How To Build A 500 HP V10 E30 M3

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Dropping the 500 HP S85 V10 from the E60 M5 into the engine bay of an E30 M3 requires building an essentially all-new chassis underneath the classic body. Here's how it's done.

Piper Motorsport is behind this build. We'll let them talk you through it:

Welcome to the build of the "Franken M3". The car is a current project of ours which started September of 2007. The idea behind this project was to build the ultimate BMW using the best of the best from BMW's line up. Some may argue whether or not the E30 M3 had much to improve on in the first place? Of course not! The E30 M3 is and always will be a great performer in factory trim and truly is a classic. We've simply started with an E30 M3 and built a whole new breed of the BMW M series.

To start we stripped the car of everything suspension, engine and drive train related and tossed it aside. Come to think of it, nothing but a few miscellaneous body panels and interior pieces have remained thus far.

Next, all new E90 (06-07 BMW 3 series) front and rear sub frames with all associated suspension components where assembled on a chassis jig and adjusted to fit within the stock body of the M3. To achieve this, the stock front frame rails have been removed and new rails where constructed to adapt the new sub frame. We've even raised the front shock towers to allow proper suspension travel for the E90 suspension. The rear of the car was completely cut and removed, excluding the exterior body panels of course, then re constructed to fit the new rear suspension package. This includes the fabrication of new rear shock towers, frame rails, spring mounts, wheel tubs and all related sheet metal work.

Many have asked us, where's the roll cage? Just look closer. Knowing that the customer wanted some form of interior re installed, the roll cage was integrated into the body. The A and B pillars have been sectioned and removed. The bars are inserted into the body making the cage virtually invisible. Door bars are normally just too intrusive on a street car so the inner rocker panels were also sectioned. A hefty piece of box steel was then welded in place connecting the front of the cage to the back while offering some additional side impact protection as well. Essentially all that will be seen after interior is installed will be the rear X and harness bar.

Now for the part everyone's been waiting for, the infamous S85 M5 V10 power plant. This motor was chosen for obvious reasons and it's been matched up with the M5 6 speed manual transmission, differential and half-shafts. The installation of the engine actually started during the first few steps of the suspension assembly on the chassis jig. The new E90 front sub frame was completely reconstructed, among other things to adapt the new engine. Firewalls generally get in the way when stuffing big motors into little cars, so the firewall and transmission tunnel have been removed and were later reconstructed around the new engine and trans. We were very happy with the final placement and balance of the engine, in fact the top of the cylinder heads are just shy of sitting lower than the top of the wheels themselves.

Once the motor was in place and the firewall sealed up, then it was time to wire the car. Rather than spending countless hours ourselves, we decided it was best to contact the best at Apex Speed Technology in CA to complete the task. They worked with a Pectel SQ6M12 management system and wired the car front to back. They made multiple trips from CA, spent countless hours, worked late nights and weekends but we couldn't be happier with the results. There are many neat features that one would never expect to see on an E30. Such as programmable and adjustable traction control, full variable camshaft control for all 4 cams, full electronic throttle control for both throttle banks, driver selectable Anti-lock Brake system, Digital Pi OMEGA dashboard with multiple pages to monitor all vital functions and a Ole Buhl Racing power management system with electronic load control and power distribution

As you could imagine, with the new suspension and wheel/tire combo the fender clearance became an issue. So we've extended the front and rear fender flares to accommodate the wider track which gives it a more aggressive, but subtle look. To finish it off a stainless steel dual exhaust system with twin mufflers exit through the rear bumper.

After our job with the metal fabrication was finished our friends at Old School Enterprises took on the body work and paint. After a very short turn around time the car was back at the shop with a beautiful, no tint silver paint job. The attention to detail is outstanding. With body work and paint to such a high standard, the M3 hardly looks modified.

We'll only show a glimpse of the paint until the final product is unveiled.

So where are we at now? We've recently received the car back from Ai Design with an all new interior. They have done a fantastic job which to the untrained eye has an OEM factory finish.

Before pictures are posted of the finished product the M3 will make its way back to Old School Enterprises one last time for the finishing touches.

Stay tuned...

[via Piper Motorsport]