- Post is under moderationFIRST WORDS
First things first, we begin this issue with an announcement: we have new bosses as PBMW now belongs to Kelsey Media Ltd, whereas before we were owned by Unity Media Plc. Obviously what you’re interested in is how this affects you, and it’s all good news. Most importantly, #PBMW isn’t going anywhere so you’re still going to get your regular modified BMW fix, no worries there, and while both cover and subscription prices have been adjusted you’re now getting 13 issues a year rather than 12, as the magazine will now be on sale every four weeks rather than once a month. This means even more modified #BMW goodness to wrap your reading gear around throughout the year. No complaints then!
Hopefully January didn’t drag you down too far and you’re on the up, getting excited about the prospect of warmer weather and hitting the shows. Got exciting new plans? New wheels? New paint? Ready to go or still planning? Whatever your situation, we can’t wait to see what’s new on the BMW scene once show season kicks off.
As for the right now, you’ve got the March issue in your hands to put a smile on your face and it’s packed full of awesomeness. Where to begin? How about with our cover car? Griot’s-Motors rocked SEMA with its insane E30 Touring and now it’s here to rock your world. This two-door, #V8-powered , M3-bodied machine is unlike anything we’ve ever seen and it’s an incredible build from top to bottom. We’ve also got 2M Autowerks’ awesome E46, which started out life as a 330Ci but now boasts a custom metal wide-body rear end, sits on HRE splits and then there’s the small matter of that S54 swap. Closer to home there’s an insane, #BMW-S62 #V8-swapped E34 drift beast, a wild 476hp 135i, and a super-clean E36 Touring for you to enjoy, plus our Car of the Year results!
In fact, there’s so much to enjoy that we should stop wasting time with idle chat and let you get on with reading the issue. We’ll see you next month.
Griotʼs-Motors two-door #BMW-E30 / #BMW-V8 / #BMW-Touring / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E30 / #BMW / #Griot's-Garage / #BMW-E30-Griotʼs-Motors / #BMW-Touring-2-door / #BMW-E30-M60 / #BMW-E30-V8 / #Getrag / #HRE /Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPASSION WAGON #BMW-M3
Griot’s Motors unleashes its V8-powered, two-door, #BMW-M3-bodied E30 #BMW-M3-Touring . Two-door, M3-bodied, #V8-powered E30 Touring.
Astonishing in its vision, astounding in its execution, just plain awesome by its very existence, the Griot’s Motors two-door, #V8-swapped , #M3-bodied E30 #BMW-M3-Touring-E30 is quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Kevin Uy.
What’s amazing about the modified BMW scene is that, just when you think you’ve seen it all, someone comes along and produces something the likes of which you’ve never seen before. It’s no mean feat, and you’re looking at one such creation right now. It is a two-door, #M3-bodied-E30-Touring powered by a 4.0-litre M60 V8. This creation is the brainchild of the Griot’s (pronounced Gree-oh’s) Motors team, itself the skunkworks division of Griot’s Garage – a car care manufacturing company based over in Tacoma, Washington, USA. If you’ve never heard of Tacoma, look up Galloping Gertie, an infamous bridge that collapsed in 1940 due to strong winds. And if you’ve never heard the term skunkworks before, it’s basically a name given to an experimental department of a company.
Griot’s Motors was started by Richard and Phillip Griot. “The garage buys, sells, restores and modifies a wide variety of classic cars,” says Nick Griot. “Our main restoration shop is actually part of the Griot’s Garage headquarters.” Skunkworks it may be but Griot’s Motors is an impressive operation in itself, with around 70 cars currently held in the company’s collection, which is constantly changing as cars are completed, sold on and new ones purchased. BMWs naturally make up a portion of this collection, with a number of modern and classic examples along with a couple of motorbikes. “BMWs have always been of interest to us as they represent a perfect blend of design and function which carries through to the people who buy them,” explains Nick.
“BMW owners are passionate about racing, preserving, modifying and maintaining their cars – which is pretty much us in a nutshell. Griot’s Garage is also the exclusive Car Care Provider for the BMW Car Club of America so we are actively invested in the BMW community and do a lot with the club every year.”
That’s all well and good but it doesn’t explain how this insane E30 Touring came about. “At Griot’s Motors we basically focus on modernising cars without losing any of their vintage attributes,” explains Nick. “And we are constantly looking for unique, hard-to- find cars. This was a car we wanted to own just because we finally could. E30 Tourings were never imported to the States and, generally, a car must be over 25-yearsold to be able to be imported and registered. We found this car for sale in Florida and it had made its way there from Germany via Japan. It was in good original condition, and very complete, so we bought it thinking it would remain relatively stock and would be enjoyed as it was. However, once we got the car and saw the wear and tear and significant paint degradation we knew it was in need of restoration, which is where we went a little mad and cooked up a crazy vision for the car – one that had never been done before.”
The blame for everything that you see here can really be placed on Richard’s shoulders, as Nick explains: “After sitting in the car he stated that visibility was not up to his standards and he wondered aloud about the potential of longer doors from an E30 Coupé to improve visibility. That started the discussion of the two-door conversion, which led us all the way to M3 body work, an engine swap, and custom fabrication.”
The bodywork didn’t come first, though, that honour goes to the engine, but it’s too big a deal for us not to get excited about it. The sheer amount of extensive custom fab work that’s gone into making the dream a reality is mind-boggling. With the seed sown, the Griot’s Motors team started exploring the idea of the two-door conversion and, after taking some measurements from their pair of E30 M3s, they realised that the M3 bodywork would work very well. With what might seem like an insane idea now looking eminently achievable the car was delivered to J-Rod & Custom who began the Herculean task of turning four doors into two and making it all look like a factory job.
The B-pillar had to be moved back nine inches in order to be able to accept the longer doors. A completely custom frame had to be built into the space vacated by the rear doors. And new inner wheel wells were created to accommodate the wider M3 rear arches (the quarter panels having been sourced from Germany). The rear light housings had to be modified to fit the standard light clusters, new window trim was also created and the glass from the rear saloon doors was used between the B- and C-pillar. The front arches fitted straight on and all the remaining body parts are OE #BMW items with bumpers and side skirts acquired from local BMW enthusiasts. The finishing touch involved six coats of PPG Deltron Griot’s Red. The end result is nothing short of spectacular. Nick says the goal was to create a car that looked like a factory product, and that’s been achieved and then some. The bodywork is perfect, the paint finish flawless, and the combination of Touring body, two-door configuration, and M3 arches is breathtaking. No doubt there are plenty of Touring enthusiasts out there choking with rage right now but you’d have to be a fool to look at this E30 and think it doesn’t look anything less than perfect.
As we briefly touched upon earlier, the engine was actually the first step in the build process and, when it came to the V8 swap, the Griot’s team worked to the same exacting, obsessive standards to ensure that, bonnet up, the engine bay would leave onlookers as floored as the rest of the car. Before all this madness began there was a 2.5-litre M20 under the bonnet but that simply wouldn’t do for a car of this calibre, which is why an engine swap was a necessity. The engine in question is from a #1995 E34 540i, purchased in its entirety to provide the E30 Touring with not only that lusty 4.0-litre #V8 but also a six-speed manual gearbox and engine wiring harness, making for an easy engine exchange, with the V8 sitting on custom mounts along with a fabricated transmission saddle and tunnel reinforcement to support it. But the engine swap itself isn’t the only impressive part, it’s the work that’s gone on around it, the attention to detail, that impresses the most. Prior to the insertion of the V8, the engine bay was shaved and smoothed to remove any and all holes and brackets. “The plan,” says Nick, “was to have an extremely simple engine bay that showed off the most beautiful aspects of the engine without the clutter of wiring and engine accessories.”
The brake booster, he says, was removed and has been replaced with a full pedal assembly inside the car and then reservoirs were fabricated in-house for coolant, brake/clutch, and power steering fluids.
These were then machined with threads that corresponded with the factory reservoir caps, giving the custom parts a factory appearance. As a result of this painstaking attention to detail the engine bay is nothing short of a work of art. It’s clean enough to eat your dinner off and it ensures that all eyes are immediately drawn to that V8, itself embellished with red painted rocker covers and a classic BMW roundel on the engine cover. A custom cold air feed, utilising a large velocity stack located in the passenger side high beam hole and an in-line filter, supplies the big V8 with all the air it can ingest. Elsewhere the Griot’s team has fitted V8 X5 exhaust manifolds with a custom T304 stainless steel exhaust system, while a custom driveshaft and 2.93 LSD-equipped rear end have also been fitted.
Killer one-off styling and a sweet engine swap are all well and good but it’s only a job half done where a major project like this is concerned. Now came the turn of the chassis to be comprehensively overhauled. Step one involved removing the front and rear subframes and completely refreshing them, with both being reinforced in key areas before being powdercoated satin black. The E30 received polybushes throughout and camber adjustment was added to the rear trailing arms. “The front strut assemblies were sent to Ground Control and the guys there worked their magic, shortening and reinforcing the strut housings so we could get the car as low as we wanted,” explains Nick. “They also provided us with the Koni shocks, front camber plates, spring perches, and new springs that would accommodate the increase in weight from the V8.”
With the Ground Control coilover setup endowing the E30 with pretty much the perfect ride height, all that was needed now was the perfect set of wheels to adequately fill those swollen arches. You’ve no doubt been staring at the pictures for a while now so you’ve probably identified what the Griot’s Motors team decided to fit: HREs. Is it wrong to get excited about HREs? Like, really, really excited? They just look so good here. Choosing a flat-faced wheel rather than the default dished design is a bit of a ‘woah’ moment but, despite being a thoroughly modern wheel, the classic crossspoke design brings to mind the BBSs that the E30 M3 originally wore so well. And that’s exactly why these 501Ms were selected for this build. They allowed the Griot’s team to keep that factory look while giving them the modern size and width options they wanted for an aggressive stance. And while deciding on the final colour took some time, the brushed gold that was chosen is not only gorgeous but a perfect match for that bright red body.
Right now, you’re probably reeling because, let’s be honest, there’s a hell of a lot to take in here, but Griot’s isn’t finished with you just yet because now we come to the interior. And, well, it’s a bit special. Up front, the M3 theme has been carried over from the outside with reproduction tricolour M Tech cloth applied to the doorcards and front seats, a retrimmed M Tech I steering wheel with tricolour stitching, and an M gear knob.
In the back, however, well that’s where everything goes crazy. The rear passenger and luggage area has been transformed into a mobile product display and valeting station: this is a car that can wash itself.
Well, not literally, but you know what we mean. The rear seats have been replaced with a custom aluminium water tank and hose while the entire boot has been fitted with a custom enclosure that allows the entire range of Griot’s Garage detailing products and polishers to be displayed. The whole affair has been beautifully finished and looks magnificent. It’s a very different boot build to the ones we’re used to seeing but no less impressive.
The Griot’s Motors E30 Touring is the vehicular embodiment of what Griot’s Garage and its skunkworks outfit stand for. It’s an incredible creation, one that’s come about from the vision and imagination of a small group of guys and one that could only have been created by people with nothing less than absolute passion for cars and for modifying them – because what kind of person decides to build a two-door Touring?
So much care and attention has been poured into not just making sure that the end result looks absolutely perfect, which it does, but also making sure that everything has been built to the highest possible standard and finished to absolute perfection. The goal was to make a car that looked like it could have rolled out of BMW’s own factory, and this car is that and so much more. And beyond showcasing what Griot’s Motors is capable of creating, the on-board valeting station showcases what Griot’s Garage is all about. This really might be the cleanest car we’ve ever shot. Best of all, this Touring isn’t about to be tucked away or sold, it’s going to be hitting the 2017 shows across the USA. And after that it’s going into rotation for regular driving whenever anyone wants to because, after all, that’s what it was built for. And that makes us very happy indeed.
“We went a little mad and cooked up a crazy vision for the car – one that had never been done before”
DATA FILE #Griotʼs-Motors two-door #BMW-E30 / #BMW-V8 / #BMW-Touring / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E30 / #BMW / #Griot's-Garage / #BMW-E30-Griotʼs-Motors / #BMW-Touring-2-door / #BMW-E30-M60 / #BMW-E30-V8 / #Getrag / #HRE /
FILE ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #BMW-E30-M60B40 / #M60B40 / #BMW-M60 / #M60 , custom engine mounts, rocker covers painted red, engine bay shaved and smoothed, custom coolant and power steering reservoirs, tucked wiring harness, custom cold air feed from full beam headlight hole, X5 exhaust manifolds, custom #T304 stainless steel dual 2.5” exhaust, #Getrag six-speed manual gearbox, fabricated transmission saddle, tunnel reinforcement, custom propshaft, 2.93 LSD rear end
CHASSIS 8x17” (front) and 9x17” (rear) #HRE-501M wheels in brushed gold with 215/40 (front) and 235/40 (rear) Falken Azenis RT615K tyres, reinforced subframes, fully polybushed, rear trailing arm camber adjustment, shortened and reinforced front strut housings, fully-adjustable #Ground-Control coilovers with adjustable #Koni struts, camber plates
EXTERIOR Full OEM steel E30 M3 body panels including front and rear quarter panels, E30 coupé doors, side skirts, M3 bumpers (front and rear), full respray in #PPG-Deltron Griot’s Red
INTERIOR Seats and door panels retrimmed in reproduction M Tech cloth, retrimmed M Tech I steering wheel, six-speed M gear lever, new OE carpet, rear seats removed, custom aluminium water tank and hose, water jet-cut product display area in boot
THANKS Thank you to our sponsors, HRE Wheels, Brembo Brakes and Ground Control Systems. Thank you to J-Rod & Custom, McFarland Upholstery, Kassel Performance, Falken Tire and the hard work of Forrest Davis and Tim Willard of Griot’s Motors – without them, this project would have never been completed
“The plan was to have an engine bay that showed off the most beautiful aspects of the engine”
Shaved and smoothed bay ensures that all eyes are on that V8 when the bonnet’s up.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSPACE RAIDER V8 TOURING
Wide arched #BMW-E30 flexes its muscles. The combination of E30 Touring and V8 is hard to beat. Forget keeping it original, this #V8-powered E30 Touring is all about doing what looks good and feels right. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.
While the thought of straying from the Bavarian region when it comes to tuning BMWs gets some enthusiasts ranting about desecrating engine bays with American and Japanese engines, or destroying the sanctity of M cars with air-ride and big ICE installs, we really couldn’t give two hoots. We think that building a car that looks good and makes you happy is far more important than building one that keeps other people happy.
That’s Paul Harding’s philosophy too because, when someone builds an E30 running Porsche wheels and a Ferrari steering wheel, you know they’re not going to care what anyone else says on the matter.
Paul’s previous big build, a supercharged beast of an E39 M5, popped up in these pages last year and he’s a man who has been afflicted with the chronic modifying disease – he just can’t leave cars alone. It’s funny to think that when the E30 was launched and BMW designed the practical Touring for family sorts, they could never have imagined that it would become something of a darling of the modified #BMW community. Fourdoors, two-doors, soft-tops… they’re all well and good but, for some reason, when it comes to the E30 it’s arguably the Touring that has the most appeal.
It’s a great-looking car for starters, with something so very right about the long boxy shape and it requires very little work to get it looking absolutely spectacular, a hugely beneficial E30 trait. Of course, whether or not you consider the application of Porsche wheels to result in spectacular looks is another matter entirely, but you can probably guess which way we’re leaning on the matter…
Paul bought this car because of the V8. His friend, Phil Nobes, had an M60-powered E30 and, having sampled the combination of big, brawny bent eight and small, lightweight 3 Series, Paul fell in love and wanted some of that in his life as well. “I found this car on eBay for sale up in Dundee,” says Paul. “The swap was already completed, though it was unfinished – there was no rad, for example, and it wasn’t ready to be driven. It was a really nice car, though, with full leather, an LSD and BBS RMs, plus someone else had already done the work to get the engine in the car and running, so I bought it and trailered it down from Scotland.
“I had a vision that the E30 was going to replace the E36 M3 drift car I had at the time and was planning to do a supercharged S62 swap. I bought the blue E39 M5 that ended up being featured in PBMW as I was going to use the engine from that for the swap. I stripped the E30 completely but then changed my mind – the shell was so solid that I had to put it back together and ended up supercharging the M5 instead, which I’ve since sold. I thought about supercharging the E30, but actually I’m going to supercharge another E39 M5 instead. I bought a Chromie E30 in the meantime as well, but ended up selling that as this Touring was just too good. That’s when I decided not to turn it into a drift car and make it into a road car instead as there are so few really clean V8 E30s about. It’s actually harder to build a full interior road car as it takes some thought and planning, rather than just pulling everything out.”
The engine bay needed a bit of work when Paul first got his hands on the car: “I knew I didn’t want a full shaved and tucked bay, but I wanted to tidy it up and make it look good.
I made the effort with the attention to detail as I wanted the engine to look like it belonged in there; the brake servo, for example, is now in the glovebox, and I fitted a 530i air box as I didn’t just want a generic induction kit.” The result is an exceedingly neat and tidy but functional, working engine bay rather than something that looks like it was built more for display purposes than acting as the business end of a car. Further helping to complete it, along with a fullyfunctioning rad, is the stainless tubular exhaust manifold which leads to a custom exhaust system that makes a wonderful noise, which is a requirement from anything with a V8 under the bonnet.
The interior has been significantly changed from its original configuration. Gone are the leather seats, with a cloth bench at the back and a pair of Vabric buckets up front, which happens to be Paul’s seat company, which he runs alongside his garage, Super Duper Garage. Yes, really. It’s an awesome place that Paul has put a lot of thought and flair into. It carries with it the same passion that flows through all the cars he owns and the projects he’s got on the go, and there are quite a few of those.
Alongside the seats there’s a digital water temp gauge by the driver’s right knee, a Z3 short-shift and then there’s the small matter of that well-worn, Ferrari-badged Momo steering wheel. It is attached to an E36 steering rack and has something of a story behind it: “I actually bought the steering wheel when I was 19 as I liked how it looked but had no idea it was actually the exact same Momo that was fitted to the Ferrari 348 from the factory. I have fitted it to countless cars that I’ve owned so naturally I had to have it in the E30. I also wanted to wind people up…” he chuckles. So, while it may have not worn a Ferrari badge originally, it’s entirely entitled to do so and is guaranteed to put a few noses out of joint with it. Finally, the load space is home to something that purists will most definitely approve of: a genuine, rare, BMW E30 boot liner, which is a nice period touch in a car with so much else going on.
As far as looks are concerned, the car’s been dropped to within an inch of its life and you’re definitely not going to miss those custom bolt-on arch extensions. Paul had originally made them for Phil’s E30 but he couldn’t resist making them for his Touring as well. We don’t blame him, they look awesome. The body-coloured finish mean they aren’t overly aggressive, but definitely give the slimline E30 a bit more of a purposeful stance, as well as creating more room for those wheels: “I’ve had quite a few sets of wheels on the car – 16” RSs, Rondells, 17” Dares and then these Eta Beta Turbo Twists, which weren’t meant to go on this car at all. I bought them for an ’84 Porsche I had but I hadn’t fitted them when I was thinking about wheels for this. I wasn’t sure what to go for so considered putting these on – people said they wouldn’t fit, so that made me determined to get them on. They’re a 5x130 PCD, measuring in at 9x18” and 9.5x18”. They took a little work but I got them on, despite what everyone told me.”
Now, technically, they’re not Porsche wheels, but they’re very Porsche-looking and that’s even before you add the Porsche crest centre caps. They’re good looking wheels too and they suit the E30 perfectly. 18s are a big wheel for the car to pull off, but the stepped lips and 17” matt anthracite centres make the wheels look a bit smaller, meaning they don’t dominate the car at all.
While they may not have been destined for the E30, with that drop giving it an awesome stance, they add something extra that catches your eye on an otherwise very stealthy build.
“I tinker with the car every now and again when I get the time, which isn’t often,” says Paul sullenly, with Super Duper Garage taking up the bulk of his time, and other projects also wanting attention. “I am really sad that I’ve not had a chance to drive it much; I’ve done just five miles in it in three years, which is bad. Those five miles were fun though and it’s a really practical car, but I’ve fallen in love with E39 M5s – I like to drive hard and I prefer their longer wheelbase as they are less snappy. In fact, I’ve got one waiting to be supercharged when I get a chance. I’m going to sell the Touring, and I always sell my cars completely done up, with all the bits and pieces fixed for someone else that I was meant to do for myself.”
That’s something that really strikes a chord. We get our cars to their absolute best and then end up selling them rather than being able to enjoy them, with someone else getting to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Such is life. The Touring has, in fact, been sold since we completed this feature and whoever’s bought it has landed themselves an awesome machine that’s fully sorted. As for Paul, he doesn’t have time to be sad about selling the E30 as he’s got his hands full with numerous other project cars, all vying for his attention and in varying states of progress. The important thing is that he got to build and own an awesome and rather unique E30 Touring.
decided to make it into a road car as there are so few really clean V8 E30s about.
Single-piece Vabric buckets inside along with that Ferrari Momo steering wheel and a water temp gauge.
DATA FILE #V8 #BMW-E30-Touring / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-M60B40 / #BMW-E30-M60 / #BMW-E30-V8 / #BMW-E30-V8-M60B40
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #M60B40 / #M60 / #BMW-M60 from E34 540i, hand-made and wrapped tubular exhaust manifolds and exhaust system with switchable #Vabric cut-out valve, E36 M3 auto radiator, #Mocal remote oil filter, electric fan with switch-in rad and override button in the car, E36 steering rack, battery relocated to boot and hidden, brake servo hidden inside the car behind the glovebox, relocated header tank, 530i air box, five-speed manual, 3.64 LSD
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Eta-Beta-Turbo-Twist three-piece wheels with polished lips and matt anthracite centres, with 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) tyres, #Koni inserts (front), #GAZ adjustable dampers (rear), extensive polybushing, 325i rear beam and front brakes.
EXTERIOR Custom-made bolt-on arch extensions
INTERIOR Vabric side mount bucket seat on adjustable rails with grey Alcantara centres, grey Alcantara headlining, Z3 short shift, hidden temp gauge, ’80s boot linerStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGERMAN MUSCLE 300HP #V8 #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-V8-E30 / #BMW-E30-V8 / #BMW-E30-M60 / #BMW-E30-M60B40 /
Classic chromie packs a punch. Whack a V8 in an E30 chromie and fun is guaranteed. Big V8s in small cars are the muscle car tradition, and this right here is the BMW way of doing it. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Sunny Ryait.
So, imagine this: you’ve already had two #Drive-My feature cars, one DRIVE-MY cover and you’ve just won DRIVE-MY Car of the Year. What are going to do next? If you said you’re going to Disney World, you’re clearly an American Football fan but if you’re Nick Sahota, the answer is: build another car! It’s not really a surprise considering he’s a serial modifier and a huge BMW fan.
Nick’s no stranger to E30s or combining them with V8s, his Calypso two-door appearing in our May ’14 issue before it had a slight incident and he went on to build his unstoppable orange entity, so another E30 project was inevitable really. “I wanted to build something a bit different from the norm,” explains Nick when we ask him about the E30, “a completely standardlooking chromie sleeper. Then it just developed from there and I added rare and desirable parts. For example, the louvres, which as far as I’m aware are the only E30 specific ones currently run in the UK. I bought the car in almost perfect original condition. It had only had one owner and just 36k miles on the clock. It was a South African import that had spent most of its life in storage. I bought it in December of 2013.
It was in near original condition and completely immaculate. When the purists realised that I had got such an original car for this project they hit the roof, but I have absolutely no interest in an M10-engined 318i. I never even drove it before the conversion. I took my friend Sukhi Kang with me to see the car and he drove it back to his. He stripped it and sold off all the running gear and interior on his drive for me, so the shell cost me nothing in the end.”
Nick then dropped it off to Shaz at Just E30z. “I have spent way, way too much on the build but now it’s exactly what I want. It’s one of my favourite cars that I’ve ever owned or driven,” he tells us. Considering how many BMs Nick has had (and still has), that’s really saying something.
“Just E30z did the majority of the conversion work and it took it a couple of months to finish the engine conversion,” Nick continued. “Liquid Metal / Hard Knocks speed shop did the custom manifold and exhaust work. Duda-Garage did everything else. There are always little niggles with these kind of modifications but between Just E30z and Duda Garage they have all now been ironed out and it’s perfect.”
A V8 under the bonnet is all well and good but until you’ve sourced yourself some killer wheels for your E30, you ain’t nobody, kid. When it came to wheels, Nick’s first choice was an unsurprising one. “I wanted BBS RSs,” he says, everyone’s favourite wheels, “so I bought a set of 4x100s and had them built to the correct fitment. But while I was waiting for them to be completed, I went to see my friend Sandeep Gill one evening and he told me about a set of wheels that another friend, Parm Bhamra, was currently selling. So we went over and I ended up buying two more sets of wheels for it, one set of which are the Schmidt TH Lines that are currently on the car. I just fell in love with them and the ease of maintaining the Radinox dishes. The RSs may make an appearance at some point, though.”
The multi-piece Schmidts look absolutely killer and suit the E30 perfectly, with that retro-look styling and those polished faces, which offer a nice, striking contrast to the subtlety of the rest of the car. RSs are great but it’s nice to see someone rocking something a bit different from the norm on their E30 and as part of the whole package these Schmidts are the perfect choice, especially when Nick’s brought that body down tight over the wheels with a set of GAZ Gold coilovers.
Styling-wise, it’s very much a case of less is more with this build and Nick has favoured a few choice additions that make a statement without going over the top or spoiling the look of the car. “The styling is pretty much as the factory built it, bar the wheels and a bit of colour-coding,” Nick says. “The louvres and heckblende add a retro feel to it in my opinion as they are period-correct additions.” Up front there’s what Nick describes as a ‘Jimmy Hill chin lip’, balanced by a Tech 1 spoiler at the rear and the colour-coding he’s talking about has seen the mirrors and sills matched to the body. But arguably the parts making the biggest difference to the whole look of the car are the extremely rare rear window louvres and the heckblende – that red rear trim panel. The two combined are so incredibly ’80s that they just transform the car, giving it such a unique look that really sets it apart from other E30s. The interior is no less rare, even though it’s not the interior that will be staying in the car. We’ll let Nick explain: “Well the interior I have for it includes a very rare set of electric Recaros and a M3 rear bench, currently being retrimmed in saddle brown. But for the time being it is running Sukhi’s spare, extremely rare, genuine Recaro LS Highback M3 interior.” The current seats are ridiculously sexy and the wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel and Nardi gear knob add the classic finishing touches.
Amazingly we’ve come this far in the feature and not really talked about the big deal here: the engine swap. V8s and the E30 are pretty much a perfect combination and that big lump seems entirely happy nestled in the 3 Series engine bay. This is the 4.0-litre M60 from an E32 740i fitted with custom exhaust manifolds and a full custom system with a remote electric cutout valve – I’ve heard this in action in both videos and real life and it sounds ferocious. There’s a fivespeed manual gearbox from an E34 530i, with an LSD at the back to help Nick put the power down and a WMS four-pot brake kit helps him stop. He needs it because a) we know for a fact that he’s a ‘keen’ driver and b) having experienced the combination of E30 and V8, we can tell you that it is a most potent one, the M60 giving the lightweight E30 a serious turn of speed. Drive one and you’ll instantly understand why so many people do these swaps and why Nick’s had so many weaponised E30s.
“I love everything about this car,” he grins, “the engine, the torque, the sound… My girlfriend hates it, although she hates all my cars other than my daily X5! My friends who know what it is love it. The rest that haven’t got a clue can’t understand why I have these old cars.”
Being a serial modifier, Nick already has another project under construction (“but that’s top secret…”) but this E30 is going nowhere and will join his ever-growing collection of cars. He’s not finished with the mods either. He’s got that fancy new interior to go in yet and you never know what rare parts he’ll unearth on his travels. “I might even put it on air…” he lets slip. Whatever he does, 2015 is going to be an exciting year for Nick’s E30 and the purists are not going to be happy. Oh well.
ENGINE: 4.0-litre V8 #M60B40 / #M60 / #BMW-M60 from an E32 740i, custom exhaust manifold, custom exhaust with a remote electric cutout, five-speed manual gearbox from an E34 530i, LSD.
CHASSIS: 8x16” (front) and 9x16” (rear) multipiece #Schmidt TH Lines, #GAZ-Gold coilovers, WMS four-pot brake kit.
EXTERIOR: ‘Jimmy Hill’ front lip, colour-coded door mirrors and sills, Tech 1 rear spoiler, rear window louvres, heckblende.
INTERIOR: E30 M3 #Recaro LS Highbacks and rear bench, #Nardi wooden steering wheel and gear knob, genuine rear blind, genuine armrest, black sport carpet.
THANKS: Sukhi Kang, Shaz (Just E30z 07903 717333), Mariusz (Duda Garage 07922 443509), Liquid Metal / Hard Knocks speed shop (018692 408119), Dave at Signco, Steve and the guys at Clean Getaway (www.cgacw.co.uk), my family and friends.
I wanted to build something from the norm a bit different.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFAMILY JEWELS / #2015
As first cars go, a V8-powered #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30 rep that you built with your dad is a pretty good start to your motoring life. Believe it or not, this is Daniel Larsson’s first car, purchased when he was just 13. Today, having picked ‘M3’, ‘V8’ and ‘brown’ out the buzzword bag, he and his father have created something brilliantly unique… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Patrik Karlsson
The idea of building a car in tribute or homage to another is a tricky and potentially troubling one. Look at the Ford GT40, for example, or the AC Cobra – these are iconic, revered and widely beloved motors with instantly recognisable silhouettes, race provenance in spades, and hordes of borderline-obsessive fans who would genuinely consider chopping in their own blood relatives in part exchange for a true example of the breed. They’re ethereal and, for most, unobtainable things – and, as such, countless replicas exist. Some of them are precise re-creations, built by craftsmen who’ve remained faithful to the original specs, are insistent on only using the materials and tolerances that would have been employed in period, and want to own something as close to the original as possible. Others, conversely, are thrown together for a few grand, on a Cortina chassis with a tired Pinto shoving the wonky fibreglass panels down the road. It’s a mixed bag, to say the least. That’s not to devalue the kit car genre of course, merely to highlight certain differences in perspective.
The point of all of this is that we’re not looking at a genuine E30 M3 here. This will be cheery news to the purists among you… although we’re guessing there aren’t many, as the modified M3s we’ve featured before (of which we’ve lost count, it’s a competitive game) have always been so well received. But anyway, this particular E30 rolled out of the factory as a humble 318i, and it’s taken its owner Daniel Larsson, along with his father Anders, a lot of effort, research, and tenacity to get it to this finished state. You see, turning a cooking E30 into an M3 replica isn’t simply a case of bolting on a new set of arches; while the trademark motorsport-bred box arches are very much a defining feature of the body, it’s a fairly welldocumented fact that the M3 didn’t share a lot of panels with the lesser models – while the basic shell was shared, the M3 had a dozen different panels designed to optimise airflow and help it cut through the air like a buttered lark, with pretty much just the bonnet and roof being carried over. The Larssons, then, took a holistic approach to getting the job done right.
But let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? “My dad bought this car as a 318i when I was 13 years old,” says Daniel, taking it back to the old school with aplomb (yes, if you follow that thought process to its logical conclusion, you’ll arrive at the fact that this is his first car. And there’s not a lot of folk who can boast as cool a first car as this…). “The idea was always that we’d build my first car together, and the initial plan was to make a sort of M3 replica in fibreglass.”
However, we all know how easily these plans can spiral out of control, and it wasn’t long before the eager Swedish duo were sizing up a set of genuine steel M3 wings – after all, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly. And the obsession with authenticity snowballed from there. “My dad’s a perfectionist, and it’s easier to get everything to line up properly if you’re starting with the genuine wings,” Daniel reasons. With the perfect fit achieved, the blistered haunches were soon augmented by topnotch fibreglass M3 bumpers at either end, along with the side-skirts to suit. The tail end received a lot of work too, as the genuine M3s had a re-angled rear window, again for aerodynamic purposes. You’ll note that the angle is correct on this car, the shiny brown C-pillars here neatly flow into the boot just as they’re supposed to – and that’s a genuine M3 spoiler too, sitting atop a perfect fibreglass interpretation of the classic raised M3 bootlid.
In a roundabout sort of way, it was always going to be a logical move for this build to get elbows-deep in the shell and start replacing things left, right and centre. “The car looked to be in pretty good shape when we first got it, although the more we tore it down the more rust we found in the classic E30 places,” Daniel recalls. Reason enough for an M3 tribute then, right? “When he started looking for a car for me, my dad’s initial plan was to find a solid car with a sunroof (which pretty much all M3s had, and that helped the project idea along!), a leather interior and a small engine so I could afford to insure it when I reached 18.” But once again we find a fairly significant deviation from the plan: you’ve almost certainly noticed that there’s a V8 in there, and that’s neither a small engine nor an M3 engine. That’s an idea that came way out of left-field. “In my childhood it was The Fast And The Furious that inspired me and made me want to build something cool, so I just wanted big spoilers for the car at first – I was 15! – and from there we customised an aftermarket body kit; it wasn’t until later that, older and wiser, we got a little more tasteful with it and went for the OEM M3 style. And then we started thinking about the engine…”
Just for a minute, let’s play a little game of six-degrees-of-separation. How do we get from the GT40 and the Cobra we were thinking about back there in the opening paragraph to the Larssons’ E30? Well, those two blue-chip classics were powered by highly-tuned Ford V8s, of course. So was another contemporary dream car, the De Tomaso Mangusta (whose name, incidentally, meaning ‘Mongoose’, was so chosen because mongooses eat cobras – another link to our opener there). De Tomaso went on to make a model called the Guarà in the 1990s, which was powered by a BMW M60B40 V8. And that’s the engine that we find sitting in this E30. There you go, we did it in just three steps.
“I wanted a V8 because I love the sound,” Daniel grins. “And the advantage of a bigcapacity engine is that you get a lot of unstressed power from it in stock form, so it won’t be breaking down all the time.” It also helps, naturally, that the process of fitting an M60 into an E30 is a pretty well-trodden path; not common by any means, but certainly something that’s been done before, so there’s plenty of advice to be sought online, and all sorts of shared wisdom on which are the optimal parts to make the whole thing work happily. It’s worth noting too that the M60 was designed with lightness in mind; it’s not the case that Daniel and Anders have slung a boat anchor in the nose of the 3 Series and cocked up the weight balance, because this particular V8 features an aluminium block and cylinder heads, as well as a plastic intake manifold – so the guys were free to revel in all of that extra horsepower without having to compromise on weight or wonky dynamics. They’ve gone all-out to make a feature of the engine too – the bay has been shaved, smoothed and wire-tucked to make the mighty bent-eight even more prominent, while the motor itself enjoys gold accents to complement the oh-so-retro brown. Oh, and what a magnificent shade it is!
BMW’s own Marrakesh brown is the sort of colour you can imagine Oompa-Loompas swimming in, all gloopy and cocoa-rich. It’s a shade you’d usually find on an X1 or possibly X6, although certain brave enthusiasts have bought into the old-school appeal of the hue and slathered it across E9x 3 Series, 1Ms and all sorts. There really should be more brown cars in the world, and Daniel’s M3 rep rocks the look far better than the phrase ‘brown E30’ might suggest. It also serves to really irritate the stuffy pipe-smokers of the concours world: jamming ‘E30 M3’, ‘V8’ and ‘brown’ into the same title is enough to see a few monocles clattering to the floor, but it really does make for a compelling combo. See, it pays to think outside of the proverbial box.
“People tend to like it, I think,” says Daniel, somewhat guardedly. “If you’re out driving and someone gives you a thumbs-up, or you see them rotating their head through 360 degrees like an owl as you drive past, that’s probably a good sign.” But, of course, winning respect was never the point of this build: it was about Daniel and his father building a car together, and the finished product is far greater than that Fast and Furious-obsessed teenager could have ever envisaged. “The car gets a lot of compliments, and it has won some trophies at big shows as well as local meets, but we built it to be driven really. I drive it as much as I can – seeing friends, taking it on holiday, even using it on track.” And it’s the latter that must surely be the most jarring for any onlookers – a brown M3 is strange enough, but one this clean being used in anger, with the bellow of a V8? Well, you’re only young once, right? No point building a car just to stand in the background polishing the thing, there’s a world of race heritage to live up to. Why not raise a few eyebrows and take a few scalps?
As tributes go, this E30 represents a modern, offbeat take on the M3 with a number of retro cues stirred in for good measure: the quest for authenticity has resulted in a bona fide homologation-model look, while the saccharine brown harks back to the 1970s and beyond. Conversely, the chassis is bang up to date, and that engine? You can’t argue with 280-odd horses and a rumble that shakes the Tarmac. It has taken countless hours in the garage to get the car this way, but Daniel and Anders cherish every late night, every blackened thumb, every moment of the father-and-son bonding experience. Some families do puzzles together. Some go sailing. Some play football. The Larssons? Well, they sketch out their dreams, then use power tools to turn them into real, tangible things. And if E30s like this are the result of such ambition, that’s something to be seriously encouraged.
Outside and engine bay get all the attention, but the interior’s not been forgotten about, with E36 M3 Vader seats and custom black headlining.
“The car gets a lot of compliments and has won trophies at big shows but we built it to be driven”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30-V8 /// #BMW-E30-V8-M60B40 /// #BMW-E30-M60
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #M60B40 / #M60 , gold detailing, smoothed bay, five-speed manual #ZF gearbox
CHASSIS 7.5x17” (front) and 8.5x17” (rear) #Lenso BSX wheels with Hankook Ventus V12 tyres, #K-Sport Street coilovers, #Brembo four-pots (front) with 305x28mm discs, E30 325i brakes (rear)
EXTERIOR Resprayed in #BMW Marrakesh brown, genuine M3 wings, fibreglass front and rear bumpers, side skirts, C-pillars and bootlid, genuine #BMW-M3 boot spoiler, angel eyes
INTERIOR E36 M3 Vader seats, M Tech II steering wheel, custom audio, custom black headlining
THANKS Special thanks to my dad, Anders Larsson, who did this project with me, he’s the best! Also thanks to Speeding.nu and Bakaxeldelar.se
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