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2003 BMW M5 - Rare Groove

Most people view the BMW M5 purely from a performance perspective, but Winston Lumanlan felt it had more to offer…

Justin Fivella
Apr 9, 2014
Photographer: Richard Le

Winston Lumanlan earned his stripes on the show scene long before bagged Euros were a mainstay; back when BMWs, Mercs and VWs were rarely seen at the big import shows. We're talking about more than a decade ago. "I started attending JDM shows back in '95 with my Honda Civic. After dumping a ton of money into it and winning some trophies, I decided to move up to a Euro in 2000. That was back when it was rare to see a BMW or a Benz at a show," Lumanlan said.

An E46 330i was his first entry into the scene and, after a full build, he would follow it with a host of Benz - C43, C55, E350 - before returning to the Bimmer world with an E39 530i.

2019 BMW M5
$102,700 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy

"I loved the 530i and I did everything to it. I mean everything: interior, paint, body mods, suspension, brakes, lights, you name it... but when I finally decided to add a VF-Engineering supercharger, the techs at VF found a bad cylinder during a leak-down test, which threw a wrench in my plans," Lumanlan said.

Believing that when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade, Winston turned a bad situation into a new beginning. "At that point I was disappointed after all the work I'd put into the 530i but, instead of giving up, I saw an opportunity to buy the car I'd always wanted - an E39 M5; the last true M5 ever built," Lumanlan said.

2003 BMW m5 RSVForged MS10W wheel 02 Photo 2/9   |  
20" RSVForged wheels were custom-made, with Winston being involved in the design. StopTech brakes were custom-painted, stance is courtesy of Air Lift

Many would agree with his sentiment, and it will come as no surprise to learn that when he decided to give it a full makeover, it raised a few eyebrows online. To add fuel to the fire, Lumanlan was lucky enough to find the unicorn of E39 M5s, a one-owner car in Titanium silver with brushed silver interior accents. "I found it with dumb luck after telling a friend I was looking for an M5. He mentioned a friend was selling one," he explained.

The M5 was the score of a lifetime. It had 80,000 original miles and survived the first ten years of its life with only a few mods. But things were about to change. "I'm the type of person who doesn't waste time before modding a car. The minute I get it I'm already planning the entire build and ordering parts. Modifying cars is what I do. It's part of me," Lumanlan said.

The first round included rims, tint and suspension, and from there it snowballed. "I'd imagined the build in my head and one thing that kept coming to mind was shaving all the exterior moldings because I'd never seen it done and knew it would look great," he said.

Just the mention of shaving the moldings on a vaunted M5 had the forums on fire with people calling blasphemy and claiming he'd neuter the most prominent exterior feature of a the E39 M5. They threatened to ban him from the site if he dared. And so he did!

"I loved the shaved look on the newer M5s and even though many people thought it would look terrible, it's been well received," Winston said. "It adds a subtle custom touch."

2003 BMW m5 diamond stitched alcantara seats 04 Photo 3/9   |  
Diamond-stitched alcantara upholstery undoubtedly brings a touch of class

What wasn't so subtle was the custom Schiedmann hood from Denmark. "I wanted a vented hood but all the US options were too flashy. I wanted to keep it clean, so paid $800 to have the aluminum Schmiedmann sent from Denmark, and it was worth the wait," he explained.

Lumanlan likes to go the extra mile, which was further exemplified by his decision to shave the front bumper and then add Mercedes E63 AMG vents, before a custom carbon fiber splitter was created by combining an M3 CSL part with an APR Miata piece.

There are more custom accents in the rear, such as the Nissan GT-R vents in the bumper, or the carbon Schmiedmann diffuser that was mated to a C63 AMG lip and molded to the stock bumper.

At this point, the factory Titanium silver was rejected, replaced by Lamborghini Balloon White for a touch of class only supercar colors can add.

No ensemble is complete without the right shoes. In this case it was 20x10" front and 20x11" rear RSVForged MS10W wheels wrapped in Hankook tires. And you won't have missed the Air Lift coil-over-bag air suspension, which has AutoPilot V2 Digital Control, Zex air tank and Viair 380c compressor. "In order to get it low on the 20s, we had to pull the fenders more than 0.5" to get them to tuck, but I'll be switching to 19s soon so I can lay frame," Lumanlan laughed.

Don't make the mistake of assuming the M5 has forgotten its performance roots. The S62 V8 was fortified with stage 3 Dinan software and tuned velocity stacks along with Rogue Engineering pulleys, a SuperSprint X-pipe and Meisterschaft GT2 exhaust plus a stage 2 aFe intake.

2003 BMW m5 schmiedmann hood 03 Photo 4/9   |   2003 BMW M5 - Rare Groove

On the drivetrain, a Dinan 3.45:1 LSD was installed, along with a UUC clutch and lightweight flywheel, while massive StopTech brakes convert forward motion into a distant memory. "Like everything else on the car, I decided to give the calipers a custom touch, adding gold pearl to Porsche yellow paint so it matched the underhood accents," Lumanlan said.

With so much going on, Winston didn't forget the interior, adding white diamond-stitched panels in perforated alcantara to the black leather seats, complete with matching piping, shift and e-brake boot plus door cards.

"I wanted a killer stereo but didn't want to mess with the factory head unit, so I modified it to work with the rest of the system," Lumanlan said. This involved Diamond Audio subs and amps in a custom trunk enclosure, along with Hertz Audio components, several capacitors, three 9" LCD monitors, a Nintendo Wii console and a partridge in a pear tree... OK, we made the last part up, but you get the point.

So while the M5 is decked-out from top to bottom, inside and out, Winston ain't done yet. He plans on laying frame, widebody styling and forced induction. And while some people might consider the car to be too extreme, we applaud Lumanlan for keeping it tasteful. "It's difficult to add this many mods and keep it restrained. Many cars look cluttered with parts but my goal was to keep it clean and classy," he concluded.

Tech Spec

2003 BMW M5

Winston Lumanlan
San Ramon, CA
Co-owner, Kids N Cribs 2

Engine 5.0L S62 V8 with stage 3 Dinan software and tuned velocity stacks, stage 2 aFe CAI, Rogue Engineering Power Pulleys, SuperSprint X-pipe, Meisterschaft GT2 exhaust system, Corteco motor mounts, painted plenum, airboxes and accessories

Drivetrain six-speed manual transmission with UUC Performance clutch and lightweight flywheel, Sachs Performance Clutch Stop, clutch delay valve, Rogue Engineering short-shift and transmission mounts, Dinan 3.45:1 limited-slip differential and subframe reinforcement kit

2003 BMW m5 winston lumanlan 09 Photo 8/9   |   2003 BMW M5 - Rare Groove

Brakes StopTech ST40 four-piston calipers, 355mm drilled rotors f, ST22 two-piston, 345mm r, Street Performance pads, stainless steel lines

Suspension Air Lift air system and camber plates, AutoPilot V2 Digital controller, ZEX tank, Viair 380c compressor, ECS wheel bearings and center tie-rod, Dinan lower control arm monoball kit and polished strut tower brace

Wheels & Tires 20x10" f, 20x11" r RSVForged MS10W wheels, 255/30 R20 f, 295/25 R20 r Hankook Ventus V12 tires

Exterior Schmiedmann hood, shaved exterior moldings, E63 AMG front, GT-R rear bumper vents, carbon fiber CSL front lip with APR secondary lip, Schmiedmann carbon rear diffuser with E63 AMG lower section, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, molded foglight covers, smoked headlights, LED tail lights and markers, silver window tint, Umnitza 8000K HID headlight bulbs, 3000K HID foglight bulbs, ICE V6 angel-eye upgrade, ION LED license plate bulbs and reversing bulbs, car painted Lamborghini Balloon White, black roof, hood vents and mirrors

Interior diamond-stitched alcantara seats panels, door cards, shift and e-brake boots, suede headliner, ZHP shift knob, brushed titanium interior trim, AC Schnitzer pedals, e-brake handle, Umnitza interior LEDs

2003 BMW m5 S62 V8 engine 07 Photo 9/9   |  
5.0 V8 has a roster of performance upgrades, and there's a Dinan LSD as well

Audio/visual modified BMW head unit, Diamond Audio 12" subwoofers, 600/1 and 300/4 amplifiers, Hertz Audio coaxial and component speakers, MPI 400 power inverter, Precision Power capacitor, fiberglass amp rack and trunk enclosure with three 9" LCD monitors, Nintendo Wii, LED illumination, Dynamat

Thanks Darwin at RSVForged/Sonic Motorsport, Tony at TNT Autobody Sacramento, Devin at Speed Element, Rommel at Canlas Mobile Tint, Noe at Avila Auto Upholstery, John at JS Design Factory, Michael and Nick at 02 Creation, Tim at Umnitza, Matt at Hard Parker Garage, Tom and Jeff at Air Lift, GT Haus, Dinan, UUC Motorwerks, Europrojektz, Jesus, Menard, Trina, Mika, Alex

By Justin Fivella
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