Last week, I brought you a story on Hakim Putratama‘s 500hp AE86 street car. If you caught that piece, you’ll know how much of a challenge it was to shoot in Bandung, the crazy-busy capital of Indonesia’s West Java province. You’ll also know that another of Hakim’s many custom-built cars came along for the drive.
While Hakim’s 3S-GTE-swapped Toyota Trueno is all about power and driving performance, his E12 BMW 5 Series sedan enjoys a quieter, more relaxed pace of life. That doesn’t mean it’s boring though; quite the opposite.
The AE86 shoot had ended with us being kicked out of the location, so I was a little worried we’d end up driving around for hours more looking for somewhere to photograph the BMW. Time wasn’t on our side for that, but luckily my friend Ervan had a contingency plan, and a few moments later we arrived at the spot. Now I could finally take a closer look at the E12…
For me, one of the best things about this BMW – and all of Hakim’s other cars for that matter – is that it’s used, and as such bears small scars of wear and tear. Hakim could have built this car and then rarely driven it, but he doesn’t see the point in that.
Still, the car presents extremely well, and it’s easily cleanest E12 I’ve ever seen in person. It’s both modest and classy.
We’re all familiar with the ‘BBS’ name, and it pops up more than a few times in this build, but amazingly not in the wheel department as you’d expect. Hakim told me that for a long time the BMW did indeed wear classic BBS mesh wheels, but more recently he switched up the look with a set of deep-dish O.Z. Racing Breyton splits.
On the outside, the E12 benefits from a rare BBS front spoiler and BBS rear spoiler, both adding some subtle sportiness to the BMW’s classic ’70s lines. A full chrome delete really helps in this respect too.
Pulling the whole look together is the car’s stance. It’s low when in motion and extra-low when parked, all thanks to an Air Lift Performance air ride system installed by Artcustomworks Bandung. Again, Hakim built this car to not only look good but be driven, and the Air Lift setup provides that functionality at the push of a button on the digital controller.
Inside the car, the BBS name shows itself again. At first I thought Hakim was just playing homage to the wheel brand, but as it turns out, BBS seats were actually a thing. In this case the electrically-controlled and heated recliners have been re-trimmed in a rustic red by Cabin Car Leather, and the theme keeps going with custom BBS-branded door cards and mats.
You’ll likely have noticed that the rest of the cabin looks a little newer than the age of the car too, and this is something that actually came about because of what’s residing under the hood.
The original idea was to incorporate an E36 instrument cluster into the E12 dashboard, but retrofitting an entire E36 dash and making that fully functional was deemed a better solution. SAS Bodywork did a great job of the conversion too.
Back to the engine, the 3.0-liter straight-six BMW M54B30 swap by RDM Motorsport Jakarta provides the old E12 with around 230hp, and backed up by a 5-speed manual gearbox from an E36 there’s a decent amount of performance to play with. Not quite as much as Hakim’s AE86, but these are different cars for different purposes.
All in all, the modifications made to Hakim’s E12 have changed it from a somewhat bland classic sedan to something special. And best of all, he can actually enjoy it out on the roads of Bandung.
Despite it being a busy weekend with limited time to shoot, I had a blast seeing old friends and making new ones. The journey doesn’t stop here as I have more plans to return to Bandung soon and bring back stories on Hakim’s other cars. Trust me, they’re just as cool this one.
Special thanks to Abang, Ervan, Fikri and Zidane, who helped me out greatly with the features on Hakim’s cars