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Let's make an E30 M3! (M3 S14 cabrio clone project)

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    Let's make an E30 M3! (M3 S14 cabrio clone project)

    As some of you know, my '88 Henna M3 was taken out of commission by a distracted Subaru Forester last October. I bought the car back with the intentions of saving it, but the frame damage was too extensive.

    Miraculously, the S14 survived intact (aside from one torn ear off the valve cover) and the driveline is in good shape. I spent months working on finding just the perfect car to to put my car's guts into - I found a few rusted out e30 m3 shells, various coupes, and even looking into a touring (before deciding I didn't actually want a touring).

    I finally chose the donor - and a direction for the new car. Feel free to follow the build on instagram

    The Plan:
    I'm building a E30 M3 cabrio clone. I sourced brand new sheet metal from BMW, there will be no aftermarket or fiberglass fenders/bumpers on this car. I am doing my best to build it as a true e30 m3 cabriolet rolled off the factory floor in 1989. From what I've seen, most clones have some other sort of drivetrain, so I think with my S14 this will be one of if not the most complete factory-style conversion out there.

    Like this:

    I chose the convertible for a few reasons. First, my crazy Saab 900 project was a convertible, and I definitely miss the open-car experience.

    Second, it seemed like the most straightforward way to build an M3 clone - the e30 M3 cabrio used the same trunk lid as the non-M, and no messy fiberglass c-pillar to deal with. All in all it's more simple, and when it's done will be much more unique than "just another" e30 M3.

    The Car:

    I found an automatic 1989 BMW 325i convertible for sale near the US-Canada border. Solid body with no structural damage, a northwest car without any rust to speak of, and a fairly decent interior. There were thousands of dollars in receipts in the car from BMW Seattle, so someone had been taking care of it.

    Here's the first photo I saw of the car on Craigslist:

    It's pretty rough around the edges but good bones.

    I began by cleaning her up, and was pleasantly surprised at what I ended up with.

    The Parts:

    Right after the accident, I began the hunt for parts. I purchased brand new left and right rear quarter panels, and a new driver & pass front fender. I'm working with a fellow M3 enthusiast on securing a rear bumper from across the country. The front fenders do take a bit of modification to fit the convertible, but it won't be that big of a deal. The real fun will be cutting out the old quarter panels and welding the new ones in.

    Last edited by IronJoe; 07-15-2019, 10:35 AM.
    '89 Schwarz E30 M3 Cabriolet Build

    The first job was to start stripping the car down. I won't get to the motor swap for a few weeks, so in the meantime I'm ripping out all the non-M bits I don't need.

    I'm going to try to document this as precisely as I can. When pulling off the front fenders, I noticed the attachment points to the inner fender are totally different. There is a rectangular box-shaped bracket that holds the fender in place, and also acts as a carrier for the front bumper to slide into. I'll be drilling out the spot welds of the brackets on my M3 and transferring them to the vert.
    '89 Schwarz E30 M3 Cabriolet Build


      Subscribed. :)


        subed. May I ask how much the rear quarters cost?
        Originally posted by Matt-B
        hey does anyone know anyone who gets upset and makes electronics?


          Current Cars:
          -1999 996.1 911 4/98 3.8L 6-Speed, 21st Century Beetle

          Make R3V Great Again -2020


            Def subbed man! I glad this is the route you're going!


              Subbed; trying to convince my neighbor to do something in a similar respect. Can't wait to see the progress from this. Can't imagine the body panels were cheap either, figured something like that would be NLA by now.

              Keep it up!

              BLUE NOSE - M62 SWAP

              THE E30 + 1 BUILD



                Now this is going to be good!!!


                  Awesome! That car has been for sale on Bellingham craigslist for months. If I recall, didn't it have a hole through the m20 block?

                  90 M3 brilliantrot/schwarz
                  90 M5 brilliantrot/schwarz
                  87 325 alpinweiss/houndstooth (building)
                  90 735i/5 islandgrün-metallic/schwarz (daily)
                  87 Foxbody Notch 5.0 5spd SSP (other daily)
                  71 F-250 4x4 390 4spd


                    This is going to be good...

                    Dumpster Fire Pilot


                      This should be fun, gave you a follow on IG too!

                      Instagram: Reichart12


                        Watching this!

                        '02 ///M3 CarbonSchwartz 6MT daily beast
                        08/91 Mtechnic II 325IC alpine/lotus
                        318iS, slow build/garage queen...
                        '37 Chevy pickup, the über project
                        Originally posted by roguetoaster
                        Be sure to remind them that the M42 is one of the best engines ever made, but be sure to not mention where it actually falls on that list.


                          Ohh nice, want to watch this.
                          Euro Delivery Thread///E30 Project Klaus///COTM August 2021


                            I'll admit I rolled my eyes a bit when I first read the thread title, expecting another s5x, LSx, whateverx powered widebody cabrio. Glad to see the route you're going, a true clone!

                            '84 318i - Lapisblau/Schwarz (in cryosleep)
                            '06 330i - Titansilber/Schwarz


                              This is great !!!
                              Sveinbjörn Hrafnsson

                              E30 CABRIO V12 M70B50 ///
                              ALPINA B10 BITURBO 346 @ 507
                              E34 550 V12 JML

                              Finnish wisdom : If you want to Win,, hire a Finn