- Post is under moderationTALES OF THE UNEXPECTED Wild supercharged E90 M3
Karel Silha’s M3 has been evolving for a few years, getting ever madder and more frightening. As he teeters on the cusp of his next round of innovations, we pin down his green monster to see just how deeply this lunacy has spiraled… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
840HP E90 M3 Supercharged wide-arch beast
The most fun cars are the ones that do surprising things; ones that subvert your expectations and lead your preconceptions down a hitherto uncharted path. We’re not talking about sleepers here – that’s a well-documented area, and a whole textbook in itself. No, what’s flicking our switch today is the idea of using a novel base to build something devastating. Like when Top Gear commissioned Lotus to build a trackslaying Lada, and the Norfolk spannertwiddlers ended up throwing £100k at it. Or when Volvo entered the BTCC in the 1990s with an 850 estate. These are not the logical cars to choose for such endeavours, which is what makes the whole concept so eminently desirable.
So it is with Karel Silha’s M3. He wanted to build an unstoppable and terrifying car with which to distort reality in the otherworldly and near-mythical amphitheatre of the now-world-renowned Gatebil events, so he chose to go with an M3. Fair play, sound reasoning, we can see why you’d do that But, just for the sake of waving two fingers at the rest of the paddock, he didn’t take the obvious route and buy himself an E92 coupé. He chose the sensible, dad-spec E90 fourdoor saloon.
Alright, we’ll immediately retract ‘sensible, dad-spec’, that’s a moronic way to describe a machine as formidable as the E90 – but you have to admit that the act of deliberately choosing a car with extra doors you know you’re never going to use is something only a belligerent and confrontational person would do. It’s Touring Car rules; you’ve got four doors so that people spectating can relate your car to their own salesman-spec diesel commuter. Karel’s just cranked things up a notch, simply to be mischievous. Oh, those effervescently zany Swedes…
“My first car was a Toyota Starlet,” he explains, which is actually something we hear a lot. A surprising number of skilled helmsmen cut their teeth in that balletic Japanese poppet, it must teach its drivers an awful lot about car control. “I’ve been working with BMWs for about 12 or 13 years now though. My first was an E30, which I wanted to turn into a bit of turbocharged weekend fun. Most of my BMWs have been E30s in fact; the most recent one was making 982hp and 887lb ft on an old M20 engine.”
It’s probably safe to assume that this fella knows what he’s doing when it comes to perving over BMWs then. However, the E90 is a world apart from the E30 (just look at the maths, it’s 60 #BMW Top Trump points adrift), so this little race car project was always going to be something of a challenge, right? No, not a bit of it. Karel’s the sort of chap who just knuckles down and gets on with it and there’s no half-measures here. Allin or nothing.
“I wanted to do fast lap times and the goal was to be quick,” he says, with hilarious modesty and masterful understatement. “With that in mind, there was only one chassis that was suitable for this: the E90 M3. So I bought the car from a friend – it was in really good condition, aside from the engine, which was trashed. One of the rods had found its way out…” But with the plans that Karel had made, a blown motor was an irrelevance. Stock engines aren’t Gatebil fodder. It was always the gameplan to tear the motor apart and beef everything up like Meat Loaf in an Angus Steakhouse.
“Yes, the whole build was fully mapped out from the start,” he assures us. “We even drew up 3D renderings of how it would look when it was finished. The plan was always clear.” Oh, and what a plan it was. With ruthless efficiency and the sort of clockwork dominance of the to-do list that you normally find in school staff rooms, Karel and his crew set about ripping the E90 to shreds and building it back up as an apex-humiliating, spectator-arousing beast.
“In the first year, we dealt with the chassis,” he says. “KW three-way competition suspension, and also a big brake upgrade from Endless, to get the chassis fully dialled-in. We’d initially talked to a local company about our suspension options, and the support was terrible, so we ended up talking to KW suspension in Germany. They answered all of our questions in one email and the support was just above and beyond, so it was a no-brainer to go with KW! They made a custom three-way competition kit for us, and those guys have been a strong partner ever since.”
With the chassis tested and thoroughly proven, the second year of the E90 build threw up some proper mischief. “In year two we did the forged engine,” says Karel, “and then we supercharged it – and this was no off-the-shelf kit, it was the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp, and we also upgraded the ECU to a full Motec setup, with PDM [Power Distribution Module], dash and ECU. We fitted a Samsonas sequential gearbox with paddleshift too.” Phew. Time to take a breath, drink in the magnificence of the spec, and just have a little think about our own life choices. Stick the kettle on for some pondering time, we’ll see you at the next paragraph.
Better? We know, it’s a lot to take in. But brace yourselves, as there’s a little more to come. You see, it would have been amusingly stealthy to jam all of this sweaty grunt into a stock-looking four-door shell, but stealth has never been the Swedish forced induction enthusiasts’ watchword. So what you’re seeing here is a searing vision in Snakeskin Green, a Dodge Viper colour no less, and to prove that this build isn’t just about dumb horsepower there’s a frankly staggering aero setup. Just look at the frickin’ size of that rear diffuser, for goodness’ sake! And the front splitter’s big enough to stand a family of six upon, let alone allowing them all to have a little nap on the rear wing. This thing may have enough horsepower to make a Bugatti owner think twice, but it’s also glued to the track by the crushing inevitability of downforce. It’s actually kinda frightening. Another hugely impressive element of this build is just how stock that S65 motor is, aside from the comically large blower. It’s got forged pistons and rods from Pure Performance Motorsport in Australia, and a suitably juiced-up fuelling system feeding through a Weldon 2345 pump (which is good for 1300hp!), but aside from that it’s pretty much as the M Division intended. Talk about over-engineering, eh?
Still, there was a global vibe developing in this Swedish-honed, German-built car with Australian engine upgrades and Japanese interior addenda, so it only made sense for the rolling stock to come from somewhere unexpected too. That’s why you’ll find a set of Work VS-XX wheels under those widened carbon fibre arches – custom-built wheels from Japan. And the rears are a spanking 12.5” wide, which allows for some seriously dirty contact patch. “We wanted a wheel that could match the rest of the car,” Karel reasons, “and Work Wheels were the only choice for a quality wide wheel.” Having hand-crafted his own bruising arches, we’ll happily take his word for that.
“Function over form was the overarching idea,” he continues. “The look has always been secondary to the act of going fast. The chassis’s actually being modified for a Version 3 that we’ll be debuting soon, but yes – the capability has always been more important than the look.” This statement, of course, writes a very large cheque, as the car looks absolutely phenomenal. Thankfully, we know that the setup can cash it with ease. “I’d say my favourite element of the build is all the carbon fibre,” Karel grins. “When you start with carbon, you kinda get the fever and it’s hard to stop! For 2017 most of the car will be in carbon fibre, and for 2018 a new chassis is being built with even more mods and 100% carbon.” Blimey. 100% is a big percentage. We’ll report back as the news filters in.
“It took some five-to-six months to build the first version of the car,” he says, “then it evolved over the off-season; 2015 Version 1, 2016 Version 2, and 2017 is Version 2.1. Just wait – 2018 will bring it up to Version Badass.” We can’t wait to see that. But for now, let’s just bask in the unutterable lunacy of Version 2.1 – the as-yet ultimate evolution of your neighbour’s four-door 3 Series, built to tear up Gatebil and atomise any rubber that may stray into its workshop. The fact that it’s not a coupé just makes the flawless victories all the sweeter. ¬
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-E90 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E90 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #ESS-supercharger / #ESS / #BMW / #Work / #MoTeC-ECU
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #BMW-S65 / #S65 , fully-forged, custom #ESS-supercharger-kit , 1000cc injectors and uprated fuelling with #Weldon 2345 pump, #Motec engine management. #Samsonas six-speed sequential gearbox
CHASSIS 11x18” (front) and 12.5x18” (rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 305/35 (front) and 335/35 (rear) tyres, #KW three-way competition suspension, #Endless race brake setup with six-pot calipers (front and rear) with 355mm (front) and 345mm (rear) discs
EXTERIOR Dodge Viper Snakeskin Green, wide steel rear wings and plastic-welded M3 front wings – now remoulded in carbon fibre, Gatebil-sized custom wing, splitter and diffuser
INTERIOR Sparco seats, Takata harnesses, OMP steering wheel, custom cluster by Karel S Motorsport, paddle shifters, full painted FIA rollcage
THANKS All of my friends who helped, especially to Tim and Jens, and also all of my sponsors last year and also the new ones for 2017 – it would not have been possible without them
No air-ride here, just air jacks.
The rear view is dominated by that custom diffuser.
Fully-painted FIA roll-cage.
“Function over form was the overarching idea, the look has always been secondary to the act of going fast”
MOTEC engine management keeps things running right.
Sparco seats with Takata harnesses up front.
MoTeC C127 Race Display behind OMP steering wheel.
Custom ESS supercharger kit makes 840hp.
“In year two we did the forged engine and then we supercharged it [with] the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSafety First 650hp supercharged E90 M3.
Safety cars are always in front – they have to be, they’re there to back the pack up. But in the case of this raucous tribute, it’s in front because nobody else can keep up… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Speedyshots.
THUNDERSTRUCK 650hp #G-Power supercharged E90 M3
Safety cars, or pace cars, have always been a little bit naughty. This makes perfect sense, as they need to be inherently fast and capable machines if they’re going to have any hope of taming a pack of wild racing machines. Sending a farty old Lada out into a field of DTM tearaways would be the very antithesis of ‘safety’.
On the face of it, they’re a necessary evil in motorsport; they break up the action, they slow things down. They’re sent out to haul up the pack when there’s debris to be cleared up or a surprise monsoon has suddenly presented itself, and there’s a natural perceptual bias against them in the eyes of the fans in that, no matter how fast or formidable they may be, they are – by virtue of why they exist – the slowest things on the track.
This, of course, is all rather unfair on the poor beleaguered safety car. But fear not – there’s a groundswell subculture that celebrates these often-iconic creations, championing them for their mighty performance as much as the vital role they play in keeping motorsport ticking. This kind of thing’s been going on since the first appearance of a safety car in the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, while the first example in Formula One – a Porsche 914 – appeared in 1973. Classic NASCAR pace cars have taken on a life of their own as collectors’ items, and arguably the most popular safety cars of recent times are the BMWs used in MotoGP. 2016’s weapon of choice was the shiny new M2, and the series has variously used the M5, M6, X6 M and numerous others; each one has offered aggression in spades and, as you’d expect from an M car, blistering performance. All you need to keep a bunch of wildheart racing drivers safe!
This E90, then, is a tribute to BMW’s keenness to push the envelope of safety car desirability: a four-door missile, caricaturised in all the right places to create something that’s frankly rather quicker and scarier than quite a lot of race cars – or, indeed, race bikes. This project is the brainchild of Karl Jungmayer, who regular readers will remember as the mastermind behind our January 2017 cover car – a 1 Series with a V10 violently shoved into it. The third Karl in line within a #BMW garage in the sleepy enclave of Geiselhöring, southwest Germany (his grandfather, Karl, set it up; he passed it down to his son, Karl, and it then transferred to the incumbent Karl), he spends his days doing unseemly and frankly unhinged things to powerful cars with Bavarian propeller badges. And as bases for project cars go, you can’t really miss the target if you’re starting off with an E90 M3… You’ve got 420hp right out of the box, a sublime chassis and more ingrained passion than you could possibly know what to do with.
Unless you’re someone like Karl, that is. He knows exactly what to do with it. Refract it through a filter of insanity, collect the ensuing scattered beams of light, compress them into a diamond of pure retribution, and throw it full in the face of the tuning scene. “BMW is my life, my family, my hobby, that’s why they’re so special to me,” he says. “I’ve owned a lot of them, and they’ve all had modifications. And for this project? Well, I’m a big fan of the MotoGP, and I’m also a big fan of the E90 M3, so it made sense to combine the two.” There you are, that’s about as complicated as it needs to be. “It’s effectively my interpretation of a MotoGP safety car, with more power and bigger wheels!,” he grins.
That, we reckon, is the best kind of safety car, so let’s look at that power issue first. You see, while the formidable S65 4.0-litre V8 would be mighty enough for many, Karl merely saw this as a starting block, and got on the blower to G-Power to chew over the perennial carnival affair of forced induction. The result was the acquisition and subsequent modification of an SK II CS supercharger kit, a Stage 2 setup that requires its own chargecooler system as well as, of course, plonking a hilarious mass of orange mischief right there on top of the engine like some kind of malevolent jellyfish. characteristics of BMW’s own work, rather than to radically alter and transmogrify, offering (on paper, at least) a broadly similar feel to a standard car, but amplified by several orders of magnitude.
This, however, wasn’t enough for Karl. Too much is never enough. So you’ll also find another mischievous embodiment of modern high-octane lunacy under that freshly-stickered bonnet, in the form of a Snow Performance water/methanol injection kit. The science of this is to reduce inlet temperatures by up to a 100ºC, markedly increase fuel efficiency, eliminate detonation, and ultimately increase peak power by around 20%. Which is all good fun. It basically achieves this by squirting a finely atomised mist of water/methanol mix into the combustion chambers at just the right time in the fuelling cycle for tiny rabbits to be pulled out of hats and all manner of fi reworks to go off. So how does 650hp grab you? By the lapels, that’s how, and it shakes you around all over the place like a damn ragdoll. Just look what it’s doing to Karl’s rear tyres, for goodness’ sake.
You’ll be pleased to note that all of this effervescent combustion tomfoolery is being channelled through a manual gearbox – six on the floor, maximum attack – and the interior has come in for a racy makeover. “It’s got the BMW M Performance seats, pedals and steering wheel,” Karl points out, “and there’s also a Wiechers rollcage, which has been colour-matched in Alpine White.” The insides are neatly fused with the exterior aesthetic, and what an exterior it is; the E90’s lines are naturally brutalist, masterfully combining four-door sensibleness with the sort of cartoonish proportions that make it look like a bodypumped bouncer in a slightly-too-small suit, and Karl’s taken all of this to the next level with an authentic-looking set of MotoGP Safety Car decals. It is, for all intents and purposes, the real deal. Well, the real deal plus 50% or so, really. And it does make for a hilariously imposing presence on the road – think about it: if you’re dressing up a project car in a tribute livery, it is – for fairly obvious reasons – unlawful to mimic the look of a police car or, say, an ambulance. But a motorsport safety car? Sure, that’s pretty much fair game. And no-one will be suspecting the utterly, unspeakably vast quantities of extra horsepower that this canny tuner has shoved into it. At least, not until the lights turn green.
“The car is so powerful,” he muses, thoughtfully, “I like this car.” Coming from a man with a V10-powered 1 Series in his stable, alongside heavily tweaked F11s, E46s, E61s and a whole lot more, this is a stirring (if modestly stated) sentiment. “It does need more power though,” he adds, decisively. “And more boost.”
But of course. We couldn’t expect anything less from a man like Karl. Just remember – however nuts this car becomes, it’s a safety car, it’s there for your protection. If you see him up ahead of you, you’d better not attempt an overtake – although the reasons for that on the road may be very different to those on the race track…
“As bases for project cars go, you can’t really miss the target if you’re starting off with an E90 M3”
“BMW is my life, my family, my hobby, that’s why they’re so special to me”
DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-E90 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E90 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #S65-Supercharged / #G-Power / #Breyton-GTS / #Breyton-Race / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , modified #G-Power-SK-II-CS supercharger kit with #Snow-Performance water/ #methanol-injection , custom home-made exhaust system. Six-speed manual gearbox
POWER and torque 650hp, 485lb ft
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Breyton-GTS-Race wheels, 15mm spacers, 245/30 (front) and 295/25 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact 5P tyres, #Brembo eightpot #BBK (front), stock E90 M3 brakes (rear)
EXTERIOR M3 CRT front spoiler with carbon fibre flaps, carbon fibre rear spoiler and diffuser, E90 LCI taillights, Safety Car livery
INTERIOR #BMW-Performance seats, pedals and steering wheel, #Wiechers rollcageStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDOUBLE DIP #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46
Ferocious 545hp supercharged and 715hp turbocharged carbon-clad E46 M3s tamed by one owner. Decisions are hard, especially when it comes to choosing between a supercharged E46 M3 and a turbocharged E46 M3, so why not just have both…? Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andrew Thompson.
545hp supercharged and 715hp turbo E46 M3s
Decisions are never easy to make, especially when you’re faced with two equally appealing options. Chinese or Indian, for example, or cookies and brownies, or pizza and, well actually there’s no alternative option to pizza because pizza just always wins. Sometimes, you don’t even have to decide, like with cronuts, or a turducken, just have everything, because more of everything is always better. For example, why choose between a supercharged E46 M3 and a turbocharged E46 M3, when you could have both? That is exactly what Jaime Taylor did and we’d like to think that decision made his life immeasurably better in every way.
This man is a serial car buyer and modifier with a car history varied enough to make your head spin, including a midengined, RWD Peugeot 205 GTi and a Sierra Cosworth, a scattering of BMs and some serious big-power builds, such as a 511hp Skyline R34 GTR, a 670hp Skyline R32 GTR and a 513hp Audi RS4. Jaime is no stranger to going fast and is clearly hopelessly addicted and devoted to the modifying lifestyle, which makes him our kind of guy, and we guess answers the question: “What sort of person owns a pair of cars like this?”
What’s really interesting here is that this is really a tale of two parallel builds, which were happening alongside each other at virtually the same time. Spooky. We’ve got Jaime, who wanted to build a turbo E46 M3 but ended up going down the supercharged route, and Andy Bennett, who bought the turbocharged car and proceeded to put a huge amount of effort into getting it running as it should, then ended up selling it to Jaime, who’d actually wanted to buy it all along but was beaten to the punch by Andy all those years previously. It’s a twisting tale deserving of its own movie adaptation, so grab some popcorn, get comfy and we’ll begin.
When Jaime bought his M3 in 2014, it already had a long list of tasty bits on it, including carbon front wings and carbon bonnet, a roll-cage, BBK, CSL air box and Recaro RS seats but even better than that it had been fitted with a new engine from BMW and had covered less than 20,000 miles on it. “The new engine was a blank canvas to work on,” smiles Jaime. “At the time I didn’t know any UK company who could turbocharge the S54 but did know a company in the States. We were talking about shipping the car over there to get the job done, but it would have been gone for six months for all the new fabrication work to be done because they hadn’t done a right hand drive vehicle before,” he explains. “In the end, with a new car on the drive, we decided to go down the supercharged route so then the car could stay local,” and that’s a pretty sensible decision as the job could be done much more quickly and he’d have more time to actually enjoy the car.
The supercharger kit comes from VF Engineering, with Jaime opting for VF570 flavour, the company’s most powerful E46 M3 supercharger offering. At its core is a Vortech V3-Si supercharger, capable of running at 26psi and rated for 775hp, so producing the 570hp and 380lb ft that VF Engineering claims for this kit is a walk in the park. The kit also boasts a cast manifold with a slide-in air/water intercooler cartridge and is a serious setup, able to deliver a huge hike in power. Initially, though, that wasn’t the case, as once Jaime had got the car back from being mapped and stuck it on a dyno he found it was only making 499hp.
“On each of the five back-to-back dyno runs we did the power was going down about 20hp every time because of heat soak,” he explains. “The engine was pulling the timing and it couldn’t make the power. To fi x this we got Gary Adlington, who runs Eastwood Garage in Falmouth, to fit an AEM direct port methanol kit from the States. Gary is a genius,” enthuses Jaime, “he put a Cosworth engine in a boat and some other crazy stuff – incredible character and he also worked on Andy’s engine.” Yes, in a further coincidence, both Jaime and Adam used Gary’s services for their respective projects; it’s like fate brought everything together. With the meth injection kit on board it was time to head back to the dyno and this time the numbers didn’t disappoint. “On the first run it made 513hp, 530hp on the second and we finished with 545hp,” grins Jaime and that grin is fully justified as that’s a serious power figure. Of course, running monster power means you need plenty of supporting mods and this S54 has been treated to a Mishimoto electric fan coupled to a larger Mishimoto rad, a 55ºC thermostat, the secondary air pump has been removed along with the air con and it’s all finished off with set of sport cats and a Milltek rear exhaust section.
Handily, the previous owner had done a lot of the groundwork on the chassis meaning the M3 was already in a good position to be supercharged, but Jaime has been upgrading things along the way over the past two-and-a-half years to make sure the car was the best it could be. The chassis has been enhanced with a set of KW V3 coilovers and is joined by Turner Motorsport top mounts and adjustable Turner anti-roll bars both front and rear. In addition to this there are adjustable rear camber arms, poly bushes fitted throughout and there’s also a 4.10 ratio rear diff. The brakes are seriously beefy and more than up to the task of slowing this powerhouse of an M3; up front there’s an Alcon BBK comprising 365mm discs, utilising Reyland brake bells, clamped by red six-piston calipers and braided hoses and Pagid RS-29 pads have been fitted allround while 710 racing brake fluid tops off the brake upgrades. When it came to choosing wheels, Jaime wanted something light and good-looking that would suit his track-orientated build. “Apex wheels were the weapon of choice,” he says, “they’re lightweight, concave and when I was searching for M3 track cars online everyone was running them so they were clearly the wheels to go for.” He’s gone for the Arc- 8, which looks great on the E46, and he’s running a square setup with 10x18s all-round wrapped in sticky Federal 595RS-R tyres.
No doubt a big part of the appeal of this M3 when Jaime was shopping was the fact that it looked so flipping fantastic, with the carbon bonnet, wings and boot lid really giving it a full-on track look and over the time he’s had the car he’s built on that, giving it an even more extreme appearance. “It was actually booked in to have all the carbon painted,” admits Jaime, “but I ended up going against it and kept the carbon on show for an aggressive track look,” and we’re glad he did. The car also wears a carbon front splitter and canards, plus Jaime has carried out a front foglight delete, and added a carbon rear diffuser, all of which combine to really make this M3 stand out and it’s got a lot of presence.
The interior had already been stripped out and caged-up when Jaime bought the car, but here too there was room for improvement and it all started with the seats. “On the first track day I took the car to I realised the seats were too high as we kept hitting our heads on the roof,” he explains. So out came the Recaro RS seats and in went in a pair of Corbeau Club Sport buckets, and Jaime was now far more comfortable and able to actually enjoy driving his M3. Other interior changes include the aforementioned roll-cage, a Safety Devices bolt-in item, an alcantarawrapped wheel from Royal Steering Wheels, full carbon door cards with red door pulls, an AEM hand controller for the methanol injection, a lightweight battery, fire extinguishers and a carbon blanking plate that covers the hole where the sat nav screen once sat. We love the fact that while it is stripped out and most definitely hardcore, it’s been finished to an incredibly high standard with some very high quality materials, and it all combines to make it even more special.
While Jaime was busy getting stuck into his supercharged E46 M3 project, Andy was well underway with getting his turbo E46 M3 up to scratch. Back in late 2013, having just sold a supercharged Range Rover Sport, Andy was flush with cash and looking to buy a second home to rent out. At least that was the sensible, grown-up plan, but one brief eBay session later it had all gone to pot as he’d spotted a turbo E46 M3, this very car, up for sale and, deciding that he couldn’t not buy it, he snapped it up with a sneaky bid in the final few seconds of the auction, unknowingly swiping it away from Jaime.
Not only did the car have a claimed 650hp, but it had also been on the cover of the March 2008 of PBMW, and came with a vented carbon bonnet, carbon bootlid, BBK and ticked just about every box that there was to be ticked. Quickly, however, it transpired that the car was not in rude health, making only 465hp on the dyno, not the figure Andy had been led to believe, as well as suffering from numerous issues to do with the turbo conversion. It was not a happy car. It was decided that a new intake manifold and stand alone ECU were needed, so Andy took the M3 off the road and put it into storage while he saved money for the work it needed. It was at this time that he learned about the infamous E46 subframe failure issue and, after inspecting the state of his M3, he discovered that, lo and behold, the subframe was not in a good way...
While we can’t imagine his mood was particularly good at this point, Andy had a turbocharged M3 and he was determined to make it the best turbocharged M3 he could; where Jaime started his project with a clean slate, Andy had the perfect opportunity to not just fix what was wrong with his M3, but improve everything as he went along, and he’s definitely done that and then some.
Before he could even think about getting the engine running at full capacity, that rear end needed sorting out so the old boot floor was cut out, a new one was welded-in and Redish Motorsport reinforcement plates were installed, along with a box section welded across the boot floor to eliminate any flex. At the same time, the whole back end was poly bushed and the propshaft rubber donut was replaced by an uprated Revshift polyurethane set up. The poly bushing extends throughout the chassis now and the suspension has been thoroughly upgraded throughout to ensure it’s up to the task of coping with a turbocharged S54 above. Naturally the car sits on coilovers but they’re not the usual suspects, this M3 having been fitted with Tein items complete with electronic damping adjustment, and these are joined by adjustable front camber plates and Eibach anti-roll bars front and rear and there’s also a Strong Strut front brace with a Schnitzer item mounted at the back. A Brembo GT BBK takes care of stopping duties, with six-pot calipers and monster 380mm discs up front and 345mm discs at the rear, the red calipers contrasting perfectly against the black spokes of the 19” CSL replicas, themselves fitted with Toyo R888 tyres for maximum grip and traction. When it came to the engine Andy admits that, without the help and knowledge of Gary Adlington, he probably would have given up on the car a long time ago, which would have been a shame as he would not have had the chance to experience the fury of a fully operational turbo M3. The main components required to get the S54 performing as it should were an AEM Infinity 8 ECU, Horsepower Freaks intake manifold and boost pipe, a pair of HKS SSQV4 blow-off valves and an AEM water/meth injection kit. The intercooler was also sent off to have the end tanks cut off and new ones made from thicker aluminium welded on. The final engine spec makes for some eye-widening reading as some serious work has gone into making this S54 as powerful as it is. The turbo kit itself comes from Savspeed Racing and uses a Turbonetics T70 turbo and the engine has been bolstered with a set of Wiseco low compression pistons, Pauter con rods, VAC Motorsports head bolts and a steel-lined head gasket while twin fuel pumps feed 750cc injectors via an Aeromotive fuel filter. The result of all that is pretty spectacular, with four different power maps to choose from: the mildest map offers a sensible 500hp, which we imagine is handy for popping to the shops for a pint of milk, while the wildest map delivers 715hp, which you’d probably use for getting a pint of milk and some toilet paper. Perhaps a cheeky Snickers as well. A Clutch Masters twin-plate paddle clutch has been added to cope with all that newfound power and there’s also a short-shift kit rounding things off.
As with the supercharged car, this turbo M3 is a riot of carbon fibre on the outside, which looks fantastic against the Steel grey bodywork. It wears a Vorsteiner carbon bonnet and carbon front bumper, carbon front wings, a CSL carbon bootlid, carbon rear bumper, carbon side mouldings, carbon roof spoiler, carbon Schnitzer mirrors, even a carbon fuel filler flap. There are more carbon panels on the car now than there are regular body panels, it’s really something, and makes the car utterly spectacular. The interior is has also been treated to a whole heap of carbon goodies, including dash trim, door pulls, steering wheel trim, steering column and gearknob, gear surround and handbrake lever. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes. In the early stages of the project, Andy picked up some rather sexy Cobra Daytona seats, which were already trimmed in black Mercedes leather and black Mitsubishi Evo X alcantara and finished with gold stitching, and they look great in the car, really filling out the interior and making it a rather more special place to sit. They’re mated to threepoint harnesses, which are mounted where the rear seats used to be, and naturally there’s also a host of gauges, we’d have been disappointed if there hadn’t been what with this being a turbocharged car and all. They include an Innovate AFR gauge, a trio of HKS gauges to monitor boost, exhaust temperature and pressure and there’s also a HKS turbo timer ensuring that the turbo stays healthy.
So, man builds supercharged E46 M3 and buys turbocharged M3, drives off into the sunset, lives happily ever after etc, right?
Well, not quite… “It’s a good job Andy pipped me to the post on the turbo car,” admits Jaime, “as he spent a lot of money on this M3, so I really reaped the benefits of all his hard work. It was a pleasure to scratch that turbo M3 itch that I’ve had for years, watching all those turbo M3 videos on YouTube, and it is fricking awesome,” he grins, but after buying the car from Andy last July just one month passed before Jaime had put it up for sale himself. “I needed to try it out for a while to see if I was happy to make this my new track car, and after testing it back to back with my supercharged one I decided it wasn’t for me. I have a bond with my supercharged one and prefer everything else about it, as does my other half, Terrie, and I have to live with her so she has a big say in what I do,” he laughs. Unsurprisingly the turbo M3 sold very quickly but surprisingly Jaime has now put his supercharged M3 up for sale as well, and as we put the last of these words to paper it looks like it may have found a new home… “I’ll be very sad to see it go,” he says, “and so will Terrie as we’ve both done a lot of track days in it and she’s learned a lot from driving it and really enjoys it,” but that’s just how it goes with modified cars, we suppose, it’s very rare for them to have any sort of permanence and selling the cars we’ve poured so much of everything into is a just part of the life we lead. They do say that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, though, and while we’re not sure if Jaime is planning to go as far as this with the E92 M3 he’s thinking of buying next, he can at least say that he’s been the owner of both a turbocharged and a supercharged M3, and there’s not many people that can.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Turbocharged E46 / #BMW-M3 / #Turbonetics / #BMW-M3-Turbocharged / #BMW-M3-Turbocharged-E46 / #BMW-M3-Turbo / #BMW-M3-Turbo-E46 / #HKS / #BMW-M3-Tuned / #BMW-M3-Tuned-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54-Turbocharged / #S54-Turbo , #Savspeed-Racing turbo conversion with #Turbonetics-T70 turbo, #Wiseco low compression pistons, #Pauter con rods, #VAC-Motorsports head bolts, steel-lined head gasket, 750cc injectors, twin fuel pumps, #Aeromotive fuel filter, #AEM Infinity 8 standalone ECU with E46 plug and play harness, AEM water/methanol injection kit with 1000cc and 500cc injectors, #HPF intake manifold and intake piping, custom front mount intercooler, 2x #HKS-SSQV4 blow-off valves, HPF five-way traction control system, custom exhaust system. Six-speed manual gearbox, Clutch Masters twin-plate paddle clutch, short shift kit
CHASSIS 19” #CSL-replica-wheels in gloss black with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes R888 tyres, Tein-coilovers with electronic damping adjustment, adjustable front camber plates, Strong Strut front brace, AC-Schnitzer rear brace, Eibach anti-roll bars (front and rear), fully poly bushed, Brembo GT BBK with six-piston calipers and 380x32mm discs (front) and four-piston calipers with 345x28mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Steel grey, #Vorsteiner carbon bonnet and front bumper, carbon fibre front wings, side mouldings, AC Schnitzer carbon fibre door mirrors, CSL carbon fibre boot, carbon fibre rear bumper, roof spoiler
INTERIOR Cobra Daytona seats re-trimmed in black leather and alcantara with gold stitching, three-point harnesses, rear seat delete, black alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters with gold stitching, Innovate AFR gauge, HKS boost, exhaust temperature and pressure gauges, HKS turbo timer
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E46 / #S54-Supercharged / #VF-Engineering / #Apex
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #VF-Engineering-VF570 supercharger kit, AEM water/methanol injection kit, #Mishimoto electric fan, Mishimoto bigger radiator, 55ºC thermostat, secondary air pump removed, airconditioning removed, sport cats, Milltek rear exhaust. Six-speed manual gearbox, 4.10 rear differential
POWER AND TORQUE 545hp, 383lb ft
CHASSIS 10x18” (front and rear) #Apex-ARC-8 wheels with 265/35 (front and rear) Federal 595RS-R tyres, stud conversion kit, 12mm rear spacers, #KW-V3 coilovers with Club spec springs, Turner Motorsport top mounts, #Turner-Motorsport adjustable anti-roll bars (front and rear), adjustable rear camber arms, fully poly bushed, #Alcon BBK with six-piston calipers and 365mm discs with #Reyland bells (front), standard calipers (rear), Pagid RS-29 pads (front and rear), braided brake lines (front and rear), 710 racing brake fluid
EXTERIOR Carbon fibre canards, splitter, front wings, boot, bonnet, rear diffuser, carbon wrap on roof, fog lights removed
INTERIOR Stripped-out, full bolt-in Safety Devices roll-cage, alcantara steering wheel by Royal Steering Wheels, solid steering wheel coupler, full carbon door cards with red pull tabs, RTD short shifter, AEM hand controller for water/methanol injection, Corbeau Club Sport seats, Willans harnesses, water/methanol tank in boot, Odyssey PC950 lightweight battery, fire extinguishers, stereo removedStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE RIGHT STUFF
Some cars have it, some cars don’t – but this 625hp supercharged E92 M3 most definitely has a whole heap of it. From its looks, to its stance and what it’s got lurking under the bonnet, this E92 M3 gets everything right. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Mike Kuhn.
What makes a good-looking car? The styling plays a big part, of course, but that on its own isn’t enough; how it sits is also important, as ride height and stance play a huge role in terms of a car’s visual appeal. Furthermore, the wheels are crucial as the ‘wrong’ ones can ruin even the best-looking cars. Get all of these elements spot-on and you’ll build yourself a car that looks right on every level and David Cao has done just that. It helps that he’s chosen to work his magic on an E92 M3, which is a great platform to begin any build, and as an added bonus there’s a bit of extra spice going on under the bonnet…
We have to say that looking at the E92 (and its M3 incarnation in particular) with post-F3x eyes, it looks better than it ever did. Everything about it, from the proportions to the understated but purposeful styling, was and still is right. The F8x M3 and M4 certainly aren’t short of aggression, but the E9x M3 has such a cohesive shape that flows so well, with perfect proportions. Add the overwhelming aftermarket support for the car (so extensive that no two examples are likely to be the same) plus the fact that it’s likely to be the last naturally aspirated M3 that we’ll see and it’s enough to have you reaching for the chequebook.
That’s exactly what David did, and he’s clearly as keen on the E9x 3 Series family as we are, judging by past and present automotive conquests: “I’ve been interested in BMWs since 2007 when I bought my first one, a 335i,” he says, which is certainly a great introduction to the brand. “I bought it because of its twin-turbo engine and the fact that it performed just as well as the E46 M3.” While that 335i is no longer part of the stable, David has employed an E91 325xi Touring for daily duties. Good as the 335i was, when the M3 was launched the lure of its high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 proved impossible to resist and he put his name down, with this white example being the result of that transaction.
The E92 M3 is an awesome machine out-of- the-box, but it has so much untapped potential that it really would seem foolish not to tap it. David has a car history that includes a large number of modified Hondas, so the M3 was never going to stay stock for long. Also, with his modifying roots firmly embedded in the JDM scene, it is unsurprising that David has chosen to let some of those Japanese styling influences spill over to his German machine, and it’s given this M3 a fusion flavour that’s distinctively different. The front and rear bumpers come from Japanese tuning house, Amuse, and are part of the Ericsson range; the bumpers aren’t overly aggressive, just adding a touch of extra ‘swoopiness’ and it’s only really the bootlid, with its unashamedly indiscreet, obtuse-angled integrated spoiler that makes a big impact. The front bumper, with its black corner extensions, has been further embellished with an APR carbon fibre splitter, while the rear item has been fitted with a Downforce USA multi-piece carbon fibre diffuser, which blends perfectly with the bumper.
In addition to this, Exotic Tuning carbon fibre side blades sit below the skirts on either side and there’s an AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, plus slick-looking ONEighty NYC custom headlights with super-bright angel eyes. These are complemented at the rear with a set of LCI light clusters.
On the suspension front, David has eschewed air-ride on his E92 M3, instead opting to keep things static with a KW coilover kit, though he’s clearly a devout worshipper at the temple of lows judging by how far off the ground the front splitter sits; in fact, we’re amazed it’s survived this long! Of course, lowered suspension is crying out for the right wheels to go with a serious drop and here Dave has once again looked to the Far East for inspiration.
“I’ve had lots of wheels for this car,” he says, “and lately I’ve been aiming for Japanese wheels, which is why I got this classic set of Work Equips.” The simple fivespoke design is perhaps not one you tend to see on E9x M3s, which makes the wheels stand out and gives this car a particular, aggressive, look. The wheels themselves, while not intricate, are gorgeous, from the detailed centre caps with their raised lettering to the contrast of the dark silver faces against the mirror-polished stepped lips, with those deep dishes front and rear catching the light. They really suit the car’s aggressive styling, the thick, chunky spokes sitting perfectly against the sharp, angular looks and giving the whole package a squat, stocky appearance.
Venturing inside, the remnants of the once red interior offer up a nice contrast against the inky blackness of everything else and, while David hasn’t gone wild in here, what he has changed has made a big difference. The two-piece Recaro Sportster CS seats are awesome, a world away from the comfortable but slightly bland standard items, and give the interior a much more purposeful look that matches the M3’s outward appearance. They are joined by a ZHP gear knob, because this is indeed a manual, and a #BMW-M-Performance V2 steering wheel with digital display along with a P3Cars vent-mounted multi-function digital data display and boost gauge.
Now, the E9x M3 is a pretty ferocious performance machine out-of-the-box, the glorious S65 V8 giving it some serious muscle, but it would be a shame if all that additional battle armour on the outside wasn’t backed up with a little something extra under the bonnet. Luckily, this M3 has had more than a little fettling on the engine front and lifting the lid on the 4.0-litre V8 reveals the unmistakable intake plenum of an ESS supercharger kit.
David has opted for the VT2-625 intercooled setup, which is only $600 more than the 595 version but a hefty $1400 lighter on the wallet than the top-end 650 version, making this the sensible choice for those looking to punch through the 600hp barrier on their supercharged M3.
As its name suggests, the 625 kits makes a mighty 625hp, 205hp up on the standard car, with 410lb ft of torque for some serious midrange muscle, with the Vortech V3 Si supercharger running at between 6.5 and 7psi of boost. That pressurised air passing through what ESS says is the largest chargecooler system on the market and an octet of uprated Bosch injectors ensure ample fuel reaches the engine to match all that additional air. Not only is it an awesome-looking kit, it really delivers on the performance front and gives this M3 more than enough of a power upgrade to match the aggressive styling. The supercharger, incidentally, is David’s favourite modification on the car: “The car feels and sounds amazing along with the F1 exhaust,” he says.
Ah yes, we almost forget about that. The quad pipes protruding from the rear valance are far from stock and belong to the IPE Innotech F1 Valvetronic exhaust system. A bit of a mouthful that may be, but this stainless steel system goes from mild to wild at the push of a button, delivering an awesome V8 soundtrack with the valves open, so much so that we wonder if David ever bothers to close them… The finishing touch, and a necessary one to compensate for that massive increase in power, is the addition of a beefy Rotora Street Challenge big brake kit with six-pot forged aluminium callipers and massive 380mm discs up front.
It’s fair to say that David has built himself an absolute monster machine of an M3. It looks that little bit different from the norm thanks to its Asian styling influences and combines striking styling with a whole heap of power thanks to that ESS supercharger. It ticks just about every box you could think of and it really is one of those cars that gets everything so very right.
DATA FILE Supercharged #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #ESS / #IPE-Innotech / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E92 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-E92-Supercharged / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #ESS-Supercharger
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #S65-Supercharged , #ESS-VT-2-625 intercooled supercharger kit, IPE-Innotech-F1-Valvetronic exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox, 625hp, 410lb ft
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) three-piece #Work-Equip wheels with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Achilles #Achilles-ATR Sport tyres, #KW coilovers, #Rotora-Street-Challenge #BBK (front) with forged aluminium six-pot calipers and 380mm slotted discs
EXTERIOR Amuse Ericsson front bumper, APR carbon fibre front splitter, ONEighty NYC headlights, Exotic Tuning carbon fibre side blades, Amuse Ericsson bootlid, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, Downforce carbon fibre rear diffuser, LCI tail-lights
INTERIOR #BMW-Performance electronic V2 steering wheel, BMW ZHP gear knob, Recaro Sportster CS seats, P3Cars digital integrated data display and boost gauge
THANKS Viet at Delta Auto Care, John at Speedfreak Detailing, Alex from Autocouture, Rotora brakes and Johnny, Julian and David at BMW
“The car feels and sounds amazing along with the F1 exhaust”
“I’ve had lots of wheels for this car and lately I’ve been aiming for Japanese wheels…”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationAppetite for Disruption
We get up close and personal with Deutch Tech’s supercharged #BMW-E46 M3 project car.
When the enthusiasts at Deutsch Tech decided to build a company demonstrator, it was always destined to be something a bit special. But this is no soulless PR exercise – Ben Mason is such a petrolhead, he just can’t help relentlessly improving it… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photography: Chris Teagles.
Karl Marx once said: ‘Reason can no longer restrain one who is lured by the fury of ambition.’ It raises an interesting question – once we’ve set our sights on a particular goal, are we willing to set aside all semblance of logic in order to achieve it? Do we get blinded by the glitter so that we can no longer see the bread-and-butter? It certainly knocks Oscar Wilde’s chirpy optimism into a cocked hat: ‘We are all in the gutter,’ he said, ‘but some of us are looking at the stars.’
They’re both right to a degree, of course, but the latter viewpoint is more relevant to the sort of people who like tinkering with cars to make them faster and more interesting. After all, who cares about so-called reason anyway? You only live once, you might as well enjoy yourself. Do you really want your tombstone to be inscribed with: ‘He didn’t roll the dice too often, but dammit, he got good gas mileage’?
Ambition, then, is admirable – nay, essential, if you wish to retain your sanity. And the quality manifests itself in this 2003-model M3 by virtue of its aspirations toward CSL greatness… and, for good measure, it exceeds its own targets and dives headlong into the choppy waters of extraordinary horsepower. The method by which it achieves this is indisputably impressive, but first, a history lesson is called for…
When the E46 M3 roared onto the scene in late- 2000, it boasted an engine of such awe-inspiring firepower, it provided us with the highest specific output of any mainstream #BMW engine thus far.
Throwing out 343hp from its 3.2-litre lump in a hellstorm of gravel-gargling fury, it went like stink and had muscle in spades, adding a whole lot of adrenaline-fuelled, pumped-up aggression to the standard coupé’s sober lines. But the real watershed was the advent of the Coupé Sport Leichtbau, or CSL, in 2003. It may have only appeared for a brief snippet in time, it may have been limited to just under 1400 examples, it may have pushed the boundaries of what a road car could achieve just a little too far into the realm of discomfort for some, but there’s no arguing that it was an instant legend. It was the gold standard, the pinnacle toward which all other E46 M3s would surely thereafter tremulously aspire.
Standard CSL spec included race-derived suspension, a tighter steering ratio, bigger brakes, a 110kg weight reduction thanks to copious use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic and the junking of anything unnecessarily heavy (sound deadening, seat motors, sat nav etc), thinner glass, a lower centre of gravity (due to the CFRP roof), racy bucket seats, a simplified steering wheel that lost all of the stereo and phone controls and had just one button for ‘M Track Mode’, and a handful of extra horses under the bonnet.
Externally, you’ll find the single eye-catching addition that every E46 owner craves: that ducktail spoiler. The M3 we’re looking at today, however, isn’t just a straight-down-the-line CSL replica. That would be too obvious. And besides, it’s been done before. No, what this E46 harnesses is the aggression of the CSL, the ethos, presenting its credentials to the world with its CSL nose and racy ducktail rump along with those dreamy staggered-width alloys, while the internal occupants get to be faintly intimidated by a roll-cage from a CSL Cup racer. There’s a commitment to light weight in the manner that the interior’s been ravaged, wearing as it does a pair of Corbeau Revolution buckets and not a lot else, and the CSL’s chassis upgrades serve as inspiration here, although the spec list demonstrates a few different names to those originally sanctioned by BMW. Let’s meet the owner then, and find out what’s what: “I’m Ben Mason, and I own Deutsch Tech in Milton Keynes,” he cheerfully tells us. “It’s a BMW and Porsche specialist, set up about four years ago with my business partner Lenny.
We do all sorts of work from basic service and MoT all the way up to performance upgrades and engine building. I bought this car around six months after we opened as our first company demo car, and as a true petrolhead with years of modifying cars, I got a bit carried away…”
He’s not kidding. In the pursuit of ever-more urgent horsepower figures, Ben and his team have ramped up the S54 motor’s aggression in spades; the ‘DT550’ badging should be a bit of a giveaway. Whereas the stock M3’s power figure began with a three, this one starts with a five.
The basis of this stratospheric power hike resides in a shift from the engine’s very nature – swapping from meaty natural aspiration to howling forced induction, courtesy of RMS’s Stage 2 supercharger package. This is very far from simply bolting a blower on and just seeing what happens – it is a cohesive and considered upgrade, and the results speak for themselves.
What it effectively entails is this: the system employs a Vortech V2 Si Trim supercharger, a next generation unit that uses advanced CAD-modelled gears with an optimised helical profile, allowing for near-silent operation (bad news for fans of ’charger whine, good news for efficiency), and this is rigidmounted to the engine with a CNC-machined, one inch- thick aluminium plate. It’s heavy duty stuff designed to eliminate flex, which is just the sort of thinking you need. The RMS crank pulley is a modular design, allowing the user to upgrade in the future if the desire so takes them (and it frequently does – we’ve lost count of the number of people we’ve met who have had a supercharger fitted, then soon after pondered: ‘Hmm, I wonder what the gains would be if that pulley was a little smaller…?’), and the blower works in conjunction with a clever air-to-liquid cooler as well as software that happily talks to the stock ECU.
All things to all people, then? Well, the internals of the mighty S54 are certainly gruff enough to take it… The DT550 happily soaks up all the abuse Ben throws at it, that’s for sure. “We take the car to the Nürburgring a fair bit,” he explains, “and it always performs admirably. Although I have to admit that on returning from each trip, I do find myself yearning for more modifications and quicker lap times…”
This is perhaps to be expected, as Ben and Lenny have some fairly hair-raising metal between them. In addition to this E46, there’s Lenny’s bona fide CSL parked alongside his F10 M5, while Ben’s also bagged himself a flash 1M. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the turbocharged, GT2 RS-converted Porsche 911 that’s throwing 800hp-odd through its rear wheels. There’s more than a little 97-ron swishing through the water at Deutsch Tech.
Given that this M3 has been built to showcase the talents of the company, in addition to absorbing the maelstrom of hydrocarbons and sweat of regular track use, there’s plenty of stardust to be found sprinkled throughout the chassis too. And it’s perhaps not the selection of parts that you might immediately expect.
When it comes to upgrading an E46 M3’s suspension, there are many road-and-track coilover options to choose from, but Ben’s lateral thinking saw him looking east to Japanese titans Tein, whose EDFC units allow the driver to electronically make adjustments from the comfort of his bucket seat – not to alter the ride height, but to fine-tune the actual damping behaviour. The system uses G-force meters to automatically adjust itself too. It’s a glorious fusion of east and west, battling it out to see who’s brainiest under the E46’s skin.
In addition to this festival of wits, the chassis enjoys mighty brakes courtesy of DesignTek – eight-pots at the front and six-pots out back – along with a few goodies from the Eibach catalogue and a smattering of Powerflex bushes. It really is as tight as a drum under there.
“The M3 gets lots of attention, and has helped me develop my business and get it to where it is today,” says Ben, predictably toeing the necessary PR line when, reading between the lines, we imagine he’s really just enormously chuffed that he gets to build stuff like this and call it ‘work’. “The next step, I think, will be to remove the cage and fit some Recaro Sportser CS seats trimmed in black nappa leather in order to make it a bit friendlier on the road. The Cup cage is a bolt-in affair anyway, so it can always go back in when we go to the Nürburgring!”
There we are, you see? The effervescent, bubbling ambition just keeps on flowing through this project. In essence, it ties the car into its spiritual wayward cousin, the V12 LMR art car of 1999. Remember that one, the racer decorated by Jenny Holzer? It’s got a memorable slogan along the width of the rear wing: ‘Lack of charisma can be fatal’. In this instance, we can take charisma and ambition to be interchangeable. And being unambitious is not really worth the risk, is it?
CONTACT: Deutsch Tech / Tel: 01908 579229 / Web: www.deutschtech.co.uk
“The M3 gets lots of attention, and has helped me develop my business”
Interior has been partially stripped to make way for a CSL Cup cage and a pair of Corbeau Revolution seats. Below: Sexy CSL rims hide monster discs and eight-pot callipers.
“We take the car to the Nürburgring a fair bit and it always performs admirably”
TECHNICAL DATA #BMW Supercharged #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 3.2-litre straightsix, #RMS-Stage-2 supercharger, uprated fuel pump and injectors, strengthened bottom end, alloy race radiator, #Deutsch-Tech-Designs full exhaust system with sports cats, manual gearbox with lightweight flywheel and uprated paddle clutch, short-shift gear linkages
CHASSIS: 8.5x19-inch (front) and 9.5x19-inch (rear) M3 CSL wheels, 225/35 (front) and 245/25 (rear) Yokohama Advan Neova tyres, #Tein-EDFC coilovers with electronic controller, #DesignTek eight-pot (front) and six-pot (rear) #BBK , #Eibach adjustable rear suspension arms, Eibach front and rear anti-roll bars, #Powerflex Black Edition bushes, subframe strengthened with Reddish Motorsport plates, subframe and arms powdercoated red
EXTERIOR: CSL front bumper and bootlid
INTERIOR: CSL Cup roll-cage, Corbeau Revolution seats with six-point harnesses, E60 M5 gear knobStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBIG IMPACT #BMW
With a whole lot of everything going on, this supercharged #BMW-E93 M3 on slick wheels with custom interior is a killer build.
Words: Patrick Holness / Photos: Anna Taylor With big wheels, bold looks and plenty of supercharged power, this E93 M3 makes a big impression wherever it goes.
There is a palpable level of excitement that gets you every time you see a well-executed car that has been meticulously sorted and modified. A car so well fashioned the minor details have details. Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you’ve managed to refrain from using social media, Danny Pessoa’s E93 M3 is that car. It begs the question, is it possible to improve the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine?’.
Affectionately referred to by Danny as ‘Anna-Bella’ (Anna named after his wife, bella the Italian word for beauty, which both of his ladies possess), this car is absolutely splendid. Danny has crafted his E93 M3 to be nothing short of stunning, picturesque, and a work of art.
Perhaps if you live Stateside you’ve seen her in the metal – Danny has taken every opportunity to show it off at just about all the major shows in the north east. The car has certainly lived up to the hype taking first place in multiple categories at each show. Regardless of the trophies and accolades he does it out of love for the scene. He is one of the cool guys, not afraid to share wheel specs or quote the price of a car part. His laid back and humble attitude makes him approachable and creates the basis for endless car talk. Perhaps this would explain why he has so many followers on IG.
Let’s shift gears a bit to see how Danny got here. Like many of us the car bug bit him as a child. Growing up, Matchbox, Hot Wheels and the like were some of his favourite toys and his folks jokingly say ‘carro’ was amongst his first words. Once he reached driving age there was one brand and one car in particular that did it for him, the E46 M3. The power, the look, and the straight-six soundtrack lured him in and he vowed that one day he’d be an M owner. Fast forward some years later and Danny was able to purchase an Alpine white E46 M3. Ownership started off simply with wheels and suspension, and before you knew it he was a happy camper. Fueled with passion for modifying cars, Danny soon found himself chasing the next piece of machinery. A little reluctant he decided it was time to part ways with his E46 M3. With cash in hand, Danny was on the hunt for a new project, something more modern.
He test-drove an E92 335i and was sold. This car started its life like his first project, with wheels, suspension, exhaust, M Sport bumpers, and other custom pieces. “I enjoyed the car, it was great but I missed the M3,” Danny admits and he soon found himself surfing the internet in search of an E93 M3. He had specific requirements this time around; this time it had to be white with a red interior, convertible top and manual transmission. Criteria set, Danny found himself glued to his smart phone searching numerous car sites every free moment he had. This went on for six months and while many examples popped up, they weren’t right. As luck would have it his search eventually led to a 2009 example that met his requirements. A phone call was made to the dealership and Danny found himself making the five-hour drive from New Jersey to West Virginia and wasted no time making it his.
With his new car and a big grin on his face, he stopped by to see friend and owner of AMS Autowerks, Diogo Azevedo. Danny was looking for a set of Rotiform wheels to fill the M3’s arches, initially planning a fresh set of rims and suspension and leaving things there… On the wheel front he treated the M3 to a set of 19” TMBs, measuring a mighty 10” up front and 12” at the rear, initially in a brushed finish, followed by brushed red and finally black.
For the suspension, Danny turned to Air Lift for an air-ride kit. Attempting to squeeze the massive rear wheels under the E93’s arches, even ones as ample as the M3’s, is no mean feat. Diogo and his crew had to pull the rear quarters out by 2” to get the perfect stance and allow them to tuck under the arches when aired out. As you can see, the TMBs are gone and in their place are a set of gorgeous 20” INDs finished in rose copper, though they’re the same width as the 19s so no further arch work was required.
The body received a Mode Carbon front lip, side splitters, rear diffuser, side vents and Motorsport wing on the OEM bootlid, but Danny couldn’t make his mind up about the spoiler so Anna-Bella currently has a carbon fibre CSL bootlid and he alternates between the two different sets of wheels and bootlids. Headlights and tail-lights received attention as well, the former being sent to Lightwerkz for a blacked-out finish while the tail-lights were swapped for all-red items: “The car was looking great,” says Danny, “but I wanted more power…”
With this in mind, over the winter a complete exhaust system from Active Autowerke was installed before he purchased a Gintani Stage II supercharger kit. This intercooled setup uses a Vortech V3 Si Trim blower fed by a sexy carbon fibre intake and runs at between 7-7.5psi to whip up a 650hp storm, backed up by 420lb ft of torque, giving Danny all the performance he could want. “The first time I drove it, it felt like a race car!” he grins. “I said ‘oh s**t this car is fast!’” he adds with a chuckle.
With the engine work done, Danny focused his attention on the interior and boot. He commissioned Ryan from Exact Art to sort out the interior details and he has covered nearly every inch of the car in Fox red leather or Alcantara. The result really is a work of art.
The steering wheel was also upgraded to a carbon fibre item, and the front factory seats were replaced with Recaro CS Sport seats which were also trimmed in matching Fox red leather. Carbon fibre was integrated into the doorcards, dash, and rear passenger headrests while a custom harness bar was fabricated and colour-matched by AMS Autowerks to accommodate the Sabelt harnesses. The doorcards received attention as well and they include the same hex arrow stitching that is inlaid in the seats. The roof has been lined with Alcantara and the floor mats have been trimmed in white to match the exterior.
In today’s scene a proper boot install is almost a must, and Danny’s M3 delivers on that front. The air tank for the air-ride has been colour-matched to the car and custom Fox red leather straps add the finishing touch, while leather and Alcantara adorn pretty much every surface. New factory stickers were also ordered to replace those that had to be removed and special homage was paid to Johnny Walker with a crafty Blue Label setup. In total the interior and boot work took over 200 man-hours and deprived Danny of his car for nine months, but it was most definitely worth it. So, is it possible to improve the Ultimate Driving Machine? Unequivocally the answer is yes. Danny’s car is nothing short of a modern masterpiece and one that both he and everyone else can get an immense amount of pleasure from.
Stunning custom interior and boot build took over 200 hours and nine months to complete but was worth it.
This project is not all about looks – #Gintani Stage II supercharger kit makes 650hp and 420lb ft of torque.
DATA FILE BMW Supercharged #BMW-E93 M3 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E93 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E93 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #S65-Supercharged / carbon intake, #Gintani-Stage-II supercharger, #Active-Autowerke exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS 10x20” (front) and 12x20” (rear) #Rotiform IND threepiece splits in #Rose-Copper , #AirLift Performance airride with V2 management, carbon strut brace.
EXTERIOR Mode Carbon front lip, side splitters, Motorsport wing, side vents, and rear bumper diffuser, CSL carbon fibre bootlid, rear quarters pulled 2”, #LightWerkz custom headlights, all-red rear lights.
INTERIOR OEM M3 carbon steering wheel, dash, doorcards, centre console and rear headrest trimmed in carbon fibre, Fox red leather dash, seats, doorcards with hex arrows stitching, Alcantara roof and convertible top cover, custom harness bar for Sabelt harness, Recaro CS Sport seats, floor mats trimmed in white, colour-matched air tank with custom leather straps, boot trimmed in Fox red leather and Alcantara, bottle of Johnny Walker Blue and glasses in boot.
THANKS My wife for all of her love and support.
The first time I drove it, it felt like a race car! I said ‘oh sheet this car is fast!’ Danny Pessoa.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBLOWIN’ IN THE WIND
With a supercharger slapped onto its meaty straight-six, this E46 M3 is the ultimate fast road tool. When the checklist for your project build features ‘must be a daily driver, and must be fun on canyon roads’, the E46 M3 is a pretty sound choice. Throw in a supercharger and the job’s a good ’un… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Richard Le /// #BMW
There’s a lot to be said for being understated. Still waters run deep, as the old saying goes, and it’s as true in the modifying sphere as anywhere else that what you see isn’t necessarily what you get – it sometimes takes a keen eye or an investigative demeanour to reveal the full story. Picture yourself in a dark, smoky dive bar in a hick town on a windy Friday night – the characters who’ll immediately catch your attention are the drunk office girls caterwauling around the jukebox or the frat boys slamming back thimbles of moonshine, but it’s the guy sitting alone at the bar that you need to watch out for. The one in the cowboy hat, coolly sipping neat bourbon and eyeballing everybody in the place to get the measure of every last soul – his appearance isn’t remarkable, and yet there’s something foreboding about his presence that makes him unmissable.
That shadowy, sinister figure is essentially the embodiment of Sonic Motorsports’ M3, resplendent as it is in subtle menace and simmering aggression. Sure, it’s not the most outrageous or heavily modified E46 to appear in these pages, but it doesn’t need to be, does it? You can tell just from a single glance that it’s the sort of car that cashes its own cheques, that doesn’t care what you think. Without even seeing it in motion, you just know that it’d be a devastating mover…
To a degree that can be true of any E46 M3. The act of taking a relatively soberlooking #BMW-3-Series and shoving in a feisty sixpot producing a power figure that begins with a three was a masterstroke of mischief by BMW and, as the M3 badge’s heritage dictates, these cars aren’t just about power. They’re about poise, handling, finesse, chuckability, precision… there’s a reason that they’re seen as the benchmark of sporting coupes. But, as is a well-trodden path in Performance BMW circles, such things can always be improved. You know this. That’s why you’re reading this magazine. The improver in this particular instance is Sonic Motorsports, based in San Jose, California. This outfit, if you’re a resident of The Golden State (or even if you’re not, to be frank) is one that you need to shuffle on to your list of ‘People Who Matter’, as there’s a palpable whiff of tenacity with a soupçon of fury in the air down on Charcot Avenue.
“I work as the shop foreman and owner at Sonic MS, so I get to work on a variety of different cars,” says Barrett Howard, the fella with the M3’s keys on his desk. “This one was actually a customer’s car – he had made the decision to move on to the E9x platform, and he offered to sell it to me. I knew that the car had been well taken care of, and the E46 is a phenomenal platform to build on, so I took him up on it. It’s arguably the best handling car in its weight class and it comes with a decent amount of power as well – but of course, that was only a starting point for us!”
Encouraging sentiment indeed, and very much in line with Sonic’s mission statement: ‘practice makes perfect’, they attest, only making upgrades to customers’ cars that fit within their levels of expertise and experience – not to say the guys are afraid to push the boundaries, more that they’re insistent on any car that goes out the door being tip-top and ready to rock. Sonic believes in doing it right first time, which surely makes for smiles all-round. Okay, this M3 had become Barrett’s own car, so would there be a chance that he and the team would put a little more effort in than they would with a paying client’s motor? No, not a bit of it – because when you’re operating at 100%, it’s not possible to push any harder. And that, again, is a good thing for all.
So, how does one improve upon the already formidable power that the iconic S54 straight-six is serving up? Well, for Sonic it made sense to go down the route of forced induction. “We build a lot of fast cars here, so it was only natural we went down this road,” Barrett explains. “A supercharger was a good start since it doesn’t have the lag associated with a turbo. The #Dinan supercharger setup is pretty comprehensive, but also has the benefit of being a bolt-on package, so the work was fairly simple and straightforward.” The gains for such an upgrade weigh in at around 150hp, which is very significant – think of it as a percentage of the motor’s stock power, it’s actually pretty eye-watering. Even more impressive, then, that the stock internals can take it without bursting. They do make these Motorsport machines strong, don’t they?
Barrett chose to augment this Vortech-flavoured upgrade with some sensible additions, including a Dinan throttle body, CSF radiator and oil cooler, which all coalesces neatly with the SMG transmission to make for a natty little sleeper. Well, okay, not a sleeper, you can’t really call it that, but it does belie its subtle looks with a raging hellstorm of horsepower.
“I wanted it to be as subtle as it could be, that was the vision all along,” Barrett confirms. “But I also wanted to take a little of the magic of the CSL, to get it as close to that look as possible.” This, it hardly needs saying, is no small undertaking, particularly if your keenness for authenticity extends to grafting in the famed carbon fibre roofskin that the CSL enjoyed. That’s not a five-minute job.
It’s easy to be blasé about the acquisition of CSL parts here in the UK, but this is in fact a rather more involved task for our Transatlantic cousins – just 1400 Coupé Sport Leichtbau models were built for the 2004 model year, so they’re pretty obscure to start with; however, the bulk of CSL allocation went to Europe, and they just weren’t offered by North American BMW dealers. So if you want to find the parts that were unique to the CSL – such as the carbon fibre roof, the ducktail bootlid, the fibreboard boot floor, or what-have-you, you need to have sufficient fingers in the appropriate pies. But Barrett is a man in the know and, with a crafty tap of the nose, he informs us that he can find such things if required. “The roof and the ducktail are the most obvious nods to the CSL,” he says, “but with a lot of the modifications, it’s a case of subtle things that only the true enthusiast would spot.” There you go then, a challenge for your BMW-spotting credentials – pore over the photos and see what nerdy details you can find…
Sonic Motorsports, as one might hope, is not the sort of outfit that’ll just throw a load of horsepower into a stock chassis to see what’ll happen – you’ve probably got the idea now, but it’s a belt-and-braces sort of affair. And besides, the guys doing the work are enthusiasts like you, and we all love cherry picking upgrades from the performance catalogue, don’t we?
“The car was built for the purpose of being able to be daily driven, as well as driven hard on the nice canyon roads we have around here,” he says, “and the Öhlins Road and Track coilovers we’ve fitted do a great job of making it comfortable on local roads as well as keeping it planted around the curves.” There’s a meaty brake setup working hand-in-hand with this too, in the form of a Brembo GT big brake kit up front with BMW Competition items at the rear; all more than up to the task of hauling up a supercharged M3 when the going gets twisty.
As impressive as the build is, we’ve touched on a lot of modifications that represent an established formula here, all of which neatly ties into the aforementioned ‘practice makes perfect’ ethos. The supercharger upgrade, the CSL aesthetics, the taut combo of Öhlins and Brembo, it’s all very logical. So what Sonic needed was a hook, something to work with the subtle look of the car while at the same time offering something unusual and offbeat – and it’s for this reason that you’ll find a set of RAYS wheels under the arches. #RAYS is a Japanese brand, which immediately jars with the Bavarian DNA, whose history lies in motorsport, and Volk Racing is a subbrand that offers super-light forged sports wheels such as the G25 you see here.
They’re not just a cool design, they are also very much fit for purpose on a performance car such as this, as well as offering something that you perhaps wouldn’t expect to find on an E46.
Job done then, yes? Time for Barrett and his colleagues to clap their hands together, congratulate one another on a job well jobbed, and move onto the next one? No, not quite: “Oh, I’ve got more in store,” he smirks. “It’ll be needing a manual gearbox conversion at some point. And I’m planning a turbo kit for it right now…”
Exciting times. And whatever happens, you can be sure that this M3 will remain resolutely under the radar as it scythes through the canyons, appearing to passers-by as little more than a deep blue flash and a sinister rumble before it’s merely a memory, a whisper on the breeze. You don’t always have to shout to be heard. Sometimes subtlety makes the strongest statement of all.
“I wanted it to be as subtle as it could be, but I also wanted to take a little of the magic of the CSL to get it as close to that look as possible”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Supercharged E46 M3 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #Dinan-Stage-3-Supercharger , #Dinan throttle body, #CSF radiator, CSF oil cooler, six-speed #SMG-II gearbox.
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (f) & 10.5x19” (r) #RAYS-G25 wheels with 245/35 (front) & 275/30 (rear) Yokohama AD08 tyres, Öhlins Road & Track coilovers, Hotchkis anti-roll bars (f & r), subframe reinforcements, #Powerflex bushes, #Brembo GT front #BBK , #BMW-Competition rear brakes.
EXTERIOR #CSL carbon fibre roofskin, bootlid and diffuser.
INTERIOR Full custom #JBL audio install.
THANKS My crew at Sonic MS and all the vendors that sponsored this build.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIncredible supercharged custom widebody air-ride E46 M3 / #BMW
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Boasting a custom wide-body kit, air-ride, supercharger and custom interior, we challenge you to find a more complete project car than this staggering E46 M3.
Exploding onto the scene and tearing through it with the ferocity of a supercharged tornado, this E46 M3 is a devastating lesson in the theory that more can most definitely be more. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Tony Lopez
When building a project car there are numerous approaches and end goals you can look to achieve: some people build out-and-out show cars; some people build ferocious fast road cars; some people go for an all-out audio build; and some go to town on styling. When Rick Fontan got to work on his E46 M3 he decided to do, well, everything. We feature a lot of amazing cars in Drive-My but it’s not that often that we come across a car that has been modified as absolutely as this, on every level, and this is one of those cars that, when we first saw it, genuinely took our breath away.
Of course, we’re sure that Rick will be the first person to admit that his car isn’t going to be met with universal appeal – it has been blowing minds like a brain bomb and collecting awards like some kind of giant award-collecting magnet since he rolled it out earlier in the year for the first time but there’s plenty here that will raise many an eyebrow. Those chopped front arches, for example, the highly unconventional bonnet setup, the fact that he’s blended so many different elements that in many ways conflict with each other and brought them together in one project. It’s definitely not a conventional build and by that very virtue he’s created something incredibly noticeable. Sometimes, when you come across a build that incorporates so many different elements, the end result can be a little jarring, with components that really don’t look like they belong together and it can be a little unpalatable – it’s the meat trifle from Friends, a lot of potentially delicious ingredients coming together to make something that’s hard to stomach but somehow Rick has made his vision work.
He’s plucked that vision from his brain and translated it into a tangible object that is coherent and, more than that, genuinely good. For all its wideness, angularity and sheer eyeball-punching impact, there is an inherent smoothness and oneness to this E46 M3. Everything flows together: the bodywork is wild but the Lamborghini Grigio silver paint is quite subtle; the wheels are large and multi-piece, yes, but sport a simple design; the purple highlights that appear throughout are just right in terms of colour and number to tie numerous elements together without overwhelming the car’s overall aesthetic and while the components might be unlikely bedfellows somehow everything just feels right together. A lot of thought and work has gone into this build and it shows.
So, just what kind of man builds this sort of car and why? “I have been into BMWs since I was about 19 years old. That’s when I first started getting into cars in general,” muses the now 33-year-old Rick. “BMW has always been respected in the show scene, on the street, and on the track. I think that’s what makes it so special. It covers all aspects of what a car should be and how it should be built. I had a Mitsubishi Eclipse for about four years before selling it to buy the M3. It was fully built by the time I sold it and I had won multiple awards with that build and even landed a magazine feature. I bought the M3 in 2006 from a dealership in Queens. It was a little beat up and had about 50,000 miles on it but that didn’t bother me at all because I already knew it was only a matter of time before I would start modifying it anyway. This was my dream car and as soon as I saw the opportunity to get one, I jumped on it. My inspiration came from Craig Liberman and his ‘uber’ M3; I was obsessed with that car and just knew I had to build one of my own and I had it all mapped out. I knew exactly what I wanted to do to it before I even knew purchasing one was an actual possibility.
“Going in I knew I wanted to build a show car. I had to make sure all areas of the car were addressed, especially the motor as it is the one area that everyone asks to see. I couldn’t have a built car without any engine modifications, that’s a no-go!
“My car had to be equally balanced. I made sure to modify the engine enough to be able to put it on a track as well as look amazing just sitting there on a showroom floor.” He’s certainly delivered on that front. The engine work isn’t insane but it’s nice to see a car built on this scale running something attainable under the engine bay – although that’s not to say this isn’t a seriously powerful and subsequently fast E46 M3.
There’s no missing that Vortech supercharger, painted in Candy purple, with a TurboSmart blow-off valve but you won’t be able to spot the uprated pulley and belt that help up the boost. There’s a Vibrant front mount intercooler with custom piping, Driven Innovations intake manifold and Agency Power stainless steel exhaust manifolds which lead to custom GTR-style side exit exhausts. Rick has paid a lot of attention to the fuelling, with Injector Dynamics ID725 fuel injectors and an upgraded fuel rail, while in the back you’ll find an ATL fuel cell, an amazing ATL dual dry break filler, plus a Bosch 044 fuel pump and Aeromotive fuel regulator. What’s most impressive, though, is not what’s in the engine bay but what isn’t, as the bay’s been shaved and a full wire tuck has been carried out. It looks spectacular for it; no wonder it’s Rick’s favourite mod on the entire car. “It takes the entire build of the car to the next level,” he says. “Plus, it’s very rare to see an M3 with this style of build and a shaved bay.” He’s not wrong. The super-clean bay draws your eye to engine and the ’charger and it makes the Candy purple highlights even more spectacular against the simple silver background.
With the Vortech blower and supporting mods, Rick’s M3 is putting out an impressive 450whp and that means some equally impressive drivetrain and chassis mods are required in order to be able to put that to good use. Originally this was an SMG car but Rick has swapped in a manual gearbox mated to an uprated UUC Stage 2 clutch and UUC flywheel to deal with the serious boost in power while a short-shifter takes a bit of travel out of the M3’s surprisingly long throw for quicker, sharper gear changes. For the brakes, Rick turned to StopTech, slapping on the company’s seriously powerful six-pot front kit with two-piece slotted discs which is matched to an ever-soslightly smaller four-pot setup at the rear, with tucked braided hoses all-round and purple calipers, naturally.
It won’t have escaped your attention that this car is on air and Rick’s reasoning is sound: “I went for this setup to have the best of both worlds. With suspension like this it allows me to drive the car daily, set the ride height lower if I were to track it, slam it down to the floor or even raise it high enough to drive onto a trailer.” His kit of choice is Air Lift’s excellent offering along with the equally excellent V2 controller. The suspension mods haven’t stopped there and this E46 M3 has also been treated to uprated front and rear anti-roll bars, carbon fibre lower control arms and a rear camber kit, plus the entire undercarriage has been Stoneguard powdercoated.
We mentioned the wheels earlier and that the simple design works really well against the riot of styling that’s going on at the same time. “I’ve always liked the mesh type of wheels,” says Rick, “but with this type of build I decided to go with five-spoke wheels. I feel it gives the car an aggressive look and displays my brake setup beautifully.” We agree – the spoke spacing on the three-piece 20” SSR Professor SP1 wheels that he’s opted for is massive, meaning everyone gets a great view of those huge brakes, and the 10” front and 12” rears mean serious dish.
As far as the exterior of this car is concerned, there’s no two ways about it: it’s utterly insane. It’s not going to appeal to everyone but there’s no denying how much work has gone into it and how spectacular the end result it. “The styling of this car has been through many different stages over the years,” Rick tells us. “There were many problems and challenges along the way because of all the different shops it went to, but about three years ago my car finally landed at AMS Autowerks where the final transformation took place. Even that was a challenge in itself. Diogo Acevedo, the owner, had to rip the car apart and basically start from scratch.”
A big job then, but that’s kind of stating the obvious. So what exactly have we got here? Well, for starters, there’s the custom wide-body kit with its extreme arches and those sections chopped from the rear of each one which really makes this car unique. Elsewhere there’s carbon fibre – lots and lots of carbon fibre – with a custom carbon front lip, Vorsteiner carbon boot and roof, carbon headlight overlays, and M front, side grilles and emblems for good measure. The fat exhausts poke out from the side skirts and have been fitted with custom heat shields to stop them from melting the kit and then there’s the bonnet, or rather the lack of it. Now, at first glance you might think that Rick has popped his bonnet off for the photos, as you often see guys doing, but look a little closer and you realise that, no, what you’re seeing is the bonnet in its entirety. Rick says it’s a custom 1/3 bonnet and closer inspection reveals that basically the front 1/3 of the bonnet has been retained and mounted as it normally would be while the rest of it has essentially been chopped off and possibly discarded in a hedge somewhere. It’s very different and pretty cool for its double-take factor.
Moving inside there’s barely time to take a breather as the car continues to assault your senses. “The interior needed to look as clean as the rest of the car and to continue the exterior theme as well,” says Rick. This meant stripping stuff out and painting a whole bunch of things Candy purple. The whole interior has been trimmed in suede with purple stitching and up front Rick has plumped for a pair of Recaro Profi XL seats along with Schroth Profi 5 harnesses and a Vertex steering wheel mounted on a Momo hub. There’s carbon trim galore, along with a carbon gear knob and a custom dash housing an AIM stack cluster, boost gauge and ATL fuel gauge, plus a custom carbon bezel for the Alpine touchscreen head unit. The digital controller for the air suspension has been mounted in the driver’s air vent – a neat touch. The rear seats are gone and in their place sits a custom roll-cage, finished in Candy purple, a purple air tank and the Focal four-channel and mono amps for the seriously impressive audio setup. The front doors house the Focal K2 Power three-way speakers while the boot area is home to a pair of custom-mounted 10” Focal Utopia Be subs, which share the space with that incredible fuel setup.
So, there we have it. If you’ve ever wondered what you could achieve with your car given nine years and a truck-load of cash, hard work and determination, wonder no more because you’re looking at it. It’s not just the overall end result that’s mind-blowing, because it is, but it’s the attention to detail that’s gone into it, the thought, the creativity. Every aspect of the car makes you stop, look, look again and marvel. Do you love it? Do you love all of it? Maybe, maybe not, but we can guarantee it’s getting a reaction from you.
And that’s what this car does best: get people’s attention. “After three years of completely rebuilding the car it was debuted in August of 2015 at the Tuner Evolution car show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The crowd’s reaction was priceless as show-goers looked at it in amazement. The judges felt the same way as it was awarded ‘Best of Show’. Later that month I showed it at Wekfest East in Edison, New Jersey and also took ‘Best of Show’,” Rick says beaming like a proud father seeing his child winning a trophy at sports day. This isn’t just a car, it’s an extension of Rick, the physical manifestation of his vision and it’s the kind of car, the kind of complete car that you know was not a casual build. If you haven’t guessed, we kind of love it, it’s an absolutely awesome car on every level and proves that more is most definitely more.
Rear seats long-gone and in their place is a custom Candy purple roll-cage, air tank and two amps.
“I made sure to modify the engine enough to be able to put it on a track as well as look amazing just sitting there on a showroom floor”
“The interior needed to look as clean as the rest of the car and to continue the exterior theme as well”
DATA FILE Supercharged #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #Vortech-supercharger / #Vortech , upgraded belt and pulley, oil cooler, Vibrant front mount intercooler with custom piping, #Vibrant hoses, Agency Power stainless steel exhaust manifolds, #Injector-dynamics-ID725 fuel injectors, upgraded fuel rail, Driven Innovations intake manifold, #TurboSmart blowoff valve, Custom GTR-style side mounted exhausts, #ATL fuel cell, ATL dual dry break filler, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, #Aeromotive fuel regulator, reinforced sheet metal trunk, all braided stainless steel lines, Candy purple painted accents, shaved engine bay, full wire tuck. Est. 450whp.
TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual transmission swap, upgraded clutch, short-shift, #UUC Stage 2 clutch, UUC flywheel, Chase Bays brake booster eliminator.
CHASSIS 10x20” (front) and 12x20” (rear) SSR #Professor SP1 three-piece wheels with 255/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1-R tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance air suspension, uprated anti-roll bars (front and rear), carbon fibre lower control arms, rear camber kit, Stoneguard powdercoated entire undercarriage, #StopTech ST-60 #BBK with slotted discs (front) and ST-40 BBK with slotted discs (rear) with purple callipers (front and rear), braided stainless steel brake lines, brake line tuck.
EXTERIOR Custom-built wide-body kit, custom 1/3 mini bonnet, Vorsteiner carbon fibre boot, carbon fibre front lip, custom splitter, #Vorsteiner carbon fibre roof, carbon fibre headlight overlays, carbon fibre M front and side grilles, carbon fibre emblems, custom heat shield for exhaust, Lamborghini Grigio silver paint.
INTERIOR #Recaro-Profi-XL bucket seats, Schroth Profi 5 harnesses, custom roll-cage in Candy purple, full suede interior with purple stitching, #Vertex steering wheel, #Momo hub, M Tech pedals, carbon fibre gear knob, custom dashboard, AIM stack cluster, boost gauge, ATL fuel gauge, custommounted V2 controller, custom carbon fibre bezel, interior LED lighting, rear seat delete.
AUDIO #Alpine LCD touchscreen head unit, #Focal-K2 Power threeway speakers, #Focal-FPS3000 mono amplifier, #Focal-FPS4160 four-channel amplifier, #Dynamat sound dampening, #Focal crossovers, 2 #Focal-Utopia Be 10” subs.
THANKS I would like to give a special thanks to my parents because without them none of this would’ve been possible. Their continued support throughout the years is what allowed me to pursue this passion and push me to complete this build. I want to thank all my family and friends that helped me along the way. To my girl for all her patience and support and being part of this with me, AMS Autowerks in Linden, NJ, Audio Clinic in Belleville, NJ, Branch Brook Auto Top in Newark, NJ, and, of course, to #Drive-My for allowing me to grace the cover of your magazine and show the car to the world.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.