Recaro

Features

Rafał Sadowski's E30

Engine/Drivetrain

  • M52b28TU
  • carbon Simota Air Intake
  • Custom manifolds
  • Custom 2.5” exhaust
  • 5 speed manual
  • 25% Limited Slip Differential 3.20 ratio

Exterior

  • iS front lip
  • Mtech I trunk spoiler
  • Touring side skirts
  • US front and rear sidemarkers 
  • Side indicators deleted
  • Pop out windows
  • US backplate panel

Interior

  • Recaro speed seats
  • Rear seats reshaped
  • Whole interior retrimmed in leather
  • Nardi Deep Corn steering wheel
  • Matching Nardi gear knob
  • Original radio
  • Second radio hidden in glovebox to keep original look inside

Suspension/Braking/Wheels

  • AC Schnitzer Type I (Front: 17x9" | Rear: 17x10")
  • Hankook tires
  • ISC coilovers with custom springs
  • Rear camber kit 
  • E46 3.0 petrol brakes (Front: 325mm | Rear: 276mm)
  • Copper lines

Thanks to: First of all massive thanks to my amazing wife Monika (love you lots) and Sebastian for getting that car for me. Miker for help with suspension and brakes. Karol, Jakub and Dariusz at Swap Garage for building my car. Marcin Ukleja for helping to pick right color. Exotic, Adams, Przemyslaw, Elvis & Przemek and TeamAF for continued support.

    Features

    Piotr Gruntkowski's E36

    Photography by Damian Oleksiński

    Engine/Drivetrain

    • Simota carbon fiber air intake
    • MG Motorsport exhaust system

    Exterior

    • Desert Shadow Metallic paint from Nissan GTR R35
    • M-package front bumper with carbon canards
    • Foglight delete
    • Widened fenders for this wheel setup
    • Carbon coated wing, custom made, cut out of the lightest and the hardest available aluminum
    • Aluminum diffuser
    • Veneer designed and made by poperzy.pl
    • Original additions EZ-lip pro

    Interior

    • Recaro Pole Position red seats with FIA homologation
    • Sparco frames with FIA homologation
    • Schroth Clubman II ASM 3" silver belts purchased as new on request with FIA
    • Staff's rollbar painted white
    • Nardi Torino steering wheel

    Suspension/Wheels

    • 3-piece wheels 18x10" front / 18x11.5" rear (The only set in the world)
    • BFGoodrich 235/35 front, Federal 285/30 rear
    • TA adjustable dampening + custom springs
    • E46 330i brakes after full regeneration, blasted clamps, repainted on black mat, all pistons and gaskets replaced, new discs cut and drilled Mikoda GT, new Zimmermann pads, new liquid ATE
    • New bushings in the rear suspension, bearings with front hubs, rear bearings, steering rods and stab connectors

    Previous stages of the build (in chronological order)

    Features

    Mike Hack's E30 Touring

    Photography by Jackson Keam & Ollie Strong @hardparkedproductions

    Mike Hack's fondness for the E30 platform all started when he bought a 318is coupe. He had intentions of keeping it clean and stock since his daily/track Honda Civic was deemed "un-roadworthy" by the local police due to illegal modifications. Like most of us, the mod bug bit him shortly after the purchase was made and the coupe quickly became another less than ideal daily driver. After owning the 318is for a few years, Mike was truly engulfed in the local E30 scene. He had come into the E30 scene completely ignorant of the chassis's many variations. He had no idea which modification options were out there, which companies to trust or which local shops to go to. But over the 2 years of owning the coupe, he learned a lot. He was also unaware of the wagon variant, until after buying the coupe and this intrigued him tremendously. Since Australia never received the wagon, it made the thought of owning one there even more enticing. He knew of a handful of private imports that were getting around Australia, so he knew it was possible. And so the search began.

    Initially the search didn't get far, he couldn't find any for sale through the usual sources and money was a bit tight anyway. At the time he realistically had no chance of actually getting his hands on one, but he continued the search anyway. After a few months he stopped looking and life went on, then one day he was just casually wasting time searching for random cars on a car selling website/app. It was out of curiosity more than having any intent to purchase and boom a 325i E30 Touring popped up for sale in Sydney (10 hour drive interstate from him). It was not cheap, but it was in fantastic condition with low miles and had a manual transmission. It also had all the electric options, sunroof, windows, etc. and complete with a genuine M-Tech 2 bodykit. The icing on the cake was that it was in Alpine white, Mike's favorite color. A call was made and not long after he was on a plane to Sydney, driving the newly purchased touring as its first Australian owner, back to Melbourne.

    Not all was as rosy as it would seem though, when it came time to get the required engineer's certificate in order to register the car for Australian roads, some poor handiwork was found. In order to legalize the car for Australian roads, side intrusion bars needed to be welded into the doors. When Mike bought the car he was told by the seller that all of the work had been done and was ready to go. Turns out the (unnamed) Sydney based shop had sikaflexed the bars in (rather than welding) and the job had to be done again from scratch. This took a big chunk of time and money from his life. Once registered and driving, modifications began almost immediately. The first set of wheels had already been ordered before the car was on the road and basic bolt-on engine mods were underway. Coilovers were swapped out from his old coupe and installed into the touring. The car stayed reasonably mild for a year (lowered, wheels, bolt on engine mods) or so while he planned on upcoming changes.

    The Touring has had 4 different sets of wheels since he's owned it, starting with a set of 16" Schmidt TH lines, a brief stint on 16" Alpina wheels, a few years on a set of Compomotive TH1780, 6 months on a set of 3 piece Work Emitz and then back to the Compomotives which it is currently on. He actually repurchased the Compo’s from the guy he had originally sold them to.

    Being a Honda fan/owner for the prior 10 years, Mike was very much into the whole wire-tucked engine bay look and wanted to attempt something similar on the E30. He looked around online and apparently wire-tucking E30's wasn't too common, which would help set the car apart just that little bit more. What he assumed would take 3 weeks or so, turned into a 3 month, 400+ solder nightmare job. Although in saying that, once completed, the car fired up first try with zero issues and has been without issues for the last few years.

    A little more power was then desired as well as something special under the hood. Rather than taking the much more common and arguably much better money/power ratio option of an engine swap or going with a turbo upgrade, Mike decided to take the road less traveled by going with an ITB setup. Call it a hangover from his old ITB B20VTEC powered Civic race car. He hungered once again for that undeniable ITB scream. He knew that the cost/power ratio was not ideal, but since the car would be 95% street/show car, real power numbers were not a big concern. Luckily for him, there was an upcoming Australian company that was developing an ITB kit for the BMW M20 engine and he managed to get a hold of a kit before they officially hit the market. The only problem with getting it in so early is that the kit wasn’t 100% and some custom fabrication was needed to make them work. The car was dropped off to a shop for the ITB install/head rebuild/ECU install, etc. and this is when things started to take a very slow turn. Without having a real deadline or agreed finishing date, the car ended up sitting in the shop for well over a year (16 months to be exact). Multiple calls and surprise visits were necessary to put some pressure on to get the job finished. But good things come to those that wait and the result was a whole lot of fun and plenty of noise.

    Unfortunately the car didn’t last long after the original install/tune and drivability went down fast, to the point of the car being completely undrivable. It stopped idling, it was running extremely rich and pumping out excessive smoke on every drive. In the end he believes it was a combination of poor ECU choice, lack of complimentary sensors/modifications and a poor tune. Regardless of what was at fault the car needed some serious attention in order to get it back on the road and running the right way. So he made the call to MSC Performance, a trusted and known tuner that he had used a lot during his Honda racing days. He didn’t have a lot of experience in BMW’s specifically, but he was a master on the dyno and was happy to take on the job. Again it wasn’t cheap as they decided to remove the original Microtech ECU and ‘upgrade’ to a ‘top of the line’ Haltech Elite 2500 unit. They also added a Wideband controller and cam sensor in order to get the whole setup working right. A month or so passed and he received the car back in perfect working form. Drivability was as good as a standard car, no idling issues anymore, no excessive smoke. The car was a dream to drive and sounded amazing. Still no powerhouse, but fast enough for plenty of fun. After driving the car in this form for about 6 months, he was keen for more. Like most car modifiers, the car is never finished and no matter what you do, there's always something else that needs to be done. He likes putting in the wrench time in the garage just as much as he likes driving the finished product.

    Mike was always intrigued about bags, it was one of those mods he would see as a kid and get excited about, and as an adult that excitement never changed. He never thought he would ever actually go down that path though. But then a few things changed and his financial position changed (after no longer needing a car trailer). This combined with the constant risk of driving an "illegally" lowered car around the streets of Melbourne triggered him to give in and go down the bag route. Air bags allowed him to drive the car at a reasonable height to avoid police attention on the roads and then slam it to the ground for the next car event. (Police in Australia are extremely intolerant of modified cars driving on the road, the penalties are harsh and expensive.) So he ordered all the parts needed and began to research how to go about installing the whole thing. He's DIY’d the majority of things with cars in the last ten years, but over that time he had had zero experience working with anything to do with air ride. After a week or so in the garage the install was complete and the car was back on the road driving well once again. 

    Not long after installing the bags, Mike and his partner purchased their first home due to having their first baby on the way and as you can imagine modifying cars has slowed to almost a complete halt. So at this stage and for the foreseeable future, the Touring will remain in its current form with the short term goal of just maintaining it and keeping it on the road. He has future plans to pull the motor and get the engine bay smoothed and re-painted. But that is something that will happen in the very far future, in the meantime, he is happy to just drive it as it is and attend as many events and cruises as he can.

    Features

    Nick Tabeta's E10 2002

    Photography by Faraz Mughal @faraz_mughal

    I first met Nick through e46fanatics.com when we both owned E46 sedans. This was around the time the stance "movement" was beginning to hit the BMW scene. The E46 was Nick's first BMW, although he has always been into cars, having owned an old school mini and a few Hondas. He decided that he would try out a European car. Through owning the E46, he made a lot of new friends, most who loved bimmers as well. After 3 years he decided to move on to something new. Since he fell in love with the style and comfort of BMW, he knew it had to be another.  3 days after he parted with his E46 he purchased an E90. Knowing beforehand that he didn't want to change the exterior parts on such a new car he made sure to get the M-Sport package. Being that it was the newest, most modern car he had owned to date, he felt that it deserved quality parts so it was done once and correctly. He did some subtle mods including wheels, coilovers, front lip and exhaust.  It was around this time that his friend picked up an E30 and they decided to twin, so Nick picked up an E30 as well. He freshened up the car with new suspension, Recaro interior, genuine BBS wheels, and a respray. His cars have always been well put together and his 2002 is no different.

    Nick remembers seeing a photo of a 2002 when he was younger and never thought too much of it then. It wasn't until social media kicked into high gear that he started noticing them more. The little Bavarian coupe with timeless style that you can't help but love. I think it's safe to say that we all gain a greater appreciation for the older models as we get older ourselves. Nick never thought he'd actually get to own a 2002 due to their rarity in Australia. Crazy enough, a couple years ago a lady moved into a house down the road from him and actually owned one. Each day that he passed by he would take a second to stare at it. One morning he decided it was time to begin his search for his own. He looked on an online used car sales site and found this 1971 2002. He made a call to inspect it after school and that night he became the proud new owner.

    After purchasing the car he started with maintenance work. It was running and road registered, but it wasn't up to his standards. He began with upgrading the carburetor to a Weber 32/36, re-did the clutch system, new brake lines, and other general service. Another downfall of the car was the paint job. So Nick did a bare metal respray in his own backyard. It took a total of three months since he was stripped the paint, prepped, and painted whenever he had free time from school work.

    He then began working on the suspension. Initially he wanted to get coilovers, but couldn't find a set that were a direct fit. So then he thought that if he had to do a custom coilover setup, he might as well go with an air suspension setup instead.  He took some measurements and researched possible suspension candidates. Nick ended up installing a D2 Airbag suspension with upgraded Airlift shocks in a way that he can revert it back to stock easily. No cutting or modifications were needed to install it, which was one of his main requirements. This is his favorite mod to the car because it's practical and somewhat different. He loves the ability to drive low and park lower. It's also entertaining to see the look of people that walk past it and have a confused expression as to how it even moves. 

    Nick then moved on to the wheels. He built a set of 15x7.5/8.5" BBS RS so that when the car aired out, it would sit guard on lip all around. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you've ever dealt with fitting wheels or tires (meaty or stretched) you can probably imagine the time and work that it took to get this right where he wanted.

    Another area that he wanted to improve was the car's old and outdated interior. He replaced all of the carpet, installed Recaro front seats and a classic wooden Nardi steering wheel. A custom center console was made to hold a modern headunit, gauges, and air suspension controls. Nick also added rear venetian blinds to top it off. All of the window and door seals were replaced with new OEM parts as well.

    The final piece was a custom front airdam which Nick says transformed the car, and I have to agree. It is a perfectly subtle yet aggressive addition to the front end that demands your eye's attention.

    Future plans for the E10 would possibly be an M42 engine swap from an E30 318is. Nick's putting that off for now since it's more difficult on right hand drive cars due to clearance issues with the steering box and sway bar.

    Either way it's already perfect in our book. We're glad to add Nick's 2002 to our ongoing collection of elite BMW's. It reminds us to not cut corners or take shortcuts for instant gratification. Whether it takes one year or ten to "build" your car, be patient and do it right.

    Features

    Yani Avrahami's E30 M3

    Photography by Dan Wagener

    The idea to create a successor to the BMW M1 based on the new 3 series was born in the summer of 1981. Unlike the M1 however, the M3 was to be mass produced on the assembly line. Due to Group A homologation requirements, BMW had to produce 5,000 road cars in order to compete. Form followed function through the concept with it being built specifically for road racing purposes. Although it was based on the standard 3-series the exterior of the M3 was equipped with 12 different body panels to improve aerodynamics and accommodate a wider track. The power-plant was a high-revving four-cylinder engine known as the S14. It combined the block from the M10 with a four-valve head derived from the one used on the six-cylinder M88 and S38 motors. From 1987 to 1992 the M3 dominated the touring car racing scene and had great success with the street version as well.  

    Let's fast forward to 2004, the year when Yani purchased his 1988 Alpinweiss M3 (06/87). It was when their prices were right around their all time low. Back then, it had the S14 engine and was completely stock. Yani had gone through his first BMW CCA drivers school in that trim and had an absolute blast with it. By his next school, he had sent the car to VAC Motorsports in Philadelphia, PA to have them install a pair of Recaro Profi SPG racing seats, the rear roll hoop, cams and perform a tune. 

    He had driven the car with the 2.3L for about 125-150,000 miles. It was daily driven for about 4 years until he had picked up a second car. Eventually one of the pistons on his 2.3L had cracked so a rebuild was in order. He had VAC bore out his 2.3L to a 2.5L block, with CP pistons, arrow rods, VAC titanium valves (1mm over size) and titanium springs, 292/284 cams, Stage 3 head, carbon fiber DTM intake manifold, 2pc rally header, and an oversized oil pan. 

    After running 50,000 miles, there was a failure at a wrist pin bushing. He was at Summit Point rounding turn 10 at the main circuit, pulling 120mph in 4th gear at 8000rpm… just as he was about to shift to 5th gear and it was done. Just before that happened he had turned to his buddy Dan who was in the passenger seat, “Man I love this car.” and gave the dash the "double tap" and it was all over. Off to VAC again.

    After a lot of serious thought and some encouragement from another co-instructor Yani decided to go with an S54 engine this time. The S54 is normally found in the E46 M3 and is one of the highest horsepower per liter engines ever made. The 3.2L six-cylinder is good for 333hp with a powerband that seems infinite. Yani also added a 6 speed manual transmission, 3.64 OS Giken differential, 288/280 Shrick cams, CP Pistons, and VAC's Rods with a Vipec V88 ECU with Vanos Control and Drive-by-Wire Throttle. The additional engine modifications are now putting it at 350+hp. 

    With great power comes a need for great stopping ability, so the brakes were also upgraded to Brembo Gran Turismos. Due to old age and blown shocks the Ground Control coilovers were retired for a new JRZ suspension kit. 

    The 17" BBS LM wheels were specifically made for the E30 M3 by VAC and are wrapped with Toyo's Proxes RA1 (R-Comp) tires. It's their Racetrack & Autocross tire developed for drivers looking for street-legal circuit tires. This allows Yani to drive to the track, rip all weekend and drive home.

    His car has also earned itself a very suiting name, the "White Elephant". Yani's mom was actually the one who had given it the name. She would always call it that because right after Yani bought his car he was constantly fixing and modifying it. According to folklore, the White Elephant symbolizes a rare or valuable possession with the upkeep being very expensive. It is also regarded as a sacred animal in some parts of Southeast Asia even til today, a bit like the E30 M3's reputation among the BMW community.

    Yani is the care taker of a true road-racing legend, he has stuck with it through the good times and the bad. He has nourished it and loved it. Most importantly though, he has driven it. Taken it to the track, doing exactly what the E30 M3 was born to do… perform. For that we have much respect for Yani and his passion for the White Elephant.