Mike Ashcraft's E39 528i

Photography by Dan Wagener / @dan_wagener

First glance at Mike Ashcraft's 1997 E39 528i and you would never suspect that it has close to 305,000 miles on it. Mike's dad had bought it in 2006 from North Carolina as his new daily to replace his 1983 Mercedes Benz 380 SEL. The car had 113,000 miles on it at that time. His dad put 130,000 more miles on it in about 3 years due to traveling for business. Eventually it got to the point where it became too costly for him to keep piling the miles on it and Mike conveniently had just gotten his license. Since the car wasn’t worth much anyway it became his. His dad ended up buying an E46 330xi to replace it as his new daily.  

Over the last 8 years Mike's attended to a lot of maintenance on this car, so much to the point that he can’t even keep track anymore. Most notably though was the top end rebuild that was done at 275k miles due to a leaking head gasket. At the time the head gasket was replaced, all seals in top end were done, S52 cams, new radiator/water pump, and Raceland headers were installed. It has an automatic transmission and as far as Mike knows, the trans/fluid is still original and going strong. The M52 engine is the original as well. 

Mike's done quite a bit of modding to this car to make it his own during his ownership. Performance wise as previously mentioned were the S52 cams and headers. This winter he's going to install a Supersprint resonator delete and a Vibrant muffler.  Being that it's a high-mileage automatic 528i performance wasn't the highest priority of this car.

Mike focused more on enhancing the aesthetics, and that's what really caught my attention. The E39 M5 front and rear bumpers were swapped on. A Slimmbones carbon fiber front lip and carbon fiber rear diffuser were also added for a little more personalization. Some other minor upgrades included gloss black shadowline trim, DJ auto headlights, clear sidemarkers, euro Hella Celis tail lights, OEM facelift kidney grills, and a trunk lip spoiler.

My favorite thing on Mike's car is probably the wheels. A custom set of 18x9" / 18x10" 3-piece OZ Mito's. Originally being an 18x8.5" 2-piece set, he bought new lips and barrels to fit them exactly how he wanted. The wheel faces are a hand-brushed finish done by Mike himself.

The car is sitting on Broadway Static coilovers with 12k front and 10k rear springs, along with Powergrid adjustable front sway bar endlinks and a 540i RSB w/Beastpower brackets. The stance is low and aggressive without excessive negative camber, dangerous tire stretch, or destroyed fenders.

Mike just finished up the interior makeover this past year. The interior was originally grey and slowly converted to black with ultrasuede headliner, OEM suede sunvisors, black door panels, black carpet, and black lower dash. The rest of the interior upgrades include titanium trim, sunroof delete, silver gauge rings, M5 leather center console, euro M5 leather armrest, M5 dead pedal, Hamann e-brake handle, re-wrapped sport steering wheel, self-dimming rear view mirror, homelink retrofit, Pioneer touch screen headunit, Bav sound speakers, Sound Ordinance subwoofer and a rear view camera. Last but not least, custom dyed Cinnamon seats that compliment the Montreal Blue exterior perfectly.  

This car's responsible for teaching Mike how to work on cars and he says he never wants to get rid of it even with the age and miles. His future plans include a 5 speed manual transmission swap with a custom limited slip differential... and the biggest plan is to turbocharge it. Although this won’t be happening anytime soon, especially with his E39 M5 also taking up funds.


Adam Tokarski's E38

Photography by M.G. Foto

The story of Adam Tokarski's E38 begins after he sold his E36 328i touring. He started to look for a nice example in Poland and Germany but couldn't find anything that interested him. So he took his search to Great Britain, where he found the car on an insurance auction. It had some minor damage to the rear fender, but he immediately noticed the Mora Metallic paint job from BMW Individual. It is super rare to find an E38 in this color. Judging by online research there's only 3 facelifted and 1 pre-facelift models found in Europe. The car is a 2001 E38 728i M sport model.

The interior is also BMW Individual featuring Light Beige (Pearl Beige) with purple piping on the seats, black roof lining, 16:9 sat nav, lights in the door handles, and a sport steering wheel. Unfortunately the car was right hand drive, so the first thing Adam did was take it to a shop that specialized in changing that. They converted it to left hand drive, however it lost a few Individual features by doing so.

A new engine was fitted because the original had a blown head gasket. Besides the left hand drive conversion, all of the work done to the car was done by Adam.

The suspension was upgraded to a set of FK Automotive Koning-Sport coilovers. The wheels are forged 20" OZ Superleggera III in 9" front and 10.5" rear. Because it's Adam's daily driver he also replaced all of the suspension and brake components with new. 

When Adam started on modifications to the exterior he first replaced the Shadowline window trim with a High Gloss version. The taillights were then changed to fully red and the headlights were converted to bi-xenon with 3" lenses from a Mercedes E-Class. An Alpina lip was added to the front bumper to give it a more aggressive look.

An interesting side note: Adam decided to customize his license plate by adding a Z to MORA (paint job name). In Polish "Zmora" means "Nightmare" and since his car was a pain in the ass from the beginning it was perfect.

This E38 has seen a lot of work to preserve its rare individualism. I love how Adam chose to not go down the VIP route. There's an ideal amount of sportiness left to this one. Those Superleggera's make me feel super nostalgic too... the car reminds me of something I would've dreamt about making on a Tire Rack Wheel Simulator back in high school. I'm glad to see the more traditional BMW enthusiast styling still being done today.


BMWs of First Class Fitment 2014

Photography by Matt Petrie


Michał Adamiszyn's Alpina B3 E36

Photography by JLZ1.com

Many people will look at this car and probably react in one of two ways. They'll either be impressed by its stance and wheel setup, or they'll find the car "ruined" wondering why anyone would ever take the modifying that far. Though, whichever side of the fence you fall on, owner Michał Adamiszyn is unphased. The wildness of this build is not exactly my cup of tea, but I can respect it for Michał built it for none other than himself.

Sitting motionless the car bears a very aggressive attitude. The black grills and smoked lights help give the sinister appearance from the front, I can only imagine what it must look like approaching in the rearview. Red tails and a GT-Class spoiler with LTW risers were added to ensure the rear grabbed an equal amount of attention.

Before the E36, Michał had a "stanced" Mk1 VW Caddy and an Audi S4 B5 2.7 BiTurbo. The Audi kept breaking down so it was set back to stock and sold. During that time he said he always wanted to try something else and the E36 chassis really caught his eye. Michał was especially fond of Shaun Quill's red E36 which was an inspiration for his own build.

He found an original Alpina B3 E36 that had an accident with a tree by ways of the previous owner. He then swapped its engine and complete interior to a standard E36 with M body kit. Michał later decided that he no longer needed the beige leather interior because he found it pointless to keep it legit when the VIN code wasn't able to be moved with the rest of the original Alpina parts. So the interior received a pair of bucket seats with Schroth seat belts and a Nardi steering wheel.

Michał decided to keep most of the remaining interior parts though to show the roots of the car. The passenger side of the dashboard holds the Alpina plate that says "0186", the door threshold with Alpina badge and a couple other things were kept in the move. 

The engine is the Alpina B3 3.0 good for 247hp and 240 ft. lb. torque, Michał also added a K&N air filter and custom exhaust system. A manual gearbox from a 328i was chosen for the job instead of the Alpina switch-tronic transmission from the donor car.

A set of AP Fahrwerke coilovers with custom stiffer springs, camber plates and camber arms allowed Michał to achieve this radical wheel fitment. The camber up front is set to -8 degrees while the rear runs -9 degrees. The OZ Breyton wheel specs are 17x11"(F) and 17x11.25"(R) with 4 inch lips. That was unheard of years ago for the E36 chassis with stock fenders, even widebody fenders that's a whole lot of wheel to stuff in there.

After I briefly let go of my "purist" beliefs I was able to enjoy this absurd looking ride for what it was. I'm glad to see Michał pushing the limits and doing what most would say is impossible.