The E30 was the first 3 Series to spawn an M3, and you’d be tempted to say this is one. However, it started out in life as a 323i before being subjected to a multitude of changes inside and out. You’d be forgiven for thinking a body kit was slapped onto the OEM panels, but the extra bits were welded. Shot by YouTuber LivingLifeFast, this 1980s 3er is an animal.

Riding on 17-inch OZ wheels, this beast of an E30 San Marino Blue is road legal despite its many mods. Journalists tend to overuse the term “stripped out,” but it’s the perfect way to describe the car’s cabin. It’s essentially a body shell with a full roll cage and Sparco bucket seats. The dashboard might not look all that great, but neither do those of fully fledged race cars as it’s all about functionality.

Of course, the highlight is represented by the V8 sourced from an M5 E39. When there’s a cutout in the hood to fit the engine, you know this isn’t an ordinary custom build. The 4.9-liter unit made 400 horsepower back in the day, but the S62 has since been bumped to 440 hp. To cope with the extra oomph, the E30 has front brakes taken from the E46 M3 while the rear ones come from an E36 M3.

The list of mods includes everything from a Bilstein suspension setup and a welded differential to lightweight windows and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel. Although it was primarily built for drifting, the owner has been regularly driving it for the past two years. He admits keeping it straight on the road is a bit of a hassle, regardless of gear.

We’ll be honest and say the E30 looks intimidating and we wouldn’t necessarily jump at the opportunity to drive it. With no sound insulation whatsoever inside, the cabin is sensationally loud and the engine’s noise is deliciously raw. The owner says he can keep up with the latest M3s and M4s, which seems just about right. With 440 hp moving a body shell on wheels, the power-to-weight ratio should be exceptional.

[Source: LivingLifeFast / YouTube]