Diecast models have always been a way for car guys to indulge their passion and inspect the smallest details on cars that are either completely out of their price range or utterly unattainable. Sean Myers is one such guy, but instead of drooling over his 1:18-scale Kurt Thiim '88 DTM M3 racecar, he decided to recreate it.
Sean's enthusiasm for the BMW borders on obsessive. He currently owns more than six, including another E30 M3 as well as an E36, E46 and E92 M3s plus an E60 M5. Fortunately, Sean had all the tools necessary to turn his automotive dream into reality at his shop: Precision Sport Industries (PSI) in Winter Park, FL.
"I picked up the E30 in 1999 with just over 100,000 miles on the clock. It was in good condition and bone stock," Sean said.
With the E36 as his daily driver, he decided the E30 would be a project to have some fun with. "I really wasn't happy with the stock S14 motor," he said. "So in 2002 I started an S52 swap, and by 2003 it was up anQDd running."
The S52 straight-six fits in the E30 engine bay beautifully. It's a tight fit but we've all seen the swap completed before and it was far from commonplace in 2003.
Realizing the car was also in desperate need of critical improvements to handle the newfound power, Sean continued tweaking the E30 until he found the perfect balance.
Again, the E30 M3 is such an amazing car, even by today's standards (as we saw in the comparison test against the VW GTI and Scion FR-S, EC 7/13), so it didn't take much to transform it into a race-ready chariot.
Sean chose TC Kline Racing single-adjustable coilovers paired with H&R sway bars and Ireland Engineering camber plates to get the job done.
"It's amazing how well the car handles. I drive new cars all the time, but the E30 with its S52 powerplant and properly set-up suspension is more fun than most," Sean said. To complete the chassis stiffening, a custom four-point roll-bar was installed inside the car, making the shell rigid.
To finish the interior, Sean opted for a Recaro Pole Position seat, Momo steering wheel, OEM Sport Evo alcantara shift knob and handbrake boot. He even decided to fit an E30 manual window conversion for an old school feel.
And just like that, the PSI E30 M3 was transformed from road car to racecar. However, Sean wasn't done yet: "I've always loved DTM stuff," he said. "I had so many E30 models, but my favorite was always Kurt Thiim's '88 car, which I'd never seen recreated before. So I contacted Carbon Wraps Orlando and they wrapped the car in matte black3M vinyl. They then cut custom decals and striping in Lamborghini pearl yellow."
With these personal touches added, the E30 looked the part and wins both hearts and minds wherever it goes.
You'd think that after building such a unique car, the E30 would remain unmolested, but Sean has more plans: "It's a lot of fun to drive, but I'm itching to do something new. So I'm thinking about an S54 turbo," he said. Stay tuned for a 600hp E30 M3 when that plan comes together!
1988 BMW M3
Winter Park, FL
Engine 3.2-liter S52 straight-six 24v with custom Active Autowerke software, Euro 3.5" HFM, 24 lb injectors, RD Sport RHD headers, custom stainless steel exhaust
Drivetrain E36 M3 ZF five-speed manual transmission, 3.25:1 differential
Brakes E36 M3 front calipers and rotors, stock rears
Suspension TC Kline Racing single-adjustable coilovers, H&R front and rear sway bars, Ireland Engineering camber plates
Wheels & Tires 17x8.5" f, 17x9.5" r Hartge three-piece wheels, 215/40 R17 f, 245/35 R17 r Continental ExtremeContact DW tires
Exterior M3 Sport Evo front grilles, smoked corners, OEM Euro ellipsoid headlights, 3M matte black vinyl wrap, matte logos, Lamborghini pearl yellow striping
Interior Recaro Pole Position seat with aluminum side mounts, VAC floor mounts, 350mm Momo steering wheel, alcantara M3 Sport Evo shift knob and handbrake boot, manual window conversion, four-point roll-bar