If you’re past a certain age, you very well know that looks can be deceiving. This also applies to cars, which every now and then hide a juicy secret. The term sleeper was invented for heavily modified vehicles that largely look stock on the outside. It’s exactly what Joseph did to his prized possession, a seemingly low-key BMW 3 Series from the E30 generation.
While this may appear to be a fairly normal 1991 318is, the beefier wheel arches hint there’s something special going on with the car. The rusty sunroof might make you think the 3er has been neglected, but a lot of work was invested into the E30, including a full respray. The owner bought it for $1,000 before giving it an engine transplant by fitting a straight-six to replace the original M42 four-pot mill.
The fully modified and turbocharged M50 allegedly makes over 1,000 horsepower, albeit it was never put on a dyno. It did manage to beat a twin-turbo Lamborghini Huracan at the drag strip, so Joseph assumes his prized possession is packing four-digit horsepower. It’s also NOS-ready and has an upgraded suspension while the wheels have a five-lug nut setup.
With so much power going to the rear wheels, it comes as no surprise the E30 has a tail-happy nature and gives the impression it could destroy the back tires with ease. The turbocharged M50 engine sounds absolutely ferocious and betrays the car’s nearly stock appearance. That said, it’s far from being perfect as those burnouts ended with a lot of spilled gas while the instrument cluster was removed after the driver noticed smoke was coming out of the dashboard.
Overall, this modded 3 Series with Bugatti Veyron levels of power seems to be a diamond in the rough and also a wild beast to tame. It does have improved brakes but if we’re being honest, it appears to be quite intimidating to drive and reliability is always a concern.
Source: Hoonigan Bonus / YouTube