Monthly Archives: November 2016

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

Words & Photos by Henry Phull


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.



Carlos’ affection for BMWs came to fruition back in 2007, thanks to his friend Dave who owned a couple of E30’s and an E36. Although the E30’s would usually be in the spotlight, it was the E36 that completely mesmerized him, even if it was in a complete state. From then on, Carlos knew that he had to own one. But it didn’t start with BMWs… At 28, he’s owned a few interesting cars over the years since his first car (a Renault Clio 1.9 diesel), including a Mk3 Capri 2.8 Injection, which he recalls as being a “deathtrap”. He then moved up to his first BMW, a stock E36, which of course only stayed that way for a week or so before catching the modifying bug – lowering it, installing a new exhaust and rebuilding the engine. Some time later, he was in the position to upgrade to something a bit more powerful, an E46 M3, but amazingly Carlos left this one stock as he felt the car was “perfect” as it was.



After owning the M3 for a while, unfortunately, the time came for something that was cheaper to run, so Carlos found himself in a B5 VW Passat – a bit of a downgrade from M-Power! However, this was swiftly handed over to his other half, as he had to get himself back into a BMW as soon as possible. Next on the list was an E46 330ci Clubsport which he owned for just 6 months, as he felt it was nowhere near as good as the M3 was. Eventually, he found someone to swap it with a convertible E36, which in his opinion is more of a drivers car. This was where he took his modifications to the next level and really got stuck in – before the car we’re featuring today of course.



Carlos originally found out about this E36 as it was owned by a guy named Mike, who he’d actually met years ago through BMX (another of Carlos’ passions). He arranged to go and have a look. It was an Alpine White 323i, and the first time he’d seen a white one in person… It was love at first sight. It didn’t seem to bother him that the car was actually in a right state. Firstly it was an automatic, had tired bodywork, different coloured panels, the incorrect facelift wings and the bonnet wasn’t aligned correctly. Some time passed, and Mike eventually got the car running and basically kick started the project, swapping it to a manual gearbox, adding a welded diff, lightened flywheel with 328i injectors and exhaust system. He also fitted some coilovers and installed an LTW wing along with front and rear Sport bumpers. It then made an appearance at a local Southampton meet, which is where Carlos eventually saw it on the road. Even though he was in his convertible at the time, he still wanted the white coupe more than ever.



In December 2015, Carlos’ convertible was devastatingly written off, but perhaps for the better, as Mike knew how badly he wanted the coupe and finally caved in, selling it to Carlos. Although the car had no history whatsoever and was still pretty rough around the edges, he knew it was worth building on what Mike had started. All he had to do was tidy it up, but you know how these things often get out of hand…



The first port of call was to remove the “stupid welded diff” as Carlos called it. This was certainly not going to be a drift car – it was Carlos’ only car so it would need to be driven to and from work every day in whatever sort of comfort available. He firstly went for the cheaper option of a medium case diff… but cheaper is not always the best as he consequently discovered, snapping three diff bolts in just a month. Another £90 later it was poly-bushed and worry-free.



With Mike having done most of the engine upgrades, it was already pushing a bit more power than a normal 323i (Carlos still has an M50 manifold to fit to it also). However, he couldn’t put up with the stock exhaust for long, so a custom 3″ shotgun was fabricated, which didn’t last long either due to it making the car far too antisocial. The perfect Scorpion exhaust system then finally came up online, so he made a trip to Essex to pick it up. At last, Carlos was happy with the sound and so were his neighbours!



He then turned his attention to tidying up the bodywork, firstly by fitting another set of pre-facelift front wings and even replacing the rear arches (which were then rolled, too). Along with the LTW rear wing and Sport side skirts, Carlos ended up having a lot of the car resprayed including both front doors, as the car was “more like fifty shades of Alpine White” at the time, he laughs. He’s also fitted a front BMW number plate delete plate and fog blanks, as one of the original fogs was destroyed in an encounter with a deer.



“The interior was easy” Carlos explains… “BMW know what’s up”. Another reason he fell in love with the car is due to the fact that it had a super-clean set of M3 Vaders already fitted. He did have to spend some time sorting out the speaker, clock and horn wiring, and secure the notorious E36 interior panels, though. He also found some leather door cards and a new roof lining and pillars locally, to complete the M3 Evo-inspired interior. Carlos has also installed a wooden Nardi steering wheel and gear knob which works as a nice contrast to the Alpine White paintwork, and hints that the car is just that little bit different to a regular E36.



Carlos still had a set of wheels from his previous convertible E36, a set of BBS RTs. These are an OEM 2-piece BMW wheel option, although they have been taken a step further by splitting and rebuilding them using RC090 (BMW Style 5) barrels, which are much wider than the original RT ones. “That changed the look of them completely in my opinion” he explains. The RT faces were powder-coated in ‘Arizona Sun’ (a BMW colour) and the barrels fully polished, resulting in the perfect combination for any white car. Finally, they’ve been wrapped in 195/40 tyres up front and 205/40 on the rears, allowing for that much needed extra clearance when driving low.



“Having a decent suspension setup is the key to running the car this low, and taking my time setting it up has been crucial” Carlos explains. That said, both of his chassis rails are split and have large flat edges, but this is the downside to running a static low car every day, and thanks to the notorious Southampton roads. “I’ve spent a lot of time adjusting heights, dampening, playing with different tyre sizes and adjusting the camber all round” he continues. The car sits on HSD Dual Tech coilovers, with uprated 6″ 18k front and 4″ 22k rear springs, as the original 8/9k setup was far too soft. Overall, and after constant trial and error, it took him about six months to get the car sitting how he wanted, as you see it today.



With so many people turning to air ride these days, Carlos has mixed feelings about driving his car this low on coilovers. “Looks, excitement, stress… I actually enjoy the challenge of getting from A to B (when things go to plan), and the fact that I have a valid excuse when it comes down to giving people lifts!” he laughs. “To me being static makes driving that little more exciting”, although he admits it can be a headache too, and he’s become rather fed up of doing damage to his arches and chassis rails. Could air be on the cards soon?



Other than the wheels and coilovers, the car is relatively standard, which is the best way to keep an E36 in my opinion, unless you’re going balls-out low (like Alex Wright’s E36 we featured last year). Carlos’ coupe works for him as a slammed daily driver… it’s a thing of beauty, perfected with a Bolts Bolts USDM sidelight kit, and most recently a Fancy Wide rear diffuser to make the rear end more aggressive. Along with the LTW rear wing, the car has an appropriate number of subtle mods, without taking it too far and looking silly. Nobody likes a try-hard, right?



Thanks to his E36, the car community has started to play a much bigger part in Carlos’ life than he had ever imagined it would. “I feel lucky to have met so many genuine people in these last couple of years. The car community has made me feel at home.” Originally, and still very much, a BMX guy, Carlos started to find the BMX scene that he once loved, become dull over recent years. “The car scene took me in. I don’t know if that’s down to luck or if that’s the way it has been but I’m grateful either way.” Working as a stevedore at Southampton docks, with 50-70 hour weeks, days and nights and with a family at home, Carlos doesn’t get much time to do what he loves, but when the gets any free time, he still tries to get out on his BMX or work on the car with his friends. “My car wouldn’t be where it’s at without the help of my friends. Thanks boys!” I’m looking forward to seeing where he takes the car next, but it’s always refreshing to see such a clean example being driven daily. Keep it up, Carlos!


More info:

@carlos_g88 on Instagram



Picking up a couple of exotics

Words & Photos by Henry Phull


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.



The weather throughout the drive was still dire, but the X6M made the journey a breeze thanks to the 4wd system, and with every optional extra ticked it was certainly the most comfortable BMW I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a passenger in. It turned out to be an ideal towing vehicle, too… Nick had to keep reminding himself that there was a trailer behind us as it was that unnoticeable. With a breakfast stop and a couple of toilet breaks, we finally made it up north to the luxurious A Kahn Design headquarters, the dealer which Nick purchased the cars from.



The Bradford branch is one of three Kahn dealerships (the other two in Leeds and London) and the main headquarters, full of some incredibly rare classic supercars including some of Kahn’s personal collection. These are the sort of cars you just don’t see, so walking upstairs into this first-floor showroom took my breath away.



After half an hour of wandering around and admiring these exotic beauties, we were led downstairs into the workshop, where Nicks new cars were waiting for him. The first car being a 1994 Lamborghini Diablo VT with just 29k on the clock. A Japanese import, the car has some questionable modifications, but fortunately, they’re mostly just badges, LED’s and old-school ICE that will be promptly removed, Nick assures me. The original Lamborghini teledial wheels were sourced too, so these will also be swapped over eventually.



The second car (because why not buy both, right?) is a Koenig Specials 1989 Ferrari Testarossa, again with a few trinkets (yes, more LEDs) that need removing, but a solid car with just 29k miles on it, like the Lambo. Nick has sourced a set of OZ Futuras to rebuild for the Testarossa which should totally transform it from the BBS wheels currently fitted.



With the cars checked over, it was time for the fun part… getting them on to the trailers. We were now super-worried that neither of the cars would fit, as they were so much wider than what we’d anticipated, especially the Lamborghini. Typically, Nick hadn’t actually measured anything prior to leaving. This made for an unforgetful experience.


Nick eyes-up the trailer


The Diablo VT patiently waiting to be loaded up



The problem we had was that the trailers Nick had brought were far from ideal. One trailer had sides and end poles that could not be removed on site, so it took numerous maneuvers to get the Testarossa onto the trailer properly. None of us really had any idea what we were doing so the whole debacle took some two and a half hours, mostly spent trying to get the Testarossa out of a sticky situation. It had become so late in the day, that we were starting to worry about it getting dark.




Being a Saturday afternoon, 90% of Kahn’s staff had gone home, so we were left with just one very helpful mechanic who went the extra mile to help us out. Getting the Diablo loaded was much easier, considering the other trailer had no protruding sides to get in the way, although it was still a tight fit. We finally managed it, although we’re probably on the internet elsewhere making fools of ourselves… I imagine any videos posted would be titled along the lines of “How not to load a supercar” or similar. In hindsight, it must have looked rather funny to anyone passing by.



We stopped half a mile down the road in the nearest petrol station to check whether the cars were comfortable on the trailers, and to fuel the tow vehicles for the long road home. All was good, although we took it a lot slower this time. Amazingly, Nick still didn’t even notice he was towing anything, even with a Diablo onboard. If you’re looking for a tow-car, I can’t recommend the X6M enough! By the time we hit the motorway it was already getting dark, which made for an extremely boring, and utterly stressful 5-6 hour drive home. We received plenty of thumbs up and people losing their minds once they spotted the cars though!



We made it back to Southampton with no issues and stopped to refuel one final time so that the new cars were ready to drive. Unloading the cars back home in near total darkness was also rather interesting, but after the earlier messing around, we were more confident with unloading.



Being up, close and personal with these cars was an unreal experience. These were the two cars that most of us dreamt of during our childhood. Does anyone else remember driving them on the old Need For Speed games? I never thought I’d be this close to either of them, let alone sit in them. It’s nowhere near the same as experiencing a modern-day supercar, as these two are simply iconic. Congratulations to Nick for finally adding two of his dream cars to the garage. I can’t wait to see him put his touch on them… I’m trying my best to convince him to put one of them on air, so who knows…



The next day, and with Nick being Nick, the Testarossa got some use straight away!

Ultimate Stance 2016

Date: 30 October 2016

Location: Telford International Centre, Shropshire


Words & Photos by Henry Phull

Additional Photos by Matthew Dear


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. As well as having our new Autumn/Winter clothing collection available, we also brought down our sofa and TV with Xbox One S and Forza Horizon 3 for people to play during the day, it turned out to be a great hangover cure for those not wanting to do much after a heavy night of partying. Ultimate Stance is always the perfect end-of-season event – there’s always a huge variety of cars on display, and I’d say it’s a show completely different people and cars from the automotive world finally come together for one final blowout. Take a look at the highlights…



Xbox One and Forza Horizon 3 set up on our booth




Bekir Iskender’s BMW E39 540i on Air Lift suspension & stepped-up BBS RS’s



Nick Sahota’s BMW E34 540i on BC Racing coilovers & custom-built 3pc Throwing Stars

(Click here to check out our feature on Nick’s 540i)



Alex Wright’s static BMW E36 328i Sport on ACS Type 1’s

(Click here to check out our feature on Alex’s E36)




Az Riz’s BMW E92 330d on Air Lift / AccuAir suspension & WORK VS-XX’s




Prakash Thanky’s M52-swapped BMW E21 on Air Lift suspension & CCW wheels




Dan Guirey’s Volkswagen Mk1 Golf



Sam Duckett’s Nissan Pao



Adam Jones’ Rocket Bunny Toyota GT86 (Stage 3 AVO Turbo) on WORK Meister M1’s





Rob Blackwell’s Honda S2000 on Air Lift suspension & CCW D110’s



Nath Howell’s static Subaru WRX on WORK Emotion CR’s



Nicholas Pritchard’s Supercharged BMW E91 M3 Touring on Breyton wheels




Barry Smith’s BMW E36 328i Sport on AccuAir suspension & 3SDM 3.19’s


3SDM’s wheel lineup



Danny Mellor’s Mk2 Audi TT on Airdynamiks / Air Lift suspension & 3SDM 3.25’s



Sam Muccinni’s Vauxhall Astra VXR on Air Lift suspension & Rotiform TMB’s



Ben Anson’s BMW E21 on Air Lift suspension & BBS RS’s



Chris Phillips’ static Lexus IS200 on WORK Equip’s



Jack Smith’s bagged Mk1 Golf on Fifteen52 Tarmac 348′s



Alex Hurd’s BMW E46 330ci M Sport on Air Lift suspension & WORK Meister S1′s



Jack Smith’s Lexus GS300 on D2 / Air Lift suspension & Weds Kranze LXZ’s



Josh Parker’s wide-body BMW 2002 on 7Twenty Style44′s



Lala Miah’s BMW 635CSi on Air Lift suspension & custom-built M-system Throwing Star splits




Rory Hamilton’s bagged Mercedes-Benz W115 240D on BBS Mahle’s

(Click here to check out our feature on Rory’s Mercedes)



Ben Fraser’s Nissan 180SX on Rotiform LVS’s



Steve Fraser’s Audi S3 saloon on Air Lift suspension & Rotiform KPS’s





Charlie Croker’s bagged 1977 Lotus S1 Elite



Carl Raine’s Fiat 126



Sean Robbins’ bagged Datsun 240Z with BMW M52 2.8l engine swap on Extreme Offset Wheels



Beinn Dale Goodchild’s static Volkswagen Polo Coupe



Retro arcade gaming consoles set up in the ‘Retro Display’ hall


Oxford Car Audio’s Audi S5 on Air Lift / AccuAir suspension & Avant Garde F541’s



Adam Rhys Burford’s Volkswagen Mk2 Jetta coupe on BBS RF’s




Kenny Germeau’s BMW E32 730iL on BC Racing coilovers




Juan van Oversteyns’ BMW E28 525i on D2 Racing coilovers & stepped-up BBS RS’s



Ford Focus ST Mk2 on Air Lift suspension & Jaguar wheels



Kiran Halsey’s Rocket Bunny Toyota GT86 on Air Lift suspension & BC Forged HB29’s



Dips Amin’s BMW E46 M3 ‘vert on Air Lift suspension



Zak Hobbs’ VW Lupo on “Sudani-style” Compomotive CX501’s




Conor Christy’s Volkswagen Mk4 Golf R32 on Air Lift suspension & Fifteen52 TurboMac’s



Arfan Talib’s Mercedes-Benz W126 “Trasco” 1000SEL on BBS RF’s



Ben Rye’s bagged 1957 Volkswagen Oval Beetle ragtop on custom 3pc smoothies



Plush Automotive’s Audi RS6 on AccuAir suspension & Rotiform SFO’s




Christian Pack’s bagged Seat Leon on VSP Type2’s



Mat Ward’s Eurocco kit car




Pete Blackhurst’s El Camino lowrider


Steve Townley’s Cadillac Fleetwood lowrider



’65 Chevrolet Impala ‘vert lowrider


Ultimate Stance really is a great way to end the car show season. Turning into an overnight event for those displaying cars and trading, it’s a bit more chilled, allowing more time to be spent with friends that probably won’t be reunited again until next year when the season starts again with Ultimate Dubs at the same venue. With some cool touches, like the Wheel Whores display, a Retro Hall packed with classic cars and retro gaming consoles free to play, and even a gathering of Lowriders outdoors… there was plenty going on to keep everyone occupied for the day. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season of events in the UK, plus the few we were lucky enough to head over to mainland Europe for. Our next show will indeed be Ultimate Dubs in March 2017 – keep an eye social media and save the date when it’s announced. In the meantime, we have plenty of content coming up to keep you entertained during the winter months, so check back to soon.


More info on Ultimate Stance:

Ultimate Stance website

Ultimate Stance on Facebook

Ultimate Stance on Instagram



Seen your car above? If we haven’t named you, drop us message a through our Facebook page or email and let us know if you’d like your name added to the article! Also be sure to let us know if we made any errors regarding your cars modifications. Sometimes we make mistakes, albeit rarely, but we like to make things right!