E30 3 series revisited


When most people on the street think about “BMW”. They’d probably be thinking of the newer more modern machines. The E90s, E46s and even the E36s. Few will actually mention the cars the pre-dated those modern Ultimate Driver’s Machines. The E21s and th E30s, both cars having their own cult following Worldwide. One of the best examples of the E30 is actually this wonderfully done Cabriolet.

E30s are nowadays seen less and less on the roads, most have sadly, gone to the scrapyards. A few lucky ones are still running around strongly and refuse to fade off into the sunset. And what better way to view a beautiful sunset then sitting in a nice cabriolet running down the twisty bits of road with the wind in your hair or just crusing down the highway taking in all the views around you.



*The E30 fitted with Racing Dynamics rims prior to the Hartges*

The owner of this E30 has always been a roadster person at heart and when the time came for a “family” car, he found a 1 owner 1989 320i Cabriolet. Alpine White colour, bone stock, automatic and a slug but it still drove great, like a BMW.

All was not right with the car though, the gearbox failed around 5 months after. Not a great way to start a car ownership experience. But this, sparked a new passion within him. Modification!

As mentioned above the auto gearbox failed within 5mths of ownership, and since the owner had never modded a car before he did the unheard of and bought a new reconditioned auto gearbox from BMW… He hated it… Only then did he find some online forums which provided him with the info to convert his auto into a manual.

The information on modding started flowing straight to his bank account and before he knew it, the stock suspension was replaced with Eibach ProKit springs & Sachs Performance (Reds) dampers. Then soon after a re-spray in Diamantschwarz, an M-Technic 1 front spoiler and a very rare Racing Dynamics exhaust.The manual gearbox conversion was done and Racing Dynamics RGP rims in 16×7.5” wrapped in 225/45-16 Dunlop SP-9000 tires was fitted. But this is not the end.

While most E30s locally are still very much fun to drive, a constant complaint would be the lack of power, especially when compared with present day cars. Though the Rotrex Supercharher kit looked appealing, he finally settled on another way of increasing the power of the car. A 3.0L Stroker. Searching through online sources again to get more information on extracting more power from the engine unit.




The Ireland Engineering kit was chosen due to a friend’s experience with them, and fortunately, he ended up with a free upgrade to their custom made forged Cosworth crank. The pistons ended up coming from Ross Racing as opposed to the JE pistons mentioned on their site. A new Racing Dynamics valve cover was also fitted for aesthetic purposes. Other goodies included a Schrick 272/272, headers, larger injectors, M30 AFM, Alpina B3 2.7L chip & Ed Mazula big bore throttle body were acquired to help the engine achieve it’s potential.

Work on the stroker began up north and after 2-3 weeks it was complete. Two days later it was in the E30 Cab and the raw power he felt whilst driving it to the exhaust shop blew him away. The perfect amount f power for the car? Sure felt like it.

Small problems do arise from such engine projects, as expected, but through a few months of changing a few parts here and there, the car was tearing through the streets via the huge amount of low-end torque. Convinced that there was more potential in this engine, the car was brought to a Unichip piggyback tuner and it was placed on the dyno. The HP results were much lower than expected but the Torque results were pleasing. The Unichip piggyback was fitted and then the car was tuned on the dyno at every 1000rpm with an end result of 10-15rwhp & rwtq gained throughout. A proper tuning of an engine is highly recommended and the owner of this car recommends the Unichip piggyback to anyone he has ever come across… Modded engine or stock.

After a while he learned of the MAF swap and decided to try it out since he already had ability to tune. The throttle response was great but the gains were minimal.

Now with the power sorted, next up were the aesthetics. Being able to find a 2nd hand OEM M-Tech 2 bodykit, it was fitted without delay. Next came an E30 M3 running gear which gave the much needed larger brakes & 5 lug hubs, which led to the fitting of the beautiful 3pc Hartge’s rims.



Not many people are able to appreciate older cars. And the E30 is no exception. Even fewer still will be able to understand why there are people out there who are so willing to spend so much money on these cars. But lucky for those who love older cars, there are people out there like the owner of this E30 who have a great love and passion for their cars and are willing to go all out to make them their Ultimate Driver’s Machine.

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  1. amazing… simply amazing.. i’m not a car savvy guy but this has to be my one and only dream car since i was young.. the bmw gangsta.

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