2002 BMW M3
Almost two years ago, Jeff Nguyen told us he'd built his car to be mild. "Mild meant trying to heavily modify the car yet not have it appear over the top with crazy bodywork or bright paint," he said at the time.
Fast-forward to today and Jeff's not the same person. Formerly residing in Los Angeles, he's back in his hometown of Dallas, having graduated from dental school and happily married to his wife, Caroline. But during all this activity, he found time to re-think his approach to his '02 BMW M3. "I basically got to the point where I needed to step up my game to be competitive in the show scene," he revealed.
Having built a steel grey M3 (et 1/07), Jeff got together with his friends at the tuner shop Carrozzeria Design and show team TWCompetition to commit the M3 to surgery. The first order of business was the rear fenders. "I wanted to keep them tame," he explained. "I've had friends who experienced problems with widebody conversions, so I decided to do the rears only. This way it's more functional, allowing more rubber on the rear wheels."
Auto Explosion in Gardena, CA widened the rear arches an extra 1.5" either side, while custom vents were grafted in as well. The new fenders matched seamlessly to the existing AC Schnitzer carbon diffuser, giving the rear more definition.
Otherwise, the exterior remained from Jeff's previous efforts with a molded Schnitzer front lip, shaved bumper lights, ATR carbon hood, roof spoiler and CSL-style trunk lid.
When it came to paint, Jeff rationalized a color change. "I wanted to paint the roof black for sure," he explained. "I was doing the rear fenders as well, so that's basically half the car. It wasn't going to cost much more to change the rest," he explained.
Jeff ditched the stock grey for House of Kolors white. "I always wanted a white M3 and the color I chose was based on the Lexus IS, but where the IS has a iridescent purple pearl, I used blue instead."
To compliment their work, Auto Explosion also disassembled the Brembo brake calipers and color-matched them in white as well.
The previous 20" Modulare wheels were scrapped in favor of new 20x8.5" front and 20x10.5" rear Modsport S1 wheels. "I wanted wheels with a sporty look and the mesh design worked well," Jeff stated. "I also wanted to contrast the white, so did them matte black."
A more aggressive offset gives the wheels deeper rims than before, providing ample traction with 285/25-20 Falken FK-425 tires on the rear.
With the star-studded makeover nearing completion, Jeff didn't want to neglect the motor. So he used his relationship with Active Autowerke to raise the bar on his supercharger kit. Having started with Active's Level 1 kit, Jeff was able to upgrade to Level 3, adding a front-mount intercooler and oil cooler, water/alchohol injection, new intake manifold and headers. He's since moved on to the latest Level 4 kit, which is claimed to produce 525hp and 338 lb-ft at the crank thanks to a larger 81-trim Rotrex compressor with 70mm pulley allowing 9psi boost pressure. Bigger injectors were also installed, along with UUC's stage 2 cera-metallic clutch and 8.5 lb flywheel.
The M3 was then strapped to the dyno, where the supercharged 3.2 liter laid down 432whp and 328 lb-ft of torque. It's just shy of Active's claims after calculating drivetrain losses, but doesn't take into account the 91-octane gas and warm weather, which may account for the missing power.
The rest of the car was left untouched because Jeff had mastered it on his first try. The interior still has Recaro Sportline seats in grey suede. Matching suede replaces the headliner, pillars, door panels and rear seats. Defi gauges are molded to the A-pillar to monitor boost pressure, oil and exhaust temperatures. A Schnitzer rollcage encases the cockpit, while attention to detail is seen in the carbon dash trim, ACS pedals, e-brake handle, floor mats and European center tray.
A wild show car wouldn't be complete without a crazy audio setup, so Lorenzo Dimichili of qualitymobilevideo.com fabricated the appropriate system. Diamond Audio components adorned the front and rear, while two 12" D6 subs hang from the rear shelf. Four Diamond amps float on a custom rack in the trunk and the crossovers are mounted in the floor. A 15" monitor mounted inside the trunk lid complete the mobile boombox.
In his final year touring the show circuit, Jeff has managed to win several Best of Show awards at Hot Import Nights. Satisfied with his achievements, Jeff sold the car to move onto bigger and more family-oriented projects - he's preparing to buy a new house and is planning for kids in the future. A family-friendly E60 M5 also sits in his garage with bolt-on parts awaiting installation. He tells us he won't go balls out on the M5, but if history repeats itself we'll be seeing Jeff again soon.
2002 BMW M3
Owner: Jeff Nguyen
Location: Dallas, TX
Engine: 3.2 liter straight six 24v with Active Autowerke Gen 1 Level 4 supercharger kit including Rotrex 81-trim blower, larger injectors, front-mount intercooler and oil cooler, water/alcohol injection, eight-rib pulley, custom software, polished blower, intake manifold and piping, radiator support, fan clutch and headers, Eisenmann Race muffler with quad 83mm exhaust tips, AR-20 resonators, carbon engine cover
Driveline: UUC 8.5 lb flywheel and stage 2 cera-metallic clutch, Rogue Engineering transmission mounts, Schnitzer short shift kit
Suspension: KW V2 coilovers, Schnitzer rollcage and front strut brace, Powerflex bushings
Wheels & Tires: 20x8.5" front and 20x10.5" rear Modsport S1 wheels with chrome barrels and matte black faces, 245/35-20 front and 285/25-20 rear Falken FK-452 tires
Brakes: Brembo Gran Turismo 15" front, 13.6" rear big brake kit with color-matched calipers
Exterior: AC Schnitzer carbon front lip molded to bumper with support struts, ACS roof spoiler and carbon rear diffuser, shaved front reflectors, OE BMW rear diffuser with carbon overlay, black kidney grilles, Wheel Power Phosphyre halo lights, Hamann brake ducts molded into bumper, Hamann eyelids, ATR carbon GTR hood and CSL-style trunklid with fading paint scheme, carbon side grilles, 1.5" wider rear fenders with custom vents, House of Kolors white with blue pearl paint, black with blue pearl roof
Interior: Recaro Sportline seats with grey suede centers and black vinyl sides, carbon dash trim, Schnitzer aluminum pedal set, aluminum e-brake handle and floor mats, Schroth Rallye 4 harnesses with shoulder pads, custom suede headliner, pillars, door panels, rear seat center panels, e-brake and shift boot, European OE BMW center tray, Defi Imperial BF Series 60mm exhaust temperature, boost and oil pressure gauges mounted in a custom A-pillar pod, Defi gauge control module, Innovate Motorsports wideband air/fuel ratio gauge, Active Autowerke shift knob
Audio/Visual: Eclipse AVN-5435 double-DIN CD/DVD/nav head unit, Diamond Audio D6 6.5" front and 5.5" rear components, two 12" D6 subs mounted on fabricated rear baffle, two D6 1000.1 amps and one D6 600.4 amp on rack, 15" monitor on trunk lid in suede housing, rearview trunk keyhole camera, iPod integration unit, Scosche wiring, custom trunk lighting