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BMW E30 323i - Editor's Letter

And The World Started Rotating Backwards

Greg Emmerson
Aug 1, 2007
Eurp_0708_03_z+bmw_e30_323i+rear_view Photo 1/1   |   BMW E30 323i - Editor's Letter

Afunny thing happened yesterday. And it didn't involve an Irishman, a Scotsman and an inebriated nun... I'm not getting myself into that kind of trouble again!

We were stripping down Project Dub to finally return it to VW, having strung out the loan a few extra weeks in the hope of finding a buyer for the poor girl, so we wouldn't have to denude her.

Sadly, we were unsuccessful. So as we removed the Brembos in order to refit the stock 17" wheels, it occurred to me I'd never actually unmodified a car before. It was as if time had stopped and the world started rotating backwards.

I've been modifying cars for more years than I care to mention. My first was an E30 323i with a custom kevlar M3-look body kit, 16" gold BBS RS and Hartge suspension. Then there was: a Rover V8 touring car rep, a widebody Mk2 GTI 8v, two pristine Mk2 16v, 2.4 liter 450hp Sierra RS Cosworth, Escort RS Turbo, Mk3 GTI 16v, Mk3 Golf VR6, B5 Audi A4 1.8T, E46 BMW 318is, E46 330i, and finally the recently departed VW GLI.

There could've been more. I forget.

I remember when a 205/50-15 on a 15x7" for a Mk2 GTI was big news though! "Are you crazy?" a hotel doorman shouted at me once from across the street. "Those look like rubberbands!" Little did he know 35-profile tires would soon be commonplace, with 25- and even 20-profile sidewalls emerging as we move to ever-bigger wheels.

But I digress. So there we were, undoing all our hard work on Project Dub. The body kit was unglued, the brakes removed, the 20" rims returned.

Back in its natural state, the car looked rather sad. It does have a lingering eurotuner legacy, though. We left the Hotchkis springs on because we didn't have the originals. So it sits lower than stock and looks better for it. The new owner will also be happy to find GIAC software that gives a huge surge of mid-range torque. And the Techtonics exhaust remains because the stock part was cut to remove it. Most people wouldn't spot the difference, but it emits a nicer engine note.

Whoever gets Project Dub at auction (which is where it's destined to end), is a nice set of wheels and some mild body styling away from a great car.

So what's next?

We'd like to do a Mk3 Golf VR6 or 2.0. We're also contemplating a Mk4 Golf 2.0 because the Aston Martin V8 is so pass.

An E36 M3 would be nice. The E46 330i is getting cheaper, but it's still out of the reach of our miserable wages. So, we've been looking for coins down the back of the couch to see what we can afford.

So for now, et is down to Sam's Project Silverstone (which is begging to be put out to pasture) and my Yamaha R1 - not much of a stable for a European car tuning magazine, but we're working to improve things soon.

And when the right hunk of junk comes our way, we can set our world spinning again with some well-chosen mods. My fingers tingle at the prospect of transforming somebody's unwanted ride into our next project car.

I think it takes a certain kind of vision to see potential in a stock car. Most people don't have the skill, but it's something we all share and it separates us from the civilians out there. I could never drive a stock car, no matter what it is.

By Greg Emmerson
1078 Articles

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