Can Eyilik lives life in the fast lane, both professionally and after clocking off from work. The high-flying interior designer is the creative force behind some of Istanbul’s coolest spaces, while his free time is largely devoted to the BMW M3. The trio of M3s parked in his garage represent different generations of the car and reveal much about the global fascination with this high-performance sporting legend.
Istanbul is a pulsating megacity. Fast, loud and teeming with hipster hotspots, it sits comfortably in the same league as Paris, London and the rest. Turkey’s unofficial capital, Istanbul boasts a captivating blend of the traditional and the new, which makes it a magnet not just for tourists, but anyone who identifies with a modern, open-to-the-world Turkey. It’s also the perfect place for BMW enthusiast Can Eyilik to call home. The successful 38-year-old interior designer lives in the city with his wife Merve and son Bora. As a boy, a friend of his father’s gave him a poster of the first ever BMW M3 (the E30) and he was instantly smitten. Can vowed that one day he would have that exact car in his garage; it was a dream he never gave up on.
His passion led Can to set up BMW Club Turkey, serve as its president for several years and convert his own garage into a bona fide man cave. A catchy name (Driven34) and its own social media presence were a given. Here, self-confessed petrolheads meet every week to discuss their next high-octane project – a trip to one of Europe’s finest race tracks, for example – over a barbecue and beverages.
Three of a kind – but each completely different.
As we mentioned, Can’s love affair with the BMW M3 began with the E30. The original M3 is highly coveted and commands a collector’s price all over the world. Laying your hands on one in Turkey is even harder than in its native Germany. Having eventually tracked one down, Can still had to put a lot of work into it before he was completely satisfied. He already owned a BMW 318is, but that was only ever going to be a starting point.
Can’s garage is also now home to an E36 BMW M3 GT, one of just 356 built and the only one of its kind in Turkey. The previous owner took a whole ten years of persuading before he sold it to Can. A long time perhaps, but Can has an endearingly persistence about him, and you just know that once he has his heart set on something, he’ll get it sooner or later.
And then there is the E46 BMW M3 CSL, whose glorious engine note Can cherishes above all else. It was this model in particular that he dreamt about as a teenager. These days, he most enjoys taking it out for track days at various circuits.
Can the location scout.
The shoot with Can is a lot of fun. He knows Istanbul like the back of his hand; this is his birthplace, after all. But we are still taken aback when we suddenly find ourselves on the Istanbul Park Circuit. Access to Turkey’s only Formula 1 track is a huge privilege, but judging by the way Can pilots his BMW M3 through its twists and turns, it’s clear he’s been here before.
Does he have any dreams left to fulfil? Absolutely! And they all begin with a capital “M”. He currently has his sights set on an E92 BMW M3 GTS, of which there are said to be three examples still in Turkey. Can admits this will be another tough one, but it induces a smile nonetheless. We know what he means – and look forward to dropping by again one day in the future. Until then, güle güle.