Gray & Green

A collaboration between Active Autowerke and Martino Auto Concepts yields a pair of M3s that combine outrageous performance with stunning good looks.

August 26, 2011
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When Jenny Holzer was commissioned to create an Art Car out of a BMW V12 LMR in 1999, she emblazoned the top of the racing prototype with one of her signature truisms: “Protect me from what I want.”

Omar Murray needs no protection from his desires; at just 26 years of age, he’s fully capable of fulfilling them. The general sales manager at Miami supertuner Active Autowerke, Murray has already built seven fully-realized project cars, the first an 800-hp turbocharged Lexus IS300 and the latest the matte gray 2011 M3 you see here. This stunning car is Murray’s third E92 project, and it’s one of a pair, built alongside the green M3 owned by Joe LaPadula, whose Martino Auto Concepts (MAC) in Glen Cove, New York has been collaborating with Active Autowerke for about a year.

“I have always wanted to work with another company on a build,” Murray says. “We had been thinking about something like this for about a year, but it was actually Derek [Pasch] and Joe from Martino Auto Concepts who had the idea about building two M3s. It took off after that.”

As a luxury automotive restyling facility and authorized BMW collision repair shop, MAC has plenty of experience with Lamborghinis, and it was only natural that these two M3s be painted in the striking colors of the cars from Sant’Agata Bolognese. Murray’s car wears Reventón matte gray, while LaPadula’s is painted Verde Ithaca pearl green.

Specialized colors require special skills

After selling his beloved 2008 M3, Murray bought a new 2011 model in Space Gray from Steve Thomas BMW in Camarillo, California and had it delivered straight to MAC. Before it was painted, it was fitted with a Vorsteiner GTS3 front bumper with carbon Kevlar front splitters, a GTS3 vented race hood with two carbon Kevlar vents, a carbon Kevlar rear diffuser and a carbon Kevlar trunk lid in place of the respective stock parts.

Not every shop can work with colors like Reventón gray—named for Lamborghini’s $1.5 million Murciélago LP640-based V12 supercar—and the application of matte paint requires specialized training. The finish is something of an acquired taste. It’s velvety and textural close-up, stealthy and military from a distance; it even can appear unfinished when the car is dirty. (Think Two-Lane Blacktop from 1971.)

Next, the freshly repainted and still-new M3 (with eight miles on the odometer) was shipped to Miami, where a second round of upgrades awaited at Active Autowerke. First, the stock brake system was exchanged for a StopTech Trophy big brake kit whose six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers were already painted by MAC in Verde Ithaca, as was the AE Performance roll cage that occupies the rear seat space. Up front, a pair of Recaro Profi XL seats replace the stock chairs, providing substantially more support and weighing considerably less than the heavy OEM items.

Also from Issue 102

  • 1 M Coupe vs. E92 M3 on the track
  • Too heavy 2011 528i isn't much fun
  • New N20 four and future six-cylinder tech
  • 2001-2006 3 Series buyer's guide
  • Darren Yoo's stylishly modified 335i
  • Dinan turbocharged six-cylinder E21 3 Series
  • 1956 503 convertible and coupe road test
  • De Silva's BMW M10-powered Elva race car
  • BMW at Hilton Head Concours 2010 and 2011
  • Latest BMW racing news
  • All the tech that's fit to print
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