ITH – Modified Monsters – The Interview {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

28 Feb 2018

Cars are great aren’t they? Huge fun, they invariably look good, feel good to drive, all thanks to the time and effort put in by manufacturers to make the best car they can. But some people always want more… more power, better looks, more individuality and that’s where you venture into the world of the more bespoke vehicle. I’m a huge fan of this, so we thought there’s nobody better this week to endorse the ITH selections than….. me! So here are my thoughts on the four cars chosen this week…

Litchfield LM20

If we were talking about modified cars we simply had to include the Nissan GT-R. Ever since the R32 Skyline GT-R came out, people have been tuning them and with the GT-R in the UK there’s one company that has been at the forefront since the beginning – Litchfield Motors. They’ve been tuning cars for 20 years now, so given how popular the GT-R is they created the LM20 – basically the best of all the tuning things they do for the latest GT-R in one, limited run package of only 20 cars. On the outside there are some additional carbon fibre aero parts like a front splitter and rear wing to help it stay on the ground, along with some seriously gorgeous RAYS alloy wheels (the only choice for a true Japanese legend). Behind those wheels are larger Alcon brakes and Litchfield’s own bespoke Bilstein Damptronic suspension along with custom Eibach springs and anti-roll bar. Nobody has ever described the GT-R as slow, but of course there’s a performance upgrade too, with a new exhaust system, new turbo downpipes, larger fuel injectors, high flow fuel pumps, a bigger intercooler, new intake and of course Litchfield’s custom ECU calibration which in this setup results in a staggering 666bhp and 834Nm of torque. Fast? How does 0-60mph in 2.5s grab you? This really is the best GT-R on sale today, get one while you can…

Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375

The Focus RS is one of the best hot hatches of recent times, with a powerful 2.3 litre turbocharged engine, all wheel drive and aggressive looks all at a very competitive price, which explains why the standard car is so popular in the Dream Car Competition. That AWD system is tuned for fun too, firstly as it’s accessed by a manual gearbox, but there’s a ‘Drift Mode’ as well which turns the RS into a RWD drifting monster! But not only do certain people want more from the RS, it seems that Ford did too as they actually worked in conjunction with Essex-based tuner Mountune to create the FPM375 package – hence why fitting this ‘aftermarket’ tuning package doesn’t affect your Ford warranty – a massive bonus! They change the intake, engine mapping and exhaust and you get 375bhp which helps with performance, but you also get a throatier intake and a far more exciting and amusing exhaust note to boot! Add in the fact this is still effectively a 5dr Focus and you have an incredibly practical high performance hatch for not a lot. Perfect!

Alpina B5 Touring

I’m not going to beat around the bush here, full honesty from the start – this Alpina B5 Touring is my perfect car. In green, with gold decals and a tan leather interior. I want one so badly it makes my brain hurt. BMW made a Touring (BMW-speak for Estate) version of their e60 V10 M5, but for some reason they never made an f10 M5 Touring, much to many petrolheads’ annoyance. It left the door wide open for Audi to storm ahead with the incredibly popular RS6 Avant Performance and more recently Mercedes has also released the AWD E63S Estate. So with the new M5 getting the same 600bhp as them and AWD surely BMW would make a Touring version? Nope, sadly not. But BMW’s loss is Alpina’s gain and in all honesty I’m happy about that. You see for me, Alpina are the perfect cars, they go under the radar a little more than M/// products with less overt styling and despite running on 20- or 21-inch alloys the engineers there are magicians and give their cars an incredibly comfortable yet controlled ride. This B5 gets an Akrapovic exhaust, which sounds incredible and thanks to their engine work it produces a staggering 600bhp. An extra bonus is that the B5 Touring is AWD, so that power can be put down in all weather with ease – 0-62mph can be dispatched in just 3.7 seconds and Alpina don’t believe in the silly German ‘gentleman’s agreement’ about a 155mph limited top speed. Oh no, this family estate car will top out at 201mph! So it’s subtle, incredibly fast, sounds amazing, is practical and looks great. Okay the economy isn’t great but that really is the only thing I can find as a negative!

Urban Velar P250

The Range Rover Velar is a seriously nice SUV – sleek looks, an amazing tech-laden interior and that cache that only a Range Rover can bring. It has been a huge sales success for Land Rover too, with demand outstripping production capability. But as sleek as the looks are, sometimes you don’t want to blend in with the other Velars you might see around town (after all, the likelihood of them going off road is very small) so you go down the more ‘bespoke’ route and that’s where Urban Automotive comes in. They have designed their trademark styled bodykit for the Velar (the first to do so incidentally) and it’s so aggressive you’ll scare people walking past it even stationary. That front bumper is low and juts forward with carbon fibre intakes, a carbon splitter and a carbon grille above it, while there is a carbon fibre diffuser at the rear to house the new exhaust system and black tips. It rides on 23-inch Urban designed wheels that really help with the aggressive look. When we featured the P380 version last time some complained it was a little too expensive, so this time we’ve chopped £20k off by going for the P250 version. There’s still a good chunk of power (247bhp) from the 2.0 litre turbo engine, and economy and emissions are much improved over the V6 version, but performance is still more than adequate for an SUV. You’ll never need to overtake anyone anyway as 99% of cars will move out of the way when they see the Urban Velar in their rear mirror!

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One of the wonderful people from our PR agency stopped me from talking to myself by interviewing me yesterday as well, so here is a little bit about me. And yes, in case you’re wondering it does feel odd writing about myself!

 

Tim Oldland has loved cars ever since he can remember, much to his petrolhead father’s delight and possible surprise.

Because it could have all been so different thanks to a particularly bumpy introduction to four wheels when his father descended a flight of stairs - in a Citroen 2CV.

The 41-year-old’s earliest memory of cars saw him throwing up all over the backseat of the family holiday rental as it rattled down some stone steps in France.

“I think my dad had got lost and like most men didn’t want to admit he had gone the wrong way,” said Tim.

Luckily Tim recovered and soon discovered he shared his father’s love of cars and the pair bonded during regular trips to Alton Park to see touring car events.

“I was one of five children and the only one to really love cars like my dad did. I think he may have even been ahead of his time. He had a BMW E30 318iS which was not particularly cool back then but is a really coveted modern classic now. At the time I preferred my mum’s Honda Civic though, not sure why!”

Tim’s parents were in doubt of their son’s emerging passion for motors getting him a subscription to Autocar for his tenth birthday and almost every birthday after that.

And while it remained a hobby while Tim was younger he was always determined to forge a career which was somehow connected to motoring.

He started with an engineering degree at Sheffield University and then spent more than 15 years working with various automotive companies in design and development.

In the last six years Tim has branched out on his own and readily admits he will almost try anything to do with cars that someone will pay him for in terms of the day job.

“As part of one of my most recent projects I have designed the charging stations for electric cars with Pod Point which now has over 8,000 charging points across the UK,” said Tim.

“I worked alongside founder Erik Fairbairn who also happens to be my best friend. We were each other’s best men. You do find that a love of cars is a great connection between people.”

Turning journalist and writing about his passion for all things automotive happened about six years ago for Tim when he started writing reviews for high-end rental cars.

“Erik also founded and grew ecurie25 Supercar Club. I would go along and try out the cars and write reviews. I started writing for Pistonheads and then got invited to do the front page.”

Tim’s latest venture is modernclassicparts.com which sees him create parts for classic cars that are no longer made often using a 3D printer.

“I do love the fact I have been involved in designing for the cars of the future and protecting those classics from the past.”

While helping to restore parts for much-loved cars Tim has certainly had his own love-hate relationship with cars he has owned.

“I currently drive a Skoda Octavia VRS which I think the BOTB fans will know all about. I talk about it A LOT.

“The worst car I have ever owned was the Austin Princess. It is literally the worst car ever made but it cost me about £100 and was a stop gap between other cars.

“The best was definitely the Mazda RX7 - the only car I have ever regretted selling but it was just too costly to run. I loved it so much I would drive it every day but it was only doing about 13 miles to the gallon - ouch!”

It seems Tim might need his dream job to return to the days of driving his favourite car admitting that the ultimate role on his CV would be a Top Gear presenter.

“The opportunities they get to do all kinds of amazing things - of course it has to be the dream job.”

“Although I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to the McLaren Press Launch - something I had always wanted to tick off my bucket list as a car fan and a motoring journalist.”

The bucket list might also include a certain car in a world where Tim was allowed to enter the BOTB games.

“If the team were to turn up on my doorstep I would love them to take the wraps off an Audi RS4 - the perfect car that I could use every day and would fit in with family life. Though honestly the Alpina B5 Touring above would clinch it this week!

And family is clearly important to Tim as he talks warmly about those closest to him even if he has yet to inspire a love of cars with the next generation of the Oldland family.

“My wife had to collect my five-year-old daughter from school the other day when I normally would have done. Apparently the first thing my daughter said was "Why is Daddy not collecting me - is he playing with those boring cars again!" Guilt trip from a 5yr-old!"

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