- Post is under moderationGREAT WHITE #Volkswagen-Corrado-G60 / #Volkswagen-Corrado / #Volkswagen / #VW-Corrado-G60 / #VW-Corrado / #VW / #2017 / #1992 / #Autostrada / #Volkswagen-Corrado-Supercharged / #Volkswagen-Corrado-G60-Supercharged
Modified Corrados are hard to come by at the best of times and tastefully tuned ones even more so. Thankfully, Declan Bowyer’s G60 is a good egg! Words & Photos: Jon Cass
It was only around five or six years back that VW’s striking Corrado seemed to be making a major comeback with an array of modified examples suddenly breaking on to the show scene. There was much whooping and high-fiving from Corrado fans all round, yet disappointingly, this trend has slowed down more recently. Thankfully it looks like at least a few are waiting in the wings. The vast number of stunning, fresh VAG builds at 2016’s Elsecar At The Races was truly mind blowing, yet it hadn’t gone unnoticed that there were barely any non-standard Corrados present still. There was one though, and boy did it stand out… as the two trophies from that day will testify.
Declan Bowyer may only be 27-years-old, but his passion for VW’s timeless coupe stems back to 2007 when he was just 17. “I went to my first Dub meet that year and there was a blue Corrado VR6 running Schmidt Modernlines with Porsche seats. From that moment on I knew this was the car to have,” Declan smiled. Yet, like so many of us, his driving career actually began with a classic Mini. “I learnt a lot from that car in the time I had it, even though it was eventually stripped and never fully rebuilt, “ Declan confesses, “I met my girlfriend, Carly at a VW show soon after and bought a Mk1 Golf GX.” The Mk1 was never going to be a show winner as Declan’s budget was very limited at the time. It was, however, lowered to the max and consequently more was spent replacing sumps than tyres!
“While I had the Mk1, I started looking around at Corrados, but I was still only 19 at the time,” Declan remembers. “I noticed new ones pop up on eBay and this white, ’92 G60 appeared for sale only two hours away from me, so I went over to have a look.” When a vendor is genuinely into his cars, especially the model you’re buying, that’s always a good sign and fortunately this was the case here. “He had other interesting projects on the go including a Mk1 Caddy with a V6 Audi lump in the back. Thankfully the Corrado seemed genuine, so I went for it.” Apparently it was also completely standard, still wearing its factory BBS RZs, complete with matching spare wheel and cloth seats, though this wasn’t in the best condition and the bodywork had began to show signs of rust; “I didn’t think it needed much work despite this, but I’m sure as anyone else with a G60 Corrado will know that they can soon turn into a money pit,” Declan laughs.
Initially things went well and Declan drove his new purchase around for around two years with no serious problems; “I didn’t plan on heavily modifying the car to start with,” Declan explains, “I just added a set of coilovers, a new exhaust and painted the wheels.” The Corrado was even driven to the Nurburgring where it performed pretty well, but shortly after things started to go wrong. “The head gasket let go on a trip back from Cornwall, but at least this gave me the excuse to remove the head and opt for a Stage 2 upgrade with gas-flowed, ported and polished head,” Declan smiles.
Attention then turned to the worn cloth interior, which would arguably have been a little downmarket even when the car was new. Luckily Declan’s partner, Carly had decided to remove some of the mods from her Lupo before putting it up for sale and amongst these were a pair of Porsche 964 half-leather seats, which really suit the Corrado. Declan managed to source a set of leather door cards, a rear bench and also added a black carpet with fresh Alcantara headlining to match. “Soon, after all the interior had been completed, I was driving along and suddenly the front subframe snapped,” Declan recalls, “I had to buy a new subframe, which I strengthened, but there had been a lot of suspension damage caused, too, so I bought a set of KW Variant 1 coilovers, a poly bush kit and wishbones. I then had everything powder coated and sealed to eliminate anything like this happening again.”
By now a pattern was emerging where modifications had escalated following disasters and more were yet to come. There was a brief reprieve before disaster number three struck, however, enough to give Declan time to sort the deteriorating bodywork. “I was still driving the Corrado on a daily basis and this was having an adverse effect on the paintwork,” Declan recalls, “rust was starting to appear in a few places and I needed to get it sorted before it got too bad.”
Luckily Declan had a friend that worked at Lexus who was offering to carry out a full respray. All Declan needed was to strip the car first to save time in the paint shop. “I remember it was winter time and I had to drive the car there in the snow with no windows in, which was certainly an experience,” Declan laughs. “I wanted to keep it the original Alpine white as at the time I had no intentions of spraying the engine bay.” The end result was flawless, but this also meant the Corrado was now too nice to remain a daily driver.
As 2012 came around it marked a return to the now familiar disaster zone when the G60 engine packed up whilst returning from Nottingham; “We’d just bought our first Royal Python snake (as you do – All) and were on our way home, so we had a few strange looks from the recovery driver as we tried to conceal the snake in a fabric bag,” Declan smiles.
The failure of the G60 at least meant Declan had an excuse to sort out the engine bay, which was by now letting the side down compared to the rest of the car; “I had to take the engine out anyway, so it was a now or never decision when it came to smoothing the bay itself,” he remembers. This would be the hardest part of the whole build taking loads of time and patience with all of the work carried out by Declan, his family and a few mates in his tiny garage. “I’d not carried out any fabrication work on this scale before, but as I’m a hands-on type of guy, I was ready to give it a go,” Declan tells us. “I’d studied other cars I’d seen at shows along with magazine features which helped a lot, but all the work involved and having to buy parts in from Germany and the USA meant the Corrado was off the road for two years in total.
Once all the fabrication work was complete, the bay could be sprayed by the highly respected, Tim Ansell at True Paintworks; “When it came back it blew my mind, but I then started panicking about how I was going to put an engine and all its ancillaries back inside without causing any damage,” Declan adds.
The damage to the original engine was unrepairable, so a second-hand unit was sourced and rebuilt from a bare block, complete with PG Stage 2 gas-flowed and ported head with Bar-Tek hydraulic lifter kit. It also benefits from 550cc injectors and looks the part with that custom G60 cam cover. The supercharger is a Stage 4 Jabba Sport item with 65mm pulley and Declan has also added a BBM induction kit, with a custom intake pipe, angled to exactly 90 degrees along with custom coolant hoses and a Mocal oil cooler. Some serious smoothing has taken place on the manifold and the custom intercooler set up includes a Rallye U-bend, custom hoses and top-fill radiator, while the exhaust system is now a Milltek Classic item with de-cat connected to a four-branch stainless manifold. “I‘m really happy with the result, especially the colour coding, which went just as planned,” Declan smiles. “The only aspect I’d change is the stock ECU (currently running an SNS Pro Digi-lag custom chip), as I could have omitted a lot of sensors and running issues, though these problems have finally been sorted out,” he said.
With the engine back in, thanks to a cupboard full of bed sheets to protect the bay, Declan then had to reroute the wiring underneath to retain that cleaned look. The ECU is now inside the cabin and the battery and washer bottle are located in the boot, while the ignition coil is mounted on the scuttle panel. “I then had to make my own length HT leads to the coil to keep that hidden and ran the vacuum hose for the ECU through to the inside of the car,” Declan points out, “I could then get rid of the coolant expansion bottle thanks to the top fill radiator I’d made.”
You can understand by Declan’s detailed explanation why the whole engine bay process took two years. In fact, given the amount of thought and money that’s gone into it all, we’re surprised it didn’t take him longer!
The final puzzle to solve was now the wheels… the make or break point of any modified car. “I knew which wheels I wanted all along; a set of dark grey, 16” Autostrada Monzas and it had taken four years to find some,” Declan recalls. “The dishes were refurbed by Ellie at Voodoo Motorsport and Slam Signs managed to reproduce the original logo in gold leaf to make them perfect. I couldn’t wait to get them on, but as ever this didn’t go to plan,” Declan recalls. “I had already upgraded the brakes to Ibiza Cupra R Brembo callipers and discs and had been advised these wheels would just bolt straight up to them. They did on the rear over my Mk4 brake conversion, but not on the front so I had to shave 10mm from the calliper carriers, which did the trick!” The result is tight, but it works perfectly and stops on a penny according to Declan.
Seven years of hard graft and a last minute fitment of an OMP steering wheel eventually saw the Corrado make a return to the road where it soon picked up a healthy stack of trophies, a reward for Declan’s efforts. “I’m really proud at what I’ve achieved along with some help along the way and what seemed like an endless string of disasters has resulted in a positive outcome,” Declan smiles. The Corrado may often be overlooked these days, but when you see creations like this spring out of the woodwork, it’s sometimes hard to work out why.
Porsche 964 seats always look at home in a 'Rado, don't they? Royal Python snakes (just out of shot), not so much...
"I’m sure as anyone else with a G60 Corrado will know that they can soon turn into a money pit”
"I had to take the engine out, so it was A now or never decision when it came to smoothing the bay"
Dub Details #Volkswagen
ENGINE: 1.8-litre four-cylinder G60 in smoothed engine bay with Stage 2 head, #Stage-4-supercharger with Rallye U-bend – painted in Toyota Demeca grey. #BBM fuel rail, pressure regulator, 550cc injectors, custom coolant pipes, custom intercooler set-up, BBM modified induction kit, smoothed inlet manifold – painted in Toyota Demeca grey, #Supersprint four-branch stainless exhaust manifold, #Milltek exhaust system with decat. Expansion tank deleted, battery relocation to boot, washer relocation to boot, custom wire tuck, #SNS 5.5 Digi-Lag ECU chip, custom silicone induction hoses, custom top-fill radiator, custom G60 cam cover, braided fuel lines, braided oil cooler lines, Mocal oil cooler with thermostat, MSD Blaster coil with Magnacor HT leads, Stage 2 carbon Kevlar clutch kit, #Walbro 226 fuel pump
CHASSIS: 7x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) ” #Autostrada-Monza wheels painted metallic grey with polished lips and black barrels with Nankang NS2 tyres and 30mm 4x100 to 5x114.3 custom adapters. #KW-Variant-1 coilovers, poly-bushed front subframe, poly-bushed steering rack, poly-bushed wishbones, Mk4 Golf top suspension mounts, #Eibach anti-roll bars with poly-bushed mounts, Ibiza Cupra R Brembo front callipers (modified), 305mm drilled and grooved front and rear discs, Mintex front brake pads, custom front braided brake hoses, Mk4 Golf alloy rear callipers, #EBC Ultimax rear brake pads, custom braided brake lines, Porsche 944 brake fluid reservoir
EXTERIOR: Full respray in VW Alpine white, side strips deleted, badgeless grille, tinted headlights, carbon number plate light plate, 50mm front VR6 splitter, rear wiper deleted
INTERIOR: Porsche 964 half-leather Alcantara front seats, Corrado black leather rear bench and door cards, OMP 330mm steering wheel, black Alcantara roof and sunroof lining, black VR6 sun visors, leather handbrake lever
SHOUT: This has been a family and friends build and I couldn’t have done it without them. Huge thanks to Tom Justice, my brother Sean Bowyer, my mum and dad, Les Bowyer and Barbara Bowyer, my friend Joe Whitmore who apparently helped in some way, my fiancée Carly Dolman, Tim Ansell at True Paintworks and my friend Paul Cross, Ellie at Voodoo Motorsport and everyone who has supported me along the way, plus Chris Perry for helping to find the photo shoot locationStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationWILD 600HP E36 Elite D’s turbo’d 3 Series
This Elite Developments 600hp E36 is the result of years of development and a love for all things turbocharged… Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Steve Hall.
Elite Developments’ turbo E36
THE BOOSTED ELITE
The E36 328i Sport is a car that’s been appreciating in value of late. However, six years ago they didn’t quite have the same worth and so made the perfect project base for Steve Dixon, owner of BMW-specialised tuning shop Elite Developments. Steve’s plans soon escalated from a simple reworking to a complete overhaul, complete with a 600hp turbocharged heart…
“I bought the car off eBay completely unseen. It was down in Bognor Regis,” Steve explains. “At the time it was really difficult to get a 328i Sport as there wasn’t many of them for sale. I contacted the guy and made him an offer based on his description of the condition and the pictures on eBay. I then took a four-hour train journey from Essex to go and get it. It was a completely mint, standard car, as described. I was looking for one to convert into a drift car.
“Initially my plans were just to weld the diff and put some coilovers on it, and that was it. I fitted the coils while my mate welded the diff. It was just going to be a daily drifter but then we went to Gatebil 2012 and saw that nearly every BMW there was running a turbo M5x engine. That got me thinking…
“After speaking to a few of the locals about how they’d done it, I came to the realisation that building a turbo #BMW wasn’t as hard as I first thought. Then came the process of pricing up all the bits I needed.”
The 328’s alloy-block M52 isn’t the perfect base for turbocharging as they tend to allow the head to lift and generally aren’t as strong as iron block variants, so Steve sourced an #M50B25-non-Vanos engine and set about making a hybrid of the two. This meant using the M50 block, head and pistons but with the M52’s crank and rods, creating a 2.8-litre M50 – an ‘M50B28’ as they’re often known. The bottom end was tied together with coated big-end bearings and ARP bolts, with #ARP studs and a Cometic 0.140” multi-layer steel head gasket used up top for a drop in compression and an increase in reliability.
The end result is an engine about as strong as it’s possible to get without going for fullon aftermarket forged rods and pistons – perfect for Steve’s plans for big boost.
“The hardest part was trying to source a right-hand drive turbo manifold as nobody seemed to sell one,” Steve explains. “This is why we started to design what is now the Elite Developments cast RHD turbo manifold. It took three years to create but we are now very happy with the final product.”
The Elite Developments manifold was formulated to fit all M5x engines that use a four-bolt-per-cylinder pattern, fitting around all of the steering and usual headache areas and allowing bottom-mount fitment of any T3-flanged turbo along with an external wastegate. Steve’s particular setup uses a Garrett GT3582R turbo and a Tial 38mm wastegate, pushing boost through a 600x300x80mm intercooler and into the M50 intake manifold.
Air is sucked into the turbo through a K&N filter, while fuelling is taken care of with Siemens 60lb injectors and a Walbro 255lph pump. To keep oil temperatures in check, Steve’s used an S50 oil filter housing converted to run AN lines, which are linked to a Mocal oil cooler. A neat product from Elite Developments allowed the intercooler and oil cooler to be bolted into the E36’s front end without any troubles. To control the whole thing Steve’s used a VEMs standalone ECU with the result being a dyno-proven 495hp and 480lb ft at 0.8bar. Steve has since had it mapped to run at 1.5bar which should be good enough for around 600hp.
All that power is well and good but without being able to transmit it to the ground, it’s useless. Steve retained the strong five-speed ZF gearbox that came with the 328i, with a six-paddle ceramic clutch sandwiched between it and the boosted M50. Out back is a 328i Sport 2.93 LSD, rebuilt for a 40% lockup and braced into position to guard against failure.
The final step of getting power to the ground is, of course, the wheel and tyre setup. The E36 isn’t always the easiest car to get a wide tyre onto but Steve solved that with a set of ABS plastic rivet-on arches from US firm Hard Motorsport. These have allowed the comfortable fitment of 8.5x18” front and 10x18” rear Rota Grids wrapped in grippy 235/40 and 265/35 Yokohama Advan AD08s respectively. Not only do they look great but they enable fast progress when the M50 comes up on boost. The arches offer a rub-free fit, too.
The chassis setup has seen plenty of work to get it all working happily, both when travelling in a straight line and sideways. Before anything was bolted underneath it Steve took care of the usual E36 weak spots using parts raided from the Elite Developments stock room. Subframe mounting and trailing arm pocket reinforcement plates were welded into the shell, with the front crossmember reinforced to stop the engine mounts tearing themselves free.
To get the steering lock that Steve needed for drifting, TND extended lower arms and modified hubs were fitted, along with BC Racing coilovers and an E46 330i brake setup. At the rear Steve used BC Racing again to convert the suspension from a shock and spring setup to a true coilover one, adding adjustable camber arms to get the setup dialled-in. Finally the whole lot has been polybushed and Steve’s added a BMW front lower crossbrace as well as GCFabrications front and rear strut braces to stiffen the shell.
Another element that adds stiffness is the Safety Devices roll-cage, nicely painted in contrasting Porsche GT3 RS green – aside from that the interior doesn’t contain a great deal as weight reduction has been the main aim. The rear firewall has been nicely blocked off with an Elite Developments plate and there’s a supportive Recaro bucket for the driver, complete with four-point harness.
Recent additions to the exterior have included a genuine Rieger carbon-fibre GT splitter and a new Elite Developments product: a huge rear wing. However, sadly, since our shoot Steve has actually broken the car for parts, moving his M50 turbo experience onto a cool new project – a Techno violet E34 525i.
Steve’s E36 goes to show that we can all get carried away – even the simplest intentions can turn into a far bigger project than originally planned, especially with a little inspiration from overseas. It also shows how experiencing a problem can turn up a great solution – Elite Developments’ turbo manifolds have now been selling for almost a year, helping RHD BMW drivers all over the UK solve the somewhat historic issue of steering clearance when running a turbo. From a hardcore E36 drifter Steve’s now looking to add some turbocharged flair to his old-school Five, and we can’t want to see what happens next.
“We saw that nearly every BMW there was running a turbo M5x engine. That got me thinking”
DATA FILE / #BMW-Elite-Developments / #BMW-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-E36-Elite-Developments / #BMW-328i-Sport / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328i-Sport-E36 / / #BMW-328i-Elite-Developments / #Elite-Developments / #BMW-328i-Elite-Developments-E36 / #Rota-Grid / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36
ENGINE ‘ #M50B28 ’ #non-Vanos , #M50B25 block and head, #M52B28 / #M50 / #BMW-M50 crankshaft and con rods, M50B25 pistons, performance coated main bearings, performance coated big-end bearings, ARP rod bolts, #ARP head studs, #Cometic 0.140” MLS head gasket, Elite Developments RHD turbo manifold, #Garrett-GT3582R turbo, #Tial 38mm wastegate, #K&N filter with #GCFabrications heat shield, ram air feed from foglight, AC #Schnitzer exhaust, #Siemens 60lb injectors, #Walbro 255lph fuel pump, #VEMS-ECU , Mocal oil cooler with AN lines, S50 oil filter housing, #Vorschlag nylon competition engine mounts
TRANSMISSION E36 328i five-speed #ZF-manual-gearbox , six-paddle ceramic clutch, Elite Developments bolt-through polyurethane gearbox mounts, #IRP shifter, 328i Sport 2.93:1 LSD fully rebuilt with 40% lockup, diff brace
CHASSIS 18x8.5” (front) and 18x10” (rear) #Rota-Grid-Drifts with 235/40 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Advan Neova AD08 tyres, Elite Developments wheel stud conversion, full #BC-Racing coilover setup with 12kg front and 8kg rear spring rates, TND modified hubs for extra lock, TND extended lower arms, adjustable camber arms, polybushed throughout, Elite Developments front subframe reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear subframe reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear trailing arm reinforcement kit, Elite Developments rear topmount reinforcement kit, #BMW-Motorsport front crossbrace, #GC-Fabrications front and rear strut braces, E46 330i front brakes, E36 M3 Evo brake servo and master cylinder
EXTERIOR Rieger carbon fibre GT splitter, Hard Motorsport rivet-on wide arches, Elite Developments rear spoiler, foglight air intake
INTERIOR Safety Devices roll-cage painted in Porsche GT3 RS green, Elite Developments rear firewall block-off plate, Recaro driver’s seat, AEM wideband AFR gauge, Defi boost gauge
CONTACT www.elite-d.co.ukStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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AMERICAN AT HEART
A supercharged #LS1 has created a monster of an E36. Whilst many E36 owners might dream of M3 straight-six or M5 V8 conversions, Ian Sutton has gone down a whole different route by fitting a supercharged LS1 V8… Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Gary Hawkins.
Engine options on the E36 from the factory were fairly plentiful – from the 102bhp 1.6-litre M40 to the 321bhp 3.2-litre S50 M3 Evo powerplant, BMW had it pretty well covered. But for some people – especially once you start talking modified car owners – too much is never enough, and we’re seeing E46 M3 straight-six, E39 M5 V8 and even some E60 M5 V10 conversions taking place more and more often. But while Bavarian horsepower is all well and good, why not think out of the box?
The General Motors LS-series of engines, or #Crate-V8 s as they’re often known, are a common choice for those wanting a simple, effective and proven way of reliable horsepower. There’s simply no denying it – there’s no replacement for displacement – and these engines are being seen fitted to all manner of cars, from Corvettes to Camaros, trucks to 4x4s, and (most importantly in this story) even the Holden Monaro, otherwise sold as the Vauxhall Monaro and Pontiac GTO. Far from the small block Chevrolet V8 many people seem to mix it up with, most LS engines have an all-aluminium construction, fuel injection, and are generally a far more modern proposal than you might think. And considering their displacement, they’re pretty compact units too.
Rewind just over five years, and you’d find BMW technician Ian Sutton thinking just the same – why doesn’t someone put the well-proven LS engine into an E36? He had the first part of the recipe, an E36 328i Sport, already, which he’d bought when he finished his apprenticeship at Coventry BMW and used for a couple of years before the Yank engine idea came up. Ian is also lucky enough to have a good friend who specialises in breaking the aforementioned Holden/Vauxhall Monaro, so you can see where the inspiration came from.
Ian’s engine of choice was the 5.7-litre LS1 from early Monaros, his in fact coming from the US-spec Pontiac GTO. And once it was in his hands it was time to get to work.
Not wanting to risk damaging his 328i in the process, he bought another one from work to use as a test shell for all the fabrication that would be involved. It was separated from its engine and the bay removed of all its clutter. Ian makes it sound so simple, but the next step was to hoist the GM V8 into the position he wanted it to sit and then fabricate mounts on the E36’s crossmember to suit – albeit after a bit of sump alteration to get it to fit behind the crossmember. At the same time it seemed the perfect opportunity to baffle it to avoid oil starvation during hard cornering. With the sump being off at that time, Ian decided to replace the standard con rod bolts with ARP items for added strength and durability.
With that done and the engine positioning perfected, the gearbox mounts could be fabricated, and stage one of the build was complete. Of course, the engine and gearbox weren’t hooked up to anything other than each other, but at least they were positioned in the car.
A full M3 Evo rear axle was to be used, so as with any engine transplant of this kind, a custom propshaft had to be manufactured first. Custom gear linkage was also created so that the gearstick could remain in the original position in the cockpit while governing the Tremec T56 six-speed gearbox from the Pontiac. Not content with leaving it standard though, Ian fitted a lightweight Spec aluminium flywheel, LS7 clutch, XRP braided clutch line and a GMM Ripshifter for faster revving and shifting.
Around the same time, Ian’s Monarobreaking friend was over in Australia and had got talking to Scotty at Capa Superchargers, which is well known Down Under for offering forced induction for many different cars, including the Holden Monaro. It didn’t take long for Ian to be convinced, and before he knew it, the Vortech-based ’charger kit was sitting on his doorstep.
Adding a whole new dimension to the build, it was soon discovered that the supercharger simply wasn’t going to fit the E36’s relatively narrow engine bay – not with the standard supercharger bracket anyway. With the help of good friend Gary, and with Ian having been part-trained as an engineer before becoming a mechanic, a plan was made, and the pair got straight on with measuring up the engine and bay (a painstaking process in itself, making sure all the pulleys lined up absolutely perfectly), then designing thier own bracketry for a variety of the components and having a local engineer construct it from billet aluminium. To keep the whole lot cool, Ian had Allisport fabricate the radiator, intercooler and oil cooler to his specifications, which all sit just behind the front bumper.
The exhaust was yet another challenge, as not only did it need to take the gases from the V8 as efficiently as possible, it was a pretty tight squeeze between the E36’s chassis legs, too. The only solution was to go custom, and Wye Valley Garage – where the project spent much of its time – was able to help. A fully TIG-welded stainless steel exhaust system from the manifolds to the tailpipes is the result of their hard work, and we have to say it looks absolutely perfect, and the silencers are repackable too. Finishing off the installation itself is an almost headache-inducingly well planned combination of parts. From the custom power steering fluid tank (with a #BMW cap mind you), to the E46 M3 header tank, OEM (but not necessarily 328i, in case you start thinking this is the easy bit) hoses that can be found all around the engine bay, to the XRP aeroquip fuel and oil lines used throughout, it doesn’t lack in attention to detail. Such was Ian’s quest to make it all look as factory as possible, he’s even used OEM BMW hose clips rather than Jubilees! When the time came to move the engine, gearbox, supercharger, exhaust, crossmember and gearbox mounts over to his prized E36 – he wasn’t going to do it by halves either.
They say a picture tells a thousand words, but let me tell you, even a thousand pictures couldn’t tell the story of just how immaculate this E36 is; Ian has rebuilt it bolt-for-bolt, using new components throughout, and powdercoating every part he could. You name it, it’s been uprated, replaced, or painted. The M3 Evo rear subframe and axle, M3 Evo front wishbones and hubs and brakes all-round, all new bushes, balljoints, links, Bilstein PSS9 coilovers, Eibach anti-roll bars… the list goes on. And it’s not just the underside that’s better than new, the bodywork is too, thanks to a bare metal respray. It really is astonishing, and it perhaps is only justified by seeing it in the metal.
Fuelling and management was dealt with surprisingly simply – being an engine so popular for transplants, especially over the Pond, management solutions are very well catered for. First, the ECU was sent over to Capa to be unlocked, having all of its security limitations taken off and being given a base map on HP Tuners software. To match the airflow that the supercharger was bringing to the table, a Walbro fuel pump rated to 255 litres per hour pushes the fuel through a Fuel Lab filter and adjustable fuel pressure regulator, before being flung into the engine by 42lb injectors. It’s certainly a promising sounding combination.
Rolling stock duties are put to #BBS LM replicas – Ian had originally wanted black centres with a polished lip, but there were differences between the 8.5”- and 9.5”-wide variants, so he went for all black rims with a subtle red line around the edges, and measuring 19” in diameter. The rest of the styling is a very much OEM affair, with a combination of M3 GT components, AC Schnitzer mirrors and subtle rebadging; the front and rear roundels having been swapped for carbon items, while the side rub strip badges – which Ian had custom-made by a local signwriter – now read supercharged.
One of the final steps was the interior, which Ian wanted kept as stock as possible. Again, nothing but the best would do, so perfect black leather and as little clue as possible as to what engine lies beneath. M3 gauges are cleverly hooked up to work with the new engine, made possible by the HP Tuners software, and to keep a really close eye on what’s going on underneath the bonnet, Ian’s installed a trio of Autometer gauges in the centre console, monitoring oil pressure, fuel pressure and boost. Not only are they installed neatly, but Ian took a long time researching to find a range of gauges that matched the factory orange lighting so as not to look out of place – his attention to detail really is mind-blowing.
The car made it’s debut at Santa Pod last year with great success, and on the strip it managed a 12.7 quarter-mile at 110mph – impressive, especially considering it was on a base map, and Ian was taking it easy. Of course he was keen to have it fully mapped to see what it could do, though, and John Sleath Racing was put in charge of the mapping, and the results were mightily impressive. A peak of 530.4bhp is only half the story – 550lb ft of torque is the kind of figure hardly any tuned BMW engine can boast, and especially not delivered in the same effortless way as the ’charged LS1, making it the ideal road car.
While the engine may not be a traditional choice for an E36, Ian’s more than proved it’s a good one. With power and torque in abundance, as well as an incredible V8 soundtrack, an overall feel of OEM quality (and then some!) and increased driveability and performance, he’s really shown that it doesn’t have to be a BMW engine to feel original. So the purists may hate it, but there’s no denying that it’s incredible. If for some reason BMW had made its own LS1- powered E36, I can’t help but think it would struggle to beat the perfection that Ian has struck upon. Thinking out of the box? Pah, he’s blown it to bits.
DATA FILE #Vortech / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-328i / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328Ci / #BMW-328Ci-E36 / #BMW-E36-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-E36-V8 / #BMW-E36-LS1 / #BMW-E36-GM-LS1 / #GM / #BMW / #Tremec /
ENGINE: 5.7-litre #V8 #GM-LS1 / , #Vortech-V2 supercharger, #ARP con rod bolts, custom #ZF-PAS pump and mounting bracket, custom billet aluminium supercharger bracket and auto tensioner, custom baffled oil pan, #Earls-Performance oil thermostat, #Allisport custom front mount oil cooler, radiator, PAS tank with #BMW cap, front mount intercooler and pipework and oil catch tank, E46 M3 header tank, #Vortech-Maxiflow blow-off valve, 42lb injectors, #Walbro 255l/h fuel pump, #Fuel-Lab fuel filter and adjustable fuel pressure regulator, #XRP-Aeroquip fuel and oil lines, custom front cross member and engine mounts, custom fully TIG-welded exhaust including manifolds and repackable silencers, custom engine wiring harness, GM ECU with 2bar map and fully remappable HP Tuners software
TRANSMISSION: #Tremec-T56 six-speed gearbox, custom gearbox mounts, Spec lightweight aluminium flywheel, LS7 clutch, custom propshaft, #XRP clutch lines and remote bleeder, #GMM-Ripshifter with custom gear lever, full E36 M3 Evo rear axle
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) #BBS-LM replicas shod in 225/40 and 265/30 Falken FK452s respectively. Bilstein PSS9 coilovers, #Eibach anti-roll bars, M3 Evo front wishbones and hubs, AC Schnitzer carbon front strut brace, custom lower strut brace, Z3 M quick steering rack; full nut and bolt rebuild including all new bushes, balljoints and links with all new components powdercoated. E36 M3 Evo brakes all-round (315mm discs front, 312mm discs rear) with Performance Friction pads all-round and XRP braided lines
EXTERIOR: Full bare metal respray in original Arctic silver, face-lift nose cone, M3 Evo front splitter, M3 GT corner splitters and M3 bumper mesh, M3 GT two-piece rear spoiler, AC Schnitzer mirrors, carbon fibre front and rear roundels, supercharged badges in rubstrips
INTERIOR: OEM full black leather interior, #AC-Schnitzer short shift gear knob, E36 M3 clocks with oil temperature gauge, #Autometer boost, fuel pressure and oil pressure gauges, Alpine CDA 105 RI head unit
THANKS: www.wyevalleygarage.co.uk for the exhaust, fabrication, workspace and storage (01989 565001), www.lsxv8.co.uk for LS spares and conversions, Allisport (01452 751187), Scotty at Capa Superchargers (006 1885 823499), John Sleath Racing for the mapping (07976 751742), Nic J Racing (07970 192715), Gaz, Slim and Zip, Sytner BMW Birmingham Parts Department
Ian and the friends that have helped him make it look easy – modifying and baffling the sump and fabricating engine mounts, the exhaust and the supercharger bracket as well as many other parts. There’s also the tuning itself to consider, with the lightened flywheel and other uprated transmission components,
the supercharger and intercooler, and of course all the pipework and hoses, which all look OEM. A dimple had to be made in the inner wing to fit the ’charger too.
Combine that with practically rebuilding the entire car with everything renewed and powdercoated, and you can see what makes the car quite so amazing.
Other than the noise, the average passenger wouldn’t know the difference.
Unshakeable power – 5.7 supercharged American litres worth of it in fact – oof!
There’s simply no denying it – there’s no replacement for displacement.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationROUGH DIAMOND
Purists may argue that the Mk3 GTI wasn’t exactly the Golf’s finest hour, but Kyle Wilinsky begs to differ. He’s a ‘never say never’ kinda guy… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jonathan DeHate.
The concept of the ‘difficult second album’ is something muchdocumented in the music press.
Bands that come in strong with their first long-players can find themselves mired in their own hype, their early work becoming an impossible act to follow – look at The Stone Roses’ Second Coming, The Strokes’ Room on Fire, or The Clash’s Give ’Em Enough Rope; following the success of such strong debuts, these LPs were always doomed to be sidelined. And it can be true of third albums too – a band may manage to hurdle Difficult Second Album Syndrome, only to come crashing headfirst into Questionable Third Album territory. Just ask Oasis about Be Here Now.
This is precisely where Volkswagen’s GTI sub-brand found itself in the early 1990s, with the advent of the Mk3 Golf and all of the peaks and troughs that car entailed. With the Mk1 GTI having woven itself firmly and celestially into the firmament of all-time greats, the Mk2 carrying on the good work with forthright decisiveness, and then ramping up the levels of excellence with casual aplomb in the sublime 16v evolution, the third-generation hot hatch came as something of a damp squib. 150bhp-odd was handy enough, but the thing suffered from a bit of middle-age spread, it was podgier and less agile. Perfectly okay for some, but not really good enough for others.
However, in the USA that fabled GTI badge could also be found glued next to one that read ‘VR6’ (rather than being separate entities like in Europe), and the addition of a couple of cylinders and a further 20bhp or so helped to liven things up a bit. And that’s where the story begins for the Golf we’re looking at today…
The story of its owner, Kyle Wilinsky, starts rather earlier: “My love for Volkswagens began when I was 15 years old,” the smiley Pennsylvanian explains. “I was introduced to the VWVortex forum, and that was that; when the time came to purchase my first vehicle, it had to be a #VW – in the end, it was a Mk2 Jetta.” You can see the seeds being sown here, can’t you?
An all-consuming online community, a fledgling first-hand introduction to the Golf platform, there was only one way this was destined to go. And it wasn’t long before those seeds grew up and bore fleshy Teutonic fruit. “After a couple more years and a couple more cars, a friend had this Mk3 Golf for sale; we came to a deal on the price and it was mine for $1800. It wasn’t in the best condition, quite neglected, but I only bought it as a cheap second car so I wasn’t too worried. I just gave it some basic maintenance and cleaned it up a bit.”
As you’ll have deduced from the photos (or if you’ve cheated and have already read the spec box), however, this wasn’t where the project stalled. As we hear so often from feature car owners, there was one sole spark of inspiration that crystallised into the kernel of an idea, and went on to dictate the ethos of the project from that date forth. In Kyle’s case, this spark showed itself during a joyride in a buddy’s car.
“I was offered a ride in a friend’s VR6 turbo, and from that moment I was completely hooked on the idea of fitting a turbo to my car,” he laughs. “I started ordering parts, and after a couple of months I had everything I needed to start the project. I guess I must mention that I had no real mechanical experience, and basically had to learn everything as I went, along with the help of some friends.” Kyle seems to be a man who enjoys a steep learning curve though, as it was only a matter of weeks before the newly force-induced motor was back together and offering an eye-watering 411bhp, which is certainly enough to quieten the Mk3 naysayers. “It was an absolute blast to drive,” he enthuses, as you might expect from someone who’s way more than doubled his car’s factory output using little more than a set of spanners and some well-placed advice. The sense of achievement must have been nearimmeasurable.
And naturally, with things going so well under the bonnet, Kyle’s eye began to turn to the rest of the car – after all, once you’ve started putting the effort in, you need to make it an object of personal pride, don’t you?
“The stock interior was pretty neglected, so I decided to pay it some attention,” he says. “I got it professionally detailed and the factory black really came to life; I was shocked at the result, and that’s when I started to gather parts for the exterior. I’d always loved the look of the Euro-spec GTI, so I knew that was the direction I was headed: I started purchasing everything I could get hold of for the full Euro makeover!”
Piece by piece the aesthetic transformation came together, with the ’98 GTI receiving bona fide texture-top bumpers, mouldings and arch flares, along with a shaved CL tailgate with its Euro-sized numberplate recess. Kyle hasn’t gone full OEM though; in fact, he’s cannonballed square-on into the choppy waters of obscure parts-hunting that define the builds of so many of you out there – when was the last time, for instance, that you saw a Henri Lloyd Yachting edition front lip? These appeared on an obscure Italian version of the Mk3 estate, and watercooled obsessives pay through the nose for them, if and when they can track them down.
“Eventually I started to get used to the power and decided to turn the boost up,” he recalls, slightly uneasily. “About 30 miles after I’d cranked it up to 22psi, the gearbox decided it wasn’t going to hold and shattered third gear! After doing some research I found that if I kept the power levels where they were, I was either going to deal with breaking and replacing gears regularly or I was going to have to build a stronger gearbox. I opted to park the car and save my money for some hardened straight-cut gears to ensure I would no longer have issues.”
By this point Kyle was around two years into ownership, and over the course of the next two years the car saw a number of changes to complement the evolving powertrain, with the Golf being reworked during the cold winter months to emerge from its chrysalis anew in the springtime – seats, wheels, they were changing all the time. “I’m never satisfied!” he laughs. “I’m always looking for fresh things to do with the car. I embarked upon a full engine bay shave and wire-tuck which, with the help of some friends, was a three-month marathon of grinding and welding… the bay and the motor are what I’m most proud of with this car, I spent countless hours and nights in the garage with friends and cheap beer to get the car ready.”
‘Ready’? Ah yes, Kyle had a target in mind to showcase the fruits of his labours – a Pennsylvania show entitled Cult Classic. With the date drawing ever nearer, our man was in the garage at all hours trying to get the thing tip-top, and his tireless endeavours paid off with gusto.
“I ended up winning ‘Best In Show’, out of around 500 cars,” he says, still flabbergasted. “Without a doubt it was the best feeling knowing that all my hard work was worth it and people were really enjoying the car.”
This was all going off in 2014, and the car has changed a fair bit since then. Well, as you might expect, really. People like Kyle aren’t prone to kicking their heels or watching the grass grow. Indeed, for this feature alone the car had to be reshot twice because Kyle kept changing things. “I really do have a problem,” he says, but it’s a pretty good problem to have.
“As I’m talking to you about it now, I’m only just realising that I’ve owned the car for seven years,” he continues, evidently slightly shellshocked by the telescoping effect of time’s relentless pendulum. “I can’t express how grateful I am for all the people that have helped me turn wrenches, given advice, or simply kept me company during this journey – it’s really what the car community is all about for me. The car has surpassed any of my expectations, and people really seem to love it and appreciate what I’ve built. The Golf has won multiple awards, was invited into Top Dawg class at H2Oi, and now this feature. Wow, what a feeling!” All of which serves to prove that you don’t need to be a scene darling or an Instagram celebrity to nail this VW lark. You can set out with an unloved example of a maligned model and, starting with a knowledge base and skillset close to zero, still manage to totally kill it on the showground time and time again.
The fact that this Golf is just as fast and agile as it is easy on the eye is solid testament to Kyle’s tenacity. He has put in the hours to make it work, and that’s what makes him a winner. He’s really got a taste for it now too… reckon the car’s looking the same today as it does here in print? No, of course it isn’t. Kyle’s always got plans. You’ll just have to keep an eye on the Mid-Atlantic water-cooled scene – this old-skool rough diamond is only going to keep getting sharper…
“The car has surpassed any of my expectations, and people really seem to love it and appreciate what I’ve built”
Dub Details / #VW-Golf-III / #VW-Golf-Mk3 / #VW-Golf-Mk-III / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-III / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-Mk3 / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6-III / #Volkswagen / #VW-Golf-VR6-Mk-III / #VW-Golf-VR6 / #VW-Golf-VR6-Mk3 / #VW / #Volkswagen-Golf-VR6 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Precision
ENGINE: Shaved and wire-tucked bay, 2.8-litre #VR6 , polished engine covers, #Megasquirt standalone ECU, #Precision-6262-T4 turbo, #ATP exhaust manifold, custom heat shield, #DEI turbo blanket, 3” stainless steel turbo-back exhaust, #Tial wastegate and blow-off valve, Precision 600 intercooler, custom intercooler piping, #Schimmel intake manifold, #Accufab 75mm throttle body with custom manifold adaptor, 034 fuel rail with 630cc injectors, #Walbro 255 fuel pump, #Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, #Mishimoto aluminium radiator, dual slim fans, custom aluminium coolant lines and overflow tank, Eurosport oil cooler, relocated temp sensors, hidden coilpack, custom front crossmember with #Black-Forest motor mounts, O2A gearbox with #APTuning straight-cut gears, #Quaife differential, #ARP hardware, reinforced clutch fork, #SPEC Stage 3 clutch, Euro-spec lightened flywheel, CAE shifter, O2J shift tower and cables
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 9x17” (rear) #CCW-D240 with brushed faces, polished lips, #ARP gold wheel bolts and goldplated lug nuts, Falken tyres, #Air-Lift suspension, #AccuAir-ELevel management, five gallon aluminium air tank, two #Viair-444C 444cc / #Viair compressors, #H&R 25mm front anti-roll bar, Eurosport rear strut brace, Audi TT 312mm front brakes with cross-drilled discs
EXTERIOR: Euro texture-top bumpers, shaved Euro CL tailgate, Euro textured mouldings and arch flares, shaved windscreen squirters, custom shortened mirrors, badgeless grill, Henri Lloyd Yachting front lip, Kamei air ducts, smoked indicators, Hella tail-lights, E-code headlights, #Bonrath mono wiper
INTERIOR: Recaro Sportster CS with suede inserts, suede wrapped A, B, and C pillars, suede headlining, custom rear seat delete with leather-wrapped air tank, Wiechers roll-cage, AEM digital boost controller, AEM air/fuel gauge, AEM oil PSI gauge, GReddy turbo timer, NRG quick release hub, Momo steering wheel, Alpine head unit, Pioneer speakers, JL Audio stealthbox with 10” JL audio subwoofer, JL audio amp
SHOUT: Thanks to my fiancée Lisa for always understanding and supporting my hobby. Borek, Adam, Jacob, Thompson, Jarad, Steve, Bergey, Rick at DEFIV, Jason at 4everkustoms, Andrew at Open Road Tuning, DeHate for the pics, and everyone else who has helped along the wayStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationROTOR PERDITION
There must be something in the water Down Under judging by this amazing turbo rotary-swapped E30. A lifetime of E30 obsession has led Ehsan Hazrati to build many insane projects. His latest project is stuffed with enough triangles to make Pythagoras weep, yet you’d never guess it from the outside. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Andrew Parliaros.
Now everybody from the 313, put your motherflippin’ hands up and follow me.” So spat Eminem in 8 Mile (kinda), allowing the previously unremarkable three-digit number a little screen time. Until this point, 313 had merely been a truncatable prime, Donald Duck’s registration number or, of course, the year in which Rome’s Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine was completed. But now, rather splendidly, we have a new function for the number 313. Even more aggressive than a riled-up Eminem, ladies and gentlemen, we present the E30 #BMW 313i.
I know, it doesn’t sound exciting when you put it like that, does it? But all is not as it seems here. True, the E30 harks back to an era when the boot badges did mostly relate to what was under the bonnet (a 318i was a 1.8, a 325i was a 2.5… you get the idea), so are we looking at an obscure variant with a 1.3-litre engine? And why would anyone want that?
Stick with the story, for your perceptions are about to be blown away in the most spectacular way possible. But first, let’s meet the man behind it. “My parents tell me that at the age of five I was drawing the round headlights and kidney grilles of the E30 BMW without really even knowing what it was,” says Ehsan Hazrati, the Sydneysider behind the steering wheel. “As I got older and got my licence, I had E30 after E30. I did all the modifications myself, from servicing to tuning, overhauling to suspension, bushings, sound systems etc. I did extensive research into E30 DTM race car suspension, brakes, and making them handle around corners at high speeds. I spent a lot of hours calculating and testing power-to-weight combinations, high RPM engines, and turbocharging power graph outputs. And a lot of trial-and-error!”
This, it’s pretty safe to say, is a man obsessed. After a long line of retro 3 Series, he finds himself today with three E30s making a nuisance of themselves on his driveway: a 900hp drag car that’s currently under construction; the family daily-driver four-door 316i that just happens to be running a 450hp Corvette LS1 V8; and the cheeky red number that’s splashed across these pages. This, for us, is the pick of the bunch – hence why it’s here – because, well, it’s just insane; not just the quality of finish and attention to detail but the fact that it’s running a Mazda rotary engine.
Aha. That cacophonous clanging is the sound of the penny dropping throughout the Drive-My readership. The 313i badge refers to the 13B rotary engine’s swept volume of 1308cc. Although, being a Wankel unit, you can’t really equate its displacement to that of a piston engine, its twin-654cc chambers aren’t even on nodding terms with a crank and- piston arrangement. But whichever way you cut it, this is a feisty manoeuvre. Ehsan’s opted for the 13B-REW variant, as found in twin-turbo form in the third generation RX-7, and it’s a bit of a cult icon.
It’s a bold play, but Ehsan has form with this sort of caper. His first three E30s may have enjoyed tweaked BMW four- and sixpots, but the fourth ended up with a 13B from a Mazda Cosmo, and it seems that this wacky experiment really flicked his switch, and he stuck with the formula. That part-built drag car we mentioned? That’s rocking rotors too. This fella just really digs triangles.
“From as long ago as I can remember, all I ever wanted was an old-school BMW,” he assures us. “I live by ‘classic not plastic’ and ‘built not bought’. The BMWs of this era represented great European design and true workmanship, and the last perfect lightweight rear-wheel drive chassis compared to the competitors – the KE Corolla, Mercedes 230E, Mazda RX-7 and so on – from that time.” You’ll note that he’s slipped a Mazda reference in there, though. Clearly a fusion was always on the cards – a greatest hits of the period, if you like. Well, it’s all subjective isn’t it?
“Yeah, I’ve always had a passion for E30s as well as for the lightweight, high-RPM feel of a turbo rotary engine,” Ehsan admits. “I had a picture in my head of what I wanted it to look and feel like; people from the E30 scene tend either to have a really clean slow-and-standard car or a roughened-up fast one. I wanted to build an all-rounder – a show-stopper that drops jaws but that could also be used as a street-legal weapon. Something I can take to the drag strip, run consistent ten-second passes on street tyres, then drive home and the next day go on an E30 club cruise to the beach, have it on display at a car show, and win trophies. This build was my total package.”
Blimey. Talk about your stereotypical Aussie confidence! There’s not a single element of that paragraph that isn’t writing a massive cheque, but thankfully Ehsan’s the sort of dude with the skills to cash it. And so it began. A project base was sourced from a guy who’d had the car slumbering in the shadows of his garage for around six years – all immaculate and original, and you’ll no doubt be impressed to learn that it’s still wearing its original factory Brilliantrot paint. The seller refused to let the car go before Ehsan promised to give the car a new lease of life, a good home and, most of all, not to crash it – after all, he’d owned it from new. Imagine what he must be thinking when he sees this feature! Good vibes, we hope.
Ehsan took it home, and immediately installed it in his garage for another dusty year-long slumber. You don’t want to rush these things, do you? Although he wasn’t dragging his heels by any means – our effervescent protagonist had been to see his friendly local engine builder.
“I did everything else on this car myself, but it was George and Rocky at PAC Performance Racing who built and ported the engine, and dyno tuned the car,” Ehsan explains. The motor is bridge-ported, and porting rotaries is something of a black art: a great way to get more power out of them is to effectively smash some holes into the intake side, although the more extreme the ports are, the more lairy and tricky the motor becomes.
Bridge-porting basically involves opening out the standard ports, then adding an additional eyebrow port above – it all gets a bit techy, but the short version is you get an amusing lumpy idle, oodles more power, and a hell of a lot of noise. Which is all good fun. “At the time of getting the engine built I was looking for around 400hp,” says Ehsan.
“It currently makes around 550rwhp at 7000rpm on 22psi, which is approximately 620hp at the engine… in a car weighing only 992kg! It’s safe-tuned at 22psi, although the engine is built for 35psi+, so there’s plenty more to come.”
The results really do speak for themselves, too. “It performed far better than expected,” Ehsan grins. “But the power band was so high, I went through axles like underwear. Obviously the factory axle broke but then it ate through a brand-new OEM 325i setup, Z3 M Coupé items, hybrid E30/E28 M5 units… then, after the Garrett GTX4088R turbo upgrade, it even chewed through custom 108mm 500hp Porsche billet axles!” The build is undoubtedly a bit of a monster, echoing those early years of trial-and-error to get it all running right, but you can see from the muscular spec box that Ehsan’s really pulled it all together neatly. And, of course, as the man himself was eager to tell us, this E30 is as much about show as go…
A very important marker for this build was to make it something of a sleeper – not totally stealthy but certainly not showing its hand too early. That mint-condition, 25-yearold paint certainly helps here, and Ehsan has had all manner of chuckles taking on Skyline GT-Rs and a kaleidoscope of Porsches who never saw it coming and didn’t see where it went. “There’s no modern paint colours here, no fibreglass body kits, no big wings screwed to the boot,” he says, with no small amount of satisfaction. “I kept it all factory – the only thing I added was a new OEM iS front apron lip, and M-Tech 1 boot spoiler. All genuine add-ons from the ’80s era!”
The wheels are an interesting choice too and no doubt gave some of you wheel nuts pause for though. They’re actually the third set of rims that the car’s enjoyed since completion; it started off on satin black Watanabes before moving onto BBS LMs with polished lips, but I think we can all agree that the 16” mesh wheels give it an appropriately period look that’s in keeping with that quasi-sleeper vibe.
This keenness for stealth carries over to the interior, too. “One of my rules is that there should be no extra gauges on top of the dash,” Ehsan asserts. “That would give the game away immediately. I replaced the trip computer with an eBoost2 gauge, and also utilised the E30 Alpina air vent digital dash idea, with an analogue boost gauge.” Stealth, as ever, is the watchword.
This is, by all measures, a phenomenal build – without a hint of hyperbole, one of the finest E30s to grace these pages in some time. And with that colossally powerful engine and pristine period exterior, what do you reckon is Ehsan’s favourite element of the project?
“Oh, it has to be my rear diff brace,” he grins. “I designed and patented it myself on a CAD programme, checking the stress tolerance points for maximum strength and so on, and it truly is a work of art. People at car shows see that and know this car means serious business; it’s not just a pretty show pony. That brace is what’s needed to consistently put six hundred horses to the ground on both street and track.” It’s impressive, but unsurprising, that his top pick would be a thing of pure function.
Ehsan’s proud to describe how the initial build of the whole car took just three months, but it was then a further 18 months of tweaking suspension heights, spring rates, diff ratios, tyre diameters, ET formula calculations, and axle and tailshaft options before it was all truly fit to get that phenomenal power down.
“What it is, basically, is a brand-new race engine in a retro shell,” he says, in a charming display of matter-of-factness. “People’s reactions at shows have been amazing – the looks on their faces when they found out what’s in there, and that it’s all street-legal. And next year – that’s when I’m going to be chasing to beat my personal best drag time. It ran a 10.86 at 120mph on the old turbo with 385rwhp on 225/50 street tyres. With the new GTX4088R and 550rwhp on 225/40 semislicks, I reckon it could run a 9.9.”
All very ambitious but you get the feeling that he’s got all of this precisely calculated. There’s no margin for error here, and that’s what the number 313 should henceforth represent. Forthrightness. Function.
Desirability. A new number-of-the-beast for the 21st century. And when you see those digits on the tail end of a shiny red E30, you’d better not dismiss it as a lesserengined also-ran – there’s hidden mischief here, and its furious anger makes Eminem look like a primary school teacher. Everybody from the 313, put your rotorflippin’ shafts up…
“I wanted to build an all-rounder – a show-stopper that drops jaws but that could also be used as a street-legal weapon”
Bridge-ported 13B rotary sports a massive #Garrett-GTX4088R turbo and makes 550rwhp.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-313i-E30 / #BMW-313i-Rotary-E30 / #BMW-313i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW /
ENGINE #13B-REW 2x654cc #Mazda-RX-7 / Mazda rotary, bridge-ported to PAC Racing specs, race doweled and balanced rotors, #PAC-Racing unbreakable apex/corner seals, #Power-Ported intake and ports, custom PAC Racing 13B turbo exhaust manifold, #Garrett GTX4088R turbo, Turbosmart 50mm ProGate wastegate, #Turbosmart 34mm dual port blow-off valve, #Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, 3.5” dump pipe with full 3” exhaust and Rotaflow silencers, #Haltech PS2000 ECU and Haltech boost controller solenoid, custom fabricated engine mounts, custom dual-core PWR intercooler, PWR oil cooler, #PWR dual-core radiator, custom alloy radiator shroud and high #CFM-Engineering output 16” Spal fan, dual #Bosch-044 fuel pump, three litre surge tank and #Walbro primer pump, quad #Haltech LS1 ignition coils. 620hp at flywheel (542rwhp) at 22psi safe tune; engine built for 35psi+.
TRANSMISSION R154 Supra Turbo five-speed gearbox with aftermarket strengthened billet gearset and synchros, custom gearbox mounts, custom PAC billet bellhousing adapter, PAC RBR550 heavy-duty clutch and pressure plate, billet lightened flywheel, billet short-shifter with E30 DTM white Delrin nylon gear knob, custom Mark Williams 3” wall chromoly tailshaft with 1350-series Strange uni-joints.
CHASSIS 9x16” #BBS mesh wheels with 215/45 (front) and 255/45 (rear) #Kumho Ecsta tyres, custom 1000hp halfshaft axles with 120mm chromoly treated CVs and bearing cages, reinforced rear #BMW subframe and trailing arms, custom fabricated rear diff brace mount, E28 M5 diff with #Alpina finned diff cover, cryogenically strengthened and shot-peened crown and pinon, #OS-Giken Superlock shimmed 28-plate tightened LSD centre (85% lock), #AKG solid 75D subframe, trailing arms, control arm and diff mount bushing kit, Ireland Engineering heavy duty front and rear racing anti-roll bar kit with adjustable rose-joint links, custom 315mm front and rear brake kit with ADR/CAMS approved braided line throughout, OEM E32 740i brake master cylinder, modified #Z3M power steering rack with 2.7 lock-to-lock, solid billet alloy steering shaft coupler, 5/8” Mark Williams drag racing rear wheel studs, custom #Bilstein front coilovers and solid camber plates, heavy-duty rear Beehive King Springs, welded AKG anticamber squatting plates in rear trailing arms, Sparco 1.5” front and rear strut braces, Ultra Racing four-point lower crossmember reinforcement bar.
EXTERIOR 1990 325i two-door shell, original 25-year-old Brilliantrot paint, 318is lip spoiler, M Tech 1 boot spoiler, rolled and flared arches.
INTERIOR #MOMO Prototipo 350mm Retrotech steering wheel, E30 M3 black leather seats, #Sparco PRO2000 fixed driver’s seat, #Sparco fixed race seat rails, Sparco six-point 3” harness, #Autometer #Ultra-Light gauges, Turbosmart eBoost2 with 3x boost pre-set stages (street, track, drag racing), E46 M3 pedals, all sound/cavity deadening and heat shield removed, drilled-out circular holes behind doorcards, parcel tray, behind back seat and sunroof for weight reduction – total car weight 992kg.
THANKS George and Rocky at #PAC-Performance-Racing , Leon Sokalski at Performance Metalcraft, Mark Callinan at British European Motor Works, and my family and girlfriend for picking me up when I broke the CV axles on the street.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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The seriously gorgeous Henna red, S50-swapped finale to CAtuned’s tri-colour E30 triumvirate. The CAtuned E30s are among the best in the world; here’s the final of the set, the #S50-swapped Henna red example, which completes the patriotic red, white and blue trio. Words: Ben Koflach / Photos: Courtney Cutchen
It’s amazing how some cars can just fall by the wayside. Sure, we can all fall on hard times and cars can be an easy thing to push to one side but sometimes this abandonment becomes sacrilege. Luckily, though, one man’s nuisance E30 is another man’s perfect base for a project. US tuning house, CAtuned, demonstrated this perfectly with this Henna-coloured car as it turned this classic 3 Series from a wreck into a car to be proud of.
When we say ‘wreck’, we mean it. This #1990 325i, which was originally #Calypso red, came into CAtuned’s ownership with a snapped timing belt, an interior that was as good as gone, damaged bodywork and smashed lights. To many, it was destined for the scrapheap. Fortunately, CAtuned front man, Igor Polishchuck, thought differently… “It was bought four years ago at a donation auction,” explained Igor. “I think I overpaid at the time, purchasing it for $1200 but I wanted to get something bad to show what we can do. It needed everything: the engine was toast, the interior was a goner, and the paint was unrecognisable.” After being rolled into the CAtuned workshop, though, it would never look the same again.
“I chose the Henna red colour because I always liked it and since BMW never made a late model E30 in that colour I figured, why not?” Igor explained. Of course, before it was packed off to the bodyshop, Igor and his team had a few of their own touches to add. The E30 was stripped to its core, and the body was restored, along with a few tweaks. The damaged parts were stripped or repaired and a central windscreen wiper mount was welded in.
While the E30, now no more than a rolling shell, was away at the bodyshop, CAtuned purchased a crashed 1995 E36 M3 in order to utilise its S50B30 heart in the E30. The 240hp US-spec lump was completely rebuilt with all new bearings, seals and gaskets, as well as an E34 sump to make it ready for the transplant. Reliable horsepower is hard to argue with, and this E30 was built with speed in mind.
Once the shell, now fully painted in the beautiful PPG Henna red hue you see here, was back at CAtuned, the rebuild began. The glass was refitted with all new seals and surrounds, and the team also had Euro bumpers and trims prepared for the car to get rid of the US-spec ‘diving board’ pedestrian safety items. CAtuned’s own splitter was bolted to the bottom of an iS front lip; no stone was left unturned. The original suspension was used to roll the car in and out of the bodyshop but beyond that its life was over. It was binned, with CAtuned coilovers fitted in its place. Igor worked for a number of years specifically designing and testing CAtuned’s suspension systems, and the guys have got it nailed. On this car you’ll find full coilovers all-round with separately adjustable ride height and pre-load, along with 32-stage adjustable monotube dampers. They’re perfect for on-road comfort and performance.
While they were at it every bush was replaced with polyurethane items, with a #Z3 rack and Eibach anti-roll bars to boot. Everything was bolted back under the car along with new wheel bearings fitted, leaving just the brakes to do. For these, Igor used new OE rear calipers with ceramic pads and grooved discs. All new brake lines were run from front to rear, with the aging rubber flexi-hoses replaced by CAtuned stainless steel braided items front and rear, as well as the clutch hose. Upgrading the braking at the front end – to match the planned horsepower – was done with a CAtuned Stage 2 big brake kit. It’s yet another product that Igor and his team have formulated over the years of building E30s and other classic BMWs; it comprises 285mm grooved discs and beefy four-piston Wilwood calipers.
The final addition to the chassis setup was, of course, the wheels. Igor had nothing but the best in mind, sourcing a set of BBS’s timeless RSs for the E30. These were finished with white centres and polished dishes, measuring 8.5x16” ET6 up front and 9.5x16” ET6 at the rear, fitted with nicely stretched BF Goodrich rubber – perfect for tucking up into those arches. As a finishing touch, Igor used Motorsport Hardware wheel studs to mount the wheels – what better way to promote your trade partners, after all?
With the chassis work done and the exterior well on the way, the CAtuned crew began work on getting that freshly rebuilt S50 mounted up. It was treated to a Fidanza lightweight flywheel and a new OE clutch before being reunited with its partnering #ZF five-speed gearbox and bolted into the little E30 using polyurethane swap mounts. The final step, ensuring that the S50 power could get down to the ground effectively, was a 3.25 final drive LSD, modified to have an aggressive 60% lock.
Of course, getting the engine bolted in was only half the story – there was a little more work to do before it would run. The front half of the exhaust system was left factory, with the rear half swapped for a custom stainless steel system with a Magnaflow muffler to keep things civilised. Next up: cooling. As a distributor for Mishimoto’s range of alloy cooling products, it was only natural that a Mishimoto radiator ended up in the car, plumbed-in with Rogue Engineering silicone hoses.
The occupants can be kept cool, too, which is vital in the California heat; the CAtuned guys retained the S50’s air conditioning pump and made custom lines to get it plumbed-in and fully functional. A Walbro 225lph fuel pump feeds the S50 with juice through all-new fuel lines, while the CAtuned guys got everything neatly wired in. Until recently the S50 was supercharged, using a VF Engineering system to deliver a hefty 350hp hit.
However, this has been removed for the time being and even a normally aspirated S50 in a lightweight E30 is still pretty potent. There was talk of going turbo with the car but for now a Castro intake does a fine job of getting fresh air into the lump. Igor estimates that it’s making about 250hp. With the running gear sorted, CAtuned just needed to finish the interior in order to complete the project. Fortunately CAtuned is an expert in doing interiors. A full black leather rear half was sourced, with Monaco reclining front buckets and red BMW Motorsport seat belts. A suede-rimmed M Tech 2 steering wheel, custom Bavarian Restorations dash cluster and genuine BMW floormats finish it off nicely.
The sound system was given a boost, too. The entire interior has been treated to Fat Mat sound insulation, with a German Car Audio boot box housing an Infinity amp and sub, all custom wired in.
CAtuned’s third and final E30 demonstrates a different take on the classic 3 Series to the ‘Miss blue’ and Alpine white M Tech 1 cars that you’ll have seen previously in the magazine. An updated powerplant and a thorough chassis upgrade give it some serious performance yet it retains all the classic cool of the late model E30 that it started out life as. This E30 hasn’t just been rescued from the scrapheap – it’s been completely reborn as an entirely new creation.
Three-piece RSs have been finished with polished lips and white centres; Motorsport door handles add the finishing touch.
DATA FILE #1990 #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i / #BMW-325i-CAtuned-E30 / #BMW-E30-CAtuned / #BMW-E30
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30 / #S50 (fully rebuilt), #Castro-Motorsport intake, original #BMW exhaust manifold and catalytic converters, custom rear exhaust system with #Magnaflow muffler, #Walbro 255lph fuel pump, #Mishimoto alloy radiator with #Rogue-Engineering coolant hoses, #Spal electric fan, custom A/C lines, #Fidanza lightweight flywheel, polyurethane engine mounts, five-speed manual gearbox, #UUC short shifter and dual-shear selector rod, polyurethane transmission mounts, 3.25 final drive ratio LSD with 60% lock.
CHASSIS: 8.5x16” (front) and 9.5x16” (rear) #BBS-RS three-piece splits with 205/45 (front) and 225/45 (rear) #BF-Goodrich tyres, #Motorsport-Hardware wheel studs and nuts, Z3 steering rack, #CAtuned Motorsport steering coupling, CAtuned full coilover conversion, #Eibach antiroll bars, reinforced trailing arms, CAtuned front big brake kit (consisting of #Wilwood calipers and 285mm slotted discs), slotted rear discs, ceramic rear pads, all new brake lines and CAtuned braided hoses.
EXTERIOR: Fully restored and repainted in #PPG-Henna red (originally Calypso red), Euro bumper conversion, single wiper conversion, iS front lip and sideskirts, CAtuned splitter, glass sunroof, all new locks, yellowed Euro ‘smiley’ headlights.
INTERIOR: Suede headlining, M Tech 2 steering wheel, Husco armrest, E46 ZHP gear knob, #BMW-Motorsport red seatbelts, custom stereo panel, German Car Audio rear sub box and amp box with all independent wiring, Fat Mat sound insulation throughout, #Bavarian-Restorations dash cluster, fully functional air conditioning.
Interior has been treated to suede headlining, an M Tech 2 steering wheel and a pair of Monaco reclining front bucket seats.
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- Post is under moderationFURY ROADSTER
This might look like a mildly modified Z3 M but under the bonnet hides 800whp of sheer rage. With an earth-shattering 800whp, this turbocharged #BMW-Z3-M-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-M will definitely put the wind in your hair. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Darren Maybury
While I’m generally not a huge fan of convertibles, Roadsters are a whole different kettle of slightly windswept, sunburnt fish. I like the fact that they are built from the ground up as soft-tops, with less compromise on all fronts, and they don’t attempt to try and shoehorn in a pair of rear ‘seats’ for the vertically challenged or your shopping. Engine. Two seats. Boot. Done.
BMW’s Z3 was met with mixed reviews when launched, but it’s ageing well. The retro lines look ever more retro, and the styling has plenty of character and muscle about it. When it was handed over to BMW M’s engineers to work their magic, there were certainly plenty of fireworks and, while the M Coupé might be the one that turns heads, there’s lots to love about the #Roadster , especially when there’s the small matter of 800whp going on.
Why wouldn’t you want to stuff a turbo under the bonnet of your Z3 and make 800whp? Mark Christofis is a man who clearly took a look at his life, realised it was missing an 800whp Z3 Roadster and set about correcting this problem. Mark is a man who loves cars and, as a metallurgical engineering consultant, is lucky enough to be in a suitably serious and important sounding job that means he can really indulge his passion for all things automotive. Hats off to that man.
This passion for cars is long-standing and both his previous and current rides are seriously nice. When it comes to cars Chris does not beat around the bush: “My first car was a 1970 Pontiac GTO with a manual four-speed transmission and 400 CID Ram Air III engine.” This engine was a 6.6-litre V8 which made 350hp; it was a hell of a way for Mark to earn his motoring stripes. “I’ve owned a number of performance/sports cars over the years,” he continues, “including various muscle cars and European models. I currently have a Ferrari 360, an Audi B8.5 S4 and, of course, my BMW. I’ve also driven a host of other performance cars like the Dodge Viper, various 911 Porsches, Nobles and Lotuses. I’ve been interested in cars since I was a kid, particularly American muscle cars, and being born and raised in Detroit it was almost a natural occurrence. Of course, this carried over into becoming an engineer and I eventually wound up working for Ford Motor Company as a Metallurgical Technical Specialist for the Product Development Group of Axle Driveline. So my passion for cars runs deep.
“My brother and I were both really into cars when we were younger and we carried that with us through the years. Early on we pretty much did all the mods ourselves out of necessity as we just didn’t have much money, but as I got older and eventually married, it became increasingly difficult to work on them as I just didn’t have the time with work, kids and all. Eventually, though, the modification bug hit again but now I leave the major work to the professionals.”
And this Z3 has had more than its fair share of work, that’s for sure. Mark’s been a fan of BMWs for around 15 years now, having cut his teeth on a ’95 M3, but this Z3 is something else; not only is it his first major build, it’s arguably his wildest car so far. The Z3 was spotted for sale in Florida, where Mark’s brother happened to be vacationing, and so he helped Mark out and duly popped over to take look at it. It turned out to be a very clean example with just 20,000 miles on the clock and a Dinan supercharger to boot. A deal was done and the car was delivered to Mark’s Michigan home where he could begin to enjoy it. “I never bored of driving this car,” he says.
“It was so easy to just drop the top and take it out for a cruise. Eventually, though, my craving for more power got the best of me and I started sending it out for major upgrades, eventually leading to its current state of tune. I also was into weight reduction mods and everything I did was kind of geared towards that. The roof, seats, wheels exhaust pretty much everything was weighed.” The supercharger was doing a good job on the power front but for the kind of figures that Mark wanted the engine needed to be pretty much stripped down and built from the ground up.
The car was handed over to the guys at ICS Performance, who know a thing or two about making fast, force induced BMWs and after chatting with head man, George Kakaletris, it was agreed that 600whp would be a good figure to aim for. Unfortunately, ICS discovered two cracked piston ring lands, so Mark decided to go all out on the engine because that’s what we as enthusiasts do when something breaks – we use it as an excuse to repair it but make it better at the same time.
The engine component list reads like a turbo build wish list and ICS really left no stone unturned when it came to creating this monster of a Z3. Inside the 3.2-litre S52 you’ll find Mahle 9:1 compression triple-coated racing pistons, K1 forged con rods, ACL Racing bearings, titanium valve kit, springs and retainers and ICS Stage 1 performance camshafts. There’s also a CES cut ring head gasket and ARP series 2000 head studs, while the Precision 4094R dual ball bearing turbo sits on an Otis tubular twin-scroll manifold with a Tial 60mm wastegate vented into the exhaust to keep things a little more civilized. You’ll also find a Tial 50mm BOV, while the exhaust is custom-made. To ensure that enough fuel makes it into the engine there are 80lb (840cc) injectors with both a Walbro 400 and Bosch 044 fuel pump, running with an Aeromotive fuel filter and a custom fuel rail.
To help keep the engine cool in all conditions, a high flow aluminium BMW racing radiator has been fitted along with a VPD custom racing oil cooler and then there’s the custom intercooler, measuring 610x305x102mm and squeezed in behind the front bumper.
It’s one hell of a line-up and, unsurprisingly, it makes for some seriously heavy-hitting power figures. On 109 octane fuel at 1.8bar of boost on what Mark calls a fairly conservative tune, the Z3 made a spectacular 803whp and 776lb ft of torque at the wheels, and that’s with the tyres spinning! “She probably makes a bit more,” says Mark, “but who’s counting? That wasn’t my primary objective – after all it’s just a street car. With a few upgrades, though, like a larger fuel line, bigger injectors, larger turbo, more boost and a more aggressive tune it could be closer to 1000hp but I have no interest in doing so as the car is already a handful to drive weighing in at only around 1250kg. Currently, I’m not aware of another M Roadster producing more horsepower or torque.”
For Mark, this build wasn’t just about power, it was about weight, too, and both the exterior and interior styling has been shaped by his desire to shave and shed weight wherever possible. There’s a lightweight vented FG Racing bonnet, Recaro Pole Position seats mounted on lightweight aluminium brackets with Imola red leather centre sections to tie-in with the rest of the interior colour scheme, there are lighter UUC race pedals, the bumper weights have been removed along with the air-con, the sound deadening and Mark’s fitted a lightweight Odyssey battery. Even the carpets are lightweight!
Mark has extended the Imola red colour scheme throughout the interior and it also appears on the badges. A rear spoiler and diffuser were also added as subtle cosmetic enhancements.
As far as the chassis is concerned, the Z3 has been fitted with a Ground Control adjustable Eibach spring kit, Koni adjustable sport dampers, a Bavarian Autosport rear bush kit, IE Engineering rear camber/caster adjustment kit and a Randy Forbes rear axle reinforcement kit, along with a Rogue Engineering dual rear differential housing.
With so much power, you need a suitably powerful braking system on board and lurking behind the staggered 18” Work Meister SP1s you’ll find a UUC/Wilwood front BBK with four-pot calipers and superlight 325mm discs, while at the back there are #StopTech Z3 M cross-drilled discs with braided hoses and Axis Ultimate brake pads all round.
Mark’s Roadster has been through various stages of development, with this last stage taking seven months. In that time it has gone from brisk to ballistic, with the kind of power figure that is actually hard to imagine. “The turbo system is my favourite modification on the whole car,” he smiles, “as it’s just so powerful. Being in such a lightweight car puts your eyes on stalks when you squeeze the throttle. I’ve not experienced acceleration quite like this before and I’ve been in some pretty fast cars.” Mark has really ticked all the boxes with this project and built his ultimate Z3 and all that’s left to do is just drive it and enjoy it. You know he will…
TECH DATA FILE #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z3-M-Coupe
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #S52 , #Mahle 9:1 compression triple-coated racing pistons, #K1 forged and coated connecting rods, #ACL-Racing coated rod and main bearings, titanium valve kit, springs and retainers, CES cut ring head gasket, #ARP series 2000 11mm head studs, #ICS Stage 1 custom performance camshafts, Precision 4094R DBB 1.06 A/R turbo, 610x305x102mm custom intercooler, custom intercooler shielding, Otis coated tubular twin scroll turbo manifold, #M50 (OBD 1) intake manifold, custom turbo engine mount arm, Tial 60mm wastegate vented into exhaust, Tial 50 blow-off valve, 840cc fuel injectors, #Walbro 400 and #Bosch-044 inline fuel pumps, custom relay kit for fuel system with circuit breaker, Aeromotive fuel filter, custom fuel rail kit, RK Tunes custom tuning OBD 2, 3.5” HFM, welded oil pump nut, Dr. #Vanos unit, #BMW high-flow aluminium racing radiator, VPD custom racing oil cooler, custom 3.5” exhaust with dual 3” Magnaflow silencers, Rogue Engineering racing engine mounts. 803whp and 776lb ft of torque at the wheels on 109 octane race fuel at 1.8bar.
TRANSMISSION: #ZF-Type-C / #ZF five-speed manual gearbox, #Rogue-Engineering transmission mounts, #Clutch-Masters custom clutch, lightweight chromoly flywheel, 2.79:1 built differential with 40% lock up.
CHASSIS: 8.5x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) Work Meister SP1 wheels with 225/40 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, Ground Control adjustable Eibach spring kit (525lb front, 600lb rear), Koni yellow adjustable sport dampers, Randy Forbes rear axle reinforcement kit, Rogue Engineering dual ear differential housing, IE Engineering rear camber/caster adjust kit, Bavarian Autosport rear bushing kit, #UUC/Wilwood #BBK with four-pot #Wilwood calipers and Superlite 325mm floating cross-drilled discs (front), StopTech Z3 M cross-drilled discs (rear), #Axis-Ultimate brake pads and stainless steel brake lines all-round.
EXTERIOR: #FG-Racing lightweight vented bonnet, rear bootlip spoiler, rear diffuser, bumper weights removed.
INTERIOR: #Recaro Pole Position racing seats with custom red matching inserts, Recaro lightweight aluminium side brackets and TC Kline floor mounts, AEM UEGO A/F gauge, SPA dual readout gauge (boost and fuel pressure), E Boost 2 electronic boost controller, Autometer dual gauge pod, Autometer mini shift light, #TRM racing shift knob, #UUC race pedals, lightweight carpeting, lightweight Odyssey battery, AC delete, sound deadening removed.
Vented bonnet looks the part, is lightweight and helps to keep underbonnet temperatures down.
Top: Engine may not look special but the 800whp magic is hidden away beneath the surface; diffuser looks cool and was added for that very reason, along with bootlip spoiler.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBOOTY CALL
The #BMW-Z3M Coupé has a lot of charm; with a turbocharger and 550whp this example is one sexy Breadvan. The big-bottomed #BMW-Z3 M Coupé is something of a cult classic and while it’s not universally loved, with a turbo under the bonnet it’s hard to hate… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Darren Maybury. #BMW-E36/7
At 22 I was driving 1.0-litre Citroen Saxo; at 22 Andrei Spirin is driving a turbocharged Z3 M Coupé, so it’s safe to say that he’s doing okay for himself. And that’s good news for the BMW world because he’s built himself a pretty tasty #Z3 M Coupé. In the UK we call it the bread van; in the States it’s the clown shoe. Whatever you call it, it’s fair to say that the Z3 Coupé was a bit of an oddball and even the M Coupé, the only version we received in the UK, didn’t exactly meet with universal praise. There was something about it, though, something about its ungainliness and bulbous rear that attracted a number of people and today it’s accepted as a bit of a cult classic.
It’s funny how the Z4 M Coupé tried to bring back that bootylicious body but was just a bit too conventional-looking really and then Ferrari went and brought out the FF, which is a scaled-up M Coupé if ever we saw one. And speaking of seeing one, when’s the last time you did? We can’t recall but it was definitely a while ago; this car is not a common sight in the wild.
So cult classic; potentially a bit of an investment; rare to boot – it’s all about keeping them standard, surely? Well, skyrocketing values never stopped anyone from modifying their E30 M3 and it’s pleasing to see someone like Andrei going all out on their M Coupé. He’s most definitely not been shy with this car.
Growing up, Andrei’s middle brother Gennady first got him into cars. Then his brother’s roommate at college, Pete, introduced him to BMWs via an S52- swapped E30 M3, which has the same engine that powers this Z3, as it happens. Pete showed Andrei the world of meets and street racing and taught him a lot about BMWs. Andrei actually now works for Pete at his company, Offcamber Motorsport, doing everything from fitting superchargers to building engines, hands-on skills that come in more than a bit handy when it comes to, say, modifying your BMW…
“My first car was also my first BMW,” says Andrei when we delve into this motoring past. “It was an E39 M5 and I learned the hard way why you should never to buy a 2000 M5 as it was an early model and constantly had issues. It was a nightmare to own but I had some amazing times in it. I also knew how to take the whole top side of the engine off blindfolded because I did it so many times. I was a typical teenager at the time. I inherited $10k from my grandma who passed away. I wanted to get an E36 M3 but at the time I only had my permit, which meant my dad was always driving with me. My dad looks like Santa Claus so he would have looked a bit odd in an M3, so we decided to get a E39 M5 instead so that he would not look too out of place. We went to go look at one which was beautiful and cheap. It had a Supersprint exhaust which was the selling point for me. It was really fast, too. The M5 was the first car I modified. I didn’t go too crazy on the mods because I was spending most of my money fixing it but my favourite mod was the electronic exhaust cut-out valve I fitted before the silencers. I mounted the switch by the sunroof button so it felt like a fighter jet when I engaged it.”
After owning an E39 M5 as a first car, the only logical progression for car number two was… another E39 M5, obviously! But when that was written off after someone ran a red light and drove into it, Andrei knew that the M Coupé was what he wanted: “After the accident I started looking around and found this Imola red one in February 2011. It was two hours away and had been on sale for a while. It had 58,000 miles on it and some very tasteful suspension mods carried out, which was the main selling point for me.” Despite being a pretty rapid machine, after owning two slabs of German muscle the M Coupé didn’t impress Andrei in terms of performance front although when he hit the twisties he quickly realised just how capable it was on the handling front. Of course, working at Offcamber Motorsports and with a taste for modified metal, the M Coupé was never going to stay (relatively) stock for long and having planned to turbocharge his ex-M5, it made sense to transfer those plans across to the Z3.
“My whole turbo setup came about after a deal that I made with my friends,” Andrei explains. “When my M5 got totalled, the drivetrain was fine and I still had an immaculate interior. My buddy, Jon Valia, who had his car featured in this magazine a couple of years ago (a turbo S38 E30 M3) had an M5 shell that he got from one of his buddies which needed a motor and interior. So we came to a deal where I would give him those items and he would build me a turbo setup for my car. The whole first part of my build was done by him; we took the motor out at his house and he started fabbing the downpipe while Pete helped do the head gasket and head studs on the motor. After a month into the build Jon had to bail because his wife had a baby and didn’t have enough time to work on the car and I felt bad about always bugging him. So we took the car to Pete shop’s and finished it at Offcamber. Pete and I worked on the car for another two months before it was finished.
“I wanted to make 500whp and S52s are more than capable of doing that on stock internals. The car currently makes 550whp on 17psi. The setup has worked flawlessly and the engine has held up perfectly. It had 100,000 miles on it when I finished the conversion and it’s currently on 150,000 miles. The car has been my daily driver for two years and it worked faultlessly with no issues. To this date I am surprised as to how the S52 handled the boost so well for so long, and it has seen a lot of racing, too.” At the heart of the turbo kit sits a Precision 6262 ball bearing turbo with a Tredstone intercooler helping to chill the intake air and a thicker MLS .140 head gasket has been fitted to lower the compression ratio, along with a set of ARP head studs. A set of 60lb injectors ensure that the engine gets plenty of fuel, backed up by a Walbro 255lph fuel pump.
Pop that huge clamshell bonnet and you’ll be greeted by the sight of, well, not a lot really as the turbo is tucked down by the side of the engine and the only bits you can actually see are the oversized induction kit and the Tial 55mm blow-off valve. It’s not a showy engine but the rest of the car’s not exactly shy…
It must be said that Imola red works so well on the M Coupé. The bold, bright colour really suits the car’s striking shape and it’s the sort of car that doesn’t really need any styling to get it looking perfect. About the only external mods here are those Umnitza headlights and the stone guards, something of a necessity due to the M Coupé’s rather wide hips. But the bulk of the visual impact is purely down to the colour and the wheels. Where pretty much everyone is going bigger, Andrei has bucked the trend and gone for a set of 17s, which is pretty much unheard of on the modified BMW scene. While these are surprisingly small they are plenty wide and a perfect fit for the M Coupé. “I always wanted a nice set of deep-dish wheels,” says Andrei, “and about a year ago I finally managed to pick up these Fikse FM10s, which were my dream wheels. I couldn’t be any happier and the best part is that they were specifically designed for the M Coupé as they were built by my buddy, Jon Thayer, who also has a turbo M Coupé.” These sexy cross-spokes measure a meaty 9.5” up front and 11” at the rear, the latter being wrapped in massively wide 315/35 Toyo R888s which help the Z3 put the power down.
Having had a taste of the Z3’s handling prowess it’s no surprise to learn that Andrei has gone to town on the suspension mods to bring out the best in the Z3’s chassis. A set of TCK S/A coilovers has been fitted along with aluminium control arms, solid monoball mounts, a set of Treehouse Racing FCABs, a H&R anti-roll bar along with an E36 M3 Convertible support brace and a Randy Forbes subframe reinforcement kit. That comprehensive suspension line-up means this Z3’s chassis is razor-sharp and that it’s not all about the straight-line speed. Awesome suspension mods are all well and good but if you’re flopping about on crappy seats you’re not going to enjoy the drive, which is why Andrei has added some decidedly unfrivolous interior upgrades. “Before the turbo setup I did a lot of road course days hence why I have the Bride seats in there, along with the harness and harness bar,”
Andrei tells us. “The stock interior from factory is, in my opinion, one of BMW’s best. My M Coupé has the two tone Imola/black interior and I wouldn’t change a thing on it.” Andrei wanted to carry over the clean, stock philosophy from his exterior over to the interior and so decided against a big A-pillar gauge pod, opting instead for a custom dash-top pod, one of just ten ever made specifically for the Z3 by a Bimmerforums member. It looks extremely discreet and houses a Prosport boost and fuel pressure gauges along with an Innovate AFR gauge. He’s also fitted a Momo Millennium steering wheel and a ZHP gear knob along with a UUC short-shift kit. From massive engine mods to a set of serious chassis upgrades and a generous sprinkling of the perfect finishing touches, Andrei has built himself one red-hot bombshell of a Z3 M Coupé. Whatever your feelings on BMW’s loveable oddball may be, this is one shoe-van-thing that will rock anybody’s world.
DATA FILE #BMW-Z3-M-Coupe #S52
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 , Precision 6262 ball bearing turbo, SPA log manifold, Tredstone intercooler, MLS .140 head gasket, ARP head studs, #Walbro 255lph fuel pump, 60lb Injectors, Tial 55 BOV, Tial 38 external wastegate, Haldman boost controller, Technica Motorsport tune, standard five-speed manual gearbox, UUC short-shift kit. 550whp @ 17psi.
CHASSIS: 9.5x17” (front) and 11x17” (rear) Fikse FM10 wheels custom-made in Z3 fitment with 245/40 (front) and 315/35 (rear) tyres. TCK S/A coilovers with 400 (front) and 600 (rear) spring rates, aluminium control arms, solid monoball mounts, Treehouse Racing FCABs, H&R anti-roll bar, E36 M3 Convertible support brace, #H&R rear adjustable springs, H&R rear dampers, Randy Forbes subframe reinforcement kit.
EXTERIOR: Umnitza Projector ZII headlights, stone guards.
INTERIOR: Bride Zeta 3 seats on VAC mounts, Sparco harness bar, Driver Has Impact five-point harness, #ZHP gear knob, #MOMO Millennium steering wheel, custom gauge pod (1 of 10 ever made) fitted with Prosport boost and fuel pressure gauges, Innovate AFR gauge.
These Fikse FM10s were my dream wheels… I couldn’t be any happier.
17” wheels work really well on the Z3 M Coupé and those fat tyres help put all that power down.
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- Post is under moderationOLD SCHOOL, NEW RULES
CAtuned knows a thing or two about modding E30s as this stunning two-door example goes to show. An #BMW #E30 build is an exercise in measured restraint and quality workmanship. The devil really is in the detail… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Courtney Cutchen.
Subtlety goes a long way these days, the less-is-more approach often saying way more than ostentation and wackiness ever could. Look at it this way: Batman and Superman have a clear and obvious sense of purpose – they’ve got the eye-catching costumes, the superhero actions, the uncompromising and forthright approach to getting the job done… but you wouldn’t exactly want to have them round for dinner, would you? There’d be a palpable sense of tension in the air, they’d have one eye on the door. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, however… they’ve got a sense of mystery about them. It’s not what they’re saying or doing, it’s the obvious potential brimming beneath those sober suits. These are the people that you want to have a conversation with.
In many ways, then, this gleaming white #BMW-E30 is the Clark or Bruce of the 3 Series world. It doesn’t shout about its abilities, it’s not shoving itself into your line of sight. No, it’s casually hanging back, in the knowledge that it has the skills to pay the bills. It doesn’t need to seek out your attention, it knows you’ll be double-taking as you pass and going in for a closer look.
This approach has #CAtuned written all over it. Regular readers will recognise the name, as this is by no means the first of its builds to feature in these pages. CAtuned is the motorsport and custom wing of Auto Heaven, a full-service maintenance and repair outfit in Sacramento, California. AH was established in 1995, and branched out into this sort of specialist custom work in 2002, focusing principally on retro BMWs – #2002 s, #E28 s, E30s and #E34 s are their particular favourites, and that passion is keenly demonstrated in the car you see here. “This came to us as a no-rust California car,” says Igor Polishchuk, head honcho at CA. ‘It’s a #325es, and it was a non-runner with an auto ’box when we got it. It had been stationary for about eight years – solid, but in need of a bit of love!’ We’ve seen pictures of the resto and he’s definitely understating the work involved here – the federal-bumpered project base was largely complete, but that didn’t stop the team totally stripping it back to first principles and starting anew.
This is pretty much the ethos of a CAtuned build, you see – it’s not just a case of modifying and optimising, it’s effectively renewing everything that can be renewed in order to make the car the best that it can be; indeed, as close to a ‘new’ E30 as is possible given current parts availability.
And in the case of this car, they really went all-out. Look at the engine, for example – it’s not a mega-horsepower hot rod motor, but instead a refreshed and breathed-upon unit; the US-spec 2.5-litre #M20 has received new pistons, rings, rods, main bearings, gaskets, seals, sensors, plugs, cap, rotor, wires, belts, hoses, tanks, water pump and thermostat, so that the modifications could be applied to a good-as-new base. Then the guys added their own proprietary valve cover, intake manifold and stainless-steel exhaust system. “It’s got that note that you love to hear!” Igor enthuses.
Rather than tying all of this gently rasping, eagerly revving retro splendour down with a slushy old self-shifter, they junked the auto in favour of a fresh Getrag five-speeder, the old-school thrust running back to a rebuilt 3.73 diff complete with spiffy powdercoated casing. So now the thing had the shove to match the trademark CAtuned aesthetic – the next step was to make the look happen.
And they’ve done a pretty damn fine job, wouldn’t you say? The subtlety of the white hue adds to the stealthy ethos of the build, and it’s pleasantly old-school too, being the car’s original paint. And once it was all buffed to perfection, the federal bumpers being swapped out for Euro-size items, the shell was treated to all manner of shiny new goodies: all the window glass and rubbers, the roundels, a set of Bosch ‘smiley’ headlights, Euro front grilles (which have a full-length lip at the top rather than having a gap above the lights like US-spec grilles do), a Euro-size rear number plate recess filler and some Motorsport door handles all help to lend a sense of 1980s Bavarian freshness. “One of the hardest parts of the build was pulling together all of the pieces to make the car a complete Euro package,” Igor explains. “Finding all of those Euro-spec pieces and trim isn’t always easy. It was an ongoing part of the project though, as the build wasn’t rushed through – it took about 16 months from start to finish.”
Having crafted a cohesive and comprehensive European look, the guys threw an M Tech 1 kit into the mix, complete with the hard-to-find spoiler; it’s an oldschool kit that’s subtle rather than shouty – all, of course, in keeping with the theme. The attention to detail outside is mirrored in the interior too, which feels as near-asdammit like a brand-new E30. The original tired seats have been junked in favour of a super-fly set in Cardinal red, which acts as a shock of lipstick when you open the door of the sober and sensible white shell – it’s like peeping a glimpse of the ‘S’ logo between the buttons of Clark Kent’s shirt. “We were lucky to find an interior that had the rare ‘ski pass’ option,” says Igor, meaning that if they ever fancy popping up to the Donner Ski Ranch, they won’t be needing a roof-rack. The dials are pretty cool too – they were custom made by Bavarian Restoration, incorporating the Cardinal red with the CAtuned palm tree logo.
If you were to hoist the car up on to a ramp, you’d find some pretty serious stuff going on under there. Although it was already rust-free and solid, the guys have taken the precaution of giving it a thorough rust-proofing beneath with a thick, sticky coat of underseal and inhibitor. The corners have been treated to CAtuned’s own custom coilovers in order to get the car sitting in a modern and respectable manner; castor and camber adjustment are all part of the game, as well as endless height adjustability. It’s all about making the thing as usable as it is easy on the eye.
Also keeping up with modern developments is the brake setup – the rears sport cross-drilled discs with performance pads, while up front there’s a custom CA big brake ensemble with four-pot Wilwood calipers. Just the thing for ensuring contemporary stopping power, to complement that 21st-century handling; an E36 steering rack adds to the sense of driver engagement, while comprehensive body strengthening eliminates any unwanted flex. You’ve probably already spotted the wheels. While Fifteen52’s Tarmac design has been a runaway success for the brand, it’s not all that often that you find them on an E30. They look spot-on though, don’t they? The mixture of flat surfaces, angles and curves ties the look in precisely with the 3 Series’ own lines, and it gives the purposefully low #325 a cheeky hint of motorsport aggression.
Having expended such energies in effectively creating a new E30, the finished product is no museum piece. “It’s now used as a daily commuter,” Igor assures us. “The M Tech 1 cars aren’t a huge reaction or inyour- face type of car – especially being that it’s white, and that’s what makes it more enjoyable. You can drive it everywhere.” And that’s just the way it should be – a considered and thorough build, with quality parts, eager handling, just enough performance to entertain, comfortable appointments, and built to be used. A wonderful notch in the bedpost of CAtuned’s projects, then, and very much the Bruce Wayne of the bunch – it doesn’t need to scream its credentials out loud. If you know, you know.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six #M20B25 , rebuilt with all-new pistons, rings, rods, main bearings, gaskets, seals, sensors, plugs, cap, rotor, wires, belts, hoses, tanks, water pump and thermostat. CAtuned valve cover and intake manifold, #Walbro fuel pump, Mishimoto #E36 radiator with Spal electric fan, custom CAtuned exhaust system, #Getrag 260 five-speed transmission, rebuilt 3.73 diff with powdercoated cover.
CHASSIS: 8x17” (front & rear) Fifteen52 Tarmac wheels with Toyo tyres, custom CAtuned coilovers, castor and camber adjustment welded in with Polybushes, CAtuned / #Wilwood stage 2.0 brake kit, stainless brake lines, Motorsport Hardware studs, extra body reinforcements welded in, rebuilt E36 steering rack with upgraded poly steering link.
INTERIOR: All-new Cardinal red interior, Motorsport mats, rare ‘ski pass’ rear bench, custom Bavarian Restoration CA Tuned gauge cluster.
EXTERIOR: #M-Tech 1 kit with rare M Tech 1 spoiler, new glass, new roundels, Bosch ‘smiley’ Euro headlights, M3 foglights, Euro grilles, Euro rear number plate filler, Motorsport handles.
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