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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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    ’CHARGED Z3 M Track-focussed monster. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrick Lauder. From bone stock to supercharged autocross monster, this Z3 M Coupé has spent 14 years becoming the best machine it can be.

    Supercharged / #BMW-Z3M-Coupe / #BMW-Z3M-Coupé-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3M-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3-E36/8 / #BMW-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3M / #BMW-Z3M-Coupe-Supercharged / #BMW-Z3-Supercharged / #BMW-Z3M-Coupe-Supercharged-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E36/8 / #BMW


    In America they call it the clown shoe; in the UK we call it the bread van but whatever you choose to call it the Z3 Coupé remains an incredibly special and unique machine. #BMW attempted to recapture the magic of its quirky miniature shooting brake with the E86 Z4 Coupé and while it was arguably a better car, it was also a lot more conventional and lost a lot of the appeal of its quirky forebear. Being unconventional may have caused people to fall in and out of love with the Z3 Coupé throughout its life but standing out from the crowd has most definitely worked in favour of the eye-catching machine and that is exactly why Grant Gillum ended up buying this car.

    “I wasn’t a BMW guy per se,” Grant begins, “but I knew they made a quality product. As college was ending I began researching nice used cars to purchase after graduation. I wanted a front engine, rear-wheel-drive car that could be modified and used for autocross and track days. It would also be my daily for a while. After considering several cars including Corvettes, Camaros, Porsche 944s and 928s, the Pontiac GTO (not a used car at the time), Datsuns and Nissans of many years and models, I decided on an E36 M3. I liked the styling, the daily sensibilities and the aftermarket availability. They were also uncommon and more exclusive. All that changed the day that I saw a Z3 Coupé in traffic,” he says. “I had seen a million Z3 Roadsters and wasn’t really interested in a convertible. But this was different and I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at. I certainly didn’t recognize it as a Z3. It had a BMW logo so I started researching all their models, eventually finding information on the M Coupé. All the engine of an M3 but lighter, with a factory wide body, staggered wheels and a look that was comparable to some exotics. Sold. I had to have one,” he smiles. “It took nine months of scouring the internet to find the right one.

    I bought a 22k mile example, bone stock but for a Dinan CAI and a stage one tune and still under warranty. I bought it sight unseen except photos and had it shipped cross country. I realized right away too that the M Coupé was a limited production run vehicle and so would be a cheap way for a blue collar guy to own something special. I bought the car knowing it would be a lifelong project car. I’ve known plenty of grey haired dudes that sold the hot rod of their youth and regretted it the rest of their lives. Not me. Hopefully,” he adds.

    Unlike other owners who buy their cars and start out with no plans for modifying, Grant knew he was going to mod the Z3 and knew exactly which direction he wanted to take it in. “I wanted to race it right away and joined an autocross club soon after buying it,” he says, and his passion for autocross is shared by his wife. “Six years ago she came with me for a day at the track. She rode along on a couple runs and decided to give it a try. Except when pregnant, she’s raced in nearly every autocross event that I have since then. Averaging our times to a 60 second run, she’s about a half second off me. She’s been as close as a tenth second off my time. I’m much more of a fundamental driver, she drives much more by the seat of her pants. As soon as she tightens up her fundamentals, she’ll beat me,” he says. While you can take any car to an autocross event, if you’re serious about this particular form of motorsport, as Grant is, then your car will need to be modified and in a focussed way that will enable you to get the most out of it, which is why virtually everything he’s done to his Z3 has been all about making it a more finely-honed, precision autocross instrument.

    It’s also why the supercharger that you can see strapped to the side of the engine came last and everything else came first as the chassis, handling and dynamics were the priorities here.

    Wheels and tyres were the first items on what would become quite an extensive shopping list and while aesthetics do obviously play a part, lightness was mostly the deciding factor as far as wheel choice was concerned. “I went online and found the lightest wheels I could for the car,” explains Grant. “I bought a set of OZ Alleggerita HLTs in 8x17” and 8.5”x17”. They were light at less than 17lbs (7.7kg) per corner and dropped considerable unsprung weight over the stock wheels and I converted to wheel studs too.

    I ran those wheels for a couple of autocross seasons before switching the rears to the front and widening the fronts to 10” and putting them on the rear. Now they weigh 16.8lbs (7.6kg) and 17.9lbs (8.1kg) front and rear; they are light, strong and handsome,” and what more could anyone ask for from a wheel? “I also run a set of 8x18” and 9x18” ASA AR1 wheels with black centres and 2” and 3” polished lips front and rear on the street,” he adds. The 17s really suit the Z3, as you can see in the photos, especially with the fat sidewalls of the super-sticky BF Goodrich g-Force R1 tyres filling out the arches and those tyres let you know that this M Coupé means business.

    With lightweight wheels and track tyres taken care of, the next item on Grant’s to-do list was the suspension, and while he started off small, things quickly escalated. “I started with H&R springs and kept them for a few years until they sagged,” he says, “then I switched to Ground Control coilovers and adjustable spring perches. But not before modding the anti-roll bars with reinforcements, adding differential reinforcements, rear shock mounts, sub frame reinforcements and rear camber and toe adjustments. Then I poly bushed it followed by aluminium control arms.

    “Disaster struck at the autocross one day when the diff pulled away from the subfloor and the rear end went squishy,” says Grant. “I thought that one of the rear anti-roll bar end links had given way. That’s how I got a tube frame rear subfloor that is way stiffer than the stock car ever thought of being. I love the coilovers, of course, but the single greatest suspension mod was poly bushing the rear subframe. It really changed the way the car transitioned weight in-corner to being much more predictable,” he says. As is often the case when it comes to modding, when things go wrong, break or fail, rather than just replacing them you upgrade them so, as with his boot floor, when the clutch started to slip Grant fitted an F1 Racing stage two clutch and 14lbs chromoly flywheel as well as a stainless steel clutch line and then added a UUC short shift kit and double shear selector rod plus a Z3 2.3 steering rack. Further drivetrain upgrades include a poly differential bush, UUC aluminium engine and transmission mounts and a rebuilt diff with four clutch zero preload and 80/60 ramping, polished ring and pinion gears and a 3.64 final drive in place of the standard 3.23 item. “Before the supercharger, lowering the final drive was a really dramatic NA mod. It went a long way to help pull me out of slow second gear turns,” explains Grant.

    With the suspension and drivetrain taken care the Z3 was a far sharper machine but now the car’s stopping abilities needed to be addressed. “When I started doing a lot of track days it was apparent that the stock brakes were not up to long days of abuse,” he says. “That’s when I did the brake conversion and ducting. What a difference and zero fade. I didn’t go too big on the disc diameter as I was concerned with reducing as much rotational weight as possible, as autocross is more of a low speed competition.” The Z3 now wears Wilwood six-pot Superlite front calipers with 330mm GT-48 floating discs and Wilwood Dynalite four-pot rear calipers with 312mm lightweight discs and Wilwood B pads allround, while the ducting ensures that the brakes receive plenty of cool air to deliver peak performance at all times.

    Having carried out all the groundwork to make sure that all aspects of the chassis and drivetrain were at peak performance, Grant could now turn his attention to extracting more power from the engine.

    Unlike our Euro-spec Z3 M models, the US cars were fitted with the S52B32 engine, based on the M52, which had to make do with 240hp and 236lb ft of torque so it’s no surprise that Grant wanted to up these numbers. “I started with keeping the engine NA and wanted to let it breathe better,” he says. “I upgraded the cooling system with a rad, water pump thermostat and cover immediately. I kept the CAI and did the M50 intake manifold exchange and I also did the BBTB at the same time. A cat-back exhaust followed and a year later came exhaust manifolds and a mid-pipe. In general I would wait until OE parts needed replacement and would upgrade at that time; that way the financial hit of modifying was lessened by taking the money I would be spending on OE parts and putting that towards upgrades.

    I replaced all the water hoses throughout and the oil cooler followed when I started doing more track days, as I live a 40 minute drive from Thunderhill Raceway here in California. While on track there one day the bottom radiator hose slipped off and started spewing out coolant; I realised it had happened within seconds but even though I coasted into the pits the water temp gauge showed hot and that’s how I got the new head and I went to under-driven pulleys then as well.

    “After the rest of the car was pretty modified I bought the supercharger kit. I had become a dad and my wife wanted me to do less high speed track driving and just drive autocross, so after close to two dozen track days at Thunderhill my focus changed with regard to driving. I needed just a little more low-end torque to pull me out of slow second gear turns when I didn’t want to shift to first gear at autocross,” and the supercharger kit has certainly given Grant the grunt he was after. It’s an Active Autowerke Stage 1 kit with a Rotrex C38-92 supercharger and is accompanied by numerous supporting mods. “I removed the air con, replaced the alternator, installed the power steering cooler, did the oil pan/pump upgrade and fitted an ATI Super Damper, crank pulley and carried out a CCV delete with the supercharger kit,” he says. “The baseline dyno when I bought the car was 205hp and 203lb ft of torque at the wheels; the NA mods took that up to 230whp and 222lb ft and it now makes 312whp and 262lb ft at the wheels on the same dyno. Active Autowerke claims that this kit makes 360hp on a stock car; I’ve done a lot of other work to the engine, so if they want to claim 360hp I want to claim somewhere in the 380hp range,” says Grant. “That seems excessive, though, and I usually just quote my dyno numbers,” and that’s still plenty to enjoy both on road an track, and a huge increase over stock.

    While Grant has focussed mainly on the performance and dynamic elements of the car he has not forgotten about aesthetics, both inside and out. The exterior as been enhanced with Motion Motorsports front splitters and aluminium undertay, a one-off AC Schnitzer rear diffuser centre section, the roof spoiler has been raised by 8mm to enhance the roofline and Grant’s also fitted black kidney grilles, black lower mesh grilles and carbon-look roundels among other things. The interior, meanwhile, has been treated to a Momo Competition steering wheel on a quick release hub, chrome handbrake handle, E46 M3 short shift gearknob, black leather gaiter with tricolour stitching and M Tech pedals and dead pedal. There’s also a H3R black HalGuard fire extinguisher, but this was added as a necessity following a scary incident…

    “While testing the car after installing the M50 manifold a fuel hose wasn’t secured completely and popped off and sprayed fuel over the exhaust manifold,” says Grant. “Thank god the car wasn’t warmed up all the way and only billowed white smoke. I pulled over immediately and ran. It continued to smoke for a long, heart-pounding five minutes. I fitted the fire extinguisher after that,” he says.

    Grant’s Z3 is a focussed build that’s been taken in a specific direction and the results speak for themselves. While it looks great it’s the changes that you can’t see and that we can’t experience or appreciate that make this car. It’s the vast amount of chassis work, the brakes, the hundreds of seemingly minor secondary mods that are so important for the success of the whole and which all add up to make a such big difference. This Z3 has evolved hugely during the 14 years that Grant has owned it, from autocross machine to track monster and back to autocross beast but this time with the wick turned way, way up, becoming more and more focussed at each stage and it’s not reached its final form just yet…

    “In the not-too-distant future this car will retire from competition after nearly 80,000 miles that saw it driving to almost monthly autocross events (10 months a year). I have a pile of class win trophies adding, in my small way, to BMW’s racing heritage. I’ll paint and mount the new bumper and splitters I have waiting. I’ll delete the fog lights and the antenna for a cleaner look. At that time I’d also like a nice set of multipiece step-lipped wheels,” he nods, painting an attractive picture. At that point it’ll become a different animal altogether but whether or not that will be its final stage of evolution will remain to be seen…


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged E36/8 Z3 M Coupé / #Active-Autowerke-Stage-1 / #Active-Autowerke / #Rotrex / #VAC / #Dinan /

    ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #BMW-S52 / #S52 / #S52-Supercharged , #UUC engine mounts, Active Autowerke Stage 1 supercharger kit with #Rotrex-C38-92 supercharger, CAI, 3” MAF, High flow Bosch fuel injectors, supercharger oil cooler, AA stage 1 programming for BBTB and M50 intake with 7k redline, polished supercharger bracket, #ATI-Super-Damper , #VAC-lightweight crank pulley, #Dinan big bore throttle body, M50 intake manifold and fuel rail cover, intake runner heat shields, Dr. Vanos stage 2 kit with cam gears, timing chains and solenoid, Turner shorty ceramic coated exhaust manifolds, ARP header studs, fiberglass manifold and exhaust wrap, SAS Racing dual 2.5” mid-pipes with stock cats, dual 2.75” Supersprint stainless cat-back exhaust, #BMP design exhaust tips, #VAC oil pump upgrade, VAC oil pan baffle, #Behr S54 E46 triple row radiator, 80° thermostat, power steering cooler, Stewart high-flow water pump with steel impeller, polished aluminum thermostat housing, polished aluminum water pump nut, 80/88º fan switch, Spal 16” electric puller fan, clutch fan delete, new overflow tank, BMP brass water bleeder, VAC 5x7” oil cooler with polished Euro oil filter housing, stock head gasket, #ARP head studs, head polished and gasket matched, new valve guides, lashes, locks and retainers, valve job, resurfaced head, hydraulic belt tensioner, CCV delete, new Valeo 115 app alternator, AC delete, radiator baffle.

    POWER and torque 312whp and 262lb ft wtq

    TRANSMISSION #ZF-Type-C / #ZF five-speed manual gearbox, #F1-Racing 14lbs chromoly flywheel and stage 2 clutch, stainless clutch line, UUC short shifter and double shear selector rod, poly differential bush, UUC aluminium transmission mounts, rebuilt diff with four clutch zero pre-load and 80/60 ramping, 3.64:1 final drive, polished ring and pinion gears

    CHASSIS 8.5”x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #OZ-Alleggerita-HLT / #OZ wheels with 255/45 (front and rear) BF Goodrich g-Force R1 tyres, #Ground-Control front coilovers with Koni adjustable shocks, Eibach 500lbs front springs and 600lbs rear springs, Ground Control adjustable rear spring perches, Ground Control front camber and caster plates, #Racing-Dynamics 21mm front and 19 mm rear anti-rolls bars and end links, SAS Racing rear anti-roll bar reinforcements, #SAS-Racing differential reinforcements, SAS Racing rear shock mount reinforcements, Turner Motorsport aluminium and poly rear upper shock mounts, Ireland poly control arm bushes, #Turner front subframe reinforcements, Ireland poly rear trailing arm bushes, Turner rear camber and toe adjustments, 90mm rear and 75mm front lug stud conversion, E30 M3 polished aluminum control arms, Turner front hub extenders, Ground-Control bump stops, SAS Racing tube frame rear sub-floor, Z3 2.3 steering rack, #Wilwood sixpiston Superlite calipers with 330mm GT-48 floating discs with aluminium hats (front), Wilwood four-piston Dynalite calipers with 312mm lightweight discs (rear), Wilwood B pads (front and rear), stainless brake lines, Turner front brake backing plates and duct work, SAS Racing vented rear brake backing plates, new master cylinder and reservoir

    EXTERIOR Arctic silver, Motion Motorsports front splitters and aluminium undertay, #AC-Schnitzer one-off rear diffuser centre section, OEM fog light kit, rear roof spoiler adjusted up 8mm and colour-matched, polished wiring harness brackets, door jamb stickers removed, carbon-look roundels, passenger wiper delete, HID headlamps with side markers and corner lamps colour matched, stealth turn signal bulbs, tinted tail lights, colour-matched wiper nozzles and hatch latch, black kidney grilles, black mesh lower grilles, rear wiper delete, clear front corner markers, front plate holder delete, new windscreen and exterior mouldings

    INTERIOR Black and grey two-tone leather interior, Momo 350mm Competition steering wheel with hub, 15 mm spacer and adaptor, carbon-look roundel, Snap-off Industries steering wheel quick release hub, chrome handbrake handle, E46 M3 short gear knob, M Tech pedals and dead pedal, front and rear M logo floor mats, E36 M3 window button surrounds, black leather gaiters with tricolour stitching, windscreen and window tints, sun visor stickers removed, glove box facelift, carbon horn pin adapter, H3R black HalGuard fire extinguisher, poly seat bushes, custom rear hatch parcel shelf

    Thanks My wife, for her all patience and participation. Jerard Shaha at SAS Racing, my 30-year mechanic and friend. He rebuilt my El Camino in 1987! SAS Racing has done all the work on this car over the years. Their specialty is racecar setup but they perform all mechanical work and fabrication to an expert level as well as engine building and auto transmission rebuilds (sasjerard@gmail.com). Jason Shaha, my childhood best friend and Jerard’s brother. Thanks for planting that competitive seed from your family into me. See you at the next race? The long-standing crew at Trinity Touring Club. Thanks for your loyalty to our sport and dedication to our club. If I didn’t have to drive 90 minutes each way I’d be at all the club meetings (trinitytouringclub.com)
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    Z3 mirror fix / #BMW-E36/8 / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/8 / #BMW / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E36/7 /

    One of the (few) problems with the old E36 Z3 is corrosion and breakage of the door mirrors. The frames for these (the bit the plastic casing and other parts bolt to) were cast from an alloy probably best used for Dinky toys. It corrodes nicely under the plastic outer shell and eventually they will snap at the base when an attempt is made to move the mirror. A repair is near enough impossible, and a new mirror is predictably expensive – using the online price checker it appears to be £279 plus VAT for a new mirror in primer without a mirror glass. A good used one is around £100, but good luck finding one as they’re nearly all in the same state now.

    A solution is at hand now, and tipped off by someone, I searched eBay and found a company called X8R (www.x8r.co.uk) which has been selling plastic Z3 mirror frames. They fit the same as the original, take the casing, electrics and mirror glass from the original and only require the base plate painting – easily achieved with an aerosol can. These new plastic units are £95 delivered and represent a good fix. For owners of Z3s whose mirrors still swivel, get in there with the WD40 and spray grease before it’s too late.
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    / #2003 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z3-M-Coupe / #BMW / Historics at Brooklands, June sale / #S54 / #BMW-S54 / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z3-E36/8 / #BMW-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3M-Coupé-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3M-E36/8 / #BMW-Z-Series-E36/8 /

    The fact that the Z3 M Coupé is going to be a sure-fire investment machine should not come as a surprise. Perhaps the only question that remains is quite how far prices will rise? This S54-engined example was one of the last produced and had covered just 11,000 miles during its cosseted life. It looked particularly fetching in its Titanium silver paint with contrasting red and black interior. The hammer fell at £51,520.

    SOLD FOR: £51,520
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    Anglia Car Auctions #1998 / #BMW-Z3-M-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-M / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-M-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E36/7

    Anglia Car Auctions had its usual eclectic mix on offer at its June sale and this Estoril Z3 M Roadster was one of the BMWs that caught our eye. It had covered just 35k miles from new and was described by the vendor as being an exceptional example. These machines have yet to quite spark the imagination in the same way as their Coupé brethren and £16,800 looked to be excellent value for money, especially given a pre-sale estimate of £18-£22k.
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    / #BMW-Z3 parts / #BMW / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7

    The Z3 was a huge success for BMW and while everything that came after was probably better, its successors went upmarket and lost the Z3’s appeal as an affordable sports car. There are still thousands left, but precious few in breakers’ yards and specialists know exactly what bits are worth. Broken door mirrors are common because they have alloy casings that corrode and seize – new ones are daft money, as you’d expect. Exhausts are another area where you can expect expense as not all models are catered for by the aftermarket. From memory, it’s the pre face-lift 1.9 cars where only BMW sell an exhaust, and radiators are another grey area. Rather than use the rad from the E36 328i, for the 2.8 Z3 BMW for some reason used a radiator and a remote expansion tank. Radiators are BMW-only, apart from early ones that are around £200 on the aftermarket. For later twin-Vanos cars, BMW used a similar radiator but the hoses used the clip-on ends at the engine, but jubilee type hose clips at the radiator. Euro Car Parts can supply an EIS rad – it seems Nissens and Valeo just don’t make one. And whilst the price for an Eberspascher rear exhaust box (basically BMW original equipment) seems steep at £314, the best price for an aftermarket rear box for a 2000 1.9 Z3 is a staggering £415. I dread to think how much they cost from BMW. Given that they’re based on the E36 Compact floorpan, I’d be seeing if a 318Ti exhaust would fit – a back box is a mere £100.

    It’s odd – BMW built nearly 300,000 Z3s (with a massive number sold in the UK) yet none of the exhaust companies have seen fit to make exhaust systems for it. Not everything is special, though. Before you get stung on a front foglight, they are the same as the even more ubiquitous E39!
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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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