It's truly a milestone, perhaps even a rite of passage. But while Hunter Wright isn't old enough to legally drink in the United States, he's certainly created one of the cleanest BMW E90 four-doors around.
In the past, we've discovered only a handful of inspiring E90 sedans, such as the Hartge V10 from Turner Motorsport (et 7/07) and VQ Motoring's widebody 335i (et 5/08). The last published example was Dennis Wang's twincharged spectacle (et 8/08). Yet Hunter's '06 example is possibly the best daily-driven E90 sedan we've found.
You'll notice there's no color change, forced induction or widened fenders. The modifications were kept in check to further enhance the car's original features, rather than overpowering them.
At the age of 19, Hunter's a natural at this. His story begins with a Ford Mustang, or rather a dream of one. "At first, all I wanted was a Mustang GT. Then I realized it was a POS," he laughed.
Looking at the BMW brand, he found a platform with performance, style and luxury - something a college student in Houston could appreciate. His father owned a 7-Series, so Hunter was familiar with the vehicles rather than knowledgeable. So he began to research online, finding photos of other people's cars to help build his own. "I came across some sites that were a bad influence, but in good way. They just made me spend a lot of money," he laughed. Many hours on the computer and one trip to the dealer later, Hunter had embarked on his very first project car.
"The first thing I wanted was a good set of wheels," he explained, "but I've gone through eight sets because I want something new all the time."
Hunter finally settled on a set of BBS RS-GT wheels in diamond black. The staggered 19x8.5" fronts and 19x10" rear wheels were then wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.
Hunter continued to constantly change parts when he personalized the exterior. The front-end received a facelift every few months, starting with a Hartge spoiler, then AC Schnitzer parts. However, he wasn't satisfied until he fit the whole M-Technik kit with a Studie front splitter and a Vorsteiner carbon fiber hood.
While Hunter visited Los Angeles one summer, he decided to have DTM Autohaus of El Monte, CA fabricate a trunk lid to replicate the E46 M3 CSL. The trunk used an OE lid with a custom metal extension to achieve its more pronounced spoiler.
Dipping into the accessories catalog, Hunter ordered a carbon diffuser for the rear bumper, as well as OE Blackline tail lights. Up front he found a set of European HIDs with clear turn signals instead of amber. Angel eyes, black kidney grilles and LED side markers finished the exterior.
The stance needed attention, so KW V2 coilovers lowered the chassis. Once familiar with it, Hunter felt the sedan could use less body roll, so he then fitted H&R sway bars front and rear.
One of Hunter's favorite modifications and finest indulgences was the seats.
"I didn't get BMW's Sports package so I really didn't care about performance. Instead of spending money on the OE sport seats, I got better for less with Recaro." He selected Recaro's newest Sportster CS seats made from carbon, kevlar and fiberglass composite. Beige alcantara centers were then upholstered to match the interior, while black leather bolsters and headrests added some additional contrast.
Hunter had no intention of building the fastest 325i in the country, so he decided to keep the power upgrades simple. There also wasn't much available at the time. "If there had been a reliable supercharger available, I'd have got it," he said.
Instead, an Eisenmann exhaust and GruppeM carbon intake would have to do. And with carbon emerging as a theme on the car, Hunter added Vorsteiner engine covers.
Not needing extravagant brakes, Hunter strived for a tuner-look by installing JBT brakes. However, "I saw the Vorsteiner-edition Brembos and had to have them. They had the carbon inlay in the calipers," he explained.
The new brakes used 14" front and 13" rear rotors with six- and four-piston calipers, respectively. These would give the 325i both incredible stopping power and a stronger motorsport appearance.
Since the car's completion, Hunter has parted with his sedan and moved to an E92 335i coupe. He also became employed in the automotive industry, doing sales and marketing at Motorwerks of Houston - not bad for a guy who hasn't yet reached his 20s. But as we said, it appears he could be a natural at this...
2006 BMW 325i
Owner: Hunter Wright
Location: Houston, TX
Occupation: sales and marketing Motorwerks of Houston
Engine: 3.0 liter i-6 with Eisenmann exhaust, GruppeM carbon intake and Vorsteiner carbon engine covers
Drivetrain:: stock six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission
Suspension: KW V2 coilovers, H&R sway bars, brushed aluminum front strut bar
Brakes: Brembo/Vorsteiner 14" drilled front rotors with six-piston calipers, 13" drilled rear rotors with four-piston calipers
Wheels & Tires: 19x8.5" front, 19x10" rear BBS RS-GT wheels with 235/35-19 and 265/30-19 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires
Exterior: OE M-Technik front and rear valances, side skirts, Studie front splitter, carbon diffuser, metal CSL trunk lid, Vorsteiner carbon hood, European HID headlights with Brex angel eyes, AC Schnitzer roof spoiler, black kidney grilles, OE Blackline tail lights, LED side markers, HID foglights
Interior: Recaro Sportster CS seats, European split-folding armrest, LED lighting, M Sports steering wheel
Thanks: Motorwerks of Houston (www.mwhouston.com), Ryan Pietersz at DTM Autohaus (www.dtmautohaus.com)