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Got Phat?

It’s True, Wider is Better!

Michael Shartsis
Apr 1, 2002 SHARE

You’re never going to believe who called me… again. As the phone rang, I checked the screen and to my surprise it was Jason Lee from Wheel Power. As I answered, I heard the distinctive voice of one of the most creative BMW tuners this side of Germany.

“Mikey, Mikey… I’ve got something extra special for you.”

“What is it?” I ask.

“You’ll see, you’ll see. Come by the H&R booth at SEMA.”

The last time I received a call like this from Jason it was to preview his last Hamann GTR creation. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I caught a glimpse of the Competition wide-body BMW parked inside the H&R booth in Las Vegas. The aggressive styling queues on the exterior, the elegant use of aluminum on the interior, and subtle performance enhancements under the hood all made for what many will consider the ultimate 3-Series BMW.

Owning an E-46 coupe myself, I’m pretty familiar with the latest offerings from BMW. But when I got the chance to turn the ignition key on Jason’s latest creation, something seemed to change. I’m not sure if it was the performance exterior styling or the feeling of elegance inside the reupholstered red and gray leather interior, but I couldn’t wait to drive this BMW.

The 3.0L engine came to life with a distinct Hamann roar thanks to a Sport exhaust manifold and stainless Sport muffler. Engaging the stick into First, I quickly noticed the reduced throw of the UUC Competition short shifter, dressed in a Hamann Motorsport aluminum shift knob. Comfortable to the touch, I throttled down on the matching Hamann Motorsport pedals.

Ready and willing, I put the wide-body Bimmer to the test entering the freeway onramp. As I rolled onto the throttle, the apex of the turn quickly tightened as I felt the H&R coil-overs and 19-inch Hamann/Yokohama wheel and tire combo come into play.

Accelerating up to speed, I quickly passed through the shift gate until I reached Fifth gear. The feel of the wide-body on the open road is breath- taking. Road manners are above average considering this streetcar rolls phat on 19x10-inch wheels. The next exit allowed for another opportunity to check out the suspension, as I tossed the nimble coupe into a radius reducing left hander which never seemed to upset the car. All told, the performance both in acceleration and handling on the BMW was improved greatly from stock. Coming to a stop thanks to a 355mm Brembo brake upgrade, complete with “Big Red” six-piston calipers, I pulled up alongside a showroom stock BMW 330Ci. The visual cues between the two BMWs were amazingly different. The Hamann car sports competition-inspired fender flares, front bumper replacement, headlamp eyebrows, mirrors, replacement side skirts, replacement rear bumper, DTM-style trunk mount wing and roof spoiler.

A look inside Jason’s latest BMW creation reveals aluminum appointments provided by Hamann, which include doorsill plates, a pedal set, and hand brake cover. Also added to the mix, is custom red and gray reupholstery work including Hamann logos on the front seats.

Returning the car to Wheel Power, I was left with the feeling that this conversion fits well within my personal belief that a car is not just transportation, rather it is an expression of the man behind the wheel. I only wish I could be that man full-time!

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By Michael Shartsis
38 Articles

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