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Skogen Racing: Connoisseurs Of Sleeping

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Skogen Racing Cortina – Mondeo ST220 Engine

This outfit from Sweden are exactly what messing about with cars are all about. Take a 30-year-old car on the verge of being either parted out or scrapped, wrench on it, give it a major heart transplant, and then drift it or race it through forests.

My favourite of the bunch, despite being a massive BMW fan, is the Ford Cortina pictured above and below. Once Skogen Racing have finished with it, you are left with a 950-KG car boasting 306-whp, a transplant from a Ford Mondeo ST220. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than shoe-horning a bigger power plant into the car, the list of modifications more than enough to both harness the extra grunt and stabilise the little car.

306-whp Ford Cortina With A Mondeo ST220 Engine

306-whp Ford Cortina With A Mondeo ST220 Engine

I say ‘messing about with cars’, but Skogen Racing are a little more than that, regularly competing in auto events. When they aren’t injecting serious power into retro cars, they’re either sliding, racing or dragging them, the team often arranging events and meets.

770-bhp BMW Powered Ford Seirra

770-bhp BMW Powered Ford Seirra

Some of their cars do hint as to being modded, but when you consider their Ford Seirra pictured above and its turbo-charged BMW M50B25 transplant, no one would expect it to boast 770-bhp. After swapping the Ford 2.8i V6 for a BMW 2.5-L inline-6, followed by adding a Garrett GT40 turbo, intercooler, injectors and forged pistons to handle the power, I consider this a serious sleeper.

So if I were facing the crusher, this is the way I’d like to go out: smoking and screaming, sliding through the Pearly Gates so violently an immediate one-way ticket to Hell would be issued.

Check out more of Skogen Racings insane livery and the way they add massive power without making it too obvious.

The one gem they did build that can be called a pure sleeper is the MK1 Ford Fiesta featured in their video below. I remember this car as a four-year-old, two of them in my street, both owned by elderly people. Take a look what Skogen Racing did to it…

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Sideways For The Price of A Smartphone

HeLLga, my E36 325i Coupe

A drift missile for the price of a smartphone? Hmm, sounds a little far-fetched, I know, but trust me on this.

When I first noticed drifting, it wasn’t through the channels of its Japanese origins; drifting made itself known in the form of Hulk Hogan’s son, Nick, and his dabbling with the pros in his yellow Supra – the one he eventually crashed and left his best friend paralysed with. After a stint in jail, Nick faded away from the scene and that was that, but for the few episodes I saw him drift, I couldn’t help but notice the seemingly large sums of cash needed to partake in the sport.

That was nearly a decade ago, and ever since that yellow and chrome monstrosity, I’ve been fascinated, studying the varying styles and cultures surrounding international drifting. The sport has made a such big impression since the States transformed the Japanese parking-lot precision driving into its FormulaDrift series, virtually every petrolhead on the planet has tried kicking out the rear of their car and holding a drift.

That’s what’s so great about the sport – with a little practice, anyone owning a relatively light RWD car with around 150+ bhp and 150+ ft-lbs of torque can drift it (on closed roads or track, of course).

This has led to the formation of drift clubs both big and small, drivers meeting up and getting their missiles sideways. Drifting has managed to knock down barriers and bring different car genres together, from German coupes to Japanese turbos to American muscle, all shredding rubber together on track.

Owning a drift missile doesn’t have to be costly either, as the title of this article suggests. For the price of a leading smartphone (£600-£999), you can pick up a solid, high-mile BMW E36 325i/323i/328i or a Mk1/2 Mazda MX-5. After ripping out the entire interior and installing a secondhand roll cage and bucket seat, you’re virtually ready for some handbrake/clutch kick action.

Although this article comes across as a poor man’s answer to drifting, it actually backs up the original Japanese theory that less is more. I wrote a piece for Motor Ward featuring the drift king himself, Keiichi Tsuchiyai, the grand master and inventor of drifting. He says drifting a car with limited power (anything under approximately 140-bhp) is far harder than sliding a more powerful car, thus throwing a cheap missile around means you’ll eventually develop uber drifting skills – it’s harder to kick out the rear of an old 130-bhp Toyota AE86 than it is  a 400-bhp Skyline.

HeLLga’s Loving Leather Embrace

If the interior is in decent condition, you could sell it and put the extra cash into a super chip or re-map for that extra 25-bhp. Give the car a full service, especially the engine and all of the fluids. Tape up the lights, fix a sports steering wheel and drift brake lever, finally spraying/wrapping your weapon matt black, and you are ready to shred.

Okay, so once you’re hooked and you get the hang of it you’ll ruin yourself spending out on power gains, superior suspension components, racing clutch kits and body panels, but how much more adrenaline do you expect to spill for the price of a phone?

iPhone or iDrift?

Easy…

 

 

 

BMWs & Preparing Lithuanian Sledges

Owning a BMW E36 325i (HeLLga) and possessing a passion for sideways action, it was only a matter of time before I’d stumble across the ‘The Ugly Duckling’, the incongruously placed BMW above. Its owner hails from a part of Europe boasting scented forests and pristine lakes, a seemingly serene and peaceful place… until you look a little closer.

There are some pretty cool goings-on taking place in Lithuania at the moment, a combination of old school BMWs, mad driving skills, and a creativity and enthusiasm captured in a series of short films.

Norbertas Daunoravičius (pictured above) is the brains behind Norbe Films, a vision shared through his website and YouTube channel. Here he reveals both his love of retro Bimmers and his ability to make them slide. Referring to what is commonly known as the ‘Drift Missile’, Norbertas prefers the name ‘Sledge’, a term coined from the current Lithuanian car culture. 

Norbe Films presents useful videos on Sledge preparation, primarily involving an old BMW and wrenching on it until it will drift. The film below is the longest – and perhaps considered his feature piece – The Ugly Duckling. Although the 15 minutes of footage features hardcore Hooning and antisocial driving, Norbetas manages to convey intelligence, humour and a real passion for cars. The Ugly Duckling also captures the spirit and culture of Lithuania, its people strong-willed, inventive and industrious.

If you haven’t got 15 minutes to spare, check out the excerpt above, a little taster, a lesson in Lithuanian parking.

My New Girl, HeLLga

Hellga

I’ve been very busy of late. My mind has been 24/7 on cars… mine in particular. The picture above is my latest affair, a German coupe that took a lot of searching for and a lot of changing of minds. Up until purchasing her I’ve also been very confused, and now she’s mine, I still am. You see, it’s all to do with drifting…

HeLLga takes the place of my Subaru WRX. I loved my Scooby and it’s surge of turbo but the AWD didn’t allow for drifting unless you entered at high speed, murdered the engine and felt the horrible resistance of Jap technology – a lot of noise and unsettling vibrations – reminding you a trip to the bank was imminent. As we all know, RWD is the only way to go if sliding is your game, so I watched more videos, read more articles and had my mind on something a little different. However, HeLLga wasn’t on the list at the beginning.

I ended up dismissing the RX-8 and S2000 because of their low torque compared to other rivals. The RX-7 and Nissan 240ZX were out of the question, as were the Skyline R32 & 33 because I simply couldn’t bring myself to butcher and abuse such great classics. As for the Silvias, meh, they just don’t do anything for me. Although the S13 could’ve been a possibility, finding a solid example that wasn’t automatic and painted gold was impossible – they’ve all been snapped up, slammed, and had their innards ripped out by hardcore drifters.

So I was 100% sure I wanted an MR2 Turbo, the mid-engined lunatic above I knew could be drifted (albeit with some different approaches and methods). Yeah, I was going to be a little different and the MR2 Turbo was going to be my daily/drift missile…

…until I remembered the late Giorgi Tavzadze and his BMW E34 M5. I then found myself re-watching the E34 325i chase scene in Ronin. I’d seen some mean-looking old-school Bimmers as drift missiles before, and the decision was finally made after witnessing The Ugly Duckling, a stock-engined E36 325i climb a carpark sideways.

Having owned an E46 M3 and remembering how powerful yet planted it was, I did a little research into why the former E36 M3 and 325i models were so popular as drifters. Because they are lighter, have a 50/50 weight ratio and good torque, the E36 chassis was perfect for the job. The 325i seemed the most popular because of its bombproof and revvy 2.5-L inline 6, plus its cheaper repair and maintenance bills over the M3. Many welded the diff, too, something I was thinking of getting done. Although turbos were a popular add-on to the 325i, I’ve seen enough videos to know they can be drifted with the right set-up.

However, after I handed over the cash and sunk into HeLLga’s leather embrace, I realised what a beauty I had aquired. Spotless, 62K miles all accounted for with 8 BMW stamps in the service book. The small white torch, tool kit and first aid kit were all present, and as for the interior, well, I knew I wouldn’t be ripping it out any time soon. I realised all of this whilst driving her home, a car I couldn’t believe was 19-years-old. She was solid, taut and her 6-cylinders hummed and let out that familiar hiss and BMW rasp at high revs.

So what do I do now?

After a rather reserved effort but enough to maintain a slide (this was on a quiet road in the evening with no traffic whatsoever), I came to only one conclusion: Buy a high mileage 325i beater, of course.

 

Ed: If you enjoyed this post or love old school Bimmers, check out the 2nd part with HeLLga.

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A Little Education, Culture & Total Carnage

If you are able to sneek away from the Saturday night Rom Com with your significant other, grab your mobile device, kickback on your bed or hide in the toilet, and behold this 94 minute movie on the origins of drifting.

Outsiders Japan Movie is filmed by the guys at Driftworks – and they know a thing or two. With 10 years sliding cars, Phil Morrison and James Robinson hit Japan and soak up the culture, the filmmaker Al Clark capturing the vibe through his discerning lens.

If you want to go straight to the action, start the vid at around the 30 minute mark. After watching the entire movie, it only makes me want to go to Japan even more. It looks like quite an intense and surreal experience, and I think a couple of weeks would probably be enough… but, then again, they feature a hi-tech heated toilet, so maybe a little longer?