Car Life>> Introducing Project Beige

Going around to various automotive events, I meet a lot of people. Many of them ask what car I drive. And most of the time, they would expect someone who is so active in the automotive world to have a car that would match the on paper glamour. 

As I answer their question, I can just see the fire from their eyes fade and the not-so-enthused response of "Oh, that's cool." immediately follows. 

See, for a person that goes around taking photos of cars, I have a pretty dismal car history. As many of you already know, this 1992 classic red Mazda Miata was my first car. I loved that thing to bits. To be frank, I miss driving a peppy little roadster around quite dearly.

You can say that I'm a terrible lover for the fact that I sold my Miata for a new love: photography. So, how did I get around without a car after selling the Miata and purchasing a camera?

I picked up this 1997 Nissan Maxima SE from my brother for a good price. Having a 3.0L V6 and roughly 190 horsepower, four doors, leather seats, power windows, air conditioning, a BOSE sound system and blown shocks was quite an upgrade from the (dyno'd)94 WHP roadster. 

I happily drove Maxima around for a little more than a year forgetting about actually enjoy owning a car. Well, that was until I started getting rides in race cars, had opportunities to drive a tuned cars and high end sport cars like the Nismo 370z, BMW E93 M3 or the X5M. Those things were the activator that triggered the yeast of car-dudeness to wake up once again. I knew I needed another cool and fun car again. 

A little more than a month ago, a very close friend was looking to sell his 1989 BMW 325i to help fund a new 135i. The perfect opportunity dropped into my lap and before I knew it, I owned the much loved BMW E30. 

The stock 2.5L inline-six originally came with a DINAN chip which didn't have very good mid-rang power. So it was replaced for a much better E.A.T. Ultrachip which resulted in a ten horsepower gain and bumped the revs up by 500. 

I have to agree with lot of the automotive populous in saying that straight six's are the best sounding motors: old Jaguar inline sixes, S50, N55, M88, L20, RBs, 1J, 2J, etc. Though, it helps that BMW fitted the E30's 2.5L with an acoustically tuned intake manifold too. 

For a twenty-one year old car, it almost looks showroom clean –almost. Those of you that have looked for or have owned E30s before know how old and beat they can be. 

I like to call this car a Miata sedan as it hugs corners so well and seems like it has that whole "Jinba ittai", horse and rider as one, connected driving feel to the whole process. It's the ultimate driving machine, in 80s form. 

He's quite the BMW nut and already had a few mods before it went under my ownership. He replaced the stock headlamps with DDM Tuning slim 55w 5000k HIDs. Then replaced the North American headlight grills and bumper trim for some Euro spec ones. Smoked blinkers were also added. 

The Euro bumper trim helps clean up the car quite a lot. 

The interior was just as clean as the outside –if not cleaner! The stock steering wheel was replaced by an M Technic I wheel, which comes OEM in an E30 M3. The shift knob and boot was replaced by an illuminated M technic knob and boot combo. The beat up e-brake handle was replaced with one that came from an E32 735i.

An E30 M3 e-brake boot is on my list to-do list for the interior. The speakers need replacing as I've blown the ones that came with the car because of Will Roegge's sample Dubstep playlist. It couldn't take the bass.

The back seats look like no body has ever sat in them since it left the factory floor in 1989. I love the seat belt buckle cubby holes as well as the middle seat belt clip at the top. Those little details clean up the back seats very well. 1980s German engineering at its finest. 

A look down at the gear shifter you'll see the power window toggles and one big button without any graphics. After reading the manual, you find out that it's a circuit breaker for the power windows! The engineers have really thought of everything. Just in case your windows short out while you're in a drive through getting a burger and fries, you can press that button. The breaker will reset and the windows will once again work! 

BMW could've put in power window motors that wouldn't short, but instead they opted for a circuit breaker! Oh those zany Germans. 

The over-engineering doesn't stop there. The ends of the windshield wiper, cruise control, and turn signal stalks feature a flat surface that curves in just slightly so you can flip things on and off with the touch of your finger. Your hand doesn't have to leave the steering wheel!

All these little details really makes me a appreciate a car where the car's designer takes every little thing into account. Those little things make driving the car a whole lot more enjoyable.

What are my plans for the car? Nothing too radical actually since this car is my daily. I'll save the more radical builds for another chassis….

First things first, new brake pads and rotors are needed, then tires on for the chrome bottlecaps as the wheels are currently wrapped in tires that are made from Lego bricks. New suspension is a few months down the line as well as wheels and stickier tires. Afterwards is any bit of chassis stiffening I can do. Again, nothing too radical.

In terms of power, the engine will stay as is for a while, the inline six with the chip is more than enough to have fun with. Though the addition to a header and exhaust system will add a few more horses and please the butt-dyno….

My Miata was a built as a daily driving hardpark-mobile. This E30 will be the antithesis of that.

Let's not say that this car won't be doing any hard parking as it already has a few weeks ago at the weekly southern California Miata meet, KINOD.

I love things super slammed with crazy wheels fit under the fenders, but being a Speedhunter has widened my automotive tastes. I've fallen in love with actually going fast. This E30 will be a marriage of form and function, but mostly function, as it will see many road trips, some track days, auto crosses, the drag strip and maybe even a standing mile event or two.  

How many Speedhunters with photography gear can you fit into a little german 4-door? Three. Very comfortably. 

It's been a long time since I've been this excited about a car. I can't wait to work on it. I'm even more excited to actually do things with it.

Impromptu time attack competition at Willow Springs with fellow Speedhunters, Mike Garrett, Larry Chen, and Will Roegge and their respective cars anyone? :)




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euro bumpers are a must have on 80s BMWs...

make sure the cars keep its 80s feel, as it's what makes it cool.


I had an eerie feeling you'd end up with Dicker's car. My 4 door e30 has been kicking ass and taking names the last 2 years. Way too many road trips to count.


LOVE it. Keep it clean, the only non-OEM modification (other than the chip) of the parking brake still looks very nice and very clean (I'm counting euro and m3 parts as OEM). I love it, love it love it, please don't do to it the things that we see on speedhunters all the time, they can look great, but your car is just SO mint and clean it would hurt me personally to see it molested. I can't say it enough, I LOVE it.

On a side note, while they're great engineering, I wouldn't need those nicely indented stalks. Playing string bass since youth has gifted me with exceptional manual dexterity and strength, enough so that I can easily flip the convex tip of the lights stalk in my 2008 Forester easily with my left pinky ;)


Nicely done, Linny!! That'll be awesome to see at the events. Can't wait to sit in the back.


Hey, i made speedhunters! lol. Great writeup, Cant wait to see what you have in store!


Just lower it... nothing hella but plz lower it...rims ??


that circuit breaker is the first of many small gems you will find as you own your new E30

congrats on a very well executed purchase.


I heard this car has an acoustically tuned intake manifold. ;)


Nice car. BMW E30, inline-6, good condition... everything seems to be OK.


Yay, another E30 owner. Be prepared to know the ins and outs of E30s in less than a year. You will have to replace things that break due to old age. I replaced the fuel pump again today.


E30's are a way of life for me. Had 3 of them, started off on a 320i auto 4 door, sold it to a friend who's sister restorted it and now has it on the Isle of Mann. Got another 320i 2 door which i duely tweeked with 325i sport suspension, polybushes, 6kg flywheel and had a lot of fun with before stuffing it in an accident (D'oh!)

Now got a 325i Touring (Station wagon) which got all the bits from the previous 320i after i got it back from the insurance., even got a picture of it with a florida plate i had from a holiday out stateside back in 2002

Back shot with the Florida plate:

And here's the front:


dammit Linhbergh, I'm jealous. Been wanting an E30 for a while now, I'd trade my CRX for a 325is in a heartbeat


dang who's garage is that on the second picture?


Very nice story as usual, Linhberg! Yes, please make the other boys give us some inside on their respective toys!


Nice writing. Expressed my feeling towards my e30 when I 1st got it after I sold my miata. *There're finally rear seats for some "activities" after a date!*


Nice car Linhberg. I have an E30 aswell and I definitely feel the same as you speak about your car.It's been a year and a half since I bought it. Can't say it's been that reliable, but it's a restoration project. As some said, KEEP it CLEAN as clean example will dissapear inevitably. E30 really do well in terms of handling. Been wanting a EAT Chip for a long time!

more on that ''acoustically tuned intake manifold''


Gosh, I almost feel bad that you might change it. I've never seen an E30 that's that clean... absolutely beautiful car. I wish I could find one that clean.


If you have any questions about your super clean bronzit 4 door take them over to, theyll give you and insight youll need. Good purchse.


Hey Linbergh,

Swap an s50 from an e36 m3 and call it a day.....Very nice example of an e30...congrats!

22're still gonna put rims on it, right? and drop it a little...right? :/


I've recently done the same thing - bought a BMW so I can enjoy driving everyday!

but mine is a clean stock '95 318ti Sport. Room for 2 people and lots of gear in the hatch.

well done, btw! super clean!


Here in Germany you woun´t find a E30 that clean and original. Great choice, if I had the opportunity to buy one in that condition I´d let the W201 Mercedes be.


Very nice car man. Looks so clean, just needs some drop and maybe Borbet rims.

Good luck with it. ;)


nice E30 u have E30 323i coupe also same color just like yours, the bronzit beige metallic...


it's about time Linh!!! that maxima was killing your style! hahahah


You will completely falll in love with this car. The circuit break and the seat belt buckle quirks are just a few of the many little awesome things you wll notice. Have fun with it, and watch out for the idle surging issue!


Love it man! Awesome write up


Looks like a beige piece of shit to me.


old 4 door beemers are rad!


proper E30 mate one of my favorite cars, looks beauty stock.


fellow speedhunters might be interested in this if you like E30's...


Just leave that interior alone, that's a time capsule


Beautiful car man, spotless, and those tail lights look good enough to eat! I also can't get over the color, this is probably the cleanest non-modded E30 i've ever see, respect. Blowing out speakers with Dubstep, feels good man, now try some Diesel to see how the next speakers hold up. :P




great car, had an e30 with an s50 swap ;-)))


yea my IS 250's turn signal and wipers are shaped for easy flicks with just a finger, much like yours. those little things are awesome. enjoy the e30, i've been looking for a project miata or e30 or mr2 haha


dubstep rules nice beemer to many doors shame needs to be jollyflush!!!!


Nice ride! Cleanest e30 I have ever seen.


Go for Hellafunctional, not Hellflush.


Sell it. Get an M3 instead. Owning the "lame version" just makes any work not worth it.


My mind is the car is not important, the love you give to it is more important.

I prefer seeing a guy loving is Starlet or old Peugeot 205 GTI than seeing a guy with an exclusive car which have no sense for him...

Let the people judge your car if they want, enjoying your car is the only way to be happy.

Your e30 is nice and clean...


gotta show love for bronzit cars. i hope you love it. if you need any help with the exhaust work, check out the e30 specialists at Castro's Customs. i really hope you do atleast an m50 swap on her. best wishes


And so it begins.....


Dude, that is a sweet sweatshirt.


Great writeup, I love my e30 as much as you already love yours (my 2nd one). r3vlimited and e30tech are great for finding parts and knowledge. enjoy it!


im not hatin, i dunno if you're just small, but that steering wheel looks massive. almost truck like. hehe.


Who would've thought to have a car show in conjunction with the anime convention, Anime Matsuri,


Almost nine months ago, I purchased a 1989 BMW 325i . And for the past few months, I've been tootling


guys any updates on this project..what happened to this e30....more mods..please update us..