- Post is under moderationMARK B’S #BMW-E30-Coupe / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-S14
Since rebuilding the engine a few months back, I have tried to use the M3 whenever I can and it finally has the reliability it should have had. The engine performance is really strong and using the M3 in competition meant I was able to really drive it harder than regular driving allows. I kept the rev limit to just over 8000rpm for longevity and while 250hp isn’t much by modern M3 standards, combined with a shorter final drive and the low weight of a partially-stripped #BMW-E30 , you have a car that’s quicker than you might imagine. The combination of induction noise (thanks to the DTM carbon air box) and harder edged exhaust tone (from Eisenmann’s excellent Race exhaust system) only add to the experience. Whilst I always loved the look of the old ex-works race car clocks, they just didn’t allow me to keep close enough an eye on what was going on within the engine, which is why STACK suggested I run their classic analogue rev counter and LCD display. I must say, I am glad I followed their advice as having literally every parameter covered and the information available at my finger tips has meant I have total confidence in the BMW-S14 and its health. I can’t say it hasn’t been a pretty steep learning curve, especially when it comes down to learning which modifications work and which don’t, but I’m finally at a point where everything has come together. The additional cooling (thanks Rad-Tec) and tricks like remounting the oil cooler (albeit a slightly larger Mocal unit) mean the engine now runs at its optimum with power and performance being consistent no matter ambient temperature and altitude, thanks to running DTA Fast engine management. This wasn’t the case with Alpha-N, when the car could feel totally different from one day to the next. It just seemed incredibly sensitive to changes and I’m sure that wasn’t good for the engine. Thankfully that’s all in the past now.
This past week saw MOT time roll around again (where does the time go?!). Thankfully ARM take care of this for me and as I know there’s no corrosion to worry about, plus the mechanical side is about as well maintained as it’s possible to be, I really didn’t have too many concerns. Usually it’s something trivial like the headlight adjustment or a blown bulb but this time it was a straight pass with no advisories. Job done! We also did a gearbox and LSD oil change as I plan on doing a track session at Silverstone at the end of November. I’ve never driven Silverstone before, apart from in Project Cars on the PS4, so I’m really looking forward to driving such an iconic track. The video from Petrolicious is also live now and I must say thank you for the positive comments. It’s been a tough few years if I’m honest and I have some more tough times ahead, so I’m extremely grateful. Sadly this may mean my selling the E30, although I am currently trying to find an alternative solution, but please feel free to contact me should you be interested.
Mark’s awesome M3 in action
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- Post is under moderationMARK B’S E30 M3 #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-S14 / #resto-mod /
There are some events that simply stand head and shoulders above the rest and the Retro Rides Gathering is one of them. Despite a few location changes over the years, it continues to be the class of the field as far as I am concerned. This year saw a multitude of cars descend upon Shelsey Walsh where, set in the hills of Worcestershire, is one of the UK’s premier hill climb tracks. Established in 1905 it has seen a glorious array of cars and drivers, stopping only for the two world wars. I had been before, so knew what to expect and although this was very much a ‘for fun’ event, it doesn’t stop you trying once the light goes green.
In the days before Retro Rides I was able to get Joe Geach of ARM BMW and Motorsport to spanner check the car and change the oil. I had already backed off the KW suspension to full soft, so as to afford as much compliance as possible. It’s still very firm but allows for some roll and better grip on the slower, tighter corners. In the quick stuff the M3 still felt totally planted and gave me loads of confidence to push on. Now, I’m no natural talent and certainly haven’t missed out on a career in the BTCC or DTM, but I’ve driven a fair few race cars (including an outing in a Formula Opel Euroseries car. A genuine slicks and wings formula) and my personal best in a race-prepared E30 325i is a 59.7. Now considering I’m built for comfort and not speed, I was pretty happy with that.
I usually leave Cornwall at 3am and make my way up to Shelsey, but this time I went all posh and got myself an Air BnB in Hereford. This meant I could have a lie-in till 7am, grab a shower and enjoy some of the beautiful roads that area has to offer. I’d driven up the day before and crossed the Severn Bridge for some B road fun en route. I even managed to find a jet wash close to Shelsey and got the M3 pretty clean considering the 250+ miles I’d covered and beat the queues to boot. Driving from Hereford to Shelsey, with the sun shining, windows down and the S14 singing, is a cracking start to any Sunday, let alone one with the Gathering to follow.
One of the great things about Retro Rides is the eclectic mix of cars, with nothing newer than 1995. It really doesn’t matter what you drive so long as it’s old enough, and the atmosphere is terrific. On a personal note, I’m always made to feel so very welcome and it’s a real pleasure seeing the many familiar faces year-on-year. It’s that which keeps me going back time and again.
As those of you who read my ramblings will know, it has been a tough year or so with my M3. It seemed that every time I left Cornwall the engine would let me down, and not in a small way. Much as I love the S14, it is extremely expensive to rebuild and I’ve been chasing reliability issues for months now. The biggest problem has been with the bearings and the supply of OE quality from independent suppliers. Hopefully, it appears to have been third time lucky and the M3 is now running better than it ever it has. Even with some of the hottest ambient temperatures of 2018, power was a strong 250hp+ on ARM’s dyno, with the rev limit set at 8.5k for engine longevity. It sounds absolutely glorious, especially now there are a few miles on the Eisenmann/Supersprint exhaust system. The pops and crackles on overrun are epic and, along with the induction noise from the carbon air box, it almost sounds like a proper DTM car.
The mix of cars at Shelsey included a selection of Bavaria’s finest, including a ’60s 1600-2 with a supercharged M42 that was owned and built by James of JFi Classics in Brecon. There was also an S54-powered E28 flying up the hill and sounding glorious. Very much a home-brewed M5 and one of my personal favourites of the day.
As well as having fun on the hill at Shelsey Walsh, I have been working with Thomas Garner Films and Mumbo Vlogs, who were shooting on behalf of Petrolicious. I’m going to hazard a guess that if you’re reading this, you’ll know Petrolicious and the content they put out on YouTube. If you don’t, you’re in for a real treat. The video will be up in October so just search for ‘Petrolicious BMW E30 M3,’ sit back and enjoy. You’ll also find relevant content on Instagram at mark_e30m3 and official-mumbo.
Finally, if you’re in Cornwall around mid September, be sure to pay a visit to Watergate Bay and see what is billed as being the UK’s first closed road speed event. It takes place over the weekend of the 15/16th September 2018 and you’ll see a brace of E30 M3s being driven as they were designed to be. There are some very special cars and drivers entered so check out www.watergatebayhillclimb.co.uk for further information. Feel free to come say hello if you visit the pits too! If you can’t make it, I’ll try and bring you an in depth report after the event.
E30 looked the part at Shelsey Walsh. BMW M3 E30 will be a YouTube star very soon. M3 received plenty of attention.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationOUR CARS MARK B’S E30 M3
/ #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-S14 / #resto-mod /
As I write this, last week was the first Retro Rides Gathering at Goodwood and a date I had marked in my diary a good few months back. The chaps at Retro Rides always put on a good show, with their August events at Shelsey Walsh being just about my favourite of the year. Goodwood was a first, though, and with a combination of static show and track action it was also going to be popular. There was also bound to be a good selection of classic BMWs, with many having a resto-mod flavour.
Personally though, I was looking forward to getting my E30 M3 out on track and enjoying all the hard work done over the past year or so. Living in Cornwall is lovely but the only real downside is everywhere being so far away. I could have camped at Goodwood but opted to use Airbnb and find myself a place to stay close by instead. Before leaving, though, I figured I would get local valeters iShine to come work their magic and get the M3 looking its best. Much as I love my car, detailing just isn’t my thing! I also did a thorough spanner and fluid check to make certain all was as it should be, before loading my suitcase and crash helmet, then heading off towards Goodwood. In fact, it was Chichester I was staying at and the journey up couldn’t have been better. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the M3 was in its element on the twisting A roads of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. Being so warm, as I headed through the New Forest I opened the windows and enjoyed the induction noise, with pops and bangs from the exhaust on overrun. It had to rank as one of the best journeys I’ve done in the M3. I arrived at the #B&B in good time and was up early on Saturday, getting petrol en route to the circuit, with the sun still shining.
Goodwood is a fantastic circuit. It’s fast and flowing, with some double-apex right-handers that really suit the E30 M3. The warm ambient temperature also meant the Nankang AR-1 tyres were at their best and I was looking forward to putting them through their paces. I knew they were good from using them on the street but that simply doesn’t compare to lapping a circuit. On a track day I would have dropped cold air pressures to around 20 psi but this was a sprint format that consisted of a standing start from the pit lane and two flying laps. There was also a second chicane that had been added to the back straight, in an effort to slow things down a little. There were morning and afternoon sessions, with 40 cars in each that were divided into groups of five. Cars were released one at a time, with about 15 seconds between them, so as to spread the cars out on track. Overtaking was also forbidden. The track action was always going to be about fun rather than competition with such an eclectic group of cars anyway. I had a Studebaker ahead of me and a ’60s Ford Galaxy behind, so you see what I mean.
My first two laps were more about remembering the corners than pushing the limits of the car. Even so, it wasn’t long before I found myself riding the rear of the Studebaker. I backed off, enjoyed the views and once the gap had grown again, nailed the accelerator, enjoying the sound of the S14 revving up toward its redline. I know I’m biased but it sounded glorious. In the past I have always tried to short-shift the gears and get the M3 settled into the corners, carrying as much speed as I can.
I must say I was incredibly happy with the performance of the #Nankang-AR-1 tyres. The levels of grip were excellent right from the off and they were certainly consistent. My first introduction to Nankang was of a cheap tyre most often used by drifters and, if honest, there was a bit of a stigma attached to the name. It is pretty clear that Nankang have done some serious development and, as a control tyre for the #M3 cup, the general consensus was it’s a very good tyre indeed. It will be interesting to see how well they last, when compared to the likes of the Toyo R888R, but their performance is certainly next level. Yes, they’re not exactly ideal in wet weather but they were never meant to be. It’s hard to see how you could get a better track day tyre for the money, though. The only negative being there isn’t quite the choice in sizes I would like, but hopefully that may change in the future? Anyway, big thanks to Ben Lawson at Nankang UK.
The M3 runs KW Competition suspension and it felt so planted, really giving me the confidence to carry so much speed through the corners. My previous experience had been with my old #BMW-325i-Coupe-E30 race car but the M3 is in a whole other league. As I passed the chequered flag I was able to scroll through the various readings on the Stack dash display and everything was well within the limits so we rolled around to the paddock and awaited our next laps.
Whilst sat in the paddock we shuffled our group of five cars around, with the M3 going first as it was the fastest. Now I could really push on without catching slower traffic, although I was also mindful of this being fun and not competitive. As we had a few minutes I was able to take a look at some of the other cars and especially the other BMWs. How about a 1970 1600-2? I love ’02s anyway, but this one belonged to James of JFi Classics in Brecon. James and I have been friends for a few years now and he has put together some terrific cars. This ’02 has a real sting in the tail, with a supercharged #M42 under the bonnet. The registration plate FLY is pretty apt and the whine of the supercharger is phenomenal. There was also another E30 M3, but rather than being powered by an S14 it has what was the first #LS1-V8 conversion. Power is around 450hp so it was always going to be quick. My personal favourite is a car I have known since I first discovered BMWs 30 plus years ago! It’s a 2002 Touring but with M30 3.5 power and triple Weber carbs. It has to be said, this is just about my perfect ’02 specification and a credit to Ian Elliott who has built and developed it over many years.
As time came around for my next laps, James from JFi’s son jumped in as a passenger, having never ridden in an E30 M3 before. Obviously with such a valuable cargo I wasn’t going to go 10/10ths but after the first lap we were both enjoying the performance of the M3 and all those clichés that have been written for the past 30+ years. The second lap was certainly my quickest of the day, carrying more speed through Woodcote and braking hard for the right, left of Chicane as we entered the pit straight and crossed the finishing line. It was as we passed that line the dash warning light flashed and the Stack display showed ‘Low Oil Pressure!’ accompanied by the unmistakable sound of bearing knocking. I immediately killed the engine and coasted to a halt. My weekend had just taken a nosedive.
The next half hour was mainly spent staring in disbelief. I had done everything I could to guard against this scenario yet here I was, looking at yet another incredibly expensive engine rebuild. What I just couldn’t understand, though, was why? The reason I had installed the digital dash display from Stack Ltd, was that it allowed me to keep a close eye on exactly what goes on with the engine. The custom rad, larger oil cooler and baffled sump were also fitted to allow the S14 to be used as it was designed to be, on track. I’ve been almost obsessive in keeping watch over fluid levels and temperatures yet here I was with another engine failure. As you can imagine, my enthusiasm for the rest of the weekend took quite a knock so I opted to get the M3 transported back home so that ARM could get the engine out and back to the builder.
A could of days later Joe at ARM took off the sump and it was soon clear that cylinder number one’s big end shell had spun. Added to that, the rest of the bearings look to have worn prematurely and you’d never believe this was an engine that had run for just 300 hours. What we couldn’t see though, was a reason to explain the failure and without that I couldn’t rebuild and gamble that it could happen again.
The next couple of days saw me calling and emailing anyone with experience of using BMWs S14 in competition. They all agreed that I appeared to have taken pretty much every precaution and both the ECU and Stack memories confirmed that there were no excessive coolant or oil temperatures, the engine had never been over-revved and the only thing that was shown was a momentary (and pretty catastrophic) loss of oil pressure. It was then that I mentioned that the crank had been subjected to a +0.75 regrind and it is this that seems most likely to have been behind the failure, due to its removing the nitriding that gives the crank strength. In fact a few people have since told me that they just wouldn’t regrind an S14 crankshaft at all, let alone as much as +0.75 and that I need a new crankshaft before I rebuild my engine once again. I also need to replace at least one of the Arrow con rods as the end cap has blued from the heat generated by the spun shell. Thankfully Russ, at JC Racing in Thirsk, has come to the rescue. So there we go. As it stands today (and things may well change between now and your reading this) I have a pretty expensive parts list to fill. I had no idea that the S14 crank couldn’t be reground but as they say, every day is a school day and this was an expensive lesson!
BIG THANKS TO Joe at ARM BMW, Kirby at C3 BMW Russ at JC Racing, James at JFi Classics Nigel at Moseley Motorsport I also owe a huge amount to my long-suffering partner Claire. I think it’s fair to say she hates the M3 and would rather I sold it and took up knitting instead
Nankang AR-1s impressed on track. The M3 was treated to a detailing session. Compbrake #BBK great on track. #BMW-E30-LS1 #V8-swapped-BMW-M3-E30 was also on track.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMARK B’S E30 M3 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-S14
Well after six months and goodness knows how much overtime, we are finally on the home straight and looking to fire up the #newly-rebuilt-S14 for the first time. Initially we had thought all that was required was a new timing chain and tensioner, although that in itself is a job that used to put people off M3 ownership, along with stories of huge servicing costs and supposedly fragile and highly-strung engines, especially when they got to the kind of mileage where top ends started rattling! Someone then had the presence of mind to fit an E36 tensioner and, suddenly, running an S14 didn’t seem like such a risky prospect.
In fact, my own M3 was fitted with the E36 tensioner but with the mileage passing the 100k mark, a rebuild was long overdue. As my car had actually been involved in a small bump, the timing chain cover was cracked and needed to be replaced. This really means the head should come off and so, whilst we did that, it made sense to take the opportunity to open out the inlet ports at the same time. While we were doing that we figured we may as well slot in some Schrick cams.
You can see where this is going, can’t you? A severe case of “While you’re in there…” followed, with CP pistons, H-section rods and the final piece of the puzzle being a swap from Alpha N to DTA Fast stand alone management. All being well, not only will the S14 now be far more responsive but it should also make considerably more power. The guys at Vink Motorsport have supplied one of their four-branch manifolds, which is a bit of a work of art and should certainly help get that extra fuel out. If you look online, you can see some stunning E30 M3s built by Ton Vink and his team.
A newly-built S14 is a bit of a jewel so the engine bay really needed to be tidied up. We also removed any brackets that weren’t needed and replaced the ageing plastic reservoirs with shiny alloy. The bay has also been given a fresh coat of brilliant red to complete what has actually been a bit of a transformation when compared to how it was when we started. As well as fitting a new clutch, a lighter flywheel seemed like a good idea and Automac came up trumps. We are also extremely grateful to the guys at C3 BMW in Kent, who supplied a newly-rebuilt Getrag 265 dogleg gearbox, which is topped off with a shifter from Samsonas.
The only thing we are still waiting on are the three-piece alloys from AGS. They’re a five-stud version of the E50 centre locks that factory race cars ran back in the day. Last we heard, the new barrels are drilled and away being polished so hopefully it won’t be too much longer till they’re back and ready to be built up. There’s also a new set of Toyo R888s sat ready for when that day finally arrives.
So, right now it’s all about mapping and the man tasked with the job is Sandy Brown. He’s mapped a few E30 M3s now, including ARM BMW’s rally car, and as I write the dyno is booked for later this week. Before that, though, the ITBs need to be synchronised and new mounts fabricated for the TPS and crank sensor. All being well though, this time next month I should be able to let you know what numbers we get and how it feels on the road.
Freshly-built S14 now fitted and being mapped.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEvolution Not Revolution Gorgeous US E30 M3. There’s a purity to the E30 M3 that’s ensured a strong and devoted following over the years. But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to tweak and refine them… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jordan Unternaher.
High-end resto-modding is big business these days. We see it in all corners of the automotive world – Eagle will sell you a Jaguar E-Type, if your pockets are sufficiently deep, with better-than-new bodywork, classic looks, and thoroughly modern power, suspension and brakes. Singer will do the same for a Porsche 911, Icon offer a new-old Ford Bronco, it’s everywhere. Jensen Interceptors, Peugeot 205 GTIs, you name it.
The E30 we see here, however, is a slightly different interpretation of the timeworn resto-mod ethos. It hasn’t been stripped down to its component nuts and bolts in a hermetically sealed lab then rebuilt as a sort of retro-modern pastiche of its former self.
No, its owner, James Dallas of Ohio, has instead chosen to optimise and contemporise his iconic three-box 3 Series by following two distinct paths: firstly, to cherry pick the finest parts from the evolutionary E30 timeline, and secondly to bring all of that glorious power and tactility screaming into the 21st century. This, then, is an M3 re-imagined – a fulfilment of a cerebral vision, spirited into reality via the medium of methodical and careful planning. Like a chef who’s ever so precise about the measurements of their ingredients, this is proper less-is-more stuff.
An interesting approach, really, given how more-is-more the E30 M3 was in spirit in the first place. What’s key to remember is that time has mellowed the lines of this box-arched whippet; it’s no longer a hooligan bruiser, but a bona fide collectors’ item honed for B-road blasts and spirited forays into licence-losing velocity.
“I’ve been into BMWs forever, really,” says James. “I owe it all to my uncle Dennis for properly getting the obsession going - they are such amazing vehicles, and the drivability of the E30 is unprecedented; a true driver’s car. The first BMW I bought was actually a 1998 M3 sedan,” he continues. “It offers the best bang for your buck, hands down! Simple as that.” This practical everyday-superhero still sits on the Dallas driveway, but it’s the older upstart that’s drawing all the attention today. James had dabbled in modifying the newer car with uprated suspension, Dinan parts and basic bolt-ons, but the acquisition of this poster-boy of homologation allowed the scales to fall from his eyes as he began to view BMW ownership in a fresh light. Well, not so much ownership, not any more – call it curatorship.
“It’s the true benchmark of the M3 family,” he enthuses, “the way it connects you to the road and really makes you drive the thing is something you just can’t experience in newer cars. It’s also the one car that I’ve genuinely always wanted to own - the body lines are something we’ll never see the like of again.” He’s right; it is impressive how the reworked E30 transformed the svelte everyday saloon into something pumped-up and muscular. It’s worth remembering just how many body panels were junked from the standard car by BMW M to create this near-mythical beast.
“This M3 originally came from the East Coast – New Jersey, I think,” says James. “I actually purchased it from California – I’d say the condition was fair-to-good at that time. And yes, I definitely had a plan in mind for the car right from the start; I knew the exact wheels I wanted, the overall style…
I’ve always enjoyed the look and excitement of the old DTM cars, so that was definitely a major influence and a huge inspiration.” First things first, though – these have always been function-over-form cars, it’s just a happy coincidence that they happen to look frickin’ awesome, so James’s first job was to ensure that the oily bits were all just so. That iconic S14 engine (employing just four cylinders, chosen because it was small and light, but more than happy to make mincemeat of contemporary six-pots) was lovingly torn to bits and fully refreshed: all-new OEM parts - the thermostat, belts, plug wires, and then came the addition of cams, head studs, and a Turner chip to imbue a fresh sense of urgency. Any S14 is a good S14, but one that’s operating as-new and then a little bit more is very much a thing to aspire to. Stay in school, kids – these things can be yours… “I didn’t really run into any problems, but it was a long and tedious process to say the least,” he recalls with a grimace. “There was a lot of sourcing BMW factory parts. A lot!”
One area that will definitely stick in the craw of the purists is the suspension, as many will argue that there’s not a damn thing wrong with the stock setup. But in the spirit of resto-modding, James was keen to make sure that the handling matched the power in a thoroughly modern sense, and that’s the reason why you’ll find a set of high-end Ground Control coilovers nestling perkily beneath those lantern-jawed arches. “I felt it was the best overall choice for response and handling for the car,” he shrugs. And it’s his motor, so what he says goes.
The styling is what’s really interesting here, as it eagerly feeds that whole overarching less-is-more ethos with a keen sense of the historic timeline of the E30 M3’s evolution. You see, the timeline in a nutshell (heavily edited, as we don’t have space to chew over the full history here) is that the model arrived in early 1986 in Europe – America had to wait another year – and it immediately embarked upon a programme of constant reinvention. The M3 Evolution arrived in 1987, rocking a revised cylinder head, and then 1988’s Evolution II knocked things up a notch with all sorts of engine upgrades – compression ratio, intake, management, all sorts. It also had thinner glass, a deeper front airdam, an additional rear lip spoiler and lighter bumpers.
Befuddlingly, the Evo II is generally referred to as the M3 Evolution as BMW didn’t recognize the original M3 ‘Evo’ as sufficiently different to merit a different name.
Confused? Try the subsequent Evolution III then, which was actually the Sport Evolution – this #1989 model had further extensive engine upgrades along with adjustable front and rear spoilers, lower suspension and wider wings…
But let’s not get bogged down in history, or nitpicking, we don’t need to discuss the minutiae of the Tour de Corse, Europameister, Cecotto or Ravaglia editions here. Suffice it to say that James had read up on his history and carefully chosen the best bits from each of these evolutionary steps to turn his E30 into what he deemed to be perfect: the Evolution II front lip, the adjustable Sport Evo rear spoiler, the Evo air box, the Evo II steering wheel – subtle differences, probably only noticeable to true E30 nerds, but vital stuff nonetheless. It’s this dedication to geekery that really makes the build pop.
“It was always going to have BBS RS wheels,” says James. “Truly, I feel they are the best period-correct wheel for this vehicle, and I think they look fantastic. It fits perfectly with the old-school DTM look I was going for. I didn’t want to change anything with the interior though, as the M3 has the Cardinal carpets, which are pretty rare, so I left it factory. Just freshened it up, cleaned and re-bolstered the front seats.”
A few further modifications were carefully stirred into the mix over the course of the eighteen-month resto-mod exercise, in the form of a short-shifter and a tighter Z3 steering rack, and James’s favourite upgrade of them all is the diff: “I swapped in a 4.27 LSD, and I love it,” he smiles. “It gives you that immediate response as you come out of a turn or as soon as you hit the gas.”
And that’s the point of an E30 M3, isn’t it? Immediate response, granular feedback, the synthesis of man and machine working harmoniously as one. Sure, this example might have concours judges turning up their stuffy noses, but they’re not the ones driving it. James’s modern reinterpretation of this iconic and dreamlike car is pretty much spot-on – less-is-more, and at the same time utterly outrageous.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BBS / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 , #Eisenmann exhaust system with DTM tips, #Evolution air box, #Turner chip, #Schrick cams. Five-speed manual gearbox, 4.27 LSD
CHASSIS 8x16” (front) and 8.5x16” (rear) #BBS-RS wheels with 255/40 (front and rear) BF Goodrich tyres, Ground Control coilovers, Ground Control camber plates, cross-drilled discs, Z3 steering rack
EXTERIOR Salmon silver paint, Evo II front lip, Sport Evo rear spoiler
INTERIOR Original Cardinal Red interior, Evo II steering wheel
THANKS First and foremost, my uncle Dennis. Also, Cam Peugh, Ian Simon, Robert Santen, Chris Balich, and Brian from Mworks for helping refinish the RSsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #S14-swapped / #BMW-2002 . In the wastelands of postapocalyptic Sweden, one man and his extraordinary 2002 fight for survival amidst the ruins of civilisation… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
Supercharged S14 2002 rat rod
The future. Mankind has destroyed itself. The earth is barren. Pockets of survivors remain, scattered across the globe. They travel the desolate landscapes of a ruined world they once knew in search of food and shelter, driving machines created from the scavenged remains of cars from the past. In the charred remains of postapocalyptic Sweden the silence is broken only by the howl of the wind and the whine of a supercharger. A flash of orange through the trees. The bark of an exhaust drifting across the ravaged landscape. Then, the smoke parts, and something ungodly and terrifying thunders across the lonely tarmac, a man at the wheel with fi re in his eyes, and then it’s gone as quickly as it appeared and all is silent once more. That man is Thomas Nyman. This is his 2002. This is their story.
You will already know if this is your sort of car. You will have looked at the pictures and made a decision about whether or not you want to read this feature. You don’t need us to tell you that it’s not for everyone, but we will anyway, because it’s really not. For some of you, this might be the greatest crime ever committed against BMWs. Even those of you who normally love this sort of anarchic approach to modifying might be struggling a little. But if you get, really get it, you’re about to enjoy a car that’s really unlike anything else out there.
Browsing his automotive history, it’s clear that Thomas is a man who is obsessed with cars, to put it mildly… “I have owned and worked with several cars in my short life (he’s only 28) and right now I have nearly 100 vehicles on my conscience.” 100 cars. What can you even say to that? Unsurprisingly there have been some wild builds in amongst that lot and a huge variety of machinery, from the 1974 Beetle that served as his first car, to his first #BMW , a 1988 E34 530i, and the car he never finished and still regrets selling. “It was an E12 528i from 1978, light green with a #BBS front spoiler and chrome bumpers, ” Thomas reminisces. “I bought an S38B36 M5 engine that I rebuilt and was going to fi t in the car, and my vision was to build a 100% sleeper with perfect patina. But I was young and impulsive so the car was sold before it was done…” In that case it may have worked against him but, in the case of this 2002, his impulsive nature was definitely on his side.
“I knew about this car for a long time, a friend of the owner had told me about it, and one day in spring of 2010 the owner himself came walking past the garage I rented in the city at the time. I asked him if he wanted to sell the car, and he said yes, so we actually walked over to his garage together to take a look at it then and there. It was in terrible shape at the time; it had been standing outside with smashed windows so the weather had caused some very big rust holes in the body and many parts were missing, like the engine, gearbox, rear axle, the whole interior and the windows. The next day I picked the car up and put it in my garage instead,” grins Thomas. On paper this project sounds like a nightmare and the sort of car that no one in their right mind would have dreamed of touching, which does make us wonder about Thomas’ mental state…
The initial plan, he says, was to make the whole body rusty and give it even more of a rat-look than it’s ended up with, but he realised he couldn’t bring himself to do it. “My conscience became too strong,” he says, “and I felt I could not destroy an historic collector’s car that the 2002 Tii really is today, which is way I kept the original paint.”
So if you don’t like how this car looks now, just bear in mind that it could have looked a whole lot worse… “Our first goal was to get the car finished in one month for an event so we welded and fixed all the rust on the undercarriage in three weeks and fixed what we needed to so it was actually road legal. Then, after that, the whole thing escalated,” he says, and he’s not wrong.
With the decision made to continue down the rat route, Thomas got stuck into the mods and set about getting some stiffer springs, cutting them down by about 50% to get the car down on the ground, and combined them with a set of Bilstein Sport shocks. This was followed by the addition of the four wonderfully retro Marchal driving lights mounted on the front bumper and then came the roof rack, filled with what Thomas describes as “curiosities,” which include an S14 air box and valve cover and an old suitcase, naturally. The four-speed gearbox was swapped out for a five-speed Getrag ’box from an early 5 Series and he also changed the exhaust, both mods carried out specifically for a road trip to southern Sweden and Denmark. Then the time came for the serious business of building that engine…
“I think my vision was to do something no one had done before,” muses Thomas. “You’re probably wondering why I chose the S14 out of an E30 M3, and I’m wondering the same thing! I thought that this engine will fit well in the car and would probably get many types of reactions from people and BMW enthusiasts,” and he’s certainly right about that. “Initially I thought that I would just fit the engine and leave it at that, but then I started thinking about it and decided to add a supercharger on top to ensure that I was doing something new and different,” he grins. The supercharger is a rebuilt GMC 471 positive displacement Roots unit from the 1940s but impressive as it looks, there’s a lot more going on with this engine than meets the eye, and it’s the reason why the build took him one and a half years rather than six months (little more than a Swedish winter, he says) as he’d originally anticipated.
There’s a special head gasket and ARP head bolts for the cylinder head, four Siemens 688cc injectors fed by a Nuke fuel rail while the supercharger itself is cooled and lubricated by a water/ethanol system using a Bosch 988cc injector. The blower itself sits on a custom 4mm steel intake manifold and there’s a custom exhaust manifold connected up to a custom 3” stainless steel exhaust with three silencers, though Thomas says that they really don’t do much silencing. Peer into the 2002’s engine bay and you will notice a small problem: there’s no room for a radiator, which is kind of important if you want to have a fully functioning engine.
The solution? Stick all the cooling gubbins in the boot, which is exactly what Thomas has done, building a custom cooling system consisting of an electric water pump, cooling fan and a massive aluminium rad, which sits in a custom housing that seals tightly up against, and is fed cooling air by, the louvred boot lid. The boot is also where you’ll find the aluminium fuel cell with an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump located inside, and assorted fuel supply components. As you can see, it’s a comprehensive engine build, but it almost put Thomas off the car altogether. “After one and a half years of building the engine, I was so tired of this car and the project,” he sighs. “If I had been younger at the time, the car probably would have ended up being sold, just like my E12 project. But then I fired it up and rolled out of the garage for the first time and I was totally in love again! I cannot describe the feelings I had on the first test-drive…” he says with a massive grin.
Along with the aforementioned five-speed gearbox swap, Thomas has strengthened the drivetrain to be able to deal with all the power and torque being put through it by the S14 and supercharger combo, fitting an uprated clutch and homemade cardan shaft. The rear axle is a custom affair, constructed from a concoction of various different BMW components. “The original axle didn’t last long so I decided to build a bullet-proof one,” explains Thomas. “I took the 3.07 diff and joints from an E34 535i and ordered custom shafts made from spring steel and the hubs are also made from special steel. I made the wishbones thicker by adding 2mm of steel to every area and on top of this I also deleted the bushes between the body and the axle.” The brakes, meanwhile, are from a 2002 Turbo, with larger, vented discs up front and bigger 250mm drums at the rear.
As far as styling is concerned, Thomas has definitely stayed true to his original rat rod vision and while he may not have taken things quite as far as he originally planned, aside from the welding and repairs required to get the 2002 road worthy in the first place, the exterior has received no special attention. This makes the fact that the original Inca orange paint, where rust or repairs haven’t obscured it at least, remains as bright and vibrant as ever all the more impressive. If you’ve made it this far without choking on whatever you might be currently eating or drinking then Thomas’ wheels might just push you over the edge…
“I decided to go for BBS RS splits,” he says, gleefully, “because these are very expensive wheels today for those of us who collect and drive ’70s cars. The ones I have are in very bad shape, with loads of scuffs and scrapes all over them, so they’re a perfect match for the car!” As for the interior, it’s also a perfect match for the exterior and, just like the rest of the car, looks like it’s just about survived the apocalypse; the 2002 Turbo seats that he’s fitted are torn, a bank of auxiliary gauges juts up against the centre console, while the massive gear lever was chosen as it resembles an old tool.
So, there you have it. We’re not really sure what to say. We could definitely do with a sit down and a cup of tea after that. One thing we’d like to think is that, despite how Thomas’ 2002 might make you feel, you can at least summon some modicum of admiration or respect for what he’s created because he really has put so much into this car, and proved a lot of people wrong along the way. “The engine is my favourite part of the whole build because no one believed in my project and told me that this engine would never run, but they were wrong!” he exclaims with a smile. “I’m also really pleased that I managed to fit my homemade rear axle without cutting the body. The ‘experts’ told me there was no chance in hell it would work because they had ‘tested’ it without success, but I proved that it could be done.”
If you think that, after pouring so much time and effort into this 2002 over so many years, he’s done with it, you’re really rather wrong as there’s a lot more to come. “I bought the car in 2010 and I’m still not finished; it’s 2017 now, right?” he laughs. “My next plan is to build an air-ride system for it and I also need to build a new exhaust system as well as a new intake with a front-mount intercooler to get the intake temperatures down, then new wiring inside the car, maybe a new ECU. I’m also thinking about a mounting a turbo under the rear bumper…” But Thomas doesn’t finish his sentence. The light is fading and, if there’s one thing we all know, it’s that you don’t want to be caught outside at night after an apocalypse because that’s when the “things” come out of hiding… Thomas fires up the 2002 and, just like that, he’s gone, tail lights fading into the twilight, supercharger howling, S14 roaring, headed for the security of his bunker, safe in the knowledge that he lives to mod another day.
DATA FILE DATA FILE #Supercharged-S14 / #BMW-2002-Rat-Rod / #BMW-2002 / #BMW-2002-S14 / #BMW / rebuilt 1940s #GMC 471 Roots supercharger / #BMW-2002-E10 / #BMW-E10
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 from 1988 E30 M3, rebuilt 1940s / #GMC / #GMC-471 / #Roots-supercharger, custom 4mm steel intake manifold, special head gasket, #ARP cylinder head bolts, #Aeromotive #A1000 fuel pump, aluminium fuel cell, #Nuke fuel rail, 4x #Siemens 688cc injectors, water/ethanol cooling system for supercharger with #Bosch 988cc injector for cooling and lubrication, #Nira-ECU, custom 3.6mm steel exhaust manifold, custom 3” stainless steel exhaust with three silencers, custom cooling system in boot with electric water pump, cooling fan and aluminium radiator. Five-speed #Getrag gearbox, uprated clutch, custom cardan shaft, custom rear axle with E3 2500 and E28 535i components, E34 535i 3.07 diff and joints, custom driveshafts
CHASSIS 15” (front and rear) / #BBS / #BBS-RS three-piece wheels with 195/50 (front and rear) tyres, stiffer springs cut by 50%, #Bilstein dampers, BMW Turbo brakes with vented discs (front) and 250mm drums (rear), thicker rear wishbones, bushes between body and axle removed
EXTERIOR Original Inca orange paint, Marchal driving lights, roof rack, green louvred boot lid, extra rear light
INTERIOR 2002 Turbo seats, auxiliary gauge pod, old toolstyle gear lever, custom short-shift
THANKS To everyone that did not believe in this project, it only made me more determined to complete it and get the car running again, and also thanks to everyone who helped me with the car over the years
“decided to add a supercharger to ensure that I was doing something new and different”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationInverted Icon RHD E30 SPORT EVO
A stunning original M3 #Sport-Evo with a twist – the steering wheel’s on the wrong side of the car!
There are those that will tell you that converting an E30 M3 to RHD is sacrilege so we were intrigued to discover whether a right-hooker Sport Evo could still beguile us with its charms Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Matt Richardson.
The world’s gone mad,” was one of my father’s favourite expressions. If it was the start of a sentence you could be pretty sure you were about to hear a diatribe on a particular subject. It was equally as likely to appear at the end of a sentence when it always seemed to be accompanied by a rueful shake of the head and a desperate sadness. If he were still with us today I’m sure it would be an expression he’d be using in almost every sentence – especially if he took a scant few minutes away from berating today’s politicians to peruse the online classifieds.
Prices for classic cars have been going through the roof of late and it seems like anyone with a pile of rust sitting in their front garden masquerading as a BMW with fine provenance is demanding a huge sum of money for it. It’s not just BMWs though, the Porsche market is even crazier, and with brand-new cars selling for around three times their showroom price the world has indeed gone mad. What makes me most sad is that so many of these cars will never be driven. Take that Porsche, for example. The car in question was the new 911R, supposedly one of the finest driving machines to emerge from Stuttgart for many a year, yet it’ll never be driven, let alone driven in anger. Porsche’s engineers must go home of an evening and cry into their weissbier.
Fortunately the BMW market hasn’t (yet) reached Porsche levels of madness but I’m still struggling with prices being asked, and paid, for some machinery. The E30 M3 being a case in point. I think much of this stems from the fact that when I started working at BMW Car one of my responsibilities as office junior/tea boy was to look after the classified adverts.
In the pre-internet age this was a thriving section of the mag and I had my finger right on the pulse of what virtually any used BMW was worth. Good looking Sport Evos were £10k cars. Slightly rough around the edges standard E30 M3s were £5k. And they stayed, more or less, like this for many years. Then suddenly they took off and today one hardly bats an eyelid at seeing another Sport Evo come onto the market with a £100k-plus price tag.
As much as I like an E30, and the M3 in particular, personally I could think of five other BMWs I’d rather buy (and use) than having a £100k Sport Evo sitting in a heated garage to be looked at rather than being used and enjoyed. Yet taking all of the above into account there’s still something utterly mesmerising about an older BMW, in this case a Sport Evo, that’s obviously been utterly cherished during its lifetime. Provenance is a word bandied around among the dealers and collectors but this machine has it by the barrel load and I find myself being sucked into the dark side of the classic car world as I marvel at the fact it still retains its original dealer plates from when the current owner purchased the car at just over a year old back in 1991.
Hold on a minute, though, if we’re talking about provenance, hasn’t this car blown it massively? The steering wheel’s on the wrong side; BMW never made an E30 M3 for general consumption with the steering wheel on the right-hand side. You’d be hard-pressed to spot it didn’t emerge from the factory in this way, though, as the conversion really is top-notch and having driven it from Munich Legends’ HQ to our photo location I’d be similarly hard-pressed to fault its driving experience.
Hmmm, time to look into its history. It was originally ordered from Heathrow #BMW back in 1990 by a Mr King and before he’d even taken delivery of the car he decided left-hand drive was not for him so he instructed Heathrow to convert it to right-hand drive. The acknowledged expert in the field was Birds, who had converted quite a few M3s for BMW dealers, and at a price of just shy of £5000 it carried out the conversion on this Sport Evo. That would have brought the price of this car pretty close to the £40k mark - at a time when a 316i was £ 12k and a Porsche 911 Carrera was only a smidgen over £40k - Mr King must have really wanted an M3! What he didn't bank on was a growing family so, 14 months later, he traded the M3 in for a new E34 M5 - lucky man - and that's where our second, and current, owner, Mr Fisher, comes in.
Already the owner of an E30 325i Sport, he spotted this Sport Evo up for sale at Alan and Jan Kerr BMW agents in Warwick and fell in love. A deal was done and he soon became the owner of this Jet black beauty. Initially the car was used for daily driving duties, family holidays and the like. With a growing family the Sport Evo was relieved of the family's daily duties but this time there was no ignominious trading- in; the Sport Evo, christened ’Black Beaut/ by the children, was very much part of the family so it was kept on and subject to occasional use. In 2003, when the car was semi-retired, the mileage was a scant 56,000 miles. So it's covered just 5500 miles in the subsequent years, although sensibly it was brought out of hibernation for MoTs and the like. And if you care to look at the car's on-line MoT history you can see it's passed the annual test without a single advisory since the on-line records started in 2005!
Looking around the car in the gloom of a Sussex autumn day it exudes originality and looks utterly perfect Thanks to a thorough Waxoyling when new, it exhibits zero corrosion. How many E30s, let alone E30 M3s, can you say that about? And bar a little touching-up on the front valance, I'm told the paintwork is all original. There are a couple of minor items that Munich Legends will attend to prior to sale – a couple of gaskets that are showing signs of ageing and a suspension bush or too – but other than that the car’s good to go.
The elephant in the room, though, is that suederimmed steering wheel sitting on the wrong side of the car. I’ve driven right-hand drive M3s before but none of them have been as quite as desirable or as exquisitely maintained as this one. And I’ve never really felt that all the modifications required to turn the car from a left-hooker to right-hand drive made quite as much difference as folklore would lead you to believe. The basic problem is twofold: as the M3 was LHD-only, its quicker steering rack couldn’t be used for the RHD car (generally a standard E30 rack was fitted) and in order for the RHD steering column to reach the rack the M3’s bespoke ‘bunch of bananas’ exhaust manifold had to be either modified or replaced with a slightly more restrictive item, resulting in a drop in power.
However, having spoken to Kevin Bird (who carried out 52 LHD to RHD M3 conversions back in the ‘80s and ‘90s) he’s not convinced that either argument carries all that much weight. Yes, the steering rack is slower – 20:5:1 vs. 19.6:1 – so it’s only five percent slower and, as far as Kevin was concerned, the M3 road car’s exhaust wasn’t all that in the first place and that the actual drop in power was very marginal – perhaps similar to the difference between a non-cat (200hp) and a cat-equipped (195hp) machine – i.e too small to be noticed on the road. On the plus side, sitting on the correct side of the car for a country that drives on the left means that you’ll always be better positioned for overtakes and the like, meaning that you might actually be able to travel a little quicker in a RHD M3 in the UK than in a left-hooker.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, though, so once snapper Richardson has the static and detail shots in the bag, it’s time for some driving action. Getting into the M3 via the ‘wrong’ door does feel a little odd and, as I think I’ve mentioned before in these pages, I still find a dog-leg gearbox a little challenging in a RHD drive car to start with. I know it’s fine to live with in the end as I spent three years driving a 635CSi with this transmission back in the 1990s and didn’t have a problem with it, but on first acquaintance pushing the lever away from you and back to engage first gear just seems wrong. Once on the move it becomes less of a problem, though, and you soon become accustomed to slotting the lever straight back along the second-third gear plane and this really does speed up changes when tackling a challenging ribbon of Tarmac.
While I let the car thoroughly warm through I do several passes for the camera and even though I’m not what you’d call ‘on it’ the Sport Evo feels wonderfully tight and rattle-free. This must be the closest you can get to reliving the early 1990s. Once Matt signals he’s got the shots in the bag I head off for a little play on the back roads while he packs up his gear. Several things become immediately apparent. First, that S14 under the bonnet is in fine fettle. It pulls cleanly all the way through the rev range with none of the fluffiness or hesitation that can affect these highly-tuned motors. Second, it’s an utter delight to thread along the Sussex lanes. Its small footprint, plus an innate feeling of ‘rightness’ (sorry, no pun intended) means you can push relatively hard from the off, although in deference to the car’s owner and its wonderfully original condition I’m not anywhere close to the limit. I don’t even think I’d notice the difference if I had a left-hook example to back-to-back test against this car, it just feels perfect in every way, testament to the way the car’s been looked after and to Birds’ original conversion work.
The run back to Munich Legends is a joy, if a slightly sobering one. The M3 feels lithe and alive, sending every road surface nuance through the steering wheel while that ‘four pot is busily sounding its approval. No matter how fast I try and drive, though, snapper Matt is resolutely sat behind me in his SEAT… times have moved on and an M3 just isn’t a quick car anymore!
Valuing this particular machine is a little tricky as the purist may scoff at its RHD layout, but it’s worth remembering that it could easily be converted back. Or you could keep it RHD and fit a quicker rack – from an E46 or a Z3 (that weren’t available to Kevin Bird when the original conversion was carried out) – but personally I don’t think you need it as it drives so well as is. If you’d love an M3 but just can’t get along with a left-hooker then this car would be right up your street. Ultimately I’d have to say this is one of the nicest E30 M3s I’ve ever driven and the fact that it’s worth less than a left-hooker (probably in less original condition) does indeed demonstrate that the world has, indeed, gone mad.
CONTACT: Munich Legends Tel: 01825 740456 / Website: www.munichlegends.co.uk
The interior of this Sport Evo is as good as the exterior with all the correct Motorsport cloth being in place along with the suede-covered steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake handle.
The M3 feels lithe and alive, sending every road surface nuance through the steering wheel.
Looking around the car in the gloom of a Sussex autumn day it exudes originality and looks utterly perfect.
TECHNICAL DATA: #BMW-M3-Sport-Evo / #BMW-M3-Sport-Evo-E30 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3
ENGINE: #S14 / #BMW-S14 / #S14B25 in-line four, 16-valve
MAX POWER: 238hp @ 7000rpm
MAX TORQUE: 177lb ft @ 4750rpm
0-62MPH: 6.5 seconds
STANDING KM: 26.7 seconds
TOP SPEED: 154mph
WEIGHT (DIN): 1200kg
PRICE (OTR): £34,500 (#1990 UK)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationJPS E30 M3
The story behind this fully restored motor racing icon. A Very Special Player One of Australia’s most famous BMW race cars, the JPS E30 M3, under the spotlight. Banged up, shipped across the Tasman Sea twice and, until two years ago, a bit worse for wear, this JPS stunner is now back to its former glory Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.
BMW race cars have been lucky enough to wear some of the iconic competition liveries over the years. Whether it’s the various Art Cars, the Jägermeister colours, the Warsteiner and Fina liveries or just the M stripes by themselves, Bavaria’s best racers have always looked the business. However, while we in the northern hemisphere have been spoilt for choice with these beauties, we have missed out on one truly iconic racing design that only ever competed on BMWs down under – the JPS livery.
Obviously most famous for its stint on Lotus F1 machines, the JPS colours have been applied to many other cars over the years, but F1 Lotuses aside, only the Australian JPS E21 320i Turbos, 635CSis and E30 M3s, which ran from 1981-’1987, used the livery officially in any four-wheeled racing capacity. And my, doesn’t it look good on this M3? The deep, jet black paint is perfectly offset by the gold pin striping that runs along the car’s flanks, accentuating those blistered arches, while the other sponsors’ logos and of course, the laurel wreath JPS crest itself all add to that golden lustre. Oh, and let’s not forget those sexy matching gold Australian Simmons centre-lock wheels, either.
This particular example is an ex-factory Team JPS BMW car from 1987 – the last year the Frank Gardner-run team that built the machine existed – and was relatively recently restored to nearimmaculate condition (hence the shine) by the current owner Peter Jones and the team at Ecurie Bowden, whose M1 and Schnitzer 635CSi we’ve featured in past months as well. We say nearimmaculate as Peter has deliberately kept some of the patina via a faded and chipped bonnet roundel and cracked right-rear light lens, as well as damage to the driver’s footwell; the result of a nasty shunt at the 1989 Bathurst 1000 when it was racing as part of the John Sax Racing Team from New Zealand. Other than that, though, the car is as straight and clean as you could possibly want, and walking around the car to shoot it, it was impossible not to be blown away by the paint’s lustre (even inside the car) and the sense of mechanical solidity. BMW master mechanic Jason Matthews and paint and panel man Phil Milburn, as well as all the other Ecurie Bowden crew members, should be rightly proud of their work.
Of course, such a high-level restoration doesn’t take place overnight, and from the time Peter purchased the car in 2014 until it was ‘finished’, a full 15 months had passed, and even now, he’s is still tweaking and fettling the car – particularly the rebuilt engine – as it doesn’t quite achieve what he wants on track yet. However, that’s all part of racing, irrespective of the car and its level of restoration, and even in its current state, the project has definitely been worth it. So what prompted Peter to buy this car in the first place? Well, it turns out this isn’t his first Group A M3, having owned a Benson & Hedges racer back in the mid-’90s that he purchased from Frank Gardner himself (Gardner was a long-time family friend), and it was his love for that machine, and the hole in his heart it left when he sold it, that prompted him to seek out a replacement.
“I’ve been involved in motorsport since the ‘80s. The highest level I ever did was the CAMS Gold Star [Australia’s top open-wheeler class]. I raced that in Formula 2, only as a bit of an also-ran, and I’ve also raced Formula Fords and Sports Sedans and Historic cars over the years. From about 1997 to 2012 I basically had a bit of a hiatus due to family and the demands of business and then got back into it in 2012, running around in a Formula Ford. I still enjoyed it and have always missed the E30 M3 that I owned and spoke to [Ecurie Bowden boss] Chris Bowden about it and kept him on the look-out for me.”
And look-out Chris did, but in the end, it actually turned out that another contact, BMW and JPS nut Stewart Garmey (whose E28 M5 we featured in October 2014), knew the right people and gave Peter a nudge in the direction of this car’s previous owner, David Towe.
“Stuart warned me that I’d either love it or hate it, but that it’s a great car,” says Peter. “When I looked at it, I realised it had suffered in its life, but you can’t replace history, and that’s what it has.” Indeed, it has a lot of history, and not just of the type that causes battle scars. Built in 1987, it was one of the first two Group A E30s Team JPS BMW brought over from Europe after phasing out its 635CSis (one of which you’ll also see in a future issue). Initially, both cars actually ran 325i suspension, such was the European demand for parts, but by midway through the season, each car got the legs it deserved. And despite being designed for flowing European circuits and down on power compared to some rivals, the E30’s innate talents, and those of drivers Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst, meant the team quickly got results. This ex-Longhurst car, for example, managed a best of third at round three of the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) even before it got proper M3 suspension, but for some reason it got sold before the end of the year and could prove its worth with proper footwork. If you want to see what the potential was, though, just look at Jim Richards taking his M3 to the ATCC title in the car’s first year.
When this particular machine was offloaded, it got sent to the aforementioned John Sax Racing Team, with Sax and fellow Kiwi Graham Lorimer behind the wheel until midway through the 1990 season. They took it to a best of eighth at the ’87 Castrol 500 at Sandown, as well as a 10th at the Wellington round of the inaugural World Touring Car Championship that year, but sadly, the car’s biggest headlines came when it speared off at Forest Elbow at the ’89 Bathurst 1000, stoving in much of the front-right side. The team did repair the damage (albeit not to a high standard, as we’ll see later) and it soldiered on until Kiwi Racing purchased it midway through the 1990 season. Having not had much luck with the car bar a second in class at the ’91 Nissan Mobil 500 at Pukekohe, Kiwi racing then sold the E30 to Auckland Ferrari specialist Allan Cattle in late ’93, who proved any issues may not have been with the beast itself by promptly winning his class, along with co-driver Brett Taylor, at the Wellington Nissan Mobil 500 and taking second in class at a shorter 300km race at Pukekohe.
Finally, this now well-travelled M3 went to another two Kiwi owners, Trevor Bills and Kevin Underwood, before heading back home to Australia and new owner James Searley in 1999. There it sat in James’ collection for four years until noted Sydney BMW nut David Towe got hold of it and immediately started racing the car again, first at the 2003 Winton Historic meeting, then at numerous classic and historic events around the country. Notably, David converted the car back to its JPS livery (because why wouldn’t you?) and even managed to take away the Murray Carter Cup at the 2009 Phillip Island Classic in it. Indeed, such was the love affair that he only gave it up to switch to a later-built 1987 JPS M3 in 2011.
However, not able to part with it entirely, David held onto the machine until 2014, when current owner Peter Jones came into the picture.
Now, as we hinted at, the car wasn’t perfect when Peter got it. The John Sax team had repaired the Bathurst damage, but removing the right-hand quarter panel showed the chassis rail underneath was still further back than the left, so stretching and rebuilding was needed. And while David had done his best at the time, there were also cracks in the rear arms and the front callipers (among other parts) were way past their use-by date. Knowing personally that Frank Gardner wouldn’t have accepted anything other than perfection were he still alive, Peter thus decided to go for a bare-metal resto to bring it back to its best. And thanks to the talents of the Ecurie Bowden crew, it’s now as gorgeous as you can imagine.
“It’s just magic when you walk around it and underneath it. The job’s been done very well,” says Peter. “All the chassis’s perfect now and when we put it on the scales, we measured where it should be, dropped it down and it just plumbed up beautifully on the corner weights.” And as you’d expect, even with the fettling still needed, it goes pretty well, too.
“It’s a very lovely car to drive – a very fast car… It’s a heavier car by 20kg [than the Evos], but the earlier cars, because they run the 17-inch wheels not the 18s, can drop the nose a little bit lower, so what they lose in some respects they pick up in others. And I think it sits well on the road. The 2.3 motor’s still a powerful little engine, and whilst a good 2.5 should beat a 2.3 every day, you’re not going to be that far behind.”
Once the car’s engine has been brought back to its full Group A peak, it should be even quicker, too. And yes, in case you were wondering, all this testing means that despite the superb condition it’s in now, this JPS beauty will see the race track as often as possible in the future, with Peter planning to enjoy it at every historic meet in Australia he can get to. Of course, he doesn’t relish the idea of getting it banged up again, but says that “once I get one stone chip on it, it won’t hurt so much”.
“Because it’s not the original paint on the car from day one, you’re not disturbing or risking something that hasn’t already been repainted or repaired, unlike the Sierra I’ve got [a Group A RS500] which is the original paint that Rudy Eggenberger used and it’s never had a mark on it. That’s a car you don’t want to put in harm’s way. Whereas, I don’t want to hurt this car either, but if in two years I have to give it a bit of a respray to make it pretty again, we’re not ruining history in doing that.”
In a world of collectors that never use their cars as intended, that’s refreshing to hear. Long may this black beauty continue to run.
TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-Group-A-JPS / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-E30 / #Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-Group-A-JPS / #BMW-M3-Group-A-JPS-E30 / #BMW-M3-JPS-E30 / #BMW-S14 / #S14 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW /
ENGINE: 2332cc DOHC S14 in-line four, cast iron block, 16-valve alloy head, 12:1 compression ratio, forged crankshaft and con rods, forged alloy pistons, #Bosch electronic fuel injection, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, 40-litre #ATL fuel cell with in-tank swirl-pot, 300hp @ 8400rpm, 199lb ft @ 7000rpm
GEARBOX: #Getrag five-speed manual gearbox, sintered metal clutch, LSD with 75 percent locking ratio
CHASSIS: Unitary steel with welded-in roll-cage, 52mm #JLS-Motorsport air jacks (front), 62mm AP Racing air jacks (rear)
SUSPENSION: McPherson struts with original Group A #Bilstein dampers (overhauled and re-valved by MCA Suspension), MCA custom main springs, #Eibach helper springs, anti-roll bars (front), semi-trailing arms with original Group A Bilstein dampers (overhauled and re-valved by MCA Suspension), MCA custom main springs, Eibach helper springs, anti-roll bars (rear)
BRAKES: AP Racing four-piston callipers with #AP-Racing 330x32mm two-piece slotted rotors and #Ferodo DS3000 pads (front), Lockheed four-piston callipers with AP Racing 300x20mm two-piece slotted rotors and #Ferodo-DS3000 pads (rear)
WHEELS AND TYRES: 8x17-inch (front) and 9x17-inch (rear) #Simmons three-piece centre-lock mesh wheels with 225/625-17 (front) and 240/620-17 (rear) Pirelli or Michelin slicks
INTERIOR: Custom-embroidered #Racetech-RT9009HR seat with orange Racetech HANS-compatible belts
Despite the superb condition it’s in now, this #JPS beauty will see the race track as often as possible in the future.
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- Post is under moderation912hp from four cylinders? Turbo S14-powered E30 will blow your mind.
912hp turbocharged #S14 E30
We’re not sure what’s scarier: building a 912hp turbocharged S14 E30 or driving it. Neither experience is for the fainthearted… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: RonV Photography.
Let’s talk about specific output. Whatever horsepower figure you may lay bragging rights to, generally speaking it doesn’t matter how you got there, all that matters is what you’ve actually got. We all love power and having lots of it is great. But, what impresses everybody is making a lot of power from a little engine. Big V8s with big turbos are awesome, we’re big fans, but to get a small engine to produce some big numbers takes an inordinately large amount of effort and it’s something that elicits the universal respectful head nod because you have to be pretty flipping hardcore to go down this route. Surely only some sort of madman would attempt to extract 900hp from a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder S14? Surely?
Well, in this case only a Maatman would attempt to do that. Tim Maatman, that is. Tim Maatman is hardcore. One glance at his purple monster of an E30 should tell you that. The car you see before you started out life as a shell, with no interior and no engine. It did have the Sport body kit already attached but that was it. Tim bought it off a friend and it was crying out for a greater purpose in life. That purpose was to serve as the host for a turbocharged engine, which itself had started out life in Tim’s E30 Touring and had been built up to 430hp. However this wasn’t enough to slake his thirst for power and so the past two years have been dedicated to the evolution of that original turbo engine concept into the beast of a powerplant you see before you here.
Okay, Tim probably had a life around all that engine building but the idea of him locked away like a mad scientist working on his doomsday machine is the one we’d like to stick to.
This mental image is given weight when Tim tells us that he’s done most of the work on the car himself. As you can imagine, a project like this requires a huge amount of work and most of that has been poured into the engine. It really is an incredible thing to look at, that engine, so industrial, mechanical and more than a little bit intimidating. It’s like the rest of the car has been built around it as some sort of containment system trying to rein in all that raw energy.
The road to turbocharged S14 glory begin with Tim swapping his Touring’s original M40 to a slightly more potent M42 and the addition of a turbo running a KMS MP25 management system and, later, H profile con rods and turbo pistons. So far, so good. At least it was for a few weeks until the head cracked. “I spoke to John at KMS and he offered me an alternative: to supplement the parts ordered and my M42 engine for an S14 engine they had ready for a turbo,” Tim relates. “It was such an attractive offer that I couldn’t say no! The S14 was just fitted with CP turbo pistons while the other parts of the S14 were OEM, even the head gasket and head bolts. I picked up that engine and connected the MP25 management and an exhaust system made with a Precision 6262 turbo and it made 430hp at 0.8bar of boost.”
Tim was happy, as any of us would have been, and ran the car in that configuration for a couple of years, taking it to his local drag strip numerous times with his personal best being an extremely impressive 11.7sec quarter-mile. But Tim had developed a taste for power and he wanted more…
“I came into contact with Pure Performance Factory in Sweden and started to collect all the turbo information on the company’s forum. I then began buying all the beautiful parts I needed for a major renovation because I wanted at least 700hp,” Tim explains with a grin.
The first incarnation of the new engine was ready in 2014 and Tim headed over to DP Engineering to see how much power he was making. “Over 680hp the V-belts were flying off and started breaking and we managed to hit 745hp before anything broke,” Tim continues. “I then fitted a larger turbo, a Precision 6466 dual ball bearing Gen 2, and we hit the dyno again; we started out on the old wastegate spring, which had held 0.8bar at 500hp but with the bigger turbo the boost creep caused this to shoot up to 1.3bar and on the first full run it made 700hp. This was not according to plan and less power than before so I changed the wastegate spring and this time we hit 850hp. Pieter at DP Engineering asked me how far I really wanted to go so I told him that 900hp is a nice number, so he started increasing the boost. At 1.9bar the engine made 880hp and at 2.0bar it hit 912hp and 685lb ft of torque so we stopped there; we then did numerous runs for fine tuning and the day ended with a big smile.” We’d be equally happy if we’d just come away with 912hp from a turbocharged S14. And, if you want to talk about specific output, that works out at 397hp/litre, which is eye-watering stuff. Absolutely awesome.
The final spec list for this S14 is nothing short of astonishing but you’d expect nothing less from an engine making this sort of power, especially one this small. The engine runs the stock S14 crankshaft, although it’s been polished and balanced, along with H-profile con rods, CP pistons and an oil pump modified as per DTM specs. Larger intake and exhaust valves have been fitted as well as PPF valve springs and a custom PPF cam, adjustable camshaft pulleys and an S50B32 chain tensioner.
We’ve mentioned the monster Precision turbo above and it sits on a custom manifold, sucking in air via a massive 130mm BMC cone filter and it runs a Precision 46mm wastegate, 50mm PPF blow-off valve and a custom 3.5-inch exhaust with a single Simons silencer while the exhaust itself exits under the offside sill.
A massive 600x300x100mm front-mount intercooler helps to keep the intake air temperature down and it all feeds into the engine via a custom aluminium intake. As you’d expect from a car like this, the boot is filled with the E85-based fuel system, with a 45-litre Jaz fuel cell, twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps, and a number of Nuke Performance components including a Y splitter, fuel filter, fuel rail with four massive 2200cc Bosch motorsport injectors, FPR and vacuum station.
Building your 900hp engine is one thing but keeping control of all that power is another matter altogether. And with so much effort having been expended under the bonnet you’d be shocked if Tim had scrimped elsewhere. Don’t worry, he didn’t…
Step one was to sort the transmission because there’s a hell of a lot of power and torque trying to get to the rear wheels and you need something strong enough to cope with all of that, especially when drag racing, as Tim planned to. The gearbox in this E30 is an E60 530d six-speeder mated to a lightweight PPF 6kg chromoly flywheel, a Sachs motorsport clutch rated to 811lb ft of torque, and a custom propshaft by DriveteQ. An E28 M535i 210mm diff has been fitted, modified by Hardeman Motorsport with 30º/45º ramp angles and 75% locking, along with custom driveshafts and uprated CV joints. On the suspension front, KW V2 coilovers have been fitted up front along with GAZ camber plates from Hardeman Motorsport. At the rear you’ll find AVO drag coilovers with compression and rebound adjustment and rear camber and toe adjustment for maximum grip, Ireland Engineering anti-roll bars all-round, Powerflex rear subframe bushes, and Tim’s also carried out a five-stud conversion allround. The benefits of this are two-fold: it means he can run those extremely sexy AC Schnitzer Type II Racing wheels; more importantly, it also means he can run his 334mm Tarox discs with Porsche Brembo four-pot calipers up front on custom brackets with Ferodo DS2500 pads. The rears haven’t been forgotten about, sporting E30 Touring calipers (as they have a slightly larger piston), Tarox discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads with Goodridge hoses fitted all-round. Now often when a car is built for outright performance, aesthetics take a bit of a backseat. However, when you’re starting with an E30 you’re starting with a car that can’t help but look good, especially when it’s wearing the Sport kit like Tim’s is. Painting it Daytona violet certainly hasn’t done any harm either. The front spoiler has been drilled for lightness, there’s a lightweight Einzel Motorsport bonnet, and a Hartge rear spoiler as well.
The interior is most definitely all business and we like the fact there’s nothing glamorous here: it’s all about making this E30 light, safe, and giving Tim somewhere to sit while he pilots it down the drag strip. There are no carpets or doorcards but neither are there are fancy metal chequer plate floor sections or lightweight door panels; there’s just bare metal and wires. The dash has been flocked and there’s a plethora of Stack gauges mounted where the central air vents would be to enable Tim to keep an eye on boost pressure, fuel pressure, oil pressure, the oil temp and EGT. There’s also an OMP steering wheel, a pair of single-piece Toora buckets with QSP fourpoint harnesses, plus a full, TIG-welded chromoly steel roll-cage.
With 912hp and weighing just 1130kg, thanks to Tim’s extensive weight reduction programme, this E30 has 807hp per ton, more than any road-going Koenigsegg, Porsche, Lamborghini or Ferrari. This means that when Tim gets the chance to take it down the strip it’s going to be absolutely insane. Until he gets there he’s been enjoying it on the street: “It’s nice on the highway, the acceleration is delicious!” Of course, if you think 912hp is enough, you’re wrong because Tim is already thinking of more power, as he tells us: “There is still more to come with this setup. Four digits would be nice, though there are other things that I would like to do first, like install a carbon diffuser, the cage needs a little work, and I may even also go for methanol injection. My goal was always to build a nine-second car and I will achieve that. The question is ‘when’? If the engine survives this season then maybe in winter 2016/2017 I’ll try for 1000hp and then this project will be closed.”
For a minute Tim looks deep in thought. “Given that I know I can build up an S54 to 1500hp I wonder if it would fit in the engine bay with a turbo on it?” he questions. We get the feeling he’d be up for finding out. For now, though, he’s got 900hp of turbocharged E30 to enjoy on the street, in sprint events and on the drag strip. And while building it may have been daunting, we wager that driving it is going to be an awful lot of fun.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW / Turbo / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-Turbo / #S14B23 / #S14-Turbo / #BMW-S14 / / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #Precision / #CP-Carrillo / #Bosch-XR4CS / #VAC-Motorsport / #AC-Schnitzer-Type-II-Racing / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 /
ENGINE 2.3-litre four-cylinder S14B23 from E30 M3, polished and balanced S14B23 crankshaft with 84mm stroke, #ARP-2000 main studs, ARP block girdle, H-profile con rods with ARP 2000 bolts, CP Carrillo 94.5mm pistons, 9.0:1 compression ratio, HD piston pins, #Athena cut-ring head gasket, M52B28 piston oil squirters, modified DTM-style oil pump, 39mm Supertech Teflon-coated intake valves, 33mm #Supertech Inconel exhaust valves, S50B32 valve buckets, uprated PPF valve springs, custom PPF 283/283 11mm/11mm camshaft, adjustable camshaft pulleys, BMW S50B32 chain tensioner, engine blueprinted, 7.0-litre sump with VAC Motorsport oil pan baffle, custom T321 steel turbo exhaust manifold, aluminium intake, #Precision-6466-DBB-Gen-2-V-Band .82 AR turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, PPF 50mm blow-off valve, 130mm BMC Twin Cone filter, 600x300x100mm tube and fin intercooler, three-inch intercooler piping, Samco connectors, 3.5-inch exhaust with single Simons silencer and exhaust tip exiting from sill, #Mocal oil cooler, Griffin aluminium radiator, Goodridge hoses and connectors, Jaz 45-litre fuel cell, 2x Bosch 044 fuel pumps, Nuke Performance Y-splitter, fuel filter, fuel rail, FPR and Vacuum Station, 4x Bosch motorsport 2200cc fuel injectors, #Goodridge PTFE AN08 feed, Goodridge PTFE AN06 return, Flex Fuel sensor (not connected), E85 fuel used, VEMS ECU, 2x EGT, Lambda, fast air temperature sensor, turbo back pressure logged, custom cam sensor, MAC four port boost control valve, Bosch XR4CS spark plugs, VAG coils, Moroso spark plug wires
POWER AND TORQUE 912hp (2bar) @ 7500rpm. 685lb ft of torque (2bar) @ 6600rpm
TRANSMISSION E60 530d six-speed gearbox, PPF 6kg chromoly flywheel, Sachs 811lb ft motorsport clutch, DriveteQ custom propshaft, #Hardeman-Motorsport E28 M535i 201mm diff with 30º/45º ramp angles and 75% locking, custom driveshafts, uprated CV joints
CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front) and 9.5x17” (rear) AC Schnitzer Type II Racing wheels with 215/40 (front) Toyo or Zestino semi-slick tyres and 255/45 (rear) Dunlop SP9000 or Zestino semi-slick tyres or Hoosier D06 9.0/26/15.0” drag racing slicks, #KW-V2 coilovers with adjustable rebound (front), #GAZ camber plates, uniballs and M3 supporting arms, AVO drag coilovers with compression/rebound adjustment (rear), rear camber/toe adjustment Ireland Engineering anti-roll bars, #PowerFlex rear subframe polybushes, five-stud hub conversion, Porsche Brembo four-pot calipers with custom brackets and #Ferodo DS2500 pads and Tarox 335x32mm discs (front), E30 Touring calipers with Tarox discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), Goodridge brake hoses (f&r)
EXTERIOR Daytona violet, M Tech II body kit, #Hartge boot spoiler, lightened front bumper, Einzel Motorsport fibreglass bonnet
INTERIOR Full chromoly TIG-welded roll-cage, flocked dashboard, Stack boost pressure, fuel pressure, oil pressure, oil temperature, exhaust gas temperature gauges, OMP steering wheel, Toora bucket seats, Samsonas H-pattern shifter, QSP three-inch four-point harnesses, VEMS app on tablet/phone
THANKS Thanks to my friend Robin Kal for helping with building my engine, Pieter Oonincx from DP-Engineering for mapping the car, Gerben Vlogman and Robin Langeslag for all the custom machined parts, my wife Chantal for all her help with money and all the times I was away from home!
“It’s nice on the highway the acceleration is delicious!”
“At 2.0bar the engine hit 912hp and 685lb ft of torque so we stopped there”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEveryone knows the most delicious chocolate comes in purple wrappers: the Hazelnut in Caramel found in Cadbury Roses (…actually everything from Cadbury); confectionary rival Quality Street’s Purple One; Milka (for our Continental cousins); and Yorkie’s Raisin and Biscuit, to name a few off the top of my head. If you come from a country that doesn’t sell delicious chocolates packaged in purple, well, it sucks to be you. For the rest of us who can relate it will come as no surprise to learn that the #BMW-E30 cover car is hiding a delicious turbocharged #S14 / #BMW-S14 / #BMW / #2016 treat behind that purple paint.
Making big power is always impressive regardless of how you go about doing it but making it from just 2.3-litres and fourcylinders takes a special kind of commitment.
And the end result is most definitely our kind of car. We challenge you to find a more purple, more turbocharged E30. We also challenge you to not immediately want to go out and buy some purple chocolates.
So, what else have we got for you to wrap your reading gear around this month? Well this issue is crammed so full of performance BMWs you’re probably going to want to keep a tight grip on it in case it tries it launch itself our of your hands; there’s a lot of horsepower rippling through these pages. We’ve got a gorgeous ’02 running a race-spec M10, a wild custom wide-bodied E36 with an S50 swap, a beautiful and beefy E39 M5, and no less than two supercharged BMs as well! Take your pick from a track-biased Z4 M Coupé or a street bruiser of an E90 M3. Or, better yet, choose both! Of course, we’ve always got room for a bit of style because sometimes getting noticed is as important as going fast; our Austin yellow 123d is vibrant enough to brighten up even the greyest of autumn days while the bagged E91 Touring we’ve also got is the perfect blend of practical daily and show car.
That’s enough to keep you out of trouble for the next month, so get stuck in and we’ll see you next time for the December issue!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.