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    Birds’ fully-fettled M235i / #BMW-F22 / #BMW-M235i / #BMW-M235i-F22 / #BMW-M235i-Birds-F22 / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-F22 / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe-F22 / #BMW-M235i-Birds / #2017 / #Birds / #Birds-M235

    Bird of Prey Everyone’s having a go at improving the M235i but Birds’ fullyfettled example might be the best yet. With more power and a thoroughly refined suspension set up this M235i is gunning for the M2… and might just beat it! Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.

    It’s almost possible to determine how desirable a BMW model is by the amount of tuning products that become available from the aftermarket for that car. It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re not inundated by companies offering upgrades for the 5 Series GT, but hardly a day goes by without there seemingly being an upgrade for BMW’s latest pocket rocket, the M235i and it’s slightly more recent sibling, the M240i. And in case hatchback owners are feeling left out it’s fair to say that the vast majority of what works on the Coupé also translates to the three- and five-door models, too.

    In the past few issues we’ve had several F22 Coupés in these pages vying to be the definitive version of the top-notch coupé and while we don’t think that any of them are claiming to rival BMW’s engineering capabilities what most companies are offering is something a little bit more hardcore than BMW’s factory offerings. There’s no doubt that if it chose to BMW could create the ultimate weapon using the F22 M240i but that car’s called the M2… and by the same rationale it can’t make the M2 the best thing since sliced bread as then no one would buy an M4. Ultimately the M240i is built to compete at a particular price point and for that reason there’s plenty of room for improvement.

    The world’s more or less your oyster when it come to tuning this model with a plethora of parts to choose from, both in terms of styling and performance, but at first glance Birds’ subtle black example that’s waiting patiently for me at the company’s Iver HQ looks like its missed out on the upgrades – take the badges off and it could almost pass for a 218d M Sport. Nice. That’s how I prefer my high performance machinery, understated.

    Despite its subtle looks a huge amount of work has gone into the set up for this 2 Series and when one speaks to Birds’ MD, Kevin Bird, it’s clear that he’s absolutely passionate about getting the best out of the car. As Quaife’s official distributor for both BMW and Mercedes limited slip differentials it’s almost a given that one would be fitted to the M235i to improve traction, and as more power never goes amiss an engine upgrade has endowed Birds’ M235i with a 390hp output. But it’s in the realm of #BMW suspension that Kevin really excels and he’s not been overly impressed with some of BMW’s latest offerings, especially on the F30 generation of machinery.

    Having already worked wonders on several of BMW’s latest cars – most of which we’ve driven and been impressed by (witness the 435d xDrive in last month’s issue) – Kevin set about putting the experience he’d gained working with the F-Series cars onto the M235i. While definite improvements were made with some bespoke springs and dampers Kevin decided to get a second opinion from James Weaver, a legendary sports car racer, who Kevin had become reacquainted with at a charity track event. Weaver had driven Birds’ Z4 35i at this event and had reckoned it could be considerably improved so Kevin wondered whether Weaver could offer some useful pointers when it came to the development work on the M235i. Weaver has won more sports car races than most people have had hot dinners and along with his chassis engineer, Peter Weston, knows more about setting a car up than just about anyone and after some initial meetings it was agreed that Weston and Weaver would help to fine tune the Birds’ M235i package and as a starting point Weston requested some measurements from the car. “I was astonished at the level of detail he required,” Kevin commented. “Not only things like arm ratios, corner-weights, spring stiffness, damper rates and so on, but stuff that we’d never even started to consider, like unsprung weights of each corner, centre of gravity above front and rear axles, bump stop stiffness and contact points. The measuring work alone took us two full days.”

    It was time well spent though as a few days later Weston came back to Birds with new spring and damper settings and after waiting for the springs to be produced and for Bilstein to re-valve the dampers they were duly fitted to the car to await a test by Weaver. Kevin takes up the story again; “The weather was cold and damp, but nevertheless, after much fiddling with tyre pressures, front and rear geometry and different wheel and tyre sets, a conclusion was reached. There was no doubt that the car was behaving much better than our own calculated confection, but it was suggested that even more could be achieved in terms of ride quality and especially traction and grip levels with a second revision to the set up”.

    After a further period of waiting the revised set up was fitted to the car. “This included changes to spring rates both front and rear, and damper curves to suit. Moreover, changes to the front track width (to generate less negative scrub radius) and, surprisingly, a different choice of tyre,” said Kevin, and he does admit to having his doubts as to whether the extra expense was worth it, after all, the first of the Weaver/Weston kits had seemed more or less spot on when he’d tested the car. He should have had faith though as when he drove the revised set up on the car he says it was a revelation. “Not only was the ride quality better than before, ultimate body control improved on our bumpy B roads and the steering feel improvements were in a different league. And the traction and grip levels? Simply unbelievable. Given the temperatures and conditions, we never expected to be able to assess that characteristic, but it’s blindingly obvious that where we had so little before, now we have it everywhere. This is without doubt the best suspension tune we have achieved so far.”
    Unsurprisingly as I stepped into Birds’ demonstrator I had pretty high expectations, especially as so much development work had gone into the car’s set up – no off the shelf parts here – with every aspect of the car’s underpinnings having been closely examined and finely honed by people who’ve probably forgotten more about driving and car control then I will ever learn. As is the way with these things the pictures have to take priority so I gingerly pick my way around the M25 and some of Surrey’s back roads to rendezvous with snapper Smithy. I’m concentrating on avoiding puddles and trying to keep the car clean at this point – and sadly I notice I’ve failed miserably in this respect when I arrive at our location – but it does dawn on me as I step out of the car that I’ve not actually noticed the ride quality as I’ve been cruising along. Which is exactly as you want it when not on a charge as you don’t want your internal organs going through a work out every time you drive your car, especially when you just need it to be a form of transport rather than for entertainment.

    Once the M235i’s been given a thorough cleaning and the static images are in the bag it’s time to head out for some action shots and now that I’m less concerned with keeping it clean I can delve a little bit deeper into the car’s performance and concentrate on the driving experience. Having slipped the car into Sport mode to sharpen up the throttle response one’s immediately hit by the additional soundtrack coming from the BMW M Performance exhaust with which this car is equipped – it might not make the car go any faster, but it sure sounds good.

    Running past the camera for the side-on panning shots is a little frustrating as what I really want to be doing is hammering the car as hard as possible but as this will make Smithy’s life tricky and will just make the process take even longer I content myself with driving briskly enough to give the images the sensation of speed, all the while feeling very comfortable in the car. No crashing over bumps, no jiggly ride, spot on in fact.

    Finding suitable corners in this part of the world can be difficult so we decide to head for where we know there’s something suitable which is a 15 minute drive away and what a 15 minutes they are. The back roads round here are quite tight but progress is rapid and massively grin inducing. Speeds rise as familiarity grows and my first impression is one of significant improvements to the steering, with the M235i almost feeling as if a slightly quicker rack has been installed. The car now responds with more immediacy as the steering wheel is turned and even on the damper sections of roads we encounter understeer really doesn’t rear its ugly head unless one’s being wildly optimistic with one’s corner entry speed.

    At the same time it’s devastatingly rapid on the straights between the corners and it makes no matter whether you simply leave the ‘box to its own devices or elect to swap cogs yourself with the paddles. This latter mode gives you a little more control as you enter the corners and one aspect I particularly like about this conversion is that it’s not afraid to allow the car a certain amount of body roll. This endows the M235i with the necessary compliance to shrug off and ride out mid-corner imperfections and the further I drive it the more convinced I become that virtually nothing is going to throw it off line or upset its cornering attitude. Grip levels are astonishingly high and there’s traction by the barrel load, not something you can always say about the M235i in inclement conditions when you ask it to deliver its last two-tenths of performance. In un-fettled form it can become a little ragged in these circumstances, but the Birds machine just gets on with the job of being blisteringly quick yet entertaining at the same time without a buttockclenching moment in sight.

    Once the pictures are in the bag and Smithy’s headed off to get editing the images I decide to take the long way home and avoid the M25, just to further experience the pace and poise of this car on the back roads. It doesn’t disappoint on any level. The ride’s great, the grip is of the highest order and the performance is sensational. The standard M235i might be a great bit of kit, but if you’re a keen driver who likes to use all the car’s performance without any compromises then may I suggest you speak to Kevin Bird about how he can transform your pocket rocket into an M2 eater.

    CONTACT: Birds / Tel: 01753 657444 / Web: www.birdsauto.com

    DATA FILE BIRDS’ #BMW-M235i / #BMW-M235i-Birds

    / #Birds-B2-3.5-Complete-Conversion : 390hp engine upgrade, Birds’ springs and dampers, #Quaife limited slip differential, 18-inch tyres and geometry set up – £7239.

    B2 Dynamics package: Birds’ springs and dampers, Quaife limited slip differential, 18-inch tyres and geometry set up – £4776.

    Please note: Prices quoted include all parts, labour and VAT. Further upgrades are available on request.

    “Not only was the ride quality better than before, ultimate body control improved on our bumpy B roads and the steering feel improvements were in a different league”

    Speeds rise as familiarity grows and my first impression is one of significant improvements to the steering.
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    If you’re looking for the ultimate everyday machine that’s also capable of embarrassing junior supercars then you should check out Birds’ wonderful 435d. Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Gus Gregory.

    / #BMW-435d-xDrive-F32 / #BMW-435d-F32 / #BMW-435d-xDrive / #BMW-435d / #BMW-F32 / #BMW / #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-F32 / #BMW-4-Series-Coupe / #BMW-4-Series-Coupe-F32 / #2017 / #Birds-B4 / #Birds-B4-F32 / #Birds-F32 / #BMW-435d-xDrive-Birds-B4 / #BMW-435d-xDrive-Birds-B4-F32 / #BMW-435d-Birds-B4-F32 / #BMW-F32-Birds

    Birds’ stunning #BMW-435d-xDrive . Everyday Weapon Birds’ 435d can be either a mild-mannered pussycat or a ripsnorting road warrior.

    Depending on which order you’ve read the features in this month’s issue you might have spotted a recurring theme, that of traction. The M235i we drove suffered from a lack of it to a certain extent and the two big power M6’s pace was really hampered by an inability to transmit their prodigious thrust to the greasy Tarmac. Put simply, none of these three cars would have seen which way #Birds ’ innocuous-looking 435d went had we driven them back-to-back on typically slick UK winter roads. Not only is this car devastatingly quick, it also has the ability to be so no matter what the conditions.

    I must admit that I’m not normally a huge fan of the ‘Luxury’ trim level that BMW’s foisted on us for the past few years, and it would seem that I’m not alone – the new G30 Five won’t be available as a Luxury model in the UK and neither will the face-lifted 4 Series Coupé that you can read about in our News pages. The bottom line is that hardly anyone was buying the Luxury trim models. Maybe I’m a marketing man’s dream, but I’m a succour for the chunky M Sport styling and now I’m in a position that I’ll be looking to buy my own wheels again I’m drawn to the M Sport kitted used examples like a moth to a candle despite knowing that the equivalent SE will be cheaper to buy and will ride better too! Having said all this I’m also secretly drawn to this Birds car – yes, I know it’s a Luxury, but look at it, it’s just so innocuous – no one would expect it to be a candidate for the ultimate everyday weapon, and in the right conditions a supercar humbler.

    We’ve always been impressed with machinery that’s been fully-fettled by Birds as MD Kevin Bird doesn’t do things by halves. While he could simply fit a range of off the shelf tuning products he’d be the first to admit that would be selling his customers short. Sure, there are some parts that can be simply fitted to make an improvement, but to do things properly Kevin always buys a demonstrator to which he can experiment with until he’s happy with the outcome and can then pass on that knowledge to his customers in a series of suitable upgrades safe in the knowledge that the car will be right straight from the word go.

    The F3x generation of 3 and 4 Series have been with us for a while now so Kevin’s had quite a while to perfect his upgrades for the car, and without a doubt he’s spent the most amount of time on the car’s suspension as he feels that BMW has lost the plot to a certain degree with its most recent F-prefix cars. He’s not a fan of the adaptive dampers as they never seem to offer the right reactions when extracting the performance from the car – they may be fine for providing a comfortable ride when you’re in cruise mode, but so can a passive set up if it’s properly designed and set up.

    After having looked at just about everything the aftermarket had to offer Kevin embarked on the process of having a suspension set up designed to his specifications. While Kevin knows how he wants his cars to perform he’s happy to admit that he doesn’t have the knowledge required to draw out a damper curve for a suspension specialist to work with so he’s enrolled the help of chassis engineers to assist him in the quest for the perfect set up. We’ve had a chance to sample this work on a couple of cars and have always come away impressed, and it was no different on this 435d. Springs and dampers have been attended to and the result is a machine that resists understeer far more effectively than before and one which engenders a real feeling of confidence in what the car’s response is going to be to any given input.

    We’ll look at this a little more in a minute but for the time being let’s have a quick look at what else has been installed on Birds’ B4-35d demonstrator. It’s perhaps a sign of the times that diesels are able to develop pretty high power outputs to go with their prodigious torque capabilities and perhaps because of this BMW to a certain extent holds back the outputs of its twin-turbo diesel motors. Straight out of the box the 435d develops 313hp and 465lb ft of torque but after its been treated to the Birds engine management software upgrade we’re looking at an altogether healthier 380hp and a monstrous 575lb ft of torque. Kevin has looked at the various tuning boxes on the market and has concluded that he prefers to have the software reprogrammed as it gives you more control on what changes are being made. Additionally some tuning boxes only really deliver once you’ve applied at least 70 percent throttle, and with these turbo diesel lumps offering so much low down the rev range it’s nice to be able to access the additional performance on part throttle.

    From the power and torque figures you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to glean that this is going to be one very rapid 4 Series so Birds has taken the sensible step of offering a brake upgrade on the car too. Birds recommends a 19-inch wheel on the 4 Series and this allows the fitment of its #Alcon 365x32mm discs, gripped by six-piston callipers. This set up features grooved discs, low weight alloy hubs and lightweight callipers and Birds reckon they allow excellent retardation from cold all the way up to the highest temperatures they can generate. On the subject of wheels and tyres it’s worth noting that the first thing Birds would recommend is ditching the runflats if your car is so equipped as the benefits of any suspension work will be negated if these are retained.

    The kit we’ve so far discussed – springs and dampers, a set of 19-inch non-run flats, the performance upgrade and the Alcon brakes – are packaged together by Birds as what it terms its complete conversion for the 435d and while it might look a lot at a smidgen over £8000 (including all parts, labour and VAT) it offers to transform the performance of your 3 Series or 4 Series. Quality components don’t come cheap and it’s also worth remembering Birds offers a 24-month warranty on complete conversions so obviously has complete confidence in the products it offers. For those wishing to add additional items – such as anti-roll bars or a Quaife limited slip differential – these can again be bundled together as part of a package or added individually as the customer wishes. One of the joys in visiting Birds is that the company accepts that each of its customers may have slightly differing requirements and is happy to tailor its products and advice accordingly.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating though so we set forth from Birds HQ to cruise up the M40 to our photoshoot location where some challenging roads await. Obviously we’re expecting it to perform well when the going gets tough, but in order for the Birds car to fulfil its duality of purpose it first needs to be able to demonstrate that it’s a usable everyday machine in cut and thrust traffic. Initial impressions are favourable with the eight-speed auto quietly and unobtrusively doing its thing in the background while tickling the throttle every now and then is accompanied by a meaningful shove in the back, even on part throttle loads. Having just stepped out of a car sitting on much smaller wheels and with no pretensions to being a sporting machine the ride does, at first, seem to be a little on the hard side but as the miles pass under the 435d’s wheels we become accustomed to the slightly firmer than standard set up and end up not being able to fault the car’s behaviour on the motorway. It rides the crests and troughs very well, always seeming to be able to complete its movement before hitting the next bump or road imperfection whereas sometimes in a normal BMW you’re left with the feeling that the underpinnings are still trying to deal with one road imperfection when it hits the next which can have an unsettling effect.

    Pulling off the motorway and onto some more demanding roads and the 435d demonstrates what a devastatingly quick cross-country machine this can be.

    There’s power and torque seemingly everywhere in the rev range and you can have the choice of using delicate and measured inputs to ride the wave of torque or being a bit more brutal in which case the eight-speed auto drops cogs with alacrity and flies you up the road, slurring one ratio into the next as only that #ZF ‘box can do. And it’s at this point that you realise you haven’t dialled in Sport mode and once you do there seems to be a whole new level of performance to dip into.

    At which point one is invariably really travelling so it’s reassuring that those Alcon brakes can wash off speed without breaking into a sweat – the pedal feels is very reassuring and even on the slippery sections of road we encounter it resists the temptation to trigger the ABS very well. Invariably though once one has knocked a chunk of speed off the dial when tackling the corner that one wanted to slow for it becomes apparent that you’ve actually washed off too much speed and that the 435d could corner much quicker. In fast sweepers the chassis inspires real confidence, gripping hard and resisting understeer very effectively while it’s a similar story amongst the tighter stuff, too. The front end clings on for dear life and the only thing you really have to do is to remember to get onto the throttle earlier than you would in an equivalent rear-wheel drive BMW so you can bring the front axle’s drive capabilities into play, and when you do you can feel the front end pulling you through just as the rear tyres start to scrabble for grip. It’s deeply satisfying and we can’t really imagine that there are all that many machines that would show this 435d a clean set of exhaust pipes, especially on these tight roads where a bigger machine would struggle somewhat.

    Once we’ve finished playing and got a set of pictures in the bag it’s time to head home and sample the car’s cruising abilities once again. Snapper Gus gets behind the wheel and once we emerge back at Birds HQ he’s got a big smile on his face and concludes “That’s quite a weapon isn’t it.” Quite so. Swapping back into my everyday car I couldn’t help but feel how sloppy and stodgy it felt, it had felt fine in the morning!

    This 435d is currently up for sale at Birds so if you fancy a stunning everyday supercar slayer that will pass quietly under the radar we’d very much urge you to get in touch. We can’t imagine it’ll hang around for long…

    CONTACT: #BMW-F30-Birds / Tel: 01753 657444 / Web: www.birdsauto.com

    There’s power and torque seemingly everywhere in the rev range

    Birds-B4 component prices

    ENGINE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE 380HP: £2106
    B4 XDRIVE ANTI-ROLL BAR KIT: £914
    QUAIFE BMW LSD CONVERSION: £1605
    B4 SPORT SUSPENSION: From £1723
    EXCHANGE QUAIFE BMW FINAL DRIVE: £1710
    SPORT SUSPENSION SPRINGS: £679
    ALCON AE BRAKE KIT FRONT, 365X32: £2862
    ALCON AE BRAKE KIT REAR, 343X28: £2377
    OZ WHEEL & TYRES SET: POA
    Please note: All prices quoted within this panel refer to components fitted individually not as part of a B4 Dynamic Package. Prices include parts and labour but not VAT.

    / #Birds-B4-Package prices
    B4-3.5d 380HP COMPLETE CONVERSION: £6803
    Engine management software, Alcon 365mm front brakes, B4 Sport suspension, 19-inch non-run flat tyres
    B4 DYNAMICS PACKAGE 1 £2312
    B4 anti-roll bar kit, Quaife LSD
    B4 DYNAMICS PACKAGE 2: £3096
    B4 anti-roll bar kit, Sport suspension springs, #Quaife LSD
    B4 DYNAMICS PACKAGE 3: £4039
    B4 anti-roll bar kit, B4 Sport suspension, #Quaife-LSD
    Please note: All prices quoted with this panel include parts and labour but not VAT.
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    THE HERETIC

    Sticking a supercharged Honda-S2000 engine under the bonnet of a 2002 might sound like heresy, but it makes for one hell of an awesome machine. Classic looks with a modern heart make Elliott Norris’ supercharged 2002 the ideal track day warrior to drive round the Alps… Words: Mike Renaut. Photos: Matt Richardson.

    We heard Elliott Norris’ 2002 approaching before we saw it… and that’s quite a trick with a car this brightly painted. So, why a 2002? “I’ve always loved them,” replies Elliott. “I love the shark nose and the profile – it’s a perfect little car. It’s also the first car you drive in the Forza 4 Xbox game.” Curiously, that’s more or less the way this car developed. In the game you put in a different engine, add performance parts, make the car lighter, then paint it a bright colour. Elliott has turned that armchair build process into reality.

    His garage contains immaculate, stock examples of a 1974 2002 Turbo, a 1988 M3 Evo II, a 1987 M635 CSi and a 1973 3.0 CSL. He’s also got an M2 on the way, so it’s a slight surprise to learn this BMW sports Honda power. “I spotted the car on eBay in 2012,” explains Elliott. “It’s been changed pretty dramatically since then though. I bought it for fun and I paid about £8000. It’s a genuine 2002 and it came with the Honda S2000 engine and gearbox in factory tune part-fitted.

    “I wanted a car I could drive to the track, race, then drive home again,” explains Elliott. “It will never go anywhere on a trailer. It’s already been round Europe twice – that’s how I develop it. It’s a perfect size to drive around the Alps. But then I took it around the Spa circuit and it turned out a temperature sensor wasn’t working so the engine was detonating the whole time. Of course, being a Honda it didn’t break but it was obvious it would need a rebuild. I thought that, as we were stripping it, I might as well add a supercharger.” Well, it makes perfect sense to us… Although, on opening the bonnet, we have to question the presence of the Magic Tree air freshener in the engine bay. “I kept getting fumes leaking into the interior,” laughs Elliot. “I bought four different flavoured air fresheners to attempt to discover the source of the leak!”
    But back to the serious business of power. “With the standard S2000 running gear it was putting out about 220hp,” Elliott continues. “Now we’ve added the Rotex S2000 supercharger on a full-race engine with a slightly smaller blower pulley it’s currently got 382hp and 306lb ft of torque. It would be nice to go to 400+ brake with a bigger pulley.

    When it was mapped it had 388hp at the wheels but I’ve since fitted a more restrictive exhaust – the old one was basically like a bit of old drainpipe.”

    A custom-made Hayward and Scott stainless steel exhaust now resides under the car, connected to a bespoke manifold. The change was to quieten the beast a little, since race tracks weren’t happy with decibel readings of 110 or more! “I had a Decibel Devil fitted to get on the Nürburgring but half way round it spat it out onto the track…”

    In the nicest possible way, this car is an odd mix. It’s loud and raw with dizzying acceleration but there’s also a comfortable interior with a heated windscreen (it genuinely does get used all year round) and a USB port on the dashboard. It’s got quality carpets and custom-made doorcards. There’s also hand-made brushed aluminium inserts and a roll bar that’s mainly an anchor for the race harnesses. “I’d like a full cage but I think they’re dangerous for road driving if you’re not wearing a helmet,” Elliott says.

    We suggest that the car reminds us of those limited edition, lightweight race versions that Porsche or Mercedes are always releasing, and Elliott agrees: “That’s part of the feel I was after.” To get the car like this he sought a lot of expert advice along the way, as he explains: “Hanger 111 managed a lot of the initial build, particularly the interior and suspension work. The suspension it came with was shot. The front dampers were so poor it constantly locked the front wheels. My research led me to Ireland Engineering in the US and we fitted its full race dampers and spring strut braces.

    “The body was shabby when I got it so I stripped it down. It had 2002 Turbo arches and front spoiler but we fitted a Group 2 body kit after we widened the wheel track.”

    The paintwork was tackled by the man who Elliott trusts to do all of his car’s bodywork: Robin Middleton of RJM Body Repairs in Stowmarket. “Fitting the bonnet pins was tricky,” remembers Robin. “I only had one chance to drill them but I had to take account of the way the front-hinged bonnet opened. The wheels also took a lot of time as at first they were touching the arches with the steering on full lock. I bought two new front wings then cut them up to fit the wide arches. At once point I all but begged Elliott to let me raise the front by just two millimetres for extra clearance but he wouldn’t let me.


    “I also blended in the rear valance around the exhaust pipe and cut the front spoiler to fit the intercooler. Elliott wanted the beltline trim removed so I filled the mounting holes. He gave me a tight deadline and I worked through a bank holiday to get it done on time. Elliott wanted Inca orange paint from the 1973 BMW palate so I scanned it to get the exact shade and then finished it in lacquer. The car came out really nicely. I’m still waiting for Elliott to give me a ride in it though!”


    When Elliott first installed the supercharger he immediately noticed the original S2000 gearbox was crunching when shifting between first and second. “Basically it couldn’t handle the power of the supercharger,” he explains. So it was pulled out in favour of a quick-shift Quaife 69G sixspeed that was built to cope with 750hp and allows shifts without lifting off the accelerator – meaning you’re hurled forward without any break in momentum. “It changes gear in 0.3 of a second. However, it’s since been fitted with helical gears as, much as I love the sound of straight-cut gears, they’re difficult to use in traffic and I’m also keen to keep my hearing,” grins Elliott. “Thanks must go to Lee at Auto Shack who has a great mind for altering things. He fitted the Quaife gearbox and put up with my constant crazy schemes.”


    The steering column from a Vauxhall Corsa mates to a Quaife quick rack originally intended for a Peugeot 205, but with an ECU kit from DC Electronics the electric power steering is now fully mappable and changes the amount of assistance offered according to torque input and output. It even has a super-light mode for parking in tight spaces – see what we mean about it being a roadfriendly race car?


    The custom ‘Ketzer’ badge on the bootlid is the German for ‘heretic,’ while those Honda badges on the front wings came from a motorbike and are a relatively subtle hint that things are no longer standard underneath. More obvious are the BBS E50 wheels. “They were originally highly polished until I drove it round the Alps,” admits Elliott. The wheels were narrowed recently from eight-and-a-half inches on the front down to seven, and nine inches on the rear to eight-and-a-half, meaning the car now turns-in a lot better. “Since the BBSs are true split-rims we just moved the front inner barrels to the rear and replaced the front inner barrels with new ones. The main issue being the larger width was reducing the steering lock due to clearance. Running a narrower wheel has meant we now have the full lock back.” Although it’s cured a lot of the understeer Elliott mentions, it’s made the 2002 a lot harder to drift. However, surely Elliott hasn’t spent all this time building a fast road/track car only to now use it for drifting? “It was built to handle but not necessarily to grip,” he tells us. “It was designed to be a driver’s car. It’s purely about entertainment and having fun in any race event, but it was certainly never about setting lap times.”

    An E30 325i rear axle with an E30 M3 differential puts down the power, although Elliott has to be careful, as he explains: “The rear squats massively under hard acceleration – it actually hits cat’s eyes in the road.” Wilwood disc brakes on all four corners haul the 2002 down from those supersonic speeds.


    “A fully-mappable Emerald ECU means I can alter the engine map for regular fuel, race fuel, and ‘big flames from the exhaust on liftoff’ mode.” Of course, the upgrades meant the engine’s thirst for fuel has increased dramatically – so much so that a full race fuel system was required including a baffled tank with a swirl pot. The tank is now topped up via a cap in the boot. “I often get announcements over the tannoy at petrol stations because they think I’m pouring petrol straight onto the floor of the car,” grins Elliott. That means the original fuel filler in the rear wing is now redundant. “I was toying with putting a comedy springy snake in there in case anyone ever opens it…” he chuckles.

    The body is all steel with the exception of the fibreglass bonnet, although Elliott says: “I might go back to a steel one. The fibreglass tends to vibrate at speed.” The latest addition to the car is a genuine new old stock Autoplas rear window louvre. “They’re super-rare. I found it in Latvia still in the original box.”

    One of the few standard parts remaining is the handbrake mechanism. “I haven’t changed it but I should – it’s rubbish.”


    Also not quite up to par is the speedometer, which decided to break on the way to the photoshoot meaning we couldn’t get any performance times. But Elliott knows 60mph comes up in under four seconds and, having experienced the car’s wall of acceleration, we completely agree. We hit 60mph in less time than it took to write this sentence (and I type with four fingers!). “It will outrun a new Porsche GT3 on a track,” says Elliott.

    Generally the car has been very well received, although not by everyone. “I took it to a BMW Car Club meet and two guys told me it was the most horrible car they’d ever seen,” he laughs. However, given that Elliott already owns some quick cars including a Plymouth Superbird (go on, Google it), a Noble M12, and a 2011 Caterham he built himself (and in which he has recently won a race series), is he impressed with his 2002? “It’s an on-going labour of love, most of the modifications had to be done twice. I’m not sure I’d do it again – as I’ve spent well over ten times the original purchase price. If I was going to change it then I’d alter the look of the rear arches – there’s too much space between the tyre and the arch – but I’m not going to lower it since it sits just right. The suspension still requires some tweaking. I want the handling perfect for track use and it’s not quite there yet. With the supercharger fitted it needs more damping but currently they’re not adjustable and heat ingress is still a problem. But on the plus side it’s the most frightening car I’ve ever driven.”


    Interior has been trimmed by Corbeau and fitted with a half cage and GT8 front seats with TRS harnesses.

    DATA FILE Supercharged S2000 / #BMW-2002 / #BMW-2002-Supercharged / #BMW / #Rotrex / #Honda / #BBS / #BMW-2002-E10 / #BMW-E10 / #BMW-2002-Honda-S2000 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 1997cc #Honda-F20C engine from S2000, #Rotrex-C38-81 supercharger, #TTS mounting kit with eight-row poly vee pulleys, #CP-Carrillo 10:1 comp pistons, #Brian-Crowler steel con rods, #Deutsche-Werks 1000cc injectors, #Rotrex-supercharger oil system, reservoir, filter and radiator, #Emerald-ECU with dash switchable mapping, custom-made #Hayward-and-Scott stainless steel exhaust manifold and exhaust, pro-alloy baffled fuel tank with swirl pot and pumps, #Quaife-69G sequential ’box, E30 325i rear and M3 large case diff. 382hp, 306lb ft

    CHASSIS 7x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) #BBS-E50 three-piece magnesium wheels with 195/45 (front) and 215/40 (rear) Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres, #Ireland-Engineering race dampers, springs, strut braces and anti-roll bars, #Quaife Peugeot 205 quick rack with #DC-Electronics mappable electric #PAS

    EXTERIOR Inca orange paint, Group 2 body kit, 2002 turbo front spoiler, Autoplas rear window louvre

    INTERIOR Smiths gauges in custom dashboard, custom centre console, interior trimmed by Corbeau, GT8 front seats with TRS harnesses, BMW 635 rear seats, colour matched stitching and upholstered in Alcantara, half cage

    THANKS Hanger 111 (www.hangar111.com), RJM Body Repairs (www.rjmbodyrepairs.co.uk / 01449 771962), Auto Shack (01394 548675)

    Custom-made Hayward and Scott exhaust manifold connects to custom exhaust system; Magic Trees helped trace the source of fumes leaking into the interior.
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    ROUGH DIAMOND

    Purists may argue that the Mk3 GTI wasn’t exactly the Golf’s finest hour, but Kyle Wilinsky begs to differ. He’s a ‘never say never’ kinda guy… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jonathan DeHate.

    The concept of the ‘difficult second album’ is something muchdocumented in the music press.

    Bands that come in strong with their first long-players can find themselves mired in their own hype, their early work becoming an impossible act to follow – look at The Stone Roses’ Second Coming, The Strokes’ Room on Fire, or The Clash’s Give ’Em Enough Rope; following the success of such strong debuts, these LPs were always doomed to be sidelined. And it can be true of third albums too – a band may manage to hurdle Difficult Second Album Syndrome, only to come crashing headfirst into Questionable Third Album territory. Just ask Oasis about Be Here Now.

    This is precisely where Volkswagen’s GTI sub-brand found itself in the early 1990s, with the advent of the Mk3 Golf and all of the peaks and troughs that car entailed. With the Mk1 GTI having woven itself firmly and celestially into the firmament of all-time greats, the Mk2 carrying on the good work with forthright decisiveness, and then ramping up the levels of excellence with casual aplomb in the sublime 16v evolution, the third-generation hot hatch came as something of a damp squib. 150bhp-odd was handy enough, but the thing suffered from a bit of middle-age spread, it was podgier and less agile. Perfectly okay for some, but not really good enough for others.

    However, in the USA that fabled GTI badge could also be found glued next to one that read ‘VR6’ (rather than being separate entities like in Europe), and the addition of a couple of cylinders and a further 20bhp or so helped to liven things up a bit. And that’s where the story begins for the Golf we’re looking at today…

    The story of its owner, Kyle Wilinsky, starts rather earlier: “My love for Volkswagens began when I was 15 years old,” the smiley Pennsylvanian explains. “I was introduced to the VWVortex forum, and that was that; when the time came to purchase my first vehicle, it had to be a #VW – in the end, it was a Mk2 Jetta.” You can see the seeds being sown here, can’t you?

    An all-consuming online community, a fledgling first-hand introduction to the Golf platform, there was only one way this was destined to go. And it wasn’t long before those seeds grew up and bore fleshy Teutonic fruit. “After a couple more years and a couple more cars, a friend had this Mk3 Golf for sale; we came to a deal on the price and it was mine for $1800. It wasn’t in the best condition, quite neglected, but I only bought it as a cheap second car so I wasn’t too worried. I just gave it some basic maintenance and cleaned it up a bit.”

    As you’ll have deduced from the photos (or if you’ve cheated and have already read the spec box), however, this wasn’t where the project stalled. As we hear so often from feature car owners, there was one sole spark of inspiration that crystallised into the kernel of an idea, and went on to dictate the ethos of the project from that date forth. In Kyle’s case, this spark showed itself during a joyride in a buddy’s car.

    “I was offered a ride in a friend’s VR6 turbo, and from that moment I was completely hooked on the idea of fitting a turbo to my car,” he laughs. “I started ordering parts, and after a couple of months I had everything I needed to start the project. I guess I must mention that I had no real mechanical experience, and basically had to learn everything as I went, along with the help of some friends.” Kyle seems to be a man who enjoys a steep learning curve though, as it was only a matter of weeks before the newly force-induced motor was back together and offering an eye-watering 411bhp, which is certainly enough to quieten the Mk3 naysayers. “It was an absolute blast to drive,” he enthuses, as you might expect from someone who’s way more than doubled his car’s factory output using little more than a set of spanners and some well-placed advice. The sense of achievement must have been nearimmeasurable.

    And naturally, with things going so well under the bonnet, Kyle’s eye began to turn to the rest of the car – after all, once you’ve started putting the effort in, you need to make it an object of personal pride, don’t you?

    “The stock interior was pretty neglected, so I decided to pay it some attention,” he says. “I got it professionally detailed and the factory black really came to life; I was shocked at the result, and that’s when I started to gather parts for the exterior. I’d always loved the look of the Euro-spec GTI, so I knew that was the direction I was headed: I started purchasing everything I could get hold of for the full Euro makeover!”

    Piece by piece the aesthetic transformation came together, with the ’98 GTI receiving bona fide texture-top bumpers, mouldings and arch flares, along with a shaved CL tailgate with its Euro-sized numberplate recess. Kyle hasn’t gone full OEM though; in fact, he’s cannonballed square-on into the choppy waters of obscure parts-hunting that define the builds of so many of you out there – when was the last time, for instance, that you saw a Henri Lloyd Yachting edition front lip? These appeared on an obscure Italian version of the Mk3 estate, and watercooled obsessives pay through the nose for them, if and when they can track them down.

    “Eventually I started to get used to the power and decided to turn the boost up,” he recalls, slightly uneasily. “About 30 miles after I’d cranked it up to 22psi, the gearbox decided it wasn’t going to hold and shattered third gear! After doing some research I found that if I kept the power levels where they were, I was either going to deal with breaking and replacing gears regularly or I was going to have to build a stronger gearbox. I opted to park the car and save my money for some hardened straight-cut gears to ensure I would no longer have issues.”

    By this point Kyle was around two years into ownership, and over the course of the next two years the car saw a number of changes to complement the evolving powertrain, with the Golf being reworked during the cold winter months to emerge from its chrysalis anew in the springtime – seats, wheels, they were changing all the time. “I’m never satisfied!” he laughs. “I’m always looking for fresh things to do with the car. I embarked upon a full engine bay shave and wire-tuck which, with the help of some friends, was a three-month marathon of grinding and welding… the bay and the motor are what I’m most proud of with this car, I spent countless hours and nights in the garage with friends and cheap beer to get the car ready.”

    ‘Ready’? Ah yes, Kyle had a target in mind to showcase the fruits of his labours – a Pennsylvania show entitled Cult Classic. With the date drawing ever nearer, our man was in the garage at all hours trying to get the thing tip-top, and his tireless endeavours paid off with gusto.


    “I ended up winning ‘Best In Show’, out of around 500 cars,” he says, still flabbergasted. “Without a doubt it was the best feeling knowing that all my hard work was worth it and people were really enjoying the car.”

    This was all going off in 2014, and the car has changed a fair bit since then. Well, as you might expect, really. People like Kyle aren’t prone to kicking their heels or watching the grass grow. Indeed, for this feature alone the car had to be reshot twice because Kyle kept changing things. “I really do have a problem,” he says, but it’s a pretty good problem to have.

    “As I’m talking to you about it now, I’m only just realising that I’ve owned the car for seven years,” he continues, evidently slightly shellshocked by the telescoping effect of time’s relentless pendulum. “I can’t express how grateful I am for all the people that have helped me turn wrenches, given advice, or simply kept me company during this journey – it’s really what the car community is all about for me. The car has surpassed any of my expectations, and people really seem to love it and appreciate what I’ve built. The Golf has won multiple awards, was invited into Top Dawg class at H2Oi, and now this feature. Wow, what a feeling!” All of which serves to prove that you don’t need to be a scene darling or an Instagram celebrity to nail this VW lark. You can set out with an unloved example of a maligned model and, starting with a knowledge base and skillset close to zero, still manage to totally kill it on the showground time and time again.

    The fact that this Golf is just as fast and agile as it is easy on the eye is solid testament to Kyle’s tenacity. He has put in the hours to make it work, and that’s what makes him a winner. He’s really got a taste for it now too… reckon the car’s looking the same today as it does here in print? No, of course it isn’t. Kyle’s always got plans. You’ll just have to keep an eye on the Mid-Atlantic water-cooled scene – this old-skool rough diamond is only going to keep getting sharper…

    “The car has surpassed any of my expectations, and people really seem to love it and appreciate what I’ve built”

    Dub Details / #VW-Golf-III / #VW-Golf-Mk3 / #VW-Golf-Mk-III / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-III / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-III / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-VR6-Mk-III / #VW-Golf-VR6 / #VW-Golf-VR6-Mk3 / #VW / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Precision


    ENGINE: Shaved and wire-tucked bay, 2.8-litre #VR6 , polished engine covers, #Megasquirt standalone ECU, #Precision-6262-T4 turbo, #ATP exhaust manifold, custom heat shield, #DEI turbo blanket, 3” stainless steel turbo-back exhaust, #Tial wastegate and blow-off valve, Precision 600 intercooler, custom intercooler piping, #Schimmel intake manifold, #Accufab 75mm throttle body with custom manifold adaptor, 034 fuel rail with 630cc injectors, #Walbro 255 fuel pump, #Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, #Mishimoto aluminium radiator, dual slim fans, custom aluminium coolant lines and overflow tank, Eurosport oil cooler, relocated temp sensors, hidden coilpack, custom front crossmember with #Black-Forest motor mounts, O2A gearbox with #APTuning straight-cut gears, #Quaife differential, #ARP hardware, reinforced clutch fork, #SPEC Stage 3 clutch, Euro-spec lightened flywheel, CAE shifter, O2J shift tower and cables

    CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 9x17” (rear) #CCW-D240 with brushed faces, polished lips, #ARP gold wheel bolts and goldplated lug nuts, Falken tyres, #Air-Lift suspension, #AccuAir-ELevel management, five gallon aluminium air tank, two #Viair-444C 444cc / #Viair compressors, #H&R 25mm front anti-roll bar, Eurosport rear strut brace, Audi TT 312mm front brakes with cross-drilled discs

    EXTERIOR: Euro texture-top bumpers, shaved Euro CL tailgate, Euro textured mouldings and arch flares, shaved windscreen squirters, custom shortened mirrors, badgeless grill, Henri Lloyd Yachting front lip, Kamei air ducts, smoked indicators, Hella tail-lights, E-code headlights, #Bonrath mono wiper

    INTERIOR: Recaro Sportster CS with suede inserts, suede wrapped A, B, and C pillars, suede headlining, custom rear seat delete with leather-wrapped air tank, Wiechers roll-cage, AEM digital boost controller, AEM air/fuel gauge, AEM oil PSI gauge, GReddy turbo timer, NRG quick release hub, Momo steering wheel, Alpine head unit, Pioneer speakers, JL Audio stealthbox with 10” JL audio subwoofer, JL audio amp

    SHOUT: Thanks to my fiancée Lisa for always understanding and supporting my hobby. Borek, Adam, Jacob, Thompson, Jarad, Steve, Bergey, Rick at DEFIV, Jason at 4everkustoms, Andrew at Open Road Tuning, DeHate for the pics, and everyone else who has helped along the way
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    Just Right / #Dinan / #BMW-M235i / #BMW-M235i-F22 / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance-F22 / #BMW-M235i-M-Performance-Dinan-F22 / #BMW-F22 / #BMW-M235i-Dinan / #BMW-M235i-Dinan-F22 / #BMW-F22-Dinan / #Dinan / #2015


    A finely-honed BMW M235i with #M-Performance and Dinan upgrades. It seems like the M235i is loved the world over and here we have a subtle but stylish machine from Australia using a blend of M Performance and Dinan upgrades. Words & photography: Chris Nicholls.

    The M235i is, as has often been stated, the Goldilocks car of the BMW range. In terms of price, power, handling, practicality and even history, it hits the spot. This is especially the case in Australia, where #BMW list it at $55,000 in base form. In a country where a standard Cayman (the car’s natural rival in the UK) sells for double that, it has no real rivals. The new Mustang isn’t there yet, the local Holden and Ford performance heroes are much larger (and fourdoor), and none of its Japanese or European rivals are rear-wheel drive. It kind of explains why, when it first launched in Australia last year, there was actually a waiting list.


    That price also makes it the perfect base for tuning. Recent economic conditions in Australia mean that while the rich get richer (as they do elsewhere) and order ever more supercars, most people aren’t in a position to spend huge sums on modification. So an already fast and affordable base is a great starting point. But what to do? Obviously there’s a limit, given most people’s budgets, so it’s probably best to just make it look nicer and go a bit faster. But here again, there are options. Do you go aftermarket for everything, or do you go factory? After all, unlike some manufacturers, BMW does offer a large number of add-ons via its M Performance program. Perhaps a mix is the best way – combining the factory fit and finish of OEM parts and using aftermarket where the manufacturer doesn’t offer what you want?

    This is exactly the path Southern BM, one of Australia’s largest BMW specialists, decided to go down with its own M235i build. It realised there was room in the market for an affordable modification package to this popular performance car, and having gone the ‘all-aftermarket’ route for many of its other, more extreme builds, it wanted to offer something cheaper, simpler and easier to put together for its M235i customers.


    Given body and interior modifications are one area where hassles (namely fit and finish-related) almost always occur, the first order of business was to order extensively from the M Performance catalogue for these parts. On went almost the entire range of available exterior components, including front and rear lip spoilers, rear diffuser, carbon mirror covers, black kidney grille inserts, side skirt flashes and even decals, as well as the lovely 19-inch forged, doublespoke wheels. Inside, the excellent, hi-tech M Performance Alcantara wheel with race display replaced the standard tiller, not only adding some cool looks and a great steering feel, but also extra information for the driver. Many of the plastic components and panels were replaced by Alcantara and carbon ones, too.

    The results were, even after this round of alterations, profound. Decals aside, the exterior changes are subtle, but work together to help give the car a more planted, solid feel. Indeed, the extra aggression is something that many would probably argue the M235i needed from the factory. Andrew Brien, Southern BM’s co-founder, agrees, saying the looks were his team’s favourite part of the car. “We like the styling. BMW really changed up the looks with the introduction of this car and with the additional BMW M Performance parts, it really is a head-turner.”

    Inside as well, the seemingly small changes all come together to make the cabin a much more inviting and pleasant place to be. Slipping into the supportive leather seats, there’s an air of not just quality (as you’d find on the standard model), but genuine sportiness thanks to the carbon cladding and Alcantara coverings. It makes the M235i really feel like a driver’s car, and it’s an interior you don’t want to get out of.

    Initially, Southern BM also fitted an M Performance exhaust and brake discs to try and add some extra sportiness, but while the exhaust fitted perfectly and sounded great, Brien and his team also wanted to offer something more for customers, so as part of fitting a Dinan P1 Power Package (the aftermarket part of the mix), the M Performance system got dropped in favour of the included Dinan Free Flow stainless steel exhaust.


    Moving the car around for the shoot, it became obvious how different the Dinan exhaust was from the M Performance one, too. Listening to a YouTube video Southern BM posted of the factory version prior to the shoot, it’s clear the OEM pipes added a great bark on start up, a throaty burble on idle and a harder-edged metallic sound when revved, but the Dinan version steps it up a notch. You still get the bark on start up and burbling idle, but you get an even harder metallic kick on revving and it’s noticeably more baritone in its delivery. Southern BM has videos of both exhausts on its YouTube channel so they’re worth checking out for yourself if you’re planning to make such a move.

    The rest of the P1 package includes a carbon fibre cold air intake and Dinantronics Stage 2 tune, and fitting it all together was a smart move. Not only are all the parts designed to work in unison, in keeping with the whole ‘no fuss’ concept Southern BM wanted to offer, but attempting to tune things itself didn’t make much sense anyway.

    “With the introduction of the F-series cars, the tuning market changed a lot. These cars are no longer easily tuneable by means of flash tuning via OBD. We are Dinan dealers and the software development team at Dinan have great resources and talent to achieve a more enjoyable driver experience,” says Brien. The fact it also offers high-quality, ‘no compromise’ parts is just icing on the cake, so it’s no wonder Southern BM went with this kit.


    It’s hard to argue with the results, too. A quick chassis dyno check showed the components added 50whp, and while that’s less than the 56hp claimed by Dinan, as we all know, dyno differences, the weather on the day and other factors always come into play, so the claim seems solid.

    Interestingly, Brien argues that “the most impressive part of the tune is the increase in torque (a claimed 84lb ft), which allows you to pull hard when you open up the throttle”. As they say, though, power is nothing without control, which is why the final step in building this machine was fitting a #Quaife-ATB diff. “What is lacking on modern BMW cars is mechanical grip,” says Brien. “As you pull out of a corner, you want the throttle to respond, not react to traction control, so the Quaife LSD is a must-have.”

    For the unfamiliar, Quaife’s ATB series uses a helical, torque-biasing unit (as opposed to the more common clutch packs) which may not provide the same aggressive lock-up, but is much more usable on the road. Indeed, it’s likely you won’t notice it at all during daily driving – there is no clunking or recalcitrance. As with the rest of the build, it’s essentially like it was there from the factory.

    While it wasn’t possible to try the diff out at speed on the day of the shoot, riding along in a highly tuned 135i with one fitted a few weeks beforehand gave some insight into how much of a difference it makes. Not only does it work with the factory DSC, but when you turn the electronic aids off and slam the throttle, instead of traction control limiting things, both wheels spin up at equal speed and you get to enjoy the full accelerative force of the fettled N55 engine. It’s sublime. There’s also a very noticeable increase in turn-in, which, combined with the extra grip from the 19-inch Pirellis on the M235i, would no doubt transform it from being a nice, fast daily to a much more enjoyable winding road weapon. Indeed, Brien says that is exactly the case: “Not that the original car is in need of upgrades – they are nice cars out-of-the-box – but with these upgrades it makes this a really nice car and more enjoyable to drive.”

    Interestingly, despite the ever-increasing popularity of track days, Brien says he hasn’t taken it out on track just yet to truly test its limits, but then, that wasn’t ever really the brief for this car. “We weren’t looking to build a track car. To us, they are different beasts, looking to achieve different results. This car is a road tourer that you can have some comforts in if you are out cruising, but performs if you want to take the car to task up in the mountains.”

    Brien says they have considered building a “more extreme version”, and for track use would recommend Dinan anti-roll bars and Monoball kit, as well as performance pads, but for now, he’s happy with where the car is. “This build is to show the road user what can be achieved when looking for a clean road tourer,” he says. That ‘clean’ part is actually worth mentioning for those who might perhaps be unaware how important a low-key car is in Australia, especially the state of Victoria, where Southern BM is based. That’s because Australia in general, and Victoria in particular, has very restrictive laws when it comes to car modification. Bar some very small freedoms (mainly wheels, suspension and engine tuning mods that result in no more than a 20 per cent power gain), almost any aftermarket performance tuning needs to be certified by approved workshops, and given the truly serious stuff will likely never pass certification anyway, most people don’t even try.


    Even when they are approved or within legal boundaries to begin with, poorly-trained police can still pull your car over if they think it’s illegal and stick a nice, yellow defect notice on your windscreen that can’t be removed until you show them proof or get things recertified. This is why Victorian enthusiasts these days often try and go unnoticed and avoid police attention in the first place, and while this M235i is only lightly modified and therefore completely legal, the fact it’s relatively subtle means you’re likely to avoid being pulled over unnecessarily.

    Actually, the fact it can fly under the radar means this M235i ticks another box on the Goldilocks list. Right price, right performance, right practicality level and even right amount of tuning to be legal and avoid scrutiny. It really is just right.

    CONTACT: Southern BM
    Website: www.southernbm.com.au


    TECH DATA #Southern-BM F22 M235i

    ENGINE: #BMW-N55 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six / #N55
    POWER: 308rwhp (230rwkW)
    ENGINE MODIFICATIONS: #Dinan-P1 Power Package (carbon fibre cold air intake, free flow stainless steel exhaust, #Dinantronics Stage 2 tune)
    DRIVELINE MODIFICATIONS: Standard #ZF eight-speed #Steptronic automatic gearbox #Quaife ATB LSD
    CHASSIS/SUSPENSION MODIFICATIONS: Standard M Performance adaptive dampers / Standard suspension arms and anti-roll bars
    WHEELS AND TYRES: M Performance double-spoke 624 forged wheels (7.5x19-inch front, 8x19-inch rear), Pirelli P Zero RSC tyres (225/35 R19 front, 245/30 R19 rear)
    BRAKES: Stock M Performance #Brembo aluminium brake callipers (four-piston front, two-piston rear), #M-Performance cross-drilled and slotted s (370mm x 30mm front, 345mm x 24mm rear)

    EXTERIOR:
    M Performance front splitter
    M Performance carbon fibre rear spoiler
    M Performance rear diffuser
    M Performance carbon fibre mirror caps
    M Performance side stripes kit
    M Performance Rocker Panel film set
    M Performance gloss black grilles

    INTERIOR:
    M Performance Alcantara steering wheel with carbon trim and race display
    M Performance carbon fibre and Alcantara interior trim set
    M Performance carbon fibre shifter console
    M Performance carbon fibre selector lever trim
    M Performance carbon fibre and Alcantara handbrake handle assembly
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    DEF ROWE / #Volkswagen-Jetta-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Jetta-II / #VW / #VAG

    If ever we needed proof that America leads the way in the booted Dub department, Harry Rowe’s turbo Coupé is all the evidence you’ll need. Words: Elliott Roberts / Photos: Sam Dobbins

    It’s safe to say the Volkswagen Jetta Mk2 never quite took off in Europe like it did Stateside. Granted, as with any minority motor car you will always have your fan bois that obsess over them, but for the most part modified Mk2 Jettas in the UK were extremely thin on the ground and if you did find one, well, it would most likely be average at best. Okay, they were until we started to see a bunch of killer examples emerging across the Pond but if we’re honest the Yanks have always led the way with the booted Golf. I guess Harry Rowe’s VR6T Coupé is a great lesson in just why.

    “As a kid I was always into cars and bikes. I had dirt bikes and go-karts before eventually winding up in an 1983 Rabbit GTI,” claims Harry. Despite the natural draw to American muscle cars Harry was soon turned on to the VW way of life after a bunch of mates dragged him to a couple of European car shows. “Also, my father’s good friend worked for VW and they built quick quarter-mile cars in their spare time. It was good fun back then,” Harry adds.

    He actually ended up taking the ’90 Jetta Coupé as a trade with a friend, as he explains: “My friend Paul Harley had bought the car but quickly discovered it had a lot of bugs and it was soon just parked up. It had lots of potential but was poorly put together I guess.” After getting the car running Harry drove the thing daily for a couple of years so he could iron out all the little niggles and get it mechanically flawless. Then trouble struck. “One day a tractor slowly reversed into the front, Tunacanning the fender off,” Harry says. He was originally planning just to fix the cosmetic damage but, inevitably, got carried away. It was at this stage the engine came out and Harry started to plan which angle of attack to take. He was set back a little due to the purchase of his first house… and mortgage! “The good thing was it had a garage, though,”

    Harry says, “so at least there would be somewhere to store the car and work on it.” On paper the car as Harry purchased it was quite sorted. “It had widened rear fenders, a semishaved bay, shaved body mouldings and marker lights,” Harry tells us, “but I just perfected it by doing a full-on smoothed bay, fitting the pop-out rear windows and adding a number of other little touches.” Harry claims he just loves changing things up and being creative. Although he was aware of some of the US scene’s Mk2 Jetta Coupé ‘greats’ Harry claims he wasn’t inspired by any specific one: “I just wanted to make the car nice and put my own spin on it.” Stuff like the key-hole-mounted rear-view camera and Mk3- style boot popper are things that most people wouldn’t even notice but Harry knows are there and will appeal to the real anoraks.

    Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though. After Harry exchanged on the house he began stripping the car right down for a full repaint: “I did a lot of the engine bay prep in my garage while Haggard Fab took on some of the other fab work before the rolling shell went off for paint.” According to Harry it’s Mars red but with a Mercedes Benz paint code.

    Those with a keen eye may also have noticed the rear window seal isn’t as it left the factory. “There I used a number of parts from various brands of car,” Harry reports. “This changes the look of the rear window seal and, in my opinion, makes the car look more modern and, most importantly, different to all the rest.” You won’t see many Jettas running round headlights either. The purists may frown on this but we think they look at right home there and Harry is happy with the end result: “I’ve always loved round headlights. I’ve tried Westy aeros but I keep coming back to these. Of course, I’d happily fit a Rallye front-end if somebody was to donate one though!”


    Despite carrying out a lot of work himself, Harry claims he couldn’t have done it without the help of his friends – especially Matt at Eurokraft: “His knowledge of these cars is amazing and helped me tons.” Apparently Harry was most motivated when the car came back from paint: “After that, it was all hands on deck from my friends.”

    There’s obviously more to this car than a new coat of paint and a few rare modifications, though. Yup, it’s time to talk about the big turbo VR6 running all the right bits: “The car had a VR6 swap when I got it, although it looked nothing like it does now, even though it is the same motor,” Harry tells us. “It’s a nonintercooled VR6 turbo with titanium valve springs retainers and HD valve springs and head gasket spacer with ARP hardware. For what it is – a lowboost setup with about 13lbs – it really moves.

    I’ve embarrassed a number of cars on the highway.” He’s also done alright at the quartermile, with a best ET of 12.7 at 115mph. That’s certainly not to be sniffed at. We like the fact that despite the fresh paint and show car wheels, Harry is still all about driving this thing: “Yeah, I’m not afraid to whoop on it from time to time. That’s why I put it together really.”

    So the car can clearly hold its own on the showfield and quarter-mile, but what about in the twisties? “I almost went for air-ride but decided against it. The car is running CX Racing coilovers, which I know are not exactly expensive but they adjust pretty well and the car corners great and rides low, too,” Harry says. When it came to the interior Harry really didn’t want to go overboard: “I love the sight of a Mk2 dash and interior so long as it’s in good shape, so I didn’t see the point in wrapping it up. After all, it’s a car I built on a budget, so just adding simple OEM+ touches and a few creature comforts like the double DIN touchscreen, Hella wheel and SWG gauge pod, plus custom centre vent gauge mounts and suede headline with matching pillars and red stripe seat belts worked for me.”

    So now it’s all finished we ask Harry if he enjoyed the build and what was the hardest part of it? “I think staying motivated was the hardest part, especially while moving into my new house,” he replies. “As for the positives, well, despite just being a VW Jetta it gets plenty of attention even from non-car people and I guess it’s pretty fast, too.”

    What does the future hold for Harry? “Well, I don’t really have any new projects lined-up just yet. I don’t think I’ll do another serious build any time soon. I did buy a Kamei hood scoop that I painted body colour recently, though. I’m really liking that on the car.” So why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves through all of this? “I enjoy making things better whether it’s fixing or modifying things,” Harry surmises. “If somebody doesn’t get it then usually a turbocharged thirdgear pull normally explains it all perfectly!”

    Dub Details

    ENGINE: 2.8-litre 12v #VR6 with #Kinetics Stage 1 kit comprising Precision turbo, #ARP hardware, upgraded injectors and software, titanium valve spring retainers, uprated valve springs, 8.5:1 head gasket spacer, stock cam, hidden coil pack and tucked wires, #Dahlback-Racing diverter valve, Tial wastegate, shortened oil pan and R32 oil pump, custom Eurokraft wire harness for shaved bay, Forge boost controller, Haggard Fab coolant reservoir, #Haggard Fab 3” exhaust with custom mounted #Borla-Pro XS muffler and short tailpipe, #Quaife differential, ARP hardware, #Southbend clutch, Polo shift box and 02j shifter swap.

    CHASSIS: 8x16” and 9x16” #BBS-RS , half caps with red centres, five-stud conversion, Mk3 VR6 brakes, #CX-Racing coilovers, upgrade polybushings, #VF-Engineering motor mounts.


    EXTERIOR: Custom-made rear pop-out windows, Porsche script handles, Mercedes Benz Mars red paint, badgeless single round grille, widened rear arches, shaved body mouldings, shaved marker lights and antenna, custom-mounted rear-view camera in trunk key hole and Mk3-style rear trunk popper.

    INTERIOR: #SWG gauge pod holding Innovate wide-band, custom centre vent gauge panel housing #Cyberdyne digital boost/vac, oil pressure and oil temp gauges, #Recaro Trophy seats, #Hella Royal Exclusive Line steering wheel, Mk3 silver-faced cluster, suede headliner and pillars, leather-wrapped parcel shelf, custom-made Porsche script ‘Turbo’ floormats and a personalised pillow, #Pioneer double DIN touchscreen display, 10” Pioneer sub mounted in rear armrest, #Kenwood amp, Infinity door speakers.

    SHOUT: Big thanks to all my friends that came and helped when I needed it, Paul, Jay, Joel, Dan, Matt from Eurokraft, Matt from Haggard Fab, Sam Dobbins, oh, and I can’t forget my lovely fiancé for putting up with me, and anyone I forgot. This was most definitely an honor, thank you.
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    CROSSING THE LINE

    One of the most spectacular builds we’ve seen in a long time, this #BMW-M135i is quite unlike anything else. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary

    When Bruce Gowans said he had plans for his M135, he wasn’t lying. A year ago, this car was candy red with a modest boot build and Watercooled Industry wheels and now, well, it’s pretty much unrecognisable. There’s modifying your car and then there’s forging ahead with an absolute vision that’s uncompromised and single-minded in its intent. This car is what happens when someone makes that vision a reality.

    There is no typical modified BMW owner, and Bruce certainly fits into that non-box of atypicality. He is of the ‘older’ generation, shall we say, and resides in a tiny village in the heart of the Bedfordshire countryside, a million miles away from the frenetic and eclectic world that is the modified BMW scene. But this mechanical engineer has a heart that pumps pure petrol and has spent his entire life flitting from modified car to modified car, with an underlying appreciation for BMW but never the opportunity to indulge that interest in Bavarian metal until he acquired this M135i. “I’ve been interested in BMWs ever since I was a lad and grew up into a petrolhead! I’ve been a fan since the first E30 M3 and seeing an E9 coupé on neighbour’s drive when I walked to school and thinking how cool it looked. I bought the M135i, my first BMW, for its ‘performance for the price’ factor and because the drivetrain, the engine and the transmission are such a great combination in this vehicle. I bought it brand-new in 2013 and was going to keep it stock…”

    “Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task”

    Digital audio explained:

    “The system in this car was spec’d to accommodate Bruce’s passion for high resolution audio. It’s cutting edge in the fact it can play any file format he wants and samples up to 196khz with bit depths of up to 24-bit. When you consider a CD (still reference in so many studios) samples at 44.1khz at 16-bit, that’s a huge amount more information. Of course, all of the car’s OEM equipment and functionality is retained and played through the new system alongside solid state hard drives, wireless streaming and various other inputs.”
    Carl Shakespeare, Director, Studio Incar

    Clearly that didn’t happen. It seems like the car was stock for all of five minutes before Bruce had started tinkering and while the mods started off sensibly and in a restrained manner, once the momentum began to build there was clearly no stopping Bruce (or the M135i). “The first mod was to get a new exhaust developed and fitted by Scorpion Exhausts. Then Luke and the guys at Plush supplied and fitted the air-ride, sourcing components from AirREX and an eLevel system from Accuair. This was closely followed by a carbon-fibre front splitter from SSDD,” he says. “Spring 2014 brought a change in colour, with a candy red colour wrap from Avery called True Blood.


    New MD1 wheels from Watercooled Industries were added, closely followed by a Juice Box 4 (JB4) piggyback ECU from Burger Motorsports and a decat downpipe which were fitted at #Performance-Developments in Sunderland. The car went to #Forge-Motorsport in #Gloucester to have one of its high-performance intercoolers fitted, along with one of its dump valves.” With all those mods on board, it made 400hp and 450lb ft of torque on the dyno and considering how blisteringly quick the standard M135i is, that’s going to be more than enough power to keep Bruce happy. “After having the traction control kick in once too often, I took the decision to fit a limited-slip diff to the car. Options were thin on the ground for this platform but Birds in Iver, Buckinghamshire developed a Quaife ATB for it, which has made a massive difference to the way the car drives.”


    And that is where the story would end for most people. A dramatic wrap, some exceedingly nice wheels, air-ride and some performance mods. A fine selection of upgrades. Job done. But that’s not where this story ends, as you can clearly see. “At the end of 2014 I planned to make some big changes to the car and started speaking to Carl Shakespeare at Studio Incar about my plans,” he explains. “We discussed my ideas for a rear-seat delete and a high-end audio installation and things just got out of hand. I had already decided to try and get a BTCC body kit. I contacted West Surrey Racing and negotiated with the guys there to buy a genuine race car kit from their 2014/15 BMW 1 Series race car. However, fitting it proved more difficult than you might think! The BTCC cars have front and rear subframes and crash structures that are specified by TOCA and these also provide mounting points for the front and rear body panels. These didn’t match up with the mounting and fixing points that BMW specify! It required the rear wings to be cut and tubbed – scary stuff! Luckily, Stylehaus in Northampton has some serious skills and brought the whole thing together.


    “Shakey project managed the whole build with input from me, like my suggestion for the triple tank setup. Once the car was back from the bodyshop, and with a little bit of extra fettling by Fibreglass Phil in Kent (the manufacturer of the BTCC kit), the audio and air install could begin in earnest.” With a bit of direction from Bruce, Shakey was free to run riot inside the M135i. The end result is an interior that feels like it’s very much been built around the air and audio and one look inside leaves you in no doubt that this car’s main purpose is to astound. The rear seats have been removed completely, replaced by the awesome triple floating tank setup that looks like a spaceship, illuminated from above and hovering over the massive 15” Hertz Mille sub which forms part of the incredibly high-end digital audio install, while the rear load space is home to the three Audison amps, on display in a beautifully designed enclosure. There’s acres of Alcantara in here, which reaches up to cover the roof lining as well, while some extremely sexy custom door pods are home to Hertz Mille speakers. Finally, a custom panel in the centre console (also trimmed in Alcantara) houses the controllers for the audio system and the air suspension. It’s one of the most spectacular, special and perfectly-executed builds we’ve ever seen and it’s nothing short of a work of art.


    With such a spectacular build going on, the right wheels were going to be absolutely essential and Bruce was keen to move away from the usual suspects, like BBS and Rotiform, and try something different. “I had been in touch with Brada wheels in the States for a year or so, originally to try and get some wheels for my GT3,” he says. “I spoke to Zane and we agreed a design and spec for the wheels that were destined to go on the BMW. However, because the car was away having the body kit fitted, Shakey and I could only make an educated guess as to what the exact widths and offsets of the wheels would be, with us only knowing what the overall width of the BTCC car is and working back from those dimensions…” It can be hard enough to work out your exact wheel specs when you’ve got your car in front of you so this was most definitely a risky strategy but it worked and the resulting wheels are the perfect fit for the M135i. Bruce opted for Brada’s BR1 crossspokes with gloss black centres, matt black lips and stainless steel bolts in 9.5x19” at the front and 10.5x19” at the rear, the fitment perfect for tucking the wheels under the massive arches when the car is aired out.


    In terms of styling, the kit alone wasn’t enough for Bruce and he decided to take things to the next level. “The wrap design wasn’t established until quite late in the build. I have always been a fan of the BMW Art Car projects but picking a design to base the wrap for the M135i was tricky. Several of the Art Cars are ‘challenging’, to say the least,” he laughs, “but this Frank Stella design from 1976 was selected – it appealed to my inner engineer! Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task, since the original consisted of lots of parallel horizontal and vertical lines; the hardest thing to do with vinyl wrap… Carl contacted JD Wraps in Essex and a deal was struck. When I collected the car a week later I was amazed. The guys had done an awesome job.” The combination of kit and wrap is one that is both single-handedly responsible for the utterly insane amount of attention this car garners but is also the most polarising aspect of the whole project. Some people love the wrap but hate the kit. Some people hate the kit but love the wrap. Some people hate them both. And some people like everything that this car has got going on! However you feel, it’s a talking point and gets the car noticed. Bruce loves it, however, which ultimately is the most important thing.


    Amazingly, all this work took just six months, really not long at all considering just how much has gone into the build and how complete the transformation has been. Bruce chose the Players Classic show for the car’s unveiling. It got as much attention as you’d expect and the sort of reactions you’d expect. “It seems to be very much a ‘Marmite’ car!” Bruce tells us. More importantly, though, he can now sit back and actually enjoy the car. Beyond the looks and the next-level interior, he’s got a fast, powerful car that’s great to drive, with an incredible sound system. It’s a package that just begs to be taken out on the road and enjoyed and, in fact, that’s now his only plan for the future.

    DATA FILE #2015 #BMW-M135i-F21 / #BMW-M135i / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #Brada-BR1

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 / #N55 , JB4 piggyback ECU from #Burger-Motorsport , #Scorpion full exhaust including a decat downpipe, #Forge / #Forge-FMIC / , #Forge-DV , stock #ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox #ZF8HP , #Quaife ATB LSD from #Birds

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #Brada BR1 three-piece wheels with gloss black lips, matt black faces and stainless hardware, with 235/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) #Goodyear Eagle Asymmetric 2 tyres, #AirREX air-ride and Accuair eLevel management

    EXTERIOR #BMW-M-Performance carbon fibre wing mirror shells, #BMW M Performance black front grilles, #BTCC body kit from WSR, Art Car wrap by #JD-Wraps

    INTERIOR Interior by #Studio-Incar , full digital audio install comprising Audison AV Quattro amp x2, Audison AV Uno amp, Audison bit Ten D processor, #Audison bit Play HD source, #Hertz-Mille three-way front end, Hertz Mille 15” sub, rear seat delete, custom air installation, Alcantara roof lining, integrated audio and suspension controllers built in to the centre console

    THANKS Studio Incar and Shakey in particular for handling this project and for keeping my spirits up when I needed it, Zane and Jacob at Brada, Myles and Chris at Brada UK, Fibreglass Phil, Scorpion Exhausts, Forge Motorsport, the guys at Stylehaus, Luke Massy, Phil James, Kat and the team at JD Wraps, Voodoo Elie for getting me out of a tricky situation, and last but not least, Ed Hamilton at JK Engineering for being a great friend, being just as daft as me and as big a petrolhead as me!
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    BACK TO THE NEW SKOOL DAN PULLEN #Volkswagen / #VW

    This Mk2 has so much Bentley leather they’ve had to cease production of the Continental GT.

    Recently the bods at Jaguar decided to hand-build six, brand-new, lightweight E-Types, with original (albeit unused) 1963 chassis numbers, then sell them to special customers at £1.2 million a pop. Jassi’s Mk2 Golf reminds me of those.

    You see, there’s a lot to be said for nostalgia. For one it captures the heart. They reckon there’s no school like the old skool and there’s plenty of truth in that. After all, if that wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t see so many new Fiat 500s and MINIs tooling around every city in Europe. The same goes for genuine classic cars, which have become infinitely more popular, not to mention sought after by all the cool kids over the past few years.

    What’s really interesting though, is that wonderful situation when old skool meets new skool head on. Nowadays the most successful creations prove that retro motoring in the 21st century doesn’t have to mean regular breaking down in some rusty old shitbox. Plenty of today’s classics are restored in a way that embraces new technology and techniques. Out-dated parts are often uprated, performance and drivability along with safety can be advanced, in fact it’s the essence of all modifying – to evolve.

    Jassi’s car is the epitome of this notion. It’s about harking back to the old aesthetic with a sneaky bit of updating along the way. This one though is less of a restoration project and more of a new build that’s been completed with the utmost respect for the original. Sure it’s practically a whole re-manufactured motor, but the modifications are there simply to enhance the ideas of the past, not totally change them. It’s an exercise in showing what could have been done if the Mk2 Golf had rolled out of the factory last week – or what would have happened if the 1980s VW bods had access to new-age materials and went a bit loopy on the ‘luxury options’ budget. It shows no compromise, and that’s a rare thing.

    Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if Bill Gates were to put together a more-door Mk2 Golf, this is exactly how he’d do it – with absolutely no expense spared. It’s blindingly obvious that this fusion of old-skool style and new techniques and materials didn’t come cheap. Many of the mods, particularly the carbon items are total one-offs, for a start. But it’s also a story about friendship. Jassi certainly didn’t have the big-budget technicians of modern-day car manufacturers when he rescued this “pretty straight” Golf 1.6L shell. Instead he turned to his friends, veteran retro #VAG modifier Parm Bhambra and a few other enthusiasts who would get the job done to the hand-built, concours standard that he was after.


    Despite the super plush and extravagant outcome, it was by no means a build that was done in a Maclaren-style sterile workshop either. Just take the crazy 300bhp #VR6 engine. That was tuned and fitted by Jassi’s mate Hardip, on his drive, in just under two days. Credit where credit’s due, Parm has been instrumental to the car’s success throughout the whole build, a kind of project manager for Jassi. You may remember Parm had his own project, a rather fetching TT-engined Mk2 Golf Rallye, in Fast Car a few months ago, so it’s clear he’s no stranger to updating the odd retro ride. Even so the job was far from easy, when you’re doing anything at this level, it takes more than a little attention to detail. And on this one the details are immense.

    Apart from the engine, which is pretty bloody special in its own right, the most obvious use of modern technology was the use of materials like carbon fibre. Many of these immaculately autoclaved pieces were sourced or made as one-offs by Parm’s industry contacts. The fitting and blending of the wide arches was also expertly completed by a few of his mates in a local body shop.

    There’s plenty of small but delightfully anal details here, stuff like the fact they’ve taken the time to retrim both the amps that are on show – along with just about everything else inside the car, even the small bits and pieces such as window winders and door handles.

    Just like the carbon fibre, the sandy Alcantara is also a space-age composite material, a point that hasn’t gone unnoticed here at FC. The leather used to trim those electric Recaros on the other hand isn’t quite as cutting-edge because it comes from cows (no shit – Jules). That said, they’re not just any cows, they’re special Bentley cows – opulent to say the least!

    The use of modern technology doesn’t stop with the materials or application. The parts Jassi has chosen are right up there with anything you’ll find on The Gadget Show. The stance comes courtesy of the latest Air Lift V2 kit. While the sounds are provided by some of the most up-to-date gear from JL Audio and Audison. Suffice to say it’s all super-premium stuff.

    Even the wheels are super-rare, super-modern and custom made – in a thoroughly retro kind of way. Machined from solid forged billets by Budnik in California, they’re the sort of all-American hot-rod rims you’d normally see on a Gas Monkey creation – a fusion of old and new in their self.

    I guess my point is this car is something of a missing link between past design and future technology. It’s inspired by both periods when so many out there simply look to one and call their creations either old skool or new skool.

    A great 19th century philosopher once wrote that “the future influences the present just as much as the past”. If he’d lived long enough to see Jassi’s Mk2 Golf, he’d know he wasn’t wrong.


    JASSI

    What do you find most inspiring, the future or the past?

    “For me both are the same. What could be the future is just as inspiring as what happened in the past, especially with cars.”

    Did you know that Friedrich Nietzsche said something quite similar in the 19th century?

    “Come on, you just Googled quotes about the future, trying to look clever didn’t you?” Er, yeah, okay. You got me.

    So shiny and new (but also old)

    All leathered up (like Jules at the weekend)

    The perfect fusion of old skool and new skool.


    TECH SPEC: #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen

    STYLING: Wide arches; Porsche door handles; single wiper conversion; carbon mirrors, roof, small bumpers, door trim, rear trim and tail light trim.

    CHASSIS: Fully-chromed 8x16-inch Budnik wheels with custom offsets (ET 35 at front and 15 at rear) and Porsche centre caps; Toyo Proxes T1 195/40R16 G60; 280mm disc brakes; #Air-Lift Performance V2 kit with dual compressors and polished tank; chassis notch; #Powerflex bushes.

    INTERIOR: Porsche steering wheel; #Recaro Edition One electric seats trimmed in Bentley Tan leather; dashboard, roof lining and various other interior panels trimmed in sandy Alcantara; custom rear view mirror, door handle inserts and window winders.

    TUNING: 2.8 supercharged VR6 engine by #Z-Engineering ; 6-speed #Quaife race gearbox; Mk3 #Golf-VR6 sports exhaust race manifold; VW Corrado aluminium racing radiator; oil cooler; relocated battery.

    AUDIO: #JL-Audio W6 10-inch subwoofer; V2 500/1 amplifier and (2x) JL Audio V1 300/1 amplifiers; #Alpine single- DIN headunit; #Audison two-way 6.5-inch components in custom housings; and 5.25-inch coaxials (rear).

    THANKS Parm Bhambra; Hardip for the engine conversion.

    What a thoroughly handsome monster Going back to the old skool.

    “It’s like 1980s VW bods have gone loopy on the ‘luxury options’ budget”
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