The “Franken M3”

The BMW E30 M3 is no stranger to the word “iconic”. It was the most successful touring car racer of all-time and continues to be the purest example of the coveted BMW Motorsport division to date. It was named #6 on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s by Sports Car International (2004) and one of the “5 greatest drivers cars of all time” by Automobile Magazine (2007).

Even further, It continues to hold its value beyond the M3s to follow it, namely the E36 M3, especially if it is kept as minty and pure as a majority of its owners maintain them as. This, however, doesn’t keep the craziest minds from modding them beyond belief – from turbo’d S38 engines to more modern S50/S52/S62 swaps (also with forced induction). BUT this is definitely the craziest swap I have EVER seen:

“We have seen some crazy projects before, from BMW tuning or modding to restorations, but what we are going to show you today, has left us speechless.

PiperMotorSport, a Virgina based company, decided to start an exciting project: “to build the ultimate BMW using the best of the best from BMW’s line up”. Using the Project codename Franken M3, the final product will feature the S85 M5 V10 engine inside the body of the old-school, but still beautiful E30 M3.

PiperMotorsport was kind enough to share their story with everyone, so we’re going to let them describe the entire process:”


“Welcome to the build of the “Franken M3″. The car is a current project of ours which started September of 2007. The idea behind this project was to build the ultimate BMW using the best of the best from BMW’s line up. Some may argue whether or not the E30 M3 had much to improve on in the first place? Of course not! The E30 M3 is and always will be a great performer in factory trim and truly is a classic. We’ve simply started with an E30 M3 and built a whole new breed of the BMW M series.
To start we stripped the car of everything suspension, engine and drive train related and tossed it aside. Come to think of it, nothing but a few miscellaneous body panels and interior pieces have remained thus far.

Next, all new E90 (06-07 BMW 3 series) front and rear sub frames with all associated suspension components where assembled on a chassis jig and adjusted to fit within the stock body of the M3. To achieve this, the stock front frame rails have been removed and new rails where constructed to adapt the new sub frame. We’ve even raised the front shock towers to allow proper suspension travel for the E90 suspension. The rear of the car was completely cut and removed, excluding the exterior body panels of course, then re constructed to fit the new rear suspension package. This includes the fabrication of new rear shock towers, frame rails, spring mounts, wheel tubs and all related sheet metal work.

Many have asked us, where’s the roll cage? Just look closer. Knowing that the customer wanted some form of interior re installed, the roll cage was integrated into the body. The A and B pillars have been sectioned and removed. The bars are inserted into the body making the cage virtually invisible. Door bars are normally just too intrusive on a street car so the inner rocker panels were also sectioned. A hefty piece of box steel was then welded in place connecting the front of the cage to the back while offering some additional side impact protection as well. Essentially all that will be seen after interior is installed will be the rear X and harness bar.

Now for the part everyone’s been waiting for, the infamous S85 M5 V10 power plant. This motor was chosen for obvious reasons and it’s been matched up with the M5 6 speed manual transmission, differential and half-shafts. The installation of the engine actually started during the first few steps of the suspension assembly on the chassis jig. The new E90 front sub frame was completely reconstructed, among other things to adapt the new engine. Firewalls generally get in the way when stuffing big motors into little cars, so the firewall and transmission tunnel have been removed and were later reconstructed around the new engine and trans. We were very happy with the final placement and balance of the engine, in fact the top of the cylinder heads are just shy of sitting lower than the top of the wheels themselves.”

Via BMW Blog


~ by unscenemedia on September 2, 2009.

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