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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 came 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

Jarrett Brock's F80 M3

Photography by Richard Mason Hughes @richardmasonhughes

Engine/Drivetrain

  • 6 speed manual
  • Dinan Exhaust
  • Burger Tuning JB4 runs on 4 gal. E85
  • Burger Tuning Intakes with custom ///M splatter paint (+ matching engine cover)
  • AR Design Downpipes

Exterior

  • Mineral White
  • Mode Carbon carbon fiber front splitter, rear spoiler, and rear diffuser
  • IND - black emblems, grills, and fender gills

Interior

  • Silverstone full leather + carbon fiber
  • //M Performance Mats

Suspension/Braking/Wheels

  • BBS LM – 3 piece converted – 19x10.5" F, 19x12.5" R
  • Toyo R888r - 245/35/19 F, 295/30/19 R
  • AirLift Performance 3P air ride installed by Atlanta Air Ride

Thanks to: Jeff, Corey, and Cody at AirLift, Brandon at Atlanta Air Ride, Sam at Mode Carbon, Jess at BBS wheels, and my buddies Jason Stewart and Richard Hughes.


You can follow Jarrett on IG: @jbbrock2

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

Frank's E92 M3

Photography by Matt Petrie

It appears as though every E9x M3 we have featured on this site has had massive horsepower gains thanks to an ESS supercharger kit via AUTOcouture Motoring.  As much as we all love the power and performance delivered with a blower, it is a car like Frank’s that we need to stop and admire and for a very long time at that.  Although aesthetically this car seems modest, that is exactly what he was after and why we had to feature it.  The terms like “OEM+”, “clean”, and “flawless” are tossed about rather loosely, I’ll be the first to admit to that.  Don’t get me wrong, there are cars that are absolutely deserving of those adjectives, however Frank’s E92 has become a new standard in which I will hold cars to.   The beauty of this car lies deeper than the parts he has used to make it his own.

As a lover of BMW’s (especially the M’s) from a young age, Frank knew he would one day own the gentleman’s sports car.  It was a dream he constantly pursued while working his jobs throughout his teenage years.   It wasn’t until he was 24 that he saved up enough money to buy his first BMW.   As he reminisced with me about his E36 325is in Mauritius Blue, I could tell just how much it truly meant to him, but he followed up saying half-jokingly that it still wasn’t an “M”. Many years later, after selling his 2008 335xi 6MT, he continued his pursuit of the next milestone – that illustrious M car.  Frank wandered into a local BMW dealership on his way to work one morning in the spring of 2010.   The salesman asked if he had time to take an M3 out for a quick test drive.   Needless to say, Frank’s coworkers were puzzled as to why he had a smile plastered across his face for the duration of his shift on duty.  Explaining his first experience of the S65 V8 combined with the handling of an M3 just didn’t have the same effect on them.  That’s OK, Frank - we get it. 

Realizing he wasn’t about to connect with any other car like he did with the M3, he spent many late nights configuring different options online.   It wasn’t before long that he put the order through.  He loved and missed the blue of his original coupe so he went a slightly different route with LeMans Blue.  It is a lower production color on the E9x M platform only available on the 2010+ models.    He optioned it with Competition and Premium packages with the Dual Clutch Transmission better known by its acronym “DCT”.  To make this special moment more memorable, he chose to take European Delivery of the vehicle from the Munich Headquarters in October, 2010.  

Like any enthusiast, Frank made improvements and subtle touches around the car to personalize it.   He has a certain discipline in his behavior which is carried out through his M3.  His standard in modifying is what sets him apart from the others.   “Anything that was done to the car had to enhance the original design and only use quality parts (OEM wherever possible) without creating too much distraction or drawing attention to one particular area”, according to Frank.

That being said, the first thing that can’t help but be noticed are the 19” HRE P40S wheels.  An exception has to be made here because they look absolutely stunning in the brushed finish with tinted clear coat.  They are 9.5” up front with a 275/30 tire and the rear width is 11” with a 295/30 Michelin Pilot Super Sport.  BMW Performance front splitters, mirror caps, deck lid spoiler, and Challenge Sport rear diffuser suit the car properly with the carbon fiber roof.  There are smaller details around the exterior of the car in the form of IND painted reflectors and keyhole delete.  Those parts in conjunction with blacked out hood vents, M3 badge, OEM Edition kidney grills and side gills fittingly remove all of the chrome and clashing color from the exterior.

As you step over the OEM GTS door sills and waxed door jambs you sit in an absolutely flawless interior.   Surrounded entirely by a full OEM carbon fiber trim kit, the smaller touches are still yet to be discovered.  It’s not long before you’ll notice the IND tri-color stitching of the e-brake boot and shift boot to match the stitching of the Alcantara BMW Performance steering wheel.  

A keener eye is required to notice that the airbag warning stickers have been removed from the visors and the (+)  (-) engravings on his Verstraβe Extended Aluminum DCT paddles are painted in LeMans Blue, once again by IND.   A Turner Motorsports edition P3cars vent gauge is the final piece to the uniqueness of Frank’s interior.

He has a BPM Sport Stage II Tune including an engine performance tune, servo tune as well as a DCT tune.  The engine tune works well with the full Akrapovic Evolution exhaust which has custom painted gloss black tips and hand painted Akra logo from IND.  The servo tune tightens up the steering and the gear shifting become crisper with their respective tune.  Under the hood lies a Dinan intake, Dinan strut tower braces, and Active Autowerke under drive power pulleys. 

Beyond the caliber of modifications done, the cleanliness of this car is what is remarkable.   The practices and methods in keeping the car clean may seem as a burden or chore, but it is actually therapeutic to Frank.  Spending the time around the car’s details is as enjoyable as driving it.   His philosophy is to never let any one part of the car “get away” and as you can see he is staying true to that belief. 

There is not one speck of embedded brake dust in the grooves of the wheels, nor do the inner barrels and lug holes have an ounce of dust on them.  He maintains these areas along with the brake calipers, undercarriage, and fender liners.  Even the untreated, underside of the hood has been given the Frank treatment and is waxed smooth to the touch.   When it is maintained at this level, it is not actually that time consuming to keep clean.  These practices may seem crazy to some people, but it is certainly appreciated by all who take notice.

Frank’s character is one to be admired; the love for his car is seen in his dedicated discipline.  The attention to detail and delicate nature he has with every inch of the car just goes to show that he has never lost respect of that M car he had sought after since he was a kid.