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Staff Cars: Millsy's M3 - Time to Pick a Colour at Kode Performance

Picking a colour for a respray. Sounds easier than it is!

I love a respray more than Dan loves rusty old Japanese hatchbacks. Well, maybe about the same. My mk1 Fiesta when I was 17-years-old went from blue/rust to Toyota Grace Maroon. Ok, so it was a little lighter than that as me and my dad painted it on the driveway as I was skint, so it ended up being kinda pink as I also skimped on paint. My Mk2 Fiesta XR2 shortly afterwards went from red to VW Dragon Green in a £250 paintjob while I was living in Leicester. That looked pretty good. If it was wet. And you were standing about 10 metres away. Cool colour, just a terrible job.

Then in the Max Power days I had an E30 BMW 325i that I only ever got to see in its pink basecoat before never seeing it again. After that came the camouflage Mk4 Escort, which was essentially a painted version of a vinyl job I’d seen on an RE Amemiya RX-7 while in Japan (didn’t realise it was vinyl!), and finally the Sapphire Cosworth which went from a lurid bright green to a pretty classy, and possibly trend-setting, Audi Nimbus Grey. Even Dan agreed that was nice, or so I presume as he was always driving behind it in his Skyline checking out the finish on the rear bumper.

Each of those decisions was pretty easy, so why is this one proving tricky? Afterall, the car needs a respray as every panel aside from the roof needs some work. And I’ve driven it around in Titan Silver for so many years, despite initially wanting a grey one. So I can’t hate the standard colour that much. In fact, since I put the anthracite wheels on it I’ve grown to like it even more.

E46 M3
It's subtle and kinda classy... guess we'll change that then!

And this is likely the problem. I actually like the silver. Sure, ask an M3 forum the best colour for an E46 and silver is probably right down there with Phoenix Yellow in the eyes of the snobbish, but I reckon it shows the lines of the car off pretty well. And silver with carbon fibre is as sweet a combo as burger and fries, Red Bull and vodka or buckets of water and braless chicks wearing white t-shirts.

But we’re all Maxers right, and we've all got that knuckle-scraping, wallet-busting desire to just be different. I don’t want to pull up to a meet and see a car that looks just like mine, so if I’m paying for a respray the colour has to change.

That has been my challenge for the last few months though; find a colour I’d like better than silver that nobody else really has and that looks good with carbon fibre. I’ve changed my mind more times than Dan’s been caught fingering the wrong hole, and as I dropped it down to Kode, the bodyshop handling the job, I’d still not decided.

Here are some of the options that have gone though my mind, and the thinking behind them:

Lamborgini Oro Elios: a muted kind of gold first seen on a special runout of the Diablo, but also as a golden nod to legendary Top Secret cars and Carisma’s TVR.

Gold. Could be suitable considering it's battle with Dan's Type R

Lamborghini Arancio Argos: a mid-orange that zings in the sun but looks almost flat in the shade. I love orange cars for their lairiness, but this might also help me slip under the radar of the old bill a bit better than a bright orange.

Lambo drivers. They'll park anywhere!

Lamborghini Rosso Andromeda: a proper red paint that looks mental in the sun, but possibly too similar to BMW’s Hellrot Red? Got to be careful someone doesn’t have an ‘individual’ BMW in a similar colour right?

Even Lambo trailers look half decent!

Nissan Silica Breath: or silica brass if translated from Japanese properly. A super rare champagne colour from the R34 GT-R M-Spec that has similar tones to silver and would look good with carbon fibre. Rare factor too.

GTR M-spec
Give it a strange name and nobody will realise it's beige.

Shadow Chrome: you know, like wheels get painted. Subtle as it’s dark, but not subtle as it’s kinda chrome, which could be ideal.

E46 M3 showcar shadow chrome
Just looks like a fingerprint magnet!

And the list goes on… and on. Main man at Kode, Kwok, had played a blinder though and had sprayed up a number of samples ahead of the drop-off so I could see for myself what the paints looked like in person. Some were discounted on the spot. Then there were some samples that I hadn’t suggested that he had hanging around too, like brown. Hadn’t thought of brown!

And while I think I may have picked one, Kwok is still sending me a few more samples in the post, despite the M3 already being stripped for the paint to go on. Nothing like leaving big decisions until the last moment!

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