Three Things To Look Out For When Buying A Modified E30 BMW For Autocross Racing

BMW's E30 platform has become extremely popular for autocross racing over the years. Produced from the early 1980s to the early 1990s, E30 models are much simpler and easier to modify than modern European sports cars. Additionally, they are relatively lightweight and evenly balanced, making them great contenders for racing around the tight corners of an autocross course.

If you're in the market for a modified E30 to go racing with, there are a few things you need to be wary of. As with every older modified vehicle, the condition of the chassis and quality of the modifications can make or break the car.

Rusted Chassis Components

No matter how good an E30 looks from the outside, there's a good chance it has developed some rust underneath. It's not a good idea to pick up a model with an extremely rusty chassis: the stress from racing can cause chassis components to snap.

Furthermore, repairing a rusty chassis is extremely expensive. You'll have to take the car to a skilled fabricator to have them cut away rusted sections of the chassis and weld in new metal. The cost of doing so can easily be greater than the value of the entire car. It's best to steer clear of models with a rusty chassis and wait for a cleaner one to come up for sale.

Suspension Modifications

Modified suspensions are extremely popular in autocross racing. They give you a stiffer chassis, reduced body roll, and overall quicker cornering speeds. If you find an E30 with an aftermarket suspension setup, it may be tempting to scoop it up to save yourself the time and money of modifying it yourself. However, it's important to look at the quality of the mods before you make a purchase.

If the car is lowered, make sure it has quality lowering springs. Some inept drivers try to save money by simply cutting the stock springs to reduce the car's ride height. That will make it handle poorly and, depending on the quality of the hack job, can make the springs prone to snapping. Lowering springs should also be complimented by a set of aftermarket shocks to compensate for the stiffer, lower springs. Lowering springs bolted onto stock shocks is another red flag that the car wasn't properly modified.

Engine Modifications

It's also important to carefully examine any engine modifications to ensure they are quality components. First, you can get a general idea of how the engine was cared for by looking into basic maintenance items. Ask for maintenance records, check that the oil is clean and properly filled, and check the condition of the air filter. While you're at it, look for signs of shoddy modifications like cheap plastic cable ties and mismatched bolts.

Unfortunately, it's impossible to determine the internal health of the engine with a quick examination and test drive. For that, you'll have to take the car to a professional repair shop and have them perform compression tests and other diagnostic procedures. They'll be able to tell you if there's anything wrong with the engine internals so you don't wind up buying a lemon.

To learn more, visit with professionals from businesses like August European.