- Post is under moderationSUPERCHARGED #BMW-330i E46 BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
The 330Ci is a fantastic machine, but with a supercharger strapped to its straight-six, it’s even better. For those not lucky enough to be able to afford a weekly runaround, compromise is something many BM owners have had to accept. Well compromising need no longer mean settling for less, as Harv Singh’s supercharged E46 330Ci demonstrates. Words: Joel Newman. Photos: Matt Barnes.
When your good friend and cousin is Kav Bhamra, the owner of one of the finest E46 330Cis on the UK scene, what little money you do have is certainly hard to cling on to!
Harv Singh, a 27-year-old IT systems analyst, has found out that chasing perfection needn’t be costly though, and can be a hugely rewarding business. Like a rolling snowball, his car has gathered a huge selection of custom Hamann parts over the past two years. But, like most modified cars this re-style was never really planned. “It has just kind of happened, I guess. I see things I like, whether online or through my friends, then I try to find them for reasonable money. I love a good deal so often I’ll buy things even if at the time I can’t afford to fit them,” explains Harv.
Unlike many of the other modified BMs on the UK scene, this is no chequebook car. “I have had to work very hard to pay for every addition I have made, but, I think people who just pay to have their cars modified are missing the point. They don’t get half the satisfaction I do,” Harv says.
He’s quite right too; in our experience all the best feature cars have taken years to create, and often arise through owner dedication over and above a bottomless bank account.
This supercharged E46 330Ci is Harv’s second BMW. His first, an E36 328i Sport, was bought when he was an impoverished student. With the limited money he did have, he managed to upgrade the alloys to 19” Hartge Classics and improve the suspension with Eibach springs. Although modifications were not extensive, the car cemented Harv’s relationship with BMW, and provided him with enough passion and inspiration to take the next step into the tuning scene. Straight from university Harv found employment, and within six months had purchased, what is to date, one of the most perfectly proportioned Threes I’ve ever laid eyes on: an Estoril blue, 330Ci Clubsport.
Harv purchased the car for a variety of reasons and is often asked why he didn’t choose an E46 M3. Surely by now, after all these mods he must have paid well over the asking price of the Motorsport coupé? Harv laughs: “You’re probably right, I have paid far more than the asking price of an M3, but what people forget time and time again is the running costs. As a daily driver the E46 M3 just isn’t practical. With the miles I do, the servicing and running costs are far higher than my 330Ci. It’s just more economical, even with the supercharger. I also don’t feel I could have made the M3 as beautiful as I have made my car, well not without selling the house!” Harv, you could just be right.
As with most of our feature cars, Harv never intended to go this far, it just sort of spiralled out of control. Ironically, the whole process was kicked off because of a fault with the car when Harv found the original 18” factory split rims had corroded on the inside. The wheels, the previous owner assured, were covered under BMW’s anticorrosion policy. It turns out he was right, so the car was sent to BMW and a few days later a gleaming set of new rims adorned every arch. With the good fortune of having been gifted four shiny alloys Harv decided to sell them and put the money towards a set of 19s. So, with the help of Hamann, he settled for 19” HM2s, sourced by friend Scotty from Chapel Tyres. These wheels are by no means common, and what separates them is their width. At 10” a piece, Harv reckons these are the widest rears on any E46 330Ci in the UK. Standing behind the car I have to say I’m inclined to agree.
With such wide rims Harv couldn’t simply pop them on so the arches were rolled by Style Dynamics to accommodate all that new rubber. With the wheels no longer rubbing, Harv and Kav set about fitting Boge lowering springs and four-pot racing calipers so the stance and stopping potential of the car would match the epic wheel proportions. Kav is in fact such a dab hand with all things BMW that he managed to do this on Harv’s front driveway! He then installed Generation 2 angel eyes, which he purchased through Teddy Hsu at SSDD Motorsport.
To improve performance on went a Supersprint twin exhaust system, stainless steel back-box and GruppeM-style carbon fibre induction kit. At the rear of the car facelift LEDs were fitted, which was not as easy as it may sound. In truth, Harv had to take the car to Jason from B&W Chip Tune so the ECU could be recalibrated to accept the new lights, a time-consuming exercise but one that really freshens up the coupé.
Subtle detailing such as the Projector indicators and upgraded silver bulbs also add a new dimension to this Three.
As previously mentioned Harv was not in a position to fully customise his ride in one fell swoop. Therefore, like many modifiers, he acquired different body parts as and when they appeared online. Our man had no real strategy, just an insistence on buying genuine items for bargain prices, which is not an easy task at the best of times!
Nonetheless, like a squirrel preparing for winter, Harv gathered, mostly from eBay, an original E46 CSL boot lid, E46 M3 front bumper and bonnet, and full black leather E46 M3 interior. Kav once again got right on the case, installing the new Nappa leather.
To save money on paintwork and before Harv had the car resprayed he realised that now was the time to purchase any additional body parts. After much discussion and many an hour on www.e36coupe.com Harv decided to go with Hamann once again, this time ordering GTR sideskirts, carbon fibre front splitter, brake duct mouldings and genuine M3 electric fold-up mirrors.
Des, a friend of Harv’s took on the job of fitting and fabricating the new parts. Most went on without issue, but as those of you familiar with original M3 body parts will know, they don’t simply bolt on to the 330Ci.
In fact, Des had to remove at least 2” either side of the front bumper just to get it to fit comfortably, and to fit the M3 bonnet needed to adjust and realign the front arches. The finish is flawless and the car genuinely looks like it’s fresh from the factory. There are no ill-fitting lines or minor disharmonies so common when modifiers stray from OEM parts. It could be Harv’s stringent policy of sticking with genuine Hamann items for the exterior body styling that makes this project such a success. It is wonderful to see BMWs that look like BMWs, especially when they are sharper, in our opinion, than the original design.
Our day’s photoshoot with the car took place on an airfield, a setting that attracts clientele who, how can I say it, are filthy rich! Even in these upper echelons of society amateur pilots continually wandered over to get a closer look. And they didn’t even know about the supercharger!
Let’s get back to the car. Harv considered his project complete once Des handed over the keys but things like superchargers don’t just happen, do they? The facts are as follows. An Evotechnik member decided to de-mod his car in order to sell it. He mentioned on the forum that his ’charger was for sale on a first come, first serve basis. Music to Harv’s (and let’s be honest Kav’s) ears. A few phone calls later and Harv had secured it, but there was a catch, as he explains: “He told me I had to un-install the part myself so I gave Kav a call. He went down there and got on with removing it.
Surprisingly it came out without hassle.” Due to work commitments Harv was required to go to the US just days after acquiring his new toy but he was so excited that he decided to have the supercharger installed while he was away, hoping he could collect it on his return. However, with the project running so smoothly it was only a matter of time before Harv would reach a stumbling block, and this was it. The garage informed him that his new supercharger had seized and that his car was not only taking up room but was undrivable. The following few days were a nightmare, with Harv on and off the phone to Infinitus, the manufacturer of the original supercharger.
Fortunately the previous owner had driven over to Germany to see it installed in his car personally and as such the company were well aware of this particular ’charger’s existence. Pure luck was on the side of Harv because during the period of complaint, the firm was busy testing Alpina superchargers. Harv’s insistence paid off because a few days, and many phone calls later with the huge workload the Infinitus boys had on, manager Dirk Ochmann decided to send Harv a brand new supercharger, replacing the failed unit.
That’s right, brand new! The part was shipped directly to the garage holding the car and within days it was fitted.
Harv arrived home to a car whose looks were now backed up by its performance. In fact at 300bhp Harv has got himself a really potent 330Ci that doubles up as an everyday cruiser. The sound alone is worthy of a Grammy, a deep burble harmonising with a high-pitched wail when he floors the throttle, music to any petrolhead’s ears.
Harv explains: “The new performance is perfect; it’s fast, immediate to respond and unique. The supercharger has been my best modification to date, it’s transformed the car.”
To complete the project Kav convinced Harv to update the cabin and fit a full CSL weave carbon interior pack, the perfect accompaniment to the M3 leather. With the aid of Ben Sweetman of Chromeline Design the car’s styling was complete.
Harv’s car has really impressed us. Instead of the E46 M3 wannabe we had pictured what he’s actually done is far more appealing. A subtle, classically styled Three that does not need to boast via exaggerated arches or quad exhaust tailpipes. In my opinion, if the M3 were a person it would be brash, slightly crude and annoyingly wealthy; think Michael Carrol Lotto lout.
Harv’s Hamann styled 330Ci is a far cry from the ASBO generation. A svelte, potent, yet reserved character more akin to James Bond. This is the kind of car that 007 might drive when the Aston’s in the garage, and that, I’m sure you will agree, is never a bad thing.
DRIVE-MY’s new waistcoats went down a treat with Harv and Joel. Only a slightly better option than being run over by a plane.
DATA FILE SUPERCHARGED #BMW-330Ci-E46 / #BMW-330Ci / #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-330Ci-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-330Ci-Supercharged / #M54B30 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 / #M54-Supercharged / #Infinitas / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46
ENGINE: 3.0-litre six-cylinder, #Infinitas-SK+ Supercharger, Infinitus air filter, carbon fibre engine cover, Supersprint twin stainless steel exhaust system with 80mm tips
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear), #Hamann-HM2 s shod in 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rears) with Dunlop Sport 9000 tyres, 12mm Spacers up front, #FK-Highsport coilovers suspension kit, #ATE 4-pot calipers (front) with Hamann decals, AC Schnitzer-style front strut brace
EXTERIOR: OEM E46 M3 front bumper, #Active-Autowerkes M3-style bumper mesh, OEM E46 M3 bonnet, Hamann carbon fibre front splitter, Chromeline Design carbon fibre kidney grille, #Hamann-GTR side skirts, OEM E46 M3 electric fold-up mirrors, Hamann brake duct covers, sport rear bumper with colour-coded diffuser, OEM CSL boot lid, SSDD black projector indicators with silver bulbs, OEM xenon headlight conversion, Generation 2 CCFL angel eyes, OEM LED rear light clusters
INTERIOR: Full M3 black Nappa leather, Chromeline Design carbon fibre dash kit and upper steering wheel section (CSL weave), Hamann handbrake handle, Hamann gear knob, Hamann carbon fibre door trims
ICE: Pioneer head unit with 12-disc changer, Harmon Kardon factory upgrade speaker system
THANKS: Kav Bhamra for ongoing advice and help with fitting, Des for all the painting of the external modifications, Jason of B&W Chiptune, Ben of Chromeline Design, Teddy of SSDD Motorsport, E36coupe.com and Evotechnik forum members for ongoing guidance and support, Infinitas in Germany, my family for putting up with my addiction!
19” Hamann HM2s look outstanding alongside the ATE 4-pot calipers and genuine Hamann decals Left: Full M3 interior adds a touch of class and provides additional support with the incresed power.
Infinitas SK + supercharger dominates the engine bay while carbon fibre engine covers and AC Schnitzer-stlye front strut brace turn something already beautiful into a work of art.
AT 300BHP HARV HAS GOT HIMSELF A REALLY POTENT 330CI THAT DOUBLES UP AS AN EVERYDAY CRUISER. THE SOUND ALONE IS WORTHY OF A GRAMMY .Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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An awesome E46 323i four-door packing a #BBK , carbon goodies and #Schnitzer styling galore. At a loss how to modify your four-door E46? Let Alan Lam and #AC-Schnitzer show you how. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Matt Barnes.
There are some BMWs that effortlessly ooze class. These are the cars that when cruising past, you stare longingly at, not because they’re intrusively loud or garishly decorated, but because they’ve been beautifully and thoughtfully modified. Money’s been thrown in all the right places, and the owner has insisted on the best to make his ride become even more of a rewarding driving machine and easier on the eye.
With BMW’s current 3 Series, most choose the Coupé variant as the base for modifying work. And who can blame them? The two-door is indeed a design marvel in terms of beauty and desirability, so it’s an ideal starting block. Those with the saloon version are presented with more of a modifying challenge. It’s by no means an ugly car, but a little more thought has to go into how to bring the best out of the practical four-door. Looking at Alan Lam’s ’00 323i, we think he’s pretty much cracked it.
The native New Yorker is by all accounts one of the most enthusiastic BMW modifiers we’ve ever met – you’d be lucky to find anyone more knowledgeable and helpful about what it takes to make these cars a pleasure to look at and drive. So it’s no surprise to discover the sheer amount of work put into turning his Orient blue 323i into the feature car we have here today.
Alan’s love affair with the marque goes back to his high school days, where the E36 M3 was his dream car. “It was only after BMW released the pictures of the new E46 I knew I had to get one, though,” he told us. “My first BMW was therefore delivered in December ’99, and it was used as my daily driver to school and work, so modifications were kept at a minimum and nothing major was planned.”
And how many times have we heard that? It seems Alan started customising the little things, beginning with OEM clear lights all round, and realised there was no way of stopping. The bug had bitten. Before long a Supersprint exhaust and ECIS cold air intake found their way onto the car, and the results were addictive.
“The E46 was too quiet,” Alan said, “especially driving a manual. You want to hear the engine to let you know when to shift. The exhaust and cold air intake made a dramatic difference in the car’s performance and fun factor, and I found myself blipping the throttle downshifting just to hear the lovely sound the engine now made. I even had the front and rear resonators removed to make it even louder and deeper, and it now sounds just like a stock E36 M3.”
As you can tell from the photos, however, these mods were just the beginning. Alan discovered Dtmpower.net, Bimmervibe.com and E46fanatics.com on the Internet, and these forums opened up a whole new world of potential tuning ideas. “I found myself browsing on it all day and night learning more about what I could do to the car,” the 26-year-old IS administrator said. Inevitably he met up with like-minded enthusiasts, and knew he wanted more from his car. A lot more.
Having an overall gameplan is an absolute necessity if you’re modifying to attain a certain look. It’s best to gain inspiration from others, see what there is on the market you think works best, and add your own personal touches. Alan can’t be faulted for his choice of AC Schnitzer styling; a brand, he tells us, he chose due to its racing heritage and reputation as the most widely respected BMW tuner in the world. We’re not about to disagree.
“I wanted my car to be a Schnitzer car,” he said. “First thing was ordering a full Schnitzer body kit along with a set of 18” rims. I didn’t like the rear spoilers offered by Schnitzer so I decided to go with a Racing Dynamics one instead.” Also at this time, Eibach springs and BogeSachs BMW sport shocks tightened everything up, while a modern styling touch in the shape of xenon front lights courtesy of bekkers.com found their way on. With Hamann eyebrows and shadow grilles added as well, Alan had reached the end of the second stage of modifying. Once again he was satisfied with the car’s look, so you’d have thought he’d have stopped here. No way.
Styling is one thing, but finding more power really is best for putting a smile on your face. “There were virtually no turbo kits available,” said Alan, “nor any reliable supercharger kits making any decent power at the time. Instead, Rogue Engineering had connections with an excellent BMW technician who was able to do some motor work for me. I got hold of Schrick cams, Jim Conforti Shark Injector software and ended up swapping my ECIS intake in favour of a beautiful Gruppe M carbon fibre unit.” Good choice.
Soon after, Alan was collecting a first place trophy in the Mild category at Bimmerfest East, and was recruited by TWCompetition. Things were looking up, and so were the planned mods to his 323i. These final mods are basically the look the car sports in the photos, and the sheer amount and quality of work is commendable. Nineteen-inch HRE wheels were custom made by Peter Lee at wheelexperts.com, while the suspension was swapped for H&R coilovers set at maximum drop for the rear and about 90% at the front. That’s seriously low. Riding that close to the tarmac has obvious drawbacks, so, in Alan’s own words, “to help scan the crappy New York roads rolling on big 19s, I swapped the standard halogen foglights for 5300K xenons.”
Nestled behind those beautiful custom wheels are some serious anchors, 320mm up front courtesy of Brembo, with a Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm hybrid setup at the rear. Alan assures us at the time this was done, no other E46 had both front and rear big brakes. Ever the groundbreaker, with the front bumper sporting an Schnitzer add-on becoming more common, Alan changed his for an OEM E46 M3 bumper. With this being almost 2” wider than the 323i item on each side, Ultimate Collision had a hell of a task making it fit, but have certainly excelled themselves with the finish. The addition of a new Schnitzer carbon fibre splitter completes the very tasty new look. Soon after, Schnitzer was called upon again to provide an M3 racing spoiler, a truly unique look for a saloon car.
Then there’s the final hurrah. If you put a carbon fibre bonnet on the wrong car it’s an expensive mistake, but on Alan’s modified E46 323i it’s a revelation. It blends in nicely with the Orient paint, and completes what is a stunning four-door.
Standing back to admire it, the final look is a thing of beauty. The custom front bumper, the large but tasteful rear wing, the huge brakes primed for action behind the flawless, polished alloys. It may be a four door, but how many coupés look this desirable? Alan tells us he knows of no other saloon in the US with this look, but we’re hoping many will take inspiration from him to create something even half as nice as his stunning 323i.
GruppeM carbon fibre air intake – every #BMW should have one!
DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-323i / #BMW-323i-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #M52TUB25 / #BMW-M52 / #M52B25 / #M52 / #BMW
ENGINE: 2.5-litre six-cylinder with #Schrick performance 248° cams, #Rogue-Engineering underdrive pulleys, #Gruppe-M carbon fibre air intake, #Jim-Conforti engine software, #Supersprint 76mm cat-back exhaust with both resonators removed, Imola red valve covers
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” #HRE-448R three-piece forged alloys shod in Toyo T1-S 235/35 tyres. H&R fully adjustable coilover suspension system, #H&R Trak Plus 5mm spacers, #Racing-Dynamics anti-roll bars, #Turner-Motorsports rear shock mounts, silver M3 front strut brace. #Brembo 320mm big brake kit (front), #Rogue-Engineering /Porsche 329mm big brake kit (rear), #Hawk-HPS racing pads, #Goodridge stainless steel brake lines, #ATE Super Blue brake fluid. Rogue Engineering short-shifter, weighted selector rod and tranny mounts. Redline synthetic fluids
EXTERIOR: Euro-spec OEM M3 bumper custom fitted onto a saloon chassis, #AC-Schnitzer carbon fibre M3 front spoiler, aluminium stabiliser struts, rear apron, roof spoiler, sport mirrors, racing wing and badges, Fiber Images carbon fibre bonnet. Hamann shadow grilles, Hamann eyebrows, #M-Tech side skirts, Nova 4 professional strobe kit, custom fitted facelift ’02 BMW rear lights, Euro-spec clear side repeaters, xenon 5200K foglight kit, xenon 5200K ellipsoid headlights.
INTERIOR: M3 leather sport seats custom fitted into saloon, two-tone leather treatment, Sparco Clubman threepoint safety harnesses, AC Schnitzer full pedal set and floor mats. Aluminium interior trim and gear shift, NR Auto aluminium gauges, Isotta chrome gear shift surround
ICE: Alpine 7965 CD head unit, CHA 1214 12-disc changer, SPR 176A 6.5” components, SPR 172A 6.5” coaxial. Rockford Fosgate 400 four-channel amp, 360 two-channel amp, 1.0 Farad capacitor. Allumapro BP10 subwoofer enclosure
THANKS: TWCompetition, Peter at wheelexperts.com, Samir at Rennsport.com, Tom Chang at Bimmerfesteast.com, Ooro and Drea at Bimmervibe.com, Jimmy at Pfactor.com, Mark and Ben at Rogueengineering.com, Barry at Race Technologies, Dtmpower.net, E46fanatics.com, Cave Crew, Michael Cajayon, Rich Pinto at Rtechnic, my girlfriend Mabel, friends and family
Above: Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm big brake kit for the rears! Up front are Brembo 320mm. Left: Plenty of lovely carbon fibre.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE LOST CITY
A pair of nicely-modded UK E36 Tourings finished in rare Atlantis blue.
Atlantis blue is a rare colour, so to find two E36 Tourings in the hue and both on the UK’s scene is pretty special – especially when they’ve been modified too. Words: Ben Koflach /// Photos: Gary Hawkins
If we had to name a car that’s gained a lot of popularity on the modified scene lately it would have to be the E36 Touring. Sure, the Coupé is undoubtedly the king of the modified E36 generation, but the Touring has been finding a stronger following than ever before. The estates, for whatever reason, often seem to be better looked after, and with plenty of engine options available there’s a car out there for everyone. The reason they’ve been getting stronger on the scene, though, is perhaps partly due to these two. The Atlantis blue pair are both quite different despite their shared hue – we found out more about them and their owners, Oliver Ross and Dips Amin.
Ollie’s #BMW-328i-SE / #BMW-328i-SE-E36
Of the two Tourings you see before you here, Ollie’s could perhaps be described as the longtermer. He’s had it for almost six years now, and in that time he’s completely transformed it into the ultimate all-rounder.
Being a family man and needing to use the car every day, it had to do everything well, and he’s certainly achieved that.
When purchased, the rare Atlantis blue Touring already had some goodies fitted, namely an M Tech front bumper and rubstrips, black kidney grilles and 18” MV2 wheels from an E46. From the factory it had white indicators all-round and a full leather interior with Individual piping, so as you can imagine it looked pretty good to start with!
As you may have guessed, Ollie had some different plans for it. In the long-term, he knew he had a couple of rust issues to tidy up, but in the meantime he set about changing the rolling stock and improving the 2.8’s soundtrack. Unfortunately Ollie’s first wheel change didn’t exactly go to plan – he managed to source some Schnitzer reps going cheap. Being one of his favourite wheel designs he snapped them up; unfortunately part of the cheapness was due to the fact that he was buying blind. See where this is going?
Yep, you guessed it – the offset of the wheels was far too low, meaning that they were a completely unviable solution. “I was absolutely gutted!” said Ollie. “Dips PM’d me on the DRIVE-MY forum, saying that he could roll my arches – but I didn’t want that. Dips bought the wheels from me at the price I paid – this was my first dealing with Custom Cars. Most of my work is now done by them, the standard is so high that I will happily travel two hours to get work done there.”
With the wheels gone to a good home, Ollie just got on with what he could – he had a second-hand custom exhaust sitting around, which he simply had to fit. It actually had upswept #DTM-style tailpipes and posed a few fitting problems; nothing Ollie and a good mate of his couldn’t tackle, however. A couple of the mounting bolts needed tweaking to allow fitment, while the style of the exhaust was also changed. Using an angle grinder the upswept parts of the exhaust were cut off, with the remaining pipes left in a staggered tip formation and finished off with a touch of filing. “I don’t know what brand it is,” Ollie said, “but it’s damn loud!”
Though understandably happy with the exhaust, Ollie still had that wheel disaster in his mind. It was all about to change, though, as he ordered a set of 8.5x18” #BBS-GT -RS replicas for the Tourer. They look mighty good, as you can see, but there was a series of touches planned for the 2011 season…
Ollie had been lucky enough to pick up a pair of M3 mirrors, a Raid steering wheel and a few other cool touches, though the main addition was Hottuning coilovers; none of the new parts, however, cost Ollie too much thanks to his various contacts and a keen eye for a deal. Indeed, the same can be said for almost every part of the build.
A Storm gear knob was sourced soon after, meaning the Touring was treated to quite some makeover. Pressed steel plates were added, too, followed by one of our favourite details on this Touring, colour-coded BBS centre badges, which were sourced through a fellow DRIVE-MY forum member.
Many of you will have no doubt seen the Touring at shows throughout 2011 but it was in preparation for this year that Ollie really stepped things up a notch…
As well as a set of M3 side skirts and a rear bumper, Ollie sourced a spoiler, M3 front bumper mesh and intake trumpets. Booked into Custom Cars so that Dips could work his magic, it was also the perfect opportunity for the various small bubbles of rust and other imperfections to be eliminated. The front roundel was removed and smoothed at the same time. Inside, a JVC DVD headunit was added, as well as screens linking to it in the headrests, perfect for keeping the kids happy.
To keep Ollie happy too, more power was needed to keep his right foot entertained, no matter which pedal it was pushing down on. For the right-hand pedal, the popular M50 manifold conversion was carried out, along with the fitment of a big bore throttle body, while finishing off the under-bonnet appearance is a US M3 engine cover and colour-coded strut brace end plates.
A recent dyno run over at BW Chiptune suggests that it’s making a very healthy 222.8bhp. And the upgrade for the middle pedal? That’s an E46 330i front brake setup, consisting of 325mm ATE discs (up from 286mm) and beefier calipers than the standard E36 affair.
Ollie’s final touch, and one that really makes his E36 stand out, is the gold centres on the wheels. Inspired by Robbie Langelier’s BMW E30 3-Series, he had Dips lay down those perfect golden coats, making them really stand out and contrast with the Atlantis blue to great effect.
Subtly smoked front indicators complete the exterior, while Ollie played a clever trick for the final interior touch. He managed to strike up a deal with a mate of his who happens to be a handy seamstress. Being a cookery teacher by day, he’s pretty good with a stove to say the least, so he baked her a cake in exchange for her redoing the stitching on his gaiters in an Atlantis blue- matching thread – a very neat touch.
The last addition in the story so far is M3 door sill trims, which are genuine parts he managed to get second-hand from an M3 saloon. “They’re £90 each from the dealers – there was no way I was paying that!” he laughed. They make a perfect addition, especially considering Ollie’s future plans.
“I’ve wanted to put an M3 engine in for some time,” he said. “It’s become a case of not if but when. Even my kids Megan and Dylan always ask about when I’ll do the M3 conversion – they adore the Touring.”
Being able to keep the whole family happy is no mean feat, but the fact it’s been managed with this E36, and on a budget, proves that nothing is impossible.
In comparison to Ollie’s lengthy build, the time scale of Dips’ Touring is minuscule – it was turned around in just a week! That makes it no less effective mind you. As a serial parts hoarder and a man with all the skills and owner of Custom Cars, this was simply an exercise in turning a standard Tourer into something very effective indeed.
“I’d spent the show season working on customer’s cars at my company Custom Cars and so hadn’t actually built anything for myself,” Dips told us. “When this Atlantis Touring came up it was just too good to say no – at the time Ollie’s was the only other one on the scene, so once I’d checked he didn’t mind and promised to do it differently, I went to collect it. My good friend Richard Ansari came with me to collect it from Somerset. It only cost £1000 and started as a basic 323i manual – you can’t be fussy if you want a rare colour like Atlantis.”
With the Players show just around the corner, Dips had his work cut out, and so got straight into turning the Touring into a show-worthy stunner. “The boys down at HTS Motorsport really helped me out – I was so busy with customer cars and rims still that I just didn’t have the space. They were absolutely fundamental in bringing it all together,” Dips revealed.
The helping hands at HTS kindly fitted the interior you see before you. Dips sourced it on eBay and Sunny at HTS had it fitted after two days of work – to say it looks better than the black cloth previously fitted would be a real understatement. A Storm gear knob, custom gaiters and an M-Tech steering wheel are the only additions other than that extended cream and champagne cow-hide – you’ll probably have noted that even the headliner was swapped.
“To be honest most of the car was pretty plain sailing,” Dips explained. “It’s actually quite a simple car compared to some of the other projects I’ve had, but everyone seems to love it.” Part of what made it simple was the fact that all of the bodywork, and indeed the wheels, were already in Dips’ collection. But more on that later – there were quite a few steps to be taken before it was ready to be put back together. JOM coilovers were fitted, and the arches were treated to a roll so that they’d be more homely for the planned footwear. The exhaust was also swapped for a full T304 stainless item, including the manifold, which was purchased very cheaply from eBay. “It needed a bit of fabrication work from Sunny to get it fitted perfectly, but it looks and sounds really good,” Dips added. 6000k HIDs, angel eyes and Brembo brake components completed the first part of the makeover – from then on it was time to raid Dips’ hoard and get busy with the paint gun.
Ultra-rare parts are one of Dip’s speciality, which was fortunate as, after all, he’d promised to go down a different look to Ollie’s Touring and that meant he couldn’t use M3 parts. The route he’s chosen is to use an AC Schnitzer kit, consisting of front and rear bumpers as well as mirrors. He’s after the side skirts to complete the set, but in all honesty it looks good without them.
Of course, the new parts needed painting to match the Atlantis blue finish, which Dips carried out as well as smoothing the front and rear roundels. “The base car was really good, so we only needed to paint the bits we added, the bonnet, bootlid and lower quarters,” Dips explained. “Kos then spent two days detailing it. We were up until 2am the night before Players to get it ready!”
The final step was the wheels; classic RH Toplines in 8.5x17” and 10x17” are pretty hard to come by, and with some fairly substantial tyre stretch they’ve been made to fit rather nicely indeed. In fact, the fronts have even been spaced out 15mm to match the boundary-pushing rear fitment.
“I can’t keep spending money on this Touring – it owes me £5.5k so far, which isn’t too much, but I really need to get on with my other 17 projects!” Dips laughed. Don’t think this is the end of his plans for E36 Tourings, mind you – he’s also got a Sierra red 328i which will be getting some pretty spectacular treatment in the coming months.
This one may have had a quick turnaround, but it’s fair to say it looks spectacular – whist keeping it distinctively different look to Ollie’s – Dips certainly kept his promise.
By themselves these Tourings look stunning, but together they’re even better.
Custom stitching and Champagne leather – a nice combination!
DATA FILE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-E36-Touring / #BMW-325i-E36 / #BMW-325i-Touring-E36 / #BMW-325i-Touring / #BMW-325i / #BBS
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straight-six #M52B25 , custom painted covers, full T307 stainless steel exhaust including headers. Standard transmission with short-shift kit
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) RH Toplines shod in 205/40 and 235/35 Falken tyres respectively, 15mm front spacer. JOM coilovers. #Brembo discs and pads all-round
EXTERIOR: #AC-Schnitzer front bumper, AC Schnitzer rear bumper, AC Schnitzer electric mirrors, front numberplate blank, smoked front and side indicators, smoked foglights, all-red rear lights, bonnet and bootlid debadged, M3 rubstrips (colour-coded), 6000k HIDs and angel eyes
INTERIOR: Extended cream/champagne leather interior, black leather gaiters with custom blue stitching, dog guard, Storm gear knob, #M-Tech steering wheel
THANKS: Custom Cars, HTS Motorsport, Jason at BW Chiptune, Kos for the detail work before every show and shoot, all the forum boys and girls for the support and all the boys for their running around
Ollie’s aim to keep the whole family happy has been met thanks to his series of mods.
DATA FILE #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328i-Touring-E36 / #BMW-328i-Touring / #BMW-328i /
ENGINE: 2.8-litre straight-six #M52B28 / #M52 / #BMW-M52 , #M50 manifold conversion, big-bore throttle body, debaffled airbox, US M3 engine cover, stainless steel cat-back exhaust with customized tips. Five-speed manual gearbox, short-shifter
CHASSIS: 8.5x18” #BBS-GT-RS replica wheels with polished lips and gold centres, gold valve caps and custom centre caps, 225/40 Falken 452s. Hottuning coilovers. E46 330i front brake conversion with #ATE discs and Pagid pads, OEM rear brakes
EXTERIOR: M3 front bumper, M3 mesh with colourcoded air trumpets, M3 splitter, M3 rear bumper, rear diffuser adapted to fit exhaust, M3 side skirts, M3 electric mirrors, M3 bumpstrips, debadged bonnet, gloss black kidney grilles, smoked front indicators
INTERIOR: Standard black leather with Individual Atlantis blue piping, Raid steering wheel, Storm Motorwerks gear knob, custom stitching on gaiters, M3 sill covers
THANKS: Dips and Kos and Damien at Tyreweb in Ashford, Eleanor from work and all the guys on the #Drive-My and e36coupe forums but ultimately to Lucy (wife) and Megan and Dylan (kids) for their time and patienceStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.