‘Gatebil is home to some of Scandinavia’s craziest cars, wildest on-track action and the maddest parties; it’s an unforgettable experience.’ If you asked me to explain Gatebil events in a nutshell, that would be it. It’s also the exact reason why I’ll be heading back to Mantorp Park and Rudskogen Motorsenter next year.
While Gatebil’s appeal comes from a combination of things, it’s the cars at the centre of it all. High-horsepower, four-wheeled creations like this BMW-based build I found pitted in the RJ Motorsport tent, almost always with a crowd swarmed around it. There’s a good reason why, too.
Richard Johansson – the ‘RJ’ in RJ Motorsport – is definitely no stranger to big builds and huge horsepower. In fact, nine cars came before this one, and all were serious street and drift machines. There’s been everything from Volvo 740s to Nissan Skylines, but most of them have shared one thing in common: Toyota 2JZ power.
During 2020, Richard had his sights set on buying a farm with funds raised from selling his previous build, a 1,171hp MkIV Supra. But when that purchase fell through, Richard did what any self-respecting Swedish petrol-head would do – he bought himself a new project car.
This time around he started with a 2008 BMW 530d, complete with a blown motor. Richard always liked the idea of swapping a 2JZ into a station wagon, and given the E61 needed a new engine, it was the perfect candidate. The BMW was stripped right down to its bare shell and work began without delay.
First things first, the exterior, which doesn’t really look modified at all. There’s a good reason for this: Richard really wanted to fly under the radar – especially when daily driving the wagon – so whatever he could keep stock or simply enhance by dipping into the BMW parts bin, he did.
That thinking didn’t apply to the wheels though, hence the Work Meister S1 3Ps at all four corners wrapped up in Nankang AR-1 semi-slicks. To get the 19×12.5-inch wheels and 305/30R19 tires to fit out back required a bit of work, both to the outer arches as well as the inner fenders which have been tubbed. Custom-modified shock towers and D2 coilovers all round close the fender gap with no rubbing at the front (which uses 19×10-inch wheels and 235/35R19 tires) or rear.
If you caught my Under The Hood At Mantorp Park story a couple of weeks ago (stay tuned for Part 2 from Rudskogen…), you’d have seen that BMW engine swaps were everywhere at the first Swedish event of the 2022 Gatebil summer season. This E61, however, has a Toyota twist.
The 3.0L DOHC 24-valve inline-six looks almost like a factory fit in the BMW’s bay, but your eyes are immediately drawn to the giant Garrett G42-1450 turbocharger hanging off the side of the engine and all other thoughts of stock-ness go out the window. That turbo sits on a custom manifold with boost controlled through a Precision 66mm wastegate.
Richard has applied all of his 2JZ-GTE tuning knowledge to this build, and the base engine spec includes custom 85mm CP forged pistons, BC forged connecting rods and ARP fasteners throughout, plus GSC S2 billet cams with BC cam gears, and BC valve springs with titanium retainers. Fuel is supplied via twin Nuke Performance rails and Bosch 2,000cc injectors.
Tuned through an Ecumaster engine management system, the result is a staggering 1,160hp with mammoth torque to boot.
Thanks to the custom-made twin 4-inch stainless steel exhaust system, the sound this E61 makes is gnarly. I experienced this firsthand when Richard lightly squeezed the loud pedal on his way back to the paddock after our shoot.
While fitting the engine, Richard noticed that the angle of the BMW’s drivetrain didn’t match up the engine. In most retrofit scenarios you see a Toyota transmission behind a 2JZ, but the problem was solved here by adapting a BMW M4 DCT gearbox to fit. So far it’s held up to all the power that Richard has thrown at it.
Have a look and listen for yourself here.
Prior to planning this shoot I hadn’t seen the BMW’s interior, but once Richard opened the door for me I couldn’t help but chuckle a little. It’s not everyday you’re presented with a street-driven station wagon that’s been decked out with a full roll cage, race seats and harnesses, and everything else you’d expect to see in a full-blown race car.
Despite this being a wagon, and therefore designed as a sensible vehicle, Richard can forget bringing any large bags and suitcases with him on trips because rear luggage space is pretty much non-existent now. What there’s plenty of room for is fuel – something this 1,000hp+ 2JZ unsurprisingly has a huge thirst for – in a massive cell that’s sealed off from the cabin by a custom firewall.
There’s so much I love about this build, but the best thing of all has to be its street-legal status in Sweden and the fact that Richard never shies away from taking it out and letting the 2J rip.
There are plenty of slammed BMW wagons around, but surely not many – if any – as crazy as this.