Modified BMW E30 is hiding a diesel secret

It may look like the automotive equivalent of a QR code, but this 1988 BMW E30 is housing a dark secret, and it's not what you would expect!

‘Looks can be deceiving’ is something we are warned about when suffering state education. As adults, such caveats have clearly taught us sod all; especially if you are an active petrolhead.

No enthusiast can claim never to have been sucked in by the sheer charm of a modern classic only to discover it’s out to kill you. Such sentiment could be lavished on this BMW E30, but is its menace only skin deep?

More great BMW action!

A bit like the child from The Exorcist, this BMW is hard to ignore. Sporting a Waif-look exterior reminiscent of an explosion on Sesame Street, you would expect the engine bay to house a child-eating, tarmac-snorting, fuel-injected beast. Yet, that isn’t the case. It’s not even a V8. It’s a diesel – and it doesn’t even have a turbo.

The beating heart of this 1988 BMW 324D is the Bavarian M21 powerplant in 2.4-litre form, BMW’s first stab at contemporary diesel power. Don’t judge too harshly, however; this is the same unit fitted to the beloved E28 and can run far faster than walking pace.

Unlike other diesel engines of the time, BMW’s indirect injection unit could keep pace with most modern cyclists, churning out 84bhp and 112 lb ft of torque at 2500rpm. Top speed? Nobody really knows. Europe’s roads simply weren’t long enough.

This one boasts a 5-speed manual gearbox, meaning that you can properly wrestle the power to breach 60mph from a standstill in around 14 seconds and enjoy the lulling tone of a cement mixer from beyond the bulkhead.

Alright, so the drivetrain is a tad lacklustre, but who cares? The vehicle looks like an automotive QR Code, and inside the cabin is no different. There’s two front seats from a BMW E90, a brand new rear bench, blue leather door cards, blue carpet and an Mtech II steering wheel. It’s the embodiment of a demonic chiropractor’s waiting room.

As the advert states, the BMW ‘needs a bit of work to be perfect’, but for all our mocking, we rather like it the way it is. There’s a delusion of anti-social youth culture about it. The aesthetics appear toned and ‘chavvy’, but underneath is the sensible aspects of an economical family wagon. You can play Enimenem and 50 Cent Piece from the stereo all you like, it'll still return 40mpg and gain cheap insurance premiums.

AutoClassics says...

It’s like watching your Dad try to beatbox, or your Gran attempting to breakdance while donning a shell suit. It’s just wrong. And for that aspect alone, we adore it. Get a closer look here.

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