Old DTM Cars Don’t Die…</br> They Get Faster
Old Warrior

I like museums – especially automotive ones. They’re very special places to just be; to soak up history and examining certain periods in time which have been perfectly encapsulated by the items on display. But there’s always a touch of sadness when I see a race car lifted up for all to admire – it’s once cutting-edge suspension and brakes now redundant as it poses for photos. Maybe there’s a video wall nearby acting as a constant reminder of its great achievements, or a soundtrack that loops engine noise through the space. You know the drill…

BMW E30 DTM M3 Gatebil Mantorp Park -1

Then there are the renegades – the escapees – the ones that got away into the wild. Left to fend for themselves without factory or big team support, old race cars can often mutate into the most incredible creations. The sort you’d never dare even consider when looking at a factory-produced race car.

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But when you find one a couple of decades down the line it’s a wonderful thing. You’re probably thinking this can’t be a real DTM car, right? But that’s exactly what it is – one that strayed from the party line a long time ago. If you’re cringing a little bit already, you probably don’t want to know that it’s also had a Chevy V8 mounted between the chassis legs in the past.

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From this angle you can see why people sometimes wonder if the engine is mid-mounted, as the large alloy ducting that helps air escape from the cooling hardware is so deep. The truth of the matter is that the race series the M3 competes in allows the furthermost part of the engine to be mounted no more than 200mm back from the bottom edge of the windscreen.

BMW E30 DTM M3 Gatebil Mantorp Park -2

So the BMW-sourced V8 can now sit way back, with that lovely stiff cross-bracing demonstrating how far behind the centre of the wheel line it actually is. I’m told it was a crazy squeeze to get it in there, as witnessed by that air intake pipe which snakes into the front of the custom plenum. To get to it and administer any sort of maintenance requires dislocating limbs and removing half the hardware, but every misplaced kilo in a race car can make the crucial difference between well-balanced handling and a pitchy, unwanted and unmanageable setup.

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So what we have here is a rough and ready mix-up of factory-backed magnificence that’s been taken into the darkness of some uniquely talented minds and morphed into this. It’s like an Olympic athlete that took a load of drugs, or maybe an old boxer who has mental power on his side after years in the ring.

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The more mechanically-minded amongst you will have worked out by now that there’s also a turbo feeding the V8, which is mounted inside the alloy box you can see in the background of this picture. Yup, right where the passenger would normally have their legs. But then again, the logo on the side of the BMW is for GIK Turbo, one of Sweden’s longest established, premier turbo specialists.

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The alloy box is another reminder that this isn’t a converted road car – it’s a gen-u-ine straight-up race car that has never had a passenger seat, so why would it matter if a turbo was placed where a useless bag of bones might perch?

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I’m a fan of old race cars in all shapes and forms – from immaculately preserved and maintained examples to these war-torn veterans. Neither is better – all have their own qualities that draw me in.  But I have a special respect for this BMW and no matter how you feel about it, the fact is it’s out there kicking ass on the track rather than staring out of a glass box at tourists all day… Which would you prefer?

Bryn Musselwhite
Instagram: speedhunters_Bryn

Cutting Room Floor
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sweet, are there any vids?


Metal core exhaust tips. Emission friendly!


Light, wide-bodied, powerful and balanced!? What more could one want in a DTM BMW?!
Great post guys!


Because an E30-era DTM car won't do? 

I'm sure in todays era of way too many cylinders and way too much power, the old DTM car wasn't up to snuff, however, for the amount of hacking, fabrication and moulding that was put into this car, would it not just suffice to tear into an old street car rather than disembowel a classic.

Perhaps its just my love of classic M3's, but despite the creativity of people building fantastic mechanical works of art, this one just seems to hurt a little more than it should.


Epic e30!
Awesome feature!


Budd19 Sorry you feel this way. To me it looks like it has more stories to tell of battles on too many tracks to name, for too many years to count.....and that its proud as hell to STILL be beaten regularly and heavily.


poor car.


Budd19 I have to agree with you. without questioning the quality of the work done to the car, but given the extent they went in order to get that kind of performance, they could have used a regular e30 shell (not even an M3).
The result would have been the same (which is great BTW), and an old DTM car, would still remain an old DTM car ...


What I'd preffere is to take it around the track myself.. Wishful thinking...


Mental. Bravo.
Think there's room in this world for crazy stuff like this. At one point this may have been just a worn-out old race car, so instead of scrapping, it's been rescued, "re-purposed". They _did_ make more than one DTM M3, right?
Curious 'bout that "Chevy V8" part of its history...!


@bv911 the article clearly states BMW V8.... thank god he didn't go for the Chevy V8


Novac Darius 
at one point had a small block chevy reread the article


As a fabricator and former hot rod builder/ racer builder I enjoy both the restored and the still raced...Ive often been part of the "evolution" of race cars and honestly it never stops..it will always go faster/quicker...it will always need an upgrade etc...At the end of its life it can be restored and stuck in some static display...


As a fabricator and former hot rod builder/ race builder I enjoy both
the restored and the still raced...Ive often been part of the
"evolution" of race cars and honestly it never stops..it will always go
faster/quicker...it will always need an upgrade etc...At the end of its
life it can be restored and stuck in some static display...


@chris chabre Novac Darius yes but thank god it no longer has one. Enough cars have been ruined with those Chevy V8's


D1RGE EXE Budd19 Don't get me wrong, I think this is a very cool car, I just would have started with something that doesn't have the history such as Coyote_ar commented. However, giving the story another once over, it sounds like the car was already hacked up pretty good (Chevy V-8) before the current owner got his hands on it. So, in that case, you either try to return it to historic  spec, likely quite a job with mid-mounted V-8, or go Ape shit, and a BMW V-8 is the proper route for a car set up for 8. Still hurts a little though. Just my love of classic old cars.


Anyone knows what kind of dash it runs? And the ECU would be intresting aswell.


The thing is its still the same car it still has that history and is still a classic there photos videos and documents to say what it has been now that it been modernised it goin to continue making history and get a new life instead of being parked in someones shed or museum just being looked at not pushed to its limits getting biffed around a race track pushing the possibilities of what that car was capable of before


Ruined...Perhaps in a readers opinion. But not for the people who actually have the money, resources, and professional competency to build a beast like this.


It's easier said than done. Obviously youve never built a car made for the track


Coyote_ar Budd19 There was a lot of stuff that was different between M3 and DTM, and to replicate all that would cost a hell of a lot. Now a DTM car isn't exactly cheap to start with, but still.


RickRau5 Actually, i do. And an e30. But your point is? Given the ammount of modifications made to the original DTM car, they could have done the same to a standard shell. Its not a matter of easy or not, its about the starting point really. Its not like DTM cars are cheap and easy to come by...
aussieANON Not the shells, Group A demanded that the shells where the same. Plus you need to take into consideration how much of the DTM car was kept anyway.
For starters, the exterior was severily modified, so no point on doing that over the DTM basis. 
The engine compartment, its pretty much a custom job. Including moving the firewall a lot further back. 
The interior, well thats pretty much the same on every e30. And building a nice cage, aint exactly rocket science, specially for someone with such great fabrication resources. 
Given the huge difference in power/torque, i doubt they kept the rear end stock, since DTM cars didnt have tons of torque.
Front suspension? There is not much in a DTM car, that you cant buy today, tons of suspension kits today made similar or superior to what the DTM had back then.
Brakes? i doubt they are running late 80s/early 90s gear in there, when there are superior options today.
Of course if they had the DTM car, they would have some of all that work already done, but nothing that really justifies turning an original DTM car into this.


Uh, yeah, I did read it; I'm interested in learning _more_ of it's history!


It´s a shame to do this with an original DTM car with race history. This car is one of the last Chassis ever built for DTM


I still watch my old video tapes with the original DTM races on them, head-to-head battles with Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Opel & Alfa. I loved watching those races because I knew how ridiculous they were. They took giant engines, tube frames, carbon fiber body parts, giant rims and F1 drivers and dressed it up to look like a track day event. Never mind the tons of cash they threw at the teams & sponsors. It was brilliant and bold and stupid and stupendous all in one. As my fading tapes get converted to YouTube movies, and my Tamiya model kits slowly fall apart, I still remember that shining moment when all was right (and completely daft) with auto racing.


Anyone know its lap times around Mantorp Park?


Poor DTM. Way to HACK UP an original DTM


As an E30 M3 owner, I can easily say that I have zero issues with this. Also, VIDEO PLEASE!


Late to the party, oh well.

It's easy to look back on it from where we are, 20-25 years later, and bemoan hacking up what was a classic DTM car from one of the coolest periods of the sport.  But like happens a lot, for every other period of racing history, you know what it was a year or two after it stopped being competitive at the top levels?

Obsolete.  Surplus to requirements.  Either orphaned by being built to a rule set that didn't exist anymore, or too slow to be worth bothering with.

Probably the first heavy modifications came when someone found it as a stripped out, caged, reinforced shell, possibly with suspension but maybe not and almost definitely without engine and driveline and thought, hey, I can modify this to fit in whatever racing series for far less money than having to start from scratch.  If that specific chassis wasn't driven by anyone particularly famous or didn't win something major, it was probably sitting neglected in the corner of someone's shop, taking up space, and was probably let go for money that would seem, with the benefit of hindsight, to be pretty criminal, but at the time was far better than scrap value.

You know how many race cars, of various series, had this sort of thing done to them?  The lucky ones.  The rest were just scrapped.


alex jonson Plex Tuning Dashloger and Vipec 88 ecu.


The reason why they last so long is due to proper
maintenance. http://www.skauto.com.au/ could hardly
get their hands on such cars because of their condition.


Anyone know the suspensions used in this car ?


AmmarAlqisi It uses öhlins suspension.

Brady Willenbrink

Beautiful! Where can I find a wide body kit like this? Im sure its one off, but if any companies make something similar ( besides dtm fiberworks, pandem and pesch) PLEASE let me know! One of the most attractive/aggressive e30's i've seen.


The History of the car from G-Rex Swedens Facebook page:

A lovely story with a DTM BMW E30 with chassis No. 22, which the G-REX and GÄDDHULTARN built in 1995 for STCC and took his first win there with Hans Berglund behind the wheel. Then the car went ahead and returned to Sweden in 2003, when it was time for the next operation SLC endurance racing with Spalding and Tony Johansson behind the wheel, then with BMW M5 V8 engine of 600 Hp, cruel performance. The car are some years back in Norway and has been further developed for Scandinavia today's Motorsports event GATEBIL and timeatack with extreme race, cruelly beautiful event with över40 000 spectators who love cars and adds a whole new future for forms of competition on four wheels. After the latest chassis updates from the G-REX and engine from GIK Norway Further 1000HP, this is one of Scandinavia's fastest racecars today, and more are available to give. CONGRATULATIONS Marcello to your victory in the weekend ..