In England, YouTube star Colin Furze turned an E30 convertible into a BMW Spa Car. In the US, BMW Club Las Vegas president and vintage car specialist Chris Willett of Sin City BMW built a 4x4 BMW 2002 Offroader – a merger of a BMW 2002 and an all-wheel drive 1989 BMW 325ix.
Now Chris and Colin met in the sand dunes of Las Vegas, where they whirled around in what Chris dubbed the infamous X2. Have fun watching them – and always remember: don’t try this at home!
Tow sandboarding with the BMW 2002 Offroader
Car hood chitchat: Why Willett & Furze modify BMW cars
As the two vehicle geeks started talking during one of the breaks of their video shoot, we were thrilled to listen in. Read the whole conversation here:
Colin: So Chris, how did you get started with working on BMWs?
Chris: When I moved to Vegas in 2002, I joined the local BMW club. It turned out, that the club members could really use a hobby shop for their BMWs. So I started Sin City BMW as a small repair shop.
So you turned it into an actual business?
Yes, the club members kept recommending us to all their friends. So we decided to open to the general public. But we were still goofing around. For the first two years our website was in Latin.
We like to blow all the money we make from restoration and service on fun projects.
So how did you go from restoring vintage BMWs to making a crazy BMW Mods project like your “X2” – a BMW 2002 welded on top a BMW E30?
Well, we basically like to blow all the money we make from restoration and service on fun projects like this. We often sit around after work, tossing ideas back and forth – and then the cutting and welding starts. But how did you get into BMW?
My first car was an E30. Then, I upgraded to a 325, which I’d probably still own if it wasn’t for one unfortunate incident ...
Oh no. How did tragedy strike?
Back then I was running the skate park in town, which we wanted to paint that day. The paint was in my pick-up truck. Also, there was a fence post in the back of the truck. Long story short: there was a concrete lamp post in my driveway. When I backed up, I sheered it off the floor with the fence post that stuck out. And it smashed into my 325. It was totaled.
You couldn’t have turned it into a speedster?
Ha, great idea! Unfortunately, this was before I started doing what I do now. If this were to happen now, I’d absolutely do that. Take the windows out ...
... add new hydraulics. Man, a missed opportunity, really. But how did you get into mad car modifications eventually?
There’s actually a sad reason for that. My dad had a shed behind the house where he would do DIY stuff, but I was never allowed in it. So only after he passed away, I started messing around in the shed. And it led to this point where I make bikes with flamethrowers or crazy vehicles like the Spa Car.
By the way: Inspiration for the Spa Car was a video where someone had built a hot tub into a rather lame car. What was your inspiration making the desert-proof BMW 2002 Offroader?
When I had just moved to Vegas there was an exhibition coming up at the BMW club. They knew I had just freshly restaured a BMW 2002. Beautiful thing. So they wanted me take it to this car show, but I didn’t feel like washing and waxing it that night. Since I had another 2002 that barely ran, I decided to make something new. We started working at 6 in the evening and around noon the next day we were done.
And what a lovely machine it turned out to be. Well, thanks for letting me ride this today. I’m very curious what you’ll be making next.
At the end of our desert trip Chris Willett revealed a secret about the BMW 2002 Offroader. “Actually, this is the second version. The first prototype never really steered well enough. So we started from scratch and made a proper one.”