Frank Ocean Is Building A Monstrous Sleeper BMW E30

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

There are a lot of reasons you should read the New York Times Magazine profile of nascent R&B superstar Frank Ocean. It gives some great insights into the creative process, decisiveness, and personal history of the man behind the best album of 2012, Channel Orange. (If you think differently, you're wrong.)

But the best reason to read it is because it reveals that Ocean, 25, is building himself a 1990 BMW E30 sedan that will stealthily destroy other cars at the stoplight. Here's what it says:

Maybe he didn't mind because we were headed somewhere that he was actually excited to go, a garage in North Hollywood, where a vintage 1990 BMW E30 sedan is being rebuilt to his exact specifications. He likes to show up unannounced, just to see if they're working on his car, and as soon as we got there, Ocean jumped out and headed to the back of the shop. The car was indeed up on a lift, and as he circled it, he began to tick off things that he didn't like. He's 25, but he speaks like somebody who expects to be listened to. His managers, Christian and Kelly Clancy, told me the night before - by way of explaining that anything could happen, or not, interview-wise - that Frank Ocean makes the decisions where Frank Ocean is concerned. They help him steer, but he goes only if he wants to.

He pointed to the shiny metallic exhaust tips that were about to be welded at the back of the car and said: "No. Black. I don't want it shiny." Perfectly courteous, but firm. A technician removed the tips. When he made it around to the front of the car, he noticed a piece of black metalwork with an insignia on it. "What's up with the language?" he asked. "Do we need the language on it?" The owner of the garage said he could get Ocean a plain black one, but he didn't think it was necessary because once the engine was complete you'd never see it. "It doesn't matter if you can see it," Ocean said.


I wish I knew more about this car he was building, and what parts he's putting on it. Turbo kit? S50 swap? 2JZ swap? I'm dying to know now. The NYT author doesn't help much, describing one part as "a piece of black metalwork." Well, that could be a lot of things.

The story continues thusly:

The BMW that he is rebuilding will have the steering wheel on the right-hand side, because he wants it that way, and the engine and body of the car will be as quiet and as light as possible. "You won't even hear me," he said, looking into the glow of the garage. "I want it to be a sleeper. I'll pull up next to you, and you won't even know I'm there" - a smile came on his face - "and then as soon as the light turns, I'm gone."


Why he wants to make it RHD, I don't know. Raph says that makes him an asshole; I say maybe he has his reasons.


The story also says that Ocean owns a newer M3 and rents space in a Los Angeles parking garage for three different BMWs.

We've covered Frank Ocean's love of affordable Jalop-favorites in his lyrics, videos and album covers before. But it's awesome to see that he's putting his money where his mouth is.


I have to give him credit for this too: Most celebrities get a ton of money, they blow it on super expensive, brand new rides they don't understand. Lindsay Lohan goes through various Porsches like I go through socks. But Frank Ocean? He's tuning up an E30, one of the greatest budget sport sedans of all time.


I'd love it if we could get him on Jalopnik someday to talk about cars. He certainly has good taste in them.

Photo credit Frank Ocean Tumblr