- Post is under moderationWORLDS COLLIDE
This vibrant Australian E46 M3 delivers the perfect combination of jaw-dropping looks and sheer driving pleasure. Blending style and substance, this Australian M3 delivers sheer motoring perfection… Words and photos: Chris Nicholls.
The stance and motorsport scenes are generally (and correctly) seen as polar opposites. Form versus function. Style versus speed. Yet there’s a surprising amount of crossover between the two. Admittedly, most of it goes one way – from race cars to stance machines in the way of big wings, wide wheels and arches, sponsor stickers etc but every so often you see it go the other way, with race cars running decidedly street-oriented body kits (Rocket Bunny-equipped track demons come to mind) and even the odd time attack car running air suspension (like Cody Miles’ Redline street-class champion STi in the US). It’s a shame there isn’t more movement between the scenes, as in the end, we’re all car enthusiasts we all share the joy of owning and driving cars.
Manny De Zilva certainly shares it. His 2001 E46 M3 is driven hard no matter where he goes, and the best part is that thanks to careful planning and modifications, he can epitomise what’s possible in terms of crossover between stance and track. While you may not believe it from these images, this car does both with equal aplomb.
Now, before we start, it’s worth noting that Manny’s M3 doesn’t run air suspension. Doing so would leave him without a functioning boot, given he’s already got two Rockford Fosgate subs in there, along with accompanying amps. No, Manny does things the old-fashioned way, albeit with two sets of coilovers and wheels. His street setup consists of BC BR coils, wound right down to allow the kind of tuck one normally only associates with the ‘low and slow’ brigade, and deep dish 18-inch Work Meister S1 wheels, mounted with mildly stretched Nexen and Achilles tyres. He still drives hard on this setup, though, something we’ll go into more later. Manny’s circuit setup, meanwhile, consists of KW V2s at a more track-suitable height and Enkei NT03s, complete with Advan A048 semi-slicks.
It’s telling that he goes to this much trouble to enjoy both worlds, because this level of dedication and hard work permeates the whole build, and shows in every little considered detail. From the focus on colour coordination both inside and out, to choosing parts that only enhance the inherent beauty of the E46 shape, rather than detract from it, this is a build with a lot of work, and thought, gone into it.
Let’s start with the exterior, as it’s obviously what everyone sees and compliments first, given how many people stopped to gawk at the car during the shoot in the Melbourne seaside suburb of Frankston. Finished in Phoenix yellow, the relatively rare colour blazes like the setting sun behind us. It’s perfectly matched with the yellow Umnitza angel eyes, yellow-edged AGT carbon diffuser and side skirts, yellow GTR-style bumper and rare hybrid E92/E46 GTR carbon bonnet to help bring a level of colour coordination lacking in so many builds. Even the deep Work Meisters (in 10x18” ET17 front and 12x18” ET18 rear) are similarly colour-matched, with gold-plated hardware, gold anodised wheel bolts and gold Work stickers on the lips.
Because having everything yellow would not work, though, Manny decided to offset the colour with tasteful black elements, such as the smoked lights, black wheel centres, naked carbon aero parts and even leaving the top and number plate surround of the carbon CSL bootlid unpainted. The only missing detail in the pictures is the rear roundel, as it fell off the day before the shoot and Manny couldn’t find another one in time, so ended up drawing a smiley face on there instead. Irrespective, it all ends up with a build that slams into your eyes as hard as it looks slammed into the Tarmac, yet never overwhelms. As anyone who’s tried to build a car to this level knows, that’s no small achievement.
The colour coordination continues inside, too, although again Manny was careful not to have too much ‘in your face’-ness. Indeed, silver carbon trim, extended shift paddles and updated lighting aside, there’s little change from the factory, but to ensure the silver and black theme was consistently applied throughout the cabin, Manny also added an AC Schnitzer gear knob, pedals and handbrake lever. To match with the upgraded audio, he also added an Avin Avant 2 head unit to modernise things but keep the factory look. It’s still subtle, though, and is in-keeping with the car’s philosophy.
Perhaps surprisingly for a car that sees hard driving on a regular basis, the suspension, brakes and engine are relatively mild at this stage. There are SPC rear camber arms to allow the wheels to sit just right on the street (and to allow tuning for the track), Whiteline end links, Turner Motorsport swaybars, Racing Dynamics strut bar and those aforementioned coilovers, but that’s about it for the footwork. The engine and driveline has had more done, with a Turner Motorsport cold air intake and power pulley kit, BMC filter, ESS remap, Mille Miglia exhaust (with custom tips) and Supersprint hi-flow cats and resonator on the engine side, and a Tuning Tech FS SMG tune and new diff cover on the driveline end. But it’s not an extreme build, even the brakes have only seen minimal upgrades, with a StopTech Sport brake kit adding better pads, rotors and steel lines. In many respects, though, that just shows how right BMW got the E46 M3 before it left the factory. It was very much a Goldilocks car on launch, winning multiple awards, and its reputation has only grown with age. The fact Manny can happily drive it hard both on the street and on the track (where it is “able to be competitive amongst high-powered turbo cars”) definitely proves that point.
That’s not to say it’s all been milk and honey, though. Like any build, there have been problems, with the biggest of them being the notorious BMW rear subframe issues (admittedly not helped by Manny’s driving style). “Very aggressive driving at an extremely low ride height put a lot of stress on my already reinforced rear subframe floor,” says Manny. “With the help of a specialist workshop, though, we researched and developed a new one-off floor made out of carbon-kevlar, which shouldn’t cause any more issues when I am ready to chase big power in the near future.” Ah yes, big power. Let’s face it, there’s almost never a time when a petrolhead doesn’t want more pace, and Manny is no exception.
So how does he plan to go about achieving this? Well, the easiest way to add grunt to any S54 is obviously via a supercharger, and that’s where Manny is headed. Having already had an ESS remap, it’s no surprise he’s also going to add a VT2-575 blower, but the icing on the cake will be the E85 tune and supporting ancillaries, which are an easy option to consider in Australia, given there are quite a few E85 pumps dotted around the major cities and suburbs (mostly from V8 Supercars’ official fuel supplier United Petroleum). Total power output should obviously jump markedly after that, and may well necessitate more mechanical modifications to cope, but no doubt Manny will already be planning those and have a picture in his mind of where to go. After all, he did exactly the same thing before he started this build.
“I already had parts waiting for the car before I even bought it!” he says. “I had a fairly distinct idea of what I wanted to do with the car in the early days, but as most people would agree, a project is never finished! There is always that one more mod you feel like doing.”
Indeed, on top of the extra urge, Manny’s desire for even more track days meant he fitted a pair of Recaro SPGs soon after the shoot, and to ensure he enhances its streetability as well, he’s also got plans to upgrade his boot install, although this time it will be easily removable so as to lose weight for the track. He says he’s even entertained the idea of changing up the entire colour scheme, with a white-on-white setup that would take the look in a completely different direction. That’s a bit of a flight of fancy for now, though.
No matter which way he goes, however, Manny has proved he will likely end up with an M3 that is even more the sum of its parts than it already is. One that draws stares and admiring comments, and one that ensures he maintains his undying love for E46s (this example is actually his third in a row, with his previous one having been a boosted, wide-body 330Ci that sadly met its end in an accident).
“To me the E46 is the total package; its timeless bodylines, luxury interior features, 50:50 weight distribution for perfect handling, distinct exhaust note, a highrevving, powerful and responsive straightsix that sounds great combined with the raw #SMG gearbox (which gives it a race car feel)… it ticks all the boxes.” We couldn’t put it any better!
Carbon abound on the outside and in the engine bay of this E46.
Black and silver theme throughout the interior while boot is home to the Rockford Fosgate audio install.
DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / Turner-Motorsport / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2 litre straight-six #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 , #Turner-Motorsport-Stage-2 carbon cold air intake & boot, #BMC air filter, #Turner-Motorsport power pulley kit, ESS ECU remap, Supersprint 100 cell high-flow catalytic converters, Supersprint resonator section 2, Mille Miglia exhaust with custom tips, six-speed #SMG-II gearbox, #Tuning-Tech-FS SMG tune, new rear diff cover
CHASSIS 10x18” ET17 (front) & 12x18” ET18 (rear) Work Meister M1 three-piece wheels with black centres and gold-plated hardware with 245/35 (f) Nexen N’Fera SU1 and 285/30 (r) Achilles ATR tyres for street, 10x18 ET22 (f&r) Enkei NT03+M wheels with 275/35 (f&r) Yokohama Advan A048 tyres for track. BC BR coilovers for street, KW V2 coilovers for track, custom carbon-kevlar subframe floor, OEM subframe bushes, #Racing-Dynamics front strut bar, SPC rear camber arms, Turner Motorsport 30/25 sway bar kit (f&r), Whiteline end-link kit. StopTech sport brake kit, Motul fluid, wheel stud conversion kit with titanium nuts.
EXTERIOR CSL carbon bootlid, Carbon lip spoiler, GTR-style vented rear bumper, #AGT rear diffuser & side skirts, E92 GTR hybrid carbon fibre bonnet, quarter panel shave and repaint, Carbon front quarter panel grilles, carbon kidney grilles, #DEPO front corner lights, #Umnitza angel eyes, face-lift LED tail-lights (smoked), smoked front lights, xenon foglights, carbon fibre foglight inserts, carbon fibre badges, AC #Schnitzer carbon fibre roof spoiler, AC Schnitzer-style carbon 3-piece front lip spoiler, LED number plate lights, #ECS-Tuning tow hook kit, OZ Gloss paint.
INTERIOR Excelsior silver carbon interior trim, #AC-Schnitzer pedals, handbrake lever & gear knob, aluminium extended shift paddles, Avin Avant 2 head unit, #Rockford-Fosgate Punch P450.4 & P400.2 amps & twin Punch P1 10” sub in custom enclosure.
A project is never finished! There is always that one more modification you feel like doing… Manny De ZilvaStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSTAR OF CCTV #2015
All eyes are on this stunning, slammed Stateside E36 M3 which ticks all the boxes when it comes to visual impact. Josh Berger’s E36 M3 is a luxurious show-stopper in a post-apocalyptic frenzy of eyes and ears. That it’s also hilarious fun to drive seems to be merely a fringe benefit… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Mike Kuhn.
George Orwell had a paradoxical eye on this car back in 1949. When his frighteningly prescient dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four hit the shelves, the idea of an all-pervading culture of authoritarian surveillance shocked and disturbed, seeming inconceivable to a postwar society of scarcity and simplicity. And yet it’s pretty much come true: every facet of your modern existence is performed before a lens.
It’s never a surprise to learn that any act, movement or indiscretion has been backed up on a hard-drive somewhere. We barely notice those yellow triangular signs any more, we just assume we’re being watched. And there are three ways to react to this: you do the Orwellian thing and toe the line, never putting a foot wrong for fear of reprisals; you rebel, throwing authority’s diktat back in its face, and screw the consequences; or you follow the example of Josh Berger, the gentleman in the driving seat of this E36 M3, and just get on with things. Make yourself happy. The world is watching, so what’s the point in not being yourself?
Josh has always found himself under scrutiny and observation, it doesn’t bother him any. “I grew up heavily influenced by extreme sports and motorsports,” he explains. “I raced dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, and pretty much anything with an engine.” All of which sets him squarely in the searchlight – these are noisy, visible sports, the sort of thing that doesn’t easily blend you into the white noise of everyday society. And it was only natural that this exuberance would lead him into the colourful world of modified #BMW ownership, right? We’re all somewhere along that path, after all. We know the score. “I got my first BMW at the age of 17,” he says, “which was a nice little E30 ’Vert that I lightly modified before moving onto an E34.
E36s were always one of my favourites, though, and a few of my family members had some really nice M3s which is what got me hooked. At age 19 I bought my first E36… and it was a total shitbox! It had primer, bondo, scrapes, the interior was trashed, all of that stuff. After four years of work to get it up to scratch, and about $25k, the car was completely resculpted to my liking – before a drunk-driver decided to slam into it while it was parked and totalled it. So it began again. I bought another chassis, swapped all the parts over to it, got it a fresh coat of paint and I had another nice E36 for a while. After a year or so I sold it and went in and out of several other cars, experimenting with new ideas, as you do.”
It was around this time that Josh started working at Atlanta Motorsports Park as a driving instructor, and soon enough had the urge for another E36 M3. Again, he’s in a pretty visible position in a role like that, and he’s not showing any wallflower tendencies, is he? “I told myself that this time was going to be different,” he recalls. “At this point I had just got married, and my wife was expecting a baby girl, too. But that didn’t stop my dad and I from trying to find a great little track car… lo and behold, we found this little gem online. It belonged to another father/son duo who used it for HPDE (High Performance Driver Education) and track days. The car was pretty rough, showing all its years on the track, with thousands of stone chips peppering the whole front of the car; the interior was half-gutted. It was perfect!”
A quick test-drive was all that it took to convince the guys that this was the ideal base for their project, warts-and-all, and a truckload of extra parts sweetened the deal, along with comprehensive service info documenting the car’s entire history. The plan in embryo was to spin the thing up into a budget track car for weekend use, although life got in the way, as it’s so compelled to do, and Josh found himself yearning for a change of pace. “After a few months of it just sitting there after the birth of my daughter, I decided to slow things down a little bit and enjoy some time with my friends doing the ‘low and slow’ thing,” he says. “And so it began…”
Everyday life for Josh involves running an exotic and luxury car dealership by the name of GAS Motorcars, just outside Atlanta, Georgia. A mosey through the company’s stock list reveals such swanky trinkets as 356 Speedsters, Mercedes-Benz 600 Grossers W100, modern Ferraris and classic ’50s Chevys. When you’re surrounded by this sort of metal, you clearly get a keen sense of quality, finish and finesse. And it’s this environment that dictated the logical direction of the forlorn M3. It also helped the car’s character that it was specced with the Luxury Package (as opposed to the Sport Package which was, er, sportier); while the engine, transmission and suspension were the same, the Lux came from the dealer with unique wood trim inside, different non-twisty sideskirts, alternative doorcards and seat leather without M-stripes, and a raft of style changes to accentuate the premium accent. So, a concours-standard build to luxurious spec it was, then. Decision made.
As the myriad CCTV cameras refocused on the transmuting M3, Josh started to draw up a plan of action. And sorting the suspension had to be the first thing on the list. He was eager to get the thing nice and low but also retain a decent level of ride quality – essential if you have a tiny person to ferry about – and that’s where the experts at Broadway Statics came into play, their 500 Series coilovers fitting the bill perfectly. “I was going for a quality build this time – no shortcuts, just good, solid work,” Josh says with a deservedly heightened level of pride. “I purchased all new lights and got the windows tinted, and it started to clean up pretty well. And then it was time to think about the wheels.”
With the stance sorted and a vision for a quality finish in mind, choosing the right rims for the project was no easy task. After much headscratching and mocking up, Josh picked up a set of CCW LM5Ts from a friend who had them fitted to an E46 Saloon. “Then I had to find a way to make them fit!” he laughs. “This was the time to shine for Tim and Dan at TL Collision. Together we stripped down the entire car – glass, weatherstripping, all the panels – and then we pulled, rolled, hammered until we got the arches pushed out well enough. After smoothing the wings and recreating the factory body contours we wanted to keep, the car went in for paint.”
Oh, and what paint it is. Resplendent in a fresh and mile-deep slathering of BMW’s own Arctic silver, the colour is perfect to represent the class and quality that Josh was shooting for from the off – understated and subtle yet utterly beguiling in conjunction with the other modifications. It’s a shimmering masterstroke. “On the car’s return we put it back together with all new weatherstripping, new clips and grommets, and new glass all-round. I then decided to have a bit of fun in building a fully custom diffuser for the rear; it began its life as an OEM Lotus Evora diffuser, and it provided a lot of amusement for me creating this rear section, which was my first shot at metalwork and sculpting.”
With the body looking tip-top and the way the M3 sat being pretty much bang-on, Josh had his buddy Geordie at Butler Tire wrap the freshened-up CCWs in lo-pro rubber before bolting the whole shebang back together. From thereon in, it was simply a case of throwing a set of black Vader seats inside and enjoying the show season!
“I took it out to the Import Alliance show, Southern Wörthersee, Offset Kings, Southrnfresh and a few other shows this year and people’s reactions have been great,” he smiles. “People here in Atlanta have a good understanding and appreciation of the hard work involved in building a proper show car.” There’s also a lot of entertainment to be gleaned from the dropped-jaw bystanders who inevitably ask the same questions of a car like this: ‘how on earth do you actually drive it that low and with that camber?’ “It just makes me laugh really,” says Josh. Well, yeah – he’s built this car for him; people will either get it or they won’t. He called it a show car there but that really doesn’t do justice to the holistic view Josh has taken with putting this E36 together and pulling it back from the ignominy of being a tired, thrashed track car. The refreshed S50 straight-six has enjoyed a lot of bespoke headwork which, along with the custom exhaust (straight-through, no cats, really quite noisy) and the Stage 2 air intake, really gets the 3.0 singing from the motorsport song-sheet. It’s not just a show car, it’s a track car and a daily driver, too, and the focus on quality means it’s truly a car for all seasons. He’s really kept a focus on having a usable machine as well: “It’s all genuine OEM inside with an armrest delete, stock radio, nice and simple, just the way I like it. No CD upgrade either, it’s still got the original radio-cassette!”
It’s this attention-to-detail in terms of following a personal agenda that demonstrates just how Josh has built a car to be used, and used hard. Sure, he selfeffacingly refers to it as a show car – and it’s a bona fide show winner – but it’s a proper, everyday performance BMW, too. And while the CCTV cameras squeak on their pivots as they strain to keep track of him, he’s always keeping one step ahead of the game. Yeah, everybody’s watching, and he knows it… and that’s all the impetus he needs to keep it fresh. But it is, first and foremost, fun to drive, and that’s all an M3 needs to be. All eyes on Josh – but he’s having too much fun to care. In your face, Orwel.
Lotus Evora diffuser has been modified to fit the rear bumper.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3 /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30US / #S50 #BMW-S50 / #S50B30 , #AFE-Magnaforce Stage 2 air intake, polished head with five-angle valves, #Turner-Motorsports chip, full 3” straighthrough decat exhaust, five-speed manual gearbox, UUC M5 clutch.
CHASSIS 9.5x17” ET4 (front) and 10.5x17” ET9 (rear) CCW LM5T wheels with brushed faces with satin clear and polished lips (3.5” front; 4.5” rear), 215/40 (front) and 235/40 (rear) Nexen tyres, polished #ARP bolts, #Broadway-Static 500 Series coilovers with 16-18k spring rates, #Driftworks front camber shim kit, #Megan-Racing rear camber arms (-8 degrees of camber at rear, -6 degrees at front), factory-sized #StopTech grooved discs, #Hawk-Performance pads, steel braided lines, carbon-fibre brake duct with carbon-fibre backing plate.
EXTERIOR Body resto and respray in Arctic silver, all four arches pulled 1”, all new weatherstripping, new glass, lightly smoked corner lenses and rear lights by #DEPO , OEM headlights running 6000K HIDs, #AC-Schnitzer-Duraflex / #AC-Schnitzer front lip, 1995 M3 Sport centre grille, OEM paint-matched fog blanks and black kidney grilles, custom modified Lotus Evora rear diffuser.
INTERIOR Black Vader seats, ZHP gear knob, OEM centre console with armrest delete, OEM radio-cassette.
THANKS Thanks to my wife and family for all their support in this project. Also huge thanks to everyone who made this build possible: my BEAST COBB Squad, Tim at TL Collision for the paint, Dan Ho for the help on bodywork/suspension/fitment, Geordie at Butler Tire, John at Fastlane for his continued mechanical support, John at Global Imports #BMW for the OEM parts hookup, and all my friends who have turned wrenches on this thing with me. Much love!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS #BMW
On the surface this is a very nice #BMW-E46 M3 but dig deeper and you’ll discover it’s been modified to an incredible level. At first glance Pete Sidwell’s E46 M3 is clearly something pretty special, but go in closer and this thing is just off the scale… Words: Ben Koflach /// Photos: Louis Ruff @ Definitive
Let’s face it, we all love to tinker with our cars – you probably wouldn’t be reading this magazine if you didn’t. Whether it’s a set of lowering springs, a change of wheels or something as big as an engine swap, many of us can probably claim to have worked on a few areas of our cars to improve or personalise them.
There are some people, however, who take things a step further and set out to not only personalise their cars, but take them to a level of finish far higher than they left the factory with. Pete Sidwell is one of the those people: “I bought an E46 M3 because I’d wanted one from the moment I saw them in magazines,” he began. “I’d had mainly Japanese cars before, but wanted something more luxurious after running a WRX for a couple of years. It took me six months to find the right one – I’d almost given up! I finally found one just ten miles away from my home, having travelled all over the country looking at them. I wanted a nonsunroof, non-nav, manual Coupé in Silver grey with full service history, 19s and as low a mileage as I could afford. It had just 40k on it when I got it.
“This was in July 2010, and I had the intention of mildly modifying it but then the bug bit and I couldn’t stop!” smiled the 33-year-old aircraft engineer. “My initial mods were very basic, then after attending a few shows I decided that I wanted to create something more unique. I met James from Redish Motorsport in February 2012 and the car moved to a whole new level.”
Up to this point, Pete had fitted a #Vorsteiner-V-CSL carbon fibre bumper, dropped the car on KW V3s and was running Kawasaki Ninja green-centred #BBS LMs, along with CSL rear end goodies and an Eisenmann exhaust. It was down at Redish Motorsport in Bristol that things really started to take off – James Redish dropped almost the entirety of the car’s underside and disassembled it all, before sending virtually every component off for blasting and powdercoating.
After putting in an extensive order to the dealers – which included numerous screws, bolts, new wheel bearings, underside plastics and much more – Redish set about cleaning up the underneath. The all-toocommon rear subframe mounting cracks were addressed with welding repairs and reinforcement plates, before the brake and fuel lines were removed and the whole underside was cleaned and re-coated with fresh seam sealer where needed and underseal over the whole lot. At this point all of the parts returned from powdercoating – Pete chose to have the rear subframe, trailing arms, diff heatsink, V-brace, engine undertray and suspension springs coated in a darker shade of the Ninja green that his wheels had been painted in, while the rear upper control arms were painted in blue to match the Hardrace adjustable lower control arms that would be going on. With new brake and fuel lines made and fitted, the rest of the refit process could begin.
As part of this process, the freshly powdercoated chassis bits were fitted with polybushes, including Powerflex subframe and front control arm bushes along with Rogue Engineering rear trailing arm bushes. Then, once the fuel tank and all of the heatshields had been refitted, the subframe was bolted in and the suspension components were added to it piece by piece. The rear control arms were attached along with the trailing arms, shocks and springs, and from there the rear hubs were built back up with new brake discs and pads, Goodridge braided flexi lines and refurbished calipers.
From here, the diff could be bolted back together and reinstalled along with new CVJ grease and a new joint gasket, before the newly painted driveshafts were hoisted into position too. The freshly painted anti-roll bar and brackets could then be fitted along with Powerflex bushes. Finally, the prop, exhaust heat shields and the exhaust itself could be installed, rendering the E46 far better than when it left the factory in 2004. “It was a huge job,” James Redish chipped in. “But due to Pete’s excellent planning and prep work, and our commitment to this job, it was completed in just eight days. It was a really enjoyable project and one which I won’t forget in a hurry,” he smiled.
Redish has gone on to offer this underside restoration service for all manner of BMWs, and its E46 M3 boot floor repair is fast becoming the industry standard – it has developed its own reinforcement plates and offers a fantastic service.
After all of the work on the underside, Pete turned his attention to the interior once more. He fitted a Storm Motorwerks titanium-plated gear knob and handbrake grip, as well as perforated leather gaiters with green stitching and had the centre armrest trimmed to match. The steering wheel was updated thanks to a full retrim by Royal Steering Wheels with perforated black leather grips, Alcantara sections and an oversteer marker all with green stitching. Then it was time to add some green flashes to the underbonnet area, which was done with a full complement of Samco coolant and ancillary hoses. A billet oil filter cover was fitted too, and after countless hours spent cleaning, the car was ready for its first proper show outing at Gaydon BMW Festival 2012.
“Gaydon 2012 was a bit gutting,” explained Pete. “I couldn’t get the bonnet up! We’d spent at least three full days prepping and replacing parts under there and got all of my Samco hoses fitted ready for the show, only to be let down by a faulty bonnet pin!” However, as you can imagine, the underside of the car was still wellreceived. Pete was far from done with the engine anyway, and in the year that followed, he worked on something that would truly make his car unique…
First up, the secondary air pump was removed. Then, in its place, Pete plumbed in an oil catch can to stop harmful oil vapours being recirculated into the engine and was, of course, painted Kawasaki Ninja green. The next step really stirred up some controversy, as Pete removed the velocity stacks from his OE air box, had them powdercoated in his trademark green and set about running them as open trumpets.
The method of doing this is relatively simple, but to do it without losing power and as neatly as Pete has is quite something. The key to making sure the switch to open the trumpets ran as well as possible was keeping heat out of the engine bay, and cold air going towards the intake. For this, Pete had his OEM bonnet put under the knife, with GTR style vents installed to draw heat from underneath it. The rest of the work mostly included vents and ducts to fire cool air over the intakes.
Before mapping, the car was running pretty rich and Pete even noticed that it was shooting fire from the intakes – spectacular, but not ideal. In the interlude between finishing the mechanical side and mapping it, Pete also pressed on with a number of transmission upgrades, the parts for which he’d slowly been gathering over the period of a few months. This included a TTV ‘Lite’ flywheel, weighing just 5.1kg, along with a Stage 2 clutch (capable of handling 50% more torque than the OE clutch), Sachs nonself- adjusting pressure plate, a new clutch release bearing and a phosphor bronze pivot pin. Once that lot was bolted up along with new OE flywheel and clutch bolts, the outside of the box could be furnished with new parts too, namely a Goodridge braided clutch line and CDV delete, Rogue Engineering transmission mounts and an E60 545i shifter, which reduces the throw by around 30% when compared to an original E46 M3 item.
“All of the transmission upgrades really worked out great,” Pete smiled. “The shift is noticeably quicker, the clutch pedal feels great (although heavy), and the engine feels loads more responsive.” Ah yes, back to that engine – Pete fitted a set of ITG sock filters just in time for mapping, which revealed some surprising results.
First off, Pete had reinstalled the factory air box to get a base figure from it. “I took the car to Wayne at ChipWizards in Warrington. Three base runs were laid down in the car’s initial state,” he commented. “We recorded a healthy 351.1hp and 277lb ft. Wayne was impressed with the figures, and it seemed consistent with the car having adapted to modifications and running cleaner air with the catch tank since it was dyno’d at 345hp by Evolve in 2012.
“Luke [from Redish Motorsport] and I then set about stripping off all the OEM kit and bolting the stacks and filters back on, and then wiring in the Inlet Air Temperature sensor kit. Initial dyno runs with the original map and no MAF showed the car to have lost about 10hp across the rev range with some significant holes in the powerband and torque curves at about 1900 and 2600rpm. Wayne was confident that he could iron out the trouble spots and get the car running better. The ECU was reflashed with a seriously tweaked Alpha-N file, and we went from there…
“At about half 8 that evening, Wayne was still busy with the car as it was creating a few weird AFRs, so we decided to take the stacks apart and just give them a good clean. The next run then showed 389.2hp and 297lb ft of torque with no holes in the power band and it sounded unbelievable! We finally finished at about midnight, with the car driving like a dream.”
With the final print-out reading as 312.4hp and 255lb ft at the wheels (the aforementioned figures being at the flywheel), Pete was understandably a happy man. With an addiction to the new found power and induction noise, it was only a matter of time before things were stepped up a notch yet again.
“I started stockpiling parts for the next stage of my build, beginning with a Cobra Imola Pro-Fit GT bucket seat. Initially I could only run one in the car as it was my daily and I had to get the kids in the back!” Pete laughed. With this and the plans in mind, Pete’s attention also turned to the chassis and braking setups once more. First up, a set of Michelin Pilot Supersports were ordered up in CSL sizes, as Pete had new wheels in mind, and the K Sport brakes he had previously were ditched for something far more premium. “The kit I ordered was Alcon’s 365mm offering with six-piston calipers – I upgraded as I intended to make my car more track-orientated.”
Pete’s final exterior touch – and one that shows off those Alcons even better – was a set of #Quantum 44 S1s in 9.5x19” sizing with staggered offsets. “I’d decided it was time for a change, and after speaking to Chris at CM Wheels we decided that the car needed something different and fresh!” smiled Pete. “The result was the first set of Quantum44 S1s in these sizes, custom painted to suit my car. The concave faces of the wheels are crazy – I love them – and the green detail looks immense when the car is rolling!” Shod in those CSL-sized Michelin Pilot Cup Sports and bolted up with a wheel stud conversion, the wheels truly do set the car apart. With the Ninja green spoke detail on each wheel tying them in with the rest of the build, it has simply elevated Pete’s car to the next level.
The final step was getting the interior finished, and Pete hasn’t done things by half: “Over the next few months I managed to squeeze in plenty of modding,” he explained. “I had my Cobra buckets re-done with green stitching and fitted them. I also removed the rear seats and built a custom rear area.” This rear part of the interior included stripping out all of the wiring and bracketry to reduce weight as much as possible, and then Pete built panelling to neaten everything up. This was trimmed in Alcantara, and the rear doorcards were given the same treatment too. Pretty much all that you’ll find in the back these days is a fire extinguisher!
The finishing touch was fitting CSL-style doorcards, using all genuine mounting parts. As they’re painted to match the wheels, they tie in perfectly: “My old carbon fibre dash inserts are gathering dust in the garage now, as I had a set of standard ones painted to match the doorcards. I also built a new carbon dash panel and located switches in it for an electric fan and eventually for an exhaust bypass valve as well as an IAT gauge and the mirror switch.
“I’m really happy with how the car is now – future plans are to retire it from daily use and make it more track-orientated with 4:10 gearing, a cage and a CAE shifter,” grinned Pete. “My current favourite parts? I just love how I’ve tied all the parts together, how it sits and handles, and most of all the insane induction roar it makes! It never fails to put a smile on my face!”
With a seriously unique appearance under the bonnet, inside the car, underneath the car and on the surface, Pete can proudly say that he owns one of, if not the most reworked E46 M3s in the country. Not only has he modified it extensively to suit his taste and needs, but he’s seen to it that the whole car has been enhanced in every area, rendering it better than standard. It’s come a long way, and knowing Pete, he won’t be slowing up on it anytime soon.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E46
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , custom velocity stack setup with #ITG sock filters, custom carbon fibre heatshield & air temp sensor bracket, #Samco intake hose boots, Ramair idle control valve filter, custom cold air feeds, #Eisenmann 83mm Le Mans ‘Race’ exhaust, 100 cell cats, custom oil catch tank & brackets, secondary air pump delete, custom Alpha-N map with rear lambda and air pump delete, carbon fibre/kevlar engine cover with monochrome badge, #Samco lime green coolant & ancillary hoses, TTV ‘Lite’ 5.1kg flywheel, custom flywheel bolts
TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual gearbox, #Sachs sintered four-puck clutch, Sachs #ZF non-self-adjusting pressure plate, braided clutch line, CDV delete, Phosphor Bronze clutch pivot pin, E60 shift lever, Rogue Engineering transmission mounts, all new hardware
CHASSIS 9.5x19” ET40 (front) and 9.5x19” ET22 (rear) #Quantum 44 S1 wheels (with matt gunmetal lips and barrels, matte black spokes with Kawasaki Ninja green detailing) with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) tyres, 12mm TPI hubcentric front spacers, 10mm #H&R hubcentric rear spacers, 75mm wheel stud kit, R10 titanium wheel nuts, KW V3 coilovers with custom painted springs and Nitron rear spring perches, Rogue Engineering rear shockmounts, KW uprated front droplinks, Hardrace adjustable rear control arms, Redish Motorsport rear subframe reinforcement, Powerflex Black Series front control arm bushes, Powerflex front anti-roll bar bushes, Rogue Engineering black rear trailing arm bushes, Powerflex rear subframe & rear anti-roll bar bushes, green powdercoating (diff carrier, rear trailing arms, diff heatsink, V brace, engine undertray), blue powdercoating (rear upper control arms), all hardware replaced with either OEM or stainless steel replacements, Alcon Advantage Extreme front big brake kit consisting of six-pot monobloc calipers with Ferodo Performance pads and 365mm discs, custom painted rear brake calipers, new steel brake lines throughout, braided hoses, ATE Super Blue fluid
EXTERIOR Silver grey, #Vorsteiner V-CSL carbon fibre front bumper with flippers, custom vented OEM bonnet with GTR style vents and custom washer vent, CSL-style rear diffuser, matt black kidneys, side grilles & mirror caps, black and white carbon fibre roundels, monochrome and Ninja green side grille badges, smoked #Depo indicators, LED angel eyes with DRL and remote fade, front numberplate holder delete, driver’s door lock delete, retrofitted in-car boot release, custom decals
INTERIOR Black Nappa OEM interior, Cobra Pro-Fit GT seats with custom green stitching, custom floor mounts on driver’s side, Macht Schnell mounts for passenger side, retrimmed steering wheel (with green stitching, perforated leather grips, Alcantara top and bottom pieces and grey leather oversteer marker), black and white carbon fibre steering wheel roundel, Ninja green and monochrome steering wheel M badge, Storm Motorwerks titanium-plated V2 gear knob, handbrake lever & lighter plug blank, custom gaiters & centre armrest in black perforated leather with green stitching, carbon fibre gear trim surround, custom painted matt gunmetal dash inserts, CSL doorcards with matt gunmetal inserts and matt black door handles, door airbags deleted, monochrome door sill inserts, full LED interior lighting kit, custom carbon fibre switch panel, climate control relocated, rear seat delete trimmed in grey Alcantara with all trim/wiring/speakers removed, parcel shelf and doorcards trimmed in grey Alcantara, black HK rear speaker covers, compact fire extinguisher between front seats
AUDIO #Kenwood KDC-BT92SD head unit & #KAC-5205 amp, #Alpine SWE 815 active subwoofer, #Focal Access front component speakers, custom located iPod connection
“I love how I’ve tied all the parts together, how it sits and handles, and the insane induction roar it makes!”
“I had the intention of mildly modifying it but then the bug bit and I couldn’t stop!”
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- Post is under moderationTHE COLOUR OF MAGIC
Colour plays a big part when it comes to any car, and this perfectly modified E46 M3 is resplendent in Atlantis blue.
Striking in Atlantis blue, this E46 M3 delivers as complete a package as you could ever want. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Sunny Ryait
Cast your mind back to cars of the ’70s (or pictures of them if, like me, you weren’t alive back then). While there did seem to be a lot of gold and brown going on, there was also a lot of colour and it seemed that both people and manufacturers were much braver when it came to the hue of their motors. And we don’t mean wild colours for wild cars, like the American muscle cars of the time; we’re talking about things like Inca orange on 02s and Taiga green on E12s. Okay, the Valencia orange 1 Series is most definitely a thing (I drive one myself) but can you imagine a green F10? It is, therefore, rather refreshing to discover cars that aren’t shy about standing out and owners that aren’t shy about owning them.
And that leads us nicely to Nadeem Ahmed and his E46 M3. It’s Atlantis blue, we all know it’s Atlantis blue but really it’s turquoise. Tell someone you drive a turquoise car and you’ll probably meet with a reaction of raised eyebrows and a polite but slightly hesitant and questioning ‘Oh…?’ Tell a BMW enthusiast that you’ve got an Atlantis M3 and you’ll probably get a nod of the head, a lightly pursed lip of approval and a ‘Yeah, nice.’ In fact, you might be looking at Nadeem’s E46 M3 and thinking exactly that because it is very nice. And that Atlantis blue exterior is wrapped around an equally nice interior. It’s always a bit disappointing to peer into a sexy car and be greeted by a vast expanse of black leather. Fine if you like that sort of thing but it’s a bit, well, dour. But Nadeem’s E46 M3 is rocking an interior bursting with creamy goodness and it offers the perfect calming antidote to the striking exterior.
Considering this car represents one quarter of his current BMW crop, he’s poured as much love into it as you might expect someone running one as a solo project to do. Nadeem bought his first #BMW , a ’98 318i, from a rude dealer to prove a point but despite the unfortunate circumstances, the BMW ticked all the boxes it needed to and a string of Bavarian metal followed, including this one, which was an impulse buy. As far as impulse buys go, that’s pretty impressive. “I’d always said that if I ever found a manual Atlantis blue #BMW-E46 M3 with a Champagne interior, I would buy it,” he explains. “One day I was just going through Auto Trader for no particular reason and I found it! It was only described as blue and from the pictures I was guessing it was Atlantis and that was enough for me to start a three-hour road trip which resulted in me sealing the deal!”
Colour aside, the car wasn’t in great shape. It had resided in a village in the middle of nowhere and clearly hadn’t been looked after but the engine was sound, a big bonus and even the tiny crack in the rear subframe that was discovered during a pre purchase inspection that Nadeem insisted on wasn’t enough to put him off. “It was such a rare car with all factory options (including a rear electric sunblind) that I decided to buy the car and hoped I would get a good will repair from BMW for the subframe… which I did eventually!”
Car purchased, he embarked on an impressively comprehensive tuning programme covering pretty much every aspect of the M3. Nadeem began with some styling modifications, fitting OEM LED rear lights, smoked front #Depo indicators and new #Bosch headlight lenses himself. Next on the list was a Meisterschaft exhaust with DTM tips and a set of BMW Performance sixpot front calipers mated to #BMW-M3-CSL discs and braided brake lines, with a set of Brembo four-pot rear calipers added later on and sprayed yellow to match the fronts. He’s had the side repeaters removed and replaced with LED indicator strips and added illuminated #BMW-M3 badges on the side vents. On the suspension front you’ll find a set of PSS9 coilovers, refurbished by Bilstein prior to being fitted, which offer plenty of adjustment for both damping and ride height.
And the M3’s ample arches were filled with a set of rather rare rims. “I have always favoured AC Schnitzer alloys,” he explains, “but I chose the #Racing-Dynamics alloys this time because of their rarity. As I had an individual #BMW-M3-E46 in a rare colour, I also wanted it to have alloys which you would hardly see on any other car, and the staggered setup with really deep rear dishes was perfect. I purchased them from the wheel man himself, Raj of Fullhouse Customs; however, when Dips from Custom Cars was refurbing them prior to giving them to me, he found out that one alloy had a buckle in it. Raj offered me a full refund but I decided to keep them as I would never find another set (I’ve still not seen another set!). I had the wheel professionally repaired by a company in High Wycombe and I’m absolutely over the moon with them.”
Indeed, the 19” Racing Dynamics RD2s are very rare on pretty much anything and trying to find a set is a venture that requires time, patience and money. The RD2s look great on the E46 M3, with lots more dish than you might expect from a single-piece wheel and the Dolphin grey centres are a nice touch.
The wheels measure 9” wide up front and a beefy 11” at the rear but the E46 M3 arches were capacious enough to see Nadeem chuck a set of 15mm spacers up front and 12mm ones at the rear to bring them out and give the car a nice aggressive stance.
We’ve already touched on the interior, so let’s go back and touch it some more. The Champagne leather was already there, and Nadeem has spiced things up with the addition of a pair of extremely sexy #Recaro-Sportster-CS seats, which add a real sense of drama to proceedings. The standard M3 seats are really good, no question about it, but you can always go one better and if you can throw in something that’s going to get some attention, then why not? “The interior was easy,” he says. “I had decided on OEM CSL seats but they are hard to come by, so I found a set of Recaro Sportster CS seats from a Lotus dealer who was closing down and had some Lotus Evora bits to offload! So I ordered up some Macht Schnell side mounts and got the seats trimmed to match the Champagne interior. I love them!” In addition to the seats there’s a full LED lighting conversion, an Intravee and Alpine system for iPod compatibility and a Storm Motorwerks titanium gear knob and matching sat nav buttons.
After the initial flurry of mods, Nadeem handed the car over to Dips at Custom Cars to take things up a notch. The car received a full same-colour respray to get it looking fresh as the Dickens, though there were some problems, as Nadeem explains: “Dips told me that my car had every shade of Atlantis blue on the panels and we had to decide which shade to respray the car in. He eventually discovered that the Bluetooth shark fin on the roof was the only bit with the original shade and that was used to choose the respray colour shade!” A CSL bootlid was fitted with the lip blended in to expose a strip of carbon fibre. Hamann-style front foglight surrounds were also fitted and filled in for a CSL/Vorsteiner look. A #BMW-M3-CSL-E46 carbon splitter was fitted and blended in, exposing just a sliver of carbon fibre as with the boot and was joined by a set of Vorsteiner carbon skirts as well as a CSL carbon diffuser and a set of H&R anti-roll bars to further sharpen the handling plus an AC Schnitzer short-shift with #UUC-DDSR . It’s taken Nadeem two years to get to this stage and while you might think that he’s happy with where the car is at, his long list of mods he wishes he could do and the ones he’s still planning on doing say otherwise.
“I am planning on getting Dips to fit a Champagne extended leather dashboard which I already have, some three-piece 19” Racing Dynamics RS2s with copper dishes and copper bolts (deeper dishes are currently being custom-made in the USA for these), an Evolve carbon air box with the remap and a resonated Supersprint centre pipe… and then I think I might be done!” These plans will push what is already an eye-catching and impressively modified M3 to the next level and it sounds like it’s going to be a stunning machine.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #GruppeM induction kit, #Meisterschaft exhaust with DTM tips. Six-speed manual gearbox with #AC-Schnitzer short-shift and #UUC DSSR, #Driftworks lightweight flywheel.
CHASSIS: 8x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) #Racing-Dynamics RD2 alloys with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Continental tyres. #Bilstein PSS9 coilovers, #H&R antiroll bars (front and rear), #BMW-Performance six-pot front calipers with custom brackets, CSL discs, braided brake lines, Porsche Boxster four-pot #Brembo rear calipers with custom brackets, new discs, braided brake lines.
EXTERIOR: Full respray, carbon fibre CSL bootlid with exposed carbon fibre lip blended in, CSL carbon fibre diffuser blended in, carbon fibre Vorsteiner side skirts blended in with #Phoenix yellow coloured mesh at the ends, front bumper fitted with Hamann-style foglight covers, full length CSL carbon fibre lip blended in, side repeaters deleted and replaced with LED strip indicators in side vents with custom-made illuminated M3 badges, OEM LED rear light conversion, smoke tinted windows all-round.
INTERIOR: Front #Recaro Sportster CS seats, full LED lighting conversion, Intravee and #Alpine system, Storm Motorwerks titanium gear knob and sat nav buttons.
THANKS: Dips at Custom Cars, Raj at Full House Customs, Kashif for all the help with the brakes, Dino and Richard aka Bikeracer for the custom caliper brackets, my wife for putting up with my modding madness and my son Yusuf for his enthusiasm and love of the M3.
“I’d always said that if I ever found a manual Atlantis blue E46 M3 with a Champagne interior, I would buy it”
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- Post is under moderationORIENT EXPRESS #BMW-M3-E46-HPF-stage-2.5
With an Eastern influence to its outlandish styling this 730whp #HPF-turbo #E46 M3 is as wild as they come. Patrick Estudillo’s #BMW-E46 #M3 has enjoyed a lot of different looks over the last nine years, and this latest big-horsepower evolution is really stirring up online controversy with its unique Japanese aesthetic. Haters gonna hate… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Peter Wu.
It’s a fairly well documented fact that beef and mustard are tip-top partners. A juicy hunk of pink-in-the-middle British beef is exponentially enhanced by a healthy dollop of English mustard. Aha, but consider this… what if you were to remove the yellow dab from the plate and replace it with something green instead – a smudge of fresh wasabi. Eh? Trust me, it works magnificently. A slab of European meat with a soupçon of Japanese embellishment. How very modern.
This idea, in essence, is what informs the somewhat unmissable M3 that’s posing aggressively before the lens today. Not that owner Patrick Estudillo based the concept on a system of experimenting with condiments; no, he’s blazed a trail that’s now rife in the modifying scene, fusing Western automobiles with the upgrades of the East. There are few cars more staunchly Euro than an #E46 #BMW , but the more you pick over this build, the more JDM mods you unearth.
Pat, however, is no slave to the scene. He’s been building up to this since he was a kid. “I started into the car scene with my first car back when I was a late junior in high school,” he recalls, grinning as his mind fondly strolls back to the beginning of an era. “My parents handed down to me their BV, and I immediately started doing my research. Being in high school still, the only income I had was an occasional allowance and money received at Christmas and so on; modifying happened slowly, but by the time I reached my second year I had a mildly modified car – I fitted some 19” Racing Hart wheels, full JIC aero, coilovers, exhaust, and racing seats.”
So far, so JDM. Interesting use of the word ‘mildly’ there too. But hang on… where does Bavaria’s propeller fit into all this? “The E46 M3 really captured my imagination when it was released in #2001 ,” he continues. “I immediately fell in love with it – I knew I had to own one someday! The lines of the car, the aggressive factory styling, and respectable power caught my attention, and I soon became obsessed. I would research about the car day in and day out; by the end of my second year in college, my parents convinced me to sell my car and to wait till I finished school to get the M3.”
All sounds very level-headed. And by fastforwarding a while into the future, as is the narrative gift of hindsight, we find Pat taking delivery of a manual 2006 M3, #Alpine white on Imola red – one of the last few E46 M3s before production of the E92 began.
“Many people see it as all show and no go, but little do they know what’s under the hood! The changes in their facial expression when they hear the turbo spooling is priceless”
“I was euphoric! I couldn’t take my eyes off it,” he beams. “I sat in my garage for hours every day just staring. I admired every line of the car. I would pop the hood, sit inside the car, practice shifting. Pretty much the same feeling as a kid on Christmas morning after receiving the gift that he wished for!”
So, after all of these years of yearning, was Pat content to get out there and drive the wheels off the thing, fulfilling those fantasies that had been building up to the acquisition of his dream car? Well, yes and no… we’ve already established that he’s got a certain keenness for the aftermarket: “I started modifying it the first week I had it!” he laughs. Over the last nine years, this M3’s seen more makeovers than a stableful of Kardashians, and it all began in that first gleeful week of ownership with a set of Volk TE37s, coilovers, CSL-style bootlid and diffuser, and a custom exhaust. With such an eager start, where on Earth could he go from there? Well, nine years is a long time for a modifier as keen as this.
“Before long, the car made it to the SEMA show where it received a sponsorship for audio,” he says modestly. “As you can see, the audio has stayed in the car since then. But I was starting to itch for some power at that point and I decided to run with VFEngineering’s Stage 1 supercharger system, and shortly after upgraded to Stage 2 to make a decent 525whp. A year later though, being almost content, I unexpectedly had a run-in with a car that was set up similarly to my car – same wheels, same CSL trunk, same GTR hood, same colour, same interior – in fact, for a moment I thought it was mine and I gave chase! But after a brief encounter I realised it wasn’t my car, and decided that I had to do something to stop mine looking like every other M3 out there. I then set out to redo the whole thing, and began toying with the idea of adding Japanese parts.”
An incident such as this must be very jarring – having put so much time, effort, care and expense into making your car personal and unique, it would surely come as a cosmic slap in the face to discover that someone else has been singing from the same hymn sheet. A psychologist would probably make a great deal of how one might retreat into one’s shell, regress to the safe haven of childhood and what-have-you; whether or not that theory holds water, the indisputable truth is that Pat was now plundering his youthful experiences with JDM tuning to revamp his BMW.
The most obvious of such additions sits under the arches: those improbably broad Work wheels (12.5” at the back, no less!). It’s getting gradually easier to source Works outside of Japan – Work Wheels USA is an ever-growing concern; Driftworks can find them for you in the UK – but they still remain a quintessentially Oriental ingredient. Add to this the oh-so on-trend Takata harnesses and Key’s Racing steering wheel and you find the drift scene spilling its juice all over the E46 like a ripe daidai fruit. Perhaps the most boisterous and in-your-face Japanese addition, however, is that colossal, towering Voltex carbon-fibre spoiler with its custom chassis-mounted aluminium risers. “That wing gets a lot of hate online,” he smirks. But you get the feeling he likes it that way.
Further exterior mods followed in the form of carbon-fibre canards, rear diffuser and a front splitter. By this point, however, Pat was jonesing for more power. You can never accuse the E46 M3 of being all-show-no-go, particularly when you’ve tweaked the engine as much as he had, but nevertheless he was feeling the withdrawal symptoms.
“I sought out HorsepowerFreaks for its turbo system and ended up with the Stage 2 kit,” Pat nonchalantly recalls. “At that time, the car made around 600whp on methanol and C16 fuel; the feel of the power the turbo produced was almost like night and day – with the supercharger, power was instantaneous, so after a while you sort of get used to the increase and notice it less. With the turbo, it’s always a rush when you go wide-open-throttle and the turbo spools up!” It was at this point in the car’s evolution that Pat threw in a roll-cage and a buckets-andharnesses combo, dove headfirst into the show scene and… well, decided that he wanted to change it all again. Bit of a recurring theme, that, isn’t it?
“HPF came out with some revisions to its turbo systems and I seized the opportunity by sending my car to it again, having it build the motor and upgrade the turbo to a P6766 with open wastegate. It made serious power after that! Around 560whp on 91 octane, 620whp on 110+ octane, 690whp on 91+ methanol, and 730whp on 110+ methanol. The thirst for power was real, and with the new-found increases, the clutch was upgraded to Clutchmasters’ bronze twin-plate race unit, the axles were upgraded, as was the bracing. With the motor and drivetrain addressed, I then came across a deal for a Flossman GTR wide-body that I couldn’t pass up…”
Never one to keep things mainstream, even the modifications get modified, and upon receiving the Flossman kit he set about shaving, smoothing, venting, and widening the arches even further. With it all neatly fitted to the M3, thoughts turned to colours. “I love white, but I wanted to go brighter,” Pat recalls, “so the new paint is actually a Lexus LFA shade, white Nova Pearl; a very bright white with a very subtle pearl.”
This was the time at which the colossal rear wing arrived, Pat taking inspiration from Japanese tuner BenSopra and having custom brackets crafted to mount to the chassis but look as if they’re merely perching on the bumper. The Work rims were thrown into the mix, as was a complex AirREX digitally controlled airbag suspension setup – something that has caused almost as much consternation among the shouting online masses as that wing (oh, and don’t even get the internet started on the perceived weight penalties of all of that audio in a road-racer).
“The current state of the car is an absolute love it or absolute hate it,” Pat admits. “I’ve received many compliments as well as many criticisms. A lot of the hate comes from the internet, when a picture of the car has been posted – many have said it’s overdone, the wing’s too big, it’s ugly, it’s a waste, and have even gone as far as to throw insults at me. They try to dictate how a car should be built, and how mine is how it shouldn’t be done.”
But he’s smiling as he says this. The flipside is that for every hater, there’s a raft of fans congratulating him for his out-the-box thinking and flawless execution. “What seems to particularly impress people is the power it makes,” he says. “Many people see it as all show and no go, but little do they know what’s under the hood! The changes in their facial expression when they hear the turbo spooling or the sound of the wastegate is priceless. And overall the reactions are different in the real world – there’s more negativity online, more positivity in person.”
Of course, these are just other people’s opinions; it’s nice to have the admiration and respect of your peers in the scene, but Pat has always built his car the way he wants it to be. With its mix of big horsepower, unique looks, form-and-function interior and shouty audio, as well as that killer combo of Works and air-ride, this M3 is a true international polymath. German heart, American soul, and enough wasabi to make your eyes water.
HPF-built engine boasts an insane amount of work, as you can see below, and can make 730whp on the right fuel.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 #S54
ENGINE: HorsepowerFreaks-built 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #HPF stage 2.5 turbo system, Precision T6766 billet wheel turbo, ARP L19 head studs, HPF third-gen forged pistons with heavy duty wrist pins, HPF connecting rods, HPF torque-plated head, ported and polished head, HPF diamond-cut cylinder walls, HKS twin SSQ blowoff valves, HKS purple BOV insert, Tial MVR wastegate, HPF ceramic coated turbo manifold, HPF 4” thick x 24” wide polished front-mount intercooler with polished intercooler piping, HPF 3x3 silicon couplers with T-bolt clamps, HPF polished intake manifold, HPF Stage 4 carbon-fibre intake, HPF methanol tank, FJO methanol fogger and pump, HPF stainless methanol line fittings, Stage 2 methanol solenoid and harness, HPF Stage 3 fuel system, Walbro fuel pump, HPF fuel filter, HPF RC 1100cc high-impedance injectors, Denso Iridium spark plugs, HPF remote oil pump, HPF stainless high temp oil feed and return lines, HPF Stage 3 downpipe, HPF open wastegate dump tube, HPF engine management system and wiring harness, HPF factory DME connector, HPF large core oil cooler, HPF performance fan clutch, AEM 3.5bar map sensor, HPF engine mounts, JIC Cross stainless steel Section 2 exhaust piping, Agency Power rear silencer with 80mm titanium tips, Rogue Engineering brushed aluminium oil cap, VRS two-tone carbon-fibre engine cover, carbon-fibre DME cover and ballast cover, Bimmian chrome oil cap.
TRANSMISSION: Clutch Masters FX850 Bronze twinplate clutch/flywheel, Autosolutions short-shift kit (40% reduction), DSS Stage 5 axles.
CHASSIS: 9.5x20” (front) and 12.5x20” (rear) Work VS-XX wheels with charcoal faces and hairline brushed finish barrels with 255/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1S tyres. Renn Spec stud conversion, 326Power extended wheel nuts, AirREX performance airbag suspension with digital controlled air compressor, threegallon air tank, custom boot enclosure mount for compressor and tank and electronic solenoids, Dixis titanium front strut brace, Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, Radenergie carbon-fibre adjustable rear control arms, HPF eight-point chassis brace, Turner polyurethane front and rear control arm bushings, Brembo GT eight-piston front calipers, Brembo GT two-piece 380mm cross-drilled front discs, custom brushed aluminium rotor hats with custom engraving, Brembo GT four-piston rear calipers, Brembo GT 345mm cross-drilled rear discs, custom brake caliper brackets by Oink Fabrications, brake calipers painted green, stainless steel braided lines.
EXTERIOR: Lexus LFA white Nova Pearl paint, Flossman GTR wide-body kit (including front bumper, front wings with shaved vents, side skirts, rear wings extended 1”, rear bumper), custom front and rear wing vent slits, VRS carbon-fibre moulded rear diffuser, custom-moulded Hamann brake duct covers, Seibon carbon-fibre GTR bonnet, Voltex Type-V 1600mm carbon-fibre GT Wing with custom aluminium wing risers (chassis-mounted), Voltex carbon-fibre front canards, custom front chassis-mounted race splitter, Varis three-piece carbon-fibre race diffuser, shaved side mouldings and side markers, Aerocatch bonnet locks, #DEPO smoked corner lenses, ACS roof spoiler, matt black side wing grilles, matt black front kidney grilles, carbon-fibre front grilles.
INTERIOR: #Recaro ASM RS-G Ruby Edition bucket seats, Recaro JDM mounting hardware, Takata MPH-340 harnesses and gel foam pads, Key’s Racing Deep Corn steering wheel, #MOMO steering wheel adapter hub, 9K Racing black anodised quick-release hub, custom black suede headlining and pillar covers with red stitching, custom four-point roll-cage (powdercoated white) with removable harness bar, carbon-fibre ashtray and console overlays, OEM Euro centre tray, Hamann aluminium gear shifter, LeatherZ Imola red/black stitch gaiters, Bimmian brushed aluminium handbrake handle, Bimmian brushed aluminium pedals, Defi BF Series oil pressure gauge, Defi control module, AEM Digital AFR gauge, AEM Digital boost gauge, HPF steering column gauge pod, HPF knock siren, HPF race mode switch with key and LED indicator, HPF methanol activation switch, polished fire extinguisher.
AUDIO: #Memphis-Audio M-class 6.5” front speakers, 6.5” rear speakers, tweeters, 12” subwoofers, amplifiers, 1 Farad capacitor and wiring; custom fibreglass Autofashion sub box, custom plexiglass amp enclosure, subwoofer and amp enclosure wrapped in Imola red leather, blue LED boot lights, custom fibreglass bootlid enclosure wrapped in Imola red leather, 15” flat panel monitor, McIntosh power meter, 3M Dinoc vinyl trim.
THANKS: My mum, dad, brother Allan, girlfriend Jade, Mike Ma at M2-Motoring, Freddy and Elroy at AutoFashionUSA, Lalo at Dripset, Rob at Oink Fabrications, Marshall at AirREX, Stan at Toyo Tires, Logan at Work Wheels USA, Tommy at GoTuningUnlimited, Hung at Lumion HID and to Team Legacy for all the support.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRACE USE ONLY #BMW-E36-LS1-V8
This Stateside, LS1 V8-powered E36 has been honed for the track, but loves tearing up the streets of Cali, too. While many set out to build over-specified race-inspired BMWs, Ryan Castro cut the crap and built an LS1-powered all-out track monster that’s also at home on the road. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Neil Marcelo.
Ryan Castro isn’t one to do things by halves. The 34-year-old Cali resident isn’t a stranger to the pages of Performance BMW, with his wide-bodied and turbo’d 1997 E36 having been featured on cover back in past. Despite being a show car, that E36 taught him a thing or two – mainly that he liked to go fast.
“I’ve been building cars since 1996,” Ryan told us. Being an ex-partner in DPE wheels, a national sales manager for a tyre manufacturer and owner of Motorsport Hardware, it’s clear to see that cars are under his skin. “My E36 was the US demo car for Esquiss and had the first Rafale wide-body in the US,” he continued. It was a car that ticked all the boxes, but as it evolved so did Ryan’s ideas of what he wanted from a car.
“Thanks to that car I realised that I loved to go fast – going to the track and going fast was all I wanted to do,” smiled Ryan. “I sold the show car because it was too pretty for the track and got an 1989 E30 325i for a beginner track car instead. That moved on to an Alpine white E36 M3 with bolt-ons, then a 1989 S50-swapped E30, and now this #1995 E36. This one has got to be the most fun I have had out of all the cars I have owned.
“I decided to build this BMW because I always like to be different and build what comes to my mind. I was lucky to come on to this project and take it to the next level,” he said. “I love appearing to be the underdog so I wanted a track racer that can surprise the new school BMWs but using old and simple technology.”
With the E36 being a relatively lightweight chassis compared to the newer BMWs, Ryan just had to make sure that he made the most of the E36’s handling prowess to be in with a chance of achieving his goal. At the centre of his chassis setup are custom BC Racing coilovers with spring rates specified by Ryan himself. Turner Motorsport anti-roll bars keep it flat through the twisties, while solid subframe bushes, lightweight UUC adjustable camber arms, Mason front and rear strut braces and several steps of reinforcement complete the setup. Ryan’s also stripped out the rear half of the interior and fitted a Kirk four-point roll-cage for even greater torsional stiffness – there’s no ignoring the fact that this car is built for one thing; going very fast!
This is reflected further in Ryan’s wheel choice: “I’m using BBS RE GT4 wheels because they’re extremely rare and fit my flares perfectly without any modifications,” he explained. “Each wheel is 21lb – the lightness is key to performance.” Measuring 9.5x18” up front and 10x19” at the rear and shod in chubby Hankook track-orientated rubber, they really do make the E36 stick to the road like glue.
Ryan also runs wheel stud specialist Motorsport Hardware, and so as you might expect, the wheels are mounted with a set of the firm’s premium bullet-nose race studs and twopiece hybrid race nuts, making for quick and easy wheel changes – they look very cool too, of course. The wheels look great under those Hard Motorsports arch extensions and being surrounded by the other hardcore additions. “I wanted to have a garage racer look so I decided to go with the flares and hood louvres from a company that makes rock crawling jeeps,” Ryan enthused. “I love the look as I feel that it is an extreme opposite of my other E36. I decided that I wanted a menacing look that is function over form.”
Behind those wheels are some very purposeful brakes. For the front calipers Ryan raided the Corvette parts bin – a sign of things to come – fitting C6 Z06 six-piston calipers over 355mm slotted DBA discs. The rear setup remains standard size-wise but has benefited from drilled Zimmerman discs, while PFC-Z pads have been used all-round along with laminated stainless steel braided lines feeding the brake fluid to each corner.
The interior is another purposeful affair – as previously mentioned the rear half has been stripped out for a Kirk half roll-cage, though there have been some choice additions up front too. Recaros from a Mitsubishi Evo VIII have been fitted using seat rails from Wedge Engineering, while the only other big additions are Corbeau four-point harnesses and a Momo steering wheel. Numerous gauges have also been fitted so that Ryan can keep an eye on the goings-on under the bonnet. Which is what comes next…
With Ryan’s desire to use good old-fashioned technology, he faced a problem – the route for the most power when sticking with #BMW lumps is to use later ones, like the S54 straight-six or even the S65 V8 or S85 V10. None of them come particularly cheaply, parts for them are expensive and they’re rammed with technology and additional weight – exactly the opposite of what Ryan was going for with this particular project. He had something else in mind, and it involved going American…
The General Motors LS1 engine is exactly the kind of thing Ryan was after. It may feature only two valves per cylinder, which are pushrod-operated, but it’s simple and mightily effective.
Sometimes confused with the heavy and antiquated Chevy V8, the LS1 actually has an allalloy construction and is compact too. It may not have technology seeping from every orifice but it’s a known quantity: reliable, light and cheap. There’s also a virtually infinite amount of aftermarket support for the LS series of engines.
The LS1 is a great choice for the E36 chassis. Weighing only around 40lb more than any of the iron-blocked BMW straight-sixes, combined with the fact it’s a shorter engine, means that the weight distribution is moved backwards and lower than the stock #S50 , bringing it closer to the perfect 50:50. The standard power output is pretty modest for a 5.7-litre but Ryan’s added a few tricks to wake it up a little. A 4” intake and cone filter have been used, while the entire exhaust is custom, from the headers to the muffler, using Vibrant race products along with fuel map tuning from Racer’s Edge Tuning. The air conditioning compressor wasn’t retained, thus reducing parasitic drag and living in southern California, it’s not really needed… An Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator has been used to control the supply of juice to the injectors. To keep it cool a Mishimoto dualcore alloy radiator has been utilised, along with a Spal electric fan. The output is currently 350hp and 318lb ft of torque at the wheels, but that only tells half the story – the wide torque and power bands mean that this engine is capable of pretty terrifying pace.
Bolted to the back of the LS1 is the standard-issue T56 six-speed manual gearbox with a Corvette Z06 clutch in between. A custom propshaft joins this to the 3.91 LSD out back, which features 40% lock-up and is bolted in with solid bushings. The surrounding areas have been reinforced and gusseted, meaning this M3’s rear end is ready for anything that can be thrown at it. Which is just as well, as Ryan has already started gathering parts for almost double the horsepower in the near future.
“The BMW scene has definitely changed,” Ryan commented. “The tuning scene alltogether has changed. It’s not as pure. People used to be genuinely proud of the little mods they had done. There are more catalogue cars out there now and rich kids who own turbo M3s who don’t know how to change their own tyres. It’s a shame. All the sparkly flash gets boring. I don’t really show my M3 at car shows but the community has gotten to know it. They can definitely hear its sexy exhaust tone arriving and leaving events. I mainly hear positive comments. If anyone says anything bad about it I just tell them to be happy that it’s not their car!” he smiled.
His car is very easy to drive too – the LS engine gives performance without the compromises usually associated with high output motors. “I let my wife, Joy, drive it because she’s badass!” he laughed. “I was on a trip once and needed her to pick me up from the airport; as a surprise to me, she showed up in the M3. I know most guys would have been pissed but I trust her; she knows how to tame the beast. She’s special because I’ve never trusted any of my previous girlfriends to even touch my cars!”
This M3 truly represents the complete opposite of Ryan’s first #E36 show car. He’s used simple, effective parts and processes to create a no-nonsense road and track monster without ruining the functionality. It’s not a big budget, specialist-built race car or a tatty grass-roots racer – it’s perfectly sat in the middle as a well-built car with great performance that can be used all day, every day. You can’t ask for much more than that…
ENGINE: 5.7-litre allalloy #Chevrolet-LS1 V8, 4” intake, custom headers, 4” exhaust system with Vibrant race catalytic converters and race muffler, MSD high temp starter, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, Mishimoto dual-core aluminium radiator, Spal electric fan, air-con deleted. T56 six-speed manual gearbox, Corvette Z06 clutch, 3.91 LSD with 40% lock-up, reinforced rear end with welded gussets, solid diff bushes.
CHASSIS: 9.5x18”(front) and 10x19”(rear) BBS RE-GT4 wheels shod in 255/35 and 265/35 Hankook tyres respectively, Motorsport Hardware race wheel studs and two-piece hybrid race nuts. Custom BC Racing coilover setup with custom spring rates, Turner front and rear antiroll bars, reinforced antiroll bar mounts, solid subframe bushes, UUC aluminium rear camber arms, Mason Engineering front and rear strut braces, Derale power steering cooler. 355mm DBA slotted discs and C6 Corvette Z06 six-piston calipers (front), cross-drilled Zimmerman discs and standard calipers (rear), PFC-Z brake pads and coated stainless steel lines all-round.
EXTERIOR: Standard Avus blue paintwork, black kidney grilles, face-lift nose cone, M3 boot spoiler, Velocity splitters, Hard Motorsport arch flares, custom bonnet louvres, Motion Motorsports front undertray, smoked indicators, #DEPO projector headlights with DDM 6k HIDs, foglight blanks, custom vintage roundels.
INTERIOR: Rear half stripped out, Kirk four-point half roll-cage, Mitsubishi Evo VIII Recaro seats on Wedge brackets, Corbeau four-point harnesses, Momo Champion steering wheel, custom suede headliner and pillar trims, STR1 60mm tachometer, STR1 water temperature gauge, STR1 oil pressure gauge, AEM EUGO wideband gauge.
Motorsport Hardware (motorsporthardware.com)
I let my wife drive it She knows how to tame it because she’s badass!
It is an extreme opposite of my other #BMW-E36 . I decided that that was function over form I wanted a menacing look.
Mitsubishi Evo seats, Corbeau harnesses and half-cage shows this car means business.
LS1 V8 is reliable, light and cheap – the perfect powerplant for this project.
I realised I love to go fast – fast was all I wanted to do going to the track and going.
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- Post is under moderationNot all original #Amsterdam owned E30 Cabrio #M20 engine 2.0-liter.
#BMW #320i #E30 #BAUR Cabriolet
#M20B20 S6 / 1.991 cc / 125 PS / 125 ft/lb (170 Nm) @ 4.000
0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 9,8 s
Max: 124 mph (200 km/h)
#DEPO front and rear optics – not original
#BBS replica – not original
Interior all original, but look not like new car
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