The Game Changer

Tauriq Ajam’s Bagged Benz
This particular 1976 Mercedes-Benz W115 230.4 is one of those cars that goes further than the average diamond in the rough stories; it is more is a story of destiny. These W114/5 (chassis code signifying whether the car is six or four cylinder respectively) Mercedes-Benz’s have been the apple of my eye for as long as I can remember that I had a passion for cars. There was just something about the unusual narrowly stacked headlights, the huge grille, the long flowing body and all the little chrome bits on the exterior that just appealed to me. The W114/5s just has a gangster/mafia/hoodlum/chicano/vatos locos appeal going for itself. This stigma is easily felt when in the car’s presence. This very nature is one of the aspects that made the car stand out for me, because at the same time it has this classy and elite aura that comes with the territory of boasting the classic 3 pronged star badge on the bonnet.
I have been searching for many years for a W115 Benz but as I am still a student and cash is not my biggest of friends, the search was never really 100% committed and I always believed that when the neatest one comes my way I will not be able to fork the cash out and make her my own. This is mostly because if I had to pick up a Benz that had lotsa loose ends, I knew that firstly, it would constantly annoy me and secondly, that it might just kill my dream; especially seeing as I am excessively finicky when it comes to things being on its place. So because of these reasons, I consoled myself to postpone my search until a time where money was more readily available. Now as fate may have it, I became friends with one of the most genuine people I have ever come accross; Zubair Sayed from Wheels and More in Johannesburg. He had come down one weekend to socialize with us Cape Townians (a few Big names in the Car Scene, such as Noor Abarahams, Riyaad Mohammed of International Rim Repair (One of The best in South Africa), Kyle Petersen (Bella the Beetle and Mia the P510 Datsun), Ramiz Isaacs (Rosey the Bagged G5) to mention just a few). As the conversation was going, I mentioned to Zubair that one of my dream cars to own was a W115 Benz and he just had a smirk on his face and said – “I have one”. I was beyond surprised and to top it off he said it was for sale. This was about May 2012. Zubair then showed me some pics and I immediately fell in love! However, I was in financial difficulty at the time and the price was vastly out of reach and all I could do was express my love and appreciation for her.
Zubair then gave me a history lesson on the car –  he said that he himself had also been searching for many years before actually finding this Benz. He happened to stumble upon an ad on the internet of an unusually low mileaged Benz that claimed to be a one owner car. The car however was situated nearly 500kms away from his home city, but something told him there’s something special about this Benz, so he took a road trip up to Kimberly from Johannesburg and went to view her. When he got there he couldn’t believe his eyes, the car had only done 41 000km from 1976 until 2009 and it was indeed a one owner car. Calculating the average mileage per year of 41 000km over 34 years works out to only about 1200km per year! The owner had wool seat covers fitted to it since it came off the showroom floor, so the seats were spotless. The motor was regularly serviced even though it was not put to much use. Zubair immediately fell in love with the car and made the purchase without hesitation. Who wouldn’t when the car was basically untouched and very very clean?
 
Zubair then owned the car for just under 4 years and in that time he managed to keep her in even better condition. The seat covers were only removed once or twice a year at the local classic car shows to show off the spotless seats. The mileage was take up to a moderate 60 000km and he had fitted some white wall inserts to the wheels. Zubair, being a brother of stance, then had the car lowered to a point where she sat just above the white walls. This is basically the state in which I was introduced to her – 2 owners, 60 000km on the clock, brown wool seat covers from the 70’s, all sitting pretty neatly and having the usual slightly oxidized paint work that any 36 year old car would have.
Towards the end of the year, Zubair mentioned that he has had numerous buyers make empty promises and that he still is interested in selling and this is where I realised that this might just mean it is meant for me. I quickly got a few odd things sold, I even sold some things that I promised never to let go of but this Benz just meant so much to me that I was willing to sacrifice them. I eventually managed to build up enough cash in order to make this Benz my own and next thing I knew, we were planning a way to get her down from Johannesburg to Cape Town (1400km journey) and I soon began to realise that my dream of owning a classic Benz is on the verge of materializing. The feeling never really sank in until the morning of the 24th of December 2012 where I woke up at Zubair’s house in Johannesburg and we set off on our road trip to Cape Town.
The road trip was really something quite exciting. She had never really done any trips longer than 750km’s, so at 1400km we were really testing the long legs of the Benz. The Benz handled the roads extremely well, but about 300kms in we encountered repeated splutters while cruising – as if the fuel lines were dirty or because of faulty bogey wires. Eventually as we reached the Colesburg fuel station she completely died on us. We were a bit shocked and confused as we couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Eventually we figured out that due to the Benz standing for so long the alternator had packed up. We were already deciding where are we gonna over night until we could find an auto electrician, as it was way past business hours, when an elderly man from the surrounding area walks up to us and says “Our cars come from the same period”; we then found out he drove a 70’s Rover. He heard about our problem and escorted us deep in to the neighbourhood to Piet the Auto Electrician, miraculously he obliged to get the alternator fixed on the spot on Christmas Eve, and a hour later we were back en route to Cape Town! We did not experience a single problem thereafter. I was truly impressed with how the Benz performed and took to the long road which just completed the whole experience of the Benz being handed over to me.
Late on the morning of Christmas Day(5am) we arrived in Cape Town, and this is where she was officially handed over to me! From there on, the dream I had so long awaited was quite unexpectedly becoming a reality. Spending time with her, I got her up to the standard that I wanted her to be in. The first thing that I always do is have the body work waxed which just brings it back to life. Because she was garaged for most of her life, the paint had lost its depth and wetness in the colour – nothing a full detail can’t fix.
There were lots of further small touches that were done, like the old school South African black metal plates that the cars were fitted with in the 70s. I opened up the headlights and removed the orange indicator lenses to give it the clean white appearance up front, replaced all the fused bulbs and just got everything functioning 100%.
At this point, this is where the big changes started taking place. I managed to get my hands on some air suspension goodies and took them to CapeStance’s air specialist. He then installed the complete Air-lift Performance Bags with analogue toggle switches (until Accu-air becomes feasible) in the Benz. While she was under-going the operation I managed to source a second set of hubcaps and brand new white wall inserts. I had the caps fully polished and everything was assembled on the completion of the air setup. Basically, this brings us to the point of where you see the car now in this feature.
This Benz is by no means the neatest one around, but she has a very special place in my heart! She also happened to be named Mila, the Bagged Benz AKA The Game Changer. The reason for the alias ‘The Game Changer’ comes from the way the stance scene stands in South Africa. Yes, we admit we are extremely behind relative to the international scene and because of this the cars that have been focused on are the usual VW’s, Honda’s and basically most of the cars on the stance scene that come from 90’s and the 2000’s era. This means that Mila’s entrance into the scene is something that quite literally is changing up the South African game.
Mila has only been a product of four months of work and she is by no means near completion, there is loads more of tidying up to tackle, the trunk/boot setup requires some dressing up and she is begging for a wheel setup to just give her that extra character – to mention a few things. So you can definitely be assured that Mila will be gracing the pages again in the following months of this year.
I would just like to personally thank to all who made this possible, especially Mr Zubair Sayed, Riyaad Mohammed, Q-beams and everyone else who made the materialization of this dream possible.
Photos: Jason Clifton
Words: Tauriq Ajam

Ridhaa Cornelius’ Brutal M3

Ridhaa Cornelius’ Brutal E90 M3
So it seems we have back to back BMW E90/E92 M3 features. Now this is by no means planned or intentional, but merely a coincidence and by product of Cape Town’s fast growing stance scene. It is clear from this feature that the boundaries of stance have broken into the more elite and classy categories of the automotive industry and that the stance scene is no longer limited to usual suspects such as the Hondas and VWs. We are therefore proud to bring you Ridhaa Cornelius’ E90 M3.
Ridhaa is really one of those guys that do things to utter perfection. Looking back to his previous countless amounts of immaculate  Nissan Sabre GXIs, and a beautiful E46 M3, Ridhaa really stepped up his game and opted to get his hands on the less popular and very understated E90 M3 painted in Interlagos Blue with a tan nappa leather interior.
When Ridhaa found this M3, she was by no means the showstopper she is today. She was not taken care of and nowhere near to the same standards that he would like her to be in, so as soon as he purchased her he had her fully detailed by one of our best local detailer’s available; Vincent West at UltimateShine.co.za. This was the first step in really bringing this beauty of a machine alive. The reason being that when a car leaves Vincent’s studio you will not be able to pick up a single grain of dust or spot a single swirl mark. She basically was restored back to showroom condition.
Ridhaa thereafter took the car to one of the top panel shops in the Cape, where he had the front bumper done over and in the process, flushed out the number plate brackets and had a Vorsteiner front spoiler molded into the bumper to give the front a more aggressive appearance. To compliment the bumper, the kidney grilles were sprayed black and LED bulbs had been fitted to the halo rings in the headlights to give this E90 a more modern and crisp finish. The rear was graced with a slight smoke of the tail lights and not forgetting the dual Schnitzer exhaust silencers, which amplifies that perfectly engineered and insanely aggressive engine note of the infamous BMW S65B40 V8. This car is clear example of how small touches can really set a car apart from the rest.
Now onto the main attraction, the Wheel and Suspension Setup. This E90 chassis is resting up a set of H’nR Race springs and the arches are filled out with a set of 20″ Rohana wheels with fitment specifically spec’d to fill those beautifully flared arches that E90-3 M models all boast.
These Rohana RC5s measure in at 20×9 up front and 20×11 at the rears and are wrapped in Falken 452 rubbers 245 30 20 and 285 25 20 respectively.
In conclusion of this feature, we would just like to express our appreciation and gratitude as this M3 is a clear example of the typical saying, less is more. How the small details come together and end up in something that is completely classy and flawless.

The M3 Boys Tauwfieq and Ridhaa

Some beautiful rolling shots of the M3 in action

Photos: Achmat Booley

Words: Tauriq Ajam

JUST FOR THE MADNESS

It was in 1927 that history was made in terms of the BMW motorcar. The first car was built by Austin, and was the same as the US Bantam and the Japanese Datsun. Although BMW’s current fame and reputation as the greatest automobile manufacturers can only be related to cars produced in the last twenty years or so, the history of Bavaria Motor Works stretches back almost ninety years.

We could spend days going on and on about the countless merits and achievements of BMW and the undeniably awesome motor vehicles they produce, but let’s not stray to much off the topic at hand.
 
There aren’t many models and vehicle brands that have gone through as many transformations as the iconic M3. The M3 moniker is still one of the most respected, most admired and most feared badges across all forms of motoring.

The M3 brand on its own is a successful franchise, having designed models from the e30 to the e93, and the design concept has always remained the same – “Build a damn good car”.

Sulaiman has had his fair share of the “M” range, his first car being the absolutely legendary BMW 325is. Those who knew the car can back me up by saying in was the best example of what the 325is should have looked like. Sulaiman used the car as a daily runner, yet each day it looked as if he had just pulled off from the red carpet on the show room floor. Now we all understand that change is inevitable, and there comes a time in a mans life he has to part with the one thing he protects even more than a sibling……his first car.

Upgrading to a new car was not an easy task. As explained to me he was hunting for a clean E36 or E46 M3, and after countless calls and failed attempts in purchasing one, a huge step for man took place.
 
Sulaiman found comfort in a V8 E92 M3. Stock was not an option, a software upgrade took place as well as a Gruppe M induction kit, taking the car into the 12sec bracket at a quarter mile meet. Sadly though, the car was totaled one night, many tears were shed, but hey we move on.
 
Sulaiman, loyal to the “M” badge, moved into an E93 M3 convertible where he then fitted the AC Schnitzer exhaust, Vorsteiner bootlid, Vorsteiner front spoiler and rear diffuser while sorting it on matte black 20″ ADV1’s hoops.

This man has grown so fond of the V8 rumble that he decided to trade the convertible for another E92 M3, the one we see today. It came from the factory in Sparkling Graphite but is now wrapped in matte lime. When we asked him “Why lime Sulaiman?” his reply was “For the madness.”
 
An RD Motorsport front bumper, Vorsteiner bonnet, Vorsteiner boot and Hamman rear diffuser was then fitted to suit his aesthetic and individualistic needs. An AC Schnitzer exhaust system replaced the stock variant to expel the exhaust gasses more efficiently, and more importantly to make that V8 rumble a tad bit louder. Rolling stock is a set of 20″ Vossen CV7’s in a matte graphite finish 

Some would call him crazy going with Lime green as a color for the M, well then call me crazy too, because I’m in love with this car, and personally I cannot wait for Sulaiman’s next build.

Special thanks to Lorenzo Lakay as well as Basheer Khan for the hookup of the location.

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