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Simon’s e30 / Maximilian / the Zen project

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    Simon’s e30 / Maximilian / the Zen project

    1991 BMW e30/318is purchased in October of 2003 with 136K miles. Adult driven. Tan cloth interior. All stock. $3900.

    I drove it for about a month – then it went under my knife. For almost seven years, I worked on the car on/off without putting a single mile on it. It was a hell of a journey – but one I enjoyed immensely. Now it is done and drivable.

    So many aspects of the project involved “while I was at it” aspects. One might say that I went about refreshing the shift linkage – then proceeded to restore the car – “while I was at it”.

    The full story is told in my Zen and the Art of e30 Maintenance thread. It is a long, detailed, thread consisting of over 1200 photos. Because of all the photos, many will have better luck viewing each of the 27 posts individually. To view them separately, one can visit my Table of Contents post. It is a thread geared toward other e30/DIY enthusiasts. My hope was that it would be an inspiration to others.

    This thread is a summary.

    Approximate appearance as purchased:

    Before/After of rear suspension rebuild:

    Before shots of engine bay:



    Interior before/after:

    During and after:

    New parts pile pics:

    Old parts pile pics:

    Miscellaneous chronological-order exterior shots:

    I really, REALLY need to give the car its first waxing and take a proper photo shoot – which will happen in time..

    The car project has resulted in pure joy. It runs and drives like it came off the showroom floor.

    The throttle response – the shift action – the comfort of the interior – and the handling all combine into driving nirvana behind the wheel. Averages 30mpg with combined city and highway. It’s everything I could ever want in a car – and the satisfaction from building it myself is something hard to put into words. The car went into a paint shop when I first got it – and it went to an alignment shop when I was done. My own hands did all the rest. The experience was priceless.
    Last edited by Simon S; 10-02-2017, 01:57 PM.
    -----Zen and the Art of e30 Maintenance - / - Zen TOC - / - Zen Summary

    always loved your car.

    one of the cleanest e30's I've ever seen. Ever.


      I love the modesty of your build.

      1991 BMW 318i (Old Shell RIP, Now Being Re-shelled & Reborn)
      1983 Peugeot 505 STI
      1992 Volvo 240 Wagon
      2009 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Sport 4WD


        Wow... talk about project car.. Looks great! Now get those basketweaves on derr


          Nice build!


            Fantastic. You deserve a nobel prize for this.
            » PARTS FOR SALE


              approval. :up:

              Turbo M42 Build Thread :Here
              I like the tuna here.
              Originally posted by lambo
              Buttchug. The official poster child of r3v.


                Black bottle caps are weak. The car is so OEM, clean and fresh. The black wheels detract from that beauty.


                  I wish i had the money to do a tear down on my m42. I really love these little motors, and yours came out amazing.

                  1991 318is -> 2004 R32 -> 2002 Jetta TDI -> 2014 FiST

                  No E30 Club


                    Awesome quality work! By far the most detailed and documented project car on r3v! Congrats man.
                    My Multi car part out. Need a part? Pm me...

                    Need 24v swap parts? How about a LSD? Plastic Bumpers? Or anything else click here...

                    Have you done business with me? If so leave me feedback here...


                      you sir are doing it right,... respect for ya


                        I want your build printed and published. It shall be called 'The E30 Bible'. I would gladly buy that.
                        Should there be an Old and New Testament?
                        E30 buildy things


                          Great work man, looks great! What wheel is that?


                            Thanks for the kind words guys.

                            Originally posted by CabrioPunk
                            Black bottle caps are weak. The car is so OEM, clean and fresh. The black wheels detract from that beauty.
                            I know man – I’m with ya.
                            I purposely made the wheels the last thing I addressed. Maintenance and good health took highest priority.
                            Send me $800+ and I’ll take care of them promptly.
                            -----Zen and the Art of e30 Maintenance - / - Zen TOC - / - Zen Summary


                              haha. Just 800? Cheap date.

                              Killer work on everything else. Always had respect for ya, your undertaking and the detail at which you did it.