Tag Archives: Project

When stance isn’t enough – Jamie Carter’s 1988 Nissan Laurel C32

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

Standing out in the car scene is a challenging prospect these days, especially if you don’t want to follow the the typical trend of ‘Air Ride and Rotiforms’ that so many seem to opt for. First glance at Jamie Carter’s 1988 Nissan Laurel 2.4SGX and it’s clear that he is not one to follow trends… You won’t find his car at any mainstream shows, as he simply does not care what others think. Let’s get things straight, there’s nothing glamorous to see here. Rough around the edges with surface rust and scuff marks scattered around the bodywork, this Laurel is definitely no show queen. There’s much more to it than looking pretty. Jamie built the car for himself to enjoy, and that’s what matters. It’s just a bonus that it happens to look so badass.

 

 

Jamie first picked up the C32 Laurel as a completely standard example. Naturally, the first job was to chop the springs and get it on the floor as quickly as possible. Consequently the car looked amazing, although soon after, Jamie realised it was time to take the car to the next level and do it properly.

 

 

To improve the handling, Jamie installed S13 hubs which allowed him to fit HSD adjustable coilovers for a healthy drop, which ride surprisingly well for such a heavy saloon car.

 

 

Wheels are always a difficult choice for a rare, retro vehicle. Jamie didn’t want to spend a silly amount of money, and as a result opted for 16×10 Diamond Racing steels, refurbed in a gunmetal grey – which go extremely well with the Laurel’s two-tone colour scheme. These are paired to slightly stretched 225/40 tyres all round.

 

 

It’s not until you notice the custom 2.5″ stainless exhaust and hear it start up, that you realise there is something more to this car. That’s because for Jamie, stance isn’t enough.

 

 

 

The idea was to keep the original retro looks… but turn it into a complete animal.

 

 

After much pondering and peer pressure, an engine swap was on the cards. Jamie set himself a budget, and the search was on… A few weeks later he ended up purchasing a complete written-off Skyline R33 GTST, which, if you are a Jap fan, you’ll know these carry the RB25DET motor. A prime candidate for Jamie’s build.

 

 

It was no simple task, with the swap taking a good few months to complete. Being a mechanic by trade, Jamie luckily had access to a workshop and took on the build himself with a couple of like-minded mates whenever there was a free evening or weekend, bar a couple of issues such as the critical wiring which required special expertise from engineer and friend Giles.

 

 

Modifications to allow for the swap include a modified subframe from the Skyline donor car, custom driveshafts and prop, in addition to the RB manual gearbox. A new front mounted intercooler was installed along with a new inlet to get the most out of the RB25 lump.

 

 

Although it’s not yet seen a rolling road, Jamie estimates the Laurel is now putting out around 300bhp. This extra power means the original Laurel brakes would not cut it, so they were scrapped accordingly in place for uprated 300ZX front brakes.

 

 

 

As with most mechanic’s cars, the Laurel will always be an ongoing project. With so much time spent working on other people’s cars, there’ll always be something that needs finishing on his own pride and joy.

 

 

As a result, the interior is dirty, and there are missing panels all over the place, but really, who cares? In my opinion he should keep the car like this. It’s the rawness that makes it what it is. The car was built to be abused – there’s no point in hiding it. You’ll notice Jamie did however opt for a Nardi steering wheel, always a tasteful upgrade whatever the car.

 

 

There’s something truly special about 80s Japanese cars, character.. which is what modern cars unfortunately seem to be missing most of the time.

 

 

 

The attention the Laurel gets whilst crawling through traffic just proves what looker it really is. While most people tend to ask what the hell it is, they are always affectionate over it. It truly is a thing of beauty.

 

 

There is no doubt in my mind that Jamie built this car as a big “f**k you” to the current Volkswagen scene. Opting for 80s Jap (something we don’t see enough of in the UK!), along with big power, and absolutely no worry or care about the condition of the car or what trouble it might land him in. Burnouts aplenty and sessions at his local drifting track – the car sees plenty of action. It’s the definition of ‘retro cool’, fun, and intimidating, mixed into one. It’s a pleasure to see it out on the road, not giving a shit.

The 1958 DKW 3=6 coupe

Words by Pipey McGraw & Photos by Henry Phull

 

Bonjour. This derelict patina’d automotive machine is the latest edition to our ever-growing Muttley fleet, a 1958 DKW 3=6 coupe. I’m sure some of you are wondering “what the hell is that?”. Well, DKW is part of the Auto Union automobile manufacturer, widely known for their racing team back in the early 30’s, where they dominated GP car racing. Aside from becoming an important supplier of vehicles to Germany’s armed forces during the Second World War, 1949 onwards saw DKW starting to produce 3 cylinder 2 stroke FWD beauties, straight outta West Germany!

 

 

 

Popular models in the 50’s were the F89, the 3=6 and the 1000S. The 60’s happened and they realised 2 stroke engines weren’t exactly pioneering in automotive technology, therefore started to build more desirable and attractive four stroke engines, until the company evolved into what is now the Volkswagen Audi Group…. So, finding a rare glimpse of one of these motors is simply extraordinary.

 

 

Like always with most of our rare finds, although unexpectedly, the DKW shockingly came up on the infamous eBay, so without a second thought we snapped up the chance to purchase the vehicle. Paul at Coltech Classics had recently sold an MGB that was awaiting collection from the customer, who luckily lived a couple of miles away from the owner of the DKW. So with a little organisation we had the car picked up and delivered to us at the same time, everyone’s a winner!

 

 

The car had originally been imported from California in 1969 and has been sat up in the UK ever since, as I’m sure you can imagine she’s a little tender. Our friend Tom, being a bit of a wiz on 2 strokes, set the challenge of getting it running. So, on a mild spring Thursday evening we tinkered with it in the hope of getting it to fire up.

 

 

Within an hour we cleaned up the and freed the points, addressed the catastrophicly mangled mouldy wiring, home-brewed a Fanta bottle fuel tank, and the old girl fired right up! No air box and no exhaust manifold… she was screaming the 2 stroke dream! We also freed off the clutch and managed to do a small yet satisfying burnout… as you do.

 

 

 

Our incentives are now extremely high to get this old girl on its arse and back on the road! Loads of wonderful and crazy ideas have been floating around in preparation for the daunting task ahead. Discussions have been leaning towards another Beetle panned body dropped platform.

 

 

As always with us, it’s go hard or go home! Luckily the DKW is a separate body to chassis car, which will make things slightly easier in removing and fabricating the body onto a Beetle pan.

 

 

 

With the Summer and show season right around the corner, the DKW will be tucked up and tinkered with, whilst no doubt planning and preparing it for another Winter build. We’ve still got tons of work to do on getting the rest of the fleet up together so we can party hard with you lot at the shows this year. We’ll keep the updates and photos flying in as we carry out the build.

Project 635csi

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

I’d like to welcome a new addition to Slam Sanctuary, a car I have dreamt about owning for years, ever since my dad had an M635CSi during my childhood. From that moment I was hooked on BMW’s, with the E24 forever stuck in the back of my mind. It’s that classic shark nose that does it for me, a timeless shape. Anyway, I was originally on the hunt for an E34 540i, another personal favourite. Having looked at a couple, the search was proving difficult. Then out of nowhere, a friend mentioned he knew of an E24 coming up for sale. He sent me some bad phone photos and I saw that it was white in colour, pretty rare especially in the UK. I phoned up the seller immediately and arranged to have a look…

 

 

I drove up to view the car with hardly any details or specifications, other than it had a few issues. It happened to be a 1990 635csi. Yes, a 1990. They stopped production of these in 1989, so this would probably have been sitting on a forecourt somewhere before it was registered, making it one of the very last E24’s. I gave the car a test drive, inspected it with a friend, and the deal was done. She drove home with no issues whatsoever.

 

 

When I picked up the car, it was sitting on a very tired set of original metric wheels with tyres nearing the limit, so I had to change them as soon as possible. I had a set of BMW Throwing Stars in the garage, waiting to go on an E34 I had planned to buy. After a bit of googling, it turns out these bolt straight on to E24’s, so I sent them off to be refurbed. The guys at The Wheel Specialist Bournemouth did a fantastic job on them. I’ve already had mixed opinions on the wheel choice, but they’ll do me for now until I am ready for some deep dish splits.

 

 

After a bit of DIY at Coltech Classics, we have the 635 temporarily sitting a little lower than when it left the factory. The ultimate question for the future is, bags or coilovers? A difficult decision for this car!

 

 

 

On the whole, the car is a little rough in places and its going to need a bit of TLC. I’m already in the process of replacing the brakes all round. The tappets are pretty noisy, there’s an oil leak, quite a few bushes need doing, the fuel pump is on the way out, and countless small issues to add to the list… but to be honest it’s not surprising with such an old, expensive car.

 

 

Inside is the definition of 80’s luxury, with the full leather interior including the dashboard, door cards and headlining.

 

 

The 4 speed automatic gearbox suits the 6 series as a cruiser, but maybe one day I’ll look at a manual swap, which isn’t too difficult on an M30 engined car.

 

 

 

As much as I was looking forward to 540 V8 ownership, It feels great to finally be driving my dream ride. The looks this thing gets literally everywhere is incredible. I think everyone can appreciate a 635csi, even if you hate BMW’s, this shape just oozes ‘cool’. I can’t wait to get it how I want it, and on the floor of course. Keep your eyes peeled for updates in the near future and come and say hello at shows, the 6 will be there!