The story of this project has its beginning on the Isle of Man, the land known for the TT races and general speed madness. In February 2012 Bartek decided that it’s about time he treats himself with a new car. Being a massive BMW fan the choice of a brand was obvious, it had to be a car with a well known white/blue emblem designed in Bavaria. Bartek managed to get his hands on a rather hot and rare 4-door BMW E36 M3 … to spice things up it was the M3 Evolution edition in very rare Estoril Blau colour with beige interior and no sunroof. Despite all the ‘wow factor’, the car was in desperate need of some TLC to bring back the glory and shine. Thing is that the previous owner used the Beemer on the school run (yeah we’re jealous too … ) and didn’t care that much about the looks of the car. So the plan was to get the poor BMW detailed inside out and get on with the mods.
As every project the car went through a few phases before it took its final(ish) form which we can admire today. As we mentioned the first step was ‘spa treatment’ for the paintwork and interior … once it was finished, the initial mods began with installing black grill vents, genuine front splitter and to getting the car closer to the ground using the full AP coilovers setup. Rare car deserves rare wheels and so the first choice for the M3 were 2pcs O.Z. Racing Enkei, 8.5j ET15 fronts and 10j ET20 rears. Since that stage apart from all the usual consumables, various bits and pieces were added, others removed and the car was slowly evolving … so let’s fast forward and focus on the the current form!
To highlight the sporty character of the BMW, wheels were changed to the set of BBS RC 300/301 again with 8.5j WT13 +15mm spacers in the front and 10j ET25 +10mm spacers at the back. Alloys were wrapped in Toyo T1R rubber (205/35 front, 235/30 rears). While talking about wheels of distinction we have to mention the monster breaking system. Stock components such as discs and callipers were replaced by BMW Performance parts adapted from BMW 135i. Stopping power is now provided by 6-piston callipers with 337x30mm discs in the front and 2-piston callipers squeezing 328x20mm discs. Brake lines were also upgraded to steel braided lines by Goodridge. Conversion of wheel mount from the screws to the pins finished off with the KICS Revo nuts was the cherry on top of the cake.
Front of the car gained xenon headlights which were dimmed together with the indicators. Fog lights in the front bumper got replaced with blank covers. Under the front bumper you can find another gem, timeless combo of GT Ecken lip which occasionally is accompanied by GT Schwert. The combination of these two is literally mindblowing, not only in terms of the looks.
Super rare Racing Dynamics side mirrors are quite controversial but they certainly attract a lot of attention. Moving towards the back of the car you will find a huge spoiler, fully made out of carbon fibre, three-pieces LTW which reminds the one BMW successfully used in DTM race series.
Stock exhaust system was also replaced by de-cat system with SuperSprint x-pipe and dedicated Scorpion backbox, again with DTM style tips to comply with the DTM theme.
Time to look inside as the interior was also heavily modified to the extent that only the top of the dashboard was left original. Ugly and tired 3spoked steering wheel was replaced by the classic ‘heart’ re-trimmed in alcantara. The gear leaver got fitted with adjustable short shifter by RUFF to provide that extra racing feeling and purely for aesthetics the gear leaver got new, illuminated gear knob with stitching in M-Power colours and gear gator made of alcantara to match the racing steering wheel. Black is dominant colour, stock seats were replaced with black Vaders, black are the doorcards and so is the carpet. Behind the front seats we’ll find nothing apart from a Staff rollbar, mounted in place of rear seats. Red BMW Motosport seatbelts are real eye candy in that blacked out interior.
Under the bonnet you will find red rocker cover, OMP Strut brace and Pipercross air filter. But that’s not the end of powertrain mods as the gearbox got reinforced clutch cover and lightweight (~5kg) singlemass flywheel by RUFF and steel braided clutch slave cylinder line made by HEL.
What about the suspension then? AP coilovers got replaced by fully adjustable HSD DualTech setup. Camber arms and at the back special springs (16kg) BC Racing were added. All rubber elements of suspension got replaced by polyurethane parts.
BMW E36 is nothing special on the tuning scene, we dare to say that in terms of popularity it may even compete with the Golfs and Civics. What we can definitely say is that people start to move away from pure german style of tuning and they experiment and improvise instead and that is good but everything needs to have a limit. Crazy camber settings to fit too wide wheels, flamboyant bodykits, and wild colors schemes … well this BMW has none of these. This E36 M3 is pure classic without dodgy futuristic and custom made parts. Most of the elements added came from BMW Motorsport catalogues and that’s why we can even say that the car as it sits now is timeless. It grabs the essence of the E36 M3 spirit and sets a high standards for car modification trends. Do you know what is best about this project? The fact that despite all the mods it’s a driver’s car, not a static art or trailer queen. This car drives as good as it looks … how do I know it? You will have to take my word for it.
PS. As it is in life with project cars, it is very difficult to keep up with them. Since the photoshoot M3’s DTM theme was enhanced with single, centrally mounted windshield wiper and white TOYO letters on the tyres … we’ll use that excuse to revisit the car in the future!
Translation: Radoslaw Pajor – ShadowMedia.eu