- Post is under moderationKING OF THE MOUNTAINS Turbo, wide-arch E30 Cab
Logically, this E30 should have been scrapped long ago. But when you’re building a big-power toy for motorsport thrills and early-morning mountain runs, logic doesn’t always factor very highly… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Scott Sturdy.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, running through North Carolina and into Virginia represents one of America’s great fusions of nature and technology. Scenic roads were something that American developers did uncannily well in the early half of the 20th century, and this particular one – a ribbon of Tarmac winding through gorgeous vistas of the Appalachian Mountains – is where Matthew Koppi’s love for BMWs was born. He’s the man behind this Olive green E30, and his passion for the marque stretches back decades. “I first fell in love with the BMW brand in my childhood,” he reminisces. “I live in the scenic mountains of Western North Carolina, and I used to see BMWs all over the twisty Blue Ridge Parkway in the ’80s. As a carobsessed kid the BMW was something that seemed like perfection; so graceful and nimble with timeless design.
“I bought my first #BMW in 1999,” he continues, “while stationed in Vicenza, Italy. It was a 1983 323i with Alpina cams and other goodies that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. I bought it because of my childhood infatuation – plus the price was right for a young army private! It was the first car I owned with fully independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes, and also the first that I could drive over 100mph for extended periods of time without worrying about it exploding. I’ve been a devotee ever since!”
All of this rather explains Matthew’s latest career move, setting up North Fork Autoworks in Barnardsville, North Carolina. Having turned wrenches for much of his adult career, this seemed like a logical move, although he’s keen to point out that throughout this E30’s build he was a full-time student, working on a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science.
“All of the work on the car, from fabrication to paint, both in the engine bay and outside, was done by me,” he proudly explains. “The only thing I didn’t do completely on my own was the machine work, but I was there for every step of the process and even ran some of the machines!
Basically, I was either directly responsible for every aspect of the car or I was intimately involved.” And with that forthright mission statement dealt with, we should probably rewind and take a peek at where this all started…
Back in 2010, having returned to school and requiring a sensible-ish runabout Matthew was driving an old Suzuki Sidekick (that’s a Vitara to you and me) and questioning his choices somewhat. It was boring. And life’s too short for boring cars. So the idea of a fixer-upper E30 began to percolate, and you know what happens when the spark of inspiration’s arrived. It’s pretty much a done deal.
This cabriolet appeared as a shabby little ragamuffin on Craigslist, but crucially the price was low. “The ad stated that the car ran when parked, but now wouldn’t start,” Matthew recalls. “It also disclosed that the interior and top were trashed. I arrived to find a car parked in tall grass behind a tiny house way back in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere! The previous owners were very nice and were at their wits’ end with the car. And they were painfully honest about it all. Truly the thing should have been parted out or crushed, but I was in love.
It had bad rear wheel bearings, one front hub bearing was shot, bald tyres, ruined leather interior that had hardened and cracked beyond repair or comfort, the paint on every panel was faded and peeling, the battery tray was rusted through, it had an automatic transmission, wrong front wings, cracked aluminium bumpers, and the top was so far gone that there was water pooled in the floor despite the car being under two tarps. True to the ad, the engine would turn over but wouldn’t start, so the condition of the drivetrain was unknown.” Quite a catch, right? So as you can imagine, Matthew snapped it up and lovingly caressed it homeward, all the time reminiscing about those swooping mountain heroes on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“First and foremost, I wanted to get it running and replace the top,” he explains. “It needed to be good enough to comfortably drive my young daughters around in as I continued to fix it up, and I originally planned to follow my old formula of decent wheels and lowered suspension… but that was before my first autocross event!” That’s right. The goalposts just shifted. First, though, is the matter of a knackered E30 which needs pretty much everything fixed…
Job one was to get the old M20 ticking over sweetly and mated to a manual gearbox, something that Matthew did right away before fiddling with chips and fuelling and so on, and this setup lasted a couple of seasons of autocross. But power corrupts, and he was craving more, so he started pooling resources for an M5x swap… until the idea of a boosted M30 caught his eye, and from then on there was only one way forward.
Now, M30s (that is, straight-six motors as found in the likes of the E28 5 Series, E24 6 Series and so on) have been swapped into E30s many times before, so there was a wealth of information available. What Matthew had to do was figure how to tailor the swap to his own unique requirements. After much consideration and research, he opted for an M30B34 block – for strength – with an M30B35 head and #Getrag 260/6 transmission. That was the base spec. Then the fun could begin.
The block was bored out to take 94mm Wiseco pistons, increasing displacement to 3.6-litres, while the crankshaft was balanced and the head received all sorts of handcrafted custom work. A Rapid Spool Industries exhaust manifold allowed the fitment of that all-important turbo (originally a Holset HX40, now upgraded to a Borg Warner EFR 7670), and naturally the fuelling and management were beefed up to suit. A trick exhaust system soon followed, as did a Volvo intercooler, some more appropriate cams, and upgrades to the valvetrain. Piece by piece, Matthew’s masterpiece was falling into place. On a conservative tune and at just 13.8psi, the M30 was making 450hp – which certainly helped with those corruptive power cravings.
So, the engine box was firmly ticked. Still a lot of other things to sort though, weren’t there? “I tried several different combinations of springs and dampers,” says Matthew.
“Ultimately I used autocross and mountain roads to dial in my suspension; my current configuration consists of Bilstein Sport struts and shocks, H&R J-spec front springs, GE adjustable rear perches and springs, reinforced rear shock mounts, Vorshlag front camber plates, drop hats, and Treehouse Racing control arm bushings. I swapped in an E36 steering rack and, of course, replaced both front hub assemblies. For the rear subframe I installed the AKG 75D 12mm offset frame, diff mount bushings and trailing arm bushings.”
Okay, so the thing works well now. But it needs to look good. What next? Aha, the body! “When I began fixing the bodywork issues, I ended up with five different colours on the car,” he laughs. “I couldn’t afford a traditional paint job due to being a student, and I still had a huge list of maintenance and repairs to tackle, so the idea of painting it myself in flat military green was very appealing. It had an aggressive feel to it, and allowed me to easily change and add body panels as needed. It also made all the trim work that much easier, because subdued black and flat green are perfectly paired!
“The entire attitude of the car followed the suspension setup and colour choice, although modifications such as the Kamotors arch flares were a product of necessity – especially with 8”-wide wheels and 245-section tyres on the rear – that just happened to enhance the overall demeanour of the car.” That Foha three-piece spoiler was certainly a lucky find too, it complements the hammered-together-by- The-A-Team vibe perfectly.
Of course, it’s no good having a car that goes like a train, handles like a sticky panther, and looks like a militaristic warlord if you don’t actually have anywhere to sit.
That rain-saturated tan leather trim had to go. “The interior of the car was in a horrible state of decay and disrepair,” Matthew grimaces. “When I replaced the battery tray, I took the opportunity to swap the dash with a crack-free one; I then followed that with converting the interior to black since I wasn’t a fan of the tan anyway! Through the forums I made contact with Kevin Chinn of Creative Options to discuss an upholstery kit, and after several conversations I decided on microsuede centres on the seats with vinyl bolsters for ease of maintenance. The seams were done with factory-style French stitching in light Olive green.
Before the seats went back in I dyed the carpet black, and so the weekend ended with me having stained and sore fingers but amazing upholstery!” When we ask Matthew what his favourite result of all this homegrown dabbling is, he’s quick to answer: it’s the engine bay. The functional, severe exterior just doesn’t prepare people for the sorted, shaved, shiny bay that hides under the bonnet, and it certainly raises eyebrows at shows. And raising eyebrows is what this car was built to do.
All sorted, then? Job done? Oh, no – Matthew’s far from finished here. “My list of mods isn’t based on winning the lottery, it’s based on money over time,” he says. “I’ve slowly but surely built it to be what you see now, and as time goes on it will only improve. Stay tuned!” We certainly will. But in the meantime, Matthew, you’d better head off along that Parkway. There are childhood dreams there waiting to be fulfilled…
Ultimately I used autocross and mountain roads to dial in my suspension.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E30 Cab / #BMW-M30 / #M30 / #Borg-Warner-EFR / #Borg-Warner / #M30-Turbo / #Megasquirt-MS2 / #Megasquirt / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-E30-Turbo / #BMW-E30-M30 / #H&R
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.4-litre straight-six #M30B34 bored out to 3573cc, #Borg-Warner-EFR-7670 turbo, #Tial 44mm wastegate, 94mm #Wiseco 8.7:1 forged pistons, #ARP head studs, Cometic MLS head gasket, M30B34 high-speed balanced and tuned crankshaft, 9.5 aluminium #Aasco flywheel, M30B35 ported and smoothed head, Cat Cams dual-profile turbo camshaft, IE heavy duty rockers, rocker locks, high performance springs, Rapid Spool Industries exhaust manifold, #Siemens-Deka 60lb/h injectors, Megasquirt MS2 engine management, custom fabricated oil distribution block for turbo feed and gauges, #Qbang engine mounts, Volvo 960 intercooler, Innovate LC-1 wideband controller, heat-wrapped 3.5” downpipe and wastegate piping, 3” straight-through exhaust with Magnaflow resonator and vband couplers, #Getrag-260/6 five-speed manual gearbox, Spec Racing stage 3+ clutch, Z3 short-shift
POWER 450whp @ 5200rpm, 524lb ft of torque @ 4550rpm
CHASSIS 8x16” ET20 (front and rear) XXR 521 wheels with 225/50 (front) and 245/45 (rear) #BF-Goodrich G-Force Sport tyres, #H&R-J-Spec front springs with #Bilstein Sport shocks, 650lb rear GE springs and adjusters, #Vorshlag camber plates, E36 steering rack, Treehouse Racing control arm bushings - powdercoated silver, stainless steel brake lines, ATE Orbital grooved front discs with Pagid pads, #Bremmerman cross-drilled rear discs, wheel stud conversion, #AKG 75D 12mm offset rear subframe and diff bushings, #AKG 75D trailing arm bushings
EXTERIOR Kamotors arch flares, E30 front lip, DIY smoked Hella Ellipsoid lights, all-red taillights, plastic bumper swap, third brake light delete, three-piece Foha spoiler, DIY double brake light upgrade, Shadowline trim, satin finish Olive Drab green paint, Euro grilles, Euro plate filler, late model rear lower valance
INTERIOR M-Tech 1 steering wheel, #VDO oil pressure, oil temperature and Innovate AFR gauges in DIY centre console, E36 rear view mirror, E34 leather handbrake handle, Justrack Econometer boost/vac gauge, Jaywood digital voltmeter, E36 window switches, brushed aluminium cluster rings and Alpina stripe, Creative Options interior upholstery kit, clutch stop, carpet dyed black, recovered windscreen, UUC weighted gear knobStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDREAM MACHINE / GOING TO EXTREMES / #BMW-E21-Dreamworks-Car-Tuning / #BMW
Stripped, caged and 2.7-swapped E21 will blow your mind! One of the most amazing E21s we’ve ever come across. Utterly spectacular from top to toe, this Dutch E21 really is something a bit special. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Ron Veth.
There are still cars that can stop us in their tracks, and this E21 is definitely one of them. In terms of visual spectacle, you’d be hard pressed to beat it on any level.
The amount of work that has gone into this car is truly mind-blowing. Based on this, and some of the other Dutch cars we’ve had the pleasure of featuring recently, there’s clearly something in the water in Holland…
It belongs to Marc Joosten, owner of #Dreamworks-Car-Tuning – a real one-stop shop for all your modifying needs.
Dreamworks is able to tackle everything from suspension and exhaust work to bodywork and paint, and this E21 is a mighty fine testament to what Marc and his team can achieve.
“I was inspired by different tuning shops like Foose, Gas Monkey Garage, Kindig-It Customs and so on,” Marc tells us. “And I also wanted to put the ideas that I have in my head down on a car, making it one-of-a-kind because most of the details on our cars are hand-made. My idea of a great modified car is of the ‘less is more’ approach, making it clean and giving it a bigger, bolder look without ruining the lines that make the car popular in the first place.” This is something that Marc has definitely achieved with this E21 because behind the classic DTM-inspired BMW M Warsteiner paintwork this remains unmistakably an E21.
It wasn’t always all about BMWs for Marc, though. “My first car was a Honda Prelude; don’t hate me for it!” he exclaims with a laugh. “It was a nice-handling car. I had a lot of fun with it. After the Honda I fell in love with BMWs because of their aggressive looks, their great engines and their reputation for being so sporty to drive. My first BMW was an E30; I always wanted to have one as, owning a car customising shop, I’ve built a lot of them over the past ten years. I found this E21 on the internet. It was ready for the scrapyard. It was literally falling apart. The bodywork was rotten and it had also failed the Dutch equivalent of the MoT inspection.” You’d be hard pressed to tell any of that now, though, as Marc treated the E21 to a full restoration before completely transforming it.
“I already had in mind the styling I wanted for the E21,” he explains, “although I also went on the internet and looked up some new cool ideas from other car enthusiasts which I then added to the car. Of course, there were several problems along the way but that’s the challenge of building cars. In life you sometimes have to crawl through the mud to get to higher ground and it’s no different with building cars.”
Funnily enough it was actually the work that Marc and his crew did on the engine bays of his other cars that inspired him to take a similar route with the styling of the E21. “When it comes to cool looks I always go for a clean engine bay,” Marc says. “It’s always a lot of work to do but it’s worth it.”
The engine bay here has been tucked and shaved to within an inch of its life and looks insanely clean. Anything that hasn’t been removed has been perfectly integrated and Marc’s attention-to-detail is insane. The brake master cylinder has now been colourcoded in white, as have all the hoses, the radiator top tank, and even the blades on the cooling fan. And then there’s the polishing that’s been going on; the cam cover, oil cap, intake manifold and even the suspension top mount covers have all been polished to perfection. The panels that cover the back of the headlights are actually stock E21 items but here they’ve been colour-coded to blend in perfectly with the rest of the engine bay and as a result look custom. The electrical wiring had to be made longer in order to be routed out of sight. You could happily spend hours just staring at the sheer bright whiteness of it all. Unsurprisingly, it’s Marc’s favourite mod on the car. “I think it’s the ultimate thing to do on a show car,” he says. “Anybody can put wheels, suspension and an exhaust on a car but there are only a few people that go all the way with their love for cars (and their craftsmanship) to do the ultimate modifications. This separates the wannabes from the professionals.”
At first glance, the engine itself might not look like anything particularly special (insanely polished intake manifold aside) but there’s more to it than meets the eye. “The engine is a 2.7 Eta from an E28 525e,” explains Marc. “After restoring it we added a Schrick camshaft, an M20B25 head and fuel injection. We also fitted a performance air intake and a tubular exhaust manifold.” The latter looks particularly sexy nestling in the white expanse of the engine bay. The whole lot is finished off with a custom RVS exhaust system that culminates in a pair of up-angled polished pipes that extend past the rear bumper.
With such a ridiculously clean bay it was only right that the rest of the E21 was given a similar treatment. The rubbing strips have been removed from the wings and doors, the locks and badges have been removed and smoothed, and the chrome has been replaced with Shadowline trim. Up front smoked E30 headlights have been fitted, along with smoked indicator lenses and a black kidney grille. You’ll also spot a single wiper conversion, too.
Then there’s the rear panel which is so clean you could eat your dinner off it. The grille section between the rear lights has been removed and the whole section has been completely smoothed, with just the two light clusters left, sitting slightly proud of the bodywork. The front and rear bumpers are custom-made items and they look fantastic on the car, the former with its low, aggressive, angular chin spoiler while the latter is a clean, minimalist design that ties-in perfectly with the smoothed rear section.
The finishing touch was the #Warsteiner DTM colour scheme, made up of the BMW M tricolour stripes painted over a custom shade of white. It really suits this E21, especially with that aggressive front bumper being only a hair’s breadth from the Tarmac, and it looks every inch the classic racer.
Of course, bodywork alone isn’t enough, especially when you’ve got a wild colour scheme to pull off. When it came to the suspension Marc knew, as he’s not an airride fan, that he was going to keep things static with the E21 but just a bit of lowering wasn’t going to be enough for him. As a result, Eibach Sportline springs and shorter Bilstein B6 shocks were drafted in. Together they deliver some seriously aggressive lowering, with Marc carrying out numerous chassis modifications in order to end up with a massive 120mm drop (that’s eight inches) over the standard car! Going so low did result in several problems with wheel clearance but the work required to sort that out was well worth it as the BBS RSs are the perfect partners to go with the whole look of the car.
The wheels measure 9x16” all-round, pretty wide for something of this vintage. On one side the centres have been painted white, while on the other they have been ceramic polished for a dazzling finish. Both pairs of wheels have been topped off with bolts and chunky, polished centre caps.
Considering the amount of work and effort that has gone into the outside and the engine bay, it’s no surprise to find that Marc and the Dreamworks team have done an equally amazing job on the inside, too.
The racing-look Marc opted for really suits the DTM-theme better than any full interior could ever have done. Everything deemed unnecessary, including doorcards, carpets and rear seats, has been removed and the interior was then painted in the same custom white as the exterior. Following this, a highly polished Wiechers aluminium roll-cage was then installed. The upper part of the E21’s dash has been retained, though it’s been given a sporty look with the addition of some white dials plus a quartet of supplementary VDO gauges. There’s a Matrix TypeX steering wheel, a snazzy Alpina gear knob, chequer plate floor protection, and single-piece Recaro seats with four-point harnesses.
It took about a year to go from scrapheap basket case to the car you see before you now, though you’d never know how close it came to meeting an untimely end before Marc rescued it. The amount of work that’s gone into it has been truly immense and it shows in every single aspect of the build. It’s the sort of thing classics BMWs like this deserve, though, and Marc was fortunate enough to be in a position to give it the attention it deserves. When it comes to this E21, it’s fair to say Marc’s living the dream.
“When it comes to cool looks I always go for a clean engine bay”
DATA FILE 2.7 #BMW-E21 / #BMW-325e / #BMW-325e-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-E21-M20 / #BBS
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.7-litre straight-six #M20B27 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 , shaved and tucked bay with colour-coded and polished components, #Schrick camshaft, M20B25 head, fuel injection and engine management, high-flow air filter, tubular exhaust manifold, RVS custom exhaust system. Fivespeed gearbox, welded diff, #Sachs clutch. 210hp
CHASSIS 9x16” (f&r) #BBS-RS wheels with polished lips, ceramic polished centres (nearside), white centres (offside) and 15mm spacers (rear) with 215/35 (f) and 215/40 (r) Dunlop SP 9000 tyres, #Eibach Sportline springs, shortened #Bilstein B6 shocks, 120mm drop, Opel OPC front #BBK with vented discs
EXTERIOR Custom white respray, #DTM-Warsteiner colour scheme, custom hand-made front spoiler and bumpers, single wiper conversion, Hella smoked E30 headlights, smoked turn signal lenses, all-red rear lights, de-badged, de-locked, rubbing strips removed, bodywork smoothed
INTERIOR Stripped, painted custom white to match bodywork, Wiechers polished aluminium roll-cage, white gauges, #VDO gauges for oil temperature and pressure, water temperature and rev counter, Matrix TypeX steering wheel, Alpina gear knob, Recaro seats, four-point harnesses
THANKS KSC import for hardware, Nico Kunzler for technical support, Ronald Veth for shooting the feature, PBMW for featuring the car and everyone else I forgotStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE MASTERPIECE / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E21 / #BMW
This E21 wows with its Euro-look styling, race-inspired interior and E30 M3 Evo 2 S14 under the bonnet. It is a very rare occasion when a modified BMW comes up that simply excels in every area. This German E21 is one such car. Sublime Euro-look, race-style interior, custom boot install and the inspired choice of dropping an S14 E30 M3 Evo 2 engine into the immaculate bay. A masterpiece indeed. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Max Earey.
I’m in love. I never thought it would happen this way, but it has. Yet I regret I’m cheating on another. At home I have my E21: a stylish, attractive and reasonably reliable partner. Yes, she’s let me down a few times, and is a bit ropey around the edges, but she deserves better than this. One short business trip on the continent, one sunny afternoon in the country, and I’ve fallen for a 24-year-old German beauty. A quick look at the automotive pornography on these pages is my only defence. How can this car not be adored by all?
For a start, no BMW from 1982 has a right to look this good. When I say it is immaculate, I mean immaculate. There is not a flaw anywhere on the body, inside the cabin, in the boot or under the bonnet. Even the fuse box is spotlessly clean. You could almost accept a concours original E21 that’s kept in a heated museum 365 days a year to be of this incredible standard, but not one that’s been so brilliantly modified with around treble the power over its factory figure.
Forced induction for this staggering fact? Not in this instance. This car started life as a 1982 BMW 315, a car sold in Germany with the dizzying performance figure of 73bhp. When 35-year-old Michael Pietsch bought the gutless white classic in 1990 – his first car no less – no one could have envisaged the remarkable transformation that would take place over the years. At the heart of the whole operation is the inspired choice of installing an E30 M3 Evo 2’s 2.3-litre S14 engine. The performance difference doesn’t even bare thinking about.
The standard Evo 2 engine is good for 215bhp, and with Michael adding a Hartge engine management chip, Eisenmann E36 M3 exhaust parts and a K&N air filter, he can expect a few more ponies on top of that as well. With around 150 extra horsepower over a standard 315’s output thanks to the engine transplant and upgrades, the little E21 has been transformed into a true road racer. A conservative estimate of 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds ensures it would embarrass many more exotic machines at a traffic light grand prix, and could even shame a few modern so-called performance BMWs with a four-cylinder powerplant (that means you, E90 320si owners).
When modifiers complete engine swaps, it’s usually a good plan to fit the corresponding gearbox at the same time. Michael has obliged by adding the E30 M3’s race-style dogleg ’box (with first gear usually where second gear is, and second gear where third normally is and so on). To make the gear changes even quicker, there’s also a shorter gear throw thanks to an M3 short-shift kit. While this was going on, an Alpina LSD was also fitted to increase traction and improve handling.
As impressive as the engine and drivetrain set up is, this is just one part of a quite phenomenal customising job. As is de rigueur with Euro-look cars, Michael has dropped the body perfectly on deep-dish alloys to give that unbeatably squat, menacing stance. KW Variant 1 coilovers lower the body 80mm at the front and 60mm out back, enveloping the impossibly clean 8.5x16” and 9.5x16” Chevlon Racing Mesh split rims.
Behind these delightful polished rollers sits a brake upgrade suitable for the three-fold increase in power over a standard E21 315. TarOx 307mm discs are squeezed by six-pot calipers at the front, while E30 325i discs with Ferodo pads grace the back. To round off the impressive chassis upgrades to go with the coilovers and bigger anchors, Michael has fitted front and rear strut braces and an E21 323i antiroll bar. As you’d expect, this little E21 is one hell of a good laugh to be piloting along twisty German roads.
Looking as good as it does, it’s no surprise to find Michael doesn’t go into battle with it at the Nürburgring every weekend. A shame considering its performance, but it ensures the exterior remains looking this good. The body itself has had very little done to it: the E21 is such an attractive retro car as standard it simply doesn’t need tacky add-ons.
Instead, Michael has ensured the body has been resprayed to the highest level in its vivid red hue, while he’s had the arches subtly pulled out 10mm at the front and 15mm at the rear to accommodate the wide wheels and lowered body. What more needs doing? A quick bit of de-badging, white indicators and a black kidney grille combined with the slightly fatter body and the look is perfect. Simplicity at its finest.
As for the interior, well, what can you say? 34-year-old cars should smell old, be thoroughly worn through and have all the bells and whistles that came as standard back in the early Eighties (ie none). This is the case with my musty, tatty old E21 but Michael’s is an altogether different animal.
He has managed to retain the period feel of the E21’s standard inside and combine it with delightful modern touches to make all E21 fans go weak at the knees. There is simply no other word for it: perfection.
From the König sport seats with Schroth harnesses to the black Porsche carpets, everything has been chosen to ensure this cabin is an exceptional place to be. A Raid 320mm steering wheel is a vast improvement over the standard E21’s bussized offering, the speedo dials are Alpina items, while #VDO gauges have been tastefully mounted in the centre console with a custom aluminium surround.
Thanks to Michael’s skills learnt in his job, he has been able to fabricate plenty of these custom aluminium parts that give the unique feel to the interior. The craftsmanship of the window winders, gear stick and surround (very Ferrari-esque), handbrake handle, door sills and door pins is exceptional, complemented with the likes of metal pedals and plenty of M badges dotted around paying homage to the improved lump under the bonnet.
You’ll notice the Brax MultiController embedded in the dashboard, and this keeps a close eye on the highly professional ICE install in the boot. Michael was keen to show off his E21’s impressive sound quality, treating us to a selection of his German death metal hits. Well, it was certainly an improvement on the usual Euro-pop that gets blared out at German shows.
Have you ever seen a tidier boot install? There’s still space for a few bags after embedding the Kicker Punch 1000W amp in the spare wheel well (covered by Perspex) and the 400W amp in the side pod, while two 12” Kicker Freeair subs have been neatly placed at the boot’s rear, mounted on tasteful chequer plating. There’s also a Strike LCB1200 battery on show, and a Resolution two-way crossover, while the finish is, once again, in quality Porsche black carpeting. For a bit of extra show, there are also three blue neons illuminating the boot come sundown.
As with the rest of this E21, the boot is impossibly clean. But no matter where you look throughout Michael’s 1982 classic, there is nowhere it can be faulted. From top to toe it is nothing short of flawless, and how a car that is nearly a quarter of a century old looks in such fantastic condition is a miracle. The rebuilding job performed by Michael is the work of a genius. The engine could be from an S14 museum, the custom aluminium detailing is desirably fresh, and the body looks as though it has just left the finest paint shop in Germany. Is it any wonder he’s walked away with 56 show trophies since 1999?
It may look as though it is trailered to every show it enters, but Michael hasn’t had all the performance upgrades done for no reason. He told me the former 315’s top speed is now 150mph, and he knows this because he’s done it on the autobahn. Must be a strange feeling in an E21! But with the incredible chassis setup and well over 200bhp on tap, how could you not enjoy exploring its potential? Best of all, when playtime is over, give it a quick polish and it’s ready to be a show-winner once again. There’s no way you can not love this quite brilliant little car.
An inspired modification for the humble E21: transplanting an E30 M3 Evo 2’s 2.3-litre, 215bhp engine. Even though the bay is 34 years old and the engine 25, everything you see is immaculate.
…no BMW from 1982 has a right to look this good. When I say it is immaculate, I mean immaculate. There is not a flaw anywhere on the body, inside the cabin, in the boot or under the bonnet.
As with the rest of the car, the E21’s ICE install is perfection. Kicker subs and amps mounted delightfully with chequer plating and black Porsche carpets.
E30 M3 Evo 2 engine swap means the gearbox comes with it. Racing dogleg it is then.
Custom aluminium parts include window winders, door sills, gear stick, handbrake and gauge surrounds.
Interior is still classically E21, but custom aluminium goodies and the Raid steering wheel modernise the flawless cabin.
Above: Alpina speedo adds a custom flavour. Below: As close to an E21 M3 as there’s been.
Michael has managed to retain the period feel of the E21’s standard inside and combine it with delightful modern touches to make all E21 fans go weak at the knees. There is simply no other word for it: perfection.
Black BMW badges offer a finishing touch.
Michael said the former 315’s top speed is now 150mph, and he knows this because he’s done it on the autobahn. Must be a strange feeling in an E21!
DATA FILE #BMW-E21 / #BMW-E21-S14 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #Alpina
ENGINE: 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14 / #BMW-S14 with custom stainless steel exhaust system using #Eisenmann E36 M3 parts, #K&N air filter, #Hartge engine management chip, braided hoses throughout. E30 M3 five-speed dogleg transmission with short-shift from M3, #Alpina-LSD with 40% diff lock
PERFORMANCE: 215bhp with top speed of 150mph and 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds
CHASSIS: 8.5x16” ET7 (front) and 9.5x16” ET7 (rear) #Chevlon-Racing-Mesh split-rim alloys shod in 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Dunlop SP9000 tyres. #KW-Variant-1 / #KW coilovers lowering 80mm front and 60mm rear, front strut brace with custom aluminium strut covers, rear strut brace, E21 323i anti-roll bar. TarOx 307mm brake discs with 6-pot #TarOx calipers up front, E30 325i discs with Ferodo S 2000 pads at rear
EXTERIOR: Arches pulled out 10mm front and 15mm rear, de-badged boot, M3 badge on front grille, black BMW roundels, custom white indicators front and rear
INTERIOR: Black and red König sports seats, Schroth harnesses, Raid 320mm steering wheel with black BMW logo and M emblem, metal pedals with M logos, black Porsche carpets, Alpina dials, custom aluminium door sills, window winders, gear stick, gear stick housing, handbrake handle, door pins and gauge surround, VDO gauges, custom chrome screws throughout (over 100 in total)
ICE: Clarion DRZ 960Z head unit with 12-disc CD changer, Brax MultiController in dashboard, two 12” Kicker Freeair subs, Kicker Punch 1000W amp, Kicker Punch 400W amp, Resolution two-way crossover, Rockford Fosgate 1 Farad capacitor, Strike LCB1200 battery, custom boot floor with Perspex covering, chequer plate detailing, three blue neon lights
THANKS: Roger Hiller (painting), Armin Betzelberger (electrics)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSCHMOOTH KARMANN GHIA HYGIENICALLY CLEAN VW COUPE
/ #VW-Karmann-Ghia / #Volkswagen-Karmann-Ghia / #Volkswagen / #Karmann-Ghia / #Karmann / #Ghia
/ #Volkswagen-Karmann-Ghia-Typ-14 / #Volkswagen-Typ-14 / #VW-Karmann-Ghia-Typ-14 / #VW
VW Karmann Ghia You’d be hard pushed to find another Karmann Ghia as spotless as this one. In fact, we had to go all the way down under to check out what has to be the cleanest on the planet.
RETRO RIDE: KARMANN GHIA / WORDS: Daniel Bevis / PHOTOGRAPHY: Ben Hosking
Pat Eung’s Karmann is an exercise in emphasising the timeless prettiness of the Ghia form. But look closer and you’ll see a few modern tricks…
Even the engine bay is absolutely spotless.
Like photosynthesis or the patterns of the tides, modifying Volkswagens is one of those universal constants. It’s just something that happens. For as long as there have been aircooled VWs in the world, there have been people champing at the bit to customise them, from the inception of the Type 1 (which you may variously know as the Beetle, Käfer, Coccinelle, Fusca... you name it) through the enduring cult of the Type 2 (aka Kombi, Transporter, Microbus, Camper) and every other model on the spectrum. There’s nothing that hasn’t been done to them – dragsters, lowriders, race cars, surf wagons, every conceivable style exists within the VW scene.
Nowadays of course the watercooled VeeDub scene is equally massive, and it’s leading the charge in the modern repurposing of the word ‘stance’. If you want to see what’s hot in the world of high-end wheels and low-down suspension, you look to the VW crowd.
Naturally there are always cars that offer a bridge between the two eras of the VW modding carnival, fusing old and new, aircooled and watercooled, smashing styles together like tiny particles at CERN. There’s a VW K70 doing the rounds that’s been bodydropped over a Passat W8 chassis, a Mk1 Golf rocking aircooled Beetle running gear. All sorts. But perhaps one of the most cohesive and aesthetically joyful offerings is the car you see before you here, Pat Eung’s 1967 Karmann Ghia. It simultaneously shimmers with the memories of SoCal circa 1975, and lassos a knapsackful of cues from the modern stop-drop-and-roll Golf kaleidoscope. And while the Beetle and Microbus are such iconic silhouettes that pretty much everybody in the world would probably be able to recognise them, the Karmann Ghia is something rather more offbeat.
“The reason I chose it is that the first time I saw one, I assumed it was a Porsche,” Pat admits. Although, to be fair, there’s more than a little shared DNA between Porsche and VW, so such a guess isn’t too much of a stretch.
The Karmann Ghia was one of those good ideas that we can all be thankful was pushed into existence. Fusing the bombproof aircooled underpinnings of the VW Beetle with an achingly gorgeous body styled by Ghia’s Luigi Segre, the hand-built coupé was a runaway success. It quickly became the USA’s biggest automotive import of its time, and the global production figure topped 445,000 in its 19-year run.
“THE KARMANN GHIA IS SOMETHING RATHER MORE OFFBEAT”
Okay, they weren’t quick. But they were easily tuneable, although the model was always meant to be more of a boulevard cruiser than a sports car. And that’s a brief that, as standard, it fulfils perfectly. These things operate on a sliding scale though, don’t they?
“I bought the KG because I saw my watercooled VW, a Passat CC, rapidly devaluing, while the insurance was going up,” says Pat. “It seemed a bit crazy, so I bit the bullet and bought something desirable that I could ultimately hand down to my son one day. It was restored by a retired engineer in the States who worked on it out of passion, and modified it to his liking. When I first had it imported over to Australia, I was only really planning on lowering it… How wrong I was!”
Indeed, there have been a fair few changes made to the car under Pat’s tenure, many of which are hiding under the skin beneath that flawless Polar Silver paint. But let’s look at the suspension first, shall we, given that it was priority number one in the grand plan?
Rather than go down the old-school route of drop spindles and what-have-you, Pat’s opted to employ the ever-so modern method of air-ride. Okay airride’s actually been around since World War Two. But you can’t deny it’s the darling of the stance scene these days. So it’s that the car borrows heavily from its younger VW brethren, by running Monroe air shocks at the front and a Limebug air-ride kit with Air Lift bags at the rear – to get the thing sitting snake’s-belly low on the showground, while also letting Pat keep his sump intact should he happen across a speed bump.
Speaking of sumps, let’s take a peek under that engine decklid. Remember how we were talking about the Ghia being a boulevard cruiser? Not so much here. “It’s running a Porsche 914 2.0-litre motor,” says Pat. “The internals are largely stock, but there’s a mild cam in there and it’s fuelled by twin Weber 40IDAs.” The performance figures may not look massive on paper, but as a percentage gain it’s really quite phenomenal.
A stock KG would offer somewhere south of 50bhp, while this 914 unit provides a dyno-certified 73bhp. Feisty, huh? In order to ensure that these newfound avenues of performance potential were easily mineable, the stock 1600 transmission was rebuilt with Freeway Flyer gears and a short-shift, while a rebuilt Airkewld steering box found its way up front. In combination with the top-flight air-ride setup and a beefed-up braking system (DBA front discs, and an Empi conversion to discs at the rear too), the refined chassis and Porsche flat-four now work in perfect harmony to keep this shimmering butterfly of a car streamlining along as it should.
With the go and the show taken care of – along with the stop, the sway, and plenty of wahey – the final piece of the puzzle was the interior. Pat’s had the stock seats retrimmed in a tasteful two-tone fusion of black vinyl and brown tweed, topping things off with a classy old-school Porsche-sourced Mota-Lita steering wheel. Timeless stuff, although again it’s interesting to note that Porsche accessories and tweed trim are heavy-hitters on the watercooled scene… further evidence of Pat’s over-arching artistic vision. And while the exterior is an exercise in textbook Karmann Ghia class, from the Euro bumpers to the custom front airdam, it’s the wheels that really are the cherry on the fusion-cooking cake: Schmidt TH Lines, as you’d expect to see on a slammed Polo or somesuch, but cunningly narrowed to fi t into the aircooled logic sphere.
What Pat’s achieved with this project is to harness the spirit of his more modern VWs and infuse it into a retro Dub platform; old school, new rules – and by keeping it all relatively restrained, the more outrageous features really shine through. As a family legacy, we imagine his son can’t wait to grow up and grab the keys.
DRIVER: PAT EUNG
What was the hardest part of the build? “The air-ride! Despite being a bolt-on kit, there were a lot of modi¬fications and tinkering to make it work. The wheels cost a fortune as they had to be rebuilt to ¬ t in with the suspension!”
What part of the build was the most enjoyable? “Again, the wheels and air-ride. As much as it was a headache, it was well worth it seeing people’s reactions to the end result. I took a gamble on the wheel choice, but it paid off.” Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to do it all over again?
“I would have taken it straight to Mike at CBB Tuning from the start. It would have saved me a lot of the hassle I had with other mechanics!”
Any modern extras are perfectly hidden away. We’re loving the custom tweed too!
Pat’s wheels neatly reflect this Karmann Ghia’s fusion of old and new, taking a design that’s popular and desirable in the watercooled scene and rebuilding it to aircooled specs. He began with a set of 8x17-inch Schmidt TH Lines, and artfully readjusted them to fit the bagged Ghia chassis. The rears have been barrelled down just a smidge to a slightly less arch-troubling 7-inch width, but the fronts are the real showstoppers: they measure an almost dragsterlike 4.5x17-inches, tucking perfectly into the front wings and giving a real nu-wave/retro vibe. The widths are classic, the diameter distinctly modern.
They certainly don’t come any cleaner than this.
TECH SPEC: Karmann Ghia
TUNING #1974 #Porsche-914 2.0-litre flat-four, fully rebuilt, stock internals, mild cam, twin #Weber 40IDFs, Pertronics electronic points, electric fuel pump, #Vintage-Speed Type IV extractor system and Type 1 exhaust, stock gearbox rebuilt with Freeway Flyer gears, Vintage Speed short-shift.
CHASSIS 4.5x17in (front) and 7x17in (rear) #Schmidt-TH-Line Lines, 165/40 (front) and 195/40 (rear) Nankangs, DBA front discs, #EMPI rear disc conversion, early short axle, #Monroe air shocks, #Limebug rear air suspension kit, #AirLift bags, #Airkewld steering box.
EXTERIOR Polar Silver paint, perfected by Elite Body Repairs, Euro bumpers, custom aluminium airdam and grille.
INTERIOR #Moto-Lita Porsche steering wheel, seats retrimmed in custom black vinyl and brown tweed by Sewfine, #VDO gauges, Pioneer headunit with custom speakers in rear.
THANKS All the guys from Liverpool Harry’s for all their help and support – especially Rick and Ali. My wife Ley for putting up with my expensive habits and turning a blind eye most of the time!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNAUGHTY #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 #VR6 / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-II / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-Mk2 / #VW-Golf-II / #VW-Golf / #VW / #VW-Golf-RV6-II / #Volkswagen /
While some of you won’t get Darren Bates’ naughty ’90s-inspired Mk2 VR6, for those that were there first time around this supercharged terror will be right up your street! Words and photos: Jon Cass.
Ah yes, the ’90s VW show scene. The cars, the people, where are they now? It’s a question that’s been asked many times at shows and meets over the last decade and often results in an entertaining and rewarding conversations as many older show-goers have encyclopedic memories. Go on, ask a dedicated Dub-head about that Mk1 on three-spokes with the purple paint job you last saw in 1998; if they don’t remember it, one of their mates will. Chances are they might even know where it is now, that it’s due to make a return any time soon and that those infamous three-spokes are sat in so-and-so’s loft gathering dust. There’s even a group on social media now to help answer all our ’90s show queries and, to prove our memories aren’t that fuzzy quite yet, it’s got a lot of people reminiscing.
Now, I’m making this sound like these amusing stories and detailed memories are likely to fade away into nothingness if they’re not passed on to the next generation pretty sharpish, almost as though the ’90s show-goers are akin to surviving veterans from the First World War. Thankfully, though, this is far from the truth and more often than not, those same folk who were slaving away in their garage 20 years ago are still coming up with the goods today. The only real difference is there’s Radio 2 on in the background instead of Radio 1.
Proof of this is Darren Bates and his supercharged Mk2 VR6. He’s collecting trophies like there’s no tomorrow and is so full of enthusiasm, you’d think this was his first ever car, let alone show car. Yet, Darren has been modifying VWs since the late ’80s, beginning with a Mk1 cab which set the ball rolling and he’s never really stopped since. “I had to sell that one, but within a month I’d bought another as I missed the first one so much,” he smiles.
His next purchase was an orange Mk1 Cab which then became a regular sight on the show scene for the best part of the next 11 years – from the ’90s through to the early 2000s. It was bright, it was loud and it was heavily modified. It was certainly of its time and a highly respected show car to boot. Numerous trophies and magazine features proved its worth and Max Power (at the height of its popularity) voted it one of its top 100 cars of all time. Hell, even Mike Brewer had it on his TV show, Revved Up! The OEM fans might be shaking their heads in disbelief right now but back in the ’90s Darren was at the top of his game.
“I sold the Mk1 in 2006 and bought myself a Mk2 Edition 1 G60,” Darren recalls. “I soon bought a Mk1 Caddy and, sure enough, couldn’t resist the temptation to slot the G60 from the Mk2 into the pick-up!” The smiles were short lived as the caddy soon met its fate in a collision which sadly wrote it off. “To cheer myself up, I went out and bought a Pearl white Corrado with a grey leather interior and had a G60 in that one also,” Darren remembers. There’s a theme building here, as you’ve probably spotted, but a Noble M12 was soon to randomly shake that up and Darren then held on to the Brit sports car for five years.
“The call of the VW badge returned and this time, I went for a Mk1 Caddy in black with flames down the side,” Darren laughs. “I slammed it to the deck and got it looking just the way I wanted.” The down side of a slammed Mk1 on coilovers was soon realised after the first few potholes. “It was great fun to drive but my back was suffering with the harsh ride; it confirmed I wasn’t as young as I used to be!” The Caddy was sold before Darren’s spine shattered and he set about looking for a replacement: “It had to be a Mk1 or Mk2 Golf as they’ve always been in my blood. I just had to make sure it would be a little more comfortable to drive than the Caddy!”
Sure enough, his next purchase was this car here: an #1989 Mk2 Golf 1.6CL German import lefthooker which was promptly stripped down. The shell was taken back to bare metal to reveal the rot and a new front valance, inner wheel arches and firewall welded in place. The shell itself was repainted an attractive baby blue shade and new rubbers, bumpers, locks and handles were all fitted to the exterior. Underneath, the shell received new brake pipes and brake lines. In contrast to his extreme Mk1 Cab of the ’90s, Darren’s opted for a more restrained look for his Mk2, inspired by other cars currently on the show scene. Having said that, this is still eyecatching enough! “The small bumpers and lack of side skirts and wheel arch extensions show off the Mk2’s lines better,” Darren reckons. “And the welded metal plate across the tailgate gives a flush effect, which I prefer.” There are subtle details, too, such as the door handles with Volkswagen inserts. The overall finish is flawless and the look could be described as slightly oldskool, although that was Darren’s full intention all along. “I didn’t want to tread the huge bodykit and massive rims path but I liked the idea of dropping a few hints towards the cars that were around when I started on the show scene.”
Perhaps the flush tailgate could be included amongst them, although the smoked rear lights, frosted indicators and black painted front valance are definitely old-skool mods.
After owning a string of supercharged G60s, Darren knew this one also had to have similarly forced induction, though rather than use a familiar four-pot he wanted ‘Baby Blue’ to be a little different. “I liked the idea of a supercharger and a VR6,” Darren smiles, “the combination of instant power, bags of torque and an infectious sound were too hard to resist!” A 2.8 VR6 from a Mk3 was located, stripped down, polished and painted to show standard. Darren added new colour-coded blue Samco hoses, water pipes and HT leads. He also fitted a new chain, pulley and sensors.
A normally aspirated Mk2 VR6 is a hoot to drive anyway and some real bargains can be picked up now as people opt for newer 1.8Ts. Darren wanted his to have an edge over the NA VR6 and a V2 #Vortex-supercharger achieved just that. “I had to upgrade to 300 injectors and adapt the sump to incorporate the supercharger,” Darren points out, “but other than that it was fairly straightforward.” The usual Mk2 exhaust has three boxes but Darren preferred to have a custom exhaust fabricated with just two boxes to improve the output. The exhaust also boasts a quirky upturned tailpipe which always attracts admiring glances. A trip to see VR6 guru, Vince at Stealth Racing in Southam, proved to be very useful with the Mk2 subsequently producing 240bhp on the rollers. “I can’t recommend Vince enough, he couldn’t do enough to get my car running at its best,” Darren adds.
He’s also recently swapped the charger pulley to one ten millimetres smaller than standard and running at 6-8psi and another trip to Stealth saw it running at a highly impressive 291bhp. There are plans too for a Devil’s Own cooling system which should see performance improved even more!
To cope with the increase in power, G60 brakes make a good investment, though these are hidden by the Porsche 928 16” rims with a five-stud pattern. The stretched tyres enhance the classic Porsche design and Darren is well pleased with the result. He’s also happy that he can have the benefit of slamming his Mk2 into the weeds if he wishes, whilst still retaining a comfortable ride. We’re talking air-ride here, an option that wasn’t as readily available or affordable back in the ’90s. The Air Lift V2 airride kit is mounted in the boot and even has a colour-coded tank. It shares its home with a neat sound system containing neon lights: “They shine against the chrome of the compressors. It looks really cool, especially at night.”
Once inside, the Mk2 dash may look familiar, though it’s now been treated to extra VDO gauges and a Momo steering wheel with the addition of an iron cross insert for the horn. To the left of the dash sits a useful boost gauge linked to the supercharger. “I wanted the interior to be crisp and clean,” Darren points out, “that’s why pretty much everything inside is black.” This includes the carpets, doorcards, back seats and even the reclining Sparco race seats which cleverly manage to look both supportive and comfy! “The interior is an ongoing love-affair so this may yet see some changes over the next few years,” he adds. Going by the amount of trophies Darren and his Mk2 have won over the past year, it would seem no changes are necessary, but as we all know you ideally need to make progress to keep those trophies coming in.
“I’m often gobsmacked about the reactions it receives; people just seem to love it,” Darren smiles. “The paint, the stance and especially the supercharger are all regular talking points at shows!” And we’re not just talking small shows here either; how’s ‘Best in Show’ at the GTI Festival at Santa Pod for you?
Okay, he may have had some time off from collecting silverware since his well-known Mk1 was sold in 2006 but his latest Mk2 just goes to demonstrate that Darren hasn’t lost his magic touch. He can still produce a show-stopper; it’s just this one’s headunit might be tuned in to Radio 2 instead of Radio 1!
ENGINE: 2.8 #VR6 fully rebuilt, stripped polished and painted, blue #Samco hoses, blue HT leads, V2 #Vortex supercharger, 300 injectors, 2” custom stainless two-box exhaust system with upturned tailpipe.
CHASSIS: 16” Porsche 928 rims, stretched tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-V2 #Air-ride with colour-coded tank, #G60 brakes, front upper strut brace. / #AirLift-Performance
EXTERIOR: Full respray in baby blue, Frenched tailgate, smoked rear lights, original door handles with chrome Volkswagen inserts, frosted indicators, black front valance, de-locked and de-badged.
INTERIOR: Black carpets, rear bench and doorcards, standard dash with #VDO gauges, Mono steering wheel with iron cross insert for horn, Sparco reclining race seats, baby blue Wolfsburg emblems on mats, #Wolfsburg badged door pins and window winders, ICE install including neon lights in boot, chrome compressors.
SHOUT: My girlfriend Ann for all her hard work, patience and, of course, cleaning!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBIG BAD WOLFF / #VW-Beetle / #Volkswagen-Beetle / #Volkswagen / #1961 / #VW /
After over a decade involved with the watercooled VW scene, Andreas Wolff switched his allegiance to worship at the church of air. This ’1961 VW-Beetle is the end result…
Words: Simon Jackson. Photos: Patrick Hille.
“For me it’s the only real Volkswagen – I love the Beetle. It’s a special car, not only because of the design, but because young and old people love them – the passion is huge.”
Berlin-based Andreas Wolff has been into cars, and primarily Volkswagens, since he was a kid. His teenage dream was admittedly pretty humble; he hankered after a Mk2 Polo hatch believe it or not, a dream he fully realised aged just 20 with a hopped-up 1988 86C project running a tidy 240bhp 1.5-litre turbo lump, and shod with deliciously timeless BBS E30 split-rims. That car stayed in Andreas’ possession for ten long years, it transformed numerous times during that period too, leading him on to a bunch of other VW projects afterwards. Two Mk2 Golfs, a rare two-door Mk2 Jetta, and a string of modified VAG daily drivers followed, but after over a decade dabbling in Wolfsburg’s various water-cooled offerings, Andreas made the switch across to the older air-cooled VW motors. In summer 2009 a classic Beetle project finally beckoned.
“I searched for three long months until I found the car I wanted near Hannover,” Andreas explained, “I wanted a pre-’64 Beetle with a rag-top in good condition and in a rare colour.”
Andreas came across the green ’61 1200 you see here and instantly knew it was the right car for him. Complete restoration work had been undertaken some 12 years previously, so the vehicle was in decent nick, yet rocking some signs of patina and interior distress. Various parts were either missing or weren’t period correct on the car (which bugged Andreas), but the 31-year-old reasoned that he’d be able to put all that to rights easily enough. This, despite the fact he knew nothing about either sourcing Beetle parts, or working on, and navigating his way around, the cars themselves. Who worries about little details like that, eh?
Andreas bought and drove the ’61 as it stood (bar the additions of an #EMPI shifter and #K&N filter) a few times a week over a two-month time frame, until winter arrived. With the howl of wind, rain and snow, the car was taken off the road for the planned transformation to commence.
“I love the colour, it’s one of the rarest; it’s called Beryl green and they only painted Beetles in it between 1961-’63,” he said. “I also love red, so I decided to mix both colours. My inspiration is my wife Astrid.”
Andreas and Astrid make no excuses for having a crush on the ’50s and ’60s, so Andreas decided to style the car, nicknamed ‘Betty’, in a ’50s Americana vein. While we’re not usually fans of people naming their cars, with the story behind Andreas’ car, we’ll make an exception… “On the aluminium part of the rag-top the name Bettina Giljohann has been scratched in,” he recalled. “It might be the name of a previous owner, so the car is called ‘Betty’. That’s also why Betty Boop is on the mirror inside; a symbol for classic America.”
So, October 2009 saw Andreas kick-start his planned programme of mods. First the car was fastidiously checked for rust and rot. Fresh rubbers, lights, and other parts went on to the car, and Andreas ripped out its interior, which it turned out wasn’t original, having come out of a later 1968 car. It took eight weeks to track down a period perfect set of 1961 inners, but Andreas used this time wisely to prepare his air-ride setup. Now, many folk we come across have their air-assisted gubbins fitted by an external expert, but Andreas built his up at home (tank, valves, compressor and tubes) learning as he went.
“The first problem was the spring plates; they were rusted to the torsion bars, so I needed new plates and bars!” Andreas recalled. “Then I worked on the narrowed front beam with lowered steering knuckles, and the air-ride shocks.” Andreas also added his reworked wheels at this point, narrowed at the front from 4” to 3.5x15”, and banded those out back to 5.5”, up from the original 4”.
Andreas then fitted new carpets and gauges, and refinished the whole cabin in white and red vinyl in a ’50s diner-style, he painstakingly undertook all this work himself. “I put in the new carpet and some details like the VDOs, MPH speedometer, a secret modern stereo and I painted the interior pearl white and put the red/white vinyl leather in by myself. It was a lot of work!” Andreas said.
With the interior looking far sprightlier, Andreas moved his attentions on to the engine compartment out back. Some brave soul had painted the ’bay orange (we just hope it wasn’t Betty…), so this needed addressing quick smart. Black paint was shot across the bulkheads, accented with Andreas’ white/red theme, and the block was polished up to a presentable level too. And that’s how the Beetle stood for its first show season in 2010.
“When the next winter came I decided to change something more on the technical side,” Andreas said, “so I fitted a new longer range gearbox and swing axle, which is very difficult to change – it was the first time I’d ever done this!”
While Andreas had the car apart he also changed that first air-ride install. His original system had employed axle valves, which Andreas switched to single wheel valves: “The air-ride is home-made,” he explained. “I spent weeks on it. I wanted to lower the car as much as possible with the perfect stance. I can now drive it with 0bar of pressure on its shocks.”
In fact there were a few teething problems with the air-ride system. Andreas found himself chasing a leak around the car for some time, only to discover a dodgy weld on the tank was to blame. With this located and the tank changed in good faith by the supplier, everything has run beautifully since. Andreas also sourced and fitted a rare set of Porsche 356 carburetors. A Piper exhaust and electric ignition setup was slotted on for good measure, excess cables were relocated or removed, and the heater arrangement was deleted for aesthetical purposes.
The ’bay now looked pretty smart. A couple of cool additional details, like badges and that driving school secondary mirror were added for a splash of personality. Ultimately though, Andreas has tackled the whole lot himself bar any welding, and all in an underground car park where he couldn’t even fully open the car’s doors! After this second stage of the makeover the car now completely reflects Andreas’ original brief; hinting at ’50s and ’60s American themes and colourways, and looking every inch the cool classic.
“I was a bit doubtful of how people would react to the car at its first outing because of the colour mix, but in Austria for Wörthersee 2010 everyone was positive,” Andreas said. Since the trip to the ’See, the car has been well received all across Europe at events from MIVW in Holland to the Wolfsgruppe VAG Event in Poland, and seeing it in print here we’re sure it won’t surprise you to hear that. Having crossed over from the water- to air-cooled VW scenes, Andreas is better placed than most to pass comment on how the two sides of the Volkswagen coin compare. “Both scenes are very cool, both are special,” he said.
“But I hate it when guys discriminate against each other because of their preference, we all have the same passion; cars! But the retro car scene is growing up, many of my friends have started projects with old cars (not only VWs). It’s a new love and I think some guys were inspired by Betty!”
We often joke that project cars are never finished, but could Andreas’ be the exception to that rule? “It’s the first car for me where I can say yes! It is finished, I think Betty is perfect,” he laughed. “There are no new projects planned, but the dream is an American V8, a muscle car or ’rod from the ’30s to the ’60s. We’ll see…”
Yes, we will see. In fact, we would actually love to see Andreas’ customised take on a thoroughbred period American motor – something tells us it would be pretty damn special.
“It’s the first car for me where I can say yes! It is finished, I think Betty is perfect”
ENGINE: 1600cc air-cooled engine with Porsche 356 #Zenith-NDIX-32 carburetors, #Piper exhaust, 123ignition 12V electrics, heating system deleted, cables and brackets deleted and smooted, ’bay repainted gloss black with red/white details, long Rancho gearbox.
CHASSIS: Front beam shortened 3.25”, lowered steering knuckles, notched rear spring plates, lowered rear torsion bars, highjackers front/back for the air-ride function, 19L chrome tank with four valves and #VIAIR / #Viair-480 / Viair compressor, front wheels narrowed from 4” to 3.5x15” with 135/70 tyres, banded rear wheels from 4” to 5.5x15” with 185/65 tyres, Ravus system whitewalls with stainless steel hubcaps and beauty rings.
OUTSIDE: Export bumpers, colour-coded roof, US-spec sealed beam front lights with yellow tints, US-spec red rear clusters, hooded Albert swan-neck mirrors, pop-out rear windows, red window breezies, red/white Berlin badge on the front hood, lots and lots of chrome.
INSIDE: Red/white interior, EMPI shifter, flower vase with red/white flowers, hidden air-ride control, rabambus storage, MPH-speedometer, RPM and oil temp #VDO in original speedometer optic (needle strips), Venetian shades at rear, driving school double mirror, original #Blaupunkt-Frankfurt radio with one speaker, #Hirschmann antenna, hidden modern stereo with #Pioneer head unit, two-way rear-system and subwoofer.
SHOUT: Special thanks to my wife (Astrid), Denis, Moosi, Janek, Low-Familia, Watercooled-Customs and Patrick Hille/VWHome.de.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationWHITE LINES / Words Davy Lewis Photography Jape Tiitinen.
600BHP SNOW PLOUGH
Wide-body #Audi 80 quattro. This 603hp, wide body #Audi-80-GTE was built for one thing – hooning on the frozen roads of Finland…
Our man in Finland, Jape, is always sending us cool videos. When he’s not taking amazing images of some of the world’s most exciting, and indeed powerful Audis, he’ll be capturing them in action. From riding shotgun in Philipp Klaess’ insane 225mph, 1000bhp B5 wide body, to Gatebil monsters, this man knows no fear. It was when one of Jape’s emails pinged into my inbox that I discovered this beast of an Audi 80.
The email simply said, “Hi Boss, check out this Audi 80 snowplough!” There was a link to a video in which a tough looking 1980s saloon was being given death in the snow. It looked like tremendous fun. The driver was clearly having the time of his life in this wintry playground, and given the pummelling my ears were getting from my headphones, it was clear that this thing was running a rather large turbo.
So I pinged Jape an email to find out more... Turns out the owner is a good friend of his, which doesn’t surprise me – everyone seems to be a mate of Jape’s – even our own Julian Loose in the UK (is there anyone Jape doesn’t know?!) The lucky owner of this ultimate snow toy, is a chap called Pasi Kellokumpu. A well known face on the Finnish tuning scene, he runs a trailer company transporting cars all over the place. But when Pasi isn’t towing cars, he’s driving them – sideways.
It’s no secret that the Fin’s seem to have an innate ability to go incredibly fast, in the kind of conditions that would make us Brits scared to set foot outside the house. The joke about needing a wiper on the side windows is actually closer to the truth than you might imagine. But, even in this country filled with expert sideways merchants, Pasi is still regarded as a bit of a lunatic.
Now that really must take some doing in Finland! The Audi 80 is however a mere toy for this guy. You see, tucked away in his garage, are a couple of serious power cars that he only drives in the good weather. There’s a 1000+hp Ur-S4 for track and an insane S2 packing a mighty 1319hp – surely the most powerful in the world. This out-and-out drag monster is named “Aim and Pray” which kind of says it all really. We’ll be featuring both of these truly epic cars as soon as the winter releases its icy grip on Finland. The 80 GTE is then a mere toy – something to keep him amused over the long winters. It may be a ‘toy’ to Pasi, but for most of us, it’d be a dream come true.
Based on a 1986 Audi 80 GTE quattro, this once sedate saloon has been transformed into a full-on hooligan. Under that Sport quattro-style vented bonnet, sits a fully built 2.2 5-pot lump running a #Holset HX40 turbo. This behemoth blower, together with supporting upgrades, including straight through 3in exhaust, huge 4in downpipe, massive intercooler, and uprated fuelling, helps this thing make 603hp and 660Nm.
When the big Holset comes on song, all hell breaks loose – perfect for playing in the snow. All four wheels light up in an instant and big, four-wheel drifts are easy. It’s loud too. That five cylinder howl sounds all the more glorious with the turbo chuffing and snorting away as Pasi bangs through the gears.
Talking of cogs, with more than three times the stock power, this Audi 80 has been treated to a heavily uprated box. It’s an S4 01E six-speed unit that’s bolstered by a Sachs Race 3-paddle clutch and S2 driveshafts. A lightened flywheel helps things rev – something this engine has no problem with already!
Pasi has fitted a set of Brembo brakes from a Leon Cupra R together with some S2 rear discs. This setup provides ample stopping power – when the tyres have something to grip on, of course. But then the 8.5 and 9.5x17in Fondmetal rims aren’t shod in your average ‘winter’ rubber; this thing runs proper studded tyres. However, when the snow has cleared and the sun returns to Finland, Pasi swaps to some girthy 10 and 11.25x17in wheels, which I’m reliably informed, look amazing.
Aside from the rip-snorting engine and bullet proof transmission, there are plenty of other treats built into this supersnow saloon. Inside, it’s all about performance; anything that wasn’t required was chucked in the bin. All you’ll find now are go-fast aids, such as the multi-point roll cage (handy when you’re only ever a hairs breadth away from sticking it on the roof), a pair of deep Sparco buckets with 6-point harnesses, and a tactile Nardi wheel. Once snuggly ensconced within this setup, the driver can concentrate on the task in hand – going incredibly fast. A smattering of gauges keeps Pasi abreast of the engine’s health – and that’s about it.
For me, the best bit of this monstrous little saloon is the looks. There’s no poncey ‘patina’ about this badboy. It’s battered, battle scarred, and proud – like those old fellas with flat noses you see in the pub – you can tell it’s lived an exciting life.
The styling is heavily influenced by the Sport quattro – and why not? It’s one of the most iconic and downright cool looking cars ever made. There’s a Sport quattro-style front bumper, grille and even bonnet. The bonnet features vents to help cool the engine, but it’s not all show – it’s made from carbon fibre. And so is the roof for that matter.
The front bumper has been viciously cut out to allow maximum airflow to the large intercooler and rad. To the rear you’ll find a Ur-quattro style bumper, plus a cheeky Audi 80 V8 rear light panel that’s been modified to fit and a cool looking rear diffuser. But, for me, the icing on the cake is the full set of custom steel fabricated arches designed to mimic the Sport quattro’s wide shouldered look. The rear doors have also been heavily worked on to complete the look – it’s as if Audi made a four-door Sport quattro. This Audi 80 looks squat, muscular and ready for business.
So what’s next for this 600hp snow plough? Well, according to Pasi, the engine is being taken to 800-900hp for next season. Looks like things are set to get a whole lot crazier in Finland!
Top: Front is all about the airflow Above: Ice, ice, baby...
SPECIFICATION #Audi-80-GTE-Quattro / #1986 / #Audi-80-GTE / #Audi-80-Quattro / #Audi-80 / #Audi-80-B2 / #Audi-80-GTE-Quattro-B2 / #Audi / #Ur-S4 / #Ur-S4-AAN / #Audi-S4-01E /
Engine #Audi-Ur-S4-AAN 2.2 5-cyl 20v turbo engine, #Eagle con rods, #Mahle pistons, upgraded piston pins, #Schrick high-lift cams, upgraded valve springs, Revo adjustable cam gear, #Dahlback-Racing pulley, 4in #Revo downpipe, #Holset-HX40 Super turbocharger, #Tial wastegate, custom intercooler, VW Vento radiator, 034 Motorsport coils, #Tatech ECU, 3in custom exhaust, #Fuellab fuel pump, fuel cell in boot.
Power 603hp and 660Nm
Transmission #Audi S4 01E six-speed box, 4WD, #Ojennus lightened flywheel, #Sachs Race 3-paddle clutch, S2 driveshafts
Brakes SEAT Leon Cupra R #Brembo calipers (f/r), Leon Cupra R front discs, S2 rear discs
Suspension: #H&R S2 coilovers, S2 anti-roll bars, faster steering rack (RS2), polyurethane bushes
Wheels & Tyres Summer: RH ZW1 10x17in (f) with 11.25x17in (r), 235/45 (f) with 255/40 (r). Winter: Fondmetal 8.5x17in with 9.5x17in, 225/45 (f) with 245/40 (r) studded.
Interior: #Sparco Evo racing seats, #Sabelt 6-point harnesses, roll cage, Nardi steering wheel, rear seat deleted, stripped interior, #VDO 300km/h speedometer, A’PEXi rev counter, #VDO gauges for boost, water temperature, oil temperature, oil pressure and voltage, #PLX gauges for fuel pressure and AFR.
Exterior: Sport #Quattro -style front bumper, #Sport-quattro-style grille, carbon fibre bonnet with Aerocatches, VW Transporter front lights, Sport quattro-style custom steel wheel arches, custom steel side skirts, custom rear diffuser, Audi 80 V8 model rear light panel modified to fit, #Audi-Ur-quattro style rear bumper, carbon fibre roof.
Tuning contacts/thanks www.erihinaus.fi
Facing page: Pasi runs a towing company Top: Custom rear diffuser Above: Full cage and Sparco seats Left: Just the essential dials.
“Big, four-wheel drifts are easy in this thing”
Above: Big Holset turbo dominates the bay Below left: 20v turbo five makes over 600hp Bottom: Boot houses the alloy fuel cell.
Above: Are you winding me up?! Below: The ultimate snow toy Bottom: Side-exit pipes.
See it in action… To see a video of Pasi hooning around in some full-on Finnish snow, head to https://drive-my.com/en/social/stream/item/7610.htmlStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationON THE LEVEL #VW-Caddy-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Caddy-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk1 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Caddy / #Volkswagen-Rabbit-Pickup / #Volkswagen-Rabbit / #Volkswagen / #VW /
In an age of quick fix builds it’s nice to meet someone who’s been getting stuck in on the same car for years and years like Carl Levy has with his hot rod-inspired Mk1 Caddy. Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Nick Williams.
“I got in to VWs when I started my apprenticeship at a VW dealership,” Carl Levy started off. “It was inevitable after that wasn’t it? I was always in to my cars, I’ve got my dad to thank for that. He’s a real hands-on kind of guy, but it was when I started working at the dealership that my interest really focused you could say.”
You might think spending your nine to five turning wrenches on VW’s latest wares could put you off having anything to do with them at home, but for Carl it only fired him up more. “Four of the guys there had old modified VWs, a pair of Mk1s and a pair of Mk2s, so those lads hold a lot of the responsibility for this car,” he smiled. Carl eventually joined the fraternity with a tidy Mk2 Driver, his second car and the first to wear the VW emblem.
Under the guidance of his old-school loving colleagues, the Driver ended up running a 1.9-litre 8v engine on twin 45 Dellortos and then, when its sills gave up the ghost, that engine found its way in to another Mk2 that continued to serve him well.
“One of the guys from the dealership’s brothers owned a Mk1 Caddy pick-up and he brought it in one day and took me out for a drive one lunch break,” Carl remembered fondly. “I couldn’t even drive at the time and it was certainly no show car, but I pretty much decided right then that one day I would own one.”
Fast forward a while and Carl had sold the Golf and started looking for a Caddy, which, as anyone who has tried to buy a Mk1 Caddy before will agree, isn’t the easiest of things to do. With most of them being work vehicles from the day they rolled off the Wolfsburg production line you won’t find one that’s had an easy life that’s for sure. And of course, it’s a Mk1, so rot, rust and just general wear and tear is usually a bigger issue than is ideal. The third thing any potential Caddy buyer has to deal with is that, for some unknown reason, a load of them get modified by people who, how shall we put it? They like to do things their own way…
“I found it on eBay and it was relatively local down in Portsmouth so I decided to pop down to check it out,” Carl remembered. “The most important thing was I wanted a solid chassis, the rest of it wasn’t as much of a concern,” he added. “This one was solid but with the fiberglass Audi RS-style front bumper it had, the limo tints and some seriously dodgy wheels to name just a few of the tasteful things it had, it wasn’t much of a looker! It also broke down between me buying it and collecting it, so it actually came in to my life on the back of a flatbed,” he laughed.
“I had no real vision for the Caddy when I got it though, I just wanted a cool truck, I’m as surprised as anyone it came this far to be honest,” said Carl. One thing Carl was sure of though was that it would be a rolling project. “I didn’t want to shut it away in a workshop and build it over seven or eight years, never rolling it out until it was finished. There are so many builds that go that route and probably half of them will never see the light of day or the road again,” he reasoned. “Plus my budget wouldn’t have allowed it even if I’d have wanted to!”
After getting the Caddy running and roadworthy again, Carl set about making it his own. And surprisingly, now that it’s all done and dusted, he managed to stick to his plan of it being a rolling build too! We say surprising because we’ve lost count of the amount of people who say they’re going to do keep a build on the road while they work on it… and then five years later the SORN notices are piling up.
First on Carl’s hit list was the bodywork. The truck had been painted black already but it wasn’t a good job by any stretch. Add the holes left from the dodgy front bumper and it was obvious Carl was going to have to start from scratch. With budget in mind, he split the job in to two halves.
After doing as much prep work as he could himself, the truck was sent off to Elite Panel Craft in Wilton to get the front end sorted out, the holes plated up and a nice fresh coat of Diamond black laid down. On the second visit the GTI arch spats were smoothed and colour-coded, the seams between the rear quarters and the tail-lights were worked over and the bare alley bed was painted in bed liner. With a set of 13” Revolution fourspoke wheels, a nod to Carl’s love of all things old-school, he was happy to take in a few shows that year with the Caddy as it sat.
“In 2012 the interior got a full overhaul, it was time to rip everything out and start again,” he explained. “I had already decided on a black and yellow colour scheme, so all I had to settle on was what seats to go for.” In the end our man settled for a pair of Cobra Classics in black with yellow piping. Retro Retrims, a company who’s name says it all, sorted Carl out with a pair of custom-made doorcards to match the Cobras and while they had the material out, put together a pair of matching B-pillar trims and a complete headlining too. “The roof lining was probably the most challenging part of the interior,” Carl remembered. “All the glass had to come out as the roof lining has to wrap under the seals and be bonded. The roof lining also comes through oversized so had to be trimmed as we went. As the roof lining just sleeves over three metal rods, like an old Beetle or something, the tricky part is getting it even and taught without any sagging.”
When Carl bought the Caddy the engine was like the rest of the car; functional but something of a mess of mis-matched parts. A 2.0-litre 16v was matched to KJET mechanical fuel injection from a KR and a 2.0-litre Passat fuel pump but no lift pump from the tank to the fuel pump housing. This concoction of parts meant that it ran, but under any sort of load it’d misfire due to the lack of fuel getting in to the engine. After trying to sort things out with the fuel system from a 9a 16v and still failing to get it running right, Carl gave up and decided if he wanted to progress, he needed to take a step back towards his beloved carbs. A pair of twin-45s were picked up on eBay and a friend sold on the manifold he had to get them fitted up. Finally, the Caddy’s engine was behaving itself, well, sort of…
“It was pretty tired in general, cylinder three had low compression and the rings were shot,” he remembered. “I did what I could to keep it going for a while as I knew that if I was going to redo the engine it would mean pulling everything out and doing the bay at the same time which is no small job, so there were a lot of shows when the bonnet remained firmly shut,” he smiled.
Eventually though Carl realised that the bay was the last thing on his to-do list that needed ticking off so he couldn’t put it off any longer. At this point there wasn’t much left to do on the rest of the truck and the bay was severely letting the side down. As with everything else, though, Carl had it all planned out before he picked up a single spanner. “With most Mk1 bays, the first thing people do is cut out the scuttle and smooth the whole bay, finishing it in the highest gloss possible with a lot of polished and bling parts. I wanted the total opposite of that,” he explained. “I wanted a stealthy and aggressive look with just a few bright bits to really make it pop, kind of a hot rod thing.”
So rather than lose the scuttle, Carl decided to incorporate it in to the overall look of the bay by fabricating a covering piece for it. Inside the space went the Caddy’s ECU, ignition setup, TCI pack, coil pack, horn and alarm and much of the loom too. “Doing the bay was a complete step into the unknown for me, and a lot of it pushed me out of my comfort zone,” he admitted. “Yes, I’m a mechanic, so people would think it should be easy but unless you work for a very specialist company, you just don’t do this kind of thing day-to- day. I work for a small VAG specialist so the bulk of our work is standard service and maintenance,” he added. “You just don’t get normal customers wanting engine conversions, smooth bays and wire tucks!”
Once the scuttle area was all sorted, the battery tray was cut out and the battery itself relocated behind the passenger seat, the coolant reservoir was junked in favour of a top fill radiator and the washer bottle was also unscrewed and relocated. “I then lost the bulkhead brake linkage and servo by modifying the steering column and pedal box to run a G60 master cylinder off it on the advice of a friend,” Carl explained. “Then my friend Joe came over and helped me weld all the holes up,” he added before laughing, “and he only set fire to it once too.”
Carl stuck to his budget guns when it came to painting the bay and opted for a few cans of Montana graffiti paint. Being paint designed for outdoor use, it proved plenty tough and looks just fine and you would struggle to tell it wasn’t a pro job to our eyes.
“Sorting the wiring out was a nightmare. It was such a mess, me and my other half Becky spent hours and hours labelling everything up, tracing what went where and then extending what needed to be rerouted,” Carl added. “Just to make it harder for us I wanted every wire to be black too, which probably wasn’t the smartest idea in hindsight!”
Finally though, and with their relationship still intact, Carl was ready to put some power back in the Caddy’s bay. The original engine was too far gone so a second was picked up. This, too, was way past its best and uneconomical to repair so the hunt for a third motor was on. Eventually a very low mileage ABF lump was sourced from a friend that had left it sitting unused for close to a decade but with just 15k miles on it. “I took the ABF off him and stripped and rebuilt it, replacing the rings, shells and the oil pump etc even though it probably didn’t need it,” Carl explained. “Then I sent the head off to be skimmed, ported and flowed before getting it back and going over every little bit with 3M matt black texture paint, gold and a few bits in brown to make it pop, painting bits in our spare room and baking them dry in the kitchen!”
Carl’s favourite part of the bay is something that is, well, almost impossible to even spot unless you know it’s there. Deciding that the topmount linkage for the Dellortos was a messy solution, our man set about creating a one-off setup to allow him to run an under-mount linkage instead. Doing this involved creating a one-off reverse mount for the alternator, changing the belt and a whole lot of head-scratching and custom fab work.
“I’ve never seen this done before and people may not notice things like this first time they look, some people may never notice it at all, but when people do notice, it makes it all the more satisfying and worthwhile,” he reasoned.
“Someone once said to me one of the greatest parts of modifying a car is injecting a bit of your personality into it,” he continued. “I completely agree with that and as one of my other greatest passions is American football and I’ve supported the Jaguars since I was a kid and they became a franchise, I feel the little helmet I made in to a catch can is another of my favourite touches.”
Now as we bring Carl’s story to a close, we’ve got to level with you. There is so much to Carl’s build we haven’t covered here, the wheels, the custom bike, the wooden trims on the bumpers, the list goes on. And as much as we hate to leave a story half-finished, we quite honestly can’t fit it all in! You see, when we sent Carl a few questions on his truck we said, like we do to everyone, ‘put as much information in to your answers as possible, it makes for a better feature’. Now, we do this because all too often we’ll get answers back on a feature and we’ve got quite literally one-line responses to work with. Which as you can imagine, makes our lives pretty difficult! Carl though, well Carl went the other way, supplying nearly 7000 words on his truck – possibly under duress, we can’t be sure – typed up by his partner Becky!
“To be honest, a silly goal I set myself a few years back was to get a feature in PVW,” Carl smiled. “I thought it was pretty unrealistic at the time and didn’t see it ever happening, so it’s like a dream that it did and it’s probably my proudest moment with the whole build,” he added. “It’s like reaching the top of the mountain, and as a small fish in a very big pond and means a lot to me.” Carl, it’s been our pleasure!
Custom wooden inset on the front bumper is a nice touch and ties in nicely with the BBS’ centres.
Interior is a lovely place to be thanks to new Cobra Classic buckets and colour-coded Retro Retrims doorcards.
Carl’s other half Becky pulling off the ‘this photoshoot is bloody freezing’ look well…
“I wanted a stealthy and aggressive look with just a few bright bits to really make it pop”
ENGINE: 2.0-litre 16v #ABF , head ported, flowed, skimmed and diamond cut, twin-45 #Dellorto carburetors, custom stainless exhaust manifold going in to custom Torque Technic stainless exhaust system, Mk2 GTI 8v gearbox with 4+E fifth gear, Bugpack rear mount, #Midnight-Garage Stage 1 mount kit.
CHASSIS: 7.5” and 8x15” #BBS-RM wheels in 4x100 fitment, clay brown centres, polished dishes with gold bolts and centre caps, 280mm #G60 brake setup with Goodrich braided hoses, front coilovers, rear axle flipped with 1.5” lowering blocks and custom adjustable bump stops, rear camber shims.
EXTERIOR: Full respray in VW Diamond black, chrome front bumper, mirrors, wiper arms, grille trim and body side trims, tinted cross-hair headlights, crystal indicators, wing repeaters and rear lights, sliding opening rear screen, smoothed and colour-coded MK1 GTI arch mouldings, custom hand-built aluminium bed bike carrier, rear tailgate Pro Net, Flushed rear panel and fold away number plate.
INTERIOR: Retro Retrims black vinyl roof lining, B-pillar trims and doorcards with yellow stitching, deleted rear-view mirror and sun visors, Cobra Classic bucket seats in black with yellow piping, Momo Jaguar wooden steering wheel, Porsche #VDO voltage and oil pressure gauges.
THANKS: Firstly and most importantly my girlfriend Becky Hill. She has been there supporting me every step of the way, she has spent countless hours of her time off helping out and even down to helping me type this write up, Kleenfreaks and everyone involved for all the support, my bosses Martin Thomas and Mike Fealy at M&M Autos for all the support and use of the workshop, Nick Williams for wanting to do this shoot, Joe Mallet for his welding skills, the Bpc_retro gang and the ‘Causing a Scene’ crew, Andrew Monteith for his stainless fabrication skills, Nick Collins and Lewis Simmons for coming and getting their hands dirty and a massive thank you to all the awesome people we have met along the way – you know who you are!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEXTRA RARE CITROEN BX 297bhp, supercharged GTi
This immaculate BX was saved from the scrappy and now makes a very healthy 297bhp... Words Midge. Photos: Matt Woods.
“There are so few of these cars left now, it’s even more impressive”
It could be argued that the #Citroen-BX-GTi-16V is one of the most underrated hot hatches of all time. It’s certainly one of the rarest. That’s not to say they didn’t make a few, between 1987 and 1993 they rolled-out around 3000 of ‘em, but the fact is nowadays there’s probably only about 30 left and, by anyone’s standards, that’s a pretty rapid demise. On the face of it this motor had all the performance credentials. Along with its ‘in-house’ brother, the Peugeot 405 Mi16, it was the first French car to be fitted with a 16V lump. It was slightly faster than the Pug too with a 0-60 time of 7.2-seconds and a top speed in excess of 140mph… and don’t forget that was way back in 1987. The special edition bits and pieces on the body, especially when it came to the 1990 Phase II model, were sweetly distinctive and the all-round disc brakes that had been fitted to the whole BX range since 1982 didn’t go unnoticed either. Some say it was ahead of its time. I’m pretty sure they’re right.
So, what happened to them all? You would think that enthusiasts would be all over these right? Well, the trouble is they’re unbelievably complex and, being from #Citroen , when they went wrong it was generally something a tad more expensive than a thermostat. Fitted with Citroen’s hydropneumatic suspension system (albeit one of the coolest inventions ever) it wasn’t exactly a car that was easy to fix and that’s probably why over the years many have donated their Mi16 innards to keep a 405 or the odd converted 205 ticking along. It just goes to show that sometimes being totally different to the competition doesn’t always help with longevity. And that’s a massive shame.
Of course the other reason may have a little to do with the styling. Like many of the older Citroens the BX has always been something of an acquired taste. Some, like myself, think the shape is extremely cool, in a retro kinda way. Others say these look like the bastard child of Robocop and your nan’s Zanussi washing machine. Either way there’s no denying they all have a face that only a mother could love.
Ian Nixon, the creator of this particular supercharged beast agrees with me on that. He fully admits he’s never been a fan of Citroens but equally he couldn’t step away from the serious performance the BX GTi 16 offers. “I hated them until I realised the potential. I tried to blow one of these off in my Audi 80 when I was a kid and before I looked round it was gone. I couldn’t believe it.” Years later Ian had a Xantia run-around and was impressed by the handling the hydropneumatic system serves up so, with that in mind, an old school BX build was always on the cards – the only trouble was finding one.
Locating a base car that’s rarer than a load of hen’s teeth nestling in a pile of rocking horse shite is one of those neighon impossible tasks. I guess Ian was lucky coming across a car collector that wasn’t exactly impressed with his. Then again ‘lucky’ is a relative term and a blown head gasket on the drive home kicked off an epic re-build quicker than he may have imagined.
Still, like many of us, Ian isn’t the type of fella to pull off a head, chuck on another gasket and leave it at that. Being an engineer and a bloke who looks after all sorts of highend exotica, race cars and performance motors he asked himself the eternal question “why just repair when you can improve?” And I suppose the rest is history.
If you read through the engine spec you’ll see it’s extensive to say the least. Even though Ian specifically states that on a car like this “everything’s a mission” he’s managed to squeeze 297bhp from the 1.9-litre lump with the help of everything from a fully re-worked head, forged internals and a custom Rotrex supercharger install. There’s even a 6-speed box conversion! What’s more, the real talent lies in how it’s all been put in – if you ignore the fact it’s not covered in oil like many an old Citroen out there, it almost looks factory. That’s not an easy task to pull off.
The rest of the car is just as immaculate because it’s taken nearly as much work as under the bonnet. Then again, you don’t go throwing 8-grand’s worth of lump in a 400-quid motor with over 20 owners on the logbook without wanting to sort out a few bits along the way. Ian contracted the bodywork out to a local restoration shop and I’d like to say the rest was easy, but unfortunately it wasn’t. With the car stripped and not a whole load of work completed in 6-months he actually had to go and get it back before they destroyed the whole thing.
Handily they managed to lose most of the special 16V parts too meaning Ian had to find another whole BX 16V, just to get the bits needed to compete the job. It was another seriously lucky find, even if the circumstances were a little infuriating. The second time around Ian enlisted the help of paint supremo Steve Bell, and after a serious amount of welding (yes, it’s a proper Citroen) and fettling it left the booth pretty much as you see it today. With the stunning Dolmen Grey respray and a few exterior touches it’s clear that he’s chosen to keep the styling true to the original. Even the 17-inch BBS wheels are somewhat reminiscent of the standard 14-inch Speedlines fitted at the factory. A subtle but undeniably nice touch.
In all, it’s not been the simplest of jobs but you have to commend Ian for his never-failing persistence. Without bringing that quality to the table this could have so easily been yet another BX 16V relegated to the scrappy. Instead he’s not only built himself one of the sweetest retro motors in the UK but, perhaps most importantly, he’s kept another super-rare French legend on the streets.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #1991 #Citroen-BX-GTi-16V-Phase-II / #Citroen-BX / #Citroen-BX-GTi
Engine: 1.9 #XU9J4DFW engine ( Mi16 ), stage 5, high flow head, big valve #Siamese ported cylinder head, #Kent-PT81 inlet cam/ PT82 exhaust, #Kent VS34 double valve springs and titanium retainers, Kent vernier pulleys, #Richard-Longman 4-1 manifold, #Cosworth-57X exhaust manifold fixing kit D6C block with #DFW pistons (comp 9:5:1), PEC performance H section light weight conrods with #ARP bolts, #Peugeot-Motorsport GPA 1:1 oil pump, Constella Sump baffle, Mocal oil breather system, #Accusump 4 quarts oil accumulator system, #Rotrex SP30/74 centrifugal supercharger, Pace charge cooler from RS turbo, Range Rover P38 intercooler, #Samco intake and discharge pipe work, #Baker BM coolant hoses, #Baker-BM engine hung mounts and solid stabiliser mount, Standard #Bosch-Motronic 4.1 ECU live mapped by Wayne Scofield of Chipwizards, #Astra-VXR injectors, #Sytec high flow fuel filter, Sierra #Cosworth GPA fuel pump, #FSE fuel pressure regulator.
Transmission: Peugeot 306 GTI-6 BE-6 gearbox, #Quaife-ATB differential, Royal Purple oil.
Chassis: 17-inch #BBS-RX alloys, 205/45 R17 tyres.
Interior: Standard 16v Le-Mans cloth trim, #VDO boost gauge, Quaife nylon gear knob.
Exterior: Extended bumpers to accommodate intercooler, additional air intake on NSF wing, fog lights removed and turned into brake ducts, steel bonnet, Mk3 Golf gas bonnet struts, resprayed respray in original Citroen Dolmen Grey.
Thanks Steve Bell for the paintwork, Peter Greenwood for the fibreglassing expertise, Wayne Schofield for the mapping and advice and Jackie for spanner passing, making tea and towing around the country on trailer.
“I hated them until I realized the potential...”
Period interior is also in decent nick. #BBS 17s look almost OEM.
The fat pipe gives you a clue...
Mi16 unit makes 297bhp.
“There are so few of these cars left now, it’s even more impressive”
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- Post is under moderationSPIRIT OF #1977 #BMW-E12 530i RACE CAR
A wonderful evocation of the #BMW-E12-UFO Five under the spotlight. Phil Perryman’s E12 #BMW-530i-E30 caused quite a stir at Goodwood’s 73rd Members’ Meeting this year – those swirling stripes had everybody hypnotised. We get to grips with 2015’s most colourful tribute act… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photography: Gary Hawkins
It may be painted like a big top, but it’s more scary than it is jovial. And the sound from that cannon-bore side-exit exhaust? It’s shouty on an interstellar level.
A heartfelt tribute is a wonderful thing. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the hackneyed old cliché goes, and the world is jam-packed with people and places paying tribute to the things that inspire them. When notable art forgers are arrested, they usually claim that their efforts are in tribute to their creative heroes rather than trying to steal a little of their reflected glory, and you can see the logic of that (even if it’s not always true). The glimmering city of Las Vegas is so enamoured of global architecture that it features its own replica Colosseum, Eiffel Tower, Egyptian pyramids, and even a little Statue of Liberty. And there’s another Statue of Liberty replica in Kosovo; Thames Town near Shanghai replicates much of London; heck, in Virginia there’s even a copy of Stonehenge made entirely of foam. It’s called, as you might imagine, Foamhenge. A little respectful copying is what keeps creativity vibrant and alive – this sort of behaviour is effectively a dedicated real-world version of clicking Facebook’s ‘like’ button. Wear your influences on your sleeve, that’s the key.
The car you’re looking at here is a very real embodiment of this train of thought. Its colourful lines seek to evoke the #1977 Luigi Racing #BMW-530i , a brawny Big Six-powered Bavarian bruiser that proudly wore the disco livery of UFO Jeans. UFO was a brand noted for its ostentation and flair – literally, in the case of its galactically broad bell-bottoms – so the swooping stripes of the race car do much to reinforce this corporate ethos. It’s like World War I dazzle camouflage, refracted through the lens of LSD culture.
The original car was a very notable thing as well, taking copious scalps over a reign of terror that took in much of Europe, pivoting around the team’s Belgian base. It had a long and illustrious racing career, entering the Spa 24 Hours no less than five times and campaigning in the #ETCC in #1977 , #1978 , #1979 , #1980 and #1981 , as well as kicking no small amount of backside on the Belgian Touring Car Championship.
The livery may not be as iconic and ubiquitous as, say, Jägermeister or #BASF , but to those who remember, this UFO 5 Series was pretty hot stuff. It really seems to mean something at Goodwood too, which is where we first laid eyes on this loving tribute in all its technicolour glory. Indeed, as the 530i’s owner Phil Perryman cheerfully admits, it was the organisers at Goodwood who helped him come up with the livery. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though… if this isn’t the original UFO 530i, what is it? “Well, it’s actually a car that I remember racing against in the early 1990s,” Phil recalls, luxuriating into the tale like a pub raconteur in an old leather armchair. “When Goodwood announced the 72nd Members’ Meeting for 2014, and that it would include a race for 1970s Group 1 cars, I immediately thought of this BMW. I contacted the owner, but unfortunately he refused to sell at that time, and I ended up failing to find a car for that meeting. But by October of last year, the car ended up becoming available to buy, it was offered to me, and I snapped it up! I approached Goodwood, which was very excited about the idea of having such an iconic car on the grid, and the scene was set…”
It’s worth pointing out at this juncture that Phil is a racer with some pedigree. A few of you will be familiar with his form already, of course, but for the uninitiated, here it is in a dinky little nutshell: He began racing in the 1970s with grasstracking, hot rods on short ovals, all the kinds of motorsport that involve picking flies out your teeth and having a fairly broad view of one’s own mortality. Some karting and a smattering of circuit racing followed through the 1980s, since which time he’s been heavily involved in race car preparation. “I have been building and preparing historic race cars for myself and customers for many years now,” he explains, “including Austin Westminsters, Corvettes, Camaros, Cobras, Capris, Minis, GT40s…” (this list continues for some time – he’s been a very busy man – and we return from sticking the kettle on to catch the tail end of it) “…BMW CSis, CSLs, M5s, and now this E12.” So we can say that he’s a man of manifold talents, both figuratively and literally, and his CV speaks for itself.
Having a grounding in hands-on motorsport certainly does develop a keen eye for what a race car needs. So, back to this E12. A classic and proven entity, ready for action at Goodwood and all plain sailing, right? Er, no, not quite: “Having purchased a race car and thinking I could just make some modifications and it would all be done, it turned out not to be the case. In fact, the E12 revealed itself to be a very well used and tired old race car – although full of character, there just wasn’t enough performance for Goodwood! After dismantling the thing, it was clear that we would have to do a complete nut-and-bolt rebuild, and this took a full three months of sevendays- a-week and long hours, including Christmas and New Year; all of this was done in-house at Wheelbase by myself and my colleague Paul, who almost lived at the workshop for three months! On completion, we only had time for two shakedowns at Brands Hatch and a test at Goodwood, and this threw up more work as you would expect!” A true labour of love, then, and a mark of the dedication that Phil effervescently pours into his race car builds. He’s like the Terminator – when he’s got a job to do, the world transcends into neon-flashed binary darkness, with targets and goals the only things visible.
What resulted from this epic slog of all-nighters and tea-stirred-with-oily-spanners was an E12 that’s as straight as an arrow, its trusty Big Six M30 motor accessorising its brawny 3.0-litres of displacement with a big-valve race head, Schrick cams, a modified inlet and tubular exhaust manifold to get the engine acting as a more effective sort of air pump, and a peak power figure of 270hp. Oh, and there’s that jazzy colour scheme, of course…
“The livery was chosen in conjunction with Goodwood. It’s a car that’s been racing for many years and although it’s white all over, there were bits of red paint around the car in various places, so we decided to recreate the UFO colours. We painted all the red livery with lining tape and spray, copying the design exactly from a photo of the car at Zandvoort in 1977. This was a solid week’s work for two of us!”
It must have been a lot of fun to draw up, if perhaps a little stressful. In profile, the arcing lines mimic the whorls of a fingerprint, humping up and down like some deranged rollercoaster. The fat stripes offer a beautiful counterpoint to the delicacy of the car’s brightwork and slender window frames, whilst perfectly complementing the high, chunky sidewalls of those Dunlop control tyres. And you can just imagine what an intimidating presence it would create thundering up in your rear-view mirror, jutting sharknose flanked by brutal deckchair bonnet stripes and large-scale ‘UFO’ lettering. It may be painted like a big top, but it’s more scary than it is jovial. And the sound from that cannon-bore side-exit exhaust? It’s shouty on an interstellar level.
“The car’s certainly caused a lot of interest!” grins Phil, rightly proud of his colourful creation. “There were pictures in the motoring press even after its first shakedown, and its first race appearance at the 73rd Members’ Meeting this year saw it being a star attraction – we spent most of the weekend talking to enthusiasts about it, and it seemed to dominate the TV coverage!
“After #Goodwood had sent me the official invite, it offered Emanuele Pirro as a celebrity driver,” he continues. “He’s a very nice man and a fantastic driver, and having worked with him at the previous year’s Members’ Meeting while preparing John Young’s Capri, I jumped at the chance to have him in the car.” We don’t doubt that – having sacrificed so much daylight and human contact in the task of getting the 530i race-ready, it’s a ringing endorsement to have such a big name giving the car a thorough workout for the crowds, particularly given his history in the #ETCC with the #Schnitzer #BMW team.
It may have been an arduous journey to transform the car from tired old racer to tight-as-a-drum contender in time for its stellar debut in the UFO colours, but the job’s been done with alacrity. And as a tribute to that relentless, unstoppable meisterwerk of 1977? Well, it couldn’t be any better. Luigi would undoubtedly be proud.
TECH DATA BMW ‘ #BMW-UFO ’ 530i E12 /// #BMW-530i-E12-UFO
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: #M30 / #M30B30 3.0-litre straight-six, big-valve race head, #Schrick cams, tubular exhaust manifold, modified inlet, #Getrag gearbox, #ZF limited-slip diff, 3.6:1 ratio. 270hp.
CHASSIS: 8x15-inch #BBS replicas with 475/1000-15 #Dunlop CR65 control tyres, #GAZ shocks and modified front legs with bespoke springs and valving set up, #Polyflex bushes and rose-joints (to permitted specs), modified anti-roll bars, solid-mount rear subframe, strut brace, adjustable top mounts, #Wilwood front brakes with #Pagid pads and cooling ducting, stock rear brakes.
EXTERIOR: Stock body, hand-painted recreation #UFON Jeans 1977 livery.
INTERIOR: Original dash with #Alpina clocks, extra gauge pod with #VDO gauges, original doorcards, full #FIA rollcage, Sparco seat, Sabelt harness.
THANKS: Paul at Wheelbase for his dedication and hard work with us getting this car ready and competitive in such a short time – without his efforts it would not have got done.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.