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Old 08-27-2023, 11:53 PM
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: Bay Area CA
Posts: 4
Czechmate is on a distinguished road
2002 Imola Red ESS Supercharged 4.6is

Well, figured I'd finally introduce my new project. I picked up a one owner 2002 4.6is in Imola red over red/black alcantara interior with an ESS supercharger kit that was installed nearly two decades ago.

Fun story with this one. As the craiglist/marketplace addict I am, I found the CL posting for this car about 15 minutes after it was posted. It was titled "2002 BMW X5 4.6is 91k, ESS Supercharger(100hpBoost) - $5950. Yes thats right... only $5950 for a supercharged 91k mile 4.6is!!! One thing to note - the photos did not seem to show an imola 4.6is. What was pictured appeared to be a regular X5, that was completely white, with white 22 inch Forgiato wheels, cheap after market front and rear bumpers, cheap aftermarket headlights, a european front and rear license plate and part of the aero body kit (side skirts and rear fender arches). I also want to note that it was only mentioned in the add that the car was "red underneath" at the very end of the post. Even the interior trim, door handles and steering wheel were painted white.

After seeing the post, quickly browsing through the listing, I decided that if the title was remotely accurate to the actual car, regardless of how it looked, I was going to try to buy it. I called the number on the CL post, and it went straight to a google phone voicemail. I figured it was likely a dud post, but left a voicemail anyways.

About two weeks later, I had all but given up on hearing back, but to my surprise I got a call back. A quick phone conversation later, I had set up a time to see the car and a few more details that got me pretty excited about the car. The owner told me that he set up a google phone just to sell the X5, and in the span of 3 days recieved something like 40 voicemails. He said he called me back because I left the "nicest voicemail".

Fast forward a few days, and I see the car. To my surprise, it looks worse in person than it did in the photos (which is saying a lot lol). Apparently it had been sitting outside in the woods for 5 years before he finally decided to put it up on craigslist. I started getting a little concerned when I did my walk around as all I could think in my head was "damp forest... oof rust " "rust" "where is the rust". Then I opened the door. Goodness the inside was filthy. Some weird powder all over the front seats, the back seats had leaves and sticks all over the place, it wasn't looking good. It was at this point, I was realizing this thing might be too far gone. Did a nice thorough walk around, looking at every jam, all the window seals, jack points, and there wasn't a spec of rust anywhere. Sweet, that gave me a little confidence in the potential. Next I asked if we could pop the hood. One of the most exciting parts of this 4.6is, was the pretty darn rare ESS supercharger set up. If this thing had the legit kit, I knew I was going to leave that place with the title in my hand.

The owner popped the hood, and under a thick layer of dust, twigs and leaves was without a doubt an ESS supercharger kit. I'llbedamned! My excitement at this point was clearly obvious, and I didn't have any reservations about expressing that. As we come to find out later, this was a big reason why I the owner was so willing to sell it to me for one heck of a deal. (this picture was after I got it home and cleaned it up a little bit)

I started getting the history of the car, and that's where it gets really interesting. So long story short, he bought it brand new and had it shipped from the east coast to the Bay Area, CA. A few thousand miles later, he got wind of a new supercharger kit in development, put aside some money (learned it was $16k including installation) and soon after had one of the few ESS 4.6is' in the world. After getting the kit, he moved to New Zealand but couldnt live without his 4.6is, so had it shipped with him. Then he moved to Canada, and again took the 4.6is. While he was in New Zealand he had an Aero kit installed on the car. (As he is telling me this, he pulls out some old polaroid pictures of after the kit was installed). They did some odds and ends like a dinan transmission tune and a revised ESS tune and left their shop sticker on the inside of the back hatch (still there and so cool to point out to people when talking about it). One last crucial thing that was vital to the ability of me buying and restorying this car in a reasonable time frame was the achilles heel of the m62 motor, the timing chains and tensioners. I shit you not, the had been replaced 400 miles before the car was parked for 5 years. an $8,000 job WITH PAPERWORK from a reputable shop I had experience with! I really couldn't believe I had found this unicorn of an X5. And now after about 40 minutes of chatting with the owner, it was time to close the deal.

Earlier I mentioned I got this thing for a sweet deal, and thats the truth. All I said was "so I'd love to buy it" and he replied with "$2,300 and its yours". I couldn't believe my ears, but essentially he told me that because of my history with other cars I told him about, and my passion for BMWs that he felt comfortable with me being the only other owner, and confident that I would take care of it.

I bought it, put it on a trailer and brought it home.

Started peeling off what ended up being a decade old white wrap, and revealed beautiful Imola red paint. Just recently had the interior and engine bay detailed and it really is turing into a gorgeous car.

Just bought a rebuilt transmission and torque converter, new axles, a laundry list of other parts, had the supercharger rebuilt by Vortech, and found replacement factory headlights and Imola red bumpers.

I plan on using it to tow my m62 supercharged E30 from San Francisco to LA for Bimmerinvasion this upcoming weekend and cant wait to see how it does.

Anyways, I wanted to share my story of an awesome car, with an even cooler history that I hope to continue to restore over the years. For reference, here is a youtube video of another BMW I restored, and regretfully had to sell.


I look forward to posting occasional updates here!
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Old 08-28-2023, 12:04 AM
Purplecty's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Chicago NW
Posts: 849
Purplecty is on a distinguished road
Wow! What an unbelievable story! Can't wait to see more of this. My Imola DINAN S2 has just about the same story behind it.
02 Imola on Black Dinan S2 4.6iS
00 RoyalRot on Sand/Black 740i Short Sport
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Old 08-28-2023, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posts: 2,340
Fifty150hs is on a distinguished road
That's a sweet deal! It looks awesome with the wrap pulled off! Where are you in the Bay Area?
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Old 08-28-2023, 04:07 PM
wpoll's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 4,688
wpoll will become famous soon enough
Very nice!!

Having teased us about the New Zealand connection, can you show us the sticker - I'm curious!
2005 BMW X5 3.0d (b 02/05)
2001 BMW F650GS Dakar (b 06/01)
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Old 08-28-2023, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: reno nv
Posts: 680
x5Alpine is on a distinguished road
What a transformation! Great to see another 4.6 saved from death. Nothing better than a stock looking 4.6is.
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Old 08-29-2023, 04:41 AM
aureliusmax's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: abbotsford canada
Posts: 321
aureliusmax is on a distinguished road
previous owner looks to be a typical black guy, probably a rapper or football pro.
they have a style of ruining cars

after throwing all the previous owners' distasteful 'mods' into the trash, you have a really clean 4.6
2003 4.6, esotril blue, over 215,000KM. Every previous owner failed to keep up the vehicle maintenance. Restoration project.
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Old 08-30-2023, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 329
guntherrex is on a distinguished road
that cleaned up very nicely
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Old 08-30-2023, 09:58 AM
Purplecty's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Chicago NW
Posts: 849
Purplecty is on a distinguished road
How does the interior look after the detail?
02 Imola on Black Dinan S2 4.6iS
00 RoyalRot on Sand/Black 740i Short Sport
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4.6is, supercharger

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