Rusty Slammington: The undying driving machine

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Do you know what people love most? Stories. Philosophers have long speculated that stories are the things that make us human. We just love hearing about great characters, tough circumstances and thrilling conclusions.

Well, what if I told you that the character in today’s spotlight is not human at all? In fact, it is a car. And I do not mean one of those Disney animations for children. I have in mind a truly badass, out-of-this-world, gone-through-everything kind of vehicle. One that has already become a legend.

Enter Rusty Slammington! This car has been killed, brought back to life, disassembled, and put back together more times than you would think possible. Its story can tell you a lot not only about the vehicle but the people behind it as well.

Recently, Corsia Logistics had the pleasure of transporting this legendary car to the BMW Car Club of America Foundation. There it is going to be a part of an exhibition where anyone can take a look at its awesomeness. So I thought there is no better time to dive deeper into Rusty’s history. Hold fast, because this car is a rather mean one!

Rusty Slammington: The origins

Once upon a time (okay, it was in 2010, but bear with me), there was a useless old car with the sole purpose of gathering dust. Even during its prime years, the car – a fine BMW E28 (535i to be precise) – did not garner the attention it deserved. Sure, as a German beast it got a bit of spotlight in the’80s, but people quickly moved past it.

So there it laid in 2010, close to being forgotten, making friends with rust and dust alone. Time had not treated it gently. All the remnants of its past glory had simply faded. Even corrosion seemed to have little work left – it was already eating at the dashboard.

But people are not heartless monsters. One day Rusty’s owner, Mike Burroughs, took a glance at the old thing and something caught his attention. The E28 was crying out its last laments. A decision had to be made – either take it to the scrapyard or… Or what? Could this piece of corroded metal actually be saved? Was it even worth it?

Perhaps most people would have given it up. They would have put the BMW out of its misery. But that was not Mike Burroughs’ style. After all, he was (and still is) one of the minds behind StanceWorks – a company all about turning cars into pure art.

So on that fateful day, Mike made the call. The sad old E28 was not going to die. In fact, its life was just about to begin.

What it takes to revive a vehicle

If you do not know much about car reworks, you may not realize how much effort goes into them. Car enthusiasts have to pour their heart and soul into to job. It requires not only mechanical skill but an artistic touch as well. The work can be overwhelming as each case likely requires a unique approach.

However, the resurrection of the old BMW E28 was not a job – it was a passion project. Mike Burroughs did not see a goldmine in it, but a friend that needed help. It was a special kind of challenge.

For about a month the car received nonstop attention. Burroughs went in and out of bed with the idea of turning his rust box into a flaming chariot. He did numerous modifications and finally, a masterpiece emerged. Here are just some of the mods Mike did to the car:

  • The roofline got lowered by chopping 5 inches off it
  • The wheels were replaced with Ronal Racing splits. On top of that, they were 24K gold-plated.
  • The entire body of the car was treated with used diesel oil (imagine that) with the goal of blackening the rust.
  • Embracing the rust even further, the insides got a special treatment. Instead of a cozy leather-bound interior, it is now reminiscent of a car straight out of a Mad Max movie.
  • To make Rusty look even meaner, the suspension was lowered by 4 inches. Who cares about clearance issues (more on that later) when something looks so awesome? In enthusiast circles, this is called “a slammed ride”, hence the name Slammington.
  • The engine was gutted altogether. A Toyota Supra’s 1JZ-GTE six-cylinder turbo was put in its stead.

The last decision was not welcomed by everyone. Some people think it is rather sacrilegious to put a Japanese engine into a German car. Thankfully, Mike Burroughs did not care about that. With the Supra’s engine, Rusty can voice its angry opinion quite well – and it supports Mike’s choice.

I bet you already have something on your mind. Because this story sounds cool, but it does not explain one thing. How is this a legendary vehicle, and not just another rework? Well, as with any good tale, the real trouble is just about to hit!

Claiming the legendary status

Everything was looking great for good ol’ Rusty. While the car was not everyone’s cup of tea, people appreciated the dedication of Burroughs. It quickly got some fans, as well as people who were just interested in what was coming next. Sadly, things went seriously downhill.

Just a year after being brought back from the dead, Rusty found itself in quite the trouble. To put it bluntly – it burned up in a fire in 2011. And believe me, when I say burned, I mean it. The only thing left was the metal frame. Charred and hollow it stood as the last testament to Rusty’s unyielding heart.

At this point in the story, you can see the tragedy. But Mike Burroughs and company were not about to give up on the old BMW. Encouraged by fans, they decided to bring the car back to life once more. In their eyes, Rusty was a phoenix. For them, this meant that burning up was just a part of its reincarnation. Because legends never die.

However, this time around, things were much more difficult. This job proved to be a greater challenge than just a rework. They had to essentially construct a whole new vehicle around a simple steel frame.

Mike Burroughs actually considered a complete redo for old Rusty even before the fire. Fate just sped things up!

Now there was a different idea about what Rusty should look like. Before the fire, the old BMW was more of a whatever-Mike-feels-like kind of thing. He did plenty of changes through it on a regular basis. New ideas came to him constantly and he used Rusty as a try-on project. Suffice to say, the fire gave him a new perspective. So the real work began…

Rusty Slammington – Years in the making

Burroughs and Co. did not fool around when they started to rebuild the legend. Mike himself says that he pretty much had to learn how to build a car from scratch.

He started from an interesting place – the wheels. In his mind, Rusty was built around them, rather than using the wheels as an accessory.

Just to note, the current wheels were pieced together from Brun Motorsport Porsche 962. They had seen races and carried a spirit of their own.

Throughout the rebuild, Mike drew inspiration from various sources. Slammington became kind of a legacy for him. He no longer wanted it to be a fun side project, but rather a full-fledged mean machine.

Somehow Mike managed to keep the authentic look of the BMW while modifying pretty much everything about its body. But it took 4 years to bring Rusty back under the spotlight and then another 4 to get it ready for an exhibition.

Now the vehicle is wider, yet it still stares at you with aggressive round eyes. The black coat carries its own kind of “tattoos” as a reminder that you are not dealing with any regular old BMW.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Rusty Slammington – the car that died, lived, died again, and rose anew once more. Now it is being prepped for an exhibition and you can bask in its glory as well!

How do you ship a legend?

I want to say a few words about transporting a legend such as Rusty. You do not get to ship this kind of vehicles so often. And this job is not without its challenges either.

Whether you are shipping a car from Los Angeles to Las Vegas or somewhere else, clearance (both from the ground and width-wise) will always be a thing to consider. Modded cars usually present plenty of issues in that regard. Which is why loading them on a regular trailer is impossible most of the time.

Of course, Rusty Slammington received Corsia’s white glove service. We loaded it on an enclosed trailer and sent it off from Mission Viejo, CA to Greer, SC. There you will be able to take a look up close once the exhibition opens. Trust me, if you are a car enthusiast (and especially a BMW one), this is not a sight you want to miss.

What do you think about old Rusty?

I have a soft spot in my heart for this vehicle. To be honest, such cars are not usually what I would go for, but its story resonates with me. The value it carries goes beyond simple aesthetics or vehicle details.

But how do you feel about it? Is it a car you would like to see with your own eyes? Do you find its story captivating? If there is another car out there, whose story is worth telling, be sure to tell us down below!


About the Author:

Atanas Nikolov is a creative with an affinity for psychology and science. He believes the universe is a wonderful place to explore, and no universe is greater than the one inside ourselves. He enjoys a good debate, and can always bring an alternative viewpoint to the table. He also loves reading fiction and poetry. It is highly likely that he writes some as well, but these rumors have not been proven yet.

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