Although BMW never sold the M3 E30 in South Africa, the company’s regional division did come out with the 325iS and the 333i performance models. The car featured at the bottom of this page is neither since it’s a custom build created to mimic the appearance of the original M3. With the sports sedan’s value increasing over the years, the owner couldn’t afford to buy the real deal. He decided to take matters into his own hands and build an M3 lookalike.
Built in South Africa by Big Boss Auto, the M3 replica took about two years to complete, starting with completely stripping down the car. It uses the M20 engine from a 1986 325, a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-six with 121 horsepower on tap. The intent was to mimic the M3’s look rather than its performance, so it’s more along the lines of a relaxing cruiser rather than a hardcore sports sedan.
It’s not just a regular 3er with an M3-esque body kit since the car has been subjected to other changes. It has a coilover suspension and borrows the Recaro front seats from a first-gen 3 Series (E21). From the gauges to the lever of the five-speed manual gearbox, just about every little detail is a tribute to a real M3. It also has pop-out quarter windows and period-correct BBS wheels that nicely fill those arches.
As with every project car out there, this E30 build is always a work in progress. The owner wants to tweak the six-cylinder engine a bit more. Meanwhile, he’s pleased with the progress so far and is particularly happy when people mistake his car for an authentic M3. The owner says he previously had two 325iS examples but he reckons those have become a lot more common due to the sheer number of replicas built in recent years. This M3 E30 replica was for sale but only temporarily as the owner had a change of heart. It seems he’s not willing to part ways with his pet project just yet.
Source: Cars.co.za / YouTube