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    Edison Hwang’s E92 M3, the ‘Gold Dragon’, fuses shouty V8 thrills with a track-ready chassis; it’s a lightweight carbon fibre racing terror with a comfy interior for the journey home. And it’s won a ridiculous number of trophies… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: LopezArts.


    Carbon-kitted E92 M3

    To understand the ethos behind this rather outrageous E92 M3, you must first get to grips with the conceptual difference between wet and dry carbon fibre. The former is what most people would picture when they hear talk of carbon parts – the glossy stuff has an epoxy either painted onto or vacuum-infused into the woven strands; it’s strong, light, and cheaper to produce than dry carbon. But the dry stuff is the next-level formula – more costly to make, but around 70% lighter while being just as strong, each specific weave being epoxy-coated while it’s crafted. So it doesn’t have the glass-like sheen of a Halfords gear knob, but it’s far superior as a functional material. And if you scale up this sense of focus to a whole car-sized entity, you arrive presently at this golden E92.

    Now, this is a car with an identity crisis. A balls-to-the-wall track car, but still a proper M3 with quality interior appointments and a clear sense of the fusion of luxury and performance. Just look at the colour for evidence of this conflict – this car has been custom-painted in a rich and vibrant shade of Ferrari Rosso Scuderia paint. But you don’t know it, because it’s hiding under a vinyl wrap in lurid Candy Lime. This, it’s fair to say, is a machine with tales to tell.

    Its owner, Edison Hwang, has one or two stories of his own as well. “I’ve been into BMWs since I was about thirteen years old,” he explains. “The whole journey’s been a kinda crazy story. As a car guy and a mechanic, I love the power of the M3 and the way it handles, and there’s just no logical reason for me not to modify it. When I started changing up this car, I made a lot of new friends – my Timeless Motor Group – and now we always go to events together and help each other out. And the real turning point was when we went to SEMA in 2013: arriving at the Las Vegas Convention Center, seeing all those top-flight builds from all over the world, I had a voice in my head saying that I had to build a car worthy of this show.”

    With a mesmerising swirl of images circling through his subconscious from that epochdefining show, Edison put careful thought into pinpointing just what his ideal spec would be, before rolling up his sleeves and diving headfirst into the project. At the top of the wish list was Vorsteiner’s dry carbon fibre GTRS3 wide body kit, comprising beefed up wings, bumpers, rear quarters, bonnet and ducktail boot all in the revered and magical weave. “It was fitted at Blanco Services in Maryland,” he says, “and it took six months to get the fitment perfect! Moulding the rear quarters, custommaking the arch liners, making uniform shut lines, and painting it all in Ferrari red.

    It’s really a lot of work to make it perfect show car quality, and after the wide body was complete I added more details to the car, including the APR racing spoiler, APR front splitter (which I take off for regular street driving, due to height issues), bumper canards, DTM-style side mirrors, and carbon fibre parts everywhere.”

    Those of you familiar with SEMA builds will know that you’re not even going to make it through the door if your car’s all show and no go; the very nature of the event dictates that cars represent a holistic approach to aftermarket modifying and, as brutally rapid as a stock M3 is, standard powertrains are a definite no-no. “The car used to run an Active Autowerk Stage 3 supercharger,” says Edison, “but I actually decided to remove it right after I showed my car at SEMA 2014, since I love the sound of the NA S65 engine.”

    So now that glorious V8 rumbles unforced as BMW intended, but augmented boisterously by a supremely intelligent exhaust system specifically tailored to bellow out an F1 howl. Back when the wide body conversion was underway, Edison had plenty of time for his mind to wander. Six months is a long stretch. So it’s unsurprising that the car found itself treated to a diverse platter of additional treats during this period; a roll cage and a set of custom-built headlights being chief among its fresh new trinkets. A GT wing topped off the exterior, while inside was adorned with a pair of Status Racing seats and a veritable festival of dry carbon goodies. The M3 was given a name – ‘Red Dragon’ – and it scooped up an armful of awards on its first outing.

    Rolling into the Carlisle Performance and Style Car Show in Pennsylvania, all eyes turned; rolling back out again afterwards, the Dragon was toting trophies for Best BMW, Best Paint and Finish, and Best in Show. Not bad. But that was just for starters…

    “It started winning ‘Best in Show’ at every event I took it to, the judges nicknamed it ‘Competition Killer’,” Edison smirks. “But I knew it still wasn’t a SEMA car, there was more work to be done. So I put more effort in, changed a few things, and finally earned a place on the Rohana Wheels stand. My dream had come true, all the effort was worth it.” But success, it’s often said, is like a drug. We can’t all be Nico Rosberg, achieving the perceived pinnacle of our aspirations and saying ‘OK, I’m done now’. Having tasted the sweet tang of success, Edison was all-in for more. “I wanted to go back to SEMA the next year,” he grins, “and that meant changing a lot of things again.”

    A helpful career turn arrived at this point, with Edison joining the Rolloface Performance Inc. family, and this pushed him to level-up to the next great thing. This was when the mighty big brake kit came, and a Rolloface driver’s seat, and various DTM touches, and… then he crashed the car in New York City. Or rather, someone crashed into the back of it in heavy traffic. Game over for the season, the car was done showing for the foreseeable future. Dark times for a trophy addict, but did this leave Edison downhearted? No! (Well, yes obviously… but not for long.) His resolve hardened, he worked more tenaciously to create a scenebreaking E92, the like of which the world had never seen.

    “It was ready for SEMA later that year,” he smiles, playfully slapping fate across the chops with his mighty gauntlet of skill. “Fixed up better than new and with fresh custom parts, I decided at the last minute to wrap it in an acid yellow-green.” An inspired decision, this, since everyone would be expecting that Ferrari red to make another appearance. This game is not won by playing to people’s expectations. “There it was, the ‘Gold Dragon’. A new roll cage went in at the last minute, there was more of an aggressive racing style – the car certainly got a lot of attention.” And, as you’d probably logically assumed, Edison didn’t close the book on the M3 there. This car has always been, and will always be, about being harder, better, faster, stronger. He’s owned it since it was brand new, and it’s pretty safe to say that the warranty evaporated long ago, but ardent petrolheads care not for such trivialities.

    “The M3 really is the ultimate driving machine, and the naturally aspirated V8 suits it so well,” he says. “It was always the intention to turn it into a car like no-one else had. At the moment it’s running Rolloface Performance ZR-1 forged three-piece wheels, which are really strong and lightweight, as well as Rolloface Performance three-way coilovers, and I’ve upgraded all of the chassis components to race-spec – I just love the handling that race parts provide! The big brake kit’s probably my favourite mod on the car, as it provides incredible performance on track as well as looking fantastic, but I also really love the functional nature of the carbon body parts.” And that’s pretty much where we came in – that form-meets-function quality of dry carbon fibre.

    Edison’s got plans for the M3, in the form of a new custom diffuser, Ferrari F12 rain light, carbon intake system and so on, and the keystone of all he does is this: quality speaks for itself. You may see a lot of wet carbon cars at your local meet, but if you want to get into SEMA, it’s a dry carbon state of mind. “I believe that if you do something sincerely, the whole world will help you,” he says. And we certainly wouldn’t want to argue with that.

    / #Carbon-Fibre / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Carbon-Fibre / #BMW-M3-Carbon-Fibre-E92 / #Akrapovic-Delete-R / #Akrapovic / Akrapovic / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92


    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #Rolloface racing intake system, custom oil cooler and transmission cooler, Macht Schnell Performance underdrive pulleys, #Kreissieg titanium floating curl tail exhaust with cat-back F1-sound valvetronic system, Macht Schnell bypass track pipes, Akrapovič Delete-R, tuning by Frank Smith Custom Tune. Seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox

    CHASSIS 10x19” ET0 (front) and 12x19” ET-40 (rear) #Rolloface-ZR-1 three-piece forged wheels in gloss black with titanium bolts and 275/30 (front) and 325/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tyres, #Macht-Schnell wheel studs, Project-Kics-R40 open-end black chrome wheel nuts, #Rolloface-RT-3 Competition Racing three-way adjustable coilovers, custom-rate #Swift springs, #Macht-Schnell electronic dampening control emulation module, #Bimmerworld adjustable rear toe arm set, adjustable rear wishbone set (camber adjustable), spherical rear guiding link set, trailing link bearing set, rear camber arm bearing kit and spherical front race arm conversion, #Rolloface-SR-C big brake kit with eight-piston (front) and six-piston (rear) yellow powder coated forged aluminium calipers and 380mmx32mm slotted high-carbon discs (front and rear), Rolloface Performance stainless steel brake lines (f&r), Pagid-Racing RST race brake pads (f&r), Motul RBF 600 Factory Line brake fluid

    EXTERIOR #Vorsteiner-GTRS3 dry carbon fibre kit comprising front bumper, front lip, wide-arch front wings, side skirts, wide-arch rear quarters, rear bumper, bonnet and CSL-style boot lid, APA Gloss Candy Lime vinyl-wrap (with custom Ferrari Rosso Scuderia paint underneath), AeroCatch 120-2100 locking system, AutoTecknic carbon fibre wing grilles and bonnet vents, BMW M Performance black kidney grilles, Macht Schnell Motorsport tow straps, #APR-Racing-GT-250 dry carbon fibre GT wing, Rolloface custom dry carbon fibre chassis-mount front splitter, M4 #DTM-style front canards, mirrors, aero panel under chassis and rear diffuser, front lower grille painted gloss black with BMW M logo, AutoTecknic 24 SMD LED indicators, OSS Design Raptor M4 DTM-style square angel eyes with LCI inner eyebrow, white LED side-markers, Jet Black blackout and M inner logos

    INTERIOR BMW M Performance Version 2 steering wheel, #BMW-M-Performance aluminium pedals and footrest, #BMW rear sunshade, BMW LED door projectors, custom dry carbon fibre shift paddles and airbag emblem, AutoTecknic carbon fibre steering wheel trim, #Storm-Motorwerks V1 titanium PVD coated handbrake handle, Awron DGA 20-in-1 gauge with Kompressor 1 option, Rolloface dry carbon fibre interior trim kit, Rolloface custom track roll cage powder coated in matt gunmetal grey, #Rolloface dry carbon fibre driver’s race seat, Status Racing custom Spa passenger seat trimmed in leather with bespoke stitching, red Schroth Racing PROFI II ASM FE four-point cam-lock harnesses, Vorsteiner mats, racing fire extinguisher, LED interior lights

    THANKS #Rolloface-Performance , #Toyo-Tires , #Meguiars , #CSF-Radiators , #OSS-Designs , #Schroth-Racing , #Pagid , #Swift-Springs , #APR-Racing , #Motul-USA , #Blanco-Services , #RRT-Racing , #Tuning-Tech-by-Frank-Smith
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    Building an #BMW E46 M3 that stands out from the crowd is no mean feat, and this UK example is one of the best around. Fully fettled, fast and ferocious, this predatory M3 is hungry like the wolf… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Steve Hall.

    The E46 M3 is an awesome car. It’s supremely affordable, fast, a joy to drive, practical and can even be considered economical. It is arguably one of the greatest performance bargains of our time. Unfortunately, as is often the case, when a car is good and affordable it becomes popular and when a car is popular it becomes rather difficult to make it stand out from the crowd. People will often end up doing the same sorts of mods, not because they are sheep but because those are the best mods to do. Creating something different can be quite difficult, something that affects all popular 3 Series models in particular, but James Barrett has faced that challenge head-on and emerged victorious.

    Those in the UK modified BMW scene may well recognise that name because for quite some time James was the go-to guy at M Style for customers looking to spice up their BMs. You may well recognise the car, too, because it is a show regular and has enjoyed more than its fair share of internet fame and with good reason: it’s a stunner! As you may expect from someone who has been at the heart of the modified BMW scene for so long, James has a car history filled with BMWs, and it’s a surprisingly varied mix of BM machinery at that. There’s been an E65, an E60, an E46 and an E36 before James purchased this E46 M3 just over two years ago. It was a car he’d always wanted and so the mods began in earnest.

    As is often the case, the modifying avalanche was triggered by one simple act: fitting some carbon grilles. “It all went from there,” chuckles James. “I had intended to leave the car in its original Titan silver after doing the carbon grilles but one of the wings was slightly off in colour; I wanted to get it taken care of but didn’t want to end up chasing it round the car to try and get it to match perfectly so I decided to do a full colour change. I wanted something that hadn’t been done before, but that was subtle at the same time.” The colour James settled on was Lamborghini Grigio Telesto, a spectacular solid grey, making his the first E46 M3 to sport this look. Considering how unexciting grey is as a colour, it actually makes a big impact because it’s so unusual and definitely makes the car stand out.

    Before the respray James had managed to catch his splitter on a kerb, damaging the bumper in the process. This seemed like a good excuse to fit a CSL front bumper, always a good idea, and he also smoothed the intake hole for a cleaner look.

    The interior of this particular M3 has also gone through something of a transformation. It was originally black, before James swapped in a red leather interior. However, when he decided to fit a purple roll-cage he went back to black as the red and purple simply wouldn’t work together. Purple might seem like an unlikely colour choice for the roll-cage but it was all part of James’ plan. “I wanted a colour that would complement the grey,” he explains. “The grey looks lighter when the sun hits it and so does the Merlin purple. I think that they work really well together. I had initially considered candy red for the cage and wheels but then I figured that it would have taken away from the stealthy look of the car.” Merlin purple is (whisper it) an Audi colour but it’s a darn good-looking one and quite a subtle hue, adding a flash of colour in the black and grey interior.

    Speaking of wheels, the E46 M3 is a car with which it is hard to go wrong when it comes to choosing wheels. Get the right combination and everything from dish to concave can look absolutely killer. The only hard part is making an original choice – so many aftermarket wheels have been done to death already by the modifying masses. Fortunately James has nailed it with his current choice. “I had #CSL wheels originally,” he says, “but silver wheels on a grey car looked odd. Plus, everyone has CSL wheels on M3s. I wanted something different and when I saw the gunmetal #Quantum44-S1 s I knew they were perfect.”

    Quantum44 has produced some extremely good looking wheels but it isn’t a brand that you’re likely to see on every show car around, making this concave ten-spoke wheel a distinctive design. The dark colour coordinates with the overall look of the car, and the interior theme is echoed in the callipers which are finished in Merlin purple. 10mm spacers up front and 20mm items at the rear get the fitment spot-on and the 19s fill the arches perfectly thanks to the aggressive drop that James has dialled-in on his D2 Racing coilovers.

    Elsewhere you may have spotted the CSL bootlid, with its smoothed badge and lock. It was fitted when the car was still silver, along with the smoked indicators, matt black roof, CSL diffuser and ACS roof spoiler. These have since been joined by a whole host of subtle but effective exterior tweaks including a full-width carbon splitter, tinted front lights with smoked inner bowls and Umnitza angel eyes, all-red LED rears and plenty of carbon touches, like the wing vents and carbon washer jet panel.

    Being an M3 you’d be disappointed if there wasn’t a little bit of performance boost, so you’ll be pleased to hear that James has fitted a K&N induction kit with carbon intake, a Mosselman remap and a set of 100-cell sport cats while the SMG has been treated to a CSL software update for faster shifts.

    At this point the car was looking pretty awesome all-round but James still wasn’t finished and he now turned his attention to the interior to really finish it off. The dash and doors have been flocked, the latter offering a fantastic contrast against the gloss grey of the body-coloured door panels, and the standard seats have been unceremoniously removed and replaced with a pair of extremely sexy Cobra Monaco seats complete with Sparco three-point harnesses.

    The dash trims and gear lever surround have been finished in matching Lambo grey and James has also fitted a Storm Motorwerks titanium gear knob and ring plus a set of extended Rogue Engineering paddles. The rear seats have been ditched and back there you will now find a pair of 12” #JL-Audio subs along with a JL amp.

    In just over two years James has done a lot of work and all his effort shines through as the end result is stunning. The attention to detail here is really impressive and he’s paid attention to every element of the car: the aesthetics (both inside and out); the handling; and the performance. No part of the car has gone untouched and every modification has been planned and executed with purpose and planning.

    “I’m very happy with how the car has turned out,” grins James, “it’s exactly how I pictured it would be. I spent ages going through the various options I had at every stage, trying to visualise how it would all tie together as I really wanted to get it right.” Well, he has succeeded there then, although possible plans for the future include a BBK, Quantum’s new curved-spoke S5D wheels and, if funds allow, a supercharger. Whatever the future holds, one thing is for certain: this grey M3 won’t be dull!

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 / #S54B32-TUNED / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E46 /

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , carbon engine cover, #K&N induction kit with carbon intake, 100-cell sport cats, #Mosselman remap, #Sprint-Booster , Eurostyle exhaust tips. Six-speed SMG gearbox, CSL software update.

    CHASSIS 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) #Quantum44 S1 matt gunmetal wheels with 225/35 (front) and 255/30 (rear) Falken tyres, 15mm (front) and 20mm (rear) TPI spacers, #D2-Racing coilovers, #Turner-Motorsport subframe reinforcement kit, full Powerflex bush kit, Rogue Engineering top mounts.

    EXTERIOR Full respray in Lamborghini Grigio Telesto, CSL front bumper with smoothed intake hole, full width carbon splitter, Lamin-x subtle tint front lights with smoked inner bowl, Umnitza Angel eyes, 8000K xenon upgrade, smoothed bonnet, CSL bootlid with smoothed badge and lock, carbon CSL diffuser, carbon wing vents, carbon kidney grilles, matt black roof, red/smoked LED rear lights, light smoke window tints, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, carbon washer jet panel, Audi Merlin purple calipers.

    INTERIOR Body coloured CSL doorcard inserts, body coloured dash trims and gear surround, flocked dash, flocked door cards, Weichers Type B half-cage painted Audi Merlin purple, Storm Motorwerks titanium #SMG ring and gear knob, #AC-Schnitzer pedals and footrest, Rogue Engineering extended paddles, Cobra Monaco seats, Sparco three-point harnesses, rear seat delete, 2x JL audio 12” subs, JL audio amp.

    THANKS Paul and the boys at MStyle for the majority of the work, Abe at Low Expectations clothing, Ad at Strictly Static, Ollie at Absolute Detailing, Ray at Absoflockinlutely, and most of all my better half Dee Barwick for putting up with my paintwork OCD and patience with me when things didn’t quite go to plan!

    Gunmetal Quantum44 19s are the perfect match for the paint; purple and carbon details add the finishing touches.
    Rear seats have been ditched and the space is now occupied by two 12” subs and a Merlin purple roll-cage.

    Cobra Monaco seats up front with flocked dash and #Storm-Motorwerks goodies.

    I decided to do a full colour change. that hadn’t been done before I wanted something.
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