Car Feature>> Not Your Regular M3

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.

City Performace Center

-Dino Dalle Carbonare

Pictures: Casey Dhnaram & Dino Dalle Carbonare



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Wow. Such a clean build, checks all the right boxes:

Style? STEEZ!

Performance? PLENTY!

Attention to detail? OCD!

I'm particularly diggin' the wheel fitment and subdued, stock looking exhaust.


i like what the owner & Co. has executed here.. it must have been a mammoth task in some respects and quite satisfying in others.. builds are never plain sailing, even with a plan. the instrument cluster is a stand out piece of work as well as the magic going on under the bonnet. is there any 'times' for the track beast? - Thanks!


iron block ls1?

werent they all all-alloy blocks


that's a lot of liters.


that's a lot of liters.


I suspect you meant to say "iron block LT1"...

Nice M3 though, but not exactly a sleeper with its orange paint, rollcage and black wheels.


A e36 m3 gts!


could be an LSX block those are made of iron


I'm in love with the center console!


i dunno about 'sleeper'

is there anything that hasnt had an LS conversion?

next stop. an LSX nike shoe box. how dope is that centre consol though! looks so awesome


The LS1 is not an iron block. It's aluminum.


Beautiful interior indeed. Damn.


Sleeper? It's a M model car. BMW's performance tuned trim level. A very nice BMW M model, but hardly subtle.

The staff of Speed Hunters has a lot of trouble identifying a sleeper, which is a car that looks like the base model of a very sedate and underpowered car, but has been thoroughly worked over under the outer skin to surprise anyone who assumes it has the capability of the base model of the very sedate and underpowered car.

A Lancer Evo MR with carbon fiber touring wing and a line of vortex generators across the back of the roof is not a sleeper.

An Audi with the front bumper cover cut almost completely off to expose a huge intercooler is not a sleeper.

Any Lotus made car is not a sleeper.

And a BMW M anything is not a sleeper.

What's next, Lamborghini and Ferrari "sleepers"?

Get a clue, all of the above examples of what you misclassify as a sleeper are so obvious and overstated to the eye that only a legally blind driver would pull up next to one of them and not be aware that they are far from the base model of the very sedate and underpowered car.


how can you call an M3 a sleeper, it is terribly fast even when stock, sleeper doesn't apply here. its like tuning an enzo ferrari and calling it a sleeper because no new spoilers were added, seriously


Is this owned by AP as well...........;)


Such a stunning looking car. Shame about the boat anchor under the bonnet.


One sweeet sleeper car, those buttons are amazing.


Thing's like a space ship. Love the console, and I still don't have the patience to do that many welds in a stainless steel intake. Great work!


"Hey guys look at that stripped out caged M3 on PS2 rubber! Must be slow."


great car but how is this a sleeper? I doubt its daily driven, or driven on the street all, especially with a full cage like that?


Im pretty sure its E36 M3 Hellrot red not orange its just the light


Simply incredible, but I have to say I wouldnt want fuel lines inside my cockpit. I am loving the LS1 swap scenario becoming more common. This car really takes the cake for a high quality buildup, holy moly.


reminds me of the E92 M3 GTS!


whoever said the ls1 is an iron block is a dumbass its aluminum shut up dumb ass


Love the work so epic but colour needs to be seen in person I imagine. Looks a bit over the top in photos. over saturated?


I'm in love with the center console!


i see no sleeper honestly


LS1s are all alloy...


So good!


destops please!!!!!!


they made iron block ls engines for trucks which is the most popular swap being as they are plentiful and cheap. the car engines were mostly alloy blocks.


Almost all LS1's (except for the first year) are all Aluminum. Sick car!


Tuner: Want to make a cool unique m3?

Client: Nar just put a v8 in it.


love the "lobster tail" intake, it must have cost a small fortune though


Btw, the ls1 is all aluminum just as much as the ls3. Anyways, sick sleeper!

Problably dosen't sound like one thou lol!




All LS-series motors are all-aluminum. This obviously includes LS1's. The truck blocks are mostly all iron (there are some that are alloy), and these are LS-based, but do not carry an LS-X engine designation.


Manual windows too - loving the interior - absolutely stunning car.Who cares if its a sleeper or not - without you posting this, i'd never have the ultimate e36 to inspire my CS build...


everything about that car is sick! ....except the 19-inch ADV7s, looks weird /:


i love this and i want to have sex with it.


INCREDIBLE. That is quite simply an amazing build.


WHY WOULD YOU DO ALL THIS INCREDIBLE WORK ON AN E36? i know it has taken 5 years and the build is incredible, i would be so pleased if this was my car but hmm, i just dont know what it is about the E36 shape that is to like. would prefer this if it was a 5door


Yeah, I wouldn't call this a sleeper either.

The best sleeper I've ever come across is owned by a guy called Sy (I think) here in the UK. It's an Impreza with 600+bhp, coilovers, carbon doors, bonnet and boot, the works. Sub 4 second 0-60 times. But... It's got GL front and rear bumpers, no sideskirts, no spoiler and a plain silver paint colour. The coilovers are at stock ride height and the intercoolers pretty well hiden. The only thing that gives it away are the R888 tyres.

It was in a Redline issue a few years ago, going head to head with a Gallardo. Speedhunters should track it down, instead of these 'sleepers'.


why do people ave to complain so much??????? oh well nice car


Not a fan of the engine swap, although it looks clean as hell. Desk though, wow, just wow


Oh man an ls1 swap wow so original! Why don't yoll track down the guy who took his e36 and swapped a evolution motor into it? Not that I have anything against ls1 swaps..... its just been done way to much for it to be considered a feature.


"creating the perfect balanced feel out on track."

My ASS.. 235s and 265s= understeer..

Anyone who's been around E36's know a squared setup is the way to go.


Stop calling a sleeper all car you present , that ruin this word


Lol at everyone saying e36 m3's are not sleepers....

They are not fast in stock form at all, and even with mods they struggle to gain any power what so ever. A lightly modded s2k can handle them no problem. I'm not sure of the year but everything on this car on stock form is outdated, not to say it was a bad set up, but its old. But there will always be haters. I for one think this car is amazing, probably my favorite BMW out there at the moment. But then again I have a 1jz in my m3 so i'm far from a purist myself.


that boat anchor weighs less than the s52 that came with the car. know what your talking about. its a sleeper in the sense that its exterior isnt super done up... an non euro spec m3 isnt all that fast.

furthermore, that motor sits lower down and farther back in the bay thus lowering center of gravity and bettering the weight distribution. ls swapped e36's actually perform much better then one with a factory motor modded and tuned to the same power levels. research is your friend.. use it


Too bad for the engine, it's like i swap a Corvette with a S54, non-sense to me. Anyway, the work on this car is fabulous, the car is so clean and so perfect, congratulations.


djohn121 M3 E36 stock are "not fast at all" ? I think you speak about the us model, cause a M3 e36 3.2 321hp aren't F430 but they are fast all the same.


Once again, LSfail


omfg ur car is SO fucking dope jealous as shit


I think this would be cooler if the new M3's didn't have high-strung V8's in them already


i would have chosen another car to put the ls3 in but he did an amazing job. nearly perfect


damn son this is nice


am I the only one that seen the seatbelt of the driver en said wtf ? eyebolt facing up ? isn't that dangerous ? i was told that these had to face the way the where pulled ?


Bloody hell. What a car.


sweeet ride


I like it so much,the color is nice, the engine, the interior. Very gorgeus


This is what the real example of ENGINEERING.....

just think and apply it......


WOOOOOOOOOW, is all i have to say

i have the same model m3, and this jus makes me love this model and car even more

sooooo clean!, i cant imagine how fast and well tuned this car is...

jaw dropper haha


It's "chromoly" not "chrome moly." C'mon, editors.


anjel eye , i like this car


The attention to detail with all aspects of this car is a testament to the owner and the city performance centre team. Beautiful car I would give anything to flog it around any track.