The Learning Curve – Ethan Sexton’s 1990 BMW E30 318is

Looking back on 2017, I think it's fair to say that the E30 has easily been one of the most fashionable cars in the 'stance' scene, which is kind of weird, considering how much prices have soared. That said, buying one now would be a justified investment for the future, as values are only going to continue to rise, so maybe that's what everyone's doing? Or could it be down to the fact that the E30 is still one of the most enjoyable, driver-oriented, and beautiful, cars that money can buy? Probably a mixture. Well, with so many examples out in the wild, you do have to filter through them to find the real gems, which brings us to Ethan Sexton's gorgeous 318is, one E30 that's been on our radar for a while now. Having owned the car for almost five years, Ethan has put it through several guises during his ownership, but it wasn't until earlier this year that I felt the car was at its best, so, naturally, I was eager to set up a shoot.

Edition38 Show & Shine 2017

Edition38 is the go-to weekender for anyone interested in Volkswagens (and all other VAG cars of course). Although the majority of show-goers tend to look forward to the camping and nightlife shenanigans, E38's Show & Shine brings some of the highest quality cars from all over the UK and Europe (in fact, the Euro turnout seems to grow significantly year on year). Every time I drive into Overstone Park, I'm greeted to that distinctly chilled, summertime vibe which I've come to love... 2017's event was no different. Albeit noticeably quieter than previous years, the showground was still full of some incredible metal which kept me occupied all day. With a live-stage providing music and inviting owners and their cars up to talk about their builds, there's plenty going on in the background whilst you're left to check out the cars in the sun...

FIRST LOOK – The Slam Sanctuary Winter ’17 Collection

Lately, you might've noticed that we've been expanding the clothing side of Slam Sanctuary. 2017 has seen this side of our business dominate the UK modified car community, bringing you distinctive t-shirt offerings that stand out in a sea of new 'car groups' that continue to pop up year on year. All our hard work has been building up to this... our Winter '17 collection, which is OUT NOW! We've kept the ideology of bold, in-your-face illustrations, naturally relevant to cars, but at the same time, apparel you'll be comfortable wearing all the time (and not just with your car friends or at shows!). The new collection boasts six new t-shirts in both men and women's garments (Yes, this is the first time we have released female-specific tees), women's raglan, sweatshirt, and a hoodie. We've also expanded our range of accessories including a brand new snapback, enamel mug, and even made a move into leather goods (click HERE to check out the accessories). We also restocked our much-loved beanies for Winter, too. Putting together this collection has kept us working non-stop for the past few months - it's fair to say there have been endless late nights, so we hope you enjoy the latest gear. Thank you so much for your continued support, whether you've purchased anything from a single sticker to a hoodie, it keeps us going. Big love.

NEW – Slam Sanctuary leather goods & accessories

Having been in the works for a long time, we are super stoked to finally present our leather goods. Available along with our Winter '17 collection, we've released three key fobs. Completely handmade in England, using genuine cow hide leather, there are three colourways to choose from; antique tan, brown, and black. We've gone above and beyond to track down one of the most skilful leatherworkers in the country and the results are outstanding! Each key fob has had the edges burnished to seal the fibres, and been stamped with a Slam Sanctuary marque (which you might recognise from our recent 'Car Night' t-shirt from our previous capsule collection). Lanyards are SO last year. Get yourself a killer key fob, numbers are limited so be quick...

Setting Trends – Becky Evans’ 1983 BMW E21 316

If you asked me to list some of the most influential classic BMWs of our generation, Becky Evans' E21 would be right up there. Both she and this little 316 have become icons throughout the global car community (you'll probably know her as Queen B on Instagram and her recent YouTube channel). Becky's E21 is the absolute epitome of the classic 'bagged BMW' combo, and although the recipe is nothing mind-blowing, the car as a whole has become a complete trendsetter. Simply introducing a classic to the ground and adding the right wheels (notably, a set of BBS RS), effectively blew people's minds a good four or so years ago. Now, everyone wants their classic BMW to look like hers - that must be quite the compliment. With the car going through several transformations during her ownership, Becky has finally got to a stage where she's happy with it. Having known her for years, I've watched the car progress, and waited a long time to get this gorgeous E21 in front of my lens. Earlier this year that time finally came...

Stuttgart Shark – Jan-Eric Géugis’ 1983 BMW E24 635CSI

Although I have a history and carry an unhealthy obsession with E24's, I'm not alone in thinking them to be one of BMW's best ever looking cars. There's something about the classic shark nose in coupe guise that they just got right back in the 80s. It's a car that has aged extremely well, too, and you'll find it's still appreciated by the vast majority of people - even those who aren't even interested in cars will admire a 635CSI, stock or modified. Like all shark nose BMW's, the value of the 6 series is on the rise, which means there's fewer out there - especially modified ones. To try and preserve these cars, I think the only way to do so is by treating them to air suspension (unless you're keeping it stock, of course). Jan-Eric owns the beautiful example in the spotlight today... this car has been grabbing everyone's attention throughout the 2017 car show season, which isn't surprising - it's a thing of beauty. I finally met up with Jan-Eric during my stay in Poland for Raceism THE Event back in July, where we spent a Summer's evening cruising through the city of Wrocław. Eventually we stumbled across the perfect setting, where we may or may not have crashed a couple's wedding photoshoot ;) However, when the bride and groom decide to include the car and pose alongside it, you know you've done something right.

The Air Lift Show & Shine BBQ 2017

We only recently visited Car Audio & Security (CAS) back in April this year to attend their annual Open Weekend, so to hear that they were opening their doors again a few months later was great news. We always look forward to the laid-back vibe that comes with any CAS event... this time around, they were set to host Air Lift Performance's Show & Shine BBQ, which promised to present some of the highest quality bagged cars in the UK. Tied with valuable show & shine prizes from sponsors including Meguiar's, Rotiform, Kenwood, GoPro, Alpine, Rockford Fosgate, JL Audio, and ourselves... a BBQ with all the trimmings (completely free of charge - nice touch!), plus, plenty of instore deals as is to be expected from Car Audio & Security, they were on to a winner. It just so happened that the weather was absolutely perfect, too, which meant the turnout was even better than expected. CAS's premises were completely overrun by modified cars, including the surrounding roads and industrial estate. It was quite a sight!

Forever Static – Sean Crompton’s 1999 BMW E36 328i cabriolet

OK, I admit it... I've featured my fair share of E36's on Slam Sanctuary over the years, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop any time soon. Unsurprisingly, the E36 still remains a hugely popular choice in the world of car modification, purely because it's such a great looking car that handles and drives amazingly, too. Of course, being so common, there are all sorts of examples out in the wild right now... some good, some damn right awful. Sean's 328i cabriolet is one of the better ones, and I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to get it in front of the lens at a proper location (I've photographed the car countless times at events over the past year). What intrigues most people about Sean's E36 is that it's static. We're now living in a time where air suspension is commonplace, with it being more affordable and more advanced than ever. I'm guessing the question that Sean gets asked the most is "Why are you still static?"... I know his answer all too well, "Why not?". Other than Alex Wright's 328i coupe that we featured a couple of year's back, in my opinion this is the only other real candidate for the best "stupidly low" static E36 in the UK. Sean has executed this perfectly.

Retro Rides Gathering 2017

Each year I try and get more and more people to go to Retro Rides Gathering (RRG), which I've been attending religiously since 2013. Why? It's unlike any other automotive event on the calendar... You can expect to see some of the rarest cars that were all the rage back in the day - it's truly amazing to experience so many retro rides in one place. RRG is all about acceptance... Whatever your car is, it's cool as long as it's old! You'll rarely come across any snobbery at the Gathering; people are there to hang out with friends, talk cars, enjoy some motorsport and party (If you're there for the camping!). What really makes this event special to me is that motorsport element, the Shelsley Walsh hill climb, which is what a lot of static car shows lack. Well, not Retro Rides, if you get bored looking at cars all day, you can experience the smell of gasoline and burning rubber from the paddocks, or way up on the hill. With morning and afternoon sessions, pretty much anyone can take their car up the historic hill if you register early enough. There are some special 'guest cars' - mostly hardcore race cars which are thoroughly breathtaking, but the majority tend to be completely random, from classic Datsun 240Z's to Ford KA's! Variety is commonplace here, just check out my photo coverage below and see for yourself...

RollHard: The Show 2017

When you've got an idyllic venue in the Essex countryside, tied with an incredible selection of show cars, it was no surprise that RollHard's first show at Cressing Temple Barns was going to be a huge hit. However, I'm not sure anyone, including RH themselves, were under the impression that 2017's show would be so popular that they'd have to close the gates half way through the day because it was so busy. To outgrow a venue in year two of an event is quite something, so props to them. Of course, this led to some nightmare traffic and parking situations for some people - but what do you expect when more people than they had anticipated turn up? (I think the majority of show-goers that turned up on time were okay, though). The quality of cars on display at this year's show was something else and right up there in terms of quality and pure variation. There was also an impressive turnout of Europeans who decided to make the trip over - it's always cool to see cars we don't see often! If you're an avid reader of Slam Sanctuary, you'll know we're big fans of classics cars... well, RollHard 2017 was an absolute haven for them. Anyway, I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking... Sit back and enjoy.