Marco Svizzero – a well known BMW fan in the car community – stopped by Jay Leno’s garage in Southern California with his 2008 BMW 135i that has been modified for street driving and the race track. We featured Marco’s car back in 2015 and we were impressed with the extensive modifications done to the standard 135i to achieve similar handling and performance as the iconic 1M.
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The project started as a BMW 135i Coupe which dumped its 3.0 liter inline-six turbocharged engine in favor of a Dinan 4.6L Stroker S65. The car belongs Marco Svizzero from San Francisco, California, as well as the tuner, Joey Gaffey from Performance Technic in Dublin, California.
We reconnected with Marco to talk about his experience on the TV show and the interaction with the equally iconic Jay Leno.
Being on Jay Leno’s garage is an honor. I have been watching his segments from the beginning and being invited to show my car was a dream come true.
The conversation of Jay Leno’s Garage actually started at SEMA a month or so prior. I was with Nathan and Cory at Dinan and we were just talking about the car and if I had anything else planned for it. I mentioned one day I would like to be on Jay Leno’s garage. Cory knew someone with Jay Leno and he showed them the car and they lined it up. I couldn’t believe it, a filming day was locked in.
Performance Technic, who built the car, trailered it down and I flew down the morning of the shoot to meet them. I had to head to the airport at like 4:30am to catch the earliest flight out. I was so excited I didn’t get much sleep at all.
I finally got the airport and my flight ended up being delayed for a few hours. Thankfully it was not cancelled and we finally took off and I landed in Burbank 20 minutes before we were scheduled to begin shooting and just made it on time to the garage.
When I got there, I really wasn’t even sure if I was in the right place. There really isn’t any signage or anything outside that would hint I was at Jay Leno’s Garage. I was greeted at the gate and brought inside.
The first building I went into was the warehouse where they do all the work restoring and maintaining his collection. It was absolutely massive and there were so many projects in various stages of completion being worked on at once. He had a huge kitchen and hangout area with a huge indoor grill. It was pretty much the ultimate man cave.
We then went into the second building where most of his collection was stored. My car was in a little studio area already being photographed. When you walk into the garage you are immediately on sensory overload.
The obvious breathtaking vision is the vast eclectic collection of cars and motorcycles but as you spend a bit more time in there you begin to notice everything else. All of his cars are arranged in rooms which make your tour more than that of a garage but more so of a journey through Jay Leno’s interests. All of the cars are spaced out very nicely because he actually drives all of the cars and refuses to have to move a car to get to another. He really stresses that all cars are meant to be driven.
The most unexpected spectacle in the garage are the huge oil paintings which decorate the walls. Jay had set designers recreate vintage advertisements, magazine spreads and photos, that are all relevant to his collection, on huge oil canvases to cover his huge walls. It really is a museum as much as a garage.
In person, I really could not be more impressed with Jay Leno as a person and an enthusiast. Working in advertising, I have worked with a fair share of celebrities and many have dual personas which they switch on and off to when the cameras are rolling. Jay Leno only has one persona. He is on all the time. It is extremely obvious that he is not doing his show for any reason other than it is what he loves to do.
What the finished youtube segment doesn’t show are all of the people that were hollering at as as we drove the car through the streets. Jay just rolled down the windows and entertained them with jokes and polite hellos.
I’m super grateful to all of the partners who helped make this car into a reality and Jay Leno’s Garage for honoring our hard work.
Engine and Transmission:
Dinan 4.6L Stroker S65
OEM M3 differential
BPM Coding – Seats / Airbags / Guage
iND Custom Engine Plenum
CAE Ultra Shifter
VAC Baffled Oilpan
BlackForest Motor Mounts
Custom X pipe
Braille 21lb Battery
Suspension and Brakes
M3 front and rear subframes w/ M3 Suspension and Axels
Stoptech Trophy Brake Kit – 380mm Front, 355mm Rear
PSI / Ohlins Raceline Coilovers
Dinan Front Sway Bar
Dinan Monoball Kit for Front Control Arms
Bimmerworld Rear Wishbones
Dinan Adjustable Rear Toe Arms
Turner MS Transmission bushings
Turner MS Aluminum Subframe Bushings
Turner MS Aluminum Diff Bushings
Dinan Carbon Fiber Strut Bar Braces
OEM GT4 Brake Ducts
OEM 1M Bodywork Conversion
Revozport 1M Raze Hood
Revozport 1M Raze Trunk
Revozport 1M Raze Trunk Lip
Revozport 1M Raze Carbon Fiber Roof and Sunroof Delete
Revozport 1M Raze Splitter w/ APR Splitter Supports
Revozport 1M Raze Diffuser
Revozport 1M Raze GTS Wing
Macht Schnell Tow Straps
Wheels & Tires
19” x 9.5” Carbon Rev CR-9 w/ Toyo R888 265/30
19” x 10.5” Carbon Rev CR-9 w/ Toyo R888 295/30
Recaro Profi SPA Seats
Revozport 1M Raze Door Cards w/ Revozport Alcantara inserts
BMW Performance Steering Wheel ( v1)
BMW Performance Shifter boot
BMW Performance E-brake boot/lever
BMW Performance Carbon Fiber Interior Trim
BMW E82 Armrest Delete kit
P3 Vent Guage
OEM 1M Anthracite Headliner and Pilars ( for sunroof delete )
TC Design Harness Bar
Scroth 6pt Harnesses
VAC Hardware and Floor Mounts
Alumalite Rear Close off Panel