Yes, the title statement might not be totally true, but this 2JZ-GTE-powered BMW E30 definitely wasn’t built to turn corners.
The E30 is a proper cult car that has become more and more popular to modify in the decades since its debut. Some guys just want to make them look pretty, turning them into show cars with beautiful interiors, expensive wheels, and often air suspension.
Then you get the racers, who see these humble Bavarian boxes as the perfect base for a power build. E30s feature in all manner of motorsports, including drag racing.
I’ve known Dylan Elbert, the owner of this car, for quite a few years. He’s always had fast straight-line machines, primarily Volkswagens that have been treated to extra throttle bodies, turbos and nitrous oxide shots. Dylan’s also dabbled with BMWs, including M3s and M5s, but nothing previously has been as quick as his current build.What’s In The Box
The entire car was built in the space of seven months, the engine side of things consuming the first three months, and the chassis and bodywork the balance of the time. It’s not a sleeper by any means; the massive intercooler, side exhaust, skinny front and massive rear tyres, roll cage, and of course that turbo peeking its face out the hood let’s everyone know that this is not your average A-to-B cruiser.
I’ll start with the engine, as it’s my favourite part of the car by far. Not just because the 2JZ is one of the most tuneable motors, but also because this one’s been so well put together.
The 2JZ-GTE remains completely stock on the inside, mainly because Dylan wanted to see what quarter-mile times he could achieve before going all-out. I’m a big fan of this sort of approach, as many guys do too much too quickly, which doesn’t always work well. But as we all know, the 2JZ is also a motor that can handle quite a lot.
Obviously the engine isn’t producing its factory-rated 276hp anymore, but rather a solid 685hp to the sticky rear rubber.
The main contributor is the unmissable Holset HX60 turbocharger that’s almost the size of the whole damn engine. It’s connected to a short but thick 130mm exhaust, which as you can clearly see exits right out of the left fender. There’s no silencer in sight, just a custom heat plate to stop the fender from having a meltdown.
The front bumper has had some slats cut into it to supply the oversized intercooler with plenty of fresh air. Then there’s the in-your-face custom intake manifold, which is connected to a 100mm throttle body.
With so much air being sucked into the intake, the engine required some big injectors to keep up. Six 2,200cc Bosch units are used, with twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps and an Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator all playing their part in the upgraded fuel system, which runs a 96% Ethanol mix.
Braided hoses and FTF fittings are used all over the engine bay, there’s a catch can to collect and prevent oil from re-entering the intake tract, and boost is controlled by a GFB wastegate.
I can’t forget the NOS system either, which is primarily used to help spool up that massive turbo when the car’s in stage.
Engine management comes courtesy of a Haltech Platinum Sport 2000 setup in the passenger-side footwell. There’s also an AEM AQ-1 Data Logger installed, recording all the vitals that can be analyzed after races.
While lots of guys would have opted for a manual transmission, Dylan decided on a TH350 automatic, rebuilt with a high-stall converter and trans-brake from TCI Automotive.Keeping It All Down
Putting big power down onto the black stuff is always one of main challenges with this sort of build, but Dylan knew what he needed to do. He built the E30 with a 4-link rear end featuring ladders and coilovers, and in the center of it all sits a 9-inch differential with Strange side-shafts and a solid spool.
For wheels and tyres, Dylan has gone with 15×7.5-inch Lenso Prostreet-PZRs wrapped in 195/45R15 rubber up front, and 15-inch Weld Racing Draglites with Mickey Thompson ET Drag 28.0/10.5-15W slicks out back.Safety First
In true race car form, the interior is pure function.
A bright red roll cage, two Sparco EVO GRP Tech seats, and 5-point G-Force Pro Series harnesses fill the cabin. Proper safety equipment is paramount.
The Nitrous Oxide Systems bottle is mounted behind the seats for easy access.
The dash is kept pretty simple, with a deep-dish steering wheel, big tachometer and shift light, and AEM gauges to monitor boost pressure, oil temperature, and the air/fuel ratio.
To save weight, the remainder of interior has been stripped out. The carpets, door panels, and roof lining – it’s all gone.
The most important question for a car like this is a very obvious one. What times does it run? It was also interested to learn if it’s reliable.
At the first event I saw the car compete at, it ran a 10.4-second ET, followed by a 10 flat, which was Dylan’s goal for the current stock block setup. At a more recent event, the E30 ran 9.6-seconds at 224km/h (140mph), which is damn impressive.
The engine will now finally be opened up, with Dylan focussed on achieving an 8-second ET time slip. It might take a bit of work, but as we all know, with a bulletproof Toyota 2JZ by your side and the right knowhow, almost anything is possible.Cutting Room Floor