Welcome to this week’s FC Throwback, where we take a look back at some of our favourite previous feature cars. This week it’s Clive King’s tuned BMW E30 from back in 2012…
The first we knew of Clive’s mega-wide supercharged BMW E30 was when he posted a picture of it on our Facebook wall. “This may seem a little cheeky, but do you have any room on your stand at TRAX for little old me?” the accompanying comment said. We’re used to seeing some great cars via social media, but here at FC we are always wary of offering stand space to a car we’ve never seen in the flesh – let alone featured. Anyway, we contacted Clive, and after a quick chat he told us we had nothing to worry about.
His last car was a 2.7-litre supercharged cab, his wife has an E30 cab on air-ride, and we even featured one of his previous creations over ten years ago in these very pages. It seems when it comes to cars, especially BMWs, Clive knows his stuff, which is no surprise as he’s been tinkering with E30s since he was a mere 21 years old. So were we right to trust him? Too right – as on the morning of TRAX he rolled up to the FC Stand and our jaws hit the floor. In fact it was so good, we thought we’d better feature it…
Now it may seem weird to start by looking at the chassis mods, but this is pretty much the catalyst for the whole build. Clive never intended to build a car like this. So what changed? “It was never meant to go this far, but I saw some wheels online and then my missus bought me them as a surprise. From then on the whole car was built around them. I just had to make them fit!” Clive tells us.
So were the candy pink centres down to the wife too? Nope, they were 100% Clive’s doing. “I wanted something that would standout. I get quite a few comments about them at shows from both lovers and haters, but I don’t care as the car was built for me and I love ‘em.”
But there’s more to this car than the striking Parada Spec2-wearing 9.5×17-inch Rota RBX wheels. Yep, tucked up behind them is some serious stopping power in the shape of some Wilwood Ultralite 4-pots with 310mm discs. Add to that FK High Sport coilovers, strengthened subframe, and a host of other stiffing mods you’ll soon see that this motor is as hardcore as it gets.
It’s hard to believe this car was originally a poverty-spec 318i that Clive bought for £70. It’s taken a hell of a lot to get to what you see today, and the exterior is testament to some great fabrication skills. Rather than go the easy route and fit fibreglass arches and skirts, Clive did it the hard way and custom made the lot from sheet metal. Impressive stuff eh?
The fabricated flared aches are a full 4-inches wider than the original body and are mated up to steel skirts. Now the easy option would have been some M3 E30 bumpers. But, Clive wanted to steer clear of creating anything that would even resemble an M3 replica, so he opted to cleverly heat and stretch some M-Tech bumpers. And to further distance his car from the reps, he added custom swage lines for some extra swagger.Other neat finishing touches include de-locked and smoothed body panels, a carbon fibre boot spoiler, an M3 bonded windscreen and some Startec rear lights. Nice.
For many, a mortgage, marriage and kids can put an end to any chance of actively tuning your own car, but not Clive as he has a good philosophy. “You can still work 9-5, tinker at the weekend, see the mrs and kids and build a good car,” he tells us. “It’s all about balance,” he adds.
Clive did the majority of the work on his car at his lock up, but not the engine, as this was built at home in his shed. Now many people would go for a newer straight-six DOHC M52 engine, but Clive is a big fan of the older straight-six SOHC M20. “I just love the look, sound and feel of a good old M20,” he says.
So why did he take a 2.7 and make it a 2.8? Well the 2.7 engine is a high compression engine. Making it a 2.8 means it will be lower compression so you can reduce the charger pulley and get more power. The engine boasts some impressive mods including a Rotrex supercharger kit, a DTA S80 Pro ECU and uprated injectors.
The engine was the final part of Clive’s car jigsaw. “Once I had that done I took it to the workshop and laid out every part that needed to go back on the car. It was pretty much just a case of picking it up and bolting it on,” says Clive, “a bit like a large Airfix model!” he laughs.
To be fair, the engine has had a few problems along the way, but it was nothing Clive couldn’t overcome. And the good news is it was recently rolling roaded at a rather pleasing 452bhp!
With the rest of the car built to such a high standard it would have been easy to keep things simple inside, but Clive didn’t just want a stripped-out road legal track car – he wanted an all rounder.
There are some obvious track inspired mods such as the Mitsubishi Evo Recaros, OMP steering wheel and 18-point candy pink Safety Devices roll cage, but there’s also some very clever touches too. Our favourite has to be the Drift Iridium gauges that illuminate the dash. And Clive agrees. “I love them. I admit they aren’t to everyone’s taste, but I needed them as the original 318i gauges don’t go high enough!” he laughs.
You’d think a screaming 2.8 supercharged lump would be all the soundtrack Clive needs, but as you’ve probably guessed by now, he doesn’t do things by halves. So he’s added some decent audio into the mix with a Kenwood headunit and amps that hook up to some Diamond Audio subs and speakers.
So what’s next for Clive? Well he’s going to finish his wife’s E30 convertible and also make a start on the Beetle he’s just bought for his 12-year old Herbie-loving daughter. And his E30? Well that’s going nowhere. After two-and-a-half years of building the thing, it’s now time to get out there and enjoy it. Happy days.
TECH SPEC BMW E30
Custom 4-inch steel wide arches flared; hand-built steel sideskirts; stretched M-Tech 2 bumpers to match arches; Renault Laguna splitter; custom swage lines, de-locked and smoothed body; custom vented bonnet; carbon fibre boot spoiler; Startec rear lights; carbon wrapped mirrors/ door trims; side indicators removed; M3 bonded windscreen; sunroof panel lightened and bonded; airbrushed Union Jack/ German flags in engine bay; painted in high-gloss jet black.
Custom-built M20 B28 stroker engine using M50 2.8 crank, M20 2.0 rods and 2.5 pistons; steel head gasket; ARP bolts; re-worked head; custom cat cam; 6-branch manifold; home brew 3-inch exhaust; VR6 coil packs; Rotrex supercharger kit; ITG air filter, front-mount intercooler; custom radiator; Kenlowe twin speed fan; DTA S80 Pro ECU and specific wiring harness; uprated injectors; smoothed and polished inlet manifold; Urban Camo Samco hose kit; 55l fuel cell; 2.5l swirl pot; Bosch 044 pump; twin filters; oil cooler; braided fuel lines.
FK High Sport coilovers; H&R adjustable roll bars; rear camber kit; M3 eccentric front wishbone bushes; poly bushes all round; strengthened subframes; Sparco twin-tube strut brace; Wilwood Ultralite 4-pot 310mm fronts; drilled/grooved rear; Rota RBX wheels 9.5×17-inch ET19 painted in candy shimmering pink; Yokohama Parada Spec2 tyres.
Mitsubishi Evo Recaro front seats on custom mounts; rear seats removed; OMP steering wheel, Sparco snap-off kit; Drift Iridium gauges; centre switch panel; 18-point Safety Devices roll-cage finished in candy shimmering pink; Sparco 3-point harnesses; Union Jack headliner; brushed alloy door panels.
Kenwood KDC BT92SD headunit; Diamond Audio D661 front speakers M551 rears; Diamond Audio 10-inch subs; Kenwood PS501F and 401M 1200w amps; Phoenix Gold Proline driver & bass cube; Excide 900 deep cycle battery.
Words Glenn Rowswell Photos Daniel Pullen