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    GRAND SLAM / #BMW-3-Series

    Good as the E30 #BMW-M3 / #BMW may be, there’s always room for improvement – like fitting air-ride, swapping in an S54 and strapping on a supercharger for good measure. If you like your E30s extremely fast, stunning, and seriously lairy, this Finnish fireball will set your world alight. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Jape Tiitinen.

    There’s a lot to be said for keeping things pure. We’re big fans of it here when it comes to cars, and we’re forever banging on about how you don’t need to do much to certain models, such as the E30, to end up with a fantastic-looking car. The past few issues have been home to prime examples of this super-clean, OE+ aesthetic. But, conversely, we’re also big fans of the utterly mental brigade who pull out all the stops and go well and truly bananas with their builds, sticking two fingers up at the purists in the process. We’re not the sort to judge, really. We’ve had a few of those, too. There was Nick Sahota’s S54-swapped orange M3 with air-ride back in 2014, Sam Le Fevre’s supercharged S54-powered RHD E30 M3 this year (you might see a pattern emerging here), and now we have Matti Jussila’s supercharged S54-swapped E30 M3 that’s also on air-ride for good measure. It’s like the ultimate combination of the two ultimate sins one can commit with an E30 M3: carrying out an engine swap and bagging it… and we love it.

    You’re welcome to confront truck-driver Matti about his exploits, although that would involve travelling to Finland and, if watching Ice Road Truckers has taught us anything it’s that people who drive trucks in cold places tend to be pretty tough. From what we can tell he has a beard. That’s enough for us. Of course, you should not be surprised to see another wild build emerging from the cold north of Scandinavia, it’s most definitely the done thing over there, and while this E30 might be tame in terms of power when compared to some of its modified brethren, it’s not tame in any other way.

    So, how does one get from some sort of starting point to building a car like this? Well, Matti has been into BMWs for a long time now, since before he got his licence in the early ’90s, and has indulged his passion to the max, starting his BMW journey with a 1987 E30 325i Sport which he owned from 1995 to 2000 and still regrets selling. But onwards and upwards and all that. With numerous BMWs following his first, including a supercharged air-ride E46 M3 Cab, it’s clear that Matti’s not new to all this modifying malarkey…

    So, to the E30 M3, which shares parking space with an E118, a 1.8 Neue Klasse from 1970 – strange bedfellows if ever we did see them. “I was looking for an original E30 M3 for a long time,” Matti says. “This one was just good enough and completely standard,” which is unsurprising because, you know, it’s an E30 M3 and who on earth modifies those…?! But it was also good because what you see before you is what Matti had planned out long before buying the car and, after two-and-a-half years of hard graft, he’s turned that vision into a reality.

    We’ll get onto the engine and all that in a minute but what we really need to talk about is how this car looks: it’s utterly gorgeous, all thanks to what has to be one of the most stunning colours we’ve seen in a long time. The car has been finished in Standox Red Rocket, part of the company’s Exclusive Line paint, which was launched on Wiesmann’s GT model and is an incredible shade. It’s predominantly a sort of rich ruby red with a hint of wine to it but the minute it catches the light all sorts of magic starts to happen and you get bright flashes of orange. It’s really hard to describe and utterly mesmerising. It’s rare that a paint job will leave you speechless but that’s most definitely the case here. It’s like a smack in the mouth but for your eyes instead and it draws you in, at which point you can then start appreciate the rest of the styling details.

    We also need to talk about the bonnet – at first glance you might think it’s matt black but get up close and you realise it’s furry! ‘Upholstered’ is how Matti describes it but whichever way you look at it, if you didn’t like the idea of someone modifying an E30 M3 you’re definitely not going to like the idea of someone putting an ‘upholstered’ bonnet on one!

    There’s far more here than just a stunning paint job and upholstery, though, and Matti has put plenty of work into getting the car’s styling just so, cherry picking some of the tastiest E30 M3 additions to give his example a bit more aggression. You’ll notice the Sport Evo front spoiler, arches and rear spoiler, along with shaved antennas, tinted front and rear lights and tinted windows. With the wheels, Matti has hit the size sweet spot, opting for staggered 17” three-piece Hartge Classics, measuring 9.5” wide at the front and 10” at the rear. With seriously shiny stepped-lips and dish to die for, plus light gold bolts offering just that little bit of contrast to the rich red paint, we think they are awesome.

    Seeing as Matti had already experienced the joys of air-ride once before, it’s perhaps no surprise to see him going back to bags for his ultimate E30 build, despite how many teeth that might put on edge. He turned to K-Sport’s E46 M3 offering which was modified to fit yet it clearly does its job well. The air-ride has been combined with some decently stretched tyres and the arches rest on the tyre sidewalls when the car is aired-out. Hovering like this, with the deep front spoiler sitting a fraction above the ground, we defy anyone to try and say it doesn’t look good. Compared with the attention-grabbing exterior, the interior is more restrained but definitely lets you know that this E30 means business. A pair of Recaro buckets have been fitted up front, while the dash, centre console and A-pillars have been flocked and a custom removable bolt-in roll-cage has been fitted in the back.

    And so, finally, we come to what’s going on under the bonnet. Clearly S54s and E30 M3s go together, seeing as everyone seems to be doing it. The combination of a powerful engine in an awesome chassis is a winner. You can’t really go wrong with an S54 when it comes to performance. And although Matti had already experienced the joys of a supercharged S54, he hadn’t experienced that level of power in such a lightweight car as the E30. It’s a whole different ball game and really takes things to the next level. The engine itself is running stock internals with new bearings, a modified E46 M3 rad and a modified oil pan has been fitted to clear the subframe and retain stock oil capacity. The supercharger is an intercooled Vortech V3 setup with a remapped and modified E46 M3 ECU running the show, while a Martelius Exhausts modified S54 exhaust manifold connects up to a custom stainless steel Martelius exhaust. The result is a rather serious 560hp and 406lb ft of torque at 0.7bar of boost. In a car as light as the E30 M3 that makes for an explosive driving experience, especially with all that power making its way to the road via a pair of 225/35 tyres. The drivetrain has obviously been thoroughly reworked in order to be able to cope with all that power, with a Getrag Type D six-speed gearbox from the E46 M3 being transplanted into the E30, along with an E46 M3 flywheel, Sachs race clutch and a modified E30 M3 propshaft. Matti’s M3 is a stunning car that wows and delights at every turn, impressing more and more the further you delve into its details and you can see that it’s been built with a money-no-object approach.


    Everything that Matti wanted to do, everything that he pictured in his mind before he’d even bought the car, has been done and his work is clearly appreciated by BMW fans, with the car winning best in show at the BMW Syndikat 2015 show in Germany, which sounds even more impressive when you learn that some 10,000 cars were in attendance. Matti has built himself a stand-out E30 M3, and then some. As Matti tells us before he speeds off: “ The only thing left to do now is drive it and look after it.”

    The combination of a powerful engine in an awesome chassis is a winner.

    DATA FILE Supercharged air-ride #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E30 / #BMW-E30-Supercharged /

    ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 , stock internals, new bearings, modified oil pan, modified E46 M3 radiator, #Vortech-V3 / #Vortech intercooled supercharger kit, remapped and modified E46 M3 ECU, Martelius Exhausts modified S54 exhaust manifold and full custom stainless steel exhaust. 560hp @ 8100rpm, 406lb ft of torque at 0.7bar boost.

    TRANSMISSION #Getrag-Type-D / #Getrag six-speed manual from E46 M3, E46 M3 flywheel, #Sachs race clutch, modified E30 M3 propshaft, stock E30 differential, stock E30 driveshafts.

    CHASSIS 9.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #Hartge Classic three-piece wheels with gold bolts and 215/25 Hankook (front) and 225/35 #Falken (rear) tyres, K-Sport E46 airbag coilovers with slimmer rear bags, E30 stock suspension arms, Powerflex bushes, E30 M3 stock brakes.

    EXTERIOR Standox Red Rocket paint, E30 M3 Sport Evo front spoiler, front arches and rear spoiler, shaved antennas, upholstered black hood, tinted head- and tail-lights, tinted windows.

    INTERIOR Recaro front seats, custom-upholstered dashboard, centre console and A-pillar covers, custom removable bolt-in roll-cage behind front seats.

    Interior a lot more subtle than vibrant exterior with lots of nice touches like the sexy Recaros, flocked dash and bolt-in roll-cage.

    The arches rest on the tyre sidewalls when the car is aired-out.

    S54 fits neatly into the E30’s engine bay and has been bolstered with an intercooled Vortech supercharger setup for a healthy 560hp.
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    FINCREDIBLE HULK #BMW-M535i-E28

    Once a mild-mannered E28 #BMW-M535i , this Finnish 5 Series is now a fearsome rage monster brandishing a terrifying 886hp courtesy of its turbocharged M30. Mental turbo E28 shows the kids how it’s done. This might look like a mild-mannered E28 but you wouldn’t like it when it’s angry… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Jape Tiitinen.

    BMW E28s need love. They’re getting rusty, rare and actually quite expensive to buy, certainly in the UK, and much like any classic they are not often casual, off-the-cuff purchases. You have to want an E28 because it requires commitment. Buying an E28 is a serious undertaking, one often reserved for lifelong BMW enthusiasts who’ve always wanted to own this classic saloon. Enthusiasts like Tobias Holmkvist, perhaps? “Well, when I bought this M535 my interest in the marque started to grow but I can’t really say I’m a #BMW guy,” he reveals. Oh, guess not then…

    So, just what attracted this 20-something car enthusiast to the sharkey E28? Well, for our Finnish truck body builder, this car presented itself as the perfect proposition for what he was planning. “I wanted to build a crazy car for street use,” he says in the matter-of-fact manner that someone might use when telling you that they’ve just bought a new shirt. “And to me the E28 is an old and beautiful model, plus this car already had a lot of performance parts installed. It was in pretty bad shape, though, and needed a rebuild so I bought it to have something to spend my time on.”

    Purchased in Sweden, Tobias’ E28 needed more than a little TLC to get it roadworthy again, requiring no less than a complete interior overhaul, rust removal and a respray, making this far more than just a casual project. But then again Tobias is a man who enjoys a challenge and likes building cars that are a little different from the norm (such as the 415hp Mercedes diesel estate he built back in 2008), so the prospect of restoring this E28 and turning it into a fire-breathing monster was no doubt a tantalising one.

    Now, if you want to build yourself a crazy powerful road car, you’re going to need to build yourself one serious engine. Luckily the M30B35 is the perfect candidate for turbocharging and makes the ideal base for building up a serious powerplant. Tobias has left no stone unturned, or at least no engine component unmodified, in his quest for power. The engine has undergone numerous evolutions but the current spec is its most impressive incarnation.

    First off, the block has been fitted with a reinforced bottom plate to stabilise it; it’s been bored out by 0.5mm and CP forged pistons have been fitted, though the crank has been left stock. The head was ported by Tobias himself and fitted with an Enem Z55 turbo camshaft, steel rocker arms and Stage 2 valve springs while ARP bolts ensure it stays clamped tightly to the block. Initially, Tobias was running a Holset HX55 turbo with a Megasquirt standalone ECU but he wasn’t happy with the way the car performed. “The Holset was too small,” he says, being rated for about 570hp, “so I removed the Megasquirt and the Holset and replaced it with the Precision turbo and MaxxECU engine management, which got the car running like a dream with better spool, more power and better engine control.” The turbo in question is a 7275, rated to 1015hp, offering the sort of horsepower potential that Tobias was looking for. In addition, it’s been fitted with a 46mm Precision wastegate. The intake and exhaust manifolds were both made by Tobias, with a 4” downpipe running from the turbo into a 3.5” exhaust with a single silencer, while on the intake side there’s a seriously beefy intercooler, measuring 600x450x100mm with a 3” inlet and a 4” outlet. You’ll also find 1680cc injectors sitting on a billet fuel rail, a VAG COP ignition system, a PWM controlled electric water pump and electric cooling fan. It’s a heavyweight list of mods and it results in some seriously heavyweight performance figures, with 2.3bar of boost resulting in 886hp and 758lb ft of torque, which is more than any sane person could ever possibly need, but whether it’s more than someone like Tobias could possibly want is another matter altogether…


    To go with all that power, Tobias has opted for an E39 M5 gearbox uprated with a Sachs 765 pressure plate and sintered clutch along with a homemade propshaft with M5 joints and an LSD at the rear, which allows him to put down some very long 11s on the Tarmac. The brakes have also been uprated, naturally, with 348mm discs up front and 320mm items at the rear, offering much needed enhanced stopping power. When Tobias bought the car it had already been fitted with lowering springs and uprated dampers, so he’s suck with that combo, adding Powerflex bushes throughout and M5 anti-roll bars to try and quell the car’s slightly tail-happy nature, though we wager that ramping up the power to over 800hp has probably undone most of his hard work on that front.

    Of course, even when you’re building a mental fast road machine like this, you can’t forget about the aesthetics and while Tobias has kept things looking pretty OE on the outside, there are plenty of hints that let you know this is most definitely not your run-of the-mill E28. Up front, one of the high beam lights has been replaced by a colour-coded air intake that feeds air directly to the massive cone filter wedged into the corner of the engine bay, while at the rear you’ll find an E30 M3-style spoiler crowned with a home-made gurney flap, complete with a message for anyone foolish enough to have attempted to tangle with this E28. And there’s no need for multiple exhausts here when one fat tailpipe does the job just fine, thank you very much.


    The AC Schnitzer Type 1 Racing wheels, Tobias reveals, were actually on the car when he bought it, and he liked them so much that he almost bought the car just for them, though they were in very bad shape and he spent 20 hours rebuilding them. Not that you’d know, mind, as they look absolutely spotless and the gold-on-white combo is pretty much perfect.

    The interior is a blend of OE calm and hardcore aftermarket additions. “I had always wanted a car with a full roll-cage,” explains Tobias, “so I decided to build one. A friend helped me with the TIG welding but I built it myself. It was very hard to make but the result was very good. I also fitted a set of E34 M5 leather seats and I made my own leather door panels, suede steering wheel and lowered steering column.” Tobias also chucked in a hydraulic handbrake, because that’s the sort of thing you’d expect to see in a 800hp E28 that’s very good at going sideways!

    The boot is home to numerous fuel system components, plonked unceremoniously to one side, but with the most exquisite components and the engine bay most definitely deserves a mention because while it might not be a polished-up show bay, it’s very clean and tidy. We particularly love the colour-coded piping and intake plenum.

    It’s taken Tobias four years to get the car to where it is today, a slow steady process of annual evolution, and this E28 has become something of a beast. It’s an epic machine that’s fulfilled Tobias’s brief of being “a crazy car for street use”. Judging from the pictures, Tobias seems pretty happy with the results, too, and it’s good to see a car like this being used in anger; then again, how else could you possibly use it?

    DATA FILE #BMW-E28 M30B35 Turbo

    ENGINE: 3.5-litre straight-six #M30B35 , bore increased by +0.5mm, stock crank, CP forged pistons, reinforced bottom plate to stabilise block, ported #M30 B35 head, #ARP bolts, Enem Z55 turbo camshaft, steel rocker arms, Stage 2 valve springs, custom intake and exhaust manifolds, #recision-7275 turbo, 1680cc injectors, #VAG coil-on plug ignition system, #MaxxECU ECU, PWM-controlled electric water pump, #PWM -controlled cooling fan, billet fuel rail, Precision 46mm wastegate, 4” downpipe with 3.5” exhaust and single silencer, 600x450x100mm intercooler with 3” inlet and 4” outlet. 886hp and 758lb ft @ 2.3bar.

    TRANSMISSION: #Getrag-Type-D six-speed manual gearbox from E39 M5 #Getrag , #Sachs-765 pressure plate, sintered clutch disc, home-made propshaft with M5 joints, LSD.

    CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 9.5x17” (rear) #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1 Racing #AC-Schnitzer wheels with 225/45 (front) and 255/40 (rear) Federal semi-slick tyres, single-piston callipers (front and rear) with 348x30mm discs (front), 320x22mm discs (rear).

    EXTERIOR: High beam air intake, E30 M3-style spoiler with custom gurney flap.

    INTERIOR: Full roll-cage, E34 M5 leather seats, custom leather doorcards, suede steering wheel and lowered steering column.

    THANKS: My friends that have helped me with this project, all your help has really been appreciated.
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