- Post is under moderationGUY HOLMES’ ROVER SD1 ‘TWIN PLENUM’ VITESSE
/ #Rover-SD1 / #Rover / #Rover-Vitesse / #Rover-V8
Just check out Guy’s beautiful Rover-SD1 luxobarge here, a car that’s clearly been kept in tip-top condition by one discerning owner. This awesome old skool British icon may look pretty stock on the outside, but that's the whole point. In reality it's sporting plenty of tucked-away modifications, enough to make it quite the sleeper on the streets.
With a comprehensively re-worked version of Rover’s 3.9-litre V8 now sitting pretty under the long bonnet, there’s also plenty of breathing mods, as well as far beefier braking and suspension systems. In short, it's a real hairy-chested driving machine.
“I’ve owned and loved it since 2001. Not many can resist the sound of a Rover V8 rumbling down the street!” He's not wrong, eh?
TOP MODS: 3.9-litre V8 engine (with flowed heads, Crane 216 cams and #Rimmer-Bros stainless-steel exhaust system), Jaguar XJS front brakes, Goodridge brake hoses, high-capacity radiator with Revotech electric fan, Spax adjustable suspension, polybushed, #MOMO steering wheel
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- Post is under moderationCUSTOM 2002 Metal wide-body with a 2.7 swap.
Bought in a state far beyond saving, the only way this #BMW-2002 could survive was to be transformed into something completely different.
SHOW, NO SHINE Custom, wide-body 2.7 2002 / Words: Elizabeth de Latour / Photos: Matt Richardson
It feels like we maybe we should be apologising, again, because for the second month running we’re featuring a 2002 that a lot of people are going to find upsetting. But we won’t be, because we like it too much to care what anyone else thinks. It’s unapologetically a personal project, built solely for the pleasure of its owner, Josh Parker, to hone his skills and then show them off. From top to bottom, inside and out, everything you see before you has been crafted by Josh’s own two hands, with a bit of help from dad along the way, which makes this already spectacular 2002 even more so.
Josh has always been into cars, he tells us, and it all began at the tender age of 12 when he was given a petrol-powered R/C car and building that set him on path he walks today. After passing his test he was chomping at the bit to get modding on something, though insurance restrictions meant he had to make do with an R56 MINI JCW, spiced up with some coilovers and other bits until he could make his dream of doing a full build come true. The fact that he had no mechanical or motorsport experience was not going to stop him and there was no practice run or warm up before getting this car, he went straight from 0-2002.
“I bought the car in Thame just over three years ago,” explains Josh, “and it was awful,” he adds, laughing. “It had been off the road since 1989 and was in terrible condition, completely rusty, but because of that I only paid £1200 for it. It took two years to put it together, though in its first form it had a different engine, Golf arches and different wheels. Starting out, I knew nothing about welding or anything like that,” he says, “so the first step was getting it on the road and then, having developed my skills, I knew I could do everything better the second time around so 18 months ago it went through a big change,” and the result of that is what you’re looking at here. “The fact that I wanted to do everything on the car myself was a big influence on how the car has come out, “ he explains, “as I went my own way with it. I spent a year making the chassis strong and replacing stuff. The car was a blank canvas, it was so bad I couldn’t make it any worse,” he laughs. “The whole car looked like Swiss cheese, but at least I got to practice welding. The whole project has been hard, though, it’s taken a long time as I was starting from nothing. I spent a lot of time doing individual things, weeks at a time, and sometimes I needed to take a break, step away, but I never gave up.
“My decision to change how the car looked came about when I realised that too many people were doing Golf arches, it wasn’t low enough and that I didn’t like the wheels. I decided to pick the wheels I wanted and then built the new, custom arches around them and doing that meant I could go for a really aggressive offset. I chose a set of 7Twenty Style44s in bronze, 9x15” ET0 all-round with 215/50 tyres; I didn’t want too much stretch but needed a bit to get the wheels to tuck under the arches.” The resulting fitment is absolutely perfect, but even with that zero offset Josh is still running 20mm spacers up front and 10mm at the rear, taking the final offset well into the negative. The wheels themselves are certainly handsome, single-piece items with stepped lips and plenty of dish, while the matt bronze finish looks great against the car’s patchwork quilt bodywork.
Where Josh felt the car wasn’t low enough before there’s no such concern now, with Gaz coilovers delivering a serious drop, but that wasn’t enough for him… “I’ve raised the front and rear strut towers by 40mm to lower it even further,” he grins and the end result is spectacular, the tyres disappearing up into those magnificent arches and the 2002’s belly sitting a hair’s breadth above the ground. The arches themselves are custom metal items measuring a monstrous 60mm wider per side up front and 50mm per side at the rear, giving this 2002 a stance far beyond its diminutive dimensions.
The brakes have also been comprehensively upgraded, with four-pot Wilwood calipers mounted on custom carriers up front with 260mm drilled and vented discs along with E21 323i hubs, while at the rear you’ll find Mk3 Golf rear calipers matched to Mk1 Golf front discs while Hel braided brake lines have been fitted throughout. You might think that all that brake work seems like overkill for a 2002 but you see it isn’t, because there’s something a bit special going on under the bonnet.
“I always knew I was going to do an engine swap,” Josh tells us, and what he’s done is taken a low-revving, M20B27 eta engine from BMW’s 325e and 525e models, designed for efficiency, and comprehensively reworked it to better suit his performance-driven needs. Sitting on custom engine mounts, the once-docile 2.7 has been transformed with a 325i top end, M21 forged crank, forged, reground stage one cam, Alpina B3 2.7 chip, a honed intake manifold, 185cc injectors and Magnecor ignition leads. He’s also fitted an M50B25 radiator and added a custom six-branch exhaust manifold that connects up to a custom 2.5” exhaust with twin pipes. It’s an impressive list of mods and it makes for some impressive numbers, with the 2.7 now pushing out 240hp thanks to Josh’s handiwork, which makes this 2002 a real road rocket. Naturally the transmission required a bit of work to make sure it was up to the task of dealing with the 2.7’s grunt and Josh was more than happy to get his hands dirty. “The gearbox itself is a Getrag 260 Sport five-speed on custom mounts with a stage one clutch and I’ve also fitted a 3.64 small case LSD from an E21 with custom-drilled output flanges.”
The exterior might, at first glance, appear to be a mess to some but there’s a lot more going on here than first meets the eye. The arches steal the show but there’s also a custom front lip and a custom drag spoiler, custom bash bars and a back-dated rear panel that allowed Josh to fit the arguably much cooler round rear lights. One of our favourite parts of the exterior work, though, is the quick-release front clip, that allows for the entire front end to be removed in a matter of minutes. While it’s designed to allow easy access to the engine for mods and maintenance, seeing a car driving around with no front end is pretty cool. With a race car-inspired exterior you’d expect the theme to carry on inside the car, and you’re not going to be disappointed here. “This car was originally a Lux model,” explains Josh, “so it had a nice, powder blue interior though when I bought the car it was smelly and had started to rot, but I always knew that I was going to strip the interior, I just wanted to have the bare essentials to have the car running,” and he’s certainly stuck to that philosophy. About the only part of the interior that is still recognisable is the ’02 dashboard and instrument cluster but beyond that it’s all change. There’s a big convex Longacre rear-view mirror, single Cobra Sebring Pro seat with a TRS four-point harness, a Momo Model 69 suede steering wheel and a custom switch panel, custom pedal box and there’s also a hydraulic handbrake and a custom dual fulcrum short shifter. “I wanted to feel like I was in a Touring car,” explains Josh, “so I wanted the wheel high and close and a tall gearlever close to the wheel. The cage is actually a historic-spec one for the ’02 that I bought and then modified to make it stronger,” explains Josh. “It just bolts in but I want to make a new cage for it, eight-to-ten point, fully welded-in, which is one of my next big plans.” Meanwhile, in the boot you’ll find a 30-litre aluminium fuel tank with a surge tank, which is fed by one of the two Bosch 044 fuel pumps, the other feeding the engine.
As much work as has gone into this car over the past three years, it’s only the beginning of what is going to be a much longer journey and Josh’s plans for the car are numerous and substantial. “I want to do a front-mid-engine conversion,” he says matter-of-factly, “I’ve come this far so I might as well keep going,” he laughs, but that’s just scratching the surface. “I’m currently working on a secret E30 project and that’s going to pave the way for the 2002. I want to make the car more useable and more reliable, but no less crazy,” he grins. “I want to iron out the bugs, modernise the underpinnings to make it more enjoyable; for example, currently if I’m taking it to a show and it’s too far, I will trailer it, which takes away from the experience and I want to be able to drive it everywhere.” All this work isn’t just for Josh’s amusement, though, it’s for the benefit of his company, Under Development Motorsport, and some of what he’s made will be for sale there, like his short shift kit. “It’s billet and should fit everything from E21s to E9x models,” he says.
This 2002 is really an automotive expression of sheer joy and you can feel how much love and enthusiasm Josh has for this car when you talk to him about it. “It’s great to drive something that gets so much attention and that you genuinely built yourself, it’s just a great feeling,” he says with a smile. We can’t wait to see where he takes the ’02 and judging by what he’s achieved here so far, that E30 is going to be something really special too…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Wide-body 2.7 #BMW-2002 / #Alpina-B3 / #Alpina / #BMW-2002-Wide-body / #BMW-2002-Alpina / #BMW-2002-Alpina-2.7 / #7Twenty / #BMW-2002-E10 / #BMW-E10 / #BMW / #BMW-2002-Alpina-E10
ENGINE 2.7-litre straight-six #M20B27 eta / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #M20B27ETA , M21 forged crankshaft, stage one cam, #Alpina-B3-2.7-chip , #K&N cone filter, honed intake manifold, #Magnecor ignition leads, custom engine mounts, 185cc injectors, custom stainless six-branch exhaust manifold, custom 2.5” exhaust with twin blast pipes, fully silicone-hosed cooling system, M50B25 radiator
TRANSMISSION #Getrag-260 / #Getrag five-speed manual gearbox, stage one clutch, custom gearbox mounts, E21 3.64 small case #LSD with custom-drilled output flanges
CHASSIS 9x15” ET0 (front and rear) #7Twenty-Style44 wheels in matt bronze with 215/45 (front and rear) Toyo TR1 tyres, #GAZ-GHA coilovers with adjustable top mounts, #GAZ front camber plates, front and rear strut towers raised 40mm, custom front anti-roll bar relocation and drop links, fully poly bushed and reinforced front and rear subframes, custom rear subframe camber and toe adjustment plates, custom gearbox and exhaust tunnels, reinforced sills and various other chassis bracing throughout, rear strut tower brace, Wilwood four-pot calipers and custom carriers with 260mm drilled and vented discs and E21 323i hubs (front), Mk1 Golf front discs with Mk3 Golf rear calipers and custom caliper carriers (rear), Hel braided brake lines (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Custom metal wide arches, custom front lip, bash bars, custom drag spoiler, custom racing livery, back-dated rear panel work to allow for round rear lights and fuel filler cap delete, custom quick release front clip for fast removal of front-end
INTERIOR #Cobra-Sebring-Pro seat, TRS four-point harness, #Driftworks quick release hub, #Momo model 69 suede steering wheel, custom dual fulcrum short shift, hydraulic handbrake, custom pedal box, sixpoint bolt-in cage, custom switch panel, 30-litre aluminium race tank in boot with surge tank and twin #Bosch-044 fuel pumps
THANKS Graham, Nicola and Hannah for all the support! All the @76build Instagram followers, all the other people showing love for the 02 and last but not least Thierry and Lewis at www.7twenty.co.uk. Cheers guys.
“From top to bottom, inside and out, everything you see before you has been crafted by Josh’s own two hands”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThis may have been Sean Clark’s first car in high school, but it’s all grown up now, with a level of refinement fit for a whiskey lounge. Words: Marcus Gibson / Photos: Adam Croy
BODY-SLAMMED BMW E30 TEST LEARN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF BUILDING A DRIFT CAR / #1987 / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #Toyota-1UZ-FE / #BMW-E30-Toyota-1UZ-FE / #Toyota / #Accuair-i-Level / #BMW-E30-V8 / #V8
Purchased as his first car in high school, Sean Clark’s E30 is all grown up now with a class that belongs in a whiskey lounge. V8 powered, with Accuair i-Level, one-off Rotiforms, candy paint and a killer interior, this E30 ticks all the boxes.
As the NZPC team members stood around with our tongues out, drooling over Sean Clark’s #BMW E30 during the photo shoot, in walked the guys from our sister magazine NZ Classic Car, who proceeded to make tongue-in-cheek remarks about how the suspension must be broken and ask where the hell the tyres were. Now, these guys know their way around an E30, but, given that the IS front lip was literally sitting on the ground while its rim lip was touching the guard, we could see how those old boys would be somewhat perplexed by what they saw in front of them. This car is a statement made with no apologies — it was engineered this way, what with its millimetre-perfect fitment and extremely deep candy paint, which grabs and holds your attention long enough to take in all the custom touches that can be found.
It all began during Sean’s high-school days (actually, four years ago, to be exact), when he came across an E30 already fitted with a Toyota 1UZ-FE 4.0-litre V8. A fan of the German ’80s icon, Sean hadn’t been looking for V8 power, but, when this popped up already cert’d, he saw it as a good base on which to build his dream E30. It was in need of some TLC, but, being a high-school student, he would have to wait until he got his first full-time job before he could sink some coin into the project. In the meantime, though, he was probably only the only kid at his high school rocking a V8 on a daily basis.
The air-management system runs a set of polished custom hard lines to feed the tank, AccuAir A4, and Air Lift air bags. The system has a wireless remote and can even be controlled by an iPhone app.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Sean is mainly influenced by mostly European-based E30s, which led to the first of the big modifications, as he told us: “All of my favourite E30s are on air. That was the first major modification I did. Simon from Get Low imported and installed the kit.” Getting the E30 down was a simple bolt-in affair using Air Lift struts with adjustable dampers. Like most of the latest air-ride kits we feature these days, Sean opted for a complete height-management system, in this case, AccuAir. With three preset heights — low, lower, and slammed — it’s a no-brainer over the finicky switch box and separate valve blocks of the past.
Those kits were loud, high maintenance, and it was a battle to get the height perfect. Having the control that Sean now does is a good thing when the lip of the rim actually sits square on the guard when fully deflated.
It was around that time that the E30 received its first set of rims, though those BBS Rs were soon replaced with custom fifteen52 Tarmacs, then, more recently, with a set of custom Rotiforms. To say Sean has a thing for wheels would be a gross understatement — but his size preference certainly made it hard. “I get bored of wheels pretty easy, and wanted to go three-piece and have something that would pop against the paint more,” he explained. “I talked to just about every wheel company out there, but the problem is that no one really makes three-piece 16s any more. I ended up getting James from 360 Link to convince Brian from Rotiform to produce these.” We are unsure what James from 360 Link said — perhaps he has a stash of questionable photos of Brian, or maybe Brian thinks all Kiwis are like Jake the Muss; either way, Rotiform obliged and put together this one-off set using BBS lips and gold hardware.
To further customize them once they landed in New Zealand, the boys at GT Refinishers laid down some candy and gold leaf on the centre caps.
The boys were also charged with a complete facelift conversion last year. Now, it might be a bolt-on conversion up front, but the rear took a little more commitment, as the team had to graft in the in the rear sheet metal from a later E30 around the boot and tail lights.
This required a facelift E30 to donate its life to the cause. The tail lights Sean chose are rare BMW Motorsport items imported from Germany, along with the Bosch smiley headlights and an MTech wing. The last job at GT was the reshaping of the rear guards to suit the super-low ride height. It was then on to deciding a colour — a job we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. A four-month internal battle ensued as Sean went back and forth with his decision, eventually landing on custom candy red, sprayed over a silver base coat. “There are 10 coats all up I think, as I kept wanting it darker and darker. I was actually out of the country when he was spraying it so it was a little nerve-racking,” he said.
But, needless to say, Sean is hyped with how the exterior has turned out, and he has since shifted his focus inwards. First up, he went for a full interior retrim from Midnight Upholstery. Taking cues from the king of refinement, Singer, the front and rear seats were trimmed in a similar fashion to those beautiful Porsches. The front seats are actually Recaro fishnets from an Isuzu Bighorn that Sean scored for $100, and the rear is a not-so-common E30 variant with a centre armrest. As for the rest of the interior, it was kept all class in black — simple yet effective. The finishing touch, a vintage Momo Prototipo wheel.
Next on his hit list is attacking the engine bay. While the build has never been about all-out power or speed, and with the four litres there’s more than enough juice to decimate the factory equivalent, Sean still feels there is room for refinement, and he’s currently considering his plan of attack — individual throttle bodies (ITBs)? A supercharger? Who knows what he’ll end up with? We guess we will all have to wait and see. But, in the meantime, there is a long hot summer ahead of us, and Sean is ready to make the most of it with one push of the e-Level.
SEATS: (F) Retrimmed #Recaro LX, (R) retrimmed factory
STEERING WHEEL: #Momo Prototipo 350mm
INSTRUMENTATION: AccuAir e-Level
EXTRA: Custom headliner and carpet, custom boot set-up.
PAINT: Custom candy red by GT Refinishers
ENHANCEMENTS: Facelift conversion, IS front lip, IS sideskirts, custom front splitter, MTech 1 wing, German smiley headlights, German MHW tail lights, custom round Condor door handles.
GEARBOX: Toyota four-speed auto
DIFF: BMW E30
The body has recieved a facelift alongside some subtle upgrades such as the IS front lip and #MTech rear wing. Although it was bagged long before the facelift, yet the lip sits perfectly flush on the ground.
DRIVER/OWNER: Sean Clark
BUILD TIME: Four years
LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: Four years
THANKS: A huge thanks to GT Refinishers; Get Low Customs; Midnight Upholstery; Rotiform New Zealand; my mate Daniel, for listening to me stress over the smallest of things and helping out
Discovered in an Isuzu Bighorn bought for $100, the Recaro fishnets have been retrimmed by Midnight upholstery in a Singer style, with bronze rivet vents.
ENGINE: #Toyota-1UZ-FE , 4000cc, eight-cylinder
EXHAUST: Custom headers, dual 2.5-inch pipes into single muffler
COOLING: Fenix radiator
STRUTS: Air Lift Performance air ride, KYB rear shocks, #AccuAir-E-Level , #AccuAir #iLevel
BRAKES: (F) #Wilwood four-pot calipers, #StopTech rotors, Wilwood pads, braided lines; (R) factory
WHEELS: (F) 16x8.5-inch #Rotiform three-piece forged CCV, gold hardware; (R) 16x9.5-inch Rotiform three-piece forged CCV, gold hardware
TYRES: (F) 195/40R16 Falken, (R) 205/40R16 Falken
Fitting the Lexus into the engine bay required a set of custom headers and has left little room for anything else, which could become a problem if Sean does decide to supercharge down the track.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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PERFECT EXAMPLE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-328i / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328Ci / #BMW-328Ci-E36 / #BMW-E36-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe /
This full-on E36 328i combines aggressive styling with serious turbocharged performance. Many have tried, and many have failed. The quest for the perfect modified #BMW is an arduous one, but our US contributor thinks he may just have found it. Words & Photos: Eric Eikenberry.
In the days of yore, men of differing opinions used to gather in remote locations to shout vociferously at one another, clash shield upon shield, sword upon sword, all in the name of settling the score. In today’s infinitely more modern arenas, the shields and swords have been discarded in favour of wings and air dams, ICE and carbon fibre. The battle cry is far different too. ‘JDM’ or ‘DTM’. Where do your allegiances lie? If you’ve picked up this magazine, that choice is pretty clear. As such, we present to you your champion, Ryan Castro’s #1997 E36 328i. All hail your king!
At a recent JDM-DTM shootout held in California, Ryan not only laid to rest the JDM dragon, he also captured an overall show trophy for Best Modified. With his comprehensive and well thought out modifications, not only is this ride an incredible showpiece, it packs the punch necessary to decimate its rivals on the strip or track.
Ryan has a dream job that allows him a great deal of leeway in his choice of transportation. Sure, it’s not as grand as what us motoring journalists do for a living – testing cars for you, our readers – but still it’s the tops. Ryan is one-third owner of DP Engineering (www.dpengineering.cc). This means he gets to play with forged wheels all day long – just like the wheels you see here on this car.
These gorgeous 8.5x19” and 10x19” two-piece, fully-forged R06VS beauties are produced by DP Engineering, and are wearing 235/35 and 275/35 Falken Azenis rubber. The black anodised centres are polished to a high gloss. Since he prefers the deep-dish look, the fronts feature a 3” lip, while the rears sprout a staggering 5” shelf.
Tucked away inside are front and rear Brembos, silver-painted and the size of dinner plates. 15” cross-drilled front rotors ride on floating pins, while 11.6” rear rotors are gripped by two-pot, lightweight calipers; fronts by four-pot F50 units. Looking a bit further under the car reveals a KW Variant II coilover suspension setup and Racing Dynamics roll-bars. These six-way adjustable suspenders, with ride comfort adjustment, ensure that Ryan gets the look he wants without the need to keep his chiropractor’s number on speed-dial.
Helping him achieve that look is the überrare (here in the US) Esquiss’ Rafale Widebody kit with carbon fibre inserts. Very subtle E30 M3-style flares are combined seamlessly with wild arches to cover the massive wheel/tyre combo. Over the top of that Ryan laid the BMW Chrome Shadow concept paint. This trick paint is composed of a base layer which is black, while the top layer is ultra-smooth silver. In full sunlight, the finish is like a pewter-coloured mirror.
At night, it becomes a dark grey. “I wanted the car to have a clean, classic look that would always be in fashion,” he explained. “Kind of like an Armani suit, it will always look good.”
But what would any good suit be without the additional accessories to top it off? Browsing through the supplied spec sheet, we wondered if it would be easier to just list the items Ryan didn’t modify! The emblems have all been shaved and there are carbon fibre mirrors, side skirt inserts, front splitter and rear wing. There’s a custom roof spoiler, bonnet vents, E46 headlight eyebrows and an aviation-style fuel filler cap. A set of Kool Kustoms E46 M3 painted mouldings and M-Tech side mouldings complete the look, while Euro Clear’s custom smoked clear marker lights fill the corners. On top of all of this, there are no windscreen wipers! Clearly, this is a testament to the car’s enviable Southern California residence.
Ducking one’s head inside provides a plethora of extravagant eye candy in every direction. We particularly liked the Blitz DC turbo, oil pressure, and temperature gauges mounted directly to the windshield and cabled to a Blitz Live Unit controller. Just like on the outside of the car, if you can find an original part here, we’ll give you a big pat on the back.
Like the rest of the interior, the front Cobra Sidewinder fully adjustable seats have been retrimmed in grey and black with red trim by Kreative Interiors. Wedge Engineering seat rails ensure a safe place to park one’s bum while Sabelt three-point safety harnesses keep you there during even the most hair-brained manoeuvres.
A custom chrome, four-point roll-cage helps to stiffen the already rigid BMW coupé’s chassis. Carbon fibre again abounds, noticeable in the dash, gauge surrounds, gauge rings, airbag lid, centre console, door inserts and rear panels. Not to be outdone, aluminium puts on a good show as the BMW gear knob, UUC pedals and left footrest, UUC handbrake handle, and custom diamond-plate Legend 5 floor mats are all made of the polished metal. Ryan’s hands grip a Momo Champion steering wheel during the rare occasions he actually gets to drive this stunning ride to the local McDonald’s.
Where a rear seat once resided, there’s a chromed Nitrous Oxide bottle and two 12” Massive Audio subs. Naturally, they’re mounted in a carbon fibre enclosure. In fact, there’s so much of the stuff in this one car we’re afraid Ryan’s driven the price of the world’s supply to a new peak!
The centre console is home to a 7” NESA screen, and there are even Game Port plug-ins for Ryan’s favourite video games. A Pioneer DEH-840MP DVD/VCD/MP3 head unit drives the tunes to the three 600W Massive Amps amplifiers and the Diamond HEX 500 S components.
Hidden somewhere are two Optima Blue Top batteries and two 1.5-farad Massive capacitors. Ryan’s also installed a High Tech RV Isolator to keep the current clean and noise-free. In the boot, his carbon fibre (yes, still more) amp rack is topped by custom Plexiglass amp surrounds lit by glowing blue neon.
Of course, all of this show gear would barely be enough to turn heads here in the States if there was no power backing it up. A wise man would think twice before picking on this car in a drag race. A polished Turbonetics 60-1 T3/T4 Turbocharger boosts the 328’s engine into orbit, placing 430hp on the tarmac at the rear wheels.
Carbon fibre and polished aluminium again rule supreme, providing a wicked silver/black appearance throughout the compartment. The fully custom Stage 2 turbo setup utilises an Aquamist water/alcohol injection system, a Blitz SBC-iD sequential boost controller, along with an HKS Super-Sequential blow-off valve and a Turbonetics Deltagate external wastegate to keep the hyped-up airflow under tight control.
The Nitrous Express Stage 2 kit purges the intercooler while a high flow fuel pump, boostsensitive fuel pressure regulator and RC Engineering 35lb injectors feed the beast.
Billetwerks black anodised engine caps keep all fluids in their intended locations. The DME is reprogrammed and there’s a Euro mass airflow meter, and yet, surprisingly, the car remains emissions-legal as far as expelling gases is concerned.
Speaking of exhaust, Ryan had a custom 3” piping system constructed with a custom race muffler and Borla carbon fibre tips. It seems that he has a CF fetish (Nothing to be ashamed of ~ Ed): Vortiel CF engine cover and fuel rail cover, CF fusebox cover, and a CF radiator cover ensure that the entire compartment is appropriately dressed. Sun Auto supplied its Hyper Ground and Hyper Voltage systems, keeping the current flow more than adequate. Ryan is even planning a Standalone ECU upgrade in just the next few days.
The car’s original five-speed transmission (one of the few non-modified items on the car) is in fact surrounded by helpful bits. A UUC short-shifter keeps the gears on target while Delrin bushing hold it securely in place. Redline synthetic lube swishes around inside, keeping the gears happy under the abuse dished out by the motor. The rear differential has been upgraded to a limited-slip item with 3.15:1 ring and pinion. A UUC aluminium 8.5lb racing flywheel and a 1993-95 M5 clutch ensure that horsepower isn’t needlessly wasted.
In the end, is it indeed a rolling Armani suit? Let’s crunch the facts and see. Classic pre-Bangle Germanic good looks? Check. Tasteful accessories integrated flawlessly into the package? Check. Outrageously good-looking black shoes? Check. An ICE system so intense it could host movie premieres? Check. Rocket-ship acceleration and ‘hand of God’ braking? Check. Yep, it’s the real deal. If Armani made clothing for Robocop, this is probably what it would look like, and that has Ryan’s JDM competition running scared.
“not only is this ride an incredible showpiece, it packs the punch to decimate its rivals on the strip or track”
DATA FILE / #Turbonetics / #Turbonetics-60-1-T3 / #Turbonetics-Deltagate / #Apexi-GTR / #M52B28 / #BMW-M52 / #M52 / #M52-Turbonetics / #DP-Engineering /
ENGINE: 2.8-litre six-cylinder with polished #Turbonetics 60-1 T3/T4 turbocharger, Turbonetics Deltagate external wastegate, #HKS super sequential blow-off valve, HKS Type I turbo timer, #Blitz SBC-iD sequential boost controller, polished AA intake elbow, custom turbo manifold, chromed downpipe and intercooler piping, polished #Apexi GTR intercooler, Turbonetics custom end tanks, #RC-Engineering 35lb injectors, custom #K&N turbo intake. Custom Aquamist water-alcohol injection kit, #Nitrous-Express-Stage-2 kit for custom intercooler purge, NX bottle warmer. NGK race plugs, high flow fuel pump, boost sensitive fuel pressure regulator, HKS air/fuel ratio control, Vortiel carbon engine cover and fuel rail cover, carbon fusebox and radiator cover, Euro mass airflow meter, BMP oil filter cooling fins, reprogrammed DME, custom race exhaust with carbon fibre #Borla tips, 3” racing exhaust piping, Billetwerks black anodised engine caps, Sun Auto hyper ground system and hyper voltage system. Standard five-speed manual with UUC short-shifter, Delrin bushings, Redline fluids. Upgraded LSD to 3.15, UUC aluminium 8.5lb lightweight flywheel, E34 M5 clutch, custom tranny mounts
PERFORMANCE: 430bhp at the rear wheels
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #DP-Engineering-R06VS alloys with 3” lip (front) and 5” lip (rear) shod in 235/35 and 275/30 Falken Azenis tyres respectively. #KW-Variant-II coilovers with ride comfort adjustment and six-way height adjustment, Racing Dynamics sway bars and strut tower bar. 15” #Brembo four-pot brakes (front) and 11.5” two-pot brakes (rear) with silver calipers all-round, cross-drilled rotors, stainless steel brake lines, Brembo pads, racing DOT 5 brake fluid
EXTERIOR: Full Esquiss’ Rafale Widebody kit with carbon fibre pieces painted in Chrome Shadow #BMW concept paint, carbon fibre mirrors, side skirt inserts, front splitter, roof spoiler and bonnet vents. Fibreglass inner wheel wells, E46-style headlight eyebrows, de-badged, aviation-style fuel filler cap, Kool Kustoms E46 M3-style painted mouldings, M-Tech side mouldings, de-wipered. Euro front clear lights and side repeaters, custom smoked rear lights, 4300K HID low beams, custom H7 foglights, angel eyes with fibre-optic lighting, Showoff Krypton bulbs, H1 high beams
INTERIOR: Full Kreative Interiors interior retrim in grey/black with red trim, two Cobra Sidewinder fully adjustable seats, Wedge Engineering seat rails, #MOMO Champion steering wheel, custom four-point roll-cage, Sabelt three-point safety harnesses. Carbon fibre dash, gauge surround, airbag lid, centre console, door inserts and rear panels, silver gauges, chrome gauge rings, custom painted centre console, BMW OEM aluminium gear knob, UUC pedals, clutch stop and handbrake handle, Legend 5 aluminium chequerplating floor mats, Blitz DC turbo, pressure and temperature gauges, Blitz live unit
ICE: 7” Nesa monitor, Pioneer DEH840MP, DVD/VCD/MP3 player, pair of Massive Audio 12” subs, 3x600W Massive amps, Diamond mid-bass, Diamond HEX 500S components, pair of Massive farad capacitors, pair of Optima Blue-Top batteries, High Tech RV isolator, game port plug-ins, custom carbon fibre box enclosure and amp rack, custom Plexiglass amp surrounds, blue neon lighting, Accessories 12V transformer, sandblasted ‘Kinetix’ sign-board
“I wanted the car to have a classic look that would always be in fashion; like an Armani suit, it will always look good”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSAM HUGGINS WIDE-BODY #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body-E46
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes a car like Sam’s E46 M3 and kind of throws you off balance. There’s only one place to start with this car and it’s the wide-body kit, a one-off custom design made by Sam himself. The reason behind going so full-on with the styling?
The wheels he’d bought for the car didn’t fit. Now, most people would just go and buy some different wheels, but instead Sam decided to build his car around the wheels, which are custom #Squared-SD2 forged wheels in black, measuring 9.5x19” up front and 11.5x19” rear, with 25mm and 65mm spacers front and rear respectively. The arches are massively wide and at the rear this M3 measures 78” – that’s six and a half feet from arch-to-arch. The car has been painted custom hot rod matt black and sits on lowering springs, though Sam is planning to make the switch to air-ride soon.
You’ll have also spotted the custom gold spike wheel nuts and the front and rear lights have been blacked out, while under the bonnet there’s a #K&N induction kit and inside you’ll find a #MOMO snap-off steering wheel. It’s certainly a head-turner and you have to admire the amount of work that’s gone into it.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSECOND COMING ROVER SD1 / #Rover-SD1 / #Rover / #Rover-SD1-V8
Who doesn’t love a V8 SD1? We certainly do, especially when it’s led as chequered a life as this fantastic example. Austin Rover enthusiast, Michael Kitt, has brushed aside his MG Metro 6R4 in order to allow his championship-winning ex-works Rover SD1 to reacquaint itself with rallying... Words: Dan Furr. Photos: Chris Frosin.
For a sizeable number of rally fans, the Group B extravaganza of the 1980s represents a golden era for one of the planet’s most exciting forms of motorsport. The 6R4 stands out as one of the more memorable machines that competed in the short-lived series, but Austin Rover’s reputation for producing impressive rally cars had been established prior to the creation of the mighty MG thanks to the Group 2 SD1 that the works team of star driver, Ken Wood, and his navigator, Peter Brown, piloted to victory in the 1984 Scottish Rally Championship.
58-year-old petrolhead, Michael Kitt, is lucky enough to own a genuine ‘International’ 6R4 (that’s the 410bhp model used for Group B rallying, not to be confused with the reduced power ‘Clubman’ edition produced for homologation purposes) and the very same SD1 that Wood and Brown used to bag silverware in Scotland. What’s more, he’s also in possession of Austin Rover itself, the title to its motorsport division and the original technical drawings for every incarnation of the mental Metro!
“The Austin Rover deal came about after a spot of bother that I experienced after buying my 6R4,” he explains. “I acquired the vehicle close to two decades ago following a motorcycle accident that stopped me from racing on two wheels. I was thrilled to be in charge of my very own Group B Metro, particularly as the MG in question was dressed in classic Computervision livery, but lawyers representing the tech company wrote to me with an instruction to remove their branding from my new car,” he frowns.
The firm’s demands had come about as a consequence of a name change that had been introduced in accordance with a restructure of the business. Obviously, Michael was less than happy about being asked to lose his car’s iconic decoration – and the potential beating that his 6R4’s financial value may have suffered as a direct result of obeying unexpected orders – but frustration soon turned to relief when one of the company’s directors contacted him to confirm that he could leave Computervision’s graphics in place irrespective of correspondence from legal big-wigs that had suggested to the contrary. Phew!
Fast-forward a few years, and Michael found himself pulling up a pew in a boardroom at MG’s Longbridge headquarters while his 6R4 waited patiently outside. “I’d been asked to take the car to the factory for a photo shoot,” he recalls. “MG’s new owners wanted to bolster their apparently limited collection of archive material relating to the marque’s impressive motorsport history. Conscious of what I’d experienced with regard to the car’s use of Computervision graphics, I took the opportunity to ask for assurances that the continued display of Austin Rover branding on my Metro would remain unchallenged. To my relief, I was given written confirmation that gave me exclusive rights to use the company’s name and logos for as long as I owned the car. A few years later, I ended up buying Austin Rover outright following the collapse of MG Rover Group!” he smiles.
Yup, Mr Kitt is now the proud owner of an automotive brand that he has adored for decades! “To say that I’m pleased would be an understatement,” he beams, safe in the knowledge that both of his retro racers can keep their classic cosmetic conditions without concern.
Built as the 1970s drew to a close, Michael’s Group 2 SD1 is thought to be the first competition car constructed at Cowley under the Austin Rover Group Motorsport banner. Rigorous testing and continual fine-tuning of the humungous hatchback followed its construction until it was announced that the heavily modified monster was ready for participation in a planned Peking to Paris rally. Sadly, the event was called off, but the car was ready for action, resulting in its use by works driver, Tony Pond, in the Century Oils and Pace Petroleum rally programmes of the early 1980s.
“The car was overhauled during the summer of 1983 before Ken Wood was invited to test drive it in advance of his taking part in the Scottish Rally Championship,” continues Michael. “In later years, he admitted to me that he didn’t hold out much hope of being wowed by whatever four-wheeler Austin Rover were planning to present to him, but he was all ears following the demise of the V8-powered Triumph TR7 that he’d been campaigning up until that point,” he adds.
Surprised at the raw power delivered by the SD1’s forged 4.6-litre V8, its handling abilities at speed (helped in no small part by a Bilstein suspension system comprising adjustable front uprights and dual twin-rear dampers) and a striking exterior decked out in Golden Wonder logos, Ken wasted no time in securing a deal that provided him with the car and a collection of spares that amounted to “three of everything.” Furthermore, he was offered the use of Austin Rover personnel and service centres whenever the Rover needed a spruce-up after a heavy dose of off-road rallying. A few months later, he was the winner of the 1984 Scottish Rally Championship.
Media reports highlighting Wood and Brown’s success in Scotland were a big deal for Austin Rover, helping to boost sales of the SD1 in dealer showrooms across the UK. Of course, the works rally version would soon be cast aside due to the arrival of the utterly bonkers 6R4, but not before Ken’s car received a facelift that saw its appearance reflect that of the newly arrived flagship ‘Vitesse’ production model.
“Eventually, Ken was given a 6R4 that he used to win the 1985 Sprint Tyres Trossachs Rally. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his SD1 fell into the hands of privateers. It was only when I was involved in the process of restoring Tony Pond’s Computervision-liveried example many years later that I was alerted to the whereabouts of the original Cowley car,” Michael tells us.
Sure enough, the Golden Wonder SD1 had been squirreled away at the Oldham residence of former Austin Rover mechanic, Mike Wood. Once responsible for servicing many of the classic Minis that Paddy Hopkirk raced to great effect, Mike had reached old age and had decided to hang up his driving gloves. More importantly, he was open to the idea of parting with the once-famous SD1 that was collecting dust in his garage. Needless to say, Michael wasted no time in ferrying the classic rally machine across the Irish Sea to his own home on the Isle of Man.
“There had been a significant amount of metal cut out of the car’s chassis in an attempt to reduce its overall length,” he sighs. Indeed, one of his new toy’s previous owners had literally chopped its rear floor to pieces in an experiment to see if the car could be made to handle as well as a modified Mk2 Escort! Michael was appalled at the quality of the job, and he vowed to return his rallied Rover to its original shape as soon as his name appeared on its logbook.
A donor SD1 was sourced accordingly, and one of Mr Kitt’s talented spanner-wielding associates transferred the ‘missing’ metal from the parts car into the rally machine. A full strip and restoration of the latter’s shell followed thereafter, with replacement doors joining the car’s aluminium bonnet, lightweight tailgate, polycarbonate windows and factory roll cage. Meanwhile, replica sponsor graphics were produced with the help of Peter Brown. “Peter had masses of photos of the car that were taken during time that he’d spent with it in his role as a works team navigator. His stockpile of pictures was instrumental in ensuring that the various advertiser logos were sized and positioned in line with their appearance in period,” stresses Michael.
Sadly, photographs of his SD1’s interior from the same era have been notable by their absence, leaving him to wonder if his car’s dashboard is an original factory part. Either way, its nearby custom switch panels, Motordrive racing seats, six-point safety harnesses, MOMO three-spoke steering wheel and aluminium door cards scream ‘functional race car office’!
Looking through this sensational SD1’s rear windows, we’re struck by the sight of a 12-gallon alloy fuel cell that occupies most of what was once intended to be a spacious luggage area. In fact, we find ourselves staring at high-flow fuelling apparatus that is joined by a neighbouring dry sump engine lubrication system that makes use of a trio of Facet oil pumps and braided fluid transfer hoses equipped with AN10 fittings. Fuel and oil is sent the length of the car towards the eight-cylinder lump at its nose; the 4.6- litre unit has been completely rebuilt and incorporates Omega forged pistons, forged rods, Stage 4 ported and polished big valve cylinder heads and a quartet of Weber 45 DCOE carburettors that contribute to an estimated power output of 345bhp.
Michael was supplied with two Getrag dog-engagement gearboxes and a matching number of modified Atlas rear axles when he bought his SD1. He is pleased to report that he hasn’t had to call upon these valuable spare parts during or after putting the pedal to the metal at any of the historic rally events that he’s attended with his pride and joy, although he does admit that its side-exit exhaust system was producing a puff of smoke every time he tackled a sharp left hand bend. “Extensive investigation revealed that one of the cylinder heads had been machined too aggressively during its restoration. Consequently, oil was being allowed to seep into a valve chamber whenever I hit a left turn. Remedial work cured the issue, but not after every one of the engine’s new gaskets and seals was checked or replaced in pursuance of the problem!” he chuckles.
Appearances at Rallyday, Goodwood, Birmingham NEC’s Classic Motor Show, numerous events in Wales and a promotional stint with Playboy model and professional rally driver, Inessa Tushkanova, sat behind its steering wheel have seen Michael’s restored Rover gain a huge number of new admirers in recent months. Forthcoming outings that include the North West Rally Stages in February also promise to boost the profile of this retro ride. That’s no bad thing, especially now that its owner has confessed that he plans to rest his 6R4 for the foreseeable future. Perhaps the time has finally come for the Group 2 SD1 to step out of the mighty Metro’s shadow?!
TECH DATA Specification
ENGINE: John Eales 4.6-litre #V8 , #Omega forged pistons, forged con rods, Stage 4 ported and polished cylinder head, big valves, dry sump oil system, three #Facet oil pumps, #Weber fuel pressure regulator, braided fuel lines with AN10 fittings, custom 12-gallon fuel tank, enlarged alloy radiator with twin slimline electric fans, four #Weber-45-DCOE carburettors, foam air filters, factory inlet manifold, 3.5in side-exit stainless steel exhaust system (with optional 112 dB silencer).
PERFORMANCE: 345bhp (estimated)
TRANSMISSION: Rear-wheel drive, all-steel five-speed #Getrag dog box, 4.89 #Atlas rear axle.
SUSPENSION: #Bilstein adjustable front struts, Bilstein twin rear dampers, adjustable top mounts, polybushes throughout, quick steering rack.
BRAKES: Factory calipers, #AP-Racing grooved discs, performance pads.
WHEELS: 18in Speedline multi-spokes painted silver with polished lips, Kumho Ecsta 220/640/18 competition tyres.
EXTERIOR: Restored and seam-welded shell chassis, full respray in factory white paint, replacement doors, aluminium bonnet and tailgate, polycarbonate windows, Austin Rover ‘Golden Wonder’ racing livery, rally mud flaps, kill switches.
INTERIOR: Motordrive racing seats with embroidered Austin Rover logo, TRS six-point safety harnesses, #MOMO three-spoke steering wheel, aluminium door cards, custom switch panel, kill switches, navigator foot rest, factory roll cage.
THANKS: The lads in my workshop for looking after the car, and a big thanks to Ian Clark (a man who navigates brilliantly) for helping me to piece the ol’ girl together.
It’s fair to say this SD1 has had an eventful life – it was even ‘shortened’ by a previous owner!
No images of the original ‘works’ interior remain, so it’s uncertain whether this arrangement is contemporary, or retro fitted by a subsequent owner.
“His stockpile of pictures was instrumental in ensuring that the various logos were sized and positioned in line with their appearance in period”
4.6 litres of trusty V8 delivers an estimated 345bhp.
If cars could talk, this Rover would have a fair few tales to tell!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation‘TAKE TWO’ / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-E21-M52 / #BMW-3-Series / #1982 #BMW-316-E21 / #BMW-316
BMW E21 - E21s look great as standard – they look even better dropped over a set of Rotas and packing a 2.8 M52 lump! Mark Brown’s first foray into BMW E21 ownership ended in a fiery, frustrating mess, so he set out to go one better with his second example – we think he might just have managed it! Words: Jarkle. Photos: Rick Davy.
BMW can stake a fairly watertight claim to have invented the concept of the big-power family saloon with their original 2002 Turbo, a car that paved the way for all manner of M-power Munich legends like the E30, E36 and the even larger 5 and 7 series cars. The fact that #BMW has long prided itself on producing a range of potent straight six, V8 and even V12 motors has created a somewhat unexpected upside though, and that’s that these motors can, with a bit of thought and a lot of elbow grease, be transplanted into cars lower down the range. Fitting more modern M engines into base spec BMWs isn’t exactly a new practice but it is something that never ceases to amaze, particularly when you lift the bonnet and see a relatively new motor transplanted into a car that rolled off the line when the Cold War was still raging.
Mark Brown knows a thing or two about squeezing modern powerplants into retro BMWs, with this car being the second E21 to have benefited from his spannering skills. The first one, an orange E21 that eventually found itself running E36 power, sadly went up in flames in spectacular fashion about three years ago, an experience that must’ve been made all the more sickening for it happening on his drive.
“It’d always been a fairly temperamental car and had suffered from electrical gremlins in the past, but I never expected it to do that,” he explains with a grimace. “I’d started it and doubled back to my house to get something, then turned round to find my neighbour frantically pointing at the flames. It burnt out very quickly.”
Evidently not one to mope around or drag his heels, Mark opted to cure the pain of losing his beloved E21 by throwing himself headlong into another Munich-flavoured project, the one that eventually culminated in the car you see here. Bought by an Australian in Spain (hence the right hand drive layout), the car slowly made its way north under the ownership of various individuals, spending time in the Channel Islands before finally finding itself in Scotland. It was still there when Mark came knocking and before long the beige car was in bits, totally stripped and prepared for shot-blasting. It was only then that Mark could truly appreciate the gem of a car he’d stumbled upon; it was totally rot free, had covered a mere 50,000 miles and was rock solid in every respect. The perfect project in other words.
“The whole thing was made much easier thanks to help from my friend Mick Rogers of Pristine Bodyworks. He’s a bit of a BMW specialist and has owned E21s himself, so it did make finding parts a little easier and problem solving that much swifter – two heads are better than one.”
At this point Mark was fairly certain he wanted to repaint the car in some kind of orange hue, with the vibrant ‘Fire Orange’ supplied on the limited edition three series GTS being the most likely candidate. Actually tracking down the paint in any volume proved trickier than expected though, and when the trial paint reacted badly with the engine bay, well, then it was time for a rethink.
“I pretty much decided to paint it in Laguna Seca Blue there and then, it was a spur of the moment call and one that I think went really well.” We’re inclined to agree with him. Mick’s contacts in the BMW world eventually unearthed the powerplant now found under the bonnet of Mark’s E21, the M52 six-pot from a 2.8 E36. All manner of BMW engines have been stuffed into the bay of the E21 over the years but we think Mark’s done the right thing by sticking to a six cylinder. For starters it’s the engine that’s best associated with fast BMWs and one that delivers a very handy 228bhp to the rear wheels, plus there’s the fact that getting an E36 motor into one of these isn’t a process that requires extensive surgery, it simply drops in using the mounts from the 323. It can also be used in conjunction with the E20 E36 gearbox, though Mark admits that he used custom mounts to get it sitting exactly where
“I was considering the bigger S50 M3 engine for the 282bhp it’d bring, but in the end it made more sense to stick with the 2.8. For starters it was a known, low mileage engine, plus there’s the fact that the half-shafts are a known weak spot and start throwing in the towel over 250bhp.”
Not that Mark’s in any danger of being stranded by a transmission failure any time soon, not with the E21 now running the tough as nails differential from an E12 535i, a unit that’s so far proved more than up to the task of dealing with anything thrown its way. Discussing the build with Mark you’re struck by just how easy it all sounds, something that the man himself is keen to highlight. “The engine conversion went really smoothly, and the bodywork was simple because it was pretty much perfect at the start,” he laughs. “In fact the only really tricky bit was sorting the brake servo out and making it work in a reliable manner.”
BMW might have a reputation for engineering excellence nowadays but back in the 70s when the E21 was first penned things were apparently a little more relaxed, and when it came to producing a right hand drive version it’d probably be fair to say that they cut a few corners. A spaghetti-like maze of cables, junctions and wires transferred braking force from the servo mounted on a piece of iron at the front of the engine bay to the bulkhead, and though this arrangement worked very well three decades ago, by the time Mark got the car it’d begun to show its age.
“Finding the correct remote servo to use with a dual servo brake setup proved to be one of the toughest aspects of the whole project, mainly as actually tracking one down was an utter nightmare! In the end we rebuilt and serviced one to cut down on delivery time, but we still had to redesign the whole brake system.” With the bulk of the head-scratching work done and dusted, Mark turned his attention to other, less pressing aspects of the build.
The standard 13in steels BMW bolted to the hubs in the mid 70s were entirely typical for the period but didn’t look quite right once the car had been lowered on coilovers all round, hence the decision to swap for Rotas in 9x15in flavour. The idea to paint them in black with a gold overlay was actually drawn from one of Magnus Walker’s Porsche 911s and is, we think, one of the standout aspects of the whole build. Rotas aren’t exactly a rare wheel in the old car world (and for good reason), but the ones on Mark’s car look utterly different thanks to their interesting finish.
Then there’s the interior, an area where the age old adage of ‘less is more’ rings true. It isn’t stripped out to bare metal, dozens of glaring gauges don’t litter the place and you won’t find an insane, FIA-pleasing cage encroaching on the front seats. What you will find are a pair of natty Recaro buckets formerly housed in an Audi (and bought for a very reasonable sum), a small race wheel, oil pressure and temperature gauges discreetly tucked away and a subtle rear cage with the carpets modified to fit. It’s the perfect blend of parts for a car like this, one which will spend the majority of its time on roads, not race tracks.
The car finally came together a number of months ago and was immediately pressed into service, Mark using it regularly throughout the summer and taking the time to appreciate and enjoy the fruits of his and Mick’s handiwork. He then made the painful decision to sell it on and move to something else, specifically a bright red E30 M3. Mark makes no qualms about it being a fraught call and certainly not one he took lightly, but the fact that, in his words, he’ll never be able to afford an E30 M3 ever again, sealed the deal. The E21 has since gone on to delight its new owner and Mark, with his E21 itch well and truly scratched (for now at least), has moved onto BMW pastures new.
“The engine conversion went really smoothly, and the bodywork was simple because it was pretty much perfect at the start.”
Not a lot of weight, and over 220bhp means that tail-out antics are only ever a twitch of the foot away.
M52 engine was a surprisingly simple swap – helped no doubt by being fitted into an immaculate engine bay.
TECH DATA Specification / #BMW-M52 / #M52B28
ENGINE: #M52 2.8 inline six cylinder with custom engine mounts, #USDM M Power coil pack cover, custom alloy radiator from AH Fabrications, modified six branch E36 exhaust manifold and 323 type twin silence system, remapped ECU, 228bhp.
TRANSMISSION: #Getrag-M20 / #Getrag five-speed, uprated clutch and lightened flywheel, custom propshaft, E12 M535 LSD conversion including dual billet ‘’dog bone’’
SUSPENSION: Front: LEDA coilovers rebuilt by #GAZ UK, polybushes, #F&R strut-brace Rear: Ford Escort coilovers modifed to fit and rebuilt by #Gaz-UK , polybushes.
BRAKES: Front: #WMS billet four-pot brake calipers and Hawk fast road pads, braided hoses, SMC Remote servo install with whole braking system redesigned and rebuilt. Rear: E30 rear calipers, Hawk fast road pads, braided hoses.
WHEELS AND TYRES: 9x15in Rota alloys painted in gold and black, 205/50x15in (front) and 215/50x15in (rear) Marangoni tyres.
INTERIOR: #Recaro seats on custom mounts, Safety Devices harnesses, dash mounted panel for additional STACK gauges, #MOMO Prototipo wheel, Storm billet gear knob, rear half cage, new carpets cut to fit, custom concealed fuse box.
EXTERIOR: 1982 316 BMW E21 non sunroof repainted E46 M3 Laguna Seca Blue, modified wheel arches with subtle flair, single wiper Conversion.
THANKS: Thanks to Mick Rodgers @ Pristine Bodyworks, Joe Geach @ ARM BMW, Lars @ AH Fabrication, Claire (for her being extremely patient & understanding), Kyle Clinton for re-making and improving the quick rack and Kevin ‘’I’ll sort that bodged exhaust’’
“I pretty much decided to paint it in Laguna Seca Blue there and then, it was a spur of the moment call and one that I think went really well.”
Resisting the temptation to do this whenever you set off must be difficult!
Half cage and Audi-sourced Recaros live in a largely (and understandably) standard interior.
With its baby ‘shark-nosed’ profile it’s still an imposing saloon.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBIG IN THE NAME SEMA SPECIAL: PORSCHE 993 CARRERA 2 WORDS MIDGE PHOTOGRAPHY KEVVE.BE
Meet Jenna Belle, an #RWB-Porker 993 with a very phat arse! Lovely. / #Porsche-911-RWB-Porker / #Porsche / #2015
SHAKESPEARE ASKED, WHAT’S IN A NAME?’ ACCORDING TO MASTER AKIRA NAKAI, THE ANSWER IS EVERYTHING
It might not be apparent from my rather youthful looks and uncanny ability to say fuck a lot. But I’m knocking on a bit now and, as you get past your late Twenties, one thing you encounter that’s aggravating as piss is the whole baby names thing.
Now, let me explain. You may still be a teenager, and fair play to ya (you lucky bastard). But one day you’ll wake up and either your missus or one of your mates will say, “I’m having a baby”. And this will be followed by the inevitable question, “What am I gonna call it?” You see, names are important. Choosing a name is a deeply personal thing. There’s hundreds of books dedicated to what your particular moniker might mean, or where it comes from. But it’s still something that’s given and not earned. Well, unless you happen to be a car like this.
This monster 993 is called JennaBelle. I don’t know why exactly, because that’d be like asking someone why they called their kid Britney-Christina. A bit too personal. The most important thing here though is the fact that this motor has a name at all, and that means it’s a genuine #RWB-Porsche .
You can’t simply buy one of these. Not in the traditional sense of the word. Even if you happen to work at #RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF #Los-Angeles like Joey Chang here, it’s not quite as simple as buying and bolting on a kit.
RWB cars are a Japanese institution. The styling on each one is completely unique and, no matter where you are on the planet, they have to be hand crafted by the company’s founder, #Master-Akira-Nakai . What’s more your car only has the seal of approval when he bestows a name upon it. Then it’s a true RAUH-Welt.
Now, you may see kits from the various RWB branches around the world listed online. They’re usually priced at around $22,000, but think of this as more of a vague deposit. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, you provide your own Porsche, have a few design meetings with the man himself and then he’ll fly over and build your car, entirely by eye. No one else is allowed to touch it.
They all come with his own trademark touches too. The famous sculptural wings and over-fenders are designed to be removable so they don’t interfere with the task of developing and tweaking the car’s chassis geometry or tuning. And that’s because they’re derived from Nakai-san’s passion for hitting Tsukuba, or any other circuit they’ll let him out on. He also spaces out each rivet with his Winston cigarette packet and usually scribbles something in Japanese on the dash. It’s this intimate process that makes these cars so personal. And that’s also why he names them as he sees fit.
Nakai-san made his own name in the 1990s by pioneering the ‘Rough World’ look on his drift AE86, but it was his transition to building air-cooled Porsches that put him firmly in the spotlight. Starting with his own 930, Stella Artois (see what I mean about names being personal?), he went on to build most of the best-known 911s in Japan, including Spearmint Rhino, Rotana (the first RWB 911 Turbo) and Yves Piaget (French Rose), a car famous for its unique red paint. It was only three or four years ago that he decided to branch out abroad. Starting in Thailand, with a 911 called Rough Evolution, there’s now around 90 documented RWB Porsches worldwide, all with names like Cinderella, Sinister, Jittakorn, Kermit, Fishbone, Darth Vader, Uzi, Good Hill Speed, Midas touch and #RAUH Art. With the exception of one matt-black 996 called Stealth Bird, they’ve all been the old-skool water-cooled models that made him famous.
Anyway, let’s just say he’s been a busy boy, especially as genuine #RAUH-Welt cars can now be found in the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Russia, Bahrain, Dubai and the Netherlands. There’s even one right here in the UK. Their popularity is universal and we spotted 11 American #RWB creations at SEMA, which brings us neatly back to this one – JennaBelle from RWB LA.
As the story goes, Nakai-san flew over in April to complete the styling on Joey’s 993 along with a couple of others in LA (cars now called Creaminz and Medusa). Joey says it was an honour watching him work and he was thrilled when he was asked to help with some of the cutting on his own car. A special moment and no mistake. The resulting lightweight widebody conversion is every bit as mental as you’d expect from the Japanese master, but the rest of this awesome machine is down to Joey. As is Nakai-san’s way, your car is built around the wheels, but the rest of the performance mods are down to you. And this is where Joey has clearly come into his own.
Using his own parts company, CYC Trading Group, Joey has outdone himself, finishing a RWB monster to rival any out there. The underpinnings of this car are more than a match for Nakai-san’s awesome aero, because, although Joey regularly drives it on the street, it’s been put together primarily for no-holds barred track action.
It’s true to say that this car get’s the absolute shit kicked out of it on a regular basis and until Joey finds the fi re-breathing 4-litre ‘all-motor’ lump he’s looking for, it’s all about getting the most supreme handling possible. I guess that’s a pretty obvious statement – just the chassis spec on this thing is longer than the entire spec on most cars. Everything is dialled-in to absolute perfection.
When CYC Trading and RWB decided to create RAUH-Welt LA, Joey chose the 993 for his own ride because it’s arguably the best of all the air-cooled 911s. In fact, many purists believe it to be the ultimate 911, so that makes it all the more mental that he’d consider taking a cutting wheel to a ‘totally mint’ base car. Then again it had to be a 993 because, for Joey, it had to deliver the most driver feel. It’s bare bones motoring – you can practically touch the road when you’re behind the wheel. There’s no electronic gadgetry or cheating to keep you on the straight and narrow. It’s pure man and machine stuff. Back to driving basics.
That also explains Joey’s choice of a stripped-out interior, Sabelt buckets and a well-used set of BBS race wheels sitting in the garage. In handling terms, this is as close as you’re ever gonna get to a raw 1990’s road-going race car. To many, that air-cooled era was by far the most hardcore.
And I guess that’s exactly what RWB is all about. RAUH-Welt doesn’t translate as Rough World for some sort of laugh. It’s much more than that. It’s an attitude. The whole thing may be a mindset started by one man in an unassuming backstreet of the Japanese city Chiba. But thanks to people like Joey it’s fast becoming a worldwide ideology.
These hoops cost more than most of our cars.
TECH SPEC: #1995 #Porsche-911-993 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-993 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-2 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-2-993 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-993
TUNING: #Fabspeed sports headers; Sport Cat X-pipe; #Supercup exhaust; heat duct and fan Block-Offs; Cup high performance air box cover with #BMC filter; six-speed G50 transmission with CAE race shifter.
CHASSIS: Street wheels: 13.5in #RWB-LA custom threepiece #Forged wheels with 265/35x18 front and 335/30x18 rear Pirelli P Zero tyres; track wheels): 10.5 and 12x18in #BBS-E88 custom three-piece motorsport wheels with Pirelli Corsa System tyres (front 255/35x18, rear 295/30x18); #JRZ RS-Pro with EHC system; #ERP 993 front A-arm spherical bearing kit; rear spherical bearing cartridge; solid mounts; adjustable camber link; adjustable kinematics link and 993 camber plate; Tarett drop links; #H&R front and rear sway bars; #Porsche GT2 strut brace; #Brembo GT kit with type III rotors (front four piston with 355mm discs; rear four piston with 345mm discs); #Brembo-RE-10 pads and SS brake lines.
STYLING: RWB 993 Street Version; Kamiwaza double deck wing; fender wing; Rotana-style front extended long carnards; Street-style front bumper with fog light insert and air duct; dry carbon bonnet.
INTERIOR: CAE race shifter; full Alcantara custom interior (dashboard, doors, rear seats, and centre console); RS interior doorpanel and carpet with rear seat delete; RWB LA Race version roll bar; Sabelt 330mm steering wheel with #MOMO steering wheel hub; 997 GT3 cup car steering wheel quick release; Sabelt GT- 600 carbon fibre bucket seat with; six-point harness; radio delete; Porsche OEM guard red seat belt; Rennline floor boards and adjustable pedals.
THANKS The Master Akira Nakai; CYC Trading Group LLC; #RWB-Los-Angeles ; Pirelli Tires; JRZ Suspension; Fabspeed Motorsport; Brembo/Sabelt Race Technologies; Purist Group; European Auto Source; Hsu Design.
A 993 that’s had Nakai-san’s official blessing
What do people say when they see the car?
They usually ask if it’s possible to drive it like this. I say of course, that’s why we built it.
You’re obviously pleased with how it turned out, what’s the best bit?
Apart from working with Nakai-san himself, I’d say the fender wing. It’s a unique design that directs the air straight to the GT2 wing tunnel to cool the engine. That’s the best thing about aero mods, they work.
It must have set you back more than a couple of dollars, right?
I could probably buy another two 993s for what this has cost in mods alone but where’s the fun in that? You have to love it and, if you love what you’re doing, it will last forever.
One very exclusive Porsche.
What makes it #SEMA worthy?
HAND MADE KIT
There’s no bullshit with a car like this and that’s why #RWB is still the daddy. Each kit has to be hand crafted and installed by the main man himself, or else it just isn’t #RAUH-Welt . There’s no skool like the old skool and the thing about Akira Nakai is that he’s the Headmaster.
MENTALLY PRECISE CHASSIS
Got any JRZ and ERP stuff under there mate? Blimey. Actually the chassis package in general is a bit special on this motor – just take look at that monstrous spec! Once Nakai-san has done his thing on the body it’s all down to the owner to get the car up to spec – luckily Joey here is something of an aftermarket parts guru. www.cycgroupllc.com
Most people would be happy being visited by the amazing wheel fairy just once in their life, but for this project Joey has two sets of the lushest wheels going. The custom made #RWB-Street wheels are absolutely stunning (they’re manufactured by Avant Garde y’know), but he also needed a set of even lighter #BBS jobs for the track. These hoops cost approximately as much as my whole car… and that’s each, without those monster Pirelli tyres. www.rwbla.com
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- Post is under moderationROTOR PERDITION
There must be something in the water Down Under judging by this amazing turbo rotary-swapped E30. A lifetime of E30 obsession has led Ehsan Hazrati to build many insane projects. His latest project is stuffed with enough triangles to make Pythagoras weep, yet you’d never guess it from the outside. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Andrew Parliaros.
Now everybody from the 313, put your motherflippin’ hands up and follow me.” So spat Eminem in 8 Mile (kinda), allowing the previously unremarkable three-digit number a little screen time. Until this point, 313 had merely been a truncatable prime, Donald Duck’s registration number or, of course, the year in which Rome’s Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine was completed. But now, rather splendidly, we have a new function for the number 313. Even more aggressive than a riled-up Eminem, ladies and gentlemen, we present the E30 #BMW 313i.
I know, it doesn’t sound exciting when you put it like that, does it? But all is not as it seems here. True, the E30 harks back to an era when the boot badges did mostly relate to what was under the bonnet (a 318i was a 1.8, a 325i was a 2.5… you get the idea), so are we looking at an obscure variant with a 1.3-litre engine? And why would anyone want that?
Stick with the story, for your perceptions are about to be blown away in the most spectacular way possible. But first, let’s meet the man behind it. “My parents tell me that at the age of five I was drawing the round headlights and kidney grilles of the E30 BMW without really even knowing what it was,” says Ehsan Hazrati, the Sydneysider behind the steering wheel. “As I got older and got my licence, I had E30 after E30. I did all the modifications myself, from servicing to tuning, overhauling to suspension, bushings, sound systems etc. I did extensive research into E30 DTM race car suspension, brakes, and making them handle around corners at high speeds. I spent a lot of hours calculating and testing power-to-weight combinations, high RPM engines, and turbocharging power graph outputs. And a lot of trial-and-error!”
This, it’s pretty safe to say, is a man obsessed. After a long line of retro 3 Series, he finds himself today with three E30s making a nuisance of themselves on his driveway: a 900hp drag car that’s currently under construction; the family daily-driver four-door 316i that just happens to be running a 450hp Corvette LS1 V8; and the cheeky red number that’s splashed across these pages. This, for us, is the pick of the bunch – hence why it’s here – because, well, it’s just insane; not just the quality of finish and attention to detail but the fact that it’s running a Mazda rotary engine.
Aha. That cacophonous clanging is the sound of the penny dropping throughout the Drive-My readership. The 313i badge refers to the 13B rotary engine’s swept volume of 1308cc. Although, being a Wankel unit, you can’t really equate its displacement to that of a piston engine, its twin-654cc chambers aren’t even on nodding terms with a crank and- piston arrangement. But whichever way you cut it, this is a feisty manoeuvre. Ehsan’s opted for the 13B-REW variant, as found in twin-turbo form in the third generation RX-7, and it’s a bit of a cult icon.
It’s a bold play, but Ehsan has form with this sort of caper. His first three E30s may have enjoyed tweaked BMW four- and sixpots, but the fourth ended up with a 13B from a Mazda Cosmo, and it seems that this wacky experiment really flicked his switch, and he stuck with the formula. That part-built drag car we mentioned? That’s rocking rotors too. This fella just really digs triangles.
“From as long ago as I can remember, all I ever wanted was an old-school BMW,” he assures us. “I live by ‘classic not plastic’ and ‘built not bought’. The BMWs of this era represented great European design and true workmanship, and the last perfect lightweight rear-wheel drive chassis compared to the competitors – the KE Corolla, Mercedes 230E, Mazda RX-7 and so on – from that time.” You’ll note that he’s slipped a Mazda reference in there, though. Clearly a fusion was always on the cards – a greatest hits of the period, if you like. Well, it’s all subjective isn’t it?
“Yeah, I’ve always had a passion for E30s as well as for the lightweight, high-RPM feel of a turbo rotary engine,” Ehsan admits. “I had a picture in my head of what I wanted it to look and feel like; people from the E30 scene tend either to have a really clean slow-and-standard car or a roughened-up fast one. I wanted to build an all-rounder – a show-stopper that drops jaws but that could also be used as a street-legal weapon. Something I can take to the drag strip, run consistent ten-second passes on street tyres, then drive home and the next day go on an E30 club cruise to the beach, have it on display at a car show, and win trophies. This build was my total package.”
Blimey. Talk about your stereotypical Aussie confidence! There’s not a single element of that paragraph that isn’t writing a massive cheque, but thankfully Ehsan’s the sort of dude with the skills to cash it. And so it began. A project base was sourced from a guy who’d had the car slumbering in the shadows of his garage for around six years – all immaculate and original, and you’ll no doubt be impressed to learn that it’s still wearing its original factory Brilliantrot paint. The seller refused to let the car go before Ehsan promised to give the car a new lease of life, a good home and, most of all, not to crash it – after all, he’d owned it from new. Imagine what he must be thinking when he sees this feature! Good vibes, we hope.
Ehsan took it home, and immediately installed it in his garage for another dusty year-long slumber. You don’t want to rush these things, do you? Although he wasn’t dragging his heels by any means – our effervescent protagonist had been to see his friendly local engine builder.
“I did everything else on this car myself, but it was George and Rocky at PAC Performance Racing who built and ported the engine, and dyno tuned the car,” Ehsan explains. The motor is bridge-ported, and porting rotaries is something of a black art: a great way to get more power out of them is to effectively smash some holes into the intake side, although the more extreme the ports are, the more lairy and tricky the motor becomes.
Bridge-porting basically involves opening out the standard ports, then adding an additional eyebrow port above – it all gets a bit techy, but the short version is you get an amusing lumpy idle, oodles more power, and a hell of a lot of noise. Which is all good fun. “At the time of getting the engine built I was looking for around 400hp,” says Ehsan.
“It currently makes around 550rwhp at 7000rpm on 22psi, which is approximately 620hp at the engine… in a car weighing only 992kg! It’s safe-tuned at 22psi, although the engine is built for 35psi+, so there’s plenty more to come.”
The results really do speak for themselves, too. “It performed far better than expected,” Ehsan grins. “But the power band was so high, I went through axles like underwear. Obviously the factory axle broke but then it ate through a brand-new OEM 325i setup, Z3 M Coupé items, hybrid E30/E28 M5 units… then, after the Garrett GTX4088R turbo upgrade, it even chewed through custom 108mm 500hp Porsche billet axles!” The build is undoubtedly a bit of a monster, echoing those early years of trial-and-error to get it all running right, but you can see from the muscular spec box that Ehsan’s really pulled it all together neatly. And, of course, as the man himself was eager to tell us, this E30 is as much about show as go…
A very important marker for this build was to make it something of a sleeper – not totally stealthy but certainly not showing its hand too early. That mint-condition, 25-yearold paint certainly helps here, and Ehsan has had all manner of chuckles taking on Skyline GT-Rs and a kaleidoscope of Porsches who never saw it coming and didn’t see where it went. “There’s no modern paint colours here, no fibreglass body kits, no big wings screwed to the boot,” he says, with no small amount of satisfaction. “I kept it all factory – the only thing I added was a new OEM iS front apron lip, and M-Tech 1 boot spoiler. All genuine add-ons from the ’80s era!”
The wheels are an interesting choice too and no doubt gave some of you wheel nuts pause for though. They’re actually the third set of rims that the car’s enjoyed since completion; it started off on satin black Watanabes before moving onto BBS LMs with polished lips, but I think we can all agree that the 16” mesh wheels give it an appropriately period look that’s in keeping with that quasi-sleeper vibe.
This keenness for stealth carries over to the interior, too. “One of my rules is that there should be no extra gauges on top of the dash,” Ehsan asserts. “That would give the game away immediately. I replaced the trip computer with an eBoost2 gauge, and also utilised the E30 Alpina air vent digital dash idea, with an analogue boost gauge.” Stealth, as ever, is the watchword.
This is, by all measures, a phenomenal build – without a hint of hyperbole, one of the finest E30s to grace these pages in some time. And with that colossally powerful engine and pristine period exterior, what do you reckon is Ehsan’s favourite element of the project?
“Oh, it has to be my rear diff brace,” he grins. “I designed and patented it myself on a CAD programme, checking the stress tolerance points for maximum strength and so on, and it truly is a work of art. People at car shows see that and know this car means serious business; it’s not just a pretty show pony. That brace is what’s needed to consistently put six hundred horses to the ground on both street and track.” It’s impressive, but unsurprising, that his top pick would be a thing of pure function.
Ehsan’s proud to describe how the initial build of the whole car took just three months, but it was then a further 18 months of tweaking suspension heights, spring rates, diff ratios, tyre diameters, ET formula calculations, and axle and tailshaft options before it was all truly fit to get that phenomenal power down.
“What it is, basically, is a brand-new race engine in a retro shell,” he says, in a charming display of matter-of-factness. “People’s reactions at shows have been amazing – the looks on their faces when they found out what’s in there, and that it’s all street-legal. And next year – that’s when I’m going to be chasing to beat my personal best drag time. It ran a 10.86 at 120mph on the old turbo with 385rwhp on 225/50 street tyres. With the new GTX4088R and 550rwhp on 225/40 semislicks, I reckon it could run a 9.9.”
All very ambitious but you get the feeling that he’s got all of this precisely calculated. There’s no margin for error here, and that’s what the number 313 should henceforth represent. Forthrightness. Function.
Desirability. A new number-of-the-beast for the 21st century. And when you see those digits on the tail end of a shiny red E30, you’d better not dismiss it as a lesserengined also-ran – there’s hidden mischief here, and its furious anger makes Eminem look like a primary school teacher. Everybody from the 313, put your rotorflippin’ shafts up…
“I wanted to build an all-rounder – a show-stopper that drops jaws but that could also be used as a street-legal weapon”
Bridge-ported 13B rotary sports a massive #Garrett-GTX4088R turbo and makes 550rwhp.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-313i-E30 / #BMW-313i-Rotary-E30 / #BMW-313i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW /
ENGINE #13B-REW 2x654cc #Mazda-RX-7 / Mazda rotary, bridge-ported to PAC Racing specs, race doweled and balanced rotors, #PAC-Racing unbreakable apex/corner seals, #Power-Ported intake and ports, custom PAC Racing 13B turbo exhaust manifold, #Garrett GTX4088R turbo, Turbosmart 50mm ProGate wastegate, #Turbosmart 34mm dual port blow-off valve, #Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, 3.5” dump pipe with full 3” exhaust and Rotaflow silencers, #Haltech PS2000 ECU and Haltech boost controller solenoid, custom fabricated engine mounts, custom dual-core PWR intercooler, PWR oil cooler, #PWR dual-core radiator, custom alloy radiator shroud and high #CFM-Engineering output 16” Spal fan, dual #Bosch-044 fuel pump, three litre surge tank and #Walbro primer pump, quad #Haltech LS1 ignition coils. 620hp at flywheel (542rwhp) at 22psi safe tune; engine built for 35psi+.
TRANSMISSION R154 Supra Turbo five-speed gearbox with aftermarket strengthened billet gearset and synchros, custom gearbox mounts, custom PAC billet bellhousing adapter, PAC RBR550 heavy-duty clutch and pressure plate, billet lightened flywheel, billet short-shifter with E30 DTM white Delrin nylon gear knob, custom Mark Williams 3” wall chromoly tailshaft with 1350-series Strange uni-joints.
CHASSIS 9x16” #BBS mesh wheels with 215/45 (front) and 255/45 (rear) #Kumho Ecsta tyres, custom 1000hp halfshaft axles with 120mm chromoly treated CVs and bearing cages, reinforced rear #BMW subframe and trailing arms, custom fabricated rear diff brace mount, E28 M5 diff with #Alpina finned diff cover, cryogenically strengthened and shot-peened crown and pinon, #OS-Giken Superlock shimmed 28-plate tightened LSD centre (85% lock), #AKG solid 75D subframe, trailing arms, control arm and diff mount bushing kit, Ireland Engineering heavy duty front and rear racing anti-roll bar kit with adjustable rose-joint links, custom 315mm front and rear brake kit with ADR/CAMS approved braided line throughout, OEM E32 740i brake master cylinder, modified #Z3M power steering rack with 2.7 lock-to-lock, solid billet alloy steering shaft coupler, 5/8” Mark Williams drag racing rear wheel studs, custom #Bilstein front coilovers and solid camber plates, heavy-duty rear Beehive King Springs, welded AKG anticamber squatting plates in rear trailing arms, Sparco 1.5” front and rear strut braces, Ultra Racing four-point lower crossmember reinforcement bar.
EXTERIOR 1990 325i two-door shell, original 25-year-old Brilliantrot paint, 318is lip spoiler, M Tech 1 boot spoiler, rolled and flared arches.
INTERIOR #MOMO Prototipo 350mm Retrotech steering wheel, E30 M3 black leather seats, #Sparco PRO2000 fixed driver’s seat, #Sparco fixed race seat rails, Sparco six-point 3” harness, #Autometer #Ultra-Light gauges, Turbosmart eBoost2 with 3x boost pre-set stages (street, track, drag racing), E46 M3 pedals, all sound/cavity deadening and heat shield removed, drilled-out circular holes behind doorcards, parcel tray, behind back seat and sunroof for weight reduction – total car weight 992kg.
THANKS George and Rocky at #PAC-Performance-Racing , Leon Sokalski at Performance Metalcraft, Mark Callinan at British European Motor Works, and my family and girlfriend for picking me up when I broke the CV axles on the street.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIncredible supercharged custom widebody air-ride E46 M3 / #BMW
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Boasting a custom wide-body kit, air-ride, supercharger and custom interior, we challenge you to find a more complete project car than this staggering E46 M3.
Exploding onto the scene and tearing through it with the ferocity of a supercharged tornado, this E46 M3 is a devastating lesson in the theory that more can most definitely be more. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Tony Lopez
When building a project car there are numerous approaches and end goals you can look to achieve: some people build out-and-out show cars; some people build ferocious fast road cars; some people go for an all-out audio build; and some go to town on styling. When Rick Fontan got to work on his E46 M3 he decided to do, well, everything. We feature a lot of amazing cars in Drive-My but it’s not that often that we come across a car that has been modified as absolutely as this, on every level, and this is one of those cars that, when we first saw it, genuinely took our breath away.
Of course, we’re sure that Rick will be the first person to admit that his car isn’t going to be met with universal appeal – it has been blowing minds like a brain bomb and collecting awards like some kind of giant award-collecting magnet since he rolled it out earlier in the year for the first time but there’s plenty here that will raise many an eyebrow. Those chopped front arches, for example, the highly unconventional bonnet setup, the fact that he’s blended so many different elements that in many ways conflict with each other and brought them together in one project. It’s definitely not a conventional build and by that very virtue he’s created something incredibly noticeable. Sometimes, when you come across a build that incorporates so many different elements, the end result can be a little jarring, with components that really don’t look like they belong together and it can be a little unpalatable – it’s the meat trifle from Friends, a lot of potentially delicious ingredients coming together to make something that’s hard to stomach but somehow Rick has made his vision work.
He’s plucked that vision from his brain and translated it into a tangible object that is coherent and, more than that, genuinely good. For all its wideness, angularity and sheer eyeball-punching impact, there is an inherent smoothness and oneness to this E46 M3. Everything flows together: the bodywork is wild but the Lamborghini Grigio silver paint is quite subtle; the wheels are large and multi-piece, yes, but sport a simple design; the purple highlights that appear throughout are just right in terms of colour and number to tie numerous elements together without overwhelming the car’s overall aesthetic and while the components might be unlikely bedfellows somehow everything just feels right together. A lot of thought and work has gone into this build and it shows.
So, just what kind of man builds this sort of car and why? “I have been into BMWs since I was about 19 years old. That’s when I first started getting into cars in general,” muses the now 33-year-old Rick. “BMW has always been respected in the show scene, on the street, and on the track. I think that’s what makes it so special. It covers all aspects of what a car should be and how it should be built. I had a Mitsubishi Eclipse for about four years before selling it to buy the M3. It was fully built by the time I sold it and I had won multiple awards with that build and even landed a magazine feature. I bought the M3 in 2006 from a dealership in Queens. It was a little beat up and had about 50,000 miles on it but that didn’t bother me at all because I already knew it was only a matter of time before I would start modifying it anyway. This was my dream car and as soon as I saw the opportunity to get one, I jumped on it. My inspiration came from Craig Liberman and his ‘uber’ M3; I was obsessed with that car and just knew I had to build one of my own and I had it all mapped out. I knew exactly what I wanted to do to it before I even knew purchasing one was an actual possibility.
“Going in I knew I wanted to build a show car. I had to make sure all areas of the car were addressed, especially the motor as it is the one area that everyone asks to see. I couldn’t have a built car without any engine modifications, that’s a no-go!
“My car had to be equally balanced. I made sure to modify the engine enough to be able to put it on a track as well as look amazing just sitting there on a showroom floor.” He’s certainly delivered on that front. The engine work isn’t insane but it’s nice to see a car built on this scale running something attainable under the engine bay – although that’s not to say this isn’t a seriously powerful and subsequently fast E46 M3.
There’s no missing that Vortech supercharger, painted in Candy purple, with a TurboSmart blow-off valve but you won’t be able to spot the uprated pulley and belt that help up the boost. There’s a Vibrant front mount intercooler with custom piping, Driven Innovations intake manifold and Agency Power stainless steel exhaust manifolds which lead to custom GTR-style side exit exhausts. Rick has paid a lot of attention to the fuelling, with Injector Dynamics ID725 fuel injectors and an upgraded fuel rail, while in the back you’ll find an ATL fuel cell, an amazing ATL dual dry break filler, plus a Bosch 044 fuel pump and Aeromotive fuel regulator. What’s most impressive, though, is not what’s in the engine bay but what isn’t, as the bay’s been shaved and a full wire tuck has been carried out. It looks spectacular for it; no wonder it’s Rick’s favourite mod on the entire car. “It takes the entire build of the car to the next level,” he says. “Plus, it’s very rare to see an M3 with this style of build and a shaved bay.” He’s not wrong. The super-clean bay draws your eye to engine and the ’charger and it makes the Candy purple highlights even more spectacular against the simple silver background.
With the Vortech blower and supporting mods, Rick’s M3 is putting out an impressive 450whp and that means some equally impressive drivetrain and chassis mods are required in order to be able to put that to good use. Originally this was an SMG car but Rick has swapped in a manual gearbox mated to an uprated UUC Stage 2 clutch and UUC flywheel to deal with the serious boost in power while a short-shifter takes a bit of travel out of the M3’s surprisingly long throw for quicker, sharper gear changes. For the brakes, Rick turned to StopTech, slapping on the company’s seriously powerful six-pot front kit with two-piece slotted discs which is matched to an ever-soslightly smaller four-pot setup at the rear, with tucked braided hoses all-round and purple calipers, naturally.
It won’t have escaped your attention that this car is on air and Rick’s reasoning is sound: “I went for this setup to have the best of both worlds. With suspension like this it allows me to drive the car daily, set the ride height lower if I were to track it, slam it down to the floor or even raise it high enough to drive onto a trailer.” His kit of choice is Air Lift’s excellent offering along with the equally excellent V2 controller. The suspension mods haven’t stopped there and this E46 M3 has also been treated to uprated front and rear anti-roll bars, carbon fibre lower control arms and a rear camber kit, plus the entire undercarriage has been Stoneguard powdercoated.
We mentioned the wheels earlier and that the simple design works really well against the riot of styling that’s going on at the same time. “I’ve always liked the mesh type of wheels,” says Rick, “but with this type of build I decided to go with five-spoke wheels. I feel it gives the car an aggressive look and displays my brake setup beautifully.” We agree – the spoke spacing on the three-piece 20” SSR Professor SP1 wheels that he’s opted for is massive, meaning everyone gets a great view of those huge brakes, and the 10” front and 12” rears mean serious dish.
As far as the exterior of this car is concerned, there’s no two ways about it: it’s utterly insane. It’s not going to appeal to everyone but there’s no denying how much work has gone into it and how spectacular the end result it. “The styling of this car has been through many different stages over the years,” Rick tells us. “There were many problems and challenges along the way because of all the different shops it went to, but about three years ago my car finally landed at AMS Autowerks where the final transformation took place. Even that was a challenge in itself. Diogo Acevedo, the owner, had to rip the car apart and basically start from scratch.”
A big job then, but that’s kind of stating the obvious. So what exactly have we got here? Well, for starters, there’s the custom wide-body kit with its extreme arches and those sections chopped from the rear of each one which really makes this car unique. Elsewhere there’s carbon fibre – lots and lots of carbon fibre – with a custom carbon front lip, Vorsteiner carbon boot and roof, carbon headlight overlays, and M front, side grilles and emblems for good measure. The fat exhausts poke out from the side skirts and have been fitted with custom heat shields to stop them from melting the kit and then there’s the bonnet, or rather the lack of it. Now, at first glance you might think that Rick has popped his bonnet off for the photos, as you often see guys doing, but look a little closer and you realise that, no, what you’re seeing is the bonnet in its entirety. Rick says it’s a custom 1/3 bonnet and closer inspection reveals that basically the front 1/3 of the bonnet has been retained and mounted as it normally would be while the rest of it has essentially been chopped off and possibly discarded in a hedge somewhere. It’s very different and pretty cool for its double-take factor.
Moving inside there’s barely time to take a breather as the car continues to assault your senses. “The interior needed to look as clean as the rest of the car and to continue the exterior theme as well,” says Rick. This meant stripping stuff out and painting a whole bunch of things Candy purple. The whole interior has been trimmed in suede with purple stitching and up front Rick has plumped for a pair of Recaro Profi XL seats along with Schroth Profi 5 harnesses and a Vertex steering wheel mounted on a Momo hub. There’s carbon trim galore, along with a carbon gear knob and a custom dash housing an AIM stack cluster, boost gauge and ATL fuel gauge, plus a custom carbon bezel for the Alpine touchscreen head unit. The digital controller for the air suspension has been mounted in the driver’s air vent – a neat touch. The rear seats are gone and in their place sits a custom roll-cage, finished in Candy purple, a purple air tank and the Focal four-channel and mono amps for the seriously impressive audio setup. The front doors house the Focal K2 Power three-way speakers while the boot area is home to a pair of custom-mounted 10” Focal Utopia Be subs, which share the space with that incredible fuel setup.
So, there we have it. If you’ve ever wondered what you could achieve with your car given nine years and a truck-load of cash, hard work and determination, wonder no more because you’re looking at it. It’s not just the overall end result that’s mind-blowing, because it is, but it’s the attention to detail that’s gone into it, the thought, the creativity. Every aspect of the car makes you stop, look, look again and marvel. Do you love it? Do you love all of it? Maybe, maybe not, but we can guarantee it’s getting a reaction from you.
And that’s what this car does best: get people’s attention. “After three years of completely rebuilding the car it was debuted in August of 2015 at the Tuner Evolution car show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The crowd’s reaction was priceless as show-goers looked at it in amazement. The judges felt the same way as it was awarded ‘Best of Show’. Later that month I showed it at Wekfest East in Edison, New Jersey and also took ‘Best of Show’,” Rick says beaming like a proud father seeing his child winning a trophy at sports day. This isn’t just a car, it’s an extension of Rick, the physical manifestation of his vision and it’s the kind of car, the kind of complete car that you know was not a casual build. If you haven’t guessed, we kind of love it, it’s an absolutely awesome car on every level and proves that more is most definitely more.
Rear seats long-gone and in their place is a custom Candy purple roll-cage, air tank and two amps.
“I made sure to modify the engine enough to be able to put it on a track as well as look amazing just sitting there on a showroom floor”
“The interior needed to look as clean as the rest of the car and to continue the exterior theme as well”
DATA FILE Supercharged #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #Vortech-supercharger / #Vortech , upgraded belt and pulley, oil cooler, Vibrant front mount intercooler with custom piping, #Vibrant hoses, Agency Power stainless steel exhaust manifolds, #Injector-dynamics-ID725 fuel injectors, upgraded fuel rail, Driven Innovations intake manifold, #TurboSmart blowoff valve, Custom GTR-style side mounted exhausts, #ATL fuel cell, ATL dual dry break filler, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, #Aeromotive fuel regulator, reinforced sheet metal trunk, all braided stainless steel lines, Candy purple painted accents, shaved engine bay, full wire tuck. Est. 450whp.
TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual transmission swap, upgraded clutch, short-shift, #UUC Stage 2 clutch, UUC flywheel, Chase Bays brake booster eliminator.
CHASSIS 10x20” (front) and 12x20” (rear) SSR #Professor SP1 three-piece wheels with 255/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1-R tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance air suspension, uprated anti-roll bars (front and rear), carbon fibre lower control arms, rear camber kit, Stoneguard powdercoated entire undercarriage, #StopTech ST-60 #BBK with slotted discs (front) and ST-40 BBK with slotted discs (rear) with purple callipers (front and rear), braided stainless steel brake lines, brake line tuck.
EXTERIOR Custom-built wide-body kit, custom 1/3 mini bonnet, Vorsteiner carbon fibre boot, carbon fibre front lip, custom splitter, #Vorsteiner carbon fibre roof, carbon fibre headlight overlays, carbon fibre M front and side grilles, carbon fibre emblems, custom heat shield for exhaust, Lamborghini Grigio silver paint.
INTERIOR #Recaro-Profi-XL bucket seats, Schroth Profi 5 harnesses, custom roll-cage in Candy purple, full suede interior with purple stitching, #Vertex steering wheel, #Momo hub, M Tech pedals, carbon fibre gear knob, custom dashboard, AIM stack cluster, boost gauge, ATL fuel gauge, custommounted V2 controller, custom carbon fibre bezel, interior LED lighting, rear seat delete.
AUDIO #Alpine LCD touchscreen head unit, #Focal-K2 Power threeway speakers, #Focal-FPS3000 mono amplifier, #Focal-FPS4160 four-channel amplifier, #Dynamat sound dampening, #Focal crossovers, 2 #Focal-Utopia Be 10” subs.
THANKS I would like to give a special thanks to my parents because without them none of this would’ve been possible. Their continued support throughout the years is what allowed me to pursue this passion and push me to complete this build. I want to thank all my family and friends that helped me along the way. To my girl for all her patience and support and being part of this with me, AMS Autowerks in Linden, NJ, Audio Clinic in Belleville, NJ, Branch Brook Auto Top in Newark, NJ, and, of course, to #Drive-My for allowing me to grace the cover of your magazine and show the car to the world.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.