Monthly Archives: December 2014

Ultimate Stance 2014 – Part 3

Words & Photos by Henry Phull


Better late than never! We’re back with the final part of our Ultimate Stance coverage. In the first two parts we saw some incredible cars and this section gets even better, focusing on the final two halls of the show. First up, Wheel Whores were out in full force with an exclusive ‘Wheel Whores Show’, making its debut at Ultimate Stance. We were super excited for the swap meet they set up which allowed anyone to buy, sell or trade rare wheels right there at the show. Considering it was timed at the end of show season, this was the perfect opportunity for enthusiasts to buy and browse possible rims for winter projects. Plus they had the gorgeous Wheel Whores promo girls skating around the hall taking ‘Instagram selfies’ with show-goers. Adding live wheel building and refurbishing, tyre fitting tips and live pin striping, it was certainly the place to be.




Continuing along the infamous Wheel Whores pink carpet, we were taken in by Matt Glassup’s incredible Porsche 964 on a beautiful set of BBS RS wheels. This is an absolute dream 911.





Up at the front and representing the Wheel Whores show was Jayne Kay’s Pink Lady Racing fuel altered Model T drag car, along with Richie of Milestone71’s stunning Porsche 964.



We loved this cool addition to the show, the ‘Tikes and Trikes’ display and competition, some really outstanding kids toys that have been modified like nothing you’ve ever seen before!



Over on the Rothink stand was Andy Rudd’s insane T25 Transporter Pick Up, which completely blew us away – considering this is static with no air ride or hydraulics. Impressive!




Having snapped this a while back at Retro Rides Gathering, it was nice to see Shaun Mint’s Mk1 Nova saloon in attendance. It’s such a clean car after a long restoration and respray, and looks perfect on the G60 banded steels. No doubt, one of our favourite Vauxhalls of all time.



Huxley Motorsport were showing off their intense RA28 Celica drift car running an SR20 with around 300bhp and hoping for over 400 next season, definitely something to watch out for.



Alongside was Bryn Musselwhite’s Volvo 245 which recently had a new set of Volk Racing / Rays TE37 wheels, resulting in a hard as nails look.





Dan Taylor’s E46 M3 looked the business on Broadway Static custom coilovers and OZ Breyton splits.




Our friends from LikeHell were breaking necks as per usual with Jordan O’Sullivan’s Mini on Carline CM6 splits…



…And Josh Mussell’s static Nissan 350z on Work Meisters.



The last time we got up and close to this beauty was actually at Edition38 2013. Finally, we got to see it fully exposed thanks to Wheel Whores. Alex Wright’s Mk1 Golf has to be one of the countries best examples. Sitting on 8.5×15 BBS E30 splits, this Helios blue GTI is packing a 16v G60 motor and is not one to be missed.





Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular Mk2 Golf’s of the year is Simon Delahaye’s immaculate example on custom Pirelli P-Slot splits. Overall a car built to perfection.



Mixing things up quite a bit was Bobby from Milkandtwo with his DKW Schnellaster/F89, a super rare sight.



We adored Jack Hale’s Mercedes 280CE drag car running a small block Chevy V8. There’s something about building a drag car out of a luxury barge, so wrong, yet SO right. Clearly an incredible amount of work has taken place for this build and the result is outstanding.





The variation of vehicles has already been pretty awesome, and it continued with Ade Brannan’s Chrysler Horizon. A perfect example of bringing a retro car back to life with lows and wheels. It’s clean, too!



The same goes for Shaun Morris’ Mk1 Astra on polished Gotti splits, a credit to him in every way.



One vehicle that debuted at the start of show season was Jamie McToldridge’s Players’ Datsun pick up built by Balls’d. It’s crazy to think it’s done a whole season already, and we’re excited to see what’s in store for it next year.




The Kleen Freaks lineup is always on point and this show was no different, starting with Kats Gile’s bagged Mk5 on a gorgeous set of 3-piece Rotiform LHRs.



Not forgetting Rob and Harry’s Candy red Lupo GTI on CCW D11L 3-piece wheels along with Steve’s bagged Mk6 Golf.



With their amazing 0% Finance deals, Car Audio & Security always have a busy trade stand, in fact it was hard to take a shot due to the sheer amount of constant people gathering around the booth. Make sure you hit them up for your winter project needs.



BBS LM’s are not a wheel we often see anymore, but Neil Hargraves’ bagged Audi TT pulled them off really well with the gold centres and red caps to match the body colour.



CCW’s are always a stunning combination on Civics, especially like the polished examples shown below on Aaron Gemmell’s awesome EK.




Moving over to the Players & Dubkorps stand, we checked out Jay’s other car, a stunning Mk1 Golf which we’ve seen plenty of back from Players at North Weald a few months ago. Here it was sitting on a new set of wheels, some spectacular BBS E50 which really bring the car together.



We can’t forget the Players S14 either, built to be driven hard, on Air Lift Performance bags and Rotiform TMB’s.



Across the way, a lot of people including ourselves were talking about this R32 Skyline. If you think back to the old school Gran Turismo days, this is what you’ll remember. The car was absolutely immaculate, and looked like it had just driven out the showroom, all thanks to a squeaky clean colour change/respray. A show favourite, for sure.




Moving through the hallways we took a look at the PBMW and PVW magazine stands with some nice cars on display as usual.




…And into the final show hall, the more intimate carpeted room of them all, kicking off with Seb de Latour’s (editor of PBMW) E39 540i recently bagged by the guys at Studio Incar which sits very nicely especially at the rear, holy tuck!





Continuing with the theme of diversity.. what a pleasant surprise it was to see Retro Rides in attendance with their own stand. Retro Rides Gathering is one of our all time favourite shows so we loved that they had their own selection of cars at Ultimate Stance. Naturally, everything on display was something else! First up, Dean Meeson’s show-stopping Lotus Esprit, packing a 24v Alfa Romeo V6 engine, air ride and Compomotive CXN wheels. A sensational combination. What a car!




Another retro car with another engine swap… Dave Colledge’s Ford 2.3 Duratec powered Lada on banded steels, beautifully executed.



Aaron Harrison’s Volvo C30 was looking flawless on hydraulic suspension and finished off nicely with a set of RH ZW1 splits.



Tornado Red will always be one of the best colours on a Mk2, this example was simply stunning. A solid representation of how a classic Golf should look. Sitting low using Air Lift V2 suspension and 16″ BBS RS splits, this is one clean car. We loved the rear louvre too.



Going back even further in time was this mint Mk1 on Maserati/Campagnolo wheels, air ride and an AFH in the bay. Mk1 perfection?



On the other side of the hall Studio Incar had set up shop with a huge display, nice job Shakey! On show were some of the best car’s they’ve built over the past year.



Of course, Nick Sahota’s bagged E30 M3 with the S54 engine swap that debuted at the start of the season in the very same room at Ultimate Dubs. Nick and Studio Incar have done a tremendous job building a car with the intention of it going viral, and it certainly has. It’s probably one of the most talked about cars of 2014. Even the purists have grown to love it.



Their demo car, the Liberty Walk E92 M3 was recently given a fresh new style with a toned down wrap and black painted Rotiform TMB’s. It will be sad to see this car go soon.



Sam Beach’s murdered out E24 635CSI was looking menacing on a full Air Lift V2 custom suspension and Kerscher RX splits. Certainly an inspiration for our own 635 project!



Alongside was Joshua Hay’s E92, bagged with Air Lift bags/struts and controlled with AccuAir eLevel management. This thing sits SO well, check out the rear tuckage.



As if one wasn’t enough, let’s finish up back on the Retro Rides stand with another Lotus on air, Charlie Croker’s 1977 S1 Elite. Having read his build thread over at Retro Rides, it’s evident that Charlie has undertaken a massive project. Seeing what the car looked like when he picked it up and how gleaming it looks now is incredible.




And there we have it, our final show write up until next year. It has to be said, the organisers did extremely well with the first ever ‘Ultimate Stance’. We previously heard lots of people worrying about what the turnout would be like, given it being so late in the year with the Winter weather approaching and so on… Well, it was one of the best show’s we’ve attended, and it all comes down to the variation of cars, especially with these last two halls. Sure, we love Ultimate Dubs, but Ultimate Stance displayed cars from all walks of life in the car world, not just the usual specific show cars we have all become accustomed to (Of course, they still play a massive role in what we do). This time around, show goers were presented with vehicles which some would found difficult to work out what they even were. We feel a lot of eyes have been well and truly opened to what is possible if you look outside the box, this is a great thing and the right direction for the scene. Here’s to seeing more diversity next year… Thanks to the organisers for having us and see you all at Ultimate Dubs in 2015 for the season opener.



They Call Her Lolita – Kevin Fitzgerald’s 1989 BMW E30 325i Touring

Words & Photos by Henry Phull


With the weather getting worse by the day and darkness now arriving in the early afternoon, it’s getting difficult to arrange shoots. Most people’s cars are now off the road for winter whilst they drive around in their winter hacks or dailies. Believe it or not, some people do still drive their project and show cars at this time of year, and that’s awesome to see. When Kevin Fitzgerald messaged me to say he was heading in my direction for a Southern E30 meet a couple of weeks back, I jumped at the potential opportunity and arranged to meet up with him afterwards at a location I’d discovered previously in between the New Forest and Southampton. It was a Sunday evening, the sun was out, and I was finally going to shoot the stunning 1989 E30 325i Touring, nicknamed ‘Lolita’. Being on the water’s edge, it was one freezing cold shoot. But don’t let me bore you with my whining, let’s move on to the main spectacle…



Kevin has been interested in the car scene since he was just 15 years old, spending countless evenings on Chelsea Bridge lusting over the modified cars. From the moment he could drive he was there and down Southend seafront in his own car almost every Saturday night. So, it’s no surprise when you go through his car history, to learn that Kevin has been through everything… His first car being a 1983 Ford Fiesta SuperSport, which progressed to a few MK3’s including a 1992 RS1800 which he fully stripped and caged with a respray. After Ford ownership he moved to Volkswagen, first owning a 1989 Golf Rallye, finally leading to a couple of Mk1’s. He eventually became interested in BMW’s, with the purchase of his first E30, another Touring, but the smaller 318i. After running it in the scene for a year and some modifying (naturally), he knew it was time for a 2.5L transplant. Unfortunately, the M20 lump he picked up on eBay was diagnosed with a warped head. Although Kevin managed to get it running, he was left with constant engine problems. It was time to cut his losses and break the car for parts. This resulted in a fair amount to spend on a new project… the hunt was on, but for what?



Kevin considered several other options but ultimately still loved the room the touring gave him and from experience he knew it was always going to turn heads. That was that then… he decided to search for another E30 touring, and after 3 months and 12 viewings, Lolita popped up on eBay. The seller seemed like an honest guy and sent over plenty of photos confirming the condition. Kevin then convinced his friend Marc (a BMW technician) to drive him to Grimsby on a Saturday in some of the worst snow they had seen in years. The 4 hour journey turned into 6, but they eventually made it.



The moment Kevin saw the touring on the driveway, he knew he had to have it. It was time for a test drive to see how much they could knock off the asking price. An hour later Kevin was on the journey home in his new E30, having saved a whopping £850 off the seller’s original price. By this time the snow had worsened, which made for an exciting drive home, even if it did take 7 hours! Kevin still remembers sliding around every time he kicked down on the auto box on those snowy roads, which had him grinning from ear to ear. Even now, after 18 months of ownership, Kevin says his cheeks still hurt after a long drive. That’s what a car should do!



The car started off as a standard 325i automatic finished in Alpine White 2, which was being used by the previous owner as a daily workhorse – so it unsurprisingly needed a detail and some much needed TLC, not to mention the completely worn bushes and suspension. Except for the addition of an IS/Sport front splitter, Kevin decided to keep the rest of the bodywork as standard. He didn’t want to overcomplicate the striking design it rolled out of the factory with from BMW. The basic maintenance was sorted out; new hardware, handbrake cable, new fuel tank, the lot.. plus the car was fully polybushed to sort out those knackered original rubbers. Underneath, the whole car was cleaned, stone guarded and coated in the original white to match the rest of the car.



A look into the cabin and you’ll notice not much has changed here. It’s somewhat different to see a cloth interior whilst most people tend to upgrade to leather. Kevin swapped in the full Sport interior from a 1991 touring which is in outstanding condition, and had the roof lining re-trimmed in Alcantara – a real nice touch and adds to the ‘sport’ look. There are a few in car entertainment upgrades including a Kenwood KDC-5057SD headunit, Hertz H1 amplifier, CDT 3 way Eurosport components and a CDT Eurosport 10″ subwoofer for an improved audio experience.




Kevin’s E30 was static for over a year, but he recently found out that Air Lift Performance had released an E30 specific air ride kit, something which he’d been interested in doing for a long time. Knowing the simplicity of installing these car-specific kits, he bit the bullet and placed an order with EMP Performance. Fitting the new Air Lift kit took Kevin a complete weekend to get it just right. For someone that had never installed air before, working out how he was going to run the air lines was the trickiest part. Although, Kevin is yet another happy Air Lift customer and believes anyone that has wired up a stereo or fitted coilovers at any point in their lives would be more than capable of installing the kit, majorly thanks to the detailed instructions included, and hardware that just works straight out the box, thanks to Air Lift’s prior testing and development for the specific car.



Getting the car to sit right was a long process for Kevin, after guessing the width and pre-ordering the 4×100-5×114.3 adapters in preparation, these happened to be almost perfect, bar the rear which only required 3mm spacers to allow the arch to lip ratio that he had envisioned. All that time and effort was obviously worth it though, as the car now sits beautifully. The Air Lift E30 kit was bundled with their AutoPilot V2 digital management system, VIAIR 380 compressor and a 4 gallon air tank. Kevin fabricated a boot build to exhibit these features and to tie-in his subwoofer, which is still a work-in-progress but looking great.




For some power and sound gains, Kevin has fitted a RamAir induction kit to the M20 engine, along with a full custom stainless steel exhaust made by EMP Performance which sounds awesome, which I heard on full whack whilst following him along the dual carriageway. Another modification that has totally transformed the car is the manual swap, which took place about a month into ownership of the car. Luckily Kevin had a manual box and conversion parts left over from his previous E30 which bolted straight on to the M20 lump. He and his dad completed the task over a weekend giving the car a much needed new lease of life.



Along with the air ride, Kevin recently opted for some new shoes to complete the transformation. After seeing the wheels online a while back, with a bit of patience and perseverance he finally got them down to a suitable price and picked up the set of 17″ reverse face Stern splits, 8j fronts and 9j rears, 5×114.3. With the centres finished in gold, these really compliment the car’s white paintwork and are a perfect choice, plus super rare to see on an E30. Kevin is running Design Daft 42 hub centric adapters to allow them to fit. For optimal fitment these are fitted to 195/40 tyres up front and 205/40’s at the rear.




I’ve always been able to clock Kevin’s E30 from a distance thanks to the Thule roof bars, an uncommon addition to the car along with the Thule 871XT wind fairing. Other subtle mods include the custom Grid Motorwerks door handles, with the ‘BMW Motorsport’ engravings. Up front you’ll notice a fully working wash and wipe headlight system, covered with fish eye film for a smoked look. This is often taken too far but Kevin has got it just right, by keeping the original amber indicators and chrome grill surrounds, the smoked headlights work really well.




Being a die-hard BMW enthusiast myself, I wouldn’t personally have gone for some of the mods Kevin has opted for, but that’s just the ‘OEM-ness’ in me. I have to say, I love everything on the car, and this surprises me! For example, he’s even kept the original mud flaps, most of us tear those off straight away, but they really do work here and help make the car it’s own.




Clearly Kevin is a guy that lives for cars. He’s no doubt one of the friendliest guys I’ve met through cars and so easy to talk to, he really does have an unexplainable passion for his E30. With all his best friends deriving from the car scene too, he has had some amazing times through cars, and Lolita has been no different. According to him, the scene is all about “the friends we make and haters we upset” at the end of the day. From VW fans, to Ford boys, to Jap kids, everyone is out for the same thing and that is to build something unique to firstly satisfy ourselves, and of course to break the necks of others. I think it’s fair to say Kevin has definitely achieved that here. And of course, a car is never finished… Next on the list is a Nardi steering wheel to be fitted within the next few weeks, along with a shaved and smoothed engine bay, plus there’s talk of a possible retrim which I can’t wait for. This is a car Kevin never plans to sell, so I’m sure there’s plenty of work to be done. For now though, I’m pretty stoked to have shot the car in it’s current state.




Autobahn Destroyer – Matt Clifford’s 1998 BMW E31 840ci Sport

Words & Photos by Henry Phull


Back in the mid 1980’s BMW were already dominating the luxury cruiser market with the E24 635CSi. Hence when the 8 series was released many people saw it as a successor to the 6 series, whilst in fact BMW’s plan with the 8 was for it to be classed completely differently, as they designed it to move beyond the market of the smaller 6. With a much higher price tag, better performance and next-level technology, the 8 series unsurprisingly became BMW’s flagship car. However, the original 850ci V12 initially did not take off as BMW had hoped, and unfortunately sales were minimal. It wasn’t until the release of the smaller 840ci V8 that sales started picking up, although to this very day the 8 series still remains a rare and sought after car. Let’s face it, the majority of examples we see on the road are completely standard, usually with a retired gentleman in the driver’s seat. So when Matt Clifford got in touch to inform me that he was planning to put one on air, I immediately became very excited.


Matt only recently became aware of the 8 series platform. He’d never seen or knew about them until a few months back, when he saw one on the road for the first time. Since that sighting, Matt was hooked. He fell for the factory features that the car offered… pop up headlights, pillarless body, power memory seats, and of course the 4.4 litre V8 under the hood. After much searching and fixating online, he realised it was a car that is rarely modified. He knew it was prime for lowering, and would look phenomenal on air. Plus, it would be the first one in the world.



Matt was initially going to spend a small fortune on his R32, but after realising what he could do with an 8 series, this idea was shelved and quickly sold in order for him to find the perfect E31. The 8 series is a big, expensive car to run, and they are notorious for being ‘money pits’, which is why so many people tend to avoid them. Matt knew the risks, and decided to spend the money on a good one rather than be tempted by a much cheaper example. What a result, he ended up finding a 1998 840ci Sport in one of the best possible colour combos – Velvet Blue Metallic with contrasting Ivory White leather interior.



The spec was perfect and just what Matt was looking for. Mechanically the car was almost sound.. bar a few small issues such as bushes and some other niggles that Matt managed to get the dealer’s to sort out before collection. He didn’t want any unfortunate failures with his new Autobahn stormer.



Matt’s 840i came on the factory BMW ‘Throwing Star’ wheels, which played some part in his new choice of upgrade. Wanting to mimic the factory look, but bring it into the 21st century, he opted for a custom set of 19″ polished Rotiform’ TMBs – a staggered set with 9j fronts and huge 10j rears which are perfectly suited to the car that already has infinite space in the rear wheel wells to tuck these huge wheels. Tyre wise, Matt opted for 215/35’s up front and 235/35’s at the rear for optimal fitment. Unfortunately the wheels were only available in 5×112 so Matt had to overcome this by adding some custom G23 20mm adaptors all round.



Being an automotive videographer, Matt has spent plenty of time shooting and dealing with countless bagged cars through Watercooled Society and his own company, Matt Media. After experiencing the intuitive and user friendly system on several cars, he knew he wanted to go for an Airlift Performance kit to get the 840ci sitting on the floor, but be drivable at the same time with no effort whatsoever. As I’ve mentioned before, these are expensive cars to look after – Matt didn’t want to be ruining the underside of the car by driving it static at the height he’d have liked. It was time to get this baby on air.



After much research for someone that would do the job properly, Matt opted for the skills of PURE Customs in Coventry to undertake the mammoth task of installing the Airlift universal kit. This included mating the factory hubs to the new Air Lift struts which involved lots of precision, cutting and welding to get it as low to the ground as possible, just as Matt required. Like us, he feels that if you’re going to put a car on air, you’d better make sure it’s going to be as low as physically possible, or don’t bother at all. It’s fair to say that the guys at PURE Customs did a tremendous job and completely delivered on that.




The interior is as you would expect from an 80s/90s luxury barge.. fully loaded. And of course it has that retro vibe to it. The Ivory White sports leather interior is prestige, and has been kept in outstanding condition, very surprising for a colour that is usually overly worn and marked due to its age. Matt recently upgraded from the factory 4-spoke airbag steering wheel to a much more desirable 3-spoke ‘sport’ BMW wheel, which has been completely re-trimmed with the M-power colours – a clever way to modernise the interior.



Everything else inside the cabin has been kept stock, which I love. So many people tend to go overboard with seats, or stripping a car unnecessarily, but Matt has kept the 8 series as it should be, luxurious and comfortable. The only other thing you’ll notice that is out of the ordinary, bar the steering wheel, is the Airlift AutoPilot V2 controller – one of the most advanced and user friendly air management controllers on the market.




Being one of the later produced E31’s, Matt’s 840ci left the factory with the newer 4.4litre M62B44 V8 lump delivering 286bhp, which gave improved fuel economy and more torque than the older M60B40 engine, although the MPG is still abysmal. This is mated to a 5-speed auto box which is ideal for the cruiser that it essentially is.




Clearly Matt has created something very special. Everywhere he goes the car is attention grabbing, with its dominating presence. They’re mean looking cars as stock, but seeing that front end sitting flat on the floor takes it to a new level. Matt has mentioned numerous times how happy he is about having not spent the money on his old R32 – as this would’ve been a common sight in the car scene. Instead, he’s now built a car that is different and which reflects his personality. At the end of the day, an enthusiast’s car is one of the most treasured objects he or she will own.




The later ‘Sport’ models shipped with a few goodies as seen on the 850CSI, including reshaped Sport front and rear bumpers, ‘M’ wing mirrors and redesigned sport front seats with pull out leg support, as seen earlier.




Don’t you just love those pop up headlights, too? For a car that Matt has only owned for 6 months, it’s already been seen my millions of people around the world due to it being snapped at every car show Matt has attended this year. It just oozes beauty, luxury and prestige in a most stunning package. It goes to show what you can achieve if you think outside the box… so, those of you wanting to take on a new project, try to think of a model that hasn’t been done to death. If executed correctly, the results can be truly amazing. There’s no denying that this is one of my favourite cars of 2014, and I cannot wait to see what subtle changes Matt has up his sleeve for next year – the car will hopefully will be making an appearance at Ultimate Dubs for the start of the 2015 show season.