The Track Rat: ESS Supercharged BMW M3

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onJuly 30th, 2014

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Magazine featured project cars always look amazing on paper. Flipping through the pages of your favorite tuner magazine you’ll find an assortment of project cars that have the best parts and the best specs yet, when it comes down to it, they’re garage queens. Sure they might look like they are ready for a weekend of club racing but, most of the time, they’re destined for a life of car shows, meets, and magazine shoots. I’m not saying all project cars end up this way, but a large proportion of them do.

There’s a perfectly good reason why this is the case. Most of these projects aim to impress a reader, not a driver. Decked out with the most expensive pieces available on the market, there’s rarely a thought given to how they benefit the car. Readers drool over the Blitz intercooler without considering that the car is running 4 psi. Or maybe Zeal coilovers which have gone untuned, negatively affecting the handling compared to stock.

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Of course when I was younger the first thing I looked at when flipping to a car feature was the horsepower, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. It didn’t matter what else was on the car, if it didn’t have an impressive amount of HP, it wasn’t worth reading about. No cooling, no strengthening, no brakes, it didn’t matter. On the dyno these cars could push out astronomical numbers, for 10 seconds. What they wouldn’t show in the photos was the post-run smokescreen which would make James Bond’s DB5 escape look tame.

The problem is that these people aren’t driving their cars, they’re writing about their cars. The goal isn’t the sum of the parts complementing and improving a vehicle, but to have the biggest budget compared to last month’s feature. They’re automotive label whores. Thankfully, every few years someone like Jason (CSMRX7) will come along, and restore my faith in project cars and the tuning community.

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