S54

Features

Jarrett Brock's E30 S54 325i

Photography by Richard Mason Hughes @euro_rmh

1990 BMW E30 325i 

140k on chassis, 80k on motor, No rust

Exterior

  • New OEM BMW Delphine Grey Metallic paint
  • Shaved trunk
  • OEM Euro smoothen bumperettes
  • OEM Euro trim front and rear
  • OEM Euro grills
  • Hella Euro lights
  • OEM Smoked front turning signals
  • OEM 318is under hood panel
  • OEM 318is front lip
  • OEM Smoked fog lights
  • New OEM BMW Badges f&r
  • Original OEM Glass all around
  • Driftkingz full aluminum front splitter, black

Wheels

  • BBS RS – Front: 17x9.5" et39 Rear: 17x10.5" et39
    Matte black faces, matte black waffles, gloss black lips, gloss black inner barrels, gold ARP hardware, gold BBS hexes, red/gold BBS centercaps

Suspension

  • Full OEM E36 front 5 lug swap
  • Full OEM 318ti rear 5 lug swap
  • Original Hartge front strut tower bar, full polish
  • Garagistic rear strut tower bar, black
  • Custom Airlift performance struts
  • Air Lift 3p Management
  • Dual Viair 444c Compressors
  • 2 gallon air tank, brushed raw

Interior

  • Full OEM BMW Caramel Leather front and rear seats
  • OEM BMW E9X floor matts
  • New OEM ashtray
  • New OEM switches throughout the dash
  • Hartge Shift Knob, wood grain
  • M-Tech leather Steering Wheel
  • Data Logger
  • Custom Gauge Cluster
  • Black Alcantara rear deck and panel
  • Black OEM handles
  • Black Carpet
  • New OEM Switches throughout
  • New OEM seatbelts
  • Suede gearbox boot

Engine/Drivetrain

  • Full S54 BMW motor swap (2005 e46 m3 motor)
  • Full 6 speed transmission swap 
  • OEM e46 BMW m3 clutch, flywheel, etc.
  • Motor resealed 
  • VANOS rebuilt
  • New OEM rod bearings
  • New OEM Cylinder Head Bolts
  • New OEM Rod Bolts
  • New OEM Rear Main seal
  • New OEM Front Main seal
  • Custom Engine Wiring Harness
  • Stand Alone ECU
  • Custom Powersteering cooler 
  • Tuned by Rk tunes 320rwhp
  • 3 1/2 custom exhaust 
  • Dyno max muffler and electric cutout
  • New Cylinder Head Bolt Set
  • AKG 24V Swap Mounts
  • E34 oil pan
  • New Oil Pump
  • CSF Radiator
  • SPAL Electric Fan
  • Custom Oil Cooler
  • Custom Intake with K&N Filter
  • OEM LSD
  • Custom Driveshaft
  • Reinforced front subframe
  • Reinforced rear subframe
  • 944 Porsche OEM brake booster
  • Full OEM e36 front brake setup
  • Battery relocated to trunk

Follow Jarrett on instagram: @feeels30

Features

Jim Herrold's S54 E46 Touring

Photography by Dan Wagener @dan_wagener

I met Jim through a mutual friend and as soon as we talked I knew instantly that we'd get along. He's a die-hard BMW enthusiast and has an impressive collection of cars, most of which are bimmers. His company Kassel Performance (@kasselperformance) specializes in BMW DME ECU modifications. Jim tuned my E46 M3 and is my first go-to for all engine-related questions. My car was having a strange idle issue off and on all through 2017 with much confusion and frustration I asked Jim to take a thorough look at it.

Since we live about 45 minutes away from each other he let me borrow his wagon to make the vehicle drop-off more convenient. It's an Orientblau pre-facelift 323i touring with a little surprise under the hood. An S54 motor from the E46 M3 now powers this unsuspicious grocery getter. It also has the M3 6-speed manual transmission and diff to make it a proper swap. The work was done with the help of Bimmer Buddies.

A Rogue Engineering rasp pipe and an E36 Active Autowerke Gen3 muffler was modified to fit. Although it's a little on the quiet side, the exhaust note sounds great and has almost zero rasp that the S54 is notoriously known for.

Eibach springs and Bilstein shocks provide a nice drop that improves aesthetics while keeping it practical enough for daily duties. Out of Jim's car collection the wagon is used more as a "truck" for hauling larger items.

The exterior received OEM-plus upgrades like M-tech II "ZHP" front/rear bumpers and side skirts. Jim also changed the indicator lights to euro clears including the third brake light. The latest exterior mod that completed the look was a set of BMW Style 135 wheels from the E46 330i ZHP.

The car was a blast to drive around when I borrowed it. The handling was nice and the power delivery was spot on for an S54. The one thing that I really liked that my car doesn't have (yet!) was the Rogue OCTANE short shifter. Shifts felt more solid, precise, and smoother over the factory shifter.

I think everyone can agree that we all wished BMW would've made a real production E46 M3 touring... or at least a sedan. Oh well, at least there's people out there like Jim making them anyway.

Features

Jan Magnus' S54 E30

Photography by Ole Kristian Stensrud @snapshine

1988 BMW 320i

Engine/Drivetrain

  • S54B32 with custom Arc Asylum exhaust manifold and Kohler catback exhaust
  • E46 M3 6-speed transmission
  • Z3m diff cover
  • upgraded oil cooler
  • 2x 10¨mishimoto electric radiatorfans
  • ESS Alpha-N tune
  • VAC style carbon airbox
  • Mishimoto alu radiator

Exterior

  • Full Mtech 2
  • Hella headlights
  • MHW taillights
  • BMW Sophistogrey exterior color

Interior

  • Mtech 2 steering wheel
  • Front/rear seats, and door cards reupholstered

Suspension/Wheels

  • KW coilovers Variant 3
  • Adjustable camber plates
  • 17¨BBS RS with turbofans (Front: 8.5”/ Rear: 10”)

Features

Garrett Goldfinger's S54 E36 compact

Photography by Matt Petrie

As we get older we begin to realize that not everything is what it seems, but perhaps more importantly is that things don’t always work out as planned.  While these sound like adages your guidance counselor would tell you in sincere consolation accompanied with a pat on the back, it really pertains to the life led by this little 4 cylinder E36 compact.  Beginning as a rather insipid commuter car turned parts hauler, even Garrett didn't expect to find himself building a 300+ wheel horsepower monster on this chassis. 

The E36 compact is probably best known for its “Kardashian-less” rear end.  When asking someone what an E36 ti is they usually can’t visualize it until you explain that distinctive characteristic.  As soon as it is revealed, however, they know exactly what quirky BMW you’re talking about.  The ti may not have a big booty to be proud of, but that doesn't mean she isn't dignified in her own right.  She proudly sports the shortened wheel base and body due to its design homage of the Neue Klasse compact sedans that saved the brand in the early 60’s.  While that factor may not be enough for those in the states to fall in love with the styling of a compact, its whopping 138 horsepower made for a practical German commuter car in the late 90’s.

Garrett is no stranger to the E36 community; he has parted out dozens of M3’s and Z3 M’s.  If you had an E36 M3 just outside of the New York City region and you needed to find a specific part, Garrett was the man you came to see.  In need of a car that was fuel efficient and had storage space, this 3-door hatch met all of the criteria. This paired with the knowledge he had of the E36 platform made it a simple decision, the California rag top sunroof was just a plus. 

He replaced the stock interior with an M3 steering wheel, black vaders, and gutted out the entire rear of the car for transporting parts such as axles, doors, drive shafts, you name it.  If it was the original equipment of an E36, it was moved in the back of this car. 

As an engineer and a lover of speed, Garrett was interested in building his own project car, but he wanted to go a different route than most.  It was one of those moments of epiphany you see in the movies when the character is trying to come up with a plan, looks around the room and then eureka!  There it is right in front of him: his modest 1997 318ti.  Tearing down and parting out all of those E36’s, Garrett was well aware of the saturation of M3’s.  The unsuspecting size and nature of this car was perfect and the weight savings was already there.  Now it was time to explore just how far he wanted to push himself and his car. 

It is nearly impossible to find a compact in great condition.   These cars are often beat up and used solely in a utilitarian manner; exactly why it makes for such a great sleeper.   He celebrated the one year anniversary of ownership of the car like anyone else would - by pulling the motor in preparation for the new one.   He drove 500 miles north to pick up an S54 engine and 6 speed transmission from an E46 M3 and then drove 500 miles back on his own all in one day.

The engine swap was also done solely on his own, nearly every day after work and on the weekends from February until July.   I don’t have to tell you residents of the North East just how cold it gets in those dark months leading up to Spring, but there he was on his back giving the ti a new life.  Aside from the motor he also installed a Z3 M Roadster rear subframe along with an upgraded 4.10 differential.  For the front, he installed an E36 M3 subframe with PSS9 suspension and finished off the interior with a Z3 M Roadster instrument cluster.  Thanks to their E36 interchangeability, it made for a quick, two minute drop-in.

He lowered the car aggressively on square 17x9 BBS RC305’s with 245/40 Potenza tires. The fronts needed a 12mm spacer to clear the struts and the Brembo 4 pot calipers he installed from a 996 Porsche.

Focusing on the fundamentals of power to weight, the Alpha N tuned S54 motor puts down 325 horsepower to the rear wheels while the car weighs in at only 2700lbs.  Helping to make that horsepower, Garrett cut open the stock air box exposing the factory trumpets hidden inside, allowing it to breath and perform better, but in actuality he’s just addicted to the sound it makes; in all honesty, I can’t say I blame him.  While we are on the topic of performance and sound, on the other end of the engine he opted for E46 euro headers in conjunction with a Bimmerworld merge pipe, 3” Active Autowerke race resonator and an Active Autowerke E36 M3 muffler to make his unique setup just a little more of his own. 

As you are thrown into the back of your seat with a smile plastered across your face,  the gutted visceral shell of an interior reverberates with S54 exhaust notes unlike any I've ever heard.  The differential out back takes on its own character and makes for one hell of an experience.  If you’re not lucky enough to be riding shotgun in this car, you’re most likely trailing behind it.  Worry not, the reality of you losing to a 318ti will quickly be forgotten as you’ll get to enjoy a show while it spits blue flames through each gear.  His dedication to the execution is what is truly extraordinary about this build, to see more about it in detail check out his build thread: http://www.forums.ultimateklasse.com/showthread.php?33-Ragnorak-s-8000-RPM-318ti-Build-Thread-(E36-S54-Content)