For many of us who grew up in the U.S., our first encounter with the country of Taiwan happened when we flipped over the plastic trinkets that came with our Happy Meals, and asked our mothers to read the three little words that we found. Although we couldn’t pronounce it’s name, Taiwan meant one thing to us: fun toys.
Now (somewhat) more mature, “Made in Taiwan” carries a similar meaning, at least here at Active Autowerke. Over the years, we’ve cultivated a profound relationship with a large group of BMW enthusiasts on the island who have some pretty impressive toys of their own…and none of them contain a single ounce of cheap plastic.
Our main point of contact is Jyh-Bor Lin, the owner of the cosmos black E36 M3 sedan detailed below. We met Jyh-Bor in 2009, and soon after he flew halfway across the world to check out our shop, and was officially welcomed into the Active Autowerke family. The relationship blossomed, and before long Jyh-Bor teamed up with his best friend Chang Sheng, the owner of Germany Wing Motorsports in Taipei, to become an exclusive Active Autowerke dealer. Recently, Jyh-Bor and some of the guys from GWM were invited to become the subjects of a popular Taiwanese performance vehicle magazine feature. The number of M3’s profiled paled only in comparison to how many Active Autowerke tuning parts were present.
These guys obviously have impeccable taste, and we think you’ll agree. Prepare to have your world-view “blown” away…
M3’s A (Loud) Crowd
The E46-generation M3 boasts a dedicated following among Taiwanese BMW enthusiasts.
This trio features two sedans, one convertible, and three Active Autowerke Level 2 605BHP Supercharger Systems, each one more powerful than the other. Peter’s Toledo Blue SMG convertible utilizes the stock pistons, cams, and exhaust header to compliment 12.8PSI of added boost. Even with the stainless-steel cat-less exhaust set-up, Peter’s car remains a reliable daily driver thanks to Active Autowerke’s fan clutch, 55-degree thermostat, and water-meth injection kit. Drivetrain modifications are restricted to an Active Autowerke performance clutch and flywheel combo, and a steeper 3.64 final drive.
Bilstein PSS9 coilovers suspend the chassis perfectly over the forged 19×8.5 and 19×9.5 BBS RSGT’s wrapped in Michellin PSS tires. Pagid brake pads clamp onto the 380mm and 355mm disc brakes thanks to Brembo 18Z calipers of the 6 pot variety in the front, and 4 pot in the rear. Besides the AEM wideband, the crown jewel of the interior is the DEFI Advance ZD display. Outside, things are kept simple and clean with a carbon fiber lower front spoiler, blacked-out kidneys, and GT rear wing the only signs that Peter’s convertible is anything out of the ordinary. In the states, ‘Verts have a bit of a stigma attached to them; Peter might care what you’d have to say about that, if you could actually catch him.
Hongdow’s U.S.-spec Laguna Seca Blue coupe follows Peter’s lead…before overtaking him on the straight away. The same supercharger, pistons, drivetrain and cooling mods are all here. However, this S54 also makes use of Schrick 280/272 camshafts and a full stainless-steel race header and cat-less exhaust, good for rocketing the E46 from 60-120+mph in less than eight seconds. Go back and read that again. In the time that took, Hongdow just doubled your highway cruising speed.
19-inch iForged wheels and Toyo R888’s keep the M3 stuck to the pavement, even at ludicrous speeds. Should there be a fork in the road, a full Ohlins DFV suspension and AC Schnitzer front and rear strut bars ensure precise control. The CSL front bumper, carbon fiber lower spoiler, and Vorsteiner carbon fiber hood and trunk give Hongow’s ride the perfect blend of style and function. Finally, we feel it bears mentioning that although Hongdow’s M3 isn’t the most insane of the pack, it IS the only one that allows the driver to row his own gears. Bravo, Hongdow.
Last of the bunch is Huang Chuon’s Toledo Blue 2005 example. Not satisfied with the fact that our supercharger kit is quite robust on a stock bottom-end, he cracked open the block, and went to town. Out went the stock components, in went 10.5:1 CP pistons and Pauter rods. In addition to the usual suspects found throughout the cooling system and drivetrain, Huang Chuon opted for the tried and true shorter 3.64 final drive ratio. Along with the water-meth injection, and a 75mm overdrive pulley, this M3 races from 60-120MPH in 7.2 seconds…an incredible half-second quicker than Hongdow’s.
During those runs, Huang Chuon and his terrified passenger can find some added support in the Recaro SPA-HANS carbon fiber buckets. Should fellow Taiwanese drivers come across him at a stoplight, they’ll be sure to admire the subtle yet aggressive 18×9 and 18×10.5 Volk Racing limited edition TE37 SL’s. Once again, the tried-and-true Ohlins suspension components and Vorsteiner carbon fiber hood and trunk round out the eye-candy modifications. Huang Chuon has successfully combined international style cues with the universal language of enthusiasts everywhere: More Power.
The Real Lin-Sanity
New York and Houston can have Jeremy, Jyh-Bor Lin’s E36 sedan is one of the most well-built, unique, and stunningly gorgeous examples of an M3 that we’ve ever come across. Seriously.
Karl loved it so much, he put his name on it during his last visit!
Draped in cosmos black, the stock lines are muscled-up with custom front and rear fender flares and matching skirts. The front-end oozes menace thanks to blacked-out grilles, Euro HID headlights, Kemei eyebrows, and an AC Schnitzer front lip topped off with a BMW GT splitter.
Classic BBS RGR forged hoops frame the Brembo calipers at all four corners. Even at massive 19×8.5 and 19×10 sizing, 7mm front and 12mm rear spacers are required to achieve the aggressive stance Jyh-Bor needed to complement the widened body. The form and function theme continues inside, where Jyh-Bor can grip the M-Tech II alcantara steering wheel found in front of the Euro-spec M3 instrument cluster. Reclinable Recaro SP-X CL100 carbon fiber seats, and alcantara-covered door panels combine performance and luxury perfectly.
However, it’s beneath this sculpted body that this M3 really brings the heat.
Forged CP pistons and Pauter connecting rods combine to generate the 10.2:1 compression ratio. Schrick 264/256 cams coordinate with Bosch 60-pound injectors and an AEM fuel regulator to accelerate the combustion process. The Schrick intake manifold is fed via the star of the show; Active Autowerke’s own Level 2 Supercharger Kit featuring the venerable HKS GT8550 blower. Powder-coated stainless steel is found on the exhaust header, as well as throughout the cat-less piping. The 6-speed transmission from an E46 M3, equipped with a 3.64 final drive and high-performance Active Autowerke clutch and flywheel kit help transfer power from the E36 M3 driveshaft to the anxiously-awaiting rear wheels. A Mocal 13-row oil cooler and water-meth injection provided by yours truly help ensure that horsepower and torque stay available and reliable.
And just how much power are we talking? Suffice it to say that thanks to 16PSI and an Active Autowerke stage 2+ tune, Jyh-Bor’s M3 is safely over the 500HP mark…at the wheels.
Keeping it all contained is a plethora of racing-derived suspension pieces, including Gatto coilovers with Hyperco springs, Racing Dynamics sway bars, a lightweight M3 cross-bar, rear camber arms sourced from an E46 CSL, and an Active Autowerke Differential Support Bracket. Clearly no expense was spared. Now, like all proud parents, we don’t admit to favorites…so we can neither confirm nor deny that Jyh-Bor’s M3 is ours.
Okay, it is. It really, really is.
Overall, it wasn’t just the number of Taiwanese BMW’s that featured Active Autowerke parts that impressed us; it was the quality and attention to detail applied by their owners. Peter, Hongdow, Huang Chuon, and of course Jyh-Bor, are all outstanding examples of the quintessential #AATuning customer: they won’t settle for anything less than the complete perfection of their vision. Our hats are off to each of them, and we’re grateful we could have a small hand in helping them achieve their goals.
Consider Taiwan officially put on our map!