- Post is under moderationWhat goes around comes around, so they say, and Nickel Mohammed’s ever-evolving M3 comes around more than most - it’s always changing and we had to catch it quick before it changed again… Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: #C3Photography .
BOLT FROM THE BLUE Turbo wide-body E46 M3 Cab
The old saying that ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice’ is a load of toffee. It’s not just possible that lightning will strike the same part of the Earth more than once, it’s basically inevitable; whether it happens within a five-minute span or twenty million years apart, every square inch of the planet gets it full in the face at some point, and then again, and again. And so it is with a certain sense of inevitability that, in the same vein, feature cars can also strike twice. Regular readers may be squinting at this boisterous E46, trying to figure out where you’ve seen it before… and to answer that niggling query, you recognise it from the cover of our January 2014 issue. But fear not, it’s really quite different now to how it was then. You don’t just walk into a Performance #BMW feature you know, these things have to be earned on merit. And Nickel Mohammed’s shouty M3 has earned another spot here thanks to its constant evolution and mould-breaking styles.
So how’s it different now? Well, for one thing it’s significantly less powerful. No, wait, come back! This is a good thing – you see, last time we saw the car, its turbocharged S54 was running 800hp, but Nickel’s since detuned this to a rather more manageable 630hp (which is still frickin’ loads), as the car is developing in line with his driving style, as well as to suit the chilly climes of New York City. There’s no point boasting a flag-waving horsepower figure if all of those rampaging ponies are uselessly spinning themselves away at every corner, is there? Definitely far better to have a robust stable of usable nags.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll begin at the beginning, shall we? “I purchased this car brand new, and back then you had to be put on a waiting list,” he recalls. “I signed myself up, and six months later the car was shipped… the wrong car in the wrong colour! I wanted a silver convertible, and they delivered a black coupé. But determination is a damn thing – I said to them OK, put me back on the list, I’ll wait.” And when the desired drop-top did eventually arrive, was Nickel keen to start tearing into the thing according to some grand overarching modification plan? “To be honest, no,” he shrugs. “Not at all in fact, I reckoned I’d keep it stock. The thing was expensive! And I was still young, I couldn’t afford all that stuff. Although I did try – 20” rims and so on, all those terrible choices I made!” Ah, the impetuousness of youth. Inevitably the M3 was going to end up modified, it was all part of cosmic destiny. It just took a little time for the car to find its way.
“I’ve built it up and changed it so many times in different directions, the timetable’s kind of all over the place,” he says, when we try to pin down the chronology. “I knew that the mechanical stuff had to be done first, and that started with the engine back in 2011…”
This was no half-hearted undertaking, with Nickel throwing every one of his chips on the table to get the car ideologically transformed by the lunatics at #HorsepowerFreaks . Their revered Stage 3 turbo conversion brought the howling S54’s peak power up to a stupendous 800hp. These bolt-on kits require no cutting, wiring or welding, and are designed for durability as well as awesome power. But what else would you expect for $30,000+?
Don’t go thinking ‘bolt-on’ means ‘simple’ though. Engineering a car to run these sorts of numbers is a thoroughly in-depth task – hence the cost – and it took HorsepowerFreaks around a year to build up, test and refine Nickel’s motor. But that fastidiousness of engineering has paid off, as the built motor has held up strongly since. “I drive cars hard, I drive them till they break,” he laughs, “but the only thing I’ve wanted to change on the engine in all this time is adding the AEM Infinity ECU - that thing is superb, a learning computer; I mean, big-ups to those techs that take the time to build these things that adapt to your driving!”
This attention to cleverness carries on beyond the engine and into the chassis. The suspension offers up an intelligent middle ground between coilovers and air-ride, comprising #KW Variant 3 coilovers with their cunning Hydraulic Lift System, which offers instant ground clearance at the touch of a button. “I wanted to run the car low enough to drive the city streets of NYC - which are terrible - but still be able to raise the front of the car to clear driveways and speed bumps,” Nickel explains. “In all honesty I feel KWs are the best thing made for this car when it comes to suspension.” The last time this car appeared in these pages it was running full air-ride, so you know this is a considered opinion.
The wheels come from famously pricey custom house, Luxury Abstract. “I’ve had so many wheels before, but these Grassor- Rs were just built for this car,” he grins. “The NeoChrome finish is a neat effect, tying into the Lamborghini pearl paint, and the width and depth really accentuate the body structure.” And you can’t really miss that body, can you? The wide arches are custom hand-fabricated in steel, 1.5” wider at the front and 2.5” out back, thanks to the craftsmanship of Martino Auto Concepts in Long Island. The extra girth is augmented by a V-CSL front bumper and carbon-fibre ducktail boot lid from Vorsteiner, further enhanced by the addition of a Brooks Motorsport Elite carbon wing, along with a set of carbon-fibre side skirts.
The interior has also been comprehensively re-worked since we last saw the car. Inside, you’ll find a pair of fully reclining Manhart #BMW Performance race seats, important for Nickel as, in his own words, he’s sucker cruising with the seat back and the music up, which brings us neatly to that impressive audio install. “I always wanted an empty trunk to carry bags in, so I removed the existing music and had my electronics sponsor build me a system that would not only look superb, but sound phenomenal and not take up any trunk space. I had my rear seats taken out and my racing harness looks like it’s actually going into my audio system. That was an idea I came up with because I didn’t want to fit a roll cage to the rear of the car as it wouldn’t look as clean and it would be too bulky.
“There are a lot of stylistic paths you can follow, it takes a lot of time and due diligence,” Nickel reasons. “You have to research, figure out what has been done and what you can do to make it your own. That’s the key to building a car, how do you make it your own; how does it reflect your personality? That has to come from within.
You have to choose, but that’s why you go on the Internet and talk to your friends and family, and even your techs and people that work on your cars and filter information to help you make your choices. I must have a form: function car. Can’t have a monster in the closet and not be able to let it out because you’re scared that it may attack you! Cars are meant to be driven, and yes they break - you fix it and do it again.”
Admirable sentiment, and it really helps to illustrate the power behind the build. Yes, this car’s an internet-breaker, but Nickel hasn’t just been ticking boxes on the scenester checklist. The fact that it’s such a personal thing is also key to why he changes the spec so frequently. He’s been cherry picking parts from the aftermarket for a decade now, as well as commissioning his own, and Nickel’s not showing any signs of stopping yet – as long as there’s air in his lungs, this M3 will keep evolving.
“You’re never done with a project, not ever,” he says. “There will always be new technology, things that you’ve seen and never got a chance to do.” We ask what his favourite part of the car is right now, and he laughs. “Man, there’s not one part of it that I like more than another, because from the top to the bottom it’s my personality, you know? I love it all. And the key to having a dope build is being able to get in and just have a drive. That’s what it was made for. It’s tuned for cruising NYC.” Damn straight. Nickel’s currently working on his E30 M Tech II Convertible, but we all know that the E46 is his baby. It’s been his from new, through thick and thin, and it’s not going anywhere. Lightning will keep on striking.
DATA FILE Turbo #Wide-Body / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body-E46 / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body / #BMW-M3-HPF-E46 / #BMW-M3-HPF / #AEM / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-tuned-E46 / #BMW-M3-tuned
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #HorsepowerFreaks ( HPF ) #HPF-Stage-3-turbo-kit , #HPF-titanium-exhaust-system , #AEM-Infinity-ECU , #HPF carbon-fibre intake ducts, HPF methanol injection, #Rogue-Engineering oil filler ca. Six-speed manual gearbox, E31 850i clutch components with #HPF-Feramic-Stage-3-clutch , #OS-Giken-Super Lock Spec-S LSD, #UUC-Motorwerks engine and transmission mounts
CHASSIS 11x19” (front) and 13.5x19” (rear) #Luxury-Abstract-Grassor-R wheels with 245/35 (f) and 305/30 (r) tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers with #Hydraulic-Lift-System, #HPF-330-subframe reinforcement plates, #HPF carbon fibre strut braces, HPF under braces, #Powerflex race subframe bushes and trailing arm bushes #StopTech #BBK with six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front), four-pot calipers with 355mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Custom steel wide-body, Lamborghini #Blu-Cepheus-paint (three-stage pearl), #Vorsteiner-V-CSL front bumper and ducktail boot lid, #Vorsteiner-GTS3 carbon-fibre side skirts, custom E30 M3 bonnet hinges, OEM BMW hardtop, custom dual-xenon headlights, #Brooks-Motorsport Elite carbon-fibre rear wing with #NeoChrome brackets
INTERIOR Manhart #BMW-Performance race seats, #Schroth harnesses, AEM fuel pressure and 100psi oil pressure gauges, rearview mirror gauge interaction, Kenwood 6.95 double-DIN DDX9902S head unit, JL Audio Monoblock HD1200/1, JL 4-channel amp, JL Evolution C3, JL 12” subwoofer, custom audio box with moulded plexi and LED lighting trimmed in OEM BMW leather, Rydeen reversing camera
THANKS #Motorcepts (Master Tech), Intrack Tyres, #S&R-Paint , #NeoChrome , #Luxury-AbstractStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFive star. This ballistic B5 is packing 500bhp so has the go to back up all that show… Words Davy Lewis Photography AJ Walker. AUDI RS4 500hp B5.
There’s something about an original that gets under your skin. The first version of something – whether it’s a trainer, a film or a car is somehow special. It’s odd when you think about it, as quite often, the first version of something isn’t quite right. It’s not until it’s refreshed and V2 is releases that everything comes together. This may be true of smart phones, TVs and other tech gadgets, but with cars? I’m not so sure.
On the one hand, you can’t deny that each time Audi releases a new version of a well-loved model, it will be bristling with technology. It’ll be more powerful, more reliable and generally better all round. Yet many of us still hanker after the original. Nowhere is this more so than with the RS4.
The original B5 was released in 2000 and immediately made a statement. Here was a 375bhp, four-wheel drive estate car that could outflank a Porsche. It boasted a Cosworth-tuned, twin-turbo V6, fantastic blistered wheel arches and a presence that oozed understated aggression – something #Audi does so well.
But here’s the thing: the B5 RS4 is now 17 years old. Two further generation of RS4 have been released, with another, the B9, due to drop later this year. But, for many, the original B5 is still the one.
Forget the fact that it’s been eclipsed dynamically by the newer models. Ignore the issues with reliability inherent in a highly-tuned-from-the-factory machine like this. Put to the back of your mind the horror stories you’ll hear from B5 fans who have almost bankrupted themselves attempting to keep their pride and joy on the road (times this by ten if you’ve tuned it) and focus on the good bits. Of which there are many. Which is why there’s such a healthy appetite for these things.
So when serial Audi tuner, Julian Loose and our man, Adam Walker, spotted this in-your-face RS4 in Austria, I was keen to find out more.
On the face it, this is ‘just’ another RS4 with a fancy wrap. It has a taste of the Jon Olsson about it– he of the extreme RS6 and R8 Gumball fame. However a bit more investigation revealed that this was a proper build, featuring a 500bhp engine, tuned chassis and more.
Let’s kick off with that engine. The twin-turbo V6 needs no introduction. The 2.7-litre unit came with a factory fettled 375bhp and went very well indeed. But, as the years pass, this highly-tuned lump needs plenty of TLC to keep it running as it should. It’s a complete arse to work on and needs to be dropped for many, even routine jobs, which is why it can end up costing a small fortune in labour rates alone. Plus there are numerous documented issues that will occur at some stage from corroded pipework to blown turbos.
So, it you’re really going to do it, you may as well get stuck in and go for more power right from the off – and make sure you uprate all the necessary parts in one hit. That way, you (hopefully) won’t be spending more time in the garage than on the road.
The owner, Ilkka, has gone for a tried and tested setup of RS6 hybrid turbos to provide the boost. There are 630cc injectors and a TFSI coil conversion, plus Wagner intercoolers, a cold air intake and custom made exhaust with the cats removed – a sure fire recipe for big fun. With around 500bhp on tap performance is best described as brisk.
The whooshing of those twin-turbos, combined with the snarl from that unrestricted exhaust means this thing emits the kind of V6 howl that makes you smile. It’s a special B5-ness that you simply can’t find anywhere else.
The stock transmission copes admirably with the extra grunt and the tough sixspeed box takes it all in its stride. Again the manual gear lever is part of the reason so many people love these things.
With significantly more power than when it left the factory and with the ravages of time, the chassis needed updating to cope. A full complement of poly bushes was fitted, to remove that saggy, vague feeling that occurs when stock bushes wear out.
Again it’s a pain in the ass job to complete, but it makes a big difference, especially on older Audis. With less play in the suspension and steering components, the B5 feels tighter and more responsive. To allow the suspension to be finetuned, a set of KW Variant 3s were ordered.
These multi-adjustable units allow full control over bump and rebound, to provide a sporty, yet forgiving feel. The geometry has been professionally setup to give this RS4 a more dialled feel, with far more adjustablity than the neutral, understeer focused stock set up.
The final upgrade for the chassis is a set of brakes nicked off a Porsche. These meaty calipers were designed to stop a 170+mph sportscar, so do a fine job on the RS4 teamed up with ECS Tuning discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads.
Styling wise Audi got it right first time and there’s no need to add bits, aside from the odd splitter or maybe vent if you’re into that sort of thing. So this B5 remains stock, aside from a wrap. Now, it’s not going to be to all tastes, but Ilkka wanted something to make the car stand out at events and the Jon Olsson-inspired camo wrap certainly ticks that box.
One thing that had to be bang on the money was the wheels. The 3-piece, multispoke Rotiforms fill the wide arches very nicely – and at a girthy 10.5-inches, they should. Some work was required to get them to fit right, but they look great.
Inside, the stock seats have been replaced with some of the best in the business, Recaro Pole Positions. These fixed back efforts not only look great but also save weight. The GT-inspired interior is completed with a suede steering wheel and gear knob.
So there we have it – another wellfinished RS4 B5 that reminds us how much love there is for these things.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #2000 / #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi / #KW / #Rotiform
Engine 2.7 twin-turbo V6, #RS6 hybrid turbos, #Wagner intercoolers, cold air intake, custom turbo back exhaust with cats removed, custom map, #Siemens-Deka 630cc injectors #TFSI coil conversion
Transmission 6-speed manual
Brakes Porsche 911 calipers with #ECS discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads, braided lines
Suspension #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, polybushed, full geometry set up
Wheels 10.5x19in #Rotiform-INDT 3-piece wheels with 255/30 Michelin Pilot SuperSports
Interior Recaro Pole Position seats, suede RS4 steering wheel and gearknob, PLX a/f ratio meter FIS control in the OEM screen to show boost, exhaust temp etc
Exterior Full Avery charcoal matte metallic wrap
“There’s still so much love for the B5”
Above left Recaro Pole Positions.
Above Alcantara-clad wheel.
Above top: Porsche brakes sit behind 10.5x19in Rotiform INDs.
Right: The 2.7 #V6 heart pumps out around 500bhp.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEarly Adopter. The Gen 2 TT RS is fresh out of the factory, but German tuner, HG Motorsport, has already tweaked one of these fiery five-pots… The first tuned Gen 2.
TT RS World's first tuned Gen 2
There’s been a whole world of hype surrounding the new TT RS. Right from the off, Audi fans were hungry for info on the second generation car and speculation was rife. When it was finally unveiled, it was greeted with enthusiasm. Some may have baulked at the price once the options sheet had been subject to vigorous box ticking, but this is standard for an Audi. The Gen 2 TT came out very well in road tests, with even hackneyed motoring journos admitting it’s a good car. And they absolutely loved the engine. The only slight fly in the ointment (in the UK at least) is that this year’s allocation is limited to just 200 cars. Which is sure to make these things a rare sight on the roads (until next year).
With 400hp (395bhp), 0-62mph achievable in an eye watering 3.7secs, and a top end of 173mph (when derestricted), the performance credentials are impeccable. However, the tuning and aftermarket industry has been champing at the bit to begin tweaking this rapid fivecylinder and this, my friends, is the first offering.
Unveiled at the recent Essen Motorshow, it’s HG Motorsport’s take on the TT RS. It represents a package of bolt-on upgrades that are designed to enhance the TT RS’s already desirable character. It’s clear that the revised 2.5 #TFSI unit has big potential, so HGM began by removing some of the restrictions. Their demo car has been fitted with a bespoke sports exhaust featuring 89mm pipework and a more efficient air intake system.
This should improve the flow of air and gasses, but also allow that sonorous 5-pot to really howl when provoked. A larger, more efficient intercooler joins the party and should help to reduce temps – something that will become essential when the next stage of tuning arrives. A larger diameter downpipe and lightweight carbon fibre intake system are being developed too, with the downpipe promising significant potential gains. No power figures are available for the initial hardware upgrades, but once it’s been fully mapped and tested, we’ll update you. One thing’s for sure – once large turbos and supporting upgrades are added, we’ll be seeing new TT RSs with upwards of 500bhp.
Of course, being a show car at Essen, the exterior needed something to show it isn’t factory spec. HGM has achieved this with a set of beefy 9.5x20in threepiece alloys. The Schmidt FS-Lines have a real supercar style to them and look great with matt spokes and polished barrels. These high-end alloys sit very neatly within the TT RSs arches, thanks to the substantial drop on KW Variant 3 coilovers. The exterior of this black coupe is finished off with some HGM graphics. So there we have it – the world’s first tuned Gen 2 TT RS. It doesn’t have a huge amount of upgrades, but it makes a statement and I don’t think it’ll be long before we see plenty more…
Above: Virtual cockpit. Below: The 5-cylinder powerhouse.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #Audi-TT-RS / #Audi-TT / #Audi / #2017 / #Audi-TT-RS-8S / #Audi-TT-RS / #Audi-TT-8S /
Engine 2.5 TFSI 5-cylinder, #HG-Motorsport performance exhaust system, uprated intake system
Suspension #KW-Variant-3 coilovers / #KW
Wheels #Schmidt-FS-Line / #Schmidt 9.5x20 3-piece alloys with 245/30x20 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo tyres
Contacts #Audi-TT-RS-HG-Motorsport www.hg-motorsport.de
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- Post is under moderationDouble Dare
Owning one street-and track-tuned M3 would be enough for most people. But not Chad Bates – he’s upped the ante with a matching pair. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Peter Wu.
Fierce E92 M3 and F80 M3 tear up the Tarmac / Stunning twin M3s
The two cars you’re looking at here – the E92 M3, and the F80 M3 – may be just a single generation apart, but they couldn’t be more different. The E92 features a thudding Goliath of an engine, a brutal, highrevving V8 with a soundtrack that can strip paint off cheap houses. It is (relatively speaking) an old-skool bruiser.
The F80, conversely, is a smart representation of modern technological advances; a focus on combining performance with efficiency – plus the everpresent emissions Sword of Damocles – has seen to it that the motor is now a twin-turbo straight-six. Furthermore, this generation finally broke the M3 chain, hitherto being a badge glued to the two- and four-door variants: whereas the E92 M3 we have here is a coupé, the F80 is a four-door saloon. If you want a two-door coupé version of the F80, you will find yourself with an M4. Which is actually an F82. Such is progress, such is life.
They are, of course, tied by an indelible bond, each an exciting chapter in the ongoing M3 saga, and their owner, Chad Bates, has artfully augmented these ties with tasteful upgrades to further accentuate their kinship: they both wear BBS wheels, they both roll on KW suspension, they’re both painted in subtle shades of grey. This measured approach is the result of a lifetime of modifying for Chad – although he admits that BMWs are, in the grand scheme of things, reasonably new territory for him.
“I bought my first car, a 1984 Jeep Cherokee, at the age of 16,” he explains. “Ever since that point I have embarked upon making a personal statement with my cars.
The Cherokee got stripped down and repainted, and received one of the most insane sound systems that money could buy. It was a fun little first car that got me around during my high school years! My second car was a heavily modified 1992 Honda Accord, which I kept for a couple of years before purchasing an Acura Integra GS-R – that, again, was heavily modified, although it got stolen and vandalised in 2002, and that left a horrible taste in my mouth.”
Disheartened by this turn of events, Chad just didn’t feel his place in the modifying scene any more, so he pulled the ’chute and drifted out of it. Fast-forward to 2008 and he’d become a family man, so he acquired his first BMW – a shiny new 550i – to ferry the kids around in. It was wellequipped and had a bit of get-up-and-go, but he never felt any desire to modify it. But then, in 2011, the lease expired and Chad found himself yearning for something more… offbeat. And that’s when a voice in his brain reminded him what sparked the interest in Bavarian machinery in the first place. “My initial interest in BMWs began in 1996, when a friend of mine bought an E36 M3 and began modifying it,” he reminisces.
“At that time, there weren’t a lot of young people from my hometown who could afford that type of vehicle, let alone modify them. So the car quickly became a local legend.” Chad felt that it was the right time to grab a handful of that stardust for himself, so he did the decent thing and ordered himself a brand-new E92 M3.
“It started as a Jerez black 2012 E92 that I E92 M3 planned to keep pretty much stock, but thanks to magazines, forums and friends, that desire to keep it stock quickly passed,” he laughs. “I began modifying just about everything that could be touched on the car, and spent quite a bit of time on the track. After about three years owning the car, however, it was beginning to show signs of wear from all the track abuse, and I decided to make a pretty dramatic change. So I stripped it down in my home garage…”
Yep, you read that right. No mucking about here, it’s all hands-on. In fact, Chad’s proud to explain that he’s carried out as many of the mods as he was physically able to on both cars. But we’ll get to the F80 in due course. First, we have a stripped down E92 to deal with: “All the body panels were removed and the entire interior was gutted,” he continues. “I shipped the shell to the guys at Strassesport in Irwindale, CA, where they painted it in Audi Nardo grey – something I hadn’t seen on a BMW before. Once the paint was finished the guys allowed me to work in their shop putting the entire car back together with my own hands.”
The finished product, as you can see, is pretty meaty: staggered BBS E88s, copious carbon fibre touches, Recaro Sportster CS seats – and the rear bumper’s pretty jazzy too. Built up by Strassesport, it has aftermarket diffusers and flares smoothed right in, appearing like an OEM factory piece to all but those who know what they’re looking at. Classy, huh?
After a year, however, Chad got itchy feet. He was loving the street racer thrills of the E92, but he wanted to add to his collection. Something unusual, something different. And the answer came in the form of, er, another grey M3.
“A unique 2015 F80 M3 came up for sale,” he grins. “It had been ordered from BMW Individual and no expense was spared. It was the first of its kind to be painted in Fashion grey; a colour borrowed from Porsche. The interior was trimmed in contrasting Fjord blue and Silverstone leather. It was probably the most expensive M3 built at the time, with just about every option – and of course all the extra individual costs associated with the paint and interior. I knew that if I was going to purchase the new F8x model, the car had to be something special, and I knew that this car would fit the bill.” And, naturally, with those old modifying urges now firmly in overdrive, this was never going to be a case of simply finding a wellspec’d car and keeping it standard. Just like with that schoolboy Cherokee, Chad needed to make his personal statement.
Like the E92, the engine’s had its management breathed upon, while the exhaust has been replaced with something that allows the brutal motor to bark with more ferocity. KW coilovers offer a neat balance between track prowess and streetable durability, and a handful of carbon-fibre exterior mods really set off that Fashion Grey hue in style.
“Both of these cars were purchased to be promotional tools for my business, MotorRennGruppe, a manufacturer of titanium wheel hardware,” he explains, and that’s the logic informing the look-at-me wheels on both cars. The E92 wears 18” BBS E88s in staggered widths, while the F80 has a set of genuinely mighty custom-built BBS LMs, the rears measuring an eye-watering and arch-busting 12x20”. Just check out those Michelins, they’re a 305-section at the rear. That’s supercar wide!
“For all my cars, I prefer very aggressive wheel setups that push the limits of the stock arches without making the cars look out of place or hacked up,” says Chad. “The E92’s E88s were rebuilt with new inner and outer barrels to widen the fronts to 10” and the rears to 11.5”, with offsets that brought the faces of the wheel nearly even with the arch lips. Then I knew I had to do something special with the F80, so I had a set of stock BBS LMs rebuilt to 10” and 12” widths. To my knowledge, this was the first set of 20” LMs done for the F80 M3.”
What particularly strikes us about Chad when he’s describing his modifying journey with this grey duo is that it’s all very considered and thoughtful; he’s not the type to rush in and overdo things. Perhaps it’s the background of getting his hands dirty and doing everything himself, but there’s not an iota of effort wasted here.
Take the engine tuning, for example. It’s easy to go a bit mad with M3s, but it’s good to remember that they’re pretty formidable in stock form, and sometimes less is more. “Both cars maintain stock engine internals, and were treated with tunes and bolt-on accessories,” he points out. “The E92 has a Stage II tune from BPM Sport, while the F80 has the E-Flash Tuner from ESS. Both cars have uprated intake systems from Macht Schnell and Maximum PSI, and the F80 has BMS charge pipes bolted up to the stock turbos. The ESS tune on the F80 bumps up the power considerably over stock with race fuel, and is extremely capable on the track – although I prefer driving the E92 over the F80 for the raw sound of the V8!”
Ah, the agony of choice, eh? But despite the obvious similarities between Chad’s two M3s, there’s a clear ideological split: the E92 has been built to be sporty and trackfriendly, while the swankier F80 is the luxurious daily driver that just happens to have Continent-crushing GT potential as well as track-slaying physical drama. Between them, they tick a lot of boxes.
So where does he go from here? “Well, I’d like a Porsche GT3 next,” he tells us. Yeah, he says that… but with two entirely different M3s to choose from – one modern, sensible and cosseting, the other an old-skool badboy track monster – we suspect he’s going to have his hands pretty full for a while.
“The F80 is capable on the track, but I prefer the E92 for the raw sound of the V8!”
“The car had to be something special… I knew this would fit the bill”
“For all my cars, I prefer very aggressive wheel setups”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-E92 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #Macht-Schnell-Stage-2 intake, #BPM-Sport-Stage-2 tune, #Megan-Racing exhaust system, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox.
CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 11.5x18” (rear) #BBS-E88 wheels with 255/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot SuperSport tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, #StopTech Trophy big brake kit with six-piston callipers and 380x35mm discs (front) and four-piston callipers with 355x35mm discs (rear).
EXTERIOR Audi Nardo grey paint, OEM Euro-spec front bumper, iND grilles, bonnet vents and side gills, Mode Carbon GTS V1 carbon fibre front lip and side skirts, BMW carbon fibre mirror caps (painted Nardo grey), custom-moulded BMW M Performance spoiler, custom-moulded rear bumper with integrated diffuser.
INTERIOR Recaro Sportster CS seats, BMW Performance steering wheel, Pedal Haus pedals, heel plate and paddle shifters.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F80 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-F80 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-F80 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #S55B30 / #S55 / #BMW-S55 , #ESS flash tune, #Eisenmann valved exhaust system, #BMS charge pipes, #Maximum-PSI charge intakes, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox.
CHASSIS 10x20” (front) and 12x20” (rear) custombuilt #BBS-LM wheels with 245/35 (front) and 305/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, #KW-HAS coilovers, M carbonceramic brakes, #MRG titanium stud conversion.
EXTERIOR Individual Fashion grey paint, Mode Carbon carbon-fibre Trophy S1 front lip, rear diffuser and M4-style rear spoiler, iND cosmetic package, modified M4 #BMW-M-Performance side skirts.
INTERIOR Individual Fjord blue and Silverstone extended leather interior with contrasting stitching, BMW M Performance steering wheel, factory carbon fibre interior trim, head-up display, Mode Carbon carbon fibre seat-back replacements (front and rear), P3 Cars digital boost gauge, Pedal Haus pedals, heel plate, and paddle shifters.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationAWESOME BMW M5 Looks good, goes great
How do you improve upon one of the best driving cars #BMW ever put together? Take a leaf out of Andrew Berger’s book. Words: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Mike Kuhn.
Styled and tuned E39 M5
There can’t be many father and sons that have individually made it on to the pages of Performance BMW with their Bavarian beasts. In fact, Andrew and Josh Berger may well be the first. Josh’s E36 M3 was featured in November last year. It’s a concours-standard build that’s been reverted back to its Luxurious spec and slammed on a set of CCW LM5Ts.
With a few choice engine and chassis mods, it’s a show stopper, track car and daily driver rolled into one. And now a year later, it’s his father’s turn to take the spotlight. The E39 M5 is arguably the best performance saloon BMW ever made, and it’s already becoming sought after by collectors and driving enthusiasts. Having reached modern classic status, various finance and automotive publications of late are claiming that it’s set to soar in value. In fact, Paul Michaels, chairman of Hexagon Classics (a man who makes a living out of buying the right collectible cars) claims an immaculate low mileage model is sure to appreciate.
It’s something I’ve been saying for the past year and I now find myself not getting very far with writing this feature as I scour Pistonheads and AutoTrader looking for one and trying to persuade my husband that this should be our new family car. Suffice to say we definitely couldn’t afford the one that was recently up for grabs at a dealership in Ohio. With just 309 miles on the clock the asking price was $149,999.
Anyway, if I’m to meet this deadline without burning the midnight oil I really must get back to the task in hand. A man fascinated with form and function, we’re surprised to learn that Andrew has only been interested in BMWs for the past 15 years, but suffice to say ever since the day he first drove one he was hooked. He did go on to own that very car, an E46 330i, but not before going through a few other 3, 5 and M Series cars. If truth be told, though, he always had his sights set on an E39 M5: “This car has been at the top of my bucket list since they rolled off the production line,” confesses the 60-year-old.
He bought the car in May last year from Gas Motorcars, a local dealership in Marietta, Georgia, that specialises in exotic, classic and luxury cars and also happens to be where his son works. He traded in his E36 M3 and M Roadster for it together with a pile of 100 dollar bills. The car had already received a few exterior modifications – some of which were a little OTT for Andrew’s taste, so the first job was to take off what he didn’t like.
As such the car now wears a Vorsteiner carbon fibre vented bonnet, front and rear spoilers from AC Schnitzer, ECS Tuning brake duct grilles, a painted matt black kidney grille, angel eye headlights and a painted gloss black rear diffuser with stainless steel exhaust tip surrounds, all of which combine to make a more aggressive statement without detracting from Chris Bangle’s original lines. The staggered 19” DPE Forged wheels with brushed faces, polished lips and chrome hardware are the perfect finishing touches.
When it came to the interior, Andrew wanted to keep things simple again so he’s retained most of the stock parts (bar the Schroth Racing harnesses) but brought them into the 21st century. As such the steering wheel, sun visors, doorcards, handbrake and gear knob gaiters have been retrimmed in black Alcantara complete with M tri-colour stitching, while the Nineties wood trim has been painted silver and the instrument rings have been swapped out for custom-made aluminium items.
The in-dash double-DIN DVD multimedia AV receiver from Pioneer is the only clue to a custom audio install which resides in the boot and includes a pair of JL Audio W7 10” subwoofers and HD1200/1 amp, which are connected up to a set of Hertz speakers, mids and tweeters. Despite having the unbeatable soundtrack of a brutal V8 under the bonnet, the ICE is Andrew’s favourite: “I love taking this car out on a Sunday, putting on my favourite playlist and enjoying my ultimate driving machine,” he tells us.
Saying that, we’re pleased to hear the engine side of things haven’t been ignored. With 400hp already on tap, sensibly Andrew has gone for a selection of mods that help to improve the breathing of the high-revving 5.9-litre engine. The combination of an AFE Stage 2 air intake, custom exhaust manifolds, mid-pipes and ECU remap by Buckhead Imports and an Eisenmann Race exhaust system not only gives the car extra horsepower, but it also lets the engine rev more eagerly and helps the lazy V8 burble really come out of its shell.
The six-speed manual gearbox from Getrag was critically acclaimed for its slick performance, but improvements can always be made. To that end a UUC short shifter, lightweight clutch and flywheel, have really helped to transform an already revered driving experience with quicker gear changes and improved throttle response. “Getting it past 6000rpm puts a smile on my face every time,” he says and we can certainly believe that.
When you factor in the host of suspension upgrades he’s made, including KW Variant 3 coilovers, Dinan strut tower bar and shock tower brace to help the car feel more planted, responsive and tauter, together with a Brembo GT big brake kit up front and slotted StopTech discs with Hawk pads out back to better haul in the power, Andrew now has the confidence to push this sizeable saloon harder on Georgia’s finest scenic and twisty roads.
Andrew’s plans for the future are to simply maintain its prestige and, with just 55,000 miles on the clock, keep it for Sunday best, and who can blame him? With supercar- chasing performance in a package that is discreet and practical, the E39 M5 is the very definition of a wolf in sheep’s clothing and Andrew’s sympathetic approach in modifying is a great lesson to anyone thinking of buying one of these Q cars. Right, can I go back to scouring the classifieds again now, please?
“This car’s been at the top of my bucket list since they rolled off the production line”
“I love taking this car out and enjoying my ultimate driving machine”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E39 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E39 / #S62B50 / #BMW-S62 / #S62 / #DPE / #AFE / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-E39
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.9-litre #V8 #S62B50 , #AFE-Stage-2 air intake, Buckhead Imports custom exhaust manifolds, mid-pipes and ECU remap, full #Eisenmann race exhaust, six-speed manual gearbox, UUC lightweight clutch and flywheel, UUC Evo 3 short-shifter
CHASSIS 9.5x19” ET16 (f) and 11x19” ET16 (r) #DPE-Forged-ST7-Hybrid wheels with brushed faces, polished lips and chrome hardware with 245/35 (f) and 285/35 (r) Toyo T1R tyres, #KW-Variant-3 Coilovers, #Dinan strut tower bar & shock tower brace. #Brembo-GT big brake kit (f) and slotted #StopTech discs and Hawk pads (r), #Turner-Motorsports stainless steel brake lines all-round
EXTERIOR #Vorsteiner carbon fibre vented bonnet, kidney grille painted matt black, LED angel eye headlights, ECS Tuning brake duct grille, #AC-Schnitzer front and rear spoilers, custom painted gloss black rear diffuser with stainless steel exhaust tip surrounds
INTERIOR Doorcards, handbrake and gear knob gaiters, steering wheel and sun visors retrimmed in black Alcantara with M tri-colour stitching, silver painted trim, custom aluminium instrument rings, Schroth Racing harnesses, full custom boot install with two JL Audio W7 subwoofers and HD1200/1 amp, Pioneer in-dash double-DIN DVD multimedia AV receiver, Hertz speakers, mids and tweetersStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGOING ON TOUR
BMW never made an #BMW-E91 M3 Touring, so this owner decided to build his own… BMW never built an E91 M3 Touring, but if it did, it’d probably look just like this… only not as low and on smaller wheels! Words: Andy Basoo. Photos: Antony Fraser.
It was back on the 22 February 2011 the euphoria started, at 1.15pm to be precise. A build thread began on the popular M3Post forum, which within a matter of days had 35,000 views from around the globe. A dozen or so photos and a handful of words was all it took to spark such excitement; the BMW community was witnessing something special.
The username was #63NP. The thread topic: ‘!!E91 M3 V8 DCT Estate / Wagon Full Conversion..!!’. We don’t need to tell you that BMW never built an E91 M3 Touring. In fact, the German manufacturer has never built an M3 Touring full stop. Coupés, Saloons and Cabriolets yes, but never a Touring. And that’s somewhat surprising considering how much we love estate cars here in the UK. The Audi RS4 has never struggled for sales and the majority of examples you see on the road are wagons. If Audi can make it work, why can’t BMW?
To be fair, BMW has tried its hand at highperformance estate cars in the past. The E34 and E61 M5s were available in Touring format, and BMW even tested the water with the E39, building a one-off Touring version.
They just weren’t big sellers though. It’s difficult to pin down exactly why not, but they didn’t capture the imagination of the public. Maybe it was because they didn’t look different enough from any other M Sportkitted model? The RS4 is wide, beefy, has distinctive aluminium mirrors and looks like it’s on steroids, while the M5s of the past have been much more understated.
The 5 Series was also significantly larger and perhaps that’s where the downfall lay? Audi produced a larger RS6, too, and while it’s admittedly a fine machine in its own right, it was never the big seller like the RS4. So maybe 3 Series Touring M cars would have been the way to go? Nicholas Pritchard (aka 63NP), the man who instigated that build thread certainly seems to think so, hence the reason he’s built his own example. And before we go any further, let us tell you, it’s truly OEM quality in its execution.
Nick’s a heavy goods vehicle driver and has always had a thing for estate cars. “I’ve had loads,” he confesses. “I’ve had a B7 RS4, an E61, an E36 and an E30 – that I fitted Montego Countryman roof rails to because the E30 never came with roof rails! I even had a Rover 400 estate. I just like estates!” Which is why when he saw this one, he simply had to have it.
“I was doing a 997 Porsche at the time,” he continues. “This was back in 2009. I used to pop down to a local bodyshop from time to time to see a mate of mine. The owner of the bodyshop had this car tucked away in the corner and covered in dust. It didn’t have any wings or doors or an interior. It was just a shell, although it did have an M3 V8 sitting in the bay but it wasn’t running.”
Nick was interested and asked the owner if it was for sale. He got a firm “no” in reply. The car was a 2007 318i auto, although the original engine and transmission were nowhere to be seen. The cabin was filled to the roof with parts and the wiring loom was in a heap in the corner of the bodyshop.
“Are you sure it’s not for sale?” Nick persisted. “Quite sure, thank you very much,” came the response.
Bearing in mind it was 2009 and this was a #2007 Touring, it was a relatively new car to be chopping about as extensively as this one had been. Not many of us would have the confidence to be so brutal to a BMW that was barely run-in. Nick was so taken with the car that he would drop in occasionally and the two would have the same brief but very polite conversation.
“I noticed towards the end of the year, that the guy’s enthusiasm for the car was waning,” Nick explains, “so at the start of 2010 I asked him again, and amazingly he said ‘yes’. He’d been slowly building it up, so by the time I got it the panels were back on and an M3 interior in it, but it still wasn’t running. I think one of the guys down there had put a jump pack on it to get it started, but a power surge had fried the ECU and a few other things. I would say it was probably three-quarters complete.”
The previous owner had sourced the V8 from a donor car, an E90 M3 Saloon LCI with a slick DCT gearbox. Amazingly, the platforms of the Saloon and Touring are virtually identical. In fact, from the nose right the way back to part way down the rear doors is the same. The rear ends of the rear doors are a slightly different shape to conform to the different boot layout. But apart from that, the layouts remain the same. So, despite there being countless views and rumours about the complexity of an E91 M3 conversion, it’s actually pretty straight forward.
The donor car had been stripped. We mean, completely stripped down to its shell. Engine, gearbox, prop, body panels, interior, dash the lot. The same had then been done with the Touring. As you’d expect, priority had been given to the fitment of the M3’s beautiful 4.0-litre 32v V8 ( #S65B40 ) and its #DCT gearbox. It’s hard to comprehend and perhaps it sounds like we’re dumbing the process down, but there was no fabrication or adjustment made to any brackets. Using the S65’s OEM mounts, the V8 slotted easily in to place, the gearbox aligned perfectly, too, as did the driveshafts and propshaft, and all bolted straight in.
Even the standard Saloon exhaust system fitted. All that the previous owner had to do was to add two thread bolts for the rear box hangers, readily available from BMW, and the quad exhaust sat perfectly.
With the intention being to swap over and utilise every possible optional extra fitted to the M3 donor car, the complete Saloon wiring loom, fuse box and dash were fitted. This meant the all-important iDrive system was also available to the driver.
Regarding the body panels, the complete front end is M3 Saloon. The front bumper, kidney grilles, vented bonnet, and wider front arches were all bolted straight on, and the shut lines matched perfectly. Obviously, a wider front end meant the Touring’s original undertrays and arch liners no longer fitted, so these had been swapped over from the M3, too. Incidentally, before the all of the panels were fitted, the V8’s ancillaries had all been set in their rightful place, including the relevant coolers and bottles being placed in the wings. The goal had been to make this car as OEM as possible.
As you can imagine, this was harder to achieve at the rump end of the Touring. With the car having a wider track, the rear arches needed widening, so M3 Saloon rear quarters had been grafted in and expertly reshaped to meet the lines of the Touring.
The rear bumper is a combination of M3 Saloon and M Sport Touring. It would have been easier to modify an estate bumper, but the previous owner aimed at retaining as much M3 styling as possible, and as such the central vent, angles and lines had all been adopted from the Saloon parts.
Inside the cabin, the Touring’s carpet and panoramic roof had been retained as neither of these were available in M3 guise, but just about everything else you can see and touch is M3 Saloon. Even the rear bench bolted straight in. The rear seat back, however, is Touring, well… kind of. The seat foam had been reshaped to fit and match the bench, and then M3 Saloon covers added.
It was in this overall state that Nick bought the car. “As I said, it was about three-quarters complete when I got it,” he continues. “He’d done a great job. But, obviously the car wasn’t running and it felt tired and a little loose.
So the first thing Nick did was to order a new ECU and cache unit from BMW. After sorting the coding, to his joy the V8 barked into life, enabling Nick to turn his attentions to tightening the whole car up. “There were so many little things that needed sorting,” he explains. “I half stripped the car back down again. As I said, it didn’t feel tight. Things like the doorcards felt a bit loose, some of the trim was slightly squeaky, that kind of thing. As I was taking it apart, I started noticing that a lot of the clips were missing or broken. Some of the trim was scratched or damaged, the screws didn’t match, as you’d expect I guess. That’s what happens when you take a car apart.
“For me though, the whole point of the car was for it to be OEM quality, so I ordered about £1000 worth of clips, screws and trim from BMW. I’ve also got a friend who works in a BMW dismantlers and he was able to help me out with various other parts that were missing or damaged. Things like the membranes in the doors weren’t sealed, so they would have leaked and filled with water if I didn’t seal them. Essentially, the car needed finishing. The bulk of the work was done, but I think it’d been rushed back together when the guy lost interest.”
Nick has therefore invested heavily in transforming this car from the one that he bought. He primarily concentrated on the chassis, replacing the Touring’s factory-fit suspension with a full set of top-spec Variant 3 KW coilovers. He then ordered a set of gorgeous 20” Breyton Race GTS RM forged wheels to tuck under the wide arches, with M3 offsets, of course. Sizeable 9.5x20” wheels fill the fronts, shod in 245/30 Continentals, with broader 10x20” versions out back wrapped in 285/25 rubber by the same brand. He’s is considering nudging the front suspension down just a fraction more, but we have to say the E91 sits beautifully.
Nick then approached Reyland Motorsport for help sorting the front brakes. “I sourced a set of six-pot Brembo calipers from a C63 Mercedes,” he relates. “They’re basically the same as the BMW Performance calipers, just with different mounts on the back. I dropped them off at Reyland along with an M3 suspension leg so they could get all the brackets right and come up with suitable discs and pads. They used 380mm discs in the end and had my car in for a few days fitting everything up and testing it for me. All the brake warning sensors are still connected and functioning. I want to get a kit for the back now.”
We could go on all day about the fact Nick’s retained the Touring’s loom from the rear doors back because certain things are wired differently; how he’s removed individual pins from the loom plugs to ensure nothing is in place that isn’t needed; how he’s retro-fitted a CIC sat nav system that now runs ‘DVD in Motion’; details of the countless trips to the bodyshop to have blemishes removed, lines redefined and exhaust tips powdercoated in black; and why he’d only settle for BMW Performance front seats, but hopefully by now you’ve realised what an exceptional build this is.
Learning how identical the platforms are, it would appear relatively straightforward to swap all the parts across from one car to another. And to his credit, the previous owner has done phenomenally well in doing just that, but it’s finishing the job properly that takes time and patience to get right, and Nick has those qualities in abundance.
Without his input, this would feel like a fast, yet slightly tired, rattly estate. Thanks to Nick’s input it now possess a true OEM quality. It feels like a genuine M3 with full M car pedigree, not simply a modified 3 Series and that’s a difficult feat to achieve. Despite the photos posted on M3Post, some members still questioned whether or not this car was real, and demanded further evidence. Even the official #BMW staff and technicians at Nick’s local dealer were left puzzled when he first popped in to pick up a few parts. Other impressive E91 Tourings have been built around the world and yet more are in the pipeline, but Nick’s M3 converted example is by far the most wellknown.
Over 100,000 views of his build thread prove that. If you get the opportunity to see this machine in the flesh try and find fault with it. After we spent the day with car, we can assure you, you won’t find any.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-Touring / #BMW-M3-Touring-E91 / #BMW-M3-E91 / #BMW-E91 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-M3-DCT-E91 / #DCT / #V8 / #BMW-3-Series-V8 / #Breyton-Race
ENGINE: #S65B40 4.0-litre 32v V8 from E90 M3 LCI Saloon / #BMW-S65 / #S65 / #BMW , standard #BMW-M3-DCT transmission and LSD, full M3 Saloon manifolds and exhaust system with Saloon hanging threads added to back box
CHASSIS: 9.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Breyton-Race-GTS-RM wheels shod in 245/30 and 285/25 Continental tyres respectively, Bimmerworld bolt-to-lug conversion, fully adjustable #KW-Variant-3 coilovers all-round, six-pot orange #Brembo calipers from Mercedes C63 with 380mm discs
EXTERIOR: Complete E90 M3 Saloon front end comprising wings, inner arches, bonnet, front bumper, undertrays and headlights, rear arches widened using E90 M3 Saloon quarter panels, custom rear bumper fabricated from M3 Saloon item and E91 M Sport Touring bumper
INTERIOR: #BMW-Performance seats, M3 Saloon dash, consoles, trim and wiring, M3 Saloon door cards and rear bench with Touring rear seat back foam modified and retrimmed in black nappa leather to match, M3 Saloon steering wheel, M3 Saloon iDrive with CIC sat nav, AC Schnitzer pedals
THANKS: Reyland Motorsport (0121 458 6010 or www.reyland.co.uk) TRS Motorbodies (0121 4548300)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationStunning E46 M3 is the complete package
SPECIAL DELIVERY WRAPSODY IN BLUE
From its stunning blue wrap to its custom interior and velocity stacks, this E46 M3 is the complete package.
From its striking blue wrap to its wild interior and extensive chassis upgrades, this E46 M3 really is the complete package… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Richard Le.
Resisting the temptation to mod an E46 M3 is virtually impossible. From the moment you buy one it starts talking to you, whispering things like ‘yes, I handle well, but I could handle even better’ and ‘yes, I’m fast, but I could be even faster’. And you’ve basically got two options: either sell it and buy a diesel hatchback, which will never attempt to cajole you into such behaviour, or just get on with modding the damn thing. Guess which option Andrew Wang chose…
“The import scene was just starting to blow-up when I was in high school and the E36 M3, in Estoril blue, was my dream car in college,” Andrew tells us. “To me it was the complete package. Then just when I was graduating, the first images of the E46 M3 were leaked. It just blew my mind away and took over the top spot of my wish list. It took me a while, seven years in fact, to finally be able to afford one. I had a decent job, and I had just totalled my college car – a 1995 Honda Accord – so I went car shopping and knew right away that I would get a used E46 M3.”
The car in question was a carbon black example, only the second E46 M3 that Andrew actually looked at. It was the right colour and had some options he was after. “I found it on Craigslist,” Andrew explains. “I think I lucked out; the car has been running strong so far, even with all the tampering I’ve done to it. The car was in good condition when I first saw it; it was a 2004 model year car and I bought it in 2007.
The previous owner was another young guy who probably drove it hard but wasn’t into modifications, so I know he didn’t abuse it. The bonus was that he had the car registered in Texas, so that means no holes in the front bumper for a license plate.”
Andrew’s previous modifying experience went no further than the aforementioned Accord – which he’d treated to some wheels, suspension, an exhaust, a couple of subs, and a PlayStation 2. So with the E46 M3 being so healthily supported by the aftermarket, it was inevitable that some tinkering would occur, although neither Andrew nor his M3 knew just how much tinkering would eventually take place!
“My very first of modifications were to fit the Brembo big brake kit, H&R springs, and Koni shocks,” says Andrew. “The Brembo BBK was something that I always wanted to get for my Accord but couldn’t afford. It was completely unnecessary but when I got my M3, I decided to splurge. I wanted them to stand out, too, so I didn’t want the standard red or black calipers. I believe I was one of the few people to have yellow calipers painted by Racing Technologies before Brembo started offering it as a standard colour option. After a year, I ditched the springs and shocks for a KW V3 coilover setup. Several years later, I swapped out the progressive springs for linear rate springs.
One of my favourite mods on the car is the titanium Dixis strut bar. Since Dixis went out of business, those bars are really hard to find now.” The stance and ride height on those V3s, clearly wound way down, is on-point and no mistake, dropping the M3 low to the ground and getting the tyres well acquainted with the arches. You’d struggle to slip a Rizzla between the rear rubber and the bodywork. Yellow was a great choice for the Brembos as they really do pop, and while it’s not a shade that will partner up comfortably with every body colour, it would have worked perfectly with the original Carbon black paint. Indeed, it looks no less perfect against the current exterior colour or the current wheels.
“My good friend Manu Gill is the owner of wheel company Aristo Collection,” Andrew tells us, as we get onto the all-important subject of wheels. “To me loyalty and supporting my friends are very important and there was no doubt that I would have Aristo wheels on my car. There was a brief moment before Manu got started when I put a set of Volk TE37 Black Series wheels on but as soon as Aristo was up and running, I sold those Volks.” Aristo offers a mindboggling selection of different wheels in a seemingly limitless selection of colours and finishes, and Andrew’s choice for the M3 is spot-on. Bucking the trend of going big, he’s opted for a set of 18” three-piece Sport profile MJKs with gloss black barrels, exposed bolts and extremely sexy textured matt black centres, with the fat tyres and minimal stretch doing a great job of filling what little space exists in the arches.
The stunning blue that the car is now presented in, a gorgeous 3M Blue Brushed Steel wrap, is arguably the most dramatic change to how the car looks as, from the off, Andrew wanted to keep his E46 M3 looking as #BMW had intended. “I never wanted to change the shape of the car much,” he says.
“I love the original styling and flow of the car although it has gone through a few iterations of styling changes. One of the first things I did was to add the CSL replica bootlid and rear diffuser. Then I went through a couple of vented hoods, Flossman and Asuka, and added lots and lots of carbon fibre. After that phase, I decided I wanted a more sleek and subtle look, so I got rid of most of the carbon fibre and eliminated most vents, including shaving the foglight openings on the front bumper.
Another important reason for getting rid of the vented hoods and modifying my OEM bumper is that nothing fits better than OEM parts. Through all these phases, stretching over a nine-year period, many shops between Los Angeles and San Francisco had a hand in moulding the style.
I wanted to make a vehicle that grabs your attention and makes you want to come closer. And, as you come closer, you see more and more details you hadn’t noticed before. For me, it’s the subtle details that don’t scream out at you that make a build.”
We think Andrew’s certainly achieved his aim here. The matt black roof, mirrors, grille and other exterior trim details tie-in perfectly with the dark wheels. And the ultra-clean front bumper looks fantastic, especially with that custom front splitter pulled up snugly beneath it. The AGT Styling side splitters add a sense of menace while the Vorsteiner CSL-style bootlid and rear diffuser are the perfect finishing touches.
Where the exterior is subtle, the interior is anything but and Andrew has really gone to town. “I got the inspiration for my interior from a couple of my Europrojektz teammates, Michael and Fern, when I was in Los Angeles,” he explains. “I knew I wanted diamond stitching, so I took the idea to the guy that did my team-mates’ cars. It took some time and patience but when it was finally finished the results were amazing.
Even now I receive compliments on its quality and style. After that Michael Wright from 02 Creations finished up my interior when I moved to the Bay Area. He wrapped the headliner and wired-in the Rolls Royce ‘Starlight Headliner’ style lights. He also wrapped the dashboard, pillars and rear deck.” It certainly is spectacular and while it’s not going to appeal to all tastes, you can’t argue with just how much work has gone into it. You’re not likely to see another interior quite like it, that’s for sure. Suede mixes with leather, yellow stitching soars across doors and dash, an E60 M5 gear knob sits in place of the original E46 item and, if you can tear your eyes away from all that, you’ll notice the Alpina 7” touch-screen head unit custom mounted in the dash. In the cabin sit Hertz Mille MLK 165 two-way component speakers while the trunk is dominated by a pair of custom-mounted DC Audio Level 3 10” subs, with custom hardwood floor that flips open to reveal the Audison LRx 4.1k multi-channel amp, and the whole install has been executed with same incredible attention to detail as the rest of the interior work.
You might perhaps think that because we’ve not mentioned it yet there are no engine mods but lift the bonnet and you’ll find that you’re quite wrong to have made that sort of assumption. “The S54 engine was the last thing I wanted to modify because the BMW engineers had pretty much already maxed it out,” admits Andrew.
“It wasn’t a multi-category and multi-year winner of International Engine of the Year for no reason.” However, the urge to extract just a little more ‘go’ was one that was too great to resist. “One of the first mods I did was a GruppeM carbon fibre ram air intake,” Andrew continues. “It looked good but I doubt it had any performance gains. I didn’t touch the engine again until just last year when Kalim and Miles from KLX Auto Garage bored-out the throttle bodies for me, removed the air box and installed the velocity stacks for the ITBs. The tuning also had to be converted to Alpha-N since the MAF was eliminated.”
The velocity stacks are perhaps the most obvious change in the engine bay, the stubby trumpets themselves custom-made and mounted on ported and polished throttle bodies that now measure 52mm across. An Evosport exhaust manifold with a ceramic coating has been fitted and leads to a Rogue Engineering X-pipe and a Kreissieg Valvetronic F1 stainless steel exhaust system. Under the bonnet you’ll also find a set of Rogue Engineering power pulleys, a C&R racing rad and a Radium Engineering open loop oil catch can kit and fuel rail, with pulse damper and fuel pressure gauge. One glance at those velocity stacks and you know this engine means business, plus it’s always good to see someone massaging an S54 whilst keeping it naturally aspirated, rather than taking the forced induction route.
Andrew’s built himself an awesome E46 M3, a spectacular machine both inside and out. He’s put a huge amount of effort into getting everything right. The attention to detail and quality of the work that’s gone into it is top-notch. It’s a fantastic looking car and one that really ticks all the boxes as far as styling, performance and handling are concerned. As complete a package as you could ever want. And it’s not for show, either, serving as Andrew’s daily, which he cites as one of the reasons why he’s not taken the car down the wide-body and forced induction route. “There are no more plans for the car,” he says, “although I’ve already started to de-mod the car again to make it more street-friendly. I want to keep it as long as possible, although I have just put down a deposit for a Tesla Model 3.” That’s good news because the E46 will be the perfect antidote to that electrical sensibleness, plus, sparing the M3 from daily duties is likely to make it feel more special and make Andrew want to keep it even longer, which is most definitely a good thing.
DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #SMG-II / #BMW-M3-SMG-II / #BMW / #Radium-Engineering / #Kreissieg /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 / , custom machined aluminium velocity stack conversion, custom ported/polished individual throttle bodies bored to 52mm, custom tuned #Alpha-N with MAP engine software management, #Evosport exhaust manifold with ceramic coating, #Kreissieg-Valvetronic-F1 stainless steel exhaust, Custom Performance Innovations S-pipe, #Rogue-Engineering-X-pipe , #Rogue-Engineering power pulleys, #Radium-Engineering open loop oil catch can kit, Radium Engineering fuel rail with pulse damper and fuel pressure gauge, #C&R Racing Radiator. Stock six-speed SMG II gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x18” ET22 (front) and 10.5x18” ET20 (rear) #Aristo-Collection-Sport-MJK two-piece wheels with exposed bolts, gloss black barrels and textured matt black centres with 245/40 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Toyo Proxes R1R tyres, Bimmerworld 92mm Race Bulletnose wheel stud conversion, #Project-Kics R40 Neochrome lug nuts, Vorshlag camber/caster plates and perches, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers with Swift linear coilover springs Conversion (9.0kgf/mm front and 11.0kgf/mm rear), Dixis Spirit titanium strut brace, Status Gruppe Tuning adjustable front anti-roll bar endlinks, SPC adjustable rear control arms, Vibra-Technics engine mounts, #Vibra-Technics transmission mounts, Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts, HorsepowerFreaks rear subframe reinforcement plates, #Brembo Gran Turismo BBK with custom painted yellow calipers, six-piston monoblock with 355mm custom pattern discs (front), four-piston calipers with 345mm slotted discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Full exterior 3M Blue Brushed Steel vinyl wrap, with matt black roof, custom front bumper with shaved foglight openings and reflectors, custom front splitter, matt black kidney grilles, matt black wing vents, EAS Aurora LED angel eyes, LED numberplate lights, Depo smoked corner lenses with LED bulbs, Depo smoked sidemarkers, Vorsteiner V-SDL single-sided carbon fibre bootlid and V-CSL carbon fibre diffuser, AGT styling side skirt extensions/splitters
INTERIOR Custom black leather and suede interior with yellow double diamond stitching on seats, door panels, armrests and headrests, custom black suede dashboard with yellow double stitching, custom black suede headliner, visors, pillars and parcel shelf, OEM #BMW illuminated M5/M6 SMG shift knob, Storm Motorwerks brushed stainless steel SMG shift paddles, brushed stainless steel handbrake handle, brushed stainless steel SMG gaiter ring, GSP oversized pedals, OEM BMW Eurotray, custom painted satin silver double-DIN headunit bezel, SMG dome and lower steering wheel trim, custom variable remote-controlled fibre optic LED lighting in headliner, custom hardwood boot build with Plexiglas, leather, suede and LED lighting, Optima red top battery
AUDIO Alpine IVA-W505 7” touch-screen DVD receiver, Hertz Mille MLK 165 two-way component set, 2x DC Audio Level 3 10” subwoofers, Audison LRx 4.1k multichannel Amplifier
THANKS My teammates at Europrojektz around the world, Manu from Aristo Collection, all the shops and garages that stayed up past closing to help me finish a project for a show including, but not limited to, 02 Creation, KLX Auto Garage, Elite Auto Films, Performance Technic, SpeedElement, Sonic MS, 68 Auto Detail, Stan from Toyo Tires, my personal friends that have supported and inspired me despite my obsession for details and all my snarky comments (I’m looking at you Toby, Marvin and Patdeezy) and finally NGC and SGC!
Entire interior is spectacular but the Rolls-Royce-style starlight headliner is really different and a little a bit magical.
For me it’s the subtle details that don’t scream out at you that make a build.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBMW F31 TOURING Slick, slammed 328i xDrive
A slick, seriously slammed and sexy Stateside F31 Touring.
If you haven’t caught F30-fever yet, be warned this beautiful blue Touring is highly infectious. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: @vossen.
Despite having been launched a good few years ago now, you could count the amount of non-M F3x cars that have been featured in DRIVE-MY on one hand and still have plenty of fingers left over for whatever it is you might want to do with them. Perhaps it’s the looks that haven’t won people over or it’s simply the fact that they’re still quite expensive to buy. We’ve had plenty of M3s and M4s in our pages, but the lesser F3x models remain something of a modified rarity. Seeing a nicely-modified example, then, is reason to be happy and when it’s something as well done as this tasty Touring, it’s broad grins all-round. As the disgustingly sunny photos might suggest, this Touring is not a UK resident.
You will find it and its owner Kat Azadi cruising the streets of Miami Florida, turning plenty of heads as they go because this Touring delivers a tasty styling combo that’s hard to beat. Kat got herself off to a good start as an Estoril 328i xDrive is a mightyfine machine, the classic BMW hue looking very at home on the current models, and the 28i engine is both punchy and decent on fuel, making it a great all-rounder.
Of course, it’s practical too and that was part of the reason why Kat was drawn to the 3 Series wagon, as she explains: “I visited Europe in 2014 and caught the wagon or as you call it ‘estate’ bug! In the USA, it’s very hard to find a wagon and there are even fewer choices if you want a luxury brand. After owning sedans previously, I wanted a car with more cargo room for my dogs and moving around merchandise for the Vossen store. I travel frequently to car shows, events and visit vendors on a regular basis with my boot filled! I didn’t want a SUV and in the USA wagon choices are pretty limited.
BMW really has a winner with the 328i xDrive wagon and the Estoril blue colour was a must-have with the M Sport package! After a nationwide search, we found three Estoril blue M Sport Tourings in the USA: one in California, one in Georgia and one in Colorado. My dealership, Braman BMW, negotiated a swap and I got my car sight unseen from Colorado. The funny thing is that with Colorado being a colder part of the USA my BMW has the Cold Weather Package, which I will never use in Miami!”
Working as Vossen’s merchandise store director means that Kat is surrounded by car people and, working in that sort of environment, it would be impossible to own a standard car. Indeed, she’s no stranger to the pleasures of modified metal, having previously owned a 2013 Lexus GS, which she treated to some Vossen wheels (natch), RS-R suspension, an F-Sport front bumper and a mint wrap (literally) for good measure. The chances of the F31 remaining standard were therefore about zero…
Plans started simply enough, with Kat obviously deciding a set of Vossens were needed along with a drop in ride height. However, after a bit of internet research and talking to co-workers, she realised just what was available out there and it would have been rude not to indulge a bit…
Kat’s goal was to keep the car looking clean and subtle but at the same time make sure it stood out from the crowd. We’d say she’s definitely stuck to her brief and nailed it with the end result. The car is subtle, but once the wheels grab your attention (and they most definitely will) you’ll spot the changes that help make this Touring stand out. Rolling on Vossens was a given, but Kat was spoiled for choice when it came to choosing the right rims for her ride. “Having rocked a few different sets of Vossen wheels, I really wanted something custom this time around,” she says, “so I went with a set of new Vossen Forged LC Series wheels. The model is LC-107 in a colour called Patina gold in 9x20-inch and 10x20- inch. The team engineers the wheels for each specific vehicle so they put my car on the lift and took precise measurements before making their recommendation.”
The single-piece ten-spoke wheels look fantastic; with that wide edge running round the lip they’re just that little bit different to traditional designs, and the 20s are the perfect size for the F31 Touring. Kat’s choice of hue sits perfectly against the Estoril bodywork, Subaru having taught us many moons ago that blue and gold really complement each other. The faces of the wheels are brushed, with polished detailing along the edges of the spokes. Multi-piece offerings might be the darlings of the modified scene, but when it comes to single-piece wheels Vossen knows its onions.
“They are wrapped in 245/35 and 275/30 Toyos,” says Kat, choosing to have some rubber on the road rather than stretch, “and I love how the Brembo brakes are framed behind these wheels!” Because the calipers aren’t painted a lairy shade it’s easy to miss them, but this Touring is rocking a Brembo GT BBK front and rear, with heavy-duty calipers clamping massive 381mm crossdrilled discs up front and 343mm items at the back.
That might seem like overkill but with the high levels grip and traction, this Touring can be hustled along at a fair old pace and, with a turbocharged engine that’s responsive to tuning, Kat’s running a little more than stock power from her 328. “I had a Dynamic Turbo engine tune,” says Kat, “and it’s now making 310hp and 330lb ft of torque up from the stock 240hp and 258lb ft. I’m very happy with the results, the car now is noticeably quicker with hardly any difference in mpg.”
With brakes, wheels and performance taken care of, the suspension needed attention and Kat knew exactly what she wanted: a fully adjustable setup. For this, she turned to KW and went with a V3 coilover kit. Judging by the pictures, the suspension has been wound down to within an inch of its life, as there’s nary a gap between the tops of the tyres and the bottoms of the arches, the 20-inch Vossens tucking right up and giving this Touring an awesome look.
The final part was sorting the styling and here too Kat had a clear idea of what she wanted. “The idea was to make my wagon stand out without screaming ‘look at me!’ in regards to exterior modifications. After reviewing multiple body kits I felt the BMW M Performance kit really complemented the stock M Sport body. This included a new front bumper, side skirts and a rear diffuser.
“After going back and forth over the big rear wing, I decided against it. Dynamic Turbo installed the parts which were very easy to do in regards to the front bumper and side skirts. Since I had a GT Haus Meisterschaft exhaust with quad pipes the install didn’t go as planned, as Dynamic Turbo had to make some modifications to make it work. But the team there managed it and it came out amazing and I now have the only 328i xDrive with the GT Haus Meisterschaft quad exhaust! It is very loud which I love, but so I don’t want to wake the neighbours up, I ordered it with the GTC valve control which allows me to open and close the valves.” The styling is subtle, but it definitely gives the Touring more aggression and presence, plus the quad exhaust looks awesome tucked up in the rear valance.
While Kat’s kept her daily relatively sensible in some respects, she’s not compromised when it comes to ride height, picking the right wheels or the volume of her exhaust and she’s ended up with an exceedingly smart 3 Series Touring that looks good and does everything she needs. She’s not done with it yet, either, and like all of us can’t help but wonder about what’s next… “If money were no object I would bag my car on AccuAir and maybe get it painted matt blue, but I’m thinking of possibly wrapping it with the new matt clear colour that is out. And of course treating it to another set of Vossen Forged Wheels,” she laughs and hey, why not? Whatever she decides to do, things will only get even get better for this tidy Touring.
DATA FILE F31 #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-F31 / #2016 / #BMW / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-328i-Touring / #BMW-328i-Touring-F31 / #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 / #Vossen / #BMW-F31-Vossen /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo #N20B20 / #N20 / #BMW-N20 , #Dynamic-Turbo engine tune, GT-Haus-Meisterschaft-GTC exhaust with quad Pipes and valve control, eight-speed automatic gearbox. 310hp, 330lb ft
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 wheels in Patina gold finish with brushed faces and polished windows and barrels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Toyo T1 Sport tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, #Brembo GT #Brembo-BBK (front and rear) with 381mm cross-drilled discs (front) and 343mm cross-drilled discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Estoril blue, BMW M Performance kit consisting of front bumper, side skirts and rear diffuser
INTERIOR Stock black M Sport interior with blue trim
THANKS Jav and Mike at Vossen, Jose and Chris at Dynamic Turbo, Greg at Race Technologies, Braman #BMW and my wonderful doggies, Jetson and CharlieStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTEMPTING FATE #2015
What started out as a restoration project on a 2002 somehow turned into an incredibly low, static, classic build instead. When he started tearing apart this 2002, it was only ever Simon Fried’s intention to restore it to standard spec but fate had other plans… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Ronald Veth.
In 1873, the western United States of America experienced something unprecedented and terrifying: the arrival of the Rocky Mountain locust. Or, more specifically, rather a lot of Rocky Mountain locusts. The swarms were massive; as they flew overhead they blotted out the sun. Anything they landed on was pretty much devastated; they stripped crop clean, ate laundry from lines and wool from the backs of sheep, gnawed through wooden buildings – it was an event as close to the apocalypse as anyone had ever experienced, making an ear-shattering cacophony as they buzzed by. One swarm was estimated to be 1800 miles long and 110 miles wide, taking a full five days to pass. Just have a think about that for a moment. That’s a hell of a lot of insects, and each one capable of – nay, seemingly intent upon – the absolute destruction of everything in its path.
It was the largest recorded gathering of living things that the world had ever seen, with one estimate putting the total number of locusts at twelve trillion. People were swatting at them with spades, dousing them with insecticide, blasting them with incendiary devices – nothing made any difference. They were unstoppable.
At a time of enormous migration of farmers to the western US and Canada, the entire area was reliant on crop yields, with every farmer indebted to brand-new mortgages and shiny fleets of machinery. The locusts destroyed countless lives. And yet at the end of the summer, they all just disappeared. Why are we talking about locusts? Fear not, it’ll become clear. But it’s in no way a suggestion that the glorious 2002 you’re feasting your hungry eyes upon here has any of the properties of a parasitic swarming grasshopper; far from it, in fact – it’s a beautifully original retro survivor with a sprinkling of modern embellishments to earn it a place in the affections of today’s dropped-to-the-floor Bavarian motor enthusiast.
“It was always inevitable that I’d end up with a BMW,” explains owner Simon Fried. “They were always around when I was growing up – my uncle is an engineer at BMW, and my dad was a 2002 fanatic in his younger years.” Fait accompli then, right? Surely Simon was rocking an ’02 just as soon as he was legally able to? Well, no, not quite. “I started out in a couple of Mk2 Golfs,” he says, although without any great sense of pride or excitement. Means to an end, most likely, before dipping a toe in the water of the old Beemer scene. That’s just the way it has to pan out sometimes.
“When the time was right to buy a more fun car, the decision was obvious,” Simon shrugs nonchalantly. “Of course it had to be a BMW, because I love #BMW . But which one…?” It wasn’t too much of a headscratcher, naturally, with a couple of 2002 shells lying around at home along with oodles of spares, thanks to his father’s extensive Neue Klasse hoarding. “There are three of them at home now,” he grins. “This one, an Alpina – which will be my next project – and a Baur targa. There are many spare parts kicking around from my dad’s youth, which does save a bit of effort and expense in tracking things down.”
So, Simon was set on which model he was after, and it was at this point that fate intervened again. “I found this car online, and it was only about ten kilometres from where I live, which was pretty useful,” Simon recalls. “The condition wasn’t so great, with a fair amount of rust holes that needed welding up, but I was in the garage day and night to build my dream car and, having finally perfected the shell, it was treated to a new coat of paint in its original Fjordblau – a timeless, wonderful colour.”
The fact that Simon’s opted for a refresh of the car’s original colour speaks of a larger issue at play – a keenness for keeping things as they were from the factory. We’re not talking concours – the rims and the stance knock that on the head for obvious reasons – but simply a desire to maintain the spirit of the ’02. “Originality is very important to me,” says Simon. “The car still has its original 2.0-litre engine with its Solex carburettor; the brakes are stock; the automatic gearbox is stock – in fact, for the first four years of ownership I kept the whole car totally stock. But then I got a taste for tuning…”
Ah yes, ‘tuning’ – that catch-all European buzzword for making a car one’s own. Let’s journey back to 19th century America to draw a parallel, shall we?
Scores of folk had suffered greatly from the Rocky Mountain locust crisis of 1873, but it seemed to be just an inexplicable, unfortunate and random one-off. People started to rebuild their farms, communities and lives. And then it happened the next year, with even larger numbers of locusts. And for the following two years, with numbers larger still. It was an entirely helpless situation, with so much investment having been poured into an area that was evidently inhospitable to human life for large periods of the year. Families moved to the Midwest in droves.
Fast-forward to 21st century Germany, and our friend Simon Fried was experiencing a seismic and life-changing shift of his own. “My initial plan was simply to restore an original ‘oldie’,” he explains, “but ultimately I couldn’t resist taking a few influences from the modern tuning scene. I don’t regret a single thing I’ve done to it either, I love the car even more!”
What’s most noticeable, naturally, is the way the thing sits and what’s going on under the arches. You’ll have spotted that the ’02 is on much better terms with the Tarmac than any factory example would be. This is thanks to a custom KW Variant 3 coilover setup courtesy of the stance experts at gepfeffert.com. “They’re a short-body version of the competition units, coupled with adjustable camber plates,” says Simon.
“Andy Pfeffer was very helpful, and very patient with me in getting the specs just right for how I wanted the car to look.” And a precision stance is nothing without the right wheels, so after much consideration Simon opted for the timeless choice of #BBS-RS s. “They’re RS098s, which were originally 7x16” and ET35, but I’ve rebuilt them with a smaller inner rim, so now they’re 6.5x16” and ET43,” Simon says. These are neatly adorned with amusingly skinny 165/40s, which give just the right amount of stretch to perfect the look. And, hey, contact patch is overrated when you’re only playing with 100hp-odd and an auto ’box – a minimalist approach to grip is presumably the gateway to a little entertainment.
Simon’s eye for originality extends to an eager hunger for hunting down periodcorrect accessories and alternative parts, some of which lurk within his father’s parts store but, more often than not, have required him to cast a wide digital net to hunt down the appropriate bits to fulfil his vision. Take a look at the rear window, for example – that screw-on louvre makes hen’s teeth seem lavishly abundant. “It’s a very, very rare piece,” he enthuses, “and I was lucky enough to find it in as-new condition. I also managed to source some very rare original Italian turn signals.” These are the corner indicators at the front, usually allorange, and something of a badge of honour for 2002 nerds. The interior was a personal triumph for Simon, too: “It’s not the car’s original interior but it is from the same model! Specifically, it’s from the Luxury Edition, all in black velour.” Funny what fate can drop into your lap, isn’t it?
That was very much the feeling among those beleaguered locust victims. After a few years of flying insect terror, it all just stopped; in 1877, the swarms were smaller and seemed knackered and sluggish – after that, it never happened again. It turned out, in the end, that it was increased farming in the affected areas that was killing the locust pupae in the ground, although that wasn’t figured out until decades later. Farmers had accidentally solved the problem without even realising, simply by tenaciously sticking with what they were doing. That’s the odd thing about life. Sometimes, stuff just happens. It doesn’t always pay to overthink it, just get on with it.
While Simon’s put a huge amount of effort into his 2002, fate has played more than a small hand in its construction. And it’s all working out rather well for him. “People’s reactions are beautiful,” he smiles. “They always want to get inside it; it was their first car, or their parents had one, or they learned to drive in one… an elderly lady happily told me that she’d had her ‘first time’ in one, which made us both laugh a lot.” And that’s just what we build these things for, isn’t it?
Not specifically to elicit erotic reminiscences from pensioners, of course, but to create stories and experiences and evoke emotions. You can’t plan these things in any great detail, you’ve just got to roll with fate and see which way it goes.
Engine has been left stock, making this 2002 all about being (very) low and slow.
Below: 16” #BBS s look perfect on the ’02 Right: Ultra-rare rear window louvre.
Gorgeous interior has been left stock, bar the addition of an Aux input for the original radio and a wood and chrome steering wheel.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-2002 / #BMW-2002-Automatic /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 , #Solex carburettor, automatic transmission.
CHASSIS 6.5x16” (front and rear) #BBS-RS098 wheels with 165/40 Nankang NS-20 tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, adjustable camber plates.
EXTERIOR Rear window louvre, period Italian turn signals, Mk1 Golf headlights, polished chrome bumpers.
INTERIOR 2002 Luxury Edition black velour interior, original radio with retrofit Aux input, wood/chrome steering wheel.
THANKS My friends Sunny and Phil, who helped me where they could, Andy Pfeffer of gepfeffert.com for the perfect cooperation and patience with me!
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