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I love my E30 ETA = am I the only one?

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    I love my E30 ETA = am I the only one?

    I've noticed that most of the threads I see are about cars with swapped engines or modified engines. No ETA posts, even though BMW made more 325e than 325i (pretty sure I read that).
    In my case, I have basically a 1 owner car that's been in the family for 35 years. I've restored it, added a body kit, refreshed everything I could find, cleaned it up and I kept the engine - 245K on it, never opened.

    My ETA at 3,250 with a 3.25 rear diff pulls pretty hard up to 112 (haven't gone faster - to be honest) - and I live in a pretty crowded city so I don't go much faster. I haven't ever maxed it out.
    I drive in 4th gear up to 72mph and I think it sounds sweet with a Ansa exhaust, which gets little love too!

    Are there any people out there who aren't worried about rocking diving boards, or having fun with their refreshed & chipped ETA?
    Someone who didn't feel the need to go euro bumpers or try to make an early model look like a late model?

    Honestly if my car was much faster, I'm not sure I could use it. I get the fun of driving it at the limit almost every time out.
    Anyone else in the ETA fan club?
    I admit, with the stock 2.93 open rear it's very tall and seems to encourage upshifting too early, but with a lower ratio and if keep the RPM over 3,000 and keep it in the power band - it's narrow but pretty usable.

    Here's the thing - I know my individual engine pretty well and it's been very dependable.
    For 35 years it's been 100% reliable and still pulls. I'm amazed and love the thing. It's like my best dog, or my favorite horse. I just does the job for me.

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    Last edited by cirrusblue; 07-23-2022, 06:20 PM.

    As an old owner I've been through it all from 85 325e auto to 2.7i 5 speed conversion w/ 3.46 gears. Chipped ETA is a must but it doesn't have the HP and RPM's. Short gearing helps but you run out of RPM's quicker. The 325i was superior in every way except for displacement and all of the aftermarket goodies were based on the 325i engine. Back in the day, 325i parts were expensive...but now they are cheap upgrades for an ETA. I also like Motronic 1.1 much better than M1.0 and the separate Idle control unit that tend to go bad.
    "I'd probably take the E30 M3 in this case just because I love that little car, and how tanky that inline 6 is." - thecj



      Limited ETA experience, only two short time experiences.

      However, as a former M42 acolyte you may be suffering from some type of Stockholm syndrome with your E. While they are both fine engines, they no where near push the limits of fun in an E30, despite being 9/10 capable cars 90% of the time. That said, you do you. Don't let diving boards or low RPM get you down since the E30 you actually drive and enjoy is the very best E30 on the planet, no exceptions.


        I have an ES ETA and I plan to leave it stock.

        I also have other "fast" cars. I understand why people who only have the ETA would want to change it's power, but there's nothing wrong with leaving it the way it is either.
        Build Thread

        F87 2020 M2 Competition Coupe Long Beach Blue/Black w/Blue Stitching
        F22 2014 M235i Coupe Estoril Blue/Black (Sold)
        E46 2003 325xi Sedan Jet Black/Natural Brown Leather
        E30 1989 325i Vert Bronzitbeige Metallic/Natural
        E30 1986 325es Coupe Alpine White/Pearl Beige


          I wonder if those big bumpers really absorb parking impacts.


            Originally posted by Vincenze View Post
            I wonder if those big bumpers really absorb parking impacts.
            They have for me. Some elderly man backed into me at a recycling center and absolutely nothing happened. I think they take those lighter parking impacts pretty well.

            In response to OP's post, I also love my eta and the early model look. I've driven a handful of other enthusiast cars and while my eta is one of the slowest, the torque curve of the eta makes it one of the most fun cars to drive as a daily imo. Still though, I plan to find out what a different engine within my e30 feels like eventually.


              What is it with you forum jokers, (roguetoaster, Vincenze) this guy is simply just saying he likes his eta. I also have an eta and I didn't buy this particular car to win races. Been in the industry a long time and this is exactly why I am not a fan of forums. Lots of great information and mostly really good people but these jabs are what turns me off. Usually keyboard racers talk like do you


                As a 320d owner, I can see the appeal of an ETA as a daily drive. The high torque / low revs thing doesn’t really matter so much in a daily, and with the 3.25 gearing they would work just fine, similar to a diesel. Your car looks great too.

                Still, every time the M30 throws me back in the seat I still smile driving my e30 (had it out today )
                My e30: OEM+ with M30B35


                  I wonder if any of the originality-obsessed collectors will eventually be looking to spend big money on the lowly eta because it will get to the point where a majority of the surviving cars in good condition have been swapped or otherwise modified. A clean, all-stock, survivor eta ticks all the right boxes for collectors. They have cars so they can drone on about the history and pedigree of the car and wouldn't know the difference between eta and 325i performance anyway because they only drive the cars slowly to shows

                  IG @turbovarg
                  '91 318is, M20 turbo
                  [CoTM: 4-18]
                  '94 525iT slicktop, 3L M50 + BW S366 project


                    Yes this is the idea!

                    I mean no disrespect to anyone, esp. guys who are great at swaps and who like really fast e30's.

                    But, i posted that kind of just rying to see if there are any folks in here that like their ETA's and work on their cars and do things but it's not so much about making the car as fast as they can.
                    I started to realized I actually felt bad, that I wasn't trying to turbo my car, build a stroker, or engine swap or getting rid of my bumpers. Why? I guess I thought it wasn't cool to other guys.

                    But I really enjoy my car - and I can drive it fast enough to suit my needs.

                    I was curious who else may be doing things with their eta, or just enjoying it as kind of another side of the e30 world...


                      Every good, clean running, well maintained e30 is excellent. Big HP is overrated. I loved my eta when it was stock, and I love it modified. Either way, I loved it. I'm not going back to stock at this point, but one key component I'm adding with my latest restoration/rebuild is a dial-a-boost electronic boost controller. I want it mostly so I can run my car at "low power" because that's simply more fun most of the time. I'll save full boost for the track or the occasional open stretch of road.


                        In Houston..... An E30 without power mods is irrelevant and best kept to side streets and the slow lane. When everyone driving a camry/accord/ford pickup does XXmph there just isn't enough power to make XXmph to pass and catch your exit. Your 325e would be best as a Sunday driver here.

                        But the "eta" was built to combat the oil crisis.... it'll see its second coming among the EVs.
                        Last edited by uturn; 07-24-2022, 05:18 PM. Reason: Speed limits


                          Originally posted by Vincenze View Post
                          I wonder if those big bumpers really absorb parking impacts.
                          Hell, they hold off Ian Alexander at PIR! So yes, they do work great.

                          As to eta, where it's not out of its element is in front of an auto box stuck in traffic. Nothing wrong
                          with it as a cruiser, loafing along getting good mileage.

                          I wouldn't hesitate to daily one around here- yep, with the biggie bummpies, too.

                          now, sometimes I just mess with people. It's more entertaining that way. george graves


                            Well, so far nobody with an ETA seems to feel like me!

                            I think I only get about 20mpg with the 'conforti' chip, the upgraded diff and driving with my foot on the floor quite a bit.
                            Last edited by cirrusblue; 07-24-2022, 09:00 PM.


                              Originally posted by cirrusblue View Post
                              Well, so far nobody with an ETA seems to feel like me!

                              I think I only get about 20mpg with the 'conforti' chip, the upgraded diff and driving with my foot on the floor quite a bit.
                              The way people here are talking about the eta makes me wonder if they've ever actually driven one. A 120hp car is not *that* slow, especially when it weighs only 2600lbs. Sure, a more powerful car can certainly make passing more of a breeze, but I never had any issues driving my eta in stock form on the highway or anything like that. It has plenty of power to be fun. The eta is only a little bit worse power/weight than an NA Miata, which is also a total blast to drive completely stock.

                              Just because my e30 is a project car doesn't mean I don't have love for the eta: I do. :)

                              For what it's worth, my dad always had a love for diesel cars. This might put things in a little bit of perspective: A 1981 VW Rabbit diesel has only 52hp, and my dad had a small army of those cars growing up. They also had a 1978 Mercedes 300SD - another pitifully slow diesel car. If people think the 325e is "slow" they simply haven't driven an actually slow car. Etas have plenty of power to be fun. (Caveat: If you're at elevation, especially >5000ft, an eta might feel pretty darn slow. I'm just talking at sea level)