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    FIRE LIGHT

    Shafique Bhimani’s E36 M3 has been on an extensive fitness programme, fusing the philosophy of BMW’s fi nest lightweights with properly capable road-and-track ability. This thing is fi t, legit, and fully lit… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Courtney Cutchen.
    S54-swapped E36 M3 wide body bruiser

    The love child of a Euro-spec E46 M3 CSL and a #US-spec E36 M3 Lightweight. That was Shafique Bhimani’s over-arching vision for this Alpine white E36. Sound lofty? Ambitious? Unachievable? On paper, perhaps, but his clarity of perception has led to a unique creation that more than justifies the ‘CSL E36’ license plates.

    “I fell in love with the E36 M3 before I could even drive,” he enthuses. “It’s the car that took me into the deep end, and caused me to waste so much unproductive time learning about cars and modifying them! Something about the boxy, sharp lines that portrayed an aggressive yet elegant look - plus the fact that it punched above its weight and outperformed more powerful cars was hugely appealing. Once I learned of the E36’s DNA and how it came it to be from all of BMW’s motorsport history, I was hooked on the brand. BMW became my team, and you don’t just change teams.”

    Yes, we can fully understand that, and having got a bit of modifying practice in with a variety of other cars, Shafique felt that the time was right in 2009 to take the plunge and buy himself an E36 M3 of his very own. The example in the crosshairs had 54k on the clock and was in pristine condition… Oh, and it just so happened to have 380whp with a Vortech supercharger hanging off it. A quick once-over was all it took to get the grey cells banging together, and the lightweight concept was already forming in his mind – so shortly afterwards Shafique bought an ’07 335i as well, just to use as a daily driver so that there was no doubt as to the E36’s fate. This was going to be done properly, entirely without compromise and so, eyes open, he dove in.

    “For what these cars cost me, I could have easily purchased a heavily modified E46 M3, or even a new E92 M3 at that time,” he points out, “but I wanted to fulfil a dream I had held for so long. When time, money and opportunity presented themselves, all I wanted was a white, straight-six E36 M3.” Heart, we reckon, should always rule head. Life’s too short to let your dreams die.

    Shafique’s shopping list had been quite specific: the additional displacement of the 3.2-litre engine narrowed his search to ’96-’99 cars, and it had to be either Alpine white or Estoril blue – preferably the former, for the BMW Motorsport look. Forced induction was also preferable, whilst still being realistically streetable. This car, located in SoCal rather than his Bay Area hometown, ticked all the boxes. “It quickly became obvious, however, that I wouldn’t be able to exploit all that power on the street without risking either other people or my driving license, so I went on a track day at Sonoma Raceway and I was instantly hooked,” he recalls. “It was an eye-opening experience, and I realised the track was the safe, responsible playground for my car. I also quickly realised the car was not set up for track duty!” Coolant leaks and slipping belts convinced Shafique that his game needed tightening up, and he devoted time to wandering around the paddocks and seeing how the other gearheads approached things. And you know what he discovered? Big boost and stratospheric power levels were nobody’s main angle of attack – it was all about setup, usability, tactility, and durability. He felt very strongly that a naturally aspirated straight-six was the way to go. And what better choice than the E46 M3’s S54?

    With this seismic decision made, the E36 was shipped off to Castro Motorsport in Los Angeles to swap in the later motor, and subsequent setup was taken care of in painstaking increments by Dublin, CA-based Performance Technic. “We methodically upgraded each system of the car over the years, and today she is a fully-prepped track weapon that can be driven to and from the track with A/C and tunes blasting,” Shafique beams. “It’s my definition of an uncorrupted driving experience, front-engine/rear-drive, hydraulic steering, limited-slip diff, and a screaming straight-six.”

    So let’s take a closer look at just how this mighty spec has been achieved. This S54 produces a solid and reliable 341hp at the wheels, its stock internals being complemented by Epic Motorsport race headers and a custom Performance Technic 3.5” exhaust system, along with a Bimmerworld carbon-fibre air box. Thanks to some ones-and-zeroes tickling in the form of an RK-Tunes Alpha-N tune, power and reliability are both baked right in. It’s not scary-fast, it’s useably fast, and a lot of that swiftness is thanks to a favourable power-to- weight ratio. MCS two-way adjustable suspension and big StopTech brakes combine with a welded-in six-point half-cage with rear strut tower braces, while a rear seat delete, grippy Recaros and a tasty Renown USA steering wheel serve to create a fabulously focused office for Shafique.

    “My motto for the build has been to go fast, but look good doing it,” he says. “Function plus form. It was a team member from PTech who introduced me to the Felony Form overfender kit and, well… This is a sensitive subject for me: I love the OEM lines of a stock-body E36, they’re clean and simple, and more often than not aftermarket companies ruin what engineers spent millions to design. Over the years there have been a bunch of wide-body options, but I never loved any of them until I saw the Stanceworks feature on Oli’s yellow E36.

    After spending days staring at this kit, I was in love with the E30 M3-esque box flares in the rear, and the OEM-looking front flares. It’s exactly what I was waiting for, OEM on steroids! PTech handled the delicate task of cutting up and re-welding the factory arches to accommodate the flares and big wheels, and RJ’s Paint Shop in Pleasanton, CA did a fantastic job of paint-matching the factory Alpine White.”

    The form-and-function approach is very much in evidence from the outside, the Felony Form extensions blending in harmony with the M3 Lightweight aero addenda. The Lightweight, if you’re not familiar, was a limited-run E36 distinguishable by its tall rear spoiler, modified and lightened for motorsport purposes; the door skins were aluminium, there was no radio, carpets were thinner, speed limiter removed, revised axle ratios, forged wheels… It was as much of a legend Stateside as the iconic E46 M3 CSL was in Europe, and it’s the ethos of these two superlightweight factory-modded offerings that Shafique’s sought to emulate. This M3 now weighs 1440kg wet, and that includes the 40kg roll cage. This offers a power-to-weight ratio akin to a Lotus Elise, and remember that it still has a stereo and air con for the journey home.

    “The interior is a driver-centred style,” Shafique says. “‘Track setup’ was the priority, then adding what flair I could with the Alcantara steering wheel, armrest, and handbrake. There’s a #BMW Nav Pro head unit by Becker which offers the OEM navigation system only available in the Euro market, Bavsound speaker upgrade, and useful mods like a shift-light from MSD to help keep things in check; the car uses the factory E36 gauge cluster, the redline beginning at 6500rpm and going to 8000rpm, which has effectively become my power band - so having a light flash you in the face is very helpful during hot laps! And the CAE shifter from Hard Motorsport is epic – it transforms the shift feel to something very firm and notchy with zero slop, and the tall knob becomes especially fun on track when you are grabbing the wheel and gears back and forth.”

    It’s taken seven years for the car to get to this point, through its various stages of evolution, from schoolboy dream to hardcore track beast, and Shafique’s still making plenty of plans for it. Once you get this deep into a project, there’s just no pulling yourself out, even if you wanted to. Which, of course, he doesn’t, as he’s fully living the dream with this considered approach to road-and-track fireworks.

    With so much altered on the car, what do you suppose is his favourite element of the build so far, then? The S54 swap? Those wide three-piece Livery wheels? The unique arches, slathered in Alpine White? “No, I think the party piece is the induction roar,” Shafique smiles. “The S54 loves to rev, and combined with the carbon-fibre air box creates a deep roar that turns into a scream from 7-8k rpm, and no other engine on the planet sounds anything like it!” You see, this is a driver’s car. That’s the point of it. And when it enraptures all of the senses at once like this, you know the job’s been done right.

    DATA FILE #S54-swapped / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3-Performance-Technic / #BMW-M3-Performance-Technic-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-M3

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , stock internals, Bimmerworld carbonfibre air box, #Epic-Motorsports race exhaust manifolds, custom #Performance-Technic 3.5” exhaust system, #RK-Tunes #Alpha-N tune. #ZF five-speed manual gearbox rebuilt by #Bimmerworld , rebuilt OEM diff with 80% lock and 3.64 final drive, #Rogue finned diff cover

    POWER & TORQUE 341whp and 268lb ft wtq @ 8,200rpm redline (on 91RON fuel)

    EXTERIOR Alpine white, Felony Form wide-arch kit, M3 Lightweight front splitter, DTM #BMW-M3-FiberWerkz carbon fibre side skirt extensions, #Mateo-Motorsports rear diffuser, carbon fibre replica M3 Lightweight rear wing, roof vinyl-wrapped flat black, fog lamp delete

    INTERIOR #Recaro-SPG driver seat, Recaro PP passenger seat, Schroth sixpoint harnesses, Renown USA Alcantara and M-stitched steering wheel with quick-release, custom PTech rear seat delete, custom weld-in six-point half-cage painted flat black with subframe and strut tower reinforcements, sunroof cassette removed, custom black cloth headlining, MSD shift light, CAE shifter, RallyRoad.net Alcantara armrest and handbrake, custom PTech carbon-fibre shift plate

    THANKS Special thanks to Performance Technic, the team there has been so integral in bringing my build to where it is today
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    With killer styling, perfect stance and an S54-swap , 2M Autowerks’ E46 is an absolute feast of awesomeness. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Viktor Benyi.

    Werk it 2M S54 E46 Spectacular Stateside #M3-powered , metal #wide-body-3-Series.

    We’ve been around for a long time. We’ve seen a lot of modified cars over the past 19 years (and 209 issues) but we love the et excited by some of the cars we come across. It’s a sign that we’re still in the right job and a sign that you out there in modded #BMW land are doing something very right. And it doesn’t get much more right than 2M Autowerks’ painfully good E46.

    This is the sort of car that leaves you a little bit breathless. It’s the sort of car you can spend forever looking at and never get bored of. It’s the sort of car that just feels so utterly complete that it makes you question everything you thought you knew. You’re probably feeling exactly that way right now; don’t deny it…!

    The man behind this build, and one half of 2M Autowerks, is David Mendoza – a self- confessed petrolhead through and through. And, unlike a lot of the big show builds we come across, this E46 is his own personal car which he’s owned for 16 years now. It’s that sort of long-term attachment and commitment to project cars that always makes us feel warm inside. “I’ve been into BMWs ever since I could remember,” says David, “but once I was able to purchase a car and actually be behind the wheel, that’s when it became even more special.” We can see how stepping from a hand-me-down Toyota 4x4 into an E46 would have felt very special indeed. “I absolutely loved the lines on the E46 and knew I had to have one,” he says. “Ideally I wanted to get an M3 but at the time I was two years into college at San Diego State University and knew my limits, so I had to settle for the #BMW-330Ci-E46 .” And while it may not have been an M3, the #330i is such a sweet package that, as far as compromises go, it barely counts.

    It all began, as these things so often do, with some simple mods and while David did have a plan, it didn’t pan out as he envisaged. “When I bought the car it was Jet black and the first thing I did was get rid of the amber corners, reflectors and side markers,” he says. “At first I started with just simple exterior modifications: wheels, tyres, clear lights, springs, and a Dinan cold air intake. I left the car like that for years and years.

    Then my brother and I opened up 2M Autowerks and I started to play around a little more with the cars. I ended up basically doing everything and anything I could.” He’s not kidding…

    This is one of those builds where there’s so much amazing stuff going on that it’s difficult to know where to start but seeing as the first thing that hits you is the styling, let’s start there. One of the many, many things that we really like about David’s E46 is that he’s not gone down the default Sport or M3 bodystyling route; yes, there are a few elements but the car has retained its SE essence and this is bolstered with rather a lot of custom work. The front and rear bumpers are both SE items but here they’ve been enhanced with Hamann lips that have been blended in, resulting in a perfectly smooth and unique look that makes a refreshing change from the norm and gives this E46 a bold, distinctive presence. The M3 bonnet works really well with the car’s overall look and is matched to a pair of M3 mirrors, still arguably the best-looking E46 mirrors about, and M3 side skirts to fill out the car’s profile. What you might not realise is that those front arches are also M3 items; David has had the side vents welded shut for a much cleaner, smoother look which definitely seems to be the theme with this E46. The most impressive part of the whole is, without doubt, that fat, all-metal wide- body rear end with its massive pumped-up arches. They really endow this E46 with monster road presence. It’s a great combination of styling elements and the whole package is complemented by a dazzling Imola respray – which we think is far more suited to a head-turning build of this calibre than blend-in black.

    All this would be for nought, however, if David had fallen at the wheel hurdle, but there never really was any danger of this happening considering the rest of the work going on here. “Back in #2002 , I initially went with an OEM+ size and a set of staggered 19” iForged Senekas,” says David. But once the wide-body conversion had been completed, the 8.5” and 9.5” widths just weren’t going to cut it. A three-piece wheel with a stepped lip was at the top of his shopping list and that’s exactly what we’ve got here. You’re looking at a gorgeous set of Aristo Forged MJKs, a size down at 18” across but massively wider to fill out those newly pumped-up arches, 9.5” wide up front and a serious 11.5” at the rear. They’re finished in custom matt Oro paint, which looks perfect against that bold red body.

    The car’s stance is no less perfect. The killer ride height has no air behind it, however, as this E46 is all static, slammed on a set of Status Gruppe SRS coilovers which bring the arches to within a whisker of the tyres. In addition David has fitted a set of UUC anti-roll bars.

    Now, the #BMW-330Ci is a brisk machine, powered as it is by BMW’s rather wonderful M54. But considering everything else going on with this project, it was never really going to cut it especially with David’s long- standing desire for an E46 M3. As good as the M54 is, the S54 is just a bit better – so that’s what you’ll now find in the engine bay. Once glance at that engine, however, will tell you that it’s most definitely not standard.

    And that’s because just an engine swap wouldn’t have sufficed; David wanted to extract maximum power from that awesome straight-six. Up top, there’s a set of custom 2M Autowerks E46 velocity stacks handling the intake side of things, with an Alpha N tune by RK Tunes along with a set of Turner Motorsport pulleys. At the other end of the engine you’ll find set of 2M JSP custom stepped race exhaust manifolds which connect to a UUC TSE1 exhaust. David also fitted an Earl’s oil cooler and a Mishimoto high performance radiator, which has since been changed for a CSF race rad. It’s not just the engine that has been worked on; the engine bay too has been given plenty of attention to ensure that this E46 turns as many heads with the bonnet off as it does with it on. David carried out a wire tuck and then welded up any excess holes for a super-smooth look. Then he added a custom cabin air filter and brake covers, before finishing the engine bay off in cement grey, which delivers a striking contrast to the bold and bright Imola bodywork. The cement grey really was an inspired choice, and is not what you expect to see when the bonnet is up, or off, and it definitely makes you look twice. With the engine swap completed the E46 had the performance it deserved but, as the old adage goes, power is nothing without control, and so the stock front brakes were removed and replaced with a pair of substantial Porsche 996 calipers, though you’ll be hard pushed to spot them as they too have been painted in cement grey with just a red Brembo logo, making this possibly the most discreet BBK setup we’ve ever seen. The calipers themselves sit on Rally Road brackets and are mounted around ECS tuning two-piece CSL discs with braided hoses for good measure.

    You might think that after all that, by the time he got to the interior David may have run out of steam, but you’d be dead wrong; he’s really gone to town in here. Step one: the seats. The stock items have been unceremoniously ejected and replaced with a pair of utterly gorgeous Recaro Speed items finished in black leather with red stitching.

    They are joined by some choice Alcantara items which include a Colby handbrake gaiter and gear gaiter (both with M tricolour stitching), plus a Colby Alcantara steering wheel with matching stitching and a red centre stripe. The front doorcards and rear side panels are gorgeous CSL carbon fibre items, while the rear is dominated by an Autopower half-cage with harnesses and topped-off with a custom rear seat delete. The finishing touch is a splash of Oro paint on a few trim areas and the cage itself, which adds a unique touch of colour.

    It’s impossible to dislike an E46, they’re such good cars. And this is arguably one of the best we’ve seen. David has clearly poured a vast amount of money and love into it and the end result is so complete. Well, other than the addition of a carbon roof, which David will fit in a few months. Once that’s on, this car will be completed for good – and it’s rare to be able to say that about any project. David has already started on his next build, an S85 V10-swapped E46 track car, as well as an E36 PTG-style track car, but don’t worry, this E46 isn’t going anywhere. All that’s left for David to do now is ‘werk’ it. Lucky chap!


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #2M-Autowerks / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-2M-Autowerks / #BMW-M3-2M-Autowerks-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #Aristo-Forged /


    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 #S54-swap , #2M-Velocity stacks, #2M-JSP custom stepped race exhaust manifolds, #UUC-TSE1 exhaust, #Alpha-N tune by #RK-Tunes , wire tuck and excess holes welded, engine bay painted cement grey, custom cabin air filter and brake covers, Earl’s oil cooler and fittings, #Mishimoto high performance radiator (now CSF race radiator), #Turner-Motorsport underdrive pulleys, six-speed manual gearbox, #UUC short-shift kit

    CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 11.5x18” (rear) #Aristo-Forged-MJK three-piece wheels in custom matt #Oro-paint with #Motorsport-Hardware 70mm (front) and 90mm (rear) stud kit, 255/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Falken FK453 tyres, #Status-Gruppe-SRS coilovers, #UUC anti-roll bars, Porsche 996 brake callipers (front) painted cement grey with red #Brembo logo on #Rally-Road brackets, #ECS-Tuning two-piece #CSL discs, stainless brake hoses

    EXTERIOR Full respray in Imola red, Hamann front lip blended onto SE front bumper, black kidney grilles, M3 bonnet, M3 front arches with side vents welded shut, M3 mirrors, M3 side skirts, custom all-metal wide-body rear, Hamann lip blended onto rear bumper

    INTERIOR Recaro Speed front seats with custom leather and red stitching, Autopower half-cage painted in Oro with harness, CSL carbon fibre front and rear doorcards, Colby Alcantara steering wheel with and red centre stripe, Colby Alcantara handbrake and gear gaiters with M tricolour stitching, multi-touch- screen head unit, Oro painted trim
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    American F80 M3 in Individual Avus blue with lush custom interior packs a 560whp punch.

    KILLER INSTINCT 560whp Avus

    With ferocious looks, a stunning colour scheme, an opulent custom interior, and massive power, this awesome M3 is not a machine to be trifled with. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Mike Kuhn.

    M3 or M4? We wager most of you will be in ‘camp coupé’, the two-door’s sleek lines proving irresistibly seductive, with every design element focused on making it look as low and wide as possible, with more than a little success.

    But don’t write-off the M3; it’s no ugly duckling and the narrower body but identical track mean that it boasts swollen arches that are hidden in the M4’s wide bodywork, giving it a pumped-up look that makes other saloons cower in fear. And there’s something cool about ultra-powerful four-door saloons that surprise the unsuspecting with the sort of firepower they only expect from a coupé. Of course, it’s a lot less of a surprise these days as the ‘cult of the super saloon’ is now less of a cult and more a family-friendly club where everyone knows your name. However, the enduring appeal of the saloon, as sparked by legends such as the Lotus Carlton, Brabus EV12 and, of course, BMW’s own M5, remains. Just ask Shaun Fulton, because this is his F80 M3 and it’s awesome…

    Although Shaun grew up around Volvos, the reliable Swedish marque being his dad’s choice of wheels, the sole reason he’s not currently hauling Labradors around in a rapid wagon is down to his dad’s mechanic friend. “He was a Master Tech at BMW for over 30 years,” Shaun explains. “He would help fix our Volvos on the weekends. Every time I would see my father’s friend, he would be in the latest BMW and I fell in love with the brand at an early age.”

    With BMWs on the brain it’s no surprise that, after graduating and landing his first job as a stock broker, his thoughts turned to splashing out on an M3. “My senior broker kept talking about getting a new E92 M3 with his annual bonus cheque. Aspiring to be like him, I set my eyes on that same goal,” Shaun explains. In 2011 he bought himself a 2009 E92 M3 with 20k miles on the clock, in Space grey, with a six-speed manual gearbox. “I was so excited to get the car and achieve my goal that I ended up getting a pretty basic model with no EDC, and no M Drive. But I didn’t care, it had everything I needed: three pedals, Fox red seats, and a carbon roof! I was all set, or so I thought…”

    You see, it was the E92 M3 and its extensive aftermarket catalogue that introduced Shaun to modifying and, as he found, it was a very slippery slope. The final mods list for his M3 reads like your dream performance shopping list and highlights included: KW V3 coilovers; a custom 1M bumper; a carbon bonnet; BC Forged HB29 19s; and an ESS 625hp supercharger kit. So why on earth did he sell his fully modded, crazy-powerful M3? “I was undecided about what to do,” reveals Shaun. “I didn’t know whether to a) keep my E92 M3, which had grown to be an icon on the East Coast through Instagram and other social media or, b) part my car out/sell as is and get the new F series M car. At that point, I wasn’t entirely sold on getting a the new M car and it wasn’t until I raced against a few at MPact East 2015 and Slipstream RO2RO 2015 that I was sold!”

    A few weeks later the E92 was gone, sold to one of Shaun’s Instagram followers, and the hunt for a new car began. Shaun knew whatever car he got, it had to make a big impact: “I had a hard act to follow coming from my E92 M3 build so I decided to go big or go home: I made the decision to order an F80 M3. I ordered a Frozen blue metallic car with the six-speed manual and Sakhir orange seats. About three months into my six-month wait for the car, I got a call from my Customer Adviser stating that BMW had denied my individual colour choice. Saddened by this news, I was ready to pull the plug on my order. However, the wonderful service advisors at BMW North America really went above and beyond and, with three days left before the production of my vehicle, they sent me a list of over 200 BMW blues. In the end it came down to Macau blue or Avus blue. Both were colours that I had never seen in person, and both were colours that had not been done on the F80 M3 platform before. With the help of my close friend and fellow BMW enthusiast, Reggie, I decided on a classic BMW blue, and went with Avus. I was thrilled with how vibrant the colour turned out to be.”


    Having lost a 194hp moving from his supercharged E92 M3 to his factory-fresh F80 M3, it’s unsurprising that performance modifications were at the forefront of Shaun’s plans for his new build. “My plan was to beef-up the power output while not entering the detonation zone,” says Shaun. “I chose to go with Maximum PSI air intakes (custom painted Sakhir orange), RK Tunes three-piece charge pipes (also custom painted in Sakhir orange), RK Tunes cat-less downpipes, and an AWE Tuning nonresonated exhaust with the 102mm Black Diamond tips. For the tune, I went with a stack tune from DME Tuning and a Burger Motorsports JB4, so that I could really make the car a monster.

    “Because I had to wait six months for the car to arrive, I had the pleasure of amassing a plethora of parts in the meantime, so the engine build took me all of one day after my 1200-mile break-in service. The swap was done with the help of my mechanic, Angel Munoz, and painter Danny Hernandez in Philadelphia, PA.”

    The engine bay is really what sets Shaun’s M3 apart. Almost all engines these days are covered in swathes of black plastic and, being honest, we didn’t think there was anything that could be done to make the F8x M’s engine bay look interesting… but we were wrong. The combo of custom Sakhir pipes is stunning, transforming the S55 and making it look like the serious performance engine that it is. The addition of the Avus engine cover and gold detailing is inspired and the whole lot is topped-off by BMW’s carbon boomerang brace. And, as well as looking good, thanks to that comprehensive list of modifications this engine really delivers. It produces a massive 560whp, a huge gain over the stock power output, taking this M3 to the same sort of power level as his E92. However, according to Shaun the driving experience is very different. “It has more low end torque,” he says. “My E92 also had around 560-570whp but the way the F80 feels in comparison is night and day different. In the E92 you had to wind the engine up to around 4500rpm to start feeling the power but here the power comes on immediately; as soon as you step on the gas at around 2300-2500rpm you feel the torque and the power.”

    Picking out engine details in gold to match the wheels was inspired, as was the choice of wheels itself. Let’s be honest, you really can’t go wrong with HREs as they are among the top-tier wheels that money can buy, and they’d always been on Shaun’s shopping list. “For this build, I wanted to be the most noticeable F80 M3 in the game,” he says, “and I had always wanted a set of HRE wheels, the S101 model to be exact. I had the opportunity to pick a set up with brushed gold faces and polished lips. I knew that the gold against the Avus blue would really stand out.” It really is a killer colour combo and the style of the 20” S101s looks awesome on the M3, with the wide spokes allowing Shaun to show off his custompainted Sakhir orange calipers.

    But it’s not just the wheels, everything about this M3 looks so right. That’s thanks to the numerous styling touches he’s added. “The styling had to be classis #BMW , at least for this first iteration,” explains Shaun. “All the M3 badges were painted Avus blue while the front grilles were custom painted with Avus blue faces and gloss black sides. The side gills were touched with the same theme: Avus blue faces and gloss black sides. For the front of the car, I went with the BMW M Performance front lip and lower carbon splitters. I left the carbon alone and custom painted the polyurethane lip Avus blue and I custom painted the M Performance side skirts in Avus blue as well. For the headlights, BavGruppe in New York gave them a custom gloss black finish with M tricolour stripes. For the rear of the car, I went with the Mode Carbon F82 M4-style rear spoiler, and I went with the Vorsteiner rear diffuser. Again, this was all made possible by Danny Hernandez.

    “Finally, to protect the paint and all of the hard work we did with the colour matching, I had the whole car covered in Expel Tech paint protection film by Exclusive Vinyl in East Meadow, New York.”

    The styling is absolutely on point, all those details add up to make a big impact. It’s further helped by how well the cars sits over those HREs, with Shaun opting for the KW height adjustable spring kit, allowing him to retain the EDC whilst also giving him control over the ride height and letting him eliminate any unsightly arch gap in the process.

    If it looks good from the outside, you ain’t seen nothing yet because a vast amount of work has gone into making the interior as special as possible. “I wanted to do something to the interior that had not been done to an F8x model before,” says Shaun, “so, I reached out to the guys at ESH Upholstery in Maryland to help bring some ideas to life. With 1200 miles on the car, we pulled the dash, the door panels, the headlining, the A- and B-pillars, the rear deck shelf, the seat backs, the door pulls, the gear lever, and the handbrake gaiters out of the car. We went with a custom black Alcantara to cover all of these panels. For the dash we wanted to go for something eyecatching and one of a kind, so we went with M tricolour hand-stitching, which continues onto the door pulls. We also wrapped the seat backs in Sakhir orange BMW leather with Alcantara outer sections. All this was done in just 72 hours so the car would be ready for the Philadelphia Auto Show, where the car made its first East Coast show debut in the DUB show.” Considering how nice the stock interior is, the Alcantara has really taken the interior of this car to a whole new level of luxury.

    As far as we’re concerned, this M3 is pretty much perfect. Everything from that gorgeous colour to the additional aggression of the styling, the knock-out wheels, and that beautiful interior makes it impossible for us to tear our eyes away. That all this was accomplished in just two weeks is pretty mind-blowing, really. With this being such a fresh project, it’s no surprise when Shaun rattles off a list of money-no-object mods he now wants (“GTS Racing seats, upgraded turbos, air-ride…”). Neither do we raise an eyebrow when he says he’s already planning stage two. “As this show season is coming to an end, I am coming up with new tricks and ideas to kill the game next show season. Stay tuned to my Instagram (@M3NahRich) for more updates,” he grins. We will, because we can’t wait to see where this beast of a build is going next.

    DATA FILE #BMW-F80 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-F80 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F80 / #S55 / #BMW-S55 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #S55B30 , #Maximum-PSI intake, #RK-Tunes chargepipes and downpipes in #Sakhir orange, #Burger-Motorsports JB4, #DME-Tuning stack tune, #Avus blue engine cover with gold highlights, #AWE-Tuning non-resonated exhaust with 102mm black tips, six-speed manual ’box, UUC short-shifter

    POWER 560whp

    CHASSIS 9.5x20” ET20 (front) and 11x20” ET37 (rear) HRE S101 wheels with brushed light gold centres and polished lips with 265/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, #KW H.A.S sleeve kit, custom painted Sakhir orange calipers

    EXTERIOR Full BMW M performance kit consisting of front carbon splitters, lower front lip, side skirts, all custom painted, M3 badges painted Avus blue, custom Avus blue and gloss black kidney grilles and side gills, BavGruppe custom headlights in gloss black with M tricolour stripes, Vorsteiner rear diffuser, Mode Carbon rear spoiler

    INTERIOR ESH Upholstery full Alcantara interior and M stitching including headlining, A- and B-pillars, door inserts, full dash, rear deck, door pulls, and gaiters, seat backs finished in Sakhir orange leather with Alcantara panels

    THANKS Danny Hernandez Paint Work, Angel Munoz Installation, Roman at Exclusive Vinyl, Alex at ESH Upholstery, Kourtney at Adam’s Polishes, Tom at BavGruppe, Mike Kuhn, Chad from Pristine Auto Leasing, Eric Keuhn, Reggie Balmir, and god

    “I wanted to be the most noticeable F80 M3 in the game”
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    AMERICAN BEAUTY / #BMW-E28 / #BMW-E28-S52-swapped / #BMW-E28-S52 / #BMW-E28-CAtuned / #BMW / #CAtuned /

    Utterly stunning supercharged BMW E28 with built S52 swap. CAtuned’s latest creation is this absolutely stunning S52-swapped supercharged E28. Mixing classic Euro styling with some eccentric touches and a whole heap of power, this gorgeous E28 does things a bit differently and we love it… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Denis Podmarkov.

    As far as feature cars are concerned, 2015 was a good year for the E28 and its fans. We had no less than four stunning examples of the classic Five, each very different to the other. Three of them were big-power turbocharged examples and the other was a lush S38- swapped machine from the UK. It was a good spread of great cars and a strong sign that the E28 is a firm favourite on the modified BMW scene. We’ve barely scratched the surface of 2016 and we’ve already had the pleasure of a supercharged E28 pair last month and now we’ve got another E28 to enjoy that boasts both an engine swap and forced induction. It really is a stunner.

    When this car popped into the PBMW inbox it elicited a very positive reaction from us all. Big smiles and lots of head nodding all-round because it’s that sort of car, the kind of car that makes your day. There’s so much attention to detail, so many special details, it just makes us happy. Not as happy, though, as its owner. Ash Evans is the lucky guy who, when he’s not overhauling light rail trains, gets to enjoy cruising in the California sunshine in this E28.

    For Ash, the car recalls fond memories. “My dad had a 1986 Bahama Beige 528e,” he tells us, “and I remember tagging along with him on the weekends to the local race track where he was a trackside announcer. I can distinctly remember him loving that car. And, as all young lads want to be like their dads, I knew then that I wanted a 5 Series.

    Like every first love there is something about the smell, sound and understated styling that was intoxicating and addictive. There is also something special about the handling of BMWs in the twisties to which no other automaker can compare.”

    Ash began his Bavarian journey with a 2001 E46 330Ci, which he loved and, as a self-confessed tinkerer, it was inevitable that his cars would end up modified. Although, when the E28 appeared in his life, going this far was not part of the plan. “I was looking for a classic BM and received some good advice from a friend,” Ash revealed. “He advised that when shopping for an old car, it’s best to find the cleanest example you can so you have a solid foundation.

    “My preference was a Bahama Beige or Schwartz E28. I shopped for six months, finally deciding on this Schwartz that I nicknamed Black Shug. The previous owner of the car was an estate agent from Boulder, Colorado. She purchased it new from Beverly Hills #BMW and used it to sell homes in Los Angeles until she moved to Colorado. It was always stored in her garage and this was evident by the lack of corrosion. In my profession, corrosion is a nightmare and a budget killer.”

    The car in question is a 528e, exactly like the one his dad owned all those years ago. In Europe we know it as the 525e. Both badges are numerically incorrect anyway, as the low-revving, efficiency-orientated M20 under the bonnet is a 2.7.

    Ash says initially his plan was to keep things simple, replacing worn components, upgrading the suspension and fitting some more attractive wheels. As he admits, though, this is a slippery slope and everything changed when he came into contact with the team at CAtuned.

    This name will be familiar to anyone into modified BMs as the Californian contingent has been behind numerous PBMW feature cars. Brothers Igor, Max and Co. always produce incredible builds, finished to the highest standards. “When I moved to Sacramento, I reached out to CAtuned because I was interested in its E28 coilover setup, big brake kit and subframe bushes.

    After the suspension installation, I casually asked about the cost to complete a motor overhaul. After walking through its shop and observing the incredible builds and swaps the guys were capable of, I knew instantly the overhauled M20 would need to be replaced with something more powerful and perhaps unusual. The S52 was practically decided on that day and, as with any project, the goal quickly amplified. Soon we were discussing the copper trim, a custom gauge cluster, and a sport interior!”


    The S52 is an interesting choice for an E28 swap; the non-e M20 or the M30, both period-correct engines for the E28, are great candidates for forced induction and what you’d usually expect to see on a Euro car rocking a serious turbo setup. The US-only iron block S52, though, is readily available in the States and has plenty of aftermarket support in terms of power upgrades, not least because of its 81hp shortfall compared to the European S50B32 which, usefully, includes off-the-shelf supercharger kits for plenty of power with minimal fuss. “The engine was a transplant from a 2001 E36 M3. It’s not a direct swap so CAtuned’s engineers built custom mounts,” explains Ash. “During the disassembly of the donor engine, we found some scarring on the cylinder walls so we sent the block to the machine shop, ordering all forged internals, porting and polishing the head, installing high flow valves and springs, and a Schrick cam. It’s all held together properly with ARP bolts. It was my goal to have a powerful engine and make the swap something unique and the VF Engineering V3 Si-trim supercharger kit was an excellent option for a reliable increase in power. The tuning and engine management was completed by RKtunes and maximises all the power available with the 8-9psi. The overhauled ZF gearbox, limited-slip differential and short-throw linkage makes for an incredible connection to the abundant power.”


    And just how much power is this E28 putting out? Well, the S52 VF kit is good for 350hp and 295lb ft of torque on a stock engine at 6psi. With the extensively uprated internals and increased boost pressure it’s got to be at least 400hp, which is going to feel like a whole lot more in an E28.

    “The engine transplant is my favourite modification on the whole car,” grins Ash. “The power is linear, controlled and very addictive. Simply put, the car eats Tarmac in a hurry and I could not be happier with this decision.”


    And what about those CAtuned coilovers and chassis upgrades, the reason he went to CAtuned in the first place? “Most Americans love drag racing in a straight line,” he says, “but this chassis was designed to canyon carve with the most driver feedback possible. Therefore, CAtuned engineers helped decide on a coilover setup that would allow for a very sporty and responsive feel, predictable handling and allow a proper aesthetic. I could not be happier with their setup, especially considering the adjustable dampening for the front and rear.”

    As you can see, Ash is not a man who does things by halves and that extends to the styling of the car, both inside and out, which is both incredibly subtle yet at the same time absolutely wonderful. At first glance, you might not notice much but once you get up close, that’s when you can drink in all the delicious details.

    “I love having the performance of a race car but I do not want to be too obvious,” explains Ash. “I was aiming to keep the general styling of the E28 but wanted something very unique.” Well he’s achieved exactly that, with copper brightwork sitting aside the original chrome trim. On paper the idea of copper trim components perhaps doesn’t sound like it should work but the copper is incredible subtle, not overdone or overused. It’s very pale and delicate, almost leaning more towards a gold tone than a copper penny. “In general, I feel that the copper and chrome trim complements the Schwartz paint,” says Ash.

    And we agree. Adding the copper highlights to the door handles, E12 door mirror (there’s only one), and bumper trims gives the styling an extra visual element. It’s as unusual as it is inspired and an eye-catching touch on a car that otherwise has been largely left unspoiled by the addition of unwanted addenda.

    The wheels are a slightly unusual choice for an E28, a car which naturally seems to suit cross-spokes. Ash was even planning to refurbish a set of Style 5s for the car but then Igor stepped in and offered up something that was too special to turn down. “Igor always has something up his sleeve and I could not be happier with the extremely rare one-off two-piece HRE fivespokes he suggested,” says Ash. “When he sent me a picture showing me the wheels on the car, I was sold.”

    The simple five-spokes look fantastic on the Five. The polished lips and faces tie in nicely with the rest of the shiny exterior details but our favourite part of the car’s styling has got to be that side exit exhaust. It’s just so unexpected on a car like this and really stands out. There’s a hint that something’s going on here, its bolted-on heat shield stained black, a tell-tale sign that Ash enjoys driving this car properly.

    Inside the changes are, once again, subtle but purposeful and the devil is in the details. “Similar to the exterior, I wanted the interior to be refreshed but keep its OEM feel,” says Ash. “It was a CAtuned team effort and we decided on black cloth Corbeau GT2 driver and passenger seats, refurbished doorcards, new black cloth headliner, new black carpet with upgraded sound deadening and insulation, a Blaupunkt stereo, a subtle gauge cluster, and an Alpina steering wheel. You’ll also find some #BMW-Motorsports bits.”


    The seats look fantastic and not at all out of place in the E28. The auxiliary gauges are neatly mounted in custom pods, tucked away, visible but not showy. There’s a modern Sport gear knob and we love the classic, freshly refurbished four-spoke Alpina steering wheel. The custom instrument cluster from Bavarian Restoration has had the needles and instrument bezels gilded and even the palm tree element of CAtuned’s logo has received a touch of gold. It’s a lovely touch, and indicative of the level of detail that’s gone into the whole build.

    To our eyes this is a car that’s got it right on every level. It has been assembled with as much care for the details as for the overall ethos of the build. Modifications have been done in moderation. The subtle changes have created a sleeper that embraces various styling elements. We love how Ash has managed to surprise us with unexpected additions yet he brings them all together in perfect harmony. It’s a car you cannot fail to admire and one you can easily love.

    DATA FILE Supercharged E28

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #S52 / #BMW-S52 , forged internals including custom forged pistons, custom camshafts, custom Stage 3 supercharger with #RK-Tunes tune, custom exhaust system with side-exit tip, five-speed manual gearbox, LSD.

    CHASSIS 8x17” (front and rear) one-off HRE Vintage two-piece wheels with 215/45 (front and rear) Falken Ziex ZE950 tyres, #Motorsport-Hardware spacers and studs, CAtuned coilovers, heavy duty front and rear anti-roll bars, CAtuned polybushes throughout, CAtuned rear camber kit, all E28 M5 suspension upgrades, CAtuned big brake upgrade front and rear.

    EXTERIOR Euro styling upgrades, Renewed Finishes copper finish on all metal parts, E12 exterior mirror and passenger filler, 35 per cent tint all-round.

    INTERIOR Custom Bavarian Restoration gauge cluster with exclusive CAtuned insignia, custom readout gauges in dash, Corbeau GT2 cloth seats, custom CAtuned black headliner, custom glass sunroof.

    THANKS A very special thank you to all the guys at the CAtuned shop, it was a team effort. Igor with the amazing vision, Stan for the bodywork and paint, Max for the incredible fabrication, Alex for headliner and interior, and Ivan for helping to keep me focused. I would also like to thank Greg from Bavarian Restoration for the gauge cluster and Dave from Renewed Finishes for the beautiful copper work.
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