- 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.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- 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.
- Post is under moderationWIDE-ARCH M3 Stunningly modified E30
With its flawless finish, custom wide arches and blood-red innards, this E30 M3 is a rare beast indeed. And Ricardo Oliveira’s lengthy unicorn hunt has certainly been quite a journey… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Anna Taylor.
Wide-arch E30 M3
When we interview feature car owners, we always ask if they have anyone they’d like to thank – and it’s very telling that Ricardo Oliveira chooses to thank ‘all the people that laughed at my plans’. His, you see, is a tale of following his own path, cutting against the grain, and numerous other inspirational fridge-magnet clichés that have led to one of the cleanest and most eye-watering E30 M3s we’ve seen.
Oh yes, and it is a bona fide M3. Haters be damned, Ricardo’s ‘ruined’ it to his own dream specs, and he really couldn’t be happier about that: “This whole thing dates back to 1997, when I was 11 years old,” he explains. “My brother, Pedro, purchased his first E30 M3; it was a #1989 car, Alpine white, with 60k miles on the clock. I fell in love with it as soon as I laid eyes on it, there was something about the box arches and the way the little four-cylinder engine sounded coming down the street. I would wash it and go for rides in it any chance I had. I still remember the smell of the fresh leather and sitting in the rear seat listening to the Borla exhaust like it was yesterday.”
It’s safe to say that this early obsession showed little sign of abating; Ricardo was in deep, and there was no way he wouldn’t own an M3 one day. He was totally single-minded about that. “By the time I was 20, I had saved up enough money to buy one,” he says, “and heard of someone local selling a Lachs silver example that had a salvage title. It needed work, but was fairly priced… although as I prepared it for restoration, I began to have doubts about spending money on something that had been a weekend track car – which had evidently seen a barrier or two!”
As you may have deduced, that car is not the M3 you’re looking at today. Ricardo pulled the cord on that one and set about hunting down a better example to fulfil that childhood dream. In the course of his search he happened across a Henna red shell with matching numbers and all the right bits which he ended up buying, but then selling once he realised that the magnitude of the work, combined with his having been accepted into police academy, meant that realistically it just wouldn’t get done.
Fast-forward a few years and, at the age of 24, our man found himself graduating from police academy and, of course, the E30 fire was still very much burning away in the depths of his soul. “I began working my regular night shift, along with countless morning overtime shifts,” he recalls. “I remember going to bed at 4pm and waking at 10pm, only to grab a bite and head right back to work – just so I could purchase another E30 M3!” Ricardo really was committed to this dream, and those previous false starts did nothing but spur him on. And so, having saved enough money (rather more than the $7500 he paid for his first one – these cars certainly aren’t getting any cheaper) the search was resumed and, after quite some hunting, a 1990 Diamond black car presented itself in Clearwater, Florida. “It was being sold by a guy named Mike, who was getting progressively sicker from cancer and could no longer enjoy the car,” Ricardo explains. “I bought the car sight unseen after numerous hours on the phone discussing every detail – and a week and a half later, it was home with me in New Jersey!”
A fairytale ending? Er, no, not quite. Unfortunately it turned out that Mike had been, shall we say, a little creative with the detail, particularly in his use of the word ‘perfect’. Knowing E30 M3s inside out by this point, Ricardo started to feel some serious buyer’s remorse when he began to comb through the car. “I’d been told it was perfect, 100% rust-free and had recently been repainted,” he laments, “but it had been sprayed at a #MAACO body shop where even the window trims had been painted over; it was a very poor masking and spraying job, and in addition to that it’d painted over some surface rust that was already starting to bubble. I began to feel like Nicholas Cage in Gone In 60 Seconds – just like he continuously ran into problems with Eleanor, his ‘Unicorn’, so was I with the E30. That’s why I nicknamed it ‘Unicorn’.”
Ricardo tried to take these issues up with Mike, but he understandably had bigger fish to fry; shortly afterwards, word came through that he’d succumbed to the cancer. A sad turn of events, but it served to harden Ricardo’s resolve: the car would get sorted, and done right – Mike’s work would be finished properly, and Ricardo’s own childhood dreams would be fulfilled. So, where to start?
“I spent the first year ordering and collecting parts,” he says. “It was so bad, the house looked like a BMW parts department! I became a regular at the local BMW dealership, and the guys there now all know me by first, middle and last name. Probably even by credit card number…” In addition to all the new OEM stuff, he was hoarding period aftermarket addenda like some kind of eager magpie. It was all leading to the end-goal vision he had in his head.
And so with parts collected and boxes ticked, the work began in earnest. “The first step was the engine bay overhaul,” he says. “The engine came out along with all the sound and heat insulation, the bay was shaved and wire-tucked, and the motor was fully rebuilt. All the brackets, covers, pans, throttle bodies, belts, wires, gaskets, housings and bolts were either galvanised, polished, powdercoated, or replaced.” While stalking through the shell with militaristic force, it goes without saying that any rot Ricardo came across was swiftly eliminated and remedied with fresh metal. This was to be a better-than-new finish, no compromises.
With the bay sorted, Ricardo chose to focus on the wheels and arches. “I knew I wanted to do something no-one had done before,” he grins. “I decided to widen the rear arches to match the curves of the front wings – look closely and you’ll see that the standard rear quarters are flat while the front wings are round – and I aimed to extend them 1.5” further than stock. I basically wanted to widen the car, but to look as if BMW had originally done it.” You’ve got to admit that it works. The finish is flawless, and you might be hard pushed to put your finger on exactly what he’s done, had he not just explained it to you.
Impressive arches demand impressive wheels, so after a period of head-scratching and careful consideration, Ricardo acquired a set of BBS RS faces and sent them over to Paul at Ehrlich Wheel Works; a proven favourite design for the E30 M3, but these were to be finished with a twist. “To set these wheels apart from others, Paul and I planned to not only have the normal 3” slant lips people use for their rears fitted to the fronts instead, but we’d also be doing 4” lips on the rears – and we’d be doing them on a set of soon-to be-18” #BBS RSs.”
Much like the treatment of the arches, this is an exercise in tricking the eye – onlookers will see something familiar, and perhaps not immediately notice how radically different it actually is. This is Ricardo’s style – the car’s packed with features that fly under the everyday radar, but consistently drop the jaws of true-blue enthusiasts.
Once Ricardo got started on the exterior, it seems he couldn’t quite restrain himself from spreading yet more custom touches throughout the build. The rear panel was shaved to mimic the period AC Schnitzer offerings, a Euro front bumper arrived which was quickly shorn and smoothed, custom tail-lights were made up, and the rear spoiler received an Evo II lower item, an Evo III upper (with its famous threeposition adjustment – Monza, Normal, Nürburgring) and even a ’1992-spec carbon fibre DTM flap. “The custom bodywork took up most of the restoration, two years to be exact,” he recalls, “which then gave me the time to start the interior.”
Oh, and what an interior it is! Sending the parts out to Charlie of Branch Brook Auto Top for refreshing, Ricardo admits that he may have “decided to go a little crazy”, choosing the M3-correct shade of Cardinal red as his colour scheme, he opted to imbue a little Porsche style into the cabin by making literally everything red. Everything.
“I had Charlie wrap the dashboard, headlining, pillars, rear deck, and the Evo steering wheel in either Cardinal red GAHH leather or Alcantara, along with installing the discontinued BMW Cardinal carpet,” he smiles, like a cheeky schoolboy who knows he’s done something a bit mischievous.
All-in-all, Ricardo’s restoration and programme of modification represents a hell of a lot of work, and every last minute of it shows. The car’s certainly come a long way from that first disheartening meeting, when he found himself with a tired car that had been partially rotted out by the harsh Florida sunshine. His commitment to crafting a sort of OEM++ vision is what sets this car apart from regular M3s; it took four years of hard graft, but he finally has the E30 that his 11-year-old self dreamed of. His own personal unicorn.
Sure, he may get grief from the purists about how he’s ‘ruined’ a classic, but who gives a tuppenny squat about that? When the mission is this personal – and the ultimate results this stunning – then it’s okay to relax the rules a bit. In European folklore, the unicorn is fabled as a creature of purity and grace, and we just love how Ricardo’s turned that on its head in a US context – old world values, new world thinking. It’s the American dream.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #S14B23 / #BMW-S14 / #S14 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E30 / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder S14B23 , fully rebuilt, new #CP-Pistons (stock compression ratio), polished throttle bodies, powdercoated valve cover and air plenum with polished script, shaved engine bay with wire tuck, #Miller-Performance-MAF conversion/chip, custom air intake for #Miller-MAF , Evo plug wires, Mishimoto aluminium radiator, #Samco silicone hoses, custom aluminium reservoirs for power steering and coolant, stainless steel braided lines with AN fittings, electric fan, custom stainless steel exhaust with V bands, Supersprint silencer, ceramic-coated headers, new OEM engine mounts, water pump, ignition coil, cap and rotor, five-speed manual gearbox, Sachs clutch
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 10x18” (rear) #BBS-RS three-piece split-rims with 215/35 (front) and 235/35 (rear) Continental ExtremeContact tyres, BC coilovers, #Ireland-Engineering 25mm anti-roll bars and links (front and rear), Ireland Engineering polished front strut brace, rear subframe and trailing arm urethane bushings, new control arms, cross-drilled #StopTech discs
EXTERIOR Full respray in original Diamond black, widened and rolled front arches and rear quarters, shaved boot and numberplate panel, shaved window cowl with #AC-Schnitzer single wiper, shaved rear bumper to delete USDM city lights, new Euro front bumper with shaved tow hook covers, Evo III front spoiler and splitter, Evo II and Evo III rear spoilers and ’92 carbon fibre DTM rear spoiler flap, Evo III brake ducts, AC Schnitzer power/ heated mirrors, conversion to pop-out quarter glass, new BMW roundels and M3 badges, powdercoated window trims in satin black, all rubber seals for windows, doors, bonnet, boot and sunroof replaced, Hella smoked E-code headlights, custom rear smoked/red tail-lights, smoked indicators, LED city lights, LED numberplate lights
INTERIOR Cardinal red leather retrimmed by Branch Brook Auto Top (complete dashboard, front and rear centre console and Evo steering wheel also trimmed in Cardinal red leather), headlining, pillars and rear shelf trimmed in Cardinal red Alcantara, Euro sunshade on rear shelf, OEM Cardinal Red carpet, E46 M3 floor mats, Evo door sills, Alpine head unit, Alpine front and rear component speakers
THANKS My parents who gave me the support to complete this project, my brothers for their support – Joao Oliveira and especially Pedro Oliveira, who made me fall in love with the E30 M3 since 1997, Wally the painter, Paul Ehrlich from Ehrlich Wheel Works, Charlie ‘Suede’ from Branch Brook Auto Top & Interiors, Ben Barron, Mike Chin, and Francois Rodrigues from BMW of Springfield, Don Fields of Mr. M Car, Rich the machinist, Sidney Almeida for assisting me in building the engine, and all the people who laughed at my plans…
“It was so bad, the house looked like a parts department!”
“I knew I wanted to do something no-one had done before…”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTHE MASTERPIECE / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E21 / #BMW
This E21 wows with its Euro-look styling, race-inspired interior and E30 M3 Evo 2 S14 under the bonnet. It is a very rare occasion when a modified BMW comes up that simply excels in every area. This German E21 is one such car. Sublime Euro-look, race-style interior, custom boot install and the inspired choice of dropping an S14 E30 M3 Evo 2 engine into the immaculate bay. A masterpiece indeed. Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Max Earey.
I’m in love. I never thought it would happen this way, but it has. Yet I regret I’m cheating on another. At home I have my E21: a stylish, attractive and reasonably reliable partner. Yes, she’s let me down a few times, and is a bit ropey around the edges, but she deserves better than this. One short business trip on the continent, one sunny afternoon in the country, and I’ve fallen for a 24-year-old German beauty. A quick look at the automotive pornography on these pages is my only defence. How can this car not be adored by all?
For a start, no BMW from 1982 has a right to look this good. When I say it is immaculate, I mean immaculate. There is not a flaw anywhere on the body, inside the cabin, in the boot or under the bonnet. Even the fuse box is spotlessly clean. You could almost accept a concours original E21 that’s kept in a heated museum 365 days a year to be of this incredible standard, but not one that’s been so brilliantly modified with around treble the power over its factory figure.
Forced induction for this staggering fact? Not in this instance. This car started life as a 1982 BMW 315, a car sold in Germany with the dizzying performance figure of 73bhp. When 35-year-old Michael Pietsch bought the gutless white classic in 1990 – his first car no less – no one could have envisaged the remarkable transformation that would take place over the years. At the heart of the whole operation is the inspired choice of installing an E30 M3 Evo 2’s 2.3-litre S14 engine. The performance difference doesn’t even bare thinking about.
The standard Evo 2 engine is good for 215bhp, and with Michael adding a Hartge engine management chip, Eisenmann E36 M3 exhaust parts and a K&N air filter, he can expect a few more ponies on top of that as well. With around 150 extra horsepower over a standard 315’s output thanks to the engine transplant and upgrades, the little E21 has been transformed into a true road racer. A conservative estimate of 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds ensures it would embarrass many more exotic machines at a traffic light grand prix, and could even shame a few modern so-called performance BMWs with a four-cylinder powerplant (that means you, E90 320si owners).
When modifiers complete engine swaps, it’s usually a good plan to fit the corresponding gearbox at the same time. Michael has obliged by adding the E30 M3’s race-style dogleg ’box (with first gear usually where second gear is, and second gear where third normally is and so on). To make the gear changes even quicker, there’s also a shorter gear throw thanks to an M3 short-shift kit. While this was going on, an Alpina LSD was also fitted to increase traction and improve handling.
As impressive as the engine and drivetrain set up is, this is just one part of a quite phenomenal customising job. As is de rigueur with Euro-look cars, Michael has dropped the body perfectly on deep-dish alloys to give that unbeatably squat, menacing stance. KW Variant 1 coilovers lower the body 80mm at the front and 60mm out back, enveloping the impossibly clean 8.5x16” and 9.5x16” Chevlon Racing Mesh split rims.
Behind these delightful polished rollers sits a brake upgrade suitable for the three-fold increase in power over a standard E21 315. TarOx 307mm discs are squeezed by six-pot calipers at the front, while E30 325i discs with Ferodo pads grace the back. To round off the impressive chassis upgrades to go with the coilovers and bigger anchors, Michael has fitted front and rear strut braces and an E21 323i antiroll bar. As you’d expect, this little E21 is one hell of a good laugh to be piloting along twisty German roads.
Looking as good as it does, it’s no surprise to find Michael doesn’t go into battle with it at the Nürburgring every weekend. A shame considering its performance, but it ensures the exterior remains looking this good. The body itself has had very little done to it: the E21 is such an attractive retro car as standard it simply doesn’t need tacky add-ons.
Instead, Michael has ensured the body has been resprayed to the highest level in its vivid red hue, while he’s had the arches subtly pulled out 10mm at the front and 15mm at the rear to accommodate the wide wheels and lowered body. What more needs doing? A quick bit of de-badging, white indicators and a black kidney grille combined with the slightly fatter body and the look is perfect. Simplicity at its finest.
As for the interior, well, what can you say? 34-year-old cars should smell old, be thoroughly worn through and have all the bells and whistles that came as standard back in the early Eighties (ie none). This is the case with my musty, tatty old E21 but Michael’s is an altogether different animal.
He has managed to retain the period feel of the E21’s standard inside and combine it with delightful modern touches to make all E21 fans go weak at the knees. There is simply no other word for it: perfection.
From the König sport seats with Schroth harnesses to the black Porsche carpets, everything has been chosen to ensure this cabin is an exceptional place to be. A Raid 320mm steering wheel is a vast improvement over the standard E21’s bussized offering, the speedo dials are Alpina items, while #VDO gauges have been tastefully mounted in the centre console with a custom aluminium surround.
Thanks to Michael’s skills learnt in his job, he has been able to fabricate plenty of these custom aluminium parts that give the unique feel to the interior. The craftsmanship of the window winders, gear stick and surround (very Ferrari-esque), handbrake handle, door sills and door pins is exceptional, complemented with the likes of metal pedals and plenty of M badges dotted around paying homage to the improved lump under the bonnet.
You’ll notice the Brax MultiController embedded in the dashboard, and this keeps a close eye on the highly professional ICE install in the boot. Michael was keen to show off his E21’s impressive sound quality, treating us to a selection of his German death metal hits. Well, it was certainly an improvement on the usual Euro-pop that gets blared out at German shows.
Have you ever seen a tidier boot install? There’s still space for a few bags after embedding the Kicker Punch 1000W amp in the spare wheel well (covered by Perspex) and the 400W amp in the side pod, while two 12” Kicker Freeair subs have been neatly placed at the boot’s rear, mounted on tasteful chequer plating. There’s also a Strike LCB1200 battery on show, and a Resolution two-way crossover, while the finish is, once again, in quality Porsche black carpeting. For a bit of extra show, there are also three blue neons illuminating the boot come sundown.
As with the rest of this E21, the boot is impossibly clean. But no matter where you look throughout Michael’s 1982 classic, there is nowhere it can be faulted. From top to toe it is nothing short of flawless, and how a car that is nearly a quarter of a century old looks in such fantastic condition is a miracle. The rebuilding job performed by Michael is the work of a genius. The engine could be from an S14 museum, the custom aluminium detailing is desirably fresh, and the body looks as though it has just left the finest paint shop in Germany. Is it any wonder he’s walked away with 56 show trophies since 1999?
It may look as though it is trailered to every show it enters, but Michael hasn’t had all the performance upgrades done for no reason. He told me the former 315’s top speed is now 150mph, and he knows this because he’s done it on the autobahn. Must be a strange feeling in an E21! But with the incredible chassis setup and well over 200bhp on tap, how could you not enjoy exploring its potential? Best of all, when playtime is over, give it a quick polish and it’s ready to be a show-winner once again. There’s no way you can not love this quite brilliant little car.
An inspired modification for the humble E21: transplanting an E30 M3 Evo 2’s 2.3-litre, 215bhp engine. Even though the bay is 34 years old and the engine 25, everything you see is immaculate.
…no BMW from 1982 has a right to look this good. When I say it is immaculate, I mean immaculate. There is not a flaw anywhere on the body, inside the cabin, in the boot or under the bonnet.
As with the rest of the car, the E21’s ICE install is perfection. Kicker subs and amps mounted delightfully with chequer plating and black Porsche carpets.
E30 M3 Evo 2 engine swap means the gearbox comes with it. Racing dogleg it is then.
Custom aluminium parts include window winders, door sills, gear stick, handbrake and gauge surrounds.
Interior is still classically E21, but custom aluminium goodies and the Raid steering wheel modernise the flawless cabin.
Above: Alpina speedo adds a custom flavour. Below: As close to an E21 M3 as there’s been.
Michael has managed to retain the period feel of the E21’s standard inside and combine it with delightful modern touches to make all E21 fans go weak at the knees. There is simply no other word for it: perfection.
Black BMW badges offer a finishing touch.
Michael said the former 315’s top speed is now 150mph, and he knows this because he’s done it on the autobahn. Must be a strange feeling in an E21!
DATA FILE #BMW-E21 / #BMW-E21-S14 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #Alpina
ENGINE: 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14 / #BMW-S14 with custom stainless steel exhaust system using #Eisenmann E36 M3 parts, #K&N air filter, #Hartge engine management chip, braided hoses throughout. E30 M3 five-speed dogleg transmission with short-shift from M3, #Alpina-LSD with 40% diff lock
PERFORMANCE: 215bhp with top speed of 150mph and 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds
CHASSIS: 8.5x16” ET7 (front) and 9.5x16” ET7 (rear) #Chevlon-Racing-Mesh split-rim alloys shod in 215/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Dunlop SP9000 tyres. #KW-Variant-1 / #KW coilovers lowering 80mm front and 60mm rear, front strut brace with custom aluminium strut covers, rear strut brace, E21 323i anti-roll bar. TarOx 307mm brake discs with 6-pot #TarOx calipers up front, E30 325i discs with Ferodo S 2000 pads at rear
EXTERIOR: Arches pulled out 10mm front and 15mm rear, de-badged boot, M3 badge on front grille, black BMW roundels, custom white indicators front and rear
INTERIOR: Black and red König sports seats, Schroth harnesses, Raid 320mm steering wheel with black BMW logo and M emblem, metal pedals with M logos, black Porsche carpets, Alpina dials, custom aluminium door sills, window winders, gear stick, gear stick housing, handbrake handle, door pins and gauge surround, VDO gauges, custom chrome screws throughout (over 100 in total)
ICE: Clarion DRZ 960Z head unit with 12-disc CD changer, Brax MultiController in dashboard, two 12” Kicker Freeair subs, Kicker Punch 1000W amp, Kicker Punch 400W amp, Resolution two-way crossover, Rockford Fosgate 1 Farad capacitor, Strike LCB1200 battery, custom boot floor with Perspex covering, chequer plate detailing, three blue neon lights
THANKS: Roger Hiller (painting), Armin Betzelberger (electrics)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRALLY E30 M3 Full-on 320hp Tarmac terror.
Once a racer, this absolutely awesome 320hp E30 M3 is now a Tarmac rally terror. Having made the transition from racer to rally machine, this E30 M3 is as focused and hardcore as they come. Words and photos: Andy Starkey.
There’s no air-ride suspension, no handcrafted modified bodywork, no deep lacquered paintwork or fancy hand-stitched leather interior. There’s not even a smart ICE install or a glitzy set of sparkly rims. But this doesn’t stop Allan Davies’ E30 M3 being one hell of a car, one that’s more than worthy of being featured amongst these pages. The reason for the lack of all these pretty bits and bobs is quite obvious: this is a car built to do a job. To do battle on Tarmac rally stages, to be exact. But it wasn’t always that way…
Way back in 2009 Allan had campaigned a pretty successful season in the Classic Thunder series, driving a 2004 Clio Cup car. However, he yearned to drive something more ‘classic’, preferably rear-wheel drive and with a good deal more poke. The search for such a beast led him to the doors of JC Racing in Yorkshire. There he found this ex-Mark Smith racing E30 M3 nestling amongst all the other treasures. Mark had raced it in the Britcar series and a few 24- hour events but had plans to move up to an E92. Allan, being the charitable type, naturally offered to help out by making a bit more space for Mark by buying the #BMW E30.
Coming from a company like JC Racing meant that the car was already pretty well sorted. It came equipped with a Russ Cockburn-built #S14 motor which pushed out a useful 320hp. It’s an all-steel affair, high revving and fitted with Works throttle bodies, Works plenum and pretty hot cams. A real peach, as they say. There was a Drenth six-speed ’box and two-way adjustable KW coilover suspension. She was ready to race, straight from JC. Allan enjoyed the next two seasons in the Classic Thunder series again and notched up a couple of wins in the Pre-1993 Championship. He even had a pretty successful trip to Spa.
There was, however, something of a thought starting to manifest in the back of Allan’s mind. You see, racing wheel-to-wheel on a congested race track certainly makes for exhilarating, heart-pounding action. However, the problem with that is that you can come a proper cropper at the hands of some other adrenalin-fuelled hot-head that reckons he can see a gap when quite clearly there isn’t one. This often results in some rather expensive carnage, and at no fault of your own.
Now, Allan does have the good fortune to co-own Driveme, a Stafford-based supercar experience business. This means that the E30 has a permanent home and trusted spanner guys to keep it just so. That said, the team has more than enough to do keeping temperamental Ferraris and Lambos going, never mind the possibility of regular panel damage, or worse, to the Beemer from racing it. No, it was time to return to Allan’s roots: rallying. At least that way, if it did get damaged he could only blame himself!
“There’s no way I’d take her into the woods on a loose event,” Allan assures us. “Tarmac is where it needs to be, and I was sure it wouldn’t take much to get her ready.” Really? Allan is first to admit, he’s a bit mechanically challenged. “In my own little world I thought the transition from race to rally would be fairly simple,” he explains.
Well, after a bit of research and chatting to people in the know, it became obvious there was a bit more to it than he first thought. You may think that racing and rallying are very close relations and that it can’t be that difficult to hop from one discipline to the other. The trouble is, they both need very different skills and techniques to be competitive. Put a racing driver into a rally car and see how they get on. It’s not as straightforward as you’d think. And that goes for the machinery used, too.
The E30 was already a superb bit of kit so it was only fair the conversion was entrusted to some people that knew what they were doing, as Allan explains: “It had to be done right. I’d be disappointed with myself if I’d undone JC’s sterling work.”
Butler Motorsport took on the job of the strip down and eventual rebuild. The engine was the key to Butler’s work. It was already a fine motor but it was built to race. Butler’s Terry Wilson bored and stroked it with Arrow steel rods and forged endurance pistons. The head was specially reworked to give improved low-end torque and a set of Schrick special order cams finished the job. Harry Hockley took the shell into his care where it was media blasted, seam welded and painted. Sump guard mounts were added, as well as additions to the already modern sculpture of a roll cage. Sill stand mounting points were also added.
Back at Butler, discussions were afoot regarding the transmission. The Drenth six-speed had been great on track but would prove to be ill-suited to twisty #Tarmac stages. A friendly natter with Carl from Tractive Motorsport Transmissions led to the fitment of one of its RD906 six-speed sequential boxes. With his help, a set of ratios have been selected to give a top speed of around 120mph at 8500rpm and a full remap of the S14 would soon make those figures a reality. The tunnel needed further modification to accept this new gearbox, which meant the extra hassle of getting it back to Hockley’s again to have it sorted, but it was worth it. At least the extra time there was utilised to change the fuel tank from a large endurance race one to a smaller capacity bespoke cell which sits low on the boot floor and looks like a real work of art in its own right.
You’ve heard the term, ‘opening a can of worms’, well that’s an understatement with this build. Hurdles popped up at every turn; time-consuming things like attaching mudflaps, fitting a second seat, and having to design an entirely new wiring loom. The loom in a racer is pretty simple compared with that of a standard car, never mind one needed for a rally car. There were very few creature comforts in the original race version, a simple dash display and rudimentary lighting all made it a bit of a doddle to wire up. Now, though, there were things like the dipped and main beam, spotlights, a trip computer and a Works dashboard to wire up. While we’re on about the dash, it does look the absolute dog’s danglies and sets off a very purposeful looking interior.
Then there was the reworked fuel system and pumps, along with an accessible fuse box. All in all, quite a headache, and that’s putting it mildly. “I couldn’t believe the stuff that had to be done that just kept cropping up,” Allan explains. “Putting a second wiper back on and needing power steering just added to the adventure.” Apparently the rack was a real pain in the proverbial. It was on and off more times than Casanova’s trousers. It does work now and is just about two turns lock to lock, an absolute must when hustling this beauty around a tricky twisty event. The braking system is pretty much as it was when prepped to race with four-pots, servo assist and adjustable bias control, only now the calipers are home to different, more suitable pad materials. The only other change was a hydraulic handbrake. Apart from the brave muggins that sits in the passenger seat, the hydro handbrake has to be one of the most vital parts to a rally car. Any rally driver worth his salt will rely on a good handbrake to help flick the tail out when the need arises. The KW adjustable coilover suspension remains, except that Allan is still testing different spring rates to achieve the best combination.
So, what’s next? “The car is just about event ready,” Allan reckons. “There are some new circuit based rallies in an MSV Championship for 2016. These will be a great testing ground as they’ll be at venues we already know, albeit made a lot tighter with added chicanes and in some cases run in the opposite direction.” Well fella, we have to admit, it all sounds a real hoot and the car looks ready for anything. The only thing we would say is, after all the anguish and swearing in getting it sorted, don’t bloody bend it!
DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #Rally-Car / #BMW-E30-Rally-Car / #BMW-M3-E30-Rally-Car /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 / #S14 / #BMW-S14 , steel crank and rods, fully lightened and balanced, gas-flowed cylinder head with special profile #Schrick cams, #Works throttle bodies and plenum, dry sumped, race flywheel, #Tractive-RD906 sequential six-speed dog ’box, competition multi-plate hydraulic clutch, Works LSD
CHASSIS 8x17” (f&r) #Team-Dynamics forged motorsport wheels with 215/45 (f&r) competition tarmac tyres (wheels and tyres are event dependant), #KW adjustable platform coilovers, four-piston calipers with Pagid RS 4-2 pads (f&r)
EXTERIOR #BMW-Motorsport E30 M3 shell, fully seam welded, Evo rear spoiler and front bumper, polycarbonate side windows and sliders, #Kaylan-Rally mud-fla ps and MSA regulation towing points
INTERIOR Fabricated fuel tank in wheel well with twin Facet pumps, full FIA multi-point cage with harness bars, Works Stack and AVO dash and fabricated switch panel, quick release Momo steering wheel with launch button, all lines plumbed inside with brake bias control and FIA regula tion extinguisher system, Corbeau Pro Series seats and five-point harnesses
E30 M3 rally car looks absolutely awesome on the outside, with some ridiculously cool mud-flaps.
(Top) Russ Cockburn-built S14 puts out a seriously impressive 320hp; bespoke fuel cell mounted in boot floor with twin Facet pumps.
It had to be done right. I’d be disappointed myself if I’d undone JC’s sterling work.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSWEDISH METAL
This BMW-loving father and son duo have built themselves two very different 2002s: one S14-powered, one turbocharged, both rather brilliant. Two 2002s, two very different approaches. A father and son team have put together this formidable pairing of modified BMWs, both brimming with citrusy goodness… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
Nominative determinism is an interesting idea. It’s a very real thing, positing that certain people’s futures tend to be mapped out by the name that they’re born with. For instance, the poet William Wordsworth, the racing driver Scott Speed, the meteorologist Amy Freeze, the urologist Dr Dick Chopp (who specialises in vasectomies and really does exist) and the tennis player Anna Smashnova – it can’t be a coincidence that these people have pursued careers that fit their names.
It follows, logically, that while people’s future paths can be shaped by name, there may exist for creatures and objects a sort of ‘colouration determinism’, where destiny can be informed and coerced by hue and saturation. Peacocks, for example, strut about like they own the place because they’ve evolved feathers that allow them to do so, and they revel in it. Little blue showoffs. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle. What does all this have to do with the pair of old-skool 2002s we’re looking at here? Ah, all will become clear. But it concerns, of course, their respective shades of orange…
To begin at the beginning, what we have here are a pair of home-built ’02s that offer far more horsepower than the factory ever envisaged – for we are in Sweden, and that’s just what they do here (the winters are long, there’s not a lot else to do) – built up by a father-and-son team. EWO 172 is a 1969 2002 Ti belonging to Mats Örnberg, and follows a classic approach to the pursuit of power: OEM+ tuning and a solid retro vibe. GEF 588 is the pride and joy of his son, Pontus, and takes a rather more boisterous approach, being a previously humble ’02 with the naughty spirit of the fabled 2002 Turbo woven into its DNA. So let’s start with the older generation first, shall we?
Mats’ 2002 wears Lamborghini Mica orange paint, a shade that suits the sharpened angles of a Murciélago down to the ground. In this instance, returning to our notion of colouration determinism, it speaks of style, chic, passion and flair – the attributes of a carefree Italian outlook, la dolce vita made solid. And as such, Mats has treated the engineering of the car with the reverence it deserves. “We found the body in a barn back in 1996,” he recalls. “When I first built the car up it was running an M10 engine; having fixed up the rust and fitted the steel arch extensions, it was on the road by 1998 in its first guise. The motor was lightly tuned and I ran it that way for a number of years, during the summers that is, with the modifications and upgrades happening over the winters.”
This is a stock tuner phrase in Sweden – it must be terrifying being an elk or a beaver in the springtime over there, when the snow melts and all the nutters emerge blinking from their garages, ready to deploy the extra horsepower they found over Christmas. “I bored it out to 2.2-litres, fitted spikier cams, fettled the suspension, experimented with bike carbs… and then around 2005 or 2006 I fitted the M3 engine.” He says this as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Maybe, for him, it is.
The E30’s S14 four-pot is a formidable thing; its architecture spawned from the M10, so it’s an entirely appropriate evolution for Mats’s build, and it’s the one four-cylinder engine that, generally speaking, the hardened BMW six-pot fan will make a concession for. It has the weight of history and motorsport prowess hanging from it. “Everything from the 2002 suited the swap,” he grins. “The motor mounts, oil pan, oil pump, the gearbox… the M3 manifold had to be modified a little, and a new exhaust system had to be built, but on the whole it fitted very happily.” Makes it sound easy, doesn’t he?
So in essence he found himself with a classically-tuned 2002 with 199hp at the wheels, something that would have raised a few Bavarian eyebrows in period. The fact that he’s rocking a set of motorsport-chic #BBS-RS wheels and debumpered the thing like a race car merely adds to the feel of 1970s track shenanigans. He’s got buckets, harnesses and a cage in the stripped interior, too, because that’s how a car like this is supposed to roll. Mats has been developing it for years, and this is its ultimate evolution. (Well, ‘ultimate’ in the sense of ‘latest’, at least. We very much doubt he’s finished with it yet.) “All of the renovations and modifications were carried out by me, save for the paint and a few minor jobs like aluminium welding,” he explains, which makes perfect sense really. You can’t be nipping to the local garage every five minutes if your workshop door’s wedged shut by a snowdrift.
So if Mats’ car is informed by the suavity of Lamborghini orange, what’s the citrus situation with Pontus’? Well, his 2002 is slathered in a shade of Harley Davidson orange, which really should act as a statement of intent. This is a colour that forgoes any sentiment of subtlety in favour of brash, forthright shoutiness. It beats its chest with fury like a wronged, bearded leviathan in a Southern biker bar. It doesn’t ask, it just takes.
“This all started in 2012, when Pontus was just 16,” says Mats, immediately shaming most of the dads of our readership into rethinking their ‘birthday present ideas’ list. “He asked me if I could give him some help in working on a 2002 with a turbocharged engine. I told him to talk to my brother-in-law about it, as he had a 2002 that he’d built and registered with a turbo – and it turned out that he’d tired of it and started to strip and sell the parts, so Pontus bought the whole thing and that became the project! We worked on restoring it together, with a new turbo and engine management system, as well as replacing the gearbox and differential, which are from an E28 528i. We also had to scratch-build a whole new fuelling system, and build up the new coilovers, and set up the new front brakes which are from a Porsche Boxster, and…” Well, the list goes on and on. This is very much not a case of tidying up someone else’s project; what Mats and Pontus have achieved here is to take the lessons learned from the former’s protracted dabblings in 2002 fettling and reimagine it for a Generation Y outlook. Forced induction, multi-marque part-sourcing, great big rims with broad rubber, these are all the touchpoints gleaned from a childhood spent poring over Gatebil coverage, and GEF 588 is the natural coalescence of influences old and new. “We had some heat issues with the downpipe in the beginning,” Mats continues.
“The spark plug wires melted, so we had to make a new manifold that would position the turbo a bit further away from the engine. But in general, that’s really the only problem we faced.” Again, he’s making it sound simple. What’s residing beneath that Harleyjaffa bonnet is really anything but: a 2.0-litre motor stroked out to 2.2, with robust pistons and rods, and a Borg Warner S200 boosting happily and filling the system with cheerfulness. The block itself has been partially concrete-filled, an old drag racing trick that adds strength to the cylinder walls and deadens internal vibration. (The necessary compromise is to half-fill it because, unless you’re running a full-race dragster or fuelling it with methanol, you want to keep some of the water jackets free or else you won’t have any cooling.) It is, in short, pretty hardcore. 424hp of hardcore, in fact, with that E28 LSD having all sorts of spiky power to cope with.
Pontus has really gone to town on the aesthetics, too, eschewing his old man’s penchant for retro flair by ensuring that any potential challenger is in no doubt that they’re about to get kicked in the teeth. The 17” Borbet rims give the profile a brilliant Hot Wheels look, all pumped-up proportions and caricaturistic stance, while those Mk1 Golf arches that just about rein them in are an unusual alternative to the more obvious Turbo bolt-ons that most 2002 tuners plump for. The fibreglass front and rear bumpers are an interesting and polarising choice, too; while most people would either run debumpered, as Mats does, or stick a Turbo air dam on the front, Pontus has gone for a set of square-jawed chins that, working with the chunky sideskirts, do a lot to visually lower the car. It’s bound to be a look that puts some people off, but that’s just what we love about it. Who wants to follow the herd, eh?
Certainly not the Örnbergs. “We’re at a point in time where the older generation are talking about their memories of these cars when they were new, and the younger generation think it’s cool that they owned them,” says Mats, with the logic of a seasoned campfire storyteller. “My first car was a BMW and I’ve had one or two 2002s in my time… clearly it’s rubbed off from father to son!”
They’re having a lot of fun with their creations, too. Mats uses his car in autocross competitions, while Pontus can be found drifting his turbo looper when he’s not joining Örnberg Senior for a spot of autocrossing. The respective personalities of their shades of orange have naturally bled into two very different 2002s, but they’re both on a level pegging when it comes to desirability: whether you’re into high-revving screamers or hard-boosting growlers, there’s something lurking for you in the Swedish woods. And if you don’t see them coming, you’ll certainly hear them.
DATA FILE #BMW-2002-M10 #BMW-2002
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.2-litre four-cylinder #M10B20 #M10 , #Nera ECU, JE pistons, #Pauter rods, S14 crank, 84mm stroke, main bearing support, partially concretefilled engine block, ported and polished cylinder head, 46mm intake and 39mm exhaust valves, billet rocker arms, electric water pump, home-made exhaust manifold, #Borg-Warner #Borg-Warner-S200-turbo , 3.5” downpipe, 3” exhaust with one full-flow silencer, separate wastegate and pressure relief valve, multiple butterfly throttles from S14, 680cc injectors, Bosch motorsport coil, #Getrag 260 gearbox from E28 528i, Sachs 618 pressure plate, E28 528i diff with 75% LSD, 4:10 ratio. 424whp, 410lb ft @ 1.8bar.
CHASSIS: 7.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) #Borbet A wheels with 205/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres, #Sachs front coilovers with 450lb springs, complete (narrowed) E28 535i rear axle with coilovers, Porsche Boxster four-pot front Brembo callipers with 302x25mm discs.
EXTERIOR: Harley Davidson orange, Mk1 Golf steel arch extensions, fibreglass bumpers and sideskirts.
INTERIOR: Soundproofing, carpets and rear seats removed, six-point roll-cage, #Motor-Drive seats, four-point harnesses, rev counter, oil pressure and temp, water temp and boost gauges.
Örnberg junior, meanwhile, has gone for a rather more extreme machine, and it packs a serious turbocharged punch.
DATA FILE #BMW-2002-S14
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 #S14 , reground camshafts, airflow meter removed along with intake manifold chamber, #Hestec ECU, #Bosch motorsport coil, 2.5” exhaust with two full-flow silencers, five-speed dog-leg box, M3 clutch, E21 diff with 75% LSD, 4:10 ratio, 199whp 192lb ft.
CHASSIS: 7x15” (front) and 8x15” (rear) BBS RS wheels with 205/50 (front) and 225/45 (rear) Toyo R888s, Bilstein front coilovers with 600lb springs, tube control arms with spherical plain bearings, blade-style anti-roll bars, #Bilstein rear dampers with 350lb springs in original position, reinforced control arms, urethane bushes, #Brembo four-pot front calipers with 295x28mm discs and Performance Friction pads, Audi A4 rear calipers with 256x10mm discs and Audi pads, adjustable brake balance.
EXTERIOR: Resprayed in Lamborghini Mica orange, steel arch extensions, debumpered.
INTERIOR: Soundproofing and rear seats removed, Sparco Corsa seats, four-point harnesses, six-point aluminium roll-cage, oil temp and pressure gauges.
Örnberg senior has opted for a more subtle build, though it’s a serious machine under the skin.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.