Less is More – Carlos Gomez’ 1997 BMW E36 323i

The E36 3-series market has recently shifted, with resale values shooting upwards (a great thing for owners, but disheartening if you're still looking to buy one). They're now becoming more difficult to find, with no "middle ground" cars available. You'll either encounter the battered drift-spec examples which are far from perfect or the near-mint cars which will be selling for strong money. Hell, I remember when you could pick up a 328i Sport for less than £1500, and that was only a couple of years ago. It seems to be impossible to find a decent one at that money now! These days, it's all about finding a good shell and building from there. Can't find a genuine Sport? No problem.. all it takes is bumpers and an interior. Want a 328i lump? The M50 engine can be uprated relatively easily. Stuck with a 318i? Hell, you can still swap the engine cheaply enough. Anyway, finding an E36 that remains OEM+, with the correct stance of course, is a rare thing. Bring on Carlos Gomez' coupe, the perfect example of how less is definitely more. An original Alpine White car, his E36 is finished with a set of gold-faced BBS... A match made in heaven. Still, Carlos has had to put in a lot of hard work to get the car looking as good as it does today, which is easier said than done when it's also his daily driver.

Picking up a couple of exotics

I hadn't planned on doing much last Saturday, but that all changed rather quickly after I received a call on Friday evening from my friend Nick Sahota (If you frequent the website, you might've heard of him. He owns the E30 M3 and E34 540i that we recently featured, along with a large collection of cars). "I'm picking up the Testarossa and Diablo tomorrow, do you want to come with me?". Well, what would you have done? This did, however, mean a very early start for myself. I left mine at 6:15am, to get to Nicks in Southampton for 7am. The day started, almost catastrophically, with me aquaplaning twice along the A31 because the rain was so bad. Luckily, after doing a maximum of 50mph down the motorway, I made it in one piece to Nicks, where there were two commercial trailers waiting to be hitched up. The tow vehicles of choice were Nick's X6M (his daily driver) and his friend Dean's Nissan Navara pickup, with Chris and Steven piloting it. Still dark and pouring with rain, we connected the trailers and hit the road again for a 250-mile drive up to Bradford.

Ultimate Stance 2016

Slam Sanctuary has just hit another milestone! One year has passed since debuting our booth, clothing range and pop-up store back at Ultimate Stance 2015. That's one whole year of taking our brand and products around the UK and Europe, and I have to say, the reception has been phenomenal and better than I could've imagined. You are all making my dream come true, so thank you - every single one of you who continues to read the blog, purchase our products and visit us when we are out at events. I'm seeing more and more people wearing our clothing at shows - it means so much that so many of you want to spend your hard earned cash on supporting the brand. With that said, the return of Ultimate Stance this year meant that we had to top our previous efforts. Naturally, we returned to our favourite spot, the VIP carpeted hall in the Telford International Centre, with four of the UK's best BMWs... representing the two worlds of suspension that we now offer, with Bekir's E39 & Az's E92 both on air, and Nick's E34 & Alex's E36 showing what can still be achieved on static coilovers...

Westside Treffen 2016

Westside Treffen is the hidden gem of modified car shows in the UK. It really does surprise me how many people don't know of its existence when I mention it. From people that have been, including all the regulars, you'll constantly hear "Come to Westside. It's THE most chilled out show." Well, they ain't lying! The quality of cars on display is usually top notch too, and that's partly what makes this show awesome. It could also have something to do with the time of year, being the last outdoor event on the calendar, a lot of people are about to tuck their show cars away for winter. Westside is one final stage for your pride and joy to make a spectacle before the new show season (Unless you're attending Ultimate Stance this weekend, of course - but the crowd there is slightly different). The ideology for Westside is pretty simple really. Book out a cricket club on the outskirts of West London, bring your friends and their cars (of which 80% happen to be concourse condition classic Volkswagens), get the family to help out with some incredible home-cooked food, 80s/90s music and you're onto a winner. It's no surprise that the show has grown year on year but still remains a small, relaxed event.

Players 10.0

There's one show that, undoubtedly, initiated the birth of several modified car shows in the UK... the one and only Players at North Weald Airfield. Founded by Jamie McToldridge and Carl Taylor, their vision came into fruition by hosting a new type of show that catered for all petrolheads within the clustered automotive world, but most importantly, oozing anything cool. Naturally, Players is known to have a strong presence of cars sporting Air Lift suspension and Rotiform wheels, but that's to be expected when they are the main sponsors of the event. BUT, it's balanced out with plenty of diversity. For example, walking into the main show, the first thing that would've met your eyes was a jacked up Chevy Impala lowrider. Followed by the UK's first RWB Porsche. Then a classic Mercedes-Benz to a brand new BMW M4 on air. From a selection of Mk1 Golfs, to a Bagged Austin Healey! And people say that there's no variation left these days? Well, I'm sorry, but that's just plain B.S. - Jamie and Carl are two guys with quite the opposite taste in cars - put them together and you've got a team of incredible curators, showing us what is cool, and what's going to 'wow' you as soon as you step foot into their show. Players 10.0 proved that they've still got it, ten years later.

Edition38 Show & Shine 2016

It's that time again... Edition38! This is probably the most anticipated show of the year for Volkswagen and VAG fans. It's essentially a camping event held over a long weekend, the ideal opportunity to get together with friends and cars. Thanks to plenty of night-time entertainment, people treat it as a party weekend, followed by one of the best Show & Shines in the country at the end of it. Edition has grown so much, that each year I notice a stronger presence of cars that have travelled over from Europe. This year was no exception, as I was blown away by plenty of examples from the Netherlands, Belgium, and France which stood out from everything else - showing us Brits how it should be done. Now, due to the weather being absolutely disgusting on the Friday and Saturday of the event, we skipped them and made our way up on Sunday (the main day for Show & Shine), where the rain stayed away, luckily. Props to everyone that camped all weekend in the wet and mud - that's dedication! Enjoy our round-up, with some of the UK and Europe's highest quality dubs.

Auto Grüppe’s Summer Run 2016

Auto Grüppe organised an event back in 2014... the congregation of some incredible cars at Beaconsfield services on the M40, followed by a leisurely drive to the rendezvous point at Southsea seafront in Hampshire, for a chilled evening with friends and cars. To this day, it remains one of the coolest gatherings that I've attended in the UK. I've been patiently waiting for the guys to plan the next one - This year they finally got their act together and set a date for the second event. The idea was exactly the same as before (why change something that worked so well, right?), another cruise from Beaconsfield down to Southsea. I decided to skip the convoy and meet up with everyone in Southsea along with a few other Southerners, seeing as we live around the area, anyway. When I arrived, there were already plenty of modified cars trying to take over the Avenue where the meet was being held - unfortunately it was a bank holiday Monday after a big music festival held at the same location, so there were a few vans and tractors moving about and clearing up the rubbish from the weekend, but we made the most of it and it didn't seem to spoil the vibe. To top it off, the weather was glorious.

Retro Rides Gathering 2016

It's that time of year where we take a break from the usual shenanigans of static 'stance-orientated' car shows, and head deep into the British countryside... more specifically, the idyllic Shelsley Walsh in Worcester, to the historic hill climb. It's here that every year, members of the Retro Rides forums get together for one big event, the 'Gathering'. Now, this isn't like any typical car show. Here you'll find cars that you won't see anywhere else, in fact, a lot of them only attend this one event on the calendar, and I'm pretty sure a lot of them aren't even that active on social media. I know right, that sort of messes up our usual style of event coverage, but let's go with it. Anyway, I've been attending the Retro Rides Gathering since 2013, and it just keeps getting better, year on year (regardless of the weather). Over this time I've noticed that more and more classic car enthusiasts are finding out about this motorsport-orientated event, bringing a higher calibre of cars each time I visit.

Show & Glow 2016

We've been supporters of Show & Glow since their first event back in 2013 when it was held at the exclusive indoor space at Bluewater shopping centre. It continued there successfully for another year, however, Bluewater then decided to abolish the space, which meant Simon and the team at Show & Glow had to search for a new venue. Luckily, something popped up nearby (still in Kent of course), the UKP Leisure Club in Sittingbourne. Although we, unfortunately, missed last year's show, our new photographer Tristan managed to get down there last weekend. As it turns out, Show & Glow has become one of the most chilled events on the UK circuit. With some patchy weather, it was still much drier than last year, which resulted in a great turn out and a mixed variety of cars, with most hailing from the surrounding Kent and London areas. We captured some of the highlights, showing off the mixture of cars - check them out below...

RollHard: The Show 2016

Established back in 2010, RollHard is now one of the most recognised groups in the modified car scene... They choose to focus on the sense of community that comes with the lifestyle of a petrolhead, "All makes, all models, one community" as they state, which I absolutely love. It's not hard to work out why so many car enthusiasts choose to be a part of RH and of course rock the stickers on their cars. Let's face it, if you're into cars, you've heard of RollHard. They're everywhere, and even have a huge following over in Europe. Having previously held a few events (RollHard Duxford back in 2013, The Belgian Chapter in 2014 and 2015, and their Charity event also in 2015), a new idea was brought to life this year after discovering an absolute gem of a location in Essex - the Cressing Temple Barns. Imagine a beautiful, scenic venue in the remote countryside, featuring 13th Century Medieval barns, outbuildings, gardens, and paddocks. Not your usual recipe for a car show, but that's what made this one just that extra bit special. With plenty of nooks and crannies throughout the venue, cars were dotted all over the place, which made it more fun to explore than say, strolling past rows upon rows of cars like at other shows. Usually, I'm not the biggest fan of car events on grass, but the quirkiness of this venue definitely made up for it. So, sit back and check out the highlights below...