Every so often BMW makes a low-production special-edition vehicle that stands out among its sea of passion-fueled M models. In the case of the 2013 Lime Rock Park Edition M3 (E92), what better way to send off the first and last naturally aspirated V8-powered M3 than an eye-catching Fire Orange paint job and unique factory options? Truth be told, the U.S.-only Lime Rock Park Edition M3 wasn’t much different than an E92 M3 outfitted with the Competition Package, adding unique M carbon bits including a carbon roof, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and an M performance exhaust. But in the case of Marco Rojas’ Lime Rock M3, the goal was to further close the gap on the Europe-only GTS model wearing the same Fire Orange paint.
Rojas, a long-time resident of Fairfax, Virginia and recent addition to our BMW CCA family, was first introduced to BMW ownership in 2005 after purchasing a 2003 540i (E39) equipped with a six-speed manual and M Sport package. “It had everything on my checklist—it was quick, it was comfortable, and it was engaging to drive,” Rojas says. He owned the E39 for a few years before selling it, but it wasn’t until 2018 when he encountered a beautiful street-parked 1995 540i (E34) with one-year-only six-speed manual, did the Bimmer bug really bite.
After finding and befriending the E34’s owner, Rojas bought the 5 Series. Rojas didn’t stop with the E34 5 Series, though. He became interested in the M3 model, eventually searching and acquiring pristine 1995 Avus Blue E36 and 2001 Laguna Seca Blue E46 models. After enjoying his second and third generation M3s, which he still owns, Rojas wanted to complete his M3 hat trick and began the journey of researching and finding a Lime Rock Park Edition M3 to add to his growing collection of M-flavored 3s.
As mentioned, the Lime Rock Park Edition E92 M3 is essentially a Competition Package (code ZCP) M3 with unique Fire Orange paint, similar to the European market M3 GTS. ZCPs included package-specific 19-inch alloys, and a 10-mm lowered suspension with enhanced tuning of the EDC and DSC. The Lime Rock included optional factory carbon bits, like the carbon roof, rear spoiler, and front splitters. All E9X M3s received the glorious 4.0-liter 414 horsepower, 295 pound-foot S65 V8 engine, scooting this German hotrod to 60 in just over four seconds. It was up to the buyer to choose between a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT.
When Rojas puts his mind to something, he makes it happen quickly. Despite Lime Rock Park Edition M3 production being limited to only 200 units, Rojas found one for sale in Florida shortly after starting his search. He began phone negotiations with the dealership, saying “I started negotiating and we got to the point that we were close on price. I said, ‘I’m pretty sure he’s going to call me.’” The weekend went by with no phone call. “I got desperate, so I called him on Tuesday,” Rojas says. Unfortunately, the M3 had sold over the weekend.
It was more of the same with the second attempt. Surprisingly, Rojas found another for sale, also in Florida. “I took the same approach and made the same mistake,” Rojas says. Someone had placed a deposit during his negotiations and the second Lime Rock M3 had sold.
As they say, the third time’s the charm. Rojas found yet another Lime Rock M3 for sale in Santa Clarita, California. After speaking with the private seller, who happened to be the original owner, he booked a flight to look over the M3 and take it for a test drive. Rojas laughs, “It was a crazy trip. I went to the Dallas airport at 6:00 in the morning. I was supposed to come back that day, but I missed the flight coming back because I was so excited with the car.”
This seven-speed DCT, cloth-equipped Lime Rock M3 was everything the seller had described and more, showing only 22,000 miles on the odometer. No expense was spared by the original owner, with a healthy $52,600 of top tier parts being added to achieve his goal of bringing this Lime Rock M3 to European-only GTS levels of performance. Why sell now? He was moving overseas and looking for a new caretaker for this M3. Someone who would appreciate it and not simply abuse it or turn around to sell it for a profit.
What’s a $52,600 parts list look like? Here are just some of the modifications made to this special-edition M3 (*takes a deep breath*):
- BBS FI-R wheels. 20×9.5” front, 20×10.5” rear.
- BMW OEM E9X Carbon Ceramic Brakes.
- Future Classic E9X M3 / 1M Motorsport Hub Retrofit.
- Dinan Carbon Fiber Strut Tower Brace.
- Ohlins BMS MI40 Performance Road and Track DFV Coilover Kit.
- OKADA Projects Type 7 Plasma Ignition Coils.
- Akrapovic Evolution Titanium Exhaust.
- Eventuri E9X M3 Carbon Kevlar Intake.
- CarboProject Carbon Fiber Plenum.
- YCW Dry Carbon Fiber Driveshaft.
- BMW OEM E9X M3 Euro Front Bumper.
- BMW OEM E9X M3 GTS Front Lip.
- AC Schnitzer Carbon Rear Spoiler.
The icing on the cake for all the purists: Worry not, all the original parts came with it and all the modifications are reversible.
Rojas didn’t want to let this one get away, so after seeing the M3 and spending time with the seller, he accepted the deal. “I really care about my cars. And this guy was the same. We had that connection, and he felt that I’m going to take care of his car,” Rojas says. A week later (and only three months after starting his search), the Lime Rock M3 arrived via vehicle transport at Rojas’ home in Virginia. It took the special garage spot as new additions to Rojas’ collection often do, this time demoting a Pastel Yellow 993 Porsche 911.
Since taking ownership in October of 2023, Rojas has had the M3 paint corrected, ceramic coated, applied PPF on the leading edge of the hood and carbon roof, and installed new high-performance tires. Rojas reflects on what he enjoys most about this M3, saying, “It’s a combination of performance and looks. The E92 body lines are beautiful in my opinion. As for the performance, it’s not the fastest car in the world, but it gives you a real connection with the road.”
Rojas still exchanges texts and emails with the previous owners of his cars. They share their current projects with each other and are always happy to see their past automotive subjects are being enjoyed and being properly taken care of. When they bought and sold their vehicles, it was more than just financial transactions for vehicles, it was an introduction to lasting friendships.
Rojas says he’s very fortunate to be part of the diverse community of automotive enthusiasts in the DMV. He reflects, “The nice group of people we have at our Cars & Coffee on Sundays is so important. Believe me, a couple years ago, I didn’t know the difference between a coilover and a lower spring, so being in contact with people, like Jerry Valega, who are happy to guide and teach others in the car enthusiast community has been great.”
When it was time to pass caretaker responsibilities of Rojas’ beloved E34 540i that served as the spark igniting his BMW passion, who better to pass it to than his 23-year-old son, Andre. “The same automotive passion that I have, I try to pass to my kids. I think that’s very important,” Rojas says. His younger seventeen-year-old son Matheo shouldn’t be jealous though, when the time comes there may just be a Lime Rock Park Edition M3 in his future. —Mike Bevels