- Post is under moderationKING OF THE MOUNTAINS Turbo, wide-arch E30 Cab
Logically, this E30 should have been scrapped long ago. But when you’re building a big-power toy for motorsport thrills and early-morning mountain runs, logic doesn’t always factor very highly… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Scott Sturdy.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, running through North Carolina and into Virginia represents one of America’s great fusions of nature and technology. Scenic roads were something that American developers did uncannily well in the early half of the 20th century, and this particular one – a ribbon of Tarmac winding through gorgeous vistas of the Appalachian Mountains – is where Matthew Koppi’s love for BMWs was born. He’s the man behind this Olive green E30, and his passion for the marque stretches back decades. “I first fell in love with the BMW brand in my childhood,” he reminisces. “I live in the scenic mountains of Western North Carolina, and I used to see BMWs all over the twisty Blue Ridge Parkway in the ’80s. As a carobsessed kid the BMW was something that seemed like perfection; so graceful and nimble with timeless design.
“I bought my first #BMW in 1999,” he continues, “while stationed in Vicenza, Italy. It was a 1983 323i with Alpina cams and other goodies that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. I bought it because of my childhood infatuation – plus the price was right for a young army private! It was the first car I owned with fully independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes, and also the first that I could drive over 100mph for extended periods of time without worrying about it exploding. I’ve been a devotee ever since!”
All of this rather explains Matthew’s latest career move, setting up North Fork Autoworks in Barnardsville, North Carolina. Having turned wrenches for much of his adult career, this seemed like a logical move, although he’s keen to point out that throughout this E30’s build he was a full-time student, working on a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science.
“All of the work on the car, from fabrication to paint, both in the engine bay and outside, was done by me,” he proudly explains. “The only thing I didn’t do completely on my own was the machine work, but I was there for every step of the process and even ran some of the machines!
Basically, I was either directly responsible for every aspect of the car or I was intimately involved.” And with that forthright mission statement dealt with, we should probably rewind and take a peek at where this all started…
Back in 2010, having returned to school and requiring a sensible-ish runabout Matthew was driving an old Suzuki Sidekick (that’s a Vitara to you and me) and questioning his choices somewhat. It was boring. And life’s too short for boring cars. So the idea of a fixer-upper E30 began to percolate, and you know what happens when the spark of inspiration’s arrived. It’s pretty much a done deal.
This cabriolet appeared as a shabby little ragamuffin on Craigslist, but crucially the price was low. “The ad stated that the car ran when parked, but now wouldn’t start,” Matthew recalls. “It also disclosed that the interior and top were trashed. I arrived to find a car parked in tall grass behind a tiny house way back in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere! The previous owners were very nice and were at their wits’ end with the car. And they were painfully honest about it all. Truly the thing should have been parted out or crushed, but I was in love.
It had bad rear wheel bearings, one front hub bearing was shot, bald tyres, ruined leather interior that had hardened and cracked beyond repair or comfort, the paint on every panel was faded and peeling, the battery tray was rusted through, it had an automatic transmission, wrong front wings, cracked aluminium bumpers, and the top was so far gone that there was water pooled in the floor despite the car being under two tarps. True to the ad, the engine would turn over but wouldn’t start, so the condition of the drivetrain was unknown.” Quite a catch, right? So as you can imagine, Matthew snapped it up and lovingly caressed it homeward, all the time reminiscing about those swooping mountain heroes on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“First and foremost, I wanted to get it running and replace the top,” he explains. “It needed to be good enough to comfortably drive my young daughters around in as I continued to fix it up, and I originally planned to follow my old formula of decent wheels and lowered suspension… but that was before my first autocross event!” That’s right. The goalposts just shifted. First, though, is the matter of a knackered E30 which needs pretty much everything fixed…
Job one was to get the old M20 ticking over sweetly and mated to a manual gearbox, something that Matthew did right away before fiddling with chips and fuelling and so on, and this setup lasted a couple of seasons of autocross. But power corrupts, and he was craving more, so he started pooling resources for an M5x swap… until the idea of a boosted M30 caught his eye, and from then on there was only one way forward.
Now, M30s (that is, straight-six motors as found in the likes of the E28 5 Series, E24 6 Series and so on) have been swapped into E30s many times before, so there was a wealth of information available. What Matthew had to do was figure how to tailor the swap to his own unique requirements. After much consideration and research, he opted for an M30B34 block – for strength – with an M30B35 head and #Getrag 260/6 transmission. That was the base spec. Then the fun could begin.
The block was bored out to take 94mm Wiseco pistons, increasing displacement to 3.6-litres, while the crankshaft was balanced and the head received all sorts of handcrafted custom work. A Rapid Spool Industries exhaust manifold allowed the fitment of that all-important turbo (originally a Holset HX40, now upgraded to a Borg Warner EFR 7670), and naturally the fuelling and management were beefed up to suit. A trick exhaust system soon followed, as did a Volvo intercooler, some more appropriate cams, and upgrades to the valvetrain. Piece by piece, Matthew’s masterpiece was falling into place. On a conservative tune and at just 13.8psi, the M30 was making 450hp – which certainly helped with those corruptive power cravings.
So, the engine box was firmly ticked. Still a lot of other things to sort though, weren’t there? “I tried several different combinations of springs and dampers,” says Matthew.
“Ultimately I used autocross and mountain roads to dial in my suspension; my current configuration consists of Bilstein Sport struts and shocks, H&R J-spec front springs, GE adjustable rear perches and springs, reinforced rear shock mounts, Vorshlag front camber plates, drop hats, and Treehouse Racing control arm bushings. I swapped in an E36 steering rack and, of course, replaced both front hub assemblies. For the rear subframe I installed the AKG 75D 12mm offset frame, diff mount bushings and trailing arm bushings.”
Okay, so the thing works well now. But it needs to look good. What next? Aha, the body! “When I began fixing the bodywork issues, I ended up with five different colours on the car,” he laughs. “I couldn’t afford a traditional paint job due to being a student, and I still had a huge list of maintenance and repairs to tackle, so the idea of painting it myself in flat military green was very appealing. It had an aggressive feel to it, and allowed me to easily change and add body panels as needed. It also made all the trim work that much easier, because subdued black and flat green are perfectly paired!
“The entire attitude of the car followed the suspension setup and colour choice, although modifications such as the Kamotors arch flares were a product of necessity – especially with 8”-wide wheels and 245-section tyres on the rear – that just happened to enhance the overall demeanour of the car.” That Foha three-piece spoiler was certainly a lucky find too, it complements the hammered-together-by- The-A-Team vibe perfectly.
Of course, it’s no good having a car that goes like a train, handles like a sticky panther, and looks like a militaristic warlord if you don’t actually have anywhere to sit.
That rain-saturated tan leather trim had to go. “The interior of the car was in a horrible state of decay and disrepair,” Matthew grimaces. “When I replaced the battery tray, I took the opportunity to swap the dash with a crack-free one; I then followed that with converting the interior to black since I wasn’t a fan of the tan anyway! Through the forums I made contact with Kevin Chinn of Creative Options to discuss an upholstery kit, and after several conversations I decided on microsuede centres on the seats with vinyl bolsters for ease of maintenance. The seams were done with factory-style French stitching in light Olive green.
Before the seats went back in I dyed the carpet black, and so the weekend ended with me having stained and sore fingers but amazing upholstery!” When we ask Matthew what his favourite result of all this homegrown dabbling is, he’s quick to answer: it’s the engine bay. The functional, severe exterior just doesn’t prepare people for the sorted, shaved, shiny bay that hides under the bonnet, and it certainly raises eyebrows at shows. And raising eyebrows is what this car was built to do.
All sorted, then? Job done? Oh, no – Matthew’s far from finished here. “My list of mods isn’t based on winning the lottery, it’s based on money over time,” he says. “I’ve slowly but surely built it to be what you see now, and as time goes on it will only improve. Stay tuned!” We certainly will. But in the meantime, Matthew, you’d better head off along that Parkway. There are childhood dreams there waiting to be fulfilled…
Ultimately I used autocross and mountain roads to dial in my suspension.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E30 Cab / #BMW-M30 / #M30 / #Borg-Warner-EFR / #Borg-Warner / #M30-Turbo / #Megasquirt-MS2 / #Megasquirt / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-E30-Turbo / #BMW-E30-M30 / #H&R
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.4-litre straight-six #M30B34 bored out to 3573cc, #Borg-Warner-EFR-7670 turbo, #Tial 44mm wastegate, 94mm #Wiseco 8.7:1 forged pistons, #ARP head studs, Cometic MLS head gasket, M30B34 high-speed balanced and tuned crankshaft, 9.5 aluminium #Aasco flywheel, M30B35 ported and smoothed head, Cat Cams dual-profile turbo camshaft, IE heavy duty rockers, rocker locks, high performance springs, Rapid Spool Industries exhaust manifold, #Siemens-Deka 60lb/h injectors, Megasquirt MS2 engine management, custom fabricated oil distribution block for turbo feed and gauges, #Qbang engine mounts, Volvo 960 intercooler, Innovate LC-1 wideband controller, heat-wrapped 3.5” downpipe and wastegate piping, 3” straight-through exhaust with Magnaflow resonator and vband couplers, #Getrag-260/6 five-speed manual gearbox, Spec Racing stage 3+ clutch, Z3 short-shift
POWER 450whp @ 5200rpm, 524lb ft of torque @ 4550rpm
CHASSIS 8x16” ET20 (front and rear) XXR 521 wheels with 225/50 (front) and 245/45 (rear) #BF-Goodrich G-Force Sport tyres, #H&R-J-Spec front springs with #Bilstein Sport shocks, 650lb rear GE springs and adjusters, #Vorshlag camber plates, E36 steering rack, Treehouse Racing control arm bushings - powdercoated silver, stainless steel brake lines, ATE Orbital grooved front discs with Pagid pads, #Bremmerman cross-drilled rear discs, wheel stud conversion, #AKG 75D 12mm offset rear subframe and diff bushings, #AKG 75D trailing arm bushings
EXTERIOR Kamotors arch flares, E30 front lip, DIY smoked Hella Ellipsoid lights, all-red taillights, plastic bumper swap, third brake light delete, three-piece Foha spoiler, DIY double brake light upgrade, Shadowline trim, satin finish Olive Drab green paint, Euro grilles, Euro plate filler, late model rear lower valance
INTERIOR M-Tech 1 steering wheel, #VDO oil pressure, oil temperature and Innovate AFR gauges in DIY centre console, E36 rear view mirror, E34 leather handbrake handle, Justrack Econometer boost/vac gauge, Jaywood digital voltmeter, E36 window switches, brushed aluminium cluster rings and Alpina stripe, Creative Options interior upholstery kit, clutch stop, carpet dyed black, recovered windscreen, UUC weighted gear knobStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationS52-SWAP E30
Slick, static and on Pokal splits
Still waters run deep. And if you think this E30 is simply a case of fancy wheels and a suspension drop, you’re about to get schooled at the next set of traffic lights… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Steve Hall.
With ultra-clean looks and sitting static over Pokal splits, this S52-swapped E30 is a slice of modified BMW perfection.
‘Ultimate’ is one of those words that gets thrown around hyperbolically these days, rather like ‘awesome’. If someone were to tell you that your shoes are awesome, you might reasonably hope that they’d then drop to their knees, speechless, agog, unable to mentally process the sheer magnificence of said shoes. No? Of course not! Language evolves by the manner in which it’s spoken.
‘Awesome’ just means ‘good’ nowadays. But ‘ultimate’, that should still carry some weight, surely? The term either means a) the final point of a process or b) the best or most extreme example of something. So we’re going to shock you here and posit that the car you’re looking at is a strong contender for the title of ‘the ultimate E30’.
I know, it’s a bit of a melon-twister, but stick with it. It may seem an extraordinary claim, given the sheer wealth of high-quality second-gen 3 Series out there, many of which have been adoringly showcased in these very pages, but this one’s owner – Scott from Renown Steering Wheels, no less – makes a pretty strong case for it. “It’s all in the details,” he grins. “The best colour, a very clean interior, the best engine with strong power everywhere, amazing looks, light weight – it’s hard to beat!”
Compelling indeed but is that little shopping list enough? The answer is yes, but let’s make the scenery go all wibbly for a second as we hop back in time to build a bit of back-story. It’ll help you see where all of this came from.
“I’ve loved cars my whole life, mostly ’80s motorsport themed cars,” Scott explains. “When I was a kid, my uncle had an E30 M3, and from the first time sitting in it I was mesmerised. Everything about it was so driver-centric – how the dash was angled towards the driver, the instantaneous response, its composure in corners…
“My first car was an ’87 Supra in metallic brown; not great in Wisconsin winters but a superb GT car, and to this day I love an in-line six noise. Then I got one of my dream cars, a Mk2 Golf GTI, and I’ve had a dozen Mk2s since. I still have one. I got my first E30 while finishing college. I’ve had over 60 cars, ranging from my ’90s WRC dream cars – like the GC8 STi and a few screaming S2000s – to many, many old BMWs.”
Okay, so he’s set the scene pretty neatly. That E30 of his college days must have made quite a lasting impression, then, in conjunction with the memories of his uncle’s old M3? “Yes, I’ve had lots of E30s,” Scott confirms, “and I couldn’t resist this one. I bought it within hours of it being listed online. It was a very well-looked-after 318iS in my favourite colour, Diamond Schwartz Metallic, with a cloth interior and a few very tasteful mods. I just knew I could turn it into the ultimate E30… and I’ve had it for six years now; while I’ve had several other E30s in that time, this has always been the one that’s received the most love.”
Now, we’re going to cut to the chase and face up to the one thing that’ll really annoy classic BMW purists: the engine swap. For while the 318iS is much sought after for its purity and cult classic status, that wasn’t enough to encourage Scott to keep it all stock. “I am a huge fan of the M42 engine,” he assures us, “and the car handled amazingly and could be driven 100% because, while it isn’t very powerful, the balance is incredible and requires good driving to be fast. But the motor got tired eventually, so the decision was made to go for a naturally aspirated S52 setup with mods to get the most power out of it and to remain reliable.”
He says this airily, as if it’s all in a day’s work, but an S52 swap is a very cool thing indeed for an E30. In a nutshell, the S52 is a high-performance variant of the venerated M52 straight-six, and you’d normally find it in the North American-market face-lifted E36 M3. You’re looking at a 3.2-litre displacement and an output of 240hp right out-of-the-box. Saucy stuff for a 318iS, right?
Of course, this was a considered conversion, Scott didn’t just say ‘okay, my M42’s knackered, let’s find something else to plonk in there’. The OBD1-converted M3 motor brought its native gearbox and propshaft along for the ride, with an LSD out back facilitating the hijinks. The sump has been necessarily truncated and wears an armoured skidplate – you’ll see why in a moment – while the engine also enjoys an M50 intake manifold, juicy fuelling, and a robust remap. Quite a lot of shove to shoehorn into a 318iS, then, but Scott’s kept it subtle, the custom exhaust culminating in an iS-style tailpipe to keep people guessing. So why armour-plate the underneath?
Because this thing is low, that’s why. And static, too, not hopping on air or hydros. Ground Control coilovers keep the rubber snugly acquainted with the arches and again Scott’s taken a holistic approach to the chassis: chunky anti-roll bars, M3 control arms and a quick Z3 steering rack make the E30 eminently chuckable. Then there’s a set of E30 M3 Brembos to rein it all back in again. Perfect for canyonrunning, as well as the odd trip to the track. “It’s been a battle to get the car as balanced as it was before with the added weight and power,” Scott says, “but it is deceivingly fast in just about any situation!” Which is just the way it should be. We like ‘deceivingly fast’, together they’re two of our favourite words.
What really stands out when Scott’s waxing lyrical about his E30 is how much he cares about the details. There are a lot of people out there who’ll just farm a project out to a professional builder on the assumption that the right choices will be made but Scott really does sweat the small stuff. It’s no coincidence that he’s the driving force behind Renown USA – he likes things done right, and if the right way doesn’t yet exist, he does it himself.
“I started Renown at the end of 2014, because I couldn’t find the parts I wanted for my cars,” he explains. “I’ve always been fascinated with steering wheels, and for many of the cars I love, the original steering wheel isn’t that interesting and definitely not the best choice for spirited driving. So I wanted to create a brand that would offer products that feel like they belong in the car, have proper aesthetics that don’t look like they’re begging for attention, and enhance the driving experience.” Naturally he needs the most extrovert Renown wheel possible in his own car, which is why you see a startlingly blue example here – a clear focal point for the interior. “I started Renown with the help of this E30’s character, and continue to test all products in this car,” he says. “I plan to continue making it the best it can be – that’s why, for me, it’s the ultimate E30. You can follow my BMW adventures on Instagram too, on @renownusa – things are always changing.”
What Scott enjoys most about his car is its initial stealth-like element of surprise. When he’s not out driving the canyons or commuting through San Francisco, he can often be found at car shows and meets across LA, where he constantly enjoys the double-takes of passers-by who at first assume that it’s just another clean 3 Series, before zooming in for a closer look and unearthing all the work that’s gone into it. Because there’s a lot. While a first glance may sideline the car as a simple stop-drop-and- roll, there’s so much going on under the surface, like the frantically flapping feet beneath a serenely floating swan.
So is it the ultimate E30? No, we’re not going to go that far – there’s a lot of you out there doing cool stuff, and we know you’ll continue to push the boundaries. But it is Scott’s ultimate E30, and that’s all it needs to be. He’s set the bar pretty damn high with this one, hasn’t he? Power, looks, poise, quality, subtlety… it’s the product of relentless refinement, and it shows.
Interior has been treated to a bright blue Renown Monaco steering wheel and sexy Renown Carousel carbon gear knob.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE S52-swapped #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-S52 / #Pokal-Felgen / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S52B32 / #S52 / #BMW-S52 from US E36 M3, OBD1 conversion, M50 intake manifold, E39 M5 3.5” intake, #Bosch-Cobra injectors, #Turner-Motorsport tune, shortened oil pan, #Red46 Sump Armor skidplate, custom exhaust with OEM 318iS-style tailpipe, E36 M3 #ZF320 gearbox, E36 M3 propshaft, OEM Z4 short-shift, OEM 2.93 LSD
CHASSIS 9x17” (front) and 10.5x17” (rear) #Pokal-Felgen-GRB10SC wheels with 215/40 (front) and 235/40 (rear) Falken Azenis F tyres, E30 M3 five-stud hubs, E30 M3 aluminium control arms, #Ground-Control coilovers, #AKG bushings, front and rear anti-roll bars, Z3 steering rack, Sparco Motorsport solid tower bar, E30 M3 Brembo brakes, stainless steel brake lines, Porsche brake booster
EXTERIOR Diamond Schwartz Metallic, non-sunroof, shaved keyholes, windscreen washer jets and antenna, smoothed bumpers, OEM Euro grilles, trim and numberplate panel, OEM Hella smiley headlights, iS sideskirts, Hella smoked indicators, DDM 5k HID lights, BBS spoiler
INTERIOR Renown Monaco Motorsport steering wheel in blue suede, Renown Carousel carbon-fibre gear knob, Renown Motorsport gaiters, OEM Euro Recaro cloth interior and rear headrests, E87 1M floor mats, OEM black carpet and map light mirror, E30Head console cupholder
THANKS Elizabeth at PBMW, Adam Radzi, Sutton, Evan Van Tran, Yoshi of Pokal, Tyson of DirtyThirty, Fatlace, my fiancée, and the entire Renown family around the world
“It is deceivingly fast in just about any situation”
“I plan to continue making it the best it can be – that’s why it’s the ultimate E30”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationYELLOW – NOT MELLOW
With 711whp, this turbo Phoenix yellow E46 M3 is a beast. Awesome 711whp M3 E46 Spectacular Stateside turbocharged #BMW-E46 . It may be in the love/hate Phoenix yellow hue but there’s nothing mellow about Kris Kolintzas’ 711whp E46 M3. Words: Ben Koflach. Photos: Brad Sillars.
Phoenix yellow is one of those love it or loathe it colours. When BMW proudly introduced the E46 M3 it was one of the most talked about features of the early cars, often overshadowing the amazing S54 engine or the finely-honed chassis. However, a few years down the line it’s been well-proven that with the right selection of modifications a Phoenix yellow M3 can be a treat to the eyes.
One guy that’s known this from the start is Kris Kolintzas, a serial E46 M3 owner. The Chicago resident has spent the last nine years perfecting and improving his Phoenix M3. “I bought the car in the early spring of 2007,” explains Kris. “I purchased it from a private seller out in Tennessee. I’d already had two E46 M3s prior to this one but this was in mint condition with just over 20k miles on it. I chose this particular M3 because it was a rare colour that popped and not the same old boring silver or black BMWs you see everywhere here in the Midwest.”
As the story so often goes, Kris began with a few simple enhancements and things soon spiralled out of control. The build even became something of a trendsetter in the Midwest. “My thoughts behind the modifications were that I just wanted it to be fast and different from what everyone else was doing,” Kris says. Of course, these days it’s that 711whp engine setup that really steals the headlines. “I was one of the first to supercharge an M3 in the Midwest and I was the first to convert to a turbo setup,” Kris proudly claims. He hasn’t done things by half either, utilising a Maximum PSI Stage 2 system.
Mike Radowski, frontman and fabrication specialist at Maximum PSI, is a man wellknown in these pages. His 900whp+ E36 M3 drag car was featured in the magazine some time ago but his name is one that constantly comes up. And with good reason. The man is a genius when it comes to extracting huge, useable power from #BMW engines through turbocharging, and his turbo kits are simply the best you’ll find. “After falling in love with my turbo E36 I purchased a used 2002 E46 M3 with the sole intention of developing a production turbo kit for the platform,” Mike tells us. “We had worked with Technique Tuning on numerous custom builds and it was only logical to continue our partnership into the E46 kit as well. We spent way too long sorting out the kit trying to utilise the factory air box, and several other components that caused us more headaches than I care to remember. In the end we had a nicely performing turbo kit that would be able to pass a full OBD2 readiness test. We retained the cats and secondary air pump, and came in notably cheaper than the competition, while using high quality TIG welded and CNC’d components.
“Our system is still the only turbo kit for the E46 M3 that we know of that utilises a remapped factory ECU. It has been continually refined over the past few years, and we now have over 50 Stage 1, 2, 3, and 4 kits in operation. We have a bunch of street cars and we have several drift cars including one of our Stage 4 kits. My personal car has made over 780whp on the stock ECU and has been turbocharged for 40k hard miles. It has ran a best quarter-mile time of 9.74secs at 145.9mph, making it the quickest E46 in the US. We will continue to push the envelope in the E46 platform, as well as the newer platforms as well. Keep an eye on our 2016 F80 M3 shop car for some results shortly, too!”
Maximum PSI kits are completely bolt-on and, as Mike revealed, astonishingly they also manage the almighty power figures through tuning of the standard E46 M3 #Siemens-MSS54 ECU. The setup centres around a Precision 6266 turbo mounted on a Maximum PSI cast manifold and comes with everything required for fitment, down to interior gauges and wiring clips.
Kris gave the task of fitting the kit to his good friend (and another ex-feature car owner) Stefan Sajic, front man of Zima Motorsports. “Kris’ car was dropped off to our HQ in Chicago with a nice whine coming from the supercharger,” explains Stefan. “He was looking for more power and substantially more torque so the Maximum PSI kit was the best solution. We worked closely with Kris to make sure everything he wanted in the car was installed perfectly for maximum performance.”
The Stage 1 version of the kit is capable of running up to 500whp on ordinary pump fuel and 600whp on high octane. However, it was the Stage 2 that Kris opted for. It centres around mostly the same hardware, but adds even bigger injectors and one of the neatest aftermarket touches on the market: the ability to use the factory Sport button to switch between pump and race fuel maps.
Using the aforementioned race fuel, Kris was able to push his car up to 711whp and 578lb ft of torque at 19psi of boost. An astonishing achievement and one that goes to prove the efficiency and performance of the Maximum PSI turbo kit. The internals of Kris’ S54 remain standard, just with the addition of coated rod bearings from Epic Motorsports and ARP rod bolts. All of that power fires through a South Bend Stage 3 clutch and the factory SMG gearbox, with the whole drivetrain mounted on Vibratechnics mounts.
To complete the setup, Kris mated a Bimmerworld 3.5” race exhaust to the rear, the single pipe exiting through a matching carbon fibre diffuser. As you may have noticed, composite weave adorns much of the entire car. Just under the bonnet, in fact, that turbo’d S54 has been surrounded with the stuff. From a Horsepower Freaks vented engine cover to EAS and NVD carbon fibre accessories left right and centre, you’re never far from a chunk of the wonder-weave.
The exterior is much the same – the carbon fibre works really well in contrast with the Phoenix yellow, and so Kris’ choice additions have made the car into something unique. Vorsteiner’s ever-popular range of parts for the E46 M3 has been utilised with the V-CSL front bumper, GTR bonnet and CSL bootlid all present in carbon fibre. They add a dose of aggression to the E46 and are backed up by a custom GTR rear bumper and yet more carbon fibre covering the headlight housings, pillar trims, mirrors, grilles and more. Umnitza lighting tops off the external mods that combine to make one good-looking E46 M3.
The interior, meanwhile, is also carbon fibre covered and makes for a good looking and functional place to be. Kris’ car remains a road car and the interior reflects this. The rear half features a custom Zima Motorsports half roll-cage, with the nowredundant rear seats removed in favour of a carbon fibre seat delete piece. Up front the standard seats keep things comfortable, while the dashboard is a feast of carbon fibre and tech. The centre vents have been replaced by a custom carbon fibre bezel housing digital AEM gauges for AFR, oil pressure, fuel pressure and boost – important parameters when running such a modified engine setup. Carbon fibre then covers just about every surface possible, and it looks fantastic for it.
The chassis setup on something with so much power is a hugely important part of the build. Keeping the comfort was a key part of things for Kris and so he carefully thought out a setup that would be suitable. It centres around the standard layout but uses Koni Sport shocks with a Ground Control height adjustable spring setup, camber-adjustable front top mounts and billet rear top mounts. Ground Control was also used for its anti-roll bars while, as you would expect, the rear subframe mounting points have been beefed-up. Finally, AKG Motorsports bushes all-round tie everything together.
“The build is basically done,” Kris concludes. “I moved onto a 1972 2002 restomod build alongside the M3, and I’m now looking for another project to add to the stable.” There’s one thing for sure – if Kris puts as much time and care into his other projects then this won’t be the last time you’ll see him on these pages. His E46 M3 blends brilliant looks with brutal turbocharged performance. The colour may not be to everyone’s taste from the factory, but with Kris’s expert eye he’s transformed it into a machine that no one would dare to fault.
I chose this particular M3 because it was a rare colour that popped.
DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Turbo-E46
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 / , #ARP rod bolts, #Epic-Motorsports coated rod bearings, #Maximum-PSI-Stage-2 turbo kit (including #Precision-6466-turbo turbo, #Maximum-PSI cast turbo manifold, Maximum PSI/Driven Innovations intake manifold, #Tial MVR wastegate, Synapse diverter valve, front mounted intercooler, uprated spark plugs, big capacity fuel injectors, Walbro 485 fuel pump, 3.5” intake system with Green air filter, 304 stainless steel charge piping, 3” 304 stainless steel downpipe, fitting brackets and supports, SMG reservoir relocation kit, TurboSmart eBoost2 boost controller, AEM wideband O2 sensor, Technique Tuning mapping with switchable maps), Radium Engineering fuel rail, Bimmerworld 3.5” single pipe race exhaust with electronic cutout, #Vibratechnics engine mounts, #HPF carbon fibre vented engine cover, EAS carbon fibre engine accessories (cabin air filter cover and cap, DME cover, battery terminal cover, intake scoop, radiator cap, oil cap), NVD Autosport carbon fibre engine accessories (radiator support, oil filter cap, coolant tank). Six-speed #SMG gearbox, #South-Bend-Stage-3 clutch, Vibratechnics gearbox mounts, standard 3.62:1 final drive.
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) #Apex #Apex-ARC-8 wheels with 265/35 (front) and 285/35 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, Koni Yellow Sport shocks front and rear with Ground Control adjustable springs, Ground Control camber-adjustable front top mounts, Ground Control rear top mounts, #Ground-Control anti-roll bars, reinforced rear subframe mounting points, AKG Motorsports front control arm bushes, #AKG-Motorsports rear trailing arm bushes, #AKG Motorsports subframe bushes, AKG Motorsports differential bushes, 345mm ZCP front discs with Brembo four-piston calipers from Porsche 996 911, standard rear brakes.
EXTERIOR Factory Phoenix yellow paintwork, Vorsteiner carbon fibre GTR bonnet, Vorsteiner carbon fibre CSL bootlid, Vorsteiner CSL front bumper with single piece carbon fibre splitter, custom GTR rear bumper by FMU, Bimmerworld carbon fibre diffuser, EAS carbon fibre trim (headlight housing inserts, door handles, mirrors, kidney grilles, side grilles), carbon fibre fuel tank flap, carbon fibre B-pillar trims, carbon fibre and colour coded roundels front and rear, carbon fibre M3 badge, Umnitza 6000k angel eyes, Umnitza 6000k headlights, LED indicators, LED numberplate bulbs, smoked taillights, 20% window tint all-round including windscreen.
INTERIOR Custom Zima Motorsports roll-cage, carbon fibre rear seat delete, custom carbon fibre bezel unit for AEM digital gauges (AFR, oil pressure, fuel pressure, boost), EAS carbon fibre components (SMG paddles, interior trim panels, steering wheel trim panels, pedals, steering column cover), NVD Autosport carbon fibre components (seat backs, seat rail covers, SMG knob, centre console, door sill trims).Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMASTERCHEF
Simple on the outside, exciting on the inside, this sexy Aegean blue E30 has been treated to a 3.2 S50-swap.
SLICK S50 E30
Awesome 3.2-litre two-door. With some seriously tasty mods and an S50 under its carbon bonnet, owner Nicholas Arnold has rustled up one cooking E30. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.
Could the E30 be the most engine-swapped #BMW of all time? Judging by the number of feature cars we run that have been fitted with something other than their standard engine, it’s got to be up there. While V8s are a great and popular choice, sometimes you’re just not in the mood and fancy something more traditional where the 3 Series is concerned, like a howling, high-output straight-six, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here.
Chef Nicholas Arnold is its custodian and the man behind the swap. He’s no stranger to modified cars and BMWs, having worked his way up from a Vauxhall Nova 1.2 through to a selection of Hondas, including an EG Civic that he performed a full DC2 conversion on, and on to a number of BMWs, starting with an E34 525i (as it was cheap and RWD), and including a previous E30, which met an untimely end… “I wrote it off on black ice and I just felt I had to own another one. I found this car on eBay, located in Scotland – it was in good condition and had just had a respray,” says Nicholas. There was also the small matter of it already being endowed with an M52 under the bonnet. “It had a straight-through exhaust, was on cheap Jom coilovers and had an open diff. I changed the inlet manifold and ECU before making bigger plans,” he says – those plans being the swapping in of a more potent powerplant.
“I put a S50B32 in it as the M52 wasn’t fast enough,” explains Nicholas. “I bought new AKG engine mounts, custom wiring loom, aluminium triple core radiator, Ramair air filter, got a custom-built manifold, ACL race bearings, ARP con rod bolts, M3 3.0-litre oil pump with an E34 baffle sump and a Simons race silencer with a full stainless steel system. It took me six months to put together all the parts for the build and a week’s-worth of work to put it all together. The only problems I had was the servo had to be moved across by 45mm and I had to have a brake linkage bar made up.”
They say that the waiting is the hardest part and we have no doubt that was definitely the case here as six months to go from capable M52 to 321hp of ferocious #S50B32 goodness must have felt like an age. Let’s not beat about the bush here – the E36 M3 Evo is not a slow car, so just having that rev-hungry lump in the lightweight surroundings of an E30 would result in an absolute rocket ship. But that’s not all, the transmission has also been beefed-up to suit and there’s a five-speed Getrag ’box mated to an E34 M5 Sachs clutch with a 4.5kg billet steel flywheel, E36 propshaft and an E36 2.8 LSD in an E30 medium diff case.
With some serious power on tap, Nicholas turned his attention to the chassis as it needed some upgrades to be able to cope with the massive increase in engine. “I went for a set of BC Racing coilovers as they’re mid-range and suitable for road and track, Purple Series polybushes with E30 M3 lollipop bushes, again suitable for both roadand track-use, fitted all-new drop links, H&R uprated anti-roll bars, Ultra Racing strut braces to stiffen the chassis and I also had the subframes powdercoated and the rear subframe reinforced due to the increase in power.” The car no doubt drives spectacularly and sits beautifully low. It just looks right, especially on its black 16” Rota Grid Vs, which tie in perfectly with the numerous black details across the bodywork, and make a change from the usual suspects when it comes to E30 wheel choice, as Nicholas explains: “I have the Rota Grid Vs as I like to be different. I also like the Jap, aggressive look rather than following the crowd and having Borbets or #BBS reps.” The wheels are wrapped in Toyo Proxes tyres and sit on a stud conversion, while Ferodo DS2500 pads and EBC discs sit behind the spokes.
In terms of looks, the E30 really doesn’t need much help – subtle is often best to enhance the styling and that’s definitely been the approach here. The Aegean blue paintwork looks stunning, rich and deep, and the unpainted carbon bonnet is no less gorgeous. Other exterior additions include an eyebrow, crosshair headlights and all-red tinted rear lights. The interior, on the other hand, has received a bit more attention, as Nicholas tells us. “The car started off with a plain standard non-Sport interior but I’ve always had Sport seats in my previous E30s and knew how comfy they were so wanted another set in this car.”
He spent months searching for a pair of Sport seats but, having drawn a blank, he changed tactic and bought a pair of OMP buckets instead. Of course, no sooner had he installed them in the E30 than a pair of chequered Sport seats appeared at a good price, so he snapped them up and got rid of the buckets. And, as luck would have it, a few weeks later a rear bench, complete with headrests, and in the same pattern, popped up so Nicholas jumped on it, so to speak, and in a very short space of time had put together a rather lovely Sport interior.
In addition to that he’s fitted a suederimmed #OMP steering wheel with snap-off boss, AC #Schnitzer short-shift gear knob plus a rear blind-equipped parcel shelf. It’s smart, clean, period and suits the rest of the car, with a few subtle hints to suggest that there’s more going on here than meets the eye. We are well and truly in love with Nicholas’ E30, he’s really built himself an amazing machine. From the outside it looks so right – the colour is stunning, the carbon bonnet is spectacular and it really delivers the perfect blend of subtlety and aggression, with no single element feeling over the top or out of place, and that too can be said about the engine. It sits in the bay perfectly, looking so at home, and it’s turned this E30 into an absolute weapon.
“The huge engine is my favourite mod on the E30,” smiles Nicholas, “because the car is very inconspicuous looking.” He’s going to keep it looking that way, too, when he carries on with the mods this year: “I plan to add some fatter tyres and beef up the brakes as I’m only currently running 2.5 brakes allaround with DS2500 pads and EBC discs which fade after a couple of minutes of hard driving, and supercharge it,” he says, which is really going to turn the heat up on this E30 and take it to the next level.
Gorgeous Aegean blue on the outside, sexy Sport seats on the inside.
The S50 fits perfectly in the E30 engine bay and took owner Nicholas a week of work to get it fitted and running.
The engine is my favourite modification on the E30 because the car is inconspicuous looking Nicholas Arnold.
DATA FILE #BMW-E30-S50 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #Rota-Grid
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S50B32 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 from E36 M3 Evo, #ACL race bearings, #ARP con rod bolts, #Ramair filter, Millers Nano Drive oil, custom manifold and steering linkage, Simons race silencer and full stainless system with single dolphin tip, custom plug and play wiring loom, #AKG engine mounts, M3 3.0-litre oil pump, E34 sump, sump baffle.
TRANSMISSION Five-speed #Getrag gearbox, #Racing-Dynamics short shift kit, E34 M5 Sachs clutch with 4.5kg billet steel flywheel, E36 prop, E36 2.8 LSD in E30 medium diff case.
CHASSIS 8x16” (front and rear) black #Rota-Grid-V wheels with 195/40 (front and rear) Toyo Proxes T1-R tyres, stud conversion, fully polybushed except Z3 diff bush, #H&R anti-roll bars, #BC-Racing coilovers, #Ultra-Racing strut braces, M3 eccentric lollipop bushes, reinforced rear subframe, E30 91mm brakes and hubs, #Ferodo-DS2500 pads, #EBC discs.
EXTERIOR Respray in Aegean blue, Lite Tuned carbon fibre bonnet, crosshair headlights, eyebrows, red tinted rear lights.
INTERIOR Chequered Sport cloth interior, OMP steering wheel with snap off boss, #AC-Schnitzer short-shift gear knob, rear blind parcel shelf.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationROTOR PERDITION
There must be something in the water Down Under judging by this amazing turbo rotary-swapped E30. A lifetime of E30 obsession has led Ehsan Hazrati to build many insane projects. His latest project is stuffed with enough triangles to make Pythagoras weep, yet you’d never guess it from the outside. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Andrew Parliaros.
Now everybody from the 313, put your motherflippin’ hands up and follow me.” So spat Eminem in 8 Mile (kinda), allowing the previously unremarkable three-digit number a little screen time. Until this point, 313 had merely been a truncatable prime, Donald Duck’s registration number or, of course, the year in which Rome’s Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine was completed. But now, rather splendidly, we have a new function for the number 313. Even more aggressive than a riled-up Eminem, ladies and gentlemen, we present the E30 #BMW 313i.
I know, it doesn’t sound exciting when you put it like that, does it? But all is not as it seems here. True, the E30 harks back to an era when the boot badges did mostly relate to what was under the bonnet (a 318i was a 1.8, a 325i was a 2.5… you get the idea), so are we looking at an obscure variant with a 1.3-litre engine? And why would anyone want that?
Stick with the story, for your perceptions are about to be blown away in the most spectacular way possible. But first, let’s meet the man behind it. “My parents tell me that at the age of five I was drawing the round headlights and kidney grilles of the E30 BMW without really even knowing what it was,” says Ehsan Hazrati, the Sydneysider behind the steering wheel. “As I got older and got my licence, I had E30 after E30. I did all the modifications myself, from servicing to tuning, overhauling to suspension, bushings, sound systems etc. I did extensive research into E30 DTM race car suspension, brakes, and making them handle around corners at high speeds. I spent a lot of hours calculating and testing power-to-weight combinations, high RPM engines, and turbocharging power graph outputs. And a lot of trial-and-error!”
This, it’s pretty safe to say, is a man obsessed. After a long line of retro 3 Series, he finds himself today with three E30s making a nuisance of themselves on his driveway: a 900hp drag car that’s currently under construction; the family daily-driver four-door 316i that just happens to be running a 450hp Corvette LS1 V8; and the cheeky red number that’s splashed across these pages. This, for us, is the pick of the bunch – hence why it’s here – because, well, it’s just insane; not just the quality of finish and attention to detail but the fact that it’s running a Mazda rotary engine.
Aha. That cacophonous clanging is the sound of the penny dropping throughout the Drive-My readership. The 313i badge refers to the 13B rotary engine’s swept volume of 1308cc. Although, being a Wankel unit, you can’t really equate its displacement to that of a piston engine, its twin-654cc chambers aren’t even on nodding terms with a crank and- piston arrangement. But whichever way you cut it, this is a feisty manoeuvre. Ehsan’s opted for the 13B-REW variant, as found in twin-turbo form in the third generation RX-7, and it’s a bit of a cult icon.
It’s a bold play, but Ehsan has form with this sort of caper. His first three E30s may have enjoyed tweaked BMW four- and sixpots, but the fourth ended up with a 13B from a Mazda Cosmo, and it seems that this wacky experiment really flicked his switch, and he stuck with the formula. That part-built drag car we mentioned? That’s rocking rotors too. This fella just really digs triangles.
“From as long ago as I can remember, all I ever wanted was an old-school BMW,” he assures us. “I live by ‘classic not plastic’ and ‘built not bought’. The BMWs of this era represented great European design and true workmanship, and the last perfect lightweight rear-wheel drive chassis compared to the competitors – the KE Corolla, Mercedes 230E, Mazda RX-7 and so on – from that time.” You’ll note that he’s slipped a Mazda reference in there, though. Clearly a fusion was always on the cards – a greatest hits of the period, if you like. Well, it’s all subjective isn’t it?
“Yeah, I’ve always had a passion for E30s as well as for the lightweight, high-RPM feel of a turbo rotary engine,” Ehsan admits. “I had a picture in my head of what I wanted it to look and feel like; people from the E30 scene tend either to have a really clean slow-and-standard car or a roughened-up fast one. I wanted to build an all-rounder – a show-stopper that drops jaws but that could also be used as a street-legal weapon. Something I can take to the drag strip, run consistent ten-second passes on street tyres, then drive home and the next day go on an E30 club cruise to the beach, have it on display at a car show, and win trophies. This build was my total package.”
Blimey. Talk about your stereotypical Aussie confidence! There’s not a single element of that paragraph that isn’t writing a massive cheque, but thankfully Ehsan’s the sort of dude with the skills to cash it. And so it began. A project base was sourced from a guy who’d had the car slumbering in the shadows of his garage for around six years – all immaculate and original, and you’ll no doubt be impressed to learn that it’s still wearing its original factory Brilliantrot paint. The seller refused to let the car go before Ehsan promised to give the car a new lease of life, a good home and, most of all, not to crash it – after all, he’d owned it from new. Imagine what he must be thinking when he sees this feature! Good vibes, we hope.
Ehsan took it home, and immediately installed it in his garage for another dusty year-long slumber. You don’t want to rush these things, do you? Although he wasn’t dragging his heels by any means – our effervescent protagonist had been to see his friendly local engine builder.
“I did everything else on this car myself, but it was George and Rocky at PAC Performance Racing who built and ported the engine, and dyno tuned the car,” Ehsan explains. The motor is bridge-ported, and porting rotaries is something of a black art: a great way to get more power out of them is to effectively smash some holes into the intake side, although the more extreme the ports are, the more lairy and tricky the motor becomes.
Bridge-porting basically involves opening out the standard ports, then adding an additional eyebrow port above – it all gets a bit techy, but the short version is you get an amusing lumpy idle, oodles more power, and a hell of a lot of noise. Which is all good fun. “At the time of getting the engine built I was looking for around 400hp,” says Ehsan.
“It currently makes around 550rwhp at 7000rpm on 22psi, which is approximately 620hp at the engine… in a car weighing only 992kg! It’s safe-tuned at 22psi, although the engine is built for 35psi+, so there’s plenty more to come.”
The results really do speak for themselves, too. “It performed far better than expected,” Ehsan grins. “But the power band was so high, I went through axles like underwear. Obviously the factory axle broke but then it ate through a brand-new OEM 325i setup, Z3 M Coupé items, hybrid E30/E28 M5 units… then, after the Garrett GTX4088R turbo upgrade, it even chewed through custom 108mm 500hp Porsche billet axles!” The build is undoubtedly a bit of a monster, echoing those early years of trial-and-error to get it all running right, but you can see from the muscular spec box that Ehsan’s really pulled it all together neatly. And, of course, as the man himself was eager to tell us, this E30 is as much about show as go…
A very important marker for this build was to make it something of a sleeper – not totally stealthy but certainly not showing its hand too early. That mint-condition, 25-yearold paint certainly helps here, and Ehsan has had all manner of chuckles taking on Skyline GT-Rs and a kaleidoscope of Porsches who never saw it coming and didn’t see where it went. “There’s no modern paint colours here, no fibreglass body kits, no big wings screwed to the boot,” he says, with no small amount of satisfaction. “I kept it all factory – the only thing I added was a new OEM iS front apron lip, and M-Tech 1 boot spoiler. All genuine add-ons from the ’80s era!”
The wheels are an interesting choice too and no doubt gave some of you wheel nuts pause for though. They’re actually the third set of rims that the car’s enjoyed since completion; it started off on satin black Watanabes before moving onto BBS LMs with polished lips, but I think we can all agree that the 16” mesh wheels give it an appropriately period look that’s in keeping with that quasi-sleeper vibe.
This keenness for stealth carries over to the interior, too. “One of my rules is that there should be no extra gauges on top of the dash,” Ehsan asserts. “That would give the game away immediately. I replaced the trip computer with an eBoost2 gauge, and also utilised the E30 Alpina air vent digital dash idea, with an analogue boost gauge.” Stealth, as ever, is the watchword.
This is, by all measures, a phenomenal build – without a hint of hyperbole, one of the finest E30s to grace these pages in some time. And with that colossally powerful engine and pristine period exterior, what do you reckon is Ehsan’s favourite element of the project?
“Oh, it has to be my rear diff brace,” he grins. “I designed and patented it myself on a CAD programme, checking the stress tolerance points for maximum strength and so on, and it truly is a work of art. People at car shows see that and know this car means serious business; it’s not just a pretty show pony. That brace is what’s needed to consistently put six hundred horses to the ground on both street and track.” It’s impressive, but unsurprising, that his top pick would be a thing of pure function.
Ehsan’s proud to describe how the initial build of the whole car took just three months, but it was then a further 18 months of tweaking suspension heights, spring rates, diff ratios, tyre diameters, ET formula calculations, and axle and tailshaft options before it was all truly fit to get that phenomenal power down.
“What it is, basically, is a brand-new race engine in a retro shell,” he says, in a charming display of matter-of-factness. “People’s reactions at shows have been amazing – the looks on their faces when they found out what’s in there, and that it’s all street-legal. And next year – that’s when I’m going to be chasing to beat my personal best drag time. It ran a 10.86 at 120mph on the old turbo with 385rwhp on 225/50 street tyres. With the new GTX4088R and 550rwhp on 225/40 semislicks, I reckon it could run a 9.9.”
All very ambitious but you get the feeling that he’s got all of this precisely calculated. There’s no margin for error here, and that’s what the number 313 should henceforth represent. Forthrightness. Function.
Desirability. A new number-of-the-beast for the 21st century. And when you see those digits on the tail end of a shiny red E30, you’d better not dismiss it as a lesserengined also-ran – there’s hidden mischief here, and its furious anger makes Eminem look like a primary school teacher. Everybody from the 313, put your rotorflippin’ shafts up…
“I wanted to build an all-rounder – a show-stopper that drops jaws but that could also be used as a street-legal weapon”
Bridge-ported 13B rotary sports a massive #Garrett-GTX4088R turbo and makes 550rwhp.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-313i-E30 / #BMW-313i-Rotary-E30 / #BMW-313i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW /
ENGINE #13B-REW 2x654cc #Mazda-RX-7 / Mazda rotary, bridge-ported to PAC Racing specs, race doweled and balanced rotors, #PAC-Racing unbreakable apex/corner seals, #Power-Ported intake and ports, custom PAC Racing 13B turbo exhaust manifold, #Garrett GTX4088R turbo, Turbosmart 50mm ProGate wastegate, #Turbosmart 34mm dual port blow-off valve, #Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, 3.5” dump pipe with full 3” exhaust and Rotaflow silencers, #Haltech PS2000 ECU and Haltech boost controller solenoid, custom fabricated engine mounts, custom dual-core PWR intercooler, PWR oil cooler, #PWR dual-core radiator, custom alloy radiator shroud and high #CFM-Engineering output 16” Spal fan, dual #Bosch-044 fuel pump, three litre surge tank and #Walbro primer pump, quad #Haltech LS1 ignition coils. 620hp at flywheel (542rwhp) at 22psi safe tune; engine built for 35psi+.
TRANSMISSION R154 Supra Turbo five-speed gearbox with aftermarket strengthened billet gearset and synchros, custom gearbox mounts, custom PAC billet bellhousing adapter, PAC RBR550 heavy-duty clutch and pressure plate, billet lightened flywheel, billet short-shifter with E30 DTM white Delrin nylon gear knob, custom Mark Williams 3” wall chromoly tailshaft with 1350-series Strange uni-joints.
CHASSIS 9x16” #BBS mesh wheels with 215/45 (front) and 255/45 (rear) #Kumho Ecsta tyres, custom 1000hp halfshaft axles with 120mm chromoly treated CVs and bearing cages, reinforced rear #BMW subframe and trailing arms, custom fabricated rear diff brace mount, E28 M5 diff with #Alpina finned diff cover, cryogenically strengthened and shot-peened crown and pinon, #OS-Giken Superlock shimmed 28-plate tightened LSD centre (85% lock), #AKG solid 75D subframe, trailing arms, control arm and diff mount bushing kit, Ireland Engineering heavy duty front and rear racing anti-roll bar kit with adjustable rose-joint links, custom 315mm front and rear brake kit with ADR/CAMS approved braided line throughout, OEM E32 740i brake master cylinder, modified #Z3M power steering rack with 2.7 lock-to-lock, solid billet alloy steering shaft coupler, 5/8” Mark Williams drag racing rear wheel studs, custom #Bilstein front coilovers and solid camber plates, heavy-duty rear Beehive King Springs, welded AKG anticamber squatting plates in rear trailing arms, Sparco 1.5” front and rear strut braces, Ultra Racing four-point lower crossmember reinforcement bar.
EXTERIOR 1990 325i two-door shell, original 25-year-old Brilliantrot paint, 318is lip spoiler, M Tech 1 boot spoiler, rolled and flared arches.
INTERIOR #MOMO Prototipo 350mm Retrotech steering wheel, E30 M3 black leather seats, #Sparco PRO2000 fixed driver’s seat, #Sparco fixed race seat rails, Sparco six-point 3” harness, #Autometer #Ultra-Light gauges, Turbosmart eBoost2 with 3x boost pre-set stages (street, track, drag racing), E46 M3 pedals, all sound/cavity deadening and heat shield removed, drilled-out circular holes behind doorcards, parcel tray, behind back seat and sunroof for weight reduction – total car weight 992kg.
THANKS George and Rocky at #PAC-Performance-Racing , Leon Sokalski at Performance Metalcraft, Mark Callinan at British European Motor Works, and my family and girlfriend for picking me up when I broke the CV axles on the street.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPEER PRESSURE #BMW-328i-E30 / #BMW-E30-M52B28 / #BMW-E30-M52 / #BMW-328i
This slick air-ride E30, finished in Sakhir orange, boasts a 2.8-swap and delivers the perfect blend of show and go. You sometimes find yourself doing things simply because that’s what all your mates are doing. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re blindly following the herd – sometimes you’ll end up creating something that serves as an inspiration to the group… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Rick Di Corpo.
Acouple of my buddies own E30s,” says Luca Colaneri. “Back in 2010 they were taking part in a #BMW driving school event at Circuit Mont-Tremblant which I attended for the weekend. After seeing them fly around the track, the monster with four headlights kept growing on me, the purr of the exhaust note with each pass got me holding my breath… as soon as I got back home and I started scrolling through forums to gather up as much information as I possibly could. I soon learnt that so much can be done with this model of car, it was fascinating. After a drive in one of my friends’ E30s, I was in love.”
Sometimes it really is that simple. There are a lot of cars out there, and it’s not always obvious which path you’ll end up following in your fledgling years of motoring, but with influences like this you don’t really have to give the decision-making process a lot of consideration. Yes, peer pressure led Luca into E30 ownership, but peer pressure gets a bad rap. There’s nothing wrong with sharing a common interest with your mates, is there?
“Following my research, I was looking for this specific model – a 318iS,” Luca recalls. “The black shadow mouldings it came with were just like the M3’s! So I kept searching online, and after visiting maybe four or five different vehicles, I stumbled upon this gem and wasted no time in purchasing it. In a matter of 24 hours, the seller and I were trading signatures and the car was mine.” The fact that this particular car didn’t have a sunroof removed an element of concern for Luca, while he was also attracted by the notion of the M42 motor having timing chains rather than the fragility of a cambelt – not that the M42 would end up having much of a look in… but we’ll come to that.
“When I first purchased the car, I knew it was going to be a rebuilding process,” he admits. “I figured I was going to dump it on the ground, as low as possible, slap on some replica wheels and call it a day. The car ran perfectly, there wasn’t any urgent work to do on it, so I stored it for the winter ready to bring out in the springtime.” But when the sepia majesty of spring arrived, Luca had changed his mind. Pulling together some funds, he arrived at the conclusion that if any modifications were going to happen, it was going to be all or nothing. Go big or go home. “I knew that after all was said and done, this would be unrivalled and incomparable with all the other E30s in Montreal,” he remembers. And he’s not done badly in chasing that dream, has he?
It certainly helped that he’d started with a solid base for the project. Sure, he was looking at a bit of work whatever happened, but the 318iS had a mint interior – no cracked dash or worn bolsters here – with an intact headlining and rear seats that looked as if they’d never been sat on. It was the body that was presenting a few hurdles – the established E30 flashpoints of rotten rear wheel wells and battery tray, along with various bumps and scrapes to the paintwork that had lost its lustre. It was bloodied but unbowed, and Luca had the impetus to make the thing shine again. But he didn’t foresee quite how carried away he’d get!
The 318iS was duly despatched to Strasse Autowerks, a respected and revered outfit that just so happens to be owned by a great friend of Luca, who was only too happy to offer endless advice and expertise. “I approached him with the idea of rebuilding the car with a budget,” says Luca. “We started talking about what I envisaged for the car, and I ended up telling him the budget was out the window! Whatever it would cost to get it done right, so be it.”
And so the strip down began, the #BMW-E30 being torn back to first principles, with the dash and a few wires the only things remaining in situ. The floors were cut out and replaced, the wheels wells repaired, and every single iota of rust eradicated and replaced with fresh metal. While all this was going on, the engine bay was shaved to impeccable smoothness and, with the body shop in control of the metalwork, Luca focused on rebuilding the M52.
Yes, you read that right. While the car’s original M42 engine had initially been a selling point, the lure of a bigger bang proved too strong to resist. “I bought an M52 out of an E36 328i Convertible,” he smiles. “After reading up on forums, I was sold on converting it into an ODB1 motor, so I went out and found myself everything I needed. I also found a great deal on some S52 cams, so I thought I might as well…” Luca’s intention was to build the motor for longevity, so he replaced the timing chains and guide rails, along with the water pump, injectors and seals, gaskets, the works, as well as skimming the head. “I wasn’t looking for a beast of a powerplant under the hood. I just wanted to drive the car for hours at a time, one hand out the window, cruising with a reliable motor.” To be fair, the #M52B28 offers a fairly healthy horsepower hike over the E30’s original unit, so this solution offers power and reliability without compromise.
Back in the bodyshop, the subframe, trailing arms and crossmember had all returned from being sandblasted and powdercoated, and once everything was bolted back together and ready to get back on the lift it was time to set about piecing together the jigsaw of all-new AKG polybushes, fuel and brake lines, fuel tank, brakes, air-ride, anti-roll bars… the list just kept going, with everything underneath the skin being either rebuilt or brand-new.
With one eye always on subtlety, Luca was keen to keep the aesthetics relatively stock, and the plan was always to keep the body panels as factory as possible. A few choice Euro-spec conversions make all the difference here – smiley headlights, kidney grilles, the different-shaped numberplate recess – while it’s the colour that really speaks volumes. “The paint is my favourite modification to the car,” he explains. “This colour caught my eye and it stuck. I was searching and searching when I finally heard news that the new M6 would have this vibrant, bright orange; when I finally saw the colour in person at the Montreal Auto Show, it was the one of the most exciting times about this build. At that time, my painter told me the paint suppliers weren’t able to create the colour because the car hadn’t been released on the market here in North America, but after convincing them, they somehow contacted BMW in Germany to get the formula.” The shade is called Sakhir orange, and the photos really can’t do justice to how this paint pops and crackles like Rice Krispies in fresh milk. It’s borderline effervescent.
“The decision to put the car on air-ride was simply because most of my friends had it, and were pretty convincing about its usefulness,” Luca concedes. See, we’re back to that notion of peer pressure again. But if such pressures lead you to bagging your ride, that’s not something you can really complain about. You’re not a sheep, you’re a wily fox. “There are mixed feelings out there about how cars handle on air, but to be honest it was the best decision I made. It’s comfortable and very practical. When people see a lowered E30, most of the time they just glance at it; when they see a slammed E30 laying frame, that’s when they fall in love!”
And if you think the paint and the stance are a killer combo, just get a load of the wheels. There’s some next-level awesomeness going on under those four corners, in the form of a set of Compomotive TH601s. “The way they’re simultaneously convex and concave blows my mind,” Luca laughs. “I wanted something rare and wild – a set of wheels that would grab people’s attention and have them ask me, ‘yo, what wheels are those?’ When I saw these ones, I was certain they were going to end up costing as much as (or maybe even more than) a new set of wheels, but on the other hand I’d never seen another set of wheels like it before. Being the type of person who loves rare and unique things, I had to have them.”
The Compomotives fit with the plan perfectly, complementing the idea of keeping the lines stock and studding the silhouette with gorgeous detail. Simple, classy and sporty were Luca’s watchwords, and it’s safe to say that he’s pulled it off with alacrity. The crowds at Eurokracy (aka ‘Canada’s Finest European Automotive Event’) certainly thought so. “I’d been updating my build threads daily and the online reaction was buzzing in the run-up to the show,” Luca tells us. “It was a gorgeous day and the sun was shining, so the paint was looking on point.
Hood off, laying frame, parked at the Strasse Autowerks booth beside all my buds, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.” And that just about brings us full circle. This is a tale of one man’s automotive proclivities being influenced by those of his friends, who then helped him to bring into being a vision that they could enjoy together. Bringing home Eurokracy’s ‘Best BMW’ trophy was merely the cherry on the cake, but the real message here is that Luca bowed to peer pressure in the best possible way. And we’re very glad he did.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE BMW E30 2.8
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 2.8-litre straight-six #M52B28 / #M52 / #BMW-M52 / from E36, M50 intake manifold, sensors, fuel rail and throttle body, OBD1, S52 cams, 3.5” 740iL MAF, Bimmerworld silicone intake, #TRM-Tuning ODB1 tune, 21.5lb/hr injectors, 2.5” custom stainless steel downpipes and exhaust with Vibrant high-flow cat and silencer, E36 M3 #Sachs clutch and pressure plate, E36 M3 F1 Racing 14lb lightweight flywheel, E36 M3 #ZF manual gearbox, Z3M differential, UUC DSSR and stainless steel clutch line, E36 328 propshaft, Z3 short-shifter.
CHASSIS 8.5x16” (front) and 10x16” (rear) ET-12 Compomotive TH601 with custom powdercoat and gold spiked bolts, 195/40 Federal 595 Evo (front) and 215/40 Toyo T1R (rear) tyres, new front and rear OEM calipers with Brembo discs and EBC Green Stuff pads, universal Air Lift struts (front) and Universal Air Airhouse 2 bags over Bilstein Sport struts (rear), #AKG bushes for rear subframe, trailing arms, diff mounts, front control arms and transmission, AKG engine mounts and steering rack spacers, ST anti-roll bars, E36 M3 steering rack and tie rods.
EXTERIOR #BMW Sakhir orange, Euro-spec bumper trims, 318iS front lip and bootlip, Euro-spec blackout kidney grilles, Euro smiley headlights, Euro numberplate filler, MHW taillights, smoked front fogs.
INTERIOR OEM black Sport seats and black doorcards, M Tech 2 steering wheel, M Power leather gearstick and handbrake gaiters, Pioneer radio, speakers and 12” sub, custom boot build for audio and air tank.
THANKS I want to thank my parents for not giving me hell for spending all those hours and cash on a car. I want to thank everyone who was involved in this project of mine and enduring long conversations about this car. Also, all my closest friends who helped me never give up. Vitali, from Strasse Autowerks for allowing me to spend very long hours and months using his tools and shop. The support of my boys, Jamie, Flavio, Dave, Anatoli and the rest of 2LO CREW! I also want to thank everyone who’s approached me in person, or on forums and social media, giving me props on the great work that has been done on the car. Of course, #Drive-My for giving me the chance and opportunity to get my story out and show people who have inspiring goals, that anything can be accomplished when having the right mindset. Yes, money does help too! Lastly, my beautiful fiancée, Amanda. Through anything and everything, especially this build, she is my supporter, my rock.
“When they see a slammed E30 laying frame, that’s when they fall in love”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationReaching The Zenith
With 600hp from its supercharged S54 , this RHD converted #BMW-E30 M3 is at the top of its game. An S54-swapped, supercharged, 600hp E30 M3 is about as good as it gets… Words: Elizabeth de Latour / Photos: Steve Hall
You know this is going to be good. You’ve seen the front cover, you’ve read the taster, you’ve probably not been able to restrain yourself and may have already been drooling over the pictures, so you know that you’re about to read about something special. Certainly it’s going to upset some people because there’s a lot going on here, including the RHD conversion and the S54 swap carried out on a genuine E30 M3, so in the eyes of many purists that’s it ruined, basically. But we’re open-minded here at PBMW towers and if you’re reading this mag then we’d like to think that you’re cut from the same cloth and can appreciate cars that might offend those of a more delicate disposition. And this is a car that most definitely deserves some appreciation.
BMWs have always been a big part of Sam Le Fevre’s life. The 31-year-old construction company director first fell for the Bavarian marque when his oldest brother picked him up from school in an E30 325i. “For me, it’s the four decades of motorsport heritage and the connection between driver and machine that makes BMW so special. You just don’t get that with other affordable marques,” explains Sam. And the E30 M3 is arguably the ultimate definition and concentration of that BMW essence.
He began his BMW journey with an E46 M3 Convertible and while his car history is mixed, with a couple of fast Fords in there for good measure, his passion for BMWs, and particularly for the E30 M3, has clearly bubbled to the top. “I’ve always loved the E30 M3; it is a true homologation model with a chassis that draws you in and gives you confidence,” he says. And with the means available, a purchase seemed inevitable, though it was not without some drama, as he explains: “I found the car on PistonHeads advertised at a trader for £16,000. I arranged to see it and travelled down to Sussex. I looked the M3 over and told the trader the car had been in an accident and that he needed to revise his price. I said the car needed to go on a jig as I noticed the passenger wheel was sitting back 15mm towards the skirt. He refused and said that it was just an alignment issue. I left my details and told him to contact me if he didn’t have any luck. A month passed and I got a call asking me if I wanted to come down and view the car again. I said there would be no point if he was still asking for the same sort of money. I went and viewed the car for the second time and told them I wouldn’t be coming back if we couldn’t do a deal on this occasion. We haggled and eventually agreed a sale for £11,000.”
Even with the potential chassis problem that was something of a bargain, especially considering the selection of #Alpina additions the car was sporting and the small matter of the freshly rebuilt engine, totalling a cool £6000 in bills.
Now all that was needed was some inspiration and, luckily, Sam’s favourite BMW magazine happened to provide just what he was after: “I was reading #Drive-My when I came across Del Sanchez’s masterpiece: the E30 M3 with a S54 powerplant. To me this was perfection – BMW’s best chassis combined with its best six-cylinder engine! So I thought I would have some of that in my flavour. As soon as I picked the car up I drove it straight to the transplant centre, aka Munich Motors in Wokingham, to see the man himself, Clive Sanchez. He checked the car over, said it needed some jig or bulkhead work and he booked it in for two months later. I got impatient after a fortnight and phoned Sue, his wife, and said I was dropping the car down because I was doing my driveway (a poor excuse, I know). He started doing the teardown ready for the S54 transplant and that’s where we ran into problems as the shell needed major surgery!”
The engine came first, though, and while Sam knew he was fitting an S54, he wanted to add a little extra spice: “The plan was to build something with forced induction, either a turbo or supercharger. I spent a Saturday at Munich Motors with Clive looking around the engine bays of the two S54 transplanted E30s that they had down there. After careful consideration, measuring and thinking about the driveability of the car, I decided that the supercharger route was the only sensible option. The engine came from Quarry Motors and while there was a problem with the Vanos system the guys at Quarry sorted it out with little fuss and we then added an ESS VT2-550 supercharger.” On its own the 550 kit makes an impressive 550hp according to ESS along with 340lb ft of torque. But, of course, there’s a lot more to a build like this than simply slapping a supercharger onto a stock engine. Sam’s powerplant has been beefedup with a few supporting mods to assist with its longevity and add some additional power because, you know, 550hp isn’t nearly enough in an E30…
On the sensible and practical front, the engine has been fitted with an M50 sump for space reasons and the Vanos was rebuilt with Z4 M bolts. The big end bearings have been uprated and fitted with stronger ARP bolts, there are custom crank and supercharger pulleys, a Storm Developments Garrett chargecooler, a custom E36 M3 Docking Engineering radiator, Denso iridium spark plugs, Bosch coil packs, Bosch Motorsport grey injectors, a Bosch 044 fuel pump and a Fuel Labs fuel filter. The secondary air pump and rear lambda sensors have been deleted and the engine has been treated to an Alpha N conversion and a Setrab oil cooler.
“Once the engine had been put in the bay, that’s when we hit the serious problem,” Sam continues. “We realised that the chassis legs and bulkhead had been repaired very poorly. I was in utter despair thinking I was going to have to scrap the car but I decided that the car was not going to beat me. I couldn’t find a decent E30 M3 shell anywhere so I figured that, as #BMW had built every other M3 in RHD, I’d make my own RHD E30 M3. I managed to source a clean 316 shell that had covered only 50k miles and had blown a head gasket with a plan to re-shell the car completely and take all the quarter panels etc. off. But after dropping the shell off to Eddie at Crash Repairs in Edmonton he said just bring in the front end from the 316 shell and he would take care of it. To say that I was a little apprehensive was an understatement. I went up to Big Bavarian Beauties on a Saturday morning with my petrol disc cutter and set about cutting the front half of the car and roof skin off, and putting it in the back of my van, ready for the journey back down to London. I dropped the front end down to Eddie and he said that he’d need the car for four weeks and that the shell needed two new inner and outer seals and a few other parts. I got all the bits and dropped everything off with him on a Friday.
When I got a call on Monday asking me to come over I was expecting the worst, but I was amazed to see the car complete and sitting on jig pins. Eddie had basically drilled out all the spot welds from the A-pillars, bulkhead and floorpans and grafted the 316 front end straight on back in the factory spot welds in a weekend. I was gobsmacked. We picked the shell up and drove straight up to SPL for a full acid dip and e-coat session.”
With the chassis drama dealt with, Sam and the guys could get on with the task of getting everything running right, but that wasn’t an easy process either, as he explains: “Once Clive had the car running we started coming across numerous problems. The biggest one was that the car was down on power dramatically compared to what it should have been making. Clive suggested I visit Storm Developments in Aldermaston so I drove over there where owner Andy and I instantly clicked.”
Andy used his engineering superpowers to diagnose the problem and had Sam removing the front bumper to access the chargecooler, which Andy duly whipped off and bypassed before telling him to take the car for a spin up the road. “Well that’s exactly what happened,” laughs Sam. “I pulled out of the workshop, stabbed the throttle and the rear wheels lit up! The car had rocketed from 260hp to 325hp in an instant but it was still down on what we were expecting.”
So Andy’s next plan of action was to fit a Garrett chargecooler. This helped take power up to 410hp but now the exhaust wasn’t pulling its weight. “Andy suggested getting the exhaust modified,” says Sam, “so I contacted Hayward & Scott and dropped the car off with them along with a drawing Andy had produced so they knew what sort of system was required. It now sounds amazing.”
Exhaust sorted, Sam headed back up to Storm Developments where Andy changed the plugs and coils before strapping it onto the dyno. “We were very disappointed when it only made 450hp,” says Sam, “so Andy measured the boost and it was way down on the 7psi it should have been producing. He worked out the sizes for the pulleys we needed to get the boost we were aiming for and I went off to get them made up. I popped back to Storm a few weeks later.
Andy took the pulleys off me as soon as I got out the car and fitted them on the spot before he told me to put the car on the ramp.” This was the moment of truth and the numbers didn’t disappoint: the M3 putting down a seriously impressive 580hp and with a few tweaks to the map the final run produced 604hp. That’s more like it! So, Sam now had a RHD E30 M3 running one hell of an engine setup. But that alone does not make for a complete package. It was time to address the suspension, and Sam was very particular about his upgrades in this department. “I took a ride in some cars with H&R and KW coilovers and found them all to be uninspiring with both manufactures unable to do custom damper designs,” he explains. “I was recommended a company called AST by Demlotcrew who raved about the products so I contacted them and spoke to Curtis Woodman who told me to bring the car up for him to have a look at and see what we could come up with. After driving over to Cheltenham and discussing the options we nailed down a damper design for the rear, which is basically an inverted wasted shaft DTM replica with custom valve and spring rates.
The car has also had the front subframe reinforced, aluminium control arms, Eibach anti-roll bars, Treehouse Racing front control arm bushes, dual diff mount and BMW Motorsport bushes as well as countless other additions and tweaks.” The brakes also needed attention and for some serious stopping power Sam turned to AP Racing, fitting the car with a set of sixpot front calipers with 330mm discs and four-pot rear calipers with 315mm discs, which are more than enough to slow the E30’s lightweight frame down from silly speeds. The drivetrain has also been beefedup, with the S54 mated to a ZF five-speed gearbox from an E36 M3 3.0 that’s been fitted with a TTV lightened flywheel and Sachs Hybrid HD clutch. A CAtuned modified chromoly driveshaft (this E30 M3 has a bit of an appetite for driveshafts) and a Demlotcrew 3.15:1 Motorsport diff with a Z3 M modified diff cover were also fitted.
While the performance modifications are absolutely full-on and barely contained, the styling is the complete opposite and Sam has kept things very subtle, allowing the E30 M3’s iconic good looks to shine through with only the slightest smattering of visual tweaks. We’ve got to go for the wheels first.
They are genuine BBS LMs – one of the Holy Grails of the wheel world – and are pretty rare to boot. There’s quite a story behind Sam’s acquisition of them. “I’ve always loved BBS splits rims,” says Sam, “and couldn’t have the usual BBS RS type of wheel as they wouldn’t fit over the AP Racing BBK, so the hunt started for a set of staggered LMs. Well let me tell you, you have more chance of your numbers coming up than you do of finding a set. After being let down by a couple of sellers, I was contacted through one of the forums by a guy called Angel from Toledo in Spain. He had the wheels I wanted but wasn’t willing to post them; no problem, I said, I could come and collect them myself but that ended up being rather sooner than I anticipated as I received a call after work one Friday from Angel saying that I needed to collect them before the next weekend or he had another buyer lined up.
So my brother and I rushed home, picked up the family 335i and told my wife that I was going to Spain for the weekend, leaving her to cope alone with our four-month-old baby boy. We’d also been burgled just two days previously, so she was not impressed! We booked the tickets anyway, chucked a case of Red Bull in the car and set off on a mini endurance race from London to Toledo and back again!” Now that is dedication and shows just how far some people are willing to go for the right set of wheels, but the impromptu road trip was absolutely worth it as these wheels look insanely good on the car, especially after their recent refurb and darker centres.
For the outside, Sam looked to BMW’s other M3 offerings for inspiration, opting for an Evo 2 chin spoiler with carbon splitter and an Evo 3-style spoiler with a carbon gurney flap. A set of smoked Hella front lenses and indicators were added and Sam tinted the rear indicators for the finishing touch. Inside, the car already had a set of very rare Recaro LS seats in mint condition but covered in the very dated check pattern that Sam was not a fan of. Having seen an E30 Europameister and fallen for that interior, Sam took his interior over to Adam at B Trim. The seats have been trimmed in black Nappa leather with silver stitching, with B Trim also making a non-sunroof black headlining in BMW fabric and recovering all the pillar trims in black vinyl. You’ll also find an M Tech 2 steering wheel and an E36 M3 3.0 gear knob.
It’s taken Sam three years to get to this stage with the car and we wager that back when he was struggling to decide whether or not to even keep it he couldn’t have imagined it ending up like this. For a lot of people, their projects seem more like a sprint rather than a marathon, with owners desperate to meet show deadlines for the big reveal. This build, however, has definitely been the latter. And while it’s been far from plain sailing for Sam, the journey has been well worth every hardship as the end result delivers the sort of pleasure and enjoyment nothing else can. “The look on a Ferrari F430 owner’s face after being wasted by my scrap yard survivor was priceless! I was laughing like a child!” Sam says. For some, this car might go too far but for us, going that bit further is what it’s all about.
“I pulled out of the workshop, stabbed the throttle and the rear wheels lit up!”
“I’ve always loved the E30 M3; it is a true homologation model with a chassis that draws you in and gives you confidence”
DATA FILE 2015 #BMW-E30-S54B32 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #M50 sump, Vanos rebuilt with Z4M bolts, uprated big end bearings with ARP bolts, custom #Vortech-V3Si supercharger kit, ESS inlet plenum, custom crank and supercharger pulleys, Storm Developments Garrett chargecooler, Docking Engineering custom E36 M3 radiator, Denso Iridium Racing IXU01 spark plugs, Bosch coil packs, Bosch Motorsport grey injectors, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, Fuel Labs fuel filter, secondary air pump deleted, rear lambda sensors deleted, #Alpha-N-ECU conversion, #Setrab oil cooler, Hayward and Scott stainless steel custom exhaust with 3” piping and crosspipe.
TRANSMISSION: E36 M3 3.0 #ZF Type C five-speed gearbox, #TTV lightened flywheel, #Sachs Hybrid HD clutch, modified Rogue Engineering short shifter, #CAtuned chromoly driveshafts, #Demlotcrew 3.15 Ratio Motorsport diff, Z3 M modified diff cover.
CHASSIS: Summer wheels: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #BBS LM wheels with 235/40 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Michelin PS2 tyres. Winter wheels: 8.5x17” (front and rear) BBS CH wheels with 235/40 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Michelin PS2 tyres. AST 5100 and 5200 custom coilovers, Sparco front strut brace, Ultra Racing rear strut brace, Eibach anti-roll bars (front and rear), E46 Clubsport steering rack, #Siemens #VDO hydro-electric power steering pump, reinforced front subframe, rear beam modified with camber and toe correction, aluminium front control arms, Treehouse Racing front control arm bushes, E46 M3 guibo, #BMW-Motorsport Group N rear beam bushes, #AKG rear trailing arm bushes, AP Racing six-pot calipers with 330x28mm discs and PFC Z-rated pads (front), #AP-Racing four-pot calipers with 315x25mm discs and #Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), Stainless steel brake lines.
EXTERIOR: Shell acid dipped and e-coated, full bare metal rebuild and RHD conversion consisting of RHD front end, new inner and outer sills, non-sunroof roof skin, rear light panel, front slam panel, Sport Evo front wings, BMP carbon/Kevlar bonnet & front bumper, Evo II brake ducts, Evo II front chin spoiler, Sport Evo carbon fibre front splitter, Sport Evo rear spoiler with carbon fibre adjustable gurney flap, full respray in Alpine white, smoked Hella headlights, smoked front indicators, smoked side repeaters, red tinted rear lights, US rear numberplate filler, pop-out rear window conversion.
INTERIOR: Full retrim in black Nappa leather with silver stitching on Recaro LS front seats, rear bench, centre console, handbrake and gearstick gaiter, #M-Tech II 370mm steering wheel, Z4 M sport button, black carpet and mats, map reading light, rear blind, custom dials, BMW premium rear shelf speaker shells, under seat front fire extinguisher.
AUDIO: #Alpine CD-177BT CD head unit, Focal poly glass 5.25” components front and rear, #JL-Audio 12W3V3-2 12” 500W RMS 2ohm subwoofer, #Alpine-PDXV9 4x100W plus mono 500W digital power amplifier.
THANKS: Munich Motors, Jay at NV Workshop, Storm Developments, Sol at E30 Parts, Big Bavarian Beauties, Crash Repairs Edmonton, Surface Processing Limited, Lee at Quarry Motors, Fab Recycling, Hans at ESS Tuning, Alan at Docking Engineering, Jody at Atec, Andy at Streamline Motors, Dips at Custom Cars, Adam at B-Trim, ESP Blasting & Powder Coating, Nigel at Moseley Motorsports, the parts department at Stephen James BMW Enfield, Park Lane BMW Battersea, Kirby at C3BMW, Vac Motorsports, David at BG Developments, Curtis at AST Suspension, Ian at Hayward & Scott, Igor at CAtuned, Nick at Alarms N Sounds Chingford, Paul at Glasstec, Xworks, Pete at PMW, Andrew at Demlotcrew, Andrew Johnson, Kos, my wife Aleyna and my son Leo.
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- Post is under moderationBEN’S #BMW #E36 #323i TOURING
When I carried out the #S54 swap (now over 18 months ago) I fitted everything along with a brand-new, genuine BMW M3 Evo shifter, shifter carrier and selector rod. It felt great and, to be honest, it was perfect. While many will tell you that short shifters are the only way to get a truly tight shift with great feel, the new genuine bits did that and then some.
However, this was only going to last so long and when I sat in contributor Sam Ratcliffe’s Team BFF car and my friend Grant Ross’ #E46 M3s, fitted with #AKG and CAE shifters respectively, I knew I had to have something a bit different for mine. Luckily, another mutual friend of ours, Bob Sykes was also there with his E36 and had just fitted a slightly more budget-friendly alternative, sourced from eBay.
On closer inspection, Bob’s shifter seemed like a great solution and excellent value for money, too. With machining/turning experience myself it’s often easy to spot shortcuts taken by others but the Poland-sourced shifter truly looked like a great bit of kit. It uses a pretty hefty aluminium base plate which secures to the transmission tunnel and houses a spherical bearing through which the (also aluminium) shift lever operates. There’s a brass bush on the selector lever attachment and a Teflon knob at the other end, available in black or white.
I ordered myself a black-handled version, coming in at just £100 plus postage (it’s eBay item number 181627985994 should any of you be interested). It arrived quickly and I got to work. Having the free use of a ramp at the time was pretty handy but not essential. As you can imagine, removing the old shifter was more of a challenge than fitting the new one.
When it came to fitting, I did find that the bronze bush was a little tight for the selector rod and so I simply ran a reamer down it to remove a very small amount of material – easily done with a small file or some sand paper. This just helped ease installation that little bit more and in no time at all the shifter was in. With the kind of vibrations that could be expected I did take the precaution of fitting everything using Loctite 243. Upon trying the shifter for the first time, I found that it felt great, with the only issue being that it was just a touch too tall for my personal preference. This was not an issue I lived with for long, as the Hack Engineering machine shop came in handy. I shortened the lever by around 50mm, and then redrilled and tapped it for the M14x1.5 thread used. With this reinstalled, everything felt much better and was exactly how I wanted it. Another bonus was that my gear gaiter even stretched over the lever, meaning the install could be made to look as OEM as possible.
Please excuse the state of the rest of my interior, but as you can see the shifter looks great. Though it hasn’t quite cured my itch for the incredible CAE shifter (an item Hack Engineering temptingly have on offer), this shifter is certainly a worthy budget alternative.
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- Post is under moderationDesert Strike. With 400whp courtesy of a turbocharged M20, this stunning, home-built E30 is a real weapon. Words: Seb de Latour. Photos: Gil Folk y first car was a 1.0-litre #Citroen Saxo.
It was Admiral blue and the only thing I did to it was fit an air freshener and, as it was the days before technology existed, one of those tape deck adapters that let you plug your Discman into the stereo. What’s a Discman? Ask your parents. Kameron Baker’s first car was this #1989 #E30 #325i and over the ensuing eight years he’s built it up into something rather spectacular. It was thanks to his father that Kameron came to own this #BMW-E30 , as he explains: “My dad worked at a car lot at the time and someone traded the E30 in.
He brought it home one day and I fell in love with it. Being only $800 it was prefect for a high schooler. It was actually in very good condition. The interior was mint and apart from a small spot of peeling clear coat the paint was great. Also it had less than 100,000 miles on it.” As well as being a bit of a bargain and a pretty sweet first car, it opened Kameron’s eyes to the world of classic BMWs: “This little E30 is what got me into older BMWs.
Before this I had never been in or even thought of owning one but as soon as I drove it I knew it was something special. The way it handled and the smoothness of the 2.5-litre in-line six got me hooked.” And so another #BMW fan was born. So, you’re 16, you’ve got a bright red BMW and there’s a 2.5-litre straight-six under the bonnet – there’s clearly only one way this story was ever going to go. “This was the first car I ever modified,” says Kameron. “I owned it for less than a month before I started changing and modifying things on it, sometimes things I regretted later but to be fair, I was only 16 at the time. I just kept it clean for a few weeks and then started modifying.
My first modifications were a cold air intake and cat-back exhaust. Basically the two easiest things you can do to make a car sound better and drive better.” But, of course, we all know that you can never stop with just a couple of mods and Kameron was about to get seriously stuck into his E30 project: “When I first got the car my dad and I always talked about how we wanted to get it down to a five-second 0-60 time. In the ’80s the car’s 170hp M20 ran a 0-60 in seven seconds. My car was also an automatic so achieving that time took a lot of work. The best I got it down to as a naturally aspirated auto M20 was 6.8 seconds; that was with weight reduction, a MAF conversion, long tube headers, and a 4.27 Torsen differential out of a #BMW-Z3 . Back then I would have been happy with 200hp.
“Before this project I had no real-world experience with modifying cars. Before I turbo’d the E30 I got a 2004 Subaru WRX and that really opened my mind to what a proper turbo setup can do to a car.
I saw 21 that the car had lots of potential and at the time I’d always be looking up E30 videos on the internet watching the crazy Euro/Swedish/Norwegian E30s that can smoke the tyres at 60mph; it was just something that I wanted to do. I wanted a crazy E30, something that never gets boring and is always an adrenaline rush to drive. It was only after getting out of high school that I could afford to turbo the car. It originally started as a budget build but I just kept on improving the setup and eventually ended up with a 400whp turbo M20 that I could drive everyday without issue. “The car was 100% built by me in a little garage that doesn’t even have a door on it. When you start out that young you can hardly afford the parts so there is no way you can pay someone to install the parts as well.
I just had to give it a try. My dad helped me until I got the hang of things and I never stopped.” So in a short space of time Kameron went from an intake and exhaust to a 400whp selfbuilt turbo setup; that’s about 470hp at the crank and in a car weighing around 1300kg, that gives this E30 a power-to-weight ratio similar to that of an Audi R8 GT V10, a 5.7-litre V12 Lamborghini Diablo or a Ferrari 599. That means it’s fast with a capital F. “I did all modifications to the engine as well. The first timing belt/head swap I did took around ten hours; I have it down to around five hours now. For the M20 I kept it simple. It ran a Bimmerheads cylinder head with dual pattern turbo cam and HD rocker arms.
The bottom end was left 100% original and I ran ARP head studs with a Goetze head gasket. I had the turbo build done in around a month or two. It worked so much better than I expected, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I’d never been in a sixcylinder car before so the first time I went WOT with the Holset turbocharger it blew my mind. I was only at 7psi and I couldn’t believe how much faster the car was. At this point the car was still an automatic. This was its weak link and so the auto ’box had to go, although it was very still fast with an auto. The Getrag 260 manual swap followed shortly.” Along with the manual ’box, Kameron added a Stage 3 Spec clutch and a 13lb flywheel. At the rear sits a 3.73 ratio LSD with #Porsche 2.1mm discs. It certainly does the job, as can be seen in Kameron’s YouTube videos (search for Kameron Baker). So, this E30 delivers on the performance front, and then some, but it also looks damn delicious. A red two-door is a great base to start from and Kameron has really put a lot of effort into the styling and made a really unique-looking car that stands out from the crowd and blends OE subtlety with a wild streak perfectly.
“OEM+ was the goal,” he says, “although I may have lost that look since I had to hack up the body to fit my flares and wide tyres. I just really like the old-skool BMWs and Alpina cars, so going with an authentic Alpina kit was always the goal. Plus my flares are similar to what you’d see on a 2002 turbo so I feel it still has a nice ’80s look to it.” And those wild flares are filled with something that isn’t a crossspoke split-rim, for a change. “I’ve always liked the sportier-looking wheels as opposed to the deep-dish wheels. This means I’ve run wheels including TRM C1s, OZ Superleggeras and now the STR 518s. I change wheels every time I burn through a set of tyres and I’ve gone through three sets in the last year, so goodness knows what wheels I’ll have next. You can always make back a good amount of money selling your old wheels off so I like to try different looks out.” True enough and variety is the spice of life after all, so why not have some fun? The 9x17” 518s look seriously tough in black and tie-in perfectly with the whole black and red colour scheme on the car. Kameron’s also achieved pretty much the perfect stance thanks to a set of Ground Control coilovers, which help the tyres tuckin nicely under the pumped-up arches. The arches are actually Kameron’s own design and are available from his Kamotors store.
As a result the car just sits so right and looks mean. Despite being modern rims, the motorsport-style of the wheels fits perfectly with the ethos of the whole car and suit the E30 shape. We love the styling of the car as a whole – the black and red colour scheme is really bold and striking and those front and rear Alpina spoilers add an extra splash of aggression, especially with the addition of that custom front splitter. The side skirts come courtesy of #Zender and there are loads of little details that are easy to miss but make all the difference, such as the rear plate filler, Euro grilles, the #Alpina -inspired M20 Turbo front grille badge and the carbon fibre foglight blanks, also from Kamotors. We also love what Kameron’s done on the inside.
At first glance it looks completely stock, bar the addition of boost and wideband gauges, but take a glance in the back and you’ll notice that it’s been completely stripped out, shedding some weight in the process but without making things uncomfortable for the two people up front. You might think that Kameron’s E30 has reached its zenith but an unfortunate incident gave him the perfect excuse for a bit of an upgrade. “Since this photoshoot I actually ended up swapping out the #M20 for an #M30B35 running a Precision 6266 turbocharger. I actually overheated the M20 whilst having a bit too much fun at around 25psi and the block cracked, allowing coolant to slowly leak up a head stud hole and pollute my oil. I still drove over 1000 miles to Bimmerfest but after that the engine was pulled and replaced with the much torquier #M30 .”
Every cloud and all that… So, with a new engine and even more performance you’d think that maybe Kameron was done but that’s a case of easier said than done. “I’m not sure what to move onto now,” he says. “I’ve had the E30 for around eight years so it’s hard to stop. I’m thinking of something like a Volvo 240 with a large turbo. Basically I want a collection of brick-shaped cars from the ’80s.” That would be very cool indeed… People have been strapping turbos to E30s for donkey’s years but Kameron’s car really has that special something that makes it stand out. The styling is pretty unique and we love the little personal flourishes and the attention to detail. It’s a real enthusiast’s build and a real performance BMW.
ENGINE: 2.5-litre straight-six M20B25 with original bottom end, Bimmerheads cylinder head, dual pattern turbo cam, HD rockers, Kamotors turbo setup with TD06SL2-20g turbo, 3” charge pipe, 3” exhaust, methanol injection, PNP Megasquirt ECU with wasted spark, 400whp @ 19psi.
TRANSMISSION: Getrag 260 with Spec Stage 3 clutch and 13lb flywheel, 3.73 LSD with Porsche 2.1mm discs.
CHASSIS: 9x17” (front & rear) STR 518 alloys with 245/40 tyres, Ground Control coilovers, 22mm front anti-roll bar, Eibach 16mm rear anti-roll bar, #AKG adjustable lollipop brackets, UUC camber plates, polybushes all-round, UUC BBK with fourpiston calipers and two-piece 298mm drilled discs.
EXTERIOR: Authentic Alpina front and rear spoiler with a custom front splitter, Zender side skirts, Kamotors standard width arch flares, smoked smiley headlights, smoked tail-lights, rear plate filler, Euro grilles, Kamotors carbon fibre foglight delete.
INTERIOR: Original seats and steering wheel, boost gauge and wideband gauge, rear stripped out.
THANKS: I need to thank my friends who helped me do things like transmission swaps with nothing more than jack stands and a cheap set of sockets and those of you on the forums who helped me with the build and bought parts from me to help fund the build.
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