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.
While browsing for E30’s this morning I came across a beautifully maintained 1991 318i sedan. Grab a fresh cup of your favorite coffee and dig into your E30 search. This five speed sedan located in Baltimore has beautiful paint and interior, and is listed for only $7500. You’ll find it here on Craigslist until the listing is deleted. The VIN is WBAAJ931XMEJ00140
Searching for an E30 M3 in 2016 is no easy task. The classic German car bubble has been inflating since 2010 and has yet to lose any momentum. The days of ratty $10,000 range E30 M3 finds are long gone, now just old legends that we will reminisce about for years to come. These days, even a heavily road worn M3 can command big dollars. That brings us to today’s eBay find, a 1988 model with 325,000 hard earned miles.
The E30 318is is commonly referred to as the poor man’s M3. It shares some traits with the M3 including a 4 cylinder engine, near perfect 50-50 weight distribution and a thrilling driving experience. While it’s 1.8 liter M42 engine boasts a modest 138 horsepower compared to the M3’s 197 horsepower, it is still a fun little drive.
Keeping your E30 in good running order doesn’t have to be costly. If you’re a BMW enthusiast, chances are you’re also a DIY enthusiast. Let’s be honest, not many people can afford to run to their indie mechanic every time they need a repair on a car that’s over twenty years old. For example, something as simple as a clutch slave cylinder replacement can cost nearly $400 with parts, labor and tax at a local garage. This is something the weekend mechanic can repair in a few hours with around $60 in parts.
Learning how to correctly adjust the valves on your M20 engine is an essential part of E30 ownership. Howling sewing machine sounds are to the E30 as air cooled flat six sounds are to the Porsche 911. Just how much sewing machine you get is up to you and your valve adjusting skills.
Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms today. I think its one of the best places to do research through browsing hashtags and other enthusiast accounts. It is a great source of visual inspiration and a place to connect with other BMW enthusiasts. Today I’ll share some of my favorite accounts that I follow on Instagram.
If you drive an old BMW like I do (15 years old to be exact), it’s likely that your factory BMW BBS wheels are in poor shape. Rarely do the original wheels survive a decade or more of daily driving and curb abuse. If you’re lucky, you may have a perfect condition unused spare in the trunk- which is where my idea came from.
Auto detailing has been a hobby of mine for the last 13 years, since purchasing my first car in 2003. That car was a Zinnoberrot E30 sedan, which was a true diamond in the rough. My dad convinced me that the dry, faded looking paint was nothing to be concerned about. “It will come right back with polish”, he said. After discovering how paint polish applied by hand brought the paint back to a rich glossy shine, I was hooked on that process of transformation.
One of the most common problems with vintage BMW’s is that the plastic gears inside the gauge cluster degrade over time. The delicate plastic gears turn into a soft cheese like material and stop tracking mileage in the odometer. This makes it difficult to tell the true mileage of an old BMW, because often the owner will continue driving the car for years before making a repair.