Since that first time at Pocono with the Porsche Club, there hasn’t been a day I haven’t thought about a more powerful version of Baby. The list of sites I have searched on the internet is as long as I am tall. I would, and I continue to scour all the ads in the various automotive magazines I read and the websites my favorite search engine can locate. The trouble is, there is little if anything available for the E38. There are no Schrick performance cams, no hi-performance coil-over suspension systems, no hi-performance exhaust headers, etc. Someone could conceivably assemble a complete 3 Series BMW just by picking components from various catalogues or internet websites. For the large sedan there are a few engine modifications available through AC Schnitzer, Hamman, Hartge, and Racing Dynamics. The European tuners’ programs were limited in scope with 390 hp the claimed output from RD at a cost of $20,000.00 if you include the taxes and transport to and from California. These options still left Baby with the disadvantage of the automatic transmission which would mean cars with a manual transmission would have a significant performance advantage.

Dinan Modified Baby at Jefferson Circuit/Summit Point


The way to go was clear; it would have to be a manual gearbox. What ever I was going to do, I was on my own as far as the R&D and the consequences were mine alone.

In the late summer of 2001, I happened to stop in at VAC Motorsports in Philadelphia, PA. I asked Tony Salloum about performance modifications for Baby and based upon his recommendation, VAC ported and polished the heads, cleaned and re-did the valve followers and guides and installed an external oil cooler. Even without suitable engine software to match the new flow characteristics, Baby’s mid range torque saw a dramatic improvement.


Installation of:
ESS 7 lb. Boost Supercharger
BMW S6S420G Getrag 6-Speed manual transmission
OEM BMW M5 clutch assembly
"SALLOUM RACING PRODUCTS" lightweight aluminum M5 flywheel
B&M billet aluminum shifter
BMW 740i Sport (Euro) pedal assembly
BMW 740i Sport 13mm (Eastern Europe)rear anti sway bar.
Custom drive shaft
Custom 3.15:1 Limited Slip differential
Brembo 355mm GT F1 Brakes
Fikse FM-10 18 x 8.5" wheels with Race Satin finish in front
Fikse FM-10 18 x 9.5" wheels with Race Satin finish in back
Pirelli P-Zero Asymmetrico 255/45/ZR18 tires in front
Pirelli P-Zero Asymmetrico 285/40/ZR18 tires in back
Removable 5 point harnesses for driver & passenger

One Lap Entry and the VAC Motorsports Modification Project Begins

One Lap of America Cannonball Run

Suddenly I hit upon the idea of killing several birds with one stone. The One Lap is a grueling endurance event for the participants. Two man teams are tested for their endurance. What about a three man team? One drives, one navigates, and one sleeps in the 740iL’s luxurious backseat. In an instant I had a solution in mind. I could enter the 2002 OLoA and as part of the preparations, have Baby converted to 6-Speed manual, add a supercharger, and brakes and such, and we would be good to go. An additional benefit from entering the OLoA was the legitimate opportunity to seek sponsors to help defray the expenses involved with the conversion project and the OLoA itself. The Salloum Brothers at VAC Motorsports were somewhat jaded by the discussion. Many had approached them with the idea of a transmission swap only to retreat when the dollars and cents became the focus of the discussion. Around Thanksgiving 2001, I asked them again if they thought they could get a tranny swap done. They said yes, and before they had a chance to be skeptical, the check for the deposit was in their hands. They looked at each other and said “He’s serious!”


Dinan Modified Baby at Jefferson Circuit/Summit Point 2

BMW E39 M5 - GeTraG  S6 S420 6-Speed Transmission

Enter George Lawton

George Lawton is the “Wizard of Parts” for the Don Rosen BMW organization in Bala Cynwyd, PA. I had purchased Baby’s 18” Composite Style 5 wheels from George in 2000 and he and I discussed performance equipment from time to time in the intervening years. George was always happy to do a part look-up for me on the phone despite knowing it was a no sale transaction. George is coincidentally the main parts source for the VAC Motorsports guys, so when the 6-speed project was initially discussed I was very happy to have George’s enthusiasm and expertise with us in this endeavor. George, working in concert with the Salloum Brothers was instrumental in reigning in the costs of the hardware for Baby’s transmission conversion. I owe George and Tony & Armand Salloum a great deal in the form of thanks for their efforts.



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