- Post is under moderationBMW E30 M3 vs 333i vs 325iS Three of the Best #M30 #M20 #S14
We pitch the South African 333i and 325iS Evolution against an M3 for an E30 battle. Everyone loves E30s and this triumvirate must rate as three of the most desirable of the breed. The iconic M3 goes head-to-head with the South African-only 333i and 325iS Evolution Words: Johann Venter. Photography: Oliver Hirtenfelder.
So finally the day has come where we can measure up these legendary box-shaped beauties. This has to be one of the BMW showdowns of the century and who would have thought it would happen under African skies?
In the left corner we have the two contenders, the E30 333i and the #E30 325iS Evolution. The 333i is painted in Aero silver and weighs in at 1256kg. It develops 197hp (145kW) at 5500rpm and has a maximum torque of 210lb ft (285Nm) at 4300rpm. The 325iS is painted in Ice white and weighs1147kg. It develops 210hp (155kW) at 5920rpm, and has a maximum torque of 195lb ft (265Nm) at 4040rpm. In the right corner the reigning world champion, the E30 M3, is painted in Lachs silver and weighs in (from new) at 1200kg and develops 200hp (140kW) at 6750rpm and has a maximum torque of 177lb ft (238Nm) at 4750rpm.
Today is going to be a brawler; we are out in the west of the province of Gauteng approximately 40 kilometres outside of Johannesburg at the Delportan Hill in Krugersdorp which has been a popular hillclimb venue since the ‘60s. We are in ‘Cradle’ country not too far off from here are the Sterkfontein Caves – a World Heritage Site where ‘Mrs Ples’, a 2.1-millionyear- old skull, and ‘Little Foot’, an almost complete skeleton that’s three-million-years-old were found.
According to some it’s the birth place of humanity, giving rise to the name Cradle of Humankind, but enough of that, let’s get back to the job at hand. To appreciate the significance of the E30 3 Series in South Africa we need to take a step back and understand the relevance of this model in South African car culture.
The E30 with its three-box outline can trace its DNA back directly to the 2002 which was an integral part of the Neue Klasse, which followed the Bauhaus design philosophy that lasted for 40 years within BMW; with a distinguished sculpted shoulder-line, airy glass-house cabin, slender roof-lines and minimalistic cockpit. This was carried over to the E21 3 Series and is firmly rooted into the E30 3 Series. Sadly, though, the 2002 was never manufactured in South Africa and imported in rather small numbers. Worse still is the fact that the E21 was never officially imported. South Africans were therefore starved of a compact sporting BMW saloon until 1982 when the Rosslyn plant starting producing the E30 3 Series, which has resulted in an absolute cult following of the model this far south of the equator.
This immaculate Aero silver example of the 333i, with just 90,000km on the clock, happens to be the nicest of the four colours in which they were offered. The other colours included Diamond black, Henna red and Ice white. This is number 103 of the 204 that were sold in South Africa between 1985 and 1987, a total of 210 were produced including prototypes and test mules. It cost R41,300 (£16,312) when new in 1985.
This car is no stranger to BMW Car’s pages and was featured in the January 2013 edition – complied by the then deputy editor Sebastian de Latour who was fortunate enough to pilot this rarity with me in tow. This car is in fact part of a prodigious BMW collection that was also featured in BMW Car in the August 2013 edition.
Vic Doolan and Bernd Pischetsrieder (of BMW South Africa at the time) are credited for the innovation of the 333i. The original intent was to compete in Group One racing but this was never to be as Group One racing was summarily cancelled at the end of the 1985 season – remember the M1 suffered a similar fate.
The concept was pretty straightforward: find one of the biggest engines in the BMW arsenal and cram it into the smallest, lightest body. The engine came from the E23 733i, which was partially chosen for its free-revving characteristics (3.2-litre, in-line, sixcylinder, 12-valve) – producing a maximum power output of 197hp (145kW) at 5500rpm and maximum torque of 210lb ft (285Nm) at 4300rpm.
The development of the 333i was a collaboration between BMW SA, BMW Motorsport and Alpina. Just like with the E23 745i (which was also unique to South Africa, see BMW Car May 2013 edition) an extensive development and testing programme was embarked upon to ensure that the optimum cooling, gearing and noise levels were achieved.
Alpina played a crucial role in the development of the 333i providing the specially developed inlet and exhaust manifolds and plenum chamber, heavy-duty copper cored radiator and various other cast alloy bits. The Bosch L-Jetronic fuel management system was revised accordingly, all of which resulted in a substantially altered torque curve, boosting it substantially in the lower rev range. Alpina also provided the 296mm vented, grooved discs upfront, the suspension was fitted with Bilstein gas dampers with slightly stiffer springs, and it rolled on 16-inch 20-spoke Alpina alloys. The 333i was fitted with a dog-leg close-ratio Getrag ‘box and 25 per cent ZF limited-slip diff.
On the inside the most distinguishing Alpina component is the digital display pod mounted on the right central vent. It shows engine and rear diff oil temperatures, the engine oil pressure and manifold vacuum readings. The instrument cluster is also provided by Alpina with a speedo reading of up to 270km/h, with red needles normally reserved for M cars. The interior is rounded off with Sport leather seats, leather-covered Sport steering and a gear lever marked with the M tricolour stripe.
The exterior is rather attractive in that ‘80s kind of way, with integrated aero appendages which include a deep front spoiler, side skirts, a sweeping lip at the rear, and a black boot spoiler finishing it off. Owners had a choice between air-con and powersteering but could not have both as there wasn’t sufficient room under the bonnet. Telling them apart is easy: on air-conditioned cars the foglamps are absent, creating apertures that feed air to the condenser unit.
Just as South Africans were getting used to the idea of having fast compact Bavarian saloons around we were dealt a blow – the E30 M3 would not be coming our way as it was only produced in left-hand drive. That did not mean that the local motorsport scene would cease to exist. On the contrary and if #BMW-SA wanted to remain competitive it would have to develop its own track specials. So let’s try to get behind the myth that is the 325iS in order to decipher the legend.
The year 1985 saw the introduction of one of the most fiercely contested race series in South Africa, Group N for production cars. To remain competitive in 1986 BMW introduced the 325iS (Sport), more commonly known as the Shadowline among racing enthusiasts. To increase power from the standard 325i the compression ratio was upped to 9.8:1 thus increasing power output from 163hp (120kW) to 171hp (126kW). In this initial version the M Technik aero kit was definitely absent and not even an option – however, more importantly, Tony Viana won the championship that year and the following two years in his 325iS. In 1989 BMW offered the 325iS at a price of R60,080 (£13,735) with the option of the M Technik aero kit at R4095 (£936) – which included the front and rear spoiler, rear apron and side skirts.
The more significant changes to the car came in 1990 as BMW was struggling to keep up with the Opel (Vauxhall) Kadett which had also gone through various iterations in Group N racing, from Boss to BigBoss to SuperBoss. The SuperBoss was, as you can imagine, the daddy of the bunch, in essence a Kadett 200 GSi 16v uniquely designed for South African racing, pushing out 170hp (125kW). These cars were devastating track weapons especially with Mike Briggs behind the wheel and has a cult following second only to that of the E30.
The 1990 325iS sold at a price of R92,720 (£18,870) and came standard with the M Technik aero kit which is the first significant difference. The more fundamental changes happened underneath the skin with an uprated 2.7-litre engine and cylinder head, care of Alpina, increasing power output by 26hp (19kW) to 197hp (145kW) at 5800rpm reaching a maximum torque figure of 195lb ft (265Nm) at 4000rpm. With serious intentions of reducing weight the bonnet, wings and doors were made from aluminium. In order to better transfer the increased power to the road the E30 M3’s suspension was put into use, including the 15-inch cross-spoke #BBS alloys running on 205/60 15-inch VR Goodyear rubber. In this iteration locals refer to it as the Evo 1 although that was never the official name that BMW assigned to it. Officially it was still known as the 325iS but the legend had just grown another tenfold. Unfortunately this was not enough to fend off the attack by the Opel Kadett.
The final incarnation of the 325iS was introduced in 1991 with the E36 knocking at the factory door, but BMW had no choice if it were to take on its main competitor, the Opel SuperBoss. It sold for R105,100 (£20,815) in 1991 and its official designation was the BMW 325iS Evolution (more commonly known as the Evo 2 among South African motoring enthusiasts). Outwardly the car remained exactly the same except for a flexible black lip extending from the deep front spoiler. Underneath the car an aerodynamic cover was installed to improve airflow and ultimately front end grid. The aluminium bonnet, wings and door panels reverted back to steel. The ride height was lowered by 10mm with the installation of stiffer, shorter springs and a thicker rear anti-roll bar was installed to keep the tail in check.
The engine remained as the 2.7-litre unit but modifications were made to the cylinder head (supplied by Alpina together with the pistons) to increase compression ration from 9.8:1 to 10.4:1 and so inlet ports from the inlet manifold were adapted to accommodate the enlarged diameter of the inlet ports of the cylinder head. The intake manifold plenum chamber, airflow meter and throttle butterfly were uprated to that of the E28 535i and incorporated into the Motronic system to enhance the airflow. A cross-piece was installed in the larger diameter downpipe of the exhaust. All of this led to an increase in power to 211hp (155kW) at 5920rpm, with maximum torque remaining at 196lb ft (265Nm) at 4040rpm. This resulted in improved acceleration and mid-range performance, eventually culminating in a Group N championship win for Robbi Smith in his 325iS in 1993.
This factory-fresh example we see here today in Ice white belongs to Jack Kaplan a serious car enthusiast with an even more serious car collection. Most noteworthy are the eight exceptional BMWs which also includes the M3 we see here, the only 2002 Turbo on the African continent and an absolutely gorgeous Batmobile replica in Polaris metallic, to mention but four. Jack likes to put his own touch to his cars and these two examples are no exception.
This might not be to everybody’s liking, especially the purists who believe cars should be kept exactly as the automaker intended, but we appreciate the fact that Jack puts his own personal touch to each of his cars. It makes them stand out and more personalised. Jack does not stop with the aesthetics and the mechanicals; he is more hardcore than that and that is why most of his BMW fleet runs on 102 avgas jet fuel including the two you see here.
Jack acquired this 325iS from new in #1991 and used it as a company car. It’s done 96,000km and, from a cosmetics perspective, the grille has been colour-coded with slits cut into it on the left-hand side where the lights meet for additional cooling. He has also added darker indicators, racing pedals and a Nardi steering wheel. Other than that, from a cosmetics perspective the car is completely original. The mechanicals have definitely been tweaked. A Stage One performance upgrade was carried out which included gas-flowing the cylinder head and installing a 280-degree camshaft, a Unichip ECU, a K&N air filter with a modified air-box and a special sports exhaust, which pushes the compression ratio to 10.9:1.
So much has been written about the #BMW-E30 M3, with just about every motoring scribe worth their salt at some point contributing to the growing documented volumes on the M3. In my opinion the M3 is the most significant BMW model post Second World War. Yes, it does not have the halo image of the M1 (the closest BMW came to producing a supercar) but its contribution to the success of BMW is unprecedented. Unfortunately the development of the M1 was plagued with problems, which is putting it rather mildly. But where the M1 might have failed the M3 was triumphant winning virtually every form of competition it was entered into.
As so much has been written about the #BMW-M3 I thought I would just give a brief summary of the highlights of this most illustrious model. The M3 was developed from the ground up as a racer. Paul Rosche was tasked to develop a suitable engine and what he came up with is ingenious: a 2302cc four-cylinder, 16-valve, dual-overhead cam. For all intents and purposes the S14 engine is two thirds of the M88 motor (although the block is based on the cast-iron M10 engine), developed for the M1, the M635CSi and the South African-only 745i. This engine was further honed for the E28 M5 (second generation) to become the S38. BMW’s initial intention was to sell 5000 units to ensure eligibility for racing but such was the demand that it ended up manufacturing over three times this number during 1986-1990. In its first iteration it developed a maximum power output of 200hp (140kW) at 6750rpm and 177lb ft (238Nm) of torque at 4750rpm. It sold for £22,750 (R57,599) in 1985.
During its five-year production run BMW Motorsport kept on honing the performance and agility of the M3 giving rise to the Evo 1, Evo 2, Europa Meister, Cecotto and Ravaglia Editions. It was, however, most lethal in its final incarnation known as the Sport Evolution. The engine capacity had been increased to 2467cc which was achieved through an increase in bore and stroke. This necessitated larger valves and camshaft, plus special spigots to spray oil under the pistons to keep temperatures under control. Power was up to a staggering 238hp (177kW) at 7000rpm and torque remained the same at 177lb ft (238Nm) at 4750 rpm.
The M3’s war paint clearly defines its intentions (it is rather different to its regular 3 Series brethren) with flared wheel arches to accommodate wider rubber, and at the rear sits a large wing on a raised bootlid with a separate cowling over the rear window aperture, all of which help improve the aerodynamics. All of this translated into the M3 being the most successful Touring Car racer of all time, with more than 1500 individual victories and more than 50 international championship titles. These included a World Touring Car Championship, two European Touring Car Championships, two German Touring Car Championships, several other individual European titles including, Nürburgring 24 Hours, Spa 24 Hours and even a few Rally titles.
The second of Jack’s cars is this pristine Lachs silver M3. It is the first version of the M3, imported to South Africa in 1995, and Jack acquired it in 1997. This is only one of three M3s in South Africa, as mentioned previously it was never imported as it was left-hand drive only. There is also a Cecotto and a racer, which has just undergone a complete restoration; it competed in the Touring Car race series in the ‘90s. It was piloted by well-known motoring and racing enthusiast Farouk Dangor, who also competed with his 325iS in the Group N racing championship earlier on in his racing career.
So the car we see here is ultra-rare and has just 94,600km on the clock. Legislation in South Africa has changed (since about 2000) in such a way that left-hand drive cars can no longer be imported, with very few exceptions, racing cars being one of them. The first thing we notice is that Jack has fitted the rims from the E36 M3 (in certain circles he would be lynched for doing this), running on Bridgestone SO2 225/35/17 rubber. The capacity of the engine has been increased to 2493cc by changing the crankshaft and connecting rods. Further upgrades include gas-flowing the cylinder head, installing a 260-degree Schrick camshaft, a Unichip ECU, a K&N air filter with a modified air-box, and a special stainless steel sports exhaust, plus a 228mm organic spring disc clutch – pushing the compression ratio to 11.8:1.
Now all that is said and done, what is it like to actually drive them? In a word: fantastic! This is by no stretch of the imagination going to be a completely fair contest with the substantial modifications done to the 325iS and M3, not forgetting that they both run on aviation fuel.
Let’s start with the 333i, which I have spent quite a significant amount of time in. At idle it has that nice straight-six BMW bass and once on the go it has that familiar BMW big-block exhaust note. The most distinguishing factor about this car is the amount of torque that has been bestowed upon it. One gets the sensation that it has more bottom-end grunt than both the other competitors put together. It really is the hooligan among the lot and is always keen to get its tail sideways. Key in getting the most out of it is figuring out how to regulate the throttle feed; letting go while going through a bend will result in you facing the wrong way. This thing will snap your neck if you don’t give it the attention and respect it deserves.
In July 2012 I was fortunate enough to be taken on a few hot laps around Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth while shooting a 2002tii Alpina replica for BMW Car (see October 2012 edition). The 333i was definitely nose-heavy with the 3.2-litre lump in the front but the owner knew the twisty track like his own back yard, using the insurmountable amount of torque and making good use of the limited-slip diff to power-slide through the corners – definitely the quickest way around the track with the 333i.
Although the #BMW-333i-E30 has a close-ratio gearbox the gear throws are long which detract from the experience when pushing in the redline. As stated throttle control is paramount and once you have mastered this the chassis is actually quite compliant. The Bilsteins and stiffer strings holding things together nicely. The 333i is better suited for the open road, with the extended torque flow even from low revs making it a great continental cruiser.
The #BMW-325iS-E30 is definitely a more balanced and focused car. The Nardi steering wheel, being smaller than the standard item, gives very good feedback and much better turn-in. This car is based on the M3’s suspension so handling is superb and direction changes are ultra-sharp. The short-shift gearbox is definitely one of the highlights, making gear changes easy and precise when pushing on, in vast contrast to the 333i. Surprisingly, though, things only really start to come alive at 4000rpm, which is reached with ease. The whole experience is addictive, though, which leads to unnecessary downshifts just to achieve the giddy sensation once again. The standard exhaust on the 325iS is a real charmer, belting out plenty of delightful notes but the custom item fitted to this car is so much better, especially when one trounces the throttle and then lifts off immediately to be rewarded with a truly delightful crackle.
Everything in the M3 is turned up a couple of notches. Even when at optimum temperature the idle is erratic, a strong indication that something extraordinary is happening. The M3 picks up revs far easier and quicker than in both other cars and the redline seems much further down the line. The car displays amazing levels of grip and is extremely wellplanted on the asphalt. Turn-in is razor-sharp and even on a charge going through hairpins seem to require far less braking and instead more acceleration. But when one does need to stop, the retardation happens so instantaneously that there is a newfound appreciation for seatbelts. Gear changes are instant and make you appreciate why this car is the most successful Touring Car ever produced and, to my ears, the sound from the tailpipes puts Beethoven’s Fifth Concerto to shame.
This M3 is everything I had hoped it would be and so much more; this experience is definitely part of my motoring Nirvana.
All three of these cars were developed out of a need to race and it clearly shows. Each car has displayed its own unique characteristics and each has its own special charm. Yes, outwardly the M3 is more dramatic with its flared arches but the M Technik aero kit on the #BMW-325iS still gives it an assertive sporting look and the 333i has its own aero appendages, though slightly more subtle. On the inside all three cars feel and look very similar (and one is transported back to the ‘80s), with Sports/Recaro seats, #BMW Sports three-spoke leather steering wheels, leather gearlevers with M tricolour stripes and instrument binnacles housing speedos and rev counters the size of flying-saucers. The cabins are airy with very thin A-pillars that are virtually in the upright position and, by today’s standards, these cars seem rather rudimentary. The driving experience is so much more involved, though. These are cars you need to take by the scruff of the neck to get the most out of them. If you want a sensible choice get a 1 Series.
So which one is the winner? As a South African I am definitely biased but I have to say that the M3 on the day was definitely the best driver’s car – the one to tackle track days and sweeping back roads with. The M3, however, feels like it is all or nothing all of the time; maybe it’s just the way Jack set it up. The 333i is definitely the hooligan of the bunch and I’d say is much better suited for long distances. The 325iS is the better balanced car and much better suited for everyday use. Interestingly, editor Bob Harper did a direct comparison between the #325iS and the #Alpina C2 2.7 #M20 and gave the 325iS the nod (see BMW Car January 2008 edition).
However, despite my personal preferences, driving anyone of them is an occasion in itself will always puts a smile on your face. And as the old Louis Armstrong song goes, “when you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you”.
Special thanks to: Ron Silke.
Ultimate E30s: #BMW-333i-E30 , #BMW-325iS-Evolution-E30 and #BMW-M3-E30
E30 333i E30 325iS Evolution E30 M3
YEAR: #1986 #1991 #1989
ENGINE: Straight-six, SOHC, 12-valve #M30B33 Straight-six, SOHC, 12-valve #M20B27 Four-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve #S14B23
CAPACITY: 3210cc 2683cc 2302cc
MAX POWER: 145kW (194hp) @ 5500rpm 155kW (208hp) @ 5920rpm 140kW (200hp) @ 6750rpm
MAX TORQUE: 285Nm (210lb ft) @ 4300rpm 265Nm (195lb ft) @ 4040rpm 238Nm (177lb ft) @ 4750rpm
0-62MPH: 7.23 seconds 7.1 seconds 6.7 seconds
TOP SPEED: 231km/h (144mph) 235km/h (146mph) 235km/h (146mph)
WEIGHT: 1256kg 1340kg 1200kg
PRICE (NEW): R41,300 (£16,312) R105,100 (£20,815) R57,599 (£22,750 in 1985)
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- Post is under moderationRETRO MODDING
This very clean #E30 from Oz combines a few simple elements, like an M50 swap, retrim and respray, to make a lovely car. Bringing some old-skool E30 modifying back, this classic Australian 3 Series is an appreciated blast from the past. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Brodie Butler.
BMW E30s are kind of addictive. Chances are if you’ve ever owned one you either buy yourself another soon afterwards or forever regret selling your original. To those of us who owned one in our younger years (I had three – a 325i, a 320iS and an #M3 ), I know I’m not alone in often trawling the classifieds for a replacement to relive those fun carefree days when our boxy E30s oversteered easily with no annoying traction control kicking in to spoil playtime. And they still just look so good.
In Melbourne, Australia, Josh Bossong couldn’t agree more. “After owning four E30s I had to have one in the garage,” said the 26-year-old. His current ride is this 1990 318iS E30 where nothing too outrageous has been done on the modifying front, but it serves as a reminder of how good a clean and tastefully uprated E30 can look.
But while this car doesn’t feature a 1000hp turbocharged brute of an engine, nor the kind of suspension setup that would have many tin-top race teams blush, this E30 remains a car you can drive every day, have boundless fun in and enjoy the appreciation of others who recognise a job well done. “The best thing about the car is other people’s reaction to it after I’ve put in so much time, effort and money,” Josh said. “The compliments people give me is a good reward, plus I did most of the work myself so to see it all finished and working well is very rewarding.”
The Melbourne machine operator said his goals for this build were to have something showy and also boost the performance of the 318iS’s motor and chassis to make it faster through the Australian hills. With light weight, great build quality, nice handling and LSD as standard the E30 #318iS an ideal classic to own and improve on, but by modern standards it is a bit low on power with an ageing 1.8-litre four-cylinder. Josh has remedied this thanks to not one but two engine swaps, and has stayed faithful to the motors used in the BMW range of the day.
“The factory four-cylinder went okay and I never had a problem with it, which was quite surprising considering the hard time I gave it,” Josh said. “I bought an E30’s complete M20B25 engine and gearbox from Tasmania, fitted it all and it ran very well, quicker even than my dad’s E30 325iS, even though we could never work out why.” Sometimes it’s better not to question and just enjoy the boost in performance, which is exactly what Josh did for about a year when it was time for a change once more.
Josh’s friend Nick suggested he try an M50 engine to give him the increase he was seeking, and after doing some research decided it was the right way to go. For a start, out-of-the-box the #M50 2.5-litre offers around 20hp over the M20 six-cylinder. While the #M20 is SOHC with two valves per cylinder, the later #M50B25 is DOHC with four valves per cylinder, and typically is an engine more receptive to tuning.
With a friend, Nick, working for a towing company, he sourced Josh a smashed #1994 #E34 #525i (with a M50 engine and a manual gearbox) and a deal was quickly done. “I got to work straight away after getting it home, pulling out the motor, gearbox and everything else needed,” he said. Josh was able to do the vast bulk of the work himself with a good friend, but admitted he’s no good with wiring so had to outsource that job. Even so, the wiring on the M50 was less complicated than on later #BMW engines, meaning it was a more practical choice than trying to fit a more powerful, newer engine, even though the extra horses and sophistication would have been appreciated.
As it stands, Josh said his #BMW-E30 is now good for 192hp: a healthy leap over a stock E30 318iS’s 140hp. He’ll have found a few extra horses thanks to the custom exhaust system, incorporating a ceramic-coated 1.7- inch manifold leading into a 2.4-inch stainless steel mandrel bent system with an #XForce rear box. All the rest is as standard as the engine was in the E34 donor car; for now this is power enough for Josh and he has instead focused on the E30’s style.
And it has it in spades. Striking paintwork, subtly lowered over deep-dish rims and featuring attractive body mods that take nothing away from the E30’s original clean lines. Some of these mods are as oldskool as the E30 itself. Check out the shaved off side indicators – backed up by the once ubiquitous E36 M3-style mirrors with integrated LED indicators (remember when they were the latest must-haves?!), Angeleye headlights and headlight eyebrows.
Clear front indicators and uprated rear lights stand out well against the extrovert colour scheme. Josh said he originally had no plans for a respray, but a bit of a smash made it an ideal time to change the hue, and he opted for something from the Australian Holden’s metallic colour chart named Voodoo blue, which coats the body, bumpers and rubbing strips.
Josh has done well fitting 17-inch #BBS RS replica rims under the arches, not least because the rears are 10-inches wide. With polished lips and black centres they stand out superbly against the body, while still retaining the traditional E30 look of multispoke BBS wheels. The body sits neatly over the rolling stock thanks to H&R lowering springs, dropping it around 30mm. Not much more has been needed, and a bonus of not seeking silly power figures means the only brake upgrade required has been some aftermarket pads and an #E21 brake booster.
Such an exterior look should be matched with a more show-orientated interior, and Josh has obliged with E30 325iS Recaro front seats, plus the rear bench also from the 325iS. He’s managed to integrate rear headrests for the back seat passengers where previously there were none, and covered everything in a cream leather with blue piping – excellent retro E30 modifying. A 7-inch monitor mounted in a custom built centre console is a bit more modern – again finished in cream – alongside the colour coded handbrake and gear stick gaiters. The boot also gets in on the party with a custom sub box holding a pair of 12-inch Pioneers, backed up by 6.5-inch JVC speakers through the cabin and a couple of amps controlling things.
Josh’s E30 is an impressive show car as it stands, but he said perhaps the money spent on it could have been better spent on a house deposit. “But life’s too short not to enjoy it,” he laughed. With the M50 motor in place he said he’s not ruled out a turbo setup down the track, but for now it’s an ideal cruiser with that bit of extra shove needed for a blast through the hills when the mood takes him.
“To see it finished and working well is very rewarding”
“The best thing about the car is people’s reactions to it”
ENGINE: Transplanted 2.5-litre straight-six M50B25 from 1994 E34 525i with custom ceramic coated 1.7-inch exhaust manifold leading to custom 2.4-inch stainless steel mandrel bent exhaust system with single XForce muffler.
TRANSMISSION: Standard #Getrag 260 five-speed manual and standard E30 tailshaft with big case diff LSD and 3.9:1 ratio diff gears.
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) BBS RS replica rims shod in 205/40 Nankang tyres (front) and 215/45 Jinyi tyres (rear), #H&R lowering springs allround dropping around 30mm, #Bremtec brake pads, E21 brake booster.
EXTERIOR: Shaved off side indicators, #E36 M3-style mirrors with LED indicators, Angel eye headlights with headlight eyebrow, clear front indicators, uprated rear lights, Holden Voodoo blue respray with colour-coded bumpers and side rubbing strips.
INTERIOR: Factory #E30-#325iS #Recaro seats, E30 #325iS rear seat with modified head rests to fit, retrimmed in cream leather with blue piping, cream centre console and cream leather for gear stick and handbrake gaiters.
ICE: #JVC-KD-DV7205 head-unit, 7-inch Soundstream television custom mounted in centre console alongside two remote holders, JVC 6.5” two-way speakers front and rear, two Pioneer 12” subs in ported custom sub box, Boss four-channel amp powering speakers, #JVC two-channel amp powering subs.
THANKS: Andreas Doelling and the crew at German Auto Haus, Barney and the boys at Hallam Performance, Matty from proworkzfabriaction, Nick from Road Runner Towing, Hak Kouch and the crew at Hing Cheong Profinish, Sam and the boys and Auto Image Interiors, Unique Auto interiors and my mum, dad and family.
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- Post is under moderationDouble Trouble. A pair of #BMW-E30 #M3 s over in Australia that are modified in very different ways to do very similar things. We meet two owners in Australia with a pair of modified E30 M3s for the track and road that follow very different paths to achieve similar goals… Words: Simon Holmes. Photography: Brodie Butler.
If there was ever an automotive example to best capsulate the expression ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ then it’s this pair of E30s. These two Australian-based cars are both genuine M3s and both are heavily modified to be hugely effective on both the road and track. But their owners Phil Peak and Scott Lockhart have taken very different approaches and their cars are as different as chalk and cheese, or black and white to use a more accurate analogy. Exterior-wise they may seem similar, aside from the polar opposite Touring Car liveries, but inside and, more importantly, under the bonnet they are very different machines.
We’ll start with Phil’s car, the Diamond black example that perhaps represents the more orthodox side of M3 tuning. Powered by a heavily breathed upon S14 engine that’s pumping out 217hp at the wheels, with the rev limit set to only 7200rpm, it certainly suits the Touring Car theme! As you might expect, Phil is no stranger to a #BMW , particularly an E30, although he admits he was actually an avid VW enthusiast before making the transition over to BMWs. It began with an #E30 #325is he purchased in 1997 from a friend but he admits he’s been fond of them for much longer. “I’ve always liked BMWs really,” recalls Phil. “I was in my late teens living in West Germany when the E30s were released. They had an M3 at the local dealership and I remember looking at it every time I went past thinking ‘one day…’.”
He’s since owned several rather fine E30s over the years including a convertible fitted with an S50 engine from an E36 M3. But his boyhood dream to own a genuine M3 took a little longer to fulfill as other commitments had always posed a problem and it wasn’t helped by the fact E30 M3s are rather difficult to find in Australia. So when the right chance came up at the right time to own this car he jumped at it. “I was lucky enough to know the previous owner,” tells Phil. “He had just imported the car from Japan after buying it blind at auction and after taking delivery he got a job offer he couldn’t turn down. He didn’t want to take the car with him so I knew he had to sell it before he moved. We came to an agreement on price and I bought it off him.”
Finally, the elusive E30 M3 was his, except this particular car was in what Phil describes as “fairly average condition”, having been fitted with an aftermarket front fibreglass bumper and a mismatched interior. The car had also received a poor quality blow over respray in Japan for the auction and then there was the small matter of mechanical health. “The performance was a big let down after driving the #S50 -powered convertible. Even though this only had 114,000km on the clock the engine most definitely needed a freshen up but I knew I could sort all that out,” he explains.
A mechanical fitter by trade, and not one to do things by halves, Phil developed a plan to thoroughly restore the tired M3 and rebuild it into a usable and capable all-rounder for both the road and track: “My intentions with the car have always been to bring it back to its former glory no matter how long it takes, as this car is a keeper. And I wanted to drive it on the track as I don’t believe in garage queens.”
Initially, Phil intended to address the bodywork first but after testing the water with the car at a track day he decided it would be best to sort out the mechanical side of things before anything else. “The engine was lacking a bit of power so I decided to tear the whole thing down and do a full rebuild with the aim of improving things along the way,” he says. “I set about finding all the various parts for the rebuild and once I had them I sent the block away to be rebored and the cylinder head went to VAC Motorsports in the USA for one of their Stage 3 head builds.”
The block was treated to a 2.3-litre competition spec rebuild with heavily uprated internals. Ready for the head’s return, Schrick cams and a carbon fibre DTM-style intake were put aside along with plenty of other tasty bits. The engine build actually took nearly two years to complete from start to finish due to other commitments, or “life getting in the way” as Phil puts it. In the meantime, with the engine build at least started Phil began on other areas that required his attention and the interior was next on the list.
First of all he sourced the correct front seats and then got hold of a full retrim kit from Germany, along with an M3 Sport Evo steering wheel, gear knob and footrest. “I like to have a few creature comforts. I didn’t want to gut the interior and stick a cage in as it’s not a dedicated track car, plus it’s illegal over here to drive around in a stripped-down car with a cage.”
With that covered, next came the exterior. Not wanting to deviate too far from the M3’s iconic look, Phil chose his additions carefully in the shape of an M3 Evo rear wing and matching front lip spoiler along with smoked headlights, tail-lights and indicator lenses. The look is finished off perfectly with the 8x16-inch BBS three-piece split-rims that closely mimic the original style. However, it’s the livery that makes the biggest visual impact and it was fitted in an effort to brighten up the Japanese blow over paint job, which certainly seems to have worked. “Of course, the car is the wrong colour for the original Warsteiner graphics but I thought they looked okay in reverse colours so decided to go for it,” Phil reveals. “The graphics don’t look too out of place. When I eventually get the paint done I will be happy with the black-on-black look as I think that’s the best exterior/interior colour combo but I think it will be like this for a while as I want to enjoy the car a bit before getting it painted.”
When the engine was eventually back together it was time for the first drive and thankfully it proved to be everything he had hoped for. “The first real drive after the rebuild was great,” Phil grins. “On the dyno we set the rev limit to 7200rpm to be safe and got 217hp at the wheels with it still pulling really strong at the limiter. It’s not far off my cabriolet in terms of power but so much better to drive.”
The rebuild took three whole years to complete and Phil tells us the hardest and most frustrating part was actually sourcing bits and getting them delivered, as virtually everything had to be imported. The car isn’t completely finished yet but Phil is understandably pretty happy with what he’s achieved since owning it as the M3 already puts a lot of bigger power cars in their place on track. “Over here they are all into big V8s and muscle cars and it certainly holds its own,” Phil says. “The noise from the carbon fibre intake is my favourite part – it just screams and puts a huge grin on people’s faces. The suspension needs improvement now the power is sorted but this build still has a long way to go to get the car where I want it to be. But as it’s a work in progress I’m really happy with the way things are going.” Future plans also include a revised engine map so then the rev limit can be raised to the untold reaches of 8500rpm and that should release a bit more power, too.
Speaking of more power, now seems like a fine time to introduce Scott’s Alpine white M3. Whereas Phil has gone to town on the original S14, Scott’s car is a little less conventional, having been fitted with an S50 six-cylinder that happens to be turbocharged to produce a huge 480hp at the wheels. Fair to say it’s a beast, but it’s just at home on a track as Phil’s car is and that was always the intention.
Much like Phil, Scott’s interest for BMWs also developed some years ago and it began with an E30. It started in 1995 when he was lucky enough to stumble across a rare John Player Special E30 323i Coupé at an upmarket car dealership in Perth. A very limited number of these special edition cars were built to celebrate BMW’s victories at the famous Bathurst race in Australia during the 1980s. The cars featured iconic black paintwork with gold pinstripes, Recaro seats, an LSD and gold JPS insignias on the C-pillars. Scott was still at uni at the time but it was love at first sight for him and he had to have it.
He bought the car and then lavished his time and money on the car over the next few years, spending nearly every pay check he had upgrading the engine, suspension and wheels. It rewarded him with a lifelong appreciation for the brand, though. “That car, and the shear ease with which it connected me as a driver started my obsession with BMWs and it’s been a love affair ever since,” he states.
That’s not an understatement either as he’s since gone on to own a vast array of interesting BMWs. He still owns a fine fleet, worthy of a What’s in your Garage? feature, comprising an #E60 #M5 , an #E24 #635CSi , an #E28 #M535i and an #E30 #323i Coupé. “I love collectible BMWs, preferably with some sort of motorsport connection,” he says. His dream car is a #BMW-M1 but the E30 M3 is a close second, and that’s the one we’re interested in – for now, at least.
For Scott, the M3 has always been an iconic car and when it came to eventually replacing his first E30 love there was only one suitable choice, as he explains: “I never got over having to sell my E30 JPS when I left Australia in #1998 to further my career in London. While I owned that car I always wanted an M3 but couldn’t afford one. I’m lucky that my wife, Marissa, is also a huge car fan and when I told her I was considering adding another BMW to our fleet she immediately took to the shape of the E30 M3.”
However, as Phil found, finding an #BMW-M3-E30 in Australia is tricky and Scott had to use all his resources, both near and far, to locate one. “I had friends looking in the USA and the UK for me, while I spent most nights glued to my computer screen checking out VIN numbers, history and pictures,” he explains. “After about a month my wife asked, ‘why haven’t you looked locally?’ to which I replied, ‘well, honey there aren’t very many of these cars, so finding one in Perth would be a longshot.’ At that point she had already found one for sale, 20 minutes from our house, and in Alpine white no less. With only a very small handful of these cars in Australia, I was amazed, and now I listen intently when my wife talks BMWs,” he admits.
The car was not exactly what you would call a perfect standard example, though. Far from it, in fact. The original S14 motor was long gone, apparently having made its way into a 2002. In its place was the S50 conversion complete with turbo already fitted. This wasn’t an issue for Scott as it happened to suit his overall plan for the car as the #M3 was destined for heavy track use. “I wanted something that was able to produce more power than the S14 with track car reliability. S14s can create great power but they can become quite fragile on long events. The newer #BMW-M3 engine with a little boost added for a bit more of a surprise was the way to go for me,” Scott tells us.
Having competed in club level events for a few years in a modified R32 Nissan Skyline GTR, the intention was to introduce his love of BMWs into his competitive racing. But with the likes of heavily modified Mitsubishi Evos and Nissan GTRs to compete against, the more modern engine helped level the playing field in terms of power. However, there was work to do before it could start battling on track with tuned Japanese machinery as although the turbocharged S50 engine was in place it was barely running, largely due to electrical issues. There were also plenty of other problems to address. “It looked great when I purchased it but it needed time spent on it to deal with the electrical gremlins. It also needed new wiring, brakes, wheels, a livery and a decent tune,” Scott states.
On the plus side, the paintwork was in good condition having recently been resprayed to a high standard. Influenced by the Touring Cars he watched when growing up, Scott decided the Warsteiner livery would suit the car well. The 1980s Touring Carinspired theme extended into the cabin and although the car was already stripped of an interior when he got it, Scott had it blasted, cleaned and painted Touring Car-style glossy grey inside. The DTM gearshift knob will soon be joined by a full DTM dash to replace the current Stack unit, too.
The build to bring the car up to a good, working standard took nearly a year and plenty was changed in that time. The work was entrusted to Galvsport in Perth and the guys there spent many hours on the car. Scott remembers the first time he went out in it as it was actually Josh from Galvsport who first took me for a spin. “It was in the Warsteiner colours, numbers on the doors, no bonnet, race tyres, race seats and harnesses and all in peak hour traffic, it was a blast. I was stunned how quick it was from the passenger seat, and it wasn’t long before I got a chance to drive it on the track,” he enthuses.
Scott reports that the car does, in fact, handle the power very well on track and on occasion it’s also driven on the road, usually to and from events or for a spin up and down the coast. But wherever he goes it gets a great reaction. “Everyone young and old loves it and it gets a lot of attention. Nobody knows what to expect from it and not only is it rare, it is well balanced and easy to drive, it puts a smile on your face every time,” says Scott. “They say that a good track car drives terribly on the road and while my M3 certainly is no M5, it still drives very well. The power delivery is like a light switch in low gears but if you cruise in fourth or fifth it is very enjoyable to squeeze on some of that boost on the open roads.”
Future plans for the car involve improving grip further as there’s more development work to be done on the suspension setup to improve what’s there. There’s even talk of a bit more boost and Scott would like to enter the car in Targa road rallies once the suspension has been fine tuned to deal with the bumpy roads.
So there you have it. Two very different ways to effectively achieve a very similar impact. We would happily take either one.
Phil’s Black M3
ENGINE & GEARBOX: #S14 2.3-litre producing 217hp @ 7200rpm at the wheels, VAC Motorsport Stage 3 cylinder head, 1mm oversized valves, balanced and blueprinted, VAC valve springs with titanium retainers, Schrick 284 intake and 276 exhaust cams, VAC adjustable cam sprockets, 48mm throttle bodies, Volvo green injectors, carbon fibre DTM-style intake plenum, 50/50 headers mated to full stainless steel Supersprint race exhaust, Miller MAF Conversion with WAR Chip engine management, fully rebuilt /balanced bottom end by Galloways race engineering using CP 2.3 competition spec pistons (11:1 compression), OS Gieken clutch and lightweight flywheel, Dogleg gearbox 3.7:1 differential with LSD.
CHASSIS: Tein coilovers all round, AC Schnitzer front and rear anti-roll bars, polyurethane bushes throughout BRAKES: Standard M3 callipers with uprated discs and pads all-round, braided brake lines, uprated pedalbox WHEELS & TYRES: 8x16-inch BBS RS three-piece split-rims with 215/45/16 Toyo R888 tyres.
INTERIOR: Original seats retrimmed black leather, Sport Evo steering wheel, gear knob, footrest and centre armrest, Hartge centre console gauge holder with AEM data logging.
EXTERIOR: Diamond black paint, colour reversed Warsteiner livery, smoked indicators, tail-lights and crosshair headlights, carbon fibre front splitter and brake ducts, Sport Evo rear spoiler with carbon fibre wing.
THANKS: Simon Gunson at GTI Performance Centre (service @ gtipc.com.au), David at Galloway Race Engineering (08 9531 1366) and VAC Motorsports sales @ vacmotorsports. com.
Scott’s White M3
ENGINE & GEARBOX: S50 3.0-litre producing 480hp @ 7500rpm at the wheels, standard crankshaft, Carillo steel conrods, custom-made forged pistons with 7.5:1 compression ratio, custom turbocharger with Tial 50mm external wastegate, custom-made tubular exhaust manifold, standard inlet manifold with uprated injectors and billet fuel rail, PWR front mount intercooler, custom downpipe and stainless steel exhaust system, custom alloy radiator with electric fan, custom alloy breather and header tanks, Bosch 044 fuel pump, Haltech ECU, standard E36 M3 five-speed gearbox, one-piece propshaft, 4.3:1 differential with LSD.
CHASSIS: Bilstein coilovers all round, Racing Dynamics front and rear antiroll bars, Ireland Engineering adjustable camber top mounts, strut braces, OMP rollcage, #BMW-Z4 close ratio steering rack, polyurethane bushes throughout.
BRAKES: Front: StopTech four-pot callipers with 330mm discs. Rear: Standard E30 M3 discs and callipers, Pagid yellow pads all-round, braided brake lines, AP Racing pedalbox with remote reservoirs.
WHEELS & TYRES: 8x18-inch and 9x18-inch Compomotive TH18 wheels with a range of track or road tyres.
INTERIOR: OMP fixed back bucket seats, OMP steering wheel, Stack dash, M3 DTM gearknob and footrest.
EXTERIOR: Alpine White paint, E30 M3 Evo spoiler and splitter, Warsteiner livery.
THANKS: Josh Gardner & Gav Jones at Galvsport.com, Gavin Fairchild at GT-graphics.com.au, Brett Airey at ExecutiveTowing.com.au, Jim Black at Performancefriction.com.au and Barry Dixon at Compomotive. com.
“I wanted to drive it on the track as I don’t believe in garage queens”
“Not only is it rare, it is well balanced and easy to drive, too”
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- Post is under moderationFROM THE GROUND UP
CAtuned knows its way around a BMW and the company’s stunning Estoril E30 on air is one of the best examples about.
Few shops have the understanding to carry out a comprehensive bare shell rebuild, let alone the passion and drive to do it for themselves. CAtuned, though, built this example in just 12 days and it happens to be one of the best E30 show cars out there. Impressed? You should be. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Watson Lu.
I think it’s fair to say that there aren’t that many shops out there that really know the E30 inside out, but one that certainly does is CAtuned; the guys there use their extensive knowledge of older BMWs to create some of the world’s finest 2002s and E30s. This is one of them; it’s a shop project owned by CAtuned’s CEO and founder, Igor Polishchuk. This is ‘Miss Blue’, and here’s the crazy story of its 12-day creation. CAtuned was created in 2002, though it exists as a division of Auto Heaven, which first opened its doors back in #1995 . The latter covers all makes and models, while CAtuned specialises purely in the restoration and modification of older #BMW models from the #2002 to the #E34 , with a large focus being on people’s favourite, the E30.
This particular E30, a #1987 #325is , started life in Igor’s hands as a completely bare shell. “The car was bought as a last minute item – it wasn’t planned at all. We were in San Diego picking up an S54 for a client in Texas, and the seller mentioned an E30 he had for sale,” smiled Igor. “We saw some pictures of the shell – a completely bare car. $450 later the car had been purchased, completely unseen. We paid another $600 to ship it to us and then the fun began. “Originally the goal was just to get the car painted, assembled to an OEM+ standard, and then sold to a good home. But that quickly changed,” Igor laughed. “We can’t leave anything alone!” These changes included a late model body conversion, allowing the car to run plastic bumpers instead of the original chrome, and a number of other tweaks.
“We prepared the body and delivered it to our painter with the instruction to prepare and paint it in the original Alpine white,” Igor told us. “The very next day I changed my mind and went over to the painter to tell him to paint it code 335, Estoril blue! He said we were crazy but got right to work. It took the painter about a month to get everything sorted and painted – so when we got it back we had just 12 days to finish the car, from a shell to a fully driving vehicle and at the Waterworks show.”
With the rush on, the CAtuned team couldn’t hang around. That said, the fit and finish on the E30 is second-to-none – no corner has been cut and no area has been left untouched. Several areas of the body were reinforced and the crossmembers, wishbones and trailing arms were all powdercoated black before being bolted up using polybushes throughout. An #E36 #M3 steering rack and Ireland Engineering antiroll bars can be found underneath, too. The rear brakes consist of new OE parts throughout with the addition of ceramic brake pads, while the front uses one of CAtuned’s Stage 3.0 kits, featuring four-pot Wilwood calipers and 305mm discs. The suspension chosen was CAtuned’s own coilovers, which are fast becoming the industry standard for older Bavarian vehicles, whether it be for track or road.
With all of this sorted, the powertrain could now be installed. For this Igor chose to keep things relatively original. An M20B25, as the car would have originally had, was chosen but it wasn’t fitted before it had been given the full CAtuned treatment. This included a top-to-bottom rebuild, refreshing every bearing, bolt, belt, pulley, seal and gasket on the way. The cylinder head was ported and polished in-house before being bolted down to the freshly-painted block, while the intake manifold was port-matched and powdercoated, along with a number of other components, by CAtuned’s operating partner, Renewed Finishes. The guys also had the exhaust manifolds ceramic coated, with the finishing touch being a CAtuned rocker cover, powdercoated blue to match the inlet manifold.
Ensuring that the motor would run at its absolute best, the entire ignition system was renewed and upgraded with blue silicone leads as well as Bavarian Restoration wiring upgrades, which were taken from the CAtuned storeroom. The intake is a custom CAtuned item, as is the exhaust system, which has neatly been powdercoated black. To help control the upgrades and give the #M20 a bit more shove, a Miller performance software chip has been applied. Keeping things cool in the Cali climate can be a challenge so Igor specified a Mishimoto E36 M3 aluminium radiator which was fitted with a Spal electric fan and plumbed in with Ireland Engineering silicone hoses.
This engine was bolted to a Getrag 260 five-speed manual gearbox – also fully rebuilt – with a Stage 1 clutch and flywheel combo in the middle. Brand-new clutch master and slave cylinders were also used along with a CAtuned braided clutch line. This sends the power to the rear wheels through a 3.73 LSD, which has been rebuilt with uprated Porsche clutches.
“The interior arrived on the fourth or fifth day from overseas,” explained Igor. “We had six or seven people working on the car around the clock. I even slept in the car a few times.” Luckily Igor’s choice of sleeping location was a full (and very rare) M Tech cloth interior, which was finished off with black carpet, black headlining, a rare Euro rear view mirror with map lights, and a Euro analogue clock. The heater blower motor was refreshed with new OE parts and all the wiring was tidied up, too. The CAtuned guys don’t hang about!
All that was left to do was to get the exterior finished. During the project Igor had been in touch with the guys at Fifteen52 who agreed to ship over a set of their Classic wheels in a forged two-piece format. Measuring 8x16” up front and some 9.5x16” at the rear, they were the perfect choice for the E30. #Fifteen52 also requested that the car be on its stand at the fast approaching Waterworks show, adding to the pressure that the team was under.
Euro bumpers and grilles were bolted up along with an iS front lip, while lighting was taken care of with Bosch Euro ‘smileys’ and LTW tail-lights. Neat finishing touches include a CAtuned splitter, Mtechnic embossed door handles and custom roundels – yet more items that Igor luckily keeps in stock.
“The wheels actually arrived on the day before the show. The tyres went straight on and the car went out for its first test-drive.” Igor grinned. “The following day we drove an hour-and-a-half to the show and it was an amazing reveal. Looking back it was a lot of fun. What made it possible was having 90% of the parts ready to go and our team of guys available to work on it.
“The reaction to the car was nothing short of amazing and that remains the case. We have since changed the car to its air setup and it’s made it even better. The car is mostly used at shows but I do love to drive it – it’s one of the best driving E30 cars we have built to date.”
Few shops know E30s quite like #CAtuned , and Miss Blue just proves that. To build an E30 to this level – let alone in essentially 12 days – is no mean feat. Igor has every right to be extremely proud of what has been achieved and yet for the CAtuned guys this kind of work is an everyday occurrence. If there’s something they don’t know about E30s then it isn’t worth knowing; few shops just ‘get it’ like they do. This isn’t the first or the last time you’ll be seeing the CAtuned name in the magazine – you can be sure of that.
CAtuned’s E30 is absolutely stunning both inside and out; interior has been treated to a rare set of cloth M Tech seats from the UK.
ENGINE: 2.5-litre straight-six M20B25, fully rebuilt, ported and polished cylinder head, CAtuned rocker cover, port-matched intake manifold, ceramic coated exhaust manifolds, custom exhaust system, custom CAtuned air intake, Miller performance software, Mishimoto E36 M3 radiator with Spal electric fan, Ireland Engineering coolant hoses, Bavarian Restorations power and ground wire upgrade kit, Stage 1 clutch and flywheel, fully rebuilt #Getrag 260 five-speed manual gearbox, new OE clutch master and slave cylinders, CAtuned braided clutch line, 3.73 final drive LSD rebuilt with Porsche clutches.
CHASSIS: 8x16” (front) and 9.5x16” (rear) Fifteen52 Forged two-piece Classic wheels shod in 205/40 (front) Nitto Neo Gen and 215/45 (rear) Yokohama S Drive tyres, custom Because Bags air suspension with Accuair E-level management, Ireland Engineering front and rear anti-roll bars, all-new wheel bearings, #E36-M3 steering rack, CAtuned solid steering coupling, CAtuned polybushes throughout, Condor solid offset front control arm bushes, CAtuned Stage 3 front big brake upgrade using 305mm discs and Wilwood four-piston calipers, all-new rear brake discs and calipers with ceramic brake pads, CAtuned stainless steel braided hoses.
EXTERIOR: Full respray in BMW Estoril blue (code 335), late model body conversion with all new parts, iS body parts including lip, CAtuned splitter, custom roundels and badges, Mtechnic door handles, Euro kidney grilles, smoked Euro ‘Smiley’ headlights, LTW tail-lights.
INTERIOR: M Technic cloth interior imported from UK, new black headliner, Euro analogue clock, Euro rear view mirror with map lights, new black carpet.
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- Post is under moderationWhat’s in your Garage?
We meet a man with a fine selection of rare and modified BMWs in South Africa.
The finest BMW collection on the African continent and arguably one of the best in the southern hemisphere, each one of these eight machines is a masterpiece in its own right Words: Johann Venter. Photography: Oliver Hirtenfelder.
Jack Kaplan’s reputation precedes him. His cars have been featured in BMW Car multiple times over the years and won countless accolades. Indeed, they continue to do so, including numerous classes at the South African BMW Car Club’s annual Concours. This year was no exception, his #2002 Turbo taking top honours in the d’Honneur Modified, Best Classic and Best 2002 classes.
As we arrive at Jack's home under the cover of darkness for our 5.30am shoot, snapper Oli cannot contain himself and starts shooting before Jack can completely raise the garage door. Each masterpiece is neatly cocooned in a grey car cover; six cars are housed in the one garage while the remaining two share a second garage with less favourable stablemates. Once all the covers are removed one is completely seduced as some of the most revered models that BMW has ever spawned are revealed – it is truly a sight to behold.
Jack is a true petrolhead, having raced his own cars and several dragsters, with an astonishing ensemble of BMWs, yet he is the most softly-spoken gentleman I have come across. After Oli has snapped away to his heart’s content Jack treats us to breakfast before we delve into his collection. It is hard to believe that before buying his first #BMW in #1983 Jack was considering a #Skyline #GTX 2.8. Thankfully a friend intervened – pointing Jack in the direction of an #E30 #323i – and sanity prevailed. Jack’s immediate impressions were that the BMW was much better put together in terms of the fit and finish and once he had driven the car he was sold. Ever since then he has been infatuated with BMW.
Jack confesses that he has had quite a few BMWs over the years. That’s nothing to be ashamed of Jack, we like the fact that you've had multiple BMWs! “I regret not having kept all of them but then I could not afford to get a new one without trading in the old one. Once I could afford to not have to trade them in I kept all of them,” he explained.
They say that you always remember your first true love, so what impression did the 323i leave on Jack? “The 323i led me to bigger and better things,” he replied. “These cars were known for cambelt failure and mine was no different so while my engine was being repaired I traded it in for an #E30 #325i Saloon, in Henna red. It was a great car, I really loved it. The handling was superb, it was a true driver’s car.” Jack then opted for the first version of the E30 #325iS (commonly known as the Evo 1) in silver, a South African special with a 2.7-litre engine partly developed with #Alpina . It had a power output of 197hp (145kW) and a maximum torque figure of 195lb ft (265Nm). “Not to get into too much detail but let’s just say that the iS was too much car for me to handle at that point,” he told us.
True to form, Jack then followed this by getting the second iteration of the iS: the Evo 2. It’s the Alpine white one you can see in the photos. Jack got it as a company car in 1991. It still has the original windscreen and the air-con has never been regassed yet it can create an Arctic atmosphere in seconds. It’s a bit of a sleeper – bog standard on the outside except for the grille that has been colour-coded like E30 racers of old. “The engine has been enhanced by gas-flowing the cylinder head and installing a 280-degree camshaft. The late great Tony Viana [legendary BMW race driver in South Africa] installed the Unichip, the air-box was modified and a specially fabricated Sports exhaust was fitted,” Jack revealed.
South Africans were denied the E30 M3 as it was produced in left-hand drive only and were therefore so much more receptive to the launch of #E36 M3 in South Africa 21 years ago, compared to the lukewarm reception it received in Europe. The initial batch that landed in South Africa predominantly had cloth seats that were structurally different from the leather ‘Vader’ seats. Jack elaborated: “I wanted the black Nappa leather seats so I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity. Fortunately I managed to keep the iS and used the #M3 as my daily-driver, but soon thereafter decided on a V6 Ford Ranger bakkie [pick-up] as a runaround. It used to jump around a lot on the road so I put a bag of cement in the boot.” The Alpine white car we see here, however, is very different from the car that Jack took delivery of in #1993 . A picture on the garage wall shows the M3 fitted with a front spoiler that made it look more like a snow plough and although the original bumper has been refitted, things are not that subtle at the rear as the boot spoiler looks like it belongs on a Learjet. The upgrades are not all cosmetic, though, as Jack explained: “It still has the original #S50 , 3.0-litre motor but to spice things up a Vortech supercharger producing 0.9bar (13.05psi) of boost was fitted and, to add to the fireworks, nitrous was added resulting in 428hp at 7000rpm.”
At this point it seems that Jack tired of sporty Bavarian coupés and opted for an American peoplecarrier: “In #1996 I imported a brand-new left-hand drive #Chevy #Surburban 5.7-litre V8. It has three rows of seats that can comfortably seat eight people and weighs 2.7 tons. It has a cavernous boot, ideal for long stints and that is exactly what I use it for – travelling to Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape, although it only has 116,000km (72,079 miles) on the clock.” Thereafter Jack bought his first BMW 5 Series in the form of an #E39 #540i Individual with the six-speed ‘box, not a bad first choice for a 5 Series. “I really didn’t enjoy it and it didn’t fit in my collection. My wife drove it for a while and then we tired of it,” he said.
The next car in his collection is probably the biggest show-stopper in the collection. Apparently traffic comes to a standstill and people swarm around the car whenever he takes it out to an event. “The E30 M3 is such an icon and unfortunately we never got it in South Africa,” Jack explained. “In fact, I think there are only three road-going examples in the country so you can understand why people react the way they do. I acquired this Lachs silver example in #1997 after two years of pursuing the owner with whom I conducted business with. Unfortunately his business was liquidated; I tracked down the liquidators and bought the car from them.” This is a very attractive colour and the car looks like it has just driven off the production-line. “Thousands of hours have been invested trying to achieve perfection,” Jack said. “The car was completely stripped and rebuilt from the bottom up.” Purists will once again be raising their eyebrows as Jack has fitted #E36-M3 Motorsport rims. “The E30 M3 was fitted with the #BBS crossspoke rims, as was the E30 Shadowline and iS.
However, I really wanted my E30 M3 to be different and standout from the rest as it truly is a special car and even more so in the South African context,” Jack justified. “Those E36 M3 Motorsport rims are my ultimate favourite, you’ll see that my whole garage is full of them and if I can find another set I will buy it.” Many folk give Jack plenty of flak for not keeping his cars – especially the ones that are so collectable – completely original: “People often ask me why I don’t keep my cars as BMW intended. Whenever I get a car I change at least the pedals, exhaust and the steering wheel; this is something that I have always done. But I keep all the original parts. I always remove the radios as I prefer listening to the exhaust.” So what changes has Jack made underneath the skin of his E30 M3? “The engine has been enlarged to 2493cc through the replacement of the crankshaft and connecting rods. The cylinder head was gas-flowed and a 260-degree Schrick camshaft was installed, together with a Unichip. Better breathing apparatus was also fitted in the form of a #K&N air filter, modified air-box and a stainless steel Sports exhaust.”
Jack does have a bit of a thing for the E30 shape though and his iS indulgence does not end with the white one he’s owned from new. “In #1999 I came across a panel beater who had managed to find an iS bodyshell. His intention was to build the car to his specifications, unfortunately he ran into financial difficulty so I bought it from him. He’d already painted the car in the colour you see here, which is a metallic dark green [this was definitely not a factory option], slightly lighter than British racing green. That is all that he had done to the car. This really gave me the opportunity to build the iS the way I wanted to.”
We’ve seen Jack’s need for speed so we can’t resist but ask what lies underneath the bonnet? “I managed to source a 3.5-litre Alpina #M30 motor and went the whole hog again by fitting a Vortech supercharger producing 0.9bar (13.05psi) of boost and nitrous was added resulting in 373hp at 6209rpm,” he replied. That sounds like a lot of power for such a small and lightweight car. “Initially I really struggled to put all the power down onto the road. The car suffered from massive wheelspin in virtually ever gear,” he continued. “The car was also fitted with two Unichips but it was undrivable until I took it to Gavin Wilkens – the well-known South African drag champion who runs GW Racing, a specialist in high performance upgrades. Gavin advised that we fit a Domingo management system, so we did, and now you can use the car as a daily driver. It is actually now a pleasure to drive.” This iS wasn’t just used on the road though, as Jack has also raced it. “Why else do you think I had the nitrous installed?” he grinned. “I used to do the quarter-mile and top-end runs but I don’t think I will race it again in those type of events. I will most likely enter it into Fastest Street Car events or gymkhanas.”
Jack definitely has a need for speed but we can’t help but wonder where this came from? “I developed my love for speed when I was knee-high, building soap boxes with pram wheels. In #1962 I progressed to a 50cc two-stroke Zundapp bike and then a 50cc Suzuki and then moved to the big league in the form of a Honda 300s. I first saw guys racing legally at the Tarlton International Raceway drag strip. I also raced the white iS, the E36 M3, and the #Z3 , doing Fastest Street Car races, hillclimbs, quarter-mile and top-end runs. I like gymkhanas with a quarter-mile included. I also like doing the 1km top-end races.”
So far we’ve talked about what you could call the iconic machinery in this collection but in most people’s eyes the Z3 wouldn’t fall into that category. So what prompted Jack to buy one? “I bought my wife a brand-new red Z3 in #1999 and the following day I bought the white one you see here today. As is the case with virtually all of my cars I set out to put my own finishing touches to the car and decided on a set of ATS rims. Unfortunately the rims were too wide for the car but I bought them anyway and took the car to a panel beater that I had been using for many years. The rear fenders [wings] were summarily cut and extensions of about 75mm were fabricated and welded in. The plastic bumper was then heated and stretched to accommodate the wider wheels. I also then opted to lower the car by about 70mm; I subsequently had to raise it by 15mm as it was too low.”
Jack’s Z3 was one of the early ones with the 2.8-litre engine so we asked if it felt a little slow in comparison to the rest of his fleet? “At that stage I was driving the E36 M3 more than anything else so there was a massive difference in power when I got into the Z3 which I just could not get used to. To remedy the situation a Powerdyne supercharger with 0.45bar (6.52psi) of boost was fitted. Needless to say I was not satisfied so we removed the motor and replaced it with the E36 M3 3.2-litre engine which had been gasflowed and at the same time fitted a Vortech supercharger with 0.9bar (13.05psi) of boost and a six-speed ‘box. From the outside it’s very apparent that this is not a standard car – it is 150mm wider and 55mm lower. It goes very well, though. The roadholding is superb, although on the top-end you do get a little bit of drift. The highest speed I achieved with it was at Waterkloof which was just over 280km/h. Strangely enough the 3.0-litre E36 M3, although heavier is faster on the top end. The #Z3 has only done 46,000km (28,583 miles).”
Once Jack had amassed a selection of BMWs from the late 1980s and ’90s he turned his attention to those that he hankered after from the 1970s. “You’ll see I have a picture of a silver Batmobile on my garage wall as well a picture of a 2002 Turbo. I put these pictures up long before I got the cars. They served as a constant reminder that I needed to add these machines to my collection; these cars were always part of my BMW aspirations.”
The E9 ‘Batmobile’ could be taken for a genuine example at first glance but despite being a replica it looks absolutely magnificent. “I agree,” said Jack, “although this was not the case when I initially got it. I was contacted by the owner who wanted to sell through the BMW Club, so I went and looked at it. The car was very rough and had been in an accident but not well repaired. It was originally a #CSi but fortunately the owner had the entire aero kit that was fitted to the Batmobile, so I decided to take it and got it at a real steal. The car was stripped down completely. It was initially red so we resprayed it Polaris silver. The seats were recovered by #BMW-SA in Rosslyn (tri-colour inserts included) and the front seats were replaced with Recaro Sport seats, as found in the E30 M3.
“The car had a 3.5-litre #M30 motor which was rebuilt, a set of BBS cross-spoke rims were fitted to complement the chrome mirrors, beadings and wheel arches. I struggled to find the wheel arches. The first set I sourced secondhand from the UK. I shouldn’t have bothered, what was sent was appalling.
Eventually I managed to find a set in the States. It took four years to do the restoration, but it was worth it as the car now looks fantastic… and goes even better.”
Jack’s #2002-Turbo should need no introduction as it featured in the September issue of BMW Car. It’s a lovely car. Jack told us its history: “When I acquired the car it was already Chamonix white. When Nicky Oppenheimer ordered it in #1974 he had three requests: that it be Golf yellow and fitted with electric windows and an electric sunroof. According to Robert Gruenberger, founder of the 2002 Turbo Club in Germany, four of these cars were shipped to Angola.
To make it more drivable I had a Turbonetics turbo fitted with 0.62bar (8.9psi) of boost, together with a purpose-built intercooler. In addition, an Electromotive direct ignition system was fitted, the cylinder head gas-flowed and a custom-built Sports exhaust installed. To improve the ride and handling Bilstein dampers and a front custom-made strut-brace were fitted. The brakes were uprated with 305mm ventilated cross-drilled Wilwood discs with matching Superlight 4-pod callipers in the front and 255mm drums at the rear.”
The last machine in Jack’s collection – a #635CSi #E24 – is a trifle unusual as it hasn’t been treated to the usual set of upgrades, as Jack explained: “In my opinion it’s the most handsome GT BMW has ever produced. Mine is an #1984 model with the #E28 running gear which makes for better handling. This car is completely original, I have done absolutely nothing to it. It even has the radio that I bought it with. It is Opal green with a Perlbeige interior and came with all the extras of a luxury GT of the day including leather Sports seats (unfortunately not Recaros), air-con, electric windows, sunroof and seats. The drive is superb thanks to the manual ‘box together with the limited-slip differential. It’s definitely one of the great touring cars of its time”.
All of Jack’s cars are pristine and completely spotless. He’s achieved this through his lifelong dedication to cleaning, maintaining and enhancing each of these paragons. What stands out most for us, however, is the craftsmanship, precision and attention to detail that is found underneath each bonnet. This is in part achieved through the extensive use of Russell braided fuel lines, adaptors, hoses, hose ends, tube nuts and Raceware aerospace-quality engine fasteners. One side of Jack’s garage wall is covered in certificates, a testament to what he has achieved with these shining examples of Bavarian metal.
We can’t leave without asking which one of this superb fleet is Jack’s favourite? “Without a doubt, it’s definitely the white iS,” he said with a grin. “The only cars I drive regularly, though, are the green iS and the Z3. The others I only take to shows and events, although I mostly drive my V8 #Chevrolet #Lumina SS 6.0-litre bakkie.”
“In my opinion it’s the most handsome GT BMW has ever produced”
The newest car Jack has is the #1999 Z3. We ask him why this is? “The newer BMWs are fantastic but they don’t give me that driving by the seat-of-yourpants experience,” he told us. “It’s almost as if the car is driving you. Newer BMWs give me the sensation that I am in a plane that is on auto-pilot.”
While a modern BMW might not feature in Jack’s plans there is one more icon that’s still missing from his collection, a machine that has so far eluded him: “There is a picture of an #M1 on my garage wall that still needs to come to fruition,” he revealed. Well, knowing Jack’s attention to detail you can guarantee that when one does arrive it’ll be the best on the African continent!
“It took four years to do the restoration, but it was worth it as the car now looks fantastic… and goes even better”
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- Post is under moderationDOWN UNDER THUNDER
V8 swaps are common in the BMW world but a drift #E30 with a 6.0-litre V8 on carbs? Definitely not your average 3 Series.
Subtle on the outside, serious on the inside, this V8-powered drift E30 is a unique Australian-flavoured slice of German muscle. Words: Seb de Latour. Photos: Brodie Butler.
Australia. Land of the free and the home of the brave. No, wait, that’s America. Well, seeing as my entire knowledge of Australia is based on Neighbours I’m not really much of an authority on all things Antipodean but I know one thing about our cousins in Oz: they love their V8s and they clearly love their BMWs. Oh, that’s two things. Never mind, you get the idea.
Our case today is that of one Joshua Bossong, owner of two very different E30s – the beast you see here and something rather more palatable for those with delicate dispositions, which you can read about in next month’s issue. Actually, an apology might be in order because just as you’re getting over one ridiculous Australian V8-powered #BMW with something poking out of the bonnet, you now have to deal with another one. So, sorry, and stuff.
A cursory glance at the pictures will tell you that this is clearly not a daily driver that Josh uses to pop to his local store to stock up on Tim Tams, he has a Toyota Hilux ute for that purpose. No, this E30 is a full-on drift beast that is equally happy attacking tracks as it is going sideways. But what I really like about his car, honking great V8 aside, is the fact it is a very clean and wellcared- for car rather than a slightly battered drift slag and while it’s certainly not one for the purists, it’s a good looking car for sure.
Josh’s car history is pretty ute-heavy, with no less than three previous examples, but there have also been four E30s, so he is clearly no newcomer to Bavarian metal and E30s are his poison. “I love E30s and I’ve currently got four in my garage: my #1990 #318iS , 1989 #325iS and our #1989 E30 325i Convertible, and this one of course. They are just so much fun to drive and the way they handle is just amazing,” he says when explaining the reasoning behind the build of this car. “I built this E30 for drifting but at the same time I wanted a car I could take to the track and do grip days in as well.” And while the engine dominates the car, there’s been a lot of work elsewhere to make sure that this E30 is much more than just a onetrick, sideways pony.
But before we can get onto any of that we have to take a good, long look at the engine swap. What I find interesting is that, despite appearances, the engine here is actually a recent one. It’s an L98, an evolution of the L76 (which itself was Holden’s version of the 6.0-litre GM fourth-generation small-block V8), and was derived from the LS2, which was introduced in 2005. So, a nice modern engine yet we’ve got a carb on top of it, so what gives?
“I purchased the #Holden L98 6.0-litre from a mate who had removed the fuel injection system and fitted the motor with an Edelbrock Victor JNR carburettor manifold and a Demond 850 carb,” Josh explained. “As the car was going to be built for drifting I didn’t know if this was the right way to go or not but after doing some research and speaking to some friends and shops I decided to keep the carb system and not return to the fuel injection system as I had been told the engine may make more power like this.” Not that the L98 is short on power, you understand, making as it does 367hp out-of-the-box, but the example in Josh’s E30 dyno’d at 335hp at the wheels, which works out as a slight increase over stock power and was plenty to be getting on with in an E30, that’s for sure.
Custom two-inch exhaust manifolds feed into a stainless steel system with a Magnaflow Tru X silencer to ensures that this car makes all the right noises and with plenty of volume.
Unsurprisingly, Josh ran into a few problems attempting to get everything to fit into the E30: “As the six-speed manual is so big and the E30 BMW transmission tunnel is so small, we decided to cut the whole factory fitted tunnel out and make our own so we could get the motor as far back to the firewall as possible. We also ran into problems with the starter motor being so close to the steering column, so we got in touch with Castlemaine Rod Shop and bought one of its left-hand side starter motor conversion kits.” Job done. So, there’s a massive V8 up front but that alone wasn’t enough to turn this E30 into a drift machine that would also be at home on track; it’s been treated to more than a couple of supporting mods beneath the surface, too. The drivetrain has been bolstered with an uprated Excedy clutch and Excedy flywheel. There’s a custom driveshaft, tailshaft and axle halfshafts along with a Kazz two-way LSD with a 3.9:1 final drive. Surprisingly, the brakes have been left virtually standard throughout, bar the addition of some drilled and grooved discs up front and Duratec pads all-round, but the suspension has received a thorough reworking. BC Racing coilovers have been fitted front and rear, with Josh opting for a pretty serious 60mm drop and uprated Whiteline anti-roll bars have also been fitted. On the wheel front Josh has opted for a set of XXR 002s, which measure 8x15” all-round and are wrapped in Federal 595 Evo tyres up front and Achilles ATR Sport rubber at the rear.
The exterior is completely stock, except for the hole in the bonnet that was required to fit the air filter, and Turquoise metallic that the car has been finished in is really gorgeous, with a wonderful blueygreen shimmer. Inside, though, there’s barely a hint of the original left. Virtually everything has been stripped out in the pursuit of weight saving. Up front, there’s a pair of Bride seats with green Takata harnesses along with a stylish Nardi steering wheel. A custom instrument pod straddles the steering column with a large central rev counter and additional gauges for fuel level, water temperature, voltage and oil pressure. You get a good view of that custom transmission tunnel as well, while the doorcards have been replaced with bare metal panels. The rear is taken up by the JDI fabrication six-point weld-in roll-cage while the boot is full of 60-litre fuel cell.
Josh has built a seriously impressive drift machine and it’s most definitely been worth all the hard work and effort. “I would have to say the trickiest part of the build was the transmission tunnel but with the help of my good mate Matty from Proworkz Fabrication it was very much sorted,” he explains. “The most rewarding bit of the whole process was completing the car and being able to compete with it. I love the aggressive look of the car, with the air cleaner sitting high out of the bonnet, and that V8 sound. I also love the reaction people have to the car. It puts a huge smile on my face every time I get behind the wheel of this beast!” Future plans include a Wisfab steering lock kit, some bigger wheels and uprated brakes, which should make it an even more formidable proposition. “I’m not sure how much I’ve spent on the car,” muses Josh in closing, “but it would have definitely been enough for a good house deposit… but life is too short not to enjoy it!” Amen to that.
ENGINE: #Holden-L98 6.0-litre V8, Edelbrock Victor JNR carb, #K&N air filter, MSD ignition 6LS, custom 2” exhaust manifolds, Magnaflow Tru X silencer, 335whp @ 5344rpm.
TRANSMISSION: T56 six-speed manual, custom transmission tunnel, Excedy flywheel, Excedy clutch, custom 4340CV axle halfshafts, custombuilt 2.5” tailshaft, Kazz two-way LSD with 3.9:1 final drive.
CHASSIS: 8x15” (front and rear) XXR 002 wheels with 195/50 Federal 595 Evo tyres (front) and 195/55 Achilles ATR Sport tyres (rear). BC Racing coilovers, Whiteline anti-roll bars, drilled and grooved discs (front), Duratec pads (front and rear).
EXTERIOR: Repainted Turquoise metallic.
INTERIOR: Bride seats, Takata harnesses, #Nardi steering wheel, Holden gear knob, Autometer Pro Com Ultralite gauges, JDI Fabrication six-point weld-in roll-cage, 60-litre fuel cell, Perma fuel filter.
THANKS: Matty from Proworkz Fabrication, Jake from JDI Fabrication, Heath from HG AutoBody, Danko from Addicted Performance, Glen Poulton for doing all the wiring on the hole car, Pure Performance Motorsport, GJ Drivelines, Jack McNamara Differential, Race Radiators, Exhaust Fix, Speedpro Distributors, Avon Tyre Service, Eagle Auto Parts, Road Runner Towing, and a big huge thank you to my mum and dad and family for all their help and support over the years; without all these people this car would not have been done, so thank you.
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- Post is under moderationStop Hammer time! Forget your briefcase and handsfree, this E60 M5 isn’t exactly your typical exec saloon… but then neither is its owner. Word: Louise Woodhams. Photos: Darren Maybury.
Unless you live in the States I’m assuming you’ve probably not heard of Marcin Gortat, aka the Polish Hammer, but he’s kind of a big deal in professional basketball circles. He played his first game, for Orlando Magic in March #2008 and by the end of the season had appeared in 14 games for the team, including eight playoff appearances, and topped his career highs with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Later the following year, Magic made a run all the way to the NBA Finals, making Gortat the first Polish-born player to ever appear in the championship series. Now, you’re probably wondering what the 6ft 11” 240lb centre forward player, who was recently offered a whopping $34 million to be Dwight Howard’s backup for the next five years, is doing on these pages… well, he also happens to own a rather nice Sapphire black 2008 M5 E60.
If basketball didn’t work out, the 26-year-old could well be fixing engines for a living, albeit for a slight drop in salary! You see he spent four years in his home country learning to become a master BMW technician, working as an apprentice in a few repair shops. It’s provided invaluable when putting together his M5; pouring his knowledge into making it one of the fastest cars on the road from 0–60mph, and he has a few speeding tickets to prove it. When you’re dealing with that kind of power, however, Marcin sensibly decided to leave the hands-on work to the real professionals: “Some guys laugh at the amount of time and money I spend on the car,” he reveals. “But they don’t know what I get out of it.” I think we have some idea… especially when you look at the dyno proven figures: 608bhp and 469lb ft of torque.
Marcin has been interested in BMW for a long time, his first car being a #1988 #325iS : “It was a cheap car while I was still in Poland, but I took great care of it and I will always have a soft spot for E30s. I just love the body-style. When I was young my dream car was either the E34 or E39 M5, and I always said to myself ‘one day I will have one’.” So to have a brand new #E60 #M5 at just 24, and a boosted one at that, he’s certainly achieved his lifelong ambition, and then some. “I’d never modified a car before, and although I fell in love with it right away, it wasn’t long before I was already wanting more power and response from the suspension. Saying that I’ve always been seeking ways to get more power out of everything I own, whether it’s my M5 or remote control car. I also wanted to make it my own, and stand out from other M5s on the road, but do it in a clean way,” he explains. The first job was to meet up with one of the top BMW performance shops in the country, Precision Sport Industries (PSI), in Winter Park, Florida, to come up with a plan to get more out of his V10. “It’s my goto shop for all tuning modifications. It has a great staff network and great support. And I can trust it to find me a rare part, or get a specific performance upgrade the car needs,” reveals Marcin. It kick-started the project by installing RD Sport headers, Active Autowerke software and a full exhaust system, bumping power up to around 550bhp, 43bhp up from standard.
Just five months later, Marcin was ready for the next stage – the almighty G-Power SK-II twin-supercharger. As the kits are made to order in Germany (where the tuner’s based), there were a couple of minor delays in getting parts imported over, but luckily for Marcin PSI is the only facility in the US that has installed the system on an E60 M5. After working out a couple small kinks it took technicians Frank and Sean around two months to complete. Following that round of modifications, the M5 then made 608bhp at the rear wheels on a Dynojet. However, this was on 93 Octane pump gas; with race fuel Marcin reckons it could add another 30 to 40bhp. “I was in Poland during the first 70% of the install. But when I was back in the US I found myself at the shop all the time. When the last bolt went in the car, I demanded a road test and took it for a spin on the highway – everything worked flawlessly! Over time, as things wore in, there was a very small squeak but it was a five minute fix; turned out the ’charger turnbuckle just needed adjusting. It’s definitely my favourite modification on the car, there’s nothing quite like a boosted V10 on the highway; it just pulls and pulls! Then when you are done messing around, the car drives just like stock, very smooth, with no added drama,” Marcin says with a smile.
The next area that Marcin was keen to address was the rolling stock. “I wanted 20s but they also had to be as lightweight as possible, so I opted for HRE P47s in matt black. I’ve yet to see them on another M5 which is an added bonus,” he reveals. Once the wheels were on, H&R Sport springs were fitted to give the car enough of drop for them to fill the super saloon’s arches and improve handling by offering more control and balance, and reducing body roll without sacrificing ride comfort. Shortly after that, a Brembo big brake kit was installed consisting of 405mm front and 380mm rear discs matched to six- and four-pots respectively. Marcin then had the calipers custom-painted orange to match the G-Power intake manifold, which lends him with the perfect excuse to pop the bonnet!
Elsewhere you’ll find a Vorsteiner carbon fibre bonnet, which has been custom fitted and colour matched. “I wasn’t happy with the fitment, so I took it to Brad at Samuels Auto to get it properly aligned and sprayed. It looks so much better now and I love the small bulge in the hood. As with everything I’ve done to this car it serves a purpose in aiding with performance; the vents for example suck out hot air from behind the ’chargers,” Marcin explains. Sure enough, inside, the only addition Marcin’s made is functional. “The custom pod, built by Russ at Octave Audio, holds my boost and air/fuel ratio gauges – very important instruments for a force-induced car. I stipulated that it follows the factory lines of the dash, and was retrimmed in BMW Alcantara,” he tells us.
$75,000 and nine months later that’s pretty much it… from the outside and to the untrained eye it looks factory, but floor the gas pedal and it will blow most supercars out the water. And that’s what makes this car cool… on first appearances it’s not what it seems. “I attended my first show with the car last year, and it proved a real curiosity. As there’s no hint of it’s performance, people were in awe when I opened the bonnet, and gave it a few revs. It’s a great feeling to know the car was enjoyed by so many,” he admits. And for now, at least, Marcin’s content to keep fettling the car, planning on either rebuilding the motor with lowered compression pistons and forged con rods for more boost, or having a custom direct port nitrous system built by PSI or both. He’s even planning his next car already; an #X5M or the next generation M5, whatever his decision you know he’ll be desperate to squeeze some additional ponies out of it. “The #BMW scene is great; there are so many different styles and people pushing the envelope for more HP, it makes it a blast to see modified Beemers around town and on the roads. At the end of the day, we’re all just enthusiasts looking to make our cars better.”
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: #S85 V10 with a G-Power SK-II twin supercharger system (approx 9psi) with #RD-Sport catless headers and Active Autowerke full exhaust system. Standard seven-speed #SMG III sequential manual gearbox.
CHASSIS: 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) HRE P47 Monoblock wheels powdercoated black shod in 255/35 and 285/30 Michelin PS2 tyres respectively. H&R Sport springs. Brembo Gran Turismo big brake kit consisting of 405mm front and 380mm rear discs matched to sixand four-pots respectively custom-painted #G-Power orange.
EXTERIOR: #Vorsteiner carbon fibre bonnet.
INTERIOR: Black leather with custom pod for boost and air/fuel ratio gauges.
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- Post is under moderation#1972 #BMW #2002 Turbo orange crush. Here before you is a BMW fusion of looks and performance that is as close to perfection as you’re ever likely to find on God’s green earth. Take an old-school orange 2002, add a wide-arch kit, mix in a turbocharged engine and you’ve got yourself a classic showpiece M3-slayer for all to adore. 2002 Turbo - Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Max Earey.
Isn’t it funny how sometimes your words can come back to haunt you? Almost 10 years ago I was writing a feature on the very car you see before you. This charming 1972 2002 was in the magazine thanks to its subtle good looks and due to its Floridian owner, Curtis Engel, transplanting an 1989 BMW 325i E30 lump into its bright orange engine bay. Weighing about as much as an empty crisp packet and with 180bhp to play with, I commented that it was about as much fun as you could have with your pants on.
To finish the feature, remarking on Curtis’s desire to ultimately boost the car, I wrote: “The word ‘deathtrap’ springs to mind when I think of this little car turbocharged, but would I do it if I had the opportunity? Life’s too short not to.”
Curtis, much to my amusement, obviously thought the same. This is why I found myself some years later strapped into his 2002 once again, fingernails firmly embedded in the dashboard, as he plants his right foot to the floor and awakens the new, improved and markedly more powerful 2.5-litre six-cylinder. With turbocharged kick, of course.
180bhp doesn’t sound too much on paper these days, but in a little 2002 a while ago it was plenty. Well, that was then and this is now. 270hp at the crank is the current figure for this 1075kg road-legal go-kart, and that forced induction kick has turned this old classic into a confirmed M3 and M5-beater. On the quarter-mile track, Curtis ran a 13.71 against the 13.79 of an E46 M3, and a 13.45 against the 13.61 from an E39 M5. “The crowds laugh at me when I line up to race such cars,” the 23-year-old said, “but boy do they laugh when they see the outcome.”
Such respect from crowds spectating at the tracks is equalled by those who witness it on the street as Curtis’s daily driver. And this respect is wholly deserved. Bought for $1000 when he was just 15, the car has been a labour of love for the Orlando resident. From cleaning up the bodywork, sorting the suspension, improving braking and then doing a few subtle old-school styling mods, Curtis has focused his attentions and skills on really making this car shift.
A rebuilt #1989 #E30 #325iS M20 engine found its way into the engine bay, but not before cutting the nose of the car to help it fit, and finding new motor and transmission mounting locations. There were custom brackets and mounts, a VW Scirocco radiator, while a five-speed gearbox from a #1980 #E21 #323i came all the way from Australia. The work list was already substantial, but Curtis needed more.
“The turbo conversion definitely used up all of the free room still remaining in the engine bay,” Curtis said. “The turbo idea had always been there even before I did the M20 conversion. At the time though, I figured an M20 swap would be more reliable than turbocharging the stock M10 engine, but then with the M20 in, I realised I still needed more power. Always will…”
Even though it’s a very tight squeeze, it’s great to see a Garrett T04E turbo on full display in the engine bay. It’s shock enough lifting the bonnet to reveal an M20 engine in a 2002, but having the likes of a stonking ’charger in there as well can’t help but raise your testosterone levels.
The required accoutrements that go with boosting a car have been taken care of suitably, with a Forge Motorsport intercooler, Metric Blue head bolts, custom Xtreme Boost ceramic coated exhaust manifold, JSG Precision wastegate and Blitz blow-off valve. There are bigger injectors from a Ford Lightning, a Walbro 255 fuel pump, SPEC Stage 3+ clutch (good for 540 lb ft) and JB Racing flywheel, while the very tricky electronics are taken care of by a MegaSquirt standalone management system.
Technical stuff aside, the final dyno readings tell us all we need to know about the lethal-weapon status of Curtis’s now boosted ’02. Running just 8psi boost, the figures are 270hp at the crank and 280lb ft of torque at 6000rpm. As mentioned earlier, this car weighs just over a ton wet, so the power-to-weight ratio is enough to bring a smile to all admirers of Colin Chapman’s principles.
“Lag is definitely evident,” Curtis explained, “but it’s just to make races fair. Once boost is spooled up, get off the runway, there’s a 747-sounding 2002 coming for you!” So yes, it’s very quick, but is it a complete handful to drive? “Tyre spin is pretty ridiculous,” Curtis replied. “It will spin them to about 80mph if you want it to. Before the car used to rev very fast in idle if I wanted to free-rev it, now it won’t rev too quick because of the huge restrictor on the exhaust. But once you are at 3,000rpm, prepare to shift because 6,500 comes up fast.
” It appears this boosted 2002 just takes some getting used to, and it’s a good sign that Curtis can use the Inka orange beauty as a daily driver as well as a humbler of more exotic machinery. During our photoshoot, a friend of Curtis’s was on hand with his supercharged E46 M3 to join in the fun. Incredibly, Curtis’s ’02 as good as matched the ’charged M3 in both a rolling start race and a standing start one. As they flew off into the distance, at the very least, the blown M3 certainly could not pull away. Very impressive.
It’s never plain sailing with turbo cars of course, and Curtis is no stranger to breaking the odd component. In fact, as Curtis dropped us off after our photoshoot, he dumped the clutch in a farewell display of spinning wheels and tyre smoke. And a distinctive mechanical clunk. Yep, a lot of torque going through the diff resulted in its unfortunate demise. “I’ve done two diffs,” Curtis explained. “One ripped all the teeth off the pinion gear and one broke a spider gear in two clean places. The stuff dreams are made of!”
This is a fine quality in our Orlando-based modifier. Curtis is all about producing a car that is a perfect plaything and one that he’s not scared about using properly. If something breaks, he’ll replace it with a stronger part to ultimately improve the driver enjoyment of the ’02. It’s no strict show and shine car – the body and interior do have their battle scars – but we’re happy Curtis spends less time with the sponge and car wax bottle and more time fixing problems caused by a heavy right foot. It’s much more rewarding that way.
Okay, so the body isn’t immaculate up close, but the sheer style and colour of this old classic is too damn sexy not to love. Since we last photographed the car, a front air dam and set of 2002 Turbo flares have been attached to the body, transforming the look to pure racer. These arches are stuffed (helped by a custom Ground Control, Eibach and Bilstein suspension setup) with 8x15” Zender Sport Wheels possessing the perfect size lip for an old-school race style. “Nothing like a 225 tyre on a tiny car like this,” Curtis commented. Too right.
The interior features the expected racestyle upgrades of bucket seats, harnesses, Momo steering wheel and roll-cage – plus some rather tasty gauges to keep an eye on what that boosted engine is up to. Even with these aftermarket upgrades, the inside retains its early ’70s look and feel, with Inka orange surrounding the classic black and white original dials, and that unique impression that the doors and roof will offer as much impact protection as a Chinese takeaway tinfoil box should anything hit you. But this just adds to that greater connection with the road and increased respect for this car.
Above all else, Curtis’s ’02 is a thing of stylistic beauty that just happens to have a wonderful, more modern and sensibly boosted six-cylinder engine. The lack of any modern weighty additions such as airbags, impact protection bars, air conditioning, electric seats et al means it can’t help but be a little bat out of hell. The flamboyant Inka orange merely adds to its appeal, so you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who fails to love or respect this adorable M3-beater. Long live the old-school.
A beautiful-looking car at speed, the Inka orange 2002 boasts 270hp at the wheels.
It’s a shock to see an M20 engine in a 2002, but having a stonking ’charger too can’t help but raise your testosterone levels.
It’s a tight squeeze, but a #Garrett TO4E turbo is now strapped to the 2.5-litre engine.
ENGINE: 1989 M20 2.5-litre six-cylinder with porting and minor polishing work, 1980 E21 323i fivespeed transmission, Metric Blue head bolts, Garrett 57mm T04E turbocharger, .68 A/R inlet, .68 A/R hotside, custom ceramic coated 1.75” tubular Xtreme Boost exhaust manifold, JSG precision wastegate dumped to atmosphere, SPEC Stage 3+ clutch, 8lb JB Racing flywheel, VW Scirocco radiator, Blitz blow off valve, 3” downpipe, Forge Motorsport intercooler, MegaSquirt standalone fuel management, Ford Racing 42lb Ford Lightning injectors, Walbro 255 fuel pump, Autometer oil pressure and boost pressure gauges, PLX wide band oxygen sensor. 3.64 40% lockup LSD
PERFORMANCE: 270hp at the crank, 280 lb ft of torque at 6,000rpm running 8lbs boost. 1/4-mile time of 13.45@107mph. 1075kg wet weight.
CHASSIS: 8x15” 0 ET #Zender Sport Wheel shod in 205/50 (front) and 225/50 (rear) Kumho tyres. Ground Control coilovers with 450lb springs, #Eibach Pro Kit rear springs, Bilstein shocks all round, Suspension Techniques anti roll bars, urethane bushes all round. E21 320i vented brake discs with Volvo calipers.
EXTERIOR: Factory 2002 wide-body flares and front air dam, BMW original 1972 Inka orange paint.
INTERIOR: Dynamic Auto Design race seats, Schroth harness for driver, Momo Prototipo steering wheel, NRG Quick Release steering adapter, all sound deadening removed to reduce weight, rear seat removed and carpeted over, Kirk four-point roll-cage, battery relocated to boot. Autometer oil pressure and boost pressure gauges, PLX wide band oxygen sensor.
THANKS: Frank at Xtreme Boost for a ridiculously awesome tubular turbo manifold, SPEC Clutches for a gorgeous looking clutch, Matt McGinn for a great diff and always Josh at The Bimmer Place in Orlando for helping me fix what my heavy right foot broke.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who fails to love this adorable car.
Old-skool interior, with a few sporty upgrades.
Momo Prototipo steering wheel.
Old car, new technology: an iPod kit.
The boost gauge keeps tabs on all that turbo fun.
MegaSquirt Standalone fuel management ideal for turbo cars.
Original 2002 Turbo flares give Curtis’s classic the tougher race-look.
The perfect final touch for any classy BMW.
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