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Reviews

Purpose Built Barrel Hunter

28th February 2017 — by Dave Cox

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At the time of writing, we are just days away from the beginning of the 2017 Fueltopia Barrel Sprint season. Test & Registration day has been and gone and we take this brief gap to bring you a close look at Mike Newland’s new purpose built barrel sprint s13.

This is not Mike’s first rodeo either previously he had a purpose built S14. A car that Mike has competed in for the last 4 years and spent tireless hours and effort developing. Sadly the S14 met it’s demise at Coventry MotorFest when it made a firm introduction with a concrete pillar underneath the ring roads. When life deals you such a poor hand it can be hard to get back on your feet.

Motorsport is high risk, leaving many grass roots racers with two options, All or Nothing. The impact the S14 had sustained was too much, the chassis was completely folded underneath the car meaning that it would sadly be beyond repair. For someone who had invested all they had into a sport they love the result was pretty crushing. Thankfully that was the extent of the damage, pretty much everything could be salvaged.

An S13 was sourced and Mark Young at Japs Motorsport set to work sand blasting the fresh shell before seam welding and inserting a full cage in preparation for transplanted parts. The decision to go for an S13 instead of an S14 was to step away from the norm on the field. Rear wheel drive class in Barrel Sprint is pretty much dominated by MX5’s and S14’s so Mike felt the need to provide a different body to keep things interesting.

Mark took a staggering 7 days to complete the transformation from a bare shell. I will let that sink in for a little bit. In an era where builds are getting turned around for shows in ever decreasing times, this is incredible. Not to mention that this isn’t a show car, this is a purpose built race car and it is fully functional! I have struggled to make decisions in 7 days, let alone build and complete a car.

The exterior also got a refresh thanks to Sussex Wrap Studio which closely mimics the colours scheme of the S14 as well keeping in line with the team colours.

After all the work was completed, the car was unveiled at the Wembley Qualifier for GRiD last year. Where unfortunately due to a lack of testing due to time constraints the car was fighting with him and not behaving herself. Due to this Mike came in 3rd place missing his spot at GRiD. Disappointing for Mike but still very impressive for anyone else.

The eagle eyed amongst you would have noticed that the lines of this S13 are slightly off, that is because the rear glass hatch has been removed and replaced with fibreglass flat bed. This was done to primarily reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity keeping the car light and nimble or “Smimble” as Mike affectionately calls it (Small and Nimble).

The obsessive weight loss spreads further than just the rear hatch, the bonnet is single skin fibre glass too,

The interior of the car is a spartan yet functional place to sit. A flocked dash obscured only by an OMP steering wheel houses minimal switch gear whilst a hydro setup help get the car round the barrels. Whilst a Corbeau seat helps keep the driver in place.  An Android dash allows Mike to customise what he monitors, keeping only the essential information on display.

As mentioned before, many of the components were transplanted over to the new chassis. Gold wrapping around the intake pipes help keep engine temperatures down. Mike is however developing a new expansion system to help lower intake temperatures and keep them constant which will mean he can go more aggressive on the map. Given that the car is already making 385bhp on a Nispro tune, it will be pretty lively.

Frustrated with his performance at the Qualifier, Mike sent the car to Walton Smith at Nispro to get the car’s alignment dialled in. This proved a wise choice as during the next FBS round, he beat his personal best time and then went on to finish 2nd in the championship.

I keep teasing Mike about the reverse rake of the car saying “just lower the front by a foot and you’ll be fine!” But I am told this is to help with balance and turn in. Seeing as I am at very best a spirited driver, I shall shut up and stop poking fun. (Will I f*ck)

The car is littered with small considered details, I’m particularly fond of the KODE rivets that secure the over fenders and duck tail spoiler . There are other touches too, like the JDM painted spokes. All of this is colour coordinated to tie in the with wrap this car has.

“The test day was an eye opener, After changing the suspension and the cars setup in the off season, it felt totally different. But not in a good way, I couldn’t get to grips with the changes and was struggling to go at my normal pace. After lots of messing around and tweaking I got it set perfect and produced some very nice runs. New front tyres needed due to the increased rear grip since last year due to Nispro’s awesome new setup.”

It is clear that Mike has spent the last 4 years honing his skills and working out what kind of setup he wants from the car. Finishing 3rd in 2015, 2nd in 2016 it only makes sense that he is setting his sights on 1st for this season.

After watching him most of the day and getting really up close and personal, I have little reason to doubt that he will be in strong contention for the win. I wish him the best luck for the season ahead. If you fancy going down and seeing him in action for yourself then you can get tickets from here: Fueltopia Barrel Sprint

Words & Pictures; Dave Cox (SHOOTINGDAVE)

Sponsors:

JAPS Motorsport
EBC Brakes
Corbeau
Adolescent Dogs
Advanced Lubricant Solutions
Dodo Juice
Just Jap
Nispro
Infamous Creations
Sussex Wrap Studio

Specs:

SR20DET
Owen Developements Turbo
LINK ECU
EBC brakes all round
Seam welded chassis & Roll cage
Custom Corbeau bucket seat 5 point harnesses
Driftworks CS2 Coilovers
Custom cooling and intake setup by JAPS Motorsport
1 piece prop shaft
Wisefab rear setup
Geomaster front setup

PeopleReviews

Rauh das beste! Darth Vader

10th February 2017 — by Hans van der Vleuten

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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.

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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.

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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

RWB-Europe.com / Vianen-car-refinish.nl

Some extra images:

Reviews

Top 10 wagons you need to know about

6th February 2017 — by Black Flagged

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I love a wagon. Like me, there are a few select that can see the beauty in the cars which were originally designed with nothing but practicality in mind.

For this article, I’ve dug deep into the Fueltopia archives to bring you the mega guide to Wagon love.

Opening up the proceedings is this  1998 Subaru Legacy GTB shot by Dan Fegent. This is no slouch, 2.0-litre turbo that packs a meaty 280hp from it’s Boxer engine heart, that classic Subaru sound magnified by the aftermarket Kakimoto exhaust. This isn’t factory fresh, its classic lines remain with the stock wheels getting upgraded to some 18-inch Work Emotion XD9’s

While looking at Wagons, I needed to include an Audi. The list wouldn’t be complete without one and getting one on the list is James Hughes’ Audi A4, shot by Ben Gaut. It’s Jon Olson inspired camo wrap is set off by its aired-out stance on the Airlift Performance V1 Management kit, allowing the Rotiform IND T wheels to squeeze excellently under the arches.

The wolf in sheep clothing. From first glance you may have thought this BMW 330D had managed to luck out to make it onto this list. However, this car is maybe the one to watch. Owned by Dan Fegent, it might look unassuming from the outside, but it’s the 390lb/ft of torque that will show you up off the lights

This car might be aerodynamically challenged, but it’s a classic and was the pinnacle of estate/wagon luxury during the late 80’s and early 90’s. However,  I’m sure that not one owner during it’s prime would ever have imagined seeing their family pride and joy do this! Thanks to Huxley Motorsport, the stock engine has been ripped out and replaced with a BMW M60 4.0-litre V8 that now allows it do this!

Aerodynamically challenged

The Gravel Express – with less than 15 of these in the UK it makes them rarer than rocking horse poo. However, Rich Maguire has taken his classic Subaru designed for the hardy Australian outback and given it a stunning contemporary look for the hazardous West London travels. What it lost in bull-bars and gated spare wheel carrier, it gained in style and stance

The drift world gets a lot of flack, but it needs some credit to helping save the fate of many wagons from the oily fingered grasps of the banger fraternity – who’d only abuse each other with gleeful wrecking abandonment while sending future classics to the great scrap yard in the sky. Fraser Stark’s BMW E30 however still has a slight death wish as it unleashes it’s tyres into a fire show extravaganza thanks to the hearty Toyota 2JZ engine that now resides under the hood

Another Subaru and it’s Gymkhana that saw this glorified dog carrier grab some lime light. Jake Archer’s Kamikaze wagon took on the internet’s best, Ken Block, at his own sport and surprisingly it did pretty bloody well. This might have been built in a shed in Birmingham, but it’s been fielded against the best and held it’s own!

Gatebil, it’s a bonkers three day car festival that boasts the most amount of engine swaped cars than any other show we know – I mean there are 2JZ engines in everything you could imagine. While the Volvo mafia reign large, a cheeky Mercedes always gets the looks and thanks to Dave Cox for capturing this weapon looking as good today as it did when it rolled out of the showroom… Well, perhaps not, but way more exciting right?!

More drifty action, this car dominated the UK drift scene. Michael Marshalls BMW E36 Touring – powered by the favoured Toyota 2JZ I’m sure this couldn’t be further than the sales dream of long weekends away and throwing the golf clubs in the back for a weekend of birdies and eagles… Thanks to our in house rally expert Steve White for getting this smokey run

To finish off our top 10, there could be only one car that took this spot, Edward Blom’s 1975 Volvo 242. It’s not quite a wagon, but I’m bending the rules. This car was originally shot by Andi Gordon and Edward and his mates welcomed in Andi to shoot his awesome M50 turbo powered build. However, sadly not long after Eddie passed away. So, with that in mind this car was  the perfect end to my blog and it’s a tribute to a real petrolhead – check out the hench burnout marks on the garage floor!

Reviews

Inside Xquisite Productions

2nd February 2017 — by Dave Cox

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Remember the feature on the Team Galag TG3 that was built by Xquisite Productions? Well, we thought we’d show you what a company that makes cars like that might look like.

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I should forewarn you though, I am not going to be able to share all of the juicy builds as they are under embargo. To enforce this secrecy is their fearsome guard dog, Hugo. Every shop needs a dog. I am particularly fond of French bulldogs so I was more than happy to keep him company whilst waiting for our shoot.

Outside is littered with all kinds of builds, offering a small insight into the range of creations that are made at Xquisite. A handful of Citroen “H-Van’s” converted into burger or coffee vans as well as converted ambulance with stacks and rather small looking Fiesta.

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Matt House swung by and provided us with a nutritious lunch before we headed out for a mooch around the car park.

Now if you recognise this car but can’t put your finger on as to why, this is because all of the cars that are on E4’s Carjackers there was a few others there too but sorry, I can’t show you them, you’ll just have to watch the show. This is the infamous chicken nugget car which as it turns out wasn’t loved all too much by the owner. Yes that is all expandable foam! It has a crispy yet spongy texture. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to be seen driving it but I do like how the car show has a sense of humour.

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You may also recognise this Peugeot 207 GTi from the show car jackers too as it was lurking in the background. Sadly that is about all I can show you from the workshop as there was a rather large project taking up most of the space. I find it fascinating how one company can have such a wide variety of projects and seemingly nail every single one of them. Burger Van? You got it! Bagged hatch back? No problem, batshit crazy Gumball car, coming right up!

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With demanding clients and harsh deadlines it is so refreshing to see them never let go of their creativity, they certainly do have a great team there. I am certainly hoping we get to bring you some more features from them in the future. Or at least go and see Hugo again.

Words and Pictures: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)

Reviews

The Abarth 124 Rally

25th January 2017 — by Dave Cox

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There is something about Rally Cars that seems get under people’s skin. Perhaps it is the heritage and romance or just the raw pace and sounds. There is no denying, they have a broad appeal.

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As I alluded to in our coverage of Autosport International I came across a special little car that stopped me in my tracks. Now I know there will be some of you expecting me to go on and talk about an aired out, wide body Ferrari or a gold Bugatti but I’m not. What I am talking about is a 1,8 litre Italian sports car built in Japan. But this car is really, rather special.

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You see, it has been some 40 years since the original Abarth 124 Spider last competed in the 1976 Monte Carlo Rally and now it is back, dedicated to those who share the same challenge and racing values. This version is based on the Abarth 124 road car, the more aggressive version of Fiat’s 124. The Rally version has replaced the standard 1.4 turbo engine and replaced it with a 1.8 direct injection turbo engine. This adds a nice boost in power from 178bhp to 296bhp at 6500rpm!

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Now we’re talking! Couple that to a quick 6-speed sequential gearbox and this red and yellow bar of soap is going to get lively real quick! Weight is biased towards the rear and it has quick steering and a mechanical limited slip-differential. So when it gets sideways, and it will, you can keep it there. Other changes have been to the exterior too, gone is the soft top and in is the new composite hard top to help keep the centre of gravity low.

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I also really appreciate the styling tribute to the original Abarth 124. The colour scheme look as good now as it did back the, the yellow over fenders, the rally lights it is all lovingly recreated in memory of the original. It is this subtle detailing that really shows how much love there is for this sport. I adore this car, I really wish I could have seen it at the Monte Carlo Rally that happened this January.

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What was your car of the show?

Words and Pictures: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)