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One man's love affair for the BMW E30 over 30 years

Published Mon, Dec 14, 2020 2:20 PM

We love an old BMW here. They just ooze cool. And they don’t get much cooler than Yildirim’s E30: 


38-year-old Yildirim is probably not your average E30 owner, who tends to fall into a couple of camps. They’re either in their mid to late 40s and think that anything more adventurous than a factory MTech 2 kit is a bit “boy racer” for the wonderful old 3-Series. Or they’re young, like going sideways, and more often than not enjoy a backwards baseball cap or snapback. 
Well, Yildirim is a family man and owns a well-respected business in Switzerland. Granted it’s a shisha bar, which isn’t probably what you’d expect, but after growing up in Turkey, it’s a fantastic idea! 


Yildirim’s E30 is probably one of the nicest examples we’ve ever seen. It’s clean. Like, super clean. 
He’s had it 12 years, but the love affair started more than 30 years ago when his late father owned one when they were new. Since then, he told himself he’d always own one, and at 26 he did exactly that. 
Those of you who read our features regularly (if you don’t, whyever not?) will know that we love something with a modest list of modifications. “Less is more”, as the old adage goes. Well, Yildirim’s E30 is no exception to that rule, but the things that he has changed have been done to perfection. The car truly is sublime. 
Pretty obviously, the car is on air. No one in their right mind would drive an E30 this clean with the front splitter kissing the tarmac. Right? We hope not anyway. 
Those 16” BBS RSs are gold-plated. And that includes the centres, lips, and hardware. They are a work of art in themselves, but coupled with the factory metallic grey paintwork…well we don’t even need to say anything. Look at it! 
Other than a colour-coded MTech front splitter, the outside is pretty standard, but it’s the interior where it really comes into its own. With MTech Recaros fully retrimmed in flawless cappuccino leather, with matching gear and handbrake gaiters, along with steering wheel accents, it’s the perfect contrast to the perfect exterior and is a stunning place to be. 
As you’d expect, it’s not standard under the bonnet either, although Yildirim hasn’t gone overboard here, replacing the 1.8 4 pot with a…1.9 4-pot, removed from an early E46. With 138bhp from the factory, it’s more than enough to propel the lightweight BMW along comfortably. 


E30s are definitely getting rarer, and they’re far from the bargain basement salon they were 15 or so years ago. Today, you’ll struggle to pay less than £7k for even a fairly average one, whilst a decent example will be closer to double that. 
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can try and find yourself a pukka M3, though you’ll be paying 6 figures for one of those. Ouch. 


Yildirim’s car was shot by Mike Crawat-one of Europe’s foremost photographers of incredible cars. You can check out his work over at mikecrawat.com.  


Manufacturer: BMW 
Model: E30 318i 
Powertrain: 1.9 16v M44B19 
Suspension: AirLift 
Brakes: Factory 
Wheels: BBS RS, 16”, gold plated 
Outside: Standard  
Inside: MTech Recaros, retrimmed in cappuccino leather