R&B superstar and Grammy winner Frank Ocean is not only a great artist but also a huge BMW enthusiast. According to New York Times Magazine, Ocean owns quite a few BMWs, including a late-model blue M3.
But his passion goes further than this. Ocean is now building a 1990 E30 that will pack lots of power under the hood. The ultimate E30 sedan won’t just have lots of ponies but also a steering wheel on the right-hand side, while the weight of the car will be very light.
Maybe he didn’t mind because we were headed somewhere that he was actually excited to go, a garage in North Hollywood, where a vintage 1990 BMW E30 sedan is being rebuilt to his exact specifications. He likes to show up unannounced, just to see if they’re working on his car, and as soon as we got there, Ocean jumped out and headed to the back of the shop. The car was indeed up on a lift, and as he circled it, he began to tick off things that he didn’t like. He’s 25, but he speaks like somebody who expects to be listened to. His managers, Christian and Kelly Clancy, told me the night before – by way of explaining that anything could happen, or not, interview-wise – that Frank Ocean makes the decisions where Frank Ocean is concerned. They help him steer, but he goes only if he wants to.
He pointed to the shiny metallic exhaust tips that were about to be welded at the back of the car and said: “No. Black. I don’t want it shiny.” Perfectly courteous, but firm. A technician removed the tips. When he made it around to the front of the car, he noticed a piece of black metalwork with an insignia on it. “What’s up with the language?” he asked. “Do we need the language on it?” The owner of the garage said he could get Ocean a plain black one, but he didn’t think it was necessary because once the engine was complete you’d never see it. “It doesn’t matter if you can see it,” Ocean said.
Building an E30 BMW when he could probably buy many supercars in a year, shows Ocean’s passion for true, raw, sporty cars.
The BMW that he is rebuilding will have the steering wheel on the right-hand side, because he wants it that way, and the engine and body of the car will be as quiet and as light as possible. “You won’t even hear me,” he said, looking into the glow of the garage. “I want it to be a sleeper. I’ll pull up next to you, and you won’t even know I’m there” – a smile came on his face – “and then as soon as the light turns, I’m gone.”
No other details were revealed about the E30 build, but we’ll keep our ears open.