My annual trip back home to Iceland took an unexpected turn this year when I had a chance to explore the local modified car scene. I shot four cars in total, and over the course of the next short while – starting today – I’ll be bringing you those stories.
It started with a simple post on Facebook. I met up with Ingi Haraldsson, now a good friend of mine, and took a drive to Keflavík, which is just over 30 miles from Iceland’s capital of Reykjavík. Here we visited Sævar Þorri Guðlaugsson, who was eager to show us what he has tucked away in his home garage.
Sævar’s interest in cars began at a young age, thanks mostly to his cousin who took him for spirited drives in the countryside on old gravel roads. He was into BMWs so, naturally, Sævar became interested in them too.
In 2013, Sævar purchased his first BMW, an ’84 316i. This E30 was used for around year, before being parked up in his garage for a performance overhaul. You see, over the course of those initial 12-odd months with the BMW as his daily driver, Sævar became interested in A80 Toyota Supras, and in particular their 2JZ-GTE power-plants. So when a freshly imported VVTi engine came up for sale locally, he jumped at the opportunity to re-power the E30.
The idea was simple: Buy the engine, swap it into the BMW’s bay and have fun. But as we know, ideas and reality are often two different things. Sævar was a student at the time, and soon after graduating he became a father, so the project was indefinitely put on hold.
For the next while, Sævar mulled over the E30 x 2JZ mash-up, and the more he thought about it, the more it didn’t really fit with what he wanted to achieve – a daily driver capable of turning quick ETs on the drag strip. During this time Sævar owned a few more BMWs, but when a friend offered for sale an E46 M3 with a blown engine, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
E46 M3 with a blown S54 engine and a 2JZ-GTE VVTi sitting in the garage… I’m sure you can see where this is going.
While it’s not the E30 re-power he initially envisaged, you can bet that Sævar is happy with the way this 2JZ swap has played out. Rebuilt by Promotors/Samvélar Iceland, the Toyota straight-six now delivers 591whp on 98RON pump gas thanks to a host of power-making components that include a BorgWarner AirWerks S366SX 66mm twin-scroll turbocharger on a DWK exhaust manifold, and a Madcat intake running a modified LS3 throttle body, plus a whole lot more. (Check out the full spec at the end of the story).
Sævars’ goal was a 10-second quarter mile car, and although he might not quite achieve that level of performance with this current engine setup, he’s planning a switch to E85 fuel and a power increase that will see 700 to 800whp.
Currently, the driveline relies on the M3’s original Getrag 420G 6-speed manual transmission, diff and axles, but helping the cause is a Tilton triple-plate clutch.
To set up the chassis for drag racing, BC Racing RM Series coilovers and Powerflex adjustable rear camber arms have been fitted. Among many other suspension upgrades, the rear subframe has been strengthened with a BimmerWorld lower reinforcement kit.
When it comes to wheels, Sævars has two setups to choose from. His street setup – as pictured here – uses 18-inch Kerscher KCS 3-piece wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires in 265/35R18 (front) and 295/30R18 (rear) fitments. For drag use, BMW Style 146 wheels – OEM fitment on a E60 – are bolted up, with 255/50R16 Hoosier DOT drag radials providing the traction.
Working in the auto body business as a car painter, Sævars knew exactly what he wanted to achieve when it came the M3’s exterior, and shouty was definitely not it. He’s kept things simple and clean with an SSDD Motorsport front lip, and Turner Motorsport carbon diffuser and trunk lip. The color is BMW Individual C36 Dravit Grey Metallic.
Inside it’s a similar story; there’s a 4-point roll cage, OMP race seats with Turn One 6-point harnesses and a BimmerWorld body-mounted shifter.
Apart from the help he received for the engine rebuild and roll cage, Sævar has done the majority of the work here himself. It’s just ‘stage one’ too; the wheels are already in motion for the next stage which will feature bigger brakes (it’s currently running the stock M3 setup), a carbon roof and other goodies – not to mention the E85 fuel system and tune.
While this E46 M3 has well and truly become Sævars’ main focus, don’t think for a moment that he’s abandoned his original E30 – it’s still in the garage, albeit partially buried right now. It will see the light of day again, and when it does I’m sure it will emerge as something special.
Sævar Þorri Guðlaugsson’s BMW M3 E46
Engine: Toyota 2JZ-GTE VVTi, Brian Crower 0300 springs & titanium retainers, Brian Crower 0312 Stage 3 272-degree cams, Brian Crower H-beam connecting rods, CP-Carillo 86mm 8.5:1 forged pistons, shimless bucket/lifter conversion, GSC Power-Division valve stem seals, ACL Race bearings, ARP head studs, Tomei 1.5mm head gasket, OEM modified oil pump, Gates Racing timing belt, Madcat intake with modified LS3 throttle body, BorgWarner AirWerks S366SX twin-scroll turbocharger, DWK T4 twin-scroll exhaust manifold, IGN1A ignition coil kit, Link Thunder ECU, Bosch 2,200cc injectors, Walbro 525lph fuel pump, Radium fuel regulator & filter kit, TiAL 44mm wastegate, CSF Racing triple-pass radiator, Chase Bays power steering kit, Aeroflow AN fittings, Aeroflow 16-inch S-Blade fan, Aeroflow electric boost control valve
Driveline: Factory M3 Getrag 420G 6-speed gearbox, Tilton triple-plate clutch, billet flywheel, factory M3 diff & axles
Suspension & Brakes: BC Racing RM Series coilovers, BimmerWorld lower reinforcement kit, Powerflex bushings, Powerflex rear adjustable camber arms, CMP Auto Engineering Stage 2 topside beam, Stage 2.5 front mount extension kit, Stage 3 race brace, factory E46 M3 brakes
Wheels & Tires: Kerscher KCS 3 18×9-inch front, 18×10-inch rear, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires 265/35R18 front, 295/30R18 rear
Exterior: SSDD Motorsport front lip, Turner Motorsport carbon diffuser, Turner Motorsport carbon spoiler
Interior: 4-point roll cage,OMP Sport Trophy seats, Turn One 6-point harnesses, BimmerWorld body-mounted shifter