Christmas Car Calendar: Richie Gilbey


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Before we get in to talking about the car I just want to say how pleased I am that Richie was interested in having his car featured in this project. I have a lot of respect for the Gilbey brothers and I just want to take a moment to explain why.

I’ve known Marc for a good couple of years now, he used to come to Rayleigh RC with Kris Morris to support Warren. Really nice bloke, always chatty and always said hello at any other event we went to outside of Rayleigh; King of the Ring, Santa Pod etc. Sadly he was involved in a really bad car accident at the start of this year which left him badly injured and bed ridden for a few weeks. I’m not really a part of their circle but I was trying to follow along on social media as best as I could to make sure that Marc was ok. He’s a really nice bloke and really didn’t deserve what happened to him.

So King of the Ring Round 2 comes around. I wasn’t at work that weekend so I got to go at a fairly sensible time and spent the afternoon watching this black, supercharged W202 Mercedes flying around the track making the most enthralling of noises. If you know me you know that I’m an 80 year old man inside and love old Mercedes. A supercharged 230K W202 has always been one of my dream drift cars (If I could learn how to drift without nose diving walls). I’d taken a break from watching the cars going around and my normal blogging duties to chat to Kris Morris when I felt a tug on my back pack. It was Marc! He was in his chair but he was out of hospital and out and about! We had a good catch up and I happened to mention the black Mercedes which he told me was his brothers and he was racing with their Dad’s number. I had to write about it!

I followed the little black Mercedes’ adventures over the course of the next couple of rounds. Just like his brother Richie, the owner, is an absolute lad as well and has super supportive of the blog and my writing.

Sadly that Mercedes suffered engine failure which, coupled with the rot all W202 C-Classes suffer, sent it to the sky. This post is about the E36 that Richie got afterwards, which is by rights a lovely car in itself and we will look at that in more detail in a second. But that old W202 has a special place in my heart as it’s the platform that I really would like to build into a drift car one day. Richie is a super nice, humble dude as well as is his brother and the fact that Marc came away from such a horrific accident with his sense of humour intact acts as a reminder to me that my problem of chasing imaginary situations, people and problems around in my head really isn’t an excuse to be grey. So as much as this post is about the following car, I want it to be a tribute to Richie and Marc who are two awesome lads.


So this is an E36 323i which has not only been modified for track use and drifting but has also been Richie’s daily for the past few months and has taken him on a road trip across Europe, which included stopping off at the coastal town of Dunkirk in northern France, famous for the Operation Dynamo evacuations in WW2. (Love this picture!)


Most of the work has been on the chassis of the car. It’s fully poly-bushed and is sitting on HSD Monopro coilovers. The rear arms are Driftworks adjustable units and the fronts are extended E30 front arms (different I always thought most people went for E46 arms). The car has additional rack spacers to cope with this modification and Willspeed hubs give it good lock for drifting. (Hi Will!)

Inside the car features a Corbeau Clubsport bucket seat with Lukes’ Harness, a KODE steering wheel, a OBP hydraulic handbrake with Wilwood cylinder and a custom made half cage, for a little safety on track without being irritating for day to day use. I’ve not yet mastered the art of getting into a car gracefully around door bars.

In terms of drive train it’s actually pretty stock. The car is decatted and has an aftermarket ECU. Richie is also running a 3.15 ratio diff which I assume is the M3 LSD since the car has also been on normal track days and welders like to understeer. If it is welded then fair play to you Richie!


The wheels are 100+ turbovec alloys, 15×8 et0, wrapped with Advan AD08Rs. They suit it well!


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