Video: This V8-Swapped E30 M3 Spins Its Wheels At Cadwell Park

Phil Morrison put three years of his life into building the latest addition to his exclusive stable. To park besides his sleek Rauh-Welt Porsche Turbo and hold its head high, his E30 M3 needed a little help. So, in an effort to mate some of the best components from newer M cars with BMW’s most iconic shape, he added tasteful carbon additions, a modern gearbox, huge brakes, and the screaming V8 from the E30’s younger brother.

The Screaming S65

Somehow, even with those wide tubs and massive coolers up front, Phil and his team at Driftworks shoehorned an S65 V8—the 4.0-liter with an 8,000-rpm redline—in between the reinforced shock towers. As this motor, the one which powers the E92 M3, was the last normally-aspirated powerplant in an M car, Phil sees this as the most suitable of modern M transplants. In his eyes, the successive turbocharged engines just aren’t worthy of the badge.

Flush with the firewall for purposes of weight distribution, this V8 features a custom plenum lid that just barely clears the OEM hood.

Inside, there’s not much aside from the cage, a vestigial dash arrangement, a smattering of carbon panels, and a pair of sleek Recaro SPG buckets, which are mounted slightly behind the B-pillars. This DTM-style positioning helps offset the additional weight brought by the big V8 with Phil’s own 200-odd pounds set squarely in the center of the vehicle.

The cabin noticeably lacks a clutch pedal because a conventional H-pattern gearbox was replaced with a paddle-operated DCT gearbox.

Reassuring deceleration on sodden surfaces is available thanks to the M3 CSL-spec MK60 ABS, custom tuned to suit this car and its weight distribution. Underneath the 17×9- and 17×10-inch Work wheels are the massive, ducted Alcon brakes, which provide strong and linear bite.

Getting those wide wheels underneath the car was made a little easier by reshaping the tubs, which provide the added benefit of a wider range of movement—50mm of travel, to be exact. The coilovers are off-the-shelf HSD items, though most of the arms and mounts are bespoke. It’s a good thing he’s had some reinforced arms added underneath since this is no show car. As the burn marks on the misshapen rear bumper suggest, he drives this beauty very hard.

Click here to see the full series documenting this incredible build.

A Trackday Full of Lock

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Based on the way he confidently slides this BMW around the tight Cadwell Park, it’s fair to assume that the weight distribution and differential settings are spot-on. Low grip and regular unloading over its crests make this narrow circuit a challenging one to learn, but if Phil’s casual countersteering is anything to go by, it’s that this lightweight, aging M3 is supremely controllable, fast, and even friendly. Maybe it’s just that the E30 M3 is as good as everyone says it is—and that these upgrades simply help it shine.

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About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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