- 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 moderationCHAIRMAN OF THE BROAD Wild #Liberty-Walk E92 335xi!
There are wide-bodies and there are wide-bodies… and then there’s this E92 335xi. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Josh Levy has certainly mastered the art of width, as demonstrated by his chunky E92. The extremely wide wheels and body turn this 335xi into an aggressive beast… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Mike Kuhn.
We try not to focus too keenly on one single element of a car when we’re buzzing around a shoot and formulating ideas for the story; after all, you people out there building progressive and exciting BMWs always take a holistic approach. It’s never about one sole piece of the puzzle; it’s how they link together.
This car, however… there’s one thing that just stopped us in our tracks as we were ambling around it – something at the back end of the car that got us rubbing our eyes in disbelief: the rear wheels. Now, this isn’t to sideline the myriad other stunning elements of this E92 – the bulging Liberty Walk hips, the low-slung aired-out stance, the pops and crackles from the quad exhausts – but those rear wheels really grabbed our attention.
They measure a mighty 15x18”. Fifteen inches wide! That’s insane. Remember when you were a kid and you first saw the back end of a Countach, how those wheels seemed cartoonishly wide? They were 12x15”. This brutal 335xi is packing supercar girth, and then some. We’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for that.
It could be the case that owner Josh Levy is exorcising a few demons from his own automotive past. While his personal motoring adventure has been long and diverse, he happily admits that his love for cars was sparked by a build he saw running 13” wheels – and he’s talking diameter, not width. All fit for purpose on a Mk1 Golf GTI, of course, but it shows you how far he’s come. Too much is never enough; it’s all about pushing forward.
“I started modifying cars when I was 17 years old and haven’t stopped since,” says Josh. “It all started when I first saw an ’1984 GTI dropped on 13s, with a roll-cage and just one seat. It looked awesome and I wanted to know more about it. My interest grew and I started my love/hate relationship with automobiles. Whether it’s lowering your car, adding aftermarket parts or whatever, it’s the passion we have for our cars that keeps us going. No matter what car I’ve had in the past, I always wanted to modify it. It’s fun, exhausting, and painful, but I love the feeling when it’s all done. And I actually have a 1984 VW GTI that I’m restoring now.”
A pleasingly full-circle tale then, but how did Josh end up with what has to be one of the widest and most aggressive E92s we’ve seen to date? This sort of thing doesn’t happen by accident, nor does it happen overnight. He must have been harbouring a desire to build such a thing for a while, yes?
“Well, no, I wasn’t really on the lookout for an E92 per se – or, in fact, any car,” Josh recalls. “This project just sort of fell into my lap, really! There were a few mods done to it by a previous owner. It was just an old project that had been hiding away in storage. It needed some TLC but I could see its potential. It simply needed my personal touch to turn it into something badass!”
And when Josh talks about his ‘personal touch’, what he’s basically referring to is tearing the car down to first principles and building it back up again as something fresh, new and exciting. Taking a broad view of the car – which, incidentally, is a 2009 335xi – you can see that there are three key areas to consider: first, there’s the unmissable Liberty Walk bodywork; then there’s the rims and air-ride combo. But there’s also something that’s easy to miss at first glance, given the striking nature of the aesthetics, and that’s the extensive conversion to M3 spec. While the 335xi is a formidable thing in its own right, this example has been treated to no less than the bumpers, front wings, front grilles, lock plates, combination brackets, reinforced bumper brackets and radiator support, mirrors, and side skirts from the mighty M3 – a meisterwerk of parts-sourcing and effort in itself. And that’s before we get to the really juicy stuff.
“I knew my next car needed to stand out and I wanted something that would take really wide wheels,” Josh explains. “I wanted a car that would make a statement no matter where I was going, whether it was at a show or just getting gas. I always loved the E92 M3’s body style, and with the wide Liberty Walk kit it felt like the right way to go… the M3’s body lines mixed with wide flares sure draw you in!”
The next job was rather an important one: wheel choice. “I wanted to build a street monster and show people that having wide wheels isn’t just for looks,” Josh says. “The three-piece Nine1Forged LV6 wheels gave me everything I wanted with their VIP feel and aggressive design. The huge 8” rear lips really help show off that extreme concave construct. I wanted the fitment just right and for my 15” rears to touch the fenders.”
This wasn’t as easy to achieve as Josh makes it sound and a lot of adjustments were necessary, along with rear camber arms: “After I got the fitment I wanted, I realised it was bottoming out and hitting the Liberty Walk kit so I had to make more adjustments and pull more camber out of it! As this is my daily driver I didn’t want to go too crazy, but then again what’s crazy?”
What indeed? There is a certain inevitability to projects like this, where one modification necessarily leads to another until the car’s basically unrecognisable when placed alongside a stock example, but Josh’s commitment to commuting daily in the thing does lend his own personal definition of ‘crazy’ an interesting perspective filter. The best way to categorise it at this stage is ‘exactly crazy enough’. But that’s an elastic concept, and he’s always got a new idea bubbling away.
When your car looks this extreme, you really need to have a bit of grunt to back it up, that’s just an immutable law of the universe. No point expending this much elbow grease on something that’d struggle to haul itself up a moderate incline, there’s little joy to be derived from that. Thankfully, as mentioned, the 335xi is a fiery thing – but that’s not to say that Josh had any intention of keeping the turbocharged three-litre straight-six standard.
“The only issue with buying someone else’s unfinished project is that you can’t totally know what you’re getting,” he admits. “And if you do run into issues, it could be very difficult. I had a few issues under the hood but fortunately it was soon all straightened out. The motor was pretty stock but it felt like the car needed more. I added a full exhaust and that, together with the huge front-mount intercooler, really helped the car open up.” He’s also added a Burger Tuning Juicebox, which sounds like it should be delicious but is actually a rather clever little remap gizmo that’s marketed under the alluring slogan ‘add 100hp to your twin-turbo BMW instantly’. You can’t really argue with that, can you?
So he’s got the look, the power, and he’s the envy of everyone at the petrol station. It’d be churlish not to lavish a little affection on the interior, too, wouldn’t it? After all, that’s where Josh spends a lot of his time – particularly given that he’s using the thing daily. “It came to me as a base model with no extras so I had to do something about that,” Josh grins. “The trim needed some updating along with the doorcards, seats, and there’s now a bolt-in roll-cage from House Motorsport, too.”
This outrageous E92, then, is far more than just a set of ludicrously wide rear wheels. It’s a beautifully finished and surprisingly practical daily driver with oodles of power and that intangible wow factor in spades. The wheels are a pretty good place to start though, aren’t they? When there’s this much for your eyes to process, it’s quite soothing to lose yourself in all that dish.
“Yeah, people do seem to love the car,” Josh declares, amused by the visual and aural assault he unleashes every day upon the local traffic. “I had an idea when I started of what I wanted it to look like but I never thought it would turn out like this. That’s what makes modifying cars so much fun! You can do whatever you like.”
Sage counsel indeed. And with Josh raving about his near-future plans to single-turbo the car, shave the bay, swap the dash, change the boot install, respray the body, replace the wheels and goodness knows what else, he’s certainly taking the ‘do whatever you like’ idea and running with it. We just wonder how much wider the E92 can possibly go.
Rear Nine 1 Forged LV6 rims measure an obscene 15x18” and boast outrageous 8” lips.
If the Liberty Walk kit wasn’t quite wild enough, Josh has added a carbon front splitter and rear spoiler for good measure.
DATA FILE #Liberty Walk / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-335xi / #BMW-335xi-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-E92-Liberty-Walk / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-E92-Coupe / #N54B30 / #BMW-N54 / #Nine1Forged / #Burger-Tuning / #N54-Stage-3 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #N54B30 , #Dual-AFE downpipes with custom exhaust system, #Burger-Tuning-JuiceBox4-PNP (N54 Stage 3) software, #AFE cold air intakes, M3 washer reservoir, six-speed manual gearbox, Spec 2+ clutch
CHASSIS 12.5x18” (front) and 15x18” (rear) #Nine1Forged-LV6-Extreme -oncave wheels in Blushed Monaco Gold with hidden hardware, 285/30 (front) and 305/30 (rear) Sumitomo HTR ZIII tyres, Air Lift front struts, #Air-Lift rear toe arms, #Megan-Racing rear adjustable control/camber arms, #Air-Lift double bellow rear air springs, #AccuAir management, dual #Viair-480c compressors and five-gallon aluminium tank, Forge Motorsport front brakes with six-pot calipers and 380mm discs, StopTech grooved rear discs
EXTERIOR Liberty Walk ten-piece body kit including overfenders, carbon-fibre spoiler and front splitter, carbonfibre M3 bonnet, Challenge carbonfibre rear diffuser, custom headlights, M4 headlight arms, OEM M3 upgrades comprising: bumpers, front wings, front grilles, lock plates, combination brackets, reinforced bumper brackets and radiator support, mirrors, side skirts
INTERIOR Carbon-fibre trim, Jaffster gear knob, BMW ‘Rennsport’ Performance Alcantara steering wheel with factory airbag, custom ‘race’ seats with matching doorcards, centre console, gaiter and handbrake cover, House Motorsport bolt-in roll cage
THANKS Thank you to my sponsors @Royal_Stance, @Elite_tuner, @Clean.e93, and @Stance_DailyStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEXTREME #BMW E46 M3 #Supercharged wide-body monster
ARCH NEMESIS / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46
DTM FiberWerkz has been behind a couple of wild builds and this supercharged, wide-body E46 M3 is no exception.
The latest build from DTM FiberWerkz takes the familiar form of the E46 M3 and exaggerates its muscles in all directions. It’s wide, it’s mean, it’s low… and it’s got enough go to back up the show. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Peter Wu.
The E46 is very much the #BMW-3-Series of choice for 2016; we’re predicting a lot of interesting things on the scene for this generation in the coming months. This is due in large part to its chronological positioning, being neither too new to be affordable nor old enough to be ‘classic’. A lot of people view older cars as a gateway to financial ruin (not always fairly, but these mental hurdles are insurmountable for some), so the E46 sits in quite a happy middle ground – it’s new enough to be reliable and powerful in a modern sense, which makes it rather good value as a used buy, but it’s sufficiently inexpensive, comparatively speaking, for the average Joe to tear into in his garage, modifying with a clear conscience and little chance of an angry call from the bank manager. E46s are where the smart money is right now.
With this in mind, the aftermarket has this model firmly in its crosshairs, and there are none more enthusiastic about showcasing the thing than Northridge, California’s DTM FiberWerkz. The company ethos is very closely aligned with BMW’s own approach to the development of the E46, which was to take the successful E36 as a base-point and make every element a little better; the bodyshell was 70% stiffer, the suspension was studded with aluminium components, the weight distribution remained as near as dammit to 50/50 in line with core principles.
DTM FiberWerkz augments this approach by placing the driver even more squarely in the middle of the formula. ‘If there’s one thing more rewarding than exploring the potential of your BMW, it’s discovering your own’ is its motto. And as this latest line in E46 upgrades demonstrates, it’s giving the driver as much of a helping hand as possible.
“The main reason for working on the E46 M3 body was that aerodynamic parts were lacking for it in the aftermarket,” explains company founder Ary Minassian. “We wanted to design a functional rivet-on flare kit for the M3, as the only other wide-body in production is the GTR which almost all true E46 race cars use, and we also manufacture. We aimed to design something that was the same width as the GTR kit but with more functional and easily installed parts compared to the complete wide-body conversion. These flares would only require paint and external fitting, the four flares giving the same width as the GTR.”
This makes a lot of sense for race cars as it means parts can more easily be swapped out and replaced when damage occurs, but it’s also a smart move for street applications, providing a comparative ease of fitment that circumvents the apprehension that some owners may have about extensive body mods. Oh, and you can’t discount the awesomeness factor either – it’s hard to deny that these wide flares look pretty badass in situ, taking a familiar silhouette and forcing it through a cartoonish filter. It’s as if the everyday commuter 3 Series on your neighbour’s drive has been shimmered through the paint box of a 1970s hot rod caricaturist, and that’s no bad thing.
“We wanted to use the E46 M3 SMG specifically, because since we were going to run such wide wheels, tyres and arches, we also wanted to run a supercharger from VF Engineering,” Ary says. “We knew with the power of the ’charger and the SMG transmission the car would have a similar feel to a proper race car, so the go would match the show. The power of the car is right at your fingertips and the supercharger keeps pulling you forward all the time!”
You can tell from the way that Ary chatters away about this build that he’s no pen-pushing suit – he’s in this business because he’s passionate about the cars, and his engaging and eager persona really accentuates this. The demeanour explains the growth of his business, EuroStopUSA, which was established in #2002 as a performance shop selling custom body kits, wheels, exhausts and lowering springs, mainly catering for BMWs. As word spread and the customer base grew, so the ESM Wheels and DTM FiberWerkz brands crystalised, the latter growing by word-of-mouth and street culture, while ESM developed through offering a unique selection of wheel designs in a plethora of colours, fitments and specs. By the time of this project’s inception, the guys were really on a roll.
“The car was completely stock when we acquired it, and a perfect candidate for what we wanted to use it for,” says Ary. “We found it listed locally on Craigslist. As we design and manufacture parts, we look for cars with straight and true bodies with no damage, so when the parts are designed and ready to make a mould we can ensure the part will be as close to a factory fit as possible.
“The principle goal of this car was to design a new option wide-body flare kit,” he continues. “We did face some issues during the research and development of the design when it came to shaping something to flow with the rounded body lines of the E46; we tried a box-style flare, but ultimately came to the conclusion that it looked a bit too square on a rounded car, so we changed the shape to blend with the lines of the body. Shaping the flare kit was by far the most challenging part of the process – because it is a part that we’ll be manufacturing for customers, we wanted to make sure it would fit perfectly on every car, have a good aesthetic, and most of all be functional and easy to install and remove.”
This all speaks of DTM FiberWerkz’s fastidiousness when it comes to product development, but it’s important for us to remember that there’s more to this car than a set of rivet-on aftermarket arch flares. Just take a look at the interior, for example – it’s a brilliant manifestation of your classic dual-purpose build. The back end is pure race car, it’s been stripped down to its bare bones, rocking a sturdy half-cage and not a whole lot else. Moving forward beyond the B-pillars you’ll spot the unmissable scarlet flash of a pair of Sparco Evo buckets, and then as you swivel your head owl-like through 180-degrees you’ll find that… you’re in a normal street-driven M3. Huh. Weren’t expecting that, were you? There’s a full dash, OEM doorcards, even the stereo and carpets are still in place. It’s like a mullet; business up front, party in the back.
Moving to the outside, the outrageous aesthetic that’s been achieved by Ary’s team reminds you that the addition of wide-arch flares isn’t just a case of sticking them to the car, dusting off your hands and going for a beer. You’ll be needing some much wider wheels to fill them, and given that you’ve set out to make your car something of a headturner, the design aspect is something to which you’ll need to give some deep degree of thought. In the case of this car, it could only be a set of ESM wheels. But which ones? Ah, decisions, decisions… after much head-scratching and soul-searching, Ary plumped for a square setup of 11x18” 007s in a gold platinum finish, slathered in sticky R888s to further ramp up the overall sense of purpose.
The fellas at DTM FiberWerkz are, as you’ve gathered by now, painfully aware of the importance of the holistic approach, so when Ary talks about this set of wide-arch flares, it is of course just one element of a broader picture. After all, an E46 M3 with wide arches and nothing else on its comparatively slender body might look a bit odd. So this car has had the full works, it’s a riot of carbon fibre, beginning with the CSL-style roof spun from that magical weave.
There’s a vented carbon bonnet, a carbon bootlid with integrated oversize ducktail, side skirt extensions and carbon mirrors, and a racy front bumper complete with carbon canards and undertray. It’s not all for show either, these guys are dead serious about the aero efficiency of their products. It keeps them up at night.
“The car debuted at the 2014 SEMA show in the ESM Wheels booth, where we displayed it with the Version 1 flares and black 11x18” ESM-007 wheels,” Ary recalls. “At the time, the front V2 flares were not designed with the cutout behind the tyres. Many people loved the look of the car, and as it was the first rivet-on flare kit for the M3 we gained a huge international reputation from the show. In 2015 we again used the car at SEMA for the ESM Wheels booth, but this time around we changed the look to its current stage, with gold wheels and V2 flares along with some other carbon fibre goodies. For some reason people seemed to like the current look better!”
That’s a perfectly natural reaction to evolution, really. Honing and perfecting to make it the best it can be, and folk recognise that sort of effort and tenacity. So, what’s next? A V3 evolution for SEMA 2016? “No, I think this car is complete now,” Ary laughs. “We’ve always got new projects in the pipeline, and we’re developing a lot of new stuff right now, branching out into some diverse areas: Porsche 996/997, Fiat 500, Dodge Challenger… and we’re working on a project that we think a lot of BMW enthusiasts would love to see: a 318ti Compact with a wide-body conversion and a supercharger, which will be debuting at Bimmerfest in May 2016.”
So there you have it – the smart money lies in tuning the E46 coupé, that’s going to be the big cheese this year. But you’d better get it done quick and right, as you’ll all be clamouring for Compacts after that…
Carbon canards and rear diffuser are just some of the many carbon additions.
DATA FILE #DTM #FiberWerkz #BMW-E46 #M3 / #VF-Engineering-Stage-3 / #VF-Engineering / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #SMG / #BMW-M3-SMG-II-E46 / #BMW-M3-SMG-II / #BMW-M3-SMG / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-Supercharger / FiberWerkz / #BMW-M3-FiberWerkz / #BMW-M3-FiberWerkz-E46 / #Clutchmasters / / #S54B32-TUNED
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #VF-Engineering-Stage-3-Supercharger kit and tuning, #Agency-Power full race exhaust system with titanium tips, six-speed #SMG-II gearbox with #Clutchmasters-Stage-3 race clutch.
CHASSIS 11x18” ET0 ESM-007 wheels (f & r) in gold platinum finish, 285/30 (f) and 315/30 (r) Toyo R888 tyres, #Megan-Racing coilovers, factory-upgraded discs and pads
EXTERIOR DTM #FiberWerkz-GTR-S kit comprising V2 vented wide-body flares, Race front bumper with undertray, carbon fibre lip and canards, carbon fibre side skirt extensions, full Race rear diffuser, carbon fibre bootlid, vented carbon fibre Race bonnet, CSL-style carbon fibre roof, carbon fibre mirrors
INTERIOR Stripped rear, Sparco Evo 2 US seats, Autopower Industries race roll bar
THANKS Our staff at #DTM-FiberWerkz and #ESM-Wheels , Stan at Toyo Tires, Clutchmasters, James at Megan Racing, Ayed at Kings Autobody, VF Engineering, Sparco Racing
The car was a perfect candidate for what we wanted to use it forStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSTAR OF CCTV #2015
All eyes are on this stunning, slammed Stateside E36 M3 which ticks all the boxes when it comes to visual impact. Josh Berger’s E36 M3 is a luxurious show-stopper in a post-apocalyptic frenzy of eyes and ears. That it’s also hilarious fun to drive seems to be merely a fringe benefit… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Mike Kuhn.
George Orwell had a paradoxical eye on this car back in 1949. When his frighteningly prescient dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four hit the shelves, the idea of an all-pervading culture of authoritarian surveillance shocked and disturbed, seeming inconceivable to a postwar society of scarcity and simplicity. And yet it’s pretty much come true: every facet of your modern existence is performed before a lens.
It’s never a surprise to learn that any act, movement or indiscretion has been backed up on a hard-drive somewhere. We barely notice those yellow triangular signs any more, we just assume we’re being watched. And there are three ways to react to this: you do the Orwellian thing and toe the line, never putting a foot wrong for fear of reprisals; you rebel, throwing authority’s diktat back in its face, and screw the consequences; or you follow the example of Josh Berger, the gentleman in the driving seat of this E36 M3, and just get on with things. Make yourself happy. The world is watching, so what’s the point in not being yourself?
Josh has always found himself under scrutiny and observation, it doesn’t bother him any. “I grew up heavily influenced by extreme sports and motorsports,” he explains. “I raced dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, and pretty much anything with an engine.” All of which sets him squarely in the searchlight – these are noisy, visible sports, the sort of thing that doesn’t easily blend you into the white noise of everyday society. And it was only natural that this exuberance would lead him into the colourful world of modified #BMW ownership, right? We’re all somewhere along that path, after all. We know the score. “I got my first BMW at the age of 17,” he says, “which was a nice little E30 ’Vert that I lightly modified before moving onto an E34.
E36s were always one of my favourites, though, and a few of my family members had some really nice M3s which is what got me hooked. At age 19 I bought my first E36… and it was a total shitbox! It had primer, bondo, scrapes, the interior was trashed, all of that stuff. After four years of work to get it up to scratch, and about $25k, the car was completely resculpted to my liking – before a drunk-driver decided to slam into it while it was parked and totalled it. So it began again. I bought another chassis, swapped all the parts over to it, got it a fresh coat of paint and I had another nice E36 for a while. After a year or so I sold it and went in and out of several other cars, experimenting with new ideas, as you do.”
It was around this time that Josh started working at Atlanta Motorsports Park as a driving instructor, and soon enough had the urge for another E36 M3. Again, he’s in a pretty visible position in a role like that, and he’s not showing any wallflower tendencies, is he? “I told myself that this time was going to be different,” he recalls. “At this point I had just got married, and my wife was expecting a baby girl, too. But that didn’t stop my dad and I from trying to find a great little track car… lo and behold, we found this little gem online. It belonged to another father/son duo who used it for HPDE (High Performance Driver Education) and track days. The car was pretty rough, showing all its years on the track, with thousands of stone chips peppering the whole front of the car; the interior was half-gutted. It was perfect!”
A quick test-drive was all that it took to convince the guys that this was the ideal base for their project, warts-and-all, and a truckload of extra parts sweetened the deal, along with comprehensive service info documenting the car’s entire history. The plan in embryo was to spin the thing up into a budget track car for weekend use, although life got in the way, as it’s so compelled to do, and Josh found himself yearning for a change of pace. “After a few months of it just sitting there after the birth of my daughter, I decided to slow things down a little bit and enjoy some time with my friends doing the ‘low and slow’ thing,” he says. “And so it began…”
Everyday life for Josh involves running an exotic and luxury car dealership by the name of GAS Motorcars, just outside Atlanta, Georgia. A mosey through the company’s stock list reveals such swanky trinkets as 356 Speedsters, Mercedes-Benz 600 Grossers W100, modern Ferraris and classic ’50s Chevys. When you’re surrounded by this sort of metal, you clearly get a keen sense of quality, finish and finesse. And it’s this environment that dictated the logical direction of the forlorn M3. It also helped the car’s character that it was specced with the Luxury Package (as opposed to the Sport Package which was, er, sportier); while the engine, transmission and suspension were the same, the Lux came from the dealer with unique wood trim inside, different non-twisty sideskirts, alternative doorcards and seat leather without M-stripes, and a raft of style changes to accentuate the premium accent. So, a concours-standard build to luxurious spec it was, then. Decision made.
As the myriad CCTV cameras refocused on the transmuting M3, Josh started to draw up a plan of action. And sorting the suspension had to be the first thing on the list. He was eager to get the thing nice and low but also retain a decent level of ride quality – essential if you have a tiny person to ferry about – and that’s where the experts at Broadway Statics came into play, their 500 Series coilovers fitting the bill perfectly. “I was going for a quality build this time – no shortcuts, just good, solid work,” Josh says with a deservedly heightened level of pride. “I purchased all new lights and got the windows tinted, and it started to clean up pretty well. And then it was time to think about the wheels.”
With the stance sorted and a vision for a quality finish in mind, choosing the right rims for the project was no easy task. After much headscratching and mocking up, Josh picked up a set of CCW LM5Ts from a friend who had them fitted to an E46 Saloon. “Then I had to find a way to make them fit!” he laughs. “This was the time to shine for Tim and Dan at TL Collision. Together we stripped down the entire car – glass, weatherstripping, all the panels – and then we pulled, rolled, hammered until we got the arches pushed out well enough. After smoothing the wings and recreating the factory body contours we wanted to keep, the car went in for paint.”
Oh, and what paint it is. Resplendent in a fresh and mile-deep slathering of BMW’s own Arctic silver, the colour is perfect to represent the class and quality that Josh was shooting for from the off – understated and subtle yet utterly beguiling in conjunction with the other modifications. It’s a shimmering masterstroke. “On the car’s return we put it back together with all new weatherstripping, new clips and grommets, and new glass all-round. I then decided to have a bit of fun in building a fully custom diffuser for the rear; it began its life as an OEM Lotus Evora diffuser, and it provided a lot of amusement for me creating this rear section, which was my first shot at metalwork and sculpting.”
With the body looking tip-top and the way the M3 sat being pretty much bang-on, Josh had his buddy Geordie at Butler Tire wrap the freshened-up CCWs in lo-pro rubber before bolting the whole shebang back together. From thereon in, it was simply a case of throwing a set of black Vader seats inside and enjoying the show season!
“I took it out to the Import Alliance show, Southern Wörthersee, Offset Kings, Southrnfresh and a few other shows this year and people’s reactions have been great,” he smiles. “People here in Atlanta have a good understanding and appreciation of the hard work involved in building a proper show car.” There’s also a lot of entertainment to be gleaned from the dropped-jaw bystanders who inevitably ask the same questions of a car like this: ‘how on earth do you actually drive it that low and with that camber?’ “It just makes me laugh really,” says Josh. Well, yeah – he’s built this car for him; people will either get it or they won’t. He called it a show car there but that really doesn’t do justice to the holistic view Josh has taken with putting this E36 together and pulling it back from the ignominy of being a tired, thrashed track car. The refreshed S50 straight-six has enjoyed a lot of bespoke headwork which, along with the custom exhaust (straight-through, no cats, really quite noisy) and the Stage 2 air intake, really gets the 3.0 singing from the motorsport song-sheet. It’s not just a show car, it’s a track car and a daily driver, too, and the focus on quality means it’s truly a car for all seasons. He’s really kept a focus on having a usable machine as well: “It’s all genuine OEM inside with an armrest delete, stock radio, nice and simple, just the way I like it. No CD upgrade either, it’s still got the original radio-cassette!”
It’s this attention-to-detail in terms of following a personal agenda that demonstrates just how Josh has built a car to be used, and used hard. Sure, he selfeffacingly refers to it as a show car – and it’s a bona fide show winner – but it’s a proper, everyday performance BMW, too. And while the CCTV cameras squeak on their pivots as they strain to keep track of him, he’s always keeping one step ahead of the game. Yeah, everybody’s watching, and he knows it… and that’s all the impetus he needs to keep it fresh. But it is, first and foremost, fun to drive, and that’s all an M3 needs to be. All eyes on Josh – but he’s having too much fun to care. In your face, Orwel.
Lotus Evora diffuser has been modified to fit the rear bumper.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3 /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30US / #S50 #BMW-S50 / #S50B30 , #AFE-Magnaforce Stage 2 air intake, polished head with five-angle valves, #Turner-Motorsports chip, full 3” straighthrough decat exhaust, five-speed manual gearbox, UUC M5 clutch.
CHASSIS 9.5x17” ET4 (front) and 10.5x17” ET9 (rear) CCW LM5T wheels with brushed faces with satin clear and polished lips (3.5” front; 4.5” rear), 215/40 (front) and 235/40 (rear) Nexen tyres, polished #ARP bolts, #Broadway-Static 500 Series coilovers with 16-18k spring rates, #Driftworks front camber shim kit, #Megan-Racing rear camber arms (-8 degrees of camber at rear, -6 degrees at front), factory-sized #StopTech grooved discs, #Hawk-Performance pads, steel braided lines, carbon-fibre brake duct with carbon-fibre backing plate.
EXTERIOR Body resto and respray in Arctic silver, all four arches pulled 1”, all new weatherstripping, new glass, lightly smoked corner lenses and rear lights by #DEPO , OEM headlights running 6000K HIDs, #AC-Schnitzer-Duraflex / #AC-Schnitzer front lip, 1995 M3 Sport centre grille, OEM paint-matched fog blanks and black kidney grilles, custom modified Lotus Evora rear diffuser.
INTERIOR Black Vader seats, ZHP gear knob, OEM centre console with armrest delete, OEM radio-cassette.
THANKS Thanks to my wife and family for all their support in this project. Also huge thanks to everyone who made this build possible: my BEAST COBB Squad, Tim at TL Collision for the paint, Dan Ho for the help on bodywork/suspension/fitment, Geordie at Butler Tire, John at Fastlane for his continued mechanical support, John at Global Imports #BMW for the OEM parts hookup, and all my friends who have turned wrenches on this thing with me. Much love!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.