LIMELIGHT | Colm Murray’s 2JZ BMW E46 M3


One off customs, high dollar builds and all out race cars are standard fare here on Autolifers, but Colm Murray’s M3 has that little something extra. There’s no getting around it, when a car is built by the owner it truly becomes the driver’s car. He knows every mod, every bolt, every weld by heart because he put them there. No one else could have built the car the same because it is unique to the needs and desires of the particular individual.


Colm Murray is no stranger to the drift scene, having been around drifting in Ireland since the sport first took hold. But this year he set his sights on a new goal; to build a hell bent, tire shredding, drift machine out of a M3 shell and to do it on his own.


Needless to say, subtlety was not what Colm was going for when he set out to build his E46. Just one glance at the custom vinyl wrap and you can tell this is no ordinary BMW.


Graphics aside, the stance of the little coupe is sinister; sitting low over tucked wheels. Sporting some pretty wild negative camber, the car looks as though its just begging for a fight.


The body was left mostly stock, and what can I say its hard to improve on that M3 look. The most notable exceptions being the Carbon fiber VS hood and Csl ducktail spoiler.


The M3 owes its stance to a set of Modified Kei Office coilovers from a Nissan s14 and custom wishbones; but this is only the beginning of this Frankenstein tale.



Looking inside the car and you’ll see the level of dedication and craft which went into making this home built race machine.


The dash is all that remains of the once luxuriously equipped gentleman’s racer. Stripped to bare essentials, its easy to tell that this car serves one very specific purpose.


If the fully custom cage and Haltech dash don’t prove the car’s commitment to the sport perhaps the 30 liter fuel cell filling the trunk will do the trick.



Not to mention the Bimarco seats and massive hydraulic hand brake.


As we all know a drift car is nothing without a proper suspension setup. Colm took a bit of a unique path with his. In addition to the s14 coilovers he opted to convert the E46 from the stock 5×120 to the far more common 5×114 which offered him a much wider selection of usable wheels, incredibly useful when you consider the wear and tear drifters subject their rims to. Not wanting to use just any old hub, he went with Nissan’s flagship; custom mounting the full brake and hub assemblies from an R33 Skyline GTR.


Now to many, this amount of inter-manufacturer modifications is extreme but this unusual coupe still have a few surprises left.


Most people would agree that the drive train is the soul of a car and the engine its heart. So, to many the idea of removing something so integral is close to treasonous, for BMW owners they might even say it was blasphemous. However, when it came time to pick a power-plant for his E46 shell Colm once again went his own way. Deciding to forgo the M-tuned 3.2L S54 piece of Bavarian pride in lieu of something a bit more classic to the drift scene.


The mighty Toyota 2JZ-GTE.


Tuned for a full bar of pressure, the turbo 6 lays down smoke to the tune of 520bhp, de-tuned from 560 for consistency and reliability.


The Garret fed six puts its power to the ground by way of a V160 tranny and custom drive shaft. For the rear end Colm turned once more to Nissan and the near bullet proof R33 gtr’s R200 differential to fill the roll.


Designing and building your own setup can often put you at odds with others in the motoring world. Others might have done it differently, but then, it wasn’t built for them. Making a car to your specs means you have at your disposal everything you need to make that car perform exactly how you want it to and take your driving to the edge. If you do what you love and build for yourself, you’ll end up with something truly unique and noteworthy. Colm’s M3 is the perfect example of just that.
Words: Hunter McLeod
Photos: Martin Cunningham


  • 2003 e46 m3
  • 2jz-gte
  • 6 speed v160 getrag
  • Custom engine and gearbox mounts
  • Custom propshaft
  • Garrett gt35r gtx
  • Tial waste gate
  • Custom exhaust manifold
  • Full custom 4inch exhaust
  • Modified greddy style intake with 90mm throttle body
  • modified s15 radiator
  • haltech pro 2000
  • Haltech dash
  • 1000cc injector dynamics
  • Twin plate exedy clutch
  • Modified Kei office coilovers from an s14
  • R33 gtr rear diff
  • R33 gtr front calipers with 380mm discs painted gold
  • R33 gtst rear calipers
  • 30 litre fuel cell
  • 2 litre swirl pot
  • twin Bosch 044 pumps
  • All custom fuel and brake lines throughout car
  • Full custom cages touring car spec roll cage
  • All hubs changed to 5×114 for ease of wheels available
  • Bimarco racing seats and harnesses
  • Custom front wishbones
  • Custom front hubs
  • Custom steering rack
  • VS carbon gtr bonnet
  • Csl boot lid
  • Custom rear diffuser
  • dtm mirrors