Most read 10 min read

Real funtimer with a digital heart


Nicolò Rosso

Published on

December 22nd, 2023

If the Nissan Silvia is our workhorse, we couldn't do less with its "antagonist" in the world of drifting and competitions in general: we are talking about the iconic BMW 3 Series E36.

Chassis qualities of a true sports car, weight that is not exaggerated, and engines that immediately make you feel like you are in the golden years of automotive, characterize this Bavarian coupé.

The direction of the project

In this case, after a careful evaluation with the customer, we opted for a preparation that was not too invasive, so as not to distort the car and make it compatible for every use. Specifically, a car compatible with road use, to enjoy mountain passes and the best roads, which with very few adjustments can be used on the track in both drift and grip mode.

The heart

Once the direction was chosen, it was necessary to give a breath of modernity to the propulsion group, so we went with the historic M54B30, a 3000cc six-cylinder in-line engine with two phase variators (VANOS) which equips the 330i E46.

The engine has been revised from a maintenance point of view, but has deliberately been left original inside. The robust 5-speed gearbox is derived from the 328i, as is the 188 transmission and differential.

A custom-made stainless steel exhaust was developed, which gives fantastic notes especially as the revs increase, and a BMC sports air filter.

The brain, Maxxecu Race
From an electronic point of view we aimed for the best: having removed its original control unit, we equipped the car with a Maxxecu Race competition control unit. It is latest generation electronics that truly leaves you speechless with its speed of operation and quantity of functions available. We didn't want to equip the cockpit with buttons or instruments that would undermine the very simple design and concept, so we included a Canchecked multifunction display.

And here comes the interesting part: we have programmed this display not only to display various pages of parameters, but each page is dedicated to a specific use, and we have also created virtual keys that correspond to the various mappings. It will therefore be possible to activate a daily use mode, Drift, Track or Rain, in which the differences will be felt both for the different engine output but also for the different accelerator response.

The car has therefore taken a huge generational step forward from an electronic point of view, aimed at enhancing the pleasure of driving and making this splendid youngtimer always adequate.

Suspension setup and brakes

Our extensive experience with setups led us to choose a BC Racing BR coilover kit with 3D top adjustment plates for Camber and Caster. They guarantee an excellent road feel, but above all the possibility of changing the rigidity and response of the set-up with just a few clicks, so as to always have the best possible configuration based on use.

The braking compartment was equipped with EBC Yellowstuff pads, Motul RBF660 brake fluid and Goodridge braided hoses. Having completely excluded the ABS system, we moved on to a "must have" in drifting: the hydraulic handbrake, perfectly integrated into the cockpit.


Given the various configurations of use, it was necessary to give character, but at the same time it was necessary to remain sober and functional. Therefore the car was equipped with an M front bumper to which a “fat lip” was added and a rear spoiler.
The graphics of For Car Sport complete and do justice to this project.

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