BMW M Coupe Bike Rack

Click on photo for larger view

The bike rack and roof rack are BMW accessories. Roof rack (“Profil 2000” base support system, lockable) part no. 82 71 9 405 963 which costs (in the UK) £200, (same system costs only £125 on most other BMW’s). The bike rack (Touring cycle holder, lockable) part no. 82 72 9 405 242 and costs £85.50. I required an additional insert (for oversized cycle frame) part no. 82 12 9 401 403 which cost £8.50. If you have more than one cycle rack BMW sell a kit to give them all the same key, part no. 82 79 9 405 805 which costs £12.00. The whole lot cost approx £300, but as an employee I got it down to £210, still expensive but a lot better. The reason I had to go with the BMW kit was that no aftermarket systems would fit.

The actual fitment of the parts is very easy and can be carried out very quickly, takes approx 7 to 8mins, once set. The setting up takes aroun 30mins. Every part reqired to fit the roof rack is included, even down to a small cleaning wipe.

I always thought the M Coupe on it’s own drew attention but it was nothing compared to the attention I got with the car as it is in the picture.

BMW Strong-Strut Tower Brace

Pros: Price, quality, strength, breathtaking finish
Cons: Careless installation could “ding” your hood
Cost: $315 and up from Strong Strut

Not surprisingly, my M Roadster displays a subtle cacophony of assorted squeaks and rattles which seem to be standard equipment on even the stoutest of convertibles. MZ3 Netmeister Robert Leidy’s review of the Dinan Strut Brace suggested that a tower brace could provide help. Meantime, I had been seeing quite a few posts on the Z3 message board discussing the new Strong-Strut tower brace. Strong-Strut’s own web page made their strut seem particularly attractive so, as I’m always eager to try out the latest wrinkle, I ordered a Strong-Strut for my car.

The Strong-Strut arrived in a long triangular USPS Priority Mail box. Weighing in at 12 1/2 pounds, the all steel structure is clearly up to restraining errant movements of the strut towers. More, the Strong-Strut is absolutely beautiful to see. The flawless powder coat and deep chrome will look wonderful under my hood. I chose black powder coated tower rings with a chrome strut, but Strong-Strut offers a wide choice of attractive sounding finishes with prices ranging from $315 for an all black powder coated assembly to $365 for all chrome finish. Other, more expensive, special finishes are also available and Strong-Strut is even prepared to provide custom finishes to the buyer’s specs. How about candy-apple purple rings with a gold plated strut?

Strong-Strut provides six pages of instructions, most of which are concerned with insuring adequate under hood clearance. The penalty for failing to carefully follow these instructions would be two dings in your hood when you slam it closed on the Strong-Strut. Happily, the procedure is clearly explained, and Strong-Strut even includes two cubes of modeling clay to check under hood clearance. Once proper clearance is insured, the installation is a matter of ten minutes or so, using common hand tools. Take your time as you bolt it in and admire the lovely weld beads and precision stainless steel hardware. Note, too, how the tower rings are contoured to exactly mate with the complex curvature of the top of the strut tower.

Not only does the Strong-Strut look great under my hood, it works! I don’t track or autocross my car so I can’t comment on its handling benefits, but I noticed immediately on my road test that a persistent rattle from the dash area was gone. Problem is that some rattles from the back are now more obvious, but Strong-Strut is working on a rear brace and I’ve told them to put me first on their waiting list. I had thoroughly surveyed the list of available strut braces before I bought my Strong-Strut and I’m convinced that it provides an unbeatable combination of price,strength, quality, and under hood good looks. So, whether you’re looking for useful strengthening of the front end, or just eye candy, the Strong-Strut is hard to beat.

Custom Checkerboard Stripe

It’s vinyl. We had a short thread about it a month ago in the coupe forum. The guy who did it (Lockwood Racing, a bit north of Atlanta) first designed it on the computer, using a Z3 template. Then the computer cut two foot long sections, straight and curved. He picked out the blanks, then attached another sheet of adhesive on top of the vinyl. Peeled of the main adhesive on the vinyl, showing the vinyl’s adhesive surface. Sprayed that with a special solution so it wouldn’t stick immediatley to the car. Applied sheet to car, and he could still move it around. When it was in position, he squeegied the liquid out.

The shop could have done essentially any design, but I liked the checkerboard that they had in their ad. Starts under the driver side headlight, on the air dam, swoops over the hood, down the side, and drapes all the way over the trunk to the drivers rear wheel well.

I am not terribly worried about fading, as my car spends 98% of its life in the garage. It is my daily driver, but I don’t commute. I will probably remove the graphics in a year or so. I used an intermediate quality of vinyl, so it is thicker and has a lower quality adhesive – easier to remove.

The pic I sent was taken at the Churchill Downs autocross in Louisville.