- Post is under moderationSWEDE SPEED
With 1137hp, this turbo E30 is an absolute beast. After years of building cars renowned for being safe and steady, Sweden’s best modifiers have now gained a well-earned reputation for being fast and furious. Forget the Volvo, handy in the snow and with the shopping. With 1137bhp this E30 323i is a lot more fun, and is contributing to global warming a treat, we love it. Words: Louise Woodhams /// Photos: Anders Odeholm
POWER: Approximately 1137bhp (at the flywheel) @ 6850rpm
TORQUE: Approximately 880lb ft @ 5950rpm
TOP SPEED: 208mph
BEST QUARTER MILE: 9.78 seconds @ 153mph
KERB WEIGHT: 1340kg (including driver)
I do freelance work for various publications in Scandinavia and I have shot a few BMWs you might want to take a peek at,” read the email from a snapper based in Sweden. Admittedly I was feeling a little apprehensive - quite often a photographer's idea of a feature ear can be a little off the mark. To his credit, though, he found us the beautiful wide-body 2002 Turbo from February 2004 so there was a glimmer of hope. There’s also the fact Scandinavia is synonymous with designing and building cars with enough performance to make the finest of supercars feel slow and pointless, including the world’s fastest production car in the world, the Bugatti Veyron. So chances were it was going to be pretty wild.
When the post arrived a few days later I ripped open the envelope and sure enough one of them was an M3-bodied 323i packing a European-spec E36 M3 engine with a huge Schwitzer S400 turbo strapped to it. The end result? Approximately 1137bhp at 6850rpm (at the flywheel) and 880lb ft of torque at 5950rpm! This, ladies and gentleman is the planet's most powerful street-legal BMW, and probably one the most remarkable things a Swede has done with a car to date. The penny drops when I hear the man responsible, Daniel Liimatainen from Goteborg, runs a business that specialises in restoring and tuning cars called Linuuet Speedfactory (www.Hnimet.se), and prior to tills worked as a Peugeot mechanic.
The 27-year-olds love for the E30 blossomed in 1999 after he test-drove, and then subsequently bought, a lightly tuned 320i. Hooked on the combination of the glorious in-line six, relative low kerb weight and nimble rear wheel handling, it was apparently a lot more fun than his Audi 80. A few years later he then upgraded to this current 1984 BMW 323i E30. Having always been interested in modifying (his previous project was a yellow checker taxi - a party mobile apparently!) it was inevitable the car wouldn't slay stock for long. “A buddy of mine had a tricked-out Audi S2 and he literally blew the doors off my BMW. It made me realise that a hot cam and air filter were far from cool and a dead end. I knew forced induction was the only way to go - I wanted revenge,” he explained. First off though was an engine swap. Having parted with 8000 kroner (that’s just over £600 to you and me) for an S50B30 engine and transmission he then got to work; at this point in time however, the company wasn’t established, so amazingly the swap was carried out with the most basic of tools in a garage that stunk of manure, as it was next to a field of cows!
Daniel’s initial plan was to make 800bhp, but as is often the case, things got a little out a hand and having already bored out the engine to 3030cc he then compiled a monster shopping list of high quality, uprated internals, including a set of custom 8.0:1 JE oil cooled pistons, slightly longer than standard Carillo con-rods and 1600cc injectors to name a few. The cylinder head was, of course, ported and polished, the combustion chambers modified and then sealed with pyramid’ rings. The car's claimed 1137bhp output is primarily attributed to the modified and lightened Schwitzer S400 turbo, with two Tial 38mm external wastegates to regulate the massive boost and make the custom exhaust route more viable. To cool the giant a modified Volvo truck double cell intercooler with a 3” intake and 3.5” outlet and Volvo 940 radiator were bolted in place. The engine work took Daniel and the lads from Christer Next Level Racing six months to carry out. There were a few problems to get over, though, as he explained: ‘The exhaust manifold was a real bitch to fit, there wasn't a whole lot of space so we had to modify the floor pan. We also had a big setback with the Haltech E11 engine management system - it took a week to find the fault to stop it misfiring - and problems with the camshaft sensor, which took another week to solve. It nearly drove me crazy but the performance is better than I ever expected.” In fact, his exact words were, “it’s like being kicked hard in the arse”, later recalling a time he left a Yamaha R1 in his dust! Much to his bemusement, his friends stopped asking for passenger rides a while ago.
As well as using the car for track days and drag racing, it’s also driven on the road, Daniel having covered almost 12,500 miles in it. For the car to behave itself the power had to be harnessed. To prevent shredding the gears on power launches he employed an E36 M3 six-speed manual ’box with a 3.07 ratio mated to an E28 535i limited-slip. A more durable Tilton triple-plated clutch weighing a total of just 12 pounds helps to increase grip, whilst a custom NUKE Performance aluminium driveshaft is stronger and more reliable.
There’s no sense in making a car go if you can’t make it stop, so Daniel decided to factor in TarOx 355x28mm discs and 10-piston calipers up front and 284x22mm discs with 6-piston calipers out back. It’s all well and good being rapid in a straight line, but if you can’t sling it into corners it’s no better than an American muscle car. Other chassis upgrades include Bilstein shocks and custom IGMAB springs with E30 M3 struts and spindles and Powerflex urethane bushings to add further security within the suspension components. According to Daniel it’s like any other grocery-getter, well balanced and a pleasure to drive.
One glance over the interior tells you all you need to know about this car’s intentions. To improve the power-to-weight ratio, the rear bench, carpet, headlining and air-con were binned and while the original dashboard and door panels survived the cull, the original seats have been replaced by a pair of Sparco Pro2000 buckets with four-point Sabelt harnesses and a steel roll-cage welded in place. As well as the carbon dash display there is also a bank of Autometer metric gauges, including the speedo, rev counter, boost pressure, oil and coolant temperature and oil pressure, not to mention switches on the gear shift including launch control. The boot floor is now lined in diamond plating with a custom 30-litre fuel cell and battery.
As expected there are also a few external modifications to give the game away, the E30 M3 arches are the most obvious additions and have been extended a further 40mm to help accommodate the wider and taller than standard 8x18” (front) and 10x18” (rear) white Compomotive wheels shod in 215/35 and 265/35 Kumho tyres respectively.
Combined with the Rieger E46 M3-style bumper up front, vented bonnet and air inlet residing in the chasm where the left headlight was – the body styling not only looks the part but also serves a purpose, enhancing aerodynamics. Just for that added flair, Daniel had the car resprayed black with a satin clear coat, which in some lights looks like a matt finish. Certainly an improvement over the original metallic blue.
This car is simply as good, and as powerful, as it gets. Okay, so no one will insure you with your five years' no-claims, the fuel bill will be similar to a small plane and the plod would assign a new division just to keep stopping you around town, but who cares? It is a work of art and the very pinnacle of motor engineering - the owner should be incredibly proud of himself. Question is, where can he go from here? Despite working on it for over five years and spending over 30 grand he says the car will probably never be finished and is already talking of a bigger turbo to make it even quicker, so it seems things can only move forward. Keep your eyes peeled!
DATA FILE #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-S50 / #Schwitzer-S400 / #Schwitzer / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #NUKE-Perfomance /
ENGINE: 2997cc straight-six #S50B30 / #BMW-S50 / #S50 engine from the European-spec E36 M3 bored to 3030cc with NUKE-Perfomance dry sump and Barnes 6-stage pump, custom-made 10mm main bearing girdle, Peteterson 18-litre oil tank, 8.0:1 custom JE oil cooled pistons, Total Seal gapless rings, Carlllo custom con-rods with SPS MULTIPHASE bolts, #Kilander-Racing head studs (M11,12.9), head ported and polished by Christer NLR, modified combustion chambers, ‘pyramid’ rings to seal combustion, #K&N air filter, Schwitzer-S400 turbo modified and lightened by Christer NLR, 78mm compressor housing and 74.5mm exhaust housing, custom 4” downpipe, Ummet twin exit stainless steel 3.5” exhaust system with two Tial 38mm wastegates corrected for even distribution, 31.5mm stainless steel exhaust valves, Simons full flow mufflers with twin 2.5” tailpipes, 19 Row Setrab engine oil cooler, modified stock manifold, 1600cc injectors, Weldon fuel pump (5 bar) and pressure regulator, two 10" #Perma-Cool cooling fans, 1994 Volvo 940 radiator, modified Volvo truck double cell Intercooler (130cm wide, 20cm high, 18cm deep) with 3” intake and 3.5” outlet Haltech E11 engine management system, six MSD singletower coils, 4-channel AEM cdi Ignition, Taylor 10mm HT leads, Teknik Products engine mounts
TRANSMISSION European-spec E36 M3 six-speed manual ’box with 3.07 gear ratio, Tilton triple-disc clutch, E34 M5 drive joints with custom NUKE Performance 80x5mm air-craft quality aluminum driveshaft, M20 flywheel. E28 535 limited-slip
CHASSIS 8x18" (front) and 10x18" (rear) white Compomotive wheels (ET15) shod in 215/35 and 265/35 #Kumho tyres respectively. #Bilstein front and rear shocks, custom IGMAB front and rear springs, E30 M3 struts and spindles, #Powerflex M3 urethane bushings with eccentric offset, custom-made 40x2mm strut brace. Dual circuit brake system with Tarox 355x28mm discs with aluminum centre and 10-piston calipers (front) and 284x22mm discs with 6-piston calipers, copper and braided steal brake lines
EXTERIOR E30 M3 front and rear arches (extended a further 40mm), doors, rear bumper and spoiler, custom Rieger E46 M3-style front bumper, vented bonnet, left headlight removed and replaced with air inlet, E36 M3 mirrors, Hella rear lights, full respray in black with satin dear coat
INTERIOR #Sparco-Pro2000 bucket seats with four-point Sabelt race harnesses, rear bench, carpet and headlining removed, Memo steering wheel, IGMAB gear shift and pedals, GunnarsjG Svets and Smide AB seamless steel 45x3mm roll-cage, carbon dash display, Autometer Sportcomp metric gauges, including speedo, rev counter, boost pressure, oil and coolant temperature and oil pressure, NLR AMS-1000 boost controller, switches on gear shift including launch control, line lock, 3 AMS ON (activates boost controller), and AMS CLUTCH (activates clutch switch to boost controller), 5" Tacho white shift light, M3 rear view mirror, aluminium diamond plating in boot with custom-made 30-litre fuel cell and battery
TANKS Peter at Pelemaskinteknik, Peter at GIK Turbo, Svensk Turboservice Anders at PRO, NUKE Performance, Forza, Mocomp, IGMAB, PRO motorsport and all the others that helped make my car what it is today
With more controls than the Houston control centre (maybe) and stripped of all its luxuries this 323i is not your average E30.
Huge #Schwitzer S400 turbo supplies the boost, whilst the rest of the power comes from the E36 M3 lump and uprated internals. No rubber or jubilee clips here – all motorsport-spec fittings and hoses.
M3 body styling, white Compomotive wheels and compressor housing sticking out of the bonnet, it doesn't gel any sexier than this.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.