Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined the sleek and elegant styling of a BMW 335i with some brute American-made horsepower? Well, what you would get is Felipe Hurtado’s LS-swapped 2007 BMW. Hurtado’s BMW is the perfect combination of style and horsepower wrapped in into one package.
Hurtado began tinkering with mechanical things when he was a kid, starting with his remote-controlled cars. From there, he eventually stepped into full-size cars after his mother purchased a 1995 VW Golf known as the “Pink Panther” — faded paint and all — for him to drive. Hurtado and his brother began to play with the Golf even though they didn’t have much real knowledge about cars.
Hurtado and his friends were all into cars, so it was only natural for them to express their competitive feelings on the streets, like so many teenagers do.
“My group of friends all had their cars and we would get together to go street racing on dark back-roads. The adrenaline ran through my veins and I loved the feeling of being behind the wheel knowing there was another car right next to me trying to go faster. Moments like that are what really got me into cars and racing,” Hurtado says.
Every car that Hurtado has owned since the Pink Panther has been modified and raced at the drag strip with his friends. Seeing so many nice builds motivated Hurtado to build more cars and learn from every project he started. That led him to own a BMW and ultimately he pushed the stock BMW N54 engine beyond its limits. After looking around, Hurtado wanted to get back to the LS platform, but he also wanted to keep his BMW e92 chassis. The only logical decision was to combine the two into one amazing package.
“Michael Page is the person who made it possible to build this car by fabricating custom brackets for the LS engine, GM transmission, and the Ford 8.8 rearend to fit the e92 chassis. The original plan was to make it a sleeper, so I kept the LS6 intake manifold and mounted the turbo low enough so the stock hood could be used. Eventually, I didn’t want a sleeper, I wanted a car that people remember, whether it was because you liked the build or because you hated it,” Hurtado explains.
The nuts and bolts of Hurtado’s build are actually pretty simple: the engine is just a 5.3-liter LS that has new piston rings gapped for boost, new rod bearings, an SS2 cam, stock connecting rods, and stock pistons. A set of 799 casting GM heads work with the Holley intake, Brian Tooley Racing dual valve springs, trunnion kit, and pushrods. For the rest of the driveline Hurtado added an FTI Level 4 TH400 transmission and Jake’s Performance torque converter. Controlling the engine is a Holley Terminator X that Hurtado tunes with help from Solomon Guerrero.
The turbo setup that Hurtado is currently using features parts from VS Racing, including its 80mm turbo, 50mm wastegate, and blow-off valve. When it came time to actually make the turbo system, Hurtado leaned on Michael Page again for his knowledge, since he had done a similar swap previously. Hurtado is a hands-on type of guy, so instead of paying someone to build the turbo kit he dove right in and fabricated his own.
“Before this build stated I had never touched a welder in my life, nor had any knowledge on how to weld. I watched YouTube videos and asked questions to welder friends to learn what I needed. I basically copied Michael’s kit with some modifications for this build. These welds aren’t pretty at all, but they are functional. Many will laugh at and critique my welding, but this is no show car. The welds are functional and will make sure the car runs, so they’re going to stay as is,” Hurtado states.
Currently, Hurtado’s best pass with the BMW is a 10.856 at 130 mph. That was accomplished with a stock front suspension and a rear suspension that uses Competition Engineering drag shocks with basic aftermarket parts. On the horizon for the BMW is a full custom roll cage so Hurtado can unleash all of the car’s true potential.
Thus far, Hurtado has been delighted with the results of his build and looks forward to pushing the car’s performance further in due time. He’s thankful for the help he’s received and has some big goals for his BMW.
“I want to give a big shout out to my family who’s been very patient with me during this build. I also want to thank all my friends who have been along for the ride with this project and everyone else who has been involved with this project one way or another — you know who you are. I’m a racer, so the objective is to make the car quicker and faster every time I take it to the track. The goal for this year is to get the car into the 9-second zone,” Hurtado says.
Felipe Hurtado’s BMW is the type of car that just oozes personality and horsepower. There’s just something you have to love about a car that grabs your attention with its vibrant looks and then shakes you with pavement-shredding horsepower.