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Giving my G80 M3 some Portimao Blue Flair

I head to J&B Bodyworks in Mount Vernon, New York to add some customized Portimao Blue carbon fiber pieces to my G80 M3.

m3-lip-spoiler

When it comes to modifying, we’re somewhat limited with the choices we have. Like I’ve said before – you have a carbon grille, I have a gloss one. You have an M Performance lip, I have a CSL one. When we all get together, our differences make us look the same. And simply adding carbon fiber to my beautiful Portimao Blue paint breaks it all up a bit too much.

Let’s see if I can change that just a bit…

The parts

The car looks weird. My M3, that is.

With all that aggressive carbon on the bottom of the car, the top looks a bit off. Unbalanced. Part of that is because of the stock trunk lip spoiler. Yes, it’s the largest it’s ever been coming from the factory, but it’s still sort of dainty.

G80 M3
Party on the bottom. But the top…

When it comes to aftermarket options, there are only two. We can do a larger carbon fiber lip, or the M Performance Carbon Fiber wing, which looks terrific on the M4 but less so on the M3 (and I’m not a fan of permanently drilling holes in my trunk). Instead, I’ve selected one from my friends at NWCarbonHaus. There currently is no ducktail carbon fiber trunk lid for the M3, in case you were wondering.

Another thing – the shark fin on the roof top. In my quest to kill all the gloss black shadow line trim, that has stayed. It’s an afterthought on every car, though BMW does give it a sporty shape.

M Performance Spoiler
This M Performance Spoiler looks better on the M4.

Carbon fiber does not transmit radio signals, so a new shark fin must be made of something called Aramid. It has a similar pattern to carbon fiber and is used on things like bullet proof vests and boat hulls. I purchased a genuine M Performance one – I wanted to be sure it worked.

Making a project out of it

G80 M3
The car inside J&B’s shop.

I had thought of doing a gradient paint application last year, but wasn’t sure what shop could accomplish such a challenging task. The lip and fin seemed like perfect candidates.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about J&B Bodyworks in Mount Vernon, New York, and became convinced they were the only ones that could accomplish what I would need. So I spoke with Joe Izzo there, and he was kind enough to let me document the amazing painting process.

This was filmed over the course of two weeks as the car dried, the trunk lid paint corrected, and finally prepped with Turn 7. for MPACT.

I’m blue – Mixing Portimao Blue paint

portimao blue
John mixing C31 – Portimao Blue

Our journey begins with John Quay, a painter at J&B. John is a 997 911 and BMW owner, so I immediately felt right at home. Prepare yourself, we’re going to nerd out about paint.

BMW Shark Fin
The lip and fin were prepped by sanding off the clear coat to allow the surface to “grip” the primer and paint better. We’ll return the gloss later on.
BMW Portimao Blue
There are actually two different versions of BMW Portimao Blue, usually depending on the factory. The other shades you see are from other brands, proving how close some colors are.
Paint swatches
This cabinet contains many swatch books. It’s more complex than it looks too – Rolls Royce can use the same paint color as a BMW, but call it a different name.
BMW Portimao Blue
Inside the prep area, there are hundreds of bottles to mix any color you can think of.
glasurit
Both BMW and Porsche spec Glasurit, a German paint brand made by BASF.
Weigh machine
The computer explains the exact measurements needed for any paint code.
Paint card
John will make a paint card that he can reference should he need to paint C31 again. A separate mixture is needed for both small and large paint guns.
Mixing
The mixing begins. The scale is so accurate that even the wind from a fan throws it off.
Portimao Blue
Unsurprisingly, there is a fair amount of red in the color to bring out purple hues.
Portimao Blue
Portimao Blue
There it is. C31.
Primer
The last step here is picking out the correct primer – there are varying shades from light to dark. In our case, a darker primer is called for.

Checking it twice

Before we touch the car, the mixed paint must be checked against the actual color.

Paint gun
There are air brush guns of multiple sizes, but John will pick a small one due to the delicate nature of the work.
Paint gun
Before touching the parts, John sprays a card with his mixture to ensure it’ll be color accurate.
Paint gun
Paint card
The card dries for a few minutes, then sprayed with clear coat. Without it, you have Frozen Portimao Blue.
Portimao Blue
We bring the dried card over to the M3 and spray an area with a solution to bring out the car’s paint. The color is spot on.

The Booth – Primer

Essentially a giant oven, the booth is vented and large enough to fit a car and multiple workers.

Paint booth
Space is always at a premium, so we’re sharing the booth with an Explorer that’s protected from over spray with a large wrap.
BMW Shark fin
My pieces are prepped on special stands that allow them to be easily accessed from all angles.
paint booth
The surfaces are prepped by blasting off dust with compressed air. This is essentially a clean room – the heavy doors are closed so prevent dust from landing on parts.
Primer
We apply primer, but not over the entire part, as the carbon will be showing through the top.
BMW shark fin
The primed fin – the fade is already noticeable.
primer inspection
The lights go off and the pieces inspected to look for imperfections on the surface.
sanding
John then sands down whatever he’s found with a very fine grit sand paper.

Painting Portimao Blue

Once the primer has dried, it’s time to paint our pieces.

Painting
Everyone I’ve filmed working on the car has the same set of focused eyes.
Portimao Blue
It’s difficult to tell through the lens, but the aerosolized paint has given the bare carbon a blue tint.
Portimao Blue
Underneath is faded as well due to the high kick showing.
paint Inspection
Again we inspect for imperfections before another coat is applied.
Portimao Blue
A second coat is applied to both pieces.
Portimao Blue
BMW shark fin
The finalized shark fin, before clear coat.
BMW M3 lip spoiler
At this point, John asks if I’m happy with the parts, but we both wonder about the gradient on the lip being too high…
BMW M3 lip spoiler
So John takes a special paint thinner and wipes it all away to try again. It’s amazing how quickly the paint can be dissolved.
BMW M3 lip spoiler
BMW M3 lip spoiler
We start over, bringing the gradient lower this time.
BMW M3 lip spoilerBMW M3 lip spoiler
BMW M3 lip spoiler
Big shout out to John for making the vision become reality.

Seeing the clear coat clearly

Even here, there are options for a clear or “extra bright” clear that works well with metallic paints like Portimao Blue.

Clear coat
Briefly back to the mixing area for clear coat.
Clear coat
Applying a coat to each part. John has a temperature gauge inside the booth that allows him to be precise during application. Humidity is kept low.
Portimao Blue spoiler
Once the oven is turned off, the parts are brought out and allowed to air dry and “gas out” for a few days.

Subtraction and addition – installing the painted Carbon Fiber parts

I return the next week to have the parts installed. This isn’t exactly like removing the badging, but it’s similar.

Portimao Blue
The M3 is brought inside next to some choice company.
Portimao Blue lip spoiler
Stock spoiler for sale.
BMW shark fin
Finally killing off the last of the black.
3M adhesion
The guys will be using 3M Adhesion promoter to prep the surfaces.
3M adhesion
g80 M3 lip spoiler
3M tape is used on the edges of the spoiler.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
Meanwhile, tape is applied to the M3 to protect the surface prior to removal.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
Fishing line is used to break the glue bond.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
This is what’s left behind.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
Size does matter…
g80 M3 lip spoiler
The shark fin is also prepped while the OEM spoiler glue is removed.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
A special chemical is used to soften and dissolve the glue. Think Goo Gone on steroids.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
Trim tools are used to safely remove what’s left.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
After only about a half hour, no evidence remains.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
Looks weird naked.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
The new high-kick spoiler is test fitted.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
Glass glue is used to adhere the spoiler to the trunk, along with 3M tape.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
A small piece of tape backing it left out to peel off the entire strip once installed.
g80 M3 lip spoiler
All set!

Installing the BMW shark fin

BMW shark fin
Again, fishing line is used to remove some of the factory adhesive.
BMW shark fin
A trim tool is then used to pry it off.
BMW shark fin
The exposed circuits and carbon fiber make cleanup delicate work.
BMW shark fin
Don’t just use 3M tape to adhere the new fin! A weather seal must be maintained or the com system will get wet and go boom. Here, glass glue is used.
BMW shark fin
Teeth guide the install.
BMW shark fin
Done. Tape is used to hold down the fin for a few days to ensure a total dry fit.
BMW M3 polishing
The car is then brought over to the polishing bay, where finishing touches are applied.
BMW M3 polishing
Any small dust specs or imperfections are gone with a cutting pad.
BMW M3 polishing
A foam polishing pad is them used on the entire trunk – it’s been an active area the last few days.
BMW M3 polishing
The car is wiped clean, and ready.

The final result

Portimao Blue M3 Portimao Blue M3

I really want to give a big thank you to Joe and Mike Izzo, John Quay, Elvis and everyone else at J&B. Their professionalism and perfection made filming here an incredible experience, and they were nothing but kind as I filmed over their shoulders while they performed their work. I can’t recommend them enough, especially if you have a car that’s special, or simply special to you.

Portimao Blue M3
I know, right?!

As for my G80, the concept works in bringing some aggression to the top half of the car. In the month I’ve had it, everyone that’s seen it has done a double take, and I can now say there is no other M3 like mine. I hope the M3 I’ve put together with the help of multiple shops reflects my meticulous personality.

But most important, driving this car makes me feel good – the point of this entire build process. There are a few projects that remain, perhaps even something else for J&B, but for now it’s done.

Nah – I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.

Portimao Blue
Thank you everyone at J&B!
Portimao Blue M3

Want your car reviewed?

If you live in the tri-state area and want me to check it out, send me an email! 

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I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

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