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    Seems spring has arrived early

    CAR: 1989 BMW 320i Convertible
    OWNER: Glen Waddington
    PHOTOS: Robert Hefferon

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

    This Time last year we had snow. My 944 had just recently blown its rep by blowing out its own electrics, and the Beemer was tucked up safely in my garage. Where it spends too much time. But I don’t like taking it out on wintry roads, because it’s nearly 30 years old, factory-original and in damn fine fettle.

    As I write this on the last day in February, I’m looking out onto a sunlit garden, daffodils swaying gently in the breeze, birdsong drifting through an open window. Two record-breakingly warm days preceded this one. But tomorrow it’s back to normal. Whatever counts for normal in 2019.

    Anyway, I’ll stop wittering, because my point is that this is the first winter during my eight-year tenure of the BMW – today is its anniversary – during which it’s been driven with anything like regularity. I was even out giving it an early spring clean last weekend, ahead of driving it to Bicester Heritage for an editorial meeting with the #Drive-My team. And I drove home with the roof down. That has rarely happened this side of April. I’m generally an advocate of use rather than storage, although I admit that when the BMW crept past 50,000 miles last year, I fleetingly wondered if I should mothball it. Winter hibernation can cause the odd issue: I’ve lost count of the new batteries I’ve fitted (even if the last one was terminally discharged when I left the bootlid slightly ajar – can’t blame the car or the weather for that one), plus I’ve been through a master cylinder, a clutch slave cylinder, a heater blower motor and a seized brake caliper. All these failures occurred within the first post-hibernation drive.

    There have been no such problems this year, and I’ll count my sunburnt forehead as a freak of the highly unseasonable weather. We’ve had a lot of frosty nights, mind. Frosty enough to make the 944 a tardy starter one morning. Rather than drain the battery, I reached for the Energizer 400A jump-starter kit I got late last summer. It wasn’t cheap at around £100, but it’s about the size of a large smartphone and can be used to charge one of those so you can cycle its battery between boosts. Connection is easy – it’s great not having to lug something heavy around – and the 944 sprang instantly to life. Indispensible for any car that is parked up for just a touch too long.
    So I’m glad I’ve got it, ready for when we have snow in June…

    Above and below: BMW bowls along at Bicester; it was joined by editor Elliott’s Triumph not-2000 – and a McLaren 12C Spider.
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    Time for the autumn chill-out

    1989 BMW 320i Convertible Glen Waddington

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

    As I write this the sun is shining outside. It’s bloody cold, though. Autumn is setting in quickly and suddenly and it’s only just over a month since I spent a balmy late-summer evening with a whole bunch of BMW convertibles near Henley-on-Thames, as regular readers might remember. I had a fantastic time piloting such beauties as a BMW-328-Roadster , a #BMW-507 , a #BMW-Z1 and a #BMW-Z8 (see right), before sunset called a halt to proceedings.

    Thing is, I’d already had a fabulous drive down there in my own #BMW-Convertible . And no matter what the charms of those other cars were - only one of which I could even imagine owning, if you bear their market values in mind - mine more than held its own. In fact, it was rather enjoyable to have some of the other assembled journalists take a look over it; one or two of them even assumed it had been brought down as part of BMW’s own fleet!

    The journey was a hundred miles or so, much on trunk roads plus a spell on the M40. But the scenery turns bucolic in a major way on the stretch south from Stokenchurch, narrow lanes winding and plunging through dense woodland with the sun barely filtering through at times, thee leafy smell and the birdsong make a convertible a real treat to be in - quite a different effect from the more usual roof-down/howling exhaust scenario.

    A few hours later I had to think about my route home, those thread-like lanes could easily hide the occasional inebriated local, lurking in a 4x4 without thought to a delicate 1980s soft-top, so I headed out of Henley towards Nettlebed and Watlington and was treated to some fabulously sinuous B-roads, perfect for the innate balance and modest yet useful power of my 320i. Even the roundabouts on the A43 past Brackley did their bit to make this a properly life-affirming high-speed late-night trek. One I’ll remember during the winter evenings ahead.
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    Renewing the vows

    OWNER: Glen Waddington

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

    Sometimes I find it difficult to believe that the Beemer is 28 years old. The body’s in such fine (and still original) fettle, it’s such a vivacious drive, and it’s still got less than 50k on the clock. I love it to bits, but I use it sparingly.

    A little too sparingly over the last year, though. Life got in the way, in exactly the manner described by John Simister in his How to reconnect with your classic piece in #Drive-My . The 320i had languished over winter yet flew through its MoT in April, though when I wanted to press it into service for a rare romantic weekend away with Mrs W, a shudder through the steering the night before we headed off put paid to that. And I’d already been putting up with a non-functioning heater blower for 14 months or so. So I booked it in for a once-over with my mate Stuart Templeton.

    The night before it headed off to Templeton’s Garage (www. templetonsgarage.co.uk) I washed and buffed the bodywork: step 1 of the reconnection. And it came back a few days later, following a short service and with the maladies rectified (step 2).

    The shaky wheel? A seized brake caliper was the culprit, as Stuart had diagnosed on the phone. With that replaced (on exchange), plus a new blower motor, the Beemer was back to singing along. Just in time for the early-June heatwave.

    And so step 3 of the reconnection was suddenly there for the taking: get back out and enjoy the car, reminding myself what it was I always loved about it in the first place.

    This is our seventh summer together. I always said it’d be a keeper. And that remains true, especially now it’s running that little bit sweeter – amazing what fresh oil can do, even if it’s all in the mind. And yes, I’d swear it’s that little bit faster too.

    As a family, the four of us headed down to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the Beemer, roof-down for the stretch across the Downs from Winchester. Reconnection complete.
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    SIZE MATTERS

    A period-styled early-’90s E30 is a very desirable thing these days. So what happens if you exaggerate all of the details just a little bit? Ernie Hofstetter is the man to ask… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Anna Taylor.

    / #BMW-E30-M50-swapped / #BMW-E30-Cab / #M50-swapped

    Exaggeration, despite what your teachers at school told you, is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, it can be helpful in getting ahead in life to artfully embellish and subtly big up the finer points of your character and achievements, to massage the salient facts into something more colourful. Doesn’t hurt anybody, does it?

    Ernie Hofstetter is a man who appreciates the nuances of this sort of behaviour. We’re not saying he’s a show off, of course – not by any means. But he’s reached the stage in his life when he’s seen a few automotive scenes come and go, ebb and flow, and he’s been taking notes all the way through. And here, with this E30, we find his meisterwerk; the physical manifestation of his years of careful observation, made real in glorious style. He’s taken the archetypal retro #BMW convertible, made it look sort of like a spec’d-up period example, but cunningly exaggerated the details. Thanks to this carefully thoughtthrough approach, the car’s almost like a cartoon – it looks like it would have done rolling through his hometown of Howell, New Jersey back in 1991, but something’s different… it’s lower, broader, meaner, more aggressive. Those subtle small details have added up to a mighty whole.

    “Back when I was 18, I thought these E30s were the coolest thing,” Ernie remembers. “When the time came around decades later that I wanted a fun car, that model immediately came to mind. Throughout the years my cars have always been modified – one of my favourites was my 2006 Lincoln Mark LT pick-up truck – but this a bit different. I’ve always been interested in BMWs, it’s a quality European driving machine, so it was the clear choice this time.”

    Ernie happily admits that he didn’t have a distinct plan for the car when he first got hold of it, and was willing to let inspiration be his guide. The cabriolet was found for sale in Philadelphia, and was in reasonable condition – not amazing and certainly not up to Ernie’s high standard but, of course, it was never the intention to buy someone else’s project. He wanted to create something unique of his very own: “Let the modding begin,” he mischievously grins.

    The first area that was primed for exaggeration was the big oily bit under the bonnet. While M20 motors have their merits, Ernie wanted to go harder, better, faster, stronger, and the way to achieve this was to swap the thing out for the rather mightier choice of the M50. Specifically, an #M50B25 : the 2.5-litre #straight-six that you’d normally find powering an E36 325i. “The M20 was boring and ugly,” he says, somewhat mercilessly, “and the M50 is much cleaner and sleeker. Any non-essential parts were removed from the engine bay, along with any unnecessary brackets and so on, to make it all look as clean as possible; the battery was relocated to the boot to help with this too. I uprated the cooling system with a Mishimoto radiator and a Spal fan, and the exhaust system consists of ceramic-coated exhaust manifolds with heat wrap, a Borla mid-section and a Vibrant muffler – all custom, of course!

    The car also started off as an automatic, but we couldn’t have that so it’s been swapped to a manual Getrag 260 five-speed transmission, with a Z3 shifter and aluminium shift carrier.”

    A pretty comprehensive transformation, you’ll surely agree, but Ernie was just getting started. Having substantially beefed up the muscularity of the old drop-top, neatly morphing it from cruiser to bruiser, it was time to address the question of altitude.

    Now, Ernie’s seen a thing or two, as we said, so he’s observed the stance scene evolving from grass roots to comparative mainstream. However, while air-ride has been around since World War II, its presence at the forefront of custom car culture is a relatively recent thing; back when our man was a teenager, the way to get your ride hopping was to slam in some hydros. So is that what Ernie’s opted for here? Not quite… you see, that exaggeration factor has come into play again. “I’ve always had the need to go lower,” he explains (note that he uses the word ‘need’ – that’ll no doubt be familiar to a number of you. This isn’t just playing, it’s a lifestyle). “The only thing that could satisfy me with this project was air suspension. So now the car has a full Air Lift system, with 3P management, rolling sleeves up front and Slamit Industries bags in the rear with Bilstein shocks. I custom-painted the airtank in the trunk, which gives a good supply of air at all times!” Well, that’s good to hear.

    The next logical step was to put some thought into the wheels. No good slamming the thing over a set of weedy stock steels, right? So Ernie bolted on some 17” rims from iForged… but then he quickly changed his mind. The period style of the early Nineties was calling, and he found himself drawn toward the timeless charms of the BBS RS, knocking the diameter down an inch but beefing up the girth to amusing degrees: these things are 7.5” wide at the front, 8.5” out back, and the way it sits is so aggressively juicy that it almost makes your eyes water. Imagine an automotive cartoonist in the early 1990s sketching up a BBS-shod E30, slamming it to the ground with improbable lows – that’s the look Ernie’s achieved in real life. Once again, it’s a masterstroke of considered exaggeration. “Whatever happened to the car, I wanted it to be as clean as possible,” he assures us.

    “The small details count to me. So this car was a real labour of love! The bulk of it was actually built by Michael Hockman, who is a legend in the E30 community, and has now become a great friend of mine. But all the fine finishing work was done by me, with great pride, as well as some talented people: Levent from Guten Parts, Andrew from Open Road Tuning, Rich from County Line Auto Body, and of course my fantastic wife Michelle who has the patience of a saint!”

    What’s clear as Ernie talks us through the detail points of the car is that this sits somewhere on the mid-point of the scale between evolution and revolution; some of the changes he’s made are pretty extreme, and yet the whole ethos of the thing is to consider a period build and artistically amp it up for a 21st century audience. Take the treatment of the interior: “I wanted the insides to be as stock as possible, but I still wanted the modern amenities,” he says. “So that meant an AV audio receiver, iPod interface, reversing camera, satellite radio, navigation – all of the things that make it more comfortable.” And that’s exactly what we find in there, all subtly and tastefully integrated into the old-skool vibe. It certainly helps that work like this is his bread-and-butter, being a salesman of stereo and security systems for cars as well as all manner of bolt-on performance gizmos, and this E30 ’vert is a solid manifestation of his skills as well as his aspirations.

    “It took a good six months to get the car to a quality I was happy with,” Ernie explains. “But there’s always fine-tuning going on – they’re never really finished, are they?” Well, no, he’s hit the nail on the head there. We always find new things to fiddle with. And when you’ve been observing the scene for as long as Ernie has, your mind can’t help but be constantly swimming with fresh ideas and new things to try. So this E30 is bound to change in the near future – possibly unrecognisably – but in this cheery little snapshot of the here-and-now, it’s pretty much perfect. An early-Nineties style convertible, with all the details cleverly exaggerated to turn it into a thoroughly modern creation.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30-M50 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i-E30-M50 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-325i-Cabriolet / #BMW-325i-Cabriolet-E30 / #Getrag / #Viair / #BMW-E30-Air-Lift

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25TU / #M50 / #BMW-M50 / #M50B25 from E36 325i, #Mishimoto radiator, Spal 16” fan, battery relocated to boot, #Raceskids skid plate, 318i harness cover, ceramic-coated headers with heat wrap, custom Y-pipe, #Borla mid-pipe and #Vibrant rear box with 2.5” piping, shaved and wire-tucked bay, #Getrag-260 five-speed conversion, custom transmission brace, Z3 shifter, aluminium shift carrier, 3.73 LSD

    CHASSIS 7.5x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) ET14 #BBS-RS / #BBS , 180 slant lip (front) and 247 slant lip (rear), with 195/45 (front) and 215/40 (rear) Yokohama S-Drive tyres, full #Air-Lift suspension system with front rolling sleeves and Slamit Industries rear bags, Autopilot 3P management, dual #Viair-444C compressors

    EXTERIOR Smoked projector headlights with integrated indicators, 6k low- and 3k high-beam HID lights, Euro grilles, rear impact strip fitted to front bumper, smoked tails and corner lights, front and rear valances with Ryan G splitter

    INTERIOR #M-Tech-II suede steering wheel, suede gaiters, chrome gauge rings with Alpina tach strip and painted needles, #ZHP illuminated gear knob, #BMW pedal set including foot rest, Alpine AV receiver with navigation and reversing camera, JL Audio speakers, subwoofer and amplifier

    Gorgeous 16” #BBS RSs boast impressive width and have serious dish going on.

    Air Lift 3P #Air-ride setup lets Ernie go as low as he wants to while custom boot build shows off both air components and upgraded audio elements, which include JL Audio speakers, subwoofer and amp.

    “The small details count to me. So this car was a real labour of love!”
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    KING 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 knob
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    Brightwells June sale / #BMW / #1992 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-318i-Convertible / #BMW-318i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio

    Brightwells had a glut of BMWs on offer at its June sale and this #BMW-E30-Cabriolet was one of three 318i examples it had up for sale and the only one that sold. Its mileage might have been on the high side at 136k but there was plenty of history with the car showing it had been loved during its life. At £4500 it looked like reasonable value for money but as an investment the 325i sold by ACA looked to be a better bet.

    SOLD FOR: £4500
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    SWEET LIKE CHOCOLATE #BMW

    With a 4.4 V8 under the bonnet, this is one tasty E30 Cab. With a delicious paint job good enough to eat and a V8 under the bonnet, this E30 Cab is a treat for the eyes and ears. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.

    A few years ago, all manufacturers suddenly decided that now would be the time that brown cars were ‘in’ and every new car we saw in photos from motor shows etc were brown. And, you know what? It was alright. Jakub Wojciechowski thought similarly, and with his E30 Cab rocking a luscious cookies and cream colour scheme, he’s got a car that seriously works. Though if you still need convincing there’s also the V8 under the bonnet… Yeah, we thought that might win you over.


    Originally from Poland, Jakub has spent the past eight years in the UK and all of his life lusting after BMWs: “My first car was a E30 325e Coupé. I wanted an E32 7 Series but they were too expensive so I ended up with the E30 instead; it was nice but after six months I found myself wanting more power so I sold it.” Two weeks later he found himself a resident of the UK and not long after that he found himself behind the wheel of a SEAT Toledo. “It was fun to drive,” he says, “but FWD is never as much fun as a rear-wheel drive car...”

    One fortuitous day, whilst out on a job in London for the automotive window repair firm he works for, Jakub drove into the wrong car park and instead of finding his customer’s car, he found this car. “It was a Dolphin grey 325i that had been crashed into. The nearside of the car was damaged, and there was a ‘for sale’ sign in the window...”

    £750 later he was the proud owner of a rather sorry-looking German E30 (hence the left-hand drive), but he had plans, big plans: “I wanted to put something else under the bonnet, so I spent a lot of time on various forums and sites seeing what I could fit; I wanted the biggest and best engine I could get, so it had to be the 4.4-litre M62 V8.”

    When Jakub gets an idea in his head, he doesn’t waste time: “I had it for four days and then drove it over to Poland and left it with a friend of mine who was going to do the work for me.” Car deposited and ready for its transformation, step two was getting hold of a donor car, so Jakub did just that: “I bought an E38 740i for £1300, drove it to Poland, gave my friend the engine and gearbox then broke the car and made my money back.”

    Once back in the UK again, Jakub’s friend informed him that the 740’s auto ’box wasn’t going to fit into the E30, so Jakub went shopping once more, snapping up a V8- powered E34 530i with a five-speed manual for £525 and once again hit the road, delivering it to his friend. Jakub then left his friend to get on with it, happy in the knowledge that before too long he’d be hitting the streets in his very own V8-powered E30. Unfortunately, things rarely work out exactly the way they’re meant to…

    After a year and a half, Jakub’s friend gave up on the project, telling him it was too involved. A disillusioned Jakub left the car sitting for another year before he could find the energy to try and get the project off the ground again. Attempt number two, however, proved to be a lot more successful as his research led him to the doors of PUZ Drift Team Polska; not only was this outfit extremely successful when it came to drifting, winning the Monster Energy King of Europe series, it also happened to have no less than four M62-powered E30s.

    “The guys there knew what they were doing,” grins Jakub. Seeing a V8 under an E30’s bonnet never fails to impress – there’s just so much engine stuffed into such a small space and if you can look at those pictures without making V8 noises in your head (or with your mouth, we won’t judge) and imagine it doing a massive smoky burnout, there must be something wrong with you. The engine’s been equipped with a set of X5 exhaust manifolds as they fit in the confines of the E30’s engine bay and there’s a 2.5” manifold-back, cat-free exhaust that runs to a rear silencer and is finished off with a pair of 60mm tailpipes, the drop-top allowing Jakub to really enjoy that awesome V8 soundtrack. The five-speed ’box has been mated to a shortened propshaft which connects up to an LSD, because when you’ve got that much grunt up front, you need to be able to put it down where it counts.


    While the V8 swap was a major part of this build, there’s so much more going on here and Jakub really has left no stoned unturned. We need to talk about the interior, because it’s going to raise a few eyebrows but, hey, at least it’s not dull grey or boring black, right? “The car was originally twotone,” explains Jakub, “gold on top and bronze on the bottom so I wanted an interior that would match; I left everything with my mum’s friend and one year later the interior had been transformed to look like this.” A two-tone car with a two-tone interior is a bold look that some people might find challenging, but it was exactly what Jakub wanted. “I had the car in its twotone colours for three years,” he says, “and then I saw an X1 in Marrakesh brown and I immediately knew that I wanted that colour for the E30,” he says. Marrakesh is a lush, rich brown, with a gorgeous metallic flake to it – it’s the kind of deep colour you just want to dive into and it looks fantastic with the light on it, picking out all the details on the bodywork. And, even though the interior was created with a different exterior colour in mind, it still works here, adding a second shade of brown, like hot fudge sauce on a rich chocolate cake, and then topping the whole lot off with some cream. Delicious.


    A five-stud conversion has been carried out, using E36 Compact rear components and E30 M3 front components, the latter being far from cheap but generally regarded as the right way to do a front-end five-stud conversion if funds allow, with everything bolting straight on and requiring no modifications. E36 328i brakes have also been fitted, giving this E30 rocket ship a useful increase in stopping power.


    With the five-stud conversion the world is your oyster when it comes wheel choice, though actually finding a set that Jakub liked and that were the correct fitment for the car proved tricky. “Initially I had some 18” Alpina wheels from an E34 on it but the offset was all wrong. I was going to get another set but the offset on all the ones I looked at was either too low or too high. Then I found these 7.5x17” wheels in white and the right offset so I bought them. They were cheap and they suit the car,” says Jakub and we have to agree. The arches have been pulled by 8mm to fully accommodate them and they work with the brown, the interior and they definitely work with the drop that the E36 eBay coilovers Jakub’s fitted deliver. The car also sports a pair of replica M Tech 2 bumpers, which have had the rubbing strips removed and have been fully colour-coded. Jakub’s carried out a quad projector HID headlight conversion with LED angel eyes.


    “It’s been to three different garages, three different bodyshops and two different upholsterers,” says Jakub wistfully, “and parts have gone missing. The guy who did the leather died before he could finish the soft top panel and the person I took it to couldn’t match the interior colour so it’s been trimmed in black leather for now. I’m still looking for some Shadowline trim as I’m not a fan of the chrome and I would love a set of BBS LMs, RSs or a set of E32 Alpina 17s,” he adds, “but I eventually want to sell this car and buy an E28 M535i but I’m going to keep that standard.

    “I sometimes wish I hadn’t touched this car in the first place. I like it and it makes me happy, but on such a big project there’s always something to do,” he sighs.

    He is right, of course, a project like this is a big undertaking and it can easily turn into one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time but that you end up regretting when there just doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.


    For some people, the thrill is the build but it’s actually probably a more normal emotional response to want to finish a project car so you can enjoy it, though we doubt many of us can relate to that. “Having said that,” says Jakub with a smirk, “I don’t regret a single penny I’ve spent on it.”


    There it is, that little spark of joy that is always there with any modified car, even when you’re fed up with it, even when you wish you’d never started a project in the first place and when you can’t stand the sight of the thing – all it takes is that single moment where you realise that, actually, despite all that, deep down you still love your car. No one can go through the drama of building your car but you, we as outsiders only see the finished product that we admire at the petrol station, on the street, at a show. Jakub’s journey with the E30 has been long and arduous, a lot of downs fighting with the ups, but all it takes is that one moment of joy and you’ll be reminded that what you’ve built is something pretty delicious.

    DATA FILE #BMW-V8 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-Cabrio / #BMW-E30-V8 / #BMW-E30-M62 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabriolet / #BMW-3-Series-Cabriolet-E30 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.4-litre #V8 #M62B44 / #M62 / #BMW-M62 , X5 exhaust manifolds, twin 2.5” custom stainless steel exhaust system, back box with twin 60mm tips, E34 530i V8 five-speed manual gearbox, 25% locking LSD

    CHASSIS 7.5x17” (front and rear) wheels with 205/40 (front and rear) Blacklion BU66 Champoint tyres, five-stud hub conversion, E36 adjustable coilovers, double brake servo moved behind headlights

    EXTERIOR Debaged front and rear, side trims removed from doors and wings, aerial and door locks removed, wheel arches pulled 8mm

    INTERIOR Full leather retrim in custom twotone finish including dash, steering wheel and centre console, heated front seats

    THANKS To my mum Dorota for all the running around she’s done, car hire and garage, Furman in Lubon Poland, RS PUZ in Torun Poland

    “I saw an X1 in Marrakesh brown and I immediately knew I wanted that colour for the E30”
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    In praise of the #BMW-E30-Cabriolet

    I was pleased to read the Buying Guide on the #BMW-E30-Convertible in the September issue, although I do not need to buy one for myself – we have had one in our family for 26 years now! It is a 1990 320i in Brilliant red with shadow-line trim. It is a great car, it’s very reliable and it is still fun to drive.

    I have a 2010 E90 320d as my daily car – the convertible is only driven in good, dry weather. Prices are going up for them here in Germany and I fancy buying a RHD one, just for fun! Please continue producing your great magazine, I have been subscribing to it for 20 years now and I still have all the copies in mint condition. https://drive-my.com/en/retro-carss/item/2259-six-steps-to-picking-up-the-finest-bmw-e30-3-series.html
    • Your E30 does indeed look wonderful Uwe – they will definitely become collectors’ items so keep it in perfect condition. Thank you for supporting the Your E30 does indeed look wonderful Uwe – they will definitely become collectors’ items so keep it in perfect condition. Thank you for supporting the magazine for all these years!   More ...
    • Nice condition cabrio E30
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    THE 1993 #BMW 318i Convertible £8995 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet

    One of the last E30s built, this four-pot drop-top has done fewer than 59,000 miles. Russ Smith checks its credentials.

    We’re told that this 318i has always been a babied second car, and you get enough of a sense from the impeccable full history – which supports the car’s low mileage reading of 58,849 – to believe that. Though choosing the smallest engine available, the original buyer certainly went to town on the spec, opting for electric hood and mirrors, leather interior and power steering, which remarkably still wasn’t standard then. The bumpers and mirrors have been colour-coded, probably in period, and the finish remains an excellent match for the rest of the original Laguna Green. This remains good, with just three or four touched-in stonechips on the bonnet, and the front valance appears to have been repainted, probably after a parking knock because there’s still a slight waviness around the middle of it. The only other exterior mark is a light scuff to the rubber on the offside rear corner. The BBS cross-spoke alloys are unmarked, though they do wear three brands of tyres – but all with plenty of tread remaining. The original soft-top is still good with just the odd fold mark, and it goes up and down as it should; all electric windows work quickly and smoothly.

    After relatively little use, the interior is also good. There’s some light wear, as usual, to the seat side bolster where you get in and out, but it only needs recolouring with a leather restorer kit. The original carpets remain unworn under overmats; two sets of them in the front. Only the door pockets have yellowed a bit with age, there’s a bit of shoe scuffing on the plastic sill covers, and a modern Sony CD stereo has been fitted. The boot is spotless and still contains the toolkit and first-aid kit.

    The engine bay hasn’t been detailed so, while there’s nothing wrong with it, there is room to improve its presentation. Oil is clean and to level; no leaks were evident. The engine starts and runs well too, with a lot more go than the 1.8’s lowly position in 3 Series hierarchy might lead you to believe. That spec does mean there’s no oil pressure gauge to check, but the temperature never strayed above the quarter mark during our test-drive. There’s a nice middling clutch bite, all the gears shift as easily as you’d expect from a BMW five-speed manual gearbox, the brakes are without fault and the steering is smooth, not over-light, and there are no knocks or clonks from the suspension at either end of the car.

    Once you get over the nagging disappointment that there isn’t a six-cylinder engine, this E30 convertible has a lot going for it. All E30s are getting hard to find in this kind of original and unmessed-with condition, and the top-level specification and long-term care it’s had make it a real pleasure to drive. So while the price might look high, the quality is there to back it up.

    C HOOSE YOUR E30

    When the E30 3 Series replaced the E21 in 1982 the only convertible versions remaining were those produced (with factory approval) by Baur incorporating a roll-over bar. Any model in the range could be converted this way.

    BMW launched its own Convertible in 1986, an ingenious design by Shaer Wachter that folded out of sight under a panel in the rear deck and had strengthened screen pillars instead of a roll-over bar. At first it was available only as a 325i. During 1987 the Convertible line was extended to include the 320i. Baur conversions continued to be sold until at least 1989.

    From 1989 the soft-top option was finally made available on the four-cylinder 318i and the hot-shot M3, though only 32 of the latter would eventually be sold in the UK. After the new E36 3 Series was introduced in 1990 the #BMW-E30 convertible remained in production for another three years to fill the gap until a soft-top version of the new model could be produced.

    SPECIFICATIONS TECH DATA FILE #1993 #BMW-318i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-318i-Convertible
    Price £8995
    Contact Epping Motor Company, Stanford Rivers, Essex (eppingmotorcompany.com, 01277 365415)
    Engine 1796cc, inline-four cylinder, sohc / #M10
    Power 115bhp @ 5500rpm
    Torque 122lb ft @ 4250rpm
    Performance Top speed: 117mph;
    0-60mph: 10.2sec
    Fuel consumption: 35mpg
    Length: 4325mm
    Width: 1645mm
    INSURANCE £140
    COMPREHENSIVE, 5000 MILES PER YEAR, GARAGED CALL: 01277 206911
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