Welcome to project RallyX E30 ( I was going to go with DirtE30 but that has been taken ). I originally bought this E30 325is my Junior year of college. It looked to be very well maintained and adult owned. It came with two folders full of spreadsheets and receipts along with the original brochure that came with the car. Which is exactly the type of things you want to see when you buy a used German car.
Having just sold my heavily modified TurboII Rx7 ( Which means it was stupid fast and a money pit… ) I was ready for something a little more mature and reliable. Don’t get me wrong the Rx-7 was fun on a bun, and some day I will own another, but as a broke college student it was taking way too much time and money. Having ridden in many an E30 and driven an E30 M3 I knew the chassis was a good fit my driving style and needs.
I wanted to Auto-X, Drift and do as many Track Days as I could afford. So the modifications began… Having just gotten away from a high power car I was ready to get back to basics so I didn’t do anything more to the engine than a tune up and a Dinnan chip. The suspension was pretty sloppy so I slowly started adding pieces till I got it where I wanted. It started with Ireland Engineering springs with Bilstien HD shocks. Then I went with the thickest sway bars I could find and put in very stiff rear sub-frame mounts. One of my buddies wanted to go with taller rear end so for a little extra cash I traded for his 4.10 LSD. This setup, with some decent tires, was really fun. With some aggressive driving I could hang with most of the lower power cars on the track and have some serious fun at Auto-Xs ( It really wasn’t too competitive given the class I was put in ).
After college I got a real job and had some money to put into the car. Being a responsible adult the majority of my income went into my car. I got some Corbeau Carbon Kevlar seats with custom aluminum brackets. I also added a harness bar and some Scroth 4 – point harnesses. I went with a full Ground control coilover with re-valved Koni adjustable shocks and aluminum camber plates. I added a nice deep Momo steering wheel and a B&M short shifter ( which to be honest wasn’t as good as it is on other cars, it was AMAZING on my 240sx… but that is another story ). I also added a DTM shift knob which is probably meant for a race transmission with little to know slop. For the brakes I went with some quality rotors and some Porterfield R4S race brake pads. As you could guess the car was getting a bit harsh for daily driving and when the A/C went out ( in a cloud of white toxic smoke ), it was time to turn it into a pure track car. So I ordered the widest wheels and race tires I could get under it ( without fender flares ). At this point I could afford a trailer and big truck to pull it with. I did a few Auto-Xs and track days but because I had no covered place to store the car the sticky race tires quickly flat spotted and got hard. I then learned that trashed race tires are like driving on ice. Since I didn’t want to ruin another set of tires I decided to keep it out at my parent ranch till I owned a place to store it.
Well, I ended up selling the truck and going through about 7 new daily drivers ( E36 M3, 335d, Subaru 2.5rs, HEAVILY modified TDI Golf, built Sil80, IS300, RSX and an Outback XT ). So the years passed and I ended up starting my own business, getting married and other typical growing up stuff. All the while I never got a round to bringing my E30 out of storage. I knew I would never sell it, it just had too many stories/battle scars and too much potential. Over the years I mapped out several different paths for the car, first it was going to be a track monster with a widebody kit and a supercharged Euro M3 motor. Or maybe I would just turn it into a super comfortable DD with some plush e46 seats and some hard core insulation. Or perhaps a showcar, or maybe a drift car, etc… None of these plans came to fruition and all the while the car rotted out at the ranch. It was partially sheltered and I replaced the car covers every couple of years as they would just disintegrate, but this did not stop the rats and the sun from having their way with my baby. 🙁
Last year after getting married, my wonderful wife decided that we should make it a priority to get the E30 back on the road one way or another. ( That was when I knew I picked the right girl 🙂 ). So I started to get serious and came up with the prefect plan… I have been wanting to Rally/RallyX since I knew it existed. Growing up on a ranch with dirt roads everywhere, the appeal of going fast on them was undeniable. Then I found out that a club here in Texas started hold Rally-X events and I was sold. My goal was clear, I was going to turn the E30 into a Rally-X car!
Step One was getting it up to Austin so that I could work on it. This turned into a huge ordeal, but thanks to my family and friends we pushed and pulled it off a trailer and got it delivered. Now that it is here it is clear to see I have my work cut out for me. It is rough but has some serious potential. It might not be as fast as Subarus, but it will be fun I guarantee that :). So I decided to keep a record of the resurrection/transformation of the DirtE30. Please leave your comments and feedback. The next article will describe the long list of work to be done…