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    / #1965 / #Renault-8-Gordini-R1134 / #Renault-8-Gordini / #Renault-8 / THE MARKET / Showroom Stars

    Price £33,995. KGF Classic Cars, Peterborough, UK

    Given that its predecessor, the Dauphine, has been described by Dan Neil as ‘the most ineffective bit of French engineering since the Maginot Line’, we suspect that many at Renault in the 1960s would have been delighted for the R8 to be merely competent. It was, of course, far better than that, and in Gordini form it was among the most important cars of its era, winner of three Tours de Corse on the trot from 1964 to 1966 and popular enough that it spawned the first ever single-marque racing series, the Renault 8 #Gordini Cup .

    Amédée Gordini, nicknamed ‘The Sorcerer’, was able to extract impressive performance from the R8 Major’s 1108cc four-cylinder engine. With a crossflow head and twin-choke sidedraught carburettors it made 95bhp – 45bhp more than standard. His car was reliable, too: on the relentlessly attritional ’ #1964-Tour-de-Corse , 71 of the 79 starters were forced to retire. Four of the eight finishers were Gordinis. Just as importantly, the Gordini was a joy to drive – a bit tail-happy in the wet, but only enough to keep things interesting. So many of history’s great racing cars inspire in those with even a vague sense of self-preservation what is euphemistically called ‘respect’, but not the little #Renault .

    Unsurprisingly, then, genuine Gordinis have for some time been a hot commodity. Collectors tend to prefer the later 1255cc version with quad headlights, but if ultimate speed is what you’re after you’ll want to take a hard look at this 1965 screamer, currently loitering with intent at KGF Classic Cars in Peterborough.

    Formerly owned by noted Gordini enthusiast Steven Swan, it boasts a super-tuned 1550cc 169bhp engine and all the attendant upgrades you’d imagine – but in appearance has been mucked about as little as possible (the original seat has been replaced with a modern #Sparco number, but remains with the car). It has been campaigned with success but remains immaculate. And best of all, it’s road-legal and right-hand drive, meaning The Sorcerer’s magic – and Steven Swan’s – can be enjoyed to the fullest on this side of the Channel.
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    / #Audi RS4 B5 with a 5-cylinder engine / Words Davy Lewis / Photography Andreas S Jansson and Bjorn Eirik Odegård

    FIERCE FIVE
    This track-prepared RS4 is running a #5-cylinder-engine that makes 939hp – now there’s something a bit different…

    RS4 B5 940hp 5-cylinder swap

    Doing things differently is a risky business. Get it right and you’ll win the respect and admiration of your peers. Get it wrong however, and people will tear you apart on social media. This couldn’t be more relevant than in the car scene. From choice of wheels, to the tricky subject of rear wings – an upgrade that wins the internet with its ingenuity and originality is only a hairs breadth away from a total balls-up that incites derision and hate. People are funny, eh?

    So where am I going with this? Well, one of the most fiercely loyal of all Audi enthusiasts are the RS4 B5 guys. Many view this as the only true RS4. The real deal. The big kahuna. The daddy. And you know what – I’m inclined to agree. There’s something about that wide arched, 2.7 biturbo-powered avant that is bang on the money. Never mind the fact that most of them will spend an inordinate amount of time in the garage, simultaneously emptying your wallet and making you cry into your Aldi value beans (cos that’s all you’ll be able to afford as a B5 owner). But, they’re a passionate, dedicated bunch and I applaud that.

    So what on God’s earth are they going to make of an RS4 with a naughty secret under its bonnet? You see, this track-focussed RS4 has a cylinder missing. Or, to put it more clearly – it has one less cylinder than it should. But why would anyone remove a perfectly good V6 biturbo and replace it with an old five-pot?

    Well, for starters the V6 wasn’t perfectly good. The owner had been through numerous turbos and frankly he was sick to the back teeth of removing the damn thing to fix it. The B5’s engine may be a masterpiece when working well, but get a recalcitrant unit that has frequent issues, and you too could grow to hate it. Add to this the fact that Aslan Eshanov is based in Norway and it becomes clear. These guys don’t think like us.

    They go their own way, which is why so many insane cars appear from the frozen lands of northern Europe. Anyway, when you’ve got a nice five-cylinder sitting in the garage, it would be rude not to make use of it. But there’s more to this story than a simple track project build…

    The RS4 was actually impounded by the police after they discovered it had a false chassis number. Aslan was prosecuted and fined 23,000 euros (the price of the car’s import tax to Norway). Gulp. So, he hired a lawyer and fought the case in court, proving it was the previous owner who had committed the fraud. However, after a total of 60,000 euros had been spent, Aslan was told that he still could not use the RS4 on the road unless he paid a further 23,000 euros. “I could not afford to do this, so I decided to build a full track car,” he says. So before anyone shouts, “what a waste of an RS4” – it was either build a full-on track weapon, or it would never be used at all.

    The project began in July 2014 in Aslan’s basic, unheated garage with only ordinary tools. “I worked a lot in the summer, but not so much in the winter as it was -20 outside and still -10 in the garage.” He spent around 14 months on the car, having to work much of the details out for himself as well as fabricating many bespoke parts.

    You can read the full engine spec on the last page of the feature, but it’s based around a 2.5 TDI block, with forged rods and pistons. There’s an AAN cylinder head and CatCams that allow this strong bottom end to withstand a 10,000rpm rev limit. Everything needed to be strong, because Aslan likes to give it a serious kicking. You may have seen videos of it being nailed sideways around the track at various Gatebil events.

    Watching this RS4 performing brutal four-wheel power slides never gets old and with 939hp on tap, it’s some crowd pleaser. Listening to that beefy, Precision turbo snorting and chuffing away, accompanied by the roar from the 3.5in exhaust really is something special. It’s a raw, unrestrained sound that is all the better for being produced by an engine with an odd number of cylinders.

    Thankfully, the outside has been left pretty much OEM. The only additions are a Leon Cupra front splitter, some tow straps and US-spec side marker lights. The fact it isn’t covered in some crazy livery or emblazoned with sponsor’s logos, only adds to the appeal of this RS4.

    Inside it’s a different story. The dash remains, but pretty much everything else has been removed to make way for a comprehensive roll cage and the fuel system, mounted in the boot. There’s even a rear-mounted radiator, inspired no doubt by the Group B cars of the ’80s. Sensibly, Aslan has installed a firewall, to keep himself away from the fuel system.

    The wheels are as wide as possible to allow for maximum traction – they measure a girthy 10.5x19in all round, wrapped in 275/30 semi-slick track rubber. However, a set of 18in Rotas are used for drifting with smaller 235/40 tyres.

    There’s plenty more to come from this rather immense RS4. It’s an unconventional car, with a chequered past, but there’s no denying that it is 100% savage. Aslan reckons there’s another 200Nm of torque to be had, so it’s set to become even more of an animal on track. It’s a shame it can never be used on the road in Norway, but I guess that means that it’s never going to be a compromise. This RS4 is all about going insanely fast (often sideways) and for that, I give it a big nod of respect.

    SPECIFICATION / #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi-A4 /

    Engine Self build 5-cyl 2.5 20v Turbo, 2.5 TDI long block from 94-97 A6 (same block as Transporter T4) with custom CP-service pistons and #Rosten-Performance H-profile rods, #Audi-Ur-S4-AAN cylinder head from S4 C4 91-94 rebuilt to mechanical lifters and #CatCams for higher lift on valves and can run 10,000rpm, modified #AAN intake manifold from 2.2 20v S4 C4, Nuke fuel rail with 1600cc #Bosch injectors, custom exhaust manifold for B5 with 5-cyl engine, #Precision / #Precision-6466CE turbo, Tial 60mm wastegate, #Tial Blow-off valve, 3.5in exhaust all the way and 2x 3.5in tailpipes (Diesel look), 4in intercooler, big oil catch tank with return line for oil back to the oilpan, #Autronic-SM4-ECU , Audi R8 coils, #Accusump oil accumulator (stabilizes the oil pressure in engine)

    Transmission OEM RS4 B5 transmission, OEM drive shafts, Tilton 2-plate clutch good for 1500hp

    Power 939.8bhp and 983Nm at 2.3bar of boost on E85 fuel

    Brakes RS4 B7 brakes in front, OEM rear brakes, hydraulic handbrake

    Suspension #Øhlins 3-way coilovers, #H&R ARBs front and rear, #PowerFlex bushings / #Öhlins / #Ohlins-Racing

    Wheels & Tyres #BBS-CH / #BBS 10.5x19 with 275/30x19 semi slicks, OEM RS4 and Bola B1 (Rota grid) drifting wheels with 235/40x18

    Interior OEM dash, #Sparco / #Sparco-Pro-2000 black seats, Sparco 4-point red belts, full “rally” roll cage, rear mounted radiator with water pump in boot, 3x #Bosch-044 fuel pumps for E85 fuel, 60-litre fuel cell, Nuke fuel catch tank, 2x #Nuke fuel filters, firewall between boot and rear of cabin

    Exterior Leon Cupra front spoiler, US side marker lights, tow straps, tinted windows, OEM paint

    Tuning contacts/thanks Tuned by #RFS-Performance in Norway. 939.8bhps and 983Nm at 2.3bar of boost on E85 fuel (not finished with the tuning, need to adjust cams to push out around 200Nm more)

    Top: Cheeky on-road shot of this epic track car

    Below: The plate gives the game away...

    Left: Rear firewall and extensive roll cage Below Left: Interior is driver focused.
    Bottom: Just a regular RS4...
    Above: Aslan kicks the RS4’s arse on track.

    Action photographs: Bjorn Eirik Odegård
    Below: Rear-mounted cooling system.

    “The RS4 was actually impounded by the police...”
    Below: View through the rear window gives the game away.
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    NUMBER CRUNCHING 1040whp turbo E36 M3

    We see a lot of modified cars here at PBMW but a 1000hp E36 M3 is something that never fails to impress… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andreas Wibstad.

    They say that you shouldn’t chase numbers when building a car. You should build a car that will drive well and suit your needs rather than delivering big peak power but becoming undriveable in the process. Of course, if you happen to be building a car where big power is your need, then why not aim high and punch through the 1000hp barrier? It’s the sensible thing to do.

    If we told you that Ole Ivar Seem, the owner of this E36, comes from Norway you probably wouldn’t be surprised because it would seem that Scandinavians have a predisposition for building stupidly powerful cars. And, unlike those of us having to find time during evenings and weekends to work on our cars due to our 9-5s taking up the vast majority of our time, Ole works on offshore oil platforms, which means he works hard but then has plenty of time to play hard when he’s back on dry land. And play hard he does.

    Funnily enough Ole says that while he’d always liked BMWs he didn’t become properly interested in them until about 2003, when Vidar Strand from V.S Motor hit 1000hp with his E34 M5. That got his attention and got him thinking about the possibilities of what could be achieved with a BMW. And judging by one of his previous projects – a 426hp Sierra Cosworth, which was featured in our ex-sister title Performance Ford back in 2003 – it was clear that unless big power could be achieved Ole wasn’t interested. Of course, his first #BMW project was never going to make anywhere near that power output, being as it was an ’1986 E30 320i, but then again Ole only bought it for a bit of winter fun and threw a few mods at it. However, it started the sequence of events that mean we’re now standing here today with his 1000hp E36 M3.

    With the Cosworth sold and a lump sum burning a hole in his pocket, Ole cast his car-catching net to see what he could snag. That’s when he came across this M3. “I found the car on a BMW forum here in Norway,” he explains. “It was a virtually completed street build with lots of good parts but that looked completely stock on the outside. Initially the plan was really to run with the parts that were on it but a thought crossed my mind about building a car for Gatebil Extreme [Gatebil’s own time attack and racing series]. After driving the car for a bit back in summer 2008, I got problems with water in the oil, leaking between the pyramid rings and water channels. So the real story of the car and engine you see today started when I picked up the phone to Vidar at V.S Motor.

    “The motor building began with solving the problem of water in the oil. Vidar had a separate patent which, in principle, removes the head gasket and uses rings in a special metal. Vidar also fitted new custom cams from V.S Motor, new custom V.S Motor pistons, uprated Pauter con rods built to V.S Motor’s specifications, stainless steel valves, tighter valve springs and he did a general update of the whole engine. He then put it on the dyno bench at V.S to get it mapped properly. With it running perfectly we went for a power run and it made 772hp and 723lb ft of torque at 1.3bar, but tremendous back pressure on the exhaust side prevented any more power. The problem was an exhaust manifold that was not quite optimal and a Turbonetics turbo that was completely the wrong setup. I drove the rest of the summer and next spring running this setup but I was bothered by the fact that it did not deliver optimally when I knew I could get much more from the engine.

    “After a few more conversations with Vidar we agreed that he should build a new manifold and a new turbo, then test it. The engine was ready in April 2011. This tested Vidar’s patience to the limit as it’s really cramped around the engine for building a manifold. You really need a lot of space. I think someone would have to pay him a lot of money to do this again!” laughs Ole. “On test day the engine really stood up to our demands, and on E85 fuel it delivered 1039hp and 817lb ft of torque at 2.1bar. You can say we were delighted with it.” And who wouldn’t be with over 1000hp on tap? But Ole and Vidar weren’t finished with the engine just yet. “In summer of last year we found out that we were going to start with new fuel as E85 was phased out from petrol stations in Norway, so we chose to use the Ignite E98 race ethanol fuel that Vidar sells.

    We counted on a power increase so in July 2015, before going to the E30 meet in Rudskogen. I went with Vidar to Jonus Racing to run the car on the dyno. After roughly four to five hours of fine-tuning, the numbers that it put down really made our eyes pop! We got 1040whp and 855lb ft wheel torque which, when converted to power at the crank, becomes 1196hp and 959lb ft at 2.2bar. It goes without saying that were extremely pleased with this outcome,” smiles Ole.

    We would be too. That’s an absolutely monstrous amount of power, especially considering he’s still running the 3.0-litre S50. That works out at 399hp per litre; that’s like the E39 M5, with its 4.9-litre V8, making all of its power from a 1.0-litre engine, which is a bit mental when you break it down like that. As far as engine spec is concerned, we simply haven’t got the space to go through all of it here, just take a look at the spec list and you’ll see it’s exactly as long as you would expect it to be on a powerful engine like this. Highlights include the Precision billet 7675 turbo – such a key part of this incredible build, adjustable cam pulleys, a Tial 60mm wastegate, 4.5” downpipe, 3.5” Edgeperformance exhaust, ARP bolts, a 26-row oil cooler, custom header tank, Griffin radiator, custom 6” thick intercooler, 580lph Aeromotive lift pump, twin A1000 fuel pumps, and a set of six absolutely ridiculous 1699cc flow matched fuel injectors. All of which is really just scratching the surface. It’s as heavy-duty a build as you can imagine.

    You can’t just make a 1000hp engine, stuff it into an E36 M3 and hope for the best because things would go south in a big way almost immediately. You need to put in just as much work on the transmission and chassis fronts to make sure everything works in perfect harmony. There’s no messing about when it comes to the gearbox on this car, with Ole fitting a Sellholm MPG sequential ’box made specifically for this car and combined with a Tilton 7.25” threeplate, 26 spline rally clutch and Alcon hydraulic release bearing. A 3” chromoly propshaft rated to 1500hp delivers all that turbocharged power to a modified 210 diff from a 3.2 M3 sitting on reinforced mounts, and a pair of 38mm driveshafts.

    As for the suspension, well, we’ll let Ole explain: “Everything under the car is solid mounted or uses aluminium uni ball components. I run custom road coilovers from Sellholm Tuning made specifically for the weight of the car and supporting chassis mods. These include: Sellholm Tuning front and rear fully adjustable blade anti-roll bars; custom front suspension turrets and custom adjustable top mounts; Turner Motorsport aluminium bushes and rear lower control arms; and PeeBee Motorsport adjustable rear upper control arms.

    “When it came to choosing the parts, Vidar knew exactly what was required, having been involved in so many builds, not to mention his racing experience. I trust him 100% and he is the man to talk to when one is stuck with ideas or problems, although these phone calls can be expensive. That’s how I ended up with the sequential gearbox!” With over 1000hp on tap, you need some seriously big brakes to haul the E36 down from the sort of speed it can achieve, and Ole hasn’t cut any corners here. Up front, eight piston K-Sport calipers have been fitted, clamping 355mm discs, while at the rear sit six-pot calipers with 330mm discs and EBC’s BlueStuff track day pads have been fitted all-round. Wheel choice was guided by necessity rather than aesthetics, as you’d expect on a build like this. “The choice of rims came after lots of searching on forums and chatting with acquaintances in the racing world. To make most of the rubber on the ground, without extending the arches or anything like that, the wheels had to be lightweight, withstand a lot punishment and with widths matching the chassis. I chose the Apex EC-7 as there were really no other wheels that matched the car. They fitted well with the look that I had in mind for the car.”

    The tough, lightweight wheels measure 9x18” up front and 9.5x18” at the rear and are mounted on the car via a set of NMS Racing 75mm studs.

    Just by glancing at the outside of this E36 you’d really be hard pressed to tell what’s going on beneath the surface as Ole has kept everything looking extremely stock. “My goal has always been to retain the original lines that I like so much,” he says. “Generally original but sassy, a look with a little more muscle. There’s a fully removable carbon bonnet, a carbon sunroof blank and the only change to the body itself is that the rear wheel arches have been rolled.”

    Of course, the interior is another matter entirely and there was only ever going to be one direction to take it in. “The choice was easy,” says Ole. “It should be for racing! It had to be as light as possible and, ideally, with parts that no one else in Norway or Europe had tried before. Plenty of time went into building the roll-cage, which was done by a colleague and myself with Vidar providing all the technical information. It is made from about 80 metres of chromoly 4130 tubes and has been built down towards the chassis to really get it rigid, to the suspension turrets, to the diff and many other reinforcements against the chassis, which you can’t see in the pictures. In reality it is a tubular frame inside the car.”

    Beyond that there’s a QSP steering wheel mounted on a Sparco Group N quick-release steering boss, Cobra Suzuka seats with six-point harnesses and a Racepak UDX data logger dash with auxiliary Autometer gauges. To keep things as light as possible, the car has been fitted with ACM carbon fibre doorcards and even a carbon firewall, carbon dash and carbon centre console while the boot is home to fuel system, with a 60-litre Aeromotive aluminium fuel cell and aluminium swirl pot.

    After a hell of a lot of planning and almost seven years of work, it’s unsurprising that the end result was so damn spectacular.

    What is surprising, though, is that Ole sold the car not long ago but, he says, it’s gone to a man who really knows what he’s doing so it’s in good hands and will be used as intended by its new owner.

    So, what’s next for Ole? Time to give up the modifying game and relax with pipe and slippers watching gardening programmes? In a word, no. “I already have plans going around in my brain but one thing is for sure, it gets wilder!” he exclaims. “This car will probably take a few years to finish. And I have a problem: I’m never satisfied until I have spent a lot of time on everything from planning to execution, so those who wait will see. The rest is a huge secret,” he adds with a grin. We’re instantly as excited as he is. Judging by his track record, it’s going to be something special.

    Interior is slathered in sexy carbon panels.

    Apex EC-7 wheels were chosen as they’re light and tough; massive eight-pot K-Sport calipers sit up front with six-pots at the rear.

    That’s what you need for 1000hp. S50B30 has been fully built and features massive Precision 7675 turbo.

    “My goal has always been to retain the original lines I like so much”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #S50B30 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 / #V.S-Motor / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #Precision / #Precision-7675-turbo / #Autronic / #Sellholm / #Aeromotive / #BMW-M3-V.S-Motor / #BMW-M3-V.S-Motor-E36 / #Pauter-Motorsport /

    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30, #Autronic-SM4 , MSD coil packs, #Autronic boost solenoid, V.S Motor custom exhaust manifold, #Precision-billet-7675-turbo , Edgeperformance Vanos block-off kit, adjustable cam pulleys, Tial 60mm wastegate, V.S Motor 4.5” downpipe, Edgeperformance 3.5” stainless steel exhaust, #Tial 50mm BOV, #ARP bolts throughout, Pauter Motorsport H-rods, V.S Motor spec valve springs, V.S Motor spec custom cams, JE custom pistons built to V.S Motor spec, original intake manifold modified for forced induction, Samco intake hose, head and block modified to remove head gasket, special head gasket replacement rings designed by V.S Motor, Turner Motorsport oil cooler hoses, Earl’s 26-row oil cooler, #GS-Performance oil distribution block, #Griffin aluminium radiator, AN-20 fittings, custom header tank, custom three-litre oil catch tank with AN-16 fittings, 2x12” Flex-a-Lite fans, V.S Motor design Precision bespoke 6” thick intercooler, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, 19-row Ethanol cooler with 10” fan, Edgeperformance fuel rail, 6x flow matched 1699cc E85 injectors, VEMS wide band lambda sensor and EGT

    POWER AND TORQUE 1040whp and 855lb ft wheel torque at 2.2bar

    TRANSMISSION #Sellholm-MPG sequential gearbox, #Tilton 7.25” three-plate 26-spline rally clutch, #Alcon hydraulic release bearing, 1500hp 3” chromoly custom propshaft, M3 3.2 210 diff modified by V.S Motor, 38mm drive shafts, reinforced diff mounts and suspension attached to roll-cage, Omega gearbox/diff oil

    CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Apex-EC-7 wheels with 255/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) #Nankang Sportnex NS-2R tyres mounted on 75mm #NMS-Racing studs, custom Sellholm asphalt coilovers, #Sellholm adjustable suspension turrets, custom top mounts, Sellholm fully adjustable blade anti-roll bars (front and rear), Turner Motorsport aluminium trailing arm bushes, aluminium front control arm bushes, #PeeBee-Motorsport adjustable upper rear control arms, #Turner-Motorsport adjustable lower rear control arms, aluminium diff bushes, K-Sport eight-piston calipers with 355x32mm discs (front), #K-Sport six-piston calipers with 330x32mm discs (rear), #EBC BlueStuff pads (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR Removable ACM carbon race bonnet, carbon sunroof blank, rear arches rolled

    INTERIOR Full chromoly 4130 roll-cage connected to suspension turrets, diff and throughout the chassis, QSP steering wheel with #Sparco Group N quick-release steering wheel boss, OBP pedalbox, Sellholm hydraulic handbrake, Cobra Suzuka seats with six-point 3” harnesses, Racepak UDX dash data logger, Autometer Sport-Comp gauges for oil pressure, oil temperature, boost pressure, fuel level and water temperature, OMP 4.24-litre central fire extinguisher, ACM carbon doorcards, carbon fibre firewall, complete carbon dash and carbon DTM centre console, Fibervac carbon panels, 580lph Aeromotive SS series lift pump, 2x Aeromotive A1000 fuel pumps, Aeromotive fuel filter/holder, Aeromotive 60-litre aluminium fuel cell, aluminium swirl pot, Earl’s fittings and hoses

    THANKS An extremely big thanks to Vidar Strand at V.S Motor, without him this car would not have been possible, he has always been cheerful and helpful no matter what time I’ve called. Thanks also to Robin, Kay Ove, Stig P, Kurt Magnar, Kjell Inge, Jørgen, Terje, and Thomas at Edgeperformance
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    HULA-FLUSH

    A stunning #S52-swapped E30 from Hawaii. Hawaii’s Wil Snyder may have started his E30 build whilst at high school, but now he’s doing nothing but schooling others with an S52 swap and a stance to die for – did someone say Hellaflush? Words: Ben Koflach /// Photos: Sam Dobbins

    Hawaii. It’s not a big place, but there’s a lot more to it than pineapples and hula skirts. Take Wil Syder’s E30 for example; since buying it at high school, he’s built it up bit-by-bit to create what is – I’d be willing to bet – Hawaii’s finest.

    Things began with Wil’s first car, which was also an E30. It gave him the bug that no doubt resulted in the car you see before you, but his first car wasn’t to be… It was working fine until, in 2005, a pair of 80- something-year-olds didn’t spot it and crashed into it head on. So it was time for Wil to look for another car, and that same day he spotted what was, in his eyes, the perfect replacement. “It was like it was meant to be, though the car was pretty bad,” he says, “the bodywork was oxidised and the clutch was seized, but I knew I had to have it.”

    Fitting working on the car around high school, it was always Wil’s plan to build his new E30 into a race car, “then stance really came out, and I got into it. I loved it,” he laughs. So with that in mind, Wil set about preparing the car for paint. With budget a particular key factor, he decided to complete the work himself, and after getting the exterior prim and proper – as well as removing the aerial, washer jets and rear spoiler whilst binning the chunky chrome bumpers and fitting slicker plastic items from the later E30s – it was almost time for the paint.

    As with any stance-pursuing build, it was going to be essential to run the tyres as close to the arches as possible, and therefore some arch rolling was in order. “Out of everything I’ve done on the car, getting the arches rolled nicely was really difficult. The rear arch fold is really thick on E30s – in the end it was easier to cut it out.” With that completed and the car freshly painted, it was time to really take the gloves off…

    “I found the wheels in a junkyard next door to where I used to work,” explains Wil, “they were the wrong PCD but the guy selling them didn’t have a clue what they were so I picked them up cheap and set about rebuilding them myself.” Wil started with the centres, which were sent to Rotiform for redrilling, taking them from 114x4 to an E30-friendly 4x100. At the same time, they were powdercoated in silver for a fresher appearance when compared to the shabby state they’d been in. Next up, Wil placed an order for gold bolts and monstrous 3” stepped lips, which he used to rebuild the wheels himself. The result? Going from a 6.5x15” ET36 to a 9x15” ET4 with deeper dishes than I think I’ve ever seen on a set of RS’.

    You might expect the decision of what to shoe the BBS’ in to be a simple one – the skinniest tyre that can be stretched on it, right? Well, wrong. Harking back to his original intention of building a race car, chunky 225/50 Falkens grace each corner.

    It’s certainly controversial, but it really works and spells out a bit of menacing intention. For keeping the tyres nicely snug with the arches, Wil has used Ground Control coilovers, comprising Koni struts which have been shortened 2” at the front, with 525lb springs at the front and 750lb items at the rear. Combine those with Treehouse Racing front control arm bushes, as well as the other bushes, which have been swapped out for superior polyurethane items, Ground Control camber plates and Suspension Techniques anti-roll bars, and you’ve got a rather promising looking chassis. Wil hasn’t been shy with the stance either – with front camber set to the maximum and the tyres practically skimming the arches, it sure as hell looks effective.

    The next area to catch Wil’s attention was under the bonnet. S52 swaps are becoming more and more popular over the Pond, and with it being a relatively simple conversion, he decided it was time he got involved. Being on a tight budget, Wil decided that the best way to achieve the swap was by going along to a car auction which was selling insurance write-offs. As it turned out, he managed to bag himself an accident damaged ’98 Z3 M for just $1400. And once it was home, it wasn’t long before Wil had stripped it of its S52 engine and running gear to put into the E30. “The motor swap was straight forward – four days after picking up the first spanner, it was in and running,” smiles Wil.

    Some guys have all the luck, eh? And skill. With 3.2 litres of straight-six now nestled under the bonnet, a Z3M gearbox, propshaft and a 3.23 final drive ratio limited-slip differential, Wil really had the performance he’d always sought after. But for him, it wasn’t quite enough.


    As well as having been converted to OBD1 for the engine swap, Wil fitted a 3” custom exhaust to make everything fit properly, and to give it some extra shout. This was linked to free-flowing Euro-replica exhaust manifolds, and to match air and fuel flow at the other end, Wil’s utilised a 3.5” air mass meter (from Euro-spec E36 M3s and E39 5 Series V8s) and 21.5lb/hr injectors. A Turner Motorsport chip and underdrive pulleys finish it off. Wil also fitted an E34 M5 master cylinder, brake servo and custom remote reservoir – making more room under the bonnet – and saving the sump from certain death is a RaceSkids 24v-specific skid plate, which sits 1.25” off the floor.

    During a recent dyno session, the results Wil’s E30 achieved were very respectable – despite only being relatively mildly tuned, the S52 managed to peak at 219.98bhp and 211.52lb ft of torque at the wheels – certainly enough to propel the E30 along the Hawaiian roads at quite a speed.

    Finishing the car off, and sticking to the race car dreams that he’d always had, Wil decided to strip out all of the carpet, sound deadening and quite a few chunks of interior trim. He then installed a few gauges and a dished Sparco steering wheel – a quirky contrast with the black leathers. Wil’s debating whether to install a roll-cage in the future, but whatever he does, I’m sure it’ll only enhance this rather cool E30.

    Still think Hawaii hasn’t got much to offer the #BMW scene? Think again. Wil’s shown that loving a trend doesn’t mean you have to build the same as everyone else. Love it or loathe it, you can’t deny that this E30 has impact. Built not bought, DIY… however you want to describe it, Wil’s done it all himself, and the results are as slick-as-you-like. Who says cars built on a budget can’t rule?

    An S52 swap with some mild tuning sees Wil’s E30 performing like the race car he’s always dreamed of, while camber plates are set at maximum negative camber for a killer stance!

    Chunky 225/50 Falkens grace each corner. It’s certainly controversial, but it really works and spells out a bit of menacing intention.

    DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-S52 / #BMW-E30-Coupe / #Turner-Motorsport / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.2-litre straight-six #S52 / #BMW-S52 , converted to OBD1, 3.5” #MAF sensor, 21.5lb/hr injectors, #Turner-Motorsport underdrive pullies, #Euroreplica exhaust manifolds, 3” custom exhaust, Turner chip, #Raceskids 24V skid plate, Z3 M Roadster gearbox and diff (3.23 LSD)

    CHASSIS: 9x15” #ET4 #BBS-RS three-piece split-rims, 3” lips and gold bolts, centres powdercoated and redrilled for 4x100 PCD, shod in 225/50 Falken tyres. #Ground-Control coilovers using front adjustable Koni shocks and rear #Koni yellow shocks, front strut housings cut 2”, 525lb front springs, 750lb rear springs, Ground Control camber plates, Suspension Techniques front and rear anti-roll bars, Treehouse racing front control arm bushings and fully polybushed elsewhere, new ball joints, Z3 M Roadster steering rack and pinion. Standard brakes with E34 M5 master cylinder and servo with custom remote reservoir

    EXTERIOR: Full respray in #Misano red, plastic bumpers, washer jets and aerial removed, iS splitter

    INTERIOR: #Sparco dished steering wheel, carpets and sound deadening removed, various gauges added

    THANKS: My girlfriend for supporting me and putting up with the long nights and money spent on the car, Rotiform for sorting the wheels, everyone else who has got involved with the car, Sam Dobbins for the shoot
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    THE CURIOUS ORANGE FORD MK2 ESCORT / #Vauxhall-engined #Ford dares to be different!

    MK2 ESCORT

    Our cover star is an Escort with a difference. You’ll find no Pinto, or YB under the bonnet of this tasty saloon!

    There are a lot of orange Mk2 Escorts out there. So how do you make one stand out from the crowd? Simple: you pay attention to the details… Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Damian Hock.


    Familiarity, they say, breeds contempt. Too much exposure to any given thing can inherently bleed out any genuine passion for it, leaving a void of disinterest – or, worse, actual animosity. This is something that rears its head here and there in the old car ecosystem. Look at the watercooled VW scene, for example; the values of Mk1 Golfs and two-door Jettas are spiralling, with incredible detail and effort going into making each build stand out from every other quite-similar car on the scene. Engine bays are shaved and smoothed to absurd degrees, wheel choices and fi tments are agonised over, anything to escape that contemptuous judgement of having not put quite as much effort in as others might. It can all get a bit nasty. Cars that appear superb in isolation get swallowed up on the showground.

    Of course, this is only something you need to worry about if you care what other people think, rather than building or speccing a car for yourself because you like it that way. Once you’re free from the constraints of other people’s egos, you can just do what the hell you like, can’t you? And if you do the job properly, the car will stand out all by itself, without any need for you to lose a wink of sleep over it.

    Slotting neatly into this line of thinking is Retropower, a company that will no doubt be familiar to regular readers. They build the sort of cars that we like, in just the way we like them, but there’s never any sense of trophy-chasing or backslapping: they’re just very good at what they do, they won’t let a car out of the door unless it’s perfect, and it’s all centred around the customer’s commission. So when they were briefed back in early 2012 to build a trackday-oriented Escort, there was no fevered headscratching along the lines of ‘Goodness, how can we differentiate this Escort from the thousands of other ones out there?’, they just knuckled down and built the car right. It’s testament to their skills that the car’s come out the other side as one of the fi nest Escorts on the retro scene today. Who cares if familiarity breeds contempt? There are always fresh ways of doing things, new ways to shock. Fight malaise with passion.

    “The Escort was bought as a complete, running car and looked fairly tidy,” says Retropower’s Callum Seviour, an artistic soul who clearly has a genuine passion for this citrusy Ford, “but as is almost always the case, there were a lot of horrors lurking. It was still a reasonably good shell, but there was a lot of previous botching to undo – things like the turrets being welded in an inch further forward one side than the other, and the inner and outer arches joined only with expanding foam and underseal – standard old car stuff, sadly!” The heavy tone in his voice suggests that they come across these nightmares all too often, although the smirk indicates that it’s all in a day’s work…


    “The car was already a stripped-out fast road/ track day car, but cobbled up and rough round the edges,” he continues. “The asthmatic Pinto completed the somewhat lacklustre experience! The brief was to completely strip the shell and make sure it was perfect in terms of metalwork, and then rebuild to be a faster, more precise and more exciting machine, but with the same intended use. Of course, as is often the case we all got carried away with the ideas as the project progressed, and it ended up dangerously close to being a full-on Group 4-spec rally car!”


    Well, yes, it is easy to get carried away, isn’t it? Particularly in a garage full of oldschool petrolheads and an eagerly enthused customer. This is where Retropower’s approach really starts to make sense, keeping the client close to the project at all times to chew over ideas and see what’s realistic, desirable and, naturally, affordable.

    “The joy of a Mk2 is the ability to chuck around a lightweight and stiff shell with pinpoint precision, so they have to be as strong as possible,” Callum explains. “There’s the usual Group 4 kit which gussets from the chassis rails into the bulkhead, and the extra plate over each strut top which are then welded to brackets attaching the strut brace, so that is all mega-stiff. Then we seam-welded all the critical areas, and also double-skinned the front of the chassis rails so that they could be jacked without damage, adding jacking points under the rear chassis rails. The rear bulkhead is fully welded in too, and tied into the fabricated arch tubs and turrets so there’s a lot of stiffness added there. The cage then ties everything together, so it does feel pretty epic to drive in terms of precision, accuracy and predictability of steering input.”

    The effort that’s gone into the chassis draws upon decades of motorsport-derived evolution, and is very much the ultimate spec in terms of this kind of intended usage. So what manner of motor powers such a creation? Are the 1600 Sport decals a clue?

    “Er, no,” laughs Callum. “It’s a C20XE, a 2.0-litre Vauxhall Red-Top, which was chosen for various reasons of cost, power, and tuneability. There were a few ideas being considered – Honda S2000, Duratec and so on, but they all have their complications, and the Vauxhall unit is a fantastic engine – it was designed by Cosworth at a similar time to the YB. It’s easy to make enough power to shift an Escort pretty fast, and it’s the most compact among the aforementioned list of engines, making the fitment that little bit more straightforward.

    Also, it’s fun to upset the purists!” Well, quite. Diehard Ford fans will always snort with derision when you lift an Escort bonnet to reveal an XE… but again, who cares about the slings and arrows when you’re building a car for yourself? There’s no need to take it all so seriously, this is a car built for fun above all else, after all. It’s not as if they’ve just slung a bone-stock XE in there, either – the spicy twin-cam features steel rods and forged pistons, hungry throttle bodies, eager cams, hedonistic fuelling, and rorty exhaustery. It all adds up to a nice round 200bhp, as verified by the rollers. More than enough to plaster a grin over the face of the discerning Escort fondler.

    The 1600 Sport logos, then, are endearingly tongue-in-cheek. “It’s my favourite Mk2 livery,” Callum admits. “The car did come to us with RS2000 decals, but having intentionally left it narrow-arched – as the owner prefers the look – I think the 1600 Sport decals finish it perfectly.”

    There’s precision tomfoolery afoot within as well, from the Sparco Pro 2000 buckets to the raft of functional switchgear and flocking. Hell, there’s a hydraulic handbrake and a bias pedal box in there too – this car may be exquisitely finished, but it’s no show pony. It’s been built to throw around, and that’s just what the owner intends to do.

    “The project took a little over three years to complete,” says Callum, eulogising fondly over a car he’s clearly going to be sad to see the back of. “The owner had sourced the engine and axle himself, and also bought a lot of the parts directly with a little advice from us here and there, but he always knew the basics of what he wanted – our role in this build was to execute all the hundreds of little decisions when it came to exactly how everything should look and work, and that’s what adds up to give the overall feel of the car. There were no massive hurdles with this one – we could just knuckle down to making sure every detail looked cool!” And it’s safe to say they’ve pulled that off with aplomb and alacrity. Every angle is a right angle, as it were; each component glimmers with intent – it’s function-over-form, and yet so pristine that form can’t help but follow function to a show car finish. “The owner is fairly local, so had been to see the car a lot during the build,” Callum continues. “He’d never displayed a huge amount of emotion, but there was an occasion, just prior to the final handover, where we invited him over for a final inspection so he could go over the car and point out anything he wanted changing or wasn’t happy with. It was a sunny day and he was absolutely beaming! I think it finally struck him that it was real and the car was his… I took him out for a quick thrash with a little bit of sideways action and that only made the smile bigger. It’s always hugely satisfying to see a proud and happy owner taking delivery of their car.” Imagine having that manner of job satisfaction, eh? Callum and his team truly are dream-weavers, and that’s a sentiment that would surely be echoed by the man who’s now holding the keys – if, that is, you can find him sitting still for long enough. With so much time invested in optimising the performance potential of this Escort, it’s understandable that he wants to give it a good thrashing at every given opportunity.

    And that, in a nutshell, is how it’s done. Sure, you can agonise over how to make your car stand out among its peers in a saturated scene... or you can just follow your heart and let it speak for itself. The results we see here suggest that the latter is probably better for your soul.

    Specification #Ford-Escort / #Ford-Escort-MkII / #Ford / #Retropower

    ENGINE: 2.0-litre #C20XE / #Vauxhall / #Vauxhall-C20XE / Red Top , steel rods, forged pistons, QED direct-tohead individual throttle bodies, SBD cams, MBE ECU and Raychem race- spec loom, GRP4 Fabrications radiator, Retropower coolant hoses, cast aluminium ‘big wing’ sump, stainless steel 4-2-1 exhaust manifold, Retropower 2.5in stainless exhaust system, #GRP4 Fabrications fuel tank & base, Bosch 044 pump and -6 Tefl on lines, braided fuel lines throughout, 200bhp.
    TRANSMISSION: Ford Type-9 with Tran-X straight-cut gear kit and quickshift, aluminium 7-degree bellhousing, Atlas axle with plate-type LSD
    SUSPENSION:, Group 4 #Bilstein front struts with Bilstein inserts, compression struts and adjustable track control arms, quick-rack with Corsa electric assistance conversion, 5-linked rear axle, Group 4 Bilstein rear coilovers into turreted shell,
    BRAKES: AP 266mm vented front discs with AP 4-pot aluminium calipers, 240mm solid rear discs with Sierra-type calipers
    WHEELS/TYRES: 6.5x13in Revolution 4-spokes with 185/50x13 Yokohama A539 tyres
    EXTERIOR: Complete bare-metal restoration, rear end bulkheaded, arches tubbed and shell modified for full 5-link axle location, front panel modified for larger radiator and welded in Group 4 strengthening kit, welded in strut-brace mounts, all redundant engine bay brackets and holes welded up, full repaint inside, outside and underneath in Ford Signal Orange, 1600 Sport decals
    INTERIOR: #Sparco Pro 2000 seats, OMP Corsica steering wheel, flocked dash and centre switch panel, custom aluminium centre console with fusebox, full rewire from scratch, SPA Kitdash instrument panel, hydraulic handbrake, bias pedalbox, heated windscreen, interior heater removed

    Discrete exterior belies the changes that have taken place inside.
    Simple, clean and detailed to perfection.
    (Left) Vauxhall XE powerplant is both inspired and controversial in equal measure.

    “The Escort was bought as a complete, running car and looked fairly tidy, but as is almost always the case, there were a lot of horrors lurking”
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    BOP IT #VW-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #VW / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf /

    Many think there’s nothing you can do to a Mk2 Golf that hasn’t been done a million times before. James ‘Bopper’ Moran, however, disagrees. He likes to look at things a bit differently, as his unique Mk2 demonstrates perfectly… Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Sam Dobbins.

    Do you ever get the feeling some people out there in the car scene have had an unfair advantage in building the car they have? No, we’re not talking about someone having more money to throw at a project than the next guy, or a job where they can work on their own car after hours, although those people sure are lucky compared to the weekend driveway workshop crews out there. No, what we’re talking about this time is how they were brought up and how their parents influenced them in their younger years, be it intentionally or not. You see, one of the first questions we ask the owner of a car when we’re taking notes for the story, is: what got you in to cars in the first place? The influence of friends already involved in the scene, magazines or the internet are the most common answers but every so often someone will cite their parents as being the reason they’re a self-confessed car guy/girl today.

    “My family wasn’t into modifying cars but I was always around motorsports,” James Moran, aka Bopper, explained. “When I was six or seven my father raced hydroplane boats. He took me on one of his road trips across the country racing but he was never into cars really. My stepfather, however, took me to a lot of IMSA road races. At the time all I wanted to do was stay at home and play video games or hockey but now, man I look back at all the experiences I had sitting in GTP cars and asking hundreds of questions and the drivers answering me.” If that wasn’t enough of a cool upbringing, his neighbour was the local backyard hot rod dude and would often show the young Bopper around what he was working on.

    Before we get too far in to the story on the amazing Mk2 you see before you – one of the freshest Mk2s (and we don’t just mean the colour) we’ve seen in years – we need to get one thing out of the way. Why Bopper? “Well when I was young between the ages of three and five, I was told that I was a very bad kid. I use to hit my older sister all the time on the head,” he laughed. “My aunt always would say ‘stop bopping her’, and it turned in to Bopper and it stuck. I grew up known as Bopper. All my family and friends have always used that name. It makes me stand out. If you don’t know me by the name Bopper then you don’t know me!” Right, that’s that sorted. Let’s get on to the car, shall we?

    “It all started in 1995. I was 17 and driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass and I met my friend Mike Beier. He had a black 16v Scirocco, which I got to take a ride in and a month later I bought my first VW. I was hooked.”

    The word ‘hooked’ doesn’t do it justice. Three months in to owning his first VW, an ’84 Mk1, he blew the stock motor and swapped a 2.0-litre 16v in. Since then, well, let’s just say things have only got more impressive with each subsequent build. With a 2.0-litre 16vT Caddy, a twin-G60 Mk2 and a rear-engined 20v Mk2, not to mention he also put together Frank The Biz’s (look him up) hidden turbo setup in ’04, it’s safe to say Bopper likes to put a unique spin on stuff. “I had started building a 24v VRT Haldex’d ’79 Mk1 Rabbit that I wanted to finish before my 40th birthday but it got out of hand (you don’t say? ~ All), so I bought a clean Mk2 to use as a daily and, well, this is what happened to that ‘daily’!

    “I wanted something original, something that would represent me and my new company, BackFire Fabrication. I was told there was nothing I could do that hadn't already been done to a Mk2 and that although I was a good fabricator I was irrelevant in the current car scene – so I decided to make my mark.

    “I was inspired by all the people that made crazy cars – Dubsport, the Edition 38 guys, Big Ron, Scott Norton, there's many other people in the VW scene that I have a great deal of respect for – but my biggest goal was to strike up conversation in the VW community: love or hate it.”

    Bopper found this Mk2 up in New Hampshire, not too far from his Connecticut home. This was back in 2011 but, he didn’t actually start the project until the H20 weekend of 2013. With his friends away at the show, Bopper was able to roll the car into their shop and get to work. “I told them I would have all the metalwork in the bay done before they were back,” he explained. Talk about setting yourself a challenge!

    Our man Bopper, though, sure does like a challenge. Starting out at a Porsche restoration shop as an apprentice straight out of high school taught him the ropes in machining, bodywork and engine building. Then he opened a VW/Audi shop in ’99 with a friend which ran to 2004. After moving in to industrial fabrication, he started working for ProMod drag teams which led to a job building Porsche race cars. As far as honing your skills go, backgrounds don’t come much better!

    Bopper tells us he spent the first three months of the car’s total build time working on the engine bay and the bodywork. “It’s what I pride myself on, if someone comes to me to work on their car they will have an engine bay that is totally different to anybody else’s. I built this car to show what I can do,” he explained. “I wouldn't call mine a completely shaved bay, I would call it an honest smoothed bay. I got a lot of shit for leaving the heater, not shaving all the holes in the frame rails and making a low profile air intake. I like the look of having all the original body dimples in the frame rails. I was trying to make this a driver: the engine bay looks super clean and shaved but everything is functional.” Makes sense to us.


    There’s so much going on in the engine bay that we honestly don’t know where to begin. We love the way the custom intercooler wraps around the radiator and the shaved Euro-spec valve cover with no oil cap or oil cover. Plus the whole front end is attached to the Westmoreland front for easy one-piece removal. Yet, in car with a bay so clean you wouldn’t believe the motor even ran, this car’s got plenty of power. The 1.8T boasts a GT28RS turbo on a beautiful tubular manifold with a custom inlet mounted up front, the whole thing mounted on custom mounts and running off AEM Infinity 6 management. It may be colour-coded perfectly with the right mix of colour and bare metal and clean enough to eat off, but with up to 328bhp and 312lb ft at 27psi, it’s definitely not just a pretty face.

    Remember we said earlier that Bopper was told there was nothing he could do to a Mk2 that hadn’t already been done before? Well, one look at the bodywork shows he’s proved them wrong. The colour, a custom mint green shade, is out there enough but we’re also huge fans of the Westy front with bi-Xenon projectors fitted inside, the front arches mounted on the rear to bring them higher on the body than the regular rear arches, the single DTM mirror as well as the selective shaving. “I prepped 85% of it and painted 100% of it,” Bopped said proudly. “I’m no body man but I’ve done bodywork before and I wanted to prove I could do it all.”

    But our favourite thing about Bopper’s car, aside from the engine bay, the bodywork and the colour (okay, so we like pretty much everything on Bopper’s car) is the air install. Now over the last few years we’ve seen people display their tanks and compressors in many different ways. In the early days of air-ride, at least in the VW scene, it was all about keeping things stealthy and hiding as much as you could.

    Most air installs were mounted under false floors or in the spare tyre well. Then, as people became more creative with them, they started to mount the tank on show, then the compressors, too. Now, in the vast majority of show cars, the air install is a crucial part of the interior’s overall look. Tanks mounted this way and that, compressors tucked in perfectly trimmed hideaways, hardlines everywhere, themed installs, there’s really nothing that people won’t try. Bopper here has pushed things one step further though. “I wanted to design something that meant I could still use the trunk for things but at the same time, show people what you could do with an air setup,” he explained. “People tend to lose their minds when they notice what I’ve done with the cage. I love it.” What Bopper has done, if you hadn’t figured it out yet, is turn the cage in to a 4.5-gallon tank for his air-ride. “One of the most fun times I had building the car was when I got the air-ride working with the cage. To have a concept work and have it look awesome was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.”


    A vintage fire department steamer gauge, a nod to Bopper’s day job as a fire fighter for the City of Meriden where he lives, mounted on the cage just finishes off the back end perfectly. Where are the compressors, though? You won’t see them, no matter how hard you look.


    Amazingly, Bopper has mounted the compressor behind the rear driver’s doorcard and the battery behind the other so, with everything else hidden, other than the fire department pressure gauge mounted off the rear cross bar, there is no sign of the car being on air-ride at all. How’s that for ingenuity?

    The rest of the interior is just as cool, too. The SPG buckets have had their backs colourcoded and then trimmed in black leather and suede with colour-coded stitching by Love’s Trim. “They really knocked the seats and doorcards out of the park. Their work just brings the whole thing together beautifully,” Bopper smiled. The custom-made race shifter setup looks awesome, too, tying the whole interior’s part show/part go look together perfectly.

    Speaking of tying things together, Bopper’s choice of rolling stock might not be the obvious one but, in typical fashion, it just works. “I love these Crenshaw wheels. I was surfing the internet one day and came across them and had to have them,” he explained. “They are twopiece with magnesium centres, super light, and The Shine Lab did an awesome job repolishing them. I wanted to have something different other than BBS RSs or RMs on the car. BBSs on Mk2s look amazing but I just wanted a different look and I think they suit the car perfectly.”

    The wheels just about sum Bopper’s car up. Different from the norm but so well-thought-out it’s hard to think why it’s not been done before. We guess that’s the sign of a true innovator: they make doing things differently seem so easy. “I’ve had two stand-out moments with the car being finished: the first was taking my eightyear-old son out in it and seeing his face light up; that is a moment you just don’t forget,” Bopper smiled. “The other is when I debuted it at H20 in last year. I arrived late at night and we were staying with a bunch of guys from other VW shops from all over the US. It felt awesome when I popped the hood for them to be staring at my car using flashlights for like an hour, going over every little detail. I just loved it! “Really, though, it’s the first time since 2005 that I’ve had a VW that was nice to call my own. I was so caught up with working on other people’s cars that I didn’t have time for my own stuff. Now that it’s not my day job I enjoy it so much more.”


    What’s next for our man Bopper then? Well, this Mk2 is finished although we predict he’s not a guy to leave anything alone for too long. “I’m working right now on another Mk2 GTI. It's a bright blue metallic car and it’s going to be a big bumper with G60 arches. The motor is going to be just as crazy, except I’m going to do a twin G60 again,” he smiled knowingly. “So get ready…” Bopper, we can hardly wait!


    Dub Details

    ENGINE: 2004 1.8T engine, Eagle rods, #ARP main studs, Eurospec Sport head bolts, head taper ported to fit a large port intake manifold, custom BackFire Fabrication high-flow intake manifold with centre inlet, tubular stainless steel exhaust manifold, GT28RS turbo, custom stainless 3” downpipe and exhaust with hidden inside exit, #Bosch-EV14 long nozzle 550cc injectors, single line fuel rail feed, Bosch 044 and Bosch four-bar regulator located in the rear of the car, custom BackFire harness, AEM Infinity 6 management, custom underdrive pulleys, Clutch Net four-puck racing clutch and pressure plate, custom fabricated 23x7” intercooler with end tank made to wrap around the radiator. Twin Forge blow-off valves, custom BackFire motor mount spacers, BFI Mk3 green motor mounts, 02J transmission with Phantom grip and bolt kit, custom shift cables with ball joints for motorsports shifter, motor and transmission colour-coded.

    CHASSIS: 7.5x16” Crenshaw Classic two-piece wheels with 165/40/16 Federals tyres, Air Lift Slam Series suspension, V1 management, Prothane suspension bushings, G60 11” brakes with Euro-spec four to five bolt hubs, Adaptec 5x100 to 5x120 adapters, Mason Tech Great Plates, 3.5-degree rear camber shims.

    EXTERIOR: Custom mint green respray, pulled arches, shaved side markers, shaved rear emblems, front plastic arches on rear, early Golf small-door trim, custom Westmoreland badgeless grille, bi-xenon projectors, 16v lip, removable single wiper, single driver side DTM mirror, passenger mirror delete, shaved rear exhaust cut out, red taillights, European-spec small bumpers, ’85 rear window glass with no third brake light.

    INTERIOR: SPG seats with colour-coded backs, trimmed in black leather and suede with mint colour stitching by Loves Trim shop, matching trimmed doorcards, #Sparco Camlock seatbelts, BackFire custom motorsports shifter with Durlin shift knob, #Vortex centre console, AEM True Boost gauge and air/fuel meter, Autometer air intake temperature gauge, radio dash delete, custom LED speedometer gauge lights, hidden battery behind rear passenger’s doorcard, hidden #Viair 450c compressor behind rear driver’s doorcard, custom 2.5” aluminium polished roll-cage that functions as a 4.5 gallon air tank, custom stress bar with vintage fire department steamer gauge, ’85 rear pillar covers with no seatbelt holes, power windows, door locks, sunroof and trunk release, Memphis Bluetooth audio adapter directly into Kenwood Excelon X700-5 amplifier, Hertz 6.5” HSK165 components speakers, DXC100 4” dash speakers, Hertz EXC 570 5x7” rear speakers.

    SHOUT: First off I want to thank my wife Melissa and my kids James and Caleigh for helping me out and being there while I built this car, BNR Motors in Meriden CT for letting me do the bodywork and paint in their booth, Brian Hall and James Juaire for helping me get my rear quarters straight, Air Lift, Igor at Clutch Net, Jay Bird at The Shine Lab, a super big thank you to Kip Love from Love’s Trim shop, my car would be half of what it is without the interior that he made, my cousin Bobby who stayed up the last week with me almost 24 hours a day to finish it, Scott Norton, Kevin MacDougall, everybody else that helped me get it ready for H2O and Sam Dobbins from More Than More. Check out Bopper_backfirefab on Instagram or www.backfirefab.com
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    WHITE LINES / Words Davy Lewis Photography Jape Tiitinen.

    600BHP SNOW PLOUGH
    Wide-body #Audi 80 quattro. This 603hp, wide body #Audi-80-GTE was built for one thing – hooning on the frozen roads of Finland…

    Our man in Finland, Jape, is always sending us cool videos. When he’s not taking amazing images of some of the world’s most exciting, and indeed powerful Audis, he’ll be capturing them in action. From riding shotgun in Philipp Klaess’ insane 225mph, 1000bhp B5 wide body, to Gatebil monsters, this man knows no fear. It was when one of Jape’s emails pinged into my inbox that I discovered this beast of an Audi 80.

    The email simply said, “Hi Boss, check out this Audi 80 snowplough!” There was a link to a video in which a tough looking 1980s saloon was being given death in the snow. It looked like tremendous fun. The driver was clearly having the time of his life in this wintry playground, and given the pummelling my ears were getting from my headphones, it was clear that this thing was running a rather large turbo.

    So I pinged Jape an email to find out more... Turns out the owner is a good friend of his, which doesn’t surprise me – everyone seems to be a mate of Jape’s – even our own Julian Loose in the UK (is there anyone Jape doesn’t know?!) The lucky owner of this ultimate snow toy, is a chap called Pasi Kellokumpu. A well known face on the Finnish tuning scene, he runs a trailer company transporting cars all over the place. But when Pasi isn’t towing cars, he’s driving them – sideways.

    It’s no secret that the Fin’s seem to have an innate ability to go incredibly fast, in the kind of conditions that would make us Brits scared to set foot outside the house. The joke about needing a wiper on the side windows is actually closer to the truth than you might imagine. But, even in this country filled with expert sideways merchants, Pasi is still regarded as a bit of a lunatic.

    Now that really must take some doing in Finland! The Audi 80 is however a mere toy for this guy. You see, tucked away in his garage, are a couple of serious power cars that he only drives in the good weather. There’s a 1000+hp Ur-S4 for track and an insane S2 packing a mighty 1319hp – surely the most powerful in the world. This out-and-out drag monster is named “Aim and Pray” which kind of says it all really. We’ll be featuring both of these truly epic cars as soon as the winter releases its icy grip on Finland. The 80 GTE is then a mere toy – something to keep him amused over the long winters. It may be a ‘toy’ to Pasi, but for most of us, it’d be a dream come true.

    Based on a 1986 Audi 80 GTE quattro, this once sedate saloon has been transformed into a full-on hooligan. Under that Sport quattro-style vented bonnet, sits a fully built 2.2 5-pot lump running a #Holset HX40 turbo. This behemoth blower, together with supporting upgrades, including straight through 3in exhaust, huge 4in downpipe, massive intercooler, and uprated fuelling, helps this thing make 603hp and 660Nm.

    When the big Holset comes on song, all hell breaks loose – perfect for playing in the snow. All four wheels light up in an instant and big, four-wheel drifts are easy. It’s loud too. That five cylinder howl sounds all the more glorious with the turbo chuffing and snorting away as Pasi bangs through the gears.

    Talking of cogs, with more than three times the stock power, this Audi 80 has been treated to a heavily uprated box. It’s an S4 01E six-speed unit that’s bolstered by a Sachs Race 3-paddle clutch and S2 driveshafts. A lightened flywheel helps things rev – something this engine has no problem with already!

    Pasi has fitted a set of Brembo brakes from a Leon Cupra R together with some S2 rear discs. This setup provides ample stopping power – when the tyres have something to grip on, of course. But then the 8.5 and 9.5x17in Fondmetal rims aren’t shod in your average ‘winter’ rubber; this thing runs proper studded tyres. However, when the snow has cleared and the sun returns to Finland, Pasi swaps to some girthy 10 and 11.25x17in wheels, which I’m reliably informed, look amazing.


    Aside from the rip-snorting engine and bullet proof transmission, there are plenty of other treats built into this supersnow saloon. Inside, it’s all about performance; anything that wasn’t required was chucked in the bin. All you’ll find now are go-fast aids, such as the multi-point roll cage (handy when you’re only ever a hairs breadth away from sticking it on the roof), a pair of deep Sparco buckets with 6-point harnesses, and a tactile Nardi wheel. Once snuggly ensconced within this setup, the driver can concentrate on the task in hand – going incredibly fast. A smattering of gauges keeps Pasi abreast of the engine’s health – and that’s about it.

    For me, the best bit of this monstrous little saloon is the looks. There’s no poncey ‘patina’ about this badboy. It’s battered, battle scarred, and proud – like those old fellas with flat noses you see in the pub – you can tell it’s lived an exciting life.

    The styling is heavily influenced by the Sport quattro – and why not? It’s one of the most iconic and downright cool looking cars ever made. There’s a Sport quattro-style front bumper, grille and even bonnet. The bonnet features vents to help cool the engine, but it’s not all show – it’s made from carbon fibre. And so is the roof for that matter.

    The front bumper has been viciously cut out to allow maximum airflow to the large intercooler and rad. To the rear you’ll find a Ur-quattro style bumper, plus a cheeky Audi 80 V8 rear light panel that’s been modified to fit and a cool looking rear diffuser. But, for me, the icing on the cake is the full set of custom steel fabricated arches designed to mimic the Sport quattro’s wide shouldered look. The rear doors have also been heavily worked on to complete the look – it’s as if Audi made a four-door Sport quattro. This Audi 80 looks squat, muscular and ready for business.

    So what’s next for this 600hp snow plough? Well, according to Pasi, the engine is being taken to 800-900hp for next season. Looks like things are set to get a whole lot crazier in Finland!

    Top: Front is all about the airflow Above: Ice, ice, baby...

    SPECIFICATION #Audi-80-GTE-Quattro / #1986 / #Audi-80-GTE / #Audi-80-Quattro / #Audi-80 / #Audi-80-B2 / #Audi-80-GTE-Quattro-B2 / #Audi / #Ur-S4 / #Ur-S4-AAN / #Audi-S4-01E /

    Engine #Audi-Ur-S4-AAN 2.2 5-cyl 20v turbo engine, #Eagle con rods, #Mahle pistons, upgraded piston pins, #Schrick high-lift cams, upgraded valve springs, Revo adjustable cam gear, #Dahlback-Racing pulley, 4in #Revo downpipe, #Holset-HX40 Super turbocharger, #Tial wastegate, custom intercooler, VW Vento radiator, 034 Motorsport coils, #Tatech ECU, 3in custom exhaust, #Fuellab fuel pump, fuel cell in boot.

    Power 603hp and 660Nm

    Transmission #Audi S4 01E six-speed box, 4WD, #Ojennus lightened flywheel, #Sachs Race 3-paddle clutch, S2 driveshafts

    Brakes SEAT Leon Cupra R #Brembo calipers (f/r), Leon Cupra R front discs, S2 rear discs

    Suspension: #H&R S2 coilovers, S2 anti-roll bars, faster steering rack (RS2), polyurethane bushes

    Wheels & Tyres Summer: RH ZW1 10x17in (f) with 11.25x17in (r), 235/45 (f) with 255/40 (r). Winter: Fondmetal 8.5x17in with 9.5x17in, 225/45 (f) with 245/40 (r) studded.

    Interior: #Sparco Evo racing seats, #Sabelt 6-point harnesses, roll cage, Nardi steering wheel, rear seat deleted, stripped interior, #VDO 300km/h speedometer, A’PEXi rev counter, #VDO gauges for boost, water temperature, oil temperature, oil pressure and voltage, #PLX gauges for fuel pressure and AFR.

    Exterior: Sport #Quattro -style front bumper, #Sport-quattro-style grille, carbon fibre bonnet with Aerocatches, VW Transporter front lights, Sport quattro-style custom steel wheel arches, custom steel side skirts, custom rear diffuser, Audi 80 V8 model rear light panel modified to fit, #Audi-Ur-quattro style rear bumper, carbon fibre roof.

    Tuning contacts/thanks www.erihinaus.fi


    Facing page: Pasi runs a towing company Top: Custom rear diffuser Above: Full cage and Sparco seats Left: Just the essential dials.

    “Big, four-wheel drifts are easy in this thing”

    Above: Big Holset turbo dominates the bay Below left: 20v turbo five makes over 600hp Bottom: Boot houses the alloy fuel cell.

    Above: Are you winding me up?! Below: The ultimate snow toy Bottom: Side-exit pipes.


    See it in action… To see a video of Pasi hooning around in some full-on Finnish snow, head to https://drive-my.com/en/social/stream/item/7610.html
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    BLUE STEEL #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW /

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

    DATA FILE

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

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

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

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

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

    S38 is a bit of a squeeze but Valencia managed to make it fit and gave it a few upgrades for good measure.
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    ROTOR PERDITION

    There must be something in the water Down Under judging by this amazing turbo rotary-swapped E30. A lifetime of E30 obsession has led Ehsan Hazrati to build many insane projects. His latest project is stuffed with enough triangles to make Pythagoras weep, yet you’d never guess it from the outside. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Andrew Parliaros.

    Now everybody from the 313, put your motherflippin’ hands up and follow me.” So spat Eminem in 8 Mile (kinda), allowing the previously unremarkable three-digit number a little screen time. Until this point, 313 had merely been a truncatable prime, Donald Duck’s registration number or, of course, the year in which Rome’s Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine was completed. But now, rather splendidly, we have a new function for the number 313. Even more aggressive than a riled-up Eminem, ladies and gentlemen, we present the E30 #BMW 313i.


    I know, it doesn’t sound exciting when you put it like that, does it? But all is not as it seems here. True, the E30 harks back to an era when the boot badges did mostly relate to what was under the bonnet (a 318i was a 1.8, a 325i was a 2.5… you get the idea), so are we looking at an obscure variant with a 1.3-litre engine? And why would anyone want that?


    Stick with the story, for your perceptions are about to be blown away in the most spectacular way possible. But first, let’s meet the man behind it. “My parents tell me that at the age of five I was drawing the round headlights and kidney grilles of the E30 BMW without really even knowing what it was,” says Ehsan Hazrati, the Sydneysider behind the steering wheel. “As I got older and got my licence, I had E30 after E30. I did all the modifications myself, from servicing to tuning, overhauling to suspension, bushings, sound systems etc. I did extensive research into E30 DTM race car suspension, brakes, and making them handle around corners at high speeds. I spent a lot of hours calculating and testing power-to-weight combinations, high RPM engines, and turbocharging power graph outputs. And a lot of trial-and-error!”

    This, it’s pretty safe to say, is a man obsessed. After a long line of retro 3 Series, he finds himself today with three E30s making a nuisance of themselves on his driveway: a 900hp drag car that’s currently under construction; the family daily-driver four-door 316i that just happens to be running a 450hp Corvette LS1 V8; and the cheeky red number that’s splashed across these pages. This, for us, is the pick of the bunch – hence why it’s here – because, well, it’s just insane; not just the quality of finish and attention to detail but the fact that it’s running a Mazda rotary engine.


    Aha. That cacophonous clanging is the sound of the penny dropping throughout the Drive-My readership. The 313i badge refers to the 13B rotary engine’s swept volume of 1308cc. Although, being a Wankel unit, you can’t really equate its displacement to that of a piston engine, its twin-654cc chambers aren’t even on nodding terms with a crank and- piston arrangement. But whichever way you cut it, this is a feisty manoeuvre. Ehsan’s opted for the 13B-REW variant, as found in twin-turbo form in the third generation RX-7, and it’s a bit of a cult icon.

    It’s a bold play, but Ehsan has form with this sort of caper. His first three E30s may have enjoyed tweaked BMW four- and sixpots, but the fourth ended up with a 13B from a Mazda Cosmo, and it seems that this wacky experiment really flicked his switch, and he stuck with the formula. That part-built drag car we mentioned? That’s rocking rotors too. This fella just really digs triangles.


    “From as long ago as I can remember, all I ever wanted was an old-school BMW,” he assures us. “I live by ‘classic not plastic’ and ‘built not bought’. The BMWs of this era represented great European design and true workmanship, and the last perfect lightweight rear-wheel drive chassis compared to the competitors – the KE Corolla, Mercedes 230E, Mazda RX-7 and so on – from that time.” You’ll note that he’s slipped a Mazda reference in there, though. Clearly a fusion was always on the cards – a greatest hits of the period, if you like. Well, it’s all subjective isn’t it?

    “Yeah, I’ve always had a passion for E30s as well as for the lightweight, high-RPM feel of a turbo rotary engine,” Ehsan admits. “I had a picture in my head of what I wanted it to look and feel like; people from the E30 scene tend either to have a really clean slow-and-standard car or a roughened-up fast one. I wanted to build an all-rounder – a show-stopper that drops jaws but that could also be used as a street-legal weapon. Something I can take to the drag strip, run consistent ten-second passes on street tyres, then drive home and the next day go on an E30 club cruise to the beach, have it on display at a car show, and win trophies. This build was my total package.”


    Blimey. Talk about your stereotypical Aussie confidence! There’s not a single element of that paragraph that isn’t writing a massive cheque, but thankfully Ehsan’s the sort of dude with the skills to cash it. And so it began. A project base was sourced from a guy who’d had the car slumbering in the shadows of his garage for around six years – all immaculate and original, and you’ll no doubt be impressed to learn that it’s still wearing its original factory Brilliantrot paint. The seller refused to let the car go before Ehsan promised to give the car a new lease of life, a good home and, most of all, not to crash it – after all, he’d owned it from new. Imagine what he must be thinking when he sees this feature! Good vibes, we hope.


    Ehsan took it home, and immediately installed it in his garage for another dusty year-long slumber. You don’t want to rush these things, do you? Although he wasn’t dragging his heels by any means – our effervescent protagonist had been to see his friendly local engine builder.



    “I did everything else on this car myself, but it was George and Rocky at PAC Performance Racing who built and ported the engine, and dyno tuned the car,” Ehsan explains. The motor is bridge-ported, and porting rotaries is something of a black art: a great way to get more power out of them is to effectively smash some holes into the intake side, although the more extreme the ports are, the more lairy and tricky the motor becomes.

    Bridge-porting basically involves opening out the standard ports, then adding an additional eyebrow port above – it all gets a bit techy, but the short version is you get an amusing lumpy idle, oodles more power, and a hell of a lot of noise. Which is all good fun. “At the time of getting the engine built I was looking for around 400hp,” says Ehsan.

    “It currently makes around 550rwhp at 7000rpm on 22psi, which is approximately 620hp at the engine… in a car weighing only 992kg! It’s safe-tuned at 22psi, although the engine is built for 35psi+, so there’s plenty more to come.”

    The results really do speak for themselves, too. “It performed far better than expected,” Ehsan grins. “But the power band was so high, I went through axles like underwear. Obviously the factory axle broke but then it ate through a brand-new OEM 325i setup, Z3 M Coupé items, hybrid E30/E28 M5 units… then, after the Garrett GTX4088R turbo upgrade, it even chewed through custom 108mm 500hp Porsche billet axles!” The build is undoubtedly a bit of a monster, echoing those early years of trial-and-error to get it all running right, but you can see from the muscular spec box that Ehsan’s really pulled it all together neatly. And, of course, as the man himself was eager to tell us, this E30 is as much about show as go…


    A very important marker for this build was to make it something of a sleeper – not totally stealthy but certainly not showing its hand too early. That mint-condition, 25-yearold paint certainly helps here, and Ehsan has had all manner of chuckles taking on Skyline GT-Rs and a kaleidoscope of Porsches who never saw it coming and didn’t see where it went. “There’s no modern paint colours here, no fibreglass body kits, no big wings screwed to the boot,” he says, with no small amount of satisfaction. “I kept it all factory – the only thing I added was a new OEM iS front apron lip, and M-Tech 1 boot spoiler. All genuine add-ons from the ’80s era!”


    The wheels are an interesting choice too and no doubt gave some of you wheel nuts pause for though. They’re actually the third set of rims that the car’s enjoyed since completion; it started off on satin black Watanabes before moving onto BBS LMs with polished lips, but I think we can all agree that the 16” mesh wheels give it an appropriately period look that’s in keeping with that quasi-sleeper vibe.


    This keenness for stealth carries over to the interior, too. “One of my rules is that there should be no extra gauges on top of the dash,” Ehsan asserts. “That would give the game away immediately. I replaced the trip computer with an eBoost2 gauge, and also utilised the E30 Alpina air vent digital dash idea, with an analogue boost gauge.” Stealth, as ever, is the watchword.



    This is, by all measures, a phenomenal build – without a hint of hyperbole, one of the finest E30s to grace these pages in some time. And with that colossally powerful engine and pristine period exterior, what do you reckon is Ehsan’s favourite element of the project?


    “Oh, it has to be my rear diff brace,” he grins. “I designed and patented it myself on a CAD programme, checking the stress tolerance points for maximum strength and so on, and it truly is a work of art. People at car shows see that and know this car means serious business; it’s not just a pretty show pony. That brace is what’s needed to consistently put six hundred horses to the ground on both street and track.” It’s impressive, but unsurprising, that his top pick would be a thing of pure function.

    Ehsan’s proud to describe how the initial build of the whole car took just three months, but it was then a further 18 months of tweaking suspension heights, spring rates, diff ratios, tyre diameters, ET formula calculations, and axle and tailshaft options before it was all truly fit to get that phenomenal power down.

    “What it is, basically, is a brand-new race engine in a retro shell,” he says, in a charming display of matter-of-factness. “People’s reactions at shows have been amazing – the looks on their faces when they found out what’s in there, and that it’s all street-legal. And next year – that’s when I’m going to be chasing to beat my personal best drag time. It ran a 10.86 at 120mph on the old turbo with 385rwhp on 225/50 street tyres. With the new GTX4088R and 550rwhp on 225/40 semislicks, I reckon it could run a 9.9.”

    All very ambitious but you get the feeling that he’s got all of this precisely calculated. There’s no margin for error here, and that’s what the number 313 should henceforth represent. Forthrightness. Function.

    Desirability. A new number-of-the-beast for the 21st century. And when you see those digits on the tail end of a shiny red E30, you’d better not dismiss it as a lesserengined also-ran – there’s hidden mischief here, and its furious anger makes Eminem look like a primary school teacher. Everybody from the 313, put your rotorflippin’ shafts up…

    “I wanted to build an all-rounder – a show-stopper that drops jaws but that could also be used as a street-legal weapon”

    Bridge-ported 13B rotary sports a massive #Garrett-GTX4088R turbo and makes 550rwhp.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-313i-E30 / #BMW-313i-Rotary-E30 / #BMW-313i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW /

    ENGINE #13B-REW 2x654cc #Mazda-RX-7 / Mazda rotary, bridge-ported to PAC Racing specs, race doweled and balanced rotors, #PAC-Racing unbreakable apex/corner seals, #Power-Ported intake and ports, custom PAC Racing 13B turbo exhaust manifold, #Garrett GTX4088R turbo, Turbosmart 50mm ProGate wastegate, #Turbosmart 34mm dual port blow-off valve, #Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, 3.5” dump pipe with full 3” exhaust and Rotaflow silencers, #Haltech PS2000 ECU and Haltech boost controller solenoid, custom fabricated engine mounts, custom dual-core PWR intercooler, PWR oil cooler, #PWR dual-core radiator, custom alloy radiator shroud and high #CFM-Engineering output 16” Spal fan, dual #Bosch-044 fuel pump, three litre surge tank and #Walbro primer pump, quad #Haltech LS1 ignition coils. 620hp at flywheel (542rwhp) at 22psi safe tune; engine built for 35psi+.


    TRANSMISSION R154 Supra Turbo five-speed gearbox with aftermarket strengthened billet gearset and synchros, custom gearbox mounts, custom PAC billet bellhousing adapter, PAC RBR550 heavy-duty clutch and pressure plate, billet lightened flywheel, billet short-shifter with E30 DTM white Delrin nylon gear knob, custom Mark Williams 3” wall chromoly tailshaft with 1350-series Strange uni-joints.

    CHASSIS 9x16” #BBS mesh wheels with 215/45 (front) and 255/45 (rear) #Kumho Ecsta tyres, custom 1000hp halfshaft axles with 120mm chromoly treated CVs and bearing cages, reinforced rear #BMW subframe and trailing arms, custom fabricated rear diff brace mount, E28 M5 diff with #Alpina finned diff cover, cryogenically strengthened and shot-peened crown and pinon, #OS-Giken Superlock shimmed 28-plate tightened LSD centre (85% lock), #AKG solid 75D subframe, trailing arms, control arm and diff mount bushing kit, Ireland Engineering heavy duty front and rear racing anti-roll bar kit with adjustable rose-joint links, custom 315mm front and rear brake kit with ADR/CAMS approved braided line throughout, OEM E32 740i brake master cylinder, modified #Z3M power steering rack with 2.7 lock-to-lock, solid billet alloy steering shaft coupler, 5/8” Mark Williams drag racing rear wheel studs, custom #Bilstein front coilovers and solid camber plates, heavy-duty rear Beehive King Springs, welded AKG anticamber squatting plates in rear trailing arms, Sparco 1.5” front and rear strut braces, Ultra Racing four-point lower crossmember reinforcement bar.


    EXTERIOR 1990 325i two-door shell, original 25-year-old Brilliantrot paint, 318is lip spoiler, M Tech 1 boot spoiler, rolled and flared arches.


    INTERIOR #MOMO Prototipo 350mm Retrotech steering wheel, E30 M3 black leather seats, #Sparco PRO2000 fixed driver’s seat, #Sparco fixed race seat rails, Sparco six-point 3” harness, #Autometer #Ultra-Light gauges, Turbosmart eBoost2 with 3x boost pre-set stages (street, track, drag racing), E46 M3 pedals, all sound/cavity deadening and heat shield removed, drilled-out circular holes behind doorcards, parcel tray, behind back seat and sunroof for weight reduction – total car weight 992kg.

    THANKS George and Rocky at #PAC-Performance-Racing , Leon Sokalski at Performance Metalcraft, Mark Callinan at British European Motor Works, and my family and girlfriend for picking me up when I broke the CV axles on the street.
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    TEAM AMERICA

    When Kings Auto Body Shop decided to build an E46 M3 racer, it employed the philosophy of go big or go home. Kings Auto Body Shop took an uncompromising approach to building this E46 M3 racer. ‘Go big or go home’ were the watchwords and, with genuine GTR DNA, it certainly delivers the goods… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Andy Tipping.

    There are many varied and disparate cars that you may spot on any given day at the #Nurburgring , from race prototypes to Transit vans, stripped-out track day specials to commuter-spec Octavias, and everything in between. But the three most prevalent sights can be neatly subdivided into three categories: Porsche 911s (of varying vintage, state of tune and level of competence), locals in diesel Golfs (who are invariably making much more rapid progress than any of the 911s), and heavily tweaked M3s. The Green Hell and the M3 go hand in hand, and there’s something addictive to the owners of E36s and E46s in particular that keeps them coming back, eager to test out the effectiveness of their latest choice of rubber or tweaks to their suspension.


    The racy E46 M3 that’s posing for the lens today is a true-blue Nordschleife battler, exactly the type of thing that you’d expect to see bobbing around the Karussell with flames licking from its cheeky side-exit pipes…except that it isn’t. It’s never even been there. This car, while it may appear at first glance to be a hardcore Euro race build, is in fact Californian through-and-through, and the closer you look, the more dedication to Stateside tuning you discover. Built and raced by Kings Auto Body Shop in Huntington Beach, it’s as American as apple pie, colossal drugstores, and putting too many advert breaks in TV shows. It’s just one tiny step short of being plastered in stars and stripes.


    The project acts as a sort of glorious manifestation of the vivid dreams of Ayed Alnajjar, the man who happily dotes on Kings Auto Body like a proud father. “I purchased the shop in 2013, and I brought it back to life,” he explains. “We mostly do insurance work, but our signature is race cars and wide bodies. And me personally? I’ve owned over 20 BMWs over the years, and this is my second BMW race car.” You can see why the project was spirited into being – a history of Bavarian fettling, a shop in which to carry out the work to expert level, and a desire to showcase the skills of the business in a fairly visible manner. It’d be madness for Ayed not to build a gorgeously detailed and brutally effective M3 racer, really. What a fortuitous position to find oneself in.

    Now, you may be eyeing the broad, aggressive girth of the E46 and pondering the origins of the aesthetic. DTM, perhaps? It’s wider than a #BTCC racer, that’s for sure, but there’s a distinct Euro race car vibe radiating from the M3 as it sits menacingly before the lens, the exhaust ticking frantically after an enthusiastic run. But looks can be deceiving, and this car has been leading you up a dark path… the inspiration for the look came, in fact, from the M3 GTR – one of the key elements of quintessential American-ness that makes this car unique.



    A quick history lesson, then. The E46 M3 road car, as we know, arrived on the scene in late-2000 sporting a 3.2-litre S54 straightsix under its extravagantly bulging bonnet. It was a bona fide muscle car, offering a significant power hike over its E36 predecessor, and rocking the sort of unmistakable road presence that would trigger a reflex to involuntarily pull out of the way as soon as it appeared in an opponent’s rear view mirror. It didn’t ask, it just took. An uncompromising thing.

    Race versions inevitably ensued, and the M3 GTR development became a shining star in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). It was powered by a #P60B40 motor, a 4.0-litre V8 only to be found in the GTR, snorting out somewhere between 440-470hp depending on setup.


    The M3 GTR was, it has to be said, a bit of a naughty boy. While S54-powered E46s would be monstered by Porsche 911 GT3s on track, the V8-engined cars were rather dominant at the hands of Schnitzer Motorsport, which caused Porsche to cry foul play: it pointed out, quite fairly, that it wasn’t possible to buy a V8-engined E46 road car, so it was violating the spirit of the ALMS ethos. The governing body insisted that a road-going variant must be on sale on two continents within a year of the rules being drawn up to be eligible, and BMW made plans to build ten road cars for such a purpose, to be sold at €250,000 apiece. In the end, however, they didn’t bother – they built six – but these cars weren’t made available for public sale. Indeed, three of them were just development mules that got scrapped.


    When the rules changed in 2002, stipulating that 100 cars had to be built to homologate the racers, BMW pulled out of ALMS altogether. This means that if you want to buy an apple-pie M3 GTR, well, you can’t.

    That’s why Ayed decided to build one. Not a faithful but unforgiving V8-engined homage, but a proven and reliable S54-powered E46 whose body pays tribute to the shortlived splendour of the GTR. The car’s wearing a Flossman GTR wide-body kit, which is just about as authentic as it’s possible to get with this sort of thing; the wider wings and arches, the front and rear bumpers, the aero side skirts, it’s all artfully hand-crafted in Germany by Peter Flossman, linchpin of the Judd racing team among much else, and it’s all to the original BMW Motorsport development specs for the GTR race car, as tested in BMW’s own wind tunnel. It is, in short, a pukka piece of kit.


    But Ayed was always fully intent on doing this properly: “My previous race car was an E36 M3,” he recalls. “I built up the engine to the best of its abilities, but the best I could reliably get with that car with cams was 270hp. I wasn’t happy with the wheel space either because I couldn’t fit anything bigger than 255-section tyres. So I decided to go with the E46 M3, it just made sense. As standard it makes more power than a built S52 engine, and once I got the E46 M3, I decided to go big or go home! I wanted to make a true one-of-a-kind E46, with thoroughbred race car DNA.”


    Well yes, there’s no arguing that he’s achieved that with some level of gusto. Having purchased the car as a bare shell – no engine, no transmission, no interior, no suspension – the team at Kings set about building a pure race weapon from the ground up, selecting every component based on its performance creds as well as light weight and durability. Under the copiously vented DTM Fiberwerkz GTR bonnet sits a full-race S54 with hot Schrick cams, Stage 3 heads and a sultry CSL air box, all of which spits out its heady gases through a customcrafted side-exit exhaust (just like a real M3 GTR race car!). The chassis is suspended by Moton coilovers and all manner of goodies from the Ground Control catalogue, with some substantial Brembos champing at the bit to rein all of that thrust back in. It’s a very effective package, and the spec list reads like a who’s-who of quality parts.

    “The car was built for the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) German Tuning Series, although the car was actually debuted at SEMA 2014. It was its first time out in public once we’d finished the build, and people’s reactions were amazing. I can’t tell you how many people have told me this is their dream car!” The important point that Ayed’s not making here, of course, is that it’s his dream car too – and he’s the one holding the keys. Funny how life works out sometimes, isn’t it?


    This build, then, is a fusion of BMW developmental tangents. Given the chance, it’d lap up the verdant and serpentine spaghetti curves of the Nürburgring all day long, negotiating the tricky cambers, undulating gradients and truculent weather systems as being all in a day’s work. But, as fate insists, it’s not a moistened Euro fighter – it’s a dry-as-a-bone Cali scrapper. The neat link here is that a couple of the original Schnitzer GTR race cars saw later action at the ’Ring for the 2003 24-Hour event, which pulls the DNA across the Atlantic, and then pings it back like a piece of tautly-stretched elastic and fires it squarely into Kings Auto Body Shop with a resounding thump.

    Ayed’s out there in the glaring West Coast sun, wringing the M3’s neck and taking scalps in the NASA GTS, as stridently as the GTRs of yore – and this surely means that, dream fulfilled, he can dust off his hands and enjoy the fruits of Kings’ labours, yes? No, of course not. These things are never finished. And now that everything’s nicely bedded in, a GTR rep should really have a V-engine, shouldn’t it? What do you say then, Ayed – fancy tracking down one of those unicorn P60 V8s? “No,” he says, scratching his chin thoughtfully. “I think I want to put a V10 in there.” Well, he did say ‘go big or go home’…


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW E46 M3 Racer / #BMW-M3-Racer / #BMW-M3-Racer-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 /

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #CSL air box, 288/280 Schrick cams, Stage 3 heads, ported throttle body, high compression (12.5:1 ratio), AP pulleys, #AP headers, custom side-exit exhaust system, Stage 4 clutch, #AEM infinity standalone management, sixspeed manual transmission rebuilt with 3.91 gearing.

    CHASSIS 11x18” #Apex-EC-7 wheels (front and rear) (ET25, 15mm spacers all-round), 295/30 soft-compound tyres (front and rear), Motorsport wheel studs with race nuts, #Moton three-way adjustable coilovers, Ground Control camber plates, Ground Control anti-roll bars, #Ground-Control adjustable control arms, #Brembo BBK with four-piston front calipers and 355mm discs, four-piston rears and 345mm discs, stainless steel lines, #Hard-Motorsport brake cooling backing plates.


    EXTERIOR Flossman GTR wide-body kit, #APR front splitter, APR diffuser built and designed by Raceworkz , #APR-GT500 wing (71” wide), Hard Motorsport retractable tow hooks, #DTM-Fiberwerkz GTR bonnet, DTM Fiberwerkz carbon-fibre roof, carbon fibre bootlid, RAD Industries Lexan windows, #RAD-Industries custom fuel cell.

    INTERIOR #Sparco Ergo seat, Sparco steering wheel, Sparco harness, mesh window net, mesh centre net, Hard Motorsport CAE shifter, fire extinguisher system, #GS-Werks custom roll-cage.

    THANKS Undr8d Empire, ECElite Automotive, DTM Fiberwerkz, RAD Industries, Hard Motorsport, Hardware Motorsports, Raceworkz, GSR Technik, GS Werks.


    “Once I got the E46 M3, E46 M3 Racer I decided to go big or go home! I wanted to make a one-of-a-kind E46, with thoroughbred race car DNA”

    Kings’ M3 looks the business thanks to #Flossman-GTR wide-body kit, built to the original #BMW-Motorsport specs of the GTR race car.
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