- Post is under moderationALL-TIME LOW Crazy-low static #BMW-Z4-Tuned
All the haters are always ragging on bags, so here’s something seriously static that couldn’t possibly offend anyone… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Scott Paterson.
ULTRA-LOW Z4 You won’t believe it’s static!
For a very long time now scene scientists have been asking the question: “How low can you go?” and for all their research and science the answer eluded them but now, it looks like “Big” Jamie Hitchcock may have solved that particular mystery with his Z4, because if it was any lower it’d be ploughing a furrow down the middle of the road. Oh, and it’s static. Did we mention that? We did? Well we’re mentioning it again. And it’s his daily…
So… Where to begin? It’s hard not to just dive into everything that’s going on here so let’s distract ourselves by talking to Jamie for a bit, about his personal motoring journey from “a very badly modified Citroen Saxo” to where we find him today, before we build ourselves up to actually talking about this car. “I have had a love for BMW for about five years now,” says Jamie as we begin to work out what makes this man tick, “ever since the first time I drove one, an E39 5 Series, I just fell in love not only with the way they look, but the way they drive is just like no other brand.” This Z4 isn’t Jamie’s first foray into BMW ownership, he kicked things off with an E46 325Ci Sport, which he treated to a set of coilovers and Rotiform Nue wheels and things were progressing nicely until one month into his time with the car someone crashed into the side of it and that was that… He followed that up with an E36 328i Coupe, which he managed to get further along with, chucking it on air, adding a set of Throwing Stars, some Vader seats and, tellingly, engine raisers in order to be able to go even lower, which was clearly a sign of things to come.
So, why a Z4? They’re not a staple of the modded #BMW community, part of the appeal we suppose, and they definitely divide opinion when it comes to looks, but then again beauty is in the eye of the beholder. “I have always loved Z4s,” explains Jamie, “I used to see them and think ‘Wow, they have a lot of potential.’ I had seen a lot of Z4s in Japan and America and I loved just seeing how they look like a toy car once modified. I was really worried about driving one, being a 6’4” grizzly bear I didn’t think I would fi t, but finally my close friends told me to just go test drive one and I’ve been in love ever since then.”
The Z4, Jamie says, was bought to replace the E36 as a slightly more sensible and reliable car and, while wheels and a little bit of lowering were on the cards from the off, he had no intention of taking things as far as he has, but then again no one ever does. The one area where things have really gone about as far as they could possibly go is the lowering and achieving such an incredible level of low has taken a lot of work. “Suspension-wise there has been a lot, and I mean a lot, of playing around,” chuckles Jamie. The core of the whole setup is made up of a set of D2 Racing coilovers fitted with shorter springs all-round and these are accompanied by some Driftworks adjustable rear camber arms. Just how much camber is Jamie running? Well it looks like most of it, we think… “The anti-roll bar has been removed as it restricted the front from getting lower,” explains Jamie, “and I even had to get my friend at Hard Knocks Speed Shop to make a custom exhaust because my downpipe was touching the floor and that made a huge hole; it’s tucked right up under the car now and from the manifold-back it’s a two-into-one setup and straight-through with no mid-boxes or silencer.” There’s not really much you can say about how the car sits, the pictures do a far better job than mere words on a page ever could and it’s even more dramatic in real life. It’s just so low, that’s really all you can say.
Obviously the fitment is killer, as you might expect, and as it really would have to be when you have no room for manoeuvre around the arches. Wheel choice was pretty essential as far as creating enough of a visual impact to go with that drop was concerned. “I have and I always will get different wheels for the car,” Jamie tell us, words that every wheel addict will be able to relate to completely, “and so far the Z4 has had four different sets, but I always come back to running my current wheels. They are Work Meister S1 three-piece splits and I don’t know why, I just really love the style of them and the way the car sits with them on,” and he’s not wrong. “Before ordering them, Josh from LikeHell and I spent weeks talking about offsets and widths and lip sizes etc. just to get them the perfect size. The three month wait was a killer, not knowing if they would fit or not, but luckily when they turned up they were so worth the wait,” he grins. “They are just beautiful and there is no better feeling than opening a box of brand new custom wheels. They took a lot of camber adjustment and arch rolling just to get the car to drive but, eventually, they worked out perfectly.” We would have to concur there, the white Works look fantastic on the Z4, those polished lips, the gold bolts, and it’s all finished off with a set of striking purple extended wheel nuts. You might think a colour combo that’s completely concentrated on the wheel areas wouldn’t work so well with no other colours to tie it to, but the clean, grey bodywork is a perfect blank canvas and just crying out for a splash of colour, and these four hotspots at each corner are just the ticket.
Contrasting with that outrageous ride height and those wild wheels is the inherent simplicity of the exterior styling; even now the Z4 has quite an unconventional look with some striking lines and Jamie has just given the styling a little tidy up. The front bumper has been painted and smoothed, black grilles have been fitted, the wheel arches have obviously been rolled and pulled in order to accommodate the Works and, in perhaps the ultimate show of commitment to his Z4, Jamie has even removed the windscreen wipers as he felt they ruined the smoothness of the car. While he hasn’t gone overboard on the interior either, being a fan of what he calls its simple style, it’s certainly got some striking elements that give it a bit of a kick. “My friends at Oxford Car Audio have transformed my dash by custom making me a double-DIN head unit install by deleting the central vents,” says Jamie, “I’m so happy with the way it looks. They also did my boot install for me; I felt a bit left out seeing all the cars on air suspension with nice boot builds so I thought I really wanted a nice, clean audio build and with the help of JL Audio UK that’s what they did for me,” he adds with a grin. “The gear knob makes everyone giggle; I had always liked these We Are Likewise gear knobs but they only came in Japenese screw fitment, until one day they finally made a Euro adapter that fits most European cars. Getting it to fit involved a few tweaks but I got it on there in the end. Finally the steering wheel is by Renown USA and I love it, it’s just such a quality wheel,” he says.
Often people take modifying cars far too seriously and it’s good to see someone really having fun with their project and enjoying themselves, which was the core philosophy of Jamie’s Z4 build. “The Japanese fitment scene has always been a big influence for me but with a German twist, it to me just seems more fun and that’s what my car is all about,” he says and we can only agree. We’re certain that there will be parts of this car that don’t appeal to everyone, some people might even have a problem with the whole thing, but ultimately they can get stuffed because this is all about Jamie and what he wanted and what he’s created. It’s the automotive equivalent of a smack round the chops, a shock to the senses and you’ve got to admire it. But Jamie’s not done yet… “I’ve got a never-ending list of plans,” he laughs, “more wheels, more lows…” What? More lows?! He’s already got all the lows. There are literally no more lows left for anyone else. But if you’ve come this far, then why not go that little bit further? In a mad modified world, it’s the only sensible thing to do.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E85 / #BMW-Z4-2.5i / #BMW-Z4-2.5i-E85 / #BMW-Z4-E85 / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E85 / #Work-Meister
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M54B25 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 , induction kit, custom Hard Knocks Speed Shop two-into-one straight-through exhaust system. Five-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x18” ET3 (front) and 10x18” ET5 (rear) #Work-Meister-S1 three-piece wheels with 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) tyres, stud kit, #326Power extended wheel nuts, #D2-Racing coilover struts, #Swift and Tein custom springs, #Driftworks E46 adjustable rear camber arms
EXTERIOR Front bumper painted and smoothed, black grilles, windscreen wiper delete, rolled and pulled arches
INTERIOR Renown steering wheel, We Are Likewise gear knob, custom-fit Alpine Apple CarPlay, JL Audio boot build trimmed in red and plastic moulded to match dash
THANKS There are far too many people to thank with this car; firstly to Josh of LikeHell Design for all the help, James of Crescent Tyres for putting up with all the hassle of my monthly tyre needs, Yusuf and the boys in Team Untamed, everyone at Oxford Car Audio, most of all Lamb and the RXTI boys
“I have always loved Z4s, I used to see them and think ‘Wow, they have a lot of potential’”
18” three-piece Work Meister S1s look spectacular.
Engine fitted with induction kit and straight-through exhaust means it sounds awesome.
“Suspension-wise there has been a lot, and I mean a lot, of playing around”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCUSTOM 2002 Metal wide-body with a 2.7 swap.
Bought in a state far beyond saving, the only way this #BMW-2002 could survive was to be transformed into something completely different.
SHOW, NO SHINE Custom, wide-body 2.7 2002 / Words: Elizabeth de Latour / Photos: Matt Richardson
It feels like we maybe we should be apologising, again, because for the second month running we’re featuring a 2002 that a lot of people are going to find upsetting. But we won’t be, because we like it too much to care what anyone else thinks. It’s unapologetically a personal project, built solely for the pleasure of its owner, Josh Parker, to hone his skills and then show them off. From top to bottom, inside and out, everything you see before you has been crafted by Josh’s own two hands, with a bit of help from dad along the way, which makes this already spectacular 2002 even more so.
Josh has always been into cars, he tells us, and it all began at the tender age of 12 when he was given a petrol-powered R/C car and building that set him on path he walks today. After passing his test he was chomping at the bit to get modding on something, though insurance restrictions meant he had to make do with an R56 MINI JCW, spiced up with some coilovers and other bits until he could make his dream of doing a full build come true. The fact that he had no mechanical or motorsport experience was not going to stop him and there was no practice run or warm up before getting this car, he went straight from 0-2002.
“I bought the car in Thame just over three years ago,” explains Josh, “and it was awful,” he adds, laughing. “It had been off the road since 1989 and was in terrible condition, completely rusty, but because of that I only paid £1200 for it. It took two years to put it together, though in its first form it had a different engine, Golf arches and different wheels. Starting out, I knew nothing about welding or anything like that,” he says, “so the first step was getting it on the road and then, having developed my skills, I knew I could do everything better the second time around so 18 months ago it went through a big change,” and the result of that is what you’re looking at here. “The fact that I wanted to do everything on the car myself was a big influence on how the car has come out, “ he explains, “as I went my own way with it. I spent a year making the chassis strong and replacing stuff. The car was a blank canvas, it was so bad I couldn’t make it any worse,” he laughs. “The whole car looked like Swiss cheese, but at least I got to practice welding. The whole project has been hard, though, it’s taken a long time as I was starting from nothing. I spent a lot of time doing individual things, weeks at a time, and sometimes I needed to take a break, step away, but I never gave up.
“My decision to change how the car looked came about when I realised that too many people were doing Golf arches, it wasn’t low enough and that I didn’t like the wheels. I decided to pick the wheels I wanted and then built the new, custom arches around them and doing that meant I could go for a really aggressive offset. I chose a set of 7Twenty Style44s in bronze, 9x15” ET0 all-round with 215/50 tyres; I didn’t want too much stretch but needed a bit to get the wheels to tuck under the arches.” The resulting fitment is absolutely perfect, but even with that zero offset Josh is still running 20mm spacers up front and 10mm at the rear, taking the final offset well into the negative. The wheels themselves are certainly handsome, single-piece items with stepped lips and plenty of dish, while the matt bronze finish looks great against the car’s patchwork quilt bodywork.
Where Josh felt the car wasn’t low enough before there’s no such concern now, with Gaz coilovers delivering a serious drop, but that wasn’t enough for him… “I’ve raised the front and rear strut towers by 40mm to lower it even further,” he grins and the end result is spectacular, the tyres disappearing up into those magnificent arches and the 2002’s belly sitting a hair’s breadth above the ground. The arches themselves are custom metal items measuring a monstrous 60mm wider per side up front and 50mm per side at the rear, giving this 2002 a stance far beyond its diminutive dimensions.
The brakes have also been comprehensively upgraded, with four-pot Wilwood calipers mounted on custom carriers up front with 260mm drilled and vented discs along with E21 323i hubs, while at the rear you’ll find Mk3 Golf rear calipers matched to Mk1 Golf front discs while Hel braided brake lines have been fitted throughout. You might think that all that brake work seems like overkill for a 2002 but you see it isn’t, because there’s something a bit special going on under the bonnet.
“I always knew I was going to do an engine swap,” Josh tells us, and what he’s done is taken a low-revving, M20B27 eta engine from BMW’s 325e and 525e models, designed for efficiency, and comprehensively reworked it to better suit his performance-driven needs. Sitting on custom engine mounts, the once-docile 2.7 has been transformed with a 325i top end, M21 forged crank, forged, reground stage one cam, Alpina B3 2.7 chip, a honed intake manifold, 185cc injectors and Magnecor ignition leads. He’s also fitted an M50B25 radiator and added a custom six-branch exhaust manifold that connects up to a custom 2.5” exhaust with twin pipes. It’s an impressive list of mods and it makes for some impressive numbers, with the 2.7 now pushing out 240hp thanks to Josh’s handiwork, which makes this 2002 a real road rocket. Naturally the transmission required a bit of work to make sure it was up to the task of dealing with the 2.7’s grunt and Josh was more than happy to get his hands dirty. “The gearbox itself is a Getrag 260 Sport five-speed on custom mounts with a stage one clutch and I’ve also fitted a 3.64 small case LSD from an E21 with custom-drilled output flanges.”
The exterior might, at first glance, appear to be a mess to some but there’s a lot more going on here than first meets the eye. The arches steal the show but there’s also a custom front lip and a custom drag spoiler, custom bash bars and a back-dated rear panel that allowed Josh to fit the arguably much cooler round rear lights. One of our favourite parts of the exterior work, though, is the quick-release front clip, that allows for the entire front end to be removed in a matter of minutes. While it’s designed to allow easy access to the engine for mods and maintenance, seeing a car driving around with no front end is pretty cool. With a race car-inspired exterior you’d expect the theme to carry on inside the car, and you’re not going to be disappointed here. “This car was originally a Lux model,” explains Josh, “so it had a nice, powder blue interior though when I bought the car it was smelly and had started to rot, but I always knew that I was going to strip the interior, I just wanted to have the bare essentials to have the car running,” and he’s certainly stuck to that philosophy. About the only part of the interior that is still recognisable is the ’02 dashboard and instrument cluster but beyond that it’s all change. There’s a big convex Longacre rear-view mirror, single Cobra Sebring Pro seat with a TRS four-point harness, a Momo Model 69 suede steering wheel and a custom switch panel, custom pedal box and there’s also a hydraulic handbrake and a custom dual fulcrum short shifter. “I wanted to feel like I was in a Touring car,” explains Josh, “so I wanted the wheel high and close and a tall gearlever close to the wheel. The cage is actually a historic-spec one for the ’02 that I bought and then modified to make it stronger,” explains Josh. “It just bolts in but I want to make a new cage for it, eight-to-ten point, fully welded-in, which is one of my next big plans.” Meanwhile, in the boot you’ll find a 30-litre aluminium fuel tank with a surge tank, which is fed by one of the two Bosch 044 fuel pumps, the other feeding the engine.
As much work as has gone into this car over the past three years, it’s only the beginning of what is going to be a much longer journey and Josh’s plans for the car are numerous and substantial. “I want to do a front-mid-engine conversion,” he says matter-of-factly, “I’ve come this far so I might as well keep going,” he laughs, but that’s just scratching the surface. “I’m currently working on a secret E30 project and that’s going to pave the way for the 2002. I want to make the car more useable and more reliable, but no less crazy,” he grins. “I want to iron out the bugs, modernise the underpinnings to make it more enjoyable; for example, currently if I’m taking it to a show and it’s too far, I will trailer it, which takes away from the experience and I want to be able to drive it everywhere.” All this work isn’t just for Josh’s amusement, though, it’s for the benefit of his company, Under Development Motorsport, and some of what he’s made will be for sale there, like his short shift kit. “It’s billet and should fit everything from E21s to E9x models,” he says.
This 2002 is really an automotive expression of sheer joy and you can feel how much love and enthusiasm Josh has for this car when you talk to him about it. “It’s great to drive something that gets so much attention and that you genuinely built yourself, it’s just a great feeling,” he says with a smile. We can’t wait to see where he takes the ’02 and judging by what he’s achieved here so far, that E30 is going to be something really special too…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Wide-body 2.7 #BMW-2002 / #Alpina-B3 / #Alpina / #BMW-2002-Wide-body / #BMW-2002-Alpina / #BMW-2002-Alpina-2.7 / #7Twenty / #BMW-2002-E10 / #BMW-E10 / #BMW / #BMW-2002-Alpina-E10
ENGINE 2.7-litre straight-six #M20B27 eta / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #M20B27ETA , M21 forged crankshaft, stage one cam, #Alpina-B3-2.7-chip , #K&N cone filter, honed intake manifold, #Magnecor ignition leads, custom engine mounts, 185cc injectors, custom stainless six-branch exhaust manifold, custom 2.5” exhaust with twin blast pipes, fully silicone-hosed cooling system, M50B25 radiator
TRANSMISSION #Getrag-260 / #Getrag five-speed manual gearbox, stage one clutch, custom gearbox mounts, E21 3.64 small case #LSD with custom-drilled output flanges
CHASSIS 9x15” ET0 (front and rear) #7Twenty-Style44 wheels in matt bronze with 215/45 (front and rear) Toyo TR1 tyres, #GAZ-GHA coilovers with adjustable top mounts, #GAZ front camber plates, front and rear strut towers raised 40mm, custom front anti-roll bar relocation and drop links, fully poly bushed and reinforced front and rear subframes, custom rear subframe camber and toe adjustment plates, custom gearbox and exhaust tunnels, reinforced sills and various other chassis bracing throughout, rear strut tower brace, Wilwood four-pot calipers and custom carriers with 260mm drilled and vented discs and E21 323i hubs (front), Mk1 Golf front discs with Mk3 Golf rear calipers and custom caliper carriers (rear), Hel braided brake lines (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Custom metal wide arches, custom front lip, bash bars, custom drag spoiler, custom racing livery, back-dated rear panel work to allow for round rear lights and fuel filler cap delete, custom quick release front clip for fast removal of front-end
INTERIOR #Cobra-Sebring-Pro seat, TRS four-point harness, #Driftworks quick release hub, #Momo model 69 suede steering wheel, custom dual fulcrum short shift, hydraulic handbrake, custom pedal box, sixpoint bolt-in cage, custom switch panel, 30-litre aluminium race tank in boot with surge tank and twin #Bosch-044 fuel pumps
THANKS Graham, Nicola and Hannah for all the support! All the @76build Instagram followers, all the other people showing love for the 02 and last but not least Thierry and Lewis at www.7twenty.co.uk. Cheers guys.
“From top to bottom, inside and out, everything you see before you has been crafted by Josh’s own two hands”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBINARY LOVE
Building a drift car requires a certain degree of barely contained madness, and this 520hp turbo E30 is exactly the sort of crazy that floats our boat. What was your first car like? Was it anywhere near as hardcore as this E30? Daniel Lavman’s drift-focused build is a lesson to us all… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.
If there’s one piece of advice from Red Dwarf’s neurotic android Kryten that we need to hold close to our hearts for all of our days, it’s this: ‘If you don’t #GOSUB a program loop, you’ll never get a subroutine’. Or, in more Lister-friendly parlance: ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’. It’s an obvious point but nevertheless one that stands to be remembered. You only live once and there’s no point spending your life thinking about what could have been. Why go off half-cocked? You’ll only regret it on your deathbed. ‘Why did I spend my thirties driving a diesel Vectra and trying to maximise my mpg instead of building a badass drift car?’ you may wonder.
That, of course, is not going to be a concern for Daniel Lavman. He, as you’ve probably guessed, is the chap who nailed together this particular badass drift car and it doesn’t really need pointing out that he’s pretty happy with it. I mean, wouldn’t you be?
The most eyebrow-raising element of this project (or, at least, the first eyebrow-raising element, for as you’re soon to discover there are a great many) is that this is Daniel’s first car. I know, let that sink in, give it some thought. I’ll just stew for a moment in the fact that my first car was a rusty 1.0-litre Nova, and we’ll regroup shortly when we’ve reassessed a few basic issues of perspective and lifestyle. Better? Okay, let’s find out what the deal is…
“Yep, this was my first ever car,” Daniel confirms. Well, that’s cleared that up. “I’ve had a few other cars over the years but no full race builds of this scale.” The implication here is that there’s a certain sentimental attachment to this project, which will probably make a lot of sense to more than a few of you. How many can say that your current car is your first car? Probably not a huge number. But you’ll never forget your first car; it means freedom and enlightenment. It’s also a means to an end, probably bought cheaply and scrapped when it broke. I know my Nova was.
(Although, to be fair, scrapping it was the kindest thing. The fewer cars in the world with 45hp engines the better.) But Daniel’s fledgling steps into E30 ownership evidently made quite an impression, as he just didn’t want to let the damn thing go.
“I’ve always liked the E30 as a model,” he says. “I think it’s because of the size, you can build it into anything. It doesn’t get much cooler than a sick E30.” This is a view that we know is shared by a lot of readers given that our voting for the 2015 PBMW Car of the Year ultimately saw three different E30s vying for the title. The retro Eighties three-box is at its zenith right now, still being relatively affordable and representing a strong ‘my dad/neighbour/BTCC hero had one of those’ vibe.
“I don’t even remember what the car was like when I got hold of it, it was that bad,” Daniel laughs. “But I know that it was in really, really bad shape; the grinder loved it! Just a few weeks after I bought it I’d totally stripped it down and welded in a roll-cage, changed the roof from steel to fibreglass, and swapped the M20B20 engine to an M50B25.” This last move was an act that planted a flag in the ground as a statement of intent, proving that Daniel wasn’t messing around. The M20 offered a sturdy but sober 120-something horsepower whereas its M50 successor knocked things up a notch with such treats as DOHC, coil-on-plug ignition, four valves per cylinder and a whole world of tuning opportunities. And with such mischief in mind the motor was never destined to remain stock; the idea behind slamming in a stronger motor was to sprinkle in a pocketful of stardust and see just how stellar the thing could be. We’re talking about a billet Precision 6262 turbo, a cooling system so clever it’s got a doctorate in engineering (er, possibly), and a Pinky and the Brain-style ECU calling the shots with a frightening demeanour hellbent on world domination. The upshot of Daniel’s relentless rebuilding and refining both inside and outside the engine? A mighty 518hp at 1.3bar of boost, bolstered by 502lb ft of torque. That really is quite a lot of torque, isn’t it?
But this car hasn’t been built for pulling tree stumps from the ground. Take a look at the pictures, you’ll soon figure out the purpose of this thing: it’s a bona fide, dyedin- the-wool drift machine, taking no prisoners but plenty of names. The selfstyled ‘Dirty E30’ spends so much time going sideways it should have wipers fitted to the doors, and the strong spec list enables this smoky prowess to be done in fine style. Consider, as a starting point, the squareon view of the tail-end. Between the smoked tail-lights, where you’d generally expect to find a numberplate, you’ll see a seductively canted radiator setup with twin fans blowing a farewell salute to whoever happens to be behind – which, realistically, is basically everyone. The bodywork has been unceremoniously sliced away beneath the bumper, while the top half sports a spoiler like a skate ramp and a neatly drilled sheet of plastic to titillate the rear-view mirror. And that’s just one aspect of the aesthetic!
Take a peep through the side window and you’ll spot a natty gear shifter with two elbows (don’t you wish you had two elbows on each side? The things you could do…), a whacking great hydraulic handbrake, an ohso- contemporary tablet to monitor the EMU ECU readouts, forthright fluid reservoirs, and an overall aura of Mad Max-meets-Ken Block. It’s a little frightening, frankly. “Back at the start, my plan was just to build a nice and fast street car,” Daniel recalls with no small amount of nostalgic amusement, “but that escalated quite fast and I changed my plans! I started to build it into a pure drift car for track use. One thing that I think is common for all car builds is that you always want to step things up, to upgrade the build, even when it seems like it’s finished. So after a few events in 2013 I decided to take the car to the next level, with a total rebuild centring around a new roll-cage from Divina Performance.”
Daniel was absorbing all manner of treats from the drift scene and the E30 chassis found itself wearing drift-tuned D2 coilovers and a fairly astonishing lock kit, along with some stupefyingly large brakes to rein in the lunacy. After all, let’s not forget we’re talking about 518hp. That’s a lot!
Remember those eyebrow-raising elements we were talking about? Yeah, we said they were plentiful. Daniel has been keen not just to build a devastatingly competitive skidder but to craft something that rewards onlookers with every glance, each fresh vista offering something new and exciting. There’s the fuel filler in the rear window, the towing-eye on the strut top (something that’s becoming a real darling of the scene these days), the way the vast turbo’s pipework snakes over the angled M50 head, the pins holding the bumpers on, the exhaust exiting through the front wing, the Aeroquip fittings… ah, hell, this list could go on all day. The point is that this E30 is a triumph of both function and form, and that’s by no means an easy thing to achieve. It goes like Thor himself has jammed a lightning bolt up its backside. It slips sideways with the ease and precision of a good ol’ boy line dancer. And it looks so animalistic it makes small children lose sleep. Now, some of you may be looking at this car and thinking ‘I’d have done such-and-such differently’ or ‘those aren’t the wheels I’d have chosen,’ but you have to remember that this is an evolving thing. It’s alive. Daniel is endlessly shaking up the formula, those ones and zeroes of its very binary code being reshuffled on a week-by-week basis.
“Shortly after this photoshoot, something happened…” he reveals. “It must have been those beers in the workshop that did it, and then the grinder came out – and soon enough the car started morphing into E30 version 3.0! Even more extreme, I started working on removable wide-body wings and bash bars, an E34 M5 rear axle and, of course, more boost. I’m building a new engine for next season, too: a fully forged M50B28 which should have 750hp+. Watch this space!” You can follow his progress on Facebook, at facebook.com/DrtyE30.
So you see this constant evolution is shaping the 3 Series into something formidable and always surprising and fresh. Daniel’s taken it out to a few Gatebil events to wow the crowds, along with a variety of local meets and drift events, and he feels so totally keyed into the car that he’ll indulge in a lot more drifting through 2016. It’s getting a lot of good reactions, too. And although a build like this polarises people – like a certain sticky breakfast spread, you either love it or hate it – if you’re anything like us, you’ll be in the former camp, your face resembling that particular Emoji that has hearts for eyes. This is binary love. And the drift-specific focus of this E30? It’s a hell of a subroutine.
Custom widened arches front and rear look the part and help to accommodate nine-inch 16s.
It must have been those beers in the workshop that did it, and then the grinder came out Daniel Lavman.
The ‘Dirty E30’ spends so much time going sideways it should have wipers fitted to the doors Daniel Bevis
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Turbo Drift #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-M50 / #BMW-E30-Turbo /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six M50B25 / M50 / #BMW-M50 (non-VANOS), #EMU #ECUMaster tuned by #PSI-Motor , #Precision-6262 billet turbo / #Precision , custom exhaust manifold and system, rearmounted cooling system, Z3 rear axle with 4.10 diff, #ZF five-speed gearbox, rebuilt M20 flywheel with #Sachs 618 pressure plate and sintered clutch, 518hp and 502lb ft at 1.3bar
CHASSIS 9x16” (f & r) #OZ-Vega wheels with 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) tyres, D2 Drift Spec coilovers, #T-Parts steering lock kit, #Brembo four-pots with 315mm discs (front) and two-pots with 270mm discs (rear) #OZ
EXTERIOR Fully shaved and smoothed, rear doors welded up, custom wide arches front and rear, removable bash bar, custom aluminium rear spoiler, fibreglass roof
INTERIOR #Custom-Divina-Performance TIG-welded cage, #Driftworks Cobra FIA fibreglass seats, #QSP six-point FIA harnesses, custom aluminium details, #Tilton-600 Series pedal assembly, custom shifter mechanism and handbrake, Samsung tablet for EMU ECUMaster readouts
THANKS All of my friends who have been involved in the build! Also PSI Motor, Idefix Autoworkshop, #Divina-Performance , #TBM-Performance , Thagesson Motorsport, DDESIGN.NU, Flatoutperformance.se, T-Parts, Oljemagasinet.se, Brothers Garage, Spacers.se, and Svensk Turboservice AB
Interior suitably stripped-out, with multiple gauges and a Samsung tablet displaying essential information.
Multiple cooling hoses are fed by NACA ducts in the rear quarterlights in order to supply boot-mounted rad with air.
Engine bay, and pretty much whole front end, dominated by massive 6262 turbo; vast intercooler occupies entire front area so rad (bottom right) now lives in the boot.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRACING BULL
Taking its inspiration from DTM, this Red Bull-liveried custom wide-body E92 M3 is no shrinking violet. Bryan McGhee has taken inspiration from the world of #DTM to create a unique and imposing E92 M3. And it’s very far from an off-the-shelf build… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: André Neudert
Red Bull is one of those brands whose name implies impeccable quality when it’s plastered along the side of a race car. Your brain happily suspends the knowledge that the product in question is a cloyingly saccharine fizzy drink, as there are so many other high-octane associations that are pushed to front-of-mind when you see that iconic dark blue canvas, liberally sprinkled with yellow suns and, er, red bulls. The livery has slipped seamlessly into the pantheon of all-time classics – not quite up there with Gulf, Martini or JPS, but on the way. Think about it: countless F1 championship wins, NASCAR , Dakar, that astounding Peugeot 207 that decimated the Pikes Peak record – Red Bull and fast cars go hand-in-hand.
An appropriate stylistic choice for an E92 M3 then, no? Even in stock form, we know that this #V8-powered looper is a formidable beast, with its vast reserves of horsepower and general disregard for the commonly accepted laws of physics. Of course, we also know that applying race car livery to a standard car, no matter how pacey it may be, is a questionable thing to do. Look how many ST205 Celicas there are out there covered in Castrol rally stickers, and Volvo 850 estates with #BTCC colours. You’ve got to actually do something to the car first or you might look like a wally. Thankfully Bryan McGhee, owner of this M3 has nailed that element head-on; rather than relying on off the- shelf parts, his E92 offers an intriguing platter of bespoke and custom touches. And as an ex-military man, you can be sure that it’s been finished with militaristic precision…
“Every car I’ve owned has been modified,” he explains. “This comes from my upbringing in South Central Los Angeles, and the influence of my family members who were into motorsports.” Bryan’s first car was a 1964 Chevrolet Impala, which is a pretty gangsta way to get your training wheels off, and he’s since enjoyed three Mustangs, a 1976 BMW 2002, and a mighty V10-engined Dodge Ram SRT-10 (which he sold to buy this 2010 E92). “I’ve always respected the BMW brand,” he says, “ever since I bought my 2002 back in the mid- Eighties, when I was stationed in Hawaii with the US Army. I’d say that owning a BMW is more than just owning a car – you’re buying into a piece of auto engineering history. And now that I own an M3, there’s a piece of that history that I can share with my son, who’s a motorhead just like his pop!”
Now based in Germany, the retired sergeant major is closer to his favourite automotive brand’s spiritual home than he was in Hawaii or LA, the winding lanes of Vorbach nestled cosily in the north-eastern corner of Bavaria. Of course, there’s nothing cosy about the race-inspired intent of his E92, that’s an altogether angrier proposition, counterpointing the tranquillity of the countryside with aggressive barks and motorsport tinnitus-inducement. “I’ve always been a fan of the DTM and GT2 race series, and I wanted to build a car to replicate that spirit – a real racing car for the street,” says Bryan. “So I bought this car from Bavarian Motor Cars in Grafenwöhr, totally stock, and set about planning the transformation. Naturally the first thing I did, was give it a good wash. I’m fastidious about cleanliness, and it was raining that day…”
Pretty much as soon as he could see his face grinning back from the gleaming paintwork, Bryan set about fulfilling his race car to-do list. The first thing to tackle – as with around 90% of the cars we feature, in fact – was the suspension; Bryan had an eye on stance, naturally, but was primarily looking for something that would be fit for purpose on those country lanes, something to complement and enhance an already impeccable chassis.
H&R Clubsport coilovers were the order of the day; famously tested extensively at the Nürburgring, they offer totally flat cornering and supreme directional control, so are much in-keeping with the aspirations of the build. This box-ticking was quickly followed by an upgrade to the exhaust system, a Flowmaster cat-back affair helping the brawny V8 to breathe a little more freely. A BPM Performance Tune brought peak power up to a heady 475hp, which is close enough to the power output of a bona fide DTM racer to keep things entertaining.
“At this point, I started to think about wheels,” Bryan recalls. “It had to be something that was light and strong, but also had an appropriate motorsport look.” In the end, after much deliberation, it was 360 Forged who got the call, with a set of wide rims in a 20” diameter being powdercoated in red and black to infuse a sense of malice.
And just think for a moment about how much rubber you need to encase a wheel that’s 20 inches across and a foot wide – those Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres certainly provide a clear statement of intent. It’s at this point in the build that things start to get really interesting. Bryan wanted the car’s exterior to be unique – at once recognisable and clearly removed from the mainstream. This had to be a build that offered something different, that could hold its head up high among its peers. While the aesthetics began with a smattering of readily available parts – a Driftworks carbon fibre spoiler imported from the UK, and a carbon fibre bonnet, front bumper and bootlid from Arkym in California – it was the work he commissioned VB Customz in Grafenwöhr to carry out that really made the difference.
We’re talking about a complete redesign of that aftermarket bumper, a unique widebody kit to rein in those vast wheels, and all manner of custom, hand-fabricated parts from spoiler supports and splitters to canards and a rear diffuser. The genius of the design is that none of it looks outlandish or out of place; aggressive – sure, unusual – certainly, but not at all jarring.
“While all this was going on, I’d turned my attention to the interior,” Bryan recalls. “VB Customz had deleted the rear seats and trimmed everything to have more of a motorsport vibe, and there’s now an aluminium cage in there from Wiechers, and a pair of FIA-approved GP Race seats from Barcelona, with Sparco harnesses to suit.” The dedication to the race car ethos is strong in this one, and Bryan’s obsessive about the details – there are no half-measures here, only considered decisions. “The seat coding was sorted out by BPM Sport to eliminate the airbag fault code,” he says. See?
Fastidious. Because this isn’t a laser-focused, stripped-out racer, it’s a road car that sees daily use. The fact that it has so much racer DNA is what gives it the edge.
“The Red Bull graphics are unique as they’re all hand-made by me,” he continues, with a touch of pride. “I’m an artist, so cutting the decals was more fun than it was tedious… All-in-all, the project’s taken about two years, although cars are never really finished, are they? There are always things to do – I’m thinking about a big brake kit next.”
The unique look of this Red Bull roadracer does seem to be going down well so far. Bryan’s first outing with the ‘finished’ product was to the Street Culture Treffen in Regensburg, and it’s fair to say that the reaction was excitable, setting social media aflame with an influx of photos and videos of the brutal M3 in action, the crowd parting like the Red Sea as he rolled out.
“That was pretty humbling. The autobahn experience is always entertaining too, and dropping my 12-year-old off at school is priceless,” Bryan laughs. In fact it sounds like the lad’s got designs on the car for himself: “He thinks he’s going to get it when he turns 16,” says Bryan, “but mom says no!”
Well, you can’t blame the lad for trying – particularly when pop talks about augmenting that mooted big brake kit with a supercharger. Now that would really be something to impress your classmates! For now, however, Bryan still has the keys firmly in his hand, and he’s enjoying the fact that his innovative build is deserving of those iconic colours. Much like a can of Red Bull, this E92 is light, robust, packed full of effervescent energy, and has the ability to shake up the schedule of your bowel movements if you’re not careful. If ever there’s an M3 that’s guaranteed to ramp up your friskiness levels, this is it.
DATA FILE: #BMW-M3-DTM / #BMW-M3-E92-DTM / #BMW-E92 / BMW / #BMW-M3-E92 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 , #BPM-performance tune (475hp), #Flowmaster cat-back exhaust system, stock six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS 10.5x20” (front) and 12x20” (rear) 360 #Forged Maverick 5 three-piece wheels with 255/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres, #H&R Clubsport coilovers.
EXTERIOR Custom wide-body kit by #VB-Customz , #Arkym carbon fibre bonnet, front bumper and bootlid, custom diffuser, front and side splitters, canards and DTM-style wing mounts, #Driftworks carbon fibre spoiler, custom paint and handmade #Red-Bull graphics.
INTERIOR #Wiechers four-point aluminium roll-cage, #GP-Race seats, #Sparco five-point harnesses, rear seat delete, #GoPro Hero3.
THANKS Thanks to my wife and son, Elisabeth and Jonah, for their input and support. Thanks to the Lord who makes everything possible. And thanks to André of Speedy Shots for taking an interest in my project.
“I’d say that owning a #BMW is more than just owning a car – you’re buying into a piece of auto engineering history”
Engine bay might look stock but a #BPM-Sport performance tune delivers an impressive 475hp.Stream 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 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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