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    V8 DTM quattro racer for the road. Words Davy Lewis Photography Jape Tiitinen.
    ROAD RACER
    This is a road-legal replica of the magnificent V8 quattro that dominated the DTM series in the early ’90s…

    V8 DTM QUATTRO Stunning race replica for the road

    Audi Sport has produced many iconic racing cars over the years. But perhaps one of the most successful and best-loved, is the V8 DTM quattro. Based on the road-going #Audi-V8-Saloon , the DTM ( #Deutschen-Tourenwagen-Meisterschaft ) cars were comprehensively re-engineered for the track. With strict #DTM regulations outlawing turbochargers, Audi’s mighty five-pot was sidelined. So #Audi-Sport turned their attention to an altogether different beast.

    The range-topping V8 saloon featured a naturally-aspirated 3.6-litre unit. With power boosted from 250hp, in factory tune, to an initial 420hp, the all-alloy V8 certainly had the credentials to challenge the best from Mercedes and BMW – although many thought the large V8 Audi would struggle against the smaller M3 and 190 Cosworth. Indeed with an extra 300kg to lug around, you’d expect the Audi to be outclassed by its lightweight competition. However, the combination of lusty V8, #4WD and with Hans- Joachim Stuck and Frank Biela at the wheel, the big saloon made the podium in its debut race and went on to give Audi the Manufacturers’ title in 1990 and 1991 The following season there was a flurry of complaints about Audi’s quattro system, which led to weight penalties being imposed. In response, Audi’s engineers tweaked the engine, which ultimately led to the modifications deemed illegal and Audi’s complete withdrawal from the series.

    So the life of the V8 quattro racer may have been ephemeral, but it remains one of the most talked about cars Audi has produced. It was with this in mind that serial Audi tuner, Roni Collin, created this road-going replica.

    You may recall Roni from issue 018, where he showed us the world’s first RS6-inspired S6 C7 saloon, complete with genuine RS6 front end, wings and a host of custom fabrication. This V8 DTM is another of his projects that has been many years in the making.

    The previous owner had intended to build a DTM replica, but had never really got going with it. Roni decided he would finish the job – although his would be fully road-legal and have a much better stance.

    The work took over five years in total, but this was in between other projects and Roni’s hectic work schedule (as a serial entrepreneur, he’s always busy.) “I’ve always been more excited by the process of the build than the end result. I don’t participate on the actual builds that much, but I enjoy the planning, getting all the parts, and designing the unique look of the car,” he says.

    Creating something bespoke like this is never an easy undertaking, but as Roni explains: “Luckily I have Björn who never says no to my crazy projects. Not even then when I bring him a brand new car to be cut in pieces and replaced with another OEM look parts welded back in.”

    In the case of the V8 DTM, the main aim was to make it look like an original racer, so the interior was stripped out and a comprehensive roll cage fitted. All unnecessary pieces of trim were removed and a single bucket seat with harnesses added. But that’s not all – there’s a flocked dash, a custom centre console housing switches, carbon fibre door panels and a long-reach gear lever. It really does have a motorsport feel to it – you almost expect Hans Stuck to clamber out of it.

    When it came to the exterior, Roni insisted on full period correct motorsport livery. Everything looks as it should, complete with sponsors’ logos. Even the cross-spoke split-rim wheels are similar to the BBS items on the original (although Roni has since fitted some genuine BBS items).

    To get the big saloon sitting nice and low like a DTM car, a set of KW coilovers have been fitted. The 8.5 and 9.5x18in Rotiform alloys sit perfectly in the arches, wrapped in Pirelli road rubber.

    Under the bonnet, the 3.6-litre V8 is currently in factory trim and makes about 250hp. But Roni has plans for a tuned engine, so this faithful replica will, at some point, also have the performance to match the looks.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE / SPECIFICATION #Audi-V8-Quattro / #1991 / #Audi-V8 / #Quattro / #DTM / #Audi-V8-Quattro-DTM / #Rotiform / #Audi-V8-Typ-4C / #Audi-V8-Typ-4C-DTM / #Audi-Typ-4C / #Audi-V8-DTM-Replica / #Audi-V8-Typ-4C-DTM-Replica / #DTM / #Audi-V8-Quattro-Typ-4C / #Audi-V8-Quattro-DTM-Typ-4C
    Engine 3.6-litre V8 40v
    Transmission 6-speed manual
    Brakes Audi S8 year 2000
    Suspension KW coilovers
    Wheels & Tyres #Rotiform-SJC 8.5 and 9.5x18in 225/40 Pirelli
    Interior Custom roll cage, extended steering column, #Audi Ur-quattro steering wheel, extended gear lever, #Recaro PP seat, Schroth 6-point harnesses, upholstery stripped, flocked dashboard, rear seats deleted, new custom wiring
    Exterior Repainted in original colour with DTM-livery
    Contacts/thanks @ronicollin @Bjornwerks

    Above: A tuned V8 engine will come next... Left: big V8 bruise looks stunning in profile. Right: Interior is fullon racecar spec. Right: If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big (V8) surprise...

    THE V8 DTM RACER
    In the hands of #Hans-Joachim-Stuck (pictured #Stuck ) and Frank Biela, the #V8 3DTM #Quattro was very successful, beating the much lighter Mercedes 190 Cosworths and BMW M3s to win the title for #Audi in #1990 and #1991 . The big Audi initially featured a 420hp all-alloy V8, but, as weight penalties were imposed to counter the supposed advantage of quattro, the engineers developed a modified flat-plane crank, taking power up to 460hp. This glorious V8 would rev to a heady 9,500rpm. Unfortunately, in #1992 the new crank was deemed illegal and Audi withdrew from the series. Check out YouTube to see these amazing cars in action.
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    You know when you enter something on Google and it completes the end of your query with what it thinks you want to ask? If you put ‘why is my Corrado always such a…’ it will complete the sentence with ‘pain in the arse’. Okay, it doesn’t, but it should because Corrado builds are never plain sailing! Which makes Steven’s ‘Rado here all the more impressive as it’s an absolute stunning example of the breed. As is always the case when building a Corrado, the ups and downs of the build could fill a novel but the results speak for themselves; behold a bay housing an OEM-looking supercharged R32 motor, a motorsport-inspired interior with #Recaro Pole Positions and a half-cage colour-coded to the gold-centred magnesium 17” #BBS-E26 / #BBS wheels, and flawless bodywork with just the right amount of mods. We haven’t had a Corrado on the Car of the Year podium in quite some time, and it shows that you guy still dig the classic coupé as much as we do!

    / #VW-Corrado-VR6 / #VW-Corrado / #Volkswagen-Corrado / #Volkswagen-Corrado-VR6 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VW-Corrado-R32 / #Volkswagen-Corrado-R32 / #Volkswagen-Corrado-R32-S/C

    STEVEN DAVILA (USA) CORRADO R32 S/C
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    Davy Lewis
    MTM S1 QST's 350bhp uber hot hatch

    / Words Davy Lewis / Photography Aron Vickers / FIRECRACKER
    This 365hp, Misano red S1 not only packs a serious punch, but it’s great fun to drive, too.

    S1 QS Tuning’s 360hp monster

    QS Tuning are one of the UK’s original Audi performance specialists. Set up by Kim Collins over 20 years ago, they have carved an enviable reputation for building a wide range of fast Audis, from original quattros, through to the very latest S and RS models. We’ve featured several of QST’s demo cars including a supercharged RS5 and the latest RS3 (their RS7 will be coming soon). But there’s more to these guys than high-end V8-powered Audis. Like this little S1, for example...

    Let’s get one thing straight from the off – the Audi S1 quattro is a fantastic car. Small, nimble and powered by a potent 2.0 TFSI (the same lump that’s in the S3), it’s a genuinely fun car to drive. Part of the appeal has to be that sweet, six-speed manual gearbox, which helps to lend this modern day Audi a distinctly old-school, hot hatch feel. Don’t get me wrong though – this is still a very refined and well-developed car, but it has a character all of its own. I’ve driven a few of these now and every time – weather stock or tuned – I always return with a smile on my face.

    One thing the S1 has is huge potential. Which is exactly what QST’s Alex Collins set out to prove with his own car.

    As the UK’s main dealer for MTM, the S1 was always going to feature some high-end German upgrades. But rather than fit the well-respected M-Cantronic unit (which effectively piggy-backs the ECU), Alex wanted to show that MTM also do re-mapping. So he organised a road trip over to Germany to allow them to develop their Stage 2 software for his car. “We had great fun on the drive over,” says Alex, “we managed 163mph, three-up, with luggage on the autobahn.” As the S1 already had some hardware upgrades – a Wagner intercooler, uprated inlet and full Scorpion exhaust with custom back section – it was ready for some Stage 2 calibration. The MTM crew spent a long time mapping the S1 and the final numbers are pretty impressive – 365hp and 480Nm.

    Back in the UK, on a short test drive around the Wiltshire countryside, I have to say this S1 feels very lively indeed. The power is delivered with a real punch and second-gear acceleration is pretty ferocious. Nail the throttle and there’s a snarl from the custom Scorpion exhaust as the quattro drive does its thing and the little hatch fires itself up the road. You need to be quick with the gears (it’s a manual remember) but before you know it, you’re making very rapid progress. Soon, we’re hard on the brakes approaching a roundabout, and the bright yellow TT RS stoppers do an admirable job of scrubbing off speed. The fact that every stab of the throttle is accompanied by a crescendo of noise from the exhaust only adds to the sense that you’re driving something rather special. It may be a tad too loud for some, but there’s no doubt that at full chat, it sounds plain evil.

    You may be surprised to learn that a stock clutch is still being used, although for how long, no one knows. Factory S1 units are known to give up, even on unmodified examples, so it seems like this is on borrowed time. When it does go, it’ll be replaced with something far more able to stand up to spirited launches and the increased torque now available.

    The interior of this S1 is very special indeed. It may look like an Audi exclusive option, but it’s actually a bespoke retrim from Plush Automotive. The front and rear seats, plus door cards are finished in Ferrari tan leather, which gives the cabin a supercar feel.

    The exterior of this fiery little S1 has been kept nice and OEM. The Misano red paint has been lovingly prepared and radiates a deep, glossy shine. Some discreet MTM badges hint that this may be more than a stock car, and of course the large, yellow TT RS calipers are easy to spot, tucked behind the MTM alloys.

    Since the photoshoot, Alex has decided that air-ride is not really for him. As this car gets driven hard, he’ll soon be swapping the bags for a set of high-end coilovers. He also has new wheels and is looking at bigger turbos. Watch this space....

    Above: S1 maybe small but it packs a real punch.
    Below: Plush Automotive interior is stunning in Ferrari tan leather.
    Above: MTM alloys and TT RS brakes.
    Above: TT RS brakes feature custom carriers.
    Above: Scorpion exhaust.
    Right: Love a bit of light painting.


    “The power just builds and it keeps pulling until the redline”
    “I had 163mph with three up and luggage on the autobahn...”

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION / #Audi-S1-Quattro / #Audi-A1-Quattro / #Audi-A1 / #Audi-S1 / #Audi-S1-Quattro-MTM / #MTM / #Audi / #Audi-S1-Quattro-QS-Tuning / #QS-Tuning / #Audi-S1-QS-Tuning / #Audi-A1-Type-8X / #Audi-A1-8X / #Audi-S1-Type-8X / #Audi-8X

    Engine 2.0 TFSI, #MTM-Stage-2 re-map, #Wagner front mount intercooler, #MK-Performance intake pipe, #ITG filter, #Scorpion de-cat exhaust with custom rear section

    Power 365hp and 480Nm (tested on MTM’s dyno)

    Transmission 6-speed manual, stock clutch (for now!)

    Brakes TT RS front brakes with Ferrari yellow calipers, custom carriers, re-drilled to 5x100

    Suspension HP Drivetech with Bilstein struts, Air Lift Performance management

    Wheels 8x18in MTM alloys with 225/35 Bridgestone Potenza

    Interior Full re-rim in Ferrari tan leather, #Recaro CS front seats, charcoal Alcantara seat backs, parcel shelf and door cars matched, S1 quattro gearknob

    Exterior 3-door S1 quattro in Misano red, black pillars, MTM badges

    Contacts & thanks Kim, Mike and Simon at QS Tuning, Luke and the crew at Plush Automotive, everyone at MTM
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    A PERFECT PAIR Gorgeous matching modded 2002 and R75/6 Retro Rides

    Building one project can be challenging enough but building a matching modified car and bike combo at the same time takes some real dedication. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Courtney Cutchen.
    Matching modded #BMW-2002 and #BMW-R75/6

    Until now, you won’t have seen many motorbikes in PBMW. While we admire BMW’s two-wheeled offerings and respect those who ride (because we’re not quite brave enough to rocket down the road gripping an engine between our thighs ourselves), they’re not really PBMW fodder. However, if you happen to be the sort of BMW enthusiast whose garage is home to both a modified car and a modified bike, and who has poured just as much passion into two wheels as four, then you’re definitely our sort of person. And here we have just such a person. His name is Michael Le and he owns both a stunning, modified 1975 #BMW-2002-E10 and a stunning, modified 1975 R75/6.

    “I grew up on imports,” begins Michael, his first car having been a 1994 Honda Civic Coupé. “Then I crossed the bridge to an R53 MINI Cooper and then moved over to classic BMWs about ten years ago, after I learned more about their aesthetics, performance, heritage, and relative rarity. I feel that cars are my way of self-expression and art. A costly form of self-expression. My first BMW was a 1991 325iS. I got it for $2000 and had quite a few problems with it but for my first BMW it was affordable and a good place to start from.” Once he’d got a taste for German motoring there was no holding Michael back and the 325iS was followed by a 2002, a 1976 Porsche 911, a Euro 635CSi, an E30 318iS and, most recently, another 635CSi. But what we’re really interested in is this really interesting pairing of 2002 and R75/6.

    “I have a habit of abandoning projects and an even worse habit of coordination and matching,” explains Michael. “I wanted to have a unique canvas that few people have, and I wanted to continue the matching four-wheel-and-two-wheel theme that started with my MINI Cooper and Vespa. It’s personally satisfying to walk out to a parking lot and know exactly which vehicle is yours. They stand alone in a sea of modern, bland vehicles and are an extension of my eccentric, old-soul/new-school personality.” Indeed.

    “My focus for these two in particular was a matching set of vintage and unique smog-free machines I could daily drive given my mood,” he continues. “I learned a few things from my first 2002, such as OEM is usually best and that it’s a good idea to keep it tasteful and respectable with just a few personal touches. As for the motorcycle, this is my first bike but my second two-wheel vehicle. I’m a proud self-taught rider with scars to prove it. I knew it would be a cafe racer; the style and simplicity is so appealing.” A café racer, for those not well-versed with modified bike styles, is a lightweight bike built for speed, handling and short, fast rides rather than comfort. The name originates from the ’60s when members of the British rocker subculture (as in mods and rockers) used fast, personalised bikes to ride between transport cafes along the newly-built motorways and Michael’s R75/6 has the classic café racer-look.

    The 2002 was purchased from an enthusiast and already had a number of attractive mods, with an M42 up front, a five-speed gearbox, an LSD, Recaros and metal bumpers. “It was halfway done!” Michael exclaims. “The bike’s previous owner commuted over 50 miles each way on a daily basis for a few years; it had some leaks, as to be expected from a 40-year-old vehicle, but it was useable.” And with both machines in his possession, the projects could begin.

    When Michael says he has a thing for coordination he’s not kidding as the work he’s put in to get these two matching on virtually every level is outrageous. With an emphasis on the individual, styling was extremely important for the both the 2002 and the R75/6, especially as the café racer-look is distinctive and calls for certain mods to achieve the desired style.

    The 2002’s pumped-up look was achieved with a selection offbeat styling additions. “Everyone has turbo flares,” says Michael, “so I got OEM replica flares from 2002 GarageWerks. And everyone has access to the standard 2002 turbo front air dam, so I got a Jaymic front air dam.” He’s also added an Ireland Engineering rear spoiler and rear chrome shorty bumpers, deleted the antenna, and fitted a Cibie third brake light and flat Euro front turn signals. You can’t build a bad-looking 2002 and this one in particular looks fantastic, with period styling that’s got an individual twist to it.

    The bike, by comparison, was a far more involved build as there’s a lot of work required to go from regular old motorcycle to café racer. “Modernised café racers usually retain the exterior gauges or eliminate them completely,” explains Michael, “but I located the gauge in the headlight bucket for a clean look. Garage builders usually don’t do any cutting and keep the two-up tail; I had to get a seat that went along the clean lines of a single seat bike and cut the rear subframe, along with de-tabbing anything unnecessary. When I say I, I mean my friend and firsttime builder Fernando at Morales Custom Cycles. He did nearly everything for the bike except the paint. Let me tell you, for a first timer, he’s professional-grade in my book. We both learned together. His patience was tried and my wallet was tried, but it was worth it.”

    Even if you’re not a bike fan you have to admit that Michael’s R75/6 looks achingly cool. Of course, as good as the car and bike looked, they didn’t match at that point, so Michael took them both down to Affordable Auto Body in Hayward where they were sprayed in #BMW Individual Moonstone metallic. He even got his crash helmet sprayed in the same colour. “The finishing touch was done by Lyle’s Vinyl Styles in San Carlos. He does custom vinyl wraps and did some seriously clean BMW M pinstripes on both the car and bike as a subtle theme tie-in,” Michael explains.

    Now, matching paint colours and stripes are one thing but matching the car and bike’s wheels was a much bigger challenge, especially as far as the bike was concerned. “I started off with some black/silver 13” ATS Classics on the 2002 to go with the theme at the time,” Michael tells us. “A few months later I was browsing eBay Germany and came across these vintage gold BBS E76s. I wanted mesh wheels for the car but felt the BBS RS look has been done time and time again. But magnesium 15” E76s? Yes please! I bid on them for fun and ended up winning them. So I then had to change the whole game plan for the car and bike to accommodate the colour scheme of new the wheels,” he laughs. 2002s and cross-spokes go together like toast and jam and the E76s look so good on this car they could have been custom-made for it.

    The gold centres and polished lips are the perfect match for the silver paintwork and they do a fantastic job of filling out those fat little arches. “Since the BBSs were vintage gold with polished hardware, polished lips and red BBS logo stickers, for the bike I had a set of wheels custom-made at Woody’s Wheel Works in Colorado,” Michael continues. “They’re such helpful, friendly and professional people. They made some custom vintage gold spokes, polished nipples, and polished Akront rims. Then I bought some red Akront stickers to place on the rims.” The end result is about as good as you can get considering how different bike wheels are to car wheels. Hats off to Michael for going to these lengths to get the two looking as similar as possible.

    The interior on the 2002 is absolutely gorgeous, a perfect blend of wood and black leather, and Michael has spent some time on the finishing touches. “The car came with these great quality, smooth and perforated leather black Recaro front seats, so I carried the theme throughout the rest of the car and over to the bike,” he says. “The 2002 interior and the bike seat were sent to Super Auto Upholstery in Hayward. The E24 rear buckets were given the same treatment, as well as the door panels to match. Even the headlining was done in black. The car also came with a wooden Nardi steering wheel, a wooden gear knob, and a wooden gauge cluster with black face gauges and red needles. The bike seat is an identical replica of the car seats, down to the size of the stitching, piping, and materials used. I sourced some Harley wood grips that matched the steering wheel as closely as possible. Fernando made them work on the bike and Lyle did a vinyl wrap around the gauge trim to mimic the wood and, yes, the bike’s gauge is black with a red needle.”

    This pair is not simply a case of style over substance, though, as Michael’s put the work in where it counts: the engine and chassis. “The 2002 came with the M42 out of an E30 318iS mated to a Getrag 240 gearbox from an E21 and a 3.73 LSD – really the perfect combo for the peppy and light E10 chassis,” he says. “I considered a turbo to go along with the turbo tribute look and it would have meant having to go turbo with the bike as that’s how anal I am, but I found a good deal on a set of Dbilas ITBs which I couldn’t pass up.” In addition to the ITBs, the engine’s had a coilover plug conversion, a Midnight tuning chip and a straight-through exhaust system with a Scorpion silencer. “When it came to chassis mods, my research suggested that Ground Control coilovers and Koni Yellow adjustable struts were the way to go, along with Ireland Engineering anti-roll bars and a nonadjustable camber kit. It’s the perfect setup for a comfortable daily driver that’s also good for some spirited twisty canyon driving when needed.”

    There’s a lot less that can be done on the bike, according to Michael, so he’s kept things simple: “On the engine front I went for maintenance, cleanliness, and reliability! I had all the seals replaced, valve adjustment done, and cleaned the cylinders, heads, rings, valve covers etc. In terms of chassis mods you can’t do too much for a café racer besides beef-up the suspension and weight reduction, so I ordered some Redwing rear struts and lowered the front with new fork fluid. It looks good and still rides comfortably.”

    On their own, this 2002 and R75/6 are magnificent builds with incredible attention to detail and some really fantastic, unique mods. However, taken as a matching pair they are truly something special. “I spent two-and-a-half painstaking years developing both vehicles. I have the vision but don’t possess the talent or patience. There were a lot of favours, switching back and forth between vehicles, and a lot of restless nights in which I nearly abandoned these projects,” says Michael. Fortunately he didn’t and the end result is unquestionably worth all that effort. We all know what we’re signing up for when we take on a new project but not all of us have the mettle to see them through. It’s doubly difficult when you’re working on two projects at once.

    Michael just has a few finishing touches to add on both the 2002 and R75/6. He’s currently working with Dbilas on a chip tune specific to his combination of M42 on ITBs, while for the bike he’s lined-up a big bore kit, lightened flywheel, and a rear monoshock conversion. You’d think once that was done he’d be ready to put his feet up and enjoy the fruits of his labours but he’s clearly a glutton for punishment as he’s got an E24 635CSi project in its infancy. “My goal is to make my ideal black-on-black Euro E24 and if I had to continue my four-and-two-wheel theme, I may opt for a motorised bicycle built by Dutchman Motorbikes,” he muses. “They build custom motorised bicycles, either cruiser or café racer style, to your specifications. It would seem fitting to go on the Euro E24’s roof rack!” he laughs, but we don’t think he’s joking.

    “I spent two-and-a-half painstaking years developing both vehicles”

    Leather seat material and design has been mimicked on the bike, as have all the wooden interior details.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #1975 / #BMW-2002 / #BMW-2002-M42 / #M42 / #BMW-M42 / #BBS / #BMW-2002-Tuned / #BMW-E10

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 1.8-litre four-cylinder #M42B18 , coilover plug conversion, #Dbilas ITBs, custom straight-through exhaust with Scorpion silencer, #Midnight-Tuning chip, E21 five-speed gearbox, 3.73 LSD, Z3 short-shift.

    CHASSIS 9x15” ET10 (front and rear) #BBS-E76 vintage gold magnesium wheels with 12mm spacers (front) and 15mm spacers (rear), 205/50 (front and rear) Kumho Ecsta tyres, 2002tii front hubs, E21 250mm rear drum brakes, #Ground-Control coilovers, #Koni-Yellow struts, Ireland Engineering front and rear anti-roll bars.

    EXTERIOR #Jaymic-2002-Turbo-style front air dam, 2002 #GarageWerks Turbo-style arch flares, Ireland Engineering rear spoiler, rear chrome shorty bumpers, antenna delete, #Cibie rear third brake light, flat Euro front turn signals, Vinyl Styles M stripes.

    INTERIOR #Recaro front seats, E24 rear seats, matching fabric and stitch pattern, black pillars and headlining, #Ireland-Engineering Turbo-style gauge pods, Autometer gauges, Nardi wooden steering wheel, wooden gear knob, custom Honda Civic armrest, Esty salt and pepper carpet.


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE 1975 / BMW-R75

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 749cc flat-twin 247, all-new gaskets, rebuilt #Bing carbs, #K&N air filter pods, sport exhaust, #Battery-Tender lightweight battery, #BoxerCafe starter cover, five-speed gearbox, new fluids, seals, and gaskets.

    CHASSIS 19” (front) and 18” (rear) #Akront aluminium rims and vintage gold spokes, 3.25/19 (front) and 4.00/18 (rear) Michelin tyres, stock front springs with new fluid, remanufactured rear drum brakes, #ToasterTan triple tree, Redwing rear struts, #Boxer-Metal rear sets, clip-on bars.

    EXTERIOR De-tabbed and shaved Ural headlight bucket, Motogadget dummy lights, Autometer digital gauge, custom extended bucket ears, shortened rear subframe, frame and body de-tabbed, battery relocated under Thorsten Strenger fibreglass singleseat rear cowl, X-Arc LED integrated turn signals/brake lights, chrome bar end mirrors.

    INTERIOR Custom seat with matching fabric and stitch pattern, wood-style grips, colour-matched Biltwell Gringo helmet and bubble shield, black leather Members Only jacket with custom-sewn armour pockets.

    THANKS My girlfriend Cindy for her patience and letting me ‘express’ myself; Frank and Jesus at Super Auto Upholstery, Joel at Affordable Auto Body, the team at Woody’s Wheel Works, Bryant and Jeriko at Bryko Motors, Le from 2002 GarageWerks, Lyle at Vinyl Styles, eBay.de for not letting me retract my best offer for the BBS wheels, Phill and Jessa for chauffeuring me around, Patrick for letting me borrow his car, Matt for the continual optimism and inadvertent help with naming the vehicles, Tristan for both the motivation and keeping me grounded, Courtney for spotting my 2002 at a local car show, befriending me, and giving me the opportunity to share my art in PBMW. Ultimately, Fernando at Morales Custom Cycles for his patience with my vehicular sickness and making my car and motorcycle visions a reality. Without him, I don’t think my motorcycle would be as ideal as it is. My mom for her sense of art and meticulousness that rubbed off on me while I grew up, and my dad for encouraging me to create my visions growing up as a child via a seemingly endless supply of Lego sets.

    Car and bike have been finished in matching Moonstone metallic and wear matching vinyl M stripes.

    Not something you expect to see in PBMW but this classic café racer is a gorgeous retro machine.

    “Cars are my form of self expression and art. A costly form of expression”
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    ULTIMATE MODIFIED BMW

    Stunning 800whp turbo M10-powered 2002 is like a gift from the gods…

    GREECE LIGHTNING

    With an astonishing 800whp from its turbo’d M10, this wild 2002 is about as quick as any sane person would want to travel. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Christos Karagiorgakis.

    2002: A PACE ODYSSEY

    Think of Greece and you will no doubt think of crisp, white houses sitting before the bluest sea you’ve ever seen, beautiful beaches, and delicious food. Perhaps what you won’t think of is modified BMWs. However, having been to Greece on many previous BMW-based visits, we can tell you that there are some serious machines scattered across the country. And this right here might just be the most serious piece of German modified machinery that Greece has to offer. It belongs to Stavros Panagopoulos, who has owned it for ten years. This was, in fact, his very first #BMW : a humble 1602 that he found for sale near his house. As you can probably tell, it’s changed a bit since then…

    Stavros says he entered into ’02 ownership with plans to make the diminutive classic just a little bit faster. And while he’s certainly achieved his end goal, and then some, he didn’t embark on a journey of turbocharged madness from the off; there were at least two slightly more sensible stages prior to what you see here. Things started off normally enough, with the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine enhanced with twin side draft 40 carbs. And that was fine, but not quite enough for Stavros’s liking. So Stage two was a bit more dramatic. The original engine was deemed not quite large enough so it was removed and in its place went a more powerful 2.0, its potency ramped-up considerably with the addition of a 300-degree camshaft, Weber 48 DCOE carbs, MSD Ignition components, and a selection of other sexy engine enhancements. That’s pretty solid and we wager the car (that was now by definition a 2002) must have been a whole load of fun to drive and a massive step up over how it felt originally. And then something happened: Stavros decided that what he really wanted was an 800whp turbo conversion. Because, sometimes, that’s just what you need in your life…

    As you might imagine, making that sort of underbonnet magic happen takes more than a little bit of work and the engine spec list reads like a who’s who of the performance tuning scene. It’s thorough and it’s glorious. It’s the modified BMW enthusiast’s equivalent of 50 Shades of Grey…

    Step one, you’ve got to get your engine choice down. Stavros opted for the sturdy M10, which served as the basis for BMW’s insane turbocharged M12 motorsport engine as well as the S14, so it’s certainly up to the task of coping with a spot of turbocharging.


    But the example nestling under this ’02’s bonnet is very far removed from your common-or-garden M10, as you might have guessed. There’s a lot in the engine bay, so much so that you can barely even see the engine, but if it looks impressive from the outside, there’s plenty to get excited about on the inside, too. 89mm CP forged pistons have been fitted, along with Carrillo forged rods, a custom reprofiled camshaft from Boubis Cams, and #VAC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs. Somewhere within the engine bay (you’ll have to take our word for it because it’s buried deep beneath seemingly endless pipework) sits the very core of all that power: an absolutely gigantic #Garrett-GTX4202R-turbo . This beast of a snail is rated up to 1150hp so Stavros has plenty of headroom, running as he is at around the 900hp mark, should he ever decide that’s not quite enough. This is useful, actually, as his next goal is to hit 1000hp…

    When it came to getting everything squeezed into the engine bay, custom is most definitely the word of the day: the turbo feeds a HPS custom intake manifold via a suitably massive front-mounted intercooler and sits on a custom exhaust manifold that connects up to a custom exhaust with an external wastegate that exits through the sill just behind the passenger side front wheel.

    The exhaust manifold and the turbo housing itself have both been treated to a Zircotec ceramic coating. Stavros has also had massive Bosch Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors fitted to supply enough fuel to keep the engine happy, along with a custom HPS oil pan. The whole lot is looked after by an Autronic SM4 stand-alone ECU.

    Seeing as no one involved in the designing and construction of the ’02 family could ever have imagined that someone in the distant future would attempt to pass somewhere in the region of 900hp through the compact runabout, Stavaros has had to go to town on the transmission and chassis to ensure it didn’t tear itself to pieces. The gearbox is a five-speed manual Getrag unit from the E28 535i mated to a custom twin-plate clutch that can handle the immense amount of power and torque being developed by the engine, with an E34 M5 rear axle tasked with transferring everything to the rear tyres. On the suspension front, this 2002 has been fitted with E36 M3 underpinnings, including subframes and wishbones, with #KW coilovers up front and Bilstein dampers at the back. While it doesn’t take much to stop a car as small and light as a 2002, stopping one that’s travelling at close to the speed of sound does require something a little more substantial, and this example certainly doesn’t mess about. Up front sit AP Racing Galfer four-pot calipers clamping 305mm vented discs. The rear setup is no less substantial, with another set of AP Racing four-pot calipers wrapped around slightly smaller 255mm vented discs.


    When it came to the exterior Stavros decided to keep things relatively subtle in as much that a casual observer might not be aware of what’s been changed but, at the same time, it’s clear that this 2002 is far from standard. It’s actually about as aggressive as a 2002 can really get. The biggest difference are those pumped-up arches, complete with sill extensions that fill out the flanks. They give the normally unassuming classic some real road presence. Having the wastegate exiting through the sill certainly doesn’t hurt, and neither does that fat, single-tipped exhaust pipe. Of course, fitting wide arches is one thing, having suitable wheels that are substantial enough to fill them is another matter entirely but Stavros’ choice definitely doesn’t disappoint, though it might raise a few eyebrows. He’s taken the classic cross-spoke look that sits so well with the 2002 and turned it on its head with a set of decidedly modern Work VS-XXs.

    The 17” wheels are positively huge on the compact classic but they look fantastic, really filling out those big arches, especially with the car dropped low over the fat rubber. Even parts of the body that may look stock aren’t. For example, the bonnet and boot might appear to be relatively standard, bar the pins and catches, but they are both carbon fibre items, with twin fuel fillers on the rear deck for the bootmounted alloy fuel cell. The one thing the 2002 isn’t is heavy, so adding carbon panels and reducing the already low weight further still means that, with 800whp on tap, this car is absolutely insane – just in case you hadn’t gathered that already!

    With a build like this the interior could go a number of ways: hardcore, stripped-out; stock and subtle; or, option three, custom, luxurious but still decidedly sporty – which is exactly what Stavros has gone for. The interior is dominated by those gorgeous Recaro A8 seats and both they, the rear seats, the doorcards, the steering wheel centre section, the gear gaiter and the handbrake have all been covered in the same delicious shade of caramel leather.

    Something that’s easier to miss is the custom alloy roll-cage; it’s so well-integrated that, while you can clearly see the rear diagonal support, the sections that penetrate the dashboard (down into the footwell) and the rear parcel shelf are much more discreet.

    Up front, the gauge cluster has been replaced with an AIM MXL digital racing dash while the centre console now resembles the flight deck of an aircraft rather than a car. Where the central air vents would have once been there now sits a quartet of custom-mounted GReddy exhaust temperature gauges and below that another custom panel that houses a Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer and fuel gauge and, finally, down in front of the illuminated gear lever, you’ll find a pair of GReddy pressure gauges.

    We’ve featured some pretty wild 2002s over the years but this example might just ‘take the cake’. It’s an utterly incredible machine and we’re a little bit in love with it. We love how the custom wide-arches give the little 2002 a broad, square stance. We love the interior, with its blend of modern tech, race components and gorgeous leather. And we really love the engine; we doubt you’ll see a more complicated engine bay, there’s just so much stuffed under the bonnet. And to come away with 800whp from such a small engine and to have it at your disposal in such a small, lightweight car is utterly insane and, well, we love that too.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-2002-Turbo / #Garrett-GTX4202 R / #Garrett / #BMW-2002 / #M10-Turbo / #Getrag / #BMW / #BMW-2002-800bhp /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 / , CP forged pistons, #Carrillo forged rods, #Boubis-Cams custom reprofiled camshaft, #AC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs, Garrett GTX4202R turbo with Zircotec ceramic-coated housing, #Zircotec ceramiccoated custom exhaust manifold, external wastegate, custom exhaust system, #HPS custom intake manifold, #Bosch-Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors, #HPS custom oil pan, #Autronic #Autronic-SM4 stand-alone ECU, Autronic ignition, #Getrag fivespeed manual E28 535i gearbox, custom twin disc clutch kit

    POWER 800whp

    CHASSIS 7.5x17” (front and rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 205/40 (front) Yokohama AVS Sport and 245/45 (rear) Dunlop SP Sport MAXX tyres, E36 M3 subframe, wishbones etc, #KW coilover kit (front), #Bilstein dampers (rear), E34 M5 rear axle, #AP-Racing Galfer four-pot calipers with 305mm vented discs (front) and AP Racing four-pot calipers with 255mm vented discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Carbon fibre bonnet, carbon fibre boot, custom wide-arch conversion

    INTERIOR Custom alloy roll-cage by Ilias Makropoulos, #Recaro A8 seats, rear seats, doorcards, steering wheel centre section, gear gaiter and handbrake finished in caramel leather, illuminated M gear knob, AIM MXL digital racing dash, custom-mounted #GReddy exhaust temperature gauges, pressure gauges, Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer, alloy fuel cell

    Engine looks monstrously complicated, and it is, with a huge amount of custom work at every turn and a gigantic #Garrett-GTX402R turbo buried deep within.
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    ROUGH DIAMOND
    Hitoshi Hoshino’s super-refined 993 may not be made in Japan… but it’s definitely MADE in Japan.

    EDITOR’S WILDCARD The Ed’s Wildcard gives us the chance to feature those off-the- wall vehicles you may not normally see in Retro Cars. This month we check out a sports car icon… only it may be more Japanese than you think!

    WILDCARD: RWB PORSCHE 993 WORDS AND PHOTOS: Dino Dalle Carbonare

    RAUH WELT PORSCHE 911

    Wildcard: #RWB-Porsche-993 This crazy air-cooled monster may not be made in Japan… but it was definitely MADE in Japan.

    Little did I know that those widened and overly winged Porsches I used to see at Tsukuba 10 years or so ago would have become the sensation they are today. No longer relegated within the confines of Japan, Akira Nakai of RAUH-Welt Begriff has been spreading his vision on every corner of the globe. RWB is a brand in serious demand, with a waiting list stretching to almost a year now.

    That’s because each car, to be truly and authentically identified as an RWB creation, must be put together by Nakai and Nakai only. And with so much demand coming from outside Japan, domestic customers have to get in line too! Thankfully Hitoshi Hoshino got his request in with the big man with plenty of notice, so he could time the unveiling of his car for this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon.

    Hitoshi has spent most of his working life in the automotive scene. First at Yokohama Tire, following various racing series in Japan, and then looking after the aftermarket parts retail at Japan’s official Ferrari dealer network. But his path wasn’t just about following his passion. There was a well-planned goal at the end of it and that period was simply to teach him the skills that would later be used to reach his achievement – Army Girl.

    Hitoshi came up with the idea to launch a clothing brand linked to the automotive lifestyle scene, for the sole reason that nobody in Japan has thought about it yet. It made total sense. He could step things up and set up his own business, yet keep that passion with cars truly alive. It was a win win situation and the idea to tie it all in with RWB made sense. The clothing he designs and produces is made by following the simple concept of keeping it cool, sexy and wild, which are three words perfectly in sync with what Nakai’s brand stands for. Plus it’s all made in Japan, something that Nakai liked very much, too.


    We met with Hitoshi late one night in Shibuya, right on one of the main streets that lead up to Hachiko, the famous scramble crossing. We had seen his car briefly a few months prior at the Auto Salon, but never had a really close look. You know how shows are, so much to see, so little time and you end up missing the finer details of what you’re there to see.

    But we’re glad we got this chance to spend a couple of hours with this 993 Carrera 2 as it could be the most polished cars Nakai has ever put together in Japan. You see, Hitoshi may like the whole idea of the RWB “rough” style, but in reality he likes his stuff very polished, meticulously executed and beautifully refined. One look at his car and you truly get a feel for that, right down to the paint it’s finished off in.

    Hitoshi took an Aston Martin pearl white paint sample to Noshima-san, the guy responsible for painting all of Nakai’s cars in Japan, and told him he wanted something like this. The car would mostly be driven late at night in central Tokyo, after he closes up shop, so it had to shine and look the part under the city lights. Nakai thought a simple Pearl White was a tad boring for one of his creations. But Nojima came up with a little custom mix made up with a higher content of metallic blue in it that really shines through and highlights all those complex lines that make up the exterior. And those aesthetics are just as extreme as you would want them for what is a street driven car, featuring those massively wide signature fenders topped up with that GT2 inspired front and rear bumper. This build however was one of the most complex ones Nakai embarked on, because Hitoshi wanted it done properly.

    The 993 was first stripped down to a bare chassis and sent of to M’s Machine Works, a fabrication shop that Nismo uses for its race cars. Here a custom multi-point roll cage was fabbed, welded and gusseted in place in order to both strength the ageing shell, but also to offer a higher level of safety when the car occasionally hits the track. It was then shipped back to Nakai where he went at it with an electric hacksaw, cutting away the fenders and the roof. Nojima painted it inside out and then the massive jigsaw puzzle was put together. This also included rare additions like the one-off carbon-fibre roof Hitoshi requested, as well as the rear fender winglets and the Rotana style rear wing. A RWB is all about stance and to nail it Nakai fitted a set of #Bilstein adjustable dampers mated to Swift spring to just the right ride height, before bolting on the custom painted 18-inch #Work-Meister-M1 s, which measure a rather generous 11J across the front and 13J at the rear.

    When Hoshino arrived in front of Tower Records, our predetermined meeting spot, I understood why he’d asked to make sure we did this only on a dry night. Those three-piece Meisters are shod in Hoosier slicks, which at 285 wide at the front and 335 at the rear are exactly as dangerous as you’d imagine on a rainy night. Not to mention a tad illegal even for Japanese standards!

    Thankfully rain was nowhere to be seen, so I jumped in the supportive #Recaro seat and we headed down the road to Harajuku. Taking a turn off from the main street that leads down to Omotesando we ended up in some seriously tight back streets – the heart of the Japanese fashion district.

    The sea of scantly dressed school girls that take over the place during the day is replaced with groups of drunk salary men late at night, stumbling out of microscopic izakaya bars as they try to make it to the station before the last train. Miss that, and it’s an expensive taxi ride back home. The 993 attracts a lot of attention, people point, stare and stop to take pictures. It’s quite an experience riding in one of these things. You get a first hand look at the sort of attention it generates.

    Slapping the name of your brand along its sills makes good sense. It’s a stunningly effective promotion tool. But thankfully that’s only part of it. Hitoshi regularly takes it out on the C1 and hits Tatsumi PA for night meetings, enjoying that easy and foolproof handling dynamic these high-grip 911 of Nakai’s are known for.

    Next up for Hitoshi is the engine. He’s already fitted big StopTech brakes up front as he wants to follow what Nakai has done with his 993 Rotana track car, and that’s slapping a massive turbo right next to the engine. Big power and some flames from that custom exhaust would turn Army Girl into something even more special. This is a car, that like the brand it has been built to promote, will continue to evolve.

    TECH SPEC: RWB #Porsche-993 / #Porsche-M64 / #Porsche-911-993 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche / #Porsche-911-RWB-993 / #Porsche-911-RWB

    TUNING: #Icode titanium exhaust system; #Garage-J fully balanced and refreshed M64 engine; RS clutch and flywheel.

    CHASSIS: #Work-Meister M1 3-piece wheels 11Jx18in front, 13Jx18in rear; #Hoosier slicks 285/30R18 front, 335/30R18 rear; Bilstein Cup dampers mated to Swift springs; #StopTech ST-40 4-pot front callipers; 2-piece rotors.

    EXTERIOR: Full #RWB wide body “street” conversion; RWB original pearl white; one-off RWB carbon roof.

    INTERIOR: M’s #Machine-Works custom welded-in and gusseted roll cage; #Recaro-RS-G bucket seats; #ARTI custom sound system with hidden speakers.

    Sparse interioradds to the fun!
    Even the roof hasn’t escaped the modding with this one-off carbon item!
    Hardcore like the army… and, erm, girls!
    Crazy is common on the streets of Tokyo, RWB cars are a little rarer!
    Fully balanced and rebuilt to perfection!
    Yep, it’s got quite an audio system this one!
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    This may have been Sean Clark’s first car in high school, but it’s all grown up now, with a level of refinement fit for a whiskey lounge. Words: Marcus Gibson / Photos: Adam Croy

    BODY-SLAMMED BMW E30 TEST LEARN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF BUILDING A DRIFT CAR / #1987 / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #Toyota-1UZ-FE / #BMW-E30-Toyota-1UZ-FE / #Toyota / #Accuair-i-Level / #BMW-E30-V8 / #V8

    DEFLATED REFINEMENT
    Purchased as his first car in high school, Sean Clark’s E30 is all grown up now with a class that belongs in a whiskey lounge. V8 powered, with Accuair i-Level, one-off Rotiforms, candy paint and a killer interior, this E30 ticks all the boxes.

    As the NZPC team members stood around with our tongues out, drooling over Sean Clark’s #BMW E30 during the photo shoot, in walked the guys from our sister magazine NZ Classic Car, who proceeded to make tongue-in-cheek remarks about how the suspension must be broken and ask where the hell the tyres were. Now, these guys know their way around an E30, but, given that the IS front lip was literally sitting on the ground while its rim lip was touching the guard, we could see how those old boys would be somewhat perplexed by what they saw in front of them. This car is a statement made with no apologies — it was engineered this way, what with its millimetre-perfect fitment and extremely deep candy paint, which grabs and holds your attention long enough to take in all the custom touches that can be found.

    It all began during Sean’s high-school days (actually, four years ago, to be exact), when he came across an E30 already fitted with a Toyota 1UZ-FE 4.0-litre V8. A fan of the German ’80s icon, Sean hadn’t been looking for V8 power, but, when this popped up already cert’d, he saw it as a good base on which to build his dream E30. It was in need of some TLC, but, being a high-school student, he would have to wait until he got his first full-time job before he could sink some coin into the project. In the meantime, though, he was probably only the only kid at his high school rocking a V8 on a daily basis.


    The air-management system runs a set of polished custom hard lines to feed the tank, AccuAir A4, and Air Lift air bags. The system has a wireless remote and can even be controlled by an iPhone app.


    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Sean is mainly influenced by mostly European-based E30s, which led to the first of the big modifications, as he told us: “All of my favourite E30s are on air. That was the first major modification I did. Simon from Get Low imported and installed the kit.” Getting the E30 down was a simple bolt-in affair using Air Lift struts with adjustable dampers. Like most of the latest air-ride kits we feature these days, Sean opted for a complete height-management system, in this case, AccuAir. With three preset heights — low, lower, and slammed — it’s a no-brainer over the finicky switch box and separate valve blocks of the past.

    Those kits were loud, high maintenance, and it was a battle to get the height perfect. Having the control that Sean now does is a good thing when the lip of the rim actually sits square on the guard when fully deflated.

    It was around that time that the E30 received its first set of rims, though those BBS Rs were soon replaced with custom fifteen52 Tarmacs, then, more recently, with a set of custom Rotiforms. To say Sean has a thing for wheels would be a gross understatement — but his size preference certainly made it hard. “I get bored of wheels pretty easy, and wanted to go three-piece and have something that would pop against the paint more,” he explained. “I talked to just about every wheel company out there, but the problem is that no one really makes three-piece 16s any more. I ended up getting James from 360 Link to convince Brian from Rotiform to produce these.” We are unsure what James from 360 Link said — perhaps he has a stash of questionable photos of Brian, or maybe Brian thinks all Kiwis are like Jake the Muss; either way, Rotiform obliged and put together this one-off set using BBS lips and gold hardware.

    To further customize them once they landed in New Zealand, the boys at GT Refinishers laid down some candy and gold leaf on the centre caps.

    The boys were also charged with a complete facelift conversion last year. Now, it might be a bolt-on conversion up front, but the rear took a little more commitment, as the team had to graft in the in the rear sheet metal from a later E30 around the boot and tail lights.

    This required a facelift E30 to donate its life to the cause. The tail lights Sean chose are rare BMW Motorsport items imported from Germany, along with the Bosch smiley headlights and an MTech wing. The last job at GT was the reshaping of the rear guards to suit the super-low ride height. It was then on to deciding a colour — a job we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. A four-month internal battle ensued as Sean went back and forth with his decision, eventually landing on custom candy red, sprayed over a silver base coat. “There are 10 coats all up I think, as I kept wanting it darker and darker. I was actually out of the country when he was spraying it so it was a little nerve-racking,” he said.

    But, needless to say, Sean is hyped with how the exterior has turned out, and he has since shifted his focus inwards. First up, he went for a full interior retrim from Midnight Upholstery. Taking cues from the king of refinement, Singer, the front and rear seats were trimmed in a similar fashion to those beautiful Porsches. The front seats are actually Recaro fishnets from an Isuzu Bighorn that Sean scored for $100, and the rear is a not-so-common E30 variant with a centre armrest. As for the rest of the interior, it was kept all class in black — simple yet effective. The finishing touch, a vintage Momo Prototipo wheel.

    Next on his hit list is attacking the engine bay. While the build has never been about all-out power or speed, and with the four litres there’s more than enough juice to decimate the factory equivalent, Sean still feels there is room for refinement, and he’s currently considering his plan of attack — individual throttle bodies (ITBs)? A supercharger? Who knows what he’ll end up with? We guess we will all have to wait and see. But, in the meantime, there is a long hot summer ahead of us, and Sean is ready to make the most of it with one push of the e-Level.

    INTERIOR
    SEATS: (F) Retrimmed #Recaro LX, (R) retrimmed factory
    STEERING WHEEL: #Momo Prototipo 350mm
    INSTRUMENTATION: AccuAir e-Level
    EXTRA: Custom headliner and carpet, custom boot set-up.

    EXTERIOR
    PAINT: Custom candy red by GT Refinishers
    ENHANCEMENTS: Facelift conversion, IS front lip, IS sideskirts, custom front splitter, MTech 1 wing, German smiley headlights, German MHW tail lights, custom round Condor door handles.

    DRIVELINE
    GEARBOX: Toyota four-speed auto
    DIFF: BMW E30
    The body has recieved a facelift alongside some subtle upgrades such as the IS front lip and #MTech rear wing. Although it was bagged long before the facelift, yet the lip sits perfectly flush on the ground.

    DRIVER PROFILE
    DRIVER/OWNER: Sean Clark
    AGE: 20
    LOCATION: Auckland
    OCCUPATION: Estimator
    BUILD TIME: Four years
    LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: Four years
    THANKS: A huge thanks to GT Refinishers; Get Low Customs; Midnight Upholstery; Rotiform New Zealand; my mate Daniel, for listening to me stress over the smallest of things and helping out

    Discovered in an Isuzu Bighorn bought for $100, the Recaro fishnets have been retrimmed by Midnight upholstery in a Singer style, with bronze rivet vents.
    HEART
    ENGINE: #Toyota-1UZ-FE , 4000cc, eight-cylinder
    BLOCK: Factory
    HEAD: Factory
    INTAKE: Factory
    EXHAUST: Custom headers, dual 2.5-inch pipes into single muffler
    FUEL: Factory
    IGNITION: Factory
    ECU: Factory
    COOLING: Fenix radiator

    SUPPORT
    STRUTS: Air Lift Performance air ride, KYB rear shocks, #AccuAir-E-Level , #AccuAir #iLevel
    BRAKES: (F) #Wilwood four-pot calipers, #StopTech rotors, Wilwood pads, braided lines; (R) factory

    SHOES
    WHEELS: (F) 16x8.5-inch #Rotiform three-piece forged CCV, gold hardware; (R) 16x9.5-inch Rotiform three-piece forged CCV, gold hardware
    TYRES: (F) 195/40R16 Falken, (R) 205/40R16 Falken

    Fitting the Lexus into the engine bay required a set of custom headers and has left little room for anything else, which could become a problem if Sean does decide to supercharge down the track.
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    #DRIVE LOW PARK LOWER

    You think you’ve got problems with getting your car low? We suggest you go and find Vick Singh Nagi, he’s a full-blown addict. Words: David Kennedy / Photos: Si Gray

    Getting low is an addiction, and it’s one that afflicts many of us. There’s no ‘Just Say No’ campaign or ‘Talk to Frank’ adverts on evening TV, nothing to steer people away. It sneaks up on you. Just a taste, a set of lowering springs bought off a mate at first, just to make your car look a bit cooler.

    Everyone else is doing it, how bad can it be? Sure enough that first taste gets you. Soon, you’re hanging out in dark garages and workshops away from prying eyes, winding coilovers down on their threads. Just a few more millimetres you say, that’s it…

    Soon enough, you start making excuses, lying to yourself. Sure, you can’t get over speedbumps anymore, but that’s fine. Sure, you’ve spent all your hard-earned on modified drop links and chassis notches. Your arches might be mullered but that’s okay, everyone’s doing it right? But then you need to get lower and chase the rush. You ditch the helpers or cut the coils. Now you’re on the hard stuff. There’s no Promises or Priory that can help you now. If only you hadn’t let your mate give you those lowering springs all those years ago…

    “Yeah I’ve got a problem, there’s no way I can pretend otherwise, it is what it is I guess,” Vick Nagi smiled. “#drivelowparklower, right?”

    Vick is a man who shouldn’t need much of an introduction to readers of this magazine. While he hasn’t had a car featured before in these hallowed pages, the Leeds-based Dub nut has owned more awesome cars than we can count and had his hand in even more. Many UK people will recognise Vick’s name for his many years of service as the peace-and-harmony-preaching Edition38.com moderator, or the man on the mic on stage at E38’s show for four years. With so much time already under his belt, not to mention a happy family, successful property development business and his side gig Lowpro UK who supply air-ride, audio gear and wheels, we were shocked to learn he’s only 29 years old – it seems like he’s been around forever! “It all started when my brother Bobby and I used to be out on our BMXs around Leeds. We would always see and hear Bini Yousaf’s Mk2 VR6 back in the day,” Vick smiled. “Then I ended up getting my own Mk2 GTI that I did a few bits to but being young and not having enough money meant it ended up getting scrapped as my mum couldn’t cope with a primered shell on her drive!”

    A few cars came and went later including a Mk1, a few Mk2s, a nicely built Polo G40, that Corrado (more on that later) and a B7 RS4. And that’s not including his partner Avril’s car collection. “Avril is all about power, she’d much rather go to a hillclimb than a static car show,” Vick laughed. “You guys featured her Mk4 back in Drive-My, she’s had a 420bhp Anniversary, a tuned Edition30, she’s still got her R32 and we’ve been building her TFSI Mk2 for a while now too. If she had her way the Audi would have big power and be on R888s. She’s a real petrolhead… which makes things easier for me!”

    With a new house purchase on the cards Vick had to let the RS4 go but with a dog and son Vaughn in tow, they needed to replace it with something equally as practical and it was the Edition38 forums that came up trumps. “It was the wrong colour in red but it was the exact spec I wanted and I figured that seeing as it was going to be a sensible daily workhorse it didn’t matter much,” Vick explained. “The first thing I did was send it to Leeds Bentley where my good friend Kevin Swallow replaced every service part that could be – the EGR, water pump, cambelt, everything. I wanted it done right and done reliably and he was the best man for the job.”

    Vick knew he was never going to keep the A4 as Audi intended and with memories of Belgian B8s in his mind, not to mention his friend Shiv’s white example that had been kicking around the show scene at the time, it wasn’t long before things started happening. JH Pro Paint sorted the paint out and as soon as the clear coat dried Vick was shooting down the M1 to have Shiv fit the Air Lift Performance suspension kit paired with AccuAir E-Level management.

    “The car has always been a daily, travelling to building sites, carrying tools around and taking Vaughn out and about so from the off it evolved with how we used it,” said Vick. “With that in mind, air-ride was a given, but I wanted it to be different,” he added. “To be honest it all started because people were saying what’s the point of air if you can’t drive it as low as you can on coilovers? And with Simon Sweetland from (super low coilover specialist) StillStatic giving me friendly grief about it, and my good friend Phil from The Install Company doing the same, I knew what needed to be done.”

    Once it was back from Shiv’s it was time to give the Audi new rolling stock. Luckily, Vick isn’t exactly lacking in that department. “I’ve got a room full of wheels in my house!” he laughed. “Avril collects art, my art is wheels.”

    He’s not joking either, just about every time we saw the A4 over its run of shows it was on a different set of wheels! “It’s had about eight sets on it, every cast Rotiform made, Rotiform splits, 20” BBS E28s and a few sets of 20” Audi OEM wheels too. Manny at BSmart Auto actually keeps a few sets of 20” tyres in stock for me now as I’m always needing them stretched on last minute,” he laughed. “I wanted something special for Ultimate Dubs 2015, though, and Brian at Rotiform put together these 10x20” INDT centrelocks for me which I just loved,” he added.

    As for the bodywork, well there’s more to that than there initially seems too: “I replaced the stock rear lights with the latest B8 RS4 Neon Bar lights which cost me an absolute fortune from TPS along with the OEM LED number plate lights too.” The car went back to JH Pro Paint again later on to have the arches pulled, rolled and widened. It also paid a trip to JC Weldfab where the rear trim was replaced with a US-spec S Line item along with a custom exhaust system being built with two large tailpipes to fill the valance better. “The system was tweaked so it would sit higher under the car,” Vick remembered. “Getting it lower and lower was always on my mind, so anything that could be done was.” Vick then had Jon at Vinyl Image wrap the roof bars and chrome trim in gloss black: “It’s funny, I’ve had three different Jons working on the car, Jon at JH Pro Paint, Jon at JC Weldfab and then Jon at Vinyl Image!”

    Just air and wheels. That’s all you need to build a show car these days, isn’t it? That seems to be the all too common misconception anyway.

    In fact, there is a world of difference between just bolting on an off-the-shelf air kit and the kind of work that’s gone in to a car like Vick’s A4 here. Sure, the struts themselves are as they were when they left Air Lift’s Michigan factory, but everything else? An Audi Master Tech would have a field day! The arch plastics have been trimmed and the top turrets have been notched to make space for the control arms to name just two bits that aren’t as they’re meant to be anymore. “Phil at The Install Company modified nearly every point under the car that involves the suspension – the rear arms and top mounts have been tweaked, and the inner arches are pretty heavily modified too,” Vick smiled. “We wanted it to be the lowest driving A4 in the world, and I think we achieved that.” So how low can it go and still drive normally? “Taking out the steering column when it was at its lowest on a catseye on the M1 was impressive and annoying at the same time… especially as it went through the subframe and punctured the rack…”

    Other highlights? The RS4 wavy brakes, fitted by another mate in the shape of Aaron Smith with Syco Graphics cutting up some custom stickers for them.

    Vick’s aware that to some people, a car like this will always be seen as just an ‘air and wheels’ build. But you know what? It doesn’t bother him one bit. “Most people love it as they understand there is a lot more to it than meets the eye but some see it as over-hyped as it’s just air and wheels, you know,” he smiled. “I don’t mind either opinion as I love it and I know the fun and stress of building a real low-driving car has not been simple or easy.

    “I really like the look of an OEM car, to me the A4 almost looked like a concept – you know how concepts are always a lot lower than the real thing and have wheels that completely fill the arches? I think it looks like that,” he added.

    Vick is one of those people we could talk to for hours, he’s just that kind of guy. Not least because, boy, once he gets going it’s hard to stop him but also because we like the way he thinks. “I know it’s a cliché but it’s the people that make the car scene such a nice place to be,” Vick smiled. “Take me doing the MC’ing on stage at E38 for example, I met so many good people and contacts from doing that over the years, people like Jon at JH Pro Paint. I badgered him to come up on stage with his Mk1 and now our families are friends, how cool is that? And I’ve got so many stories like that too, I love it.” Vick was well known on the Edition38 forums for preaching positive vibes and stopping arguments, and he’s just like that in person too. In fact, if you’re ever in a bad mood at a show, go find Vick. We guarantee you’ll leave him feeling a whole lot better!

    “Being such good friends with so many people means I can get away with badgering them as much as I do,” he laughed. “Take all the custom chassis work that Phil did. Not only did he do some incredible work on the car but he became one of my closest friends in the process, the man is an absolute genius and we share the same opinion about having fun with cars and not taking things too seriously. But I probably became the biggest pain in the backside for him!” he added laughing. So what’s next for Vick? “I’ve got my T5 that Phil’s raised the inner arches and fuse board on.

    He’s also raised loads of other engine bay gubbins and developed a totally custom loadrated Air Lift-based four-link setup for it so it’ll be the lowest driveable T5 anywhere soon. We’ve also still got the ’bagged R32, Avril’s TFSI Mk2 is in the works and there’s the Corrado to get back on the road too,” he said. “Now that we’ve got Vaughn and our business is growing so fast, other things are taking over, I’m so busy family time is more important than it ever was. I’ve now sold the Audi and have a Mk7 Golf R and I’ve already got an Air Lift kit sitting here for it…”

    Seeing as Vick is a man of many words, it only seems right we leave the last words to him: “My time is so valuable these days and I’m in the fortunate position that I can afford it, so I don’t mind paying for the best people to work on my car,” he said. “But don’t call it a chequebook car, that drives me crazy! Why? Because who has a chequebook these days? If anything, it’s a debit card car or a bank transfer car!”

    We could all take a leaf out of Vick’s book. So many positive vibes come from this man, it’s no wonder he has so many friends in the right places, even if he does still badger them to death…


    Dub Details / #Audi-A4-Avant-B8 / #Audi-A4-Avant / #Audi-A4-B8 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi / #Audi-A4-Avant-2.0TDI / #Audi-A4-Avant-2.0TDI-B8 / Rotiform / #Rotiform - INDT

    ENGINE: 2.0 #TDI 140bhp, six-speed, #JC-Weldfab exhaust, #DTUK tuning box

    CHASSIS: 10x20” centre-lock #Rotiform-INDT wheels, #Air-Lift-Performance struts, #AccuAir-E-Level management, custom work by The Install Company, rear arms modified, front top mounts modified, underside modified at nearly every suspension point, inner arches all modified, B8 RS4 wavy discs front and rear

    EXTERIOR: 25mm wider front arches, 20mm wider rear arches, gloss black optics, US-spec rear valance from 3.0-litre model in S Line grey, RS4 Neon rear bar lights, badges all custom made by G23 in black, arch liners all modified, US-spec grey S Line plate blank, all trims replaced with new items, tinted plates, windows tinted all-round

    INTERIOR: All stock, Audi MFSW, hidden air install, Recaro baby seat, #Recaro pram in boot

    SHOUT: Avril and Vaughn, my sweethearts and the people that support my/our obsession! My parents (just for giving up telling me off for wasting money on cars) and my brothers and sister. Adam and Dan at G23 Engineering, Jon and Michael at JC Weldfab, Jon and his team at JH Pro Paint, Subhraj Sidhu, Simon at StillStatic, Mark Ikeda, Mike The Polisher, Corey, Carl and Cody at Air Lift, Parm, Raj and Marcus at Car Audio Security, Russ Whitefield, Pepe Cappunci, Kevin Swallow, Zach at ZZ detailing, Manny Sirha and the team at BSmart Auto centre for tyres and everything (01132 426 338), Si Gray for amazing shots, Syco Graphics, Chris Scragg, Richard Proctor at Leeds TPS, Ricky Sohanpal, Brian at Rotiform wheels, Jon at Vinyl Image, my friends at Edition 38, Meguiar’s and Phil James at The Install Company for more than I can list. And Lowpro!

    “We wanted it to be the lowest driving A4 in the world, and I think we achieved that”

    It’s the subtle touches, like the oversized tailpipes and raised exhaust system – to allow for more ‘lows’ – that make this far more than just an ‘air and wheels’ build.
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    HOT ROD ’RADO / Exposed: the Hot Rodinspired Corrado that stole SEMA last year!

    AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT #VW-Corrado-VR6 / #VW-Corrado / #Volkswagen-Corrado / #Volkswagen-Corrado-VR6 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VW-Corrado-R32 / #Volkswagen-Corrado-R32 /

    We love OEM+ as much as the next man but sometimes it’s refreshing to see somebody stepping out of the conformist box. Steve Nodarse is that guy! Words: Tony Saggu. Photos: Sam Dobbins.

    “I didn’t want it screaming ‘look at me’, I wanted people to actually look and notice the work and time that went into it”

    “I’m not really a VW guy,” shrugged Steve Nodarse. “Well, not like those old-skool guys anyway. You know, guys who grew up surrounded by Dubs, who always wanted one since they were kids, learnt to drive in one, followed the scene… that’s not me.” In fact, the 30-something New Jersey truck driver grew up hitting switches and smashing sumps as part of the East Coast minitruck scene. “It was the lowrider life,” he laughed. “Hydros, loud sound systems and scraping frames.” You would think introducing this hardcore switch hitter with chrome and candy running through his veins into the VAG world would have proved to be more than a little interesting, in a bad way. We had visions of metalflaked Dubs on Daytons three wheeling down the high street, complete with velvet interiors and chain-link steering wheels. “I think I did okay though,” smiled Steve, twirling the keys to his spectacularly subtle full custom Corrado. “It’s got switches, too,” he laughed.

    Steve reckons the custom pearl-coated coupé is strongly influenced by his lowrider history. The smoothed VR ride may bear little resemblance to a juiced Impala or fully flaked-out minitruck but the car was conceived and created from a mindset fostered by the lowrider culture. “You have to approach the build with an open mind,” he told us. “Forget the formula, just do your own thing. I wanted something different and sometimes that means you have to throw out the rule book and look at things in a completely new way. You learn that lowriding. You are always adapting solutions for riding lower or playing with paint and body ideas to make something unique.” The ‘unique’ nail has been firmly hit on the head with this one. Although the car carries the comfortingly familiar curves of a classic Corrado, the cleverly-thought-out detail work and exceptional execution make this car like no other. This is not your usual paint-bynumbers Euro clone or cookie cutter coupé.

    “I gotta credit my cousin Ramon for getting me into the whole VW thing,” Steve told us. “He can take the blame for that. He’s been in the game forever and used to pick me up whenever he went to any VAG event. It became kind of a joke between us; I got the nickname ‘passenger’ which has stuck. He would always be busting my balls on why I was a passenger in his car all the time. ‘Why don’t you get your own or build one?’ he would always ask.”

    This unrelenting peer pressure eventually had our man scouring the classifieds for a suitable candidate to silence the critics. “I remember telling people, if I build something, get ready to have your mind blown,” Steve said. “Every show or meet I went to I always saw the Jettas, GTIs, and Golfs. I rarely ever saw Corrados, but when I did see one it always caught my eye and piqued my interest. I just liked the look of them and always thought that if I ever built something the ’Rado would be the car to do.”


    A rough and ready G60 bought from a mate got the ball rolling but something wasn’t quite right and it took a while for the newbie Dubber to put his finger on the problem. “While tearing it apart and deciding what to do with it, I kept looking at pictures of other Corrados and wondering why they all looked wider than mine,” he told us. “After doing some research I learned that the VR6 actually had a wider front end than the G60, so I decided I needed one.”

    An exhaustive Craigslist search led to a little farm hidden away in the depths of the Pennsylvanian countryside. “I contacted the owner and set up a meet ASAP,” recalled Steve. “I wanted to jump on it before it was sold.” Cousin Ramon was enlisted to cast an expert eye over the prospective purchase as the two set off PA bound with a trailer in tow. “I got out of my truck and the owner started opening the door to a barn that didn’t look too stable,” related Steve. “While pulling the door up it was all over the place. I thought the door was going to fall on the car and crush it.

    Thankfully it didn’t. The seller told us the car had been parked up for over five years after some mystery problem had beset it. The poor sap had no idea why it wouldn’t start. My cousin looked over it and we both had an idea what the starting issue could be so we weren’t too worried. It had flat tyres and the calipers were frozen so moving it was a bit of a mission. Finally we tied a rope to the back of my truck and dragged her out of barn.”

    Steve reckons as soon as the daylight hit the coupé he knew he’d found his next car. “I had to have it!” he said. “It was in pretty decent condition. The original colour was red and one of the many previous owners had painted it blue. There was barely any rust, which I was shocked about, although we did find some minor damage to the rear quarter after stripping the paint off. The interior was complete. It was the stock black leather interior, too, with no cracks or damage.

    The whole thing just needed a lot of TLC.” The mystery starting problem was solved in minutes courtesy of a little switcheroo of ignition barrels from the G60. Once the motor was ready to fire up after its five-year slumber Steve was sure to observe all the time-honoured safety protocols for starting a long dormant motor.

    “Err, no so much,” he laughed. “I really didn’t care about nursing the engine because I already had another one sitting at home waiting to be put in! After getting her started I ripped the car around the block a few times with the pedal to the floor. The tyres were rotten and the calipers were frozen but that didn’t stop me winding it up to see if the spoiler worked!”

    After a good deal of sideways shenanigans and a few well-executed burnouts the serious business of tearing down the shell got underway. “Before too long I figured I needed help with the build,” admitted Steve. “Not having the proper equipment or knowledge was going to be an issue if I was going to build a serious car. It was my first VW build and I knew my limitations.” Steve put the word out that he was looking for an able accomplice to do some real damage to his coupé’s OEM status. As expected, the local VW community stepped up to the challenge. “I came across Cory Sterling. He was a Corrado owner himself and really knew his stuff,” recalled Steve. “I talked it over with him and told him what I was planning. A few days later Cory called me and told me of a shop that did ridiculous body and paint work down the road from him.”

    The shop turned out to be Legacy Innovations and the rest, as they say, is history. “Steve came to us with a general vision of what he wanted from the build,” explained Troy Spackman of Legacy, taking up the story. “It was our job to translate his ideas and emotions into custom metalwork.” Turning cars into rolling works of art is just another day at the office for the Legacy crew, and the company has over a decade of experience transforming ordinary cars into awesome kinetic sculptures, to much acclaim. Legacy’s wealth of experience, working with a host of varied customs and exotics, brought an even broader perspective to the build. This was going to be one special Dub.

    “The hardest part was figuring out what to do to be original,” recalled Steve. “And how to do it in a subtle, understated way. I didn’t want it screaming ‘look at me’, I wanted people to actually look and notice the work and time that went into it.”


    Legacy took the ‘subdued sledgehammer’ approach and ran with it. And indeed the wide array of painstaking details make a package that keeps you coming back for another look. The tougher than Tyson exterior treatment starts with oversized bespoke metal arches blended into custom shaved bumpers. Audi handles and a good deal of shaved body trim are age-old Dub standbys, but modified Mattig mirrors and cleverly stretched tail-lights are unique touches. “The shell as it came to us was not too bad,” explained Troy, “but we did invest a fair amount of time reworking and tweaking the panels to get tighter and crisper bodylines.”

    Coating the custom creation in colour also took a lot of thought, not to mention skill. “The colour of the car is a custom BASF colour that hasn’t been released yet,” said Steve. “The company is allowing us to name it but we haven’t come up with one yet. It’s like a sandy grey pearl that changes colours depending on the light.” Our man was rather partial to the gunmetal hue on the new GT-Rs but needed to add his twist to the Nissan blend. “I searched for a similar colour looking through the samples at the shop and doing numerous sprayouts.” Fortunately for all concerned the German paint supplier stepped in with just the right solution.

    Setting the custom crafted body over the rollers was no point, click and order deal, either. “We originally leaned towards air-ride and bought BagYard Bombers,” explained Steve. “On reflection I wanted a more driveroriented suspension, though, so we ended up going for the JRi Shocks ‘Hydraulic Ride Height’ system, although it had to be modified to fit the car. This setup allows me to still control the height but gives the stability of coils. With the wheels I wanted something that nobody had, so Evod was contacted to make me a set of one-off, three-piece wheels. Each wheel is specifically made due to the directionally pattern and the different widths. The brakes are a full Corvette Wilwood setup – from the individual pedal cluster to the calipers and rotors.” Troy told us that almost all the braking and suspension parts had to be redesigned and modified to fit and work on the Corrado. The pair almost glossed over the fact that the entire underside of the coupé has been prepared and painted a contrasting colour to show standard. Mention of the exquisite cabin makeover and custom RHD conversion again was almost lost in the mountain of modifications the Legacy crew undertook. “It had to be right-hand drive though,” smiled Steve. “I’m so used to sitting on the passenger side in a VW it kinda makes sense!”

    The car originally came with the stock and very tired VR6 although, as mentioned before, Steve had acquired a 2008 R32 lump even before the car came along. Now dropping in a big six from a Racing 32 may be fine and dandy for some but for Steve the fully-equipped VR was just the beginning. The underbonnet experience is just that: it’s an experience. All the senses are overwhelmed by the sight and sound of a smoothed, throbbing, silky six-cylinder and you can’t help but run you hands over that perfectlyexecuted, seamless, satin, shaved bay. The smell? That’s leather, baby, courtesy of a hide wrapped engine cover. Then there’s the huge bespoke radiator, the redesigned slam panel, the custom cooling fans, the sublimely subtle wiring tuck… it’s all too much to take in at first glance – although those hand-crafted hood hinges are difficult to miss!

    The quality of the build is nothing short of breathtaking, the attention to detail is stunning and the overall package remains faithfully true to its original concept. “It’s got character and attitude,” explained Steve. “It reflects a mood, an emotion… it’s like a lifestyle wrapped up in a car.” And it just goes to show, awesome things can happen when two worlds collide. ‘Still hittin’ them corners in them low lows girl…’

    Every time you look at Steve’s Corrado you will spot a different piece of incredible custom work that you didn’t see the time before; it’s a work of art from every single angle. It’s little wonder, then, that it was the most talked about VW at the enormous SEMA event in Las Vegas last year. In fact, we can only assume it’s the most talked about VW most places it goes!


    Dub Details

    ENGINE: 2008 #R32 engine mated to an #O2A Corrado gearbox with a #Quaiffe diff and #VF-Engineering mounts, #Clutchnet Red 2X pressure plate, Clutchnet carbon fibre disc, 10lb billet steel flywheel, custom-made manifold, full custom 3” exhaust, custom leather wrapped engine cover matching interior, fully shaved bay painted satin with wire tuck, custom engine cooling system with hard lines.
    CHASSIS: One-off #EVOD Industries three-piece wheels with Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec tyres, 9x17” with 215/40 fronts and 10x17” with 235/40 rears. Modified JRi Shocks Hydraulic Ride Height suspension, modified Wilwood under-mount pedal assembly and big brakes with ‘Corrado’ engraved on calipers, other components and underbody painted.
    EXTERIOR: Full 4” wider medal body conversion, one-off shaved bumpers, debadged grille and body, shaved windscreen washers, modified Mattig mirrors, Audi handles, custom #BASF paint, glass sunroof, E-code headlights, tail-lights were widened and painted full red, all panels were tweaked to tighten up body lines.
    INTERIOR: RHD conversion, #Recaro Sportster CS seats, deleted vents, Momo Millenium Evo steering wheel, full interior reupholstered in leather and Alcantara suede.
    SHOUT: My friends and family for being supportive, my buddy Marko for his help, my brother Jay for his help with the tear down and the use of his garage, the man, the myth, the legend, mi primo, Ramon Period for all his help and managing skills, AutoHaas for parts, Cory Sterling, Sam Dobbins for the shoot, and last but not least, Troy Spackman and the guys at Legacy Innovations for everything they did and still do for me.
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    THE ONLY ONE

    Japan definitely does things differently and that most definitely applies to cars, as this Far Eastern 135i illustrates.

    Japan does everything differently, including modifying its cars, and this Far Eastern 135i has a look you won’t find anywhere else… Words and photos: Chris Nicholls.

    The Japanese do ‘unique’ better than most. Anyone who’s ever been to the country or even just watched their TV shows will tell you that. From all sorts of bizarre toys and manga to TV shows where they do things like finding out which type of tyre flies farthest off a ski jump, or testing how long game show contestants can stand being immersed in a pool of eels, Japanese culture is about as far removed from Western norms (even today) as it gets. Their modified vehicles are often similarly ‘out there’. From the extreme wings and exhausts of the kaido racers to the utter insanity that is the decotora scene, you are more likely to find off-the-wall cars, bikes and trucks in Japan than almost anywhere else. Even in the #BMW ranks, you can find stuff that plenty of Western folks would maybe consider weird. Like a brown, camo-wrapped X6 complete with matching camo green AC Schnitzer wheels, or itasha examples of various models.

    Of course, the majority of tuned BMWs, like the majority of other vehicles in Japan, are fairly subdued, but there are ones that tread that fine line between the extreme and the subtle and achieve uniqueness of another kind – instant, eye-popping greatness because they’re tasteful, but in a way no one has managed before. K. Watanabe’s 135i ‘Kai’ (Kai meaning modified in Japanese) is one of those examples. Like many things in life that are more than the sum of their parts, the basic ingredients for this daily driver are nothing new. Unusual paint colour, nice wheels, big brakes, decent drop, and a funky body kit make up the majority of the talking points, but it’s the way they’ve all come together that makes this work.

    Perhaps the fact Watanabe-san is an architect has something to do with this success. Visually-minded and highly trained from the get-go, Watanabe-san is probably less likely than most to turn out an ugly dinger. But, then again, plenty of architects have designed buildings that many hate, so perhaps it’s not that. Maybe it’s just the fact Japan itself, despite the often eye-searing extremes it produces, is generally one of the more educated and aesthetically aware societies out there. Whatever the reasons behind his choices, though, Watanabe-san’s 135i is a stunner.

    Obviously, it’s hard to get past the paint as it’s one of the key focal points here. Possibly the main focal point. Starting out as a black 135i when he bought it, Watanabe-san eventually had the whole car repainted in BMW Individual Atlantis blue, and the effect is remarkable. Deep, shimmering and with metal flake that picks out the light just so, it’s one of the best car colours available, in this writer’s humble opinion, and unsurprisingly, it’s also Watanabe-san’s favourite part of the build. It makes you wonder why more BMW customers don’t order their cars like this from the factory. The next major point is the 1M body kit. Studie AG, the tuning house behind the build, has a history of fitting factory widebody kits to its own demo cars, but its customer cars are often more subtle, so it’s nice to see Watanabe-san err on the more extreme side and go with these excellent genuine body panels on his car.

    Accentuating the ‘big brother’ bodywork are a Varis vented carbon bonnet, carbon mirror covers, carbon front and rear lip spoilers, an AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, a dry carbon wing and a customised rear diffuser, each element carefully selected to make the most of the already muscular 1M shape.

    However, nice paint, a 1M body kit and a few custom touches don’t a unique street car make. Watanabe-san wanted to make one other change so his machine stood out. “Before I purchased this, I wrote-off my E46 M3 on a wet mountain road after being a bit too enthusiastic. At the time, I wanted to replace it with a 1M, but couldn’t quite afford it, so I thought fitting the 1M kit to my 135i was a nice idea. However, I thought that just fitting the kit as-is would make it a 1M clone, nothing more, so I wanted to customise it. Having talked to the guys at Studie, we decided a one-off, centre-exit Arqray muffler coming out through the rear bumper would be the best way to do it.” And so came arguably the most unique part of this 135i. The twin chrome tips draw the eye like little else on the back of the car (some feat considering the wing) and make it go from regular street-racer-style to actual racer-style in one hit.


    The remarkable thing, as no doubt you’ll have noticed, is the fact no paint damage has occurred around the tips. No browning, no blistering, no nothing. This again is down to extensive planning and Studie’s usual high level of workmanship. “I knew having the tips exit the bumper like that would prove a risk in terms of paint damage, so I made it very clear during the design phase that I wanted no damage at all to occur. Thanks to Studie’s expertise and skills, it was able to design and install multiple heat shields to ensure no damage occurred. Despite many spirited drives since, there’s not a single singe or burn mark anywhere.”

    Having been privileged to sit alongside Watanabe-san as he pushed the N54 hard, I can report the new exhaust sounds pretty nice, too. A burbling thrum builds to a raspy howl as he moves through the rev range, the AFE pod filters adding some lovely intake noise to the mix as well. When he lifts, the Active Autowerke blow-off valve adds that wonderful trademark ‘chuff-chuff’ for maximum turbo enjoyment.

    Given there’s only a small number of other engine mods (Okada Projects’ Plasma Ground secondary spark control and Plasma Direct coils, plus an Active Autowerke AP2 tune), the grunt itself is not ‘smash your head into the seat’ huge but with the N54 in factory spec managing sub-five second 0-60mph times in the right conditions, the extra few horses mean you’re still easily looking at ’90s supercar levels of acceleration in low gears. Perfect, really, given Watanabe-san says a love for supercars is what got him into tuning in the first place. On the handling side are a set of JDM-only 3D Design coilovers and an ARC rear stabiliser bar. While the drive to and from the shoot location didn’t really give us a chance to enjoy any nice corners, it quickly became clear from the few bumps we encountered that the 3D Design coilovers and their relatively soft (especially by Japanese standards) 8kg/mm front and 12kg/mm rear spring rates at least did a pretty decent job of masking any minor road imperfections. Clearly designed for road use more than anything else, that hasn’t stopped Watanabe-san from dreaming about hitting the track, though, even if it’s not something he’s quite got around to. “I have all the gear – spares, helmet, clothing and everything else – but I’ve never actually got around to hitting the track. At least my equipment preparation is perfect!” he laughs.


    When Watanabe-san finally does find the time for some circuit fun at least his brakes will also be up to the task. The six-pot front and four-pot rear Brembos, hiding behind Advan RZ-DF wheels, clamp down on twopiece slotted rotors (355mm front and 345mm rear) and will happily slow the 135i down from even Fuji Speedway front straight speeds. Fine for the street as they may be, Watanabe-san may want to think about upgrading his current Advan V105 rubber if he ever wants to attack his local tracks in earnest, though.

    Inside, the 135i remains largely stock apart from a driver’s side Recaro RS-G CL seat and a Sportster CL 100H seat for the passenger. These look almost factory, such is the serendipitous colour matching. For those wondering about the things hanging from the wiper stalk, they’re omamori or good luck charms. Available from pretty much any Shinto shrine, they’re a staple of Japanese life and can be bought with prayers inside for various specific purposes. From good study results to an incident-free pregnancy, you can ask the local gods for pretty much anything. Unsurprisingly, given Watanabe-san’s lust for speed and previous accident history, these omamori contain prayers for a safe drive.

    Having already had plenty of safe fun in this 135i, though, Watanabe-san’s next step is to give all the mechanical parts a bit of a freshen-up. From the engine to driveline, brakes to the suspension, it’s time to treat this unique machine to a bit of all-round TLC. No doubt that this (together with the omamori) will help him enjoy this very Japanese #BMW for many years to come.

    DATA FILE Japanese #BMW-135i / #BMW / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i-Active-Autowerke / #BMW-135i-Active-Autowerke-E82 / #Okada-Projects-Plasma / #Advan

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #AFE pod air filters, #Active-Autowerke-AP2 tune, #Active-Autowerke blow-off valve, one-off #Arqray centre-exit muffler, #Okada-Projects-Plasma-Ground -Plasma-Ground secondary spark enhancer, #Okada-Projects-Plasma-Direct coils, stock six-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) #Advan-RZ-DF wheels with 245/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Yokoham Advan V105 tyres, JDM-only 3D Design coilovers front and rear, #ARC rear stabliser bar, #Brembo six-piston brake calipers (front), Brembo four-piston calipers (rear), two-piece Brembo discs front and rear

    EXTERIOR Full factory 1M Coupé body kit, Studie customised rear diffuser section, Varis vented carbon bonnet, dry carbon rear wing, wet carbon front and rear lip spoilers, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, carbon mirror covers

    INTERIOR #Recaro RS-G CL driver’s seat, #Recaro-Sportster-CL100H passenger seat, omamori
    Fitting the kit as-is would make it a 1M clone so I wanted to customise it.
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