Building E30 Perfection

Jimmy Nordling has a passion in life, and that passion is E30 BMWs. However, living in a wintry place like Sweden makes 30 year old cars in good condition somewhat rare. Further complicating his search, on top of the snow, ice, salt, and ever-climbing values, is the fact that E30 BMWs have some of the best-handling chassis qualities of any car, ever. That makes them very attractive for drifting which can lead to them being hacked to pieces. Jimmy did not want anything close to this. Jimmy wanted E30 perfection with a sunroof, leather interior and as little rust as possible. Needless to say he had his work cut out for him.


After months of searching Jimmy found an E30 318is that had rolled off the production line in 1990. Although he was looking to buy a 325i, the M42 motor in the 318 made him curious so he decided to go and take a look. The car had belonged to four previous owners, with the most recent leaving the car untouched in his garage for 10 years. It needed new paintwork and its engine was completely disassembled but there wasn’t a spot of rust on the whole vehicle. The presence of Jimmy’s desired sunroof and leather interior sealed the deal. He bought the car and began planning the build for one of his dream cars.

Jimmy’s passion for buying and building cars began at an early age. After starting out with JDM royalty in the form of a twin-turbo Supra, he moved on to own an S13 and then an S14 200SX followed by ‘some’ Mitsubishi Evos as the man himself puts it. It was at this point that Jimmy’s automotive affections moved over to Germany and to BMW specifically. Beginning with an E36 M3 in Dakar Yellow and an E28 525i, he soon found himself, like so many before him, coveting the legendary E30. He decided to sell the E36 and E28, buying his first E30 at age 20. He hasn’t been without one for the majority of his life ever since, owning seven E30s over the years. Before buying the 318is that he’s in the process of building he owned an E30 325i M-Tech II which he rebuilt from the ground up before selling. Almost immediately he began to regret letting the car go and promised himself that he would keep the next E30 that he bought and built forever. Enter the 318is, the topic of this article.


After getting the 318 home Jimmy quickly got to work on building his dream. The first thing to be renovated was the car’s paint and a sublime shade of silver was chosen to cover the E30’s legendary lines. After this Jimmy moved on to the suspension and installed Powerflex bushings, brand new wishbones and adjustable D2 coilovers allowing him to set the perfect ride height. As the car had sat untouched for around ten years Jimmy wisely chose to replace the fuel tank, brake lines, and any hose or other rubber part that may have become brittle and damaged with the passage of time. This is a build that he’s determined to execute absolutely perfectly, going as far as buying OEM screws from BMW and then individually painting them so that they match the rest of the car. To complete the look of his dream E30, Jimmy got his hands on a set of authentic 15” BBS RS wheels which will surely end up wrapped in some high-quality rubber. Ensuring that the car will have the go to match its show, Jimmy has gone through the entire engine with a fine-tooth comb and replaced any components that were showing their age with brand new parts.

Looking to the future, Jimmy says that he’s still got a lot of parts to buy for the car but hopes to have it running and putting smiles on his face by summer. The way that he’s building this thing, with modern suspension in a brilliant chassis powered by the excellent M42 engine, those smiles seem guaranteed. When asked about what motivates him to keep pushing with the build, Jimmy speaks about the encouragement that he receives from friends and the people who follow him on social media. After all, who doesn’t want to see a classy, fast and perfectly executed E30 build? You can find and follow Jimmy’s build on Instagram at @e30jimmy.

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