Photography by Matt Petrie
In the realm of sports cars, the debate between coupe and convertible owners has been going on for decades. Coupe owners argue that they prefer the weight savings and rigidity of a fixed roof, whereas convertible owners accept that added weight in exchange for a heightened driving experience, exercising all of one's senses. While both opinions have their validity, when it comes to a car as complete as the M3, there is no incorrect choice.
Now that the unofficial start to summer has begun, there's nothing like being lake side at dusk in Bergen County, New Jersey with your supercharged convertible E93 M3 like John's. As the sun set over the lake, the paint glowed radiantly in the golden light really highlighting the pearl flake on the enlarged arches and hood bulge. Despite all of the modifications he has done to the car, his color choice is still one of the first things people discuss when examining the car closely. Rather than going with BMW's quintessential “Alpine White”, John chose “Mineral White”. It is a low production factory color offered on this current generation chassis in a slightly different shade of white with added metallic pearl. Where it lacks in the crispness compared to Alpine, Mineral White has an added elegance to the car that you notice when walking around it.
John had a vision in mind of how he wanted his car to look, so he reached out to the guys at AUTOcouture Motoring to bring it to life. He modified his car in large, but gradual steps; what started off as a drop on Racing Dynamics springs and Vossen CV3 wheels has now led to what you see here. After the wheels and suspension he did the ACM headlight mod, which blacks out the factory housing with upgraded LED angel eyes. A Vorsteiner front lip was installed and an Arkym rear diffuser was placed in the back sitting atop his new Akrapovic EVO exhaust. In completion of the rear end, John sourced a rare Alpina deck lid spoiler.
He was content for a while, but then the mod bug bit hard. Being around ACM and seeing all of the supercharged cars they put out, John knew that was his next move. Not before long, Thomas Limatola, the shop foreman, was installing an ESS VT2-625 kit with P3 boost gauge on this convertible. With the bolt-ons, ESS tune, and supercharger, of course, John is expected to be making somewhere in the neighborhood of 560 wheel horsepower. With all of that power, it is always a rule of thumb to upgrade the braking system. It wasn't a full 3 weeks after finishing the blower that the guys received a call from John telling them that he had a set of Brembo 380mm on the way to the shop in OEM Lamborghini orange.
With everything on the car being upgraded, he felt it was time to do the same with the wheels. He liked the BBK exposure that the CV3's provided, but wanted a lighter weight wheel to improve the performance of the car. He requested BBS FI's in gloss black and 19 inches in diameter and Sal Benanti was happy to oblige. One day after the brakes were completed, the wheels were delivered and wrapped in 245/295 Michelin Pilot Super Sports. The suspension remains the same RD setup with perfect fitment in the rear, but KW V3 coilovers are on their way in hopes of sitting the front a little more evenly with the back.
I had the pleasure of driving this car to the location for the photo shoot. The combination of the supercharger, blow off valve and Akra exhaust progressively working in union was an absolute treat with the top down. Justifiably, this car earned the attention of everyone it drove past, at least what I noticed from my peripheral. Its presence was felt and was instantly a conversation piece for each person that was walking by at the lake. The package deal of a rare-colored, 600 horsepower convertible with FI's and metallic orange Brembos is just about all that anyone could ask for on a warm summer night.
Those of you, who are on the side of the coupe owners in preferring a hard top, do yourself a favor and go drive a convertible just for the experience. If you ever find yourself in a position to drive a supercharged convertible M3, then you might just find yourself flat-out converted.