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- Post is under moderationMagical Mystery Touring / #BMW-M3-CS-Touring-E46 / #BMW-M3-CS-Touring / #BMW-M3-Touring / #BMW-M3-Touring-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-E46-Touring
Of all the M Cars BMW never built the one that we all lust after is the E46 M3 Touring. If you were to see this E46 M3 Touring out and about, you may well perform a cartoonish double-take. And you’d be right to do so, as the amount of work that’s gone into making Knut Siring’s example look factory-standard is actually quite astonishing… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photography: Tom Begley.
The idea of an M3 Touring is one that consistently gets BMW fans whipped up into an excitable lather. Googling that phrase (‘M3 Touring’, that is, not ‘excitable lather’ – that’ll return rather different results) reveals pages upon pages of forum posts and blog entries along the lines of ‘the best car that BMW never built’. It does, after all, seem rather unfair that the station wagons were left off the product planning chart, particularly given the proven global enthusiasm for hot estates; the RS4 and RS6 have paid for more than a few posh dinners in the steakhouse next to the Audi factory. And the E60-generation M5 was offered as a capacious load-lugger – V10 up front, Labrador in the back – so why not the M3?
Well, it’s complicated, and probably involved a lot of meetings and flipcharts and tutting accountants. The crux of the matter is that the E46 M3 Touring that you’re looking at here doesn’t really exist. Except that it does, as we’re able to see it, nestle our posteriors into its welcoming soft leather, and experience all of the hedonistic thrills that the S54-powered M3 has to offer, along with the knowledge that we could stop off at any point we fancied and buy a new wardrobe without having to worry about forking out for the delivery charge. This car, the vision-made-real of serial car-twiddler Knut Siring, is a bona fide M3… that just happens to be a Touring.
“It started out as a fully-optioned 320i Touring that I’d had for a few years,” he explains. “It had just about every option that was available on the E46 in 2000, and I like the design of the Touring very much – I wanted to convert it into something special.” Well, it’s safe to say that he’s achieved that with some degree of success. But this was always bound to be the case; when we get Knut talking about his former projects and successes, we’re treated to a comprehensive and jaw-dropping list of greatest hits, ranging from Caterhams to Audi Quattros, via a 1960s Opel Rekord and a handful of Nissan Patrols, along with quite a few BMWs – most of them Tourings. And as with so many project cars across the world, this one began with a fleeting but indelible glimpse at a concept car; namely BMW’s M3 Touring concept of 2000, which acts as a sort of unicorn for E46 fanciers with track days to conquer and hedge clippings to dispose of. “I loved the idea of that, and I wanted to build something similar,” says Knut. “The goal was to do it as if it had been built by BMW’s M division itself, and to keep all the M3 specs original.” So this wasn’t a case of shoving a big engine into an estate in order to create either a sleeper or a balls-to-the-wall dragster, nor was it to craft a scene-friendly show car. He wanted to wrap an M3 up inside his 320i, and authenticity had to be key.
At this embryonic stage of the process, Knut found himself approaching Southways Automotive in Fareham, thanks to the build thread of another feisty Touring they’d had a hand in. Now, Knut doesn’t live all that close to Fareham. In fact, he’s from Norway.
So why engage the services of a custom builder in the UK? “Quite simply, your M3s are very reasonably priced!” Knut laughs. “In Norway you can’t get an E46 M3 for less than £30k, even a knackered one. If I was to find the donor M3 I acquired for this project back in Norway and pay all the taxes and duties, we’d be looking at… well, rather a lot more than that.” In addition to this, the skills of Southways’ experts spoke for themselves, with a long line of high-end bespoke builds under its belt, so the reasons stacked up pretty high to source the donor car in the UK, have it all built in Fareham, then ship it back home to Norway afterwards for certification.
So, that donor Knut mentioned – that is, in itself, something rather special. “It was a 2005 M3 CS in Interlagos blue that I found on Pistonheads,” he explains. “It had low mileage, but also Cat D damage. For this reason, I got it at a good price and wasn’t too sad to break it apart, it was never going to be a collector’s item with that history. And the M3 CS is a rare enough car in itself, but an M3 CS Touring? That’s one of a kind!” With Southways excited about being involved, the madness could now commence. Oh, and what madness it turned out to be.
The M3 CS Competition Package is a tasty thing to be using for a project base, as it offers a sort of globalised reflection of the fabled CSL; a number of the lightweight E46’s signature features found their way on to the CS, including the spincast BBS wheels in staggered widths, the CSL steering rack (which offers a ratio of 14.5:1 rather than the usual 15.4:1), bigger brakes, an Alcantara steering wheel, and various other bits and bobs. All of this was to find a new home in Knut’s passion wagon, staying faithful to his brief of creating something that would effectively be a CS with an extra bit of glazing at the back.
With the two cars sitting in Southways’ workshop, the fellas wasted no time in stripping them back to first principles and drawing up a plan of attack. There are a number of essential considerations in a graft-job like this that may not seem immediately obvious – it’s not just a case of bolting the wider wings on and shoving an S54 under the bonnet, the architecture of the two cars is quite different. One of the first things they did was to cut out the boot floor of Knut’s Touring, in the knowledge that the M3’s quadtailpiped crossbox wouldn’t fit under there, and it’d make far more sense to slot in the entire M3 rear subframe – suitably reinforced, of course, as you might as well do stuff like that if you’ve got the thing apart already. The team retained as many original fixing points, brackets, heat shields and so forth as possible in order to keep everything as legit and OEM as it could be, which of course made the job all the more tricky, but Knut was keen for this to be a holistic, authentic and thorough reimagining.
With the rear subframe stitched in, the front was soon to follow, and the bullish S54 with its SMG-II transmission were eased into the gutted shell, giving the car an interesting appearance from afar; a bumperless silver Touring with M3 CS wheels standing unfortunately proud of the arches. But of course, this inbetween phase represented a leap in the project – with all the oily bits in place, it was a simple matter of rerouting around five miles of wiring in order to get it all up and running. C’mon, how hard can that be…?
“I was keen to run the CSL M track mode DSC system too,” Knut recalls. “Originally on the CS and CSL there’s only the one M track mode button on the steering wheel, but I wanted to keep the cruise control and radio buttons. So now there’s an E39 wiper stalk with intensive cleaning feature – this way the M track mode button is easily available on the end of the wiper stalk!” Handy, that. And all extra fun for the wiring guys.
Meanwhile, back to the aesthetics, the CS donor had been liberated of its bonnet, bumper, wings and mirrors, while the rear wings had great swathes of steel carved from them in readiness to transplant into their new home. As the body parts began to pile up, it became increasingly clear that the engineering prowess of Southways might need to be augmented by a coachwork specialist to get everything lined up to BMW-quality tolerances, as items like the bonnet and rear bumper were nowhere near fitting properly (it seems that the M3 coupé and non-M Touring are pretty different shapes, who’d have thought it?) and so Dorset’s Kustom Kolors was consulted with a view to perfecting the aesthetics before slathering it all in Estoril blue (“…which is a pretty rare shade in Norway,” says Knut, “and, in my opinion the most beautiful BMW colour”).
Thankfully, the company was equally enthused about getting on board with the project, and happily threw a Herculean amount of effort into hybridising the front wings, welding in broader flares to the rear arches that flowed accurately into the doors and crafting gorgeous bespoke swage lines, widening the rear bumper and recessing it to allow the tailgate to close, flaring out the fuel filler aperture – the amount of careful craftsmanship required here is truly mindboggling. And the genius of it all is that you can’t tell from the finished product how torturous and fiddly a process that bodywork was, it all just looks neatly factory-stamped. The mark of a job well done.
Inside the freshly reworked E46, the shenanigans continued apace. Further wiring was wrestled with – no small task, when you’re splicing a right-hand drive, #SMG -equipped fly-by-wire throttle S54 into a left-hand drive, automatic transmission, cable-throttled 320i – and the M3 dash was artfully bolted into place. The pedals put up a bit of a fight, as it wasn’t just a case of losing the clutch; they all needed swapping, and the removal of the accelerator pedal requires the removal of the steering column! Although thankfully the car was in bits anyway. Small mercies, eh?
The finished interior is a neat fusion of the coupé’s embellishments and the estate car’s architecture; the M3 dials and buttons function as they should, the oval mirror is in place and the CS seats are sitting on the Touring rails – all sublimely cohesive.
In fact, that’s a pretty neat summary of the car overall: sublime cohesion. It’s very easy to come up with an idea and say ‘sure, I want to make it as good as BMW would have,’ but that loaded statement sets you up for endless agonising workshop hours of fiddling, modifying, fitting, swearing, removing, reworking, refitting, and so on ad infinitum, all with the aim of ending up with something that looks so factory-standard, it wouldn’t elicit the slightest hint of a second glance from someone who didn’t know what they were looking at. This is a car Knut commissioned simply because he thought it was a good idea and wanted to own one, and there’s only an infinitesimal percentage of people who’d spot that it’s something out of the ordinary. That said, he’s doing a pretty good job of drawing those people in like a tractor beam.
“The most common comments I hear are ‘nice car’ and ‘nice colour’, although there’s also a lot of ‘wow, I didn’t know they made an M3 Touring’ from the #BMW enthusiasts,” says Knut with a smile. And you can see from this that he’s satisfied with his creation. This is an M3 that was built to be fun, usable, and of impeccable quality – the hidden benefit is its uniqueness, and the idea that every now and then someone might pick up on that. When they do, they’re in the club. A nod and a wink, some junk in the trunk, and a ticket to the inner circle of M3 lore’s most oft-cited cliché: this is arguably the best car that #BMW never built.
TECHNICAL DATA BMW E46 M3 CS Touring
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: Factory-standard E46 M3 #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 3.2-litre straight-six, #SMG-II transmission.
CHASSIS: 8x19-inch (front) and 9.5x19-inch (rear) M3 CS #BBS spin-cast alloys in shadow chrome, 225/40 (front) and 225/35 (rear) Continental SportContact M3 tyres, M3 CS/Competition suspension, reinforced rear subframe, CSL steering rack, CS/CSL brakes all-round, CSL M-track mode #DSC system.
EXTERIOR: Custom hybrid M3 Coupé/Touring front wings, M3 front bumper and bonnet, modified #Touring /M3 rear wing sections and doors, #BMW-M3 rear bumper widened and modified to fit around tailgate aperture, House of Kolor 335 Estoril blue paint, DiamondBrite paint sealant, glass sunroof, climate comfort windscreen with rain and light sensor, bi-xenon headlights.
INTERIOR: M3 electric memory seats in black leather, M3 dash and dials, original 16:9 Professional Navigation with CD changer, radio and TV, M3 CSL/CS Alcantara steering wheel and handbrake cover.
THANKS: “I want to thank the guys at Southways Automotive in Fareham (especially Richard Kitchen) for their efforts in making my dream come true. I also want to thank Kustom Kolors in Dorset for the body work and paint job.”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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Historical reinterpretation Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
In the finest tradition of Italian coachbuilding, Touring Superleggera has unveiled a stunning rebodied version of Ferrari’s mighty F12 supercar. Dale Drinnon drives it. Photography Martyn Goddard.
Funny thing about secrets: after you know them, they seem obvious, and it's hard to understand why the people so mesmerised as we motor sublimely past can't identify what it is they're coveting. Surely the classic eggcrate grille, the signature character lines highlighting the graceful flanks, and that feral V12 yowl could mean only one thing: Italy's most illustrious manufacturer and the design house that shaped its first real series-made automobile are back together. Unofficially, at least, and in limited numbers for the lucky few.
The manufacturer, of course, is Ferrari, the design house is #Carrozzeria-Touring , coachbuilder for the seminal #Tipo-166MM of #1948 , and the car we're driving is called the #Berlinetta-Lusso , produced by Touring on the awe-inspiring #Ferrari-F12 platform. And the reason for the hush-hush is that we're hustling this as-of-yet one-of-a-kind objet d'art round the public roads of Northern Italy, bold as thunder and twice as loud, more than a week before its world debut at the Geneva international motor show. Life just doesn't get no more Old School Italian than this.
Then again, the whole project is pretty Old School Italian. Carrozzeria Touring, now formally called #Carrozzeria #Touring #Superleggera , was among the pioneers of what we now consider quintessential Italian automotive style. Founded in 1926, it set trends throughout the era when owners of taste and distinction had their machinery custom-tailored as readily as their clothing. Touring had the inside line on competition bodywork, thanks to its trademark Superleggera, or 'super-light' construction, which is why #Enzo-Ferrari , familiar with its work from his #Alfa-Romeo experience, turned that way for the heavily race-oriented #166MM .
Touring had some spectacularly hard times in the post-1950s, going inactive for decades (though not quite bankrupt, thanks to the heroic efforts of long-time CEO and co-founder's son, Carlo Anderloni), but since its acquisition in 2006 by Dutch concern Zeta Europe BV, also owners of Borrani, it has successfully reapplied the early company principles. They concentrate on one-off and short production runs of singular designs for a discerning clientele, manufacturer's concept studies, niche production of contract specialist jobs: the full repertoire of the typical small- manufacturer business model. Dedicated Italian car enthusiasts will doubtless be familiar with its critically acclaimed #Alfa-8C -based Disco Volante.
'From any angle the final shape is cleaner than the original car’s, and extremely well balanced’
It was indeed such handiwork that enticed an anonymous but prominent Ferrari collector to approach Touring Superleggera for a private commission: translating the intensely high-performance and aggressively styled F12 supercar into a more elegant, more Lusso idiom. In addition, he wanted it configured in the three-box architecture now rare among performance coupes, with visually separate volumes for motor, interior and boot. It would be, in essence, an updated version of the great front-engined Ferrari uber-GTs of old, such as the exclusive and potent 500 Superfast.
That collector must have been slightly puzzled, however, when Louis de Fabribeckers, Touring's head of design, seemed already way ahead of him. 'I was dreaming about this car for years and years and years,' he says, 'since I first started designing cars, certainly; a three- volume car, simple, very classic, with the long bonnet and small greenhouse. It's one of my favourite themes of all time, so it was very natural, very satisfying, to finally build it.'
Louis also says the F12 was eminently adaptable to this composition although, as per his usual practice, extensive time and effort went into reaching optimum proportions before any other elements were even seriously considered ('If you start with the wrong proportions, nothing else you do can ever make up for them'). The roofline curvature in particular required significant attention, and from every direction, to reach exactly the effect he wanted, due to the conversion from two- box to three-box profile. Integrating the rear overhang was, not surprisingly, another delicate issue when adding a boot volume, while also critically 'finishing' the car's lines, instead of merely ending them.
Viewed from any angle, the final shape is noticeably cleaner than the original car's, and extremely well balanced. The surface treatments and detailing (what Louis calls the styling, as opposed to the design) are simpler, too. There is little in the way of added excitement or extraneous flourishes, and both the nose and tail are underplayed compared with the fashion of racer-rep grittiness.
The grille, narrower and taller than the F12's squat, wall-to-wall rendition, also gently evokes that feature of the 166MM, as does the creased swage line sweeping back along the waist. It's a Carlo Anderloni touch that has recurred on several Touring designs, from the 166 through the #Lamborghini-350GT to the #BMW Mini Vision concept car produced last year. Overall, de Fabribeckers displays a lightness of hand suited to the objective of creating a latter-day Italian luxury express.
Primary body panels are executed in aluminium formed manually over styling bucks in the traditional manner, which is really the only way to achieve that lovely, long body crease and still have doors that open without shut lines bigger than a politician's expense account. Such non-structural panels as bonnet, skirts and splitters are carbonfibre, and the alloy door handles, exhaust tips and forged wheels are bespoke. Touring poetically refers to this blue metallic paint as Azzurro Nioulargue, alluding to the shifting shades of the Mediterranean, and it genuinely does amazing things in changing light.
Interior mods seem minor beside the body revamp; the dash is basically the F12's but look closer and you spot instances where carbonfibre has been replaced with brushed aluminium or leather, and discreet niceties such as the colour-coded air con vents, and the Berlinetta Lusso badge below the main triplevent grouping that turns them into a cockpit focal point. Seat facings in cream leather and a matching slash across the door panels and parcel shelf lighten and enrich the atmosphere.
With multi-way power adjustment for driver's seat and steering column, it's almost impossible not to find a driving position that fits, and the interior is comfortable and surprisingly roomy, reportedly a Ferrari priority with the F12. The new roofline still leaves adequate headroom, assuming you replicate the passably average dimensions of this correspondent. Personal opinions on paddle shifting, automatic parking brakes and similar modernisms put aside, they're exactly the same here as in the F12, and admittedly just as flawless in operation.
Road performance is also exactly the same, as the mechanical package remains just as #Ferrari made it. Which is to say the whopping normally aspirated V12 will leave you breathless, and that's no half-arsed figure of speech: after the first couple of solid blasts through the gears you'll realise you've actually forgotten to suck any air, and your face has gone all tingly. Although that last symptom might be strictly down to g-forces. Touring also says it tests religiously to ensure the chassis dynamics don't suffer from possible weight re-distribution, and real world driving substantiates that.
When it comes to pure, raw speed numbers, however, it's hardly worth speculating beyond official factory specs; each #Berlinetta-Lusso could differ in weight, since each will be built to the customer's wishes - and Touring will accommodate a wide variety of those. Flexibility being a company credo, some detailing changes are even in discussion before our subject car goes to Geneva. Consequently, Touring won't quote prices, but it's safe to assume the 5000 hours of various labours required for every unit won't be cheap, and that's on top of the roughly quarter-million pounds' worth of Ferrari stripped down to begin the process.
Touring Superleggera's agreement with the commissioning client for series production extends at this point to a mere five examples, and completion time is projected as six months from delivery of the donor Ferrari to its workshops in Milan. The car is EU type-approved, and Touring won't rule out having a go at different regs in other parts of the world, such as North America. Small companies can often be extremely flexible.
From a solely rationalist, functionalist perspective, there will be many who don't understand the Berlinetta Lusso, granted, and anyone who judges a car by its merits as a mechanical device alone must find this a bewildering exercise. But if you appreciate some extra style, grace and sophistication, and oceans of artistry with your high velocity, you'll twig its special place in the automotive cosmos straight away. After all, there were those who preferred the 500 Superfast, and those who preferred the #Ferrari-250GTO . There are also those who think the perfect compromise would be one of each. Individuals of taste and distinction should have more than one suit in their wardrobe, shouldn't they?
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION on the Berlinetta Lusso visit www. touringsuperleggera. eu
Car #2015 #Carrozzeria-Touring-Superleggera-Berlinetta-Lusso
ENGINE 6262CC V12, DOHC, 48-valve, direct fuel injection
POWER 730bhp @ 8250rpm
TRANSMISSION Seven-speed dual-clutch sequential transaxle, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
STEERING Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Front: double wishbones, coilsprings, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar.
Rear: multi-link, coilsprings, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar.
BRAKES Carbon-ceramic discs, #ABS
PERFORMANCE Top speed 211mph. 0-62mph 3.1sec
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- Touring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso This year’s Geneva Motorshow must have set a new record in terms of sports-, super-, and hyper-car unveilings oTouring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso
This year’s Geneva Motorshow must have set a new record in terms of sports-, super-, and hyper-car unveilings of any motorshow to date, with nearly every brand wanting to take advantage of the surplus disposable cash, floating around globally and itching to be spent. #Carrozzeria-Touring – founded in #1926 in Milan and inventor of the ‘Superleggera’ coachbuilding technique was no exception, and the small Italian coachbuilder arguably presented the most beautiful highlight of the show.
To brand Carrozzeria Touring’s ‘Touring Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso’ a ‘Ferrari’ would arguably precede great legal implications – primarily for the manufacturing coachbuilder – yet the origins of the Ferrari F12 berlinetta as a basis of this transformation can neither be hidden nor denied, even if all prancing horses were removed prior to its official debut.
Let’s make this very clear: the Touring (Ferrari) Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso is one beautiful, if not divine, automobile. It is ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of Louis de Fabribeckers’ design team following the successful Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. One can only but shake one’s head why Maranello has not granted this fiveoff hyper niche product its official seal of approval; certainly more ‘questionable’ beauties have rolled-out Ferrari’s own SP department in recent years.
The (Ferrari) Berlinetta Lusso is based on Ferrari’s class-slaughtering #F12 #berlinetta and despite 5000 man-hours of craftsmanship and six months of ageing, none of the donor’s benchmark performance figures are compromised in the process. The very subtle modifications include a bonnet, boot-lid and apron in hand-beaten aluminium using the same traditional coachbuilding techniques as once applied pre-1966 by the original Carrozzeria Touring founders Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni and Gaetano Ponzoni.
Design wise one cannot resist appreciating the old-school design approach, trading Italian Upper-Class feel for the ‘Playstation Design’ of its ‘mass –produced’ siblings leaving Maranello’s official factory gates. Could the (Ferrari) Berlinetta Lusso be criticised for being one panel-beat to stale and boring? Possibly, but then again, it only needs five conservative Ultra High Net Worth Individual (UHNWI) collectors, all dreaming of still living in 1950s Dolce Vita, to sellout production; and that must seem realistic, even for the most pessimistic of investors.
Carrozzeria Touring have done a fantastic job. Would I rather own a Touring ( #Ferrari ) Superleggera Berlinetta Lusso than a #Ferrari-F60 America? Possibly. One thing I am certain of is that every single one of the five very lucky owners will – even before removing the protection film or fuelling – add the badges that Carrozzeria Touring so cavalierly removed, back on where they truly belong. More ...
- Post is under moderationCharged #BMW #325i #E30 #Touring . As an established trendsetter, Dips of Custom Cars knows a thing or two about breaking the mould. His latest project, a subtly styled E30 325i, has all the hallmarks of originality you’d expect. Oh, did we mention it’s also the UK’s first supercharged E30 Touring? Words: Joel Newman. Photos: Mark Fagelson.
Those of you out there who have been involved in the BMW scene over the years can’t have failed to notice how far things have progressed. Back in #2003 , PBMW’s cover cars consisted of mainly bodykitted and, if we’re honest slightly bling Bavarian metal. At a time when less certainly didn’t mean more, the cars with all their bolt-on parts, chrome detailing and lairy paint schemes lacked a certain amount of class. The boundaries and realms that modifiers and tuners wished to breach were undeniably more restricted, there was far less innovation.
As the old saying goes, ‘you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been’, and it’s a sentiment that is utterly relevant to modifying, and indeed many facets of life. Even BMW itself has to continually keep the ball rolling, by developing new technologies, and designing and marketing its cars around modern ideals and fashions. We live in a world that changes constantly, an #iPod generation, and it requires rapid evolution. Our TVs are getting bigger and flatter, our diets are far healthier and most importantly our expectations are at an alltime high.
So, it’s no surprise really that the bar has been raised, with stunning cars shooting up like pubescent teenagers. People are starting to really go to town on their motors, especially within the UK and it has kicked the BMW scene firmly up the backside. In fact even established modifiers have been at it, like Dips, the man behind this, Britain’s first supercharged E30 Touring.
Many of you will already know Dips, the owner of Custom Cars in Heston. He’s built a reputation around assembling one-off projects that tick all the right boxes, many of which have been featured in this very mag. He also currently owns 12 BMWs including a #2002 once belonging to David Bowie, a 3-door E30 Touring, one of only four ever made, two #E21 s and an E30 pickup. He’s probably better known for the turbo’d E30 with 3.5-litre #M30 powerplant he produced, the first of its kind in the UK (PBMW 03/05). More recently Dips and his business partner Jas have created a turbo’d two-tone touring which featured in the 02/07 edition of PBMW. Today, however, we are here for a different reason, Dips has decided to pull the covers off his latest project, a Malachite green E30 Touring with a difference. A gigantic, #M90 #Eaton long nose supercharger lifted from a four-litre #Jaguar XKR. A project that proves he and his company is capable and willing to take on virtually anything, whether it has been done before or not.
The idea for this car came about in 2001 when Dips and Jas lightly modified a similar model. Sporting angel eyes, 19” wheels and a sound system, the car went down a treat on the show scene, but as Dips pointed out, “back then big wheels and a decent stereo was all you needed to impress people”. What the duo soon realised was using a more unique base car such as an estate also helped grab people’s attention; it also opens up doors for those who cannot afford the latest and greatest BMW offerings.
Eventually Dips decided that he wanted to use this project to make another huge impact on the UK scene. He wanted to create something that could be reproduced for customers, something that would get him and his company noticed and, of course, something that would be a hoot to drive. It wasn’t long before he decided to resurrect the E30 Touring concept, but this time he was going to add the most enormous supercharger he could find.
Dips began by finding the right car, a Malachite green E30 325i Touring. He wanted to create the ultimate street sleeper so it was important the body work was in mint condition as the car was, externally speaking, going to be left relatively standard. Once the motor was sourced, it was time to go ’charger hunting; step up good old eBay.
Dips searched long and hard, his criteria, to find the biggest ’charger he could and strap it to the #M20 lump. Eventually he opted for an Eaton long nosed system, commonly used on the Jag XKR, Ford Thunderbird and the Mercury Cougar XR-7. Generally found on V8 engines, you might be wondering why Dips opted for such a distinctive setup. “The truth is people thought it couldn’t be done. I like to change people’s perceptions and when I hear the words ‘can’t’ or ‘impossible’ it makes me more determined.”
Clearly this man is determined, as the installation required more than a tad of customisation. Firstly Dips needed to fabricate mounting brackets for the ’charger in order to make use of the engine bay’s spare space, remember we are dealing with an epic bit of kit! Then a custom inlet was manufactured with twin returns so the dump valves and idle stabilisers could be recalculated. Thirdly Dips needed to make a custom inlet plate with take offs for the recirculating dump valves.
To make sure spool up was ninja quick Dips removed the original pulleys and replaced them with #E36 2.22” 6 rib variants capable of handling 8psi of boost. He also needed to fabricate a new crank pulley. This was achieved by splicing the E36 face to the original E30 part. To aid with supercharger belt tension, E36 power steering pulleys were also employed. To increase fuel pressure a power boost valve was popped in, facilitated with an additional EMF-2 fuel computer that is activated via an adjustable boost switch. Fuelling can now be controlled from 2000rpm to 8000rpm at a predetermined boost level. Apart from fiddling, to put it lightly, with the new installation, Dips also had to relocate many of the car’s original components from the air flow meter to the ECU relays. “I’ve learnt a lot and the knowledge and experience I’ve gained will hopefully be passed down to customers. I like to experiment with my own cars, so I get everything right first time for clients,” he says, and it’s a great business strategy.
Since the unit has been up and running, Dips has done his best to find a weakness in the system, in other words, ragging the sheet out of it! So far the only problem has been one he predicted: “Forced induction cars use head bolts that do not stretch under high pressure. As the E30 was naturally aspirated the 80bhp power hike the ’charger brought to the party was simply too much for the original gasket and bolts to take.” He had to throw in a new, original but slightly thicker head gasket and ARP no-stretch head bolts. The resulting engine is not only visually impressive; it has got the clout to back it up. It produces approximately 250bhp and oodles of torque. Dips tells me that a recent encounter with a #E46 #330d left the opposing driver ever so slightly embarrassed: “We both floored it and the gap just kept on growing. Because the car is so stealthy he had no idea what was under the bonnet. I love that, the surprise element.” As surreptitious as this ride is, the keen eye will spot a few subtle modifications to the interior and exterior. Clearly Dips’ years of experience have given him a very clear idea of what should, and importantly what should not be fiddled with. Externally he’s tinted the windows, and to maintain the car’s clean and sleek appearance the locks, side-repeators and the badges removed, the door handles and mirrors colour-coded. Up front the kidney grille has been blackened, highlighting the car’s imposing front end. This look is reaffirmed by the smoked Hella headlights, iS front lip spoiler and SE side skirts.
On the interior the saga continues. Cloth Recaro beige seats look smart and work well with the car’s green hue, while the colour-coded steering wheel also helps with the subtle but provoking styling. Some of you may also have noticed the beige dashboard that could come as a surprise considering they were only ever available in black. So what’s the deal? In a moment of inspiration Dips decided to colonise the original dashboard. In layman’s terms this meant removing it, and colouring it with beige leather dye. He tells me, “I wasn’t sure if it would work but I thought it was worth a try. It came out so well that everyone thinks it’s an original item. I don’t know why BMW never thought to do it themselves, it really does transform the interior space.”
I have to agree with Dips here, it’s a fantastic idea that looks like a factory option. He tells me he is able to do this for customers too, and the good news is it’s extremely affordable, and one modification I sincerely recommend for any BMW owner. Finally, the ride is set off with 16” Borbet C wheels that are more than fitting and in keeping with the old skool theme. Dips also had one last treat for us: a colourcoded Mini Moto housed in the boot! Straight pimpin’ I think you’ll agree.
As the day draws to a close I ask Dips if the car is finished. Laughing, he tells me, “Nowhere near, we’re ripping out the engine next week and sticking in the S70 5.6 litre V12 from the #850CSi #E31 . I’ve got an E30 #M3 with a 4.6-litre #TVR V8 lump and it’s getting lonely!”
Dips is an addict, he loves and needs modified BMWs in his life, and plainly if the scene is to keep on moving forward, the BMW community needs him too.
ENGINE: 2.5-litre straight-six M20, Eaton M90 long nose supercharger with custom mounting brackets, custom inlet plate with twin returns, E36 2.22” 6 rib drive pulley, modified E36 crank pulley, E36 power steering pulleys, fuel power boost valve, EMF-2 fuel computer, relocation of the ECU relays and air flow meter, Custom Cars stainless steel exhaust system, NOS setup. Custom Cars short shift kit CHASSIS: 7.5x16” Borbet C wheels shod in 205/45 Falken tyres all round. 60mm drop on Spax springs and shocks, Custom Cars front strut brace. Standard brake discs and pads.
EXTERIOR: iS front lip spoiler, black kidney grille, SE side skirts, colour-coded mirrors and door handles, de-locked, de-badged, side repeaters deleted, flushed boot lid, smoked Hella headlights and indicators, smoked rear lights, light smoked window tints.
INTERIOR: Cloth beige Recaro interior, dyed beige dashboard, colour-coded steering wheel, colour-coded mini moto in boot ICE: Pioneer MP3 player, Focal 5” speakers.
THANKS: Custom Cars (07958 432167) and everyone that helped with the project, especially my mate Clive Anderson for the fabrication work.
Classic Borbet C alloys reflect the Touring’s subtle styling while a colour-coded mini moto is a tasty extra.
M90 Eaton long nosed ’charger takes up plenty of room; at least it’s bringing an additional 80bhp to the party years of experience have give.
Dips a clear idea of what should and, importantly, what should not be fiddled with.
Colonised beige dash looks beautiful and updates the cabin perfectly, green steering wheel adds a neat touch.
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- Post is under moderationSideways touring - #1991 #BMW #E30 #Touring . With 480 horsepower through its rear wheels, this E30 Touring with a Japanese heart is one of the most spectacular sideways sights to enjoy on the British drift circuit. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Ade Brannan.
Who’d have thought a few drinks and 200 quid could result in the creation of one of the most recognisable cars on the British Drift Championship circuit? This is Fraser Stark’s 1991 E30 Touring, looking every inch the ideal drift wagon with its purposeful stance and the small matter of a transplanted 1JZ engine with truck turbo strapped to it to help send 480 horsepower though the rear wheels.
So the purists may not appreciate this classic estate’s Japanese heart, but let’s be honest, to find those sort of horsepower figures with any BMW motor is going to involve big work and big money. That’s not to say it can’t be done (we’ve seen it many times before), nor that using the 1JZ engine from a donor Toyota Soarer is a simple transplant, but for Fraser it was the most obvious way to go to reach the big numbers needed to be competitive at the British Drift Championship (BDC).
We’ve featured the 30 year old’s E46 drift weapon on PBMW’s pages previously, but it’s this #BMW-E30 that really cuts a dash on the drift tracks, not least because of its big bum swinging round each corner. Which begs the question, is the Touring version of the E30 a better drift machine to go for? “There are positives and negatives I suppose,” Fraser said, “especially if you’re on a narrow track where a bigger car can be a problem. But if you know how to drift, you should be able to do it in anything.”
The Touring drifter came about by chance rather than original design, with Fraser managing to buy it from its previous owner at a party for the aforementioned £200. From here it took the Edinburgh plumber with an insatiable appetite for drifting eight months to gather the relevant parts, and a further two months to complete the build. An impressive construction time, but the talented Scotsman does the bulk of the modification work at his home, using his skills and experience to put together cars able to stand the tough lives led by competition drift cars.
One of the stipulations in the BDC is that the car can’t have its firewall modified, so to fit the 1JZ powerplant Fraser said he managed to move the bulkhead back about an inch or so with a bit of creative bashing, ensuring the Toyota lump could rest in the engine bay. The 2.5-litre six-cylinder certainly sits snugly on custom engine mounts into the E30’s front end, not least because of the mighty turbocharger and associated plumbing required for the big power numbers.
Expensive? Not if you’ve got the creative capacity of Fraser. “I went to a truck breaker’s yard as I figured they’re not going to put shite turbos on trucks,” he said. “I found this Holset turbo, paid about 30 quid for it and refurbished it at home.” It is a monster of a thing, but unlike the modern and incredibly intelligent twin turbo setup found in a lot of new BMWs, there is the familiar old drawback of such a big snail in place. “Yes, it’s a bit laggie, but it’s a solid turbo,” Fraser said.
Running a mighty 1.4bar boost helps explain the 480rwhp, but when that power kicks in, the stresses and strains on practically every part of the car are immense. Hence Fraser has had to go to work on most areas of the Touring to ensure it holds together at the track.
He’s created a custom manifold, custom 3” straight-through exhaust system and custom wastegate, while helping feed the hungry boosted Jap motor are 550cc injectors and a Bosch 044 fuel pump. Fraser’s employed an ECU Master DET3 piggyback ECU, meaning he gets to use the standard knock management sensors, keeping things safer at the track. Speaking of safe, to try and keep temperatures down while performing at the limit, a custom Sierra Cosworth intercooler has been deemed large enough to cope in the E30, while a custom alloy oil cooler and two large General Motors fans – which somehow just squeeze in – also do their stuff.
As the UK editions of the Toyota Soarer only came with automatic transmissions, Fraser had to source an R154 five-speed manual as found in the Mk3 Toyota Supras.
He’s created a custom bellhousing to mate the Supra and Soarer elements together and added a Competition six-paddle pull clutch and custom lightened ACT flywheel too. For longevity, a modified E36 328i propshaft and a six-cylinder E30 320i’s 3.64 diff are now in situ, with Fraser admitting that he’d “done a few diffs” in his time, such is the nature of the sport.
To anyone considering serious drifting, you can already see the kind of work required to stay competitive and reliable – the stresses placed on the vehicle’s component parts are extreme in this sport.
With so much power involved, keeping the Touring’s original chassis standard simply wasn’t an option. More big work has been performed here, with E36 M3 struts, hubs and brakes joining an E46’s bottom arms and the back beam connected to E46 stub axles. “The most important thing was to get bigger brakes like the E36 M3’s on there; anything to cope with the extra power the car now has,” Fraser explained.
With the E36 M3 hubs the stud pattern has changed from four-stud E30 to five-stud, meaning Fraser can run 17” BBS Style 5 deep dish rims, maintaining a classic BMW look that suits the E30 – which actually looks something of a street sleeper by outward appearances alone. To look at it you know things are certainly not as normal, but it’d be tough to guess there were so many horses waiting to be unleashed from under that bonnet-pinned hood.
It naturally sits low and has that purposeful drift car stance, helped along by a set of BC Racing E36 M3 coilovers with adjustable top mounts. Body-wise there are few changes at all, excluding the attractive single light conversion up front. “My best mate Rocco did the job, which is quite a simple thing using another set of front grilles,” Fraser said. “You just plastic weld it back together and it looks great, and was needed for my car as the intercooler ducts were too big to allow the second lights.”
While the outside may hide the Touring’s true intentions, the cabin looks far more relevant to a car running in the Semi Pro Class at the BDC. Fraser’s created a custom roll-cage, stripped out the rear seats and added Cobra Monaco Pro race seats complete with Sabelt and OMP harnesses. An OMP steering wheel gets a regular workout with Fraser at the controls, while there’s the expected drift handbrake, Sparco race pedals and gauges nicely integrated in the E30’s dash where the central air vents used to live.
Fraser revealed that after a few drinks with mates one night, they came up with a suitable name for their group as drift enthusiasts: Garage Fuck House. The name is proudly displayed on the Touring’s windscreen, and with its own Facebook site, the team has an excellent collection of drift photos, not least of the big bummed white E30 in spectacular action. The classic wagon does look at its best hanging sideways in a cloud of white tyre smoke, and there are the odd battle scars in evidence on the body showing how much Fraser pushes his extreme Touring.
“There are five of us who drive for Garage Fuck House, and we’re all absolute drift heads,” Fraser said. Living in Scotland the team has easy access to the excellent Driftland on the outskirts of Fife, where Fraser said he’s lucky enough to go for practice and to set the car up properly. It’s helping too, as he’s managed to qualify for every event he’s started so far this year in the BDC.
With increasing numbers wanting to get involved in drifting, we asked Fraser what his thoughts were of BMWs as drift cars. “BMs are the best driving car, but the hardest car to skid,” he explained. “So if you can do the British Drift Championship in a BMW you’re doing quite well, as if you’re in something like a Skyline they just drift themselves basically. But with the Touring, I just love the car.”
Fraser said his friend William Rose also does the BDC with him, and he runs an E36 Compact with transplanted #E36 M3 motor. And he suggested those interested could get hold of an E36 328i cheaply – as he has done – to get a start in drifting as they’re a good car to bash about in. One thing’s for sure, when starting drifting, you’ve got to be prepared for a bit of panel damage.
It’s a difficult but impressive skill to master, and Fraser is doing a great job in showcasing his talents behind the wheel of his BMWs. For those of us who love the oldskool, the sight of his E30 Touring’s rear wheels pumping out bellows of smoke at impossible angles is a pleasure to behold, and a suitable antidote to all the usual suspect Japanese machines out there.
ENGINE: Transplanted 1JZ 2.5-litre inline six-cylinder 24-valve DOHC from a #Toyota #Soarer with refurbished Holset truck turbocharger running 1.4bar boost, custom manifold, custom 3” stainless steel straight-through exhaust, custom wastegate, 550cc injectors, Pro Alloy swirl pot, #Bosch 044 fuel pump, ECU Master DET3 piggyback #ECU , custom #Ford #Sierra #Cosworth intercooler, custom alloy oil cooler, two large GM fans, custom engine mounts.
DRIVETRAIN: Transplanted Toyota R154 five-speed gearbox from a Mk3 Toyota Supra, custom bellhousing, competition six-paddle pull clutch, custom lightened ACT flywheel, custom E36 328i propshaft, six-cylinder E30 320i 3.64 diff oil sump.
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front and rear) BBS Style 5 rims with 205/45 (front) Bridgestone and 205/45 (rear) Pirellis, BC Racing E36 M3 coilover suspension with adjustable top mounts, E36 #M3 struts, modified hubs and brakes, small Japanese car brake servo, #E46 bottom arms, strengthened back beam connected to E46 stub axles, polybushes throughout.
EXTERIOR: Single headlight conversion using donor E30 front grille, bonnet pins.
INTERIOR: Custom roll-cage, Cobra Monaco Pro racing seats, Sabelt and OMP harnesses, rear seats removed, drift handbrake, Sparco pedals, OMP steering wheel, fire extinguisher, dash integrated fuel ratio, oil pressure, water temp and boost gauges.
Exterior is relatively subtle but stripped-out interior means business, as does the 1JZ under the bonnet with a massive truck turbo.
A bigger car can be a problem, but if you know how to drift you should be able to do it in anything.
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