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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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  •   Elliott Roberts reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Evolution Not Revolution Gorgeous US E30 M3. There’s a purity to the E30 M3 that’s ensured a strong and devoted following over the years. But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to tweak and refine them… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jordan Unternaher.

    High-end resto-modding is big business these days. We see it in all corners of the automotive world – Eagle will sell you a Jaguar E-Type, if your pockets are sufficiently deep, with better-than-new bodywork, classic looks, and thoroughly modern power, suspension and brakes. Singer will do the same for a Porsche 911, Icon offer a new-old Ford Bronco, it’s everywhere. Jensen Interceptors, Peugeot 205 GTIs, you name it.

    The E30 we see here, however, is a slightly different interpretation of the timeworn resto-mod ethos. It hasn’t been stripped down to its component nuts and bolts in a hermetically sealed lab then rebuilt as a sort of retro-modern pastiche of its former self.

    No, its owner, James Dallas of Ohio, has instead chosen to optimise and contemporise his iconic three-box 3 Series by following two distinct paths: firstly, to cherry pick the finest parts from the evolutionary E30 timeline, and secondly to bring all of that glorious power and tactility screaming into the 21st century. This, then, is an M3 re-imagined – a fulfilment of a cerebral vision, spirited into reality via the medium of methodical and careful planning. Like a chef who’s ever so precise about the measurements of their ingredients, this is proper less-is-more stuff.

    An interesting approach, really, given how more-is-more the E30 M3 was in spirit in the first place. What’s key to remember is that time has mellowed the lines of this box-arched whippet; it’s no longer a hooligan bruiser, but a bona fide collectors’ item honed for B-road blasts and spirited forays into licence-losing velocity.

    “I’ve been into BMWs forever, really,” says James. “I owe it all to my uncle Dennis for properly getting the obsession going - they are such amazing vehicles, and the drivability of the E30 is unprecedented; a true driver’s car. The first BMW I bought was actually a 1998 M3 sedan,” he continues. “It offers the best bang for your buck, hands down! Simple as that.” This practical everyday-superhero still sits on the Dallas driveway, but it’s the older upstart that’s drawing all the attention today. James had dabbled in modifying the newer car with uprated suspension, Dinan parts and basic bolt-ons, but the acquisition of this poster-boy of homologation allowed the scales to fall from his eyes as he began to view BMW ownership in a fresh light. Well, not so much ownership, not any more – call it curatorship.

    “It’s the true benchmark of the M3 family,” he enthuses, “the way it connects you to the road and really makes you drive the thing is something you just can’t experience in newer cars. It’s also the one car that I’ve genuinely always wanted to own - the body lines are something we’ll never see the like of again.” He’s right; it is impressive how the reworked E30 transformed the svelte everyday saloon into something pumped-up and muscular. It’s worth remembering just how many body panels were junked from the standard car by BMW M to create this near-mythical beast.

    “This M3 originally came from the East Coast – New Jersey, I think,” says James. “I actually purchased it from California – I’d say the condition was fair-to-good at that time. And yes, I definitely had a plan in mind for the car right from the start; I knew the exact wheels I wanted, the overall style…

    I’ve always enjoyed the look and excitement of the old DTM cars, so that was definitely a major influence and a huge inspiration.” First things first, though – these have always been function-over-form cars, it’s just a happy coincidence that they happen to look frickin’ awesome, so James’s first job was to ensure that the oily bits were all just so. That iconic S14 engine (employing just four cylinders, chosen because it was small and light, but more than happy to make mincemeat of contemporary six-pots) was lovingly torn to bits and fully refreshed: all-new OEM parts - the thermostat, belts, plug wires, and then came the addition of cams, head studs, and a Turner chip to imbue a fresh sense of urgency. Any S14 is a good S14, but one that’s operating as-new and then a little bit more is very much a thing to aspire to. Stay in school, kids – these things can be yours… “I didn’t really run into any problems, but it was a long and tedious process to say the least,” he recalls with a grimace. “There was a lot of sourcing BMW factory parts. A lot!”

    One area that will definitely stick in the craw of the purists is the suspension, as many will argue that there’s not a damn thing wrong with the stock setup. But in the spirit of resto-modding, James was keen to make sure that the handling matched the power in a thoroughly modern sense, and that’s the reason why you’ll find a set of high-end Ground Control coilovers nestling perkily beneath those lantern-jawed arches. “I felt it was the best overall choice for response and handling for the car,” he shrugs. And it’s his motor, so what he says goes.

    The styling is what’s really interesting here, as it eagerly feeds that whole overarching less-is-more ethos with a keen sense of the historic timeline of the E30 M3’s evolution. You see, the timeline in a nutshell (heavily edited, as we don’t have space to chew over the full history here) is that the model arrived in early 1986 in Europe – America had to wait another year – and it immediately embarked upon a programme of constant reinvention. The M3 Evolution arrived in 1987, rocking a revised cylinder head, and then 1988’s Evolution II knocked things up a notch with all sorts of engine upgrades – compression ratio, intake, management, all sorts. It also had thinner glass, a deeper front airdam, an additional rear lip spoiler and lighter bumpers.

    Befuddlingly, the Evo II is generally referred to as the M3 Evolution as BMW didn’t recognize the original M3 ‘Evo’ as sufficiently different to merit a different name.

    Confused? Try the subsequent Evolution III then, which was actually the Sport Evolution – this #1989 model had further extensive engine upgrades along with adjustable front and rear spoilers, lower suspension and wider wings…

    But let’s not get bogged down in history, or nitpicking, we don’t need to discuss the minutiae of the Tour de Corse, Europameister, Cecotto or Ravaglia editions here. Suffice it to say that James had read up on his history and carefully chosen the best bits from each of these evolutionary steps to turn his E30 into what he deemed to be perfect: the Evolution II front lip, the adjustable Sport Evo rear spoiler, the Evo air box, the Evo II steering wheel – subtle differences, probably only noticeable to true E30 nerds, but vital stuff nonetheless. It’s this dedication to geekery that really makes the build pop.

    “It was always going to have BBS RS wheels,” says James. “Truly, I feel they are the best period-correct wheel for this vehicle, and I think they look fantastic. It fits perfectly with the old-school DTM look I was going for. I didn’t want to change anything with the interior though, as the M3 has the Cardinal carpets, which are pretty rare, so I left it factory. Just freshened it up, cleaned and re-bolstered the front seats.”

    A few further modifications were carefully stirred into the mix over the course of the eighteen-month resto-mod exercise, in the form of a short-shifter and a tighter Z3 steering rack, and James’s favourite upgrade of them all is the diff: “I swapped in a 4.27 LSD, and I love it,” he smiles. “It gives you that immediate response as you come out of a turn or as soon as you hit the gas.”

    And that’s the point of an E30 M3, isn’t it? Immediate response, granular feedback, the synthesis of man and machine working harmoniously as one. Sure, this example might have concours judges turning up their stuffy noses, but they’re not the ones driving it. James’s modern reinterpretation of this iconic and dreamlike car is pretty much spot-on – less-is-more, and at the same time utterly outrageous.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BBS / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 , #Eisenmann exhaust system with DTM tips, #Evolution air box, #Turner chip, #Schrick cams. Five-speed manual gearbox, 4.27 LSD

    CHASSIS 8x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) #BBS-RS wheels with 255/40 (front and rear) BF Goodrich tyres, Ground Control coilovers, Ground Control camber plates, cross-drilled discs, Z3 steering rack

    EXTERIOR Salmon silver paint, Evo II front lip, Sport Evo rear spoiler

    INTERIOR Original Cardinal Red interior, Evo II steering wheel

    THANKS First and foremost, my uncle Dennis. Also, Cam Peugh, Ian Simon, Robert Santen, Chris Balich, and Brian from Mworks for helping refinish the RSs
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  •   Louise Woodhams reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    BOX OF TRICKS

    Building a competitive hillclimb and circuit machine is no mean feat, as this S50-powered E30 ably demonstrates. Taking the Australian race circuit and hillclimb tracks by storm, this M3-powered 1983 E30 proves age is no barrier to speed and fun. Words and photos: Iain Curry.

    Old BMWs never die, they just get faster’. As bumper stickers go it’s a pretty corny one, but for a certain Australian E30 the line was so perfectly relevant owner Piers Harrex couldn’t resist adding it to his racing car’s rump. With as good as 300 horses at the rear wheels, this 32-year-old E30 has been saved from the scrapheap and turned into one of Australia’s most accomplished and feared circuit and hillclimb weapons.

    It’s the latest creation from the dream factory that is Brisbane-based RX Automotive, a BMW specialist that is the go to place for any serious racing or fast road upgrades in the Sunshine State of Queensland. Piers is the current star driver of the family business, established nearly 40 years ago by his British-born father Simon Harrex, himself having enjoyed a stellar racing career Down Under. Harrex senior kept busy away from the track with a race car fabrication and preparation business, and soon discovered the benefits of specialising in BMWs; growing a passion for the marque that son Piers has inherited. Harrex junior began an apprenticeship at his dad’s workshop as soon as he finished school, but before venturing into BMWs began enhancing a Toyota Celica and then created a Group A-style SD1 Rover with a worked engine. “With the Rover being an English car, it got to the point where the interior was breaking all the time,” Piers said. Dad Simon may be of English heritage, but he knew the Germans trumped the Brits in a car’s reliability stakes, so suggested his son try a BMW – specifically an E30 model – if he wanted to start hitting the race track.



    Ever since his first introduction to the E30, Piers has never budged from his belief they are superb race cars. “I’ve had six now I think, either wrecks to take parts from or racers,” he said. The most desirable from his point of view are pre-1986 E30s as this year is the cut-off point for many permitted modifications in the Improved Production racing class he’s competing in this year.

    This brings us to his immaculate E30 racer, which began life in 1983 as a white 323i. It had been sitting in a car yard practically abandoned for a few years before the Harrexes handed over $250 (just over 100 quid) and trailered it away. “The driver’s window had been smashed and rubbish was being thrown into it,” Piers said. “One of my first jobs with the car was to remove a mouldy loaf of bread from the interior!”

    Progress then moved apace. Piers stripped the interior entirely and took a high pressure cleaner to the shell, repaired the small amount of rust he found and had a roll-cage welded in. For a more enhanced racing look he sourced fibreglass wheel arch flares in the shape of BMW’s venerable 2002 Turbo models from 1973, cut out 70mm of the original guard and fibreglassed them in place. He then gave the rolling body to Queensland paint guru and PBMW feature car owner Julian Seeger, who applied Voodoo blue paint from Toyota’s funky Rukus model. “As a race car it needed to be a colour that was bright and stood out against all the other cars out there,” Piers explained, and the modern colour certainly adds more verve to this E30’s body.

    The exterior has also been modernised with a fibreglass front bumper created using a mould of Australian Touring Car legend Tony Longhurst’s Benson and Hedgessponsored BMW E30 racer. A custom aluminium splitter was added to this, while the #1983 BMW’s chrome rear bumper – which had to remain in situ for the Improved Production series – was taped over and colour-coded for a sleeker style. Under the wider arches are Alpina 7x15” rims from the first generation E21 3 Series, which proved ideal for an old school style and meeting the size requirements stipulated by the Improved Production rules. These are shod in Yokohama A050 semi-slick tyres, which Piers said were ideal for hillclimbs as they are sticky even when cold: there are no warm up laps in hillclimbs remember.

    A common upgrade well-known in E30 circles is using VW Corrado brake discs and Mazda RX-7 four-piston callipers front and twin-piston Nissan Skyline callipers rear. Piers has done just this to improve stopping power, and in a nice touch to hide the imposter brake parts, he’s added yellow BMW Motorsport stickers to the calipers. Suspension-wise the racer has opted for a Ground Control setup – using Eibach springs and Koni shocks – which Piers said is well-proven for track and hillclimb use. The serious work has really come under the bonnet. The Improved Production class allows for certain engine swaps, and Piers has done so by transplanting a 3.0-litre sixcylinder and its five-speed gearbox from an early E36 M3. This engine had detonation problems, so Piers used just its original block and head, building up the rest using brand new components.


    It has been enhanced with 308/315 Schrick cams, larger VAC Motorsport stainless one-piece valves, high compression CP forged pistons and Carrillo rods, then given a carbon fibre air box and Exhaust Innovations manifold leading in to a full custom system. A Bosch 044 fuel pump helps deliver Powerplus 108+ race fuel from a boot-mounted aluminium tank and through Teflon braided hoses, with the whole setup managed by a Motec computer.


    It means this 1983 one-time 150hp 323i is now good for a confirmed 298hp at the rear wheels and 384lb ft of torque. Incredible stuff for a naturally aspirated S50B30 sixcylinder, but to be expected from a racing workshop no stranger to getting the best out of these BMW M Motors. And with the old E30 weighing in at just 1010kg with Piers in the car, that’s a very handy power-to-weight ratio. The gearbox that came with the 3.0- litre E36 M3 motor – the old five-speed manual – has been retained and given an adjustable throw gearstick, while an E36 328i driveshaft and E30 M3 75% locking diff give more confidence for race weekend. It’s true racing business in the cabin, and like the rest of this car, beautifully finished. The driver has a carbon kevlar race seat – from a former V8 Supercar (the Aussie version of our touring cars) – and is held in place by a Sparco four-point harness. Piers has custom-made the dash panel and centre console to contain all the switches, lights and instruments, headlined by white Auto Meter Pro-Comp gauges. Another nice touch – and wonderfully lightweight – is the woven cloth for the dash and doorcards, custom-made by specialist #Aerospec .


    So, in reflection, quite the race tool. We caught up with Piers competing at one of his favourite Australian events, the infamous Noosa Hillclimb. It is just under one mile of steep gradient and 14 turns, with the course lined with concrete barriers one side and tree-lined drops the other. In other words, mistakes are always expensive. Piers said he was able to run the whole course in third gear alone once he’d got away from the start line thanks to the 4.67 ratio diff he used from an E30 M3 (this is one of ten he chooses from depending on the type of race event). Thinking about every hundredth of a second as a race driver should: “Why waste time changing gears?” he said.


    Taking class honours in the 2014 Noosa Hillclimb and 15th out of 153 overall, it wasn’t a bad weekend’s work for the E30. With a happy grin Piers explained that his latest creation is a lot more animal than anything he’s made before. “Even so, it’s very neutral to the driver; I thought it would be more taily,” he said. “It still lights its wheels up, but it’s very predictable. Yet so versatile is this old E30 – helped by Piers’ expert mechanical setup – that the blue beastie can be tackling one of Australia’s race circuits almost immediately after a hillclimb. And rest assured it will be terrorising 911s on long track straights just as much as it does Subaru Imprezas in the bends.

    “As a race car it needed to be a colour that was bright and stood out against all the other cars out there”
    “One of my first jobs with the car was to remove a mouldy loaf of bread from the interior!”

    DATA FILE #Hillclimb #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-Hillclimb / #BMW-E30-S50 /

    ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30 / #S50 , 308/315 #Schrick cams, #VAC-Motorsport stainless one-piece valves, high compression CP forged pistons and #Carrillo rods, carbon fibre air box, Exhaust Innovations manifold leading into a full stainless steel exhaust system, #Bosch-044 fuel pump feeding #Powerplus 108+ race fuel from boot-mounted aluminium fuel tank, #Motec-M84 engine management system. 298whp and 384lb ft of torque.

    TRANSMISSION #ZF-Type-C five-speed manual from E36 M3 3.0-litre, E36 328i driveshaft, E30 M3 75% locking diff.

    CHASSIS 7x15” (front and rear) #Alpina E21 wheels with Yokohama A050 semi-slick tyres, #Ground-Control suspension using #Eibach springs and Koni shocks, VW Corrado brake discs with Mazda RX-7 four-piston callipers (front) and Nissan Skyline twin piston callipers (rear).


    EXTERIOR 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.

    INTERIOR Fully stripped interior with V8 Supercar carbon kevlar racing seat, #Sparco four-point harness, Momo suede steering wheel, white Auto Meter Pro-Comp gauges in custom panel, adjustable throw gear stick, custom Barsted Rollcages roll-cage, Aerospec woven cloth for dash and door cards, boot-mounted aluminium fuel tank with Teflon braided hoses and ProFlow pressure gauge.

    THANKS #RX-Automotive Brisbane, Jo Seeger Smash Repairs Hervey Bay, Robert Novak of Definition Motorsport for the Motec and dyno work.
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  •   Iain Curry reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    RALLY E30 M3 Full-on 320hp Tarmac terror.

    STAGE FRIGHT
    Once a racer, this absolutely awesome 320hp E30 M3 is now a Tarmac rally terror. Having made the transition from racer to rally machine, this E30 M3 is as focused and hardcore as they come. Words and photos: Andy Starkey.

    There’s no air-ride suspension, no handcrafted modified bodywork, no deep lacquered paintwork or fancy hand-stitched leather interior. There’s not even a smart ICE install or a glitzy set of sparkly rims. But this doesn’t stop Allan Davies’ E30 M3 being one hell of a car, one that’s more than worthy of being featured amongst these pages. The reason for the lack of all these pretty bits and bobs is quite obvious: this is a car built to do a job. To do battle on Tarmac rally stages, to be exact. But it wasn’t always that way…

    Way back in 2009 Allan had campaigned a pretty successful season in the Classic Thunder series, driving a 2004 Clio Cup car. However, he yearned to drive something more ‘classic’, preferably rear-wheel drive and with a good deal more poke. The search for such a beast led him to the doors of JC Racing in Yorkshire. There he found this ex-Mark Smith racing E30 M3 nestling amongst all the other treasures. Mark had raced it in the Britcar series and a few 24- hour events but had plans to move up to an E92. Allan, being the charitable type, naturally offered to help out by making a bit more space for Mark by buying the #BMW E30.

    Coming from a company like JC Racing meant that the car was already pretty well sorted. It came equipped with a Russ Cockburn-built #S14 motor which pushed out a useful 320hp. It’s an all-steel affair, high revving and fitted with Works throttle bodies, Works plenum and pretty hot cams. A real peach, as they say. There was a Drenth six-speed ’box and two-way adjustable KW coilover suspension. She was ready to race, straight from JC. Allan enjoyed the next two seasons in the Classic Thunder series again and notched up a couple of wins in the Pre-1993 Championship. He even had a pretty successful trip to Spa.

    There was, however, something of a thought starting to manifest in the back of Allan’s mind. You see, racing wheel-to-wheel on a congested race track certainly makes for exhilarating, heart-pounding action. However, the problem with that is that you can come a proper cropper at the hands of some other adrenalin-fuelled hot-head that reckons he can see a gap when quite clearly there isn’t one. This often results in some rather expensive carnage, and at no fault of your own.

    Now, Allan does have the good fortune to co-own Driveme, a Stafford-based supercar experience business. This means that the E30 has a permanent home and trusted spanner guys to keep it just so. That said, the team has more than enough to do keeping temperamental Ferraris and Lambos going, never mind the possibility of regular panel damage, or worse, to the Beemer from racing it. No, it was time to return to Allan’s roots: rallying. At least that way, if it did get damaged he could only blame himself!


    “There’s no way I’d take her into the woods on a loose event,” Allan assures us. “Tarmac is where it needs to be, and I was sure it wouldn’t take much to get her ready.” Really? Allan is first to admit, he’s a bit mechanically challenged. “In my own little world I thought the transition from race to rally would be fairly simple,” he explains.

    Well, after a bit of research and chatting to people in the know, it became obvious there was a bit more to it than he first thought. You may think that racing and rallying are very close relations and that it can’t be that difficult to hop from one discipline to the other. The trouble is, they both need very different skills and techniques to be competitive. Put a racing driver into a rally car and see how they get on. It’s not as straightforward as you’d think. And that goes for the machinery used, too.

    The E30 was already a superb bit of kit so it was only fair the conversion was entrusted to some people that knew what they were doing, as Allan explains: “It had to be done right. I’d be disappointed with myself if I’d undone JC’s sterling work.”

    Butler Motorsport took on the job of the strip down and eventual rebuild. The engine was the key to Butler’s work. It was already a fine motor but it was built to race. Butler’s Terry Wilson bored and stroked it with Arrow steel rods and forged endurance pistons. The head was specially reworked to give improved low-end torque and a set of Schrick special order cams finished the job. Harry Hockley took the shell into his care where it was media blasted, seam welded and painted. Sump guard mounts were added, as well as additions to the already modern sculpture of a roll cage. Sill stand mounting points were also added.

    Back at Butler, discussions were afoot regarding the transmission. The Drenth six-speed had been great on track but would prove to be ill-suited to twisty #Tarmac stages. A friendly natter with Carl from Tractive Motorsport Transmissions led to the fitment of one of its RD906 six-speed sequential boxes. With his help, a set of ratios have been selected to give a top speed of around 120mph at 8500rpm and a full remap of the S14 would soon make those figures a reality. The tunnel needed further modification to accept this new gearbox, which meant the extra hassle of getting it back to Hockley’s again to have it sorted, but it was worth it. At least the extra time there was utilised to change the fuel tank from a large endurance race one to a smaller capacity bespoke cell which sits low on the boot floor and looks like a real work of art in its own right.


    You’ve heard the term, ‘opening a can of worms’, well that’s an understatement with this build. Hurdles popped up at every turn; time-consuming things like attaching mudflaps, fitting a second seat, and having to design an entirely new wiring loom. The loom in a racer is pretty simple compared with that of a standard car, never mind one needed for a rally car. There were very few creature comforts in the original race version, a simple dash display and rudimentary lighting all made it a bit of a doddle to wire up. Now, though, there were things like the dipped and main beam, spotlights, a trip computer and a Works dashboard to wire up. While we’re on about the dash, it does look the absolute dog’s danglies and sets off a very purposeful looking interior.

    Then there was the reworked fuel system and pumps, along with an accessible fuse box. All in all, quite a headache, and that’s putting it mildly. “I couldn’t believe the stuff that had to be done that just kept cropping up,” Allan explains. “Putting a second wiper back on and needing power steering just added to the adventure.” Apparently the rack was a real pain in the proverbial. It was on and off more times than Casanova’s trousers. It does work now and is just about two turns lock to lock, an absolute must when hustling this beauty around a tricky twisty event. The braking system is pretty much as it was when prepped to race with four-pots, servo assist and adjustable bias control, only now the calipers are home to different, more suitable pad materials. The only other change was a hydraulic handbrake. Apart from the brave muggins that sits in the passenger seat, the hydro handbrake has to be one of the most vital parts to a rally car. Any rally driver worth his salt will rely on a good handbrake to help flick the tail out when the need arises. The KW adjustable coilover suspension remains, except that Allan is still testing different spring rates to achieve the best combination.

    So, what’s next? “The car is just about event ready,” Allan reckons. “There are some new circuit based rallies in an MSV Championship for 2016. These will be a great testing ground as they’ll be at venues we already know, albeit made a lot tighter with added chicanes and in some cases run in the opposite direction.” Well fella, we have to admit, it all sounds a real hoot and the car looks ready for anything. The only thing we would say is, after all the anguish and swearing in getting it sorted, don’t bloody bend it!

    DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #Rally-Car / #BMW-E30-Rally-Car / #BMW-M3-E30-Rally-Car /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 , steel crank and rods, fully lightened and balanced, gas-flowed cylinder head with special profile #Schrick cams, #Works throttle bodies and plenum, dry sumped, race flywheel, #Tractive-RD906 sequential six-speed dog ’box, competition multi-plate hydraulic clutch, Works LSD

    CHASSIS 8x17” (f&r) #Team-Dynamics forged motorsport wheels with 215/45 (f&r) competition tarmac tyres (wheels and tyres are event dependant), #KW adjustable platform coilovers, four-piston calipers with Pagid RS 4-2 pads (f&r)

    EXTERIOR #BMW-Motorsport E30 M3 shell, fully seam welded, Evo rear spoiler and front bumper, polycarbonate side windows and sliders, #Kaylan-Rally mud-fla ps and MSA regulation towing points

    INTERIOR Fabricated fuel tank in wheel well with twin Facet pumps, full FIA multi-point cage with harness bars, Works Stack and AVO dash and fabricated switch panel, quick release Momo steering wheel with launch button, all lines plumbed inside with brake bias control and FIA regula tion extinguisher system, Corbeau Pro Series seats and five-point harnesses

    E30 M3 rally car looks absolutely awesome on the outside, with some ridiculously cool mud-flaps.

    (Top) Russ Cockburn-built S14 puts out a seriously impressive 320hp; bespoke fuel cell mounted in boot floor with twin Facet pumps.

    It had to be done right. I’d be disappointed myself if I’d undone JC’s sterling work.
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