DENIS’S 1JZ SWAPPED BMW E30// OCTOBER FEATURE

Photos by: Alan Luy | Words by: Ian Lee

4 years of ownership, a life time obsession, a mountain of fried tyres, and a car that’s been transformed from drift pig to prized show pony. This is the story of Denis’s 1JZ swapped 1986 BMW E30.

A cult hero in the euro scene, the BMW E30 chassis is one of the more iconic older generation European performance cars that has sustained its prestige and appeal throughout the generations since its release back in the early 80’s. Back then, the crème of the crop from this chassis was of course the M3. Producing around 150kw from it’s inline 4, 2.5 litre motor, these cars were fast and had a mean presence on the German roads with their flared body work and big rear spoiler. However, just like other older classic European performance cars, the value of M3’s has increased significantly. A quick Carsales check shows only two listed for around $80k!

At 18, Denis conceded that owning his dream E30 M3 wasn’t meant to be given the eye watering prices they were demanding. Instead, he settled on a 1984 E30 sedan that his grandpa and parents bought for $2000. While not an M3 the E30 body still has a unique silhouette and style that can be appreciated and for what it’s worth, ownership of the sedan allowed Denis to really familiarise himself with the chassis. Tearing down and tinkering with it to know all the ins and outs of the car; I’m not sure Denis would have the heart to do this on a genuine E30 M3!

Like any young car enthusiast, after the fun of the initial purchase died down, Denis wanted his car to go fast and he wanted it to happen yesterday. Fuelled by his growing interest in drifting, the humble Bavarian motor in his sedan would barely break traction yet along go sideways at 80km/h. Determined that there was a way to pair his passion of E30’s and drifting, Denis searched for the right opportunity.

The right opportunity eventually presented itself but it wasn’t without a twist that required some patience and some crafty convincing on Denis’s part. Through the E30 community, a friend by the name of Alex based in QLD, who also shared a passion for drifting had actually built a drift purpose E30 coupe. A build that was 9 years in the making, it checked off all of what Denis wanted, the right body (albeit a bit rough around the edges), the right suspension setup for drifting, and most importantly the right powerplant thanks to the 1JZ engine swap. The stars seemed to align however the twist in this story was that while Alex did sell the car, it wasn’t to Denis, well not the first time anyway.

To cut a long story short, Alex sold the car to a guy, who sold the car to another guy, who then sold the car back to Alex. Make sense? So with Alex back in ownership of his original project car, Denis found out through conversation that Alex was actually on the lookout for an E30 M3. Sensing the opportunity, Denis set off like a blood hound to find an M3.

Amazingly he was able to scout a mint, untouched, undriven E30 M3 based in Melbourne and with that, the jigsaw pieces fell into place. After a few months of convincing, Alex agreed to sell his 1JZ swapped E30 to Denis and trailered down the car to Melbourne to then pick up the M3 that Denis had found for him.

With the right car finally in his ownership, Denis got to work to make his own mark the BMW. The interior saw a race inspired overhaul consisting of fixed back Sparco seats, suede wrapped panels and an assortment of various Defi gauges sitting snugly in the dash to help monitor all the car’s vitals through an intense drifting session. Rather than pairing the car with a set of European wheels, Denis decided on opting for a custom set of Japanese Impul Hoshino G5’s in 15×10 -0 offset all round giving it a great overall stance and classic car aesthetic. The car was then capped off with a completely new front steering setup including a quick ratio steering rack, control arms and SLR speed kit which made sure that when this thing hit the turns, it was hitting them hard.

With these improvements made, the car saw a good couple years of drifting on the track. Denis says the car has never missed a beat thanks to the sound reliability of the 1JZ motor and tune which to his knowledge, has been unchanged for the last 6 years! It’s really no surprise that the JZ motors are so commonly used in the drift scene. The motor is bundled with a Garett 3076R, 6 boost manifold, Sard 880cc injectors, 50mm wastegate and HKS cams to make just over 400hp at 21psi all day, every day. For the transmission, an R154 gearbox with OS Giken clutch and flywheel put power to the rear 2 way Kaaz LSD via a custom 3 inch tail shaft.

After the drifting accolades and battle scars on the car started building up, Denis eventually started to feel a bit bad for the old girl and decided it was time to hang up the boots for the car in terms of drifting duties. Instead he wanted his E30 to be a show car, something that he was able to proudly put on display and allow others to appreciate what he saw in the E30’s as an 18 year old. Denis enlisted the help of DT Panels in Melbourne to help refresh the car’s tired exterior which resulted in a full respray in BMW E39 Mineral Grey. The genuine Mtech 1 body kit, seamlessly flared guards, front lip and boot spoiler make for a tidy finished product that with the hood closed, hides any trace of the true origins of the car.

With another E30 drift car in the making and a newly acquired S13, Denis hopes to allow this BMW a much needed retirement as a street / show car that’s able to pay homage to a bygone era of performance European cars that with the right mods can still hold their own today.

MODS LIST

– Non vvti 1jz gte
– 6 boost exhaust manifold
– Garrett gtx3076r
– Turbosmart 50mm wastegate
– Custom 3” exhaust with blast pipes
– Koyo radiator with twin thermos
– HKS cams and cam gears
– Custom made intake manifold
– Sard 880cc injectors
– Custom cam covers
– Custom catch can
– PWR intercooler with custom 1 piece piping
– 40L fuel cell
– Holley blue lift pump
– 2.5L surge tank
– Bosch 044 feed pump
– Whole car is done in braided hoses and speedflow fittings

– R154 gearbox
– OS giken triple plate clutch
– Custom made 3” tail shaft
– Kaaz 2 way lsd diff

– Motec m48 pro ecu
– Motec ignition expander
– Motec loom and sensors

– E32 hydraulic booster
– Braided lines
– E30 6 cyl drilled and slotted rotors
– Chasebays hydraulic handbrake
– Custom lines
– Twin caliper rear setup
– Wilwood calipers

– Custom made 15×10 -/+0 Impul Hoshino G5
Always run toyo r1r semi slicks for front but atm it’s on nankang ar1
Rear usually Jinyu

— Custom made metal flares with shaved guards
– Full respray in BMW B39 Mineral Grey
– Genuine mtech 1 full bodykit
– Custom roof spoiler lip
– Custom front splitter lip
– Slightly tinted headlights
– Custom rear tail lights

– Sparco sprint V seats
– Custom suede trimmed dash, centre console, rear seat delete
– Flake red rollcage
– Custom cluster with defi white series gauges
– Nardi steering wheel
– Custom snap-on shifter

– Cusco 10kg front coilovers
– Tein 8kg rx7 coilovers modified to fit e30 and converted to “true” coilover type
– Custom front and rear strut brace
– Custom extended control arms
– SLR “mini kit” and lollipops

DENIS’S 1JZ SWAPPED BMW E30 // OCTOBER FEATURE

4 years of ownership, a life time obsession, a mountain of fried tyres, and a car that’s been transformed from drift pig to prized show pony. This is the story of Denis’s 1JZ swapped 1986 BMW E30.

A cult hero in the euro scene, the BMW E30 chassis is one of the more iconic older generation European performance cars that has sustained its prestige and appeal throughout the generations since its release back in the early 80’s. Back then, the crème of the crop from this chassis was of course the M3.

Producing around 150kw from it’s inline 4, 2.5 litre motor, these cars were fast and had a mean presence on the German roads with their flared body work and big rear spoiler. However, just like other older classic European performance cars, the value of M3’s has increased significantly. A quick Carsales check shows only two listed for around $80k!

At 18, Denis conceded that owning his dream E30 M3 wasn’t meant to be given the eye watering prices they were demanding. Instead, he settled on a 1984 E30 sedan that his grandpa and parents bought for $2000.

While not an M3 the E30 body still has a unique silhouette and style that can be appreciated and for what it’s worth, ownership of the sedan allowed Denis to really familiarise himself with the chassis. Tearing down and tinkering with it to know all the ins and outs of the car; I’m not sure Denis would have the heart to do this on a genuine E30 M3!

Like any young car enthusiast, after the fun of the initial purchase died down, Denis wanted his car to go fast and he wanted it to happen yesterday. Fuelled by his growing interest in drifting, the humble Bavarian motor in his sedan would barely break traction yet along go sideways at 80km/h. Determined that there was a way to pair his passion of E30’s and drifting, Denis searched for the right opportunity.

The right opportunity eventually presented itself but it wasn’t without a twist that required some patience and some crafty convincing on Denis’s part. Through the E30 community, a friend by the name of Alex based in QLD, who also shared a passion for drifting had actually built a drift purpose E30.

A build that was 9 years in the making, it checked off all of what Denis wanted, the right body (albeit a bit rough around the edges), the right suspension setup for drifting, and most importantly the right powerplant thanks to the 1JZ engine swap. The stars seemed to align however the twist in this story was that while Alex did sell the car, it wasn’t to Denis, well not the first time anyway.

To cut a long story short, Alex sold the car to a guy, who sold the car to another guy, who then sold the car back to Alex. Make sense? So with Alex back in ownership of his original project car, Denis found out through conversation that Alex was actually on the lookout for an E30 M3. Sensing the opportunity, Denis set off like a blood hound to find an M3.

Amazingly he was able to scout a mint, untouched, undriven E30 M3 based in Melbourne and with that, the jigsaw pieces fell into place. After a few months of convincing, Alex agreed to sell his 1JZ swapped E30 to Denis and trailered down the car to Melbourne to then pick up the M3 that Denis had found for him.

With the right car finally in his ownership, Denis got to work to make his own mark the BMW. The interior saw a race inspired overhaul consisting of fixed back Sparco seats, suede wrapped panels and an assortment of various Defi gauges sitting snugly in the dash to help monitor all the car’s vitals through an intense drifting session.

Rather than pairing the car with a set of European wheels, Denis decided on opting for a custom set of Japanese Impul Hoshino G5’s in 15×10 -0 offset all round giving it a great overall stance and classic car aesthetic. The car was then capped off with a completely new front steering setup including a quick ratio steering rack, control arms and SLR speed kit which made sure that when this thing hit the turns, it was hitting them hard.

With these improvements made, the car saw a good couple years of drifting on the track. Denis says the car has never missed a beat thanks to the sound reliability of the 1JZ motor and tune which to his knowledge, has been unchanged for the last 6 years! It’s really no surprise that the JZ motors are so commonly used in the drift scene.

The motor is bundled with a Garett 3076R, 6 boost manifold, Sard 880cc injectors, 50mm wastegate and HKS cams to make just over 400hp at 21psi all day, every day. For the transmission, an R154 gearbox with OS Giken clutch and flywheel put power to the rear 2 way Kaaz LSD via a custom 3 inch tail shaft.

After the drifting accolades and battle scars on the car started building up, Denis eventually started to feel a bit bad for the old girl and decided it was time to hang up the boots for the car in terms of drifting duties. Instead he wanted his E30 to be a show car, something that he was able to proudly put on display and allow others to appreciate what he saw in the E30’s as an 18 year old.

Denis enlisted the help of DT Panels in Melbourne to help refresh the car’s tired exterior which resulted in a full respray in BMW E39 Mineral Grey. The genuine Mtech 1 body kit, seamlessly flared guards, front lip and boot spoiler make for a tidy finished product that with the hood closed, hides any trace of the true origins of the car.

With another E30 drift car in the making and a newly acquired S13, Denis hopes to allow this BMW a much needed retirement as a street / show car that’s able to pay homage to a bygone era of performance European cars that with the right mods can still hold their own today.

MODS LIST

– Non vvti 1jz gte
– 6 boost exhaust manifold
– Garrett gtx3076r
– Turbosmart 50mm wastegate
– Custom 3” exhaust with blast pipes
– Koyo radiator with twin thermos
– HKS cams and cam gears
– Custom made intake manifold
– Sard 880cc injectors
– Custom cam covers
– Custom catch can
– PWR intercooler with custom 1 piece piping
– 40L fuel cell
– Holley blue lift pump
– 2.5L surge tank
– Bosch 044 feed pump
– Whole car is done in braided hoses and speedflow fittings

– R154 gearbox
– OS giken triple plate clutch
– Custom made 3” tail shaft
– Kaaz 2 way lsd diff

– Motec m48 pro ecu
– Motec ignition expander
– Motec loom and sensors

– E32 hydraulic booster
– Braided lines
– E30 6 cyl drilled and slotted rotors
– Chasebays hydraulic handbrake
– Custom lines
– Twin caliper rear setup
– Wilwood calipers

– Custom made 15×10 -/+0 Impul Hoshino G5
Always run toyo r1r semi slicks for front but atm it’s on nankang ar1
Rear usually Jinyu

– Custom made metal flares with shaved guards
– Full respray in BMW B39 Mineral Grey
– Genuine mtech 1 full bodykit
– Custom roof spoiler lip
– Custom front splitter lip
– Slightly tinted headlights
– Custom rear tail lights

– Sparco sprint V seats
– Custom suede trimmed dash, centre console, rear seat delete
– Flake red rollcage
– Custom cluster with defi white series gauges
– Nardi steering wheel
– Custom snap-on shifter

– Cusco 10kg front coilovers
– Tein 8kg rx7 coilovers modified to fit e30 and converted to “true” coilover type
– Custom front and rear strut brace
– Custom extended control arms
– SLR “mini kit” and lollipops