Getting the Cockpit together. By:Derek James

I am always conflicted when it comes to the modifications that I make to the BMW (The Scarlet Special). I never know exactly what to do. I really don’t have a clear and concise path that I want to follow to get to the final end goal for the car.

In fact, I don’t think that the car will ever be truly “finished”. I have so many ways that I would like to see the car go modifications wise. I guess that’s a good thing however, because I know no matter what I end up doing with the car I will enjoy it. For the 2016 calendar year though, I am very set on doing GridLife Time Attack events and going to as many track days/ auto crosses as my wallet and the car can handle.

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For the first year, I want to keep things pretty basic. Suspension wise, I have a set of H&R Sport springs pared with a set of Bilstein B4 Touring shocks. I got the set second hand, and I feel that at least for the time being, they will serve me well till I can do some serious upgrading to the suspension situation. I have a front strut bar from ECS Tuning that is already on the car. I also have a complete set of Condor Speed Shop UHMW drive-train and suspension bushings that I will be putting in the car come spring. The last piece of the under body upgrades takes the shape of a medium case 3.73 ratio Limited Slip Differential out of an E30.

Now, because I am going to be on track, I really want to make sure that I have the cockpit of the car dialed. I don’t want to have any doubts about whether or not I should have upgraded or changed anything in the interior of the car. I have a Corbeau bucket seat that also picked up second hand that will be going in the car sometime soon. Because everything I operate while out on track will be my connection to the car, and thus will affect my feel for the car.

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I want everything to be top notch. A Grip Royal, Royal Ace suede steering wheel, and AC Schnitzer Shifter connect my hands to the Scarlet Special. The aforementioned bucket seat will be paired with a set of  yet to be determined harnesses, and a roll bar. They will be in charge of protecting me and any passengers I may have form any calamities that may befall us while out on track. Last, but certainly not least, that leaves my feet.

Now, the stock pedal setup on the 318ti and all E36’s for that matter leave some things to be desired. All three pedals are covered with rubber pads. Which I can only assume are there to provide a grippy surface for a wet foot to grip onto and actuate. Now, this isn’t good for when you have a dry foot, in a racing boot. I even noticed in my daily driving of the car, that my feet would occasionally be struggling for grip on the pedals. That’s where Sean and the guys at Pedal Haus come in.

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After discovering them on Instagram and reading up on their products on their website, I decide to shoot them an email to see if they would be up with making a custom set of pedals for my little 318ti. I had a couple of ideas on what I wanted to get out of the pedals. I was very intrigued as to how they would react when I told them what I wanted, but they took it in stride and were very happy to help me out. So a set of silver billet aluminum pedals were placed on order. Now the “custom” part of this set comes in the form of an engraved dead pedal and heel plate.

I have this underlying theme that I want to infuse into the build of  Scarlet, I want it to have little styling cues taken and or emulated from my favorite of all the BMW art cars. The 1999 V12 LMR designed by Jenny Holzer. I love just how simple the car can be in the sunlight, all the while being really flashy when the sun goes down at La Sarthe and the artificial lights start shining on it. Plus, the little messages left for the drivers, team, and spectators all over the car evoke a plethora of emotions.

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My favorite of all the little details on the car is placed on the drivers head rest. Its a simple message, but has very deep meaning to it. What meaning exactly, that’s left up to the reader to decide.”What urge will save us not that sex wont?” Now that’s something you don’t usually see on a racing car, that’s supposed to be seen be millions of people around the world.

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I wanted that to be engraved on the heel plate, and the guys at Pedal Haus went above and beyond to get exactly what I wanted. I wanted it to be the same text as on the headrest, which is in the artist’s actual handwriting. They went though and traced all the letters and copied them perfectly in the surface of the plate.

As for the dead pedal, I had AFTERBURNER (アフターバーナー) in kanji engraved on it. To serve as a little reminder of why I’m here.

Installation is very simple. With instructions provided in a PDF or in video form on Pedal Haus’ website. In the kit with the actual pedals comes a handy little bracket which you attach to the brake and clutch pedals, to serve as a guide to show you where to drill the holes through the pedal base so you can attack the new billet pedals. Make sure you take off the rubber pedal covers before you drill. Otherwise you’re in for a bad time.

DSC_0046The dead pedal attaches to the factory base via 3M double sided tape, so that removal is possible if you do so choose. This is nice because drilling into your factory dead pedal really isn’t advisable. The gas pedal attaches to the factory plastic base via four self tapping screws. Then, after alignment and checking of clearances, the heel plate can be attached to the floor mats. We didn’t do this just yet, because I want to attach it to a new floor mat that will to the quality and craftsmanship that goes into the kit some justice. My tattered factory mat wont do. Also, sorry for the mess, I haven’t vacuumed the car out since we started rebuilding the motor.

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After sitting in the drivers seat and playing around with the pedals for a little bit, I can tell you. The difference is staggering. The amount of grip that the raised billet circles provide is amazing. I don’t know if it’s just my brain playing with me or not, but the pedals feel stiffer and more responsive to my touch. I won’t be able to really tell till I get the car running again and take it out on a spirited drive (SOON!!). Seriously if you have a BMW, I can’t recommend the guys at Pedal Haus enough. The quality and attention to detail is second to none, the pedals are almost too nice for my little twenty year old BMW. Their customer service is amazing too, they spent the time to go over all of the details I wanted and made sure that they had them set before engraving the pedals. If you want to see some of their work you can go check out their Instagram (@PedalHaus) or go on their website (www.pedalhaus.com) .

Until next time!!

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