Les Sear’s Ultra Rare E36 M3R – Performance BMW Magazine

This year’s May Issue of Performance BMW published the photos of Les’s M3R we took Mid 2016! We teamed up with Chris Nicholls of P1 Race Photography who supplied the words and connections to make this happen.

Having known Les for a little over a year and a half now, it wasn’t till I asked Chris for some input on a track photo of his car did I realize how rare it really was. You know, not being educated in the world of bimmers' I was a bit ignorant to the fact. Do’h! Lesson learned and happy coincidence aside check it out! 

A Day With Ruby the Mustang

Words & Photos: Luke Hunter Edited: Leigh Rizzato
Keys

Saturday morning of 21st January, I had the privilege of picking up a 2016 5.0L V8 Mustang Convertible thanks to Blacklocks Wodonga. This had been in the works for quite some time but actually getting hold of a pony car seemed to be much, much harder than I had originally imagined. At first I was told only an ecoboost 4 cylinder would be the most likely one they would hand me the keys for.

Six months had passed and after trying to book in a time that suited all parties I had all but given up - that was until I got a text saying that this Ruby Red example had come up and it had the V8 option that was most desired. I jumped at the chance! Wouldn’t you? 

Wash

After picking up the very “in your face” display of Americana, first stop was the car wash, washing off any impurities that might make post-production a bit easier on my behalf, and besides, the best way to become acquainted with the lines and design of a car is to put your hands over every inch of it. I enlisted a good friend and car enthusiast Leigh to come along for the ride so I could capture some of the shots I had lined up in my head.
So washed and fueled we headed off to Beechworth for an early lunch. This time of year it’s full of the hustle and bustle of the tourist trade and the Ruby Red aggressive styling was sure to turn a few heads. 

We found a quiet spot right in the middle of town behind the old court house in the botanical gardens, ate lunch then took a few quick snaps. I never took any photos with the top up, the lines of the car just somehow don’t suit it like most convertibles in my opinion.  

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The front end had a very “Get out of my way” attitude about it that I liked a lot. 

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The engine bay was full of the twin DOHC 5.0L Coyote engine that Ford created to compete with the GM 6.2 LS3 and the Chrysler 6.4L Hemi ESF. Making about the same power but in a smaller capacity. Ford had tuned the exhaust so that everyone in a 2-block radius knows you have a V8 under the hood, turning lots of heads and even causing over-exited spectators to yell at us to give it some Jandel, and how could I not oblige? The main street filled with V8 rumble. 

We moved on to the old asylum. This created a great backdrop for a few photos, having used this site before in Autumn (See Link Rhys Quirk's STi Here) I decided to use another part of the grounds for the photos. It’s such a big place and there are still lots of different backgrounds to play with.  

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Midday is hardly the most ideal time of day for any kind of photos but with the help of a couple of flashes I brought the cars stunning “Ruby Red” colour out.  

The interior was surprisingly comfortable, the seats hugging and holding me in place just nicely. 

I had a brief play with all the custom settings. 3 settings of tune for the car: Snow/wet, Sport and Track mode last of which took away traction control. There were also individual identical settings for the steering feel. We spent most of the time in all sport modes. Also had “Flappy Paddles” and although it felt a bit PlayStation I liked them (Don’t tell Clarkson), but maybe that’s just my generation. The only thing I could fault with them is that they were attached to the steering wheel, so changing gear mid corner so you could power-out was a little bit hard. 

From here we went for a scoot out past Stanley and the great twisty bit of road that connects Stanley to the Myrtleford-Yackandandah Road to see what it’s like in the twisties. The immediate thing you notice when you start to drive this car is how touchy the Brembo’s are, the first time you rest your foot on them you find yourself re-adjusting yourself back in your seat. Not a hassle though and you do get used to them very quickly.  

Moving onto performance of the 5.0L, in a straight line it feels a little lackluster to me, Doing the ol’ throttle mash in sports mode takes a moment to build up revs and it’s not until you’re at the 4000rpm+ stage does it feel like you really get moving. In Paddle shift mode, you can choose the gear a whole lot better and get more of a rise out of the v8. The package came together like a well rehearsed marching band once I started throwing it though some nice corners, it completely felt at home and even had me questioning if I even wanted a manual gearbox as the 6 speed auto changed gears like I think a gearbox should: precise and with minimal lag from the moment you tap the shift paddle. It should be illegal how much fun it was (and probably is).

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Summarizing, I’d say it’s a great car no matter what you wanted to do with it. It was awfully easy to cruise around in, the suspension not too harsh that you’d get sick of it. It’s a spacious interior and not at all cramped in the front seats. You could put people in the back seat but it might not be the most comfortable for them but that’s not what this car is about.  It would be a great weekend warrior if you wanted to do the odd club track day, in fact, in the dash settings it has its own G meter as well as lap timer under a “Track Accessories” Menu function. 

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Thanks you to BlackLocks Wodonga & Mitch Warnock for lending us Ruby for the day, also a big thank you to Leigh Rizzato for coming along for the ride, I hope it wasn’t too much of a chore. And lastly Thank you if you have read this far! Hopefully we can get some more cars in the future to take for a drive and see what they are like, Post in the Facebook comments what you would like to see!

Bonus Images:

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5.0