Detail-oriented

Its Jet Black paint set off by Inka Orange details, Nick DeClemente’s E46 M3 Convertible is a distinctive drop-top whose performance is a perfect match for its subtly stylish looks.

May 29, 2014
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We don’t come across modified M3 convertibles very often, as the tuning crowd tends to gravitate toward fixed-roof cars. Neither do we see many M3 convertibles in the Northeast, which makes Nick DeClemente’s E46 M3 convertible a doubly rare sight. Even if it weren’t rare, DeClemente’s drop-top M3 would be distinctive: It not only has the usual complement of go-faster parts, it also has some unique styling mods that separate it further from the herd.

When DeClemente decided to lease a new BMW at the end of 2006, the last year of E46 production, he had his heart set on a black E46 M3 coupe but had to settle for a convertible instead.

“I really wanted a coupe more than a convertible, but I couldn’t find a black coupe anywhere that was new,” says DeClemente. “The M3 convertible was one of the last that were available, as there weren’t many around at that time. I had to pick it up in New Hampshire, so I got a one-way rental from Hertz and drove up to Nashua to get it.”

DeClemente used the M3 as his daily driver for the entire 28-month lease period, logging around 30,000 miles that included commuting into New York City from his home in Westchester County. He’d planned to return the M3 when the lease ended in April 2009…until he was given an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“The dealer ended up giving me an insane deal to buy the M3, and I had been bitten by the convertible bug after driving it for a couple of years,” he says.

The car had remained virtually stock but for a muffler replacement throughout the lease period, but once DeClemente owned the car he began to plan some simple upgrades. As so often happens, those simple upgrades turned into a much more substantial makeover.

“At first I swore that I would only do bolt-on upgrades like wheels, full exhaust and headers,” he says.

Also from Issue 124

  • F82 M4 Safety Car in Qatar
  • 2014 F34 328i xDrive Gran Turismo test
  • Buyer's Guide: E46 M3, Pure M
  • Burger Motorsports 2014 F32 435i
  • Eric Bernstein's 1973 2002/S14
  • Max Hoffman, BMW's early US importer
  • Rising tide at amelia island
  • Paddock Pass: BMW at Sebring, Long Beach
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