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1999 BMW 323i

Marcus Chu’s Competition Yellow BMW 323i

Yvonne Liu
Sep 1, 2000
Photographer: Wes Allison

Turn to your left, no right! It’s behind you now! Wait, check your left again! Never mind, Marcus Chu’s Competition Yellow BMW 323i is simply a blur to most of us. But you’re in luck today, since his phat MRyde is rolling steady on these next few pages, so sit up and pay attention. A self-proclaimed hobbyist, Marcus is into altering the perception of today’s automobiles. Previous to this 323i, he owned a 1994 Nissan Altima and then a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee. But who can resist the power and seduction of a fine German-engineered performance automobile? Certainly not us, and neither could Marcus, as he finally gave in to his newfound addiction.

It took him about a year to complete the modifications listed, yet more is on the way. But what Marcus has thus far sure knocks us out of orbit (Talk about being highly impressed--MAX)! And even though more than a few bills found their way out of his pockets, every aftermarket modification he made was well worth the various trips (You know, to the bank, to the car shops, and so forth.--MAX). Marcus left most of the underhood components alone for the time being, as he is still X-perimenting with the motor. But don't think of this as a bad comedown, since he did add a Monsterflow carbon fiber air intake and a Hamann DTM Competition Sports exhaust. NGK Platinum spark plugs and an oil cap were also installed, so sit tight and read on.

When he decided on exact bodywork modifications, Marcus sure wasn't in a trance (Or was he?--MAX). He looked to Body Pros of Garden Grove, California, to get the work done right. And when his Bimmer came out of the shop, it sported a Hamann body kit complete with headlight covers, sport mirrors, side skirts, front spoiler, rear spoiler, roof spoiler, three-piece competition-adjustable wing, and carbon fiber pre-spoiler. Hamann also supplied the lighting in the form of European clear corners, taillights, and side markers. By the way, Marcus also claims that his three-piece wing is the only one in the U.S. at this time. Custom bodywork and paint includes a Hamann gas door, color-matched moldings, and PPG Competition Yellow Mica paint, thanks to Derek's great paint application skills at Body Pros.

Drivetrain-wise, the transmission remains stock, except for the addition of a Hamann short shifter. Marcus also installed H&R coilovers both in the front and rear to aid in lowering this E46 by 2.2 inches in the rear and 3 inches in the front. No MRyde dares to cruise in public on stock wheels, and this one certainly wasn’t going to break the golden rule. Up front, 19x8.5-inch Hamann PG3 three-piece wheels ride low on Pirelli P7000 235/35-19 tires. In the rear are matching Hamann PG3s, measuring 19x9.0 inches and wearing 265/30-19 Pirelli P7000 tires. Why the difference? Who cares, it’s all good!A peek inside reveals one very disturbing fact and question--was Marcus trippin’ when he decided on his interior mods? No, it’s not the Hamann aluminum sport pedals, shift knob, or e-brake replacement that throw us off and have us scratching our heads. It’s the mobiletronics that totally trip us out (In a good way.--MAX)!

Not only does he have an Alpine head unit and 12-disc CD changer, MA Audio 6.6-inch component system, MA Audio 2-inch soft silk dome tweeters, MA Audio 10-inch competition subwoofers, and MA Audio amps, but Xtreme Stereo of Anaheim, California, also installed a custom Clarion multi-switcher console. We know what you're thinking, "So what?" But if you're a true MAXer, you'll be impressed by the next set of mods: an Alpine mobile VCR, a Sega Dreamcast game system, and six video monitors to boot. In case you're driving or was lucky enough to have gotten shotgun, then turn your attention to the MA Audio 5.6-inch active matrix screens on the visors or the Alpine unit on the dash. If you're sitting in the back, look to the nearest headrest for 6.8-inch screens. And if Marcus happens to kidnap you for one reason or another and throws you headfirst into his trunk, have no fear--you still have access to a 6.8-inch screen mounted to the decklid. So, are ya impressed or what? Never mind, don't answer.

If you are ever thinking of taking up a similar hobby, Marcus has a few parting words of advice that he'd like to share: Do it because it is a mind-exploring experience. And don't forget to buy a side car while you're at it, or else you'll have to get rides from everyone while your MRyde is in the shop. We all have to make sacrifices for our passions, and Marcus is no exception. But who's the one that can proudly boast that his car is a yellow daily-driver fully-equipped BMW with less than a 3-inch clearance off of the ground? Now that's rollin' on the edge.

By Yvonne Liu
17 Articles

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