Subtle Shuttle – Ford E350 4×4 build

Gregor Halenda is a man whose talents I’ve followed for many years. Long-time readers will remember the post I wrote up about Gregor’s multiple projects (with no less than 6 links to various threads) that he had a hand in, including his gorgeous home that opened my eyes to the wonders of mid century modern architecture. That post was made over two years ago, and Gregor has not been idle. Along with his busy photography schedule, he has turned his attentions to creating a capable adventure vehicle for quality family time on (and off) the open road. The base vehicle? An airport shuttle bus!

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The Engineered 1UZ V8 Datsun 620

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you would have seen me post about Mike at least a few times. Mike is the owner of the 1UZ Supra (along with the world’s most insane welding cart) that I featured back in 2013, a car that belongs to what I call the best build thread of all time. After working at The Roadster Shop for a few years, Mike was keen to start a bigger and better project from the ground up with his highly developed skill set. While this build has been gaining traction on Instagram for a while now, it’s only in the past few days that Mike has made a build thread on a forum, so I wanted to get you guys on board as soon as possible. Get yourself acquainted with this build, because I guarantee you’re going to see it all over the internet!

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“If only you were nearer” – a road trip tale

If you’re a long-term reader of the site, the name Mystery Machine might ring a bell. I’ve covered a variety of Bruce’s exploits over the years, starting with his Teenage Dirtbag MX5, then the Area 52 communal garage space, and finally a general look at some other projects he was working on. Bruce has been a little quiet over the past couple of years, with work and general life taking a front seat to his car tinkering, but now he’s back. Oh boy is he back! A childhood love affair with the iconic aircooled Porsche saw him make the pretty huge decision to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to acquire a sight-unseen project P-car. Many of us can relate to the good ol’ road-trip-to-pick-up-a-new-car story, but have you ever flown to another continent to collect your ride? Bruce did, and he’s slowly but surely documenting the whole trip with his trademark sharp photography and poetic wordsmithing, authoring a thread on Retro Rides that is just a visual and mental feast for the senses. The thread is about more than just cars; it’s about the discovery of new friends, new surroundings, and a new appreciation for a land never seen before, documented through Bruce’s natural talent and gifted ability to capture the mood through his lens. The journey isn’t over yet, so I’ll be sure to update this post when the chronicles of the trip are concluded, but it’s up to 19 pages already and growing, so there’s plenty of content for you already.

You might want to warm up/chill your favourite beverage for this one.

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Pro Pontiac Pro-Touring Firebird

This build has been sitting in my drafts folder for two years, TWO WHOLE YEARS! I’m always fighting with myself over posting builds before they’re complete, but this one is just too good to sit on, so I figured it was finally time (plus I like posting follow-ups on popular builds as they evolve). This pro-touring Pontiac Firebird resides in Sweden, and is being transformed with great attention to detail and craftsmanship during a love affair spanning 16 years. There’s plenty of fabrication and CAD design to keep you more than entertained, from big suspension components to the smallest detailed bracketry, and the photos are all top notch. Apart from the build thread you can also follow this extremely thorough project on it’s dedicated Facebook page, which you’ll find at the bottom of the post.

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The world of Sakurama

Since building my own garage, I’ve been hanging around The Garage Journal a lot more, which has made me re-discover some threads that I had breezed over back when I was a casual visitor. Amongst all the amazing (and huge!) garages on the forum, I became reacquainted with a great thread that showcased not only a garage, but the renovation of the whole architect-designed mid-century home attached to it. I made myself sit down and read it from start to finish, taking in all of the gorgeous photography (did I mention the owner is a photographer?), various materials, construction techniques and bespoke joinery. As the page count increased, I realised that apart from the renovation of the gorgeous home and garage, the thread is also peppered with links to Gregor’s other passion, restoring and modifying motorbikes. For this reason I decided to make this post a builder spotlight, where you’ll find links to all of the visually delightful projects at the bottom of the page.

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Check out Gregor’s personal website here.

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A tale of two 911s

Do you remember when I made the ‘people who get it‘ post tag? I created it so I could tag the best quality builds, the one’s that you never want to end, the ones that make you go back to the beginning once you reach the last page. Kris is a perpetual offender of such threads, who has his ramblings and beautiful photos not only featured on websites, but also in various forms of print. You may or may not remember a previous build of his and his wife’s that I featured; the highly detailed and jealousy-inducing (for me!) Manilla green MK1 Golf. Well, Kris has kept himself busy since then, turning spanners on not one, but two classic 911’s. The first being a white mid-80’s model, and the most recent seeing him finally snag one of his dream cars, a longhood 911. In a world where 911’s (especially classic ones) are all the rage and plastered all over the internet, it’s refreshing to see a regular car guy like you and I have his way with them. He doesn’t have a warehouse full of Porsches, he doesn’t travel the world bolting on bodykits for cashed-up clients, and he doesn’t charge 6-figures for mil-spec side indicator wiring. This is how a regular person, with a regular budget, works on (and DRIVES!) a Porsche.

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NA MX5 nut-and-bolt OCD rebuild

Imagine for a second that you just bought a car, but that car was located 1800 miles away, meaning you had to travel that distance to collect the car, and then drive it all the way back home. Now, keep your imagination going, and ponder how you’d feel if that same car got stolen from your driveway less than one week after you bought it. Pretty shattering, right? Well, what if it wasn’t just stolen, but also crashed, flipped, and completely totaled by the theif? I think I’d curl up in a ball and just cry. But not Jeff, the owner of this turbo’d Mazda Miata/MX5. After taking a week to grieve, he sought about buying a replacement car and rebuilding it piece by piece, ensuring no dirty or unpainted/polished product so much as touches the car. It culminates in one of the cleanest MX5’s on the planet, better than when it rolled off the production line.

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1975 BMW 2002

Do you guys even read these intros? Probably not! I mean how many times can you hear me say that this is one of my favourite types of builds, that the owner/builder is a craftsman, that the photos are great, etc etc? Well, you’ll have to hear it again, because this is one of those builds. What I really love about this BMW 2002 is that it was originally purchased as a daily driver, so the owner could keep his E46 in good condition, but the ’02 ended up being the main project and the E46 used to haul parts for it! Make sure you check out the custom solution the builder creates for adjusting the dampers in the front struts, it’s on page 25,+ very clever.

Click here for more BMW 2002 builds. Thanks to Archie for submitting.

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1UZFE 1986 MKII Supra

What can I say about builds like these? High quality mods, high quality images, and high quality documentation, everything we all love in a thread, steered by my favourite kind of builder; one with OCD! Another thing I love about this particular build is watching the owner’s skills progress and improve as time goes on. The choice of car is something we haven’t seen on the site before, we’ve had Supra’s, but never a MKII, so it’s refreshing to read about a platform that can sometimes go unnoticed within the nostalgic Japanese community. There’s so much quality here, from fiberglassing, wiring, welding and CAD design – and over 50 pages of it – so get comfortable!

Thank to Zac for submitting.

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LSX E39 BMW Wagon

Every now and then I’ll waffle on about what makes a good build thread. My list of requirements usually includes nice photography, good writing, quality modifications, and the ability to tell a story. Well this is one of those threads, and I can always tell when I really like one because reading it isn’t a chore, it’s a pleasure that I never want to end, no matter how many pages I click through. The owner, Brandon, says goodbye to his very clean M52 turbo powered E34 525i and then sets out to build a manual LSX powered E39 wagon, documenting the build with images that look like they’ve been plucked straight out of a catalogue. When you see his collection of previous rides, you realise he’s one of those people who have a kind of midas touch when it comes to cars, knowing how to show restraint and refine a car with carefully chosen improvements, no matter what the make, model or era.

Thanks to Pearson for submitting. Click here for more BMW builds, or here for more engine conversions.

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