Tom Nguyen is the sales manager of Speed Image USA, a shop located in the Bay Area of Northern California. Specializing in JDM parts, Tom knows a thing or two about the high-quality and distinct styling of Japanese parts manufacturers. So, you'd think when the time came for Tom to build a demo car for the shop, he'd choose something along the lines of a GT-R, 370Z, STI, or 86 to build. If that were the case, though, this whole intro would be really confusing, and we wouldn't be sharing photos of this stunning '18 BMW M3.
Why M3? Tom has been a BMW fan since his teenage years, and the interest really sparked in 2011 when he saw an E92 M3 from another shop rolling on TE37s. It made him believe it was OK to run JDM parts on a Euro, and it looked damn good, too. His time to shine came seven years later when he was approached by Mackin Industries to build a car for the RAYS booth at the 2018 SEMA Show. He picked up the M3 of his dreams, and the rest was history.
Part marketing piece and part personal fulfillment, Tom's M3 combines the best of Japanese and European styling to create a build that's different without going over the top. The fit and finish of the JDM parts is something Tom really appreciates, so you'll find plenty of precision-made carbon-fiber aero from 3D Designs, Varis, and Voltex on the exterior, which help create a circuit-racer look. Being that the car was destined for the RAYS booth, it's no surprise it's rolling on one of the latest wheel designs, the Volk Racing TE037 6061s, which feature perforated holes on each spoke to achieve a lighter weight. Finished in Blast Bronze, the 19-inch wheels are wrapped in Toyo R888R tires. Framing front and rear Brembo GT-R brakes and nestled close to the fenders thanks to track-ready Moton coilovers all around, Tom's M3 really enhances the aggressive lines and demeanor of an already ultimate driving machine.
Inside, you're greeted with more JDM goodness. Wanting to stay away from the color-coded and plush interiors typical of European builders, Tom enlisted the help of Bride Japan. Tom opted for the Edirb seat line, and the 023 bucket seats add a hint of luxury up front while still giving him the lumbar and bolster support he needs during spirited driving. A custom carbon rear seat delete matches the carbon door panels, while a slew of BMW M Performance Alcantara and carbon goodies are intertwined. The interior is finished off with a Studio RSR rollbar, which means no rear passengers, but it's a necessary sacrifice to match the toughness of the car.
The whole package is a well-balanced ensemble that highlights both European and Japanese styling cues. It's really great to see something like Tom's M3, as it's refreshing and different from what you'd typically see in the Euro scene—and that was Tom's goal from the get-go. Hopefully, it'll help a few more people think outside of the box when they delve into their own Euro build. For the longest time, JDM and Euro stood separately, but it's cars like this that are showing the world two car cultures can mesh together and look oh so good while doing it.