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Features

Gregory Smith's E30 325i

Photography by Gábor Lengyel

When Gregory was younger he had a dream that he would one day own an E30. It all started when his brother bought an E30 when he was 10 years old and would take him for a quick drive occasionally. He fell in love with that classic Bavarian machine and knew he had to get one for himself.

In 2011 it finally became a reality. After searching a year and a half for a well cared for E30 he found one, or so he thought. It was originally a white 316i with an M20B20 engine swap already done. The seller said the car was in good condition but Gregory later discovered that it needed a complete restoration to the bodywork. 

Although he bought it for fun after a few days of ownership he realized that he wanted more than just having fun with it outside the city. Gregory ended up purchasing 4 doors, a trunk, a hood, 2 front fenders, and 2 rocker panels. He had to restore every part of the car to its original condition or simply replace it; suspension parts, engine, cables, electronics. Since the car was white he thought about repainting it to something more unique. When he was browsing through possible color options, it was OEM BMW Avusblau that immediately caught his attention to where he fell in love with it. He couldn't even consider any other color after that.

After the paint job he decided to upgrade some interior accessories i.e. OEM M-Tech seats, M-Tech 2 steering wheel, and check panel. He also bought a JVC car radio with Alpine sub-woofer and Pioneer speakers.

At that time coilovers were on the car with adjustable rear control arms; an E36 steering rack, Sperr diff, and rear disc brake system. About a year later Gregory was feeling that the engine was a bit weak, so he swapped an M50B25 (192hp) engine in. A half year passed and he got the idea to clean the engine bay. When he had succeeded, another idea came and he swapped the suspension to 5x120 with M3 control arms and Mercedes disc brakes with E36 calipers.

It was time for new wheels and he decided to go with 17" BBS RF's (17x8" et10) with wheel spacers but he knew that he had to do some customizing to his style. He let the front wheels the original size but the rear wheels received new 3” lips. The car at that point was almost done but he felt it still needed something more... and the air ride was the last thing that it needed to satisfy Gregory. He went with a Viair compressor, gauges, and stainless tank. And just in case a cop happened to take a look into the car, there was a custom control panel made to look like OEM BMW buttons.

After 4 years Gregory took his dream car to a whole new level that his 10 year old self would have never even imagined possible.

Features

Bartek "Broder" Broda's E36 M3

Photography by JLZ1.com

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.


Features

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.


Features

James Camarador's E46 M3

Photography by Gabriel Milori

I was first acquainted with James (also known as FLOSS around the internet), when his previous car was making its way around the forums. It was an Alpine White E90 335i sitting on a rather unique wheel setup—a set of CCW Classics with gold centers on one side & silver centers on the other. Some hated it and some loved it, one thing for sure was that it was different. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

James had left his first E46 M3 to get the 335i sedan for his family. He also thought that he was done with the manual transmission. That’s a fairly common decision that most regret and that’s exactly what happened. The E90 was so different from the E46, James said… “It just wasn’t an ///M.” And since he only had the first E46 for four months, he felt like he had unfinished business to take care of.

He picked up this 2005 Interlago Blue E46 M3 equipped with Competition Package and of course, a 6-speed manual gearbox. It was first revealed online sporting a set of CCW Classics again. It was breathtaking with nothing more than an aggressive fitment. It retained the stock appearance yet showed some serious character. The stance was dialed in thanks to BC Racing Coilovers with custom spring sizes and rates which are now known as their Extreme drop kit.

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The amber lights were added to go a different route than the typical clear or smoked option usually found on this platform. The chrome and ambers really compliment the IB in a classy way. The E46 has aged perfectly and with the HRE Vintage Series that recently came out, it was just what James needed. He went with the 501 Series because he liked that design best. Admiring HRE wheels since he was a kid, he told himself that he had to own at least one set in his lifetime. The specs are 18×10″ with 245/35 Hankook V12 (Front) & 18×12″ 285/30 Hankook V12 (Rear), filling up every last inch of those large wheel wells.

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He decided to throw a different set of wheels on the other side just for our shoot (like the E90′s two face look). These are OEM BMW Style 5s custom rebarreled to 18×10/12″ with polished lips, chrome hardware and painted centers built by James himself. He has always been into wheels, but it wasn’t until his sponsorship with CCW that he started getting into refinishing wheels. Over time getting closer and chatting with the guys at CCW, he picked up a couple of things along the way from basic wheel sizing and measurements all the way to safety. He said that he’s always wanted something on the side besides a regular day job, and this let’s him get creative while doing something that he loves.

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Like many ///M-owners, James bought his car because of its great performance. While the stock power may be plenty for some, he eventually got an urge for more. That’s when the decision to install a VF Engineering VF480 supercharger was made. He hasn’t dynoed the car yet, but it should be good for around 420hp to the wheels. So with unique looks and power to back it up, James's M3 has earned a spot here on our site.

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