Hartge was a third party tuning company founded in Germany in the early 1970’s. They modified new BMW models for customers, much like Alpina, Racing Dynamics and AC Schnitzer. One of the earliest Hartge models was the H23 based on the euro 323i which was produced from 1983 to 1985 in Germany. They modified the engine with custom forged pistons that yielded a high compression ratio of 10:1 along with a new camshaft, exhaust and chip tuning. To top off all of the engine work, it was finished with a custom cast valve cover. Very few Hartge and Alpina cars were produced, and as a result the vintage tuning parts are now very sought after.
This 323i from an old Hartge catalogue was the ultimate drive back before the M3 made it’s debut. These tuners were the original racers from the old country, using the resources and engineering of the time to modify a new breed of sport sedans. Below is another Hartge catalogue scan showing some H26 components.
Fast forward to 2013. A friend of mine found an old 323i motor for sale in a garage in Connecticut for next to nothing. It had the Hartge H23/H26 valve cover, which he later sold to me after declaring he’d left the M20 world for good. I recently had the cover completely restored by a shop in PA called Renewed Finishes. They do some amazing work and have built up quite the reputation in the German restoration world. Check out Dave’s work here, and tell him I sent you.
The cover was totally blasted and prepped for fresh black powder coat. The raised edges of the cast alloy were carefully brushed in one direction to provide a brushed appearance. The entire cover was again coated in clear powder to protect the metal from corroding. The original oil cap was powder coated in silver flake to match the M20 intake manifold and timing covers.
If you look closely you can see the brushed edge details on the lettering. It is difficult to photograph but looks incredible in person. Again, if you are building any engines or restoring rare parts I can’t say enough positive things about Dave’s work.
Here’s a close up shot of a casting number on the inside of the cover. I’m not sure what the code represents but if you have any additional info, please reach out or comment below!
Do you have any rare Hartge parts on your E30? Let me know in the comments below.