Our visit to City Performance Centre in Sydney ended with the guys there pulling out one of their most amazing creations to date. This car couldn't possibly suit our current "sleeper" theme any better as it may look like a pretty ordinary, maybe lightly tuned, E36 M3 from the outside…
…but packs some very unique mechanical alterations under its skin. When the hood was swung open we all proceeded to drop our jaws straight to the floor as we were confronted with nothing short of a superb example of bespoke perfection.
Keeping aesthetic alterations to a minimum and concentrating on the important oily bits is obviously something the owner of the car was set on before embarking on the project. His goals were simple; the car had to be totally different, user friendly and engineered to perfection. And it's this last point especially that CPC made sure they didn't overlook.
Once the body had been prepped and painted the owner had originally requested a BMW 3.2L transplant. However, after coming across some LS conversion on the internet one night, he began toying with the idea of going a bit wilder. Not particularly keen on an iron-block LS1, which would have made the car too front heavy, he explored the idea of an all-alloy LS3, which would weigh around 30 kg less. As the owner says, "the rest is history!"
With the M3 being engineered to V8 Supercar levels, there was no problem in injecting such a brutal boost of performance. The LS3 was borrowed from a Holden along with the Tremec T56 transmission…
…and beautifully installed into the E36's engine bay. To make the motor fit CPC fabricated chrome moly engine and transmission mounts as well as a stainless steel exhaust system. A full Motec engine management system followed, wired and laid out just like it would be on a race car. With time spent on ECU mapping it was possible to extract 483 HP and 450 lb/ft from the naturally aspirated 6.2L V8.
The engine breathes through the hand made "lobster-tail" intake pipe, which was tig welded and created out of 30 laser-cut slices. Just one of many examples of the attention to detail that has gone into the build. The FAST RHS LSXR intake manifold with an 102 mm throttle boosts flow to each of the cylinders, liberating more horsepower.
The whole purpose of this M3 was to create a lethal track car that could be driven to circuits, thrashed and then driven back home. The custom coilover suspension runs springs that were computer designed especially for this car with the whole set up having been modified to eliminate bump steer and get the best out of the extremely rigid chassis. Links are fully rose jointed and alloy bushes guarantee a slack-free and responsive feel. Professional drivers Warren Luff and Barton Mawer helped develop and fine tune the suspension creating the perfect balanced feel out on track.
Wheels are satin black 19-inch forged ADV7s, running 235/35 Michelin PS2 rubber at the front…
…and slightly wider 265/30 at the rear. Braking is taken care of by an AP Racing braking system, 6-pot calipers up front and 4-pots at the rear.
CPC didn't stop there however.
The superb engineering continues inside with simple but beautifully executed additions…
…starting off with the Motec SDL dash unit fitted inside the stock instrument binnacle.
The center console features an illuminated series of buttons which control stuff from the 9-stage traction control system to the launch control system. The buttons were all custom made out of billet stainless steel in the UK and if you look carefully you will also spot the modern BMW OEM Start/Stop button. A brake bias adjuster is also present for on-the-go fine tuning.
There are no rear seats, only the race-spec roll cage, alcantara upholstered custom trim and the beautifully aligned braided hoses and fittings…
…that bring fuel to and from the LS3 through the externally mounted race fuel pump in the trunk.
Recaro buckets and Willians harnesses are the finishing touches to what has to be an incredible place to be in.
The owner is extremely satisfied with how the car, which took 5-years to build, has turned out. It's close to perfect but there are already plans to beef up the driveline with a Hollinger differential and billet shafts as well as a sequential transmission. CPC have done an incredible job of making a full-on race car look like nothing short of a lightly modified E36 M3. Sleeper perfection to say the least.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
Pictures: Casey Dhnaram & Dino Dalle Carbonare