Everyone was fascinated with the first ever BMW M3 when it came out. It was a truly disruptive model when it was launched, changing the way people perceived both the brand and the model. Back in the 1980s, the BMW Rosslyn plant in South Africa had been operational for quite some time and yet, the most desired car in the company’s line-up was not officially imported in the country throughout its production span.
Disappointing, I know, especially for BMW fans in South Africa who, understandably so, hoped that having a plant in their country would also mean they’d get access to the latest models. They didn’t waste no time sulking though and seeing as BMW wouldn’t bring the M3 to them, they decided to build their own high-performance E30 in the shape of what would later become known as the BMW 333i.
The development of the car implied the combined efforts of BMW South Africa, BMW Motorsport and Alpina. What they did was to take the M30 engine that was otherwise used in the BMW 733i and stick it in the engine bay of the E30 3 Series model. The straight-six 3.2-liter engine also received some improvements from Alpina, developing in the 333i application around 200 HP, a figure that was lower than the one of the M3 but with considerably more down-low torque to play around with.
Only 200 of them were ever made and the man in the video below, Arshaad Nana, is one of the lucky owners today. As he puts it, the moment he saw it he wanted it for himself but the road to actually buying it was paved with a little help from his grandma, who found it in her heart to fuel his passion. Today, the beauty is not a garage queen and we’re thankful for that. Rare cars like these need to be driven because, as Nana puts it, ‘why go to the party if you’re not going to dance?’