One of the first items on my bucket list is a simple one, own an E46 M3 BMW.
Even after all these years, that lovely looking, highly enhanced body looks fantastic from all angles.
The bolstered chunky arches hinting at the performance hidden beneath the bulging bonnet and the four exhausts tips menacingly poking out from under the rear bar…
Oh sorry, I seem to have gotten a bit carried away there….
Before my love affair with the modern E46 BMW, I had a brief fling with the now classic 318i E30.
Granted it wasn’t a manual (although it was a convertible) the car felt correct. It felt taught, well constructed and just made me feel happy in general.
As I have grown older, cars have come and gone from my life but the little E30 has always held a special place in my heart.
So when the team from GSS contacted me with a bunch of photos and I just had to be involved and this is where Denis and his more than standard E3o BMW come in.
Now during the early 80’s, BMW released the E30 and this proved an interesting liberation to the market. Especially when compared to the earlier 320i model from the late 70’s, with the main deviation being a drastically lower price at a figure of around $26,000 AUD (give or take).
When comparing the E21 to the E30’s, you will notice that the styling underwent an almost evolutionary change, with the front grille angled less aggressively and the headlights almost flush. In a stark distinction to the bonnet of the E21, the E30’s now sloped more smoothly and the general shape of the car proved more soothing and well rounded, making for a sight that was easier on the eyes.
The interesting fact to note here is that BWM’s engineers were well aware that Mercedes were working on a competitor in the smaller luxury car market, so the E30 team focused their strengths and efforts on predominant Mercedes ideals, build quality and
As highlighted above, whether or not Denis picked the 318i for the aforementioned qualities is anyones guess. Regardless, that doesn’t detract from the one standout point – that he has clearly had a goal in mind and that was to produce something BWM surely didn’t see coming.
The car was originally purchased with a blown M50 engine and so the first point of movement was to keep the shell and investigate the implementation of the well known RB25DET we see so much of today. But like one harsh mistress we are all accustomed to, the funds in the wishing-well soon dried up and plans sadly had to be abandoned.
It seems a common theme among car enthusiasts however and Denis was no exception, as his spirit was not broken. He utilised his new found love of drifting to feed his ongoing desire with the BWM build.
His attraction to the world of sliding was so strong that Denis made the heart-breaking decision to sacrifice his much cherished and immaculate gold VL Calais turbo (which he had built entirely from the ground up). Now when I say he sacrificed the Calais, I am possibly portraying the wrong image, I should probably say he donated it.
The little BMW 318i was now the lucky recipient of running gear built to handle 300+RWKW’s… yep that’s interesting to say the least.
Now as many of you would obviously know, the RB30‘DET’ was not a motor directly produced by Nissan (unlike the RB30ET) however referring to a turbocharged engine using an RB30E short block with the
twin-cam head utilised from another RB series motor. In Australia we commonly see the RB25/30 or RB26/30 combination. What I personally love about the ‘dirty thirty’ is that it produces more torque, at lower revs due to its longer stroke and its power can far exceed that of an RB26DETT. Having said this, they lack the internal cast-in bracing of the 26.
But as you will see from the list of modifications we have from Denis, I’m quite clearly preaching to the choir on the RB30.
From the bottom up, this RB30ET is currently sporting a freshly built A6 bottom end on custom engine mounts mated to a Mx7 gearbox on custom box mounts, Exedy 5puk button clutch & a custom tail-shaft to a Kaaz 1.5way LSD differential.
It’s important to highlight here that Denis has gone through three, yes that’s correct three BMW differentials purely due to the power output!
The head is kept in place by an ARP head stud kit combined with a lumpier Rajab Racing cam and force fed its diet of air via a Rajab plenum, XF throttle body & Garrett 35/40 turbo on a standard manifold which has been modified to fit a Tial 44mm external gate (which makes a cheeky appearance in the bay).
The 3-inch intercooler keeps the charged air down while fuel delivery is completed by a set of Bosch 044 internal & external fuel pumps, Malpassi fuel regulator & 660cc Siemens injectors.
This current setup made 295rwkw’s on 20psi and all in a car that weighs probably as much as a shoe. Now it is just another car I can’t win against, awesome!
Now as cliché as it may sound, with great power comes great responsibility! So you might find yourself asking, how does he stop? Well that’s actually pretty easy.
Denis has undertaken a complete E36 5-stud conversion comprising of E36 brakes with Bilstein street coilovers. The front rollers are BBS RS copies and give measurements of 17×8.5 +20 stuck to Archilles street semi-slicks. The rear rollers are set at 17×10 + 15. The finishing touches are in the interior, which consist of a self-made 8 point rollcage and Sparco sprint seats with Takata harnesses.
According to Denis this car is nowhere near finished. An impressive list of future plans has been outlined for your viewing pleasure and includes the following;
• RB25 head
• Custom intake on the same turbo setup
• Different wheels & coilovers
• Wisefab lock kit
• Full CAMS approved rollcage
• Late model E30 front end with Rieger lip and splitter
• Custom front guards + rivets on the rear guards
• More low + fat
• Full Sparco interior with harnesses
• Hydraulic handbrake
• Royal grip steering wheel + NRG quick release kit
• Fibreglass dash with custom gauges + switches.
So in summary we have a BMW on the outside, a Nissan heart on the inside, 300rwkw’s and an unshakable love of drifting.
Combined with the above mentioned future plans, this white rocket is sure to remain a contender amongst the track and street circuits of Melbourne. It’s been a pleasure to be able to write about Denis’s pride and joy. The GSS Team and myself wish Denis all the best with his future goals.
Thanks for reading, Dave.