Welcome to this week’s FC Throwback, where we take a look back at some of our favourite previous feature cars. This week it’s Dan Taylor’s modified BMW E46 from 2014…
Some people will always get what they want, no matter how many obstacles you chuck their way. Dan Taylor here, for instance, may still only be a young’un, but one look at his 3-Series tells you all you need to know about his determination and patience to build one of the coolest BMWs to grace our tarmac.
His car story starts as many of ours do – with the inevitable phase of owning a number of disappointingly bland hatches, each one offering little in the way of inspiration as a base for a big project build. Dan’s eagerness to set his sights higher ensured that this didn’t last very long, though.
“When I was 19, I knew I had to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and get myself a BMW,” Dan explains, remembering the light bulb moment he knew that he had to step up his car game. A couple of days later and sure enough, he was driving home in his very own black, four-door E46. You may at this stage be wondering how such a young driver managed to cough up for insurance on this prestigious ride, and Dan admits that this wasn’t something he’d bothered considering when rushing in to buying the motor. “After driving it for the first time I knew I’d made the right choice, though,” he justifies, having to work flat out just to keep it on the road.
With such a limited budget, Dan was understandably stumped when it came to plans to mod the Beemer. He knew if he had any chance of sprucing up his German barge, he’d have to forget the tuning garages and instead do some creative solo work on his driveway. As we all know, dusting the tool box off and having a go at a bit of car DIY doesn’t always go as planned. Luckily, Dan has a good eye for styling, and is handy with the old spanner, so nothing could possibly go wrong, right? “I started creating and fitting a home-made air-ride kit to fit my budget, and after completing the job, started the car up to be greeted with my girlfriend telling me it was on fire,” Dan laughs. Luckily, he was able to solve the electrical niggles easily, and was left with a decent air suspension system.
Dan’s attempts to keep the budget for his build under control came into trouble the moment he began discovering images online highlighting the trend of fitting super-rare rims to German motors. A stickler for detail, Dan subsequently spent the next few months scouring for the perfect one-off rims for his Beemer, with any sort of budget now going right out of the window! A set of BBS RFs with slant dishes boosting their diameter from 17 to 18-inches eventually made their way into Dan’s line of fire, and were snapped up immediately. And we can see why – just check out how well that insane dish works with the E46 bodyline!
With the car now dripping in luxury goodies, Dan thought it would be rude not to go the whole hog. Choosing a custom grey colour, he had the bodywork resprayed to perfection by a mate who conveniently owns a bodyshop. The unique colour, combined with the very special rims has resulted in an E46 exterior that can hold its own at the shows.
But what’s the use of having a car that looks great on the outside, but doesn’t cut it on the inside? Dan went back to his own garage to tackle this problem, bagging a full beige leather interior with plans to dye it dark purple himself. The result? “I can’t believe how well it came out – it looks incredible!” Dan grins. The door cards were swiftly made the same shade, and the boot received a cheap suede makeover to offer the newly fitted Air Llift suspension system a nice place to sit.
A few eBay bargains, such as the genuine carbon fibre boot (which he managed to grab for less than £100!) and M3 front bumper, and Dan can now be sure that he owns one of the most nicely stanced E46s in the country. Shows what you can do in your garage with a dollop of determination!
TECH SPEC E46 BMW
Full respray in custom grey, smoothed side repeaters, smoothed bonnet badge, carbon fibre boot lid, M3 front bumper.
9×18 (front) and 10×18-inch (rear) 3-piece BBS RF wheels, stepped up to 18 inches with slant dishes, Air Lift air-ride suspension system with Autopilot V2 management, custom boot build with twin compressors and custom hard lines
Seats and door cards dyed deep purple, suede parcel shelf, pillars and boot lining, black roof lining, carbon fibre gear surround
Pioneer head unit, VIBE front and rear speakers
All of my friends for helping me make the E46 what it is today, Ben Wylie and Will Palmer, my girlfriend, and Inspired Automotive for the cleaning products.
Words Sam Preston Photography Chris Wallbank