Matte Frozen Grey wrap, Evolve Alpha N and Power Re-map, Black Kidneys, Re-furbed Shadow Chrome Style 65 Wheels, Hayward and Scott Rear Boxes.
I have no carbon footprint, I have a carbon swimming pool!
Ah hi Jason! Didn't realise you were on the board! Did you say you were? Thanks for the ride. Really was some good diving mate, you know it much better than me!
Don't think I mentioned it. Thanks for the ride in the big 5. I was glad to get back home to mine and have some comfort! I got 29 laps in over my trip, think I've done about 80 in total now. I'm planning on going for a long weekend in Oct, your welcome to join us.
Soooo, where to begin..? At the start, good one.
Well I left home 7pm Wednesday 4th July on what was going to hopefully be one of the best times of my life, boy was I right!
Got the Eurotunnel train at 9.20pm, was in Calais for 9.55, which became 10.55pm as the hour gets added on. Short trek through France and I was soon powering through Belgium, into the Netherlands and before I knew it I was filling up, for the first time in a very long line of petrol garages to come! The funny thing was I didn’t even know where I was in the world or what language to speak! Plus being unfamiliar with how to fill up in different countries I was a bit miffed when the pump wasn’t working… Then I make out a German sign stating I should pay first after 11pm, ahaa. So I went in and gave the guy some Euro’s in exchange for some V-power and some well needed energy supplements. This was gonna be a long one…
On I went, finally getting some clear stretches of Autobahn so I can stretch her legs. Wow, now I know. NOW I know why people love the Autobahn’s. NOW I know why ze Germans make effing fast saloon cars. This place is where the M5 belongs. No question about it. A satnav verified (yeah, yeah no pics didn’t happen..) 178mph, 190ish on the speedo. I am no where near silly enough to get the phone out and start trying to get pics at that kind of speed. I was there. Pony was there, she will vouch for it. Oh yeah, Autobahn’s past 3am on a Thursday morning are rather deserted, just a little tip.
Anyway, on through Germany. A couple of fill-ups later and I find myself in Denmark. Gotta admit, I was struggling by this point. If I remember correctly, it was about 5am when I got into the bottom of Denmark. Raikku had phoned me previously and said to stop near Kolding, so that I did.
Caught an hour or so’s kip, and then got some quick, but bejeeeesus expensive breakfast. 20 effing Euros for a roll and a drink. So with that in my belly I got the fuk out of Denmark and into Sweden via the longest piece of bridge I’ve ever come across. The thing is just insane. I tried to get a picture but it just doesn’t do it justice.
Getting into Schveeeden, I think I got the E20 for about 60 miles ish. Then got on the E4, for something like 400 miles…. BOOOOORING!!! I’ve honestly never been so bored while driving. Had to stop just to break the monotony, petrol and McDonald’s. I’ll be honest, I simply could not believe the girls in Sweden! In McDonald’s, more talent than you could find in a whole club in the UK. (Yeah, yeah no pics…) Wasn’t in the mood. It did however cheer me up a little. So on with the monotonous journey through Sweden. Aside from another fuel stop, quite a few nice old American muscle cars, a group of Maserati’s and a car full of beauties giving me the thumbs up as I blasted past them. They were thumbs, weren’t they..? Oh well.
When getting to the E18, it was hard to visualise how long it was going to take me to get to the first ferry, which I had to get to for 7pm Thursday evening to check in. I quickly re-routed the satnav to take me to the ferry instead of Finland. It said I will be getting there 7.37pm! It was at this point my right foot found itself getting heavier and heavier. Good job the E18 was a very clear road, and two lanes, ok they’re both lies. Well at least the police didn’t see me, that’s all I can say.
I ended up getting to the ferry port Kapellskar at 6.50pm. Thank fuk for that! Phoned Raikku to tell him I made it. He wished me a good sleep on the ferry…. Oh how wrong he was! I got on the ferry at 7.30pm ish. Went to the top and got some great pics of the setting sun. Absolutely wide awake. Not tired, didn’t feel knackered, achy, nothing. Sigh…
First ferry stopped at Mariehamn on the Island of Aland in between Sweden and Finland. Another time zone crossed so now I’m 2 hours ahead of UK. Arrived at around 11pm. The agency I used for the ferries (never again) stated the second ferry was again from Mariehamn to Turku in Finland. So I waited til 12.30am for someone to get on the desk at the ferry terminal, only to find out my ferry was from Langnas 30km away on the other side of the island. I was way, way too tired for trying to figure out what was wrong and who, so off I went on an unplanned drive. Glad I did to be honest. What a beautiful place Aland is. Even in the ‘not so dark’. Doesn’t really get dark here… This is taken at 00.04am
Next ferry arrives at around 1.45am, it’s already getting a bit lighter. The ferry is very nice and absolutely huge. Only three cars get on from Langnas.
This journey is 4.45hours long. Finally I should get some sleep. No. Not one little bit. I was trying so bad, I was so frikkin tired. Alas, no sleep came, my eyes were so sore. The call finally came to return to the car. While the ferry was pulling into Turku I waited in my car with my head on the window and…. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! I had finally fallen asleep in my car, for about 10mins! There was just me at the very back of the ferry on my own, asleep lol. Fuk my life.
I got off the ferry and phoned Raikku, told him about it and that I really need to get some kip. He said fine so I set my alarm for an hour and got some much needed shut eye… Well my phone nearly bit the bullet when it woke me up I can tell you. Needless to say I was enjoying the sleep. But I knew we had a major task ahead of us, so I slapped myself a few times and headed for the S62 palace.
I arrived about 2pm. Stuck my head in the workshop and found a small troll with warts all over him, he introduced his self as Raikku… I had finally made it……
We waited for the beast to cool off while we chatted and got to know each other. Turns out he’s part unicorn, part fish, part S62. Very funny from the start and I could tell we were gonna get on great, which is good as we practically spent the next 7 days in each others pockets!
So we start to strip the beast.
This apparently needs a lot of swearing, so I joined in merrily. We instantly hit it off and the banter was starting already. I’ve never had so much fun working on a car. We had some visitors through the day helping out. I think it was Robi, Catiee, Sami and Leo turned up. I’ve slept since then! (Thank you’s at the end!) Through the day and night we kept going until by 2am, the beast had her heart ripped out…
We left here and went to a club, yes at 2.30am. When it starts to get light again… Headfuck or what!? Strange feeling. Had ourselves a few well deserved White Russians then headed for Raikku’s place to get our head down.
Next day we got to stripping the engine down and I’ll let the pictures do the talking for a while….
Missed number 5?
It continued like this for the next couple of days and nights in pretty much the same fashion. Lots of banter, swearing, sweat and oil.
Turns out rod bearing 3 was on the brink! I had been pounding on this poor little sod for the last Christ knows how long! So who’d have thought it? Rod bearing preventative maintenance IS worth it! Remember folks my girl had 155k miles when I these got done, it doesn’t get babied and has seen the redline a fair few times in my ownership. Plus a lot of track time too. I’m so glad I have these done now.
Of all the various items that came off and got changed, vacuum hoses were by far the worst off items. Many if not all of them cracked and split. Clutch however was fine. Didn’t really need changing but as it was out and I had a new one…. Flywheel had too much play so a good call on changing that. Cam timing was out badly. Vanos solenoids were loose, somefelloutbythemselves. O-rings were perished beyond belief, just turned to brittle plastic basically.
See I did do something! I'm changing the thrust arm bushes for Powerflex and changing the front control arms. Didn't realise it was an 'engine out' job..
A quick peek up the exhaust chambers left us in little doubt about carbon build-up. I didn’t have the time or money to start stripping the heads and grinding valves and replacing valve shaft seals so that’s all for another time!
On disassembly, parts were lined upon the bench as they came off. Then it was my job to clean the lot, apart from the Vanos, Raikku wanted to do those personally. He loves Vanos units… Parts that were stained from oil were then painted with engine paint. Also the valve covers got a nice black coat of paint and when I cried that the shiny stripes had gone Raikku kindly obliged and sanded them back to bare aluminium for me! He loves me
Tuesday came the only rain I think I had all the time I was away bar one day in Spa. Boy did it come down! After it stopped Sami thought he would see how many times he can get the rear wheels to spin round while the car sat still…..
On Wednesday the guy who bought Raikku’s N/A monster engine came to visit along with member Jumbo. We went out for a quick spin to grab some lunch. First thing you notice is the noise. Really nasty sounding, not overly loud, just plain nasty. Then you notice that although he hasn’t even put his foot down yet, this feels fast. We then get on a stretch of highway and he lets rip. Can you say torque!!! Wow this thing pulls. Just seems so willing to rev. Even four up it really pulls like train. Me likey…
Jumbo has a very nice M5 sprayed in Interlagos blue. My camera really doesn’t pick the colour out well. It really suits the car and it’s nice to see a different colour for a change.
We thought we'd make a hybrid sports car for a laugh. Guess the chassis and engine...
On Thursday Arvi came to the shop and I got a passenger ride in the mighty supercharged matte black beast. HOLY **** that thing flies! Genuinely makes the E39 feel like a go-kart compared to stock. I’m truly jealous of anyone who has a super’d E39 M5. If I had the money it would’ve been staying at Raikku’s until it was done. Some rubber was left in the workshop car park by Arvi, some very long 11’s in fact!
Leo also took us for a nice drive and a little walk through Helsinki. What a beautiful city. Architecture is fantastic. Very nice indeed.
A guy who works next to Raikku brought in his dad’s little toy for a bit of fettling. It was an MGB sprayed in Alfa Romeo pearl blue. Really looked quite nice. Only problem was that although some fat men from the Midlands in the UK built it, they put the steering wheel on the wrong side!
Raikku also had 2 E46 M3’s in for a bit of work. One guy was introduced to him by Sami (bmwthyning). Once Raikku had breathed his magic on the car and showed him that the rear trailing arm bushes were shot, he thanked Sami for showing him to the right place
Come around Thursday evening we had the engine back in and running! Sounding sweet as hell, apart from the goddam pulley whining like a you know what. We shut up shop and carried on putting everything back in Friday morning.
Friday the car goes back together, out for the first test drive, I initially feel a bit less torque low down surprisingly, but she is smooth as silk to drive through the gears and the rev range, and pulls so well from mid range. The more I drive it over the next couple of hours the more it picks up low down, Vanosadaption’s taking their time I suppose…
We finish fooling around at about 7pm iirc, then picked up Arvi and Leo, who have already started drinking for our big night out. Went back to Raikku’s for preparations then hit Helsinki.
Everyone seemed to be on holiday and not in Helsinki but the clubs are very nice. Such a nice change from the UK. I shall have to sample these clubs again some day… 10 mins in and I already had a beer flavoured leg (Thanks Leo!) Much later on and my other leg was doused in Captain Morgan’s Rum! Then I spilled some white Russian on my own shirt. I did very well that night. Still ended up with a Finnish girl’s number at the end of it all. In fact it was her Captain Morgan’s I had on my leg!
Finland definitely has talent! FACT!
Come Saturday we got up late and headed for Catiee’s work so she could give the beast a well needed wishy wash for the trip to Spa Francorchamps. She did a great job, even done the pony’s hair for her! Thanks very much Catiee! A little photo shoot outside then I had to say my goodbye’s. I had such a wonderful, fantastic, eye opening, fun time in Finland. I thank all you guys soooo much. Leo (Mailman), Arvi (Burnout187), Sami (bmwthyning), Robi, Catiee. You were all so welcoming and friendly, a great laugh and I am missing you all already! It really was great to get to know you guys and it will not be the last time we see each other! Thank you also for all the help that you guys gave me and Raikku. Very nice of you and really not expected, at least from me lol.
This brings me to thanking Raikku. What can I say about this guy without being offensive….? No, honestly?
I’ve gotta be nice now I suppose…. In absolute honesty, Raikku is one of the nicest, most genuine hard working guys I know. He is very funny, very good at what he does and very handsome under all that fur and warts. In fact if I was batting for the other side, I’d be all over him in a flash.
Finally left for Spa at 4.30pm, headed for Turku for the return ferry to Langnas. When I got there I was quite early so had to wait for the ferry so had a chance to get a picture of it coming in. The thing was huge!
It left at 8pm so I grabbed some dinner as it departed, drunk some beer and played some games machines and pinball until I arrived at Langnas. Took the trip back across to Mariehamn and parked up for a bit of sleep. Passing this as I came into the port.
Morning ferry from Mariehamn to Kapellskar left at 8am to get me there for 9am Sunday morning, as I again loose the hour. Then it was a mad rush, 1500km in 15 hours. Sounds easy, average 100kph, but for 15 hours? Plus stopping for fuel and something to eat. I had the cruise control at about 160kph throughout Sweden until I got to the bridge again. Although a diversion took me on a little country road for about 30km when I was stuck behind a caravan and a line of cars willing to sit behind it at 40kph….
So by the time I got through Denmark it was around 6pm. As soon as I hit the A7 autobahn the ***** flew! I averaged 220kph until I hit the back end of Hamburg and stopped for a bite to eat at about 7pm.
I set off again around 7.45 and my god what a drive. Averaging well over 200kph for the rest of Germany. A guy in a new TTRS thingy which I hope was modified came back past me once I had overtaken him. Flashed his hazard lights a couple of times and booted it. That thing was gone! I managed to catch up in some traffic and we went again. This time an S6 joined in. He was left well behind as we surged forward this time a bit more evenly matched. He was still pulling away about 5 car lengths until we hit about 240kph, then I started to rein him in slowly but surely, he backs off as my satnav creeps towards 275kph. I let off as well as he drops right back, flashing me a couple of times before he goes off at the next ausfahrt. Well that woke me up!
As I came to the A1 autobahn there were a lot of road works and speed limits so I just set the cruise to 100kph and sat back for a while. This is what I ended up doing the rest of the way really as Belgium really doesn’t know what their amazing roads could be used for…. Got to the B&B at exactly 12am. Had trouble finding it for about 30mins as it’s in the middle of nowhere behind Francorchamps in the mountains. I got out, not aching, still buzzing from the drive, and tried to get some sleep for the track day at Spa in the morning.
Didn’t hear my alarm but thankfully I naturally woke up around 8am. Had a well needed shower and headed for some breakfast and to meet Neil and Anne Lee who own and run the B&B Ardenne and Eifel Aventures. The place is beautiful.
Anne’s mum was also there who was lovely also. Neil and Ann are such nice folks, very friendly and up for a laugh. Also very passionate about making you feel welcome and wanted, and to help you out in any way. After a lovely hearty breakfast and a chat, I left all of my clutter in his garage and headed for Spa…
When I got to Spa the second session was just about to start and I had missed the briefing, as was planned tbh. I went and signed on and put my name down for sessions 3, 6, 9 and 12. 25 minute sessions. I went and emptied the rest of the crap from my car like oil, jack and stuff. Adjusted my pressures, checked oil, brake fluid, coolant blah blah and got in the queue for session 3. Then I remembered I hadn’t been noise tested. Out of the queue and up to the test point. Guy with the equipment looked at me, shrugged his shoulders… he then wandered over, tore a sticker off of his roll and slapped it on the windscreen, noise test complete!?
Back in the queue for a bit then out I go onto the one and only Spa Francorchamps. My heart is going ten to the dozen (where does that saying come from?!). The exit from the paddock goes up the side of eau rouge on an access road, and then joins it at the top going onto Kemmel straight. A guy in a GTR has seen F1 and starts weaving all over the track to err… destroy his tyres, I could think of no other reason?! So the parade lap is over and I get into my stride, letting all the Porsches overtake as usual. You can go so much faster through eau rouge than I would have ever thought! And the elevation change as you go around the track, especially at eau rouge is just mind blowing. It’s also very hard on brakes and engine. I was seeing up to 120-130 oil temps. Water temp stayed bang in the middle. Brakes would go a little soft, but never faded, not once. Very impressed with the Yellow stuff pads.
Back in the paddock after the first session and up with the bonnet. PS fluid everywhere! Nothing unusual but I have nothing to put over it to stop it! Oh well, sorry Raikku… It WAS clean. Apart from that all good. So I go and get some pics and for the rest of the day it panned out kind of the same. I was getting faster and having more fun, I was hoping for a bit of rain, but apart from a tiny bit of drizzle it was the only dry day for 2 weeks apparently, typical.
I had learnt in the morning of a little treat for me the next day. I was gonna head for the ring when I woke up but Neil had told me that Ferrari Corse Clienti was in town and to stick around for it. So glad I did. Although it was pissing down, the noise and look of these things is something to behold. Ex-F1 cars, FXX, 599 XX… My god what a great sight!
So about 12pm I headed off for the Ring. The rain eased off and it was nice to not have to drive fast, odd as it seems… I first stopped off at the B&B again to put my stuff in the garage and say hello. This one was the Pension Muhlenhardt in Herschbroiche am Nurburgring. Edgar Steffens owns it and is another great guy. Very polite and stays out of guest’s way. He showed me my room and left me to get to the ring.
The view from my room in the B&B
A little drive out near Hohe Acht
Got to the ring and had a look around. What an astonishing building, with nothing in it!! The rollercoaster looks truly great but it isn’t operational. Very strange place to be in.
It opened at 5.45 and I was truly running out of money by now so I only bought a 4 lap ticket, with the view of doing 1 Tuesday, 1 Wednesday and 2 Thursday. Well as I said that was the plan. Three laps later I thought I should at least save one for another night! The place is addictive as I thought. It’s so much tighter and shorter than it looks and seems on the playstation. By the 3rd lap I was having some seriously good fun. I was surprised just how well I knew the track. It was just difficult to go as fast as I would’ve liked as I had to get home on the tyres and they had taken a serious beating at Spa.
Wednesday I had a day exploring and taking pictures, walking along behind the Armco and getting some real close shots. Some interesting vehicles on track. Including a 1’er going around followed very closely by an E39 530i or something, not sure for what reason..? Also a Range Rover they were trying to disguise as a Volvo. Ah and a very interesting and quite obvious experiment going on with an Audi Q3 mated to what sounded like the RS4 engine, very quick and utterly pointless, I quite like it…
Had a rest Wednesday night and an early night for once. Waking up on Thursday I realised I had slept way too long and went straight for a walk out the back of Edgars place. He lives about 1km from the back of Karussell. Simon (Yellowgixxer) had told me about it and said it was a trek. He didn’t tell me it was like walking up the side of a bloody building! Man I’m unfit! It was worth it though because I descended upon the Karussell around 5pm and after a breather I started to get some shots from right behind the Armco again. Then I saw one of the maintenance trucks coming with the lights on and thought I’d be asked to go behind the fence, they waved as they went by lol.
It was after about an hour when I noticed how the huge advertising hoarding behind me was constructed. Scaffold ladders set in concrete basically. Hmmm, I shall put my camera on my shoulder and climb this as it’s very quiet around here….
It was after this I remembered I still had a lap on my ring card. Too late now! So I still have it on there! It wasn’t open for touristenfahrten Friday evening so that was that. Oh well, I had my fun. It shall be remembered. And no, I didn’t get a video, didn’t fancy getting a fine. The rental ones are only available at weekend too so that didn’t happen.
Went to the Pistenklause restaurant that evening and met a lovely Swedish guy who I was talking to the rest of the meal. Turns out he has the white Focus RS that I got some pics of from the top of the hoarding! Got his email address off of him and sent them on to him, he’s well chuffed! He was a great guy, there on his own also, also found out I had driven within 3km of his house when I went through Sweden. Small world…
Had another early one and in the morning packed back up and set off for Amsterdam. Boring drive tbh, especially in the Netherlands, 5 and 6 lane highways with 100kph limit. Yawn territory… Anyway got to AMS about 2pm. Booked into Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam South which had opened 1 month ago, and it showed. It was fantastic. Shower was awesome! Had another cold shower and headed downtown on the tram. Got off at Centraal Station and walked my way back to Dam square to have look and then over to RLD. Grabbed myself a well earned beer and got chatting to a few people. After dark I had a little mosey up and down RLD, wow there are some beauties in the windows! Not feeling at my wealthiest I went into another bar and got chatting to a beauty from Romania, named Ecaterina. Apparently her name means Innocence…. Not a chance!
Next day I made my way to Rotterdam to meet a guy named Tiago! He and his gorgeous lady boss prepared me some cold beer and a steak lunch. It was beautiful, thanks guys!! I then caught Mr T polishing his car would you believe!
I also got to drive the exquisite E39 touring he has, that thing is absolutely stunning, especially the interior. Such a good combination of colour. It is sooooo smooth to drive also. When I got in the driver’s seat I looked under to find the key and switch it on, it was already running! The thing is a testament to looking after your car properly.
I had myself a few more beers in the Anchor pub. Got chatting this time to a group of guys from Germany. They were a great bunch and we had a good laugh about football and the war and the usual, funny stuff! In walked two young stunners so I offered them my seat and a drink. After much conversing it turns out they were from Hungary and it was their first night, with nowhere to stay… I gave them the hotel’s number and they booked a room. As a thank you Isabella came with me to my room Think of a cross between Jennifer Lopez and Penelope Cruz, aged 20! I love Amsterdam!
Well this brings me to Sunday, and that meant home time L. I went for a little walk around Amsterdam first and a beer with lunch. Then headed off for home. Got in around 11pm. What a fantastic, no, astounding time. Simply one of, if not the best thing I’ve ever experienced. The people I met, the things I saw, the fact that my car is nice and fresh engine wise. Most importantly though it’s the people I’ve met. I’ll say it again, I love you guys!! Such a brilliant time and I would do it all again tomorrow…..
Like the guru's "Stig" helmet photo and the 'Ring one where the black 3-series is spun out.
FYI, the picture above the roller coaster is probably a mis-click.
How many total miles/km driven on this road trip? Color me envious.