Ask anyone what the largest engine ever fitted to the E30 BMW 3 series was and you may get a few folks citing the M20 2.5 liter inline-6 in the 325is. However, South Africa received their own special edition by way of the M30 3.3 liter “big six” being slotted under the hood to create the 333i. These cars were built in collaboration with Alpina, all fitted with a 5-speed manual transmission and limited slip differential. Slotted front brake rotors, 16” Alpina wheels and optional ABS were other features on tap in this package. With 194 horsepower on tap, these were very potent machines in their day, capable of 0-100 km/h in the mid seven second range. A mere 204 were produced in 1986 but these special E30s, like this one for sale in Germany, have cemented their place in history amongst the E30 faithful.
Here is something to be thankful about this time of year. When cars like this pop up for sale it makes all of us excited.
This is a truly one of a kind early Dinan tuned 3 series. This BMW will make even the nicest E30 M3 look somewhat mundane.
What you have is a 1978 320i with a 5 speed overdrive manual that in 1980 was sent to Dinan where it received a new paint job, some body work and then had a 3.3 liter inline six with a turbo bolted on dropped in. The seller states that later in life, 1987, the head was replaced with a 3.5 version. (perhaps because the turbo blew out the head gasket on the original?) The engine bay is amazingly clean. I love the custom 333i badge completing the look on the back, just need to squeeze one of the BMW turbo badges on there somewhere.
16″ Hardy and Beck wheels keep the car on the ground and with the turbo’s 8.5 lbs of boost putting down 315 horsepower in a car this light its a good thing there are meaty Yokohama AVS Sport tires on the rims.
Recaro seats, custom gauges, and obligatory Blaupunkt stereo finish off the well cared for interior. The car has an estimated 50,000 miles on the chassis.
A spectacular piece here showing a classic tuned vehicle that hasn’t been over restored or contemporized. In terms of collectibility finding a vehicle like this that is maintaining its original tuning, rather than finding the same vehicle that was customized recently, really helps the sale price. Quite a sleeper of a car too, that even a BMW fan might not appreciate at first look. Certainly will be a crowd pleaser at car shows though.
Right now it is sitting at $23,000 reserve not met. I’m not sure how high this one will go, but we will be talking very nice E30 M3 money.
This eBay auction for a red 87 BMW 333i swap states that is the second car the Dinan ever converted! Check it out here on eBayMotors with a buy-it-now of $8k!
quote from seller’s eBayMotors listing:
For those of you who know, this car needs no introduction. For those of you who don’t, this is the BMW tuner DINAN’s second car ever built.
1978 BMW e21 320i converted to 333i
Approximately 35,000 miles on the original odometer. The car came with a certificate of authenticity/validity of the odometer, but the OD stopped working shortly after purchase. This car has never been a daily driver though, so current mileage estimates are probably no more than 50k. The certificate is no longer available.
3.2L Turbo charged M30 “big six” motor, non-intercooled, no BOV or DV valve.
The turbo is a t3/t4 hybrid, currently boosting 9psi with full boost achieved at 2500 rpms
I’ve been following a discussion on BimmerForums about the car and most in the know agree it’s worth $8k, even if the pictures and exact details aren’t perfect. While I agree in terms of the effort that took place to assemble, but the interior pictures are a little scary with seats that need recovering, center console with wires hanging out, and a sad and worn steering wheel. But it would likely cost at least $8k to get a similar car together, and this one is low miles with a history.
As a tuner, Dinan is so respected that their parts are sold and installed at BMW dealerships in North America — and they don’t void the warranty! So if this car represents the early history of the tuner, it could be a really cool pickup and should be a car that climbs in value with the continued success of the company.