These Are The Best Mods For Your BMW M3 E30

These Are The Best Mods For Your BMW M3 E30

The E30 was the first generation of the M3 that BMW ever made, and it’s won a special place among the hearts of many Bimmer enthusiasts. Actually buying one is getting much trickier to do, as the best condition examples can go for huge sums of money. One notable example even sold for a mind-boggling $250,000 on Bring a Trailer in 2020. But, assuming you’re one of the lucky few who managed to get a used example at a reasonable price, what do you do with it?

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Any E30 M3 that’s even vaguely affordable will have certainly had some modification work done already, so there’s not much point in trying to revert it back to stock. Instead, it’s best to put your own spin on the car, and to do that, some more mods will be required. Whether your idea is to make the car look semi-stock or go all out with the customization, here’s a list of ten ideas that should spark some inspiration. What’s even better is that, if buying an M3 at all is too pricey, most of these mods will work equally well on a non-M3 E30.

10 BBS Rims

It’s a classic modification and for good reason. There are very few old cars out there that can’t be improved with a set of BBS rims, and as this build proves, the E30 suits them very well. Couple those BBSs with lowered suspension, and owners will already have a real head-turning car.

Of course, that’s not all that a BBS rim swap is good for. They also work well on more radical rebuilds like a period-correct race car project, but let’s get to that one later.

9 Murdered Out

Some people might say it’s overdone, and yes, indeed, it’s hardly the most unique thing to do anymore. But, the E30 does still look great when it’s been dressed in all black, or “murdered out.”

This example hails from Kuwait, but there are several other very similar builds out there in Europe and the US. For some variety, instead of blacking out the headlights, a set of yellow-tinted rally-style lamps could work well with an all-black look too.

8 Roll Cage

A roll cage is absolutely essential for anyone looking to take their E30 racing, but even for those drivers who won’t ever go near a track, it makes for a great-looking addition to a build. Granted, it’s an expensive one, as it involves stripping the whole car down to install it.

But, it makes the whole setup look a lot more professional, and as mentioned earlier, it might stop its driver from getting hurt in the event of a high-speed collision. Considering some E30s don’t even come with airbags, any extra safety features can only be a good thing.

7 Slammed And Stanced

Depending on who’s asked, stancing a car is either a sin or a great way to make it look stunning. The yellow E30 here is certainly the latter of the two, with a millimeter-perfect fitment to stop the rim scraping on the wheel arches.

It might look impractical to drive but stump up the cash for air suspension and the car can be raised straight back up to its stock height. It’s costly, but it’s worth the money to make the car easier to daily drive and not be stopped in its tracks by a deep pothole.

6 Police Car

A fun way to temporarily scare other drivers on the road is to make the car look like a police vehicle, and it turns out the E30 looks great when it’s dressed in Japanese police attire. A flashing light and a livery are all that’s needed to complete the look, making it one of the simpler builds featured here.

This idea does come with a big disclaimer though: in many places, building an imitation police car is illegal, for obvious reasons. It’s often the case that foreign-looking police vehicles are acceptable though, so making a Japanese-style imitation police vehicle might be legal in some parts of the US.

5 Engine Swap

E30 M3s aren’t exactly slow, but they’re no match for a modern M3 or even some higher-spec M-Sport 3 Series models. One way to fix that is just to swap out the engine altogether, and that’s exactly what this next build has done.

RELATED: These Engine Swaps Are Ridiculously Awesome

Taking an M52 engine from an E36 and adding extra performance components from later models has enabled this E30 to put out significantly more horses than a stock version. The M52 engine is a straight-6, but there’s no reason that a V8 couldn’t be stuffed under the hood with a bit of extra work.

4 Full Racing Build

Most of the ideas presented so far have focused on a single aspect of the car, but for those who want something a bit more radical, a full racing build is a great option. The E30’s great stock handling and upgrade potential make it the perfect candidate to strip down and take to the track.

How far to go is up to the individual owner, with some owners preferring just to strip the car out and race it virtually stock while some spend tens of thousands on performance parts and upgrades. The choice is yours, but either way, the E30 makes for a great track day project.

3 Rat Rod

There’s no shame in buying a cheap, beaten-up example of an M3 if budget is an issue, but the level this E30 got beaten up to would make even the most cash-strapped buyers do a double-take. It looks barely functional, yet, its owner has plenty of photos of ripping it around dirt circuits and backyards.

For some reason, he decided to chop the top of the car off to make it look even rattier, as it was originally a hard-top. It’s certainly unique, and it looks like an absolute hoot to drive even if most E30 M3 owners would probably turn their noses up at it.

2 Wide Body Kit

Another modification that’s guaranteed to get purists raging is a wide body kit. It’s divisive, but it’s hard to deny how cool it looks, especially when it’s paired with a livery like the one on this modded E30.

The kit on this car is from Live to Offend, but there’s plenty of choice of aftermarket kits that are either more or less extreme than this one. Leading aftermarket manufacturers Pandem also have their own E30 kit, but there are plenty of options for those who want something a little more bespoke too.

1 Full Drift Build

With their performance capabilities and balanced chassis, M3s have been a favorite in the drift community for decades now, and the E30 is no exception. Making a fully-kitted drift build is probably going to be the most difficult and costly idea out of the whole of this list, but it’s well worth it.

RELATED: 10 Best Cars To Drift That Aren’t Japanese

The E30 has an effortless retro style that makes it one of the best-looking cars on a drift grid, even among the more expensive competition. The E30 is so versatile that drifting it is just one possibility of many, with the only limits being the owner’s budget and imagination.

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