- 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 moderationTHE REVENANT SLICK E34 540i Stunning classic Five
Back once again with another of his greatest hits, this stellar 540i is the latest hot Beemer from… ah, but that’d be telling, wouldn’t it? Words: Daniel Bevis Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary
Gorgeous E34 540i
“The strangest part about being famous is that you don’t get to give first impressions any more. Everyone already has an impression of you before you meet them.”
Kristen Stewart said that, and she knows a thing or two about being recognised on the street. When you become well known in any given field, it’s impossible to stop your personified reputation from strutting ahead of you, thereafter colouring all of your future achievements with the rainbow-like splendour (or, conversely, bilious taint) of all that you’ve done before. It’s subjective, of course, but when you see Tom Cruise appear in a new movie, do you take him at face value or does your brain start wondering idly about scientology? Yeah, precedent is a dangerous thing. So we’re not going to tell you who owns this car. We’ll let you judge it for what it is.
So, since we have no weight of precedent to bother us, the first thing that lures us in is that cheeky registration number. ‘U AS5’? Well, thanks a lot. But yes, perhaps it’s an appropriate snap judgement of the average bystander’s character, because a lot of people who tangentially know what they’re talking about will see a tidy E34 like this and immediately say: “Shame, it’s not an M5.” And that’s a mistake. Because the 540i is a phenomenal machine, and in certain arguable respects superior to (or at least more desirable to some than) the celebrated M super-saloon. Particularly when it has a rare-as- hen’s-teeth six-speed manual gearbox, as this one does. And, of course, while the 540i yields 50hp-ish to the M5, it does come packing a rumbling V8 rather than a straightsix.
If a bent-eight torque-fest is what keeps you up all night, this is the E34 for you. It’s certainly the E34 of choice for our mystery protagonist. Indeed, it’s not the first one he’s owned; the last one became an engine donor for his E30 V8 project, with the rest of the car being broken up for parts and scattered to the winds – and this is clearly a state of affairs that’s rankled with him ever since. A combination of factors ranging from the implacable pang of yearning for a lost car to the spiralling values and increasing scarcity of one of Europe’s great V8, manual-’boxed cruisers meant that his keenness to find another one was pretty strong. Indeed, he was fairly dogged and single-minded in his pursuit – having set his sights on a bona fide 540i/6, there was little that could get in his way. Even such trifles as geography and language couldn’t put up any sort of barrier.
After scouring the UK market to no avail, stumbling through boneyards of knackered 5 Series with little excitement to offer, our shadowy hero cast his sights and his nets further afield, and eventually turned up a likely-looking candidate in Poland. Okay, so he doesn’t speak Polish, but that wasn’t a problem: he merely deputised somebody who could speak the language to fly out there, check it out, arrange the purchase and drive it back to the UK. Like you do.
Sounding improbable? Well, that’s just the fairytale world that this master of secrecy inhabits. After all, the 540i now finds itself sharing driveway space with, among others, a Lamborghini Diablo, a Ferrari Testarossa, and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Why should this scenario be more unusual than any other day in his whimsical life?
Now, if you or I were to attempt such a manoeuvre, we’d inevitably end up with some sort of colossal heap parked on the drive, having paid top dollar for a cut-and-shut 518i with a last-minute paint job. But no, that sort of thing doesn’t happen to this guy. What he landed was actually a catch, its Polish owner having clearly expended a decent wedge on its upkeep, sitting it on a set of 18” RH splits and retrimming the whole interior in black leather – including the fancy front seats which, if you’re a particular sort of BMW nerd, you may recognise as the Recaros from the Winkelhock Edition M5, of which just 51 were built. Pretty neat selling point, that.
It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, though. The universe isn’t that kind. While the aesthetics were tip-top and the spec was just-so, the chassis was a baggy. Bushes had been allowed to wither, suspension components were showing their age, it all needed a refresh. So that’s exactly what our man did. And no half-measures either – the suspension was handed into the loving embrace of BC Racing, who decked the 540i out in its sublimely fetching ‘Extra Low’ BR Series coilovers, imbuing the OEM+ aesthetic with a certain rakish aggression.
It’s the sort of car you’d expect to see ferrying miscreants about in 1990s car chase movies, all slab-sided imposition and lowslung menace. And then, of course, it was time to address the area that many consider to be the most important… the wheels. The genius of what lies beneath this E34’s arches is in their relative stealth. To the uninitiated, they’re just a set of standard BMW wheels. To those with a little knowledge, the owner appears to have swapped on a set of M5 Throwing Stars. But when you learn the truth, you’ll appreciate just how deep the mystery spirals…
It all started with a chap in the US by the name of Rimal Chand. Around about the time our E34 owner was sizing up his wheel options, Rimal was sharing a few pictures online of some custom split-rims he’d made using M-System Throwing Stars and 8 Series Turbines, and this was something that really caught his eye. With barely a pause, he’d made contact with Rimal and requested a set of his very own one-off Throwing Star faces to be fabricated and shipped to SS Autowerks in the UK, to be built up and fitted to the 540i. The finished result is a set of 18” wheels – 9.5” wide at the front, 11” out back – which few would suspect as being anything particularly special. But to those in the know, they’re the product of some sort of celestial master of the craft. In effect, the wheels imbue the build with the ultimate in OEM+ chic; to 95% of people this is simply a clean old 5 Series. To those who know what they’re looking at, however, this car is something very alluring indeed. The numerous other subtle upgrades – the smoked lights, the Heckblende (y’know, that reflective thingy across the boot), the rumbling exhaust system – somehow merely accentuate the subtlety of it all. This really is a cerebral and considered project.
Oh, and the name behind it? Okay, some of you will have guessed. This car belongs to noted retro BMW egghead Nick Sahota – he of the ‘PUR35T’ bagged orange E30 M3, among many others. But if we’d told you that at the start, none of the fastidious attention to detail or excellence-at-all-costs motif would have come as a surprise. As Robert De Niro once said: “The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you.” But Nick doesn’t need your preconceptions to form any sort of back-slapping judgement – much like every other car in his collection, this 540i speaks entirely for itself.
“To those who know what they’re looking at, this car is very alluring indeed”
“This really is a cerebral and considered project”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E34 / #BMW-540i / #BMW-540i-E34 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-V8 / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #M60B40 / #M60 / #BMW-M60 , custom #Hard-Knocks-Speed-Shop stainless steel exhaust system, six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) #M5-M-System-II-Style-21 ‘ #Throwing-Star ’ alloys converted to split-rims with 225/35 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing ‘Extra Low’ #BC-Racing-BR Series coilovers
EXTERIOR E34 Heckblende, smoked Hella headlights and tail-lights
INTERIOR #Winkelhock-Edition-M5-Recaro seats, full black leather retrim including dash, black headliningStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFULLY CUSTOM 1502 V8-powered, metal wide-body beast.
Looking like a fantastical toy car brought to life, and quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, this incredible, completely custom ‘4002’ will leave you lost for words. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andrew Thompson.
Seriously wide and seriously wild, this fully custom 1502 is one of the most sensational machines we’ve ever seen.
We come across some wild builds around the world on our never-ending quest to sample everything the global modified BMW scene has to offer but we never expected to find a build like this nestling in a quiet corner of our island home. What started out life in 1976 as a 1502 now bears little resemblance to the car it was 40 years ago, having been completely transformed, with the hot rod spirit forming the very essence of the project. Owner David Holt is the sort of car enthusiast we hope to be when we’re north of 60. His passion for cars hasn’t been dulled by the relentless grind of existence and pressure to conform, to slip through life unnoticed without rocking the boat. Dave hasn’t just rocked the boat, he’s tipped it over, set the hull on fire and is riding a dolphin into the sunset. There is no boat left to worry about rocking.
If you’re slowly backing away from the magazine, trying not make any sudden movements because you’re worried we’ve lost it, that’s just the sort of effect this car has. I mean, just look at it. It’s hard to know where to even begin talking about a car like this, let alone where to begin when building it. But then again, Dave has been building award-winning custom cars for both himself and his customers for over 40 years, which include a chopped Humber Sceptre (ask your dad), a chopped and panelled Ford Mk2 Consul Estate (ask your dad) and a chopped and coupé’d Austin A40 Devon (you guessed it, ask your dad), so what seems like a project of mind-blowing proportions is pretty much second nature to him. Dave is a panel beater and sprayer by trade, now retired, giving him the skills necessary to produce such complex custom creations. He owned his own body repair shop with his son, Alec, who was responsible for getting his dad into Bavarian motors. “My son has always been into cars and loves BMWs. He persuaded me to buy my first one, a Z3 2.8, which got me hooked,” says Dave. “He bought the 1502 on eBay for £400 and said he wanted to do a custom job, so the first thing we did was give it a roof chop of 2.5”. Alec has a good eye and a lot of the design ideas are his, some of which I wouldn’t have thought of doing. He wanted to use an M3 straight-six engine but soon discovered the prices were far too high. Being old-school, I suggested a V8 and we agreed that it was the way to go. There was no definite plan but it had to be loud, powerful and proud, and only BMW parts could be fitted.”
Sadly, after a promising start, things had to be put on hold. “Work, life and the recession then got in the way and the project stalled,” explains Dave. “Alec went off to see the world and I closed the business down. He is now living in Australia and working as a chef.”
But that’s not where the story ends and retirement most definitely has its perks. “I found I had a lot of time on my hands and so continued the build from home in my garage,” Dave adds. And the end result of his hard graft is what you see here.
So much work has gone into the body that it would seem criminal to start anywhere else. You only need a quick glance at what Dave has christened the ‘4002’ (because of that 4.0- litre M60 V8 under the bonnet) to realise that it bears little resemblance to the car it started out life as. It’s those crazy wide arches that give this ’02 a pumped-up stance and road presence that’s absolutely outrageous. And all the bodywork, all of it metal, has been custom-made by Dave.
“As well as being chopped, the roof has also been moved forwards to retain the original windscreen rake so the rear window has tilted forwards and is still the standard size, which gives the car more of a coupé appearance,” he explains. “The front and rear wings were cut off up to the waistline and new panels were hand-made in 20-gauge steel. The floor, inner sills and chassis have been rebuilt and strengthened and new outer sills have been fitted 2” lower, while the doors have been reskinned with 2” deeper panels to make the car look lower without sacrificing too much ground clearance.” Indeed it’s when the 4002 is viewed in profile that you can appreciate the result of all that work. The steep rake of the rear screen, the narrow glasshouse and the high-waisted flanks really do make the car look a lot lower than it is.
“The firewall is still intact, although there are a few more holes in it to allow for the plumbing and wiring, while the entire front end was cut off to allow for engine fitment and remade using new steel and the original grille. The front bumper is a modified Z3 M part and is the only non-steel panel on the entire car; we don’t use the ‘F’ word round here; fibreglass, that is,” laughs Dave. We think the Z3 bumper works well. Its pointy nature suits the ’02’s shape and with the amount of work that’s gone into transforming the rest of the body, its obviously modern lines don’t look at all out of place. “Two sheets of 18 gauge steel were punched with 198(!) 3” louvres and welded into the slightly stretched bonnet and the heater grilles were filled. The bootlid is the only unmodified panel on the whole car but it does have the spoiler from an E34 530i,” Dave continues.
If the front end is wild but familiar, the rear end is completely off the charts and the very definition of what you’d expect to see on a custom car or hot rod. Following this beast down the road you’d have no clue what on earth was in front of you. “The rear panel has been extended and rolled right under so the exhaust boxes (I can’t really call them silencers) are now inboard where the fuel tank used to live,” Dave grins. “E36 Cabriolet rear lights and a Frenched numberplate smooth the rear end off.”
Frenching, in case you were wondering, is the technical term for what most of us call smoothing. The paint is Lechler two-pack Inca orange and it packs a hell of a punch. The M tricolour stripes on the sides might look out of place on a non-M machine but Dave is on hand to explain: “The graphics, which are not stickers but painted on, are my take on the Motorsport design but in this case the ‘M’ is for mental!” he laughs. And we laugh nervously with him… Clearly this is a car that sends everyone who spends any time around it a little bit crazy. And the craziest thing of all? Not only did Dave fabricate all the bodywork himself he also sprayed the car himself, over the space of six weeks, in his little garage. Respect.
In comparison to the bodywork the mechanical side of this project would likely seem a little tame but thankfully there’s 4.0-litre V8 under the bonnet, extracted from a 1993 E34 540i. Naturally Dave did all the work himself. “It sits on a pair of E36 328 polyurethane engine mounts and it’s got an induction kit and free-flow stainless steel exhaust system which I fabricated whilst lying under the car on a cold concrete floor as I don’t have a ramp,” he explains. “It’s not the prettiest but it sounds like thunder. The engine itself is stock but the ECU has been chipped and it develops about 330hp. It is mated to five-speed manual ZF gearbox from an E34 530 via a dual mass flywheel with a 285mm diameter clutch plate. I would like to have used a one-piece steel flywheel but the cost was too much. All brackets and mounting plates are hand-fabricated from 4mm steel plate; the radiator, power steering pump and ancillaries are E34 parts and the steering rack is from an E36. The propshaft is made up of an E36 rear half and the front 20” section is from an E34. This and the machining of the front suspension mounts were the only jobs I didn’t do myself. It also has the entire loom from the E34, so there are lots of extra wires and redundant relays but I was advised to keep it all intact to have any hope of getting it running.”
The 1502’s engine bay is not a particularly spacious place and the 4.0-litre V8 pretty much takes up all of it. There’s really no room left at all and you can appreciate just how much work was required to squeeze that massive engine into such a tiny bay. That the result is so neat comes as no surprise and belies the amount of effort required to make it all fit and work perfectly. If that much time has been dedicated to the parts you can see, you can imagine that the bits you can’t were no less complicated and no less involved. “The undercarriage was fitted using the old method of plumb line drop checks and cross checks measuring onto the floor and fabricating adaptor plates to fit the strengthened chassis,” explains Dave. “And the wheelbase is the same but the track is now 8” wider.”
This makes for some serious girth, especially on a car as slim as the ’02. “The running gear is from a 1997 E36 323i with 275mm and 245mm vented disc brakes while the twin servos (the only original mechanical parts still fitted) are now in the boot and are fed by an electric vacuum pump. I’ve also got an adjustable bias pedalbox by Compbrake and a line lock for showing off,” he grins. And that’s something this car does very well indeed as the smoky burnout shots demonstrate. “The rear suspension is made up of E36 springs and dampers on adjustable perches but I will be fitting coilovers soon,” Dave continues. “The fronts are adjustable coilovers with pillow ball top mounts. Alec chose the Borbet A wheels which are 8.5x17” up front and 10x17” at the rear and I clad them in 215/40 and 255/40 budget tyres because they smoke easily and they’re more fun!”
The inside isn’t quite as wild as the rest of the car although it’s clear that it’s far from standard. Even though Dave says it’s not finished yet it looks special all the same and to get it to this stage has already taken a lot of work. The doorcards, dash and steering wheel are all original ’02 parts, with the gauge cluster housing E34 instruments while the seats, both front and rear, and centre console are from a Mazda RX-8. This is most definitely a left field choice but they certainly look good, with chunky bolsters for plenty of lateral support and, taken out of their Mazda context, they actually have a bit of a hot rod look about them, so they’re a fitting choice for this outrageous ’02 given Dave’s modifying background. Open up the boot and you’re presented with an immaculately installed and extremely intricate fuel setup comprising a polished alloy fuel tank and swirl pot by Alloy Fabrications and Sytec fuel pumps and filters, while the battery and aforementioned brake servos sit beneath a lift-out panel in the floor.
Considering it’s nothing but business back here, it really is a thing of beauty. Those of you who take a more down the line approach to modified BMWs may not approve of Dave’s outlandish creation, but whatever view you take of what he’s done to this 1502, you can’t help but admire the sheer amount of time and work that’s been poured into it. It’s in incredible thing, quite unlike anything we’ve ever come across. The fact that the whole thing has been built from the ground up by Dave makes it all the more amazing. His sheer skill and absolute passion is evident in every single element of the build. Even if it is a car that doesn’t appeal to everyone, Dave didn’t build it for anyone else apart from himself. And we reckon he’s enjoying himself far too much to care anyway.
“I chose budget tyres because they smoke easily”
DATA FILE Custom #V8 / #BMW-1502 / #M60B40 / #BMW-M60 / #M60 / #BMW-1502-M60 / #BMW-1502-V8 / #BMW / #BMW-Typ-114 / #BMW-1502-Typ-114 / #BMW-4002 / #BMW-4002-Typ-114 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 M60B40 from E34 540i, chipped, induction kit, custom stainless steel exhaust system with in-board rear boxes in place of original fuel tank, custom steel bracketry and mounting plates, E36 328i polyurethane mounts, E34 radiator, power steering pump and ancillaries, E36 steering rack, custom E34/E36 propshaft, E34 530i #ZF five-speed manual gearbox, dual mass flywheel, 285mm clutch plate. 330hp (est)
CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #Borbet-A alloys with custom anthracite rainbow pearl centres and polished lips with 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Nexen N6000 tyres, adjustable coilovers with pillow ball top mounts (front) and E36 springs and dampers on adjustable perches (rear), E36 323i running gear with 275mm (front) and 245mm (rear) vented discs, Compbrake adjustable bias pedalbox, line lock kit, 8” wider track
EXTERIOR Roof chopped 2.5” and moved forwards, rear window angled forwards, custom steel front and rear arches, strengthened floor, inner sills and chassis rebuilt and strengthened, 2” lower outer sills, custom steel front end, modified Z3 M front bumper, widened bonnet with custom louvred sections, E34 530i rear spoiler, rear panel extended and rolled under car, E36 Cab rear lights, Frenched numberplate, Lechler two-pack Inca orange paint with custom painted M tricolour strip design
INTERIOR Mazda RX-8 seats and centre console, E34 gauges in original dash pod, boot-mounted Alloy Fabrications fuel tank and swirl pot, Sytec fuel pumps and fuel filters, original twin brake servos with electric vacuum pump
“We don’t use the ‘F’ word round here; fibreglass, that is”
“I chose budget tyres because they smoke easily”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.