We don’t know what James Wheeler likes better: BMWs or the University of Miami Hurricanes. Wheeler, from Miami, Florida, is an enthusiastic Miami Hurricanes fan who fits the nickname “Crazy.” He is equally passionate about the Ultimate Driving Machines from BMW, owning three so far, with each one better than the last.
His first, a 330 convertible, introduced him to the power, style and superb handling that sets BMW apart from the crowd. His driving experience further improved the day his 2002 BMW M3 convertible was delivered. A daily driver for the first two years, the M3 slowly morphed into a full-blown show car, earning a collection of trophies that almost squeezes the Bimmer out of the garage.
Much of the cutting-edge technology in the car is a direct result of Wheeler’s fertile imagination. Designing video games for a living at AWE Games, he has worked on such well-known favorites as “SpongeBob SquarePants” (Nickelodeon), “Cars” (Disney), “Shrek 2” (DreamWorks), “Spider-Man 2” (Sony) and more. The talent and vision that makes him a top game designer is also reflected in the M3, a carefully wrought creation that boasts the best of everything. With the help of his good friends, Richie Castillo of Castle Motorsports and Fabian Ortega, Wheeler has elevated a world-class car to stratospheric levels.
Everything about this car is extreme. The highly polished, Stage II supercharged, six-cylinder engine is augmented with six Sneaky Pete nitrous bottles in the backseat and pumps out a staggering 525 horsepower. The competition audio/visual system boasts 14 speakers, four amplifiers, a pair of headrest monitors and a PlayStation 2 in the dash that surrounds passengers with multiple gaming screens with concert hall sound. Three separate video cameras feed monitors built into the side mirrors and the central rearview mirror. The “Alien Head” carbon-fiber center console holds stereo components and the multiple illumination switches in the car. Look in the trunk and discover the motorized sub box that operates from the remote, and see yourself on the 15-inch Icon-TV widescreen monitor connected to the rear-view camera. Naturally, Wheeler added a 160GB hard drive with more than 50 games on a second PlayStation 2, rounding out the amusement options.
The exterior makeover began with the Flossman wide-body kit designed for the BMW GTR. To create a more aggressive look, Wheeler extended it even further (2 inches in the front and 4 inches in the rear) and then molded it in to maintain the sleek lines of the car. The hand-formed carbon-fiber wing with a built-in monitor was also redesigned to span the larger dimensions. HRE 545R 20x9-inch front and 20x12-inch rear wheels have a one-of-a-kind offset built in by HRE to ensure the rims fill the expansive wheel flares. Dozens of custom-built carbon-fiber accent pieces and the elegant House of Kolor “Kandy Blue” paint create the perfect finishing touches.
Besides Wheeler’s 330 and M3, there is also the sparkling new V10 M5 that James bought for his wife, Katie, as a Christmas present and welcoming gift. The car was in the garage, wrapped with a bow the day that she came home from the hospital with their new baby boy, James Matthew. Now the whole Wheeler family can be “crazy” over BMWs.