Car Spotlight>>the Lsm3

Here's a SEMA find that's is sure to generate some heat in the comments section. As I worked my way through the Central Hall last week, I came across Kevin Byrd's 1990 E30 M3 sitting in the Heatshield Products booth.

Since I approached it from the rear, I simply thought it was a clean, slightly modified example of an E30 M3.

But then I got to the front of the car and saw the engine bay. That's a GM Performance Products LS3 V8 that produces about 500 horsepower.

Even the valve covers have been coated in BMW's M colors, just to stir the pot a little more you know.

Elsewhere, the M3 has been upgraded with ATS coilovers, Bimmerworld sway bars, 14" Brembos and set of 18" BBS CH wheels.

The car surely has a different character than it did with the original four cylinder, but 500hp in this 2900lb chassis has got to be fun.

Surely some will be put off at the idea of V8 swap in an original E30 M3, but there is no doubting the quality of this build.

Feel free to discuss.

-Mike Garrett

More 2011 SEMA Coverage on Speedhunters



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i love bmw's and the s14's that came in these cars, but i cannot hate, this thing is awesome, especially the plus sized factory style flares.


So sexy looking but please put back in the S14 engine D:


Someone should have taught these people about the purpose and history of offset stripes, maybe they would have got theirs on the correct side.

Also, those aren't valve covers, they cover the injectors, coil packs and associated wiring. I see more and ore indication that the guys who write this stuff know very little about cars.


I love the fenders, it's got such a gnarly stance. The fact that people are putting such powerful engines in these 20 year old chassis stands as a testament to the durability of them.

I wonder how it'd look with the hood on?


I'd rather see an M60 in there, but the LS is cool too. what I do not like is the 'valve covers' and the exhaust tip alignment. but that's small potatoes compared to how awesome this car is and how it'll never get flogged :(


im a huge bmw fan . not sure about a domestic motor in a european car . maybe a 4.0l v8 from a 540i bmw or a turbo m30b35 which can produce into the 500+ hp range . but for an m3 id keep it s14 instead of molesting this classic buy a regular e30 and put an m3 kit on it . these m3s are getting more scarce .


AST coilovers, not ATS.


love it! besides the motor


Throw away that M Division colours.

The LS doesn't deserve them.


wow amazing car. ast drool.


Love it or hate it, you have to respect the buitld quality. The M stripes on the valve covers will tick off Chevy fans, the LS V8 in the engine bay will tick off the Bimmer fans.

And the open-minded will enjoy the fireworks.


ugly paint job and awkward rear end. 6/10 for a Sema car. I'm sure its a blast to drive though, so 10/10 on badass intent.


argh, why not a BMW V8?


Crack open the Haterade... this is legit.


Beutiful !


I like the car, and i understand the idea behind the v8 swap, but im really getting tired of people just shoving an ls motor in everything. Dont get me wrong, I respect it, i currantly have a corvette and a torino, but it would be nice to see cars using more origonal engine choices besides some form of an ls swap.


LS swap how original :/




a fun show car to be sure, but some performance parts on the original engine would be more fun for everyday driving.


Poor M3... Stupid heavyweight engine in the front. Ok, throws out a nice power output but just doesn't fit. This thing should scream, not rumble...




awesome build but id be happier if it was an s65 from a bmw


Love it!

Nothing to really hate about this build, would love to see it in action on the track or street. Just show how these older vehicles can hold up to the ears with a lil modern work.


I'm tired of LS swaps. they are boring now. Everyone has done them blah blah. I know why, SBCs are cheap and powerful and you can cram them into just about everything. But they sound like crap and are boring. I want to see some weird and unique swaps now. It's gotten to the point where I hate on every ls swap and if they weren't so common I wouldn't have too. They also ruined a perfectly good M3.


Tastefull car except for the engine, and even worst when you put M colors on it -.-


Heavy v8? The LS3 weighs in at 418 pounds, and that's including the packaging it's wrapped in. A 1988 issue of Autotech cites the s14 as 350 pounds. A fair trade off for 2.5x the power. Still not feeling the offset stripe though.


Well done, but I hope they didn't do this to a true e30 m3. That car is amazing and should not be molested in anyway. The handling and body work of the e30 m3 make it extremely desireable even if the power is low the car is perfectly balanced. I can appreciate the time into it but it saddens me to think a e30 M3 is no longer as BMW intended.


An LS1 swap in an E30 totally defeats the purpose of this car. I like LS swaps, but in this case it's a waste of an M3 and an LS.


@Vincent Brick: I see more and ore indication that you are just a dude trolling speedhunters.... please, ofcourse the people of speedhunters don't know everything about every car and engine, so they must have mistook the injector/etc. covers for valve covers, no need to hate....

OT: love the widefendered looks of the E30 M3, and IMO the engine swap is cool, must sound real sweet!


1. Untalented, uncreative oser does the ultra-played-out, unoriginal, lame, easy route of doing a POS GM V8 swap into a cool non-GM car.

2. Speedhunters acts like they've never seen such a thing before, even though every ignorant redneck in the country has been ruining cars like rx7s, z's, jaguars, and yes bmws for literally around FOUR DECADES now with there hurrrr amurrrrikan v8 durrrr swaps.


I never bash on v8 swaps, but seriously. Of ALL the cars in SEMA, the biggest car show on earth, and you set up a spotlight of THIS? What is special about this car? 500bhp? I just guess the E30 tuning in the states are abit behind europe.


I really hope it's the lighting angle, but something looks seriously wrong with those tailpipes...


This thing got raped


Well said Francesco. M stripes on GM engine? Blasphemy.


prefer to see the new M3 v8, but stillcant complain with 500+ horses


2011 will be forever known as the year of the LSX swap...



Go put a LS in a Smart Car but not in the most beautiful M3 ever made!!!!


this is plain offensive; just like the V8 swaps in rotaries.. stick to your brand... or buy something else.


OMG NO... the engines make the M car... SAVE THE M'S!!!!!

The LS engine is like a retard on Viagra, they will put it into anything! Be original and use a ford SB or the Rover 3.5 Aluminum V8...


S14 m3 engine = 230 pounds + 60lb gearbox

LS3 with ancillaries is 430-440 pounds + xxx gearbox?

all these guys doing LS swaps just have no idea, all they want is power figures..


I absolutely love this car, looks great with those fenders and relatively subtle lips/spoilers, maybe the exhaust is not my taste, but that's nit-picking. He should have just put some 'Deal with it' stickers on those engine covers hehe.


omg i have to puke... especially the m division stripes on the motorcover. why do you always have to swap those ls engines into every damn car?


You'll find that the true BMW enthusiasts won't hate on this build, they'll enjoy seeing the americans give us a compliment. The build quality of this build is very high as you can tell and as an E30 enthusiast I'm delighted to see such an uncommon swap. It goes to show how reliable E30 chassis's are, and how strong they are even after 23 or so years of being abused.


Chevy V8's are perfectly fine until you get past 1986, then the V8's turn into garbage. And since EVERYONE and their mother is doing some LSgarbage swap into their car, why would you want to do it? Why not put something like... the McLaren V8 into a car? Or a Formula 1 engine into a E30? Now that would be pretty badass if you wanted fuel injected computerized nonsense. If you are going to go high tech, just go all the way. Spend the money to get into the good "high tech and modern" equipment.


Align those exhaust tips, makes it look sloppy


Nice build you got here but I'd still prefer the E30 M3 with the E60 M5 V10 in it. Can you guys (speed hunters) find that car today and do a spotlight on it? I would really appreciate it.


I say put in an s14 engine. And when i say that im not talking about the BMW lump, im talking about an SR20 swap.


should have dropped the bimmer V10 in that thing. much cooler swap IMO


Legendary M stripes on GM engine?

One word: Blasphemy


While we're at it, let's paint bigger tits on the mona lisa. Fuck this car.


Have to say its an Awesome build! but the whole purpose of the 4 cylinder S14 is to have near perfect weight distribution, its still probably very fun to drive but you can have the same fun with a modestly tuned S14 or they could of just put an S52 or S54 into it at least it would still be BMW M powered.... dunno just dont see the point, plenty of BMW M engines to be tried ther, why a GM V8??? Great work though!


I'd rather have seen an S62 in there, but 1. Moneeey and 2. This thing is still probably stupid fast/fun.


WOW!!! i have never seen a car with a LS engine swap,,,,BOY thats soo ORIGINAL, and with euro colors on it even better, on a e30 m3 even wiser.



I'm generally an enthusiastic fan of LS swaps, but did you really have to do a spotlight on this thing? In all of SEMA I'm sure there's something more interesting than an LS in an E30. I also think this is a stupid car to do an LS swap in, but the main point is that this is some really unoriginal, workaday stuff.

This is SEMA, you're supposed to be doing incredible things. Like maybe a twin-charged S14, or a twin-turbo Hartley V8, or a rallycross drivetrain behind the original engine.

The most exciting thing about this car is its original fender flares.


Blasphemy ! I sound like an old moron but no, MPower is MPower.

Would you swap a C5 Corvette with a S54 from the M3 E46 or a S65 from the M3 e92 ? No.


I cant believe there is so much hate for this... Oh wait yes I can its the internet.

If some of you actually attended the show and got to see this car up and close you wouldn't be knocking a thing. The quality of work that went into this car is superb and extremely well done.

Go ahead and disapprove of the engine but please stop knocking this car it was one of the best non-domestics at the show in my opinion.


Beautiful car. But the weight displacement has to suck. Very front heavy.

I have a ae86 with a f20c. making the same power in a lighter chassis. But the engine was lowered and pushed farther back to keep the stock weight ratio. With this swap you cant put the v8 any farther back or lower. Retarded. But if you want to roll with American muscle i guess this is a good idea.


-Drunken Monkey


Ruined that perfectly good BMW with LSjunk. What a shame.


@Fooman. Can't tell if serious about Rover V8...


thumb up @Francesco "The Italian Job" Di Giuseppe, sad enough to c bimmer gettin rid of the in-line 6, extra-*sadface* for this...nuf sed...=(


The ls is a nice engine but i dont understand why they would molest the e30 m3. There are so few left in good condition in the states. Also, to all you guys hating on the lsx swaps, come up with a cheaper source for reliable power and let me know.


Not sure I'd do it, but very cool none the less. Would be a bit of fun that's for sure.


This thing has some really cool engineering, after all it was built by and engineer. It should be a really fun car to run on the track. Is it me or do the front fender and rear quarters look a bit Imprezaish? I don't know maybe they had to be shaped that way so they fit properly with the cars lines.


Beautiful car and very well done swap, especially the attention to details and the paint work. Amazing creation, I think it would be un-carnut-like to badmouth this one. I love it, great feature!


@JustJohn those are NOT original M3 fenders. M3 fenders are flat not slanted.


Boring and predictable. Whatever happened to originality?


The LS is too good for those BMW colors.


Why not a BMW engine? Because the LS is lighter and more compact than it's teutonic counterpart.


That a lot of people have done a swap isn't a reason not to do it, it is usually a reason TO do it. Then all that matter is that it is accomplished with skill and elegance, like it is here.

Dropping american V8s in lightweight sport coupes and sportscars have been done for about 50 years, and some of those cars are truly great motoring icons. Why don't people go pour some hatorade on the Shelby Cobra then, for defiling the AC Cobra legacy.


Anyone know what the paint color is called? Is it a stock color?


E30 M3 is an icon, this is ugly. An S14 it was ment to be, or they should put another M motor. This is lack of respect of car history.


A nice m5 v 10 would be much more exciting imo but beautiful car none the less


@MatthewDesmondLynch its v8.