#ProjectBlack BMW E46 joins the crankandpiston team

It’s not the Japanese car that I’ve always been after, but who can say no to a kickass E46 coupe?

Engine Power Torque 0-100kph Top speed Weight Price when new in 2001 purchased price
Inline 6cyl M54B30, 2979cc 228bhp @ 5,900 rpm 300Nm (221lb ft) @ 3500rpm 6.6secs 217kph 1525kg $37,000 $4,100
Driver's Log
Date acquired: January 2017
Total kilometres: 133,000
Kilometres this month: 0
Costs this month: $2,200

Why did I get a BMW?

I betrayed my passion to JDM cars, as I’ve always definitely imagined that my project car purchase would be a Nissan Silvia, but sometimes the universe works in mysterious way, and you can’t run away from fate. I bought a BMW E46 330Ci M-Sport.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not hating on the BMW, but I was just never a big fan of them like I am when it comes to Japanese cars, but the E46 has a special place.

I was randomly looking for Silvias online, through social media and random websites, and I couldn’t find anything reasonably priced or in good condition, so I closed the site, and scrolling on Facebook, an image of a really nice looking E46 popped up, and I thought “Why not?”, and right after I opened the BMW section, I find a black Jap import E46 330Ci that was JUST posted for sale. Without thinking, I went to the auto market where the car is, and did some inspection. The car was in an alright condition, with a lot of potential, but most importantly it was clean minus a few BMW common issues here and there. I bargained the price, and took it straight to registration to do the testing.

The first day of what I was afraid to be a nightmare

As soon as the testing and registration was done showing flawless chassis and body problems, I wrote down everything else that I need to get done to get the car fully maintained and back in shape. So sweet and simple, right? … Wrong.

I drove the car back home, and I had to park it for a couple of days, only because I was driving an F-Type SVR and I couldn’t say no to that. Who would?

I go back to my car, just two days after it was parked, just so I can go to the industrial area so I could get it all maintained, and my nightmare started. The car went into full anti-theft block mode. That’s when everything just shuts down, and won’t allow access to the car in any way, unless you open it manually with the key, but then remember the common BMW issues I mentioned earlier? Well … the door lock handle was one of them, so key was no use. Go through the trunk? I thought of that, but then the previous Jap owner had installed a reverse camera replacing the original trunk lock keyhole. I know… I couldn’t believe it either.

Long story short: Got several blacksmiths to try and open the car, pried the window open and pulled the handle, tried using the key and remote in every way but there was no hope, so I broke the passenger window.

Went through the window, turned on the car, locks work again, and I directly I went to replace the lock and reprogram the keys, and replaced the window.

Off to La La Land – Sharjah

I gathered a long list of what I’d like to change/replace in the car after doing my own inspection, and also after checking some common must-do procedures listed on BMW forums.

First service consisted of filters and oils, along with a few extra things: valve cover gasket, oil filter base gasket, spark plugs, injector cleaning, engine oil, oil filter, AC filter, Air filter, fuel pump and fuel filter.

When disassembling the oil filter base to install the gasket, we noticed how bad the water pump was rattling, so we got that changed as well. It was interesting finding Japanese leafs and insects here and there (Not to mention all the Japanese paperwork and random items that I found laying around the car).

Maintenance was done, and I was super happy with the bill as it didn’t come out that expensive for such a major service. I didn’t need to change the belts or brakes as they were still ok.

Am I happy?

Oh yes. It feels great to be running a project car, and specially after you do some work and feel the difference you made. 

Future plans?

I need to make the car look and feel as Japanese as possible, just to keep my JDM loyalty true. I’m looking at getting jap wheels, installing coilovers, and work on handling mainly, then bit by bit, it will get clearer with time on what I’ll be doing next before this car gets converted into a full-on drift car.

I’ll be posting updates every now and then through the site on crankandpiston, and then the social platforms at @crankandpiston and my @AbdullaJaafari account, so if you have any suggestions or advices for #ProjectBlack, please do send some over!

Categories: Fast Fleet


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2s Comments

  1. Sweet ride. Looks better with the addition of the black kidney grill now.
    I have a set of light staggered 19″ VMR wheels that came off my e46 M3. Would bolt straight up.

    Have a look.Link to ad.


    Link to photos of a black coupe with the same gunmetal wheels.


    • Hey man, the wheels look awesome, but the M3 is much wider than the 330Ci so therefore I’ll have an issue with the offset, PLUS I wouldn’t go over 18″ in diameter, but that blue M3 looks beautiful!