Story: Reynald Fries
Photography: Andrew Link
Photography: Andrew LinkJust about every month, the students at University of South Florida have a car meet for all the local gear heads to get together and network within the custom-car community. In early 2014, there was a bit of a fender bender at the show due to an honest, unintentional mistake. The damage was done to a matte army-green BMW M3. This was a special Bimmer, though, as it’s one of only two M3s in the country with a Vorsteiner GTRS3 widebody kit. It belongs to Peter, an international USF student from China who had just moved to Florida. As would be the case with just about anybody, Peter was worried about repairing the body kit because, at $40,000, it’s a seriously expensive piece of automotive swag. It was installed in Illinois, which was too far for just a rear-quarter repair. A kit like this requires special care by auto-body professionals who have extensive experience with custom cars. After asking around campus for information on anyone who could repair this type of damage, the name 813 Customs kept coming up, so Peter scheduled an appointment. Joe Barravecchio, owner of Tampa’s 813 Customs, assured the young scholar he had come to the right place. “He came here and we looked at it and talked,” Joe remembers, as they walked around the M3 and sized up the damage. “And he said he was tired of the matte-green paint.” Joe is no rookie when it comes to paint or wraps, and they discussed Peter’s ideas further. “So then we started talkin’ about wraps and went over some colors,” Joe explains. “He looked at some color charts and picked out the matte metallic blue from 3M.” As the crew began working on the Bimmer, Gabe, a salesman at 813, talked cars with Peter, which is when Peter told him about his dream to one day own a Ferrari. This conversation inspired Gabe to research the intricacies of Ferrari’s design. Taking cues from the Ferrari F12berlinetta, Gabe drafted up a potential interior design for the M3 using black leather with red suede, seat patterns and stitching to match Ferrari’s. Peter loved it, as it gave him the opportunity to have a taste of his dream car while driving his daily. With his bumper fixed, a brand-new blue wrap and a Ferrari-inspired interior, Peter was motivated to add an 813 sound system as the finishing touch, and they went for it—installing a 10-inch subwoofer with a custom enclosure in the trunk. To really set it apart from the rest, subtle red LED puddle lights under the side skirts and red halo headlights turn this beautiful blue baby into a sinister street savage at night. In retrospect, Peter’s fender bender was a blessing in disguise. It’s a lesson anyone can learn from: When one door closes, another opens, offering potential opportunities that would’ve otherwise never been presented. Life gave Peter lemons and 813 Customs made lemonade. The matte-green version of this Vorsteiner M3 made its rounds on the Internet, but this version is a newborn design.
Year/Make/Model: 2008 BMW M3
Performance: Iceman exhaust system
Exterior: Vorsteiner GTRS3 wide body package, Boot Lid Coupe trunk; matte metallic blue 3M wrap; red LED puddle lights; red halo headlights
Interior: All black leather and red suede interior inspired by Ferrari F12berlinetta
Ice: Addictive Audio 100.1 amplifier, 10-inch Version 2 subwoofer in a custom enclosure
Wheels/Tires: 20-inch Vorsteiner V308 wheels; Michelin Pilot Sport tires, 295/25/20 front, 315/30/20 rear
They say money can't buy you happiness. This maybe true, but money can buy you a vintage car and factory parts for you to restore it which would make any of us happy. Until that day comes when we can do that ourselves we have to watch in awe as others get the opportunity and thanks to Clarion more and more are getting that opportunity.
Clarion, who is known for their electronics, has launched the Clarion Builds program to restore, not only cars, but the passion for cars which is slowly fading away. The first restoration project was a 1974 BMW 2002. The O2, with the help of many partners, will be restored to its factory state, but with a few modern touches. Clarion will be outfitting the car with the latest in mobile entertainment and connected vehicle technologies.
With the combination of vintage automobiles and modern technologies, Clarion is bound to capture the hearts of old and young alike.