BVibe: Briefly, describe yourself and how you came into the car scene?
Pmmeke: The last 15 years i have always driven 5series bmwís. My wife drove a little car a Ford Fiesta. I noticed that she did small mods to her Ford car. She bought a steering wheel cover, she painted the rear lights black exetera so when it was time to buy a new car for here, and we started looking for a sportier car. A long time our most favorite car was the small Mercedes A van but eventually we looked at the E46 sedan and decided that this was the car for her. But at the time these models were new on the market and the cost of a second hand car was sky-high. My brother in law works for a big second hand car firm. He buys second hand cars for his boss and his boss resells them to other car firms.
He told us a lot of secondhand cars are cars that had major accidents. If you want a good car he advised us to look at a small accident car so you can inspect the damage yourself and then rebuilt the car yourself. This way you know what you are buying and you can be sure the used parts to rebuild the car and the quality of the parts is high quality. He searched a car for us that had only small damage and he helped us looking for quality people who could rebuild it.
We needed a new front bumper. On bmw forums I looked at a car that was built by Samir a famous bmw modder. He had a full Racing Dynamics R35 conversion. I really liked it and my wife liked it to. So we decided we would buy that front bumper as the cost of it was not much higher then a normal OEM Bmw bumper. Of course in the process we asked yourself if we rebuilt it why not go all the way and buy the side skirts and rear bumper to. And before we knew it we joined a Bmw club and bought the sexy Racing Dynamics rs2 wheels to. Suddenly we visited car shows and got hooked.
BVibe: What car clubs do you belong to? Tell us more about them.
Pmmeke: Our first club was http://www.tunedbmwcarclub.be where we met some great friend and together we visited car shows every week and started competing with the car to show and shine competition. We always had fun. At this time we are not member of the club anymore. We wanted to visit more shows and we decided it was best to go solo for a while so we could visit the shows we liked best and its fun to go to shows and hooking up with different clubs. This way we meet more people. Eventually we will join a club again itís just a matter of time. We just want a club that suits our needs best.
BVibe: Describe your modding style/theme and what influences it?
Pmmeke: My wife Eva, and I, always decide together was the style will be we want. But as sheís the main driver of the car and because she pays for most mods out of her paycheck, she has the last word on what we will do and what we wont do to the car. I give ideas, I help her as much as I can but she has the final word. We rarely have arguments about it because we like the same things. We are a great team. But overall you can say the style is different then most bmws. She likes original stuff. She doesnít like to copy a lot from others. So having a different style is important. We decided a while back we wanted a cool ice system. We looked for original high quality parts and thanks to a friend we found a USA company named Soundstream that has very original amplifiers and audio stuff. We bought the famous tarantula series amp and looked for other brands to match that style. So you will find the tarantula theme in the car on seats and so on. The overall style is a mix between euro style with parts that catch the eye and the USA style with high class parts that are more subtle. I think we now succeeded to have a style that is accepted in the USA and in Europe. Most of the time the 2 styles donít get along but I think we succeeded in mixing the 2.
BVibe: It seems quite apparent that the European style of modding is quite different that that of the U.S. style. How would you describe the differences?
Pmmeke: Being a euro guy myself the reason the euro modding goes too much further then the USA scene is quit simple:
The show and shine competition in the USA has big shows but these shows donít happen every week. So only a small group of Bmw owners enter this competition. The distance to travel to each event is big to. So competitors usually know what they are doing. They are almost professionals.
In my country every week between March and November we have minimum 3 events a week to show and shine the cars against other modders. Most events are between 500 and 2000 cars entering. So everybody is doing it and itís only a 1 hour drive to another show. The tuning and styling competition here is big. So we have a large number of competitors and a large number of shows on witch we see the same people. So after 5 shows the car you show is outdated. Everybody has seen it already. So the pressure to come up with something new and grab attention is big. Also if you want to grab attention there is a temptation to really come up with extreme stuff. A clean car is so common over here. People donít notice it anymore.
The mods are cheaper because
The lifespan of the mods is shorter. No need to buy a 2000 dollar bumper if in 5 months there is a good chance that you will change it again. To be successful there is a real need to have a different look every year or 2 years. So the parts are cheaper and most guys even create them themselves so they donít pay labor. In the USA most guys order more high quality stuff and donít change the look that often. Most things are done by body shops to making the quality of the work better. On a note itís important in Europe that you have an original style. If somebody at a show has copied your car thatís a modders worst nightmare. So people like to create things themselves more then in the USA. But being a designer is a talent. So sometimes people get it wrong because they are not real designers. Guys who enter shows are normal working people with a small income. They sometimes get frustrated because a small number of competitors (mostly professional body shop owners) have very cool cars. Small projects donít get a lot of attention on shows. So some people want attention and created cheap outrages things so they get more attention.
The jury guys tends to give most points to the guys who actually done the most changes on the car. If you have 3 beautiful mods and you compete to a guy that has 8 average mods then the guy with the 3 beautiful mods will likely loose.
So itís easy to loose grip on your project if you get frustrated that you never win anything so a lot of times people go further with the modding then they initially intended to do.
Besides from the competition: if you do a lot of shows then you c a lot of new ideas every week. If you c a lot of new ideas then its normal that you want to take some good ideas in another brand project car. Sometimes that works out, somethingís it doesnít work out leaving the car overdone...
Income: here on the forum most USA guys are not poor in the spending. A lot of guys here can pay 1OOO dollars for an intake or front bumper. Most people in the USA earn 2x the average income of a European guy. We had great social security but have very little net worth of paycheck. You guys just have more money then Europeans to spend. So the modding in Europe is more small projects. Buying a copy bumper from a Honda, changing it themselves to match a Bmw and create a unic look that nobody has. Being unic at least is equaled important then being beautiful where in the USA being unic is not so important. As long as you have the mainstream brands like ac schnitzer or Hamman its all good. Doesnít matter if on a car show 2O cars look the same in the USA? In Europe that is NOT COOL. The goal is to own a unic car.
In most European countries there are restrictions about engine mods. So in most countries people spend everything on styling. But this is not the case in every country. In Germany you can do more to an engine. Fewer restrictions. So more money goes into the modding of the engine. In Germany cars are more low profile and have less outrageous styling. So each country has its own style depending on the laws.
Example: In Germany you can put on your car almost any wheel you want. But you canít mount any tire you want. So what do people do; they stretch too small (but legal) tires on big wheels so the look of wheels in Germany is totally different then in Belgium or the USA.
BVibe: What is your favorite mod?
Pmmeke: The sound system. Because its unic in styling so I get a lot of attention with it on shows and I enjoy it so much when I drive the car.
BVibe: What do you friends/family think of your car modding obsession?
Pmmeke: Hmm most people think its cool but they think itís a lot of money to spend on a car. They would rather do different things with the money.
BVibe: Where do you see your project going in the next year? Whatís next?
Pmmeke: I think the car is almost done. Doing a lot more would drive the project over the top. But I got some small mods in mind. The spectacular stuff is done. I think its time we saved up a bit to buy a new car in a few years. Its takes money so we need to collect some again first.
Special thanks to
Hans from http://www.havoicedesign.be for the ice system, and special thanks to Roger from http://www.carrosserie-decroix.be for the bodywork and Peter from http://www.petertuning.be for the exhaust and other stuff.