We often get asked “What are you guys all about? Who are you? What is your scene?”
This is a very valid question especially from a prospective customer who is about to spend a considerable amount of money on a super cool retro 1987 Soarer or a 400bhp track focused drift car. To put it simply, we are a bunch of engineers, mechanics and fabricators who, through a sheer passion and love for the industry, decided to group up and restore old icons into championship contending race cars or just plain cool summer road cruisers. We don’t follow trends nor do we box ourselves up in a particular scene.
We had a customer pop in the other day to purchase a very clean 1993 Nissan Silvia PS13 complete with an Instant Gentlemen kit and finished off with a lovely set of Work Meister wheels. When he walked through the door, he quickly walked past the vehicle he wanted to buy and started gawking at this old E21 BMW that was sitting in the corner and began attacking us with questions. This goes for every single JDM car enthusiast that has walked through the Garage Sinister doors. This made us realise that regardless of culture or “scene” every enthusiast respects an iconic car or a quality build regardless of age or origin.
So what are we all about? We aim to not only supply, restore and build the finest vehicles for the road and a multitude of motorsport disciplines but also put our very own Garage Sinister twist on each one. If it has style, history or presence, we would consider it. Be it JDM, German or American.
Our journey with the E21 started out when we were browsing the web for some parts we needed to help re-work a tidy Nissan Silvia S15 we had at the time. Somehow we ended up on the eBay advert for this car and at once we agreed we needed that in the garage. After little hesitation or debate, there was a wide body retro E21 ex drift car sitting on a truck being delivered from Cornwall to Daventry. We never even went to view the car, we just needed it in our possession.
Upon arrival, it was coughing, splattering and generally running and looking like a car that has been neglected and passed through many hands, some of which were not attached to the most mechanically minded brains. Not criticising people who try to build a good car, but have little experience but more so to those who make a mess of every aspect of a build almost on purpose.
Without anything further to do, the car was on axle stands, wheels off, bonnet off and the planning could begin. Axle stands you might ask? Well, up to this moment, funds did not allow for a 2 poster lift. However, this is now changing and one is getting ordered asap.
Initially we were aiming for this to be a competition drift car that would partake in a variety of events and stand out from the crowd. The plan was to slot a 1JZ engine out of a Toyota Chaser for example, run silly power and make a lot of noise and smoke. We then realised that putting that engine in something like this would not work. Not because of it being an engineering challenge but more so from the character of the car point of view. Furthermore, putting this vehicle into a discipline where body contact is a regular occurrence just did not seem right. After much discussion and head scratching, we decided that the only right place for this car to go, is to a hill climb event and compete along with other classics and unique builds.
This is just an introduction and the rest of the build will be covered via Youtube episodes that will be published on this website as new Features and shared on our social media platforms. So please like, share and subscribe to stay up to date with this and all future builds
Once we had a good chance to examine every aspect of the car, we created a build plan and set us some target dates. We decided to start from the rear and encountered our first challenge.
The E21 subframe was in good condition however, availability of performance differentials for this chassis is very limited and very expensive, not to mention that the differential fitted to the E21 was bust. Furthermore the rear brakes were drums which were more than adequate for road use but not for setting blistering times up a hill.
The plan was to purchase an E30 subframe and fabricate a custom hybrid from the two. The goal was to have a subframe that fitted and worked with the E21 and it’s coil-over suspension set up but also be able to fit an E30 differential and have rear discs. Not the easiest of tasks but not impossible either.
Whilst in the area, we decided to get rid of the fuel tank in favour of a fuel cell that will live in the boot. Not only did this replace an old, rusty, sludge filled tank but also freed up some space for a side exhaust….and who does not love a side exhaust??
Whilst waiting for the completed subframe to return from being powder coated, we spotted 2 issues with the over fenders.
The first and most noticeable issue is that the front fender, is in perfect alignment with the crease line that is running in parallel to the car. The rear fender on the drivers side was 10mm below the crease line (14mm on the other side!) at best, this looks sloppy.
The biggest issue we found, which also explained why the centre of gravity on this was so high, was that the original wheel arch was not trimmed and tubbed and left original. This meant that the car could not sit any lower as there would be significant clashes between the tyre and the arch. It was time to get that issue resolved…