Burning Rubber in the Forest

20th July 2017 — by Dave Cox


93,000 steps walked, 40,000 people, 30,000 horsepower, 4 days, 1 event, Gatebil.


Scottish Car Show 2017

18th July 2017 — by Connor Mathieson


SCS this year was arguably a flop in many people’s eyes, personally I think it simply it came down to it being a 2 day event instead of the old format of 1 day. But lets leave that behind and have a look at some interesting machines that stood out.

One of the first cars I noticed was this Nissan Cima. My first time seeing one in person but the white wall tyres were certainly an acquired taste that I had not acquired. It’s still cool to see one of these huge Japanese luxury boats though.

Fresh Auto Collective had a nice array of cars indoors with the first of which to catch my eyes was this awesome little pickup that was sitting on SSR Longchamp wheels.

First of the 2 VW’s in the group was Andrew’s really clean MK6 Golf 35th anniversary. Running on the standard wheels and bags. He had other wheels for the car but needs a new lip and barrel for one of them so back to standard it was.

Next to that was this cool Golf Estate. Not a car I’ve seen all too often myself. rear fitment was impeccable which is always nice too see. Show car or not, having nice fitment just makes a car sit so much nicer than it regularly would on its own.

Eilidh brought along the awesome little rocket bunny Miata. I’m not a fan of rocket bunny at all. But sometimes with the right wheel combination they can stand out and be cool. This mx5 is an example, Meister’s are a strong set of wheels and when they have mega amounts of dish they are just so good. I do feel like if it had a little more front fitment it would be looking pretty damn nice!

Daniel’s 370z is running the Carbonsignal Moonbeam fenders as rocket bunny doesn’t actually make a kit for the 370z, but has a really aggressive look to it so its still pretty cool regardless! Something to do with the wheel to body colour combo just does it for me.

Now we come to my favourite car of SCS. I really like the smoked out headlights, they add a kinda stealthy look to the car. Black cars generally are never too interesting to me. I tend to feel like the colour is a bit plain and bland in a sense. But something about this car just oozed stealth to me. There was a lot of carbon parts on the car as well which done a decent job of bring out a little more detail from certain areas and not just being black like the rest of the car. The only thing i didn’t like was the carbon spoiler. I felt like it just didn’t quite mesh with the rest of the car very well.

Rotiform wheels in a mega large diameter sit nicely under the front wheels with strong fitment. From my understanding of BMW’s rear end setups, they are lower set in the rear meaning to generally get nice fitment all round the cars have a lot of front rake. This BMW has sacrificed the rear and tucked them well under the arches to gain that front fitment.

Bringing the Yakuza VIP style to the show was this cool Lexus. Huge rear arches that had been moulded into the body with the fresh black paint and a host of VIP goodness inside.

You don’t really need words to express how cool it was to look into the interior of the car and see this.. Matched with some black curtains on the windows, Just a damn cool car.

I’ve seen my fair share of “stanced” and drift spec E34’s but never a stanced E34 Touring. The first thing that actually caught my eye was the silver front and rear splitters. A fairly subtle note to the car given its impressive rear and front fitment.

I’m a fairly simple man when it comes to cars. Strong fitment and wide dished wheels are just too good sometimes. This E34 Touring is so simple in a general sense. It has wheels and fitment, no flashy body kits and vented bonnets etc. Just clean and simple.

Outside there was a few very nice cars, This two tone E30 caught my eye. It has this strange sort of strip that runs across the top of the grill above the lights that slightly cuts the top of the lights off. I’ve never seen or noticed this before on an E30 but it’s a nice subtle feature. The black and silver two tone had me second guessing whether I liked it or not, but after a minute or so with the car I really do like it. The silver bottom half especially has a really nice shine to it and i’m a big fan!

This sticker really sums up in a general sense what car shows are about. Make a car that you want. Laying in your bed at night thinking of what you could do to your car to make it even more amazing and actually doing it. These shows are about showing off the car you imagined and then built. Whether it’s as simple as a set of wheels and bags, if it makes you happy and you enjoy the car. Then that’s all that matters, right?

Photos and words by Connor Mathieson


Small car, big hearted

17th July 2017 — by Hans van der Vleuten


At first sight it looks like a little beefed up BMW 1-Series. But with a second look you start to notice some differences… What is needed to build a proper drift car? A big powerfull engine and rear wheeldrive. 

Jaap Bosma bought himself a RHD 1-Series with severe water damage in Ireland. He transformed his car into an ultimate drift car and leaves his skid marks in throughout Europe as Smokey Bear. At a training facility for the fire brigade Jaap gets some time to play with his Fire Orange 1-Series. The car comes to life and fills the place with a pleasant hard roar coming from the side exists. Right from the start you know this is serious business!

BMW 1-Series V10 Smokey Bear Drifting

Jaap Smokey Bear Bosma started the build of his car from scratch in his own shed in The Netherlands. He heated the place and started to tear down the damaged 118d Coupé. He got rid of the not so drift capable diesel engine and made place for some extra cilinders. In the meanwhile he had cut all the fenders and made it look like an 1M-Coupe. Some air jacks are included to get rid of the worn tires a little faster.

BMW 1-Series V10 Smokey Bear Drifting

A lot of parts are fabricated out of carbon. Things like the hood, roof and rear hatch are all in this light weight material. The color is original BMW, as a factory option for the M3 GTS. Fire Orange suits the car well. Unfortunally when Jaap almost finished the car he had some bad luck… The car fell from the car lift and needed some extra work.

BMW 1-Series V10 Smokey Bear Drifting

The original 143 hp diesel engine was already gone and the newer widebody needed some extra muscle. Jaap decided to go for some extra… Five litres and ten cilinders in total fill the engine bay of this little BMW. Also known as the S85 engine as seen in the BMW M5 and M6. This big lumpy engine got shoehorned in the small front of the 1. There’s nearly enough room, but Jaap made it happen. Believe it or not. The engine is placed back as far as possible and makes the weight distribution almost a perfect 50/50 front to back. A small tune gives the S85 a little bit more power, 551 hp and 620 Nm is the result. The sound it produces way above the 8.000 rpm mark is very addictive.

BMW 1-Series V10 Smokey Bear Drifting

To get all the power down to the wheels he used a complete back end from a M3 V8 E92. The original M5 transmission wouldn’t be a good idea to drift with. They’re not famous for being that reliable. Smokey Bear got himself a manual one from from the same E92 M3. Combined with a light flywheel and Tilton triple-plate clutch it’s build to last. The suspension got some Intrax coilovers and Wisefab front arms. Of course the inside is filled with all the usual drift safety feautures and a big hand break lever. The side exhaust is one of the latest updates. The sound is incredible and big flames erupt when Jaap is on full throttle.


Jaap Bosma still has plenty ideas for the future. If you want to keep competing with the car it just needs a little bit more power. He found a solution. Next year the S85 V10 will be replaced by the newer M5 V8 turbo-powered engine. A stronger transmission is already on it’s way from the USA and the turbo’s are in Germany at this moment for a upgrade. This S63 V8 is going to produce over 900 hp. More then enough to get Smokey Bear melt those rear tires.

BMW 1-Series V10 Smokey Bear Drifting

Bonus images: 


Want to hear it’s engine scream??

Smokey Bear Facebook / Start84 Magazine


GarageFuckHouse Street Legal 2017

12th July 2017 — by Connor Mathieson


I think it’s fair to say that GarageFuckHouse Street Legal was the best drifting event I’ve attended in years. Splitting up into 2 days rather than the 1 really made the event as a whole just kinda flow better.

Doing it like this meant that practice and Qualifying were on day 1, Battles the next. Any loose time after practice and Qualifying was turned into just an open track for everyone to get back out and drift more and the same was done for Sunday after all the battles had finished.

The section being ran was the BDC 2016 section. A pretty fast and aggressive section with a small change. Instead of the first and last clip being on the wall they were pretty much in the middle of the track. This was basically to allow the low powered cars a chance to actually make the full corner. It worked out well and provided a lot of close runs even in practice.

Being a 2 day event both groups of drivers had 2 hours of practice to start of with. A ridiculous amount of time to get used to the line and find your feet. Most people did 2-3 solo runs then got straight into battle practice.

So it came the time for qualifying, as well as the time for Freddie to do what Freddie does best and stuff it up the bank. Amazingly everything was perfect and he just went back out on track and threw down 2 solid runs netting a nice 5th place, A personal best qualifying position from himself.

Among everyone were 2 BDC drivers. Callum Marshall in the 1JZ powered E36 and Mark Gemmell in the monstrous v8 350z. These two are no stranger to  my write ups.

No one would be surprised with them both qualifying in the top 5.

Top 32 provided some interesting battles right from the start. Nick Warburton all the way from the Isle of Man took 11th place in qualifying was going up against Craig MaCleod in the E46 compact. Craig has been featured a few times in the past here in his S14 but never in his compact.

I think that he actually drives the compact better than the S14 to some degree, That being said he has had issue with the S14 the past few times i’ve seen him. Nick put in a strong lead run but spun on his chase run just as the rain started to lash down. Unfortunate as Nicks car is pretty damn quick in the dry and hes a solid driver!

The best battle of the top 32 was between Keenan Van Gool in the JZX100 and Sam Smith in the S14. It’s always awesome to watch 2 properly cool Japanese cars do close battle. This lasted quite a while until the rain started again and Sam had major issues getting off the line. But Keenan being the absolute gentleman he is waited as much as he possibly could in the run up to clip 1. Unfortunately in the one more time battle Sam ran too deep on his lead run and flew up the bank. Thankfully the car was all good.

With the rain coming i was down near the start line and noticed that Freddie in the black S15 was up next. I thought to myself.. “Freddie’s up next, He is going to entry at dry speeds in the wet. He’s going up the bank and i have no time to get in a position to get it..” Sure enough, Freddie enters at mad speeds and fly’s mega high up the bank, this time actually doing some damage to the car which took him out of the top 32.

Next up in the battles was Taylor vs Willy. Taylor not wanting to get out done by his hero Freddie decided to try and match Freddie’s impressive height up the bank. But his exhaust dug into the bank and stopped him getting any height. Naturally Taylor was quite disappointed by this..

After a quick check over the car, Taylor got back out and put in a fairly solid chase run but straightening up and costing him any advantage he had gained in the first half of his chase run. Willy would put in a clean chase and put Taylor out of the top 32

Ross Colquhoongan came up against Stuart Adsley. Stuart is no stranger to competition and its unfortunate that Ross came up against Stuart in the top 32. This being Ross’ first time in battle and being up against Stuart who would beat Ross and go on to take down some huge cars later in the day.

That’s not to say Ross was a pushover.. Stuart’s chase driving all day had been pretty spot on but Ross himself did have a clean chase run against Stuart.

Speaking of which, Stuart’s top 16 battle would be against none other than BDC driver Mark Gemmell in the insanely fast 350z. But unbelievably Stuart was all over Mark on his chase run. When you put into consideration how much difference in power and grip levels there are between these cars it was very impressive to see him door to door with Mark.

It was still a slightly wet track but when mark changed into the chase position and he couldn’t keep up with the little E36 of Stuart. A very impressive battle to watch and thoroughly deserved win for Stuart.

Arni Stenning came up against Willy Armstrong in the top 16 but, These guys hadn’t really had a proper battle yet.. Arni went up against Freddie in the top 32 who stuffed it up the bank in the practice run and knocked himself out. So Arni hadn’t had a proper battle yet. Willy then went up against Taylor who copied Freddie but managed to at least continue the battle. Willy had a bit more battle time with a few runs with Taylor but Arni had only done a solo run so far in the battle stages. Arni is a very strong driver though so it wouldn’t make much difference for him. Willy had been driving strong himself qualifying right in the middle of the top 32 in 16th, Arni despite putting in some awesome to watch faint entry’s in qualifying only managed to get himself into 28th.

Yet another one of these close battles, not much between the drivers from lead to chase. But Arni manage to clinch the victory and move onto the top 8.

I feel like a deciding factor from my view point was the area as you came off the first 2 clips which are for most cars, foot to the mat flat out. Right after clip 2 you then came  into the “Infield section” where you had to slow down a fair bit to make the corner. There was some battles where people were loosing ground in the chase position at this point but could gain it back transitioning back through the last 2-3 clips. It seemed like an area where people would be getting marked down lower for loosing that proximity in that small section of track. But i am not a judge! However such a significant gap being pulled in such a small section of track must have been a deciding factor in a few battles at least.

the 2nd BDC driver in the competition, Callum Marshall went up against Keenan Van Gool in the top 8. Keenan Had been driving the Chaser really well all day and the whole waiting up a bit for people so they could have close battles was awesome. I’m not so sure if that was intentionally on Keenan’s part but it didn’t seem like he was scared to chuck the car in hard and would rather wait a little to have a nice fair battle. Proper sportsmanship if that was the case!

Callum would put Keenan out of the top 16 but i reckon Keenan would have just been stoked to have had 2 really close battles. As his battle against Sam in the top 32 went one more time and so did his battle against Callum in the top 16

First battle of the top 4 would see Martin Bruce face of against Kev Kay. Martin used to drive an E36 touring the same colour as this Coupe but he wrote it off at SDC Round 2. However i feel like martin has a bit more pace in this car compared to the touring. Judging by the last few competitions I’ve seen him enter.

Kev is the aggressive driver he always is and it wasn’t going to be easy for Martin to win this. But with a strong chase run against Kev it came down to his lead run. Unbelievably Kev over rotated on transition from clip 4. I think in the 3 or so years I’ve seen Kev drive I’ve seen him spin maybe 4-5 times if that.

With that uncharacteristic move from Kev, Martin would move to the final and Kev would wait to see who he would face for 3rd place.

It was the time for Stuart to take on the 2nd and final BDC driver left in the competition. Hats off to Stuart, He put in some insane runs in every battle to this point and was against yet another big powerhouse of a car.

But like all of his battles so far he sat the car right on the door of everyone he came up against.

Switch around and just like his battle against Mark Gemmell, Yet again he pulled away in his lead run and went through to the finals.

Kev and Callum battled out for 3rd place and what a close battle it was.. Both drivers mirrored each others runs from what i could see but the judges had seen something that created an advantage and so a decision had been made.

Stuart battled Martin in the finals and yet again like every battle Stuart had led so far, he was pulling gap on his opponents. Martin is by no means a slow driver. The gap in the first run was more or less the same as the gaps Stuart was pulling on the 2 BDC drivers he had previously beaten.

Going into the second run and Stuart was just all over Martin. Sitting on his door the entire way through the run it really wasn’t hard to figure out who had won this battle..

In the battle for 3rd place Callum Marshall had managed to beat of Kev by as little as a 2 point scoring difference. He picked up a nice trophy made by Taylor Bloomfield.

Martin Bruce took 2nd place in the blue E36. Picking up the trophy made by the guys at Everly Garage.

Stuart nailed every single battle run on the day and took the more than deserved 1st place. It’s not so often you get people taking down 2 BDC drivers in a grassroots competition but when your driving as well as he was it’s no surprise that in the end he took the top spot. He also got a bad ass trophy made by Garage SR.

Not only did the guys at GarageFuckHouse put on the best event I’ve attend in terms of driving level and just general atmosphere, But the prizes on offer for these top 3 guys are just awesome. Custom making trophy’s from various car parts is a lot more interesting than your typical trophy’s.

Photos and words by Connor Mathieson


North Coast 500: Enjoying the Scottish Highlands!

11th July 2017 — by Hans van der Vleuten


No plans for your summer yet?!? Discover the beautiful roads and scenery at the Scottish Highlands. Drive during the day and enjoy some good food and drinks in the evening. The North Coast 500, five hundred miles of Scotlands finest roads… 

A few years ago I’ve read something about the Scottish Highlands and a route trip North Coast 500. Last year we decided to give it a go. We booked a boat trip from Ijmuiden to Newcastle at the end of June. Since we were a little bit to excited things went wrong right the way. I drove my lowered Nissan 350Z on to the high deck and immediatly my gearbox wanted to kiss the boat. A big bang but nothing happened luckily. The Princess Seaways brought us to mainland UK, our seven day road trip had started.


First day

It wasn’t my first time driving around the UK. But the first time with my Z and a lot of miles in a row on the other side of the road. We left the boat and set course to Inverness. This is the only hotel we booked in advance. Afterwards not the best idea, since every hotel or B&B on route were almost fully booked. So be prepared! At least to say Inverness is a great city.

North Coast 500 Highlands

Day two

The second day we decided to leave early. On the boat we spoke to a few people about the Isle of Skye. After looking on the internet it just looked fantastic. Later that day a little detour on Skye was made. Well not a little detour… We almost drove around complete the Isle. Just a little bit too much driving for one day.


Only problem was. We didn’t book a hotel for the evening, after some searching on various websites we found one. Only problem it was somewhere on the map where we should drive the next day. But we needed to sleep and drove to Gairloch. We chose a road which wasn’t on the map and again we were lucky. What a view!! Scotland is full of surprises.

North Coast 500 Highlands

Third day 

Driving the Highlands on the west coast. In one word… Amazing! In the morning we drove the same way back from Gairloch and started at the Road to Applecross.

North Coast 500 Highlands

It’s not advised for the learner drivers or very large vehicles. Small road, tight bends and a lot of cliffs. You’ve got to drive it and will love it instantly. The west coast is great to drive, I wish we drove it in two days instead of one.

After a long day of driving we end up at a small village named Rhiconich. We stayed at the Rhiconich Hotel, very, very, very friendly people. My radio went dead and they loved my car so much they gave me a spare radio. Glad to see the sun came back later in the evening, we had quiet some rain during the day. After a lot of Tennent’s beers and a some chat with the locals we went to sleep.

North Coast 500 Highlands

Day four 

It was time to discover the North coast from Scotland. But first we drove back to the Kylesku Bridge. The day before it was raining like hell and I wanted to have a photo from my Z at the bridge. My girlfriend took the photo and it was time to go North.

North Coast 500 Highlands

Yet again a lot of cliffs and the scenery changed hour after hour. In the far north it’s just like driving around in my neighbourhood in The Netherlands. It almost felt like home. Another hotel was found in John O’Groats, almost the most northerly point of mainland Britain.

Fifth day 

The fifth day was already the start of our journey back home, we set sail back to Inverness. The east coast has a lot of big roads which go up and down and it’s awesome to drive. Loads of distilleries to visit. Too bad we didn’t have much time to stop for them, hopefully next time. One of the things you can’t miss driving around the Highlands are all those magnificent castles. Some are ruined but also a lot of them standing strong during time. Luckily we had some spare time to visit some of them before heading back to Inverness.

Day six

We didn’t want to drive as much on the way back home as we did on our way to Inverness. Right in between we found a nice Castle to stay and walk around for the day. Of course we wanted to find Nessie before we went back home. My girlfriend tried to find him, but no luck…

The Dalhousie Castle is a hotel, but still in it’s real 13th century shape. Like you go back in time. We stayed there during the night for one of our last evenings.

Last day

Our road trip almost came to it’s end. We drove from Bonnyrigg, Dalhousie Castle, to Newcastle before we had to board again. We loved every minute driving around the Highlands. For sure I’ll go back sometime in the future. Next time it won’t be for only one week and also we will plan our entire trip. Booking no hotels or B&Bs in advance didn’t work that great in Scotland. Most of the hotels and B&Bs are relatively small and booked fast. Also I need some more thread on my front tires, mine were completely worn after one week. Haha.


See you again Scotland…

Bonus images: