It only took one smokey passenger lap in a drift taxi at Driftland to inspire the build of this savage Toyota JZ-engined British Drift Championship BMW E36…
Where were you the first time you came across drifting? For 25 year-old Callum Marshall, Driftland was the place where drifting grabbed him by the balls, slapped him across the face and yelled: “Build an awesome E36 drift car you idiot!” Not wishing to upset the voices in his head, that’s exactly what Callum went and did.
It was during that passenger ride in a Drift Taxi back in 2014 that Callum became instantly addicted to the smokey automotive art form. He sat there wide-eyed as the driver flung the car around the track, back-end fully sideways, insanely loud exhaust rattling his brain and smoke pouring off the rear tyres. When he got out, he instantly wanted a drift car. No, he needed a drift car like a crackhead needs their pipe.
He was hooked. He was also already a pretty serious E36 enthusiast. The BMW 3-Series E36 is a rear-wheel drive car, so it was a perfect match. Callum knew his 323i daily-driver wasn’t going to cut it, the underside was a bit scabby too. So just one week after his joyride, Callum bought this car. At the time, it was a bog-standard 328i in good condition. No mods and no idea what was in store for it.
“Straight away I carried out some basic mods,” remembers Callum. “I just parked the car up at home and got to work. I welded the diff, fitted some coilovers and modded the hubs. With the hubs, I shortened the knuckle that the track-rod attaches to, which gives you more steering lock. I went to my first drift day back at Driftland like this. I live about five minutes down the road, so it’s perfect for me.”
Even with just these basic mods and standard power, the 328i rocked. Callum admits he’s previously raced Motocross bikes. You’re sliding all over the place on those anyway, which probably helped Callum with his throttle control. “Straight away I could do the easier stuff, like the S-bends,” he says, “but the faster stuff needs more commitment, so I needed more practice. I also wanted a bit more power.”
Over the winter of 2014, Callum decided to swap the 190-odd bhp 2.8-litre M52b28 engine for a 290-odd bhp 3.0-litre S50b30 from an M3. He fitted the engine round his mate’s house, with the help of a few keen pals. As the 328i and M3 share the same close-ratio ‘box, he kept it along with the short-geared small-case diff from his previous setup. So acceleration was pretty rapid.
“That was a big jump in power,” admits Callum. “I started doing a lot more drifting in 2015. My aim was to do as many events throughout the year as possible. I didn’t go out drinking, I just saved my money up for the track time and tyres. By the winter I must have done at least twenty-odd weekends. Seat time really helps and I improved a lot that year.”
Towards the end of 2015, Callum wanted to enter a round of the Drift Cup. The rules required a minimum of a 6-point rollcage, so he quickly managed to fit an Italian-made Sassa Roll-Bar ‘cage with the help of some mates. While they were welding this in place, they also added their own ladder-style doorbars from CDS Seamless tubing. These are particularly important in drifting, with the constant danger of crashing into your opponent during the battle stages of a competition. Plus they look kinda cool, like you’re climbing in and out of a NASCAR.
“I qualified 20th out of about 50 drivers in my first Drift Cup event,” says Callum, “that’s when I realised I enjoyed the competitive side of it. That really inspired me to get the car ready for a full year of competition in 2016.” Over the winter, Callum grabbed the opportunity to buy an E36 with a Toyota 1JZGTE conversion already done. This is a 2.5-litre straight-six twin-turbo engine from a rare version of the Mk3 Supra or a Soarer, plus this one had a big single turbo on it. Callum spent the winter transferring bits over from that car to his. Why didn’t he just use the car he’d just bought though?
“It wasn’t really my thing,” he admits, “the E36 with the 1JZ had been converted into a pick-up truck from a Touring. I removed the bits I wanted and then sold it as a rolling shell. To be honest, I’ve got about ten E36s at the moment. Breaking them helps me pay for all the drifting.”
The Toyota 1JZ was removed from the donor car and the custom engine mounts were swapped over. New lugs had to be welded onto the chassis rails to fit them. With the engine in place, Callum had to think about what gearbox to fit. The donor car had a 5-speed R154 gearbox, as used in the Mk3 Toyota Supra Turbo. However, Callum didn’t think the ratios suited the short-ratio, small-case diff he was running. In fact, the extra power was probably going to tear the diff apart, so Callum had to rethink the whole lot.
He opted for a 5-speed ZF gearbox from a BMW E46 330d, a big diesel ‘box. PMC Motorsport supplied an adapter plate to mate the BMW ‘box to the Toyota engine. A custom propshaft was made by sleeving the front half of a 330d prop onto the rear half of the original E36 prop and welding them together. While the 318i welded diff was upgraded to a 3.15 ratio 210m large-case diff, which is still in the car but will soon be swapped for an even shorter 3.64 diff. These numbers relate to the final drive ratio; a bigger number means shorter gearing, more torque and faster acceleration. The downside is a lower top speed as the car runs out of gears, plus marginally lower mpg, neither of which really matter to a drift car.
The original Toyota ECU and piggyback management was also swapped over from the donor car. The big Holset HX35 turbo, fuel injectors and pretty much all the engine spec was the same then as it now. The only thing that has changed is the bottom-end and management. With the car putting out 380bhp, Callum had to learn to drift the car all over again. He smashed his debut season in the Drift Cup, finishing third overall and gaining himself a British Drift Championship license as a reward.
“That was my goal at the start of the year,” admits Callum. “Once you’ve got a BDC license you can’t go back into the Drift Cup. So I was now in the Pro AM class of the BDC. I knew I had to step my game up.”
With a big following and more serious competitors in the BDC, Callum gave the car a cosmetic and mechanical makeover last winter. He had noticed the 1JZ engine was getting tired, filling up the breather tanks up during events throughout 2016. He admits: “I always wanted a 2JZ ‘cos I’d seen the Irish guys have great results with ‘em. My mate Stuart Mallet at Everley Garage came on board as a sponsor. I took the car there and we just went for it.”
“You can get a naturally-aspirated 2JZGE fairly cheap,” he adds, “they don’t have the under-piston oil squirters like the turbo 2JZGTE engine does, but when you change the pistons there’s no hole for the oil to pass through anyway, so you’re just squirting oil at the underside of the pistons. I did look at retro-fitting the oil squirters but they’re really not needed in my opinion.”
With a forged bottom-end built up from the 3-litre 2JZGE mated to the 1JZGTE cylinder head, Callum and Stuart created what’s commonly known as a 1.5JZ. The piggyback ECU was replaced with a fully standalone EcuMaster EMU by Martin at AMK Garage. He also mapped the Engine Management Unit on the road, before adding the finishing touches on the dyno. The result was a screaming 425bhp at the wheels at 1.4bar of boost (20psi), using Shell V-Power fuel and a very conservative map; safe AFRs and no crazy ignition timing. That’s at least 500bhp at the crank.
With the engine sorted, Callum turned his attention to getting the car looking right. The car was damaged down one side, following an incident right at the start of 2016. Craig and Marc Paterson, two brothers with a talent for fabrication helped fit a set of sexy overfenders to cover the dished Rota Kyusha 9.5x17in rims. While Callum’s other mates Gordon Smith and Ross Ogillvie were always there to lend a hand then needed too.
You can’t miss the huge Battle Aero rear wing either. This monster attaches to the chassis to generate real downforce, rather than just sitting on the boot lid for looks. Cooling was improved by fitting a Nismo bonnet vent and by moving the radiator to the boot. This is something Callum wishes he’s done from the start: “The rear-mounted rad has kept the engine temperature under control – the front of the car doesn’t actually get much airflow when you’re drifting ‘cos the car’s always pointing at an angle.”
The new bits of bodywork were given a lick of Hellrot paint by Callum’s pal Cameron Sommerville, in the spray booth at Everley Garage. While everything underneath the car was powder-coated blue. The suspension setup is done at Everley too and all the bushings and arms have been upgraded since those early days. Callum says he can’t speak highly enough of Stuart’s knowledge and the quality of his work.
After the rebuild, Callum entered his first round of the BDC at Teeside. “I qualified in 11th but my inexperience let me down in the battles. I was winning after the lead run but when I followed, I went in too hot and had to slam on the brakes so I didn’t hit the car in front.” At least it showed Callum and his Toyota-engined BMW have the pace to compete in the Pro AM division. He didn’t seem too bothered about going home early.
“Ultimately, I just want to keep drifting fun,” he says. “I like competing when I’m there, but I don’t want things to get too serious. I still really enjoy going out there and having a blast with my mates.” That’s a great attitude and this is an insanely cool car. A Hellrot BMW pushing the back-end out with over 500bhp of Toyota JZ madness under the bonnet. What’s not to love about that? Callum may spend most of his time looking through the side window, but he knows where he’s going.
TECH SPEC: BMW E36 1JZ
BMW E36 Coupe in Hellrot Red, M3/328i Sport bodykit, front lip, mesh lower grille, fog light covers, TRS tow strap, headlight air intake, Nismo bonnet vent, bonnet pins, rivet-on fibreglass over fenders front and rear, DTM-style door mirrors, roof spoiler, Battle Aero rear wing mounted to chassis, rear bumper cut away and 8in air ducts in rear windows to feed rear-mounted radiator, perspex windows, German pressed numberplates
Original (M52b28) 2.8-litre straight-six NA 328i engine replaced with a Toyota 1.5JZ engine built by Stuart Mallet at Everley Garage using a 2JZGE block and a 1JZGTE cylinder head, OEM 2JZGE crankshaft, Eagle forged con-rods, CP-Carrillo forged pistons, Holset HX35 turbo on top-mount exhaust manifold, kevlar turbine blanket, 38mm external wastegate with screamer pipe, 3in exhaust, large cone air filter with polished inlet pipe, large 3in front-mounted intercooler with 2.5in boost pipes, clear timing cover, 650cc fuel injectors, Turbosmart FPR-1200, Bosch 044 fuel pump, boot-mounted swirl pot, boot-mounted radiator, water/methanol injection, EcuMaster Engine Management Unit mapped by Martin at AMK Garage, 5-speed ZF gearbox from an E46 BMW 330d, PMC Motorsport gearbox adapter plate, CG Motorsport custom twin-plate clutch, braided clutch line, custom propshaft, 3.15 welded differential. 425whp (over 500bhp at the crank) at 1.4bar (20psi) on Shell V-Power Super Unleaded
9.5x17in Rota Kyusha alloy wheels all round, Avon ZZR 205/40-17 front tyres, various 245/40-17 rear tyres, HSD Monopro coilovers, H&R front and rear anti-roll bars, E46 front lower control arm, SLR Mini steering lock kit, front strut brace, Powerflex polybushes throughout, E46 BMW 330d brakes front and rear featuring big single-pot calipers and 330mm discs, factory pads, braided brake lines, OBP hydraulic handbrake with Willwood cylinder
Sassa Roll-Bar 6-point roll-cage with additional custom NASCAR door bars, 2x Sparco bucket seats with 3in TRS 4-point harnesses, deep-dish OMP steering wheel, original dash but rest of interior fully-stripped, Innovate wideband, boost, oil temperature, oil pressure and coolant temperature gauges
Stuart Mallet at Everley Garage for his help and knowledge, Cameron Sommerville for paint, Craig Paterson and Marc Paterson for their help with the overfenders and welding/fabrication, Gordon Smith and Ross Ogillvie for lending a hand to get jobs done
Words Dan Goodyer Photography Ade Brannan