Elizabeth’s E39 540i
I reckon that the day when my Air Lift kit arrived in the office is probably the most excited I’ve been in my entire life, bar a few Christmases when I was little and games consoles were involved. Elation turned to consternation, however, when a few of us marched downstairs to be met with the gigantic pallet that needed carrying up to Unity’s first floor office. My colleague Elliott, editor of sister title Performance VW, had also got himself a kit and Air Lift shipped the two together, which was very convenient from a transportation front but you don’t realise how much stuff comes with one kit and how heavy it all is. When you multiply that by two it all gets rather heavy – I can’t remember the weight on the packing slip, but it took four of us in total to heft it upstairs.
Much like Christmas there were an awful lot of boxes to explore though I didn’t want to open everything up only to then have to pack it all away whilst I waited to go and get it fitted. I cracked open the struts and was immediately impressed with the build quality – they looked great and felt extremely robust and solid, with threaded height adjustment and the bags neatly mounted on top. The two upgraded tanks aluminium tanks were pretty big and I was immediately grateful that my E39 has a sizeable boot and that I didn’t need to use it to carry anything as I have a daily driver. They were extremely well finished and, unsurprisingly, very light despite their size. With twin compressors and electronic V2 controller, I had the complete package and just needed someone to fit it all…
I’d heard of Carl Shakespeare, AKA Shakey, and his Portsmouth-based company, Studio Incar. Specialising in high-end audio and in-car entertainment, painfully beautiful installs and boot builds and Air Lift air ride kits. Based on the quality of their work and expertise, I dropped Shakey a like and he was up for doing me a top-drawer install so I stuffed all my gear into the E39 and headed down Portsmouth way. The Studio Incar premises are unassuming but the small three-man team really knows its stuff and you’d be hard pushed to find a man more passionate about in-car audio than Shakey. Unlike other customers, I had no grand vision for the E39 – I literally had no clue of what sort of build I wanted, what I wanted it to look like or anything like that. As far as I was concerned, my E39 was a blank canvas for Shakey and co to create whatever grand vision they saw fit. I told him that I didn’t need the boot as this was purely going to be a show car so he could go nuts and left him and the guys to it.
Throughout the couple of weeks that the car was down at Studio Incar Shakey would send me the occasional teaser, but was under strict instructions from me to not spoil the build as I wanted to be properly blown away, so when I finally went to collect the car, I had virtually nothing to go on. And that’s where I’m going to leave things for this month and hold off for the big reveal next issue…
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