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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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  •   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 (castlecombecircuit.co.uk, 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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  •   Patrick Holness reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    HARDCORE S54 E30 Thunder from Down Under

    SKIN DEEP #S54-swapped E30. Words and photos: Chris Nicholls. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and Andrew Burke’s home-built, DIY-painted E30 is exactly the reason why.

    “Why are you shooting that little thing?” says a passer-by during the shoot. I casually pop the bonnet and see his eyes widen. “Jeez, there’s some work gone into that,” he says, before firing off a few photos on his phone and walking away. This sort of thing happens several more times during the shoot and it’s easy to understand why.

    From a distance, this is just another E30 track car. The matt black paint, done as a last resort after troubles with the painter, is hardly the last word in beauty and the stock M Tech II body kit isn’t going to set anyone’s world alight either. No, things only get interesting when you get close. It’s then that you see the custom Forgeline wheels and fat, circle-track StopTechs and imperial-sized AP Racing J-hook discs (chosen because imperial gear is cheaper than metric). Next, you peek inside and notice the #Motec M800 ECU sitting on a custom carbon plate on the floor. And the oil lines for the Peterson dry sump kit running next to it. And the Motec C127 colour dash logger and Tilton pedals. It just doesn’t stop. Finally, you pop that aforementioned bonnet and see the immaculate S54 with carbon cover and CSLreplica intake nestled in-between the strut towers, surrounded by Goodridge Teflon hoses and a Peterson oil pressure primer pump. If ever there was a car to prove that sometimes, the opposite of the idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies, this is it.

    The back story of this Australian E30, as you might suspect given the engineering involved, started several years ago (six to be precise) when owner-builder Andrew Burke picked up this 325is to be a street-registered track day build. Having got tired of risking his E92 335i road car on the track, he thought back to a 1989 E30 brochure he got as a kid and decided that would be a better bet. As most builds do, things started off small. Some H&R springs and Bilstein Sport dampers, rebuilt stock brakes and bolton exhaust, a short shifter and new Recaros did the trick for six months, but one track day at the wonderfully nicknamed Haunted Hills circuit (actually Bryant Park) in his home state of Victoria, Andrew noticed puffs of blue smoke on overrun thanks to some keen-eyed photographers. “That was all the excuse I needed to go ‘Oh, this motor could potentially have some kind of small issue in the next three, six, nine, 12 years, I should probably just swap the engine out right now’” he laughs.

    Thus began a long and involved process of finding and fitting a new motor. Having decided a resto-mod approach was best, he settled on an S50 and sourced one from the UK, but all was not well. “As all UK motors are, it was covered in corrosion, all the aluminium bits were all pitted from the salt and whatever other calamities occur over there in the middle of winter, so I didn’t do a whole lot with it other than strip it down to a short block and basically sand blast all the things,” Andrew says. Having cleaned it up, he found it still good enough to use, so left it standard internally and got to work fitting it. On went an E34 sump and 12° angled double-shear shift rod to get the now-twisted stock G250 five-speed to work with the AKG DTM shifter, some custom-made exhaust manifolds from Andrew Nicholls at Meridian Motorsport and a VFT E36 DTM-style carbon air box specifically designed to fi t S50s in E30s thanks to a notch cut into the back to clear the brake booster. To ensure that it all ran, Andrew cut and re-connected the stock harness himself and fitted an Alpha N ECU chip.

    However, while he may have cleaned it up, it turned out the engine’s not-so-perfect appearance was rather more indicative of its condition than first thought and sure enough, the number five journal went at a Winton Raceway track day in true S50 style. “A $350 tow truck ride home later [Andrew not having a trailer at the time and Winton being two hours from central Melbourne] we were sitting in the garage, the old man and I, saying ‘Well, we’re going to have to fix it, I guess’”. Andrew admits that even at that point, the idea of fitting an S54 came into his head, but he wasn’t quite ready to quit on the idea of an S50-engined E30 yet, especially having done so much work to make it fit.

    Thus, he decided that, rather than throw everything away, he would build a proper race-spec S50 and see what happened. Sadly, it’s here that Andrew suffered the all-too-common “bad workshop experience.”

    After searching around for a well-regarded builder, he thought he’d found one in a former Team JPS BMW factory race engineer in New South Wales, but while the specs were suitably serious, complete with 11.6:1 Wossner pistons, Pauter I-beam rods, 296° cams, Supertec Inconel valves and the current Peterson dry-sump system (designed to avoid ever spinning a bearing again), it “never made any real power.” “Without going into too much detail, it just fell on its face above 6000rpm,” he says. Worse still, it didn’t even last that long. A mere 500km of track work later and Andrew was sitting on the side of the Winton tarmac with two holes in the block from a rod and rod bolt respectively, oil pouring out everywhere and his car partially in flames thanks to starting a grass fire underneath it. The worst part? A postmortem found the likely cause to be poor assembly.

    “As I pulled the bits off the motor so I could get it out of the chassis, I found one of the ARP rod bolts was poking through the block on the exhaust side. I didn’t see it originally as a result, but it was poking through with all of its threads still intact. So it was not like the bolt snapped – it was like it completely unscrewed itself – and I can’t imagine a bolt that’s designed to be torqued to yield, if it was properly fastened, would have come undone. End of story. So that was that, which was a bit unfortunate.”

    Unfortunate indeed, and at around AU$30,000 (£17,000) for the engine, expensive. Andrew adds that figure doesn’t even include the cost of ancillaries fitted to deal with the extra power, the current 8x17” Forgelines, the previous SL6R and SL4R Wilwood calipers and discs (since replaced by the StopTechs because Andrew bought another road/track E30 he wanted to put those on), the custom-built AST two-way adjustable coilovers (again, since replaced by custom MCS two-ways) and several other mods besides. However, Andrew wasn’t prepared to throw it all away, so after convincing his wife he “wasn’t silly,” he pulled the trigger on a mint S54 with just 18,000 miles on it out of a wrecked Californian Z4 M.

    Being so new and from California, this motor was in stunning shape. There was no dust behind the water pump or alternator pulleys and even the internals, which Andrew inspected when he pulled off the sump to fit the Moroso dry sump pan, were unvarnished.

    Given he had no money to put new internals in it, this worked out perfectly. Plus, the S54 made more power stock than his built S50 anyway, so in it went, with only a Karbonius CSL-replica air box – fitted because the StopTechs meant he no longer needed the booster – a Racing Dynamics carbon engine cover, new custom exhaust manifolds (again from Andrew from Meridian, who by then had moved on to start his own venture called Trackart) and a few other mechanical pieces like an Eisenmann exhaust needed to make it work. At the same time, Andrew realised that to actually run the thing (especially given he was keeping Vanos and drive-by-wire), he would need to upgrade his dash from a set of Stack gauges to a Motec logger to ensure the necessary input and output numbers, and after contacting Jason Ingram at Advanced Motorsport Electrics to do the concentrically-wound, DR25 heat-shrunk harness and install it, he got it tuned by Lee at Melbourne Performance Centre and brought it up to Broadford State Motorcycle Centre for a shakedown, which is where we did the shoot.

    His impressions of the car now it’s finished (bar a cage)? “I was thrilled with the way that it handled and the way that it stopped even back when it had the second S50… but I was deeply disappointed on some level that it didn’t make as much power as I was expecting. It was certainly fast enough, but it never felt brutal, I guess. Whereas the S54 is still not crazy by any means, it just feels a lot more angry. It feels significantly more powerful.” Given this first shakedown was conducted at only half-throttle, that’s a brilliant portent and suggests that when this E30 is finally unleashed, its unassuming looks, combined with all that power and handling, will mean the opposition won’t see it coming.

    “If ever there was a car to prove that sometimes, the opposite of the idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies, this is it”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #S54 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-S54 / #BMW-S54 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30 / #Bosch / #BMW-E30-S54B32

    ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #Karbonius CSL-replica dry carbon air box, #K&N air filter, #Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, #Aftermarket Industries swirl pot, #MagnaFuel dry break billet fuel filters, #NGK-Platinum plugs, Setrab 19-row oil cooler with -16 fittings, Roush Yates carbon catch can, Peterson R4 dry sump pump, #VAC-Motorsports mount kit, #C&V HTD belt drive with VAC/ATI fluid harmonic balancer, -16 feed and return oil hoses, -12 scavenge, #Peterson scavenge filters, -10 pressure feed to VAC Motorsports oil manifold, custom #Moroso dry sump oil pan, Peterson single-stage remote oil primer circuit, Peterson billet four-gallon dry sump tank with custom #CNC bracketing, dual breathers and 100 micron filter screen, Canton billet five micron oil filter on pressure stage, #C&R-Racing oil filter housing with provision for secondary oil cooler circuit in rear of car, #Wix-Racing 51222R filter, Goodridge XF 910 and Brown and Miller (BRMS) Teflon hoses, VAC-Motorsports lights, accessories and alternator pulleys, ATI damper by VAC Motorsports, AKG-Motorsport Group N engine mounts, #Racing-Dynamics dry carbon engine cover, Trackart custom equal-length exhaust manifolds and custom 2.5” exhaust, Eisenmann E36 M3 rear box, Motec-M800-ECU , #Motec SKN dual CAN knock module, Advanced Motorsport Electrics custom concentricwound wiring harness with Kevlar tracers, Raychem boots, Souriau and Autosport connectors

    TRANSMISSION #G250 five-speed manual gearbox, #AP-Racing 7.25” twin-plate clutch and lightened cro-mo flywheel from E36 M3 R, AKG DTM shifter, PPF axles, re-balanced OE driveshaft, OE diff with extra clutch packs, Z3 M housing, custom transmission mounts and subframe reinforcements


    CHASSIS 7.5x17” ET20 (front and rear) #Forgeline-SO3 wheels with 235/40 (front and rear) Nitto NT-01 tyres, VAC Motorsports 90mm studs, #Motorsport-Hardware cro-mo nuts, 3mm spacers (front), Motion Control Suspension custom two-way remote reservoir coilovers, #Eibach 60mm springs, AKG Motorsport polyurethane, #Treehouse-Racing and custom #Delrin bushes, custom Trackart T45-based cro-mo front strut brace, custom front arb and mounts, Dave Stillwell rear anti-roll bar with custom mounts and reinforcement, full Aurora rose joints, #StopTech STR43 calipers (front and rear), #AP-Racing J-hook fully-floating discs, custom Motorsport Connections Teflon braided lines, Performance Friction PFC01 pads (front and rear), custom-machined 7057 T6 rotor hats

    EXTERIOR OEM Tech II kit, custom bi-xenon headlights based on TRS projectors and 3D printed adaptors, rear lights lightly tinted with Diamond black

    INTERIOR #AKG-Motorsport Delrin shift knob, AKG Motorsport DTM shift lever and short-shift kit, Alcantara gear gaiter, #Tilton 600 Series pedals, Tilton -4 fluid tank, #Speedflow lines, Tilton billet brake bias adjuster, Tilton fluid bias and balance bar adjuster, #Motec C127 dash logger, Recaro SP-A Kevlar V8 Supercar special edition seat, VAC Motorsports billet rails, Sabelt Ultralight harnesses, Personal Grinta 330mm wheel, Lifeline Group N boss with custom spacer, custom carbon panel behind wheel for light controls, custom Trackart harness bar, custom aluminium scuff plates

    THANKS Andrew at Trackart for the exhaust, brake cooling duct, harness bar and strut bar fabrication work, Marcos at Motorsport Connections for the Speedflow bits and hoses, Jason Ingram at Advanced Motorsport Electrics for the incredible work on the harness and Lee Burley at Melbourne Performance Centre for the dyno tuning

    Carbon engine cover and replica CSL carbon air box make this S54 even sexier.

    Single Recaro SP-A Kevlar V8 Supercar special edition seat.

    “After convincing his wife he “wasn’t silly,” he pulled the trigger on a mint S54 with just 18,000 miles on it out of a wrecked Californian Z4 M”

    / #Motec-M800 ECU mounted on custom carbon plate.

    Swirl pot, pump and filters mounted in boot.
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  •   Rob Scorah reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    JPS E30 M3
    The story behind this fully restored motor racing icon. A Very Special Player One of Australia’s most famous BMW race cars, the JPS E30 M3, under the spotlight. Banged up, shipped across the Tasman Sea twice and, until two years ago, a bit worse for wear, this JPS stunner is now back to its former glory Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.

    BMW race cars have been lucky enough to wear some of the iconic competition liveries over the years. Whether it’s the various Art Cars, the Jägermeister colours, the Warsteiner and Fina liveries or just the M stripes by themselves, Bavaria’s best racers have always looked the business. However, while we in the northern hemisphere have been spoilt for choice with these beauties, we have missed out on one truly iconic racing design that only ever competed on BMWs down under – the JPS livery.

    Obviously most famous for its stint on Lotus F1 machines, the JPS colours have been applied to many other cars over the years, but F1 Lotuses aside, only the Australian JPS E21 320i Turbos, 635CSis and E30 M3s, which ran from 1981-’1987, used the livery officially in any four-wheeled racing capacity. And my, doesn’t it look good on this M3? The deep, jet black paint is perfectly offset by the gold pin striping that runs along the car’s flanks, accentuating those blistered arches, while the other sponsors’ logos and of course, the laurel wreath JPS crest itself all add to that golden lustre. Oh, and let’s not forget those sexy matching gold Australian Simmons centre-lock wheels, either.

    This particular example is an ex-factory Team JPS BMW car from 1987 – the last year the Frank Gardner-run team that built the machine existed – and was relatively recently restored to nearimmaculate condition (hence the shine) by the current owner Peter Jones and the team at Ecurie Bowden, whose M1 and Schnitzer 635CSi we’ve featured in past months as well. We say nearimmaculate as Peter has deliberately kept some of the patina via a faded and chipped bonnet roundel and cracked right-rear light lens, as well as damage to the driver’s footwell; the result of a nasty shunt at the 1989 Bathurst 1000 when it was racing as part of the John Sax Racing Team from New Zealand. Other than that, though, the car is as straight and clean as you could possibly want, and walking around the car to shoot it, it was impossible not to be blown away by the paint’s lustre (even inside the car) and the sense of mechanical solidity. BMW master mechanic Jason Matthews and paint and panel man Phil Milburn, as well as all the other Ecurie Bowden crew members, should be rightly proud of their work.

    Of course, such a high-level restoration doesn’t take place overnight, and from the time Peter purchased the car in 2014 until it was ‘finished’, a full 15 months had passed, and even now, he’s is still tweaking and fettling the car – particularly the rebuilt engine – as it doesn’t quite achieve what he wants on track yet. However, that’s all part of racing, irrespective of the car and its level of restoration, and even in its current state, the project has definitely been worth it. So what prompted Peter to buy this car in the first place? Well, it turns out this isn’t his first Group A M3, having owned a Benson & Hedges racer back in the mid-’90s that he purchased from Frank Gardner himself (Gardner was a long-time family friend), and it was his love for that machine, and the hole in his heart it left when he sold it, that prompted him to seek out a replacement.

    “I’ve been involved in motorsport since the ‘80s. The highest level I ever did was the CAMS Gold Star [Australia’s top open-wheeler class]. I raced that in Formula 2, only as a bit of an also-ran, and I’ve also raced Formula Fords and Sports Sedans and Historic cars over the years. From about 1997 to 2012 I basically had a bit of a hiatus due to family and the demands of business and then got back into it in 2012, running around in a Formula Ford. I still enjoyed it and have always missed the E30 M3 that I owned and spoke to [Ecurie Bowden boss] Chris Bowden about it and kept him on the look-out for me.”

    And look-out Chris did, but in the end, it actually turned out that another contact, BMW and JPS nut Stewart Garmey (whose E28 M5 we featured in October 2014), knew the right people and gave Peter a nudge in the direction of this car’s previous owner, David Towe.

    “Stuart warned me that I’d either love it or hate it, but that it’s a great car,” says Peter. “When I looked at it, I realised it had suffered in its life, but you can’t replace history, and that’s what it has.” Indeed, it has a lot of history, and not just of the type that causes battle scars. Built in 1987, it was one of the first two Group A E30s Team JPS BMW brought over from Europe after phasing out its 635CSis (one of which you’ll also see in a future issue). Initially, both cars actually ran 325i suspension, such was the European demand for parts, but by midway through the season, each car got the legs it deserved. And despite being designed for flowing European circuits and down on power compared to some rivals, the E30’s innate talents, and those of drivers Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst, meant the team quickly got results. This ex-Longhurst car, for example, managed a best of third at round three of the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) even before it got proper M3 suspension, but for some reason it got sold before the end of the year and could prove its worth with proper footwork. If you want to see what the potential was, though, just look at Jim Richards taking his M3 to the ATCC title in the car’s first year.

    When this particular machine was offloaded, it got sent to the aforementioned John Sax Racing Team, with Sax and fellow Kiwi Graham Lorimer behind the wheel until midway through the 1990 season. They took it to a best of eighth at the ’87 Castrol 500 at Sandown, as well as a 10th at the Wellington round of the inaugural World Touring Car Championship that year, but sadly, the car’s biggest headlines came when it speared off at Forest Elbow at the ’89 Bathurst 1000, stoving in much of the front-right side. The team did repair the damage (albeit not to a high standard, as we’ll see later) and it soldiered on until Kiwi Racing purchased it midway through the 1990 season. Having not had much luck with the car bar a second in class at the ’91 Nissan Mobil 500 at Pukekohe, Kiwi racing then sold the E30 to Auckland Ferrari specialist Allan Cattle in late ’93, who proved any issues may not have been with the beast itself by promptly winning his class, along with co-driver Brett Taylor, at the Wellington Nissan Mobil 500 and taking second in class at a shorter 300km race at Pukekohe.

    Finally, this now well-travelled M3 went to another two Kiwi owners, Trevor Bills and Kevin Underwood, before heading back home to Australia and new owner James Searley in 1999. There it sat in James’ collection for four years until noted Sydney BMW nut David Towe got hold of it and immediately started racing the car again, first at the 2003 Winton Historic meeting, then at numerous classic and historic events around the country. Notably, David converted the car back to its JPS livery (because why wouldn’t you?) and even managed to take away the Murray Carter Cup at the 2009 Phillip Island Classic in it. Indeed, such was the love affair that he only gave it up to switch to a later-built 1987 JPS M3 in 2011.

    However, not able to part with it entirely, David held onto the machine until 2014, when current owner Peter Jones came into the picture.

    Now, as we hinted at, the car wasn’t perfect when Peter got it. The John Sax team had repaired the Bathurst damage, but removing the right-hand quarter panel showed the chassis rail underneath was still further back than the left, so stretching and rebuilding was needed. And while David had done his best at the time, there were also cracks in the rear arms and the front callipers (among other parts) were way past their use-by date. Knowing personally that Frank Gardner wouldn’t have accepted anything other than perfection were he still alive, Peter thus decided to go for a bare-metal resto to bring it back to its best. And thanks to the talents of the Ecurie Bowden crew, it’s now as gorgeous as you can imagine.

    “It’s just magic when you walk around it and underneath it. The job’s been done very well,” says Peter. “All the chassis’s perfect now and when we put it on the scales, we measured where it should be, dropped it down and it just plumbed up beautifully on the corner weights.” And as you’d expect, even with the fettling still needed, it goes pretty well, too.

    “It’s a very lovely car to drive – a very fast car… It’s a heavier car by 20kg [than the Evos], but the earlier cars, because they run the 17-inch wheels not the 18s, can drop the nose a little bit lower, so what they lose in some respects they pick up in others. And I think it sits well on the road. The 2.3 motor’s still a powerful little engine, and whilst a good 2.5 should beat a 2.3 every day, you’re not going to be that far behind.”

    Once the car’s engine has been brought back to its full Group A peak, it should be even quicker, too. And yes, in case you were wondering, all this testing means that despite the superb condition it’s in now, this JPS beauty will see the race track as often as possible in the future, with Peter planning to enjoy it at every historic meet in Australia he can get to. Of course, he doesn’t relish the idea of getting it banged up again, but says that “once I get one stone chip on it, it won’t hurt so much”.

    “Because it’s not the original paint on the car from day one, you’re not disturbing or risking something that hasn’t already been repainted or repaired, unlike the Sierra I’ve got [a Group A RS500] which is the original paint that Rudy Eggenberger used and it’s never had a mark on it. That’s a car you don’t want to put in harm’s way. Whereas, I don’t want to hurt this car either, but if in two years I have to give it a bit of a respray to make it pretty again, we’re not ruining history in doing that.”

    In a world of collectors that never use their cars as intended, that’s refreshing to hear. Long may this black beauty continue to run.

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-Group-A-JPS / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-E30 / #Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-Group-A-JPS-E30 / #BMW-M3-JPS-E30 / #BMW-S14 / #S14 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW /

    ENGINE: 2332cc DOHC S14 in-line four, cast iron block, 16-valve alloy head, 12:1 compression ratio, forged crankshaft and con rods, forged alloy pistons, #Bosch electronic fuel injection, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, 40-litre #ATL fuel cell with in-tank swirl-pot, 300hp @ 8400rpm, 199lb ft @ 7000rpm

    GEARBOX: #Getrag five-speed manual gearbox, sintered metal clutch, LSD with 75 percent locking ratio

    CHASSIS: Unitary steel with welded-in roll-cage, 52mm #JLS-Motorsport air jacks (front), 62mm AP Racing air jacks (rear)

    SUSPENSION: McPherson struts with original Group A #Bilstein dampers (overhauled and re-valved by MCA Suspension), MCA custom main springs, #Eibach helper springs, anti-roll bars (front), semi-trailing arms with original Group A Bilstein dampers (overhauled and re-valved by MCA Suspension), MCA custom main springs, Eibach helper springs, anti-roll bars (rear)

    BRAKES: AP Racing four-piston callipers with #AP-Racing 330x32mm two-piece slotted rotors and #Ferodo DS3000 pads (front), Lockheed four-piston callipers with AP Racing 300x20mm two-piece slotted rotors and #Ferodo-DS3000 pads (rear)

    WHEELS AND TYRES: 8x17-inch (front) and 9x17-inch (rear) #Simmons three-piece centre-lock mesh wheels with 225/625-17 (front) and 240/620-17 (rear) Pirelli or Michelin slicks

    INTERIOR: Custom-embroidered #Racetech-RT9009HR seat with orange Racetech HANS-compatible belts

    Despite the superb condition it’s in now, this #JPS beauty will see the race track as often as possible in the future.
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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?

    DATA FILE

    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, Racedäck.nu, 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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  •   Daniel 1982 reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    ALL AMERICAN TAKE OVER

    Fitting a massive Yank V8 lump into your BM is nothing new, but doing that and then strapping a pair of turbos on for good measure takes things to a whole other level….

    Rebel yell Utterly insane twin-turbo V8 E30 with almost 900hp.

    After tiring of turbo M20 reliability issues, Ross Bradley went back to his hot rod roots and rebuilt his E30 using American V8 power… with two turbos this time. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Matt Woods.


    Meet Ross Bradley, an E30 nut who likes to do things his own way, particularly if it involves a twin-turbo V8. The story begins back in March 2010 when he bought this black 325i and, like so many of us, he formulated a plan to make it his own. “It was sitting on a drive for about four years with moss growing up the sides. I used to see it when I was out at work,” explains 35-year-old Ross. “It was pretty solid body-wise, so I offered the guy some money and bought it for £275. I got it home, changed the plugs and put fresh fuel in and it fired up first time!”

    Fast forward a year or so and his E30 was something we’d all be proud to call our own, featuring Borbet A wheels, a nice drop in ride height and a full M Tech 2 body kit, among other tricks. However, having grown up around American hot rods and other powerful machinery, it was only a matter of time before the engine bay got something of a shake-up.

    “I’ve always had turbo cars. I just have a passion for them,” Ross tells us. “And the BMW needed more power so the only way to go was turbo!” Ross laughs. The car’s transformation started with him taking the original M20 and turbocharging it, earning him the bragging rights of having over 400hp under his right foot. Having been an engineer by trade in the past he made it all look easy, building up the M20 with forged pistons, a custom intake plenum and plenty more goodies. Ross was happy until an oil pressure issue left him with a knocking bottom end and feeling thoroughly disheartened. Fortunately Ross isn’t the kind of guy to remain demoralised for long and he used this temporary upset as a chance to refocus. “I’ve always been a fan of proper V8s – not the little BMW ones but full-blown Ford or Chevy motors,” he explains. “Now that I had the chance, I decided to get rid of the old turbo engine which kept going wrong, and I sold all the parts to fund a new engine.”

    Ross’s plan for Yank horsepower made good sense. “I considered the newer GM LS engines but at the time they cost more than a complete S50, and you can just as easily build an old type V8 with EFI for half the price.” A decision was made and Ross was soon the owner of a small-block, 350ci (5.7-litre) block ready for building up. While Ross pressed on with using the bare block for test-fitting purposes, his shopping list started becoming a reality. A #GM forged crank, Eagle forged rods, a hightorque starter motor, alloy roller rockers and a new sump all arrived, with Ross’s plans continuously evolving for how the engine would fit in the car and how it would be built.

    “The gearbox I chose was the manual gearbox from the Mk3 Toyota Supra: the R154. With a couple of little mods they can be bombproof, but not cheap at £600 for the box alone!” Ross says. He was still waiting on engine parts but could at least get the gearbox built up. This would allow him to finalise the engine location once and for all.

    All new bearings went in, along with an uprated first gear thrust washer, before the front end was built up with a Chevy bellhousing, hydraulic clutch release bearing and all the necessary conversion parts. What soon became clear was that the E30’s transmission tunnel just wasn’t going to be big enough. Luckily it wasn’t beyond the call of a few hour’s work with a hammer. The next obstacle was the crossmember and anti-roll bar. A conversion to an E36 anti-roll bar (which sits ahead of the crossmember) had that issue solved easily enough thanks to some fabrication work, but Ross also had to notch the crossmember for clearance and ended up moving the steering rack forwards by 20mm to clear the starter motor.

    This left Ross with the small block sitting happily in his engine bay, as low and as far back as was possible. “The shifter even ended up in the right place!” laughs Ross. “There was just a sensor that I had to add clearance for, so things were going well.” With his engine and gearbox mounts fabricated, Ross then threw on the aluminium heads that he’d ordered and checked the clearance of everything with his turbo manifolds fresh from the States. Sure enough, his engine mounts had to come back out for some further clearance work and he had to make plans for relocating his brake servo and master cylinder to under the dashboard. For Ross this was all in a day’s work.

    With the engine position decided, Ross pulled the V8 block back out so that he could finally start transforming it into a functioning engine. The local machine shop was tasked with boring out the cylinders by .030”, taking displacement to beyond the 5.8-litre mark. Probe forged pistons were mated to the Eagle rods, with the crank going in with Clevite bearings and ARP hardware. His camshaft of choice was a Comp Cams 256/263-degree grind, made especially for turbo applications.

    Such is the aftermarket support for these engines that Ross managed to get his aforementioned aluminium cylinder heads for just £200 and set about porting them himself by hand to make the most of a set of massive Manley valves (2.02” inlet and 1.60” exhaust, in fact). This V8 may only have 16 valves but it makes up for that with sheer size. The heads were finished with Edelbrock valve springs and titanium retainers, which are operated by Comp Cams billet rockers and Edelbrock Magnum pushrods. No stone has been left unturned with this Yank powerhouse.


    A good old Holley carb was initially used to get the engine running alongside a Megasquirt ECU and Ford coil packs. Ingeniously Ross used a few of the old M20 sensors and brackets to feed the ECU with all the needed info, which allows the V8 to run normally aspirated for a few miles as a gentle run-in. A huge Pro Cool radiator, a custom intercooler and a day’s worth of custom fab work by Ross got the E30 roadworthy but he was far from done.


    When the time came to switch to fuel injection Ross, as usual, didn’t do things by halves. With the rear boot floor in bits (more on that in a moment) he plumbed together a fuel system capable of supplying enough jungle juice for the monstrous powerplant now sitting up front. A high-flow lift pump feeds a two-litre swirl pot, with twin Bosch 044 pumps then feeding the engine through front-to-rear braided AN lines. All that fuel is supplied to 770cc injectors mounted in an Edelbrock intake manifold, fitted with a 90mm Procomp throttle body.


    That swirl pot setup is mounted onto a flat rear floor. Ross’s car has no spare wheel well and for a very good reason. With the extra power and monstrous torque that he was going to be feeding through the rear end, some serious reinforcement was needed. The entire rear beam was dropped and stripped and Ross’s work began.

    The first thing on the ingredients list was an E28 large case diff; though it bolts right up to the E30 rear beam, that’s about where the compatibility ends; not a problem for someone like Ross. The beam was sent away for blasting and once back, he could begin. “I started by going over the old welds to make them a little stronger and I went around the trailing arm brackets again as some of them aren’t fully welded,” he explains. “Then I started the reinforcing.”

    These reinforcements included plating over the diff mounts and bridging together the various factory joins with extra material. Bars were then also added between the diff mount and beam itself before a thick plate was placed over the diff recess. In short, Ross’s work is so solid we reckon it would withstand even a nuclear strike.


    Next up was getting that diff mounted up. The E30’s single-ear rear diff mounting is famed for a lack of strength and so after some experimenting Ross found that an E36 M3 Evo diff cover and mounting bracket would bolt up to the E28 diff (with the addition of a spacer he made), giving him two ears to mount with. However, the E30 doesn’t have the provisions to bolt such an arrangement up, hence Ross had cut the boot floor out of his. A new crossmember was made out of box section, bridging the chassis rails and including mounts for that large case diff and the anti-roll bar brackets.

    “With the rear crossmember done I started the rear strut bracing,” Ross tells us. This included strengthening plates on the rear strut towers along with a welded-in strut brace. This was then joined to the diffmounting crossmember with a set of bars tying the whole lot together for maximum rigidity before everything could be sheeted over to form a new floor.

    The trailing arms were also braced with bars and then the whole lot bolted back under the car, complete with the new diff and a revision of Ross’s UJ driveshafts. However, he still wasn’t done, using the opportunity to also convert the car to fivestud all-round. Rather than the usual way, this arrangement was completed using Compact or Z3 parts with a bit of a custom setup. This consisted of Z3 wheel bearings and hubs, which needed a little machining to fit. “I used 300mm Z4 discs on the Z3 hubs, and then used Porsche Boxster Brembo fourpot calipers,” smiles Ross.

    Up front the E30 stub axles were sleeved to allow E36 wheel bearings and hubs to be used, enabling the use of an XYZ brake kit. It was originally meant for a Japanese application using a 5x114.7 PCD and Ross also had to make his own brackets, too. Nothing phases this E30 fanatic.

    Of course, the most noticeable change Ross had to make was to fit new wheels. The old 4x100 Borbet As would no longer fit but Ross found something else that would work nicely. It doesn’t get much better than three-piece Hartges, made by OZ back in the day. He found them in Poland and had them shipped over. They had polished lips and gold centres, which looked great, but weren’t quite what Ross had in mind. Therefore the wheels were stripped right down for the centres and lips to be repolished, and a lack of centre caps saw Ross approaching UK firm and BMW specialist Hack Engineering to reproduce the original plastic caps in billet aluminium so that it could all be polished up with the same mirror shine. Mirror-polished hardware finished the wheels off, with grippy Federal RSR tyres put in charge of getting all that power down.

    This meant that phase two of the build was complete, and Ross enjoyed using it for the latter half of last year’s show season, clocking up the miles attending every show possible. Having witnessed it personally, we can confirm that when Ross’s E30 pulls up at the showground, a serious number of heads turn thanks to the appearance of a tidy E30 with the soundtrack of a lumpy, all-American V8. It really is quite something.

    The way Ross has gone about building his E30 is like no other. While absolutely nothing on the car itself can be considered off-the-shelf, he’s also shown incredible ingenuity when it comes to building a reliable powerplant thanks to the strength (and low prices) of the American aftermarket. In fact, though untested, it’s estimated that the junkyard-rescued small block is currently pushing around 880hp and 750lb ft at 1.3bar. Could American power in an E30 be the way to go? You wouldn’t want to argue otherwise after seeing this machine.

    Boot houses fuel system with two-litre swirl pot and twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps.

    If you’re a keen show-goer in the UK you’re likely to see Ross’s monster throughout the year. However, do be warned – by the time it’s show season the E30 will be looking quite different. Ross didn’t want to tell us exactly what he was up to but you can rest assured that the E30 will be even better, very soon.

    DATA FILE #Twin-turbo #V8 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-V8 / #Bosch-044 / #Garrett-T04E / #Garrett /

    ENGINE #Chevrolet-small-block-V8 , rebored 0.030” to 5.82-litre, #GM / #GM-V8 forged crank, #ARP main studs, #Eagle H-section forged con rods, #Clevite big end bearings, Probe oversized forged pistons, high volume oil pump, ported and polished alloy heads, #Manley-Severe-Duty stainless steel swirl-polished oversized valves (2.02” inlet, 1.6” exhaust), Edelbrock valve springs with titanium retainers, #Cloyes three-piece solid timing gears, Clevite cam bearings, Comp Cams 256/263-degree blower cam and lifters, #Edelbrock #Magnum chromoly pushrods, #Comp-Cams 1.5:1 alloy roller rockers, #Brodix rocker covers, ARP hardware (rocker arm studs, intake manifold bolts, sump bolts, timing cover bolts, engine mount bolts, exhaust header bolts, crank pulley bolts, bellhousing bolts), ARP oil pump driveshaft, custom engine mounts, customised turbo headers, twin Garrett T04E turbos, Tial wastegates, custom twin 3” turbo-back exhaust with Simons silencer, custom intercooler, Tial dump valve, #Edelbrock Pro-flo inlet and matching fuel rails, #Procomp 90mm throttle body, 770cc injectors, swirl pot with high flow lift pump, twin #Bosch 044 engine feed pumps, #Torques fuel pressure regulator, #March serpentine pulley kit, #Pro-Cool alloy radiator, #Megasquirt ECU, Ford coil packs, fully lightened and balanced flywheel

    TRANSMISSION #Toyota-Supra-R154 gearbox rebuilt and uprated with #Marlin-Crawler thrust washer bearing retainer and selector forks, #McLeod clutch release bearing, #ARP clutch bolts, Spec R Stage 4+ paddle clutch, alloy fluid reservoir, #Cube shifter, custom propshaft, E28 210mm LSD with 3.07 final drive and M3 Evo twin-ear rear mount, custom driveshafts with #UJs , custom gearbox crossmember

    CHASSIS 17x9” ET25 (front) and 17x10” ET20 (rear) Hartge fully polished three-piece wheels, 215/40 and 235/40 Federal RSR tyres, modified front crossmember for engine clearance, reinforced rear beam, E36 M3 front anti-roll bar with custom mounts and rosejointed droplinks, reinforced rear trailing arms, custom rear strut brace tied into custom rear diff mounting bar, #GAZ coilovers, GAZ adjustable front top mounts, stainless steel steering linkage joints and custom linkage, steering rack moved 20mm forwards, alloy power steering reservoir and custom lines, incar brake servo conversion using Renault Clio servo, VW Sharan brake master cylinder, #XYZ six-pot front calipers and 330mm discs, fivelug conversion using E36 and Z3 hubs, Porsche #Brembo six-pot rear calipers, #Apec-Z4 rear discs


    EXTERIOR M Tech 2 body kit, carbon bonnet, E36 M3-style mirrors, widened rear arches, smoked rear lights, smoked front indicators, yellow foglights

    INTERIOR Full red leather Sport interior, black carpets, custom gauge illumination (blue with red needles), A-pillar mounted auxiliary gauges (boost, #AFR , oil pressure), fuel system in boot

    THANKS Dad for all of the paintwork, Shaun from V8 Development for all the mapping and wiring.

    Red leather Sport interior looks fantastic and features custom gauge illumination and auxiliary gauges in the A-pillar.

    I’ve always been a fan of proper V8s… full blown Ford or #Chevy-motors .
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  •   Malcolm Thorne reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    E30 WHISPERER

    Turbo E30s don’t come much sleepier than this seriously subtle two-door, packing a 2.6 M20 under the bonnet. After fiddling with a few E30s some blokes feel justified in calling themselves ‘Mr E30’. Paul Issepon is not one of those guys. He is the ‘E30 Whisperer’. Words and photos: Ben Dillon.

    “Is it ‘da dada da da da’, or more like ‘dada da da dada?’” Paul Issepon asks, stone-faced and serious as he counts out the beats of two different mechanical cadences, each eerily mimicking a rough running M20 as he tries, telepathically, to diagnose what is wrong with my E30, which is 20 miles away in my garage. I want to laugh but I’ve never heard anyone so accurately verbalise a lumpy BMW six-pot before, so I fail to pick which aural signature my own broken-arse M20 is pumping out. But so entrancing is Paul’s Bavarian chant that I know if I could identify the pattern, he’d be able to pinpoint the problem immediately as he is, most definitely, an #BMW-E30 whisperer.

    Shrugging away both my awe and ignorance Paul moves onto other subjects – all E30-shaped, a passion which has consumed him since the car was released in 1983. Seeking the man out at his hilltop hermitage in Brisbane, Australia reveals the depth of his love for BMW’s most iconic three-box. No less than ten complete and running E30s are stashed away in various corners of his yard and garage with a further unspecified number earning a living as parts cars for anyone in need of E30 bits. From the family 325i Saloon to a 325i Convertible, a clutch of coupés and other chrome and plastic bumper iterations ranging in flavours from 318i to #BMW-325i (but no 320i variants, “all the thirst of a #BMW-325i-E30 with the power of a 318i, they suck,” Paul says), Paul has an E30 for every season and every day of the week. But it’s the contents of a shabby wooden garage that looks ready to collapse that we have come to see.

    “You want to see something special?” Paul says as we walk past a near immaculate 318iS undergoing Paul’s perfectionist scrutineering. Opening a creaking wooden doors reveals an E30 which is obviously something exceptional from the moment outside light falls across it. “This is my baby,” Paul murmurs. A first glance reveals an M Tech 2 bodykit hugging the familiar shape of an Anthracite E30 with Hockenheim-style 16-inch rims lounging in an aggressive stance that indicates some serious ability through the twisties. Looking further under the car sees a big diameter bi-modal exhaust system and finned diff showing that this car has the fireworks to match the finesse. But it’s the ‘2.6’ badge on the rump that causes the most furrowed brows. “The engine was built by Ludwig Finauer, a BMW race engine guy, using a 325i block and (885) head but with a 323i crank,” Paul explains. “So that makes it a 2.6-litre engine, that’s why it’s got the badge”.

    Ludwig Finauer was more than just your average spanner twirler, though, he was the mechanical mastermind behind the BMW factory team in the Australian Touring Car Championships (ATCC) during the 1980s when the team ran E24 635CSi and later E30 M3 cars against the home-grown V8 Ford and Holden crews. Headed by ex-Formula One legend Frank Gardner, the team had top-drawer local and imported talent for various races including 1967 Formula One champ Denny Hulme and even Finauer himself steering an M3 for a few rounds in #1987 including a drive in Australia’s biggest race, the Bathurst 1000.


    But fast E30s for the road were Finauer’s thing with star BMW team driver Kevin Bartlett commissioning one for his personal transport. Finauer promptly raided the race team’s parts bin with the result being a chrome-bumper Atlantisblau coupé with a Lysholm screw-type supercharger strapped on to the Finauer signature 325i/323i combo with body and drivetrain options cherrypicked from BMW M division in Germany.

    Bartlett now had a serious street weapon not all that different from his weekend drive. The car eventually found its way into private hands, going through a succession of owners until 2003 when a friend of Paul’s, Allan Forbes, stumbled across an advert for the car. “I’ve always loved E30s, they are a great car; fun, quick, they handle really well.

    They’re a good looking car, too, so when I saw it advertised for AU$8000 (£3300) I had to have it,” Allan says. Allan drove the car for about a year before writing it off in an accident. He then bought the wreck back from the insurance company to harvest all the special interior bits for his next E30 and sold what was left of the wreck to Paul who took the Finauer-built driveline and slotted it into a one-owner E30 #M-Tech 2 body which evolved into the car you see on these pages. Paul’s inspiration behind the project was to turn his dream of the ultimate M20- powered E30 into a driveable reality, and by engineering solutions and doing all of the work himself, have complete ownership of the transformation. The body and drivetrain were stripped down, with every part of the car rebuilt and/or modified to suit Paul’s aim of E30-godliness with attention lavished everywhere and as much focus on performance as on looks and usability.

    The Finauer engine was pulled apart, inspected, given a refresh with new bearings and gaskets while balanced standard pistons and rods were kept as they could easily handle the addition of 15psi of boost that Paul was planning. The induction side features a custom heat-shielded inlet to an M20B20 inlet manifold which is a curious choice but one which Paul stands by for helping the T05/03 hybrid Garrett turbo to spool quickly. This along with water/methanol injection and a front mounted intercooler helps to keep inlet temps down while general engine cooling is supported by a custom radiator and an oil cooler and catch-can setup. Custom extractors feed the turbo and expel gases on the hot side of the engine with a Turbosmart wastegate to vent boost when needed. The back end of the 2.5-inch twin system features a bi-modal exhaust valve operated by a solenoid at 3psi, helping the car remain somewhat stealthy in suburbia.

    Those with a keen eye might notice the distributor in the block, much like a Series 1 E30. “The bottom of the distributor is M20 #BMW and the top is Series 6 RX-7 because the triggering and the home signal for the Haltech love to be in the same spot,” Paul explains. “Everyone loves the RX-7 distributor so I thought I’d marry one onto an M20 shaft.” This combined with a single coil-pack feeds sparks via the cam-driven distributor while a Walbro 255 in-tank pump and rising rate regulator start the fire inside the 2.6-litre Finauer six. “It’s easily a 12- second (quarter-mile) car, maybe even 11s,” Paul says. “It’s got an LSD diff, sticky tyres and good suspension so instead of spinning the wheels it just goes forward fast.”

    Handling and stopping performance weren’t overlooked either with BC Racing coilovers and Mazda Series 6 RX-7 slotted and dimpled discs squeezed by Brembo fourpiston calipers up front with a slotted disc, single-piston setup on the rear.

    Inside and out styling cues are varied with genuine M Tech, Alpina and Hartge components sitting in a comfortable mélange of E30-ness. The M Tech 2 bodykit, spoiler and leather sport seats combine with the Alpina steering wheel and vent gauge inside to make a cosy habitat for the driver while Hartge strut braces front and rear tighten up handling. Under the bonnet the rocker cover is a Hartge item with the logo machined off and replaced with that of BM Conversions – Ludwig Finauer’s now defunct Sydney-based BMW hot-rod shop, Finauer himself having long since retired to a coastal village somewhere south of Sydney.


    The result of Paul’s hard work is not the most outlandish E30, or the fastest, but it is one of the most complete performance cars in the E30 community Down Under and we think he’s more than surpassed his aim to build the ultimate E30 combining all the merits of the original design but adding ‘more of everything’.

    The final twist is that after enjoying the car for a couple of years since completing the build, Paul has now sold the car to Allan – in a way returning the driveline at least to the person he got it from. After our photoshoot finishes Paul offers to ‘swap back’ the 326i for his very worked E31 840i. Allan declines with a smile and as Paul and I watch the 326i disappear into the distance I’m sure I hear the E30 Whisperer sigh. Nothing twangs the heartstrings harder than someone else driving ‘your’ #BMW-E30 .

    DATA FILE

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.6-litre straight-six #M20B26 / #M20 , 325i head and block, 323i crank, #Garrett-T05/03 / #Garrett turbocharger, water/methanol injection, #Haltech-Platinum 1000 ECU, 325i oil cooler, #Bosch yellow injectors, #Getrag-260 / #Getrag gearbox, lightened flywheel, performance clutch, 3.73 LSD diff with E30 M3 finned cover.

    CHASSIS: 8x16” (front and rear) wheels with 215/45 (front and rear) #Kumho KU36 semi-slicks, #BC-Racing coilovers, #Hartge strut braces, Mazda RX-7 #Brembo fourpiston calipers and slotted and dimpled rotors (front), slotted rotors single-piston calipers (rear), #Hawk pads, braided lines.

    EXTERIOR: #M-Tech 2 bodykit.

    INTERIOR: BMW sports leather seats, Alpina steering wheel, #Alpina vent gauge, Boost air-fuel and intercooler temperature gauges.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Sideways touring - #1991 #BMW #E30 #Touring . With 480 horsepower through its rear wheels, this E30 Touring with a Japanese heart is one of the most spectacular sideways sights to enjoy on the British drift circuit. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Ade Brannan.

    Who’d have thought a few drinks and 200 quid could result in the creation of one of the most recognisable cars on the British Drift Championship circuit? This is Fraser Stark’s 1991 E30 Touring, looking every inch the ideal drift wagon with its purposeful stance and the small matter of a transplanted 1JZ engine with truck turbo strapped to it to help send 480 horsepower though the rear wheels.

    So the purists may not appreciate this classic estate’s Japanese heart, but let’s be honest, to find those sort of horsepower figures with any BMW motor is going to involve big work and big money. That’s not to say it can’t be done (we’ve seen it many times before), nor that using the 1JZ engine from a donor Toyota Soarer is a simple transplant, but for Fraser it was the most obvious way to go to reach the big numbers needed to be competitive at the British Drift Championship (BDC).

    We’ve featured the 30 year old’s E46 drift weapon on PBMW’s pages previously, but it’s this #BMW-E30 that really cuts a dash on the drift tracks, not least because of its big bum swinging round each corner. Which begs the question, is the Touring version of the E30 a better drift machine to go for? “There are positives and negatives I suppose,” Fraser said, “especially if you’re on a narrow track where a bigger car can be a problem. But if you know how to drift, you should be able to do it in anything.”

    The Touring drifter came about by chance rather than original design, with Fraser managing to buy it from its previous owner at a party for the aforementioned £200. From here it took the Edinburgh plumber with an insatiable appetite for drifting eight months to gather the relevant parts, and a further two months to complete the build. An impressive construction time, but the talented Scotsman does the bulk of the modification work at his home, using his skills and experience to put together cars able to stand the tough lives led by competition drift cars.

    One of the stipulations in the BDC is that the car can’t have its firewall modified, so to fit the 1JZ powerplant Fraser said he managed to move the bulkhead back about an inch or so with a bit of creative bashing, ensuring the Toyota lump could rest in the engine bay. The 2.5-litre six-cylinder certainly sits snugly on custom engine mounts into the E30’s front end, not least because of the mighty turbocharger and associated plumbing required for the big power numbers.

    Expensive? Not if you’ve got the creative capacity of Fraser. “I went to a truck breaker’s yard as I figured they’re not going to put shite turbos on trucks,” he said. “I found this Holset turbo, paid about 30 quid for it and refurbished it at home.” It is a monster of a thing, but unlike the modern and incredibly intelligent twin turbo setup found in a lot of new BMWs, there is the familiar old drawback of such a big snail in place. “Yes, it’s a bit laggie, but it’s a solid turbo,” Fraser said.

    Running a mighty 1.4bar boost helps explain the 480rwhp, but when that power kicks in, the stresses and strains on practically every part of the car are immense. Hence Fraser has had to go to work on most areas of the Touring to ensure it holds together at the track.

    He’s created a custom manifold, custom 3” straight-through exhaust system and custom wastegate, while helping feed the hungry boosted Jap motor are 550cc injectors and a Bosch 044 fuel pump. Fraser’s employed an ECU Master DET3 piggyback ECU, meaning he gets to use the standard knock management sensors, keeping things safer at the track. Speaking of safe, to try and keep temperatures down while performing at the limit, a custom Sierra Cosworth intercooler has been deemed large enough to cope in the E30, while a custom alloy oil cooler and two large General Motors fans – which somehow just squeeze in – also do their stuff.

    As the UK editions of the Toyota Soarer only came with automatic transmissions, Fraser had to source an R154 five-speed manual as found in the Mk3 Toyota Supras.

    He’s created a custom bellhousing to mate the Supra and Soarer elements together and added a Competition six-paddle pull clutch and custom lightened ACT flywheel too. For longevity, a modified E36 328i propshaft and a six-cylinder E30 320i’s 3.64 diff are now in situ, with Fraser admitting that he’d “done a few diffs” in his time, such is the nature of the sport.

    To anyone considering serious drifting, you can already see the kind of work required to stay competitive and reliable – the stresses placed on the vehicle’s component parts are extreme in this sport.

    With so much power involved, keeping the Touring’s original chassis standard simply wasn’t an option. More big work has been performed here, with E36 M3 struts, hubs and brakes joining an E46’s bottom arms and the back beam connected to E46 stub axles. “The most important thing was to get bigger brakes like the E36 M3’s on there; anything to cope with the extra power the car now has,” Fraser explained.

    With the E36 M3 hubs the stud pattern has changed from four-stud E30 to five-stud, meaning Fraser can run 17” BBS Style 5 deep dish rims, maintaining a classic BMW look that suits the E30 – which actually looks something of a street sleeper by outward appearances alone. To look at it you know things are certainly not as normal, but it’d be tough to guess there were so many horses waiting to be unleashed from under that bonnet-pinned hood.

    It naturally sits low and has that purposeful drift car stance, helped along by a set of BC Racing E36 M3 coilovers with adjustable top mounts. Body-wise there are few changes at all, excluding the attractive single light conversion up front. “My best mate Rocco did the job, which is quite a simple thing using another set of front grilles,” Fraser said. “You just plastic weld it back together and it looks great, and was needed for my car as the intercooler ducts were too big to allow the second lights.”

    While the outside may hide the Touring’s true intentions, the cabin looks far more relevant to a car running in the Semi Pro Class at the BDC. Fraser’s created a custom roll-cage, stripped out the rear seats and added Cobra Monaco Pro race seats complete with Sabelt and OMP harnesses. An OMP steering wheel gets a regular workout with Fraser at the controls, while there’s the expected drift handbrake, Sparco race pedals and gauges nicely integrated in the E30’s dash where the central air vents used to live.

    Fraser revealed that after a few drinks with mates one night, they came up with a suitable name for their group as drift enthusiasts: Garage Fuck House. The name is proudly displayed on the Touring’s windscreen, and with its own Facebook site, the team has an excellent collection of drift photos, not least of the big bummed white E30 in spectacular action. The classic wagon does look at its best hanging sideways in a cloud of white tyre smoke, and there are the odd battle scars in evidence on the body showing how much Fraser pushes his extreme Touring.

    “There are five of us who drive for Garage Fuck House, and we’re all absolute drift heads,” Fraser said. Living in Scotland the team has easy access to the excellent Driftland on the outskirts of Fife, where Fraser said he’s lucky enough to go for practice and to set the car up properly. It’s helping too, as he’s managed to qualify for every event he’s started so far this year in the BDC.

    With increasing numbers wanting to get involved in drifting, we asked Fraser what his thoughts were of BMWs as drift cars. “BMs are the best driving car, but the hardest car to skid,” he explained. “So if you can do the British Drift Championship in a BMW you’re doing quite well, as if you’re in something like a Skyline they just drift themselves basically. But with the Touring, I just love the car.”

    Fraser said his friend William Rose also does the BDC with him, and he runs an E36 Compact with transplanted #E36 M3 motor. And he suggested those interested could get hold of an E36 328i cheaply – as he has done – to get a start in drifting as they’re a good car to bash about in. One thing’s for sure, when starting drifting, you’ve got to be prepared for a bit of panel damage.

    It’s a difficult but impressive skill to master, and Fraser is doing a great job in showcasing his talents behind the wheel of his BMWs. For those of us who love the oldskool, the sight of his E30 Touring’s rear wheels pumping out bellows of smoke at impossible angles is a pleasure to behold, and a suitable antidote to all the usual suspect Japanese machines out there.

    DATA FILE

    ENGINE: Transplanted 1JZ 2.5-litre inline six-cylinder 24-valve DOHC from a #Toyota #Soarer with refurbished Holset truck turbocharger running 1.4bar boost, custom manifold, custom 3” stainless steel straight-through exhaust, custom wastegate, 550cc injectors, Pro Alloy swirl pot, #Bosch 044 fuel pump, ECU Master DET3 piggyback #ECU , custom #Ford #Sierra #Cosworth intercooler, custom alloy oil cooler, two large GM fans, custom engine mounts.

    DRIVETRAIN: Transplanted Toyota R154 five-speed gearbox from a Mk3 Toyota Supra, custom bellhousing, competition six-paddle pull clutch, custom lightened ACT flywheel, custom E36 328i propshaft, six-cylinder E30 320i 3.64 diff oil sump.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front and rear) BBS Style 5 rims with 205/45 (front) Bridgestone and 205/45 (rear) Pirellis, BC Racing E36 M3 coilover suspension with adjustable top mounts, E36 #M3 struts, modified hubs and brakes, small Japanese car brake servo, #E46 bottom arms, strengthened back beam connected to E46 stub axles, polybushes throughout.

    EXTERIOR: Single headlight conversion using donor E30 front grille, bonnet pins.

    INTERIOR: Custom roll-cage, Cobra Monaco Pro racing seats, Sabelt and OMP harnesses, rear seats removed, drift handbrake, Sparco pedals, OMP steering wheel, fire extinguisher, dash integrated fuel ratio, oil pressure, water temp and boost gauges.

    Exterior is relatively subtle but stripped-out interior means business, as does the 1JZ under the bonnet with a massive truck turbo.

    A bigger car can be a problem, but if you know how to drift you should be able to do it in anything.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    JOG ON. LE JOG ROAD TRIP.

    We joined BMW Classic’s three- car assault on Le Jog, a dash from Land's End to John O'Groats reckoned to be Europe's toughest classic rally. It proved a gruelling experience for the #BMW-318i E30 and its driver. Words SAM DAWSON. Photography RORY GAME.

    It’s five o’clock on Saturday morning and the grey, weary face in the hotel bathroom mirror is contemplating some weighty issues. I’m in Land’s End, but this time tomorrow I will wake up in Chester. Pm about to drive more than 2000 miles, but myself and navigator Rory Game have only had time for a cursory glance at the road book. And BMW, in its wisdom, has given us a car with a three-speed automatic gearbox and a clock where the rev counter should be.

    ‘We figured it’d be easier over longer distances,’ said BMW Group Classic spokesman Stefan Behr last night, as we checked over our 1984 #BMW-E30 318i two-door in the winter twilight alongside our 1984 team-mates - a carb-fed 316 and a potent 320i. Seriously, Stefan; we’re against the clock here, and have you seen the average British B-road? As with so many things on this rally (like why are we called Team Rocket Science’?) I'd only discover the truth much later on.

    Just over an hour later we’re sitting in the queue for the start line, watching much more nimble opposition powerslide their way round the opening gravel special stage above the precipitous Land’s End cliffs. As we approach the starting flag I slide the gear selector into second-gear lockout. I’m going to have to two-pedal it round like a direct-drive go-kart and I’ll need responsiveness - the last thing I want is a jolt up into third when I’m about to brake for a hairpin.

    Somehow, the technique works. The gravel track seems narrow between the stone walls, but I keep my right foot planted, then use the karting technique of simultaneously lifting off the accelerator and sharply but progressively stabbing the brake pedal just before freewheeling hard into the tighter corners, then hitting the accelerator as we pass each apex. The body rolls just before the knobbly winter tyres lose grip and the little BMW snaps sideways on the dry gravel, but it’s easy to catch with a twirl of opposite lock. I still wish it had a manual, but it seems there are sporty ways to drive a car that began life crawling through the Bremen rush hour.

    As we leave the main coast road and start to thread together a series of narrow single-track lanes, a rather more alarming problem emerges. Brakes that seemed effective on gravel are locking at the slightest tap of the pedal on asphalt made damp and slippery with sap from the overhanging willow trees, but after three terrifying near misses sliding towards oncoming traffic in the space of one mile - one of which nearly forced a hapless Volvo into a ditch - we figure that there must be something wrong. Problem is, our next opportunity to consult chief mechanic Josef Rothe will be at the Porlock Hillclimb closed-road stage in 140 miles’ time. I’m just going to have to drive around the problem, and factor in very long, feathered braking distances. At least the A39 is wide and sweeping.

    I’m panicking slightly as we approach Porlock. Rory has noticed a distinct scorching smell coming from the brakes. We’re about to take on one of the longest hillclimbs in Britain, and it’s only a precursor to the challenge that’ll end the day - the whole of Wales, in one night. Josef puts the front wheels on full lock, prods at the calipers, sniffs the air and nods sagely, it’s just the new pads,’ he explains, sounding much more relaxed than we’re feeling. ‘When we upgraded the dampers, we also fitted a new set of brake pads. They’re not bedded-in yet and they’re still standing a little proud. They should be okay after a few more miles.’


    Pm still not feeling particularly comfortable, but at least I know the brakes won’t actually fail, and with this in mind I gun the BMW up the hill. The M10 four-cylinder gives off a steeled shriek under load, and I discover that the accelerator has a distinct two-stage action; the last inch of travel requires a firm shove but usually provokes the torque-converter into kickdown, accompanying a wonderfully aggressive tailslide as the front wheels pounce into the uphill hairpin apexes. It probably looks to spectators as though we know what we’re doing. It’s terrific fun, and by the time we make it to the top and set a course for the Gordano service park just outside Bristol, the brakes seem to be overcoming their grabby phase.

    After a quickly shovelled fast-food dinner at Gordano we head off across the Severn Bridge to Ebbw Vale. The scudding orange glow of the bridge’s streetlights pick out a direction on Rory’s pace notes that send a nervous chill down my arms - Epynt. Pm going to be driving Epynt at night. In a proper competitive rally. In drizzle.

    ‘With a wonky alternator and brakes we can’t quite trust, we spur the 318i towards Glasgow’

    For a rally fan to drive Epynt with any sense of purpose is like a pub five-a-side squad having a kickabout at Wembley Stadium. These army ranges in the Brecon Beacons, usually closed to the public because they’re used for military training, have been the amphitheatre in which rally gladiators have battled for decades; a complex of unforgiving, awkwardly angled corners, slippery catrle-grids and no fencing to prevent unfortunate cars from a tumble down muddy banks. We fill up in Brecon and turn off the A40 on to the ranges, all six forward lights blazing, wipers flailing.

    Rorys pace notes take on an added edge of urgency, punctuated by ‘careful’ and ‘steady’. To Rory it’s a combination of lefts and rights, but like the best racetracks these corners have names: Deer’s Leap, Dixie’s Hairpin, McRae’s, Piccadilly Junction, Helicopter Wood. I’ve seen these views through the windscreen before - on Rally Report in the early Nineties. It prompts a mixture of nostalgic excitement and the thrill of danger that persists long after rejoining normal roads near Builth Wells, and all the way through North Wales. The memory helps to stave off the growing tiredness as we pass the English border and find the Chester hotel some time around midnight. I drove Epynt and I survived.

    The start of the second day seems overly easy compared with what’s gone before. We begin on the motorway, taking us into Cheshire, then Lancashire, breaking off the M6 just north of Skelmersdale to potter round some of the flat, wide local roads.

    It’s not very challenging, but then Lancashire gives way to North Yorkshire at Settle and the roads get steeper, bumpier and punctuated by potholes, water-splashes and cattle-grids. A bit of immersion actually seems to improve the brakes, making their stopping power much more progressive.

    Breathtaking scenery kept spirits high all the way to the end.

    However, after pulling away from the lunch stop at Leyburn, there’s an ominous, seagull-like squawking from under the bonnet. It disappears quickly, so we dismiss it as a wet pulley causing a belt at cruising speeds, and if it’s making that sound all the time, try tightening the remaining bolts to keep it in place. It’s not ideal, but it should help.’ He slaps me on the back. ‘Good luck.’

    And so, with a wonky alternator on the verge of shutdown, the wrong gearbox for the job and brakes we can’t quite trust, we spur the 318i towards Glasgow - and a blizzard. Visibility is down to 100 yards at best, the outside lane of the M74 is piled high with snow, and traffic is averaging 50mph at best. Knowing the shortcomings of the brakes, 1 keep a long distance from the lorry in front, only for unthinking motorists in overly insulated modern cars to leapfrog me and plug the gap. We’re heading for Loch Lomond, but I didn’t expect the M74 to be so dangerous. I’m one emergency stop away from a potentially deadly collision.

    The turn-off can't come a moment too soon. Away from the hurly-burly of the motorway, as we head into the Trossachs the traffic dwindles to nothing, and from hereon in the scenery transcends the mere picturesque and becomes breath-catchingly beautiful. The fact that we're averaging around 40mph is no real hardship with the low, silvery winter sun glinting between the pines over the surface of Loch Lomond - especially with the car slithering slightly on ice lingering in the shade.

    But as we pass out of the Trossachs and into the Highlands we’re both rendered speechless by the sheer majesty of Glencoe. Rounding a square left-hander on the A82 just north of Loch Ba has the effect of drawing back a mountainous veil to reveal the enormous valley, dwarfing the sole ribbon of tarmac amid snow-capped peaks running seamlessly into the blanched sky; and still, peaty water lapping through yellow grass. As if under orders to complete the image, a golden eagle leaps from the undergrowth beside the road, a sole wingbeat launching it about 20 feet into the air.

    After pulling in at Fort William for fuel, with night falling, the alternator belt starts to howl again - this time at ever-lower rpm, on every tight bend. We battle through the snow to Kyle of Lochalsh and pull over to tighten the bolts, but it doesn’t make much difference. This presents us with a dilemma - we’ve got a distance equivalent to London to Sheffield to cover, and some of the toughest sections of the rally ahead of us, including the infamous Pass of the Cattle on the Applecross peninsula. It’s all hairpin bends, relentless gradients and an abundance of snow.

    The words of clerk of the course Tony Davies are echoing around my mind, ‘Priority one, two and three are uget to John O’Groats”.’ We can either follow the roadbook’s route, knowing full well it’ll cause the engine vibrations to ultimately snap the belt, potentially leaving us stranded with no way to repair it - and given the patchy mobile reception, no way to call for help either - or we plot our own, gentler route to the finish to preserve the alternator, on the understanding that if we break down we’ll be nowhere near the course sweeper car or any mechanical assistance. Either way, if that belt snaps our rally will end with a tow-truck to Edinburgh Airport.

    We’ve got to finish. We choose the latter plan and part with the plotted route at Strathcarron, heading cross-country to the A9. Knowing that by diverting we’ll miss the dinner halt, we pull in to the Balconie Inn at Evanton for what must be the best haggis, neeps and tatties I’ve ever tasted. It also gives us the chance to see how bad things are under the bonnet. The alternator belt is noticeably frayed, with nearly a third of its original width gone. One last tightening of the bolts, and we head off towards the A99.

    We’re vaguely aware of the moonlit scenery as the route hugs the east coast, distant oil rig flames the only evidence of life in the indigo night. Our main beams pick up names on signs that I've only heard before on the shipping forecast, and the roads are completely deserted. This at least is positive, because it means we can maintain reasonable momentum and avoid low-gear, high-rpm vibrations. Even roundabouts can be crossed at speed if the visibility’s good enough. We complete the final 70 miles in third gear only.

    Finally, the ghostly whitewash of John O'Groats lies shimmering at the end of the road. We’ve made it. Knowing the alternator belt is sacrificial now, we slow to a crawl outside the only building with a light on. It’s the Seaview Hotel, where we’re staying. More importantly, the bar has hundreds of single-malt whiskies.

    And with the dawn light, in a howling coastal gale, the other rallyists emerge from the road to Wick, heroically led by a 1947 Ford Popular, the oldest car on the event. It turns out we had a lucky escape - some of the stages we circumvented were cancelled due to ice, and several cars haven't made it, including a BMW M535i E28 that tragically felled one of Glencoe’s deer. We may have missed out on some of the route, but as we line up the ailing BMW alongside the other cars in the freezing morning - many battered, dented and held together with baling twine and duct tape - we can't help but share the sheer sense of achievement.

    Our BMW team-mates arrive on the scene too - Josef Rothe even managed to win a ‘best rookie’ trophy - and there, at John O'Groats, the reason why we’ve been driving a car with a ‘Team Rocket Science' sunstrip is revealed as Stefan Behr finally comes clean and explains the team name to us.

    ‘When I told my colleagues at the #BMW M-Sport department that I was going to enter three cars in the toughest classic rally in Europe, they shrugged dismissively and said, “It’s not exactly rocket science.” I couldn't admit that until we'd actually finished it, or I’d look silly. As for the automatic gearbox, because of the 1984 cutoff for entries, we were restricted to the first few months of #E30 production, so we had to take what we could find. But we just wanted to give the E30 a fitting 30th birthday tribute.'

    Somehow, getting this far now seems even more remarkable.

    Thanks to: BMW Group Classic, the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (heroevents. eu)

    TECH DATA #1984 #BMW-318i-E30
    Engine #M10 1766cc in-line four-cylinder, sohc, #Bosch #L-Jetronic fuel injection
    Power and torque 101bhp @ 5800rpm; 103 lb ft @ 4500rpm
    Transmission three-speed #ZF automatic #ZF3HP , rear-wheel drive
    Steering Rack and pinion
    Suspension
    Front: independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
    Rear: semi-trailing arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
    Brakes Servo-assisted discs front, drums rear
    Weight 1125 kg (2480 lb)
    Performance
    Top speed: 106 mph:
    0-60mph: 11,4 sec
    Fuel consumption 34mpg
    Cost new £7950
    Value now £650-24500

    EVAN MACKENZIE The Veteran

    Evan Mackenzie won the very first Le Jog rally in 1993, sharing a Triumph TR4 with John Kiff. Here are his tips.
    The key to it is to get a really good navigator who you get on well with, trust implicitly and never have to question,’ says Mackenzie. ‘Any driver can do fairly well if they're following instructions, but it’s the ability to deliver those instructions precisely that’s most important.

    ’Le Jog isn’t the most difficult rally from a driving point of view, but it is in terms of fatigue. You've got to plan to deal with it; on the first event, John and I knew we'd be tired so we booked a hotel room in advance for just one hour at a point when we’d be able to stop. That made for an odd phone call.

    ‘I got used to doing this kind of rallying in South Africa, on events that would last anything from three or four days up to one or two weeks. Concentration is the key.

    ‘The roadbooks are written with precision in mind, not to catch you out, so if you make a mistake you've only got yourself to blame; the satisfaction lies in getting it right. Every surprise is a pleasure.’

    ‘Le Jog isn’t the most difficult rally from a driving point of view, but it is in terms of fatigue.
    Sam plans a cunning deviation from the route in order to nurse the 318 home.
    With a howling alternator belt and everything crossed, it’s Scotland - but still a long way from the finish line.
    An underbonnet check reveals a sheared alternator mounting bolt and a shredding belt.
    Cryptic team name on sun strip was later revealed as an example of German humour.
    Breathtaking scenery kept spirits high all the way to the end.

    Sam starts the rally at a fair pace, but the dark clouds of fatigue and mechanical problems were already gathering.

    Sam tries to look happy with his auto 318i at Land's End, alongside his team- members’ 316 and 320i.

    Other Le Jog competitors display a more sporting bent at the rally’s start.

    LAND’S END

    Immersion in water actually made over-zealous new brake pads more manageable.
    Single-track lanes plus dodgy brakes equals several heart- stopping near-misses with oncoming traffic.
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  •   George Dziedzic reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    AHTUNG POLIZEI BMW E30! STRONG ARM OF THE LAW! #BMW-E30-S62

    Take an E30, strip it out, put an S62 V8 in it and then paint it to look like a German police car. Works for us. 420hp V8-powered #BMW-E30 is the law. Putting V8s into E30s is becoming a rather popular swap – but this is no ordinary E30, nor is it any ordinary V8… Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Dennis Podnebess.

    Latvia is one of those countries that we, in all honesty, know very little about when it comes to modified BMWs. The occasional crazy build has emerged from there but as for the general scene, who knows?! What we can say, though, is that if Janis Dimpers’ example is anything to go by, it’s a nation worth investigating…

    “BMW is all about control, power and rear-wheel drive of course,” the 32-year old scrapyard worker told us. “I bought my first BMW when I was 18 years old – it was a 1980 E21 320i. I got it cheap and I loved it.” However, it wasn’t until a later car that the modifying bug really hit. “My first proper project was another E21 – a 323i with a fully rebuilt 3.0-litre engine and repainted in deep blue. I used it for drag racing.”

    It was this modifying addiction that soon led to him wanting to do a full-on, ground-up rebuild – this time based on an E30, his seventh BMW. “I found this car without an engine, living under a tree near my brother’s house four years ago. It had a very good body and was almost rust-free,” Janis explained. “That’s why it was chosen. The first job was to strip it back to a shell, sandblast it and repaint it.” With such a fantastic base, the project was already looking good but a big decision still needed to be made. What powerplant to put in it…

    Working where he does, Janis was in the right place to get a good deal, which he did on an E39 M5 engine – the 400hp 4.9-litre #S62 V8. It was a good engine and just needed a new sump, which he sourced from an E39 540i. Janis also wanted to give it a few of his own touches – once the shell was ready of course.

    You see, rather than just build the shell back up in a similar fashion to the one it was disassembled in, Janis wanted to do something different, so he dropped it over to Latvian rally stars, the Shimkus brothers. They built an eight-point roll-cage into the car, which is fully homologated so Janis can compete should he decide to. As you can see, it’s quite a creation and does wonders for the shell’s stiffness, as well as providing the all-important roll-over protection.

    With this done, Janis could start building the car back up, beginning with the chassis. Converting to E36 Compact suspension is a popular swap that has several advantages – not only does it mean five-lug wheel fitment, there are better options for brakes too, and coilovers become a bolt-in job rather than a weld-in affair. It’s a real win-win, and that’s exactly why he opted for it. Coupled with the rear beam, trailing arms and all four hubs from the Compact, Janis has used XYZ coilovers and retrofitted E46 330i front brakes – the perfect OE upgrade. As many of the bushes as possible were also removed and in their place, Janis has fitted solid bushes and rose joints. It’s nothing if not hardcore.

    The shell was also ready to have things built back up in the bodywork department. The iconic box arches of the #BMW E30 M3 tickle the fancy of just about any enthusiast and Janis is no different – he ordered up a set of fibreglass replicas to be grafted on to his E30 shell, and at the same time also purchased a fibreglass bonnet, bootlid and bumpers. The resulting weight-saving is pretty significant, and he didn’t stop there – polycarbonate windows have also been fitted to shed the kilos even further.

    As you might imagine, the interior is also pretty purposeful. The only remaining original trim is the dashboard. In fact, even this has been stripped of a lot of its features; now containing only the necessary gauges and a few fuses where the glovebox used to sit. The heavy, unsupportive original seats have been replaced with Sparco buckets with QSP harnesses, and a dishy QSP steering wheel features too. In the boot you’ll find a blanked-off spare wheel well along with the fueling setup, which includes a fuel cell and a Bosch high-power fuel pump, all of which helps avoid fuel starvation under heavy cornering.

    With 8.5x17 Rondell M5 Contours bolted on using wheel studs, the car was ready for that mammoth V8 to be fitted. Custom engine mounts were required, though unlike many other V8 E30 swaps Janis managed to retain the standard M5 exhaust manifolds, making things a little easier. From there back the exhaust is fully custom, while on the intake side he’s made his own filter arrangement. He’s also made his own VANOS-delete kit and finally, the whole show is run by a VEMS standalone ECU, which not only bypasses the usual problems with the security features on the standard ECU, but allows for easier mapping too. The result is a very healthy 420hp and 385lb ft of torque – enough to propel the E30 sideways at a moment’s notice.

    “I paid €1000 for the body and then spent around €12,000,” Janis concluded. “I did almost all of the work myself – my boss gave me a spot in our workshop’s corner for my project. I spent all my time there after work. It was really useful as almost all the tools I needed were already there.


    “The project took a lot longer than I expected though. As soon as I got one part done, it became clear that I needed to modify another! I planned to do it in a year but it took two and a half instead!” For the result, we’d say the wait has definitely been worth it. Janis has achieved exactly what he set out to do, which was to build a fun car that would be capable of doing almost any kind of event, from drifting to drag racing, and we’d say that E30 has ended up being far more than just that. Although it’s not quite enough for Janis by the sound of things, as he is now dreaming of adding a turbo into the mix for yet more horsepower.

    Although it’s on the raw end of the scale, the attention to detail that’s gone into Janis’ E30 is undeniably impressive, and the results speak for themselves. As an ambassador for Latvia, we’re hard pushed to imagine there could be a better example in the modified BMW world.

    DATA FILE

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.9-litre V8 #S62B50 , custom air filter, #VANOS removed, VEMS standalone ECU, #Bosch fuel pump. Standard E39 M5 six-speed manual gearbox.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x17” Rondell M5 Contours shod in 215/50 Neuton tyres, E36 Compact rear trailing arms and front hubs, wheel stud conversion, solid bushes and rose joints, XYZ coilovers. E46 330i front brake conversion using 325mm ATE discs, standard E36 Compact rear brakes with hydraulic handbrake.

    EXTERIOR: Fibreglass E30 M3 wings, fibreglass bonnet, bumpers and bootlid, polycarbonate windows and rear windscreen, full respray.

    INTERIOR: Fully stripped-out with custom-made eight-point roll-cage, Sparco seats, QSP harnesses, QSP steering wheel, hydraulic handbrake lever, custom gauge setup.

    PERFORMANCE: 420hp, 385lb ft of torque.

    Everywhere you look on this #E30 you see custom details – it’s all been built to be good fun while being legal for motorsport events.

    I found this car without an engine, living under a tree but it was almost rust-free.

    It took longer than expected. I planned to do it in a year but it took me two and a half instead!
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