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2018 BMW M3 Competition - Culture Clash

JDM Style Meets European Engineering in This Track-Inspired BMW M3

John Krueger
Oct 15, 2019
Photographer: Viet Nguyen

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.

2018 BMW M3 Competition Voltex Type 1S Wing Photo 26/26   |   2018 BMW M3 Competition - Culture Clash

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.

2018 BMW M3 Competition IND Splitter Photo 26/26   |   2018 BMW M3 Competition - Culture Clash

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.

2018 BMW M3 Competition 3D Design Side Skirts 01 Photo 26/26   |   2018 BMW M3 Competition - Culture Clash

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.

2018 BMW M3 Competition IND V2 Steering Wheel Photo 26/26   |   2018 BMW M3 Competition - Culture Clash

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.

By John Krueger
5 Articles
2018 BMW M3 Competition - Culture Clash
Tuning Menu
Owner: Tom Nguyen
Hometown: Fremont, USA
Occupation: Sales Manager, Speed Image USA
Instagram: @t0mnguyen
Engine: MXP Performance mid-pipe and Valvetronic rear section exhaust with carbon-fiber quad tips; GruppeM Japan carbon-fiber intake; painted engine cover; CSF charge cooler; RK titanium charge pipes; Chasing Js titanium hardware kit
Footwork & Chassis Moton two-way coilovers; Stanceparts front air cup lift system
Brakes: 380mm front and rear Brembo GT-R big brake kits with six-piston front, forr-piston rear calipers
Wheels & Tires: 19x9.5 +25 front, 19x11 +37 rear Volk Racing TE037 6061 in Blast Bronze; 265/30R19 front, 295/30R19 rear Toyo R888R tires; Project Kics R40 Iconix lug nuts; MRG titanium wheel stud conversion kit
Exterior: 3D Design carbon-fiber front bumper, carbon-fiber side skirts; IND carbon-fiber under splitter; Varis carbon-fiber rear upper diffuser, cooling bonnet with louver duct, rear lower diffuser tray; Voltex carbon-fiber Type 1S wing; BMW M Performance carbon-fiber mirror caps; Shadowline Euro-spec taillights; Acexxon rear reflector insert set; Chasing Js titanium wing bracket bolt kit
Interior: Studio RSR Cartisan rollbar; Edirb 023 seats; Bride RO seat rails; Willans white harnesses; custom carbon-fiber seat delete and door panels; M4 GTS door pull straps BMW M Performance Alcantara armrest, carbon-fiber shift knob, carbon-fiber shifter trim, carbon-fiber steering wheel trim, V2 steering wheel by IND; 3D Design aluminum DCT paddles, e-brake handle, pedals set
Thanks: Andrew at Speed Image USA; Brian, Steve, Tony, Stanley, Beidy, Victor, and Rowie at Mackin Industries; Wakana at RAYS Wheels Japan; Linh at Garageworks; Hai at The Car Stereo Company; Imperial Works; Stan at Toyo Tires; RJ & Greg at Meguiar's; Cat at IND; Bun at Lot USA; Johan at Moton; Sam at GruppeM; Eric at Race Technologies; Dominic at Chasing Js

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