Project E36 M3: Part 3 – Suspension Version 1.0

Project E36 M3: Part 3 - Suspension Version 1.0: HVT

Project E36 M3: Part 3 – Suspension Version 1.0

by Jonathan Lawson

Now we’re getting into the exciting bits of Project E36 M3.  It’s been a joy to drive in mostly-stock form, but it’s time to get into the real fun: Suspension!

The groundwork for our suspension project began a few months ago when I had a meeting with Brian Hanchey of Hanchey Vehicle Technologies (HVT) while we were at Kansas Speedway’s GRAND AM race weekend.  The prospects of our discussion had me bouncing off the walls with excitement.

Hanchey’s name may be familiar to many, as he was the one who started AST USA and managed to get them into GRAND-AM.  While this project isn’t related in any way to AST, there was a lot learned through the GRAND-AM experience, and that translates to some truly remarkable suspension products. 

E46 325it ASTs on trackHaving purchased a set of ASTs for my last car, the ├╝ber wagon, I was familiar with their positive attributes as well as their drawbacks.  Knowing that everything which was viewed as a negative had been noted and improved upon for HVT, I was anxious to move forward.

With these being a prototype set of the HVT 6100i dampers for an E36 M3, patience was a virtue.  The time from the beginning of the build to delivery was shockingly good, however, especially considering the other projects HVT was working on in tandem, such as the new BXR Motors car.  

HVT 6100i M3The delivery day was worse than being a 5-year old waiting for Santa Clause on Christmas morning. I’m surprised I didn’t break anything as I tore into the box when it arrived.  As you can see above, you’d never guess them to be prototypes.

The only real clue to them not being a final product was the fact that they don’t have the tabs for ABS and brake line sensors.  I’m the biggest zip-tie fan I know, however, so that didn’t even register on my radar. 

HVT 6100i versus BMW OEM strutAside from just being beautiful to look at, the front struts are impressive in every way. And beefy!  The burly casings are built in-house by HVT, with the internals being provided by Tractive Suspension.  HVT has a lot of experience with testing, and these are by far the strongest struts they’ve ever tested, and they’ll be the basis of construction for everything from lower end models all the way to their 3-way electronic versions.

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