- Post is under moderation/ #S14-swapped / #BMW-2002 . In the wastelands of postapocalyptic Sweden, one man and his extraordinary 2002 fight for survival amidst the ruins of civilisation… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
Supercharged S14 2002 rat rod
The future. Mankind has destroyed itself. The earth is barren. Pockets of survivors remain, scattered across the globe. They travel the desolate landscapes of a ruined world they once knew in search of food and shelter, driving machines created from the scavenged remains of cars from the past. In the charred remains of postapocalyptic Sweden the silence is broken only by the howl of the wind and the whine of a supercharger. A flash of orange through the trees. The bark of an exhaust drifting across the ravaged landscape. Then, the smoke parts, and something ungodly and terrifying thunders across the lonely tarmac, a man at the wheel with fi re in his eyes, and then it’s gone as quickly as it appeared and all is silent once more. That man is Thomas Nyman. This is his 2002. This is their story.
You will already know if this is your sort of car. You will have looked at the pictures and made a decision about whether or not you want to read this feature. You don’t need us to tell you that it’s not for everyone, but we will anyway, because it’s really not. For some of you, this might be the greatest crime ever committed against BMWs. Even those of you who normally love this sort of anarchic approach to modifying might be struggling a little. But if you get, really get it, you’re about to enjoy a car that’s really unlike anything else out there.
Browsing his automotive history, it’s clear that Thomas is a man who is obsessed with cars, to put it mildly… “I have owned and worked with several cars in my short life (he’s only 28) and right now I have nearly 100 vehicles on my conscience.” 100 cars. What can you even say to that? Unsurprisingly there have been some wild builds in amongst that lot and a huge variety of machinery, from the 1974 Beetle that served as his first car, to his first #BMW , a 1988 E34 530i, and the car he never finished and still regrets selling. “It was an E12 528i from 1978, light green with a #BBS front spoiler and chrome bumpers, ” Thomas reminisces. “I bought an S38B36 M5 engine that I rebuilt and was going to fi t in the car, and my vision was to build a 100% sleeper with perfect patina. But I was young and impulsive so the car was sold before it was done…” In that case it may have worked against him but, in the case of this 2002, his impulsive nature was definitely on his side.
“I knew about this car for a long time, a friend of the owner had told me about it, and one day in spring of 2010 the owner himself came walking past the garage I rented in the city at the time. I asked him if he wanted to sell the car, and he said yes, so we actually walked over to his garage together to take a look at it then and there. It was in terrible shape at the time; it had been standing outside with smashed windows so the weather had caused some very big rust holes in the body and many parts were missing, like the engine, gearbox, rear axle, the whole interior and the windows. The next day I picked the car up and put it in my garage instead,” grins Thomas. On paper this project sounds like a nightmare and the sort of car that no one in their right mind would have dreamed of touching, which does make us wonder about Thomas’ mental state…
The initial plan, he says, was to make the whole body rusty and give it even more of a rat-look than it’s ended up with, but he realised he couldn’t bring himself to do it. “My conscience became too strong,” he says, “and I felt I could not destroy an historic collector’s car that the 2002 Tii really is today, which is way I kept the original paint.”
So if you don’t like how this car looks now, just bear in mind that it could have looked a whole lot worse… “Our first goal was to get the car finished in one month for an event so we welded and fixed all the rust on the undercarriage in three weeks and fixed what we needed to so it was actually road legal. Then, after that, the whole thing escalated,” he says, and he’s not wrong.
With the decision made to continue down the rat route, Thomas got stuck into the mods and set about getting some stiffer springs, cutting them down by about 50% to get the car down on the ground, and combined them with a set of Bilstein Sport shocks. This was followed by the addition of the four wonderfully retro Marchal driving lights mounted on the front bumper and then came the roof rack, filled with what Thomas describes as “curiosities,” which include an S14 air box and valve cover and an old suitcase, naturally. The four-speed gearbox was swapped out for a five-speed Getrag ’box from an early 5 Series and he also changed the exhaust, both mods carried out specifically for a road trip to southern Sweden and Denmark. Then the time came for the serious business of building that engine…
“I think my vision was to do something no one had done before,” muses Thomas. “You’re probably wondering why I chose the S14 out of an E30 M3, and I’m wondering the same thing! I thought that this engine will fit well in the car and would probably get many types of reactions from people and BMW enthusiasts,” and he’s certainly right about that. “Initially I thought that I would just fit the engine and leave it at that, but then I started thinking about it and decided to add a supercharger on top to ensure that I was doing something new and different,” he grins. The supercharger is a rebuilt GMC 471 positive displacement Roots unit from the 1940s but impressive as it looks, there’s a lot more going on with this engine than meets the eye, and it’s the reason why the build took him one and a half years rather than six months (little more than a Swedish winter, he says) as he’d originally anticipated.
There’s a special head gasket and ARP head bolts for the cylinder head, four Siemens 688cc injectors fed by a Nuke fuel rail while the supercharger itself is cooled and lubricated by a water/ethanol system using a Bosch 988cc injector. The blower itself sits on a custom 4mm steel intake manifold and there’s a custom exhaust manifold connected up to a custom 3” stainless steel exhaust with three silencers, though Thomas says that they really don’t do much silencing. Peer into the 2002’s engine bay and you will notice a small problem: there’s no room for a radiator, which is kind of important if you want to have a fully functioning engine.
The solution? Stick all the cooling gubbins in the boot, which is exactly what Thomas has done, building a custom cooling system consisting of an electric water pump, cooling fan and a massive aluminium rad, which sits in a custom housing that seals tightly up against, and is fed cooling air by, the louvred boot lid. The boot is also where you’ll find the aluminium fuel cell with an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump located inside, and assorted fuel supply components. As you can see, it’s a comprehensive engine build, but it almost put Thomas off the car altogether. “After one and a half years of building the engine, I was so tired of this car and the project,” he sighs. “If I had been younger at the time, the car probably would have ended up being sold, just like my E12 project. But then I fired it up and rolled out of the garage for the first time and I was totally in love again! I cannot describe the feelings I had on the first test-drive…” he says with a massive grin.
Along with the aforementioned five-speed gearbox swap, Thomas has strengthened the drivetrain to be able to deal with all the power and torque being put through it by the S14 and supercharger combo, fitting an uprated clutch and homemade cardan shaft. The rear axle is a custom affair, constructed from a concoction of various different BMW components. “The original axle didn’t last long so I decided to build a bullet-proof one,” explains Thomas. “I took the 3.07 diff and joints from an E34 535i and ordered custom shafts made from spring steel and the hubs are also made from special steel. I made the wishbones thicker by adding 2mm of steel to every area and on top of this I also deleted the bushes between the body and the axle.” The brakes, meanwhile, are from a 2002 Turbo, with larger, vented discs up front and bigger 250mm drums at the rear.
As far as styling is concerned, Thomas has definitely stayed true to his original rat rod vision and while he may not have taken things quite as far as he originally planned, aside from the welding and repairs required to get the 2002 road worthy in the first place, the exterior has received no special attention. This makes the fact that the original Inca orange paint, where rust or repairs haven’t obscured it at least, remains as bright and vibrant as ever all the more impressive. If you’ve made it this far without choking on whatever you might be currently eating or drinking then Thomas’ wheels might just push you over the edge…
“I decided to go for BBS RS splits,” he says, gleefully, “because these are very expensive wheels today for those of us who collect and drive ’70s cars. The ones I have are in very bad shape, with loads of scuffs and scrapes all over them, so they’re a perfect match for the car!” As for the interior, it’s also a perfect match for the exterior and, just like the rest of the car, looks like it’s just about survived the apocalypse; the 2002 Turbo seats that he’s fitted are torn, a bank of auxiliary gauges juts up against the centre console, while the massive gear lever was chosen as it resembles an old tool.
So, there you have it. We’re not really sure what to say. We could definitely do with a sit down and a cup of tea after that. One thing we’d like to think is that, despite how Thomas’ 2002 might make you feel, you can at least summon some modicum of admiration or respect for what he’s created because he really has put so much into this car, and proved a lot of people wrong along the way. “The engine is my favourite part of the whole build because no one believed in my project and told me that this engine would never run, but they were wrong!” he exclaims with a smile. “I’m also really pleased that I managed to fit my homemade rear axle without cutting the body. The ‘experts’ told me there was no chance in hell it would work because they had ‘tested’ it without success, but I proved that it could be done.”
If you think that, after pouring so much time and effort into this 2002 over so many years, he’s done with it, you’re really rather wrong as there’s a lot more to come. “I bought the car in 2010 and I’m still not finished; it’s 2017 now, right?” he laughs. “My next plan is to build an air-ride system for it and I also need to build a new exhaust system as well as a new intake with a front-mount intercooler to get the intake temperatures down, then new wiring inside the car, maybe a new ECU. I’m also thinking about a mounting a turbo under the rear bumper…” But Thomas doesn’t finish his sentence. The light is fading and, if there’s one thing we all know, it’s that you don’t want to be caught outside at night after an apocalypse because that’s when the “things” come out of hiding… Thomas fires up the 2002 and, just like that, he’s gone, tail lights fading into the twilight, supercharger howling, S14 roaring, headed for the security of his bunker, safe in the knowledge that he lives to mod another day.
DATA FILE DATA FILE #Supercharged-S14 / #BMW-2002-Rat-Rod / #BMW-2002 / #BMW-2002-S14 / #BMW / rebuilt 1940s #GMC 471 Roots supercharger / #BMW-2002-E10 / #BMW-E10
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 from 1988 E30 M3, rebuilt 1940s / #GMC / #GMC-471 / #Roots-supercharger, custom 4mm steel intake manifold, special head gasket, #ARP cylinder head bolts, #Aeromotive #A1000 fuel pump, aluminium fuel cell, #Nuke fuel rail, 4x #Siemens 688cc injectors, water/ethanol cooling system for supercharger with #Bosch 988cc injector for cooling and lubrication, #Nira-ECU, custom 3.6mm steel exhaust manifold, custom 3” stainless steel exhaust with three silencers, custom cooling system in boot with electric water pump, cooling fan and aluminium radiator. Five-speed #Getrag gearbox, uprated clutch, custom cardan shaft, custom rear axle with E3 2500 and E28 535i components, E34 535i 3.07 diff and joints, custom driveshafts
CHASSIS 15” (front and rear) / #BBS / #BBS-RS three-piece wheels with 195/50 (front and rear) tyres, stiffer springs cut by 50%, #Bilstein dampers, BMW Turbo brakes with vented discs (front) and 250mm drums (rear), thicker rear wishbones, bushes between body and axle removed
EXTERIOR Original Inca orange paint, Marchal driving lights, roof rack, green louvred boot lid, extra rear light
INTERIOR 2002 Turbo seats, auxiliary gauge pod, old toolstyle gear lever, custom short-shift
THANKS To everyone that did not believe in this project, it only made me more determined to complete it and get the car running again, and also thanks to everyone who helped me with the car over the years
“decided to add a supercharger to ensure that I was doing something new and different”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationWILD 600HP E36 Elite D’s turbo’d 3 Series
This Elite Developments 600hp E36 is the result of years of development and a love for all things turbocharged… Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Steve Hall.
Elite Developments’ turbo E36
THE BOOSTED ELITE
The E36 328i Sport is a car that’s been appreciating in value of late. However, six years ago they didn’t quite have the same worth and so made the perfect project base for Steve Dixon, owner of BMW-specialised tuning shop Elite Developments. Steve’s plans soon escalated from a simple reworking to a complete overhaul, complete with a 600hp turbocharged heart…
“I bought the car off eBay completely unseen. It was down in Bognor Regis,” Steve explains. “At the time it was really difficult to get a 328i Sport as there wasn’t many of them for sale. I contacted the guy and made him an offer based on his description of the condition and the pictures on eBay. I then took a four-hour train journey from Essex to go and get it. It was a completely mint, standard car, as described. I was looking for one to convert into a drift car.
“Initially my plans were just to weld the diff and put some coilovers on it, and that was it. I fitted the coils while my mate welded the diff. It was just going to be a daily drifter but then we went to Gatebil 2012 and saw that nearly every BMW there was running a turbo M5x engine. That got me thinking…
“After speaking to a few of the locals about how they’d done it, I came to the realisation that building a turbo #BMW wasn’t as hard as I first thought. Then came the process of pricing up all the bits I needed.”
The 328’s alloy-block M52 isn’t the perfect base for turbocharging as they tend to allow the head to lift and generally aren’t as strong as iron block variants, so Steve sourced an #M50B25-non-Vanos engine and set about making a hybrid of the two. This meant using the M50 block, head and pistons but with the M52’s crank and rods, creating a 2.8-litre M50 – an ‘M50B28’ as they’re often known. The bottom end was tied together with coated big-end bearings and ARP bolts, with #ARP studs and a Cometic 0.140” multi-layer steel head gasket used up top for a drop in compression and an increase in reliability.
The end result is an engine about as strong as it’s possible to get without going for fullon aftermarket forged rods and pistons – perfect for Steve’s plans for big boost.
“The hardest part was trying to source a right-hand drive turbo manifold as nobody seemed to sell one,” Steve explains. “This is why we started to design what is now the Elite Developments cast RHD turbo manifold. It took three years to create but we are now very happy with the final product.”
The Elite Developments manifold was formulated to fit all M5x engines that use a four-bolt-per-cylinder pattern, fitting around all of the steering and usual headache areas and allowing bottom-mount fitment of any T3-flanged turbo along with an external wastegate. Steve’s particular setup uses a Garrett GT3582R turbo and a Tial 38mm wastegate, pushing boost through a 600x300x80mm intercooler and into the M50 intake manifold.
Air is sucked into the turbo through a K&N filter, while fuelling is taken care of with Siemens 60lb injectors and a Walbro 255lph pump. To keep oil temperatures in check, Steve’s used an S50 oil filter housing converted to run AN lines, which are linked to a Mocal oil cooler. A neat product from Elite Developments allowed the intercooler and oil cooler to be bolted into the E36’s front end without any troubles. To control the whole thing Steve’s used a VEMs standalone ECU with the result being a dyno-proven 495hp and 480lb ft at 0.8bar. Steve has since had it mapped to run at 1.5bar which should be good enough for around 600hp.
All that power is well and good but without being able to transmit it to the ground, it’s useless. Steve retained the strong five-speed ZF gearbox that came with the 328i, with a six-paddle ceramic clutch sandwiched between it and the boosted M50. Out back is a 328i Sport 2.93 LSD, rebuilt for a 40% lockup and braced into position to guard against failure.
The final step of getting power to the ground is, of course, the wheel and tyre setup. The E36 isn’t always the easiest car to get a wide tyre onto but Steve solved that with a set of ABS plastic rivet-on arches from US firm Hard Motorsport. These have allowed the comfortable fitment of 8.5x18” front and 10x18” rear Rota Grids wrapped in grippy 235/40 and 265/35 Yokohama Advan AD08s respectively. Not only do they look great but they enable fast progress when the M50 comes up on boost. The arches offer a rub-free fit, too.
The chassis setup has seen plenty of work to get it all working happily, both when travelling in a straight line and sideways. Before anything was bolted underneath it Steve took care of the usual E36 weak spots using parts raided from the Elite Developments stock room. Subframe mounting and trailing arm pocket reinforcement plates were welded into the shell, with the front crossmember reinforced to stop the engine mounts tearing themselves free.
To get the steering lock that Steve needed for drifting, TND extended lower arms and modified hubs were fitted, along with BC Racing coilovers and an E46 330i brake setup. At the rear Steve used BC Racing again to convert the suspension from a shock and spring setup to a true coilover one, adding adjustable camber arms to get the setup dialled-in. Finally the whole lot has been polybushed and Steve’s added a BMW front lower crossbrace as well as GCFabrications front and rear strut braces to stiffen the shell.
Another element that adds stiffness is the Safety Devices roll-cage, nicely painted in contrasting Porsche GT3 RS green – aside from that the interior doesn’t contain a great deal as weight reduction has been the main aim. The rear firewall has been nicely blocked off with an Elite Developments plate and there’s a supportive Recaro bucket for the driver, complete with four-point harness.
Recent additions to the exterior have included a genuine Rieger carbon-fibre GT splitter and a new Elite Developments product: a huge rear wing. However, sadly, since our shoot Steve has actually broken the car for parts, moving his M50 turbo experience onto a cool new project – a Techno violet E34 525i.
Steve’s E36 goes to show that we can all get carried away – even the simplest intentions can turn into a far bigger project than originally planned, especially with a little inspiration from overseas. It also shows how experiencing a problem can turn up a great solution – Elite Developments’ turbo manifolds have now been selling for almost a year, helping RHD BMW drivers all over the UK solve the somewhat historic issue of steering clearance when running a turbo. From a hardcore E36 drifter Steve’s now looking to add some turbocharged flair to his old-school Five, and we can’t want to see what happens next.
“We saw that nearly every BMW there was running a turbo M5x engine. That got me thinking”
DATA FILE / #BMW-Elite-Developments / #BMW-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-E36-Elite-Developments / #BMW-328i-Sport / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328i-Sport-E36 / / #BMW-328i-Elite-Developments / #Elite-Developments / #BMW-328i-Elite-Developments-E36 / #Rota-Grid / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36
ENGINE ‘ #M50B28 ’ #non-Vanos , #M50B25 block and head, #M52B28 / #M50 / #BMW-M50 crankshaft and con rods, M50B25 pistons, performance coated main bearings, performance coated big-end bearings, ARP rod bolts, #ARP head studs, #Cometic 0.140” MLS head gasket, Elite Developments RHD turbo manifold, #Garrett-GT3582R turbo, #Tial 38mm wastegate, #K&N filter with #GCFabrications heat shield, ram air feed from foglight, AC #Schnitzer exhaust, #Siemens 60lb injectors, #Walbro 255lph fuel pump, #VEMS-ECU , Mocal oil cooler with AN lines, S50 oil filter housing, #Vorschlag nylon competition engine mounts
TRANSMISSION E36 328i five-speed #ZF-manual-gearbox , six-paddle ceramic clutch, Elite Developments bolt-through polyurethane gearbox mounts, #IRP shifter, 328i Sport 2.93:1 LSD fully rebuilt with 40% lockup, diff brace
CHASSIS 18x8.5” (front) and 18x10” (rear) #Rota-Grid-Drifts with 235/40 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Advan Neova AD08 tyres, Elite Developments wheel stud conversion, full #BC-Racing coilover setup with 12kg front and 8kg rear spring rates, TND modified hubs for extra lock, TND extended lower arms, adjustable camber arms, polybushed throughout, Elite Developments front subframe reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear subframe reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear trailing arm reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear topmount reinforcement kit, #BMW-Motorsport front crossbrace, #GC-Fabrications front and rear strut braces, E46 330i front brakes, E36 M3 Evo brake servo and master cylinder
EXTERIOR Rieger carbon fibre GT splitter, Hard Motorsport rivet-on wide arches, Elite Developments rear spoiler, foglight air intake
INTERIOR Safety Devices roll-cage painted in Porsche GT3 RS green, Elite Developments rear firewall block-off plate, Recaro driver’s seat, AEM wideband AFR gauge, Defi boost gauge
CONTACT www.elite-d.co.ukStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation702bhpS2 #MTM-Talladega-R / Words Davy Lewis / Photography AJ Walker
More power than an original Ferrari Enzo - MRC Tuning's original stealth bomber!
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS MRC TUNING S2
This stealthy looking S2 was the catalyst that led to #MRC-Tuning being born, and now it’s been fully refreshed – with a monstrous 712ps (702bhp)
Always remember where you came from – that’s a phrase that you hear a lot in these celebrity obsessed times. From Hollywood stars that started out as waiters, to world champion boxers that used to clean cars for a living – it’s amazing how far you can come in life. But staying true to your roots isn’t easy. The pressures of success can change people – and not always for the better.
Having worked on performance car magazines for over 16 years, I’ve seen this happen many times over. Tuning enthusiasts grow into a commercial entity and become a bit ‘corporate’. They lose touch with the very people they should be appealing to. Which is a shame.
One company that has managed to grow, and stay in touch with the real Audi fans, is MRC Tuning.
Set up in 2005, MRC is the collaboration of S2 enthusiasts, Doug Bennett and Mihnea Cottet. As a regular on the well-respected S2forum.com, Doug reached a point where no one in the UK could modify his S2 to the level he wanted, so he decided to do it himself and get Mihnea over from Europe to tune it.
The 1995 Coupe, which he purchased in 2002, had already been converted to RS2 spec and was running around 330ps. With further work from Doug, it got to a K27 turbo level of tune, and offered a good balance of power and drivability. However, as is often the case with these things, once a business takes off, a tuner’s own car tends to get left behind.
And MRC Tuning has certainly taken off. These guys are now one of the world’s most respected performance Audi specialists, with a huge flow of S and RS models going through their Banbury workshop. Always at the cutting edge of Audi tuning, MRC has created the UK’s first 1000bhp RS6 C6; cracked the 200mph barrier in a B5 widebody and an R8 turbo at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground; and they continue to the lead the way with everything from B5 RS4s, through to the very latest RS6s.
Over the last 11 years, Doug has been fortunate enough to indulge his passion for fast Audis. His S4 widebody, R8 turbo and RS6 C6 have all been featured in #AudiTuner and reinforce the fact that he’s an Audi enthusiast first and foremost. However, one car will always remain extra special.
“It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and will never get rid of,” confirms Doug. “It always gives me a buzz – from the old school lag of nothing – then bang – all the power and torque in a small power band,” he smiles.
Although the S2 was well cared for, it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that befits an MRC staff car. So, when team member, Stuart Fourie, offered to carry out the custom fabrication necessary to take it to the next level, Doug didn’t hesitate. The S2 was officially ‘reborn’ in 2014, but it was only relatively recently that all of the finishing touches have been completed ready for a feature.
To the man in the street, it may look nothing special – just another mid-90s Audi. But those in the know will appreciate the latent violence that simmers just below the surface of this unassuming Coupe.
The current engine spec is a master class in how to achieve reliable, big power and, more importantly, immense torque, from the venerable 2.2-litre ABY lump. At 2bar of boost, this 20v turbo delivers a sledgehammer blow of 712ps and 717Nm – more than a Ferrari Enzo.
However, don’t confuse this with the linear and relentless surge of torque that you get with a modern RS6 running similar power. In the S2, it’s much more aggressive, with the power coming in with a bang. There’s nothing progressive about this thing. It has a very old school feel – an almost Group B savagery – that is guaranteed to shock the unprepared. In fact, at last year’s AudiTuner Expo, Stuart brought the car along to display, and his mate, who was riding shotgun, recalled how he’d almost been sick when the boost kicked in on the journey to Donington. This sort of animal is, of course, not for everyone. But when you spend each and every day tuning and testing some of the most powerful Audis in the world, you need something a bit special to get your own kicks.
The engine itself is a work of art. Dominated by the big external wastegate and GTX3582 turbo, it looks as if it just came out of some special projects division at Renn Sport. Everything, from the black crackle finish on the cam cover and inlet manifold, through to the shiny alloy goodies (even the clips and hoses look immaculate), it’s clear to see a hell of a lot of care has gone into this engine bay.
The prodigious power is transferred via a B5 S4 6-speed gearbox, which is mated to a strong, 6-puck Sachs clutch and solid flywheel. It’s a tried and testing combination, that’s able to handle the immense force created with such a powerful 20v turbo. Talking of which, it doesn’t half sound good.
A stock 5-pot is a very sonorous thing to behold, but this is on an entirely different level. It’s part jet fighter, part Group B rally car – you really need to hear it being driven in anger to appreciate it. It chuffs and snorts in a real old school fashion – there’s no modern Audi noise suppression here – and it’s all the better for it.
The whole car has a very raw feel to it. In this digital world where everything from the weight of the steering, to the firmness of the dampers, the speed of the gear changes to the sensitivity of the throttle can all be controlled by a computer; this is a very analogue beast. You get in, turn on the ignition, put it into gear – and drive the bugger.
Aside from the specialist fabrication work to the exhaust, intercooler, catch can and breathers (all thanks to the talented Stuart), the rest of this S2 is dripping with tuning goodies, but as with all MRC projects, everything is fitted with performance in mind first and foremost. The chassis, in particular, has received lots of attention to ensure the power can be controlled and corners attacked with aplomb. From the #AP-Racing 6-pots nestled behind the gorgeous BBS CH alloys (which look like they were made for the S2), to the H&R coilovers and uprated ARBs, this thing is ready to rock whenever you need it to. Not wishing to spoil the fantastic 90s styling of this curvaceous Coupe, Doug has been careful to add only OEM parts to give it a little lift. The front end has been treated to genuine RS2 door mirrors, plus grille and front bumper, which look both more aggressive and affords better airflow to the hard worked engine. The rear end simply wears a neat alloy MRC badge – there’s not even a clue that this is an S-model Audi.
Inside, you’ll find a set of factory optional RS2 leather seats. They have the creases and patina you’d expect from a car made in 1995, but they’re all the better for it. In fact, the whole of the cabin has that certain feel and even smell of a mid-90s performance Audi. It feels very solid and has real character – something that’s arguably missing on the latest crop of S and RS models. It’s part of the reason that S2s, along with RS2s, B5 S/RS4s and C5 RS6s are still so well loved by enthusiasts.
So there we have it. This is kind of Doug’s life’s work. He’s owned the car since 2002 and it’s the one he’ll never let go. Considering the amount of unbelievably quick and desirable Audis this man has access to, it speaks volumes about what this S2 means to him. From humble beginnings – the car that started it all.
Top: You’d never guess it had over 700bhp. Below: Doug’s other ‘toy’ see the RS2 next issue.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-S2-Coupe / #1995 / #ABY / #Audi-ABY / #Audi-S2 / #Audi / #GTX3582 / #Garrett-GTX3582r / #Garrett-GTX3582 / #Garrett / #Audi-80-B4 / #Audi-Typ-8C / #Audi-S2-B4 / #Audi-8B / #Audi-S2-8B / #Audi-80 / #Audi-S2-Coupe-B4 / #MRC-Tuning / #Bosch / #Audi
Engine 2.2 ABY overbored, uprated rods and REC pistons, ported head with oversized valves and lightweight valvetrain, #Wagner inlet manifold (modified for throttle body to fit at 90deg), 850cc #Siemens injectors, High Octane tubular exhaust manifold, #Garrett-GTX3582R-turbo turbo, HKS wastegate, stock ECU with 4bar map sensor, #Bosch-413 fuel pump, custom intercooler, full custom exhaust, custom catch can and breathers through brace bar, #MRC-Tuning-Stage-3 remap
Power 712ps and 717Nm at 2bar / 627ps and 685Nm at 1.65bar
Transmission Audi S4 B5 gearbox, #Sachs 6-puck clutch with solid flywheel
Front: #AP-Racing 6-pot calipers with Phaeton discs
Rear: VRS Porsche 4-pots and Brembo handbrake calipers
Suspension #H&R coilovers, RS2 front #ARB , Whiteline rear ARB, #Powerflex polybushes
Wheels 19in #BBS-CH with 235/35 Yokohama tyres
Interior Factory optional RS2 #Recaro seats, RS2 steering wheel, boost and EGT gauges, RS4 Alcantara gearknob, RS2 dash and aux gauges
Exterior RS2 front bumper, RS2 wing mirrors, RS2 grille, MRC badge
Contacts and thanks MRC Tuning www.mrctuning.com, Stuart, Chris and Mihnea for helping look after it over the years, S2forum.com, Dhyllan at Automotive Addiction for the wheel refurbishment
Top: RS2 seats were a factory option Above: Gauges in custom vent housing.
Above: Interior is solid and has that special 90s feel to it.
“It’s part jet fighter, part Group B rally car – you really need to hear it driven in anger...”
GTX3582 turbo supplies ample boost. Catch can and breathers are bespoke items. Custom MRC Tuning intercooler.
Left: AP Racing 6-pots and 19in #BBS alloys – perfect Main pic: Not even an S2 badge to give the game away...
“It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and will never get rid of”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationOWNED #2012 / #2016 / #VAG
This is how they do things Down Under; get the lowdown on Stuart French’s immaculate home-grown, road/race Mk1.
It’s refreshing to feature a car 100% built by its owner; and Stuart French is about as hardcore a Mk1 fan as you’re ever going to meet… Words: Tony Saggu. Photos: Andrew & Bernard Gueit (Hybrid Imaging).
Almost everything about owning and modding a Dub, or any other car for that matter, is a learning experience. Even before you press yourself into the driver’s seat and wrap your hot little hands around the wheel for the first time, there’s been an education in researching the specs, tracking down the perfect example, the subtle art of the deal… and the rest of it. There are plenty of mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned; surfing the learning curve, navigating the maze and picking up the pointers is half the hobby. Weird as it may sound, making the mistakes and learning from them is probably one of the most rewarding parts of turning a bucket of bolts into a track terror or classy cruiser. Buy a finished car and you’ve cheated yourself out of the essence of owning it, the journey can be way cooler than the destination.
“I can honestly say that the entire car is my own work…” declared Mk1-mad Australian serial Dub modder Stuart French proudly, “…from paint to powertrain and everything in between. I genuinely believe that’s what makes a project ‘special’ on another level. Slaving your ass off over a car every weekend and pouring most of your wages into it is a great way to ensure you respect the final product!” Stuart’s built not bought bad-boy is a lesson in balancing form and function in the perfect package and, as far as “respect” goes, it’s certainly got ours – in spades!
Stuart’s trip to the top began unassumingly enough, at the controls of a plain Jane four-door Mk3 Golf. The car was basic in every sense of the word; Stuart had attempted to add a few frills, but his teenage student budget didn’t stretch too far, keeping the jam jar barely above beater status. A little too much exuberance with the right foot one evening coupled with relative inexperience behind the wheel, saw the Mk3 pirouette gracefully, all be it out of control, across a slippery street into the arms of a waiting lamp post. “It was a pretty fullon accident,” recalled Stuart, “the car was totally smashed but thankfully no one was hurt.” After such a frightening finale to his daily driver, you might have expected the lad to search for something a touch safer and slower for his replacement transport. The insurance cheque found its way to a safer substitute; but slower? Not so much… “The money went straight into a SEAT Ibiza Cupra Sport 16v – the only car that came with an ABF 16v in Australia; we never got Mk3 GTIs here,” explained Stuart. “I’d always wanted a 16v after reading about them in Drive-My and on forums, and once I got my own, I got a bit carried away. I ended up modifying the ABF pretty heavily, with big cams, ITBs etc. It sounded epic and I was hooked.”
While the Cupra had the right engine room resident, Stuart was soon searching for something with a little more retro class; a 16v Mk1 Golf seemed the natural choice. “I’ve had two Mk1 16vs before this one,” Stuart told us. “One I built from scratch and the other I bought already built just to thrash on weekends. I’ve had over ten other Mk1s all told, all four-door which got broken up for parts, which is all four-doors are good for anyway, right?”
The current project is something of a blending of the two prior 16v Golfs to grace Stuart’s driveway and it’s a show ’n’ go machine that will beat the competition at the shows and then blow their doors off on the way back. “I had the race theme in my head for ages,” explained Stuart. “The only thing missing was a good base car to start a new project on. I wanted a completely clean slate to totally scratch-build my dream racer.” The Australian old-skool VW scene may not be huge, but it’s a close-knit community and the word soon spread that Stuart was searching for a shell to start on. “In South Hobart, Tasmania, there’s an old-skool VW guy, Ed Conacher, who was always the go-to guy for VW parts,” Stuart told us. “He had a heap of Mk1 shells at his house and he actually gave me my first Mk1 rolling shell nearly ten years ago. Well prior to picking this first one up all those years ago, I noticed a part-restored two-door shell with a nice roll-cage welded in. I’d asked to buy it off Ed a few times over the years, but he was adamant that he’d finish building it and wouldn’t sell it to me.”
Stuart’s not-for-sale story has an all too familiar ring to it, we’ve seen the plot played out all too often. “Eventually I heard on the grapevine that Ed had actually sold the shell to an old friend of his and that this guy, too, had given up on the build.” So Stuart swooped in, cash in hand. “I knew I had to buy it and didn’t care how much it cost,” he recalled. “It was, and is, almost impossible to find a good Mk1 two-door in Australia, especially one with a proper roll-cage already installed.”
Just over 900 quid in Canadian dollars bought what Stuart admits was an undeniable POS. The ’75 vintage two-door had deteriorated quite a lot since Stuart had first spied it over a decade earlier. “The shed the bloke kept it in was damp and dilapidated,” he explained. “The car was covered in dirt, rust and wall-to wall-bird shit. There’d been heavy panels and stuff stored on the roof which had created some nice dents, I knew these would be hard to fix properly.” A peek underneath didn’t reveal any better news: “He’d also dropped it on an axle stand, which had punched a hole clean through the sill. To make matters even worse, though, both captive nuts for the lower control arms had broken free and stripped; anyone who knows their Mk1s will be aware that this is a very fiddly job to repair.” Despite the carnage Stuart wasn’t complaining. He hoisted the heap onto a trailer and headed home.
Having picked up and perfected a catalogue of skills grappling with his first Mk1 project, Stuart was determined tackle all the tasks on the new car himself. “I always work with the notion that if anyone else can learn to do something as a professional, I can teach it to myself with patience and practice, and do it just as well,” he explained. The paint and bodywork alone swallowed up over a year’s worth of evenings and weekends, although Stuart admits his perfectionist streak may have added a month or two to the build time. The caged shell would be stripped back to the shiny stuff before any refinish work could start in earnest. The plan was always to finish the whole shell in a simple untinted pure white so a clean unblemished base was essential. “I started in the engine bay as I wanted this to be smooth and clean,” revealed Stuart, “but not with ridiculous panels welded in. I removed the rain and battery tray as well as all the brackets but I was very particular about maintaining the standard lines. I hate those Mk1s where there are sheets of metal welded over the original lines. That just robs the classic character of the car, which is the whole point of building an old car!”
Next up was the cabin, where countless hours were invested in smoothing the floors. Knowing full well that he’d be dispensing with the carpet, each footwell and the entire rear interior floor was relieved of its dents and lightly skimmed in filler, before being sanded to glassy smooth perfection. “I still don’t like wearing shoes when I drive it,” Stuart laughed, remembering how long it took him to smooth it all out! Thankfully the outer body was quite straight, with the exception of the rear panel; the original swallow-tail rear had been hacked up for bigger late model lights.
“I really regret not replacing this panel with a new one before painting it,” lamented Stuart. “It took me about 150 hours to repair the cut and beaten rear panel with fibreglass reinforcement and filler; all the while I was cursing the guy who cut it in the first place. Looking at it now, you’d never know the shell is really a 1975 model, but I can’t help thinking it’s a swallow-tail that’s lost its mojo.”
The underbody and wheel arches didn’t surrender without a fight either; both areas were taken back to bare metal, repaired and treated with anti-rust sealant and resealed in pure white stone-proof coating. The first paint job on the car suffered from dust contamination, and the cold Tasmanian winter played havoc with the air-dry process. “I had to strip it all back down to metal and re-do the entire thing. It’s one of those jobs where you hate life while you’re doing it, but you just have to remember that any problems will always piss you off in the long-term if they’re not fixed in the first place,” explained Stuart.
Of course, this car is so much more than just perfect panels and a pretty paint job; it’s the screaming 16-valve under the bonnet that completes Stuart’s story. Initially the nearstock ABF engine from his first Mk1 was stripped down and rebuilt into a Bahn Brennerequipped turbo powerhouse. “I went through a lot of hoops to get that setup going: wiring, software… only to find wheelspin and turbo lag weren’t what I wanted in a Mk1,” Stuart told us. “So after months of work I progressively sold off the turbo parts, with the intention of going back to N/A, where I believe the 16v belongs.”
The torque-laden turbo setup had bags of power but Stuart felt it was almost too civilised, lacking the high-revving raw boots and braces edge his road racer theme demanded. “I remembered reading about a Mk1 in Germany with a serious 2.0 16v installed that revved to 10,000 rpm,” recalled Stuart. “That was precisely what the project needed, but there are no good engine builders in Australia for proper watercooled VW stuff, so I knew I’d have to look in Europe. I spent hours searching for old F2 or similar-spec’d 16vs and eventually came across a strippeddown, full-house Van Kronenburg short motor on the Berg Cup classifieds. After weeks of frigging around with shipping and import problems, I bought all the parts, including the empty block. This was a pretty big gamble, too, as I didn’t know the seller and had to take his word for the condition of the parts.”
Fortunately the Dutch connection was a man of his word; after months of nail biting the goods arrived and Stuart reports that most of the parts were brand-new and came with receipts for all the machining work. All that had to be done was a quick re-bore job, as our man was intending to run bigger pistons, and a final buttoning up of the block. “The whole lot was assembled on the garage floor and matched with a custom Bosch Motorsport piggy-backed ECU which I sourced through work,” Stuart explained. Working as a corporate suit for Bosch obviously has its perks! “The throttle body kit is specifically designed for the ABF by dBilas, so I’ve had to retain all the standard sensors, as well as source some side-feed injectors to fit the stock ABF rail, also Bosch items,” Stuart continued. “They were originally designed for a JDM Nissan but they work a treat.” The entire powerplant is a mix of some pretty unique parts, including some aggressive solid lifter cams made by dBilas and other rare oneoffs, all produced in Holland at a massive original expense. “One of the big expenses with building an old VW in Australia is the freight cost associated with importing parts from Europe and the USA. Since starting this car, I’ve spent over $10,000 on freight and import taxes alone,” Stuart reveals.
In an attempt to get the best balance between looks and genuine driveability, Stuart splashed out on two sets of wheels: “The PLSs are mainly for looks, though I did like the challenge of making 9x16s fit under a Mk1. I also have some 8x14s HTN Rennsports with Avon cut slicks that go on the car for track days and hillclimbs.” The ride height is “sensible” according to Stuart.
Despite attracting a fair few critics for not being set on its sills, our man is sticking to his guns: “Why the hell spend a fortune on high-end suspension components if the car is going to run on its bump stops? As we all know, Mk1s have very limited wheel travel as it is.” The stance brigade may be content rolling low and slow, but with upwards of 260bhp on tap and barely 800kg to move, Stuart isn’t about to ease off the loud pedal of his handmade hot rod: “I built it as street legal race car, and that’s how it gets driven!” Watch the film for proof.
DUB TECHNICAL DATA FILE DETAILS #VW-Golf-I / #VW-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Rabbit / #Volkswagen-Rabbit-I / #VW / #VW-Golf
ENGINE: SEAT Ibiza #F2-ABF 2.0 16v base engine, custom #Mahle 83.5mm 12.5:1 forged pistons, total swept volume: 2032cc, custom knife-edged and balanced billet crankshaft, Sauger gated wet sump, Lentz 159mm further lightened con rods, fully balanced assembly, ARP and Raceware hardware throughout, dBilas Dynamic head reworked with Ferrea valves (34.5 and 28.0mm) and ultra-light solid lifter kit with titanium retainers and springs, #dBilas-Dynamic 316in./304ex. deg. solid camshafts, dBilas Dynamic ABF-specific ITB kit with cast alloy air box and cold air feed, K-tech carbon fibre rocker cover, Piggybacked #Bosch-Motorsport & #Siemens ECUs, match-ported Eurosport headers, Schrick Gruppe A 2.5” stainless steel exhaust with single Powersprint s/s muffler, 02A/J gearbox with SQS six-speed gearset and Peloquin LSD, CAE Race Shifter with extra-tall shift lever, AP twin-plate clutch assembly, ultra-light 228mm billet flywheel.
Power: 267bhp @ 8435rpm (9200rpm hard cut) at the flywheel.
CHASSIS: Show wheels: PLS Evolution rims: 8x16” #ET22 front and 9x16” ET15 rear with Hankook K107 195/40/16 and 215/35/16 tyres. Race wheels: 14x8” #HTN-Rennsport-ET22 with Avon slicks, 1975 Mk1 Golf LS (Australian-built model, ex swallow-tail), 12- point chromoly integrated roll-cage, KW stainless coilovers with adjustable top mounts, #KW-ARB kit with custom rateadjustable rear outer mounts, solid-bushed rear axle – polybushes at all other points, #PMW ball joint extenders, PMW bump-steer elimination kit with modified spindles, seamwelded control arms with modified rear mounts, Eurosport four-point subframe at front, BFI front crossmember support, Wilwood Ultralite four-pot front brake kit with 256mm discs, Mk3 rear disc conversion, 24mm master cylinder and Cupra servo, rebuilt Autocavan brake linkage, Scirocco 16v handbrake cables, custom Goodridge full-length braided lines with on-the-fly bias adjustment.
OUTSIDE: Full inside-out bare metal restoration, resprayed in DuPont pure white with clear coat, seam-welded throughout, rolled and pulled wheel arches, de-badged tailgate, smoothed front apron and sills, rear panel modified for big tail lamps, deleted rain tray and smoothed engine bay, carbon rear wheel arch spats, carbon bumpers, carbon GTI splitter, tinted crystal tail lamps and front indicators, crystal crosshair headlamps.
INSIDE: SEAT Cupra 16v dashboard and instruments, 996 911 GT3 RS carbon seats retrimmed in red leather, carbon door trim, interior handle set and various other carbon details, OMP Corsica steering wheel, smoothed and painted floorpans, VDO white-faced gauges.
SHOUT: Michael Koordt at K-Tech, Gerjan Stroeve at Stroeve Motorsport, my girlfriend Lauren for letting me work on the car whenever, my mum for donating her garage whenever I needed it, all the team at Autocraft – especially Matty Porter, my late friends, Lo and John Zwollo.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPUT IT DOWN / KRB #Audi-S1-Quattro replica / / #KRB-Audi-S1-Quattro-replica / #Audi-S1-Quattro replica / #KRB-Audi-S1-Quattro / #Audi-S1-Quattro / #KRB-Quattro / #Audi-Quattro / #Audi / #KRB
With a rear wing the size of Belgium, and tyres wider than J-Lo’s backside KRB’s ’80 Coupé puts down all of its 1061whp very effectively! Never has the word ‘want’ been so appropriate as now! KRB Audi-S1-Quattro replica. Over 1000bhp and wings to die for. Words: Brent Campbell. Photos: Kid A.
Pop quiz; if you had the chance to add any car from VW/Audi’s motorsport catalogue to your garage, which one would it be? We’re talking no-holds-barred, any car, be it a rough-and-tumble rally racer to a ’ring regular, a Le Mans legend to a DTM demonstrator. While we’re sure you needn’t any help making up your mind, let’s talk it through, just for the sake of conversation. First off, we can probably go right ahead and dismiss anything from the VW side of the family, as the only memorable racer VW has ever produced had two pin-stripes and a 53 painted on the side (and it’s probably landed in some California impound lot after all those DUI convictions, no?)
So forget that; let’s take a look at Audi. Lots of fine, sporty cars to choose from, eh? How about the diesel R10? It would add a nice pep to your commute to work, not to mention return excellent fuel economy, though it does get a bit dodgy around those speed humps. What’s that, weather too unpredictable for a car with no roof? Well, how about the A4 BTCC racer of the mid- ’90s? Instantly recognisable, modern and with that Quattro grip you’ve been after. Too pokey? I knew you’d say that. Well if it’s speed you’re after, we’ll need to roll the clock back a bit further. What you’ll want is one of the legendary Group B cars of the mid-’80s. Relentless power, go-anywhere Quattro capability and people will be cheering from the kerb whenever you roll by.
So you’ve decided then? Sign here… Alright, alright, sorry. Enough messing about. We all know that these cars don’t just pop up for sale and even if they did, you couldn’t afford one and neither could we. But there is another option. All of these cars are based on production cars, right? Sure, not the R10, but for the most part, the touring and rally cars were. So you’ve got some time, some skill and maybe a little spare change in your pocket; why not build your own take on that rally favourite of yours?
With all the advancements in technology over the years, not to mention the off-the-shelf attainability of performance parts and materials that once only factory-backed race teams could afford, the proposition doesn’t sound all that outlandish.
But there is a fine line. There’s a difference between building a modern take on a hero car and taking a bone-stock 80 GT and slapping a bunch of stripes and stickers on it like some motorsport wannabes. We’ve all seen them; base-model Audi repmobiles with tawdry spoilers, brushed-on livery, cut springs and no back seats. Oh, and still on stock wheels no less. What was intended to be a tribute can sometimes do more to invoke the gag reflex than inspire pride in your brand’s heritage.
Fortunately, some people do get it right. A satisfying mix of modern performance wrapped up in a retro motorsport shell; it can be done. Just look at some of other cars we’ve featured: Perry Mason’s blood-red BTCC ’banger back in the October issue; MTM’s S1 rep from 10/09; Autoparts Veghel’s V8 Sport Quattro from 08/08 and Andy Krink’s 20v rally rep from 05/08.
And that leads us to this car (finally…), which we spotted while covering a Gatebil event at Rudskogen, which we featured back in January 11. While it has the look and the presence of the greatest of the Group B and Pikes Peak-era Audis, it isn’t at all a replica, at least by conventional standards. No, this Audi has taken on the look of a bewinged S1 more by functional necessity than by choice.
It was built by Kai Roger Bokken and the boys at KRB Trading, a Norwegian-based tuning firm with an affinity for giant snails and Audi’s potent 20v five-pot. In fact, such is the affinity for this motor that they’ve fastened it in to just about any car with four wheels at some point, Audi or not! But before we get into that, let’s get to know the man behind the plan a little better first… “While I’ve always had a passion for the Quattros, I actually got started by driving Volvos,” explained Kai. “I grew up around motorsport and my first car was a Volvo 142.
Not long after that, I started racing in a budget class called Car Cross using an old Skoda with a 2.2-litre Volvo motor in the rear.” It wasn’t long before he started building up full-on race cars to compete. “I stuck with Volvos for a while due to their rear-drive dynamics and relatively low weight,” he said.
“I competed in a number of events with the cars, including a 242 built up for rallycross and a 343 track day car that I eventually stripped out and converted to tube frame.” His involvement with the racing scene from his early teens eventually led to opening his own tuning and parts-supply business; KRB Trading. “I started that back in 1994 as there was a big demand for racing parts and with my connections, I knew I could do a better job than the other suppliers,” he said. The business’ primary focus was supplying turbochargers and components, which, not surprisingly, typically found their way on to a turbo’d five.
By the early 2000s, Kai was one of the most knowledgeable Audi tuners in the country and he was ready to finally do a fullon build on an Audi. “I’d always wanted a Ur- Quattro, but the price of entry was so high, it took me about 20 years to finally have one of my own!” he joked. He built up a red Quattro from scratch, taking everything he’d learned to achieve the highest level of power he had reached with a five-cylinder so far, nearly 850whp. After successfully putting that motor to work on the track, he took the spare motor for that car and used that in his 343 tube frame racer and competed with that as well.
Now that he’d fully built a Ur-Quattro and had successfully converted his 343 to a tubeframe race chassis, the next logical step was to take what’d he’d learned from both builds and construct the ultimate Audi track-day car. “With this build, there weren’t going to be any compromises. Not only did I plan to take the five-cylinder as far as it would go, I was designing and building the chassis and drivetrain to my specs to show what the car was capable of,” he explained.
Kai picked up the donor shell for this car, a lowly 80 coupé, back in October ’07. “There wasn’t much that we were looking for in a donor since it was all coming apart anyways, but you’d be surprised how hard it is to find one of these things without a sunroof!” he laughed. “But once we had that sorted we went straight into it. There was to be no Phase 1, 2 and 3 with this build, we were intent on turning it into a race car from the start.”
Unlike many of the privately-owned Audibased motorsport cars, Kai was willing to make significant changes to the structure of the car to enhance drivability, not to mention lower the car significantly. “The primary improvements I wanted to make by going to a tube frame design, besides reducing weight, were to improve weight distribution front-to-rear and to lower the center of gravity. Typical Audis of this era have more than 65% of their weight hanging up above or in front of the front axle. This makes the car prone to understeer. By building a custom transmission and designing my own chassis, I’d be able to move the motor lower and further back, hence improving its balance.”
Of course, to undergo such a dramatic overhaul, it wasn’t just a matter of getting it up on jack stands and going at it with a spanner. “We started by stripping the car down and then putting it up on a steel jig, kind of like a rotisserie,” said Kai. With the car up in the air, all corners and crevices were now easily accessible. Kai and his mates slowly worked through the process of reinforcing the shell with a tubular frame, cutting away un-needed parts of the body, one portion at a time.
“We started with the cockpit area, building a cage around the driver’s compartment. We then cut away the original floor and welded in a new floor. From there, we built up the front and rear frames to support the suspension and the drivetrain. Since we didn’t have any engineered drawings or schematics to work with, it was often two steps forwards, three steps back, but in the end, we accomplished what we set out to do.”
The unconventional thinking didn’t stop with the chassis. On a quest to get the most power without making sacrifices in durability, Kai built the motor to withstand much more power and boost than even the 850whp from the previous motors. “Rather than using the standard five-cylinder block, the motor is actually based around a 2.5-litre VW diesel bottom end,” Kai explained. “We then overbored the cylinders to 83mm and designed our own rods and pistons.” The original 20v S2 head was used, but modified to fit the new block as well as to increase flow. “We fabricated our own valve springs and camshafts to work with long, stainless valves and titanium retainers,” Kai remembered. To allow for lower placement in the car, a Peterson dry sump system was incorporated.
To allow for placement further aft the front wheels, Kai commissioned Sellholm Tuning of Sweden to design a custom, sequential all wheel-drive five-speed ’box and center diff that would mate to the diesel block. A custom front differential was also supplied, which would now reside in front of the motor, allowing for a more centralised placement and minimal axle angle at the car’s race height. “In all, Sellholm supplied us the gearbox with center diff, the front and rear diffs, the driveshafts, the uprights and the majority of the suspension components, so it was an integral part of the build. We spec’d what we wanted and it built it for us.”
As you’d expect, the chassis and mounts were all custom-designed for the motor, so it fits perfectly. With the motor and transmission in place, the front driveshaft actually sits beside the motor as it runs up to the front diff. With the motor sitting in the bare chassis, the assembly continued, with the custom fabbed intake manifold, upgraded fuel rail and 2200 Siemens injectors now coming into play.
For the exhaust, an equal-length manifold was fabricated, which was originally mated to a GT42 turbo. That has since been replaced with a lighter and more efficient CT43 Comp turbo with triple ball bearings. This was paired with a 60mm TIAL wastegate and, ultimately, an Autronic SM4 for engine management. “We’ve been using Autronic with E85 for years now with a lot of success. The flexibility of the software makes it easy to work with,” said Kai. The remaining intake, intercooler and exhaust system was all fabricated in-house. Note that the intercooler now sits where the radiator originally did, with the radiator now relocated to the rear of the car, using giant fans to pull the air through.
Suspension components were mainly borrowed from previous Volvo projects than from the Audi donor, due to familiarity and known durability. Volvo S80 front spindles were used front and rear, supporting a McPherson-style suspension up front and a custom double-wishbone setup out back. The Sellholm coilovers use Bilstein shocks, and Sellholm supplied the adjustable sways as well as the Volvo 240-style steering rack.
XYZ brakes were chosen for the odious job of bringing the over-powered car to a stop. With the mechanics of the car all in place, Kai and the team then went about re-skinning the car over its tubular frame. Kai took an existing S1-style body kit and modified it, moving the wheel openings upwards and extending the wheel arches three inches per side. This allowed for larger wheels, which were required to fit over the giant brakes. The remaining portions of the body were constructed from carbon fibre, including the fenders, the sills, the hood and, of course, that monstrous rear spoiler.
Inside the car, a Volvo 240 column was used, but is otherwise all go and no show. OMP supplied the seats, wheel and harness, Tilton the pedals and the handbrake, and a Racepak IQ3/Autronic display is the ‘dashboard’. It doesn’t get much more hardcore race car than this!
Once the car was at a driveable state, Kai and the KRB team tuned it on their in-house 4WD dyno and gave it its first run at the start of the 2008 race season. Since getting the car running and tuned, the challenges have largely been around in getting the suspension sorted. “We initially had a lot of issues with understeer, but over the past few seasons, we’ve experimented with a variety of roll bars, toe and caster settings to make it easier to handle around corners,” confessed Kai. While running a ‘conservative’ race-tune of 831whp and 659lb ft of torque at 1.7bar, it’s no wonder the car loves the straights. Running a full 2.4bar of boost, the car put down 1061bhp and 753lb ft of torque at the wheels, incredible for an all wheel-drive car.
Competing at Gatebil and other events around Norway and Sweden, the car has already seen a lot of success. It won the Norwegian Time Attack in 2009 and 2010, taking second this past year due to a few hiccups and against a very competitive field. “The car that beat us was a Porsche GT2 that won Le Mans, so we weren’t that upset by the loss. Overall, we’re very happy with the car and have no immediate plans to build something else. We still have lots of work to do perfecting it and we’re looking forward to 2012” said Kai. Should you find yourself in Norway with a craving for some old-skool motorsport action, this is the car you want to see. This is Group B turned up to 11!
Huge twin fans out back suck air through to keep the relocated radiator cool.
ENGINE: 2.6-litre five-cyl, 2.5L #TDI engine block over-bored, milled steel crankshaft, KRB flywheel, billett connecting rods, custom CP pistons, 10.7:1 compression, multilayered steel head gasket, S2 cylinder head modified by KRB, custom stainless steel valves, custom camshafts, #Piper/KRB cam drive system, KRB intake manifold with 3” throttle bodies, #Nuke fuel rail, #Siemens 2200cc injectors, Comp Turbo CT 43 71/79, 31.2psi (2.15bar) boost, #Turbonetics HP #Newgen wastegate,# K&N air filter, #Autronic-SM4 engine management system, MSD direct fire ignition, Magnecor 10mm ignition leads, Bosch spark plugs, #Aeromotive mechanical fuel pump and FPR, KRB fuel cell, #Spearco-based custom intercooler, 4- 5” exhaust tubes made from rolled 0.5mm stainless steel, Ferrita 4” silencer, dry sump lubrication, #Petersen four-step oil pump, rear mounted PWR-based custom radiator, twin #Bosch cooling fans.
Race power at the wheels: 894 bhp (907 PS) at 7224 rpm. Torque: 753lb ft at 6244 rpm. E85 bioethanol fuel.
TRANSMISSION: Three-step Tilton carbon clutch, Sellholm five-step sequential gearbox with integrated centre diff, Sellholm front differential, KRB-modified Ford 9”-based rear differential, Sellholm drive shafts and joints.
CHASSIS: KRB tube chassis, Volvo S80 front spindles fitted front and rear, McPherson front suspension, double wishbone rear suspension, #Sellholm coilovers with #Bilstein shocks, Sellholm knife adjustable sway bars, Sellholm ‘Volvo 240 type’ rack and pinion steering. #XYZ brakes: 380mm discs and eight-piston calipers front, 375mm discs and six-piston calipers rear respectively. #Zito-Grand-Prix 10x18” wheels, Michelin SX 27/68-18 slick tyres.
OUTSIDE: #Audi-Coupé windshield frame, front half of roof and b-pillars, all other body panels carbon fibre designed by KRB, plexiglass side and rear windows.
INSIDE: Aluminium floor below tube chassis, removable transmission tunnel, Audi Coupé dash top, KRB/Volvo 240 steering column, OMP steering wheel, seats and harness, Sellholm/KRB gear change mechanism, Tilton pedal assembly, Tilton hydraulic handbrake, Racepak IQ3/Autronic digital dash logger.
SPONSORS: KRB Trading AS, Nordisk Dekkimport, Elite Bil, Nuke, Drammen Karosseri, Profilbyraa AS
SHOUT: My family, friends and everyone that lent a hand.
EDITORS NOTE: That was a reference to Lindsay Lohan and her appearance in Herbie, Fully Loaded in the second paragraph. It was reaching a bit, we know..
1061whp. We’ll say that again. 1061whp! Power like that kind of makes your Stage 1 remap look a bit silly doesn’t it?
If it isn’t needed to go faster, make more power or lap a track quicker, it’s gone.
Audi RS4 seats? Check. Quilted leather retrim? Check. Highend audio install in Alcantaratrimmed boot build? Check. Oh, no... wait...Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationReaching The Zenith
With 600hp from its supercharged S54 , this RHD converted #BMW-E30 M3 is at the top of its game. An S54-swapped, supercharged, 600hp E30 M3 is about as good as it gets… Words: Elizabeth de Latour / Photos: Steve Hall
You know this is going to be good. You’ve seen the front cover, you’ve read the taster, you’ve probably not been able to restrain yourself and may have already been drooling over the pictures, so you know that you’re about to read about something special. Certainly it’s going to upset some people because there’s a lot going on here, including the RHD conversion and the S54 swap carried out on a genuine E30 M3, so in the eyes of many purists that’s it ruined, basically. But we’re open-minded here at PBMW towers and if you’re reading this mag then we’d like to think that you’re cut from the same cloth and can appreciate cars that might offend those of a more delicate disposition. And this is a car that most definitely deserves some appreciation.
BMWs have always been a big part of Sam Le Fevre’s life. The 31-year-old construction company director first fell for the Bavarian marque when his oldest brother picked him up from school in an E30 325i. “For me, it’s the four decades of motorsport heritage and the connection between driver and machine that makes BMW so special. You just don’t get that with other affordable marques,” explains Sam. And the E30 M3 is arguably the ultimate definition and concentration of that BMW essence.
He began his BMW journey with an E46 M3 Convertible and while his car history is mixed, with a couple of fast Fords in there for good measure, his passion for BMWs, and particularly for the E30 M3, has clearly bubbled to the top. “I’ve always loved the E30 M3; it is a true homologation model with a chassis that draws you in and gives you confidence,” he says. And with the means available, a purchase seemed inevitable, though it was not without some drama, as he explains: “I found the car on PistonHeads advertised at a trader for £16,000. I arranged to see it and travelled down to Sussex. I looked the M3 over and told the trader the car had been in an accident and that he needed to revise his price. I said the car needed to go on a jig as I noticed the passenger wheel was sitting back 15mm towards the skirt. He refused and said that it was just an alignment issue. I left my details and told him to contact me if he didn’t have any luck. A month passed and I got a call asking me if I wanted to come down and view the car again. I said there would be no point if he was still asking for the same sort of money. I went and viewed the car for the second time and told them I wouldn’t be coming back if we couldn’t do a deal on this occasion. We haggled and eventually agreed a sale for £11,000.”
Even with the potential chassis problem that was something of a bargain, especially considering the selection of #Alpina additions the car was sporting and the small matter of the freshly rebuilt engine, totalling a cool £6000 in bills.
Now all that was needed was some inspiration and, luckily, Sam’s favourite BMW magazine happened to provide just what he was after: “I was reading #Drive-My when I came across Del Sanchez’s masterpiece: the E30 M3 with a S54 powerplant. To me this was perfection – BMW’s best chassis combined with its best six-cylinder engine! So I thought I would have some of that in my flavour. As soon as I picked the car up I drove it straight to the transplant centre, aka Munich Motors in Wokingham, to see the man himself, Clive Sanchez. He checked the car over, said it needed some jig or bulkhead work and he booked it in for two months later. I got impatient after a fortnight and phoned Sue, his wife, and said I was dropping the car down because I was doing my driveway (a poor excuse, I know). He started doing the teardown ready for the S54 transplant and that’s where we ran into problems as the shell needed major surgery!”
The engine came first, though, and while Sam knew he was fitting an S54, he wanted to add a little extra spice: “The plan was to build something with forced induction, either a turbo or supercharger. I spent a Saturday at Munich Motors with Clive looking around the engine bays of the two S54 transplanted E30s that they had down there. After careful consideration, measuring and thinking about the driveability of the car, I decided that the supercharger route was the only sensible option. The engine came from Quarry Motors and while there was a problem with the Vanos system the guys at Quarry sorted it out with little fuss and we then added an ESS VT2-550 supercharger.” On its own the 550 kit makes an impressive 550hp according to ESS along with 340lb ft of torque. But, of course, there’s a lot more to a build like this than simply slapping a supercharger onto a stock engine. Sam’s powerplant has been beefedup with a few supporting mods to assist with its longevity and add some additional power because, you know, 550hp isn’t nearly enough in an E30…
On the sensible and practical front, the engine has been fitted with an M50 sump for space reasons and the Vanos was rebuilt with Z4 M bolts. The big end bearings have been uprated and fitted with stronger ARP bolts, there are custom crank and supercharger pulleys, a Storm Developments Garrett chargecooler, a custom E36 M3 Docking Engineering radiator, Denso iridium spark plugs, Bosch coil packs, Bosch Motorsport grey injectors, a Bosch 044 fuel pump and a Fuel Labs fuel filter. The secondary air pump and rear lambda sensors have been deleted and the engine has been treated to an Alpha N conversion and a Setrab oil cooler.
“Once the engine had been put in the bay, that’s when we hit the serious problem,” Sam continues. “We realised that the chassis legs and bulkhead had been repaired very poorly. I was in utter despair thinking I was going to have to scrap the car but I decided that the car was not going to beat me. I couldn’t find a decent E30 M3 shell anywhere so I figured that, as #BMW had built every other M3 in RHD, I’d make my own RHD E30 M3. I managed to source a clean 316 shell that had covered only 50k miles and had blown a head gasket with a plan to re-shell the car completely and take all the quarter panels etc. off. But after dropping the shell off to Eddie at Crash Repairs in Edmonton he said just bring in the front end from the 316 shell and he would take care of it. To say that I was a little apprehensive was an understatement. I went up to Big Bavarian Beauties on a Saturday morning with my petrol disc cutter and set about cutting the front half of the car and roof skin off, and putting it in the back of my van, ready for the journey back down to London. I dropped the front end down to Eddie and he said that he’d need the car for four weeks and that the shell needed two new inner and outer seals and a few other parts. I got all the bits and dropped everything off with him on a Friday.
When I got a call on Monday asking me to come over I was expecting the worst, but I was amazed to see the car complete and sitting on jig pins. Eddie had basically drilled out all the spot welds from the A-pillars, bulkhead and floorpans and grafted the 316 front end straight on back in the factory spot welds in a weekend. I was gobsmacked. We picked the shell up and drove straight up to SPL for a full acid dip and e-coat session.”
With the chassis drama dealt with, Sam and the guys could get on with the task of getting everything running right, but that wasn’t an easy process either, as he explains: “Once Clive had the car running we started coming across numerous problems. The biggest one was that the car was down on power dramatically compared to what it should have been making. Clive suggested I visit Storm Developments in Aldermaston so I drove over there where owner Andy and I instantly clicked.”
Andy used his engineering superpowers to diagnose the problem and had Sam removing the front bumper to access the chargecooler, which Andy duly whipped off and bypassed before telling him to take the car for a spin up the road. “Well that’s exactly what happened,” laughs Sam. “I pulled out of the workshop, stabbed the throttle and the rear wheels lit up! The car had rocketed from 260hp to 325hp in an instant but it was still down on what we were expecting.”
So Andy’s next plan of action was to fit a Garrett chargecooler. This helped take power up to 410hp but now the exhaust wasn’t pulling its weight. “Andy suggested getting the exhaust modified,” says Sam, “so I contacted Hayward & Scott and dropped the car off with them along with a drawing Andy had produced so they knew what sort of system was required. It now sounds amazing.”
Exhaust sorted, Sam headed back up to Storm Developments where Andy changed the plugs and coils before strapping it onto the dyno. “We were very disappointed when it only made 450hp,” says Sam, “so Andy measured the boost and it was way down on the 7psi it should have been producing. He worked out the sizes for the pulleys we needed to get the boost we were aiming for and I went off to get them made up. I popped back to Storm a few weeks later.
Andy took the pulleys off me as soon as I got out the car and fitted them on the spot before he told me to put the car on the ramp.” This was the moment of truth and the numbers didn’t disappoint: the M3 putting down a seriously impressive 580hp and with a few tweaks to the map the final run produced 604hp. That’s more like it! So, Sam now had a RHD E30 M3 running one hell of an engine setup. But that alone does not make for a complete package. It was time to address the suspension, and Sam was very particular about his upgrades in this department. “I took a ride in some cars with H&R and KW coilovers and found them all to be uninspiring with both manufactures unable to do custom damper designs,” he explains. “I was recommended a company called AST by Demlotcrew who raved about the products so I contacted them and spoke to Curtis Woodman who told me to bring the car up for him to have a look at and see what we could come up with. After driving over to Cheltenham and discussing the options we nailed down a damper design for the rear, which is basically an inverted wasted shaft DTM replica with custom valve and spring rates.
The car has also had the front subframe reinforced, aluminium control arms, Eibach anti-roll bars, Treehouse Racing front control arm bushes, dual diff mount and BMW Motorsport bushes as well as countless other additions and tweaks.” The brakes also needed attention and for some serious stopping power Sam turned to AP Racing, fitting the car with a set of sixpot front calipers with 330mm discs and four-pot rear calipers with 315mm discs, which are more than enough to slow the E30’s lightweight frame down from silly speeds. The drivetrain has also been beefedup, with the S54 mated to a ZF five-speed gearbox from an E36 M3 3.0 that’s been fitted with a TTV lightened flywheel and Sachs Hybrid HD clutch. A CAtuned modified chromoly driveshaft (this E30 M3 has a bit of an appetite for driveshafts) and a Demlotcrew 3.15:1 Motorsport diff with a Z3 M modified diff cover were also fitted.
While the performance modifications are absolutely full-on and barely contained, the styling is the complete opposite and Sam has kept things very subtle, allowing the E30 M3’s iconic good looks to shine through with only the slightest smattering of visual tweaks. We’ve got to go for the wheels first.
They are genuine BBS LMs – one of the Holy Grails of the wheel world – and are pretty rare to boot. There’s quite a story behind Sam’s acquisition of them. “I’ve always loved BBS splits rims,” says Sam, “and couldn’t have the usual BBS RS type of wheel as they wouldn’t fit over the AP Racing BBK, so the hunt started for a set of staggered LMs. Well let me tell you, you have more chance of your numbers coming up than you do of finding a set. After being let down by a couple of sellers, I was contacted through one of the forums by a guy called Angel from Toledo in Spain. He had the wheels I wanted but wasn’t willing to post them; no problem, I said, I could come and collect them myself but that ended up being rather sooner than I anticipated as I received a call after work one Friday from Angel saying that I needed to collect them before the next weekend or he had another buyer lined up.
So my brother and I rushed home, picked up the family 335i and told my wife that I was going to Spain for the weekend, leaving her to cope alone with our four-month-old baby boy. We’d also been burgled just two days previously, so she was not impressed! We booked the tickets anyway, chucked a case of Red Bull in the car and set off on a mini endurance race from London to Toledo and back again!” Now that is dedication and shows just how far some people are willing to go for the right set of wheels, but the impromptu road trip was absolutely worth it as these wheels look insanely good on the car, especially after their recent refurb and darker centres.
For the outside, Sam looked to BMW’s other M3 offerings for inspiration, opting for an Evo 2 chin spoiler with carbon splitter and an Evo 3-style spoiler with a carbon gurney flap. A set of smoked Hella front lenses and indicators were added and Sam tinted the rear indicators for the finishing touch. Inside, the car already had a set of very rare Recaro LS seats in mint condition but covered in the very dated check pattern that Sam was not a fan of. Having seen an E30 Europameister and fallen for that interior, Sam took his interior over to Adam at B Trim. The seats have been trimmed in black Nappa leather with silver stitching, with B Trim also making a non-sunroof black headlining in BMW fabric and recovering all the pillar trims in black vinyl. You’ll also find an M Tech 2 steering wheel and an E36 M3 3.0 gear knob.
It’s taken Sam three years to get to this stage with the car and we wager that back when he was struggling to decide whether or not to even keep it he couldn’t have imagined it ending up like this. For a lot of people, their projects seem more like a sprint rather than a marathon, with owners desperate to meet show deadlines for the big reveal. This build, however, has definitely been the latter. And while it’s been far from plain sailing for Sam, the journey has been well worth every hardship as the end result delivers the sort of pleasure and enjoyment nothing else can. “The look on a Ferrari F430 owner’s face after being wasted by my scrap yard survivor was priceless! I was laughing like a child!” Sam says. For some, this car might go too far but for us, going that bit further is what it’s all about.
“I pulled out of the workshop, stabbed the throttle and the rear wheels lit up!”
“I’ve always loved the E30 M3; it is a true homologation model with a chassis that draws you in and gives you confidence”
DATA FILE 2015 #BMW-E30-S54B32 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #M50 sump, Vanos rebuilt with Z4M bolts, uprated big end bearings with ARP bolts, custom #Vortech-V3Si supercharger kit, ESS inlet plenum, custom crank and supercharger pulleys, Storm Developments Garrett chargecooler, Docking Engineering custom E36 M3 radiator, Denso Iridium Racing IXU01 spark plugs, Bosch coil packs, Bosch Motorsport grey injectors, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, Fuel Labs fuel filter, secondary air pump deleted, rear lambda sensors deleted, #Alpha-N-ECU conversion, #Setrab oil cooler, Hayward and Scott stainless steel custom exhaust with 3” piping and crosspipe.
TRANSMISSION: E36 M3 3.0 #ZF Type C five-speed gearbox, #TTV lightened flywheel, #Sachs Hybrid HD clutch, modified Rogue Engineering short shifter, #CAtuned chromoly driveshafts, #Demlotcrew 3.15 Ratio Motorsport diff, Z3 M modified diff cover.
CHASSIS: Summer wheels: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #BBS LM wheels with 235/40 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Michelin PS2 tyres. Winter wheels: 8.5x17” (front and rear) BBS CH wheels with 235/40 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Michelin PS2 tyres. AST 5100 and 5200 custom coilovers, Sparco front strut brace, Ultra Racing rear strut brace, Eibach anti-roll bars (front and rear), E46 Clubsport steering rack, #Siemens #VDO hydro-electric power steering pump, reinforced front subframe, rear beam modified with camber and toe correction, aluminium front control arms, Treehouse Racing front control arm bushes, E46 M3 guibo, #BMW-Motorsport Group N rear beam bushes, #AKG rear trailing arm bushes, AP Racing six-pot calipers with 330x28mm discs and PFC Z-rated pads (front), #AP-Racing four-pot calipers with 315x25mm discs and #Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), Stainless steel brake lines.
EXTERIOR: Shell acid dipped and e-coated, full bare metal rebuild and RHD conversion consisting of RHD front end, new inner and outer sills, non-sunroof roof skin, rear light panel, front slam panel, Sport Evo front wings, BMP carbon/Kevlar bonnet & front bumper, Evo II brake ducts, Evo II front chin spoiler, Sport Evo carbon fibre front splitter, Sport Evo rear spoiler with carbon fibre adjustable gurney flap, full respray in Alpine white, smoked Hella headlights, smoked front indicators, smoked side repeaters, red tinted rear lights, US rear numberplate filler, pop-out rear window conversion.
INTERIOR: Full retrim in black Nappa leather with silver stitching on Recaro LS front seats, rear bench, centre console, handbrake and gearstick gaiter, #M-Tech II 370mm steering wheel, Z4 M sport button, black carpet and mats, map reading light, rear blind, custom dials, BMW premium rear shelf speaker shells, under seat front fire extinguisher.
AUDIO: #Alpine CD-177BT CD head unit, Focal poly glass 5.25” components front and rear, #JL-Audio 12W3V3-2 12” 500W RMS 2ohm subwoofer, #Alpine-PDXV9 4x100W plus mono 500W digital power amplifier.
THANKS: Munich Motors, Jay at NV Workshop, Storm Developments, Sol at E30 Parts, Big Bavarian Beauties, Crash Repairs Edmonton, Surface Processing Limited, Lee at Quarry Motors, Fab Recycling, Hans at ESS Tuning, Alan at Docking Engineering, Jody at Atec, Andy at Streamline Motors, Dips at Custom Cars, Adam at B-Trim, ESP Blasting & Powder Coating, Nigel at Moseley Motorsports, the parts department at Stephen James BMW Enfield, Park Lane BMW Battersea, Kirby at C3BMW, Vac Motorsports, David at BG Developments, Curtis at AST Suspension, Ian at Hayward & Scott, Igor at CAtuned, Nick at Alarms N Sounds Chingford, Paul at Glasstec, Xworks, Pete at PMW, Andrew at Demlotcrew, Andrew Johnson, Kos, my wife Aleyna and my son Leo.
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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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