Miami is known for it’s tropical weather, beautiful people, lavish hotels, and insane night clubs, but there is also a flourishing art & design revival that’s popped up in Miami’s design district. One Saturday a month, the ArtWalk event in the Design District opens it’s art studios to the public to cultivate the independent artist and designer scene along with the usual restaurant and pub crawl in the once dilapidated neighborhood. There is a host of independent artists and designers showing collections featuring everything from t-shirt brands, jewelry designers, and full on lifestyle industrial design concepts.
Elie Man, owner of Miami based lifestyle industrial design brand SoleWood, is one such designer that presents his woodcrafted collection of accessories at shows all over Florida. SoleWood blends modern industrial design with old world craftsmanship, showcasing a host of art deco handmade accessories including wood & leather wallets, polarized wood shades, headphones, footwear, and cases. SoleWood wallets, shades, and accessories are available online at www.solewood.com.
For some time now, Elie has been working with Sr Mod Expert Alan to transform his E92 BMW 335i into something really unique. A designer by trade and proprietor of SoleWood design, he couldn’t be content to leave the body of his E92 as it came from the factory – being a craftsman of sorts, Elie massaged the E92 from stock into something beautiful – with a little help from Alan, of course. Focused on creating a E92 build ‘for the ages’, so to speak, we’ll take a close look at this E92 with a designer’s eye for detail, to appreciate the minutiae of the car as well as the big picture.
Man’s SoleWood collection has a reputation for clean well designed accessories, and with the E92, he wanted to build a unique concept that helped showcase his craftsmanship that lived up to his collection’s well-built reputation, and yet would still retain a subtle sleeper status in the crowd at local car shows and art shows. Elie’s obsession with all things in motion began much earlier in life like most of us. Now age 31, Man is no stranger to the automotive scene, having owned a few BMW ultimate driving machines.
Man is also a father to a one year old boy obsessed with wheels, and has created an entirely custom build from the ground up that he hopes to someday pass down to his son. Elie calls it “ModQuench”, and as simple as it sounds, the name is entirely literal.
After all, being an industrial designer and automotive tinkerer for over a decade, it’s easy to see how Elie has taken design principles of form and function and brought them into the automotive modding community with his BMW E92 coupe.
While the e90 & e92 chassis have been replaced by the newly launched f30/32 3-series & 4-series and F80 M3 & F82 M4, Man wanted to create a timeless e92 build with flawless execution and impeccable craftsmanship. Man uses ModQuench as his daily driver when he isn’t half way around developing his collection of woodcrafted accessories. He also drives ModQuench on the weekends to visit his SoleWood wholesale accounts and transport his woodcrafted collection around South Florida to local art events.
“It’s my only car, and as such needs to function reliably on a daily basis. While the car has a lot going on under the hood and in the flesh, it’s all very subtle and flows well with the original intentions of the e92 design.” says Man.
“With my first e92 335i, and now ModQuench, my current 335i, Alan has always made himself available and been instrumental in helping me make decisions about modding my cars. Being on the East Coast, I’ve used local shops to do my work, and Alan has always humbly lent out his advice regardless of where the dollars are being spent.”
The car now known as ModQuench started life as a 2007 BMW e92 335i with an n54 twin-turbo motor and automatic transmission. It was first converted to a 6-speed ZF manual transmission by Foreign Affairs Motorsport in Pompano Beach, FL. (Ed Note: Manual conversion is no small task and a VERY involved swap on late model cars) Foreign Affairs is a family run establishment that services BMW, Porsche, and Audi, and races at Sebring on weekends with both family, friends, and customers. They’ve built and restored everything from porsche 911 outlaws to the legendary and classic e36 m3. The stock turbochargers left a lot to be desired performance wise, and after much deliberation on turbo upgrades, considering several trusted names in the business, Elie and Foreign Affairs decided to tap Dinan for the turbochargers, on account of their decades of BMW experience and reliability. Dinan’s upgraded newly released S3-R signature turbos with larger compressor wheels got the nod, the larger turbochargers enabling additional conservative boost gains of 14psi from 8 lbs stock, and features upgraded heavy duty wastegate pivots that are significantly more durable than stock. Yet instead of using Dinan’s rather conservative ECU software, Elie opted to use a Cobb Tuning AccessPORT for BMW N54 with Stage II Aggressive Map.
ModQuench then went to Bob Bauman and his custom shop known as Mad Mods Kustoms. Mad Mods specializes in off frame restorations including chopped hotrod classics and ratrods. MadMods went to work on a rear custom metal wide body, crafting one off metal rear quarter panels mated to an m3 rear bumper and m3 side skirts. Bob then installed OEM m3 front fenders, an OEM m3 hood, OEM m3 mirrors, and fitted painted front reflectors on the OEM m3 bumper, which looks breathtaking with white LED OSS V4 headlights with matte black housing. Of course, form meets function and the OSS lights retain all the functionality of BMW’s incredible dynamic cornering system. Window trim has been painted matte black, along with the m3 fender and hood grilles painted gloss black, and gloss black trim on the m3 mirrors. In the rear, the Megan Racing Exhaust has been coated black with high-temp paint to go along with the black trim scheme, and a double-sided carbon fiber Vorsteiner high-tail boot painted Space Grey to match the body, along with LCI e92 LED headlights to help freshen up the aesthetic. The final exterior touch is the current and 6th set of wheels ModQuench has seen, the Avantgarde 359M in 19″x10″ square setup with the most aggressive offset available at ET25 with rubber in the form of Hankook Ventus V12 Evo tires at 245/35/19 in front and 275/35/19. Elie says, “I’ve had more than a few sets of wheels, being a shoe designer I change my shoes all the time, and in doing so also change my wheels.”
Along with the tranny conversion, turbo upgrades, and full custom widebody came a host of additional performance goodies. ModQuench rides on an ST Suspensions coilover suspension for E92 with adjustable rear camber links, installed by DPL Automotive, a massive VRSF intercooler and REV9 oil cooler to keep ModQuench cool, dual cone intakes, and a Megan Racing m3 axle back exhaust, that Man says is the finishing performance touch that brings this bavarian beast to life. The retrofitted ZF manual transmission is mated to a UUC short shift kit set at the lowest setting possible, in Elie’s words, “because lowlife.”
Inside, the UUC short shift kit is mated to an OEM M3 6-speed shifter, along with an m3 beefy steering wheel, a gloss black interior trim upgrade, along with a CIC navigation system retrofitted with COMBOX.
As far as drivability and performance, Man says the thrust is gapless, nearly perfect as Dinan intended. Mated to the downpipes and upgraded Forge diverter valves to prevent any boost leaks, the Megan Racing M3 exhaust sounds muscular and exotic on start up, and entirely intoxicating throughout the power band with some nice gargling and very little drone.
When asked about how the car is to drive in daily life, Elie responded diplomatically, “ModQuench is only willing to be as civilized as I am, and reminds you of its power as it clears its throat on downshifts. Windows and sunroof are open as much as sunny south florida allows, so as to enjoy the sound of motor and exhaust whenever possible.”
Future plans include an accuair system with e-level management and the i-level iPhone app controller, along with Recaro CS Sportster seats wrapped in leather to finish off the interior.
With an designer’s attention to detail, there’s no doubt that Mann has created a package that will turn heads for years to come, even in a place as flash and filled with cars clamoring for attention like Miami, ModQuench is an E92 bound to become as much an institution in Miami as Art Deco.
A big Thank You to Elie for sharing his story with us and for choosing us to be a part of his build. Need some guidance for your project? Whether it’s just wheels for your daily or turning your ride into the ultimate E92 to pass on to your kids like ModQuench here, the Mod Experts at ModBargains like Alan are here to help. Give them a call at 714-582-3330 (x8006 for Alan), chat live at ModBargains.com or stop by the ModAuto showroom in La Habra CA any day during business hours.
Want to know more about Elie’s Solewood design? SoleWood wallets, shades, and accessories are available online at www.solewood.com – check it out.
Story & Photos Courtesy Elie Man
Editorial Nick Gregson