- Post is under moderation/ #BMW / #Alpina-B10-3.3-Touring / #Alpina-B10-3.3-Touring-E39 / #Alpina-B10-E39 / #BMW-E39 / #BMW-E39-Alpina / #BMW-E39-Touring / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 / #BMW-5-Series-Touring / #BMW-5-Series-Touring-E39 / BMW / #Alpina / #AC-Schnitzer / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #BMW-E39-Air-Lift
E39 Touring’s arches swallow the #Alpina-Classics with ease. Lows when you want them, sensible ride height when you don’t.
RYAN’S E39 ALPINA B10 3.3 TOURING
I’ve been living a #LIFEONAIR for just about a month now and I’m loving every minute of it. Aside from a very, very angry bunch of Alpina enthusiasts sending me hate mail and calling me out on the Internet, life with the bagged B10 couldn’t be simpler.
I’d forgive you for thinking that by adding extra airlines and another management system the suspension system might become susceptible to leaks and a bit, well ‘modified’. That’s absolutely not the case and it’s actually much more robust than the OE BMW SLS system. Granted, the BMW SLS only runs on the rear of the car and allows self-levelling to the fixed front axle but the pump size is puny and tank capacity equally small. The two #Viair 444c pumps included in the Air Lift Performance kit are never stretched to fill the two, two-gallon tanks and everything runs at about 40% duty. Thanks to the quality of the Air Lift Performance front bags and leader lines there’s been absolutely no leaks from the get-go. This was helped by the thorough instructions included in the kit that would allow even a relative amateur to install the kit with ease.
Since the install I’ve covered some 2000 miles in the car and it’s very much been a fi t and forget affair. I’ve only lifted the factory E39 boot floor to show interested parties the trick setup lurking beneath. Driving the car at a sensible ride height, it’s really difficult to identify a difference in ride quality between the Alpina suspension and the Air Lift Performance setup. It sounds crazy, and I’m sure that statement will leave plenty of Alpina lovers chortling and shaking their heads, but it’s true though. Air Lift Performance 3H is such a sophisticated system that it can out-handle even the most coveted BMW suspension upgrade. Now that this car is on air there is no way I would go back to a static setup.
It’s the flexibility that strikes me the most. It’s already a hugely versatile car; it can carry big loads, has the heart of a true performance car and now it can party with the show crowd while remaining grown up and demure. Likewise, through town it’s possible to drive at a dangerously low height, usually not possible with a pressure-based system. This is because #Air-Lift-Performance-3H continuously monitors pressure and height and adjusts bag pressure to maintain ride height. This means it’s possible to have your wheels mere mm from the arches and not have contact, pretty fun for posing. Parked up at a slammed height the E39 can mix it with the best of them, however park it at ride height and no one is any the wiser. It’s also perfect for visiting the in-laws and avoiding awkward car questions from non-car relatives. For those reasons alone Air Lift Performance 3H is a game-changing suspension system and something I’m certainly pleased I plumped for on this project.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRazzle Dazzle Wild, wide-body, air-ride E36 M3. Beneath the jarring geometric shapes and black-and-white lines, there’s a pretty astonishing M3 hiding in here. And the deeper you dig into its story, the more mystery and intrigue you unearth… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Brian McGee.
The Zebra M3’. That’s a name a lot of people seem to throw at this car. But have you ever seen a zebra with stripes like this? That’d be one funky-looking equid. No, the style you’re seeing here is a retro mind-melter known as ‘dazzle camouflage’. We know what you’re thinking – camouflage is meant to blend you into the background, right? Like the traditional greens and browns of army gear, or the beige tones used for desert combat. But what can possibly be so jagged in black-and-white that you could morph with its style like this? Some sort of explosion in a print factory? No, the idea here is not simply to hide, but to hide in plain sight; to confuse and distort. Dazzle camo first appeared on ships in World War I, its deliberately interruptive patterns intended not to conceal the vessels, but to make it impossible to judge how big they were, how fast they were going, and how far away they were. And that’s why the offbeat camo works so well today on a wide-body Pandem E36 M3, and makes those three questions are easy to answer. How big is it? Very, thanks to those Rocket Bunny extensions. How fast is it going? Again, very – it’s an M3. How far away is it? Sweetheart, it’s totally in your face.
The act of being totally in your face is all in a day’s work for Carl Taylor, of course. He, as some of you will be aware, is the driving force behind the Players shows as well as a marketing superhero for Air Lift, and what he doesn’t know about badass show-stopping rides could be comfortably felt-tipped on the back of a postage stamp. The germ of the idea that led to this car in fact appeared back before Wörthersee 2014, when Carl and Rotiform’s Brian Henderson built a pair of E36 Art Cars with Rocket Bunny kits; a 323i and a 325i. “I loved driving that car, and I decided I needed to build another one once I moved to the States… but this time with more power,” he recalls. “So I bought an M3. I found it locally after I moved to California – it was in pretty good condition, the paint was sunburnt but that didn’t matter as I was planning to wrap it anyway,” he says.
Now, you don’t get to be the figurehead of an industry powerhouse like Players without having a few ideas buzzing around the ol’ brainbox – here’s a man who, after all, can count around fifty cars in his personal history with every single one of them being modified in some way or another – so of course he had a plan for the car. Its fate was written in the stars before he’d even hauled it back to his sun-drenched new home. “I’d broken up the Wörthersee car and saved some parts from that,” he explains. And before the scene knew just what had hit it, Carl was delivering a sucker punch at SEMA 2014 with a fresh, super-wide new build. It wore a minty green Tic-Tac race livery, chosen to emulate the Team Valier E30 M3 that used to race in the DTM, but caricaturised to be broader, fatter, meaner, scarier. The E36’s stock arches were unceremoniously savaged to allow the fitment of a full Sarto Racing kit, with non-M bumpers swapped on to flow more cleanly with the new lines. A set of colossal Rotiform ROCs filled the arches, resplendent in satin gold, and – inevitably, given Carl’s line of work – a top-of-the-range Air Lift setup found its way in. It had a full-on race car look inside; Cobra bucket seats, a rollcage, not a lot else. The effect was pleasingly startling, Carl’s decades-old coupé with its relatively short (but nevertheless superbly well-chosen) spec list more than holding its own against the show’s multi-million dollar builds. What’s key with projects like this, you see, is being relatable as well as aspirational. When you make something as awesome as the Tic-Tac E36, you can shift a lot of wheels, and air-ride kits, and seats, and bodykits, and… well, you know how the game’s played.
The game, naturally, never stops. Not for a second. So it was imperative for Carl to shake up the formula right away; the car would be returning to SEMA the following year, and it had to be rocking some significant changes. You can’t stand up on a Broadway stage and sing the same song twice. The next thing we knew, the broadhipped M3 was wearing a fresh Art Carinspired wrap, emulating that Wörthersee road trip that kicked the whole process off, along with a Rocket Bunny Pandem kit, a jarring set of Rotiform USF wheels (a sort of double-three-spoke affair, very retro JDM) and a raft of detail changes. The scene was set for the car to once again break necks and steal hearts at the world’s largest aftermarket tuning show.
Except that, as is his wont, Carl changed his mind at the eleventh hour. “Six weeks before SEMA 2015, I decided to change it a bit,” he says, dabbling masterfully in understatement. Indeed, you’ve probably spotted the car’s not dolled up like an oldschool Art Car in these photographs; no, we’re back at the dazzle camouflage motif we opened with. And there’s also a V2 Pandem kit thrown into the mix. This isn’t so much hiding in plain sight as just running up to people in the street and smacking them across the chops with an embroidered leather glove. If you want a fight, sure, this angry M3 is definitely spoiling for a rumble. “Being a sales manager for Air Lift Performance, I had to equip the car with the latest 3H system with Performance struts,” Carl reasons, “and we had Because Bags create a custom rollcage install for it too.”
This really is a sight to behold, the way the tanks and hardlines caress the cage like one of those terrifying metal spiders in The Matrix. It’s details like this that steal the SEMA headlines. “I only ever run Rotiform too,” he grins. “The design was left down to Brian Henderson, however I did choose the Corky Pink finish myself to add some colour to the car.” Yep, you certainly can’t argue with the logic of that. Those flashy fourspokes do stand out, don’t they?
“We’d just decided that we really needed to make a change if we were going to return to SEMA with the same car,” Carl shrugs. “We had the race car interior theme reworked with some custom Cobra Suzuka Pro seats, and the wheels came out perfectly, the finish is amazing – I think they’re my favourite part of the car. The rebuild took Vaderwerks around two weeks to finish up, with the kit install and then wrapping it and setting the air up with the new wheels. Everything worked out perfect.”
Now, it’s probably time to address the elephant in the room. SEMA 2015 was a little while ago… so why are we featuring the car now, in 2017? Well, this ‘zebra’ evolution was only one step of many along this everevolving car’s path. Things have happened between then and now. Important things. “The car was sold before we were even back from SEMA,” Carl admits. “Someone heard about the project and made an offer, so it was time for something else. I regret selling this car, to be honest, as after all the work it looked the best ever.”
But he needn’t be sad, as the car’s latest curator isn’t one to rest on his laurels or let the grass grow. Dylan Coleman is the name to watch – you may know him as @hawaiianeze on Instagram – and he’s a man with more than a few plans. Dylan’s set up a pretty astonishing business in Hollywood, you see: he and his father, Lee, are the brains behind StreetFighter LA, and they’ve been working with the fabled Long Tran at LTMW to kick out some pretty mould-breaking builds. “I was looking for another project to start after we parted with our #ProjectHulk Liberty Walk Challenger,” he explains. “I’d come from a BMW background, and the E36 M3 has always been one of my favourite models. While looking around for potential cars, our friends at Rotiform Wheels contacted us and just so happened to know someone who was looking to sell…”
Yes, Sherlock, that person was Carl. So Dylan was cruising around LA in one of the world’s best-known BMW builds. That must have felt pretty good? “Well, yes and no,” he says. “We brought the car back to Los Angeles after SEMA, where I started to use it as a daily driver while we were finishing up some other projects. But although the car was a great build that caught the attention of everyone on the road, I never truly felt the connection like I did with my past projects; with high mileage and a stock engine it was time to look to start rebuilding or swapping the engine…”
But that, friends, is another story for another day. You’ll just have to keep an eye on your favourite BMW modifying magazine for the next chapter. For now, however, let’s leave Dylan basking in the glory of Carl’s achievements, sprinkling on some of his own unique blend of magic, and formulating his plan of attack to take this iconic build to the next level. Hiding in plain sight? Boy, it sure is dazzling.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Wide-body #Air-ride #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E36 / #Rotiform / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body-E36 / #BMW-E36-Wide-Body / #BMW-E36-Art-Car / #BMW-Art-Car / #BMW
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION Stock #S52B32 / #S52 / #BMW-S52 3.2-litre straight six, full #Magnaflow stainless steel exhaust system, #K&N induction. Five-speed manual gearbox, welded diff
CHASSIS 17” #Rotiform-RBQ wheels in Corky Pink with 235/45 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, full #Air-Lift-Performance-3H airride System
EXTERIOR #Rocke-Bunny-Pandem-V2 wide-body kit with #Downstar fixings, custom-designed 3M wrap by JD Wraps installed by #Vaderwerks , #AC-Schnitzer mirrors
INTERIOR #Renown steering wheel, custom Cobr a Suzuka Pro seats, #Wiechers roll cage, custom Because Bags roll cage-mounted #Air-Lift install
THANKS Gino the Master Sepe at Vaderwerks, Brian, Jason and the Rotiform team, Mark and Adam at Cobra Seats, James and Ken at Because Bags, Corey and all my Air Lift Colleagues, Russ and Erik at JD Wraps, Paul Kitch at 3M, Stan at Toyo Tires, 714 Tires, LTMW, Magnaflow, and Renown
“I had to equip the car with the latest 3H system with Performance struts”
“The wheels came out perfectly, the finish is amazing - I think they’re my favourite part of the car”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSPACE INVADER 900hp #BMW-E91 / #BMW-335i-Touring / #BMW-335i-Touring-E91 / #BMW-335i-E91 / #BMW-335i-Touring-900bhp / #BMW-335i-Touring-E91-900bhp
With 900hp from an #N54 with stock internals, this E91 Touring is really reaching for the final frontier. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: RonV Photography.
The king of fast estates has traditionally always been Audi; its automotive back catalogue is filled with examples of big power load-luggers, from the legendary RS2 Avant, mental original RS4 and equally mental RS6s, though BMW has also had a go, with the E34 M5 Touring and E61 M5 Touring. These days, though, its given up on M estates, so the fastest way to transport dogs, children and sofas, possibly all at the same time, is in something with a turbocharged straight-six under the bonnet. For example, the F31 335d xDrive will hit 0-62 in 4.9 seconds, at which point you have to ask yourself: how fast do you really need to go?
Well, if your name is Marco van Weerd, then the answer is much, much faster than that. Marco’s steed of choice is an E91 335i M Sport Touring, a fine car powered by a fine engine and plenty quick in just about any given situation but, as we all know, the twin-turbo N54 has so much more to give… Marco bought the car three years ago, completely stock, but, with a couple of modified Japanese cars in his motoring past, it was never going to stay that way for long. “From the moment I bought the car, I began modifying it right away, starting with some standard upgrades like a JB4, downpipes, intercooler etc” but that was never going to satisfy his thirst for modifying and his hunger for power. You see, Marco wasn’t interested in owning just a quick car, he wanted to push the limits of the #N54 as far as he could and that’s exactly what he’s done, taking the 3.0-litre straight-six to a staggering 900hp. It takes just a quick glance into this E91’s engine bay to see how he’s done that: with an absolutely gigantic turbo strapped to the side of the engine but, what’s a little scary, is the fact that Marco has left the engine’s internals completely stock…
“I wanted to try and break the 1000 flywheel hp mark on a stock N54 because I want to be the one to set that record,” he grins, and he’s tantalisingly close. The key to that stratospheric power output is threefold, a combination of: massive turbo, fuelling mods and the right fuel. The pictures show a Comp 6465 but that wasn’t powerful enough for Marco, so since the shoot that has been swapped for a Precision 6466 turbo running at a heady 2.5bar, with twin Tial MVS wastegates leading to a pair of screamer pipes located under the car, with that torrent of turbocharged air being passed through a 190.5mm stepped intercooler from VR Speed Factory and into an Evolution of Speed intake manifold with six Bosch injectors. These are fed by an uprated fuel system running a Fuel-It Stage 3 kit consisting of twin Walbro 450 low-pressure fuel pumps plus upgraded fuel lines with a Bluetooth-enabled ethanol content analyser, necessary because the car has been set up by JB4 Tuning Benelux to run on E60, a heady mix of ethanol and 102 octane fuel. Further enhancements include cooler NGK 5992 spark plugs and a custom exhaust, consisting of a 3.5” downpipe leading to twin 2.5” pipes with twin electronically controlled cut-outs located before the rear silencer, and finished off with twin 102mm carbon exhaust tips.
You might be concerned that running that much boost through such a massive turbo means the engine is only heading in one, inevitable direction, but you needn’t worry as a forged engine is on the cards, at which point Marco’s power goal will change from 1000hp at the crank to 1000whp… When that happens, there will be a lot of transmission work going on because, at the moment, everything here, much like everything within the engine, is completely standard and that simply won’t do when the next stage of the project gets underway. In fact, only the standard brakes have been deemed unfit for purpose and have received a seriously substantial upgrade in the shape of a D2 Racing front and rear BBK, comprising 380mm discs with eight-piston calipers and 356mm discs with four-piston calipers respectively.
You might be expecting to find some sort of serious static suspension setup leaning far towards the performance end of the spectrum, but one glance at the photos will tell you that you’d be wrong. Marco has opted for a spot of air-ride, with an Air Lift Performance 3H kit handling the suspension duties and delivering some devastating lows when fully aired out, bringing this E91 to within a whisker of the Tarmac, the nifty controller mounted simply, just ahead of the gear lever inside the car. The interior itself has been left virtually standard, bar the addition of the M Performance gear selector and carbon roundel on the steering wheel, which has also been treated to an alcantara trim panel. What Marco has done is add some serious tech to help him keep an eye on what going on under the bonnet, with a Samsung tablet running the JB4 mobile app and displaying OBD controls and tuning plus a phone equipped with the Fuel-It app, displaying fuel temperature and ethanol content, with both pieces of tech connected to the car via Bluetooth.
While the engine and interior may have been left standard, the exterior has not and here Marco has taken the opportunity to put his personal stamp on the car and really make it stand out. “In my company I have my own car lift where I can work on the car whenever I want,” he says. “I tried to build the car all to my own taste and wanted to use custom parts you cannot buy everywhere,” which is why this E91 looks so distinctive. Up front, and giving this prefacelift E91 a fresh and fierce look, he’s fitted a custom 1M front bumper specially made to go with the facelift bonnet (complete with carbon roundel) and headlights he’s also fitted, and the bumper has been further enhanced with the addition of a custom carbon front lip with custom carbon winglets at the corners. There are matt black mirrors and the side skirts have been embellished with custom carbon extension lips while at the rear you’ll find a custom carbon diffuser and custom carbon fi ns at the edges of the bumper, with all-red rear lights adding the finishing touch. Marco’s custom approach to styling and inherent perfectionism and attention to detail extends to the engine bay, which has also been adorned with a selection of custom carbon parts along with a custom carbon strut brace. The wheels too are, naturally, completely custom items produced to Marco’s exact specifications, 8.5x20” up front and 10x20” at the rear, a striking twin seven-spoke design finished in Sepang bronze. You might think that would be an odd choice to go with such an extensively black exterior, but they really work and just add something to the overall look of the car and the size is perfect too. The extensive use of carbon fibre, the aggressive styling and the sheer blackness of the thing all combine to make this one of the most ferocious-looking E91s we’ve ever crossed paths with. It’s just so mean and intimidating, an utterly ruthless-looking machine and one that has more than enough bite to back up its substantial bark.
For most people, a 900hp E91 Touring would be their final goal, but Marco’s just getting warmed up and there’s a lot more to come. “I want to make a custom wide-body kit for the car,” says Marco, running through his future plans for the Touring, “another set of custom wheels, wider this time, at least 10s up front and 12s at the rear, and I’ll also build the forged engine I want so I can hit 1000whp and that will also need an upgraded gearbox, axles and diff.” Judging by what he’s accomplished so far and his dedication and determination to extract as much power as physically possible from the N54, we don’t doubt he’ll achieve his goals and the end result is going to be something truly out of this world…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Single-Turbo E91 335i / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #N54-PTE6466 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-E91 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 / #N54B30-tuned / #N54-swapp , #PTE-6466 1.0 A/r T4 turbo ( #Comp-6465 turbo shown in pictures), twin #Tial-MVS wastegates with twin screamer pipes, custom intake piping, #VR-Speed-Factory 190.5mm stepped intercooler, Evolution of Speed intake manifold with six #Bosch injectors, #Fuel-It-Stage-3 kit with twin Walbro 450 low pressure fuel pumps, upgraded fuel lines, in-line Bluetooth-enabled ethanol content reader, #NGK 5992 spark plugs, custom exhaust with 3.5’’ downpipe to twin 2.5’’ piping, twin electronic cut-outs, twin carbon 102mm exhaust tips, custom carbon engine parts. Standard #ZF6HP six-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) custom wheels finished in #Sepang-bronze with 225/30 (front) and 265/25 (rear) Hankook Evo S1 tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3H #Air-ride system, custom carbon fibre strut brace, #D2-Racing #BBK with eight-pot calipers and 380mm floating discs (front) and four-pot calipers and 356mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR LCI bonnet, LCI headlights, custom 1M front bumper, custom carbon front lip with custom carbon tips, carbon roundels, matt black mirrors, custom carbon side skirt extensions, custom carbon rear diffuser, custom carbon fi ns, all-red rear lights
INTERIOR #M-Performance gear selector, carbon steering wheel roundel, alcantara steering wheel trim panel, Samsung tablet running JB4 mobile app, phone running Fuel-It app, 3H controller, single air tank in boot
THANKS Andreas Bäckström at PPF Racing, JB4 Tuning Benelux, custom parts by Ventura Motorsports USA, Ritchino Lippelt at MALS, carbon parts by Wheelclinic Lightweight Performance, Mike Kluinhaar at Kluinhaar Bandenservice & Design, Tim Maatman for the welding, N-XTC.com/Chemical Guys for the Quartz Coat paint protection, High Quality Detailing, Tiago Vieira at VR Speed FactoryStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation(NOT) GROWING UP Beautiful blue bagged E92 320d
Deciding it’s time to grow up and stop modifying a car is easy, but actually doing it is much harder… Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Simon Ward
There comes a time, we suppose, in all our lives when we will start thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’s time to stop modifying cars and start putting money away, sensibly, for the inevitable arrival of The Future and spending what spare money we have left on more grown-up interests, such as old whisky and expensive wax jackets or hand-crafted ethnic fair trade furniture. Perhaps that’s already happened, perhaps you’re sipping an 18-year-old single malt while wearing an expensive jacket, sitting on a chair made from Sheesham hardwood. What’s Sheesham? Exactly…
Or perhaps it’s already crossed your mind while you were out shopping for your new car, or when you decided to spend three months’ wages on a new set of wheels, but you’ve not managed to commit yet. You can’t quit the grip of modding and you keep telling yourself that you’ll start being sensible any day now, but there’s just time for one last big score…
That’s where Will Drayson found himself about four years ago, but we’ll let him tell his tale: “I’ve dreamed of owning a BMW since I first passed my test – something has always drawn me towards them. This was my first BMW; at the time I had just been promoted and began working in Sheffield. I had a modified Mk4 Golf and wanted something a bit smarter. I tried to be sensible and choose something with good economy as I was commuting about 300 miles a week. I went for the E92 320d as I loved how it looked and knew the running costs wouldn’t be an issue. It seemed like the perfect car for me.
“I travelled to Leicester to get it. I’ve always been a bit OCD with my cars and paintwork and I’d spoken to the seller on the phone and told him that if it wasn’t perfect then not to waste my time, but if it was as good as he’d said I’d pay the full asking price. True to his word it was immaculate and when I pulled up to view it, before I even started the engine, I knew I wanted it. I was so happy when I bought it, I’ll never forget that day.
“I originally told myself it was time to grow up, save money and take a break from the modifying scene… and then within four days had already painted the wheels a dark anthracite and ordered some coilovers. I couldn’t help myself – to me, modifying my cars is an expression of who I am. I don’t think it’ll ever be anything I can leave alone.”
Will is most definitely a serial modifier and looking back through his case history it’s clear that nothing short of an intervention will be able to kerb his habit. After leaving school and starting work as a joiner, he modified his Astra work van. This was followed by a modified and financially crippling SEAT Leon Cupra R and then the slightly more sensible Golf GT TDi. This leads us neatly on to the 320d, the car that would not be modified, except is now probably more modified than all of the others put together. If we were mean, we’d go for a slow hand clap, but we’re sympathetic so we’ll opt for a consoling pat on the back instead. Not that Will needs consoling because his decision to go to town on his E92 means he’s ended up with a spectacular machine that turns heads wherever it goes.
The reason for all that attention is simple: it looks absolutely spectacular. Will’s done a first rate job on the styling but what really sets it all off is that custom paint; it’s a gloriously bold blue, solid and striking and completely custom, conjured up by the mind of Will himself. We happen to know the ingredients that went into this unique blend but if we told you, we’d have to kill you, and then Will would probably come and kill us, so we won’t. All we can tell you is that it was created in a bit of a mad scientist moment of mixing, a Willy Wonka-esque colour mixing adventure with Will having no earthly way of knowing in which direction he was going, and when the smoke had cleared and it was all over, he’d conjured up his perfect shade of blue.
But a blue E92 alone isn’t enough to stand out from the crowd. It needed to be sprayed over a body that’s deserving of all that love and attention: “I wanted quite an aggressive look while avoiding the M3 bumper/replica route,” he explains. “With it being a 320d the last thing I wanted was to ‘pretend’ it was an M3.” He’s certainly done a grand job of making his E92 look suitably aggressive without following the crowd. Will has smoothed the front bumper, removed the headlight washer jets, smoothed the bonnet, added NEM angel eyes with tinted internals along with tinted rear lights and then he’s gone to town on the carbon. There are carbon kidney grilles, front splitter, mirror covers that he skinned himself, Ericsson bootlid and a rear diffuser, which has been embellished with a pair of 335i tailpipes.
Naturally, all that visual drama needed the right wheels and this too was an area where Will was keen not to blend in with everyone else and he wasn’t afraid of going off-piste in order to give his E92 a unique look: “The first set of wheels I put on were some Bentley Continental 19s,” he says. “I’d seen them a lot in the VAG scene and wanted to break the mould with the BMW scene. I’ve always liked how the VAG scene is about thinking outside-the-box, while on all the BMW forums everyone was just buying CSL replicas and it was bland in honesty. All modified Threes looked similar. I wanted to take a different route. Everyone told me it wouldn’t work and would look terrible but I hit up G23 Engineering for some adapters and put the Bentley wheels on and people’s minds were soon changed!
“The car looked great – I miss that look to be fair. I ran them for a couple of years until I fancied a change and that’s when I spotted these concave Rotiform BLQs for sale with the exact same width and offsets as the Bentley wheels. They would be a straight fit onto my existing adaptors without any extra work so I thought it was a no brainer really!” Indeed, no brain was required for this decision as the BLQ is a great looking wheel, the concave profile really suiting the E92 styling and the black centres are the perfect match for the carbon elements scattered across the exterior.
The perfect wheels need the perfect suspension setup and while Will’s first efforts were static, air was always an inevitability. “Originally I bought some D2 coilovers but they lasted about a year until they collapsed and went to an oily grave,” he says. “I then went with BC Racing coilovers, which were brilliant. I’d wanted air during that time but couldn’t afford it. I ran the BCs for about a year until I finally caved and went with the new #Air-Lift 3H kit. A friend of mine, Vick Nagi, mentioned I could be a guinea pig for the new kit through his company, Lowpro, so I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a kit as a test vehicle before the official release!” The 3H has been treated to a sexy floating boot install, comprising a single tank and twin compressors, complete with lighting and finished in satin grey to match his wheel lips.
With the 320d having been purchased for its economy, Will has decided to leave the engine alone, bar the addition of a K&N panel filter and covering the air intake panel in carbon himself. “Even when I got to the point that I decided it was a show car and no longer a daily commuter I didn’t think it was worth spending money trying to squeeze more power from the engine. I’ve considered a 335i engine swap but it’s never really interested me; I love driving the car as it is and I’ve got nothing to prove, I don’t need 400 horses to enjoy it!” he smiles and that might be the most sensible thing we’ve heard him say all day!
The engine might be stock, but the interior most definitely is not and Will’s made it a very nice place to spend time in.
Gone are the stock M Sport front seats and in their place have been fitted a very sexy pair of leather-wrapped Recaro CS seats. “I’d seen an orange M3 on the internet with the BMW M Performance seats; they looked amazing and I was instantly hunting the web and eBay for a set,” grins Will. “They were like hens teeth to get hold of and at crazy prices whenever I found any. In the end I found a guy who stripped out Lotuses and made them into track cars who had taken a brand-new set of CSs out of an Exige. I bit his hand off when he mentioned selling them! I dismantled the original runners on the M Sport seats and fabricated some adaptors to put them onto the base of the CSs. I fitted the seats myself in about ten hours, doing the wiring and runners etc which I didn’t think was bad seeing I’m pretty much self-taught with vehicles!” With a pair of gorgeous leather seats up front the cloth rear bench really wouldn’t do, so this has now been trimmed in black leather to match. The trims have been painted in Land Rover Lago grey while after the shoot Will replaced the M Sport steering wheel with a flat-bottomed one complete with carbon trim panel. Finally, the audio has been uprated with a set of Focal speaker, tweeters and under-seat subs.
While it may not have ended up being quite as sensible as Will might have initially wanted, his E92 remains a grown up car that’s the perfect blend of diesel frugality and jaw-dropping show car looks meaning he is both having his cake and eating it, which is about as much as you could ever ask for. Any future plans for the E92 that may have been brewing have currently been put on hold as Will has just bought a house, arguably the most sensible and grown up thing you can purchase, but that’s no big deal because at the moment he says he’s really happy with how the car looks and we’re with him on that one.
“I love driving the car as it is. I don’t need 400 horses to enjoy it”
“Before I’d even started the engine, I knew I wanted it. I was so happy”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Air-ride #BMW-E92 / #BMW-320d / #BMW-320d-E92 / #BMW-320d-Air-Ride / #BMW-320d-Air-Ride-E92 / #BMW-E92-Air-Ride / #Rotiform-BLQ / #Rotiform / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel #N47D20 / #BMW-N47 / #N47 , #K&N panel filter, carbon air intake cover, 335i tailpipes, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x19” ET41 (front and rear) three-piece forged super concave #Rotiform BLQs with gloss black faces and satin gunmetal lips on G23 adapters with 215/35 (front and rear) tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance-3H air-ride with performance struts, chassis modified for greater front end drop, grooved discs and pads (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Full respray in custom mixed bright blue, smoothed front bumper with washer jets removed, smoothed bonnet with #BMW roundel removed, carbon fibre kidney grilles, #Ericsson bootlid, diffuser, splitter and wing mirror covers, #NEM-angel-eye headlights with blacked-out internals, tinted rear lights
INTERIOR #Recaro-CS seats, flat bottom steering wheel with carbon fibre trim added after the shoot, internal trims painted in Land Rover Lago grey, rear seats retrimmed in black leather, Focal speakers, tweeters and under-seat subs, full floating boot install with single tank, twin Viair compressors, lighting and satin grey tank
THANKS Adi Camm and Dave Shaw at A&D Autos for all your help and support over many years and allowing me to spend hundreds of hours generally getting in the way at your unit! Vick Nagi at Lowpro for all his encouragement and helping me achieve my goals. Phil James at The Install Company for the wicked install and hard work on getting that front end drop so low. My mum and dad for supporting me throughout all of this and letting me dismantle cars on the drive at 1am on multiple occasions! All my close friends for the constant wind-ups about my car – it spurred me on to do better
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