Features

Features

Shawn Robertson's E46 M3 sedan

Photography by Shawn Robertson @shawnrphotography

When I first got back into a BMW from a couple year break (2009) I had chose an ‘03 330i sedan. I promptly stumbled onto the E46fanatics forum to dive deep into my new obsession and research everything that I possibly could about E46’s. It was pretty fast for me to realize that an E46 M3 was my new “realistic” dream car, but at the time it never looked obtainable. So I did pretty much what the majority of people do with non-M cars and upgraded with OEM+ modifications to make it look as much like the M as possible. At that time I dreamt of eventually building my car into an M3 sedan (because of JeppeJ's Interlagos Blue M3, look it up if you haven’t seen it before.)

Anyway, S54 swapped E46 non-M’s aren’t that uncommon nowadays… but a full out conversion is a little more rare. So I was extremely happy to see that Shawn was in the process of doing this to his ZHP. I was already a huge fan of his car in its ZHP form so I knew it was going to be great. The attention to detail and goal to build it as close to a factory M3 is very apparent. This is one of the cleanest conversions I’ve seen since JeppeJ’s, as I hold that to the highest standard in which one should be done in.

Shawn originally was in the market for a stock ZHP 6 speed. He bought the car sight unseen from a ZHP dealer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was excited to drive the car since it had been about 11 years since he last owned a BMW. His last car was in 2005 which was a 1995 Avus Blue turbo E36 (making 601whp). Once he started looking at forums like E46fanatics, ZHPmafia, and M3forum it didn't take long for the itch to set in and before he knew it he bought an M3 parts car from Copart… before he even knew how to do an S54 swap mind you. So Shawn had his buddy at Lins Specialty Automotive perform the full mechanical S54 swap since he had a lot going on in his life and he needed some help.

He drove about a year on that and during that year he decided to retrofit and equip the car with every rare option he could think of. Once he completed that he picked up a wagon and another parts car to make an S54 wagon to sell. Before he tossed that sell he scavenged all the body parts to start his M3 body conversion. He had Superstar Customs in Lilburn, Georgia do the rear fender flares and contacted 2M Autowerks for their fiberglass front M3 sedan fenders. Born2doit customs painted the car in Imola Red and then he decided he wanted something close to an E46 M3 CSL sedan.

Currently the car has 174k miles and though he wished he had started with a lower mileage chassis, he loves the car and the work that went into it. It’s his one of a kind car. For now he just wants to enjoy it and would love to eventually pass it down to his son in the future.


2003 E46 ZHP/M3

Chassis 165k miles when S54 swapped with 128k miles


ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN

- S54 (131k miles) with new OEM VAC Motorsport coated bearings installed

- E46 M3 cluster coded and modded for 4 doors and corrected mileage

- 6 speed Getrag Transmission (131k miles)

- 3.62 M3 LSD w/ axles and complete rear end

- GSR CSL Carbon Airbox with intake snorkel, CSL Map sensor and IAT

- OEM CSL Software with Oil Level readout

- ///M Track DSC System Enabled

- S54 Stock header

- S54 midpipe with Jones Universal Maxflow Muffler in place of midpipe

- Custom 3rd Rear section with Quad exhaust

SUSPENSION / BRAKES

- Porsche 996 4POT Brakes front and rear

- OEM CSL Rotors front and rear

- E46 M3 Coilovers (DGR Suspension)

- AKG Bushings: Spherical RTAB, Front Control Arm Bushing, Differential , Engine Mounts

- Turner Motorsport front and rear swaybars

- ZHP Steering Rack retained

- E46 M3 lower FCA

- E46 M3 Rear trailing arms

- SPC adjustable rear control arms for camber

- BMW Performance Carbon Fiber Strut Brace

WHEELS

- OEM CSL wheels (square) 19x9.5”

EXTERIOR

- Fresh repaint 405/3 Imola Rot II

- Seibon Carbon Fiber CSL Trunk

- M3 Body Conversion

- 2M Autowerks M3 front fenders

- Status Gruppe CSL diffuser for Mtech II bumper

INTERIOR

- N6NG Natur Braun leather M3 Seats (Custom LSeat covers installed)

AUDIO

- Eonon Android 7.1 Double Din Radio

- HK Amp audio system

Features

Jarrett Brock's E30 S54 325i

Photography by Richard Mason Hughes @euro_rmh

1990 BMW E30 325i 

140k on chassis, 80k on motor, No rust

Exterior

  • New OEM BMW Delphine Grey Metallic paint
  • Shaved trunk
  • OEM Euro smoothen bumperettes
  • OEM Euro trim front and rear
  • OEM Euro grills
  • Hella Euro lights
  • OEM Smoked front turning signals
  • OEM 318is under hood panel
  • OEM 318is front lip
  • OEM Smoked fog lights
  • New OEM BMW Badges f&r
  • Original OEM Glass all around
  • Driftkingz full aluminum front splitter, black

Wheels

  • BBS RS – Front: 17x9.5" et39 Rear: 17x10.5" et39
    Matte black faces, matte black waffles, gloss black lips, gloss black inner barrels, gold ARP hardware, gold BBS hexes, red/gold BBS centercaps

Suspension

  • Full OEM E36 front 5 lug swap
  • Full OEM 318ti rear 5 lug swap
  • Original Hartge front strut tower bar, full polish
  • Garagistic rear strut tower bar, black
  • Custom Airlift performance struts
  • Air Lift 3p Management
  • Dual Viair 444c Compressors
  • 2 gallon air tank, brushed raw

Interior

  • Full OEM BMW Caramel Leather front and rear seats
  • OEM BMW E9X floor matts
  • New OEM ashtray
  • New OEM switches throughout the dash
  • Hartge Shift Knob, wood grain
  • M-Tech leather Steering Wheel
  • Data Logger
  • Custom Gauge Cluster
  • Black Alcantara rear deck and panel
  • Black OEM handles
  • Black Carpet
  • New OEM Switches throughout
  • New OEM seatbelts
  • Suede gearbox boot

Engine/Drivetrain

  • Full S54 BMW motor swap (2005 e46 m3 motor)
  • Full 6 speed transmission swap 
  • OEM e46 BMW m3 clutch, flywheel, etc.
  • Motor resealed 
  • VANOS rebuilt
  • New OEM rod bearings
  • New OEM Cylinder Head Bolts
  • New OEM Rod Bolts
  • New OEM Rear Main seal
  • New OEM Front Main seal
  • Custom Engine Wiring Harness
  • Stand Alone ECU
  • Custom Powersteering cooler 
  • Tuned by Rk tunes 320rwhp
  • 3 1/2 custom exhaust 
  • Dyno max muffler and electric cutout
  • New Cylinder Head Bolt Set
  • AKG 24V Swap Mounts
  • E34 oil pan
  • New Oil Pump
  • CSF Radiator
  • SPAL Electric Fan
  • Custom Oil Cooler
  • Custom Intake with K&N Filter
  • OEM LSD
  • Custom Driveshaft
  • Reinforced front subframe
  • Reinforced rear subframe
  • 944 Porsche OEM brake booster
  • Full OEM e36 front brake setup
  • Battery relocated to trunk

Follow Jarrett on instagram: @feeels30

Features

John Long's E92 M3

Photography by Matt Petrie @crosshair_nightmare

The root of our automotive passion varies as greatly as the interest in the types of cars we fall in love with.   For John, his roots stemmed from his Uncle Artie, who had quite a car collection.  It consisted mostly of iconic muscle cars from all manufacturers as well as a handful of various sports cars.  A stable with that assortment would be enough to get anyone excited, let alone a child John’s age.  As impressive as his collection may have been, it wasn’t until one distinct moment that solidified it for John.  It was Easter Sunday, 1992 and John and his uncle were on their way to lunch to meet up with the rest of the family.  What was the vehicle of choice for a beautiful Sunday you may be asking yourself?  Well it just happened to be his brand new, (quintessential) red Dodge Viper, in all of its three-spoked-wheel glory, of course.  Just a beautiful day for a cruise, it was something that many of us can relate to, but it meant more to John.   

During the drive, a stretch of road ahead of them shaped John’s future forever.  As the highway opened up, his uncle laid in on the "go pedal."  Changing the gears and beaming forward steadily like a bullet, John was overwhelmed with excitement.  Now, deep into triple digits and not letting off, John’s adrenaline was firing as ferociously as all of the Viper’s ten cylinders.   Without him truly understanding it, there would forever be a void in him if this emotion could not be replicated.  You can say it was burned into him...literally climbing out he scorched his leg on the lake pipes.  Puns aside, although he was a burned flesh-Viper exhaust statistic, that still wasn’t enough to take the moment away from him.  Telling the story as vividly as the day it happened, there's no doubt in John’s mind this was that turning point. 

Over the years, his passion grew stronger.  Month by month, John would collect automotive magazines.  He memorized the statistics of each make and model while taking notes on their styling cues.  By the time he was in high school his knowledge for cars had sharpened from the periodicals and when his driver’s education teacher told the class to bring in photos of their dream cars, the next day John walked in with a photo of an E46 M3.  His love for BMW was evident and the M3 was his ultimate goal.  When he graduated college, the latest M3 was unattainable, but a LeMans Blue 335i wasn’t a shabby tradeoff.  That car was very fast and it fulfilled his speed addiction, but even the full bolt-on, E85 drinking, N54 didn’t totally complete him.  While he was coming to this realization, work was about to move him out of Long Island and into Manhattan.  New York City’s mass transit is one of the largest and most efficient in the world, many natives go without vehicles, some never getting their driver's licenses at all.  Owning a car in New York City is one thing, but maintaining a nice car in the city is nearly impossible.  Depending on where you’re parking, you can be spending nearly a month’s rent just to keep it safe and covered.  Bittersweet, the time for John to part ways with the 335i, but he promised himself he’d be back in another BMW when his living situation allowed.  

Four years later, a new job opportunity came up moving him out of the city and back onto Long Island.  After his daily driver was situated to get him to and from work, it was time to scratch that weekend car itch and figure out what to enjoy on his free time.  He looked at a bunch of F80 M3's.  Despite their addictive power, their sound and lack of connection to the road deterred him from buying one.  With his youthful experience lingering in his subconscious, John found himself hunting for V8’s.  The love for the M3 and hunger for displacement narrowed his searches down to the S65, BMW's second eight cylinder offered for M cars. 

Like most diligent car searches, time (and a little bit of luck) is crucial to find the right one.  It took John six months to locate his dream car.  He found this Interlagos Blue M3 up in Michigan with only 26k miles on the clock.  He bought the car sight unseen and had it shipped back to New York as a Christmas present to himself.  As excellent as that was, he was far from being done with just the purchase alone. He wanted to modify it, but more importantly, he wanted to address the dreaded rod bearing issue and preserve the four-liter power plant.  With the correct mindset of maintenance preceding modifications, he began to do some research.  He was looking for a reputable shop to do the invasive work.  Familiar with ACM's reputation on the forums during his ownership of the 335i, the volume of recommendations praising ACM for the work cemented his decision to bring the car over to NJ.  He reached out to Jeff at AUTOcouture Motoring and a week after receiving his Christmas present, he booked himself an appointment at the shop to go under the knife.  While this was in the works, he also inquired about getting a replica part installed that he was supplying. 

Dozens upon dozens of emails back and forth with Jeff extracted the true blueprint that John had drawn up in his head for the car over the years.  Jeff's collaboration took John's ideas and dialed them into a tangible work of art.  Always craving the execution of a setup of this nature, in the matter of just two stages, John was well on his way into exceeding those expectations. 

During the first round, all fluid services were performed to baseline himself and keep track for his records.  The upgraded rod bearing job was performed along with Ohlins R/T coil overs and an Akrapovic slip-on muffler paired with a Borla quad resonated X-pipe.  After receiving the car upon completion, he reached back out to Jeff immediately to get the ball rolling on round two in order to prep parts that would take weeks to get in.  One of the bigger items is the supercharger.  His supercharger of choice is ESS Tuning's highest trim level for the stock block - the VT2-650 kit.  It was shipped directly from ESS to IND Distribution in Illinois to get custom paint work done.  Rather than ESS's standard wrinkle black plenum, John’s was done in gloss black with an Interlagos Blue stripe.  To slow the car down as quickly as it goes, a StopTech 60/40 big brake kit was installed.  Not the standard StopTech kit, the finish reveals that these are their lightweight Trophy kit.  Not only an improvement in performance, but the finish was perfectly subdued and worked well against the color of the car.  HRE Classic 301 wheels in their brushed dark clear maintains that classic appearance with a slight twist on the factory setup and almost a direct match to the brake calipers. 

BC Carbon front lip with IB paint matched lower, makes the carbon fiber front lip look as though it is stuck into the body.  An RKP diffuser and M Performance spoiler finish off the rear end with a touch of perfectly woven carbon fiber.  GTS DCT transmission software from AlpineMS sharpens the shift points and changes the attitude of the driving experience.  The Awron gauge is tapped right into one of the intake runners for the most accurate, real time readings while a vivid, high-resolution screen displays various functions including one of my favorite features - the active line graph of torque and horsepower. 

John’s M3 is already a monster, but he is still not finished with it yet.  Although rapid, he is enjoying the build process almost as much as the car itself.  For sure, this won’t be his only dream car.  As his stable continues to grow in his Uncle Artie's footsteps, you can be certain he is not going to be parting ways with this one.  I can already see the warm spring day coming up when John takes out his nephew into triple digits and carries on the torch of excitement and passion to the next generation.  

Features

Nick Dimitrov's E30 M3

Photography by @funkymac

1990 BMW E30 M3
92,900 original miles
Individual Fire Orange U94
All matching VIN panels (minus hood, that came off a DS 1988 e30 m3)

Exterior
OEM Vert Welded front Strut plates
Rolled quarters
Shaved passenger door lock
Shaved engine bay
Euro smoothen bumpers
Complete soda blasted body
Zero rust
Under Coated black
All brand new OEM gaskets and moldings
Brand New OEM front Windshield
Manual Roll up Windows OEM Conversion
Euro grilles non oem
Euro French Yellow Projected H1 LED, Smileys
Oem Restored Taillights
Oem Smoked front turning signals
Evo Sport Bumper strip (custom)
Evo Sport Fender/Hood OEM moldings
Evo 1 front lip non oem
Evo DTM ducks non oem
318is under hood panel
OEM brand new M3 front and rear badges
OEM brand new front and rear bmw badges
Kessell performance bumper strips
50% tinted windows all around including front windshield.

Wheels
CCW Forged Classics
Gloss black faces
Gloss black ARP hardware
Gloss black inner barrels
Tinted gloss clear over polished lips/ CCW oil slick stickers
OEM ///M valve caps
Shorten metal valve stems
Rally Road 90MM studs conversion
18x10 et25 225/35/18 Federal 595
18x9 et25 215/35/18 Continental Extreme DWS

Suspension
Bilstein PSS Coilovers front
8k spring rates
BR racing rear shocks/ Swift/ fortuneauto coilovers set up 12k spring rates
S/T sway bars 22mm F/ 19mm R
RD Poly sway bar bushings
Turner Motorsports end links
Ground Control Street/Track camber/ caster plates
Reinforced front subframe
Reinforced rear subframe
AKG Polly subframe mounts
AKG Polly diff mount
AKG Polly Rtab mounts
AKG adjustable camber/toe welded brackets and bolts
Garagistic rear strut tower reinforcement plates
Garagistic rear powder coated black strut bar
Garagistic towing/dyno hooks
DR racing adjustable front strut bar
E36 M3 96/99 steel lower control arms
Tree house lcrm mounts
Condor Speed shop poly inserts

Brakes
Porsche 996/911 Carrera Brembos
4 Piston Rebuilt with Gray seals
Soda Pop Orange Powder coated
Chase bays Abs delete set up with adjustable proportion valve and metal tucked brake lines
Ceramic Brake pads
E46 M3 328/330MM Brembo blank Rotors
Rally Road front and rear Brembo brackets
Sps concept modified rear e36 to e30 rear brackets
Rally Road Blue metal brake lines
944 Porsche OEM brand new brake booster
OEM brand new Bmw e32 750il 25mm Master Cyl
OEM E30 M3 Master Cyl Reserver

Interior
Black Alcantara catuned headliner
Black Alcantera Suede Door panels
Black OEM handles
Black Carpet
Euro Manual Windows Center Console
Euro OEM non locking glove box handle
Black Alcantara Recaro Evo Sport Rep seats/ Rear seat delete black suede
Black F30 Rubber OEM floor mats
Black Alcantara A, B & C pillars
Black Alcantara rear speaker deck and rear panel
Oem Mtech 2 385mm steering wheel with M tri color stitching (Nappa leather)
E30 UK Alcantara Shift Boot
E30 UK Alcantara ebrake boot
325is ebrake handle and trigger
Oem M3 5speed ZHP shift knob
BavRestoration custom E30 M3 cluster, with digital oil temp gauge, and DTM flat black Rings

Engine/Drivetrain
S50b30 US Spec- 75,000 miles
ZF1 5speed US Spec trans-
(Detent service, shifter select rod replaced)
Schrick 276/270 Camshafts
Dr. Vanos Stg1
TMS shorty track headers
Custom 3inch stainless exhaust
Race muffler 3inch dual exit tips
24 Lbs blue top injectors
Bosh brand new OEM intank fuel pump
Bosh brand new OEM external fuel pump
Semens brand new OEM Fuel sending unit
Oem e30 m3 fuel filter
3.5inch maf
Mishimoto 3.5 inch 90% elbow
JDM racing 3.5 inch 45% elbow
3.5 inch inlet Diesel intake filter
RK-tunes, burble tune
Redline raised to 7,250RPM
FX racing Stg2 Clutch, FXracing 14 lbs alum flywheel, Sachs Trow out bearing.
UUC Evo 3 Shifter
AKG 24v swap Dtm dssr bar
AKG 24v swap 90grade engine mounts
AKG 24v swap poly trans mounts
TMS alum trans mount cups
Brand new oem e30 325 trans cross member
E36 M3 4bolt drive shaft
E30 M3 OEM center support bearing
Oem Spec Febi Guibo
3.15 ratio LSD 188mm differential
Z3M Diff cover
E34 m50 oil pan, pick up tube and oil tub with dip stick
E46 M3 OEM oil cap
Oem oil filter housing gasket
Oem oil pan gasket
Oem rear heater pipe gasket
Oem oil pick up tube gasket
Oem shortened radiator hoses
Oem valve cover gasket
Oem new m54 oil pressure line
Denso spark plugs
AZautohauz heater core
Oem 318ti rear heater core hose
Oem spider hose
Oem rear main seal
Oem pilot bearing
Secured safety wired oil pump nut
Bavarian raceworks oil temp adapter to oil pressure switch
behr 318ti radiator with 1.4 Bar radiator cap
Oem oil filter
5w30 Castrol Synt Oil 6.9 Quarts

You can follow Nick on Instagram @nickyd_69

Features

Ian Kley's E46 M3 / M-kart

Photography by Ian Kley @ian_kley & Mark Scire II @mscire2

In the early morning hours of February 17, 2017 I received the call every auto enthusiast that stores their prized possessions off site or away in storage fears most….”Your car is gone”

In my case there had been a structure fire in the building that housed my rented shop space, in an instant my fairly heavily modified ’02 Imola Red/Cinnamon E46 M3 had been destroyed, along with the contents of my shop space.

Emotions at that time ranged from devastation, to annoyance, to slightly amusing relief that everything was properly written off for insurance purposes, all the way to inspiration that came full circle when my buddy Jay and I trudged into the rubble, popped the melted doors open, and saw the glass lower with the door, indicating that there was still power in the vehicle, for us this was enough, it would have to live again….

Fast forward four months later, after a grueling insurance/properly loss litigation, the vehicle was finally purchased back from the insurance company and at new space generously loaned to me by my afore mentioned friend Jay, whom somehow always finds himself conned into involvement in my absurd projects, we were ready to give it new life.

Upon return of the car it was inspected throughly and just as we hoped, miraculously under the badly burned and smoke saturated exterior, lay relatively undamaged drivetrain, suspension, wiring, and running gear..

The next step in this project remains highly controversial: The process began to decide what we would actually do with the charred remains. For months behind the scenes Jay and I discussed options, ultimately deciding that with limited options for such a badly damaged vehicle, that we would do something, that although is popular these days, we have wanted to do for years to a car, which was to remove and modify the majority of the unibody chassis, replacing it with an exo-roll cage and rip it on the street….Hate it or love it the #mkart was underway.

Before the fire the car was what i would consider modified to a super choice “clubsport” spec. All suspension bushings were upgraded with polyurethane from AKG Motorsports along with the common rear subframe reinforcement, body mounted motorsports “quickshifter” also from AKG, upgraded engine and transmission mounts from Vibratechnics, OEM Z4m steering rack with AKG polyurethane steering coupler, KW Clubsport 2way dampers, fixed back buckets and a one off half cage from FHF Fabrication, as well as a slew of other little detail and cosmetic upgrades.

During the transformation we added a few choice goods that had been planed for the car in the upcoming season, such as Porsche 996 Brembos, Koyo aluminum rad/ Mishimoto e-fan setup, Mocal oil cooler upgrade, and a custom velocity stack/ heat shield setup final tuned by Jordan at RKTunes.

Over the next two months, Jay and I (mostly Jay) worked tirelessly, stripping, cutting, bending, welding and shaping metal to create the cage over the remaining chassis, removing over 3ft off the back off the car and affixing the rear subframe directly to the cage. Cheap mild tubing and some rough, quick fab work did the trick, this was wasn’t about fit and finish, it was all about sketchy fun and near instant gratification. I would be lying if i said we had a definitive plan before going at this, the majority of this project was improvised as we went along, however the one thing we were able to agree upon from the beginning, was that the car absolutely had to be road worthy, it simply wasn’t not funny enough unless we could use it on the street.

As a result we kept the factory front clip and headlights, as well as the a-pillars and a new piece of glass, we used universal trailer LED taillights and blinkers for the legal stuff, we even added a completely useless rear view mirror for that extra level of: “please don’t impound us bro!!!!”

It was to be a 100% street car….from my prospective this project was all about was making people smile, making the best of a bad situation and encouraging others to never give in to negativity and fear of being themselves.

After it was finished we had an absolute riot ripping around town, laying tire, shooting big flames from the short exhaust, answering hilariously confused questions, letting people sit in it, letting our friends take it out… Jay and I even drove it 4.5hrs from Buffalo, NY to Pocono Raceway for the Mpact BMW event in August 2017, as well as Canibeat’s First Class Fitment and even over the GW bridge in NYC to a Cars & Coffee event in Greenwich, CT. It was endless hilarity and hooliganism.

Most importantly this seemingly goofy project served as a good bit of personal therapy during one of the hardest years of my life. Not two weeks before the fire, my mother was diagnosed with completely unexpected terminal cancer at age 61…she lived just long enough to see the completed project on its maiden voyage, later that night sending me the last text message I would ever receive from her, reminding me how proud she was of me for not giving up, having a positive attitude and always seeing the bright side to a bad situation, values I not surprisingly learned from her, and I learned from the best.

The moral of this story/project was to inspire others and remind ourselves never to give up, and never miss an opportunity to see the brighter side of any situation.

By the time you’ll read this, the #mkart will have already been stripped of its drivetrain and suspension components, they will have gone off to live in a new project of mine, a perfect spec Alpine White/Impulse cloth SMG E46 M3, a prime candidate for a full run through and rehab, but the kart chassis still exists, and who know, you might see it reincarnated in some form soon, keep an eye out!