Features

Gregory Smith's E30 325i

Photography by Gábor Lengyel

When Gregory was younger he had a dream that he would one day own an E30. It all started when his brother bought an E30 when he was 10 years old and would take him for a quick drive occasionally. He fell in love with that classic Bavarian machine and knew he had to get one for himself.

In 2011 it finally became a reality. After searching a year and a half for a well cared for E30 he found one, or so he thought. It was originally a white 316i with an M20B20 engine swap already done. The seller said the car was in good condition but Gregory later discovered that it needed a complete restoration to the bodywork. 

Although he bought it for fun after a few days of ownership he realized that he wanted more than just having fun with it outside the city. Gregory ended up purchasing 4 doors, a trunk, a hood, 2 front fenders, and 2 rocker panels. He had to restore every part of the car to its original condition or simply replace it; suspension parts, engine, cables, electronics. Since the car was white he thought about repainting it to something more unique. When he was browsing through possible color options, it was OEM BMW Avusblau that immediately caught his attention to where he fell in love with it. He couldn't even consider any other color after that.

After the paint job he decided to upgrade some interior accessories i.e. OEM M-Tech seats, M-Tech 2 steering wheel, and check panel. He also bought a JVC car radio with Alpine sub-woofer and Pioneer speakers.

At that time coilovers were on the car with adjustable rear control arms; an E36 steering rack, Sperr diff, and rear disc brake system. About a year later Gregory was feeling that the engine was a bit weak, so he swapped an M50B25 (192hp) engine in. A half year passed and he got the idea to clean the engine bay. When he had succeeded, another idea came and he swapped the suspension to 5x120 with M3 control arms and Mercedes disc brakes with E36 calipers.

It was time for new wheels and he decided to go with 17" BBS RF's (17x8" et10) with wheel spacers but he knew that he had to do some customizing to his style. He let the front wheels the original size but the rear wheels received new 3” lips. The car at that point was almost done but he felt it still needed something more... and the air ride was the last thing that it needed to satisfy Gregory. He went with a Viair compressor, gauges, and stainless tank. And just in case a cop happened to take a look into the car, there was a custom control panel made to look like OEM BMW buttons.

After 4 years Gregory took his dream car to a whole new level that his 10 year old self would have never even imagined possible.