Features

Jeff Couch's 635csi

Photography by Matt Petrie @crosshair_nightmare

“Every possible reason you could think of, is why I absolutely love driving this car.  The way it looks, the way it sounds, the way it performs; it strikes all the right chords” said Jeff with a smile on his face and a Stella in his hand.  “But one thing I really enjoy is when people stop to tell me a story about an E24 that was in their life.”   While this is not an uncommon occurrence for classic car owners, unlike the average car such as VW Beetles, Ford Mustangs or 2002s, the E24 was a financial accomplishment.  During the height of Reaganomics stateside, the E24 was in the ‘I made it’ car category. 

People stop Jeff to relive stories of how their fathers or uncles acquired one when their business or practice finally did well.  “That’s the part that always gets me.”  No different from today, except for more options available, there are power coupes from all over the globe.  As car competitors go, Italy, Germany and England were renown for their performance, beauty and comfort,  but there was something so alluring about the 635csi.  The appeal was that the styling cues, power, and reliability were just as good as its more expensive competitors.  Even more so, those aforementioned combined with the reality of a spacious and practical four-person interior transformed the purchase from more than just a weekend trophy.  Not only did they have something to show for what they had accomplished, but it was equally as useful on a daily basis.

Jeff’s E24 carries a great story with it too.  It was 2012, and at the time Jeff had just acquired his third consecutive E46.  A reliable, mildly modded 325 manual seat, stripper was about to be replaced for daily duties by an Oxford Green M3.  With no use for two daily type vehicles, he and his best friend, Tyler, decided to make a trade.  At the time, the E24 was being daily driven by Tyler, but he wanted something a little newer with more creature comforts.  Needless to say, the E24 was not in the current shape you see here.  On the opposite hand, Jeff’s interest was heavily leaning towards a restoration project.  He wanted to pull it off the road and make it a project car he could enjoy for years to come.  With the equal benefit of both parties met, they agreed on the trade and off she went into Jeff’s garage.  Week in and week out Tyler and Jeff would wrench on the car replacing each part on their own.  Conveniently for Jeff at the time, he worked for a BMW dealership so he had the tools and access only employees had to find the obscure parts necessary to get her back to what you see here.  “Why did I buy a trim piece for $270.00 that has been sitting on a parts shelf in the middle of nowhere for seventeen years and that is one of three left in the world and to put on my car even when it wont increase the value? I did it because the car [expletive] deserves it." Every week, a little piece of paycheck was put aside to go towards the NOS parts off the shelf.

This car started out its life in Texas and eventually made it up the east coast making stops in VA and CT throughout it’s ownership.  Having past experience working at a bodyshop, he saw first hand how uncontrollable rust can spread.  Having said that, as Jeff got deeper into the restoration he noticed the lack of rust anywhere on the vehicle.  He realized he did in fact choose the perfect candidate for a long term restoration project.  Cleaned and prepped, Jeff took care of the full underside of the car with underbody coating.  The shell was repainted in the factory Zinnorot, but unlike the original finish, the car is now two-stage with a proper clear coat.  While it is not factory equipped or correct any longer; that deep, dripping, wet red looks like you can jump right in.  All new OEM trim was installed around the car along the outside of the car as well as on top of the trunk with the spoiler.  The front bumper shocks were altered to tuck the nose in slightly and give the shark front a more aggressive demeanor.  

The body is not the only area of the car that was updated.  Mechanically this car received a full overhaul from Jeff and Tyler.  An M30 B35 head was sourced, then decked and port matched for the IE headers and was hot tanked to clean completely. A fresh 292 degree Schrick cam was installed to give Jeff the ‘stop light rumble’ he was looking for.  The Supersprint exhaust took seven weeks and thirty emails to get, but the notes it produces anywhere in the power band paired up to the Ireland headers makes the wait and troubles worth it.  To keep her cool in the hot, summer, traffic months, a Wizard Performance radiator was installed with a Spal fan set thermostatically to kick on and pull air through the radiator at 180 degrees.  While he still retained the earlier motronic fuel injection and barn door, they routed a cold air intake to help cool everything down.  Most parts were powder coated in wrinkle black to keep the engine bay looking clean factory, without drawing any unwarranted attention.  Along with the cooling system components, new OEM gaskets and hoses were also replaced.  Upon installing the Ellipsoid headlights for better nighttime visibility, other wiring was rerouted and corrected for improved power and ground. 

The entire drivetrain has been refreshed.  The shifter linkage and bushings, rear axles, guibo and center support bearing were all brand new along with a resealed differential.  To give the car a better stance, Jeff and Tyler installed a set of Bilsteins all around paired with custom rate springs and IE height adjustable kit.  Increasing the stopping power with new pads and rotors,  stainless steel brake lines were also added.  The interior remains original as a whole with the front seats, rear seats and dashboard untouched.  The gauge cluster has been fixed and updated due to previous failure while some other little bits like the rear deck speaker trays have been replaced with NOS pieces.  Although the woodgrain steering is the only non factory item in the interior, the classiness of it far outweighs the originality lost.

Jeff’s 635csi falls on the fine line of restoration and modified.  A four inch thick binder with complete service history from time of purchase in Texas, 1985, throughout Jeff’s detailed build, the car’s life has not only been restored, but thoroughly documented.  The updated parts only improve the car as a whole and take zero away from its essence as a shark nose power coupe.  His execution was perfect by not only in bringing a car back to life, but making it relevant to today’s power and performance standards.


Features

Alex Siren's E28 535 Touring

Photography by Antti Eskeli @gleasygraphy

 

1987 BMW 535i Touring

Engine/Drivetrain

  • M30B35 with a Hartge exhaust manifold
  • 5-speed getrag

Exterior

  • Full Pfeba bodykit

Interior

  •  Mtech 1 steering wheel
  • Front/rear seats, rooflining, carpet, and door cards reupholstered

Suspension/Wheels

  • BC Racing coilovers and bolt-on air bags for BC
  • Hartge Type A (front wheel: 9”/rear wheel: 10.5”)

Features

Matt Alpert's F85 X5M

2017 BMW X5M

Engine/Drivetrain

  • Akrapovic exhaust
  • Tune

Exterior

  • Akapovic diffuser

    Interior

    • BMW Performance steering wheel/shifter/console

    Suspension/Wheels

    • AC Schnitzer springs
    • 21" HRE P201 in Frozen Gold
    • Brembo GT brakes

    Features

    Franco Regalo's E30 M3

    Photography by Ryan Lee @itsryanlee


    1988 BMW E30 M3

    Engine/Drivetrain

    • Mileage 320k (original engine never rebuilt) 2.3L
    • Upgraded Air Filter
    • Upgraded Oil Cooler
    • Upgraded Radiator
    • Electric Fan conversion
    • Custom under Tray/skid plate
    • Z3 Shifter kit
    • Stromung muffler / UUC center section

    Exterior

    • EVO 1 Front Splitter
    • EVO 1 Rear Wing
    • Hella Headlights/HID
    • Original “Hennarot red” paint only in 1988 limited number

      Interior

      • EVO 1 Interior
      • Recaro seats
      • Redone leather (real)
      • Momo wheel Monte Carlo 350mm
      • Upgraded radio and speakers sub box
      • Custom Cluster with LED and Light up Emblem
      • EVO 2 alcantra shift boot and ebrake
      • ZHP shift knob

      Suspension/Wheels

      • Megan Racing Coilovers
      • Front Spindle spacers for Toe/caster  adjustment
      • Adjustable Sway bar links
      • AP Racing Calipers
      • 18x8 Compomotive Wheels M02
      • Urethane Bushings front to back all of them
      • Custom Steering shaft E46 / no damper
      • ZHP e46 Steering Rack / e36 outer tie rods

      BMW News

      Two BMW M6 GTLM finish on the podium

      Bill Auberlen (USA) and Alexander Sims (GBR) drove the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM to second place in the two-hour forty-minute contest, completing 71 laps of the 3.4-mile track and finishing 2.498 seconds behind the winning number 3 Corvette. John Edwards (USA) and Martin Tomczyk (GER), driving the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM, finished in third place, after a strong run from pole position.

      With the benefit of pole position, Edwards led the field from the green flag into the first turn and Sims, from third on the grid, moved up one position to follow his teammate at the front of the field. A scrum developed at the back of the GTLM field and multiple contacts resulted in a couple of competitors effectively being out of the battle for the win.

      Sims relinquished second position 34 minutes into the race to the number 911 Porsche after a 14-lap battle. Edwards continued to lead, opening up a 3.2 second gap. The Porsche passed for the lead on lap 22, after which the second yellow flag of the race waved to close up the field with Edwards P2 and Sims P3. Pit stops began on lap 26 as the field circulated behind the safety car with the Porsche and both BMWs coming in. Quick service by the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM crew got Tomczyk out ahead of the Porsche with Auberlen, now in the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, right behind. Unfortunately, a pair of rare mis-cues saw Auberlen leave the pits before the fuel man had finished and the Californian was forced back to the pits for a drive-through penalty. Tomczyk and two other competitors missed the illuminated pit exit lights and had to return to serve a stop plus 60-second penalty. The number 3 Corvette had pitted earlier and inherited the GTLM lead with Auberlen, now P2, and Tomczyk, now P4, began their stints.

      The second set of stops was completed under the green flag on laps 44 and 45 with Sims back in the number 25 BMW M6 GTLM and Edwards back in the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM to finish the final hour of the race. The third and final caution flag of the race flew with less than ten minutes remaining for a burning prototype car. The track was quickly cleared and the race restarted with some four minutes to go. Sims gave chase, but there was not enough time to catch the Corvette. Ultimately, the result was Sims second and Edwards third and the first two BMW Team RLL podium finishes of the season.

      Bill Auberlen (no. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 2nd place): “It is a long time coming for this game and this car. We have to be very happy for that but the weird thing is that BMW Team RLL is so geared to win, that is the most important goal. When you get second you still want to be on top. However, we have to smile and hold our heads high. We covered two-thirds of the podium just not the top step this weekend.”

      Alexander Sims (no. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 2nd place): “I was happy we were able to come out of turn one P1 and P2, but I had quite a bit of a lock-up and that compromised my first stint quite a bit with a lot of vibration in the front tyre but the car continued to work well. Then there was a little bit of a misunderstanding with the pit release and we got a drive through penalty. We were catching the Corvette at the end, but needed a little bit more of time. In the end, we are happy to have second place and it was great to be standing on the podium for the first time in the U.S.”

      John Edwards (no. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, 3rd place): “We’ve been competitive every lap this weekend. It was just a mistake – for each car – that cost us in the race. I am excited for the rest of the season, to race at tracks such as Watkins Glen and Mosport. These two circuits are great for the BMW M6 GTLM and two of my favorite tracks in North America.”

      Martin Tomczyk (no. 24 BMW M6 GTLM, 3rd place): “The result could’ve been better, but I made a mistake. I left the pit lane when the exit light was red. I was fighting with the Porsche and he also did not see the red light. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. It was my fault. In the end I think we did the best we could by finishing third, with the sister car in second.”