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    TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED Wild supercharged E90 M3

    Karel Silha’s M3 has been evolving for a few years, getting ever madder and more frightening. As he teeters on the cusp of his next round of innovations, we pin down his green monster to see just how deeply this lunacy has spiraled… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.

    840HP E90 M3 Supercharged wide-arch beast

    The most fun cars are the ones that do surprising things; ones that subvert your expectations and lead your preconceptions down a hitherto uncharted path. We’re not talking about sleepers here – that’s a well-documented area, and a whole textbook in itself. No, what’s flicking our switch today is the idea of using a novel base to build something devastating. Like when Top Gear commissioned Lotus to build a trackslaying Lada, and the Norfolk spannertwiddlers ended up throwing £100k at it. Or when Volvo entered the BTCC in the 1990s with an 850 estate. These are not the logical cars to choose for such endeavours, which is what makes the whole concept so eminently desirable.

    So it is with Karel Silha’s M3. He wanted to build an unstoppable and terrifying car with which to distort reality in the otherworldly and near-mythical amphitheatre of the now-world-renowned Gatebil events, so he chose to go with an M3. Fair play, sound reasoning, we can see why you’d do that But, just for the sake of waving two fingers at the rest of the paddock, he didn’t take the obvious route and buy himself an E92 coupé. He chose the sensible, dad-spec E90 fourdoor saloon.

    Alright, we’ll immediately retract ‘sensible, dad-spec’, that’s a moronic way to describe a machine as formidable as the E90 – but you have to admit that the act of deliberately choosing a car with extra doors you know you’re never going to use is something only a belligerent and confrontational person would do. It’s Touring Car rules; you’ve got four doors so that people spectating can relate your car to their own salesman-spec diesel commuter. Karel’s just cranked things up a notch, simply to be mischievous. Oh, those effervescently zany Swedes…

    “My first car was a Toyota Starlet,” he explains, which is actually something we hear a lot. A surprising number of skilled helmsmen cut their teeth in that balletic Japanese poppet, it must teach its drivers an awful lot about car control. “I’ve been working with BMWs for about 12 or 13 years now though. My first was an E30, which I wanted to turn into a bit of turbocharged weekend fun. Most of my BMWs have been E30s in fact; the most recent one was making 982hp and 887lb ft on an old M20 engine.”

    It’s probably safe to assume that this fella knows what he’s doing when it comes to perving over BMWs then. However, the E90 is a world apart from the E30 (just look at the maths, it’s 60 #BMW Top Trump points adrift), so this little race car project was always going to be something of a challenge, right? No, not a bit of it. Karel’s the sort of chap who just knuckles down and gets on with it and there’s no half-measures here. Allin or nothing.

    “I wanted to do fast lap times and the goal was to be quick,” he says, with hilarious modesty and masterful understatement. “With that in mind, there was only one chassis that was suitable for this: the E90 M3. So I bought the car from a friend – it was in really good condition, aside from the engine, which was trashed. One of the rods had found its way out…” But with the plans that Karel had made, a blown motor was an irrelevance. Stock engines aren’t Gatebil fodder. It was always the gameplan to tear the motor apart and beef everything up like Meat Loaf in an Angus Steakhouse.

    “Yes, the whole build was fully mapped out from the start,” he assures us. “We even drew up 3D renderings of how it would look when it was finished. The plan was always clear.” Oh, and what a plan it was. With ruthless efficiency and the sort of clockwork dominance of the to-do list that you normally find in school staff rooms, Karel and his crew set about ripping the E90 to shreds and building it back up as an apex-humiliating, spectator-arousing beast.

    “In the first year, we dealt with the chassis,” he says. “KW three-way competition suspension, and also a big brake upgrade from Endless, to get the chassis fully dialled-in. We’d initially talked to a local company about our suspension options, and the support was terrible, so we ended up talking to KW suspension in Germany. They answered all of our questions in one email and the support was just above and beyond, so it was a no-brainer to go with KW! They made a custom three-way competition kit for us, and those guys have been a strong partner ever since.”

    With the chassis tested and thoroughly proven, the second year of the E90 build threw up some proper mischief. “In year two we did the forged engine,” says Karel, “and then we supercharged it – and this was no off-the-shelf kit, it was the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp, and we also upgraded the ECU to a full Motec setup, with PDM [Power Distribution Module], dash and ECU. We fitted a Samsonas sequential gearbox with paddleshift too.” Phew. Time to take a breath, drink in the magnificence of the spec, and just have a little think about our own life choices. Stick the kettle on for some pondering time, we’ll see you at the next paragraph.

    Better? We know, it’s a lot to take in. But brace yourselves, as there’s a little more to come. You see, it would have been amusingly stealthy to jam all of this sweaty grunt into a stock-looking four-door shell, but stealth has never been the Swedish forced induction enthusiasts’ watchword. So what you’re seeing here is a searing vision in Snakeskin Green, a Dodge Viper colour no less, and to prove that this build isn’t just about dumb horsepower there’s a frankly staggering aero setup. Just look at the frickin’ size of that rear diffuser, for goodness’ sake! And the front splitter’s big enough to stand a family of six upon, let alone allowing them all to have a little nap on the rear wing. This thing may have enough horsepower to make a Bugatti owner think twice, but it’s also glued to the track by the crushing inevitability of downforce. It’s actually kinda frightening. Another hugely impressive element of this build is just how stock that S65 motor is, aside from the comically large blower. It’s got forged pistons and rods from Pure Performance Motorsport in Australia, and a suitably juiced-up fuelling system feeding through a Weldon 2345 pump (which is good for 1300hp!), but aside from that it’s pretty much as the M Division intended. Talk about over-engineering, eh?


    Still, there was a global vibe developing in this Swedish-honed, German-built car with Australian engine upgrades and Japanese interior addenda, so it only made sense for the rolling stock to come from somewhere unexpected too. That’s why you’ll find a set of Work VS-XX wheels under those widened carbon fibre arches – custom-built wheels from Japan. And the rears are a spanking 12.5” wide, which allows for some seriously dirty contact patch. “We wanted a wheel that could match the rest of the car,” Karel reasons, “and Work Wheels were the only choice for a quality wide wheel.” Having hand-crafted his own bruising arches, we’ll happily take his word for that.

    “Function over form was the overarching idea,” he continues. “The look has always been secondary to the act of going fast. The chassis’s actually being modified for a Version 3 that we’ll be debuting soon, but yes – the capability has always been more important than the look.” This statement, of course, writes a very large cheque, as the car looks absolutely phenomenal. Thankfully, we know that the setup can cash it with ease. “I’d say my favourite element of the build is all the carbon fibre,” Karel grins. “When you start with carbon, you kinda get the fever and it’s hard to stop! For 2017 most of the car will be in carbon fibre, and for 2018 a new chassis is being built with even more mods and 100% carbon.” Blimey. 100% is a big percentage. We’ll report back as the news filters in.


    “It took some five-to-six months to build the first version of the car,” he says, “then it evolved over the off-season; 2015 Version 1, 2016 Version 2, and 2017 is Version 2.1. Just wait – 2018 will bring it up to Version Badass.” We can’t wait to see that. But for now, let’s just bask in the unutterable lunacy of Version 2.1 – the as-yet ultimate evolution of your neighbour’s four-door 3 Series, built to tear up Gatebil and atomise any rubber that may stray into its workshop. The fact that it’s not a coupé just makes the flawless victories all the sweeter. ¬

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-E90 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E90 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #ESS-supercharger / #ESS / #BMW / #Work / #MoTeC-ECU

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #BMW-S65 / #S65 , fully-forged, custom #ESS-supercharger-kit , 1000cc injectors and uprated fuelling with #Weldon 2345 pump, #Motec engine management. #Samsonas six-speed sequential gearbox

    CHASSIS 11x18” (front) and 12.5x18” (rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 305/35 (front) and 335/35 (rear) tyres, #KW three-way competition suspension, #Endless race brake setup with six-pot calipers (front and rear) with 355mm (front) and 345mm (rear) discs

    EXTERIOR Dodge Viper Snakeskin Green, wide steel rear wings and plastic-welded M3 front wings – now remoulded in carbon fibre, Gatebil-sized custom wing, splitter and diffuser

    INTERIOR Sparco seats, Takata harnesses, OMP steering wheel, custom cluster by Karel S Motorsport, paddle shifters, full painted FIA rollcage

    THANKS All of my friends who helped, especially to Tim and Jens, and also all of my sponsors last year and also the new ones for 2017 – it would not have been possible without them

    No air-ride here, just air jacks.
    The rear view is dominated by that custom diffuser.
    Fully-painted FIA roll-cage.

    “Function over form was the overarching idea, the look has always been secondary to the act of going fast”

    MOTEC engine management keeps things running right.
    Sparco seats with Takata harnesses up front.
    MoTeC C127 Race Display behind OMP steering wheel.
    Custom ESS supercharger kit makes 840hp.


    “In year two we did the forged engine and then we supercharged it [with] the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp”
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    SUPERCHARGED E39 M5 Business class just got faster

    STRICTLY BUSINESS This executive saloon may look unassuming, but don’t be fooled, Matt Benson’s supercharged E39 M5 will easily cash any cheques your right foot can sign. Words and photos: Matt Petrie.

    Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an age-old adage instilled in us during our youth. While it is one of the earliest morals taught, it is too often forgotten as we grow old. Taking past experiences and using them to make prejudices towards a result which we expect to be true can get us into trouble and that is the case with Matt Benson’s E39. What looks to be a civilized saloon is in actuality a complete and utter lunatic. Don’t be fooled – this unapologetic M5 will leave you scratching your head when launching from a red light or as it commands curves, winding through the mountains.

    Maintaining a balance of ferocity and modesty is not an easy task and while on paper it might be contradictory, we assure you that Matt’s E39 M5 is a textbook example of a proper business saloon. The key to retaining modesty is doing without the wild colours, aggressive aero, and flashy wheels. Aesthetically, it has to be something to simply get you into work without being the topic of conversation among co-workers gathering around the water cooler. However, that commute to and from the office is a different, exhilarating story. In order to fully appreciate the final product, we need to briefly highlight the evolution of Matt’s mods and previous cars.

    Matt Benson has always had an affinity for V8 muscle and taking the more subtle approach is something of second nature for him. His first car was a Ford Mustang 5.0 LX “Fox body” which, in a sense, was a sleeper in its time compared to its sister version, the Mustang GT. He drove that LX into the ground with over 200,000 miles on the odometer. After many advancements up the automobile food chain, Matt traded some American torque for German refinement as he found himself in another V8, but this time in the form of a 2000 E39 540i Saloon.

    Though Matt was satisfied with the graduation to the European sports saloon and recognized it as a big improvement, the horsepower bug bit him hard. Dinan parts made their way all over the 540i to increase the performance in both the handling and the engine, pushing it to 350hp. Knowing his reasonable limitations had been met with the 540, yet still wanting more out of his car, Matt set his eyes on his current ride – this 2000 Carbon black on Caramel leather M5.

    He found this car over a decade ago, desirably, with one previous owner and only 13,000 miles logged. Immediately, the performance difference was prominent between the 540i and the M5; the torque off the line and the way the car hooked in the corners didn’t leave him with seller’s remorse over the 540i. While he was tacking on roughly 50,000 miles of his own back and forth to the office and on spirited drives, Matt was continuously adding mods to enhance the performance even further. As superior as he felt the car was in comparison to his previous cars, it wasn’t quite enough. Relentless and back with a vengeance, the mod bug bit hard this time, and it did not let go.

    Matt’s first modification to the M5 didn’t lead to horsepower gains per se. Back in 2005 he sourced a Dinan 3.55 differential and while it is one of the biggest improvements that you can make to a naturally aspirated car, ironically, it has nothing physically to do with the engine. Over the years it served its purpose, but as Matt says “I guess I modded a mod” and changed the rear end out to a 3.62. The tight gear ratio shifts the power band, launching the car and virtually making first gear useless in the best way possible. Surrounding the differential in the rear is a matching Dinan high performance exhaust, which flows out back from a Supersprint four-into-one stepped exhaust manifold system. Above the manifolds, under the bonnet, lies a Dinan cold air intake and Evolve Alpha-N tune with MAF delete and while this combination achieved Matt’s 450 horsepower goal, it was time to raise the bar yet again.

    Chasing greater horsepower and maximising the NA bolt-ons, he crossed the threshold into the forced induction world. Matt commissioned Autocouture Motoring in northern NJ, well-known for its work with BMW and supercharging the E9x platform specifically, to do the work. The team installed an ESS Tuning VT1-560 supercharger system along with an Aquamist meth injection kit. To handle the horsepower increase and fight the ravages of age, Autocouture also installed a Dinan subframe reinforcement kit at the same time as the performance upgrades. The combination of the Dinan differential chewing through first and second gear with the pull of the ESS supercharger and meth higher up the power band is a visceral experience that delivers an exceptional one-two punch.

    In fact, when Matt was asked what his favorite modification to the car has been, he responded happily, “I have two favourites, the first being the supercharger, which brought the biggest smile to my face, and second would be the shorter diff, it’s like a 50hp equivalent increase!”

    With all of this newly-added power he now addressed the other areas of importance: brakes and suspension. Matt went top shelf when choosing suspension, opting for the JRZ coilover kit and set the car up slightly lower than the stock ride height, maximising suspension travel and comfort while optimizing the performance that the JRZs offer. StopTech ST60/ST40 brakes at all four corners enhance the stopping power tremendously, with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers in the rear, both sets finished in silver to keep the M5’s modified appearance at a minimum.

    Matt loved the car’s aesthetics, especially its finely crafted, unadulterated exterior however, he needed a wheel that would clear his brakes and be lighter in weight than stock, while still maintaining the M5’s factory appearance. Wanting to mimic the style of the OEM M5 wheel, Matt, along with the crew at ACM, carefully selected the HRE Classic 301 monoblocks. Taking it a step further, he went with HRE’s gorgeous, custom, hand-brushed finish with a darktinted clear coat, tying them in with BMW’s factory chrome shadow finish on the M5’s original wheels.

    This M5’s interior is straight out of a #BMW catalogue with the smooth caramel-coloured hide flowing from the seats onto the extended leather lower dashboard, with just the right amount of wood trim. Nothing is out of place nor unnecessarily added. Under close examination, only an aluminium pedal set and short shift kit can be spotted in here and even at that point the SSK is still capped off by the stock wood knob to maintain the factory look and feel. Matt was highly selective with every modification made to his M5, and held the highest of standards for how this on-going project was executed.

    “While the car is more than 16-years-old, it rivals anything on the road currently,” Matt says and we’d have to agree with him, it is completely relevant in every way to any of the European sports cars of today. The gentleman’s executive saloon is one that does not cry out for attention, but rather discretely delivers to those who know what they’re looking at. Each modification was carefully considered and completed with one goal in mind, which was to make the car perform at its full potential. His car takes everything that was incredible about the E39 M5 and sharpens it to to modern standards, making this one of the most fun cars you will ever drive.

    “Autocouture Motoring installed an #ESS-Tuning-VT1-560 supercharger system along with an Aquamist meth injection kit”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE Supercharged #BMW-E39 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E39 / #BMW-M5-Supercharged / #BMW-M5-Supercharged-E39 / #ESS-VT1 / #ESS / #Vortech-V3 / #Vortech / #Howerton / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-E39 / #BMW / #ESS-Tuning

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.9-litre #V8 #S62B50 / #S62 / #BMW-S62 , Supersprint four-into-one exhaust manifolds, #ESS-VT1-560 #ESS-Supercharger kit with #Vortech-V3 supercharger, #Howerton-Aquamist-HFS-3 system, Dinan performance velocity stacks, #Dinan high-flow performance exhaust, high capacity electric fan, oil separators. Six-speed manual gearbox, #CNS-Racing 10.5 Kevlar clutch and dualmass flywheel, Dinan short shifter kit, 3.62 LSD with three clutch ramps and polished ring and pinion gears

    CHASSIS 8.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #HRE-301 monoblock wheels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Continental tyres, Dinan subframe reinforcement kit, Dinan front tower strut brace, Dinan camber plates and monoball front ball joint kit, #JRZ-Stage-3 suspension system from Dinan, #Beast-Power heavy-duty anti-roll bar brackets, #StopTech-ST60 BBK with six-piston calipers and 355x32mm discs (front) and ST40 BBK with four-piston calipers and 355x32mm discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Tinted windows, Depo angel eye upgrade kit, front lower bumper grille with aluminium mesh brake ducts

    INTERIOR Black carbon fibre trim, aluminium pedal set, widescreen nav upgrade

    THANKS Autocoulture Motoring (Tom Limatola, Sal Benanti, Matt Petrie and team) for bringing it to the next level, Northeast Motorsports (Mike O’Neill and team) for all their expertise, Motorsports West (Dave Bogert and team) for being the source of my performance BMW “condition”

    Caramel Heritage leather adds a dash of luxury.

    Gorgeous #HRE-301 monoblocks and #StopTech #BBK all-round.
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    POWER HUNGRY

    The M3 is certainly a powerful car, but this supercharged E90 takes things to another level… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Petrie.

    Supercharged E90 M3

    When it comes to the E9x M3 we, like a lot of you out there, would likely go for the E92 if given the choice, as the Coupé is arguably the sleeker and sexier car of the two. However, there are plenty of good reasons to opt for the four-door. For starters, if you’re in the family way or are simply looking for greater levels of practicality when it comes to transporting human cargo, the saloon offers up five seats to the coupé’s four.

    If you’re not interested in ferrying people about and are more interested in the driving experience then we’d cite the words of one of the #BMW M Fascination Nordschleife instructors we spoke to whilst taking part in the event who, when quizzed as to why he wasn’t driving an E92 M3 Coupé like the rest of us, informed us that the shorter saloon changed direction more quickly, felt stiffer and was better to drive on the track than the E92. His words, not ours. Of course, both cars are as capable as each other but don’t let any of your E92-owning buddies ever talk down to you for having four doors on your M3.

    We can’t imagine that’s something that ever happens to Islam ‘Izzy’ Gohar because he’s got an E90 M3 with a supercharger on it, but then again that’s exactly the sort of car you’d expect from the owner of IMG Motorsport, purveyor of some of the finest performance parts you can buy, and someone who has been driving and modifying BMWs since the age of 16. “My first BMW was gifted to me by my parents at the age of 16, having accomplished the required grades to get into engineering school in Europe. It was more than I could handle at that age but I was lucky to attend multiple driving schools where I learned a lot about car control and more.

    “The car didn’t last long in its stock form. It was tuned and lowered right away and then a full exhaust system was added to complete my first toy. When I moved to the States in early 2000 after college, I purchased a low mileage E36 M3 from a close friend. The car was a ’99 in Titanium silver over a black leather Vader interior, and had 30k miles on it along with some mods which kept me tame for a couple of months.

    “In 2002 I was introduced to Corry Prime by a couple of friends; Corry happened to be (and still is) one of the top three techs for BMW North America and also a race car instructor. We became friends and he helped me get my new baby to where it needed to be, and more. He didn’t just work on the car, he explained everything in depth and advised what to buy and use. I paid good attention to my teacher and learned a lot from him and still do to this day. He built me an amazing M3, which I still own and I started doing track events and fell more in love with my journey with BMW.”



    The E36 served as both daily driver and track beast for many years until Izzy decided he fancied a newer BMW, an M3 specifically. However, the long waiting list put him off so he instead purchased a brand-new 135i, which was quickly modified and just as quickly written off by his boss’s son.

    This was unfortunate for sure, but it was clearly a sign that it was about time to have another go at getting his hands on an M3. “I went out looking for an E90 M3 and ended up taking over someone’s lease. It took a while to find what I wanted; a slicktop (no sunroof) with no folding rear seats and a six-speed manual in Interlagos blue. When I did find the right car, I closed the deal right away. It had 9k miles on it and was in a very clean condition.” Not only did Izzy start modifying the car straight away, he started buying parts while the car was in transit from Ohio to its new home, some 600-odd miles away in Connecticut, so when it arrived it went straight to Corry. “I’d ordered an Xpipe, exhaust, intake, lowering springs, short shift kit and a tune and Corry had the parts on over the space of a weekend.”

    A solid start to any project, and enough to tide most owners over for a while, but Izzy is clearly a guy who doesn’t beat about the bush. “Corry and I soon starting discussing power upgrades. Initially we wanted a stroker built motor but the price and gains didn’t justify it,” he says, “so instead we went for an ESS Supercharger kit and once that was on the car it stayed like that for two years, until it hit 50,000 miles. Then it was time to start pushing the limits,” grins Izzy, and he’s not kidding…

    “First up, Corry pulled the engine out and we contacted Mahle Motorsports for custom lower compression pistons, which took eight weeks to build, and at the same time Carrillo rods were also ordered. As soon as the pistons were received, the block was sent to Dinan Engineering out in CA for boring and honing; when everything came back assembly didn’t take more than two weeks with Corry assembling a custom fuel delivery return system, though it took quite some time to get the proper fuel pressure needed for the added power.

    “In its first dyno session, running on a custom tune by Asborn ‘AJ’ from ESS Tuning, the car put down 666whp at 12- 13psi.” This is certainly a devilishly good power figure and an impressive increase over what even the most powerful off-the-shelf ESS kit is able to produce. “I was very happy with the power level for a little while but I hurt the motor at an event which I wasn’t prepared for.” Another unfortunate event but naturally if something breaks then that gives you an excuse to do some more modifying so obviously there was only one option…

    “At that point we decided to push for more power,” says Izzy, matter-of-factly, “so Corry pulled the engine out and started tearing it apart and inspecting everything. He found one damaged piston due to a bad batch of gas from a no-name petrol station, so we ordered larger diameter pistons from Mahle and sent the block back to Dinan for a second round of boring and honing. At the same time, we sent the cylinder heads to L&M Racing in PA.

    Michael, the owner, is a great friend and he got on the heads right away for porting and polishing so the engine could breathe better. Custom valve springs were used to handle 8800rpm. We also sent him the pistons, rods, and crank for balancing the rotating assembly for smoothness and reliability. Everything came in and Corry started assembly and after a week, the motor was ready to go in the car.

    “At the same time as all the engine work we decided to add KW V1 coilovers and ditch the lowering springs as well as adding a Brembo Gran Turismo big brake kit with yellow calipers all-round, six-pots up front and four-pots at the rear and 380mm slotted discs all-round. Everything went in smoothly and once the car was back on the road I took it to P1 Motorcars where it made 740whp on the company’s Dynojet dyno.”

    Now, that is a vast amount of power, way more than anyone could ever need and probably approaching the limits of what most sane people would actually want but Izzy wasn’t done just yet: “The engine felt like it had more in it so I reached out to Nick and Steve at American Racing Headers and they decided to develop a set of long tube headers for my car, mated to a 3” cat-less resonated X-pipe and an Awron gauge was installed to monitor AFR at all times. Nick installed the headers at his shop at no charge, and the car then went back on the rollers where it put down 785whp and 550lb ft at the wheels, at 13psi on ‘medium boost’.

    That makes it the highest horsepower E9x M3 to this day. I’ll eventually turn the boost up once the record is broken by another one,” and he’s not even joking. Considering just how much power this M3 is pushing out (almost 900hp at the crank) it’s a car we’d consider to be pretty darn stealthy from the outside, and yes we have seen the wheels, thanks very much. They’re rather gorgeous Volk TE37s, 9.5x18s up front and beefy 10.5x18s at the back, the fronts barely able to contain those vast six-pot Brembo front calipers, with one of the six-spokes on each wheel sporting the Volk Racing logo on a bright yellow background that matches both the brakes and the intake plenum of the ESS supercharger kit.

    “I chose the Volks because of their perfect offset, build quality, and weight; they are forged which makes them very strong – extremely necessary for our bad tri-state roads,” explains Izzy and the fact that they’re also such a good-looking wheel certainly doesn’t do them any harm.

    The exterior styling additions amount to no more than a Just M Performance carbon fibre rear spoiler, carbon fibre diffuser and a set of Euro rear lights, while the interior has been treated to an M Performance flat-bottom steering wheel and custom Alcantara-wrapped trim with yellow stitching, tying in perfectly with the yellow elements that appear throughout the car.

    Having built such an incredible powerhouse of an M3, Izzy isn’t about to let it go and based on his list of planned modifications it sounds like this E90 will be joining his E36 as a permanent fixture in his collection. “I’m going to add a RKP carbon fibre roof, KW V3 coilovers, AlekShop solid subframe bushes, leather Recaro Sportster CS seats with yellow stitching, Alcantara headlining and I also want to get the car resprayed.”

    With those mods done and with an M4 GTS and F10 M5 also on the shopping list, we’d wager that the E90 M3 will retire for as long as it takes for someone to break Izzy’s dyno record. And lord help anyone who does because that’s when he’s going to bring the M3 back, crank up the boost and who knows what’s going to happen then…

    Inside, yellow stitching matches the other yellow highlights and there’s an M Performance steering wheel.

    There are plenty of yellow highlights on this E90, but the ESS plenum is the biggest and yellowest.

    “When I did find the right car I closed the deal right away”

    DATA FILE Supercharged #E90 M3 / #BMW-S65 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #L&M-Racing / #S65-Supercharger / #Dinan / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #V8 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Sedan-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-E90 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 S65B40 , L&M Racing ported and polished heads, custom valve springs, #Mahle-Motorsports pistons, #Carrillo rods, block bored and honed by #Dinan , #ESS-Supercharger kit, American Racing Headers long tube headers, 3" cat-less resonated midsection, #Akrapovic axle back exhaust with carbon tips, six-speed manual gearbox

    POWER AND TORQUE 785whp and 550lb ft wtq at 13psi

    CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) #Volk-TE37-SL forged wheels with 265/35 (front) and 295/35 (rear) Continental ExtremeContact DW tyres, #KW-V1 coilovers, #Brembo-Gran-Turismo-BBK with six-pot calipers (front), four-pot calipers (rear) and 380mm slotted discs (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR Just M performance carbon fibre boot lip spoiler, Euro rear lights, carbon fibre rear diffuser

    INTERIOR M Performance V1 flat bottom steering wheel, Alcantara dash trim with yellow stitching
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    THE RIGHT STUFF
    Some cars have it, some cars don’t – but this 625hp supercharged E92 M3 most definitely has a whole heap of it. From its looks, to its stance and what it’s got lurking under the bonnet, this E92 M3 gets everything right. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Mike Kuhn.

    What makes a good-looking car? The styling plays a big part, of course, but that on its own isn’t enough; how it sits is also important, as ride height and stance play a huge role in terms of a car’s visual appeal. Furthermore, the wheels are crucial as the ‘wrong’ ones can ruin even the best-looking cars. Get all of these elements spot-on and you’ll build yourself a car that looks right on every level and David Cao has done just that. It helps that he’s chosen to work his magic on an E92 M3, which is a great platform to begin any build, and as an added bonus there’s a bit of extra spice going on under the bonnet…

    We have to say that looking at the E92 (and its M3 incarnation in particular) with post-F3x eyes, it looks better than it ever did. Everything about it, from the proportions to the understated but purposeful styling, was and still is right. The F8x M3 and M4 certainly aren’t short of aggression, but the E9x M3 has such a cohesive shape that flows so well, with perfect proportions. Add the overwhelming aftermarket support for the car (so extensive that no two examples are likely to be the same) plus the fact that it’s likely to be the last naturally aspirated M3 that we’ll see and it’s enough to have you reaching for the chequebook.

    That’s exactly what David did, and he’s clearly as keen on the E9x 3 Series family as we are, judging by past and present automotive conquests: “I’ve been interested in BMWs since 2007 when I bought my first one, a 335i,” he says, which is certainly a great introduction to the brand. “I bought it because of its twin-turbo engine and the fact that it performed just as well as the E46 M3.” While that 335i is no longer part of the stable, David has employed an E91 325xi Touring for daily duties. Good as the 335i was, when the M3 was launched the lure of its high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 proved impossible to resist and he put his name down, with this white example being the result of that transaction.

    The E92 M3 is an awesome machine out-of- the-box, but it has so much untapped potential that it really would seem foolish not to tap it. David has a car history that includes a large number of modified Hondas, so the M3 was never going to stay stock for long. Also, with his modifying roots firmly embedded in the JDM scene, it is unsurprising that David has chosen to let some of those Japanese styling influences spill over to his German machine, and it’s given this M3 a fusion flavour that’s distinctively different. The front and rear bumpers come from Japanese tuning house, Amuse, and are part of the Ericsson range; the bumpers aren’t overly aggressive, just adding a touch of extra ‘swoopiness’ and it’s only really the bootlid, with its unashamedly indiscreet, obtuse-angled integrated spoiler that makes a big impact. The front bumper, with its black corner extensions, has been further embellished with an APR carbon fibre splitter, while the rear item has been fitted with a Downforce USA multi-piece carbon fibre diffuser, which blends perfectly with the bumper.

    In addition to this, Exotic Tuning carbon fibre side blades sit below the skirts on either side and there’s an AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, plus slick-looking ONEighty NYC custom headlights with super-bright angel eyes. These are complemented at the rear with a set of LCI light clusters.


    On the suspension front, David has eschewed air-ride on his E92 M3, instead opting to keep things static with a KW coilover kit, though he’s clearly a devout worshipper at the temple of lows judging by how far off the ground the front splitter sits; in fact, we’re amazed it’s survived this long! Of course, lowered suspension is crying out for the right wheels to go with a serious drop and here Dave has once again looked to the Far East for inspiration.

    “I’ve had lots of wheels for this car,” he says, “and lately I’ve been aiming for Japanese wheels, which is why I got this classic set of Work Equips.” The simple fivespoke design is perhaps not one you tend to see on E9x M3s, which makes the wheels stand out and gives this car a particular, aggressive, look. The wheels themselves, while not intricate, are gorgeous, from the detailed centre caps with their raised lettering to the contrast of the dark silver faces against the mirror-polished stepped lips, with those deep dishes front and rear catching the light. They really suit the car’s aggressive styling, the thick, chunky spokes sitting perfectly against the sharp, angular looks and giving the whole package a squat, stocky appearance.

    Venturing inside, the remnants of the once red interior offer up a nice contrast against the inky blackness of everything else and, while David hasn’t gone wild in here, what he has changed has made a big difference. The two-piece Recaro Sportster CS seats are awesome, a world away from the comfortable but slightly bland standard items, and give the interior a much more purposeful look that matches the M3’s outward appearance. They are joined by a ZHP gear knob, because this is indeed a manual, and a #BMW-M-Performance V2 steering wheel with digital display along with a P3Cars vent-mounted multi-function digital data display and boost gauge.

    Now, the E9x M3 is a pretty ferocious performance machine out-of-the-box, the glorious S65 V8 giving it some serious muscle, but it would be a shame if all that additional battle armour on the outside wasn’t backed up with a little something extra under the bonnet. Luckily, this M3 has had more than a little fettling on the engine front and lifting the lid on the 4.0-litre V8 reveals the unmistakable intake plenum of an ESS supercharger kit.

    David has opted for the VT2-625 intercooled setup, which is only $600 more than the 595 version but a hefty $1400 lighter on the wallet than the top-end 650 version, making this the sensible choice for those looking to punch through the 600hp barrier on their supercharged M3.

    As its name suggests, the 625 kits makes a mighty 625hp, 205hp up on the standard car, with 410lb ft of torque for some serious midrange muscle, with the Vortech V3 Si supercharger running at between 6.5 and 7psi of boost. That pressurised air passing through what ESS says is the largest chargecooler system on the market and an octet of uprated Bosch injectors ensure ample fuel reaches the engine to match all that additional air. Not only is it an awesome-looking kit, it really delivers on the performance front and gives this M3 more than enough of a power upgrade to match the aggressive styling. The supercharger, incidentally, is David’s favourite modification on the car: “The car feels and sounds amazing along with the F1 exhaust,” he says.

    Ah yes, we almost forget about that. The quad pipes protruding from the rear valance are far from stock and belong to the IPE Innotech F1 Valvetronic exhaust system. A bit of a mouthful that may be, but this stainless steel system goes from mild to wild at the push of a button, delivering an awesome V8 soundtrack with the valves open, so much so that we wonder if David ever bothers to close them… The finishing touch, and a necessary one to compensate for that massive increase in power, is the addition of a beefy Rotora Street Challenge big brake kit with six-pot forged aluminium callipers and massive 380mm discs up front.

    It’s fair to say that David has built himself an absolute monster machine of an M3. It looks that little bit different from the norm thanks to its Asian styling influences and combines striking styling with a whole heap of power thanks to that ESS supercharger. It ticks just about every box you could think of and it really is one of those cars that gets everything so very right.

    DATA FILE Supercharged #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #ESS / #IPE-Innotech / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E92 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-E92-Supercharged / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #ESS-Supercharger

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #S65-Supercharged , #ESS-VT-2-625 intercooled supercharger kit, IPE-Innotech-F1-Valvetronic exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox, 625hp, 410lb ft

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) three-piece #Work-Equip wheels with 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Achilles #Achilles-ATR Sport tyres, #KW coilovers, #Rotora-Street-Challenge #BBK (front) with forged aluminium six-pot calipers and 380mm slotted discs

    EXTERIOR Amuse Ericsson front bumper, APR carbon fibre front splitter, ONEighty NYC headlights, Exotic Tuning carbon fibre side blades, Amuse Ericsson bootlid, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, Downforce carbon fibre rear diffuser, LCI tail-lights

    INTERIOR #BMW-Performance electronic V2 steering wheel, BMW ZHP gear knob, Recaro Sportster CS seats, P3Cars digital integrated data display and boost gauge

    THANKS Viet at Delta Auto Care, John at Speedfreak Detailing, Alex from Autocouture, Rotora brakes and Johnny, Julian and David at BMW

    “The car feels and sounds amazing along with the F1 exhaust”

    “I’ve had lots of wheels for this car and lately I’ve been aiming for Japanese wheels…”
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    HIDDEN TALENT
    This unassuming E34 hides a supercharged secret… What might appear to be nothing more than a rather smart-looking BMW E34 540i is actually packing 430hp beneath its unassuming exterior, courtesy of an #ESS-supercharger kit. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Andy Tipping.

    When I was 15, my mum asked me to choose a car for her from our local used car dealer. He had four cars for sale and the only two worth looking at were a Mk2 Golf GTI 16v and an E36 325i. I was sold on the BMW as soon as the salesman started it up,” recalls 25-yearold Fred with a big grin across his face. The car was eventually passed down to his brother and in the four years that it was in the Marsh-Allen household, Fred formed fond memories of it. In fact, it was the car that ignited his love affair with BMW and when it came to his first car he didn’t consider any other marque.

    His first choice of weapon was a 318ti – an immaculate, one-owner example – but, as a professional drummer, he needed something bigger and faster and it was not long before he started thinking about his next acquisition. To help fund the purchase, Fred got a job with a local car insurance company and with the added advantage of a discounted policy he was able to step up to an E39 540i. “I really liked that car and it sparked my love affair with V8s,” explains Fred. “The surprise on the faces of young lads in their Vauxhall Corsas as I tanked it past them with the back crammed full of drums was absolutely priceless.”

    Sadly, a failed cooling system left him totally bereft of any spare cash and he eventually got rid of it. He then seemingly worked his way through the entire #BMW line-up of models, including an E28 525e, an E31 840Ci, an E34 525i, various E39 Tourings, an Alpina B10 3.5, a couple of E36 328s, an E46 330i, and an Alpina B3 3.3.

    It was around this time that Fred got the bug for modifying. He kick-started his newfound addiction with the E28, which received a full respray in the car’s original Alpine white hue, H&R lowering springs and a set of BBS Style 5 RC090s. “It looked mental and was the perfect retro daily. I then had the insane idea of converting the E34 525i that I had bought (for the bargain sum of £400) into a 540i,” Fred explains.

    Many of us have at least one friend in our life that likes to play the little devil on our shoulder and for Fred it’s a certain buddy named Kevin. Kevin suggested that the engine swap wouldn’t be that difficult, offering the use of his axle stands and a hammer to boot! Kevin’s comment changed the direction of Fred’s project and he started the search for a donor engine.

    He soon found someone who was willing to sell him a 540i Touring for £700. The previous owner was a keen angler and the car was his main means of transportation. This meant it carried all of the related paraphernalia, towed his boat, and was even used to launch the boat into the water.


    Because of this the underside and bodywork of the Touring was rotten. That did not matter, however, as the engine had only covered 130k and was in great working order. Fred and Kevin set about swapping over the engine and transmission during the summer of 2012. Fred gained invaluable knowledge and skills from the experience, which he was able to put to extremely good use when it came to the car you see pictured here, which leads us nicely onto the topic.

    While carrying out the conversion, Fred bought an LSD which he never got round to fitting and he ended up selling it to a bloke who wanted one for his E34. “When Dave turned up we got on really well and have remained friends since,” says Fred. “I fell in love with his E34 540i at first sight and vowed that one day I would get him to sell it to me. I badgered him for over a year until one day in late 2014 he finally relented as he needed the funds to buy a 2002.”

    Dave sold it to him for £4000 on the condition that Fred would supercharge it. This was something Dave himself had wanted to do but never got round to doing! The car was very clean, and Dave, along with other previous owners, including one who worked for a Bentley and Rolls-Royce specialist, had carried out a few modifications. As such, the cabin is a very luxurious place with mats, doorcards and various bits of interior trim made up from Bentley materials, along with a set of custom clocks to match. It had also benefitted from a UUC short-shift kit, AC Schnitzer pedals, M5 3.8 brakes and BC Racing coilovers – which Fred has since adjusted, raising the rear ride height by 10mm to clear the wider tyres and increasing the stiffness.

    When it came to exterior styling, Fred wanted a smooth and understated style so he removed all of the window tints and the M5 spoiler (but kept the E36 M3 mirrors that had been previously fitted). The car was then resprayed in the original Oxford green. Simple but effective; the E34 has such strong lines and this particular model is so rare it does not necessitate much else. “Unfortunately where so much silicone was used to attach the spoiler it reacted with the new paint, so I had to source a new bootlid for it,” Fred tells us. The finishing exterior touch is a set of staggered Rondell 0058 wheels.

    Next up was the main job: installing the supercharger kit. This was not without its problems. Unfortunately, the induction pipework did not fit, which meant the air con had to be deleted in order to route it under the ’charger instead. Following the photoshoot, this setup was reconstructed from aluminium due to the original supplied pipework collapsing at high revs. “It was very frustrating when I think it wouldn’t have been any more hassle to have turbocharged the car,” says Fred.

    In addition, Fred decided to bin the original ECU and ESS chip and fit an Emerald K6 ECU, map sensor, and a bypass valve. With three different engine maps – all selectable from a switch hidden in the driver’s cubby hole – he can chose whether he wants to opt for a TVR-esque ‘pop and bang’ map or be a little more sensible and dial-in power or economy. Of course, the best part of the conversion, which provides this E34 with 430hp, is seeing off new hot hatches. It’s the last thing people come to expect from a 20-year-old saloon!

    So, what is next for Fred? Well, other than a sound system (given the current setup only does justice to Radio 4), Fred is planning simply to enjoy the car this season. After all his hard work, he deserves it.

    DATA FILE #Supercharged-BMW-E34 / #BMW-540i / #BMW-540i-E34 / #BMW-540i-ESS-supercharger-kit / #BMW-540i-ESS-supercharger-kit-E34 / #1994 / #1995 / #BMW-E34

    ENGINE 4.0-litre V8 M60B40 / BMW-M60 / M60 , #ESS-supercharger-kit / #ESS-Supercharger / #ESS / #M60-ESS-supercharger-kit , #Emerald-K6-ECU / #Emerald-ECU and map sensor, bypass valve, custom exhaust system, six-speed manual transmission with UUC short-shift kit.

    CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #Rondell 0058 wheels with 235/45 (front) and 275/40 (rear) tyres, M5 3.8 brakes all-round, #BC-Racing coilovers.

    EXTERIOR E36 M3 mirrors, full respray in Oxford green.

    INTERIOR Bentley mats, doorcards and trim, custom clocks, AC Schnitzer pedals.

    THANKS Kev, Rob and Donnie, Dave Moore for selling me the car, Hans at ESS, John at Emerald M3D LTD for mapping and RPM Littleport for transportation and ECU fitting, Richi’s Cars Kings Lynn for the bodywork.

    I fell in love with his E34 540i on first sight and vowed that one day I would get him to sell it to me.
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    SUPERCHARGED BMW M3 PICK-UP / #BMW-M3-Monaco-Motors-E92

    Terminal Velocity Ever fancied an #BMW-M3-E92-Pick-Up ? Here’s one with an added supercharger for good measure. Pare an #BMW-M3 down into a pick-up, add an ESS supercharger and you’ll have an BMW M4 and V10 M6-annihilating missile… Words: Johann Venter /// Photography: Oliver Hirtenfelder.

    On a stretch of undulating country road, the approach is with such ferocity that the road seems smaller than it actually is. We hit 168mph (270km/h) at 6500rpm in sixth gear and it is still pulling. The supercharger craves the revs, the higher the better. Traffic? What traffic? Just lock onto your target, accelerate and in a flash you are past. The speed is intoxicating, and the thunderous notes being belted from those pipes, utterly addictive.

    The #BMW-M3-E92 is virtually a legend in its own time, with record sales since its launch in 2007: 40,000 Coupés were sold, 10,000 Saloons and 16,000 Convertibles. The staggering V8 (developed from the E60 M5’s #S85 ) that powers this legend won the ‘Engine of the Year’ award five years in a row, from 2008 to 2012.

    Various limited-editions of the M3 were made. The most sought after, no doubt, are the GTS and the CRT (Carbon Racing Technology); this M3 will be celebrated for decades to come. Never again will BMW employ the might of a naturally aspirated V8 in its mid-size M line-up. Never again will an M3 be a two-door sports saloon. It is, without doubt, the end of an era. Why, then, mess with perfection?

    In 2011 BMW built a white E92 M3 as an ‘April Fools’ prank (be careful what you wish for) in true #BMW tradition and took it for a lap around the Nürburgring; it caused quite a stir as you can imagine. This, however, is no ‘April Fools’ joke, although the stunt pulled by the M Division did crystallise the idea that Eugene Loubser had for many years. During his youth he admired the 5 Series pick-ups (three in total) that a friend had built. Eugene is the visionary of this rarity; the only other is stored in the M Skunk Works basement.

    Eugene is no stranger to the M fraternity. His introduction to BMW did, however, start out with a rather mundane E12 518 which he got after finishing high school. Next he progressed to his dream car, an E36 M3 Coupé which was quickly followed by another before he naturally advanced to an E46 M3, then migrated to the ultimate saloon, an E39 M5. His favourite, however, is the V10 M6; “If only it did not have the #SMG ‘box,” he laments.

    What then is the fascination with a pick-up? South Africa is a vast country; to put it into perspective it is five times the size of the UK and over three times that of Germany. It has expansive farmland in rural districts with nothing but dirt roads. A pick-up is therefore essential as many farmers would cover several hundred miles as a daily commute. Just like ‘blue jeans’ rubbed off on city dwellers in the ‘50s, so have pick-ups – the bigger the better. For the record, pick-ups are actually known as ‘Bakkies’ in South Africa, but for the sake of simplicity for this feature we’ll stick to pick-up.


    So how does one go about converting an M3 Coupé into a pick-up? For starters there were some very specific requirements as to the car that was going to be used for the conversion. It needed to be a Coupé but one with a sunroof and while this would have been impossible for a UK M3 – all our Coupés had a carbon roof with no sunroof option – in other parts of the world (including South Africa) you could spec a Coupé with a steel roof and a sunroof. Thus Eugene wanted a sunroof model as this would allow the roof to be cut at the appropriate place. Eugene elaborates: “The structural integrity will suffer should you cut a carbon roof and try to join it to what is effectively a metal B-pillar. I also did not want to see a join, so a tin roof was the only option.”

    Second, it had to be a manual: “The manual is more durable than the DCT ‘box, especially with the massive increase in power from the supercharger we were planning.” Manual M3s with a sunroof are, unfortunately, in short supply as hardly anyone opted for the sunroof, so it took Eugene six months of searching. There was one more limitation, however. “I specifically looked for a first generation 2008 or 2009 M3 and I did not want to cut up a car with low mileage,” he reveals. This happens to be a 2008 model, which had 61k miles on the clock, when Eugene found it.

    The conversion started in May 2013. The interior was stripped and a metal saw was applied to the body, which was heartbreaking according to Eugene, but needed to happen. The surgery was entrusted to a good friend with a bodyshop, Prodent, who do all the repairs to cars that need attention at Monaco Motors, Eugene’s premium used car operation. Eugene had already thoroughly researched the conversion and developed a blueprint in his mind: “I did not want the roof coming down in a straight line, I therefore found an Opel (Vauxhall) Corsa pickup as the B-pillar is angled. We also retained the sliding rear window, which I particularly like.” The tarpaulin cover is custom-made and sits flush against the frame. To achieve this, the rail system from a Ford Bantam pick-up was fitted onto the frame of the loading bay.

    The simplest part of the car’s transformation conversion was actually fitting the supercharger from ESS Tuning in America, which is a bolt-on kit that Eugene’s brother installed. It came with uprated ECU software and increased the power from 420hp to 625hp, significantly altering its road manners.

    The Y-spoke CSL type wheels from the M3 Competition Pack in carbon fibre trim are a standout feature and match the stealthy, Space grey paint finish. Eugene divulges the process: “The wheels are sandblasted, then primer is applied, the rim is placed in a bath covered in a special fluid. A synthetic liquid film is then poured over it and the rim is pushed up from the bottom and fluid sticks to the rim with the clear protective film on the outside. The M logos were then applied and coated with clear lacquer.”

    The wing-mirrors are also finished in a carbon fibre-style trim and the theme continues on the inside with dash inlays in the same style with the tri-colour M stripes running over it.

    The pick-up was initially fitted with an Akrapovic exhaust system, but Eugene found that it was too muted. So instead he fitted a custom stainless steel exhaust made by Stealth Performance Pipes that give off a #NASCAR V8 howl and left the titanium Akrapovic tips, which match the carbon items and the honeycomb grille in the rear diffuser. Stand close enough to those tailpipes and you get a reverberation through your entire body that makes you want to do the samba. The loading bay is finished in a chequered aluminium tread-plate, the same as the M Division’s pick-up. It can be a bit bright in direct sunlight but the cover does a good job of concealing it. With the weight in the rear substantially reduced a custommade, 60mm aluminium strut brace with 30mm plates is mounted onto the shock-towers to prevent flex. All the other running gear is a pretty much standard and the brakes do a good job of washing off excess speed, perhaps due to the lower weight.

    The entire conversion took about a year as it was all done after hours. Eugene supervised the project from beginning to end and insisted that the M3 be repainted as he wasn’t happy with the results the first time round. He summarises: “I tried to keep as much of the M3 as possible; on the inside it is just like any other M3.” Well the bits that are left are, anyway! Eugene continues: “Everything works like a normal M3; traction control, EDC settings, navigation and the sunroof. The complete sound system was transferred from the original car and the speakers were built into the board at the back.”


    We couldn’t imagine using this M3 as a daily driver but, to be honest, we found it to be very tame at normal speed and it could even be used for city driving. From 125mph the speed increment is quicker, though, and then it becomes like a mad dog. It overwhelms all the senses as you’re pushed back hard into your seat as it hurtles towards the horizon. The bellowing from the exhaust is constant as higher octaves keep coming with each gear change. Its road manners are impeccable for such high speed and at 150mph it is extremely well-planted. We were expecting it to be skittish on our warp-speed jolt through the countryside; instead, it makes light work of ironing out the kinks and undulations. Forget about exploring its turning-circle capabilities, when Eugene feels the need to turn around on our testdrive he comes to a halt, turns the steering once and lights up the rears. While we’d hit an indicated 168mph earlier we wonder how much more it is capable of? “The day I made child’s play of an M4 and V10 M6, I took it up to 185mph. It’s the fastest I’ve ever been in it,” commented Eugene, “although it does have a habit of chewing through the rear tyres quite quickly!”

    A truly bespoke M3 like this does attract plenty of attention and Eugene has had some ridiculous numbers thrown at him for the pick-up, some of which he seriously contemplated, with the intention of building a second one. In the end, he decided against it as he doesn’t use it every day but finds that when he does use it, it creates a great advertising spin-off for his business, #Monaco-Motors .

    SPECIAL THANKS TO: Ron Silke

    The original… The inspiration for Eugene’s pick-up came from BMW M’s example, made in #2011 .

    The cockpit looks remarkably standard provided you don’t go looking for the rear seats!

    They say the devil’s in the details and the finish on the carbon-covered wheels looks absolutely stunning.

    The ‘bakkie’ has been beautifully finished with a chequer-plate metal finish and a custom cover; sliding rear window is a nice touch. A metal saw was applied to the body, which was heartbreaking but needed to happen.

    It overwhelms all the senses as you’re pushed back hard into your seat as it hurtles towards the horizon.

    For Eugene the standard 420hp wasn’t going to be quite enough so an #ESS-Supercharger kit was installed that he reckons offers up an additional 200hp.
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