It’s All Over Bar The Shouting…
Redux 001/030 is at the body shop for flatting/polishing in preparation for paint protection film (PPF) application and final detailing: it’s all over bar the shouting.
This is an opportunity for our CEO, Simon, to say thank you to the people who’ve been instrumental in making Redux possible and to give you an insight into how it came about:
“Redux was conceived in Africa: how and why, you might well ask? Well let me explain. During one of my more unusual work assignments – initially running a medical clinic in Juba, South Sudan, then as the security manager for a group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – my plan was to buy another E30 M3 and, over the course of the 5-year contract, build my perfect box-flared icon. However, three weeks in, the country’s recently ousted deputy leader launched a coup. After four days of intense fighting, and under chaotic conditions, I extracted the group of NGOs to Nairobi, Kenya (never to return again). This put an immediate and potentially permanent hold on my cunning plan; however, an itch had been scratched, so I decided to see where it might lead me…
To unwind I went skiing, and then took an extended break in Asia to think through my plan. Whilst there, I flew to see my old friend Nigel to seek his sagacious advice and guidance (and for him to double check if I’d taken leave of my senses). Despite me ranting on at him about E30 M3’s for weeks on end, he fully supported my concept and has remained steadfast to this day. His belief in Redux has inspired me through thick and thin, a sign of true friendship – thank you Chief, you’re a good man and looking forward to catching up in November for the big day.
With the initial concept now successfully shoehorned into something resembling a business plan, it was time to return to the UK. Bumping into General Andrew Graham in London, some fourteen years after serving under his command in Northern Ireland, opened the door to a veterans’ community I’d unintentionally ignored since leaving the army. Andrew recommended attending a Heropreneurs – a charity which helps aspiring veteran entrepreneurs – networking event, the founder of which connected me with fellow petrolhead and ex-army officer, John Mayhead. John and I have since become great friends and it was John’s April 2015 Hagerty’s article which introduced many of you to Redux – thank you John, you’re a legend mate.
The positive response to John’s feature gave me the confidence to approach the US media, resulting in Bob Sorokanich’s July 2015 Road & Track piece. Due to three significant BMW anniversaries happening in 2015/16 – the M3’s 30th, the 3 series’ 40th and BMW’s centenary – I was determined to take full advantage of the automotive media’s interest in all things BMW. Bob’s article has since been read over twenty thousand times attracting interest from a wide range of E30 M3 aficionados; one of which was Eric Keller who wanted to know who was building a limited run of 30 fully restored and tastefully modified E30 M3s. Initially, I had no idea who he was, but after some internet research soon realised he was a pretty big deal in the US BMW community. Eric’s been instrumental in spreading the Redux word stateside and having now known him for three years, I fully understand why he has such a successful business and such an outstanding reputation – thank you for your continued support Eric, I really appreciate it.
With a couple of articles under my belt and interest in Redux steadily growing, it was time to give Redux an identity. I’d been playing around with ideas, but hadn’t settled on anything that I was 100% happy with. Once again, the veterans’ network came good and I was introduced to Ben Basten. After a couple of meetings to discuss my concept, Ben showed me a series of designs he’d conceived based on the back-to-back double R logo – he’d nailed it. I subsequently realised it also spells out Redux (much like the Toyota logo). An unintentional but very welcome bonus to what I consider to be a perfectly executed design – thank you Ben, I still love it mate.
With the number of enquiries escalating and the branding in place, my attention turned to how best to keep the clients’ engaged during their build. After an unfruitful search for a suitable means of communication (that wasn’t emails with photo attachments), I was about to resign myself to sending emails with photo attachments when Rowan Hick got it touch. Rowan is a software engineer from New Zealand who owns a 600hp/tonne, 2-seater, track weapon. He’d experienced the same issue with the company building his pride and joy, so set about creating a secure portal through which they could send him written and photographic updates. It’s the perfect means for communicating with Redux clients and also provides a detailed breakdown of their builds for future reference – thank you Rowan, so glad you got in touch mate.
As BMW had only supplied the US market with standard E30 M3’s (i.e. not the Cecotto, Ravaglia, Tour de Corse, Europameister, Evo, Evo II or Sport Evo limited editions), it was proving to be my primary location for enquiries. Therefore, top of my wish list for the next article was Petrolicious. I’d been a big fan of their short films – their E30 M3 film is a must watch – for some time, so decided to reach out to the founder, Afshin Behnia, to test the water. After a great Skype call, he passed me over to his editor to discuss Redux in more detail. The article’s conclusion – “Put another way, a DTM you can drive to dinner – and what fun that’d be” – for me perfectly defines what Redux 001/030 has evolved into. The following year, during Monterey Car Week 2016, I met with the current editor-at-large, Ted Gushue – thank you Afshin and Ted for your continued support, I really appreciate it.
Another welcome source of stateside support has come from the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA). After an unexpected feature in their September 2015 edition of their member’s magazine, Roundel, I’ve had the privilege to meet a number of their members and executive team, including Frank Patek, Chris Hennecy and Scott Dishman – thank you for your continued support and looking forward to attending your 2019 events.
By October 2015, I felt I had enough interest from the US, UK and Europe to confirm I hadn’t taken leave of my senses; Redux’s fate was now in the hands of those who’d soon be receiving their proposal. Shortly after posting them, and before I’d received any feedback, another enquiry from the US hit my inbox. It was short and to the point, and almost ignored save for the fact it included a name and phone number. Intrigued, arrangements were made to speak, and after a 90-minute conversation Redux’s first order was confirmed. My business relationship with Eric Keller was formally established when my first client subsequently called him to source a suitable donor: Redux was up and running!
The one member of the team who was proving to be the most difficult to find was an interior trimmer. For months I’d searched in vain for someone with the requisite patience and fastidious nature to tackle what I wanted to achieve; most balked when I described my plan. Then, one day I found him: John Brant and his apprentice, Liam. As Redux 001/030 was destined to be regularly tracked at a private club, the decision was made to install a full cage. However, she wasn’t going to be raced so we weren’t restricted by any design rules and regulations, but safety was of upmost importance. Therefore, our plan was to hide most of the cage, fit a plush wool carpet and use plenty of lightweight Alcantara – a DTM you can drive to dinner: remember? John is well known within the UK BMW community and for good reason: he’s delivered on his promises and added so many unique touches throughout the car I’ve almost lost count. Thank you John and Liam, I promise that Redux 002/030 will be less of a headache (well, maybe…).
During the time she was with John, I also found two other people who’ve proven to be invaluable – Sat and his entrepreneurial son, Sukhveer. BMW still supply a surprisingly large number of parts for the E30 M3; we’ve replaced all the rubber seals, the majority of the exterior and interior plastics, and a long list of other parts with new ones. However, occasionally when you call the local BMW dealer’s parts department you’re given bad news: the part is no longer available (NLA). In this situation, I now immediately call Sat. The lengths he’s gone to to source various parts has been incredible – thank you Sat and Sukh for your continued enthusiasm and support.
As with every business, it’s been necessary to make personnel changes along the way. Due to a key member repeatedly failing to perform to the required standard, change became critical; whilst it was painful and frustrating at the time, my decision has thankfully proven to be the right one. During this process and whilst debating what to do next, Ric Wood was recommended as a suitable replacement. It’s proven to be a decisive move and one which has had a very positive influence on all aspects of the build. He’s done so much more than create the stunning 2.5l, turbo charged S14 (developing 380hp and 380lb-ft at 1.0 bar boost), which will become clear when I reveal more details of the finished car – thank you again Ric, and your team, for your support, dedication and patience.
Likewise with John and Tom Bradshaw and their incredible body shop team. After the first body shop didn’t fully live up to its reputation, another chance recommendation led me to their door. Much like Ric and his team, they’ve become an integral part of Redux, repeatedly delivering above and beyond what was originally asked of them – thank you gents and to Oggy, Dave, Dean and Kyle for their ongoing enthusiasm and dedication.
An integral part of running your own business is the support you receive from your family and friends. It’s easy to get caught up in your own self-importance and forget the sacrifices they make on your behalf. My sincerest thanks to: Mum and Dad (I couldn’t have got this far without you both), Clarry and Ian (thank you so much for your extended hospitality), Rob and Carolyn (it’s been great seeing you and the kids more regularly), Jase (almost there mate, bring on the next karting challenge), Bill (always appreciate the chats and feedback mate, looking forward to that break by the river soon), John and Johanna (you’re both legends, thank you so much for your support, hospitality and that first article), Brad (always appreciate your support and belief mate), Amjad (really appreciate your support, introductions and here’s to working with you on future Redux “special projects”), Nigel (you deserve another shout out mate), Tony W (always a pleasure to meet fellow veterans and BMW aficionados), and Simon C (it’s been some journey, appreciate your support since the early days in Bournemouth).
Finally, to the man who after that one phone call has resolutely stood by his word every step of the way – thank you so much Paul, words can’t express how thankful I am to have met you. Without your encouragement, patience, enthusiasm and belief who knows what would have happened? But here we are, edging ever closer to the day when you can ease her out of Thermal’s pit lane and see what she’s really made of. Onwards and upwards!”