- 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 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 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 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.
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- Post is under moderationBMW E30 M3 vs 333i vs 325iS Three of the Best #M30 #M20 #S14
We pitch the South African 333i and 325iS Evolution against an M3 for an E30 battle. Everyone loves E30s and this triumvirate must rate as three of the most desirable of the breed. The iconic M3 goes head-to-head with the South African-only 333i and 325iS Evolution Words: Johann Venter. Photography: Oliver Hirtenfelder.
So finally the day has come where we can measure up these legendary box-shaped beauties. This has to be one of the BMW showdowns of the century and who would have thought it would happen under African skies?
In the left corner we have the two contenders, the E30 333i and the #E30 325iS Evolution. The 333i is painted in Aero silver and weighs in at 1256kg. It develops 197hp (145kW) at 5500rpm and has a maximum torque of 210lb ft (285Nm) at 4300rpm. The 325iS is painted in Ice white and weighs1147kg. It develops 210hp (155kW) at 5920rpm, and has a maximum torque of 195lb ft (265Nm) at 4040rpm. In the right corner the reigning world champion, the E30 M3, is painted in Lachs silver and weighs in (from new) at 1200kg and develops 200hp (140kW) at 6750rpm and has a maximum torque of 177lb ft (238Nm) at 4750rpm.
Today is going to be a brawler; we are out in the west of the province of Gauteng approximately 40 kilometres outside of Johannesburg at the Delportan Hill in Krugersdorp which has been a popular hillclimb venue since the ‘60s. We are in ‘Cradle’ country not too far off from here are the Sterkfontein Caves – a World Heritage Site where ‘Mrs Ples’, a 2.1-millionyear- old skull, and ‘Little Foot’, an almost complete skeleton that’s three-million-years-old were found.
According to some it’s the birth place of humanity, giving rise to the name Cradle of Humankind, but enough of that, let’s get back to the job at hand. To appreciate the significance of the E30 3 Series in South Africa we need to take a step back and understand the relevance of this model in South African car culture.
The E30 with its three-box outline can trace its DNA back directly to the 2002 which was an integral part of the Neue Klasse, which followed the Bauhaus design philosophy that lasted for 40 years within BMW; with a distinguished sculpted shoulder-line, airy glass-house cabin, slender roof-lines and minimalistic cockpit. This was carried over to the E21 3 Series and is firmly rooted into the E30 3 Series. Sadly, though, the 2002 was never manufactured in South Africa and imported in rather small numbers. Worse still is the fact that the E21 was never officially imported. South Africans were therefore starved of a compact sporting BMW saloon until 1982 when the Rosslyn plant starting producing the E30 3 Series, which has resulted in an absolute cult following of the model this far south of the equator.
This immaculate Aero silver example of the 333i, with just 90,000km on the clock, happens to be the nicest of the four colours in which they were offered. The other colours included Diamond black, Henna red and Ice white. This is number 103 of the 204 that were sold in South Africa between 1985 and 1987, a total of 210 were produced including prototypes and test mules. It cost R41,300 (£16,312) when new in 1985.
This car is no stranger to BMW Car’s pages and was featured in the January 2013 edition – complied by the then deputy editor Sebastian de Latour who was fortunate enough to pilot this rarity with me in tow. This car is in fact part of a prodigious BMW collection that was also featured in BMW Car in the August 2013 edition.
Vic Doolan and Bernd Pischetsrieder (of BMW South Africa at the time) are credited for the innovation of the 333i. The original intent was to compete in Group One racing but this was never to be as Group One racing was summarily cancelled at the end of the 1985 season – remember the M1 suffered a similar fate.
The concept was pretty straightforward: find one of the biggest engines in the BMW arsenal and cram it into the smallest, lightest body. The engine came from the E23 733i, which was partially chosen for its free-revving characteristics (3.2-litre, in-line, sixcylinder, 12-valve) – producing a maximum power output of 197hp (145kW) at 5500rpm and maximum torque of 210lb ft (285Nm) at 4300rpm.
The development of the 333i was a collaboration between BMW SA, BMW Motorsport and Alpina. Just like with the E23 745i (which was also unique to South Africa, see BMW Car May 2013 edition) an extensive development and testing programme was embarked upon to ensure that the optimum cooling, gearing and noise levels were achieved.
Alpina played a crucial role in the development of the 333i providing the specially developed inlet and exhaust manifolds and plenum chamber, heavy-duty copper cored radiator and various other cast alloy bits. The Bosch L-Jetronic fuel management system was revised accordingly, all of which resulted in a substantially altered torque curve, boosting it substantially in the lower rev range. Alpina also provided the 296mm vented, grooved discs upfront, the suspension was fitted with Bilstein gas dampers with slightly stiffer springs, and it rolled on 16-inch 20-spoke Alpina alloys. The 333i was fitted with a dog-leg close-ratio Getrag ‘box and 25 per cent ZF limited-slip diff.
On the inside the most distinguishing Alpina component is the digital display pod mounted on the right central vent. It shows engine and rear diff oil temperatures, the engine oil pressure and manifold vacuum readings. The instrument cluster is also provided by Alpina with a speedo reading of up to 270km/h, with red needles normally reserved for M cars. The interior is rounded off with Sport leather seats, leather-covered Sport steering and a gear lever marked with the M tricolour stripe.
The exterior is rather attractive in that ‘80s kind of way, with integrated aero appendages which include a deep front spoiler, side skirts, a sweeping lip at the rear, and a black boot spoiler finishing it off. Owners had a choice between air-con and powersteering but could not have both as there wasn’t sufficient room under the bonnet. Telling them apart is easy: on air-conditioned cars the foglamps are absent, creating apertures that feed air to the condenser unit.
Just as South Africans were getting used to the idea of having fast compact Bavarian saloons around we were dealt a blow – the E30 M3 would not be coming our way as it was only produced in left-hand drive. That did not mean that the local motorsport scene would cease to exist. On the contrary and if #BMW-SA wanted to remain competitive it would have to develop its own track specials. So let’s try to get behind the myth that is the 325iS in order to decipher the legend.
The year 1985 saw the introduction of one of the most fiercely contested race series in South Africa, Group N for production cars. To remain competitive in 1986 BMW introduced the 325iS (Sport), more commonly known as the Shadowline among racing enthusiasts. To increase power from the standard 325i the compression ratio was upped to 9.8:1 thus increasing power output from 163hp (120kW) to 171hp (126kW). In this initial version the M Technik aero kit was definitely absent and not even an option – however, more importantly, Tony Viana won the championship that year and the following two years in his 325iS. In 1989 BMW offered the 325iS at a price of R60,080 (£13,735) with the option of the M Technik aero kit at R4095 (£936) – which included the front and rear spoiler, rear apron and side skirts.
The more significant changes to the car came in 1990 as BMW was struggling to keep up with the Opel (Vauxhall) Kadett which had also gone through various iterations in Group N racing, from Boss to BigBoss to SuperBoss. The SuperBoss was, as you can imagine, the daddy of the bunch, in essence a Kadett 200 GSi 16v uniquely designed for South African racing, pushing out 170hp (125kW). These cars were devastating track weapons especially with Mike Briggs behind the wheel and has a cult following second only to that of the E30.
The 1990 325iS sold at a price of R92,720 (£18,870) and came standard with the M Technik aero kit which is the first significant difference. The more fundamental changes happened underneath the skin with an uprated 2.7-litre engine and cylinder head, care of Alpina, increasing power output by 26hp (19kW) to 197hp (145kW) at 5800rpm reaching a maximum torque figure of 195lb ft (265Nm) at 4000rpm. With serious intentions of reducing weight the bonnet, wings and doors were made from aluminium. In order to better transfer the increased power to the road the E30 M3’s suspension was put into use, including the 15-inch cross-spoke #BBS alloys running on 205/60 15-inch VR Goodyear rubber. In this iteration locals refer to it as the Evo 1 although that was never the official name that BMW assigned to it. Officially it was still known as the 325iS but the legend had just grown another tenfold. Unfortunately this was not enough to fend off the attack by the Opel Kadett.
The final incarnation of the 325iS was introduced in 1991 with the E36 knocking at the factory door, but BMW had no choice if it were to take on its main competitor, the Opel SuperBoss. It sold for R105,100 (£20,815) in 1991 and its official designation was the BMW 325iS Evolution (more commonly known as the Evo 2 among South African motoring enthusiasts). Outwardly the car remained exactly the same except for a flexible black lip extending from the deep front spoiler. Underneath the car an aerodynamic cover was installed to improve airflow and ultimately front end grid. The aluminium bonnet, wings and door panels reverted back to steel. The ride height was lowered by 10mm with the installation of stiffer, shorter springs and a thicker rear anti-roll bar was installed to keep the tail in check.
The engine remained as the 2.7-litre unit but modifications were made to the cylinder head (supplied by Alpina together with the pistons) to increase compression ration from 9.8:1 to 10.4:1 and so inlet ports from the inlet manifold were adapted to accommodate the enlarged diameter of the inlet ports of the cylinder head. The intake manifold plenum chamber, airflow meter and throttle butterfly were uprated to that of the E28 535i and incorporated into the Motronic system to enhance the airflow. A cross-piece was installed in the larger diameter downpipe of the exhaust. All of this led to an increase in power to 211hp (155kW) at 5920rpm, with maximum torque remaining at 196lb ft (265Nm) at 4040rpm. This resulted in improved acceleration and mid-range performance, eventually culminating in a Group N championship win for Robbi Smith in his 325iS in 1993.
This factory-fresh example we see here today in Ice white belongs to Jack Kaplan a serious car enthusiast with an even more serious car collection. Most noteworthy are the eight exceptional BMWs which also includes the M3 we see here, the only 2002 Turbo on the African continent and an absolutely gorgeous Batmobile replica in Polaris metallic, to mention but four. Jack likes to put his own touch to his cars and these two examples are no exception.
This might not be to everybody’s liking, especially the purists who believe cars should be kept exactly as the automaker intended, but we appreciate the fact that Jack puts his own personal touch to each of his cars. It makes them stand out and more personalised. Jack does not stop with the aesthetics and the mechanicals; he is more hardcore than that and that is why most of his BMW fleet runs on 102 avgas jet fuel including the two you see here.
Jack acquired this 325iS from new in #1991 and used it as a company car. It’s done 96,000km and, from a cosmetics perspective, the grille has been colour-coded with slits cut into it on the left-hand side where the lights meet for additional cooling. He has also added darker indicators, racing pedals and a Nardi steering wheel. Other than that, from a cosmetics perspective the car is completely original. The mechanicals have definitely been tweaked. A Stage One performance upgrade was carried out which included gas-flowing the cylinder head and installing a 280-degree camshaft, a Unichip ECU, a K&N air filter with a modified air-box and a special sports exhaust, which pushes the compression ratio to 10.9:1.
So much has been written about the #BMW-E30 M3, with just about every motoring scribe worth their salt at some point contributing to the growing documented volumes on the M3. In my opinion the M3 is the most significant BMW model post Second World War. Yes, it does not have the halo image of the M1 (the closest BMW came to producing a supercar) but its contribution to the success of BMW is unprecedented. Unfortunately the development of the M1 was plagued with problems, which is putting it rather mildly. But where the M1 might have failed the M3 was triumphant winning virtually every form of competition it was entered into.
As so much has been written about the #BMW-M3 I thought I would just give a brief summary of the highlights of this most illustrious model. The M3 was developed from the ground up as a racer. Paul Rosche was tasked to develop a suitable engine and what he came up with is ingenious: a 2302cc four-cylinder, 16-valve, dual-overhead cam. For all intents and purposes the S14 engine is two thirds of the M88 motor (although the block is based on the cast-iron M10 engine), developed for the M1, the M635CSi and the South African-only 745i. This engine was further honed for the E28 M5 (second generation) to become the S38. BMW’s initial intention was to sell 5000 units to ensure eligibility for racing but such was the demand that it ended up manufacturing over three times this number during 1986-1990. In its first iteration it developed a maximum power output of 200hp (140kW) at 6750rpm and 177lb ft (238Nm) of torque at 4750rpm. It sold for £22,750 (R57,599) in 1985.
During its five-year production run BMW Motorsport kept on honing the performance and agility of the M3 giving rise to the Evo 1, Evo 2, Europa Meister, Cecotto and Ravaglia Editions. It was, however, most lethal in its final incarnation known as the Sport Evolution. The engine capacity had been increased to 2467cc which was achieved through an increase in bore and stroke. This necessitated larger valves and camshaft, plus special spigots to spray oil under the pistons to keep temperatures under control. Power was up to a staggering 238hp (177kW) at 7000rpm and torque remained the same at 177lb ft (238Nm) at 4750 rpm.
The M3’s war paint clearly defines its intentions (it is rather different to its regular 3 Series brethren) with flared wheel arches to accommodate wider rubber, and at the rear sits a large wing on a raised bootlid with a separate cowling over the rear window aperture, all of which help improve the aerodynamics. All of this translated into the M3 being the most successful Touring Car racer of all time, with more than 1500 individual victories and more than 50 international championship titles. These included a World Touring Car Championship, two European Touring Car Championships, two German Touring Car Championships, several other individual European titles including, Nürburgring 24 Hours, Spa 24 Hours and even a few Rally titles.
The second of Jack’s cars is this pristine Lachs silver M3. It is the first version of the M3, imported to South Africa in 1995, and Jack acquired it in 1997. This is only one of three M3s in South Africa, as mentioned previously it was never imported as it was left-hand drive only. There is also a Cecotto and a racer, which has just undergone a complete restoration; it competed in the Touring Car race series in the ‘90s. It was piloted by well-known motoring and racing enthusiast Farouk Dangor, who also competed with his 325iS in the Group N racing championship earlier on in his racing career.
So the car we see here is ultra-rare and has just 94,600km on the clock. Legislation in South Africa has changed (since about 2000) in such a way that left-hand drive cars can no longer be imported, with very few exceptions, racing cars being one of them. The first thing we notice is that Jack has fitted the rims from the E36 M3 (in certain circles he would be lynched for doing this), running on Bridgestone SO2 225/35/17 rubber. The capacity of the engine has been increased to 2493cc by changing the crankshaft and connecting rods. Further upgrades include gas-flowing the cylinder head, installing a 260-degree Schrick camshaft, a Unichip ECU, a K&N air filter with a modified air-box, and a special stainless steel sports exhaust, plus a 228mm organic spring disc clutch – pushing the compression ratio to 11.8:1.
Now all that is said and done, what is it like to actually drive them? In a word: fantastic! This is by no stretch of the imagination going to be a completely fair contest with the substantial modifications done to the 325iS and M3, not forgetting that they both run on aviation fuel.
Let’s start with the 333i, which I have spent quite a significant amount of time in. At idle it has that nice straight-six BMW bass and once on the go it has that familiar BMW big-block exhaust note. The most distinguishing factor about this car is the amount of torque that has been bestowed upon it. One gets the sensation that it has more bottom-end grunt than both the other competitors put together. It really is the hooligan among the lot and is always keen to get its tail sideways. Key in getting the most out of it is figuring out how to regulate the throttle feed; letting go while going through a bend will result in you facing the wrong way. This thing will snap your neck if you don’t give it the attention and respect it deserves.
In July 2012 I was fortunate enough to be taken on a few hot laps around Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth while shooting a 2002tii Alpina replica for BMW Car (see October 2012 edition). The 333i was definitely nose-heavy with the 3.2-litre lump in the front but the owner knew the twisty track like his own back yard, using the insurmountable amount of torque and making good use of the limited-slip diff to power-slide through the corners – definitely the quickest way around the track with the 333i.
Although the #BMW-333i-E30 has a close-ratio gearbox the gear throws are long which detract from the experience when pushing in the redline. As stated throttle control is paramount and once you have mastered this the chassis is actually quite compliant. The Bilsteins and stiffer strings holding things together nicely. The 333i is better suited for the open road, with the extended torque flow even from low revs making it a great continental cruiser.
The #BMW-325iS-E30 is definitely a more balanced and focused car. The Nardi steering wheel, being smaller than the standard item, gives very good feedback and much better turn-in. This car is based on the M3’s suspension so handling is superb and direction changes are ultra-sharp. The short-shift gearbox is definitely one of the highlights, making gear changes easy and precise when pushing on, in vast contrast to the 333i. Surprisingly, though, things only really start to come alive at 4000rpm, which is reached with ease. The whole experience is addictive, though, which leads to unnecessary downshifts just to achieve the giddy sensation once again. The standard exhaust on the 325iS is a real charmer, belting out plenty of delightful notes but the custom item fitted to this car is so much better, especially when one trounces the throttle and then lifts off immediately to be rewarded with a truly delightful crackle.
Everything in the M3 is turned up a couple of notches. Even when at optimum temperature the idle is erratic, a strong indication that something extraordinary is happening. The M3 picks up revs far easier and quicker than in both other cars and the redline seems much further down the line. The car displays amazing levels of grip and is extremely wellplanted on the asphalt. Turn-in is razor-sharp and even on a charge going through hairpins seem to require far less braking and instead more acceleration. But when one does need to stop, the retardation happens so instantaneously that there is a newfound appreciation for seatbelts. Gear changes are instant and make you appreciate why this car is the most successful Touring Car ever produced and, to my ears, the sound from the tailpipes puts Beethoven’s Fifth Concerto to shame.
This M3 is everything I had hoped it would be and so much more; this experience is definitely part of my motoring Nirvana.
All three of these cars were developed out of a need to race and it clearly shows. Each car has displayed its own unique characteristics and each has its own special charm. Yes, outwardly the M3 is more dramatic with its flared arches but the M Technik aero kit on the #BMW-325iS still gives it an assertive sporting look and the 333i has its own aero appendages, though slightly more subtle. On the inside all three cars feel and look very similar (and one is transported back to the ‘80s), with Sports/Recaro seats, #BMW Sports three-spoke leather steering wheels, leather gearlevers with M tricolour stripes and instrument binnacles housing speedos and rev counters the size of flying-saucers. The cabins are airy with very thin A-pillars that are virtually in the upright position and, by today’s standards, these cars seem rather rudimentary. The driving experience is so much more involved, though. These are cars you need to take by the scruff of the neck to get the most out of them. If you want a sensible choice get a 1 Series.
So which one is the winner? As a South African I am definitely biased but I have to say that the M3 on the day was definitely the best driver’s car – the one to tackle track days and sweeping back roads with. The M3, however, feels like it is all or nothing all of the time; maybe it’s just the way Jack set it up. The 333i is definitely the hooligan of the bunch and I’d say is much better suited for long distances. The 325iS is the better balanced car and much better suited for everyday use. Interestingly, editor Bob Harper did a direct comparison between the #325iS and the #Alpina C2 2.7 #M20 and gave the 325iS the nod (see BMW Car January 2008 edition).
However, despite my personal preferences, driving anyone of them is an occasion in itself will always puts a smile on your face. And as the old Louis Armstrong song goes, “when you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you”.
Special thanks to: Ron Silke.
Ultimate E30s: #BMW-333i-E30 , #BMW-325iS-Evolution-E30 and #BMW-M3-E30
E30 333i E30 325iS Evolution E30 M3
YEAR: #1986 #1991 #1989
ENGINE: Straight-six, SOHC, 12-valve #M30B33 Straight-six, SOHC, 12-valve #M20B27 Four-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve #S14B23
CAPACITY: 3210cc 2683cc 2302cc
MAX POWER: 145kW (194hp) @ 5500rpm 155kW (208hp) @ 5920rpm 140kW (200hp) @ 6750rpm
MAX TORQUE: 285Nm (210lb ft) @ 4300rpm 265Nm (195lb ft) @ 4040rpm 238Nm (177lb ft) @ 4750rpm
0-62MPH: 7.23 seconds 7.1 seconds 6.7 seconds
TOP SPEED: 231km/h (144mph) 235km/h (146mph) 235km/h (146mph)
WEIGHT: 1256kg 1340kg 1200kg
PRICE (NEW): R41,300 (£16,312) R105,100 (£20,815) R57,599 (£22,750 in 1985)
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- Post is under moderationNORSEPOWER #BMW-M3-E30 580hp turbo S14B23
Built by Norwegian fast-masters, SSP, this E30 M3 boasts a turbocharged S14 under the bonnet and 580hp. Norwegian M3 delivers 580hp of turbo #S14 madness. If you live in Scandinavia, strapping a turbo to your #BMW is very much the done thing and if that’s an E30 M3, well, that’s even better. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Eirik Aadde.
Norway. Rugged. Beautiful. Dramatic. Much like its people. Probably. I can at least be fairly certain that the 20-year-old Norwegian owner of this #BMW-M3 is at least rugged, as Truls Johansen is a fisherman on a 28-metre fish trawler. This is the sort of man for whom that hardcore Norwegian hand cream (ask your girlfriend) and Fisherman’s Friends (ask your parents) were invented for. When Truls was late in emailing me details of his car, he apologised for the delay because he was at sea. In my mind that conjured up an image of him trying to type out some replies on his iPad whilst dodging 50-foot waves and hauling in tons of fish. I’ve never met him but I think it’s safe to say that this dude is hardcore. And a hardcore guy needs a hardcore car waiting for him back on shore…
Truls has been a fan of cars for as long as he can remember and admits to spending most of his money on them. While his first car may have been a Mazda, he soon made up for this by buying a 320i with an M20B25 and a five-lug swap. A solid start, but this #E30 #BMW-M3 is a serious step-up from that, especially for someone who admits to never having been that big into engine modifications. All becomes clear when you learn that this particular car comes from Norwegian power-monger, SSP, which has built countless powerful, turbocharged BMWs over the years and more than a few PBWM feature and cover cars.
It’s easy to see why Truls chose this particular example. “This was the best example for sale at the time and probably one of the most awesome street-legal E30s in Norway,” he says. He’s not wrong! He actually bought the car from SSP in its second incarnation. When SSP built this car the first time, it looked rather different and had an S38 under the bonnet before undergoing a full restoration, getting a fresh paint job, an new interior and a different engine. The S38 is a very popular choice when it comes to turbocharging BMW engines but SSP wanted to bring the car closer to its M3 origins, so an S14 was the natural choice. And, the fact that this baby is road-legal is kind of a big deal because over in Norway getting a car like this approved for road use is no easy task.
The engine is obviously a big part of what makes this car so appealing, and it’s a seriously impressive powerplant. The internals have been suitably beefed-up to cope with all that turbocharged grunt and SSP took the S14 apart and installed custom camshafts, Eagle con rods and JE pistons, increasing bore to 95mm from 93.4mm and lowering the compression ratio from 10.5:1 to 8.8:1, along with a piano wire head gasket and a balanced bottom end. Twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps feed 1200cc injectors and there’s an MSD DIS 4+ ignition and an Autronic SMC engine management system. SSP fabricated a custom aluminium intake manifold and a stainless steel exhaust manifold that was solid enough to take the monster Turbonetics Super 60 turbo, which is fed by a K&N air filter with a custom pipe and equipped with a 42mm Tial wastegate.
A custom exhaust system begins with a 3” downpipe, which splits into a twin 2.25” stainless steel system that ends in a pair of surprisingly discreet exhaust tips, while enhanced engine cooling is provided by an uprated SSP aluminium radiator and an electric fan. The end result of all this work is a seriously impressive 580hp at a heady 1.8bar of boost, along with 516lb ft of torque, which is a hell of a lot to be getting on with in a lightweight E30 and makes for one hell of a car.
With that much power on tap, SSP ensured that the rest of the car was suitably modified to cope. The standard five-speed gearbox has been retained but a Tilton three-plate clutch has been added to cope with transferring all that grunt to the rear wheels. The standard #BMW-E30 M3 brakes were deemed up to the task of slowing this Scandinavian berserker while the chassis has been tweaked with the addition of a set of Supersprint springs and Bilstein dampers. Stance heads might be crying ‘more lows!’ but we reckon it’s sitting pretty.
Looking at the wheel front, at first glance you might be tempted to write those rims off but don’t; if you didn’t know, those are Rondell 0058s, single-piece cross-spokes that deliver serious dish, especially in the 8.5x17” and 10x17” sizes that can be seen here, and the dark gold centres look great against the car’s brooding Steel grey exterior. Of course, as is the way with these things, after we shot the car Truls decided he wanted to up his wheel game and got his hands on an incredible set of SSR Formula Mesh 17s, originally built for the FPurists E30 M3 from two-piece to three-piece, 10s up front and 11s at the rear with 3” and 4” lips respectively. Awesome.
In terms of interior and exterior styling, you’d expect SSP to deliver something special and this car doesn’t disappoint. The exterior is relatively subtle, as subtle as a bad-boy box-arch E30 M3 can ever be, at least. Up front, there’s an Evo 2 lip that gives the car an even more aggressive stance and at the rear the Evo 2 spoiler has also been fitted along with a set of Hagus mirrors, just a little bit different to E36 M3 items (and the same as you’ll spot on my E39 – great minds and all that!), a set of Hella DE headlights and MHW rears. Inside this E30 definitely delivers the wow factor, mainly thanks to those stunning seats. They are carbon fibre Porsche items and look absolutely incredible but finished in black Alcantara and with just the contrasting white stitching, a theme that runs throughout the entire retrimmed interior, they don’t look out of place or outlandish, just awesome. An M Tech II steering wheel and M Performance gear knob with M tricolour flash add the finishing touches.
You won’t be at all surprised to learn that Truls is one very happy man; being unhappy is a scientific impossibility when you own a 580hp turbocharged M3! And Truls makes sure that when he’s not being ultra-manly out on the Norwegian seas, he’s tearing up the Tarmac and making full use of every single one of those horses, for better or worse. “I was doing a burnout,” he says, “and as I went from second to third gear, the driveshaft snapped.” Oops. But hey, you can’t do good burnouts without breaking a few driveshafts, can you?
So, while we might not say that SSP’s E30 M3 is necessarily in safe hands as such, it’s certainly gone to someone who appreciates it. But when you’ve owned something as awesome as this, it begs the question what could you possibly buy next? “I’m buying a house,” says Truls. Well, yeah, that’s probably the next step up, so there you go. That means the M3 will be staying, for a long time we reckon because, as Truls says, “it’s perfect,” and we’re not going to argue with that.
“This was… probably one of the most awesome street-legal E30s in Norway”
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.3-litre fourcylinder #S14B23 , JE pistons, Eagle con rods, bore increased to 95mm, compression ratio reduced to 8.8:1, custom camshafts, piano wire head gasket, balanced bottom end, two Bosch 044 fuel pumps, 1200cc injectors, MSD DIS 4+ ignition, Autronic SMC engine management system, uprated aluminium radiator, electric fan, #K&N air filter with custom piping, SSP aluminium intake manifold, SSP stainless steel exhaust manifold, Turbonetics Super 60 turbocharger, Tial 42mm wastegate, 3” downpipe to twin 2.25” custom stainless steel exhaust, five-speed M3 gearbox, Tilton three-plate clutch. 583hp and 516lb ft of torque at 1.8bar.
CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) Rondell 0058 wheels with 205/40 (front) and 215/35 (rear) tyres, Supersport springs, #Bilstein dampers, E30 M3 brakes.
EXTERIOR: Steel grey respray, Evo 2 front lip and boot spoiler, Hella DE headlights, MHW rear lights.
INTERIOR: Porsche carbon front seats, M Tech 2 steering wheel, BMW M Performance gear knob, interior retrimmed in Alcantara with white stitching.
THANKS: SSP for building the car, Morten Holm for helping me to get the car home, Keven and Stefan for helping me fix the car when I break it!
“I was doing a burnout and as I went from second to third gear, the driveshaft snapped”
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- Post is under moderationTHE WORKS
Not many people can say they’ve built their perfect car but Henrik Schmidt has done just that with his show-stopping, S14-swapped, air-ride, two-door E30. Henrik Schmidt knew what he wanted from this build: an absolutely spectacular E30. Mission accomplished. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.
It’s fair to say that, when starting out with a project car, a lot of us will have some pretty grand plans, but the chances of all of those coming to fruition is small. Many of us dream about that blank-cheque build but there are a few for whom that dream build is a reality, and Henrik Schmidt is one such person.
Henrik’s off to a good start – he lives in Sweden, one of the world’s top ten happiest countries, and painting trucks for a living in a country that makes a heck of a lot of them means he’s not short of work. When he’s not busy spraying up a Scania, he’s enjoying his intoxicating #E30 , which amazingly is his first ever #BMW , purchased as a second car. It’s also his first ever project, which makes what he’s achieved all the more remarkable. “I bought the car because I loved the sound an M20 makes,” says Henrik. “I purchased it from a friend of mine and initially it just needed some rust taking care of but then it escalated. The bodywork was in pretty bad shape when I bought and if I was to do the same with my experience today, I would have changed the whole body.”
After taking the car for a quick spin, Henrik decided to get stuck in with his modifications, starting with the engine. He may have bought this #BMW-E30 because of his love for the #M20 straight-six, but that engine is long-gone and, in its place, sits an #S14 on velocity stacks, which we’re willing to bet makes an even more impressive noise. It is, without doubt, one of the great performance engines and one of BMW M’s best. There’s a real simplicity to it, a sort of old-fashioned charm – no plastic shrouds, no hiding the fact that it’s an engine. It’s even more prominent thanks to the fact that the bay is so incredibly clean – there are dirtier hospital wards out there. It’s about as clean an engine bay as you could hope to see and Henrik has done an amazing job of tucking and shaving it to within an inch of its life, making for an amazing centrepiece.
Obviously with an S14, the obvious suspension choice is… air-ride, right? That’s probably not the answer you were expecting, but it’s exactly what Henrik has opted for. It’s definitely a choice that will raise a few eyebrows, but seeing how awesome this E30 looks aired out, it’s easy to see why Henrik decided to go down this route. The AutoPilot V2 digital controller mounted in the cabin offers an incredible array of options when it comes to finetuning the ride height and eight presets, making it very versatile, ensuring that Henrik can switch between ride heights in an instant. The stance is spot-on and it delivers perfect tuck when it drops to the ground. There’s a lot more to the chassis than just the air-ride though and Henrik has done a lot of work beneath the surface. Up front, he’s fitted everything from the E36 M3 Evo, including the brakes, with Air Lift universal bags, while at the rear he’s opted for the #E36 Compact chassis components and Universal Sir suspension bags.
Wheel-wise, well, it’s no surprise to see a seriously modified E30 sitting on a set of #BBS RSs – they’re still one of the bestlooking wheels around and if you can afford a set, it would be very hard to resist the lure of this iconic wheel. “I thought about a lot of different wheels,” muses Henrik, “but the BBS RS is probably my favourite so these had to go on.” The 16” wheels look absolutely gorgeous, the gold centres working brilliantly with the red paintwork and the red centre caps marrying perfectly with the bodywork, while those polished lips are a feast for the eyes. BBS and E30? A match made in heaven.
Considering how much work has gone into the engine bay, the exterior is surprisingly simple, but that’s what Henrik wanted: “I like to keep things clean and simple so I decided on a sort of ‘original’ styling. I wanted the car to look like it could have left the factory this way,” he says, and the M Tech 2 kit is the perfect choice. The E30 doesn’t really need much help on the styling front, being such a classic shape, and the M Tech kit is really the perfect way to give it a little more visual oomph without spoiling those super-clean lines. And the Imola red paint is absolutely glorious, rich and deep and so very, very red – it’s the kind of colour on the kind of car that just makes you want an E30. Henrik has had a lot more work done on the inside though, fitting an #BMW-M3 interior, which has been treated to a full leather trim, carried out by his friend Simon Sjöqvist, finished in perforated black hide with contrasting red stitching and a Sparco steering wheel. It looks fantastic, the perforated leather is different in a good way, and the attention to detail is superb, making it a special place to be.
Speaking of special, we’ve not yet touched on what’s going on in the boot and we really need to because it’s probably one of the most intricate air-ride boot builds we’ve seen. For starters, the whole boot appears to have been finished in what appears to be some sort of marine decking, which is certainly different, with a sub built into an enclosure on one side and the polished air tanks mounted one on top of the other towards the back of the boot. Furthermore, when you lift the hatch, you’ll also find the amp and the twin Viar compressors. It’s certainly creative and it’s nice to see people doing different things with their boot builds, even if it’s something that might be a bit marmite. Either way it’s certainly going to get noticed and get people talking, and that’s always a good thing.
Henrik has not compromised on any aspect of this project and has, in his own words, built his dream car, adding: “I can honestly say that there is nothing I would change.” Building the dream has not been a quick or easy task and the car you see before you is the result of eight years worth of work, but it has been absolutely worth it. “The best bit of the whole build was when I got to drive the car for the first time in eight years. There isn’t much that can beat that feeling,” he grins and while he’s definitely not done with modifying, citing a turbo E30 or a split window VW camper as possible future projects, this dream build of an E30 is something he will be enjoying for a long time to come.
Boot build will certainly divide opinion with its decking theme, but a lot of work has gone into creating it.
M3 interior has been fitted and retrimmed in black leather with red stitching and matching doorcards.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E30
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.3-litre four-cylinder #S14B23 , #VEMS ECU, fully shaved and tucked engine bay. #Getrag 262 manual gearbox.
CHASSIS: 8x16” (front and rear) #BBS-RS wheels with polished lips and gold centres with 175/50 (front) and 195/45 (rear) #Yokohama tyres, #E36 M3 Evo chassis components and Air Lift Performance universal air ride setup (front), E36 Compact chassis components and UAS air bags (rear), Auto Pilot V2 management.
EXTERIOR: Imola red, M Tech 2 body kit, Hella smoked headlights.
INTERIOR: E30 M3 interior retrimmed in perforated black leather with red stitching with matching doorcards, Sparco steering wheel, twin air tanks in boot, twin Viair 444c compressors.
THANKS: Everyone involved in this project! I couldn’t have done it without you!
S14 has been cleaned up a treat and looks fantastic sitting in the super-clean shaved and tucked engine bay.
“The best bit of the whole build was when I got to drive the car for the first time in eight years. There isn’t much that can beat that feeling”
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