If you've been in the car game for a while, you've most certainly heard about all of the different brake upgrades that are possible. There are a large variety of solutions to improve the braking capabilities of your vehicle, and some of them are very affordable. These upgrades can range anywhere from simple pad and rotor replacements and upgrades to full-blown motorsports braking kits. We are here to help you explore your options and make the best decision for you.
upgrading your factory setup
Not everyone has the desire or the budget for big brake kits. Many companies have solutions for better braking performance while still utilizing the factory calipers and sometimes even the factory rotors. Some models even have the benefit of having factory compatible brake upgrades, like some BMWs and Porsches. For example, the US-spec E46 M3 can be upgraded to the larger European CSL floating rotors and calipers, and the 996 Turbo can utilize a small spacer and factory bolts to utilize the larger 997 Turbo rotors. Certain vehicles, such as the 991 GT3 and C7 Z06, utilize a carbon ceramic rotor from the factory, and you may want to consider swapping to iron rotors and a more aggressive pad to keep down the cost on both the street and the track. These are just a few of the options that we have to offer for aftermarket, OE style braking solutions.
Combined with an aggressive pad like Pagid or PFC and some high-temperature Endless or Motul Brake fluid, you can maximize the abilities of the factory brakes. Companies like Girodisc, Brembo, PFC and Stoptech also offer factory replacement two-piece rotors, which are significantly lighter and generally offer better thermal and wear characteristics in comparison to OE offerings, and these make great upgrades for the driver trying to get the most out of their factory setup.
Sometimes your existing brake setup may be great for you, but it may be a little tired or worn out. Factory painted calipers wear and chip, and sometimes may need piston or boot replacements if they are too old and worn. It is best to do this during the refinishing process as it better allows us to keep dirt and dust out of the calipers when we are restoring them. In order to achieve the best possible finish, we have the calipers media blasted to bare metal which removes all of the accumulated grime and paint layers from any previous possible refinishing procedures. We then utilize PPG epoxy primer and urethane paint to achieve a flawless factory or better-than-factory finish. Some people may also prefer to have their calipers powdercoated. While powdercoating tends to more durable, it does reduce the caliper's ability to transfer heat and material build up may make it a bit harder to access hardware and pads. We also find that the finish of powdercoat does not always replicate that of a factory piece, and may not always be up to some customers' more demanding standards.
Big Brake kits
Big brake kits often utilize larger-than-OE calipers, usually multi-piece or monoblock, as well as two-piece rotors and more aggressive pads. Not only do you gain greater stopping power, but you usually also drastically increase the thermal capacity of your setup, allowing you to stop harder for even longer. This is a great benefit to drivers on the track and in the canyons, where you can easily overstep the boundaries of factory brakes and get into trouble. Typically the cost of entry for these kits starts in the low thousands, spanning all the way into the tens of thousands.
At the low end we have options like 996 or F8X caliper adapter kits, which allow the use of a big brake caliper from other factory vehicles to adapt to your existing rotors. While these kits may be cheap, some calipers may need refinished and you will likely need new pads and possibly even rotors. It is worth considering these things when you decide to make that commitment. It may end up costing you more than you had initially expected. These kits are also not perfectly suited to the brake bias and master cylinder setup of your vehicle, so you may actually not see the same performance increase that you might from doing something like a Stoptech or Brembo GT kit. These kits typically cost a few thousand dollars per axle, but include everything you need to install a high quality multi-piston caliper and two piece floating rotor directly on to your vehicle. These kits are great for street cars, or those that track their car non-competitively. They are considered a massive performance upgrade for vehicles that may feature sliding or floating single piston calipers and heavy iron rotors.
On the higher end, costing 5000+ dollars per axle are the Brembo GT-R and PFC Endurance setups. Unlike their cheaper alternatives, these kits are race derived, not race inspired. These calipers are generally billet monoblock pieces, with carefully calculated weight reduction and fluid flow to get the absolute maximum braking performance out of your vehicle. Some of these kits may require aftermarket brake lines and high performance master cylinders to work at peak effectiveness. These kits may also feature carbon ceramic rotors, which are also no insignificant cost.
As you can see, there are no shortage of ways to modify and improve the braking setup in your street or track vehicle. We have easy access to all of the premium brands and no shortage of experience when it comes to modifying and upgrading brakes. Whether that's wanting the most powerful setup on the track for your endurance racecar, or just making your street car brake and handle like it did when you bought it, we are more than happy to meet and exceed your expectations. And who knows, that brake upgrade may be even more in reach than you expected.
Not every build starts out with the vision of being insane or over-the-top. Enrico came to us with the desire to prepare his car for this year's track season, while still keeping the car relatively tame and usable on the brutal San Diego streets. The car already had some tasteful Dinan performance modifications like upgraded turbos and their signature exhaust, so we looked to other places to improve the overall driving experience. We fitted some beautifully made Ohlins DFV coilovers, Brembo GT 6 and 4 Piston calipers painted in BMW's Fire Blue, an Autopower four-point roll cage painted to match the brakes, Braum racing seats and harnesses, and a custom quick-detach fire extinguisher setup. We also painted some E92 facelift style bumpers and added a front lip and rear high-kick lip spoiler to improve the overall aesthetics. Our in-house upholster also wrapped Enrico's factory steering wheel in genuine alcantara with a top stripe. Some new wheels and tires are in the works for Enrico soon, as well as some other suspension modifications, so definitely keep an eye out for any future updates
Here we go. Another crazy one off build. What's it going to be this time? Another wide body? Another motor swap? Another boosted car? YES, YES, YES!!!
So lets start from scratch. Here we have a 1989 325i that recently came in for one of the most insane builds we've had to date. Cody is one of our returning customers, having already done our 2M GT3 widebody just last year. He wanted to turn it up another notch with this E30, and embark on a very adventurous build. The plan all started around making the S85B50 V10 from the E6X M fit on the chassis while retaining much, if not all, of the usability of the original car. As one can imagine, this is not a plug and play motor swap. Inspired by our V10 E46 GTR build, we began working with the body in white that Cody provided us. Almost everything on this build would need to be bespoke, as there are very little parts available for these kinds of swaps.
STEP 1 - THE PLAN
We have the car and the ideas but where does a build like this start? Just like building a home, you really need to start from the ground up. First and foremost, we started by determining the wheels and suspension setup that we would be using. Although they won't be the first parts installed on this car we needed to determine the direction we were headed with this build. Street car? Track car? Show car? Garage queen? SEMA car? It's really hard to choose just one aspect to build off of, so we try to accommodate each client's request. In this case, we focused on building the perfect dual-purpose setup, a street car that is track ready.
STEP 2 - LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
It was decided that this build is going with a S85 V10 Motor from the BMW M5/M6. Knowing that we are going to retrofit this motor into this chassis is a job that will need HEAVY modification in order to not only make work but make it work properly. After we sourced and purchased all the necessary parts such as the engine, transmission, steering rack and suspension. The first mock up began. We started by removing the core support and the front end, and then sliding the motor between the frame rails to determinine how we would need to modify the chassis to make the motor and transmission fit properly. After we were satisfied with the fitment of the motor, we fabricated a custom set of engine mounts that rested the motor low in the car, with room to spare for any vibration or movement. Luckily, the bank angles of the V10 and it's short block length allowed us to have a very low and far-back center of gravity, even more so than the iron-block inline 6 that came in the car initially. Next, we began to modify the front subframe so that we could fit a faster factory steering rack that we sourced from a newer Z3. To accommodate the low mounted engine, we also modified the factory oil pan so that it would not interfere with the newly reinforced subframe. We carefully designed a custom steering steering shaft using gorgeous 4041 Chromoly steel pieces from Flaming River that would travel the least distance with the fewest amount of joints, all while still utilizing the factory splines and clearing the header with room to spare.
Once the headers were clear of obstruction and the motor was mounted properly, we began working on a one-off exhaust setup. We utilized a custom muffler setup while still maintaining true dual flow all the way out the back of the car. The customer wanted an OEM style exhaust appearance, keeping in tune with the aesthetic direction of this build. We opted to use the factory pinch-collector headers while the remainder of the full system would be 304 Stainless Steel in 2.5" diameter, which is the same size as factory. A small exhaust diameter and short length provide the optimum balance of performance, while maintaining that distinct BMW V10 sound. At this point, progress has been made consistently, with relatively little hiccup. The massive motor and CATUNED suspension are fully mounted in the car, and we are beginning to make the plans for the next steps: installing an ESS supercharger, a one-off driveshaft, and a custom-built differential designed to manage all that power.
Our customer Steve from Euroklasse has always been known for wanting to build the most absurd street cars imaginable, so it was no surprise when he presented us with the idea of recreating the venerable FIA-spec Z4 GT3 racecar using his E89 Z4 3.5is as a base. Nothing too crazy, right? The only catch: a short time frame and an impending deadline for SEMA. Never ones to back away from a challenge, we sourced the entire FRP and CFRP kit directly from Germany, including a gorgeous one piece, vacuum-bagged carbon fixed roof panel and the OEM dry carbon fixed wing mirrors pulled directly from the real racecar. It should be noted up front that making motorsports panels fit on a street car is no small feat. Every bracket for the bumpers, quarter panels, roof, functional front splitter and rear diffuser, the 70" APR GT-250 wing, and even the exhaust were fabricated by us in-house, along with the frames and mesh grilles for the front and rear.
Equally as challenging was making the race parts fit as flawlessly as a factory car, especially since motorsports pieces are notorious for strange fitments, questionable exterior quality, and imperfections. These parts are made to work on the racetrack, not look pretty. Still, we took every step and effort to ensure that the finished product would be a polished and well-built road car, that could easily be taken to the track and driven home on the street afterwards without issue. After perfecting the fitment of the kit and finishing the bodywork, the car entered the paint booth with scant less than a week to spare before the 2018 SEMA show. More than enough time to get the time buttoned up and squared away. Always seeking a unique look, we opted to paint the car in Alpine White, with a bespoke satin eggshell blend, utilizing PPG's Envirobase line. The aerodynamic pieces and the carbon roof were painted in frozen black to provide a stark contrast to the sleek body-in-white race panels.
While the car was in the shop we also installed some ultra-wide (and ultra light!) Litespeed Racing GT10 wheels, which are a whopping 18x13 in the rear! We fitted them with some 335/30R18 R888R rubber to put down the Z4's newly acquired 700hp, thanks to a Pure Turbo Stage 2 kit for the N54, a custom modified Meisterschaft stainless exhaust, downpipes, a cast DOCRACE intake manifold, a CSF oil cooler, and a CSF intercooler, all of which were installed by our resident mechanic. A Meth Injection tank and pump were also routed to compliment the Burger Motorsports tune. Absolutely no way is this car all show and no go. To ensure the car would remain safe with the new fixed roof, we also added a Studio RSR roll cage setup. Finally, a set of Status Gruppe coilovers with their optional front lift cup, Turner Motorsports control arms, H&R sway bars, a set of F8X monoblock calipers, and ECS 2-Piece rotors were fitted to ensure the car could stop and handle like a real track car should.
Never ones to leave out details, we commissioned our in-shop upholsterer AP to help finish off the interior and truly give the car that completed touch. He built custom trunk panels and flooring to house the meth tank and cover the spaces where the factory collapsible hard top would normally be stored when it was retracted. He also covered the entire roof inside with gorgeous black genuine Alcantara, along with the roof pillars. Finally, we added a Dinmann forged carbon GT style steering wheel and carbon-finish interior trim.
The car headed off to SEMA in Las Vegas with a motorsports-style livery designed and installed by our local friends and wrap geniuses at Viral Vinyl Works. Our Z4 GT3 build was placed in the main entryway hall under the sponsorship of CSF Radiators, and was well-received. Most importantly, Soofy loves his new car, and another build has left 2M Autowerks that we are proud of. What more could we ask for?
When Jorge from Bespoke Teknic approached us in early 2018 about Guaczilla 2.0, we began drafting the plans for what would eventually become one of the most outrageous GT-R builds on the planet. Though the thought of installing the Liberty Walk Version 2 kit seems far from groundbreaking, we set out to be the first company to fully mold the Japanese company's kit to a car. Not satisfied with the ever-popular riveted flare trend, we decided to partner with Bespoke Teknik, ACG Automotive and SD Wrap to truly break the mold and deliver a car to Youtube sensation Tanner Fox that would stun the car community. The build took months of difficult work, especially perfecting the fitment while trying to protect the original body lines of the car. The Liberty Walk kit is designed to be very distinct and identifiable on their own, and they are not really made to flow seamlessly into the factory GT-R bodywork, so blending the two was a test of both talent and patience. Upon completion, the car was repainted in its beautiful factory Nismo Pearl White, and then received a striking green and matte black wrap for its SEMA debut. KW Clubsport 3 Ways, Michelin Pilot Cup 2s, Vossen wheels, and a gorgeous IPE titanium exhaust were also installed to support the 4.1 Liter AMS Alpha 9 engine build. The car was well received at the 2018 SEMA show and placed in Top 10 for the Sport Compact class of Battle of the Builders. Builds like this help us challenge ourselves, and really push the envelope of the aftermarket. We certainly hope Tanner enjoys the wonderful car we set out to create for him.
Location: Dubai / London
Built: 7Th Row Customs / Wrench Studios. London UK.
-2M GT3 widebody
-HC Performance tune
-OSS Design Headlight
Thanks to Perfomance BMW magazine for the feature on the first 2M GT3. This super clean set was shot by Brian Mc Gee in Los Angeles.
The 2M Autowerks E46 carbon fiber race dash was designed and modified for our GTR track car. It was created with a focus on weight savings, strength and functionality, keeping the center functional air conditioning ventilation for an OEM like finish. Our race dash weighs only 6lbs and is shortened by 3" each side to accomodate any standard roll cage.
2M Autowerks F8X GTS hood is now available and probably one of the most unique by having the ONLY half/half finished hood. The bottom of the hood is a dry carbon fiber finish while the top is FRP for an easy paintable surface while retaining an affordable price.
Every year we host our annual open house, a day where we feature a few of our builds and invite everybody to come enjoy a relaxing day at the shop, checking out some of the great cars that have come through our doors and spending time with good company. This year, our centerpiece was the GT4856 driven by Ryan Tuerk, one of the craziest builds we've every taken part in. Enjoy some great footage brought to you by our good friend Derrick (Instagram: @derkm).
Probably one of the craziest motor swaps of all time. A FERRARI 458 motor into a Toyota Scion FRS. This project came to us as a referral from multiple people in the business and of course we gladly accepted.
For this project we started off with a 2001 Porsche 996 Turbo in Black. After going over a handful of ideas and options, we decided that we wanted to change it up entirely and repainted the entire car in Porsche's signature Mexico Blue. We utilized PPG's Omni line and had PPG mixologists recreate the color, which did not have a modern waterborne equivalent. The entire car was stripped, including the removal of the glass and moldings. In place of the factory Turbo aerodynamics, we fitted the 996 TechArt GT Street S kit from front to back, including the upgraded front lip and a set of our own custom high-rise uprights. We also painted the brake calipers yellow as we felt that this would be a better aesthetic match to the Mexico Blue paint and black motorsports-inspired wheels.
As with any project, it did not stop there. We purchased a set of Ohlins DFV coilovers, GT3RS sway bars, and Aristo Sport 20 wheels with very aggressive offsets for a more race-bred driving experience. The wheels were fitted with the ultra-sticky Toyo R888s, and we had the car corner-balanced and aligned to factory GT2 specifications. The factory wheel hardware was replaced with titanium units, in keeping with the race theme. Since the car was fitted with Tial Alpha 28 turbos, which hit fast and low with tons of torque, we knew that the car needed to be able to handle the power delivery.
While in for some maintenance, we also fitted the car with an aggressive Fabworx x-pipe exhaust and converted it to rear wheel drive for that true GT driving experience. Some european-spec carbon GT3 Recaros were installed, ditching nearly 80 pounds over the factory electric seats. Finally, we fit some larger intercoolers and a GT2RS clutch disk, along with the Porsche motorsports pressure plate and flywheel, ensuring that the car could cope with delivering power efficiently. We also developed calipers spacers so that the 996 chassis could utilize the 20mm larger 997 Turbo rotors, which are a direct bolt-on and can be done with ease.
The end result of this build is a 911 that performs even better than it's factory contemporary, while looking significantly more aggressive. We have added power and shed hundreds of pounds from this car, and it drives much more like a 996 GT2RS should have been than the tame 911 Turbo that it started as. The 996 Turbo is a great performance platform, and there is a great aftermarket community with a lot of room to expand and experiment. We will see where it goes from here, as it seems the owner always wants to do something more to get the most out of the 996 chassis.
Our blog posts allow you to get an in-depth view at just a fraction of the amazing cars that have come through our doors