Josh Parker should always wear his sleeves rolled up if they are present on any of his shirts or tops. The 32-year-old Lillington Lovell, Buckinghamshire resident built his hot BMW E30-generation 3 Series from the ground up. He is a self-taught engineer who attended the University of YouTube, like many others.
study and make (e.g. Cadillac)
His day job involves building electrical noise-filtering systems for organizations like the Royal Navy in the electronics and communications fields. He admits that he is technically oriented and enjoys taking on new challenges.
This BMW E30 was undoubtedly difficult. Parker sees it as his blank canvas.
I was never going to build a concours-winning car because I didn’t have numbers-matching parts, so I can be a little crazy with it and learn as I go.
Parker claims that the simplest way for him to learn is to simply “get a TIG welder, watch some YouTube tutorials, and launched into it.”
He emphasizes that it must be secure and checked by experts who can confirm that the caliber of work will be durable and secure. Panel bashing, tube bending, creating the roll cage, and creating a front subframe for the engine were all part of that effort.
“The vehicle came from a Middlesborough resident who had salvaged it from being scrapped. It was in perfect condition; I believe someone simply dismissed it as outdated and useless. In a sense, this man saved it from the trash.
He had just finished working on an E30 project when, within a week, a car crashed into him, totaling it. What a nasty break!
“So he went out and acquired a new chassis, started moving everything over, got to the point where he had stripped one down and taken all the pieces off the damaged car, stripped down my car, and then that’s where it stayed for the next four years, waiting to be finished.
It never got finished. He advertised it on eBay and was offering to sell it as a shell with numerous parts. Three of my pals and I loaded the parts into a long-wheelbase Transit after dragging the shell onto a trailer.
He had gathered two of almost everything, including two interiors in their entirety, four rearview mirrors, and other similar items. I could choose from most of the pieces, and I could choose the desirable components. Additionally, it lacked a running gear, gearbox, differential, and engine. It also had all the suspension and brakes, which required repair.
“At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with the engine. I was going to install the M20 B25 engine from my BMW 2002, which is a 2.5-liter SOHC straight-six petrol engine that was built from 1977 to 1993, into the E30. I just want to try something a little bit different, I reasoned. After attending a Mini Challenge race, I fell in love with the sound and later discovered this engine, which was taken from a 2015 John Cooper Works that had crashed. I’ve had three Minis, including a John Cooper Works, as daily cars. It goes by the name of the B48 and is a common component in Minis and BMWs.
Since it’s transverse because it came from a Mini, I rotated it 90 degrees, built a gearbox adapter, and attached a [BMW] 320d gearbox to it because it had the ratios I needed.
After contacting with those who construct the race vehicles and locating the ECU source, Parker is using the same ECU as the Mini Challenge series. It now produces roughly 270 horsepower and weighs less than 1300 kg as a total. According to Parker, if you push it above 300 horsepower, the pistons “may go a bit cheesy,” which sounds awful.
Is driving enjoyable? It’s definitely exciting, in my opinion. Even with an open diff, it has a lot of torque and is rather well balanced. These LSDs are extremely expensive and challenging to obtain. Therefore, my goal for this year is to construct a very capable LSD, drive it on track days, and gain a thorough understanding of the vehicle.
Flying by the seat of his pants, Parker has learned a lot about engineering through this passion project.
He continues by saying that becoming the best driver possible is the final piece of the puzzle he wants to solve.
It’s a noble goal that many drivers will identify with.
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Your Classics: A deep-end DIY passion project, Josh Parker’s E30 BMW first published on Hagerty UK.