‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!