For centuries the human race has sought after balance. From the Eastern culture influence of zen to simple childhood stories we, like Goldilocks, seek out what is “just right” for us. The quest is complicated by life itself and the fact that everyone is different, another person cannot lead you to find your own balance. It is a personal experience and the search is not limited to those seeking spiritual enlightenment. Automotive enthusiasts are caught in the struggle of determining our goals and opinions — not to mention the distraction of others.
Photos By: Kazuki Hirota exclusively for StanceNation.com
Manufacturer engineers fight a similar battle in the creation of vehicles from the very beginning. The car must perform, yet be comfortable and safe. It must make power, yet maintain efficiency and reliability. BMW engineers obviously took careful consideration during the conception of the E46 M3, as their creation would become highly respected and sought-after. Reviewers hailed the M3’s power and balance (of course) contained in the attractive, well-appointed German coupe. The differences between non-M 3-series and the M3 were vast, especially in comparison to the E36-precursor.
Kazuki Hirota, of Toyama, Japan, was drawn to the E46 M3 like many others. He tells us he had always wanted one and patiently awaited the financial opportunity to make one his approximately a year ago. Kazuki is a part of the ‘USDM’ movement in Japan, a sub-culture that derives its style from popular trends here in the United States — very similar to the ‘JDM’ explosion of the early 2000’s here stateside. As a member of LowBallers Japan his build reflects a similar feel to that of the American LowBallers’ counterparts. Regardless of his stylistic influence, Hirota’s BMW seamlessly blends US trends with traditional Japanese attention to detail.
For Kazuki’s purposes the S54 remains as Munich intended, with an exhaust being the only modification. With nearly 340bhp from the factory the individual-throttle 3.2L dual-VANOS straight-6 has plenty to offer him, he admits that he regularly stretches its legs to into the triple-digits. For now, the only change planned is a straight-pipe exhaust system for a bit more volume.
Dressed to impress the M3 exudes a James Bond-like attitude. It’s classy but can totally kill you while jumping off of a train and it always gets the girl, if you will. It is aesthetically understated, allowing the CSL decklid and carbon lip spoiler to accent the natural lines instead of being brash and obnoxious. The ample rear fenders were further widened by 2mm in order to fit the wheel and tire setup Hirota had in mind.
Wheel dimension and determining ride height proved to be a dilemma for Kazuki. He obviously wanted the car to ride low in order to accomplish his aesthetic vision for the vehicle, but he wanted to avoid ruining the car’s character by damaging the driveability. This was where his quest for balance makes itself most obvious. Kazuki felt that oni camber and too small of tires would be a waste of the M3s natural disposition, mottanai as the Japanese describe it. While he was not looking for all out track machine, the M-performance could not be eradicated.
XYZ RS coilovers with shortened-stroke dampers were selected for the task, featuring 16K springs front and rear. The specifications of the 18×10″/18×11.5″ concave Rotiform TMBs were carefully chosen to have the same angularity of the concave face for the staggered wheels front and rear (this is Japanese attention to detail). 235/40/18 and 275/35/18 Goodyear RevSpec tires provide the ample foot print and the aggressive look Hirota wanted.
Keep striving for balance, it has obviously worked well for Kazuki. He found the balance within his E46 M3 build. So deliberate, weigh the options and stick to your goals. Maybe that porridge is too hot or too cold. Maybe that pillow is too hard or too soft. Whatever the case may be, this RHD Japanese M3 on TMBs is just right.
[toggle_item title=”Wheels/Tires/Suspension” active=”true”]Rotiform TMB “Concave”
Goodyear REVSPEC RS-02
XYZ Coilover RS spec
326POWER Spring “Charabane”[/toggle_item]
[toggle_item title=”Exterior” active=”false”]CSL type trunk
Rear fender 2cm wide body work[/toggle_item]
[toggle_item title=”Interior” active=”false”]USDM Mirrors and other small stuff[/toggle_item]
[toggle_item title=”Engine” active=”false”]MOTEC full titanium exhaust