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    Golden opportunity / Classic choice Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster W198

    With its still exceptional touring capabilities, this apparently unique, low mile 300SL Roadster was born for the Californian sunshine. Words & Images Richard Truesdell.

    The year is 1963 and Beatlemania is sweeping across Great Britain. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, an American president is felled by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas, Texas. And in Germany, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster ends its illustrious, almost six-year production run.

    It was with these events as a backdrop, that Arthur Dring walked into Budd and Dyer Mercedes-Benz on Catherine Street in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1964. Intending to buy a 190SL, instead he purchased this #1963 300SL Roadster, apparently the only one produced in this unusual but prepossessing shade of DB462 Tunis Beige metallic, that had been specially ordered for another client of the dealership who, in the end, took delivery of a different car. Its VIN indicates the chassis was built in late 1962, titled by Canadian authorities as a 1963 car and delivered to Arthur Dring, its first registered owner, in 1964.

    LAST OF THE LINE

    The story of the 300SL Gullwing and #Roadster has been well documented many times. The duo of road going 300SLs built upon the success of the legendary W194 300SL racing car, and both coupe and roadster were supercars of their era. They were informally marketed as race cars for the road, owing to their relationship to the #Mercedes W194 racers, especially true in the case of the gullwinged coupe. In roadster form, the 300SL could be said to be brutally elegant, and its classic exterior styling has stood the test of time exceptionally well and is reflected by the prices that well maintained and documented examples command when they change hands, especially at auction. This particular 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster is virtually 100 per cent original, with just 42,000 documented miles showing on its odometer at the time of its recent sale, which came about through an interesting set of circumstances.


    The tale starts with Tony Shooshani, a real estate investor and car nut living in Beverly Hills, California, and Craig Calder who operates FastCars Ltd in nearby Redondo Beach. For more than six months, starting in June 2010, the pair searched the world for an alloy block, disc brake 300SL. Their search located several cars, including a white/black car in Germany offered by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre. But in December 2010 a very interesting car popped up in an online search performed by Calder, a car that would become known as Goldie.

    FINDING THE ONE

    This car was being presented by Robert Dening of Spirited Automobiles in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a dealer that works with the legendary restoration firm, Rudi & Company.

    Rudi is Rudi Koniczek, whose shop is located near Victoria, British Columbia. Known as one of the world’s foremost restorers of the 300SL, he was sought out by representatives of Mr Dring, now in his 80s, who was no longer able to handle his own financial affairs. Calder, knowing that the car would not stay unsold for long, contacted Shooshani, who told him to put down a deposit right away, based only on the online description and Koniczek’s reputation. This was in December 2010. The next month, they flew to Victoria to inspect the car and the deal was finalised. “We knew we had to act quickly,” said Shooshani. “We flew up on a Friday evening and looked over the car on Saturday. I had to immediately return to California, so Craig stayed an extra day, completing the inspection.


    “As soon as I saw the car I knew I would buy it,” Shooshani recalls. “I feel that a car has to talk to me before I buy it, and this car did. It was love at first sight. Looking at the car in Victoria I thought about how much I would enjoy having it in my garage, among my other cars, and sitting in it each night. The car exceeded my expectations in every way.”

    Once the roadster arrived in California, FastCars worked hard to bring it back to its factory fresh condition, maintaining originality the primary goal. It was not the intention to restore the SL to better-than-new condition. “We serviced and detailed the car,” explained Calder. “One of the things we did was fabricate a unique frame and crate system to keep the original soft and hardtops safe.”

    LIVE AND LET DRIVE

    Shooshani, being an enthusiast collector, someone who feels that he is a custodian of history, has not kept Goldie locked away. He has enjoyed several long drives in this 300SL Roadster, including two from his home in Beverly Hills, up the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara, a round trip of 200 miles. “I’ve done it with the top up and with the top down,” he tells us.

    “The car is rock solid, a great touring car, perfect for the open road. In the summer of 2011, I did the Tour d’Elegance at Pebble Beach. The car is very smooth, even upwards of 90mph. While in Monterey, I did the famous 17-mile drive, drove it south to Big Sur and back to Monterey. In my mind the car is a work of art because it is unique, it’s priceless.” So now, the SL has 43,350 miles on the clock, more than 1,000 of which were added in the first nine months of 2011 alone!

    It is this roadster’s superb condition and the fact that everything is in perfect working order, that makes it such a dream drive for Shooshani. “Every time I take the car out, I turn on the radio,” he says. “The original power antenna raises every time, and the music comes on when the antenna is extended fully. I listen to the station that gives me the clearest signal. With the right music, it’s easy to imagine what it must have been like to drive Goldie when the car was brand new.” It is wonderful to know that a classic Mercedes of such stunning beauty and in such fabulous condition has been enjoyed – and is still being enjoyed. One of its most striking elements is the beguiling lustre of its rare paint. On this topic, Koniczek was able to share some interesting details.

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    “The cars were originally painted with a nitrocellulose lacquer with no clear coat. This kind of paint, especially the metallics, dulled over time. We spoke with Art’s [Arthur Dring] neighbours who said he took the car back to Mercedes-Benz in North Vancouver at some point in the 1980s to have the paint restored.”

    I can’t help but wonder if Art and Mary Dring drove the car when they relocated from Montreal to Vancouver, British Columbia. If they did, they probably travelled the Trans-Canada Highway that spans Canada over two routes from St John’s in the east to Vancouver and Victoria on the Pacific coast. While many of us fantasise about driving a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster top down through the Alps, the Canadian Rockies, especially the Lake Louise region, would provide equally spectacular roads and scenery for a drive in a million.

    But then, in a classic Mercedes-Benz of this calibre, every drive is special, every journey a grand tour, the gently purring straight-six the perfect companion.

    Thank you to Rudi Koniczek at Rudi & Company Tel 00 11 1 250 727 6020 Web www.rudiandcompany.com, Robert Dening at Spirited Automobiles Tel 00 11 1 250 532 6547 Web www.spiritedauto.com and Craig Calder of FastCars Ltd Tel 00 1 310 937 6700 Web www.fastcarsltd.com for their help

    Secrets within

    A surprising discovery offers a glimpse into the past The paperwork trail of this 300SL Roadster was extensive. Quite possibly the most interesting document was found in the car’s glove box – a nearly new owner’s manual.
    We had noted there was no mention of firm Studebaker-Packard in any of the 300SL Roadster’s documentation. From 1958 to 1964, Mercedes-Benz automobiles were distributed in the United States by Studebaker-Packard. The lack of mention of Studebaker-Packard in any of the printed materials indicates that Mercedes-Benz vehicles from this era were imported to Canada through a separate sales and marketing organisation. Interesting!

    When we opened the owner’s manual, on its back page we found a fold-out map showing all the authorised Mercedes-Benz sales and service outlets, including service only outlets. The map shows that many were in faraway and remote locations, demonstrating that even back then, #Mercedes-Benz went to great lengths to support owners of its cars, wherever they lived or travelled.

    One of its most striking elements is the beguiling lustre of its rare paint.
    The car is rock solid, a great touring car, perfect for the open road.
    As soon as I saw the car I knew I would buy it – it was love at first sight.
    This 300SL Roadster is virtually 100 per cent original, with just 42,000 miles on its odometer.

    JUST THE FACTS #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Roadster-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Roadster / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-Roadster-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-M198 /

    Engine #M198 2,996cc 6-cyl
    Power 212bhp @ 5,800rpm
    Torque 203lb ft @ 4,600rpm
    Transmission 4-speed manual, RWD
    Weight 1,330kg
    0-62mph 10.0sec
    Top speed 155mph
    Fuel consumption 22.6mpg
    Years produced 1957-1963

    Overview

    Presented three years after the coupe, the 300SL Roadster became an even greater sales success than its iconic, gullwing doored sibling Figures for car as pictured; fuel consumption determined at ¾ of top speed (not more than 110km/h, 68mph) plus 10 per cent; top speed depends on rear axle ratio.

    This now evocative, trademark design is seen on later SLs.
    The two-seat, red leather cabin has been used but not abused.
    The roadster’s rear suspension differs from that of the coupe.
    The Becker Mexico radio works well.
    The glove box lid with “300SL” script.
    The SL has recirculating ball steering.
    The M198 was Mercedes’ first fuel injected engine in a series produced car.
    All the 300SL ’s original tools are present and correct.
    The full size spare wheel is in ready to use condition.
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    Second Thoughts / Bidding a fond farewell to the Z4

    The latest generation Z4 has quietly ended production but will the history books look kindly on the sexy Roadster? Time for a re-evaluation perhaps… Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Gus Gregory.

    A fond farewell to the misunderstood E89 generation Z4.

    Over the years BMW’s Zed cars have had a little bit of a rocky relationship with the motoring press and while those actually buying BMW’s range of Roadsters have always seemed very keen on them the somewhat less than glowing press reports have tainted the reputation of many a Zed. It started so well, too, with the now iconic Z1 – a bespoke machine that looked like no other BMW – before or since – and while it might have been a limited production test bed for BMW’s Technik department it was met with almost universal praise. Those dropdown doors were pretty neat and its chassis was an absolute revelation and more or less the only mutterings from the press were directed at the fact that the chassis could cope with far more power than the E30 325i’s engine could muster.

    In a way, perhaps, the Z1 set the tone for subsequent views on BMW Zeds – it set a pretty high bar for the cars that were to follow. The Z3 that arrived in the mid-1990s had an inordinately long gestation period and when it did arrive it didn’t receive universal praise. Sure, it looked good, but after the Z1’s stunning underpinnings the Z3 made do with an old E30 chassis and initially there was only a relatively wheezy four-cylinder engine under the bonnet. Owners absolutely loved the Z3, the press on the other hand were generally less kind, and with machinery like Mazda’s MX-5 showing what could be achieved with a cheeky little Roadster the Z3 looked and felt a little old hat.

    All that was to change with the Z4 though. It hit the streets in 2003 and must be one of the finest examples of Chris Bangle’s ‘flame-surfacing’ school of design. It still looks pretty fresh today and in rangetopping 3.0i launch form it was also pretty rapid.

    There were some mixed messages from #BMW at its launch, though, particularly the assertion that there would be no Coupé, M model or four-cylinder Z4s (all subsequently arrived in the showrooms), and while the Z4 might have had all the right ingredients it was almost as if BMW had got the blend just a little off. Don’t get me wrong – it was a fine car and I spent many happy hours at the wheel of the E85 generation of Z4 – but there was always a thorn in the side of the Z4 as it was Porsche Boxster-shaped.

    The two cars were natural rivals even if Stuttgart’s offing was a little more expensive, but in terms of driving dynamics the Boxster had the BMW licked.

    Which brings us to the most recent Zed, the E89 Roadster you can see here, and despite the fact that it still looks fresh and modern and very pretty to my eyes it’s already ended its production run. How did that happen? It seems like only yesterday that it was being launched under a retractable folding hard-top fanfare. Yes, that was perhaps the biggest news for the E89 Z4 – no longer would it have a simple fabric hood – instead featuring a Mercedes SLK-esque folding hard-top. And it was the buyer of the SLK and the Audi TT that were the new Z4’s target audience with BMW aiming to produce a slightly less sporting but more refined Roadster – it was what its customers wanted, said BMW, after consulting with buyers of the previous generation of Z4. If you read between the lines of the press pack it was almost as if BMW was saying that it had tried to build a Boxster-beater, discovered it couldn’t so it went for a different demographic with its next Z4.

    Initially there were three models to choose from, all under the sDrive banner – 23i, 30i and 35i – with the two former models using different versions of BMW’s sublime naturally-aspirated 3.0-litre straight-six while the 35i packed a 306hp turbocharged punch from its 335i-derived powerplant. As with the E85 BMW was adamant that there would be no four-cylinder model, no coupé and no M Power model. This time it kept good on its promise on two out of three of those pledges as an four-pot did eventually arrive as BMW moved away from the naturally aspirated ‘six to turbocharged ‘fours.

    Having said there was no M model, the machine we have in front of us here today was as close as BMW came to endowing the Zed with M Power as this is the range-topping 35iS that made its debut in 2010. It was tantalisingly close to being an M as it featured the 340hp engine from the 1M Coupé coupled to a DCT transmission and blistering straightline grunt – 0-62mph was knocked off in a very M-like 4.8 seconds. Its vital stats and almost-an-Mpowerplant seduced me into thinking this would be a real ripsnorting performer but when I returned from driving the 35iS for the very first time I felt that while the engine and drivetrain were sublime there was definitely something missing in the chassis stakes. Time for a revaluation then.

    I’ll make no bones about the fact that I love the way the Z4 looks – sharp styling, classic BMW Roadster proportions and bucket loads of presence. The front end has something of a Great White shark about it, making the previous model look soft and apologetic. It also looks good with the roof in place as it reaches far back along the rear deck to almost give it a coupé silhouette.

    Inside, the premium quality feel goes a step further with excellent materials and superb fit and finish. There are some pleasant swoops and shapes to the dash and centre console while the design is modern, fresh and ergonomically sound. As you’d expect from a BMW, the minor controls all work very well with a deliberate action, although it has to be said that the heating and ventilation controls take a little getting used to as they’re unlike just about any other BMW you’d care to mention with their round dials and combination of rotary knobs and push buttons.

    There’s significantly more room in this model than the E85 generation and there’s a modicum of more space for oddments, too. Overall, it’s a fine cabin, a great place in which to spend time, and perfectly in tune with the Z4’s new found touring credentials.

    Whereas the previous model was stiffly sprung and edgy when driven hard, this generation was engineered to offer a much more refined driving experience. It was a step change that sat very well with the more spacious cabin and larger dimensions, confirming BMW had GT, rather than more overtly sporting aspirations for this car. That would explain the comfortable ride, the engine pulling barely 2500rpm at motorway speeds and the clever folding hard-top roof. That roof is a two-piece unit, operated electrohydraulically in 20 seconds and while it offers great all-season use it did significantly eat a big chunk of the generous boot space with it stowed.

    As a cruiser the Z4 really was an excellent piece of kit but despite going softer with the E89, BMW still very much talked about this car in sporting terms so we need to see what happens when you tackle some challenging roads.

    Build the pace up gently. The roof is down and the sun is beaming. It might be cold outside but with the heater and bum-warmers cranked up the cockpit is nice and snug. With each up-change of the dual-clutch gearbox, the exhaust blasts out a glorious parp, howling as the revs rise. At six-tenths pace and with those factors in place, the Z4 makes for an ideal companion, a fine tool for reminding yourself of the joys of relaxed motoring.

    The Z4 has both Adaptive M Sport suspension and #Dynamic-Drive control and we opt for Sport Plus and manual mode on the #DCT ‘box for a spirited drive. On tricky roads, the steering wheel paddles are very welcome indeed, allowing you to change gear without taking your hands off the wheel. Ultimately, they help you to concentrate on lines, braking points and turn-in speeds, allowing you to carry more pace than a Hpattern manual would. The speed of the changes both up and down the ‘box also allows you to make rapid fire decisions as the corners approach ever faster, so you never find yourself out of the power band. Through the corners the steering takes on a weighting that feels pretty good, allowing you to place the car smartly, but there aren’t quite the levels of feedback we’d like from a truly sporting machine. With that long bonnet slung out in front of you the front end can feel a long way away. Quick direction changes reveal inertia to the front end, which just needs a moment to settle before committing to the next steering input. That makes for a degree of lethargy that inhibits your ultimate pace a touch, and encourages you to back off a little to avoid demanding too much of the car, and to allow you to keep things tidy.

    In full attack mode, the Z4 begins to reveal its mass, with its hefty 1580kg kerb weight causing the body to lurch into corners. There is plenty of grip from the front end though, and the rear will step aside slightly under power to help keep the nose in check through the corner exit. The seats offer plenty of torso support, but the thigh support is lacking. That means you find yourself forcing your knees against the door and centre console, which will have them aching before long.

    This engine is a familiar one, and it suits the Z4 very well. The twin-turbos give it a very useful spread of power and torque, but it’s the lowdown delivery of twist that’s most welcome. It punts the Z4 down a road very quickly indeed from low revs, but doesn’t respond to a hammering like a naturally aspirated unit would. If driven with some care, you can even squeeze close to 30mpg from it.

    Dynamically the Z4 might not be the last word in pin-sharp handling, but that’s almost forgetting that this generation of Z4 was never meant to be an out-and- out sports car. Treat it more in the manner in which #BMW intended as a sporting #Roadster with GT pretensions and you’ll get on far better with the Z4 than if you drive it everywhere with your pants on fire. It doesn’t take long to work out that the Z4 doesn’t respond to a full-on thrashing, so by working it to eight-tenths and by driving smoothly, it flows down the road at impressive pace with composure. Sure, some other cars thrive on those further two-tenths of effort and commitment, and would tackle each corner slightly faster, but they wouldn’t offer anywhere near the same levels of comfort and refinement for the rest of the time.

    If you’re happy to accept that then the Z4 is a stunning piece of kit. It looks utterly beguiling even now after it’s been with us for seven years and with a superb cockpit and build quality it’s an excellent second-hand proposition today. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to buy the range-topper – great though it is – as if you accept you’re not going to be driving it at ten-tenths the whole time one of the lower-powered machines should do just as well. The four-cylinder cars are good, but we’d probably opt for one of the normally aspirated straight-sixes. Plenty of pace and a stunning soundtrack – what’s not to like? For many buyers the original Z4 used to be too hard, too small and too snappy, the E89 is an altogether more refined Roadster, and offers a depth of talent that wasn’t equalled in its class. The only question that remains is to wonder in which direction BMW will go with the next Z4? We can’t wait to find out.

    THANKS: Vines of Gatwick for the loan of its pristine Z4
    Tel: 01293 611117
    Web: www.vinesofgatwickbmw.co.uk



    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-E89 / #BMW-Z4-sDrive35iS / #BMW-Z4-sDrive35iS-E89 / #BMW-Z4-E89 / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E89 /

    ENGINE: Straight-six, twin-turbo, 24-valve
    CAPACITY: 2979cc
    MAX POWER: 340hp @ 5900rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 332lb ft @ 1500rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.8 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
    ECONOMY: 31.4mpg
    EMISSIONS: 210g/km
    WEIGHT: 1580kg
    PRICE (OTR): £44,220 / $59,250 ( #2010 UK / USA)

    The Z4’s cockpit was excellent although heater controls and electronic handbrake took a little getting used to.

    Working it to eight-tenths and by driving smoothly, it flows down the road at impressive pace with composure.
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    FURY ROADSTER

    This might look like a mildly modified Z3 M but under the bonnet hides 800whp of sheer rage. With an earth-shattering 800whp, this turbocharged #BMW-Z3-M-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-M will definitely put the wind in your hair. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Darren Maybury

    While I’m generally not a huge fan of convertibles, Roadsters are a whole different kettle of slightly windswept, sunburnt fish. I like the fact that they are built from the ground up as soft-tops, with less compromise on all fronts, and they don’t attempt to try and shoehorn in a pair of rear ‘seats’ for the vertically challenged or your shopping. Engine. Two seats. Boot. Done.

    BMW’s Z3 was met with mixed reviews when launched, but it’s ageing well. The retro lines look ever more retro, and the styling has plenty of character and muscle about it. When it was handed over to BMW M’s engineers to work their magic, there were certainly plenty of fireworks and, while the M Coupé might be the one that turns heads, there’s lots to love about the #Roadster , especially when there’s the small matter of 800whp going on.

    Why wouldn’t you want to stuff a turbo under the bonnet of your Z3 and make 800whp? Mark Christofis is a man who clearly took a look at his life, realised it was missing an 800whp Z3 Roadster and set about correcting this problem. Mark is a man who loves cars and, as a metallurgical engineering consultant, is lucky enough to be in a suitably serious and important sounding job that means he can really indulge his passion for all things automotive. Hats off to that man.

    This passion for cars is long-standing and both his previous and current rides are seriously nice. When it comes to cars Chris does not beat around the bush: “My first car was a 1970 Pontiac GTO with a manual four-speed transmission and 400 CID Ram Air III engine.” This engine was a 6.6-litre V8 which made 350hp; it was a hell of a way for Mark to earn his motoring stripes. “I’ve owned a number of performance/sports cars over the years,” he continues, “including various muscle cars and European models. I currently have a Ferrari 360, an Audi B8.5 S4 and, of course, my BMW. I’ve also driven a host of other performance cars like the Dodge Viper, various 911 Porsches, Nobles and Lotuses. I’ve been interested in cars since I was a kid, particularly American muscle cars, and being born and raised in Detroit it was almost a natural occurrence. Of course, this carried over into becoming an engineer and I eventually wound up working for Ford Motor Company as a Metallurgical Technical Specialist for the Product Development Group of Axle Driveline. So my passion for cars runs deep.

    “My brother and I were both really into cars when we were younger and we carried that with us through the years. Early on we pretty much did all the mods ourselves out of necessity as we just didn’t have much money, but as I got older and eventually married, it became increasingly difficult to work on them as I just didn’t have the time with work, kids and all. Eventually, though, the modification bug hit again but now I leave the major work to the professionals.”

    And this Z3 has had more than its fair share of work, that’s for sure. Mark’s been a fan of BMWs for around 15 years now, having cut his teeth on a ’95 M3, but this Z3 is something else; not only is it his first major build, it’s arguably his wildest car so far. The Z3 was spotted for sale in Florida, where Mark’s brother happened to be vacationing, and so he helped Mark out and duly popped over to take look at it. It turned out to be a very clean example with just 20,000 miles on the clock and a Dinan supercharger to boot. A deal was done and the car was delivered to Mark’s Michigan home where he could begin to enjoy it. “I never bored of driving this car,” he says.


    “It was so easy to just drop the top and take it out for a cruise. Eventually, though, my craving for more power got the best of me and I started sending it out for major upgrades, eventually leading to its current state of tune. I also was into weight reduction mods and everything I did was kind of geared towards that. The roof, seats, wheels exhaust pretty much everything was weighed.” The supercharger was doing a good job on the power front but for the kind of figures that Mark wanted the engine needed to be pretty much stripped down and built from the ground up.

    The car was handed over to the guys at ICS Performance, who know a thing or two about making fast, force induced BMWs and after chatting with head man, George Kakaletris, it was agreed that 600whp would be a good figure to aim for. Unfortunately, ICS discovered two cracked piston ring lands, so Mark decided to go all out on the engine because that’s what we as enthusiasts do when something breaks – we use it as an excuse to repair it but make it better at the same time.

    The engine component list reads like a turbo build wish list and ICS really left no stone unturned when it came to creating this monster of a Z3. Inside the 3.2-litre S52 you’ll find Mahle 9:1 compression triple-coated racing pistons, K1 forged con rods, ACL Racing bearings, titanium valve kit, springs and retainers and ICS Stage 1 performance camshafts. There’s also a CES cut ring head gasket and ARP series 2000 head studs, while the Precision 4094R dual ball bearing turbo sits on an Otis tubular twin-scroll manifold with a Tial 60mm wastegate vented into the exhaust to keep things a little more civilized. You’ll also find a Tial 50mm BOV, while the exhaust is custom-made. To ensure that enough fuel makes it into the engine there are 80lb (840cc) injectors with both a Walbro 400 and Bosch 044 fuel pump, running with an Aeromotive fuel filter and a custom fuel rail.


    To help keep the engine cool in all conditions, a high flow aluminium BMW racing radiator has been fitted along with a VPD custom racing oil cooler and then there’s the custom intercooler, measuring 610x305x102mm and squeezed in behind the front bumper.

    It’s one hell of a line-up and, unsurprisingly, it makes for some seriously heavy-hitting power figures. On 109 octane fuel at 1.8bar of boost on what Mark calls a fairly conservative tune, the Z3 made a spectacular 803whp and 776lb ft of torque at the wheels, and that’s with the tyres spinning! “She probably makes a bit more,” says Mark, “but who’s counting? That wasn’t my primary objective – after all it’s just a street car. With a few upgrades, though, like a larger fuel line, bigger injectors, larger turbo, more boost and a more aggressive tune it could be closer to 1000hp but I have no interest in doing so as the car is already a handful to drive weighing in at only around 1250kg. Currently, I’m not aware of another M Roadster producing more horsepower or torque.”


    For Mark, this build wasn’t just about power, it was about weight, too, and both the exterior and interior styling has been shaped by his desire to shave and shed weight wherever possible. There’s a lightweight vented FG Racing bonnet, Recaro Pole Position seats mounted on lightweight aluminium brackets with Imola red leather centre sections to tie-in with the rest of the interior colour scheme, there are lighter UUC race pedals, the bumper weights have been removed along with the air-con, the sound deadening and Mark’s fitted a lightweight Odyssey battery. Even the carpets are lightweight!


    Mark has extended the Imola red colour scheme throughout the interior and it also appears on the badges. A rear spoiler and diffuser were also added as subtle cosmetic enhancements.

    As far as the chassis is concerned, the Z3 has been fitted with a Ground Control adjustable Eibach spring kit, Koni adjustable sport dampers, a Bavarian Autosport rear bush kit, IE Engineering rear camber/caster adjustment kit and a Randy Forbes rear axle reinforcement kit, along with a Rogue Engineering dual rear differential housing.

    With so much power, you need a suitably powerful braking system on board and lurking behind the staggered 18” Work Meister SP1s you’ll find a UUC/Wilwood front BBK with four-pot calipers and superlight 325mm discs, while at the back there are #StopTech Z3 M cross-drilled discs with braided hoses and Axis Ultimate brake pads all round.

    Mark’s Roadster has been through various stages of development, with this last stage taking seven months. In that time it has gone from brisk to ballistic, with the kind of power figure that is actually hard to imagine. “The turbo system is my favourite modification on the whole car,” he smiles, “as it’s just so powerful. Being in such a lightweight car puts your eyes on stalks when you squeeze the throttle. I’ve not experienced acceleration quite like this before and I’ve been in some pretty fast cars.” Mark has really ticked all the boxes with this project and built his ultimate Z3 and all that’s left to do is just drive it and enjoy it. You know he will…

    TECH DATA FILE #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z3-M-Coupe

    ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #S52 , #Mahle 9:1 compression triple-coated racing pistons, #K1 forged and coated connecting rods, #ACL-Racing coated rod and main bearings, titanium valve kit, springs and retainers, CES cut ring head gasket, #ARP series 2000 11mm head studs, #ICS Stage 1 custom performance camshafts, Precision 4094R DBB 1.06 A/R turbo, 610x305x102mm custom intercooler, custom intercooler shielding, Otis coated tubular twin scroll turbo manifold, #M50 (OBD 1) intake manifold, custom turbo engine mount arm, Tial 60mm wastegate vented into exhaust, Tial 50 blow-off valve, 840cc fuel injectors, #Walbro 400 and #Bosch-044 inline fuel pumps, custom relay kit for fuel system with circuit breaker, Aeromotive fuel filter, custom fuel rail kit, RK Tunes custom tuning OBD 2, 3.5” HFM, welded oil pump nut, Dr. #Vanos unit, #BMW high-flow aluminium racing radiator, VPD custom racing oil cooler, custom 3.5” exhaust with dual 3” Magnaflow silencers, Rogue Engineering racing engine mounts. 803whp and 776lb ft of torque at the wheels on 109 octane race fuel at 1.8bar.

    TRANSMISSION: #ZF-Type-C / #ZF five-speed manual gearbox, #Rogue-Engineering transmission mounts, #Clutch-Masters custom clutch, lightweight chromoly flywheel, 2.79:1 built differential with 40% lock up.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) Work Meister SP1 wheels with 225/40 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, Ground Control adjustable Eibach spring kit (525lb front, 600lb rear), Koni yellow adjustable sport dampers, Randy Forbes rear axle reinforcement kit, Rogue Engineering dual ear differential housing, IE Engineering rear camber/caster adjust kit, Bavarian Autosport rear bushing kit, #UUC/Wilwood #BBK with four-pot #Wilwood calipers and Superlite 325mm floating cross-drilled discs (front), StopTech Z3 M cross-drilled discs (rear), #Axis-Ultimate brake pads and stainless steel brake lines all-round.

    EXTERIOR: #FG-Racing lightweight vented bonnet, rear bootlip spoiler, rear diffuser, bumper weights removed.

    INTERIOR: #Recaro Pole Position racing seats with custom red matching inserts, Recaro lightweight aluminium side brackets and TC Kline floor mounts, AEM UEGO A/F gauge, SPA dual readout gauge (boost and fuel pressure), E Boost 2 electronic boost controller, Autometer dual gauge pod, Autometer mini shift light, #TRM racing shift knob, #UUC race pedals, lightweight carpeting, lightweight Odyssey battery, AC delete, sound deadening removed.

    Vented bonnet looks the part, is lightweight and helps to keep underbonnet temperatures down.

    Top: Engine may not look special but the 800whp magic is hidden away beneath the surface; diffuser looks cool and was added for that very reason, along with bootlip spoiler.
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