CATuned’s After Hours Project

Right before SEMA Keiron took us all on a guided tour of CATuned. Through Keiron’s lens we got to see some of the projects Igor Polishchuk worked on within the confines of a normal nine to five work day. What Keiron didn’t show us was the project they were working on after hours. CAtuned has brought a vehicle to SEMA every year since 2012. Their projects can typically be found tucking tire right outside the main hall. Each of their builds have been better than the last with the 325 they brought this year being their pinnacle.

It’s not just Igor, Keiron, or myself saying this. The judges of the Battle of The Builders think the same, nominating the car as a top twelve finalist.

CAtuned E30 Grape - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-4034

The E30 known as Grape started with a simple ethos; a retro-styled E30 built to an incredibly high standard. A straight forward sounding task, but not one that can be accomplished without a lot of extremely hard work and dedication.  To start, Igor took a standard, fairly rough, 1986 325e and stripped it down to just a shell. Rusty parts were binned, and wherever possible factory new parts were used. Did you know you can still get brand new fenders for these cars from BMW? Neither did I until Igor told me.  Once all of the new body panels arrived, 916 Cars lovingly brought the body back straight before painting it Daytona Violet.

In my opinion Daytona is one of the most under used, and under appreciated color codes in the BMW catalog. It’s also a color that one can build an extremely tasteful pallet around, as Igor has illustrated with his interior and wheel color choices. But before we get to those, lets talk about the headlights.

CAtuned E30 Grape - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-4137

The quad square lights, in place of the quad rounds, were one of the most talked about modifications done to this car. Which is saying a lot considering the vast number of other modifications performed.

For the non E30 nerd, these lights are not a retrofit from a different vehicle, nor is it a completely one off job. The conversion, which includes lights and grill, was produced by a company named Taifun. They are defunct today making the conversion fairly difficult to source.  If you’ve never seen the quad headlight face lift before it might take a bit of getting used to. Love it or hate it, the conversion gives the car a very distinctive look. Personally I’ve set up shop on the ‘love it’ side of the fence.

CAtuned E30 Grape - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-4148

Inside Igor again didn’t compromise in any way. He sourced fair condition vintage Recaro seats and had them recovered in purple Mtech 1 material. BMW e30 dashes are notoriously prone to cracking so Igor covered this one in leather. He carried that leather down the sides of the center console as well. A contrasting color goes up the middle, and that same color is used on the glove box.

Mtech-1 door sills, Mtech fabric inlaid door panels, wood grain accents and purple seat belts round out the stylish interior. In a bit of “function first” thinking Igor even installed custom cup holders where the ashtray previously resided.

CAtuned E30 Grape - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-4029

Suspension and wheels come from long time build partners Air Lift Performance and Rotifom. In addition to the ALP struts, ST sway bars have been installed front and rear. Every bushing, nut and bolt has also been replaced on the suspension. The front and rear subframes have also been completely refinished, along with the under body. Behind the gray 16″ Rotiform SAC wheels is a custom CATuned BBK set up, comprised of 12″ rotors and 4-piston calipers.

CAtuned E30 Grape - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-4129

Under the hood, the 2.7L motor is long gone replaced with an Active Autowerks supercharged S52. CSF handles keeping things cool and Vibrant components were used to construct the exhaust.

CAtuned E30 Grape - Keiron Berndt - Speedhunters - SEMA 2018 Deliverables - 10 - 29 - 2018-3950

A true labor of love, and a realization of just a few of the ideas he’s got on his mind we wish Igor and CAtuned the best of luck in the Battle of The Builders competition while at the same time, eagerly awaiting CAtuned’s 2019 build.

Igor has also documented the entire build process on the CATuned blog for those of you who might want a deeper dive into what makes this particular e30 tick.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverything

Photography by Keiron Berndt
Instagram: keiron_berndt



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It's always nice to learn something new on speedhunters, Great build!!
Just by the way, when is speedhunters considering making an app? We'd love the convenience.


It's something I'd love to see happen too!


You guys should use Tapatalk, I love it, loads of control for the mods / writers too like disabling comments or adding photos etc.
It runs well on most devices too


Not a fan of cheap looking exhaust tips and mirrors, tinted tail lights and extreme stance. Despite these, well done! Love interior <3


You don't know shit about E30s. Shut up.


The mirrors are DTM spec and I think there's a good chance they're not reps. The taillights are startec smoked, some of, if not the rarest and most expensive ones available for the E30. Every part on that car is RARE. I could go on but the point is: that car is the close to perfection.


The e30 kid in me is ashamed I didn't mention the Startecs. I also totally need to stop writing about e30s before I do something rash and financially irresponsible.


You should do it. I know I would.


None of that is cheap. Those are not tinted tail lights. Car has airbags. But thank you!


Love this build! Only thing is the quad headlight conversion, have never liked this for some reason even though it fits the grille and hood lines and makes more sense than round. I get the retro-build theme but I agree that the tinted taillights look cheap. Love the Rotiform wheels and the interior! Great job overall.


Awesome build!


Congrats on making to top 12 SEMA Battle of the builders, looking forward to seeing it in the top 4


The front light conversion is very similar to a Zender kit available back in the day across Europe more popular in Germany & Holland than the UK where it never caught on .......a great build , loving the interior but not the stance.


Congrats on getting into the top 12. All that hard work has paid off!


Isn't it a bit.....meh...for a top 12 and coverage considering the vision that has gone into so many more cars? Stance, headlights with a BMW family engine swap? ZZzzzzzzz


I do love this, but those lights start to make it look like a mk1 Jetta and I'm not sure about that!


Few comments about the tail lights....They're Startec tails. Somewhat rare and highly desirable in the e30 community. CATuned putting together a great build per usual.


My first car cost less than a good set of startecs in Germany. lol


Damn it is the purple car of my dreams. Well done igor


The paint and interior are so good.. PS: I am fully behind clear / smoked tails with OEM style housings.. Definitely a hot boy look.


So, a Taifun Mtech1 with MHWs is the pinnacle for you in the US? lmao