- BAGGED E92 Slick Coupé on custom splits
PERPETUAL MOTION / Wrapped in flat grey, bagged and sitting on a custom set of three-piece Style 32s, this E92 is one good-looking machine.
Joe Addison isn’t the type of guy to sit around and wait for life to happen. He’s ripping through this project at breakneck speed, it’s hard to keep up… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Simon Ward.
The laws of thermodynamics are always stifling our fun. Just look at mankind’s age-old desire to build a perpetual motion machine (that is, a device that can work indefinitely without an energy source) – fiddly little details like friction and energy transfer make the whole thing physically impossible.
Still, without realising it, mankind has got pretty close, allowing a fella by the name of Joe Addison to evolve as a sort of selfperpetuating entity. Sure, he requires fuel, but that fuel is simply his own enthusiasm for modifying cars, and that appears to be a pretty inexhaustible resource.
When you start to dig through his historical diaries to see where it all started, Joe’s story mirrors that of many of us in the modding scene. “I’ve been into cars since I can first remember,” he says, “mainly because of my dad, and growing up playing with Hot Wheels, playing Need for Speed on the PlayStation and watching Fast and Furious… I knew cars were going to be a big part of my life.” Sound familiar? Sure, we’re talking to a kindred spirit here. The petrolhead dad, the toys, the video games, the movies – he’ll be telling us that he had a rubbish hatchback as a first car next.
“My first car was a 1.2-litre Fiat Punto.” Yep, there it is. “I had that for about a month before the engine blew up! Then I bought a Ford Fiesta Zetec S which was fun for a bit. I loved it at the time but then I managed to save up enough money for a BMW – the car I’d wanted for as long ago as I can remember.”
This lifelong yearning for Bavarian propellers is all thanks to the aforementioned father, who amazed and captivated the young Joe by virtue of a shiny new 320d Compact, which the fledgling car fan fell instantly and irretrievably in love with. “I can always remember the orange lights on the dash at night, and thinking to myself ‘I’ll have one of these one day’.
He used to let me drive it all the time, too, while I was learning, so this made me want one even more,” Joe reminisces. It’s safe to say that the Beemer bug had got him good.
So, with a keenness for a BMW and a world of choices out there, what did he opt for? Well, being relatively young it had to be something reasonably insurable, meaning that the budget seesaw could tip towards a newer car rather than a faster car, and he ended up with an E92 320i M Sport. Pretty solid choice, we reckon. And to go from a Punto to a Fiesta to an E92 is a mighty bold leap – see what we mean about this selfperpetuating energy the guy has? It’s passion and hard work that got him to this point. And this was merely the start of the fun…
“I’d modified my previous cars, just never as much as this one,” Joe explains. “With the Punto it was mainly the audio that I upgraded, as well as buying some white TSW Venoms for £50 off eBay, which I thought were cool at the time, but looking back they were actually awful!” Ah, c’mon – we reckon the Venom is in retro territory now; they might just have come full circle and become kitschy-cool again. And they look a lot like X5 Style 63s. But we digress. Joe had identified a decent-condition E92 on Auto Trader, shelled out five figures to get his name on the V5, thrown on some Jay Z and taken the thing for a Big Pimpin’ cruise. Where next?
“Oh, I’d had this all planned for years,” he grins, the sly young fox. “My dad always used to buy new wheels and exhausts and stuff for his BMW, and I knew when I owned one I’d be the same. I knew in my head how I wanted it to look, so it was just a case of speaking to my other car enthusiast friends and making it all work and become a reality, which it did, and it all worked without any problems.” Gratifying to hear, and much of this success is attributable to the busy hands and fevered imagination of Jack and Jim at Projekthäus, the Cleckheaton-based modifying powerhouse where the E92 found itself becoming rather better acquainted with the Tarmac. You see, part of Joe’s vision was to get the thing sitting cartoonishly low, and the versatility of air-ride was his means to achieve this. Rocking Air Lift’s revered Performance Series hardware with V2 management, the precision and fastidiousness of the install means that Joe’s rear wheels, complete with gently stretched rubber, pull off that neat trick of sitting with the sidewall inside the arch and the shiny lip outside when the car’s aired out – how’s that for mastery of the craft?
Those wheels are really rather special, in fact. They may have tripped a little buzz of recognition in your brain, which is now prodding at your frontal lobes, insisting that you recognise them but can’t quite place where from. The answer, in fact, is that you do recognise the design… just not quite in this form. We’ll let Joe explain: “I’d considered lots and lots of wheels, from Rotiforms to Works, but after searching high and low on social media, Google Images and BMW forums, I noticed that most people were just buying the same type of wheel.
So I thought I had to switch things up bit and change the game! That’s when I got in touch with Rafał from CR Custom Wheels in Poland; we spoke for many weeks, planning on building something really special which also stayed OEM. Rafał explained to me that his company can take any wheel you want and make it into a two- or three-piece splitrim.
When I heard that I instantly visualised a Style 32 split with a big lip. So I ordered a set of 18” three-piece Style 32s – the only set ever made in that size in the world. I waited nine weeks for them to arrive, and one of Rafał‘s drivers drove all the way from Poland to Projekthäus just to hand deliver them for me.”
An impressive tale, and testament to Joe’s commitment to doing things differently. The finished product measures 9.5”-wide apiece on the front axle, with an extra inch each out back; the lips are 2.5” and 3.5” respectively, and the offsets are crazy low just to get the rollers perfectly located. “The first test fit was nervewracking as I’d kind of guessed sizes, specs and offsets,” he admits. “We stuck the first rear wheel on, put the Air Lift on manual mode and slowly lowered it down millimetre by millimetre. It sat absolutely perfectly, just the way I wanted it: with slight poke, the arch sitting on the lip.” Serendipitous stuff indeed.
There was further mischief to be made down at Projekthäus, owing to the fact that Joe’s a vehicle wrapper by trade running his company, Paint Killers in Ossett West Yorkshire, out of that building, too. It was inevitable that his cherished project would end up vinyl-wrapped in some form or another, if only to give him the excuse to stroke every inch of the E92’s sylphlike body, which is why you now see the thing artfully swathed in smooth grey vinyl. The shopping list on the doors serves as a throwback to his childhood enthusiasm for the Fast and Furious franchise because, hey, you’ve got to remember where you came from.
“I just love the rims and the air,” Joe enthuses. “The right set of wheels and the right combination of lows can just make a car. I’d first taken it to Fuelled Society in 2014, back when it was on BBS LMs and wrapped in matt blue, but the first show with this look was more recently, with it taking centre stage.” And now that the look is complete, and time has marched on and chilled-out the insurance man a bit, Joe can start looking at upping the performance levels, right? “Yeah, I haven’t done a lot in that area yet,” he agrees. “It’s just had a K&N , a twin-pipe exhaust and a remap. But I’m weighing up the possibility of a 335i engine swap…” Blimey. Now that would be something. And we already know what happens when Joe Addison gets an idea into his head – it’s not a case of ‘if’, but ‘when’.
“The car’s already changed a lot since this shoot,” he chuckles enigmatically. “I’ve got some very big plans for next season. I’m not going to tell you what, you’ll just have to keep an eye out.” Indeed we will. Something tells us that this little ball of energy is just going to keep getting faster and faster.
DATA FILE Air-ride #BMW-E92 / #BMW-320i / #BMW-320i-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-320i-Air-ride-E92 / #BMW-320i-Air-ride / #BMW-320i-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-320i-Coupe /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder #N43B20 / #N43 / #BMW-N43 , remap, #K&N cone filter, twin-pipe exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (f) and 10.5x18” (r) #BMW-Style-32 custom three-piece split-rims with 2.5” lips (front) and 3.5” lips (rear) and 205/40 (front) and 235/40 (rear) Nankang tyres, #Air-Lift #BMW-320i-Air-ride with #Air-Lift-V2 management
EXTERIOR Avery grey wrap, 1M front bumper conversion
INTERIOR BMW E90 touchscreen system, #Novak-&-Boden air install
THANKS Thanks to Jim and Jack at Projekthäus for doing the majority of work on the car, Rafał at CR Custom Wheels, my family and girlfriend for putting up with me when I don’t shut up about the car or when I’m out working long hours on it, Simmy for the photoshoot, and all the Killers crew
Custom 18” three-piece Style 32 wheels look incredible and the fitment is perfect.
The right set of wheels and the right combination of lows can make a car.