With SEMA just hours away, the wildest of builds are making their way towards the desert of Las Vegas, Nevada. The halls of the convention center are filled with the year’s top cars, ranging from top-fuel drag racers to iconic classics and custom-built hot rods, and the primary goal – standing out – is one that can be far tougher than expected. The nearly $30-billion dollar-per-year industry is epitomized and showcased by the cars displayed in many of the thousands of exhibitor booths, and each is a showpiece worth noting. Yet the team at Bag Riders have set out on a SEMA build of their own, in the form of the most unique Liberty Walk-kitted E92 we’ve seen thus far, and it is sure to stand out amongst the crowd.
It was six months ago that the first Liberty Walk E92 kit landed stateside, and since then, a very impressive handful of cars have hit the streets of the United States. Each one is known its own quirks and cues, which rarely stray from color and wheel choice. However, where others seem the same, the Bag Riders crew has put together an LB-Performance E92 that breaks new ground.
Bag Riders’ build began life as a 335xi – an all-wheel-drive coupe with the well-established twin-turbo inline six under the hood. It’s all familiar territory for Will Fisher, the man at the top of the totem pole, as it was his personal 335 that served as a source of inspiration and blueprint for the project. Initial plans were in fact to fit the kit to his own car, but with beautiful fender work only recently completed, he couldn’t stomach cannibalizing the chassis. Fittingly, a sister car was sourced, and the team got to work.
After an over-night run to purchase and retrieve the car from New Jersey, the team was met with a mint-condition Montego Blue 335xi with only 26,000 miles on the clock – a perfect candidate to be cut to pieces. It was with help from House Motorsports that the Bag Riders team managed to pull the entire build off at their headquarters in Vermont. “Cyrus of House Motorsport was a HUGE factor in this build, he is an experienced Pikes Peak car builder who has been a big help to Bag Riders since we opened our doors in 2009,” says Will. The custom fabrication was delegated to Cyrus, which included the one-off half cage he intends to produce in the near future. The cutting of the arches, however, was left to the BR team, as well as the installation of all the aftermarket add-ons.
The Liberty Walk kit steals the show for the exterior of the car, and it was nearly a year ago that the plan for such a build arose. After approaching Air Lift about a project build for SEMA 2013, Bag Riders moved to discussions with Rotiform about certain possibilities. Will tells me “Brian called me up and let me know that he and Jason had been working with Kato, the owner of Liberty Walk. They told me that they were contemplating getting an e92 M3 to build for SEMA, but they were interested in collaborating with Bag Riders if we wanted to do the build.”
The decision was a no-brainer, and the project was born. However, it’s important that the exterior details aren’t overshadowed by the impressiveness of the kit alone. A full M3 bumper conversion was done, including skirts and mirrors as well as the wider M3 front fenders. To compliment the rear M bumper, a Challenge M3 carbon diffuser was installed, which hugs the tips of the House Motorsport exhaust perfectly. The 335 hood was extended to meet the M front bumper, and the grills, as well as the exterior trim, were all wrapped in black 3M vinyl. With the exterior modifications complete, the car was wrapped in 3M flat metallic red, which came down to the wire. “My friend Derick Szyda came from Chicago after H2O International to do the 3M wrap, which involved many 3am nights to get it all dialed in. Eating chicken wings with me at about 1 AM became part of our regular routine. With a total of 77 hours into the wrap, it was done to perfection with no details overlooked.” The door sills of the E92 were being wrapped as the transport truck arrived to ship the car to the West coast.
Such an aggressive car is incomplete without some bite to match the bark. Under the hood, the factory twin turbos were upgraded to a pair of Vargas Turbo Technologies Stage-2 TD04 turbochargers, complete with a Burger tuning Juice Box and back-end tune. Terry at Burger helped get the tune just right and set the boost appropriately. An AFE intake system keeps the car breathing well, and allows the howl of the turbos to be heard just enough. To bring the car to a screeching halt, the gang installed a Forge Motorsport 380MM big brake kit, serving as an exterior hint to what lies beneath the car’s imperious exterior.
Inside, the car has been built to match, with pair of Status Racing Ring GTX seats and Status 5-point harnesses setting the stage. A Turner Motorsport wheel and Bimmerworld shift knob keep the driving experience sport-inspired, and the House Motorsport half-cage, painted Nimbus Grey, along with the car’s interior trim, seals the deal. A rear seat delete keeps things purpose-built, and the cage serves as the perfect utilitarian air tank mount.
The Nimbus Grey accent color carries back to the outside, coating the absolutely enormous set of Rotiform TMBs. Measuring out to 19×12.5 in the front and 19×13.5 in the rear, the 335 is supported by more than 50″ of cumulative wheel width – asinine in every sense. 4.5″ and 6.5″ lips are tucked front and rear respectively, giving the BR E92 depth on every scale. The tires are stretched, but it doesn’t come from a lack of rubber; 285s sit under the front and 305s are squeezed under the rear. Of course, such a setup is only tucked thanks to what is inarguably the most unique part of an already unique build.
Where Bag Riders’ LB-Performance kitted build departs from the norm is the fantastic, albeit unsurprising use of air suspension. After partnering with Air Lift for the idea and logistic, Air Lift Performance pumped out a one-off prototype kit for the project. A pair of 30-click adjustable damping fully-threaded-body air struts were built for the front, and out back, Air Lift produced a unique kit, including custom lower control arms and toe arms. Bag Riders’ own Air Lift Autopilot V2 Management pack with 1/4″ air lines, as well as dual 480C Viair compressors was used as the brains and braun of the system. As the clock ticked, in a single evening, Taylor at Bag Riders carefully installed the air suspension while Kevin and Will ran the air lines in their hustle to get ready for SEMA.
With air suspension tucked behind its wheels, the BR E92 lays with its gigantic front splitter just millimeters from the ground. The rear wheels tuck into the arches while the fronts rest just under the fender line, giving this particular LB-Performance car far more aggression than any other. It’s hard to look at its counterparts and not feel as though they feel a bit like… monster trucks. The Bag Riders E92 has found the perfect blend of style and aggression, poise and power.
And seemingly as soon as the car arrived on Californian soil, the Rotiform team has wrapped up the wheel build, and in the morning the car is off to the Las Vegas Convention Center. If you’re attending SEMA, you won’t want to miss this car at the Air Lift Booth.