- Post is under moderationComing of Age
The #1993 #E36 M3 is now 22 years old and we reckon it’s time it was treated like it should be. For the last 22 years it’s been fashionable to condemn the E36 M3 for not being the car it could have been but despite all that they’re now becoming collectors’ items Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.
Sibling rivalry can create all sorts of problems and however well brothers and sisters appear to get along on the surface, you can more or less guarantee that at some point in the relationship there will be some fireworks. Comparisons between siblings are almost inevitable and if you’re the second child with a multi-talented older brother or sister you can feel as if the weight of the world is pressing down on your shoulders with expectation.
This must have been how the E36 M3 felt when it made its debut to the press back in the early 1990s. Its older (E30) brother could do no wrong and had comprehensively cleaned up at school – excelling in every subject, captain of all the school sports teams and universally loved by all his peers. It was going to be a hard act to follow. Initially the E36 must have thought it was going to have its elder brother licked on all counts, after all it was faster, more economical, safer, had better road holding and was a far more rounded package than the E30 M3, yet when it came to school it struggled with the exams, was teased about its weight, discovered it was ineligible for the vast majority of the races that had made its brother such a legend and that it lacked what everyone seemed to be calling ‘charisma’ – people just liked the older brother more.
There were comments such as: “The new M3 can’t match the old when it comes to seeking pleasure on a twisty road,” and that, “the car feels less eager and agile than you’d hope through a series of tight turns.” Perhaps most damning was Performance Car’s John Barker’s summing up of his first drive of the E36: “Overall, the new M3 lacks the edge, the clarity of purpose that made the original the car that it was and still is for many: to use BMW’s own slogan ‘the ultimate driving machine’.”
BMW must have been spitting feathers, or at the very least pulling its hair out. The company hadn’t set out to recreate the E30 M3 – that car was a product of the track, designed with one purpose in mind, to win – and M’s latest E36 baby wasn’t intending to emulate this. On the very first page of the November 1992 press pack that accompanied the car’s launch it stated that the new M3 would: “Continue the heritage of BMW’s high-performance coupés once established by the 3.0 CSL and continued by the M635CSi.” Still, you wouldn’t want the facts to get in the way of a good story…
The E30 M3 had been a machine very much of its time and you could argue that of all the competition specials that were produced in this period – think Sierra Cosworth, Lancia Integrale, original Audi Quattro – none of them were bettered as pure driver’s machines by their younger siblings. The following generations were softer more roadorientated machines that were undoubtedly better road cars. Enthusiasts may get all dewy-eyed at the thought of clipping apices in an E30 while ‘telepathically applying a dab of oppo’ but the fact of the matter is that BMW exists to make money. It’s what companies have to do in order not to go bankrupt and the tale of the sales charts doesn’t lie: the E30 M3 sold 17,970 examples over roughly four years whereas the E36 3.0 shifted over 29,000 examples in a three-year period. And that’s not to mention the additional 41,000 E36 Evos that followed, but that’s a story for another day.
Bar the E36’s deficiencies that had been highlighted by the road testers it’s pretty easy to make a case that the E36 was a far superior machine in each and every area than its predecessor. Let’s take the engine for starters. There’s no getting away from the fact that Rosche’s S14 in the E30 was a masterpiece – nigh-on 100hp per litre from a naturally aspirated engine is still impressive today but back in the 1980s it was simply stunning. On track it dominated and rightly so, but for a road car it was comparatively lacking in torque – 170lb ft is nothing to write home about and that peak was achieved at a highish 4750rpm – and when idling in traffic the 16-valve four-pot was lumpy and uninspiring.
As if knowing that the whole package might be criticised for being too soft, BMW M made damn sure that its new powerplant for the E36 M3 was beyond reproach. It took the 325i’s M50 24-valve ‘six as its basis and then cranked the volume up to 11 for every area of the unit. Bore and stroke were increased for a swept volume of 2990cc, its compression ratio was raised to 10.8:1 and it featured a ported and polished cylinder head. In typical M fashion there were individual throttle bodies for each cylinder along with heavy duty valve springs, continuous variable Vanos valve timing on the intake side, free flowing manifolds and Bosch Motronic management to control it all. Headline figures were 286hp at 7000rpm and 236lb ft of torque at 3600rpm – gains of 46 and 39 per cent respectively over a non-Evo 215hp 2302cc E30. In terms of output per litre the E36 also had the E30 licked – just – offering 95.6hp per litre where the E30 could muster ‘only’ 93.4.
Performance from M’s new wünderkid was on another level – 0-62mph took 6.0 seconds, the standing kilometre was despatched in 25.6 seconds while 50-75mph in fourth gear took 6.4 seconds. Top speed was a limited 155mph. Despite tipping the scales at 260kg more than the E30 its figures were 0.7, 1.7 and 1.4 seconds better than the 215hp version of the E30 respectively. Perhaps the icing on the cake was the E36’s combined economy figure of 31mpg which for its day was on another level altogether. While the performance stats above are hugely impressive it’s also worth noting that in typical BMW fashion they’re somewhat conservative – Car magazine recorded a 0-60mph time of just 5.3 seconds and 0-100mph in 13.0 while twin testing a 3.0-litre M3 with a Toyota Supra. Incidentally the Toyota won… but we’ll gloss over that!
Power was transmitted via a five-speed manual gearbox (borrowed from the 525i) to a limited-slip differential with the only significant change over the E30 being that the E36 used a ZF ‘box with a traditional H-gate layout as compared to the E30’s dogleg Getrag setup. Suspension on the E36 was beefed up from the standard car, and while the changes might not have been as extreme as those on the E30 M3 they were still pretty comprehensive. The 3.0-litre M3 stuck with the E36’s MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) setup but its height was dropped by 31mm while the car’s track was increased by 55mm at the front and 90mm at the rear. Naturally enough there were bespoke springs and dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, reinforced spring mounting plates and a revised suspension geometry. Of course, it’s the E36’s steering that was most often the cause for complaint from the contemporary road testers and the system that M fitted to the car was a rack and pinion setup with a variable ratio (from 15.4:1 to 19.8:1) and speed-sensitive power assistance. It’s interesting to note that while most testers complained that the E36’s steering was slowwitted, the rack wasn’t really any slower than the E30 M3’s 19.6:1 setup.
Another area where many felt the new M3 had changed too much over the E30 was in the looks department. Where the E30 M3 shared very few panels with the normal E30, the E36 M3 used the normal Coupé shell and its metal work was identical. True, the plastic cladding was different, but unless you were a real petrolhead you were likely to miss it. True you could choose to have your M3 painted in one of the bespoke M colours – Mugello red, Dakar yellow or Avus blue – but if you opted for one of the more subtle hues you could easily miss the fact that you’d just been passed by £32k’s worth of M3. For the record the M3 had a deeper front spoiler with a subtle black plastic splitter and a body coloured mesh intake. Sill trim panels were heavily sculpted, the door mirrors were different and at the rear end there was a black plastic diffuser and a pair of enlarged exhausts. Door trim strips were wider than on the regular production E36 and bore M3 logos, but it didn’t take long for the aftermarket parts suppliers to be able to supply the entire set of M3 add-ons so you could turn your 318iS into a look-a-likey M car.
The M3 did have unique wheels – 7.5x17-inch M Double spoke cast alloys with ten pairs of spokes were fitted all-round and these have subsequently become known as ‘sunflowers’. However, many cars came with the optional staggered fitment of forged M Double spoke wheels (like the car you see here) which were 7.5x17-inches up front and 8.5x17-inches at the rear. Nestling behind the rims were some serious stoppers with 28x315mm vented front discs and 20x313mm rears gripped by single piston callipers. There was a larger master cylinder and brake servo than on the normal E36 models and naturally ABS was a standard fitment. BMW said the new M3 could stop from 62mph in just 35 metres and that it could stop from 125mph in less than six seconds.
Inside, the new M3 was a more extrovert place to be than the original thanks mainly to the M design sports seats that have become known as ‘Vaders’ among the BMW-cognoscenti thanks to their resemblance to the Sith lord’s flowing cloak. They were a brilliant piece of design and hugged you in all the right places and gave a real sense of occasion when you slipped into the cockpit. The speedo, calibrated to 170mph, with its trademark red needle gave a further indication that this was going to be a moment to be savoured while other changes included an oil temperature gauge instead of the economy swingometer and a smattering of M logos and stripes here and there.
Firing up the straight-six is still a cause for celebration and it’s easy to see why at the car’s launch engine guru Paul Rosche stated simply: “I know of no better engine.” It’s busier than a standard M50 but still creamy smooth and isn’t afflicted with the slightly lumpy idle you got with the E30’s S14 or even the M5’s S38 ‘six. We’re all spoiled by torquerich turbo diesels these days – a 218d has the same amount of thrust but accessed nearly 2000rpm lower in the rev range – but the M3 still feels like it has a strong mid-range, but if you want it to really fly you need to use all of the allowed revs and when you do so it still feels like a genuinely quick car. Sure, it wouldn’t see which way a new M235i had gone, but that’s called 21 years of progress and a docking great twin-scroll turbocharger! For its era it was genuinely fast and judged in isolation today it still feels plenty faster enough when driven in the manner in which its maker intended.
In fact, in virtually every respect the E36 was superior to the E30 when judged as a road car that would be used as a daily driver. It was faster, more economical, gripped harder, rode better despite bigger wheels and 40-section rubber and had a far more comfortable interior. On a quick road test it may have seemed a little bit slow-witted in the steering department but come on, it wasn’t like trying to pilot the QE2 or a Routemaster bus for God’s sake. Drive one further and for longer and it was a car that could really get under your skin. And it did just that to me when I was still working within the #BMW dealer network – given the choice of an E36 M3 or an E30 to drive home back in 1993 and I’d have gone for the later machine every time. Perhaps the one road test to really get the E36 M3 was a piece published in Motor Sport in 1993: “The six-cylinder M3 is a superior road car [to the E30 M3]. Even if some of the spiky character has been lost nobody can complain that the performance has been diluted. Ultimately, some of the old M3’s race car sharpness may have been removed, but the extra refinement has taken away none of the enjoyment. And it’s still massively good fun to drive when the mood takes you.
“Occasionally, you regret having to return a test car to its provider. Once or twice a year, you really, really, resent it. This was just such an occasion.” It was a great car straight out-of-the-box, and even of you do want to inject some further life into the steering this can easily be achieved with a quicker rack from the Z3 and some adjustable top mounts for the front end. It’ll never be an E30, but by now I hope you’ve got the point that it was never meant to be!
Where the #BMW-E36 will ape its older sibling is in the fact that it’s starting to be collectible. E30 M3s are out of the range of most mere mortals these days and on a bang-for-your-buck scale the E36 M3 rates very highly. Just 3162 right-hand drive 3.0-litre European spec examples were manufactured and they’re starting to become quite sought after. I’m not talking about the plethora of cheap examples that up until very recently were littering the classifieds with knackered engines, worn out aftermarket suspension, dodgy wheels, rusty arches and questionable styling additions, although even these butchered examples seem to be drying up. No, we’re talking about low mileage standard cars in good condition, like the one you can see here in the pictures that was recently sold by 4Star Classics for £10k. It’s as good an example as you’re likely to find, but even so it was sold before it had been live on the company’s website for 24 hours.
We doubt they’ll ever reach the stratospheric prices the E30 has attained, but as a potential for a modest appreciation while also being a machine you can have a lot of fun driving all for a relatively modest outlay, the E36 has to be a very good bet. Good examples are thin on the ground so snap one up while you can.
Contact: 4 Star Classics
Tel: 01483 274347
1993 #BMW-M3-E36 3.0 Coupé #S50
ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve, DOHC #S50B30
MAX POWER: 286hp @ 7000rpm
MAX TORQUE: 236lb ft @ 3600rpm
0-62MPH: 6.0 seconds
0-99MPH: 13.8 seconds
STANDING KM: 25.6 seconds
50-75MPH (4th/5th): 6.4/9.1 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
UNLADEN WEIGHT: 1460kg
TRANSMISSION: Five-speed manual, LSD
STEERING: Rack and pinion
SUSPENSION: MacPherson struts (front), multi-link ‘Z’ axles (rear)
TYRES: 235/40 ZR17
BRAKES: Single piston swing calipers front and rear gripping vented discs, 28x315mm (front) and 20x313mm (rear)
PRICE: £32,450 (1993)
In virtually every respect the E36 was superior to the E30 when judged as a road car.
At the car’s launch engine guru Paul Rosche stated simply: “I know of no better engine.”
The company hadn’t set out to recreate the E30 M3 – that car was a product of the track.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE JZ36 #BMW-E36 #Toyota engine with BorgWarner S366 single turbocharger
Sticking a Japanese engine in a #BMW might not appeal to everyone, but an 800hp 1JZ in an E36 is fine with us. Owning a dedicated track car gives mighty scope for some mad tuning, not least slinging an 800hp turbocharged Toyota engine into a humble E36 320i. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: André Neudert.
Race cars for the road. You’ve heard the phrase enough times, and in essence it makes perfect sense. We like BMWs that have silly performance and incredible handling, and we love every chance we get to sling them around a race track to exploit their full potential. In fact, such fun are they that the idea of spluttering around in a bore box as an everyday driver just doesn’t seem fathomable to we who love cars that have some balls. After all, what we drive is a reflection of ourselves This is all well and good if you can buy a genuine modern race car for the road, and by that we mean the likes of a new or nearly-new M3, M4, M5 or M6 sort of thing.
For a lot of us in the real world, though, buying a new one just isn’t possible, let alone insuring, fuelling and servicing the thing. So instead we take older BMWs and add those certain enhancements that turn them into truer performance propositions, not least mods that make them more viable track cars. After all, many a new M3 owner will tell you that after a morning’s track work their standard brakes are already cooked but the modified E30 up the pit lane with aftermarket brakes is happily waiting for the afternoon session with no fade reported. So we modify our cars to make them better at the race track and we happily say we have true race cars for the road. But if you’ve lived with such a thing you’ll know it’s not always sunshine and happiness. No, if we’re honest, on a cold winter morning on a potholed bit of wet road we’d sometimes give anything just to be sat in a reliable old Toyota Corolla. having to take speed humps at an angle at 2mph to avoid ripping your bumper off, track-spec brakes that squeak incessantly in traffic until they reach 400ºC, and race seats that may be wonderfully supportive on track but are a pain in the arse, literally, after long trips. And don’t get me started on harnesses that mean you can’t look out at junctions or race tuned engines that take forever to warm up and permanently cut out in any sort of traffic. We’re sure a lot of you are nodding in understanding.
So as much as we love the idea of a true race car for the road – and the wonderful savings of not needing a trailer and a tow car – in an ideal world we’d have our more sensible daily driver and our separate ballsout track weapon. Do you really think Lewis Hamilton drives home from a day’s F1 testing in a slammed race-spec classic? I’m sure he’ll be cosy in the back of an S-Class Mercedes being chauffeured to the mansion while reminding everyone how great he is on Twitter.
Which brings us to this German E36 320i Coupé. This is Sercan Tunc’s dedicated race car and, thankfully for him, he doesn’t have to put the old 3 Series through an annual checkup to ensure everything is road-legal. Because that’s another drama of your street registered race car for the road: all your mods have to be approved to make them comply to the laws of the land and, really, it’s never that much fun having the Boys in Blue pull you over and question the legality of every expensive upgrade you’ve bestowed on your ride.
The 26-year-old from Nuremberg didn’t want the hassle of running an extensively tuned E36 as a street car, not least because he enjoys a 3.0-litre E36 M3 as a daily driver, which features only a few select modifications. No, Sercan wanted to go wild on his track E36 and not be restricted by the compromises he’d need to make to keep it street legal. And as he works for a company specialising in building and overhauling engines, his area of expertise meant there were big plans for this once humble #1995 320i. “The car is only for fun, mainly drifting and drag racing,” Sercan said. Now fun isn’t something that can be measured in numbers but we find it often correlates to the horsepower figure. Sercan told us he’s achieved about 800hp with this engine build, and with that amount going through the rears there’s a guarantee of happiness.
Question is, how has he done it in a car that started life as a Granny-spec E36 that off the production line struggled to reach 60mph in under ten seconds? Well, by going to the dark side, of course, and in this instance that meant ditching a BMW powerplant in favour of a boosted lump from the Japanese. The arguments about foreign engine swaps into BMWs have been done to death and you can enjoy hours of internet forum discussions on the matter if you feel so inclined, but the fact is it’s usually the quickest and cheapest way to plenty of extra power. Sercan sourced a 2.5-litre in-line sixcylinder 1JZ-GTE lump from a third generation Toyota Soarer, mated to the same manufacturer’s R154 five-speed manual transmission. These engines are infinitely tuneable with Japanese modifiers extracting huge power from them, and thus Sercan created what he calls his JZ36.
To this engine he has strapped a mighty #BorgWarner S366 turbo to help realise that outrageous power figure, and must make for a range of emotions come full throttle during track play. “It comes on full boost at 4500-5000rpm, and I’d say it is easy to drive with the big Toyo R888 tyres on a sunny day,” Sercan said. He glossed over any mention of turbo lag, or quite what a handful this E36 Crashy suspension that rattles your spine, must be on anything like a damp or wet track, but he did describe it as “funny, exciting and scary all at the same time.”
The expert engine builder has created an impressive under-bonnet setup (the bonnet itself being custom ventilated to allow some of the huge heat to escape), with the truckesque turbo leading to an HKS air filter taking scene-stealing centre stage. A straight-through 3” custom exhaust system helps expel unwanted gases, while Tial has provided a blow-off valve and wastegate with screamer pipe to add to the acoustic excitement when this E36 is on boost. Internal strengthening has been a necessity, with CP pistons, custom connecting rods, BC camshafts, larger intake valves and ARP screws all adding some beef to prevent unwanted meltdowns. On has gone a Tomei head gasket, hardcore GReddy timing belt, ACL Race Series engine bearings and a custom intercooler and oil cooler, while the demand for extra fuel has been met with Denso 850cc injectors and no less than three #Bosch-044 fuel pumps. AEM gear keeps a watchful eye on proceedings, including taking charge of the complex engine management system.
The transmission has been boosted by a steel flywheel and a custom Stage 4 clutch which Sercan said has held together well, as has the customised E34 M5 driveshaft and custom rear axle with E34 M5 diff. Whatever BMW did back in the 1980s with M5 components must have been truly special, as so many of the high horsepower modified BMWs we feature swear by their drivetrain parts as practically indestructible.
One thing about being a dedicated track car is a lack of need to add unnecessary adornments. Yet the function over form rule of track and racing cars often brings with it its own beauty, and Sercan’s #E36 is stunning in its simple and pure aggression. There are those most necessary cut-outs for the bonnet, while an air intake cleverly incorporated in the headlight gives a purposeful front end. Beyond that, Sercan’s only exterior enhancements include #BMW-E36 M3 bumpers and side skirts, plus a Hamann rear spoiler. You could argue these may help a bit aerodynamically for track work.
The cabin certainly doesn’t hide its racing intent. A complete roll-cage has been painted a nicely contrasting yellow, while the driver is snug in a Sparco Pro2000 race seat with the familiar green of Takata harnesses found in so many drift cars. A quick release suede OMP steering wheel allows easy access or escape, while the retained E36 dashboard has been enhanced somewhat with a range of gauges keeping watch over that hard-working Japanese heart up front.
Sitting on KW coilover suspension and using E39 M5 wheels for a wider footprint to put plenty of that power to road, Sercan’s E36 truly is the sort of race toy we’d love to have at our disposal for uncompromised track fun. The modifier wasn’t constrained by needing to hold back on the mods although amazingly this 800hp 320i still has its original brakes in place (Sercan is still searching for high performance items that fit behind the M5 rims), but that’s the joy of having your very own dedicated track car: keep it fun and play by your own rules.
The business end really does mean business, with 800hp being developed by the 1JZ.
ENGINE: 2.5-litre straight-six #Toyota-1JZ-GTE engine transplant from a third generation #Toyota-Soarer with #BorgWarner-S366 single turbocharger, 3” free flow exhaust system including downpipe, Tial 50mm blowoff valve, Tial MV-R 44mm wastegate with screamer pipe, CP pistons, custom connecting rods, BC 272° camshafts, adjustable camshaft wheels, 1mm larger intake valves, 8kg lighter crankshaft, ARP screws for head and crankshaft, Tomei head gasket, GReddy timing belt, ACL Race Series engine bearings, HKS air filter, Samco hoses, custom intercooler, oil cooler, #Denso 850cc injectors, Bosch 044 in-tank fuel pump and two #Bosch 044 external fuel pumps with catch tank, AEM fuel pressure controller, AEM boost controller, AEM Universal Exhaust Gas Oxygen Lamda display, AEM two-control unit engine management system.
TRANSMISSION: #Toyota-R154 five-speed manual, steel flywheel with custom Stage 4 clutch, customised E34 M5 driveshaft, custom rear axle with E34 M5 diff.
CHASSIS: 8x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) E39 M5 wheels with 225/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Nankang and Toyo R888 tyres respectively, KW coilovers, standard E36 320i brakes.
EXTERIOR: Vented bonnet, E36 M3 bumpers and side skirts, Hamann rear spoiler.
INTERIOR: Full roll-cage painted yellow, Sparco Pro2000 race seats, Takata harnesses, OMP steering wheel with Sparco snap off hub, centre consolemounted oil pressure and temperature gauges.
Yellow roll-cage adds a hit of colour, and dominates the stripped-out interior.
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- Post is under moderationBuying & Tuning Guide BMW E36 328i. A staple of the BMW tuning scene, the E36 #BMW-328i-E36 is a great buy and has plenty of tuning potential. E36s can be bought dirt cheap – here’s how to buy and modify the 2.8-litre example. Words: Ben Koflach Photos: Craig Pusey, Darren Maybury, James Ford, Neil Marcelo, Ben Koflach.
If there’s one car that can be accredited with being the most popular first BMW for enthusiasts it’s the E36. It’s cheap, reliable, a great base for modifying and there are plenty of them around. As well as that, there are lots of engine and trim options from the 316i right up to the 3.2-litre M3 Evo. However, it’s the 328i that’s often the model of choice – with great performance and cheap purchase prices it’s the ideal base for a project.
The E36 was introduced in #1990 with the flagship non-M model being the 325i, which used a 2.5-litre iron-block M50 engine giving 192hp. This was replaced in 1995 with the 328i which promised to be cleaner, with more low-end torque than the 325i, despite offering only one more horsepower from its additional 300cc. The 328i was available in all shapes of E36 – Coupé, Saloon, Convertible and Touring – and sold like hot cakes, meaning there’s a suitable car out there for almost any budget or taste. The flagship version is without doubt the #BMW-328i Sport, which was available only in coupé form and had features such as a full M-Tech body kit, thicker anti-roll bars, lower, stiffer suspension, Sport seats, a black headlining and climate control as standard, as well as BBS split-rims. Earlier models also had a limited-slip differential.
Across the range, the 328i came with either a five-speed manual #ZF gearbox (which interestingly is the same gearbox found in the 3.0-litre M3) or a five-speed auto. For a manual coupé the book 0-62mph time is 6.9 seconds, although these are often found to be somewhat conservative figures. Around six and a half seconds is perhaps more realistic, and impressive too. Economy-wise the 328i is a very modest consumer of fuel. On a motorway run you shouldn’t be surprised to see up to 36mpg, though around town and on country lanes it doesn’t take much to see that dip into the low 20s, especially if you enjoy your driving.
The E36 is very much a driver’s car and with clean, well-spec’d models now beginning to appreciate in value, it’s the perfect time to buy – let’s take a look at what points you need to look out for when buying one…
The good news here is that there are plenty of 328s around, so if you take your time you can pick up the perfect car for you. For less than a grand you can have your pick of body shapes, gearboxes and get a few nice extras thrown in there too, all with less than 140,000 miles on the clock, which is certainly no big deal if they have been maintained correctly. A tidy convertible generally seems to command a premium of around £400-500, and below the £1500 mark there are a few hidden gems. For a mint example you will be looking at around £3000-4000.
The Sport versions are pretty rare now however – for a high milage example you will be looking at paying around £2000 and beyond, with prices ranging up to about £6000 for a real minter. They’re certainly the pick of the bunch though so try not to discount them on price alone.
For what is, at the end of the day, a pretty quick car, the 328i is surprisingly cheap to insure, which is always a plus. For road tax you’re looking at £123.75 for six months or £225 for the calendar year and as previously mentioned, if you drive sensibly the fuel costs needn’t be ridiculous either.
Servicing-wise it pays to look after the six-pot E36 thoroughly – they’ll reward you with faultless reliability for not much cost. Regular oil and filter changes are key and aren’t an expensive exercise, while coolant and brake fluid changes should also be relatively frequent. Little else is needed – the M52 really is a greatly reliable engine. Other consumables are inexpensive too.
What to look for
There are plenty of different interiors available in the 328i, ranging from all-cloth to full leather Sports seats but make sure you’re completely happy with the interior when you look at a car. They’re not difficult to swap out but you can afford to wait for the right car in the first place.
E36s are known for having a poor interior build quality compared to newer models and although many argue this, it’s fair to say that any #E36 is going to be showing its age a little by now. Seat bolsters will undoubtedly show signs of wear – the shape of Sports seats extenuates this though the leather bolsters these feature do wear better than cloth. Be sure to check that the wear is consistent with the mileage.
Doorcards can rattle a little when the door is shut, which is often due to either a poor quality glue that BMW used from the factory or from some broken clips. Try to make sure that if it’s the latter, it’s not because of bodges. The rattling or movement should be fairly minimal.
Gloveboxes tend to sag on the right hand side – this is normal and unfortunately not really curable. Do check that the panels underneath the glovebox and steering wheel haven’t taken too much of a kicking – they’re only held together with fairly rudimental screws and clips so they’re a weak point and an easy way to see whether a car has been either abused or taken apart too much.
Finally, if you’re looking at a Sport it pays to make sure it’s genuine. M-Tech items were available as optional extras whereas the ‘Sport’ model had them all as standard. Check for a black headlining, dual zone climate and an M3 steering wheel as pointers. Also check that the climate control works properly – there’s a small component inside the control unit that can fail and cause a blank or frozen screen and more often than not, hot air directed at your feet on full blast. It’s a cheap fix, as is the final stage resistor in the heater, which can also fail.
Some E36s seem to suffer more than others with rust, but as a general rule there are a few key areas to check. The rear arches commonly go on the rear edge, so have a good poke around there. Repair panels are available but being doubleskinned, it’s not the cheapest of repairs. Another area to check is the bottoms of the front wings – especially if a car has M-Tech side skirt trims, as these can not only hide corrosion but often secrete mud and water which accelerate rust. New wings are available both from BMW and as pattern parts (we’d recommend genuine) and once painted are a straightforward fit. A final weak point is around the jacking rubbers on the underside – the rubber parts themselves often go missing and when this happens, water and mud can get trapped up inside and rot it from the inside out. Not pretty, and not a cheap repair either.
Other than that you’ve got the usual checks to make. Use dings and dents to barter on the price or look for a cleaner example, while poor panel gaps and overspray are sure-fire signs of poorly repaired accident damage. Front and rear bumper brackets can sometimes just be a bit rubbish so don’t take poorly aligned bumpers as too much of an issue. Foglight brackets are also poor so check that the lights haven’t been bodged into place.
The M52 is a very hardy unit that with proper maintenance will practically go on forever – we’ve seen them still running well with as much as 320,000 miles on them. There are a few things to consider and to look out for, mind you.
First up is the age-old tale of Nikasil-linered blocks. Early 328is had these up until 1998 and due to the highsulphur content of fuel in the ’90s, these liners quickly became damaged, losing compression. Many engines were replaced by #BMW but in all honesty, if they’ve lasted this long then they’ll probably be fine. It’s worth noting, however, that this problem only applies to European cars.
Another problem for the alloy blocks is that they don’t take well to overheating. It can soften the metal – if it comes to needing a head gasket replacement then problems can occur when bolting the head back down. The threads often pull out of the block – it’s not an impossible fix with helicoils and such but it’ll soon rack up a large bill.
Water pumps are a weak point as the impeller on the standard items was made of plastic, which goes brittle over time thanks to the temperatures surrounding it. Ideally a new water pump every 60k miles or so ensures there’s no chance of failure. Alternatively, an upgrade to a metal-impeller water pump is much longer lasting. Thermostat covers are another plastic item that can be swapped for an alloy one from the M50, which will be indestructible. Beyond these steps to maintain and improve the cooling system, there really isn’t anything the #M52 should require other than regular (8-10k miles) oil and filter changes to keep it at its best. Other than perhaps the odd sensor and sometimes coil pack, it’s pretty bomb-proof.
Chassis & Drivetrain
On manuals, the gearbox itself is known for being indestructible, so unless you’re experiencing unusual noise, there’s little reason to worry. When pulling away try to feel for any clutch judder – this could be the dual mass flywheel on its way out, so if you can, use it as a point to barter on. A sloppy gear change could be a worn shifter bush and if the gearstick moves a lot under sudden acceleration you will be wanting a new set of engine or gearbox mounts.
The autos too are strong – the only thing to check is whether the gearbox fluid is a service item or whether it’s a ‘lifetime’ sealed ’box, which only needs its oil changing once every 100k miles. Also check that the correct fluid has been used and that it’s been changed on schedule. Ensure that the ’box goes up and down the gears smoothly and that it kicks down smoothly too. If it’s got switchable modes (Sport, Winter and Eco) check that they all function. Also check that the front-mounted transmission cooler is present and hasn’t taken a hit.
Check the diff for excessive leaking – dark patches are fine but if the diff is wet, it’s blown a seal. Replacement is easy but check that it hasn’t been run dry, as you’ll need a new diff. The 328i Sport LSDs are rare items so do look after it if you get one.
The chassis has its problems, but it’s all a case of maintenance. Front control arm bushes and balljoints are weak points and can be identified by play in the front wheels or vague steering feel. It’s common to weep power steering fluid from the reservoir so no need to concern yourself there.
At the rear, the rear trailing arm bushes giving way is a frequent occurrence, so listen for a rattling or knocking noise. They’re easy to replace, as are the outer control arm bushes and balljoints. Again, no need to worry here but use problems as a bartering tool.
Your first step before any tuning takes place should be to make sure the engine is well maintained with quality fluids. You can then take care of the relatively easy steps needed to get the #M52B28 engine really performing strongly.
A great first tuning step – and a very popular one at that – is to retrofit the inlet manifold from the M50B25 engine. The M52’s intake was its most restrictive point and so fitting the M50 manifold increases top end power and improves throttle response, although without a remap a little low end torque can be lost. A conversion kit is needed to fit one of these, and we would recommend the one by www.m50manifold.com, which comes in at £124.57, although cheaper options are also available.
For another £120 or so, you could combine this upgrade with a big bore throttle body – the infamous #Alpina527 on the UK’s forums is the man to contact for this. It’s a simple bolt-on swap and combined with the M50 manifold you can expect a power figure of around 220-230hp, with 240hp being a realistic figure with a remap.
To get more airflow from your standard air filter box, it’s worth pulling the clip-in restrictor out of the intake and buying a decent panel filter from the likes of K&N or Pipercross – expect to pay around £45 for one of these, which will last the lifetime of the car. Induction kits are available but as the standard setup can work so well, it’s arguable as to what gains you can get other than noise.
To release a little more power, you’ll want to be looking into improving the exhaust system. The standard exhaust manifolds are restrictive but M3 items bolt right in, while a quality aftermarket exhaust, be it cat-back or full, can see some gains. Expect to pay from £500 depending on what you’re after. Beyond this you need to start looking at upgraded cams. US-spec M3 cams will fit and perform brilliantly if you can import a set, if not Schrick also does a set of cams which come in at around £850. With these steps, you can expect at least 250hp.
The European alloy-blocked M52 doesn’t really have the strength to take big force-induced power – fitting the well-regulated boost from a supercharger is the safest way to achieve it. Over 300hp can be seen, but in all honesty, with the investment needed, you would be better off looking into swapping out the M52 for an S50, which has 286hp in 3.0-litre form or 321hp in 3.2-litre form and can be found for less than £2k.
US-spec iron-blocked M52s, on the other hand, are phenomenal when coupled with forced induction. The standard internals have incredible strength and the US aftermarket gives fantastic support for the engine. Active Autowerke produce bolt-on supercharger kits for up to 360hp, with more available if you apply other improvements. This top-level kit costs about £4520 before taxes. Another popular choice for the US-spec engines is turbocharging. Avoid cheap eBay kits – the best way to do it is assembling a kit yourself, to your own specification. Signing up to any US forum will gain you plenty of information about this. Power-wise, around 450hp is the limit for standard internals, with 800hp at the wheels the highest we’ve seen from an M52 equipped with forged internals and many custom parts, including an 80mm Comp turbo.
To improve your stopping power, the usual recipe applies here. Step one is to improve the quality of your friction materials and solidify the fluid distribution – if your car has budget parts fitted, it’s worth noting that the OE ATE parts are very good and should be considered your first port of call.
Beyond those, there are loads of different options for performance discs out there. Black Diamond, Tarox, EBC, Nitrac, Ferodo – the list goes on. For a set of front discs you can expect to pay up to £240, while rears come in at a little less. Pads often come down to personal preference – high performance pads can be noisy or produce a lot of brake dust for optimum stopping power, so it’s a case of finding a compromise that works for you. Tarox Corsa front pads come in at under £110, while Ferodo DS2500 will cost nearer £140 for the front – again, rears will be cheaper.
Braided hoses are a key way to improve brake feel as they won’t swell like standard rubber items and are available from the likes of UUC, Goodridge and Hel, coming in at around £80-90. As for brake fluid, higher quality means a higher boiling point, thus giving you more durable brakes. ATE Super Blue, Carbon Lorraine and Performance Friction DOT5.1 fluids are all very good, coming in at £15 for ATE or up to £40 for Performance Friction.
When it comes to up-sizing, there are some easy OEM options available. For the front, E46 330i discs, pads and calipers carry straight over, upgrading you from 286mm discs to 325mm. Calipers are still singlepiston but the larger pads give you a great upgrade – prices vary but it’s usually a very cheap upgrade at around £150. To get bigger OEM discs on the rear you could look to M3 brakes, though to fit these you need the entire rear axle, which can cost anywhere between £300 and £500. This will give you 312mm discs and again, larger pads and bigger calipers – see the ‘suspension’ section for more details.
For all-out brake performance, you’ll want to look at a big brake package – there are many available, but here’s a few examples: K Sport brake kits represent great value for money and start at £885 for a six-pot 304mm kit. Moving up the braking ladder, WP Pro kits feature some advanced technologies and are available in a number of different sizes, both front and rear. These begin with 345mm discs and six-pot calipers for £1620 or the same calipers with 360mm discs, as fitted to our project E36 Touring (right), which costs just an extra £50. For the rear, WP offer a kit using four-pot calipers and 336mm discs for £1400 – competition packages are also available. Many other brands are also available including Stoptech and AP Racing, plus many more.
The E36 represented a pretty significant leap forwards in terms of rear suspension design over its predecessor, the E30. Coupled with the fact that it’s relatively lightweight for its size, the E36 can be made into a great B-road blaster with some pretty simple chassis additions.
Our first step would no-doubt be to take care of some of the maintenance issues – namely the front wishbone bushes and rear trailing arm bushes. Powerflex polyurethane bushes are the popular choice and they carry a lifetime warranty – once the old bush is out they’re easy to fit too, and will benefit the car with more consistant suspension geometry and better driver feedback. Coming in at around £100 for all four bushes mentioned, they’re a no-brainer. You could also opt to fit eccentric front bushes, which increase castor for improved handling.
The M3 featured slightly different suspension geometry and stronger components, and it is possible to carry these over – you’ll need the front hubs and brakes, offset control arm bushes, M3 wishbones and a whole M3 rear axle and propshaft. This will gain you bigger brakes all-round, that improved geometry and a limited-slip diff, but it’s not a swap for the faint-hearted – the rear axles weigh a ton. It’s also worth noting that M3 Evo offset front top mounts can be used but with the left mounted to the right and vice versa to give you around three degrees of camber for improved turn-in. E46 lower wishbones can be retrofitted for a wider track and more camber too.
At the rear, adjustable camber arms are a great addition for around £230 and you’ll want to fit uprated rear shock mounts whether you plan to run stiffer shocks or not. Meyle HD are a great cheap option (coming in at less than £20) that come with a four-year guarantee, while we’ve used Rogue Engineering mounts on our project cars in the past and they’re indestructible, though do come in at £105. Track-only rose jointed options from GAZ come in at around £150.
Thicker anti-roll bars do wonders for the E36 chassis, making it feel more alert and helping it corner flatter. For non-Sports, finding a pair of Sport bars will make a nice difference, while the all-out OE option would be M3 bars, which go right on – both simply require the right bushes. The aftermarket world is rife with even thicker options from the likes of UUC, Eibach, H&R and so on – expect to pay around £315-325 for a set.
Your biggest decision will be what springs and shocks to run. For a subtle drop, improved handling and great ride quality, we’d opt for a spring and shock package from the likes of Bilstein or Koni. Bilstein packages come with matched Eibach springs and use inverted mono-tube dampers for optimum performance, but at a price of around £700.
If you want to go low, or want the best performance possible, coilovers are the way forward. The height-adjustable nature of coilovers mean you can get your E36 sitting just the way you want it. If it’s purely ride height you’re worried about, you can get some really cheap options for less than £200 for a set. We’d personally save a little more money and go for something higher up the range. The Spax height-adjustable RSX kit comes in at under £750 and offers damping adjustment as well as height adjustment, while we’re also big fans of the offerings from HSD (from £585) and BC Racing (£909), which both feature adjustable front top mounts, rear top mounts, separate height and pre-load adjustment and damping adjustment, and both are rated very highly for ride quality and performance. KW Variant 3s are often considered the ultimate (unless you start talking all-out competition packages) and come in at just under £1200.
One final step to consider is bracing. There are plenty of aftermarket options out there for both front and rear and you can expect to pay around £120 and £200 for a front bar – rears are also available but will require modifying or removal of the interior; budget around £100 for one of these. If you’ve purchased anything but a convertible, you can also retrofit the under-chassis x-brace to stiffen the front end too – you can pick them up for around £60.
As ever, wheel choice comes down to many things. Personal preference, purpose, looks, and so on. As standard, non-Sport 328s run a maximum of a 7.5x16” ET41 with a 225/45 tyre.
However, there’s plenty of room in the E36’s arches for something bigger, be it a dishy low-offset wheel with stretched rubber or chunky tyres for all-out grip. On standard arches with standard camber, a 9x17” ET30 will be about as big as you can go on the rear and you’ll need a 225/40 or narrower tyre to clear.
Rolling the arches, of course, opens up a new world of fitments, with a 10x17” ET20 with a 235/40 possible without too much fuss. It all depends on how you want to run it – do note that most standard wheels will need a spacer up front if you fit coilovers, otherwise tyres can rub the spring.
The #BMW-E36 328i is a great way to bag yourself both a performance bargain and a car that has great potential for modifying. Whether it’s your first #BMW or your fifth, the E36 combines a touch of old-skool charm with modern creature comforts. What’s more, if you get a clean one and look after it, you’re unlikely to lose any money – if that’s not a win-win, we don’t know what is.
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- 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 moderationA STEP INTO THE UNKNOWN #BMW-M3-E36 NÜRBURGRING RACER
We visit a race team preparing to take on the 24 Hour Nürburgring race in an #BMW-E36 M3. The Nürburgring 24 Hours is one of the toughest events on the motorsport calendar and here we meet a British team entering the race for the first time with an E36 M3 Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Bob Harper and Frozenspeed (VLN track images).
For some people having a quick blat down their favourite back road is enough to satiate their inner driving Gods. For others, the occasional track day will give them enough of an automotive fix. And some take it a little further still and involve themselves in racing, usually starting off with UK circuit championships. For most, this is where it ends. Simon Glenn, owner of this E36 M3, wanted to take things even further, though, and last year, along with friend Marcos Burnett and Jody Halse (of Climax Motorsport who prepares the car), they took on several rounds of the Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring (which is better known as the VLN) on the infamous Nordschleife in Germany. And this year they are eyeing-up an even greater challenge: the Nürburgring 24-Hour race.
So how on earth did the occasional track day escalate into an assault on one of the world’s toughest endurance classics? “It’s all Jody’s fault,” Simon says with a laugh. “A few years ago Jody got me into racing and I did a season in the Production #BMW championship in an E30 that he built for me and unfortunately I wrote it off at the Craner Curves at Donington in the last round of the season. This was back in 2012 so as I didn’t have a car to race in 2013 and as I fancied doing something a little different I spoke with Jody about our options and we came up with a plan to try and do something at the Nürburgring. Jody looked at the various classes of racing and after we’d settled on the VLN the most obvious car seemed to be an E36 M3.”
The car was also a ‘good fit’ as far as Simon was concerned as he’s owned an #E36 #BMW-M3-GT for the best part of a decade and after having enjoyed racing his E30 another BMW was the only way to go. The main competition in the M3’s class in the VLN comes from 3.0-litre Z4 Coupés and E90 330i Saloons but Simon was sure he wanted to use an M3, as he explains: “I enjoy the fact that the E36 is now a bit of an underdog and it’s also a proper M car. My everyday car is a 3.0-litre E90 – it’s something I drive to work in and wasn’t something I particularly wanted to spank around the Nürburgring.”
So in the latter part of 2013 Simon asked Jody to go and have a look at some E36 M3s with a view to turning it into a race car and when a 3.0-litre Coupé turned up in the classifieds relatively locally Jody went to see it. There were some things against it such as evidence of a small accident, although it looked to have been repaired to a good standard, and combined with the fact it was a low-mileage machine – just 58,000 miles on the odometer with history to back it up – Simon and Jody took the plunge, securing the car for around £4000.
In the VLN the M3 would compete in Class V5 which is for standard production cars up to 3.0-litres, which is one of the reasons Jody pointed Simon away from buying a 3.2-litre M3 Evo as this would move them up a class and make the racing much, much tougher, as Jody explains: “We’d really get our arses kicked if we moved to the over 3.0-litre class as we’d be up against a host of Porsche 911s, E46 M3s and E90 M3s, and a 3.2 E36 M3 would really struggle against that lot!”
Once the car had been purchased there was plenty to be done to get it ready for a season of VLN and even though they didn’t want to commit to the full ten rounds of the series, Simon and Jody did want to try and do half the rounds which would mean around 30 hours at full chat around the ‘Ring once qualifying for each race was taken into account. It was for this reason that they’d looked for a low mileage car as they didn’t want to have to rebuild the engine, gearbox and differential, as these are expensive items to refresh prior to the racing season. It proved to be a good move as mechanically the car was utterly reliable, as Simon recalls: “BMW knew what it was doing when it designed the thing. The car must have done around 30 hours at full race speed but it never even noticed!”
To get the car ready for racing Jody stripped it to a bare shell, threw away everything that wasn’t needed, sent it off to Custom Cages to have the latest 2014- spec cage installed, fitted a KW fully adjustable suspension setup and generally made sure that everything was in tip-top condition and that it adhered 100 per cent to the regulations for the class. The engine, ‘box and diff have to be standard and brakes have to be the standard dimensions of the road car, these have now been upgraded to Evo-spec as Simon and Jody discovered they were getting an awful lot of cracked discs with the 3.0-litre stoppers. The clutch is a Group N item and the car runs cats in the exhaust (this is mandatory for German championships) with a Supersprint rear section.
At the end of the VLN season the team could look back with pride as the car had been utterly reliable, suitably quick and hugely enjoyable to drive. Listening to Simon talk about the season you can hear the excitement in his voice as he describes racing on the hallowed circuit: “At around five o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and the sun’s starting to set and you’re flying down the Döttinger Höhe [the track’s longest straight] at 160mph and there isn’t a car in front or behind you and you can’t help but think ‘wow, does life get any better?’ and then a front running GT3 car comes blasting past you at getting on for 200mph and it kind of wakes you up! It’s absolutely extraordinary. You get to hang around in the pit lane with people like Nick Heidfeld and Gabriele Tarquini – he was in the pits next door to me and you think to yourself ‘I used to go and watch him racing and watched videos of him’ and there you are as an amateur guy who likes a bit of racing rubbing shoulders with these incredible drivers. It’s the only series where you can effectively drive and ‘compete’ with fully professional drivers.”
And having hugely enjoyed the VLN, Simon and Jody decided to embark on the big one: the 24 Hour race. An intensive program of organisation and car fettling ensued. Wading through the paperwork was pretty intensive when compared to the VLN (which was actually pretty straightforward) but two big decisions had to be made. First, what to do to the car prior to the 24-hour race? And second, how to improve the car’s only Achilles’ heel, it’s poor fuel economy? In the end a full strip down of the car was deemed to be necessary and, as Jody explains, it was a little heart-wrenching to take a perfectly good and reliable car, take it to bits and rebuild it: “That’s part of the frustration of the 24-Hour race – it took me a couple of months to get up the motivation to pull the car apart because it was running perfectly and you start to question what you’re doing. I had to remind myself that although it’s running well, it might not be running well enough to go like that for 24 hours. Actually it’s more than that as there’s also seven hours of qualifying so the car has to last for 31 hours in total. 31 hours at 7500rpm is quite a long time, especially when you’ve got all the bumps and the jumps thrown into the mix. It’s asking a lot of anything, let alone a 20-year-old car! So we pulled it apart and now it’s having everything done.” The engine’s been refreshed with new seals, gaskets, bearings and a new timing chain and the gearbox and diff have both been stripped and refreshed, too.
The car’s biggest problem, though, is that while it was competitive in terms of pace and lap time in the VLN, its bête noire was its fuel economy, as Jody explains: “The big thing that cost us last year in the VLN was fuel consumption and the bottom line is that we use an awful lot more fuel than the other cars in the class because it’s an older car and because it’s heavier, too. The trouble is that the car industry has moved on significantly since the E36 was built and the Z4s and 330is we’re up against are much lighter, a little less powerful and, significantly, all have aluminium engines so they tend to handle a lot better than the E36 does. VLN (and the 24 Hours) have this Balance of Performance thing which means we have to carry an additional 70 kilos of ballast because the rules say we have a more powerful engine – even though it’s only 20hp over a Z4. But the most significant problem we have is that we use a lot more fuel. In a four-hour race a Z4 can stop twice and we have to stop three times – they can do eight laps on a tank and we can only do six. That cost us better results in the VLN races.”
Within the Balance of Performance rules there is the possibility that weight can be added or removed from cars in the same class and it also states that fuel capacities can be increased or decreased. However, Jody says that despite arguing with the authorities that the M3 should be allowed a larger fuel tank than the Z4s and E90s his arguments have fallen on deaf ears. “I don’t want to be able to do more laps than the other cars, just the same amount of laps,” he says with a resigned shrug, but sadly his arguments have failed to have any impact. Undeterred Simon has shelled out over £3000 for a new ATL bag tank that holds 70 litres (the class maximum), replacing the 62-litre standard tank the team was using last year. As Jody puts it: “Now we’ll be able to do seven laps at a time but still not the eight that the Z4s and 330is can do… but over the course of the 24-Hour race we should be able to make three fewer pit stops.”
While Jody’s built the car and will be in charge of bringing spares and the like, Simon and Jody decided to enlist the help of a German team, Kuepper Racing, who will act as pit crew and will provide an articulated lorry, mechanics, chefs and an all important sleeping area. Despite this, Jody still reckons that if the car needs a new gearbox during the course of the race he’ll still be the first one under the car. Having a team to look after the wheel and tyre changes and the general running of the car, though, will allow Jody to concentrate more on his driving.
Despite having done the VLN races it’s still a bit of an unknown when it comes to what to expect at the 24-Hour race. What will tyre wear be like? How long will the front discs and pads really last? Will the rear pads need doing? Jody reckons he knows the answers: five hours for a set of slicks if driven relatively sensibly; 12 hours for the front discs – but there could be so many variables that enter the mix in the space of 24 hours that he’s sensibly trying to plan for the unexpected.
A huge amount of time and effort has gone into preparing for the event and it has to be said that to simply be contemplating doing the race at all takes a lot of courage. It’s part of the joy of the 24-Hour race, though, that an amateur team can still become involved and, depending on how many cars are in the class, the Climax Motorsport-built car could still be in with a chance of a class podium or a class win.
We’ll leave the final words to Jody and Simon… “We’re a team of amateurs. One man has effectively built the car and we’re just a couple of blokes who like a bit of motorsport. But I really do think we’re in with a chance of winning the class, I really do,” says Simon enthusiastically.
“Short of writing a cheque for hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy yourself a drive at Le Mans this is realistically the biggest race that normal mortals like us will be able to do. There’s nothing bigger or more prestigious that’s achievable by a clubman than the Nürburgring 24-Hour race,” agreed Jody. Fingers crossed chaps, and good luck!
The E36 M3 looks completely at home on the Nordschleife. Right: Our team of hopefuls during last year’s VLN.
“You get to hang around in the pit lane with people like Nick Heidfeld and Gabriele Tarquini”
“It took me a couple of months to get up the motivation to pull the car apart because it was running perfectly”
Interior simple but effective. Roof-mounted transponder allows the car to be tracked by the organisers. Pit shot shows huge diversity of VLN machinery.
Left: ATL bag tank will allow the M3 to run an extra lap between fuel stops. Centre: Adjustable top mounts for KW suspension. Right: Beautifully prepared boot area will have to be altered to accommodate new fuel tank.
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- Post is under moderationSOPER’S SUPER TOURER
Steve Soper’s Spa and Macau winning #BMW-320i-E36 has emerged from hibernation and now takes pride of place in the National Motoring Museum’s motorsport section Words: Guy Loveridge. Photography: Guy Loveridge & Jeff Bloxham.
At the tail end of March a newly created motorsport section within the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire was opened to the public. Ribbon-cutting honours were shared by Sir Stirling Moss and Murray Walker, Mr Motor Racing ably assisted by The Voice of Motor Racing. Among a highly delectable selection of competition cars chosen to showcase both ‘Grand Prix Greats’ and ‘Road, Race and Rally’, the chief interest for #BMW lovers is the actual Super Touring 320i taken to victory at both Spa and Macau whilst chiefly driven by Steve Soper. At Spa in #1995 he shared with Peter Kox and ‘Smoking’ Jo Winkelhock. The pairing of Soper and Kox returned in #1996 with Marc Duez, but managed ‘only’ a second place to the sister car driven by Müller, Burgstaller and Tassin, but at Macau for the Guia race the next year Steve took victory solo, beating Michael Krumm and Charles Kwan, also in a 320i, to the top step of the podium.
Although we are only talking about 20 years ago, it already seems astonishing that the same car was a front line factory competition car for more than two seasons, and yet that is exactly the case with this much celebrated BMW. At Spa, and for that season, the car ran as a Fina/Bastos sponsored car, but as with all BMWs running at Macau all the way up to 2006 and Andy Priaulx’s third World Touring Car Championship securing run, the title sponsorship was A.S. Watsons, the retail arm of Hutchison Whampoa.
So, how come this car has ended up in Beaulieu having emerged from a private collection and not from the bowels of BMW Classic’s Munich HQ? That is quite some story! The car had barely cooled down after its race winning run back in 1997 when the sponsors held a presentation event for the drivers and team members over in Macau from Germany and the UK. At that event the drivers and team management were thanked and all spoke of their gratitude to their hosts. As a spontaneous gesture, the car itself was given to Watson’s CEO Ian F Wade (a gesture reflecting the BMW dominance of the Guia race during the Super Touring era – of the 18 podiums available under those rules, BMW secured seven of them – more than any other manufacturer). The car was then shipped to the UK to join a significant private collection of motor cars. Over the years it had been commented upon and noted as part of that collection but, largely, forgotten about by enthusiasts.
Anyone who was interested simply presumed that it has passed into private hands, or been messed about with or even crashed and written off as is the destiny of so many former racing cars. But this car sat quietly, exactly as it had crossed the finishing line in Macau. It even had competition fuel in the tank still! All would have remained moribund and slowly aging until 2011 when the Goodwood Festival of Speed decided to mark the Super Touring era with a dedicated class at The Festival of Speed. The car was immediately in line for a call up and contact was made with Noel Butler of NCB Autocraft in Solihull.
He decided the job was not for him but recommended Tom Shepherd of GTS Motorsport as it was already running a similar Super Tourer #BMW-320i in historic racing. Tom came to the car’s home and collected it, taking the drive back down to think about what was needed. “Bearing in mind that the car was completely as last raced we were conscious that whatever we did to it had to be sympathetic to its history,” Tom told us. “I decided therefore to concentrate on bringing the car back to life slowly and with the emphasis on safety. We knew instantly, for example, that the tyres were the very ones it won Macau on! Given Steve Soper was going to be driving at Goodwood, we did not think that 14 year old racing rubber would go down well at all – so that was the first thing on the list!”
Once the car was safely in the GTS workshops, Tom and his team were able to get into the depths and quickly produced a short job sheet. “Basically, we needed to strip the engine, which is a full-on works #E36 318 2.0-litre with double injectors and then deal with the fuel system that still contained the hi-octane brew that had been used at Macau! This had turned to jelly so we were forced to strip out the fuel lines and the tank, replacing with new only where completely necessary and reusing parts once we had stripped, cleaned and reassembled them.
“In all truth, this car was as good as gold. That’s the advantage of an ex-works car – when it’s properly built to start with, it makes my job a lot easier down the line!” The hardest task was taking the engine apart and making completely certain that every component had been checked and re-checked. A few calls to BMW itself helped with this as, naturally, it is a pretty specialised lump. Whilst GTS was perfectly happy that it had the skills and ability to do the job in-house, it was reassuring to the company to have BMW Classic stood at its shoulder or at least on the other end of the phone to reassure the team that everything was being done correctly!
Tom again: “Realistically, there was nothing that we had not tackled before, but in this exact context we had to ensure that every box was ticked and every i and t dotted and crossed! The only real surprise for me was when I realised that the car had two identities! We soon worked out it was a Fina/Bastos car as well as the Macau winner and that really focused us in.” The car was tested shortly before Goodwood Festival of Speed in July 2011 and given a clean bill of health. It was delivered safely to the Cathedral Paddock there and when Steve Soper walked up to the car for his first practice run on the Friday morning he commented: “It was genuinely like stepping back in time. I’d not set eyes on the car, let alone driven it, since Macau in 1997 and both visually and dynamically nothing had changed. The seat, the controls, the read-outs and the all-important ‘feel’ of the car were exactly as I remembered them.“
Steve was driving two different cars at the Festival of Speed in 2011, the Watson’s car and an official BMW entry. Sadly, due to unforeseen mechanical maladies, the BMW entrant was unable to complete the full programme and so Steve used the Watson’s car to ascend the hill twice each day on Saturday and Sunday. “This car is important. Not just to BMW and motorsport, but also to me personally,” Steve told me at Goodwood. “Taking wins at Spa and then Macau in the exact same car is pretty remarkable. Spa is a team effort, of course, but Macau is just down to the driver to deliver out on the track. This car mastered both of those disciplines. It helped my CV massively and cemented my relationship with BMW – leading to my Team BMW Le Mans outing and my best-placed finish there of fourth in 1999. A really good car, with very few, if any vices. This car made Macau one of my absolute favourite circuits to race on.”
After Goodwood in 2011 the car, still carrying not just its Macau finishing livery but also its most appropriate Goodwood running number of 320, was returned to the collection in which it has lived for so much of its life since 1997. It has been turned over regularly, but not run on a track since.
In November 2014 it was suggested to the owner that he might like to let the greater world of car enthusiasts see the machine again and, whilst he was not keen to allow it to race in the revived Super Touring class, he was more than happy to let the car travel to Beaulieu and become part of the new motorsport exhibit. The car now sits in the main hall of the National Motor Museum, currently between a Bugatti Veyron and a Ford RS200. It looks in amazing, though race-used, condition and is still a genuine time warp as the pictures of the interior show. The labelling is just as it was; even the Lufthansa Cargo label hangs from the rear view mirror and the key-ring is its Bastos/Fina one, issued by BMW when it released the car in 1995 – it even still has its spare key on that ring!
This highly important and hugely successful 320i Super Touring car will be on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu until Easter 2016 at least. It sits proudly alongside some of the greatest machines from history, not just of motorsport, but of motoring itself, opposite the ‘Period Garage’ feature and, if the opening reception is anything to go by, it will be attracting a great deal of attention during its time in display.
The key, as identified by museum director Doug Hill is that “the Super Touring cars look exactly like road cars. Visitors can identify with them far more easily than with, say, a V16 BRM or a Lotus 49! It takes nothing away from Grand Prix winners or endurance racers, they have their well-earned laurel wreaths, but this BMW especially gives the illusion of ‘could have been me’ or perhaps more accurately ‘could have been my/our/dad’s car’. We are so pleased to have this fantastic car here with us and hope many visitors will enjoy seeing it over the next 18 months or so that it is on display with us.”
Many thanks to: Doug Hill and Heather Reid from Beaulieu Steve Soper, Tom Shepherd and Stuart Weir Dave Warburton and Ian Wade.
Aside from a few modern safety additions the car is completely original and just as it was when it came off the racetrack in 1997. It ran in this configuration for two seasons and was successful at both Spa and Macau.
The car now resides in the National Motoring Museum and it’s in good company. Amusingly, the car still has its original BMW keys and tags and Lufthansa cargo label.
Left: This is how the car would have looked in its previous Fina/Bastos livery from 1995. The car pictured isn’t actually Soper’s car though, this is the third placed Spa 24 Hour car from 1994 driven by Jean-Michel Martin, Patrick Slaus and Altfrid Heger.
“It was like stepping back in time. The seat, the controls and the all-important ‘feel’ of the car were exactly as I remembered them”
In 2011 the car was recommissioned and then reunited with Steve Soper, who remembers the car fondly. For its run at Goodwood it was given the appropriate number – #BMW-E36 320 – which it still displays today.
“I decided to concentrate on bringing the car back to life slowly with the emphasis on safety”
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- Post is under moderationTHE WORKS
Not many people can say they’ve built their perfect car but Henrik Schmidt has done just that with his show-stopping, S14-swapped, air-ride, two-door E30. Henrik Schmidt knew what he wanted from this build: an absolutely spectacular E30. Mission accomplished. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.
It’s fair to say that, when starting out with a project car, a lot of us will have some pretty grand plans, but the chances of all of those coming to fruition is small. Many of us dream about that blank-cheque build but there are a few for whom that dream build is a reality, and Henrik Schmidt is one such person.
Henrik’s off to a good start – he lives in Sweden, one of the world’s top ten happiest countries, and painting trucks for a living in a country that makes a heck of a lot of them means he’s not short of work. When he’s not busy spraying up a Scania, he’s enjoying his intoxicating #E30 , which amazingly is his first ever #BMW , purchased as a second car. It’s also his first ever project, which makes what he’s achieved all the more remarkable. “I bought the car because I loved the sound an M20 makes,” says Henrik. “I purchased it from a friend of mine and initially it just needed some rust taking care of but then it escalated. The bodywork was in pretty bad shape when I bought and if I was to do the same with my experience today, I would have changed the whole body.”
After taking the car for a quick spin, Henrik decided to get stuck in with his modifications, starting with the engine. He may have bought this #BMW-E30 because of his love for the #M20 straight-six, but that engine is long-gone and, in its place, sits an #S14 on velocity stacks, which we’re willing to bet makes an even more impressive noise. It is, without doubt, one of the great performance engines and one of BMW M’s best. There’s a real simplicity to it, a sort of old-fashioned charm – no plastic shrouds, no hiding the fact that it’s an engine. It’s even more prominent thanks to the fact that the bay is so incredibly clean – there are dirtier hospital wards out there. It’s about as clean an engine bay as you could hope to see and Henrik has done an amazing job of tucking and shaving it to within an inch of its life, making for an amazing centrepiece.
Obviously with an S14, the obvious suspension choice is… air-ride, right? That’s probably not the answer you were expecting, but it’s exactly what Henrik has opted for. It’s definitely a choice that will raise a few eyebrows, but seeing how awesome this E30 looks aired out, it’s easy to see why Henrik decided to go down this route. The AutoPilot V2 digital controller mounted in the cabin offers an incredible array of options when it comes to finetuning the ride height and eight presets, making it very versatile, ensuring that Henrik can switch between ride heights in an instant. The stance is spot-on and it delivers perfect tuck when it drops to the ground. There’s a lot more to the chassis than just the air-ride though and Henrik has done a lot of work beneath the surface. Up front, he’s fitted everything from the E36 M3 Evo, including the brakes, with Air Lift universal bags, while at the rear he’s opted for the #E36 Compact chassis components and Universal Sir suspension bags.
Wheel-wise, well, it’s no surprise to see a seriously modified E30 sitting on a set of #BBS RSs – they’re still one of the bestlooking wheels around and if you can afford a set, it would be very hard to resist the lure of this iconic wheel. “I thought about a lot of different wheels,” muses Henrik, “but the BBS RS is probably my favourite so these had to go on.” The 16” wheels look absolutely gorgeous, the gold centres working brilliantly with the red paintwork and the red centre caps marrying perfectly with the bodywork, while those polished lips are a feast for the eyes. BBS and E30? A match made in heaven.
Considering how much work has gone into the engine bay, the exterior is surprisingly simple, but that’s what Henrik wanted: “I like to keep things clean and simple so I decided on a sort of ‘original’ styling. I wanted the car to look like it could have left the factory this way,” he says, and the M Tech 2 kit is the perfect choice. The E30 doesn’t really need much help on the styling front, being such a classic shape, and the M Tech kit is really the perfect way to give it a little more visual oomph without spoiling those super-clean lines. And the Imola red paint is absolutely glorious, rich and deep and so very, very red – it’s the kind of colour on the kind of car that just makes you want an E30. Henrik has had a lot more work done on the inside though, fitting an #BMW-M3 interior, which has been treated to a full leather trim, carried out by his friend Simon Sjöqvist, finished in perforated black hide with contrasting red stitching and a Sparco steering wheel. It looks fantastic, the perforated leather is different in a good way, and the attention to detail is superb, making it a special place to be.
Speaking of special, we’ve not yet touched on what’s going on in the boot and we really need to because it’s probably one of the most intricate air-ride boot builds we’ve seen. For starters, the whole boot appears to have been finished in what appears to be some sort of marine decking, which is certainly different, with a sub built into an enclosure on one side and the polished air tanks mounted one on top of the other towards the back of the boot. Furthermore, when you lift the hatch, you’ll also find the amp and the twin Viar compressors. It’s certainly creative and it’s nice to see people doing different things with their boot builds, even if it’s something that might be a bit marmite. Either way it’s certainly going to get noticed and get people talking, and that’s always a good thing.
Henrik has not compromised on any aspect of this project and has, in his own words, built his dream car, adding: “I can honestly say that there is nothing I would change.” Building the dream has not been a quick or easy task and the car you see before you is the result of eight years worth of work, but it has been absolutely worth it. “The best bit of the whole build was when I got to drive the car for the first time in eight years. There isn’t much that can beat that feeling,” he grins and while he’s definitely not done with modifying, citing a turbo E30 or a split window VW camper as possible future projects, this dream build of an E30 is something he will be enjoying for a long time to come.
Boot build will certainly divide opinion with its decking theme, but a lot of work has gone into creating it.
M3 interior has been fitted and retrimmed in black leather with red stitching and matching doorcards.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E30
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 , #VEMS ECU, fully shaved and tucked engine bay. #Getrag 262 manual gearbox.
CHASSIS: 8x16” (front and rear) #BBS-RS wheels with polished lips and gold centres with 175/50 (front) and 195/45 (rear) #Yokohama tyres, #E36 M3 Evo chassis components and Air Lift Performance universal air ride setup (front), E36 Compact chassis components and UAS air bags (rear), Auto Pilot V2 management.
EXTERIOR: Imola red, M Tech 2 body kit, Hella smoked headlights.
INTERIOR: E30 M3 interior retrimmed in perforated black leather with red stitching with matching doorcards, Sparco steering wheel, twin air tanks in boot, twin Viair 444c compressors.
THANKS: Everyone involved in this project! I couldn’t have done it without you!
S14 has been cleaned up a treat and looks fantastic sitting in the super-clean shaved and tucked engine bay.
“The best bit of the whole build was when I got to drive the car for the first time in eight years. There isn’t much that can beat that feeling”
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- Post is under moderationKARMA CHAMELEON #M52 BMW
Last year, Lewis Maher won our Air Lift competition and he put the kit to good use, building this slick #E46 . Lewis Maher didn’t even want an E46 but some intangible attraction to this #BMW-323Ci-E46 along with some good karma has led him to build this unique brown-green dream machine… Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: Mathew Bedworth.
The chameleon is nature’s greatest trickster. Rather than running away like a cowardly gazelle or hopelessly trying to fend off attackers like those butterflies that have evolved to look poisonous, the chameleon casually hides in plain sight by simply altering the manner in which predators and prey perceive it. Well, I say ‘simply’, it’s probably taken the glacial pace of evolution quite some effort to develop colour-shifting cells that can be altered at whim but it’s a neat party trick, isn’t it? This Pantone chicanery has been aped by car manufacturers ever since they figured out that holding the spray gun at a different angle can alter the colour scheme depending on where you’re standing. #TVR became obsessed with the technique in the 2000s, and even the humble Nissan Micra and Primera were offered with flip paint, much to the facepalming of countless accident repair centres. And arguably the crowning achievement of this paint-based tomfoolery is the shade of brown you’re looking at here. Which, as logic dictates, is named ‘Irish green’. It looks brown from afar but morphs through a wide palette of green before turning gold in the sunlight.
As you can imagine, having this Volkswagen-sourced Irish Green paint slathered across the #BMW-E46 that you see before you, this is not so much hiding in plain sight as it is rubbing everyone’s noses in it. Look at all the other cars on the showground, all one-dimensional in their single-colour paint jobs. Yes, your mile-deep black or sumptuous burgundy may be polished to the nth degree, but does it change colour when you walk past it? No. You should really get some Irish Green in your life, it makes everything better.
“It’s a mind-boggling name for a shade of brown,” concedes Lewis Maher, the man with the keys in his hand. But this is all part of the fun, of course. Boggling minds is precisely what helps you stand out from the crowd. In the land of the ubiquitous, the double-take is king. “The car actually originally belonged to my mate Brendan Tillbrook, who’s in the paint trade,” Lewis explains. “He got the car in Topaz blue and decided to try out Irish green ready for the #2013 Players Classic show. Back then it sat on Porsche twists in a #Mercedes cream colour. That was the state I got it in and I wanted to keep the colour; unfortunately I got crashed into in December 2013 shortly after buying the car. The guy didn’t pay out and I didn’t want to go through the insurance so I ended up funding the repairs myself.
Luckily Steve Denton and the guys over at Stylehaus in Northampton were on hand to repair the damage and give the car a good tidy up all over for the #2014 show season.” What’s interesting about this stage of the story is that Lewis didn’t actually want an E46 in the first place. “I was never really a fan of them,” he shrugs. “My original plan was to buy an #E36 , or maybe even a Nissan S14, but one day Brendan came along offering me this car and there was just something about it. To this day I can’t tell you exactly what it was that drew me to it, it just has… something. It’s the first BMW I’ve actually had on the road, too! I briefly owned an #E30 project when I was a teenager but I had to get rid of it and, prior to this car, I mostly had VWs.” This makes sense.
The VW scene is arguably one of the key driving forces in the stance movement (there’s no point seeing it as a rival to the BMW stance scene, they’re such wildly different offerings that happen to intersect here and there), and it certainly explains his enthusiasm for that weird paint shade. But anyway, back to the preparations for the 2014 season. “I left the car with Steve and Ash Hinton from Allstance in January, before I went back to phase one training in the army,” says Lewis. “I was going to be away for a while and just said to them that I wanted it all sorted. And it was around this time that I entered Performance #BMW ’s competition for the Air Lift suspension kit… and I won!” This radical change in the very being of the #323Ci provided just the impetus and momentum that Lewis and Allstance needed to progress the car to the next level. After all, it’s one thing to buy someone else’s show car, but it’s quite another to make it your own.
At this point, however, it’s probably important to point out that the phrase ‘show car’ only relates to one facet of the E46’s function. “The car’s used for daily commuting. I run around wherever I need to go as well as getting to shows in it,” Lewis explains. Which is just the way it should be, and is all the more impressive given the aggressive chassis mods and super-spotless rims he’s running.
“I couldn’t have been more excited about winning the Air Lift suspension and got straight on the phone to Ash to get it fitted,” Lewis continues. “I was actually on the train home for a long weekend break from training when I got the news, so that weekend I popped over to Stylehaus, with the help of my mate Travis Price, to go and see Ash and Steve and share the news. It just so happened that Ash introduced me to a guy named Aaron who knew of a set of wheels that [Players linchpin] Carl Taylor was getting sent over that he thought would work. This set of wheels happened to be the VCEs…” The Rotiform VCE, to the uninitiated, is a forged design that evokes the motorsport rims of retro rally cars and homologation specials (think Delta Integrale or Escort Cosworth Monte Carlo, that whole Compomotive/Speedline vibe) while ballooning the dimensions and adding a frisson of shimmer that shifts the race look into somewhere between VIP and OEM+. And they look pretty badass, do they not?
“I saw them in a picture on Aaron’s phone and immediately knew I wanted them on my car,” Lewis recalls. “I had no clue what they would look like, I just wanted them! So the wheels and air-ride arrived a month or so later and Ash and Steve began cracking on ready for April when I was due to collect it. They quickly realised that the Rotiforms wouldn’t fit without some arch work but, naturally, I said ‘just get them to fit!’ which they did!” And what a cracking job they’ve done. But let’s not forget that behind the glitz and glamour, we’re still looking at a daily driver. With this in mind, Lewis sourced a complete M-Sport interior in cream leather from eBay, along with complementary steering wheel. It’s important to have these little luxuries when you’re spending so much time hammering the thing to work and back. The Eonon double DIN stereo helps here, too, while the full wooden trim provides a touch of class to sit neatly alongside the cream cowhide. “I always thought wood was for granddads until I saw how it looked in this car!” Lewis laughs.
This holistic approach spreads to the exterior as well. Sure, the paintwork is unique and alluring but there’s more to this build than simply slapping a wacky hue on a stock body. While the arches have been inevitably massaged to squish the Rotiforms under there – rolled and smoothed, with the rears subtly widened by 10mm apiece – there are myriad details to discover; the more you look, the more you see. Both bumpers have been fully smoothed, along with the wings and bootlid. You’ll spot a glistening gloss black finish on the wiper arms, scuttle panel, grilles, and wing mirror back plates, while the carbonfibre BMW roundels are counterpointed by chrome window surrounds. The devil, as they say, is in the detail.
Lewis’s thinking behind this build is very much like the eyes of the chameleon. The big lizard’s peepers move independently, meaning that it can keep an eye both on predators and prey; similarly Lewis can focus on what’s right for the car’s aesthetics while also retaining its usability. The fun part is when both of these approaches align: for the chameleon, it means stereoscopic vision; for this E46, it’s a win-win fusion of delectable aesthetics and practical rearwheel drive thrills. And that’s very good karma, isn’t it?
DATA FILE #BMW-323Ci
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5-litre straightsix #M52TUB25 , #Getrag #323i gearbox and stock diff.
CHASSIS: 8.5x18” ET35 (front & rear) #Rotiform VCE wheels with 20mm adaptors, 215/35 (front & rear) #Nankang NS2s, Air Lift Performance digital air-ride with camber-adjustable top mounts, stock 323i brakes.
EXTERIOR: VW Irish Green paint, fully smoothed bumpers, wings and bootlid, gloss black details (wiper arms, scuttle panel, rear bumper grille, front grilles, wing mirror back plates), chrome window trims, carbon-fibre BMW roundels, rear arches widened 10mm, arches rolled and smoothed all-round.
INTERIOR: Cream leather M Sport interior, M Sport steering wheel, Eonon double DIN head unit, wood trim.
THANKS: A massive thanks to my mum and her partner for putting up with the car, and also helping me with all the little things getting done on it! My dad for helping with the clutch when I needed to change it and all we had was a jack and two axle stands (for a 50-year-old he still has the knack of working on cars!), Ashley at Allstance, Aaron for helping us get it running for Players, Carl Taylor, Steve and the crew at Stylehaus, all my friends that have helped in every way with the build, Travis Price for holding me to my word and making me build this epic car, Josh and Dan for helping lift the engine when I needed to get it out, Jason Manton for all the valeting work, and Matthew Bedworth for the images and keeping me going with this car. And finally, a huge thanks to my girlfriend Samantha for putting up with me and my addiction to the car. If it wasn’t for her the car wouldn’t have got to where it is now!
18” Rotiform VCEs look fantastic on this E46, especially when combined with the Air Lift kit.
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- Post is under moderationWELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD #BMW-335i-E90
With WTCC-inspired styling and 530whp, this #E90 #BMW-335i is a force to be reckoned with. Justin Gomba’s E90 pays homage to the bullish aggression of the #WTCC series, then cranks the horsepower up to 11. And it’s all fully road-legal… Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: Watson Lu.
Touring Cars rock, there’s no two ways about it. Pick any era from Touring Car history and you’ll find charismatic drivers doing impressive things in cars that look like stickered-up versions of your neighbourhood’s daily drivers, probably while amusingly clattering into everybody in the vicinity in a bloodthirsty rush for the apex. Look at the inaugural #1958 season of the British Touring Car Championship, in which Jack Sears and Tommy Sopwith ended the year on equal points, so the winner was decided by a head-to-head sprint around Brands Hatch in a pair of Riley One-Point-Fives. Or last year, when Rob Austin threw his Audi up the strip at Santa Pod against a 500hp VW splittie, just for a laugh. Or the 1992 season finale, when Cleland, Hoy, Harvey and Soper all got very physical indeed, ending in acres of crumpled steel and all manner of bruised egos…
The Supertouring era of the 1990s has a certain relevance here, in fact. The 2.0-litre displacement cap meant that teams weren’t campaigning M3s like they were in the #E30 days; no, an #E36 BTCC racer would be a 318is or, later, a #320i – and not always in twodoor guise. Non-M3 more-doors gained inexorable race car kudos from this, and that ethos carries over to the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) series too. The formula is simple: take a commuter-spec car, pour a staggering amount of R&D into making it a formidable circuit racer, then shift a load of road cars off the back of it. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday, an idea as old as motor racing itself. How this manifests itself in the WTCC is cars that look from afar like the ones you’d see pootling along in the middle lane of the motorway, but up close turn out to be fearsomely wide, aggressively low, and shouty.
You can understand why a person might wish to transmute this race car chic into a daily-driven road car, can’t you? And that’s just what Justin Gomba was thinking when the green shoots of inspiration planted themselves in his brain, before ultimately sprouting, growing, and developing into the mile-wide knee-trembler you see before you. “I wanted something different, something nobody else would have,” he explains, and that’s a sentiment we hear time and time again. There’s a lot of sense in that.
Now, this may not be an M3, but the #E90 - #335i is certainly no slouch in stock form. That twin-turbo #N54 will happily kick out the thick end of 306hp all day long, which is more than enough to keep the average commuter or travelling salesman entertained. Hell, that’s as much as a #Ferrari-348 , which is a good fact to have in your arsenal for ‘mine’s-bigger-than-yours’ pub debates. But Justin had bolder aspirations, as you may well have spotted from the underbonnet shots. This is no stock #N54 . Indeed, the depth of the rabbit hole is measured by those angry hybrid snails from RB Turbo, which work in conjunction with an LTMW front-mount intercooler, Injen cold air feed, bespoke GIAC management, and a custom big-bore exhaust setup to unleash a frankly disturbing 530hp at the wheels. The stock automatic transmission is beefy enough to cope, although a fairly industrial Quaife LSD has been drafted in simply to keep the Tarmac from imploding in reverence at the sheer awesomeness of the thing.
You’ll no doubt have noticed reference to LTMW there. To regular readers, the name LT Motorwerks will be more than familiar; the El Monte, California-based outfit is well established in the game of taking hot BMWs (and other brands now) and making them hotter. What Long Tran and his team don’t know about fusing cutting-edge technology with up-to-the-minute styling trends could be Sharpied on to the back of a postage stamp. The company’s very genesis is grounded in Long’s #2006 #E90 – it’s the car that inspired him to start the business, and he’s a long-standing source of knowledge on E90post. com – so there are few places more appropriate for Justin to haul his 335i to.
In line with Justin’s aspiration to have ‘something nobody else would have’, his investigations led him to Vollkommen Design – a company which, rather helpfully, can be found in the same part of El Monte as LTMW – and the range of fibre-reinforced plastic body addenda that it has developed. Specifically, its World Touring Car Championship-style E90 kit, comprising hugely broadened bumpers, racy skirts and, most impressively, steroidally expanded wings all round. Just take a moment to appreciate the sheer girth of the thing, it really is quite incredible; sure, we’re somewhat spoiled in today’s tuner scene by the likes of Liberty Walk, Rocket Bunny and all those advocates of horizon-broadening bodystyling (both literally and cerebrally), but harnessing the functional width of a race car is an entirely separate approach. It feeds into the same fashionable arena, but its roots are planted in something that has existed in motorsport from time immemorial, stretching the body around the grippier footprint.
Oh, and since we’re talking footprint, let’s take a peek under those super-wide arches, shall we? Justin’s riding the old-skool train here with a set of timeless BBS LMs, artfully crafted by Floss Design, which neatly dovetail with the racer aesthetic. In this instance, we’re looking at 10x18s at the front, and a whopping 13” width apiece at the back axle, which is more than enough to ensure that the swollen power figures translate into effective ground-covering. But it can’t hurt to take a belt-and-braces approach, so he’s chosen to wrap a set of Toyo R888s around them – a tyre so sticky that it pretty much melts just from the force of you looking at the sparse tread pattern.
Again, it’s all about the race car vibe. And the rims look ace bursting forth from those muscular curves, don’t they? “It only took LTMW about a week to fit the whole lot,” Justin reveals, which is testament to how proficient it is at churning out kickass motors conveyer-belt-like from its Californian theatre of dreams. But it also speaks volumes for the quality of the kit. “The front fenders are one-piece, bolt-on parts that attach to the stock #BMW mountings,” he explains, “and the bumpers and skirts use the factory locations too.” Where Long’s team had their skills truly tested was in getting the rear wings right, as their fitment involves cutting back the stock wings, then attaching the Vollkommen units over the top. The finish is flawless, though, and thanks to a set of KW Clubsport coilovers (helpfully aided by Phantom air cups – a bagless air-ride system – to help get over speedhumps and suchlike), the stance is bang-on as well. Not just show low, but motorsport low.
Nothing exceeds like excess, as the old saying goes, and simply overhauling the silhouette would never be enough for a man with Justin’s magpie eye, so he’s paid a lot of attention to the details too. Both ends of the E90 have come in for a refresh; the nose wears a set of LCI headlights that have been resculpted by OSS Designs to resemble the lights found on #M4-DTM racers (arguably the most brutal and certainly the most costly Touring Car series), while the tail enjoys a CSL-alike ducktail bootlid from Duke Dynamics, flanked by more LCI jewels. Form and function meet in the interior too, as he’s sourced a set of pukka #BMW-M-Performance seats to keep his kidneys tightly hugged through the twisties, with the rear seats trimmed to match. Yes, the car still has rear seats; while it was undoubtedly tempting to junk the interior entirely and stuff it with FIA-approved monkey bars, Justin’s opted to continue the practical ethos of having four doors by ensuring that he can offer passengers a comfortable place to sit before he scares the hell out of them. And you can’t accuse him of not taking the thing to its ultimate evolution. “I have to admit I never intended to take it this far,” he says, a look of starry-eyed whimsy on his face. It’s so often the case, isn’t it? The act of modifying a BMW seldom results in half-measures or compromise. This 335i is the best that it can be. Those StopTech brakes and M3 chassis gizmos make sure of that, optimising the otherworldly power from the RB-boosted motor, and yet there’s still room for the weekly shop – what more could you want?
Arguably the coolest thing about this project is that it fulfils that little dream that always pops into your head when you’re at a race track: ‘I wonder what would happen if I peeled the stickers off that and used it on the road?’ The answer is the searing red streak that you see here, prowling menacingly through SoCal, a pit-straight refugee with a bad temper and a stableful of horses. The fact that it’s significantly more powerful than a WTCC racer is merely the cherry on a very naughty cake; couple that with the luxurious finish that LTMW have painted in broad strokes across the whole canvas, and Justin’s dream of having ‘something different’ comes alive with unrivalled flair and panache. A grand tourer and a Touring Car in one.
DATA FILE #BMW-E90 335i
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 , #RB hybrid turbos, #LTMW intercooler, Injen cold air intake, TiAL dump valve, GIAC management, AR Design custom downpipes and 3.5” VR Speed Factory exhaust, six-speed automatic transmission, Quaife LSD.
CHASSIS: 10x18” (front) and 13x18” (rear) BBS LM wheels with brushed bronze centres with 295/30 (front) and 335/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, StopTech Trophy BBK with six-pot calipers with 355mm discs (front) and four-pot calipers with 335mm discs (rear), KW Clubsport coilover kit, Phantom rear air cups, M3 lower control arms, anti-roll bars and camber adjustment arms.
EXTERIOR: Vollkommen Design WTCC wide-body bumpers, wings, skirts and rear door extensions, CSLstyle Duke Dynamics bootlid, gloss black roof, LCI tail-lights, LCI headlights modified by OSS Designs, M3 mirrors.
INTERIOR: BMW M Performance seats, gear knob and steering wheel with LED display, Alcantara gaiters, rear seats trimmed to match.
THANKS: Long and crew at LT Motorwerks, George at KW Suspension, Darren at Vollkommen Design, James at Floss Design, Luis at OSS Designs, StopTech, Kennedy at Platinum VIP, Tiago at VRSF, #RB-turbo , Bernardo Pena, Jasper Li, James Lam, Felix and Watson Lu, and my beautiful wife Erica.
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- Post is under moderationChris Naguit is a man who likes to elevate his game with every new project he takes on, and there’s no better challenge than basing your entire build around the marmite of all BMW interior colours: cinnamon. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Peter Wu.
Chris Naguit is well-known on the West Coast #BMW tuning scene for being the founder and owner of MFest and MFestForum. com. However, he’s equally wellknown for his somewhat controversial colour combinations (his yellow G-Power E60 M5 springs to mind!) and designs that are not for the faint of heart. Aside from the wide-body styling, however, this car breaks the mould somewhat in that Chris decided to keep the somewhat mundane Carbon black hue so that he could take on the challenge of trying to tie a Cinnamon colour interior into the theme of the project.
If you’re from California – or an avid reader of Performance BMW – Chris Naguit will no doubt be a familiar name to you. You may have read about his Imola red supercharged E39 M5 in our June 2011 issue. If not, let’s introduce you. Chris has always loved cars and as he grew older he became fascinated with how manufacturers designed their cars. This naturally led him down the path of wanting to personalise his own. Once he finished college and joined the world of work he was able to save up and, little by little, modify his first car: an #E36 #M3 nonetheless!
It wasn’t long before he was hooked. He started venturing onto forums, then attending car shows. That was just the very beginning however. In 2008 he decided to launch his own show, MFest, which has quickly grown to become a key event – not just for M enthusiasts but for people that appreciate the ultimate in performance, quality and style from other high-end European car brands. Seven years on and Chris now hosts up to 30 events a year (including track days and dealer tours) not just in the US but in Europe and Asia, too.
“I think it was the passion of those enthusiasts I spoke to online in the early days and shared ideas with that really got me interested. That, and the feeling you get after you’ve completed your first project. The excitement of seeing your design come to life is a damn good one. Whether people like it or not, it’s a fantastic way of being able to express your ideas and make a statement that anything is possible,” explains the Santa Monica resident. With a few M cars already under his belt, Chris still hadn’t taken on an E46 M3 – in his eyes a classic model that will go down as one of the best BMWs ever built. The car came from a fellow MFest member so it was in pristine condition and the first objective for Chris was to see what improvements could be made under the bonnet. And what better environment to test the car than the race track?
Although the engine proved mechanically strong Chris thought it was slightly lacking in power. Little wonder when you’re used to building 500hp plus projects! With a #Vortech V3-Si Trim supercharger and Macht Schnell Performance Headers, which act as a direct replacement for the restrictive OEM items, together with a Supersprint X-Pipe and full exhaust system, Chris now has 575hp to play with.
To haul all that new power in, Chris has swapped out the original brakes – known for being bad – for the #Brembo GT kit. With six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) calipers clamped to 355x32mm and 345x28mm two-piece slotted discs respectively, it’s fair to say he now has greater stopping performance, and more confidence to drive the car hard.
This car isn’t just about substance, though, it’s also got a hell of a lot style. Outside, the original rear aches have been reworked in sheet metal and are now 2” wider either side yet work in perfect harmony with the original lines of the body. The rear bumper – from Seibon (together with the front bumper and carbon fibre bonnet) – now flaunts vents. It looks clean but aggressive at the same time, especially combined with that hunkered down posture (courtesy of a custom coilover kit) and the air-to-water charge cooler system peering through the black mesh up front. The end result is perhaps something more akin to how the #E46 M3 should have looked!
Tying together the outside of the car to the interior – the most crucial part of this project – are the wheels. Measuring 9” in width at the front and a respectable 12.5” outback, Chris asked HRE to custom finish his 19” 893R wheels with titanium bolts, gunmetal centres, brushed bronze barrel and a copper lip – colour-matched to the interior’s Cinnamon leather, of course.
Shod in 245/35 and 295/30 Toyo T1S respectively they tuck into those pronounced arches perfectly. Inside, the original leather is obviously the star of the show but some of the ‘soft furnishings’ have been upgraded to include a suede headliner and pillars, together with MFest floor mats and racing pedals to give it a more premium feel.
Although the entire project took just two months to do, it hasn’t come without its problems, but Chris likes to take a philosophical approach to these things, as he explains: “You will always encounter negatives, especially on a project of this scale, but you will always get past the growing pains. It’s the rewards at the end which make me smile every time, because my ideas have materialised to become a reality. I guess I always anticipate problems and that way I can work through them.” The car made its debut at MFest The SuperShow and people – albeit surprised by the subtle colour scheme – loved the styling and the way the lip of the wheels matched with the colour of the interior. “I’m not precious about my car and I invite people to drive it to see how it feels. As a result of that a few of my friends have gone onto buy E46 M3s themselves. It’s easy to see why; it is such a complete car and one that you can enjoy whether on the street or track,” he explained.
And what can we expect next? “We’ll, I’ve just finished designing a few cars actually, including an #M4 that I hope to bring out soon. Whatever I do, whether that’s putting on events or building cars, I want to push the boundaries each year. I never stop learning and the passion never leaves me either. It’s what keeps me excited but I always keep in mind ‘the four Fs’: Form Follows Function and, most importantly, Fun,” Chris laughs. We couldn’t agree more.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 #BMW-E46
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #VF-Engineering Stage 2 supercharger kit, Macht Schnell exhaust manifolds, AFE intake, ECU remap, Supersprint X-Pipe and full exhaust system, UUC short-shift kit.
CHASSIS: 9x19” (front) and 12.5x19” (rear) HRE 893R wheels with titanium bolts, gunmetal centres, brushed bronze barrels and copper lips (colour-coded to match the interior) with 245/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Toyo T1 tyres. MFest custom coilover kit, UUC polyurethane bushings, Eibach anti-roll bars and camber arms, and Dinan strut brace. Brembo GT brake kit, including six-piston calipers with 355x32mm two-piece slotted discs (front) and four-piston calipers with 345x28mm two-piece slotted discs (rear).
EXTERIOR: Seibon front and rear bumper and carbon fibre bonnet, rear arches widened by 2” with custom vents in rear bumper, Huper Optik 50% ceramic film by STM, MFest custom roundels and black kidney grille, OE Carbon black paint.
INTERIOR: OE Cinnamon leather, headliner and pillars trimmed in black suede, custom half roll-cage, MFest floor mats and racing pedals, JL Audio speakers all-round.
THANKS: Moe at THE SHOP for the custom wide-body kit, MFest members Mert Contapay and Richard Cheng for fitting all of the chassis upgrades, Hann from STM, Mark Osoteo, Seibon Carbon, my MFest family for always supporting our builds and our sponsors for always trusting us and giving us the creative freedom to do such unique builds, Kim and my family for always being there for me.
Cinnamon interior inspired the wheel colour and various details around the car and certainly adds some colour.
VF-Engineering Stage 2 supercharger kit looks menacing under the bonnet and whips up a mighty 575hp storm.
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