Trying to pick a favorite car at Gatebil is like trying to determine if it were the chicken or the egg which came first. You’ll think you’ve found a sure-fire favorite, then moments later a new one appears. I’m not entirely sure if I even have a single favorite car from Rudskogen, but without a doubt this immaculate E21 is in the running.
I knew the moment I first laid eyes on its magnificently understated shape that I wanted to shoot it. It’s quite hard to not like a car so subtly beautiful, regardless of your personal taste. It was with this body style that BMW began what is now their most well known, and best selling, line of cars – the 3 Series.
Back in Los Angeles it’s a rare sight to see an E21 in any form, let alone a modified version. Needless to say when I stumbled across Jorgen Aune’s car my jaw quite literally dropped. The pristine condition of the car immediately stood out from most of the cars at Gatebil, not to mention the incredible stance. From a distance I would have bet money that this was a show car, but that would be a bet I had lost.
As Dino and I got closer to the car I had a peek inside the cabin where things were looking particularly interesting. I’m by no means an expert on the chassis, but I quickly picked up the obvious bits like the rollcage and bucket seats and could tell that this car meant serious business. The transmission tunnel also looked particularly huge, perhaps hinting at some monster power under the hood.
I soon discovered after speaking with Egil that the car was, in true Gatebil form, packing some insane power under the hood… one-thousand-horses to be exact. The owner wasn’t around when I first dropped by so I couldn’t have a look under the bonnet but based on the high standards of the rest of the car I set up an appointment to shoot it sight unseen.
Inevitably this proved to be a very wise decision and with luck, and our friend Jan, on my side I was somehow able to find an incredible location to shoot in. As I began setting up my camera gear I had a rather large grin on my face as I was quite pleased with what was parked in front of me.
Every so often I come across a car that I think is so cool I can’t wait to share it with others. This unexplainable need to share cool cars is large part of what makes us Speedhunters and why I’m glad to be here. There are moments when you find a car and just know that the world needs to see it. This was one of those occasions.
It isn’t only the exterior of the car that’s looking sharp, as the engine bay is astonishing as well. Keen BMW fans will have already noticed that the lightweight car is now being powered by an S54 engine from an E46 M3. Jorgen has been building this car for nearly two years now and the little details quickly reveal the amount of thought behind it.
For starters the engine shouldn’t even fit in the bay as its dimensions are asking too much of it. To solve this problem Jorgen didn’t just notch the firewall but moved the entire thing back 30cm and built a custom transmission tunnel to allow the engine to sit comfortably. The VANOS system has been removed for reliable power extraction; when you’re full-throttle 95% of the time there’s no need for a smooth idle.
Many components were prototyped, test fitted and remade until an optimal solution was found. If you look carefully you can find literally hundreds of hours of fab work which Jorgen has performed in the pursuit of the ultimate ride. This little breather tank is just one ingenious example.
He also constructed the plenum which collects the charge from the turbo and introduces it to the individual throttle bodies. An engine is only as good as its weakest link so an optimal setup on the breathing side is step one to making big power.
Of course the exhaust side is equally important and keeping all the components working in harmony is the secret. This is one concept Jorge seems to understand quite well and has adopted the top-notch-or-bust approach. To match the demands of his power goal he also fabbed up a custom exhaust manifold and 4″ turbo-back exhaust system.
The trunk is definitely the most bare bones section of the car, simple even, if you can call it that. Since this car was actually built to be drifted a fuel cell has been installed to ensure starvation isn’t an issue while the car is being tossed sideways.
A pair of Bosch 044 pumps pick up fuel from the tank and feed it into a Y fitting where the flow is merged and sent along to six massive 1680cc injectors. Like I said this is probably the most basic area of the car, but I can’t recall ever having called a dual-pump setup with 1680cc injectors simple until now. Because Gatebil.
The cockpit is a little busier but still pretty straightforward in approach. There’s everything you’d need to drive the car, seats, pedals, steering wheel etc, and just about everything else has been removed. Door cards and the dashboard have been left as what could be considered the Gatebil equivalent of “luxury” items.
When a car has been customized as heavily as this one a floor mounted pedal box is mandatory. The pedal furthest to the right, very nearly kissing the tunnel, activates a custom built cable type throttle rather than the factory electronic assembly. The remaining pedals operate hydraulics: a brake system from an E34 M5 and a wicked Tilton triple-plate clutch.
Only a fool would try to go out and drift all willy-nilly without a proper hydraulic handbrake. As you can see, Jorgen is no fool.
The instrument cluster has been removed and replaced with a panel built by Jorgen which has been impregnated with a series of Autometer gauges. I think this might be the best that the Sport Comp line has ever looked.
I suppose it’s only right considering I think this might be the best any car at Gatebil has ever looked. Knowing what the car is capable of just adds to the cache. It’s very nearly the epitome of the event all rolled into one car, i.e. it has something for everybody. Is this my favorite car of Gatebil? I don’t know, but it’s pretty damn close.
However I would say, without much hesitation, that it was the most well rounded vehicle I saw all weekend and goes above and beyond a tick for every box. When he set forth building this car Jorgen wanted to prove that you can build a car that looks nice, has a great stance and can still tear shit up on the track. I’d say he succeeded, and then some.
1982 BMW 316
3.2L turbocharged S54 engine; CP 9:1 pistons; Pauter X-profile rods; ARP I19 head bolts, 2000 cam beraring bolts; head overhaul with OEM components; JAAS VANOS block off, headers, intake manifold, throttle cable conversion, intercooler piping, exhaust manifold, exhaust, muffler; PTE 7654 billet turbo; 60mm PPF wastegate, 75mm blow-off valve; BOSCH 1680cc injectors, 044 fuel pump (x2); NUKE fuel rail; 40L fuelcell; electric water pump; VW LT fan; Griffin aluminum radiator, Intercooler
Electromotive TEC GT ECU
BMW E39 Gearbox, E23 745i differential; Tilton 3-plate clutch; JAAS made driveshaft
SUSPENSION / CHASSIS
XYZ coilovers from E30 (welded to E34 M5 struts in front); E34 bear arms and caster struts, modified E21 front sub frame with E46 RHD steering pinion, BMW E28 535 rear subframe, custom diff mounting point triangulated to the roll cage.
Original E34 M5 brakes front and rear
WHEELS / TIRES
17X8.5″ +15 (f) / 17X10″ +20 (r) BBS RS mesh; 215/40-17 (f) / 235/40-17 (r) Nankang tires
Sparco Sprint seats; SRS 6-point harness; Sabelt steering wheel; Autometer Sport Comp tachometer, oil pressure, oil temperature, water temperature and boost gauges; hydraulic hand brake; floor mounted pedal set
Firewall moved 30 cm, larger custom transmission tunnel, compete roll cage welded to shock towers and rear sub frame mounts, rear fenders 4cm wider, custom trunk floor; yellow film on E34 headlights and blinkers
1000hp / 675lb-f @ 2 bar (29 psi)
you i hate bmws soo much but this is the most bad ass one that exists and you should be very proud ahahaha
That's a very nice E21. Always loved these car. How much is it if I bought one with stock engine? And where can I find one?
Here's two clip of another bmw project built by Jorgen Aune, e30 M3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrwiyKMxHT0&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL8D39BBA78090311E and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEMHmGDziP0&feature=relmfu
What a hell of a car and article! and on top of that we've got desktops, thanks Sean! l feel that sharing need too when l see a car, l liked that part! Questions: what's the custom made little tank with an air filter on it?, would it be possible to put an SR20 in a car like that, or in a E30?
Adrian Senna The little tank is a part commonly referred to as an oil catch tank or a breather tank. It helps to relieve blow-by pressure from the crank case which under normal circumstances re-routed back into the engine and burned. By having a tank you can separate any oil mist from the gasses to prevent it from entering the combustion chamber and thus lowering engine performance. This is an item which is useful for most types of performance driving but works particularly well for Turbo applications (both because they create an excessive amount of blow-by but also are far more temperamental with detonation).
As far as the swap is concerned, where there's a will, there's a way. I see no reason why an SR wouldn't fit in a E21/E30, there's plenty of available space. It would certainly be considerably easier than this S54 swap!
Such a lovely beast...beautiful both in its simplicity and philosophy. And the fact that the owner actually had a hand in its development is just priceless. Kudos to Jorgen and to you Sean! Great pictures and the backdrop suits the car really well.
KenshinG Yep that actually is a reoccurring theme at Gatebil, the vast majority of the cars are actually built and driven by the owners. It's a really inspiring event for certain.
Michael Jackson was there?
so clean! only complaint I have is the exposed wiring in the cockpit... but it really does look like a masterpiece
AlexLobanov I suspect that the car still isn't "finished", like most cars at Gatebil this was built just in time to make the event. I believe Jorgen is probably already rebuilding the car as I type this.
Why wouldn't you use a m5 motor instead of the m3 motor constantly on the brink of exploding ?????
active16bits Watch a youtube video of Gatebil and you will understand. These guys go through tires like they're going out of style. 1 set of tires lasts 3 laps max. Most of these guys will do at least 60 laps over the course of the weekend. Do the math.
If he isn't sponsored (I doubt it), then he'll be using 5900 dollars worth of tires... I'd try to find even cheaper tires than Nankangs. ;)A single 18 inch NS2 is about 900 nok in Norway, or about 150 usd.
willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly willy-nilly
Cool car. I'm not going to lie though, I'd much rather have an E30. I live in the part of Los Angeles where driving a car like this will cause me to cry every other week as I receive the car from the police with missing parts because I already know this car will get stolen a little too often.
Darn you, Los Angeles!!! Darn you!!!......makin' me drive less-awesome cars and stuff.....
LouisYio America is really unfortunate in that sense where you can't have anything nice because someone else will steal it. It's one of the most annoying things about our country.
Now that's a proper E21. Sticking with a BMW engine is definately a great choice. Car looks great!
I also love the location the photos were taken on, nice work Sean.
Martijn M If you were at Gatebil you wouldn't be able to believe that this location existed. 30m in either direction and there were hundreds of cars and people partying!
One of the best stances I've seen. (even though that's not what this car is about.)
Hondafan I have to agree, even though I'm not really interested in stance, it's both cool looking and functional. I can go for that.
Not that i like to bash on this immacualte car, which i have experienced up close myself, but i think he should have put some more work in his welding which look like the welding i can find in badly assembled ship-hulls.
AndersHaugen I think that what you are seeing is actually a caulk / sealer not the welds themselves. I thought the same thing at first and then I realized that it appears to be a weather sealing to prevent leaks. If you look at the welds elsewhere (breather tank, intake manifold etc) they are quite nice.
However, I can't really get over the fact that drift cars should be drifted, and usually drifting means some crashes, walltaps etc. we all know it's part of it, so show-like, beautiful classic cars like this with mega lip chromed bbs + drifting is an operation my brain hardly can give sense to.
I know it's completely crazy. The car didn't look like this after the event, that's for sure! haha.