- Post is under moderationCUSTOM E36 Wide-body and #S50-swap
With its custom, handmade, wide-arch bodywork, the eye-popping Unique Customs E36 certainly lives up to its name. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andy Tipping.
BODY WORK Custom wide-body S50-swapped E36
Not all enthusiasts are hands-on enough to get down and dirty when it comes to modifying their BMs. But there are some who really build their projects, assembling the whole thing in a driveway or garage and being personally involved with the entire project. However, for some people that’s still not enough; people like Chris Pattrick, for example, owner of Unique Customs (www.unique-customs.co.uk). When it came to building his E36 M3 project car, he went the extra mile of actually making his own body panels!
We first spotted Chris’ E36 at the Santa Pod BMW show back in 2015 and it really stood out from the crowd, mainly thanks to that, appropriately enough, unique widebody kit which was not only a pretty outlandish thing to behold but also exceptionally well-built and finished. That was before we even spotted the wheels, the interior or realised that there was an S50 under the bonnet, making it as much about performance as it is styling. It’s a comprehensive package for sure and one which has the added appeal of being a unique build, which is not something many people can say about their car.
Chris has spent plenty of his 25 years playing with various cars, including a Saxo and a Peugeot 106, along with a spate of VWs. That was going great until a Caddy project which had got right up to the paintwork stage before Chris realised it must have had a significant front-end shunt at some point in its life as none of the panels would line up. “I stormed out of the bodyshop,” he says, “and, having recently bought an E90 320d as a daily and liking how it drove compared with VWs, I decided to get myself an E36 as a toy and new project.
The car started out life as a 323i and I found it online; it was in good condition with no rust and nice wheels and just needed paint really. It was exactly what I was after and perfect for what I had in mind.”
Most of what Chris had in mind was in regards to bodywork, which is what took up most of the work that went into the project as a whole. “We started working on the body one panel at a time. I just had a vision of what I wanted it to look like. We handcrafted everything from start to finish which took us around ten months in total. The main problem I had when it came to doing the body was deciding what would actually suit it. It’s all well and good spotting parts on another car and deciding whether or not you like them, but when you’re actually starting from scratch and making body panels by hand, you’re putting a lot of time into them and so you’re constantly thinking ‘is it enough?’ or ‘is too over the top?’ and trying to reach a happy medium.”
If you prefer your BMWs leaning towards the more subtle, standard end of the styling spectrum then Chris’ creation probably won’t be for you but in terms of making an impact and showing off what Unique Customs is all about, it definitely hits the spot. The most attention-grabbing elements are without doubt the wings, the front ones being a two-piece design with those aggressive vents, and all four are significantly wider than stock – 30mm a side up front and 50mm each at the rear, which equates to an extra 10cm, four-inches of total width at the back.
The front bumper has been fitted with a deep chin splitter and there’s a vented bonnet up front along with a set of modified headlights sporting a Unique Customs shroud kit, which looks great. Side skirts and flair blades beef up the car’s flanks and the rear has undergone extensive restyling, with Unique Customs rear bumper extensions, rear diffuser with fins and a pronounced ducktail spoiler. Additional exterior finishing touches include gunmetal grey trims and a matt grey roof wrap, both of which make a nice change from black.
Obviously with that sort of visual heavy artillery on board Chris needed to make sure his E36 sat right and had the right wheels to fill out those massive arches: “I went for HSD coilovers, which offer up a nice but firm drive and with the polybushes the car drives really well. I also added E46 bottom arms as I love the way they kick the wheels out but keep them really flat on full lock.”
Speaking of wheels, there was only one choice here as far as Chris was concerned: “I’ve always loved the Z3 M Style 40 alloys, but only the rears, so I knew I had to get a set of four rears for this car. It took some doing as the wheels are getting rare, so I had to buy two sets to achieve the look I wanted.” It was definitely worth the effort, though, as they look awesome and, most importantly, do a fantastic job of filling out those fat arches.
When it came to the interior, stock certainly wouldn’t do and it needed to tie in with the exterior styling. “I decided that the stripped-out look would be perfect,” says Chris. “The roll-cage was a pain, though, as it needed painting and fitting in the car before the car itself could be painted as we did not want the car getting damaged while fitting the cage. John at Unique Customs painted it and it came out amazing.”
The cage in question is a six-point OMP item finished in white with extra door bars and an extra rear bar, while the pair of Cobra Monaco leather seats, which are fitted with TRS harnesses and sit on Sparco subframes, are the only ones you’ll find in the car as the rears have long since been disposed of, along with the rear alloy bulkhead. Other interior modifications include an alloy passenger footrest and Total Dynamic Motorsport doorcards.
So that’s all the style taken care of, but what about the substance? Now that’s where that 3.0-litre S50 swap comes in because as good as the 323i’s M50 is, it’s not as good as the M3’s spectacular ’six. “I bought an M3 engine and running gear and switched everything over into the E36. While I was doing it I also gave the engine some new parts, seals and removed the secondary air pump. There were also a lot of split air pipes around the engine so we changed those as well as having the Vanos rebuilt and changing all the sensors around engine.”
Suitably refreshed, the engine was dropped in along with an aluminium rad, a set of Samco hoses, a K&N air filter and a stainless steel exhaust, finished off with a pair of suitably large upturned tips. The fivespeed gearbox, meanwhile, has been fitted with an uprated clutch and braided clutch hose and lightened 4kg flywheel. With the E36 finished, Chris is planning to move on to either a 1 Series or an E30 and, judging by this E36, we can’t help but wonder what the next build is going to look like. Purists and those of a nervous disposition won’t be fans of this E36, but in terms of making a statement and getting noticed it’s the perfect machine and, most importantly of all, Chris has built the car he wanted and it is something truly unique.
“I bought an M3 engine and running gear and switched everything over into the E36”
DATA FILE Unique Customs E36 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-S54 / #BMW-M3-Coupe / #BMW-M3-Coupe-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #S50B30 / #BMW-S30 / #ZF / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW / #BMW-M-Style-40 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six S50B30 , #K&N air filter, stainless steel exhaust system, #Samco hoses, alloy radiator, #ZF-Type-C five-speed manual gearbox, lightened 4kg uprated flywheel, uprated clutch, braided clutch line
CHASSIS 9x17” (f&r) BMW Z3 M Style 40 wheels with 215/40 (f&r) Nankang Ultrasport NS2 tyres, HSD coilovers, E46 bottom arms, front and rear strut braces, fully polybushed, EBC RedStuff pads (f&r), drilled and grooved discs (f&r), braided brake hoses (f&r)
EXTERIOR Unique Customs vented bonnet, vented two-piece front wing kit 30mm wider per side, front deep chin splitter Evo lip, side skirts and flair blades, rear overfenders 50mm wider per side, rear bumper extensions, rear diffuser with fins, rear ducktail spoiler, modified headlights with Unique Customs shroud kit, LED light upgrade and xenons, gunmetal grey tims, matt grey roof wrap
INTERIOR Six-point OMP roll-cage with extra door bars and extra rear bar, Cobra Monaco leather seats on Sparco subframes, TRS harnesses, alloy passenger footrest, alloy rear bulkhead delete, Total Dynamic Motorsport plastic doorcards
THANKS John at Unique Customs for all the paint work and Joe Graver for all the mechanical work
Custom exhaust is finished off with a pair of suitably-sized tips; rear bulkhead has been removed and an extra brace has been fitted.
Interior is now home to a pair of Cobra seats and an OMP cage.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationWIDE-ARCH M3 Stunningly modified E30
With its flawless finish, custom wide arches and blood-red innards, this E30 M3 is a rare beast indeed. And Ricardo Oliveira’s lengthy unicorn hunt has certainly been quite a journey… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Anna Taylor.
Wide-arch E30 M3
When we interview feature car owners, we always ask if they have anyone they’d like to thank – and it’s very telling that Ricardo Oliveira chooses to thank ‘all the people that laughed at my plans’. His, you see, is a tale of following his own path, cutting against the grain, and numerous other inspirational fridge-magnet clichés that have led to one of the cleanest and most eye-watering E30 M3s we’ve seen.
Oh yes, and it is a bona fide M3. Haters be damned, Ricardo’s ‘ruined’ it to his own dream specs, and he really couldn’t be happier about that: “This whole thing dates back to 1997, when I was 11 years old,” he explains. “My brother, Pedro, purchased his first E30 M3; it was a #1989 car, Alpine white, with 60k miles on the clock. I fell in love with it as soon as I laid eyes on it, there was something about the box arches and the way the little four-cylinder engine sounded coming down the street. I would wash it and go for rides in it any chance I had. I still remember the smell of the fresh leather and sitting in the rear seat listening to the Borla exhaust like it was yesterday.”
It’s safe to say that this early obsession showed little sign of abating; Ricardo was in deep, and there was no way he wouldn’t own an M3 one day. He was totally single-minded about that. “By the time I was 20, I had saved up enough money to buy one,” he says, “and heard of someone local selling a Lachs silver example that had a salvage title. It needed work, but was fairly priced… although as I prepared it for restoration, I began to have doubts about spending money on something that had been a weekend track car – which had evidently seen a barrier or two!”
As you may have deduced, that car is not the M3 you’re looking at today. Ricardo pulled the cord on that one and set about hunting down a better example to fulfil that childhood dream. In the course of his search he happened across a Henna red shell with matching numbers and all the right bits which he ended up buying, but then selling once he realised that the magnitude of the work, combined with his having been accepted into police academy, meant that realistically it just wouldn’t get done.
Fast-forward a few years and, at the age of 24, our man found himself graduating from police academy and, of course, the E30 fire was still very much burning away in the depths of his soul. “I began working my regular night shift, along with countless morning overtime shifts,” he recalls. “I remember going to bed at 4pm and waking at 10pm, only to grab a bite and head right back to work – just so I could purchase another E30 M3!” Ricardo really was committed to this dream, and those previous false starts did nothing but spur him on. And so, having saved enough money (rather more than the $7500 he paid for his first one – these cars certainly aren’t getting any cheaper) the search was resumed and, after quite some hunting, a 1990 Diamond black car presented itself in Clearwater, Florida. “It was being sold by a guy named Mike, who was getting progressively sicker from cancer and could no longer enjoy the car,” Ricardo explains. “I bought the car sight unseen after numerous hours on the phone discussing every detail – and a week and a half later, it was home with me in New Jersey!”
A fairytale ending? Er, no, not quite. Unfortunately it turned out that Mike had been, shall we say, a little creative with the detail, particularly in his use of the word ‘perfect’. Knowing E30 M3s inside out by this point, Ricardo started to feel some serious buyer’s remorse when he began to comb through the car. “I’d been told it was perfect, 100% rust-free and had recently been repainted,” he laments, “but it had been sprayed at a #MAACO body shop where even the window trims had been painted over; it was a very poor masking and spraying job, and in addition to that it’d painted over some surface rust that was already starting to bubble. I began to feel like Nicholas Cage in Gone In 60 Seconds – just like he continuously ran into problems with Eleanor, his ‘Unicorn’, so was I with the E30. That’s why I nicknamed it ‘Unicorn’.”
Ricardo tried to take these issues up with Mike, but he understandably had bigger fish to fry; shortly afterwards, word came through that he’d succumbed to the cancer. A sad turn of events, but it served to harden Ricardo’s resolve: the car would get sorted, and done right – Mike’s work would be finished properly, and Ricardo’s own childhood dreams would be fulfilled. So, where to start?
“I spent the first year ordering and collecting parts,” he says. “It was so bad, the house looked like a BMW parts department! I became a regular at the local BMW dealership, and the guys there now all know me by first, middle and last name. Probably even by credit card number…” In addition to all the new OEM stuff, he was hoarding period aftermarket addenda like some kind of eager magpie. It was all leading to the end-goal vision he had in his head.
And so with parts collected and boxes ticked, the work began in earnest. “The first step was the engine bay overhaul,” he says. “The engine came out along with all the sound and heat insulation, the bay was shaved and wire-tucked, and the motor was fully rebuilt. All the brackets, covers, pans, throttle bodies, belts, wires, gaskets, housings and bolts were either galvanised, polished, powdercoated, or replaced.” While stalking through the shell with militaristic force, it goes without saying that any rot Ricardo came across was swiftly eliminated and remedied with fresh metal. This was to be a better-than-new finish, no compromises.
With the bay sorted, Ricardo chose to focus on the wheels and arches. “I knew I wanted to do something no-one had done before,” he grins. “I decided to widen the rear arches to match the curves of the front wings – look closely and you’ll see that the standard rear quarters are flat while the front wings are round – and I aimed to extend them 1.5” further than stock. I basically wanted to widen the car, but to look as if BMW had originally done it.” You’ve got to admit that it works. The finish is flawless, and you might be hard pushed to put your finger on exactly what he’s done, had he not just explained it to you.
Impressive arches demand impressive wheels, so after a period of head-scratching and careful consideration, Ricardo acquired a set of BBS RS faces and sent them over to Paul at Ehrlich Wheel Works; a proven favourite design for the E30 M3, but these were to be finished with a twist. “To set these wheels apart from others, Paul and I planned to not only have the normal 3” slant lips people use for their rears fitted to the fronts instead, but we’d also be doing 4” lips on the rears – and we’d be doing them on a set of soon-to be-18” #BBS RSs.”
Much like the treatment of the arches, this is an exercise in tricking the eye – onlookers will see something familiar, and perhaps not immediately notice how radically different it actually is. This is Ricardo’s style – the car’s packed with features that fly under the everyday radar, but consistently drop the jaws of true-blue enthusiasts.
Once Ricardo got started on the exterior, it seems he couldn’t quite restrain himself from spreading yet more custom touches throughout the build. The rear panel was shaved to mimic the period AC Schnitzer offerings, a Euro front bumper arrived which was quickly shorn and smoothed, custom tail-lights were made up, and the rear spoiler received an Evo II lower item, an Evo III upper (with its famous threeposition adjustment – Monza, Normal, Nürburgring) and even a ’1992-spec carbon fibre DTM flap. “The custom bodywork took up most of the restoration, two years to be exact,” he recalls, “which then gave me the time to start the interior.”
Oh, and what an interior it is! Sending the parts out to Charlie of Branch Brook Auto Top for refreshing, Ricardo admits that he may have “decided to go a little crazy”, choosing the M3-correct shade of Cardinal red as his colour scheme, he opted to imbue a little Porsche style into the cabin by making literally everything red. Everything.
“I had Charlie wrap the dashboard, headlining, pillars, rear deck, and the Evo steering wheel in either Cardinal red GAHH leather or Alcantara, along with installing the discontinued BMW Cardinal carpet,” he smiles, like a cheeky schoolboy who knows he’s done something a bit mischievous.
All-in-all, Ricardo’s restoration and programme of modification represents a hell of a lot of work, and every last minute of it shows. The car’s certainly come a long way from that first disheartening meeting, when he found himself with a tired car that had been partially rotted out by the harsh Florida sunshine. His commitment to crafting a sort of OEM++ vision is what sets this car apart from regular M3s; it took four years of hard graft, but he finally has the E30 that his 11-year-old self dreamed of. His own personal unicorn.
Sure, he may get grief from the purists about how he’s ‘ruined’ a classic, but who gives a tuppenny squat about that? When the mission is this personal – and the ultimate results this stunning – then it’s okay to relax the rules a bit. In European folklore, the unicorn is fabled as a creature of purity and grace, and we just love how Ricardo’s turned that on its head in a US context – old world values, new world thinking. It’s the American dream.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #S14B23 / #BMW-S14 / #S14 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E30 / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder S14B23 , fully rebuilt, new #CP-Pistons (stock compression ratio), polished throttle bodies, powdercoated valve cover and air plenum with polished script, shaved engine bay with wire tuck, #Miller-Performance-MAF conversion/chip, custom air intake for #Miller-MAF , Evo plug wires, Mishimoto aluminium radiator, #Samco silicone hoses, custom aluminium reservoirs for power steering and coolant, stainless steel braided lines with AN fittings, electric fan, custom stainless steel exhaust with V bands, Supersprint silencer, ceramic-coated headers, new OEM engine mounts, water pump, ignition coil, cap and rotor, five-speed manual gearbox, Sachs clutch
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 10x18” (rear) #BBS-RS three-piece split-rims with 215/35 (front) and 235/35 (rear) Continental ExtremeContact tyres, BC coilovers, #Ireland-Engineering 25mm anti-roll bars and links (front and rear), Ireland Engineering polished front strut brace, rear subframe and trailing arm urethane bushings, new control arms, cross-drilled #StopTech discs
EXTERIOR Full respray in original Diamond black, widened and rolled front arches and rear quarters, shaved boot and numberplate panel, shaved window cowl with #AC-Schnitzer single wiper, shaved rear bumper to delete USDM city lights, new Euro front bumper with shaved tow hook covers, Evo III front spoiler and splitter, Evo II and Evo III rear spoilers and ’92 carbon fibre DTM rear spoiler flap, Evo III brake ducts, AC Schnitzer power/ heated mirrors, conversion to pop-out quarter glass, new BMW roundels and M3 badges, powdercoated window trims in satin black, all rubber seals for windows, doors, bonnet, boot and sunroof replaced, Hella smoked E-code headlights, custom rear smoked/red tail-lights, smoked indicators, LED city lights, LED numberplate lights
INTERIOR Cardinal red leather retrimmed by Branch Brook Auto Top (complete dashboard, front and rear centre console and Evo steering wheel also trimmed in Cardinal red leather), headlining, pillars and rear shelf trimmed in Cardinal red Alcantara, Euro sunshade on rear shelf, OEM Cardinal Red carpet, E46 M3 floor mats, Evo door sills, Alpine head unit, Alpine front and rear component speakers
THANKS My parents who gave me the support to complete this project, my brothers for their support – Joao Oliveira and especially Pedro Oliveira, who made me fall in love with the E30 M3 since 1997, Wally the painter, Paul Ehrlich from Ehrlich Wheel Works, Charlie ‘Suede’ from Branch Brook Auto Top & Interiors, Ben Barron, Mike Chin, and Francois Rodrigues from BMW of Springfield, Don Fields of Mr. M Car, Rich the machinist, Sidney Almeida for assisting me in building the engine, and all the people who laughed at my plans…
“It was so bad, the house looked like a parts department!”
“I knew I wanted to do something no-one had done before…”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNAUGHTY #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 #VR6 / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-II / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #VW-Golf-II / #VW-Golf / #VW / #VW-Golf-RV6-II / #Volkswagen /
While some of you won’t get Darren Bates’ naughty ’90s-inspired Mk2 VR6, for those that were there first time around this supercharged terror will be right up your street! Words and photos: Jon Cass.
Ah yes, the ’90s VW show scene. The cars, the people, where are they now? It’s a question that’s been asked many times at shows and meets over the last decade and often results in an entertaining and rewarding conversations as many older show-goers have encyclopedic memories. Go on, ask a dedicated Dub-head about that Mk1 on three-spokes with the purple paint job you last saw in 1998; if they don’t remember it, one of their mates will. Chances are they might even know where it is now, that it’s due to make a return any time soon and that those infamous three-spokes are sat in so-and-so’s loft gathering dust. There’s even a group on social media now to help answer all our ’90s show queries and, to prove our memories aren’t that fuzzy quite yet, it’s got a lot of people reminiscing.
Now, I’m making this sound like these amusing stories and detailed memories are likely to fade away into nothingness if they’re not passed on to the next generation pretty sharpish, almost as though the ’90s show-goers are akin to surviving veterans from the First World War. Thankfully, though, this is far from the truth and more often than not, those same folk who were slaving away in their garage 20 years ago are still coming up with the goods today. The only real difference is there’s Radio 2 on in the background instead of Radio 1.
Proof of this is Darren Bates and his supercharged Mk2 VR6. He’s collecting trophies like there’s no tomorrow and is so full of enthusiasm, you’d think this was his first ever car, let alone show car. Yet, Darren has been modifying VWs since the late ’80s, beginning with a Mk1 cab which set the ball rolling and he’s never really stopped since. “I had to sell that one, but within a month I’d bought another as I missed the first one so much,” he smiles.
His next purchase was an orange Mk1 Cab which then became a regular sight on the show scene for the best part of the next 11 years – from the ’90s through to the early 2000s. It was bright, it was loud and it was heavily modified. It was certainly of its time and a highly respected show car to boot. Numerous trophies and magazine features proved its worth and Max Power (at the height of its popularity) voted it one of its top 100 cars of all time. Hell, even Mike Brewer had it on his TV show, Revved Up! The OEM fans might be shaking their heads in disbelief right now but back in the ’90s Darren was at the top of his game.
“I sold the Mk1 in 2006 and bought myself a Mk2 Edition 1 G60,” Darren recalls. “I soon bought a Mk1 Caddy and, sure enough, couldn’t resist the temptation to slot the G60 from the Mk2 into the pick-up!” The smiles were short lived as the caddy soon met its fate in a collision which sadly wrote it off. “To cheer myself up, I went out and bought a Pearl white Corrado with a grey leather interior and had a G60 in that one also,” Darren remembers. There’s a theme building here, as you’ve probably spotted, but a Noble M12 was soon to randomly shake that up and Darren then held on to the Brit sports car for five years.
“The call of the VW badge returned and this time, I went for a Mk1 Caddy in black with flames down the side,” Darren laughs. “I slammed it to the deck and got it looking just the way I wanted.” The down side of a slammed Mk1 on coilovers was soon realised after the first few potholes. “It was great fun to drive but my back was suffering with the harsh ride; it confirmed I wasn’t as young as I used to be!” The Caddy was sold before Darren’s spine shattered and he set about looking for a replacement: “It had to be a Mk1 or Mk2 Golf as they’ve always been in my blood. I just had to make sure it would be a little more comfortable to drive than the Caddy!”
Sure enough, his next purchase was this car here: an #1989 Mk2 Golf 1.6CL German import lefthooker which was promptly stripped down. The shell was taken back to bare metal to reveal the rot and a new front valance, inner wheel arches and firewall welded in place. The shell itself was repainted an attractive baby blue shade and new rubbers, bumpers, locks and handles were all fitted to the exterior. Underneath, the shell received new brake pipes and brake lines. In contrast to his extreme Mk1 Cab of the ’90s, Darren’s opted for a more restrained look for his Mk2, inspired by other cars currently on the show scene. Having said that, this is still eyecatching enough! “The small bumpers and lack of side skirts and wheel arch extensions show off the Mk2’s lines better,” Darren reckons. “And the welded metal plate across the tailgate gives a flush effect, which I prefer.” There are subtle details, too, such as the door handles with Volkswagen inserts. The overall finish is flawless and the look could be described as slightly oldskool, although that was Darren’s full intention all along. “I didn’t want to tread the huge bodykit and massive rims path but I liked the idea of dropping a few hints towards the cars that were around when I started on the show scene.”
Perhaps the flush tailgate could be included amongst them, although the smoked rear lights, frosted indicators and black painted front valance are definitely old-skool mods.
After owning a string of supercharged G60s, Darren knew this one also had to have similarly forced induction, though rather than use a familiar four-pot he wanted ‘Baby Blue’ to be a little different. “I liked the idea of a supercharger and a VR6,” Darren smiles, “the combination of instant power, bags of torque and an infectious sound were too hard to resist!” A 2.8 VR6 from a Mk3 was located, stripped down, polished and painted to show standard. Darren added new colour-coded blue Samco hoses, water pipes and HT leads. He also fitted a new chain, pulley and sensors.
A normally aspirated Mk2 VR6 is a hoot to drive anyway and some real bargains can be picked up now as people opt for newer 1.8Ts. Darren wanted his to have an edge over the NA VR6 and a V2 #Vortex-supercharger achieved just that. “I had to upgrade to 300 injectors and adapt the sump to incorporate the supercharger,” Darren points out, “but other than that it was fairly straightforward.” The usual Mk2 exhaust has three boxes but Darren preferred to have a custom exhaust fabricated with just two boxes to improve the output. The exhaust also boasts a quirky upturned tailpipe which always attracts admiring glances. A trip to see VR6 guru, Vince at Stealth Racing in Southam, proved to be very useful with the Mk2 subsequently producing 240bhp on the rollers. “I can’t recommend Vince enough, he couldn’t do enough to get my car running at its best,” Darren adds.
He’s also recently swapped the charger pulley to one ten millimetres smaller than standard and running at 6-8psi and another trip to Stealth saw it running at a highly impressive 291bhp. There are plans too for a Devil’s Own cooling system which should see performance improved even more!
To cope with the increase in power, G60 brakes make a good investment, though these are hidden by the Porsche 928 16” rims with a five-stud pattern. The stretched tyres enhance the classic Porsche design and Darren is well pleased with the result. He’s also happy that he can have the benefit of slamming his Mk2 into the weeds if he wishes, whilst still retaining a comfortable ride. We’re talking air-ride here, an option that wasn’t as readily available or affordable back in the ’90s. The Air Lift V2 airride kit is mounted in the boot and even has a colour-coded tank. It shares its home with a neat sound system containing neon lights: “They shine against the chrome of the compressors. It looks really cool, especially at night.”
Once inside, the Mk2 dash may look familiar, though it’s now been treated to extra VDO gauges and a Momo steering wheel with the addition of an iron cross insert for the horn. To the left of the dash sits a useful boost gauge linked to the supercharger. “I wanted the interior to be crisp and clean,” Darren points out, “that’s why pretty much everything inside is black.” This includes the carpets, doorcards, back seats and even the reclining Sparco race seats which cleverly manage to look both supportive and comfy! “The interior is an ongoing love-affair so this may yet see some changes over the next few years,” he adds. Going by the amount of trophies Darren and his Mk2 have won over the past year, it would seem no changes are necessary, but as we all know you ideally need to make progress to keep those trophies coming in.
“I’m often gobsmacked about the reactions it receives; people just seem to love it,” Darren smiles. “The paint, the stance and especially the supercharger are all regular talking points at shows!” And we’re not just talking small shows here either; how’s ‘Best in Show’ at the GTI Festival at Santa Pod for you?
Okay, he may have had some time off from collecting silverware since his well-known Mk1 was sold in 2006 but his latest Mk2 just goes to demonstrate that Darren hasn’t lost his magic touch. He can still produce a show-stopper; it’s just this one’s headunit might be tuned in to Radio 2 instead of Radio 1!
ENGINE: 2.8 #VR6 fully rebuilt, stripped polished and painted, blue #Samco hoses, blue HT leads, V2 #Vortex supercharger, 300 injectors, 2” custom stainless two-box exhaust system with upturned tailpipe.
CHASSIS: 16” Porsche 928 rims, stretched tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-V2 #Air-ride with colour-coded tank, #G60 brakes, front upper strut brace. / #AirLift-Performance
EXTERIOR: Full respray in baby blue, Frenched tailgate, smoked rear lights, original door handles with chrome Volkswagen inserts, frosted indicators, black front valance, de-locked and de-badged.
INTERIOR: Black carpets, rear bench and doorcards, standard dash with #VDO gauges, Mono steering wheel with iron cross insert for horn, Sparco reclining race seats, baby blue Wolfsburg emblems on mats, #Wolfsburg badged door pins and window winders, ICE install including neon lights in boot, chrome compressors.
SHOUT: My girlfriend Ann for all her hard work, patience and, of course, cleaning!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEXTRA RARE CITROEN BX 297bhp, supercharged GTi
This immaculate BX was saved from the scrappy and now makes a very healthy 297bhp... Words Midge. Photos: Matt Woods.
“There are so few of these cars left now, it’s even more impressive”
It could be argued that the #Citroen-BX-GTi-16V is one of the most underrated hot hatches of all time. It’s certainly one of the rarest. That’s not to say they didn’t make a few, between 1987 and 1993 they rolled-out around 3000 of ‘em, but the fact is nowadays there’s probably only about 30 left and, by anyone’s standards, that’s a pretty rapid demise. On the face of it this motor had all the performance credentials. Along with its ‘in-house’ brother, the Peugeot 405 Mi16, it was the first French car to be fitted with a 16V lump. It was slightly faster than the Pug too with a 0-60 time of 7.2-seconds and a top speed in excess of 140mph… and don’t forget that was way back in 1987. The special edition bits and pieces on the body, especially when it came to the 1990 Phase II model, were sweetly distinctive and the all-round disc brakes that had been fitted to the whole BX range since 1982 didn’t go unnoticed either. Some say it was ahead of its time. I’m pretty sure they’re right.
So, what happened to them all? You would think that enthusiasts would be all over these right? Well, the trouble is they’re unbelievably complex and, being from #Citroen , when they went wrong it was generally something a tad more expensive than a thermostat. Fitted with Citroen’s hydropneumatic suspension system (albeit one of the coolest inventions ever) it wasn’t exactly a car that was easy to fix and that’s probably why over the years many have donated their Mi16 innards to keep a 405 or the odd converted 205 ticking along. It just goes to show that sometimes being totally different to the competition doesn’t always help with longevity. And that’s a massive shame.
Of course the other reason may have a little to do with the styling. Like many of the older Citroens the BX has always been something of an acquired taste. Some, like myself, think the shape is extremely cool, in a retro kinda way. Others say these look like the bastard child of Robocop and your nan’s Zanussi washing machine. Either way there’s no denying they all have a face that only a mother could love.
Ian Nixon, the creator of this particular supercharged beast agrees with me on that. He fully admits he’s never been a fan of Citroens but equally he couldn’t step away from the serious performance the BX GTi 16 offers. “I hated them until I realised the potential. I tried to blow one of these off in my Audi 80 when I was a kid and before I looked round it was gone. I couldn’t believe it.” Years later Ian had a Xantia run-around and was impressed by the handling the hydropneumatic system serves up so, with that in mind, an old school BX build was always on the cards – the only trouble was finding one.
Locating a base car that’s rarer than a load of hen’s teeth nestling in a pile of rocking horse shite is one of those neighon impossible tasks. I guess Ian was lucky coming across a car collector that wasn’t exactly impressed with his. Then again ‘lucky’ is a relative term and a blown head gasket on the drive home kicked off an epic re-build quicker than he may have imagined.
Still, like many of us, Ian isn’t the type of fella to pull off a head, chuck on another gasket and leave it at that. Being an engineer and a bloke who looks after all sorts of highend exotica, race cars and performance motors he asked himself the eternal question “why just repair when you can improve?” And I suppose the rest is history.
If you read through the engine spec you’ll see it’s extensive to say the least. Even though Ian specifically states that on a car like this “everything’s a mission” he’s managed to squeeze 297bhp from the 1.9-litre lump with the help of everything from a fully re-worked head, forged internals and a custom Rotrex supercharger install. There’s even a 6-speed box conversion! What’s more, the real talent lies in how it’s all been put in – if you ignore the fact it’s not covered in oil like many an old Citroen out there, it almost looks factory. That’s not an easy task to pull off.
The rest of the car is just as immaculate because it’s taken nearly as much work as under the bonnet. Then again, you don’t go throwing 8-grand’s worth of lump in a 400-quid motor with over 20 owners on the logbook without wanting to sort out a few bits along the way. Ian contracted the bodywork out to a local restoration shop and I’d like to say the rest was easy, but unfortunately it wasn’t. With the car stripped and not a whole load of work completed in 6-months he actually had to go and get it back before they destroyed the whole thing.
Handily they managed to lose most of the special 16V parts too meaning Ian had to find another whole BX 16V, just to get the bits needed to compete the job. It was another seriously lucky find, even if the circumstances were a little infuriating. The second time around Ian enlisted the help of paint supremo Steve Bell, and after a serious amount of welding (yes, it’s a proper Citroen) and fettling it left the booth pretty much as you see it today. With the stunning Dolmen Grey respray and a few exterior touches it’s clear that he’s chosen to keep the styling true to the original. Even the 17-inch BBS wheels are somewhat reminiscent of the standard 14-inch Speedlines fitted at the factory. A subtle but undeniably nice touch.
In all, it’s not been the simplest of jobs but you have to commend Ian for his never-failing persistence. Without bringing that quality to the table this could have so easily been yet another BX 16V relegated to the scrappy. Instead he’s not only built himself one of the sweetest retro motors in the UK but, perhaps most importantly, he’s kept another super-rare French legend on the streets.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #1991 #Citroen-BX-GTi-16V-Phase-II / #Citroen-BX / #Citroen-BX-GTi
Engine: 1.9 #XU9J4DFW engine ( Mi16 ), stage 5, high flow head, big valve #Siamese ported cylinder head, #Kent-PT81 inlet cam/ PT82 exhaust, #Kent VS34 double valve springs and titanium retainers, Kent vernier pulleys, #Richard-Longman 4-1 manifold, #Cosworth-57X exhaust manifold fixing kit D6C block with #DFW pistons (comp 9:5:1), PEC performance H section light weight conrods with #ARP bolts, #Peugeot-Motorsport GPA 1:1 oil pump, Constella Sump baffle, Mocal oil breather system, #Accusump 4 quarts oil accumulator system, #Rotrex SP30/74 centrifugal supercharger, Pace charge cooler from RS turbo, Range Rover P38 intercooler, #Samco intake and discharge pipe work, #Baker BM coolant hoses, #Baker-BM engine hung mounts and solid stabiliser mount, Standard #Bosch-Motronic 4.1 ECU live mapped by Wayne Scofield of Chipwizards, #Astra-VXR injectors, #Sytec high flow fuel filter, Sierra #Cosworth GPA fuel pump, #FSE fuel pressure regulator.
Transmission: Peugeot 306 GTI-6 BE-6 gearbox, #Quaife-ATB differential, Royal Purple oil.
Chassis: 17-inch #BBS-RX alloys, 205/45 R17 tyres.
Interior: Standard 16v Le-Mans cloth trim, #VDO boost gauge, Quaife nylon gear knob.
Exterior: Extended bumpers to accommodate intercooler, additional air intake on NSF wing, fog lights removed and turned into brake ducts, steel bonnet, Mk3 Golf gas bonnet struts, resprayed respray in original Citroen Dolmen Grey.
Thanks Steve Bell for the paintwork, Peter Greenwood for the fibreglassing expertise, Wayne Schofield for the mapping and advice and Jackie for spanner passing, making tea and towing around the country on trailer.
“I hated them until I realized the potential...”
Period interior is also in decent nick. #BBS 17s look almost OEM.
The fat pipe gives you a clue...
Mi16 unit makes 297bhp.
“There are so few of these cars left now, it’s even more impressive”
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- Post is under moderationFULL METAL ALCHEMIST #2015
You’d have to go a long way to find an E30 more ferocious than this 520hp, supercharged metal wide-body beast.
With a custom metal wide-body kit and a supercharger for good measure, this E30 has undergone a magical transformation. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Si Gray
Approaching Clive King’s E30 in profile causes the black paintwork to hide the incredible amount of work that’s gone into creating the body. Viewed in profile it just looks like a black E30, really, but, like one of those 3D illusion sculptures, as you start to move towards the front or back of the car the reflections on its flanks begin to twist and distort and that’s when you begin to realise that actually there is a lot more going on here than first meets the eye…
Incredibly, this is Clive’s ninth E30, a habit he’s sustained since he was 21, though he says he’s been into cars since the dawn of time, which does make us question exactly how old he might be. The car you see before you was never meant to be like this. Clive bought it with the intention of turning it into a cheap sleeper but things don’t always go to plan.
The story all started with the engine, which was originally in a Cab. “The engine started out as 2.5 and I built it up to a 2.7 before adding the Rotrex supercharger which was modified specifically to fit,” says Clive. “It actually sits where the air-con pump would be. The engine was fantastic and made 321hp but it was a bit too lively in the Cab – there was loads of scuttle shake, it was always lighting the wheels up and even though the Cab was heavier than the other body shapes, with the engine it was just too sketchy. I wanted something else to put it in and I had the opportunity to buy this E30 shell for £70, so I did. It was supposed to be a clean, low, sleeper Chromie!”
Clearly that’s not what happened and, in a roundabout sort of way, it’s Clive’s wife’s fault, really. “These wheels,” he says, pointing to his striking blue Rota RBXs, “appeared for sale on Pistonheads and I liked the retro look, they’re like big Minilites. I mentioned the fact that I liked them to my wife and she bought them for me as a surprise. When I put them on the car they stuck out. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I had to build some arches to fit over the wheels!
“I built the whole car at my workshop. The bumpers are fibreglass but I handfabricated the arches from sheet steel. I trained in bodywork but I gave it up as a job as it took away the enjoyment from my doing it as a hobby, so now I just do it for myself and my friends. The bumpers are copies of the M Tech 2 kit but they didn’t fit so I bought two jigs for the bumpers and had to cut and reshape them to make them fit, then re-fibreglass them. The skirts are fibreglass copies of some Ford Granada Scorpio sideskirts I had lying around. I had to cut them, flare them out by 4” and then re-fibreglass them. The spoiler is a copy of the E30 M3 spoiler but with a carbon gurney flap added on. The bonnet I made six years ago but never finished until I built this car. I started with the standard bonnet, measured it up, made the side spacers and then welded them in.”
The whole car looks absolutely awesome thanks to Clive’s handiwork, and while it’s not going to suit all tastes you can’t argue with the visual impact it delivers. The arches are a work of art, beautifully finished, smooth and rounded, quite unlike anything you normally see and only when looking down the car’s flank do you get the full effect. The interior is no less impressive and a lot of hard work has gone into making it as good as it is. The seats are from a Honda Accord Type R, which Clive’s wife also bought for him, and sit on custom mounts.
His verdict? “They’re very comfortable,” he says. Most of the interior is taken up by the 18(!) point roll-cage and it really is quite something. “I knew I wanted a roll-cage,” he says, “and I got this one from ‘mrben’ on the E30zone forum. I had to take it out three times while I was doing the rest of the interior though, which was a bit of a nightmare!” Clive has also de-de-skinned the sunroof and fitted a Union Jack headlining, which was actually a duvet that sacrificed itself for the greater good. Impressive as all this is, most of all we love the digital gauges in the instrument cluster. They look absolutely awesome but weren’t fitted because of their appearance. “The original gauges just couldn’t keep up with the engine,” explains Clive, “so I went for these digital gauges from Drift Iridium.” The company offers a full selection of gauges and Clive’s E30 is sporting what is pretty much the dream dash combo, with speedo, rev counter, fuel gauge and temperature all matching Drift Iridium items, with an additional boost gauge mounted in a small pod where the air vent near the door would normally be.
So to the star of the show: the engine. As we already mentioned above, it started out as a 2.5 before Clive built it up to a 2.7, which is where we pick the story up. “After I’d taken it up to 2.7 and supercharged it, the supercharger seized. It was starved of oil and the Megasquirt ECU I was running also died. I got hold of a #DTA-S80-Pro ECU and took the engine up to 2.8 myself, with an E36 M50 2.8 crank, M20 2.0 rods and M20 2.5 pistons and then I added the same Rotrex supercharger as before. The 2.8 was great but it blew a couple of head gaskets very badly as the compression was too high.
It was making 423hp but it was unreliable and while I don’t use the car often, when I do I like to enjoy it so I didn’t want it to keep breaking down on me.
“At this point I hit rock bottom and I really didn’t know what to do. I was ready to just put a 2.5 in the car and sell it. Then my wife suggested building the best engine that I could afford so with her blessing I decided to do just that. Byron on the E30zone forum runs the Engine Shed Co. in Wales; he does brilliant work, and I spoke to him about what route I should go down. After plenty of research I turned to Ireland Engineering in California to build me the engine I wanted. I sent it the specs for the block and eight weeks later the finished product turned up on my doorstep. It’s actually closer to a 2.9 than a 2.8 and the craftsmanship on the block was amazing, it was almost a shame to put it all together and stick it in the car! I took it to Byron who built the botttom end, bored the block and matched the pistons before I added the finishing touches.”
Clive set out to build the best engine he could and looking through the spec list it certainly looks like mission accomplished. There are Ireland Engineering forged rods, custom-spec Ross Racing pistons, a Cometic multi-layer steel headgasket, ARP bolts, a 264-degree custom cam from Cat Cams, along with a six-branch manifold leading to a Sportex exhaust. The boot is home to the fuel system components, with a 551 fuel cell and 2.5-litre surge tank, ‘red top’ lift pump, Bosch 044 pump and braided lines throughout. “The engine is absolutely flawless,” says a grinning Clive. “It’s making roughly 510-520hp and it’s absolutely insane. I’ve never put my foot flat to the floor because it’s too scary.” Considering that with the stripped-out interior and homemade arches it’s now significantly lighter than standard, that makes 520hp an absolutely ridiculous amount of power to be running, especially when all of it is attempting to funnel its way to the Tarmac via 225 rear tyres. Clive is clearly crazy – which means he fits right in with the likes of us then, really.
As we wrap up the shoot, we ask Clive (as we always do) if there’s anything else he’d like to do to the car. His answer is as decisive and absolute as everything else to do with this project. “There’s nothing more to do,” he states. “It’s finished.” Taking one last look at this E30, drinking in the curves of its outrageous arch work, the exquisitely executed interior, that masterpiece of an engine, we don’t doubt it.
DATA FILE SUPERCHARGED WIDE-BODY #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-WIDE-BODY
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Custom-built six-cylinder #M20 2.9 / #M20B29 stroker, Ireland Engineering forged rods, custom-spec Ross racing pistons, #Cometic MLS steel head gasket, #ARP bolts allround, steel windage tray, reworked head, 264-degree custom Cat Cam, six-branch manifold, #Sportex mild steel exhaust, VR6 coil packs, #Magnecor HT leads, #Rotrex-C30-94 / #Rotrex supercharger kit, #ITG air filter, front mount intercooler, E36 radiator, Kelowe twin-speed main fan and two 8” auxiliary fans. #DTA S80 Pro ECU – wiring harness traction and launch control ready, uprated injectors, urban camo #Samco hose kit, 551 fuel cell, 2.51 surge tank, red top lift pump, #Bosch-044 pump, twin filters, adjustable pressure regulator and braided fuel lines. Five-speed manual gearbox, Z3 short-shift, lightened flywheel with Stage 3 DriveTorque clutch, 3.64 LSD
CHASSIS 9.5x17” (front and rear) ET-19 #Rota-RBX wheels painted in Candy Fantasy blue with 205/45 (front) and 225/45 (rear) #Maxxis Maz 1 tyres, FK High Sport coilovers, #H&R adjustable roll bars, rear camber kit, M3 eccentric front bushes, Powerflex polybushes all-round, strengthened sub frames, #Sparco twin-tube strut brace, #Wilwood ultra-light four-pot #BBK with 310mm discs (front), drilled/grooved rear, tubbed rear arches, front inner arches removed
EXTERIOR Custom steel wide arches flared 4”, hand-built side skirts, stretched #M-Tech 2 bumpers, custom swage lines, smoothed body, custom vented bonnet, carbon fibre boot spoiler, Startec rear lights, smoked headlights, carbon wrapped mirrors and door trims, side indicators removed, M3 bonded windscreen, sunroof panel lightened and bonded, airbrushed Union Jack/German flag on rocker cover, car finished in high gloss jet black
INTERIOR Recaro front seats on custom mounts, rear seats removed, deep-dish steering wheel, Drift Iridium digital gauges, centre switch panel, 18-point Safety Devices roll-cage, Sparco three-point harnesses, custom Union Jack headliner
THANKS My wife, Charlotte, Cotswold Airport (01285 771177 ‘Come and see us some time’), Circuit Motorsport Ltd trading as Sabre Tuning (Paul Shepherd, 01249 782596), The Engine Shed (Byron, 07788 454083), my dad for helping me and my mum for making him!
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- Post is under moderationIT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS #BMW
On the surface this is a very nice #BMW-E46 M3 but dig deeper and you’ll discover it’s been modified to an incredible level. At first glance Pete Sidwell’s E46 M3 is clearly something pretty special, but go in closer and this thing is just off the scale… Words: Ben Koflach /// Photos: Louis Ruff @ Definitive
Let’s face it, we all love to tinker with our cars – you probably wouldn’t be reading this magazine if you didn’t. Whether it’s a set of lowering springs, a change of wheels or something as big as an engine swap, many of us can probably claim to have worked on a few areas of our cars to improve or personalise them.
There are some people, however, who take things a step further and set out to not only personalise their cars, but take them to a level of finish far higher than they left the factory with. Pete Sidwell is one of the those people: “I bought an E46 M3 because I’d wanted one from the moment I saw them in magazines,” he began. “I’d had mainly Japanese cars before, but wanted something more luxurious after running a WRX for a couple of years. It took me six months to find the right one – I’d almost given up! I finally found one just ten miles away from my home, having travelled all over the country looking at them. I wanted a nonsunroof, non-nav, manual Coupé in Silver grey with full service history, 19s and as low a mileage as I could afford. It had just 40k on it when I got it.
“This was in July 2010, and I had the intention of mildly modifying it but then the bug bit and I couldn’t stop!” smiled the 33-year-old aircraft engineer. “My initial mods were very basic, then after attending a few shows I decided that I wanted to create something more unique. I met James from Redish Motorsport in February 2012 and the car moved to a whole new level.”
Up to this point, Pete had fitted a #Vorsteiner-V-CSL carbon fibre bumper, dropped the car on KW V3s and was running Kawasaki Ninja green-centred #BBS LMs, along with CSL rear end goodies and an Eisenmann exhaust. It was down at Redish Motorsport in Bristol that things really started to take off – James Redish dropped almost the entirety of the car’s underside and disassembled it all, before sending virtually every component off for blasting and powdercoating.
After putting in an extensive order to the dealers – which included numerous screws, bolts, new wheel bearings, underside plastics and much more – Redish set about cleaning up the underneath. The all-toocommon rear subframe mounting cracks were addressed with welding repairs and reinforcement plates, before the brake and fuel lines were removed and the whole underside was cleaned and re-coated with fresh seam sealer where needed and underseal over the whole lot. At this point all of the parts returned from powdercoating – Pete chose to have the rear subframe, trailing arms, diff heatsink, V-brace, engine undertray and suspension springs coated in a darker shade of the Ninja green that his wheels had been painted in, while the rear upper control arms were painted in blue to match the Hardrace adjustable lower control arms that would be going on. With new brake and fuel lines made and fitted, the rest of the refit process could begin.
As part of this process, the freshly powdercoated chassis bits were fitted with polybushes, including Powerflex subframe and front control arm bushes along with Rogue Engineering rear trailing arm bushes. Then, once the fuel tank and all of the heatshields had been refitted, the subframe was bolted in and the suspension components were added to it piece by piece. The rear control arms were attached along with the trailing arms, shocks and springs, and from there the rear hubs were built back up with new brake discs and pads, Goodridge braided flexi lines and refurbished calipers.
From here, the diff could be bolted back together and reinstalled along with new CVJ grease and a new joint gasket, before the newly painted driveshafts were hoisted into position too. The freshly painted anti-roll bar and brackets could then be fitted along with Powerflex bushes. Finally, the prop, exhaust heat shields and the exhaust itself could be installed, rendering the E46 far better than when it left the factory in 2004. “It was a huge job,” James Redish chipped in. “But due to Pete’s excellent planning and prep work, and our commitment to this job, it was completed in just eight days. It was a really enjoyable project and one which I won’t forget in a hurry,” he smiled.
Redish has gone on to offer this underside restoration service for all manner of BMWs, and its E46 M3 boot floor repair is fast becoming the industry standard – it has developed its own reinforcement plates and offers a fantastic service.
After all of the work on the underside, Pete turned his attention to the interior once more. He fitted a Storm Motorwerks titanium-plated gear knob and handbrake grip, as well as perforated leather gaiters with green stitching and had the centre armrest trimmed to match. The steering wheel was updated thanks to a full retrim by Royal Steering Wheels with perforated black leather grips, Alcantara sections and an oversteer marker all with green stitching. Then it was time to add some green flashes to the underbonnet area, which was done with a full complement of Samco coolant and ancillary hoses. A billet oil filter cover was fitted too, and after countless hours spent cleaning, the car was ready for its first proper show outing at Gaydon BMW Festival 2012.
“Gaydon 2012 was a bit gutting,” explained Pete. “I couldn’t get the bonnet up! We’d spent at least three full days prepping and replacing parts under there and got all of my Samco hoses fitted ready for the show, only to be let down by a faulty bonnet pin!” However, as you can imagine, the underside of the car was still wellreceived. Pete was far from done with the engine anyway, and in the year that followed, he worked on something that would truly make his car unique…
First up, the secondary air pump was removed. Then, in its place, Pete plumbed in an oil catch can to stop harmful oil vapours being recirculated into the engine and was, of course, painted Kawasaki Ninja green. The next step really stirred up some controversy, as Pete removed the velocity stacks from his OE air box, had them powdercoated in his trademark green and set about running them as open trumpets.
The method of doing this is relatively simple, but to do it without losing power and as neatly as Pete has is quite something. The key to making sure the switch to open the trumpets ran as well as possible was keeping heat out of the engine bay, and cold air going towards the intake. For this, Pete had his OEM bonnet put under the knife, with GTR style vents installed to draw heat from underneath it. The rest of the work mostly included vents and ducts to fire cool air over the intakes.
Before mapping, the car was running pretty rich and Pete even noticed that it was shooting fire from the intakes – spectacular, but not ideal. In the interlude between finishing the mechanical side and mapping it, Pete also pressed on with a number of transmission upgrades, the parts for which he’d slowly been gathering over the period of a few months. This included a TTV ‘Lite’ flywheel, weighing just 5.1kg, along with a Stage 2 clutch (capable of handling 50% more torque than the OE clutch), Sachs nonself- adjusting pressure plate, a new clutch release bearing and a phosphor bronze pivot pin. Once that lot was bolted up along with new OE flywheel and clutch bolts, the outside of the box could be furnished with new parts too, namely a Goodridge braided clutch line and CDV delete, Rogue Engineering transmission mounts and an E60 545i shifter, which reduces the throw by around 30% when compared to an original E46 M3 item.
“All of the transmission upgrades really worked out great,” Pete smiled. “The shift is noticeably quicker, the clutch pedal feels great (although heavy), and the engine feels loads more responsive.” Ah yes, back to that engine – Pete fitted a set of ITG sock filters just in time for mapping, which revealed some surprising results.
First off, Pete had reinstalled the factory air box to get a base figure from it. “I took the car to Wayne at ChipWizards in Warrington. Three base runs were laid down in the car’s initial state,” he commented. “We recorded a healthy 351.1hp and 277lb ft. Wayne was impressed with the figures, and it seemed consistent with the car having adapted to modifications and running cleaner air with the catch tank since it was dyno’d at 345hp by Evolve in 2012.
“Luke [from Redish Motorsport] and I then set about stripping off all the OEM kit and bolting the stacks and filters back on, and then wiring in the Inlet Air Temperature sensor kit. Initial dyno runs with the original map and no MAF showed the car to have lost about 10hp across the rev range with some significant holes in the powerband and torque curves at about 1900 and 2600rpm. Wayne was confident that he could iron out the trouble spots and get the car running better. The ECU was reflashed with a seriously tweaked Alpha-N file, and we went from there…
“At about half 8 that evening, Wayne was still busy with the car as it was creating a few weird AFRs, so we decided to take the stacks apart and just give them a good clean. The next run then showed 389.2hp and 297lb ft of torque with no holes in the power band and it sounded unbelievable! We finally finished at about midnight, with the car driving like a dream.”
With the final print-out reading as 312.4hp and 255lb ft at the wheels (the aforementioned figures being at the flywheel), Pete was understandably a happy man. With an addiction to the new found power and induction noise, it was only a matter of time before things were stepped up a notch yet again.
“I started stockpiling parts for the next stage of my build, beginning with a Cobra Imola Pro-Fit GT bucket seat. Initially I could only run one in the car as it was my daily and I had to get the kids in the back!” Pete laughed. With this and the plans in mind, Pete’s attention also turned to the chassis and braking setups once more. First up, a set of Michelin Pilot Supersports were ordered up in CSL sizes, as Pete had new wheels in mind, and the K Sport brakes he had previously were ditched for something far more premium. “The kit I ordered was Alcon’s 365mm offering with six-piston calipers – I upgraded as I intended to make my car more track-orientated.”
Pete’s final exterior touch – and one that shows off those Alcons even better – was a set of #Quantum 44 S1s in 9.5x19” sizing with staggered offsets. “I’d decided it was time for a change, and after speaking to Chris at CM Wheels we decided that the car needed something different and fresh!” smiled Pete. “The result was the first set of Quantum44 S1s in these sizes, custom painted to suit my car. The concave faces of the wheels are crazy – I love them – and the green detail looks immense when the car is rolling!” Shod in those CSL-sized Michelin Pilot Cup Sports and bolted up with a wheel stud conversion, the wheels truly do set the car apart. With the Ninja green spoke detail on each wheel tying them in with the rest of the build, it has simply elevated Pete’s car to the next level.
The final step was getting the interior finished, and Pete hasn’t done things by half: “Over the next few months I managed to squeeze in plenty of modding,” he explained. “I had my Cobra buckets re-done with green stitching and fitted them. I also removed the rear seats and built a custom rear area.” This rear part of the interior included stripping out all of the wiring and bracketry to reduce weight as much as possible, and then Pete built panelling to neaten everything up. This was trimmed in Alcantara, and the rear doorcards were given the same treatment too. Pretty much all that you’ll find in the back these days is a fire extinguisher!
The finishing touch was fitting CSL-style doorcards, using all genuine mounting parts. As they’re painted to match the wheels, they tie in perfectly: “My old carbon fibre dash inserts are gathering dust in the garage now, as I had a set of standard ones painted to match the doorcards. I also built a new carbon dash panel and located switches in it for an electric fan and eventually for an exhaust bypass valve as well as an IAT gauge and the mirror switch.
“I’m really happy with how the car is now – future plans are to retire it from daily use and make it more track-orientated with 4:10 gearing, a cage and a CAE shifter,” grinned Pete. “My current favourite parts? I just love how I’ve tied all the parts together, how it sits and handles, and most of all the insane induction roar it makes! It never fails to put a smile on my face!”
With a seriously unique appearance under the bonnet, inside the car, underneath the car and on the surface, Pete can proudly say that he owns one of, if not the most reworked E46 M3s in the country. Not only has he modified it extensively to suit his taste and needs, but he’s seen to it that the whole car has been enhanced in every area, rendering it better than standard. It’s come a long way, and knowing Pete, he won’t be slowing up on it anytime soon.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E46
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , custom velocity stack setup with #ITG sock filters, custom carbon fibre heatshield & air temp sensor bracket, #Samco intake hose boots, Ramair idle control valve filter, custom cold air feeds, #Eisenmann 83mm Le Mans ‘Race’ exhaust, 100 cell cats, custom oil catch tank & brackets, secondary air pump delete, custom Alpha-N map with rear lambda and air pump delete, carbon fibre/kevlar engine cover with monochrome badge, #Samco lime green coolant & ancillary hoses, TTV ‘Lite’ 5.1kg flywheel, custom flywheel bolts
TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual gearbox, #Sachs sintered four-puck clutch, Sachs #ZF non-self-adjusting pressure plate, braided clutch line, CDV delete, Phosphor Bronze clutch pivot pin, E60 shift lever, Rogue Engineering transmission mounts, all new hardware
CHASSIS 9.5x19” ET40 (front) and 9.5x19” ET22 (rear) #Quantum 44 S1 wheels (with matt gunmetal lips and barrels, matte black spokes with Kawasaki Ninja green detailing) with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) tyres, 12mm TPI hubcentric front spacers, 10mm #H&R hubcentric rear spacers, 75mm wheel stud kit, R10 titanium wheel nuts, KW V3 coilovers with custom painted springs and Nitron rear spring perches, Rogue Engineering rear shockmounts, KW uprated front droplinks, Hardrace adjustable rear control arms, Redish Motorsport rear subframe reinforcement, Powerflex Black Series front control arm bushes, Powerflex front anti-roll bar bushes, Rogue Engineering black rear trailing arm bushes, Powerflex rear subframe & rear anti-roll bar bushes, green powdercoating (diff carrier, rear trailing arms, diff heatsink, V brace, engine undertray), blue powdercoating (rear upper control arms), all hardware replaced with either OEM or stainless steel replacements, Alcon Advantage Extreme front big brake kit consisting of six-pot monobloc calipers with Ferodo Performance pads and 365mm discs, custom painted rear brake calipers, new steel brake lines throughout, braided hoses, ATE Super Blue fluid
EXTERIOR Silver grey, #Vorsteiner V-CSL carbon fibre front bumper with flippers, custom vented OEM bonnet with GTR style vents and custom washer vent, CSL-style rear diffuser, matt black kidneys, side grilles & mirror caps, black and white carbon fibre roundels, monochrome and Ninja green side grille badges, smoked #Depo indicators, LED angel eyes with DRL and remote fade, front numberplate holder delete, driver’s door lock delete, retrofitted in-car boot release, custom decals
INTERIOR Black Nappa OEM interior, Cobra Pro-Fit GT seats with custom green stitching, custom floor mounts on driver’s side, Macht Schnell mounts for passenger side, retrimmed steering wheel (with green stitching, perforated leather grips, Alcantara top and bottom pieces and grey leather oversteer marker), black and white carbon fibre steering wheel roundel, Ninja green and monochrome steering wheel M badge, Storm Motorwerks titanium-plated V2 gear knob, handbrake lever & lighter plug blank, custom gaiters & centre armrest in black perforated leather with green stitching, carbon fibre gear trim surround, custom painted matt gunmetal dash inserts, CSL doorcards with matt gunmetal inserts and matt black door handles, door airbags deleted, monochrome door sill inserts, full LED interior lighting kit, custom carbon fibre switch panel, climate control relocated, rear seat delete trimmed in grey Alcantara with all trim/wiring/speakers removed, parcel shelf and doorcards trimmed in grey Alcantara, black HK rear speaker covers, compact fire extinguisher between front seats
AUDIO #Kenwood KDC-BT92SD head unit & #KAC-5205 amp, #Alpine SWE 815 active subwoofer, #Focal Access front component speakers, custom located iPod connection
“I love how I’ve tied all the parts together, how it sits and handles, and the insane induction roar it makes!”
“I had the intention of mildly modifying it but then the bug bit and I couldn’t stop!”
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- Post is under moderationPRODUCTION BMW… GONE WILD
RAW Motorsport have gone to town on this two-door, swapping in an #BMW #M52 and adding a turbo for good measure. Take a proven E30 race car, forget about the rule book and see what comes out – if you’re lucky it’ll be something like this: #RAW-Motorsport ’s 432hp E30 turbo. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Steve Hall and Louis Ruff @ Definitive.
Over the years I’ve gotten to know a number of personalities and companies within the modified BMW world. Some come and go, and that can certainly be said for the companies behind many feature cars. However, there’s one that’s a little different – Robin Welsh and his firm RAW Motorsport have been in these pages countless times thanks to the supreme quality work and incredible cars that roll out of the firm’s Southampton workshops, and the flow of incredible cars that Robin builds for customers seems constantly ongoing. For the first time, however, what you see before you is Robin’s personal car, which he built from the ground up. As you might expect, he’s gone all out – this one sets a new level in track E30s and won’t be beaten for years to come.
RAW Motorsport has specialised for a number of years in the building and running of cars for the UK’s budget-friendly BMW racing series, namely the Production BMW Championship and Compact Cup. Robin has not only been mechanically involved with much of the field of both series but has also raced extensively in both, with countless wins and podiums to his name. If you want to get noticed, building and driving winning cars is certainly the way to do it.
This experience has also led to #BMW-E30-RAW-Motorsport building a number of road and track cars including feature cars, S50s, V8 E30s, serious track E36s… you name it, Robin’s done it, with his skills ranging from roll-cage fabrication to engine builds. Over the years he’s always had something interesting in his personal fleet, more often in bits while customer work keeps him busy but 2014 was to be different; it was time to build something for himself, something more extreme than ever before, and something that would really show what he can do.
It all began with the E30 you see before you. Robin built it a few years back to Production BMW specification, meaning it received a 2.0-litre M20, #Gaz coilovers and a stack of safety gear. He’s always taken race car building seriously – no corners are ever cut with RAW-built cars as they’re thoroughly reworked into seriously competitive and reliable race cars at the limits of the regulations. Therefore this one received the obligatory weld-in roll-cage, extinguisher, seat and other safety gear. The fuel and brake lines were re-run inside the car, it was painted throughout, and neat features like the carbon fibre doorcards to keep things light were added. These things are done properly down at RAW and the workmanship speaks for itself with the race results and finish of the cars.
Retiring it as a race car probably wasn’t the easiest decision for Robin to make but then when you have an idea like he had brewing, it’s worthwhile. I personally feel a bit responsible for the initiation of the plan; I bought an S54 for my E36 Touring which Robin kindly offered to fit for me. The price? He’d eyed up the M52 that was at the time residing underneath my bonnet, and took that as payment.
Little did I know but he had some big things in mind for the engine and set to work on it as soon as my Touring was out of his way. The M52 had around 146k miles on it but, as has been proven with these engines, they just go on and on. All that was needed was a touch of strengthening and maintenance. Robin explains his methodology: “First I took the head off the M52 so that I could check the compression ratio,” he explained. “BMW quotes the #M52B25 at a 10.5:1 compression ratio – I didn’t trust that so we cc’d the head and pistons, then measured the head gasket – sure enough it was 9.98:1!”
With this discovery, it was decided that a 0.3mm thicker Cometic head gasket would be used to lower the compression ratio to around 9.48:1 to retain the correct ‘squish’ while making things just that bit more boost friendly. Dropping it further would have meant the potential for more boost but as Robin pointed out, he values power delivery over outright peak figures: “I could have lowered the compression ratio more with an even thicker head gasket but with standard pistons the squish would have gone all wrong. That makes it really hard to put proper ignition advance into it. I wanted to keep it low boost, high ignition to make it more lively and driveable. I wasn’t after mega power figures that mean nothing in real life.”
Next, the head was bolted back down using ARP studs and the sump was also swapped for a baffled front-bowl E34 M50 item to allow the lump to fit around the E30’s crossmember and steering rack. This sump was also modified with an oil return feed, ready to be plumbed into the turbo. In the meantime, the engine bay had its battery tray cut out and the steering column linkage was swapped for a slimmer version than standard – all in aid of clearance for the turbo manifold and downpipe.
The engine was then reassembled and swapped into the E30. The modifications already on the engine when I left it included an M50 inlet manifold, EvoSport power pulleys and a pretty trick UUC Stage 2 lightweight flywheel with an E34 M5 clutch, meaning that, along with the drop in compression, the M52 was ripe for some boost. Robin added a modified S50 oil filter housing to allow the fitment of a cooler then bolted the lump into the E30 using Vibratechnics engine mounts and wired the whole lot into an Emerald K6 standalone ECU, which would give the required mapping flexibility later on.
The next step was to get everything fitted in place ready for the car to be trailered up to Zurawski Motorsport, who Robin commissioned to fabricate the turbo manifold and other pipework. This included purchasing and fitting a Mishimoto alloy E36 M3 radiator and one of the firm’s universal intercoolers. The quality and finish of these products really is fantastic and they’re really great value for money, too, so they were a no-brainer for Robin. The front panel had to be quite extensively modified to allow neat fitment of everything without any garish looking exposed coolers which, as you can see, Robin has pulled off perfectly.
Another item Robin needed to have secured before the car went away was an exhaust system to mate the downpipe to. Having worked closely with Ergen Motorsport before, he opted for one of its E30 systems which features twin 60mm pipes throughout; this meant plenty of flow for the turbo. Oh yes, that turbo – Robin’s initial specification, as seen here, used a Turbone RS35, which is basically a Holset HX35 with uprated internals. More on that later…
The final addition to be sent to Zurawski Motorsport with the car was a bunch of goodies from Aussie turbo component supplier Turbosmart. It has been supplying all kinds of turbo accessories to top level motorsport for years now and Robin wanted nothing less on his project. He ordered up a pair of Hypergate45 wastegates (he needed two as the turbo and manifold were to be twin-scroll) with V-band fittings, a Race Port dump valve, a boost controller to be wired into the Emerald and a fuel pressure regulator to go with the fuelling system later in the build.
With everything in hand, Robin could trailer the E30 up to Zurawski Motorsport in Gloucester. Thomas Zurawski is a phenomenally talented engineer and fabricator – what he doesn’t know about manifold design and fabrication isn’t worth knowing. “I love my car and never before had I let someone else work on it, but I 100% trust Thomas’s work,” Robin smiled. According to Thomas: “I think BMW engines are undervalued for turbo applications, especially the E30 and E36s.
The engines are stronger than people think, too. For instance, I believe the M50/52 engine is stronger than the Nissan RB25 and definitely has better quality internals and engineering. The fact they were designed as a normally aspirated engine actually makes them really good for performance turbo applications as the cams overlap and make them breathe much more than turbo-ready engines. This is good because it means the turbo will spool quicker but there are a few dangerous mistakes that lots of people make when building turbo BMW engines, such as adding cheap exhaust manifolds or using small turbos, often fitted with the excuse of ‘I just want a little bit more and don’t want to kill the engine.’ This is a huge mistake as a turbo that is too small will be restrictive and generate lots of deadly backpressure on the exhaust side. This is then made even worse with a log manifold because as the engine struggles to get the air out the internal temperatures rise and the inevitable happens. Another problem is the intake plenum, which is responsible for even distribution of the charge air. Standard M50 plenums aren’t really designed for high performance forced induction and so starve cylinders one and six of air in relation to three and four, making a massive difference in combustion across the engine, making it inefficient. Only when we build a proper turbo system that allows the engine to breathe freely and evenly can the full potential be seen. Without the struggles of excessive backpressure and unequal combustion we can actually tune the engine to its full potential and keep it reliable.
“On Robin’s car we had to build a special exhaust manifold as he asked for the best specification possible and even if at the first glance there wasn’t enough room for a high flowing independent runner manifold, I knew Robin wouldn’t be happy unless it was perfect. I’ve spent many hours designing those runners around the steering column, suspension turret, chassis leg and the engine itself, and in the end we came up with nice equal length runners in a twin-scroll, twin wastegate exhaust manifold. Being a track car, noise was potentially an issue and so not only did the downpipe have to fit around everything else but it had to have ports for two removable wastegate dump pipes. It was tricky but I enjoyed building it. It’s a true one-off system.”
It was after this work, and the subsequent work by Robin to get everything together and mapped (making 357hp at 0.8bar with mild ignition settings, limited by clutch slip), that the car made its debut at Castle Combe, in August 2014, for the summer RAW Motorsport and Ergen Motorsport track day. So much excitement was surrounding the car and after the last minute addition of a HiSpec big brake kit for the front (fitted the day before) and a few last minute checks track-side, it was ready for its debut.
Unfortunately after only a couple of hot laps, it became very apparent that something had gone drastically wrong. Robin’s choice of turbo, that Turbone RS35, had gone kaput in pretty spectacular style. The materials used in its construction, unbeknown to Robin, just weren’t up to the temperatures experienced during hard track use, and so the exhaust wheel quite simply shredded apart, along with the turbo’s bearings. As well as this, despite a number of heat shielding precautions, the plastic cam cover melted, causing hot oil to spray all over the turbo. With the turbo damage at this time unknown, Robin sourced a metal cover from an early M52 from a local breaker’s yard and fitted it there and then – however, it was unfortunately all in vain.
“Out of the whole build the only bit I was unsure on was the cheap turbo!” laughed Robin. “Lots of people said it would be fine and I’m sure for road or drift use it would last but it turns out with the extended flatout use it gets on track it just gave up.”
With damage thankfully localised to purely within the turbo, Robin was able to throw it away and start his search for a new item. He started his search at CR Turbos, based just a few miles from Bournemouth. Together they specified a #Garrett-GTX30/71R , and within a week Robin was back at the dyno to see how it would perform “The difference was clear straight away – the Garrett was making boost much earlier and was more responsive. I left the map the same as the power figures were much the same,” he said.
Since then Robin’s also swapped out the ZF five-speed for an E46 M3 Getrag sixspeed gearbox, which he converted from SMG to manual. The advantage of this is that an SMG box won’t have crunched gears, which can cause notchiness on the M3 box especially, and this was bolted up with a Helix Autosport clutch – the previous item just wasn’t up to the torque of the turbo’d M52. An LWS Design carbon fibre bonnet and bootlid made their way onto the car, too, shedding a number of kilos, while the front suspension received SLR arms to really sharpen it up and improve geometry. Robin visited the Nürburgring, Spa and a couple of domestic track days in the E30 over the summer with its reliability proving faultless since the initial turbo hiccup. However, Robin wasn’t quite finished yet and so the #BMW-E30 made its way back to Zurawski Motorsport for one final addition.
Thomas took up the story again: “Robin was always aware of the standard intake’s limits. We’d originally planned to build one of my standard high flow design ones for it but I had a Nissan Skyline in my workshop with one of my special equal flow plenums on it; I knew what would happen if I left the engine bay exposed and, sure enough, Robin saw it and his only words were ‘I want that!’ They are really special plenums that cause a bit of controversy on forums. They’re equal flow but not the typical WRC design as I added a couple of my own features that result in quicker turbo spool and better throttle response. The new plenum required new intercooler pipes, but I have to say that it was an easy job after the exhaust manifold!”
Zurawski now offers twin scroll exhaust manifolds for M50/M52 and S50/S54 engines off-the-shelf and can also produce the equal length intakes to order, too. On Robin’s car the power rose from just under 360hp to over 400hp with some map tweaking, but that’s not the whole story. With the engine now combusting far more evenly across the cylinders, Robin was happy to push the boost levels up to 1.2bar, resulting in a frankly ridiculous 432hp and 450lb ft. “The inlet manifold is working wonders,” he reported. The car was actually on the dyno as I wrote my notes for this feature and was responding brilliantly to mapping tweaks – the sign of a well-developed and healthy engine. The M52 has become a precision instrument rather than purely a base for boosting.
When it came to building his own car, Robin has undoubtedly excelled himself. However, after all the hard work building cars for everyone else, he did deserve to spoil himself with this project. This E30 shows just what RAW Motorsport is capable of; it’s simply extraordinary. Could this be the most complete track E30 that we’ve ever featured? Find one better, I dare you.
With RAW Motorsport constantly moving forwards and expanding, Robin’s unfortunately considering selling the car or just the running gear as a plug and play swap, so if owning an extensively developed and extremely well-built M52 turbo with or without the surroundings of an E30 race car, sounds like your cup of tea then all you need to is find Robin’s contact details over at: www.rawmotorsport.co.uk
“The difference was clear straight away – the Garrett was making boost much earlier and was more responsive”
DATA FILE BMW E30 M52B25 Garrett TURBO
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six M52B25, Cometic multi-layer steel head gasket for 9.5:1 compression ratio, ARP head studs, ARP main studs, ARP con-rod bolts, ACL main bearings, ACL big end bearings, standard pistons with renewed rings, standard con rods, standard M52 head with three angle valve seats, #Garrett GTX30/71R turbo, Zurawski Motorsport tubular equal length twin-scroll twin external wastegate exhaust manifold, Zurawski Motorsport 3” downpipe, Zurawski Motorsport wastegate piping, custom boost piping, twin Turbosmart Hypergate 45 wastegates, Pipercross air filter, Mishimoto intercooler, Zurawski Motorsport custom intake plenum, Ergen Motorsport 2.5” twin pipe exhaust system with single silencer, Turbosmart boost controller, #Samco coolant hoses, E36 M3 oil filter housing, Mocal 25 row oil cooler with braided lines, baffled E34 525i sump with turbo oil return line, -10 braided line oil breather system, #Siemens 660cc injectors, #Bosch-044 044 fuel pump, two-litre swirl pot, Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, custom fuel rail, braided fuel lines, Emerald K6 ECU, RAW Motorsport wiring loom housed in E30 M3 engine bay plastics, Innovate wideband lambda controller, Evosport underdrive pulleys, aluminium thermostat cover, uprated water pump, lower temperature thermostat, Mishimoto E36 M3 alloy radiator, Vibratechnics engine mounts, UUC Stage 2 lightweight flywheel, custom Helix Autosport clutch, relocated clutch fluid reservoir. E46 M3 SMG gearbox converted to manual, Z3 short-shifter, 3.07 final drive medium case differential with 75% lock 2-way LSD.
CHASSIS: 8x15” (front and rear) ET0 Rota Grid V wheels with 195/50 Toyo R888 tyres or 200/580 slicks, wheel stud conversion. Avo monotube front coilovers, Avo twin-tube rear coilovers, Gaz adjustable top mounts with upgraded pillowball bearings, SLR front end kit including tubular rose-jointed wishbones and 25mm roll centre/bumpsteer correction, adjustable rose-jointed front wishbone bushes, Powerflex polybushed rear axle, Eibach anti-roll bars, strengthened front subframe, solid steering linkage, E46 ‘purple label’ steering rack, steering rack spacers, braided power steering lines, Mocal seven-row power steering fluid cooler. HiSpec 310mm front big brake kit with six-pot calipers, Pagid RS29 front brake pads, Mintex 1155 E30 Challenge rear pads, RAW Motorsport ducting plates, braided lines throughout, brake lines re-routed inside car, Renault Clio brake servo and master cylinder.
EXTERIOR: Vented front panel, lightened bumpers, tinted headlights, LWS Design carbon fibre bonnet, LWS Design carbon fibre bootlid.
INTERIOR: Fully stripped, welded-in Production BMW specification T45 multi-point roll-cage with gusseting, Corbeau Evolution winged race seats, TRS Hans-friendly six-point harnesses, OMP steering wheel, carbon fibre doorcards, full extinguisher system, flocked dashboard, Innovate auxiliary gauges (oil temperature, oil pressure, AFR, EGT and boost).
THANKS: John Marshall at Turbosmart UK, Sarah Albright at Mishimoto, HiSpec brakes, Emerald, a massive man hug to Thomas Zurawski for making the manifold bits, Clive and Tom at RAW Motorsport and Tom’s dad Roger.
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