Tag Archives: 325i

Less is More – Carlos Gomez’ 1997 BMW E36 323i

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

The E36 3-series market has recently shifted, with resale values shooting upwards (a great thing for owners, but disheartening if you’re still looking to buy one). They’re now becoming more difficult to find, with no “middle ground” cars available. You’ll either encounter the battered drift-spec examples which are far from perfect or the near-mint cars which will be selling for strong money. Hell, I remember when you could pick up a 328i Sport for less than £1500, and that was only a couple of years ago. It seems to be impossible to find a decent one at that money now! These days, it’s all about finding a good shell and building from there. Can’t find a genuine Sport? No problem.. all it takes is bumpers and an interior. Want a 328i lump? The M50 engine can be uprated relatively easily. Stuck with a 318i? Hell, you can still swap the engine cheaply enough. Anyway, finding an E36 that remains OEM+, with the correct stance of course, is a rare thing. Bring on Carlos Gomez’ coupe, the perfect example of how less is definitely more. An original Alpine White car, his E36 is finished with a set of gold-faced BBS… A match made in heaven. Still, Carlos has had to put in a lot of hard work to get the car looking as good as it does today, which is easier said than done when it’s also his daily driver.

 

 

Carlos’ affection for BMWs came to fruition back in 2007, thanks to his friend Dave who owned a couple of E30’s and an E36. Although the E30’s would usually be in the spotlight, it was the E36 that completely mesmerized him, even if it was in a complete state. From then on, Carlos knew that he had to own one. But it didn’t start with BMWs… At 28, he’s owned a few interesting cars over the years since his first car (a Renault Clio 1.9 diesel), including a Mk3 Capri 2.8 Injection, which he recalls as being a “deathtrap”. He then moved up to his first BMW, a stock E36, which of course only stayed that way for a week or so before catching the modifying bug – lowering it, installing a new exhaust and rebuilding the engine. Some time later, he was in the position to upgrade to something a bit more powerful, an E46 M3, but amazingly Carlos left this one stock as he felt the car was “perfect” as it was.

 

 

After owning the M3 for a while, unfortunately, the time came for something that was cheaper to run, so Carlos found himself in a B5 VW Passat – a bit of a downgrade from M-Power! However, this was swiftly handed over to his other half, as he had to get himself back into a BMW as soon as possible. Next on the list was an E46 330ci Clubsport which he owned for just 6 months, as he felt it was nowhere near as good as the M3 was. Eventually, he found someone to swap it with a convertible E36, which in his opinion is more of a drivers car. This was where he took his modifications to the next level and really got stuck in – before the car we’re featuring today of course.

 

 

Carlos originally found out about this E36 as it was owned by a guy named Mike, who he’d actually met years ago through BMX (another of Carlos’ passions). He arranged to go and have a look. It was an Alpine White 323i, and the first time he’d seen a white one in person… It was love at first sight. It didn’t seem to bother him that the car was actually in a right state. Firstly it was an automatic, had tired bodywork, different coloured panels, the incorrect facelift wings and the bonnet wasn’t aligned correctly. Some time passed, and Mike eventually got the car running and basically kick started the project, swapping it to a manual gearbox, adding a welded diff, lightened flywheel with 328i injectors and exhaust system. He also fitted some coilovers and installed an LTW wing along with front and rear Sport bumpers. It then made an appearance at a local Southampton meet, which is where Carlos eventually saw it on the road. Even though he was in his convertible at the time, he still wanted the white coupe more than ever.

 

 

In December 2015, Carlos’ convertible was devastatingly written off, but perhaps for the better, as Mike knew how badly he wanted the coupe and finally caved in, selling it to Carlos. Although the car had no history whatsoever and was still pretty rough around the edges, he knew it was worth building on what Mike had started. All he had to do was tidy it up, but you know how these things often get out of hand…

 

 

The first port of call was to remove the “stupid welded diff” as Carlos called it. This was certainly not going to be a drift car – it was Carlos’ only car so it would need to be driven to and from work every day in whatever sort of comfort available. He firstly went for the cheaper option of a medium case diff… but cheaper is not always the best as he consequently discovered, snapping three diff bolts in just a month. Another £90 later it was poly-bushed and worry-free.

 

 

With Mike having done most of the engine upgrades, it was already pushing a bit more power than a normal 323i (Carlos still has an M50 manifold to fit to it also). However, he couldn’t put up with the stock exhaust for long, so a custom 3″ shotgun was fabricated, which didn’t last long either due to it making the car far too antisocial. The perfect Scorpion exhaust system then finally came up online, so he made a trip to Essex to pick it up. At last, Carlos was happy with the sound and so were his neighbours!

 

 

He then turned his attention to tidying up the bodywork, firstly by fitting another set of pre-facelift front wings and even replacing the rear arches (which were then rolled, too). Along with the LTW rear wing and Sport side skirts, Carlos ended up having a lot of the car resprayed including both front doors, as the car was “more like fifty shades of Alpine White” at the time, he laughs. He’s also fitted a front BMW number plate delete plate and fog blanks, as one of the original fogs was destroyed in an encounter with a deer.

 

 

“The interior was easy” Carlos explains… “BMW know what’s up”. Another reason he fell in love with the car is due to the fact that it had a super-clean set of M3 Vaders already fitted. He did have to spend some time sorting out the speaker, clock and horn wiring, and secure the notorious E36 interior panels, though. He also found some leather door cards and a new roof lining and pillars locally, to complete the M3 Evo-inspired interior. Carlos has also installed a wooden Nardi steering wheel and gear knob which works as a nice contrast to the Alpine White paintwork, and hints that the car is just that little bit different to a regular E36.

 

 

Carlos still had a set of wheels from his previous convertible E36, a set of BBS RTs. These are an OEM 2-piece BMW wheel option, although they have been taken a step further by splitting and rebuilding them using RC090 (BMW Style 5) barrels, which are much wider than the original RT ones. “That changed the look of them completely in my opinion” he explains. The RT faces were powder-coated in ‘Arizona Sun’ (a BMW colour) and the barrels fully polished, resulting in the perfect combination for any white car. Finally, they’ve been wrapped in 195/40 tyres up front and 205/40 on the rears, allowing for that much needed extra clearance when driving low.

 

 

“Having a decent suspension setup is the key to running the car this low, and taking my time setting it up has been crucial” Carlos explains. That said, both of his chassis rails are split and have large flat edges, but this is the downside to running a static low car every day, and thanks to the notorious Southampton roads. “I’ve spent a lot of time adjusting heights, dampening, playing with different tyre sizes and adjusting the camber all round” he continues. The car sits on HSD Dual Tech coilovers, with uprated 6″ 18k front and 4″ 22k rear springs, as the original 8/9k setup was far too soft. Overall, and after constant trial and error, it took him about six months to get the car sitting how he wanted, as you see it today.

 

 

With so many people turning to air ride these days, Carlos has mixed feelings about driving his car this low on coilovers. “Looks, excitement, stress… I actually enjoy the challenge of getting from A to B (when things go to plan), and the fact that I have a valid excuse when it comes down to giving people lifts!” he laughs. “To me being static makes driving that little more exciting”, although he admits it can be a headache too, and he’s become rather fed up of doing damage to his arches and chassis rails. Could air be on the cards soon?

 

 

Other than the wheels and coilovers, the car is relatively standard, which is the best way to keep an E36 in my opinion, unless you’re going balls-out low (like Alex Wright’s E36 we featured last year). Carlos’ coupe works for him as a slammed daily driver… it’s a thing of beauty, perfected with a Bolts Bolts USDM sidelight kit, and most recently a Fancy Wide rear diffuser to make the rear end more aggressive. Along with the LTW rear wing, the car has an appropriate number of subtle mods, without taking it too far and looking silly. Nobody likes a try-hard, right?

 

 

Thanks to his E36, the car community has started to play a much bigger part in Carlos’ life than he had ever imagined it would. “I feel lucky to have met so many genuine people in these last couple of years. The car community has made me feel at home.” Originally, and still very much, a BMX guy, Carlos started to find the BMX scene that he once loved, become dull over recent years. “The car scene took me in. I don’t know if that’s down to luck or if that’s the way it has been but I’m grateful either way.” Working as a stevedore at Southampton docks, with 50-70 hour weeks, days and nights and with a family at home, Carlos doesn’t get much time to do what he loves, but when the gets any free time, he still tries to get out on his BMX or work on the car with his friends. “My car wouldn’t be where it’s at without the help of my friends. Thanks boys!” I’m looking forward to seeing where he takes the car next, but it’s always refreshing to see such a clean example being driven daily. Keep it up, Carlos!

 

More info:

@carlos_g88 on Instagram

 

 

Westside Treffen 2016

Date: 25 September 2016

Location: Chalfont St. Peter Cricket Club, Gerrards Cross

 

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

Westside Treffen is the hidden gem of modified car shows in the UK. It really does surprise me how many people don’t know of its existence when I mention it. From people that have been, including all the regulars, you’ll constantly hear “Come to Westside. It’s THE most chilled out show.” Well, they ain’t lying! The quality of cars on display is usually top notch too, and that’s partly what makes this show awesome. It could also have something to do with the time of year, being the last outdoor event on the calendar, a lot of people are about to tuck their show cars away for winter. Westside is one final stage for your pride and joy to make a spectacle before the new show season (Unless you’re attending Ultimate Stance this weekend, of course – but the crowd there is slightly different). The ideology for Westside is pretty simple really. Book out a cricket club on the outskirts of West London, bring your friends and their cars (of which 80% happen to be concourse condition classic Volkswagens), get the family to help out with some incredible home-cooked food, 80s/90s music and you’re onto a winner. It’s no surprise that the show has grown year on year but still remains a small, relaxed event.

 

Julian Loose’s widebody Audi B5 RS4 on Air Lift / AccuAir suspension & RAD48 RSI’s

@julesloose

 

 

Shaun Grazette’s BMW E92 on Air Lift suspension & Blitz Technospeed Z1’s

@sasag01

 

Liam Chapman’s BMW E46 on BC Racing coilovers & Rotiform BLQ’s

@liam_e46_

 

Sandeep Gill’s BMW E30 325i cabriolet on Air Lift suspension & Schmidt TH-Line’s

@sgill78

 

 

Adam Farrington’s Seat Leon

 

Carl Shakespeare’s supercharged Mk3 Golf VR6 on OZ Ultraleggera’s

@shakey_studioincar

 

 

Ben Anson’s BMW E21 on Air Lift suspension & BBS RS

@bm_bean

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sumil Pancholi’s BMW E39 on Air Lift suspension & Hartge splits

@p5uml

 

 

Will Smith’s Audi D2 A8 on Air Lift suspension & Rotiform CCV DDT’s

@renegadewill

 

Mark Allen’s VW Mk4 Golf estate on Air Lift suspension & Eta Beta’s

@markvw89

 

Gursh Chohan’s BMW E30 cabriolet on Air Lift suspension & BBS RS

@gursh_cc

 

Scott Paterson’s BMW E36 Touring on BC Racing coilovers & Throwing Stars

@scottpatersonphoto

 

Sam Ratcliffe’s BMW E46 M3 on APEX ARC-8’s

@samratcliffe_

 

HTS Motorsport’s M52-swapped BMW E30 Touring on Air Lift suspension & Schmidt TH-Line’s

@htsmotorsport

 

Josh Mussell’s static Nissan 350Z on WORK Meister S1′s

@likehelldesign

 

 

Jamie Hitchcock’s static BMW Z4 on WORK Meister S1’s

@bigj_223

 

Kay Singh’s BMW E30 M42-Turbo on Air Lift suspension & Rotiform TMB’s

@kaysinghh

 

 

 

Car Audio & Security’s Porsche 964 on Rotiform FUC’s

@caraudiosecurity

 

Car Audio & Security’s Dodge Challenger SRT on Air Lift suspension

@f2jbl

 

Car Audio & Security’s BMW M4 & E30 M3

@caraudiosecurity

 

Car Audio & Security’s BMW M4 on Air Lift suspension & Rotiform RSE’s

@caraudiosecurity

 

Car Audio & Security’s BMW E30 M3 on Air Lift suspension & Rotiform OZT’s

@caraudiosecurity

 

Mark Fisher’s Volkswagen Mk5 Golf GTI Edition30 on Air Lift suspension & BBS RS-GT’s

@mark_five_golf

 

Car Audio & Security’s Audi RS2 on Rotiform STR’s

@caraudiosecurity

 

Jason Zeigler’s VW Mk7 Golf R on Air Lift suspension & Rotiform KPS’s

@f3jbl

 

 

PROFUSION Customs’ Porsche 964 RWB on WORK Meister S1′s

@profusioncustoms / @rwbuk

 

George Assi’s BMW E24 635CSI on Air Lift suspension & BBS RS

@georgeassi

 

 

Alex Hurd’s BMW E46 330ci M Sport on Air Lift suspension & WORK Meister S1’s

@e46_alex

 

Oly Roberts’ Audi B5 RS4 Avant on Air Lift suspension & RAD48 PR’s

@ollieberto

 

 

Jay Kalsi’s static BMW E30 cab on OZ Futura’s

@yung_kromez

 

 

Jas Singh Bains’ static BMW E38 on OZ Breyton’s

@jaswiththeseven

 

Barry Selwood’s bagged Mk1 Golf Cabriolet on BBS RS’s

 

Sukhi Kang’s Porsche 964 on stepped-up BBS RS

@classic_stance

 

Bally Hanspal’s BMW E46 M3 cabriolet on Air Lift suspension & ACS Type 2’s

@bally_hanspal

 

 

Kelly Holliday’s VW Mk4 Golf R32 on AccuAir suspension & HRE 501′s

@hrekel32

 

David Sanders’ VW Mk5 Golf Edition30 on Air Lift suspension & BBS RS

@dav_sanders

 

 

Anton Elliott’s VW Mk1 Golf

 

Jeeten Ghedia’s BMW E38 on BC Racing coilovers

@j33ten

 

Ben Macrae’s bagged VW Mk6 Golf on 3SDM 0.06’s

@ben_macrae

 

Tony Saund’s Audi C5 S6 on BC Racing coilovers & Radi8 R8A10’s

@dfinitiv

 

 

 

Michelle Waters’ widebody Audi B5 S4 on Air Lift suspension & RAD48 VR’s

@chelle_df

 

Stuart Connell’s VW Mk2 Golf GTI on Air Lift suspension & BBS RM’s

@audi_stu

 

Harry Chodha’s bagged Mk1 Golf Cabriolet on BBS RS

@harry_chodha

 

Kos Loizou’s BMW E24 635CSI on ACT splits

@bubblebmw

 

 

Lucy Barlow’s bagged BMW E21 on BBS RM’s

@lucybarlow1994

 

Angus Munro’s Porsche 964 on BBS Super-RS’s

@dubfordstyling

 

 

 

 

 

Joe P’e’s Volkswagen T25 pickup on hydraulic suspension

@joe_t25

 

Joe Saunders’ VW Mk3 Golf TFSI on OZ Turbo’s

@g3_oem

 

Carl Levy’s VW Mk1 Caddy on BBS RM’s

@cars_cats_ink

 

 

Rad Khalil’s Audi B7 RS4 on Air Lift suspension & BBS E28’s

@rs4rad

 

 

I’m really pleased that Westside has stuck to the same venue. It seems like they could move somewhere bigger every year with ease. Instead, they stick to what they know and what works. Let’s face it, there’s plenty of larger shows you can visit, but this is partly what makes Westside unique. Some worry about getting their car into the show because of the limited space – I say just turn up earlier! I think I said it in my previous article, but 2016 has not been kind to us in regards to rain… Luckily the rain stayed away for this show, but it had been chucking it down the previous night, which meant wet roads on route to the show. This blatantly put a few people off, but it just so happened that people turned up a bit later than usual. The show was heaving. I turned up, caught up with loads of friends, admired some impressive cars, and feasted on some fantastic Jamaican and Indian food. What’s not to love? If you’ve still not been to Westside, you’ve been missing out.

We’ll catch you all very soon with our booth at Ultimate Stance (Telford International Centre) on Sunday 30th October.

 

More info on Westside Treffen:

Westside website

Westside on Facebook

Westside on Instagram

 

 

Seen your car above? If we haven’t named you, drop us message a through our Facebook page or email info@slamsanctuary.com and let us know if you’d like your name added to the article! Also be sure to let us know if we made any errors regarding your cars modifications. Sometimes we make mistakes, albeit rarely, but we like to make things right!

Rejuvenation – Chris Goring’s 1988 BMW E30 325i

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

The amount of incredible cars out there that are hiding away from the internet, and even car shows for that matter, still amazes me. Sometimes the only way to find these gems is through friends or word of mouth, and that’s just the story here… You’d think a bagged E30 would be all over the place even more so, considering their popularity within the community. Well, not this one. Allow me to introduce Chris Goring’s 1988 325i coupe, finished in diamantschwarz-metallic. Considering the car was finished a good few months ago, I’d still not had a chance to see it for real, only snapshots here and there on Instagram. Luckily, thanks to the help of Jamie (who’s BMW Z4 we recently featured), we finally arranged to meet up and take a closer look this rather gorgeous E30.

 

 

This seems to be a common similarity with a lot of our recent features, but Chris’ love for cars started off with Volkswagens, owning two Mk3 Golf’s previously, in addition to a Polo 6n2. In 2012 he decided to buy his first BMW, an E46 323i coupe. Ever since that first bimmer, he has been hooked, progressing to an E36 328i coupe, an E34 525ix and then an E46 325i saloon. Throughout that whole time though, the dream was always to own an E30. But with all the straight-six engined cars he’d owned, Chris didn’t want to downgrade to the more common 318 or 318is. So, the hunt was on for a manual 325i coupe in black, which he had his heart set on.

 

 

After some tedious searching, Chris finally picked up a 1988 325i from Bristol, as a standard car, which is arguably the best way to start a project. It was in fairly good condition, minus a few rust issues which is to be expected on the majority of E30’s these days. Both sills, bulk head and the rear valance needed some attention, but Chris made sure these areas were all sorted before the all-important modifying commenced.

 

 

He also replaced the plastic grill surrounds up front, as the original ones had faded from age. A lot of people forget about small touches like this, but give these areas some attention and it can totally transform the car and bring it back to life. Other than that, the car was given a proper clean and detail, which did wonders for the original paint which came up a treat.

 

 

Even with the big 2.5l straight six under the hood, Chris knew he wanted to amplify that classic BMW sound even more so, with a little work on the exhaust system. This was easily done by removing the entire back box and replacing it with stainless steel straight pipe to the mid box with dual outward rolled tips to finish it off.

 

 

So let’s get down to my favourite aspect of the car, the suspension. It’s the usual story of those who make the jump to air… Having destroyed the underside of most of his previous cars, Chris decided that the time had finally come to bite the bullet and spend the money on a full Air Lift Performance E30 kit. After all those previous BMW’s, this was the dream car, so it was going to be treated accordingly.

 

 

The Air Lift kit is designed specifically for the E30 chassis, and is basically a like-for-like suspension swap, minus the cutting and welding of the front strut tubes due to BMW’s design on most of their older models. In addition to the all-adjustable struts and bags on all four corners, the kit ships with a 4 gallon air tank, VIAIR 380 compressor and the all-important AutoPilot V2 digital management. Chris decided to enlist the help of Oxford Car Audio to undertake the whole install, with the intentions of an impressive yet simple boot build to perfect the car.

 

 

Of course, with the car now dropped Chris had to decide on a set of wheels. He opted for a set of WatercooledIND CC10’s, 16×9 all round. It’s difficult to pull off a modern wheel on a classic car, but these really feel at home on the E30 and somewhat rejuvenate the car. Plus, makes it stand out from the crowd of the usual Alpina’s or BBS RS’s. To get that spot on fitment, the wheels are married to 205/40 tyres on all corners. A lot of playing about and adjusting, and Chris has nailed the camber even up front.

 

 

A look into the cabin, and you’ll notice that not much has changed from a regular classic BMW. Other than some super clean original Sport seats, a 330mm Nardi classic steering wheel has been fitted along with gear knob which completely suits the car. Chris wasn’t entirely sure how he wanted the boot set up to look, but he knew he wanted it to be simple, and let Oxford Car Audio do their magic.

 

 

When he picked up the car he was blown away, not surprising as they’ve got it spot on. Clean and simple, not to ruin the classic style, but with a load of small details chucked in compromising of alcantara, LED’s and hard line. You’ll also notice that Air Lift V2 controller has been beautifully mounted in the centre console where it looks right at home.

 

 

 

The E30 is also Chris’ daily driver, which is brave but refreshing to see. The guys at Oxford Car Audio took this into account and made sure there was still plenty of room in the boot to make it usable and not a full-on show piece.

 

 

 

For Chris, cars are his life. Most of his time is spent thinking about cars, and ways to improve his, and of course secretly browsing for parts online at work! When the weekend rolls around it is all about chilling with pals, working on and cleaning their cars and eating pizza. “It’s the best kind of life” according to Chris. It really makes me happy to see more and more younger people buying classic cars and showing them some much needed love. Chris is considering a new set of wheels in addition to a leather interior once he can source one. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing the E30 again at some shows this year. Keep an eye out for it, it’ll blow you away.

 

 

They Call Her Lolita – Kevin Fitzgerald’s 1989 BMW E30 325i Touring

Words & Photos by Henry Phull

 

With the weather getting worse by the day and darkness now arriving in the early afternoon, it’s getting difficult to arrange shoots. Most people’s cars are now off the road for winter whilst they drive around in their winter hacks or dailies. Believe it or not, some people do still drive their project and show cars at this time of year, and that’s awesome to see. When Kevin Fitzgerald messaged me to say he was heading in my direction for a Southern E30 meet a couple of weeks back, I jumped at the potential opportunity and arranged to meet up with him afterwards at a location I’d discovered previously in between the New Forest and Southampton. It was a Sunday evening, the sun was out, and I was finally going to shoot the stunning 1989 E30 325i Touring, nicknamed ‘Lolita’. Being on the water’s edge, it was one freezing cold shoot. But don’t let me bore you with my whining, let’s move on to the main spectacle…

 

 

Kevin has been interested in the car scene since he was just 15 years old, spending countless evenings on Chelsea Bridge lusting over the modified cars. From the moment he could drive he was there and down Southend seafront in his own car almost every Saturday night. So, it’s no surprise when you go through his car history, to learn that Kevin has been through everything… His first car being a 1983 Ford Fiesta SuperSport, which progressed to a few MK3’s including a 1992 RS1800 which he fully stripped and caged with a respray. After Ford ownership he moved to Volkswagen, first owning a 1989 Golf Rallye, finally leading to a couple of Mk1’s. He eventually became interested in BMW’s, with the purchase of his first E30, another Touring, but the smaller 318i. After running it in the scene for a year and some modifying (naturally), he knew it was time for a 2.5L transplant. Unfortunately, the M20 lump he picked up on eBay was diagnosed with a warped head. Although Kevin managed to get it running, he was left with constant engine problems. It was time to cut his losses and break the car for parts. This resulted in a fair amount to spend on a new project… the hunt was on, but for what?

 

 

Kevin considered several other options but ultimately still loved the room the touring gave him and from experience he knew it was always going to turn heads. That was that then… he decided to search for another E30 touring, and after 3 months and 12 viewings, Lolita popped up on eBay. The seller seemed like an honest guy and sent over plenty of photos confirming the condition. Kevin then convinced his friend Marc (a BMW technician) to drive him to Grimsby on a Saturday in some of the worst snow they had seen in years. The 4 hour journey turned into 6, but they eventually made it.

 

 

The moment Kevin saw the touring on the driveway, he knew he had to have it. It was time for a test drive to see how much they could knock off the asking price. An hour later Kevin was on the journey home in his new E30, having saved a whopping £850 off the seller’s original price. By this time the snow had worsened, which made for an exciting drive home, even if it did take 7 hours! Kevin still remembers sliding around every time he kicked down on the auto box on those snowy roads, which had him grinning from ear to ear. Even now, after 18 months of ownership, Kevin says his cheeks still hurt after a long drive. That’s what a car should do!

 

 

The car started off as a standard 325i automatic finished in Alpine White 2, which was being used by the previous owner as a daily workhorse – so it unsurprisingly needed a detail and some much needed TLC, not to mention the completely worn bushes and suspension. Except for the addition of an IS/Sport front splitter, Kevin decided to keep the rest of the bodywork as standard. He didn’t want to overcomplicate the striking design it rolled out of the factory with from BMW. The basic maintenance was sorted out; new hardware, handbrake cable, new fuel tank, the lot.. plus the car was fully polybushed to sort out those knackered original rubbers. Underneath, the whole car was cleaned, stone guarded and coated in the original white to match the rest of the car.

 

 

A look into the cabin and you’ll notice not much has changed here. It’s somewhat different to see a cloth interior whilst most people tend to upgrade to leather. Kevin swapped in the full Sport interior from a 1991 touring which is in outstanding condition, and had the roof lining re-trimmed in Alcantara – a real nice touch and adds to the ‘sport’ look. There are a few in car entertainment upgrades including a Kenwood KDC-5057SD headunit, Hertz H1 amplifier, CDT 3 way Eurosport components and a CDT Eurosport 10″ subwoofer for an improved audio experience.

 

 

 

Kevin’s E30 was static for over a year, but he recently found out that Air Lift Performance had released an E30 specific air ride kit, something which he’d been interested in doing for a long time. Knowing the simplicity of installing these car-specific kits, he bit the bullet and placed an order with EMP Performance. Fitting the new Air Lift kit took Kevin a complete weekend to get it just right. For someone that had never installed air before, working out how he was going to run the air lines was the trickiest part. Although, Kevin is yet another happy Air Lift customer and believes anyone that has wired up a stereo or fitted coilovers at any point in their lives would be more than capable of installing the kit, majorly thanks to the detailed instructions included, and hardware that just works straight out the box, thanks to Air Lift’s prior testing and development for the specific car.

 

 

Getting the car to sit right was a long process for Kevin, after guessing the width and pre-ordering the 4×100-5×114.3 adapters in preparation, these happened to be almost perfect, bar the rear which only required 3mm spacers to allow the arch to lip ratio that he had envisioned. All that time and effort was obviously worth it though, as the car now sits beautifully. The Air Lift E30 kit was bundled with their AutoPilot V2 digital management system, VIAIR 380 compressor and a 4 gallon air tank. Kevin fabricated a boot build to exhibit these features and to tie-in his subwoofer, which is still a work-in-progress but looking great.

 

 

 

For some power and sound gains, Kevin has fitted a RamAir induction kit to the M20 engine, along with a full custom stainless steel exhaust made by EMP Performance which sounds awesome, which I heard on full whack whilst following him along the dual carriageway. Another modification that has totally transformed the car is the manual swap, which took place about a month into ownership of the car. Luckily Kevin had a manual box and conversion parts left over from his previous E30 which bolted straight on to the M20 lump. He and his dad completed the task over a weekend giving the car a much needed new lease of life.

 

 

Along with the air ride, Kevin recently opted for some new shoes to complete the transformation. After seeing the wheels online a while back, with a bit of patience and perseverance he finally got them down to a suitable price and picked up the set of 17″ reverse face Stern splits, 8j fronts and 9j rears, 5×114.3. With the centres finished in gold, these really compliment the car’s white paintwork and are a perfect choice, plus super rare to see on an E30. Kevin is running Design Daft 42 hub centric adapters to allow them to fit. For optimal fitment these are fitted to 195/40 tyres up front and 205/40’s at the rear.

 

 

 

I’ve always been able to clock Kevin’s E30 from a distance thanks to the Thule roof bars, an uncommon addition to the car along with the Thule 871XT wind fairing. Other subtle mods include the custom Grid Motorwerks door handles, with the ‘BMW Motorsport’ engravings. Up front you’ll notice a fully working wash and wipe headlight system, covered with fish eye film for a smoked look. This is often taken too far but Kevin has got it just right, by keeping the original amber indicators and chrome grill surrounds, the smoked headlights work really well.

 

 

 

Being a die-hard BMW enthusiast myself, I wouldn’t personally have gone for some of the mods Kevin has opted for, but that’s just the ‘OEM-ness’ in me. I have to say, I love everything on the car, and this surprises me! For example, he’s even kept the original mud flaps, most of us tear those off straight away, but they really do work here and help make the car it’s own.

 

 

 

Clearly Kevin is a guy that lives for cars. He’s no doubt one of the friendliest guys I’ve met through cars and so easy to talk to, he really does have an unexplainable passion for his E30. With all his best friends deriving from the car scene too, he has had some amazing times through cars, and Lolita has been no different. According to him, the scene is all about “the friends we make and haters we upset” at the end of the day. From VW fans, to Ford boys, to Jap kids, everyone is out for the same thing and that is to build something unique to firstly satisfy ourselves, and of course to break the necks of others. I think it’s fair to say Kevin has definitely achieved that here. And of course, a car is never finished… Next on the list is a Nardi steering wheel to be fitted within the next few weeks, along with a shaved and smoothed engine bay, plus there’s talk of a possible retrim which I can’t wait for. This is a car Kevin never plans to sell, so I’m sure there’s plenty of work to be done. For now though, I’m pretty stoked to have shot the car in it’s current state.