Gaining Perspective: An LS-Swapped M3
8 Into 46 Does Go

This car shouldn’t work. A V8-swapped, Rocket Bunny-kitted E46 M3 painted in a Lamborghini shade green. It seems all sorts of wrong, doesn’t it? It has the hallmarks of a project where someone cherry picked the components in order to cause the most amount of upset. Mission accomplished? Actually, I don’t think so.

Back in September, a few of the Speedhunters crew were temporarily based out of Huntington Beach in California, as we worked on getting our plans together for SEMA. Amidst the chaos of commuting and shooting all over the greater Los Angeles region, we had a scheduled down-day to recuperate.

I don’t know about you, but when I travel to the other side of the planet, I prefer to make the most of my time there. I loathe the idea of lying down beside a pool, wasting the hours away. Life is for living and all that.

2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-16

As chance would have it, a long-time friend of Speedhunters had emigrated to the United States some time ago. Out of nothing but coincidence, he settled down in Huntington Beach with his partner and young son. He, Carl Taylor, and his cars are no strangers to these pages. Not because of some sort of obligation to a friend, but because he’s responsible for cars that people will talk about.

Seeing as we were so close by, we gave Carl a call, just as he was loading his latest project into a trailer, ready for its new owner the next day. Looking for any excuse to get out of the hotel, Ben, Speedhunters’ Commercial Manager, managed to convince him that it would be a great idea for us to shoot it before it vanished into the ether.

2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-18

I was aware of the car through following Carl on Instagram, but I really wasn’t sure how I felt about it. More so than most, I’m acutely aware of how cars like this tend to ignite a fire in the comments section that’s capable of burning right through into the earth’s core. The whole subject of contemporary over-fenders fascinates me though, as do the reactions that these cars provoke. Carl isn’t the sort to apologise for his car related decisions, so I’m not going to either.

Because I think this is exactly how this style should be done.

I only speak for myself, as always, but the one thing that infuriates me the most about the majority of the current Rocket Bunny or Liberty Walk cars, is that while they are heavy on style, they lack substance. I’ve seen so many ZN6s that look amazing, for example, but are running almost stock levels of power and performance. Kits like these should be used as the proverbial cherry on top of a wild build, and not just be the sole talking point.

With this in mind, I think that this E46 has everything to back up its visual presence. The colour and wheel combination are an obvious homage to a certain manufacturer from Bologna. I don’t think I would have chosen Rotiform‘s HUR beforehand, but it’s a refreshing change from the expected M3 wheel choices. It perfectly suits the OTT nature of the car, with the added benefit of it being an interesting design.

2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-5

There’s a lot of meat on the tyres, too. The 10-inch fronts are wrapped in 255/35R18 Toyo R888s, the 11.5-inch rears in 295/30R18s of the same type. Sure, there’s a little stretch but that’s fine on a street car. The huge Brembos that lurk in the shadows are impressive in their own right.

With the car equipped with Air Lift Performance’s 3H setup, it’s perfectly capable in the corners. It would more than hold its own at a track day too, which I can appreciate that is sometimes difficult to visualise when you see a car laid out like this. It does work though. It also reminds me that I need to get back out on track in Project GTI before the year is out.

2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-19

The S54 inline-six has been removed, and in its place a Vortech supercharged Chevrolet LS2. Somewhere in the region of a reliable 550hp should be available with this setup, along with a significant increase in torque over the original BMW motor.

2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-10

As opposed to the typical stripped race and drift car interiors we see so often, the E46 is palatial in comparison. The upgrades are simple: a pair of custom-trimmed Cobra Suzukas, a dished Renown wheel and an extended Mishimoto Ryan Tuerck shifter, connected to the GTO transmission.

2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-24

It’s anything but subtle, but that’s the way it has been with Carl’s past builds. They were cars that challenged you, they were cars that always stood out. I find that these things don’t often make sense in the confines of the internet where everything is shouting for your attention, but when you see a car like this on the street amidst the ocean of mundane commuting appliances, it becomes a whole different thing. While it may be a car with a focus on style, at least it has the substance to back it up too.

A 550hp V8 M3 on semi-slicks with 30-way adjustable suspension and massive Brembo brakes? Perspective is an interesting thing.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Cutting Room Floor
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2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-14
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2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-13
2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-22
2016 BMW M3 V8 Air Lift Performance for Speedhutners by Paddy McGrath-25


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Can't wait to see all the troll comments about this car..Let the hate commence!
I don't know why, I still haven't gotten tired of cars like this..and probably won't any time soon. (Even with the V8 swap) Bring on the Airlift, Rotiforms and wide body kits..


Nickgenerazio32 I have to agree with ya there.  Sometimes I feel there is a distinct lack of insanity in some cars now a days that cars like this fill.  

My favorite thing about this car has to be the wheels.  I love the look of them and haven't see anything like them.

Though imo I do think it needs something to break up that bright green paint.  Maybe a set of carbon wings or some sort of flat black detail work somewhere.


It looks mean enough, strong enough, has a V8 so it makes every kind of nasty noises, sits low enough, and has a nice color. GIMME!


Fantastic car and very well executed by the looks.. But am i the only one getting sick and tired of the exposed rivets in Liberty Bunny kits at this point?


Wirenfeldt Jr I think they look really strange when the over fenders are smoothed, but it depends on the car too.


Rocket bunny and LS are like silicone tits and steroids.  Good looks and big power so easy it's cheating!  Like it.


What a well put together statement! And yes I agree, matte black accents/details would break up the green exterior and really set the build off even more. Or even though it might be a little stereotypical, maybe some BMW ///M striping somewhere?


Why start with an M3 rather than an E46 318 or 320?
It would be much, much cheaper and you'd end up with the same car.
I'm genuinely really interested in the reasoning behind that choice.


rook56 Probably because they're relatively cheap and not particularly rare? It's a good question though, I'll ask Carl.


Me personally? I'd go with the old 3.0L CSL racecar style graphics. Just because it adds so much drama to the car and makes it look as if it's moving, even when stood still. It's like a feast for your eyes.
But not everyone likes something that's so flashy like the old race cars.. Though I do also like the striping that the has car in the link you provided..nice and subtle.


Really? Another Airlift + toyo + rotiform car on Speedhunters?? Good thing it's different with the LS swap or the Rocket Bunny kit!
Shilling for advertisers gets sooooo old, but at least the photos are nice (like always) (-8


What's the point of leaving such a comment like that?


Nickgenerazio32 Get a room, you guys! ;)


I'm a Rotiform "hater". 
But sweet lord these HURs are incredibly detailed with such an amazing presence! I mean look at how they frame that caliper perfectly. Looking at it straight-on, the spokes looks impossibly thin. Kudos to the owner, imho this wheel choice is a perfect example of "different" working.  And it's also good to see SH do feature on a build I've been following on IG. respect!


Floodo1 First time I've seen an E46 M3 with an LS swap AND RB kit!


I'm shocked that someone able to profit $8730 

in a few weeks ...............


if it were my car, i wouldn't even mess with the steering wheel. the stock one but wrapped in alcantara stitched suede would be more than enough, plus it keeps the functionality with the cruise control and volume controls.


my Aunty Samantha got an awesome year old Porsche Panamera from only workin parttime 
online... see.



rook56 I'm interested to know the same. I'm a huge LS fanboy and love seeing swaps but the idea of cutting up an M3 for a swap gives me pause. The parts that make the M3 desirable for the swap like the stronger rear subframe, diff and suspension are parts that be built into any 3-Series coupe without, well, cutting up an M3. But, then again, it's a car that was built for shows/car park meets and we all know the absurd lengths people will go to polarise reactions at places like that.


That LS motor seems lower and deeper into that engine bay... both are very good for the centre of gravity. What's the difference in weight between the engines?


JonoNic They're quite similar in weight, although with the S54 being longer, it's going to be more front heavy than the LS.


Trentworth rook56 There is that, but there's also the benefit of starting with an M3 as your base car, so you don't have to go through the hardship of sourcing and swapping parts into a non-M3. It makes more sense, IMO, to start with an M3.

Would the Pandem kit even fit a non-M3? Considering the front and rear fenders are different to the normal coupe?


Nickgenerazio32 Exactly!


Floodo1 Really? Another LS2 + beautiful Chassis + wonderful bodywork Hater? Good thing the comment is original and not just the standard rehashed Hater-speak.


Trolling for arguments in comments sections gets sooooo old, but at least nobody cares what you think (like always) =)


Paddy McGrath Wirenfeldt Jr TOTALLY agree Paddy. Smoothing an RB/LBW/RWB kit onto a car somehow makes it look completely different... and NOT in a good way (IMHO).


Nickgenerazio32 RIGHT ON! Totally with you on this.


my Aunty Annabelle got a stunning blue Mercedes CLS-Class CLS63 AMG just by some part-
time working online with a pc... go to this site.


Nickgenerazio32 I looked at the racecar graphics and yeah they'd look good as well.

Though the more I looked at the body lines on the car, there is a disticnt line that you could use to add a graphic too.  Go from the top body line, than down the angle of the front flair and maybe back on the bottom body line ala the old George Follmer Mustangs from Trans Am.


JonoNic The LS should have a significantly lower CG, as well as allowing for weight to be better distributed.


And now at this point I'm really hoping that SH would include a nice short video about how this car sounds.


Paddy McGrath Trentworth rook56 if they hadn't started with an M3, you can bet a ton of comments would have started with, "at least they didn't ruin an M3 for this" or, "Its just the base model, therefore it sux - its a fake M3"

THis is one hell of a cara and I hope the owner enjoys the hell out of it.


It's difficult to argue against an LS swap. They weigh less than most other engines, have more displacement, have one of, if not the largest aftermarket support available, cheap, easy fitment and the potential for reliable power AND torque!



At first i didn't like the wheels and then i did. Bodykit looks cool - one of RB's best imo. Engine swap doesn't offend me, although personally I wouldn't do that engine swap to a BMW (but then I'm not a Yankee so I don't feel the need to have a V8 in my car in order to prove I can get & maintain an erection … aww, i'm just funnin' you guys ;)

What lime green car are you going to spotlight next Mr McGrath?


I'm stunned that any body can get paid $8640

                                  in 4   weeks ............


tenpennyjimmy You wait all year for a lime green car, then two show up at once!


Your first line-

"This car shouldn't work."

Yeah, it doesn't. Even as a BMW guy, I have no problems with a V8-swapped or over-fendered M3, but this car is just flat out bad looking. The wheels, the fenders, the's terrible.


My Uncle Bentley recently got a stunning white Mitsubishi Outlander 
Hybrid only from working parttime online.......
 see more..............


Frisky_Dingo In your opinion. Others would disagree with you.


I am amazed that you can make $9120 

in 4 weeks ....................


Frisky_Dingo Respectfully disagree.


This is great! Do what you want to do, f*ck everybody else, you gotta build a car for you. The only thing i would change with respect is the color.


Frisky_Dingo Nope, its actually pretty AWESOME.


Trentworth rook56 Well, considering the E46 M3 isn’t considered one of the “classics” of the M additions why not. I know overseas and in Euro fan circles E46 M3s are special. But honestly there hasn’t been a real ass kicker M3 since the E30. And even those are getting LS swaps on occasion. Frankly, whenever I see M3s now, my first thought is “f*cking poser”. Unless upon further inspection it turns out it’s a stick, and the owner can actually drive. Most are just status symbols with the most expensive wheels bolted on them.


I am amazed that a mother can earn $8999

in one month ....................


2015 TACOMA double cab 4X4 V6. 13,700 miles. $28,900. Loaded with options. Call ...more ᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵhttp://www.daily.jobs14.ℂℴℳᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ


my Aunty Savannah just got Mercedes GL-Class SUV 

just by working from a macbook. 



This is one car i can agree with.  My biggest pet-peeve in the world of aftermarket cars is that a lot of builds are all show and no go.  I understand that some people prefer that, but the reason these kits were even made were to look like race-cars.  It just seem sacrilegious to me.


JonoNic LS3 is 168 kg S54 is 220 kg


I'm amazed that anyone able to get paid $9246

in one month ........................


I'm startled that people able to profit $9278
in one month ................


just as Barbara replied I'm amazed that a 
student can earn $9412 in four weeks on---
see more....................... f­­­­o­­­­x­­­­-8­­­­8­­­­.­­­­c­­­­o­­­­mᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ


Should butcher a 335i instead and leave the M3 for the purist.


joshb2448 stfu


No you stfu


I am shocked that you can get paid $4264

                                               in a few weeks ..................


Stop desecrating original M cars. It looks awful. Go get an ordinary E46 and do this kind of tasteless things to it.

60 about a follow up article about the new owner (sold a few months ago) of this car, basically re-wiring the entire thing, I highly doubt we'll see anything new about the life of this car.The guts of this car are a mess! SO many corners were cut, a severe hack job done made to look nice.The latest owner has been spending ridiculous amounts of time pulling out RAT'S NEST (yes, caps so it stands out) worth of stock BMW wiring harness and ECU that were basically just shoved behind panels in the corners of the engine bay to make the harness look tucked. The new owner is basically just trying to fix up and do the build properly, the way it should have been done from the beginning. He's been documenting the rebuild on Instagram, I won't post up his name, maybe he'll eventually find this article.

Sadly this is the world we live in, where facny paint, body kit, bro theories about the car's track performance, a few nice pictures and the car is glorified on the pages of the almighty Speedhunters. Shame on you.


RichC Post the name , i want to see.


Sorry been a while since I was here, the new owners IG name is ra88it.


how about this car's laptime difference if both engines tuned in same level HP ? bmw engine 550HP vs LS engine 550HP ? which engine could get fastest laptime?


rjw999 All things being equal, probably the LS Engine. A 550hp LSx would definitely make more power across the rpm band than a S54 as well as more torque. A Stock LS1already makes more power than a S54 and is probably lighter. 

The "magic" of the 8000rpm S54 primarily comes from the ability to spin really, really, short gears for a longer period; that's it. The 340+ hp and 270ft/lbs of torque is not impressive at all in the V8 world. Never mind the LSx world.

A 550hp S54 would be a highly stressed, cantankerous, grenade of a motor n/a, and peaky in FI configuration. And frankly at that hp level would be beyond the limits of a "relatively" stock S54 bottom end anyway. In other words, you'd spend 3-4 times money on a S54 to make 550hp, when a LSx could do the same for a few thousand bucks.

On the other hand, a stock bottom end, ported, stock heads with a cam swap, LSx will do 550hp with ease. In fact, a "my first big cam swap" LSx engine that didn't make 500+hp at the crank would be hilarious example of not knowing how to 'color by numbers' for the builder.


RichC Where's the proof of this?


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