Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
The lineage of the BMW M3 would be a prime example in the execution of the philosophy behind this quote. Ever improving, BMW has made strides keeping the M3 on top of its competition. Dubbed the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” it would seem almost futile for somebody to try and tinker with what the mad German scientists in white lab coats have already accomplished.
Leave it to Bobby Del Bello of White Plains, NY to try just that. A perfectionist at heart, Bobby has a track record of building impeccable examples of modified automobiles. Before this, he had built an all motor B18C-powered EM1 that used to beat up on the more expensive racers at the local trackdays. That Civic eventually met its untimely demise which totaled it, and left Bobby looking for something new.
While in college at Purdue University, the RWD bug bit and sent Bobby to pursue something completely different than he already knew. A mint condition, one owner 1998 BMW M3 caught his eye and the rest was history. He acquired the M3, signed up at the local events and took it out there to learn his new car.
Soon after, the Ultimate Driving Machine needed more to keep up with Bobby’s increasing skills. Within a period of seven years, he a took a well-mannered performance street car and turned into the track beast you see now. Every piece of hardware was replaced with brand new OEM BMW, and virtually every suspension component was powdercoated to bring it back to its new finish. To compliment the OEM bling factor within the suspension , Bobby added AST coilovers (550F/650R) with Vorshlag camber plates and Eibach sway bars. He also purchased SPC camber arms, and a retrofitted Z3 steering rack. To slow down and grip, he purchased a StopTech 332mm big brake kit and stainless lines that hide behind a squared set of bright dip anodized grey CCW Classics (17×9.5) mated to a set of meaty Dunlop Star Specs. Diffsonline was employed to completely fortify a differential featuring shorter 3.46 gears, 3 clutch packs, and modified ramp angles for different lock up accelerating or slowing down. This was all topped off with a gorgeous Rogue Engineering finned differential cover.
To really kick off this high level build, Bobby shaved, tucked, and resprayed the entire engine bay. He also completely rebuilt the S52 engine to OEM specifications. However while keeping his mind on the track, he was influenced to include a baffled S54 oil pan and dual pickup S54 oil pump. He also converted to the European only self-bleeding expansion tank complimented by a Stewart high performance water pump and 16″ SPAL fan to help overcome the overheating issues he may encounter while racing. To help the motor breathe, Bobby added an M50 intake manifold highlighted by a Riot Racing big bore throttle body. The intake tract comes together fully with a Bimmerworld 3.5″ Silicone Boot, Porsche 3.5 MAF sensor and a Dinan intake. On the exhaust side, he fitted a set of shorty headers that flow to an Active Autowerke track pipe and Gen 3 catback exhaust system.
Some people say that true beauty is on the inside which is why Bobby installed a gorgeous set of leather/alcantara wrapped Recaro Pole Positions, alcantara Sparco steering wheel and an OEM ZHP shift knob. The shift boot, e-brake boot, pillars, and even the headliner were all redone in alcantara, and this all complimented by the custom made exterior paint matched roll bar. The exterior means business, as soon as you can spot the Motion Motorsports adjustable front splitter, radiator duct, and underpanel. The rest of the exterior remains pretty much stock to the untrained eye, unless of course you could pick up on the smoked corners, taillights, side markers and matte black kidney grilles.
No car is perfect, as they are built, designed, and modified by imperfect people. However, certain individuals desire a level of excellence that seems to only be attained by some sort of divine intervention. The owner of this vehicle has already taken something considered “perfect” and made it look and perform even better than its original engineers intended. This is what happens when function meets form.
These beautiful words and photos were provided by our good dude and newcomer of the allthingsproper team Dom Milio. Thanks again Dom! Keep an eye out for more from Dom very soon! Head on over to his flickr for more of his work.