Ron Weiss's Dinan/ICS M6 Turbo
In 1988, I'd wake up, eat breakfast, put on my jeans shorts, comb my mullet, pop a few zits and haul to school. If I didn't fall asleep in class, I'd daydream about the iconic cars of the day-the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa or Porsche 911 (930) Turbo-cars that covered miles of wall in millions of teenstunk bedrooms. But there was another car, different than the others.
In a way, it was even better, because it had sports car-like performance, plus room for me and four girls-not so common back then. With its M88 engine, the BMW M6 had 286 hp-right up there with the turbocharged 3.3-liter Porsche 930 with only 145cc more displacement and no turbo.
Fast forward nearly two decades and here is probably the nicest example this side of a concourse event, with only 60k original miles on the odometer. At first glance, it looks untouched, bone stock in its classic form. But there's more than meets the eye. This BMW has gone through a power transformation to embarrass several modern sports cars.
It started life as a Dinan M6 Turbo II, originally built for Doc Severinsen, former bandleader on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. After a couple of title transfers, it ended up on the East Coast, in the hands of Ron Weiss. The car wouldn't pass smog and was running horribly, due to the original (and ill) turbo. Weiss took it to ICS Performance, where it was outfitted with a new 60-1 HiFi turbocharger. The factory computer was yanked out in favor of an Electromotive TEC3R standalone for full tuning capabilities. ICS also added a heavy duty clutch, larger fuel injectors and a Cometic head gasket, then bolted the head down with ARP studs.
After extensive tuning on its inhouse Dynojet, ICS got the blower up to 10 psi, registering a massive 406 hp at the rear wheels. That's just a few ponies shy of what the new V10-powered M6 puts down, only with gobs more torque and 200 fewer pounds to haul around. ICS reports that the setup could make even more with increased boost and a methanol injection system, but the decision was made to stay conservative with this one.
I hadn't anticipated the resuscitation of such a wild beast under the hood. Laying into the throttle, the first thought that comes to mind is that these older BMWs aren't supposed to be this powerful. It doesn't feel natural. But I'm in awe-as if I had witnessed an 80-year-old man bench-pressing 400 pounds. A few moments later, I begin to realize the coolness factor in owning a car like this.
I've had experience with the 60-1 HiFi turbocharger (the HiFi has a 2.5-inch inlet instead of the normal T4's four inches). It was with the same T3 stage five turbine wheel that once resided in our Porsche 951 project car. But what a difference there is when it's spun by exhaust gases pulsing out of a 3.5-liter inline six, as opposed to the ultra-low-compression 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the 951.
Step on this car's throttle and, by 3500 rpm, the 245mm Yokohamas are in a tire-spinning frenzy until the shift into third. From inside the cabin, it sounds like a turbocharged E36 M3-like a deep, rumbling blast of air coming out the back.
Just as American gearheads respond to an impeccably kept domestic musclecar, this BMW draws the attention of true European sports car enthusiasts, by virtue of the E24's classic styling. The M6 badge accentuates the fact that it's been a solid performer since birth. The people who notice listen for the more aggressive exhaust note. Shift into second gear at 35 mph then let her rip, and that speedo will zing past 60 in a tire-smoking instant. Throw it into third gear, mash the throttle, your back is pressed hard against the seat and you're gone.
Owners of modern 6 Series don't seem to be quite the cruising type, more the power-executive bunch. You won't find them parading down Pacific Coast Highway, taking in the view. By contrast, I'd find every opportunity to enjoy some weekend driving in this car.
Every time a new BMW M6 pulled alongside, I would salute the owner to acknowledge the next generation in style, technology and performance. And when the lights went green, I'd smoke him.
1988 BMW M6
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
3.5-liter inline six, Dinan turbo system, Cometic head gasket, ARP cylinder head studs, three-inch turboback exhaust, ICS clutch kit, Walbro fuel pump, 440cc injectors, ITS HIFI 60-1 turbo with stage five turbine wheel, Electromotive TEC3R tuned by ICS
VDO water temp, boost and volt gauges
-Wheels And Tires
BBS modular alloys, 8x16 (f/r) Yokohama AVS Sport, 245/45 (f/r)
Peak Power: 406 hp @ 5600 rpm
Peak Torque: 415 lb-ft @ 4450 rpm
*measured at the wheels