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LC61069 - Part 3: Better, Stronger, Faster

1999 BMW M Coupe in Arctic Silver over Estoril Blue

As you can probably guess from the previous article, subframe reinforcement was project #1. Luckily I just so happened to have a Randy Forbes dual-ear kit in my garage that I was saving for a rainy day. We got quotes from several shops and some advice from Randy, but I felt most comfortable with the local shop that has done paint and body work on the last few project coupes. He had a guy with 30 years of welding experience that "thought it looked like fun". It was a pretty long process, but I was very happy with the results. And just to confirm I had picked the right shop, a couple weeks after they finished our project, a Shelby GT500 "Eleanor" replica they had done for a customer won Best Mustang at the massive Goodguys Rod & Custom show.

As most probably know, the dual-ear rear differential mount prevents the installation of the passenger-side stock exhaust. We were not able to source a worthy aftermarket exhaust by the time the reinforcement was done, so I had the adventure of driving the coupe home without one. The shop owner assured me it "wasn't loud at all" when he moved it out of the shop. He drag races a 8.5 second 60s Mustang, so I should not have taken his opinion too seriously. My son and I laughed at the ridiculousness of it all the way home as we couldn't hear each other shouting to each other across the center console. I did my best to idle my way through my neighborhood in 4th gear to not annoy the neighbors too much.

Just days later, a very clean ANSA exhaust showed up at my door that Mark had been able to snag locally off of a reinforced M Roadster. I was very familiar with this exhaust as it's what Colby sported on his Dakar Yellow coupe the past couple years, so I was happy we found one. It sounds great, looks great with large tips, and is extremely light. I never did weigh them, but I wouldn't be surprised if they weigh half as much as stock.

The mean looking exhaust introduced a new problem to the equation however; the stock suspension height now looked way too high with those aggressive exhaust tips. We had already raised it off the ground using the stock springs off my coupe, but could we find a Goldilocks middle-ground? Luckily Willis had decided to sell his Koni Sports with TC Kline springs, and would even deliver them at my bbq the next weekend. The suspension swap was easier the second-time (thanks to the Rogue rear shock mounts I previously installed), and it now looks just-right.

Driving a reinforced coupe is a different experience. When I had poly subframe bushings installed in my coupe, I thought it was the best upgrade I had done. It tightens up the rear, increases confidence in fast corners, and just plain feels like it should have felt from the factory. Subframe reinforcement does the same thing but to a much greater extent. It was well worth the time and effort.

1999 BMW M Coupe Arctic Silver over Estoril Blue

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