It's truly a milestone, perhaps even a rite of passage. But while Hunter Wright isn't old enough to legally drink in the United States, he's certainly created one of the cleanest BMW E90 four-doors around.
In the past, we've discovered only a handful of inspiring E90 sedans, such as the Hartge V10 from Turner Motorsport (et 7/07) and VQ Motoring's widebody 335i (et 5/08). The last published example was Dennis Wang's twincharged spectacle (et 8/08). Yet Hunter's '06 example is possibly the best daily-driven E90 sedan we've found.
You'll notice there's no color change, forced induction or widened fenders. The modifications were kept in check to further enhance the car's original features, rather than overpowering them.
At the age of 19, Hunter's a natural at this. His story begins with a Ford Mustang, or rather a dream of one. "At first, all I wanted was a Mustang GT. Then I realized it was a POS," he laughed.
Looking at the BMW brand, he found a platform with performance, style and luxury - something a college student in Houston could appreciate. His father owned a 7-Series, so Hunter was familiar with the vehicles rather than knowledgeable. So he began to research online, finding photos of other people's cars to help build his own. "I came across some sites that were a bad influence, but in good way. They just made me spend a lot of money," he laughed. Many hours on the computer and one trip to the dealer later, Hunter had embarked on his very first project car.
"The first thing I wanted was a good set of wheels," he explained, "but I've gone through eight sets because I want something new all the time."
Hunter finally settled on a set of BBS RS-GT wheels in diamond black. The staggered 19x8.5" fronts and 19x10" rear wheels were then wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.
Hunter continued to constantly change parts when he personalized the exterior. The front-end received a facelift every few months, starting with a Hartge spoiler, then AC Schnitzer parts. However, he wasn't satisfied until he fit the whole M-Technik kit with a Studie front splitter and a Vorsteiner carbon fiber hood.
While Hunter visited Los Angeles one summer, he decided to have DTM Autohaus of El Monte, CA fabricate a trunk lid to replicate the E46 M3 CSL. The trunk used an OE lid with a custom metal extension to achieve its more pronounced spoiler.
Dipping into the accessories catalog, Hunter ordered a carbon diffuser for the rear bumper, as well as OE Blackline tail lights. Up front he found a set of European HIDs with clear turn signals instead of amber. Angel eyes, black kidney grilles and LED side markers finished the exterior.
The stance needed attention, so KW V2 coilovers lowered the chassis. Once familiar with it, Hunter felt the sedan could use less body roll, so he then fitted H&R sway bars front and rear.
One of Hunter's favorite modifications and finest indulgences was the seats.
"I didn't get BMW's Sports package so I really didn't care about performance. Instead of spending money on the OE sport seats, I got better for less with Recaro." He selected Recaro's newest Sportster CS seats made from carbon, kevlar and fiberglass composite. Beige alcantara centers were then upholstered to match the interior, while black leather bolsters and headrests added some additional contrast.
Hunter had no intention of building the fastest 325i in the country, so he decided to keep the power upgrades simple. There also wasn't much available at the time. "If there had been a reliable supercharger available, I'd have got it," he said.
Instead, an Eisenmann exhaust and GruppeM carbon intake would have to do. And with carbon emerging as a theme on the car, Hunter added Vorsteiner engine covers.
Not needing extravagant brakes, Hunter strived for a tuner-look by installing JBT brakes. However, "I saw the Vorsteiner-edition Brembos and had to have them. They had the carbon inlay in the calipers," he explained.