- Post is under moderationGorgeous E46 M3 / Slick E46 slammed, styled and tuned
THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPION / Words: Elizabeth de Latour / Photos: Sunny Ryait
With a perfect blend of styling and tuning mods, this E46 M3 really is the modified package that everyone can enjoy the people’s.
Oh yes, this is what we’re talking about. As much as we love all the air ride, the big wings, the engine swaps, the turbos, superchargers and wild wide-body kits, sometimes you just want something a bit more down to earth, a bit more achievable, affordable, a people’s champion that we can all get behind and enjoy, and Richard Ansari’s E46 M3 is that car. It looks great, that’s going to be your first reaction, because it really does, but as with many seemingly simple builds, there’s a lot more going on here than you might first notice and Richard has really put a lot of love and hard work into his M3 over the past five years.
The E46 M3 dream must have seemed almost unattainable back when Richard passed his test and got behind the wheel of a mighty 1989 Mazda 626. A BMW was going to happen though, there was no doubt about it, thanks to his dad’s decision to run a string of Bavaria’s finest when Richard was growing up, but what really sowed the seed deep down into his brain was the blue E30 325i his dad once owned. “I couldn’t get into BMs right away as soon as I passed my driving test as insurance was one roadblock as well as being a student in my younger years,” he laughs and it wasn’t until he turned 23 that he could finally make that dream a reality. “By pure chance my mate had decided to sell his E30 325i Cabriolet and gave me first dibs on it before advertising it. I knew the car and while it did have some very questionable mods, underneath it all was decent, having had a full respray, no rust, was structurally sound and had cream interior to complement the Zinnober red exterior. It was almost like reliving my childhood with those memories sat in my dad’s E30, but this time I was behind the wheel,” he grins.
Over the next three years the E30 underwent a transformation that saw it ending up with a 2.7 conversion and receiving a feature in these very pages back in March 2007. The E30 was then followed by an E46 330Ci and that path could only lead in one, inevitable direction... “The E46 M3 was a dream car for me,” says Richard, “and when my mate bought one in late 2010 and let me drive it, I made a plan there and then to own one in 2011. I had originally wanted one in Techno violet but, being a very rare colour, it was mission near-impossible to find one, so I started to look at a few other colours as a second option,” he says. That led him to Pistonheads, where he stumbled across this Steel grey Coupé, with a manual gearbox and just 50,000 miles on the clock. Richard grabbed his friend Dips, from Custom Cars, headed over to take a look at the car and ended up buying it. “I wanted to keep this one fairly standard except for a couple of subtle mods, keeping away from doing any more big modifications,” he laughs, “unfortunately, though, once I fitted a set of CCFL angel eyes and black kidney grilles, it was a bit like opening Pandora’s box,” and so we begin…
With the angel eyes and black grilles being joined by a pair of black wing vents, Richard decided to carry on with the styling mods, adding smoked Depo indicators and repeaters and tinting the outer rears to match with Lamin-X film, then sourcing and fitting a set of facelift smoked inner lights. At the rear there sits an AC Schnitzer-style carbon fibre diffuser, which fills out the bumper nicely, along with a genuine CSL bootlid, while up front, a Strassentech-style lip adds an air of menace to proceedings and is joined by a set of Hamann foglight covers, with smoked fogs. Richard says that his plan was to enhance the car’s looks without going crazy, and we have to say he’s most definitely achieved his goal. The styling additions he’s chosen give the M3 a more pumped-up appearance, accentuating its aggressive styling, but without going too far or overwhelming the looks. And, while his first choice of colour may have been Techno violet, we’ve got to say that Steel grey looks really good on the E46 M3.
The suspension has been through a few changes during Richard’s time with the car. He started off small, with just some Apex lowering springs but it wasn’t long before he found himself wanting more adjustment and decided to take the plunge with some coilovers. His first set were from D2 but the car now runs BC Racing coilovers, which offer all the adjustability he could ever want and have allowed him to achieve the perfect ride height. “With the suspension sorted I was looking at big brake kits as the next big upgrade,” he tells us. “For the M3 there are a lot of options and routes you can go down and then, one day, an ad came up for a complete set of AP Racing brakes from Imran at Evolve Automotive. After a quick think, and after checking the piggybank, we did the deal and I picked them up. It did occur to me, not long after that, what would I do if my wheels didn’t have enough clearance, without having to resort to using big spacers, but figured I’d worry about it later. One way or another there was not going be any compromise, so I dropped the calipers over to Dips at Custom Cars to work his magic, turning them from red to orange.
I really like the way they look behind the wheels but beyond that the stopping power is so consistent compared with the OEM setup. I mounted the front wheels to check for clearance and luckily to my surprise only a 5mm spacer was needed,” he says.
As far as the wheels are concerned, Richard didn’t start off small and work his way up to something impressive, he went big right away, kicking things off with a set of AC Schnitzer Type 3 Racing splits, which are a great-looking classic wheel design. But that wasn’t enough for him, he wanted more… “I wanted something a bit special,” he says, “it had to be a three-piece wheel and my ideal choice was a set of Hartge Design C splits, but not only are they rare they also command a huge premium. I wanted something that you don’t see everyday and it had to have friendly offsets, with the aim of building a set of wheels wide enough, without needing any major work to fit straight on and not needing any camber.
After missing out on a set of Oz Futuras, I found some Oz Mitos on German eBay just before whisking my partner off to Marrakech for her birthday; I had an idea of what they looked like on a normal E46 but couldn’t find a set fitted to an M3 anywhere, so I knew this was my opportunity to run something fairly unique. Midway through the holiday, while she was getting ready in our hotel room, I placed a bid just before the auction finished and won,” he grins. Best. Holiday. Ever.
“They were 18s with the right offsets and being the Type 1 version, which are reverse mounted, are pretty rare in a BMW fitment. As soon as they arrived I went down to Dips for a test fit and we worked out what lip sizes to run front and rear. Originally they came as 8.5x18s and 9.5x18s and I really wanted to run an 11” wide wheel at the back, so Dips started the strip down of the wheels for a full refurb. He ordered 3.75” lips for the rear and moved the 2” lips to the front making the new setup 9x18” and 11.25x18”.
We knew an arch roll was needed, so Dips got that sorted and, with fresh Continental tyres fitted, we mounted the wheels. Seeing them built up and fitted on the car I knew I had made the right choice,” he grins. “They just completely changed the way the car looks, but not only that, the fitment is perfect too, with no rubbing or any negative camber required to aid with clearance.”
With the car looking on point as far as styling was concerned, Richard popped his bonnet and took a good, long, hard look at the engine bay. “At first I had no real plans on doing any engine mods,” he admits, “that is until a group buy came up for some Geoff Steel Racing air boxes on the M3 Cutters forum. After reading the feedback on it and with a bit of encouragement from forum members I went ahead and placed a pre-order.”
Usefully, as part of the group buy, Evolve joined in with a special offer on Alpha N remaps to go with the air boxes so, with his sexy new carbon air box fitted, Richard headed up to the company’s Luton HQ to get the car remapped. “These cars make anywhere between 320-330hp on average,” he explains, more than a few ponies shy of BMW’s 343hp claim, “and originally mine made 321hp. After fitting the airbox and mapping it, we saw 349hp, which was a very nice gain and was noticeable on the road. As well as that is the induction noise you get as soon as you floor it. It makes such an awesome roar you never get tired of it and want to hear it more and more,” he says with a grin. “To complement the airbox for sound and for a little extra power, I fitted a set of 100 cell cats paired with an Eisenmann Race rear box, which has given a better throttle response through the rev range. To finish off I got the holy grail of exhaust manifolds, with a set of Supersprints, which very rarely come up for sale. They were brand new but never fitted and I soon snapped them up to complete the setup.”
While he may have been sorted for power, that carbon air box was showing up the rest of his engine bay, so action needed to be taken. Obviously carbon was the way forward, and Richard began to develop a little bit of an obsession with the mesmerising weave. First came an intake cover that fits over the existing item but also partially covers the front of the air box, and once that had been fitted, obsession became unstoppable addiction. Desperate to feed his habit, Richard read up on and briefly considered having a go at carbon skinning, before he found Prapan, who runs NVD Motorsport, and saw his carbon-skinning talent. Quick as a flash, Richard had removed his emissions pump, xenon ballasts and ECU cover and handed them over for skinning in 2x2 weave to match the air box and also asked for a pollen filter cover. The six week wait to get the parts back was absolutely worth it but when it came to getting the rocker cover skinned, the cost of postage and import duty was proving prohibitive.
Richard found himself a slightly more local carbon skinner by the name of Jaydee Customs, over in Poland, who duly skinned the aforementioned rocker cover, leaving Richard with virtually nothing left to cover in carbon. The finishing touch here in the engine bay is a rather sexy and substantial Rogue Engineering strut brace. And now we come to the interior, because of course Richard couldn’t leave that alone either, and we’re glad he didn’t.
Originally, his M3 had been fitted with the black leather interior, nice but a bit plain and, for Richard, lacking contrast against the Steel grey exterior. “I didn’t want to settle for red,” he says, “so I searched for a year until a rare Cinnamon interior came up on E46 Fanatics. It wasn’t a sale but a straight swap for black leather, offered by a chap called Mark who was working for Nitron Racing at the time. So after a brief chat on the phone we arranged for me to come down to him one day and we both swapped out our interiors at the premises. For me it made such a huge difference, not just the fact it was a nicer place to sit in now, but it goes so well with the car.” We have to agree as we’re big fans of coloured interiors, they make such a nice change from the usual dour shades, and Cinnamon is seriously lush.
It’s further complemented by matt dark myrtle wood trim, an unusual choice for an M3 and an extremely rare trim option, but it’s absolutely gorgeous and looks so good here. The steering wheel has been re-trimmed by Royal Steering wheels, with extra padding, cinnamon stitching and a cinnamon centre stripe while the gearknob has been replaced with an illuminated F10 M5 item with matching gaiter, mounted on an E60 short shift for crisper gear changes. Finally, Richard’s most recent interior mod, is the Awron gauge mounted in the driver’s-side centre air vent. “It was a bit of an impulse buy,” admits Richard, “I saw a demo of it on YouTube and when I saw they had made them for the E46 I got one ordered. It goes nicely with the dash and it’s a nice bit of kit, displaying various parameters from intake temperatures to O2 sensor voltages along with a G force meter and loads more functions.”
It’s taken Richard four years to get his M3 to where it is now, and he couldn’t be happier with the result of all that work. “I think where it is now I have found that place where I wouldn’t change much else,” he smiles. “A full respray is on the cards next, in the original colour, and I want to get the map tweaked with the addition of the exhaust mods. But my long term plan if I can is to keep the car and hopefully one day give it to my son,” which would be an amazing gift, and something very special for that young man to hold onto. So, does that mean Richard’s hanging up his modding hat for now? No… “I have an E30 325i Cab which I bought over four years ago as a project car so, with the help of Dips, there are some big plans for it. Watch this space!” he says with a smile and you can be sure we will be.
“… I think where the car is now I have found that place where I wouldn’t change much else”
/ #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Tuned-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-tuned-E46 / #BMW-M3-tuned / #Evolve / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #OZ
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , #Geoff-Steel-Racing carbon fibre air box, #Evolve-Alpha-N remap, #Supersprint-V2 exhaust manifolds, 100 cell race cats, #Eisenmann Race rear exhaust section with 83mm tail pipes, carbon fibre engine cover, emissions pump cover, ECU cover, xenon ballasts and pollen filter cover, Matt Haley billet aluminium oil filter cover, #Rogue-Engineering one piece strut brace. Six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 11.25x18” (rear) three-piece #Oz-Mito wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact 3 tyres, #CA-Automotive stud conversion kit with Motorsport Hardware wheel nuts, BC Racing BR series coilovers, Revshift 80a subframe bushes, #AP-Racing-BBK with six-pot calipers and 356mm discs (front) and four-pot calipers and 328mm discs (rear), custom orange calipers
EXTERIOR Original Steel grey paintwork, Strassentech-style front lip with carbon fibre insert, Hamann fog light covers, smoked fog lights, black kidney grilles, black wing vent grilles, 4000K CCFL angel eyes, Depo smoked indicators and side repeaters, carbon fibre black and white bonnet and boot roundels, AC Schnitzer carbon fibre rear diffuser, OEM CSL boot lid, Lamin-X smoked rear lights, Eagle Eyes smoked inner boot lights
INTERIOR Full cinnamon interior swap, matt dark myrtle wood trim, re-trimmed padded steering wheel with cinnamon stitching and cinnamon centre stripe, F10 M5 gear knob and gaiter, E60 V8 short shift kit, Awron digital vent gauge
THANKS Dips at Custom Cars for his input and direction over the years, Teddy at SSDD Motorsport, Prapan at NVD Motorsport, Jaydee Customs, John at carbolts.co.uk, Evolve Automotive, Alex at Elite Car Care, Jack at Royal Steering Wheels, all my friends, family and my understanding wife for supporting my passion for cars over the yearsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- 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 moderationSupercharged Z4 M Coupé / This supercharged Z4 M Coupé will blow you away!
Walk the line
Strapping a supercharged to the already potent Z4 M makes for an exceptional performance machine.
Words and photos Chris Nichols.
Tuning a car is often a fraught process. There’s the stress that comes from buying new products, not knowing if they’ll work until they’re on the car, despite your hours of research. There’s the possibility that the workshop you’ve chosen will do bad work or rip you off. And, of course, there’s the likelihood that fitting upgrades will simply expose weaknesses in other parts of the car you weren’t aware of, forcing you to spend money you hadn’t planned to.
Melbourne, Australia’s Kris Hooper knew about all those potential pitfalls when he chose his 2006 Z4 M Coupé. A tearaway in his younger days, he’d managed to destroy one car and blow two engines in another before getting a 1998 Subaru WRX sedan as his first proper performance car. However, his experience making mild mods to that, coupled with his otherwise methodical thought processes and focus on research, meant when he decided on something European to change things up, he wasn’t going to approach the project with anything other than highly considered plans to ensure he avoided many of those common tuning errors.
“Magazines and forums have taught me how easy it can be to perform a modification only to find you are not happy with the result, to not get enough bang-for-your-buck, or to find further down the track that it is incompatible with something else you have planned.” All this is why, before he even began, Kris had a pretty clear idea as to what he wanted and how to achieve it. The Z4 M base was already a great start – powerful, with great street handling and braking, and looks that Kris fell in love with well before the test-drive. But his desire for a true all-rounder that combined ability on the street with track prowess meant things had to be planned well in advance, particularly as, being such a rare car outside of America, parts were not exactly in huge supply. “Most of the parts I’ve used have come from the US,” Kris says, “simply because the number of E85 Z4s in the States makes production of go-faster bits viable.”
While in some respects, that lack of choice made things easy, Kris still needed to make the right decisions to achieve the goals he wanted, so on top of his research he talked to the guys at SouthernBM, a local and highly renowned specialist shop. The end result was a pretty tasty combination of American tuning parts, such as a 34-row Zionsville radiator, Vibra-Technics engine mounts, a StopTech Trophy BBK, Turner anti-roll bars, Hyperco Linear Race springs, Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts and adjustable rear control arms, and an APR Performance carbon GT wing. In fact, JRZ RS-1 dampers aside, the only brake and suspension parts Kris didn’t get from the US were the Vorschlag E46 M3 camber/caster plates and Carbone Lorraine R6E pads. Even inside, Kris relied on US know-how to help improve the already pleasant Z4 M cabin in the form of beautiful and custommade anti-slip pedals from Ultimate Pedals. To these he added a Recaro Pole Position bucket for himself and a ZHP-style weighted BMW gear knob.
Rather surprisingly, given the S54 engine is from the E46 M3, Kris had trouble finding options even here, specifically in the form of supercharger kits. At the time, only ESS kits were available, so to get the power he wanted Kris had no choice but to go with the company’s VT2-525 blower, intercooler and intake manifold kit. Currently it makes 403whp and 228lb ft of torque. Of course, ESS equipment is hardly second-best, and thanks to upgrading the included Setrab oil cooler for a bigger one, Kris reckons even now, with more options on the market, he wouldn’t change a thing.
Thankfully, Kris’s other engine tuning options were easier to come by. He decided on a beautiful Tekarbon carbon fibre engine cover to spruce up the bay, and a KSS Performance valve-controlled exhaust to allow him to stay street-legal and not annoy his neighbours on those early mornings when he heads to the track yet still enjoy the full metallic scream of the S54 when he gets there. And he’s there a lot.
In fact, thanks to holding onto his WRX for more practical driving, Kris can afford to use the Z4 as almost purely a toy. This freedom, combined with his desire to learn from instructors on a regular basis and to study his own on-board data stats, means he’s able to really enjoy the car at the Marque Sports Car Association (MSCA) sprint days he attends regularly. He actually won his class in both 2014 and 2015.
Not that it’s all been plain sailing on the way to the top. While Kris has generally been very careful to build the car in a holistic way, avoiding many of the pitfalls others fall into, there have been challenges and even a scary on-track moment coming from a rare lapse of judgement when it came to both on-track behaviour and the order in which he fitted his mods. In terms of the challenges, the biggest was getting rid of the stock suspension setup’s on-track understeer. “For a car that handled so well on the street, I wasn’t expecting so much understeer,” Kris says. “An additional strut brace didn’t help. Wider front tyres didn’t help. Additional front camber didn’t help much either. Nor did changing my driving style to add some extra trail braking. It wasn’t until I swapped the suspension to the current coilovers and anti-roll bars and was able to stiffen the rear relative to the front that I was able to get the car to rotate like it should.”
And that scary moment? That was the result of what turned out to be an unwise decision to head to Calder Park, a track with one of Australia’s longest straights, on stock brakes (albeit with nearly new pads) despite having fitted the supercharger kit. Now, in his defence, Kris says the brakes had been ordered at the same time but not arrived before the last-minute spot opened up. We’ll let him tell you what happened next: “Halfway through the day, the pedal was starting to feel a little sketchy, and I began a cool down lap so I could come in and inspect the pad material. Part way into that lap, though, a supercharged Honda Civic tore out of the pits ahead of me, and the red mist descended. About a minute later he was still in front as we hit the main straight. At the end of it, as we were both hitting 220km/h (135mph), some semblance of rational thought returned and I started braking slightly before my marker because of my earlier concerns. Too little, too late. Under my left foot I could feel little more than air. Brake pressure was non-existent.”
As he later learned after pumping a whole extinguisher into the front left caliper, the pad material had just crumbled away by that point, leading to piston seals melting and fluid spraying everywhere. Luckily he still managed to save it, steering the Z4 around the Civic and through the narrow gate at the end of the straight before spinning to slow down in the field beyond. Safe to say, the StopTechs went on straight afterwards!
One additional benefit of fitting the big brakes was that they necessitated a wheel change. Never a fan of the OEM design, Kris had previously chanced upon a forum member running Volk Racing G2s in the same matt black as his own Z4 and decided they were perfect. And, as luck would have it, a member of a different forum who lived locally was selling a set just when Kris needed them. “They must have been the only used set of wheels in the correct fitment available locally at the time, and possibly ever since,” he says. “I was so happy with them that when it came time to get a separate set of track wheels I went straight to Volk, who made me up a set of TE37SLs that, again, are exactly what I wanted.” It’s hard to argue with Kris’s choice, too.
Japanese wheels often look great on BMWs and this is no exception. The relatively rare G2 design’s sharp edges and rounded curves, especially, match perfectly with the E85 Z4 M Coupé’s similar mix of lines, keeping the car looking current and fresh, despite now being ten-years-old. And thanks to Kris’s focus on getting the handling, power and braking right, it’s now a car that doesn’t just look great but one he can enjoy driving for years to come (like his WRX, he has no plans to part with it though).
“The Z4 M, to me, represents a challenge, one that never gets old. There is such a fine line between getting it right and everything going to hell in a split-second. Sprinting along the right side of that line is one of my favourite things in the world.”
DATA FILE #Supercharged Z4 M Coupé / #ESS / #BMW / #BMW-Z4-M-Coupé / #BMW-Z4-M-Coupe-E86 / #BMW-Z4-M-E86 / #BMW-Z4-E86 / #BMW-E86 / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW / #Rogue-Engineering / #Vortech / #Volk-Racing-G2 / #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54B32-Supercharged / #S54B32-TUNED
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six S54B32 , #ESS-VT2-525 supercharger kit ( #Vortech-V3Si supercharger, #ESS intercooler and intake manifold), #K&N air filter, #Zionsville aluminium radiator, #Vibra-Technics engine mounts, #Tekarbon carbon fibre engine cover, #Bosch-453cc injectors, #KKS-Performance valve-controlled exhaust with push-button controller, KKS-Performance 4x80mm exhaust tips, software reflash to remove speed limiter and raise rev limiter to 8200rpm, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 8.5x19” ET+35 (front) and 9.5x19” ET+22 (rear) #Volk-Racing G2 wheels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Bridgestone Potenza tyres for the street, 8.5x18” ET+35 (front) and 9.5x18” ET+22 (rear) Volk Racing TE37SL wheels with 245/40 (front) and 275/40 (rear) Nitto NT-01 tyres for the track, JRZ RS-1 coilovers with Hyperco Linear Race springs (450lb front, 600lb rear), Turner Motorsport 30/25 E46 M3 anti-roll bars, stock front strut brace, Rogue Engineering adjustable rear control arms, Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts, Vorschlag E46 M3 camber/caster plates and perches, StopTech Trophy Sport BBK with six-pot calipers (front) and four-pot calipers (rear), 355x32mm two-piece slotted rotors allround and stainless braided lines, Carbone Lorraine R6E sintered endurance pads, Motul 600RBF fluid
EXTERIOR Carbon fibre centre grille (sourced by Turner Motorsport), APR Performance rear carbon GT wing, M Power windscreen decal
INTERIOR Recaro Pole Position race bucket (driver’s side only), Macht Schnell Competition Liteweight seat mounts, BMW ZHP-style weighted gear knob, LeatherZ leather door handle covers, custom billet Ultimate Pedals anti-slip racing pedalsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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An awesome E46 323i four-door packing a #BBK , carbon goodies and #Schnitzer styling galore. At a loss how to modify your four-door E46? Let Alan Lam and #AC-Schnitzer show you how. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Matt Barnes.
There are some BMWs that effortlessly ooze class. These are the cars that when cruising past, you stare longingly at, not because they’re intrusively loud or garishly decorated, but because they’ve been beautifully and thoughtfully modified. Money’s been thrown in all the right places, and the owner has insisted on the best to make his ride become even more of a rewarding driving machine and easier on the eye.
With BMW’s current 3 Series, most choose the Coupé variant as the base for modifying work. And who can blame them? The two-door is indeed a design marvel in terms of beauty and desirability, so it’s an ideal starting block. Those with the saloon version are presented with more of a modifying challenge. It’s by no means an ugly car, but a little more thought has to go into how to bring the best out of the practical four-door. Looking at Alan Lam’s ’00 323i, we think he’s pretty much cracked it.
The native New Yorker is by all accounts one of the most enthusiastic BMW modifiers we’ve ever met – you’d be lucky to find anyone more knowledgeable and helpful about what it takes to make these cars a pleasure to look at and drive. So it’s no surprise to discover the sheer amount of work put into turning his Orient blue 323i into the feature car we have here today.
Alan’s love affair with the marque goes back to his high school days, where the E36 M3 was his dream car. “It was only after BMW released the pictures of the new E46 I knew I had to get one, though,” he told us. “My first BMW was therefore delivered in December ’99, and it was used as my daily driver to school and work, so modifications were kept at a minimum and nothing major was planned.”
And how many times have we heard that? It seems Alan started customising the little things, beginning with OEM clear lights all round, and realised there was no way of stopping. The bug had bitten. Before long a Supersprint exhaust and ECIS cold air intake found their way onto the car, and the results were addictive.
“The E46 was too quiet,” Alan said, “especially driving a manual. You want to hear the engine to let you know when to shift. The exhaust and cold air intake made a dramatic difference in the car’s performance and fun factor, and I found myself blipping the throttle downshifting just to hear the lovely sound the engine now made. I even had the front and rear resonators removed to make it even louder and deeper, and it now sounds just like a stock E36 M3.”
As you can tell from the photos, however, these mods were just the beginning. Alan discovered Dtmpower.net, Bimmervibe.com and E46fanatics.com on the Internet, and these forums opened up a whole new world of potential tuning ideas. “I found myself browsing on it all day and night learning more about what I could do to the car,” the 26-year-old IS administrator said. Inevitably he met up with like-minded enthusiasts, and knew he wanted more from his car. A lot more.
Having an overall gameplan is an absolute necessity if you’re modifying to attain a certain look. It’s best to gain inspiration from others, see what there is on the market you think works best, and add your own personal touches. Alan can’t be faulted for his choice of AC Schnitzer styling; a brand, he tells us, he chose due to its racing heritage and reputation as the most widely respected BMW tuner in the world. We’re not about to disagree.
“I wanted my car to be a Schnitzer car,” he said. “First thing was ordering a full Schnitzer body kit along with a set of 18” rims. I didn’t like the rear spoilers offered by Schnitzer so I decided to go with a Racing Dynamics one instead.” Also at this time, Eibach springs and BogeSachs BMW sport shocks tightened everything up, while a modern styling touch in the shape of xenon front lights courtesy of bekkers.com found their way on. With Hamann eyebrows and shadow grilles added as well, Alan had reached the end of the second stage of modifying. Once again he was satisfied with the car’s look, so you’d have thought he’d have stopped here. No way.
Styling is one thing, but finding more power really is best for putting a smile on your face. “There were virtually no turbo kits available,” said Alan, “nor any reliable supercharger kits making any decent power at the time. Instead, Rogue Engineering had connections with an excellent BMW technician who was able to do some motor work for me. I got hold of Schrick cams, Jim Conforti Shark Injector software and ended up swapping my ECIS intake in favour of a beautiful Gruppe M carbon fibre unit.” Good choice.
Soon after, Alan was collecting a first place trophy in the Mild category at Bimmerfest East, and was recruited by TWCompetition. Things were looking up, and so were the planned mods to his 323i. These final mods are basically the look the car sports in the photos, and the sheer amount and quality of work is commendable. Nineteen-inch HRE wheels were custom made by Peter Lee at wheelexperts.com, while the suspension was swapped for H&R coilovers set at maximum drop for the rear and about 90% at the front. That’s seriously low. Riding that close to the tarmac has obvious drawbacks, so, in Alan’s own words, “to help scan the crappy New York roads rolling on big 19s, I swapped the standard halogen foglights for 5300K xenons.”
Nestled behind those beautiful custom wheels are some serious anchors, 320mm up front courtesy of Brembo, with a Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm hybrid setup at the rear. Alan assures us at the time this was done, no other E46 had both front and rear big brakes. Ever the groundbreaker, with the front bumper sporting an Schnitzer add-on becoming more common, Alan changed his for an OEM E46 M3 bumper. With this being almost 2” wider than the 323i item on each side, Ultimate Collision had a hell of a task making it fit, but have certainly excelled themselves with the finish. The addition of a new Schnitzer carbon fibre splitter completes the very tasty new look. Soon after, Schnitzer was called upon again to provide an M3 racing spoiler, a truly unique look for a saloon car.
Then there’s the final hurrah. If you put a carbon fibre bonnet on the wrong car it’s an expensive mistake, but on Alan’s modified E46 323i it’s a revelation. It blends in nicely with the Orient paint, and completes what is a stunning four-door.
Standing back to admire it, the final look is a thing of beauty. The custom front bumper, the large but tasteful rear wing, the huge brakes primed for action behind the flawless, polished alloys. It may be a four door, but how many coupés look this desirable? Alan tells us he knows of no other saloon in the US with this look, but we’re hoping many will take inspiration from him to create something even half as nice as his stunning 323i.
GruppeM carbon fibre air intake – every #BMW should have one!
DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-323i / #BMW-323i-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #M52TUB25 / #BMW-M52 / #M52B25 / #M52 / #BMW
ENGINE: 2.5-litre six-cylinder with #Schrick performance 248° cams, #Rogue-Engineering underdrive pulleys, #Gruppe-M carbon fibre air intake, #Jim-Conforti engine software, #Supersprint 76mm cat-back exhaust with both resonators removed, Imola red valve covers
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” #HRE-448R three-piece forged alloys shod in Toyo T1-S 235/35 tyres. H&R fully adjustable coilover suspension system, #H&R Trak Plus 5mm spacers, #Racing-Dynamics anti-roll bars, #Turner-Motorsports rear shock mounts, silver M3 front strut brace. #Brembo 320mm big brake kit (front), #Rogue-Engineering /Porsche 329mm big brake kit (rear), #Hawk-HPS racing pads, #Goodridge stainless steel brake lines, #ATE Super Blue brake fluid. Rogue Engineering short-shifter, weighted selector rod and tranny mounts. Redline synthetic fluids
EXTERIOR: Euro-spec OEM M3 bumper custom fitted onto a saloon chassis, #AC-Schnitzer carbon fibre M3 front spoiler, aluminium stabiliser struts, rear apron, roof spoiler, sport mirrors, racing wing and badges, Fiber Images carbon fibre bonnet. Hamann shadow grilles, Hamann eyebrows, #M-Tech side skirts, Nova 4 professional strobe kit, custom fitted facelift ’02 BMW rear lights, Euro-spec clear side repeaters, xenon 5200K foglight kit, xenon 5200K ellipsoid headlights.
INTERIOR: M3 leather sport seats custom fitted into saloon, two-tone leather treatment, Sparco Clubman threepoint safety harnesses, AC Schnitzer full pedal set and floor mats. Aluminium interior trim and gear shift, NR Auto aluminium gauges, Isotta chrome gear shift surround
ICE: Alpine 7965 CD head unit, CHA 1214 12-disc changer, SPR 176A 6.5” components, SPR 172A 6.5” coaxial. Rockford Fosgate 400 four-channel amp, 360 two-channel amp, 1.0 Farad capacitor. Allumapro BP10 subwoofer enclosure
THANKS: TWCompetition, Peter at wheelexperts.com, Samir at Rennsport.com, Tom Chang at Bimmerfesteast.com, Ooro and Drea at Bimmervibe.com, Jimmy at Pfactor.com, Mark and Ben at Rogueengineering.com, Barry at Race Technologies, Dtmpower.net, E46fanatics.com, Cave Crew, Michael Cajayon, Rich Pinto at Rtechnic, my girlfriend Mabel, friends and family
Above: Rogue Engineering/Porsche 329mm big brake kit for the rears! Up front are Brembo 320mm. Left: Plenty of lovely carbon fibre.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 moderationTRUE INDIVIDUAL
The E36 M3 GT Imola Individual is a rare beast and modified examples, like this slick machine, are rarer still. The E36 is fast becoming the appreciating #BMW classic of the moment, and you’ll struggle to find one finer than Mikey Townsend’s M3 GT Imola Individual. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Scott Paterson.
Things at the upper end of the E36 market have seen a sea of change in the last few years. After some time spent as perhaps the least desirable models of the 3 Series range, they’re now on the up in terms of resale values – for a good one at least. And the most desirable of all the models? The ultra-rare M3 Evolution Imola Individual.
With just 50 examples produced for the UK (and only a further 200 for the entirety of mainland Europe), the M3 GT II, often labelled the GT2, was a final hurrah for the E36. It built on the legend that had been forged with the M3 GT. However, rather than being based on the 3.0-litre M3 and being coloured British Racing green, the GT II used the 3.2-litre six-speed M3 Evo as a base and came in stunning Imola red.
M3 GT Class II front corner splitters and a rear wing to match, an interior combination of Imola red Nappa leather and anthracite Alcantara and plenty of the usual options boxes ticked as standard made the GT II special. Mikey Townsend was lucky enough to pick this one up at the beginning of last year and proceeded to put his own stamp on the ultra-rare M3.
Mikey’s far from a stranger to BMWs. As an ex-paratrooper stationed in Germany for a number of years he was lucky enough to have an E30 M3 as his first one, bought for just DM6500 – less than £3000. “If only I knew what I had back then!” laughed the 32-year-old. “I’d have put it away in storage instead of driving it like a loon everywhere.” Sure enough, by the age of 18 Mikey was an ex-E30 M3 owner, having written it off, but he was hooked on BMWs from then on. An E46 M3 followed later, with an E36 M3 Coupé and a Convertible spliced with countless non-M Three and Five series models – you name it, Mikey’s probably had one. However, his latest purchase is the most special of them all.
“My brother has an M3 GT II, number 16, which he got in 2007, and I’ve wanted one ever since he got it,” Mikey told us. “It was inevitable that I would end up with one, it was just a matter of when. Then this one popped up and was only half-an-hour from me, so I had to take a look.”
What Mikey had before him was M3 GT Imola Individual, number 48 of 50. It was an immaculate, carefully restored piece of Bavarian history which had been given a select range of modifications to boot including KW V3 coilovers and a number of small touches. Along with those it came with all of the original parts so that it could be restored to its rare original guise if required.
“I’ve been choosy as to what I do with it,” Mikey explained. “That’s why I’ve only really gone for Schnitzer styling and the best replacement parts available. Everything I’ve done is totally reversible as I’ve got all of the original parts in the garage. Everyone says: ‘you can’t modify it, it’s too rare!’ Well, tell me it doesn’t look good!”
When he bought the car it was sitting on three-piece Hartge wheels. These were not purchased as part of the deal and so the first thing Mikey did was get the standard wheels refurbished to a better-than-new condition before bolting them up to the car and rolling it home. Once the wheels were on and shod in brand-new Michelins, Mikey got the car home and didn’t hang about with his plans to get it looking the way he wanted.
“The body had already been recently resprayed and fully rust treated and Waxoyl’d underneath, so everything I got for it had to be mint. This meant new or completely refurbished parts throughout,” Mikey explained. His private plate was purchased and transferred onto the M3, while a Storm Motorwerks weighted gear knob was fitted alongside the previous owner’s addition of Amaretta Anthracite Alcantara gaiters.
Another upgrade for the interior was a selection of genuine BMW Motorsport International door sill trims and a matching carbon fibre glovebox trim. The badge on the back of the rear wing was also swapped for one that Mikey had made by Taylor Made Decals, denoting the car’s 48/50 production number.
Mikey’s next trip out in the car was to go and get a special little something for under the bonnet, as he explains: “I took her for a blast over to Luton to see Bilal and Imran at Evolve. I had been speaking to Bilal for a while about an Eventuri intake for the E36 but he said that there hadn’t been enough interest in them to warrant producing them.
However, he said to bring the car down for them to have a look at anyway. No sooner had I got there and spoken to Bilal was the car in the workshop, with the old air box being stripped off and measurements being taken for a custom kit. Dyno runs were done before and after, both with standard mapping. It was hitting 306/307hp as standard but with the Eventuri it was hitting at least 315hp on each run with much stronger and consistent torque gains!
Gaining an extra 10hp from the kit was really surprising and the sound it makes is awesome, especially on wide open throttle.”
A neat touch is that Eventuris all feature a serial number, and Mikey managed to bag number 48 to match his car. It a little plaque on the carbon heat sheild and is just one example of the painstaking detail he goes to in his pursuit of perfection.
Mikey’s next addition to the car was, again, to the engine bay in the form of a genuine AC Schnitzer carbon fibre strut brace. However, the carbon’s clear coat had aged badly and gone slightly yellow in places. Of course, that wasn’t good enough for Mikey’s GT II and so it was sent off to be carefully re-lacquered, with the engine cover being colour-coded at the same time – a neat touch.
With the M3 looking and feeling better than ever, all that was left was for Mikey to put a couple more of his own touches on the exterior. This started with a set of anthracite M3 Contour wheels – mint, of course – and some AC Schnitzer Cup 2 wing mirrors.
However, the biggest change was yet to come, as Mickey explains: “I stumbled across the current wheels by chance really. I was looking for something else but got chatting to this guy with an Estoril blue E36 M3 Evo. He sent me a few photos of it and said that he had these rims on it but wanted to go back to the originals. These wheels are my favourite. I’ve always loved them and have always said that if I could have any wheels on the E36 it would be them. He was after cash quick so I got them for £1000 with new tyres, too,” Mikey told us. “It was a case of being in the right place at the right time – literally three weeks before Gaydon BMW Festival last year, so it was all good!”
With the AC Schnitzer theme that Mikey already had running throughout his GT, those final touches were the perfect additions. However, the only worry he now had was that it was all becoming a little too ACS-themed and might detract from just how special the GT is; not the worst problem to have, you might be think, but it was easily solved by simply swapping back to the original M3 mirrors, which has worked a treat.
The final addition was an AC Schnitzer exhaust – another rare part, which makes the S50 a little more vocal and brings a welcome lift to the rear end. It was bolted up with Hack Engineering billet exhaust hangers, too. No stone has been left unturned with this M3.
“Because of the size a few people were saying that the wheels would never fit – but that’s the beauty of having the KW V3s: I could get it stanced perfectly! With a few goes it was spot-on, with no rubbing,” concluded Mikey. With a thorough polish up and some fresh AC Schnitzer graphics for them, the wheels were the perfect addition to set the car off.
Undoubtedly Mikey has more plans for the GT but you can rest assured that each and every addition will be as carefully considered as all of those so far. E36s are on the up, and with something as rare and as special as his GT Imola Individual it would be too easy to damage it with the wrong modifications. Premium parts, great taste and a respect for the rarity have culminated in one very special M3.
DATA FILE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-GT-Imola-Individual / #BMW-M3-GT-Imola-Individual-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3-GT / #BMW-M3-GT-E36 / #BMW / #AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1 / #BMW-Motorsport / #BMW-M /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S50B32 / #BMW-S50 / #S50 / , #Eventuri carbon fibre intake with build number matched to chassis number, #ARP con-rod bolts, colour-coded engine cover, AC Schnitzer exhaust, #Hack-Engineering billet exhaust mounts. Standard six-speed manual gearbox, #Rogue-Engineering gearbox mounts, braided clutch line, standard 3.23 final drive LSD
CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1-Racing three-piece wheels with 215/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) Hankook V12 tyres, #KW-V3 coilovers, #AC-Schnitzer carbon fibre strut brace. Standard brakes with drilled and grooved discs front and rear, braided brake lines
EXTERIOR Full respray in original Individual Imola red, Class II front spoiler removed, factory Class II rear spoiler, BMW Motorsport Individual side moulding badges, custom build number plaque
INTERIOR Individual upholstery (including Imola red door inserts and seat centre sections, Amaretta Anthracite seat bolsters), Amaretta Anthracite-trimmed steering wheel with Imola stitching by Royal Steering wheels, extended Imola leather by Bespoke Leather, Storm Motorwerks gear knob, Storm Motorwerks cigarette lighter blank, AC Schnitzer alloy pedal set, AC Schnitzer door pins, BMW Motorsport International carbon fibre glovebox trim, BMW-Motorsport International door sill trims, Harman Kardon speakers
THANKS Bilal and Imran at Eventuri, Jim at Vines, Steven at Taylor Made Decals, Ben at Hack Engineering, friends and familyStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPURPLE HEARTS
Built to commemorate its owner’s late father, this Daytona E36 Cab is a poignant purple project. Kevin Love’s dear departed father used to rock a boisterous purple muscle car. So what better way to celebrate his memory than with a fresh new build in the same vein? Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Kevin Love.
From 1969 to 1973, American muscle car enthusiasts were treated to a stimulating palette of glistening new colours in the Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth model ranges. These new HIP shades (standing for High Impact Paint) came to aggressively assault the retinas of passers-by with a lurid and shocking take on the generally considered conventions of the car hue genre.
And the best thing about all of this corporate playfulness was the names that were chosen for these paints: Top Banana, Go Mango, Sub-Lime, Panther Pink, Citron-Yella, and of course Plum Crazy. These were extrovert cars, they deserved extrovert colours.
“My father had a 1968 Dodge Charger in Plum Crazy,” recalls Kevin Love, as he casts a fond eye over his own purple toy. “It was his Purple Haze, and when he passed away I wanted to create my own personal tribute to him, my own Purple Haze.” And that’s just what you see here – a #1995 E36 M3 in Daytona Violet. Sure, its origins lie on the other side of the Atlantic to his father’s old car, but the ethos of the project is the same: a beautiful, aggressive, eye-catching machine with far more horsepower than necessary and race track DNA clearly on display.
“Following the success of my M3 convertible, I was ready to hit the ground running with another unique build,” Kevin continues. “That was my first BMW project and it was ten years in the making, culminating in a feature in DRIVE-MY in August 2014.” He’d set the bar high then, having already appeared in these hallowed pages. So, how might one ensure that lightning strikes twice? Presumably by getting things off on the right foot and starting with a solid, decent project base, yes?
“Er, no!” he laughs. “When I bought this car it was in rough shape. I had two choices at that point – either I make it a track rat and just gut it, or turn it into another beauty queen. I did a little research and found the M-Cross interior, and that was the moment I knew which direction I wanted to go with the build. I am an OEM fanatic and I strive to find the rare parts to make the car that little bit more noteworthy.” He’s not kidding – seasoned DRIVE-MY readers may recall how Kevin transformed his convertible 318i auto into an M3-powered show-stopper with an Anthrazit Rain interior and all manner of rare original-equipment bits. If it’s obscure and Bavarian, Kevin will find it.
“I’d created the Colorado BMW Groupë on Facebook, and a fellow member had listed this car for sale,” he recalls. “I liked the car but I wasn’t in the position to pull the trigger at that time. A few months later it was listed once again; the more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. The colour is what truly sold me – we arranged to meet up, and when I saw the colour in person I was convinced. And I didn’t waste any time in tearing into the thing either… pretty much as soon as I got it home I went through the car on all the maintenance, refreshing all the suspension components, and I detailed it inside and out. Then I started replacing weather-stripping and seals; I knew exactly what I needed to do right away to make this car have a great starting point to build from.”
The thing with talking to Kevin about his #BMW love affair is that it’s like flicking the switch on a Duracell bunny, you just set him going and he’s off for hours, absorbed in his own passion. It’s endearing – this is a guy who just can’t restrain himself from spending countless hours online, on the phone, in lock-ups and breaker’s yards, and on social media hunting down rare parts, garnering and giving advice, just living the BMW dream. It swims in his blood. Passion that his beloved Charger-toting father, Rodney, would surely be hugely proud of.
“I wanted to challenge myself, I never wanted to look back and be known from my previous build and fall short,” Kevin asserts. “Most of all, this car is my own build and not built for others’ approval. I consider myself an OEM fanatic, but I also appreciate the stance movement, and at the end of the day this is just my perfect M3.
“The first big modification was the Air Lift V2 suspension,” he continues. “I wanted reliability, and not to have to plan my route around town in advance.” Wise sentiment indeed, and something we hear time and time again from owners who’ve made the switch to air-ride – there will always be people hating on the format, but it really can be an all-things-to-all-men solution.
Kevin’s next big decision, having got those arches markedly closer to the ground, was to figure out what to fill them with. “I got in contact with a vendor in Germany selling Carline CM6 wheels – easily my favourite wheel style that I always dreamed of owning,” he enthuses. “With that life goal ticked off, and the wheels’ hardware swapped for 24-carat gold items for good measure, I then fitted my very rare and obscure Dove Alcantara M-Cross interior. In fact, throughout the build I sourced every Motorsport item I could, ending with the strut brace.”
It’s been, as we’ve come to expect from Kevin, an exhaustive exercise in partshunting, touching on such desirable treats as the red Motorsport seat belts, the door handles and, most noticeably from outside, that outrageous GT2 Class II boot spoiler. “I wanted to keep the car as clean and classy as I could make it,” he assures us. “I wanted everything to be as OEM as possible. That Class II spoiler is my favourite and most noticeable exterior modification, and I’ve added lots of little touches to make it my own – for example the headlight retrofit and M-colour pinstriping. I don’t want them to be immediately obvious, more that they’ll be picked up on by people who know what they’re looking for. This is how I feel BMW should have released the M3 from factory!”
Of course, a healthy outlook toward increased thrust is key to a build such as this, not least because we’re talking about an M3, but also in the interest of authentically continuing the Love family line of Purple Haze tuning. Under the bonnet you’ll find the #S50B30 US, based on the M50 with that engine’s less complex head design and twostage Vanos, and lower compression than its European counterpart plus a normal throttle body rather than ITBs, making 240hp.
However, improvements can be made to get the engine feeling a little healthier. The brawny six now enjoys an M50 manifold with an AFE intake, and Kevin’s a sucker for a Rogue Engineering exhaust – possibly, we speculate, because the back box looks a bit suggestive when viewed from behind – so you’ll find one of those under there too. It’s all been electronically tickled by RK-Tunes, with the package finished off neatly by a 3.38 LSD at the rear. Show and go in one brightly coloured and slightly frightening package – much like a ’68 Charger, really. A little more technologically advanced, perhaps, but certainly on the same page.
It’s easy to be blasé about a car such as this, and maybe assume that it’s a chequebook build, particularly coming hot on the heels of another equally detailed project, but it’s important to bear in mind the sheer effort that Kevin’s put into this. His BMW obsession is an all-consuming force in his life; the engine work, for example, was all carried at by Kevin in his garage, along with his buddy Brandon, and he wears the results as a deserved badge of honour. And his focus on the aesthetics is well on par with his mechanical nous.
His description of the interior work is modest, but implies so many hours of work: “The interior was in real bad shape to begin with – typical 20-year-old wear and tear. Dove seats just never look clean, and it had the usual saggy headliner and wilting doorcards. I stripped the whole interior down in order to swap over to Grau Alcantara M-Cross cloth. I also added in the Euro three-spoke wheel wrapped in new Alcantara, along with the shift and e-brake boots matched with M-stitching. It’s finished off nicely with Motorsport door seals, seat belts and OEM carbon-fibre trim pieces.” That he makes it sound like all in a day’s work tells you more about his modesty than anything else.
“I have found parts for this car from all over the world,” he continues. “Luckily the interior was purchased from a seller in California, so shipping wasn’t as dramatic. The wheels came from Germany as well as a lot of the Motorsport items; I started with a clear idea of what I wanted to do with the build, and the only thing that really slowed me down was sourcing all the parts I wanted on the car. I made lots of contacts though, and was fortunate enough to have smooth transactions. And there are so many things I love about my car now – the body lines just work so well together, and I focused a lot on the interior as that’s where I spend most of the time. It has a calming, yet sporty feel. The reliability of the air-ride really makes a big difference too; I can go for my stance for daily driving, then turn the car into a weekend track warrior, beefing up the suspension with a push of a button!”
Kevin has much to be proud of here. The fruits of his labours shout loudly about a man who knows whereof he speaks. There’s an inherent conflict of approach in that, on the one hand, he’s eager for it to have all of the correct parts and look just-so, and on the other hand that he doesn’t do shows and would rather just be out driving the thing… but it’s safe to say that he’s balancing the whims of the two demons effectively. While he describes his kinship with the car as being ‘a love-hate relationship’, he’s fooling no-one. This car is all about love. It’s baked right into it, a Love family tradition. And you can be sure that Kevin’s old man would be proud to see his Purple Haze legacy living on in such fine, muscular style.
Carline CM6 wheels look stunning; DJ Auto headlights with projector retrofit are one of the many smart, subtle additions on this car.
“I can go for my stance for daily driving, then turn the car into a weekend track warrior, beefing up the suspension with a push of a button!”
US-spec S50 has been treated to an M50 manifold and tuned by RK Tunes.
DATA FILE #BMW E36 M3 / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 / US tuned by #RKTunes , #Rogue-Engineering DMS exhaust, UUC poly engine mounts, #Mishimoto radiator with electric fan, M50 manifold, #AFE 2 intake, #ZF fivespeed gearbox, #UUC poly transmission mounts, #Autosolutions Ultra Short Shift Kit, 3.38 LSD
CHASSIS 9x17” ET14 (front) and 10x17” ET20 (rear) polished Carline-CM6 wheels with gold hardware with 205/45 (front) and 215/45 (rear) tyres, #Neo-Chrome lugnuts, #Air-Lift-V2 / #Air-Lift digital air-ride, #BMW-Motorsport strut brace, ECS-Geomet cross-drilled and grooved discs, PBR-Axxis-Ultimate brake pads
EXTERIOR Daytona Violet, M Power-coloured pinstriping, #DJ-Auto headlights with FX-R 3.0 projector retrofit, Lux bumper grille, foglight covers, BMW Motorsport door handles, shaved filler cap lid, GT2 (Class II) spoiler with risers, LTW spoiler tray, carbon fibre side skirt splitters, modified GT rear splitters
INTERIOR Alcantara Grau M-Cross seats and panels, OEM carbon fibre centre console and glovebox trim, Motorsport International door sills, #BMW-Motorsport red seatbelts, Alcantara-wrapped Euro three-spoke steering wheel with Tri stitching, Alcantara gear and handbrake gaiters with Tri stitching, Alcantara armrest, E39 autodimming rear view mirror, #ZHP gear knob, #BSW speakers with subwoofer
THANKS Big thanks to my beautiful wife Cori, for supporting me through my builds, and my great buddies Brandon and James for helping me with all the maintenance and retrofits. I call this build my Purple Haze – a tribute to my dad and his Plum Crazy purple 1968 Charger.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTWIN ’CHARGED M3s
Double dose of supercharged E92 goodness.
KLASSE OF #2014 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-E92 / #BMW /
The E92 M3 may be gone but it’s far from forgotten and this pair of supercharged examples is simply stunning.
Since its conception, the guys behind #AUTOcouture-Motoring had one thing in mind: build the cleanest and fastest cars on the road. It is safe to say that four successful years later they have graduated at the top of their klasse. Words & photos: Matt Petrie.
The Entwicklung chassis designation associated with the M3 has ceased existence along with its naturally aspirated engine. While there is a lot of excitement surrounding the new F8x platform and its turbocharged six-cylinder engine, not everyone is sold on the drop in displacement and the M3 being a saloon. Now that the E9x M3 is becoming more affordable, some people are discovering it for the first time while others are happy to use the high revving V8 engines a little more freely on the race track.
Collectively owning nearly a dozen BMWs over the years (including multiple E9x M3s), Sal and Bart, the owners of these two M3s and popular #BMW tuning outfit ACM, are no strangers to the community, and as different as these cars appear to be, their respective styles flow harmoniously. Exploring many different modifications and setups, this duo struck the right chord and delivered this stunning one-two punch of power and presence.
You may recall Sal’s first attempt at the E92 platform; a supercharged track-ready Techno violet E92 M3 that was on the cover of #Drive-My in October 2013. That E92 used to rope in 1000cc sport bikes with ease but despite how much he loved the car’s appearance and power delivery, it was still lacking the true six-speed experience. As fast as the dualclutch transmission is, while it awaits either gear up or down, the connection that one has with the car cannot be electronically reproduced on the back of the steering wheel.
For this reason, Sal knew it was time to get back into a car with three pedals. Sal’s current squeeze, this Melbourne red M3, owns its duties as a true shop car. This car represents a perfect balance of both ‘show’ and ‘go’, and has seen its fair share of track days and car shows around the north eastern United States. Its massive Varis Japan GT wing commands immediate attention from anyone who sees it. While the wing provides functioning aero, the matching body-coloured top portion complements the exposed carbon fibre underside, slightly toning down its track edge and giving it a cleaner look for shows.
A Vorsteiner diffuser tucks the Akrapovic exhaust tips away in the rear bumper while seamlessly playing off of the same angles that shape the Varis wing. The aggressive rear aero is equally balanced in the front by a BC GT4 front tray with moulded brake duct cooling openings. The chrome in the front of the car is replaced by BMW ‘Edition’ grilles and custom ACM blackout headlights with anthracite painted shrouds.
Sal chose to use Öhlins R/T coilovers on his M3 because they are competitively and comfortably suitable for both street and track. Whereas this current ride height may not optimise lap times, this M3 looks fantastic slammed on top of the 18” BBS FI wheels. Aside from being one of the best track wheels on the market due to minimal weight and incredible strength, the skinny spokes clearly reveal the 380mm Brembo GT brakes in all of their glory. The Brembo GTs are optimised when bringing Sal’s 650 horsepower Gintani Stage 2.5 meth-injected supercharger system back to earth. Both on and off throttle this car sounds like a jet plane thanks to a combination of the Schmiedmann headers leading back to a Gintani cat-less X-pipe and Akrapovic titanium rear section and dual blow-off valves.
When giving Sal’s M3 a closer look, its most distinguishing feature is undoubtedly its interior. He was not pleased with the stock interior of the car saying: “I needed something more unique; after all, the car before this was Techno violet so I couldn’t be completely satisfied with all of BMW’s factory-issued equipment.” But yet again, Sal decided to add items that were both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
In need of something more supportive for the track, he chose Recaro Sportster CS performance seats, however he did not stop there and had them wrapped in OEM Ferrari Salerno Saddle leather. This was no simple task as Ferrari only releases its leather by VIN number. Sal pulled some strings and was able to get his hands on not only enough to wrap his seats, but to also match the doorcards, centre console, lower dash, and rear seats with the hide of the prancing horse (not literally, of course). Completing the interior is a Rogue short-shift kit with weighted F10 M5 gear knob and P3 Cars Vidi gauge in his air vent and a leather wrapped performance wheel with Salerno Saddle 12 o’clock stripe.
Moving on to the second example of this dynamic duo, to the surprise of many, this is neither Bart’s first Coupé nor his first Alpine white M3. Indecisive with the amount of doors he wanted to accompany his S65, he switched from his first Alpine white Coupé to an Interlagos blue saloon with cloth seats. He then quickly developed a reputation as a certified wheel whore, accumulating more sets of wheels than he knew what to do with. Both cars were heavily modified, but the one missing piece to this puzzle was a supercharger. He longed for forced induction in his M3s, but never owned them long enough to fully commit to a supercharger system which AUTOcouture is so famous for installing. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that he found another low-mileage Alpine white M3 to call his own and he wasted no time modifying it to his own specifications.
Compared to Sal’s M3, Bart’s coupé took a slightly milder approach aesthetically. Living by his motto of ‘less is more’, his execution of the perfect daily driver was just as he had imagined it. He laughs, saying: “I initially built this car in my dreams – $40,000 later, there it was exactly as I envisioned.” Once again with the continuous, revolving door of wheels, it took Bart a few selections before he found his dream set of BBS LM- Rs.
Because a regular BBS wheel wouldn’t suffice, Bart sourced a set of Diamond black LM -Rs in Amuse fitment with more aggressive offsets. But Bart had his priorities in order; before he even considered running any set of wheels, he made sure it was properly slammed and purchased a Bilstein PSS10 coilover suspension kit and cranked it all the way down.
The understated appearance of this car means you have to really look to spot all of the modifications that have been made to it. Custom ACM blackout headlights give this M3 a sinister look paired with the gloss black Mode Carbon GTS V1 front lip, but what many people don’t notice is the Motorsport splatter in the driver’s side headlight only. Along with the front lip, there are the Platte Forme a.g. side skirt extensions, Varis rear undertray and a Challenge Carbon Kevlar bootlid. Running the length of the entire underside is a Gintani cat-less X -pipe connected to an Innotech Performance Exhaust rear section.
More commonly referred to as ‘iPE’, this vacuum actuated exhaust system allows Bart to go from “as quiet as stock” to straight-piped street terror at the touch of a button. Due to the vacuum actuation, this system operates immediately, setting it apart from other systems that use electronic servos and motors for their activation. The rapid response of the button ensures that when the police come looking for an absurdly loud white BMW, Bart can innocently point them in another direction.
The supercharger of choice was the ESS Tuning VT2 -650 with a custom painted Jerez plenum, outfitted with the Motorsport stripes, off set leading down to the front of the car. Considering this is his daily, Bart decided to keep the interior modifications down to just the driving essentials. In conjunction with the supercharger, the ACM Edition P3 Cars Vidi gauge was installed just like in Sal’s car. P3’s signature is its integration of the gauge into the stock air vent. This eliminates any unnecessary attention taking away from the cleanliness of the interior. The placement allows Bart to keep an eye on all of his engine vitals, such as boost, AFR and various engine and cooling temperatures. Amongst its many other features, it also displays 0- 60 and 0-100 times for when pride is on the line with his friends. Typically electronic OEM Performance steering wheels are Alcantara, but Bart had his wrapped in black leather. An OEM Alcantara gear knob and gaiter tie in with his suede-wrapped interior trim along the dash. Bart streamlined all of his modifications both inside and out to be unique yet functional in the simplest form.
No matter which one of these cars better suit your style, we can agree that both of them are classy and deceptive. Either M3 can be parked outside the finest five-star restaurant, or just as easily unleash their 600+ horsepower engines to dust any challenger who dares them on their way. As different as the cars appear to be, their respective styles flow harmoniously.
Bart’s M3 wears 20” BBS LM-R wheels in Diamond black and an aggressive #Varis-Japan rear diffuser.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.0 litre V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #ESS-Tuning-VT2-650 supercharger with custom painted Jerez black plenum and Motorsport stripes. #Gintani catless x-pipe, #Innotech-Performance valvetronic muffler and six-speed gearbox.
CHASSIS: 9x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #BBS-LM-R wheels in Diamond black with Amuse offsets, 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Hankook Ventus V12 tyres. #Bilstein PSS10 coilovers, OE brakes, and #DEFIV differential brace.
EXTERIOR: Custom ACM blackout headlights with Motorsport splatter (on driver’s headlight shroud only) and upgraded halo rings, Mode carbon front lip painted gloss black, Platte Forme a.g. side skirt additions, Varis Japan rear diffuser undertray, Challenge carbon Kevlar race bootlid, IND gloss black cosmetic kit – front grilles, side grilles and hood vents. OEM CF mirrors painted M5 theme by iND.
INTERIOR: OEM Performance steering wheel wrapped in leather, OEM Short Shift Performance knob and Alcantara boot, suede interior trim, P3 Cars/ACM Edition Vidi gauge.
THANKS: My wife and the entire crew at ACM
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.0-litre #V8 S65B40 , #Gintani-Stage-2.5 supercharger kit with meth injection, #Schmiedmann headers, #Gintani Race X-pipe, and #Akrapovic titanium slip-on exhaust, six-speed manual transmission with #Rogue-Engineering short shift kit.
CHASSIS: 9.5x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) #BBS FI anthracite wheels with 265/35 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres (front) and 275/35 Toyo R888 tyres (rear). #Öhlins R/T coilovers and #Brembo-380GT big brake kit.
EXTERIOR: BC GT4 carbon fibre front lip, custom ACM blackout headlights with anthracite shrouds and upgraded halo rings, BMW ‘Edition’ front and side grilles, moulded front reflectors, #Vorsteiner-GTS-V rear diffuser, #Varis-Japan-GT wing.
INTERIOR: Full OEM Ferrari Salerno Saddle leather Recaro Sportster CS seats, doorcards, lower dash panels, centre console, rear seats, leather-wrapped Performance steering wheel with Salerno Saddle 12 o’clock stripe, P3 Cars/ACM Edition Vidi gauge, F10 M5 gear knob.
THANKS: My wife, my staff at ACM, Brutus, Eric at Yorktowne, Alex and Arno at Gintani, Ben and Mark at Rogue Engineering, Lucille the ‘BBS Queen’ at Sander Performance, Sam at United Collision, Alex at ESH Upholstery, Andrew at iND, Fation at Enthusiast Details.
Sal’s not been shy with his E92 M3, opting for a Varis Japan GT wing and #Vorsteiner GTS-V rear diffuser.
I initially built this car in my dreams – $40,000 later there it was, exactly as I envisioned.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationAMERICAN RESPONSE
As the E46 M3 CSL never made it to the #USA , #BMW enthusiasts set about building their own, like this tasty pair. America was cruelly robbed of the E46 M3 CSL, so the response of Stateside modifiers has been to create their own with even more muscle. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Marco Svizzero.
It’s easy to get jealous of Americans. They produce money-spinning movies and music loved the world over; they seemingly control the world markets, the internet and practically every satellite in the sky; and if civilisation goes down the plughole, they keep enough gold locked away to hold two fingers up to the rest of us.
But if you want true envy, check out how cheaply Americans can buy a new M3, M5 or Porsche 911, then see how little it costs them to fuel them so they can enjoy playtime for far less coin than the rest of the world.
But occasionally, Europe gets its own back. Prime example is the E46 M3 CSL: a car so raw, pure and driver-focused that it became an instant classic on its 2003 release, and one the enthusiasts went all wobbly over. But not the Americans. They got bitter, frustrated and angry over it as the things just weren’t allowed Stateside due to environmental and safety reasons. There were 1400 examples built, and 1400 didn’t find their way to American showrooms.
So while the non-CSL E46 M3 is almost laughably common on American roads, you’re not about to see a CSL barking its way along canyon roads or buzzing city streets. You may spy something close though. Deny a market like America a car it badly wants and, much like banning a movie, it makes the thing so much more desirable and some will stop at nothing to get it. Pictured here are two Californian E46 M3 CSL replicas, which in many regards are as close to the real thing as possible. Certainly substantial sums of cash have been parted with in their builds, but that’s the price needed to pay proper homage to the ultimate road-going E46 M3.
It’s a price Adam Cook of Citrus Heights in North California paid to create his Steel grey E46 M3 CSL replica. We caught up with him and photographed his CSL replica alongside another built by Andrei Afanasiev – a fellow www.m3forum.net user from California’s Bay Area. Together they are a formidable pairing, with Adam’s looking the more genuine with its CSL-esque paint (originals only came in Silver grey and black Sapphire), even though Andrei’s M3 CS colour is a beautiful shade.
“BMW should have brought the CSL to the US,” Adam said. “There should be a standard that works for both US and Europe for safety and the environment so we can both get the same cars. An example is my other car, a 1M Coupé. They brought that to the US and it sold out fast.” Regardless, Adam got busy building what BMW didn’t provide, and is convinced he’s created something at least the match of a true CSL. “My setup makes more than a stock CSL,” he said. “ I have a better exhaust, pullies and a better software tune.”
Adam bought his E46 M3 brand-new from his BMW dealer in 2002, and was already no stranger to the marque. As well as his 1M he’s owned an E46 330i, E39 530i and an E90 330i. After a few months of M3 ownership on went a K&N panel filter to get the ball rolling, and since then he’s barely drawn breath. To see the inventory of all the previous parts he’s fitted to the M3 as well as what’s currently there – and the wellrecorded cost of everything – is quite frightening. “To build a replica CSL is fairly easy once you get hold of OE parts, and it helps to have more cash than brains and keep throwing money at it,” he said.
Adam wanted to make his car as much of an OE CSL as possible, but also improve on parts where he thought necessary. “My modifying philosophy was if I owned a real CSL what would I change on it?” he said. “I think the likes of headers, brakes, exhaust and suspension could all be improved.”
Starting with the body, Adam has upgraded his M3 with an OE CSL front bumper, lights, side grills, bootlid, carbon fibre rear diffuser and emblems. And impressively, as one of the CSL’s signature elements, he’s managed to add an OE carbon fibre CSL roof. “I got most of the OE CSL parts from a US importer which has sadly recently gone out of business, while the rest I got from a European source,” he said. “I’m glad I got them when I did as CSL parts are now no longer being made.”
Adam said most of the CSL parts are direct replacements on a standard M3, although minor modifying included rerunning wires on occasion. The roof was a different matter though: “The roof is genuine OE BMW, and its install was mostly time and patience,” Adam said. “Eighty-six spot welds needed removing and then the surface was cleaned. The OE roof fitted perfectly so no major work was needed other than adding the centre brace: if you remove the old roof properly there is no extra welding needed other than for the centre brace.”
The interior also mimics a CSL’s with an OE CSL centre console added, something Adam said was basically plug and play. There are online DIY tutorials on forums for the fitting, requiring a bit of time and rerunning window switch wires. Also on are a CSL handbrake gaiter, door trims, handles and door sills, while the rear seat has been removed in the style of the M3 CSL concept model. Recaro Profi XL seats are now up front, which look superb but Adam said they’re not great on long journeys. But ridding his M3 of power front seats and the rear bench has saved a lot of weight. As for CSL-ing the 3.2-litre six-cylinder, parts availability proved a headache. Adam originally fitted a GruppeM intake, but was intent on finding a true CSL air box. “Finding a CSL air box and cam was hard as there are not many in the wild,” he said.
“The first cam I got was broken in shipping and took nine months to get a replace.” Other OE CSL engine parts include the rocker arms, exhaust valves and the head gasket. Adam has enhanced things further with the likes of Supertech Performance dual valve springs, Rogue Engineering power pulleys, some trick cooling and an extensive exhaust system upgrade. Rounded off with OE M3 CSL software and an Evolve ECU tune Alpha-N Stage 3, these enhancements have convinced Adam he has a genuine CSL-beater on his hands.
The car’s six-speed SMG auto has also been given the CSL treatment with its software flash, while Adam uses a Turner Motorsport 3.91 differential and the company’s rear subframe reinforcement. A CSL 14.5:1 steering rack is also employed for the genuine feel, while TC Kline Racing adjustable coilovers and camber/caster plates, Eibach anti-roll bars and Ground Control rear lower control arms are part of a suite of underbody enhancements to push this M3 into CSL territory and beyond.
The genuine look was required under the arches, and Adam sourced genuine 19” CSL rims and shod them in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, rather than the ‘widow maker’ Michelin Cup rubber that made true CSLs so likely to switch ends in the wet. Behind these wheels are mighty StopTech 355mm discs all-round, clamped by four-pots finished in yellow paint. To look upon the car is to believe it’s a true CSL, and one that’s been enhanced impressively further.
Andrei’s car is based on an M3 CS and it too has an impressive spec sheet. Under the bonnet the S54 has been given an OE CSL carbon air box running Evolve Alpha N software and VAC Ultra Light 2 pulleys. He’s also removed the sound deadening to enjoy more of that intoxicating induction howl. Strapped to the Dinan strut brace are the remote reservoirs for the Moton Club Sport dampers and the chassis has been further upgraded with an AC Schnitzer rear anti-roll bar, Poweflex bushes throughout and a TMS subframe reinforcement kit, while for the exhaust system, he opted for an Eisenmann Section 2 and Meisterschaft Ti system.
Parked side-by-side, the two E46s look as though they belong at the M3 CSL top table. And so they should with the huge amount of time and money involved, including the relentless hunt for OE CSL parts for the builds. Much like true CSLs, they have that look about them that makes you want to grab the keys and be left alone on a winding stretch of open road for a few hours.
“I prefer back roads to the track,” Adam said, “and am one of the few people in North California who organises meets and drives. I have a website called www.raddrives.com that lists my favourite drive routes, and one of the best is Valcano which is perfect for the CSL. It’s a joy to drive because you feel the connection to the car and the road, and as the last of the high revving straight-six motors you can feel that passion the M guys put into the car. Cars now are faster, but some of the soul has been lost for progress.”
Adam wouldn’t dissuade anyone from building their own CSL replica, but he warned that OE parts are a pain to find as there are few parts and plenty of people after them. It’s not cheap either, so despite the rising value of genuine CSLs, if your country was lucky enough to sell them – unlike in America – it may be best to just buy a real one.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-CSL / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-CSL-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #SMG / #BMW-M3-CSL-SMG -E46
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 , OE #CSL air box, hoses, exhaust manifold and cats, #Eisenmann Section 2 and #Meisterschaft Ti exhaust system, #VAC Ultra Light 2 pulleys, Evolve Alpha N software, deleted sound deadening under the bonnet.
TRANSMISSION: E46 M3 six-speed SMG auto with OEM CSL SMG software, Dinan 3.91 limited-slip diff.
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) OE E46 M3 CSL light alloy rims shod in 235/35 (front) and 265/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, #Dinan front strut tower brace, #Powerflex polybushes, #TMS subframe reinforcement kit, #AC-Schnitzer rear anti-roll bar, Moton Club Sport dampers, front and rear #BBK .
EXTERIOR: OEM BMW E46 M3 CSL carbon fibre roof, black roof rails, bootlid, rear diffuser, front bumper with splitters, side grills and micro filter housing. #BMW electric Euro mirrors, outer LEDs on brake lights enabled, IB painted bonnet washer grille, headlight shroud assembly and keyhole driver door delete, #3M front end and roof clear bra, E46 M3 CS paint.
INTERIOR: OE E46 M3 CSL seats, centre console, handbrake gaiter, door trims, handles and door sills.
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32-TUNED OE E46 M3 CSL air intake, snorkel and flap, map sensor, inlet camshaft, rocker arms, exhaust valves and head gasket, head blueprinted and flow tested, #Supertech-Performance dual valve springs, #Rogue-Engineering power pulleys, Samco radiator hose kit, #Zionsville E46 M3 Competition cooling kit, Zionsville SPAL speed fan kit, Turner Motorsport Fluidyne oil cooler kit, Supersprint stepped exhaust manifold with stepped metallic 100 cell cat system and resonated X-pipe, Eisenmann Racing exhaust, Ignition Solutions plasma coils, OE E46 M3 CSL software – #DME flash for base setup and #Evolve ECU tune #Alpha-N Stage 3.
TRANSMISSION: E46 M3 six-speed SMG auto with OE CSL SMG software flash, UUC red transmission bushings, Turner Motorsport 3.91 differential, #Turner-Motorsport E46 rear subframe reinforcement.
CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) OE E46 M3 CSL light alloy rims shod in 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, Turner Motorsport 10mm front wheel spacer kit, #StopTech big brake kit with 355mm discs and painted yellow four-piston calipers all-round, stainless steel brake lines, TC Kline Racing True Match adjustable coilover system (500 front, 600 rear), TC Kline Racing camber/caster plates, #Eibach front and rear anti-roll bars, Ground Control rear lower control arms, CSL / ZCP 14.5:1 steering rack.
EXTERIOR: OE E46 M3 CSL front bumper, front lights and side grills, CSL wing grill emblems, OE E46 M3 CSL carbon fibre outer panel roof, bootlid and carbon fibre rear diffuser, LED rear light upgrade.
INTERIOR: OE E46 M3 CSL centre console, handbrake gaiter, door trims, handles and door sills, #Recaro Profi XL bucket seats, rear seat delete based on E46 M3 CSL concept model, CSL #SMG black aluminium paddles, hard wired Valentine V1 radar detector.
Andrei has removed the sound deadening from his engine bay and added #VAC-Ultra-Light-2 pulleys plus a #Dinan strut brace and Moton Club Sport dampers.
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- Post is under moderationIRON PATRIOT
The seriously gorgeous Henna red, S50-swapped finale to CAtuned’s tri-colour E30 triumvirate. The CAtuned E30s are among the best in the world; here’s the final of the set, the #S50-swapped Henna red example, which completes the patriotic red, white and blue trio. Words: Ben Koflach / Photos: Courtney Cutchen
It’s amazing how some cars can just fall by the wayside. Sure, we can all fall on hard times and cars can be an easy thing to push to one side but sometimes this abandonment becomes sacrilege. Luckily, though, one man’s nuisance E30 is another man’s perfect base for a project. US tuning house, CAtuned, demonstrated this perfectly with this Henna-coloured car as it turned this classic 3 Series from a wreck into a car to be proud of.
When we say ‘wreck’, we mean it. This #1990 325i, which was originally #Calypso red, came into CAtuned’s ownership with a snapped timing belt, an interior that was as good as gone, damaged bodywork and smashed lights. To many, it was destined for the scrapheap. Fortunately, CAtuned front man, Igor Polishchuck, thought differently… “It was bought four years ago at a donation auction,” explained Igor. “I think I overpaid at the time, purchasing it for $1200 but I wanted to get something bad to show what we can do. It needed everything: the engine was toast, the interior was a goner, and the paint was unrecognisable.” After being rolled into the CAtuned workshop, though, it would never look the same again.
“I chose the Henna red colour because I always liked it and since BMW never made a late model E30 in that colour I figured, why not?” Igor explained. Of course, before it was packed off to the bodyshop, Igor and his team had a few of their own touches to add. The E30 was stripped to its core, and the body was restored, along with a few tweaks. The damaged parts were stripped or repaired and a central windscreen wiper mount was welded in.
While the E30, now no more than a rolling shell, was away at the bodyshop, CAtuned purchased a crashed 1995 E36 M3 in order to utilise its S50B30 heart in the E30. The 240hp US-spec lump was completely rebuilt with all new bearings, seals and gaskets, as well as an E34 sump to make it ready for the transplant. Reliable horsepower is hard to argue with, and this E30 was built with speed in mind.
Once the shell, now fully painted in the beautiful PPG Henna red hue you see here, was back at CAtuned, the rebuild began. The glass was refitted with all new seals and surrounds, and the team also had Euro bumpers and trims prepared for the car to get rid of the US-spec ‘diving board’ pedestrian safety items. CAtuned’s own splitter was bolted to the bottom of an iS front lip; no stone was left unturned. The original suspension was used to roll the car in and out of the bodyshop but beyond that its life was over. It was binned, with CAtuned coilovers fitted in its place. Igor worked for a number of years specifically designing and testing CAtuned’s suspension systems, and the guys have got it nailed. On this car you’ll find full coilovers all-round with separately adjustable ride height and pre-load, along with 32-stage adjustable monotube dampers. They’re perfect for on-road comfort and performance.
While they were at it every bush was replaced with polyurethane items, with a #Z3 rack and Eibach anti-roll bars to boot. Everything was bolted back under the car along with new wheel bearings fitted, leaving just the brakes to do. For these, Igor used new OE rear calipers with ceramic pads and grooved discs. All new brake lines were run from front to rear, with the aging rubber flexi-hoses replaced by CAtuned stainless steel braided items front and rear, as well as the clutch hose. Upgrading the braking at the front end – to match the planned horsepower – was done with a CAtuned Stage 2 big brake kit. It’s yet another product that Igor and his team have formulated over the years of building E30s and other classic BMWs; it comprises 285mm grooved discs and beefy four-piston Wilwood calipers.
The final addition to the chassis setup was, of course, the wheels. Igor had nothing but the best in mind, sourcing a set of BBS’s timeless RSs for the E30. These were finished with white centres and polished dishes, measuring 8.5x16” ET6 up front and 9.5x16” ET6 at the rear, fitted with nicely stretched BF Goodrich rubber – perfect for tucking up into those arches. As a finishing touch, Igor used Motorsport Hardware wheel studs to mount the wheels – what better way to promote your trade partners, after all?
With the chassis work done and the exterior well on the way, the CAtuned crew began work on getting that freshly rebuilt S50 mounted up. It was treated to a Fidanza lightweight flywheel and a new OE clutch before being reunited with its partnering #ZF five-speed gearbox and bolted into the little E30 using polyurethane swap mounts. The final step, ensuring that the S50 power could get down to the ground effectively, was a 3.25 final drive LSD, modified to have an aggressive 60% lock.
Of course, getting the engine bolted in was only half the story – there was a little more work to do before it would run. The front half of the exhaust system was left factory, with the rear half swapped for a custom stainless steel system with a Magnaflow muffler to keep things civilised. Next up: cooling. As a distributor for Mishimoto’s range of alloy cooling products, it was only natural that a Mishimoto radiator ended up in the car, plumbed-in with Rogue Engineering silicone hoses.
The occupants can be kept cool, too, which is vital in the California heat; the CAtuned guys retained the S50’s air conditioning pump and made custom lines to get it plumbed-in and fully functional. A Walbro 225lph fuel pump feeds the S50 with juice through all-new fuel lines, while the CAtuned guys got everything neatly wired in. Until recently the S50 was supercharged, using a VF Engineering system to deliver a hefty 350hp hit.
However, this has been removed for the time being and even a normally aspirated S50 in a lightweight E30 is still pretty potent. There was talk of going turbo with the car but for now a Castro intake does a fine job of getting fresh air into the lump. Igor estimates that it’s making about 250hp. With the running gear sorted, CAtuned just needed to finish the interior in order to complete the project. Fortunately CAtuned is an expert in doing interiors. A full black leather rear half was sourced, with Monaco reclining front buckets and red BMW Motorsport seat belts. A suede-rimmed M Tech 2 steering wheel, custom Bavarian Restorations dash cluster and genuine BMW floormats finish it off nicely.
The sound system was given a boost, too. The entire interior has been treated to Fat Mat sound insulation, with a German Car Audio boot box housing an Infinity amp and sub, all custom wired in.
CAtuned’s third and final E30 demonstrates a different take on the classic 3 Series to the ‘Miss blue’ and Alpine white M Tech 1 cars that you’ll have seen previously in the magazine. An updated powerplant and a thorough chassis upgrade give it some serious performance yet it retains all the classic cool of the late model E30 that it started out life as. This E30 hasn’t just been rescued from the scrapheap – it’s been completely reborn as an entirely new creation.
Three-piece RSs have been finished with polished lips and white centres; Motorsport door handles add the finishing touch.
DATA FILE #1990 #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i / #BMW-325i-CAtuned-E30 / #BMW-E30-CAtuned / #BMW-E30
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30 / #S50 (fully rebuilt), #Castro-Motorsport intake, original #BMW exhaust manifold and catalytic converters, custom rear exhaust system with #Magnaflow muffler, #Walbro 255lph fuel pump, #Mishimoto alloy radiator with #Rogue-Engineering coolant hoses, #Spal electric fan, custom A/C lines, #Fidanza lightweight flywheel, polyurethane engine mounts, five-speed manual gearbox, #UUC short shifter and dual-shear selector rod, polyurethane transmission mounts, 3.25 final drive ratio LSD with 60% lock.
CHASSIS: 8.5x16” (front) and 9.5x16” (rear) #BBS-RS three-piece splits with 205/45 (front) and 225/45 (rear) #BF-Goodrich tyres, #Motorsport-Hardware wheel studs and nuts, Z3 steering rack, #CAtuned Motorsport steering coupling, CAtuned full coilover conversion, #Eibach antiroll bars, reinforced trailing arms, CAtuned front big brake kit (consisting of #Wilwood calipers and 285mm slotted discs), slotted rear discs, ceramic rear pads, all new brake lines and CAtuned braided hoses.
EXTERIOR: Fully restored and repainted in #PPG-Henna red (originally Calypso red), Euro bumper conversion, single wiper conversion, iS front lip and sideskirts, CAtuned splitter, glass sunroof, all new locks, yellowed Euro ‘smiley’ headlights.
INTERIOR: Suede headlining, M Tech 2 steering wheel, Husco armrest, E46 ZHP gear knob, #BMW-Motorsport red seatbelts, custom stereo panel, German Car Audio rear sub box and amp box with all independent wiring, Fat Mat sound insulation throughout, #Bavarian-Restorations dash cluster, fully functional air conditioning.
Interior has been treated to suede headlining, an M Tech 2 steering wheel and a pair of Monaco reclining front bucket seats.
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