To most BMW enthusiasts, both young and seasoned, the E46 M3 is revered as one of the most thrilling sports cars ever made. It’s sleek, has an amazing capacity for performance, and is just an all around driver’s car. While there are many ways to modify these cars, we’ve decided to pull Sam’s M3 into focus for this blog installment.
The M3 lineage as a whole is something Sam is very familiar with. He has owned E46s in the past, and partook in a European Delivery to receive his Sakhir F80 M3 last year. What ignited his affliction with the E46 dates back to his high school days. “My friend Nick gave me a poster from a magazine,” he explained, referring to an M3. “I had it on my wall throughout school, kind of a ‘one day, if you study hard, if you work hard, you can afford this.’”
Sam has been a PTech customer for years and his passion for BMW has all but wavered. I asked him if he could compare the two generations of M3s, and his response was thoughtful. “A lot of the spirit is the same,” he explained. “The F80 obviously delivers power in a much different way.” What it boils down to, though, is that he ultimately feels more connected in the stripped down E46. “Or maybe it just rattles more,” he added humorously.
Sam’s E46 is quite simply, a work horse. Driven essentially as a track dedicated vehicle, it has seen some high RPMs and a great deal of track time. What we like about Sam’s car is that it’s simple, yet exciting in that simplicity. Even with the wheels, a cage peeking through the windows, and some exterior track accessories, the car looks underwhelming to the unknowing passerby. That’s the beauty of it, though. It’s not decorated, it’s not babied, it’s not made out to be something it’s not. This M3 is pushed to its full potential.
This car has both the looks and sounds that would get any enthusiast to take a second glance. Personally, I’m a fan of the functional stance Sam has chosen. The gunmetal BBS RGR wheels sit nice and snug beneath the car, and give it a timeless look. A nice contrast to the dark theme is the flash of red from the Stop Tech calipers that hide behind the wheel faces.
Inside the cabin is a very straightforward array that says: “I’m here to drive.” The Recaros paired with black Schroth harnesses align with the car’s very dark aesthetic, while the red door cards add a pop of color. Sam’s cage, like most of our other track builds, was fabricated locally by TC Design Motorsports.
Getting to shoot this car in a completely empty parking garage was a treat. As if the Bimmerworld exhaust wasn’t loud enough with in the open air, it echoed harshly and vibrated the structure’s walls. When he arrived at the entrance, we could track where the car was driving when it was floors below us. Sam has one word for the exhaust and its noise production: “hilarious.”
If you know Sam, you know he has a rather vibrant sense of humor. That said, small details like the “OOPS” tow arrows on the front and rear bumpers are suiting. His plate, NOFRNDS, is of course, a Top Gear reference. Out of curiosity, I posed Sam with the question of what his favorite modification to the car might be. His response started, “Cliche, but the best mod is the driver.” This is a statement that I think most of us can agree with. “The harder and more confidently you drive these cars, the more rewarding they are.”
Our E46 M3 fan base is undoubtedly the strongest group of customers that we have. When Performance Technic started back in 2009, the chassis’ popularity was still soaring. Not much seems to have changed, as the cars slowly seem to be approaching a collector’s bubble. Because these cars remain so popular today, we like to acknowledge the hard work that goes into maintaining them. We appreciate customers and friends like Sam, who enjoy their cars to the fullest. It’s enthusiasts like him who keep these cars not only on the road, but also on the track.