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Features

IND M4 GTS-Plus

Photography by Matt Petrie @crosshair_nightmare

IND is a household name in the BMW community.  From minor cosmetics like painted reflectors and custom trunk badges, to all metal wide body projects, OEM carbon fiber roof swaps, and full interior transformations, there is no task too big or small for the great folks out in Illinois.  On top of that impressive résumé as a distribution center they are responsible for brands such as Challenge, RKP, 3D Design, and Eventuri, just to name a few.  The list of greatness could go on, so upon its tenth anniversary this year, how does a company celebrate?  By creating a mobile trophy culminating all of their strengths into one flowing art form in the shape of a F82 M4.  It is a daunting task to find a way to out perform previous SEMA builds and project cars that have graced the pages of well-known BMW and European sports car publications.   With a fantastic color, incredibly rare and exclusive parts, and a well thought out plan, the IND “GTS-Plus” was executed flawlessly with the hard work and dedication of many individuals.   

The GTS-Plus started off its life as a Yas Marina M4 built around the aftermarket community highlighting all of the latest parts being designed and developed for the next generation BMW, more specifically the brand new introduction of the F82 M4 to BMW’s lineup. Sporting the highest caliber pieces front to back, there was no doubt this car stood out and did its job of showing what is available for the community.  It wasn’t until it underwent its Porsche Ultraviolet transformation that it became an iconic poster car, surpassing any expectation anyone could have held.

With the release of the limited production M4 GTS in its infancy and only a handful of people currently receiving them around the world,  the excitement of seeing one in person and the delivery to their owners has enthusiasts eager with anticipation.  Since the M4 GTS is not yet readily available and replacement parts only being available to those with their VIN numbers even remotely able think about getting backup parts, certainly you won’t find a car sporting any GTS components just yet, right?  Not quite, IND found a way to get their hands on the OEM GTS wing, half cage, and hood.  Where they didn’t get authentic GTS parts, they delivered alternative ways to impress.  They “settled” (insert proverbial air quotes and eye rolling in jealousy) for the last existing new set of genuine E46 M3 CSL buckets from a Motorsports warehouse in Germany.  Rather than the double staggered, acid orange wheels of the GTS, they chose the new BBS FI-R in double staggered sizes with a custom hand brushed finish.  BBS center caps were also custom machined to match the high luster finish of their FI-R’s.  The regular skinny and extremely strong spokes of the FI leave no where for Brembo GT’s to hide.  Add in the 5-axis procedure that the FI-R requires during production and now the holes in the windows add for another dimension of visibility and weight savings.  

Upholding their stellar reputation of their paintwork, there is not an inch of the previous Yas Marina Blue left to be found.  The car looks as though it was painted from the factory as an Individual car and it basically was.  The entire car was disassembled inside and out.  Along with the respray, 3D Design full carbon fiber bumpers were added to the front and the rear with matching 3D Design side skirt extensions along the bottom of the rockers.  An adjustable carbon fiber lower aero tray is much like the GTS’, but much larger to fit the shape of the 3D Design bumper.  Also identical to the M4 GTS,  KW Club Sport coil overs are dialed in, inside each wheel arch of the Ultraviolet M4.

The purple accents are continued into the interior of the car.  Most noticeably on the OEM GTS half cage sitting over custom made carbon fiber dead panels.  It is also found in the stitching along the doors and across the entire dashboard, that happens to be fully reupholstered in alcantara.  Lightweight components were brought into the car to replace areas like the center console and door cards.  Competition seat belts out of Germany run the Motorsports stripes down the length of belt with identically matched door pulls.  Pop the GTS hood and below the large weave pattern on the underside, you’ll find much more Ultra Violet matched pieces and trim work.  The color coordinated bits are all around the upgraded intercooler, which is one of many of Fall Line Motorsports’ newest performance upgrades this car is sporting.  On the business end of the car, Fall Line Motorsports also designed front spherical bearing conversion bushings, sway bar end links, rear toe adjustment arms, rear upper arm bearings, an oil cooler guard for the F8x chassis.

I had the pleasure of receiving this car when it first arrived early one warm summer morning a few months ago at AutoCouture Motoring.  It arrived and stayed at the ACM home base to be used for a couple of shows during the 2016 show season.  All of the hype and excitement on social media and the forums took nothing away from the experience and presence this car commands.  Even to the point that we caused mini traffic jam the first morning it was sitting out in our parking lot.   Inside ACM, all of the mechanics and sales office enjoyed it day in day out, as did customers who excitedly embraced the surprise when they dropped their car off for work.  There were also those from the Tri State who migrated there just to see it for themselves in person.  The more time you spend around the GTS Plus, the more detail can be seen.  You can really see the thought and hard work that went into every detail and why IND is ‘IND.’  It is currently in the BBS Wheels booth at SEMA 2016 so if you’re lucky enough to be out in Las Vegas enjoying the show this week, be sure to navigate your way to their booth to have a look at it for yourself. 

Features

Yani Avrahami's E30 M3

Photography by Dan Wagener

The idea to create a successor to the BMW M1 based on the new 3 series was born in the summer of 1981. Unlike the M1 however, the M3 was to be mass produced on the assembly line. Due to Group A homologation requirements, BMW had to produce 5,000 road cars in order to compete. Form followed function through the concept with it being built specifically for road racing purposes. Although it was based on the standard 3-series the exterior of the M3 was equipped with 12 different body panels to improve aerodynamics and accommodate a wider track. The power-plant was a high-revving four-cylinder engine known as the S14. It combined the block from the M10 with a four-valve head derived from the one used on the six-cylinder M88 and S38 motors. From 1987 to 1992 the M3 dominated the touring car racing scene and had great success with the street version as well.  

Let's fast forward to 2004, the year when Yani purchased his 1988 Alpinweiss M3 (06/87). It was when their prices were right around their all time low. Back then, it had the S14 engine and was completely stock. Yani had gone through his first BMW CCA drivers school in that trim and had an absolute blast with it. By his next school, he had sent the car to VAC Motorsports in Philadelphia, PA to have them install a pair of Recaro Profi SPG racing seats, the rear roll hoop, cams and perform a tune. 

He had driven the car with the 2.3L for about 125-150,000 miles. It was daily driven for about 4 years until he had picked up a second car. Eventually one of the pistons on his 2.3L had cracked so a rebuild was in order. He had VAC bore out his 2.3L to a 2.5L block, with CP pistons, arrow rods, VAC titanium valves (1mm over size) and titanium springs, 292/284 cams, Stage 3 head, carbon fiber DTM intake manifold, 2pc rally header, and an oversized oil pan. 

After running 50,000 miles, there was a failure at a wrist pin bushing. He was at Summit Point rounding turn 10 at the main circuit, pulling 120mph in 4th gear at 8000rpm… just as he was about to shift to 5th gear and it was done. Just before that happened he had turned to his buddy Dan who was in the passenger seat, “Man I love this car.” and gave the dash the "double tap" and it was all over. Off to VAC again.

After a lot of serious thought and some encouragement from another co-instructor Yani decided to go with an S54 engine this time. The S54 is normally found in the E46 M3 and is one of the highest horsepower per liter engines ever made. The 3.2L six-cylinder is good for 333hp with a powerband that seems infinite. Yani also added a 6 speed manual transmission, 3.64 OS Giken differential, 288/280 Shrick cams, CP Pistons, and VAC's Rods with a Vipec V88 ECU with Vanos Control and Drive-by-Wire Throttle. The additional engine modifications are now putting it at 350+hp. 

With great power comes a need for great stopping ability, so the brakes were also upgraded to Brembo Gran Turismos. Due to old age and blown shocks the Ground Control coilovers were retired for a new JRZ suspension kit. 

The 17" BBS LM wheels were specifically made for the E30 M3 by VAC and are wrapped with Toyo's Proxes RA1 (R-Comp) tires. It's their Racetrack & Autocross tire developed for drivers looking for street-legal circuit tires. This allows Yani to drive to the track, rip all weekend and drive home.

His car has also earned itself a very suiting name, the "White Elephant". Yani's mom was actually the one who had given it the name. She would always call it that because right after Yani bought his car he was constantly fixing and modifying it. According to folklore, the White Elephant symbolizes a rare or valuable possession with the upkeep being very expensive. It is also regarded as a sacred animal in some parts of Southeast Asia even til today, a bit like the E30 M3's reputation among the BMW community.

Yani is the care taker of a true road-racing legend, he has stuck with it through the good times and the bad. He has nourished it and loved it. Most importantly though, he has driven it. Taken it to the track, doing exactly what the E30 M3 was born to do… perform. For that we have much respect for Yani and his passion for the White Elephant.


Features

John Guild's E93 M3

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.