Humble beginnings which paved way for incredible journey

1st step: find a BMW E24 635csiBuilding a race car is like watching a child grow up and develop into a well matured and wise operator. Building race cars for clients presents a privileged opportunity, however it is always difficult to hand over the keys to the paying client and bid a temporary farewell to an entity you have poured hours of blood, sweat and sometimes tears.

After an extensive career in motorsport Alec Ceprnich had always sat on this side of the fence. He built many a race machine for teams and race car enthusiasts, all of which gave him great joy, however an empty feeling existed as none theoretically belonged to him. What’s more Alec’s two sons, Gavin and Bruce, shared similar sentiments and through this the conversations and planning started. Before obtaining sign-off and authorisation from the executive board of the Ceprnich household, that is Alec’s wife and the sons mom, the search began for an effective platform on which to build a race car.

The obvious manufacturer choice was a BMW and at first eyes were kept on the look out for an E30 3 series. The thinking behind this was to create a Group N type race car similar to that of the Winfield BMW 325i Shadowline the Evolution 2 Motorsport team had completed. This proved to be a difficult task, sourcing a two door E30 is decent condition at a reasonable price is a difficult enough task, finding an example in 2.5 litre form with the required drive-train components is near impossible.

“A good friend of mine in the motoring industry and former BMW days, Shaun Sing, one day rang me up and asked how my search had been going for a E30 3 series,” explains Alec Ceprnich. “I had previously asked Shaun to keep me in mind if he knew of an example that was available. His phone call that day was not to inform me of a 3 series but rather a BMW model we had not considered as an option. I personally have had a strong affection to the E24 6 series, a model described by many as the Shark, and even more so due to its successful racing exploits overseas by BMW Team Schnitzer. During the 1980’s while campaigning a 5 series modified with Robbi Smith and Peter Kaye-Eddie with JSN Motors support we managed to arrange for a Schnitzer 6 series to be shipped over for our last round of the season. The race car made it as far as Durban harbour, competitors put a stop to our request and the car was sent back.

After my conversation with Shaun I reported back to my boys and explained the offering and the advantages of perhaps looking at this route over an E30 3 series. The 6 series made a whole heap of sense as a lot of the running gear required came with the car, it was left-hand drive as well. Bruce and I went through to Shaun’s workshop in Johannesburg and there it was, the master to our destiny, a maroon E24 BMW 635csi.”

After five minutes of deliberation it was decided to proceed with this project, and after much convincing around the family dinner table that evening it was confirmed that the 6 series would be commissioned and its life turn upside down, from being an unwanted classic that required tons of work, into a fully fledged track machine that would enable the Ceprnich family and Evolution 2 Motorsport realise a dream.

The inside of the car will change drastically

 Did the maroon BMW 635csi know what was being plotted?







Bruce Ceprnich remembers the day extremely well upon collecting the car, “We were very excited about collecting the 6. We waited in reception as it was brought from around the back, at first I thought a turbo charged monster was coming into the workshop, however it was our race car to be, albeit with a very loud free flow exhaust and air filter which was sucking air, hence why the turbo thoughts crossed my mind. We were warned that the car was low on fuel, however my dad decided to risk it and get it back to Evolution 2 Motorsport where it would be welcomed to the family. Driving through the streets of Johannesburg following this loud and somewhat smokey 6 was an experience, my dad looked like a proper mafia man, no street hawkers or beggars came his way. We made it out of the downtown streets hit the highway and made it to Kyalami before the 6 starting coughing in protest due to the lack of juice in his system. Back at the workshop the Evolution 2 Motorsport team waited in anticipation for the sleaky and iconic coupe to make its way down the driveway and be welcomed through the doors to its new home, a place where its mid-life transformation would begin.”

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