So it’s around March 2019, my 2001 b5 Audi RS4 in avus silver is up for sale on various auction sites. For a laugh on Facebook Marketplace also. I end up getting a message from this guy , he’s umming and Arring about buying my b5 , he mentions he has a couple of interesting RS marques already. One of which being an 800bhp c6 rs6 the other being a TTS supercharged rs4 in Daytona grey. He states really he needs to downsize but that he will be in touch. I didn’t expect to hear from him again. You know how car forums are, we all chat about future plans, aspirations, a number of fellow enthusiasts ask me if I’ll be returning to a b7 (having had a sorted Daytona saloon just the year before) I replied no but had always wanted to build a supercharged b7. APR and TTS supercharged cars are the holy grail of the b7 world and good enough to scare even the new RS6’s. A day or so elapses and this guy shoots me another message regarding my b5 and casually mentions he owns a supercharged RS4 he would like to do a deal with. I laugh this off causally as a charged b7 is worth anything around £30k in the uk and my b5 is worth somewhere around £20k. So there’s an obvious Guelph in price. He said no he’s interested in a swap, so I play along to see where this goes. About 10 minutes later he coughs up what can only be described as the lowest resolution picture of a car I’ve ever seen. It was a Daytona grey brick shape that could of been an RS4 or it could have been a wall, it was hard to tell. Anyhow he mentions the mileage of this car is “quite high” at around 170k (something I would consider gargantuan) but it’s at MRC the renowned Audi tuner receiving a new supercharger. Not one to shy away at mileage we talk a little more about price and the cars well documented history (an original tts development car). I say I would be interested in a swap if the car is as good as it sounds. Here comes the Best Bit he agrees to meet with me when the car is ready, a couple of weeks elapse. We message occasionally to see where this is going after several delays (4 months total at MRC) but eventually we agree to meet at my place of work. I detail the b5 after a front end re-spray with it spruced up and looking well. When up turns this dirty neglected looking RS4, looking like it’s been sat under a tarpaulin for about 6 months during a harsh winter. But I stick with it we shake hands having a chat and he throws me the key. I have a look round disappointed to see comfort seats although he assured me the buckets are safely in storage should I want them. I open the bonnet and the most comical tired squeak groans out the engine bay is filthy considering it’s been worked on and serviced,it looks like it’s been pasted round the desert. Then comes the bodywork the lower door trims bowed out as water has got in, corroding the door bottoms. A small corrosion patch also on the front right wing, there’s tatty black wrap around the grill and window surrounds too. Fitted are the most haggard looking rear discs I’ve ever seen , the car is a disappointment to say the least. I get into the dirty and dusty cockpit and fire her up (just about stuttered into life) but to my relief she sounds solid on tick-over. I have a little test drive around the airside car park and no rattles to report nor bangs or clunks but she was far from mint. My b5 looking significantly the better car I try to leverage the deal , stating I would like the buckets fitted and the oem wheels as a spare set. There was also a spare set of mirrors caps available ( the ones fitted were painted in Daytona grey, I’ve no idea why)
We part ways while he leaves to think it over and that was it he vanished. A good week to ten days passes he reads my messages but no reply and I feel despite it’s tatty appearance the deal of a life time may have passed me by. Eventually I receive a message he says something along the lines of “I like the car where do we go from here?” I quote a date out of thin air in early April as it fits my days off, and there it was he agreed. I invited a friend down from wales as I knew he adored my b5 and hadn’t seen or driven it since it was complete. Off we set early one morning my friend behind the wheel and I begin to appreciate the comfy leather seats, the carbon clad dash the alcantara wheel and the overall character of the b5 realising it’s the last time I’ll ever be inside it. Or see it for that matter. The distinct smell all VAG cars have from the early naughties era. We arrive and like a jolly Father Christmas the owner who towered above me both in stature and breadth with a sizeable beard says he has a surprise for me , he’d had the b7 valeted to which it looked much more respectable. I looked closer and he’d even had the bucket seats fitted. Meanwhile his colleagues from work wrapped the oem wheels and placed them carefully on the back seats. I went off the sign the documents and just like that in April 2019 I took ownership of my third RS4 this one being TTS supercharged. A car I’d always dreamt of was finally mine. The dream came crashing down around 10 minutes later however, when one “accidental” spirited launch lit up all 4 Vredesteins, quickly followed by the ESP and abs lights. So after a very tentative drive home thinking I’ve shot myself in the foot. I manage to give it a much needed clean and decontamination with a clay bar, a new MAF meter was ordered which thankfully rectified this issue.
For more pictures and a little more on the backstory and development of the b7 feel free to find me on Instagram @samtalkscars
Backdating essentially is making your Air-cooled 911 look older than it is. This usually happens to cars like mine, the G-series (1974-1989) or impact bumper cars as they’re known. This is usually because they’re a “cheap” way into Air-cooled Porsches and they’re not the prettiest.
Why did you backdate it?
Two main reasons for me the main being aesthetics, I just don’t like impact bumper cars really. The other is weight. When you’ve barely got 190-200bhp to play with you need to reduce the mass you’re moving. So far the 911 is 80kgs lighter than it was, thanks to stripping the interior back deleting the air-con and removing the heavy steel bumpers. The goal is to use fibreglass panels to further reduce weight while utilising a roll cage and front strut brace to improve rigidity. currently it sits at 1040kg however I’m confident it can be sub 1000kg very soon.
Why is it two colours?
I’ve been known in the past to prioritise the wrong things with my cars. Mainly aesthetics for example, so this time I’m getting the oily bits and parts that I want sorted, paint will be the finishing touch. I also wanted to know everything fitted correctly before committing to having it all painted.
Current plans are to continue the diet and finish off the “74 RS body kit with correct ducktail. It will be painted in guards red and detailed, before having the bucket seats and half roll-cage fitted. This should finish the mid 70’s racer aesthetic. I need to upgrade the manifolds and exhaust as well to free up some more power and a sharper exhaust note.
For years I’ve wondered why little old men lust after these old air-cooled Porkers. Then one morning I woke up and decided to find out for myself. Pictured above is 1120kgs of my 1977 3.0 Super Carrera. A car I took delivery of a few weeks ago.
What’s it like?
The term visceral is thrown around constantly with old 911s. They’re tiny propositions, lightweight and raunchy engine note all work together to make you feel like you’re doing a million miles per hour. In reality you’re doing 37 on a British A-road. No power steering, no electric windows and a lack of air-con in mine makes it even lighter and more involving to drive. The 15” Fuchs mean it’s not too heavy to park when moving slowly, however the front end definitely gets lighter with speed. The 915 gearbox has an enormous throw to it. 1st, 3rd and 5th must have an easy 6” of lateral movement between each gate add that to the length of shift from first to second and it’s got to be almost a foot of rowing.
Lotus like design
“Simplify and add lightness” I’ve decided to backdate my 911 for two crucial reasons. The impact bumpers are ugly and they weigh a good 25kgs each. Just removing the sideskirts, front and rear bumpers, the aircon delete and rear seats my 911 is down 70kgs already. Replace your steel bumpers and bonnet with Fibreglass and there’s a car fast encroaching on a 1 tonne kerb-weight. Bucket seats and “RS” door cards are on route to remove even more weight and modernise the cabin. Next will be some breathing on the 3.0 flat 6 boxer engine, a set of SSI manifolds to replace the heat exchangers and a 2in 2 out exhaust system to help wake things up at the back. 40mm Weber carburettors are also on my shopping list but at £4250 for the full kit before fitting, I’m keen to see how exhaust improvements and twin spark aid things first. It’s never going to be a big powerful car but 230bhp in a tonne of classic 911 should be a very engaging proposition.
Why did you buy it?
The Lamborghini was keeping me awake at night, not something I ever expect my projects to do. So it had to go, there was too much risk of £50,000 being sunk into a never ending pit. I adored seeing the Gallardo in my garage and I had such a thrill owning it, but I’m a driver at heart and in only 4 weeks I missed tinkering and driving badly. A lovely chap from London who builds Porsche cup cars offered me this restored 911 Super Carrera and it runs and drives, wasn’t a hard decision really. I think with a good pair of seats, half a roll cage a good service and a good exhaust setup this will be a great little weekend racer, I’m very excited to see it completed in the next month or so.
It’s been a week in real time and I’ve already haemorrhaged, no, invested a lot of funds into my latest project.
After hundreds of stressed and worried hours sorting though American and German eBay, I’ve managed to source the correct 5.0 long block. It’s in need of some repairs after an argument with a rod. However given the early Gallardo’s appetite for its own catalysts and occasional oil starvation, a rebuild seemed a wise move anyway. I’ve also managed to track down a beautiful Inlet manifold in seemingly immaculate condition. That’s two major parts found so far, fingers crossed the engine is salvageable then we can look into the other bits and pieces.
The parts are currently on their way from Germany as we speak. I’ll have the engine inspected by my resident engine guru, Bart of Anglia Performance Centre in Peterborough. It takes a special kind of dedication to willingly agree to project Gallardo. At the moment it’s looking like a set of rods and an oil pan, a gasket set and a full major service once repaired.
The current goal is for an oem build, but with Lamborghini rods coming in at daft money a set of Carrillo forged rods may have to do. Price dependent pistons may also be an option. Reassuring to know you could have a “reliable” 1000bhp plus engine. Random fact I’ve learned so far, a full gasket set for the 5.0 engine is £998 + VAT. Ouch.
Money can literally burn a hole in your pocket, never has that been more prevalent than following my new Lamborghini home today. Yes that’s right I’m now the proud owner of this delicious blue first generation Gallardo. 37,000 miles HPI clear,2 owners and finished in Caelum blue with two-tone leather interior.
I found it on eBay and it was basically a half priced Gallardo. What would you do?
What’s wrong with it?
In short it needs an engine, perhaps a clutch and a few silly bits. I keep selling cars too quickly, I bought a Cat D Aston Martin and even then made a profit and sold it on within 6 months. I thought why not take a gamble? Build a proper project car and have something special that I’ve always wanted at the same time.
What are my plans?
5.0 V10 twin-turbo upgrade, cat-less headers a remap and ZF Box to handle the additional torque. Brake calliper refurb with bigger discs, ceramic coating, Interior tidying up and then daily use hopefully. Project supercar and use it as much as possible if I can. Fingers crossed it’s relatively straight forward. I’ve budgeted around £20,000 for the re-assembly and donor car etc.
I can’t grumble about a half priced Gallardo whatsoever. I’m just hoping my mechanic will sign off on attaining a C6 RS6 and basically putting all of the good bits into the Lamborghini. Engine, Turbos, Gearbox, Loom and ECUs, a remap and the big brakes. I want to 2-wheel-drive convert it as well to make the front end more engaging. (Just disconnect the front prop, remove the diff and drive shafts then blank off the rest) Let’s see if my wallet will survive this endeavour.
After nearly 6 months my R35 GT-R has gone! It was paid for and collected yesterday, bought by one of the Facebook competition companies. Meaning very shortly it’ll be up for grabs for the price of a cup of coffee! I feel sad coming out of my GT-R but I had to remove my bucket seats and I hated how it drove with the standard seats in place. There was minor haggling and I’m firmly in profit, which in a Nissan GT-R is no mean feat.
Why did I sell?
Electrifying speed coupled with great handling sounds like the ultimate recipe, however when a lot of “supercars” would struggle to catch you, what’s the point? I drove my GT-R hard. Many accidental oversteer moments and of course a flurry of fast road driving, meant I’ve honed my skills again and it’s time for something different. I got to the stage where I was spending money almost for the sake of it. I’d built my ideal version of the R35. Plenty of power, lashings of carbon fibre, bucket seats, big brakes and a titanium exhaust. Perfect.
I love a manual gearbox and my feet feel lost when driving automatics so often. I also like going from a very fast car (tuned GT-R) to something “slower” like an old GT3 911, perhaps a 997 turbo, V10 R8, maybe even an old Ferrari who knows. I want to continue experiencing new vehicle dynamics, new driving styles to help develop as a driver and writer.
I like to be transparent , V23 GTR cost me £29,000 when I purchased it back in November (good timing and well haggled). The after market parts and servicing totalled around £6000, however by the time I’d sold other parts and recouped funds the car owed me £31300. I sold it for £33,000 plus £1200 on top for my Tillett Bucket seats. I’ve still some accessories and other pieces to move on, so there’s potential to clear £3000 profit. Could’ve been better but unfortunately my rear Michelin’s were found to be a little ropey and I needed some TPMS sensors. Not a bad result after 3800 miles and 6 months of ownership.
Essentially an old R35 GT-R made much more extreme by the team at Litchfield Motors. The 4.25 package can be fitted to any variant of the R35 GT-R from CBA in 2008 all the way to the latest EBA 2021 variants. 683bhp and 854nm is squeezed from the 3.8 litre VR38DETT Bi-turbo charged V6. The weight is also down slightly from the standard 1750kgs. Partly in thanks to Lightweight TSW forged alloy wheels, non run-flat Michelin PS4S and massive Alcon brakes. However most of the weight you can argue has been removed from the cabin. 20kgs per seat saved by fitting the Tillett buckets. A 0-60 sprint of just under 3 seconds and a 10.6 1/4 mile time are now within your reach, if that’s your thing of course. The “4.25 stage” package will cost you around £5000 plus an exhaust, brake kit and bucket seats. With new parts this package as tested would be around £12-15,000 factoring in the Alcon Superkit cost as new and the Titanium exhaust.
What’s it like?
Surprisingly refined is my first thought. The chunky Michelin’s some 265 and 305mm wide work in tandem with revised suspension from a later DBA GT-R to absorb bumps while retaining composure. A good thing too as there’s no give whatsoever in the carbon buckets. The power is monstrous, you literally decimate a British B road whilst it’s trying hard to light up those massive Michelin’s. The power hike has changed a lot of dynamics known to the R35. Long gone is the front end push, thanks to thicker Anti-roll bars, the extra torque means you can steer the car from the rear. Often catching power oversteer with little provocation. The chassis is confidence inspiring in R mode and very comfortable in.. well Comfort mode. However past 70mph it feels a bit too soft and lacking body control. So for the fast road use I’ve been using R mode for traction, gearbox and suspension which has been the optimum. The best part of this new GT-R package has been the brakes, I found the standard Brembo’s easily cooked with long pedal travel despite fairly light use. But then the R35 is a heavy car. With the RS29 pads your pedal feel is consistent yet the bite remains sharp even with high temperatures, it really rewards you for driving it hard. However there’s definitely a few things I don’t like. The buckets are a nightmare to get in and out of and there’s a slight rattle from the frames. The Tilletts also make the rear seats even more pointless than before, as they’re now inaccessible as well as unsuitable for anything other than a young child. However they’re best used for decoration or leaving your coat on in the winter. The Pagid RS29 pads are a fast-road and track compound and have a habit of squeaking unless they’ve been hot, so pulling up to a junction can sound like an old bus. An addition I would like is a fire extinguisher just for peace of mind and to complete the track-refugee vibe. Overall this feels like a more complete upgrade from the standard car than Nissans first attempt at the “track edition” in 2012.
Should I buy one?
It depends what you’re looking for from a car. The GT-R is old now and it’s starting to feel it’s age, especially in the cabin. Exhaust drone is very common with a 4.25 tune and with the best will in the world, the ride quality is very harsh for everyday use. However a lot of this can be rectified cheaply with sound-deadening behind the rear seats and behind the rear 3/4 panel trim. With that being said you’re more than capable of frightening a 720s McLaren pretty much anywhere, on any road surface, so that’s pretty cool for around £40,000 all in. A Litchfield tuned R35 would demolish most competitors within a similar price point and lightly fettled. Most notably the BMW M4 which would be severely lacking in pace and composure given any kind of wet weather. However the equivalent Audi and Mercedes cabins put the Nissan to shame.
I’ve been an advocate for “bang goes the theory” and disproving the high running costs of the GT-R. This being said I came to a stark realisation that doing things to a high standard at a slightly lower price point, has still cost me (generally speaking) quite a lot of money.
I don’t know whether it’s scare tactics or a badge of pride, but a lot of GT-R owners I’ve encountered seem keen to shun new owners away. I’ve actually heard the phrase “you should have the cash to rebuild it to run it”. Now the going rate for a gearbox rebuild/upgrade from the horses mouth is about £12k. A rod refresh from Litchfield Motors is another £5500. I don’t know many owners that can afford to mechanically write off their car and cash a cheque for its repair in one sitting. If this were the norm I don’t think anyone would buy a McLaren. Yes engines do fail sometimes, so do gearboxes but it’s fairly rare depending on the state of tune and service history. If you were to apply that logic you could use it against buying any high-performance vehicle.
I bought my R35 on November 28th 2020. It was a very clean example with comprehensive service history. However it was due an oil and filter service. Opie oils were cheap for the correct oil and filter, plus a mechanics labour meant the total cost was £105. Following on from this I wanted a health check plus a software update so I know the car is running safely. £324 for the privilege with a dyno run. I then fitted the Alcon Superkit and had my mechanic round to flush and bleed the system. Motul RBF660 fluid and some labour cost me £80. Last but not least the diffs and gearbox fluid change, this was £252 on its own. However rotten undertrays and a brake line brought this up to £476. Bringing my total for just over 3 months to £985. Not bad for a GT-R but it’s funny how the “smaller” bills can add up. I’ll be doing engine oil and filter again in a couple of months so that’ll add a little extra. However peace of mind is priceless.
Other GT-R bills
A set of Michelin Pilot sport 4S tyres 265/35/20 and 305/30/20 will cost you around £800-900 fitted depending on where you get them. Standard brakes are a bit crap so opt for Alcon replacements. Pretty sure each disc is £295+VAT regardless of front or rear. You can then add a pad of your choice. I get to pay I believe it’s £585 ROAD TAX for the privilege of driving on the horrific standard we call roads in the UK. Fuel around £80 of 99RON fuel should fill the tank. I get an indicated 320 miles on low boost. A mixture of fun and commuting sees about 220-260 miles from each tank. Obviously if I put it on high-boost in top map the range decreases substantially. Even if commuting.
I’ve said before how the R35 platform is surrounded in horror stories of maintenance. Fingers crossed I’m here to extinguish the rumours and make them a more attainable platform.
Where did I go?
Kaizer Motor near Rochester. Previously voted the best Nissan Master Technican in Europe, Sly Kaizer is incredibly qualified to build and maintain pretty much any spec of R35 you might have. My car has been there loads before when going through the paperwork, so I felt a pilgrimage home was fitting.
Front and rear diff fluids plus gearbox fluid change came to £252 all in with labour. A far cry from the horror stories I was told before having even my first R35. I had a brake line replaced at the same time at around £34 and some pence. The only unexpected bill was the rotten rear under-tray brackets, apparently a common flaw. So upgraded items were fitted for £180. I supplied my own brake fluid for the minor flush after changing the line and all in I paid £475.46. Which for a “major” service on this platform I’m pretty happy with. A few of you may be wondering why I’ve not had the engine oil done. Well it was done late December (sub 1700 miles) with a brand new filter so my plans are to run another 1000 miles or so before dropping it again.
I would love to say there’s an enormous massive difference, but really there isn’t. The fluid wasn’t that old anyway, I could argue the changes feel marginally smoother. The typical horrid noises from the gearbox seem a little reduced but running temperatures are about the same, give or take a degree or two. Peace of mind and comprehensive history are never bad on a high performance car though.
So things are well and truly getting out of hand now. I’ve gone from subtly enhancing an already very special car, to almost doing a build thread with it but these happen. My latest eBay acquisition is a pair of Tillett B5 bucket seats, complete with aluminium side mounts.
Price checking these on the DemonTweeks website showed these are £765 each plus an additional cost for the complete alcantara centres. It was my understanding these were mainly on back order. But being such an expensive seat I was keen to find other options and got lucky on eBay. I think it was a typical case of the seller had no idea what they were and a spelling error in the listing meant they weren’t as visible as they could’ve been. A £50 start price caught my attention early and I talked myself into making a purchase. The question was “how much am I willing to pay?”
After talking myself into them all week, trying to justify them and sniffing around the classified I decided I was willing to pay up to £1k for the pair, providing they were in good condition. Fortunately the eBay auction went somewhat under the radar and I paid substantially less for the pair, I’ll admit they were filthy and looking a bit neglected but a thorough hoovering and some polish they’ve cleaned up well. There’s a few scratches on the backs and underneath, but who cares you’ll never see them. I’m pleased with my purchase and I can’t begin to explain how good they look in My GT-R. All I can is I paid less than the price for 1 on DemonTweeks and they’re staying with me for the foreseeable, even if the GT-R doesn’t.
So again I’ve decided that “yeah I can probably do that” and gone straight into fitting my bucket seats myself. The overall job wasn’t too bad, but connecting multi piece seat frames to bucket seats which don’t stand up was not the easiest.
First job was disconnecting the negative battery terminal, the wiring is quite snug under there so I used a block of cork to prevent it from accidentally shorting. After this I left the car for 20 minutes to discharge anything potentially going around the system. Take note you’ll want to open both doors before disconnecting the battery so the window is lowered ready to open and shut the doors. If they’re shut at the time of disconnecting they may not lower and you’re at risk of breaking the glass.
Seat removal itself it’s very straight forward 4 x 14mm Nuts which should come off with a ratchet. I went for 1/2” as I’m confident my seats have never been out in 12 plus years. They were very very tight. Once the 4 are loose you can tip the seats back and disconnect the 3 plugs underneath the seats. You’ll need to remove mounting clips for the wiring harness then the seat is ready to remove.
I weighed my non-heated seats and they come back at a whopping 25.4kgs each! The Tillett units are a little over 4kgs plus the frames. So maybe 6-8kgs once fitted. I used 2.2ohm resistors to cancel the airbag light, these are just pushed into the connectors and taped into place.
The Tillett B5 seats are very narrow, I’m a sub 30” waist and they give me a little hug around the kidneys so are very supportive. However due to their narrow nature I needed to use a 10mm spacer between one side of the mounts, this made sure they lined up with the frames and holes in the GT-R floor.
One of the last things you’ll need to do is remove the seatbelt receiver (female part) this has a wire harness attached which goes under the seat into a white connector. There are a few clips which are fiddly to remove, you’ll need to thread the wire and clips back through the bolt hole left by the holder itself.
Once the seats are lined up with the bolts in place, tighten them all equally with yours fingers. This ensures they’re sat level and lined up correctly. I then used my 1/2” ratchet to tighten everything up as much as I could. Going around the side mounts and seats is always a good idea as well. I used a 12mm spanner to tighten the seat frames to ensure no movement or torsion.
Now the seats are fully fitted with everything tightened, test drive complete and the interior hoovered and dusted. Initial thoughts are they’re incredibly supportive and comfortable. However I’m about to spend 2 hours sat in them on my journey to work this evening so I’ll be able to provide more information over the coming weeks. I hope this has been helpful to anyone who may want to remove their seats and fit buckets.