7 facts about BMW E30 that you might not know: M3 pickup? (Video)

7 facts about BMW E30 that you might not know: M3 pickup? (Video)

E30 is one of the most loved BMW‘s in the world. It is not immediately obvious why, but it is a nice car to look at. It features straight sharp lines and right angles. It is compact, yet athletic in a way. E30 is just full of character, which helped it to gain its international success. Today we present 7 interesting facts about E30 that you might not know.

BMW E30 – is the second generation 3 Series, produced between 1982–1994. In total, more than 2.3 million examples have been made, which means that the E30 is far from being a rare car. This is actually good, because people can modify it to suit their personal taste without remorse of damaging some historically valuable vehicle. In Nodum.org you can follow one of these projects – Martynas‘ E30 Coupe is getting restomoded into something rather interesting. But let’s jump into the 7 interesting facts about the E30.

The first Z Series car

BMW Z Series is a family of convertibles. You probably know the little Z3 and you have definitely seen the pretty Z4. However, the first Z car was actually the small and quirky Z1, based on the E30 325i running gear. It had a plastic body, an interesting shape and bizarre vertically opening sliding doors.

BMW Z1, the first Z Series car, was created using the running gear from E30. (Lothar Spurzem, Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 2.0 de)

The first M3

BMW M3 is now an iconic performance car, which we can trace back to the E30. BMW wanted to race, so the E30 homologation had to be passed and, as you know, street cars are needed for it. That is why in 1985 the E30 M3 was born. It was built using a coupe body, but arches were expanded using a boxed design. Some people like it and some people don’t, because it looks like a modification done in someone’s garage. The most powerful E30 M3 had a 175 kW 2.5 litre engine and could reach 100 km/h in around 6 seconds. The last E30 M3 was made sometime in 1992.

Boxed arches – a bit of a controversial feature of E30 M3. (Rudolf Stricker, Wikimedia)

M3 pickup?

M3 is a very practical performance vehicle. But making it into a pickup just doesn’t sound good. However, the only M3 pickup produced by the actual M Division was meant to be used in the facility to deliver parts. It was made in 1986 by converting a normal 3 Series convertible into a performance pickup with a 2 litre engine. Later it got a proper 2.3 litre engine and it was still being regularly used in the M Division campus until 2012. Many enthusiasts created their own E30 pickups as well.

E30 – one of the most important cars in BMW’s history

Many historians and BMW fans agree that the E30 helped BMW transition from building small sporty cars to larger luxury automobiles. E30 was the first 3 Series to be offered as a sedan and as anestate. It was also the first 3 Series to have an all-wheel-drive and diesel engine options. And the first BMW to sell in big numbers in the U. S.

Friendship with E36

E30 was being manufactured up until 1994, but its successor, E36, entered production in 1990. How can it be? Well, at first, E36 was only made as a coupe and until other versions were made available, the E30 was still being manufactured. It was slowly phased out. Touring (estate version of the E30) was the last E30 to leave the factory in 1994.

E36 and E30 were manufactured together for as long as 4 years. (OSX, Wikimedia)

You have to be smart to modify an E30

E30 is actually not an expensive car at all. Many car enthusiasts bought them and started modifications without knowing what they were doing. For example, bricks or a concrete slab in the trunk are known to have been used to improve the handling. Nowadays, it seems that people who pick up a E30 for restomoding projects modify their cars tastefully and such weird fashions don’t exist enymore.

E30 convertibles were featured in Top Gear as well. The popular trio tested three almost identical cars, but two of them were badly modified. And so, the least modified one won the challenges by a huge margin.

Claus Luthe

E30 was designed by the German car designer Claus Luthe. He is regarded as one of the most important people forming modern European car design. In his portfolio we would find not only E30, but also Audi 50, BMW E28, and Volkswagen K70. Have you ever been in an Audi 100 C2? Its interior also has been designed by Luthe. He also supervised the design process of the E31 8 Series.


Those are all the facts we compiled for you for today. We invite you to follow our series of articles about this E30 – Martynas’s E30 is taking shape nicely.

Did we miss something? What other important E30 facts have not been mentioned in the article?

What happened to pop-up headlights? Can we expect them to make a comeback?

What happened to pop-up headlights? Can we expect them to make a comeback?

Pop-up headlights used to be so popular back in 1960’s-1990’s. And everyone liked them. They were presented as a design feature, making cars sleeker when lights are closed and characterful when opened. But sometime at the turn of the century they just disappeared. Why? Can we expect some manufacturer to bring them back?

1936 Cord 810 – the first car with popup headlights. (Sicnag, Wikimedia(CC BY 2.0)

The first car with pop-up headlights was introduced to the market in 1936 – it was Cord 810. A very handsome car, which was standing out with its design from the crowd even when it was new. Now it is a priced possession of some lucky collections, but its pop-up heritage got very popular only in 1960’s and 1970’s. Many sports cars in these decades were shaped like wedges so pop-up headlight sort of fit in.

Porsche 968 headlights were not actually hidden – they would just tilt back to flow into the shape of the bonnet. (Atlant, Wikimedia(CC BY 2.5)

One of the reasons why manufacturers insisted in installing pop-up headlights in their cars, despite the extra effort, was that people loved them. Another reason – US at the time had regulations that prevented any kind of aerodynamic headlight design. It basically meant that headlights had to be square or rounded, neither of which satisfied car designers. So hiding them from plain sight was a good option.

There were many special cars with pop-up headlights: Lotus Elan, first generation Mazda MX-5, Porsche 944, Lamborghini Countach, Toyota MR2, Mitsubishi 3000GT, BMW M1 and many more. There were other types of hidden headlights as well. For example, Porsche 968’s lights would tilt back to accommodate the shape of the bonnet. You would always see the lights, even when they were turned off, but they were slanted backwards to give the car that aerodynamic look. 1967 Ford Thunderbird had garage door style covers over its headlights. So why did hidden lights disappear?

Regulations on the shape of headlights were relaxed and so there was no reason to hide the lights. In fact, manufacturers took the opportunity to make the headlights stand out as a design feature. Pop-up headlights typically have a simple mechanism, but it is not always reliable. It is also some extra weight, cost and effort in the manufacturing process.

Lancia Stratos – one of the biggest heroes of automotive world – was also blinking with popup headlights. (contri, Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Also, pedestrian safety became a major concern at some point. Pop-up headlights are sticking out of the smooth shape of the car and so they are imposing a greater risk of injury to pedestrians in case of an accident. And, finally, pop-up headlights are horrible in terms of aerodynamics, which makes cars slower and less fuel-efficient.

Lotus Esprit was one of the last cars to be manufactured with popup headlights. (PeteBergeron, Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)

These are the reasons why we are not going to see cars with pop-up headlights any time soon. If you want one, you will have to buy an old one. The last cars to be manufactured with pop-up headlights were Lotus Esprit and  Chevrolet Corvette C5, finishing their production life sometime in 2004-2005.

The 7 most beautiful steering wheels in the world – how much did Porsche spend on 918′ steering wheel?

The 7 most beautiful steering wheels in the world – how much did Porsche spend on 918′ steering wheel?

We all like beautiful cars – who can say that a car’s looks don’t matter? Designers spend years making sure the new model will be good-looking when it comes out. But the problem is that we see our cars from the inside more often, which means that the steering wheels have to be beautiful too. In this article we compiled the seven most beautiful steering wheels.

It may seem that steering wheels do not allow a creative design – it is just a ring with spokes and a hub in the middle. However, car manufacturers do spend time and money perfecting their steering wheels in order to make sure they feel and look like an exclusive piece of automotive art. We present the seven most beautiful steering wheels, in no particular order.

Morgan 3 Wheeler (Morgan )

Morgan 3 Wheeler  is a new old-fashioned car, manufactured since 2012. As you may guess from its name, it only has three wheels, so it doesn’t have to have airbags – the law does not consider it a car. That gives some artistic freedom to designers. The steering wheel in the picture is one of several options available.

Porsche 918 Spyder (Norbert Aepli, Wikimedia(CC BY 4.0)

Porsche 918 Spyder steering wheel may look a bit too ordinary for this list, but it does have some redeeming features. Its spokes have large holes with buttons in them, for example. But, mostly, it made to this list because Porche spent 20 million euros developing this steering wheel, which later made its way to Macan SUVs.

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept (Bentley )

Cut-away steering wheels just look cool and fit the interior of Bentley Speed 6e concept electric car very well. But there is little hope it will make it into production.

Pagani Zonda Roadster (Brian Snelson, Wikimedia(CC BY 2.0)

This Pagani Zonda Roadster sports something unusual for Pagani vehicles – wood. Pagani is an expert in carbon fibre and machined metal – it is basically creating automotive jewelry in its interiors. However, the owner of this Zonda Roadster just wanted some wood to make it look classy.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class, S 350 (Mercedes-Benz )

Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W222) is a large luxury saloon. It looks like all the focus went to making sure that the car passengers are as comfortable as possible, but the driver was not forgotten either. Operating this two-spoke steering wheel must be a joyful experience.

1966 Ford Mustang (Berthold Werner, Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0))

This style of steering wheel can be seen on several cars from that period, but we think Ford Mustang wore it better than others. There is just something inherently cool about a large, very thin wooden rim with polished metal rivets.

Spyker C8 (Thomas doerfer, Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Spyker C8 came out in 2000, so it is a relatively new car. But still, it is made without an airbag. And we can’t help, but adore the four elegant turned metal spokes and the leather-wrapped rim. Obviously, the central-mounted horn and rivets along the perimeter are also a nice touch.

Did we miss something? What other steering wheels should be put into this list? Which one is your favourite?

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