God’s Chariot: A Standout E30 M3

God’s Chariot.

The E30 M3 DTM race car achieved huge success to earn this nickname, especially in 1987 when BMW won the highly prestigious World Touring Car Championship. However, in order to compete in the DTM racing series, the homologation rules mandated that BMW sell at least 5,000 street legal versions loosely based off of the race car. At the time, building the E30 M3 for production seemed like a hassle for BMW, but it turned out to be a huge success for the M division. Lucky for us enthusiasts, it set a precedent for some amazing M cars and even M car competitors in the decades that followed its release.

2018 BMW E30 M3 for IATS by Tommy Kallgren-16

Decades later, with a quick Google search, we can see tons of videos and articles raving about the great E30 M3. One standout build, which highlights the prowess of the E30 M3, is this pristine 1989 example. Its owner, Eric Adams, has been daily driving it on and off for over 22 years, bringing the odometer up to over 200 thousand miles. Eric and his M3, or his ‘mistress’ as his wife calls it, has been a two decade love affair which has seen plenty of blood, sweat, and tears.

2018 BMW E30 M3 for IATS by Tommy Kallgren-22

Currently, there’s a bored and stroked 2.5-liter S14 engine in the bay pumping out almost 300hp, but it took two poorly executed previous builds, each lasting less 5,000 miles, to get to where it is now. Sadly, following the second blown motor, other priorities arose in Eric’s life leaving his M3 undrivable for six years.

Now, however, it has a plethora of quality aftermarket parts including a DTM carbon fiber intake, 12.5:1 compression, a stage 3 head, and port-matched and bored throttle bodies, all managed by Miller Performance’s Alpha-N engine management system. If that all sounds expensive, you wouldn’t be wrong. There’s a reason Eric says ‘BMW M Power’ is short for “Break My Wallet, Money Power.”

2018 BMW E30 M3 for IATS by Tommy Kallgren-26

Enhancing the M3’s factory box flares are mint BBS RS wheels which Eric bought hesitantly off of eBay in 2011. Typically, E30 M3s run 17×8.5-inch wheels in the front, but to fit 245-size Toyo Proxes R1R tires, 17×9-inch sizing was used. Eric has managed to avoid any rubbing by fitting 10mm spacers and a 16mm steering rack limiter kit.

2018 BMW E30 M3 for IATS by Tommy Kallgren-11

For the suspension setup, Eric has installed a number of parts including Ground Control coilovers utilizing Koni shocks, along with ST Suspensions sway bars and aluminum control arms.

2018 BMW E30 M3 for IATS by Tommy Kallgren-15

On the exterior, Eric went for a DTM look similar to that of the legendary E30 M3 race car. There’s an Evo II front spoiler and an Evo III rear spoiler with a carbon fiber Gurney flap.

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This car lives up to the hype. It not only looks mint for its extensive 31 year, 200,000-mile lifespan, but it has the road chops to live up to its legendary pedigree.

Words & Photos by Tommy Kallgren
Instagram: tkallgrenphoto


How To join the IATS program: We have always welcomed readers to contact us with examples of their work and believe that the best Speedhunter is always the person closest to the culture itself, right there on the street or local parking lot. If you think you have what it takes and would like to share your work with us then you should apply to become part of the IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER program. Read how to get involved here.

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Great article on a great car. Love the color.


Love the pics! Nice build...great dedication!


Everything on this car is perfect, except the ride height.


What's wrong with the ride height? Looks perfect to me.


It's usable, that's what's wrong. The right way to build a car is to swap in a mega hp twin turbo LS and then drop it so low that you actually have to drive it slower than when it was stock.


One correction. The homologation rules for DTM was only 500 cars not 5,000.


I'll break my wallet with an ear to ear smile if i have this E30 M3.



Yeah it does look a little "high" in the back. Are the tires the same size all around? Other than that, car is nice! My mechanic here in New Jersey has a 1990 E30 in white. Car was rolled and he restored it. Looks amazing! Not as nice as my "old-school" Jetta but close! My Jetta is "amazing!" Especially after taking a 65 MPH hit from a crotch rocket. Guy was drunk and blew thru a red light. He died but I got car fixed in Maryland and shot a Mobil1 commercial with it 3 years ago. Restored from floor up! Google: David Alston + Mobil1.


It’s nice to see some cool wheels from PDX. PDX has an awesome car culture. This E30 is quite something. Anyone out there with its arch rival MB 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II?