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A Long Overdue Introduction

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    A Long Overdue Introduction

    After being a ghost for over two years now, (I stalked before I made an account) I feel I should make my introduction.

    My name is Brandon and I'm from the Madison, Wisconsin area. My entrance into the car culture started early on. September 13th 1995 the day I was born, I rode home from the hospital in my fathers Zinnoberrot 1985 BMW 535i.

    That car was/is one of his few prized possessions, along with his restored 1962 Volvo P1800 and 1965 Volvo 122-S. The P1800 was destined as a show car after he restored it 23 years ago. The Volvo Amazon however was race prepped and ready for VSCDA shortly after I was born. To this day, my father still races in VSCDA events at Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin) and Blackhawk Farms Raceway (South Beloit, Illinois).

    Every year since he started racing his Amazon and showing his P1800, I've been there. I was happy my father had a hobby that was his passion, but for most of my childhood I never understood it.

    My enthusiasm for cars didn't really kick in until my mid-teens. Around the time I was getting my drivers license I learned to drive stick shift on my fathers P1800, not even my mother gets to touch that car. I started researching cars. All of the cars my family had, (2001 BMW 330ci, 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 1985 BMW 535i, 1962 Volvo P1800, 1965 Volvo 122-S). I stumbled across my first forum, I amount of knowledge on that site was amazing I thought. I knew that our E28 was meant for me. It set off when I joked with my dad, "Instead of me driving the Jeep when I get my license, how about you drive the Jeep and I drive your old BMW?". My father could tell cars were going to be one of my passions so he let me.

    I was a sophomore in high school riding around in what was in its day, one of the best sedans made in the world. I loved this car. My classmates saw my love for this car. My sophomore, junior, and senior year I put many miles on the car driving hours away with friends to basketball and football games. That car was a huge part of my high school "career". My class mates saw that and somehow my family's old E28 that I rode home from the hospital after being born won the category of "Best Car" in my yearbook senior year.

    Here is a photo of the car during my senior year.

    Since it's been in Wisconsin's horrible winters all its life, it's far from a show piece. With 330,000+ miles on it, it wasn't afraid of doing an uncountable number of burnouts throughout high school. Winter was always fun with RWD, LSD, and some snow tires. Lunch breaks were spent drifting in empty parking lots with friends.

    My drive for an E30

    While I loved driving that E28 like I stole it every day, I couldn't believe it still was running. I began wanting a old bimmer I could really call my own. I loved the '80's body style of the E28 but I wanted two doors. The E30 fit the bill.

    My venture to find a rust free, manual 2-door E30 in the Midwest was much harder than I expected. I ran across countless craigslist ads with rust buckets and riced out POS ruined E30's. I came into contact with a guy near me who had recently imported a 318i touring. The rarity of the thing really intrigued me, but the price and the fact that it wasn't exactly what I wanted turned me away. I almost flew out to Georgia to buy a mint 318is, but title issues turned me away. I finally came across an ad on here for a "California Car, 1990 Alpine White 325is with 188,000 miles, rust free". It had only been in the mid-west for the last 4 months. The car-fax showed that for the first 25 years it was in California. Texts and calls were exchanged, I drove down to Aurora, Illinois with a cashiers check written for six grand, and two more in cash. (No, not mommy and daddy money) The car was solid and I saved this mostly stock, original 325is from being turned into a SCCA race car. I picked it up for $6500. Known problems with the car were, the A/C needed to be recharged, and there was a mysterious clunk in the rear. (From the research we did we concluded it could be a worn u-joint meaning full replacement of the drive shaft)

    Here is a photo from the day I purchased it.

    My 1990 BMW 325is (WBAAA1314LEC66365)

    (April 19th, 2015)

    "Mods" done by previous owners -
    • H&R Sport Springs
    • Bilstein shocks
    • Racing Dynamic front and rear sway bars
    • Dinan chip
    • Stainless Steel UUC brake and clutch lines
    • UUC Front strut bar
    • UUC Short shifter
    • Personal 330mm steering blue/black leather steering wheel

    It's first rinse was after a 2 1/2 hour drive home with no plates.

    After proper registration and insuring the vehicle, it got its first bath.

    At this point I wanted to go crazy, I had thoughts of an S52 swap, M30 Swap, or even the idea of an S54 swap. I came down to the idea to go OEM+ with the car. It was a "true survivor" being an unmolested fairly stock 325is.

    I discovered ECS Tuning and began going crazy on minor little things that could be fixed.
    • Cigarette lighter
    • Window switches
    • Headlight knob
    • Sunroof motor cover
    • Door pocket coin tray
    • Door handles inside and out

    I then purchased a re-manufactured drive shaft from Bavauto (do not purchase a drive shaft from Bavauto)

    Throwing that in got rid of almost nothing. It was extremely disappointing but now that 188,000 mile drive shaft won't have to be replaced for a long time.

    During this time I became a member of Badger Bimmers (BMW CCA). The first event I went to was the local E30 Picnic (May 16th).

    Wings and Wheels (May 30th)

    Champagne Picnic (September 12th)

    I always loved the look of basket weaves on these cars, but mine were a little beat up and old. I searched and searched for OEM+ replacement wheels for these cars and saw that BMW still sells euro weaves new. So that's what I did. Brand new period correct upgrades.

    15" BBS RZ 15x7 e24 4x100 (Euroweaves)

    Later paired with Yokohama S-Drive 205/55R15

    When I purchased the car, I was told it was never in any accidents. The carfax showed that none were reported. From what I could see, there is a small ding in the lower rear valance under the bumper. Another small imperfection was the front valance lip seemed to not fit right and it was slighted dented in. That bothered me.

    Out with the old

    In with the new

    Rare black leather rear seat with ski-pass and headrests was a must have.

    Overtime I picked up other goodies,
    • ZHP shift knob
    • 385mm M-Tech 1 steering wheel
    • Fiberglass cupholder center console
    • OEM BMW M3 leather e-brake boot/handle and shift boot (not pictured)
    • George from the forums OEM+ USB Charger
    • ADS 3000i rear speakers (Brand new in box from the 80's) as a birthday present from my father
    • German check panel
    • Leather wrapped HUSCO armrest (no longer use)
    • BMW Sunshade

    Out with the old premium speakers

    In with the brand new period correct ADS 3000i Speakers

    Crack free dash found for cheap (winter project)

    The most labor intensive job on the E30 trying to chase the mysterious clunk

    Replacing the differential and subframe bushings seemed to get rid of most of the clunk. The next project to come is possibly changing halfshafts (they are approaching 200,000 miles)

    So here is one of the last things that have been added onto the car, a front license plate filler from 87E30VERT (

    With winter being here, the E30 is away in the garage. Not driving it for the last 2 months now has made me write this thread. Here are some photos of post storage and in hybernation.

    Plans for winter projects are putting in the crack free dash I picked up a while back, and halfshafts.

    For now, the old E28 is still kicking it as my winter beater as my E30 rests in the garage.
    Last edited by brandonbio; 03-31-2016, 05:27 PM.

    '05 ZHP - Mystic Blue Metallic
    '90 325is - Alpine White
    '85 535i - Zinnoberrot

    This is awesome! How was your experience with the ecs front valance? Had my eye on it for a while

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "I'd rather lose by a mile because I built my own car than win by an inch because someone else built it for me... Your car is your story, so don't let someone else write the book."



      Nice job so far!
      AWD > RWD


        Nice find! That garage looks awesome too. Way to keep it in clean shape


          You have a very nice car.
          Front valance imperfections bug me the most as well and can make a GREAT car look okay.

          1991 325iS turbo


            Great read, awesome cars. 10/10
            Rescued 1986 325e Coupe
            1988 325ix Touring 5spd currently being rescued
            Ottawa, Ontario, Canada :finger:


              Thanks for the kind words everyone,

              Originally posted by MinnE30 View Post
              This is awesome! How was your experience with the ecs front valance? Had my eye on it for a while
              No issues at all! The only difference I found was the new valance has a smooth finish unlike the bumpy one that was from the factory originally.

              '05 ZHP - Mystic Blue Metallic
              '90 325is - Alpine White
              '85 535i - Zinnoberrot


                Originally posted by brandonbio View Post

                No issues at all! The only difference I found was the new valance has a smooth finish unlike the bumpy one that was from the factory originally.

                Perfect that's what I was hoping for.

                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                "I'd rather lose by a mile because I built my own car than win by an inch because someone else built it for me... Your car is your story, so don't let someone else write the book."



                  Awesome! Welcome

                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                    gahhh damn that thing is clean. your front end gets me gitty dude. well done!!
                    -Brad, AlphaTeam Motorwerks, LLC
                    91' 318i Slicktop Touring - M54 Swapped
                    04' Porsche 911 C4S
                    12' E70 X5 Diesel - Daily Driver

                    Originally posted by IronJoe
                    Alpha Team: running through e30s, gringo icebergs, and 19 yr olds.

                    Originally posted by 2mAn
                    Brads a standup guy even though he likes buttsex