Imported from Japan 1989 BMW M3 E30

Imported from Japan 1989 BMW M3 E30

In the quest to create his dream E30, Ariel Jaskiewicz took influence from the East and inspiration from the past.


Words: Daniel Bevis

Photos: Jason Dodd

Imported from Japan, this immaculate E30 M3 has been treated to a choice selection of mods.


Rising Sun

SUPERB BMW E30 M3 – MODIFIED M ICON

Imported from Japan 1989 BMW M3 E30


The legend of the E30 M3 walks so tail in our affections that it’s easy to get caught up in its European sporting prowess Relentless success in the Deutsche Touienwagen Meisterschaft, endless scalps taken in the British Touring Cat Championship, unparalleled quality across series as diverse as Italian Superturismo and European Touring Cars… but it's key to bear in mind that the E30 also won the JTC-2 class of the Japanese Touring Car Championship no less than seven times. Every single year from 1987 to 1993, these irrepressible Beemers were taking flags and topping podiums. If you thought the JTCC was all about Skylines, think again. At the hands of domestic heroes, including Hat utc Yanagida. Kenji Takahashi and Kazuo Mogi, along with western interlopers such as Will Hoy and Roland Ratzenberger, the Land of the Rising Sun resonated just as richly to the beat of those howling S14s.


Imported from Japan 1989 BMW M3 E30

As with homologation cars the world over, Japan enjoyed road-going versions in celebrated but small numbers. Japanese-market M3s were closer to Euro spec than USDM, retaining the dogleg gearbox (in earlier models, at least). They came with a cat-equipped engine in a 195hp state of tune, with air-conditioning being part of the standard specification, along with the electric windows, electric sunroof and trip computer. Just 172 JDM dogleg cars were built in 1986-1987, with a further 395 produced between ’87-’89 with the American-issue transmission.

It’s fair to say that the M3 instantly became a modern classic through the 1990s in Japan, as it did everywhere, and it’s this era of celebration that Ariel Jaskiewicz (@bmw_specialist_medway) has sought to trap in amber with the E30 you see before you here.


Imported from Japan 1989 BMW M3 E30

A Japanese import model, he’s been keen to project a period-perfect image of the 1990s, augmenting and enhancing while also preserving. It’s a fine balance that he’s struck, and the results are sublime. This has been a real passion project for Ariel, a labour of love for a lifelong BMW obsessive.


The S14 engine has been treated to a Jim Conforti chip that raises the rev limit to a heady 7800rpm Ariel is living the dream with his perfect E30 M3

“When I was just eight years of age, I remember helping my uncle to fit lowering springs to his year-old M Technic E30 325i manual Coupé,” he recalls. “That’s where my BMW journey began. This was back in the ’90s, absolutely amazing times when real car memories were made.” And when it came time for him to buy his own first car, naturally, it just had to be an E30. Saving up all his pennies to get just the right spec, Ariel found himself a manual 318i Coupé in Dolphin grey metallic.

This was a strong introduction to motoring life, for sure, and there have been several intriguing stepping stones leading up to the colourful variety of cars in the stable today. A couple of notable highlights include the E24 M635CSi, tastefully lowered over BBS split-rims and in mint condition throughout, and the Ferrari 348 GTB, which had a few tasty power upgrades and a low-slung stance. These days, alongside the E30 M3, his collection includes an F82 M4 Individual with 590hp, an E34 M5 Nürburgring (360hp), a 380hp E23 745i Turbo, and an Estoril blue E31 840Ci Sport Individual.


Interior BMW E30 M3

It’s evident, then, that he has an eye for a quality car with superlative specification. So how did this M3 enter the scene?

“Well, the E30 is a very special BMW model to me,” he reiterates. “The E30 M3 was an unachievable dream for some time, with a large part of the problem being the condition of cars available for sale. It took me years to find one that wasn’t rotten, had low mileage and had never been welded.”

This is where the allure of the Japanese import really comes into play, as they don’t salt the roads over there, and thus domestic-market cars are far less prone to dissolving over the winter.

“With the help of a close friend abroad named Jacek and a company called Bawaria Racing Power in Poland, I finally became the proud owner of a Japanese-import E30 M3 in Alpine white II,” he says. “And I knew right from the start that I wanted to create an authentic 1990s look.”

Having searched so extensively and carefully for just the right M3, Ariel was in the fortuitous position of having a superb base upon which to build his dream E30. This was never intended to be a process of reinventing or radically modifying; no, this was a plan to enhance and improve the car in line with what would have been achieved by enthusiasts in period, retaining the M3’s inherent character and homologation spirit, while adding in just a dash of aftermarket upgrading to end up with something spectacular.


The S14 engine has been treated to a Jim Conforti chip that raises the rev limit to a heady 7800rpm Ariel is living the dream with his perfect E30 M3

The S14 engine has been treated to a Jim Conforti chip that raises the rev limit to a heady 7800rpm Ariel is living the dream with his perfect E30 M3

The condition of the BMW was exemplary throughout, but Ariel’s first task was to get it up to what he describes as ‘AA++’ condition. The engine was wearing just 60k miles and running like new, and he set about stripping down the engine bay and perfecting it with new and genuine OEM parts wherever neces ary – a painstaking process t at took the best part of five months. A Jim Conforti chip was added to take the motor to its full potential, turning up the wick to the tune of 225hp, keeping the M3’s fine motorsport balance without overwhelming the chassis. The power, like the overall project itself, is a finely judged matter of balance, and the sound has been artfully scaled up by a stainless Milltek exhaust system which subtly wears OEM tailpipes to keep its secrets hidden.

The stance and handling are taken care of by a modern coilover solution. Ari l tested out many different lowering spring kits to find the perfect combination of old-school feel and modern control before finally arriving at the ull swap from BC Racing, with custom valving and bespoke spring rates of 10kg front and 14kg rear. “It was the only right decision,” he explains.


The S14 engine has been treated to a Jim Conforti chip that raises the rev limit to a heady 7800rpm Ariel is living the dream with his perfect E30 M3

“Quality, flexibility and availability all played a key role.” Addressing aesthetics was the next item on the agenda. E30 M3s have always carried themselves with a certain quiet menace, along with a simmering undercurrent of overt aggression, and it’s this which Ariel aimed to amp up with some tasteful enhancements. Chief among the ingredients of the makeover was the wheel choice: “They’re genuine Hartge C three-piece split-rims,” he explains. “I’ve always been a big fan of the Hartge C, and I knew from day one that this would make my E30 unique. Everyone seems to follow the BBS path, and there’s nothing wrong with that – I just felt that the Hartge is a more aggressive wheel, and I wanted to make the car my own.”

Having grown up with posters on his bedroom wall of Sport Evo and DTM E30s, it’s no surprise which direction the rest of the exterior revamp took. Ariel duly sourced minty-fresh examples of the adjustable front lip and rear spoiler from the revered Sport Evolution model, and, in combination with the black Hella headlights, it creates a truly striking profile that’s irresistible to the eye.

Peep through the window, and you’ll see that this admirable sense of restraint continues to be fused with a fond admiration for doing things the old-school way. The cabin is in all original spec, lovingly refreshed for an as-new finish (again, hugely helped by the car’s low mileage and delightful condition as-found), with the only notable intrusion being a brand-new CD43 radio joined by a USB/handsfree music streaming hub to maintain that everyday usability.

The end result of all of these considered and thoughtful endeavours is something that perfectly embodies the spirit of the ’90s. It’s playful, friendly, and inviting, but with a hard edge: the automotive equivalent of The Word and TFI Friday, with Shaun Rider and Bez chaotically pinwheeling around as Quentin Tarantino scripts a steely-edged narrative. Kate Moss delivers the smouldering side-eye while Liam Gallagher swaggers through, and, in the background, we hear the metallic zing of analogue cars with highly-strung motors of racy derivation, hydrocarbons tortured and rubber compounds atomising. “This E30 M3 is now exactly what I want it to be,” Ariel grins, and you can see precisely why. The passion of the West fused with the spirit of the East refracted through a tie-dye 1990s filter. It’s old-school E30 perfection.

THANKS Thanks to my wife Nina, for her patience and understanding, she’s the one who pushed me to make a purchase. Jacek Lyzen, Mariusz and Jarek Gozlinscy (@brp_brothers) for making it happen

This has been a real passion project for Ariel, a labour of love for a lifelong BMW obsessive


TECH DATA BMW M3 E30

  • ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: 2.3-litre four-cylinder S14B23, Milltek stainless exhaust system with OEM tailpipes, Jim Conforti chip with 7800rpm rev limit. Five-speed manual gearbox
  • MAX POWER: 225hp
  • CHASSIS: 8.5x17” (front) and 10x17” (rear) OZ Hartge Type C three-piece split-rims, 215/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) Hankook Ventus Evo 2 tyres, BC Racing coilovers with custom valving and custom spring rates (10kg front, 14kg rear)
  • EXTERIOR: Alpine white II, black Hella headlights, Sport Evo adjustable front lip and adjustable rear wing
  • INTERIOR: Stock M3, CD43 USB head unit

Milltek stainless steel exhaust system lets the S14 sing. The interior has been treated to a refresh, and the leather looks seriously lush.

Having grown up with posters on his bedroom wall of Sport Evo and DTM E30s, it’s no surprise which direction the rest of the exterior revamp took

A Jim Conforti chip was added to take the motor to its full potential, turning up the wick to the tune of 225hp, keeping the M3’s fine motorsport balance without overwhelming the chassis

Article type:
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