- Like Hell Rocket Bunny-kitted 335i
Patrik Korpi’s 335i is as wide as a freeway and it goes like a freight train. Is he content to follow the crowd and follow conventional wisdom? Like hell he is… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
“The police really like the car… they pull me over three times a day sometimes!”
Anthropomorphising cars – that is, applying human characteristics to them – is easy to do. After all, you can’t really escape the fact that most cars have a pretty obvious face: the headlights act as eyes (look at the Lamborghini Miura, they can even have pretty eyelashes), there’s a grille that looks like a mouth, and in the case of BMWs you get the handy kidney grilles to represent a pair of flared, snorting nostrils, too.
It’s no surprise that a lot of people give their car a name, refer to it as ‘he’ or ‘she’ and treat it as one of the family. It helps that so many cars have been artfully anthropomorphised in the movies. Herbie, for example, the mischievous VW Beetle that likes to muck about like an unstoppable nincompoop. Or Christine, eponymous star of the Stephen King thriller, the frankly terrifying Plymouth Fury that likes to squish people. Take a lingering look at this matt black E92 335i, then, and see what sort of personality it might have. A cheery one? A happy-go-lucky sort that tips the milkman at Christmas and helps its elderly neighbour with their weekly shop? No, very far from it.
This car exudes a simmering, malevolent evil, its hellish red highlights serving to accentuate the inky blackness of the swollen flanks. If this car had a name, it’d be Obsidian or Romulus or Leviathan. It scares children wherever it goes, and you’d better not get too close to it in case it tears your face clean off. Frightening, angry thing. It’s the work of serial Swedish BMW perv Patrik Korpi and, impressively, it stands as a sort of showcase of his own personal mission to see how cool he could make the car on his own in his garage. Yep, aside from a few mates mucking in, this is a build worthy of those annoyingly gloating ‘built, not bought’ stickers you see everywhere nowadays; a triumph of vision, trial-and-error, and doing things just for the hell of it to see what happens.
‘For the hell of it’ – that’s an appropriate phrase here, isn’t it? And it’s one that’s informed Patrik’s modifying career from the very start. “I’ve had five #BMW s before this one,” he explains. “Three E36s, one of which was a 325i turbo, and two different examples of the E46 330i, all of which received various modifications, although I’ve never gone quite as far with a car as I have with this one.” What happened then? What was the catalyst for change that made the man experiment with something extraordinary?
“It was a track day,” he grins. “A friend of mine took me to a race track and we spent the day driving Ferraris and Porsches and what-have-you. This was back when I had a 330i, and he pointed out to me during the day that the E92 335i could produce incredible power from its N54 motor; I took him at his word and bought one! Having tried one on track that day I could see the potential and I really liked the car. I wanted a good base for my next project, and I realised that the 335i was the ideal car for that.”
The decision-making process was as simple as that. Patrik found a completely stock example at a Swedish dealer, in good original condition, still wearing its factory wheels and in its 306hp state of tune, and he started making a few plans. “I just thought it’d be really funny to build the car up this way,” he grins, impishly. “It was kind of hard for me having had no experience with tuning E92s before – swapping the turbos, for example, was a real pain in the backside – but the challenge is what made it fun.”
Having seen some photos circulating online of a wide-body E92, Patrik’s interest was sufficiently piqued and he knew that was the aesthetic direction he wanted to go in. And after a decent amount of research he decided on the Rocket Bunny kit, which offers the twin victories of making the car lot wider, and also an amusing amount longer thanks to its jutting spoilers. You can’t really argue with the aggression of a Rocket Bunny look, but that was only to be half the story…
“I wanted to get it done in time for my holiday, so I ordered the parts in smartly from CIKAB Garaget – my friend’s father’s company – and we put the car together in four days! There was a lot of cutting and welding at the rear to make room for the wheels, and when the kit was all fitted it was coated in matt black Plasti Dip, and then I brought it back to my garage for me to do the rest.”
Plasti Dip, incidentally, if you’re unfamiliar, is an air-drying rubberised coating that you can spray on with minimal prep work, and then peel off again if and when you get bored with it. It’s a sort of modern miracle. And with the body dealt with, Patrik turned his hand to the mechanicals.
“I upgraded the intercooler to a 7” #VSRF item,” he says, “as well as adding an #aFe-Power cold air intake system, Fuel-It Stage 2 low-pressure fuel pump, BMS charge pipe with blow-off valve, and straight 2.5” pipes. The biggest and hardest job, however, was the turbo upgrade. It’s now running a pair of Schmiedmann Stage 2 turbos but I’ve had so many problems with the install I’ve had to swap the turbos three times!” He furrows his brow before erupting in slightly manic laughter as he tells us this. “It all seems to be working well now, though, and it’s been mapped by TM Racing in Katrineholm, Sweden. Power is upwards of 400hp, and I have plans…”
Patrik’s eager to talk about these plans, as this is a build that’s constantly developing and evolving. You see it here not in its ultimate state but in one of many transitional phases. Since the shoot, he’s added a rollcage and bucket seats to further accentuate its track aspirations and, over the winter, Patrik intends to strip out as much weight as he can by junking anything superfluous. He also wants to flash the paddle-shift autobox with Alpina B3 software, as well as upgrade the brakes in some manner.
“I’ve had the car for about a year now,” he says, “and it’s certainly a lot lower and wider than it was! In terms of suspension, it’s now running D2 coilovers – I’ve lowered it as much as is practical but Sweden’s roads are completely terrible and this is my daily driver, so it’s not quite as low as I’d like. But it is usable! I use it for holidays, too, and I’ve also had it on track many times – it always runs great, and I’ve never been overtaken at Mantroppark! Well, I did have some overboost issues at one point but those overtakes don’t count… Anyway, for now the plan is to get the weight right down and start driving it in Time Attack – and then take it out on the road afterwards to go and get ice cream.”
He laughs manically again at this point, the evil spirit of the 335i evidently coursing through his very veins, intertwining with his DNA’s beleaguered helices, urging him on to ever darker behaviour. “Some people really like the car,” he muses, “and some really don’t. And they’re the comments I like best; they say it’s mad crazy and I just love the hate. The police really like the car, too, they pull me over three times a day sometimes!”
Patrik’s enthusiasm for his car is infectious; he might be slightly scary, he’s certainly a little unhinged, but dammit he knows how to put a car together. And the fact that he taught himself how to do all of this just for the sheer mischief of it is admirable indeed. As the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and if this E92’s anything to go by, Patrik’s going to be arriving in hell far quicker than most. Probably sideways. And on fire. And he’ll be cackling like a lunatic.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335i / #BMW / #BMW-335i-E92 / #Japan-Racing / #VRSF / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #VRSF-7 ” intercooler, #aFe-Power cold air intake system, #Fuel-It-Stage-2 low-pressure fuel pump, #BMS chargepipe with blow-off valve, 2.5” straight pipes, #Schmiedmann-Stage-2 turbos, mapped by #TM-Racing in Katrineholm, Sweden, approx. 400hp+, six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle-shift
CHASSIS 11x19” (front and rear) #ET0-Japan-Racing-JR11 wheels with 35mm spacers (front) and 55mm spacers (rear) with 275/30 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Hankook tyres, D2 coilovers, stock 335i brakes with YellowStuff pads (front and rear) / #Japan-Racing-JR11
EXTERIOR Rocket Bunny arches, wings, lips and spoilers, matt black Plasti Dip
INTERIOR Red leather interior, all chrome wrapped in black
THANKS I really want to thank my best friend Bobby for all the hard work building the car night and day in the garage. And thanks to Korpi Bygg Och Plåt AB (sponsor), and Thomas from TM racing AB
“It’s now running a pair of Schmiedmann Stage 2 turbos …power is upwards of 400hp”