305hp M62 4.4 V8 engined BMW 340i Coupe E30
With over 300 V8 horsepower on tap, this hardcore E30 is a full-on beast of a build that delivers maximum driving thrills, and it’s simply sensational.
Words: Elizabeth de Latour
Photos: Rich Pearce
ROLLING THUNDER FULL-ON HARDCORE BUILD 4.4 V8 E30 M62B44
This full-on E30 build is a stripped-out, hardcore beast powered by 4.4 litres of BMW V8 goodness, and it’s awesome.
We love V8s. Pretty much everyone who loves cars loves V8s by default. It’s the noise – you can get more power out of much smaller engines with far fewer cylinders, and there are more exotic-sounding engines out there, and there have been BMWs with all of the above, but there’s just something about a V8. Not all V8s are created equal, and there’s a wide range of configurations that result in different soundtracks, but we’re talking about the classic V8, the type you’ll find in most BMs. It’s got that iconic rumble, that roar, and just writing about it is getting us excited. And if you take that and stuff it into an E30, well, you’ve just made one of the finest car and engine combos imaginable. That’s exactly what Ayshe Sinclair (@ ayshe_sinclair) has done, and we’d be lying if we said we weren’t just a little bit jealous.
It’s always great to see more women into cars, and Ayshe doesn’t just have a cool car, she does a car job too, working as the general manager (no less) for K-Tec Racing. While they might specialise in making Renaults go faster rather than BMs, it’s still a cool job to have. Luckily for us, and if it wasn’t obvious from her E30 build, Ayshe loves BMWs and has done for a very long time. “I’ve been into them for over 15 years now; they’re just the best driver’s cars and have so much character,” she enthuses, and she’s not wrong.
“My first BMW was an E46 325i Sport Coup. in black,” Ayshe continues. “It was my first opportunity to buy a BMW, and I jumped at the chance. I was 24, and it was my first time out of a Japanese or French car – it changed my life!” she grins, and that was a strong start with the brand, and no wonder she’s so passionate about BMs. The thing is, Ayshe is just majorly passionate about cars in general, and her list of previous modded motors features some seriously tasty machinery. “There are too many to list,” she laughs.
the most impressive addition here is, without a doubt, the full carbon roof. It really makes this E30 stand out, and it’s a seriously special finishing touch
“I’ve had a magazine-featured Mk1 MX-5 turbo, supercharged Mk2 MX-5, lifted Dodge Dakota pickup, an MR2 Turbo, 200SX, 200SX with a BMW V8 in it, and this E30,” she says, and it’s not all that surprising that Ayshe ended up with two V8-swapped projects one after another – V8s are addictive like that.
“It was my second E30, and I always wanted another one. I was learning to drift at the time – this one was set up perfectly for what I wanted,” Ayshe explains as we chat about this build. “I advertised my Nissan 200SX for sale and was offered the E30 as a swap – which I jumped at the chance for!” she grins. “I planned to keep it as it was and do as many drift days as possible,” Ayshe adds, but don’t assume that means it was stock, because it really wasn’t. “The first time I owned it, I kept it as it was, as it already had an M52B28 conversion, roll-cage and bucket seats,” she explains, but hold on, the first time she owned it? “I sold it to buy my house and then found it up for sale three years later,” Ayshe explains, and suddenly this story has gained another dimension.
Selling it couldn’t have been an easy thing to do, but to find it for sale again by pure chance must have felt like a sign that she was destined to become its owner once more, and it’s no wonder Ayshe reckons she could never part with the E30 again. Being able to buy back her E30 allowed Ayshe to put her stamp on it and really make it hers the second time around, and she got stuck in with a full respray in the car’s original shade of Black Sapphire to get it looking fresh, before working on the styling. “At the time, I only had the budget for cheap fibreglass bumpers, but I wanted a clean, standard-ish look,” she says, and the custom ones her E30 is wearing look cool, they’re different, and they give this E30 a wonderfully retro vibe on the styling front. “The bodyshop who painted the car smoothed the front bumper, which I still haven’t made my mind up about yet,” she muses, but we can definitely get on board with it. That front bumper is enhanced by the addition of a carbon front lip, and then you’ve got the iS side skirts that give the flanks a little more definition, while the rear is finished off with another custom bumper, plus an M3-style spoiler.
The lift-off bonnet is equipped with AeroCatch fasteners, but the most impressive addition here is, without a doubt, the full carbon roof. It really makes this E30 stand out, and it’s a seriously special finishing touch.
This E30’s retro looks are further enhanced by Ayshe’s choice of wheels, and while E30s tend to look great on just about anything, she wasn’t going to settle for just anything. “I am really fussy with wheels, I spent ages looking at different styles. I knew I wanted something with dish, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Borbets. I found a set locally in new condition for an amazing price, so it was a no-brainer!” she grins, and you really can’t go wrong with a set of Borbet As on the classic Three. These 16s are the perfect size, and the combination of those fat five-spoke centres and seriously deep polished lips works so well, and the retro vibes are strong with this one.
Beneath the surface, this E30 sits on a set of budget coilovers, not ones of Ayshe’s choosing, we hasten to add, just the ones it came with, but she says they were fine for her level of drifting ability. They give this E30 a nice drop, and it’s definitely got a little more swagger thanks to the way it sits, lower but not scraping the tarmac, though Ayshe is shopping for a proper set of coilovers to enhance the handling and to allow her to make the most of what’s lurking beneath the bonnet. The brakes have also received a little bit of an upgrade to help them deliver more stopping power, with a set of Brembo High Carbon discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads all-round.
I am really fussy with wheels, I spent ages looking at different styles. I knew I wanted something with dish, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Borbets. I found a set locally in new condition for an amazing price, so it was a no-brainer!
Looking at the photos, you will have seen that this E30’s interior is far from standard, and it makes it clear that this is a hardcore build. “As the interior was already stripped out, I fitted my Driftworks bucket seat and a budget bucket seat on the passenger side. The cage was black but I had it redone in grey when the car was painted as the black was too subtle,” Ayshe explains. She’s not kidding when she says the interior is stripped out, and there’s not much of the original E30 left in here. The carpets have been ripped out, the glovebox has been removed and replaced with a carbon panel, there’s a custom switch panel where the ashtray once was, and the centre console is gone. There’s a Turn One steering wheel along with a Coolerworx shifter, the heavy door cards have been thrown out, and lightweight ones with red fabric door handle pulls have been installed in their place, while the rear has also been completely stripped, leaving this E30 as light as possible. Finally, we come to arguably the most exciting part of the whole build, and that’s what’s going on under the bonnet. “Not long after I bought the car the second time, I bought a set of RHD throttle bodies and had these fitted to the M52 engine.
After a couple of years, the M52 became tired and was using some oil, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy an M62B44 engine. The M62 conversion took around three months, done on the driveway at home by my husband,” she says, and that’s handy having a husband who’s so hands-on, and the conversion is just awesome. The M62 comes from an E39 540i and is equipped with a custom stainless steel exhaust for a proper V8 soundtrack, an ITG filter and a remap with a raised rev limiter. That has endowed it with 305hp and 332lb ft of torque, and that’s a lot in any E30, let alone one as lightweight as this example. We’ve been lucky enough to sample a couple of BM V8-swapped E30s, and we can say with some confidence that they are insanely fun and insanely exciting machines, so it’s fair to say that Ayshe never drives hers without a massive grin plastered across her face.
Despite having a hefty V8 under the bonnet, that’s not actually her favourite mod on the build. “It’s my carbon roof, it’s so stunning and really gives the car the extra wow factor,” smiles Ayshe, and that’s understandable. But, from our point of view, this whole E30 is pretty ‘wow’ really.
We love the looks, which really emphasise the retro styling, the iconic classic wheels, the hardcore interior and, of course, that awesome V8 swap, which gives this car some serious muscle. It’s a full-on E30 build that really delivers, and it’s a car Ayshe can be proud of. Naturally, there are a few more mods to come in the future, like those aforementioned coilovers, some genuine BMW bumpers, and perhaps even a supercharger or turbo further down the line. But there’s no rush; Ayshe had to let this E30 go once before and she’s not about to do it again; she’s having far too much fun thundering around with all that V8 power to even contemplate it. Second chances don’t come around very often, but when they do, you really want to make the most of them, and that’s exactly what Ayshe is doing, and she’s loving every minute.
The styling additions are subtle but really enhance the E30’s looks Ayshe got the chance to buy her E30 a second time, and it’s not going anywhere now, especially not with V8 power on board.
TECHNICAL DATA V8 E30
- ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: 4.4-litre V8 M62B44 from E39 540i, ITG air filter, custom stainless steel exhaust, remap, raised rev limiter. Tremec T5 gearbox with six-speed manual bellhousing
- POWER AND TORQUE: 305bhp and 332lb ft
- CHASSIS: 7.5x16” (front) and 9x16” (rear) Borbet A wheels with 195/45 Nankang NS2R (front) and 215/40 Nankang NS20 (rear) tyres, coilovers, Brembo High Carbon discs, Ferodo DS2500 pads
- EXTERIOR: Full respray in original Black Sapphire, custom front and rear bumpers with smoothed front bumper, carbon front lip, passenger-side high-beam cold air intake, AeroCatch bonnet fasteners, iS side skirts, M3-style rear spoiler, red rear lights, full carbon roof
- INTERIOR: Driftworks driver’s seat, Driftworks TRS harnesses, fully stripped, Safety Devices roll-cage, carbon glovebox replacement panel, custom carbon switch panel, Turn One steering wheel, Coolerworx shifter, lightweight door cards, red fabric door pulls
- THANKS: My husband for doing almost all the work! AP Technix LTD (exhaust), ITG Filters, HEL Performance (all the custom braided lines), Rivo’s Hub (photo location), Flawless Detailing Solutions (for always keeping her clean), K-Tec Racing (lots of custom bits fabricated by them)
BMW 4.4-litre M62 V8 swap has transformed this E30 into an absolute beast, and it’s making over 300hp
16” Borbet As are iconic wheels that look so good on the E30, and that deep dish is irresistible.
The interior has been completely stripped out to keep this E30 as light as possible