- The E92 M3 GTS was a 150-unit, European-only special that boasted a 4.4-liter V8 engine, Fire Orange paint, unique aero, and a near 200mph top speed.
- This build represented the most ambitious Pit+Paddock “halo car” portfolio car to date: taking all of the 4th generation V8-powered M3’s special traits inside and out, including its S65 4.0-liter engine, and shoehorning it all into an unsuspecting 3-series station wagon (chassis code E91) of the same vintage.
- The car was assembled by Precision Sport Industries (PSI) in Oviedo, FL — a BMW-focused specialty shop dedicated to Bavaria’s legacy and the modern enthusiasts that aim to improve upon the factory recipe.
- This wagon combined our collective BMW knowledge with the best of the aftermarket industry, including Bilstein, Akrapovič, MOTUL, and Stoptech, which netted a result that should exceed our benchmark handily.
It’s serendipitous that our long-term Pit+Paddock x Bilstein E91 GTS gets to make its first public debut at SEMA, a place that is all too familiar with the term “all in”. In the game of poker, it refers to the moment when a player stakes all of their chips on a single hand. Here, it marks our level of commitment to a titanic effort: transform a standard E91 328i station wagon into a near factory-perfect E92 M3 GTS-worthy fighter.
Pit+Paddock and Presenting Partner, Bilstein, sought to change that for stateside enthusiasts. Indeed, creating an M3 wagon from BMW’s expansive archive wasn’t a new idea, but the OEM level of fit and finish — down to every exacting nut, bolt, and wire — certainly was. To do this successfully, we needed to leverage two things: our own, expansive knowledge of the marque and our flourishing network of BMW experts.
The shop that rose to the top of our list was Precision Sport Industries (PSI), a well-known BMW maintenance, repair, and modification shop based in Oviedo, Florida. It built its glowing reputation in the aftermarket community on its judicious commitment to quality and care. That focus on care led to PSI’s recommendation to source these two cars for the swap. The E90 M3 would primarily serve as the drivetrain donor while the E91 328i would become the proud recipient of the M3’s beefier powerplant and body as well as all of the best aftermarket components the industry had to offer for the build.
BEST OF THE BEST
The aftermarket industry is where Pit+Paddock lives and where our current staff has cut its teeth over the last two decades. The accrued experience has allowed us to refine our tastes — all of which have contributed greatly to building our reputation as an industry tastemaker — and help put together a mod list that echoes our GTS intent.
Power players like Bilstein, Akrapovič, MOTUL, StopTech, Turn 14 Distribution all became integral contributors to the project. From there, the ball got rolling fast. Components from BBS, Carbahn, CSF, Driveshaft Shop, Eventuri, Future Classic, and SPL Parts arrived almost daily as Precision Sport Industries focused on tearing apart both cars in preparation for the swap.
OEM AS POSSIBLE
In equal measure to the mods, our desire to create an exacting factory reproduction helped distinguish our build from any other that came before it. This is where Precision Sport Industries’ expertise really shone bright. There were so many details that I — as a self-proclaimed BMW nut for the better part of three decades — didn’t know about that PSI had proficiently swapped, integrated, or machined from scratch to make the E91’s M3 transformation look and feel like a factory effort.
From transferring the E90 M3’s truck floor into the wagon, to sourcing a 1 of 4 Fire Orange E90 M3 as a paint reference vehicle, and creating a hybrid wiring loom from the two cars to account for each car’s unique factory options and features, PSI proved that they were the right build partner for the job time and time again.
THE TOTAL PACKAGE
Not every SEMA project concludes with a happy ending that rolls onto the show floor. But our gamble to go “all in” paid off in spades. Even factoring in our lofty ambitions, the Pit+Paddock E91 GTS build turned out to be so much more than we’d imagined; each progressive stage seemed to push our collective teams to consider our limitations differently, to push each other a bit harder, and ultimately achieve more.
It may sound cliche to say that the E91 GTS became “more than a build” but this car truly has personified the totality of our aftermarket experience, testing and redefining what we’d considered possible within a handful of months from start to finish.
NOT DONE YET
Up until this point, we’ve talked about SEMA as the end goal, but that’s not exactly true. As many of our YouTube fans have requested, a more in-depth series is already in the works to show everyone the intricacies of the project. Beyond the build we’ve revealed at SEMA today, the redefinition of our limits will see us make new strides with this E91 into 2024. We will take every seizable opportunity to put this car in the hands of other BMW die-hards — in equal measures on the street and track — to refine this car to be the best it could be. Truthfully, the true goal for this build isn’t so much a defined finish line anymore, but a transcendent one that will, hopefully, inspire others to set our E91 as their new benchmark to surpass. Thank you everyone for following along with this build, and to our esteemed partners for helping make this possible.