Meet your heroes

They say that man should never meet their heroes. I chose to ignore that and back in 2015, me and my brother (the usual suspect for such events) visited a car exhibition called Legendy (Legends) here in Prague, and that choice indirectly cost me more than two years of spare time.

Among other cars, old and new, was Steve Soper’s BMW M3, which had been recently renovated by a Czech BMW importer. There is a soft spot in my heart for anything 80s and especially for cars from that era, but the original M3 will always have a special place. The car – the design, engineering and the story – fascinates me. Untrained eye might miss all the styling cues that tell it apart from a regular BMW 3 series of that period. These were born out of a single goal: to be the fastest touring car. For that, a lot of other modifications happened elsewhere, too. Stiffer yet lighter chassis, new suspensions, and 2,3 R4 high-revving engine that drove it to more than 1500 victories – a record still standing today.

And the shape! Form following function, using every trick from 80s’ car styling cookbook. The wide, flanged fenders, thick “C” pillar, massive splitter and spoiler and the four-eyed front mask all give it very brutal look. The “M3” badge appears on both front and rear, and to quote Jeremy Clarkson, you can’t be sure whether the “M” stands for Motorsport or Massacre.

When I saw it back then, I thought it would be a good 3D modeling practice. You now, nothing major, just something to kill some time with and maybe update the portfolio. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Pretty soon I found myself obsessing over details like the pattern on the headlights or the side mirror shape in different model years. Moreover, I couldn’t decide whether I liked the DTM version more than the stock one, which led to the only logical conclusion – I modeled both, in full detail, including interior. Then I went over all these details again and hand painted the textures. I celebrated two years with this project and felt like doing large format prints, inspired by the super-talented folks at Unique&Limited and by many of my friends and colleagues who kept asking me when will they get their own copy. This sent me deep down the rabbit hole of high-resolution rendering, which ended by leasing render farm because none of the machines I have at hand was able to render the car at 12k x 7k pixels. Designing the actual prints and compositing them for print was a relatively easy task, compared to the previous challenges. (If you want to learn more behind-the-scenes details, be sure to check the Process page)

As you read these lines, the e-shop is being stocked by the first batch of the prints, so that you can become part of my M3 project by adopting one of these and enjoying it in your home or office. I have other heroes to meet, and if all goes well, other prints will follow the M3.