- Post is under moderationGREAT WHITE #Volkswagen-Corrado-G60 / #Volkswagen-Corrado / #Volkswagen / #VW-Corrado-G60 / #VW-Corrado / #VW / #2017 / #1992 / #Autostrada / #Volkswagen-Corrado-Supercharged / #Volkswagen-Corrado-G60-Supercharged
Modified Corrados are hard to come by at the best of times and tastefully tuned ones even more so. Thankfully, Declan Bowyer’s G60 is a good egg! Words & Photos: Jon Cass
It was only around five or six years back that VW’s striking Corrado seemed to be making a major comeback with an array of modified examples suddenly breaking on to the show scene. There was much whooping and high-fiving from Corrado fans all round, yet disappointingly, this trend has slowed down more recently. Thankfully it looks like at least a few are waiting in the wings. The vast number of stunning, fresh VAG builds at 2016’s Elsecar At The Races was truly mind blowing, yet it hadn’t gone unnoticed that there were barely any non-standard Corrados present still. There was one though, and boy did it stand out… as the two trophies from that day will testify.
Declan Bowyer may only be 27-years-old, but his passion for VW’s timeless coupe stems back to 2007 when he was just 17. “I went to my first Dub meet that year and there was a blue Corrado VR6 running Schmidt Modernlines with Porsche seats. From that moment on I knew this was the car to have,” Declan smiled. Yet, like so many of us, his driving career actually began with a classic Mini. “I learnt a lot from that car in the time I had it, even though it was eventually stripped and never fully rebuilt, “ Declan confesses, “I met my girlfriend, Carly at a VW show soon after and bought a Mk1 Golf GX.” The Mk1 was never going to be a show winner as Declan’s budget was very limited at the time. It was, however, lowered to the max and consequently more was spent replacing sumps than tyres!
“While I had the Mk1, I started looking around at Corrados, but I was still only 19 at the time,” Declan remembers. “I noticed new ones pop up on eBay and this white, ’92 G60 appeared for sale only two hours away from me, so I went over to have a look.” When a vendor is genuinely into his cars, especially the model you’re buying, that’s always a good sign and fortunately this was the case here. “He had other interesting projects on the go including a Mk1 Caddy with a V6 Audi lump in the back. Thankfully the Corrado seemed genuine, so I went for it.” Apparently it was also completely standard, still wearing its factory BBS RZs, complete with matching spare wheel and cloth seats, though this wasn’t in the best condition and the bodywork had began to show signs of rust; “I didn’t think it needed much work despite this, but I’m sure as anyone else with a G60 Corrado will know that they can soon turn into a money pit,” Declan laughs.
Initially things went well and Declan drove his new purchase around for around two years with no serious problems; “I didn’t plan on heavily modifying the car to start with,” Declan explains, “I just added a set of coilovers, a new exhaust and painted the wheels.” The Corrado was even driven to the Nurburgring where it performed pretty well, but shortly after things started to go wrong. “The head gasket let go on a trip back from Cornwall, but at least this gave me the excuse to remove the head and opt for a Stage 2 upgrade with gas-flowed, ported and polished head,” Declan smiles.
Attention then turned to the worn cloth interior, which would arguably have been a little downmarket even when the car was new. Luckily Declan’s partner, Carly had decided to remove some of the mods from her Lupo before putting it up for sale and amongst these were a pair of Porsche 964 half-leather seats, which really suit the Corrado. Declan managed to source a set of leather door cards, a rear bench and also added a black carpet with fresh Alcantara headlining to match. “Soon, after all the interior had been completed, I was driving along and suddenly the front subframe snapped,” Declan recalls, “I had to buy a new subframe, which I strengthened, but there had been a lot of suspension damage caused, too, so I bought a set of KW Variant 1 coilovers, a poly bush kit and wishbones. I then had everything powder coated and sealed to eliminate anything like this happening again.”
By now a pattern was emerging where modifications had escalated following disasters and more were yet to come. There was a brief reprieve before disaster number three struck, however, enough to give Declan time to sort the deteriorating bodywork. “I was still driving the Corrado on a daily basis and this was having an adverse effect on the paintwork,” Declan recalls, “rust was starting to appear in a few places and I needed to get it sorted before it got too bad.”
Luckily Declan had a friend that worked at Lexus who was offering to carry out a full respray. All Declan needed was to strip the car first to save time in the paint shop. “I remember it was winter time and I had to drive the car there in the snow with no windows in, which was certainly an experience,” Declan laughs. “I wanted to keep it the original Alpine white as at the time I had no intentions of spraying the engine bay.” The end result was flawless, but this also meant the Corrado was now too nice to remain a daily driver.
As 2012 came around it marked a return to the now familiar disaster zone when the G60 engine packed up whilst returning from Nottingham; “We’d just bought our first Royal Python snake (as you do – All) and were on our way home, so we had a few strange looks from the recovery driver as we tried to conceal the snake in a fabric bag,” Declan smiles.
The failure of the G60 at least meant Declan had an excuse to sort out the engine bay, which was by now letting the side down compared to the rest of the car; “I had to take the engine out anyway, so it was a now or never decision when it came to smoothing the bay itself,” he remembers. This would be the hardest part of the whole build taking loads of time and patience with all of the work carried out by Declan, his family and a few mates in his tiny garage. “I’d not carried out any fabrication work on this scale before, but as I’m a hands-on type of guy, I was ready to give it a go,” Declan tells us. “I’d studied other cars I’d seen at shows along with magazine features which helped a lot, but all the work involved and having to buy parts in from Germany and the USA meant the Corrado was off the road for two years in total.
Once all the fabrication work was complete, the bay could be sprayed by the highly respected, Tim Ansell at True Paintworks; “When it came back it blew my mind, but I then started panicking about how I was going to put an engine and all its ancillaries back inside without causing any damage,” Declan adds.
The damage to the original engine was unrepairable, so a second-hand unit was sourced and rebuilt from a bare block, complete with PG Stage 2 gas-flowed and ported head with Bar-Tek hydraulic lifter kit. It also benefits from 550cc injectors and looks the part with that custom G60 cam cover. The supercharger is a Stage 4 Jabba Sport item with 65mm pulley and Declan has also added a BBM induction kit, with a custom intake pipe, angled to exactly 90 degrees along with custom coolant hoses and a Mocal oil cooler. Some serious smoothing has taken place on the manifold and the custom intercooler set up includes a Rallye U-bend, custom hoses and top-fill radiator, while the exhaust system is now a Milltek Classic item with de-cat connected to a four-branch stainless manifold. “I‘m really happy with the result, especially the colour coding, which went just as planned,” Declan smiles. “The only aspect I’d change is the stock ECU (currently running an SNS Pro Digi-lag custom chip), as I could have omitted a lot of sensors and running issues, though these problems have finally been sorted out,” he said.
With the engine back in, thanks to a cupboard full of bed sheets to protect the bay, Declan then had to reroute the wiring underneath to retain that cleaned look. The ECU is now inside the cabin and the battery and washer bottle are located in the boot, while the ignition coil is mounted on the scuttle panel. “I then had to make my own length HT leads to the coil to keep that hidden and ran the vacuum hose for the ECU through to the inside of the car,” Declan points out, “I could then get rid of the coolant expansion bottle thanks to the top fill radiator I’d made.”
You can understand by Declan’s detailed explanation why the whole engine bay process took two years. In fact, given the amount of thought and money that’s gone into it all, we’re surprised it didn’t take him longer!
The final puzzle to solve was now the wheels… the make or break point of any modified car. “I knew which wheels I wanted all along; a set of dark grey, 16” Autostrada Monzas and it had taken four years to find some,” Declan recalls. “The dishes were refurbed by Ellie at Voodoo Motorsport and Slam Signs managed to reproduce the original logo in gold leaf to make them perfect. I couldn’t wait to get them on, but as ever this didn’t go to plan,” Declan recalls. “I had already upgraded the brakes to Ibiza Cupra R Brembo callipers and discs and had been advised these wheels would just bolt straight up to them. They did on the rear over my Mk4 brake conversion, but not on the front so I had to shave 10mm from the calliper carriers, which did the trick!” The result is tight, but it works perfectly and stops on a penny according to Declan.
Seven years of hard graft and a last minute fitment of an OMP steering wheel eventually saw the Corrado make a return to the road where it soon picked up a healthy stack of trophies, a reward for Declan’s efforts. “I’m really proud at what I’ve achieved along with some help along the way and what seemed like an endless string of disasters has resulted in a positive outcome,” Declan smiles. The Corrado may often be overlooked these days, but when you see creations like this spring out of the woodwork, it’s sometimes hard to work out why.
Porsche 964 seats always look at home in a 'Rado, don't they? Royal Python snakes (just out of shot), not so much...
"I’m sure as anyone else with a G60 Corrado will know that they can soon turn into a money pit”
"I had to take the engine out, so it was A now or never decision when it came to smoothing the bay"
Dub Details #Volkswagen
ENGINE: 1.8-litre four-cylinder G60 in smoothed engine bay with Stage 2 head, #Stage-4-supercharger with Rallye U-bend – painted in Toyota Demeca grey. #BBM fuel rail, pressure regulator, 550cc injectors, custom coolant pipes, custom intercooler set-up, BBM modified induction kit, smoothed inlet manifold – painted in Toyota Demeca grey, #Supersprint four-branch stainless exhaust manifold, #Milltek exhaust system with decat. Expansion tank deleted, battery relocation to boot, washer relocation to boot, custom wire tuck, #SNS 5.5 Digi-Lag ECU chip, custom silicone induction hoses, custom top-fill radiator, custom G60 cam cover, braided fuel lines, braided oil cooler lines, Mocal oil cooler with thermostat, MSD Blaster coil with Magnacor HT leads, Stage 2 carbon Kevlar clutch kit, #Walbro 226 fuel pump
CHASSIS: 7x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) ” #Autostrada-Monza wheels painted metallic grey with polished lips and black barrels with Nankang NS2 tyres and 30mm 4x100 to 5x114.3 custom adapters. #KW-Variant-1 coilovers, poly-bushed front subframe, poly-bushed steering rack, poly-bushed wishbones, Mk4 Golf top suspension mounts, #Eibach anti-roll bars with poly-bushed mounts, Ibiza Cupra R Brembo front callipers (modified), 305mm drilled and grooved front and rear discs, Mintex front brake pads, custom front braided brake hoses, Mk4 Golf alloy rear callipers, #EBC Ultimax rear brake pads, custom braided brake lines, Porsche 944 brake fluid reservoir
EXTERIOR: Full respray in VW Alpine white, side strips deleted, badgeless grille, tinted headlights, carbon number plate light plate, 50mm front VR6 splitter, rear wiper deleted
INTERIOR: Porsche 964 half-leather Alcantara front seats, Corrado black leather rear bench and door cards, OMP 330mm steering wheel, black Alcantara roof and sunroof lining, black VR6 sun visors, leather handbrake lever
SHOUT: This has been a family and friends build and I couldn’t have done it without them. Huge thanks to Tom Justice, my brother Sean Bowyer, my mum and dad, Les Bowyer and Barbara Bowyer, my friend Joe Whitmore who apparently helped in some way, my fiancée Carly Dolman, Tim Ansell at True Paintworks and my friend Paul Cross, Ellie at Voodoo Motorsport and everyone who has supported me along the way, plus Chris Perry for helping to find the photo shoot locationStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMartin Kobylanski’s BMW READERS’ RIDES / #BMW-5-Series-E28 / #BMW-5-Series / #1985 / #BMW-525i / #BMW-525i-E28 / #AC-Schnitzer /
RC says: Like a fi ne wine the #BMW-E28 / #BMW / is a car that’s only got better with age. To be fair nowadays it’s pretty hard to believe that it was regarded as something of an ugly duckling in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, even Martin himself says that he had a mate who had one back in the day and he couldn’t quite fathom why he liked it so much.
Of course, with the benefit of a few years passing, we all know that these have become perhaps the ultimate in retro-chic motorway cruising, although there’s still not many out there that have been lavished with love as much as this super-clean #1985 #BMW-525i here. In fact, it’s nothing short of admirable how much time, effort and hard-earned cash Martin has put into the build. One thing’s for sure - it certainly takes a lot of work to look this effortlessly cool!
After travelling from Northampton to London to pick up a totally stock model, countless hours have gone into uprating parts and sourcing some seriously rare trinkets from #BMW-tuning icons like #Zender and #AC-Schnitzer . The idea was to build the ultimate retro autobahn stormer and we reckon he’s nailed it!
Top mods: #Zender front spoiler, #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1 3pc wheels ( #OZ-Racing ), full leather M sport interior, #BC-Racing coilovers, E36 M3 calipers with E34 M5 discs, front and rear strut braces, #Momo wooden steering wheel and #Alpina gear knob, #Supersprint exhaust.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIRISH CHARM
Exceedingly clean and exceptionally well-modified, this supercharged BMW 325Ci E46 on BBS LMs is doing it right. Modifying is one thing, but bringing a car to a better than factory standard is something else; Darren Fennelly’s supercharged E46 proves beauty is more than skin deep. Words: Ben Koflach // Photos: Drive-My.
This Irish E46 started life as a standard silver 323Ci but in less than a year owner Darren Fennelly transformed it into one of the most extensively workedover E46s out there.
This wasn’t a cheque book build either. Oh no, much of the work was done by Darren and his close friends. “The build took nine months and nearly killed me and my friends,” Darren explains. “It’s one of the biggest things I have done in my life, but definitely one of the best and most enjoyable, even with all the late nights and hardships along the way.”
So where do we begin? Well, first things first, it’s clearly no longer silver. The 323’s change to its glorious white hue wasn’t a quick and easy one, either. Darren wanted a really thorough spray over and so the 2.5- litre M52TU, along with its five-cog gearbox, was hauled out of the engine bay, thus giving the painter an easier job when it came to making sure the paint coverage was as complete as possible.
The engine wasn’t simply put to one side, mind you. Darren had been speaking with Simpson Motorsport in England about getting more ponies out of it. “Simpson put me in touch with European Supercharger Systems (ESS) in Norway, from whom I bought the supercharger brand-new,” he says. “A genius friend of mine and myself installed it in around five hours without any real problems.”
It’s an impressive bit of kit that uses a twin-screw compressor rather than the more traditionally used centrifugal configuration. Twin-screw superchargers have been used by American hot rods and drag racers for decades and this method really suits Darren’s E46 as it provides more low down torque; peak boost is delivered from around 2200rpm – perfect for his daily driver.
Using a custom ESS-spec Lysholm 1.6-litre blower and an aluminium-alloy intake manifold, the ESS Stage 1 kit provides some healthy power figures. Larger Bosch injectors, CNC mounting brackets, additional idler pulleys and a heavy-duty drive belt all come as part of the kit, too, and it all works together to provide 7psi of boost along with quick throttle response.
Although the ESS system is designed to fit with the factory air box, Darren has swapped that out for a Powertec cone filter and once the engine was back in the car, also fitted a manifold-back Supersprint exhaust system. “ESS claimed the supercharger would add another 110bhp and after mapping at Simpson Motorsport it put down 276bhp,” Darren reveals. “It is fast, not M3 fast, but not a million miles off either. The acceleration is very clean and it pulls real nice with the supercharger. And there’s a nice little whistle too, just enough so that you know it’s got a little something extra hidden away!”
Before the engine was put back in, mind you, Darren cleaned it right up, and did the same with the gearbox, while also renewing the oil filter, rocker cover gasket, spark plugs, belt tensioner and sub-engine protection unit, as well as the clutch.
Various components, from the washer bottle top to the ECU cover were then painted gloss black, and that’s before we even get to the carbon fibre that’s been added. Darren really has been thorough and the result is a truly stunning-looking engine bay.
Coming back to the body, you’ll probably have spotted that the colour isn’t the only thing that changed. Darren also purchased a #Reiger M3-style front bumper and side skirts, as well as an M Tech rear bumper which he modified to sit level with the Reiger bits – a subtle touch that makes a world of difference. A CSL-style addition to the bootlid looks spot-on, as do the partsmoked LED rear tail-lights and smoked indicators all-round. More carbon fibre additions come in the form of a rear diffuser and kidney grilles, while a similar level of attention to detail has gone in to the exterior as the engine.
Every clip, bracket, mount or fastener has been replaced with items from the dealer, as have many other items of trim, including the under arch liners and also the brake lines. The underside was also extensively cleaned and repainted. “We started off with a simple plan but got carried away!” laughs Darren.
You name it, it’s been either replaced, renewed or repainted. The entire rear subframe was dropped out of the car, for example, enabling it and the area from which it was removed to be lovingly rubbed down and repainted. All the bushes were replaced, including the four subframe bushes, and Turner Motorsport limiters were fitted to the rear trailing arm bush carriers. The springs and shocks were binned in favour of #KW Variant 2 coilovers, offering Darren the adjustability he was after without being a harsh full-on race setup.
With the extra power under the bonnet, you won’t be surprised to hear that the brakes have seen quite a substantial upgrade. Up front, 330mm grooved discs are clamped by AP Racing four-pot calipers, while the standard rear discs have been renewed and are accompanied by M3 calipers, which have had new pads fitted and been painted red to match the APs. Feeding these with the necessary fluid they need to operate is a set of braided hoses. The rolling stock is one of those additions that just seem to make this car, and rightly so. Many E46s sport replica BBS LMs, and in some ways we can understand why – they look good and go well with the E46 shape.
However, any kind of replica wheel just wasn’t going to cut it for Darren’s project, and he managed to source a set of genuine staggered 19” LMs. Darren wanted them to be absolutely perfect, so they were sent to Nu-Luk Wheels in Carrickfergus. Every single nut and bolt was removed, with the dishes, barrels and faces coming apart for attention. The dishes were stripped of the lacquer they’d previously worn by a machine lathe, following which they were polished to an extremely high standard. The centres were then taken right back before being powdercoated gold, lacquered and built back up.
Measuring 8.5” wide up front and a chunky 10” out back, the wheels not only look the business but mean that Darren is able to get a much bigger rubber footprint down for more grip at both ends. To that end, he’s fitted grippy 235/35 front and 265/30 rear Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres, which look absolutely perfect.
Our final stop on our tour of Darren’s E46 is the interior – and what an interior it is. Much like the rest of the project, Darren’s approach is far from shy. The whole lot was essentially gutted, making things a little easier for the retrimmers, who were tasked with covering the lot in sumptuous red Nappa leather – not before Darren had added an OEM black carpet in place of the original grey one, mind you. The parcel shelf was also given a covering of black alcantara, while much of the plastic trim was replaced with black parts from the OEM catalogue, or repainted black. OEM mats and a selection of M goodies almost complete the spec, and it’s worth noting that Darren also renewed every single nut, bolt, washer, clip and bracket in the process. The cherry on the top of the awesome interior is the dash, which has been flocked for a motorsport feel and has benefited from a trio of gauges monitoring the boost, oil pressure and voltage. The factory dials have also been changed to white to match this trio, which is a neat touch.
Truly unrecognisable as an early E46, Darren’s 323Ci is a real stunner. So thorough is his reworking that his Three looks and feels like something that’s just left the factory. Attention to detail like this is not seen often – no stone has been left unturned, and we’d happily go as far as saying it’s one of the best E46s in Ireland – or at least from what we’ve seen. Considering the enormous makeover the car’s had, to do it all in just nine months is amazing and just goes to show that you can do whatever you like with a bit of help from your friends.
DATA FILE #BMW-323Ci-E46 / #BMW-323Ci / #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-323Ci-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-323Ci-Supercharged / #M52/ #BMW-M52 / #M52-Supercharged / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #ESS / #BMW-325Ci / #BMW-325Ci-E46 / #BBS-LM / #BBS /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six #M52TUB25 , #ESS-TS1 supercharger kit including inlet manifold and larger injectors, #Powertec air filter with custom heat shield and air intake hose, #Supersprint manifold-back exhaust system, ECU remap by #Simpson-Motorsport , carbon fibre rocker cover and fuel rail cover, custom ESS decal for rocker cover, chrome oil filler cap, new OEM: fuel filter, oil filter, rocker cover gasket, spark plugs, belt tensioner, sub-engine protection unit. Black painted: front air intake unit, ECU cover, expansion tank cover, battery unit box and more. Standard five-speed manual gearbox, ST1 short shifter, new OEM: clutch, flex disc, gearbox mounts.
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BBS LMs fully rebuilt with powdercoated gold centres and polished dishes, shod in 235/35 and 265/30 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres respectively. #KW-Variant-2 coilovers, new OEM: wishbones, bushes, track rod ends and all nuts, bolts and washers. #Turner-Motorsport RTAB limiter kit fitted, all components cleaned and repainted including underside of shell, new jacking rubbers. #AP-Racing front brake kit using four-pot calipers and 330mm grooved discs, new OEM rear discs and M3 calipers painted red, new brake lines with braided flexi-hoses, new OEM handbrake shoes, Ferodo brake fluid.
EXTERIOR: Full respray in white with a black roof, #Reiger M3-style front bumper and side skirts, Reiger front splitter, CSL-style rear spoiler, customised M Sport rear bumper, carbon fibre kidney grilles, carbon fibre diffuser, carbon fibre badges, smoked front and side indicators, LED rear light units with smoked indicators and reverse lights, new OEM foglights and surrounding M-tech mouldings, new OEM arch liners, new OEM brackets and clips throughout, new factory stickers throughout.
INTERIOR: Full retrim in red Nappa leather, parcel shelf retrimmed in black alcantara, full black OEM carpet, most of remaining trim replaced with new black components or new grey components sprayed black, ST1 footrest and pedals, new OEM door and boot rubbers, M Sport gear knob and handbrake handle, new OEM floor mats, flocked dashboard, custom gauge pod (also flocked) holding Stuart Warner 52mm boost, oil pressure and volt gauges, white Lockwood dials, new OEM speakers all-roundStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation
An awesome E46 323i four-door packing a #BBK , carbon goodies and #Schnitzer styling galore. At a loss how to modify your four-door E46? Let Alan Lam and #AC-Schnitzer show you how. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Matt Barnes.
There are some BMWs that effortlessly ooze class. These are the cars that when cruising past, you stare longingly at, not because they’re intrusively loud or garishly decorated, but because they’ve been beautifully and thoughtfully modified. Money’s been thrown in all the right places, and the owner has insisted on the best to make his ride become even more of a rewarding driving machine and easier on the eye.
With BMW’s current 3 Series, most choose the Coupé variant as the base for modifying work. And who can blame them? The two-door is indeed a design marvel in terms of beauty and desirability, so it’s an ideal starting block. Those with the saloon version are presented with more of a modifying challenge. It’s by no means an ugly car, but a little more thought has to go into how to bring the best out of the practical four-door. Looking at Alan Lam’s ’00 323i, we think he’s pretty much cracked it.
The native New Yorker is by all accounts one of the most enthusiastic BMW modifiers we’ve ever met – you’d be lucky to find anyone more knowledgeable and helpful about what it takes to make these cars a pleasure to look at and drive. So it’s no surprise to discover the sheer amount of work put into turning his Orient blue 323i into the feature car we have here today.
Alan’s love affair with the marque goes back to his high school days, where the E36 M3 was his dream car. “It was only after BMW released the pictures of the new E46 I knew I had to get one, though,” he told us. “My first BMW was therefore delivered in December ’99, and it was used as my daily driver to school and work, so modifications were kept at a minimum and nothing major was planned.”
And how many times have we heard that? It seems Alan started customising the little things, beginning with OEM clear lights all round, and realised there was no way of stopping. The bug had bitten. Before long a Supersprint exhaust and ECIS cold air intake found their way onto the car, and the results were addictive.
“The E46 was too quiet,” Alan said, “especially driving a manual. You want to hear the engine to let you know when to shift. The exhaust and cold air intake made a dramatic difference in the car’s performance and fun factor, and I found myself blipping the throttle downshifting just to hear the lovely sound the engine now made. I even had the front and rear resonators removed to make it even louder and deeper, and it now sounds just like a stock E36 M3.”
As you can tell from the photos, however, these mods were just the beginning. Alan discovered Dtmpower.net, Bimmervibe.com and E46fanatics.com on the Internet, and these forums opened up a whole new world of potential tuning ideas. “I found myself browsing on it all day and night learning more about what I could do to the car,” the 26-year-old IS administrator said. Inevitably he met up with like-minded enthusiasts, and knew he wanted more from his car. A lot more.
Having an overall gameplan is an absolute necessity if you’re modifying to attain a certain look. It’s best to gain inspiration from others, see what there is on the market you think works best, and add your own personal touches. Alan can’t be faulted for his choice of AC Schnitzer styling; a brand, he tells us, he chose due to its racing heritage and reputation as the most widely respected BMW tuner in the world. We’re not about to disagree.
“I wanted my car to be a Schnitzer car,” he said. “First thing was ordering a full Schnitzer body kit along with a set of 18” rims. I didn’t like the rear spoilers offered by Schnitzer so I decided to go with a Racing Dynamics one instead.” Also at this time, Eibach springs and BogeSachs BMW sport shocks tightened everything up, while a modern styling touch in the shape of xenon front lights courtesy of bekkers.com found their way on. With Hamann eyebrows and shadow grilles added as well, Alan had reached the end of the second stage of modifying. Once again he was satisfied with the car’s look, so you’d have thought he’d have stopped here. No way.
Styling is one thing, but finding more power really is best for putting a smile on your face. “There were virtually no turbo kits available,” said Alan, “nor any reliable supercharger kits making any decent power at the time. Instead, Rogue Engineering had connections with an excellent BMW technician who was able to do some motor work for me. I got hold of Schrick cams, Jim Conforti Shark Injector software and ended up swapping my ECIS intake in favour of a beautiful Gruppe M carbon fibre unit.” Good choice.
Soon after, Alan was collecting a first place trophy in the Mild category at Bimmerfest East, and was recruited by TWCompetition. Things were looking up, and so were the planned mods to his 323i. These final mods are basically the look the car sports in the photos, and the sheer amount and quality of work is commendable. Nineteen-inch HRE wheels were custom made by Peter Lee at wheelexperts.com, while the suspension was swapped for H&R coilovers set at maximum drop for the rear and about 90% at the front. That’s seriously low. Riding that close to the tarmac has obvious drawbacks, so, in Alan’s own words, “to help scan the crappy New York roads rolling on big 19s, I swapped the standard halogen foglights for 5300K xenons.”
Nestled behind those beautiful custom wheels are some serious anchors, 320mm up front courtesy of Brembo, with a Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm hybrid setup at the rear. Alan assures us at the time this was done, no other E46 had both front and rear big brakes. Ever the groundbreaker, with the front bumper sporting an Schnitzer add-on becoming more common, Alan changed his for an OEM E46 M3 bumper. With this being almost 2” wider than the 323i item on each side, Ultimate Collision had a hell of a task making it fit, but have certainly excelled themselves with the finish. The addition of a new Schnitzer carbon fibre splitter completes the very tasty new look. Soon after, Schnitzer was called upon again to provide an M3 racing spoiler, a truly unique look for a saloon car.
Then there’s the final hurrah. If you put a carbon fibre bonnet on the wrong car it’s an expensive mistake, but on Alan’s modified E46 323i it’s a revelation. It blends in nicely with the Orient paint, and completes what is a stunning four-door.
Standing back to admire it, the final look is a thing of beauty. The custom front bumper, the large but tasteful rear wing, the huge brakes primed for action behind the flawless, polished alloys. It may be a four door, but how many coupés look this desirable? Alan tells us he knows of no other saloon in the US with this look, but we’re hoping many will take inspiration from him to create something even half as nice as his stunning 323i.
GruppeM carbon fibre air intake – every #BMW should have one!
DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-323i / #BMW-323i-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #M52TUB25 / #BMW-M52 / #M52B25 / #M52 / #BMW
ENGINE: 2.5-litre six-cylinder with #Schrick performance 248° cams, #Rogue-Engineering underdrive pulleys, #Gruppe-M carbon fibre air intake, #Jim-Conforti engine software, #Supersprint 76mm cat-back exhaust with both resonators removed, Imola red valve covers
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” #HRE-448R three-piece forged alloys shod in Toyo T1-S 235/35 tyres. H&R fully adjustable coilover suspension system, #H&R Trak Plus 5mm spacers, #Racing-Dynamics anti-roll bars, #Turner-Motorsports rear shock mounts, silver M3 front strut brace. #Brembo 320mm big brake kit (front), #Rogue-Engineering /Porsche 329mm big brake kit (rear), #Hawk-HPS racing pads, #Goodridge stainless steel brake lines, #ATE Super Blue brake fluid. Rogue Engineering short-shifter, weighted selector rod and tranny mounts. Redline synthetic fluids
EXTERIOR: Euro-spec OEM M3 bumper custom fitted onto a saloon chassis, #AC-Schnitzer carbon fibre M3 front spoiler, aluminium stabiliser struts, rear apron, roof spoiler, sport mirrors, racing wing and badges, Fiber Images carbon fibre bonnet. Hamann shadow grilles, Hamann eyebrows, #M-Tech side skirts, Nova 4 professional strobe kit, custom fitted facelift ’02 BMW rear lights, Euro-spec clear side repeaters, xenon 5200K foglight kit, xenon 5200K ellipsoid headlights.
INTERIOR: M3 leather sport seats custom fitted into saloon, two-tone leather treatment, Sparco Clubman threepoint safety harnesses, AC Schnitzer full pedal set and floor mats. Aluminium interior trim and gear shift, NR Auto aluminium gauges, Isotta chrome gear shift surround
ICE: Alpine 7965 CD head unit, CHA 1214 12-disc changer, SPR 176A 6.5” components, SPR 172A 6.5” coaxial. Rockford Fosgate 400 four-channel amp, 360 two-channel amp, 1.0 Farad capacitor. Allumapro BP10 subwoofer enclosure
THANKS: TWCompetition, Peter at wheelexperts.com, Samir at Rennsport.com, Tom Chang at Bimmerfesteast.com, Ooro and Drea at Bimmervibe.com, Jimmy at Pfactor.com, Mark and Ben at Rogueengineering.com, Barry at Race Technologies, Dtmpower.net, E46fanatics.com, Cave Crew, Michael Cajayon, Rich Pinto at Rtechnic, my girlfriend Mabel, friends and family
Above: Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm big brake kit for the rears! Up front are Brembo 320mm. Left: Plenty of lovely carbon fibre.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLOW PROFILE
With countless subtle mods, this is one smooth E36 Cab. Everyone modifies E36s but it takes dedication and a keen eye for detail to build one that’s packed with as many subtle yet significant tweaks as this one. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
The E36 really is the perfect BMW when it comes to modifying. Think about it: it’s cheap, there are plenty to choose from, and the selection of aftermarket upgrades is truly unsurpassed. If you want to build yourself a modified E36 project car, you are spoiled for choice on all fronts and you can really go to town. But, and herein lies the rub, because of all these factors, building a car that stands out from the crowd is much more of a challenge; it requires dedication to take your E36 the extra mile. Luckily for us, Tony Munn (@M2onys on Instagram) has dedication in spades which means we can share his lovely bagged E36 Cab with you…
“I’ve always been into modifying,” Tony begins. He went through numerous cars in his youth; however, the responsibilities of adulthood eventually caught up with him and a house purchase put an end to his carbuying ways. Fortunately, you can’t keep a good man down. “After a little while, I decided I wanted something nice so I saved up and bought this in 2004,” Tony continues. “It’s a 1994 E36 328i with a manual gearbox, which is exactly what I wanted, and I bought it completely standard. I drove a few M3s but the insurance was much higher and I felt the 328 drove better. The hardest part was finding a manual, it took me three months of searching.
“My plan was to just have a nice car and not do anything to it, but then came the wheels. I bought a set of 18” E46 M3 reps because they fitted but with them on the car looked a bit high, so I started looking at springs…” We all know where this is going! “In the end I decided to go for a set of Eibach coilovers instead of just some springs and then I decided to get the paint done. The car was tidy but there were a few dents and nicks and a bit of rust so I wanted to get it looking like new. Then came the decision to do some smoothing.”
Here is where we start getting into the details that set Tony’s car apart from the myriad modified E36s out there, details that you might not notice at first glance, subtle tweaks that make a big difference to the overall look of the car. Tony had the bonnet badge, washer jets, boot badge and lock, and fuel filler all smoothed. The aerial and locks have been deleted while the numberplate mounts to the front bumper via magnets, meaning it can be quickly and easily removed at shows for a super-clean front end. The whole car looks incredibly clean and smooth as a result.
“I wasn’t sure if I should colour-code the trims,” Tony says. “I had to make a decision over the phone with my painter. I said ‘yes’ and I’m glad I did,” he smiles. We agree, the smoothed elements of the body work really well with the silver trim strips around the whole car. The door handles have also been colour-coded for that finishing touch, eliminating all traces of black trim from the exterior, while the standard mirrors have been replaced with a sleeker-looking pair of AC Schnitzer items.
“I stuck with the original Arctic silver colour but with a House of Kolor lacquer,” explains Tony. “As a result it looks slightly different to factory Arctic silver.” And while some cars can look uninspiring in silver, here the colour really suits this E36 and works perfectly with Tony’s approach to modifying the car, as he explains: “When I started modifying the E36 I thought to myself ‘if BMW was modifying a car, how would it do it?’ I then applied that concept to all the styling on the car, keeping it subtle, OE but with a difference.”
With fresh paint and a raft of subtle visual tweaks, Tony needed to up his wheel game as those E46 M3 reps just weren’t going to cut it anymore. “I’d wanted a set of splitrims for ages,” he says, “and these kept coming and going on eBay. In the end I managed to get them with tyres and they’d had a full refurb.” Patience most definitely paid off here then. The wheels are OZ Futuras, ET13 8.5x17s all-round and while the fronts went on okay, the rear arches required some rolling before the wheels would fit. As you can see, Tony’s also dialled-in a fair amount of camber via the adjustable rear camber arms he’s fitted. “People always ask me how long my tyres last,” he laughs.
Arguably the biggest modification was the move from coilovers to air-ride, and that only happened last year in fact. “I bumped into a young guy with a brown Merc on air from the hangar at Players. It turned out he only lives up the road from me and he’s part of the Gütenstance Kent club, which was started up last year. I joined the club and the fact that most of the members are on air must have rubbed off on me,” he chuckles. “I decided to bite the bullet and go for it but I didn’t want to spend a fortune. I got the Air Lift bag and struts from Neil at Carbon Motive in Sittingbourne and went for an Air Zenith compressor, which is more expensive but you only need one. I built the rest myself and went for a manual system following the advice of the Gütenstance guys, as it’s cheaper and I couldn’t justify the cost of a digital setup.” The single compressor and air tank have been neatly installed in the boot by Tony, tucked out of the way and leaving plenty of usable space boot space. “I love the air-ride,” he adds, “and it drives better now than it did on coilovers.”
The analogue controls for the air-ride have been neatly and discreetly integrated into the cabin and, as with the exterior, the interior, with its unusual but extremely nice dark blue leather and accompanying upholstery, has had a lot of work done to it, even though you might not even realise it at first! The trio of air pressure gauges, with their white dials and silver bezels, sit in a carbon-wrapped panel located beneath the MID panel on the lower dash while the switches that control the front and rear suspension have been hidden away in the ashtray – a neat touch. The rather lovely brushed stainless steel gear knob (which is mounted to a Z3 short-shift kit), handbrake and window switches all come from Storm Motorwerks and Tony’s made his own hazard light switch, door lock buttons and door pins to match. There’s a snap-off Momo Race steering wheel and what you can’t see is the fact that all the interior lighting is now blue. “That was a bit of a mission. I did it a long time ago and it was a lot of work,” Tony admits. We think it was definitely worth it as it is original and co-ordinates with the seats’ blue leather.
This E36 is not all about styling, though, as under the bonnet the M52B28 has a tuning potential that would be a shame not to tap into. As a result, Tony’s custom fitted a K&N cone filter and a Supersprint de-cat pipe which connects to a Scorpion stainless steel exhaust system. He’s even got plans to fit an M50 inlet manifold and big bore throttle body to squeeze every last bit of available performance from that beefy straight-six, which sounds absolutely glorious thanks to the unrestricted exhaust system.
Talk turns to life after the E36 but this is one car that is always going to remain a part of the Munn family, as Tony explains: “I’ve had the car for 11 years now and there’s no point selling it. I mean, how much is it worth? And, more importantly, what could I possibly replace it with? The only time I offered to sell it was when I was getting married but my wife told me to stop being silly. When we had our daughter I SORN’d it for a couple of years but otherwise it’s always getting used.
“Very occasionally I wish I’d done an M3,” he muses, “but mainly because of the value. I’m not that into performance; I’m not fussed about driving fast. I’d rather be seen!”
Despite all the work that’s gone into the car, Tony’s not finished with it just yet. “This car will never be finished,” he chuckles. “After owning it for 11 years I am still playing with it. I’ve got an M3 rear bumper, but I’m not sure if that will fit with the rest of the styling as I like the smooth look. I definitely want to remove the parking sensor strip, though, along with the repeaters and I want to fill in the front bumper trim strip where the numberplate used to be. I’ve been away from the scene for years, and I want to keep doing my own thing. I built the car for myself, not for anyone else, and I want to keep the car, and keep enjoying it, for as long as I can.”
DATA FILE #Air-ride #BMW-E36 / #BMW-328i-Convertible / #BMW-328i-Convertible-E36 / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328i / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-328i-Convertible-Air-ride / #BMW-328i-Convertible-Air-ride-E36 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.8-litre straight-six #M52B28 / #BMW-M52 / #M52 , #K&N cone filter, #Supersprint decat, Scorpion stainless steel exhaust, Z3 M quick-shift, five-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 8.5x17” ET13 (front and rear) #OZ-Futura / #OZ three-piece split-rims with 205/40 (front) and 225/35 (rear) tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift front struts and rear bags, custom-made manual air-ride management, adjustable rear camber arms
EXTERIOR De-badged front and rear, washer jet delete, aerial delete, fuel flap smoothed, smoothed #AC-Schnitzer mirrors, front numberplate delete, de-locked, fully colour-coded in Arctic silver and House of Kolor lacquer, rolled rear arches
INTERIOR Storm Motorwerks stainless steel gear knob, handbrake and electric window switches, custommade stainless steel hazard switch and door pins, full blue LED dash lights, snap off Momo Race steering wheel, dash mounted air-pressure gauges
THANKS My wife Claire and daughter Evie for everything, Neil at Carbon Motive for supplying the air-ride, Ben for Paint, Arron at Kent Automotive for Advice, Auto Perfection for cleaning products, all the boys at Gütenstance for keeping me motivatedStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe Dark Knight #BMW E63 M6 / #BMW-E63 / #BMW-M6-E63 / #BMW-M6 / #BMW / #2012 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-E63
Matt Jones enjoys M6 ownership, but 6mpg and a maximum range of 125 miles is the trade off for 560bhp. The E63 M6 isn’t a car we tend to see at Total BMW, but Matt Jones uses his one as a daily driver and a quarter mile tool. In the midst of a recession, how does 6 mpg sound and 125 miles to a tank?
The E63 M6 is a hugely underrated performance car. With 500bhp from a V10 that sounds like very little else on God's good earth, it has performance on the fringes of a Supercar level, to go with a sharp rear-drive chassis and a sometimes brutal semi-auto seven-speeder. Yet it has all the buttons and gadgets one could hope for and, with the M programme left dormant, is happy to mooch the city strassen or cruise the autobahn in refined comfort.
Sure the E60 M5 has all that too. but it’s a confused soul - an out-and-out performance car character at odds with its laid back executive saloon remit. Besides, the M5 looks like any other 5-Series and. while that certainly is not without appeal, sometimes you want to turn heads and induce jealous thoughts.
The M6, however, has the body style and more tightly-defined Sports GT remit to carry off the harsh SMG shifts and top-endy power delivery. It looks low. sleek and purposeful, weighs a good chunk less and has - childish yelp of glee - a carbon-fibre roof. Controversial maybe, but to these eyes the M6 is actually the better resolved package.
Of course that's not to say it can’t be improved upon, as this matte black beasty very ably demonstrates. Owned by 31-year-old Matt Jones, serial modifier and previous owner of a PY E46 M3 Vert that had been given the CSL treatment, this car is a shining example of how to do an M6 right. So we're very lucky that Matt is incapable of resisting his urges...
"Like the M3 I had specced this one exactly how I wanted and hadn't planned to modify it. It was so fast out of the box and had all the toys," he explains. "But literally the day I got it I went round to show my brother and the first thing he said was that it was too quiet! I said it'd be fine - but three weeks later I'd ordered the Eisenmann exhaust!" And that's how it started.
Matt refers to aftermarket parts for the M6 as being subject to an M Tax', so to get round that he does his shopping in the US. "I went on holiday to America and had a load of stuff delivered to where I was staying, so I could then take it back as luggage. I had two suitcases full, one with engine bits and another with the H&R springs. I thought that if I got caught and had to pay the duty I’d still be up. But I got away with it and saved a fortune!"
Clearly Matt wanted to release the M6's performance potential before anything else, and the combination of Evosport headers. Supersprint centre section and Eisenmann back-boxes. the suitcase purchases (RPI pulleys, induction scoops, block plates and oil-cooler, and BMC filters) and an E-maps remap established that potential to be 560bhp.
He regularly enjoys every one of those horses, often going on trips abroad, having done the Cannonball run a few times, and taken it to Santa Pod. “The first time there it won its class, for muscle cars, as it had over eight cylinders." recalls Matt. "It went up against stripped-out, supercharged cars, whose owners were all playing around under the bonnet. I just turned up. turned the stereo off and went for it! ” Matt says it’ll do low-12s all day long. And 206mph. though we didn't dare ask where he confirmed such a number.
This kind of performance does have its downsides, however. "The only thing I don't like is the range. The fuel tank is smaller than a normal 6-Series' because of the quad exhausts, and with fuel consumption of about 6-8mpg on a cruise (we'd hope a fast one, at least) I don’t get any more than 125 miles from a tank! I had 2mpg out of it once at Santa Pod." Ouch.
Only when the performance was well and truly there did Matt turn his attentions to the car’s, then Silverstone Blue II. aesthetics. Carbon or black details gradually made their way onto the car, like the Vorsteiner carbon front spoiler (from America), rear diffuser (made by Matt himself) and those massive 20-inch three-piece splits. You can guess where they came from...
“They’re made by a Florida company who are big on the Corvette scene, called Modular Concept. I had them custom- made and shipped over, and they’re the only ones in the UK”. To confirm their uniqueness, Matt then had them done with Silverstone centres and pin-stripes.
With the theme of Silverstone Blue and either black or carbon, eventually the only chrome left was the tips of the four Eisenmann pipes. A trip to BCP Industrial Coatings had them finished in a heat- resistant matte black, and it was job done. Well, almost. “I drove the car around like that for about a year-and-a-half. It was a similar story to the M3 I got it exactly how I wanted it and then just enjoyed it for a while. However the time came when I started to think about replacements, but I couldn't find anything as quick for the same money." Plan B, then.
"I’d looked at wrapping before, but at the time the cost was really high and the quality not quite there. Then prices came down and quality improved. The wrap was done by Totally Dynamic. The quality is amazing and since then four cars in my family have been wrapped by them!" Obviously the Silverstone Blue on the wheels then looked out of place, so Matt took them apart and sent them off to be gloss blacked.
There was a change of tyre fitment, too. "It used to have stretched tyres but that didn't look right because it wasn't quite low enough to pull the look off, ' says Matt. "I've gone for a squarer setup now to give it a beefier look, and it does drive a lot nicer as a result - although I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I went from Falkens to Continentals.
Saying that. I was rolling on the standard wheels recently and it drove a hundred times better again... it just doesn’t look as good!"
The result of this all-black theme means some very obvious parallels being drawn - by everybody.
“Everyone instantly started calling it the Batmobile when the wrap was done.’’ remembers Matt. "That’s the one comment I get all the time - people come up to me and say "That looks like the Batmobile!". I've had a lot of modded cars, but this is the most attention I’ve ever got from one: it gets a bit ridiculous sometimes!"
One thing that Matt still isn't entirely convinced about is the smoked rear clusters, but it isn’t about their looks per se. "At night they look amazing, with just the four bars shining through, and they do suit the overall look. But it's the whole smoked light image.’’ Matt says they’ll be staying for now, but it sounds like the car won't be hanging around much longer anyway.
"I’m looking at replacements again. I like the new M6. I've been up against a new MS and that walked my car, so the M6 is going to be ridiculous. But they've moved it up a price bracket and £110k for a well specced one is a lot of money for a BMW." Other options? A 911 GT3 is too extreme for the kind of use it'll get. And a 911 is a bit small for Matt's liking anyway, which rules out a Turbo. An Aston DB9 or Vantage is just too slow, as is a V8 R8, and V10 prices are a little steep. The only obvious choice is a Nissan GTR. which is what he's leaning towards - but still not entirely convinced about.
"The thing I love about the M6 is that it's nice and quiet when you're cruising about, but then you press the M button and it’s crazy," is how Man sums it up. And there's the rub: when you have such an excellent car that does so much so well, finding a replacement is very difficult indeed. We don’t envy Matt and his predicament m the slightest, we really don't.
Matt's M6 benefits from Evosport manifolds, and a blend of Supersprint and Eisenmann for the middle and rear sections.
Above right: Modular Concept 5 three-piece wheels are 9j at the front and 11.5j out back-the latter calls for a 325 section tyre.
ENGINE #S85 / #BMW-S85 4,999cc #V10 / #BMW-V10 , #RPI under-drive pulleys, RPI ram air induction scoops (custom finished in black with logos removed), #BMC air filters in OEM air boxes (with custom carbon covers), RPI block-off plates, RPI oil- cooler (30% more efficient) finished in black, #E-maps custom remap with speed limiter removed, #Evosport headers, #Supersprint centre-section and #Eisenmann Race back-boxes (powder-coated satin black)
TRANSMISSION Standard seven-speed SMG gearbox, software upgraded to suit engine map
SUSPENSION H&R Race springs. OEM electronic dampening remapped to suit H&R springs, Eibach 12mm spacers all-round
BRAKES Standard with uprated pads
WHEELS & TYRES Custom gloss black Modular Concept 5 three-piece split-rims in 9x20 (3.5-inch lip) front and 11.5x20 (5.5-Inch lip) rear fitment, with 285/35/20 front and 325/30/20 rear Continental Sport Contact 4s
BODY Full matte black wrap including door shuts, treated with Swissvax opaque wax, #Vorsteiner carbon front splitter with weave to match roof, custom rear carbon diffuser panel, matte black kidney grilles, side grilles wrapped gloss black, gloss black rear M6 badge, matte black Audi R8 V10 badges on side windows, short rear number plate, rear lights tinted with smoked film, headlights tinted with light smoke Laminex film, angle eye upgrade with 6,000k bulbs
INTERIOR Standard Silverstone extended leather. OEM iPod interface with custom ashtray- mounted holder, carbon trim. Logic 7 stereo
THANKS Scott at Totally Dynamic in Enfield for the wrap (0208 2161116), Claude. Ben and the team at Bosch Auto Services in Hitchin (01462 459459). Kevin at BCP Industrial Coatings in Hitchin for the powder-coating (01462 440 804). Andy at Pristine Coachworks for the wheels, and M6board. com and Evotechnik.net
Top right: Smoked lights are an undecided addition - the jury is still out on these.
Above right: Modular Concept 5 three-piece wheels are 9j at the front and 11.5j out back-the latter calls tor a 325 section tyre.
Top far left: Fuel stops are regular, with 125 miles to a lank being commonplace.
Right: BMC air filters live inside the standard air boxes and the V10 has been remapped by E-maps.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.