- Post is under moderationRazzle Dazzle Wild, wide-body, air-ride E36 M3. Beneath the jarring geometric shapes and black-and-white lines, there’s a pretty astonishing M3 hiding in here. And the deeper you dig into its story, the more mystery and intrigue you unearth… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Brian McGee.
The Zebra M3’. That’s a name a lot of people seem to throw at this car. But have you ever seen a zebra with stripes like this? That’d be one funky-looking equid. No, the style you’re seeing here is a retro mind-melter known as ‘dazzle camouflage’. We know what you’re thinking – camouflage is meant to blend you into the background, right? Like the traditional greens and browns of army gear, or the beige tones used for desert combat. But what can possibly be so jagged in black-and-white that you could morph with its style like this? Some sort of explosion in a print factory? No, the idea here is not simply to hide, but to hide in plain sight; to confuse and distort. Dazzle camo first appeared on ships in World War I, its deliberately interruptive patterns intended not to conceal the vessels, but to make it impossible to judge how big they were, how fast they were going, and how far away they were. And that’s why the offbeat camo works so well today on a wide-body Pandem E36 M3, and makes those three questions are easy to answer. How big is it? Very, thanks to those Rocket Bunny extensions. How fast is it going? Again, very – it’s an M3. How far away is it? Sweetheart, it’s totally in your face.
The act of being totally in your face is all in a day’s work for Carl Taylor, of course. He, as some of you will be aware, is the driving force behind the Players shows as well as a marketing superhero for Air Lift, and what he doesn’t know about badass show-stopping rides could be comfortably felt-tipped on the back of a postage stamp. The germ of the idea that led to this car in fact appeared back before Wörthersee 2014, when Carl and Rotiform’s Brian Henderson built a pair of E36 Art Cars with Rocket Bunny kits; a 323i and a 325i. “I loved driving that car, and I decided I needed to build another one once I moved to the States… but this time with more power,” he recalls. “So I bought an M3. I found it locally after I moved to California – it was in pretty good condition, the paint was sunburnt but that didn’t matter as I was planning to wrap it anyway,” he says.
Now, you don’t get to be the figurehead of an industry powerhouse like Players without having a few ideas buzzing around the ol’ brainbox – here’s a man who, after all, can count around fifty cars in his personal history with every single one of them being modified in some way or another – so of course he had a plan for the car. Its fate was written in the stars before he’d even hauled it back to his sun-drenched new home. “I’d broken up the Wörthersee car and saved some parts from that,” he explains. And before the scene knew just what had hit it, Carl was delivering a sucker punch at SEMA 2014 with a fresh, super-wide new build. It wore a minty green Tic-Tac race livery, chosen to emulate the Team Valier E30 M3 that used to race in the DTM, but caricaturised to be broader, fatter, meaner, scarier. The E36’s stock arches were unceremoniously savaged to allow the fitment of a full Sarto Racing kit, with non-M bumpers swapped on to flow more cleanly with the new lines. A set of colossal Rotiform ROCs filled the arches, resplendent in satin gold, and – inevitably, given Carl’s line of work – a top-of-the-range Air Lift setup found its way in. It had a full-on race car look inside; Cobra bucket seats, a rollcage, not a lot else. The effect was pleasingly startling, Carl’s decades-old coupé with its relatively short (but nevertheless superbly well-chosen) spec list more than holding its own against the show’s multi-million dollar builds. What’s key with projects like this, you see, is being relatable as well as aspirational. When you make something as awesome as the Tic-Tac E36, you can shift a lot of wheels, and air-ride kits, and seats, and bodykits, and… well, you know how the game’s played.
The game, naturally, never stops. Not for a second. So it was imperative for Carl to shake up the formula right away; the car would be returning to SEMA the following year, and it had to be rocking some significant changes. You can’t stand up on a Broadway stage and sing the same song twice. The next thing we knew, the broadhipped M3 was wearing a fresh Art Carinspired wrap, emulating that Wörthersee road trip that kicked the whole process off, along with a Rocket Bunny Pandem kit, a jarring set of Rotiform USF wheels (a sort of double-three-spoke affair, very retro JDM) and a raft of detail changes. The scene was set for the car to once again break necks and steal hearts at the world’s largest aftermarket tuning show.
Except that, as is his wont, Carl changed his mind at the eleventh hour. “Six weeks before SEMA 2015, I decided to change it a bit,” he says, dabbling masterfully in understatement. Indeed, you’ve probably spotted the car’s not dolled up like an oldschool Art Car in these photographs; no, we’re back at the dazzle camouflage motif we opened with. And there’s also a V2 Pandem kit thrown into the mix. This isn’t so much hiding in plain sight as just running up to people in the street and smacking them across the chops with an embroidered leather glove. If you want a fight, sure, this angry M3 is definitely spoiling for a rumble. “Being a sales manager for Air Lift Performance, I had to equip the car with the latest 3H system with Performance struts,” Carl reasons, “and we had Because Bags create a custom rollcage install for it too.”
This really is a sight to behold, the way the tanks and hardlines caress the cage like one of those terrifying metal spiders in The Matrix. It’s details like this that steal the SEMA headlines. “I only ever run Rotiform too,” he grins. “The design was left down to Brian Henderson, however I did choose the Corky Pink finish myself to add some colour to the car.” Yep, you certainly can’t argue with the logic of that. Those flashy fourspokes do stand out, don’t they?
“We’d just decided that we really needed to make a change if we were going to return to SEMA with the same car,” Carl shrugs. “We had the race car interior theme reworked with some custom Cobra Suzuka Pro seats, and the wheels came out perfectly, the finish is amazing – I think they’re my favourite part of the car. The rebuild took Vaderwerks around two weeks to finish up, with the kit install and then wrapping it and setting the air up with the new wheels. Everything worked out perfect.”
Now, it’s probably time to address the elephant in the room. SEMA 2015 was a little while ago… so why are we featuring the car now, in 2017? Well, this ‘zebra’ evolution was only one step of many along this everevolving car’s path. Things have happened between then and now. Important things. “The car was sold before we were even back from SEMA,” Carl admits. “Someone heard about the project and made an offer, so it was time for something else. I regret selling this car, to be honest, as after all the work it looked the best ever.”
But he needn’t be sad, as the car’s latest curator isn’t one to rest on his laurels or let the grass grow. Dylan Coleman is the name to watch – you may know him as @hawaiianeze on Instagram – and he’s a man with more than a few plans. Dylan’s set up a pretty astonishing business in Hollywood, you see: he and his father, Lee, are the brains behind StreetFighter LA, and they’ve been working with the fabled Long Tran at LTMW to kick out some pretty mould-breaking builds. “I was looking for another project to start after we parted with our #ProjectHulk Liberty Walk Challenger,” he explains. “I’d come from a BMW background, and the E36 M3 has always been one of my favourite models. While looking around for potential cars, our friends at Rotiform Wheels contacted us and just so happened to know someone who was looking to sell…”
Yes, Sherlock, that person was Carl. So Dylan was cruising around LA in one of the world’s best-known BMW builds. That must have felt pretty good? “Well, yes and no,” he says. “We brought the car back to Los Angeles after SEMA, where I started to use it as a daily driver while we were finishing up some other projects. But although the car was a great build that caught the attention of everyone on the road, I never truly felt the connection like I did with my past projects; with high mileage and a stock engine it was time to look to start rebuilding or swapping the engine…”
But that, friends, is another story for another day. You’ll just have to keep an eye on your favourite BMW modifying magazine for the next chapter. For now, however, let’s leave Dylan basking in the glory of Carl’s achievements, sprinkling on some of his own unique blend of magic, and formulating his plan of attack to take this iconic build to the next level. Hiding in plain sight? Boy, it sure is dazzling.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Wide-body #Air-ride #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E36 / #Rotiform / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body-E36 / #BMW-E36-Wide-Body / #BMW-E36-Art-Car / #BMW-Art-Car / #BMW
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION Stock #S52B32 / #S52 / #BMW-S52 3.2-litre straight six, full #Magnaflow stainless steel exhaust system, #K&N induction. Five-speed manual gearbox, welded diff
CHASSIS 17” #Rotiform-RBQ wheels in Corky Pink with 235/45 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, full #Air-Lift-Performance-3H airride System
EXTERIOR #Rocke-Bunny-Pandem-V2 wide-body kit with #Downstar fixings, custom-designed 3M wrap by JD Wraps installed by #Vaderwerks , #AC-Schnitzer mirrors
INTERIOR #Renown steering wheel, custom Cobr a Suzuka Pro seats, #Wiechers roll cage, custom Because Bags roll cage-mounted #Air-Lift install
THANKS Gino the Master Sepe at Vaderwerks, Brian, Jason and the Rotiform team, Mark and Adam at Cobra Seats, James and Ken at Because Bags, Corey and all my Air Lift Colleagues, Russ and Erik at JD Wraps, Paul Kitch at 3M, Stan at Toyo Tires, 714 Tires, LTMW, Magnaflow, and Renown
“I had to equip the car with the latest 3H system with Performance struts”
“The wheels came out perfectly, the finish is amazing - I think they’re my favourite part of the car”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationVW mk6 GOLF R / Is this tastefully upgraded Golf R the ultimate all-rounder?
HIGH STANDARD / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk6 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-VI / #VW-Golf / #VW-Golf-Mk6 / #VW-Golf-VI / #VW / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-TFSI / #Volkswagen-Golf-2.0TFSI / #Volkswagen-Golf-2.0TFSI-Mk6 / #Volkswagen-Golf-2.0TFSI-VI /
After cutting his tuning teeth on #JDM metal Stan Kowalski thought he would try a Dub or two. We think he made a wise decision… Words: Sean Matthews. Photos: Neil Sterry.
It’s fair to say that not all journeys that start from A necessarily find their way to B. Even with the best intentions, the route we take in life (whether it’s career, serious life decisions or, in Stan Kowalski’s case, his favoured car scene obsession) can naturally digress and before we know it we’re travelling in the opposite direction. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a negative thing, as Stan’s stunning Mk6 clearly demonstrates…
You see, the New York native started out favouring brands from the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, having owned a few Mitsubishis. “When I was younger I was a JDM guy,” he admits.
“When I got my license I got my first second-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse. After that I thought I’d try a Subaru out. I actually crashed the Subaru 18 days after having it. I then got myself back into another Eclipse straight after, then onto an Evo. It wasn’t long before I blew up the stock motor.
I rebuilt it and then decided to take it on the track. However, I ended up blowing up the rebuilt motor due to a fuel injector failure. I really liked to race cars but after all I was getting older, and thought better about getting into trouble getting caught doing street racing. So I figured I’d try the show scene instead…”
A factor that gave Stan the direction to change the scene he was involved in was actually his mum. “She had always told me that she saw me driving a GTI,” he explains. “With that I decided to go on the hunt for a Mk4 R32.
I sold the Evo with the blown motor, which I ended up getting good money for.” Looking through all the standard avenues, such as Craigslist and cars.com, yielded no clear or promising results for the right Golf so the next step was to hit the ‘wanted’ section on Vortex and post up details of his dream R32. A reply from Massachusetts arrived, with the seller needing his car gone fast. Stan went to see the car in question and fell in love with it instantly.
This may have been assisted by the fact it had a Stage 2 Vortech V9 supercharger! With 333 all-wheel- horsepower and 320lb ft of torque the R32 had more than enough go to see off many cars and keep its new power-obsessed owner happy.
Whilst owning the R32 Stan and some friends started the #VW club ‘VolksNation’, whom you may have seen on Instagram and which has a healthy following across the world. “Me and my friend Joel started the group. We have a whole bunch of different members, some in New York, some in Pennsylvania, and some in New Jersey. We are about 65 strong but we are continuing to grow.” To say he fell into the dub scene hard is clearly an understatement!
However, another reroute was about to occur and it wasn’t long before Stan was already feeling the pull from another über Golf. “I was going to all these shows in the R32 and all it had was the supercharger, wheels and suspension. Everyone else was going crazy with all they do to their cars and I wanted some of the action… but this time I wanted to seriously modify a Golf R. So, even though it was hard to give the R32 up, I put it up for sale for sheets and giggles at $23,000. It was a steep price but I could afford to as I didn’t need to sell it. And what do you know? Someone came and gave me $23,000 for it!”
So by June 2013, with his back pocket full of cash, Stan ventured to his local VW dealer and put a down payment on a Tornado red Mk6 R. Whilst waiting for his ride to turn up, other money was being ploughed into parts waiting to grace the Golf ready to take it to the next level. “I bought a downpipe, a cat-back exhaust, a high pressure fuel pump and an intake – basically everything United Motorsports (UM) suggested I need to get the car to Stage 2+. I haven’t had it on the rolling road yet but I have seen in many places that 330whp and 400lb ft is normal.”
Stan trusted United Motorsports’s guidance already as he had found the guys there to be a great help when he owned his ’charged R32 previously, as it had not been running right when he first bought it. “As I had a lot of trust with Jeff when he worked on the R32, I only wanted him to work on the R,” Stan explains.
Stan’s next plan of action was to work on the chassis of the R, and it was his chance to fulfil a long held ambition to ride on air. Through more recommendations Open Road Tuning in Nashville came up trumps and was contacted to provide Stan’s car with Air-Lift Performance struts and the ubiquitous V2 auto-pilot management. “I went to them for the hook-up because they gave it to me at a pretty good price. Originally, the boot build and the installation I did myself but then a friend of mine from our VolksNation club opened a shop in Astoria, Queens and suggested we do the trunk setup differently, so I took it to him.” The boot received a subtle tweak, the tank being painted in the same shade of red as the R and some vinyl work was added in for good measure.
An Autopower Industries roll-cage, cordially powdercoated body colour, was then bolted-in, and this completes the rear. The forged Watercooled Industries three-piece MT10 wheels add the finishing touches to the look of the car, giving it a real concept sports car-style that wouldn’t look out of place at an international autoshow.
And the best part of the build for Stan? “Ah man, I just love the whole car. I take it to shows and everyone else seems to love it just as much as I do. People come up to me and take pictures of the R and ask how I got so much done in such a short time. It helps to have a garage full of parts whilst you wait for your car to be delivered! I used to go to shows and never win but in the past year I’ve taken first place at Volkswagen Show New Jersey and first place at Waterfest. I went to H2O International and ended up getting nominated for ‘Top Dawg’ which was a great feeling. But when I saw what I was up against, I was like ‘damn…’ as they all had shaved bays and crazy swaps. But it was a real honour to be in the ‘Top Dawg’ competition.”
Most recently Stan was representing Volksnation at Dub Expo in Atlantic City, winning ‘best in category’ and the coveted ‘best of show’. Stan and his fiancée Nicole are planning to get married this summer, so the changes that are still to come will have to be done on a slightly tighter budget. These will include hydrodipping the wheel centres and bumper plastics, shaving the badges and side markers to give it a subtle makeover.
It seems that Stan’s journey from JDM fan to serious Dub player has found its true course, with no end to this route in sight. We have a feeling we will be watching him as he continues to weave his way through the VW tuning scene for a long time to come.
“People come up to me and take pictures of the R and ask how I got so much done in such a short time”
ENGINE: 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI #VW-K04 , #CTS-Turbo intake, #Forge-Motorsport intercooler, coolant hoses, and diverter valve, #Integrated-Engineering valve cover, R8 coil packs, #NGK spark plugs, #BSH engine mounts, #Magnaflow cat-back exhaust, #APR downpipes, #Performance-Haldex controller, #Southbend Stage 3 endurance clutch, #Tyrolsport solid shifter bracket bushing, #ECS-Tuning cross-drilled/slotted discs with Hawk pads, Tyrolsport brake caliper stiffening kit, #Tyrolsport Master Bracket
CHASSIS: 9.5x18” #ET41 10x18” #ET38 WCI MT10 wheels, 205/40/18 and 215/40/18 Nitto Neo Gen tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance Series fronts and Double Bellow Bags rear, #AutoPilot-V2 air management, #H&R anti-roll bars, #Tyrolsport-Deadset subframe collar kit, Tyrolsport Deadset rear subframe kit
EXTERIOR: ECS Tuning carbon fibre front lip and rear diffuser, CS Tuning carbon fibre side skirts, black vinyl wrapped roof, rear wiper delete, carbon fibre side view mirror caps
INTERIOR: Cipher Auto racing seats, Takata racing harnesses, Autopower four-point bolt-in cage, rear seat delete, carbon fibre interior trim work, Forge shift knob, custom suede trunk setup, Rennline door straps, LED lights
SHOUT: Mike and the guys at Tyrolsport, Chris and the guys at #C&M-Performance , Brett and the guys at The Custom Shop, My fiancée Nicole, My Volksnation teamStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationACCEPTABLE IN THE EIGHTIES
This super-clean, white, S50-swapped, two-door E30 is a perfect slice of modified ’80s motoring.
William Green’s E30 harks back to a time when such cars had to be tuned a certain way, and rock a certain look. But he’s given it a modern twist, and a whole lot more horsepower… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: C3Photography.
The 1980s have a lot to answer for. Shoulder pads, Filofaxes, music with synths, Fox-body Mustangs, Grease 2 – there was a lot going on, and much of it was made of brightly coloured plastic. However, the decade wasn’t without its charms; it brought us Cheers, Appetite for Destruction, perestroika, and the charmingly infuriating Rubik’s Cube. And while the TV shows of the era seemed to represent a society eager to eulogise about the easy-going nostalgia of the 1960s – Happy Days, The Wonder Years and so on – the man on the street was firmly on the cutting edge of up-to-the-minute 1980s fantasticality, the sleeves rolled up on his pastel-hued suit, a pair of Wayfarers atop his slicked-back hair, and the keys to an icewhite E30 in his hand.
Oh yes – in the 1980s, the secondgeneration 3 Series was very much where it was at. From South London to South Central LA, there was one aesthetic that anyone who was anyone aspired to: a white E30, preferably a 325i, low-slung over big wheels, with an M-Tech II spoiler proudly adorning the bootlid. That was the real deal. Sure, Magnum P.I. had his Ferrari 308, Miami Vice was all about the Testarossas, and Michael Knight had his sentient Trans Am, but this was the real world. Real people dreamed of Beemers.
The lusted-after look of the era is pretty much as you see here, in the form of William Green’s retro-styled throwback. The exterior is so ’80s it hurts, white-on-white-on-white, with merely a whisper of clearance between those crisp glacier-like arches and the broad, chunky five-spokes beneath. All of the requisite M-Tech II accoutrements are in place. If you can ignore the crowds of excitable teenagers Instagramming the thing with their iPhones and tune out the chemtrails from all the wi-fi signals, you could almost be glimpsing into an authentic late-1980s scenescape.
Ah, but there’s a twist. All’s not as periodcorrect as you might think here – when you peel back the skin and scratch around among the pulpy flesh below, you’ll discover that William’s got one or two restomod tricks up his sleeve…
“I’ve always been a car modifier,” he says, enigmatically. “It all started with my first car, a 1986 VW Golf GTI with a supercharged G60 Corrado engine swap; BMWs came second to VWs at the time, as I then went on to own a ’92 GTI and a ’95 GTI.”
‘Yes,’ I can hear you shouting into the magazine, ‘but when do we get to the E30?!’ Alright, chill out – we’re coming to it. But before we reap the rewards of patience, we need to sow the seeds of an entirely different 3 Series.
“I came across my first E30 when I was in college,” William reminisces, an orchestral James Horner soundtrack swelling in the background. “It was a gunmetal grey 1988 325ix – two-door, five-speed – that was completely refurbished, it looked like a brand-new car. Being a broke college student, I begged my mother to get me that car; she did, and it was the best gift I ever received! I brought it back to college in the Catskill Mountains of NY and the ix really lived up to its name – the all-wheel drive system was flawless.” A handful of wellchosen modifications followed – a custom exhaust, chip tune, intake and coilovers – but nothing too extreme. This wasn’t like that first, manic, engine-swapped project, this was a super-tidy base so he was taking baby steps. The quality of the car spoke for itself really, as three years later a chap drove two thousand miles to make William an offer he couldn’t refuse. And with that chapter behind him, it’s safe to say that he’s firmly made the ideological leap from Wolfsburg to Bavaria. A 2006 530i followed, and then a 2002 M3, but it wasn’t too long before our protagonist began once again hankering for the old-skool. His retro yearning was twofold; firstly after the nostalgia of the 1980s that so many of us of a particular age are unable to escape from, but secondly due to the absolute perfection of his first E30. It was time for history to repeat itself.
Okay, people may say ‘never go back,’ but that’s a load of old toffee. ‘Once bitten, forever smitten’ – that’s more of an appropriate mantra here (ignoring the fact that it comes from an old Vauxhall advert, obviously), and William was more than ready to dive back into the rose-scented waters of E30 ownership.
“I found this ’80s baby in a high-end luxury car dealer just south of Los Angeles,” he explains, effortlessly reeling off a phrase that you could imagine on a T-shirt in H&M. “The car was being sold on consignment, and belonged to the son of the owner’s best friend. It was an unfinished project, and the exterior was probably an 8/10 – and that’s what sealed the deal on buying the car! I knew that everything still left to do was stuff I could take care of myself.”
The car was already fitted with an S50 motor – y’know, like you’d find in an E36 M3 – but it was, shall we say, well used, having chalked up over 140,000 miles. William’s initial plan was to swap it out for an S54, although having weighed up the costs and taken an objective view, he decided to persevere with the S50 and give it a refresh and rebuild. After all, they’re robust old lumps. Hell, 140k is barely run in, right?
“It needed a rebuild pretty much straight away,” he reasons. “The compression was off on two cylinders, so I went ahead and had the head rebuilt and that took care of the engine problems. I also went with the M50 manifold and the S52 exhaust manifold, custom pulleys, injectors, high-flow MAF, and 3.25 LSD. There were a lot of modifications made along the way but these were the initial mods to get the car the way I wanted it.”
The fact that the previous owner had made inroads into the project helped out a lot, as it was already wearing a fresh, periodperfect, ice-white 1980s paint job when William took delivery. He was able to augment this with the oh-so-cool M-Tech II goodies to create that retro style, and it has created what William describes as ‘a neck-breaker’.
“This car has always been a conversation starter at pretty much every car meet or gas station I go to. People love the body kit and the Magnum 17s. Most people go with BBS rims so I decided to stick with a wheel that’s different and displays all the inner workings. I recently started doing autocross too, and this build is perfect for the courses.”
You can imagine how that newergeneration M3 motor helps out when it comes to sporting endeavours, but this car is far from a laser-focused track build; indeed, the interior is something quite special. Up front are a pair of E36 M3 Vaders in black leather, with an E30 M3 bench out back trimmed to match. The E30 M3 gauge cluster was painstakingly rebuilt by an Instagram user by the handle @e30_dad, while the vacuum-of-space effect of all the blackness (the seats, the carpet, the headlining, it’s everywhere) is neatly complemented by a cunning custom audio install that, among much else, features a pair of 8” subs hidden inside the rear panels.
William, like so many feature car owners we talk to, has an obsessive and completist eye for the details, manifested here in the fresh lights, the commitment to the Stormtrooper black/white colour-coding, the OEM+ interior embellishments of disparate provenance, and the cherry picked chassis parts that comprise E36 M3 suspension and brakes, some M Coupé bits and bobs, and a super-tight Z3 steering rack.
In fact, it’s fair to say that this is more than just a car to him. “This car has also inspired me to start my own small business, www.e30head.com,” says William. “I designed an E30 centre console cupholder that was once an old BMW idea that I brought back to life. The enthusiasts love it! And yes, the S54 swap is still a plan that will get executed – I put that build on hold last time because we were having our first child and those funds needed to go to more important purchases, but the timing will be right one day.” And in the meantime, he gets to enjoy a nice thick slice of aspirational nostalgia, rolling the kind of ride that everybody looked up to back in the good ol’ days. Acceptable in the Eighties? Ah, it was more than acceptable. It was rad, def, way cool, totally tubular. And it still is.
The exterior was probably an 8/10 and that’s what sealed the deal on buying the car!
DATA FILE S50-swapped #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-S50 / #BMW
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30US / #S50B30 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 / , custom 3” #Magnaflow exhaust system with high-flow cat and resonator, TMS underdrive pulleys, custom underdrive crank pulley, TMS Jim Conforti remap, new water pump, thermostat, alternator, intake, oil pump, gaskets, TPS, radiator and hoses, E30 M3 wiring harness cover, OBDII E36 exhaust manifolds, E30 Motor Werks skid plate, E36 M3 five-speed gearbox, E30 M3 propshaft, E36 M3 guibo, 3.25 LSD with M Coupé cover, M Coupe halfshafts
CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front and rear) #MVR-Magnum wheels with 215/40 (front and rear) Falken 512 tyres, TC Kline S/A coilovers, #Vorshlag front camber plates, #K-Mac rear adjustable camber/toe bushings, E36 M3 front suspension and brakes, E36 M3 five-lug rear conversion including brakes, #Zimmerman drilled discs all-round, ’96 Z3 2.7 lock-to-lock steering rack, E32 750il brake master cylinder, custom brake booster
EXTERIOR Full respray, #M-Tech II bumpers, side skirts, lip and spoiler, replica #M-Tech II front valance, 6000K Xenon headlights and foglights, new tail-lights, smoked front indicators, black kidney grilles, colour-coded door handles, headlight wipers
INTERIOR E30 M3 gauge cluster, E36 M3 gear knob, E32 leather handbrake handle and gaiter, E36 M3 Vader seats, E30 M3 rear seats, black door panels, M-Tech II steering wheel, black carpet, black headlining, #Alpine CD head unit, 2x custom hidden #MTX-Thunder6000 8” subs in rear panels, Rockford Fosgate 250 two-channel amp and 600 four-channel amp, Kicker speakers
THANKS I’d like to give special thanks to my wife, Ashleigh, who inspired me to start E30Head. To Raphael with Ore Photography Group – without his excellent shots of my car, I don’t think we’d be doing this interview. Diego, the E30 Cluster Master @e30_dad, my biggest supporter from the start. Scott with Renown USA for being one of the first to support my E30 centre console cupholder design
S50-swap is so neat it looks like it could have been a factory job and it gives this E30 some serious go.
This car has always been a conversation starter at pretty much every car meet or gas station I go to.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLAST CHANCE SALOON
This stunning bagged E60 lays the visual smackdown. The E60 is not a car you often see modified, but this example makes up for that in a big way… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Petrie.
When it comes to BMWs, we like them all ways; we like ones that are subtly improved upon and retain their originality but we’re also keen on ones that have just been pushed to the limit and that just come along and smack you in the mouth. Ramiro Sangco’s E60 525i is most definitely the latter because, let’s be honest, there’s not a shred of subtlety or discretion about it. And that’s a good thing. But before we start digging into the details of the car, we’d like to discuss the owner…
What’s wonderful about the modified BMW community is that age ain’t nothin’ but a number. We’re sure Ramiro won’t mind us mentioning the fact that he’s a touch north of 40 and, looking around the office at people of a similar vintage, that’s the sort of age where you settle into some sort of comfortable, sensible, practical saloon or estate, probably diesel (on this side of the Pond). Or maybe you go for some discreet, grown-up performance in the shape of an M5 or something similar. But not Ramiro. This is partly because once you’re into modified machinery it’s awfully hard to go cold turkey, and partly because, as the owner of MODjunkies Motorsports, he couldn’t possibly be driving around in something drab and dull and standard. Oh no, that would never do.
The journey to massively-modified E60 began with a 1991 Acura (Honda) Integra, took in a seriously-played-with 1994 Honda Del Sol (which was featured in numerous magazine articles) and a Mercedes C320 that was involved in an accident. The latter car and incident set Ramiro looking for some new wheels and that led him squarely to the doors of BMW, a brand he has been interested in since the early ’90s and one he’s always wanted to own. “Originally I had my heart set on buying a 7 Series,” he says, explaining his choice of BMW. “After doing research on the availability of aftermarket products for the 7 platform, I discovered that there were more parts available for the 5 Series. That made it easy for me to change my mind and go with the E60.”
Unlike a lot of our feature car owners, Ramiro at least knew that he was going to be modifying his BMW, but like almost everyone else he hadn’t planned on taking things quite this far…
“My initial plan was to go with a simple setup which included a front lip, wheels and lowering suspension. Because of my association with the automotive industry, I could not just stick to the original plan. I could not stop myself from doing so much more,” he laughs. “The car was modified in stages with the help from my friends at Infinite Auto Design in Bellflower, California, and a good friend, Ernie Corrales, with each lending a hand in gutting the car down to its shell and slowly building it to its current state.” This gives you a rough idea of just how much work has gone into creating this monster of an E60.
So, where to start? Well, the wheels are arguably the most striking aspect of the entire build, so that seems as good a place as any to begin. Like many of us, Ramiro knew from the outset that he didn’t want to follow the crowd when it came to wheel choice; he wanted something different for his build, and he’s certainly achieved that with these beauties. “With the help of my friend Brian Garin from Infinite Auto Design, I decided to custom build my wheels,” he says. The forged, three-piece wheels feature a classic cross-spoke design, gunmetal centres and vibrant copper outer barrels measuring 20-inches in diameter, a hefty 9.5 inches wide up front, and 11 inches at the rear – really filling out the E60’s big arches and nicely offsetting that large rear quarter panel. Wrapped around those gorgeous wheels is some Falken rubber, the 235 and 255 sizes selected to deliver the optimum amount of stretch to see the combo neatly and safely tucked up inside the arches. And for that to happen, you need some air suspension on board your ride.
“I originally installed a coilover suspension kit on my car but was not satisfied with the stance of the vehicle and it was hard for me to drive in and out of driveways and over speed bumps,” explains Ramiro. The most obvious solution was to go down the air-ride route which, after doing his research, is precisely what he ended up doing. The strut and airbag assemblies are from D2 Racing while the management is Accuair’s e-Level height-based system. There’s an extremely smart install in the boot, comprising a pair of 2.2-gallon aluminium air tanks from Speciality Suspension, finished in metallic grey, copper hard pipes and twin 444c Viair compressors, all mounted on a piece of wood with an analogue pressure gauge between the tanks adding the finishing touch. Ramiro has also added a pair of Eibach anti-roll bars.
A quick glance at the exterior will tell you that this is not your common-or-garden E60 and an in-depth study of the spec list will tell you why. When it comes to styling this E60 has had more work done than you can shake a stick at with a real mix of parts but everything comes together so well and the end result is a sheer visual spectacle.
The bulk of the styling is made up of the Duraflex kit which compromises a 1M front bumper (arguably one of the most aggressive BMW bumpers around), M5 side skirts and a rear bumper. The front bumper has been filled with a diamond-cut mesh grille from Extreme Dimensions and a custom carbon fibre lip, and there’s a vented, bare carbon fibre bonnet by VIS Racing, complete with power bulge. Those side skirts have been embellished with a set of custom carbon side splitters, which seem to be very popular these days, and these are complemented by a pair of rear carbon splitters from Carbon Creations which cling purposefully to the edges of the rear bumper. At the back you’ll also find a Hamann roof spoiler and a CSL-style carbon fibre bootlid by VIS Racing, with just a sliver of carbon on show. The whole lot has been painted in Infinite grey with a fourlayer chromo clear coat. The colour might be a slightly unusual choice but it looks fantastic, a sort of warm grey that works really well with the wheels and various carbon elements, and is just different enough from a regular white to catch your eye and pique your interest. All the styling elements work so well together and this E60 looks like a slice of pure aggression. Heck, even the BMW Performance roof rack looks good and adds a quirky touch to the whole affair.
Unsurprisingly, the interior has been given just as much attention as the exterior and it’s all rather lavish now. “I wanted my interior to have a rich yet sporty look,” explains Ramiro, “which made it easy to decide to go with the full custom interior.
The seats and panels are upholstered in leather and perforated suede with a custom double-stitched diamond pattern. There’s also suede on the headliner and steering wheel and I’ve added carbon fibre accents throughout the interior, which give it a little bit of a sporty look.” The combination of suede, leather and carbon-wrapped elements is indeed both sporty and sumptuous and really takes the cabin to a whole new level of luxury and ensures the inside looks and feels just as special as the outside.
Finally, we come to the engine and, while the 2.5-litre M54 straight-six under the bonnet might not be a particularly fire-breathing powerplant with a large range of aftermarket upgrades available, Ramiro has added a freeflowing intake and a plug ’n’ play Sprint Booster to get it performing at its best. This, then, is a really magnificent 5 Series, the kind of car that makes you sit up and take notice and it has clearly been built by someone who knows what they are doing as everything, from the styling to the colour and wheels, marries together perfectly. As exciting as it may have been to look at, Ramiro is clearly not one to rest on his laurels as, since the photoshoot, the car’s been given a complete makeover, with a new front bumper, side skirts, head and taillights, and a new colour for the wheel lips. By his own admission, Ramiro says that the car is never finished and we expect even wilder things in the future for this roller coaster ride for the eyes.
Extremely elegant air-ride install features twin metallic grey 2.2-gallon air tanks, copper hardpipes and an analogue pressure gauge; custom Infinite Auto Design wheels boast copper lips and look absolutely stunning.
TECHNICAL DATA Air-ride / #BMW-E60 / #BMW-525i / #BMW-525i-E60 / #AccuAir-E-Level / #BMW
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M54B25 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 , #AFE air intake and filter, Sprint Booster, custom exhaust to fit dual exhaust bumper utilising #Magnaflow components, six-speed auto’ gearbox #ZF6HP / #ZF
CHASSIS 9.5x20” (front) and 11x20” (rear) Infinite #Auto-Design custom three-piece forged wheels with gunmetal cross-spoke centres and copper lips with 235/30 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Falken Azenis FK453 tyres, D2 Racing air-ride, #AccuAir #AccuAir-E-Level management, #Eibach anti-roll bars, #StopTech slotted discs, performance brake pads and braided stainless steel lines (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Infinite grey with Dupont four-layer chromo clear coat, Duraflex body kit comprising 1M front bumper, M5 rear bumper, M5 side skirts, Extreme Dimensions diamond cut mesh grille, VIS Racing XTS carbon fibre bonnet and CSL-style carbon bootlid, Hamann rear roof spoiler, custom carbon fibre front lip and side splitters, Carbon Creations rear splitters, #BMW-Performance roof rack, Spyder Auto head and tail-lights, custom front LED bumper lights
INTERIOR Seats retrimmed in leather and perforated suede with double stitched diamond pattern, suede headliner, OE steering wheel custom wrapped in suede, OE shift knob wrapped in 3M carbon fibre, custom suede shift gaiter, AC Schnitzer pedals, handbrake handle and gaiter, panels in suede with double stitched diamond pattern and 3M carbon fibre wrap, 3M carbon fibre-wrapped dash trims, Cadence sub and mid bass amps, subwoofers and mid-range speakers, twin 2.2-gallon seamless Speciality Suspension aluminium air tanks, twin #444c #Viair compressors
THANKS Infinite Auto Design (www.infiniteautodesign.com), Duraflex (www.duraflexpbushes.com), Carbon Creations (www.carbon-creations.com), Magnaflow (www.magnaflow.com), Stoptech (www.stoptech.com), Cadence Audio (www.cadencesound.com), D2 Racing (www.d2racing.com), Falken Tire (www.falkentire.com), VIS Racing (www.visracing.com), LR Auto Body, Art Induced, Accuair (www.accuair.com), and special thanks to my family and my friends (you know who you are) for all the support and especially the patience
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CLARION 2002 / Sound Decision Up close and personal with Clarion’s restored ‘02. / #BMW-2002-Clarion / #BMW-2002 / BMW /
Clarion in America is planning to create a series of upgraded classics to show off its abilities and this stunning 2002 is the first machine to get the full treatment. Words: Ryan Jurnecka. Photography: Jessica Walker.
I have a bucket list of cars I wish to realistically own at some stage before I die. This list includes a second-generation Alfa Spider, a ’60s Ford Mustang, maybe even an old ’50s Cadillac convertible to drive out into the desert en route to Las Vegas or Palm Springs. But there’s been a favourite at the top of this list for some time now. On top of the heap is the BMW 2002 – a car I’ve had a vehicular crush on for almost 20 years. The angled shark-like nose with bulging single headlights on either side of the twin-kidney BMW grilles was love at first sight for me. Then there’s the rest of the car – a small, boxy but sporty body culminating in a rounded rear with either round tail-lights (looking more like afterburners than safety equipment), or the more conventional square lamps. It’s gorgeous, cute, and sexy all at the same time.
Most enthusiasts are at least somewhat familiar with the ’02, but the abbreviated story of its development goes something like this: after financial struggles during the 1950s, BMW went back to smaller 1.5- to 2.0-litre-powered saloons, after predominately making luxury vehicles since the war ended. The ‘New Class’ started with the four-door saloon, the 1500, in 1962. It was the manufacturer’s first brand-new car and new engine since the early 1930s. The 1800, 1600, and 2000 came in the years to follow with various evolutions in the M10 fourcylinder engine through each variant.
In 1966, the 1600-2 was developed as a more affordable version of the 1600. It was shorter, with less luxuries, and had only two doors, hence the ‘2’ designation in the name. Following the path of the earlier New Class models, the 1600-2 (or 1602 as it came to be called later) was given the ‘ti’ (touring international) treatment by treating the 1.6-litre M10 to a 9.5:1 compression ratio and dual Solex side-draft carburettors, resulting in 105hp.
Then two simultaneous events occurred, giving birth to the 2002. First, BMW’s US importer, Max Hoffman, wanted a sportier version of the 1602, since the 1602ti could not pass US emission standards. At the same time, Helmut Werner Bönsch, the director of product planning for BMW, and Alex von Falkenhausen, designer of the M10 engine, discovered they both privately drove 1602s modified with the 2.0-litre from the 2000 saloon. The two executives pitched their idea to the board to create a 2.0-litre 1602 for the public. Thus the 2002 (20 for 2.02.0-litre, 02 for two-door), and the true beginning of a sport-saloon, was born. The 2002 came in two specs originally: the standard single carburettor version producing 100hp, and the dual-carburettor ti producing 120hp. In 1974, the car’s looks changed slightly by adding US safety regulated larger front and rear bumpers and eliminating the round tail-lights for more conventional rectangular ones.
Clarion, makers of high-end vehicle audio and electronics, decided to start its new Clarion Builds project division with the ’74 BMW 2002 you see here. After realising that everybody who works at Clarion has some level of car-fever, the company has decided to pick iconic cars to restore from the ground up, while adding subtle touches of modernity to show off the company’s wares. According to Clarion, the cars won’t be gaudy show cars without real roadgoing practicality but rather a tasteful tribute, ensuring any modifications blend right into the original architecture of the car. During the build, status updates were posted on bimmerfest.com, Facebook, Twitter, and other various online outlets for Clarion fans and automotive enthusiasts to follow.
When Clarion acquired the 2002 from a local seller, it appeared to be in fairly decent condition. The car had been a daily driver and it showed. The paint, original Fjord blue, was faded, the dashboard was cracked, and signs of rust were here and there. Like a frumpy housewife getting a makeover on daytime TV, this BMW was exactly what Clarion had in mind to restore and show off its brilliance.
The 2002 was sent to BMW classic restoration shop Coupe Kings to be stripped down piece by piece to the bare shell. Once stripped apart it was evident that rust was more of an issue than previously suspected. Many of the car’s panels had to be replaced, with new ones sent from the BMW warehouse in Germany to then be subjected to ‘hours of cutting, welding, hammering, fitting, and refitting’, according to the company’s detailed posts of the build on bimmerfest.com. The new rust-free body was then sent to Diamond Hills Collision Centre to be fine-tuned and painted its original Fjord Blue.
Back at Coupe Works, the engine was completely rebuilt with all internals replaced, combustion increased from 8:1 to 10:1, and a custom intake manifold by Ireland Engineering. In addition, the 2002 was given a quasi ti treatment by installing dual two-barrel side-draft Weber carburettors, increasing the M10’s output to the rear wheels by nearly 60hp. A custom-made oval air filter and housing from K&N sits next to the throaty Webers. Suspension and brakes were also upgraded with components from Koni and Wilwood.
A vintage-era-appropriate set of BBS RS001 wheels was sourced and restored, adding an appropriate performance touch to the vehicle’s looks. To improve on the 2002’s classic good looks, the unattractive, larger impact bumpers were replaced with the smaller, sleeker bumpers from a pre-’74 2002. Inside, the car features seats also from the first generation 2002. The older seats, door panels and consoles have been given a gorgeous leather treatment in the vein of the European exclusive deluxe versions offered at the time. The dash is now sans crack and is faultless. The headliner is velvet-soft Alcantara. The steering wheel, shift knob, and hand brake handle have been replaced with Nardi components, offering yet another level of sophistication to the car.
And let us not forget the major Clarion touch given to it. Inside the rear of the car, BP Autosound installed a custom liner in the trunk housing two ten-inch subwoofers capable of handling 1000 watts, an exhibition clear case displaying the amplifier, LED trim lights to show off the hardware, as well as an array of speakers inside the car. The trunk is still nearly as functional as stock, since everything is embedded. The sound is predictably impressive. In addition, a navigation screen has been integrated into the centre console displaying the cutting-edge tech you’d want or expect in a modern car.
All of this is very impressive, of course, but it’s only a laundry list without saying how it actually drives. The canyon roads that carve their way through the famed Malibu Hills seemed like an appropriate place to experience the 2002’s legendary dynamics. It flings itself through the canyons like it’s homesick, not having seen them in years. Which brings us back to those seats. BMW didn’t bother much with side bolsters back in the ’70s, it appears. During heavy cornering, I was clutching the wheel while my shoulders seemed to alternate touching the driver and passenger doors.
Also everything is heavy in this car; the non-power steering is like twisting a giant steam valve, the brakes wreaked hell on my leg with the amount of energy required to push it down. The shifting was vague – I kept hoping I was shifting into third and not fifth. Oh, and forget about air conditioning to provide relief in the 100-degree heat.
But I’ll be damned if I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time. The engine has a fantastic amount of grunt (though not ‘modern fast’), the exhaust note coming from the Magnaflow exhaust is a gravely and growly tenor to accentuate the experience. It’s also incredibly fun watching the car dive into the corners, the angled hood in front of you like an arrow pointing its way through the apices. It was a perfect California car on a perfect California day; the smell of eucalyptus and pine in the mountains leading to the salty ocean breeze dropping down onto the Pacific Coast Highway. At speed, the open windows channel enough fresh air and nostalgia over me to substitute for air conditioning, and never once did the car threaten to overheat.
The Nardi 390 wooden steering wheel adds even more of a classic feel to the car than the stock plastic wheel could. The clutch was also impressively easy. The turning radius was exceptional. Hell, even the fuel economy was great. There were plenty of turned heads and thumbs upturned throughout the day, and I couldn’t agree with them more.
There’s no wonder this car is still seen so often, especially here in Southern California. At BMW meets, they are nearly as common as an E30. After a #BMW-2002 experience in a car as immaculate and lovingly retro-modified as this, the 2002’s place as number one on my ‘must own’ list is now cemented. Even if it is ‘common’. Now, to see how much they’re going for on Craigslist.
The engine in the 2002 has been treated to some sensible modifications such as higher compression pistons, an intake manifold and a pair of Weber carbs.
The original design might be 50 years old now but the ’02 still looks perfectly proportioned and looks superb sitting on lowered suspension and BBS rims.
ENGINE: 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder #M10 / #M10B20
MAX POWER: 140hp
MAX TORQUE: 150lb ft
MODIFICATIONS: Dual #Weber-DCOE40 carburettors, #K&N Custom air filter, BMW E30 in-tank custom modified fuel pump, #CP-Racing 89mm 10:1 CR custom pistons, Ireland Engineering intake manifold, #Coupe-King stainless steel exhaust with #Magnaflow resonator.
GEARBOX: Five-speed manual, #BMW #Getrag-245 / #Getrag overdrive transmission, 320iS limited-slip differential conversion.
SUSPENSION: #Koni adjustable front and rear struts, #Eibach 2.5-inch ID front springs, Ireland Engineering five-inch rear race springs, #Ireland-Engineering 22mm sway bar, Ireland Engineering urethane bushings, boxed rear control arms.
WHEELS & TYRES: #BBS-RS001 / #BBS wheels 7x15-inch; Toyo Extensa HP tyres 195/50R15.
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- Post is under moderationUNDER DOGGING / Words: Louise Woodhams / Photos: Sam Dobbins / #VAG
From cruising the back roads of Miami to the very top of the show circuit Larry Harrison has been on one heck of a journey with his S5.
When Larry Harrison – otherwise known as ‘The Underdog’ on Instagram (the_undrdg) – was testing out the show scene, he used to get told to park at the back or on the grass when he arrived at car shows. He felt like he wasn’t being counted, so as soon as he started to get deeper into modifying his Audi S5, he decided to make a proper impact; this is his underdog story…
Larry’s love of cars began long before he shook up the US VAG community: “Having grown up watching my father work on his prized 1981 Corvette I have always had a special place in my heart for cars. Then when he purchased a 1987 Porsche 944 I realised there was something about German engineering that I connected with. From watching my dad drive the Porsche at the age of 13, I taught myself how to drive a manual transmission car. Without any instruction, I was able to drive it around the corner and park without stalling or any issues. That was a proud moment in my life,” reminisces Larry.
In addition to the 944, Larry fondly recalls the 928 from the film Risky Business as being one of his favourite cars growing up, together with the 930 Slantnose that Ice-T owned and was on the front of a promotional poster for his 1987 album Rhyme Pays. Whilst he’s never owned a Porsche, the Stuttgart brand is now part of the Volkswagen Group family, so it’s rather apt that the impression left from the 944 was so strong it stayed with him for a lifetime. Aged 37, he was finally in a financial position to buy what he wanted and found his way back to a brand that’s now part of the same family that captured his heart so many years ago, after girlfriend Ana suggested they buy an Audi.
His criteria for a base car was simple – a twodoor with a naturally aspirated V8 and red interior. It was obvious – it had to be a B8 S5. After searching online, Larry decided to visit Texas Direct Auto’s main store in his hometown of Houston, Texas. “They didn’t have what I wanted at that time, but as I was about to travel to California on business, I got a call to say that a black 2009 Audi S5 with red interior had come in and that if I was unable to look at it I should put a deposit down. Thinking he was being a pushy salesman I declined. The car was sold the next day… lesson learnt,” laughs Larry.
Fortunately, three weeks later, they got in another model, the only difference was that it was Dakota grey but that really didn’t matter to Larry as he had always intended on changing it. This time he was in Florida for business, but having learnt from his previous mistake, he decided to buy it there and then. “The first time I saw the car and test drove it was the day I took it home. Fortunately I had no regrets! It was in incredible condition, three years old and with just 17,000 miles on the clock. The first thing I did was show it to my son Dylan. I normally don’t make a move without his blessing, but this time I did not have the opportunity,” recalls Larry.
In fact, it was after the father and son team saw a 2015 Audi RS7 in Nardo grey at a car show in Houston that they decided this would be the colour change required to kick start the build. The car was taken to Auto Magician Paint and Body shop in Webster, Texas. Owner Miguel had never done a paint job, instead specialising in collision repair, but he was up for the challenge and Larry trusted him. Four weeks later, the car was ready and absolutely flawless: “You could see the nervousness in Miguel’s eyes when I came to pick the car up and when I told him how much I loved it; he breathed a huge sigh of relief and smiled.”
The car was then immediately taken to a good friend of Larry’s, Mike Nguyen, owner of CVT Designs, to get some suspension work done. “Mike told me there is nothing like an Audi slammed to the ground on airbags so needless to say that’s what happened!” Larry laughs. Mike designed a custom system and completed the installation within just three weeks including a bespoke boot build. “I wanted the trunk setup to be clean, but also to have all the hardware on show – like a nice Rolex you can see the mechanicals and how it works,” he says. “That’s why the copper hardlines are on show. Copper tubing is also a tribute to the hot rod scene that’s so popular where I’m from.”
By this point the body kit had arrived from Autohaus 24 in California. Rieger Tuning offered the only styling that matched his vision for the car in the form of an RS5 conversion body kit, including front bumper and rear bumper extensions, vented side skits and carbon front splitter. The eagle-eyed among you will spot that the car is actually sporting a JMS front lip splitter; this is because his original plan was to preserve the S5 look without going completely RS5, but immediately after the photoshoot it was swapped out for the Rieger part, together with an LED light bar in the lower front grille.
Back to the story, the car was left in Miguel’s hands once again, and was ready to collect three days later: “When I first saw the new body aired out and laying on the ground, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The bagged suspension makes the stance on the Audi look amazing and beautifully tucks all four wheels in. This time I was the one smiling, and somewhat thankful that the combination worked so perfectly,” he confesses. Now it was time to upgrade the rolling stock: “I had a set of rims that didn’t stand up to tough use on our roads,” Larry explains, “so I went to Rollo’s Solutions in Houston that I frequent for wheels and tyres and my guy, Luis, recommended Vossen. Apparently they could handle the punishment of the potholes that plague Austin’s streets.
“I think as a car grows, it becomes more and more of what I perceive perfection to be. For example, I started with the Vossen CV3 before swapping them out for the VFS-1 and finally settling on the VPS 304 – the world’s first fully polished examples with a diamond cut face nonetheless. The wheels are absolutely stunning in every way. They dance with the sunlight while I drive and at car shows they play with the fluorescent lighting. Having visited the Vossen factory, I met the people that built my wheels, and that really means something special to me.” Since he likes small side wall tyres with a nice tread pattern, he opted for Toyo T-1 Sports, which at 255/30 find themselves moderately stretched around the 10.5x20” rims. As well as offering a comfortable and quiet ride, they work in perfect harmony with the car’s AWD system.
Last, but by all means not least was the audio. Being a retail regional manager for Sony, Larry was in the fortunate position of being able to network with companies that otherwise might not have been on his radar. Larry took the car to see Dia and Muhammed at Houston Car Stereo where they tasked their master installer Victor to do something very special indeed. First the boot was trimmed in black and grey leather with black suede accents and LED accent lighting throughout. JL Audio speakers were then mounted in the bootlid to complement the Sony Vaio touch-screen PC, whilst the centre armrest was used to house the two JL Audio subwoofers. Finally, Mike from CVT dropped by to complete the copper hardline integration.
It’s taken Larry just one year to go from stock to spectacle, so how he is perceived at car shows now? “The first show I attended was Import Face-Off in Texas. People loved it; they took so many photos of my Audi and asked me questions about the build. The colour and the wheels were the main topics of discussion. I took home two awards too; First Place and Best Euro. The response has been amazing online, too. Before the build I had about 350 followers, and less than seven months into it that number grew to 7000!
It’s not unusual to have people take pictures or videos of the car when it’s on the road. It’s awkward, but I really appreciate the attention and love the car receives,” proudly answers Larry. Like a true underdog, Larry was a participant on the scene who was never expected to win. Things have changed now, and the stakes are a little higher but he’s played the game well with so many of the aspects of the car that are yet to be improved upon. “I’ve got my eyes on Wekfest Florida car show in December, which has a great car scene, so I’ll be continuing to build what I perceive as a faultless car. I’m considering a colour change, a new set of Vossen wheels, a big brake kit, a few performance mods perhaps…” Larry hints. Watch this space…
Dub Details #Audi-S5 / #Audi-A5 / #Audi /
ENGINE: 4.2-litre V8 with #K&N intake filter, custom intake box with Plexi top and LED lighting, hydro-dipped intake hose and radiator cover (carbon fibre), #Magnaflow exhaust system.
CHASSIS: 10.5x20” #Vossen VPS 304 forged wheels fully polished with a diamond cut face shod in 255/30 Toyo T-1 Sport Tyres; Viair air suspension.
EXTERIOR: Full respray in Audi Nardo grey, RS5 conversion Rieger Tuning body kit including front bumper and rear bumper extension (for dual exhaust exit), vented side skirts and carbon front splitter, RS5 black honeycomb grille conversion, Hüper Optik ceramic window tint, smoked taillights, custom light bar in lower front grille.
ICE: #JL-Audio twin subwoofers integrated into rear arm rest, JL Audio speakers and Sony Vaio touchscreen PC mounted in bootlid, custom boot build trimmed in black and grey leather with black suede accents and LED accent lighting throughout with twin Viair air compressors and copper hardlines.
SHOUT: Jav and Mike at Vossen Wheels, Mike at CVT Designs Houston, Luis at Rollo’s Solutions Houston, Miguel at The Auto Magician in Webster Texas, Victor, Dia and Muhammed at Houston Car Stereo, Nate at Nate D’s Customs and Andy at Autohaus 24.
Boot install might not be subtle but when it comes to impressing show ’n’ shine judges it’s got all the tricks. “It’s not unusual to have people take pictures or videos of the car when it’s on the road. I really appreciate the attention and love it receives” Shooting anything in Miami is always going to result in awesome looking photos isn’t it? We’re not jealous… “like a nice Rolex you can see the mechanicals and how it works”
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- Post is under moderationCALIFORNIA DREAMING
Not many people would buy a brand-spanking new F80 #BMW-M3 and then bag it, but here’s what happens when you do. Having finally acquired his dream car, Californian resident Tracy Arnett got to work on making the best even better. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Richard Le.
At the age of 29, Tracy Arnett hasn’t done too badly – as well as this stunning M3 he also owns a 2013 335i M Sport and a 2014 i3. And unlike some of our US feature cars, he has built this project on the back of his own financial success. Shortly after graduating from San Francisco State University he put his business degree to good use. You see, after being a victim of fraud he hired a law firm to get his credit on track. However, after six months, he still wasn’t seeing the results that he was expecting, so he took matters into his own hands. Whilst working two jobs with limited free time, he managed to accomplish far more than the so-called experts that he previously called upon. It was then that he realised he had a knack for credit repair, and Sacramento Inquiry Removal (SIR) was born.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” stated Tracy. Like any new start-up it was tough in the beginning with Tracy having to do all of the work himself and handling his client’s disputes and record-keeping manually. “I was writing every letter by hand and it took forever. It was a pain trying to organise all of the client files, and as a result I was working 16-hour days.” He knew that something needed to change if he wanted to grow his business, and two years ago he discovered Credit Repair Cloud. After transferring his business to the cloud, his long days of endlessly processing client files were over. With the new client portal he could scale the business as he wanted. Now, just four years after SIR was established, he has three people on his team and is looking to recruit more. “I now only work a few hours a day. I’m very happy; as well as watching my business grow I’m also to spend more time with my family and modifying cars.
“I have been interested in BMWs for as long as I can remember. I first got one in 2007 when one of my clients – the owner of a #BMW dealership – told me if I bought one from him he would give me an amazing deal. It was a 2007 328i sedan and since then I’ve never driven anything else. There is never a moment when I’m not happy driving a BMW.”
To date, Tracy has owned over 60 cars and pretty much all of them have been modified in one way or another. “I had an Infiniti G35 that was heavily tuned and was a lot of fun but it just wasn’t a BMW,” he confessed.
When he got word that the new M3 would be coming out he went straight to his local dealer last year and placed an order: “I’ve always wanted an M3 and as I was in a good position to afford one I decided to pull the trigger.” As he had already bagged the 335i on HRE wheels, complete with a raft of M Performance parts, he decided to make the M3 its twin. With the desire for the delivery of his brand-new car to be a truly magical experience, he asked for the dealership to deliver it complete with the plastic shipping wraps so he could have it detailed himself. As a car care enthusiast the vehicle presentation standards in the motor trade can often fall short of expectations and while we are almost certain that a BMW handover would go smoothly, Tracy didn’t want to risk any fresh swirl marks or fine scratches. Fair enough.
Now the modifying could begin. First up were H&R Super Sport springs to get the drop that he was looking for. After the 2014 SEMA show, however, Tracy decided to swap out the suspension for a full AirREX Digital Air system offering three programmable ride height presets. It was spec’d with wireless digital remote operation, as Tracy likes the convenience of being able to have his car ultra-low at shows. Not surprisingly it’s his favourite mod. “As AirREX is built to perform, it doesn’t compromise the handling at all; in fact, it’s a blast to drive – completely different to the 335i,” revealed Tracy.
As there wasn’t much available for the car when he took delivery of it he had RFsplitters916 custom-make front, rear and side splitters. “You’d struggle to find better work elsewhere. The company’s craftsmanship is excellent and complements the M3’s bodywork perfectly,” states Tracy. With the bags installed, all it needed now was a colour change; originally Alpine white the new hue would need to make the car stand out but not distract from the bold lines. Tracy eventually decided on matt red, with the team at Imperial Works helping him to decide which parts to wrap or paint in a contrasting colour. As such you’ll find that the car’s roof and aerial, kidney and side grilles, mirrors, bootlip, M3 badge and window surrounds are all gloss back. Together with tinted windows, the end result is nothing short of stunning, and as well as complimenting the Sakhir orange interior the vinyl also protects the front of the car from stone chips – a godsend for a stickler like Tracy.
The finishing touch was a set of brushed titanium Rohana RC1 wheels, as they offered the size and level of concave that Tracy was after. Measuring an impressive 10x20” up front and 11x20” out back, wrapped in Toyo 255/35 and 275/30 rubber respectively, with the car at maximum drop the wheels really set off the M3’s tough look. If there’s one thing that enthusiasts complain about with the new M3 and M4, it is the exhaust. A lot of people miss that V8 sound, including Tracy. Of course, factors such as turbocharging and a different configuration under the body also contributed to a new, different sound. BMW tried to remedy the inline-six exhaust note with Active Sound Design (ASD), a device that was widely criticised. No true petrolhead appreciates a fake engine sound being pumped into the cockpit, and Tracy’s solution was a Magnaflow exhaust with Evolution Racing downpipes.
He also opted for a JB4 map offering up an additional 160hp. The JB4 installation is completely removable with no splicing or cutting of factory wires and allows you to go from factory stock to full race mode (and everywhere in between) at the push of a button on your steering wheel. The JB4 is easy to install (or remove, if required) and includes many unique features including user-adjustable first and second gear boost limiting, map switching in the dash, electronic wastegate control, ethanol fuel support, and built-in advanced CANbusbased diagnostic tools.
Of course, money no object, Tracy tells us he would have opted for bigger turbos or a V8 engine swap but for now, he’s very happy with what he’s achieved over just a few months. He has a few other plans for it in the pipeline, including a #BMW-Performance diffuser, a BMS Performance intake, a set of 19” Art In Motion wheels, Bride seats and a half cage, as he’d like to track the car.
He’s now looking to buy a new M5 or an M6 (as well as an Audi R8) and he plans to modify both cars as much as he can – so we guess his credit rating must be well on track now! Just make sure you come back Tracy and show us the finished results, and that whatever Bavarian choice of weapon you go for, it’s a four-ring beater!
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #2015 #BMW-M3-F80 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-F80 /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #S55B30 / #S55 , #Magnaflow exhaust, #Evolution-Racing downpipes and #JB4 map, six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS 10x20” (front) and 11x20” (rear) brushed titanium #Rohana RC1 deep concave wheels with 255/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Toyo tyres, AirREX Digital Air suspension.
EXTERIOR Imperial Works Matte red wrap, #RFsplitters916 custom-made front, rear and side splitters, roof, aerial, kidney and side grilles, mirrors, bootlip, M3 badge and window surrounds painted/wrapped gloss black, tinted windows.
INTERIOR Suede trimmed boot enclosure with #Lightning-Audio amp and Rockford Fosgate P2 12” subs.
THANKS #AirREX , Imperial Works, Rohana Wheels, Magnaflow, RFsplitters916, Autosport209, Rey Felipe and Zach Felipe for helping me install all of the parts and putting up with my craziness.
11x20” concave Rohana wheels do an awesome job of filling the M3’s swollen rear arches.
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The seriously gorgeous Henna red, S50-swapped finale to CAtuned’s tri-colour E30 triumvirate. The CAtuned E30s are among the best in the world; here’s the final of the set, the #S50-swapped Henna red example, which completes the patriotic red, white and blue trio. Words: Ben Koflach / Photos: Courtney Cutchen
It’s amazing how some cars can just fall by the wayside. Sure, we can all fall on hard times and cars can be an easy thing to push to one side but sometimes this abandonment becomes sacrilege. Luckily, though, one man’s nuisance E30 is another man’s perfect base for a project. US tuning house, CAtuned, demonstrated this perfectly with this Henna-coloured car as it turned this classic 3 Series from a wreck into a car to be proud of.
When we say ‘wreck’, we mean it. This #1990 325i, which was originally #Calypso red, came into CAtuned’s ownership with a snapped timing belt, an interior that was as good as gone, damaged bodywork and smashed lights. To many, it was destined for the scrapheap. Fortunately, CAtuned front man, Igor Polishchuck, thought differently… “It was bought four years ago at a donation auction,” explained Igor. “I think I overpaid at the time, purchasing it for $1200 but I wanted to get something bad to show what we can do. It needed everything: the engine was toast, the interior was a goner, and the paint was unrecognisable.” After being rolled into the CAtuned workshop, though, it would never look the same again.
“I chose the Henna red colour because I always liked it and since BMW never made a late model E30 in that colour I figured, why not?” Igor explained. Of course, before it was packed off to the bodyshop, Igor and his team had a few of their own touches to add. The E30 was stripped to its core, and the body was restored, along with a few tweaks. The damaged parts were stripped or repaired and a central windscreen wiper mount was welded in.
While the E30, now no more than a rolling shell, was away at the bodyshop, CAtuned purchased a crashed 1995 E36 M3 in order to utilise its S50B30 heart in the E30. The 240hp US-spec lump was completely rebuilt with all new bearings, seals and gaskets, as well as an E34 sump to make it ready for the transplant. Reliable horsepower is hard to argue with, and this E30 was built with speed in mind.
Once the shell, now fully painted in the beautiful PPG Henna red hue you see here, was back at CAtuned, the rebuild began. The glass was refitted with all new seals and surrounds, and the team also had Euro bumpers and trims prepared for the car to get rid of the US-spec ‘diving board’ pedestrian safety items. CAtuned’s own splitter was bolted to the bottom of an iS front lip; no stone was left unturned. The original suspension was used to roll the car in and out of the bodyshop but beyond that its life was over. It was binned, with CAtuned coilovers fitted in its place. Igor worked for a number of years specifically designing and testing CAtuned’s suspension systems, and the guys have got it nailed. On this car you’ll find full coilovers all-round with separately adjustable ride height and pre-load, along with 32-stage adjustable monotube dampers. They’re perfect for on-road comfort and performance.
While they were at it every bush was replaced with polyurethane items, with a #Z3 rack and Eibach anti-roll bars to boot. Everything was bolted back under the car along with new wheel bearings fitted, leaving just the brakes to do. For these, Igor used new OE rear calipers with ceramic pads and grooved discs. All new brake lines were run from front to rear, with the aging rubber flexi-hoses replaced by CAtuned stainless steel braided items front and rear, as well as the clutch hose. Upgrading the braking at the front end – to match the planned horsepower – was done with a CAtuned Stage 2 big brake kit. It’s yet another product that Igor and his team have formulated over the years of building E30s and other classic BMWs; it comprises 285mm grooved discs and beefy four-piston Wilwood calipers.
The final addition to the chassis setup was, of course, the wheels. Igor had nothing but the best in mind, sourcing a set of BBS’s timeless RSs for the E30. These were finished with white centres and polished dishes, measuring 8.5x16” ET6 up front and 9.5x16” ET6 at the rear, fitted with nicely stretched BF Goodrich rubber – perfect for tucking up into those arches. As a finishing touch, Igor used Motorsport Hardware wheel studs to mount the wheels – what better way to promote your trade partners, after all?
With the chassis work done and the exterior well on the way, the CAtuned crew began work on getting that freshly rebuilt S50 mounted up. It was treated to a Fidanza lightweight flywheel and a new OE clutch before being reunited with its partnering #ZF five-speed gearbox and bolted into the little E30 using polyurethane swap mounts. The final step, ensuring that the S50 power could get down to the ground effectively, was a 3.25 final drive LSD, modified to have an aggressive 60% lock.
Of course, getting the engine bolted in was only half the story – there was a little more work to do before it would run. The front half of the exhaust system was left factory, with the rear half swapped for a custom stainless steel system with a Magnaflow muffler to keep things civilised. Next up: cooling. As a distributor for Mishimoto’s range of alloy cooling products, it was only natural that a Mishimoto radiator ended up in the car, plumbed-in with Rogue Engineering silicone hoses.
The occupants can be kept cool, too, which is vital in the California heat; the CAtuned guys retained the S50’s air conditioning pump and made custom lines to get it plumbed-in and fully functional. A Walbro 225lph fuel pump feeds the S50 with juice through all-new fuel lines, while the CAtuned guys got everything neatly wired in. Until recently the S50 was supercharged, using a VF Engineering system to deliver a hefty 350hp hit.
However, this has been removed for the time being and even a normally aspirated S50 in a lightweight E30 is still pretty potent. There was talk of going turbo with the car but for now a Castro intake does a fine job of getting fresh air into the lump. Igor estimates that it’s making about 250hp. With the running gear sorted, CAtuned just needed to finish the interior in order to complete the project. Fortunately CAtuned is an expert in doing interiors. A full black leather rear half was sourced, with Monaco reclining front buckets and red BMW Motorsport seat belts. A suede-rimmed M Tech 2 steering wheel, custom Bavarian Restorations dash cluster and genuine BMW floormats finish it off nicely.
The sound system was given a boost, too. The entire interior has been treated to Fat Mat sound insulation, with a German Car Audio boot box housing an Infinity amp and sub, all custom wired in.
CAtuned’s third and final E30 demonstrates a different take on the classic 3 Series to the ‘Miss blue’ and Alpine white M Tech 1 cars that you’ll have seen previously in the magazine. An updated powerplant and a thorough chassis upgrade give it some serious performance yet it retains all the classic cool of the late model E30 that it started out life as. This E30 hasn’t just been rescued from the scrapheap – it’s been completely reborn as an entirely new creation.
Three-piece RSs have been finished with polished lips and white centres; Motorsport door handles add the finishing touch.
DATA FILE #1990 #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i / #BMW-325i-CAtuned-E30 / #BMW-E30-CAtuned / #BMW-E30
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30 / #S50 (fully rebuilt), #Castro-Motorsport intake, original #BMW exhaust manifold and catalytic converters, custom rear exhaust system with #Magnaflow muffler, #Walbro 255lph fuel pump, #Mishimoto alloy radiator with #Rogue-Engineering coolant hoses, #Spal electric fan, custom A/C lines, #Fidanza lightweight flywheel, polyurethane engine mounts, five-speed manual gearbox, #UUC short shifter and dual-shear selector rod, polyurethane transmission mounts, 3.25 final drive ratio LSD with 60% lock.
CHASSIS: 8.5x16” (front) and 9.5x16” (rear) #BBS-RS three-piece splits with 205/45 (front) and 225/45 (rear) #BF-Goodrich tyres, #Motorsport-Hardware wheel studs and nuts, Z3 steering rack, #CAtuned Motorsport steering coupling, CAtuned full coilover conversion, #Eibach antiroll bars, reinforced trailing arms, CAtuned front big brake kit (consisting of #Wilwood calipers and 285mm slotted discs), slotted rear discs, ceramic rear pads, all new brake lines and CAtuned braided hoses.
EXTERIOR: Fully restored and repainted in #PPG-Henna red (originally Calypso red), Euro bumper conversion, single wiper conversion, iS front lip and sideskirts, CAtuned splitter, glass sunroof, all new locks, yellowed Euro ‘smiley’ headlights.
INTERIOR: Suede headlining, M Tech 2 steering wheel, Husco armrest, E46 ZHP gear knob, #BMW-Motorsport red seatbelts, custom stereo panel, German Car Audio rear sub box and amp box with all independent wiring, Fat Mat sound insulation throughout, #Bavarian-Restorations dash cluster, fully functional air conditioning.
Interior has been treated to suede headlining, an M Tech 2 steering wheel and a pair of Monaco reclining front bucket seats.
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