Bridgestone Potenza 205/50R16 RE-71R Ultra High Performance Tires
Italian Market Touring – No Rust
The 1984-1991 BMW 3 Series, known generationally as the E30, is the one model more than any other that earned BMW its Ultimate Driving Machine reputation. E30s are one of our specialty vehicles at Glen Shelly Auto Brokers. The E30 Touring was the pet project of BMW engineer Max Reisbock. He literally built the first E30 touring out of a wrecked 323i in his garage after work—it was so good that BMW put it into production (with a few minor changes). The E30 Touring started a legacy of sporty BMW wagons that remains to this day. All late-model tourings were spec’d with the 325 suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes. The extra pillars added rigidity over the Coupe and Sedan and there is slightly more rear weight bias, giving it superb handling characteristics. Fold down rear seats, shadowline trim, and Euro headlights make the Touring one of the most exclusive and sporting E30s. The U.S. market never got the Touring, but they are legal now, thanks to the 25-year exemption. Most were subjected to harsh climates and daily duty, thanks to their increased utility. Rust in the rear hatch is a common issue, making dry climate history an important consideration regarding the country of origin. This and a clean body are the most important factors in finding a touring.
I purchased this Italian Market Touring as a personal car in 2015. It was originally a 320i with the two-liter six-cylinder M20B20 engine and zero rust thanks to being from the dry climate of Italy. It was well optioned in Salmon Silver a metallic over Anthracite cloth with an M Tech 2 steering wheel, analog clock, power rear windows, and a sunroof. The only issue was the power, the M20B20 engine was gutless at Colorado altitudes—why BMW ever made a six cylinder with the displacement of a four cylinder is something that only makes sense in European tax code. I solved this by swapping in an S50B30 engine from a 1994 (European) M3 mated to an E30 M3 G265 gearbox. The driveshaft is a rebuilt unit from an E30 M3 and the diff is a 3.64 limited-slip differential (E36 internals in an E30 case). The engine was already adapted for E30 fitment from a friend who built the swap while stationed in Germany using an E34 oil pan and wiring harness adapters. For the Touring I deleted the brake booster, fitted an E36 radiator with an electric cooling fan, large volume oil cooler, custom skid-plate, and a custom exhaust using factory euro headers, a high-flow catalytic converter, and a Magnaflow muffler with black tips. I replaced the gas tank (the original had a small depression that limited fuel pickup), fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, mass airflow sensor, spark plugs, and oxygen sensor. The suspension is made up of an E36 M3 front and 318ti rear five-lug swap, under Ground Control E30 coilovers and camber plates. All suspension bushings were replaced with Garagistic poly bushings and Garagistic rear camber and toe adjusters were welded in. The wheels are 16 x 8 inch E38 Style 5’s with fresh Bridgestone 205/50R16 RE-71R tires. The front and rear fenders are rolled for clearance (done so after the pictures in the ad). Inside I replaced the anthracite cloth comfort seats with cloth sport seats and added oil pressure and oil temperature gauges in the center console.
I have several years and far too much money in this build, and it has finally neared completion. It was built with track and autocross usage in mind, but it is still “street-able” and street legal. That said, it is a brutishly loud and the suspension is firm, so the lighthearted need not apply—this isn’t your mother’s station wagon! The Euro S50 pulls much stronger with a higher redline (7800 rpm rev limiter!) than the US S52 does and has none of the drive-by-wire delay that the S54 does—it’s a shame that we never got the Euro S50 engines in the States. The main item that still needs to be addressed is an occasional slight hesitation that could be electrical or fuel related, but does not affect regular drive-ability. I also have an extra Alpha N ECU that I am including with the car, or you could choose to run a standalone ECU of your choice if you want to go that route. I have eliminated most of the expensive variables that it could be (Euro S50-specific MAF, fuel pump, Euro S50-specific O2 sensors, etc.), and, again, it does not affect normal drive-ability—you could literally drive it as it is forever without issue. The heater core lines still need to be developed and connected (you could make these out of off-the-shelf heater hose); the core itself is intact and in good shape. There is one area of clear coat failure on the passenger side door. The brakes and suspension could be tuned to suit the type of driving you prefer (add a larger master cylinder to compensate for the deleted booster, firmer or softer suspension bushings, etc.). I am only selling it because I acquired an M5 Touring. In a perfect world I would finish it before selling it, but that works to your advantage as a buyer, as building this car would cost far more than I am selling it for.
Overall the Salmon Silver paint is in very good condition and presents very well. It is original paint. Close scrutiny reveals minor imperfections and small paint chips, and the most glaring defect is peeling clear coat on the left rear door. There is some faint cracking where the fenders have been rolled, but it is only visible from below. It was an Italian Market Touring and there is absolutely no rust; common areas like the rear hatch, battery and jack trays, front fender seams, lower windshield cowling, and floorboards are all completely rust-free. The Euro VIN placard and firewall stamp are in place. The body and panel gaps are perfectly straight. The left side of the lower valance has a small crease, but it is subtle and presentable. One of the brake ducts is missing in photos, but I have an extra that is included with the car. All other trim is present and intact. The windshield is crack-free, and the side windows are tinted. The Euro smiley headlights have good glass, as do the turn signals, marker lights, and tail lights. One of the fog light lenses is cracked, but it is still water tight. The roof antenna shared with the E30 M3 is present and is great shape. The 16-inch E38 Style 5s are straight and true with only very minor curb rash. The center caps are present with good Roundel emblems. The Bridgestone RE-71R tires are freshly mounted and are worn evenly. The left rear tire has a minor rub marks from before I rolled the fenders, but it is still serviceable.
The interior is in very good condition. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet is in good condition. The dashboard is crack-free. The factory M Tech 2 steeling wheel has good leather and no failed stitches. All instrument cluster functions work correctly, along with the oil temp and pressure gauges we added. The analogue Euro clock is an exclusive Euro touch, as are the Euro cluster and German overhead check panel. There are no check panel warnings, but the E36 S50B30 engine does not use an E30 compatible oil level sensor. I removed the bulb, but the check light does need to be manually cancelled after start up. The Sony Stereo sounds great and has an Aux input. I added an early style E28 shifter with very good leather. The blower motor is quiet and functions at all speeds, but the heater hoses are not connected and it never came with air conditioning. The power windows and door locks function correctly and the sunroof is manual, which means it’s easier to maintain. The cloth sport seats are in very good shape. The driver’s side backrest has a small run in the fabric, but it is presentable. The seats are excellent; they are fitted with headrests and fold forward like all Tourings. The rear hatch area is very clean and the cargo cover is present.
The Euro S50B30 engine idles smoothly and pulls very strongly to redline. The hesitation is slight and occasional, and could simply diminish as it is driven more (as it as for me). All of the common oil leak spots are dry and it does not spot. The G265 transmission shifts smoothly and is the best BMW gearbox to use in this application. The driveshaft, differential, CV axles, and wheel bearings are quiet and free of vibration. The Ground Control suspension is aggressive, but compliant enough for street driving. The poly bushings are louder than stock rubber, but still tolerable for street driving. The combination of negative camber and fat tires give it fantastic turn-in, telepathic steering, and excellent handling, with the trade off being you feel the road much more than a stock E30. The brakes are firm and take some getting used to with the booster delete, but are easy to adjust to after a short time behind the wheel. The exhaust loud and it sounds glorious under full throttle, but it is still tolerable for regular driving, especially under 4K RPMs.