This E30 BMW M3 has a straight six, and she is an utter stunner
Is there a better way to spend $55,000?
''The BMW M3'' - the name sends shivers down your spine, doesn't it? It just sounds so right. Throughout its timeline, the Munich-based firm have given the world five siblings from the famous family of fast saloons, with a sixth one imminent. For the best part of 34 years, it's held off substantial competition from automotive heavyweights across the world - only proving its incredible longevity, and acting as a token of proof that the M3's pedigree cannot ever be questioned.
When the G80 M3 arrives, sometime next year, its appearance will surely raise debate, but its performance will probably be a gamechanger in its class. It can owe its highborn birth, and the fact that we automatically assume it will be a proper driver's car, to its great, great, great grandfather - and the first of their name: the E30 M3.
The family. Image credit: BMW blog.
You cannot claim to be a true petrolhead if you don't love the E30. Not only has it aged like fine wine aesthetically, but it remains the definitive example of what a low-slung, four seater family sports car should be. It ticked all the right boxes, and hit all the right notes, but above all else, it provided the blueprint and the formula for what its successors aspired to be. Yet, after all these years, it can probably still stake a claim for being the greatest sports saloon of all time.
When classics like the E30 are tampered with, it usually spells a recipe for disaster. Either the older components of the car cannot cope with the mechanical demands that come with increased power, or some idiot off the internet decides to bolt some ridiculous modern day body parts on to them.
Some people can not, and SHOULD not be trusted with timeless classics. But sometimes, just sometimes, someone who truly understands and appreciates the automobile will come along, and pull off a make-over that the world's most respected plastic surgeon would be proud of. That has been the case with this E30 M3, which has been meticulously worked on, to combine eighties styling with twenty-twenties engineering. It's safe to say, it's been an undisputed success.
Talking about engineering, the modifications have been plentiful, but what I love about this project is that the creator hasn't exorcised the identity of the car, as is the the painful reality for so many similar models. For starters, the car has now been repainted in yellow, having previously left the factory in BMW's individual Salmon Silver colour.
Exterior modifications range from tinted windows, to smoked HID headlights and indicators, a blacked out grille, and a slightly modified front bumper that's been fitted with moulded air ducts. The body mods are completed with an aftermarket rear wing, that has a variable carbon fibre lip, and 17-inch Forgestar wheels that are cushioned between a set of Hankook Ventus V12 EVO2 tyres. This may sound like a lot of changes, but they remain subtle ones - and that's what I adore about it.
Internally, the changes have been necessary ones, enhancing the performance to just the right amount so it can continue to compete with modern day saloons. For instance, Brembo brakes with cross-drilled discs and braided stainless lines, a new front strut tower brace, H&R lowering springs (nice!), Bilstein dampers, Ireland Engineering sway bars, and a Treehouse Racing 'Eyeball Arm' control arm bushing refurb.
Don't know what any of those things are? That's OK, because the most significant change is its beating heart. Under the hood sits a mammoth S50 3.2-litre incline-six engine, that's paired with a six-speed manual transmission, and been pulled straight out of an E36 M3. The new block replaces the original 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine, and is perhaps the change that really makes this car unique.
Having just been sold for $55,000 (£42,000), with barely 9k on the odometer, I can honestly say that I can't think of a better car to spend that sum of money on. The buyer hasn't just purchased a super quick car, but a piece of art itself. As an added bonus, they can sleep well every night knowing that it won't be dropping in value either, because they've just invested in an asset which will only appreciate as its global numbers continue to plummet. What a lucky, lucky person.