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    BMW’s iconic #BMW-Art-Cars have been setting hearts a-flutter since #1975 but your chances of actually owning one are pretty much zero. There is, however, little stopping you from building your own… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Patrik Karlsson / #BMW-Art-Car /

    Art Attack E9 and E21 resto-modded Art Car replicas

    The BMW Art Car series is something that’s been capturing the imagination of motoring enthusiasts for generations. It all began in 1975, when French racing driver Hervé Poulain commissioned American artist and friend Alexander Calder to paint the 3.0 CSL that he was to drive at Le Mans. Using bold primary colours, Calder transformed the already eye-catching form of the #Group-5 E9 into something that looked like it was rapidly swishing through the scenery even when it was sitting still. It turned out to be one of the last art pieces Calder produced before his death, and in the mid-seventies it was actually a pretty astonishing move to present a car to the world as a work of art; it was, as you might imagine, even more astonishing that the flawless museum piece was then entered in the Le Mans 24hr.

    The Calder Art Car sparked off a chain reaction that resonated through the decades. The following year, Frank Stella painted an E9 CSL; the year after that, Roy Lichtenstein had a go at a Group 5 E21, then it was Andy Warhol’s turn with an M1, with the snowballing project building momentum until it all came to a head with the recently unveiled John Baldessari M6 GTLM, the 18th official #Art-Cars Car .

    Now, there have been quite a lot of other BMWs to be decorated by artists in unusual ways over the years, but these core 18 are the official ones, the bona fide commissioned #Art-Cars . They haven’t all been race cars (David Hockney’s, for example, was an 850CSi and Matazo Kayama’s was an E34 535i), but they have all been devastatingly beautiful and incomparably desirable.

    To BMW’s endless credit, the collection isn’t kept safe and secure in a hermetically sealed and top-secret location – they get toured around the world from Goodwood to Pebble Beach and beyond, and the PR bods even took them on a sort of world tour in 2012 which included a brief but comprehensive exhibition in, er, a multistory car park in Shoreditch (which was very weird, but an utter joy to attend – BMW didn’t publicise it widely, so very few people turned up; those of us that did got to enjoy some rather special alone-time with these magnificent creations).

    But just having a little look-see at the occasional show was never going to be enough for Swedish retro race enthusiast Jonas Nilsson. He had a dream, an all-consuming aspiration, to possess an Art Car of his very own. But obviously BMW would never sell him one, they’re far too valuable, so he was left with just one option: to build his own tribute to these iconic slices of history.

    As you can see here, he got a bit carried away. He hasn’t built one Art Car, but two – and that’s just about pushing the very limits of awesomeness that our brains are able to cope with. So let’s try and piece it together in as logical a way as possible, without our minds dribbling out of our ears at the sheer magnificence of it all…

    “BMWs have been special to me ever since I was a little boy, and our neighbour came driving home in his brand-new E21,” Jonas recalls. “I’ve always thought that they have very nice car models and very good performance.” Yep, no arguments here. And that early infatuation clearly planted a seed, as things have gone a bit nuts in the intervening few decades.

    “The first #BMW I owned was an E36 318iS,” he continues. “It was white, with a subtle body kit – just right for a guy in his twenties.” It wasn’t, we must point out, all about the BMWs for Jonas though, as he’s also pretty keen on Opels. His first car was a Monza GSE, and over the years he’s built some fairly impressive modified examples including a twin-turbo Monza with nitrous and a ’caged, supercharged Kadett GSi on slicks. It’s this passion for brutal performance and race car thrills that ultimately informed what you’re seeing here, allied to that early passion for BMWs. It turned out to be the perfect recipe.

    “It had always been my dream to build an Art Car, so when the opportunity to do it came up, I had to take it,” he says, matter-of-factly. “The Roy Lichtenstein E21 tribute was the first one I built, and when that was finished I felt ready to tackle another one, so I attempted the Frank Stella E9, which was the one I’d really wanted to build all along.” Blimey. He makes this deranged behaviour all sound so normal, doesn’t he? What’s arguably most impressive is that Jonas built up everything you see here himself, as you can’t just nip to Halfords and pick up a Group 5 body kit for an E21. “All the bodywork is made in steel and cannot be bought, so I made it all by myself to a plan I had in my mind,” he explains, like some kind of automotive voodoo shaman.

    “To create these two Art Cars, I actually used four cars,” he goes on. “I took two cars and cut the body from the base, then I took one base and welded it together with the other body, and to make everything fit I had to adjust the length and trim the base car to make everything match up.”

    Looking inside either one should give you a bit of a giveaway as to what resides beneath their respective skins; the E21 is all E36 inside, while the sharknose E9 has an E34 M5 hiding down there. It’s all utterly bonkers, and phenomenally impressive that he’s made it work.

    “I found the E21 at a friend’s place,” says Jonas. “It was in okay condition, but the engine didn’t work.” And what better remedy for a misfiring first-gen 3 Series than to slice the body off, plonk it on to an E36 325i chassis, and bolt on some outrageous retro racer bodywork?

    You’ll spot that the E36’s M50 engine is nestled beneath that colourful bonnet, while the 1990s underpinnings have allowed a little flexibility in upgrading things, which is why you’ll find some serious D2 coilovers in the mix along with 19” wheels. On the whole, though, the spec is relatively mild when you look at just how extreme the E9 ended up becoming.

    “I found the E9 on a car sales website, almost in mint condition,” Jonas grins, plainly unconcerned about chopping the thing up. “Whereas the E21 took about a year to build, this one took more like 18 months as there was a lot more to do.” Part of the reason for this is that he opted to complement the forthright race car looks with some appropriate power in the form of an S38 engine from an E34 M5 (which is the donor car beneath, remember) to which he’s added a Rotrex C38-81 centrifugal supercharger. It’s an astonishingly quick machine, which is just what you would hope for when you look at its angry angles and pointy aero.

    “Every detail and measurement of both cars were made from a model in 1:18 scale, including the wrapping,” Jonas explains, again shrugging off an incredibly complex engineering endeavour as if it’s all in a day’s work, and reducing us to shimmering pools of jealousy in the process. “The Art Car livery is vinyl-wrapped though if money were no object then of course I would have them painted on! And there’s not a part of either car that hasn’t been taken out and perfected before being put back in. I try to do as much as I can by myself, because I love a good challenge!” Well, yes, evidently. The work here really does speak for itself, and while Jonas’ bread-and-butter lies in the mill industry, he hopes one day to transition into building cars like this for a living; a passion that’s currently being fuelled by his new project, a race-inspired, street-legal 635CSi. If all goes well, he could one day be commissioning famous artists to adorn his creations with their colourful daubings… but for now, this pair of Art Car tributes is a fabulous showcase of his skills. BMW may take the official ones out and about, but they don’t tear around in anger like Jonas’ do. As dream two-car garages go, this one really is a work of art.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE BMW #Frank-Stella / #BMW-E9 / #Rotrex / #Rotrex-C38 / #BMW-E9-Frank-Stella / #BMW-E9-Art-Car / #BMW-E9-Art-Car-Replica /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.5-litre straight-six #S38B36 / #BMW-S38 / #S38 , #Rotrex-C38-81 centrifugal supercharger, chargecooler, race aluminium cooler with Evans waterless coolant, Nuke Blackline linear FPR, Nuke fuel rail, #Nuke-Blackline filter, #ECUMaster management, five-speed #Getrag-280 manual gearbox, Tilton racing clutch, modified cardan shaft, 40% locking diff, 2.87:1 final drive, 210 diff housing, forged CrMo driveshafts

    CHASSIS 10x19” (front) and 13x19” (rear) HRE 508 wheels with 265/30 (front) and 345/35 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, E34 D2 coilovers, D2 Racing big brake kit with eight-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front) and six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Custom handmade all-steel Group 5 bodywork, Frank Stella Art Car tribute livery

    INTERIOR E34 M5 dash, Cobra Misano Anniversary seats, custom-trimmed matching rear seats and doorcards


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Roy-Lichtenstein / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-E21-Roy-Lichtenstein / #BMW-E21-Art-Car / #BMW-E21-Art-Car-Replica / #BMW-Art-Car-Replica / #Art-Car-Replica

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25 / #BMW-M50 / #M50 , five-speed #Getrag manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) #Rennsport wheels with 265/30 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo (front) and 325/30 Dunlop Sport Maxx Race (rear) tyres, E36 D2 coilovers, #Powerflex bushes

    EXTERIOR Custom handmade all-steel Group 5 bodywork, #Roy-Lichtenstein-Art-Car tribute livery

    INTERIOR E36 interior blended with original E21
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    The Last Hurrah Road test SA M5 E34 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW-M5-SA / #BMW-M5-SA-E34 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW-SA / / #BMW / #BMW-South-Africa

    We go for a blast in two South African-built E34 M5s to see if they vary from the Euro versions.

    The last BMW-5-Series to be produced at the Rosslyn plant in South Africa was the E34 and the last of the E34s to be made there was the mighty M5. We profile a pair of 3.6-litre examples Words: Johann Venter. Photography: Mahomed Abdulla.

    Over the years BMW Car has covered many of the unique BMW models developed for the South African market. If memory serves me correctly the E12 530 MLE was the first South African model to be featured (in the November 2007 issue) and deputy editor Sebastian de Latour paid us a visit in 2012 to sample several models all unique to the SA market and a few other specialties in-between. His report back from his expedition culminated in eight features to the delight of all BMW enthusiasts in SA.

    Resident editor, Bob Harper, has also had the pleasure of sampling our South African fare, enjoying an immaculate, uniquely South African Henna red E28 M5 one afternoon in Sussex, revealing all in the October 2014 issue. The car in question was chassis number 17 and most written sources – including those on the internet – indicate that 96 of these machines were built in SA, although my BMW contacts insist that in fact 150 were made – a debate for another day…

    It is therefore fitting to have a look at the last M car to roll off the Rosslyn production line; the E34 also being the last 5 Series to be manufactured at the plant. Out of approximately 12,250 M5s that were assembled by hand by teams of technicians at the Garching facility in Germany, from E34 535i bodies shipped from the Dingolfing factory, 265 were assembled at the Rosslyn plant by hand from Complete Knock Down (CKD) kits. According to BMW folklore, Garching was under such pressure that some of the M5s were actually assembled at Dingolfing.

    BMW had significantly increased production over the previous M5, of which only 2241 were produced. In fact, BMW’s hand was forced to build the first M5 by its more influential customers, initially it thought it could get away with appeasing a select few. The E34 M5 was quite a different story. Production was increased and lengthened due to the various special editions which included the following: 22 Ceccotto editions, 51 Winkelhock editions, 20 20th anniversary Motorsport editions, 15 Naghi editions for the Saudi Arabian market, 50 Limited Editions signifying the end of the right-hand drive production for the UK and 20 Italian dealer specials, the ‘Elekta’ Touring models.

    Although production of the M5 started in September 1988 in Garching, South Africa was once again lagging behind. Assembly got underway two years later in September 1990 and was short-lived, ending in March 1993. Traditionally 5 Series production had always lagged behind its German counterparts with the E12 starting in 1974 (compared to 1972 for Germany) while the E28 kicked off in South Africa in January 1985 three-and-a-half years after the German start of production in 1981. By December 1991 the world was ready for a feistier M5 in the form of the 3.8-litre model, which even included a Touring, with a limited run of 891 units. All of the world that is, except North America and South Africa, instead enthusiasts here were pacified with the E34 540i six-speed manual, more on that later.


    First let us get acquainted with these two stunning examples and see how they stack up against their European counterparts. The Glacier metallic blue is a very early example, chassis number 19, originally sold by BMW – JSN Motors on 4 February 1991. The service manual reveals the JSN address as Anderson Street in downtown Johannesburg – at one stage there were up to three BMW dealerships in the city centre, today there is only one. Chris Theron is the fourth owner, yet the odometer only shows 64,500km (40,100 miles).

    Chassis number 214 in Ice white was registered in March 1993, making it one of the last 50 to be produced. It belongs to Andy Ackerman, again he is the fourth owner. With 267,000km (165,900 miles) on the clock, it has enjoyed the life of a gypsy on both the east and west coast of SA and returned to the Highveld in 2012 when Andy acquired it.


    From the exterior these cars look identical to those produced at Garching, with a 20mm lowered suspension and a minimalistic M Technik aero kit which comprises of a front air-dam, side skirts and rear diffuser, all painted in a contrasting Diamond black metallic. The Ice white M5 has retained the original M-System I ‘Turbine’ wheel, designed in BMW’s wind tunnel to increase airflow by 25 per cent, allowing for better cooling of the brakes. These wheels are a bone of contention as they create a whitewall effect, though I personally think it is an innate part of what makes the M5 such an icon.

    The M-System II ‘Throwing Star’ wheel only became an option in the last three months of production in 1993 and they enhance Glacier blue colour of Chris’s M5. Buyers in SA had very few options, but like the previous generation M5, local cars came virtually fully spec’d, which included an extended Nappa leather interior, with unique leather doorcards. The only anomaly is the cheap carpeting used in the boot. One of the few factory options available was the boot spoiler, fitted to the white M5. Not a box I’d have ticked, as I think it interferes with the clean lines and rids the car of the ‘sleeper’ effect.

    There are, however, some notable differences between the SA cars and those produced for the European markets. In the early ‘90s emission regulations were not as well enforced globally; local cars were not fitted with a catalytic converter (with lambda sensor). This also applied to the Middle East and South East Asia. Significantly the latter M5s were developed with a lower compression ratio of 9.2:1, whereas the SA cars had the same compression ratio as those in Europe: 10.0:1. The auxiliary air pump is also not connected, it is simply used as an ‘idler’ to tension the AC belt. Local cars were also not fitted with a sump guard, only the splash cover.

    Underneath the bonnet, though, is where it matters most – the SA M5 has the identical 3.6-litre S38 B36 motor as found in European cars. The engine is a refinement of the M88 24-valve in-line six-cylinder, as found in the previous M5, with capacity up to 3533cc. With an improved Bosch Motronic 1.2 engine management system, providing better management of the air and fuel mixture and electronically controlled butterfly valves in the inlet manifold, the engine is able to develop 315hp (232kW) and 266lb ft (360Nm) of torque. Further enhancements included a new forged steel crankshaft, improved camshafts, flywheel and equal length stainless steel headers all of which upped the compression ratio. The M5 set a time of 6.4 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint, tapping out at an electronically limited 250km/h.

    Before I get behind the wheel it’s worth having a look back at how local Car magazine summed up the M5 back when it was new: “The M5 is really an impressive car which sets new sports sedan standards in terms of performance, ride, road-holding and comfort. Not a car for those who are not keen on driver involvement, but certainly one for the enthusiast who knows what he wants, in all likelihood the best sports sedan in the world.”

    The Ice white M5 is a very tidy specimen, with even the self-leveling suspension still intact, Andy points out that the engine has been completely rebuilt. Engage the ignition and you are greeted by a throaty roar, definitely giving off more bass than I am expecting. It is revealed that the centre resonator has been removed. The sound is fantastic and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Thanks to these Sport seats I am able to get down really low in the cockpit and the side bolsters offer superb support.

    As I amble along a narrow lane to connect to the freeway, it gives me time to observe my Germanic surroundings. Everything is still in working order; these cockpits were built to withstand a nuclear catastrophe. Once on the open road I ignite the fuse under my right foot and this ’bahnstormer comes alive. The engine pulls freely to the redline, spinning with the intensity of a Singer sewing machine. The noise from the exhaust building into an exploding crescendo, so ferocious, it tingles your spine.

    Gear changes are very precise, the shifts are short and tight, exactly what is needed at these unlawful speeds. At a 160km/h I overshoot the turn-in to the B-road where my arrest for enjoying this M5 is less likely to happen. The B-road is peppered with patch work and the gradient on either side of the white line rather steep. My best option is to use the middle of the road – for the next 4km I have a clear line of sight, then the road banks sharply to the right.

    The M5 handles the patch work with ease, soaking up the uneven surface, yet still maintaining a straight line and all the while I am pressing into the redline.

    All too soon the bend is upon me and I veer to the left to avoid whatever is coming my way. Once through the bend the accelerator is given the full might of my right foot. Hurtling through the countryside at a rate of knots meant for the autobahn, I spot a sleeping policeman just in the nick of time, and I press my foot heavy on the brake. The stopping power of the M5 is still phenomenal; ABS comes to the rescue, preventing the car careening off the road.

    The country road has meandered into suburbia, time to return the M5 whilst still intact. As I reluctantly hand back the keys to Andy, he explains that the gear linkage mechanism has been overhauled and that the bushes have been replaced with bearings. An upgrade worth doing, as gear shifts are now very slick.

    On to the Glacier blue M5 then. I am yet to come across a cleaner example and doubt whether there is another on the Continent to rival it. I am mesmerised by this car, I could stare at it all day, it has such a hypnotic effect on me. Factory fresh, is a term often bantered about, but this road going M5 deserves a new term – even the inside of wheel arches, engine and undercarriage look brand new. Lifting the handle on the driver door; it gives off a solid thud as the latch mechanism releases, inside the smell of new leather permeates throughout the cabin. Firing up the engine there is that initial high pitch and then it settles into that familiar M5 low growl.


    I follow the same route as I did before, first getting familiar with my surroundings as I follow the narrow lane. Everything in this car looks and feels brand-new and the engine feels tight, like it is still being run-in. Onto the freeway and once again the hammer comes down. At about 4000rpm things really start to happen and the M5 accelerates into the redline before you can blink. With the accelerator at full tilt the resonance flap inside the plenum chamber opens at 4120rpm and remains open until 6720rpm, which brings about the intoxicating ‘warp speed’ effect. Onto the patch work of Tarmac and this M5 feels even more solid.

    There are no rattles or squeaks just the wailing sound of the engine and the cacophony from behind. This time round I’m not caught out by the sleeping policeman, but like before I need to turn around once I reach suburbia to entrust this icon to its rightful owner. It’s been an enthralling morning, I can only imagine what it must be like behind the wheel of the final 3.8-litre incarnation of the M5.

    It’s unclear why the 3.8-litre M5 wasn’t available in SA, instead a 540i six-speed manual dressed up as a M5 3.8-litre was offered from September 1995.

    Production ended in January 1996 and only 72 units were produced at the Rosslyn plant. BMW Motorsport aficionados in SA were once again offered a fully kitted-out E34 range topper which included an M5 body kit including boot spoiler; M-System II ‘Throwing Star’ wheels; extended Nappa leather (with the MColour stripe inserts); M Sport steering wheel; sunroof; rear sun blind; car phone and ESP.

    The 540i even came standard with stiffer springs and uprated dampers and somehow the cheap carpeting in the boot didn’t get left behind. Enthusiasts however were disappointed that electronic damper control, the illuminated gear-shift, M steering rack and brakes were not options.

    There is the argument that Jaguar started the age of the fast saloon with the Mk2 in the ‘60s – the infamous getaway car among British robbers. BMW, however, gave rise to the age of the Super Saloon with the introduction of the E28 M5, a title which is still relevant with the current F10 M5. Since its inception the M5 has kept a few Italians and I suspect even more Germans up at night. Unfortunately, the production of these Super Saloons at the Rosslyn plant has long ended; in fact, from 2018 the plant will no longer produce the mid-size sporting compact saloon in the form of the 3 Series – instead it is tooling up for the production of the X3. It is indeed the end of an era.

    THANKS TO: Ron Silke

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-E34 / #BMW-M5-3.6 / #BMW-M5-3.6-E34 /
    ENGINE: #S38 / #BMW-S38 straight-six, DOHC, 24-valve
    CAPACITY: 3535cc
    BORE/STROKE: 93.4/86mm
    COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.0:1
    MAX POWER: 315hp @ 6900rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 266lb ft @ 4750rpm
    0-62MPH: 6.4 seconds
    STANDING KILOMETRE: 26.0 seconds
    50-75MPG (FOURTH GEAR): 7.6 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
    ECONOMY: 23.8mpg
    WEIGHT: 1670kg
    NUMBER MADE: 834
    • Another correction Whoops, we seem to be making a habit of this! In the September issue, in the Last Hurrah feature, we stated that the E34 M5 was thAnother correction

      Whoops, we seem to be making a habit of this! In the September issue, in the Last Hurrah feature, we stated that the E34 M5 was the last M car produced at the Rosslyn plant in South Africa. This is, in fact, incorrect: the E36 M3 was the last M car to be assembled at the plant, production started in the third quarter of 1993 and ended by mid-1994. Thereafter M3s were directly imported from Germany. The M3 four-door Saloon, however, was manufactured at the Rosslyn plant, starting in the third quarter of 1997, with production ending in the latter part of 1998. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.
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    BLUE STEEL #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW /

    Valencia Motorsports’ beautifully built, hardcore E36 track machine packs an S38 swap. Valencia European’s E36 M3 racer fuses raw power with immaculate presentation. And that’s probably not the M Power engine you were expecting to find, is it…? Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Eric Eikenberry.


    It’s a classic idiom: ‘you can’t put a quart in a pint pot’. It means, in essence, that you can’t do the impossible; there’s a finite amount of space in a pint glass – well, there’s a pint, isn’t there? – so logically you can’t squeeze a quart in there. A quart is two pints. You’ve been greedy, your eyes are bigger than your stomach.


    This is all so much half-hearted vintage nonsense, of course – nothing is impossible in the 21st century. We’ve got hoverboards, Skype, sat nav, er, Rubik’s cubes, it’s all good. If something seems impossible, humanity has evolved to think around the problem. There are no hard tasks, simply some that take longer than others. Want a pet unicorn? Bone-graft a horn on to a pony. Yearning to fly unaided? Strap on a squirrel suit. Fancy confounding your elders and squeezing a quart into a pint pot? Pour half of it in, drink it, then pour in the other half. Easy.


    Valencia European of Santa Clarita, California, demonstrate this modern thinking rather neatly with the gleaming blue race car you see before you. The E36 M3 is the pint pot, the massive E34 M5 engine is the quart. ‘Sure, it’ll fit’ was the ethos. The team just had to have a bit of a headscratch and figure out how. No biggie. So who are these guys, and what are they up to with this outrageous baby-blue racer? “Valencia European is an auto repair and collision repair shop in Valencia,” says head honcho Sean Salvino. Well, that cleared that up. He’s a matter-of-fact sort of guy, isn’t he?


    “We specialise in BMWs,” he continues, “and the main objective for this build was to market the shop and to show how passionate we are about what we do. My business partner, Bjorn, and I share the same passion for the M line. He’s more into the older-generation engines, as he believes that they were simpler in design yet have lots to offer.” So these are fellas who’ve made a business out of a hobby that they’re passionate about, and there’s no small amount of enthusiasm for the old-skool flowing through the place. That’s good, that makes sense – we can see why they opted for the E36 M3 as a project base, it’s a model that’s rapidly becoming the connoisseur’s choice.


    “This E36 M3 was actually my track day car for about two years before we decided to build it up into a race car,” Sean explains. “Bjorn and I wanted to merge our ideas of how we thought a race car should be done! There were two cars in the shop at the time that we contemplated using for the project – this E36 and an E34 M5. But since the M3 already had a basic roll-cage and race suspension fitted, it was a step ahead. The next question was the powerplant…” Now, there aren’t any bad M3 engines; they all have their own charms, competencies, capabilities and potential.


    But the E36 generation has been a bone of contention for some enthusiasts; namely those in North America. While the European-spec M-car enjoyed the 3.0-litre, 286hp S50 motor for the first few years before swapping to the 3.2-litre, 321hp S50, the USA received rather strangled engines: initially a 240hp version of the 3.0-litre S50, then a 3.2-litre variant of the M52 developed specifically for US-market M3s – the S52, still with 240hp, albeit torquier. A good engine, but not a great one, compared with what the rest of the world was enjoying. American BMW enthusiasts tend to simmer about this a bit, Sean included: “You and I know that E36 M3s here in the States got short-changed with the S52 not having individual throttle bodies and so on,” he fumes. “So we decided that instead of using that motor, the E34’s engine was the clear choice.”


    This is where we arrive at the amusing quart-in-a-pint-pot scenario. The hand-built wonder that was the E34 came bulging with a muscular 3.6-litre straight-six, the S38, producing somewhere north of 300hp out-ofthe- box. But, of course, any physics fans among you will have spotted that the M5 is bigger than the M3. “Being that it wasn’t your typical build, it challenged us more and more,” Sean admits, although not grudgingly.


    We get the feeling that he relished the challenge, that he and his team genuinely enjoyed the work. “The main issue that we had with it was the height of the S38 – the oil pick-up was sitting right on the engine and suspension crossmember, with the intake manifold up against the hood. We attempted to move it back at first, but we agreed that it was going to adversely affect steering geometry, so we left it alone. We ended up redesigning the oil pan for it to sit lower and maintain the same engine position in the car as how the BMW engineers had designed it, while shaping the hood to allow for the extra engine height.” This is a solution that makes itself glaringly obvious from the outside, particularly when you view the car in profile – that vast power bulge in the bonnet is a none-too-subtle harbinger of the furious power that resides within. It looks rather like the bulge you’d find on an Aston Martin V8 Zagato, which is pretty good company to be in.


    It’s a fairly spicy interpretation of the venerable S38B36, too – Valencia has kitted it out with a massive custom air intake, an Ireland Engineering race-spec aluminium radiator, and the pulleys from a later 3.8-litre S38, while the spent gases are forcefully exhaled through a fancy straight-through exhaust. It really does sound the business. “After hearing it on track, people always comment on how good the car sounds,” Sean grins. “They always say it’s how a BMW should sound! I’ve also encountered people following me to the race track to see what the car was about, drawn in by the noise…”


    The fact that it has not only squeezed the vast engine in there, but made it work effectively is something that should be applauded. And equally impressive is its approach to the interior; with a dedicated track car, it’s so easy just to strip the cabin of everything superfluous and leave it at that. But Valencia’s E36 is truly a sight to behold once you’ve swung open the lightweight driver door. The roll-cage is staggeringly hardcore, the gussets and hollowed-out door skins speak of singleminded purpose, but it’s the clinical icewhiteness that truly catches the eye. They really have done this properly. Furthermore, peering back from where the passenger seat would have been, you get a glimpse into the book where the struts for that towering rear spoiler are chassismounted.


    It’s a Bimmerworld race wing with custom high-rise uprights, and it’s not exactly subtle. Neither are the arch flares, custom-fabricated in steel to wrap around those square-setup 10.5”-wide Apex ARC-8s, and it’s all hiding a thoroughly sophisticated chassis that begins with an hors d’oeuvre of Ground Control coilovers, serves up adjustable ARBs for the main course, and tops it all off with a dessert of brake upgrades, before enjoying some seamwelding over brandy and cigars.


    What’s the upshot of all this effort, then? A trophy or two, perhaps, or just some good ol’ rough-and-tumble track fun? “We took first place in the Global Time Attack Limited RWD Class at Chuckwalla Raceway in 2013,” Sean beams. “Then there was the Redline Time Attack at Willow Springs Raceway, where we again took first place in the Modified RWD Class, and won the Super Session – something we went on to repeat at the Redline event at Buttonwillow Raceway.” It seems, then, that the plan has worked.


    With either Sean or Don Pastor behind the wheel, this mighty M3 is kicking butt all over the West Coast, and doing a damn fine job of showing the spectating public what Valencia European is all about – sure, it can hammer the dents out of your 1 Series or figure out why your dash is full of warning lights, but its skill-set goes far beyond the everyday. These are a bunch of guys who know a thing or two about building race cars, and that’s a very useful reputation to have. The fact that the car is as immaculately presented as it is devastatingly effective is a sizeable cherry on a very delicious cake. Redefining what’s possible is something they take in their stride – to hell with physics, this quart of engine sits very happily in its shiny blue pint-pot.

    DATA FILE

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.6-litre straight-six #S38B36 / #S38 / #BMW-S38 , #S38B38 cam gears, #Kempower Speed sensor delete, custom harness, Ireland Engineering race aluminium radiator, electric cooling fan, custom 4” intake and #K&N filter, E34 M5 oil cooler, custom engine mounts, custom 3” straight-through exhaust, E30 M3 #Getrag-265 / #Getrag gearbox, custom transmission mounts, six-paddle racing clutch, custom propshaft, 4.27:1 LSD.

    CHASSIS: 10.5x17” (front and rear) ET25 #Apex-ARC-8 wheels with 18mm spacers (front), 275/40 (front and rear) Nitto NT01s tyres, 90mm Motorsport Hardware extended lugs, #Ground-Control race coilovers, Ground Control camber/castor plates, #Eibach 550/650 spring rates, #H&R adjustable anti roll-bars (front and rear), Ground Control race trailing-arm solid bushings, SPC rear camber arms, front lower control arms, #Delrin bushings, ABS delete, manual brake bias controller, custom steel braided brake lines, Raybestos race pads, tubular front bulkhead/radiator support, seam-welded front shock towers.

    EXTERIOR: Dzus-fastened bumpers and bootlid, Alumalite front splitters, Alumalite drive planes, custom metal wide-body flares, deleted door handles, frame-mounted Bimmerworld race wing with custom uprights, sunroof delete, custom fibreglass bonnet, Racequip tow strap.

    INTERIOR: #Sparco steering wheel, #Sparco-Pro-2000 racing seat, Crow Industries harness, Longacre rear view mirror, I/O Port window net, full gusseted roll-cage.

    This may be a stripped-out track car, but it has been finished to an exacting standard. Interior is finished in white with a full gusseted roll-cage and the bare essentials.

    S38 is a bit of a squeeze but Valencia managed to make it fit and gave it a few upgrades for good measure.
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    IT TAKES MORE THAN A COAT OF PAINT TO DISGUISE ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL SPORTS CARS. #1989 / #Magazine-Advert

    Even a coat of paint by Andy Warhol could not eclipse the legendary #BMW-E26 / #BMW-M1-E26 / #M88 engined supercar. But ten years later, the people who created #BMW-M1 have artfully contrived its reincarnation in a spectacularly unassuming guise.

    That car is the #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW / #BMW-E34

    The significance of M, as will be well known to the marque’s devotees, is that it stands for Motorsport: BMW’s dedicated motor racing and development division.

    This, the first authentic road-going M car to reach this country, will introduce a very limited number of Australian drivers to the Motorsport philosophy.

    Wherein all the quality, elegance and practicality of the already accomplished 5-Series is allied to the uncompromised sporting characteristics of an exotic.

    Making the #BMW-M5 , as the editor of ’Wheels’ observed it, "the car canonised as the best sporting saloon in the world.” For beneath the bonnet lies an exquisitely sculptured 24-valve, double overhead camshaft six cylinder engine painstakingly hand-built to extract an extraordinary #S38 / 232 kW (or 315 bhp DIN) from just 3.5 litres displacement.

    However, it stealthily maintains a restrained silhouette through almost imperceptible aerodynamic modifications.

    With the M5, BMW has quite deliberately disguised its 0 to 100kmh performance of 6.3 seconds behind the countenance of an audaciously understated luxury saloon.

    A deception which may ultimately prove to be its most coveted advantage.
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    E34 M5 3.8 Final Report

    “This is the end, beautiful friend.” So sang The Doors, and I’m afraid to say that as far as I’m concerned it’s the end of my tenure of the M5. It’s hard to believe that I’ve owned it for a little over three-and-a-half years yet during that time only managed to put a scant 3k or so miles onto its odometer. I’ve now handed the ownership baton over to a keen #BMW enthusiast who I know will manage to continue the journey of bringing M244XEO back to its former glory.

    To be honest ownership of the M5 has left me with mixed emotions. On the one hand my primary aim with the car was to save it from the ignominious fate of being broken for spares as when I bought the car it was worth more than I paid for it in parts. While I can appreciate the merits of someone transplanting the #S38 straight-six into an E30 it does seem like a crying shame that in order to do so means the death of one of the world’s finest super saloons. Thus my primary aim of preserving the car was achieved; but the sad reality is that I just don’t have the time for a project car and I was never able to find the time or the money required to bring the #BMW-M5 back up to scratch.

    I did get plenty done to it though. Looking through the back issues in which the car featured does make for slightly sobering reading for anyone taking on a project of this type. In retrospect, I think that my biggest problem was that I was trying to breathe life into a car that had been stood – virtually unused – for the best part of three years. So not only was I trying to get on top of the inevitable rust, various components would fail simply from a lack of use. Without going into a definitive list of what was replaced, off the top of my head I completed the following repairs: rust attended to on sills and rear arches; new tyres and wheels refurbished; new radiator; front discs and pads; air mass meter (x 2); prop coupling; diff seals; Powerflex suspension bushes; gear linkages; alternator rebuilt; new battery… there was always something that needed doing.

    On top of that lot there were a couple of services and the valve clearances were checked and adjusted. I’m not going to add it all up (in case my wife reads this!) but it’s safe to say that I spent far more on the car than I recouped when I sold it.

    Overall I learned a few lessons with this project. First, if I’d really wanted an E34 M5 I should have bitten the bullet and bought a far better example in the first place. Secondly, if you do buy a machine that requires work you’ve got to have a garage. There were many times when I fancied doing an hour’s work or so on the M5 when there was a quiet moment at home but as the car was parked on the street anything I did start would need to be finished – it’s much harder to get halfway through a job and decide to finish it another day if the car has to be left on the street.

    Overall, though, I’m glad I took the project on and while we might have only done 3000 miles together there were some memorable drives, especially for the cover feature for the July 2014 issue and when we ventured out on track at one of the BMW Car Club’s days on the full Silverstone GP circuit. Hopefully the M5’s new owner will continue to bring it back to being a good example of what in its day was the world’s finest super saloon.

    TECH DATA #BMW-M5-3.8-E34 / #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW-M5-E34-3.8 / #BMW-E34
    YEAR: #1995
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 47
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 133,778
    MPG THIS MONTH: 23.9
    COST THIS MONTH: Nil
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    RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

    Everyone loves an E28 and this unassuming 525e has been transformed by an S38B36 swap.

    Take one #BMW-525e-E28 . Garnish with an obscure colour. Stir in a vast engine. Sprinkle over a few unique touches, and infuse with a piquant fusion of childhood dreams and heartfelt tributes. That’s the recipe for a delicious E28… Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: Andy Tipping

    There’s a perennial and enduring problem with motorists in the world today: misplaced ‘M’ badges. Every day we see BMWs with erroneous badging glued to their rumps in a haphazard and higgledypiggledy manner, fooling no-one and diluting the specialness of true M-ness for everybody else. Bone-stock 520i saloons with M5 emblems, M-badged E46s with 320d motifs still in place, chunky SUVs wonkily rebranded ‘MX5’, despite that being the name of a rather different kind of car. It seems that everyone wants to tap into that hallowed motorsport heritage, regardless of such frivolous fripperies as honesty, logic, or appropriateness.

    Sometimes, however… sometimes it’s acceptable. Bear with us on this, it’ll all make sense. You see, the E28 you’re looking at here is, in fundamental DNA at least, a #BMW-525e . And yet it’s wearing the fabled M badge, and we’re perfectly okay with that. How can this be? Fear not, all will become clear…

    But let’s start with the who rather than the how, shall we? Jim Mountain is the name to note down, and he’s a man who’s been perving over Beemers since you were in short trousers. “I’ve been into BMWs as long as I can remember,” he reminisces with a smidge of whimsy. “I did an apprenticeship in the bodyshop of the local main dealer and stayed there for ten years or so before moving into the family business. As a kid I remember pictures of M1 Procars in my uncle’s MotorSport magazines, and a photo of an airborne 3.0 CSL at the Nürburgring – I was hooked from then, and knew I had to have an E30 as soon as I could insure one!”

    Sure enough, after rolling the dice with fate in a protracted bout of ‘the waiting game’, Jim found himself with the keys to an E30 318i two-door in his hand, a car he wasted no time lowering over some oh-soperiod MiM rims. The scene was set, the passion was firing on all cylinders, and it was only a matter of time before more blueand- white propellers followed: an #1986 325i introduced his right foot to the torquey swells of the straight-six, quickly usurped by an engine-failure 318i that Jim and his mates hoiked the motor out of before spraying Dakar yellow and slathering in Recaros and 17” Hockenheims, before moving on to another 325i and a bona fide E30 M3 Evo 1 on BBS RSs and Konis. It’s fairly safe to say, then, that he’s a man who knows what he likes. And what he likes is modifying BMWs. We’re in good company.

    “I also had an #BMW-E28 520i, largely thanks to Mike Burroughs,” Jim recalls. Funny how the name of the ubiquitous Stanceworks founder crops up so often in our E28 features, isn’t it? The dude has a lot to answer for. “It was rough, but fun,” he continues, “but I wanted to find a better one – something more solid, but still cheap enough that I could modify it without feeling too bad about it! And when I saw this one on eBay – in Akazien green, which I hadn’t seen before – I knew it had potential, despite being a 525e auto. It was in pretty good condition, in fact – all original paint, with a few age-related marks and dents, and it’s still like that today. I like its timeworn look.”


    That said, it wasn’t a car that wanted Jim to just jump in and enjoy. In addition to the usual front footwell and inner sill rust issues, it wasn’t all that keen on starting up and letting him take it home. “It wouldn’t fire up at all when I went to view it in Nottingham,” he says, “so I left it and went to look at another one in Derby. That one was quite a rare manual 525e – but really rotten. Then I got a call from the guy with the green car, which he’d got running; we made a deal, and I drove back to Norfolk in it.” So far so good, then. But where does the M badge enter the story? Patience, reader, patience – we’ll get there in due course. Jim’s just got his car home, let’s see what he does next…

    “The modifying didn’t actually start for another year,” he says. “I took the car over to my mate Spen’s, and he pulled out the old 2.7 lump and autobox after I had stripped the interior. It then spent about six months on blocks on his shingle drive! I’d wanted to put an S50 in it but Spen convinced me to fit the S38B36 for strength and reliability reasons.” And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen: a logical rationale for stuffing an E34 M5 engine in there. Strength and reliability. Sure. And there’s the fringe benefit of having enough horsepower to knock the Earth ever-so-slightly off its axis, of course.

    Jim was sufficiently enthused by the idea to dive into buying the first S38 he came across, complete with transmission, and Spen set about wriggling the oily bits into the appropriate position while Jim busied himself with fabricating various mounts for the engine, gearbox, and assorted ancillaries, including a setup to relocate the coil. “Spen dealt with the loom mods, which was no easy job as E34 ECUs live on the opposite side of the car to the E28’s, but he sorted that,” he says. “Then we tackled the brakes, fitting the E34 M5 setup along with a Clio servo custom-fitted to clear the plenum. When Spen was happy with all the work so far, he took the engine out again and I took the car over to another mate Terry’s workshop to take care of the rust issues, while Spen took the head off and rebuilt it.”

    It was all looking rosy at this stage, with the mods progressing well and the car not really fighting back to any great degree, and with the refreshed engine back in situ it was treated to a custom Pro Alloy radiator and a Fritz’s Bits manifold and exhaust system to keep everything functioning at maximum efficiency. At least, that was the theory. You know how annoying it is when your grandma says things like ‘patience is a virtue’, and ‘everything comes to he who waits’? Yeah, she’s right. You should always listen to your grandma, no matter how deranged she may appear. Jim shouldn’t have bought the first M5 engine he found. It turned out to be a bit of a pig.

    “It was all running, just… not well,” Jim grimaces. “Spen spent a few weeks swapping bits on and off from his own M5, testing everything for weak links, trying to identify what was wrong. He unpicked his loom mod and then refitted it, but it still wouldn’t run properly. The head came off for testing but there was nothing amiss there. We were mystified.” What would you do in this situation? Persevere with a relentless programme of trial-and-error testing, ultimately stripping the whole thing back to first principles? Or would you take the ‘sod it’ approach? Jim opted for the latter. “Time was slipping away, we’d been at it 18 months, so I just bought another engine,” he says. And guess what? That one didn’t want to play ball either. “It was pulled apart, rebuilt, refitted, but it didn’t run well. We just couldn’t get the emissions down.

    After chasing problems round and round, we finally deduced that the brand-new lambda sensor we’d bought was faulty – having replaced that, everything was fine!” A merry dance, then, but it all came good in the end. The upshot of all this enduring endeavour is a healthy 315hp coming from a legitimate M5 motor, with an M5 gearbox, running through a modified E12 propshaft to an M5 LSD. That M badge is fully justified after all then, right?


    Of course, you can’t just throw a load of 1990s supercar-baiting grunt into a 1980s chassis and expect everything to be sunshine and lollipops. We’ve already touched upon how the lads grafted in the E34 M5’s beefier brakes, but there was more to be done under the skin in order to make a car that was as competent as it was cocky. Suspension is key to a build like this, and Jim had charged the coil-toting eggheads at Gaz with the task of building up a set of bespoke coilovers to be fit for purpose. And with the stopping and the handling taken care of, it was time to tackle the aesthetics. Just what would be the right thing to do with the revered ol’ sharknose?

    “I knew I wanted to keep the original paint, it’s such an unusual colour,” Jim enthuses. “Aside from the wheels and stance, I wanted the whole car to look as original as possible. I did initially remove all the trim, ready to prep for a respray, but I quickly changed my mind and put it all back together again so it could wear its 30-year-old paintwork with pride! It’s got a slightly nosedown stance, and I wanted the rims pushed right to the edge of the arches, so the rears have been rolled to accommodate.” The rims in question are a set of staggered #BBS RCs, which Jim originally sprayed with bodycoloured centres, although the gold that they’re rocking now is certainly more of an eye-catcher on the showground. There’s also a set of Schnitzer Type 1 Racing three-pieces that appear on the car from time to time, just to mix things up a bit. The interior enjoys plenty of this keenness for detail, too, with the black-and-charcoal houndstooth fabric from the seats of Jim’s other E28 having been liberated to re-cover the Recaros that are now in place here. It’s little details like this that really make a build, isn’t it? “I had to leave the Harry Moss motion sensor on the dash, too, as a tribute to the ’80s!” he grins.

    “My favourite mod is the engine, for sure,” Jim assures us, and it’s pretty obvious why that is. “It makes me smile every time I’m behind the wheel. But when I park it up, I also love looking back at the car as I’m walking away, seeing my dad’s old numberplate on there that I fitted as a tribute to him when he died.” This has all been a very personal journey for Jim, with the help of his buddy Spen and a whole cast of extras, and you can be damn sure that his dad would be proud of the achievement. And Jim’s not finished yet, not by a long shot. “Air-ride is a possibility,” he says, a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “And a V8, naturally.” So yes, we can forgive the M badge here. It actually fits rather nicely.

    “Aside from the wheels and stance, I wanted the whole car to look as original as possible”

    “Spen convinced me to fit the S38B36 for strength and reliability reasons”

    DATA FILE

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.5-litre straight-six #S38B36 #S38 (from E34 M5), Fritz’s Bits stainless steel manifold and exhaust system, #Ramair filter, custom alloy radiator with Spal electric fan from Pro Alloy, Mocal oil cooler, custom mounts, brackets and fittings, 5-speed E34 M5 gearbox, E12 propshaft, E34 M5 LSD.

    CHASSIS: 8x17” (front) and 9x17” (rear) #BBS-RC009/010 wheels with 205/40 (front) and 215/40 (rear) Yokohama Parada Spec 2 tyres, custom #Gaz coilovers with adjustable rebound, 550lb front springs, 275lb rear springs, Whiteline anti-roll bars, #Powerflex bushes in front suspension arms, #BMW E34 M5 brakes.

    EXTERIOR: Original #Akazien green paint, rolled rear arches.

    INTERIOR: Black and charcoal houndstooth interior with recovered #Recaro-Speed front seats, #AC-Schnitzer steering wheel, 160mph speedo.

    THANKS: Spen (now set up in business as BMP Conversions), my mates Terry and Ray for workshop space and their help, my mum and dad for garage space, Guy’s mum for upholstery, and Patty for precision machine work. And my girlfriend Nic for her love of cars!
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    Dinan Turbo #BMW #M6 #E24 ( turbo-engined #M635CSi #E24 #1988 ) The Annihilator. By Nicholas Bissoon-Dath.

    The needle races past 60 mph. The on-ramp ahead curves tightly away, but your right foot stays flat to the floor, the turbo-charged engine screaming with the hard- edged bass of a highly tuned six-cylinder in full cry. As the sign suggesting a ramp speed of 25 mph flashes past, you bend into the turn, and your passenger audibly pleads for divine protection. You feel the immense lateral loadings build as your speed rises, but the car clings to the road with no dramatics. As you merge onto the highway at more than 80 mph. you look over at the disbelieving face in the right seat. Welcome to the world of the Dinan Turbo BMW M6 E24.

    Company #AMG has the #Hammer , but #Dinan-Engineering has an equally formidable implement; think of it as the #E24-Annihilator . It blasts from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, through the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds at 107 mph, and on to a rev-limited top speed of 172. It offers race-car handling, #BMW quality and feel, and a shove in the back dial will get anyone’s attention.

    Steve Dinan is a 34-year-old mechanical engineer and the founder of Dinan Engineering (81 Pioneer Way, Mountain View, California 94041; 415-962-9417). He has spent the last nine years of his life servicing, racing, and tuning BMW's. The Turbo M6 is his star, and he has every reason to be proud of its brilliance.

    The source of the Dinan M6’s E24 prodigious performance is its modified turbo engine. Dinan Engineering retains the 24-valve M6 block and head, but that’s about all. It lowers the compression ratio from 9.8 to 7.7:1. A specially matched Garrett T04B turbocharger supplies the boost, which is limited by a Roto-Master waste gate to 13.0 psi. A huge HKS intercooler lowers the temperature of the intake charge; at 134 mph on a 70-degree day, according to Dinan, the reduction is a whopping 160 degrees. Dinan also installs a new airflow sensor and high-flow injectors and enlarges the stock air-cleaner inlet for better breathing. 4he final touch is a #Bosch-Motronic engine-control system, reprogrammed to Dinan’s specifications by Veloz Car Computers.

    The results are 390 horsepower at 6400 rpm —134 more hp than the standard M6 E24 — and a 7300 rpm redline. Not only is the power amazing, but it feeds in smoothly and progressively in response to the throttle. Press with your right foot and full boost is available just a moment later. The thrust builds at a furious pace, and before you know it you’re traveling at twice your previous speed. It’s easy to maintain high average speeds along remote secondary roads, picking off other cars as if multiple-jumping your way to victory in a game of checkers.

    Dinan has also seen to it that the M6’s superbly controllable brakes will haul you down from high speed as often as necessary. Metallic pads grab the stock rotors, and the front brakes are cooled by means of race-car-sized ducts feeding air from two gaping intakes in the front spoiler. The Turbo M6 #E24-Turbo stops from 70 mph in only 173 feet, ten feet shorter than the stock M6 can manage.

    Dinan’s racing experience is evident in his Stage 4 suspension. The $1938 package includes firmer shocks, stiffer springs, and adjustable anti-roll bars at both ends. Negative-camber plates in front and a special rear crossmember allow the normally fixed camber settings to be adjusted at all four wheels.

    The rolling stock consists of #Goodyear Eagle ZR S or #Yokohama A-008R tires on #BBS modular aluminum wheels. In front. 225/50ZR-16 rubber is mounted on 8.0- inch rims; the rear tires are 255/50ZR-16s on 9.0-inch wheels.

    Yes, #Steve-Dinan personally tunes the sus-pensions of his cars, and he achieves impressive results. We measured 0.91 g on our skidpad; that’s 0.04 g better than a #Z52 #Corvette with 275/40ZR-17 tires. In the real world, the #Dinan-Turbo-N16 will scythe through a series of switchbacks at an incredible pace. Charge into a comer at more than twice the posted limit and the car holds its line precisely. Once past your apex, the tail digs in as you press hard on the throttle and unwind the steering. You can blast through comer after corner in this fashion, in an unending stream of speed and tire squeal and fury, yet remain in complete control.

    At the limit the car understeers just enough to let you know that you’re about to run out of grip. The rear wheels can also be provoked loose by accelerating hard in a tight comer or by sharply backing off the throttle at the limit. When the rear does let go, however, it does so slowly and predictably.

    The price of this performance is a nice, round $20,000 — not including the $59,000 that an #M6-E24 will cost you. For your extra twenty grand you get the rocket engine, the Stage 4 suspension, the wheels and tires, the brake modifications, and a special Center forced clutch.

    You also get a few compromises. The #Dinan M6s ride is substantially stiffer than the production car’s, and the front tires tend to follow highway ruts. If you find such behaviour unacceptable, Dinan Engineering offers three other suspensions for 1970-and-later BMWs, each with its own level of control and complexity. It also sells turbo kits for both 5- and 6-series BMWs (means #E34 and #E24 ). Our test car didn’t have any smog controls, but Dinan builds emissions-certified turbo engines as well.

    We’ve driven Dinan BMWs equipped with both types and found that the cleansed car suffers little in feel. Dinan’s racetrack experience and development work have paid off. The Turbo #M6 s limits are so high, and its acceleration is so aggressive, that only the most exotic performance cars on the planet can compete with it. This is a civilized race car for the street. Drag racers, beware. And heaven help anybody w ho tries to keep up with the #Dinan-Turbo #BMW-M6-E24 on a winding road.

    Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive. 4-passenger 2-door sedan #BMW-E24 series

    1988 Price as tested: $80,000

    Engine type: turbocharged and intercooled 6-inline, iron Block and aluminium head, Veloz / ##Bosch-Motronlc electronic engine control system with port fuel injection.

    Displacement 211 cu in, 3453cc #S38 / #M88
    Power (SAE net) 390 bhp at 6400 rpm
    Transmission 5 speed
    Wheelbase 103.3 in
    Length 193.8 in
    Curb weight 3537 lb
    Zero to 60 mph 4.8 sec
    Zero to 100 mph 10.8 sec
    Standing ¼-mile 13.2 sec @ 107 mph
    Top speed 172 mph
    Braking 70-0 mph 173ft
    Road-holding, 300 ft dia skidpad 0.91g
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    BLACK EAGLE

    This, quite literally, show-stopping UK #E28 boasts an impossibly shiny #M106 under the bonnet, a massive turbo and the small matter of 500hp. In a word: epic. Built with sheer passion and devotion, this stunning 500hp #BMW-E28 is the ultimate evolution of a near decade-long project. Photos: Steve Hall.

    We all love our cars (when they’re working) but it’s rare to come across someone for whom their car really is everything to them. Marsel Theodhori is one such man. His passion for his E28 is unrivalled in anyone I’ve ever met, and it’s this raw, unbridled passion for what was once a humble E28 that has driven him to build one of the finest examples out there. I have a soft spot for the E28 – I owned a #518i Lux for a year some time ago, which I bought for the princely sum of £400. It was so charming, characterful and modern in the way it drove, that it instantly became a member of the family. It didn’t miss a beat over those 12 months and when the time came to sell it, I was genuinely sad to see it go. I think about it often and the way it has lodged itself in my memory and affections means I can definitely relate to the way Marsel feels about his.

    Marsel is an interesting man – passionate, intense, intimidating perhaps, but a really nice guy and one with more than a few stories to tell. And his E28 is even more interesting. His love for the second generation 5 Series began when he was just 14 years old. “Growing up in Albania, my neighbour had a white E28 #Alpina and every time I saw it, I thought it looked fantastic. I loved the looks and my dream was to one day have a car like that.”

    Fast forward to 2005 and by now Marsel was in the UK when he spotted this humble #E28 #525e . He had loved it from afar, with it belonging to his good friend, Nick Rundall. When Nick wanted to move on to a newer model (and knowing that it needed work and that Marsel was in the motor trade), he gifted him the car, beginning a nine-year journey which resulted in the car you see in front of you.

    Marsel has named this car the Black Eagle, a touching patriotic nod to his homeland of Albania (whose red flag bears the image of a black double-headed eagle) and the Order of the Black Eagle, the highest title that could be bestowed upon a citizen of Albania.

    The last time the E28 saw the outside world was in September 2012. Marsel had spent seven years working on the car at this point and had built it up to a very high standard. He had sourced an M106 engine for it, which was fitted to an #E23 #745i – a 3.4-litre turbocharged straight-six that was loosely based on the #M30 , developing 252hp at 6psi (0.4bar) of boost. That’s a good starting point, but Marsel wasn’t content with that so a whole host of work went into the engine to get it uprated to handle a serious increase in power.

    Marsel’s E28 was suitably recognised at that point for the great car it was; it even had a brief moment of fame in print: “It had a feature in Total #BMW in April 2012 and it had been appearing at most of the shows that year. It was putting out 360hp+ and I travelled to a lot of places, enjoying the result of a very long build. I was just making the most of it so I was really driving it hard and the car was responding well. It made an impressive appearance at the Gaydon BMW Festival and the Santa Pod BMW Show that same year where it won Best of Show.”

    Show glory is one thing, but 360hp is another and Marsel is the sort of person who enjoys driving his cars. “I’m an engineer by trade but also a very heavy-footed driver,” he says. “I really love driving sports cars to their limits. Well, that pleasure cost me one day when I blew the #K27 turbo, which was the original item fitted to the M106 by BMW. That turbo was designed originally for 0.4bar and I was pushing close to 1bar for about 3000 miles until it started to smoke off throttle. The car came off the road at the end of September 2012.” That’s when Marsel started to think big. He decided to make the most of the unfortunate situation and realise the true potential of his E28: “I wanted to build a car that would win shows and blow people away. I wanted to build the best E28 that I could,” he says.

    Step one was choosing a new turbo that would give Marsel the power he was hungry for. “The K27 was removed and I started making plans for a new, more sophisticated turbo. Considering the potential of these engines, I had to seriously consider a major upgrade on all fronts. Unfortunately, in this country we have a limited market for such applications and turbochargers. Therefore there was only one place I could look to: the USA. In the States there are hundreds if not thousands of stockists and manufacturers of performance parts and turbochargers.

    “Hunting for the best deals, I came across a #Garrett-GT4202 turbo for half of the UK price and bought it straight away.” The #GT4202 is rated for up to 1000hp, giving Marsel plenty of headroom on the power front. However, it is significantly larger than the K27 so it gave Marsel a bit of a headache when it came to fitting. “I had the turbo hanging from the ceiling at one point,” he explains, “and I was lowering it into the engine bay so I could tie it into place. That meant I could start calculating how it would sit in the engine bay and what sort of manifold I would need to fabricate for it.” The massive turbo fits in the engine bay, just, but there was the small matter of the bonnet getting in the way, so Marsel had a custom item made with a neat cut-out for the turbo to peep through.

    While the whole car is finished to an incredibly high standard, the engine is what this car is all about. When the bonnet pops, the engine bay draws in BMW fans like bees to honey. Every square inch of the bay has been polished to within an inch of its life, every hose is braided, every pipe is blue and the blue-and-red colour scheme has been executed with serious attention to detail – the oil filler cap is blue and even the washer fluid and coolant are red and blue.

    The turbo sits on a beefy modified M106 manifold with a custom stainless steel top mounted flange neck, with a 4” downpipe, which slims to 3.5” to clear the bulkhead before expanding to 5” for minimum restriction and splitting into two 2.5” pipes which run to a custom Frtiz’s Bits back box. The turbo itself is served by a 5.5” core chargecooler with a custom top panel, itself mated to a 55mm twin-core 500x630mm chargecooler rad. You won’t find any highflow induction kits here – the turbo has been fitted with some silver mesh, presumably to stop people and animals from being sucked in, and that’s it. Beyond the bling, there’s serious engineering evident wherever you look: the turbo is braced against the engine and the entire engine is braced against the strut brace. This is because once, under hard braking, the engine tilted forward a fraction and that was enough to push the viscous fan into the thicker rad that Marsel had fitted. To ensure that doesn’t happen again, he took the precaution of bracing the engine to stop any unwanted movement.

    Of course, the dazzlingly shiny exterior is just the tip of an extremely comprehensive iceberg. The data file reads like an engine builder’s wish list and no expense has been spared in building an engine that will deliver a lot of power happily and comfortably, day in, day out.

    The H-pattern con rods and #Mahle forged low compression pistons have been carried over from the previous build, along with the #Glyco race bearings, but the ported and polished NA cylinder head is new, as are the titanium double valve springs, sodium-filled exhaust valves and titanium rockers and rocker shaft lockers. The engine is fed by twin #Bosch 044 fuel pumps, and there’s a fuel cooler, 1000cc Bosch injectors and Marsel has used an #E34 #535i inlet manifold with an original 3” reverse-mounted throttle body. It is the engine you would build if you could.

    As the old saying goes, power is nothing without control, and Marsel has ensured that every supporting component has been suitably upgraded to ensure that the rest of the E28 can handle all the power that’s being developed by the engine. On the transmission front there’s a fully-rebuilt dogleg gearbox with a custom short clutch master cylinder, M535i driveshaft and propshafts, restored 3.07 M5 LSD and upgraded race-spec motorsport diff mount. Peer under the rear of the car and, as well as an immaculate and impossibly polished back box, you will see the diff cooler and diff pump mounted below. On the suspension front you’ll find #GAZ Gold race coilovers all-round with 550lb springs up front and 250lb rears, which have been carried over from the first build, with fully adjustable rose jointed front upper top mounts, fully adjustable rear top upper mounts, front and rear thicker, uprated antiroll bars, with Powerflex bushes all-round, new wheel bearings and all the various suspension components have either been renewed or reconditioned.

    The brake setup that Marsel had first time around worked well enough for him to keep it so he just renewed the components with four-pot front Brembos calipers from an E31 840Ci and 324mm discs and 300mm rear discs mated to E28 #M535i calipers, with Goodridge braided hoses throughout. Marsel hasn’t forgotten about the looks in all of this and has poured his heart into getting the exterior styling exactly to his tastes. The body was stripped and the car was given the full M5 treatment, while new headlights and chrome rear lights have also been fitted. Various components have been polished and rechromed, such as the window surrounds, door handles and the C-pillar inserts, with the resulting brightness contrasting beautifully against the Jet black paint.

    The wheels are an interesting choice. Previously, Marsel was running #BBS RSs before switching to these Fomb 17s, which he’d had refurbed in black for its big reveal in 2014. He had been planning to get the BBSs ready for our shoot, but as they needed to be refurbed and have new barrels, it was no small task. Also, as he pointed out, everyone has BBS RSs – they’re gorgeous, classic and iconic wheels, but they are a bit of a trend right now. Marsel wanted something different for the E28 and that’s when he decided to stick with the Fomb wheels, and give them a fresh look by getting the dishes diamond cut. The end result? Pretty spectacular. With an all-black finish, the dishes were completely lost, but now you can really appreciate just how dishy they are and they tie in perfectly with the polished elements across the whole car.

    The interior hasn’t been touched during the past two years but it was so nice there was no need to do anything. The retrimmed front seats still looks like new, as do the recolonised rears and, despite the colour, the carpets, door carpets and doorcards are completely original, which is particularly impressive as they are insanely clean.

    “I really wanted to impress the UK BMW world by getting out to all the shows this year. I badly wanted this car to shine like a star and drive like a bullet so the final piece of the puzzle was to give the car another remap,” Marsel explains. “The only man that I would ever trust in tuning this car is Sam Borgman at TDI in Lakeside, Essex. Sam and I have spent a considerable amount of time together in perfecting this car. On 3 August the car was on the hub dyno being tuned and ready for the road. Sam had it set within a couple of hours and managed to get a comfortable 500hp which I think is more than enough for driving pleasure. The car is now running like a dream – just like I wanted it to be.” And with that, it was time to unveil his creation to the world.

    “The first major show I took the car to was the Gaydon #BMW Festival. It got a lot of interest from all the visitors throughout the day and I had the chance to meet and chat with some true motoring enthusiasts. I had plenty of tech talks during the day and I really enjoyed it. It was actually the first time I had taken my wife Leonora to a car show and she was also amazed as to how many people really loved the car. That day I won Best of Show and I felt very happy and proud of this achievement.”

    That’s been pretty much the formula for Marsel and his E28 – turn up to a show, wow the crowd and take home silverware. Almost Famous at the Ace Café? Best of Show. Players? First out of the top 20. Santa Pod BMW Show? Best of Show, which, as we mentioned, he’d already won with the car in its previous incarnation back in 2012. Then there was the time he went along to VAGRoots for fun and, despite it being a VW Audi event, he also won the show. But Marsel said he had set out to build a showwinning car, and that’s exactly what he’s got.

    “I believe that I might just have built something extra special. An E28 with a great character and amazing features, fine definition and desirable styling. A powerful, black, mean, luxurious, classic BMW E28 from the ’80s had to be the car for me. Building a car like this has not been easy. I’ve had a real love/hate relationship with the car. Throughout the build it has tested my patience many times but I never gave up and, having spent nearly ten years building it, I have had the opportunity to meet some great guys along the way that have become good friends.”

    Ultimately, it’s all been worth it and the results speak for themselves. It’s an astounding build, technically outstanding and finished to a very high standard. More than anything, it’s fantastic to see someone pouring this much love into an E28 and helping to preserve one of these classics in such spectacular fashion. Furthermore, with no intention of ever selling it, this E28 will always remain part of Marsel’s family.


    ENGINE: 3.4-litre straight-six M106 ( #M30B34MAE also called version M30 engine with turbo and pistons), new H-pattern con rods, Mahle forged low compression pistons, Glyco race bearings, ARP full bottom end bolt kit, lapped fully balanced crankshaft, flywheel, clutch and front vibration damper. #S38 clutch and non-dual mass flywheel, E34 535i modified oil pump (50psi idle) crown cooler spray oil jets located at the main block housings, M5 engine relocated oil cooler, ported and polished NA cylinder head, forged M106 turbo camshaft, titanium double valve springs, sodium filled exhaust valves, new stainless steel valve seats and new re-cut inlet valves, titanium rockers and rocker shaft lockers from PPM, custom head gasket made by PPM, full engine gasket kit, new water pump, customised aftermarket #E36 M3 60mm core radiator, #E39 #M5 viscous clutch and blade, 41mm Samco top and bottom hoses, new expansion tank and level sensor, Omex standalone 710 ECU, Bosch lambda sensor, Vauxhall V6 Vectra coil pack, new custom cut and made to suitable lengths 8mm silicone high performance HT leads, #NGK heat range nine spark plugs, 3bar map sensor, Omex TPS, fully stripped and rebuilt polished alternator and fixings, new Bosch starter motor, twin Bosch 044 gravity fed fuel pumps, fuel cooler, 1000cc Bosch EV14 injectors, Aeromotive A-1000 FPR, AN-8 Aeroquip teflon supply and AN-6 return fuel pipes, modified E34 535i inlet, 3” original reversemounted throttle body, 3” aluminium and Samco pipe work, 5.5” core aftermarket chargecooler, Bosch EVT water pump, 55mm twin core 500x630 chargecooler radiator, AN12 Aeroquip feed and return water pipes and fixings, modified #BMW-M106 turbo manifold, custom stainless steel flange top mounted neck, original M106 stainless #M10 exhaust studs x 12, GT4202 Garrett turbo, HKS 60mm external wastegate, 4” downpipe reduced to 3.5” by the bulkhead, 5” by 300mm flexi joint then split to 2x2.5” pipes all the way to custom turbo Fritz’s Bits back box, 4x M10 rose jointed supportive custom alloy bars.

    TRANSMISSION: Fully rebuilt five-speed dog-leg gearbox, custom short clutch master cylinder and relocated fluid container, M535i driveshafts and propshaft, restored 3.07 M5 LSD, diff cooler and pump AN-10 Aeroquip fixings and braided teflon hoses, upgraded race-spec Motorsport diff mount, all bolts and mountings replaced with stainless spec and chrome plated items.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front and rear) Fomb wheels with 235/45 Bridgestone tyres, GAZ gold race coilover kit with 550lb front springs and 250lb rears, fully adjustable front upper top mounts rose jointed, fully adjustable rear top upper mounts rose jointed, rose jointed rear lower shock pin mounts, all suspension components replaced or reconditioned, all steering linkages renewed, new front Motorsport anti-roll bars 25mm front and 19mm rear, Powerflex bushes all-round, reinforced front lower alloy brace under the bumper, #E31 #840Ci four-pot #Brembo calipers (front) with 324x30mm discs, E28 M353i calipers (rear) with 300x15mm discs, Goodridge braided hoses all-round, E32 master cylinder, all original hard pipes re-powdercoated green.

    EXTERIOR: M5-spec body styling, new wings doors and bootlid, Shadowline bumpers, custom turbo bonnet, Motorsport rear spoiler with carbon fibre top section, green tinted cabin glass with blue front windscreen upper sun visor, Moon roof glass panel with purple fibre wind deflector, new headlights and chrome rear lights, original rear number plate, window trims and door handles polished and rechromed by Ospreys metal finishers in Borehamwood, all window rubber weather strips were replaced.

    INTERIOR: Front seats retrimmed by B-Trim, rears recolonised, new dashboard, original carpet, doorcards and headlining, new gear knob colour-coded in interior leather, new Motorspost odometer, new tachometer, new M Tech 1 steering wheel.

    THANKS: All the people that have contributed to the build and to maintaining this vehicle: Daryl, Paul, John and Ryan at Osprey Metal Finishers, Rob, Miles and Chris at Hartoms Engineering, Alex Austin at Torques UK, Richard and Dave at Fritz’s Bits, Guy Higgs at Omex UK, Neil, Adam and John at BTrim, Sam and Mark at TDI, Simon, Eldwin and Dave at EMP Exhausts, Richard Ryan and Carlos at Manor Body in Enfield, also thank you to my family for their support and to Drive-My.
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    Norwegian 1048bhp #E30 - bad to the bone. The magic 1000bhp figure was broken by this utterly stunningly, jaw-droppingly brilliant E30 from Norway, one of the most powerful road-legal BMWs in the world. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Andrew Brown.

    It’s a long way to go, but over the years Performance #BMW has been making numerous trips to Scandinavia to hunt out what we consider to be some of the finest examples of Bavarian metal on the planet, putting America’s high standards to serious shame with mind-blowing performance figures. Cast your mind back to July 2004. If your memory’s a little hazy, let us refresh it for you. We unveiled what was, at the time, the most powerful road-legal M3-styled E30 325i with an outrageous 875bhp and 932lb ft of torque. Over the next few months, we uncovered two more turbo’d Swedish beauties, a 400bhp #E21 and a 745bhp E30, along with a supercharged 480bhp M3 CSL in November. Not surprisingly, in January 2005 the turbo experts at VS Motor in Norway raised the bar once again with a 1033bhp #E34 M5. The various other cover cars that were to follow from the Nordic lands over the next 24 months confirmed our suspicions; no obstacle is too big for these boys.

    In a bid to push things even further forward, Tarjei Christiansen from Porsgrunn has created the hardest E30 we’ve ever seen with a mighty 1048bhp and 778lb ft of torque running through road tyres and wheels. That’s right, this #1987 former 320i is fit for the streets and it’s not afraid to come out and play. For those who don’t know, Tarjei is the founder of tuning specialist SS Performance, and is already becoming a big name in the street racing community, so it’s understandable that his own car would be a bit special. It all started four years ago when he got into the notorious Gatebil festivals. Having spent his childhood tinkering under the bonnet of BMWs with his dad during the cold and dark winter months, it was almost inevitable he would eventually open up his own workshop. One of the most common complaints we hear from readers is the number of UK specialists that lack passion and enthusiasm, but Tarjei’s got stacks of it to back up his knowledge and expertise. This is a man who quite happily spends 16 hours a day, six days a week working on cars, they are his life.

    His first project was an #Alpina E30 2.7, he sold that before his 18th birthday to buy an #E36 Compact and spent the remaining money sourcing and fitting a 5.6-litre V12 #S70 from the #850Csi #E31 . And as if that wasn’t enough he had an #M3 on the side. As you’ll have heard a thousand times before though, things were never meant to get quite so serious, as the Nordic lad explained: “When I bought the E30, the stock lump had been replaced by the 325i unit but the previous owner had never upgraded the brakes or suspension, so my original plan was to use it for drifting until the engine blew up. Upon closer inspection however, I realised the bodywork was completely straight and in remarkably good order for its age with no rust, so I decided to save it.” Little did he know at that stage, he would create what is now Norway’s most legendary car on the tuning scene.
    Not surprisingly, the first thing on the list was an engine. Tarjei fitted a 2.7 Alpina lump but soon got bored and that’s when he decided to do something mad with it, managing to source a 3.5-litre #S38 lump from the E34 #M5 . After stripping the engine bay he started the laborious task of fitting the new powerplant, which needed to sit 280mm further back and 40mm lower to help create space for the big turbo and aid with weight distribution. Sadly the language barrier meant communication was difficult but we managed to muddle through the interview with the help of Tarjai’s friends, whose grasp of English was better than my Norwegian. Hand gestures and diagrams also played a big part in the translation process!

    Being founder of a reputable tuning specialist, Tarjei is partners with some of the most well-known players in the industry, so he’s got access to a lot of quality parts. A quick glance down at the list of sponsors that adorn the side of his car will tell you that. The starting point was, as ever, the block, which was bored out to 3600cc. He then fitted a set of forged JE lowcompression pistons and slightly longer than standard Carillo con-rods, along with a Motorsport crank to provide better top-end power and higher revving capabilities. Attention was then turned to the cylinder head, which was ported and polished with a set of SSP 292º camshafts bolted in. And here comes the most exciting part, the massive Turbonetics super 60 twin-turbo which was mounted on an SSP aluminium intake manifold, with a PPF external wastegate employed to regulate the massive boost the ’charger is capable of producing. The inlet side of the engine is equally impressive, with a specially-made SSP aluminium part being the main component, fitted with huge 1640cc injectors to supply the necessary fuelling.

    At the end of the process, an SSP stainless steel straightthrough side-exit exhaust with fat 4” tailpipe blasts out the spent gasses.

    Somehow the giant had to be cooled, which is why the E30 has a ViS Racing carbon fibre bonnet with four vents, and a huge custom intercooler and radiator. The complete engine was taken to the VS Motor workshop and bolted to the dyno for running in and mapping. Connected up to the laptop, the boys set about tweaking and adjusting the settings of the Autronic sequential SM2 ECU. The decision was made to cap the boost at 1.7bar and after a slight increase in boost and a small ignition tweak, the magic figure of 1048bhp was realised, making it the fastest street-legal BMW in the world. Not surprisingly, he’s apparently managed to scare a few passengers.

    The problem, when you achieve this sort of power, is making it driveable, so Tarjei got to work stripping off the tired suspension and running gear ready for the new and improved items that he had been busy stockpiling. The drivetrain was the first to benefit with a stronger and more reliable Tremag five-speed gearbox. An E34 M5 rear differential was then fitted to improve traction, along with a custom driveshaft to complete the bullet-proof setup. Not convinced? Take it from us that the car is driven hard, plus it also takes regular abuse at the Nürburgring and Hockenheim circuits. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, it obliterates the 0-60mph sprint in just over 2.5 seconds, screaming at a rate of 110 decibels before the needle even hits 3000rpm.

    Driving in Scandinavia requires some special skills, if we had even a tenth as much snow, police would advise motorists to stay at home, but here residents just cope. Well, they do more than that. In a country where forced induction is a proven way of life, they love nothing more than putting on an incredible show of car control in a wild display of wheelspin, opposite lock, and high-speed sideways driving. The cars are, of course, heavily modified to cope with the extreme nature in which they’re driven, and in this case Tarjei has sourced Wiecher strut braces and anti-roll bars, along with a set of fully adjustable KW Variant 3 coilovers, which allows him to adjust the rebound and compression damping. Everything was then connected with Powerflex poly and ally mountings to eliminate all unwanted movement.

    Of course, every car of this calibre needs some decent anchors, when you can cover the length of a football pitch in a few seconds, the standard setup might have you running out of road, through the Pearly Gates and halfway across God’s breakfast table. Thankfully, a big brake kit consisting of AP Racing four-pot calipers with 335mm (front) and 355mm (rear) grooved discs mounted on alloy bells, with Endless pads, do an adequate enough job.

    Building a full-on track car means ridding the cabin of any unnecessary luxuries, so out came the seats, stereo system, door cards, carpet and sound deadening and in went the Momo buckets and Schroth four-point harnesses. Commonly seen in WRC car interiors, the entire dash was then flocked. This coating of nylon fibres using high voltage, electrostatic equipment, gives it a dense and durable finish along with excellent antiglare qualities. Providing additional rigidity, a Wiechers six-point roll-cage was fitted and the standard wheel was ditched for a snapoff Momo item. The Tilton pedals and hydraulic handbrake, along with the carbon fibre gear knob, Racepak Pack digital data logger and gauges add to the motorsport theme a treat. The dry sump tank, swirl pot for the fuel, oil cooler shroud, fuel pump and filter, Aeroquip hosing and gel battery are now housed in the boot.

    It was then the turn of the exterior to receive the benefits of some credit card abuse. With 9.5”-wide custom Löwenhart Superstar wheels destined for the front and 12” out back, new arches were painstakingly fabricated in metal and extended 120mm and 150mm respectively. Although it’s heavier compared to fibreglass, it’s much stronger and robust, and he’s managed to save weight elsewhere by fitting a carbon fibre bonnet and rear wing, which indecently also helps to generate greater downforce along with the Rieger front splitter. The same German body styling specialists also supplied the more aggressively fashioned front and rear bumpers and side skirts, lending it an even tougher guise, whilst the custom carbon fibre roof scoop, BMW Motorsport mirrors and Audi TT fuel cap finish off the race-car look that Tarjei was going for.

    How this car is not covered in stone chips and dents with body panels hanging off is beyond me, especially when you know it’s driven to utilise all that’s been done under the bonnet. It later emerges that showroom gleam is thanks to a recent respray, a definite improvement over the Dolphin grey and more in keeping with the car’s styling. The M3 GT British Racing green paint now adorns every nook and cranny, and I think you’ll agree when I say it looks like a brute.

    Having lost 3000 man hours and £80,000 to this project, I asked if Tarjei was happy with the outcome, he replied: “It’s the world’s fastest and most extreme E30, of course I like it. I love it. I’ve poured so much of my time and money into it but it’s turned out better than I could have ever imagined, I will never sell it.” When quizzed about his future plans he added: “My next project will be carbon’d wide-body 1 Series with the new M5 V10 engine, and I’m hoping it will be ready for Gatebil’s biggest event of the year in July.” That’s not a lot of time, but considering he built this monster in just ten months, we have every confidence he’ll do it. We just wish UK-based tuners and owners would follow suit and ditch the more traditional methods for something a bit different. If only we weren’t so conservative as a nation and tight with money, the world would be a far better place. Come on guys, let’s go for broke!

    Friend Helge Vik, another BMW nut, helped Tarjei build the car.

    On the track they’re each others’ worst rivals, in the garage they’re best mates Carbon fibre detailing not only looks the part but serves a purpose too.

    An AP Racing brake upgrade helps rein in the 1048 raging horses stuffed under the bonnet.

    The dry sump tank, swirl pot for fuel, oil cooler shroud, fuel pump and filter Aeroquip hosing and gel battery are housed in the boot Interior is minimal yet fully equipped for all of Tarjei’s needs.

    A Racepak digital data logger displays all the important engine information Christiansen: “It’s the world’s fastest and most extreme E30, of course I like it. I love it. I’ve poured so much of my time and money into it, I will never sell it”.

    DATA FILE
    ENGINE: 3.5-litre E34 M5 engine bored out to 3600cc, forged JE low-compression pistons, Carillo connecting rods, ARP rod and head bolts, 1640cc injectors, Motorsport crank, SSP 292º camshafts, ported and polished head, Autronic sequential SM2 ECU, three double Haltec coils, Aeromotive fuel pump, four-step oil pump, aluminium sump, Turbonetics super 60 twin-turbo, SSP aluminium intake manifold, PPF external wastegate, custom PPF 3” dump valve, custom 800mm high and 600mm wide intercooler and aluminium radiator, SSP TIG-welded stainless steel straight-through side-exit exhaust with 4” tailpipe.

    TRANSMISSION: Tremag 5-speed gearbox, gearbox tunnel raised and widened, Tilton triple-plate clutch, E34 M5 rear differential and custom driveshaft, custom 3” propshaft.

    CHASSIS: 9.5x18” (front) and 12x18” (rear) custom Löwenhart Superstar wheels shod in 225/40 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Yokohama semi-slicks. KW Stage 3 coilovers, Powerflex poly and ally mountings, Wiechers strut brace, front and rear anti-roll bars. AP Racing four-pot calipers with 335mm (front) and 355mm (rear) grooved discs mounted on alloy bells, Endless pads all round.
    EXTERIOR: Custom fabricated metal wide-arch body kit extended 120mm at the front and 150mm out back, VIS Racing carbon fibre bonnet, Rieger front splitter, colour-coded upper eyebrows, Rieger Infinity front and rear bumpers and side skirts, custom fabricated carbon fibre roof scoop, BMW Motorsport carbon-look mirrors, Audi TT fuel cap, APR Racing carbon fibre rear wing, MHW smoked rear lights (moved 2cm out on each side), custom SSP roundels, colour-coded rubbing strips, door handles and kidney grille, resprayed 1995 M3 GT British Racing Green.

    INTERIOR: Fully stripped-out, (seats, stereo system, door cards, carpet and sound deadening removed), plastic panes, flocked dash, Wiechers six-point roll-cage, Momo seats with Schroth four-point harnesses, Momo snap-off steering wheel, Tilton pedals and hydraulic handbrake, custom carbon fibre gear knob, Racepak digital data logger and gauges for boost, oil and water temperature, alloy floor mats, OMP fire extinguisher. Dry sump tank, swirl pot for fuel, oil cooler shroud, fuel pump and filter Aeroquip hosing and gel battery in boot.

    THANKS: Steiner Cristiansen, Knut Grave, Andreas Buoen, Johnny Slaen, Jons Dekk Og Felg, Extremedesign.no and everyone else who helped build this car.

    Scandinavia has some of the finest examples of Bavarian metal on the planet, putting America’s high standards to serious shame with mind-blowing performance figures.

    Special thanks to Sheighla Bilgrami at Network Languages Limited for helping us out with a translator (01344 870 700/ networklanguages.com)

    Tarjei’s masterpiece! A huge custom SSP intercooler keeps the air to the Turbonetics twin-turbo nice and cool.
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