It has been a while since I worked on an elefant project. This is the latest addition to our skate deck collection. Grab your now before they are gone! On sale here.
This year’s Bimmerfest was held right outside of the Rose Bowl stadium. A tip for anyone going next year is to come early! We did and barely had to wait in line. Even at 630am the line of cars outside the gates started to pile up.
This was personally my first time attending Bimmerfest and I was pleased with the amount of cars and people that made a showing. It seemed that no matter what time you looked out the gate, people were waiting to park and get it. The field was filled with people almost elbow-to-elbow in the vendor section. The vendor area was great if you wanted to see new products being offered, from wheels, to racing hardware, to wax for the shine. Dealerships were on hand to showcase the newest BMW models fresh from the lot. Surrounding the vendors was a complete circle of BMWs, new and old. This is where the real enthusiasts were at. SoCal Vintage had a strong showing cars that attracted the on-lookers. It was my favorite place to be. Even though we were there for few hours, we didn’t get a chance to see every single car, but we did see a few gems here and there. They definitely stood out from the crowd. To prove it, check out Mike Burroughs’ BMW powered rat-rod.
Even if you weren’t a BMW fan and was dragged out to go, this show would definitely make you one. I’m already a fan, but I appreciate them even more. It’s great to see all the BMW enthusiasts get together for some good times, catching up with old friends, and putting forum names to faces. Until next year…
Here are a few more cars I want to share with the Elefant Supply followers. I know you guys and gals would appreciate these most. If you want to check out more photos, click the link below.
I had the pleasure of meeting Barry Robinson a few weeks ago after we were linked up by Harlan. What started out with only one car to shoot, turned into a goldmine. Barry didn’t only own the lachssilber E30 M3 I was originally supposed to shoot. He ended up having two other E30s in his collection. I was in awe, “another E30 M3 and a legit M-Tech, what the…” I couldn’t up pass this opportunity. E30′s are my first love! Perfect excuse to get up-close and personal.
After meeting Barry and getting to see his undying enthusiasm for the E30s, it brought me back to my first car, a 1984 E30 318i. Ahhh, the high school days when I would send letters and fill out post cards to get BMW aftermarket part catalogs. I remember daydreaming and circling everything I wanted to buy. B&B Tri-flow exhaust…circled. Three spoke Anteras…circled. Intrax lowering springs…circled. E30 M3 dream car…circled, cut out, taped to the wall. The list went on and on.
I’m sure Barry had his fair share of dreaming things up, but the difference between him and myself is that he did something about it and turned in into reality. During the shoot I got the complete history on everything E30. He made me appreciate older BMW’s even more and the people that keep them going. A purist at heart and the most enthusiastic E30 owner I’ve ever met.
I asked for a short bio on how he got into all three cars so I can get ideas from. Then, two weeks later, he sent me his-story…
BMW E30 ///M-adness
Nostalgia is an often underrated thing, but it’s the reason people pay $30,000 for an obscure Atari 2600 video game cartridge from the early 80’s that cost a mere $30 when first released. Sure the game was rare but not all things rare, command a premium. It must also be desirable to at least a few people. When the first BMW M3 hit US shores in 1988, it was louder, lower/wider, more aggressive looking than most cars of the era and it was a BMW! BMW hadn’t made anything quite like it. It was a true homologation special designed for racing with the road car being an afterthought. BMW’s E30 (internal name for the chassis designation), was very popular among young professionals and was commonly referred to as the “Yuppie car,” but the M3 was a different beast.
How it began
In 1982, my uncle brought home the family’s first BMW…a 320i. Having a sunroof and power features were a big deal back in much simpler times. It was the nicest car in the family, until my mother bought a 325e in 1984. This was the first year of the new 3 series body style designated “E30” in the US. The body was updated and streamlined while maintaining the classic BMW look. The M20 6 cylinder ETA engine was smooth and quiet unlike the 4 cylinder M10 in the 320i. The sport bucket seats held you in place in the turns. The windows and sunroof were fully powered. Stereo with power antenna that retracted into the body and an On Board Computer that gave you information on how many miles you had left on your fuel, fuel consumption, avg speed, even a programmable anti theft CODE feature that disabled the car. How cool is that? This car was well ahead of its time and really was the Ultimate Driving Machine.
In 1992, I was a 16 year old with a new driver’s license and like most 16 year olds, I desperately wanted a car. I looked at RX7’s, Sentra’s and Jetta’s. None of which, were even close to the BMW. I eventually bought my mom’s car from her by making payments. I was already taking care of the car anyway and knew it rather well. I was crazy over the car. Earning $4.25/hr, I worked 2 jobs and saved for modifications. My first was a Sebring cat back exhaust system bought from Bavarian Auto Service (now Bavarian Autosport or BavAuto) for $500(!) It did very little on my stock 325e but that huge chrome tip looked great.
One day, I found a local BMW shop who had magazines called “Roundel” all over their waiting room. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was a magazine catering to nothing but BMW’s and that’s when I was first introduced to the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA/ACA). Before that day, I thought I was the only one crazy enough to be a BMW enthusiast as they really were not as common as they are today and very expensive. Being young with most of my peers driving old VW’s, El Camino’s, Nissan’s and Honda’s…I got pulled over every day. Today, it’s pretty common to see young people in BMW’s but in early 90’s Los Angeles, many assumed you were just a drug dealer. I relished the attention but the car really did keep me out of trouble. I bought the E30 bible (E30 Bentley Manual) and studied it well. I knew it better than any book I read in school. I began tinkering with the car, learning how to do things myself.
Then a family friend who also had an 85 325e introduced me to another BMW shop in Gardena called South Bay BMW, which would later become South Bay Independent (SBI). The owner/lead technician Hoa Nguyen is Vietnamese (an Asian guy working exclusively on BMW’s??) but like I’ve also experienced, it’s wrong to judge a book by its cover. Hoa is a master and diagnosed my stumble problem right away as incorrect spark plugs. From that point on, I hung out at the shop whenever I had free time. I think I was the first customer to approach him with the idea of building an M20 stroker e to i conversion or swapping final drive ratios for performance. Like everybody else I wanted to do what Pete McHenry and Jim Rowe was doing and make these old BMW’s perform.
In the Roundel, I would see pictures of an unfamiliar E30. It had these body colored bumper/spoiler, wide flared fenders and a huge wing in the back. Like many who are unfamiliar, I thought “wow, that’s a nice bodykit.” After some investigation, I found more pictures of them and learned that it wasn’t a kit at all but a factory BMW produced model called “M3.” What is this??? What’s going on here? And it had a 4 cylinder! I started seeing magazine articles written about them, advertisements and a place called Noble Foreign parts had a special catalog JUST for the M3. This must be some special model to create such a stir yet strangely, I never saw these mythical creatures anywhere.
It wasn’t until a BMW ACA (which would become the LA chapter of BMW CCA) event that I finally saw an M3, how different it was and was hooked. Admittedly, like many people, I didn’t understand why a 4 cylinder engine (known as S14) was used. It didn’t make sense with all of these excellent BMW 6 cylinder engines available in various sizes. It wasn’t until I started studying the M3 and what it had accomplished in BTCC/DTM racing that I began to understand what it was about and became enlightened. BMW Motorsport had done something special with this car. They took a step back to take two forward. The boys in Munich had turned the Yuppie car into a bonafied race car to be reckoned with.
So in 1998 when my 325e/i 2.7 stroker was rear ended and totaled, I knew exactly what my next car would be. As luck would have it, I found almost exactly what I was looking for the next day in the LA times classifieds. It was like destiny that an ‘88 Salmon silver (lachssilber) on black M3 with just 77k miles would be advertised for $8200 OBO. I must admit, it was my second color choice behind Sterling silver but I was not picky. The car was driven by a college kid whose parents owned the car in Beverly Hills. The car was neglected but stock except for Antera 5 spoke wheels. By this time, the M3 was 10 years old and the parents had grown tired of spending big money at the dealership chasing down problems. With their son groveling in the background against the sale of the car, they accepted my $7800 offer and I was the new owner of an M3.
325i vs M3
Most of knowledge of the 325 carries over to the M3 but there are quite a few things that are M3 specific. The most critical of them all being the engine. The S14 2.3 liter inline 4, made a very peaky 192HP and 170 ft lbs torque at 6700 RPM’s. Which means, in order to make the car go fast you must drive it enthusiastically and keep the RPM’s up in the engine’s power band, otherwise it feels uninspiring. In contrast, the 325i M20 2.5 liter baby six cylinder engine, peaks at only 168HP around 5800 RPM but has a much broader power band. Given that much more time is spent in the lower/mid RPM range on a streetcar, the 325i is actually better suited for everyday driving with lots of stop and go traffic despite a 25HP disadvantage. The M3 on the other hand, is more of a momentum car. If you can stay in the power band and keep the car moving…it is the faster car. Weary of the high strung 4 cylinder S14 and cost to repair, many people opt for 6, even 8 cylinder conversions. I, however, am sort of a purist when it comes to the M3 and kept mine as they left the factory…S14 powered, albeit with a little more horsepower.
Enter BMW M Technic
In 1991 BMW imported only a few hundred special edition M Technic convertibles for the US market. These cars were only available in three colors, Brilliant Red, Sterling Silver and Macao Blue. These special cars were fitted with a full M Technic II aerodynamic bodykit, Shadowline trim, M technic suspension, 15×7 BBS wheels “Euroweaves,” Leather sport seats with Motorsport cloth centers or full leather, leather door pulls/panels/liners, leather handbrake handle/boot, leather center consoles including the ashtrays, BMW M Technic door sills and front/rear badges which finish the car off and lets you know it is not your ordinary 325i. Being based on 325i convertibles, some of the most expensive 3 series one could buy, the M technic package added about $4700 to the $36k MRSP, making the M technic the most expensive and also the rarest in the E30 line.
To take some of the sticker shock off, BMW also imported convertibles with only the M Technic II aerodynamic bodykit, body color matched interior and wheels for only $1600 more. As a result, there were many more of these cars sold in 91-92. These “appearance package” cars, were available only in Alpine white or Diamond Black.
In 20 years of being an E30 enthusiast, I had only seen 2 “full” M technic convertibles in person. One was owned by a fellow enthusiast and another was a random sighting on the freeway. After having owned several 325’s and my M3 for 13 years, I began searching for an M Technic. In 2006, I found an original owner Macao Blue in West Los Angeles advertised for $5500. At the time, I was in college and living on a budget which didn’t allow for a third car but I knew how special this one was and how rare they were. They don’t come up for sale often and this was an original owner Southern California car. A few months later when I had the funds to buy it, of course the car was sold. I had mixed emotions as I really wanted that car (Macao Blue was the rarest color too) but I also didn’t need to be buying a third car at the time so my search for an M technic was put on hold.
Three years later in 2009, I saw a feeler ad on an E30 discussion forum online for a Turbocharged M Technic in Macao Blue and saw that the owner was in Southern California. When I saw the pictures of the car, I recognized it as the same exact car I was looking to buy in 2006. As it turns out, the new owner who is a BMW mechanic had completely gone through the car and turbocharged it. At the time, M technic values weren’t as high as they are today and I felt his price was too high so I passed on the car yet again. Several months later I noticed the car back up for sale, with several additional modifications and a lower price! I arranged to see the car and a deal was made. In the end, the car remained in its natural habitat here in Southern California and I got three things I have always wanted in a car…a turbo, a convertible and an M Technic II bodykit.
In 2011, a fuel flooding problem turned into a complete teardown and rebuild of the engine. It had clocked 145K and I wanted to freshen up the engine now before parts became too expensive or no longer available. Since I had spent months troubleshooting before the rebuild which also took 6 months, I hadn’t driven the car in over a year. I toyed with the idea of getting a second M3 for multiple reasons but I mainly just wanted to get behind the wheel of an M3 again. I was passively searching for an Alpineweiss (Alpine White) on black but with the market the way it is, it’s hard to be choosey. Why Alpineweiss on black? Alpineweiss is the quintessential M3 color. Most of BMW’s advertisements and race cars featured Alpineweiss M3’s. They were used in Skip Barber racing schools and various BMW catalogs including Noble’s. Korman bought the first two M3’s imported into the US, also Alpineweiss. Finally, the E30 M3 just looks great in Alpineweiss. The lines, shades and contrast all work together.
One day, a fellow enthusiast tells me he knows someone who had an M3 and was going to swap the S14 engine into a 2002 and sell off the rolling shell. He was going to buy this shell for a future S54 swap. Somehow the owner of the M3, decided not to go through with it and sell the entire car, at which point my friend had lost interest since he only wanted the shell. I told my buddy if he was going to pass on the car that I may be interested in it and he sent me pictures of an Alpineweiss on black M3.
The car had been salvaged but the frame was straight, exterior repainted, interior retrimmed and the original S14 engine ran well with 176K on the clock. All for a price I couldn’t refuse given the market for M3’s. The value of salvaged cars does take a hit but given how hard it is to find a decent M3 these days, it doesn’t matter much. A salvaged M3 is still an M3. As long as it’s appropriately priced, buying one of these should be a no brainer. Besides, resale value only matters if you sell it later and I plan on keeping my pieces of BMW Motorsport history for a very long time.- Barry Robinson
Additional photos here: E30 photo collection
Lachssilber 88 M3:
Overbored 2.3L, 284/276 Cams, Rick Kemph ported head, JE forged/coated pistons, Maxx Alpha N Closed loop piggyback, Innovate LC1, Supertech valves and springs, 48mm throttle bodies, coated Evo 2 2pc 50/50 header, Custom stainless 3” exhaust, CF DTM race airbox, 30lb Bosch injectors, 8.5mm GSP Magnecor plug wires, adjustable cam gears, SBI oil pan baffle.
Mishimoto aluminum radiator and puller fan.
Z3 1.9 short shift kit with DSSR.
Ground Control coilovers 350F/650R w/short Koni adjustable shocks.
Vorschlag camber plates.
M coupe diff cover.
17×8 BBS RC090 “Style 5” refinished with nogaro centers and polished lips + microclear.
215/40/17 Nexen 5000 tires.
Genuine Evo 2 front and Evo 3 rear adjustable spoiler, Hella euro ellipsoids, Evo grills, Grp A mirrors, Startec tail lights.
M tech 2 leather steering wheel, M tech cloth centers with alcantara bolsters.
Recaro SR front seats.
VDO 3 gauge center console.
UUC RK2 weighted shift knob.
Kenwood cassette pull out, 11 band digital EQ circa 1992, 10 cd changer, Kenwood components, 2 amplifiers, 10” Alpine Type R sub in custom German Audio Specialties “LukeBox.”
Alpineweiss 89 M3:
Stock 2.3 with TMS chip, evo airbox, custom 2.5” exhaust, 8.5mm GSP Magnecor plug wires.
Autosolutions short shifter.
German Engineering 450F/650R coilovers, camber plates and Bilstein Sport shocks, Mason front and rear strut braces.
17×8.5 3pc Epsilon black mesh wheels with polished lips.
235/40/17 Falken FK452 tires.
Evo 3 front and rear spoilers, DTM cup mirrors, Startec tail lights, DEPO smoked headlights.
Alpina 4 spoke leather steering wheel, Recaro LS seats, alcantara headliner and pillars.
Alpine headunit with Aux.
ZHP weighted shift knob.
MacaoBlau M Technic:
Rebuilt 2.5L, Garrett stage 3 T3/T4 turbo with external wastegate, front mounted intercooler, PnP Megasquirt 1 v.3 tuned by Church, Ebay stainless manifold, 42lb injectors, Metric Blue headbolts, Cometic MLS headgasket, 3” custom exhaust, 8mm Magnecor plug wires, MSD Blaster 2 coil.
255lph Walbro fuel pump, Spec stage 2 clutch.
H&R Race springs with Bilstein Sport shocks + offset mounts and M3 control arm bushings.
BMW Technocast Style 10’s 15×7 wheels with polished lip. 225/50/15 Falken 912 tires.
Hella colorline smoked headlights, MHW tail lights and sidemarkers.
M Tech 2 leather steering wheel, M coupe shifter and lighted knob.
Alpine headunit with Aux, Alpine components, 12” in cabin slim subwoofer.
VDO 3 gauge center console.
After a few days of slight drizzle, the weather worked out perfectly as it usually does out in Southern California. You can always count on a day or two of bad weather, if you can even call it that. Downtown Long Beach was gearing up for the upcoming Toyota Grand Prix which gave us a good chance to find a location to shoot. After a rumble through the city and few turns, we found a great spot right off the main strip with barriers, tires, and a grandstand included.
It’s been a while since the last shoot of anything, but when I heard Ryan Castro, owner of Motorsport Hardware, was down to shoot his 1995 E36 M3, it was the perfect excuse to dust off the gear.
At first glance, you’d wonder if there is something more to the beefy fender flared exterior and meaty tires. Is it all for show? Maybe to look cool or look FAST? Then you take a glance inside and see a gutted interior. Built with a purpose? You’d clearly find out if you sat next to him at the light idling. If you’re a neighbor? Guess what, a nice 6:30am wake up rumble on a Saturday morning. Either way, it’s a dead giveaway that a beast lies beneath the hood waiting to go full throttle.
1995 M3 LS1
Motorsport Hardware Avus Blue M3 coupe
2002 5.7L LS1 aluminum block from 2002 Camaro SS
T56-6speed transmission with Z06 Clutch
MSD high temp starter
2x3in exhaust merged to 1 4in
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Vibrant race catalytic converters
Vibrant 4in inlet race muffler
Mishimoto Dual aluminum radiator
Derale Power steering cooler
Spal puller fan
3.91 LSD rebuilt to 40% lock up
Reinforced rear end
Custom BC Racing coilover set up with custom spring rates
Turner front and rear sway bars
Reinforced sway bar mounts
UUC Aluminum rear camber arms
Mason Engineering front and rear strut bars
C6 Z06 silver 6 piston calipers
355mm DBA Slotted rotors
Rear cross-drilled Zimmerman rotors
PFC-Z brake pads
Coated Stainless steel lines
BBS RE-GT4 18×9.5/10
Hankook 255/35R18 265/35R18
Motorsport Hardware Race wheel studs
EVO VIII Recaro seats
Momo Champion steering wheel
STRI 60mm Tach
STRI Water temp gauge
STRI oil pressure gauge
AEM UEGO wideband
Kirk 4pt roll bar
Corbeau 4pt harness
Stripped rear cabin
Custom suede headliner and pillars
Max Velocity GTR lip
DDM 6K HID
Fog light delete
Hard Motorsport fender flares
Custom 3.0 CSL BMW badges
Custom hood vents
OEM m3 wing
Last year, we posted a few pics of Okumura-san’s Japanese BMW collection which included a 1975 2002 Turbo, 1968 1800 A4S, 1966 1800 & a 1970 Ti. At the time, the 70 Ti was in the process of receiving a full Race trim restoration with some ALPINA goodies. Okumura-san was kind enough to send us some recent pics of his freshly restored Ti doing what it was built and intended to do from Bavaria, run on the track! The motor is an Alpina A3 system with dual 45 Weber, special piston, 316 degree camshafts with a special air induction 2002turbo box. A 7 points roll-cage, ATL safety gas tank and upgrade brakes were also added. This is from his club meet doing a few runs at Fuji International Speedway.
Showing some love to late 02 owners with this Squaretail tee along with one of our logo designs. Available in a few colorways here. Zip up hoodies and crews also available in limited quantity.
The OH TWO tees are back in stock with a few zip ups. Final run in very limited quantity. Available in Ash grey or white. Last chance to get them here.
After sending some tees to the Europe last year, we were asked by Jefferey Kok, Netherland’s Touring Club president, for permission to use our Touring design for their new logo. We were more than happy to oblige and exited to hear that a few months ago, the final art was given the official approval from BMW AG to be the logo for their club. We approve too! You can check out their website at http://bmwtouringclub.nl/. We may have to do another Touring tee again in the near future.
Since we started our store last year, we have been shipping orders of tees and parts internationally as well as in the US. I usually ask for pictures of customer’s pride and joy and curious what other enthusiast collect around the world. Noyuki Okumura from Japan is the owner of these rare BMWs and member of the largest 2002 club in Japan. He is currently restoring the 1970 Ti you see below and waiting to put our rear strut bar in. Here are a few teaser sample pics from his collection; 1975 2002 Turbo, 1968 1800 A4S, 1966 1800 & 1970 Ti. Will be updating more of Okumura-San’s cars as well as other restorations and collections, so stay tune. In the meantime, you can check out his blog here.