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    Federic unlocked the badge Great Reader
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    Federic is now friends with Gitter
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    JAMES’ #BMW-E36 / #BMW-328i / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW

    My interest in all things BMW was kindled by watching great names such as Winkelhock, Soper and Cecotto drive their E30 DTM and E36 Supertourers around the race tracks of the world – my DVD collection is testament to this!

    So when I bought this 328i saloon around four years ago it felt like I had my very own Supertourer! However, in reality, what I had was a very original and totally standard 328i – which seemed fantastic until I realised that this ‘originality’ also extended to most of the suspension components!

    Over the last four years it has been transformed into a fast road vehicle, with most areas receiving attention. The tired shocks and broken springs were replaced with height-adjustable Eibach coilovers, a purple tag E46 quick steering rack was fitted and the ever-popular E46 330i front brake and M3 master cylinder conversion was employed to improve stopping power. With the much stiffer suspension I often found myself embarrassingly smoking the inside rear wheel when pulling away swiftly, so the next modification was an M3 3.0 LSD. Other M3 parts to feature included engine mounts, top mounts, a convertible cross brace and an electric red leather interior to replace the very ’90s grey velour! The cross brace in particular impressed me, really helping front end turn-in.

    With these modifications done my E36 was now ready to use on a few track days in preparation for my ARDS test, a job which, apart from a failed water pump at Oulton Park, it did faultlessly. In fact, I enjoyed driving it so much that for the last two years I have used it everyday, a job which it has also done brilliantly. It is amazing how the sound of a straight-six can make the morning rush-hour drive seem so much more bearable! However two years of speed bumps and terribly potholed roads has taken its toll, so the 328 is now overdue some further modification and maintenance!

    Before starting any further work, though, I wanted to do a quick health check on my engine, as it is still fitted with the original Nikasil-lined block. Much has been said about Nikasil issues over the years and many of these engines were replaced by BMW but with modern fuel being low sulphur and the engine feeling strong I was hopeful that there would be no immediate issues. So first it was off to ED Motorsport for a rolling road session on its very accurate MAHA system.

    With a completely standard engine anything around the factory 193hp would’ve been good, although I was aware that this figure is widely understood to be conservative. Sure enough a peak figure of 205.6hp with a healthy torque curve left me feeling very pleased to say the least! A compression test also gave a positive result, with strong and very even pressures across all cylinders – happy days!

    This all means that I can now move on to sorting issues with the car. The first few that will need looking into consist of an unnerving clunking from the rear of the vehicle (so either top mounts or trailing arm bushes will likely be the culprits), an ever-growing patch of lacquer peel on the bootlid, and some underseal peeling off around the jacking points. As it is a really solid car that has never been welded I would like to keep it that way, so I will be investigating underbody restoration and clear undersealing options.
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    STEVEN’S / #BMW-E31 / #BMW-850Ci / #BMW-850Ci-E31 / #BMW-850i-E31 / #BMW-850i / #BMW

    I have lusted after BMW 850s since they were released in #1989 – when I was a very impressionable nine-year-old with supercar dreams. With a new price tag in excess of £60,000 it was a car I never thought I would ever own and is, in my mind, one of the greatest BMWs ever produced. After selling my E46 M3 I’ve been in the market for a new car and when this white #1993 850Ci came across my radar I simply couldn’t resist.

    It’s an early model Ci with the #M70B50 engine, auto ‘box (unfortunately) and is in desperate need of huge amounts of TLC. She is named Hiro in honour of my daughter’s obsession with a character in Thomas the Tank Engine (everyone names their cars, right?).

    I found Hiro for sale locally, where she had sat for a year with (from what I can tell) no movement at all. The batteries were toast, the tyres were flat, and it was far and away the dirtiest car I had ever seen. Nevertheless, it was love at first sight, and after slashing the asking price and ignoring the absence of any vehicle history, I drove away with absolutely no clue as to whether I’d make it home.

    On the plus side she had genuine E31-specific 17” Alpinas and an aftermarket exhaust which gave the V12 a gloriously exotic soundtrack. Who needs a stereo?

    On initial inspection, I soon knew I had my work cut-out: the suspension needs a total overhaul; it has a seized brake caliper; there are several rust patches; the sunroof is unplugged as it jams; the interior is in a poor state; and it seems to run intermittently on six cylinders!

    The first plan of attack was a complete service, so I ordered eight litres of Castrol’s finest (semi-synthetic 15W40 – amazingly cheap compared to servicing my E46 M3 with 10W60) along with Mehle oil, air and fuel filters and 12 #NGK spark plugs. Unfortunately, the kit I ordered only supplied one air filter (each bank of the ‘V’ has its own) and the oil filter didn’t fit! However, a quick trip to my local Motor Parts Direct sorted me out and the (worryingly) black stuff was replaced with some decidedly less dirty dinosaur juice. Whilst replacing the sparks, I noticed a damaged HT lead on cylinder six, which was probably the cause of my occasionally sixcylinder #M70 / #BMW-M70 . I ordered a replacement from a breaker and after fitting I am once again the proud owner of a #V12 … for now.
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    SAM’S #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 /

    Anti-roll bars had been on my modifications ‘todo’ list for a long time now, ever since owning the car I think. They are one of the things you might think ‘are they really that worth it?’ but if you like to drive your car even a little hard then the answer is a massive ‘yes’!

    After fitting a set of #Eibach bars to my old E36 328is I was just overwhelmed at the difference they made, completely transforming the dynamics of the handling without even upsetting the straight line ride quality, so they are a massive win–win in my eyes. When it came to getting some for the bigger brother M3 I stayed loyal to the brand I know and trust and went with Eibach again.

    Eibach only offers the one kit for the E46 M3 with two-way stiffness adjustment for the front and none at the rear, with OEM-style mounting for the push-on drop links. I already had #Powerflex ARB bushes on the M3 but I was still expecting so much more after fitting these. Preinstallation I bought new drop links all-round just to make sure they would perform as best as they could. For the fronts I will see how long OEM links last as obviously the uprated bars will be put a lot more stress though them. For the rear I found a company called Flo-flex that does a polyurethane bush that fits into the small casting of the drop links and it’s pretty easy to fit, too. I just took a drill to my brand-new bushes then popped in the polyurethane bush with two pieces of wood in a vice.

    The installation process itself is straightforward as everything is a direct fit; it’s bit of a pig at the rear if you leave the exhaust in place but it’s still easily a driveway DIY job. I set the front stiffness adjustment to stiff/hard, bolted it all back together and away I went, simple as that.

    The test-drive down my favourite road saw me coming out of corners significantly faster than I’ve ever done before, the car being so well planted that it gave me a lot more confidence. Upgrading your anti-roll bars to a set from a company like Eibach is such a worthwhile modification and one you will not be disappointed with.
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    Federic joined the group BMW E46 3-series Club
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    We’ve not had many modified F10 M5s through the doors here at DRIVE-MY but with 624hp, some subtle styling tweaks and a set of killer wheels, this one delivers. BMW’s F10-generation #BMW-M5 offers some fairly eye-watering numbers on its spec sheet. But life’s too short to drive standard cars, right? So here’s what happens when you take an F10 and turn it up to eleven… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Tom Gidden.

    Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” So said Oscar Wilde, and he wasn’t a man to be argued with; bigger-better-faster-stronger has always been a motif of human advancement, and it makes sense to take one’s endeavours to their logical conclusion of excellence and then just keep on pushing for the hell of it because… well, why not? As various other wise men have since reasoned: ‘If less is more, imagine how much more more would be…’

    This frighteningly aggressive F10 M5 is a case in point. The model is, as you well know, a pretty damned brutal thing in stock, factory form. The deranged eggheads of BMW M GmbH saw fit to bolt a couple of turbos to the bullishly sturdy S63 motor to kick out somewhere north of 550hp (which, to put that figure in context, is what you’d expect to find in a Pagani Zonda or Lamborghini Diablo) – although it somehow manages to channel the ethos of the granddaddy of all M5s, the E28; a supercar engine in a sober suit. It’s merely the fact that the F10 5 Series’ lines are fairly aggressive anyway that lends the Motorsport division’s variant such gravitas.

    But for some, too much is never enough. Kavaljeet Bhamra could tell you all about that. We’ll talk horsepower in due course, but first of all let your eyes take a wander over the pictures, drink in the nectar of the virtual tour guide’s drinks trolley. It’s an exercise in measured sharpening and subtle sledgehammering, no? The exterior is, at first glance, not too different to the factory profile, but more and more details elbow their way into your consciousness the longer you gaze. The carbon exhaust tips. The flashes of red behind the gloss black grilles. The sheer galactic diameter of the wheels. This is a build that’s all about premiumisation.

    It’s exactly what we’d expect from Kavaljeet, of course. He’s no stranger to these pages – not by a long chalk. His E36 graced the DRIVE-MY cover back in 2002, and featured again a couple of years later in a much-altered guise; after that we shot his Hartge-styled E46, his 330i convertible, E60 545i, E65 750i… this isn’t favouritism or nepotism, he’s just supernaturally good at turning out quality modded BMWs. Some people just have the knack, don’t they? So it’s worth us keeping an eye on him. “I’ve owned an example of pretty much every #BMW series, but this is my first M car,” he reveals. Quite a way to start though, isn’t it? No chance of easing himself in with an E36 M3 and building up, Kavaljeet dove straight in at the deep end. “I’ve owned this for about a year and a half now, and it still blows my mind every time I drive it. That first drive home after I’d bought it was brilliant – it’s just so quick! I’d never driven something this powerful before, it’s easy to go from 30-120mph in the blink of an eye…”

    The natural reaction to such joyous avenues of fresh horsepower is, of course, to want to add some more. Isn’t it?! Certainly it was for the hero of this tale, and he wasted little time in investigating just what was available for the F10 and who was in a position to join the party. “This was the first M5 in the UK to run AFE airboxes with twin cones,” he says proudly, “and the car also has a Stage 1 remap, along with a Turner Motorsport axle-back exhaust system. It’s worth noting very few companies can map the M5 properly through the OB, port and also dyno them in third gear; most companies open the ECU map and rolling road it in fourth gear, but BW Chiptune – who also owns an M5 – mapped this one for me the proper way. It’s now putting out a peak of 624hp. I also opted to fit the exhaust system with its dry carbon tips myself – my hobby is tinkering with cars both old and new, it gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing I’ve got my hands dirty where I can!” And since we’re in the mood to compare power figures, 624hp is round about McLaren F1 territory. Not bad for a gentlemen’s express.

    This hands-on approach is a motif of all of Kavaljeet’s projects – it’s partly a question of pride and commitment to the cause, but also simply that he likes doing it. A significant element of this, as many of you out there will presumably nod your heads in agreement to, is that sometimes the supposedly simple jobs can turn out to be surprisingly tricky. It’s almost as if BMW doesn’t want you to take the things apart, and would prefer for you to pay its technicians to do such things…

    “I fitted the H&R springs myself, along with a friend,” he continues. “It’s the first time I’ve picked apart an F10, so I wanted to see what it was all about under there. The real pain, as it turned out, was the rear shocks; the car has EDC, which was pretty easy to disconnect at the front end, but to disconnect the rear you need to remove the rear seats and the parcel shelf which has, like, a hundred clips!” The most fun part of jobs like this is not just in carefully prising each clip out so that it can go back in again, but in making sure that you’ve stored them all away in an orderly fashion. It helps to have at least a suggestion of OCD-like tendencies in your psyche.

    “The brakes have been kept standard in spite of the power increase, as they’re pretty phenomenal from the factory,” Kavaljeet explains. “They’re six-pots at the front, which is plenty; funnily enough, this is the first time that BMW has actually fitted proper brakes to an M car, they normally just fade to nothing if you have a heavy right foot.” That sounds like fighting talk to us – opinions on a postcard please!

    But it’s what surrounds those vast factory brakes that really catches the eye. What you’re looking at is a bespoke set of 21” rims, 9.5” wide at the front and 11” at the rear. “These were specially made for the M5 and so require no spacers,” we’re told. “They’re three-piece Morr MS54s that were sourced from the States, clear-coated so they can be happily used in the wet, and they’re wearing Michelin Super Sports.” All of which makes perfect sense – it’s a hideous motoring hack cliché to wheel out the old ‘power is nothing without control’ line (also, wasn’t that the byline of a Pirelli ad…?), but it’s very much the case here.

    Let’s just remind ourselves again that we’re talking about McLaren F1 levels of power. Sure, the #BMW-F10 is a chunk heavier and it doesn’t have the steering wheel in the middle, but you still need this sort of girthsome contact patch with some really good quality rubber. Belt-and-braces, right? Of course, this build isn’t just about the power. If you’re only interested in acceleration and power-to-weight ratios, you buy a Caterham or an Ariel. The M5 has always beguiled fans by its ability to shift a large, luxurious car at gobsmacking speeds, and this has never been truer than with the F10. And as such, the aesthetics play a vital role in the package. “This was the first car in the UK to have these 3D Design parts,” says Kavaljeet, referring to the front apron, rear diffuser and boot spoiler, the carbon-fibre weave of which artfully matches that of the exhaust tips. 3D Design is a Japanese aftermarket design outfit, specialising in BMWs, set up by a group of racers back in 1998 – their understanding of aerodynamics informs the design of their products, and it’s interesting to see a touch of the East finding its way on to such an ideologically Westernfocused build as a Bavarian motor tuned in Britain. Modifying without borders, this.

    Despite the aesthetic trickery, though, Kavaljeet’s been very careful to be choosy and not go overboard. “My favourite thing about the F10 M5, besides the power of course, is that it doesn’t scream out at you,” he says. “The M3 and what-have-you all have different bonnets and so on to the everyday models, but the M5 is a real Q car – understated, but people in the know always give you the thumbs-up or ask you to give it a rev! And I love doing that, particular in tunnels – that exhaust really pops. “In general I find that people either love this car or they think I’m a flash git; just driving along it blends into the traffic, but change it into manual mode and drop a gear, people’s heads turn! Kids point and stare, white van men love it, and Merc and Audi drivers all want to try it on, thinking it’s fake and then soon finding out it’s the real deal.” The crux of all this is that you can tell he’s really using the car properly. An M5 is meant to be ballistic supercar-baiter and sedate mile-muncher in equal measure, and Kavaljeet’s been keen to ensure that this recipe continues untainted. But what’s most interesting is his pioneering tenacity; there are very few, if any, F10s that have been tweaked to this level in the UK, so the quest was a long and arduous one of sourcing parts from the USA, working with UK tuners who wanted to start developing upgrades for the model and, of course, picking apart all of those clips, joints and fastenings himself. It’s a journey of discovery, and something that many future M5 owners will undoubtedly draw inspiration from. It looks like one of our most prolific feature car contacts has pulled off a blinder once again. We wonder what he’ll be up to next…?

    “In general I find that people either love this car or they think I’m a flash git. Kids point and stare and Merc and Audi drivers all want to try it on”

    DATA FILE #BMW-M5-F10 #S63B44 T0 #S63

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 #S63B44T0 , AFE air boxes with twin cones, RPi red ram-air induction scoops, Stage 1 remap, Turner Motorsport axle-back exhaust system with dry carbon tips, seven-speed #MDCT transmission.

    CHASSIS: 9.5x21” (front) and 11x21” (rear) custom three-piece Morr MS54 wheels with 255/30 (front) and 295/25 (rear) Michelin Super Sport tyres, #H&R lowering springs, stock M5 six-pot brakes.

    EXTERIOR: 3D Design front apron, rear diffuser and boot spoiler (with carbon-fibre weave matching the weave on the exhaust tips), LED lights with lenses covered in Lamin-x, gloss black LCI grilles, gloss black and colour-coded M5 wing vents.

    INTERIOR: Optional ‘Comfort’ seats in Merino leather, four-zone climate control, heated front and rear seats, internet, surround view, soft-close doors, comfort access, ambient lighting, Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel by Royal Steering Wheels.

    THANKS: Dad, mum and sister for putting up with my expensive hobby and late nights, Jason and BW Chiptune for the map and other coding, George Nequi for helping me fit the springs and Lamin-x, Phil and the boys at Surrey Car Radio in Ashford for the paintwork when Simba ate my bumper, and Kalbir Bains for being so patient as I spend more time with the car then her!
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    Finally E21 cover car number three belongs to Steven Doe and his tidy white wonder on CCWs. Now quite the classic, BMW’s E21 doesn’t need much to draw the eye, and air suspension is a simple way to do so. Words: Iain Curry Photos: Anna Taylor.

    Forty years ago #BMW brought us its very first 3 Series. It’s hard to imagine a time when the compact executive car wasn’t in BMW’s lineup, such is the importance of the model to the brand, but it was 1975 that saw the unveiling of the E21 that has over the decades ultimately evolved into the sixth generation F30 of today. Looking at the modern 3 Series and the old E21 it’s hard to believe they could possibly be related: they are a veritable world away in terms of size, design, technology and performance.

    This makes the #E21 a genuine classic, and a real rarity to find on our roads. Time can be very cruel to cars and BMWs are no exception, many E21s have been confined to the scrap heap once repairs become uneconomical or rust has worked its way through the body and chassis. There are survivors, of course, but most of these are now hidden away as hopeful appreciating classics only taken out for the odd Sunday drive. Finding any on the modified scene can be tough, but they’re still out there as real old-school fan favourites, and you have to say the E21’s classic good looks with a dash of cuteness can’t be found on any of its 3 Series successors.

    Keeping the modified E21 flag flying is Steven Doe of Southampton. His #1983 example was one of the last E21s off the production line before the legendary E30 arrived, and even though you can’t help but notice its air-bagged stance, the body itself retains all of its old-world BMW charm. Impressively, Steven has pretty much left the E21 exterior as BMW intended so as not to sully the classic lines, but has ensured it’s one of the most eye-catching things on the road thanks to the outrageous way it sits. Check out the incredible camber on the rears and it just looks so squat, so clean and so much fun.

    Performance isn’t this E21’s strong point, and Steven has made sure the back end still proudly sports the original 316 badge. That means the 1.8-litre M10 carburettor engine with a rather sad 91hp, but this is a modified BMW built for cruising, fun and admiring glances, not the race circuit.

    “I’d wanted an E21 for years but it was hard to find one in decent condition,” Steven said. “Most of the 320s out there were more expensive having been restored, and I couldn’t afford to spend the eight-ten grand people were asking for something I wanted to modify anyway.” As hard as his search was, Steven was adamant he wanted the first 3 Series model thanks to its style: “Its shark nose appealed; they have that pointed look about them, and with the chrome as well it’s the era of BMWs I like the most.”

    He eventually chanced upon an advert on a classic car website where an E21 was up for sale but with minimal details nor any pictures. “I called the owner up, who was an elderly gentleman, and he said he’d owned the E21 since new, it’d only done 113,000 miles and had been garaged all its life,” Steven said. “I had some time to go and view it and couldn’t believe how clean it was, with all its original glass and paint, and it was the colour I wanted. I’d found the one I’d been looking for.”

    Steven shelled out £2500 for the old E21 two-door with its five-speed manual and began the modifying almost immediately. Keen on having the little 316 sitting as perfectly as possible, his first quandary was whether to go the coilover or air-ride route. “I’d fitted air-ride before and have always been a fan of it, plus with coilovers there’s always the likelihood of dragging it over speed bumps and damaging it; not something I wanted to do on this car,” Steven said.

    Keen on the ability to drop the car for cruising or shows, but being able to raise it for everyday driving or for tackling those pesky speed bumps, air-ride was the best answer. On a work trip to the States Steven picked up a full AccuAir air suspension kit for a decent price and managed to get the complete kit back to England in his luggage. With his expertise (Steven’s day job is as a composite laminator) and experience in air installs, the kit went on simply enough and the results were excellent. “On full drop it is just great to look at,” he said.

    The little shark sits impossibly low at rest, with most kudos for the rear wheels in profile or when seen from behind. The rears angle in to the E21’s stuffed arches for a stunning stance, and the somewhat different style of rim for a modded E21 is also worthy of praise. “I wanted to go with Hartge rims, but they are only really available as 17s or 15s when this car really needed 16s,” Steven said. “And Hartge 16s are impossibly rare.”

    He managed to source CCW three-piece custom wheels instead; the D110 multi-spoke model are of a similar style to the Hartges: “I like them because they have the OEM-style protruding centre caps as BMW did. Plus the BBS RS rims on E21s have been done to death, so I wanted something different.” With the exterior left standard, Steven was going to do likewise for the cabin but chanced upon some Ford Fiesta RS front seats that offered to clean up what was a tired original interior. “I could pick these up cheaper – far cheaper than E21 Recaros – so made the interior switch and had a local trimmer make tweed inserts to have it as old school as possible,” he said. “I also had them do tweed for the parcel shelf and new black carpet throughout, while I went for a second-hand Nardi classic steering wheel as a wood one was too obvious.”

    A bit of entertainment has been added by modernising the sound system, but the underbonnet has remained practically untouched. “The only engine mod is the exhaust with centre delete to help it sound sportier,” Steven said. “I’m keen on keeping the original engine, but plan to clean up the bay, add twin 45 carbs and a cam, and polish it all up. I want to keep it pretty original and am not interested in an engine swap.” But performance isn’t what this E21 is about. Steven said he likes to use the car as much as possible, regularly taking it on a 70-mile trip to work or cruising it out on evenings for pure driving enjoyment. “It has no power steering, a manual choke and it’s so old it feels like you’re really driving something rather than being driven,” he said. As for the ride on the air suspension, Steven said it’s quite manageable and feels very much like it’s just on coilovers, but with the ability to raise things up to tackle annoying bumps or kerbs. Simplicity itself really. The E21 as a standard car is a bit of a head-turner these days, but with this example’s wonderful air suspension, standout rims and classy period-style interior you have a modified BMW that is timelessly desirable and won’t break the bank to have it looking this good.

    DATA FILE #BMW-E21 #M10B18

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 1.8-litre four-cylinder #M10 , full stainless steel exhaust system and centre box delete, standard five-speed manual gearbox.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x16” (front) and 9x16” (rear) three-piece custom CCW D110 wheels with 205/40 (front and rear) Falken ZIEX ZE-912 tyres, fully adjustable Air Lift air struts, #AccuAir management, #Viair 444c compressor.

    EXTERIOR: Standard

    INTERIOR: Ford Fiesta RS Turbo front seats with custom subframes, full retrim with tweed centres, custom tweed floor mats and parcel shelf, new black carpet throughout, #Nardi classic steering wheel with #MOMO boss, boot-mounted three-gallon seamless tank with 200psi liquid needle gauge and custom hardlines.

    AUDIO: #Alpine Bluetooth head unit, Hertz 6x4” front and rear speakers, Vibe 8 Active subwoofer under driver’s seat.

    THANKS: Mum and dad, Jonathan Dehate at CCW (Complete Custom Wheels), Joe at Trim Deluxe, Andrew at Open Road Tuning for supplying the air management and struts, Greg (Swoops) for fittings and help with the hardlines, Luke Robinson for welding and fabrication on the air struts, John at Auto Cosmetics Gosport for bodywork, Tim at The Phirm, Solly Snow at The Wheel Specialist, Fareham for tyres and help with test fitting of the wheels, Paul McGrath for the lifts, Chris Phillips for detailing.

    Three-piece 16” CCWs are not a common sight and make a change from the usual suspects.

    “It has no power steering, a manual choke and it’s so old it feels like you’re really driving something rather than being driven”

    Boot install is understated but clean, simple and rather elegant with it.
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    Federic joined the group BMW E21 3-series Club
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