The Beast From The Far East

22nd March 2018 — by Chris O'Mahoney



The Rx-7 has been iconic since the release of the first generation in 1978, but arguably the model that sticks in most of our minds is the FD, the third iteration of the rotary powered beauty. Featured in films such as F&F: Tokyo Drift, it has always been a perfect platform for car enthusiasts with huge potential.


Already on the hunt for a new project, when Sean saw this particular FD back in 2016 being imported by Japwest Mods, his petrolhead juices started flowing. Growing up with the likes of “Need For Speed”, modifying cars is pretty well ingrained within him; not to mention he’s also got a track ready Rx8 for when he feels like going sideways round corners.

As you’ve probably noticed his Rx-7 isn’t exactly standard. He is currently rocking a full Rocket Bunny kit giving it some serious presence. For this huge widebody to work there’s got to be some serious rubber under the arches; to the tune of some 14.5J Weds Kranze ERMs on the rear, with 10Js up front; both wrapped with Toyo R888 Semi Slicks. It isn’t just the insane -43 et offset on the rears, Sean has thought of everything, with stickers and wheel hardware, both colour matched in a stunning bronze that really catches the eye.

But this isn’t just an all show and no go Rx-7 Although never dynoed, at a guess Sean reckons it’s running around 300bhp through the Twin Turbo, streetported 13b engine, with that incredible noise to go along with it. Sean made it very clear though, there is a lot of room for more power gains, so seeing what he might do is definitely worth the wait. Alongside the meaty rubber on the wheels, the car is lowered on CST coilovers, helping Sean get the power down. oh’ and to give it that incredible stance!

Having spent 4 months and 2 shows organising this shoot, I’m sure you’ll agree, it was worth the wait. This isn’t the end of this Rx-7 (although it nearly parted ways) as Sean assures me. So keep your eyes peeled around the shows this season; it’ll definitely be worth the wait.


Menacing MK7 Golf R will have you running for the hills

17th February 2018 — by Mark Turner


If you’re in the ‘Scene’ you may have seen this MK7 Golf R once or twice before.
It belongs to Jacob, one of the original members and a director of Car Culture UK, one of the largest Car Communities in the UK.

Jacob has always been a Vee Dub fan, so it’s no surprise that he is the proud owner of this menacing stealth MK 7 Golf R.

The Golf R is a car most of us would be happy to own. Over 300bhp, 4WD and a sub 5 second 0-60mph sounds very tasty… but Jacob has big appetite.
As a die hard Vee Dub fan, he was always going to go with VAG and the Golf is possibly the best platform out there at the moment. It’s drop dead gorgeous lines combined with huge tuning potential from the 2.0T EA888 TSI engine make it a no brainer for a serious petrol head.
This Golf R is a constantly evolving project and Jacob has big plans. It was completely standard when he got it, but it’s far from that now.
Slammed on genuine Ferrari FF wheels, this Golf R has serious presence. The wheels are genuine 20” Ferrari items from an FF, mounted on custom adaptors, with huge 8.5J 235/35/20 all around. Braking is taken care of by Lamborghini 8 pot calipers and discs no less. 365mm front and 324mm rear.
Stance is courtesy of an Airlift Performance 3H self leveling kit which uses both height and pressure sensors to provide the most innovative air suspension control ever.
It’s not all show with this R, the go comes in the form of an APR 377bhp stage 1 with an R600 intake, Racingline turbo muffler delete and GFB dump valve. A bigger intercooler and exhaust and stage 2 map is the next step which will give this Golf R a 420bhp punch. After that, Jacob says he’s chasing 500bhp. Oh, and he wants to go even lower and is considering a widebody conversion.
Just soak in the details. This stealthy Golf R is a real feast for the eyes. From the carbon RS steering wheel and flappy paddles to the RS carbon grille, door mirror caps and bumper inserts. There’s a Xenonz UK Diffuser, front splitter and our back there’s also an Oettinger roof spoiler.
You’re sure to see this menacing, stealth Golf R at any of the Car Culture UK meets. Go and introduce yourself to Jacob, he doesn’t bite. Not so sure about his Golf R though.

Thank you to STNC & JamieTakes.Photos for producing this footage

Check out the YouTube video of the Golf here:


Skull and Pistons Garage Custom British Classic

5th February 2018 — by Mark Turner


Skull and Pistons Garage (S & PG). Full of rock ‘n roll attitude and style, the new kids on the block in the UK custom scene and are so slick and full of enthusiasm, spirit and passion.

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

I met these guys at their launch event at the Ace Cafe a while ago with their then unfinished first project. Not sure what to expect, I was blown away by the attention to detail and the quality of the work. More than that, Helen and Stephen, the drive behind the dream, are as impressive as the build.

In their own words; Skull & Pistons Garage is born from Helen and Stephens infinite and slightly obsessive love of cars and is a British brand, established in 2014, specialising in the customising and renovating of classic British cars. They create head turners, full of nostalgia and style. Forget that aftermarket, bolt on approach, we’re talking custom work that looks like it came out of the factory that way. Stylish and full of rock ‘n’ roll attitude; they’ve been doing it in America for years, now it’s our turn.

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

The first build is a no half measures, in at the deep end kind of build. S & PG opened their portfolio with a MK2 Cortina 1600GT. A classic you might say. not to be messed with people might shout. No fucks given is the reply you would get from S & PG. To add insult to injury, this one was a nice clean car to start with too soooooo……………they cut the roof off.

Their clean, classic, precious 1600GT Cortina was the victim of a 4” roof chop. It was a bitch to do but it’s been done properly, no bullshit, no half measures, and looks like it came out of the factory it’s so straight. To get it to work they had to chop the roof up, widening and lengthening, adding metal where it needed it to make it perfect. The roof chop was made even more complex by the challenges offered up by a 4 door shell, and the result is flawless.

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

S & PG’s Cortina reeks of subtle alterations and modifications that have taken many, many hours to complete. Some have been done and re done because the finish or look didn’t meet the exacting standards of Helen and Stephen. They have kept the 1600GT crossflow but rebuilt it and bolted on a set of 40’s……just the job.

I saw it first when it was part built, then again, later as a finished car. This Cortina is entirely rust free, straight as a die from front to back with a paint finish like glass.

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

This jaw dropping, roof chopped Cortina is a blend of gangster chic with a healthy dose of modern twist on a classic custom build.

A blend of gangster chic

Like any car I feature, you need to see it in the flesh to really appreciate it. Take the time to walk around the car and drink in the exceptional attention to detail – but I’ll do my best to convey it to you

The longer you stare the more more cool and subtle touches you notice. Frenched rear lights complete a smoothed rear end and who doesn’t like a smooth rear end. Shaved rear door handles, hispec callipers wrapped in minilite-esq Rotas, a detailed underside with colour matched suspension bushes, the list goes on, this car is breathtaking.

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

Next up on the S & PG chopping block is a rare South African imported MK3 Cortina pickup. This is getting the custom muscle car treatment complete with V8 and nasty muscle car stance.

With that pre-mentioned, no fucks given attitude, you won’t be surprised to hear they have yet another classic gem waiting in the wings to get the S & PG treatment. It’s a 1974 MK1 Cortina estate. If you thought chopping up a MK2 1600GT was sacrilege, what will the purists think about a rare MK1 estate?

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

This is the build I will be saving up my pennies for. This MK1 will be restored and customised with a solid nod to originality. Lift the bonnetand you’ll find it already has a 1500 GT Harris tuned engine on twin 40s which is a hell of a way start.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Skull and Pistons Garage are the next big thing in the UK custom scene. You can get regular updates and find out more on their website and the guys are very happy to talk about bespoke commissions.Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs

I’m proud to know these guys and can’t wait to see where Skull and Pistons Garage take the scene.

Have a look at their film here…….. 

Skull and Pistons - Classic British Customs customised cortina Skull and Pistons garage is on the rise


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


Rauh das beste! Darth Vader

10th February 2017 — by Hans van der Vleuten


This…. This is Darth Vader. Born and raised in the Netherlands, built by Johan Vianen at the headquarters of RWB Europe. Every car enthusiast is familiar with the widebody Rauh Welt Porsches created by Nakai-San. He flies around the world to give birth to his one-off creations. 

At Circuit Park Zandvoort, a racetrack in the north of the Netherlands, we meet John with his matt black 964. Since the beginning of 2013 he became the European godfather for the Rauh-Welt-Begriff lifestyle. It all started with a Porsche 930 Ruf Turbo from Bert van der Klundert, a friend and customer. John just finished rebuilding the car when Bert came to him with an English magazine and a story about Rauh-Welt. It’s something Bert wanted to do to his car. “You’re crazy! I just rebuilt your car.” Bert is a pilot and in a few weeks, he’s going to fly over to Japan. The timing couldn’t be more perfect! The moment he stepped foot on Japanese soil he went to Nakai-San’s shop in Tokyo. He ordered the kit and returned home.

Porsche 911 964 RWB Rauh Welt Begriff

A Japanese-Dutch combo.

Included with the RWB-kit is Nakai-San. The Rauh kit was delivered within three months and he flew over to get it mounted on Bert’s 930. It took one week to get all the details right. A real friendship arose between the two Dutch guys and our Japanese friend. Impressed by the quality and precision, John and Bert wanted to create more and more RWB-Porsches. They shared the same passion for the air-cooled RSR style racy 911’s, so the idea of setting up a European division of Rauh-Welt Begriff in The Netherlands was born.

Porsche 911 964 RWB Rauh Welt BegriffGotta love a car like this.

A new company needed a new company car. John and Bert bought a Porsche 964 built in 1990 complete with some Ruf extras. It had done roughly 250.000km, but the engine had a full rebuild 50.000km ago. The RWB transformation started with new Aragosta-race suspension. The beetle was lowered by 5 to 6 inches! John didn’t choose to replace some suspension parts for unibolts, instead he used some RS-parts. He still wanted the car to drive comfortably on the Dutch roads. Yes! you read correctly, this car is going to be road legal. The wheels are unmistakably huge. The 18-inch Work wheels measure a phat 11J in the front and a whopping 13J in the back. With some sticky Pirelli rubbers, traction will not be an issue. Behind the wheels you can clearly see the 993 Bi-Turbo brakes supplied by Ruf. The car is perfectly balanced for the streets as well as some track abuse.

Porsche 911 964 RWB Rauh Welt Begriff

Some real dish on the back!

Those huge wheels aren’t just there for traction… The rear quarters were almost completely cut away by John, this was needed to accommodate those ultra wide fenders. With the new fenders in place, you have to be careful driving around with this Porsche. It makes the car almost two meters wide! There’s almost room for a crate of beer on top of the side skirts. They form a bridge between the rear and front fenders. Everything is screwed and glued to make it fit. You need to think twice before ordering and fitting this RWB fenders onto a car. It’s not reversible. Just like those “Turbo” look-a-like builds you need new rears welded in. Not something you want to do to a car like this without careful consideration. To complete this build, John decided to go for the biggest wing possible. It just suits the car. “I’ve also got a ducktail. But this is how a proper RWB needs to look like” according to John. The clear headlights were also custom made, not something which can be found on the shelf. They may decide to produce more of these in future. The matt black paint (yes it’s paint not a wrap) was chosen by John as a tribute to Nakai’s drift Corolla. “Wrapping is for people who are afraid!” He smiles.


The only thing fairly standard in John’s 964 is the engine. The 3.6 litre flat six produces 265 BHP when leaving the factory, With the help from a few extras and a little tune they expect it to have around 300 BHP. A lighter clutch/flywheel combo makes the engine feel more alive, and the new exhaust-tone spices things up. The car is near completion, only thing it’s lacking is a roll cage. “Starting with this new project, I didn’t realise how well-known the RWB-cars actually are and how much attention they attract on social media. There’s a lot of interest from several countries in Europe. We’ve recently completed a green RWB-monster for Norway. It’s named Orora and the first Scandinavian Rauh Welt Porsche. By spring 2017, we need to build two more of these wide boys. Can’t wait to start.”

Porsche 911 964 RWB Rauh Welt Begriff

RWB-Europe shop…

Building a Rauh Welt Begriff 911 is going to cost around 35.000 euros. A car needs to be delivered by the owner and John will work it with his saw. It’s a lot of money, but you’re entering a special kind of brotherhood. Some kind of Band of Brothers, with every brother being different. “It’s a unique club, with 48 customers from around the world we were invited by Nakai for a 12-hour race at the Motegi-circuit in Japan. Driving for three hours straight to get to the track and race for 12 hours, without any training, just full throttle. Special guys those Japanese.” But that’s what it’s all about at Rauh-Welt, building insane cars and enjoy them every minute of the day.

Specification list: 

  • 3.6-litre boxer engine
  • Highlift camshafts
  • 993-Intake
  • RS-Clutch/flywheel
  • Dansk-Exhaust
  • Tune
  • Aragosta-Coilovers
  • RS-Suspension
  • Ruf-Brakes
  • Work-Wheels 11J front and 13J rear
  • Pirelli P Zero-Tires 265/35R18 front and 335/30R18 rear
  • Complete RS-interior
  • Ruf-Dash
  • Complete RWB-Widebody kit
  • Custom Headlights /

Some extra images: