One of the most common modifications done to E30 BMW 3 Series’ is a Chevy LS V8 motor swap. The purpose of that is to put a massively torquey V8 under the hood of a tiny E30. It basically becomes a tiny German muscle car and it’s a lot of fun. Sacrilegious, yes, but fun. What’s even better than that, though, is stuffing a BMW V8 under the hood of an E30. This way, you still get that German muscle car vibe without having to stuff a Chevy engine under hood. That’s exactly what this owner did with his E30 3 Series.
The car started life with an M20 I6 engine under its hood but it didn’t run when this owner bought it. So he wanted to swap the engine and finally settled on a BMW M60B40 V8. For those who aren’t aware, the M60 V8 came in the E34 BMW 540i, E38 740i and original BMW 840i. So it’s a great engine and one that BMW fans love. The only issue with stuffing such a big 4.0 liter V8 in an E30 is weight. But this owner pushed the V8 as far back as possible and put an E39-sourced six-speed manual in the car, so it shifted some of that weight backward. The weight distribution still isn’t as good as the standard E30, obviously, but it’s not bad.
What’s good, though, is the power and noise. Making around 286 hp, this car is far more powerful than any stock E30, including the M3. So it’s very, very fast. Throw in a six-speed manual and 3:15 rear differential and it really launches off the line. It’s a fast car. It also sounds fantastic, even though it’s a bit odd hearing a V8 scream from an E30.
From the outside, the this M60-swapped 3 Series looks really good. It’s lowered but not too much and its E46 330i wheels (not from an E36 M3 like the owner says) look really good. While this isn’t where I would go with an E30, it’s still very cool and shows how different builds can be. Check it out.