Oregon Gold Rush — Dakar Yellow E92 M3Posted: February 15, 2011
The most exciting time in an IND Portfolio project’s development is the day I fly out to inspect our work in person. Making a Portfolio build go well involves so much more behind the scenes planning than many people can understand.
From consulting with Grand Am Cup winning race teams to determine the perfect ride height, to debating for hours about tiny, subtle details like the color of the finishing pieces on the car, to coordinating a completely one-off set of Brembo brakes directly with Brembo, to obtaining a set of HRE wheels designed specifically for the Fall Line motorsport program, completing an IND Portfolio project like Scott’s Dakar Yellow E92 M3 is no easy task. That’s exactly why those few hours spent on the airplane are both so exciting, and so nerve-racking. You think about each modification, each part installed just one more time. Will the ride height of the KW ClubSport coilovers work well with the 275/35/18 Nitto NT05 race tires sitting at each corner of the car? Will the higher spring rate at the front of the car work well with the extra grip available because of the hugely wide front tires? How will the gloss black mirror caps, side markers, grilles, and Vorsteiner front lip work with the Dakar Yellow paint? No matter how many hundreds of hours you spend thinking, planning, and researching, nothing is proven until you meet your client and see the car in person- this is the real moment of truth.
I met Scott in a busy airport parking lot after a long flight from Chicago. Portland’s busy airport could do nothing to conceal this M3, and even though there were cars and SUVs strewn about the parking area, my eyes were instantly drawn to BMW’s classic yellow color. As striking as the car is at first sight, it’s amazing how perfectly the details come together. When designing Scott’s car, Nate and I kept two themes in mind- the car is to be competition inspired, and the car is to be subtle and mature. The gloss black Vorsteiner lip, IND sidemarkers and grilles; the fully painted Vorsteiner bootlid- all of these details work together to give the car a put together appearance that hides the performance that lurks underneath the sheetmetal. The only real giveaway to the driver’s sporting intentions are the strangely huge Nitto NT05 tires and the custom powdercoated Brembo calipers, designed in collaboration with Brembo to mimic the brake calipers used in Brembo’s racing program.
Our first task was to leave Portland for the mountains of Oregon. With thousands of turns, sheer drops, and some of the smoothest road surfaces available in the US, the roads leading up to Oregon’s famous Mt Hood are at least as frightening as they are beautiful. Watching the Dakar M3’s competition proven components work together in harmony over the turns and constant elevation changes leading up to Mt Hood was truly amazing. The Brembo brakes never failed. The KW ClubSports and square 275 tires provided sure footed handling with perfect steering response, and eliminated the understeer inherent in the stock E92 M3. Being able to hear the sonorous exhaust note of the Eisenmann Sport exhaust as the M3 powered through the mountain roads confirmed things for me- this car was absolutely perfect. Watching Scott drive the car, I could tell that the Dakar project that we’d built together was perfectly in tune with his tastes, both visually and with regard to the car’s awesome handling and braking performance.
The amount of beautiful scenery in Oregon is really too great to describe adequately here, and I hope that these photos by my friend Johan can express the feeling of awe that these mountain roads impose on anyone who can make it all the way to the top. I truly felt on top of the world as we had dinner at the Timberline Lodge, looking over the snowy peaks of Mt Hood.