In this day and age, ‘scene’ cars, those built mostly/wholly for Instagram fame, generally follow a pretty simple formula. You start with a popular platform – the more exotic the better; select an appropriate wide-body kit; have your fenders cut to fit said kit; install air ride; and spec a set of large, wide wheels. Optional, but recommended, is painting or wrapping the exterior with some wild colour or theme, and race-theming the interior.
Vaash Govender, the South African owner of this Pandem-kitted BMW E93 M3, will surely garner many internet likes for his build, but that’s not why this car exists in the form you see it here. He’s just a mad car lover with a dislike for anything stock. And this one is far from that.
I’ll get to the details in a moment, but first I want to delve into the history of the car and the stages it’s gone through.
When Vaash picked up the BMW a few years ago, the first – and immediate – modification he made was a set of Work Rezax wheels. They didn’t suffice for long, and shortly after the car was wrapped and the wheels changed. This was followed by a Liberty Walk wide-body conversion and another colour. It was in this form that the M3 suffered an engine blow, leaving Vaash time to consider the possibilities…
During the time the BMW was sitting idle, another E93 owner showed an interest in the LB kit. Vaash subsequently sold it, allowing him to give the car a fresh look with Kei Miura’s Pandem kit.A New Start
The kit arrived from Kyoto, Japan in late 2018, and Vaash wasted no time getting it and the car over to J&K Customs for the initial fit. Ktech did the finishing work, sealing over all the rivet holes for the clean, integrated look that Vaash desired.
The rest of the body was then prepped for paint, where instead of going loud, Vaash chose paint code M9A from the Porsche pallete, a colour more commonly known as Chalk. He also opted for the Pandem ducktail spoiler over a GT wing, to keep with the car’s understated look, and subtly tinted the badges, headlights and aftermarket LED tails.
Around the front there’s a black-painted Pandem splitter, and up top the folding roof mechanism was removed so it’s now a permanent hard-top.The Goods
The wheels are 19×11-inch and 19×13-inch BC Forged KL Series mono-blocks, but Vaash isn’t their first owner. He originally saw them on another Pandem-kitted BMW, and when its owner Josh decided to change the wheels, Vaash was first in line to buy them. On arrival from the USA, the BCs were sent straight over to Martines Mags & Tyre, who took them from bronze to gloss black and wrapped them up in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, 295/30R19 at the front end and a solid 325/30R19 out back.
As for the brakes, they remain stock M3 spec, save for a calliper repaint to yellow and EBC pads at all four corners.
I mentioned J&K Customs a moment ago, and that company also helped Vaash with numerous other aspects of the build, including the custom air suspension setup. This is built around Air Lift Performance struts, and the boot install features a single air tank with dual Viair 444C compressors.
When you’re running a low car, such a setup is really helpful here in South Africa, as roads regularly go from amazing to absolute rubbish in the space of a corner.
Open one of the doors, and you’re greeted by a pair of Sparco Ergo seats with matching Sparco harnesses, and a CSL steering wheel with a bit of a chop off the top.
Inside the dash binnacle is a MaxxECU display, which works seamlessly with a MaxxECU engine management system. The ECU is staying, but the display will be removed soon, as in the time since my shoot, Vaash has received new CANBUS files that allow the OEM gauges – and cruise control – to work with the new engine. Take note for later that the stock gearstick is also retained.Can You Say Ferrari?
So what exactly is under the hood? Well, the title has already given the brand away, but now it’s time for some details.
When the M3’s engine blew, Vaash had his sights set on a 2JZ-GTE conversion, but after an issue with a shop building the motor, that idea was scrapped. And luckily too, as there’s something far more exotic powering the car now.
It was never about making crazy power, but more of a statement to go along with every other modification made to the car, and according to Vaash’s research, this is a swap that only four other cars around the world have received. Behold, a beautiful Ferrari F136, otherwise known as the Ferrari-Maserati engine.
Vaash settled on this outside-of-the-box swap after finding a crash-damaged Maserati GranTurismo S. The 9,000km-old car was bought and Vaash got in contact with Rapid Garage, who are known for their crazy engine swaps and custom fabrication work. In short order, the M3’s blown engine gave way to the 4.7L 32-valve V8 from Maranello. The F136 has since been upgraded with a custom air intake, 90mm throttle body, custom exhaust manifold running into a dual 76mm exhaust with an x-pipe to quad tips, and a custom radiator to keep the temp in check.
To get the motor to fit, Rapid had to lower the front crossmember 10mm and notch out the back section 30mm, while boxing it up to bring rigidity back to the subframe. The sump needed to be cut back by 20mm too. Finally, custom polyurethane mounts were made to support the new engine and exisiting gearbox combo.
Yes, as alluded to earlier, the Ferrari works with the original BMW M3 6-speed manual gearbox, something Vaash was adamant about from the start. He really didn’t want to use the automatic gearbox that F136 engines usually come with.
The engine connects to the gearbox with a custom adaptor plate, and clutch-wise there’s a twin-plate setup. Both clutch plates are BMW items – one a customised 4-puck copper piece and the other an organic type – while the pressure plate is a Maserati item.
The MaxxECU Sport ECU, as setup and tuned by RBTS Racing controls everything perfectly. There are no dyno numbers yet as the swap is pretty fresh, but in stock form the F136 makes 324kW(434hp) at 7,000rpm and 490Nm at 4,750rpm, so tuned it should make even more.
While the M3 seems complete, Vaash still has some more plans for it. He’s currently on the hunt for a suitable set of ITBs, and will also be installing a custom roll cage.
But then there’s his other project…
You may have spotted Vaash’s yellow (now black) Lamborghini Countach in one of the photos of the E93 wearing its original Liberty Walk kit. The Lambo is destined to become a real one-of-a-kind machine, and from what Vaash has told me, it’ll make his Ferrari-swapped M3 look like it’s not even trying. In the meantime though, who wants to hear the BMW?