Tuesday, June 30, 2015

M60 V8 Swap: 1986 BMW 325e E30

The E30 generation BMW 3-series is popular choice for budget car buyers who want something that looks classy, drives decent, and doesn't cost an arm and leg.   It won't offer the same amenities or speed as newer iterations of BMW's compact sedan, but swap in a V8 from a 5 Series and you are halfway there.  Find this 1986 BMW 325e E30 with M60 V8 swap offered for $6,500 in Mamaroneck, NY via craigslist.  Tip from Cory.

The E30 was designed by famed German born auto designer Claus Luthe (NSU Prinz/Spider/Ro80,  Audi 50/100 and BMW E28/E30/E31/E32/E34/E36) and offered a clean/simple approach to baby executive cars.  Power was provided by smooth and efficient inline four or six cylinder engines and complexity like turbochargers and superchargers were eschewed. BMW did offer a 325iX all wheel drive version, but the enthusiast's choice is usually a basic rear-drive E30.  Fast forward a few decades and a 2nd-gen 3 Series offers a great package of affordability and driveability.

Power in this one has been augmented with the installation of an M60B30 V8, a 3.0 liter DOHC all-alloy machine that puts out 215 horsepower and 214 ft-lbs of torque.  It should be a decent upgrade to the original 120 horsepower of the 2.7 eta engine found in a stock 325e, but a few ponies short of the M60B40 which we hoped to see.

A nice surprise on the inside is a manual shifter attached to a ZF 310Z 5 speed, which is a perfectly adequate transmission to find behind the M60B30.  You can see more photos of car here, a link to the seller's build thread,  and some videos of the car driving here and here.

Monster torque in a svelte package is a classic muscle car recipe, and this 3er manages to stay classy and understated while sporting V8 grunt.

See a better deal on a V8 powered 3 Series that might pass a smog inspection? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Good concept, love the stealth factor, but...M60B30?

    The Gutless Wonder? All the bulk of an M60 V8 (at least they're not that heavy) with torque barely a tick up from the stock eta?

    I mean, aside from the M60B40 or an M60/M62 hybrid which would go like stink, any of the 3.0 or 3.2-liter S50/S52-family motors would work better and have required (presumably) less work to make them fit.

  2. Definitely the first time I've seen old gen Corvette wheels used on a Euro sedan. Not for everyone, but I dig it.

    1. That's kind of cool, and it reminds me of these old Zender wheels from back in the roaring 80's VW tuning heyday.


    2. 5x120 is basically bolt-thread slop variance from 5x4.75.

  3. I am super into this kind of thing. Maybe he got the engine real cheap. I wish i could find a 4 door like this that was CA approved at this kind of price. Would make a fun sleeper with the sedan factor.

    1. Yeah, he's stripped the evap smog stuff, no cats in the exhaust, the later pics in his build thread show an open cone air filter, all of which will get you laughed out of the California BAR smog referee's bay.

    2. GM will, however, sell you an 'E-Rod' kit for an LS3 motor that is fully smog-legal on pre-OBDII cars, as long as you can make the exhaust plumbing fit.


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