Lea’s E36 Touring – “Family Values”

Confucius said “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” Basically, family is important, so do it right. This is the adage Lea Aucott has applied to his life, since finding out partner Lucy was “with child.” At the time, he was driving a super cool, ultra low mileage and mint-as-you-like Peugeot 309, wound down on tres rare Compomotive FHs.

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Not being the most practical of family run arounds, Lea knew that the time would come where he’d have to say “au-revoir” to his little Gallic classic, and replace it with something altogether more practical. In stepped the ever dependable E36 Touring. We really feel for our Stateside followers, who BMW decided, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t need the Touring. Lea’s in particular is a 318i 4-banger, although he has big plans for something a little sprightlier. It didn’t take him long to work his magic on it, and this is the result:

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It is, quite simply, stunning. As head honcho over at Nuneaton based L.A Detailing, Lea is an absolute perfectionist, and it shows when you look at the car. The Jet Black bodywork is absolutely flawless, and is offset perfectly by those beautiful polished BBS RFs. In 9.5 & 10 x 17″ flavour, with genuine alloy caps and gold hardware, the contrast against the solid black paint is sublime. Incredibly simple, but devastatingly effective.

J41A0100 J41A0117 Oh yeah, and it’s static. No air here. This car is driven daily, at this height, with those wheels on. And it’s taken some serious work to enable Lea and Lucy to do that; HSD coilovers, with custom rated springs all round, custom rear camber arms and modified M3 front knuckles. The M3 front brakes, with Ferodo DS2500 pads, ensure that when Lea’s son Arnie is in the car on the way to shows, he can stop on a six pence (ask your dad).

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The interior is just as well thought out as the exterior. With the family of three heading to shows all over the country, they cover some serious mileage in this car, so Lea wanted to make sure the inside was spot on too. The inside of an E36 can be a fairly bland place, but he’s made sure that’s not the case here. He’s fused two totally different interiors, to make what really is a fantastic place to be. With tan upper plastics, seats, door card inserts and carpets, the contrast against the black dash, head lining and trim pieces is striking, and looks like it could’ve come like this from the factory; there’s no higher praise than that. The OMP wood rim wheel is the perfect finishing touch.

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We’re massive fans of this car. It’s not just the amount of thought that’s gone into every detail; like the custom Scorpion exhaust, that Lea decide would look subtler with two 2.5″ exits instead of the standard 3.5″, or the experimentation with polybushes and spring rates to get the ride just right. It’s the fact that at every show we go to, Lea, Lucy and Arnie are always there, using the car as it was designed to be used. It just goes to show that a show stopping, ultra clean and low piece of well thought out automotive art can be enjoyed, and used, without having to compromise.

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Media by Matt Clifford.

Check out the video of Lea’s E36 here:

Watercooled Society – Family matters (Lea’s E36 Touring) from Watercooled Society on Vimeo.

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