- The one that started it all.

Race Car for the Streets - E30 M3

25w ago


It has been a while since I last picked up the Drivetribe "pen". It hasn't been intentional, if I have to be honest. I have always taken this very seriously, but not to the extent of work, because then it's no fun.

Last year, I decided to take my honed skills and mastery of the 6-cylinder engine from the 1st generation M5 (the E28, and the one directly derived from the M1), to it's younger sibling the M3. Yes - God's Chariot's - the E30. You might remember this first stab at one:


Well since then, I worked on five different M3s, and I can say I have learnt quite a bit (alongside some colorful language, because it is never a smooth sail). So what better place to share that, but Drivetribe.

To my instagram followers (@dailyvintagerides) these should be familiar sights.

Hennarot EVO III

DiamantSchwarz M3

Sterlingsilber and Alpineweiss

After watching the end episode of season 3 (of the Grand Tour), dedicated to the Ford Sierra Cossie (did I say that right, Jeremy?) it got me thinking of the special opportunity I have been presented to service such legendary racer derived cars. Don't get me wrong - everybody knows the significance of the E30 M3, but to actually fine tune it and troubleshoot it gave me a totally different perspective.

Side Note: I need to see a Sierra Cosworth in action/wheel time.

Source: CompleteCar.i

The reason I say "Race Car for the Streets" is not that it has some crazy horsepower or torque numbers, but it's the shear design and engineering put forward to be able to service it. As modern day cars get more complex, and power density increases, those elements are long forgotten. There is also the reason that dealerships want to do all the work for you, but that is a topic for another day. The M3, as the hot Cossie, stand by Enzo's business motto - race the car on Sunday, sell it on Monday, type a thing.

This family of engines - M88 (M1, EU M5/M6), S38 (US M5/M6), S14 (M3) are very simple and the Bosch Motronic system requires just a couple of things to be in check, in order to run flawlessly (granted all the mechanics like valves, and rings are in good shape). I won't get into great details, but one of the final touches that is most essential to extract the ultimate throttle response is an Individual Throttle Body sync and balance.

To the nerds, what is happening above is setting all 4 butterflies to open and close from the move of the single lever point, and in close position to be at 0.004" (0.1016mm) open. That and we adjustments to the Wide Open Throttle position, would prepare you for fine tuning the intake for ultimate vacuum of 21.7cmHg.

Play video

Final result

I know James-May-minded folks would get a kick of all this.

Well this is really all I had to tell you about. I am off to my next project - 1991 BMW M5 (E34) engine refresh...

Oh and one more thing - I want to dedicate this little scribble to my friends - Jeremy, Richard and James. Thank you for all those years in the studio, and on the road. Sad to say, that I won't be able to attend a live studio recording, but glad to know that the road trips continue! Cheers!

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