Ask almost any BMW lover what their favorite car is, and you’re bound to get at least a few answers. Most often the various M3 or M5 generations come up as fan favorites. Such is the case for Carlos, who has fostered an adoration for the M3 throughout most of his life. Recalling his young teenage years, he was introduced to the first M3 he drove: the E30 M3. It was one of those “love at first drive” moments, and he soon realized that he was addicted. Then came the E36 M3, which sealed his automotive fate.
Even as a young child, Carlos had the gear turning imagination of a petrolhead. His “gateway drug,” as he calls it, was R/C racing, and as he grew into his high school years, he found himself dabbling with Hondas. (We’re not talking cut springs and a pitchy exhaust—try more along the lines of a CRX Si with a CARB and BAR legal B16 swap, and then some.)
Today, with eight cars and years of automotive obsession under his belt, Carlos finds himself in a state of contentment—or, as content as a constant builder can be. He owns an incredible E30 M3 + E36 M3 pair, but for now, let’s take a look at the E36.
This car comes as a “take two” of sorts, as Carlos’ first E36 M3 met an unfortunate end at the hands of an uninsured, unlicensed driver who disregarded a stop sign at roughly 40 MPH. The fortunate part of this experience is that Carlos walked away comparatively unharmed, but his M3 had been reduced to a depressing, crumpled heap. That first car (also a Technoviolet) was Carlos’ first run at building the E36 of his dreams. He had worked to address all of its issues, from electrical to simply ditching the awful 19” wheels it had come with. Lightly modded and sitting on BBS LMs, the M3 was the start of Carlos’ Techno journey. It never quite sat right with him once he lost the car. He felt as though his work had been taken from him, unfinished, and it ate at his subconscious.
Fast forward nine years later from his first wrecked M3, and Carlos found himself driving an E46 M3, similarly modified with suspension and BBS LMs (noticing a wheel trend here?). Next came his E30 M3, which he refers to as “a project indefinite,” and finally, his true gem: the ’96 Technoviolet seen here.
Carlos found this car back in April of last year in the form of a rather cosmetically lacking but promising project. The M3 had been owned by Dinan for most of its life, and was actually the same car that they developed their OBDII supercharger kit on. Carlos came to meet this car’s electrical and cosmetic issues, much like his previous E36. However, this M3 would be different, and would allow a much clearer path for Carlos’ ideas to flourish.
For starters: the exterior. A beautiful, well done Technoviolet Metallic respray was needed to repair its state of cosmetic unrest. Carlos bumped into some rust repair along the way, and outfitted the car with some great aero pieces: OEM GT front splitter, Abrahams Motorsport LTW spoiler, and MSportParts wickerbills.
The M3 sits atop a square set of 18” x 9.5” BBS LMs, wrapped tastefully with Michelin Piolet Sport 2 rubber. The car rides on Ground Control coilovers with corresponding GC camber plates, poly bushings, and Dinan front + rear strut bars. To top it off with braking performance, behind the LM faces you’ll find Porsche Carrera “Big Reds” + Rally Road adaptor brackets and E46 M3 CSL floating front and rear rotors.
A host of other Dinan bits can be found throughout the build, including Dinan pedals, short shifter, throttle body, v2 Vortech supercharger, software, and v2 stainless exhaust.
One of our favorite parts about the car rests within the interior. With factory M-Rain front and rear seats, a Euro steering wheel, and alcantara accents (pillars and headliner), the view from the driver seat is spectacular. Every single element of this build works together seamlessly, and it’s easy to see why Carlos was so determined to reunite with the E36 chassis after his first loss.
The E36 M3 is becoming increasingly coveted and even BMW themselves consider the car a classic. It’s really the last M car with what you could call “minimal” technology. As beloved as the E46 is, the cult following of its predecessor continues to grow, and we may see a dramatic market change in the coming years. After all, it’s already begun.
There are few cars which fall within the caliber of Carlos’ Techno, and with such a long, personal story, it’s truly a special build. We look forward to seeing what other projects may be in his future, and we might even get some camera time with his E30 M3 some time.