When BMW launched its tagline as “The Ultimate Driving Machine”, fans took that slogan to heart, constantly heralding the superiority of the Bimmer brand to anyone that would listen. Perhaps the most revered vehicle in the BMW pantheon is the E36 M3, which debuted in the mid-90s and offered a near-perfect weight balance, confident handling, and plenty of power. Even us muscle cars have to begrudgingly admit that it’s just a damn good car.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t make it better, and one way of doing that is to replace the 3.0 liter inline-six with a 550 horsepower, 440 cubic-inch LSx V8. This car has popped up for sale all around the Internet, including eBay, and the more we looked at it, the more we liked what we saw.
The owner purchased a clean, crisp ‘95 BMW M3 for his project with just 95,000 miles on the odometer, and promptly stripped it down to its bare shell. After tossing aside the torquey-yet-tiny 3.0 liter engine, a 440 cubic-inch (7.2 liters) LSx stroker with more than twice the displacement was installed in its place. This almost certainly required some cutting and welding undoubtedly, but engine bay is rather accommodating to the bulky V8 and the T56 six-speed manual transmission.
That barely scratches the surface of the modifications made to both engine and automobile though. The engine alone has TFS 235cc heads further ported by Vengeance Racing, a FAST 90mm intake/90mm cable throttle body, a medium sized hydraulic roller cam with good mid/top end power, a Moroso road race-style oil pan, Powerbond balancer, Holley valve covers, and 42lb LS7 injectors. The owner claims this made 550 wheel horsepower and 513 lb-ft of torque on 91 octane, but it was built with E85 capability, which could (theoretically) push power closer to the 600 mark with the proper tuning.
Beyond the engine, the suspension and chassis received a lot of attention too. This includes AST 4200 coilovers, Vorschlag camber plates, Rogue upper shock mounts Turner Motorsports front and rear sway bars, rear bushings, lower rear control arms. The Apex 18×10 aluminum power-coated rims are wrapped with 285/30/18 Sumitomo tires in front and new Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 at the rear.
All told, the owner claims there’s $60,000 invested in the M3, and the video above shows that this car can hit 186 MPH in the Texas Mile. It’s more go than show, but if you really want to blow the minds of some BMW fans, this is the car for you.