As a long-time reader, Michael King decided to go for broke by finally completing his dream car and start a tuning company at the same time. The car is a BMW 330xi - rare because not only were these 330i equipped with all-wheel drive, but this example is a manual with the optional Sport package.
Inevitably, the xi requires a more custom approach to tuning because few parts were made specifically for this limited model. However, he plans to install a VF supercharger, H&R coilovers, custom sway bars and 19" M3 rims. He's also fabricating a custom widebody as well as a custom suede interior with subtle stereo system.
"This car will encompass my vision of a near-perfect tuned car. Nimble with supreme handling, as well as the power to exhilarate and looks to entice, it should be a great package," Michael said.
Having owned European cars since he was 17, Michael's first project was a Saab 900 Turbo Coupe with racing seats, no back seats and a false floor with two subwoofers. After high school he went to Lincoln Tech where he learned how cars worked. From there, he set-up KingMotorCar Co in New Jersey and has been busy establishing it ever since.
To date, he has installed the charger and coilovers, and is working on the fenders to cover the M3 wheels. The overall theme will be OEM+. So from the outside it should look subtle, with the carbon CSL trunk being painted, only exposing a minimal amount of carbon on the lip. Inside, the seat bolsters will be covered in suede and an M3 illuminated shift knob added.
In addition to following his dreams, Michael has decided to continue developing the company while he goes back to school. "I have my Associates in automotive and I'm going back for my Bachelors in English and Film Production," he told us.
Four years ago, Jon Balch bought an R32 and loved every minute of it, until he had to swap it for a Jetta Wagon GLX when a family came along. After fitting R32 seats and a steering wheel, he started reading about R32 swaps. "I'm very adept at dismantling/assembling things in my head but had never done anything close to it. But that had never stopped me in the past, so I ordered my swap kit," Jon said.
A blown engine in his wife's Saturn gave him something to practice on before starting on the Jetta. "I pulled out the interior and cut out the floorpan before stripping the undercoat to find the matching seam on both cars. I then drilled out the welds so, when the new floorpan was in place, there were no holes from drilling. I had a friend come over to help me weld the frame rail section before fitting the new pan. It took about 20min with help from the same guy. There are a lot of key areas that line up exactly, so the job wasn't too difficult.
"Next, I fabricated a structural panel across the back of the frame rails on the R32 pan. Then I extended the rails back to the rear of the Jetta. I made a cubby area in the extra space and fitted the suspension and gas tank. After that, things went quickly. I flipped the car around and yanked out the engine, ripped out the harness and dropped the front clip. I spliced in the rear door wiring into the R32 harness and put it into the Jetta. I got the engine in, and then the front clip. Slapped in a seat and wheel, hooked up the cluster and took it to SCI Performance to get it running. I drove it home and threw the interior back in.
"To get to this point took about six months, with the last three spent every day after work and every weekend, much to my wife's dismay. It is now 10k miles later and it's running well. I added a car computer and will be getting into the bodywork this season," Jon said. Hopefully, we'll be able to bring you more updates over the coming months.
Don Fritsche has been a VW owner and builder for 15 years and his '90 Corrado has appeared in the mag several times. It had one of the first Lysholm supercharger kits from Bahn Brenner and has been through several 8v Digi setups including a stage 3 G-charger, stage 3-4 Lysholm, and stage 4-5 ABA. As a result, this car was the '03 waterwagens drag race bracket winner and drag champion.
More recently, Don began collecting the parts to modify an existing ABA engine from a previous build. He bought forged 83.5mm ABA/ABF low-comp pistons from Bildon, along with 440cc injectors, HD valve springs, lifters and the last 16v supercharged integration kit from Bahn Brenner. After years of being limited by the OEM Digifant ECU, he decided to step up to an aftermarket sequential fuel injection system. Reading about the 034EFI system in et, he went with their 1c waste-spark system.
In January '08, the build moved to a friend's garage where the old engine was removed. Dan Halls Machine Shop had bored, cleaned, magnafluxed, and doweled his ABA crank and the block was assembled using ARP fasteners.
They began the 034EFI install while the engine was being assembled, with Jerry Reynolds (a master VW/Audi tech) doing the wiring.
With the short block assembled, they installed the intake manifold, alternator bracket, water pump, supercharger bracket and pulleys. The 16v integration kit was designed for the 1.8L, not the ABA tall block, so they modified the tensioner bracket for the extra height.
Once the engine was assembled and installed, they began the liquid intercooler installation. Because the 16v head and supercharger left little room in the engine bay, the battery was relocated to an NHRA battery box and kill switch in the spare tire well. This left just enough room for the intercooler up front, although the intake elbow of the 16v integration kit had to be modified first. They decided to weld an OBD throttle plate to the elbow instead of using the G60 plate, since the OBD throttle body has a TPS sensor, which was required by the 1c ECU.
The next job was to vent the boost. It started with a 30mm HKS BOV but soon moved to a forged 30mm BOV before a 50mm TiAL BOV was deemed adequate.
After a few weeks of chasing wiring gremlins, the LM1 wideband 02 and 034EFI were finally working and a dyno tune yielded 265whp at 6500rpm and 253wtq on 92-octane pump gas. The car also ran 13.1sec quarter mile at 104mph with a 1.9sec 60ft time.
There's a ton of mods scheduled for this year and we'll get to them over the coming months.
You may remember Rafael Melo's Jetta 1.8T from the cover of et 7/08. Its 346whp motor boasted a T3/T4 turbo and nitrous to propel it to 12-sec quarters. What's more, the owner had shaved the moldings and fitted an R32 front bumper to create a very stylish racer.
Recently, he contacted us again to inform us more engine work was underway. The new spec included a 2.0 block, with 82.5mm Supertech pistons, Pauter rods with forced pin oiling, a forged 2.0TFSI crank, Raceware main and head bolts. The AEB head had CNC porting, flowed Supertech valves, Cat springs and cams, new lifters and titanium Rosten retainers. He'd also added an RMR intake manifold with fuel rail for the 1200cc injectors, fed by the 255 lph Bosch inline fuel pump. The Bullseye Power BW S364 .70AR turbo was mounted on a tubular exhaust manifold, and fitted with a 44mm Tial external wastegate and 50mm blow-off valve. Let's not forget the Kinectic Motorsort FMIC, nor the Snow Performance methanol injection.
With everything controlled by Unitronic 1200cc software, Rafael is aiming for 600whp before the Spring Show & Go drag races. He hopes to run in the high 10sec bracket and he certainly has the hardware to make that a reality.
He wanted to thank Mike at Unitronic, Peter Almeida for the motor work and Farnbacherloles. Watch out for our S&G coverage to see whether he met his goal.
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