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The good (and bad) of car sponsorship

Sometimes I’ll receive multiple emails on a similar topic, and given the fact that we just saw a lot of builds at MPACT, I’ve decided to answer a big one. How do you obtain car sponsorship? I’ll explain, with all the good and bad that comes along with it. As always, email me. Question Hi…


Sometimes I’ll receive multiple emails on a similar topic, and given the fact that we just saw a lot of builds at MPACT, I’ve decided to answer a big one. How do you obtain car sponsorship? I’ll explain, with all the good and bad that comes along with it.

As always, email me.


Hi Mike. I’ve been following along on your M3 build, and it’s really nice and clean. (thank you! – Mike).

Do the companies you work with on the car sponsor you? I’ve been thinking about asking a few, but I wouldn’t know where to start. I attend a lot of shows and the car gets some attention on IG.

– Dylan


Dylan asks a good question, and others have gone so far as to ask what I get, for how much, if it’s free, etc. I think I’ll start at the ending though.

Build the car you want to build

G80 M3
In the beginning, there is just a car that you’ve hopefully really wanted.


Yes. Patience.

You’ve come this far and actually have a car you really want, right? But after the initial excitement wears off, you start to notice other people at shows with your car getting a lot more attention because they’ve “built” theirs.

Modifying cars makes no sense, financially or otherwise, but it does bring joy to an enthusiasts’ life. Since we have the car we want, it makes sense to modify it the way we want. If you like one exhaust over another, for whatever reason, purchase that one.

G80 M3
We all modify according to our tastes, so no two cars are alike.

I mention this somewhat obvious point because it’s tempting to just change the car for the sake of changing it. You didn’t want to wait, so you settled for a set of wheels that are “fine”.

Work with who you want

AWE exhaust
I selected the AWE exhaust because I liked it the best, plain and simple.

So you have a grand plan to build your ride – now you can reach out to the companies you’d like to work with to make your dream a reality.

If they respond, that’s great. Remember that many many people reach out for car sponsorships, so you have to stand out from the crowd. The way in which you do so, be it a YouTube channel, large Instagram following, or even your very own website, is up to you.

But know that many companies like BBS don’t even offer sponsorships. They have so much press as it is, which are almost always on already-beautiful builds.

But be careful who you support

I do my research to make sure the companies and shops I work with maintain a standard of quality for everyone.

The other side of that coin is who you choose to support.

Imagine a shop that rolls out the red carpet for you, and everyone else gets the B team. Not every company or shop will be authentic, and it’s your reputation on the line if something goes sideways.

Do you think Kies supporters were proud after that July showing?

Gain followers or else

Fall cruise
The Fall Cruise is important to the local BMW community, and its organic growth is what makes it work.

“I have 100,000 followers!”

That’s all many companies care about – followers. But it’s important to understand how social media works.

Check YouTube. Channels that have over 2 million followers are displaying videos with play counts under 300,000. That means it reaches just 13% of followers. It’s the same on Instagram, where accounts with 40,000 followers have an engagement rate of 10%.

Of that 10%, how many will actually be in a position to buy the product the company sponsored? Not sure.

There’s also a sort of “delayed gratification” – a 20-year-old kid saw a part on a car at a show. In five years, when they can afford that car and that part, no one will attribute it to the original owner. But that’s really what made the sale.

Point is – it’s all sort of ambiguous as to what helps and what doesn’t, so I encourage you to try.

Are you making your car better?

Eidleweiss wheels
Make sure you’re getting quality parts.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that the one item my M3 is missing would be wheels. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest is that I honestly really like the stock 825M wheels. They match the theme of the car, and it’s how I first saw the G80 all those years ago at UDE.

While at MPACT, I came across Eidleweiss wheels. It’s a newer brand from Germany, which I think of as a plus. A big minus, the gentleman at the both sheepishly explained to me, is that they are not forged, but spun cast.

Going back to modifying your car how you want, if I’m going to make a big change, I want that change to be positive. In this case, the stock wheels are already spun cast. A generalization is that forged would be better. They can cost significantly more, but brands like Apex are excellent, and priced to match these Eidleweiss wheels, making them a better option.

Still, they looked good, so I figured I’d ask about sponsorship as a way to educate myself.

Embrace “No”

825M wheels
Is it wrong to keep the stock wheels?

No is an important term to hear, and I’m putting this here to let you know that even I get it sometimes. From Eidleweiss wheels:

“You also may understand that we have to have a benefit from doing any sponsorships. Please don’t get me wrong, but your Instagram account and your reach is limited and I don’t see a direct benefit for us. Of course you can buy a set of wheels for yourself and we love to work with you, but I’m not willing to start a sponsorship.”

This is all based on perceived value. They know what a wheel costs to make, while brand advertising is a sort of ambiguous thing that may or may not benefit brands. And although this site has gained impressive metrics over the past two years, remember…followers.

In this case it’s just as well, since I wasn’t sold on the wheels. But sometimes a brand like Downstar won’t budge, and I purchased their bolt kit anyway.

Remember your worth

G80 M3
Building the car how you want trumps all other considerations. Make yourself happy, and know your value.

Which brings me to my last, and most important point Dylan – know your worth.

We are on this Earth for a finite amount of time, making it a commodity you cannot get back. When I see people doing photo shoots for $50 and a pack of microfiber towels, it’s upsetting.

Whether it’s payment, or car sponsorship in the form of a discount, make sure you are comfortable with what you’re getting in return.

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.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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