Packing 715whp from its bored, stroked and turbocharged M50, this wild Swedish E36 M3 Turbo is very fast and exceedingly furious.
Consider the turbo. Sure, purists will say they prefer the response and sound of a naturally aspirated engine, but you can’t deny that when it comes to making big power, the turbo makes life a whole lot easier and it’s essentially giving you something for nothing, which is very hard to complain about. BMW was the third car manufacturer to have a go with a turbo road car in the shape of the 1973 2002 Turbo, followed by a long hiatus from forced induction during which time the aftermarket got a taste for boost. If you want to go fast and your pockets are deep enough, turbocharging is the way forward.
Just ask Peter Gylén, because how else could he have built himself a 715whp E36? Hailing from Vasteras in Sweden, Peter has been a BMW fan for as long as he has been driving, about 12 years, and this E36 was in fact his first car. Reading and writing about owners who are committed to their cars and are in it for the long haul always makes us feel happy, especially when we’re about to embark on a tale of someone who has taken their car from mild to wild in the most extreme way possible. This E36 is extreme, of that there can be no doubt, too extreme for everyday use now, so it has been joined by a marginally more sensible E39 540i which serves as Peter’s daily, so it’s clear that his passion for BMW is not about to begin to wane anytime soon.
Back when Peter was a youngster just starting out on his BMW journey, he could never have envisaged that the car you see before you would be what he would end up building and his reasons for buying the car were pure and simple. “I first saw this car in a street race and I liked it so much,” he says. “Six months later I saw the car for sale; I liked the colour and it had few miles on it so I bought it. It was in okay condition, there was some rust on the rear arches, and my plan was to build a nice, clean car.” Of course, with this being Peter’s first ever car it was also his first ever project and over the years it has grown and evolved into an absolute monster, but that incredible engine was the final piece of the project. Everything else came first, as it really should if you’re approaching a build with a sensible and level head, and Peter concentrated on laying down a solid foundation on which he could then build the beast you see before you.
When Peter says he set out to build himself a nice, clean car he’s not kidding because he hasn’t just spent the seven or eight years that he’s been working on this E36 concentrating on the performance mods, he has really put the work in beneath the surface, where you can’t see any of it. When he got going, the first thing he did was to strip the car completely, and we mean completely, removing all of the body panels and the whole interior, removing the engine, dropping both axles and then set about cleaning the underside before spraying it black and blasting all the various parts, the subframes and so on. He then ordered a whole host of new parts, nuts, bolts and then put it all back together, ensuring he had an absolutely solid car to start with and one that would last him a very long time. This wasn’t just a project build, this was pretty much a full restoration, and that’s impressive.
From the outside, this E36 does look pretty wild at first glance but look closer and you realise that actually, bar just a couple of items, Peter has kept things BMW and this ‘keep it clean’ philosophy runs through the whole build. It wears an M3 body kit and up front there’s an adjustable M3 GT spoiler and the high-rise rear wing is also a GT item. There are also M3 mirrors and only that wild, one off custom diffuser really ups the styling stakes, but the overall look is an extremely cohesive one and while it is unashamedly aggressive, it’s not completely in-your-face, possibly aided by the fact that the car is finished in such an unassuming shade. To the keen-eyed among you it might appear to be Cashmere beige, itself a pretty rare colour, but this is actually a custom take on Cashmere, with Peter putting together his own version with added gold for a more intense and slightly less outright beige finish, and it’s certainly got that rich metallic hit of liquid latte about it. The wheels, meanwhile, were chosen mainly due to price but considering Peter was shopping for them 10 years ago when he was younger and money was not so easy to come by, it’s completely understandable. “I chose the wheels because they were almost free to buy,” laughs Peter as we quiz him about the 17” AC Monacos fitted to the E36. “Of course I considered other wheels,” he adds, “but for a 20-year-old on a budget wheels were not the most important thing to me, the chassis was more important.” That’s really someone with an old head on their shoulders talking, because for most 20-year-old enthusiasts modding their first car, wheels would be one of the most important things but Peter was looking at the big picture. Far more important than the wheels themselves are the tyres that have been wrapped around them and here you will find not the widest of rubber, at 225 all round, but certainly some of the stickiest, with Peter opting for Toyo’s R888s, the perfect medium via which to get all that power to the Tarmac.
As for the interior, it’s clearly been built to match the car’s high-performance nature but is also absolutely stunning and far beyond the sort of stripped-out, uncompromising interiors we’re used to seeing on these sorts of cars. Peter says he’s flocked the dash but what he actually means is that he’s flocked the entire dash, all of it, top and bottom sections, and then he clearly decided to just keep on going as he’s also flocked the entire centre console too for good measure. Then we come to the carbon, with a panel constructed from the wonderful weave housing his trio of auxiliary gauges where you’d usually expect to find the large central air vent and the door cards and rear interior side panels are also made entirely of carbon fibre. A CNC-machined steering column mounted gauge holder houses the oil pressure and AEM AFR gauges, the Sparco steering wheel is joined by a pair of Sparco Evo seats, there’s a really unconventional but exceedingly cool Suvi Performance gear lever and it’s all finished off with the addition of a modified Wiechers rollcage, combining to create an absolutely extraordinary interior.
On the suspension front, D2 Street coilovers have been equipped all-round, offering not only a decent drop but plenty of adjustment, allowing Peter to keep his E36 under control whilst deploying 715whp, and they are joined by a D2 camber kit and D2 BBK front and rear. This squeezes monster eight-pot purple calipers under the 17s up front and four pots at the rear, with 330mm discs all round, offering serious stopping power and exactly what you need when you’re trying to tame this much performance. The drivetrain, meanwhile, is a combination of M3 3.0 components with a 3.2 Evo six-speed gearbox connected to an M20 flywheel with a 618 pressure plate and four-puck sintered clutch; “The M3 drivetrain is a bulletproof combo with a few modifications,” explains Peter and it’s clearly doing a grand job of coping with what the engine is producing.
Ah yes, that engine; it’s finally time to delve under the bonnet and take a good, long look at exactly what’s lurking in that immaculate engine bay. What is perhaps most impressive about this engine, even more impressive than the incredible amount of work that has gone into building it, is Peter’s attitude and approach when he set about constructing it. “It took me about one year to complete the engine setup,” he says, “I wanted to build a dependable car. Everything works perfectly and I have had no trouble at all,” and that’s extremely impressive for an engine running some serious boost and producing as much power as it is and Peter’s patience has paid dividends. The engine started out life as a humble, Vanos-equipped M50B25 but displacement now sits at 2.8-litres thanks to some boring and stroking topped off with a 2.8 crankshaft, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Sitting beneath the carbon engine cover you will find double M50 intake cams, race cam chains, CP Pistons with Eagle rods, Supertech race valves, race springs, retainers and valve stem seals. Hidden out of sight sits the Precision 6766 turbo, capable of developing up to 935hp, mounted on a Spa manifold with a Precision 46mm wastegate and a PPF blow-off valve, with air entering the engine via a custom intake manifold equipped with a 70mm throttle body. Two DeatschWerks 301 in-tank pumps feed the engine with E85 fuel via a set of monster 1700cc injectors while supporting mods include an aluminium thermostat housing, Stewart race water pump, Tilton oil pump and catch tank and Setrab oil cooler while a Vi-PEC V44 plug-and-play ECU manages under-bonnet proceedings. It’s a heady list of heavy-hitting mods and running through all that it’s easy to see just why it took Peter a whole year to assemble his dream line-up of high-performance components and build his perfect powerhouse. The final figures make for seriously impressive reading: there’s the aforementioned 715whp, which translates to at least 800hp at the crank, along with 627lb ft of torque and it’s all developed at a pretty ferocious 2.1bar of boost.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by a build of this scale, especially when it’s been executed to such an incredibly high standard and so much work, time and effort has been poured into it. We like that Peter has concentrated on what matters, on ensuring he’s got the best possible base on which to start building, on ensuring that the engine will last, that the drivetrain can cope with it and the chassis can handle everything that’s being thrown at it. The fact that it’s his first ever car, his first ever BMW and his first ever project makes it all the more impressive. Of course, he’s not done, a build of this scale never is because there are just so many components that can be uprated and improved and he’s already got a list of updates ready. “I am planning some side skirts, new wheels, I’m going to upgrade the rear axle and I’m also going to make a new intake manifold,” he says and that’s just for starters. Peter has built himself an absolutely awesome car and it’s one that’s only going to become even more awesome as time goes by, of that there can be no doubt.
Tech Spec: BMW E36 M3 Turbo
Engine And Transmission
Straight-six M50B25 bored and stroked to 2.8-litres, dual M50 intake cams, race cam chains, Supertech race valves, race springs, retainers and valve seals, Cooper ring head gasket, ARP nuts and bolts, all-new gaskets, CP pistons, Eagle rods, M50B28 crankshaft, Precision 6766 turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, Spa turbo manifold, PPF blow-off valve, custom intake manifold, Accufab 70mm throttle body, 1700cc injectors, twin DeatschWerks 301 in-tank fuel pumps, stock fuel pressure regulator and fuel rail, Nuke fuel filter, E85 fuel, Stewart race water pump, new stock cooler, aluminium thermostat housing, Tilton oil pump and catch tank, Setrab oil cooler, Vi-PEC V44 plug-and-play ECU. E36 M3 3.2 Evo Getrag six-speed manual gearbox, M20 flywheel, Sachs 618 pressure plate, four-puck sintered clutch
Power And Torque
715whp and 627lb ft of torque @ 2.1bar
8×17” (front and rear) AC Monaco wheels with 225/50 (front and rear) Toyo R888 tyres, D2 Street coilovers, D2 camber kit, D2 BBK with eight-piston calipers (front), four-piston calipers (rear) and 330mm discs (front and rear)
Custom Cashmere beige, M3 body kit, adjustable M3 GT front splitter, M3 mirrors, M3 GT rear wing, custom rear diffuser
Flocked dashboard and centre console, carbon fibre door cards, carbon fibre rear panels, Sparco Evo seats, Sparco steering wheel, Suvi Performance gear lever, carbon panel with water temperature, boost and oil temperature gauges, CNC-machined column-mounted gauge holder for oil pressure and AEM AFR gauges, modified Wiechers roll-cage
Arosauto Västerås, Adnan & Nabbe A&N Bilvård & Lackering, Micke på Tunbytorp, Blästring och Lackering, Street Performance, Ärtan and Bäckis Pure Performance Factory, PPF, Swedol Billy, Jocke på Jospeed för motor arbetet mm, Jonas På Widells Bilplåt and many others
Feature taken from Performance BMW. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrik Karlsson