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My 1989 BMW 318i

Older cars are a money pit. As parts are nearing the end of their lifespan and require replacement, your bank account is constantly consulted for extra funds. It was for this reason I sold my first car, a white E30, and regretted it the second it left my ownership.

Fast forward 3 years and with the potential to own a second car, I purchased this little 318i at the end of 2018. The car needed quite a bit of work to get it road worthy. Out came the full braking system for a complete overhaul, the top end and all engine ancilleries were either rebuilt or replace and every chassis component was restored or replaced.

The car was specced with a ‘M-tech 2’ kit from factory, a rare and saught after part that is worth quite a bit of money. M-tech 2 wouldn’t be my first choice styling, I prefer the smaller, narrow body ‘IS’ look on E30s. The ‘sport’ look has a bit of a poor reputation here in Ireland, so keeping the car from falling into that trap is a top priority.

While I enjoy the BBS RZ it currently sits on, I’ve been looking to switch to 3 piece splits, with a wider, larger stance. These 'Style 5s' are often found on e34 and e38 5 series BMWs. With the help of adapters, they fit E30s perfectly. My set sit with custom 3D printed waffle centre caps and are refurbished in Porsche metallic grey.

The car has been fully polybushed with Powerflex items and the suspension upgraded with 51mm hubs welded to BC Racing coilovers. This substantial stiffening really improves the driving experience, giving a direct engagement with the road through a Z3 quick steering rack.

Inside, a re-trimmed alcantara M3 steering wheel accents a rare cloth/leather houndstooth Recaro seats. A sun blind is fitted on the parcel shelf and the rear bench features a ski hatch armrest and headrests. Luxury items back in 1989. The gear gaitor has also been re-trimmed in alcantara to match the steering wheel.

For me, little beats older cars and the raw driving experience they give. The car runs a very slow 1.8 four cylinder at the minute, but the plan is to rip this out and fit a high revving twin cam 1.9 on racehead engineering throttle bodies.

The M42 is the perfect engine for E30s, blending iconic DTM M3 valvetrain noise while being lightweight and period correct. With the right parts, it’ll be quicker and more agile than most heavy, cumbersome 2.5s.

Looking forward to the next steps with this car, and most importantly, taking it on road trips throught Ireland and Europe.

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