BMW E30 Club - Thirtieth series BMW - was the second generation of cars of middle class automotive brand from Bavaria. T...
BMW E30 Club - Thirtieth series BMW - was the second generation of cars of middle class automotive brand from Bavaria. These machines have a wide range of engines and body styles. Even during the life of the conveyor this machine has earned the title of the cult. And now having passed the test of time and has a huge range of kilometers and miles fans and avid owners. Our club dedicated to everything that is connected with this model and its numerous modifications. Namely operation, test drives, repair and tuning of course. Tuning E30 is now a whole industry, even say more - it's a real industry and enthusiasm of thousands of fans of the famous thirty. Our community brings together owners and enthusiastic amateur trio of second generation all continents and countries. All communication in our outdoor club is in English as a universal means of communication.

Welcome - E30 with love and forever!

Like the E28 5 Series, the second-generation 3 Series E30 concentrated on the consistent improvement of a successful concept. With improved styling, technology and equipment levels, the 3 Series offered a wide range of engines for all customer demands. From 1983 all models were also available with four doors. In 1988 the 324td introduced the first-ever electronic diesel injection system, and newly developed four-cylinder units replaced the engines that had proven their merits millions of times over 26 years.

1982 – 1991 E30 3 Series Saloon 2 doors and 4 doors

BMW 316, 1982 – 1988 4-cyl. ohc 1766 cc 66 kW (90 hp)
BMW 316i, 1988 – 1991 4-cyl. ohc 1596 cc Cat. 74 kW (100 hp)
BMW 316i, 1987 – 1988 4-cyl. ohc 1766 cc Cat. 75 kW (102 hp)
BMW 318i, 1982 – 1987 4-cyl. ohc 1766 cc 77 kW (105 hp) Cat. 75 kW (102 hp)
BMW 318i, 1987 – 1991 4-cyl. ohc 1796 cc Cat. 83 kW (113 hp)
BMW 318is, 1989 – M42 1991 4-cyl. ohc 1796 cc Cat. 100 kW (136 hp)
BMW 320i, 1982 – 1991 M20B20 6-cyl. ohc 1990 cc 92 kW (125 hp) Cat. 95 kW (129 hp)
BMW 323i, 1982 – 1986 M20B23 6-cyl. ohc 2316 cc 102 kW (139 hp) 110 kW (150 hp)
BMW 325e, 1983 – 1988 M20B27 6-cyl. ohc 2693 cc Cat. 90 kW (122 hp) Cat. 95 kW (129 hp)
BMW 324d, 1985 – 1990 M21 6-cyl. ohc 2443 cc 63 kW (86 hp)
BMW 324td, 1987 – 1990 M21B24 6-cyl. ohc 2443 cc 85 kW (115 hp)
BMW 325i, 1985 – 1991 M20B25 6-cyl. ohc 2494 cc 126 kW (171 hp) Cat.125 kW (170 hp)

1985 – 1991 E30 325iX Permanent four-wheel drive, central power divider, viscous locks.
BMW 325iX 1990 – 98 6-cyl. ohc 2494 cc Cat. 125 kW (170 hp) 126 kW (171 hp)

1982 – 1990 E30 3 Series Baur Top-Convertible
With the introduction of the new 3 Series, Baur again offered a Convertible model with rollover bar. Then, in 1986, BMW themselves introduced a brand-new fourseater Convertible. The elaborately constructed roof was easy to operate and disappeared completely into a com - partment behind the rear seats.

1986 – 1993 E30 3 Series Convertible
BMW 318i Convertible
1990 – 1993 4-cyl. ohc 1796 cc 83 kW (113 hp)
BMW 325i Convertible 1986 – 1993 6-cyl. ohc 2494 cc Cat. 125 kW (170 hp) 126 kW (171 hp)
BMW 320i Convertible 1986 – 1993 6-cyl. ohc 1990 cc 95 kW (129 hp)

1988 – 1994 E30 3 Series touring

Another variant in the E30 3 Series was the dynamic and luxurious Touring with the same wheelbase but a completely different rear end. This car came with petrol and diesel engines as well as four-wheel drive.

BMW 316i touring, 1991 – 1994 4-cyl. ohc 1596 cc 74 kW (100 hp)
BMW 320i touring, 1988 – 91 6-cyl. ohc 1990 cc 95 kW (129 hp)
BMW 318i touring, 1989 – 1994 4-cyl. ohc 1796 cc 83 kW (113 hp)
BMW 325i touring, 1988 – 1993 6-cyl. ohc 2494 cc 125 kW (170 hp)
BMW 325iX touring, 1988 – 1993 M20B25 6-cyl. ohc 2494 cc 125 kW (170 hp)
BMW 324td touring, 1988 – 1993 M21 6-cyl. ohc 2443 cc 85 kW (115 hp)
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  •   Graham Leigh reacted to this post about 8 months ago
    Daniel 1982 uploaded a new video
    RX Automotive S50 E30 BMW Hill Climb
    Fibreglass front bumper created using a mould of a B&H-sponsored Australian Touring Car E30, custom aluminium front splitter, BMW 2002 Turbo-style fibreglass wheel arch flares over the original guards after 70mm had been cut away, taped over and...
    Fibreglass front bumper created using a mould of a B&H-sponsored Australian Touring Car E30, custom aluminium front splitter, BMW 2002 Turbo-style fibreglass wheel arch flares over the original guards after 70mm had been cut away, taped over and colour-coded chrome rear bumper, carbon fibre bonnet and bootlid with pins (replaced by standard steel items for Improved Production racing), Toyota Rukus Voodoo blue paint by Jo Seeger Smash Repairs, colour-coded kidney-grille surround, black plastic wrap over headlight lenses with custom painted chrome rings clipped on, E30 DTM mirrors
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    First time lucky – #BMW #E30 2-doors #M20B25 engine boost. For a first project car, the E30 makes sense. To Karel Silha, so did 726bhp. Words: Joel Newman. Photos: Lars Sikhammar.

    Take a second and try to picture the very first car you modified. For me, that car was a #VW Mk2 Golf Driver. It may have had a measly 1.3-litre lump under the bonnet, the steering was heavier than death metal and the interior looked like a duvet cover stolen from a ’70s swingers party, but it did nothing to deter me. This was my first motor and as such I wanted to personalise it. It wasn’t great but I think I can be forgiven; it takes time and rather a lot of practice to get things right.

    For my sins I popped to the local modding hut, which was like a cheaper version of Halfords (if you can imagine such a thing). Here I selected a set of 17” unbranded rims, a huge exhaust and one of the world’s loudest and perhaps poorest audio systems (complete with MiniDisc player). Not only did the ICE die after six months, in retrospect the wheels were chavvy and it’s safe to say that the 4” pipe out back was not yielding any additional power. I tell you this because, like most, I made mistakes. But for every thousand of me you may be lucky enough to find one Karel Silha.

    Like many of you, Karel picked the E30 #325i for its classic styling and appeal as a true driver’s car. He concurred that for a first attempt, an E30 made perfect sense. The parts are relatively cheap and much of the service and tuning work can be completed without specialist equipment.

    For most, one’s first modified car is generally a styling exercise. Initially, new wheels, bumpers and side skirts, lowering springs and an exhaust system are about as far as most are comfortable with, but Karel had vastly different concerns. Despite this E30 being his first project car, he knew what he was after, and styling just didn’t come into it. Although he was on a budget, for him modifying is about one thing. Power. What’s the point of having the sickest rims, the best suspension, the widest of body kits if, you only have a hairdryer to plough you along? For Karel this side of tuning is fake. A staged world of ‘look at me’s’ and flash idiots; a world he just didn’t want to be a part of.

    “I’ve always loved the E30 because it’s so much fun and it’s not expensive nor exclusive. I paid just £350 for this car and even though it was rusty and in need of some TLC I knew I could save it,” he explains.

    So, what exactly was Karel’s big plan? Amazingly, even from the outset his hopes were pretty out there. He explains: “The line of the attack from the beginning was to turbo it and keep the standard internals. I was told the M20 could handle around 400bhp at the crank in terms of rods and pistons and I felt that would be more than enough.” You don’t say!

    Karel was lucky enough to have a small workshop, something it seems all Swede’s have access to (I wonder if it’s the same one?). Over the next five months he would get to work, and with no prior knowledge of turbocharging, he would attempt to install and fabricate this entirely new setup. Before any of the real work could begin, the #M20 was sent to Engson Motors, which increased the bore to 2.7 litres and welded the head. This was one of the only areas of the entire build Karel did not do himself.

    With the engine back and ready to roll, a huge turbo was required, and you’ll never guess where it came from… The 61mm trim beast was removed from a Volvo truck, which gives us a clue to its capacity!

    As stated, Karel wanted to plumb this in with the minimum of fuss, to work out what could and what couldn’t cope. To this end he first needed to sort out the cooling and fuel delivery, so popped in larger 1260cc injectors, a front-mounted intercooler and got on with the long job of fabricating the required exhaust manifold and turbo tubing.

    With combustion increasing so abundantly, Karel also fitted a race fuel tank in the boot along with two new Bosch 044 fuel pumps capable of running E85 (or 98 grade octane fuel to you and me).

    With such a huge turbo it was essential for Karel to fit two Tial wastgates to keep boost pressure in check, while a decent sized 50mm Tial blow-off valve stopped pressure build-up and turbo surge, which can severely damage an engine. An Aeromotive regulator also made its way into the engine bay, helping him determine and direct boost and fuel pressures, as well as a Nuke Performance fuel rail for good measure. As Karel planned to keep the bottom end standard, he fitted Nuke Performance cam gear, enabling him to match cam timing by advancing or retarding the cam profile in one-degree increments. This meant he could keep his standard M20 cams.

    With the engine working, Karel got on with installing an #Alpina-B7 differential, involving customisation of the driveshaft to enable him to utilise the standard Getrag 260 five-speed gearbox. He also added a hydraulic handbrake so he could compete competitively in the drift events so popular in Scandinavia.

    The car was then gifted FK coilovers, the front end dropped as low as it could go, giving it a brutal dragster look. Finally a Brembo big brake kit featuring 302mm discs and four-piston calipers made their way behind the 18” ASA Pirate rims. These are wrapped in Pirelli P-Zeros, however as they are changed twice a month during the summer often anything goes!

    Karel, of course, stripped the entire cabin, installing a set of Radiopower fibreglass red buckets with Elite four-point rally harnesses, a grippy Momo drift wheel and a new custom-made aluminium instrument cluster.

    Karel then spent two weeks sanding and prepping the car for its new Army green paint job. The car’s only exterior modifications were made in order to reduce weight; although the bonnet and boot look original they are now manufactured from fibreglass. He also replaced the rear windows with Perspex to further reduce weight. Overall he has shaved off some 250kg from the original 1250kg, which makes one hell of a difference.

    So what to do? Test the damn thing! The car and driver were sent off to a street drag show, but not long after, something went bang. It was an ongoing issue; broken rocker cover and arms, which plagued Karel for some time. “Eventually we realised that we were producing far more power than we originally planned. I just had to strengthen the engine internally,” he explained.

    So Karel rebuilt the entire bottom end with the help of Pure Performance Factory, which provided him with race valves and springs, custom pistons and rods, a new heavy duty camshaft and, to quote, “bloody strong” heavy-duty rockers. To make sure history did not repeat itself, Karel also installed a fresh Haltech ECU, so parameters could be kept on check at all times.

    Since that day there have been no issues, with the car returning an awesome 650bhp at the wheels and 726bhp at the crank on E85 fuel at 29psi. With 654lb ft of stomachchurning torque, Karel laughs: “Any more power would be a waste of good rubber and 144 neck muscles. So far at just 21psi we ran a 10.28 at 138mph and that was on old tyres.” He’s even put some videos up, at youtube . com/karel021 .

    There is something so inherently wonderful about an E30 that looks pretty much standard yet goes like the clappers. To many, it is the underlying soul of performance modifying. It’s not dressed in labels; it is as honest as tuning gets and I hope it inspires some heavy-hitting UK followers. It’s time we got in on this performance act because it doesn’t need to cost the earth. Over in Sweden they’ve been doing it for years. And we can all appreciate a lightweight road-legal E30 325i with that kind of shove. It’s a bruiser, not a supermodel, and it’s fun. And isn’t that what it’s all about?


    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: M20B25 engine stroked to 2.7 litres with custom-forged pistons and rods, Pure Performance Factory ( #PPF ) race valves and springs and CrMo retainers, custom PPF camshaft and heavyduty rockers, Nuke Performance fuel rail and cam gear, 1260cc injectors, custom exhaust manifold, #Volvo truck 61mm trim turbo, Aeromotive regulator, Tial 50mm BOV, two Tial 38mm wastegates, front-mounted intercooler, two #Bosch 044 fuel pumps (running e85), Haltech single coils, Haltech e11v2 ECU (with electronic boost control),

    Davies Craig electrical water pump, modified water-cooling system, support Girdle for the bottom. #Alpina B7 rear differential, custom E30 325i driveshaft, standard five-speed gearbox, Polyurethane bushings for engine, gearbox and rear end.

    CHASSIS: 7x18” (front) and 9x18” (rear) #ASA Pirate wheels shod in 245/35 Pirelli P-Zero tyres all round. FK coilovers. Brembo BBK with 302mm disc and four-piston calipers.

    EXTERIOR: Full respray in Army green, fibreglass bonnet and bootlid, Perspex rear windows, boot-mounted race fuel tank.
    INTERIOR: Raidopower fibreglass seats, Elite four-point rally harnesses, custom-made aluminium instrument cluster, Prosport /Autometer gauges, Momo drift wheel, hydraulic handbrake, electrical water pump controller, roll-cage.
    THANKS: Fredrik, Ivars, Ted, Jakobsson, Jansson, Magnus, Johnny, Bayrisch, Dogge, Robba, the guys at BVS, Billy, Limmet, Mats, A&A at PPF, Hilda, Arash, Jocke, Larsson, Nicklas, Stefan, Emil, Armin, Johan, and my sponsors Waarwest, PBZ ,VPM, Däckkompaniet, Raidopower, Racedä, Swedish woodworks, Engson Motor, Dalhems.

    “Any more power would be a waste of good rubber and neck muscles”
    There is something so inherently wonderful about an E30 that looks pretty much standard yet goes like the clappers.
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  •   Jethro Bovingdon reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Drift machines tend to be quite extreme, and this 6.2-litres V8, wide-body orange #BMW-E30 is no exception.

    Anyone who’s owned an E30 knows they were built to go sideways but with a 6.2-litre V8 up front and comprehensive chassis tuning, Andy Hateley’s E30 drift special introduces us to angles we scarcely believed possible. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Matt Petrie.

    Let’s start with a little history lesson. Back in #1962 an American chap called Carroll Shelby had the bright idea of planting a high performance lightweight Ford V8 engine in the attractive British-made #AC-Ace roadster. The little Ace’s stock sixcylinder engines – some of pre-World War II design – were hardly what you’d call sporting so Shelby’s plan was to give the puny Brit some American muscle. The result? The legendary AC Cobra which combined power and grace to a degree rarely bettered these past 50 years.

    So what’s all this got to do with performance BMWs? Well, Californian drift racer Andy Hateley has done something not too dissimilar to another European beauty: the E30 3 Series. Under his one-time #1989 #325i ’s shapely pinned bonnet rests a 6.2- litre V8 LS3 lump from #General-Motors , familiar to Brits as powering the storming #Vauxhall-VXR8 and typically found in American muscle machines such as the Chevy Corvette and Camaro SS. The result is an estimated 550-600hp and when combined with an extensive suite of drivetrain, chassis, interior and exterior upgrades, Andy has built one of the most extensive and brilliant BMW drift cars we’ve yet seen.

    The 31-year-old spends his working life crafting custom furniture and doing small fabrication jobs on friends’ cars. His skills with using his hands has translated into tackling the build of this world-class drift E30. He is aware, however, of the age-old grumbles from BMW purists not keen on having anything but a made-in-Munich motor doing the pulling. But this is where Andy makes a good point and draws on fellow countryman Shelby’s efforts to put some fireworks in a not-so-quick standard car.

    “I’m not a purist guy at all,” Andy said. “I respect cars that are kept original but that’s not for me. Like when Shelby dropped some Detroit muscle in a lightweight European chassis, nobody sees anything wrong with that, and I see nothing wrong with making my own car with whatever parts I want. I love what BMW did when it designed the E30 but it’s not my design and the factory version is definitely not my dream car. I’ve put more hours into the car than BMW ever did so it’s more my car than theirs. That’s why people modify their cars – to be individuals and express their style.”

    It’s hard to argue with such sentiments, and if we look at Andy’s individual style, there’s plenty to love. It truly is one of the most brutal-looking E30s the BMW scene has witnessed and throughout the entire build the quality of parts, attention to detail and innovative custom work all impress. But they all have to. Andy competes in Formula Drift (FD) in the USA, where competition is stiff, to say the least, and only the best of the best drivers and their machines can hope to stay in the series.

    Andy said he started drifting back in 2004 with a #Nissan-350Z , gaining an FD licence for 2006. The following year the Nissan was getting tired so Andy took a break from competing to get the funds together to build what he calls a ‘real’ FD car, choosing the E30 as his platform. It was many years in the building but after doing local FD Pro-Am events he regained his FD licence for 2012.

    He’s up against an array of Japanese and American high-horsepower machinery in FD but said a few E36s and E46s also keep him company on the #BMW front. “Most of them are using big V8s with either nitrous or forced induction,” Andy told us, “and the average hp number would be around 750hp, with cars going as high as 1300hp.” And even though Andy’s GM-powered #E30 is at around half that figure, the recent season still saw numerous teething problems due to the stress on components. “Our best result was a top eight finish at FD Pro 2 in Seattle,” he said. “We may have made it further but we broke both axles during our top eight run. We definitely found the weak points of the car at Long Beach the throttle pedal started to detach itself from the floor; in Atlanta the throttle cable melted; I broke an axle in New Jersey; the pinion gear broke in Texas; and the clutch started slipping at Irwindale.” It’s a lot of work, this drifting business!

    Returning to the car itself, Andy originally chose an E30 as a drift car because of the visceral feel he got when driving it: “I fell in love with the E30’s oversteer that would come on so progressively and smoothly; it was a car that represented my style as a person and driver perfectly.”

    Andy flirted with fitting an #S54 or #M60 motor from BMW’s stable but ordering a box-fresh #LS3-GM-V8 would speed the build process up considerably. “With the LS3 I had the Tex Racing SR-1 transmission bolted up and was fitting the engine and cutting the trans tunnel for clearance the day it arrived,” Andy said.

    The build went into overdrive from there. It only takes one glance at the pictures and our Data File to see the huge lengths gone to in reaching this E30’s current state. To explain it all would fill this entire magazine! Simply put, the V8 came from GM with upgraded camshafts, while Andy added high rpm lifters, better valve springs and upgraded chromoly pushrods all to create a more reliable engine during long periods of high rpms – integral for this high level of drifting. The exhaust and manifold were all crafted by Andy’s hands, while a custom one-piece driveshaft and a modified E30 diff all endure the huge stresses Andy asks of them during competition use. The standard E30 axles – rebuilt by Andy – are apparently holding up well to the abuse the drivetrain receives during drifting.

    The underbonnet install – where the LS3 V8 fits with surprising ease – is impressive enough but the boot build almost trumps it. Here you find the extensive cooling system, again an integral part of all serious drift cars. Somehow Andy has squeezed in a mighty radiator, a ten-gallon fuel cell, countless fans, a large oil cooler, an oil filter, a four-gallon water sprayer and much more, all mounted in what’s known as the ‘safe zone’ far forward in the boot.

    The chassis is another fine piece of work. Andy learned an incredible amount at Groma Fabrications where he used a lift at the back of their shop to work on the E30. “I gutted the E30 chassis and Ed at Groma did some work on the roll-cage to get it up to FD-spec,” Andy said. He did his first sheet metal work and welding, and soon the E30 had its distinctive DTM Fibrewerkz wide body kit (making it eight inches wider than a standard E30) and Lexan windows in place. Andy made his own carbon fibre panels to mount the myriad gauges in the dash, and finally it was off to be sprayed what he calls ‘Oh Sh*t orange’, based on Honda’s CBR 600RR motorcycle colour.

    To make a car this talented in FD requires a daunting amount of chassis work (see the Date File), but most will appreciate the 18” ESM wheels, JRZ RS-Pro dampers and a full coilover setup for the rear. The rest of the underneath has needed comprehensive remodelling, welding, strengthening and protection, all to ensure this brutal E30 can continue performing at its best while under such extreme forces.

    It’s easy to get caught up in all the superb work carried out here and neglect just how visually appealing Andy’s drift E30 is. It is fat and squat, aggressive and beautiful with its owner particularly appreciating the body kit, not least because he said it allows the smoke to flow off the tyres very well. And as with most racing machines, they truly are at their best when in action, and to see the plumes of burning rubber coming from the rear of this delightful orange missile when in full drift mode makes it hard not to love. When asked about a rear wing however (drift cars are typically seen with oversized ones), Andy said he’d been debating fitting one but with the E30 having very good forward traction at present, it isn’t really needed yet.

    As for the cabin, well, it’s a place you’d happily go to work in any day of the week thanks to the dished Driven steering wheel, the beautifully ergonomic gear shifter, a view full of carbon fibre and gauges, and the Sparco Circuit seats gripping you tight. Everything looks immaculate making you wonder how Andy can ever risk such a beautifully-crafted machine in the hotbed of drift competition. But it races because it was born to do it. “There is no shortage of talent at any FD event and these drivers are on-point and have balls of steel,” Andy explained. “I love it. It really makes you a better driver. I drive with the best and aspire to be the best.”

    As for his E30, Andy said he’ll be sticking with it for a long time to come but he’s not averse to upping the horsepower figure even more. “Plans are for a 750-800hp engine next year,” he said. “Once we have more power we’ll see what breaks, fix it, then add more power. It’s a sick and twisted cycle!”


    ENGINE: 6.2-litre #GM-LS3-V8 , uprated camshafts, Hateley Motorsports custom stainless steel exhaust and manifold, upgraded chromoly pushrods, link bar lifters and high rpm valve springs, Nitrous Express progressive controller running a 50-shot from a 10lb bottle, 42 AN hoses, rear-mounted radiator, oil cooler, oil filter, Accusump, radiator water sprayer and three Spal fans, two extra six-inch fans on licence plate filler, 1600cfm fan for radiator, threegallon water reservoir plumbed to 200gph water pump, custom wiring, Electromotive Tec3R standalone ECU tuned by Nelson Racing Engines.

    TRANSMISSION: Tex Racing SR-1 four-speed manual, custom one-piece driveshaft, 4.27 E30 differential modified by Precision Gearing for near-100% lock, factory E30 axles.

    CHASSIS: 9x18” (front and rear) ESM wheels with 225/35 (front) and 275/35 (rear) Falken 615k tyres, JRZ RS-Pro dampers with 520lb rate spring up front and 225lb rate at rear (full coilover for rear), E46 M3 hubs, #E46 M3 CSL brake discs with Wilwood calipers at front, Ireland Engineering twin-caliper rear brake kit using Wilwood callipers, Wilwood drop-down pedals with twin master cylinders and balance bar, solid aluminium bushings for the rear subframe, Ireland Engineering toe and camber adjustment tabs, modified trailing arms, SLR angle kit using E46 spindles, Ireland Engineering urethane bushes and rear anti-roll bar, custom Hateley Motorsports chassis with removable tube frame front and rear sections, Formula D spec roll-cage.

    EXTERIOR: DTM Fiberwerkz fibreglass wide-body kit including front and rear bumpers, side skirts and front and rear wheel arches (total eight inches wider than standard E30), Lexan windows, ‘Oh Sh*t orange’ from Honda CBR 600RR motorcycle.

    INTERIOR: Sparco Circuit seats with Sparco harnesses, Driven steering wheel, Hateley Motorsports custom carbon fibre dash panels for Auto Meter gauges, Powered by Max hydraulic handbrake, custom fuel cell.

    THANKS: Falken Tires, ESM wheels, DTM Fiberwerkz, JRZ Suspension, Sparco Motorsports, SLR Speed, Nitrous Express,, Driven Steering, Clutchmasters, Ireland Engineering, Precision Gearing, my dad, my team and manager Ross Fairfield.

    CONTACT: Instagram @hateleydrift12, FB – Andy Hateley Drift, www. nationalmssociety. com (Andy represents the society).
    Interior has been stripped-out and fitted with Sparco Circuit seats and harnesses plus a custom carbon fibre panel to house all the gauges.

    DTM Fiberwerkz wide-body kit delivers a ton of track presence, adding 8” to the car’s width.

    6.2-litre LS3 V8 dominates this E30’s engine bay, which is itself an engineering riot; boot houses cooling system and ten-gallon fuel cell.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Desert Strike. With 400whp courtesy of a turbocharged M20, this stunning, home-built E30 is a real weapon. Words: Seb de Latour. Photos: Gil Folk y first car was a 1.0-litre #Citroen Saxo.

    It was Admiral blue and the only thing I did to it was fit an air freshener and, as it was the days before technology existed, one of those tape deck adapters that let you plug your Discman into the stereo. What’s a Discman? Ask your parents. Kameron Baker’s first car was this #1989 #E30 #325i and over the ensuing eight years he’s built it up into something rather spectacular. It was thanks to his father that Kameron came to own this #BMW-E30 , as he explains: “My dad worked at a car lot at the time and someone traded the E30 in.

    He brought it home one day and I fell in love with it. Being only $800 it was prefect for a high schooler. It was actually in very good condition. The interior was mint and apart from a small spot of peeling clear coat the paint was great. Also it had less than 100,000 miles on it.” As well as being a bit of a bargain and a pretty sweet first car, it opened Kameron’s eyes to the world of classic BMWs: “This little E30 is what got me into older BMWs.

    Before this I had never been in or even thought of owning one but as soon as I drove it I knew it was something special. The way it handled and the smoothness of the 2.5-litre in-line six got me hooked.” And so another #BMW fan was born. So, you’re 16, you’ve got a bright red BMW and there’s a 2.5-litre straight-six under the bonnet – there’s clearly only one way this story was ever going to go. “This was the first car I ever modified,” says Kameron. “I owned it for less than a month before I started changing and modifying things on it, sometimes things I regretted later but to be fair, I was only 16 at the time. I just kept it clean for a few weeks and then started modifying.

    My first modifications were a cold air intake and cat-back exhaust. Basically the two easiest things you can do to make a car sound better and drive better.” But, of course, we all know that you can never stop with just a couple of mods and Kameron was about to get seriously stuck into his E30 project: “When I first got the car my dad and I always talked about how we wanted to get it down to a five-second 0-60 time. In the ’80s the car’s 170hp M20 ran a 0-60 in seven seconds. My car was also an automatic so achieving that time took a lot of work. The best I got it down to as a naturally aspirated auto M20 was 6.8 seconds; that was with weight reduction, a MAF conversion, long tube headers, and a 4.27 Torsen differential out of a #BMW-Z3 . Back then I would have been happy with 200hp.

    “Before this project I had no real-world experience with modifying cars. Before I turbo’d the E30 I got a 2004 Subaru WRX and that really opened my mind to what a proper turbo setup can do to a car.

    I saw 21 that the car had lots of potential and at the time I’d always be looking up E30 videos on the internet watching the crazy Euro/Swedish/Norwegian E30s that can smoke the tyres at 60mph; it was just something that I wanted to do. I wanted a crazy E30, something that never gets boring and is always an adrenaline rush to drive. It was only after getting out of high school that I could afford to turbo the car. It originally started as a budget build but I just kept on improving the setup and eventually ended up with a 400whp turbo M20 that I could drive everyday without issue. “The car was 100% built by me in a little garage that doesn’t even have a door on it. When you start out that young you can hardly afford the parts so there is no way you can pay someone to install the parts as well.

    I just had to give it a try. My dad helped me until I got the hang of things and I never stopped.” So in a short space of time Kameron went from an intake and exhaust to a 400whp selfbuilt turbo setup; that’s about 470hp at the crank and in a car weighing around 1300kg, that gives this E30 a power-to-weight ratio similar to that of an Audi R8 GT V10, a 5.7-litre V12 Lamborghini Diablo or a Ferrari 599. That means it’s fast with a capital F. “I did all modifications to the engine as well. The first timing belt/head swap I did took around ten hours; I have it down to around five hours now. For the M20 I kept it simple. It ran a Bimmerheads cylinder head with dual pattern turbo cam and HD rocker arms.

    The bottom end was left 100% original and I ran ARP head studs with a Goetze head gasket. I had the turbo build done in around a month or two. It worked so much better than I expected, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I’d never been in a sixcylinder car before so the first time I went WOT with the Holset turbocharger it blew my mind. I was only at 7psi and I couldn’t believe how much faster the car was. At this point the car was still an automatic. This was its weak link and so the auto ’box had to go, although it was very still fast with an auto. The Getrag 260 manual swap followed shortly.” Along with the manual ’box, Kameron added a Stage 3 Spec clutch and a 13lb flywheel. At the rear sits a 3.73 ratio LSD with #Porsche 2.1mm discs. It certainly does the job, as can be seen in Kameron’s YouTube videos (search for Kameron Baker). So, this E30 delivers on the performance front, and then some, but it also looks damn delicious. A red two-door is a great base to start from and Kameron has really put a lot of effort into the styling and made a really unique-looking car that stands out from the crowd and blends OE subtlety with a wild streak perfectly.

    “OEM+ was the goal,” he says, “although I may have lost that look since I had to hack up the body to fit my flares and wide tyres. I just really like the old-skool BMWs and Alpina cars, so going with an authentic Alpina kit was always the goal. Plus my flares are similar to what you’d see on a 2002 turbo so I feel it still has a nice ’80s look to it.” And those wild flares are filled with something that isn’t a crossspoke split-rim, for a change. “I’ve always liked the sportier-looking wheels as opposed to the deep-dish wheels. This means I’ve run wheels including TRM C1s, OZ Superleggeras and now the STR 518s. I change wheels every time I burn through a set of tyres and I’ve gone through three sets in the last year, so goodness knows what wheels I’ll have next. You can always make back a good amount of money selling your old wheels off so I like to try different looks out.” True enough and variety is the spice of life after all, so why not have some fun? The 9x17” 518s look seriously tough in black and tie-in perfectly with the whole black and red colour scheme on the car. Kameron’s also achieved pretty much the perfect stance thanks to a set of Ground Control coilovers, which help the tyres tuckin nicely under the pumped-up arches. The arches are actually Kameron’s own design and are available from his Kamotors store.

    As a result the car just sits so right and looks mean. Despite being modern rims, the motorsport-style of the wheels fits perfectly with the ethos of the whole car and suit the E30 shape. We love the styling of the car as a whole – the black and red colour scheme is really bold and striking and those front and rear Alpina spoilers add an extra splash of aggression, especially with the addition of that custom front splitter. The side skirts come courtesy of #Zender and there are loads of little details that are easy to miss but make all the difference, such as the rear plate filler, Euro grilles, the #Alpina -inspired M20 Turbo front grille badge and the carbon fibre foglight blanks, also from Kamotors. We also love what Kameron’s done on the inside.
    At first glance it looks completely stock, bar the addition of boost and wideband gauges, but take a glance in the back and you’ll notice that it’s been completely stripped out, shedding some weight in the process but without making things uncomfortable for the two people up front. You might think that Kameron’s E30 has reached its zenith but an unfortunate incident gave him the perfect excuse for a bit of an upgrade. “Since this photoshoot I actually ended up swapping out the #M20 for an #M30B35 running a Precision 6266 turbocharger. I actually overheated the M20 whilst having a bit too much fun at around 25psi and the block cracked, allowing coolant to slowly leak up a head stud hole and pollute my oil. I still drove over 1000 miles to Bimmerfest but after that the engine was pulled and replaced with the much torquier #M30 .”

    Every cloud and all that… So, with a new engine and even more performance you’d think that maybe Kameron was done but that’s a case of easier said than done. “I’m not sure what to move onto now,” he says. “I’ve had the E30 for around eight years so it’s hard to stop. I’m thinking of something like a Volvo 240 with a large turbo. Basically I want a collection of brick-shaped cars from the ’80s.” That would be very cool indeed… People have been strapping turbos to E30s for donkey’s years but Kameron’s car really has that special something that makes it stand out. The styling is pretty unique and we love the little personal flourishes and the attention to detail. It’s a real enthusiast’s build and a real performance BMW.


    ENGINE: 2.5-litre straight-six M20B25 with original bottom end, Bimmerheads cylinder head, dual pattern turbo cam, HD rockers, Kamotors turbo setup with TD06SL2-20g turbo, 3” charge pipe, 3” exhaust, methanol injection, PNP Megasquirt ECU with wasted spark, 400whp @ 19psi.

    TRANSMISSION: Getrag 260 with Spec Stage 3 clutch and 13lb flywheel, 3.73 LSD with Porsche 2.1mm discs.

    CHASSIS: 9x17” (front & rear) STR 518 alloys with 245/40 tyres, Ground Control coilovers, 22mm front anti-roll bar, Eibach 16mm rear anti-roll bar, #AKG adjustable lollipop brackets, UUC camber plates, polybushes all-round, UUC BBK with fourpiston calipers and two-piece 298mm drilled discs.

    EXTERIOR: Authentic Alpina front and rear spoiler with a custom front splitter, Zender side skirts, Kamotors standard width arch flares, smoked smiley headlights, smoked tail-lights, rear plate filler, Euro grilles, Kamotors carbon fibre foglight delete.

    INTERIOR: Original seats and steering wheel, boost gauge and wideband gauge, rear stripped out.

    THANKS: I need to thank my friends who helped me do things like transmission swaps with nothing more than jack stands and a cheap set of sockets and those of you on the forums who helped me with the build and bought parts from me to help fund the build.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Charged #BMW #325i #E30 #Touring . As an established trendsetter, Dips of Custom Cars knows a thing or two about breaking the mould. His latest project, a subtly styled E30 325i, has all the hallmarks of originality you’d expect. Oh, did we mention it’s also the UK’s first supercharged E30 Touring? Words: Joel Newman. Photos: Mark Fagelson.

    Those of you out there who have been involved in the BMW scene over the years can’t have failed to notice how far things have progressed. Back in #2003 , PBMW’s cover cars consisted of mainly bodykitted and, if we’re honest slightly bling Bavarian metal. At a time when less certainly didn’t mean more, the cars with all their bolt-on parts, chrome detailing and lairy paint schemes lacked a certain amount of class. The boundaries and realms that modifiers and tuners wished to breach were undeniably more restricted, there was far less innovation.

    As the old saying goes, ‘you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been’, and it’s a sentiment that is utterly relevant to modifying, and indeed many facets of life. Even BMW itself has to continually keep the ball rolling, by developing new technologies, and designing and marketing its cars around modern ideals and fashions. We live in a world that changes constantly, an #iPod generation, and it requires rapid evolution. Our TVs are getting bigger and flatter, our diets are far healthier and most importantly our expectations are at an alltime high.

    So, it’s no surprise really that the bar has been raised, with stunning cars shooting up like pubescent teenagers. People are starting to really go to town on their motors, especially within the UK and it has kicked the BMW scene firmly up the backside. In fact even established modifiers have been at it, like Dips, the man behind this, Britain’s first supercharged E30 Touring.

    Many of you will already know Dips, the owner of Custom Cars in Heston. He’s built a reputation around assembling one-off projects that tick all the right boxes, many of which have been featured in this very mag. He also currently owns 12 BMWs including a #2002 once belonging to David Bowie, a 3-door E30 Touring, one of only four ever made, two #E21 s and an E30 pickup. He’s probably better known for the turbo’d E30 with 3.5-litre #M30 powerplant he produced, the first of its kind in the UK (PBMW 03/05). More recently Dips and his business partner Jas have created a turbo’d two-tone touring which featured in the 02/07 edition of PBMW. Today, however, we are here for a different reason, Dips has decided to pull the covers off his latest project, a Malachite green E30 Touring with a difference. A gigantic, #M90 #Eaton long nose supercharger lifted from a four-litre #Jaguar XKR. A project that proves he and his company is capable and willing to take on virtually anything, whether it has been done before or not.

    The idea for this car came about in 2001 when Dips and Jas lightly modified a similar model. Sporting angel eyes, 19” wheels and a sound system, the car went down a treat on the show scene, but as Dips pointed out, “back then big wheels and a decent stereo was all you needed to impress people”. What the duo soon realised was using a more unique base car such as an estate also helped grab people’s attention; it also opens up doors for those who cannot afford the latest and greatest BMW offerings.

    Eventually Dips decided that he wanted to use this project to make another huge impact on the UK scene. He wanted to create something that could be reproduced for customers, something that would get him and his company noticed and, of course, something that would be a hoot to drive. It wasn’t long before he decided to resurrect the E30 Touring concept, but this time he was going to add the most enormous supercharger he could find.

    Dips began by finding the right car, a Malachite green E30 325i Touring. He wanted to create the ultimate street sleeper so it was important the body work was in mint condition as the car was, externally speaking, going to be left relatively standard. Once the motor was sourced, it was time to go ’charger hunting; step up good old eBay.

    Dips searched long and hard, his criteria, to find the biggest ’charger he could and strap it to the #M20 lump. Eventually he opted for an Eaton long nosed system, commonly used on the Jag XKR, Ford Thunderbird and the Mercury Cougar XR-7. Generally found on V8 engines, you might be wondering why Dips opted for such a distinctive setup. “The truth is people thought it couldn’t be done. I like to change people’s perceptions and when I hear the words ‘can’t’ or ‘impossible’ it makes me more determined.”

    Clearly this man is determined, as the installation required more than a tad of customisation. Firstly Dips needed to fabricate mounting brackets for the ’charger in order to make use of the engine bay’s spare space, remember we are dealing with an epic bit of kit! Then a custom inlet was manufactured with twin returns so the dump valves and idle stabilisers could be recalculated. Thirdly Dips needed to make a custom inlet plate with take offs for the recirculating dump valves.

    To make sure spool up was ninja quick Dips removed the original pulleys and replaced them with #E36 2.22” 6 rib variants capable of handling 8psi of boost. He also needed to fabricate a new crank pulley. This was achieved by splicing the E36 face to the original E30 part. To aid with supercharger belt tension, E36 power steering pulleys were also employed. To increase fuel pressure a power boost valve was popped in, facilitated with an additional EMF-2 fuel computer that is activated via an adjustable boost switch. Fuelling can now be controlled from 2000rpm to 8000rpm at a predetermined boost level. Apart from fiddling, to put it lightly, with the new installation, Dips also had to relocate many of the car’s original components from the air flow meter to the ECU relays. “I’ve learnt a lot and the knowledge and experience I’ve gained will hopefully be passed down to customers. I like to experiment with my own cars, so I get everything right first time for clients,” he says, and it’s a great business strategy.

    Since the unit has been up and running, Dips has done his best to find a weakness in the system, in other words, ragging the sheet out of it! So far the only problem has been one he predicted: “Forced induction cars use head bolts that do not stretch under high pressure. As the E30 was naturally aspirated the 80bhp power hike the ’charger brought to the party was simply too much for the original gasket and bolts to take.” He had to throw in a new, original but slightly thicker head gasket and ARP no-stretch head bolts. The resulting engine is not only visually impressive; it has got the clout to back it up. It produces approximately 250bhp and oodles of torque. Dips tells me that a recent encounter with a #E46 #330d left the opposing driver ever so slightly embarrassed: “We both floored it and the gap just kept on growing. Because the car is so stealthy he had no idea what was under the bonnet. I love that, the surprise element.” As surreptitious as this ride is, the keen eye will spot a few subtle modifications to the interior and exterior. Clearly Dips’ years of experience have given him a very clear idea of what should, and importantly what should not be fiddled with. Externally he’s tinted the windows, and to maintain the car’s clean and sleek appearance the locks, side-repeators and the badges removed, the door handles and mirrors colour-coded. Up front the kidney grille has been blackened, highlighting the car’s imposing front end. This look is reaffirmed by the smoked Hella headlights, iS front lip spoiler and SE side skirts.

    On the interior the saga continues. Cloth Recaro beige seats look smart and work well with the car’s green hue, while the colour-coded steering wheel also helps with the subtle but provoking styling. Some of you may also have noticed the beige dashboard that could come as a surprise considering they were only ever available in black. So what’s the deal? In a moment of inspiration Dips decided to colonise the original dashboard. In layman’s terms this meant removing it, and colouring it with beige leather dye. He tells me, “I wasn’t sure if it would work but I thought it was worth a try. It came out so well that everyone thinks it’s an original item. I don’t know why BMW never thought to do it themselves, it really does transform the interior space.”

    I have to agree with Dips here, it’s a fantastic idea that looks like a factory option. He tells me he is able to do this for customers too, and the good news is it’s extremely affordable, and one modification I sincerely recommend for any BMW owner. Finally, the ride is set off with 16” Borbet C wheels that are more than fitting and in keeping with the old skool theme. Dips also had one last treat for us: a colourcoded Mini Moto housed in the boot! Straight pimpin’ I think you’ll agree.

    As the day draws to a close I ask Dips if the car is finished. Laughing, he tells me, “Nowhere near, we’re ripping out the engine next week and sticking in the S70 5.6 litre V12 from the #850CSi #E31 . I’ve got an E30 #M3 with a 4.6-litre #TVR V8 lump and it’s getting lonely!”

    Dips is an addict, he loves and needs modified BMWs in his life, and plainly if the scene is to keep on moving forward, the BMW community needs him too.


    ENGINE: 2.5-litre straight-six M20, Eaton M90 long nose supercharger with custom mounting brackets, custom inlet plate with twin returns, E36 2.22” 6 rib drive pulley, modified E36 crank pulley, E36 power steering pulleys, fuel power boost valve, EMF-2 fuel computer, relocation of the ECU relays and air flow meter, Custom Cars stainless steel exhaust system, NOS setup. Custom Cars short shift kit CHASSIS: 7.5x16” Borbet C wheels shod in 205/45 Falken tyres all round. 60mm drop on Spax springs and shocks, Custom Cars front strut brace. Standard brake discs and pads.

    EXTERIOR: iS front lip spoiler, black kidney grille, SE side skirts, colour-coded mirrors and door handles, de-locked, de-badged, side repeaters deleted, flushed boot lid, smoked Hella headlights and indicators, smoked rear lights, light smoked window tints.

    INTERIOR: Cloth beige Recaro interior, dyed beige dashboard, colour-coded steering wheel, colour-coded mini moto in boot ICE: Pioneer MP3 player, Focal 5” speakers.

    THANKS: Custom Cars (07958 432167) and everyone that helped with the project, especially my mate Clive Anderson for the fabrication work.

    Classic Borbet C alloys reflect the Touring’s subtle styling while a colour-coded mini moto is a tasty extra.

    M90 Eaton long nosed ’charger takes up plenty of room; at least it’s bringing an additional 80bhp to the party years of experience have give.

    Dips a clear idea of what should and, importantly, what should not be fiddled with.

    Colonised beige dash looks beautiful and updates the cabin perfectly, green steering wheel adds a neat touch.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Why would you build a race car using a four-door #E30 Saloon? Well, why not? And this turbocharged, wide-body, big-winged example is as wild as they come. Why did ESM Wheels and #DTM FiberWerkz decide to build a race car out of a four-door shell? Well, because they could… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Kevin Raekelboom.

    Because race car’ is a ubiquitous phrase these days, but what is the question? ‘Why have you got that enormous spoiler?’ Possibly. ‘Why can’t I ride shotgun when you go to the McDonald’s drive-thru?’ Perhaps. But if you’re Californian rim aficionado ESM Wheels, the question is: ‘why is there nothing but scaffolding there when I open your rear doors?’

    The reason for using a four-door as a race car base is principally to provoke questions, of course, and it’s all the more brilliant that the superfluous back entrances still open to reveal the inaccessible Alpine white jumble of pipes within. Any doubts toward the merits of the two-door saloon’s less popular moredoor sibling are instantaneously vaporised on sight of this frankly obscene creation. It’s as wide as your dirty uncle’s grin and twice as naughty.

    The reason for this outrageous E30’s existence owes to the two brands beneath the EuroStopUSA umbrella: ESM Wheels and DTM FiberWerkz – the former being a major player in the aftermarket wheel arena, the latter doing all sorts of innovative things in the field of body addenda.

    “EuroStopUSA was established in #2002 and was strictly a car performance shop selling custom body kits, wheels, exhausts and lowering springs, mainly catering to BMWs,” says founder Ary Minassian. “Customers soon began to seek out the unique nature of the creative design of our own products, which naturally created the ESM Wheels brand and DTM FiberWerkz BMW aerodynamics products.” DTM FiberWerkz grew by word-of-mouth to be one of the largest BMW-focused body kit designers for street, show, track and drift, going as far as sponsoring Formula Drift star Michael Essa in his GTR widebody- kitted #E46 #M3 ; ESM, meanwhile, evolved through offering to the market that which wasn’t really available anywhere else, initially creating low-offset 16” retro mesh designs, and now selling countless designs from 15-20” in a giddying array of colours, fitments and specs. And the E30 you see before you serves to showcase where the two brands have reached in #2014 . But if they’re forging forward into the market of fresh, modern BMWs, why choose an old-skool model like this?

    “When I was a kid I lurked on #BMW internet forums and I subsequently developed an obsession with 1980s DTM race cars. The designs and aerodynamics of the BMWs were just insane! I always dreamed of one day designing parts for BMWs in a similar style; this is how our brand and products evolved. And why choose a four-door? Well, it was just to be different!”

    When the car was purchased it was wearing its factory Alpine white, a colour which has been comprehensively refreshed in the course of the build and is still very much in evidence inside the car; the lurid exterior hue is a wrap, courtesy of SS Motorsports – it’s Porsche Viper green, since you ask. “The car’s a #1987 #325i , and it was in okay condition when I bought it,’ says Ary. ‘But after driving it around for a while I was itching to start turning my obsession into a reality. So we stripped the car down and designed a wide-body kit that’s one of the most extreme things we’ve ever done – at that point, the DTM Obsession kit was born.” And you have to agree, it’s a devastatingly aggressive piece of design. Those rear arch extensions, for example, they’re part Eighties Touring Car, part bosozoku, and all muscle, wrapping round into a chunky rear bumper that wears a pure race car diffuser at its base, with the classic touch of a ducktail above it, crafted from bare lacquered carbon fibre. Ducktails are a big deal in BMW circles but it’s not all that often that you see them on E30s. However, you’d be forgiven for not noticing that cheeky flick of black weave straightaway, as the rear aspect is somewhat dominated by that wing. Subtle it ain’t. It’s a GT Spec race spoiler, mounted to the floor through the rear panel, and forms part of an uncompromising aero package that really helps the DTM aura to walk the walk.

    Moving round to the front, you’ll find all manner of carbon-fibre trinkets, including that rather unmissable vented bonnet, necessary to waft out the vast swathes of heat that are generated beneath. You see, this is very far from being all show and no go… Under the bonnet malevolently lurks the #M20 engine, teased out to a stroked 2.7-litres in order to infuse a little extra muscle to proceedings. But that wouldn’t be boisterous enough for such a brutal aesthetic, so Ary and his boys have frisbee’d a whacking great turbo under there, too, for good measure. A Garrett GT35 sits perkily on a custom top-mount tubular manifold, hungrily fed by a frontmount intercooler – it’s enough to ensure that everything between those Alpine white inner wings is stuffed to the gills with galloping horsepower with not an inch wasted. It’s an impressively old-skool approach to stroke and blow the rumbling old M20 rather than swapping in a modern six-banger, and it’s entirely in keeping with the retro DTM vibe that Ary was keen to recreate.

    All of this race-bred tuning and performance carries neatly over to the interior, naturally, which is just as serious a race track workplace as you could hope for. It’s pure function in there, with no messing about or time for frivolity. The driver nestles securely into a Sparco race bucket, clamped firmly by an appropriately named G-Force harness, with a grippy NRG steering wheel to hang on to and a Stack dash displaying the vital signs within an artfully crafted custom carbon-fibre dash. Around him snakes a custom welded-in rollcage, the handiwork of JMP Auto, with all manner of racy braces and gussets… and that’s it. It may have functional rear doors, but there’s nowhere to go once you open them – this is all purpose and all utility, because race car.

    The width of those rear quarters is something that requires a second look, as it really does take the breadth of the E30 to staggering levels. Ary has left a sort of service hatch within the door shuts – necessary to allow the rear doors to open, of course – which reveals just how wide the footprint of the 325i now is; looking down from above, you can see most of the top of the R888 standing proud of the stock arch position and nestling comfortably within the DTM FiberWerkz bolt-ons, and this aspect of the car sums up the whole build rather neatly – as Ary says, the focus of their work is to fulfil the customers’ desire for unique, outstanding designs, and there are few things that would make that point quite like a bright green four-door 3 Series that’s as wide as a California sunset. And the extensive use of carbon-fibre throughout the car, coupled with the removal of anything at all that isn’t required for track action, leads to a car that belies its girth by being as light as a feather.

    “It’s thanks to our sponsors that this build came about,” Ary smiles. “ #Toyo , #Sparco , #JMP-Auto , SS Motorsports, Megan Racing, NRG Innovations, they all helped to pull my vision together.” And, yes, corporate alliances are vital to modern business but that parting shot doesn’t tell the full story: this car is more than just a company showcase for Ary. It’s the fulfilment of a lifelong dream, a physical manifestation of his childhood Touring Car aspirations, and it plays that role perfectly. The combination of nu-wave rims, stance, old-skool race car looks and retro motive power adds up to a killer mix that will be turning heads for years to come. So why that wing, why so green, why no back seats, why so wide? C’mon, dude. You don’t even need to ask.

    2.7-litre stroker M20, MLS head gasket, ARP stud kit, custom-built turbo kit, GT35 turbo, front-mount intercooler, custom tubular top-mount turbo manifold and intake plenum, #MS2 engine management, Clutchmaster race clutch.

    9.5x17” (front) and 11x17” (rear) custom one-off ESM Forged wheels (powdercoated matt black), 245/40 (front) and 275/40 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, Mega Racing coilovers, custom front and rear roll bars, Wilwood 310mm big brake kit with braided lines.

    Custom ‘DTM Obsession’ widebody kit from DTM FiberWerkz, carbon-fibre front lip, carbon-fibre side diffusers and rear diffuser, carbon-fibre roof skin, carbon-fibre M1-style vented bonnet, carbon-fibre CSL-style bootlid, DTM vented carbon-fibre mirrors, GT Spec race wing with custom designed mounting to floor, all parts designed and manufactured by DTMFiberWerkz.

    Custom welded full race roll-cage by JMP Auto, colour-matched #Alpine white; Sparco racing seat, Stack cluster dials, NRG racing wheel.

    ESM Wheels, DTM FiberWerkz, Toyo Tyres, Sparco Racing, JMP Auto, SS Motorsports, Megan Racing, NRG Innovations.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    What’s in your Garage?

    We meet a man with a fine selection of rare and modified BMWs in South Africa.

    The finest BMW collection on the African continent and arguably one of the best in the southern hemisphere, each one of these eight machines is a masterpiece in its own right Words: Johann Venter. Photography: Oliver Hirtenfelder.

    Jack Kaplan’s reputation precedes him. His cars have been featured in BMW Car multiple times over the years and won countless accolades. Indeed, they continue to do so, including numerous classes at the South African BMW Car Club’s annual Concours. This year was no exception, his #2002 Turbo taking top honours in the d’Honneur Modified, Best Classic and Best 2002 classes.

    As we arrive at Jack's home under the cover of darkness for our 5.30am shoot, snapper Oli cannot contain himself and starts shooting before Jack can completely raise the garage door. Each masterpiece is neatly cocooned in a grey car cover; six cars are housed in the one garage while the remaining two share a second garage with less favourable stablemates. Once all the covers are removed one is completely seduced as some of the most revered models that BMW has ever spawned are revealed – it is truly a sight to behold.

    Jack is a true petrolhead, having raced his own cars and several dragsters, with an astonishing ensemble of BMWs, yet he is the most softly-spoken gentleman I have come across. After Oli has snapped away to his heart’s content Jack treats us to breakfast before we delve into his collection. It is hard to believe that before buying his first #BMW in #1983 Jack was considering a #Skyline #GTX 2.8. Thankfully a friend intervened – pointing Jack in the direction of an #E30 #323i – and sanity prevailed. Jack’s immediate impressions were that the BMW was much better put together in terms of the fit and finish and once he had driven the car he was sold. Ever since then he has been infatuated with BMW.

    Jack confesses that he has had quite a few BMWs over the years. That’s nothing to be ashamed of Jack, we like the fact that you've had multiple BMWs! “I regret not having kept all of them but then I could not afford to get a new one without trading in the old one. Once I could afford to not have to trade them in I kept all of them,” he explained.

    They say that you always remember your first true love, so what impression did the 323i leave on Jack? “The 323i led me to bigger and better things,” he replied. “These cars were known for cambelt failure and mine was no different so while my engine was being repaired I traded it in for an #E30 #325i Saloon, in Henna red. It was a great car, I really loved it. The handling was superb, it was a true driver’s car.” Jack then opted for the first version of the E30 #325iS (commonly known as the Evo 1) in silver, a South African special with a 2.7-litre engine partly developed with #Alpina . It had a power output of 197hp (145kW) and a maximum torque figure of 195lb ft (265Nm). “Not to get into too much detail but let’s just say that the iS was too much car for me to handle at that point,” he told us.

    True to form, Jack then followed this by getting the second iteration of the iS: the Evo 2. It’s the Alpine white one you can see in the photos. Jack got it as a company car in 1991. It still has the original windscreen and the air-con has never been regassed yet it can create an Arctic atmosphere in seconds. It’s a bit of a sleeper – bog standard on the outside except for the grille that has been colour-coded like E30 racers of old. “The engine has been enhanced by gas-flowing the cylinder head and installing a 280-degree camshaft. The late great Tony Viana [legendary BMW race driver in South Africa] installed the Unichip, the air-box was modified and a specially fabricated Sports exhaust was fitted,” Jack revealed.

    South Africans were denied the E30 M3 as it was produced in left-hand drive only and were therefore so much more receptive to the launch of #E36 M3 in South Africa 21 years ago, compared to the lukewarm reception it received in Europe. The initial batch that landed in South Africa predominantly had cloth seats that were structurally different from the leather ‘Vader’ seats. Jack elaborated: “I wanted the black Nappa leather seats so I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity. Fortunately I managed to keep the iS and used the #M3 as my daily-driver, but soon thereafter decided on a V6 Ford Ranger bakkie [pick-up] as a runaround. It used to jump around a lot on the road so I put a bag of cement in the boot.” The Alpine white car we see here, however, is very different from the car that Jack took delivery of in #1993 . A picture on the garage wall shows the M3 fitted with a front spoiler that made it look more like a snow plough and although the original bumper has been refitted, things are not that subtle at the rear as the boot spoiler looks like it belongs on a Learjet. The upgrades are not all cosmetic, though, as Jack explained: “It still has the original #S50 , 3.0-litre motor but to spice things up a Vortech supercharger producing 0.9bar (13.05psi) of boost was fitted and, to add to the fireworks, nitrous was added resulting in 428hp at 7000rpm.”

    At this point it seems that Jack tired of sporty Bavarian coupés and opted for an American peoplecarrier: “In #1996 I imported a brand-new left-hand drive #Chevy #Surburban 5.7-litre V8. It has three rows of seats that can comfortably seat eight people and weighs 2.7 tons. It has a cavernous boot, ideal for long stints and that is exactly what I use it for – travelling to Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape, although it only has 116,000km (72,079 miles) on the clock.” Thereafter Jack bought his first BMW 5 Series in the form of an #E39 #540i Individual with the six-speed ‘box, not a bad first choice for a 5 Series. “I really didn’t enjoy it and it didn’t fit in my collection. My wife drove it for a while and then we tired of it,” he said.

    The next car in his collection is probably the biggest show-stopper in the collection. Apparently traffic comes to a standstill and people swarm around the car whenever he takes it out to an event. “The E30 M3 is such an icon and unfortunately we never got it in South Africa,” Jack explained. “In fact, I think there are only three road-going examples in the country so you can understand why people react the way they do. I acquired this Lachs silver example in #1997 after two years of pursuing the owner with whom I conducted business with. Unfortunately his business was liquidated; I tracked down the liquidators and bought the car from them.” This is a very attractive colour and the car looks like it has just driven off the production-line. “Thousands of hours have been invested trying to achieve perfection,” Jack said. “The car was completely stripped and rebuilt from the bottom up.” Purists will once again be raising their eyebrows as Jack has fitted #E36-M3 Motorsport rims. “The E30 M3 was fitted with the #BBS crossspoke rims, as was the E30 Shadowline and iS.

    However, I really wanted my E30 M3 to be different and standout from the rest as it truly is a special car and even more so in the South African context,” Jack justified. “Those E36 M3 Motorsport rims are my ultimate favourite, you’ll see that my whole garage is full of them and if I can find another set I will buy it.” Many folk give Jack plenty of flak for not keeping his cars – especially the ones that are so collectable – completely original: “People often ask me why I don’t keep my cars as BMW intended. Whenever I get a car I change at least the pedals, exhaust and the steering wheel; this is something that I have always done. But I keep all the original parts. I always remove the radios as I prefer listening to the exhaust.” So what changes has Jack made underneath the skin of his E30 M3? “The engine has been enlarged to 2493cc through the replacement of the crankshaft and connecting rods. The cylinder head was gas-flowed and a 260-degree Schrick camshaft was installed, together with a Unichip. Better breathing apparatus was also fitted in the form of a #K&N air filter, modified air-box and a stainless steel Sports exhaust.”

    Jack does have a bit of a thing for the E30 shape though and his iS indulgence does not end with the white one he’s owned from new. “In #1999 I came across a panel beater who had managed to find an iS bodyshell. His intention was to build the car to his specifications, unfortunately he ran into financial difficulty so I bought it from him. He’d already painted the car in the colour you see here, which is a metallic dark green [this was definitely not a factory option], slightly lighter than British racing green. That is all that he had done to the car. This really gave me the opportunity to build the iS the way I wanted to.”

    We’ve seen Jack’s need for speed so we can’t resist but ask what lies underneath the bonnet? “I managed to source a 3.5-litre Alpina #M30 motor and went the whole hog again by fitting a Vortech supercharger producing 0.9bar (13.05psi) of boost and nitrous was added resulting in 373hp at 6209rpm,” he replied. That sounds like a lot of power for such a small and lightweight car. “Initially I really struggled to put all the power down onto the road. The car suffered from massive wheelspin in virtually ever gear,” he continued. “The car was also fitted with two Unichips but it was undrivable until I took it to Gavin Wilkens – the well-known South African drag champion who runs GW Racing, a specialist in high performance upgrades. Gavin advised that we fit a Domingo management system, so we did, and now you can use the car as a daily driver. It is actually now a pleasure to drive.” This iS wasn’t just used on the road though, as Jack has also raced it. “Why else do you think I had the nitrous installed?” he grinned. “I used to do the quarter-mile and top-end runs but I don’t think I will race it again in those type of events. I will most likely enter it into Fastest Street Car events or gymkhanas.”

    Jack definitely has a need for speed but we can’t help but wonder where this came from? “I developed my love for speed when I was knee-high, building soap boxes with pram wheels. In #1962 I progressed to a 50cc two-stroke Zundapp bike and then a 50cc Suzuki and then moved to the big league in the form of a Honda 300s. I first saw guys racing legally at the Tarlton International Raceway drag strip. I also raced the white iS, the E36 M3, and the #Z3 , doing Fastest Street Car races, hillclimbs, quarter-mile and top-end runs. I like gymkhanas with a quarter-mile included. I also like doing the 1km top-end races.”

    So far we’ve talked about what you could call the iconic machinery in this collection but in most people’s eyes the Z3 wouldn’t fall into that category. So what prompted Jack to buy one? “I bought my wife a brand-new red Z3 in #1999 and the following day I bought the white one you see here today. As is the case with virtually all of my cars I set out to put my own finishing touches to the car and decided on a set of ATS rims. Unfortunately the rims were too wide for the car but I bought them anyway and took the car to a panel beater that I had been using for many years. The rear fenders [wings] were summarily cut and extensions of about 75mm were fabricated and welded in. The plastic bumper was then heated and stretched to accommodate the wider wheels. I also then opted to lower the car by about 70mm; I subsequently had to raise it by 15mm as it was too low.”

    Jack’s Z3 was one of the early ones with the 2.8-litre engine so we asked if it felt a little slow in comparison to the rest of his fleet? “At that stage I was driving the E36 M3 more than anything else so there was a massive difference in power when I got into the Z3 which I just could not get used to. To remedy the situation a Powerdyne supercharger with 0.45bar (6.52psi) of boost was fitted. Needless to say I was not satisfied so we removed the motor and replaced it with the E36 M3 3.2-litre engine which had been gasflowed and at the same time fitted a Vortech supercharger with 0.9bar (13.05psi) of boost and a six-speed ‘box. From the outside it’s very apparent that this is not a standard car – it is 150mm wider and 55mm lower. It goes very well, though. The roadholding is superb, although on the top-end you do get a little bit of drift. The highest speed I achieved with it was at Waterkloof which was just over 280km/h. Strangely enough the 3.0-litre E36 M3, although heavier is faster on the top end. The #Z3 has only done 46,000km (28,583 miles).”

    Once Jack had amassed a selection of BMWs from the late 1980s and ’90s he turned his attention to those that he hankered after from the 1970s. “You’ll see I have a picture of a silver Batmobile on my garage wall as well a picture of a 2002 Turbo. I put these pictures up long before I got the cars. They served as a constant reminder that I needed to add these machines to my collection; these cars were always part of my BMW aspirations.”

    The E9 ‘Batmobile’ could be taken for a genuine example at first glance but despite being a replica it looks absolutely magnificent. “I agree,” said Jack, “although this was not the case when I initially got it. I was contacted by the owner who wanted to sell through the BMW Club, so I went and looked at it. The car was very rough and had been in an accident but not well repaired. It was originally a #CSi but fortunately the owner had the entire aero kit that was fitted to the Batmobile, so I decided to take it and got it at a real steal. The car was stripped down completely. It was initially red so we resprayed it Polaris silver. The seats were recovered by #BMW-SA in Rosslyn (tri-colour inserts included) and the front seats were replaced with Recaro Sport seats, as found in the E30 M3.

    “The car had a 3.5-litre #M30 motor which was rebuilt, a set of BBS cross-spoke rims were fitted to complement the chrome mirrors, beadings and wheel arches. I struggled to find the wheel arches. The first set I sourced secondhand from the UK. I shouldn’t have bothered, what was sent was appalling.

    Eventually I managed to find a set in the States. It took four years to do the restoration, but it was worth it as the car now looks fantastic… and goes even better.”

    Jack’s #2002-Turbo should need no introduction as it featured in the September issue of BMW Car. It’s a lovely car. Jack told us its history: “When I acquired the car it was already Chamonix white. When Nicky Oppenheimer ordered it in #1974 he had three requests: that it be Golf yellow and fitted with electric windows and an electric sunroof. According to Robert Gruenberger, founder of the 2002 Turbo Club in Germany, four of these cars were shipped to Angola.

    To make it more drivable I had a Turbonetics turbo fitted with 0.62bar (8.9psi) of boost, together with a purpose-built intercooler. In addition, an Electromotive direct ignition system was fitted, the cylinder head gas-flowed and a custom-built Sports exhaust installed. To improve the ride and handling Bilstein dampers and a front custom-made strut-brace were fitted. The brakes were uprated with 305mm ventilated cross-drilled Wilwood discs with matching Superlight 4-pod callipers in the front and 255mm drums at the rear.”

    The last machine in Jack’s collection – a #635CSi #E24 – is a trifle unusual as it hasn’t been treated to the usual set of upgrades, as Jack explained: “In my opinion it’s the most handsome GT BMW has ever produced. Mine is an #1984 model with the #E28 running gear which makes for better handling. This car is completely original, I have done absolutely nothing to it. It even has the radio that I bought it with. It is Opal green with a Perlbeige interior and came with all the extras of a luxury GT of the day including leather Sports seats (unfortunately not Recaros), air-con, electric windows, sunroof and seats. The drive is superb thanks to the manual ‘box together with the limited-slip differential. It’s definitely one of the great touring cars of its time”.

    All of Jack’s cars are pristine and completely spotless. He’s achieved this through his lifelong dedication to cleaning, maintaining and enhancing each of these paragons. What stands out most for us, however, is the craftsmanship, precision and attention to detail that is found underneath each bonnet. This is in part achieved through the extensive use of Russell braided fuel lines, adaptors, hoses, hose ends, tube nuts and Raceware aerospace-quality engine fasteners. One side of Jack’s garage wall is covered in certificates, a testament to what he has achieved with these shining examples of Bavarian metal.

    We can’t leave without asking which one of this superb fleet is Jack’s favourite? “Without a doubt, it’s definitely the white iS,” he said with a grin. “The only cars I drive regularly, though, are the green iS and the Z3. The others I only take to shows and events, although I mostly drive my V8 #Chevrolet #Lumina SS 6.0-litre bakkie.”

    “In my opinion it’s the most handsome GT BMW has ever produced”

    The newest car Jack has is the #1999 Z3. We ask him why this is? “The newer BMWs are fantastic but they don’t give me that driving by the seat-of-yourpants experience,” he told us. “It’s almost as if the car is driving you. Newer BMWs give me the sensation that I am in a plane that is on auto-pilot.”

    While a modern BMW might not feature in Jack’s plans there is one more icon that’s still missing from his collection, a machine that has so far eluded him: “There is a picture of an #M1 on my garage wall that still needs to come to fruition,” he revealed. Well, knowing Jack’s attention to detail you can guarantee that when one does arrive it’ll be the best on the African continent!

    “It took four years to do the restoration, but it was worth it as the car now looks fantastic… and goes even better”
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    ROB’S #BMW-E30 #318i

    Brands Hatch 1994: at seven years old I was attending my first motor race, watching arguably one of the greatest eras of the BTCC . ‘Smokin’ Jo Winkelhock blasting round in the Schnitzerprepped E36 318i on his way to winning both races around the Kent circuit that day. That day lodged firmly in my mind the idea that BMW was the car to go motor racing in and, just 21 years later, that’s exactly what I intend to do! Well hillclimbs and sprints at least.

    Here is my #1986 E30. It shares little with the #E36 Super Tourer that Winkelhock was racing on that August weekend in ’94 other than it has four doors and a 318i badge on the boot. I have owned her for a little over five years. Bought for the princely sum of £800 it was completely standard and in need of recommissioning but she was my first BMW and I loved her. She was my daily driver and served me extremely well. The clutch and brake hydraulics were renewed or replaced, she was polybushed throughout and treated to Spax dampers and 40mm lowing springs with 8.5x15” banded steels running 195/50 tyres to set off the look. Eventually an #E46 #328i took over daily duties which freed up the E30 for a project on a budget and although it may not be the obvious choice for a race build it’s certainly not the strangest car ever converted for racing.

    So, where to go from here? Well, I’ve started the diet: the interior is partly stripped-out, the rear bumper is off and the bonnet and boot have been replaced with fibreglass items. In the coming weeks and months more weight will be shed with polycarbonate windows, a sunroof delete and in any other way I can. A roll-cage will be installed as well as the obligatory bucket seat and four-point harness. I also have #325i front struts to convert to coilovers when funds allow, as well as a rear end so I can convert from drums to disc brakes. The engine is still the stock 1.8-litre #M10 unit apart from an electric cooling fan and an ITG cold air filter. I have plans to upgrade the engine as the M10 is a strong motor and is a well-tuned engine in historic circles so I don’t see why I can’t do the same. Having said that an engine swap isn’t out of the question down the line. So there it is, my #E30 project. I hope you enjoy the updates in the coming months.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    A Belgian #BMW-E30-Cabriolet #M20 on air with style and flair to spare. It may hail from north-eastern Belgium but this shimmering #E30-325i is pure Hollywood through and through… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Kevin Raekelboom.

    When you picture the gleaming, sun-scorched highways of Hollywood circa 1989-ish, what pops into your head? Stickyhaired execs in pastel-hued suits driving #Porsche-911 Turbos, Lamborghini Countachs and Ferrari Testarossas? Yes, that sort of hedonistic supercar excess does seem to characterise the cash-rich ostentatiousness of the era, but there is one slightly more attainable car that shouts just as loudly: the #E30 #325i cabriolet. If there’s one motor that really encapsulates the white-teeth, go-go nature of late-Eighties California, this is it – it goes hand-in-hand with Ray Bans, massive cell phones, and rolling your suit sleeves up to the elbow.

    To many enthusiasts of today, this is the image of the #BMW-E30 that they wish to tap into. The second-generation 3 Series has been with us since 1982, its production running into the early Nineties, and we’ve seen pretty much any and every interpretation of them possible – race cars with insane aero, #Chevy-V8 swaps, lovingly restored bone-stock chrome-bumper 316 automatics, you name it. For some, the tantalisingly evocative moniker ‘E30’ immediately conjures images of the original #M3 , all rorty four-banger charm and unstoppable race dominance. But to others, it’s all about rounding Sunset and Vine in a drop-top #325i , on your way to Paramount to stick your nose into the filming of Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade. It’s a car for upwardly mobile, perma-tanned young go-getters.

    This is clearly a lifestyle to which young Belgian Tom Vandeweyer aspires. “I wanted an older BMW with a bit of horsepower,” he explains, “and I’m crazy about lowering, so it was always bound to turn out this way.” Aha – here, of course, is where that retro Hollywood aesthetic receives its contemporary twist. This particular 325i, as you may well have spotted, is sitting on the floor, like, right on it. And these are the kind of lows that are most effectively achieved in this day and age by the judicious application of some clever air-filled bladders sprinkled around the suspension system. “It had to be crazy low, and for a while I was running static,” he says, “but it got to the stage where I was just too paranoid about damaging it, and I didn’t want to be in a position where I was too apprehensive to drive the thing, which led to me swapping to air-ride.”

    This conversion was taken care of by the renowned madcap spring professors at Kean Suspensions, a name that seems to be everywhere on the Euro tuning scene these days. Tom remains tight-lipped about the full spec of his setup (as we often find – some owners are eager to show off the details of their suspension spec or the precise offsets of their wheels while others prefer to preserve an air of mystery) but suffice to say it flies the flag for Kean’s trademark mix of quality components, exemplary fit-and-finish, and focus on optimising ride quality first, then aesthetics. “It actually rides better than my daily-driver #E90 ,” says Tom, “and I love the air install in the boot, it’s one of my favourite modifications to the car – it’s so neat, it looks perfect, and I can still use the boot.”

    There’s more to this build than simply dropping it on its butt and bothering a few speed bumps, however. Tom has been playing the long game with this project and it shows in the details. Everywhere you look you find fastidious polishing, millimetre-perfect stitching, an overall feeling of care and love. It’s impressive that the thing gets driven at all, let alone used regularly and hard; he must be tremendously busy with his polishing gear.

    “I’ve had the car for five years now and every winter I aim to change something significant,” he tells us with pride. “The most noticeable change is the suspension but there’s a lot more to the car than how it sits. The focus for the build is quality, I want everything to be the best it can be. At first I was running it on coilovers over Keskin KT4 rims and it was about 3cm from the ground. Like I say, it got to the point where I was scared to drive it! But I’m back in love with it now, Kean has transformed it.”

    You can imagine just what a pleasant place that interior is to pilot the thing from, too. It’s very much in keeping with that oldskool Hollywood vibe but, again, with a more modern twist. The seats, in fact, are #E36 #M3 items, to add a bit of extra support and class, and have been reworked in line with Tom’s views on quality parts. “It’s all trimmed in Porsche leather with contrasting red stitching,” he grins. And you can see why he’s so chuffed with it – even in photos, you can almost feel the silky softness, smell the hide, imagine its smooth grain caressing your posterior… it’s a mark of quality that works perfectly in tandem with the timeless E30 interior. And, yes, ‘timeless’ is the right word; while the switchgear and materials may look dated in comparison to #2014 fare, the overall setup of the Eighties 3 Series is nigh-on perfect and transcends the ages. With the dash centre angled toward the driver, a perfectly positioned gearstick and sensibly sited dials, it’s all just as a quality interior should be.

    One area in which Tom’s playing the 325i’s retro credentials to the fullest is what’s going on under the bonnet. Yes, engine swaps are rife in the tuning scene and it’s not particularly tricky to throw, say, an #M50 from an #E36 in there, but this enthusiast has stayed true to the core principles of the model as BMW intended by hanging on to that original M20 unit. And why not, eh? It’s a damn fine engine, the 12v fuel-injected straight-six offering up a handy 170hp-ish in stock tune. Tom’s bolstered this somewhat with the obligatory K&N induction, as well as adding a custom Inox stainless steel exhaust system, so the old girl is inhaling and exhaling a little more freely. As such, the bark from those chunky twin tails has a pleasingly classic note, just a little bit more rugged and angry than the standard rasp that used to ricochet between so many Californian studios back in the Falcon Crest era.

    Now, it’d be easy for a cynic to dismiss the #BBS RS as a played-out wheel design, but it’s important to consider the appropriateness of the RS for this car in particular. We all know how fiercely competitive people can get when it comes to choosing what rolling stock to squeeze under their arches. For a lot of folk it has to be the newest, freshest design from the trendiest aftermarket manufacturer (‘you’re doing the 2014 show season on a set of Rotiform BLQs? You’re so 2012…’) while for others it’s all about hunting down and restoring the rarest motorsport rims, with BBS turbofans being a particular favourite right now. But when you think about the history of the ubiquitous BBS RS, it all makes sense. Having pioneered cost-effective ways of mass-producing threepiece rims in the late 1970s and early ’80s, the company released the first three-piece splitrim for street applications, the RS, in 1983. Available in 15” or 16” and a whole lot of widths, you got forged aluminium lips and centres that came in a choice of silver or gold. Contemporary motorsport fans went bananas for the latter. With massive global demand, BBS followed the RS with a two-piece version (the RM) and a one-piece (the RA), thus elevating the RS to top-of-the-tree status. (Then they brought out the Super RS, a twopiece 18” version… but we’re in danger of getting needlessly geeky now.) With all this in mind, you can see why Tom made the choice that he did for his 325i. It’s just what those late-Eighties Hollywood wideboys would have chosen for their cabriolets, duking it out with the Alpina and Schnitzer fellas with their frisson of spangly-gold motorsport aggression. Yes, they’re so hot right now, but the RSs suits the E30 cab down to a tee. “I’ve had other wheels on the car but these suit the period the car’s from the best,” says Tom, summing it up rather neatly.

    This #BMW 325i, then, is effectively an old-skool boulevardier that’s been magically transported to 2014 via some sort of celestial low-loader. In the process, the cosmos has seen fit to Photoshop the whole thing a few inches closer to the ground but otherwise it’s just the kind of thing that moneyed executives would have fallen over themselves to climb into in period. Just look at the flawless paint – looks brand-new, doesn’t it? “Yes, it’s been resprayed in the original Diamond black,” Tom confirms. And doesn’t it just highlight how straight and true every panel is? It complements the shimmering perfection of the BBS rims, too, which is just as a #BMW-325i should be. If you can think of a more appropriate car to cruise top-down along Santa Monica Boulevard (er, 25 years ago) we want to hear about it.


    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.5- litre straight-six #M20B25 , #K&N induction, Inox stainless steel exhaust, stock manual gearbox.

    CHASSIS: 7.5x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) BBS RS wheels with 205/40 (front and rear) Toyo Proxes tyres, Kean Suspensions air-ride setup, front strut brace, EBC RedStuff brakes.

    EXTERIOR: Diamond Black, M-Tech bumpers, smoked head- and taillights, Shadowline grille, 6000K xenons, carbonfibre badges, yellow fogs, light brows.

    INTERIOR: E36 M3 seats trimmed in Porsche leather with red stitching, VDO gauges, Schmiedmann mats, air-ride show install in boot, Alpine head unit with Axton amp and Shabir components.

    THANKS: All of my friends for their help, Schmiedmann and Kean Suspensions for their good service.
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  • The old #BMW #323i #E30 could never be described as slow, but the 2.5-litre-engined #M20B25 #325i E30 that replaces it is a plainly quicker machine with an engine of almost miraculous smoothness and reasonable economy. Handling is as crisp as E30 323i's but the ride more supple. Gearchange, instruments and ergonomics are also excellent but accommodation and equipment are beaten by cheaper rivals.
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