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    GENERATION GAME / #BMW-M535i / #BMW-M535i-E28 / #BMW-M535i-Eaton-supercharged-E28 / #BMW-M535i-Rotrex-supercharged-E28 / #BMW-E28 / #BMW /

    The UK’s only supercharged E28s are an impressively eclectic pair owned by an equally different father and son duo with a long-standing love of BMWs.

    SUPERCHARGED UK E28s Classic Fives with power!

    Owning the only two supercharged E28s in the UK, this father and son duo are the custodians of some seriously cool metal. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.

    BMW E28s are precious things. Long gone are the days when you could pick one up for £400 (like I once did) and with the vast majority of the shabby ones now having rusted away, those that remain need to be cherished. Whilst the E24 6 Series might be the obvious choice for those looking for something sleek and ‘sharky’ to slam, the E28 is currently getting lots of love, too. Last year no less than three bigpower classic Fives appeared in DRIVE-MY and there are plenty of extremely attractive examples around, like this pair, for example.

    Kris Rourke and dad Jon are the custodians of this unlikely pair – one an exceptionally clean sleeper, the other more of a retro hot rod, with the two cars reflecting their owners’ personalities and motoring preferences.

    The very clean red car belongs to Jon, with Kris driving the brown bad boy. While both cars are without doubt very different, they share one significant similarity: they are both supercharged. That elevates this pair from being merely modified to really rather special, not least because of how rare a thing a supercharged E28 is.

    That father and son own E28s is unsurprising when you learn that Jon has been at it for years, which means Kris was destined to follow. “Dad’s always had BMWs and has had about six or seven E28s,” says Kris. “They were always in my life when I was growing up and my first car was a 2002ti, mum and dad’s 2002 in fact, which they gave me when I passed my test. It all started from there really. I’m also into Jap stuff and have had loads of J-tin, all modified and all with big power.” So the draw of another powerful, modified car was inevitable and the odds of it being a BMW were good.

    Pay attention, because things get a bit complicated now. “Two years ago I had a Fiat Cinquecento and loved it but then my other half and I had a baby and I couldn’t get the baby seat in the car so it had to go. Dad had a blue M535i at the time so he gave me that as it was more practical and bought himself the red supercharged car. I then sold the blue one to buy dad’s red one, which is now my brown one, and when I started modding that dad realised he missed it and bought himself the red supercharged one he now owns.” Got it? Good.

    For Jon, a London cabbie by trade, the appeal of the E28 is easy to see. “It’s a lovely retro classic car,” he says. “It stands out and it has road presence. All my previous E28s have been standard – as long as they go and work I’m happy,” he chuckles. “This red one is much more of a hooligan car, though. I was just looking around on eBay for interesting cars, spotted it and went for it. It had been in a garage for about seven or eight years and while the body was good, underneath it was rotten,” he says.

    Not that you’d have any clue as to the car’s previous state of disrepair now thanks to the amount of time and money that Jon has invested in it. The whole floor has been repaired, as have the sills, while the suspension has been renewed and new brakes have been fitted. Jon also replaced the chrome exterior trim with Shadowline, while inside the original cloth seats have been replaced with leather Sport seats. Thankfully having a rust-free body meant one less area that needed attention and the red colour really looks fantastic on the E28. So too do the 17” Style 5s – easily one of the greatest wheel collaborations between #BBS and #BMW .

    Of course, what’s really exciting here, on both these cars, is what’s under the bonnet, and these are the only two supercharged E28s in the UK. Jon’s car has the slightly more stock-looking engine bay, though there’s no missing the supercharger and its accompanying pipework. The kit here is a Jamsport setup, which cost whichever previous owner that decided to fit it a cool £6500, and uses a more traditional centrifugal supercharger.

    This E28 may be no spring chicken but you can still appreciate the work that has gone into fabricating the pipework for the kit. It’s all expertly finished and assembled and there’s a lot of engineering squeezed into here. The most impressive part of this setup is the custom alloy rad, intercooler and associated pipework, which originally cost an eye-watering £5000 and comes courtesy of McLaren (hence the price tag and quality of the work itself). The FMIC is tucked behind the kidney grilles and ahead of the rad. On top of that sits an oil cooler for the supercharger, as this older design requires an external feed. It’s not for show, either, with Jon telling us that running at around 6-7psi it’s making 303whp, which is an awful lot of power in a car as light as the E28 and definitely makes it a bit of a handful. Not that he’s complaining, mind, he’s loved every minute of the 18 months he’s spent with the E28 – a long time for him as he likes to change his cars often.

    And so we come to the brown E28, Kris’s rowdy, raucous, unashamedly showy counterpart to his dad’s more demure example. Kris was fortunate in that his E28 was in a better state, though as it had come from his dad that’s not much of a surprise. A quick glance at the exterior of the E28 is enough to tell you that there’s clearly something going on here. There’s a sort of rough-edged charm to the whole car, visible in the interior with its auxiliary gauges mounted on a bright red backing plate and that well-used Nardi steering wheel. Where the engine bay of the red E28 is a relatively discreet affair, on the brown car it’s much more of a mad scientist affair. What you’re looking at here is an extremely impressive home brew positive displacement supercharger setup.

    In case you don’t know, a centrifugal supercharger produces more boost as engine speed increases, normally producing peak boost very near to the engine’s redline and where it would normally be producing peak power in naturally aspirated form. A positive displacement blower, like a Roots or twin-screw item, on the other hand, produces peak boost instantly, meaning you get massive low-end torque and immediate response from the engine when you put your foot down, making for awesome mid-range thump. Positive displacement superchargers are also a lot more complicated to fit.

    Generally speaking they are large, bulky items that are traditionally mounted directly on a custom inlet manifold, feeding air into the engine via a chargecooler. In contrast, centrifugal superchargers are smaller and run cooler, so they can happily operate without any sort of intercooling. The fact that Kris’s car is running a positive displacement blower, an Eaton M90 to be precise, and a home-made installation at that, is very impressive.

    Of course, the fact that it’s a homebrewed setup means that it wasn’t perhaps running as best as it could have been when Kris took over custody of the car. “I’ve improved a lot of things since I bought this E28,” he says. “It had no management for starters and was just running a fuel pressure regulator, so I fitted a Megasquirt ECU and had the cam blueprinted. I changed every boost hose and pipe and replaced the FMIC with a chargecooler.” This is that big metal box on the front left of the engine bay. It cools the intake air by passing it through a core filled with water, which is itself passed through and cooled by a heat exchanger mounted at the front of the engine bay, hidden beneath a clever lift-off panel. “This saw intake temperatures drop from 90ºC to 40ºC,” says Kris, “and I’m planning on adding methanol injection, which should bring them down to about 20ºC and help the engine make more power.”

    The rather industrial-looking pipework under the bonnet is a bit of a maze but it all begins at the air filter which is shrouded in carbon and fed with cooling air via the hole in the front grille where the passenger-side high beam unit would normally sit. The air travels through the black flexi-pipe and into the supercharger inlet, then up through the outlet on top, round the back of the engine bay and into the chargecooler, through the core, and then into the original inlet manifold on top of the engine. The fact that the E28’s engine bay is quite capacious and allows for the supercharger to be mounted by the side of the engine and to feed into the original inlet manifold is a bonus. There’s a lot more beneath the bonnet beyond the supercharger, though, including a B35 Stage 3 head with bigger valves, a Schrick 296 cam and a Fritz’s Bitz exhaust manifold.

    It’s a monstrously impressive installation but how does it perform? According to Kris, the car made 252whp, which is definitely enough to be getting on with, but also an amazing 350lb ft of torque at just 1800rpm, which is the beauty of a positive displacement blower. When Kris had nitrous on the car it ran an 11.8-second quarter-mile, which is extremely impressive and puts it in the company of cars like the Jaguar XJ220, Audi R8 V10 and Aston Martin V12 Vantage S.

    “I took the nitrous off as I knew I would never really use it,” he continues. “I was too scared of blowing the engine up… but I might put it back on. I really want 400hp and the supercharger is holding the car back – it’s not making as much boost as it should and I need to run more boost to make more power.

    I’m considering my options. I might rebuild the supercharger or I might go for a turbo conversion. It’s quite a lot of money but it would definitely mean I could hit 400hp. And I like the idea of having a turbo. I have 90% of the parts I need, so I’m almost ready.”

    Of course, we can’t discuss Kris’s car without discussing its colour. It’s not paint or a wrap but is, in fact, Plasti Dip – the spray-on, peel-off rubbery coating that can provide a quick and easy way to change the colour of your car and then change it back again when you get bored! “I was approached by DipMyVehicle, who offered to dip my car for free in exchange for having it on the company’s stand at the Santa Pod show, so I went for it,” Kris explains. The colour is called Sunset bronze. Although it may look pretty brown when the light hits it there’s a subtle change in colour and you can see a light metallic element in the coating. Combined with the aggressive drop on Spax springs and black, 19” CSL-wheels it makes this E28 into a bit of a bad boy.

    The brakes have also been uprated, with E34 540i discs and calipers front and rear running Mintex pads, while the gearbox is a 260/6 unit running the ratios from the E28 dog-leg transmission with a separate bellhousing, Black Diamond Stage 3 clutch, and modified centre donut on the propshaft.

    Both cars have had a vast amount of time and effort devoted to them – Jon’s car on the bodywork and Kris’s on the mechanicals – but the results speak for themselves. E28s need love and attention so we’re delighted that this father and son team stepped up to the plate.

    It’s a lovely retro classic car. It stands out and has road presence.

    DATA FILE Eaton supercharged E28 M535i

    ENGINE #Eaton
    3.4-litre straight-six #M30B34 , compression ratio lowered to 8.1:1, #B35 Stage 3 head with 1mm bigger valves, #Schrick 296 cam, B35 inlet manifold, 550cc injectors, #Sytec FPR, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, 8-micron fuel filter, CDA carbon air box with cold air feed, custom crank pulley, #Eaton-M90 supercharger, ported top hat, custom charge cooler system, #Brownlow alloy radiator, Fritz’s Bits heat wrapped manifold and full system, #Megasquirt ECU running MS2. 252whp, 350lb ft wtq

    / #Getrag-260/6 gearbox with separate bellhousing, #Black-Diamond-Stage-3 clutch, modified centre donut on propshaft, factory #LSD / #Getrag-260

    8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) M3 CSL wheels with 225/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) Bridgestone tyres, #Bilstein gas dampers all-round, #Spax lowering springs, polyurethane front torque arm bushes, E34 540i discs and floating calipers front and rear, #Mintex racing pads all-round

    Plasti Dipped in Sunset bronze over original #Zinnobar red, driver’s-side high beam removed for cold air feed, clear front and rear indicator lenses

    Standard E28 M535i leather, three-spoke Nardi leather steering wheel, M5 gear knob, Innovative wideband #AFR gauge and boost gauge in centre pod

    Paul Higgs, Ed at Fusion Motorsport and Justin from

    DATA FILE Rotrex supercharged E28 M535i

    ENGINE #Gotech-Pro
    3.4-litre straight-six #M30B34 / #M30 / #BMW-M30 , #Rotrex supercharger, custom alloy radiator and intercooler system, 440cc injectors, #Gotech-Pro-X-ECU with custom wiring loom, #Ram air filter, Fritz’s Bits manifold and exhaust system. 303whp @ 7psi

    Standard M535i dog-leg ’box, standard factory LSD

    8.5x17” (front) and 9.5x17” (rear) #BBS-RC090 Style 5 wheels with 225/40 (front) and 245/40 (rear) tyres, #Bilstein dampers, uprated lowering springs, front and rear strut braces, #Black-Diamond drilled and grooved discs, EBC Redstuff pads

    Zinnobar red, dechromed, clear front indicator lenses,

    Standard M535i leather seats
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    / #Peugeot-205GTi / #Peugeot-205 / #Peugeot / #1984 /

    Gee McDaid’s exceptionally clean 205 may look like a clean standard car, but delve a little deeper and it starts to get rather special.


    It may look like a show car, but Gee McDaid built this perfect Peugeot 205 for blasting around the B-Roads… Words & Photos: Steve McCann.

    When Peugeot launched the 205 GTi back in 1984 they led with a James Bond style advert, having the hot hatch parachuted into a snowy mountain range, shot down by a jet and chased by another huge plane while it slid furiously along ice and sideways down the slippery slopes avoiding explosions. Sure, it may have seemed more appropriate with an Aston Martin but regardless the message was clear, this was a driver’s car built for driving hard on the edge, a small car with a big personality. Fortunately, that’s how Gee McDaid saw it too. He fell in love with the 205 back in the day and that feeling has never left him. “I remember having a 205 pencil case at school so I guess it started then,” Gee laughs, “But my first experience of the real thing was a test drive years ago. The guy selling the car really pushed it to the limit and the 205 came alive, I knew immediately I had to have it!” From then on, he’s pretty much always had one. Until that point Gee had owned a lot of Fords, starting with a few Fiestas, then onto Escorts and an Orion. His love of cars in general was down to his older brother who used to pay Gee to clean his cars. At first he didn’t see the point, just the colour of the money, but soon discovered cleaning cars gives you an appreciation of them too. “It must have struck a chord as ironically, I now have my own detailing business,” Gee smirks, “As a kid I was getting paid to clean cars and now I still am.”

    You can already see where this is going, a true driving enthusiast who is equally obsessive over car cleanliness. Is it possible to strike a balance and have a super mint motor that gets driven hard? Well, judge for yourselves….

    “I really didn’t plan to go anywhere near this far with the 205.” Gee explains, “I just wanted to build something fun for the road that handled well, but it just evolved this way as I couldn’t help myself.” What Gee means is that his perfectionist nature and cleaning obsession wouldn’t allow him to cut any corners or settle for anything less than the best when it came to this 205 project and to be fair, that’s not really a bad thing!

    The initial idea was to find a solid base car, fit a bigger engine, clean it up a bit and off we go. So, in 2012 Gee sourced a 1992 1.6GTi that had been parked up for a couple of years but was otherwise ok. He was even able to drive it home so was off to a good start. The initial proper inspection verified it was the right car, but Gee wanted to do some light repairs to the floor and get it undersealed. He felt the easiest way to do this was remove the engine (it was getting replaced anyway) and stick the 205 on a spit. Gee didn’t have a spit of his own but he does have some welding skills so made one! “The trouble is, once you get a car on a spit, that’s it, you have to go the whole way,” Gee explains. So, the 205 was indeed stripped to a bare shell with the floor repaired, chassis legs stitch welded and strengthened before the whole underside was treated to four blue base coats and six coats of lacquer! Once this was done and bits were being bolted back into place Gee’s OCD kicked in big style. He just couldn’t face putting anything back on the car that wasn’t renewed, repainted or powder-coated. Even tiny bolts and fixings, they all had to be replaced with new items. While all this was going on, progress was made in other areas.

    A Peugeot 309 GTi was picked up for parts and Gee got a Christmas present from his wife Lynsey that all guys would appreciate – a Citroen Xsara! Thankfully, this wasn’t a driving alternative; it was donor car number two. As it turned out, both these vehicles would prove to be very resourceful for the project. The 309 was relieved of its complete rear axle which was of course stripped, with parts painted and powder-coated before being rebuilt and fitted to the 205. As well as giving a wider track, this provided the back end with a brake disc conversion. Wishbones and the anti roll bar were also taken from the 309 and along with various new parts such as polybushes, uprated mounts and the fantastic GAZ coilovers and dampers, the suspension set-up was a winner!

    When it came to the powerplant, Gee was tempted to use the donor car 309 engine which turned out to be a 2.0 8V in the process of having a turbo conversion. However, he decided it against it. “I wanted the car to be as useable and reliable as possible,” Gee tells us, “so for that reason, the tried and tested 2.0 16v was a better option.” This is where the Xsara VTS comes in. It’s more common to see this kind of conversion done with a 405 Mi16 engine but Gee reckons that most of those around require a rebuild whereas the Xsara 2.0 16v (same as the 306 GTi-6 unit) may be heavier but it’s newer, has slightly more power and has better parts availability. As you would expect, there was no chance this lump was going anywhere near the 205 until the engine bay was prepped and painted. Also, the new engine had to be cleaned, painted and have the head ported and polished before fitment.

    All the essentials were done at this stage too like the timing belt, fitting a new head gasket and replacing various seals and hoses. The Xsara gearbox was retained but reconditioned first and to cap it off a new Valeo clutch was added to the mix. It was all looking good but there were a few obstacles to clear before the transplant was hailed a success. The donor Xsara ECU and loom had been scrapped so another was found from a GTi-6 but took days to sort and solder. Finally, these engines have clearance issues that many solve by cutting holes in the bulkhead or modifying mounts but Gee decided to get creative. He cut and re-welded part of the exhaust manifold and it did the job perfectly, leaving a real factory finish under the bonnet.

    With potent power, improved braking and a handling set-up to satisfy the side of Gee that demanded a quick, planted, fun car, it was time to address the cosmetic aspect. Overall he was looking for a subtle look, something close to how Peugeot intended, hiding the real animal underneath and that’s exactly how it turned out. Inside the cabin, the existing grey door cards remain but the Goodwood leather interior from the 309 slotted straight in with a bit of a squeeze. The seats are slightly wider but look right at home here. On the outside the bodywork received a fresh coat of Miami Blue paint and remains completely standard other than the mouldings. “I hate that plastic trim,” Gee explains “I have to clean that kind of stuff on a daily basis and it ain’t fun so I smoothed and painted mine in a metallic grey instead.” It was an inspired move as it looks fantastic against the blue and matches the refurbed 15in Speedlines painted in the same graphite colour. Small finishing touches that really make a difference are the replacement of all the glass, mirrors, headlights, spotlights, indicators and badges with new items. “I tried not to replace all these things,” laughs Gee “there was nothing wrong with lots of the original parts but it just had to be done.”

    The end result looks stunning, but does it tick all the show and go boxes for Gee? “You can never be 100% happy and finished with a car, there’s always something that can be done.” Gee tells us, “But I absolutely love it and although I do like to keep the 205 clean, that side of me never gets in the way of using it as I always intended.” It’s true, this is a man who works extremely hard at his business (Pristine Machine is always fully booked for months in advance) so when he gets a day off and the weather is nice, Gee really makes the best of it and heads up into the beautiful back roads of Scotland, even as far as the Highlands to enjoy the car, the scenery and the escape. “It just drives as I had hoped, it’s got plenty of power with fantastic handling and has been faultless for the thousands of miles I’ve covered.” We think that pretty much answers the question then, it seems it is possible to have the best of both worlds.

    Leather seats are straight out of a Goodwood edition 309GTi. For many Miami Blue is the ultimate 205 GTi colour, we’d be inclined to agree.

    Lee McDaid

    A massive inspiration for Gee during this project was his son Lee who sadly passed away in 2010 at the heartbreaking young age of 11. The build helped occupy Gee through extremely difficult times. He had a few 205s before this one and Lee just loved his passenger runs. December 2015 would have been Lee’s 17th birthday and the 205 would have been his present. RIP Lee.


    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.0 16v Xsara VTS engine conversion, ported and polished head, Group N engine mounts, re-angled and heat wrapped equal length manifold, cylindrical air filter, BBM silicone coolant pipes with alloy thermostat adapter, #Taco modified dual speedo drive with 405 cable, 306 GTi-6 loom and ECU, Xsara battery box, Sound of Silence custom stainless steel exhaust system, Xsara VTS BE3 box, new #Valeo clutch kit, Group N mounts, competition adjustable linkages.

    SUSPENSION: Rebuilt and lowered 309 GTi rear beam, Xsara VTS ARB, Group A rear beam mounts, #GAZ-GHA adjustable rear dampers, seam welded subframe, 309 GTi #ARB with polybushes, 309 GTi wishbones with polybushes, #GAZ GHA adjustable coilovers with 250 lbs springs, Group N top mounts, Xsara VTS power steering rack and pump.

    WHEELS: 6x15in #Speedlines acid dipped, shot blasted, polished lip and painted metallic grey. Toyo R888 soft compound cut slicks.

    BRAKES: Fully rebuilt 288mm front brakes, #Mintex 1144 pads, Stainless steel braided flexi pipes, 309 GTi rear disc conversion, 309 GTi servo and master cylinder, all brake and fuel pipe and clips replaced.

    EXTERIOR: Bodywork repainted in original Miami blue including door shuts and floor pans, trims and mouldings smoothed and painted metallic grey, red alloy trim repaired and painted original colour, Clio rear wiper, new lights, new indicators, new spotlights, new aerial and new badges, paintwork wet sanded to remove orange peel and fully detailed, bare metal floor, stitch welded front legs, fully seam sealed, undersealed, underside painted and lacquered in original colour, seam welded and painted engine bay.

    INTERIOR: 309 GTi Goodwood full grey leather, all new bronze tinted glass inc mirrors.

    THANKS: My awesome wife Lynsey for putting up with all the hours I spent and for the donor car. Kev and John at KMbodyworx, Patrick at Max Marine, Robert and the boys at Autotec, Jamie T, Mark Wilson, Joe Blow and Aldo. Pristine Machine Vehicle Detailing (Port Glasgow).

    Xsara 2.0 16V engine is the same as the one fitted to the Pug 306 GTi-6, so it’s kind a keeping it in the family.
    Gee’s near-obsessive attention to detail means that the underside is as clean as the topside. Now that’s dedication!

    When did you last see a 205GTi on the roads, let alone one as clean as this?

    “I just wanted to build something fun for the road that handled well, but it just evolved this way as I couldn’t help myself.”
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    If you’re looking to build one last project a #Yas-Marina blue, air-ride #BMW-135i-Coupe sporting 1M styling, carbon and pulled arches is certainly one way to go out with a bang… Mark Stewart wanted to do one last big build and with this 135i, we’d say it was mission accomplished. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Steve McCann.

    It may lack the sheer in-your-face impact of the 1M or the more heavily M-administered focus of its next generation counterpart but the 135i remains an awesome performance machine. It’s fast, surprisingly practical and economical when driven with care and an absolute riot. It’s perfectly-sized, nimble and hard to beat for sheer grin-inducing driving pleasure. We have fond memories of our first time behind the wheel of a 135i and we came away massively impressed. It may have been superseded by the M135i and M235i, which is arguably more of a direct replacement, but the 135i still has the potential to impress and surprise owners of more exotic machinery. Out-of-the-box it is certainly no slouch, thanks to 306hp and 295lb ft of torque from the early twin-turbo N54, but it’s the tuning potential of that engine that makes the 135i such a deadly weapon out on the roads. With minimum effort you can be knocking on the door of 400hp, and that will never leave you wanting.

    As a base from which to build a performance project, then, the 135i is the perfect choice and that’s what attracted Mark Stewart to what would become his 135i. “As this was going to be my last big build I wanted to build the ultimate 1 Series,” says the car painter from Northern Ireland. “The car was built to make heads turn but not to be all show and no go, which is what made the 3.0 twin-turbo 135i a must. Everything had to be right, from the colour to interior.” And looking at the car, it’s fair to say that Mark has got everything spot-on. In just three short weeks, with the help of friends, he transformed a standard 135i into the machine you see before you now, which is amazing considering just how much work has been poured into the car. If there’s an area in which the standard 135i is lacking, it’s on the visual front. Despite that pouty front bumper, it’s a pretty discreet car with no wild arches or lairy styling. While that’s all well and good if you want to make rapid progress across the highways and byways without attracting unwanted attention, it’s obviously no good if you actually want to attract attention.

    So the first step was to beef up that body. And this 1 Series has undergone a heck of a lot of work on the styling front. Up front, there’s that 1M bumper, spilling over with cartoonish aggression and intakes – the perfect choice for giving the front end some more clout. Matched with it are a pair of 1M front wings, themselves chosen to accommodate the wheels, which Mark had his heart set on from the start. The wheels were only available in a seriously low offset, though, and although most of us in such a situation would sigh and choose something else that would fit straight on, that’s clearly not Mark’s style. The wheels in question are 9.5x18” #Cosmis-Racing XT- 206Rs, a sexy single-piece wheel finished in black with a polished lips – very nice indeed. In Mark’s chosen width the only offset available was +10, far too low for the standard width 1 Series arches to accommodate. There was another problem, too. The #XT-206R is only available in a 5x114.3 or 5x100 fitment, neither of which is any good for a #BMW . Normally, you can get around this by chucking a set of adapters on but as they’re essentially spacers and the offset here was so low already, that wasn’t possible. The solution?

    Mark had the wheels redrilled to the correct 5x120 PCD so they could fit straight on. A lot of effort but it was worth it as the twin six-spoke design really suits the chunky 1 Series shape. And with the 1M bodywork, the fitment really is on point. Of course, with fat 1M front arches, the rear was now looking rather anaemic so something clearly needed to be done. Mark’s solution was to have them pulled and flared, which has made a massive difference and the rear quarters now mirror the front to perfection, with the wheels filling all four arches and sitting flush as you like.

    Beyond the front bumper and beefed-up arches there’s plenty more to admire here, like the E9x M3-style carbon bonnet – which is just one of many carbon additions that adorn this 135i. There are also carbon kidney grilles, carbon bumper intakes, carbon 1M indicators, mirrors, aerial and, at the rear, a seriously aggressive carbon diffuser. It’s the perfect accompaniment for the #AC-Schnitzer-exhaust and custom side skirts complete with blades. It’s a very thorough cosmetic reworking that has totally transformed the rather unassuming 1 Series Coupé into a serious head-turner.

    But there was one final piece of the puzzle missing: a killer colour that would burn people’s eyeballs! “The colour was chosen to keep with a BMW colour but one never done on a 1 Series,” explains Mark. The chosen colour is Yas Marina blue from the M3 and M4. It’s certainly not something you’re going to see a lot of, certainly not on the 1 Series. It’s an awesome colour, striking for being so different, a sort of metallic pastel blue that never looks anything less than ultra-bold and bright. We think it’s the perfect choice to contrast with the black and carbon details about the exterior.

    So with styling, wheels and paint sorted, it was time to take care of the suspension. With a build of this calibre there was only one direction that Mark could head in, and that involved air. “ #Air-ride was a must to get the stance right,” he says. And you can’t argue with the results. Mark turned to #AirREX for the suspension kit itself, adding #Air-Lift-V2 management, with the controller custom-mounted in the dash where the driver’s side central air vent would normally be and one seriously slick boot build. Twin #Viair-380 compressors sit beneath a clear panel in the black carpeted boot floor while the single air tank has been carbonwrapped, mounted in a carpeted panel and the ends have been painted Maserati yellow to match the full roll-cage. Yes, there’s a full roll-cage, we’ll get to that in a moment.

    Aired-out, the car sits so low that the front bumper and side blades are mere millimetres off the ground, while the arches perch majestically on the wheels’ lips. It really is a thing of beauty to behold.

    Mark did promise a big build and, heading indoors, he’s certainly not scrimped on the interior side of things either. The first thing you’ll notice, because it’s impossible to miss, is the aforementioned Maserati yellow Dodger roll-cage that curves around the shape of the dash and then soars overhead, disappearing into the now seat-less rear to connect up to the chassis behind the carpeted panel. A matching carpeted custom A-pillar pod houses boost and AFR gauges, the dash trims have all been colour-coded, and a pair of sexy Recaro CS seats have been installed in place of the standard items.

    The two gauges are not merely frivolous additions as there’s been a bit of tinkering beneath the bonnet in order to get the N54 performing to its full potential. As we mentioned earlier, this engine is extremely eager to give you more power and the addition of a dual Injen induction kit, de-cat and live remap by Autotune has resulted in power leaping to 386hp with 400lb ft – more than enough for anybody and certainly the sort of go Mark was after when starting out with this project. BMW Performance six-pot front brakes with Mintex fast road pads provide ample stopping power.

    This is an exceptionally nice car and arguably one of the best-looking 1 Series’ we’ve come across. Mark promised himself one last big build and in our eyes he’s definitely delivered, this 135i being a suitably big statement to go out on. And, if you’re wondering what on earth there could possibly be left to do, the answer is nothing! This was exactly the car Mark wanted to build. In less time than it takes most of us to get around to buying a car, he took a car from standard to show standard – quite a feat where modified cars are concerned. The 135i has now been sold, a Porsche 911 taking its place, and while Mark may have moved on we can’t imagine he’ll ever forget his magnificent 1 Series.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW /

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #N54B30 / #N54 , Injen induction kit, de-cat, #AC-Schnitzer exhaust, live map by #Autotune , 386hp and 400lb ft of torque, six-speed manual gearbox.

    CHASSIS 18x9.5” #ET10 (front and rear) Cosmis Racing XT- 206R wheels custom drilled to 5x120 with 215/35 (front and rear) tyres, #AirREX struts with #Air-Lift V2 management, #BMW-Performance six-pot #BBK (front), #Mintex fast road pads.

    EXTERIOR Full respray in Yas Marina blue, 1M front wings, 1M front bumper, carbon E9x M3-style bonnet, kidney grilles, bumper intakes, 1M indicators and mirrors, custom canards, custom side skirts, side skirt blades, carbon boot spoiler, aerial, rear diffuser, rear arches pulled and flared.

    INTERIOR #Recaro CS seats, full colour-coded dash, #Dodger rollcage painted Maserati yellow, custom pillar mount for boost and #AFR gauges, air-ride controller custom mounted in air vent, 2x Viair 380 compressors, carbon-wrapped air tank with Maserati yellow ends.

    THANKS PPG/Nexa Autocolor for paint, Stephen at SC Cages and the Paintworx team (07540 168355).

    Air-ride was the only option when it came to the suspension to achieve the perfect stance; air-ride controller has been custom-mounted in the dash.

    Carbon galore on the outside with bonnet, grilles, indicators and diffuser just a few of the items now finished in the black weave.

    Engine has been treated to an Injen induction kit, a live map, a de-cat, and an #ACS exhaust resulting in 386hp and 400lb ft of torque. Interior dominated by Maserati yellow roll-cage.
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    Read how this awesome Bimmer went from stock to shock in less than two weeks!

    HOT RIDE: #BMW-135i 3.0 TWIN TURBO


    The sign of true talent is when something is made to look easy through great skill. Take Lionel Messi for example. The way he effortlessly glides past opponents gives the impression football is simple. Then there’s F1. Surely it’s all about how good the cars are, so anyone can do it, right? Well, give it a go and see how far you get.

    This logic can also be applied to modifying cars. It’s easy to look at a finished project, spot the main mods and think, “Yeah, I could do that”. But most likely, you don’t realise what has gone on behind the scenes with the problems solved, custom parts, the trial and error process, the calculations to ensure things fi t and the taste to ensure it all blends together to make an awesome show car.

    Dealing with Mark Stewart can leave you with this false impression, as he makes it all look and sound so straightforward. On many occasions he’s transformed a car from stock to show-ready in almost no time at all. A few years ago we featured his S2000 that he turned around in four days! This BMW 1 Series took a lot longer. A whole 12 days. So it must be easy then, right? Er… not quite! Mark was looking for an RS6 towards the end of last year, when he spotted this rare manual 135i in grey. After a test drive he snapped it up, but only intended keeping the car for a short time. It came with coilovers, but once a set of Schmidt rims were fitted the Beemer was looking well enough that Mark decided to keep it a bit longer and take it a lot further!

    A plan was hatched and it was one that required lots of part sourcing, custom work and decision-making. Once the bits arrived, Mark had the bulk of work to do with less than two weeks until the big reveal. Everything had been worked around the chosen Cosmis XT-206R wheels... that were completely the wrong fi t. Mark had them re-drilled to 5x120. But the offset was an even bigger obstacle, or should we say ‘wider’. To cope with the extra girth, M Sport wings and an M Sport front bumper were fitted, while rear arches were pulled and rear bumper and side skirts modified. Only then could the body be hunkered down on AirREX struts and bags to provide the all-important lows.

    During this time, Mark finally decided on a new colour. Overall, his idea was to make the 135 look like it was a special edition from BMW, so he picked M4 Marina blue and it really works, especially with all the extra carbon bits added.

    This OEM+ theme is continued inside the cabin with just a few touches needed to lift the quality, such as #Recaro CS seats, the yellow show cage and a custom pillar mount for extra gauges. The boot build is fairly subtle too, but classy and high-end, like the rest of the car. Even though the 135i comes packing an awesome 3.0 twin turbo lump, Mark didn’t rest. To help breathing, out came all four cats and an AC Schnitzer exhaust was added, along with Injen induction kits. Finally, an Auto-Tune remap made sure it was all put to good use.

    So, there you have it, a show stopping slammed #BMW done and dusted in less than two weeks. Easy? Far from it! The truth is this project called upon all of Mark’s skill, vision and work ethic. The fact he was able to do it all in such a short space of time is testament to his expert planning – and those 12 days included working day and through the night! But, it was all worth it in the end as the car was ready for the big reveal on the Paintworx stand at Dubshed where it went down a storm. Top Mark indeed!

    TECH SPEC: #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-E82

    STYLING: Full respray in #BMW-M4-Marina-blue ; 1M front wings, 1M front bumper; carbon boot spoiler; custom side skirt blades; carbon mirrors; carbon V8 M3 style bonnet; carbon aerial; carbon kidney grilles; carbon bumper intakes; carbon rear diffuser; carbon 1M indicators; custom canards; rear arches pulled and flared; factory privacy glass; factory Xenon lights.

    TUNING: #N54B30 / #N54 3.0 twin turbo engine; 386bhp; 400lbft torque; 6-speed manual; #Injen induction kits; all cats removed; #AC-Schnitzer exhaust, map by #Auto-Tune .

    CHASSIS: #AirREX air-ride with #Air-Lift-V2 management and 2x #Viair-380 compressors; #Cosmis XT206R wheels custom drilled to 5x120; size 18x9.5 et10 front and rear; #BMW-Performance 6-pot brakes; #Mintex Fast Road pads.

    INTERIOR: Black #Recaro-CS seats; full colour coded dashdodger roll-cage painted Maserati yellow; custom pillar mount for gauges; boost gauge; air fuel gauge; custom mount for air controller; colour coded dash trims; rear seats removed; custom boot install.

    THANKS The Paintworx team!; PPG/Nexa Autocolor for paint, Stephen at SC Cages; Autotrend.


    Two cars featured in two months – what have you got for our next issue?

    “Well, you may have to wait a bit longer for the next one. Although the BMW is now sold and I do have another project on the go!”

    Any clue on what it will be?

    “Yes, it’s an RS4 that already came to me in a nice unusual colour, but I’ll be putting my own stamp on it of course.”

    How’s the new business going?

    “It’s still early days but going well. The website is still being set-up but keep a look out for Autotrend, supplying and fitting AirREX air-ride as well as many other tuning parts.”

    Cosmis XT-206R wheels are available from

    “He only intended keeping the car for a short time…”


    There are loads of carbon goodies added, such as the bonnet, rear diffuser and mirrors. But look out for the more subtle touches too, such as the 1M indicators, boot lid spoiler and kidney grilles, which all combine to make a difference. Even the compressor tank is coated in genuine carbon fibre. Nice!
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    #BMW E30 – hot-road heaven. With a schooling in the Veedub scene Garry Ames has now graduated to modifying BMWs with this ultra-cool V8 E30. This is Bavarian hot rodding at its finest. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Steve Hall.

    There is simply no denying that the #E30 3-Series is the most iconic generation of them all. Sure the #E21 was the original, and generations since have perhaps proved to offer greater refinement and practicality, but the E30 remains at the top. Therefore when Garry Ames wanted to move over from old-skool VWs into something Bavarian, he had only one thing in mind: an E30 hot rod.

    “I actually had a Mk1 Golf in my garage but didn’t want to use it as a daily,” explained Garry. “So I found this E30 locally for £500. It was a 325i auto and in a bit of a state.” However, it was a working classic and Garry soon bonded with the four-door. It was when the cambelt snapped that things really started moving up a notch.

    “I knew Robin from down at the local BMX ramp and used to see him around in his many cars,” Garry laughed, referring to Robin Welsh of Southampton’s RAW Motorsport. “All these years later I heard that he was building E30 race cars, so I popped in with mine. We rebuilt it with a 325i Sport engine and manual gearbox, but after I drove Rob’s E34 540i race car I knew that the M20 just wasn’t enough.”

    It was then that Garry decided he needed V8 noise and power, and that the engine swap wouldn’t be any old conversion. Robin was charged with weaving that RAW Motorsport magic and set about creating a really show-worthy engine bay to get a 4.0-litre M60 V8 nestled into.

    “I liked what the guys in the VW scene were doing with their clean engine bays and wanted to do it before it got too popular in the BMW scene,” Garry smiled. With the front end of the E30 dismantled, Rob relocated the brake servo and master cylinder to the passenger-side of the dashboard, along with all of the brake lines, and the fuse box was moved to the glovebox, too. Then every bracket was removed, all of the seam sealer was ground off and all of the holes were plated over and welded up.

    “Jack Gabriel at BodyTone then smoothed and painted the bay, and also colour-coded the bumpers and painted a new bootlid for me, as the old one was a spoiler version. He also welded up the exhaust recess on the rear valance while it was there,” Garry explained.

    From the paintshop, it was back to RAW Motorsport so that the godly engine swap could take place. Rob is no stranger to M60 E30 builds and is known for his neat installations but Garry’s requests were on a whole new level. Sacrifices were going to have to be made – the power steering for starters, and the ABS went long before the repaint, too. The wiring had to be completely redone, too, as it now had to go from the glovebox through the chassis leg and to the engine without being visible at any point. Only then could the engine be bolted up, which was done using custom engine mounts and RAW Motorsport-fettled exhaust manifolds to clear the steering. Rob took inspiration from the Mercedes C63 AMG Kleeman design when fabricating them, and they’ve more than done the trick. The usual E30 engine mounting rubbers were swapped out for E36 M3 ones, known to be much stronger and stiffer, while the sump was given a trim to clear the crossmember. Whilst the sump was off, the M60 was treated to some ARP bolts and new bearings, and an uprated oil pump spring was fitted too. The 4.0-litre lump was then bolted to an E34 530i five-speed manual gearbox with a lightweight billet flywheel and an M5 clutch in between the two. Out back, there’s a 3.14 final drive LSD to help get the power down.

    With the V8 bolted in and well on its way to being wired up, Garry set about arranging a number of touches to both help the engine function properly and to really keep that engine bay looking spoton. A Mishimoto alloy Z3 M radiator not only helps keep the engine cool but looks absolutely perfect. Another great touch is the carbon fibre air box that Rob created for the E30. Garry ordered Viper silicone hoses to plumb it in with – it really is a case of just keeping it simple and using quality components.

    “My friend at Jays Sprays painted the engine cover and rocker covers in gloss black, and did the bumper inserts and roundels in the car’s exterior colour,” Garry told us. In the meantime, Rob fabricated the manifold-back exhaust to be completely hidden, exiting beneath the rear end but out of sight. It makes itself known with the sound it produces though, you can be assured of that. The brake setup has been kept nice and simple – standard. Well, not quite in fact – Rob is a great advocator of using quality discs and pads over forking out for a big brake kit for many applications, and Garry’s E30 proves how well this approach can work. ATE front discs have been fitted with #Mintex 1177 race pads, along with E30 Challenge rear pads to match, which are reportedly more than up to the job, even on track. The rest of Garry’s E30 has been a case of blending his VW background with a trackinspired edge. The exterior says show car while the interior is all business but with Garry’s trademark cleanliness and style.

    On the outside, a 318iS splitter, the aforementioned colour-coding and the removal of the washer jets are the only real bodywork changes. The main effect has been achieved with a good dose of stance. Bilstein front coilovers and Gaz rears have allowed the four-door to be lowered right down over BBS-style Calibre Vintage alloys in 8x17” sizing, with nicely stretched 195/40 Toyos for good measure. An E36 M3 steering rack and polybushes tighten it all up nicely. The quick rack with no assistance makes parking a bit of a workout but once up to speed the feedback and feel of it makes it all worth it.

    Inside, all of the sound deadening and unnecessary interior trim has been stripped, including the headlining, keeping weight to a minimum. A pair of Cobra buckets – Suzuka Pro on the driver’s side, Monaco for the passenger – and a deepdish steering wheel help the car’s trackready credentials. There’s no radio, no nonsense – it’s just a stripped back machine meant to be driven hard.

    Garry’s E30 is a simple recipe, executed perfectly. It’s a potent one, too. It recently produced 289hp on the dyno, backed up by a pretty astonishing 330lb ft of torque. That makes for one seriously rapid road #BMW-E30 – it just hauls in any gear, with a soundtrack to die for. It’s a physical, noisy and hardcore thing to be in but it’s absolutely fantastic for it. Is it the ultimate E30 hot rod? We’d certainly be hard pushed to say otherwise.


    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.0-litre V8 #M60B40 , #ARP bolts, RAW Motorsport exhaust manifolds and exhaust system with hidden tailpipes, custom engine mounts, E36 M3 engine mount rubbers, custom #RAW-Motorsport induction kit, #Mishimoto aluminium radiator, electric fan, smoothed engine bay (with brake servo and fusebox relocated to glovebox, deleted ABS, deleted power steering, wire tuck), #E36 M3 fuel pump. Billet flywheel, #Helix E39 M5 clutch, E34 530i fivespeed gearbox, E36 328i prop, 3.14 final drive LSD.

    CHASSIS: 8x17” Calibre Vintage wheels, 195/40/17 Toyo PX4 tyres. Bilstein front coilovers, #GAZ rear coilovers, E36 M3 steering rack, #BMW-E34 steering column UJs, Powerflex polybushes throughout, ATE discs, Mintex 1177 pads front and #E30 Challenge pads rear.

    EXTERIOR: 318iS splitter, blanked washer jets, debadged.

    INTERIOR: Strippedout, Cobra Suzuka Pro driver’s seat, Cobra Monaco passenger seat, Willans six-point harnesses, deep-dish steering wheel, radio blanked off.

    THANKS: My wife Niki, Jack at Bodytone, Jays Sprays, Robin and Clive at RAW Motorsport
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