A True Gangster. 1983 BMW E30 325

gangster bmw e30

Gangster BMW E30

This is the first thing that shoots in my mind the first time I saw Panayiotis Theodorou 1983 BMW e30 325i. A straight-up gangster of a car. Before we dive into this build I just wanna say that this vehicle is the definition of the words project car. There is always some sort of an upgrade going on with this car, making it faster, lower, and more reliable than anything else on the road. But what I truly love about this build is the way that the owner treats it. It gets to driven to the limit day in, day out while somehow managing to look the part!

1988 bmw e30 gangster

That gangster look.

So if you know your BMW’s you will recognise by now the iconic m-tech 2 aero kit that this Bmw e30 wears. An OEM body kit to be clear, that completely transforms the looks of the basic model while having a mint fitment on the body.

bmw e30 gangster look
bmw e30 mtech 2

Startec rear taillights are added to match the ultra-cool black cross-eye headlights that also received a hid conversion.

startec tail lights bmw e30
bmw e30 mtech 2

That is an OEM Mtech grill badge for you detail seekers out there. Despite looking stock on the outside, some serious work went into slamming this thing to the ground. Whilst retaining a static and functional setup.

Function and form

To achieve this gangster stance that you see here, Panayiotis went in and out of his way to source these amazing compomotive PS601 three-piece wheels. One of the sexiest wheel designs you can find with a 4-lug pattern.
compomotive ps601 bmw e30
compomotive wheels bmw e30

Measuring at 16×8 and 16×10.5 front and rear, respectively these wheels have some girth to them! With some tyre stretching wizardry, they manage to tuck under the factory wheel arches with some slight massaging of the inner guards.

bmw e30 fitment stance wheels

Despite the aggressive stance, this is a full-function setup and it was proven to me on these brilliant roads in Malounta.

e30 suspension mods

The car uses K-sport adjustable suspension front and rear with the rear being converted to true, Coilover setup rather than the coil and spring that it is found under these cars.

bmw e30 steering angle lock kit
Other additions made to enhance the handling characteristics of the vehicle include front and rear strut bars, and some billet steering lock adapters to increase steering angle for the occasional ( every other day) drift session that this car sees. Told you it gets thrashed.

Packing heat like a real gangster

To be completely honest with you, I kinda knew what engine is powering this car just from the distinctive exhaust note. For the purists out there, this is the point that you will get upset.


The car ditched its original inline-six for the infamous m50b25. A very popular engine swap on this platform and for some good reasons. The main one being the power, of course even in its stock form it is capable of putting down 190 hp and with a much wider powerband than the single-cam m20 that makes power, well eventually.


However, horsepower can be a serious addiction, especially when served in high revving NA inline-six style. The engine is controlled via K-data standalone ECU that features launch control and nitrous control. Like a proper gangster, this e30 packs a few tricks.


The engine internally remains stock apart from a pair of trick camshafts, with 240° duration and 9.7 mm lift for both cams. Air is introduced to the engine via a ram-air 4’’ intake with a velocity stack, for that glorious induction noise. Another addition made to the cold side to free some horsepower is the MAP conversion since the stock MAF sensor is known to be a restriction.

schmiedmann headers M50B25 ON BMW E30

The hot side of the engine benefits from schmiedmann headers that end up in an M. K. performance custom-built stainless steel single exhaust system measuring in at 2.75’’.

stainless steel exhaust bmw e30

Lastly, the engine benefits from a lightened and balanced 6 kg flywheel and a 100 hp wet shot of Nitrous oxide for good measure. It is also noteworthy that all the modifications and tuning were made by the owner. Being a mechanic by trade and recently a motorsport engineering graduate this platform acts as his test mule. 


Built to last

E30s are notorious for overheating – ask me how I know- so the relevant countermeasures were taken to keep everything to spec.


A dual-core alloy rad is tasked to cool the power unit with the help of a SPAL electric fan. Silicone radiator hoses were used for that extra peace of mind.

bmw lsd

As I have previously mentioned this car gets driven. HARD. Not a casual drop of the clutch at the traffic lights, it is a proper hoonigan at any given occasion. So, after going through a series of half shafts and differentials it was time to beef up the driveline.

bmw e30 188mm lsd

The 188mm differential was treated to a ‘’racing diffs’’ 4-clutch LSD. Cg motorsport custom 5 puck clutch kit was also used so it essentially behaves like a welded differential but without the noise.After spicing up the differential the diff mount started showing weakness so under the knife it went, and a custom dual diff mount was fabricated so an e36 dual-ear differential cover could be used.

The office

bmw e30 interior

Well, after pretty much describing a drift car that happens to be registered as a classic, the interior remains mostly stock, and for a good reason! It’s in mint condition and it looks the part.

bmw e30 mtech 2 steering wheel

A Mtech 2 steering wheel along with the matching Mtech 2 buggy leather seats remind you of the quality and the feel of a proper German coupe.

e30 delrin gear knob

A Delrin knob found it’s way on the gear level just for that accurate gear change as well as an AEM afr x-series gauge to keep an eye on the vitals, apart from some custom touches on the cluster, the interior remains in a factory near perfect condition.

What makes this Bmw E30 a Gangster.

E30 side shot stance

Cars just like art are never finished, just abandoned. Where the factory stopped painting it’s up to the owner to give each car its own character and style. In this case, the aggressive look of the Mtech kit paired with the smoked headlights leaves me the impression of a car that a gangster in an 80s film would drive.


Words: Odisseas Sophocleous 

Photography: Odisseas Sophocleous 

Gangster E30. 1988 BMW E30 325

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