ECS Tuning Presents: NEO Cars & Coffee with Summit Racing

The North East Ohio Cars and Coffee is an event much like other C&C events across the country where enthusiasts gather for morning snacks, caffeine, and a few hours of hang time with vehicles of all types. The NEO C&C, unlike some of the similar meets around the States, is a traveling venue. Last week we were granted the opportunity to host the sizable crowd of drivers and regular attendees here at our own facility for a rare look at some of our headquarters.

Anyone who regularly makes an appearance at a C&C event knows how incredibly difficult it can be to drag yourself out of bed early on a Saturday morning to prep your car and drive before any food has hit your stomach. The drive into the show always provides the excitement buildup necessary to generate some energy, but the real kick is arriving at an event totally unprepared for the variety of builds, unique cars, and the total attendance numbers when they completely blow away any expectations.

 

We promoted the event alongside the NEO C&C crew, so a high attendance number was no surprise. However, seeing hundreds of people and cars of various makes and models pour into and out of the facility, all morning with seemingly no end thoroughly exceeded our collective imagination.

The crowds of enthusiasts milling about the overflowing parking lot were offered no shortage of excellent vehicles to see up close. Even for this writer, several first in-person sightings of favorite cars dominated the morning. One of the most appealing aspects of C&C events is the relaxed atmosphere that offers the opportunity to speak with owners of some interesting cars. From exotics to classics, and a host of modified contemporary cars, any type of gear-head could have seen something that makes them bust an enormous grin.

Some of the more noteworthy cars from the morning were an eclectic bunch of makes and models from very different roads of automotive history. An all-original BMW E9 3.0 Coupe pulled in amidst a crowd of vintage BMWs and immediately caught the attention of the folks who were in-the-know about that car’s notoriety. Alongside that E9, a period-correct Lamborghini Diablo drew the attention of nearly everyone in attendance at some point, as did an imported Makinen Edition Lan-Evo 6 that has to be one of very few Stateside.

 

Peppering the parking lot was more than strictly European cars, which made the event more successful. The presence of some well-done STis, an insane S14, and even an LS-swapped Miata were all featured around the lot and inside the ECS garage.

The Lamborghini Huracan, Ferrari, CTS-V wagon, and M-Coupe also drew easy numbers of onlookers when they arrived and maintained a steady stream of admirers until their departure.

 

 

The morning concluded with the majority of attendees leaving one-by-one almost as if someone had made the announcement that it was time to leave. The early morning meet was finished before noon, which makes it one of the shorter, if not more enjoyable, gatherings that let you enjoy a car-filled day from sunrise to well past sundown here in Northeast Ohio. Due to the resounding success that the NEO Cars and Coffee event has been here at ECS, you can rest assured it will continue in the future. Stay tuned for more information about how you can engage with us at events and when we will open our doors once again to share some breakfast and cars together.

A very special shout out to Justin Raynak @shades43, the photographer who so graciously shot the event while our photographer was out and about with Jamie Orr on the “Slammed to the Arctic” road trip!

RallyWagen: Jaimie Orr’s trip with Volkswagen of America to the Arctic Circle Presented by ECS Tuning

Something we find incredibly enticing about cars is how many different ways we can find them exciting. We can appreciate the differences between our cars as they become more than just a utility. In some cases, the prospect of doing something insane with a car is the best way to bond with a car and too tempting to pass up. The situation in which we find ourselves now definitely falls into the ‘insanity’ category. Volkswagen of America, Jaimie Orr of Orchid Euro, and a number of partnering vendors have all come together with us to send a pre-production MK5 Golf Sportwagen through a grueling road trip across America to the Arctic Circle for a little bit of fun.

This particular MK5 is something special but unfortunately has to be destroyed as a result of its unique VIN restrictions. The wagen came to us from VW as a demonstration and crash-test only pre-production car, so it has a number of interesting features and differences between the actual production model. This low-mileage car was featured at SEMA for the debut of that generation and has since been sitting around just waiting for death. Since the car never received the love or attention it deserves, we thought we would give it a chance to form that bond between car and driver on a massive road trip.

Normally, driving 8,500 miles in a minty-fresh, low-milage, economy car would be in the realm of sanity and not terribly difficult. However, we couldn’t just sit by and make Jaimie’s trip a posh jaunt around the States, we had to give him something exploratory to make up for the general nice-ness of the MK5.

After some phone calls to APR, Black Forest Industries, KW Suspension, LIQUI MOLY, Escort, Thule, and GSP North America, we had a fairly extensive list of modifications for the doomed wagen. Most notably, we immediately slammed the VW on a set of KW V2 coilovers to make it as ground-hugging as humanly possible. This is where our own input came into play: the wagen will drive the full trip completely dumped out, so it needs some added protection for the daunting on-and-off road beating it will take. This is the perfect time to give our Street Shield the ultimate test by fitting it to the MK5 and sending it all the way up to the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle by way of some of the best roads in America for killing oil pans.

The Street Shield will keep Jaimie on the road for the trip if it is up to the challenge, which we think it most certainly is. Escort provided a radar detector so Jaimie can make sure he knows where the closest officer is to provide assistance in case of emergency (wink wink) and hopefully allow him to avoid any trouble on the way. LIQUI MOLY supplied oil for the trip, which we know will keep the engine running smoothly for the new APR upgrades it will receive in Alabama.

Beyond performance upgrades, we knew it couldn’t just go without some aesthetic improvements. Thule provided a roof storage box and racks for extra space and an aggressive overland look, we peppered the car in a classic rally-inspired livery, and BFI will be touching up the interior with some of their tasteful additions on the first stop of the journey.

Right now, the wagen has left the garage with only a few minor incidents of self-inflicted damage and is heading south to the BFI headquarters. You can follow us along as the MK5 Sportwagen receives numerous upgrades along the route to the Arctic Circle and hopefully encounters wildlife, rough roads, and adventure all the way there.

Check out all the sponsors:

Street Shield

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LIQUI MOLY

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ESCORT

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KW Suspension

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Black Forest Industries

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APR Performance

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GSP North America

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ECS Tuning & StopTech VW MK7.5 GTI Sweepstakes Presented by Racingline: Big Turbo and More!

The news has already spread about our second sweepstakes car, the ECS Tuning and StopTech VW MK7.5 GTI Presented by Racingline. The GTI has already received a massive amount of work and attention courtesy of Zach and all our wonderful vendor partners and it is nearing completion. This most recent update finds us post-reveal, with the car having been present at Euro District and The European Experience to show off its progress. This week, we are pleased to present the most current work on the car. Racingline stopped by to assist in the very first Racingline Turbo installation, perform the tuning, and hang out while we fitted some of the last upgrades to the GTI that will find its way into the hands of a lucky recipient next month.

The GTI is finally coming together. This new Turbo from Racingline is one of the final touches that has allowed us to reach our final horsepower output goal, which will be revealed at a later date. Racingline sent some of their team to oversee the very first MK7.5 GTI turbo installs here in the states and have been a blast to have around the shop. The energy is palpable now that so many hands are on the car to have it prepared for its completion and to meet the deadline to present the car to its new owner, who has yet to be picked.

 

Zach has been hard at work installing more than just a fancy new turbo, however. The folks at Neuspeed delivered their downpipe, mid pipe, catback, and intercooler while Forge provided our dress up hoses. Lastly, ZSPEC contributed dress-up hardware to complete the visual theme underneath the hood. The car is finally coming together and we can’t wait to see how the performance has improved now that the engine matches the suspension and braking capabilities thanks to the additions from H&R with their coilovers and the 335mm StopTech Trophy BBK that absolutely bulges from each wheel hub.

The GTI is sure to see major improvements to power delivery as well as overall drivability with the litany of high-dollar performance parts adorning nearly every part of the car. Our excitement is building to see the finished product hit the dyno to find out if our maths have been accurate in determining what we believe to be the ultimate bolt-on built GTI to hit the streets. The new 3SDM custom 3-piece wheels have tied the exterior of the car together with the final livery and completely match the power that lies underneath. Everything about this car is visually striking and speaks volumes about the car’s capabilities.

Thanks to the guys at Racingline and Neuspeed who have helped us bring this dream build to life for the lucky winner and for providing such amazing support through the whole process. Without their contributions, and the roles played by all our other amazing vendor partners, this car would surely lack the bite to match its striking bite. Continue to follow along in our final weeks as the car is completed and becomes ready for the new owner to take delivery. Remember, every $50 spent on the site is one entry, so keep piling on the entries for a better chance to win this one-of-a-kind GTI as your personal show car, track car, and grocery getter.

Interested in entering?

ECS Tuning & StopTech VW MK7.5 GTI Sweepstakes: Presented by Racingline

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A Dream Realized: Andrew’s LS-Powered BMW E46 M3 Drift Car

Generic clichés are generic because they are so frequently used. One we enthusiasts are familiar with is the timeless classic “hard work and dedication is all it takes to be successful”. It is often the case in the car community that projects start and are never completed or that something somehow impedes us from finishing our goals. A benefit of working in the automotive aftermarket community is that you have many opportunities to meet people who share your passion and have followed through with their ambition. Andrew is one such passionate individual who is a shining example of dedicated discipline and enthusiasm that has resulted in an incredible car with an inspiring driver.

Andrew first contacted me four years ago while I worked for an equipment company where he inquired about some wheel and tire equipment. Upon further conversation, it came about why he was interested in purchasing commercial equipment for personal use. Andrew spends his time much the same way many of us do: underneath his BMW E46 M3 or slaying tires around a drift course. Being a BMW enthusiast and collector myself, Andrew and I were able to find a common connection and enjoyed a fantastic conversation about his plans for the E46 in his garage. When he told me what his build was going to be, I became incredibly excited and the phone call quickly excluded any talk of equipment purchases and transitioned exclusively to speaking about his idea.

Since that conversation, Andrew has entered his second year of competition with the M3 we spoke about those few years back. Recently, I was able to catch up with him after his last event to speak with him more in-depth this time about the whole build. His BMW E46, which you may recognize from “The Smoking Tire” or from various features in print and online, is quite the melting pot of fandoms. It actually started life as an E46 330i but an LS-swap, a complete facelift with genuine M3 body components, and several other pieces of the car transformed it into what you see today. In our latest conversation, Andrew took me through the entire history of this unbelievable build.

Before the monstrous M3 was sliding around with an aggressive livery and covered in sponsor’s decals, it was sitting at a friend of Andrew’s with a blown up M54. Andrew was driving a z33 350z he had built as a show car, and barely driving it at that. After an unfortunate collision on the freeway that sent his car into an uncontrollable spin, he made up his mind that he wanted to learn to drive a car more seriously and in his words “I wanted to be able to control a car that is out of control”. It was after this crash that he would dive headfirst into the world of drifting and the adrenaline addiction it becomes.

“I didn’t get to enjoy the (z33) car. I was too scared to drive it. Too scared to scratch it, even. I only put like 5,000 miles on it. With my 240, I didn’t care.”

Andrew purchased a 240sx for little money (before the drift tax) and decided to begin building something he could be more relaxed with behind the wheel. He had known drifting would be his sport of choice since a young age. In the early 2000’s, Andrew worked at a motorsport event and experienced drifting for the first time. He was instantly hooked, but it would not be until he purchased the 240 that he would begin to hone his skills on the track. Unfortunately, or fortunately, in this case, the 240 had other plans for being the car Andrew would be known for and made the choice to set itself on fire. After the 240 burned, an LS engine and manual transmission he had intended to drop into the 240 would need a new home. They found their home in the blown up E46 that was still for sale sitting a few miles away at his friend’s house. A quick drive with a trailer found Andrew returning home with his ‘new’ BMW and his pocket a little lighter.

With the engine and transmission already in his possession, his idea came together quickly. The implementation, however, would take much longer. He knew the LS would power the E46, but did not have any immediate plans to go full-on competitive with the car. The intent was to budget around $5k for the build, drop the engine in, weld the diff, and get sideways. A local fabrication shop designed headers and motor mounts for the swap, but when the motor mounts didn’t fit and the engine had to wait for its new home, things began to ramp up quickly for the E46. An SLR angle kit, OS Giken LSD and clutch, and several other highly competitive parts found themselves in the car, which inevitably leads to countless other racing-specific modifications. As is a common occurrence when building a car, a number of unplanned additions made their way into the build alongside the original ideas Andrew expressed to me about the car.

“When it came to the body, I didn’t intend to swap to the M kit. I actually found a friend who widebodied his E46 M3, so I was able to source all the front M body pieces for just a few bucks.”

With the front end completely converted and the beefier fender arches allowing for the extra width from the angle kit, the rear needed the same treatment. Andrew actually purchased a totaled E46 M3 and had a shop make molds of the rear quarter panels to make overfenders that would match the aggressiveness of the front end. Finally, the real M3 trunk (still sporting the badge, for which he receives quite a lot of disdainful looks from purists) and an M3 rear bumper on a quick release to his custom bash bar were installed on the E46 to complete the transformation.

Before the build, the amount of fabrication needed was minimal and was to be performed by local shops. As the build progressed, Andrew began learning fabrication for himself. He designed his own cage and several other components on the car out of necessity as the project became much more seriously involved, while DR Concepts took care of a few of the more difficult parts like the bash bar mounts.

After the car had been stripped and almost completely rebuilt with new coilovers and other suspension components alongside the extensive modifications, the motor mounts absolutely needed to be finished. A few months of back-and-forth and a handful of shops later, the E46 finally received the attention it needed and engine arms were designed that fit and allowed the engine to be dropped into its final resting place for the build to be completed.

The modification list for the E46 is more than just extensive: Andrew built this car by tearing it down to a shell to the finished product you see here. Most impressively is that he did the vast majority of the work himself out of necessity. Many of you can relate to his decision based on the sheer cost, but it is still a testament to the concept that this sport is not out of reach to those who are committed and dedicated enough to dive into the opportunity head first.

“This was supposed to be a $5k project, and it just got out of hand. I ended up deciding to do it right. Fortunately, since the E46 was complete and in good condition, parting it out allowed me to make most of my money back.”

Finally, after well over a year and a half building the car and nearly three years since he had competed in any drift events, Andrew was able to drive his fresh LS-powered E46 M3 drift car. The livery and finishing touches were completed for the Bimmerfest 2016 debut with quite literal minutes to spare. The morning of that show saw the final completion and a rushed drive to the event. Since that debut, the car has exploded in the BMW community, drifting community, and even the LS muscle car world, having been present and competitive at Holley’s LS-Fest West.

“For three years I didn’t drift. I had to start again. When I got back in the car, my fear factor had grown from before and I had a lot to overcome. Now, it’s just a blast.”

Since the completion, the car has received minor modifications, including solid aluminum Turner Motorsport Differential Mounts and Subframe Mounts, ventilation fans, and tweaks here and there for drivability. Most notably, however, is, of course, the new livery and wide-er-body now bulging from each corner.

Andrew proves perfectly that someone with the dedication to spend the time necessary learning new skills and who has the passion to want that end-goal can build something. While it took quite a lot of his own money up front, since the Bimmerfest debut and “The Smoking Tire” episode, he has picked up quite the notoriety from several companies who have offered their support to allow Andrew to continue doing what he loves every day.

When it comes to wanting to do this yourself, Andrew offers some excellent wisdom as a professional. During his early stages in the sport, the few experts out there who could offer help with his build and become integrated into the world of BMW tuning were tight-lipped. Now, resources like Andrew exist so that people who share this passion can have a support network from where they can draw inspiration and learn from without the exclusivity that had previously existed as a hurdle. The key, according to Andrew, is a complete dedication and an unwillingness lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Knowing that it will be finished, that it has to be finished, and that you are only out there to have fun is all you need to get started so long as you have passion and commitment.

“We’re doing this because we love it and it’s fun. That’s the whole point and I think sometimes people lose sight of that.”

The biggest advice he shared with me is to keep that original idea in mind. That the minute drifting becomes anything other than just pure fun, it loses its point in the eyes of the drivers and that is where people become discouraged. Maintaining that relaxed feel and camaraderie among drivers and enthusiasts is why we do this sport that is so destructive to our cars and incredibly expensive to maintain.

The ESM Wheels look right at home on this car with the functional drift stance.

Andrew is an inspiration among enthusiasts and drivers with his incredible E46 M3. As a single person interested in joining the competitive world of drifting, Andrew has experienced severe challenges in keeping up with the high budget teams and opponents. The sport has become this insane horsepower competition and grown to be almost medically precise thanks to the gobs of money and support from companies eager for exposure in the demographic of drift racers and fans. Enthusiasts like Andrew who jump in head-first with no funding and a shoestring budget prove that anyone can still compete and have fun, even amidst the seemingly over-imposing opposition. We look forward to following his next phases of the build and will continue to check in with him as he becomes increasingly competitive over the next season, so be sure to follow along for more of his story and others.

What’s in the car:

S2r tuning composites
CSF Radiators
Feal Suspension
SLR speed
Fuzion Technique
Canton Race Products
Bride Japan
Dtm Fiberwerkz

HPS silicone hoses
Isky Racing Cams
ESM Wheels
MJD Direct
New Era Performance
DR Concept
SWR Motorsports
Syncro design works

Remus Sport Exhaust
Motorsport Hardware
Motorsport Fluids
OS Giken
Gearheadz International
Wisdm Productions
Milestar Tires
Advanced fuel Dynamics

Media sponsors:
AM Drift
The smoking tire
Wisdm Productions

SPECS of car:
Exterior:
M3 CSL Front bumper with carbon fiber
Splitters
M3 Fenders

M3 Hood
S2r tuning Carbon fiber sunroof delete
S2r tuning Carbon fiber headlight delete

Interior:
Bride Seats

Racepak dash
Gs werks Custom roll cage

S1 Motorsports switch Panel /fuse panel
Sparco Steering wheel
NRG Quick release

NRG Hub
HPI Harnesses

Mason engineering Clutch Pedal
S2r tuning carbon fiber cluster delete
S1 Motorsports Hydraulic Handbrake
S1 Motorsports Floor panels
Custom wiring by SWR Motorsports
Custom Rear Firewall

Suspension:
Feal 441 coilovers
9k swift springs front and 4K swift springs in the
rear with true coilover conversion in rear
SLR super angle kit
M3 Differential
Syncro design works mechanical differential
(LSD Internals)

Solid subframe and diff bushings
Wilwood calipers rear (Dual caliper kit)
M3 Rear calipers
Brembo Big brake kit (front)
Massive brakes Dual caliper bracket
Brake quip brake lines
SLP Control arms
Garagistic front subframe

Engine
2001 Chevrolet ls1
Ls6 intake manifold
DR Concept Motor mounts
CX racing headers
CX racing y pipe
Custom 3” stainless dual exhaust
Holley retrofit oil pan
Canton Racing Accusump
CSF Radiator

CSF Oil Cooler
Mishimoto overflow bottle
Tennessee Clutch
APS Racing Driveshaft
Moroso Oil Catch Can
Wiring specialties wiring Harness
Turn one power steering pulley and pump
Aeromotive A1000 with 6 gallon fuel cell
Greddy oil filter block with thermostat
AN lines and fittings for everything

Disclaimer: None of the images used in this article are the property of ECS Tuning. The images used are credited to Andrew A. or any other respective photographers and are not used in association with marketing or monetized purposes.

Give @andrew4reel a follow on Instagram!

Turner Motorsport Pit Stop at ECS Tuning

Here at ECS Tuning, we are an enthusiast-driven company motivated by a common love of motorsports. One of our favorite aspects of being a part of the aftermarket community is the ability to support other enthusiasts with our products and information. In the case of Turner Motorsport, a foremost BMW Touring Car team and aftermarket tuning company, we have the opportunity to work closely with people who share our enthusiasm. Thanks to that support, we have been able to offer some of the best performance parts for BMWs and to interact with a racing team first-hand. The relationships we have with companies like Turner Motorsport further speaks to our enthusiast nature, especially when our entire company is given a day to spend with the accomplished team and their M6 GT3 race car. That is just what happened this past week as Turner Motorsport prepared for the Mid Ohio IMSA GTD race and we were given a day to chat with Will Turner, see their racing technology, and eat some delicious tacos.

The Turner Motorsport Pit Stop at ECS began early. Those of us who usually stagger into the office later in the morning was bright and chipper as we convened in the parking lot to set up an employee BMW car meet beside the Turner race team. Turner Motorsport had parked their trailer, extended their awning, and rolled out their M6, which was covered by a veil, much to the chagrin of the early arrivals. We positioned our BMWs in an arrangement around the TMS truck, mixing our own ECS BMW builds with employee cars for a hefty variety of incredible cars showcasing some of the enthusiasts here at ECS for the Turner team to inspect.

Before the rest of the ECS team were turned loose in the parking lot, we took Will Turner and his team around our facility to show them the inner-workings of ECS. The tour concluded back in the parking lot just in time for all the cars to be in their final spots and for the taco truck, Wholly Frijoles, to pull up and start cooking lunch for the first half of the ECS Team. We all lined up for some excellent lunch and met up with Will Turner outside to hear more about the race and their strategy.

Will unveiled the M6 amidst a crowd of ECS associates and applause before giving a full demonstration of the BMW’s technology and mechanics that transform the big grand touring car into a GTD class touring car. After fielding several questions, revving the engine, and dropping the car off the air jacks, Will decided we deserved a real show. One of his team members hopped behind the wheel and, to the amusement of everyone, proceeded to try and break the tires loose for some donuts. While the car was set up to grip, we did have the opportunity to see a championship touring car stall out in the middle of j-turns, which was a show in itself.

After two lunches and two demonstrations for everyone here at ECS, Jay Baier found the keys to our E90 M3 and decided he would give his own show. Jay spun the M3 around the lot for some real car-show action that made us appreciate our private lot and that no one was chewed out (too terribly) by anyone with an executive title at either company. The lightheartedness and excitement of the day were felt by everyone, especially after a little tire smoke.

The day concluded as everyone returned to their cars and the M6 was hoisted to the upper deck of the trailer. After a successful day spent around BMWs, Will’s team, and a taco truck, the ECS crew headed back to their homes. The Turner Motorsport race team headed to Mid Ohio, where they began testing and qualifying for the weekend. Fortunately, they invited everyone down with them to enjoy a weekend at the race track, so the fun didn’t end with the all-day affair in the middle of the week.

Thanks to Will and everyone at Turner Motorsport for making a stop here at our facility. We had an absolute blast being up close to some of our heroes and chatting about the fantastic M6 we have been happy to root for as one of our favorite teams. As the season progresses, you can catch up with the Turner Motorsport guys through the IMSA live-streams and cheer along with us for a successful summer! Stay tuned for more Turner Motorsport news and events from ECS Tuning.

The Euro District ECS Tuning Event Coverage

For the past few years, ECS Tuning has been sparsely present at events, trade shows, and race tracks as we have been focusing on our growth. While we are still experiencing these growing pains, we are looking forward to being present at more events locally and around the East Coast. This past weekend, we had the pleasure of attending Eurotrash Apparel Company’s event The Euro District in Hendersonville, Indiana. We were also excited to unveil the MK7.5 GTI, which we displayed at the show. For the build, we partnered with H&R, StopTech, Racingline, 034Motorsport, LIQUI-MOLY, Maxton Design, and other fantastic vendors who helped us make this showstopper MK7.5 GTI into the absolute monster that we will present to a lucky winner later this summer. The progress on the GTI is ongoing, but so far we have added the StopTech Trophy big brakes, H&R coilovers, some wheels provided by Neuspeed, and of course the wicked livery designed exclusively for this GTI to represent the best in European performance tuning. 

While most of our day centered around answering questions about the GTI, signing up the free entries show attendees were allowed to claim, and staffing our booth, we did have an opportunity to dodge raindrops and scope out some of the incredible builds lining the street.

This gorgeous pair of vintage GTIs sporting period-correct BBS accessories had us drooling all day. Two drastically different directions in creativity are clearly represented by these cars, but underneath they are both MK2 GTIs.

We truly love our vintage VWs. This BBS valance is not something you see every day. The green MK2 is one that caught our eye simply for its subtlety; the different, Corrado-like headlights and agressive splitter, valance, and additional lower fog lamps, all make up the Rallye fascia found on very few production GTIs.

We can’t tell whether we like the BBS Turbofans more or the polished aluminum RS’s tucking lips under the Rallye.

The air after the rain mixed with gasoline and local food that appropriately matched the glistening paint that gleamed with beads of water on fresh wax. Several of our favorite cars from friends and customers made appearances alongside some cars we were more than happy to become newly acquainted with at the show. The flow of water droplets through mixed sunlight quickly became a blessing, as all the photography from the show takes on a dark and mysterious feel that captures the atmosphere of the show perfectly.

Our favorite Audi builds:

Always nice to see familiar builds like @Rowdyy_audi ‘s S4. The Louis Vuitton lip makes us giggle.

A unicorn posted up sporting the coveted TTRS badge and impeccable fitment.

Radi8 wheels have produced some designs that make us look twice at the styling. The throwback bottlecap outer face and spokes featuring contrasting shapes are what make the R8CM9 so attractive while also making one think of historic racing wheels.

OK, this had to be planned. The Dogwood tree behind this Avant matched its neo-chrome scheme too well.

Some killer BMWs:

This Z4 is currently driven by Brandon, @always_litz4 on Instagram. The bagged late model E86 is eye-catching for a number of reasons. Beyond its obvious stance, the most notable quality is its bodywork. The symmetry of the body lines and retention of all the slightly less than blatantly obvious factory ‘z’ shapes sculpted into every aspect of the car’s appearance make it bold but still true to itself.

One of the few vintage BMWs present, this type 114 sported box fenders, and aero last seen on touring cars driven by legends in screaming four cylinders.

Of course, God’s Chariot deserves its moment in the Sun (or rain).

The rear of this 2002 is just insane. Completely period correct; it reminds us of the 1975 group 5 Schnitzer team’s car to a certain degree with the spoiler. The boxed fenders and molding are both contemporary and retro stylings, which appears to have been a theme recently.

Some Porsche pics:

The best of the VWs:

A Caddy being used the way it should.

Something about this MK1 Jetta just screams class.

Smokin’ hot Cabriolet on some BBS RAs. The European-style removed front bumper further compliments the noticeable transformation at the hands of a determined owner the vintage Volkswagen has certainly experienced.

Someone needs to explain that Georgia is farther south to this peach.

The MK7.5 GTI:

We thoroughly enjoyed this season opener despite the shoddy weather and absolutely loved being able to chat with supporters and customers alike. The amount of quality builds present at The Euro District was a welcome change from seeing our own builds and employee cars on a daily basis. This show gives us so much to look forward to this summer as we gear up to become more active in the community by being present at events like this. We hope you enjoyed seeing the MK7.5 up close and personal for the first time! Don’t forget, the car could be yours: every $50.00 you spend on products from ECS Tuning automatically enters you for a chance to take home the title to our biggest build yet. Stay tuned for more coverage and please let us know in the comments if you enjoyed seeing us there and if you spot your car in the coverage. Until next time, family!

ECS Tuning Spin-To-Win Grand Prize Winner

This winter we hosted our recurring Spin-To-Win sweepstakes which offered a $15,000.00 grand prize in ECS credit towards anything on our website. The amazing prize allows the winner to achieve their tuning dreams all in one go. In the case of our winner, this credit gives them the chance to complete a functional restoration of a unique and cherished time-capsule from the European motoring heyday. Tryon, the grand prize winner, is an ambassador of BMW heritage who has already begun to put his new winnings to excellent use.

We had the pleasure of speaking at length with Tryon shortly after he was notified that he was the recipient of the winnings. A BMW and MINI enthusiast from Florida, Tryon is no stranger to large-scale projects. His purchase of lowering springs and brake pads were the lucky orders picked to grant him the coveted grand prize, and opened the door to much grander aspirations for the Touring.

Tryon purchased his Touring from an importer, who had brought it across the Atlantic from its original owner. The interior and exterior show what a meticulous caretaker the car’s previous driver was, as it was in fantastic condition apart from some age related wear and tear. If you want to read more about what to look for when purchasing an E30 of your own, you can find information in our E30 Buyer’s Guide article.

The MINI is a 07 Cooper S that has been modified for track and competitive use, but will most likely be sold for build money to work on the E30 Touring, which has already received an extensive list of restorative parts in an effort to bring the car back to its former glory.

When asked about his build plans with the winnings, Tryon could not have made us happier:

“I’m not really a showy guy, so I don’t plan on turning the Touring into anything showy. But I do like to show up to meets and shows, and would like to have the Touring there looking good.”

“I love talking about my cars. I love being stopped when I drive the Touring, especially by the younger generation. I feel like it’s my chance to get the next generation into E30s. Since it is right-hand drive, a lot of times I have people just coming up because it’s something unique.”

We asked him what he had already done to the Touring:

“It has a Mtech Rear Spoiler, a new hatch, the lowering springs I purchased that won the sweepstakes, a new headliner, and completely refreshed suspension right now.”

So what is next for his build?

“I’m definitely building this car for me. I want it to be a clean example of the car in nearly original form, but be like a new car to drive. So I already purchased a nearly brand new M20B25 drivetrain that I will swap out for the 4 cylinder. I also will be using the winnings to purchase a new clutch, flywheel, Z3 short shift kit, ZHP knob, a roof rack, and Ansa muffler and mid pipe. To be honest, I pretty much already have the money spent. The rest will go to the odds and ends I need to complete the engine swap.

With all those plans already in motion, this imported Touring, of which he is the second owner, Tryon is well on his way to driving a one of a kind example of quite possibly one of the most sought-after non-M E30 currently. What truly impressed us was his humility and excitement in creating a fun to drive, nearly unmolested, vintage BMW. The purist nature in trying to restore something tastefully is something of a rarity in younger tuners, and too many E30s (some of ours included) have been excessively modified, 24v or V8 swapped, stanced, and otherwise extremely molested. With a B25 swap being the only real modification, this Touring will retain its brilliant design and be enjoyed by a caretaker with all the right characteristics of a true enthusiast.

Congratulations, Tryon, we can’t wait to see what you come up with! Stay tuned for his build over time on the ECS Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as right here on the ECS Blog! Look out for future sweepstakes and your chance to win one-of-a-kind prizes from your source in European tuning.

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Spotlight: The ECS Tuning BMW E92 335i Project Car Exposed

In an effort ensure proper fitment and function of parts, ECS owns several vehicles that see constant attention as parts are designed, tested, replaced, and tweaked. We use these cars for more than just testing function and fitment, however. They are maintained as running and driving examples of our products. Among the host of ECS Tuning cars sits our BMW collection, which includes one of the more popular cars among enthusiasts. Showcasing some of the best BMW and ECS have to offer is our 2007 E92 335i.

This E92 is equipped with the love-it-or-hate-it BMW N54 Twin Turbo straight six. These famous engines put down some serious power from the factory. They are incredibly popular with tuners for their potential to easily make impressive horsepower and torque figures with simple software tuning and bolt-on modifications. While the N54 is known for a host of issues which plague the car, ECS produces or provides everything an owner would need to keep the finicky performance engine completely flawless.

While maintenance on these cars should be a concern, the raw power, evocative appearance, and endless list of aftermarket parts available completely overshadow any hesitations in the mind of anyone who sits behind the wheel. Our E92 has been modified extensively, and it shows. The BMW benefits from several performance upgrades hidden away in the tightly packed engine bay and peeking out from behind the massive Apex wheels tucked under the fenders.

Under the hood, the ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik intake System allows the engine to breathe more freely and pairs well with the always popular COBB Tuning Accessport. The intakes by themselves add a powerful induction noise and give a more refined look to the top side of your engine, but alone provide minimal power improvements. With the AP, Turner Motorsport N54 Downpipes and Milltek Performance Exhaust, the power increase is much more dramatic.

The Turner Motorsport N54 Downpipes and High Flow Catalytic Converters open up the rate of flow from the hot side of the turbos and provide the distinctive resonant rumble and spool noise that always puts a smile on the face of whoever may be sitting in the cockpit. With the impressive power numbers from the downpipes, exhaust, and intakes, it becomes quite clear why the N54 is such a popular choice for tuners.

What is power without an ability to control it, though? Dropping the car closer to the ground are BILSTEIN B16 PSS10 Coilovers which provide a stiff and planted ride without being overly harsh. These coilovers are the ultimate in race-inspired technology from the folks at BILSTEIN. Extensively ride-tested to perfect the ability to provide competitive settings as well as comfortable daily driving rebound and compression, these coilovers provide the best ride height and 10-way adjustable settings for dialing in the right feel for your driving needs.

Keeping the suspension geometry just right with the lower center of gravity is just a matter of compensating with Turner Motorsport Front Adjustable Race Camber/Caster Plates. With these plates the E92 benefits from a wider range of adjustment settings, which allows for a more precise alignment and accounts for the BILSTEIN coilovers. Beyond the adjustability, these plates are also significantly sturdier than the factory strut mounts they replace, as they feature spherical bearings that eliminate deflection found in their OEM counterparts.

Finally, rounding out the performance modifications, admirers will notice the striking orange massive 6-Piston Big Brakes found on the F30 sticking out from behind the Apex wheels adorning each corner. Our specific kit shaves the rear brake calipers and allows the E92 to take advantage of the superior stopping power seen on its newest younger brother.

 

While the power output and handling capabilities are incredibly important to address, what would our E92 be without some improvements to the overall look of the car? The E92 335i is a fairly muted car: aside from its twin exhaust tips, very little identifies it as housing arguably one of the most serious performance power plants ever fitted in a production car. ECS changed that understated exterior with subtle compliments. Found up front, the ECS Carbon Fiber Front Lip nearly kisses the ground and adds a hint of aggressive styling to the E92’s face. Around back, our CSL-Style Carbon Fiber Trunk Lid accentuates the lines of the trunk with an iconic ducktail.

With these bolt-on modifications, our E92 is a fairly reserved example of what can be made from this incredible platform. Our BMW lineup would not be complete without the iconic E92 335i taking its rightful place in our company builds. With a host of in-house products and partnered companies who produce excellent products, we have everything you might need to create an engaging car to drive or even turn your N54 into a dedicated race car!

ECS Tuning and BILSTEIN Present: The Ultimate Audi A3 Sweepstakes Winner

ECS Tuning and BILSTEIN were proud to deliver the new Audi A3 to the winner on Friday the 17th of November. The ceremony was held at the BILSTEIN facility in Southern California and was met with the local car communities interested in seeing the exchange first-hand. For the past months, we have held a sweepstakes in which ECS Tuning bought, built, and and gave away an Audi A3 in appreciation of all our loyal customers.

For more information on the A3, check out these videos 

The A3 featured a lowered ride height, a stiffer suspension setup, carbon fiber accessories at every corner, aggressive brakes, and performance pieces from ECS and several other manufacturers. The transformation made this A3 a truly unique and eye-catching car. Even without the jaw-dropping graphics that provided a curious asymmetry to the car, it was abundantly clear this Audi possessed some serious competitive power. With the car in hand and sponsorship in place, we needed to decide on a method for selecting the winner.

Entrants purchased their normal maintenance parts, performance components, and other accessories as they normally would; but there was a twist. Every $50.00 spent on anything from ECSTuning.com automatically entered the customer in our sweepstakes with chances to win the ECS Tuning & BILSTEIN A3. The Audi spent its life with us being constructed, detailed regularly, photographed, and truly loved by those who had an opportunity to be around it. One lucky winner from our community was about to feel all that energy and dedication we imbued on the Audi, and it could not have been someone any more descriptive of the ECS family.

On the 17th of November, we had the winner picked, thanks to the random drawing by an independent third party agency: Nick S, of California. He is an extreme Audi enthusiast and a long time customer of ECS. Currently, he is in the middle of rebuilding an Audi B5 S4. He took the S4 from an untouched, 160k mile, used car and stripped it down. He removed the V6 Twin Turbo to refresh the Audi’s heart, and is currently in the process of putting everything back together. In the meantime, he is daily driving an Audi Etron. The Etron will be taking a back seat to the ECS Tuning A3, however, as Nick expressed his intention is to drive the A3 every day.

One interesting question we all waited to ask was, “what would become of the graphics?” On a track, the Audi looks right at home with the striking vinyl covering the car. On the roads, it may be slightly out of place. We were ecstatic to hear what his opinion was regarding the love-it-or-hate-it graphics adorning the car. Nick, in what is undoubtedly a surprise to some, decided to leave the graphics intact! He is excited to have something that is both eye-catching and a reminder of the overwhelming participation of so many individuals who helped take this car from a dealership lot to someone’s driveway.

When asked about his feelings approaching the whirlwind of activity around receiving the car, he expressed how surprised he was upon being first contacted:

“I thought it was spam. I got some email and just threw it in the spam folder. Then I got another one, and then a phone call. That was when it really sank in.”

This new Audi will see car shows, canyon carving, and the parking lot at his place of work. Its life until this point has been almost like that of a celebrity; it was constantly prettied-up for photography sessions, endured countless hours of custom modification work,  was trailered to automotive shows like SEMA, and now is finally about to see its first opportunity to stretch its legs in the hands of its new owner.

Nick’s excitement was palpable during our conversation. His overwhelming sense of pride and humility carried through the interview:

Community is such a big deal (in car culture). The fact that there are companies out there that want to engage, I don’t really know how to describe it, that there are people like ECS that push that envelope and really drive the platform forward is incredible.”

Nick is ready to enjoy this car that so many of us here at ECS have grown fond of.

“I already have it entered in a track day at Thunder Hill in April. I plan on swapping for a more aggressive set of tires and otherwise hitting the track as-is.”

Now that the Audi will be regularly driven in Northern California, locals will more than likely see Nick cruising Highway 9 and carving up towards Redwood country.  

“I’m ready to enjoy it. It has everything I would look for (in a daily driver). It looks good, it’s fun, and it’s reliable.”

The A3 is sure to be a great car for a grateful customer. We are beaming with excitement and shaking with anticipation to be able to present something this special to someone so incredibly appropriate to receive it. Through customers like Nick, ECS is able to host these contests in a way that helps us become more than just a parts company. We are an enthusiast company.

With the contest over, and the Audi now in the hands of its giddy new owner, ECS is ready to move forward and continue providing maintenance and performance parts for European cars. This may be the end of our A3 sweepstakes, but there will be more events to come. Stay tuned for the next chance to become a part of ECS Tuning history: on Monday the 20th of November we will be announcing yet another sweepstakes with a massive grand prize, so keep your eyes on Social Media to find out how to be the next ECS Tuning winner.

We want to say Thank You to all our incredible sponsors who made this sweepstakes a reality:

BILSTEIN

StopTech

Milltek

LIQUI-MOLY

Wagner Tuning

034Motorsport

Carista

MANN FILTERS

Rotiform

P3 Gauges

Tire Source

Tirestickers

For info on the Build List follow this link

About ECS Tuning:

Specializing in German automotive performance, OEM and aftermarket replacement parts and accessories, ECS deftly balances the global concerns of a worldwide industry leader with the accessibility and commitment to accountability typically characteristic of smaller companies. ECS Tuning provides its customers with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee return policy for all qualifying new and unused products.

About BILSTEIN:

In 1954, BILSTEIN revolutionized the damping technology and has been recognized for its top-quality and high-performance innovative systems as a partner for the automobile industry. The world‘s leading automobile brands trust BILSTEIN for a reason – their technologies and quality set the highest standards. Each development is a new milestone and represents the pioneering spirit of BILSTEIN, an essence which manifests itself in every product they manufacture.

Evil Touring: Evan’s E61 535xi/M5 Touring Build

One of the most incredible things about the car community is the use of forums and social media to coordinate, swap parts, share knowledge, and most importantly: post build threads. When we found Evan’s E61 535xi Touring build, we sifted through his sixty-plus page build threads and were absolutely floored by the amount of work and passion present in what we would call an unusual choice for a project of this type.

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We say unusual because, as Evan mentions several times in his threads, E61 Touring AWD models were almost exclusively automatic in the states, and were generally driven by your local well-to-do elderly ladies shuttling casserole dishes to church luncheons. Evan was able to see past the grandmotherly exterior and envisioned a brutally evil spirit lurking just below the paint.

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Developing a devastatingly quick Touring was not his original intention, however. Evan originally planned on taking a stock, one-owner E61, and turning it into a bit of an M5 clone powered by the original N54. He extensively modified everything from lighting, interior trim, and bumper covers, to more extensive custom fabrication under the hood and even some fairly aggressive coilovers from KW.

After quite involved aesthetic and performance modifications, Evan decided on a manual transmission swap for his wagon. Anyone familiar with manual transmission conversions in any car knows their difficulty. Evan approached the manual swap with the same attention to detail present in the entire build and was rewarded with one of the only manual transmission E61 Touring in existence, and an incredible sense of accomplishment.

The engine saw some heavy modification as well, but unfortunately for Evan, disaster was right around the corner. As the gruesome pictures show, the E61 decided it needed to remodel its block on its own. A complete and total self destruction is the only way to put the catastrophic detonation depicted here.

Evan found a 335is N54 for little money and went to work cleaning the valves, replacing belts, gaskets, studs, seals, and more. All the engine work paired well with nearly a complete rewire; Evan’s engine bay was given its due attention while the motor sat on a stand.

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When it was time to put everything back together, Evan took great care to make certain every inch of the rebuild was flawless and meticulously cleaned for a perfect fit-and-finish that would make any enthusiast drool. Final touches included a beautiful polished plenum from Evolution of Speed, which mated to a new fuel rail by the same company. 

This whole build could only be described as a fairly exploratory conversion: the N54 Touring saw an M5 Driveshaft, M5 LSD, M5 Axles, M5 Brakes, M5 Rear Suspension, and of course the manual transmission. The transmission swap also took Evan into new territory for USDM BMW’s. His conversion included a RWD setup as opposed to his original AWD factory setup. This required a custom driveshaft, fabricated transmission support, and additional coding in the programing.

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Lastly, Evan sorted out a unique shifter that he pieced together himself in his now hybridized Touring. A gated shifter almost found itself at home in the wagon before ultimately it was decided to be fitted with a more traditional setup.

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Overall the Touring rebuild is a monument to absolute perfection. The pristine, show-quality, professional vibe one is imbued with as a result is astounding. Evan, we at ECS salute you and your immaculate 535i/M5 E61 Touring!