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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  • The video BMW E30 Transformation in 10 Minutes! has been featured.
    BMW E30 Transformation in 10 Minutes!
    In this video Robin his BMW E30 transformation in 10 minutes. This parts has been renewed before we record: Brake Disks, Hand Brake Cables, Timing Belt (Wate...
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  •   Bob BMW reacted to this post about 8 months ago
    Bob BMW uploaded a new video
    / #BMW / #BMW-E30-Air-Lift
    BMW E30 Transformation in 10 Minutes!
    In this video Robin his BMW E30 transformation in 10 minutes. This parts has been renewed before we record: Brake Disks, Hand Brake Cables, Timing Belt (Wate...
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  •   Wilhelm Lutjeharms reacted to this post about 8 months ago
    Into hibernation for the winter

    CAR: 1989 BMW 320i Convertible
    OWNER: Glen Waddington

    / #1989-BMW-320i-Convertible / #1989 / #BMW-320i-Convertible / #BMW-320i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-M20 / #M20B20 / #BMW-320i-E30 / #BMW-320i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-E30-M20 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet-M20 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet-E30

    I feel somewhat bereft this evening. My final autumn drive was to take the BMW to its winter storage location. My garage will soon be a building site, as part of it is converted into a home office. And RH Classics ( uk), based near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, kindly offered the BMW a winter home at its expanding storage facility.

    I got very lucky with the weather. Not warm, but bright and crisp, so I gave the E30 a wash and buff-up, lowered the roof and headed out on the 40-mile drive. It’s at times like this that I’m glad the first owner shelled out for heated seats – and that I shelled out for a new blower motor a couple of years ago, when the original packed in. With the windows up you get the full daylight yet not too much buffeting, and the cabin stays cosy. There’s a fabulous road heading out from Market Harborough for the second half of the journey: this part of Leicestershire is relatively empty, very pretty and home to some seriously snaky tarmac. If you fancy seeking it out, it’s the B6047, and it’s especially enjoyable north of the A47, with bend after bend accompanied by matching changes in altitude as it rolls across and through the landscape.

    RH Classics offers several storage options, but all are in a secure, discreet and extremely dry location: the buildings once stored potatoes! Every car is valeted and inspected, and a condition report is agreed with the owner. Fluid levels are checked, the battery disconnected, and the car is fitted with a breathable cover. Optionally the car can be connected to a trickle charger and run up to temperature fortnightly, with a condition check each time, and you can pay extra for bubble-storage. Although I know my car is safe, it was still an emotional process, leaving in the knowledge that this will be the last time I drive it for some time.

    Thankfully, I have a busy season to look back on, with lots of family trips out (that’s what we bought the E30 for, nearly nine years ago now) plus plenty of excuses for a solo blast, not to mention the odd work thing. Most memorable of the latter was in September, the Octane Tour to the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court. We met for early-morning bacon sandwiches at Cliveden, in the Buckinghamshire countryside, then set off with a road book that took us via Marlow and Henley on Thames. The sun was out, but that early start provided the first hint that autumnal weather was imminent. Still, by the time we were queueing along the road in from Staines, the sun was at full strength and jacket and scarf were quickly discarded. Roofoff, naturally, a state of affairs that continued for the 100-mile trip home late that afternoon. Readers might remember that an altercation with the foglamp bracket on a 4x4’s bull-bar had left my tail-light lens cracked. This, at last, has been replaced. The new lens and fixings arrived from BMW Group Classic ( and I was pleased to find that it was simply a case of disconnecting the bulb carrier and removing a few nuts with an 8mm spanner.

    Easing the lens away revealed perfectly preserved paint around the aperture – I’m so thankful that the lens took the impact, and not the metalwork. A quick clean, then the new one went straight in and was soon tightened into place. This is a genuine replacement from Munich and, of course, a perfect fit. Job done.

    Now, as I look up from my desk at the darkness outside, spring seems a long time away. I’ll pay RH Classics a visit at some point but, for now, the BMW is snuggled under a cover, resting. At least I’ve still got the Porsche 944 to hand.

    Left and below: BMW arrives at its hibernation lair, RH Classics; study in dark metallic blue with Mark Dixon’s Range Rover at Cliveden House; new tail-light lens about to be installed; some of the 320i’s winter companions.
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  •   Wilhelm Lutjeharms reacted to this post about 8 months ago
    CHRIS VARGAS #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i-Coupe-E30 / #BMW-325i-Coupe / #BMW-325i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BBS

    Chris picked up his E30 almost four years ago but it looked nothing like it does now; it didn’t run, the interior and paint were in an awful state, and it had numerous leaks, but none of that put Chris off and he got stuck into his new project. “I got the car running which turned out to be the main relay, and she hit the road since that day! I slowly restored this vehicle in my parents’ garage at home, with a little help here and there from my dad. I did everything on this car myself beside the paint job. I did all the maintenance needed to make it reliable on the road and fixed the leaks,” explains Chris, but it’s not just been about maintenance for the car he has named Chapulina and there are plenty of mods on board. The E30’s been dropped on a set of BC coilovers over #BBS-Style-5 splits, and there’s the aforementioned respray along with Euro grilles and OEM ellipsoid headlights, while under the bonnet you’ll find a Conforti chip and a set of long tube exhaust manifolds with an X-pipe and catless exhaust for more power and lots more noise. Inside, meanwhile, you’ll find Recaros and an upgraded stereo system and the end result is one seriously sexy E30.
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  •   MaxNew reacted to this post about 8 months ago
    SIDEWAYS SHOW CAR Turbo #BMW-E30-Drift-Car

    Sometimes we find a #BMW that’s had so many changes it’s hard to spot them all. Ian Walpole’s E30 drifter is one such car and he did it all in his garage at home… Words: Mike Renaut. Photos: Matt Richardson.

    Don’t think of this one as a modified E30. It’s better described as a hand-built race car with a lot of BMW parts. At first glance it looks like a stripped M3 until you realise those arches aren’t quite the same and the back end looks different too… The guys with all the answers are owner Ian Walpole and his mate John Amor who helped him greatly with the build. Between them they’ve built and raced everything from a rally Vauxhall Viva HB to a trials Land Rover. They like a bit of everything, so in 2013 decided it was time for a drift car. “I’ve been into BMWs for a while,” says Ian, “I’ve got an E46 Touring I use for MCC Reliability trials with my dad as navigator – that’s all about stopping in boxes on hills and car control. This E30 was something different again.

    “It took us three years to build,” continues Ian, “I don’t know how my wife Sasha put up with it. Just before we went travelling - around 2011 - I’d bought a #1987 #BMW-325i-Sport-M-Tech-1 purely to drive about. It sat on the driveway unused and when we returned I saw rain had got inside and it was all mouldy. After an MOT and some TLC I tried selling but it wasn’t even worth £1000 so I bought an HX40 turbo and a manifold kit for it. The kit was awful, the ports were offset in the wrong place and John and I like to do things properly, so we started to modify parts to fit and the whole build spiralled out of control.”

    Caged Laser Engineering laser-cut a plate to fit the turbo and another to fit the cylinder head. “We then cut up the cheap manifold and fabricated new flanges and pipes creating a split pulse manifold with external 60mm wastegate and a screamer pipe exiting from the offside wing,” says Ian. “Then someone offered me £700 for the Sport body kit meaning we had money to play with. We pulled the motor apart and the crank was worn, so in went a 2.8 crank from an M52 and shorter rods, we balanced it all to within 0.1 of a gram and honed the block.” As you can tell, Ian has a well-equipped workshop…

    Next the head was reworked by Simon at Orchard Performance for a broad torque band, with oversized valves and porting allowing decent horsepower from a non-aggressive Schrick camshaft. The combustion chambers were modified to improve detonation resistance under boost and optimise combustion, resulting in a fastburning compact chamber that now runs cooler than stock. That alone resulted in an engine with torque enough to get the rear wheels spinning from 2500rpm to the redline. One of the few other areas the guys didn’t do themselves was the baffled sump, “We made one,” says John, “but kept thinking it didn’t quite look right. We reasoned that big companies know what they’re doing when it comes to designing parts, and the idea of oil starvation because we’d made a design mistake was scary, so we bought an off-the-shelf baffle for the sump and welded it in.”

    Currently the car runs 6psi of boost, which means 250whp. “On the first dyno run the boost was cranked up to 12psi which produced a puff of steam from the expansion tank and a misfire,” remembers Ian. “I knew the head gasket was the weakest point but I briefly saw 350whp! We’ve now fitted a Cometic multilayer steel gasket which is thicker than the old one, lowering the compression from 9:1 to 8.5:1 and allowing us to safely run extra boost.” That nitrous bottle in the back actually connects to the chargecooler, a £1000 item bought for just £70 on eBay, “We made a spray nozzle on the lathe so 2bar of pressurised nitrous is fired into the cooler, which freezes the inner radiator veins at -136ºC. This provides constant cool air to the engine,” he says. “I didn’t like the idea of injecting nitrous straight into the engine,” explains Ian, “but used this way it’s a great method of keeping the temperature regulated. When the car’s on the dyno being tuned it’s going to have a different temperature to when it’s outside on a track in hot sunshine.

    This set up keeps it constant to the dyno temperature conditions.” Waste nitrous exits via a pressure relief valve and homebuilt spray bar over the outside of the charge cooler – again helping it keep an optimum temperature. After all that, the boys kept things simpler with the gearbox; it’s the standard 265 Getrag five-speed unit with uprated pressure plate, although the friction plate has been modified with six sintered paddles and uprated springs by Precision Clutches of Yeovil.

    When it came to the body work, there was a clear plan, as Ian explains: “Building this car was all about airflow and weight saving.” The standard bonnet slam panel was getting in the way of that airflow so out came the angle grinder and the front 10” of BMW dropped to the workshop floor to be replaced by a removable lightweight 25mm tube version. “Yeah it’s a bit frightening doing that,” admits John, “but there are two of us so we knew we could fix anything between us.” Keeping the engine cool is a radiator from a 3.0-litre Mitsubishi GTO, but even then the guys couldn’t leave it stock and have handmade an alloy cowling for the 16” fan, “We also cut off the filler neck/cap and ran a bleed hose to an alloy expansion tank.” The fuel cell in the boot was bought from a hill climb car, “It’s an ATL-style bag tank with alloy shroud and the original BMW fuel cap – one of the few original parts that survived the build,” laughs Ian. Fuel travels via a low-pressure pump into a pump feed surge tank to a modified fuel rail and 600cc injectors, then returns to the tank via an adjustable pressure regulator.

    The front spoiler and bumper came from eBay; “It was a cheap part that arrived broken in two. We salvaged it and reinforced it with 0.5” alloy tubing and fibreglass, then cut out the indicator and number plate recesses for better air flow before hanging the bumper on quarter-turn Dzus fasteners,” explains John. The new arches were inspired by a modification Ian made to an Alfa Romeo many years ago and are hand-formed from 16- and 18-gauge steel, while each of the side skirts was made from a single sheet of aluminium, likewise the rear bumper.

    “The straight bends for the side skirts were much easier than the two days of TIG welding that bumper needed,” admits Ian. As for the final colour, “The guy who painted it – Luke Harvey of Tytherington Body and Paint - suggested adding rainbow flake into the lacquer over the black base.” It looks like a normal black until sunlight hits it, then it sparkles. Almost everything else is colour coded in Ian’s favourite Kawasaki Green.

    The boot lid is steel but there’s a carbon fibre one under consideration, “With a drift car you need a certain amount of weight over the back wheels,” says Ian, “we’re still experimenting – it’s more about balance than pure weight reduction.” That’s an M3 boot spoiler but with homemade adaptor plates to fit the non-M3 boot lid. “I fear we might have to fit a huge spoiler for stability in the future though…” says Ian. The weight saving even extends to having the door internals completely gutted and making up new lightweight door latching mechanisms from 15mm billet alloy – drilled, of course, for reduced weight.

    The E30 originally had a sunroof but now even the roof panel is fibreglass - saving 18kg and lowering the centre of gravity. “The roof was £67 on eBay but turned out to be in Glasgow,” laughs John, “we went in a van and did about £200 in fuel; I drove up and fell asleep exhausted when we arrived, so they just dropped the roof in on top of me and Ian drove back. It fitted alright once we cut the steel one off but the glue you use to bond it is £50 a tube.”

    The front screen is the glass one fitted at the factory but the rest of the windows are Lexan, “I bought the door pieces ready cut but made the others myself with a jigsaw to cut the air scoops into the quarter windows,” explains Ian. There are four scoops in total: two force air over the fuel pumps and swirl pot, the other pair are powered by two 12-volt in-line boat fans blowing air through the gearbox and differential coolers – mounted between the rear lights – with the air exiting through the space where the rear number plate used to be.

    The wheels came from Ian’s 2000 750iL; rear hub adaptors were employed to go from four- to five-stud and give an 80mm wider track. The rear suspension comprises HSD Monopro shocks and springs and adjustable trailing arms, all shod with Powerflex Black series bushes. The rear beam lower supports, meanwhile, are now also stronger and longer, which leads us to the front axle. It’s comprised of E36 HSD coilovers with re-drilled strut turrets and top mounts that are adjustable for caster and camber. E36 front hubs run homebuilt hub adaptors and connect to a Z3 steering rack via E46 inner and outer tie rods with four mm rack spacers added for greater lock. The power steering rack is re-engineered by cutting slots internally, allowing free movement of the rack lubricated by a smear of grease and meaning the pipework, pump and reservoir could be removed. That change not only saves weight but also gives better feedback during drifting.
    As for the exhaust system, would it surprise you to learn Ian and John hand built that too from 3” stainless steel tubing? “I cut two 90º bends and joined them to form a T-piece, the exhaust exits just ahead of the rear wheels and as well as being designed for free flow it helps push the tyre smoke back. And there’s plenty of it,” laughs Ian, “I’ve got specialised Achilles purple smoke tyres.”

    Inside two Sparco seats make up the minimalist interior with a Momo wheel and gauges from AEM. The handmade dashboard is covered in Alcantara while all the other important control switches – fans, gearbox and diff pumps – are in a strip console across the top of the windscreen. “It looks great,” says John, “but when you’re strapped into the car we found that was the only place where Ian could still reach the switches.” Low fuel, nitrous engage and low oil pressure warning lights are also fitted. The handbrake lever is carved from a single piece of billet aluminium, as are the door handles. The roll cage has been extensively modified too; it’s lightweight 45mm chromoly seamless tube and started out as a six-point cage but now has double that - along with dash bars, more crossbars and strengthened mounting plates. Even the stock heater is now housed in a much smaller homemade alloy surround, “There’s not much of this car we haven’t touched,” admits John.

    “When I first saw it in paint I didn’t recognise it as my car,” remembers Ian, “it was stunning. We’re both really pleased with how it turned out.” Did working together ever lead to any arguments about parts choices? “I just left all the difficult decisions to Ian,” laughs John, “Yeah and all the difficult jobs too,” jokes Ian. “It was 50% planning and 50% experimenting, some pieces were a bit scary but we bounced ideas off each other.”

    Ian and John both insist this is a drift car, and was never intended to be a show car, but then Ian reveals just how many hours John has spent polishing the engine bay for our photos. “I used an entire tube of Autosol,” admits John, “we weren’t aiming to build a show car but, yes, it did get out of hand.” Thanks also go to Ian’s wife Sasha who apparently “cleans all the bits no one normally sees.”

    Surely then, and this is a sentiment echoed by almost everyone who has seen the BMW, the car is too nice to risk smacking into an Armco by drifting? “Of course it’s going to get hammered,” agrees Ian, “but it’s designed to be hardy. The body is mainly steel, the fibreglass panels can be changed in a few seconds since they’re all on Dzus fasteners and we can rebuild anything we damage on the track - I just hope Luke can match the paint again!”

    THANKS To the staff and visitors at Castle Combe Circuit (, 01249 782417) for their assistance with this feature.

    DATA FILE Turbo Drift #BMW-E30 / #Getrag / #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i / #Holset-HX40 / #Holset / #1987 / #BMW-325i-Turbo-E30 / #BMW-325i-Turbo / #BMW-325i-Drift-Car / #Drift-Car / #BMW-325i-Drift-Car-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #Bosch / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.8-litre single-turbo straight-six M20, aciddipped #M20B25 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 block, modified baffled sump and oil windage tray for better oil return, M52B28 84mm-stroke crankshaft, #M20B20 conrods, M20B25 low-compression pistons with new rings, modified oil pick up and oil filter relocation kit, #ARP big end and main bearing bolts, #ACL-Racing Race Series crankshaft bearings, Saab 9000 turbo 3bar MAP sensor, original cylinder head gas flowed, ported and polished, 1mm-oversized valves with uprated springs, custom torque-focused inlet porting, high gas velocity exhaust ports, custom combustion chambers, improved oil return galleries, uprated rocker arms, 272 #Schrick cam, #Vernier cam pulley, titanium retainers and collets, #Holset-HX40 turbo from a Cummins diesel, bespoke split pulse exhaust manifold, 60mm external wastegate and screamer pipe exiting offside front wing, Mitsubishi GTO radiator with aluminium expansion tank, Ford V6 coil pack and Canems ECU, crank position, intake air temperature, throttle position and manifold absolute pressure sensors, ATL fuel cell, Facet low-pressure fuel lift pump, fuel surge tank, 255lpm #Bosch-044 fuel pump, modified fuel rail, 600cc injectors, adjustable fuel pressure regulator, low-friction AN-6 Teflon hoses, Aeroquip fittings

    TRANSMISSION E30 325i #Getrag-265 five-speed manual, uprated pressure plate, friction plate modified with six sintered paddles and uprated springs, rebuilt E30 limited slip differential

    CHASSIS 8x18” (front) and 9x18” (rear) #BMW-Style-32 wheels with 215/35 Yokohama Prada Spec 2 (front) and 265/35 Achilles ATR Sport Violet purple smoke tyres (rear), E36 HSD Monopro adjustable coilovers, re-drilled strut turrets and adjustable top mounts, E36 front hubs with homebuilt hub adaptors, Z3 steering rack, E46 inner and outer tie rods with 4mm rack spacers, standard subframe with HSD dampers, uprated Powerflex Black Series bushes, adjustable trailing arms and anti-roll bars, E36 #EBC-Turbo grooved 286mm discs with E36 calipers and EBC Yellowstuff pads (front), EBC Turbo Groove 258mm discs (rear), line lock and hydro handbrake with standard handbrake shoes, mechanism and lever removed

    EXTERIOR 901 Black with rainbow glitter lacquer, other details in Kawasaki Green, handmade steel wide-arch front and rear quarters, handmade side skirts, fibreglass roof panel, hand-fabricated removable lightweight 25mm tube slam panel, hand-formed aluminium inner wings, heavily modified reinforced fibreglass front bumper, flushed door locks and filler cap, Lexan windows with air ducts, Titanium exhaust guards, spare tyre well and battery box removed from boot, handmade aluminium boot floor, original number plate recess, boot hinges and bulkhead removed, new handmade ally bulkhead riveted in, Anodised green motorcycle floodlights, front and rear strobes

    INTERIOR Fully stripped out, all sound deadening removed, floor cut and tunnels for side exiting exhausts fabricated, six-point half roll-cage modified into 12-point cage with 45mm crossbars, handfabricated aluminium dashboard, modified heater box to fit behind cage, hydro handbrake and homemade mounting, Sparco seats and STR 3” harnesses, new door inners with home-fabricated lightweight harness material door pulls and latch mechanisms, carbon fibre door cards
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  •   BimmerPost reacted to this post about 9 months ago
    Buying Guide

    An unusual one this month as we take a look at buying and importing the baby M3, an E30 320iS. We never got the E30 320iS in the UK but if you want to bag yourself a slice of M3 without the price tag to match you might want to consider finding one… Words: Simon Holmes. Photography: KGF Classic Cars.

    When it comes to sharing their models, BMW has always been pretty kind to us in the UK. Aside from a few exceptions we’ve been well catered for over the years but one model we did miss out on was the 320iS version of the E30. It’s actually a little ironic that this gem never came to the UK due to the fact we already had what were considered the superior M3 and 325i models. Italy and Portugal weren’t so lucky, though, or at least their tax laws for cars with over 2.0-litre displacements meant severe penalties, which made the high-end E30s other countries were blessed with hard to justify.

    So, keen to let those two countries in on sporty 3 Series action, in 1987 #BMW kindly built a whole new model to specifically cater for those looking for a sportier alternative to the six-cylinder 320i, which was otherwise the range-topper there.

    Available only in left-hand drive format but in both two- and four-door platforms, the 320iS was essentially a hybrid mix of 325i Sport and detuned E30 M3. There were no swollen arches, splitters or spoilers in place and despite sharing the iconic M car’s powerplant there were no M badges present.

    Virtually all of its major running gear, exterior and interior trim parts were shared directly with the 325i Sport but at the heart of the car was the twin-cam, 16-valve S14 engine from the M3. From the outside the engine looked identical to a regular S14, complete with #BMW-M-Power cam cover. But inside it was different. To conform to the sub-2.0-litre tax stipulations, capacity was decreased and instead of the usual 2302cc displacement the 320iS’ S14 had a shorter stroke of 72.6mm compared to the regular M3’s 82mm. This brought capacity down to a more tax-friendly 1990cc and the all-important free-flowing head and individual throttle bodies were left untouched. Despite the fairly substantial drop in displacement power wasn’t affected as much as you might have thought. The peak figure was listed at a slightly lower 192hp compared to the M3’s 200hp and it made that power at the same point in the rev range at 6750rpm. Torque did decrease more substantially, falling from 177lb ft to 155lb ft at 4900rpm but the healthy power output still equated to lively performance, although not quite as sharp as its M related brother. From rest, 62mph came in 7.9 seconds, just over a second slower than an M3 but a second faster than a 318iS, whilst top speed was an impressive 141mph.

    The engine was attached to the same M3 derived five-speed dog-leg gearbox and transferred its power to the wheels via a slightly shorter ratio 3.46:1 differential, complete with LSD. The power-assisted steering rack was the same ratio as the six-cylinder 325i at 20.5:1, making it very slightly slower than an M3’s rack but with less weight up front response was slightly improved. The brakes were also shared with the six-cylinder E30 models, which meant 260mm discs all-round that were solid at the rear and vented at the front, whilst ABS was standard fitment on all cars. Covering the brakes were 14-inch alloy wheels, although the four-door featured slightly narrower sixinch wide items compared to the two-door wheels, which were half-an-inch wider.

    The two-door also featured a full M Tec body kit, shared with the UK-spec 325i Sport. This was made up of a larger front spoiler that covered the whole front valance, side-skirts and upper and lower rear spoilers. The four-door version was a lot subtler, featuring only a basic splitter and spoiler. Aside from the rear badging, there was nothing else to tell the 320iS apart.

    Inside, the interior was standard E30 specification, although the rev counter was similar to the M3 version, which meant it also featured an integrated oil temperature gauge, but without the M badging or red needles. Specification otherwise was fairly basic but central locking, electric windows and mirrors were all standard. The two-door also came fitted with sports seats, an M Tech steering wheel and matching gear knob, which were all options on the four-door. Other options for either model included larger 15-inch alloys, leather trim, heated seats, air-con, an electric or manual sunroof and an on-board computer, among a few other little things.
    Production ran till the end of 1990 and the model was not replaced. Less than 3750 were built in total, around two thirds of those being two-door models.

    Buying one

    As you might expect from a car that was made in limited numbers and only officially available in two countries (both outside of the UK), these cars aren’t exactly easy to find. If you plan on finding one in the UK then be prepared to wait. There are a handful of 320iS’ already living here but no more than a dozen or so and they rarely come up for sale. But if you don’t want to tackle the task of finding one abroad and importing it then it’s worth putting the feelers out with the specialist modern classic companies such as KGF Classic Cars, who supplied the car pictured here some time ago. Munich Legends, 4 Star Classics and Classic Heroes are also worth a contacting but as it’s very much a seller’s market prices tend to start at the £12,000 mark and a really good example will cost nearer £15,000 from a specialist.

    Your other option is to source a car abroad and import it. Sourcing one isn’t too hard and Italian used car websites such as are a good start. We found six for sale relatively easily and prices range from £6500 to £11,500 depending on condition, mileage and specification.

    Once you have found a car and, ideally gone to see it, then getting it back to the UK can be done one of two ways. The easiest solution is to get someone to do the hard work for you and there are plenty of specialist companies that will arrange to bring the car back and do all the paperwork for you. Prices will vary depending on how far the car is from the UK, so get a couple of quotes.

    The other option is to do the legwork yourself by finding a car and then bringing home on your own. If you’re doing this and also want to drive the car home then make sure it has the valid equivalent of an MoT and that it is insured. Insurance can be done through a UK classic car specialist as the E30 is old enough to qualify as a classic now. The car can also be insured through its VIN number, as the foreign registration plate will not be valid. Make sure you get a receipt of the sale and equivalent V5 registration document during the purchase and once back in the UK you will need to send the car for an MoT. When it has passed that, a V55 form from the DVLA is required to register the car, as well as a document to show vehicle type approval, which is available from BMW itself. An HM Revenue and Customs form is also required but, as the car is coming from a European country, it should be void of any VAT charges, although a fee of around £55 will be due. The DVLA may then want to inspect the car but after everything is approved it should be issued with an age-related plate. Taxing it is then a normal procedure and there are plenty of specialist insurers to cater for imported classic cars, too.


    Sadly, over the years the E30 has tended to succumb to rust. Okay, the 320iS has a better chance of being rot-free than a UK car due to the climate but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be thoroughly inspected, especially as there isn’t exactly a wealth of cars to choose from.

    Check the front end over carefully. The twodoor cars wore the larger M Tec lower spoiler, which helps protect the front valance but try and feel behind it to make sure it’s not rotten or damaged. The four-door cars featured a simpler lower spoiler, so the valance is exposed making it susceptible to both damage and rust. For either car, make sure the spoilers are intact.

    Working backwards, the wings tend to start rotting by the bottom edge where they meet the sill. Also check to see if the plastic inner wheel arch liners are still in place, as these protect the inner wings from rotting. If they are missing then inspect up above and around the wheel for signs of corrosion. The bonnet doesn’t usually rust but what’s underneath it does. With the bonnet open, inspect the scuttle panel by the wipers and vents and down in the corners of the engine bay where the header tank and fuse box are located. Whilst you’re there, also check the condition of the paint nearest the exhaust manifold as it can burn away over time.

    The doors themselves are solid but blocked drainage holes will make the bottoms rot from the inside out. Above the doors, if the car has a sunroof then check for signs of rust and corroded seals. Below the doors, check the sills for corrosion, particularly around the jacking points. On the rear arches, inspect the outside lip for signs of bubbling, which may require a comprehensive repair. Lastly, open the boot and check for signs of damp behind the bootlid seals, inside the spare wheel well and behind the carpet on the rear strut towers.


    Inside, the E30 is very much back to basics and there’s little to go wrong. However, wear and tear is more of a problem and some parts of the interior don’t take the miles or years too well. All cars came with cloth trim as standard but leather was an option. The driver’s seat does tend to show signs of age first but it can be repaired as long as the seat itself isn’t damaged. The dashboards are known for cracking if they’ve spent some time in the hot sun, which is more likely given the model’s origins, so inspect the area nearest to the windscreen, particularly on the passenger side. Sourcing another E30 dashboard wouldn’t usually be too hard but the fact it’s left-hand drive makes it a little tricky as it will need to be sourced abroad.

    There aren’t many electricals to worry about but check that anything it does have works as it should including options such as the on-board computer or electric sunroof. Make sure the gauges aren’t temperamental and the windows operate as they should. If they don’t work but make a clicking noise they are likely stuck from lack of use. Try taking the doorcard off and lubricating the motor itself, which also helps if there’s a slow moving window.

    Wheels, tyres and brakes

    The standard wheels were cross-spoke alloys measuring 14 inches and the two-door and four-door models had different designs and widths. 15-inch wheels were an option but plenty of cars seem to be running the alloys from other models, which isn’t a problem other than the fact that they aren’t original.

    Brake lines corrode over time, so it’s worth getting underneath to at least get a visual. If the car has been looked after well it’s quite likely these have already been replaced but whilst the parts are relatively cheap, fitting them is a labour intensive task. The front flexi-pipes are also prone to corrosion, particularly if the car has been laid up in storage for any amount of time. Lastly, make sure the ABS light goes out on the dash. If it doesn’t, it’s likely to be a faulty sensor but if you’re unlucky it could the pump, which is more expensive.


    Being an engine essentially developed for racing the S14 is generally a strong unit and serious failures are few and far between. It’s also an engine that can cover big miles happily just as long as it’s been looked after well. Maintenance is key here, so look for signs it’s been cared for. Regular oil changes are vital and although these engines are naturally a little loud and lumpy on tickover, make sure neither is excessive. If it seems particularly rough or hesitant at idle then it may well be down to perished vacuum hoses that cause air leaks to the inlet. Faulty HT leads, idle valves or split breather hoses are also common poor running issues. Slightly more concerning is the possibility it’s been abused particularly hard on track, as it’s possible to bend valves through over-revving.

    If the top-end is noisy then it’s likely the tappets will need to be re-shimmed as these need adjustment from time to time. If they haven’t been done in a while it can be a sign the engine has not been well maintained. Also listen out for excessive timing chain noise. The double row duplex chain has no fixed mileage for when it should be replaced, so it’s best to keep a vigilant ear and if it sounds too loud for comfort get it replaced. Whilst its apart, it’s best advised to replace the tensioner with the upgraded item from a later E36 M3 Evo.

    Elsewhere, exhaust manifolds can sometimes blow but check the studs aren’t just loose as it’s a fairly common cause. The valve stem seals are also known to wear out over time and will show up with a puff of smoke on overrun during a test-drive. Also on the test-drive make sure the temp gauge doesn’t go past the middle area as water pumps, thermostats and radiators all degrade over time. Last of all, check for oil leaks from the sump and front cover gaskets.

    Steering and suspension

    Upgrades are fairly common here and it’s not unusual to see aftermarket springs and dampers fitted. As long as the car is level and not sitting too low then it’s not a major issue. Maintenance-wise, the E30 likes to go through its rear sub-frame bushes. If this happens you will know about it as the car drives strangely, as though the rear is trying to steer by itself. A rattle from the rear end indicates a rear shock mount which, again, is a common E30 fault.

    At the front, the outer track rod ball joints tend to wear out and cause odd tyre wear, so check to make sure all looks normal. Inspect the steering rack gaiters to see if they have any oil in them as this is a surefire sign the rack itself needs replacing. Also check the steering column for play and listen for odd wheel bearing noises at the same time.

    Transmission and drivetrain

    All 320iS models will have been fitted with the M3 sourced #Getrag dogleg gearbox, which means first gear is located down and to the left below reverse and all other gears move down a place. It’s a motorsport-derived ’box that is generally strong although, over time, a worn layshaft will develop a rattle at idle. It can be rebuilt easily enough and it’s worth upgrading the gear linkage, too, as these can also wear, giving a clunky and in-direct feel.

    Elsewhere, check the differential to see if it’s weeping oil. If it’s a little damp, then that’s acceptable but if it’s physically wet, get it looked at straight away. These are known to weep from both the input and output seals, both of which are easy to replace and worth doing before the diff runs low on oil and begins to whine.


    If you want a slice of #E30-M3 without the inflated price tag then the #BMW-320iS is it. In some ways, it could even be considered the better car; it does a lot of what the M3 can without shouting about it through spoilers, flared wheel arches and aerofoils. Then there’s the fact the car is rarer than an M3. There are typical #BMW-E30 related issues to be aware of but the rest of the car is easy enough to maintain, although expect to pay M3 prices for an engine build if it does need one. Last of all, there’s value to think about. With the way prices are going for all of the particularly desirable E30 models it’s a matter of time before the 320iS becomes out of financial reach for many people, just like the M3 has done. Then it will be too late to own and enjoy one in the same way you could do right now.

    The #1990 #BMW-320iS-E30
    ENGINE: Four-cylinder, DOHC #S14 #S14B20
    CAPACITY: 1990cc
    MAX POWER: 192hp @ 6750rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 180lb ft @4750rpm
    0-62MPH: 7.9 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 141mph

    KGF Classic Cars
    Tel: 01733 425140
    • Exclusively produced for the Italian and Portuguese markets the 320is was manufactured by BMW Motorsport to take advantage of the reduced taxes inExclusively produced for the Italian and Portuguese markets the 320is was manufactured by BMW Motorsport to take advantage of the reduced taxes in those countries for cars that displace two litres or less. It is powered by the same four cylinder S14 engine but produces 192bhp at 6900rpm opposed to 200bhp at 6750rpm for the regular M3. Only 2542 units were produced compared to 18204 units of all M3 variants. (Source BMW M Registry).  More ...
    • Curved dual exhaust tips, complete M-Technic II aero package, shadowline window trim, front airdam, tachometer with integrated oil temperature gauge,Curved dual exhaust tips, complete M-Technic II aero package, shadowline window trim, front airdam, tachometer with integrated oil temperature gauge, power mirrors, central locking, power front windows, map lights in the rear view mirror, three-spoke alcantara-wrapped M-Technic steering wheel, leather shift knob, air conditioning, interior headlight adjustment, digital clock with outside temperature display, on-board computer, rear sunshade, leather upholstery.  More ...
      This stunning example is finished in Brilliant Red, (Paint Code 308), and retains the factory finish and deep gloss of a pampered, garagedEXTERIOR
      This stunning example is finished in Brilliant Red, (Paint Code 308), and retains the factory finish and deep gloss of a pampered, garaged car. The front airdam was painted in September 2009 due to the owners quest for perfection. One microscopic mark is evident on the rear bumper and O/S/F door edge. There is no colour fade but a tiny ding can be seen on the O/S/R panel and a touched in mark on the N/S/R wheel arch. This example really is a show winner.

      A truly amazing E30 interior with no wear or damage. The optional Black Leather is soft, supportive and has no scuffs or creases. All the carpets have been protected by genuine BMW velour mats from new which themselves are clean and wear free. All the dials, vast array of gauges, computers and controls are functioning with accuracy and quality. A colour coded Sony stereo has been fitted and navigation disc. The anthracite headlining is tight. Simply stunning.

      A must drive for all car enthusiasts. This high revving S14 engine produces 192bhp, just 8bhp down on a regular M3. It has a four-valve head, individual throttle plates for each cylinder, machined intake and exhaust ports and a crankshaft with eight counterweights for smooth power delivery. Lift up the bonnet and the clean engine bay has an identical appearance to the unit found in the E30 M3 with the ‘BMW M Power’ inscription on its cam cover. A five speed manual close-ratio Getrag transmission with a dogleg shift pattern is a delight to use and again identical to a regular E30 M3.

      15-inch cross-spoke and bolted polished chrome wheels have a mirror shine but tiny blemishes can be seen. All shod in quality tyres. The 260mm vented disc brakes in the front 260mm solid disc brakes in the rear keep the cars performance safely under control.

      Manufactured in May 1990, (the final year of all E30 M3 production), this car was registered on the 21 June 1990 to the first of its two Italian owners. Kept within the Italian BMW Main Dealer Network with a full complement of service stamps up until 34,725 miles when it was imported in 2004 by a reputable company. Sold to the only UK owner, Mr Jefferies, the vehicle has now covered just 45,141 miles and has been maintained annually under his careful ownership.

      Presented with all handbooks including; Stamped Libretto Di Servizo, (Service Book), Uso E Manutenzione, (Owners Manual), BMW Italia Identity Card and BMW Service Dealer Network Booklet.

      A Thatcham Category 1 Alarm and Immobiliser has been installed and two original keys are included.

      The vehicle is HPi clear, recently serviced with 5 green lights on the service interval indicator and has 12 months MOT.

      A unique opportunity for the discerning BMW Motorsport enthusiast wanting an original, unmodified low mileage example for the exclusive collection.
        More ...
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