Project E46 M3: Part 15 – more exhaust testing and weight reduction


Now we get to hear what the exhaust setups sound like. This was what the VAC headers sounded like, exiting through the previous Magnaflow exhaust system.

This video seems to make the new setup with the VAC headers and the Megan Racing/Scorpion combo sound louder than it really is. Upon start up, it's not really any louder than stock. With a little throttle, you do get a little bit of that O.E. rasp, but deeper. It really sounds good in person. The comical part, at least from the cabin, is how quick the revs drop with the new 11.5 flywheel from Clutch Masters, and if you watch the two videos back to back, you'll definitely notice a difference.

There was some business I’d done with Bavarian Autosport recently (I told you I love dealing with these guys). In August, my father picked up an E31 BMW 840i. It was my mother’s dream car ever since we saw the then-new 850 BMWs sitting at the entrance of the Indian Wells Grand Champions tennis tournament back in 1992 (I was a ball boy there from ‘88-‘90). Finally, nearly a quarter-century later, she’s got her body style. This one is a 1997.

What I convinced my dad to do was update the wheels. He contacted Bavarian Autosport and ordered a staggered set of its genuine BMW parallel spoke (also known as the split-spoke). They run $390 each for the front 18 x 8, and $445 each for the rear 18 x 9.5. Just under $1700 for a set of 18-in genuine BMW wheels like these is not bad. And the look of this 840 is completely transformed…

…and from every angle. With its widebody factory flaring, the wheels now fill up the wells more with these Sumitomo tires he put on, measuring 275 mm at back. The look is so much better that there is no way you’d want to back to the 16-in stockers—it just doesn’t do a car of this elegance justice.

And now the car has gained the confidence to play with its friends. Here is the car being showcased just last weekend at the Woodland Park meet in Van Nuys, Southern California, celebrating 100 years of BMW. A total of sixteen E31s were there! What a sight it must have been.

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