BMW E30 Touring 2.8 M3 suspension resto-mod / hot-rod
More pics and details here:
If you want a classic car that drives like a modern car but is lighter and more nimble than anything you can buy these days, is reliable and faster than 90% of other cars on the road, seats 5 and handles like a go-kart then read on.
No modern family car can match it for the lightweight nimble road feel. Its the Lotus 7 of family hatchbacks. They ought to be banned! Thank god they're not. Yet!
This 25 year old car has 21st century brakes, 21st century suspension, and a classic late 90's BMW power train. Everything else is refurbished, replaced or resprayed. Apart from a few paintwork blemishes/scratches there is nothing to stop you using this as if it were a brand new modern car. Its probably more reliable than a new BMW as it doesn't rely on dodgy electronics. Its the last of the analog BMWs with the road feel of a Caterham but seats 5 and a boot!
I started with a 318i and put a M20 2.5 in it. This had 169hp but was a 25 year old iron block 2v per cylinder engine. It spolit the handling and was still not fast enough.So it got the 2.8 out of a 1996 E36 with all the ECU and electrics. Reliable, Bulletproof (oil and filter changed every 8000 miles using Longlife Millers 5w40) faster and sounds great.
While the engine was out I went about fixing all the rust and having the shell resprayed from window line downwards. You cant see the join. This car is not concourse, it is a drivers car, ready to be driven. Sure it looks nice but its nowhere near cosmetically perfect. But the electric sunroof and electric windows work. The dash is not cracked.
The interior is currently grey cloth but I have a fully refurbished (looks like new) red leather sport interior ready to go in (as the car is my daily driver and I have kids I have not fitted it yet for fear of spilling something).
So the most expensive upgrade I have made is to have had professionally installed a much lighter all alloy and more modern power plant - the famous M52 2.8 single vanos with the better breathing BMW M50 inlet manifold/throttle. This has been remapped for 220hp. It has Scorpion exhaust which sounds better than anything this side of a TVR with a subtle rumble at low revs rising to race car sound at high revs.
My kids go to the same school as Chris Evan's kids do. He sometimes, comes to pick them up in a 1960 Aston Martin or a 1980s E30 325i convertible but only on a dry day in summer. I can't match that for prestige, but this car is more practical and faster and better handling (if worth a lot less than either of them).
The second most expensive upgrade I made were was the suspension: brand new KW V3 - 3 way adjustable (bump, rebound and ride height). All sent to Germany to be built and treated in Inox for corrosion resistance. See photo of the lovely gold units. With eibach adjustable anti-roll bars.
I went to great trouble to mount the front anti roll bar off the strut leg not the hub just like in the E30 M3. I had the arches subtlely widened by a well known custom car bodyshop at the front to accommodate E30 M3 track width without changing the look of the car. And the rear arches rolled and pulled to match.
I then had the geometry set to match the E30 M3. The front wishbones are the same geometry as the E30 M3. The front lollipops are E30 M3. The rear trailing arms are adjustable for camber and toe. No stone unturned to replicate the handling of the E30 M3 but with a bigger a boot, 6 cylinders and no box arches.
This car is now same or equal to an E30 M3 except in the looks department (no box arches)... Lets's compare
Same track width
A lot more torque
2 more cylinders
5 doors not 2!
£11k not £41k or even £61k or whatever they go for.
I then went to great trouble to reduce the weight of the front end. Not content to have an alloy engine, I fitted a custom made carbon fibre bonnet and a lightweight fibreglass front bumper so that...
the car now weighs under 1200kg even with a 2.8 6-pot and crucially retains the 50-50 weight balance despite the extra 2 cylinders.
The Limited Slip Differential ( E30 M3 spec ) has been fully refurbished with new seals, plates and bearings and retains a sensible CWP final drive ratio. Cruises at 80mph without too much noise but still will pull hard well into 3 figures in 5th (in theory). The gearbox is close enough ratio that you are never caught "off cam" below 4000rpm if you don't want to be.
The car has been corner weighted and has perfect 50-50 front to rear weight balance with 75kg driver and half a tank of fuel.
A full list of mods and features:
Red Leather interior (I will supply the grey cloth interior as well)
Alpine CD/radio and speakers.
Carbon fibre lightweight bonnet (cost £700)
Fibreglass lightweight front bumper unit (slightly damaged from carp park kerb - a new one is £165 - for the right price I'll throw in a new bumper unit so you can know you have a spare but I recommend driving it as is to begin with as its low and you need to learn to judge kerbs)
Small diameter dished suede sports steering wheel
Fold down rear seats
Rally style Heavy Duty Sump guard ( to protect that car from unexpected pot holes)
UUC Autowerke Big Front brake kit imported from USA
Stop tech rear OEM brake disc
Hawk DTC60 pads allround
7 series Brake Master cylinder for more modern pedal feel
The brake upgrades cost £1500 in total but are soooo worth it - feel and stopping power is immense
KW V3 suspension (cost £2000 to purchase plus was fitted and set up by Matt at Spires Technology - well know BMW suspension specialist who also designs suspension for Jaguar as his day job)
Ground control adjustable road suitable front suspension top mounts (£350)
Eibach adjustable anti-roll bars (cost £300)
E46 Purple Tag quick steering rack
Front ARB attached direct to front strut (this mod cost £300 to custom build brackets - see picture)
E30 M3 caster eccentric lollypop bushesCondor Speed Shop Delrin solid rear subframe mounts. Purple Powerflex Polybushed pretty much everywhere elsewhere. OEM bushes in a few places like engine mounts for reduced NVH.
12.5mm Raised rear subframe to accomodate lowering without adverse affect on roll centres.
Condor Speed Shop Trailing arm and ARB reinforcement plates welded on.
Garagistic adjustable rear camber and toe kit fitted.
All the new poly/delrin bushes cost £200 plus £400 to fit.
ATS alloy rally style wheels - 8J x 16" (refrubished and imported from Germany).
215/45/16 Michelin Pilot Sport 3 Tyres - all with 6+mm tread. Amazing grip wet or dry and amazing long tread life. £500 for the set.
M52B28 2.8 all alloy straight 6 engine
240 close ratio gearbox with short shift kit
Lightened M20 flywheel
M50 intake with Big throttle bodies
Ram Air Cold Air feed.
Scorpion DTM exhaust
The engine conversion done professionally, rewiring in the modern ECU and remapping cost £4000. It was done by an E30 specialist. Just because a used M52 engine can be had off ebay for £500 and this is a tried and tested upgrade does NOT mean any old Tom Dick or Harry can just throw it in and expect it to be reliable without spending good money on exhaust , gearbox, clutch, starter motor (new), steering linkage, moving brake servo, and radiators and wiring to make sure it is OEM quality. Mine has been done properly. Starts first time every time.
Refurbed plated LSD (these are getting very rare - tired used ones of these are worth £600 - a rebuilt one is worth north of £1000). The diff locks up as it should and is a joy to drive - with early application of power and great traction in the wet.
The donor car was a nice example and cost £4000 but I have spent well over £16000 on this project since then if you include the cost to source and install all the upgrades the painting, bodywork, rustproofing and labour to fit, the geo, the corner weighting.
I do drive this car in winter, but I always wash down the underneath, arches etc with fresh water to make sure no salt remains.
Mileage reads 150,000. That is the mileage on the chassis. The engine is much newer and pulls like a train, never uses oil. In any case the engine could be replaced for £500 now that the engine swap hard yards have been done.
I could break the car down and sell the parts and get more than selling it as whole but I can't bring myself to do that. This is all about finding a new owner who will appreciate what I have done and agree a fair price. It will be less than it cost me but equally I am selling to start a new project so please no low ball offers - it is not worth me selling it if I lose too much.
For £11,000 ONO I will include all the listed modifications and the grey cloth and red leather interiors. I'll even throw in the original steel bonnet.
Or for £8000 ONO it would come with the OEM suspension only (not KW), an original open diff (not LSD), the steel bonnet (not carbon) and the grey cloth interior.
Think of the KW suspension, carbon bonnet, LSD and red leather as the £3000 upgrade package.
Car is located very near Junction 13 M25 (Heathrow Staines). Test drives and inspections welcome.
Intoxicating and yet practical, so why on earth am I selling? I have enjoyed it for 2 years and its time for a new project, this time I will try to do the same resto-mod treatment to a Merc 190e (which I would accept at PX - cash my way) and put a modern cosworth/duratec engine in instead of the 25 year old original to create a 2.3 16v replica for half the money.
All fluids were changed when car was built 2 years ago,
since then brake fluid, engine oil and filter, fuel filter, LSD oil and gearbox oil have been changed.
Loads of life left in brake pads, disks and tyres. This is an easy and cheap car to maintain. It does between 20 and 40 mpg depending on how you drive it! The performance is addictive. Your mileage will vary!
I insure it with Adrian Flux on agreed value policy. declaring all the mods does bump the premium up a little but I am 51 yo with 10+ years NCB so I would say its a lot less than most performance cars but more than a 25 yo car with less than 200hp.
Will be sold with a full 12 month MOT!
Call Hugh 07947027637 to talk cars!