- Post is under moderationHARDCORE S54 E30 Thunder from Down Under
SKIN DEEP #S54-swapped E30. Words and photos: Chris Nicholls. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and Andrew Burke’s home-built, DIY-painted E30 is exactly the reason why.
“Why are you shooting that little thing?” says a passer-by during the shoot. I casually pop the bonnet and see his eyes widen. “Jeez, there’s some work gone into that,” he says, before firing off a few photos on his phone and walking away. This sort of thing happens several more times during the shoot and it’s easy to understand why.
From a distance, this is just another E30 track car. The matt black paint, done as a last resort after troubles with the painter, is hardly the last word in beauty and the stock M Tech II body kit isn’t going to set anyone’s world alight either. No, things only get interesting when you get close. It’s then that you see the custom Forgeline wheels and fat, circle-track StopTechs and imperial-sized AP Racing J-hook discs (chosen because imperial gear is cheaper than metric). Next, you peek inside and notice the #Motec M800 ECU sitting on a custom carbon plate on the floor. And the oil lines for the Peterson dry sump kit running next to it. And the Motec C127 colour dash logger and Tilton pedals. It just doesn’t stop. Finally, you pop that aforementioned bonnet and see the immaculate S54 with carbon cover and CSLreplica intake nestled in-between the strut towers, surrounded by Goodridge Teflon hoses and a Peterson oil pressure primer pump. If ever there was a car to prove that sometimes, the opposite of the idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies, this is it.
The back story of this Australian E30, as you might suspect given the engineering involved, started several years ago (six to be precise) when owner-builder Andrew Burke picked up this 325is to be a street-registered track day build. Having got tired of risking his E92 335i road car on the track, he thought back to a 1989 E30 brochure he got as a kid and decided that would be a better bet. As most builds do, things started off small. Some H&R springs and Bilstein Sport dampers, rebuilt stock brakes and bolton exhaust, a short shifter and new Recaros did the trick for six months, but one track day at the wonderfully nicknamed Haunted Hills circuit (actually Bryant Park) in his home state of Victoria, Andrew noticed puffs of blue smoke on overrun thanks to some keen-eyed photographers. “That was all the excuse I needed to go ‘Oh, this motor could potentially have some kind of small issue in the next three, six, nine, 12 years, I should probably just swap the engine out right now’” he laughs.
Thus began a long and involved process of finding and fitting a new motor. Having decided a resto-mod approach was best, he settled on an S50 and sourced one from the UK, but all was not well. “As all UK motors are, it was covered in corrosion, all the aluminium bits were all pitted from the salt and whatever other calamities occur over there in the middle of winter, so I didn’t do a whole lot with it other than strip it down to a short block and basically sand blast all the things,” Andrew says. Having cleaned it up, he found it still good enough to use, so left it standard internally and got to work fitting it. On went an E34 sump and 12° angled double-shear shift rod to get the now-twisted stock G250 five-speed to work with the AKG DTM shifter, some custom-made exhaust manifolds from Andrew Nicholls at Meridian Motorsport and a VFT E36 DTM-style carbon air box specifically designed to fi t S50s in E30s thanks to a notch cut into the back to clear the brake booster. To ensure that it all ran, Andrew cut and re-connected the stock harness himself and fitted an Alpha N ECU chip.
However, while he may have cleaned it up, it turned out the engine’s not-so-perfect appearance was rather more indicative of its condition than first thought and sure enough, the number five journal went at a Winton Raceway track day in true S50 style. “A $350 tow truck ride home later [Andrew not having a trailer at the time and Winton being two hours from central Melbourne] we were sitting in the garage, the old man and I, saying ‘Well, we’re going to have to fix it, I guess’”. Andrew admits that even at that point, the idea of fitting an S54 came into his head, but he wasn’t quite ready to quit on the idea of an S50-engined E30 yet, especially having done so much work to make it fit.
Thus, he decided that, rather than throw everything away, he would build a proper race-spec S50 and see what happened. Sadly, it’s here that Andrew suffered the all-too-common “bad workshop experience.”
After searching around for a well-regarded builder, he thought he’d found one in a former Team JPS BMW factory race engineer in New South Wales, but while the specs were suitably serious, complete with 11.6:1 Wossner pistons, Pauter I-beam rods, 296° cams, Supertec Inconel valves and the current Peterson dry-sump system (designed to avoid ever spinning a bearing again), it “never made any real power.” “Without going into too much detail, it just fell on its face above 6000rpm,” he says. Worse still, it didn’t even last that long. A mere 500km of track work later and Andrew was sitting on the side of the Winton tarmac with two holes in the block from a rod and rod bolt respectively, oil pouring out everywhere and his car partially in flames thanks to starting a grass fire underneath it. The worst part? A postmortem found the likely cause to be poor assembly.
“As I pulled the bits off the motor so I could get it out of the chassis, I found one of the ARP rod bolts was poking through the block on the exhaust side. I didn’t see it originally as a result, but it was poking through with all of its threads still intact. So it was not like the bolt snapped – it was like it completely unscrewed itself – and I can’t imagine a bolt that’s designed to be torqued to yield, if it was properly fastened, would have come undone. End of story. So that was that, which was a bit unfortunate.”
Unfortunate indeed, and at around AU$30,000 (£17,000) for the engine, expensive. Andrew adds that figure doesn’t even include the cost of ancillaries fitted to deal with the extra power, the current 8x17” Forgelines, the previous SL6R and SL4R Wilwood calipers and discs (since replaced by the StopTechs because Andrew bought another road/track E30 he wanted to put those on), the custom-built AST two-way adjustable coilovers (again, since replaced by custom MCS two-ways) and several other mods besides. However, Andrew wasn’t prepared to throw it all away, so after convincing his wife he “wasn’t silly,” he pulled the trigger on a mint S54 with just 18,000 miles on it out of a wrecked Californian Z4 M.
Being so new and from California, this motor was in stunning shape. There was no dust behind the water pump or alternator pulleys and even the internals, which Andrew inspected when he pulled off the sump to fit the Moroso dry sump pan, were unvarnished.
Given he had no money to put new internals in it, this worked out perfectly. Plus, the S54 made more power stock than his built S50 anyway, so in it went, with only a Karbonius CSL-replica air box – fitted because the StopTechs meant he no longer needed the booster – a Racing Dynamics carbon engine cover, new custom exhaust manifolds (again from Andrew from Meridian, who by then had moved on to start his own venture called Trackart) and a few other mechanical pieces like an Eisenmann exhaust needed to make it work. At the same time, Andrew realised that to actually run the thing (especially given he was keeping Vanos and drive-by-wire), he would need to upgrade his dash from a set of Stack gauges to a Motec logger to ensure the necessary input and output numbers, and after contacting Jason Ingram at Advanced Motorsport Electrics to do the concentrically-wound, DR25 heat-shrunk harness and install it, he got it tuned by Lee at Melbourne Performance Centre and brought it up to Broadford State Motorcycle Centre for a shakedown, which is where we did the shoot.
His impressions of the car now it’s finished (bar a cage)? “I was thrilled with the way that it handled and the way that it stopped even back when it had the second S50… but I was deeply disappointed on some level that it didn’t make as much power as I was expecting. It was certainly fast enough, but it never felt brutal, I guess. Whereas the S54 is still not crazy by any means, it just feels a lot more angry. It feels significantly more powerful.” Given this first shakedown was conducted at only half-throttle, that’s a brilliant portent and suggests that when this E30 is finally unleashed, its unassuming looks, combined with all that power and handling, will mean the opposition won’t see it coming.
“If ever there was a car to prove that sometimes, the opposite of the idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies, this is it”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #S54 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-S54 / #BMW-S54 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30 / #Bosch / #BMW-E30-S54B32
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #Karbonius CSL-replica dry carbon air box, #K&N air filter, #Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, #Aftermarket Industries swirl pot, #MagnaFuel dry break billet fuel filters, #NGK-Platinum plugs, Setrab 19-row oil cooler with -16 fittings, Roush Yates carbon catch can, Peterson R4 dry sump pump, #VAC-Motorsports mount kit, #C&V HTD belt drive with VAC/ATI fluid harmonic balancer, -16 feed and return oil hoses, -12 scavenge, #Peterson scavenge filters, -10 pressure feed to VAC Motorsports oil manifold, custom #Moroso dry sump oil pan, Peterson single-stage remote oil primer circuit, Peterson billet four-gallon dry sump tank with custom #CNC bracketing, dual breathers and 100 micron filter screen, Canton billet five micron oil filter on pressure stage, #C&R-Racing oil filter housing with provision for secondary oil cooler circuit in rear of car, #Wix-Racing 51222R filter, Goodridge XF 910 and Brown and Miller (BRMS) Teflon hoses, VAC-Motorsports lights, accessories and alternator pulleys, ATI damper by VAC Motorsports, AKG-Motorsport Group N engine mounts, #Racing-Dynamics dry carbon engine cover, Trackart custom equal-length exhaust manifolds and custom 2.5” exhaust, Eisenmann E36 M3 rear box, Motec-M800-ECU , #Motec SKN dual CAN knock module, Advanced Motorsport Electrics custom concentricwound wiring harness with Kevlar tracers, Raychem boots, Souriau and Autosport connectors
TRANSMISSION #G250 five-speed manual gearbox, #AP-Racing 7.25” twin-plate clutch and lightened cro-mo flywheel from E36 M3 R, AKG DTM shifter, PPF axles, re-balanced OE driveshaft, OE diff with extra clutch packs, Z3 M housing, custom transmission mounts and subframe reinforcements
CHASSIS 7.5x17” ET20 (front and rear) #Forgeline-SO3 wheels with 235/40 (front and rear) Nitto NT-01 tyres, VAC Motorsports 90mm studs, #Motorsport-Hardware cro-mo nuts, 3mm spacers (front), Motion Control Suspension custom two-way remote reservoir coilovers, #Eibach 60mm springs, AKG Motorsport polyurethane, #Treehouse-Racing and custom #Delrin bushes, custom Trackart T45-based cro-mo front strut brace, custom front arb and mounts, Dave Stillwell rear anti-roll bar with custom mounts and reinforcement, full Aurora rose joints, #StopTech STR43 calipers (front and rear), #AP-Racing J-hook fully-floating discs, custom Motorsport Connections Teflon braided lines, Performance Friction PFC01 pads (front and rear), custom-machined 7057 T6 rotor hats
EXTERIOR OEM Tech II kit, custom bi-xenon headlights based on TRS projectors and 3D printed adaptors, rear lights lightly tinted with Diamond black
INTERIOR #AKG-Motorsport Delrin shift knob, AKG Motorsport DTM shift lever and short-shift kit, Alcantara gear gaiter, #Tilton 600 Series pedals, Tilton -4 fluid tank, #Speedflow lines, Tilton billet brake bias adjuster, Tilton fluid bias and balance bar adjuster, #Motec C127 dash logger, Recaro SP-A Kevlar V8 Supercar special edition seat, VAC Motorsports billet rails, Sabelt Ultralight harnesses, Personal Grinta 330mm wheel, Lifeline Group N boss with custom spacer, custom carbon panel behind wheel for light controls, custom Trackart harness bar, custom aluminium scuff plates
THANKS Andrew at Trackart for the exhaust, brake cooling duct, harness bar and strut bar fabrication work, Marcos at Motorsport Connections for the Speedflow bits and hoses, Jason Ingram at Advanced Motorsport Electrics for the incredible work on the harness and Lee Burley at Melbourne Performance Centre for the dyno tuning
Carbon engine cover and replica CSL carbon air box make this S54 even sexier.
Single Recaro SP-A Kevlar V8 Supercar special edition seat.
“After convincing his wife he “wasn’t silly,” he pulled the trigger on a mint S54 with just 18,000 miles on it out of a wrecked Californian Z4 M”
/ #Motec-M800 ECU mounted on custom carbon plate.
Swirl pot, pump and filters mounted in boot.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNUMBER CRUNCHING 1040whp turbo E36 M3
We see a lot of modified cars here at PBMW but a 1000hp E36 M3 is something that never fails to impress… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andreas Wibstad.
They say that you shouldn’t chase numbers when building a car. You should build a car that will drive well and suit your needs rather than delivering big peak power but becoming undriveable in the process. Of course, if you happen to be building a car where big power is your need, then why not aim high and punch through the 1000hp barrier? It’s the sensible thing to do.
If we told you that Ole Ivar Seem, the owner of this E36, comes from Norway you probably wouldn’t be surprised because it would seem that Scandinavians have a predisposition for building stupidly powerful cars. And, unlike those of us having to find time during evenings and weekends to work on our cars due to our 9-5s taking up the vast majority of our time, Ole works on offshore oil platforms, which means he works hard but then has plenty of time to play hard when he’s back on dry land. And play hard he does.
Funnily enough Ole says that while he’d always liked BMWs he didn’t become properly interested in them until about 2003, when Vidar Strand from V.S Motor hit 1000hp with his E34 M5. That got his attention and got him thinking about the possibilities of what could be achieved with a BMW. And judging by one of his previous projects – a 426hp Sierra Cosworth, which was featured in our ex-sister title Performance Ford back in 2003 – it was clear that unless big power could be achieved Ole wasn’t interested. Of course, his first #BMW project was never going to make anywhere near that power output, being as it was an ’1986 E30 320i, but then again Ole only bought it for a bit of winter fun and threw a few mods at it. However, it started the sequence of events that mean we’re now standing here today with his 1000hp E36 M3.
With the Cosworth sold and a lump sum burning a hole in his pocket, Ole cast his car-catching net to see what he could snag. That’s when he came across this M3. “I found the car on a BMW forum here in Norway,” he explains. “It was a virtually completed street build with lots of good parts but that looked completely stock on the outside. Initially the plan was really to run with the parts that were on it but a thought crossed my mind about building a car for Gatebil Extreme [Gatebil’s own time attack and racing series]. After driving the car for a bit back in summer 2008, I got problems with water in the oil, leaking between the pyramid rings and water channels. So the real story of the car and engine you see today started when I picked up the phone to Vidar at V.S Motor.
“The motor building began with solving the problem of water in the oil. Vidar had a separate patent which, in principle, removes the head gasket and uses rings in a special metal. Vidar also fitted new custom cams from V.S Motor, new custom V.S Motor pistons, uprated Pauter con rods built to V.S Motor’s specifications, stainless steel valves, tighter valve springs and he did a general update of the whole engine. He then put it on the dyno bench at V.S to get it mapped properly. With it running perfectly we went for a power run and it made 772hp and 723lb ft of torque at 1.3bar, but tremendous back pressure on the exhaust side prevented any more power. The problem was an exhaust manifold that was not quite optimal and a Turbonetics turbo that was completely the wrong setup. I drove the rest of the summer and next spring running this setup but I was bothered by the fact that it did not deliver optimally when I knew I could get much more from the engine.
“After a few more conversations with Vidar we agreed that he should build a new manifold and a new turbo, then test it. The engine was ready in April 2011. This tested Vidar’s patience to the limit as it’s really cramped around the engine for building a manifold. You really need a lot of space. I think someone would have to pay him a lot of money to do this again!” laughs Ole. “On test day the engine really stood up to our demands, and on E85 fuel it delivered 1039hp and 817lb ft of torque at 2.1bar. You can say we were delighted with it.” And who wouldn’t be with over 1000hp on tap? But Ole and Vidar weren’t finished with the engine just yet. “In summer of last year we found out that we were going to start with new fuel as E85 was phased out from petrol stations in Norway, so we chose to use the Ignite E98 race ethanol fuel that Vidar sells.
We counted on a power increase so in July 2015, before going to the E30 meet in Rudskogen. I went with Vidar to Jonus Racing to run the car on the dyno. After roughly four to five hours of fine-tuning, the numbers that it put down really made our eyes pop! We got 1040whp and 855lb ft wheel torque which, when converted to power at the crank, becomes 1196hp and 959lb ft at 2.2bar. It goes without saying that were extremely pleased with this outcome,” smiles Ole.
We would be too. That’s an absolutely monstrous amount of power, especially considering he’s still running the 3.0-litre S50. That works out at 399hp per litre; that’s like the E39 M5, with its 4.9-litre V8, making all of its power from a 1.0-litre engine, which is a bit mental when you break it down like that. As far as engine spec is concerned, we simply haven’t got the space to go through all of it here, just take a look at the spec list and you’ll see it’s exactly as long as you would expect it to be on a powerful engine like this. Highlights include the Precision billet 7675 turbo – such a key part of this incredible build, adjustable cam pulleys, a Tial 60mm wastegate, 4.5” downpipe, 3.5” Edgeperformance exhaust, ARP bolts, a 26-row oil cooler, custom header tank, Griffin radiator, custom 6” thick intercooler, 580lph Aeromotive lift pump, twin A1000 fuel pumps, and a set of six absolutely ridiculous 1699cc flow matched fuel injectors. All of which is really just scratching the surface. It’s as heavy-duty a build as you can imagine.
You can’t just make a 1000hp engine, stuff it into an E36 M3 and hope for the best because things would go south in a big way almost immediately. You need to put in just as much work on the transmission and chassis fronts to make sure everything works in perfect harmony. There’s no messing about when it comes to the gearbox on this car, with Ole fitting a Sellholm MPG sequential ’box made specifically for this car and combined with a Tilton 7.25” threeplate, 26 spline rally clutch and Alcon hydraulic release bearing. A 3” chromoly propshaft rated to 1500hp delivers all that turbocharged power to a modified 210 diff from a 3.2 M3 sitting on reinforced mounts, and a pair of 38mm driveshafts.
As for the suspension, well, we’ll let Ole explain: “Everything under the car is solid mounted or uses aluminium uni ball components. I run custom road coilovers from Sellholm Tuning made specifically for the weight of the car and supporting chassis mods. These include: Sellholm Tuning front and rear fully adjustable blade anti-roll bars; custom front suspension turrets and custom adjustable top mounts; Turner Motorsport aluminium bushes and rear lower control arms; and PeeBee Motorsport adjustable rear upper control arms.
“When it came to choosing the parts, Vidar knew exactly what was required, having been involved in so many builds, not to mention his racing experience. I trust him 100% and he is the man to talk to when one is stuck with ideas or problems, although these phone calls can be expensive. That’s how I ended up with the sequential gearbox!” With over 1000hp on tap, you need some seriously big brakes to haul the E36 down from the sort of speed it can achieve, and Ole hasn’t cut any corners here. Up front, eight piston K-Sport calipers have been fitted, clamping 355mm discs, while at the rear sit six-pot calipers with 330mm discs and EBC’s BlueStuff track day pads have been fitted all-round. Wheel choice was guided by necessity rather than aesthetics, as you’d expect on a build like this. “The choice of rims came after lots of searching on forums and chatting with acquaintances in the racing world. To make most of the rubber on the ground, without extending the arches or anything like that, the wheels had to be lightweight, withstand a lot punishment and with widths matching the chassis. I chose the Apex EC-7 as there were really no other wheels that matched the car. They fitted well with the look that I had in mind for the car.”
The tough, lightweight wheels measure 9x18” up front and 9.5x18” at the rear and are mounted on the car via a set of NMS Racing 75mm studs.
Just by glancing at the outside of this E36 you’d really be hard pressed to tell what’s going on beneath the surface as Ole has kept everything looking extremely stock. “My goal has always been to retain the original lines that I like so much,” he says. “Generally original but sassy, a look with a little more muscle. There’s a fully removable carbon bonnet, a carbon sunroof blank and the only change to the body itself is that the rear wheel arches have been rolled.”
Of course, the interior is another matter entirely and there was only ever going to be one direction to take it in. “The choice was easy,” says Ole. “It should be for racing! It had to be as light as possible and, ideally, with parts that no one else in Norway or Europe had tried before. Plenty of time went into building the roll-cage, which was done by a colleague and myself with Vidar providing all the technical information. It is made from about 80 metres of chromoly 4130 tubes and has been built down towards the chassis to really get it rigid, to the suspension turrets, to the diff and many other reinforcements against the chassis, which you can’t see in the pictures. In reality it is a tubular frame inside the car.”
Beyond that there’s a QSP steering wheel mounted on a Sparco Group N quick-release steering boss, Cobra Suzuka seats with six-point harnesses and a Racepak UDX data logger dash with auxiliary Autometer gauges. To keep things as light as possible, the car has been fitted with ACM carbon fibre doorcards and even a carbon firewall, carbon dash and carbon centre console while the boot is home to fuel system, with a 60-litre Aeromotive aluminium fuel cell and aluminium swirl pot.
After a hell of a lot of planning and almost seven years of work, it’s unsurprising that the end result was so damn spectacular.
What is surprising, though, is that Ole sold the car not long ago but, he says, it’s gone to a man who really knows what he’s doing so it’s in good hands and will be used as intended by its new owner.
So, what’s next for Ole? Time to give up the modifying game and relax with pipe and slippers watching gardening programmes? In a word, no. “I already have plans going around in my brain but one thing is for sure, it gets wilder!” he exclaims. “This car will probably take a few years to finish. And I have a problem: I’m never satisfied until I have spent a lot of time on everything from planning to execution, so those who wait will see. The rest is a huge secret,” he adds with a grin. We’re instantly as excited as he is. Judging by his track record, it’s going to be something special.
Interior is slathered in sexy carbon panels.
Apex EC-7 wheels were chosen as they’re light and tough; massive eight-pot K-Sport calipers sit up front with six-pots at the rear.
That’s what you need for 1000hp. S50B30 has been fully built and features massive Precision 7675 turbo.
“My goal has always been to retain the original lines I like so much”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #S50B30 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 / #V.S-Motor / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #Precision / #Precision-7675-turbo / #Autronic / #Sellholm / #Aeromotive / #BMW-M3-V.S-Motor / #BMW-M3-V.S-Motor-E36 / #Pauter-Motorsport /
ENGINE 3.0-litre straight-six #S50B30, #Autronic-SM4 , MSD coil packs, #Autronic boost solenoid, V.S Motor custom exhaust manifold, #Precision-billet-7675-turbo , Edgeperformance Vanos block-off kit, adjustable cam pulleys, Tial 60mm wastegate, V.S Motor 4.5” downpipe, Edgeperformance 3.5” stainless steel exhaust, #Tial 50mm BOV, #ARP bolts throughout, Pauter Motorsport H-rods, V.S Motor spec valve springs, V.S Motor spec custom cams, JE custom pistons built to V.S Motor spec, original intake manifold modified for forced induction, Samco intake hose, head and block modified to remove head gasket, special head gasket replacement rings designed by V.S Motor, Turner Motorsport oil cooler hoses, Earl’s 26-row oil cooler, #GS-Performance oil distribution block, #Griffin aluminium radiator, AN-20 fittings, custom header tank, custom three-litre oil catch tank with AN-16 fittings, 2x12” Flex-a-Lite fans, V.S Motor design Precision bespoke 6” thick intercooler, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, 19-row Ethanol cooler with 10” fan, Edgeperformance fuel rail, 6x flow matched 1699cc E85 injectors, VEMS wide band lambda sensor and EGT
POWER AND TORQUE 1040whp and 855lb ft wheel torque at 2.2bar
TRANSMISSION #Sellholm-MPG sequential gearbox, #Tilton 7.25” three-plate 26-spline rally clutch, #Alcon hydraulic release bearing, 1500hp 3” chromoly custom propshaft, M3 3.2 210 diff modified by V.S Motor, 38mm drive shafts, reinforced diff mounts and suspension attached to roll-cage, Omega gearbox/diff oil
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Apex-EC-7 wheels with 255/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) #Nankang Sportnex NS-2R tyres mounted on 75mm #NMS-Racing studs, custom Sellholm asphalt coilovers, #Sellholm adjustable suspension turrets, custom top mounts, Sellholm fully adjustable blade anti-roll bars (front and rear), Turner Motorsport aluminium trailing arm bushes, aluminium front control arm bushes, #PeeBee-Motorsport adjustable upper rear control arms, #Turner-Motorsport adjustable lower rear control arms, aluminium diff bushes, K-Sport eight-piston calipers with 355x32mm discs (front), #K-Sport six-piston calipers with 330x32mm discs (rear), #EBC BlueStuff pads (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Removable ACM carbon race bonnet, carbon sunroof blank, rear arches rolled
INTERIOR Full chromoly 4130 roll-cage connected to suspension turrets, diff and throughout the chassis, QSP steering wheel with #Sparco Group N quick-release steering wheel boss, OBP pedalbox, Sellholm hydraulic handbrake, Cobra Suzuka seats with six-point 3” harnesses, Racepak UDX dash data logger, Autometer Sport-Comp gauges for oil pressure, oil temperature, boost pressure, fuel level and water temperature, OMP 4.24-litre central fire extinguisher, ACM carbon doorcards, carbon fibre firewall, complete carbon dash and carbon DTM centre console, Fibervac carbon panels, 580lph Aeromotive SS series lift pump, 2x Aeromotive A1000 fuel pumps, Aeromotive fuel filter/holder, Aeromotive 60-litre aluminium fuel cell, aluminium swirl pot, Earl’s fittings and hoses
THANKS An extremely big thanks to Vidar Strand at V.S Motor, without him this car would not have been possible, he has always been cheerful and helpful no matter what time I’ve called. Thanks also to Robin, Kay Ove, Stig P, Kurt Magnar, Kjell Inge, Jørgen, Terje, and Thomas at EdgeperformanceStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationOLD DOG NEW TRICKS
With a turbo’d S54 stuffed into its engine bay, this E21 has an eye-watering 1000whp to play with.
Jørgen Aune’s got an addiction to old-skool BMWs, big engines and big turbos. There was only one way his E21 project was going to turn out, and we love it… Words: Ben Koflach Pics: Arild Dyrkorn.
I’ve been interested in cars all my life,” explained 27-year-old Norwegian, Jørgen Aune. “I grew up on a farm, so I began to drive at 13 years of age on the fields. My first car was a Datsun 120Y that I owned with some buddies, but BMW has always been my favourite brand. My first BMW was an E21, which I shared with a friend. I fell in love with the six-cylinder noise and the E21’s looks.
“Then I had an E21 323i with an M30B35 engine, E30 M Tech interior, Brock B1 wheels and LSD. After that, I had an E30 325, into which I put an M106B35 turbo engine. I put a huge truck turbo on it and ran it with about 400bhp at the wheels through an E30 M3 dog-leg gearbox.
“I studied industrial mechanics, and this enabled me to make the turbo manifold and rebuild the intake, as well as make many other custom parts. A couple of cars later, I had an E30 again, this time with a S38B36. I decided to turbocharge it, so bought forged pistons and rods, as well as a Borg Warner S475 turbo. I made the intake plenum, turbo manifold and all the other custom parts required to make the engine fit myself. I also made the car into an M3 replica using only original BMW parts and painted it Daytona violet. It had 802hp at the wheels at its peak.”
Gulp… well, while some of us can claim to have messed around with various project cars in our time, Jørgen’s really got stuck in at the deep end since the start. With his fabrication and engine-building skills, as well as the fact that he now works in a bodyshop, you could say that he’s got all the areas covered. You could, in fact, say that his entire car history has built up to building his latest E21, which is one of the most comprehensive and best-looking first-gen Threes we’ve ever seen.
“I decided to build this E21 when I felt that the E30 M3 rep was done,” Jørgen told us. “I was either going to rip the E30 apart and rebuild it or sell it and use the money to build a new car. I wasn’t sure what I’d use as a new car, but the ’78 E21 320 sitting outside my garage did cross my mind – it was in very bad condition though, so I went to Kristiansund in October 2010 and bought this ’82 316 for 3000 kroner.”
Not one to waste time, Jørgen immediately set to work on his new project. “The car had been standing outside for around seven years, so the floorpan was rusty, as were the rear fenders and trunk,” Jørgen explained. “It really looked bad but was still better than the 320!” The first thing he did was strip the E21 right down to a bare shell, giving him a clean pallet to work from, as it were. Then he started to cut away the firewall and transmission tunnel to make space for the engine and gearbox. “The plan at first was to use an S38B36 turbo again, but I decided to go for the S54 when I found one very cheap,” he explained.
Having driven the somewhat front-heavy S38 E30, Jørgen was keen to make this project a little different, too. The engine was mocked-up in the engine bay, though placed 30cm further back than usual to even up weight distribution. This meant that he had to build a new firewall and gearbox tunnel to allow fitment of the chunky E39 530i gearbox he intended to use. Next up, he moved to the rear axle as with a target figure of 800bhp he needed something stronger to equip the E21 with. “I used the entire rear suspension from the E28 535,” Jørgen said. “Naturally it was too wide, but I narrowed the mounts to make it fit. E28s are 80mm wider at the back, so there was very limited space for wheels in the arches.”
Jørgen’s solution? He cut the rear arches out and then welded them back in with extra metal to make them 40mm wider on each side, resulting in him having enough room to run monstrous 10x17s out back if he wanted.
“The wheels were the first thing I bought when I started the project,” Jørgen revealed. “I like old-skool wheels and the AC wheels fit well on the E21.” We couldn’t agree more, and in 8.5x17” and 9.5x17”, with stretched tyres, they look absolutely spot-on. Having said that, since the shoot they’ve been sold. What will come next remains to be seen. Getting back to the car itself, if you’re somehow not impressed yet, then you’re about to be…
“For the front suspension I modified E34 M5 control and caster arms to fit the E21’s chassis.” Jørgen said. “I welded new brackets and mounting points to the body, all of which were raised up so that the geometry wouldn’t be affected; the plan was always to have a low car!” This level of forward thinking and clever fabrication is something we don’t often see – Jørgen’s entire E21 is a feast of details both above and below the skin. “I then bought an RHD E46 M3 steering rack. The E21 and E34 have the rack behind the wheels, whereas the E46 has it in front of the wheels – a left-hand drive E46 rack would have meant that I’d have reversed steering, so I mounted the RHD rack upside down!”
Completing Jørgen’s innovative and effective setup is a set of fully adjustable XYZ coilovers, which were actually designed for an E30 but have been custom-fitted to E34 M5 struts to tie in with the rest of the setup. The brakes are also from an E34 M5 – it really is a comprehensive setup, and is governed by an OBP bias-adjustable pedalbox, as well as the all-important hydraulic handbrake.
While the welder was out, Jørgen addressed the rotten parts of the boot floor and floorpan. He also fabricated a custom eight-point roll-cage, which not only triangulates to the front suspension turrets but is linked to the rear subframe and diff mounts, creating a seriously rigid and strong shell. The spare wheel well was removed, while everything was measured up and prepared, where necessary, for the pile of parts Jørgen was waiting to fit.
Before adding anything else, though, all of the sound-deadening and other clutter was stripped right back, meaning that a thick coat of stunning Space grey could be applied, both inside and out, having been prepped by Jørgen and his friend Per Egil Hendset, with Frode Øyane applying the paint. AC Schnitzer mirrors and an Alpina front lip were also dropped off at the painters, too. “Since I love the looks of E21 I didn’t want to put on much styling,” Jørgen pointed out.
With that completed, the E21 ready to be built back up into the spectacle that it now is. Beginning with the interior, thanks to that pedalbox and a custom steering column, Jørgen has been able to fit the seats nice and far back, assisting weight distribution and easing the fitment of parts around the custom bulkhead. The seats he opted for were Sparco buckets, which along with sixpoint harnesses and a Sabelt steering wheel make for a rather purposeful inside. The dashboard is the original E21 item, though the standard clocks have gone. In their place sits a neat sheet of aluminium with only the vital readings to ensure Jørgen knows the state of the engine’s vitals when attacking at full pelt.
In the boot you’ll find a 40-litre alloy fuel cell, along with a pair of Bosch 044 pumps and an Aeromotive filter, all designed for one thing: maximum performance. Which is just as well, considering the work Jørgen’s put in under the bonnet. As already mentioned, he’d managed to pick up an S54 nice and cheap, but there was no way it was going to stay anything like standard. “When I started the engine mods the plan was 800 horsepower at the wheels,” he grinned. “I built the engine myself. It took about a month. Once I’d received all the parts I needed the job was easy.”
The block itself has retained the standard 3.2-litre capacity, though understandably Jørgen saw it fit to upgrade the internals using forged Pauter rods and pistons from CP Pistons, which give a compression ratio of 9.0:1. ARP main studs finish the bottom end. The head also remains in standard specification, although it was completely overhauled and bolted down with ARP studs, too. The VANOS was blanked off with JAAS Performance plates. Even the original headgasket remains; it’s a real testament to just how strong the OEM components can be.
Where things have really been stepped up is in the gas flow in and out of that head. In case you didn’t guess, that lowered compression ratio isn’t just for the sake of it – it’s to allow huge amounts of forceinduced air into the cylinders. This comes courtesy of a sizeable Precision 7675 billet turbo, which is low-mounted on a custom JAAS Performance manifold. Out the back of the turbo is a custom JAAS 4” exhaust, while the intake tract goes from the turbo to a custom intercooler, which is actually quite well hidden in front of the radiator. From there the air is forced into a custom JAAS intake plenum. With all the crackle black powdercoating and the fact that Jørgen has chosen to retain the standard engine cover, it’s a surprisingly OEM-looking installation.
Managing the boost pressures comes down to a 75mm PPF dump valve and a 60mm PPF wastegate, while the fuelling is taken care of by huge 1680cc Bosch injectors as well as an Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, all linked up with neat AN8 lines and fittings. Governing the whole lot is a Elektromotive Tec GT standalone management system, while cooling has been left to an alloy radiator, electric water pump and electric fan.
“I’m very happy with the engine,” Jørgen said. “The only problem we had was the cam adjustments. The first time we had it on the dyno the powerband was terrible. But after a little adjustment together with Geir Haugen from Bjørnstad Cars we dyno’d it again and it was much better providing a wide powerband and peaks of 1000hp and 675lb ft of torque at the wheels at just 2 bar of boost! It blew my mind!”
There’s certainly one thing for sure – with the level of re-engineering and performance that this E21 boasts, it’s got to be one of the best in the world. In the pursuit of such lairy specifications it could have easily ended up looking like something from a horror movie, but with a clear love for the original 3 Series, Jørgen’s respect for simple styling and engineering, it’s become a real spectacle.
The interior may be built for purpose, but it looks really good, too!
A lot of work has gone into this E21, and it really shows…
Check out the spec list and you’ll see a number of parts on this E21 that were made by JAAS Performance. Well, you may be interested to hear that it is in fact the title under which Jørgen and his good friend Anders Skei operate. The pair fabricate all sorts of incredible components, as can be seen from Jørgen’s E21. Anders is a BMW fanatic too, as it happens, though he chose Toyota 2JZ power for his E34 M5. With 894bhp at the wheels, it’s no slouch!
I built the engine myself. It took about a month. Once I’d received all the parts the job was easy.
DATA FILE #BMW-E21 / #BMW / #BMW-E21-S54 / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #Elektromotive / #Bosch
ENGINE: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 , forged CP pistons for 9.0:1 compression ratio with heavy-duty wrist pins, forged #Pauter con rods, #ARP 119 headstuds, ARP 2000 main studs, original head overhauled, VANOS removed with JAAS Performance blanking plates, original head gasket, #Precision 7675 billet turbo, 60mm PPF wastegate, JAAS Performance custom turbo manifold and 4” exhaust, #JAAS-Performance custom intake plenum with 75mm #PPF dump valve, custom intercooler, #Elektromotive-Tec-GT engine management, Elektromotive ignition coils, #Moroso ignition leads, twin #Bosch-044 fuel pumps, Bosch 1680cc injectors, AN8 fuel lines and fittings, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, Aeromotive fuel filter, 40-litre fuel cell, alloy radiator, electric water pump, electric fan, custom oil breather tank, S38B36 flywheel, custom engine mounts to move engine 30cm rearward
TRANSMISSION: E39 530i gearbox, adjustable short-shifter, #Tilton triple-plate clutch, custom gearbox mounts to move 30mm rearward, #JAAS custom propshaft, customised E28 535i rear axle and driveshafts, welded E23 745i diff with 2.91 final drive ratio
CHASSIS: #AC-Schnitzer-Type-1 Racing wheels, 8.5x17” front and 9.5x17” rear, 215/35 and 225/35 tyres respectively. Custom-mounted E28 535i rear arms and hubs, custom mounted E34 M5 front control and caster arms, lower suspension mounting points all raised 40mm, XYZ E30 coilovers (custom welded on to E34 M5 struts at front), flipped E46 M3 RHD steering rack, custom steering arms with M14 uniballs, E21/E10 hybrid steering column, polybushed throughout. E34 M5 brakes all-round using 315mm front discs and 300mm rear discs
EXTERIOR: Full respray in #BMW Space grey, rear arches widened 40mm each side, #Alpina front lip, #AC-Schnitzer wing mirrors, clear indicators all-round
INTERIOR: Firewall and gearbox tunnel custom made, spare wheel well removed, custom eight-point roll-cage including links to front turrets and rear subframe mounts, Sparco seats, SRS six-point harnesses, Sabelt steering wheel, OBP pedalbox with adjustable brake bias, hydraulic handbrake, all sound deadening removed and interior repainted BMW Space grey, original E21 dashboard with #Autometer gauges (tacometer, boost, oil pressure, oil temperature, water temperature)
THANKS: Anders Skie, Gunnar Heggset and Ole Buvarp for the wiring, Per Egil Hendset for his help with the prep work before paint, and Frode Øyane for the beautiful paintworkStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDOUBLE UP / #BMW / #Kumho-BMW-Championship / #Kumho / #BMW-Championship / #2016
Racing requires a suitably serious machine, or two, such as this S54-powered 1 Series pair. Built from the ground-up for the Kumho-BMW-Championship , these two ferocious 1 Series are a force to be reckoned with. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Racing is something that you’re likely to be into if you’re into cars. We’re not saying this means you follow F1 religiously, for example, or watch every single motorsport race going but if you like cars and you like going fast then whether it’s drag racing, NASCAR or hillclimbs there’s bound to be a form of motorsport that gets your juices flowing and one that you’d love to have a go at. The glamour and excitement of motor racing has a lure that’s hard to resist and many of us can no doubt picture ourselves taking the chequered flag in some exotic location and then partying on a yacht afterwards.
Even if that’s not part of the equation, the chance to get behind the wheel of a fullyprepped racer and go wheel-to-wheel out on track is something we’d all love to do.
Easier said than done, mind. Even competing in an affordable race series still isn’t all that affordable and, ultimately, if you want to get somewhere you either need mega skills, lots of money or, ideally, both. Like James Cannon, then, who’s part of the management at Severn Valley Motorsport. He not only had the funds available to build this incredible pair of 1 Series racers but he’s also got the skills to put them to devastating use out on the track.
“I’ve been racing since I was eight,” says the affable James nonchalantly. “I started out in mini stocks and was UK champ aged nine. I then moved onto rallycross, then drifting, and then the Kumho BMW Championship aged 19, racing in Class D where I won multiple races.”
He’s also got a thing for BMWs and has had a few in his time: an E46 M3 Cab at 18, an X5, a 730d, an E39 M5, an E60 M5, an E63 M6, an E92 M3 last year, and now a 335iX. Having worked his way up to Class A in the Kumho BMW Championship James decided to build himself something suitable but he didn’t want to take the well-worn path walked by the other teams, as he explains: “The top class is full of E36 and E46 M3s but the Championship wanted something a bit more glam and I wanted to build something a bit different for the Severn Valley Motorsport race team. I liked the look of the eBay BTCC 1 Series and so that’s what I decided to create.”
He purchased a pair of 118ds for £4000 each and stripped them down to their bare shells, opting for four-doors as they were cheaper to buy and it’s easier to get spares for them in the event of a crash; obviously, being race cars, James had guidelines to build to, so he knew exactly what he was going to do the cars having discussed the requirements for Class A with the Kumho Championship organisers. “Butler Motorsport built the engines and fitted them along with the subframes. Harry Hockly Motorsport supplied the full BTCC-spec cages and Doseley Motors did all the bodywork including fitting the body kits, which are based on the BTCC ones and made in Germany. The rear wings came from last year’s eBay BTCC cars.”
Built to regs they may be but that doesn’t mean that they don’t look utterly spectacular with those massively wide arches, the vast rear wing and twin exhausts poking out through the sides of the rear bumper, plus there’s the faithfully recreated eBay livery and both cars are also sponsored by the Cannon Run 3000.
If they look spectacular on the outside, under the bonnet is simply mesmerising. Both cars run the S54B32 from the M3 CSL, which is a great place to start, with the engines built to regs. This means fullyforged Cosworth pistons, rods, motorsport cranks and head gaskets but, interestingly, standard cams as they make more power. Of course, what really catches your eye are the gigantic carbon air boxes with their massive intake ducting that dominates the engine bays. “I had the carbon air boxes made for them and we had to relocate the rad to allow them to fit,” explains James. The whole lot is watched over by a Motec ECU and Motec also took care of the loom, steering wheel and digital dash.
With the highly-tuned S54 under their bonnets both cars make 380hp. There’s potential for more but there’s also a good reason to not use it. “When we were testing the engines they made 422hp on the dyno,” says James, “but if we went for more power we would have to carry more weight to balance that out and currently the cars weigh 1280kg. Running 380hp gives us a happy medium of power-to-weight for optimum handling. There are two other cars running the same engines, so down the straights there’s nothing in it.”
The chassis has been thoroughly reworked, as you would expect. The cars both run motorsport subframes and fully adjustable Proflex suspension, while power is transferred to the wheels via (surprisingly) a 525i five-speed manual gearbox (which James says is best suited for the track), through a custom prop to an LSD and custom driveshafts. Meanwhile, behind the classic white Speedline wheels (or Team Team Dynamics, depending on the weather) sit massive AP Racing brakes which are perfectly suited to slowing these fast and furious racers time and time again.
Inside the cars are as stripped-out as you’d expect but that’s not to say they’ve not been finished with plenty of love and attention to detail. In each car there’s a mandatory multi-point BTCC-spec cage by Harry Hockly Motorsport, one solitary, super-supportive Cobra racing bucket seat with multi-point harnesses and a Tilton pedalbox. There’s also a carbon switch panel, the aforementioned digi dash, and a grippy suede steering wheel. In the back you’ll find a custom swirl pot setup and fuel pump. As a finishing touch, the whole interior has been painted.
We ask James whether it would just have been easier (and cheaper) to buy a pair of pre-built race cars? “It was definitely more expensive to build them,” he replies. “The other cars on the grid cost about £55,000 bought but each one of ours cost about £80,000. But I know the cars inside out now.” And why did James build two cars? “Well, it’s good to have a spare, just in case,” he says, “and while I mostly race on my own sometimes my dad joins in as well so this way we can race together.”
Of course, building the cars is only part of the whole. Once built you need to take them racing. In the Kumho Championship that costs £2500 for one race meeting, which is quite a lot of money but worth it and it’s still a lot cheaper than BTCC racing costs, where a weekend of racing will set you back about £10,000. “Most of the races are televised,” says James, “and the Class A cars run about half-a-second off the BTCC pace. It’s a good chance of getting spotted. I’m only 24 years old among a lot of much older drivers and the BTCC is definitely my ultimate goal; that’s where I’d like to be.”
Well James has definitely got the skills to make it happen. “My first time out in the car was at Donnington. It was my debut in that car in that class and I came second,” he says without a hint of arrogance. “I can’t fault the cars at all, they’re so good. At Donnington they weren’t even set up yet, not even lowered, and I came second having never driven on slicks. I was three seconds slower than a guy who’d been racing for 20 years and knows all the circuits. Obviously I’m aiming for first.”
With a strong debut, the only way is up for James and the Severn Valley Motorsport race team and with plans to strip both cars and build them again from the ground up, making them even better and even more formidable on track, James Cannon and his 1 Series twins are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Team Dynamics wheels are swapped with Speedlines depending on the weather.
Stripped-out interior features full roll-cage, digi-dash and single Cobra seat while boot space is occupied by the fuel system and everything has been painted.
Bodywork is based on the BTCC kits and produced in Germany while massive carbon rear wings were taken from last year’s 1 Series BTCC cars.
Engine bays are dominated by the ex-CSL S54 engines, with vast carbon air boxes on both.
DATA FILE #BMW-SVM-1-Series-Racers / #BMW-E87 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-E87-SVM / #SVM
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 from M3 CSL, fullyforged Cosworth pistons, rods and motorsport crank, #Cosworth head gasket, standard cams, carbon air box, remapped by #Telford Motorsport , #Motec ECU, 380hp (detuned from 420hp). 525i five-speed manual gearbox, custom propshaft, custom driveshafts, limited-slip differential. / #Telford-Motorsport
CHASSIS #Speedline / #Team-Dynamics wheels , #Proflex suspension, motorsport subframes, #AP-Racing brakes, 1280kg.
EXTERIOR #BTCC-style wide arch kit, fibre glass bonnet, lightweight doors and boot, Plexiglas windows and front screen, rear central rain light, custom side exit exhausts, carbon #BTCC rear wing, eBay race graphics.
INTERIOR #Harry-Hockly-Motorsport multi-point BTCC roll-cage, Cobra bucket seat and race harness, carbon switch panel, Motec wiring loom and digital dash, suede steering wheel, #Tilton pedalbox, custom swirl pots and fuel pump, fully painted inside.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.