Self Made – Jason’s E30 325is

What was the goal when the build first started / what first inspired your build?

The whole goal of the build was for me to have a car that I could do whatever I wanted with. I didn’t want any limitations or restrictions set by my parents, which would’ve happened if I kept the car that they had given me. So I found a solution to my problem on Craigslist. $300 later I had a  ’87 325is with a few hundred thousand miles that hadn’t been run or driven in over a decade. My end game was to learn how to do anything and everything I wanted to do to the car, and that’s kind of what ended up happening.


What is your favorite thing about your build?

I’d say my favorite thing about the car is the motor, a SOHC inline 6 now nearing the 300k mile mark. Even though I haven’t done a full rebuild, I have done more than my fair share of maintenance on it. When I first got the car, it would leak a quart of oil a week, run hotter than you could imagine, and ticked like an angry sewing machine. It’s seen multiple water pumps, timing belts, a slew of new seals & gaskets, plus I blew the head gasket earlier this year which prompted for a top end rebuild.  It’s been oil starved a few times, due to ripped tearing oil lines, but it’s never broken in a way that I couldn’t fix. Now it runs like a top; no leaks, runs cold, and pulls strongly all the way to redline.  Maybe it’s just telling me I just need to turn up the boost more.



What do you have planned for the car?

A few track days and maybe a handful of drift events.

Why did you choose to go with the car you have now, over others?

I picked it because it I was familiar with it, and I knew how good they could look all done up with the right parts.


What is your favorite part about the scene?

Diversity, that’s what I always thought was cool. There are so many ways to express yourself in the automotive scene, it’s nice to see that everyone can add their own twist or flair on something and make it their own.

What was the kind of theme or style used in the particular build?

Most people by looking at my car would say it’s a rat-rod theme. It is, but at the same time it isn’t, or at least initially it wasn’t meant to be. Originally it was a grass roots style build; I wanted to do as many things as I could to the car while being budget minded. When you throw the budget out the window, it’s not hard to build a great looking or driving car. However, when you’re frugal with your money, ingenuity comes into play and you have to learn to work with what you’re given. I’d say that it still is a grass roots style car, but has more of a rat-rod theme than anything. I’m not sure that a rusted out body allows anything other than rat-rod.


What was the most different or challenging part of the build?

I’d say the worst part of the build was having to swap in a 2nd replacement transmission after I found out that the 1st replacement transmission I put in had a horrible 3rd gear grind.

What was your first mod to the car?

The real first mod, besides getting it running, was fitting late model e30 plastic bumpers on it. The early model “Diving board” bumpers just never really looked correct in my mind, so I went about fitting the plastic bumpers on the car. This was easily done in the front, which only required the tow hooks to be cut and a new valence. For the rear I had to shorten the bumper due to the quarter panel arches starting in a different spot on the pre-88 cars.


Any kind of unique story behind the build? Something people may not know about it?

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “when are you gonna paint it?” Most people don’t know that I already painted the car once before. Flashback to January 2012, after hours & hours of body filler work, patch panels, welding in a new rear clip, new bumpers, fenders, hood, etc I had the car ready for paint. A good friend of mine came to my house and we sprayed the body in my garage that we had turned into a mini paint booth. The detachable body panels were painted outside given that the weather conditions that day were good. Long story short, a sun shower came & covered my freshly painted panels outside with hundreds of dimples. The body didn’t fare too well either, it had a few sags in the paint and the driver side quarter panel was far from presentable. I reassembled the car though, with all the freshly painted pieces, and after giving it a long hard look I just didn’t think that all those hours spent with a sanding block were worth it. After a few discussions with some close friends I decided that if I really didn’t like the way it looked, I might as well try a new approach. So late one night at the shop we started to pour stripper on it and watched the paint bubble up.



Anything you would’ve done differently?

No, I don’t think I would have done anything differently. All my screw-ups and mistakes have helped me make some fantastic friends along the way. Well I guess I could’ve skipped the part where I re-sprayed the car and saved myself quite a few hours worth of sanding.


Anything you’d like to add/Special Thanks?

There’s a few specific people who have always been there to help me with this build, and I’d really like to thank them. Carlos & Christy from Condor Speed Shop, Jay from JGPaintco, and John from WOT-tech; you guys rock!!!

Modification List:


Garrett Turbo M20 running 13psi on 93 pump gas  tuned by WOT-TECH


Coilovers, Custom Weld-In Adjustable Camber/Toe rear Subframe, Ground Control Camber/Caster Plates, Full solid Condor Speed Shop Bushings


BBS RS 4×100, 15×7, 15×8, 2″ front lips 3″ rear lips

Photos and Words by Edwin Estrada  @__edwin__

View entire set on our Flickr by clicking here.

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