FrustrationSince that first time at Pocono with the Porsche Club, there hasn�t been a day I haven�t thought about a more powerful version of Baby. The list of sites I have searched on the internet is as long as I am tall. I would, and I continue to scour all the ads in the various automotive magazines I read and the websites my favorite search engine can locate. The trouble is, there is little if anything available for the E38. There are no Schrick performance cams, no hi-performance coil-over suspension systems, no hi-performance exhaust headers, etc. Someone could conceivably assemble a complete 3 Series BMW just by picking components from various catalogues or internet websites. For the large sedan there are a few engine modifications available through AC Schnitzer, Hamman, Hartge, and Racing Dynamics. The European tuners� programs were limited in scope with 390 hp the claimed output from RD at a cost of $20,000.00 if you include the taxes and transport to and from California. These options still left Baby with the disadvantage of the automatic transmission which would mean cars with a manual transmission would have a significant performance advantage. The way to go was clear; it would have to be a manual gearbox. What ever I was going to do, I was on my own as far as the R&D and the consequences were mine alone. In the late summer of 2001, I happened to stop in at VAC Motorsports in Philadelphia, PA. I asked Tony Salloum about performance modifications for Baby and based upon his recommendation, VAC ported and polished the heads, cleaned and re-did the valve followers and guides and installed an external oil cooler. Even without suitable engine software to match the new flow characteristics, Baby�s mid range torque saw a dramatic improvement. THE VAC MOTORSPORTS MODSInstallation of:ESS 7 lb. Boost Supercharger BMW S6S420G Getrag 6-Speed manual transmissionOEM BMW M5 clutch assembly"SALLOUM RACING PRODUCTS" lightweight aluminum M5 flywheelB&M billet aluminum shifterBMW 740i Sport (Euro) pedal assemblyBMW 740i Sport 13mm (Eastern Europe)rear anti sway bar.Custom drive shaftCustom 3.15:1 Limited Slip differentialBrembo 355mm GT F1 BrakesFikse FM-10 18 x 8.5" wheels with Race Satin finish in frontFikse FM-10 18 x 9.5" wheels with Race Satin finish in backPirelli P-Zero Asymmetrico 255/45/ZR18 tires in frontPirelli P-Zero Asymmetrico 285/40/ZR18 tires in backRemovable 5 point harnesses for driver & passengerOne Lap Entry and the VAC Motorsports Modification Project BeginsOne Lap of America Cannonball RunSuddenly I hit upon the idea of killing several birds with one stone. The One Lap is a grueling endurance event for the participants. Two man teams are tested for their endurance. What about a three man team? One drives, one navigates, and one sleeps in the 740iL�s luxurious backseat. In an instant I had a solution in mind. I could enter the 2002 OLoA and as part of the preparations, have Baby converted to 6-Speed manual, add a supercharger, and brakes and such, and we would be good to go. An additional benefit from entering the OLoA was the legitimate opportunity to seek sponsors to help defray the expenses involved with the conversion project and the OLoA itself. The Salloum Brothers at VAC Motorsports were somewhat jaded by the discussion. Many had approached them with the idea of a transmission swap only to retreat when the dollars and cents became the focus of the discussion. Around Thanksgiving 2001, I asked them again if they thought they could get a tranny swap done. They said yes, and before they had a chance to be skeptical, the check for the deposit was in their hands. They looked at each other and said �He�s serious!�BWM S6S420 Getrag 6-Speed TransmissionEnter George LawtonGeorge Lawton is the �Wizard of Parts� for the Don Rosen BMW organization in Bala Cynwyd, PA. I had purchased Baby�s 18� Composite Style 5 wheels from George in 2000 and he and I discussed performance equipment from time to time in the intervening years. George was always happy to do a part look-up for me on the phone despite knowing it was a no sale transaction. George is coincidentally the main parts source for the VAC Motorsports guys, so when the 6-speed project was initially discussed I was very happy to have George�s enthusiasm and expertise with us in this endeavor. George, working in concert with the Salloum Brothers was instrumental in reigning in the costs of the hardware for Baby�s transmission conversion. I owe George and Tony & Armand Salloum a great deal in the form of thanks for their efforts.One Lap of AmericaI emailed Ben Greisler who is the editor of the Bavarian Motornotes, the Del Val Chapter of BMW CCA bi-monthly publication, to ask if he knew of anyone that was interested in the 2002 OLoA. He forwarded my message to Dave Flogaus who happened to be my instructor once at a Del Val BMW CCA Driver�s School. It turns out that both Ben and Dave were each interested in entering OLoA, and the notion of teaming with someone crazy enough to thrash a 740iL on a racetrack, was appealing enough to the both of them, so TEAM S.B.D was formed. Baby was officially entered in the 2002 OLoA one November evening when Ben, Dave and I had dinner with Brock Yates Jr. and VAC Motorsports was given the green light to order the parts.Baby's S6S420G Transmission and ClutchOld Transmission Cross Member (top)New Transmission Cross Member (Bottom)While VAC was gathering the parts necessary to do the transmission swap, my research into high performance mods for Baby continued. I called the Dinan folks and at the time they could only say that a supercharger for the 7 Series was under developement but a ready date was unknown. With One Lap of America coming up, I immediately placed the order for a supercharger for Baby with European Supercharging Systems by fax. ESS Supercharger Major Components Letter From ZF Outlining the Power Handling Capabilities of the ZF5HP24 & ZF5HP30 Automatic Transmissions. This was the letter that made a manual transmission the obvious choice.Fortunate ChoicePicking ESS proved to be fortunate. The manual transmission is not be limited in its power handling capability as the stock automatic transmission is, and Europe is where the E38 had the option of a manual gearbox. Therefore, the ESS people had some experience with the E38 in manual form. Another advantage was cost. The ESS system is less than half the cost of the Dinan system they advertise for the E39 5 Series V8.VAC Motorsports..... When you are serious!