixcylinder engines – some of pre-World War II design – were hardly what you’d call sporting so Shelby’s plan was to give the puny Brit some American muscle. The result? The legendary AC Cobra which combined power and grace to a degree rarely bettered these past 50 years.
So what’s all this got to do with performance BMWs? Well, Californian drift racer Andy Hateley has done something not too dissimilar to another European beauty: the E30 3 Series. Under his one-time #1989 #325i ’s shapely pinned bonnet rests a 6.2- litre V8 LS3 lump from #General-Motors , familiar to Brits as powering the storming #Vauxhall-VXR8 and typically found in American muscle machines such as the Chevy Corvette and Camaro SS. The result is an estimated 550-600hp and when combined with an extensive suite of drivetrain, chassis, interior and exterior upgrades, Andy has built one of the most extensive and brilliant BMW drift cars we’ve yet seen.
The 31-year-old spends his working life crafting custom furniture and doing small fabrication jobs on friends’ cars. His skills with using his hands has translated into tackling the build of this world-class drift E30. He is aware, however, of the age-old grumbles from BMW purists not keen on having anything but a made-in-Munich motor doing the pulling. But this is where Andy makes a good point and draws on fellow countryman Shelby’s efforts to put some fireworks in a not-so-quick standard car.
“I’m not a purist guy at all,” Andy said. “I respect cars that are kept original but that’s not for me. Like when Shelby dropped some Detroit muscle in a lightweight European chassis, nobody sees anything wrong with that, and I see nothing wrong with making my own car with whatever parts I want. I love what BMW did when it designed the E30 but it’s not my design and the factory version is definitely not my dream car. I’ve put more hours into the car than BMW ever did so it’s more my car than theirs. That’s why people modify their cars – to be individuals and express their style.”
It’s hard to argue with such sentiments, and if we look at Andy’s individual style, there’s plenty to love. It truly is one of the most brutal-looking E30s the BMW scene has witnessed and throughout the entire build the quality of parts, attention to detail and innovative custom work all impress. But they all have to. Andy competes in Formula Drift (FD) in the USA, where competition is stiff, to say the least, and only the best of the best drivers and their machines can hope to stay in the series.
Andy said he started drifting back in 2004 with a #Nissan-350Z , gaining an FD licence for 2006. The following year the Nissan was getting tired so Andy took a break from competing to get the funds together to build what he calls a ‘real’ FD car, choosing the E30 as his platform. It was many years in the building but after doing local FD Pro-Am events he regained his FD licence for 2012.
He’s up against an array of Japanese and American high-horsepower machinery in FD but said a few E36s and E46s also keep him company on the #BMW front. “Most of them are using big V8s with either nitrous or forced induction,” Andy told us, “and the average hp number would be around 750hp, with cars going as high as 1300hp.” And even though Andy’s GM-powered #E30 is at around half that figure, the recent season still saw numerous teething problems due to the stress on components. “Our best result was a top eight finish at FD Pro 2 in Seattle,” he said. “We may have made it further but we broke both axles during our top eight run. We definitely found the weak points of the car at Long Beach the throttle pedal started to detach itself from the floor; in Atlanta the throttle cable melted; I broke an axle in New Jersey; the pinion gear broke in Texas; and the clutch started slipping at Irwindale.” It’s a lot of work, this drifting business!
Returning to the car itself, Andy originally chose an E30 as a drift car because of the visceral feel he got when driving it: “I fell in love with the E30’s oversteer that would come on so progressively and smoothly; it was a car that represented my style as a person and driver perfectly.”
Andy flirted with fitting an #S54 or #M60 motor from BMW’s stable but ordering a box-fresh #LS3-GM-V8 would speed the build process up considerably. “With the LS3 I had the Tex Racing SR-1 transmission bolted up and was fitting the engine and cutting the trans tunnel for clearance the day it arrived,” Andy said.
The build went into overdrive from there. It only takes one glance at the pictures and our Data File to see the huge lengths gone to in reaching this E30’s current state. To explain it all would fill this entire magazine! Simply put, the V8 came from GM with upgraded camshafts, while Andy added high rpm lifters, better valve springs and upgraded chromoly pushrods all to create a more reliable engine during long periods of high rpms – integral for this high level of drifting. The exhaust and manifold were all crafted by Andy’s hands, while a custom one-piece driveshaft and a modified E30 diff all endure the huge stresses Andy asks of them during competition use. The standard E30 axles – rebuilt by Andy – are apparently holding up well to the abuse the drivetrain receives during drifting.
The underbonnet install – where the LS3 V8 fits with surprising ease – is impressive enough but the boot build almost trumps it. Here you find the extensive cooling system, again an integral part of all serious drift cars. Somehow Andy has squeezed in a mighty radiator, a ten-gallon fuel cell, countless fans, a large oil cooler, an oil filter, a four-gallon water sprayer and much more, all mounted in what’s known as the ‘safe zone’ far forward in the boot.
The chassis is another fine piece of work. Andy learned an incredible amount at Groma Fabrications where he used a lift at the back of their shop to work on the E30. “I gutted the E30 chassis and Ed at Groma did some work on the roll-cage to get it up to FD-spec,” Andy said. He did his first sheet metal work and welding, and soon the E30 had its distinctive DTM Fibrewerkz wide body kit (making it eight inches wider than a standard E30) and Lexan windows in place. Andy made his own carbon fibre panels to mount the myriad gauges in the dash, and finally it was off to be sprayed what he calls ‘Oh Sh*t orange’, based on Honda’s CBR 600RR motorcycle colour.
To make a car this talented in FD requires a daunting amount of chassis work (see the Date File), but most will appreciate the 18” ESM wheels, JRZ RS-Pro dampers and a full coilover setup for the rear. The rest of the underneath has needed comprehensive remodelling, welding, strengthening and protection, all to ensure this brutal E30 can continue performing at its best while under such extreme forces.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the superb work carried out here and neglect just how visually appealing Andy’s drift E30 is. It is fat and squat, aggressive and beautiful with its owner particularly appreciating the body kit, not least because he said it allows the smoke to flow off the tyres very well. And as with most racing machines, they truly are at their best when in action, and to see the plumes of burning rubber coming from the rear of this delightful orange missile when in full drift mode makes it hard not to love. When asked about a rear wing however (drift cars are typically seen with oversized ones), Andy said he’d been debating fitting one but with the E30 having very good forward traction at present, it isn’t really needed yet.
As for the cabin, well, it’s a place you’d happily go to work in any day of the week thanks to the dished Driven steering wheel, the beautifully ergonomic gear shifter, a view full of carbon fibre and gauges, and the Sparco Circuit seats gripping you tight. Everything looks immaculate making you wonder how Andy can ever risk such a beautifully-crafted machine in the hotbed of drift competition. But it races because it was born to do it. “There is no shortage of talent at any FD event and these drivers are on-point and have balls of steel,” Andy explained. “I love it. It really makes you a better driver. I drive with the best and aspire to be the best.”
As for his E30, Andy said he’ll be sticking with it for a long time to come but he’s not averse to upping the horsepower figure even more. “Plans are for a 750-800hp engine next year,” he said. “Once we have more power we’ll see what breaks, fix it, then add more power. It’s a sick and twisted cycle!”
ENGINE: 6.2-litre #GM-LS3-V8 , uprated camshafts, Hateley Motorsports custom stainless steel exhaust and manifold, upgraded chromoly pushrods, link bar lifters and high rpm valve springs, Nitrous Express progressive controller running a 50-shot from a 10lb bottle, 42 AN hoses, rear-mounted radiator, oil cooler, oil filter, Accusump, radiator water sprayer and three Spal fans, two extra six-inch fans on licence plate filler, 1600cfm fan for radiator, threegallon water reservoir plumbed to 200gph water pump, custom wiring, Electromotive Tec3R standalone ECU tuned by Nelson Racing Engines.
TRANSMISSION: Tex Racing SR-1 four-speed manual, custom one-piece driveshaft, 4.27 E30 differential modified by Precision Gearing for near-100% lock, factory E30 axles.
CHASSIS: 9x18” (front and rear) ESM wheels with 225/35 (front) and 275/35 (rear) Falken 615k tyres, JRZ RS-Pro dampers with 520lb rate spring up front and 225lb rate at rear (full coilover for rear), E46 M3 hubs, #E46 M3 CSL brake discs with Wilwood calipers at front, Ireland Engineering twin-caliper rear brake kit using Wilwood callipers, Wilwood drop-down pedals with twin master cylinders and balance bar, solid aluminium bushings for the rear subframe, Ireland Engineering toe and camber adjustment tabs, modified trailing arms, SLR angle kit using E46 spindles, Ireland Engineering urethane bushes and rear anti-roll bar, custom Hateley Motorsports chassis with removable tube frame front and rear sections, Formula D spec roll-cage.
EXTERIOR: DTM Fiberwerkz fibreglass wide-body kit including front and rear bumpers, side skirts and front and rear wheel arches (total eight inches wider than standard E30), Lexan windows, ‘Oh Sh*t orange’ from Honda CBR 600RR motorcycle.
INTERIOR: Sparco Circuit seats with Sparco harnesses, Driven steering wheel, Hateley Motorsports custom carbon fibre dash panels for Auto Meter gauges, Powered by Max hydraulic handbrake, custom fuel cell.
THANKS: Falken Tires, ESM wheels, DTM Fiberwerkz, JRZ Suspension, Sparco Motorsports, SLR Speed, Nitrous Express, OMGdrift.com, Driven Steering, Clutchmasters, Ireland Engineering, Precision Gearing, my dad, my team and manager Ross Fairfield.
CONTACT: Instagram @hateleydrift12, FB – Andy Hateley Drift, www. nationalmssociety. com (Andy represents the society).
Interior has been stripped-out and fitted with Sparco Circuit seats and harnesses plus a custom carbon fibre panel to house all the gauges.
DTM Fiberwerkz wide-body kit delivers a ton of track presence, adding 8” to the car’s width.
6.2-litre LS3 V8 dominates this E30’s engine bay, which is itself an engineering riot; boot houses cooling system and ten-gallon fuel cell.
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