Bartek "Broder" Broda's E36 M3

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Our story begins in February of 2012, on the Isle of Man. Bartek, who was already a BMW enthusiast, purchased a 1996 BMW E36 M3 Evolution Model. This particular car came with no sunroof, in the beautiful Estoril Blue color with beige interior. The car was a perfect starting point, as it had been largely untouched. The previous owner had daily driven the car, transporting her children to and from school in it – lucky kids, right?

Bartek began like most enthusiasts would – cleaning and maintenance, followed by maintenance and cleaning. But eventually the time came for the first modifications. Bartek installed black kidneys and an OEM front lip for subtle cosmetic changes. He then lowered the car with performance coilovers and what we all like the most – two-piece OZ Racing wheels. This state of affairs lasted for several months before Bartek took it further with his M3. Before he knew it new parts were coming in, only to disappear and be replaced by even more interesting and even more rare products to emphasize the specific character of this BMW and its owner. For a while Bartek had the car on BBS RC 300/301 wheel.. then a different set, and so on and so forth. But we’re here to focus on how the car looks now.

At first glance, your eyes are drawn to the BBS RC 300/301 wheels with parameters: 8.5" et13 accompanied by a 15mm spacer on the front, and 10" et25 with a 10mm spacer on the back. Bartek fitted Toyo T1R tires stretched to 205/35 on the front, and 235/30 on the back. Not hidden by the wheels are the upgraded brakes. Stock calipers and discs were replaced by a set of 337x30mm and dual-piston calipers and 328x20mm BMW Performance from the 135i. This M3 will have no problem stopping on a dime.

Bartek chose smoked xenon lights with matching smoked corner markers. He replaced the fog lights with plugs, and under the front bumper he’s gone with the timeless combo of GT Ecken front lip (occasionally) accompanied by GT Schwert. All of Bartek’s attention to detail ties in a very tidy front end with an aggressive demeanor.

Another detail of the M3 that Bartek searched long and hard for, are the authentic Racing Dynamics mirrors.  Moving on to the back of the M3 is the unmistakable LTW wing made of carbon fiber. Bartek says this wing brings to mind the adrenaline filled E36 DTM races. Stock exhaust was replaced with a Super Sprint X pipe and Scorpion back exhaust, along with the DTM end tips to complement overall DTM appearance.

The interior of this RHD M3 has not been spared the Bartek treatment. He has completely modified it leaving only the upper part of the dashboard. The steering wheel was replaced and wrapped in alcantara. An illuminated leather shift knob pokes out from an alcantara boot. Bartek has installed a RUFF short shift kit for rowing through the gears. Vader seats have been retrofitted to the m3 and the lower part of the dashboard and door bolsters swapped to black. Behind the front seats we will find a Staff’s roll bar, which took the place of the rear seats. The icing on Bartek’s DTM themed M3’s interior are the BMW Motorsport iconic red seatbelts.

Under the hood waiting for us is a red valve cover, OMP strut brace and Pipercross panel air filter. The gearbox also got an upgrade. Here we have a RUFF single mass flywheel (~ 5kg), and a new steel braided clutch line by HEL.

The suspension previously included a set of AP coilovers which were replaced by HSD Dualtech fully adjustable suspension, also added were camber arms and special springs on the rear axle – BC Racing 16kg. Traditional rubber bushings were replaced by polyurethane bushings all over.

The BMW E36 is nothing new on the tuning stage – either in Poland or in the world. Bartek realizes there may be others like his, but he also realizes that he created his car to the best of the best in his eyes. He idolized the DTM races and sought for a DTM racer of his own. Bartek took this car from daily driver to daily dose of dopamine. As often as possible he fitted parts that you can find in BMW Motorsport catalogs. Bartek’s favorite part of the E36 however, is driving it.


Brandon Phan's Z3 M Coupe

Photography by Brandon Phan

I’ve always been drawn to BMWs. Maybe it was the aesthetic appeal, or because my parents have always had one or two in the garage as I grew up. 

My M Coupe was the longest relationship I had with a car. Before it, my E39 touring lasted a few months and then the E46 only 9. I was always intrigued by the “clown shoe” and desired to own one eventually in my life. As the car seemed to appreciate over the years, the wait for one would be longer I thought. 

It was the beginning of summer 2013 when I started to feel bored of the E46. I was stumbling through Craigslist and saw a listing for a 2000 Estoril over Estoril M Coupe. It was priced within reach and it only got me more excited thinking I could own one. After a few weeks of discussing with the owner, we agreed on a trade, my E46 plus cash for the car. 

The car seemed a little neglected when I first acquired her, but after some attention to the paint, and a good cleaning, she was presentable. I told myself that I would keep the car stock as long as I owned it, but after a year, I began to itch. 

First was tint. I thought I could stop there, but the temptation from browsing stance blogs and having these large wheel arches, I just had to. I just had to do something. Right about that time, I was reading all about these Fortune Auto built coilovers called Broadway Statics. Everyone was raving about the ride and how low they could go. I knew those were the ones for me after seeing some of the results on the E36 builds. I contacted them and I was able to decide that I would be going with 16k fronts and 18k rears. My set was the first M Coupe set from them and after being the guniea pig for 9 weeks, we got it right. Next was wheels, I wanted to be different. I didn’t want to put a set of CCW Classics on there or BBS RS’s. I wanted a set of HRE 505s or Rotiform TMBs but they were out of my budget. Conveniently, CCW had just released their LM5Ts. Now for the measurements. I wanted to push something more aggressive than what had already been done, so I consulted with my friend James. Some of you may know him as Floss. We settled on the 18x10" et19 up front and 18x12.5" et15 out back. And for tires, 225/40 and 295/30.

While spending so much money on modifications, I neglected crucial maintenance. BMW has always been known for a weak cooling system and I got to experience that the hard way. One day while driving to work I noticed my AC had stopped working and then the temperature gauge sprung to red... I immediately pulled over. I looked in my rear view mirror and billows of smoke was exiting from my exhaust. I knew something bad just happened. Next I checked my oil dipstick, and when I pulled it out, it was like chocolate milk. My head gasket was compromised. 

At the time I couldn't afford to have that kind of work done by a shop, so I had to learn to do it on my own. With the help of some great friends and my dad in my garage at home, I was able to get her back on the road.

The urge to do more to it was dangerous. I had done most of the maintenance and aesthetic modifications I envisioned, but being me it wasn't enough. I wanted to do a metal wide body and turbocharge it. After planning out the finances for such work, it broke me. 

I loved my M coupe, but as time passed, I matured. For me, this was all the car I could ever want, but it was the wrong time. I'm not somewhere in my life where I am financially stable enough to pursue my dreams of traveling and own this car. There can always be another M Coupe for me down the road, but my youth and travels won't.


The CA Tuned E30s

Photography by Watson Lu

If you are an E30 or 2002 enthusiast, chances are you've heard of CA Tuned. If you haven't heard of them, they're an auto body shop located in Sacramento, California who also specialize in the restoration of classics and sell car parts/car lifestyle merchandise. Owned by Igor Polishchuk, CA Tuned originally started out as a hobby, serving the purpose of a hang out and a club in early August '02. A shop was rented for working on their own cars.

At the time they would head down to LA to buy a few things to bring back and sell to local car enthusiasts. They would sell seats, body kits, neons and parts of that sort (this was around "The Fast & The Furious era" after all). Igor and his friends would buy cars found on Craigslist and at local tow yards, fix them up and re-sell them. It went from a hobby to a thrill and after a year it became a lifestyle. They went from 2 cars to 17 cars and landed a liquidation account with Scion in '04. One of the guys that they did work for was selling his shop called Honda Heaven. The shop was purchased for their clientele and renamed Auto Heaven.

As the "TF&TF era" faded so did Igor's tuning passion, but two years ago that fire was rekindled. He missed the fun of it all; so he relaunched CA Tuned and says it's been non-stop fun since then.

CA Tuned welcomes all cars, but their true love has always belonged to BMW. Igor had owned an '87 325 convertible in high school and had a thing for older bimmers. He's owned a ton of E36s and E39s, but the E30 always reigned supreme over every other chassis for him. "They are the perfect car. Easy to work on and parts are reasonable."

I mean if money was no issue I think we would have a serious problem. I’d have every year, every color E30 as a collection... like what Magnus Walker is doing with the Porsche 911.

About a year before the relaunch of CA Tuned, people kept telling them that they needed to publicize their Henna build on the internet. It took a bit for Igor to agree but he eventually shared it with the world. The Henna was built for himself, but this opened up the door to meeting many new people and creating a lot of friendships.

This one is described as a driver's car. They found this '90 325i in poor condition; it didn't run, engine was totaled, broken timing belt, interior was gone, headliner and seats ripped, headlight/taillight/body damage—it needed a lot of work. So it was completely torn down and restored inside and out with factory (or better) parts.

The S50 motor and transmission was removed from a '95 M3 with 126k miles and transplanted into the E30. A Fidanza flywheel, Exedy clutch, and custom Magnaflow muffler system were also installed. To push the power of the car even further, they added a VF Engineering supercharger which let it put down 286hp to the pavement.

Eibach sway bars and a Ground Control full coilover suspension with reinforced arms improved the handling while the CA Tuned front big brake upgrade increased the stopping performance. The wheels were changed on it a couple times through the build, but it wasn't until Paul of Ehrlich Wheel Works built this set of BBS RS's that the wheels matched the same quality of the rest of the car.

Along with the interior being fully restored you'll find Monaco Seats with BMW Motorsports red seat belts, M Tech II steering wheel, and a handful of other subtle modifications.

Smoked smiley headlights, a RyanG splitter, OEM iS side skirts, euro moldings, mono wiper conversion, and a shorty antenna have dressed up the exterior to Igor's liking.

Let's move on to the white E30, aka the daily driver. It's a rust-free '86 325es from California. Although it didn't need quite the amount of work that the Henna did, they did still go over the entire car and replace everything that was needed first. All tune up parts, belts, hoses, axles, brake lines, tanks, sensors, you name it—been replaced. Extra work such as welded body reinforcements and new undercoating with rust prevention inhibitor has been done as well.

The power plant is a fully rebuilt M20 motor (M20B25) which features one of the many custom CA Tuned valve covers, intake manifolds and custom exhaust systems. The drivetrain was freshened up with a fully rebuilt Getrag 260 5-speed transmission, rebuilt 3.73 rear end with custom powder coated cover, new clutch kit, clutch master and slave, and new clutch line.

A Cardinal Red interior in mint condition was swapped in and it even has the rare ski pass option in the rear seats. The rest of the interior remains in stock form besides an upgraded CD player, ZHP shift knob, Motorsports floor mats and a custom Bavarian Restoration CA Tuned gauge cluster.

While the rear received new cross drilled rotors and performance brake pads, the front was upgraded to CA Tuned BBK Stage 2.0. This brake kit was designed for street or occasional track use. It's lowered with CA Tuned's custom coilover setup which allows them to fully adjust the ride height and damper according to preference and road condition.

The 17" Fifteen52 Tarmac wheels compliment the car very well; not too modern looking, and not a typical wheel you see on E30s. CA Tuned also went with the less popular M Tech I body kit and rear spoiler. Bosche smilies, new M3 fogs, euro grills, new roundels, new kidney grill, rear euro plate filler, and Motorsport door handles were also added to complete the exterior refreshment.

Last but certainly not least, we have "Miss Blue"—the show car of the group. An '87 325is stripped down to the shell and rebuilt from the ground up. It received a late model body conversion, all new body work and Estoril Blue code 335 BMW paint. They went with smoked smilies, euro grills, custom Motorsport roundels, and smoked Startec tail lights.

This one has a fully rebuilt M20 motor as well, but with a ported and polished cylinder head. Another one of their beautiful custom valve covers is the main attraction under the hood here. There's also a Miller Performance intake, chip, Ireland Engineering cooling hoses, Mishimoto radiator, and a custom exhaust system/muffler found in the performance department.

The interior received a rare M-technic interior, new black carpet, headliner, euro clock, euro map rear view mirror and M Tech wheel.

Custom CA Tuned Stage 3.0 BBK (12" rotors with 4 piston calipers) upgraded the brakes. Unlike  the other two E30s which have a static drop, this one has a custom Because Bags airbag performance suspension with Accuair E-level. A custom set of Fifteen52 Formula forged 2 piece wheels in 16x8/9.5" were built with perfect offsets for airing the car out when parked.

Despite the three different styles these E30s have, CA Tuned has done them in a way that makes it very apparent who built them. It all starts with the proper restoration and continues with the excellent craftsmanship and passion put into each and every build they do. I hope these cars will encourage fellow enthusiasts thinking about getting or who already have a classic BMW to restore it and preserve it. These older cars are the roots to our community and it's a joy to see them being cared for.