Out with the new and in with the old, usually you go the other way around. Not this time. After owning an MX5 Mk2.5 for a year I fancied something raw, something less common. The plan for which car that would be began. Those who know me are aware that I change my mind like Manchester’s rain forecast. However when this BMW E30 came up I couldn’t resist taking a trip down to Bristol for a Ponder. Thus, The Bavarian Project was born.
The three hour drive back to 0161 gave me time to get familiar with the car. The manual steering is definitely a downside when it comes to parking, however on the twisties coupled with a fully poly-bushed underside makes for a well felt ride. The rack lacks elsewhere also being rather slow, in the future I’m hoping to pick up a rack from a Z3 for a much quicker turn in.
The interior is typical 80’s but very tidy. The previous owner restored a fair chunk of interior to it’s former glory, most notable being the full seat set and the dashboard (I’ve got the old dash and it’s cracked in every place possible). I will be doing an interior overhaul at some point in my ownership. When funds allow of course, auto upholstery can get costly fast.
I love the boxy shape. The ride height is extremely questionable however. On lowering springs all around (barely noticeable), I’m definitely not making anyone proud. Airlift Performance should see me right in that department.
The rear is sporting some tasty aero, not like the car needs it. The M20B20 engine only puts out a measly 124 bhp, she’s not going anywhere quick. The exhaust lets it sing nicely though, straight piped from the down pipe to a single exit Miltek back box. It doesn’t sound like a bag of angry bees like the Mazda did, always a plus.
The front end has to be my favourite part of the whole car. The lights are covered in some fly eye wrapping, terrible I know it’s on my list though and I will get around to removing it. I wont even mention the ‘M’ badges, they’ll be leaving the car swiftly. The lip brings in some aggressive DTM vibes, that’s staying for sure.
First things first; the engine needs some attention. Old Bimmers love getting hot when running stationary, an ally rad and up rated fan have been purchased to help aid this. I don’t need the engine to last me forever as it will be getting swapped out for something tasty at some point. The car is going to stay as it is for a while as I collect parts, then the real fun can begin.
With big thanks to my friends Adam from RETROshine and Dan, to help me secure the Bavarian classic. Arriving back in Manchester around 22:30 a swift order of celebratory dominos was necessary. The next day we had it up on the lift for a thorough check of the underside, all is good. A quick brake bleed was needed as it was feeling rather spongy. I’ve nothing to compare to anyway. Also thanks to the man himself Laurie Southern for working his magic behind the camera for this introductory shoot.