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    NIGEL FRYATT #2002-BMW-Z3-2.2i / #2002 / #BMW-Z3-2.2i / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW /
    / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-E36

    YEAR: 2002
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 74,807
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: –
    MPG THIS MONTH: 23.2
    COST THIS MONTH: £681.69 (inc VAT)

    It’s been a pretty good summer to own an open-topped sports car, and my Z3 has certainly lived up to expectations. I bought the car because I wanted a (relatively) cheap sports car that I could regularly drive with the top down, and I didn’t want it to be a Mazda MX5!

    My budget was around £4,000, and it was surprising what little choice there is. But when this Z3 came up for sale, it fitted the bill perfectly. The underpowered four-cylinder model was never a consideration and, having checked a few example insurance quotes, a three-litre would have been a little extravagant. Of course, an #M-Sport option would have been fantastic, but wasn’t going to happen on my budget! If I’m honest, I didn’t actually realise that there was a 2.2-litre version of the six-cylinder-engined Z3 until I did some research. They are limited in number and so, when HF51 PUV appeared on the AutoTrader website, I went to see the car and immediately did the deal. Regular readers may remember that I bought it during a snowstorm in February 2017, but I did check that the hood folded down correctly. In fact, it was obvious that the car must have spent much of its life in a garage, or at least covered, since the quality of the hood was high; the deal was done.

    It was also obvious that it would need some new tyres. Why do people buy different tyres for each wheel? My Z3 had three different brands on its four wheels; one of them a Chinese tyre branded ‘Triangle’ (does anyone else feel mystified at the choice of name for a round object?). The quality of the hood, however, did mask a problem that I’ve reported on before. The rubber seals around the screen and door jams were allowing water ingress when it rained particularly hard. Water collected under the passenger seat and promptly flooded the DSC yaw sensor that’s located there.

    Although the total repair cost – replacing all the seals and getting a refurbished DSC sensor (a new BMW OE version being some four times the cost of a refurbished version!) – was over £1,000, I wasn’t too worried and didn’t feel it was something that was ‘missed’ when I bought the car; the passenger carpet was certainly not wet when I handed over the cash. All the work was done by Walkers Autotech (walkersautotech. co.uk, tel: 01403 751646), where Andy and his team did an excellent job. He left the old seals in the boot for me which, if nothing else, did emphasise how much had been changed! When this year’s MoT and annual service became due, I was hoping for a rather cheaper experience, and was pleased to get the call to say that the Z3 had passed the MoT without problem. Walkers did a comprehensive ‘health check’ on the car before the annual service and, while there was nothing that needed immediate attention, there were a few things that I decided to get done while they had the car.

    The windscreen wiper arm had become twisted slightly and had scratched the screen. While that’s particularly annoying (and I have no idea how it happened), the scratching isn’t directly in front of the driver, so didn’t influence the MoT test. The arm and the wiper blades were duly replaced.

    More significant was that the propshaft rubber coupler was found to be perished and cracked. Walkers suggested I consider replacing it sooner rather than later, so it seemed logical to get that done during the service.
    They also spotted that the rear anti-roll bar drop link bushes were perished, and had started to split. This rang true as I had felt that, in high-speed corners, the rear of the Z3 did feel a little soft to me. Although I don’t claim to be some kind of seat-of-the-pants-engineer, I had noticed this rather unnerving characteristic on a particular bend on the A24, near where I live. Now, my other car is a Lotus Elise so it’s probably a little unfair to make the comparison, but I did. So, getting these bushes replaced seemed an excellent idea. Driving back from Walkers and negotiating that same bend, the car certainly felt like it was squatting down into the corner a lot better – a feeling that makes spending the money a lot easier!

    The only really annoying thing was that, during the standard service, the exhaust studs snapped on removal, which meant they had to be heated to remove them. Walkers kept the cost down, though, and only charged an hour’s labour when I suspect it took a little longer. That said, the labour, new studs and new exhaust manifold did add £95 to the total bill.

    In total, therefore, the #MoT , annual service and a couple of replacements that while not essential were sensible, saw a total bill of £681. When you consider this is for a year’s motoring, it works out at around £56 a month, which is reasonable – and a lot less than I had to spend last year on those bloody seals!

    The service was carried out in late October, just when we had that cold snap in the weather. Nevertheless, the day I collected the Z3 it was blue sky and sunshine. Decent jacket, quality woolly beanie hat fitted, shades on, the drive home with the roof down, through some great Sussex country lanes, was excellent.

    Add some decent tunes on the stereo, and that’s exactly why I bought the car in the first place. Walkers also give each customer car a full wash and vacuum, so we were looking good. An open-topped car isn’t just for the summer!

    My Z3 certainly lived up to expectations during the summer. Left: All the work was done at Walkers Autotech, who also gave the car an excellent clean and vacuum – much appreciated! Right: These are the old rubber seals that go around the windscreen; now all replaced.
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    Nigel Fryatt
    NIGEL FRYATT #2002-BMW-Z3-2.2i / #2002 / #BMW-Z3-2.2i / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW /
    / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-E36
    YEAR: 2002
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 74,807
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: –
    MPG THIS MONTH: 23.2
    COST THIS MONTH: £681.69 (inc VAT)

    It’s been a pretty good summer to own an open-topped sports car, and my Z3 has certainly lived up to expectations. I bought the car because I wanted a (relatively) cheap sports car that I could regularly drive with the top down, and I didn’t want it to be a Mazda MX5!

    My budget was around £4,000, and it was surprising what little choice there is. But when this Z3 came up for sale, it fitted the bill perfectly. The underpowered four-cylinder model was never a consideration and, having checked a few example insurance quotes, a three-litre would have been a little extravagant. Of course, an #M-Sport option would have been fantastic, but wasn’t going to happen on my budget! If I’m honest, I didn’t actually realise that there was a 2.2-litre version of the six-cylinder-engined Z3 until I did some research. They are limited in number and so, when HF51 PUV appeared on the AutoTrader website, I went to see the car and immediately did the deal. Regular readers may remember that I bought it during a snowstorm in February 2017, but I did check that the hood folded down correctly. In fact, it was obvious that the car must have spent much of its life in a garage, or at least covered, since the quality of the hood was high; the deal was done.

    It was also obvious that it would need some new tyres. Why do people buy different tyres for each wheel? My Z3 had three different brands on its four wheels; one of them a Chinese tyre branded ‘Triangle’ (does anyone else feel mystified at the choice of name for a round object?). The quality of the hood, however, did mask a problem that I’ve reported on before. The rubber seals around the screen and door jams were allowing water ingress when it rained particularly hard. Water collected under the passenger seat and promptly flooded the DSC yaw sensor that’s located there.

    Although the total repair cost – replacing all the seals and getting a refurbished DSC sensor (a new BMW OE version being some four times the cost of a refurbished version!) – was over £1,000, I wasn’t too worried and didn’t feel it was something that was ‘missed’ when I bought the car; the passenger carpet was certainly not wet when I handed over the cash. All the work was done by Walkers Autotech (walkersautotech. co.uk, tel: 01403 751646), where Andy and his team did an excellent job. He left the old seals in the boot for me which, if nothing else, did emphasise how much had been changed! When this year’s MoT and annual service became due, I was hoping for a rather cheaper experience, and was pleased to get the call to say that the Z3 had passed the MoT without problem. Walkers did a comprehensive ‘health check’ on the car before the annual service and, while there was nothing that needed immediate attention, there were a few things that I decided to get done while they had the car.

    The windscreen wiper arm had become twisted slightly and had scratched the screen. While that’s particularly annoying (and I have no idea how it happened), the scratching isn’t directly in front of the driver, so didn’t influence the MoT test. The arm and the wiper blades were duly replaced.

    More significant was that the propshaft rubber coupler was found to be perished and cracked. Walkers suggested I consider replacing it sooner rather than later, so it seemed logical to get that done during the service.

    They also spotted that the rear anti-roll bar drop link bushes were perished, and had started to split. This rang true as I had felt that, in high-speed corners, the rear of the Z3 did feel a little soft to me. Although I don’t claim to be some kind of seat-of-the-pants-engineer, I had noticed this rather unnerving characteristic on a particular bend on the A24, near where I live. Now, my other car is a Lotus Elise so it’s probably a little unfair to make the comparison, but I did. So, getting these bushes replaced seemed an excellent idea. Driving back from Walkers and negotiating that same bend, the car certainly felt like it was squatting down into the corner a lot better – a feeling that makes spending the money a lot easier!

    The only really annoying thing was that, during the standard service, the exhaust studs snapped on removal, which meant they had to be heated to remove them. Walkers kept the cost down, though, and only charged an hour’s labour when I suspect it took a little longer. That said, the labour, new studs and new exhaust manifold did add £95 to the total bill.

    In total, therefore, the MoT, annual service and a couple of replacements that while not essential were sensible, saw a total bill of £681. When you consider this is for a year’s motoring, it works out at around £56 a month, which is reasonable – and a lot less than I had to spend last year on those bloody seals!

    The service was carried out in late October, just when we had that cold snap in the weather. Nevertheless, the day I collected the Z3 it was blue sky and sunshine. Decent jacket, quality woolly beanie hat fitted, shades on, the drive home with the roof down, through some great Sussex country lanes, was excellent.

    Add some decent tunes on the stereo, and that’s exactly why I bought the car in the first place. Walkers also give each customer car a full wash and vacuum, so we were looking good. An open-topped car isn’t just for the summer!

    My Z3 certainly lived up to expectations during the summer. Left: All the work was done at Walkers Autotech, who also gave the car an excellent clean and vacuum – much appreciated! Right: These are the old rubber seals that go around the windscreen; now all replaced.
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    CAR: E36 Z3 Roadster / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-E36
    YEAR: #2002
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 66,610
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 172
    MPG THIS MONTH: 22.1
    COST THIS MONTH: £45

    When I bought my 2002 Z3, I did open the boot to check that everything was OK, and it seemed so to me. However, the completely flat front tyre that I had to deal with a few weeks later proved me wrong.

    The plan was to inflate the tyre and then see if I could then drive to the local tyre fitter to get it checked, but there was obviously an issue with the valve, which was leaking air out as quickly as I could put it in! So, the only solution was to change the wheel.

    What followed involved a lot of head-shaking and quite a bit of swearing. For a start, my trolley jack wouldn’t fi t under the Z3’s side sill, so it was back to the inflator – with me bending the valve in such a way that the air wouldn’t come out, so the tyre would inflate, the sill would rise and I could get the trolley jack into position. The next job was the remove the spare wheel from its cradle under the boot floor…

    The Z3’s boot is a reasonable size for a small sports car, thanks to the space-saver tyre slung underneath. Instructions on how to remove it were actually in the boot, and that was when I realised that one particular tool was missing from the seemingly perfect tool kit; without it, releasing the bolt holding the cradle was extremely awkward for a big hand and a ring spanner (sockets not being possible), and that’s when the head-shaking started.

    Eventually, with the spare free, inspection revealed that it had never been used – or removed – making me wonder if the Z3 actually ever had the necessary tool in the first place. Then I prepared myself to undo the wheel studs, fully expecting this to be a major battle (why do people do these up so tight?). I decided to start with the locking nut but, of course, the ‘key’ to release this, was completely mullered.

    At that point the head-shaking turned to swearing, and it was clear that I wasn’t going to be changing the wheel anytime soon! Still, at least the car was on my drive, it wasn’t raining or winter, I wasn’t in a rush and nor was I wearing my best suit!

    A quick phonecall to my very helpful, local independent tyre outlet, Littlehampton Tyres, saw their mobile unit with me within 30 mins, and he had a full set of Laser locking wheel nut ‘keys’, allowing him to swap wheels and take away the flat tyre to be repaired. The call-out cost me £30, and the puncture repair, £15.
    It could have been a lot worse and I will, of course, now look to either buy a new locking wheel nut key (and you can imagine what BMW will charge for that!), or get some standard wheel studs and swap them over… but then I’ll need the stupid ‘key’ to do that, won’t I?…

    A missing T-bar wrench means you can’t lower the Z3’s spare wheel cradle. The locking wheel nut key had been used; actually, it had been completely destroyed!
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    RAGING BULL

    Presented in stunning Estoril blue, this bagged Z3 Roadster is rocking Lambo wheels and looks sensational. This is Tom Lilico’s first BMW, but he’s not pulling any punches – killer stance, unique styling, Lamborghini rims… this sleek Z3 is a true knockout. Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Matt Woods

    It’s a well-documented fact that moths are drawn to sources of light. They just can’t get enough of it, the flappy little lunatics. The scientific reason is down to a thing called phototaxis – they just have a biological imperative to gravitate toward your porch light, campfire or headlamps. Why they don’t just come out in the daytime if they’re so damned keen on light is anybody’s guess. But the point is that it serves us humans with a useful simile: ‘like a moth to a flame’.

    This handy phrase applies rather neatly to Tom Lilico, the owner of this Z3, and the manner in which he was drawn into the BMW scene. You see, like so many feature car owners we shoot the breeze with, he migrated over from another level of the automotive strata entirely; his fledgling passions lay with French cars, until the shining beacon of the Bavarian propeller lured him inexorably into the warmth of its embrace (you know, if one can be said to embrace a warm propeller. Frankly, we wouldn’t recommend that).

    “I previously had a purple Peugeot 106, which was highly modified,” Tom explains. “It was lowered on Gaz coilovers, it had a nice paint job and some lovely Schmidt TH Lines, and a GTI engine conversion. I was really into French hatches, but my automotive interests have grown a lot; I really respect older BMWs such as the 2002s and E21s, and I also love the new M3 – it was seeing a low Z3 on coilovers that inspired me to make the change. I wanted a two-seater as my 106 only had two seats – I figured if you don’t use back seats, why have them? And I liked the classic sports car lines of the Z3, so it stemmed from there.” Tom’s initial plan was to seek out a Z3 Coupé, but the prohibitive price premiums they command steered him naturally toward the Roadster. A nationwide search turned up a surprisingly small number of Z3s that were quite to his tastes – and there’s a lot of them out there, so this tells you something about how much of a perfectionist Tom is – and he ended up travelling a few hundred miles to check out an Estoril blue example at a dealership in Maidenhead. A few stone chips and scratches were counterpointed by a solid service history and low mileage, so the search was done and dusted.

    “It wasn’t a Coupé, but I still loved that it was a two-seater, with rear-wheel drive, a sixcylinder motor, and the luxury of a BMW,” he says. “I was originally after the 2.2-litre model, but I’m glad I ended up with the 3.0.” This makes sense, of course, as the M54B30 serves up the thick end of 231hp exactly in stock form and features a lot of aluminium so, on paper at least, the Z3 3.0 isn’t as noseheavy as you may think. As quick as his 106 may have been, this new acquisition was on another level of performance.


    “After lowering my previous car on some nice wide wheels, I wanted my Z3 to be lowered as well,” Tom assures us, “and I bought the car with the intention of modifying it. I was keen on the idea of lowering something that was already designed to be a low-down sports car. So the first thing I wanted to do was to invest in some nice split-rims and coilovers.” That plan, however, didn’t last long. Having done his research and found a lot of examples of low Z3s on coilovers, Tom was adamant that he wanted to create the lowest and widest possible look for his project. And so his thoughts naturally began to take in other options; he’d never had a car with airride before, but this seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge. “It’s more practical, plus it gets the car lower,” he says matter-offactly, and you can’t really argue with the logic of that. So the car was shipped off to the enthusiastic modifiers at UnitSixteen in Newton Aycliffe, where an eager chap named Jamie set about installing a custom air-ride system, along with smoothing the bootlid for good measure.


    So the build was off to a promising start – it was sitting on the floor, and the beginnings of a custom aesthetic were showing themselves. You know what they say about smoothed boots: they’re a gateway drug. Once you’ve smoothed one thing, you can’t help but smooth all the things… but we’ll return to the bodywork later. First, let’s talk about what’s going on under the arches: “I sourced a set of OZ Breytons from Ireland, which I refurbished and colour-coded to match the Estoril blue,” Tom recalls. “They were 17” in diameter, which worked out nicely with the air-ride – I wouldn’t have been able to get it anywhere near as low over 17s on coils. There are custom top mounts and rear mounts, and the arches have been rolled to accommodate the width, so it all sits just-so.”


    You’ll have noticed, of course, that it’s not rolling Breytons any more. In fact, those wheels appear to have a certain Sant’Agatese bull in the centre, don’t they…? “I decided at some point that I fancied a change from the Breytons,” he shrugs, “and was torn between a set of BBS RS and some Lamborghini Diablo wheels.” His nonchalance at this point is off the charts, it’s truly impressive to watch.

    “Having discovered that the Lambo rims were both 35-bolt and 5x120 PCD, I was sold on the idea. They’re a more desirable and unusual choice! So after selling the Breyton faces, I bought a set of genuine Diablo faces from Poland, which were then built up using the OZ barrels from the Breytons, with wider lips added.” There’s a nice sense of continuity to this, as OZ was the originalequipment manufacturer of Diablo wheels in the first place, and Tom’s put his own unique spin on them by face-mounting the centres and adding 3” lips up front, with a mighty 4.5” out back.

    Returning to the notion of smoothness, you’ll observe that the over-arching approach to exterior modifications is to shave, fill and smooth to an almost cartoonish degree, eliminating any unnecessary complexity from the overall form and allowing that gorgeous shade of blue plenty of room to breathe. The cabin is adorned with a custom-made Hamann hardtop, sourced from Fiercespeed in California, which is complemented by M side grilles that have had their M badges smoothed away (the sort of detail that only true BMW nerds would clock), and lavish smoothing to the bonnet, aerial, side repeaters and front bumper. The rear numberplate recess has been shortened too – again, it’s the little things that make the big differences, and this is something that’s time-consuming to do but would pass unnoticed for most. A treat for the connoisseurs, and something emblematic of a truly passionate build. This Z3 isn’t all about the aesthetics, however. With that 3.0-litre six under the languorous hood it certainly isn’t wanting for grunt, and Tom’s augmented this with a robust remap courtesy of Automark in Stokesley which, working in conjunction with the cat-less M52 exhaust manifolds, custom stainless steel pipes and Pipercross air filter, adds up to an entertaining 249hp and 260lb ft. It sounds apocalyptic too, shouting through those quad tails like a caged rhino. There’s aggression in spades here.


    The interior is a more sober affair, but this is intentional. “I like the retro look of the dials on this era of #BMW ,” he says, “and it’s got a classic look inside. But I have brightened it up with a mahogany Grip Royal steering wheel with quick-release, and UnitSixteen fitted a boot-popper button to the console as well as tucking the air-ride controls into the ashtray.” A pleasant place to be, and an interesting counterpoint to both the aggression of the performance and the badassery of the aesthetics.

    So, what is Tom’s favourite element of the build? The Tarmac-troubling aired-out stance, the bona fide supercar wheels, the glimmering paintwork on the ridge-free surfaces? “Actually, it’s the hard-top that I like the most,” he grins. “It gives it an ultrarare look that few Z3s in the world can boast – it’s rarer to see a Roadster with a Hamann roof than it is to see a Coupé, that’s for sure! I like the way the roll hoops fit neatly in its bulges so that it can sit lower than an OEM hard-top would, it’s smooth and low and blue and suits the car perfectly.”


    Smooth, low and blue are indeed the key take-out points from this Z3, and it’s all testament to Tom’s single-mindedness in his pursuit for perfection. Like the proverbial moth, he was drawn into the light of BMW ownership, and has been fluttering around the candle of uniqueness ever since. And you know what? He’s whispering sweet nothings about fitting a supercharger to it next; that’ll give those spinning Lamborghini bulls something to think about.


    DATA FILE #BMW-Z3-Roadster-3.0i-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-3.0i / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #M54B30 / #M54 , ECU remap, custom stainless steel quad-exit exhaust, #M52 exhaust manifolds, Pipercross air filter, five-speed manual

    CHASSIS 10x17” (front) and 11.5x17” (rear) custom split-rims with face-mounted #OZ Lamborghini Diablo centres with 215/40 (front) and 245/40 (rear) tyres, stud adaptors with gold nuts, custom air-ride system comprising Air Lift bags and #AccuAir management

    EXTERIOR Smoothed front bumper, side repeaters, bootlid, side grilles, aerial and bonnet badge recess, shortened rear number plate recess, colour-coded Hamann hardtop and door handles, black kidney grilles, rolled arches

    INTERIOR Grip Royal quick-release steering wheel

    THANKS I would like to thank Jamie at UnitSixteen for supplying and fitting the air-ride and for the brilliant paint job, my girlfriend Gabby for helping me out, Mark at Automark for the awesome map, and Fiercespeed in California for sourcing me the rare Hamann hard-top

    Fitment is on point and attention to detail is to die for; M54 has been treated to a few mild tweaks, including a remap, M52 exhaust manifolds and custom exhaust, meaning a bit more power and plenty more noise.

    “It’s the hard-top that I like the most. It gives it an ultra-rare look that few Z3s in the world can boast”
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    FURY ROADSTER

    This might look like a mildly modified Z3 M but under the bonnet hides 800whp of sheer rage. With an earth-shattering 800whp, this turbocharged #BMW-Z3-M-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-M will definitely put the wind in your hair. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Darren Maybury

    While I’m generally not a huge fan of convertibles, Roadsters are a whole different kettle of slightly windswept, sunburnt fish. I like the fact that they are built from the ground up as soft-tops, with less compromise on all fronts, and they don’t attempt to try and shoehorn in a pair of rear ‘seats’ for the vertically challenged or your shopping. Engine. Two seats. Boot. Done.

    BMW’s Z3 was met with mixed reviews when launched, but it’s ageing well. The retro lines look ever more retro, and the styling has plenty of character and muscle about it. When it was handed over to BMW M’s engineers to work their magic, there were certainly plenty of fireworks and, while the M Coupé might be the one that turns heads, there’s lots to love about the #Roadster , especially when there’s the small matter of 800whp going on.

    Why wouldn’t you want to stuff a turbo under the bonnet of your Z3 and make 800whp? Mark Christofis is a man who clearly took a look at his life, realised it was missing an 800whp Z3 Roadster and set about correcting this problem. Mark is a man who loves cars and, as a metallurgical engineering consultant, is lucky enough to be in a suitably serious and important sounding job that means he can really indulge his passion for all things automotive. Hats off to that man.

    This passion for cars is long-standing and both his previous and current rides are seriously nice. When it comes to cars Chris does not beat around the bush: “My first car was a 1970 Pontiac GTO with a manual four-speed transmission and 400 CID Ram Air III engine.” This engine was a 6.6-litre V8 which made 350hp; it was a hell of a way for Mark to earn his motoring stripes. “I’ve owned a number of performance/sports cars over the years,” he continues, “including various muscle cars and European models. I currently have a Ferrari 360, an Audi B8.5 S4 and, of course, my BMW. I’ve also driven a host of other performance cars like the Dodge Viper, various 911 Porsches, Nobles and Lotuses. I’ve been interested in cars since I was a kid, particularly American muscle cars, and being born and raised in Detroit it was almost a natural occurrence. Of course, this carried over into becoming an engineer and I eventually wound up working for Ford Motor Company as a Metallurgical Technical Specialist for the Product Development Group of Axle Driveline. So my passion for cars runs deep.

    “My brother and I were both really into cars when we were younger and we carried that with us through the years. Early on we pretty much did all the mods ourselves out of necessity as we just didn’t have much money, but as I got older and eventually married, it became increasingly difficult to work on them as I just didn’t have the time with work, kids and all. Eventually, though, the modification bug hit again but now I leave the major work to the professionals.”

    And this Z3 has had more than its fair share of work, that’s for sure. Mark’s been a fan of BMWs for around 15 years now, having cut his teeth on a ’95 M3, but this Z3 is something else; not only is it his first major build, it’s arguably his wildest car so far. The Z3 was spotted for sale in Florida, where Mark’s brother happened to be vacationing, and so he helped Mark out and duly popped over to take look at it. It turned out to be a very clean example with just 20,000 miles on the clock and a Dinan supercharger to boot. A deal was done and the car was delivered to Mark’s Michigan home where he could begin to enjoy it. “I never bored of driving this car,” he says.


    “It was so easy to just drop the top and take it out for a cruise. Eventually, though, my craving for more power got the best of me and I started sending it out for major upgrades, eventually leading to its current state of tune. I also was into weight reduction mods and everything I did was kind of geared towards that. The roof, seats, wheels exhaust pretty much everything was weighed.” The supercharger was doing a good job on the power front but for the kind of figures that Mark wanted the engine needed to be pretty much stripped down and built from the ground up.

    The car was handed over to the guys at ICS Performance, who know a thing or two about making fast, force induced BMWs and after chatting with head man, George Kakaletris, it was agreed that 600whp would be a good figure to aim for. Unfortunately, ICS discovered two cracked piston ring lands, so Mark decided to go all out on the engine because that’s what we as enthusiasts do when something breaks – we use it as an excuse to repair it but make it better at the same time.

    The engine component list reads like a turbo build wish list and ICS really left no stone unturned when it came to creating this monster of a Z3. Inside the 3.2-litre S52 you’ll find Mahle 9:1 compression triple-coated racing pistons, K1 forged con rods, ACL Racing bearings, titanium valve kit, springs and retainers and ICS Stage 1 performance camshafts. There’s also a CES cut ring head gasket and ARP series 2000 head studs, while the Precision 4094R dual ball bearing turbo sits on an Otis tubular twin-scroll manifold with a Tial 60mm wastegate vented into the exhaust to keep things a little more civilized. You’ll also find a Tial 50mm BOV, while the exhaust is custom-made. To ensure that enough fuel makes it into the engine there are 80lb (840cc) injectors with both a Walbro 400 and Bosch 044 fuel pump, running with an Aeromotive fuel filter and a custom fuel rail.


    To help keep the engine cool in all conditions, a high flow aluminium BMW racing radiator has been fitted along with a VPD custom racing oil cooler and then there’s the custom intercooler, measuring 610x305x102mm and squeezed in behind the front bumper.

    It’s one hell of a line-up and, unsurprisingly, it makes for some seriously heavy-hitting power figures. On 109 octane fuel at 1.8bar of boost on what Mark calls a fairly conservative tune, the Z3 made a spectacular 803whp and 776lb ft of torque at the wheels, and that’s with the tyres spinning! “She probably makes a bit more,” says Mark, “but who’s counting? That wasn’t my primary objective – after all it’s just a street car. With a few upgrades, though, like a larger fuel line, bigger injectors, larger turbo, more boost and a more aggressive tune it could be closer to 1000hp but I have no interest in doing so as the car is already a handful to drive weighing in at only around 1250kg. Currently, I’m not aware of another M Roadster producing more horsepower or torque.”


    For Mark, this build wasn’t just about power, it was about weight, too, and both the exterior and interior styling has been shaped by his desire to shave and shed weight wherever possible. There’s a lightweight vented FG Racing bonnet, Recaro Pole Position seats mounted on lightweight aluminium brackets with Imola red leather centre sections to tie-in with the rest of the interior colour scheme, there are lighter UUC race pedals, the bumper weights have been removed along with the air-con, the sound deadening and Mark’s fitted a lightweight Odyssey battery. Even the carpets are lightweight!


    Mark has extended the Imola red colour scheme throughout the interior and it also appears on the badges. A rear spoiler and diffuser were also added as subtle cosmetic enhancements.

    As far as the chassis is concerned, the Z3 has been fitted with a Ground Control adjustable Eibach spring kit, Koni adjustable sport dampers, a Bavarian Autosport rear bush kit, IE Engineering rear camber/caster adjustment kit and a Randy Forbes rear axle reinforcement kit, along with a Rogue Engineering dual rear differential housing.

    With so much power, you need a suitably powerful braking system on board and lurking behind the staggered 18” Work Meister SP1s you’ll find a UUC/Wilwood front BBK with four-pot calipers and superlight 325mm discs, while at the back there are #StopTech Z3 M cross-drilled discs with braided hoses and Axis Ultimate brake pads all round.

    Mark’s Roadster has been through various stages of development, with this last stage taking seven months. In that time it has gone from brisk to ballistic, with the kind of power figure that is actually hard to imagine. “The turbo system is my favourite modification on the whole car,” he smiles, “as it’s just so powerful. Being in such a lightweight car puts your eyes on stalks when you squeeze the throttle. I’ve not experienced acceleration quite like this before and I’ve been in some pretty fast cars.” Mark has really ticked all the boxes with this project and built his ultimate Z3 and all that’s left to do is just drive it and enjoy it. You know he will…

    TECH DATA FILE #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z3-M-Coupe

    ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #S52 , #Mahle 9:1 compression triple-coated racing pistons, #K1 forged and coated connecting rods, #ACL-Racing coated rod and main bearings, titanium valve kit, springs and retainers, CES cut ring head gasket, #ARP series 2000 11mm head studs, #ICS Stage 1 custom performance camshafts, Precision 4094R DBB 1.06 A/R turbo, 610x305x102mm custom intercooler, custom intercooler shielding, Otis coated tubular twin scroll turbo manifold, #M50 (OBD 1) intake manifold, custom turbo engine mount arm, Tial 60mm wastegate vented into exhaust, Tial 50 blow-off valve, 840cc fuel injectors, #Walbro 400 and #Bosch-044 inline fuel pumps, custom relay kit for fuel system with circuit breaker, Aeromotive fuel filter, custom fuel rail kit, RK Tunes custom tuning OBD 2, 3.5” HFM, welded oil pump nut, Dr. #Vanos unit, #BMW high-flow aluminium racing radiator, VPD custom racing oil cooler, custom 3.5” exhaust with dual 3” Magnaflow silencers, Rogue Engineering racing engine mounts. 803whp and 776lb ft of torque at the wheels on 109 octane race fuel at 1.8bar.

    TRANSMISSION: #ZF-Type-C / #ZF five-speed manual gearbox, #Rogue-Engineering transmission mounts, #Clutch-Masters custom clutch, lightweight chromoly flywheel, 2.79:1 built differential with 40% lock up.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) Work Meister SP1 wheels with 225/40 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, Ground Control adjustable Eibach spring kit (525lb front, 600lb rear), Koni yellow adjustable sport dampers, Randy Forbes rear axle reinforcement kit, Rogue Engineering dual ear differential housing, IE Engineering rear camber/caster adjust kit, Bavarian Autosport rear bushing kit, #UUC/Wilwood #BBK with four-pot #Wilwood calipers and Superlite 325mm floating cross-drilled discs (front), StopTech Z3 M cross-drilled discs (rear), #Axis-Ultimate brake pads and stainless steel brake lines all-round.

    EXTERIOR: #FG-Racing lightweight vented bonnet, rear bootlip spoiler, rear diffuser, bumper weights removed.

    INTERIOR: #Recaro Pole Position racing seats with custom red matching inserts, Recaro lightweight aluminium side brackets and TC Kline floor mounts, AEM UEGO A/F gauge, SPA dual readout gauge (boost and fuel pressure), E Boost 2 electronic boost controller, Autometer dual gauge pod, Autometer mini shift light, #TRM racing shift knob, #UUC race pedals, lightweight carpeting, lightweight Odyssey battery, AC delete, sound deadening removed.

    Vented bonnet looks the part, is lightweight and helps to keep underbonnet temperatures down.

    Top: Engine may not look special but the 800whp magic is hidden away beneath the surface; diffuser looks cool and was added for that very reason, along with bootlip spoiler.
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