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    JONATHAN McMULLAN E85 #BMW-Z4-2.2i-E85 / #BMW-Z4-E85 / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW-E85 /

    We don’t get many Z4s appearing in these pages but we really like what Jonathan has done with his Roadster. He’s owned it for seven years, during which time he and his father-in-law (both avid #BMW fans) have enjoyed tweaking it.

    It’s been fully polybushed and fitted with FK coilovers along with an #Ultra-Racing cross brace to help stiffen up the body. The Z4 rides on 9.5x19” E46 M3 wheels all-round with 13mm spacers, mounted on a stud conversion kit, while the brakes have been upgraded with an E46 330Ci setup consisting of Black Diamond discs with Predator pads and rebuilt 330Ci calipers with Hel brake lines all-round.

    Under the bonnet sits a CDA induction kit and the straightsix has been fitted with a de-cat manifold and custom quad exhaust system. The rear bumper has been modified to accommodate the Stuke rear diffuser, the arches have been pulled to squeeze the wheels under them and allow for a satisfying drop and a pair of carbon mirrors add the finishing touch. Except it’s not finished just yet, with plans for the next few months involving air-ride, LCI rear lights and a Z4 M front bumper, which will make for one seriously slick Z4.
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    MASTERCHEF
    Simple on the outside, exciting on the inside, this sexy Aegean blue E30 has been treated to a 3.2 S50-swap.

    SLICK S50 E30

    Awesome 3.2-litre two-door. With some seriously tasty mods and an S50 under its carbon bonnet, owner Nicholas Arnold has rustled up one cooking E30. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.

    Could the E30 be the most engine-swapped #BMW of all time? Judging by the number of feature cars we run that have been fitted with something other than their standard engine, it’s got to be up there. While V8s are a great and popular choice, sometimes you’re just not in the mood and fancy something more traditional where the 3 Series is concerned, like a howling, high-output straight-six, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here.

    Chef Nicholas Arnold is its custodian and the man behind the swap. He’s no stranger to modified cars and BMWs, having worked his way up from a Vauxhall Nova 1.2 through to a selection of Hondas, including an EG Civic that he performed a full DC2 conversion on, and on to a number of BMWs, starting with an E34 525i (as it was cheap and RWD), and including a previous E30, which met an untimely end… “I wrote it off on black ice and I just felt I had to own another one. I found this car on eBay, located in Scotland – it was in good condition and had just had a respray,” says Nicholas. There was also the small matter of it already being endowed with an M52 under the bonnet. “It had a straight-through exhaust, was on cheap Jom coilovers and had an open diff. I changed the inlet manifold and ECU before making bigger plans,” he says – those plans being the swapping in of a more potent powerplant.


    “I put a S50B32 in it as the M52 wasn’t fast enough,” explains Nicholas. “I bought new AKG engine mounts, custom wiring loom, aluminium triple core radiator, Ramair air filter, got a custom-built manifold, ACL race bearings, ARP con rod bolts, M3 3.0-litre oil pump with an E34 baffle sump and a Simons race silencer with a full stainless steel system. It took me six months to put together all the parts for the build and a week’s-worth of work to put it all together. The only problems I had was the servo had to be moved across by 45mm and I had to have a brake linkage bar made up.”

    They say that the waiting is the hardest part and we have no doubt that was definitely the case here as six months to go from capable M52 to 321hp of ferocious #S50B32 goodness must have felt like an age. Let’s not beat about the bush here – the E36 M3 Evo is not a slow car, so just having that rev-hungry lump in the lightweight surroundings of an E30 would result in an absolute rocket ship. But that’s not all, the transmission has also been beefed-up to suit and there’s a five-speed Getrag ’box mated to an E34 M5 Sachs clutch with a 4.5kg billet steel flywheel, E36 propshaft and an E36 2.8 LSD in an E30 medium diff case.

    With some serious power on tap, Nicholas turned his attention to the chassis as it needed some upgrades to be able to cope with the massive increase in engine. “I went for a set of BC Racing coilovers as they’re mid-range and suitable for road and track, Purple Series polybushes with E30 M3 lollipop bushes, again suitable for both roadand track-use, fitted all-new drop links, H&R uprated anti-roll bars, Ultra Racing strut braces to stiffen the chassis and I also had the subframes powdercoated and the rear subframe reinforced due to the increase in power.” The car no doubt drives spectacularly and sits beautifully low. It just looks right, especially on its black 16” Rota Grid Vs, which tie in perfectly with the numerous black details across the bodywork, and make a change from the usual suspects when it comes to E30 wheel choice, as Nicholas explains: “I have the Rota Grid Vs as I like to be different. I also like the Jap, aggressive look rather than following the crowd and having Borbets or #BBS reps.” The wheels are wrapped in Toyo Proxes tyres and sit on a stud conversion, while Ferodo DS2500 pads and EBC discs sit behind the spokes.

    In terms of looks, the E30 really doesn’t need much help – subtle is often best to enhance the styling and that’s definitely been the approach here. The Aegean blue paintwork looks stunning, rich and deep, and the unpainted carbon bonnet is no less gorgeous. Other exterior additions include an eyebrow, crosshair headlights and all-red tinted rear lights. The interior, on the other hand, has received a bit more attention, as Nicholas tells us. “The car started off with a plain standard non-Sport interior but I’ve always had Sport seats in my previous E30s and knew how comfy they were so wanted another set in this car.”

    He spent months searching for a pair of Sport seats but, having drawn a blank, he changed tactic and bought a pair of OMP buckets instead. Of course, no sooner had he installed them in the E30 than a pair of chequered Sport seats appeared at a good price, so he snapped them up and got rid of the buckets. And, as luck would have it, a few weeks later a rear bench, complete with headrests, and in the same pattern, popped up so Nicholas jumped on it, so to speak, and in a very short space of time had put together a rather lovely Sport interior.


    In addition to that he’s fitted a suederimmed #OMP steering wheel with snap-off boss, AC #Schnitzer short-shift gear knob plus a rear blind-equipped parcel shelf. It’s smart, clean, period and suits the rest of the car, with a few subtle hints to suggest that there’s more going on here than meets the eye. We are well and truly in love with Nicholas’ E30, he’s really built himself an amazing machine. From the outside it looks so right – the colour is stunning, the carbon bonnet is spectacular and it really delivers the perfect blend of subtlety and aggression, with no single element feeling over the top or out of place, and that too can be said about the engine. It sits in the bay perfectly, looking so at home, and it’s turned this E30 into an absolute weapon.

    “The huge engine is my favourite mod on the E30,” smiles Nicholas, “because the car is very inconspicuous looking.” He’s going to keep it looking that way, too, when he carries on with the mods this year: “I plan to add some fatter tyres and beef up the brakes as I’m only currently running 2.5 brakes allaround with DS2500 pads and EBC discs which fade after a couple of minutes of hard driving, and supercharge it,” he says, which is really going to turn the heat up on this E30 and take it to the next level.

    Gorgeous Aegean blue on the outside, sexy Sport seats on the inside.

    The S50 fits perfectly in the E30 engine bay and took owner Nicholas a week of work to get it fitted and running.

    The engine is my favourite modification on the E30 because the car is inconspicuous looking Nicholas Arnold.

    DATA FILE #BMW-E30-S50 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #Rota-Grid

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S50B32 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 from E36 M3 Evo, #ACL race bearings, #ARP con rod bolts, #Ramair filter, Millers Nano Drive oil, custom manifold and steering linkage, Simons race silencer and full stainless system with single dolphin tip, custom plug and play wiring loom, #AKG engine mounts, M3 3.0-litre oil pump, E34 sump, sump baffle.

    TRANSMISSION Five-speed #Getrag gearbox, #Racing-Dynamics short shift kit, E34 M5 Sachs clutch with 4.5kg billet steel flywheel, E36 prop, E36 2.8 LSD in E30 medium diff case.

    CHASSIS 8x16” (front and rear) black #Rota-Grid-V wheels with 195/40 (front and rear) Toyo Proxes T1-R tyres, stud conversion, fully polybushed except Z3 diff bush, #H&R anti-roll bars, #BC-Racing coilovers, #Ultra-Racing strut braces, M3 eccentric lollipop bushes, reinforced rear subframe, E30 91mm brakes and hubs, #Ferodo-DS2500 pads, #EBC discs.

    EXTERIOR Respray in Aegean blue, Lite Tuned carbon fibre bonnet, crosshair headlights, eyebrows, red tinted rear lights.

    INTERIOR Chequered Sport cloth interior, OMP steering wheel with snap off boss, #AC-Schnitzer short-shift gear knob, rear blind parcel shelf.
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    PAUL’S #BMW-E36 / #BMW-328i / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW /

    There is a theory in motorsport that the stiffer a shell on a car is, the more effective the suspension beneath it will become.

    Take a look inside any competition motor and have a serious squint at the cage. Sure, its primary function is to keep the driver safe should the unthinkable happen but when you start to see where many chassis pick up points go on a really top-level car, you begin to appreciate that a fair degree of competition car cage prep (along with the gusseting and seam welding that augments it) goes towards making it stiffer and stronger. The rationale being that if the shell itself flexes very little, then the suspension is left to perform its function with much greater accuracy and with ever-replicable movements to give consistency in handling.

    Let’s be honest here, there’s no way I am ever going to prep my car into a full racer (famous last words! ~ Ed) but I am keen to get things working as well as I can for the occasional track outing and a little fast-road work. A few months back I fitted an Ultra Racing front strut brace and noticed a tangible improvement in the sharpness of the front end. It was clear that reducing the movement of the top mounts really had made an efficiency difference to the whole suspension package – and the result was a more positive steering feel. Therefore, I was keen to see whether I could add any other similar tweaks.

    Searching the company’s UK website I found the rather smart item you see here: an interior brace that fits over the transmission tunnel and in front of the rear seats. Using a centre turnbuckle and lock nuts, you basically wind it out to brace against the sides of the chassis, improving torsional rigidity. But, I’ll be frank here, I also thought it looked rather trick! As my budget won’t quite stretch to a GT3 just yet, the idea of having a bit of pretty scaffolding in the back of an otherwise well-appointed coupé appeals to me greatly.

    The brace arrived the day after ordering, and was a doddle to fit. Simply wind the turnbuckle out until the feet firmly grip the chassis sides and then lock off with the lock nuts that sit either side. The kit also has holes pre drilled to allow the bar to be properly tied into the chassis with bolts, so next time I’m in the workshop, I’ll add that extra level of integrity to make things even more effective.

    Improving the torsional rigidity of the 328 won’t just enhance its handling, of course, but it should also give me a real sense of confidence, with the car feeling more precise and steering response being quicker and more responsive. All of the Ultra Racing bars have been carefully designed on custom jigs and feature crash deformation characteristics that work in harmony with each individual car’s carefully designed crumple zones. The bars use the shortest and most direct bracing route possible to ensure maximum rigidity – a fact augmented by the fact that the bolting flanges are a substantial 4mm thick – significantly more than many other aftermarket offerings. With a complete lack of pivot points or hinges, it becomes an integral part of the chassis, particularly when I take advantage of those extra bolt holes!

    So, there’s a little extra work to do to really feel the full benefit but in the meantime I’m loving the look! And, seeing as it fits so flush to the seat, I haven’t even lost any practicality either. Double win!

    CONTACT / #Ultra-Racing / www.ultraracinguk.co.uk /
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