Paul’s E36 328i
Take a good look at this face… because it will never look the same again. While there is nothing wrong with the perfectly-formed visage of the E36 328, of course, you do have to agree, when it comes to finely-chiselled good looks, its bigger brother, the M3, got a slightly defter swish of the designer’s brush. Put simply, and to my mind at least, the front of the M3 looks better proportioned and aggressive than its sibling – and I wanted a little of that action.
Let’s clear up a couple of things first. Did I really want an M3 instead when I bought this car? Of course I did! But this car, with its exemplary service history, excellent condition and high-option package was a mere £1200. These days, with the world and his dog lusting after the flagship E36 like the sure-fire investment it’s bound to be, I wasn’t even going to get a basket case shed-of-death for that. So I stuck with what I could afford.
Am I trying to create an M3 replica? Are my next mods to be a set of sills, mirrors, rear lights and a set of Sunflowers? Nope, definitely not. Although I have admired many a 328 or lesser Three so adorned, I’m not a big fan of making my cars look like something they’re not. So, although I like the M3 aesthetic very much, for my car it’s simply just going to be a front bumper conversion to add a little visual aggression and improved airflow into the mix. The rest of the car can stay as the factory intended – and will be all the better for it, I reckon! I’m proud to be rocking a bargain-basement 328, so no need for a facsimile M-machine.
The price for genuine M3 bumpers is a little steep for me but luckily my usual port-of-call for such matters, M-Style, has a high-quality, low-cost solution. Its pattern M3 bumper is made of high-quality PU Rim plastic (just like the original) and features all of the same clip-in trims and bracket mounts but at just a shade under £100 all in, it’s a damn sight cheaper! M-Style can even pre-paint it for you before they post it, or if you drop by its Romford HQ, it’ll even pop it on for you for a nominal fee.
This part really does look and feel like a much dearer OEM item, so it’s off to the bodyshop for me to get it lovingly lathered in the original silver. Better still, while the old girl is down there, it gives me a chance to sort a couple of other light scratches, dents and minor corrosion that have been bugging me for a while. It won’t just be the nose of this car that will look nicer in a few weeks… the rest of the car is going to look pretty sharp too! Now then, extra splitter or not – what do you reckon?