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Thread: Crusty little E30 from Australia

  1. #1
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    May 2011
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    Default Crusty little E30 from Australia

    G'day everyone, haven't been on here in a very long time but had some time to kill and thought I'd put together a little bit about what I've been building lately.

    I know E30's are pretty much a dime a dozen around here however I have always loved them and wanted one since about 12 years ago. In my own mind they just seemed like the perfect car, RWD, manual, 2 door, cool shape, small but not tiny and extremely well balanced. They're old enough to be cool without being so old you're hesitant to drive it daily. Just the perfect little whip to do anything from run to the shops all the way to track days and dirt road tomfoolery. They just always seemed like the perfect combination of things that I wanted in a street car.

    I've always owned offroad cars and still own multiple but I've also owned a LOT of street cars over the years, and I did own an E30 a few years ago for a very brief period of time, it was however an absolute rust bucket series 1 with a very sad M10 and slightly soured my first E30 ownership experience. Since that first E30 I have owned a couple of blob eye WRX's that were supposed to be daily drivers but ended up being pretty shitty to own, between mechanical issues and my general boredom and need for interesting vehicles, they just didn't cut the mustard. I also owned an E36 that I most definitely enjoyed, but it just wasn't the E30 that I wanted.

    Fast forward to a couple of months ago, I sold a 4x4 project I had sitting around and had some money in the bank. I've got a 2004 4.8L Nissan Patrol on 37" tyres that absolutely drinks fuel like no tomorrow, a 77 dentside Ford F100 which also drinks like a fish, and another non running 76 dentside F100.

    I am thinking to myself, I need something I can daily comfortably, something practical, something that can regularly run into town and also semi regularly drive me happily on a 300km round trip that consists of twisty roads, highway, shitty potholes and even shittier traffic... The aim of the game was practical, and boy am I fucking terrible at that game. I started out looking at comfortable, newer, auto sedans, maybe a ute (pickup for my American friends), maybe a wagon or something.... Just something comfortable and quiet with no issues. That was what I should have done.. and then pow. This crusty little coupe shows up.





    So after a bit of back and forth in my own mind, I made the choice to drive the 4hr round trip to go and have a look at it with a mate of mine. On arrival it looks pretty sad, the paint has had it and there are a couple of leaks, steering rack is weeping, needs a quick jump start and then there's the infamous M40 tick. Other than that, it looks pretty solid, and the interior is awesome. The owner takes us for a sneaky lap around the block, during which we run out of fuel and he has to run home to take the other car to the petrol station for a re-up. We get some fuel in it, get it back to the owners house and I hand him a $500 deposit to hold it until the following weekend whilst I figure out a way to get it the two and a half hour drive back home.

    It pretty much meets NONE of the criteria I was after, it's not even registered.. Clear coat has shit the bed, has been parked for 2 years, has the relatively shit M40B18 with the infamous tick. Couple of aesthetic things need tidying up but overall, for what it is, it was reasonably tidy and for the absolute blood money that people want for an E30 in Australia at the moment. I was happy. The good things are that it has 2 doors, a manual transmission, a reasonably straight body, zero rust (aside from one tiny spot), an absolutely lovely interior and that it's a series 2, which is what I always wanted from the beginning. Welcome to my practical daily. I got it home at night and parked it up ready to inspect it properly the following day.

    First night home, note clearcoat, missing bumper pieces, general rattyness:

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.35.56 pm

    The next day I took it for a spin with my buddy in his E36, went looking for some fun roads so I could do somewhat of a shakedown and find out what needed attention. After that I brought it home and parked it up infront of the two 70's F100's.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 10.04.07 pm

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 10.04.20 pm

    It absolutely needed new plugs, oil, filter etc etc, no pictures of me doing that basic stuff but pretty self explanatory. Also did a couple of dodgy fixes to some vacuum hoses to try and tame the whacky idle down a bit, hasn't solved the issue but it has definitely helped. With fresh oil I thought it was probably time to get into it a bit and blow the cobwebs out. Seemed like a nice night for it anyway:

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 10.04.37 pm

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.36.58 pm

    I also fitted my full polish Nardi with a QR and low profile adaptor so it's not right in your belly button. Then drank some beers with some mates and jumped over it.

    IMG_1196

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.37.08 pm

    Whilst all this is happening I was on the lookout for some sort of engine conversion, no idea what it was going to be. Looked at M5X cause it's an easy swap, also toyed with a V8 but didn't want to fuck with such a well balanced chassis so decided on an SR20. Bought an engine/gearbox mount kit from interstate and it's sitting here while I search for a motor that's in decent condition.

    It was also starting to get to that time where I needed to do something about the suspension and wheel situation. Dirt road skids are fun but I have other cars I can do that in, so it was time to start looking for some goodies. I really wanted it sitting nicely on some small old school Japanese wheels. SSR meshies, old Enkei's. SSR MK1's or maaaaaaybe I could find some SSR MK2's in good sizes at a time when I could pony up the coin for them. That was the dream wheel anyway.

    Was stoked to see some BC super lows pop up about an hour away for a good price so by that afternoon I was back home with some new suspension. Looking forward to bringing the monster truck height down a little.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.37.25 pm

    Ended up putting them in pretty swiftly with a buddy over a few (30) beers. Remember to always have something stable to sit your caliper on so it doesn't swing off the brake line and damage anything. Intercooler reducer and a medium size pumpkin works a treat. Still looks like a crusty little car but height is much better.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.37.35 pm

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.37.49 pm

    I did realise that there's was way too much Cali lean going on one the coils were in, I do like a little bit of squat at the back compared to most, but this is silly. The roof height is about the same as the door handles on my Patrol.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.38.02 pm

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.38.13 pm

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 10.04.54 pm

    I was kind of happy with it at this stage, I had done a few little bits and pieces here and there to tidy things up, the paint still looked terrible and it was still filthy every day due mostly to my mile long dirt drive way. But it was making progress which I was content with. Still hunting for a clean engine + trans package, proving difficult to find a lot of stuff. May end up dropping an M50 in while I wait and build a crazy SR. Who knows.

    Right around this time I got sidetracked with other builds and other things and didn't really get to drive the E30 for a couple of weeks, I missed how fun it was on the road compared to everything else I own and I found myself back on the internet browsing for things I wanted but didn't need.

    That's when this happened...















    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.38.31 pm



    I found the dream wheels, SSR MK2's from Japan in 4x100. 15x8.5 +6 and 15x9 +/-0... Wrapped in 195/50's. These are some of my favourite wheels of all time, in pretty amazing sizes. Heaps of dish. I knew I would need a spacer up front to clear the calipers. Didn't realise it would need to be 20mm, but that's ok. Final specs end up at 15x8.5 -14 and 15x9 +/-0. Not bad for a little E30. Doesn't look ridiculous either. Very happy.


    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.38.50 pm



    That pretty much brings it up to where I'm at now. Rear fenders need more of a roll and a pull if I want to stay at this height. Tossing up whether to bring the rear up a little bit or whether I'll bring the front down a bit and make the rear fenders fit the height it's at now. I know it'll look amazing but my house is surrounded with some pretty shit hot twisty driving roads and I'm not willing to compromise having fun in this car for a little extra lows. Without any further ado, here's how she is sitting currently.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.38.39 pm

    Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 9.40.50 pm




    I've got big plans for this thing, I can go through cars pretty quickly but certain ones tend to just stick around. I definitely feel as though this is one of them!

  2. #2
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    very solid first post. car looks great on the new wheels

  3. #3

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    Yesss old bmw on jdm little wheels, keep it up!
    Rear fenders are gonna EAT those sidewalls

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    Yesss old bmw on jdm little wheels, keep it up!
    Rear fenders are gonna EAT those sidewalls
    Cheers mate, rears have been pulled considerably now. Not too much sidewall devouring luckily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miroteknik View Post
    very solid first post. car looks great on the new wheels
    Thanks bud, these wheels are dream wheels, need to turn my attention towards powerplant and drivetrain and then I'll get back to paint and aesthetics.

  5. #5
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    Seney, MI
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    Boy do I fully approve of all of this. Put a car through some abuse, then when it passes the grit test, start the build. Gives the car some history and character! I put my e28 down some rough truck trails before I lowered it. Man I really want an e30 now...

  6. #6
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    Very well, this is a great story and a solid approach. M40s take a beating, not as much as m10s but still very stubborn. Never managed to kill mine.
    Keep it up!
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemernut View Post
    Boy do I fully approve of all of this. Put a car through some abuse, then when it passes the grit test, start the build. Gives the car some history and character! I put my e28 down some rough truck trails before I lowered it. Man I really want an e30 now...
    I definitely feel the same way! It'll still get used and abused during and after the build is done, maybe not as many rally skids though haha. But it's gotta be enjoyed.

    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Very well, this is a great story and a solid approach. M40s take a beating, not as much as m10s but still very stubborn. Never managed to kill mine.
    Keep it up!
    Thanks! It hasn't died on me yet, hoping it sees me through until I find something else to throw in there haha.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2015
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    in for this one! i love 15" wheels on e30s and also love Japanese wheels so this is definitely a winner in my books.
    Instagram - Benwalsh91

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benwalsh91 View Post
    in for this one! i love 15" wheels on e30s and also love Japanese wheels so this is definitely a winner in my books.
    15's are perfect on an e30 in my opinion! I've seen 14's that look sick too!


    Here are some more snaps too:

    D761AF15-6DE9-4BCF-92BF-1A1E141CAA3C

    You_Doodle_2019-09-14T07_18_24Z

    You_Doodle_2019-09-14T07_15_03Z

    You_Doodle_2019-09-14T07_17_10Z

  10. #10
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    Do not paint this car. Ever.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Do not paint this car. Ever.
    Hahaha why is that? So much clearcoat peeling

  12. #12
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    Exactly. It adds a certain property to the car's character, a uniqueness of some sort. Every car's paintjob fades differently and the "battle scars" tell a story on their own. At least that's what I think. If there was a way to avoid painting my project car, I wouldn't have.
    Of course you do what you want to your own car. It looks absolutely badass right now.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Exactly. It adds a certain property to the car's character, a uniqueness of some sort. Every car's paintjob fades differently and the "battle scars" tell a story on their own. At least that's what I think. If there was a way to avoid painting my project car, I wouldn't have.
    Of course you do what you want to your own car. It looks absolutely badass right now.
    Kinda with you about this subject, I love when old cars age without rotting away. Also a patina'd old car with lots of power and beautiful wheels always looks mean and no-fucks-given

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  14. #14
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    yeah the car looks metal now that they bring it up

    want to listen to punk rock now

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Exactly. It adds a certain property to the car's character, a uniqueness of some sort. Every car's paintjob fades differently and the "battle scars" tell a story on their own. At least that's what I think. If there was a way to avoid painting my project car, I wouldn't have.
    Of course you do what you want to your own car. It looks absolutely badass right now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    Kinda with you about this subject, I love when old cars age without rotting away. Also a patina'd old car with lots of power and beautiful wheels always looks mean and no-fucks-given
    Quote Originally Posted by Miroteknik View Post
    yeah the car looks metal now that they bring it up

    want to listen to punk rock now
    I'm definitely not opposed to leaving it a bit ratty, none of my cars are show quality because they all get used pretty hard for what they are built for. I think if I put a badass motor in it then it'll definitely be cool with the clean interior and ratty exterior. Just needs some power now I think.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Do not paint this car. Ever.
    I'm in total agreement with this, geez the colour, wear and tear really suit the car, flaking adds character, the bonnet up pic has win on so many levels 8-)
    My BMW E36 318ti Steel Blue Compact build thread -
    http://www.stanceworks.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=88271

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven_318ti View Post
    I'm in total agreement with this, geez the colour, wear and tear really suit the car, flaking adds character, the bonnet up pic has win on so many levels 8-)
    I must say I was pretty stoked on that photo too considering it was a random phone snap!

  18. #18
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    Keep also in mind, that when you paint a car you will be constantly worried about scratches , little dents, rock chips and all kinds of crap. Leave it like this and you can think of some sort livery to change it a bit. That's my advice, but you are free to do whatever you want.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalin View Post
    Keep also in mind, that when you paint a car you will be constantly worried about scratches , little dents, rock chips and all kinds of crap. Leave it like this and you can think of some sort livery to change it a bit. That's my advice, but you are free to do whatever you want.
    Yeah you're absolutely right about that, it's nice being able to enjoy a car and not be so worried about minor things that it takes that away. Then again I've never really been one to worry, other cars I have owned have started out immaculate and then slowly become less so, and I feel it gives them character and proves to myself I'm using them for what I bought them for!

    Not much happening here but here's a couple photos my friend shot of it in my driveway the other day, ground is uneven and makes the wheel gap look worse than it is but the photos are pretty and the cars still cool I think haha...

    You_Doodle_2019-10-11T00_25_02Z

    You_Doodle_2019-10-11T00_26_06Z

  20. #20

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    Old BMW, faded paint and japanese wheels... Man this is my favorite kinda of thread!

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