Spotlight: Brett Layn’s BMW E30 325IS

Nothing like the story straight from the owner. So from Brett to you, through us, RFD present’s Brett’s Layn’s E30. Photography by Landon Shore.

I have been a fanatic of the BMW E30 since I was a kid. My first E30 was a 1987 325E. I did a lot of work on the car in 7 years, but it was still an “E” model which is the slowest of the bunch. I had always been envious of the Lachssilber color, which is warm silver, on my current car. As if it were meant to be, a friend of mine bought one as a daily driver and after a long convincing conversation I was able to get the car from him.

The car is a 1989 325IS, factory Lachssilber 5 speed. The car came with a solid body with no accidents and factory pain. Sadly though, the elements had taken their toll and the finish was badly oxidized. None the less, it was a great platform for the parts I pulled from my original car.

The past two years have been spent, completely stripping the car to bare metal, shaving the windshield squirt nozzles, door locks and rear toe hook. Also, the rubberized coating was stripped from the front valence and rear apron, making them smooth. An M-Tech 1 rear spoiler, factory sport package side skirts, IS lip spoiler and factory euro bumper impact strips were then added. To fit my desired tire size – 235/40/17 – I had to roll and pull both front fenders and rear quarter panels approximately a half inch. Since I am not a fan of body filler, over 40 hours of metal shaping work went into the body. When I had all the glass removed for paint, I had it all tinted 35%. To finish the exterior, all factory shadowline trim, blacked out kidneys, factory Hella “smilies” head lamps and custom tinted tail lights were installed.

After much sweat was spent on the appearance of the body, I focused on the suspension. Ground Control coilovers/camber plates along with Ireland Engineering swaybars were my weapons of choice. I replaced the front steering rack with an E36 M3 which granted me a much quicker turning ratio. Then a rear camber/toe weld-in correction kit was my next move. The entire suspension has been fitted with poly bushings.

On the inside, interior has been fitted with black leather E36 M3 Vader seats in the front. The rear seat has a rare head rest and ski hole pass through, which is also been upholstered in black leather. An upgraded 7 speaker stereo system and short throw shifter completes the interior. All the factory tar on the floor boards and trunk has been removed, which was then replaced with lighter sound deadening material.

The engine is mostly stock with the exception of a Miller mass air flow conversion and performance chip. I also added a 4.11 limited slip rear differential. This proved to help offset the weight of the larger 17×8 two piece forged wheels. My future plan is an S52 swap, the engine from the E36 M3.

I’m more of a “clean and simple” type of guy and feel my car is a reflection of my philosophy. It is far from complete but has been a fun build so far.

Additional photographs of Brett’s E30 can be found on Landon Shore’s flickr page.


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