Allow us to introduce 27 year-old Felix Lyubovny from Studio City, CA. He's one of us. A guy who gets it. Somebody who enjoys fine European cars and the value of well chosen modifications.
Today, he's the proud owner of this 2011 BMW M3, a car he's owned about ten months and one he'll keep for considerably longer. This is the owner of six previous BMWs that includes an E46 M3 and 1M on its roll call.
For somebody who idolized BMW as a child, we have to confess to spluttering at the concept of an ex-1M owner but Felix justified its sale. "I sold it to buy this car. I wanted something faster and this is really unique" he told us.
So what makes the E90 sedan so special? It's the retina-popping Dakar Yellow. First introduced on the E36 M3 in 1994/95, the paint is only available now on special order through BMW Individual at great expense. According to the previous owner, this is the only Dakar Yellow M3 Sedan in the country, and he should know because it was specially ordered for the owner of BMW of Fremont in Northern California. Apparently, he drove it less than 400 miles before deciding the car wasn't right for him, which is where Felix entered the picture.
"There are a number of Dakar Yellow E92 M3 Coupes in the US but this is said to be the only four-door. I've even heard it might be the only one in the world but have been unable to verify that," he continued.
Smitten with its good looks and determined to build something with genuine speed, a supercharger conversion was under consideration before the car was even purchased.
In fact, Felix drove it back from Fremont to Los Angeles and straight down to San Diego. With less than 1000 miles on the clock, HG Motorsports installed an ESS VT2-600 supercharger kit that would later dyno at 555hp at the wheels.
This would be helped by the full Akrapovic Evolution exhaust system with X-pipes, 100-cell sports cats and rear mufflers. Constructed from featherweight titanium it reduces mass and improves output. In fact, the company claims approximately 20hp from this product.
The ESS blower can't be overlooked though. It comes with bigger injectors, liquid intercooler and the necessary software. But Felix took it one stage further by requesting the cast intake manifold with its integrated head exchanger be painted the same Dakar Yellow. It creates an explosion of color under the hood to match the explosive performance under his right foot.
Returning home, the next stop was Auto Talent in Carson, CA where the exhaust had been fitted as well as KW Club Sport suspension and Brembo brakes. The calipers were custom-painted by C&C Collision in Pasadena, CA in his favorite yellow before the gargantuan 380mm rotors were fitted all round.
With the car rapidly evolving, the stock rims wouldn't suffice, so Auto Talent hooked up Felix with delectable one-piece, forged BBS FI wheels in 19" diameter. Measuring 9.5" wide front and 10.5" rear, the very expensive rollers were painted graphite gray for this application. With the KW coilovers set low, the M3 has a great stance that really caught our eye.
Lending the M3 more menace, and providing some contrast to the acres of yellow paint, Felix added a slew of aerodynamic parts sourced from IND Distribution in Palatine, IL. And as we saw in last month's feature on IND's F10 M5, the company is all about providing unique or rare parts.
With the exclusivity needle going off the gauge, Felix ordered a European-spec front bumper, simply to lose the side markers from his US cover. This was fitted with a Vorsteiner carbon fiber front lip by european auto source.
IND also shipped a rear diffuser from 3D Design and a Varis carbon undertray that extends under the rear of the car. As well as sending gloss black kidney grilles, gills and badging, IND found a big box for its carbon fiber roof panel that would be fitted by C&C.
The bodyshop had to cut out the metal roof, since only the Coupes have a carbon roof from the factory, and replace it with the new panel. It took about a week to finish the task, after which an alcantara headliner was added to match the BMW M Performance seats, specially imported from Germany by Renn Spec in La Puente, CA.
BMW M Performance was also responsible for the carbon trunk spoiler and carbon mirror caps, with the latter painted on top to resemble the M5.
The final exterior addition was a pair of carbon side skirt extensions from Platte Forme in Alhambra, CA. "They fitted under the factory side skirts and tied everything together. It meant I had carbon all around the car," Felix explained.
With the seats already in the car, it didn't require much to finish the interior. Avoiding the temptation to splash more Dakar Yellow, IND painted some stock piano-black trim pieces with gold metalflake to give a hint of the exterior color without making it too gaudy.
That said, future plans call for yellow stitching on the seats and doors cards, as well as yellow seatbelts, so who knows how it will eventually evolve. However, Felix feels as if he's reached the end of his journey. "There's really not much more I could do to it," he reflected. "But I'll definitely keep it. Even when I buy the F30 M3, this one will be in the garage for special occasions."
2011 BMW M3
Studio City, CA
Engine ESS VT2-600 supercharger kit with painted intake manifold, titanium Akrapovic Evolution exhaust system with X-pipe and sports cats
Drivetrain stock DCT transmission
Brakes 380mm Brembo rotors f & r, six-piston f, four-piston r calipers painted Dakar Yellow
Suspension KW Club Sport coilovers
Wheels & Tires 19x9.5" f, 19x10.5" r BBS FI wheels painted Graphite Gray, 255/35 R19 f, 275/30 R19 r Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
Exterior European front bumper with Vorsteiner GTS-V carbon fiber lip, BMW M Performance carbon trunk spoiler and painted carbon mirror caps, 3D Design diffuser, Varis carbon undertray, Platte Forme carbon side skirt extensions, carbon replacement roof, gloss black kidney grilles, gills and badging
Interior BMW M Performance seats and pedals, Stack oil pressure, boost and exhaust gas temp gauges in ashtray pod, piano black interior trim with gold metalflake lacquer, alcantara headliner
Thanks Tom at european auto source (europeanautosource.com), Chris at HG Motorsports (hgmotorsports.com), Auto Talent (autotalent.com), Roman at ESS Tuning (esstuning.com), Nate at C&C Collision (candccollision.com), Platte Forme (platteforme.com), Renn Spec (renn-spec.com), the team at IND Distribution (parts.ind-distribution.com)