- Post is under moderationPOWER UP Hardcore, supercharged E46 330Ci
What was once a stock 330Ci has now evolved into a supercharged, track-focussed monster. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Viktor Benyi.
’CHARGED BMW E46 330Ci Track-focussed full-on build…
Supercharging a “lesser” model of BMW is something that a lot of people don’t really understand. “Why didn’t you just buy an M3/ M5/M6 in the first place?” they will ask and, in absolute terms, you can see their point. Why spend arguably the same amount of money, or perhaps even more, buying and subsequently supercharging something that isn’t an M car and ending up with around the same sort of power level, when you could have just bought a fully-fledged, finely-honed M machine in the first place? It’s a valid, logical point, but logic has little place in the world of modifying. The thing is that very few people buy a car knowing exactly where they’re going with it, how it’s going to end up and with the specific plan of supercharging it. Sure, some people do, but take a look through this issue, the last issue, pretty much any issue of the mag and you’ll see feature car after feature car owner saying that they really had no intention of going as far as they did with their cars. The other thing is that, generally speaking, something like a supercharger is usually one of the last mods anyone does and that’s because it makes a lot more sense – and here logic can be applied to modding – to sort out the chassis, the brakes, make sure everything else is up to scratch before you start ramping up the power. It’s the right way to do it, really.
Which brings us neatly to Richard Kiraly and his supercharged E46 330Ci. As you can probably tell from the pictures, this is one exceptionally well-sorted 3 Series and, as you won’t be at all surprised to learn, when Richard bought the car there was no plan for anything beyond the most basic of mods, let alone creating a car as full-on as this has ended up becoming. Richard has been a BMW owner for 12 years, though that time period has been divided up between just three cars: his first BMW, an E34 525tds, which was followed by an E39 525d, and now the E46. Thing is, while he may say there was no plan of attack here, both of his previous Bavarian steeds, and a couple of cars before that, have all received some level of mild modding, so we reckon he wouldn’t have been able to leave the E46 alone anyway.
Hailing from Hungary, Richard’s hunt for the right example of what was the most affordable way of fulfilling his childhood dream of owning a frameless window coupé took him all the way to Leipzig in Germany, after six months of searching, and what was then a plain old 330Ci Sport. With car in hand, the mods began and stage one was styling. The E46 Coupé is a fi ne-looking thing, we’re big fans, but go big or go home, right? Go big it was, with Richard giving his 330Ci the M3 look courtesy of the M car’s wings and bumpers before cranking things up to 11 and taking the styling to another level. The front bumper has been seriously beefed-up with the addition of that carbon lip and those full-on corner splitters and even the intakes that funnel cooling air to the brakes are made from carbon. The bonnet? That’s carbon too, a vented GTR item that’s been painted body colour with just the slats of the vents left bare, teasing its carbon construction. M3 mirrors have been added while at the rear there’s a unique diffuser, a set of LED lights and a fibreglass CSL-style boot lid to finish things off nicely. It’s a greatlooking car, all the styling enhancements blending together perfectly and with the M3 body parts on board, the more aggressive aero elements don’t overwhelm the look of the whole car.
The wheels are Japan Racing JR3s, which suit the look and direction of the car perfectly, and while their familiar sixspoke design doesn’t get your attention, the colour certainly does. It’s a bold, bright blue that doesn’t tie-in with anything, anywhere on the car but wow, does it look good. Somehow it just works so well against that sexy, solid grey paintwork and your eyes are immediately drawn to the wheels. They’re the first thing you notice on the car and you realise that, actually, opting for that punch of colour was definitely the right thing to do as it really makes them stand out. You can probably tell that this car hasn’t been built for show, it’s all about go, and peering between the spokes of the JR3s confirms that beyond any reasonable doubt as that’s when you notice the massive brakes. The calipers come from a 135i, says Richard, with six-pots up front clamping M3 CSL discs, and two-pots at the rear while the suspension has also been suitably uprated and these mods came about when he decided to start making track outings a regular occurrence. BC Racing coilovers have been fitted here, and they deliver a solid drop, along with uprated anti-roll bars, Powerflex bushes, Eibach adjustable rear control arms and front and rear strut braces, completing a comprehensive programme of upgrades. The interior changes, too, have come about from the car’s regular appearance at track days and amateur tournaments; up front, a pair of bucket seats have been fitted, along with a set of Schroth three-point harnesses, while the rear seats have been removed altogether, as has the air-con. White-faced dials have been added to give the gauges a sportier look and Richard has also fitted a digital display in place of one of the central air vents to keep an eye on various under-bonnet temperatures.
So, to the engine. The M54B30 is a great motor, plenty of torque, a lovely top end, plus it sounds lush but by modern standards it’s not going to set anyone’s world alight and with him being so committed to track driving, you can see why Richard wanted a little more performance. NA mods are fi ne and could liberate a bit more horsepower but if you want serious gains then you have to bring out the big guns and go straight for forced induction. What Richard’s got strapped to the side of his engine is an ESS TS1 supercharger kit, which uses a twinscrew, positive displacement blower, and that means it delivers a huge hit of low-end torque the moment you hit the accelerator, perfect for punching out of turns on track. It’s an impressive piece of kit and puts out some meaty numbers, 320hp and a very healthy 302lb ft of torque. Here it’s been further bolstered by the addition an #AFE high-flow intake, a set of Schmiedmann high-flow cats and a ProEx exhaust system with racing silencer while an S54 oil cooler helps keep temperatures down on track. The transmission hasn’t been forgotten about, either, and Richard’s fitted a lightweight flywheel and Sachs race clutch plus an LSD to help him put all that power down.
We really like Richard’s E46. It’s been built with purpose after being bought with no specific direction in mind. It’s a focussed and finely-honed machine, but one that’s not so extreme that it can’t be used on the road. It looks good and it’s got the power to match the extreme aero additions; it really is an exceptional performance package. Richard has spent eight years getting the car to where it is today, but he’s not done yet and the next round of mods is imminent. “I want to cover the interior in Alcantara,” he says, “and I’ve currently got a CSL front bumper with twin brake air inlets under construction and I’ve also got an ESS TS2+ supercharger kit ready to go,” he adds, which is really going to take this E46 to the next level.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW #Supercharged / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-330Ci / #Japan-Racing / #ESS-TS1 / #ESS-Tuning / #BMW-330Ci-E46 / #BMW-330Ci-Supercharged / #BMW-330Ci-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #M54B30 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 , #ESS-TS1-supercharger-kit , #AFE air filter, #Schmiedmann sport cats, #ProEx exhaust system with racing silencers and black heat-resistant quad tips, S54 oil cooling system. Five-speed manual gearbox, lightweight flywheel, #Sachs racing clutch, short-shift kit, #LSD
CHASSIS 8.5x18” ET15 (front) and 9.5x18” ET15 (rear) #Japan-Racing-JR3 wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing coilovers, uprated anti-roll bars, #Powerflex bushes, #Eibach adjustable rear control arms, front and rear strut braces, #Brembo six-piston calipers with M3 CSL discs (front), #Brembo two-piston calipers (rear), braided brake lines, competition brake fluid
EXTERIOR E46 M3 wings, front and rear bumpers, carbon front splitter, front bumper race air intake, GTR carbon bonnet, E46 M3 door mirrors, custom rear diffuser, E46 M3 CSL-style boot lid, LED rear lights
INTERIOR White gauges, digital data display in central air vent, bucket seats, three-point Schroth harness, rear seats removed, air-con removed, spare wheel well removed, fire extinguisher
“What Richard’s got strapped to the side of his engine is an #ESS-TS1 supercharger kit, which uses a twin-screw, positive displacement blower”
BC Racing coilovers with adjustable top mounts.
135i brakes have been fitted all-round.
“The wheels are Japan Racing JR3s… and while their familiar six-spoke design doesn’t get your attention, the colour certainly does”
Bucket seats, harnesses and rear seat delete let you know this E46 means business.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFORCED INDUCTION FRENZY!
BOOST MODE #Stunning 610 whp turbocharged E36 M3 turns up the heat. Cars are meant to be driven and it was that realisation that took this E36 M3 from mild to wild.
JUNKIE BOOST Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Patrick Lauder
Dean Yarza never intended for his E36 M3 to turn out this way. He’d always wanted one, that much he did know, and finally owning one was the fulfilment of a high school dream, even though it followed a modified E46 M3 ZCP. You might have thought that his former car would have been the keeper, the big one, because it was an E46 M3 after all, but life’s not always that straightforward. That Dean has been dreaming about owning an E36 M3 since his high school days is no surprise; this is a man who, briefly, owned a hand-me-down E21 323i as his first car and who admits to having been interested in BMWs since first being able to drive.
The Carbon black 2005 E46 M3 that he purchased in 2006 was where his BMW journey began proper, Dean having experimented with numerous vehicles prior to that. “I’ve basically modified everything I’ve owned since high school, giving in to the typical sickness the everyday car nut suffers from and I do not discriminate when it comes to the hobby,” he grins. This explains why his car ownership history includes an Acura Integra on nitrous, a couple of Saleen Mustangs and a Saleen Cobra, all of which ended up running over 500whp courtesy of aftermarket superchargers, a Ford F150 truck and even a couple of Yamaha R6 bikes. It’s a varied, colourful automotive past in which Dean has sampled all manner of modified machinery and that most certainly did not stop when the M3 entered his life. “I modified it with all the NA boltons including long tube exhaust manifolds, performance pulleys, air filter, 4.10 gearing and a performance tune. The exterior was also fitted with the full line of Vorsteiner VSL pieces – front bumper, rear deck lid and diffuser. 19” BBS LM rims and a Brembo GT brake kit were also installed,” completing what sounds like a thoroughly sexy and sorted M3. So why the switch from 46 to 36?
“After parting with my E46 M3, I yearned for another M and, more importantly, something to give me purpose, spending hours on forums researching and purchasing parts. At the time, it was the perfect platform to satisfy the need to handle, perform, and modify while being fairly painless to attain,” explains Dean though, in truth, the E36 did almost put the brakes on his modding addiction but, as we all know, you just can’t fight it…
“As many E36 owners know, it’s a bit tough to find them in a non-abused state in today’s market,” he says, and he’s not wrong. “After failing to find one to my liking for a few months, I put out a wanted add online and, amazingly, received a response for what was almost exactly what I was looking for. Prior to my search, I’d curbed my expectations, accepting the fact that these cars are close to 20 years old and I wasn’t going to find a gem. My initial want was just for a clean-titled, decent paint/interior M3 knowing that 90-110k miles would be the norm. What appeared in response to my add was a single-owner, excellent condition M3 with only around 33,000 miles, completely stock, still with the break-in instructions applied to the windscreen, as well as the original window sticker still in the glove compartment. It was far too pristine but in no way would be passed up.” That sounds like a once in a lifetime find to us and it would have been very silly of Dean to turn down the opportunity to own such an immaculate car, but it was the car’s virgin state and lack of miles that presented Dean with a bit of a quandary. “Prior to finding one with such low mileage, my plans were night and day from what the car is now,” he says.
“I initially only wanted something I could drive every day and everywhere, occasionally having weekend duty for spirited driving in the hills. To do this, I planned nothing more than a capable coilover set and a nice wheel and tyre combo. In a way, I just wanted a cool car I could really beat on and not care too much about,” but obviously that couldn’t happen now and a different approach to the whole ownership and modding outlook had to be taken. In fact, as we mentioned earlier, Dean wasn’t even sure whether modifying was the right thing to do. “As I did not plan to find such a low mileage/collector type of car, it was a tough decision to modify,” he says, before adding “ but eventually the bug got the better of me,” and so things began to happen.
Suspension and wheels came first, as per his original plans; “Knowing that I did not participate in high performance driving/autocross events, I was looking for something simple in terms of handling and comfort,” Dean explains. “The Bilstein PSS9 kit fits this bill as it is a basic coilover setup which is not too aggressive while offering, in my opinion, one of the most comfortable rides for a coilover while still improving handling capability. Along with this, I’ve also chosen a set of Dinan front and rear strut braces and a BMW X-brace, which is found as standard on the M3 LTW.” Handling benefits aside, the adjustable ride height of the PSS9s means that Dean has been able to dial-in his perfect stance and the drop he’s gone for is serious; those front arches are a hair’s breadth above the rubber while at the rear he’s got the tyres tucked just past the edges of the lips and the result is spectacular.
As far as his wheel choice is concerned, for many BBS fans it’s the holy grail for both modern and classic BMWs alike and a wheel he has a lot of love for. “It was only fitting that for a classic M3 I’d want to stick with classic wheels. My favourite wheels for the BMW have always been BBS LMs, I feel you can put these on any car and drastically improve the look, especially European applications. I owned a set on my E46 M3 and had nothing but positive experiences with them in regards to looks, performance and strength. You get what you pay for with wheels and in my eyes, they are half of the car. I did consider other wheels but this was very short-lived, I was set on LMs for my build. It turned out to be very difficult to find a set, though, as 18s were much harder to come by than the typical 19” and above. Luck still was not on my side which forced me to become a little more creative and experiment with a set taken from a Honda S2000. This presented a bit of a challenge as the offset and PCD were different but after some research I found a local wheel customisation shop which was able to adjust bolt pattern as well as offset to get them to fit correctly.”
It’s safe to say it was worth the effort as the LMs look so good on the E36, as they do on just about any BM, and here they’re finished off with a BBS stud conversion kit and those iconic red centre caps.
That’s all well and good, but the real reason we’re here is for what’s under the bonnet and it took a bit of a personal revelation for Dean to make the huge leap from mild NA mods to off-the-scale, full-on forced induction fury. “I found deals on the basic bolt-ons such as a Dinan CAI and Dinan exhaust and the car stayed in this state for quite sometime as I did not want to overly modify it, risking an adverse affect to the car’s value considering its mileage.
Eventually, realising that cars are meant to be driven and I would not be satisfied until I had it the way I wanted, I decided to open the floodgates and enjoy it while I have it,” he says and this is definitely the right philosophy. “After the basic bolt-ons, the turbo research began brewing and opened up a whole new world. For one whole year, I began researching and stockpiling the turbo components needed for my build, beginning with the actual turbo, a Garrett GT35R and SPA T3 manifold, fuel components, Cut-Ring head gasket, and Zeitronix data logging gauges and equipment, the essentials I needed to get started. After a year acquiring these components – and then some – it was all installed in one shop sitting, taking a few months to complete.
“The car was taken to David Tran at 4B Auto in Santa Clara, CA; David is known to have built some of the fastest turbo E36s around with upwards of 1000hp, so I knew I was in good hands with this build,” says Dean. “The motor was disassembled, having to remove the head for resurfacing, while upgrading the head studs with an ARP2000 10mm stud kit. From there, the stock head gasket was also upgraded to an 87mm Cut- Ring head gasket. When the head returned from resurfacing, the SPA T3 turbo manifold was mounted while the Vanos was also rebuilt and the head was finally ready to install. Once the engine was reassembled, various changes were made including upgraded fuel components such as a Rally Road high-flow billet fuel rail, 115lb high impedance injectors, and an Aeromotive adjustable fuel pressure regulator. The intake manifold was also swapped for an M50 model for better flow. Impressive to say, the engine was able to fire up at first attempt with no hiccups. David’s engine work was one of the smoother processes throughout.”
High praise indeed and there’s nothing better than a true turn-key conversion that just works, especially after such a huge amount of work. A quick glance at the engine spec is all you need to know that this is a serious performance project but all that research and time spent on it was absolutely worth it.
It enabled Dean to pick the best components and the ones best suited to helping him achieve his end goal, and all that work has yielded some astonishing numbers. Peak power now stands at 610whp, which is around 700hp at the crank however you like to do your calculations, and is backed up by 571lb ft of wheel torque, both serious numbers and definitely plenty to be getting on with.
Obviously, as well as the suspension upgrades that were carried out before Dean let loose, the chassis and transmission have received further modifications to be able to cope with that huge increase in output over stock. First of all, there’s a big brake kit in the shape of Brembo’s GT kit and before we even get onto the specs those red calipers are just killer and work perfectly alongside the red detailing on the LMs and against the white bodywork.
They do, of course, deliver on the braking front too, but then you’d expect nothing less with four-pot calipers and 355mm discs stationed up front and only a fractionally smaller pairing located at the rear. As far as the transmission is concerned, Dean has bolstered the ZF five-speed manual gearbox with a selection of UUC components, including a twin-disc flywheel/clutch combo, steel clutch line, and short shifter, all of which combine to allow it to far better cope with all that power and torque.
What we really love about Dean’s E36 M3, and we love everything about it, is the fact that, really, there’s no way for you to know just how much power is lurking beneath that pristine white bodywork. Obviously it’s not a stock car, but he’s kept all of the styling within the spectrum of normality and as a result there’s little to suggest that this might be nothing more than a lightly breathed-on older M3. “My intention for the exterior was something not too aggressive; basically maintain the stock look and body panels yet add some touches to give a slightly more aggressive look,” and we’d say it’s mission accomplished. Euro lights have been sourced from ECS Tuning and fitted all-round, along with a set of ZKW HID projector headlights; a Max Velocity RS front lip sits beneath the front bumper for a hint of extra aggression, while at the rear there’s a Mateo Motorsports diffuser and a sexy UUC adjustable carbon spoiler. The interior has been kept largely standard, bar the addition of numerous gauges and a few minor tweaks that enhance what was already there. The Vader front seats, finished in Mulberry-colour leather, have been left alone and Dean has added some M3-logo’d mats, a customwrapped Euro three-spoke steering wheel and MT Shift Boots alcantara gear lever and handbrake gaiters to complete the look.
Four years of ownership are what it’s taken to bring the E36 to this level and while it has clearly been worth the effort, there has been a lot of it involved in getting the car to where it is. As Dean himself says “I currently have no plans for a next car, other than possibly a modern 5 Series daily driver. At this point, I may have exhausted all energy to even think about starting yet another project,” and that’s something we can all relate to it, that feeling of near-exhaustion when you’ve “finished” a project, or at least got it to the next stage of its evolution. Of course, this M3 has not finished evolving, not in the slightest. “A contingency plan is actually already in place,” says Dean.
“Simultaneously with the turbo install, I have also been working on a fully-built spare motor capable of 1000hp, which was also completed about the time the turbo install was competed. Also on hand is a full drivetrain upgrade, which includes a Euro six-speed 420 Getrag transmission, DSS six-bolt 1000hp driveshaft, upgraded rear axles, and a large case 210mm limited slip differential from a 1990 BMW 750iL.
The only future decision to be made now is which turbo and manifold configuration to fit. With the upgraded turbo and motor, the car should be able to generate and handle even more power with ease. If any mishaps were to occur, these components are ready, that is if impatience does not get to me first and I proactively go ahead with the swap.”
That’s a very sensible approach to take with a completely unhinged project, and we whole-heartedly approve. Dean’s E36 is pure performance: there’s no frivolity here, it’s full-on, focussed and furious with it, and we love it.
“After the basic bolt-ons, the turbo research began brewing and opened up a whole new world. For one whole year, I began researching and stockpiling the turbo components needed for my build”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW / Turbo #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3-Turbo / #BMW-M3-Turbo-E36 / #Garrett / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E36 / BMW
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #S52 / #BMW-S52 , Cut-Ring 87mm head gasket (stock compression), #ARP2000 head studs, #Garrett-GT3528R dual ball-bearing turbo, #SPA-T3-turbo manifold, 610x305x76mm front-mount intercooler, #Tial 50mm blow-off valve, Tial 44mm MVR wastegate, M50 intake manifold, #Mishimoto coolant overflow, Mishimoto performance aluminium radiator, #Steward high-performance water pump, RK Tunes E85 turbo tune and MAF, 115lb high impedance injectors, Rally Road high-flow billet fuel rail, Aeromotive adjustable fuel pressure regulator, Vibrant intake filter, custom fabricated 3” stainless steel down pipe and exhaust system, #Vibrant turbo muffler, #Radium-Engineering oil catch can, #Radium-Engineering 12 micron fuel filter, Racetronix Fuel Pump wiring harness, Walbro 485lph fuel pump
POWER AND TORQUE 610whp, 571 lb ft wtq
TRANSMISSION Five-speed #ZF manual gearbox, UUC twin-disc flywheel/clutch kit, #UUC steel clutch line, Rally Road clutch pivot pin, #UUC-EVO3 short shifter with double shear selector rod, #Vorshlag polyurethane transmission mounts
CHASSIS 8.5x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #BBS-LM wheels with 235/40 (front) Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2 and 255/35 (rear) Toyo Proxes R888 tyres, BBS red centre caps, #BBS stud kit, #Bilstein-PSS9 coilovers, Vorshlag polyurethane engine mounts, #Dinan front and rear strut braces, #BMW OEM X-brace, #Brembo GT BBK with 355x32mm two-piece discs and four-piston calipers (front) and 328x28mm two-piece discs and two-piston calipers (rear), #Hawk HPS brake pads (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Alpine white, ZKW HID projector headlights, ECS tuning European front clear corners, side markers and rear lights, Max Velocity RS front lip, Mateo Motorsports rear diffuser, UUC three-way adjustable carbon fibre spoiler
INTERIOR Custom wrapped European three-spoke steering wheel, MT shift boots Alcantara gear lever and handbrake gaiters, Rally Road steering column dual gauge pod, LeatherZ centre gauge pod, Turbosmart Eboost2 boost controller/gauge, #Zeitronix ZR-2 wideband AFR, ECA-2 ethanol content analyser, ZR-2 boost and ZR-2 fuel pressure gauges
Hard-pipe-mounted Tial blow-off vlave.
Turbo is hidden away, only the air filter is visible in the engine bay.
Interior home to various gauges plus Alcantara gear and hand brake gaiters.
Gorgeous 18” BBS LMs and #Brembo-BBK .
Up front, HID projector headlights with angel eyes.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 moderationGRANDE DESIGNS Mk5 GTI gets big wheels, big brakes and a big attitude. It’s kind of a big deal.
SATIN YELLOW #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Mk5 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-V / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk5 / #VW-Golf-Mk5 / #Volkswagen / #VW / #VAG / #Volkswagen-Golf / #VW-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-V
Volkswagen Mk5 Golf GTi “I wasn’t going to do much to it, honest.” How many times have we heard that one? Ricky Grande is the latest person to roll out that line in front of our cameras… Words: David Kennedy. Photos: Anna Richardson and Keith Sowden.
“You can write Ricky’s Mk5 feature this month Dave,” said Elliott as we put the plan together for this issue, “it makes sense, you wrote his last one didn’t you?” Yeah, I did, way back in 2008 when I was only a year into my tenure with PVW.
Back then I had no idea I’d still be doing this almost a full decade later, heck, I was surprised Elliott hadn’t seen through my nonsense at that stage and I was still getting away with it. Now, roughly nine full years since Ricky Grande and I first met and almost a decade since I started on the mag, a whole lot is changing for me on a personal level but just looking at Ricky’s ‘5 is turning into something of a trip down memory lane for me. It’s funny, back then we went on far more shoots than we do now (yay, budgets!) but I still remember Ricky’s like it was only last month. Fresh faced, definitely thinner and most likely with a really stupid haircut, I went to Ilford in my Bora (back when we could take our own cars on shoots before the accountants here stopped all that!) and met Ricky and his cousin Harm and we instantly clicked. James Lipman was the photographer on the day, a guy who is now without a doubt one of the most in-demand and popular car photographers in the world, and we had such a fun day shooting the two cars, Ricky’s Mk4 and Harm’s Passat, on the streets of Ilford in the sunshine. I’ll never forget us performing a kind of rolling road block on a random overpass to get the rolling shots Lipman wanted, me driving his old Passat and him hanging out the back tailgate like he used to. Health and safety? Yeah, we've totally got that.
Ricky and I stayed friendly over the years, bumping in to each other at shows and reminiscing about the old days and how much fun the shoot was. He is definitely one of the scene’s nice guys, so it’s pretty cool to be able to write up the feature on this, his really rather cool Mk5 so long after we first met.
But anyway, that’s enough of the misty-eyed introductions, let’s get down to business. “This has been the biggest build I’ve done since the Mk4 days,” Ricky remembered, “I've had a few things in between, coilovers, wheels and a map, but nothing all that interesting,” he continued. “You see, after the Mk4 I’d sworn to myself that I’d never get that stuck into a car again… famous last words, right?”
He is right. ‘I won’t get so involved with the next car’ is up there with ‘ah, it all got out of hand’ and ‘I didn’t mean to go so far’ as the most common sentences uttered to us when we interview a feature car owner. Ricky bought the car from the Edition38.com classifieds (remember them? Facebook has got a lot to answer for, they were the place to find a car back in the day) for the simple reason that he hadn’t owned a fifth-gen Golf yet and simply fancied one – simple as that! “I wanted a DSG rather than a manual but the deal on this one was too good to pass up on, I just wanted a simple, fast and reliable new daily really, nothing more than that,” he explained. “I don’t think I’d even got home from picking it up before my brother Naz and some other friends started sending photos and Instagram links of sorted Mk5s to my phone,” he added laughing, “I didn’t really stand a chance, did I?”
Things started simply enough, like they often do, a good service and going over at GNR Motors, his brother’s garage, was the first port of call. “I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to my cars that I like them to start in the best condition possible, plus doing the boring servicing stuff first saves money in the long run, there’s no point spending all that money doing a car up if it’s going to blow up from something silly later down the line,” he reasoned.
Service book stamped, next came some coilovers and wheels, a set of Audi Speedlines, which kept our man’s modifying itch satisfied for a little while. A season of shows later, including a few trips to Europe and most notably Worthersee, was the catalyst for the next stage, as it so often is.
We’ve often said here on PVW that Worthersee is where trends are born. We can’t quite remember which year it was now, our collective memories definitely are more fuzzy than clear cut these days, but we definitely remember when we first started seeing the first of the ‘super low, static, tucked’ cars around the lake. They wore German plates, they were almost all nu-wave cars at the time and while the UK was still loving poke and aggressive fitments, these lads were running tall, relatively narrow wheels tucked right up under widened arches on Mk5 Golfs and the like and most importantly, they were doing it without a compressor or bag in sight. It certainly made an impression on us, and it certainly made an impression on Ricky and his crew too.
“Our heads were buzzing with ideas on the way home,” Ricky smiled, “and after a few dinners, beers and phone calls back home we had a plan set for the Mk5 to try and get that look we had all fallen in love with out there.”
The shopping list was impressive; RS4 buckets for the interior, wide wings from SRS like the German boys were running, OZ Ultraleggeras, big brakes on the front and the all-important special super-low coilovers. “Sukh of Westside planted the seed to get the extra low coils on it and he sorted out a set of H&R Ultralow 140s which were fantastic,” he remembered.
The colour change also came around this time. “Out in Europe we had seen so many brightly coloured cars and just loved the impact they made,” he remembered. “I wasn’t sure what colour to do the Golf but I knew it had to be lairy,” he smiled. “I then saw a Lamborghini Huracan at my friend’s place and fell in love with its bright yellow paint which settled it. It was hard to wrap my head around the car being yellow for a while but it gets noticed where ever it goes which is cool I guess,” he laughed, “you certainly can’t miss it!”
A little while later and it was time for a change in the chassis department. No, Ricky wasn’t abandoning the static life for a set of Air Lift’s finest, it was more of a sideways move. “My good friend Jason Debono started Gepfeffert UK which is the special super-low KW coilover arm here in the UK,” Ricky explained. “The H&Rs were fantastic but I wanted to support a friend’s new business, and the KWs came with fully adjustable top mounts, trick stainless bodies and adjustable damping too which really sold it for me.” The result of the coilover change? The Golf ended up another centimetre closer to the Tarmac and the Ultraleggeras were shoved even further up in to the arch liners, resulting in a happy Ricky.
A number of the super-low static cars in Worthersee back then had cages in, purely for the look, and it was a look our man loved. MAQ Racing provided the show cage which also got treated to a wrap of the same yellow as the car itself and the backs of the leather RS4 buckets. Of course, with a show cage and two rear brace bars in place of where the rear bench used to be, something needed doing to the boot itself so in went a false floor setup in matching carpet. Out back Ricky had already put a Gladen 10” subwoofer in a custom enclosure on one side and a pair of Gladen amps on the opposite one courtesy of another friend of his, Amarjit at BladeIce.
“Then we decided that the rear end didn’t look wide enough so I tracked down a R32 rear bumper and bought a R32-style Milltek system from Ruben at Tuningwerkes to suit it,” Ricky explained. “That, the EVOMS intake, RS4 coilpacks and a stage one map is all it’s got under the bonnet but that’s all it really needs,” he continued. “I’d like to have K04’d it and all that for a big jump in power but being this low does compromise the drivability, of course, and living in London like I do I didn’t think it was worth the extra effort and cost.”
Speaking of expense, the most costly part of the whole car was without a doubt the brakes. “The brakes, no question, were the hardest and most brain-frying thing we did to it,” Ricky winced, “we must have spent £6k on second hand brake kits Naz and I trying to figure out how to make what we wanted to work, work.” The fronts were simple enough, eight-pot Brembos and 370mm discs but it was the rear end were things were complicated. “We wanted to go with R8 rear brakes with the twin calipers but with larger discs, so the rears are 365mm, only 5mm smaller than the fronts,” he added. “The hard thing was because we didn’t want to run spacers it made getting the ridiculous disks and twin calipers to fit properly a real hassle but we found a way… I’m not telling you our secret though!” He added, smiling.”
Final items on the hit list were getting the aluminum-look trim across the dash skimmed in carbon fibre, getting the wheel, gear gaitor, arm rest and handbrake trimmed in Alcantara to smarten things up and a final set of wheels, this time 8.5x20” OZ Superturismos robbed, sorry, borrowed from friend Naz.
So what’s next for Ricky? Well, the Mk5 has already been broken and sold on, its parts living on in numerous other builds while the car itself has gone on to live another life. Ricky himself though, like I was when I was handed this feature to write, has been looking back. “I’ve bought another Mk4 Anniversary Dave,” he smiled, “well, actually we as a group have bought six of them…” Wait, what? “It’s another thing we’ve seen being done in Europe over the years, you’ll see a group of mates all with the same car but in different colours,” he explained. “We already had three Mk4 Anniversarys between us and we’ve all got Mk4s in our blood more than any other car, so we figured if we got three more we would have one each and we could do something like that, all looking kind of the same but different colours, should be cool…”
Knowing Ricky and his group of mates, they’ll knock the idea out of the park. Get in touch when you have mate…
“Then we decided that the rear end didn’t look wide enough, so I tracked down a R32 rear bumper and bought a R32-style MiLltek”
while the UK was loving pokE these lads were running tall, relatively narrow wheels tucked right up under widened arches
He is definitely one of the scene’s nice guys, so it’s cool to be able to write up the feature on his really rather cool Mk5
ENGINE: 2.0 #GTI-AXX-code , #Milltek R32-style de-cat exhaust system, #Evoms-Evolutuion intake, #Revision-D diverter, #Stage-1 map running approx 260bhp, Mk2 Audi TT engine cover, Iridium plugs, RS4 coil packs
CHASSIS: 8.5x20” #OZ / #OZ-Superturismos LM wheels with 225/30 ZR20 tyres all round, #Gepfeffert-KW-Ultralow 120mm V2 coilovers, chassis notched front, eight-pot #Brembo front calipers with 370mm discs, rears R8 rear brake conversion with double calipers
EXTERIOR: Wrapped in Satin yellow, SRS wide wings, R32 front Xenons headlights, rear R32 tail lights with upgraded LEDS, Mk6 rear badge, front US-spec front GTI grille, ‘open air’ front vent grilles, R32 rear bumper, rear wiper deleted, boot button popper
INTERIOR: RS4 front sears with backs wrapped in yellow, MAQ Racing show/roll cage, Gladen 10” sub in custom enclosure, Gladen speaker amp and sub amp enclosure, false floor, carbon fibre dash trims, steering paddles and ashtray, Alcantara steering wheel, arm rest, handbrake lever and MK7 Golf gear knob, Highline instrument cluster and Polar Fiscon, Kenwood DNX521dab headunit, MK6 switches, Candy red hazard button
SHOUT: Massive thanks to my brother Naz and the rest of the team at GNR Motors, without these guys it wouldn’t have happened and I’d probably have a lot more money in the bank. My Dad and family at Grande Auto Spares for all the support and abuse along the way, Dan and Shaun at Dubcustoms for the wrap, Jason for the Gepfeffert Suspension, Ruben at TuningWerkes for endless hours of support and parts, Amarjit at BladeIce for all the Audio, Mario at MAQ Racing for the cage and brakes support, Sunny at SS Autobody for always being up for a challenge, Edge Automotive, Raz at RetroRaz for all the retro fits, Jay at Splash & Vac for keeping the car clean, Umer at Trade4less tyres, Yusuf at ECP, Ted at TPS, Manny, Leroy, Ash, Slim, Avi B, Anna, Keith, Jamie Tall, Jamie Kebab, Danny Allen, Sukh, Raks, Ranvir, Jas, Harvey, Pandy, Sal, Vick S, Hiten, Gary S, RayARD, KamIce, Fet for the bottomless cups of tea, Vick N at Lowpro, Si at StillStatic, our Belgium crew, Gurj, Dalvir and Jaspal and last but not least all the lads at workStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSUPER SALOON
We get to grips with Awesome’s latest project car, a booted Audi S3 that punches well above its weight and has the bite to match its monster bark... Awesome's 500bhp, Stage 3 S3 saloon is unleashed...
S3 SALOON Awesome’s APR-tuned demo car.
Words Jamie Arkle. Photography Paul Cowland.
Automotive fashion is a funny and complex thing, and it often seems that there’s little logic in what is and isn’t cool. Want an example of this in action? Well how about the small, hatchback based saloon, a sector of the UK car market that’s recently enjoyed something of a resurgence, yet for many, many years has been in the doldrums. Utter the phrase ‘small saloon’ to folk of a certain age and the cars they’ll almost certainly call to mind could hardly be called automotive greats: the Ford Orion and the Vauxhall Belmont – not exactly a stellar lineup, we’re sure you’ll agree!
So what’s brought about this sea change, this upswing in popularity? Well, we think credit should lie squarely with Audi, specifically the team that signed off the latest S3 saloon. We think even Audi itself could’ve been forgiven for being ever so slightly taken aback by the overwhelmingly positive reception this variant has had, and there’s little doubt that it’s set to be a fixture of the tuning scene for years to come, particularly if the guys at Awesome have anything to do with it.
Awesome has been responsible for some of the most notable tuned VW Group cars in recent years, so when the Manchester based VAG gurus selected the new S3 saloon as the basis of their next demo car, well, we knew that the resulting car would be seriously special.
“There were a number of cars under consideration when we opted to take on the S3,” recalls Mark Ash, Awesome’s Director “but I spotted one at APR at the start of 2016 and instantly fell in love with it, with the colour and the graphics pack. The decision as to which car we’d buy was made there and then.”
Now it might sound like building a demo car is the simplest thing in the world, particularly for a VW Group specialist like Awesome with access to a wealth of aftermarket parts, but this isn’t strictly true. Granted, having ready access to big brake and coilover kits (more on those later) certainly speeds up the build process, but then that’s just the easy bit. No, for a company’s personal car to really earn its keep it needs to push boundaries in terms of tuning – and boy does Awesome’s S3 deliver in this respect. The team started off by buying a brand new S3 and wasted no time in getting back in touch with APR, a firm that Awesome actually beta test for, and a well known and trusted name within the scene.
“This build was never about squeezing every last bit of power from the car as that would’ve made it too extreme, too focused and a far less enjoyable prospect to drive on the road,” explains Mark. “A big part of what we do at Awesome is carrying out balanced, considered tuning, providing kits that up the power and increase the performance in every aspect, yet don’t overly compromise the car in question.”
See what we mean when we said demo car building is trickier than it sounds? The call to APR meant that it wasn’t long before one of its all new, Stage 3 tuning kits for the 2.0 TFSI was winging its way across the Atlantic to Manchester, a kit that’s since gone on to play a defining role in this particular S3. The kit includes a number of highly developed components, including a Stage 3 s-tronic tune, ECU tune, cast downpipe, carbon intake tract, front mounted intercooler with silicone hoses, fuel pump, and EFR7163 turbo system.
Factor in the other supporting hardware that’s essential for an advanced build of this nature, namely the resonated exhaust from Milltek, and it becomes all too clear why the close working relationship between APR and Awesome has proved so valuable.
“There were some niggles involved in the development of the kit, true, but nothing more than you’d expect of an advanced package of modifications like this,” Mark explains. “Again, that’s another key aspect of a car like this – we’d much rather bits went wrong during the development process.”
The upshot of all this work and an in-depth development phase? A kit that’s been proven to boost the power generated by the EA888 to approximately 500bhp, a massive jump from the stock figure of 300bhp and enough to enable this diminutive saloon to see off any hot hatch you care to mention. It’s true what they say, power really is nothing without control – yes it’s a cliché, but then cliches have a habit of ringing true most of the time. Of course performance Audis and their iconic four-wheel drive drivetrains have always been well equipped in this respect, but that hasn’t prevented the team at Awesome from raiding their parts stash for a selection of uprated transmission goodies, namely a pair of uprated DQ250 DSG clutches. These are essential for enabling the S3 to ladle out its new found power to all four wheels in as even manner as possible, plus the OE hardware would no doubt have started to show the strain after a few hundred miles if left in situ.
The S3’s chassis has also been given an overhaul, the stock suspension, wheels and brakes all having made way for far more capable aftermarket offerings from Racingline, Neuspeed and Vagbremtechnic respectively. The front brake kit in question features a pair of massive 8-piston Brembo calipers originally intended for the Audi R8/Lamborghini Gallardo (winning all potential pub boasts at a stroke), and was selected thanks to its relatively lightweight, capability and piston layout; all highly significant considerations on a 500bhp saloon like this. These now house Project Mu H16-03 brake pads, the firm’s competition grade offering and one known for its resistance to fade, high initial ‘bite’ and fantastic release characteristics.
While hardly heavy, the OEM alloys were dumped in favour of a featherweight offering from Neuspeed, the RSE10. Not only do these look right at home peeking out from beneath the S3’s arches, they also tip the scales at just 21.5lb each, and therefore represent a significant reduction in unsprung weight – a true win-win scenario.
It’s fitting that we conclude this feature by discussing how this particular S3 looks, and that’s best summed up in one word – aggressive. Imagine a pit bull chewing up a wasp while being goaded by an especially foolhardy postman, and you’re still only halfway there! Audi has to take some of the credit for this of course, but it’s hard to deny that the styling work put in by the boys from Awesome has helped lift its looks far and above those of the standard car.
“The graphics package found on the original #APR car provided a lot of inspiration, but the livery our car now has is subtly different to APR’s, so it’s more of a homage.”
The livery means that this car can’t help but stand out wherever it goes, but we’re particularly fond of the more subtle additions Awesome has seen to factor in, like the splitter, diffuser, rear spoiler and door mirrors, all constructed from high grade carbon fibre.
So, what’s next? Well the life of a demo car is a hard one, so expect the S3 to be put to work drumming up support for the Stage 3 package (and much else) it now boasts, and there’s no denying that it represents the a great means of extracting massive power from #MQB platform cars with E888 engines. It means that though it might currently So there are almost certainly going to be further developments in the coming weeks and months – watch this space!
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #2017 / #Audi-S3-Saloon / #Audi-S3 / #Audi / #Audi-EA888 / #Audi-S3-Saloon-ARP / #Audi-S3-8V #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-8V / #Audi-A3 / #Audi-S3-Saloon-8V / #Audi-S3-Saloon-ARP-8V / #Audi-S3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-S3-Saloon-Typ-8V
Engine 2.0 #EA888 Gen 3 DOHC I4 16v, #APR-Stage-3 tuning package comprising #EFR7163 twin scroll turbocharger, APR Stage 3 #DSG tune, #APR-Stage-3-ECU tune, #APR Stage 3 cast downpipe, APR carbon intake system, APR Front Mount intercooler with APR silicone charge hoses, APR low pressure fuel pump, resonated Milltek downpipe-back exhaust system with active valves
Transmission OEM Audi four-wheel drive system with front and rear differentials, #APR-DQ250 / #DSG clutches
Chassis #Racingline coil springs and stock dampers, #Vagbremtechnic front brake kit comprising #Brembo 8 piston calipers, 32x362mm two-piece discs and Project Mu H16-03 competition grade pads, 19x8.5in Neuspeed RSE10 wheels in satin gunmetal with ET45 offset
Interior Complete OEM Audi S3 interior
Exterior 2015 Audi S3 saloon in Misano red, carbon fibre front splitter, carbon fibre rear diffuser, carbon fibre door mirror covers and carbon fibre boot spoiler
Call: 0161 776 0777 www.awesomegti.com
Top: It’s a real head turner out on the road.
Above: Interior is nicely finished as standard.
Left: 19in Neuspeed wheel and Vagbremtechnic brakes.
Left: Shot inside Awesome’s HQ.
Below: Tasty carbon trim.
The APR turbocharger system
The twin-scroll EFR7163 turbo forms a key part of the Stage 3 kit, so it’s well worth taking a closer look at its capabilities. APR has extracted as much as 520bhp from #MQB cars fitted with this kit and has seen 10-second quarter-mile times, yet this hasn’t come at the expense of everyday drivability. Indeed, cars fitted with this turbo setup have been shown to retain OEM-levels of lag, while at the same time being devoid of the compromises many would expect of an engine of this size and with this state of tune.
“...increase the performance in every aspect ”
“I spotted one at APR and instantly fell in love with it”
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- All mapped out. Interesting to read about the APR guys coming over from the US to map cars in the UK. I didn’t realise they made such an effort to ensAll mapped out. Interesting to read about the APR guys coming over from the US to map cars in the UK. I didn’t realise they made such an effort to ensure their software works exactly as is says, no matter where in the world the customer happens to live. Awesome’s Stage 3 S3 looks like a bit of a monster too – I’ve seen a couple of videos on Facebook where it looks properly quick. Do you plan to test this? Give me a call if you do – I’d love to ride shotgun! More ...
- Post is under moderationWith killer styling, perfect stance and an S54-swap , 2M Autowerks’ E46 is an absolute feast of awesomeness. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Viktor Benyi.
Werk it 2M S54 E46 Spectacular Stateside #M3-powered , metal #wide-body-3-Series.
We’ve been around for a long time. We’ve seen a lot of modified cars over the past 19 years (and 209 issues) but we love the et excited by some of the cars we come across. It’s a sign that we’re still in the right job and a sign that you out there in modded #BMW land are doing something very right. And it doesn’t get much more right than 2M Autowerks’ painfully good E46.
This is the sort of car that leaves you a little bit breathless. It’s the sort of car you can spend forever looking at and never get bored of. It’s the sort of car that just feels so utterly complete that it makes you question everything you thought you knew. You’re probably feeling exactly that way right now; don’t deny it…!
The man behind this build, and one half of 2M Autowerks, is David Mendoza – a self- confessed petrolhead through and through. And, unlike a lot of the big show builds we come across, this E46 is his own personal car which he’s owned for 16 years now. It’s that sort of long-term attachment and commitment to project cars that always makes us feel warm inside. “I’ve been into BMWs ever since I could remember,” says David, “but once I was able to purchase a car and actually be behind the wheel, that’s when it became even more special.” We can see how stepping from a hand-me-down Toyota 4x4 into an E46 would have felt very special indeed. “I absolutely loved the lines on the E46 and knew I had to have one,” he says. “Ideally I wanted to get an M3 but at the time I was two years into college at San Diego State University and knew my limits, so I had to settle for the #BMW-330Ci-E46 .” And while it may not have been an M3, the #330i is such a sweet package that, as far as compromises go, it barely counts.
It all began, as these things so often do, with some simple mods and while David did have a plan, it didn’t pan out as he envisaged. “When I bought the car it was Jet black and the first thing I did was get rid of the amber corners, reflectors and side markers,” he says. “At first I started with just simple exterior modifications: wheels, tyres, clear lights, springs, and a Dinan cold air intake. I left the car like that for years and years.
Then my brother and I opened up 2M Autowerks and I started to play around a little more with the cars. I ended up basically doing everything and anything I could.” He’s not kidding…
This is one of those builds where there’s so much amazing stuff going on that it’s difficult to know where to start but seeing as the first thing that hits you is the styling, let’s start there. One of the many, many things that we really like about David’s E46 is that he’s not gone down the default Sport or M3 bodystyling route; yes, there are a few elements but the car has retained its SE essence and this is bolstered with rather a lot of custom work. The front and rear bumpers are both SE items but here they’ve been enhanced with Hamann lips that have been blended in, resulting in a perfectly smooth and unique look that makes a refreshing change from the norm and gives this E46 a bold, distinctive presence. The M3 bonnet works really well with the car’s overall look and is matched to a pair of M3 mirrors, still arguably the best-looking E46 mirrors about, and M3 side skirts to fill out the car’s profile. What you might not realise is that those front arches are also M3 items; David has had the side vents welded shut for a much cleaner, smoother look which definitely seems to be the theme with this E46. The most impressive part of the whole is, without doubt, that fat, all-metal wide- body rear end with its massive pumped-up arches. They really endow this E46 with monster road presence. It’s a great combination of styling elements and the whole package is complemented by a dazzling Imola respray – which we think is far more suited to a head-turning build of this calibre than blend-in black.
All this would be for nought, however, if David had fallen at the wheel hurdle, but there never really was any danger of this happening considering the rest of the work going on here. “Back in #2002 , I initially went with an OEM+ size and a set of staggered 19” iForged Senekas,” says David. But once the wide-body conversion had been completed, the 8.5” and 9.5” widths just weren’t going to cut it. A three-piece wheel with a stepped lip was at the top of his shopping list and that’s exactly what we’ve got here. You’re looking at a gorgeous set of Aristo Forged MJKs, a size down at 18” across but massively wider to fill out those newly pumped-up arches, 9.5” wide up front and a serious 11.5” at the rear. They’re finished in custom matt Oro paint, which looks perfect against that bold red body.
The car’s stance is no less perfect. The killer ride height has no air behind it, however, as this E46 is all static, slammed on a set of Status Gruppe SRS coilovers which bring the arches to within a whisker of the tyres. In addition David has fitted a set of UUC anti-roll bars.
Now, the #BMW-330Ci is a brisk machine, powered as it is by BMW’s rather wonderful M54. But considering everything else going on with this project, it was never really going to cut it especially with David’s long- standing desire for an E46 M3. As good as the M54 is, the S54 is just a bit better – so that’s what you’ll now find in the engine bay. Once glance at that engine, however, will tell you that it’s most definitely not standard.
And that’s because just an engine swap wouldn’t have sufficed; David wanted to extract maximum power from that awesome straight-six. Up top, there’s a set of custom 2M Autowerks E46 velocity stacks handling the intake side of things, with an Alpha N tune by RK Tunes along with a set of Turner Motorsport pulleys. At the other end of the engine you’ll find set of 2M JSP custom stepped race exhaust manifolds which connect to a UUC TSE1 exhaust. David also fitted an Earl’s oil cooler and a Mishimoto high performance radiator, which has since been changed for a CSF race rad. It’s not just the engine that has been worked on; the engine bay too has been given plenty of attention to ensure that this E46 turns as many heads with the bonnet off as it does with it on. David carried out a wire tuck and then welded up any excess holes for a super-smooth look. Then he added a custom cabin air filter and brake covers, before finishing the engine bay off in cement grey, which delivers a striking contrast to the bold and bright Imola bodywork. The cement grey really was an inspired choice, and is not what you expect to see when the bonnet is up, or off, and it definitely makes you look twice. With the engine swap completed the E46 had the performance it deserved but, as the old adage goes, power is nothing without control, and so the stock front brakes were removed and replaced with a pair of substantial Porsche 996 calipers, though you’ll be hard pushed to spot them as they too have been painted in cement grey with just a red Brembo logo, making this possibly the most discreet BBK setup we’ve ever seen. The calipers themselves sit on Rally Road brackets and are mounted around ECS tuning two-piece CSL discs with braided hoses for good measure.
You might think that after all that, by the time he got to the interior David may have run out of steam, but you’d be dead wrong; he’s really gone to town in here. Step one: the seats. The stock items have been unceremoniously ejected and replaced with a pair of utterly gorgeous Recaro Speed items finished in black leather with red stitching.
They are joined by some choice Alcantara items which include a Colby handbrake gaiter and gear gaiter (both with M tricolour stitching), plus a Colby Alcantara steering wheel with matching stitching and a red centre stripe. The front doorcards and rear side panels are gorgeous CSL carbon fibre items, while the rear is dominated by an Autopower half-cage with harnesses and topped-off with a custom rear seat delete. The finishing touch is a splash of Oro paint on a few trim areas and the cage itself, which adds a unique touch of colour.
It’s impossible to dislike an E46, they’re such good cars. And this is arguably one of the best we’ve seen. David has clearly poured a vast amount of money and love into it and the end result is so complete. Well, other than the addition of a carbon roof, which David will fit in a few months. Once that’s on, this car will be completed for good – and it’s rare to be able to say that about any project. David has already started on his next build, an S85 V10-swapped E46 track car, as well as an E36 PTG-style track car, but don’t worry, this E46 isn’t going anywhere. All that’s left for David to do now is ‘werk’ it. Lucky chap!
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #2M-Autowerks / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-2M-Autowerks / #BMW-M3-2M-Autowerks-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #Aristo-Forged /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 #S54-swap , #2M-Velocity stacks, #2M-JSP custom stepped race exhaust manifolds, #UUC-TSE1 exhaust, #Alpha-N tune by #RK-Tunes , wire tuck and excess holes welded, engine bay painted cement grey, custom cabin air filter and brake covers, Earl’s oil cooler and fittings, #Mishimoto high performance radiator (now CSF race radiator), #Turner-Motorsport underdrive pulleys, six-speed manual gearbox, #UUC short-shift kit
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 11.5x18” (rear) #Aristo-Forged-MJK three-piece wheels in custom matt #Oro-paint with #Motorsport-Hardware 70mm (front) and 90mm (rear) stud kit, 255/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Falken FK453 tyres, #Status-Gruppe-SRS coilovers, #UUC anti-roll bars, Porsche 996 brake callipers (front) painted cement grey with red #Brembo logo on #Rally-Road brackets, #ECS-Tuning two-piece #CSL discs, stainless brake hoses
EXTERIOR Full respray in Imola red, Hamann front lip blended onto SE front bumper, black kidney grilles, M3 bonnet, M3 front arches with side vents welded shut, M3 mirrors, M3 side skirts, custom all-metal wide-body rear, Hamann lip blended onto rear bumper
INTERIOR Recaro Speed front seats with custom leather and red stitching, Autopower half-cage painted in Oro with harness, CSL carbon fibre front and rear doorcards, Colby Alcantara steering wheel with and red centre stripe, Colby Alcantara handbrake and gear gaiters with M tricolour stitching, multi-touch- screen head unit, Oro painted trimStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationHOT RIDE: Porsche 993 Words Daniel Bevis Photography Mike Kuhn On (Roti)form RWB 993
Planet Girth The wide, wide Porsches of RWB are a global phenomenon. You’ll find them in Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, and now, thanks to the work of Crolls Customs, a bright green 993 has popped up in Pennsylvania. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Philly #1.
RWB 993 Have you seen enough RAUH-Welt Begriff Porkers yet? No, we didn’t think so!
Ben Harmony’s RWB 993 Porsche
The acid-green vision you see before you is the product of passion and heritage, of vintage methods and new-wave thinking. You may be familiar with the cult of the RAUH-Welt Begriff (RWB) Porsche. But do you know just how deep the rabbit-hole goes?
The whole trippy merry-go-round is a million miles from simply buying and fitting a bodykit – it involves the synthesis and fusion of sensibilities, a personal commitment in time from Akira Nakai himself (for he is the enigmatic figure behind RWB), and a mind-boggling array of decisions in order to arrive at something unique. RWB cars are rare fruit indeed.
This car, which began life as a 993 Carrera 2, is the proud possession of Ben Harmony, Philadelphia resident and seasoned car modifier. His roots lie in the VW scene, although it’s fair to say that this scene-defining build has really taken the idea of OEM+ to a whole other level. This isn’t just bolting a set of Twists to a Golf. This is a different hustle on another game court.
“My first car was a 2008 Golf R32,” he says. “It was lowered on coils, and I did the exhaust, chip tune and so on. That started the car craze for me! My next project was a 2012 Golf R, which was bagged, stage 2+, and had a full Milltek turbo-back, APE fuel pump, tune, intake, and also HRE 501s and OEM European Recaro seats imported from Germany.” This car was sold to partially fund the RWB build, as well as Ben’s beloved daily – a 2004 Golf R32, which was also bagged, and running Rotiform INDs. “I miss that car a ton,” he laments. But don’t feel too bad for him. Just look where that money went.
Now, there are two key steps to take when you start down the bespoke RWB path: one is that you need to source and prepare the right car, and the other is that Nakai-san needs to interview you, to get inside your way of thinking and see how the car will intertwine with your wants and needs. And after numerous lengthy discussions with the great man, pinpointing every specific element of the details, Ben was ready to take the plunge, having been deemed worthy by the creative puppetmaster who pulls all the strings.
“It all really started about three years ago, when I found the original build videos on YouTube,” Ben recalls. “I began watching them and fell in love with the look of the cars and just Nakai-san’s passion for building. And I knew one day I had to have one!” At this point Ben had a shiny new BMW M3 on order, but he made the call to cancel that and instead refocus his life in an entirely more lairy direction. “It was the best decision I ever made,” he grins.
A suitable donor was soon found advertised on eBay and Rennlist: a straight Cherry Carrera with no accident damage and just 52,000 on the clock. “It was a three-owner car with a good history,” Ben explains. “Not many people would buy a mint car for an RWB build, but I wanted to find the cleanest because my ultimate goal is to have one of the most all-round best built cars. I don’t cut corners – if you’re going to do it, do it right from the start.”
The 993 was located in Kansas City, Missouri, so Ben sent over a PayPal deposit and got himself booked on the next flight out, along with buddy Roman, to collect the car and take it on a road trip back home.
If your knowledge of US geography is a little rusty, a quick route-planner on your favourite online mapping service will reveal that this is a journey of well over 1,100 miles. “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” he laughs.
And what better way to get to know your car. Before entirely tearing the thing to pieces and starting afresh?
So, what’s it like watching a RAUH-Welt Begriff creation be spirited into existence by the frenzied, nicotine-fuelled Nakai-san? “I’ll be honest, it’s pretty surreal,” says Ben, in masterful understatement.
“The car was getting worked on for over a year getting it ready for Nakai-san’s arrival. It was a long journey of emails, details and planning. These builds take a lot of time and effort, especially when you’re a young kid who runs his own business and goes to school full time, it can be very stressful! I flew out to visit a build a few months prior to mine commencing, to meet some of the RWB guys, and also set my date with Akira Nakai and meet him for the first time – which helped out a lot! When he arrived in Philly we already had that bond and knew each other, which was very cool. But to see it all come together and hang out with Nakai-san at my house and watch him build my car was probably one of the greatest events I’ve ever experienced.”
RWB builds are noted for being a three-day process, but such was the quality of the base car and the fastidiousness of the planning that Ben’s Philly #1 only took two days to build. “It was a weekend of hanging out with my best friends and family, and just watching the project car I worked hard to build finally come to life,” he enthuses. “The best part was just watching my buddies’ eyes light up as Nakai-san worked and put the car together, because they used to joke and say ‘Ben, get real, you’re not building one’. But now it finally happened it just made it that much sweeter.”
As you can probably imagine, this certainly isn’t a car for shrinking violets, and Ben gets a fair amount of attention when he’s out and about. “I do drive the car a decent amount,” he assures us. “I’ll take it to dinner with my girlfriend, drive it to class, or just run errands. People go crazy over the car trying to take pictures while driving, or just stop me to talk about it. I get tagged in so many social media pics! Whenever I drive it I usually end up talking to at least one or two people about the car, and I always take the time to answer questions and let them take photos. People love Nakai-san’s work, and it feels great to be a part of that.”
The nature of extreme modification is not to rest on one’s laurels. Sure, Ben may have had his car converted into something hand-crafted and unique by one of the world’s premier automotive artisans, he may be rocking some obscene wheels and a delectable interior, but there’s something about that standard flat-six that’s niggling him.
“The motor’s still stock, aside from a custom titanium exhaust, which weighs around 5lb compared to 98lb for the stock item,” he says. So what’s the future? “Turbo, turbo, turbo,” he cackles triumphantly. “What I really want to do is swap in a 993 Turbo engine, shoot for about 450bhp – not crazy power, because everything on this car was done for reasons of balance and handling and I don’t want to throw that off.” He says that. But this Porsche’s all about the crazy. Let’s see where the mischief takes him, shall we?
TECH SPEC: 993 CARRERA / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-911-993 / #Porsche-993 / #Porsche / #Porsche-911-RWB-993 / #Porsche-911-RWB / #RAUH-Welt-Begriff / #Porsche-911-RWB-993 / #Air-Lift / #Airdynamiks / #Rotiform-LVS / #Rotiform / #RWB / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911-Carrera-993 / #Air-Lift
STYLING Full custom RAUH-Welt Begriff wide-arch bodykit; Porsche Gelb Grün paint by Josh at Crolls Customs.
TUNING #Porsche-M64 3.6-litre aircooled flat-six; custom titanium straight-piped exhaust system; manual ’box with CAE shifter.
CHASSIS 10x18in (front) and 13x18in (rear) Rotiform-LVS; 265/35 (f) and 315/30 (r) Pirelli P Zero Rosso; #Airdynamiks-air-ride with #Air-Lift-3H management; #Brembo discs with ceramic pads.
INTERIOR #Recaro-A8 seats; full colour-coded #RWB rollcage; doorcards retrimmed in black; new black carpets; Alpine Bluetooth headunit; JL speakers; Focal amp.
THANKS I want to thank Josh at Crolls Customs for the killer paint and bodywork; Brendan Ginty for the interior work and getting all the suspension done – the man is a perfectionist and there isn’t a thing he can’t do; and all the RWB guys for the help along the way.
WHEELS: GET THE LOOK Philly #1 is rocking a set of miles-deep Rotiform LVS wheels, measuring 10x18-inch up front and a whopping 13x18-inch out back. Proudly manufactured in the USA, these wheels can be ordered in anything from 14-24-inch in diameter, and 6-16-inch in width. (Well, within reason – if you ask for a set of 14x14” they may look at you funny. Still, can’t hurt to try.) You can also choose between forged monoblock, two-piece, or the full-fat three-piece, as you see here. Get in touch via rotiform.co.uk to discuss specs and pricing.
What is RWB?
RWB stands for #RAUH-Welt Begriff , roughly translating as Rough World Concept. It’s the brainchild of legendary and revered Japanese tuner Akira Nakai. Beginning operations in his hometown of Chiba, Nakai-san’s outrageously widened aircooled Porsches have captured the tuning world’s imagination, being immortalised in countless frothing Instagram posts and even the Need for Speed video game franchise. Each car features custom arches, bumpers, wings and skirts, decided upon when Nakai-san interviews the client to ascertain how the car will match their character and fit into their lifestyle. The parts then get shipped to the customer for prep and painting, before Nakai-san flies in with his tools and gets to work building the thing. On a diet of beer and cigarettes, he works through the night until the car’s perfect. Everything’s cut freehand, by eye rather than measurement, in the manner of a traditional craftsman. The quality of the finish is testament to his unique skills.
The youngsters would say Ben’s 993 is ‘on fleek’
“People love Nakai-san’s work, and it feels great to be a part of that”
The Rotiforms hide Brembo discs and ceramic pads. Nice.
Nakai-san has got a lot better looking.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationJOEL’S / #BMW-E39 / #BMW-523i / #BMW-523i-E39 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39
Well, for a change we can kick off with some relatively good news – even after a five-year stint under a tree without a key turned, Project Fugazi seems to have held up rather well mechanically, somehow!
I appreciate the bodywork looks like several solid objects have hit it (because they have), but underneath that shell it turns out she’s in good health. Not perfect, but good.
I sent the car to Porschacare, a rather serious Porsche specialist in Welwyn Garden City owned by a chap I have known for many years, who took on this job as a bit of a favour. The good news was that suspension-wise (my primary concern was a leaking damper), my H&R coilovers are as good as new, the top mounts are sturdy, the bushes are all in order, and bar a steering arm, there’s no play at all at the hubs. The upgraded EBC brake discs have plenty of meat on the bones while the pads are nearing the end of their life and will be replaced next month with #Brembo pads and #DOT4 brake fluid as pictured (right).
Matt the Porsche man also reminded me about a few choice upgrades that were fitted to the car all those years ago too, like the front and rear Eibach anti-roll bars, a custom air feed that runs through the front bumper, braided Goodridge brake lines, a pulley kit that adds a few ponies by some sort of witchcraft, as well as a short shit kit and an insanely complicated system that feeds the angel eye headlights (that I just know will one day cause me a great deal of pain when a light goes out).
Back to today and it wasn’t all good. Porschacare spotted a few niggles that needed attending to if it were to pass its MoT. These included a new driver’s side steering rod and track rod end. For some reason the radiator viscous coupling fan that cools the engine when the temperature picks up has been running permanently too, with a laugh-out-loud whoosh accompanying every prod of the accelerator, and while it sounded pretty cool, it certainly wasn’t supposed to sound that way!
While the car was in for the work, I also plumped for a full service, which included all-new spark plugs, new oil, pollen and fuel filters and a shed load of 5W40 Carlube oil. As I’m not a huge fan of actually spending money I decided to visit my local parts supplier, GSF Car Parts, rather than shell out direct from BMW. In the process I saved myself a small £300-shaped fortune, around 40% less than the main dealer, just what you want to hear when you have to spend a bunch of readies on a car that is worth, on paper at least, about the same as a big bag of Haribo. Not only that, all the parts were ready for collection within 24 hours so hats off to the guys there for all their help; they even threw in a sticker too!
The car is still currently on the ramp so a bill for the labour is still on the cards, but it has been a pretty solid start. The foundations are now in place, so things are about to get a lot more interesting.
CONTACT Porschacare / www.porschacare.com / #BMWStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSHOCK SEMA builds are never anything less than utterly spectacular and this LS-swapped E46 M3 with air-ride and a supercharger is no exception. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Brian McGee.
V8 E46 6.0-litre supercharged showstopper. #2017
SYSTEM SHOCK Wide-body, supercharged V8 E46
You know what the trouble with the #BMW scene right now is? Too many awesome cars, that’s what! Not a week goes by when we’re not being inundated with offers of amazing new builds. How can we possibly say no? You can’t have too much of a good thing, really. The only problem for us is that we’ve only got so many pages each month and that means we can only stuff so many cars into each issue, which is why we’re only just now getting round to showing you one of the most spectacular builds from the 2015 SEMA show. However, it’s lost none of its impact in that time…
The name Carl Taylor will be familiar to most people with a toe in the tuning scene because not only is he one of the founding fathers of the Players brand, back home in Huntington Beach he’s Air Lift’s regional sales manager for California and Nevada, so he’s got just a bit of experience when it comes to modded machinery… but not BMWs, funnily enough. “Having being involved in the VW/Audi scene for many years, I felt I needed a change. I bought my first BMW, an E36 325i, in 2014 when we had the two Rocket Bunny Art Cars made to drive to Wörthersee in. Within a year I went from having no BMWs to owning an E36 M3, an E46 M3 and an E92 M3.” It’s clear that Carl is not a man who does things by halves. This E46 M3 was bought with the specific intent of turning it into a SEMA booth car for Air Lift, purchased in Colorado with no engine and no front seats, making it ripe for both a new engine and a little bit of interior work; nothing fancy, you know…
“The only plan we had was that it had to be completed or at least look finished for the SEMA show in Las Vegas, which was five weeks away when we started the project,” Carl continues. There’s nothing like a tight deadline to focus the mind, although it also makes for a challenging build. “On paper it seemed really easy,” says Carl, “but actually carrying out the job and having everything working and finished within the deadline was not. Having to rush the build and being limited with knowledge and advice, maybe we did not go down the correct route with the build. This caused us issues with the car never running correctly in the time I had it,” he says, which is always a shame to hear because a large part of the pleasure gleaned from a project is being able to actually enjoy it, but it certainly takes nothing away from the end result. And as far as the aim of building an attention-grabbing machine for the Air Lift booth goes, it was mission accomplished and then some.
While Carl says that there was no outright plan as such, some things were a given: buying a car in the States with no engine automatically means V8 swap because, if the tales are to believed, LS V8s grow on trees out there. Being an Air Lift car meant that there was only ever going to be one choice of suspension, really. And with Carl having been involved with Rotiform over the years and running the company’s wheels on every single car he’s owned over the past five years also meant wheel choice was not a hard decision to make.
Engine first, and while deciding to fit a V8, deciding which one to fit is a little trickier because there are so many to choose from. Even if you narrow it down to arguably one of the best, the LS family from GM, you’ve still got an overwhelming array of choices as far as displacement and power output goes. With the E46 M3 making 343hp out-of-the-box you want something that’s going to be more powerful than that for starters. And that makes the all-alloy LS2 the perfect choice, as it develops a nice, round 400hp and 400lb ft of torque from its 6.0 litres of displacement. Now that’s great, but it’s not really revolutionary; people are swapping LS V8s into everything from lawn mowers to washing machines (that might not be strictly true) and while a V8 in an E46 M3 is cool, you need a little more, a little extra spice to really get people’s attention. How about a Vortech supercharger? Yeah, that’ll do it. With the blower strapped to that V8, power jumps to around 550hp while torque is pushed up to around 470lb ft. Impressive numbers and a seriously impressive sight when the bonnet’s off.
The engine bay isn’t the first thing you’re going to notice about this car, though. That honour goes to the luminous shade of green it’s been painted in, closely followed by the outrageously wide bodywork. As far as visual spectacle is concerned, this M3’s been turned all the way up to 11. “The car was built and painted by LTMW,” says Carl. “It also installed the Rocket Bunny Pandem kit.” Based on the success of Carl’s previous Rocket Bunny-based adventures it was the obvious choice for beefing-up the E46. The riveted-on front and rear arches add some serious muscle to proceedings, further aided by that hugely aggressive front spoiler, plus a CSL bootlid. We like how it looks although we recognize it won’t be for everyone, certainly, but it works for us and it definitely works on a build like this. Of course, a kit this wild deserves a suitably wild paint job and this E46 M3 doesn’t disappoint, with Carl opting for Lamborghini LP700 pearl green, Verde Ithaca, an absolutely spectacular shade that delivers a knockout blow.
As for the interior, remember the lack of front seats? Well, that problem was solved with the addition of a pair of customfinished Cobra Suzuka Pro single-piece buckets. They’re the perfect choice to go with the rest of this build, oh, and the Renown steering wheel, too.
On the chassis front, we already know that Air Lift and Rotiform were going to play a part in the construction of this E46 M3 but here, too, the boat was well and truly pushed out. This build was just crying out for Air Lift’s latest 3H air-ride kit, with ride height sensors and a fancy controller. And that’s exactly what it’s got, with the boot hosting a single air tank finished in the same shade of Verde Ithaca as the rest of the car. Naturally.
As far as the wheels are concerned, Rotiform offers a dazzling array of designs catering to all tastes but on a build like this vanilla simply wouldn’t do; something more exciting was needed. Enter the Rotiform HUR, a wheel really quite unlike anything else. It’s actually pointless even trying to describe how it looks. The best thing to do is to just look at them because then you can drink in all those delicious details and that incredible Double Dark Tint clear coat over fully polished finish before deciding which side of the fence you want to be on, because there’s no middle ground here. We’re going to say that, much like with the Rocket Bunny wide-body additions, we are on board with the wheels. They really work with this build whereas a more subtle wheel would be overwhelmed with everything else that’s going on. With an almost Lamborghini vibe they are a particularly good match for the paint.
The finishing touch? A set of Brembo front and rear BBKs, in yellow no less, because no show build is complete without a seriously beefy set of brakes and, sometimes, it’s better to clash than to match. The fronts use six-pot calipers wrapped around 380mm discs while at the back sit four-pot calipers accompanied by 345mm discs. They do a seriously impressive job of filling out both front and rear wheels.
“The car will actually have been sold by the time this is published, due to continuing issues with the wiring harness and some of the work that was rushed due to #SEMA deadlines. If money had been no object, I probably would have bought a proper car and not had all the stress and continued issues with this build in the first place,” Carl explains. He says this not with a grimace but with a smile, and that speaks volumes about this car. Most show builds are finished and sold on in the blink of an eye to make way for the next project. The fact that Carl has kept this car for almost a year and actually used it during that time makes us happy. For Carl, it’s time to move onto pastures and projects new and there are bound to be many of those, but we reckon this one won’t be forgotten about anytime soon.
Rocket Bunny Pandem kit won’t be to all tastes but delivers plenty of impact.
Interior has been kitted-out with Cobra Suzuka Pro buckets and Renown steering wheel while air tank in boot has been matched to the wild Lambo green bodywork.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged #LS2 V8 #BMW-E46 M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-V8 / #BMW-M3-LS2-E46 / #BMW-M3-V8-E46 / #BMW-M3-LS2-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-LS2-Supercharged-E46 / #BMW-E46-GM-V8 / #Rotiform / #LS2-Supercharged / #LS2-Supercharged-Vortech / #Vortech / #Vortech-supercharger
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 6.0-litre #V8 #GM-LS2 / , #Vortech-supercharger-kit , custom exhaust system, T56-six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 11.5x18” (rear) #Rotiform-HUR wheels with Double Dark Tint clear coat over fully polished finish and 265/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, #Air-Lift-Performance air-ride with #3H management, #Brembo #Brembo-BBK with six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front) and four-pot calipers with 345mm discs (rear).
EXTERIOR Rocket Bunny Pandem wide-body kit, CSL bootlid, full respray in #Lamborghini-Aventador-LP700-Verde-Ithaca-pearl-green .
INTERIOR Custom Cobra Suzuka Pro buckets, Renown USA steering wheel, colour-coded air tank in boot.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationV8 E36 6.2-litre LS3-powered Saloon. Subtle on the outside, brutal on the inside, this super-clean M3 packs a 500whp V8 punch. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Jordan Unternaher
STREET FIGHTER 6.2-litre #GM-LS3 / #V8-swapped / #BMW-E36 /
It would seem that if you wish to insert a large, American V8 into a BMW then the E36 is the vehicle of choice. While BMW never put anything bigger than a straight-six into that capacious engine bay, Alpina squeezed eight cylinders under the bonnet for its B8 4.6 way back in #1994 , showing everyone that not only could it be done but that it was definitely a good idea.
We must have featured more LS-swapped E36s than any other model of BMW that has undergone the heart transplant but we’re certainly not complaining. And how could you when you’re being stared down by an LS3 E36 M3 that’s as clean and downright sexy as Brian Cain’s example? The exterior exudes nothing but subtlety while the engine bay is clean enough to eat your dinner off. And the interior drives the point home that this E36 ain’t nothing to mess with…
That Brian’s ended up with a hunk of American muscle in his E36’s engine bay is less of a surprise when you learn that his first car was a 1987 Pontiac Trans Am and that he currently owns no less than nine BMWs. This car is the perfect blend of home-grown V8 from his youth and the Bavarian marque that stole his heart ten years ago. “I was always fascinated by the engineering and the history of BMWs,” he tells us. “But I was never able to afford one while I was growing up. I love the history of automobiles and how they came to be. #BMW has always kept its roundel logo, the kidney grille design and the signature Hofmesiter kink on the rear quarter glass. Small details like that just speak to me.
“My first BMW was actually this M3. As I was growing up, I remember the E36 M3 being released. It was such a great looking car. I had model cars of it and posters but I always thought it would be out of my reach. When I was finally able to afford one, I had to jump on it. I was searching for an E36 M3 Saloon. It had to be a Saloon. I wanted either Hell red or Dakar yellow and I found this red car in Las Vegas, about 2000 miles from where I live.” But when a car is good it’s worth travelling for, and this M3 was very good indeed. “It was a one-owner, low-mileage, flawless example,” Brian grins. “The next thing I knew, I’d booked a plane ticket and flew out to get the car. I drove it home over a three-day span, collecting a couple speeding tickets along the way!”
Initially, the M3 served as Brian’s daily driver but, having grown up around hot rods, having owned a Trans Am, and having modified a selection of Hondas, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place – although Brian never anticipated taking things quite this far. “I knew I was going to do coilovers, the exhaust, the wheels and other basic things,” Brian says. “And I drove the car as a daily driver for almost six years. It was always kept in amazing condition but after putting nearly 100k miles on it I wanted to redo it. I have always been into hot rods and V8 cars, so I knew I wanted to do an LS swap. This was still when LS swaps were relatively uncommon on these cars. I started to doing research on what I would need and how I would set everything up. I had a general plan on paper before I even started. I went to a local wrecking yard where I sourced an LS3 engine from a wrecked Corvette. I took it home and immediately stripped it back to a bare block.”
Clearly the best time to add stuff that’s going to make even more power is while the engine is out of the car and no corners were cut when it came to slathering it in go-faster bits, as Brian explains: “Items I added included: Katech rod bolts; a high volume oil pump; CNC-ported heads; a custom grind cam; Comp push rods and rockers; LS7 lifters and seven-layer head gaskets; a ported intake manifold; a FAST 92mm throttle body and fuel rails; and 60lb injectors with Aeromotive Stealth fuel pump handle fuelling. The Vorshlag engine mounts are the only swapped parts used.
Everything else was custom fabricated in-house at the shop Brian owns, MWorks Garage. The 4” intake was custom-made in-house and American Racing headers are mated to our custom dual three-inch exhaust. The cooling system utilises a Zionsville radiator with heat shrink hose clamps for a clean look and I made the entire engine harness from scratch; I wanted it clean looking to complement the shaved engine bay but still serviceable so the engine runs on a completely separate fuse box and control from the rest of the car. Everything under the hood is powdercoated by Killer Koatings in Covington, Kentucky. The transmission is a T56 from a 2002 Camaro SS which has been completely rebuilt as well. Pretty much anything you could do to strengthen the transmission has been done, and gears are changed through a custom MGW shifter. Mike at Proxses Tuning in Dayton, Ohio tuned the car and currently it produces 496whp and 477lb ft.” Brian says this with the sort of casual understatement you would not expect from someone with a V8-powered E36 putting out somewhere in the region of 550hp.
Of course, putting together an engine that powerful is one thing but building a car that can handle it is another matter altogether, and no stone has been left unturned, no component left unmodified when it came to ensuring the chassis was up to the task. “The suspension has been completely overhauled,” says Brian, “with a combination of both stock and aftermarket parts.
The coilovers are all completely custom and have been built using Ground Control custom valved double adjustable dampers and custom spring rate Eibach springs. We made the adjustable control arms in-house while camber is controlled through Vorshlag camber plates up front.” While the transmission had been suitably beefed-up to handle all that power and torque, Brian still had to ensure that it would actually reach the rear wheels without obliterating any components along the way, so the drivetrain has undergone some heavy modifications. Power is sent along a custom-made three-inch aluminium propshaft with 1350 U-joints to a Ford Mustang Cobra 8.8 IRS diff using a Detroit TrueTrac LSD with 4.10 gears and onto the wheels via DriveShaft Shop axles. “I went with the Ford differential after going through two 188mm BMW diffs and completely twisting up a subframe after the second differential broke apart,” says Brian.
“Needless to say, it took some creative design, planning, and geometry to get everything working correctly together but it should be good for the 1000hp range.” This should provide ample future-proofing for whatever further mods Brian might have up his sleeve.
With masses of power on tap, the importance of stopping cannot be overlooked and while this E36 hasn’t been fitted with a BBK, the brakes have been suitably uprated and are now more than up to the job. Brembo discs have been fitted along with Performance Friction pads and Bimmer World braided hoses. The ABS has been deleted and Brian has added a Tilton proportioning valve to adjust the brake bias.
As far as the styling is concerned, Brian has opted to keep things subtle but, while at first glance this E36 might appear almost completely standard on the outside, there’s more going on here than meets the eye; there are lots of subtle modifications that are easy to miss. Up front, the foglights have been shaved to give the bumper a much cleaner, unique look and an AC Schnitzer front lip has been added to make the car look even lower. Euro headlights have been fitted and smoked indicators, markers and rear lights have been added. At the rear the boot spoiler has also been shaved.
However, the most involved exterior modification, which also happens to be Brian’s favourite mod on the entire car, was a direct result of his wheel choice. “I have always been a fan of CCW wheels,” he says. “And I wanted a wheel that had my exact specifications and finish: 9x17” fronts and 10.5x17” rears. Killer Koatings of Covington, Kentucky did the powdercoating and I did this when black wheels were almost taboo, everyone was still running polished wheels. Now you see almost every company offering this look of gloss lips with matt faces. When we were fitting the wheels, we didn’t want excessive camber, so we cut the rear quarter panels under the rear bumper and pulled them out by almost an inch on each side. The result is factory-looking car (most people would never notice the wider rear arches) whilst still being able to fit an aggressive wheel with less than one degree of camber.” Once you know what he’s done here you know, but from anything other than the right viewing angle those pumped-up rear arches disappear completely, blending into that blindingly brilliant red bodywork. Even gazing down the car’s flanks you still need to know what you’re looking for to actually notice the subtle swelling.
While the exterior is a picture of subtlety, the interior definitely means business and there are some choice mods in here. The original grey interior was swapped for an all-black one and Brian retrimmed the headlining and pillar panels in black suede. A pair of red and black Recaro Wildcat seats were added, along with red Scroth Racing harnesses, and there’s also a Nardi steering wheel and Euro M3 gauge cluster. The finishing touches are custom gear and handbrake gaiters made by Brian’s girlfriend Kaitlin, who runs StitchBoots and does custom automotive interior work.
In case you couldn’t tell, we are big, big fans of Brian’s E36. The engine swap is awesome but it’s all the other performance upgrades that take this car to the next level. It’s the level of dedication that has been applied to every aspect of the build that makes it so special. A lot of work has been poured into this build and you can see it everywhere you look, it’s the sort of build you aspire to. There’s more to come, too, as Brian explains: “The car was recently sponsored by Vortech Superchargers who sent me a V3 setup. I hope to have it on soon, set in the 22-26lbs of boost range. It should make for a pretty wild ride.” Considering how wild this E36 already is, we can’t wait to see it.
DATA FILE BMW #BMW-LS3 / #V8 / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3-LS3-E36 / #BMW-M3-LS3 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 /
ENGINE 6.2-litre V8 / #GM-LS3 / #Corvette-engine , #Katech rod bolts, Telling high volume oil pump, LS1 oil pan, LS1 accessory drive, SLP crank damper, CNC-ported heads, custom grind #Comp-Cams camshaft, Comp Cams pushrods, rockers and timing chain, #LS7 lifters, LS7 seven-layer head gaskets, #ARP head bolts, ported LS3 intake manifold, FAST 92mm throttle body, #FAST fuel rails, #DeatschWorks 60lb injectors, #Aeromotive-Stealth 340gph fuel pump, AN-6 fuel lines, Vorschlag engine mounts, MWorks Garage wiring harness, MWorks Garage throttle bracket, MWorks Garage full V-Band exhaust, American Racing Headers exhaust manifolds, Zionsvile radiator, #MWorks-Garage expansion tank, MWorks Garage four-inch intake
TRANSMISSION 2002 #GM-Camaro-SS-T56 six-speed manual gearbox, #MGW shifter, steel shift forks, bronze shift pads, hardened steel bearing spacers and sleeves, #McLeod-RXT twin-disc clutch, Cincinnati Driveline propshaft, Ford 8.8 rear differential, Detroit TrueTrac LSD, 4.10 Ford Racing ring and pinion gear set
CHASSIS 9x17” ET20 (front) and 10.5x17” ET20 (rear) #CCW-LM20 wheels with matt black centres and gloss black lips, 235/45 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Falken tyres, #Ground-Control double adjustable coilovers, #Eibach custom rate springs, Vorshlag camber plates, Ground Control rear upper shock mounts, MWorks Garage rear lower control arms, Treehouse Racing front LCA bushings, MWorks Garage LSx power steering setup, Tin Soldier Race Cars modified subframe, Performance Friction brake pads, #Brembo discs, Bimmer World braided brake hoses, ABS delete, Tilton proportioning valve, MWorks Garage ABS delete hardlines
EXTERIOR Rear quarter panels widened one-inch, shaved front foglights, Shadowline grilles, Euro face-lift headlights, smoked corner lights, smoked side markers, smoked taillights, shaved rear spoiler, AC Schnitzer front lip, CQuartz Finest paint coating
INTERIOR #Recaro-Wildcat seats, MWorks Garage seat brackets, #Nardi steering wheel, Euro M3 gauge cluster, Schroth Racing harnesses, #Bavarian-Sound-Werks speakers, suede headliner, A-, B-, C-pillars and rear deck, black interior conversion, #StitchBoots gear and handbrake gaiters
THANKS I want to thank my parents first and foremost – they always told me to follow my dreams and supported me 100% in my decisions. Unfortunately, my mother passed away three months before we did this photoshoot. My girlfriend Kaitlin, owner at StitchBoots Automotive Interiors. She is with me every day at the shop, wanting to participate in all our projects. Eddie Wright and Greg Huber at Fast Eddies Auto Salon. Paul Montgomery at Eastside Auto Spa. Mike Pirnia at Proxses Tuning. Kenny Meade and Mike Karwath at Killer Coatings. Everyone at 1310 MotorsportsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.