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    RayPotter
    RayPotter is now friends with bavino
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    SIXY BEAST #BMW-M6-E63

    You might think that a 507hp V10 would be enough but, as this M6 goes to show, a little bit more can go a long way. The V10 M6 is an awesome machine but there’s always room for a little improvement. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Paddy McGrath.

    The lure of a used V10 #M5 or M6 is almost impossible to resist. Prices are low, cylinder count is high and value for money is off the scale. Yes, SMG divides opinion; yes, fuel economy is dire; yes, range is poor; and, yes, the running and potential repair costs are painfully high. But come on, it’s a V10! Once you get above eight cylinders things start to feel really special. V8 BMWs, and V8 cars in general, are ten a penny but a V10 anything is much more rare and a lot more exotic. A V10 is a supercar-style of engine; it’s Italian exotica; it’s #F1 ! And the fact that now you can get a V10 in a fast German executive machine which is actually affordable is something to be celebrated – especially if someone then decides to modify their V10 M5 or M6.

    Kristjan Koik is one such man, the sort of man who buys an #E63 #M6 and decides that, yes, it’s quite good but it could be, you know, better. Estonian-born Kris cut his motoring teeth on a Lada of all things but has been into BMWs for about 15 years now, with a couple of E30s under his belt before having a fling with a modded Impreza STi. He then moved to the Emerald Isle where he got a taste for two-wheeled machinery, before marriage nipped that particular pastime in the bud and he returned to four wheels and BMWs, namely a modified #E46 M3 and this M6. “I bought the car in July 2014 from a dealer in UK and imported it to Ireland,” says Kris. “It was in absolutely immaculate condition. Since all my cars for the last couple of decades have been modified to some extent then the M6 was not going to stay stock for long. Once my lovely wife gave me the green light, I took the opportunity and bought all my dream mods before she could change her mind,” he laughs.

    The car was handed over to CA Technologies and, over the course of four weeks, underwent something of a transformation. Now, the V10 isn’t exactly short of power with a factory figure of 507hp (but typically around 485-490hp in practice) but if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly and Kris though it would be a shame not to have a crack at getting a bit more power from the S85. Despite being a highly-strung engine there is still a bit of latent power that can be extracted with the right selection of modifications. Step one was a remap, which added around 15-20hp. A solid start. CA Technologies also installed a Macht Schnell Power Pulley kit, which mainly improved low-end response and power. The combination of those two alone made a noticeable difference to performance. On the intake front, Kris opted for an Evolve Eventuri system, which not only looks exceedingly sexy with its carbon intake shrouds but delivers on the performance front, too. According to Evolve, the intake system has been designed to deliver improved throttle response, more torque, improved drivability and more power. Those intake shrouds ensure that the twin high-flow air filters receive cool air from outside of the engine bay, fed by a pair of nose-mounted MAY #2015 47 scoops that force air straight into the intakes at high speed. Not only does the kit deliver a healthy increase in power, another 12-15hp, it also makes an awesome noise, which is probably the second most important thing, especially where a V10 is concerned. And speaking of noise, there’s plenty more of it at the rear end thanks to the Eisenmann exhaust system CA installed with its massive quad oval pipes. If you’ve not heard an #S85 V10 running a high-flow intake and performance exhaust then let us tell you, it makes for one hell of a noise. That noise probably accounts for 95% of the V10 ownership experience and we can guarantee that whenever Kris puts his foot down all his troubles are instantly forgotten, bludgeoned into oblivion by a wailing wall of V10 noise.

    Chassis-wise, Kris hasn’t bothered with an all-singing, alldancing coilover kit, opting simply for a set of Eibach Pro-Kit springs which offer a little bit of a drop, just enough to get those arches filled, and more control out on the road than the standard springs offer. With all the extra power on tap, a brake upgrade was a wise move. Kris opted for a StopTech BBK up front with sizeable six-pot calipers finished in striking yellow and clamped onto 380mm pistons with uprated StopTech pads and braided hoses at the rear.

    When it came to the wheels we reckon that, generally speaking, concave wheels are the way forward for the M6 and Kris clearly agrees: “I went for Vossen CV3s. Along with the StopTechs they are my favourite modifications on the car.” We agree. The CV3s look awesome on the big Six. The design is simplicity itself, so clean. These 20s are 9” wide up front and 10.5” at the back and they are mounted on a 75mm stud conversion kit with a set of 10mm spacers to get the stance just so.

    Inside, there are lashings of carbon fibre, with a matching, chunky Carbontech flat-bottomed steering wheel and, in terms of the exterior styling, Kris has kept things nice and simple, choosing to just accentuate the M6’s natural aggression. That’s all this car needs really. Black front and side grilles are a given and there’s a carbon front lip that helps make that front look even lower, while at the back there’s a gorgeous Vorsteiner carbon diffuser, while the angel eyes have been upgraded with a set of Umnitza Orion halos. These subtle additions have made all the difference making the car look athletic and muscular.

    Kris has taken one of BMW’s most exotic performance machines and added a little extra spice that has just given it the edge in terms of looks and performance. “I think it’s now the perfect combination of sportiness and luxury,” Kris concludes. “The M6 is here to stay.” And with that intoxicating V10 at his beck and call, who can blame him?

    DATA FILE #BMW #M6 #E63 #SMG
    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 5.0-litre V10 #S85B50 , remap, Macht Schnell power pulley kit, Evolve Eventuri intake system, RPi scoops, Eisenmann Sport exhaust with quad oval tips, seven-speed #SMG-III gearbox.
    CHASSIS: 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) Vossen CV3 wheels in silver with 255/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) #Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, #Eibach Pro-Kit springs, 10mm spacers, 75mm stud kit, StopTech BBK with six-piston calipers in yellow and 380mm slotted discs (front), StopTech uprated discs and pads with braided hoses (rear).
    EXTERIOR: Black grilles, Vorsteiner-style carbon front lip, Vorsteiner carbon rear diffuser, Umnitza Orion angel eye kit.

    INTERIOR: Carbon Tech flat-bottomed steering wheel.
    THANKS: CA Technologies International, Dorset; Autoenhance, Essex.
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    RayPotter
    RayPotter created a new group BMW 6-Series E63

    BMW 6-Series E63 Open Group

    BMW 6-Series E63 Club and M6

    View Group →
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    LOW AND BEHOLD

    You don’t see many modified E31s around and this bagged Velvet blue beauty of an #BMW-840Ci deserves all your attention. Glorious air-ride 8 Series is the ultimate urban aristocrat. You don’t see many modified E31s about and so a bagged 8 Series is something extremely special.

    The 8 Series is arguably one of the least-modified BMWs around, especially when it comes to decently modified examples. You don’t tend to see many Eights around at all, which is at least partly down to the fact that over ten years in production BMW sold around 30,000 worldwide and most owners are likely to be a little older and more sensible and therefore less likely to modify them. I had a silver 840Ci some years ago and, apart from replacing the broken EDC shocks with something less expensive and more reliable and sticking an exhaust on it, it remained untouched. Which makes me even more jealous of Matt Clifford’s example because not only has he modified it, he’s done an awesome job of proceedings.

    When it comes to modified Eights, there are a few supercharged ones about, a couple of wide-body examples and even the odd engine swap but nothing quite as downright slick and sexy as this. I like the fact that Matt hasn’t messed with the styling of the car which is, without doubt, the most appealing part of the whole. In ten years of production, with the exception of the arrival of the Sport kit, the 8 Series remained unchanged. At its launch it must have looked out of this world. By the time production ended it was starting to look a little long in the tooth but now I think it’s come full circle and looks downright glorious once more. Much like, say, an #E34 , it’s very much a BMW that doesn’t need a lot of work to get it looking absolutely perfect, just a few minor additions are all it takes to really bring out the best in an 8 Series. And that’s exactly what you can see here.

    Matt has long been a car fan, picking up the motoring vibe from his equally car keen dad although, luckily for us, he didn’t get a taste for Fords like his old man. “I love everything about cars: modifying them, driving them, taking photographs and filming them and then sharing the creations with the world,” he says. Like most young car crazy guys Matt did the hot hatch thing but, as he’s only 23, his first set of wheels was rather sturdier than the hot hatches of old and came in the shape of a Citroen C2 VTR. Prior to the 840 he built himself a rather tasty Golf R32, too. “I haven’t always been into BMWs, I must be honest,” he says, “but ever since I saw a 840 on the motorway I was won over; that shape and shark-like design had me hooked and ever since then I have fallen for the older classic designs, such as the 3.0CS, #M1 and 635.”


    The chance motorway encounter was enough to convince Matt that he needed an 8 Series in his life so he sold his car to fund the venture and after a bit of research was ready to start the hunt. The problem was good Eights are a bit thin on the ground, as Matt soon discovered: “I looked high and low for a decent car with low miles and good bodywork in the spec I wanted. After seeing some weird brown and beige leather combos I found this one at Dove House Motor Company in Northampton. It was in great condition in Velvet blue metallic with a white/light grey interior with blue piping. The company was a treat to deal with and honest, too, telling me that the car had a couple of problems that needed sorting but that it had a performance workshop to put the car right for me. After a test-drive and a couple of viewing trips I stumped up the cash and collected it mid-summer 2014.”

    Matt paid strong money for his #BMW-840Ci-Sport , but a good example is worth every penny and this colour combo works so well. Velvet blue is an exceedingly sexy colour.

    When it came to the modifying, Matt had a very clear idea of where he wanted to take the 8 Series: “I had a vision in my head of that shark-like body laid out low so I went with air-ride.” However, as bagged Eights are not something you often see, it wasn’t simply a case of popping onto the Air Lift website and adding some bits to the shopping basket. “John at Air Lift helped out massively with what parts we needed to order, getting us measure this and that to make sure we had the right parts for the car,” Matt explains. “When it came to the build process, I wouldn’t dare touch a car myself. I struggle to change a light bulb. I leave the building to the pros. I enjoy my vision coming together and driving it to shows up and down the country and in Europe. All the work for the car has been done by Pure Customs in Coventry. The guys there are good friends of mine although it was their first air install and, boy, was it a pain! Everything is custom including the top mounts and the struts – which needed angle grinding in two as they are attached to the hub in one piece. They were then welded back up with the Air Lift bag rather than the standard setup. I needed custom brackets for the rear bags and all the mounts and the adaptors for the wheels are custom items from G23.”

    All that custom work was not easy but most definitely worth it when you look at the end result. The 8 Series is a good-looking car but slammed to within an inch of its life it reaches its visual zenith. Breathtaking? Yeah, we’ll go with breathtaking.

    The 8 Series has a decent-sized boot but Matt’s not gone overboard on some massive build back there – lift the lid and you’ll find a single polished air tank and nothing more, which is quite refreshing and sits well with the minimalist approach that Matt has taken with the rest of the car.

    So let’s talk wheels. Now, it’s fair to say that Rotiforms do divide opinion somewhat but as there are so few modded Eights about pretty much anything that isn’t a Style 5, Throwing Star or M Parallel looks fresh, and so it is with these. “The wheels were purely an impulse buy,” says Matt. “I have loved TMBs since I got into the car scene. This set came up on a Facebook group so I grabbed them with both hands. I was in Mexico at the time but still paid a deposit on the wheels to collect them when I got home. I wanted to complete the air and wheels altogether so had to get them quickly.” Rotiform’s TMB is a three-piece wheel and Matt got his hands on a set of polished, staggered 19s (9s up front and 10s at the rear) and proceeded to wrap them in 215 and 235-wide rubber for a bit of stretch. The TMB is quite a modern-looking wheel but as the #E31 ’s shape is so elegant and quite futuristic, they suit the car perfectly and really look awesome tucked up into the 840’s gently swollen arches.

    As we mentioned earlier, Matt has left the exterior untouched and that’s fine by us. “I wanted to keep the car looking as normal as possible yet with a nice stance and low to the ground,” he says. “I have got a front bumper in mind which I’m currently working on getting sorted. The car still has the standard interior as it is pretty special with its floating headrests and trimmed leather. People always ask me if I have changed the interior or had it retrimmed. I tell them it’s standard, it’s just BMW was way ahead of the times. I have added an M Tech 3 steering wheel, which I had trimmed in grey Alcantara with M-style stitching, as the standard 840 steering wheel resembles a tractor steering wheel,” he laughs.

    Despite only picking the car up last summer and getting it finished not long after that, Matt got seriously stuck into what was left of the 2014 show season. Well, you don’t build a car like this just to tuck it away in a garage! He won ‘best non-VAG’ at the car’s debut outing at the Dub Fiction show, as well as bringing it along to Ultimate Stance, where it was part of our very own #BMW display. Needless to say the 840 received a whole lot of love and that has been the general theme since it was finished. “At first, when I bought the car as standard, my girlfriend didn’t understand why I had a sold a newer R32 to buy an older classic,” Matt explains, “but when it all came together and she saw the final result she started to understand. All my friends love the car, well I hope so anyway, but it only matters if I love the car; other people are allowed their opinions and on this project opinions vary but you should drive what makes you happy, and this makes me smile every time, especially when I see people twisting their necks on motorways or at petrol stations to get a better look.”

    With so much love for the Eight, it’s not going anywhere and Matt is already thinking about plans for this coming season. “I have some plans but I don’t want to give too much away at the moment,” he says. “I can say it involves new wheels and some body work, maybe a funky wrap just for a joke at one show! If money wasn’t an option, I would have a set of HRE Vintage wheels, a loud exhaust and a nice sound and air install…” But whatever the future holds, what really matters is the here and now of owning and enjoying a beautiful bagged 8 Series, and that is something Matt knows all about.

    DATA FILE #BMW-E31

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.4-litre V8 #M62B44 , five-speed automatic gearbox.
    CHASSIS: 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) polished Rotiform TMB three-piece wheels mounted using custom G23 adapters with 215/35 (front) and 235/35 (rear) tyres. Air Lift Performance universal air-ride kit modified to fit #E31 with custom top mounts, custom struts, custom brackets for rear bags.
    EXTERIOR: Standard Sport kit.
    INTERIOR: Standard two-tone Sport leather interior, BMW M Tech 3 steering wheel trimmed in Alcantara with M tricolour stitching.

    THANKS: My team at Watercooled Society, Pure Customs for the hard work on the install.


    The gorgeous lines of the 8 Series look even better when the car is sitting on the ground.
    The E31’s ample arches are more than capable of swallowing the 19” Rotiform TMBs.
    I wanted to keep the car looking as yet with a nice stance and low to the ground normal as possible.

    Standard two-tone Sport leather interior looks fantastic and those floating headrests are a special feature.
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    RALLYING CALL

    Rallying for beginners. Will Page and MacLeman get lost? Navigational events are proving ever more popular, so James Page and Greg MacLeman went to Wales to see if they knew their Tulips from their tripmeters. Photography Tony Baker/Hero Events.

    During the 1950s and ’60s, rallying formed the backbone of amateur club motorsport. Across the UK, enthusiasts organised their own events, which often took place at night. A young Vic Elford competed in rallies organised by the Sevenoaks and District Motor Club, while Henry Liddon – who went on to win the Rallye Monte-Carlo with Paddy Hopkirk in #1964 and Rauno Aaltonen in #1967 – was a regular on the BAC Motor Club’s Cross Trophy.

    As historian Pete Stowe has noted, these grassroots events were ‘tests of route-finding rather than outright speed’, but even so the RAC began to increase the legislation around them. Clubs branched out into other forms of the sport and stage-based rallies came to the fore.

    In the 1980s, however, the late Philip Young instigated a resurgence in events that replicated the cerebral challenge offered by period navigational rallying. It has become a huge scene in its own right, which is why we’ve come to the Historic Endurance Rally Organisation (HERO) in South Wales to see whether we can tell one end of a map from the other.

    The company offers an Arrive & Drive package that enables you to compete in one of its own cars – from the #Porsche-911 for which digital editor Greg MacLeman and I make a beeline, to a Lancia Integrale, #Alfa-1750GTV and even an Austin Seven special. It’s not only novices that use this service as a way of trying a rally without having to invest in their own car. Seasoned campaigners from overseas often choose it instead of shipping their classic to the UK. There’s a single-day Driving Experience, too, which introduces newcomers to the various forms of navigation, using HERO’s fleet to head into the Brecon Beacons and surrounding countryside. That’s what we’ll be attempting.

    The basic premise of historic rallying is that you have to get from the start of a section to the finish in a particular time. That time assumes an average speed that will never be more than 30mph, and the amount of help you have in plotting your way along the route varies depending on the level of that particular rally. To add to the pressure, secret intermediate controls will ensure that you are keeping on time.

    The initial section that MacLeman and I have to tackle is a Jogularity, a system devised for the first Le Jog event in the early 1990s. We are given a printout of the route, with landmarks noted as well as the time at which we should be passing them. So, for example, it might say ‘gate on left’. Look across the page and it tells us that, if we’ve stuck to the required average speed, we should be passing that gate 2 mins 8 secs after leaving the startline. There is also information on the distance and time between each landmark, while junctions are highlighted.

    I take the first stint in the navigator’s seat, quickly discarding the interval details (far too confusing…) to concentrate on calling out each landmark and giving #MacLeman feedback as to how we’re doing in terms of time. We have 17 mins 41 secs in which to cover the 8.09 miles.

    The average speeds for the section are between 24 and 30mph, which sounds easy enough. For the most part it is, even though much of it is country lanes. The problems start when you miss a landmark and lose where you are on the list. Even on a practice day such as this, there’s a moment of slight panic; on a real event, it must be horrifying.

    The other issue is how quickly you go from being roughly on time to 20 secs behind if, for example, you have to stop to let another vehicle come the other way on a narrow section. It happens to us, and MacLeman enjoys a short section of spirited driving to get us back on time.

    It all goes to plan until the end of the regularity. Having tracked our progress via staggered crossroads, gates, junctions, warning signs and postboxes, I miss a turning into a lay-by (which would likely have contained an intermediate control were this a genuine stage) only 0.3 miles from the end. As a result, we arrive 6 secs early. After being worryingly vague to begin with (“Er, there’s a gate somewhere up here…”), MacLeman fares better when we swap places and try again, getting us to the finish line only 1 sec before our allotted time.

    Our next challenge is a 7.44-mile Tulip route. This system replaces written instructions with diagrams – a ball or blob at one end shows you where you are coming from, an arrowhead shows where you are going. Whereas the Jogularity had given us a near-constant stream of instructions to follow, here the guidelines are much less frequent – there are only seven in total, from going through speed-limit signs to crossing a cattle grid and taking junctions.

    The relative lack of information means that a decent tripmeter – which will need to have been calibrated over a set distance at the beginning of the event – is essential to ensure that you really are where you think you are. On the Jogularity section, we had been able to get away with it to a certain extent because the feedback came thick and fast. This time, there is longer between instructions so we need to know that we’ve covered, say, 4.61 miles since the previous one and that this really is the left turn that we need.

    Fortunately, it is a relatively straightforward run, and I deliver MacLeman to the end of the section without any navigational errors – or ‘wrong slots’. We then follow a marked route on the map back to the #HERO headquarters. This is the simplest form of map navigation. Others include ‘plot and bash’ (crew receives map references, translates them into locations, and charts a route between them), Herringbone (route is simplified into a straight line with roads ‘to leave’ – ie junctions – drawn above and below that line) and London Rally (a series of waypoints – A, B, C, etc – provide the framework for the route).

    ‘Plot and bash’ formed the basis for most period club rallies, and if it turns up in an historic event you will need to understand map references. In contrast, you could complete a Tulip or Jogularity section without referring to the Ordnance Survey charts. On some rallies, you will need to be au fait with each discipline.

    Take last year’s Le Jog. Competitors received three map books to take them from one end of the UK to the other. The road sections were marked with a black line that you needed to follow. That was the easy bit. Every so often, however, the black line stopped. There was an ominous gap of many miles before it started again, and it was between those two points that the regularity sections took place.

    Those legs took different forms. Regularity Section A began at Morvah in Cornwall and finished near Lelant. Crews used six map references that were supplied to them at Land’s End to plot the shortest route. Regularity Section B lasted for almost 20 miles and was a Jogularity. Section C was another Jogularity, D needed to be calculated from a Herringbone layout and E from a number of specified waypoints. Le Jog is renowned for its gruelling nature, though, and not all rallies are so taxing.

    “There are certain events where you need the sort of mind that could do a cryptic crossword,” says HERO’s Peter Nedin, who cut his teeth on the Welsh club scene, “but organisers can do that via trickery rather than making the route tough. Different levels of rally have different levels of information in the route book. Jogularity gives you times to be at certain points. Others don’t do that – you have to work it out for yourself, which involves using a separate average-speed table.”

    HERO rates its fixtures with a colour-coding system: Green is for introductory rallies, which means daytime driving, in summer, on surfaced roads and using Tulip and Jogularity navigation. Blue is intermediate, Red advanced and Black is expert, involving maps, day and night driving on mixed surfaces, and with an endurance factor thrown in. Cars have to be pre-1986 and to period-correct specification; the focus on reliability rather than performance means that you don’t need to spend a fortune on preparation.

    “Most events have a non-competitive touring element for people who still want to be part of it,” says Nedin. “You can get into it that way and then move from tour to trial. It enables you to enjoy it at first before you get more serious. When you do that, if you get the navigation right first, the timekeeping will come.”


    Taken separately, neither the navigational element nor the timekeeping one are all that difficult. It’s when you have to combine them that it becomes a genuine challenge. I can’t imagine what it’s like trying to do it in the dark, in the middle of night, having had very little sleep and with hundreds of miles still to go. Road rallying may be cerebral rather than visceral, but it’s no less rewarding for that.


    Thanks to Everyone at HERO. To find out more about its events and the Driving Experience, go to www. heroevents. eu

    COMPETITOR’S VIEW
    Paul Crosby

    “I started rallying with a Mini when I was about 20,” says #2014 HERO Cup winner Crosby, “but later had to give it up because of other commitments. I only recently got back into it with a #1970 #Porsche #911 – last year was my first full season. It’s not the cheapest hobby, but everyone involved is incredibly friendly and welcoming. “I started at the deep end with the Winter Challenge, which is rated Black by HERO. We finished third in class and – being a bit competitive – I started to really get into it once those points were on the board. “Andy Pullen was my co-driver for many of the events. You can make the last bit of difference as a driver, and a reliable car needs to be a given, but really it’s 75% down to the navigator. How Andy kept going on Le Jog, for example, is beyond me – 27 hours without sleep. It’s all about having fun, too, and I wouldn’t sit next to somebody whose company I didn’t enjoy. You have to share responsibility – having a go at your navigator if something goes wrong isn’t going to help.”

    Clockwise, from left: a good tripmeter is essential if you are to keep track of the various instructions; beautiful Welsh roads and coastline, but the navigator has little time to admire the scenery; MacLeman doing the easy bit – driving.

    ‘IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE DOING THIS AT NIGHT, WITH HUNDREDS OF MILES STILL TO GO’

    COMPETITOR’S VIEW
    Stephen Owens

    “The people on this type of event are brilliant, so resourceful and always willing to help,” says Owens, who competes on everything from one-day UK rallies to the Mille Miglia, often with his wife Colette and son Thomas. “Who I take with me depends on the type of event. I do some, such as the Poppy Rally, where I will have a more experienced co-driver. I went on the 1000 Mile Trial with my wife, though, and that was stunning. I was blown away by the scenery. Then I took my son on the Scottish Malts. “They have both been to a rally school to learn about navigation and were told that they were very much in charge in the car; it was their ‘office’. The navigators are the unsung heroes. That’s where you see the youngsters coming through, because you don’t need to own the car, you just need to find a sympathetic driver. There is a skill to the driving as well, but you have to be a partnership. You do see people falling out – I’ve been on events where the driver and navigator weren’t talking by the end of the first day. It can certainly test a relationship.”

    Clockwise, from above: the 911 feels like overkill given the low average speeds, but comes into its own when you need to press on; Page checks that he’s got the map the right way up before setting off; an extract from a Tulip section of Le Jog.

    ‘YOU COULD COMPLETE A TULIP OR JOGULARITY SECTION WITHOUT HAVING TO READ A MAP’
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    RayPotter joined the group Classic Porsche 911
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    Blue blood. Fast, furious and misunderstood: the inside story of a supercar great. An all-time great yet misunderstood - until now. It was the fastest, most advanced car in the world - but its looks split opinion and sales bombed. In fact the EB110 is an all-time great. Here’s why. Words Richard Heseltine. Photography Paul Harmer, Mitch Pashavair.

    There is little about the Bugatti EB110 that doesn't invite hyperbole. That and profanity. Drive one, and talk tends to be short and exclamatory. It's difficult not to ransack the cliche cupboard when describing its incendiary acceleration. Then there's the styling, which is oddly attractive in the best way, but which continues to polarise opinion. Yet the EB110 wears its weirdness without affectation; there is nothing cautious or bet- hedging here. When it was unleashed in 1991, it represented more a leap forward than a nostalgia trip. This was the ultimate marque revival, so the #Bugatti-EB110 had a lot to live up to. It tanked - but whether success eluded this remarkable machine, or it eluded success, one thing is clear: it was, and remains, brilliant.

    In a very roundabout way, it was #Ferruccio-Lamborghini who initiated the EB110. By the mid-80s he was no longer involved with the marque that bore his name, but the industrialist-tumed-vintner still enjoyed brainstorming with like-minded car types. He also harboured ambitions of becoming a manufacturer once again. As such, he was introduced to #Romano-Artioli , then one of Europe's most successful Ferrari distributors, with assorted agencies in Italy and Germany. This self- styled entrepreneur also owned several pre-war Bugattis and dreamed of reviving the marque.

    A discussion at the #1986 Turin motor show between Lamborghini and Artioli about reanimating Bugatti led to further talks, with the nucleus of what we now know as the EB110 emerging from them, although the former soon lost interest in the scheme. Undeterred, the immaculately coiffured Artioli persuaded French state-owned industrial giant Snecma to sell the rights to the name. This was no mean feat, given that it had steadfastly refused prior overtures from established - and homegrown - firms. Bugatti Automobili was registered in Italy in October #1987 . All that was needed now was a car to sell.

    While Lamborghini may have exited the scene, other 'names' were sweet-talked into sharing Artioli's vision. A roll-call of superstars was recruited, including ex- Lamborghini man Paolo Stanzani as technical director. Unfortunately, this highly respected engineer didn't gel with the starry-eyed Artioli and was replaced by #Nicola-Materazzi . This was no bad move, given that Materazzi was formerly project leader on the Lancia Stratos and also heavily involved in developing the #Ferrari-Testarossa , #288GTO and #F40 models for production. Styling great Marcello Gandini, by then a freelancer, was employed to shape the car. No expense was spared, a state-of-the-art factory being erected in Campogalliano on the outskirts of Modena in which to build the new Bug (the architect, Giampaolo Benedini, just happened to be Artioli's cousin).

    The EB110s specification made other supercars look unimaginative. The basic layout was devised by Stanzani, early prototypes featuring aluminium monocoques, although these were deemed insufficiently rigid so French aeronautics company Aerospatiale was tapped to help develop and produce the carbonfibre tub. Then there was the engine, a 3.5-Iitre, all-alloy, 60-valve V12 equipped with four tiny IHI turbochargers. Power (up to 603bhp for the Supersport version) was transmitted to all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, while suspension was by conventional double wishbones with twin spring/damper units, and the carbon tub/superstructure was wrapped in a hand-formed
    aluminium skin. Brembo provided the brakes, while Michelin developed special tyres for a machine that, during the homologation stage, established a production car top speed record of 212.5mph. What's more, Artioli insisted that the EB110 would be sold with a three-year warranty covering all servicing costs, including consumables such as brakes and tyres. The would-be motor mogul was determined that his brave new world would live up to the #Bugatti legend; that he would forge a new chapter in marque lore with a no-excuses supercar.

    There was, however, one slight stumbling block - the car's styling. Gandini may have penned many landmark supercars, but he chose to distance himself from the EB110. Artioli felt that the prototype's shovel nose and scissor doors made it look too much like a Lamborghini. He had a point, given that magazines ran spy shots in the belief that they had scooped a new Sant'Agata product. Artist and patron had a falling out after Gandini refused to rework his design. The task then fell to Benedini, who had no prior experience of styling cars. His take on the theme was in turn tweaked by others, the end result being a mite compromised.

    Nonetheless, the car was introduced amid much hoopla. With a grand unveiling at the Place de Defence in Paris on 14 September #1991 to mark #Ettore-Bugatti 's 110th birthday (hence the initials and numerical designation), all looked rosy: the #EB110GT was officially the fastest production car on Earth and arguably the most sophisticated. Then the world economy turned turtle. Artioli's prosperous Suzuki import concession was extinguished after the yen collapsed, although he still had the means to acquire Lotus in August #1993 . Somehow his buccaneering spirit would eventually win out, and win big. It had to.

    WHAT CAME NEXT?

    WHEN BUGATTI Automobili SpA tanked in #1995 , it wasn't the end of the EB110 - not even close. A number of partially built cars, and a large quantity of spares, were acquired by Dauer Racing of Nuremberg, Germany, which had made its name building six #Porsche-962 -based road cars in the early 1990s; it even claimed overall victory in the #1994 Le Mans 24 Hours with one of these supposed GT cars. Now company principal Jochen Dauer followed through by launching the Dauer EB110 in 2001.

    Carbonfibre was used for all body panels, which resulted in a weight saving of 230kg over the standard EB110. In addition, Dauer tweaked the 3.5-litre V12, improving gas flow within the turbo installation, which helped increase peak power to 645bhp at 8000rpm. An optional sports exhaust system and a modified ECU meant 705bhp was possible and, in that spec, the Dauer EB110 managed 0-60mph in a verified 3.3 seconds. It wasn’t all about speed, though, cabin upgrades including a Kenwood sat-nav system.

    The most extreme variation on the EB110 theme, however, was the Edonis (pictured right) from Italy’s B Engineering, a company that employed many former Bugatti employees, including Nicola Materazzi.

    While the Edonis used an EB110SS chassis, engine capacity was increased from 3499cc to 3760cc and two larger IHI turbos replaced the original quartet from the same manufacturer. The Edonis was claimed to produce 680bhp at 8000rpm and 542lb ft of torque at 3200rpm, and to have a top speed of 227mph. In addition, the four-wheel-drive system was replaced with a simpler (and lighter) rear-wheel-drive transaxle, which shaved 70kg off the donor car’s weight.

    The most radical part, however, was the carbonfibre body, which bore only a passing resemblance to the car that bore it, Evo magazine describing it as being ‘seemingly constructed entirely of cooling ducts'.

    B Engineering planned to build 21 cars, with monocoques made by Bugatti subcontractor Afrospatiale. With a #2001 launch price of around £450,000, it remains unrecorded whether this figure was ever reached, although the car was still technically available as late as 2006.

    Except it didn't: Bugatti was on borrowed time from the get-go. The proposed Giorgetto Giugiaro-penned #EB112 super-saloon was quietly dropped as production of the EB110 coughed and spluttered, sales never getting near the once-envisaged 300 units per year. The first delivery was made in December #1992 , the last in September #1995 . The final tally was only 102 'entry-level' GT editions, along with 38 Supersports.

    But that wasn't quite the end. Following the bankruptcy sale, former Le Mans-winning entrant Jochcn Dauer bought a batch of partially built cars and assembled them, while B Engineering developed the EB110-based Edonis (see panel, previous page). Volkswagen subsequently acquired the rights to the Bugatti name for an undisclosed sum (rumoured to be around £20m) and sunk vast numbers of euros into creating the awe-inspiring 16-cylinder #Veyron .

    The sad part is that the EB110 deserved more. The example pictured here was once Artioli's personal car and, while arbiters of beauty might purse their lips in disgust, the styling is as compelling as it is left-field. The passing of time has certainly softened opinions, and it's no more challenging than a great many supercars that followed in its wake. It's also a lot smaller than you remember; being five inches shorter than a Ferrari 458 Italia and only 0.1 in wider.
    This SS edition - 603bhp rather than the 553bhp of the GT, carbonfibre panels rather than ally - is revelatory. Everything feels meticulously honed and focused rather than lashed together as with some supercars from the period. That said, the cabin is disappointingly normal given the external drama. Somehow you expect something a bit more outx6. Pull down the scissor door and the base of the window is at neck level, which is slightly disconcerting.

    Headroom is surprisingly tight but the leather-dad seats are ultra-comfy, the pedals are only slightly offset towards the centreline and the instruments are all visible. It even has proper ventilation, something of a novelty for exotica of this vintage. All-round visibility is a mite compromised, though, but that does rather come with the territory. There are a few ergonomic quirks, but you would almost be disappointed if there weren't. The biggest is the positioning of the interior door release handle, which is concealed under the armrest (and we do mean 'concealed').

    This being a supercar built before starter buttons inexplicably made a comeback, you fire up the EB110 using a key. And while you might expect the V12 behind you to erupt with a surround-sound fanfare, there's just a muted burble. It's all very civilised. Ease in the dutch, give it some gas and heading out over calloused UK roads immediately inspires confidence: there are no creaks, groans or clunks through the structure. The suspension soaks up the worst road imperfections and, at moderately enthusiastic speeds, the EB110 is remarkably easy to drive. It doesn't feel intimidating. The gearchange is super-slick while the power-assisted steering, just 2.8 turns lock-to-lock, doesn't feel edgy.

    So far, so ordinary. Then comes the good bit. Hit 4000rpm and the turbos start to inhale air. Acceleration builds abruptly but effortlessly. Back off and you can hear all four huffers exhale sequentially left to right, left to right. Power on again, keep the throttle nailed open this time and forward thrust is astounding. So often with machines of this type, fast doesn't feel fast, but this is one supercar in which you do get pinned back in your seat. Peak torque (479lb ft) arrives at 4250rpm and the four-wheel-drive transmission and broad Michelins ensure otherworldly levels of grip.
    There's also laughter-inducing - and seemingly never- ending - boost, but without any faltering or flat-spots: you're almost left feeling detached from the surreal madness of it all. That a car packing more than 600bhp can be this easy to drive - so refined, so exploitable - is a feat of breathtaking creativity although, remarkably, it was criticised in period for being too refined; for lacking the sense of theatre and bombast expected of a supercar. Like that's such a bad thing.
    So why did the EB110 fail? Where do you start? The man who envisaged it succeeded in upsetting the supercar establishment on so many levels, suppliers included. Insiders also claim that Artioli was something of a dreamer, in love with the idea of making cars but not the day-to-day reality. He certainly wasn't alone in that. So many decisions were made on the hoof, and it showed. What actually did for the EB110, though, was timing. Its arrival coincided with a global financial meltdown, demand for supercars falling off a cliff. The early '90s weren't a great time to be a start-up operation, especially one making a technologically daring supercar. You could also argue that vanity got in the way, that the showy factory was perhaps an extravagance too far.

    What really rubbed salt into the wounds was the arrival of the #McLaren-F1 . The EB110 was touted as being the best supercar in the world, and in many ways it was. However, once the F1 came on line, it uprooted the goalposts and ran away with them. Even if it hadn't been 'better' per se, it was perceived as such and that perception still holds even today.

    And, truth be told, the critically canonised FI was better in just about every quantifiable way. Given that the #F1 has surged past the £5 million mark, you could conceivably buy ten EB110s for the same money.

    Which isn't to say that the McLaren is ten times the car. The EB110 combines brain-scrambling acceleration, molten grip and very un-supercar levels of comfort. This is a car you want to keep driving, one that deserves some long-overdue respect. Whether it lives up to the Bugatti legend is a moot point, but what is beyond question is that we would still be raving about the EB110 even if it didn't wear the fabled badge. You ache for its continued company, which says it all really.

    THANKS TO Gregor Fisken, www. fiskens. com.

    EB110 IN MOTOR SPORT

    The EB110 could conceivably have added to Bugatti’s lustre in the Le Mans 24 Hours had fate been a little kinder. Publishing magnate Michel Hommell commissioned Synergie to prepare a Supersport for the 1994 event and, with Alain Cudini, Jean-Christophe Jules' Boullion and the previous year's winner. Eric Helary, on the driving strength, much was expected. However, a petrol leak early on cost valuable time, as did stops to replace the turbos - all four of them (one of them twice over). Even so, the car was running in eighth place overall after 16 hours, only to be forced out following an accident late in the day.

    There would be no EB110s on the grid for the #1995 running, although Monegasque entrepreneur (and current Venturi principal) Gildo Pallanca-Pastor did much to publicise the model in the #WSC-GT class that year. He was joined by Grands Prix winner Patrick Tambay for selected rounds, the undoubted highlight being fifth place overall on the Monaco Racing Team's debut at Watkins Glen. That same season also saw 28-year-old Pallanca-Pastor drive his EB110 on the frozen sea in Oulu, Finland, where he established a Land Speed Record for driving on ice: 184.14mph using regular Michelin rubber rather than spiked tyres. The record wasn't beaten until former rally star Juha Kankkunen averaged 199.86mph aboard a #Bentley-Continental-GT in #2011 .

    Pallanca-Pastor was then joined by #Olivier-Grouillard and #Derek-Hill for the February #1996 #Daytona-24-Hours . Hill, the son of #1961 #Formula-1 World Champion Phil, who was an advisor to the team, was running in seventh place overall at one point, only for electrical problems to end play after seven hours. A few months later, the car’s owner attended pre-qualifying for the #1996 #Le-Mans 24 Hours. Unfortunately, the car’s monocoque was damaged during a testing shunt with Tambay at the wheel and therefore did not appear in the race itself. There would be no further frontline competition entries for the EB110.

    Right and below. Magnificent, in-house-built V12 engine. Four small #IHI turbochargers were the key to extracting 600bhp-ptus from just 3.5 litres. Highlights of a short racing career included an appearance at Le Mans in 1994, where the car ran as high as eighth.

    Car #Bugatti-EB110SS
    ENGINE 3499cc all-alloy 60-valve V12, four #IHI turbochargers
    POWER 603bhp @ 8250rpm
    TORQUE 479lb ft @ 4250rpm
    TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
    STEERING Power-assisted rack and pinion
    SUSPENSION
    Front and rear: double wishbones, coil springs, adjustable gas dampers, anti-roll bar
    BRAKES Vented discs
    WEIGHT 1570kg
    PERFORMANCE Top speed 218mph

    ‘THIS IS A CAR YOU WANT TO KEEP DRIVING. WE WOULD STILL BE RAVING ABOUT THE EB110 EVEN IF IT DIDN’T WEAR THE FABLED BADGE'

    'THAT A CAR PACKING MORE THAN 600BHP CAN BE THIS EASY TO DRIVE - SO REFINED, SO EXPLOITABLE - IS A FEAT OF BREATHTAKING CREATIVITY’

    ‘THE 12 WAS EQUIPPED WITH FOUR TINY TURBOCHARGERS...

    THE EB110'S SPECIFICATION MADE OTHER SUPERCARS LOOK UNIMAGINATIVE!

    Right and opposite. Race-style seats in this #EB110 Supersport are surprisingly comfortable. Looks are ageing well - largely because the Bugatti was relatively restrained in an age of Teslarossas, Diablos and XJ220s.
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    RayPotter
    RayPotter joined the group Bugatti EB110 Club
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