The Spring 2020 lockdowns changed our lives and it personally created lots of time to fill in my life. Gone were outing, socialization, I was reading enough books already and my car paint's was getting swirled from washing it every other day, blame it on boredom.
It's no secret ordering from most European brands is difficult for those of us that aren't living on the Old Continent. Blame it on culture differences, language, currency exchange, distribution hurdles, whatever - it's a PITA, and local distributors often take high margins, making these parts incredibly expensive.
It doesn't need to be that hard, nor that expensive. You can read up more about it here.
My quest for a Carbon Fiber Plenum
As a Canadian, I didn't feel like spending 5,000$ on a complete carbon plenum as I was mainly looking for the added induction sound, and the motorsport carbon look and finish options that other OEM style carbon plenums didn't have.
I started working my supplier network in Europe to find rare parts for my personal E92 M3.
I ultimately got introduced to René @ CarboProject.
I wasn't ready for what came next.
The Ultimate German Cliché: René @ CarboProject GmbH
This was 2003: a rapidly changing world where anxieties were shared on a global scale. Wars, economic crises - the world has always been a difficult, anxiety inducing place.
René focused on himself.
He started making individual carbon fiber parts for himself, there was never any intention to make it a business. Deeply intertwined into the German Grassroot BMW community, René attended car meets and BMW M enthusiasts took notice.
We've heard that one before: the rest is history.
Some of the best intentions are born from the worst situations. René's personal story and motivations resonates with mine with EuroConnex.
René is a classic old school German: dry humour, straight to the point, perfectionist and a man of integrity.
That's probably why we get along so well.
CarboProject's Core: Carbon Fiber
CarboProject was born out of his passion for BMW M cars and his deep knowledge and experiences in developing pre-preg carbon fiber automotive parts.
In 2010, René started manufacturing pre-preg carbon fiber parts for Lamborghini & Ferrari Klassic that needed complete restoration from sitting over decades or had been in road accidents.
Many OEM parts and molds were no longer available - a foreshadowing of what the BMW M community will experience.
Nobody wanted to do, they all thought it was impossible.
Germans are stubborn.
He got started on a Diablo and molded every single damaged panel in pre-preg carbon fiber for a 1:1 repair and restoration.
He's been doing this ever since.
René had found its niche: developing new innovative products, bringing back other products from the dead and supporting grassroot enthusiasts communities in Germany.
The OG GB
René is the original Connex: the one who trusted us and started it all. Over 100 + carbon plenums have been delivered worldwide since October 2020.
His carbon fiber plenum had initially been developed in 2007. As the community started adopting the product en masse, we provided feedback - and he listened.
The community feedback has helped improve the product with no-cost options such as Matte Clear Coat, Flat Top finish and the infamous Export version with the thinner, pre-preg, carbon fiber lid for improved induction noise. He's also went out of his way to offer custom CSL metallic grey stickers for @Gordon.M3 from CarbonExpress Inc.
You can see the latest CarboProject GmbH Carbon Fiber Plenum here.
There will always be errors - we're all humans, yet what differentiates the good ones from the bad ones is whether they will stick through the hard times and back up their name.
Integrity is everything.
He continues standing behind the product for customers worldwide.
2021: Continued Product Development
René applied his knowledge to improve his long standing S85 carbon plenum from 2005 and we released an updated version to the market. It has since been well received by communities.
As my relationship with René grew deeper and the Connex expanded into the E46 communities, their was clear as sky: CSL replica parts.
Rings a bell? This is what René does.
Unsurprisingly: he had already been doing so for 15 years.
René revealed he had aluminum molds for all CSL 1:1 carbon fiber components, to which he has done very small design modifications to avoid backlash from BMW M. This has been a common theme across all German Connex brands I deal with - BMW M doesn't mess around with its Intellectual Property.
We have recently introduced his CSL replica diffuser in complete pre-preg carbon with OEM color matching paint services, and are working on providing the entire CSL style product line in 2021 to E46 communities worldwide.
E9X M3 Carbon Fiber Front Air Intake Kit
With the recent success of many carbon fiber plenums for the S65, the community has been asking to complete their carbon fiber intake. makeover with the 2 piece front air intake kit.
Yea, you know what I'm about to say.
René has had this for a decade on his shelf.
We are currently updating the mold and will be bringing this product to the E9X M3 community shortly.
René: thank you for believing in me, I owe you a couple beers next summer.