Saturday, February 13, 2016

Axis Combo: 1987 BMW 325i, Nissan VH45DE V8

The BMW E30 3-series is a popular car for modification -- it was produced in great numbers, has a huge fan-base, and handles like a modern car.  This means that all kinds of engines get shoved in the front, mostly larger/better/later BMW inline-6s, a few BMW V8s, LSX V8s (of course), but this one is certainly an interesting choice.  Find this 1987 BMW 325i with Nissan VH45DE V8 power offered for $6,200 in Tustin, CA via craigslist.

The E30 with an engine swap that we've featured, but it is the first time I've seen the Infiniti Q45 engine shoved into a BWM.  The car also lowered a few inches and is covered in a battleship grey paint that doesn't look BMW OE to me.

Under the hood is Nissan's VH45DE V8 that appears transverse at first glance due to the tarantulaesque intake manifold, but it actually a longitudinal DOHC V8.  The VH45DE is rated at 278 horsepower from the factory (but actually produce something closer to 310 hp) and is mated to a 5-speed manual from a twin-turbo 300ZX.  With the welded diff out back, this thing should be quite a little menace. 

Hat tip to Oddimotive.  See another strange combination of international metal?


  1. How is this only 6K? It is so awesome. I am wondering about CA smog.

    1. Might be the real reason he's cutting it loose. Buyer beware.

    2. He discloses in the ad that it will not pass smog. If you read his ad, it doesn't appear that there's much to like. Drift car (translation: flogged), passenger door handle missing... but you can't lock the driver's door except from the passenger side... electrical problems....

      Sounds like a Frankencar that the registration is about to run out on.

      Sounds perfect.

    3. He notes it's a track toy, but it's not caged nor seriously gutted. Ran out of time and money.

      You could theoretically do a CA legal VH45 swap, but you pretty much need to be able to use the stock exhaust manifolds and cats.

  2. I wonder what the weight difference (if any) is on the front axle of that e30. Too much, and the sublime handling of that little bimmer will be spoiled. Either way, those wonky offset wheels have to go.

  3. The VH45DE is aluminum, in the same weight territory as the BMW M62 V8. It's also a little narrower than the M62 motors, the BMWs are around 28.5in over the cam covers while the Nissan's about 26. IIRC the DOHC Ford mod motors are around 30 and the monstrous Ford 5.4 DOHC as used in the '00 Cobra R and the Aussie Falcon GTs is close to 36.


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