More Than Just VWs: Diversity At Ultimate Dubs

‘But Mario, I only want to see VWs at a VW show!’ Yes I hear you, but one of the beautiful things about car culture here in the UK is that we have access to an incredibly wide selection of motors.

I thought it would be great to touch on four cars inside the halls of Ultimate Dubs 2022, to celebrate this diversity at the first ‘proper’ car show of the year.

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Take Harry Pippard’s R129 Mercedes-Benz SL, for example. It’s a stunning machine and a prime example of why less-is-more car modification is here to stay.

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The base itself is pretty special too, being one of just 75 40th Anniversary models that were produced in 1998. The standout features are the wheels, being custom made three-piece split rims based on an OEM 17-inch Ceginus set.

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Most show-goers (myself included) were under the impression they were a genuine set of 190E 2.5-16 Evo II wheels that had been cut, but this is a much safer and stronger way to get the look Harry was after.

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A custom suspension system using Air Lift Performance management and bags with Bilstein/Intermotive shocks allows the SL to be laid out. Camber is taken care of by bespoke rear arms and front top mounts.

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Just across from the SL was a 996 Porsche Carrera which belongs to a chap known as ‘Bodge’. His car is anything but bodged, however. It’s a fairly intensive build, and within seconds there are enough details to really steal your attention. The paint is a custom-order green metallic with a GT3 front bumper for some extra aggression.

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The cherry red taillights and stepped-up 19-inch Eta Beta Twist wheels in gold give the green a warmth it would otherwise be lacking, and these tie in the 911’s interior with its matching gold half roll cage.

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Houndstooth cloth-trimmed Recaro CS seats are a nice mix of retro and modern, and the same can be said of the custom carbon fibre interior trim with the classic Momo Prototipo steering wheel. Alcantara adorns the rest of the cabin.

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The Air Lift Performance controller built into the centre console gives away how the car sits so low. ALP management is paired with OCD bags complete the look, with a custom air install to boot. Or shall I say, to frunk.

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Now, I couldn’t bring myself to spotlight the non-VWs of Ultimate Dubs without finding a BMW. So what I’ve done is found two. Not only are they two BMWs, but they’re two BMW 5 Series, albeit of very different vintages. First up, this beautiful E12 BMW 520.

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I’m an E12 owner myself, and I know how rare it is to see them nowadays, let alone modified so nicely. You can blame early non-galvanised BMW steel and British weather for that.

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This example is finished in metallic green with green glass and a green corduroy interior. It came out the ’70s after all, and everything I’ve just mentioned was peak fashion at the time.

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Air Lift Performance suspension, an Alpina front valance and BBS Motorsport E50 wheels are really all you need to finish off a car with such a handsome shape as the E12. Look at that shark nose and the gently-sloping boot – cars designed in the 1960s had a real elegance about them.

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Fast forward to the late-1990s, and BMW really hadn’t lost their touch. Sure, you can’t have a shark nose any more (damn you pesky crash safety standards!), but the proportions and lines were as good as ever. This E39 follows an almost identical recipe to the E12, and yet you can see the visual impact it has is huge.

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In place of an Alpina front valance, this 528i has a factory-fitted full AC Schnitzer kit, including the three-piece rear spoiler. To AC Schnitzer fanatics such as myself, this is about as cool as a car can get.

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Again, a set of BBS wheels and Air Lift Performance suspension give the car the tight fitment you can see. In this case though, the wheels are a set of OEM BBS RC090s that have been converted to three-piece and stepped up to 19-inch.

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It was great to see a wider mix of cars than I was initially expecting at Ultimate Dubs UK. Now I’m looking forward to its sister show at the end of the year, Ultimate Stance, which is a completely open event to any type of car.

If the quality of cars is this high at the start of the year, it’s a good sign of what’s to come!

Mario Christou
Instagram: mcwpn



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mannn thats the exact mercedes they talk about in the christmas song. " Santa Baby
Just slip a Benzo under the tree for me
A '98 convertible, light blue
I'm looking for a fly guy, like you
So hurry down the chimney tonight "


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It's a beautiful thing that car, one of the highlight of the show for me.




These are all fantastic, but I have a real soft spot for the E39s, and that one is stellar.


Atlantis blue is a hit-or-miss colour but in this instance it really works well.


Man they look so clean


That Mercedes is stellar!! Did you get a peek at the engine compartment? Figure it was mainly stock since the overall look of the car is subtle.


Standard engine in this one I believe KR!


So they polished a mostly OEM car and ruined the suspension/drivability of their cars.
I understand volkswagens aren't exactly the fastest cars on the planet but fellas... I doubt there's a single car in the show sporting more than 300 horsepower aside that porsche, which was like that before the visual/mechanical downgrade.


Air suspension hardly affects ride quality unless they're completely bottomed out, and most cars can't be driven when they are bottomed out. The only way this setup affects ride quality is if the actual springs are cut. I feel like most of your comments are harsh and degrading towards the builders of these rides who spent hours upon hours making them the way THEY want it to and not the way YOU want it to. You don't have to like it, but at least show some form of respect to the builders.


I don't mean to sound condescending but in my opinion this is just a serious waste of time. There's absolutely nothing good about these cars to me and I wish every last one of these people learned how to actually build a car to be better than factory instead of downgrading it from its original condition.

Rich E Wavy Kariuki

I see Mr. JDM is still chugging those big bottles of Haterade.


Hi Mr. JDM. I just want to thank you for reading my articles on Ultimate Dubs this year as I can see you've commented on almost all of them!

I have replied to you on the previous articles, and I have noticed that your comments have been somewhat derogatory to all of the cars in all of the articles, and in this instance the owners too.

To boil it down, all of these articles have been of the same show which is very much about stance cars, not performance cars. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I myself am very opinionated, and I encourage independent views. In this case though the negative comments have all the been the same, as if you were expecting the cars to be different styles at the same show.

I did mention after your first comment that there is a show called Vag Tuner Live later this year which is purely performance based, which by the sounds of which is right up your street!

Instead of focusing on the fact that these cars have 'absolutely nothing good about them' (which is simply untrue) why not focus on the positives? The E12, for example, is not a performance car. Frankly, mine handles like ass on its 43 year old suspension. To make it drive like a performance car would mean thousands upon thousands of pound worth of upgrades to the suspension and body stiffening. The Air Lift Performance suspension will be a tenfold upgrade compared to what it could be on for daily driving.

Again the same can be said about the SL, which is an open top cruiser and not a sports car. And again, the E39 is a comfortable mid-sized saloon which is notorious for having snapped springs after X amount of years on the road. 'High performance' coilovers do not suit a road car and would actually make them worse to drive on the road.

I suggest you look at cars like these from a totally different approach to 'making them better' from a performance perspective. In fact, the very idea of simply making a car more powerful or grippy or firmer to make it 'better' is totally flawed, as you lose a lot of drivability and liveability.

These cars are built to win awards, look good whilst cruising and be a reflection of the owners' personalities. I think you'll find the owners have built them perfectly, with plenty of upgrades.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment, I'm always happy to see people interacting with my articles!


You said it yourself. It’s your opinion but it doesn’t give you license to release all your angry and derogatory comments. You can’t say “I don’t mean to come off condescending “ then do just exactly that under the guise of it being “your opinion.” Yes, it’s a different build and no it’s not what I would do but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. I was at a drifting event 2 years ago and this guy brought his car - a Cressida era saloon with Lamborghini doors that didn’t quite work and static suspension so low he had to install the bumpers and side skirts after the car had been dropped off and yes you heard me right, the car didn’t run, he sprayed the engine bay with the engine inside and paint got in places it shouldn’t have. Not to mention it was pink and with crazy long 2 inch think pink shag carpet everywhere inside. All the guys I was with were just ruthless and it got to the point where I had to say something. It’s too easy to bandwagon and hate on something that isn’t how we would have liked it. That’s life, different strokes for different folks. Share that it isn’t how you would have built it but just don’t be an ass about it.

Jennifer Johnson

Ultimate Dubs has evolved over the years to become one of the UK's ... one thing is for certain, it remains one of the most diverse


Great to see some non-M E39 love! One of the best BMW chassis IMO, and it's even better if you can find a non-M with a manual transmission. Very rare