What do you reckon the best way to create enemies is? Declare yourself a superhero? Push over a baby whilst flipping the bird at an OAP? I’m sure there are a million ways to take yourself off people’s Christmas card list pretty quickly, but I have to wonder if modifying your car should really be one of them…
Have you ever considered how odd it is that a hobby which invokes so much passion can also create the total opposite reaction as well? It’s not exclusive to the car world certainly, but I’m pretty sure dog fanciers, trainspotters and stamp collectors don’t really have this problem.
There are also a million and one fashion items that I think look plain stupid, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to tell the person wearing them, or indeed get upset over it. I guess it’s because we all feel so deeply about the automotive world that things we don’t like, or don’t think are suitable, rile us up so much.
The E30 M3 is certainly a car that evokes emotion. I’m yet to meet somebody that doesn’t admire the boxy boldness of the late ’80s/early ’90s Bavarian brute, and indeed, I think it’s one of the most common ‘dream garage’ cars I know of.
So just what is it that’s got people so annoyed by Nick Sahota’s M3 that there have been threats of ‘throwing water balloons of diarrhoea at people who aren’t physically disgusted’, amongst other such ingenious uses of toilet waste?
At first glance, it’s a bit hard to tell. Ok, so it didn’t roll out of the factory in that colour and it does sit pretty low, but there’s nothing offensive so far is there? No lurid bodykits ruining the lines of the powerful haunches and I can assure you it is a genuine M3, so there’s no deception going on there.
Your first hint that not all is what it might first seem comes when you pop the bonnet. But more on that in a bit. Let’s start at the beginning…So what’s all the fuss about?
It is low. And I mean seriously, exhaust-scraping low.
The rather serious bit of tuck going on is courtesy of a full set of air suspension from Air Lift Performance. Purists – this is your cue to start breaking out the tissues and weeping hysterically.
But should anyone really be that upset? This is just the aired-out look to be used at shows, and who could really deny how badass it looks slammed to the floor on those wheels?
After all, this is the normal ride height for the car. Low, but perfectly functional. And the car’s no trailer queen either – Nick sees to it that it gets driven hard.
The rolling stock has plenty of racing pedigree too. The Compomotive TH wheels are a classic design from the rally world and look seriously mean in black with the colour-coded decals. If you’ve picked up on the logos not matching to the wheels, that’s because Nick wasn’t keen on the asymmetric Compomotive logos, so used the OZ ones instead (as OZ’s rally wheel is practically identical anyway). It’s all about the details…
And remember that I mentioned what’s underneath the bonnet? Well, what’s there now is still sporting the all-important M badge, but instead of the straight four that comes in a normal E30, Nick’s creation has undergone a powerplant modernisation, with a 3.2L engine from an E46 M3 now supplying the oomph.
Ok, so strictly speaking, it’s not the exact engine that the car rolled out of the factory with, but I for one like the choice of keeping it in the family. It certainly looks OEM sitting in the engine bay, but a custom manifold and exhaust have the straight six now sitting at around 360hp with 365Nm (269lb-ft), offering an 80% increase in power over the stock lump. What’s not to like about that?
Mated to a five-speed box from an E36 M3, with a racing clutch and flywheel, and limited slip diff, the result is a lively old-timer that’s more than happy to play along with – and embarrass – its younger siblings. And let’s face it, that’s what we all want to do in our older years.If looks could kill
Of course, it’s the bright bodywork that first draws your attention and deservedly so. But there’s more to it than just picking a fresh modern hue: the Inka Orange is a paint colour that used to be available on the BMW 2002.
The mean and menacing stare of the wide-hipped German is aided by a set of smoked Hella front lights, as well as that chunky E30 M3 Evo II chin spoiler and the blacked out signature kidney grille.
A pair of BMW Motorsport door handles are another neat little touch on the exterior – these are influenced by the versions found only on the rare E36 M3 GT and LTW models.
Smoked Startec tail lights provide the finishing touch to the exterior and I for one am grateful that it’s received only the lightest of tweaks. You just shouldn’t mess with perfection. Just look at those haunches – stunning.
The orange and black theme continues on the inside, where the custom trimmed Recaro M3 seats in charcoal Alcantara with orange double stitching provide a classy but muted counterpoint to the bright exterior.
The re-trim extends throughout the interior too, on the door cards, the headlining, centre console, gearknob, handbrake and parcel shelf.
In the rear, a custom audio install includes a mix of high-end Audison components to keep Nick’s ears amused whenever the custom stainless steel 60mm twin-pipe exhaust’s not providing the aural entertainment. The private plate’s a little ironic hat tip to the purists out there and just goes to demonstrate Nick’s amusement over the whole furore the car has created.
So now you know the car’s little secrets, are you similarly outraged? Is the thought of an E30 M3 on air and with a later model engine enough to get you looking at your bathroom and conjuring up alternative methods of recycling? Or, like me, are you struggling to see what all the negativity is really about?
Nick took a car with many issues (including the dreaded rust) and transformed it into the unique E30 that you see in front of you. Along the way there have been some changes but the car’s still managed to retain all of the charm and character (plus more than a few nods to BMW history) that have made the E30 M3 into a firm favourite around the world. And if that’s enough to make you enemies, then maybe all the arch-villains of the world should abandon their plans for world domination and start ‘bagging up some classics…
Really don't see what the fuss is about. It's a well executed car and at the end of the day... It's his fucking car! Let the man do whatever the fuck he wants with his possessions.
Sick m3! Hate the audio in the trunk and air bags but the wheels and color are perfect. I don't mind it sitting low, maybe this is a tad to low but it reminds me of the slammed British touring cars which I've always loved. Wheels are killer!!!
I can't see too many e30 enthusiasts getting worked up about this car. S54 swaps are loved by most, and everything has been done tastefully - even the inca orange is quite a loved colour in BMW circles.
Fantastic build, but I think the tone of the article shows either the writer, or owner isn't really that across the e30 scene.
It's not like it's a chopped up EVO 2, with a bodgy SR20DET swap?
Always looking to do some nice custom seats or interiors.
Getting better as I get older. Phil
@Ben Link For this car or something else?
I just love the details!! I would change a few things, but to each his/her own.. oh and yea, I really struggle to see why the hatred
I love this car! Nice colour, wheels, engine, stance, ...
But i prefer the original tail lights & original bmw logo's...
Absolutely nothing wrong with this car. If anything, the purists should be thankful he saved another e30 from just sitting around collecting rust waiting to be crushed.
I don't understand why people hate on other's custom cars. Just be happy they decided to actually do something different with their car than just drive another boring stock commuter car....
Really enjoyed the feature and loved the car! Made a replica in Forza 5 and have been ripping up the C class league in my digital orange 1991 M3
Not too fond about the AirRide on such a car, but i do get why the owner decided to do it.
Also im not too fond about the big stereo although it is beautifully done.
Interior, exterior and mechanical i love. It really is a beautiful car and its sitting perfect!
Anyone who gets worked up over this is a child. I drive a plastidipped Volvo wagon with "Prancing Moose" badges running a straight piped T5. If you think this M3 gets hate, lololololol. You have no idea, I've on numerous occasions been called a F**got for what I drive. Dont think this M3 owner has to deal with that.
I like this car. Looks good and something unique. Props to you and the companies you worked with this to make your dream come to fruition. Whoever did the trunk gets a 10/10. Awesome details.
Question for the owner: I noticed that because of the larger engine transplant that you have the stock radiator right up against the engine with no fan either. Do you encounter overheating issues at all? I would assume in heavy traffic or stops that temperatures would climb.
Maybe there is something that I'm not able to see from the pics. Note rested to know. Looking forward to a response. Thanks.
@CSFrace its a larger radiator. There is also an electric fan.
@NickSinghSahota @CSFrace I think I see the fan on the front side now that I look at the engine bay picture again (pusher fan).. an all-aluminum radiator (no plastic endtanks would be a nice bling touch down the line.. never the less - great build! I like it a lot.
remember when you have haters, you're doing something right!
That is simply stunning , I simply don't understand the purists getting all worked up.
It's not their car to start with and if anything the guy has improved the original recipe, ok not a lover of the aired out look but it's defo got the whole dtm look going which I love
Here's what I'm upset about- "all conversion work done by Ergen Motorsport". I think it's unfair to say that Nick "transformed" this car. If my inferences are correct, he simply threw a bunch of money at a shop to build him a badass M3. And while I love the car, I don't respect it the same way I'd respect a car built by the owner's hands. But hey, if you've got the money, right?
@NickSinghSahota This is one fine build ! congrats! and the fact that you've done it in 5 months, while i've been killing myself to get my 83 starlet ready and it's nowhere near and I started 5 months ago ! I find it astonishing! awesome engine swap on one of the most beautiful cars i've seen lately.
@NickSinghSahota Not a snarky response, but it would be more apt to say designed and commissioned by Nick rather than transformed? I think that's fair.
@Big Pooky yes the engine conversion was done by a reputable company with more knowledge, expertise and experience than me. Yes the trimming/audio/interior work was done by another reputable company and the paint work by another.
But who decided on every detail with meticulous attention to everything? While I don’t have the levels craftsmanship of the guys at StudioIncar, Ergen Motorsport and Stylehaus. It was my brain child. This car is an expression of myself. Built exactly how I wanted it, down to the finest details.
And do not get it wrong I was as hands on as I could be, throughout the build without compromising on quality as my skill doesn't stretch as far as the shops that did the mass of the work.
Why would I attempt to do it all myself when I can achieve a much better result by having it done by skilled professionals. Not to mention this whole build was started and finished within 5 months. I couldn't have done that on my driveway, even if I didn't have a day job.
So in response of your statement. I did transform this car with the help of a few professionals.
I can't thank StudioIncar, Ergen Motorsport and Stylehaus enough for the work put in.
@Big Pooky Sometimes it's more a case of not having the time or talents to put something like this together. It's a big undertaking and commitment. Sometimes, it's best to let the professionals deal with things although I'm sure Nick was heavily involved in the build too.
The people that say negative comments are normally ignorant, with the world vastly changing they think that old stuff (although certainly has it's charm) is better than new stuff, but with technological advances comes many great new ideas . The point I'm trying to make is that people should start to embrace new ideas , have an open mind about things , instead of putting Down somebody's hard work no matter what it is ,(because the car didn't get built by itself right) the problem with purist cars they all look boring and the same, this m3 however is fresh,exciting a different outtake to anybody else that to me is noble enough , I salute the builder/owner of the car ! There's not enough people that want to go to the extremes these days , hence why everything looks the same rant over :D
With that kind of logic, just get a newer car and outfit it with what the latest trends demand, so in 20-30 years time it can at least be deemed as period-correct.
I really don't see the problem.. At least its a S54, wonder what would happen if he would have put a audi 5cyl turbo engine in it.
the only thing i don't like is the o.z. decals on non o.z. rims, but thats a pretty minor thing really. apart from that this cars fine by me, its not like hes riced it up or anything and theres heaps of cool little bits from beemers that came before and after in the parts used to modify it so i don't see why people should have any major issues with this, unless these "purists" would prefer this to be stock, in which case they might want to look for another car culture website (just sayn')...
@stylez nz well, could it be OZ racing wheels with OZ decals because its OZ racing wheels?... just wondering
@HVOLLAN @stylez nz the cars got compomotive wheels with O.Z. decals on them, the comps logo didn't look as good as O.Z.'s so he slapped the O.Z. logo on them instead, if i were him i would've tried to source the O.Z. counterparts of the wheels he has on it just to make it look a little more correct, but, its his car, not mine so its down to him...
@stylz nz @BastosBill That is exactly the situation. I'm still looking for the oz versions which are pretty much identical. Find me a set of oz racing wheels in the right fitment. It is easy to comment on the internet, another thing entirely to actually source them.
oh and i didn't mean for that last bit to sound quite as blunt as i typed it out, i just don't like it when people bag on things people have put alot of love, attention and money into, thats not what speedhunters is for.
I would have left the decals off. I don't understand why you would label it something that it's not. I don't like the rear tail lights either. Could have smoked them for a milder result, but hey, I guess he wasn't going for that mild look. I don't get the air suspension, wheel tuck and all of that static, form over function stuff. I don't mind the engine and transmission transplant, though. The colour is mad.
@cooki_monsta Rear lights are period modification.
I have no problem with this car, air ride is removable and the motor is BMW as is the colour.....so what??
If it was on something like crazy hydraulics, had a 2JZ and was pink, then yeah I'd have issues with it.
@Spaghetti Someone, somewhere is going to read your comment and be inspired. When that car arrives on the scene, I'm blaming you.
@prazzi I can think of worse things TBH. A JZA70 with a turbo S54 would be my sort of thing :)
I think what "saves" it is the whole package...imho those "questionable" modifications wouldn't have cut it on their own.
I adore this car, and I can't wait to spend a little quality time with it next week... Surprised about the OZ stickers on Comps, but a minor detail really.
As A BMW fanboy, I'd be upset to see one cut up for a rocket bunny kit or similar, purely because the numbers must be dwindling now.
I think it looks pretty cool, but i'm not a big fan of the heavy lump of an engine nor the audio. No reason for hating though. In the end it's just another mass produced marketing exercise.
@Vittorio Jano It's hardly the first six cylinder E30 in the world and an S54 isn't that heavy. It's also not mass produced at all?
@PaddyMcGrath @Vittorio Jano Didn't mean to sound too negative about this car. What I meant was that people shouldn't get too emotional about mass produced goods (17000 units counts). There were over 2 million e30s made and over 17000 of them were M3s. Hardly a unique piece of art then. So my point is that no matter what the owner of this car does to it, it isn't worth of anyone's hate. I have to say I find this "f*ck u purists"-attitude quite childish.
About the engine. It's just my personal opinion that I would prefer a lightweight and especially short four cylinder engine instead of a long (but glorious, of course) six cylinder. I happen to be one who worships balance, elegance and efficiency and I base my opinion on that. Of course your opinion may differ and you for example may prefer brute force and that's totally ok. It is quite irrelevant if someone has done something before.