Features

Landon Gastelum's E30

Photography by Denis Podmarkov @_dpod_
& Igor Polishchuk @catuned_igor

Traditions often tell a story about a family. They teach the children where they've come from and give them an understanding to their culture. There's a special bond created in the teaching of ideas and beliefs from one generation to the next. The Gastelums now have three generations of BMW enthusiasts in the family. The lastest link in the chain is Landon and his E30 325is, but first we're going to dive into where it all started.

When Landon's grandfather was stationed in Germany, it was the first time he had the chance to really experience German engineering. The cars were stylish, fun and ahead of their time. Needless to say he was hooked. He owned an E21 320i Alpina turbo and an E12 535i when Landon's father, Dan was a young kid. Dan was also hooked on BMW's from then on. He owned an E46 M3 and an E39 540i M-Sport when he got older.

Dan would always encourage Landon and his brothers to get outside when they were kids. Besides the usual type of playing they would occasionally help him wash the cars, so they were introduced to bimmers at a young age as well. Landon and his dad first got into E30's when they were out driving. As they passed by one Dan said, "Hey check out this old BMW that I saw near work. I think it would be cool to hook one of those up." As Landon began to check out the car he immediately was hooked. He began asking "How much? What year is it?" and wanted to find out as much as he could about it. 

From there he took his search to the Internet. It took him a couple of weeks, but he finally stumbled upon a black 325is with BBS RS wheels with M3 seats. Landon called the owner up because it just so happened that he was in San Diego with some family – which is where the car was located. After some persistent bothering, his father and grandfather went to check it out for the usual (rust, paint, interior etc.) Landon's dad called back and asked if he was sure because it was pretty rough. Of course he said yes because he was a 17 year old kid who was overly excited and based his decision off of the pictures. They ended up getting the car and when Landon finally saw it for himself he realized how much work it really needed. It had 250k miles leaking from head to toe, ripped up interior, and paint in terrible condition. From the beginning his dad made it clear to him that it would be a project for the both of them. Whatever the cost they'd split it, and they had a deal. 

Ironically Landon's brother was checking out another E30 (he didn't end up buying) but the guy said to him "If you ever need any body work done I would recommend the guys over at CAtuned". They took his advice and are now good friends with owner, Igor Polishchuk. From then on they started the restoration with porting and polishing the heads of the M20 motor. To bring the handling and ride back to life they installed a complete CAtuned suspension.

After about a year of driving the car and saving up their pennies they decided to restore the exterior and interior. They painted the car Space Grey Metallic off of the newer BMW models and having their good friends at Acme Tops and Tunes redo the interior. They wrapped the seats in black crinkled leather with a full thick double white stitching. They also did the custom trunk work where they included a full JL Audio sound system, carpet, headliner and various other things.

They decided to have Ehrlich Wheel Works build them a set of the forever timeless BBS RS. The 8.5" wide fronts with 3" lips and 9.5" wide rears with 3.5" lips set the stance off perfectly. The faces of the wheels were refinished in half white and half polished.

After a long time of loving CAtuned's "Miss Blue" E30 and seeing how bags looked on E30's, they bagged the car. They're now running a full Air Lift performance bag kit with struts and the Autopilot V2 air management. So that brings us up to date to where he and his father are finally proud to take the car to shows. They were recently accepted into SEMA 2016 this year and are ecstatic about that accomplishment.

They've already changed the wheel color since this photo shoot, but other future plans may include forced induction. Regardless of where the car ends up, it was the "building" process that was important. It was something that brought them closer than most other activities could. A father and son were able to share something special and partake in the family tradition together, and that's pretty awesome because not everyone gets that opportunity.