- Post is under moderationORIENT EXPRESS #BMW-M3-E46-HPF-stage-2.5
With an Eastern influence to its outlandish styling this 730whp #HPF-turbo #E46 M3 is as wild as they come. Patrick Estudillo’s #BMW-E46 #M3 has enjoyed a lot of different looks over the last nine years, and this latest big-horsepower evolution is really stirring up online controversy with its unique Japanese aesthetic. Haters gonna hate… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Peter Wu.
It’s a fairly well documented fact that beef and mustard are tip-top partners. A juicy hunk of pink-in-the-middle British beef is exponentially enhanced by a healthy dollop of English mustard. Aha, but consider this… what if you were to remove the yellow dab from the plate and replace it with something green instead – a smudge of fresh wasabi. Eh? Trust me, it works magnificently. A slab of European meat with a soupçon of Japanese embellishment. How very modern.
This idea, in essence, is what informs the somewhat unmissable M3 that’s posing aggressively before the lens today. Not that owner Patrick Estudillo based the concept on a system of experimenting with condiments; no, he’s blazed a trail that’s now rife in the modifying scene, fusing Western automobiles with the upgrades of the East. There are few cars more staunchly Euro than an #E46 #BMW , but the more you pick over this build, the more JDM mods you unearth.
Pat, however, is no slave to the scene. He’s been building up to this since he was a kid. “I started into the car scene with my first car back when I was a late junior in high school,” he recalls, grinning as his mind fondly strolls back to the beginning of an era. “My parents handed down to me their BV, and I immediately started doing my research. Being in high school still, the only income I had was an occasional allowance and money received at Christmas and so on; modifying happened slowly, but by the time I reached my second year I had a mildly modified car – I fitted some 19” Racing Hart wheels, full JIC aero, coilovers, exhaust, and racing seats.”
So far, so JDM. Interesting use of the word ‘mildly’ there too. But hang on… where does Bavaria’s propeller fit into all this? “The E46 M3 really captured my imagination when it was released in #2001 ,” he continues. “I immediately fell in love with it – I knew I had to own one someday! The lines of the car, the aggressive factory styling, and respectable power caught my attention, and I soon became obsessed. I would research about the car day in and day out; by the end of my second year in college, my parents convinced me to sell my car and to wait till I finished school to get the M3.”
All sounds very level-headed. And by fastforwarding a while into the future, as is the narrative gift of hindsight, we find Pat taking delivery of a manual 2006 M3, #Alpine white on Imola red – one of the last few E46 M3s before production of the E92 began.
“Many people see it as all show and no go, but little do they know what’s under the hood! The changes in their facial expression when they hear the turbo spooling is priceless”
“I was euphoric! I couldn’t take my eyes off it,” he beams. “I sat in my garage for hours every day just staring. I admired every line of the car. I would pop the hood, sit inside the car, practice shifting. Pretty much the same feeling as a kid on Christmas morning after receiving the gift that he wished for!”
So, after all of these years of yearning, was Pat content to get out there and drive the wheels off the thing, fulfilling those fantasies that had been building up to the acquisition of his dream car? Well, yes and no… we’ve already established that he’s got a certain keenness for the aftermarket: “I started modifying it the first week I had it!” he laughs. Over the last nine years, this M3’s seen more makeovers than a stableful of Kardashians, and it all began in that first gleeful week of ownership with a set of Volk TE37s, coilovers, CSL-style bootlid and diffuser, and a custom exhaust. With such an eager start, where on Earth could he go from there? Well, nine years is a long time for a modifier as keen as this.
“Before long, the car made it to the SEMA show where it received a sponsorship for audio,” he says modestly. “As you can see, the audio has stayed in the car since then. But I was starting to itch for some power at that point and I decided to run with VFEngineering’s Stage 1 supercharger system, and shortly after upgraded to Stage 2 to make a decent 525whp. A year later though, being almost content, I unexpectedly had a run-in with a car that was set up similarly to my car – same wheels, same CSL trunk, same GTR hood, same colour, same interior – in fact, for a moment I thought it was mine and I gave chase! But after a brief encounter I realised it wasn’t my car, and decided that I had to do something to stop mine looking like every other M3 out there. I then set out to redo the whole thing, and began toying with the idea of adding Japanese parts.”
An incident such as this must be very jarring – having put so much time, effort, care and expense into making your car personal and unique, it would surely come as a cosmic slap in the face to discover that someone else has been singing from the same hymn sheet. A psychologist would probably make a great deal of how one might retreat into one’s shell, regress to the safe haven of childhood and what-have-you; whether or not that theory holds water, the indisputable truth is that Pat was now plundering his youthful experiences with JDM tuning to revamp his BMW.
The most obvious of such additions sits under the arches: those improbably broad Work wheels (12.5” at the back, no less!). It’s getting gradually easier to source Works outside of Japan – Work Wheels USA is an ever-growing concern; Driftworks can find them for you in the UK – but they still remain a quintessentially Oriental ingredient. Add to this the oh-so on-trend Takata harnesses and Key’s Racing steering wheel and you find the drift scene spilling its juice all over the E46 like a ripe daidai fruit. Perhaps the most boisterous and in-your-face Japanese addition, however, is that colossal, towering Voltex carbon-fibre spoiler with its custom chassis-mounted aluminium risers. “That wing gets a lot of hate online,” he smirks. But you get the feeling he likes it that way.
Further exterior mods followed in the form of carbon-fibre canards, rear diffuser and a front splitter. By this point, however, Pat was jonesing for more power. You can never accuse the E46 M3 of being all-show-no-go, particularly when you’ve tweaked the engine as much as he had, but nevertheless he was feeling the withdrawal symptoms.
“I sought out HorsepowerFreaks for its turbo system and ended up with the Stage 2 kit,” Pat nonchalantly recalls. “At that time, the car made around 600whp on methanol and C16 fuel; the feel of the power the turbo produced was almost like night and day – with the supercharger, power was instantaneous, so after a while you sort of get used to the increase and notice it less. With the turbo, it’s always a rush when you go wide-open-throttle and the turbo spools up!” It was at this point in the car’s evolution that Pat threw in a roll-cage and a buckets-andharnesses combo, dove headfirst into the show scene and… well, decided that he wanted to change it all again. Bit of a recurring theme, that, isn’t it?
“HPF came out with some revisions to its turbo systems and I seized the opportunity by sending my car to it again, having it build the motor and upgrade the turbo to a P6766 with open wastegate. It made serious power after that! Around 560whp on 91 octane, 620whp on 110+ octane, 690whp on 91+ methanol, and 730whp on 110+ methanol. The thirst for power was real, and with the new-found increases, the clutch was upgraded to Clutchmasters’ bronze twin-plate race unit, the axles were upgraded, as was the bracing. With the motor and drivetrain addressed, I then came across a deal for a Flossman GTR wide-body that I couldn’t pass up…”
Never one to keep things mainstream, even the modifications get modified, and upon receiving the Flossman kit he set about shaving, smoothing, venting, and widening the arches even further. With it all neatly fitted to the M3, thoughts turned to colours. “I love white, but I wanted to go brighter,” Pat recalls, “so the new paint is actually a Lexus LFA shade, white Nova Pearl; a very bright white with a very subtle pearl.”
This was the time at which the colossal rear wing arrived, Pat taking inspiration from Japanese tuner BenSopra and having custom brackets crafted to mount to the chassis but look as if they’re merely perching on the bumper. The Work rims were thrown into the mix, as was a complex AirREX digitally controlled airbag suspension setup – something that has caused almost as much consternation among the shouting online masses as that wing (oh, and don’t even get the internet started on the perceived weight penalties of all of that audio in a road-racer).
“The current state of the car is an absolute love it or absolute hate it,” Pat admits. “I’ve received many compliments as well as many criticisms. A lot of the hate comes from the internet, when a picture of the car has been posted – many have said it’s overdone, the wing’s too big, it’s ugly, it’s a waste, and have even gone as far as to throw insults at me. They try to dictate how a car should be built, and how mine is how it shouldn’t be done.”
But he’s smiling as he says this. The flipside is that for every hater, there’s a raft of fans congratulating him for his out-the-box thinking and flawless execution. “What seems to particularly impress people is the power it makes,” he says. “Many people see it as all show and no go, but little do they know what’s under the hood! The changes in their facial expression when they hear the turbo spooling or the sound of the wastegate is priceless. And overall the reactions are different in the real world – there’s more negativity online, more positivity in person.”
Of course, these are just other people’s opinions; it’s nice to have the admiration and respect of your peers in the scene, but Pat has always built his car the way he wants it to be. With its mix of big horsepower, unique looks, form-and-function interior and shouty audio, as well as that killer combo of Works and air-ride, this M3 is a true international polymath. German heart, American soul, and enough wasabi to make your eyes water.
HPF-built engine boasts an insane amount of work, as you can see below, and can make 730whp on the right fuel.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 #S54
ENGINE: HorsepowerFreaks-built 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #HPF stage 2.5 turbo system, Precision T6766 billet wheel turbo, ARP L19 head studs, HPF third-gen forged pistons with heavy duty wrist pins, HPF connecting rods, HPF torque-plated head, ported and polished head, HPF diamond-cut cylinder walls, HKS twin SSQ blowoff valves, HKS purple BOV insert, Tial MVR wastegate, HPF ceramic coated turbo manifold, HPF 4” thick x 24” wide polished front-mount intercooler with polished intercooler piping, HPF 3x3 silicon couplers with T-bolt clamps, HPF polished intake manifold, HPF Stage 4 carbon-fibre intake, HPF methanol tank, FJO methanol fogger and pump, HPF stainless methanol line fittings, Stage 2 methanol solenoid and harness, HPF Stage 3 fuel system, Walbro fuel pump, HPF fuel filter, HPF RC 1100cc high-impedance injectors, Denso Iridium spark plugs, HPF remote oil pump, HPF stainless high temp oil feed and return lines, HPF Stage 3 downpipe, HPF open wastegate dump tube, HPF engine management system and wiring harness, HPF factory DME connector, HPF large core oil cooler, HPF performance fan clutch, AEM 3.5bar map sensor, HPF engine mounts, JIC Cross stainless steel Section 2 exhaust piping, Agency Power rear silencer with 80mm titanium tips, Rogue Engineering brushed aluminium oil cap, VRS two-tone carbon-fibre engine cover, carbon-fibre DME cover and ballast cover, Bimmian chrome oil cap.
TRANSMISSION: Clutch Masters FX850 Bronze twinplate clutch/flywheel, Autosolutions short-shift kit (40% reduction), DSS Stage 5 axles.
CHASSIS: 9.5x20” (front) and 12.5x20” (rear) Work VS-XX wheels with charcoal faces and hairline brushed finish barrels with 255/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1S tyres. Renn Spec stud conversion, 326Power extended wheel nuts, AirREX performance airbag suspension with digital controlled air compressor, threegallon air tank, custom boot enclosure mount for compressor and tank and electronic solenoids, Dixis titanium front strut brace, Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, Radenergie carbon-fibre adjustable rear control arms, HPF eight-point chassis brace, Turner polyurethane front and rear control arm bushings, Brembo GT eight-piston front calipers, Brembo GT two-piece 380mm cross-drilled front discs, custom brushed aluminium rotor hats with custom engraving, Brembo GT four-piston rear calipers, Brembo GT 345mm cross-drilled rear discs, custom brake caliper brackets by Oink Fabrications, brake calipers painted green, stainless steel braided lines.
EXTERIOR: Lexus LFA white Nova Pearl paint, Flossman GTR wide-body kit (including front bumper, front wings with shaved vents, side skirts, rear wings extended 1”, rear bumper), custom front and rear wing vent slits, VRS carbon-fibre moulded rear diffuser, custom-moulded Hamann brake duct covers, Seibon carbon-fibre GTR bonnet, Voltex Type-V 1600mm carbon-fibre GT Wing with custom aluminium wing risers (chassis-mounted), Voltex carbon-fibre front canards, custom front chassis-mounted race splitter, Varis three-piece carbon-fibre race diffuser, shaved side mouldings and side markers, Aerocatch bonnet locks, #DEPO smoked corner lenses, ACS roof spoiler, matt black side wing grilles, matt black front kidney grilles, carbon-fibre front grilles.
INTERIOR: #Recaro ASM RS-G Ruby Edition bucket seats, Recaro JDM mounting hardware, Takata MPH-340 harnesses and gel foam pads, Key’s Racing Deep Corn steering wheel, #MOMO steering wheel adapter hub, 9K Racing black anodised quick-release hub, custom black suede headlining and pillar covers with red stitching, custom four-point roll-cage (powdercoated white) with removable harness bar, carbon-fibre ashtray and console overlays, OEM Euro centre tray, Hamann aluminium gear shifter, LeatherZ Imola red/black stitch gaiters, Bimmian brushed aluminium handbrake handle, Bimmian brushed aluminium pedals, Defi BF Series oil pressure gauge, Defi control module, AEM Digital AFR gauge, AEM Digital boost gauge, HPF steering column gauge pod, HPF knock siren, HPF race mode switch with key and LED indicator, HPF methanol activation switch, polished fire extinguisher.
AUDIO: #Memphis-Audio M-class 6.5” front speakers, 6.5” rear speakers, tweeters, 12” subwoofers, amplifiers, 1 Farad capacitor and wiring; custom fibreglass Autofashion sub box, custom plexiglass amp enclosure, subwoofer and amp enclosure wrapped in Imola red leather, blue LED boot lights, custom fibreglass bootlid enclosure wrapped in Imola red leather, 15” flat panel monitor, McIntosh power meter, 3M Dinoc vinyl trim.
THANKS: My mum, dad, brother Allan, girlfriend Jade, Mike Ma at M2-Motoring, Freddy and Elroy at AutoFashionUSA, Lalo at Dripset, Rob at Oink Fabrications, Marshall at AirREX, Stan at Toyo Tires, Logan at Work Wheels USA, Tommy at GoTuningUnlimited, Hung at Lumion HID and to Team Legacy for all the support.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNORTHERN SOUL #BMW-M3-Cabrio-E46
The combination of M3 and air-ride might seem strange to some folk, but not to the owner of this clean example. Haters will continue to express their displeasure, but bagged performance BMs are here to stay… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andy Starkey.
I could start this feature by saying that the #BMW-E46 M3 isn’t exactly a car you’d think would lend itself to an air-ride setup, but considering how many high performance BMWs we’ve seen being bagged of late, it doesn’t really apply any more. I’ve already expressed my love for this #BMW model when writing about the purple example earlier on in the magazine so I won’t repeat myself, but I will say that they’re fantastic cars, fantastic value and in convertible form, have that little extra something that gives the car an additional facet to its character.
I’m not a fan of convertibles, but you can’t argue that, roof down, the #E46 #BMW-M3 is a seriously clean-looking drop-top and this is a very clean example. It belongs to a young electrician from Lancashire by the name of Matthew Kendall and considering this is his first BMW, he’s done a cracking job on it.
“I have always been mad about cars. I’ve never been into football or any sport like that. It has to have an engine for me to be interested… or a pulse!” he laughs. Matthew got a taste for modifying with his Astra Sport Hatch and that carried on with the Focus ST that followed but unfortunately that relationship didn’t last long. “Because it was so low the driveshafts were at a bad angle and the torque kept snapping them, and that’s when I decided to go for the M3.
I had been looking for one for ages, I wanted silver with black interior but I couldn’t find one, they all have red, blue or cream interiors and that isn’t me. I bought the car in November 2012 from a garage in Hutton not far from where I live. After taking it for a test drive I fell in love with it there and then and I knew it was the car for me. The car wasn’t in the best condition but that didn’t bother me at the time, I just wanted to own that M3.” After the problems he experienced with his previous modified cars, Matthew had no plans to modify this one but, as you can see, things didn’t work out like that. “Everyone knows that when you’re a petrolhead it’s never going to stay standard. With the M3 I had the power but I wanted to make it stand out while trying to keep it looking subtle at the same time.”
He’s not joking: it took exactly one week before he’d started modifying the M3, lowering it and adding a set of red rear lights and while we’re not sure ‘subtle’ is the watchword here, seeing as it’s sporting bright red wheels and air, Matthew has certainly kept things looking clean and OE in terms of the styling. The E46 M3 is a good-looking, muscular car and it’s easy to start getting things wrong if you decide to play with the styling, so the approach of less is more is definitely a good one.
Matthew got his friend Gary Seddon to smooth the front bumper as well as respraying the front end and some angel eyes have also been fitted but otherwise the exterior has been left alone and Matthew lets his wheels and air do the talking when it comes to appearance. Speaking of wheels, let’s chat about those: “I was originally going with Rota Grids,” he says, “but after looking into them I found a lot of people had done that look on the M3 so I went for the XXR 527s. I wanted something that looked different on the M3 and also had a deep concave look, plus I needed something that wouldn’t break the bank and the 527s were perfect.” XXR might not be a brand that you’d associate with BMW, the wheels seem to be more popular on the Japanese scene, but the company has some good-looking wheels and these are no exception.
The tenspoke design is clean but with just the right amount of detail to make the wheels stand out and they deliver that concave look that Matthew wanted. Now, coloured wheels are a brave choice, and we don’t mean that they look bad, rather that they’re always a bold look and they don’t suit every car, but here the candy apple red shade that Gary finished them in for Matthew really works against the M3’s silver paintwork and the shock of colour makes the car stand out from the crowd without going down the wild styling route. It wasn’t all plain sailing on the wheel front, though, as Matthew says: “I had a lot of trouble getting them to fit properly, I played around with the fitment for a few weeks until I was happy with it.” It was worth the effort, though, as they sit wonderfully, the stretched tyres tucking up perfectly into the arches.
That sizeable drop comes courtesy of the Air Lift suspension kit that’s nestling under the car’s four corners and it’s fair to say that Matthew is just a bit happy with the setup. “It’s my favourite modification on the car,” he enthuses. “I was running BC coilovers before but I didn’t want to take it anywhere in case there were any speed bumps. With air-ride you can go anywhere you want and not worry. I fitted it with the help of my mate Jack Darbyshire, it all went to plan, and I did the boot build myself.”
He’s opted for a straightforward build for the air components, the compressor and tank dominating proceedings, but it looks very clean and tidy, a job well done. The finishing touches on the car are a set of carbon interior trims and a Cobra back box, with some meaty looking tips to enjoy a bit more of that straight-six soundtrack.
Matthew’s had this car for around two and a half years now and it’s come a long way since he picked it up, and he’s definitely pleased with the results and the attention it’s been getting. “The first show I attended was Unphased in Worden Park, Leyland. The car got a lot of love and really good comments because it was a bit different. I then sprayed my wheels and went to Cumbria VAG where I was more then happy with the feedback.” While he’s happy with his XXRs, Matthew says he’s got his eye on a few other sets of wheels at the moment, and if he had the funds then a set of BBS RSs would be finding their way onto the car.
As it stands he is planning to change the wheels and having done the concave thing, he’s got his heart set on some dish. He is also thinking about a new interior “to really set the car off” so we can only imagine what’s he’s got in mind, and we can’t wait to see it…
“With the #M3 I had the power but I wanted to make it stand out while trying to keep it looking subtle at the same time”
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 Cabrio #S54 #BMW-E46
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #Cobra back box, six-speed manual.
CHASSIS: 8.75x18” ET20 (front) and 9.75x18” ET35 (rear) XXR 527 wheels finished in Candy Apple red with 205/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Nankang AS-1 tyres, #Air-Lift air suspension with V2 management.
EXTERIOR: Smoothed front bumper, angel eyes.
INTERIOR: Carbon fibre trim.
“I’ve always been mad about cars. I’ve never been into sport. It has to have an engine for me to be interested… or a pulse!”
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- Post is under moderationCANADIAN BEAUTY
There’s a lot more to this spectacular E46 #BMW-M3 than just good looks and with some serious chassis mods, it’s the real deal. We don’t often get cars from the Great White North but when they do make an appearance, they don’t disappoint. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Berenz.
The #BMW-M3-E46 gets a lot of love. Two generations on it’s still an awesome piece of kit and is as versatile a performance car as you could want (or hope) to find. Fast road or track machine, styled or stripped-out, the #BMW-E46 M3 does it all and does it well. And in recent times we reckon we’re seeing some of the best examples to date, such as this, Randy Sparre’s outrageously sexy E46.
If you’re looking at it thinking it’s a classic case of style over substance you’d be wrong; very, very wrong. Randy isn’t just a car enthusiast, he’s a full-on car guy. Cars are his job, his passion, and BMWs have always been a part of his life. After graduating as a mechanical engineer, he opened up a tool and die shop in the ’90s. Here he custom-made many go-faster parts and enjoyed taking his E30 on track almost every weekend. During this time he learnt a lot about building fast cars and driving them like an expert.
Following this, Randy began working for aftermarket parts provider and custom performance tuning company Eurocharged Canada as a parts specialist, consulting customers on what was best for their performance budget.
14 years ago he founded Bimmercruise, which is now Canada’s largest annual BMW festival and, since 2002, he has been a performance driving instructor for various clubs including ASCCA, BMW, Ferrari and Porsche. Yes, Randy Sparre knows cars. His love for BMW began with two wheels, as Randy explains: “I was six-years-old and my father literally strapped me to the seat of his BMW R80 motorcycle for Sunday rides.” His first car was a BMW: “A 1984 318i was all I could afford with my part-time job during school but it was a stepping stone to many years of modding BMWs.” He’s not kidding. After a year, Randy realised the 318i was not the best choice for modifying and so traded it in for a 325i. Over the next six years he poured a lot of money into it, culminating in an S52 swap, Vortech supercharger, Brembo BBK, Compomotive 18s and covers on PBMW, Max Power and various North American magazines.
Impressive stuff but we’re here for one reason: this E46. “For several years I was buying and selling many cars for profit. After just selling an E39 540i six-speed and 996 C2, I found this beautiful, accident-free, low mileage, Steel grey E46 M3 in Kansas, USA. The price was right, the elegant colour was relatively rare and I jumped on it,” says Randy. “It was stock except for a set of SSR GT3 19” wheels. After spending a week driving it home to Toronto from Kansas, I simply fell in love with it and decided to keep it.”
Having got to know the car over those 1000 miles, Randy began to formulate a plan for it: “I always look at a car as a blank canvas… the factory wide arches on the E46 M3s look incredible and I believe that with the right wheel offset and suspension drop it elevates the brawny stance to new levels. That said, a nice set of 19” wheels and aggressive suspension drop was all I really envisioned to complete the car.
“The first thing I did after I got the car home from the cross-country road trip was take it to the race track to figure out what I could do to the suspension and brakes. I was planning on lowering the car; I just wanted to make sure it was done properly and didn’t negatively effect #BMW M’s original engineering.”
Randy’s first step was tackling the suspension and, as you might expect from a man who takes performance driving so seriously, he didn’t mess about: “Being the first modification, the suspension had me researching numerous setups. I was looking at Öhlins and Bilsteins’ offerings but ended up going with a bespoke set of coilovers from Hotbits. They are custom valved monotubes with shortened bodies, external reservoirs and Swift springs. Best of all, I have local support from the company’s Canadian distributor who helps me continuously at various competitions I enter. In addition to the coilovers are adjustable anti-roll bars from Turner Motorsports, Powerflex bushes and I’ve also had the subframe reinforced.” This all makes for a seriously comprehensive setup.
The E46 M3 brakes come in for criticism when it comes to track use, so Randy turned to WP Pro, a name you’re probably all familiar with and whose carbon ceramic brakes you will find on the Koenigsegg Agera R and One:1, so they’re a good shout. For the M3, Randy went for the EX6 and L6 six-pot forged calipers with titanium pistons, braided hoses and 360mm lightweight sawblade discs. “I use the brakes very aggressively on the track and can definitely vouch for their eye-popping power,” he adds.
After seriously sorting the chassis, what was Randy’s next move? Stripping the interior? More power? Um, no. “The suspension work was quickly followed by the stereo,” says Randy. “It had to be quality with the added convenience of quick removal for track days. I went with a complete DLS hardware from Sweden which included a five-channel amp, (removable) 12” subwoofer, 6.1” components and a Kenwood headunit.”
After that the modding slowed down a touch; Randy spent the next few years creating the car you see before you today. Unsurprisingly, more power was always on the cards though there was no grand scheme here. “It was really a culmination of having the engine parts offered to me at the right time by others selling them,” Randy explains. “I was doing a valve lash adjustment when my friend decided to sell his S54 Z3, so he asked me if I wanted to buy his brand-new (unused) Schrick 288 cams for a fraction of what he paid. The same thing happened with the Evolve air box. The differential seal was leaking, so I decided to change the ratio while it was apart. As you can see, one thing led to another…” The uprated cams are accompanied by CSL rockers, lifters and valve springs, a polished, ported and decked head, Agency Power equal-length manifolds and a V1.0 exhaust along with 200-cell race cats – all specially chosen to eliminate the E46 M3 rasp. The aforementioned diff ratio has been changed to a shorter 4.10:1; Randy explains this was “to make use of the 9000rpm limiter”. With all those mods, Randy’s seen real results with his M3 now making an impressive 341whp, an impressive 78whp gain over his stock figures.
With the business side of things taken care of, Randy could turn to getting his car looking just so. The 19” SSR GT3s that the car came on are pretty darn sexy but, as we all know, sticking with just the one set of wheels is never easy. So these were followed by a set of Vossen CV3s then a return to SSR, with a set of SP1 Professors, before the decision was made to go for something really special in the shape of a set of custom BC Forged wheels, HB29s to be precise. “I settled on BC Forged because of the huge selection available, the precise quality build, fantastic customer service and quick turn-around times. I loved the deep concave look with a sizable dish and slick finishes of these wheels, too.” You don’t have to be a hardcore wheel whore to appreciate these, as they are pretty gobsmacking; 9.5x19s up front and 11s at the rear, with brushed spokes and blackbrushed lips. Not only do they look absolutely spectacular on the car, the stance and fitment are out of this world. Randy points out that, as far as exterior styling is concerned, you’re not exactly spoiled for choice: “Let’s be honest, there’s not a ton of options for styling on E46 M3s. You’ve got a choice of four bumper lips, a handful of side skirts, diffusers and your token CSL bootlid. Instead of spending a fortune on a gaudy body kit, I added a few tasteful additions to complement the muscular look of the car.” These include a subtle Hamann lip, CSL bootlid, ACS roof spoiler and a rather delicious carbon diffuser, which combine to do exactly what Randy wanted. We think the M3 looks great with these additions.
A lot less subtle is that colour, mind. “More focus was spent on the exterior colour by changing it without making it permanent,” Randy says. “I went to Sekanskin in Mississauga, Ontario (renowned for wrapping DeadMau5’s ‘Purrari’) and had it wrapped in matt metallic purple. It not only protects the paint on track outings, it made all the difference in terms of looks. When I pull up to lapping days, autoslalom or time attacks I’m often mistaken for a tarted-up BMW rather than a podium contender. I love proving people wrong and reminding them not to judge a car by its cover,” says Randy with a grin. The final piece of the puzzle was the interior and, being a fan of Cinnamon leather, Randy managed to convince an E46 M3-owning friend with just that colour interior to swap it for his, plus a little cash, before he put the car up for sale. Result. Sekanskin then wrapped the interior trim in brushed aluminium for the finishing touch. You have to admit that the purple and cinnamon combo works really well, and with those yellow calipers as well the car is riot of colours.
So, killer looks, awesome wheels, a seriously sorted chassis and a raft of proper engine mods make this #E46 M3 pretty much the perfect package. “It still surprises me how successful I am in winning prizes at shows against other much more modified BMWs. I guess it’s not always about the quantity of mods you have, rather the collaboration of the correct quality mods,” Randy concludes. And after winning third place overall against 1200 other modified BMWs at last year’s Bimmerfest East, it seems we’re not the only ones who like what Randy’s done here.
Wheels and brakes are spectacular to look at; the former are 19” BC Forged HB29s with brushed faces while the latter are WP Pro front and rear BBKs with sixpot calipers all-round.
Exterior is striking but Cinnamon interior isn’t shy either; sub in boot is the only hint to the comprehensive audio upgrades on this car.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54 #BMW #S54B32 , Schrick 288/268 camshafts, CSL rockers, lifters and valve springs, polished/ported/decked head with rod bearings replaced, Evolve CSL carbon air box with Carbonio ram-air scoop, Mark Dasylva Alpha-N tune (94 octane 9000rpm map), Agency Power equal-length exhaust manifolds, Agency Power V1.0 rear box, Aero AR20 Section 2 with 200-cell race cats, standard sixspeed SMG II gearbox, 4.10:1 ratio LSD.
CHASSIS: 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) BC Forged HB29 wheels with brushed faces and black-brushed lips, with 235/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Bridgestone Potenza RE-760 Sport tyres, HotBits DT1 coilovers with short-bodies and external reservoirs, Swift springs, TMS front and rear anti-roll bars with adjustable end-links, Powerflex subframe and RTAB bushes, TMS subframe kit and solid diff mount, WP Pro EX6 (front) and L6 (rear) BBK with 360mm lightweight sawblade discs.
EXTERIOR: Matt metallic purple wrap, BMW CSLstyle bootlid, #AC-Schnitzer rear roof spoiler, carbon fibre exhaust diffuser, Hamann splitter (painted two-tone), smoked LED rear lights/repeaters/indicators, blackedout front/side grilles, blacked-out headlight surrounds, Orion V4 Halo rings and DRL delete, 6000K HID foglights.
INTERIOR: Swapped ‘Cinnamon’ Nappa-leather seats, Schroth quickfit racing harness, Billet aluminium F1 shift paddles, custom black boot carpet set AUDIO: Kenwood KIV-BT900 MP3 Deck, DLS Audio Iridium 6.1 components, DLS Audio A7 ‘Big 5’ amplifier, DLS Audio UR-12 subwoofer – 1.3SF, Axxess steering wheel interface, Blackvue DR500GW wi-fi HD track-cam.
THANKS: My wife Anita, Rob McKenzie at Auto Evolution, Sam Yeh at WP Pro Brakes, BC Forged wheels, Tiago at Sekanskin wraps, Mark Dasylva tuning, Peter at Hotbits.ca, Allen at Simply Tire, Rich at Luxury Auto Body.
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- Post is under moderationLIGHT SPEED
The US never received the #E46 #BMW-M3-CSL-E46 , so if you want one, you’ve got to build it yourself. And then make it even better. In a market where the CSL was nothing but a dream, this US owner has built his own take on the ultimate all-out #BMW-M3 . Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Sam Dobbins.
The M3 represents different things in its various generations, depending on the cultural mores that surrounded them at launch as well as the technological variations within. The E30 was all about purity, focus, race-bred aggression and a refusal to compromise. The E36 signalled evolution, reworking the DNA of its predecessor to create a furious and unbeatable racer-for-the-road that also spoke of BMW’s over-arching ethos of luxury and premium accoutrements. And the E46? Well, when that arrived, all bets were off.
When the #BMW-M3-E46 roared on to the scene in 2000, it boasted an engine of such aweinspiring firepower, it provided the highest specific output of any mainstream BMW engine thus far. Throwing out 343hp from its 3.2-litre lump in a hellstorm of gravelgargling fury, it went like stink and had muscle in spades, adding a whole lot of pumped-up aggression to the standard coupé’s sober lines. But the real watershed was the advent of the Coupé Sport Leichtbau, or CSL, in 2003. It may have only appeared for a brief snippet in time, it may have been limited to just 1383 examples, it may have pushed the boundaries of what a road car could achieve just a little too far into the realm of discomfort for some, but there’s no arguing that it was an instant legend. It was the gold standard, the pinnacle toward which all other E46 M3s would surely thereafter tremulously aspire.
Now, given the low production run, these things are pretty obscure. And given their desirability, finding one for sale is unlikely – particularly if you live in the USA as the entire CSL allocation went to Europe. But let’s not underestimate the power of the aftermarket and the ingenuity of the enthusiast. All of the aforementioned kudos relates to the factory CSL, with its unique sticky tyres and fibreboard boot floor. But it’s not beyond the wit of man to procure all of these parts – or, where appropriate, remove them – and build a functionally accurate CSL replica, right? Or even make something, dare we say, better? Most enthusiasts have little choice in the matter, being unable to find genuine CSLs. So yes, that’s exactly what happens…
Although I’ve slightly sold you a dummy there. The M3 you’re looking at here was never meant to be an overt CSL replica. But with that ducktail and those lightweight BBS rims, it wears its influences on its sleeve. And of course, coming from a market where the CSL is little more than a phantom, the freedom exists to cherrypick, hone, refine, and build something that doesn’t spiral into cloning pastiche. What we’re looking at here then, in the pastel vibrancy of Laguna Seca blue, is the sort of M3 that one might build if one wanted to go a little further than a CSL.
“I used to have an E30 M3, and it was all downhill from there!” laughs Chris Jacovini, owner of this bright blue brute. “Selling that car was the biggest mistake of my life…” So where do you go after owning one of the world’s most iconic homologation specials? Well, Chris isn’t one to tread the beaten track. “I got into VWs after that,” he recalls. “I got a Mk2 Cabrio and did that up, got some coverage in a few magazines. After that I bought a yellow Mk3 VR6 and all hell broke loose; I supercharged it, fitted a suede Recaro interior, full ABT body kit… of course, body kits ruled back then.” The pieces are beginning to fall into place in Chris’ modifying puzzle now – a diverse range of influences and experiences have coalesced to provide inspiration for the build of his E46.
After so much wandering in the Wolfsburg wilderness, it was time to return to the warm, cosseting embrace of Bavaria. “The E46 M3 is my favourite M car after the E30,” says Chris, “and when I saw this car, I had to have it. I wasn’t even looking for an M3, but this one caught my eye and all the elements were perfect: the colour, the sunroof delete, the Xenons, the 19s. The paintwork was in great shape, I was shocked at how clean the engine bay was, there were no holes in the front bumper for the license plate… a couple of days later, the car was mine.”
With such an enthusiastic history of fettling and honing cars to his own taste, it was inevitable that the modifying stick was brandished with full force in no time. “The direction for this car is totally different to my VW days,” Chris is keen to point out. “It’s all smooth, clean and simple – no lips or skirts, no crazy body kits, just additions that complement BMW’s own design. My buddy Dave Pastor at SLAWbuilt talked me into the CSL trunk, which was a good decision.” You can see from the photos that there’s a sweet line of exposed carbon fibre along the edge of the ducktail – a neat touch. “The diffuser, though, is a G-Power item rather than a CSL one. Everyone’s got a CSL diffuser!”
Dave’s skills were drafted in for a spot of colour-coding of the diffuser and bootlid, while the backs of the sought-after Recaro A8 seats were coated in Diamond Schwartz, ensuring a consistent flow of that eyepopping Laguna Seca hue throughout the car alongside that classic, sinister black. And at this point, Chris rolled up his sleeves and got himself elbows-deep into the engine bay.
“I wanted to keep it naturally aspirated,” he assures us, which is something you often find as a polarising issue with M enthusiasts: some wish to explore the outlandish badlands of horsepower that forced induction can invite you into, while others prefer to maintain the integrity of BMW’s naturally aspirated intentions, keeping the power delivery smooth and robust rather than peaky and spiky. “The S54’s got a set of Turner Motorsport power pulleys, as well as a little ECU tuning from VAC Motorsports and the full Eisenmann race exhaust,” says Chris. “Then I set about putting as much carbon fibre under the hood as I could find!
The Delage air box was a must so that got fitted first, followed soon after by the Benfer carbon strut brace. Then there was the front air intake, the carbon valve cover, the pollen cover, the battery terminal cover, the engine cover…” Peering under the bonnet, you can see just how carried away Chris got, and that’s no bad thing; he’s even lined up the weave of the engine cover and the strut brace, while those machined brackets on the strut tops are little works of triangular art. “I fitted a set of Brembo brakes too,” says Chris. “The stock brakes are ugly! And they were really visible behind the BBS CHs.”
We’re returning to the CSL aesthetic here – the stock CSL came with staggered M rims that were manufactured by BBS, and Chris’ CHs take that look to a darker, more menacing place – they have 14 spokes to the CSL’s 16, but a similar look which Chris has sharpened up by finishing them in satin black – all the better for showcasing those vast Brembo stoppers. “I’ve got a set of Kinesis F110s for the car too,” Chris mentions, “but the CH is just such a classic look for the E46. I much prefer them.” And tucking those rims into the muscular arches is a set of KW V2 coilovers. “Bags are for groceries,” he smirks.
Now, if you thought his keenness for carbon fibre was obsessive, wait till you see what he’s been up to with the Alcantara. “It’s one of my favourite things,” Chris enthuses. “I built the interior around the Recaro A8s, and it’s all Alcantara, carbon fibre and leather. I got a dash from a buddy of mine, took the door panels off, and sent everything down to Kip Love at Love’s Trim Shop in Georgia. He covered everything in Alcantara, and did a beautiful job too!” The use of this glare-free material really infuses a sense of motorsport purpose to the interior, making it feel at once focused and serious, and luxuriously extravagant. That’s not an easy look to pull off! So you can see how Chris has crafted something unique here – a tribute to a halo model that’s transmuted into something far greater than the sum of its parts. His M3 pays homage to the iconic CSL with its prodigious use of lightweight carbon fibre trinkets, its ballsy BBS rims, beefier brakes, track-focused suspension and, of course, that cheeky lightweight ducktail. But make no mistake, this is no simple CSL replica.
Rather, this is one man’s vision for the ultimate #E46 M3: he’s taken an already phenomenal car as a base and tweaked a bit here, lightened a touch there and thought laterally in order to tick every box for the consummate all-rounder: it’s light, fast, well-spec’d and impeccably finished. It wears its motorsport heritage proudly, something that Chris is keen to represent.
In many ways, this car showcases the culmination of a lifetime of dabbling in a variety of automotive subcultures. “When the E46 M3 came out, I was hooked,” remembers Chris. “The aggressive look, the wide fender flares, the race heritage. I think the body is a classic.” By keeping that body pure, resplendent in OEM chic, and building his project around that undiluted base, he’s created something genuinely special. A CSL+, if you will.
When the E46 M3 came out I think the body is a classic I was hooked!
Interior is a riot of Alcantara, with virtually every surface covered in the material.
Engine bay is dominated by stunning Delage carbon air box.
DATA FILE #S54B32 #BMW
ENGINE: 3.2-litre #S54 , #Turner-Motorsport power pulleys, #Eisenmann race exhaust, VAC Motorsports ECU tuning, Delage carbon fibre air box, #VAC-Motorsport sensor port oil filter lid, Benfer carbon fibre strut brace, carbon fibre pollen cover, carbon fibre battery terminal cover, carbon fibre engine cover.
TRANSMISSION: BMW Motorsport 3.91 diff, AC Schnitzer short-shifter.
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BBS-CH wheels with 235/30 R19 (front) and 245/30 R19 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact tyres, Brembo four-pot calipers with 355mm (front) and 345mm (rear) drilled and slotted discs, KW Variant 2 coilover kit.
EXTERIOR: Vorsteiner CSL carbon fibre bootlid, #G-Power diffuser, black grille, badges and kidneys.
INTERIOR: #AC-Schnitzer pedals, handbrake and gear knob, Alcantara dash, Alcantara steering wheel with carbon fibre bottom, Alcantara gaiters, Alcantara door panels and armrests, carbon fibre centre console, carbon fibre sills, Recaro A8 seats trimmed in Alcantara and leather with rears painted Diamond Schwartz.
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- Post is under moderationBEYOND THE EDGE #BMW #E46 #V10 #S85B50 ENGINED
Manhart Racing has taken the already electrifying #BMW-M3-CSL-E46 to the next level, creating the ultimate hardcore thrill ride, with a V10 under the bonnet… For many the #BMW-E46 CSL is the ultimate #BMW-M3 , but can you better perfection? Manhart Racing seems to think so. Words and photos: Steve Hall.
Best laid plans huh? On the advice of someone who’d used it a year or so prior, this photoshoot was supposed to take place in a disused quarry. Having checked it out on Google Maps it looked pretty cool and we all agreed it’d suit the tough-as-nails look and matt finish of this hardcore CSL.
It’d be well worth the 90-minute round trip to bag a location that would give us a great looking shoot, and there’d be some fun driving along the way. I guess a lot can happen in a year, including said quarry becoming an active enterprise once again; with huge articulated Volvos streaming in and out of the gates every minute. It was blindingly obvious we weren’t going to get anywhere near the rock face… Cue plan B.
We’re visiting Manhart Racing on the outskirts of Wuppertal in North Germany to test one of the more extreme engine conversions we’ve tried in the shape of the MH3 CSL V10 Clubsport, which – as the name would suggest – sees an E46 M3 CSL with the fabulous V10 from the #BMW-M5-E60 M5 squeezed under the bonnet, along with a phalanx of lightening and stiffening modifications to backup the Clubsport moniker.
I’d noticed a tunnel on my drive down to visit the guys at Manhart Racing (MHR); conveniently just a couple of kilometres up the road. The nice wide stopping areas would give plenty opportunity to do some lighting setups and protect us if it rained (this being spring in Northern Germany after all). That’s Plan B sorted then. It’s also a highly appropriate spot to shoot this car because tunnels are absolutely one of the most fun places to drive it…
When the CSL first hit the market back in 2004 it was lauded for its amazing sonic qualities – that tasty carbon air box piped a pure race car straight-six snarl into the cabin and it sounded awesome. The barely silenced S85 V10 in this CSL sports a similar race car setup with its beautifully finished carbon air box and generates a wonderfully exotic sound. The sport cats, free breathing exhaust and titanium rear silencer shifts the balance of sound to the rear.
The net result is a CSL fizzing with aggression. It erupts like a banshee every time you give the throttle a proper push and fills absolutely every inch of the tunnel with sonic shockwaves which bounce back at you. It’s bloody hilarious, but only just about useable day-to-day.
Of course, it’s not just the sound it makes that morphs the character of this CSL from supremely balanced sports GT to hardcore speed weapon – the V10 transplant has an all consuming effect on the way this CSL accelerates, thanks to 558hp propelling little over 1400kg (E60 M5 1900kgs/507hp).
Hooked up to the donor M5’s seven-speed SMG ’box, plant the throttle and snatch the right paddle just before clipping the 8500rpm rev limiter in each gear and you’ll be treated to a level of accelerative intensity a regular CSL driver wouldn’t recognise. The S85 V10 still needs to be halfway round the rev counter before it really starts to fly but the high revving character suits this car perfectly. Thanks to modern engine technology it’s docile and tractable at low revs, just as it is in the M5, but in this application the top end fizz is magnified into an intoxicating lunge for the horizon that makes you laugh out loud. It’s major league fast, no matter which way you look at it.
How fast? Without timing gear – or the small matter of a private test track – we resort to the journalist’s friend: stats. At around 406hp/ton the power-to-weight ratio tells you it sits in the same ballpark as a Ferrari 458 or Gallardo Superleggera, and whilst it doesn’t feel quite as rapid as those cars, I’d suggest it’s not far off. Predictably, the biggest enemy from a standing start is traction, or lack thereof. As the tyres struggle to gain purchase on the road surface the traction control light flickers in unison with the throttle opening. Disabling traction control helps a little as you can balance wheelspin against road speed but with a near 50/50 weight distribution, road biased tyres and a 1400kg kerb weight, the traffic light grand prix is never going to be this car’s forte. Hit third gear and it’ll take the lot, at which point you experience the full Millennium Falcon blurred scenery effect.
It’s an effect experienced several times during our drive to the stillborn first photoshoot location, thanks to a mix of autobahn interspersed with twisting country roads. There may be nary a tunnel in sight, but every lunge for the horizon generates a huge grin and even a thumbs-up from a biker presumably surprised (and impressed) he didn’t reel us in over a half-mile stretch of autobahn. Curving country roads reveal the extra authority the MHR Clubsport coilover suspension package brings: this is one tough riding CSL. Roll is non existent, turn-in instantaneous and grip prodigious. Every body action is checked in the first damper movement and the whole car feels granite tough as a result. Rolling down the road at normal speed is borderline uncomfortable, but with increased velocity the uncompromising springs smooth out and find their natural frequency; unfortunately it’s a speed incompatible with normal traffic, such is the grip and control of the MH3. It’s a thrilling drive and one that needs quiet empty roads to explore, or even better a certain 14- mile stretch of race track 80 miles south of Wuppertal by the name of ‘Nürburgring’…
You’d be forgiven for thinking this means the MH3 is a twitchy handful, but killing the electronic driver aids (after swallowing an XXL bravery pill) reveals a chassis just as beautifully balanced and controllable as a standard CSL, whilst the extra power makes it easier to indulge in sideways antics. The steering is standard CSL, so it’s quick and accurate without being nervous, but not exactly brimming with road feel. It’s probably the only fly in the ointment in an otherwise fantastically well-honed package; no wonder Manhart CEO Christoph Erfurt says it’s his favourite car for fun driving…
The standard CSL stoppers were never really up to the task of track work with the 360bhp straight-six under the bonnet, so they were never going to contain the thrust of a snarling 558bhp V10. MHR’s solution was to fit a set of Porsche motorsport discs with AMG six-pot calipers up front; the result is a left pedal that inspires huge confidence thanks to massive, progressive and reliable stopping power. That they are well up to the task of containing the rapid acceleration tells you all you need to know.
Much like the CSL, if the MH3 has a flaw it’s to be found in the way the prodigious power finds its way from engine to rear wheels. The M5’s seven-speed #SMG gearbox may have been state-of-the-art in 2005, but even then it was not the best of the breed. In a world of dual clutch finesse, the clunky low speed response and jerky shifts at anything other than maximum attack (when the pause in forward thrust is notably shorter) feels dated. If some genius could find a way of mating a current BMW dual clutch system to the V10, we’d have one hell of a drivetrain. Still, it works well when driven flat out with shift speed dialed to maximum attack – which is after all when this car is at its best…
You’d be forgiven for assuming the V10 would upset the CSL’s delicate balance but in fact the V10’s lightweight construction means the engine only adds 50kg – and the added weight of the V10 is countered by the various weight reducing steps of Manhart Racing’s Clubsport package. Forged OZ Racing wheels replace the CSL items, bonnet and bootlid are now carbon, whilst the interior continues the carbon theme with doorcards, centre console and dash inserts in the material of choice. Finishing the look are the fixed back Alcantara race seats which hold you firmly in place and the aluminium bolt-in roll-cage – just in case you were in any doubt this is a track optimised car. Weight is slightly up on the CSL, but with only a small shift forward in weight distribution. The CSL is rightly held in high esteem by enthusiasts and the media alike; no ‘all time greatest M-car’ feature would be complete without one in attendance. Subjecting such an icon to a major makeover can be a precarious business, opening yourself up to criticism of ruining – rather than enhancing – the original.
With the MH3 CSL V10 Clubsport, Manhart Racing has taken the CSL recipe, and added a healthy dose of spice to the mix: the CSL flavour remains, but it’s now an extra hot vindaloo to the CSL’s madras. For those who like a bit of extra spice in their cars, the Clubsport provides just the right kind of hit.
Porsche motorsport discs with AMG six-pot calipers up front deliver serious stopping power.
DETAIL DATA FILE #BMW-M3-CSL-E46-S85B50
ENGINE: 5.0-litre V10 #S85 B50 from E60 M5, Manhart Racing ECU upgrade, Manhart Racing carbon airbox, Manhart Racing exhaust manifolds and titanium silencer, Hartge sport cats and downpipes.
TRANSMISSION: Standard E60 M5 seven-speed SMG gearbox with Manhart Racing ECU update for faster high rev shifting.
CHASSIS: 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) OZ Racing Ultraleggera wheels with 235/35 19 (front) and 285/30 19 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tyres, 380mm (front) discs from Porsche MotorSport with AMG six-pot calipers, standard CSL 345mm discs (rear), Manhart Racing by KW Competition Motorsports adjustable coilovers and roll bars, lowered 55mm (front) and 40mm (rear).
EXTERIOR: Manhart Racing reprofiled front bumper, carbon bootlid and carbon CSL diffuser, Hartge carbon hood.
INTERIOR: Porsche 996 GT3 Racing seats, full CSL carbon trim, Manhart Racing lap display in air vent, Manhart Racing dials with 360km/h speedo, Wiechers roll-cage.
CONTACT: Manhart Racing www. manhart-racing. de
The extra power makes it in sideways antics easier to indulge. Hit third gear and you blurred scenery effect experience the full Millennium Falcon.
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- Post is under moderationPEAK PERFORMANCE
C2K Motorsports’ stunning, supercharged Santorini #E92-M3 is about as good as it gets. It doesn’t get much better than a supercharged #E92 #M3 , and they don’t get much better than this. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Crooks Life Photography.
Modified M4s are starting to become popular and they’re looking really good, but then you come across an E92 M3 that looks like this, a car that’s pretty much achieved motoring perfection, and you can’t help but wonder if any M4 will ever look this good…
The lucky man who’s been able to experience this BMW nirvana is Curt Wilson, pilot and aerospace engineer by trade and owner of C2K Motorsports. Unless you don’t know what an internet is, you will be familiar with this particular E92 M3 because it’s been enjoying life in the spotlight across social media for some time now, and with good reason. Take a good, long look at those pictures and you will fall in love with this E92 M3. Everything from the colour, that vivid shade of Santorini blue, to the aggressive aerodynamic additions and those stunning HRE wheels combines to create one of the most striking and visually delightful E92 M3s that we’ve ever seen.
Curt’s BMW journey actually began just eight years ago, though his passion for cars is most definitely long-standing, as the 30-year-old Las Vegas resident explains: “As a teenager I was into the import street racing scene. My first car was a #2001 #Toyota-Celica , which I built with a custom turbo kit and eventually blew up. My next car was a Dodge Neon SRT-4 with a 60 trim turbo making over 400whp. I then got into autocross and road course racing and purchased a Honda S2000 which, to this day, is one of my favourite cars! BMW has always been an iconic brand to me. I envied the E36 and #E46 M3s as I was growing up. The sound/performance of the straight-six motor, the aggressive stance and luxury yet motorsport-inspired design confirmed the phrase ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. I remember as a kid I used to work as a field hand for a pilot whose hobby was growing tobacco. He drove a red 318i with manual gearbox that he would drive me and my friends home in. It was the coolest car I had ever ridden in! I was unable to afford a BMW until after I had started my career which only made my long-awaited ownership that much more euphoric. Having come from a street racer background the twin-turbo straight-six was the Holy Grail of performance. When I heard details about the new N54 motor in the E90 335i I knew I had to own one. I bought my first #BMW in #2007 in the form of a #E90 335i.”
This 335i was followed by another #335i , a #135i , an #E93 335i Convertible and also an #E60 #M5 with a Corsa exhaust, which, says Curt “made the most glorious noise of any of my cars but was just too big and had obscene gas consumption”. His time spent looking at M3s in his youth was not forgotten, though, and when he caught wind of BMW Individual and European delivery, he realised that an E9x M3 built to his exact specification in his ideal colour was within his reach. “I’m an active online blogger and Bimmerpost member,” he says. “I always aspired to one day build an inspirational project car like the insane builds that I had admired in various posts and publications. I remember seeing a few spy shots of a special UK edition colour for the #E92 M3 called Santorini blue. I spent hours staring at every photo I could find of the colour and decided that I must have it! I brokered an individual Euro delivery deal on a manual Santorini E92 with Speed cloth. It’s just one of eight US Santorini cars and the only one ever made with this exact spec.
Some time later I found myself in Munich after a couple months of agonising anticipation. The entire experience, from the excitement while waiting, the city of Munich, the delivery process, touring the German countryside and even driving on the Nürburgring was much more enjoyable and outright satisfying than anything I could have imagined. After the trip I had an affinity and connection with the car that eclipsed any reservations that would prevent me from building it exactly how I wanted it to be,” and so Curt began to do just that.
If you own an E92 M3 then you pretty much need to supercharge it, it’s almost like an unspoken rule, and ESS are the go-to guys when it comes to strapping blowers to the #S65 V8, so that’s exactly where Curt went. “I wanted to retain linear and useable power delivery that could match the upgraded suspensions/brakes/wheels and knew that I couldn’t reach my HP goals without forced induction. The ESS VT-1 supercharger system was the obvious choice due to their quality, reliability and customer support.” The ‘entry-level’ ESS kit is anything but basic, delivering enough power to make you sit up and take notice, but the centrifugal supercharger retains the same linear power delivery as the engine in standard form, meaning it feels similar to drive, just much quicker, the main difference being there’s a lot more power being delivered at every step in the rev range. How much power? Well, Curt says the car now makes 550whp with 330lb ft at the wheels on regular unleaded, which is around 600hp at the flywheel and a serious gain over the standard 420hp.
Every E9x M3 also deserves a performance exhaust because it makes them sound so damn good, and here Curt has opted for a full ESS Tuning system, complete with high-flow cats and thermal coating. With a lot more go, Curt’s M3 also needed a lot more stop and so he turned to StopTech, manufacturer of fine and rather large BBKs, and opted for the beefy ST-60 six-pot front calipers with mighty 380mm drilled discs and at the rear you’ll find the ST-40 four-pot caliper kit with 355mm discs, also drilled, which is big enough to serve as a front kit on some cars. The finishing touch was a flourish of Ferrari yellow paint to make them stand out and it was job done. We’d say the E9x M3 is a not a car that is particularly wheel sensitive – it’s very hard to pick a set that doesn’t look good and Curt’s selection here looks absolutely awesome on this E92 M3. “HRE was my first and only choice,” he says. “Its reputation and quality is unsurpassed in the high-end sports car community. I wanted a lightweight wheel with a design that was not too far from OEM appearance but with a special colour which is why I chose the FF01 in custom ‘Fog’ textured finish. I had a hard time letting go of my OEM GTS wheels but as soon as I saw the car with the HREs installed I knew I’d made the right choice!”
The FF01 is part of HRE’s FlowForm range and it’s a stunning-looking wheel, with its sculpted, twin seven-spoke design, slight concave shape and impeccable attention to detail. And the Fog finish really is the icing on the cake, a sort of matt, sparkling graphite that looks almost velvety. It was an inspired choice and the wheels look absolutely gob-smacking on the #BMW-M3 . They measure 9x19” up front and 10.5x19” at the back and are wrapped in seriously wide Toyo Proxes T1 Sport rubber – 255/35 up front and 295/30 at the rear with not an ounce of stretch in sight, it’s all about front-end grip and rear-end traction with this setup, with a Treadwear tyre lettering kit adding the finishing touch.
The suspension choice is also all about performance, though it has given this E92 M3 a purposeful drop, with a KW Clubsport coilover kit nestling in the wheel arches, offering two-way damping and adjustment and complete with EDC emulators, which prevent the EDC warning coming up on the dash when you switch to an aftermarket suspension setup. “The KW Clubsport kit is my favourite modification on the car,” enthuses Curt. “It changed the dynamic of the M3 more than any other aspect. The stance, stiffness and feedback that the clubsports gave the car are all vital aspects that I have come to supremely appreciate. Full coilovers will be the first modification on any of my future cars.”
With such an awesome exterior colour on top of the M3’s rugged good looks, Curt rightly didn’t want to go OTT when it came to any styling additions and his choices help to give the #BMW-E92 some more visual punch, upgrading it from a right hook to an all-out, KO blow uppercut. “I chose a relatively new company at the time, Mode Carbon, for my aero-kit,” he explains. “It makes an excellent GT4 style front lip, unique carbon fibre side skirts and rear LM series diffuser. Their fitment and quality was spot-on and since my first purchases from the company it has grown to be one of the most well-respected and recognised carbon fibre companies in the BMW and #Mercedes community.”
The carbon front splitter looks aggressive and lets you know that this M3 really means business. The rear wing isn’t shy either and the carbon additions tie in perfectly with the whole black and blue theme that Curt has got going on across the whole car, which includes the black towing strap, custom ONEighty NYC headlights and black exhaust tips peeking out from that rear diffuser. Inside, Curt has kept the same theme going with some heavy-duty upgrades that don’t leap out and smack you in the face. “I chose Stätus racing seats due to their wide variety of customisable made-to-order options. Initially I ordered the Ring FiA seats which were extremely snug but I eventually exchanged them for the wider GTX variant which is much more comfortable for my 6’3” 200lb frame.
“I ordered black suede with Santorini blue stitching. The suede seats match the Alcantara BMW performance steering wheel and knob with custom suede shift and e-brake boots. The final interior modification was a roll-cage from Autopower Industries which was moulded into the stock rear interior and painted black to retain the subtle and refined luxury of the original BMW interior.” The singlepiece seats are serious but don’t look out of place and that roll-cage is incredibly subtle thanks to its black finish and the Santorini highlights are the perfect finishing touch.
Curt says that he spared no expense on the modifications and it shows, his car wants for nothing and he loves it but he remains humble despite the fact that the car has become something of an international online celebrity. “The car is very popular on Instagram and one of my favourite and most humbling compliments is when people from all over the world send me images of exact replicas of the car that they have built in video games. It really means a lot to me that people like the car enough to take the time to replicate it down to minute details such as the sponsors on my time attack doorcard.” We’ve seen a lot of modified E9x M3s here at BMW towers over the years, all of them incredible machines but the fact that every once in a while, one comes along that still manages to wow us is the most incredible thing of all, and we couldn’t be happier about that.
Gorgeous HRE FF01 flow formed wheels in Fog finish suit the M3 perfectly and the Treadwear tyre lettering kit adds some visual flair; monster StopTech BBK offers serious stopping power. Interior has been treated to Stätus Racing Ring GTX seats with Santorini stitching and Schroth harnesses plus an Autopower Industries roll-cage; ESS VT-1 550 supercharger boasts carbon intake plenum.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E92
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 , ESS Tuning #VT-1 550 Supercharger system with limited production carbon fibre plenum, ESS Tuning full exhaust system with high flow cats and thermal coating, standard six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS: 9x19” ET25 (front) and 10.5x19” ET26 (rear) HRE FF01 wheels in Fog finish with 255/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) #Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tyres, Treadwear tyre lettering kit, MRG Race Co titanium racing stud conversion, KW Clubsport two-way adjustable suspension with EDC emulators, #StopTech ST-60 #BBK with 380mm drilled discs (front) and ST-40 BBK with 355mm drilled discs (rear), calipers painted Ferrari yellow (front and rear).
EXTERIOR: Mode Carbon GT4 front lip spoiler, Mode Carbon carbon fibre side skirt extensions, Mode Carbon LM Series rear diffuser, Mode Carbon GTS rear spoiler, #ONEighty NYC custom headlights, iND Blackout grilles/ gills/bonnet vents, iND tow strap and painted tow strap cover, Car-Pro C-Quartz compounding and paint correction.
INTERIOR: Stätus Racing Ring GTX seats in Ultra Suede with Santorini blue stitching, Autopower Industries bolt-in Racing roll-cage, Schroth Racing quickset fourpoint harnesses, #BMW-Performance steering wheel, BMW Performance gear knob, custom suede gear lever and handbrake gaiters.
THANKS: Sam and Nick at Mode Carbon, Roman at ESS Tuning, Greg, Laurent, and Jorge at HRE Wheels, Stan at Toyo Tires, George at KW Suspensions, Matt at Status Racing, Theo and Corey at The Specialist Detail Studio, BMW David at Steve Thomas BMW, Jimmy at Crooks Life Photography, Todd at Trophy Performance and my wife for putting up with my obsession.
Carbon galore adorns the E92 M3 with a front lip spoiler, side skirts, rear diffuser and wing all coming from Mode Carbon; custom ONEighty headlights are very smart.
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- Post is under moderationDRIFT KING
Drift machines tend to be quite extreme, and this 6.2-litres V8, wide-body orange #BMW-E30 is no exception.
Anyone who’s owned an E30 knows they were built to go sideways but with a 6.2-litre V8 up front and comprehensive chassis tuning, Andy Hateley’s E30 drift special introduces us to angles we scarcely believed possible. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Matt Petrie.
Let’s start with a little history lesson. Back in #1962 an American chap called Carroll Shelby had the bright idea of planting a high performance lightweight Ford V8 engine in the attractive British-made #AC-Ace roadster. The little Ace’s stock sixcylinder engines – some of pre-World War II design – were hardly what you’d call sporting so Shelby’s plan was to give the puny Brit some American muscle. The result? The legendary AC Cobra which combined power and grace to a degree rarely bettered these past 50 years.
So what’s all this got to do with performance BMWs? Well, Californian drift racer Andy Hateley has done something not too dissimilar to another European beauty: the E30 3 Series. Under his one-time #1989 #325i ’s shapely pinned bonnet rests a 6.2- litre V8 LS3 lump from #General-Motors , familiar to Brits as powering the storming #Vauxhall-VXR8 and typically found in American muscle machines such as the Chevy Corvette and Camaro SS. The result is an estimated 550-600hp and when combined with an extensive suite of drivetrain, chassis, interior and exterior upgrades, Andy has built one of the most extensive and brilliant BMW drift cars we’ve yet seen.
The 31-year-old spends his working life crafting custom furniture and doing small fabrication jobs on friends’ cars. His skills with using his hands has translated into tackling the build of this world-class drift E30. He is aware, however, of the age-old grumbles from BMW purists not keen on having anything but a made-in-Munich motor doing the pulling. But this is where Andy makes a good point and draws on fellow countryman Shelby’s efforts to put some fireworks in a not-so-quick standard car.
“I’m not a purist guy at all,” Andy said. “I respect cars that are kept original but that’s not for me. Like when Shelby dropped some Detroit muscle in a lightweight European chassis, nobody sees anything wrong with that, and I see nothing wrong with making my own car with whatever parts I want. I love what BMW did when it designed the E30 but it’s not my design and the factory version is definitely not my dream car. I’ve put more hours into the car than BMW ever did so it’s more my car than theirs. That’s why people modify their cars – to be individuals and express their style.”
It’s hard to argue with such sentiments, and if we look at Andy’s individual style, there’s plenty to love. It truly is one of the most brutal-looking E30s the BMW scene has witnessed and throughout the entire build the quality of parts, attention to detail and innovative custom work all impress. But they all have to. Andy competes in Formula Drift (FD) in the USA, where competition is stiff, to say the least, and only the best of the best drivers and their machines can hope to stay in the series.
Andy said he started drifting back in 2004 with a #Nissan-350Z , gaining an FD licence for 2006. The following year the Nissan was getting tired so Andy took a break from competing to get the funds together to build what he calls a ‘real’ FD car, choosing the E30 as his platform. It was many years in the building but after doing local FD Pro-Am events he regained his FD licence for 2012.
He’s up against an array of Japanese and American high-horsepower machinery in FD but said a few E36s and E46s also keep him company on the #BMW front. “Most of them are using big V8s with either nitrous or forced induction,” Andy told us, “and the average hp number would be around 750hp, with cars going as high as 1300hp.” And even though Andy’s GM-powered #E30 is at around half that figure, the recent season still saw numerous teething problems due to the stress on components. “Our best result was a top eight finish at FD Pro 2 in Seattle,” he said. “We may have made it further but we broke both axles during our top eight run. We definitely found the weak points of the car at Long Beach the throttle pedal started to detach itself from the floor; in Atlanta the throttle cable melted; I broke an axle in New Jersey; the pinion gear broke in Texas; and the clutch started slipping at Irwindale.” It’s a lot of work, this drifting business!
Returning to the car itself, Andy originally chose an E30 as a drift car because of the visceral feel he got when driving it: “I fell in love with the E30’s oversteer that would come on so progressively and smoothly; it was a car that represented my style as a person and driver perfectly.”
Andy flirted with fitting an #S54 or #M60 motor from BMW’s stable but ordering a box-fresh #LS3-GM-V8 would speed the build process up considerably. “With the LS3 I had the Tex Racing SR-1 transmission bolted up and was fitting the engine and cutting the trans tunnel for clearance the day it arrived,” Andy said.
The build went into overdrive from there. It only takes one glance at the pictures and our Data File to see the huge lengths gone to in reaching this E30’s current state. To explain it all would fill this entire magazine! Simply put, the V8 came from GM with upgraded camshafts, while Andy added high rpm lifters, better valve springs and upgraded chromoly pushrods all to create a more reliable engine during long periods of high rpms – integral for this high level of drifting. The exhaust and manifold were all crafted by Andy’s hands, while a custom one-piece driveshaft and a modified E30 diff all endure the huge stresses Andy asks of them during competition use. The standard E30 axles – rebuilt by Andy – are apparently holding up well to the abuse the drivetrain receives during drifting.
The underbonnet install – where the LS3 V8 fits with surprising ease – is impressive enough but the boot build almost trumps it. Here you find the extensive cooling system, again an integral part of all serious drift cars. Somehow Andy has squeezed in a mighty radiator, a ten-gallon fuel cell, countless fans, a large oil cooler, an oil filter, a four-gallon water sprayer and much more, all mounted in what’s known as the ‘safe zone’ far forward in the boot.
The chassis is another fine piece of work. Andy learned an incredible amount at Groma Fabrications where he used a lift at the back of their shop to work on the E30. “I gutted the E30 chassis and Ed at Groma did some work on the roll-cage to get it up to FD-spec,” Andy said. He did his first sheet metal work and welding, and soon the E30 had its distinctive DTM Fibrewerkz wide body kit (making it eight inches wider than a standard E30) and Lexan windows in place. Andy made his own carbon fibre panels to mount the myriad gauges in the dash, and finally it was off to be sprayed what he calls ‘Oh Sh*t orange’, based on Honda’s CBR 600RR motorcycle colour.
To make a car this talented in FD requires a daunting amount of chassis work (see the Date File), but most will appreciate the 18” ESM wheels, JRZ RS-Pro dampers and a full coilover setup for the rear. The rest of the underneath has needed comprehensive remodelling, welding, strengthening and protection, all to ensure this brutal E30 can continue performing at its best while under such extreme forces.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the superb work carried out here and neglect just how visually appealing Andy’s drift E30 is. It is fat and squat, aggressive and beautiful with its owner particularly appreciating the body kit, not least because he said it allows the smoke to flow off the tyres very well. And as with most racing machines, they truly are at their best when in action, and to see the plumes of burning rubber coming from the rear of this delightful orange missile when in full drift mode makes it hard not to love. When asked about a rear wing however (drift cars are typically seen with oversized ones), Andy said he’d been debating fitting one but with the E30 having very good forward traction at present, it isn’t really needed yet.
As for the cabin, well, it’s a place you’d happily go to work in any day of the week thanks to the dished Driven steering wheel, the beautifully ergonomic gear shifter, a view full of carbon fibre and gauges, and the Sparco Circuit seats gripping you tight. Everything looks immaculate making you wonder how Andy can ever risk such a beautifully-crafted machine in the hotbed of drift competition. But it races because it was born to do it. “There is no shortage of talent at any FD event and these drivers are on-point and have balls of steel,” Andy explained. “I love it. It really makes you a better driver. I drive with the best and aspire to be the best.”
As for his E30, Andy said he’ll be sticking with it for a long time to come but he’s not averse to upping the horsepower figure even more. “Plans are for a 750-800hp engine next year,” he said. “Once we have more power we’ll see what breaks, fix it, then add more power. It’s a sick and twisted cycle!”
ENGINE: 6.2-litre #GM-LS3-V8 , uprated camshafts, Hateley Motorsports custom stainless steel exhaust and manifold, upgraded chromoly pushrods, link bar lifters and high rpm valve springs, Nitrous Express progressive controller running a 50-shot from a 10lb bottle, 42 AN hoses, rear-mounted radiator, oil cooler, oil filter, Accusump, radiator water sprayer and three Spal fans, two extra six-inch fans on licence plate filler, 1600cfm fan for radiator, threegallon water reservoir plumbed to 200gph water pump, custom wiring, Electromotive Tec3R standalone ECU tuned by Nelson Racing Engines.
TRANSMISSION: Tex Racing SR-1 four-speed manual, custom one-piece driveshaft, 4.27 E30 differential modified by Precision Gearing for near-100% lock, factory E30 axles.
CHASSIS: 9x18” (front and rear) ESM wheels with 225/35 (front) and 275/35 (rear) Falken 615k tyres, JRZ RS-Pro dampers with 520lb rate spring up front and 225lb rate at rear (full coilover for rear), E46 M3 hubs, #E46 M3 CSL brake discs with Wilwood calipers at front, Ireland Engineering twin-caliper rear brake kit using Wilwood callipers, Wilwood drop-down pedals with twin master cylinders and balance bar, solid aluminium bushings for the rear subframe, Ireland Engineering toe and camber adjustment tabs, modified trailing arms, SLR angle kit using E46 spindles, Ireland Engineering urethane bushes and rear anti-roll bar, custom Hateley Motorsports chassis with removable tube frame front and rear sections, Formula D spec roll-cage.
EXTERIOR: DTM Fiberwerkz fibreglass wide-body kit including front and rear bumpers, side skirts and front and rear wheel arches (total eight inches wider than standard E30), Lexan windows, ‘Oh Sh*t orange’ from Honda CBR 600RR motorcycle.
INTERIOR: Sparco Circuit seats with Sparco harnesses, Driven steering wheel, Hateley Motorsports custom carbon fibre dash panels for Auto Meter gauges, Powered by Max hydraulic handbrake, custom fuel cell.
THANKS: Falken Tires, ESM wheels, DTM Fiberwerkz, JRZ Suspension, Sparco Motorsports, SLR Speed, Nitrous Express, OMGdrift.com, Driven Steering, Clutchmasters, Ireland Engineering, Precision Gearing, my dad, my team and manager Ross Fairfield.
CONTACT: Instagram @hateleydrift12, FB – Andy Hateley Drift, www. nationalmssociety. com (Andy represents the society).
Interior has been stripped-out and fitted with Sparco Circuit seats and harnesses plus a custom carbon fibre panel to house all the gauges.
DTM Fiberwerkz wide-body kit delivers a ton of track presence, adding 8” to the car’s width.
6.2-litre LS3 V8 dominates this E30’s engine bay, which is itself an engineering riot; boot houses cooling system and ten-gallon fuel cell.
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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 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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- Post is under moderationSIXY BEAST #BMW-M6-E63
You might think that a 507hp V10 would be enough but, as this M6 goes to show, a little bit more can go a long way. The V10 M6 is an awesome machine but there’s always room for a little improvement. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Paddy McGrath.
The lure of a used V10 #M5 or M6 is almost impossible to resist. Prices are low, cylinder count is high and value for money is off the scale. Yes, SMG divides opinion; yes, fuel economy is dire; yes, range is poor; and, yes, the running and potential repair costs are painfully high. But come on, it’s a V10! Once you get above eight cylinders things start to feel really special. V8 BMWs, and V8 cars in general, are ten a penny but a V10 anything is much more rare and a lot more exotic. A V10 is a supercar-style of engine; it’s Italian exotica; it’s #F1 ! And the fact that now you can get a V10 in a fast German executive machine which is actually affordable is something to be celebrated – especially if someone then decides to modify their V10 M5 or M6.
Kristjan Koik is one such man, the sort of man who buys an #E63 #M6 and decides that, yes, it’s quite good but it could be, you know, better. Estonian-born Kris cut his motoring teeth on a Lada of all things but has been into BMWs for about 15 years now, with a couple of E30s under his belt before having a fling with a modded Impreza STi. He then moved to the Emerald Isle where he got a taste for two-wheeled machinery, before marriage nipped that particular pastime in the bud and he returned to four wheels and BMWs, namely a modified #E46 M3 and this M6. “I bought the car in July 2014 from a dealer in UK and imported it to Ireland,” says Kris. “It was in absolutely immaculate condition. Since all my cars for the last couple of decades have been modified to some extent then the M6 was not going to stay stock for long. Once my lovely wife gave me the green light, I took the opportunity and bought all my dream mods before she could change her mind,” he laughs.
The car was handed over to CA Technologies and, over the course of four weeks, underwent something of a transformation. Now, the V10 isn’t exactly short of power with a factory figure of 507hp (but typically around 485-490hp in practice) but if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly and Kris though it would be a shame not to have a crack at getting a bit more power from the S85. Despite being a highly-strung engine there is still a bit of latent power that can be extracted with the right selection of modifications. Step one was a remap, which added around 15-20hp. A solid start. CA Technologies also installed a Macht Schnell Power Pulley kit, which mainly improved low-end response and power. The combination of those two alone made a noticeable difference to performance. On the intake front, Kris opted for an Evolve Eventuri system, which not only looks exceedingly sexy with its carbon intake shrouds but delivers on the performance front, too. According to Evolve, the intake system has been designed to deliver improved throttle response, more torque, improved drivability and more power. Those intake shrouds ensure that the twin high-flow air filters receive cool air from outside of the engine bay, fed by a pair of nose-mounted MAY #2015 47 scoops that force air straight into the intakes at high speed. Not only does the kit deliver a healthy increase in power, another 12-15hp, it also makes an awesome noise, which is probably the second most important thing, especially where a V10 is concerned. And speaking of noise, there’s plenty more of it at the rear end thanks to the Eisenmann exhaust system CA installed with its massive quad oval pipes. If you’ve not heard an #S85 V10 running a high-flow intake and performance exhaust then let us tell you, it makes for one hell of a noise. That noise probably accounts for 95% of the V10 ownership experience and we can guarantee that whenever Kris puts his foot down all his troubles are instantly forgotten, bludgeoned into oblivion by a wailing wall of V10 noise.
Chassis-wise, Kris hasn’t bothered with an all-singing, alldancing coilover kit, opting simply for a set of Eibach Pro-Kit springs which offer a little bit of a drop, just enough to get those arches filled, and more control out on the road than the standard springs offer. With all the extra power on tap, a brake upgrade was a wise move. Kris opted for a StopTech BBK up front with sizeable six-pot calipers finished in striking yellow and clamped onto 380mm pistons with uprated StopTech pads and braided hoses at the rear.
When it came to the wheels we reckon that, generally speaking, concave wheels are the way forward for the M6 and Kris clearly agrees: “I went for Vossen CV3s. Along with the StopTechs they are my favourite modifications on the car.” We agree. The CV3s look awesome on the big Six. The design is simplicity itself, so clean. These 20s are 9” wide up front and 10.5” at the back and they are mounted on a 75mm stud conversion kit with a set of 10mm spacers to get the stance just so.
Inside, there are lashings of carbon fibre, with a matching, chunky Carbontech flat-bottomed steering wheel and, in terms of the exterior styling, Kris has kept things nice and simple, choosing to just accentuate the M6’s natural aggression. That’s all this car needs really. Black front and side grilles are a given and there’s a carbon front lip that helps make that front look even lower, while at the back there’s a gorgeous Vorsteiner carbon diffuser, while the angel eyes have been upgraded with a set of Umnitza Orion halos. These subtle additions have made all the difference making the car look athletic and muscular.
Kris has taken one of BMW’s most exotic performance machines and added a little extra spice that has just given it the edge in terms of looks and performance. “I think it’s now the perfect combination of sportiness and luxury,” Kris concludes. “The M6 is here to stay.” And with that intoxicating V10 at his beck and call, who can blame him?
DATA FILE #BMW #M6 #E63 #SMG
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 5.0-litre V10 #S85B50 , remap, Macht Schnell power pulley kit, Evolve Eventuri intake system, RPi scoops, Eisenmann Sport exhaust with quad oval tips, seven-speed #SMG-III gearbox.
CHASSIS: 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) Vossen CV3 wheels in silver with 255/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) #Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, #Eibach Pro-Kit springs, 10mm spacers, 75mm stud kit, StopTech BBK with six-piston calipers in yellow and 380mm slotted discs (front), StopTech uprated discs and pads with braided hoses (rear).
EXTERIOR: Black grilles, Vorsteiner-style carbon front lip, Vorsteiner carbon rear diffuser, Umnitza Orion angel eye kit.
INTERIOR: Carbon Tech flat-bottomed steering wheel.
THANKS: CA Technologies International, Dorset; Autoenhance, Essex.
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