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2004 BMW M3 - Giant Bananas

Andrew Wang shows off his multi-award winning, daily-driven E46 BMW M3.

If one of us were given the nickname “Giant Bananas” we’d probably walk with a little more swagger. However, LA-resident Andrew Wang received the honor after fitting giant, yellow Brembo multi-piston calipers at each corner of his ’04 BMW M3. As soon as his teammates from Euro car club Europrojektz saw the new additions, the nickname was born and it’s stuck with him ever since!

The yellow paint is a powerful counterpoint to his Carbon black M3, and it’s repeated inside where the diamond-stitched suede interior adds real class. However, he’s not created a hideous black and yellow freak, adding restraint with plenty of carbon fiber highlights and graphite-colored 20" DPE wheels to create a head-turning E46 with attitude.

Dru’s last car didn’t possess the same presence. His ’95 Acura had wheels and exhaust but that wasn’t enough to save it from being totaled in an accident. Lucky for Andrew, the misfortune was turned around when it gave way to his dream of owning a BMW M3.

Apparently, he’d lusted after the E36 M3 throughout his college years, but it wasn’t until he graduated that he was able to score the sort of job that would allow him to purchase such a car. And with the new E46 arriving in dealerships, a ’04 BMW M3 Coupe with SMG soon took its place on his driveway.

Initially focusing on the chassis, Andy picked up a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers to achieve the desired stance. He then added an AC Schnitzer strut bar as well as Eibach anti-roll bars with Status Gruppe Tuning adjustable end-links.

Later additions included aluminum Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts since tuners and racers had begun to discover the bodyshell’s achilles heel. And to finish out the suspension, Powerflex rear trailing arm bushings were added.

With Dru’s tuning fever in full effect, he pressed on with the aforementioned Brembo Gran Turismo big-brake kit. This comprised two-piece 355mm drilled rotors up front with the yellow six-piston calipers. In the rear, he fitted 345mm rotors with four-piston clampers.

The “Giant Bananas” required larger wheels, and the first set he tried were Volk CE28N wheels with a yellow rim stripe matched to yellow powdercoated lug nuts. Fortunately, Andrew soon realized that his five “Highlighters” securing wheels a yellow circle needed a second opinion.

He contacted his friends at DPE and they worked to find a suitable set of five-spoke wheels. They ended up with a combination of SP-C5 wheels on the front and SP-SC5 on the rear. Both are three-piece with hidden hardware and deep lips but the rears have deep concave spokes.

The DPE centers were powdercoated Diamond black and the barrels have a brushed aluminum finish. They were wrapped in Toyo T1R tires and secured by Macht Schnell 75mm studs with Neochro lug nuts.

Rasp

With a well-sorted chassis, the infamous 3.2L six-cylinder motor was next under the microscope. The modifications began with Discovery Automotive software and a GruppeM ram-air intake. The latter was included as much for its mechanical advantage as its drop-dead good looks. Its presence opened the floodgates to more carbon fiber parts including a Vorsteiner engine cover, as well as covers for the DME, Xenon ballast units and cabin filter.

On the exhaust side, the owner fitted a Rogue Engineering rasp pipe to eradicate the Honda-like rasp at high RPM that US M3s suffered from. He then added Rogue’s X-pipe center section with an EVC valve, which is electronically controlled from the cockpit to allow the driver to adjust gas flow and exhaust volume by opening or closing the valve. Finally, the exhaust is finished by a Kreissieg F1 Valvetronic stainless steel muffler, which also has a volume control valve. “The EVC makes a small difference at the top of the rev range,” said Andrew, “but mainly it’s just to show off!”

The four tailpipes exit from a Vorsteiner V-CSL carbon fiber diffuser, which was just the beginning of Dru’s exterior infatuation with the composite material. Inevitably, it also crops up on the V-CSL single-sided trunk lid. This was painted so that the weave was on display around the license plate and the lip spoiler.

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